|The Soaring Wren Series|
|Wren's Feather||Succeded by: |
NOTE: This is Book 4 in a series, if you want to read Book 1, Wren's Flight, click the link. :)
Blurb: All seems lost for Wrenfeather. After a shocking truth was revealed to her, she is blinded by pain. Now she needs to find who her true parents are - but where, and who?
Dewfrost has sensed her misery, and now, as their scents appear back in the willows, he has to find them.
Bramble and Rock have returned to the willows, but their kits are closer to them than they think they are.
Soaringstar has to push his Clan past all this. But the rogues that attacked last newleaf are back - and Soaringstar will need to gain more strength - and maybe some more warriors - to keep WillowClan among the willows for seasons unknown.
This is the fourth and final book in The Soaring Wren Series.
Prologue (POV: Bramble)
The large, largely leafless trees loomed over the two cats. Bramble lifted her tail joyfully. They had finally returned to the willows.
Rock walked up beside her, sniffing the air. "It's good to be back he mewed."
Bramble tasted the air. A scent alarmed her.
Other cats, better hide. But there's something there that rings a bell...
Beckoning with her tail for Rock to follow, the two cats backed away. They hid behind a bush, a way away from the pungent smell that was coming from nearby.
A pale ginger cat stepped out from behind one of the willows. Two gray cats and two brown ones followed him.
They reached the scent marker, and approached it, tasting the air.
"Now, Silverpaw, what do you smell?' asked one of the tabbies. She had a glossy dark brown tabby pelt, and blue eyes.
"The WillowClan scent marker," the gray cat, Silverpaw replied. "And fresh rogue scent - but not in our territory."
"Good work, Silverpaw."
Two of the cats, both dark cats, a gray tom, and a brown tabby, were talking in low whispers to each other.
"Come on, you lazy lumps," the ginger cat chided. "Let's go mark this border."
"Yes, Soaringstar." The brown tabby she-cat went past him, so close that their pelts touched. They both purred in delight.
Do I sense a relationship going on here? Bramble thought.
"Hey, wait a minute..." Rock whispered under his breath.
"I think... that three of those cats were Adder, Dew, and Wren."
When Bramble imaged the cats in her head, she agreed with Rock. One of them was dark gray with yellow eyes - like Dew. Two of them were dark brown tabbies. One was a she-cat, the other a tom. The tom's eyes were amber, and the she-cat's were blue...
"I agree," Bramble whispered back. "Should we approach them?"
The five cats were starting to move away now, leaving a trail of fresh scent in their wake.
"No," Rock replied. "Not yet. However, we will know when it's time."
"How do you know?"
"This starry cat told me."
A gray cat wandered out from behind Rock. He was dark gray, with lighter paws and belly. Bramble could see the trees behind him, and stars shone in his fur. He reminded Bramble of someone...
"Bramble." The spirit-cat strode over to her. "You will know when it's time."
Her father looked into her eyes. "When it is time to find dew, with adder and wren again."
"But Wolf -"
"Actually, call me Wolffoot. I prefer that name, it reminds me of where I was before I died." Wolf - Wolffoot, scraped his paw on the ground, yet it made no sound. "You will know..." Bramble's father started to fade, until he was no longer there.
The words echoed in Bramble's head.
You will know when it is time...
Chapter 1 (POV: Dewfrost)
"Is that whose scent I think it is?" Addertalon whispered to Dewfrost.
They were on a border patrol, with Soaringstar, Wrenfeather, and Silverpaw. Dewfrost was curious to why Soaringstar had come along, when most of the Clan knew about him and Wrenfeather.
Maybe he wants to spend some time with her, Dewfrost thought, to see if he wants to be mates with her.
The thought jolted him back to the WillowClan camp, where his mate, Fennelcloud, would be, with Aspenkit and Pinekit. He wanted to head back there already...
"Come on, you lazy lumps," Soaringstar chided. "Let's go mark this border."
The five cats turned and moved away, marking the border where the places were weak. Dewfrost's eyes landed on Silverpaw, who was marking the border neatly. Under Wrenfeather's training, the apprentice was doing well.
A voice was speaking to him.
"Who's there?" Dewfrost mewed.
"No one's here!" Silverpaw meowed, as she flicked her plumy tail. "What are you thinking?"
Dewfrost sighed and padded on.
"Dewfrost ducked away, into a bush. Two cats swam in front of his vision: a cream-and-black she-cat and a thick-furred dark gray tom.
The she-cat dipped her head. "Greetings. This is Rubblestar," she flicked her tail at the dark gray tom, "and I am Tansystar. We are former leaders of WillowClan."
Dewfrost dipped his head. "It is an honor to meet you."
"Listen, Dewfrost." Rubblestar pushed in front of Tansystar to meet nose-to-nose with him. "Soon you will be reunited."
"Something. I cannot say what, although StarClan knows."
"All we can tell you," Tansystar meowed., "is when the full moon rises, is when you will sight bramble and rock. At half moon, bring adder and wren. Then you will always see brambles and rocks under willows."
Dewfrost was confused. "What - what do you mean?"
Tansystar and Rubblestar both gave him looks of longing. The stars in their pelts faded, until there was no more.
When they had faded, Dewfrost looked back. No cat was to be seen.
