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Essay
This page contains a fan fiction written by Hawky.
This page contains the opinions of the original author(s), and is not patrolled for factual accuracy.
Remember that this story is non-canon. It may contain false characters, plots, or locations.
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Torn in Two


Prologue

The stars twinkled in the sky, lining every blade of grass in silver. The trees stood tall, their leaves whispering in the breeze. Water trickled in a tiny stream, water crashing into tiny pebbles.  Owls hooted in the distance. Prey sounds were echoing in the forest.

Two cats, their fur lined in silver, sniffed among the undergrowth, checking every scent. The tortoiseshell bit off a few stems of a large bush that was growing in thick clumps.

"What are those for?" asked a small silver tabby, staring at the leaves in the tortoiseshell's jaws.

The tortoiseshell set them down carefully, "Blackberry leaves," she meowed, pointing at the tiny black fruit growing on the bush, "Good for bee stings."

The small tabby nodded in understanding.

"Can you take some more please, Shimmerpaw?"

The silver tabby nodded and started to bite off a few stems of the herb, placing them into a beech leaf beside the ones her mentor picked.

The tortoiseshell padded toward the stream, sniffing around. The strong scent of watermint bathed her tongue, and she soon spotted the plant. She trotted towards it and picked a mouthful of leaves. As she padded back to her apprentice, who was sniffing around an oak tree, a scent stronger than the watermint caught her nose.

Rogue. And fresh.

Shimmerpaw snatched up a few oak leaves and placed them beside the other herbs. "How are we going to take all these back to camp?" she asked.

The tortoiseshell placed her watermint in another beech leaf. "Fold up the leaf like this, "she folded the leaf in half, "Then grab it from here." She sank her teeth into the two ends of the leaves, "You can carry more than one," she suggested.

"Okay, Splashpelt," mewed the silver tabby, her green eyes bright. Stars reflected in her eyes as they padded back to camp.

Splashpelt looked back to where she scented rogue scent, still following her apprentice. She blinked at it before turning back to pad back to camp.

We're not alone.

Chapter 1

Splaspelt's Point of View

Splashpelt dropped her bundle of leaves into a pile of dry watermint. She glared at the leaf scraps that littered the den floor, so she swept the den with her tail, making a pile of dirt and leaf bits. She flicked away a scrap if parsley that clung to her tail-tip.

Shimmerpaw waddled into the den, holding moss that was pouring out of under her chin. She was muttering curses to herself.

Splashpelt lay her tail-tip on her apprentice's shoulder. "I know, moss collecting isn't the best duty," she reassured, "But it's something you can do to help."

Shimmerpaw spat out her moss, a moss scrap clinging to her fur, "I'm not going to be the one to replace the elders' bedding," she muttered crossly.

The tortoiseshell medicine cat stuck her head out into the den. She listened as the breeze whispered into her ears, letting the purrs and snores of her sleeping Clanmates reach her ears.

"Be happy that there's a patch right outside of camp," she meowed, then her voice softened, "Get some sleep," she nosed Shimmerpaw into her nest, before she slumped down in her own nest.

Splashpelt curled her tail over her nose, the rogue scent pushing up in her mind. She could almost taste the smell, but then closed her eyes. Blackness swept over her as she drifted off to sleep.

. . . ♥ ♥ ♥ . . .

Pink dawn light filtered through the ferns and made a pink stain on the den floor. Splashpelt lifted her head, blinking sleep from her eyes. Shimmerpaw was sound asleep, but she didn't intend to wake her up. She rose to her paws and quietly padded out of the den.

Birdsong was the first thing that hit her ears, besides the dawn patrol gathering together. She recognized her sister, Finchfeather, padding up to the thorn tunnel.

"Finchfeather!" she called, trotting up to her cream-gray littermate.

Finchfeather stopped in her tracks, and turned her dark-blue eyes on the tortoiseshell. She broke into a purr as she saw her sister.

"Splashpelt," she greeted, dipping her head formally. Although she could get a little crazy, Finchfeather was calm and formal. Splashpelt admired her for her traits. "Are you coming with us to. . .gather herbs?"

Splashpelt thought for a moment, remembering that she was low on thyme, "Yes, I am low on thyme."

Finchfeather nodded, "Good to have you with us."

Another warrior, Russetfang, called them over, "Are you two going to gossip all day?" he meowed impatiently.

"Coming," the cream-gray she-cat mewed, "We'd better go."

"Agreed," Splashpelt nodded.

The patrol consisted of Russetfang, a dark ginger tom, Finchfeather, Silvermist, a silver tabby she-cat, and Hawkfeather, a mottled gray-and-black tom. As they padded through the thorn tunnel, thorns scraped her ears. They scrambled up the ravine and into the forest above.

Finchflight led the patrol through the towering trees. The stream trickled lightly and splashed as it hit rocks. Splashpelt looked around as they came upon a huge plant that was growing in thick clumps. Splashpelt gasped.

