Inspired by Cornelia Funke's Inkheart trilogy
A Story written by Feather
Note: SkyClan have returned to the lake.
A she-cat destined for greatness...
Dawnpaw rolled over as her mentor pinned her down.
"You're a great fighter," Razorflight purred. "Like your ancestor. She was the Thunderheart."
Dawnpaw blinked. "What or who is Thunderheart?"
Razorflight gasped. "You don't even know about the Thunderheart?"
Dawnpaw shook her head.
"Well, let me tell you," Razorflight sat down, beckoning with his tail for his apprentice to come closer. "The Thunderheart was called also called Thundercurse and Thunderdeath."
"Many seasons ago..."
1 - The Start of Apprenticeship
Emberkit bounced up and down as she heard Bubblestar call her name.
"And from now on, until she has earned her warrior name, this kit shall be known as Emberpaw. Webflight, you have shown great courage. You shall be this cat's mentor."
Emberpaw beamed as her Clanmates yowled her new name. Her brother Rowanpaw purred next to her.
"I'll be going to the Moonpool, Emberpaw!" Rowanpaw purred. "Jealous?"
"Nah," Emberpaw shook her head.
Webflight was padding up to her apprentice. "Let's have a tour of the territory," he offered.
"Yes, please!" Emberpaw squealed. Take that, Rowanpaw!
"Let's go!" Webflight twitched his white tail that was tipped with black spots.
"Can I go and see my parents first?" Emberpaw begged. "They'll be so proud of me."
"Alright," Webflight rolled his eyes in amusement. "Just quickly, or I might decide not to take you!"
Emberpaw padded up to her mother, Stormflight, and her father, Yarrowsage.
"Well done," Yarrowsage purred. "We're so proud."
"Tell your brother to come talk to us when he gets back," Stormflight called as Emberpaw walked away.
"I will!" Emberpaw vowed.
"Ready to go now?" Webflight licked his black-spotted white fur.
"Then let's go."
Webflight padded off to the thorn barrier, the entrance and exit to ThunderClan camp. Emberpaw excitedly padded after him.
2 - The Boundary Walk
Emberpaw bounced in excitement as Webflight led her to a clearing where from there on, was dark and muddy.
"This is the border that parts ThunderClan and ShadowClan territory." Webflight flicked his tail. "Those mouse-hearts always steal our prey."
Emberpaw arched up her back and slid out her claws as if she were imagining a ShadowClan warrior standing in front of her, ready to be sliced.
"Come," Webflight walked back into the forest. Emberpaw followed him.
The broad-shouldered warrior led Emberpaw to a clearing where there was a cave that seemed to lead to many tunnels. Trees and boulders populated the area.
"The border to WindClan is further ahead," Webflight explained. "RiverClan don't bother us, and that's good."
Turning to face a different part of the clearing, Webflight mewed, "SkyClan is that way." He nodded his head in the direction of some thick trees.
"Are you ready to learn how to renew borders?" Webflight pressed.
"Yes!" Emberpaw meowed. She sat up straight.
"So you do this..."
Emberpaw couldn't keep her eyes open. She had learnt how to renew the scent markers and learnt how to fight. Though she had only done the basics, Emberpaw felt like she could sleep for a moon.
"Go eat something," Webflight urged. "Then go rest. Training starts at dawn tommorow."
"Yes, Webflight," Emberpaw murmured. She slumped to the floor after getting a mouse and eating it in a few ferocious bites. A flash of red-brown made her shudder. A light cuff around her ear told her that...
"What was that for?" Emberpaw scowled at Rowanpaw.
"I'm a medicine cat apprentice now!" the red-brown and dappled ginger tom beamed with pride.
"Congratualations," Emberpaw meowed, sitting up. "Mother and Father want you."
"Do they?" Rowanpaw mewed in mock surprise as he padded off to the warriors' den.
Emberpaw got up, and then padded off to the apprentices' den. But standing in the way were three tough-looking apprentices, ready to claw her throat out.
