This is a short story, corresponding to the Fighting For Worth Series.
What really happened in that fateful battle, between BranchClan and VineClan, which meant one Clan fell? What happened to the survivors, before they united with LeafClan? Follow the battle, and its survivors - as they search to find where they will now belong.
This story will be told in the point of view of Shellfur.
This Clan Has Fallen
It's the end,
The end of your Clan,
The stars are echoing:
"This Clan has fallen."
However, you've been spared,
It's not the end of you yet.
The leaves will join with you,
They will not be seen again.
The sun was setting, and Shellfur's thick pelt ruffled in the light breeze. Picking at a mouse, he heard the voice of his Clanmate, Ashenheart.
"It's too bright," she complained, her gray tail flicking. "I hate sunset."
"That's not the most important thing," intercepted Seedgorse, a senior warrior. "The most important threat at the moment is VineClan."
Shellfur stiffened at the mention of VineClan. Fallingstar and her warriors were being particularly nasty at the moment, picking border fights with their warriors. The two medicine cats, Thornflight and Honeyshine, had been constantly busy with patients for the last moon, cleaning up wounds, getting them dressed.
I hope this isn't the start of a war, Shellfur thought.
Wincing, he pushed it to the back of his mind. Is that really likely to happen?
It was harmony in the BranchClan camp, Shellfur could never imagine living anywhere else. The thick cover of oaks surrounded the camp, their huge branches providing shade from the rain and sun. The long, gnarly trunk of one of them ran right through the middle of the camp; that was the Treebranch, where Clawstar called meeting, and did ceremonies for his cats.
He's always liked me. Shellfur smiled at the thought of the white leader.
He thought he heard a yowl in the distance, and he stiffened. Was VineClan going to attack? Shellfur didn't know.
"Hey Shellfur, what's your problem?' asked Ashenheart scornfully. "You seem -"
But Ashenheart's words were cut off. A yowl sounded through the air:
Shellfur growled in anger. That VineClan scum was going to attack!
"Get all the kits, queens, and elders into their dens!" came Jaysong's voice, as Clawstar yowled: "BranchClan, attack!"
Shellfur leapt on the nearest cat that approached him - a pale ginger tom with dark brown parts. The VineClan cat growled as he pummeled into his side, and Shellfur fell to the ground, wheezing.
"You're dead meat, BranchClan scum," snarled the VineClan warrior. Looking at him properly, Shellfur recognized one of VineClan's younger warriors, Beechsand. Before he had time to move, however, the little warrior had leaped on him, scoring marks down his flank.
Shellfur tried to ignore the pain, but it was hard to forget it when a warrior as big as Beechsand was on top of you. He tried to claw at Beechsand, but each blow missed the ginger-and-brown cat's flesh and fur.
"Move out of the way!"
Beechsand moved away from him, and Shellfur stood up, able to fight again, protect his Clan, at last. He turned to see who had aroused Beechsand.
It was Clawstar!
The white leader was now fighting Beechsand, their claws digging in one another's flesh. Shellfur was about to join the fray, when he saw a spike-furred black apprentice creeping up on Clawstar, her green gaze full of menace.
"Clawstar!" Shellfur yowled. "A VineClan cat's creeping up behind you!"
But it was too late. Clawstar turned, but both the black apprentice and Beechsand leapt at him. A moment later, they pulled away, his body - scratches almost everywhere on his blood-stained pelt - damaged. Shellfur was sure that he wouldn't survive those wounds - no matter how many lives he had left.
The VineClan cats were easily winning. Many bodies laid on the floor - almost all, but one - being from BranchClan. Jaysong was among them.
All the cats - even the ones from VineClan - were silent. The medicine cat apprentice, Honeyshine, had spoken.
"Stop." Honeyshine's voice shook with every word. "You've caused too much damage tonight. Go home."
The VineClan were silent. Eventually Fallingstar, the VineClan leader, hissed: "Fine then, you BranchClan scum. We won't be fighting you anytime soon."
Fallingstar's amber gaze travelled over all the BranchClan cat's bodies still in the clearing, then her Clan, with their one dead warrior, turned and left the camp.
"Bumblebriar, you and your kits can come out now," mewed Grassdew, one of the survivors.
"No!' came Bumblebriar's voice. "There's blood everywhere! My kits don't need to see it!" Inside, Shellfur could hear the she-cat's two kits, Fleetkit and Flintkit, mewl pitifully.