"Catmint!" she exclaimed, sniffing the plant of fresh leaves. They were bright green and the leaves were huge, which was unusual for Catmint.

Finchfeather gazed at the plant, "Wow," she breathed.

"Good luck collecting that," Russetfang teased.

Splashpelt let out a snort. "You should check the border, I hear FireClan has been trespassing on our territory."

Finchfeather beckoned her tail and the patrol left Splashpelt alone. She stared up at the huge plant. I should have waited till all of the dew has burned off. She thought.

Then, something she had wished to check out all day popped up in her mind.

The rogue scent!

Forgetting the Catmint, she raced towards the place where she scented the scent. She skidded to a halt and took a deep breath. It was much fainter, but there was still a trail. She followed it, nosing through the undergrowth.

Then, she stopped in her tracks as a shadow loomed over her. Her eyes widedned as she slowly looked up, her nose pointed to the ground.

In front of her there was a huge, dark brown tabby tom. His ice blue eyes glinted in the pale dawn light, and huge muscles ripple under his sleek pelt. His white paws were splattered with mud.

"Hello."

Chapter 2

Splaspelt's Point of View

Splashpelt gazed up at the tom. His eyes blue eyes betrayed nothing, and his face was emotionless. Although thinking she was hallucinating, she could feel the faint nip of frost coming from his breath. She blinked at him, lifting her nose from the ground.

"Hello. . ." she greeted hesitantly, dipping her head awkwardly.

A small, but physically impossible, smile curled his lip. He let out a faint snort of humor, blinking his bright, ice-blue eyes.

There was an awkward moment of silence, and her belly started to tighten slightly. It tingled a bit, making her fell nervous.

He then broke the silence, "My name is. . ." he trailed off, then started again, jerking his head slightly, "Eagle," he meowed, faking a bite.

Splashpelt thought that a bug would have flown into her ear. She stood up straight, "I'm Splashpelt," she mewed wearily.

There was a towering oak tree above them, tiny pools of sunlight breaking through the glowing, green leaves. She looked up and winced, then looked down at Eagle.

"You know this area?" he guessed.

"Of course!" she meowed without thinking, "I live here."

Suddenly she felt very exposed. She was giving away her Clan! Shush! she thought to herself.

Eagle tipped his head in curiosity, "Where?" he meowed. Was that hunger in his voice?

Splashpelt remained silent. He approached her, his frosty scent wreathing around her. She felt engulfed, but strangely, she didn't mind. The tingling grew stronger, making her belly feel unsettled.

"You are nervous," Eagle meowed, "I sense it."

Splashpelt's fur began to bristle slightly. Her paws were frozen to the ground, and her tail-tip twitched irritably.

Eagle let out a small, taunting laugh, "You are enjoying this."

Stop! She couldn't help it anymore. Her nervousness took over, and her pelt bristled madly. Her lips curled into a snarl, but her legs trembled. She tried to move her shaky legs, but it felt as if stones were set on them, preventing her from moving.

His tail brushed her tortoiseshell flank. Her eyes widened slightly, and she flinched. His tail pressed harder, then suddenly, he let his tail low. He backed away slightly, seeming to walk away, but he reared back and pinned her down. She struggled in his grip, and his fangs were at her throat.

She was gasping for air as her fear scent was unleashed. His teeth had not yet sunk in, but they moved toward her ear, "Why are you here?" he growled accusingly.

"I smelled you yesterday," she confessed.

His grip tightened, his claws pierced her skin, "Why did you follow me?"

She lungs were gasping for air, "I just wanted to know-"

"I don't care!" he roared. She suddenly felt very small.

She wanted help; more important, she needed help. She summoned every last scrap of air in her lungs and screamed, "Finchfeather! Help!"

His eyes were chips of ice, glowing in the sunlight. They seemed to be so bright that they burned her eyes. She winced.

His claws scraped her, and she felt blood oozing from a wound in her shoulder. She sruggled, finally able to slip out of his grip and shrink towards a bramble thicket.

He advanced, approaching her slowly, his muscles rippling. She din't feel fear, nor did she feel nervous. Her belly still tingled, but it wasn't anything she had before.

And she didn't intend to.

Am I feeling. . .she thought.

Am I in love?

Chapter 3

Splaspelt's Point of View

Eagle was a whisker-length away when Finchfeather burst into the clearing.

"Stop right there!" she ordered.

Eagle whirled around, growling. His hackles were raised and his eyes we narrowed. His lip was curled into a snarl. "Make me!" he challenged.

Finchfeather arched her back and let out a hiss. Russetfang exploded from the shadows, followed by Hawkfeather. The creamy-brown she-cat lunged for Eagle, digging her claws into his pelt. Splashpelt watched in frozen horror as Russetfang leaped on top of Eagle, his claws dug into his back.

Eagle roared in fury. He flipped around, flinging Russetfang off his back. He landed with a sickening thud at the other side of the clearing. The huge dark tabby reared on his hind legs and gave a massive swipe at Finchfeather. She was knocked backwards, landing face-first on the ground.