Sighing, Dewfrost ran. He needed to head back to camp to think about this, and he had a patrol to catch up with.
Chapter 2 (POV: Soaringstar)
Soaringstar gave a weary sigh. The day had passed slowly. Newleaf was warm, and prey was plentiful.
Newleaf is my favorite time of year.
He was basking in a patch of sunlight, Wrenfeather beside him. The dark brown tabby she-cat had been loyal to him - first his apprentice, and now one of the cats he trusted the most.
"Tell me," Soaringstar meowed. "what actually happened when Rosefall called you into the medicine den a half-moon ago."
"I won't tell anyone."
"Fine, then. Rosefall told me I wasn't her kit." Wrenfeather's voice sounded bitter. "Done?"
"You aren't her kit."
"Why?" Wrenfeather meowed. "Do you have any clues?"
Soaringstar stiffened. Does she really want to know that her parents are rogues?
"What, why are you hesitating?"
"Uh - nothing."
"Tell me, Soaringstar."
"Fine, then." Soaringstar took a deep breath. "Your parents are rogues."
Shock flared in Wrenfeather's eyes. "What the-" she stammered.
"Your parents are rogues," Soaringstar repeated.
"Tell me you aren't lying."
"I'm not lying. Ask one of the older warriors."
"Well, then." Wrenfeather's voice was hoarse - with shock, Soaringstar thought, from realizing her parents were rogues. "Do you know them?"
"Do you know their names?"
Wrenfeather sighed. "I don't know what to do."
"I will help you through it, whatever you do," Soaringstar purred.
Soaringstar purred. Friendship was what he needed, and some love, too.
Chapter 3 (POV: Wrenfeather)
Wrenfeather's head spun. Her parents were rogues? How could it be? She was WillowClan through and through!
"Tell me you aren't lying."
"I'm not lying," Soaringstar replied, as he bent down to lick his ginger fur. "Ask one of the older warriors."
Wrenfeather paused, before she spoke again. If Soaringstar said that, he must mean what he said.
"Well, then," she mewed hoarsely. "Do you know them?"
"Do you know their names?"
Well then, how can you be sure that they were rogues then, you mouse-brain? Wrenfeather thought. She almost said that out loud, but thought better of it.
But if she wasn't Clan-born, did she have to be a rogue?
Not necessarily, a voice whispered inside her head.
I have to, a voice retorted.
Were Dewfrost and Addertalon Clanborn? the first voice retorted.
Then it's okay, then. You don't need to be Clanborn to be a warrior.
Wrenfeather wasn't completely convinced. A vision opened...
"You remember how I found those scents there a moon ago?" a silver tom asked.
A dark brown tabby she-cat nodded. Three kits were at her belly, two toms and a she-kit. The she-kit was a dark tabby, one of the toms was gray. The third tom was also a brown tabby.
"Well, these cats came in, and asked why I was in their territory. They were coming there for battle training, they said. The told me to clear off their territory by moonhigh tonight." Panic flared in the adult tom's eyes.
"We have to go now," the green-eyed, tabby she-cat mewed.
The silver tom nodded. "I'll carry Dew, you carry Adder. Wren will have to walk."
The dark brown she-kit stiffened. "Where are w-"
Just then, paw steps thrummed past...
"Run!" the she-cat mewed.
The adult cats picked up the two tom-kits, and fled. They didn't come back, and the dark brown tabby she-cat stood there, shivering in the cold...
The vision then faded. Wrenfeather woke up to see Soaringstar's amber gaze staring at her.
"I don't know what to do," Wrenfeather whispered.
Chapter 4 (POV: Dewfrost)
Silver light shone down onto the WillowClan border. Dewfrost's eyes scanned across. He stared from side to side, checking the coast was clear.
No-one's here, he thought, tasting the air.
It was the full moon. Dewfrost hadn't been selected to go on the Gathering patrol tonight. Every full moon, some Clan representatives, picked by Soaringstar, would attend their moonlight gathering at the Moonfall, where Soaringstar would tell StarClan about what happened in their Clan in the last moon.
They say, Dewfrost thought, that when WillowClan was in the forest with the other Clans, they gathered at an oak to share with StarClan.
His vision changed. It was light again. The brightness stung Dewfrost's eyes.
Where am I?
He saw two cats, a dark tabby she-cat, and a silver tom.
"What are we doing today?" the tom asked.
"Leaving." the she-cat mewed in reply.
"Leaving?" the tom replied. "Leaving for where?"
"It's time.", the brown she-cat meowed.
"Time for what?" the silver cat retorted.
"Time to go to the willows." she mewed.
The silver tabby's eyes lit up with pleasure. "The willows," he whispered.
"Yes." the she-cat comfirmed.
"Maybe we'll find our kits there." the tom mewed wistfully.
"Yes. Maybe." the she-cat mewed tersely.
"Come on," the silver tom meowed. "Let's go."
The cats disappeared, vanished away...
The vision changed again, back to darkness, back to the silver moon glittering on newleaf grass. Dewfrost felt cold blood rushing through his veins.
I know those cats.
It had been moons. Eleven moons. Eleven moons ago, was the last time he had seen those cats, urging him to flee when the flickering flames of a fire separated him from them...
Bramble and Rock.
He was sure of it. He was sure, so sure in fact, that he could smell their scent.