Honeyshine padded into the center of the clearing. Including her and Shellfur, there were seven cats outside - excluding Bumblebriar and her kits.
Only ten cats had survived the battle.
Honeyshine sighed. "I swear BranchClan is no more." Then she turned to the survivors, and mewed: "But before we leave forever, we must bury the dead."
The dead had been buried. As the disheveled group of cats reached the VineClan border - or, what used to be the VineClan border - they all looked out, at what once was their territory, but was now lost.
"Oh, StarClan, what will we do?" whispered Honeyshine, who was leading the group. "May you still be lighting our paths..."
Shellfur could have said the same thing, but he kept his jaws shut. All he wanted to do was hide away, hide away from what he had left.
His family had been torn, and Shellfur was sure he had almost nothing left.
"Let's bed down for the night," complained Seedgorse, whose jaws let out a long and loud yawn.
Honeyshine sighed. "I suppose we must." However, Shellfur thought that Honeyshine would push them longer than she said she would.
They moved a fair way away from the VineClan border, so that the VineClan cats couldn't detect where the BranchClan cats had gone. As the cats around him started to slow down, Shellfur padded up to Honeyshine, and asked: "Honeyshine? Where are we going to go?"
The golden-furred she-cat turned. "StarClan hasn't sent me anything."
Of course you haven't, Shellfur thought bitterly. It hasn't been that long since the battle.
Sensing discomfort, Honeyshine added quickly: "Shellfur, I will let you know when we get a sign."
Shellfur nodded, and then padded to the back of the group, to join Shredshadow. The gray-and-white tom looked disgruntled.
"I wish we could settle down already," the large tom growled. "I want to rest."
Shellfur had to admit that Shredshadow had a point. All the cats were tired - especially Bumblebriar. The pain of the dark ginger she-cat's kitting was obviously still evident from a moon ago.
They continued on, until Shellfur was convinced that he couldn't see anything. Just as he thought that, he heard Honeyshine's mew: "Let's stay here tonight."
"But - why?" protested Rainsweptpaw, the only one of the BranchClan apprentices to survive the battle.
"Rainsweptpaw!" Honeyshine scolded; Rainsweptpaw opened her mouth to reply, but no sound came out. "Stop complaining! I'm sure we'll find a place to stay soon - permanently."
The young brown tabby she-cat snorted at the medicine cat's words, but Rainsweptpaw still backed away in dislike.
Shellfur rested his head on his paws. All he wanted to was sleep. But when he was about to close his eyes, he heard Honeyshine speak again:
"StarClan have sent me a sign!"
Shellfur's eyes flickered open, and he scrambled to his paws. "What is it?" he asked loudly.
A few cats in the clearing shot Shellfur annoyed looks, but Shellfur ignored them. His eyes were only for Honeyshine.
"I'm not saying," Honeyshine hissed defiantly. "I know where to head now. Tomorrow, we will go there."
Disappointed, Shellfur laid in his makeshift nest again. The cats around him nodded as they did the same. Shellfur's thoughts were all on where they would be going tomorrow, before he let sleep claim him.
Shellfur stretched his legs, one at a time. The cats around him were murmuring, their voices quiet, and skeptical.
"Where are we going?"
"Are we still going to be BranchClan?"
"I just hope it's nowhere near VineClan."
Shellfur didn't have anything to comment. He didn't know for sure where his opinion lied. It was true, though, that he didn't want to inhabit near VineClan - not after what they had done to BranchClan.
"Okay," Honeyshine mewed, the murmuring stopped at once. "Follow me."
The ten cats moved on, Bumblebriar holding Flintkit, and Grassdew holding Fleetkit. They returned in the direction they came from, back to the VineClan border.
"What are we doing back here?" complained Rainsweptpaw. "I thought we weren't going to be coming back here!"
Honeyshine's eyes met Rainsweptpaw's, and the golden she-cat mewed: "You'll see."
They went along the VineClan border, their scents drifting in the air. Shellfur swore that their scents smelt different - not quite rogue, but not quite BranchClan, either.
They went past the Gathering Place, the rise in the middle bulging. Honeyshine flicked her tail slightly, as they crossed over the BranchClan part of the circle, and went down the other side.
The LeafClan border, Shellfur thought. Does Honeyshine's plan happen to involve LeafClan?
They padded on, but then, Shellfur swore he saw movement. He smelt the scent of LeafClan. A fresh lot of LeafClan scent.
"Patrol," Shellfur warned.
