|The Soaring Wren Series|
|Wren's Song||Succeded by: |
NOTE: This is Book 2 in a series. If you want to read Book 1, Wren's Flight, click the link. :)
Blurb: Wrenpaw is now a WillowClan apprentice - but she doesn't know about her past. What she doesn't know is that a piece of it has joined the Clan - in front of her own eyes.
Dew, Wrenpaw's littermate, knew immediately that Wrenpaw was his littermate. But should he tell her - or keep it a secret?
Suspicious about Wrenpaw's rogue past, Soaringstar has taken on the role of mentoring the young she-cat. Will he see a Clanborn cat inside her - or a rogue one?
Outside of the Clan, Bramble is grieving. Now she has lost two of her kits, and she needs to protect the third as well. Will the burden of losing her kits collapse on her?
This is the second book in The Soaring Wren Series.
Prologue (POV: Dew)
A voice was shouting at Dew. Blearily, he raised his head.
"Dew, wake up!"
The silver head of his father, Rock, swam in front of him.
"Get up!" Rock mewed. "We'll get burned to death if you take this long!"
Burned to death? "What's going on?" he croaked.
"Just follow me, and run," Rock mewed. He took off, running in the fading light.
Dew rose to his paws, and ran. A sour smell made Dew want to choke.
Ugh! What's that smell?
The silver shape in front of him got smaller and smaller. It stopped, and looked behind.
At least my father wants to make sure I'm okay, Dew thought.
As he got closer, he saw a roaring river in front of him. Two dark tabby shapes were on the other side.
Bramble and Adder.
As he approached, his way was blocked by an orange flame.
Oh no! How am I meant to get across now?
"Dew!" His mother's voice rose up, panicked.
"I can't get through!" Dew yowled in panic.
"Then you must run away!" Bramble meowed, pain in her mew.
"I can't!" I need you!
"Do you want to die?" Rock mewed.
"No." Why do I want to die?
"Then you must go!" Rock yowled.
What should I choose: separation or death?
"Run, Dew, run!" Adder's voice split the air.
"Yes, run!" Rock agreed.
I'll choose separation.
Dew turned around. Not turning back, he ran, dodging the flames.
Burnt trees faces him on every side as he got near some willow trees. He saw a blur in the distance.
I'll go there.
Slowing down, because of weariness, Dew journeyed on. Staring up at the sunset, a pang of sadness came to him.
This is the sunset of my time with my parents. Now I fend on my own.
Soon enough, he made it to the group. The cat in the front, a white cat with very pale gray paws and ears, snarled: "What are you doing on WillowClan territory?"
Dew flattened his ears. A Clan? What's that? Is that some sort of group? He looked at the rest of the cats. One was pale ginger, another was a smaller black tom with silver flecks. The other two were dark brown tabbies, a bigger one with amber eyes, and a smaller one with blue eyes.
Bramble's words echoed in Dew's mind: "You have another sister called Wren. We accidentally abandoned her when she was a half-moon old. She was a dark brown tabby, like me, and she had the bluest eyes you could ever see."
Dew rested his gaze on the blue-eyed tabby. Looking her over. Dew knew he had found her.
But I won't be able to tell Bramble.
He perked up his ears, and turned his head to the rest of the group. I'd better join this Clan, for the sake of myself. If a group is there for me, nothing will happen like what happened to me.
"I wa-ant to jo-oin your Cl-lan," Dew stammered nervously.
The five cats' gazes burned into Dew's pelt. What were they going to say?
Chapter 1 (POV: Soaringstar)
Soaringstar rested his gaze on the dark gray cat. Gazing at him, he saw fear in his eyes, and smelt the choking tang of smoke.
He must have been caught in the fire! Lucky he escaped.
Uttering a small noise to alert the patrol, he raised his ginger head. The other four turned their gazes towards him: three blue, one amber.
"Tinywish," Soaringstar mewed, addressing the white she-cat, "take Nightpaw and Driftwing to finish marking the border."