He jolted awake. Was that even true? He tasted the air.
Is that them?
A hoarse voice mewed: "Dew? Is that you?"
A dark brown tabby she-cat slithered out from behind a willow tree.
Chapter 5 (POV: Bramble)
Bramble narrowed her eyes, straining to see in the moonlight. Her heart skipped a beat as she saw a cat in front of her vision.
A dark gray cat stared into space, his eyes mirroring the light of the moon.
He was bigger then when Bramble had last seen him: he was now full-grown. His thick fur was sleek, and healthy.
Should she call out to him? Bramble was unsure. But she took the risk.
"Dew? Is that you?"
She slithered under the willow branch in front of her. Dew stared at her.
"Yes, it's me."
"It's been a while." Dew smiled. "You've returned."
"You never came to see me."
"I found a place where I could live," Dew mewed. "WillowClan."
Is that the group that told Rock off for being in their 'territory'? Bramble thought. It was the reason why she, along with Rock, Dew, and Adder, had left the willows in the first place.
"By the way, my name's not Dew anymore," he added. "It's Dewfrost."
What sort of a name is that? Bramble thought.
"Yeah," Dew - Dewfrost - added, as he sensed Bramble's confusion. "It took some getting used to when I joined."
"When did you join?"
"After the fire, I ran, just as you said. Eventually, a came across this group of cats - a white she-cat with gray paws and ears, a smaller black tom with silver flecks, a dark tabby tom, a pale ginger tom - he's the leader of WillowClan - and, you'll never believe it - a dark brown tabby she-cat with blue eyes."
And what's important about this dark brown tabby she-cat? Bramble thought.
"Her name was Wrenpaw. She reminded me of Wren - you know? I suspected it could be her. One day, I asked Soaringstar - our leader - about it. I found evidence. She was a former rogue. She came to the Clan at a half-moon of age. And her name before coming to the Clan was Wren."
Bramble's breath caught in her throat.
"I was right. Wren - Wrenpaw then, she's Wrenfeather now - was my sister, your kit, Rock's kit, and Addertalon's sister - yes, Adder lives here, too."
They live in that Clan? Bramble thought. Interesting.
"Meet at the half-moon, here?" Dewfrost mewed. His gaze switched to the bush where Rock was hiding. The silver tabby didn't budge from his hiding place, but Dewfrost obviously knew he was there.
Bramble took a deep breath. "Yes. Agreed."
Chapter 6 (POV: Bramble)
She waited, for a while, Rock by her side. He finally came.
The dark gray tom twitched his ear, and then ran off.
"Something's happening," he whispered as he fled. "I'll be back."
Bramble couldn't bear to leave Dewfrost. Her son - she had to find him. What was going on?
She couldn't help herself.
"Follow," she mewed to Rock. The silver tom nodded.
They followed his scent through the willow trees.
Yowls broke the air:
"Snarl's rogues, attack!"
Battle cries split the air.
I am sure I did the right thing.
"Should we go in?" Rock whispered.
"Just find Addertalon and Dewfrost!" Bramble spat in reply, as she went through the willow leaves.
Bodies were sprawled along the ground. A pale ginger tom and a tabby she-cat fought a ginger tom side-by side. He bit, and she clawed. The other cat yowled in pain as pain pulsed through his body.
Dewfrost was fighting outside, near a dark tabby she-cat with amber eyes. Mewls erupted from behind. A she-cat comforted the scraps in there.
"You will not harm our kits!" the she-cat snarled, flicking a gray tabby out of the way.
"Aspenkit and Pinekit will become great warriors one day," Dewfrost replied.
By any chance, did Dewfrost get a mate and have kits with that she-cat? Bramble thought. If he had, he never told me anything.
They bounded over.
"I told you not to!"
Dewfrost's eyes were round as Bramble and Rock joined him.
"What are you doing?" the she-cat yowled from beside him.
"They're not going to hurt you, Fennelcloud."
"How do you know?" Fennelcloud spat, as she sank her claws in a small tabby's backside.
"They're my parents. They wouldn't harm us."
Then, the welcoming cry split the air:
"Snarl's rogue's, retreat!"
Chapter 7 (POV: Wrenfeather)
Wrenfeather stopped to catch her breath, the scratches on her tabby pelt stinging. The rogues were fleeing, until there were no more in the WillowClan camp.
Bodies lay on the ground: Sparrowpaw, Specklewing, Shadebreeze, and - most shocking to the Clan - Lilyleaf.
"Sparrowpaw..." Newtfoot sobbed, as she pushed her way to her son's body. She turned to Soaringstar. "Please name him."
"Okay," Soaringstar sighed, and padded over, pressing his nose in the dead apprentice's fur. "He shall be known as Sparrowleap."
"Thank you," Newtfoot whispered. Together, with Raindapple, Finchsong, and Amberpaw, they settled down and groomed the dead apprentice's - well really, warrior's now - and groomed him in the fading light.
Meanwhile, Soaringstar had strode over to Lilyleaf, and pressed his nose in her white fur.
"Oh, Lilyleaf... he murmured weakly.
Wrenfeather remembered that Soaringstar had lost a life in the battle. How many did he have left?
"Soaringstar!" Dewfrost mewed. "Can I talk to you now?" I think it's urgent."