"Stop!" Splashpelt yowled.

Russetfang was still dazed, lying at the edge of the clearing. Finchfeather did not move.

Eagle turned on her, but Hawkfeather leaped in between, raking his claws down Eagle's muzzle. Silvermist sank her teath into Eagle neck fur, hauling him backwards. Hawkfeather lashed at Eagles exposed belly, blood spattering the brambles. Russetfang got to his paws and staggered toward the patrol.

Splashpelt waited for her sister to get up. But she still lay limply there.

Eagle ripped free of the silver she-cat's grasped and raced into the forest. Splashpelt watched him, but then raced to her sister's side. A thin trail of blood came from her mouth, and her eyes were clouded and dull.

No! She can't be. . . she thought desperately.

She nudged her littermate with her paws, but Finchfeather just flopped backward. She shook her sister frantically, "Get up! Wake up!" Splashpelt desperately called to her sister. She felt a tail-tip rest on her shoulder.

She recognized Russetfang's deep mew, "She's dead, Splashpelt."

"No! She can't be! She's just hurt. . ." But she already knew that it was true. She dug her nose into her sister's cooling pelt, the scent of death wreathing around them.

Splashpelt hung her head, her eyes clouded with grief, "This is all my fault. . ." she sobbed, "I'm the one that kept that scent secret. . ."

"What scent?" Hawkfeather asked.

Splashpelt tensed. Did I just say that out loud? She instantly regretted what she said, though she felt burning hatred for Eagle. She felt like sinking her teeth into his throat so that no other cat would get hurt. . .

"The scent that was. . .that was. . .er. . ." she searched deperately for words. How would she explain?

Russetfang grasped Finnhfeather's scruff in his jaws and hauled her away, "We need to get her back," she meowed through ruffled fur.

Grief choked Splashpelt's throat as they padded back to camp. She felt Silvermist's soft fur press against her side,  but she remained silent.

Splashpelt's tail drooped as she padded into camp, following Russetfang as he dropped Finchfeather's body into the centre of camp. Cats stared in shock at the returning patrol.

"What happened?" asked Talonstar, her leader. His eyes widened as he saw Finchfeather's limp body.

Splashpelt's grief made her freeze. "She's. . .she's. . .It's all my fault!" She exploded with grief.

Talonstar tipped his head in confusion.

"She's gone!" Splashpelt sobbed.

Talonstar dipped his head, his mew thick with grief, "I understand. You are excused form your duties."

Splashpelt trudged toward her den, her head and tail drooping, eyes dull with grief.

Whay did she have to go so early?

Chapter 4

Splaspelt's Point of View

It had been a quarter moon since her sister's death, yet it still weighed in her heart like a rock. Splashpelt gazed around the den until she heard a mew sound outside the bramble entrance. "Splashpelt? Are you there?"

Splashpelt replied flatly, "Come in."

Silvermist pushed through the thorns and into the den. Splashpelt sat in her nest at the back of the den, her face expressionless. She watched the silver-and-white tabby as she padded toward her.

"Splashpelt, I've been meaning to ask you something, for a while now." Silvermist began.

The tortoiseshell medicine cat examined Silvermist. Silvermist was looking a little bit plumper than usual. "Have you and Hawkfeather finally come together?" she asked teasingly.

Silvermist smiled, "Yeah. We stayed by the river one night. I feel like there's a stone in my belly, and I've been so thirsty and hungry lately, so does that mean...?" She trailed off.

"Congratulations, Silvermist! You are indeed expecting kits." Splashpelt lay her tail on the new queen's shoulder.

Silvermist gave a little bounce of joy, "I need to tell him right away!" she raced out of the den carefully. Splashpelt let out a little laugh as she heard "Hawkfeather! Haaaaawkfeeeaatheer!"

The yowls reminded her of Eagle. Then she remembered she hadn't seen Eagle since her sister's death. She poked her head out of camp. The coast was clear, and the other cats were too distracted by Silvermist's news. She she slipped out of camp.

Fawnspring, a warrior on guard, nodded to her as she raced away into the forest. She followed the track to the small clearing she and Eagle met. The huge Catmint patch was overflowing, so she took a mouthfull of long stems for there to be more leaves than she could carry. She staggered to the place she met the dark tabby.

She lay down the stems on a clean stone and sniffed around, but the catmint was stuck to her nose. Her sense of smell were blocked, so she lsitened instead.

A voice behind her made her jump.

"What are you doing here? Again?"

She spun around. She was relieved to see Eagle. "I came to look for catmint," she lied partially.

"I see," he meowed, nodding.

Splashpelt's pelt burned, then she blurted out, "Why did you kill my sister?"

Eagle's eyes widened, "Your sister? That was your sister?"

Splashpelt nodded, grief filling her heart.

Eagle shrugged, "I didn't know. And plus, she was going to slice me from my neck if I didn't react."