"On my way, Soaringstar." Gathering up Nightpaw and Driftwing, they padded away to finish what they had started.
"What about me?" Wrenpaw protested.
"Stay by me," Soaringstar mewed tersely, "and do what I say."
"Yes, Soaringstar." Wrenpaw looked down at her tabby paws.
Meanwhile, the yellow-eyed tom, the one who asked to join WillowClan, was watching nearby, staring in shock.
I hope he doesn't change his mind because he thinks he's going to be ordered around, Soaringstar thought.
"Come here," Soaringstar mewed, flicking his tail.
The cat, a tom by his scent, hesitated, then padded forward nervously.
"Now," Soaringstar meowed, flicking his ginger tail in the air, "what's your name?"
The dark gray tom raised his head. "Dew," he mewed quietly.
"Okay, Dew," Soaringstar meowed commandingly, "we are going back to our camp. There, we will make sure you are settled in. My name's Soaringstar," he added. "I'm the leader of WillowClan."
"So that's why you're giving all the orders," Dew whispered under his breath.
Soaringstar chose not to reply. "Follow," he mewed to Dew and Wrenpaw, flicking his long tail.
The two young cats obeyed and trailed behind him.
Pawsteps thrummed along the ground. A sleek white shape was running towards the camp.
Panic overtook Soaringstar in a flash.
What happened by the rest of the border?
A black and a dark brown flash rushed past behind Tinywish. Nightpaw and Driftwing were haring after her in pursuit.
We'd better get back to camp - quickly!
"Hurry, you two," Soaringstar called. "Something bad is occurring."
The two cat started running, slightly slower than usual so to make out drooping willow leaves and willow trees in the twilight darkness.
A few minutes later, Soaringstar heard the willow leaves rustling as he raced into the WillowClan camp. Panting he stopped to take his breath. When he had caught it, he called: "Tinywish! What's the problem?"
As Tinywish raced over, Wrenpaw and Dew rustled through the willow leaves. Some cats who were nearby screwed up their noses when they smelt the rogue scent Dew carried on his dark gray pelt.
"What was it that made you panic?" Soaringstar asked, his amber eyes burning into Tinywish's ice-blue gaze.
Tinywish took a deep breath, then mewed: "We have been threatened."
Chapter 2 (POV: Soaringstar)
Threatened by what?
"What do you mean by 'threatened'?" Soaringstar meowed. "Was it something you found during the rest of your border patrol?"
Tinywish ducked her small white head. "Yes," she mewed quietly, staring at her very pale gray paws.
This isn't good. "Okay, so what did you see?"
"Well," Tinywish started, raising her head, "when we were coming to the end of the border, we saw this large, grumpy ginger rogue."
"What did you do?" Soaringstar asked. Rogues on our territory are a bad thing.
"We asked him why he was on our territory, obviously. He snarled, and said: 'Well, I don't really care! If you attack me, I have a large group of cats to back me up!'"
"Then what did he do?"
"Five other large cats came out of nowhere. Then the big ginger cat mewed: 'Do you want to fight against all six of us?' He said that very mockingly."
"Did you run off after that?" Soaringstar meowed. "Or did you do something else?"
"I said, 'We will not attack you tonight. But we will go back for you, so watch your paws.' Then I told Driftwing and Nightpaw to run, as I started to run away from those rogues," Tinywish panted.
"Hmm..." Soaringstar mewed thoughtfully. "Lilyleaf!"
The white she-cat padded up to Soaringstar and Tinywish. "What is it?" the deputy asked, flicking her sleek white tail in the air as she spoke.
"Tinywish will explain," Soaringstar mewed quickly.
Tinywish told Lilyleaf the story about the rogues on the border.
"Hmm..." Lilyleaf mewed. "What do you think, Soaringstar?"
"First of all," Soaringstar meowed. "Tell all border patrols to take care of that area."
"That's always important," Tinywish muttered under her breath.
Soaringstar ignored her. "Next, we tell hunting patrols, and mentors taking their apprentices out hunting, that they should stay away from that area."
