This is the main fanfic that I’m working on right now. All my other fanfics won’t be edited much until this one is completed. It is very, very hard for me to focus, but it helps to only focus on one fanfic at a time. So enjoy this one for now, and there will be others coming soon!
This is set around the time of Dawn of the Clans, but with different characters.
Eyrie stretched his back legs, which were sore from the border skirmish. He blinked slowly, secretly hoping that Honey Whisker would come to visit him. He missed the pretty tabby, and the days seemed longer without her.
“Are you okay?” Instead, he heard the voice of Falling Petal. Eyrie’s ears twitched. Wasn’t Falling Petal the healer for Thick Mist’s group?
“Out of all the cats in that battle,” she mused, “you were the most injured.”
“Where’s Tabby Pelt?” Eyrie asked rather sharply. “He’s supposed to be taking care of me.”
“You were too weak to make the journey back to First Frost’s territory,” Falling Petal explained gently. “Here, drink this.” She placed a large, curved leaf in front of him. There was a shallow pool of water at the bottom, but Eyrie nudged it away.
“I don’t need that,” he growled.
“Yes you do.” Falling Petal’s voice was firm, and Eyrie obeyed, lapping at the shallow water. As soon as she looked away, he lifted his head, shaking droplets from this long whiskers.
“You’ll travel back to First Frost’s camp in a few days.”
“A few days? I don’t have that long.” A pit of dread gaped in Eyrie’s stomach.
“Too bad,” Falling Petal hissed, shoving the water towards him.
Maybe this was a mistake, Eyrie pondered. Maybe I never should’ve joined up with these cats in the first place.
Then he recalled Honey Whisker, and her golden tabby pelt, warm brown eyes, and her sweet, gentle personality.
I won’t leave her that quickly.
But was this the life for him?
I miss being a rogue.
But I have to do this.
Three years later. . .
The forest was silent as Nettle sank her claws into the bark and hauled herself onto the branch. Below her, the forest was a foreign place cloaked by a mysterious shadow. It was nothing like the place she called home.
Maybe this really isn’t my home, she thought, swiping a paw over her ear. Maybe my home is somewhere else. She glanced up at the stars. They looked cold and distant, and even the moon’s light was muted by the clouds.
Nettle opened her mouth and closed it again. Did she really belong in a place like this, where enemies appeared around every turn and fear haunted her dreams? Or was this place better than she thought it was?
There’s bound to be a place for me. Balancing steadily on the branch, Nettle sat down, curling her tail neatly around her front paws.
Nettle jerked away, blinking sleepily. Who was calling her name? Shifting restlessly, she sighed and managed to haul herself to her paws. The familiar sound of the river echoed in her ears, and her muscles tensed as she saw Skipper and Ringo playing dangerously close to the bank. Their mother, Caramel, lounged nearby, sprawled out on a large, flat rock.
They’re going to fall in! Nettle prepared to fling herself down the pile of rocks, but she was stopped by Pebble. The silver tom has a grim expression on his face.
“What?” Nettle’s tail lashed impatiently. “Are you going to tell me that there were more fox scents nearby?”
“No,” Pebble replied sharply. “I was going to—”
“Skipper!” Nettle yowled, barging past Pebble and charging towards the river. The little kit was flailing in the strong current, calling for his mother. Caramel was pacing along the bank, though she didn’t look very anxious. With a yowl, Nettle leaped into the freezing river, paddling desperately towards Skipper.
“Swim to me!” she urged him, coughing up the water that was flowing into her mouth.
“I can’t!” Skipper’s reply was nearly lost over the roar of the waterfall nearby.
“Yes you can! I believe in you!” Nettle’s voice grew louder as she became more and more panicked. Soon, the current would sweep him right over the waterfall—and there was no way that he would survive.
Skipper was trying as hard as he could, but he was too young, and the current was too strong. Cursing, Nettle pumped her legs harder, getting close enough to grab his scruff securely in her teeth. Blinking water from her eyes, she paddles steadily towards the bank. Her paws felt like rocks, and her body screamed with exhaustion.
I have to do this, she thought determinedly. For Skipper.
“Nettle!” Nettle glanced up. Pebble was pounding along the bank, trying to keep up with her.
“What?” she screeched through Skipper’s scruff fur.
“The waterfall’s approaching fast!”