"You killed one of the most important cats in my Clan..." she stopped after saying that.

Eagle glared at her in disgust, "You are in a Clan?"

She nodded, then was bowled over by him and pinned down so that she could only flail her paw uselessly.

He moved his eye closer to her face, "Is you leader ,by any chance, Talonstar?"

She nodded vigorously, her shoulders aching and her neck hurting. She was unsure how he knew all this informating from StrikeClan.

"How can you stand my brother's leadership? I would have made a better leader."

Chapter 5

Splaspelt's Point of View

Splashpelt stared at him in shock, "Talonstar is your brother?" she exclaimed, "He never mentions anything about having siblings."

"That's because he thinks I'm a disgrace. You know that scar on his eye?" he asked.

The tortoishell nodded.

"Yeah, I gave him that."Eagle muttured. We had a fight when we were young warriors, you were probably not even born, and I was exiled by Winterstar, the leader before. My warrior name was..." he trailed off.

Splashpelt blinked, "Was...was what?" she asked.

Eagle flickied his tail dismissively, "Never mind. It doesn't matter."

Splashpelt didn't ask, she didn't want to stick her nose where it didn't beong, and she didn't want any whiskers plucked.Then, an idea pooped up in her mind, "So why are you hanging around here if you hate Talonstar so much?" she asked.

Eagle didn't respond. He just stared up into the trees where a robin was feeding it's chicks. Splashpelt sighed at the sight of the family. Stop, Splashpelt. Medicine cats can't have kits! The voice in her mind told her.

I know. She replied as a thought.

"My soul was filled with pain and rage," he muttered, "And so I am here to get justice."

"How are you supposed to do that?"

Eagle shrugged, "I'm working on it."

The medicine cat rolled her eyes. She decided to do what she needed to do to make her return to camp less suspisious, "Why don't you help me find some hearbs before we---...er, I return to camp."

Eagle gave a small, evil hinted smirk, his claws shredding the grass, "...Such as?"

Splashpelt thought for a moment, "I need borage, parsley, er... oh, and raspberry leaves."

Eagle cocked his head on one side, "How do you remember all this stuff?" he muttered, stalking intot he shadows.

Splashpelt picked up her catmint stems that were on the rock and carried them to a small rock and laid them down. She sniffed around, turning her head. Out of the corner of her eyes she could see a raspberry bush. She leaped toward it and plucked a few leaves, making a mouse race out of the bush.

She leaped after it, but it stopped abruptly as Eagle exploded out of a bush and slammed his paw down. Splashpelt stopped, her forepaws landing on his. Her eyes widened as he looked at her, removed her paws, and looked around innocently. Her belly churned with embarrassment.

"I believe that was yours?" he tossed the mouse to her paws.

"Er...no. You caught it: it's yours," she insisted.

"You chased it!" he argued.

"You caught it!"

They argued until he looked away and barged through a bush, small, red berries falling from it. She rolled her eyes and glared at all the medicine she had collected and sighed, looking around.

She collected herbs until the sun sank towards the horizon, orange light casting long shadows across the forest floor, the tree leaves ablaze. She carried an overflowing beech leaf full of herbs, and Eagle's mouse handing by its tail. She pushed through the fern tunnel and into the camp.

Shimmerpaw was nosing a leaf towards a ginger-and-white queen that was sunning herself on a rock. "Eat this, Peachfur, it'll help with your headache."

Splashpelt padded up to the queen and gave her the mouse in silence (because her mouth was full) She pushed into her den and padded to the back of her store, laying down the leaf. It flung open and and catmint stem rolled out.

After sorting the herbs, she went out into the clearing and stretched until her tail-tip quivered. her eyes landed on Talonstar's den and she had an idea. She padded towards the den, but tripped and fell flat on her face. She looked up crossly and saw two kits, one of which had covered her mouth with her paw.

"Oops," mewed a blue-gray one, who she recognized as Minnowkit, "Sorry Splashpelt."

Frostkit, her sister, piped up, "We were just playing and we didn't see you."

The tortoiseshell got to her paws and dusted off her shoulder, "It's fine. Now go back to your mother; it's getting late."

"Aww," Minnowkit sighed and scampered back to her mother, followed by her sister.

She gazed determinedly at Talonstar's den entrance.

What do I say? she thought.

Chapter 6

Splaspelt's Point of View

Splashpelt padded towards the tree roots, her belly churning with nervousness. As she reached Talonstar's den, she took a deep breath, and looked inside, "Talonstar? May I come in?" she called to a pair of ice blue eyes staring back at her.

"Come in."

She squeezed past the roots and settled beside her leader. He looked at her expectantly, "What is it?"

Splashpelt stiffened, "Well, when Shimmerpaw and I were out collecting herbs, i cought scent of rogue on our territory. I thought I'd come tell you about it."

Talonstar looked up, "Very well. I'll send more patrols around the area...where was it excactly?"

"In a clearing in the Pine Forest."