The cats in the group were silent at Shellfur's words - obviously they had already guessed there was a patrol there was well.
They stepped onto LeafClan territory, in the light of the patrol. The leader was a brown-and-white tom Shellfur recognized as Mudfoot. A light brown she-cat there - Windswift, and a ginger apprentice - Mudfoot's, Shellfur presumed. A couple of tomcats brought up the rear - one gray-and-white, one brown with white fur-tips.
"What are you doing on LeafClan territory?' Mudfoot growled, crouching. The patrol behind him followed suit.
Honeyshine didn't reply to Mudfoot's question. Instead, she meowed: "My name is Honeyshine. These cats behind me are Shellfur, Rainsweptpaw, Seedgorse, Grassdew, Hawktalon, Shredshadow, Bumblebriar, Flintkit, and Fleetkit."
Mudfoot was obviously unimpressed with Honeyshine's reply, as he repeated: "What are you doing here?"
"We wish to see Emberstar," Honeyshine hissed. Her voice quietened, and then came remorseful. "Please, this is very important."
And why does she wish to see Emberstar? Shellfur thought scathingly.
Mudfoot's hostility vanished after Emberstar had spoken. Getting up from his lopsided crouch, he stood up. Shellfur already knew about Mudfoot's twisted paw - but it didn't seen to cause him any trouble.
He definitely fights well.
Shellfur remembered the first battle he had fought in, against LeafClan in a border skirmish. Shellfur, then Shellpaw, apprentice to Hawktalon - had fought against Mudfoot, then Mudpaw - and lost. However, Hawktalon got his revenge and killed a LeafClan warrior, Mottlefur, instead.
"Because?" Mudfoot mewed tiredly.
Honeyshine sighed; Shellfur guessed that she was tired of protesting with Mudfoot. "We don't need questioning," she meowed. "Just please take us to Emberstar. This is important."
"Fine, then, but it better be good," Mudfoot huffed crossly. He then softened, and turned to the BranchClan cats. "We'll be going back to camp slowly anyway. You should have no trouble keeping up." Signaling for his patrol to follow, the now group of fifteen cats started moving towards the LeafClan camp.
Shellfur couldn't wait until he got there. Finally, he could rest - but something told him that it would be more than that.
It's not going to be as you think, Shellfur. It's going to be a lot more than that...
The LeafClan cats were silent as Mudfoot's patrol and the BranchClan cats entered the LeafClan. There was silence, stone-cold silence, until:
"Mudfoot!" a gray-and-brown tabby snarled. "Why have you brought these BranchClan cats into our camp?"
Mudfoot's tail lashed in anger. Baring his teeth, the brown-and-white tom mewed: "They wish to see Emberstar!"
"Silence!" a voice hissed.
An orange tabby she-cat with black ears, paws, and tail-tip appeared from the other end of the camp. Shellfur recognized Emberstar, the LeafClan leader.
Emberstar then turned to the gray-and-brown tabby, who was crouching outside the warriors' den. "I had already noticed, Sorrelburr. Please don't be so rude."
Sorrelburr didn't reply with words, only a snort, an angry tail-flick, and an annoyed amber gaze shot at Mudfoot.
Emberstar's amber gaze then flicked to the BranchClan cat's. "Anyway, are you wishing to see me? Honeyshine, you can come into my den. Mudfoot! Shadefire! You can come too."
Mudfoot moved towards Emberstar's den. A pretty black she-cat poked her head out of the warrior's den, disgruntled. "What is it?" she mewed.
Emberstar shot a fierce gaze at the black warrior, Shellfur thought that the LeafClan leader was going to yowl in anger. But the orange she-cat only barked: "My. Den. Now," at the night-black cat.
The black cat's - Shadefire's - fur bristled, before she too padded over to Emberstar's den. Shellfur noticed that was a hole in a dead tree. It reminded him of BranchClan's camp - before it had gotten destroyed, of course.
There was a lot of commotion coming from Emberstar's den: a mix of commotion, yowls, and many interruptions. After what Shellfur had thought was a whole day, the four cats finally came out of the den.
"What's the verdict?" Shredshadow asked, growling in his usual manner.
Honeyshine took a deep breath, and spoke: "Emberstar has agreed. We are going to unite as one."
"Today, BranchClan has come to us with their issue: that they have been shattered. I have welcomed them to join us."