With a grunt, Nettle heaved herself towards the bank. As soon as her claws brushed the rocky bottom, she sank them into the cracks and hauled herself out of the freezing water. She collapsed on the bank, retching water. Pebble dashed over to Skipper, massaging the tiny kit with his big paws.
“You’re very lucky.” Nettle tensed, holding her breath as Caramel approached. Ringo was trotting close behind her, shivering with obvious fear.
“I’m sorry,” Nettle rasped, licking her shoulder. “I-I just—” She broke off, too exhausted to reply. She just rested her head on the pebbly bank, gulping for air.
Caramel’s right. I am lucky. So is Skipper. With a giant effort, she turned her gaze to the kit, who was being picked up by Pebble. Nettle closed her eyes, silently cursing herself.
“I failed,” she mumbled.
“No you didn’t. You saved that kit’s life.” Nettle nearly jumped out of her paws. A slim, unfamiliar tom was facing her. His dark grey fur was slightly lighter than hers, but his yellow eyes were nearly the exact same color and shape as hers.
“Who are you?” she hissed, her fur raising.
“Who?” What kind of cat has a name like that?
“Your father.” He dipped his graceful head, and suddenly she understood.
“Flower told me stories about you,” Nettle purred. “She told me how brave and courageous you were while you were alive.”
Eyrie grunted happily. “Tell her that I miss her. And tell her that she was the best sister ever.”
Nettle nodded. “Will do.”
“Nettle, I have an important message for you.”
Nettle’s ears flattened. “Is it something to do with the Clans? You know that I have no business with them.” She unsheathed her claws.
Eyrie sighed. “I’m sorry, Nettle, but I promised Honey Whisker that I would deliver this message to you. You need to visit the Clans in order to—”
“I don’t need to visit the Clans just because of your stupid mistake!” Nettle snapped, furious.
“It’s more than that!” Eyrie’s gaze sharpened. “They’re in danger. All the cats of the forest are in danger.”
“Well that’s good,” she growled. “Because I’m leaving. I hate the forest.”
“Please.” Eyrie’s tone was desperate. “You don’t understand what this means to me. To us.”
“Fine, then,” Nettle huffed. “Flower said that you were brave and powerful. If she’s right, then why don’t you just go down there and do it yourself?”
“This will only work with a living cat.” Eyrie shifted his paws impatiently.
“Then ask your other living kits.”
“They all died, Nettle. Don’t you remember? Fauna got killed by a monster, and for Spire and Snake, it was disease.”
Nettle closed her eyes for a brief moment. “Do I have time to think about it?”
“I’m afraid not.”
Nettle snarled. “You’re so demanding!”
“I’m doing what’s best.”
“You always think you’re doing what’s best, but you’re not!” Nettle stalked off before he could reply. Why did he have to force her to become part of the pointless Clan business?
“Nettle!” At first she thought it was her father calling her, but Pebble slipped out of the ferns.
“What do you want?” she asked.
“I was just checking on you,” he replied. “Caramel wants to know if you’re okay. I mean, it’s not like she cares.”
The truth stung Nettle. It appeared as if the she-cat didn’t care about anyone but herself. If she was careless enough to let her kits play in the riverbank, then they obviously weren’t safe with her.
I need to do something about that. Nettle lashed her tail, and she stood glaring until Pebble’s tail brushed her flank.
“Come on.” He nodded towards their makeshift camp, and Nettle trotted after him. Caramel wasn’t lounging anymore, but she was eating a large plump rabbit.
Nettle jerked her muzzle towards the rabbit. “I’m guessing that you caught that,” she whispered to Pebble. He nodded in reply, and anguished look upon his face.
“She would’ve clawed my eyes out if I hadn’t given her the biggest piece.”
“Some excuse.” With a grunt, she pulled ahead, slipping into the small hollow and curling up with her tail over her paws.
The hollow was an old tree that was missing a large piece of the trunk. It had been struck by lightning during a thunderstorm, so it had a twisted, grasping tangle of branches near the top.
“You have to believe me.” Pebble sank his claws into the bark and climbed onto one of the thicker, low-hanging branches.
Nettle sighed and turned away from him. “I’ve had a bad day, so just leave me alone, will you?” Her ears twitched angrily, and she flexed her claws.
Will anyone ever understand me?
When Nettle awoke the next morning, her mind felt blank, and her vision was blurry.
Is this another one of those crazy dreams?
“Are you okay?” To Nettle’s dismay, Pebble was standing over her, his eyes narrowed in concern.