"Thank you, Splashpelt. I'll tell the Clan to keep an eye out." He got up from his nest and followed the medicine cat out of the den.

Stars glittered over the camp, cats starting to go to their nests. The moon was almost full, sending a silver glow onto every blade of grass. Shimmerpaw was hearding the kits to the nursery, "Come on, Gorsekit," she was mewing.

Talonstar climbed to the hightest legde of the cliff and gazed down on his Clan. Splashpelt followed, and flattened her ears and Talonstar's loud yowl ringed  around the clearing:

"Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather beneath the ledge for a Clan meeting."

Splashpelt's heart was pierced as she saw that her sister's face wasn't in the cats who stared up at Talonstar. She closed her eyes and rmembered all of the times she had spent with her sister. Her heart wept in grief, and her eyes watered, a tear getting soaked into her cheek fur.

Peachfur and Featherfall, the queens, looked up through the nursery, while the kits struggled to look. Bramblefrost and Stormslash - two warriors - looked up from their prey, while Stoneheart and Northrain turned their gazes onto the StrikeClan leader.

Talonstar began to speak, "Cats of StrikeClan, Splashpelt has informed me that their has been rogue scent found on our territory," he meowed.

Gasps errupted from the crowd, their eyes wide. A whole line of insults raged from the crowd.

"Prey-stealers!"

"Blood-thirsty!"

"Tresspassers!"

"Enough!" Talonstar ordered. The crowd fell silent, and he continued, "As of tomorrow, I will be sending out more patrols. Keep your noses and claws ready. You are all dismissed, and may StarClan bless your sleep." He climbed down.

Cats filed to their nests, whispers and murmurs scattered through the Clan. Shimmerpaw trotted to her mentor's side, "Why didn't you tell me about the scents?" she asked.

"I didn't want you to be a apart of it," she mewed, half true, "Go to your nest, you need to sleep."

Shimmerpaw shrugged and trotted away to the medicine den, and the tortoiseshell followed. She climbed into her nest and closed her eyes, letting sleep engulf her thoughts.

She tossed and turned in her nest, a vision swirling in her dreams. Blood spattered the ground, six cats' eyes burning with rage. In those twelve eyes, there was a pair of icy blue, and a familar dark tabby pelt. At the blood thirsty cats' paws, there was a small, blood-stained shape.

A prophecy rang in her ears, "The Eagle will always contolr its talons."

Splashpelt's eyes flew open, her heart pounding. Fear swallowed her belly, and pale light filtered through the den entrance. Part of Spalshpelt's nest was shredded, and she leaped to her paws.

A sign! She figured.

What will happen?

Chapter 7

Splaspelt's Point of View

Splashpelt padded out of the den, her eyes heavy with sleep. She padded toward the freshly stocked fresh-kill pile and plucked a fat shrew from the pile. She settled beside a patch of wild roses and gulped it down hugrily in solitude.

The medicine cat nodded a greeting to Stoneheart, who was on guard, as she trotted to the lake. She lapped up a few drops before spinning around. She jumped as a familiar face was a whisker-length away from hers.

"Hi," he meowed flatly, "We need to talk."

Splashpelt narrowed her eyes, "Is this about something I did?"

Eagle shook his head.

She followed him into the cover of a bush, "Well?" she asked expectantly.

Eagle looked away, "A patrol from your..." he spat the words out in disgust, "Clan chased me off this morning," he unsheathed a claw and pressed it the the tortoiseshell's chin, "May I ask?"

Splaspelt gulped, "No," she mewed flatly.

Eagle put his claws away and stalked into the shadows. She stared after him and cocked her head to one side.

What was that?

. . . ♥ ♥ ♥ . . .

A wail sounded outside of the den, and Splashpelt poked her head out. Shimmerpaw padded through the entrance, her eyes wide. Splashpelt eyes her mysteriously as two cats followed.

Splashpelt dipped her head, "Talonstar," she greeted, "...and...Peachfur?"

Talonstar laid a blue-gray shape on the den floor, whom she regognized as Minnowkit. Her eyes widedned in horror as she saw blood in her fur.

"What's wrong?" Splashpelt asked.

Stormslash stepped forward. "She somehow got out of camp and was attacked. We found her in this state." 

"This must me a sign!" Spalshpelt exclaimed, It must be the sign!

"You have to save her!" Peachfur wailed.

Splahpelt examined the wound. She sprang to her store and brought back a mouthful of horsetail and marigold.

"This should help," she pulled out a clump of cobwebs, "and these to stop the bleeding. Shimmerpaw, chew these and make an ointment, it'll help prevent infection."

Shimmerpaw nodded and bega to chew the leaves. She spat them out after a while of chewing and smeared them on the kit's wounds. Splashpelt patted down a cobweb dressing.

Stormslash wrapped his tail around Peachfur's shoulder. "It's not your fault she's injured, Peachfur. I blame myself since I was on watch duty and didn't pay attention to her," 

Talonstar flicked his tail. "I want a patrol to look around the territory for any scents that can help us figure out who did this and for two cats to keep a eye on camp at all times," the dark tabby ordered.