"Fine," Soaringstar replied, shuffling over to Dewfrost. "What is it?"
The pale ginger leader got led away by Dewfrost. Addertalon was nearby with some - wait a minute - were they rogues?
Wrenfeather pushed the thought out of her head. It doesn't matter. She got met by a bouncing Silverpaw. The apprentice had fought well in the battle.
"You fought well," Wrenfeather mewed wearily to the apprentice. "I'll ask Soaringstar if you can be made a warrior."
Pride flashed in the silver tabby's eyes. "Tell him," she whispered, "that I want my warrior name to be Silverfern, in memory of Fernkit, who died in the last attack."
"I'll be sure to tell him that, Silverpaw," Wrenfeather mewed.
Dewfrost was beckoning her.
"Come - now. This is important."
"Fine," Wrenfeather muttered. "I wanted to see him about Silverpaw, but - "
"He's there," Dewfrost added, as they padded away.
When they got there, Wrenfeather found Soaringstar, and she pushed her flank towards him. Soaringstar purred weakly.
"Look," Soaringstar mewed.
Wrenfeather turned, and saw the two rogues smiling at her.
"Greetings," one of them mewed, a dark tabby she-cat. "I am Bramble, and this is Rock," she added, flicking her tail at the blue-eyed, silver tabby beside her.
Visions flashed in front of her eyes. A young Dewfrost and Addertalon, playing, and flicking their tails at a she-cat. Then the vision changed, and saw three kits, suckling. Two cats - looking like Bramble and Rock - were both there.
"What should this one be named?"
"Her name will be Wren, in memory of my mother's mother."
Memories flashed in Wrenfeather's mind - four cats leaving her behind, and huge Clan cats staring at her.
A thought appeared in Wrenfeather's head, strong, and sudden. She said it out loud.
"Are you my parents?"
Chapter 8 (POV: Dewfrost)
Dewfrost's blood chilled. He knew what Bramble was going to say. How was Wrenfeather going to react? How would she react, when she found out that him and Addertalon were her littermates?
He saw Bramble took a deep breath. "Yes."
Wrenfeather said nothing. Soaringstar leaned in closer to her.
"Why did you leave me?"
"It was an accident." Bramble's voice was heavy. "We were in some cat's territory - I presume WillowClan's - and some cats told us to flee. We just... forgot. And when we realized, it was too late to come back."
Wrenfeather shuddered, and spoke again: 'Did I have... any littermates?"
"Actually, these two are your littermates," Bramble mewed quickly, flicking her tail at Dewfrost and Addertalon.
Dewfrost met Wrenfeather's dark blue gaze as she stared at him, then at Addertalon.
"Soaringstar," she whispered, and the two cats had a conversation together. Meanwhile, Bramble and Rock turned to Dewfrost and Addertalon.
"Should we return to our own life, or join you?" Rock asked. "What does your life involve?"
"Patrolling borders, mentoring young cats, and hunting to feed the Clan," Addertalon mewed. "She-cats who are nursing kits just nurse the kits," he added, as Aspenkit and Pinekit bounded over, and jumped on Dewfrost.
"You two!" Dewfrost mewed. "Get off me!"
"But there's yucky scents in the camp," Aspenkit complained. "We wanted to see where they were coming from!"
"Go to the elder's den, and see Littlestep," Dewfrost huffed.
The two kits were unfazed as they rushed to the elder's den.
"Wait - what does this Littlestep look like?" Bramble asked. "My mother's name was Little, when I last saw her."
"Skinny light brown tabby!' Soaringstar meowed, as he broke away from his conversation with Wrenfeather.
"That must be her," Bramble mewed. "I'm joining."
Dewfrost's spirits soared. Now he would never lose his mother again. Remembering the fire, he was happy.
"You will be welcomed," Soaringstar mewed to Bramble. He then moved his amber gaze at Rock. "What about you?"
"I'll join as well." The silver tom held his head high. "I need to say with my mate."
"Okay," Soaringstar mewed. "Addertalon, tell all the cats that there will be a Clan meeting at moonhigh. We will be having the warrior ceremonies for Silverpaw, Bramble, and Rock. We will also announce the new deputy."
"Yes..." Wrenfeather muttered. "The new deputy."
Dewfrost felt joyful. It had been a while since he had been this happy. Soon, all of his kin would we warriors of WillowClan.
Chapter 9 (POV: Soaringstar)
He stood on top of Bramblethorns, waiting for his cats to be silent. The moon shone high, and he knew it was time.
But first, three warriors had to be named.
"Today, we will be naming three warriors," he meowed. "Bramble, Rock, and Silverpaw, please step forward."
The three cats stepped forward. Silverpaw looked small against the full-grown rogues. The silver she-cat was young to be getting a warrior name - but not the youngest. Sparrowleap was an example, even though he was now dead. His body lay with Shadebreeze's, Specklewing's, and Lilyleaf's in the middle of the clearing.
"I, Soaringstar, leader of WillowClan, ask my warrior ancestors to look down on these three cats. They have committed to living in WillowClan, and I commend them to you as warriors in your turn. Bramble, Rock, and Silverpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and defend this Clan, even at the cost of your life?"
"I do," Silverpaw mewed clearly.