"That's wise," Lilyleaf mewed. "We especially don't want our apprentices hurt while they're on hunting missions."
Tinywish nodded in agreement.
"The third thing is that if it comes to a battle, all cats, including apprentices, must have battle practices."
"Are you sure that there's going to be a battle?" Tinywish interrupted sharply.
"No," Soaringstar mewed calmly. "But if there is one, we need to be prepared."
"Okay, that's all good," Lilyleaf mewed. "Now, that rogue." She turned her head to Dew's direction. "He looks about the same age as Wrenpaw and Rosefall's litter. Are we going to hold an apprentice ceremony for him? If yes, when?"
I hadn't thought about that yet.
"Tonight," Soaringstar confirmed. "At moonhigh." Darkness was covering the clearing now, but the silver shape of the moon, which was near-full, was starting to rise in the dark sky.
"Okay, moonhigh it is." Lilyleaf mewed. "See you then."
As Lilyleaf and Tinywish padded away, Soaringstar looked up at Silverpelt, to help him to think of a good mentor for Dew by moonhigh.
Chapter 3 (POV: Dew)
"Let all cats gather below Bramblethorns for a Clan meeting!"
The silver moon rose high in the night sky as a call rang through the camp. Dew pricked his ears nervously. What was going on?
I'll guess I'll get used to it, once I learn what this 'WillowClan' does, Dew thought.
Many cats emerged from dens stationed at different places. Outside one, Dew saw a black she-cat with large ginger dapples, with three kits at her paws. A younger gray she-cat was next to her. Another one saw three elderly cats sitting together.
Most were streaming out of the largest den, a group of adult cats. Some younger cats, some around Dew's age, were coming out of a den nearby. Dew stiffened slightly as he saw the shape of Wrenpaw. Would she recognize him?
Meanwhile, the pale ginger cat - Soaringstar - was standing on a rock, with brambles around it.
That must be why it's called Bramblethorns.
Dew saw Soaringstar raise his long tail. The cats below silenced.
"The sunset border patrol found a couple of things on the far border," Soaringstar meowed. "First, we found a young rogue. By the smell of him, he was caught in a fire. He asked to join the Clan, and we will hear of him again later in this meeting."
He means me.
"Did the fire get anywhere in our territory?" a cat yowled.
Cats turned their heads towards the speaker: a dark blue-gray she-cat.
"No, Bluemist, the fire did not touch our territory," Soaringstar mewed.
Dew saw Bluemist relax slightly as Soaringstar spoke.
"The other thing that we found," Soaringstar continued, "is that some rogues have moved in close to our territory. They are vicious, and are to be avoided. Precautions will be given out to all cats heading that way from dawn."
"Rogues!" a cat snarled. "I'll shred them! They shouldn't be on-"
"Darkshade, be quiet," Soaringstar interrupted, "Anyway, let's get back to that rogue."
Dew stiffened. What are they going to do?
Soaringstar caught Dew's eye, and flicked his tail. "Come forward," he meowed.
Dew felt his pelt burn as all the cats in the clearing turned their heads to stare at him.
"Yuck, smoke," he heard a white she-cat with black flecks whisper.
Raising his chin, Dew padded forward strongly through the cats, ignoring their burning gazes. Reaching the foot of Bramblethorns, he lifted his head so that he could see Soaringstar. The pale ginger cat looked at him.
"Dew, you have chosen to leave your rogue life behind, and follow the path to becoming a warrior," Soaringstar meowed. "We will let you become an apprentice of our Clan." Turning his head to the rest of his Clan, he mewed: "From this day forward, until he receives his warrior name, this apprentice will be known as Dewpaw."
Some of the cats started to yowl "Dewpaw, Dewpaw!" when Soaringstar had finished speaking.
Soaringstar raised his tail for silence. "Driftwing."
A dark brown tabby tom, one of the cats who was on the patrol that had found him, padded up to Bramblethorns.