Stormslash nodded and raced out of the den.

Peachfur was getting hysterical. "What if she dies!? What happens? What if the attackers come and attack her again, or attack someone else!?"

"She's not going to die," Stoneheart meowed as she slid into the den, making her brother, Talonstar, jump. "Under Shimmerpaw and Splashpelt's care, I'm positive she won't."

Minnowkit's eyes fluttered open a little, "Wha'...? Where am I?" she managed to squeak.

"You are in the medicine cat den, little one," Talonstar meowed. 

Stoneheart twitched her whiskers. "Quick question. What were you doing outside of camp?"

"Wanted to... explore. Didn't even smell the other cats." Minnowkit mewed hoarsly.

"What other cats?" Stoneheart asked.

Talonstar narrowed his eyes. "Other cats? Minnowkit, how many did you see?"

"Don't remember too good..." Minnowkit mewed weakly. "At least...six...I think."

Talonstar turned to his younger littermate. "You can just leave for now. I only want to speak with Peachfur and Minnowkit." Stoneheart left the den.

Splashpelt interrupted, "I'm not leaving, and neither is my apprentice."

Talonstar sighed, "Of course not."

"How could 6 cats be heartless enough to attack a kit who isn't even 3 moons old!?" Peachfur cried.

Talonstar thought hard for a moment. "Maybe to send us a message, but what are doing on our side of the forest? We give them enough land for them to survive and now they want more?" he wondered.

"I remember one looked like you," Minnowkit mewed to Talonstar "But no scars."

Splashpelt's eyes widened.

Eagle!

Chapter 8

Splaspelt's Point of View

Splashpelt gulped as Talonstar continued. Talonstar lashed his tail. "Hmmm... That's a little odd since my mother said I had no littermates besides Stoneheart and Stormslash, but they are from a younger litter."

Splashpelt placed the kit in a soft nest of moss, her belly churning, "She needs to rest," she mewed. She lay her tail on Peachfur's shoulder, "She's not going to die, I assure you that."

Peachfur let out a sigh of relief.

"Wait, Talonstar.... He said he was coming for you..." Minnowkit mewed weakly.

Talonstar looked at the kit, his eyes fixed intently on her, "Why me?" he meowed, perplexed. 

"He...he said something about...a cat called...Lilywater," the blue-gray she-kit mewed.

Talonstar looked distant. "That's my mother's name... how does he know that?"

"Dunno. He said... 'The Eagle will always control the Talons' and then he left," Minnowkit replied.

Peachfur stiffened.

Splashpelt froze, her pelt feeling as if it were nipped by frost. The prophecy! She gasped, How could Eagle do such a thing?

"Splashpelt, are you alright?"

Talonstar's mew made her jump, "Oh, er, yes I'm fine," she relpied.

Talonstar narrowed his eyes. "I don't like that fact that he knows that and that he is still on our territory... I'll arrange a patrol to find them and chase them out," Talonstar began to leave the den.

Minnowkit blinked fearfully. "No! Stay here! He said he'd kill you even though you were his brother!"

Talonstar paused and spun around. "I'm his brother? Why is he only targetting only me...? What about Stoneheart and Stormslash?"

"Dunno. I'm tired, wanna go to sleep. Can you leave now?"

Splashpelt nudged the kit, pointing at a bundle of chamomile, "Here, little one, eat these. They'll keep you're strength up."

Talonstar nodded. "Already, I guess,"

He turned to Peachfur. "Keep a good eye on her, okay?"

The ginger-and-white queen nodded.

He left the den, his tail high and his eyes like chips of ice.

Splashpelt gazed at Peachfur, "Don't worry; Minnowkit will be fine. I gave her some strengthening herbs," she pointed with her tail to the bundle of mixed herbs. "Kits are so much trouble these days!"

Splashpelt padded into her store and brought back a stem with sweetly-scented leaves. "This is thyme; it will keep your stress down." She set it down in front of the queen.

Peachfur licked them up and swallowed, her face twisted with worry.

At the corner of her eyes, Splashpelt saw a dark tabby pelt slowly enter the medicine den. She flicked her tail as she thought it was Tigerstar, until she heard a familiar voice:

Eagle snuck in to the Medicine Den. "Hello again, little one!" He growled.

Minnowkit screeched. "Talonstar! He's here! He's gonna kill me!"

Peachfur spun around, her teeth showing and her claws unsheathed. "Don't you lay a claw a her, you vile creature!" she spat, lashing her claws out at him. He dodged easily.

Splashpelt stood in front of them protectively, "Leave, right now." She meowed sternly, her claws out, "This is no place for you."

She shot him a look, then winked. He looked away.

Talonstar skid into the den, nearly crashing into the rogue. His eyes widened as he met his double, but managed to slide out his claws. "How dare you get into StrikeClan camp?"