3 - The Typical Mean Cats Who Appear in Every Story
"Well," the black one snickered. "If it isn't the newbie."
"Who are you?" Emberpaw demanded. She had never visited any of the apprentices when she was a kit, and they didn't visit her back.
"I'm Coalpaw," the black tom introduced. "These are my friends, Wetpaw and Gorsepaw."
The other two greeted Emberpaw with a snarl.
"Well, Coalpaw," Wetpaw's light grey tabby fur bristled. "Shall we give her something to remember?"
"Sure, Wetpaw," Coalpaw's amber eyes blazed with thirst for blood.
Emberpaw started to panic.
No, she thought, shaking her head. They're just apprentices! What's the worst they could do?
"Go away, fox dung," Emberpaw hissed.
They're not allowed to hurt me anyways. It's the rule!
"Who're you callin' fox dung?" Coalpaw yowled, unsheathing his claws.
"Are these mouse-brains causing you trouble, newbie?" a sharp voice called. Emberpaw turned around. The speaker was a tom; a red-brown tabby. And with him there was a she-cat, dark brown with grey spots on her back.
"Yes, are they?" the she-cat growled.
"Back off, you two," Coalpaw snarled, sheathing his claws. "We'll leave her alone."
As the three cats prowled away, Emberpaw sighed in relief.
"Thank you thank you thank you!" she mewed to her rescuers. "My name's Emberpaw. What's yours?"
"I'm Jasperpaw," the she-cat mewed. "This is my brother, Aspenpaw."
"We're the kits of Bubblestar and Talonflame," Aspenpaw added.
Emberpaw gasped. "But she-cat leaders can't have kits!"
"Well," Aspenpaw purred. "Bubblestar loves our father very much. She loves him so much that she broke the code."
"Of course StarClan's okay with that," Jasperpaw mewed, amused. "It's not as if they're going to punish our mother. It's not her fault."
"I'm the kit of Stormflight and Yarrowsage," Emberpaw mewed, sitting down. "Rowanpaw is my brother."
"Medicine cat apprentice, eh?" Aspenpaw purred. "Love it."
"I'm going to get some sleep, you two," Emberpaw mewed.
"Sure," Jasperpaw mewed. Then she added teasingly, "As long as you don't mind watching Coalpaw being told off!"
"No way!" Emberpaw meowed, blinking open her eyes. She was on her nest already. "Can't be bothered, honestly. See you in the morning."
"Good night, Emberpaw!"
4 - The Gathering
"Good job, Emberpaw."
It had been almost a full moon since Emberpaw was apprenticed. Coalpaw and his comrades had not paid any attention to her, since she was with Jasperpaw and Aspenpaw.
"You can come to the Gathering tonight," Webflight decided. "How'd you like that?"
"That'd be great!" Emberpaw had been apprenticed after the last Gathering. The Clans deserved to know who she was!
"Go tell Jasperpaw and Aspenpaw that they can come too. You'd like that, right?"
"Yes! Thank you, Webflight!"
Emberpaw dashed off to see to her friends.
"Jasperpaw! Aspenpaw!" Emberpaw meowed with delight.
"What is it?" Aspenpaw was in the middle of washing his fur.
"We can go to the Gathering!" Emberpaw mewed.
"Oh, yes!" Jasperpaw leapt up from her nest. "My second one!"
"When were you apprenticed?" Emberpaw asked.
"A moon before you."
"ThunderClan!" Bubblestar yowled. "Those who are to come to the Gathering come to me!"
"This is going to be great!" Emberpaw squealed.
"Who are the other leaders?" Emberpaw asked.
"The little mottled cream one is Finstar, who leads RiverClan," Jasperpaw mewed. Then lowering her voice, she added, "I heard she's expecting kits!"
"She's breaking StarClan's law as well?" Emberpaw was baffled.