"Driftwing, Dewpaw will be your first apprentice," Soaringstar meowed. "Share your fighting skill and leadership with him, and make him a warrior that WillowClan will be proud of."
"We have to touch noses," a voice whispered; Dew turned his head to face Driftwing.
"Dewpaw, come here," Driftwing mewed. "I'm not going to hurt you."
I'm Dewpaw now, not Dew. Dewpaw padded up to meet the dark tabby, and stretched his chin up to meet Driftwing's nose, touching it lightly.
"Dewpaw! Dewpaw! Dewpaw!" the Clan chanted happily.
As Dewpaw stared up at the stars, Dewpaw just couldn't resist yowling his own name.
Chapter 4 (POV: Wrenpaw)
"Wake up, sleepy slug."
Wrenpaw felt a paw push into her flank. "Get off me," she groaned.
"It's time for training." Amberpaw's voice rang around the apprentice's den. "You young ones need to learn to get up on time."
"Do we have to?" Harepaw complained. "It's too early."
Opening her eyes, Wrenpaw stretched. Padding out of the den, she saw the slim shape of Soaringstar. Driftwing, Sunfrost, and Tangleleap were with him.
"Are our apprentices being lazy?" Sunfrost mewed, with a mrrow of amusement.
Fennelpaw and Harepaw trailed slowly out of the den, yawning.
"What are we doing?" Fennelpaw asked. "It'd better be good, waking up this early."
"Let's wait until Dewpaw gets out here," Driftwing meowed. "Where is he?"
"He's coming," Harepaw replied.
Just then, Wrenpaw head paws padding slowly on the ground, and then saw the dark gray shape of Dewpaw padding out of the den.
"Okay," Tangleleap mewed. "Today, we will be giving you some basic battle training."
"Yes!" Harepaw mewed. "FIGHTING!"
"I already know some good fighting moves," Dewpaw yawned.
"Come on," Driftwing meowed. Let's head to the willowy clearing."
The four apprentices and their mentors trailed out of camp, shadows long in the dawn light.
When they got to the clearing, Soaringstar padded into the middle of the clearing. "Wrenpaw," he mewed.
Wrenpaw raised her head. What is it now? she thought.
Wrenpaw padded forward to meet Soaringstar.
By the end of the day, Wrenpaw was tired. Battle training was held for most of the day. Now all four of them could do the basic moves well.
"Good work," Sunfrost had mewed. "Next time, we will be starting some harder moves."
"What? I don't like hard!" Harepaw complained.
Now, she was sitting outside the apprentice's den, in the fading light. Dewpaw was straying alone, with no prey. Wrenpaw had a large squirrel, which she was sure she wasn't going to eat on her own.
The dark gray tom turned. "What do you want?"
"Come sit with me, and share," Wrenpaw meowed. "Tell me about your rogue life.
Dewpaw flicked an ear. "Okay," he mewed, as he padded over. He took a bite of the squirrel as he sat down. "Well," he started, "my rogue life was like this..."
Chapter 5 (POV: Bramble)
"Why does this have to happen to me? First Wren, then Dew! What am I going to do?"
"Calm down!' Rock sighed in exasperation. "You don't need to put this on yourself!"
"Yes, I do!" Bramble yowled. "It's all my fault!"
It had been half a moon since the fire. All three of them had escaped unscathed, but Bramble had been struggling with the loss of Dew. Two kits gone missing had put too much pressure on her, and she had been constantly grieving.
Nearby, Adder stood in shock, fur bushed up. "Why does she have to do this?" he whispered hoarsely. "I'm sick of it."
"Are you upset?" Bramble howled. "You should be!" She bunched her haunches, and leaped at Adder. The young dark brown tabby jumped out of the way before Bramble to get to him.
"Bramble!" Rock mewed, shocked.
"Wad-a-what?" Bramble meowed.
"Why," Rock stammered, "did you just try to attack your own kit?"
Adder stood nearby, eyes wide with terror.
"Eh?" Bramble mewed.
