The island was beautiful on this night, Lionblaze noted. The light cast by the full moon bathed every plant and stone a glistening silver, enhanced by the tiny beads of water that had settled over it all.
There had been concern among his Clanmates when the stormy weather had persisted through twilight and dusk, but it had broken as soon as the last inklings of light faded, taking away any evidence that the sun had ever risen.
It seemed that the stars shone brighter than ever, too. Perhaps the additions of Hollyleaf and the other deceased earth-dwelling Clan cats had made up for those in StarClan who had vanished in the battle.
A gray she-cat interrupted his bittersweet reverie.
"I can't believe it's been almost a moon since the battle."
Lionblaze turned to his mate, Cinderheart, and twitched his whiskers. "Maybe this means that things will start to return to normal. The Clans have already started to treat Jayfeather, Dovewing and I like regular warriors again."
"It is a good thing most of them don't know the specifics of Dovewing's power." Cinderheart glanced at said she-cat, who was sitting beside her sister, Ivypool, a few tail-lengths away.
"What they don't know won't hurt them." Lionblaze lowered his voice. "Besides, it's not like she uses the power much anymore. I think she wants to forget all about the prophecy. She was really shaken after the battle."
"But surely she sees how helpful her power could be to ThunderClan? We could stop problems before they could even reach us!" Cinderheart's tail began to lash.
"Dovewing refused. She thinks it is unfair, and that the prophecy is over." He meowed.
"What does Jayfeather think about it?"
Lionblaze's gaze flickered to his brother, who had situated himself under the leader's tree, beside Mothwing and Kestrelflight.
Jayfeather turned his head sharply towards Lionblaze, his blind eyes piercing his brother's.
Lionblaze twitched his whiskers as Jayfeather snorted and drew his lips back to reveal sharp fangs.
"He doesn't think we should have to hide what we can do anymore. But then again, this is Jay we're talking about. He doesn't think he should respect wise old StarC-" He stopped abruptly as ShadowClan cats swarmed the clearing.
"About time they showed up." Brackenfur commented.
"I wonder what kept them so long?" Cloudtail scrutinized the newcomers as they weaved amongst the other three clans.
Lionblaze caught sight of Blackstar, and started in surprise. The normally fierce and intimidating leader of ShadowClan looked almost like an elder. His pawsteps were slow and uneven, and his body seemed to have become as skinny as a WindClan cat's.
Littlecloud walked on one side of Blackstar, hissing something in his ear, while Rowanclaw supported him from the other.
"Blackstar." Mistystar's high voice was filled with shock as it rang through the clearing like a bell
Bramblestar, who had been conversing with Ashfoot, turned to see what had startled his fellow leader so.
"Are you alright?" He mewed, amber eyes wide.
"I'm fine." Blackstar snapped, though his harsh coughing betrayed him.
"Fine my..." Littlecloud swore under his breath. "You should have stayed at camp, Blackstar, where it is warm and free of the str-"
"I'm not a sickly kit, don't patronize me!" Blackstar cut him off. "I've been ill before, and I'm not about to let it stop me."
With that, Blackstar lept up onto a low branch, teetering dangerously as he landed, and dug his claws in.
Lionblaze narrowed his eyes. It seemed as though Blackstar had greencough, but that shouldn't be possible in the warming weather. And he'd never seen greencough make a cat so skinny.
"What are you waiting for?" Blackstar growled. "None of us are getting any younger."
Still such nasty manners, even when he was ill! Lionblaze snorted, guessing he should be unsurprised.
"Of course. Let us begin." Mistystar meowed, springing on to a branch nearby to the black and white leader.
Bramblestar made it up to a higher branch with ease, followed by Onestar.
Onestar stepped forward to speak first.
"We are sad to report that one of our elders, Tornear, has passed away. He was a strong and loyal member of WindClan, and he will surely walk among our ancestors in the stars tonight."
"On a happier note, we have two new apprentices, Glitterpaw and Superpaw." He continued.
"Wait, what?" Bramblestar blinked. "What do you mean "Glitterpaw and Superpaw"? what kind of names are those?"
"Bramblestar." Mistystar said warningly.
"No. How do we even know what glitter is? If you forgot, we are cats!" Bramblestar continued.
"BRAMBLESTAR." Mistystar was clearly aggrevated, her fur puffing up.
A few cats in the croud were shifting uneasily.
"So? We're magical-power endowed talking cats! Knowing what glitter is is hardly the strangest thing in this series!"
Lionblaze looked around, fur bristling. Cinderheart was looking on in anger, and many cats were caterwauling.
"You broke the fourth wall! I can't believe it, we went all this time without a slip up!" Mistystar screeched.
"It was bound to happen eventually." Jayfeather spoke loudly, sounding bored.
Purdy was suddenly at the edge of the clearing, because he could be. "As long as y'all are breakin' the wall, can't we talk bout' things around this here forest? I mean, thar is some wierd stuff happen' un."
Mistystar screeched, "NO. NO DISCUSSING THIS."