"Well, duh," Jasperpaw mewed. "That dark grey tom is Houndstar of WindClan. The one next to him is Sagestar of ShadowClan. Look at the size of his paws! And that pretty tortoiseshell she-cat is Spottedstar, of SkyClan."
"Let the Gathering begin!" Houndstar's voice was as cold as the leaf-bare snow. "WindClan are thriving. There have been many rabbits on our moors. Hunting is well. Also, Heatherpounce has kitted. We welcome Eaglekit, Rabbitkit and Harekit!"
"Eaglekit! Rabbitkit! Harekit!"
"Heatherpounce is Houndstar's mate," Aspenpaw whispered.
Emberpaw nodded, taking this in.
Houndstar sat down. Bubblestar stood up.
"Prey is running well for ThunderClan," she meowed. "We have two new apprentices. Emberpaw and Rowanpaw."
Emberpaw blushed, taking in the pride.
Then Finstar stood up. "We have had many kits this greenleaf. Twolegs have come to the rivers in our territory, and we have a new warrior. Stormleaf."
After Finstar was Spottedstar. When she had finished sharing her news, Sagestar stood up.
"ThunderClan cats have been stealing our prey!" the massive grey tabby accused.
"Outrageous!" "Spottedtstar stood up.
"We have not stolen any prey," Bubblestar meowed to Sagestar, her fur bristling. "Accuse us all you want, you filth! It doesn't make a differnce!"
"How dare you!" Sagestar leapt at Bubblestar, claws unsheathed. Gasps of horror came from all cats.
"Don't fight!" Bubblestar yowled, batting sheathed paws at Sagestar.
"You think you can win your battles by not using claws and teeth?" Sagestar yowled. "Well, you're wrong!"
Emberpaw watched in horror as her leader's neck was pierced by the sharp teeth of the fierce ShadowClan leader.
5 - Battle
"Bubblestar!" Jasperpaw yowled.
A flash of lightning roared from the sky.
"Bubblestar will die!" Sagestar yowled. Rain began to pour from the sky.
"StarClan has spoken!" Finstar yowled. "Retreat!"
RiverClan poured out of the island, then WindClan, then SkyClan, and finally, ShadowClan.
ThunderClan was still staring in horror at their leader's body.
"ThunderClan!" Minnowblossom, ThunderClan's deputy yowled, "Get to camp!"
ThunderClan ran as fast as they could back to their camp. Emberpaw was still recovering from what she had just witnessed.
"Will she be okay?" Jasperpaw asked Rowanpaw.
"She's just lost a life," Rowanpaw mewed. "I'm not sure if it was her last."
"Please don't let it be!" Aspenpaw begged to no cat in particular.
Emberpaw shook her head. StarClan must punish Sagestar.
They had to.
Jasperpaw's yowl of relief woke Emberpaw. The golden-amber tabby forced herself to her legs.
Dashing to the place Jasperpaw had yowled, Emberpaw sighed in relief.
"How is she doing?" Emberpaw asked Rowanpaw when she had reached the medicine den.
"She lost her fifth life," Rownpaw's mentor and the Clan medicine cat, Eaglewing, answered. "But she'll be fine. She just won't be able to move for a couple of days."
"That's good," Emberpaw watched Bubblestar's flanks rise and fall as the light grey tabby leader slept, wearing off the affects of poppy seeds that were given to her earlier.
The battle cry behind her made Emberpaw snap her neck towards the direction of the yowling.
"ShadowClan is attacking!" she gasped.
Though worried, Emberpaw was also very excited.
My first real battle! Yowling in surprise as a tortoisehell tom leapt onto her, Emberpaw slashed the tom's muzzle with her strong fore-paws.
The tom leapt back in surprise, then ran away.
Huh, Emberpaw thought. That was easy.
After hours of vicious fighting, the ShadowClan cats were finally overpowered.
Emberpaw groaned from a wound in her shoulder. A ginger tabby had wrenched it, and left it with an ugly pair of claw marks.
As she lined up to see either Eaglewing or Rowanpaw, Emberpaw thought about the day's event.