"Why," Rock repeated, "did you try to attack him?", flicking his thick silver tail at Adder.
"Look," Rock started. "I know you're upset. I know you miss Wren and Dew. Adder and myself do too. But this has to stop. You're not helping with anything. Adder and I have done all the hunting since we had to leave behind Dew. And how much have you done?" Rock paused for a moment, then continued: "None. None. You need to start to make a contribution. Understand?"
Bramble was so shocked that she could only stare.
"Understand?' Rock repeated.
"Yes....." Bramble replied uncertainly.
"Then come on, we're going hunting, then," Rock mewed briskly. "Me, you, and Adder."
"Why do I have to go hunting with her?" Adder complained, flicking his tail at Bramble. "I don't want her to go crazy and attack me, like she did earlier."
"Be quiet, Adder!" Rock hissed. "You two need to re-strengthen your bond. This incident broke it."
"Fi-ine..." Adder whined.
Bramble nodded uncertainly.
"Then let's go!" Rock mewed, leading the way.
As Bramble trailed behind at the back, Bramble could only think of one thing:
Am I less than I was, because of this incident?
Chapter 6 (POV: Wrenpaw)
"Toadleap! Meadowcloud! Are any of you in there?"
Wrenpaw shot up her head as Specklewing nosed her head into the medicine den. The black-and-ginger queen had been worried over the past few days, because of Raindapple. The gray queen had been worried about her kitting, which would be soon.
Why are you worrying? Wrenpaw thought. Apparently, all kittings are meant to hurt.
"Is anyone in there?" Specklewing repeated.
"Specklewing?" Wrenpaw detected Meadowcloud's voice. "What is it?"
"Raindapple's kitting," Specklewing mewed quietly. "Where's Toadleap?"
"He's hunting for herbs," Meadowcloud replied, flicking her tail. "Don't worry, I'll sort it. Do you mind finding a stick, one that won't splinter easily. She can bite on it when the pain comes."
"Okay, Meadowcloud," Specklewing replied, as she padded out of the camp. The willow leaves rustled in the late newleaf wind. Greenleaf would soon be here.
None of this commotion happened when Specklewing was kitting, Wrenpaw thought wryly. It's only because Raindapple is so worried about her kitting! Pfft.
Wrenpaw strained her ears, and sure enough, she could hear some moans coming from there. Instinctively, she rushed over, not going in.
I hope she's okay in there.
Meadowcloud was padding across the camp to the nursery. "I thought Soaringstar would've set something up on you," she remarked. Her voice was muffled, due to the fact that she was holding a whole bunch of herbs.
"I would've," Wrenpaw mewed. "If I hadn't passed my first hunting assessment the other day."
Wrenpaw's thoughts were dragged back to the assessment, two days ago...
"Okay," Tangleleap mewed. "You have to catch three pieces of prey, and be back at camp by sunhigh."
Wrenpaw, Dewpaw, Fennelpaw, and Harepaw exchanged excited looks between each other. It was their first assessment to see how well their warrior training was going.
"Okay," Soaringstar mewed commandingly. "Three, two, one, GO!"
Wrenpaw raced off, through the willow trees, leaving Dewpaw, Fennelpaw, and Harepaw behind her...
When she got back to camp, just before sunhigh, with two mice and a crow, Sunfrost was waiting for her.
"You're first to finish," he mewed, as she ran into the camp entrance, puffing. "Lets see if any of the others come back before sunhigh."
But sunhigh came and went, and none of them came. Wrenpaw felt herself starting to panic.
What if they are lost forever?
"Considering you have nothing else to do," Meadowcloud mumbled, "you might as well help me. Come in."
Wrenpaw followed Meadowcloud into the nursery. Inside, Raindapple was gritting her teeth. Meadowcloud placed her paw on the gray queen's belly.
"Here's your stick."
"Thanks, Specklewing," Wrenpaw mewed, as she got the stick from the black-and-ginger queen and passed it to Meadowcloud.