The two rogues hesitated before mewing: "I do."
"Then by the power of StarClan, I give you your warrior names. Silverpaw, from this moment you will be known as Silverfern. StarClan honors your courage and spirit, and we welcome you as a full warrior of WillowClan."
He leaped down. Silverfern licked his shoulder, and then backed away. Rock stepped forward next, anxiety showing on his face.
"Rock, from this moment you will be known as Rockshine. StarClan honors your..." He hesitated, not knowing what to say. "Commitment and independence. We welcome you as a full warrior of WillowClan."
Rockshine hesitated, then stepped forward to lick his shoulder. When he had finished, he backed away, and fixed his blue gaze on Bramble.
"And Bramble," Soaringstar meowed clearly, "you shall be known as Bramblefern. StarClan honors your determination and your thoughtfulness, and we welcome you as a full warrior of WillowClan."
Bramblefern, without doubt, did what Silverfern and Rockshine had done before her. When she had gone, Soaringstar went back onto Bramblethorns. The Clan started to cheer:
"Bramblefern! Rockshine! Silverfern!"
Eventually, Soaringstar silenced his cats. "Now, the time has come to pick a new deputy. I ask the spirits of StarClan, and especially the spirit of Lilyleaf, that they may hear and approve my choice." He took a deep breath. "The new deputy is..."
A chirp erupted from overhead. A feather fell down, into the camp.
Meadowcloud, the medicine cat, went to examine it. "It's a wren's feather," she mewed. "StarClan have sent us a sign."
"Wrenfeather will be the deputy, then," Soaringstar mewed.
The dark tabby said nothing, and just stared at him. Soaringstar ignored her. Something else was going on.
It was a wren's feather.
He now knew who the cat who changed his path was.
It was Wrenfeather.
And, Soaringstar reflected, in more ways than one.
Chapter 10 (POV: Wrenfeather)
A cat was yowling her name. Sleepily, she raised her head. "What?"
"You're meant to be sorting out the patrols, remember? You're deputy now."
"Oh, yeah," Wrenfeather muttered. She still couldn't believe she was deputy. She padded out of the warrior's den.
Soaringstar was padding around in the early morning light, getting ready to relieve Rockshine, Bramblefern, and Silverfern from their vigil. Not many other cats were in sight, apart from the occasional warrior, which Wrenfeather beckoned to her to sort out a patrol.
"Okay, I'd like you all to go onto the dawn patrol, because you're awake early. Burninggaze, you will lead."
The ginger-and-white tom dipped his head to Wrenfeather as Tangleleap, Tinywish, and Finchsong followed him out of the camp. The only other warrior still in camp was Raindapple, who was still mourning Sparrowleap.
Wrenfeather saw Soaringstar relieving the three new warriors from their vigil in the dawn light. Silverfern padded towards the apprentice's den, before Hareswift reminded her that she was a warrior now, and had to sleep in the warrior's den.
"Okay, okay!" she'd muttered. "I'm alright!"
Wrenfeather purred. Her former apprentice could sometimes be a huge mouse-brain.
A few Clan warriors, and Bramblefern and Rockshine, settled down to pick off the remaining fresh-kill from the pile. Others helped Littlestep and Cinderdust with the burial rites for Shadebreeze, Lilyleaf, Specklewing, and Sparrowleap. It warmed Wrenfeather to see the Clan in harmony.
It's never been like this in a while.
As more cats crowded for patrols, Wrenfeather had to speak:
"Okay, hunting patrols. Molewhisker, take Dewfrost and Raindapple with you. Hareswift, you can take Nightfleck and Amberpaw."
"Yay - hunting!" Amberpaw mewed. "I like hunting."
Nightfleck silenced his apprentice, meeting his amber gaze with Wrenfeather's. Wrenfeather nodded back, before Hareswift led him out of the camp.
Soaringstar padded up to her. "Listen," he whispered in her ear. "Since we only have one apprentice, could you roster on some of the younger warriors on cleaning duties? It'll be only until Bluemist's kits are apprenticed - that's about two moons away."
Wrenfeather nodded. Soaringstar had a fair point. "I'll add Silverfern and Specklewing's kits to it," she replied.
"By the way," he added, "I love you." He then went away again, and went behind Bramblethorns.
I love you.
Those words echoed in Wrenfeather's head. It was true that he liked her.
Shaking the thought away, she asked: "Anyone else for a hunting patrol? I'm taking one out now."
"I'll go," Lightningsky mewed. The young black warrior padded up behind Wrenfeather.
"I'll go, too." Stormstrike, Lightningsky's littermate, padded up as well.
"Okay, guys," Wrenfeather mewed. "Let's go."
As she padded out of camp, Wrenfeather knew that with being deputy came responsibility, but it was much more than she thought it would be.
How will I cope?
Chapter 11 (POV: Dewfrost)
"Hey, you, get off me!"
It had been three moons since the battle. The early greenleaf breeze warmed him. Aspenkit and Pinekit, now four-and-a-half moons old, were begging him for a ride.
"You're too big."
"No, we are not!" Pinekit mewed. "I'm still only half your size."
"You rascal!" Dewfrost purred. "You're way more than half my size!"