Why had the ShadowClan warriors chosen then to fight the ThunderClan cats? And not any other time?
Emberpaw could hardly feel her brother's paws on her as he dressed her wound with a plant that had yellowy-orange flowers on it.
"Thank you," Emberpaw mewed as she left the den, lost in thought.
6 - The Truth Revealed
Emberpaw felt a bolt of energy surge through her. Suddenly feeling sick, she dashed to the dirtplace. She arrived in less than a heartbeat.
Another bolt of energy surged through her. She went to a stream to get a drink. Something pushed her in.
Emberpaw thought she was drowning. She opened her eyes. She could breathe! But she was underwater. How?
A third bolt of energy surged through the golden tabby she-cat. Emberpaw's legs forced her to jump. She leapt up, and she jumped over even the tallest tree in the forest.
Lastly, a surge of strength shook Emberpaw. She leapt onto a straying dog and almost teared it to pieces.
Finally, the pain stopped.
"What is wrong with me?" Emberpaw cried.
Suddenly a cat with the pelt of flame appeared. Emberpaw gasped.
"F-Firestar!" she choked. "From seasons ago!"
Firestar nodded. "Emberpaw, what you have just witnessed yourself do is what no other cat can do. You have power, Emberpaw. Your four powers are the strengths of the other Clans. You can run faster than WindClan, Breathe underwater unlike any RiverClan cat, jump higher than the SkyClan cats can ever jump, and fight more fiercely than ShadowClan could ever be.
"Treasure these powers. You are the next Thunderheart," Firestar breathed. "The next cat who has extraordinary powers."
"Who was the previous one?" Emberpaw asked, intrigued.
"The last ones were Dovewing, Jayfeather and Lionblaze," Firestar mewed. "They were known as the Three then."
The Three! That was ancient history.
"One day these powers will be something true to you," Firestar breathed. "Please treasure them."
Firestar started to walk away, but then he stopped.
"Oh, and, remember," he mewed. "Tongues of Ember will touch the Sky before it falls."
"I will," Emberpaw vowed.
7 - Punishment
Emberpaw gasped as she left her vision. Her pelt was drenched in sparkling water. Emberpaw purred. She had powers!
No wonder I bet that ShadowClan cat so easily!
"Won't Rowanpaw be jealous when I tell him!" she mewed aloud, walking back to camp.
Emberpaw turned. Stormflight, was dashing to her side. "Where were you? Your father and I were worried sick!"
"Sorry, Mother," Emberpaw murmured.
"Emberpaw!" Webflight was furious. "Why do you think it is acceptable to run out of camp without permission?"
"I-I," Emberpaw stammered.
"And because you did so," Webflight huffed, his tail lashing, "you can clean out the elders' den! And search them for ticks, too!"
Emberpaw fluffed up her bright, gold fur as she walked into the elders' den.
"Hello, Emberpaw," Fallowstorm, a cream and grey-spotted elder mewed. "Cleaning out our den?"
"Yes," Emberpaw murmured, stifling the anger in her meow.
"Get some mouse bile and moss for ticks," Razorclaw, a dark grey elder rasped. "And change our bedding, missy!"
Emberpaw was taken aback.
Razorclaw's never been this angry at me before!
Plus, I know that!
"Don't mind that stupid furball," Fallowstorm croaked, cracking a smile. "He's too old to have any more manners."
"Who are you callin' old?" Razorclaw snapped.
"Calm down, you mouse-brained fools!" Heatherpool, a light brown tabby elder snapped. "I'm trying to sleep."
"You can get mouse bile from Eaglewing," Fallowstorm mewed. "Thank you for helping us."
Fallowstorm dismissed Emberpaw with a nod.
Emberpaw growled as she reached Eaglewing. Rownanpaw lay in a corner, sleeping peacefully.
"Hi, Emberpaw," the pretty white and brown medicine cat mewed. She licked a paw and ran it over her yellow - marked head. "What can I do for you?"