"I'd think very carefully before taking the next pawstep." Eagle laughed. "Unless of course-" his eyes flicked to Minnowkit. "You want her to die." He threatened, sliding his paw close to her.

Chapter 9

Splaspelt's Point of View

Talonstar gritted his teeth and sheathed his claws. "Don't drag a kit into my fight."

"You don't undestand... This isn't your fight anymore. You doomed your entire Clan when you became Leader!" Eagle retorted.

"Enough!" Splashpelt ordered. She stood protectively over the kit, "You take another step, you will have a couple of shredded ears," she threatened sternly.

"Stay out of this medicine cat."

"No!" Peachfur wailed. "Take me instead of her!"

Eagle laughed. "If that's what you want." He grabbed by the scruff and dragged her across the den. He slashed at Peachfur and made a deep gash in her stomach. Blood began to pour out, staining the den floor red.

"Mother!" Minnowkit wailed.

Splashpelt dived forward, pressing cobwebs and leaves onto the wound.

"Stay with me," Splashpelt encouraged as she patched up the wound, "StarClan is not ready for you."

Peachfur groaned, her eyes rolling.

She chewed up marigold and horsetail and pressed it on the wound, then placed fresh cobwebs onto the dressing, placing the red ones away from the area.

Talonstar snarled. "If you want a fight, I'll give you one, but not in here." 

Splashpelt looked up from her patient, "You will pay, you filthy rogue!" Teeth bared, she swiped at Eagle.

Eagle pushed her to the ground. "I'll deal with you later."

Splashpelt looked up at him, her eyes gazing at him questioningly.

"Come outside then," he beckoned Talonstar with his tail, "And I will tell you the full story."

"You'll regret it," Splashpelt meowed.

Talonstar's Point of View

Eagle led Talonstar to the edge of the forest and sat down. "Sit." he ordered.

Talonstar narrowed his eyes, but obeyed and sat down, curled his thick-furred tail around his paws. He keeps his claws unsheathed just in case of anything. 

"Let me tell you a little story..." Eagle began.

"It's about two kits. Talonkit and Eaglekit. Their mother was a Clan-cat, their father was a rogue. Their mother was a cat named Lilywater, and she was a Clan cat. She wanted to take one cat back to the Clan with her, and give one to our father. Guess who she chose? You! You got the good life while I had to do everything for myself! And our father abandoned me too. Do you have any idea how that feels? To be abandoned while your brother has the perfect family? And then you became leader! It should have been me!"

"Why did she chose me? Aren't you, like, older than me?" Talonstar meowed. 

"I don't know why she chose you!" Eagle snarled. "She wrecked my life!"

Talonstar let out an annoyed snarl. "She also wrecked her own life, too, you know? She was clan medicine cat and she beared another litter of kits," Realizing what he just said, he covered his mouth with his tail. 

"She what?" Eagle growled.

Talonstar just remained silent, glaring at him.

"Serves her right. She deserved to die in that battle too!" Eagle huffed.

Talonstar narrowed his eyes at him. "How did you know there was a battle?"

"I've been watching you much longer than you think... I saw everything."

"Stalker," Talonstar muttered under his breath. "If you saw everything, how come you don't know about them?"

"Stalker?" he purred. "No. How about I cut you a deal?"

Talonstar raised an eyebrow. "A deal? About what?" Is he always this temperamental? 

"You let me in to your precious Clan as a warrior, and I won't kill Minnowkit. Deal?" He offered out his paw.

He looked at Eagle's paw. "How do I know that I should trust you? Besides, like you said before, this situation no longer involves only me,"

He lashed his tail. "However, I will let you in the clan, but if I see that you attack one of my warriors, I'll kill you personally. Got that?" 

"I would never attack anyone," his eyes softened and he let out a soothing purr. "Not even your pretty little medicine cat."

"Right..." He shook his brother's paw. 

Have I made the right choice?

Chapter 10

Splashpelt's Point of View

The tortoiseshell gazed outside of her den, watching her clanmates. Fawnspring's brown spotted pelt caught her eyes as the she-cat dropped a vole on the fresh-kill pile, then trotted away to the warriors den. Stormhawk, a gray tom with reddish stripes, padded across the clearing to the thorn tunnel, with Almondpaw at his side. Splashpelt watched as the brown tabby she-cat's tail vanished.

The clan had been very anxious since Eagle's arrival in the Clan. The queen's had been paying even closer attention to their kits, making sure they didn't get lost from their sight. The apprentices were practicing harder than ever, preparing themselves for another attack from Eagle. If there is one, anyways.

A sudden bout of coughing interrupted her thoughts. She craned her neck to she Shimmerpaw sorting through the herbs, and a cough sent a pile of dried Chickweed floating away. She hissed in frustration and gathered them up again.

"If you're catching a cold, you're blowing your medicine away!" Splashpelt teased.

Shimmerpaw rolled her eyes, "I can't help it! I already ate some tansy, but that doesn't seem to be helping--" she was interrupted by another violent bout of coughing.