He then silenced. Splashkit would be getting her apprentice name today. Owlkit and Flowerkit had died from a food poisoning epidemic a moon ago, which also took the life of Splashkit's mother, Bluemist, Thundercloud, and Littlestep.
At least Bramblefern made peace with her mother before she died, Dewfrost thought. It was true that Littlestep's daughter was Bramblefern. The father, apparently, was Wolffoot, Littlestep's denmate, who died from an unknown disease when Dewfrost was an apprentice.
Littlestep is happy in StarClan, I'm sure.
Soaringstar raised his tail commandingly for silence. Wrenfeather was sitting on one side of the rock, Meadowcloud on the other.
"Before we start, let us remember Owlkit, Flowerkit, Thundercloud, Littlestep, and Bluemist. They should be with us today, celebrating this important occasion, or getting their new names."
The Clan dipped their heads, all except for Stormstrike and Hareswift's kits, Ripplekit, Sunkit, Tanglekit, and Yellowkit. They stared confusedly at the older cats, wondering why their heads were bowed.
"Why are the heads down?" Ripplekit squeaked, his dark gray fur bristling.
Stormstrike silenced her kit and wrapped her tail around them. Hareswift watched them, making sure none of them went out of his sight.
"Splashkit, come forward."
With her father, Burninggaze, behind her, the blue-gray she-cat stepped forward.
"From this day until you receive your warrior name, you shall be known as Splashpaw."
Splashpaw puffed out her chest as the Clan cheered her new name. "Splashpaw! Splashpaw! Splashpaw!"
Burninggaze watched his only surviving kit with loving eyes, but grief shone in them He was remembering his mate and kits, who should've been there.
"Who's going to be her mentor?" Stormstrike whispered to Lightningsky, who was nearby.
"I don't know," he replied. "An experienced warrior. If not, Dewfrost or Hareswift will get her."
Soaringstar waved his tail for silence. The next word he spoke would announce her mentor. Dewfrost held his breath.
His name had got called. Was he going to be Splashpaw's mentor?
When he got up there, Soaringstar meowed: "Dewfrost, you have shown incredible dedication and loyalty. You are ready for your first apprentice, and you will be mentor to Splashpaw. Share with her your courage and intelligence."
Splashpaw turned to face Dewfrost, her blue eyes wide. Before Dewfrost could do anything, the blue-gray cat bounded up and touched noses with him.
After when Soaringstar had dismissed the meeting, Wrenfeather beckoned him. Dewfrost told Splashpaw to stay where she was, then he came over.
"Dewfrost, thank you."
"For showing me where I belong." The tabby deputy smiled. "This is my reward to you. You deserve it. Train her well." They touched noses, then Dewfrost padded away.
Dewfrost now knew that the cycle was complete. His journey had ended. Where life took him now - he had to face it.
Chapter 12 (POV: Soaringstar)
When the ceremony was over, Soaringstar went to see Wrenfeather. He had to speak to her.
The dark brown she-cat turned. "What?"
"Come. This is important."
Wrenfeather stared at him, but submitted. She followed him through his secret entrance.
"Wait - how long have you used this for?"
Soaringstar purred. "Since Tansystar was on her last life. Leaders are only allowed to show this hideout to their deputy when they are on their last life."
Wrenfeather looked shocked. "You're joking - you're on your last life?"
"No, I'm not." He hated to admit it, but when he list the life he was on - Willow's life - he would join StarClan.
"I won't be able to spend time with you!" Wrenfeather looked surprised. "I thought you had at least three."
"I had four when you came to the Clan," Soaringstar mewed. He padded up to a willow tree, and went under its leafy hanging.
"What are you doing?" Wrenfeather gasped.
"This is why my warrior name was Soaringsky," Soaringstar replied. "Watch."
He made sure he was close enough to jump - it was hard with willows, their branched drooped. When he made sure it was safe, he leaped - from one willow tree to another. Landing safely on the other side, he shot a smug glance at Wrenfeather.
"You can jump trees," Wrenfeather mewed. It was obvious that she was in awe.
"I know," Soaringstar muttered. "Anyway, I have something much more important to discuss."
Wrenfeather dropped her gaze. 'Don't tell me -"
Soaringstar knew that this would happen some day. He had just never found the right cat.
It was late in his life, yes, but he knew he had found the cat.
"Wrenfeather," Soaringstar mewed. "I love you."
She nodded. "I know that."
"No." Soaringstar took a deep breath. "My love is strong. I want to ask you something - will you be my mate?"
Shock flared in Wrenfeather's eyes, something that Soaringstar couldn't detect.
Please say yes...
There was a long silence. Eventually, Wrenfeather replied:
"Yes. I will be your mate."
They twined tails and purred. Soaringstar had the one thing that he had waited for his whole life - a mate.
Chapter 13 (POV: Bramblefern)
Bramblefern pricked her ears. There was rustling in the bushes.
The rest of the members on the patrol, Addertalon, Smallspeck, Hareswift, and Pinepaw, were unsure.
"There's rustling, though," Pinepaw put in.
"Maybe a group of cats are coming to settle," Addertalon growled. "Keep off our territory..."
Smallspeck sniffed the air. The gray tom was the eldest Clan warrior, it was expected that he would move into the elder's den soon. "Rogues," he confirmed. "Not Snarl's rogues, though. This is a new lot."
Bramblefern grumbled. She enjoyed the peace.