"Like Heavystep?" Bramblestar chimed in. "He died from greencough. Twice."
Mistystar seemed to accept what was happening and groaned, hiding her head inside of a hollow in the tree.
"And what became of Spottedleaf and Tigerstar? I mean, is there another place after StarClan?" Hazeltail mused.
"And WHY did the Erins say I have kits with Bumblestripe?" Dovewing suddenly wailed. "I mean, no offense, but I hate Bumblestripe."
"None taken." Bumblestripe said, albiet a bit sulkily. "And I still have a crush on Ivypool."
Said she-cat jumped several tail-lengths into the air. "WHAT?! YOU COULD HAVE TOLD ME THAT SOONER, BECAUSE APPARENTLY I MIGHT END UP WITH FOXLEAP."
"Score!" Foxleap shouted. "I.. I mean.. uh... I'm going to sit by Icecloud now."
"Speaking of Ferncloud's kits," Millie began, "why was she in the nursery all the time? She was a perfectly capable warrior!"
"Kit machine." Jayfeather's voice sounded again. "With all the relationship drama, the Erins must have needed a reliable couple to churn out more kits for the clan."
"TAKE THAT BACK!" Dustpelt screeched, tackling Jayfeather.
The dark brown tom was quickly subdued by Jayfeather's fellow medicine cats.
"THAT IS ENOUGH!" Thunder rolled across the sky as a voice echoed.
"STARCLAN? IF YOU CAN HEAR ME, I WANT TO BE THE NEXT LEADER OF WINDCLAN! OR EVEN BETTER, MY OWN CLAN? YES? MAYBE?" Heathertail shrieked up at the sky.
"YOU HAVE BROKEN THE FOURTH WALL ENOUGH TODAY. I COMMAND YOU TO STOP, OR THERE WILL BE SEVERE CONSIQUENCES!" The voice ignored Heathertail's protests.
Graystripe shouldered his way to the front of the croud and tilted his head up. "AUTHOR? IS THAT YOU? WHY COULDN'T WE HELP FIRESTAR? WHAT WAS THAT BALONEY ABOUT IT BEING FIRESTAR'S BATTLE? HE WOULD STILL BE ALIVE NOW IF EVERYONE JUST ATTACKED TIGERSTAR!"
Lionblaze glanced around at all of the cats, who were in complete uproar now.
Had everyone gone mad?
"MISTYSTAR'S SO OLD!" (This was followed by much cursing from said leader.)
"WHAT IS A FURZE?" Screamed Furzepaw.
"CAN I STOP USIN' THIS ACCENT?" Purdy asked.
"WHEN CAN I DISCUSS SKYCLAN?!" Sandstorm wailed.
"Haha, don't listen to her, she's crazy. Ha ha ha!" Graystripe laughed awkwardly and slapped his tail over his pale colored friend's mouth.
Lionblaze began to back up from the group, ears flattened.
"THAT IS IT." An Erin screeched, "NO MORE STORIES FOR YOU LOT. WE'RE DONE HERE."
The clamour rose to an unbearable, constant screeching.
Lionblaze squeezed his eyes shut, and hoped for an end.
~ ~ ~
Bright, unfiltered sunlight shone agains the lids of a pale orange cat.
Lionblaze started, blinking his eyes open.
Was it all just a terrible, terrible dream? What was the dream about, anyways? It seemed fuzzy to him now. Something about a wall... and the gathering! And all those crazy cats!
"Ow, you're squishing my foot, you clumsy badger!" Berrynose snapped. "Why are you up at this time anyway? You're not on the dawn patrol, and some of us are trying to sleep!"
"Oh, sorry, Berrynose." Lionblaze meowed, still feeling disoriented from his strange dreams. "Say, is the gathering tonight?"
Now Hazeltail rose. "Have you got bees in your brain? The gathering was last night! Now hush and go back to sleep."
"But.. what happened?" Lionblaze asked urgently, leaning towards Hazeltail.
She blinked at him, her eyes narrowing in annoyance. "Blackstar was ill, Onestar talked about that dead elder and some apprentices, Bramblestar didn't say anything interesting, and niether did Mistyfoot."
"That's... all?" Lionblaze asked uneasily. "Are you sure?"
"Of course she's sure!" Berrynose growled.
"Alright." Lionblaze said uneasily, laying his head back down in his mossy nest before it could get too cold from the morning fog.
What a strange dream he had...
~ ~ ~
"I guess we couldn't erase his memory completely." Said Vicky.
"Do you think he'll suspect it really happened?" Cherith wondered.
"Nah, he's more brawn than brains." Answered Kate.
"What will you write about now, since you've decided they're too much?" Tui asked, looking around.
"Hmm.." Cherith rubbed her chin.
"How about a prequel?" Vicky asked.
"Prequels are fun!" Kate said.
"I like the sound of this!" Cherith beamed.
"Stop writing about us now, please. I don't like words being put in my mouth." Tui looked up, annoyed.
"Sorry, I was bored." Oakfeather said, tapping at her keyboard before clicking the Publish button.