"I need some mouse bile and fresh moss," Emberpaw grumbled.
Swiftly nodding, Eaglewing padded off to get the listed items. After a short amount of time, Eaglewing came back with a foul smelling lump of moss that was laid carefully on bark, and a clump of fresh moss.
"I assume you know what to do?" Eaglewing raised an eyebrow, laying down the moss.
"Yes," Emberpaw snapped back, taking the bark and moss quickly and heading off to the elders' den.
After a while of cleaning out the den, Emberpaw padded up to Webflight who had a pleased look on his face.
"Good job!" he praised his apprentice. "Go wash your paws, then get something to eat. You've earnt it."
"Thank you, Webflight!" Emberpaw was relieved.
Suddenly aware that she had powers, she quickly padded to the camp entrance then dashed out to the stream.
"These will always come in handy!" Emberpaw purred, gleefully washing her paws in the running water.
Sprinting back to camp, she dashed to the medicine den.
"How can I help you, Emberpaw?" Eaglewing asked, running his tongue over a paw that had a bit of herb on it.
"Can I get you to get Rowanpaw?" Emberpaw purred. "It's urgent."
As Emberpaw's red-brown and cream brother padded out from his nest, Emberpaw froze.
Am I even supposed to tell other cats?
"What is it?" Rowanpaw asked, blinking his innocent green eyes.
"Never mind," Emberpaw mewed, turning away. "It can wait till later."
And it certainly could.
8 - Warriors!
"And Emberpaw, from this day onwards you shall be known as Emberspark. StarClan honours your intelligence and courage, and we welcome you as a full warrior of ThunderClan."
Bubblestar touched her dark grey nose to Emberspark's golden-brown one after the light grey leader had leapt off the Highledge. The new warrior licked her leader's shoulder.
Emberspark beamed with pride. A tiring four moons of apprenticeship had passed - and she'd finally made it.
"Though it is tradition for Emberspark to sit vigil," Bubblestar continued when the cheering had stopped. "StarClan has told me that Emberspark does not need a vigil."
Emberspark's eyes grew wide as murmurs swept through the crowd.
"Meeting dismissed." And with that, Bubblestar padded into her den.
Emberspark shivered with excitement as her brother padded up to her.
"Well done!" Rowanleaf exclaimed as he dropped his thrush beside Emberspark. "Want to share?"
"Of course!" she meowed, remembering she could speak.
Emberspark bent down and ate the bird hungrily. After a great meal, she padded off to the thorn bush where the warriors slept.
"Look who it is!" Jasperfern purred as she welcomed Emberspark with a lick on the shoulder. "Finally joining Aspenfoot and I, I see!"
"Shut up!" Emberspark playfully cuffed Jasperfern on the ear.
"Emberspark!" Aspenfoot padded up to his friend. "Congratulations on being a warrior!"
"Thanks!" Emberspark replied, sitting down in a vacant nest. "Can I have this?"
"Sure!" Jasperfern mewed, padding over to her own nest and shuffling so she could get comfy.
"Goodnight, Emberspark," Aspenfoot purred, lying down in his nest, which was next to hers. "Remember to wake early tomorrow!"
"I won't forget!" Emberspark returned the friendly tone.
She lay down in her nest, took a moment to relish Aspenfoot's sweet scent, then fell asleep.
Emberspark gasped, a wound in her shoulder. She kept running.
Why can't I use my powers?
She felt the fox sink its teeth into her tail.
Emberspark yowled in pain as she tried to claw the fox.
But she had no more energy. Collaspsing, Emberspark panted, blood coming out from her mouth.
She closed her eyes, ready for the death blow.
But she never felt it.
Opening her eyes, she saw a ginger pelt rush past to battle the fox.
"Firestar?" Emberspark found her voice clear, despite losing a lot of blood.
"Remember the sky.." Firestar's voice sounded ghostly as he faded out of sight.
"Wait!" Emberspark scrabbled to her paws.