Meadowcloud quietly lectured Raindapple about the stick, then put her paw on Raindapple's chest again. "Hmm..." she mewed thoughtfully. "I think you have two kits. The first one's coming." Then the dark gray cat turned her head toward Wrenpaw. "When the kit is born, nip its kitting sac gently, then lick it's fur the wrong way, to warm it up."
Wrenpaw nodded at Meadowcloud, to show she understood, then she directed her gaze towards Raindapple. She bit the stick as a shape slid out.
"Here. Lick." Meadowcloud mewed tersely.
Wrenpaw nipped the sac gently, and a silver shape slid out. She licked it's fur the wrong way, and the tiny kit let out a weak mewl.
Meanwhile, Meadowcloud had started to lick the second one, a dark brown one, like its father. When the second kit let out a cry, Meadowcloud looked at them, then nudged them towards Raindapple's belly. The two kits scuttled over, and suckled for the first time.
"They're both she-kits," Meadowcloud meowed "What are you going to call them?"
"The gray one will be Silverkit, and the dark tabby will be Fernkit..." Raindapple let out a sigh, then closed her eyes.
Wrenpaw padded away, bud when she left the nursery, she heard a chilling cry:
"Help! Rogue attack! Rogue attack!"
Chapter 7 (POV: Dewpaw)
Dewpaw rushed into the camp, Clan warriors trailing behind. Rogues had declared war on them, and now it was time to fight.
This is my chance to prove where my loyalties lie.
Some cats of WillowClan still doubted him, but he wanted to prove them wrong. He knew that WillowClan was where he belonged now. Not as a rogue. The Clan life, Dewpaw reflected, had suited him in many ways.
As Dewpaw raised his head. he saw a large ginger tom, larger than Soaringstar, or even Rock, for that matter. Dirty claws clawed at the ground, as the large cat strode into the clearing.
"Give up now, weaklings," the cat snarled. "Or fight." More cats streamed from behind him, about ten, from where Dewpaw looked.
"We will fight!' Soaringstar replied, from his position on Bramblethorns. "We would die to defend WillowClan's territory from other cats."
"Very well. Snarl's rogue's, attack!"
"WillowClan, attack!" Soaringstar yowled from on Bramblethorns, as the muscular, blood-thirsty rogues jumped on the WillowClan cats.
Dewpaw approached a gray tabby rogue, and pounced on him from behind. As the cat had been too busy fighting Smallspeck, he hadn't noticed him coming. The cat screeched in alarm as Dewpaw landed, claws sheathed, onto his back.
"Good job, Dewpaw!" Smallspeck yowled, as he approached the rogue and met his face to his. "Leave," Smallspeck snarled. "And don't come back."
Dewpaw felt his chest puff out with pride. Smallspeck was usually quiet, and grumpy, being a senior warrior. It wasn't easy to win praise from him.
The rogue snarled as he fled, kicking up dust behind him.
One down, nine to go, Dewpaw thought.
A bloodcurdling scream rang around the camp. A ginger body slumped to the ground.
"No!" Shadebreeze yowled, leaping herself onto the attacker. "How dare you hurt my daughter! Get off her!"
"No!" Soaringstar rushed over.
Toadleap was bending over Amberpaw, looking sorrowfully at her. "There's nothing I can do," he whispered worriedly.
"Make me a warrior," Amberpaw gasped. "Before I am gone forever." Blood pooled from a deep gash in her belly, redness seeping out over the camp floor.
"Okay," Soaringstar mewed hurriedly. "I ask my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has learned the warrior code and given up her life in the service of her Clan. Let StarClan receive her as a warrior. She will be known as Amberspirit."
"Thank... you..." Amberspirit sighed, weakly licking Soaringstar's cheek. Then the last breath echoed, and she was still.
Amberspirit was dead.
Nearby, Driftwing was burying his nose into a small dark brown lump of fur. Moaning noises came from the nursery.
As Dewpaw approached, Driftwing mewed solemnly: "Fernkit is dead."