"We should tell Soaringstar about this," Hareswift meowed, shooting a glance at Pinepaw. "If there's a battle, you're not going."
"I want to fight!" Pinepaw complained.
Hareswift silenced his apprentice, and they kept going.
Bramblefern felt worried. What if there was another battle? What if any of her kits died? What if Rockshine died?
"It's all good from here," Smallspeck mewed. "Come on, let's head back to camp and tell Soaringstar."
The five cats padded through the willowy forest. On their way, they came across Ambersun, having a hunt on her own.
"Hi," she mewed, as they approached. "Anything going on?"
"Rogues!" Pinepaw squeaked.
The small ginger she-cat stiffened. "That's not good."
"I know," Smallspeck grunted. "Pinepaw wants to fight. She's going crazy."
"And do you think all apprentices don't do that?" Ambersun questioned, shooting a glance at Smallspeck. "I'd imagine that Aspenpaw would do the same thing - bounce around, annoy Newtfoot that he wanted to fight."
"Those rascals," Bramblefern muttered under her breath. "Not a good thing."
"Splashpaw, maybe..." Ambersun muttered. She lifted your head. "See you later."
"Bye," the patrol mewed, as they padded away.
Bramblefern, once again, felt worried. She didn't want there to be a battle.
A battle was never a good thing.
Pinepaw might want one, she thought, but she doesn't know what it's like.
She caught up to the patrol, and padded on. Soaringstar had to be told about this.
Chapter 14 (POV: Wrenfeather)
Wrenfeather was worried.
She stared down at her belly, swollen with her kits.
She hadn't told him yet.
When will I tell him?
She hadn't given up her warrior duties yet. She would have to tell Soaringstar in the next quarter-moon.
Lazily, she rested in a patch of sun. The warm late greenleaf breeze washed over her.
Stormstrike was outside, watching her four kits. She sat down nearby.
"Oh, StarClan," she whispered, staring at Wrenfeather's belly. "The deputy's expecting kits."
Wrenfeather snorted. "They're due in a moon. Not many cats have noticed."
"Oh really?" Stormstrike meowed, eyes lit with amusement. "I'm pretty sure Meadowcloud would have noticed by now. And Raindapple, Newtfoot, and Fennelcloud." Stormstrike snorted back. "You're still sure?"
"Oh." Stormstrike, then turned to her kits. She padded over to them. "Ripplekit! Don't bite your sister's ear..."
Wrenfeather sighed. She wondered what her kits would look like. Would they look like Soaringstar? Would they look like her? Or would there be no resemblance?
So many questions were on her mind.
She stiffened as a patrol raced into camp: Lightningsky, Hareswift, Pinepaw, Tinywish, and Ambersun.
"What's going on?" Wrenfeather asked.
"Rogues! They're going to attack!"
As soon as Stormstrike heard that, she started getting her kits into the nursery. Ripplekit, Sunkit, Tanglekit, and Yellowkit, but Stormstrike quickly silenced them and herded them in.
Wrenfeather stiffened. Why now?
"WillowClan!" Soaringstar yowled. "Prepare to attack!"
Warriors and apprentices got ready to fight, including Aspenpaw and Pinepaw, the Clan's young apprentices.
Until a storm of cats crashed into the camp.
"WillowClan, attack!" Soaringstar yowled again, and the cats lunged into battle, ready to fight.
Chapter 15 (POV: Soaringstar)
He lunged at the first rogue he saw. Soaringstar knew that his Clan had to fight off these rogues.
It, a dark ginger she-cat, clawed at his pelt, scoring marks in it. Soaringstar gritted his teeth.
He tried to connect a blow, but missed.
"You suck!" the ginger she-cat snickered at him. She lunged at his throat.
The ginger she-cat opened her mouth in shock as a dark tabby bowled into her.
"Get - away - from him!" she growled. "He's my mate!"
The dark tabby tried to get the she-cat off, but Wrenfeather got easily thrown off. She retreated quickly.
Uh-oh, Soaringstar thought. This wasn't good.
"Say goodbye," she sneered, and clawed his pelt everywhere she could see. Soaringstar resisted the temptation to yowl.
The she-cat fled, and wasn't seen again.
"Soaringstar!" Meadowcloud's mew dazed him.
"What?" he mewed slowly. He felt himself getting weaker, and weaker...
Meadowcloud didn't reply. She heaved him on her back, and carried him away.
Cats continued the fight. Smallspeck had realized that Soaringstar was injured, and was taking charge.
"Warriors! Fight them off!" he yowled, as he clawed the dark ginger she-cat who faced him.
He felt ground under his fur. He could make out the shapes of Meadowcloud and Wrenfeather in front of him - but they were blurred.
"There's nothing I can do for him," Meadowcloud sighed.
"You're joking!" Wrenfeather mewed hoarsely. Her voice broke, and she turned to Soaringstar. "I'm expecting his kits..."
She is? Soaringstar let out a weak purr.
"Oh, really?" he whispered. "Why? I won't get to meet them..."
Wrenfeather's gaze was full of sorrow. "It's StarClan's fate..."
His vision started to darken. "Goodbye, Wrenfeather," he mewed quietly. "I will see you again one day." With that, he blacked out, and knew nothing more.
He was dead.