“I’m fine,” she growled, jumping to her paws and nosing him away. “How are the kits?”
“Good,” Pebble replied absentmindedly.
Nettle nodded curtly and padded towards a small tumble of rocks near the river. Ringo and Skipper were resting in a small heap, and nearby, Caramel was curled up on a nest of moss and bracken.
She acts like a kittypet, Nettle thought with a disdainful snarl.
With a forlorn glance at the two kits, she headed to a small copse farther downriver. She flicked her ears; they caught the sounds of rushed pawsteps behind her.
“Want to hunt?” Pebble trotted up to Nettle, his eyes wide.
Nettle nodded. “Sure, I guess.”
Pebble smiled and padded ahead. “Maybe we—”
“Let’s split up,” Nettle suggested loudly. “It’ll be more efficient.”
For a heartbeat Pebble looked dismayed, but he nodded and slunk off through the undergrowth. Nettle shook out her fur and headed for a small ditch. Almost immediately she picked up the scent of mouse. Licking her jaws, she crouched. Keeping her tail still and head low, she crept forward. As soon as she lunged forward for the killing bite, something knocked her away.
“Mouse dung!” she hissed, flailing wildly. She threw off her attacker and whirled around.
“Remember what I told you.” Eyrie’s sharp yellow gaze bored into her fur, but Nettle ignored the urge to crouch submissively.
“No. I’m a loner. I’ve always been one, and I’ll always be one.”
Nettle stared intently into the undergrowth. “Besides, you let my mouse get away!”
“Don’t you think—”
“Quiet!” Nettle pounded away, hoping for another prey-scent to distract her.
“At least visit the Clans!” Eyrie stepped in front of her, blocking her path.
“Fine! I’ll visit them!” Nettle peeled back her lips, revealing her sharp white teeth. “As long as you quit bothering me.”
“Keep your promise,” Eyrie growled.
“You can trust me.” Nettle made sure to sound unenthusiastic.
With a sarcastic eye roll, Eyrie faded into shadows.
“Finally!” Nettle grumbled aloud. “A peaceful hunt!”
“Nettle! Are you done yet?”
“Great. Now I have Pebble to deal with.” Nettle glanced around wildly. There was no scent of the silver tom; she had enough time to get away.
Gritting her teeth, Nettle hurtled towards the river. She skidded to a halt at the bank, looking for a way across.
“Nettle!” Pebble’s yowl was louder—and closer.
I need to get across!
Without thinking, Nettle threw herself into the water. It was icy cold, biting at her fur and weighing down her legs, but she forced herself to the other side.
Memories of Skipper’s rescue flashed in her mind. Choking out a mouthful of water, she thrashed her legs desperately.
I’m almost there.
“Nettle!” Nettle grunted in frustration. Stupid Pebble. He just— “Bring me with you!”
Nettle’s head snapped to the side. Crouched on a rock near the opposite bank was Skipper, his fur plastered to his small body.
Nettle blinked in surprise. How had he gotten here so fast? But there was no time to contemplate. Stretching out her neck, Nettle grabbed the kit gently by his scruff and let out a giant sigh. Determination lent energy to her legs, and soon, she was standing on the pebbly shore, Skipper dangling from her jaws. Her heart was thundering in her ears, and her legs were shuddering in exhaustion.
“Where are you going?” Skipper mewled.
“You want to come with me but you don’t even know where you’re going?” Nettle asked, trying not to be sharp with the kit.
“I don’t like Caramel or Pebble. I felt bad leaving Ringo, but he’s the favorite, anyway. Caramel won’t care that I’m gone.”
“I’m visiting one of the Clans,” Nettle explained. She felt bad for the kit and his ignorant mother.
Skipper gasped. “That’s so exciting! I want to join the Clans!”
“I said I’m visiting them, not joining them,” Nettle reminded him.
“Still!” Skipper’s eyes glistened playfully, and Nettle couldn’t help but let a purr of amusement slip out.
“Ugh, fine. But you need to be well-behaved, and no complaining!”
Skipper nodded obediently.
Nettle turned and trotted into the forest, glancing back every so often to make sure that he was following her.
“Are we almost there?” he called after a while. They were approaching a large forest, and the scent of cats filled Nettle’s nostrils. She flicked Skipper’s shoulder with her tail excitedly. “I think we are!”