Emberstar's voice rang around the LeafClan camp. Shellfur watched silently, next to Shredshadow and Hawktalon. The meeting had come - it was about to be true that there was no LeafClan or BranchClan anymore.
The LeafClan cat's expressions were black, Shellfur noticed - all except for Mudfoot and Shadefire's, which were knowing. For some reason, however, Shadefire looked slightly distracted.
"With the agreement of Honeyshine, myself, and two LeafClan warriors," Emberstar continued, nodding at Mudfoot, Shadefire, and Honeyshine as she spoke, "we have decided not to call this Clan LeafClan or BranchClan."
After this, the LeafClan cats started to murmur quietly. A ginger LeafClan warrior called: "What will it be called, then?" The cat paused to take a breath, then continued: "What, EmberClan? Emberstar, you know that many moons ago, our ancestors laid down the names for these three Clans."
Shellfur was silent, his blue gaze resting on the ginger cat, who was in the middle of a large group of LeafClan warriors.
Emberstar's tail flicked in annoyance as she continued, ignoring the warrior's words: "StarClan has spoken to Honeyshine. They want us to be named TwigClan."
All the cats - both LeafClan and BranchClan - started to murmur after this. A dark brown LeafClan warrior called: "Why TwigClan?"
Shellfur looked at the dark brown cat, and recognized Shrewstep ,a newish warrior, but had not had an apprentice - unlike Mudfoot, who had an apprentice and had become a warrior after him.
"Only StarClan knows," Emberstar murmured hazily, her amber eyes clouding over ever so slightly.
"StarClan does know," mewed a confident voice at the back of the crowd. "And we would like to explain."
Shellfur turned. A StarClan warrior was sprinting through the group of cats. He leaped onto the Rockfall - the place where Emberstar called meetings in LeafClan - and every cat fell silent.
Shellfur didn't recognize the StarClan cat. He was a large, brown tabby tom, with a very long, fluffy, bright ginger tail.
"StarClan chose the name for TwigClan," the brown tabby began. "We wanted to unite LeafClan and BranchClan in a way, so that they wouldn't be named the same."
"BranchClan could've made a good name," Seedgorse called out, from where she was sitting with Bumblebriar, Grassdew, and their kits.
The brown tabby looked unimpressed. His long, fluffy ginger tail flicked angrily at Seedgorse, before he spoke again: "Yes, but then LeafClan would be jealous about the name."
Silence came from both Clans. Eventually, to Shellfur's surprise, Shredshadow was the first to speak.
"That's true," the gray-and-white tom growled, his amber eyes blazing.
"TwigClan is a good name!" yowled a white LeafClan cat, with spiky fur tipped with ginger. "It is a great name! We shall unite as one! Thunderbirch, and all of StarClan, we accept your word. From now, there is not three. There is two."
A few LeafClan cats echoed: "There is two," but Shellfur and the BranchClan cats still stayed stony silent.
"We are now TwigClan!" Emberstar yowled.
Shellfur felt a few cats tense, but Shellfur didn't move. There was pawsteps thrumming on the ground - a LeafClan patrol was coming into the camp.
Four cats came in: a black body on their backs. Shellfur recognized the cat's body at once. It was Ravenwing - the LeafClan deputy.
"Ravenwing's dead!" announced a spike-furred brown tabby, his eyes wide.
Oh no... This was provoked by VineClan, wasn't it? Shellfur thought. They will pay for what they're doing.
Later that night, Shellfur lay in his new nest in the warriors' den. Thoughts were flying through his head.
Are VineClan going to hurt us?
Shellfur thought that could be possible. They covered up their lie. He expected VineClan to croon about their hollow victory - not take it out on another Clan, and cover it up.
And how will they react about the forming of TwigClan?
Shellfur knew that they would be angry about it - especially Fallingstar, who would do anything to make her Clan win. She and her Clan wouldn't cope well.
But in the midst of all the worries, in the dark, away from all the other cats in his Clan, Shellfur managed to force a smile.
But in the midst of war, we have found comfort when we needed it. As TwigClan.
You've seen the end,
The end of your Clan,
The stars are echoing:
"Your Clan has fallen."
But you've been spared,
It's not the end of you, as you see.
The leaves have joined with you,
And neither will be seen again.
Awww that was fun to write <3333 Shellfur - in my opinion - is such an awesome character.
If you want to know who replaced Ravenwing, read Gaining Trust (link at the top of this page), or Book 4, The Final Hurdle.
The Fighting For Worth series page is here.
Until next time,