When he next woke, a brown tabby she-cat, with amber eyes, was beside him.
Soaringstar knew this cat. Before he looked at her, he looked at himself. Stars were on his fur - and in every place where he could see himself.
Looking up at the she-cat, he whispered, "Treerunner? Is that you?"
The she-cat purred. "Soaringstar," she began. "You have served WillowClan well."
"But now my mate has to become leader," he mewed. "And she's expecting my kits..."
"StarClan knows this already," Treerunner meowed. "Come with me - to StarClan."
Soaringstar nodded, and followed his mother away - to his new life in the stars.
Epilogue (POV: Wrenfeather)
She stared up at the sky. All seemed calm, until she saw.
Saw that the stars were moving.
Cats streaked down from the sky. Young and old, big and small. They gathered around her.
"Welcome, Wrenfeather." A voice echoed around her. She strained to hear who was speaking, yet she saw no-one. "Are you ready to receive your nine lives?"
"Yes," she gasped in awe, not thinking.
A cream-furred she-cat was the first cat to pad up to her. "Rosefall," she breathed.
"Wrenfeather," her foster mother mewed. "You've done so well. If only you were mine." She stretched out until her nose touched Wrenfeather. "I give you a life for strength. When you don't know what to do, stay strong. You have the ability."
Pain pulsed through Wrenfeather's bones. Gritting her teeth, to stop her from yowling, she stared at the faint outlines of the StarClan warriors.
Rosefall went back, and Sparrowsong took her place. The dark tabby tom, Rosefall's mate, also touched her lightly before speaking:
"I give you a life for courage. Lead your Clan into battle. You must lead them - no matter what."
Visions of battles went through Wrenfeather's mind: Snarl's rogues... and the battle that killed Soaringstar himself... She didn't want to look now. It was only the day after the death of Soaringstar.
A young kit - Fernkit - went after Sparrowsong. She was killed in the first battle with Snarl's rogues. Wrenfeather mentored her sister, Silverfern, and guilt rushed through.
"You should have lived."
Fernkit didn't reply. Stretching up to touch Wrenfeather, she squeaked: "I give you a life for forgiveness. Don't avenge a cat's death - forgive the attacker for what they have done."
This life wasn't as bad as the others. When the pain had gone, Fernkit scurried away.
Ravensong was next, Nightfleck's brother. The last time Wrenfeather had seen him, it was his limp body in the clearing, after he died from greencough.
"I give you a life for justice," he meowed, as their noses touched. "Speak out for what is right. Don't be afraid of what others might say."
Four down, five to go, Wrenfeather thought, as Ravensong's life poured into her. The black tom padded away, and a ginger she-cat was next.
She had been given her warrior name on her deathbed, when she was slaughtered by Snarl's rogues. No scars were on her sleek pelt.
"With this life I give you protection," she meowed clearly. "It is your duty to protect your Clan. Use it well."
The life poured in, and Wrenfeather had to grit her teeth.
Did Soaringstar had to go through all this?
Littlestep stepped forward next. Wrenfeather purred in delight.
"Oh, Wrenfeather," she whispered. "I give you a life for hope. Never give up, even when you can't see through. There is always an answer."
Wrenfeather thought she was running along dewy grass. She was running.. running... but then the vision faded.
She blinked, and saw the dark gray tom - Wolffoot - in front of her. Bramblefern's father - and Littlestep's mate - looked better than he ever was in life.
"Wrenfeather," he meowed, his voice had now lost its croak. "I give you a life for patience. You will need it a lot - for your Clan, and your kits."
My kits! Wrenfeather thought, and stared down at her belly. It was swollen here - even in StarClan.
Wolffoot padded away, and the next cat to come forward tore her heart. The pale ginger tom... with the amber eyes.. it was Soaringstar, restored to the strength of his youth.
"Wrenfeather," he whispered softly.
Tears started to well up in Wrenfeather's eyes. "Soaringstar -"
"Do not grieve," he meowed. "I'm so, so sorry that I won't be able to meet our kits." Stretching up to touch Wrenfeather's forehead, he meowed: "I give you a life for love. It is the most important thing you can have."
Wrenfeather relaxed, only to be hit with a blast of pain. It took some temptation to not yowl. When she opened her eyes, Soaringstar was gone.
One life left. Who would give it to her?
A dark gray she-cat with amber eyes padded up. She was so pale - more starlight than fur. When they met nose-to-nose, she meowed: "I am Willow. Many moons ago, I founded WillowClan."
"It is an honor to meet you," Wrenfeather whispered.
Willow silenced her with a flick of her tail. Touching her chin, she meowed: "I give you a life for faith. Keep your beliefs strong, and your Clan."
Her last life went in. She felt like she was going to explode, with all these new lives in her.
Willow joined the ranks of StarClan once more. They stood up, and chanted her new name:
Wrenstar looked down at her paws. She whispered her name to herself:
"Wrenstar. Leader of WillowClan."
Wow! The first arc of The Soaring Wren Series is over! :)
The next arc is called The Soaring Wren Series: Return to the Clans. The first book in this arc is Falling Willows.
If you want to read the rest of the first arc:
Book 1 is Wren's Flight,
Book 2 is Wren's Song, and
Book 3 is Wren's Wing.
Until next time,