Splashpelt padded up to her apprentice, sniffing her, "You're catching whitecough. Hmm, that tansy should have helped..." she trailed off and looked back at the store.

She sniffed the herbs. She pulled out the tansy, a leaf crumbling in her paws. It smelled old and rotten, and she wrinkled her nose in disgust.

She turned back to he silver tabby, "You shouldn't have taken that: it's old and rotten..." she mewed, but Shimmerpaw was in her moss nest. A sour smell was filling the den, heat pulsing from the apprentice.

Her ears flared up in alarm, "You have made your sickness worse!" she exclaimed,  rushing into her store and pulled out a stem of yarrow. She sniffed through the herbs, picking out some tormentil, and pulling out a branch of stinging nettle.

Shimmerpaw coughed violently. Splashpelt put the leaves together and brought them to Shimmerpaw's muzzle, "Shimmerpaw! Eat these!"

Shimmerpaw opened her eyes, heat pulsing from her head. She weakly licked up the herbs and chewed them slowly. As she swallowed, the yarrow made her freeze. She stood up and vomited.

Splashpelt's Tormentil and Stinging nettle were at the apprentice's paws. "Eat these too," she instructed. I'll be right back."

The medicince cat raced out of her den, and she felt her pet hot as the eyes of her clanmates followed her. She disappeared into the thorn tunnel.

Chapter 11

Splashpelt's Point of View

The tortoiseshell burst from the thorn tunnel. What was Eagle thinking, starting this whole mess? Is he planning on getting every cat killed? She thought in horror. What was she thinking, getting involved with a rogue cat? She shook her head to clear her thoughts as she padded through the rough, springy grass. Leaf litter decomposed on the ground underneath her paws, making a crunching sound for every step she took.

As she passed under a log, she caught a whiff of Talonstar and the rogue coming from her right side. Glancing quickly, she flattened herself to the ground and quickly crawled behind a rock. SHe angled her ear in the direction of the two cats that were making thier way in her direction.

"You better keep your promise, Eagle." She heard Talonstar meow sternly to the other brown tabby that was slightly behind him. 

The dark tabby just snorted in reply.

Splashpelt slowly made her way away in the direction of a patch of tansy she knew grew right beside the stream that fed the river between Clan territories. She sniffed the air for the herb, and as she neared it she gaped. The poor plant was shriveling up due to the approaching leaf-bare. She dug throught the plant and found a few small, fresh tansy sprouts under the rest of the dead plant. She bit off the stems and turned sharply around the corner.

The medicine cat almost jumped out of her fur when she saw a plae, shimmering being in front of her. Her eyes widened as she realized who it was.

The bundle of sprouts fell to the groundas she opened her mouth. "F...Finchfeather!" she stammered.

The pale tortoiseshell blinked at her and waved her tail in greeting. "Hello, my dear sister."

"What are you doing here?" Splashpelt asked in astonishment and curiosity.

Finchfeather inched closer, "You musn't involve yourself with that cat." she said suddenly.

The medicine cat tipped her head to one side. "What?"

The StarClan cat took a step back, "He can cause major damage..." she mewed. "Or he can be beneficial... it is up to you to decide which path he takes..."

Splashpelt followed her dead sister, "What does that mean? Can I trust him?"

The plae tortoiseshell said nothing, "Follow your heart," she mewed finally before fading into the air, the shimmering of her paws stil lingering for a few heartbeats before finally disappearing in the leaf-fall breeze, an oak leaf crossing her paws.

Splashpelt slumped down, the tansy sprouts scattered all over the forest floor. What did she mean by that? How can someone be beneficial if they'll cause severe damage..? "Finchfeather! Come back!" she called, but to no avail. "What do you mean? Finchfeather!"

She chased after the tansy leaves as they started to blow away, and after she collected the ones she could reach she trudged back to StrikeClan's camp.

When she passed through the thorn tunnel, she heard nervous mews around the medicine den. She saw a crowd of cats surrounding the entrance with a few cats pacing along th edges of camp. Splashpelt quickened her pace.

"What's happening?" she mumbled through her bundle to the nearest cat, who happened to be Bramblefrost, a pale tabby with blue-green eyes.

"Well... I'm not really sure..." she said quietly, giving a shrug of her shoulders. "We heard Shimmerpaw wailing so Russetfang decided to investigate."

Splashpelt pushed through the group of cats until she came to Russetfang. He was stroking Shimmerpaw's side, the small tabby panting shallowly.

Splashpelt dropped the bundle of leaves next to Shimmerpaw's muzzle. Russetfang sighed at the midicine cat.

"What happened?" she asked.

"Her sickness is getting worse." He mewed flatly.

Splashpelt swallowed hard. She already lost her sister, she was not losing her apprentice.

"And one other thing..." Russetfang added. He turned Shimmerpaw's muzzle to show a small amount of blood on her lips and on the deen floor.

This could not be good.

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