Skipper sighed happily. Nettle couldn’t believe that she was actually here, about to visit the Clans, the ones that she had avoided for so long.
I won’t make the same mistake my father did, she promised herself. I’ll leave as quickly as I can. Nettle let out a happy purr, which soon changed to a startled yowl. Something slammed into her side, and she tumbled to the ground. She thrashed wildly, clawing at all the exposed fur she saw.
She heard Skipper’s screech nearby, and blood roared in her ears. I hope he’s okay! She thought desperately.
“Rogues!” she heard a deep voice hiss. A large, dark tabby tom clawed at her ears, but she ducked away, sprinting towards Skipper. She nudged him away from the sleek grey she-cat he was fighting. Her ears flattened, and she hissed as the grey she-cat stepped forward.
“We come in peace!” she meowed loudly. “We want to join your Clan!”
The dark tabby tom narrowed his eyes, and the she-cat bristled. Beside them, a skinny white tom appeared, his whiskers twitching in disdain.
“How do we know that you’re telling the truth?” the she-cat snarled. “You could be lying.”
“Filthy mange-pelts,” the white tom agreed. “Rogues always lie.”
The tabby lashed his tail, wheeling towards the two other cats. “Quiet, you two!” He turned to Nettle, his gaze softening. “I’m Waving Grass, and this is Sleek Stripe and Snow Whisker. We’ll take your to our leader, Stormstar.”
Nettle dipped her head, nudging Skipper gently with her tail. “Thank you.”
Waving Grass nodded curtly and padded towards the forest. Skipper pressed close against Nettle’s side, glancing around at the tall, swaying trees and thick undergrowth.
“I can barely see the sky,” he whispered to her.
Nettle purred softly. “Hopefully their camp will be more open. There you’ll be able to see the sky.”
Skipper nodded, but he was obviously unsatisfied.
Was this the right choice, to bring him? Nettle wondered. I hope it was. . . I want him to be happy.
She gasped as they emerged into a huge, open hollow. A large black tom sat in the center of the clearing, perched on a pile of large rocks.
That must be Stormstar, she guessed. And that’s probably his deputy. . . Her gaze shifted to a furry yellow tom that was sitting farther down on the rock pile.
“Welcome to StormClan,” Waving Grass meowed cheerfully. Nettle held her breath as she stalked forward and looked up to meet Stormstar’s gaze.
This is what my father wanted me to do. I hope I don’t regret this.
“Um, hi,” she mumbled. “I’m Nettle, and this is my friend Skipper. We were wondering if we could join your Clan.”
Before he replied, Stormstar exchanged a glance with his deputy, though Nettle didn’t know what either of them were thinking.
Finally, Stormstar spoke. “Welcome, Nettle and Skipper. You may stay a night if you’d like, and I’ll talk to you more in the morning about joining. The last time we invited rogues into our camp, it did not end well. My son almost died, and we lost two brave warriors. But I am willing to let you spend a night here.” He swept his tail towards a sheltered spot under an overhanging rock. “The apprentices will tend to you.”
“Thank you,” Nettle murmured, dipping her head thankfully. To her satisfaction, a Skipper did the same, lowering his head before scampering off towards their makeshift den. He curled up in the soft dirt, and Nettle purred in amusement. “Tired already?” she teased him.
“It’s been a really fun day!” he squealed. Nettle chuckled happily.
“Well, I’m glad that you think that.” She whipped around, gasping as a pretty calico she-cat padded up to them.
“Sorry for startling you,” she she-cat purred. “I just wanted to say hello and introduce myself. I’m Tall Cliff, and my mate is Thunder Song, the deputy.”
“Nice to meet you,” Nettle replied. “I’m Nettle, and this is my friend Skipper.
“Hi! I’m Skipper!” Skipper’s eyes were bright with excitement, and his fur was rumpled and unkempt.
“Nice to meet you two as well. If you ever need to talk to me, I’ll be in the nursery. My kits are due any day now.” She tapped her swollen belly with her tail, looking slightly proud.
“I can’t wait to see them when they’re born.” Nettle secretly couldn’t believe that this she-cat was being so kind.
I thought all Clan cats were mean and hostile. But I guess not.
“Well, I’ll be on my way now.” Tall Cliff nodded to them and padded away, slipping through a large tangle of brambles. Nettle felt a spark of happiness ignite inside of her, and her tail-tip twitched joyfully.
Maybe living in a Clan won’t be so bad after all.