Raindapple kitted! Oh no... Those rogues have no honor, they broke into a nursery and killed a newborn kit! That is not the way of a warrior...
"Snarl's rogue's retreat!"
We've won, Dewpaw thought. But at a price. Staring around, he also noticed another brown body: Sparrowsong had also given up his life for the Clan.
The rogues scattered out the entrance, yowling protests, their blood pooling. As the last rogue left, Dewpaw heard a solemn meow:
"Let us gather the bodies in the centre of the clearing for a vigil tonight."
Meadowcloud disappeared into the medicine den, but there was a cat that Dewpaw wanted to see. He had to know some answers: to know the truth about Wrenpaw.
As Dewpaw approached the pale ginger cat, Dewpaw took a deep breath, and mewed;
"Soaringstar, I need to talk to you."
Chapter 8 (POV: Dewpaw)
"Okay, Dewpaw." Soaringstar sighed, looking at the lowering sun. "What is it?"
"Does it have to be here?" Dewpaw persisted. "Can it be in your den?"
Soaringstar suppressed a sigh. "Fine," he mewed. "If you want it to be that way."
Soaringstar went into a large tunnel near Bramblethorns, and slinked into it. Dewpaw followed, wincing as the hard-packed dirt sides brushed his fur.
But that isn't important, Dewpaw thought. What's more important is finding out about Wrenpaw's past.
Visualizing the young she-cat in his head, Dewpaw knew he was right. Wrenpaw had that dark brown tabby fur - the same shade, and colour, as Bramble's. And her eyes - they were bright blue, the same colour as Rock's! How could she not be Bramble and Rock's long-lost daughter - and his littermate?
"Okay," Soaringstar meowed. "What is it that you want?"
The tunnel opened up to a small sleeping place, sturdy beneath hard, sturdy clay. Small patched of dirt were around the edges, where long willow branches were placed in the gaps. Some of the branches had scratches of them, from cat's claws; Dewpaw was sure that some cat had been sharpening his claws on some of the branches, although he was unsure to believe if his theory was really true or not.
"Tell me about Wrenpaw's past," Dewpaw challenged. "Tell me everything you know about her."
Shock flared in Soaringstar's amber eyes, turning to a burning stare.
"Where should I start..." Soaringstar muttered under his breath.
Aha! He knows something, Dewpaw thought triumphantly.
"Well," Soaringstar started slowly, "one leaf-fall night, I was leading a patrol with Tinywish, Burninggaze, Specklewing, and Finchsong, who, back then, was Specklewing's apprentice, by the name of Finchpaw. We saw her, and at once, without question, we took her back to tamp. You know that the warrior code says to protect every kit you see, no matter where their origins are from?"
Dewpaw nodded. Driftwing often reinforced the laws of the warrior code to him during training.
"That's what we did," Soaringstar meowed. "We took her back to camp, and we took to her, under Rosefall's care, who was nursing Harekit and Fennelkit. They were a similar age to her. The next day, she was renamed Wrenkit."
"Does she know anything about her... past?" Dewpaw faltered at the last word.
"By what I see," Soaringstar meowed, "I think not. Missing the scents of her past life, and of her parents, and littermates, would've made her forget, as well as her exposure to life in WillowClan."
Dewpaw flinched at the mention of the word littermates. He was sure he was one of them. The other would be Adder, and he had no idea where his parents, or his brother, were now. "The scents?" he asked.
"Rogue," Soaringstar growled. "One had the scent of milk. Mother-cat, probably Wrenpaw's mother. Another full-grown cat-scent, the father. A pooling scent, that was Wrenpaw's, and two other kit scents, one which I haven't smelled since, and one which I have scented a lot more regularly since the fire."
Dewpaw flinched again.
"Why do you ask?"
"Because," Dewpaw mewed quietly, "now that I know this information, I can say... that I am Wrenpaw's... brother."
Chapter 9 (POV: Soaringstar)
Soaringstar stared at Dewpaw in shock. Dewpaw kept his chin tiled, his yellow gaze meeting the amber.
It can't be true. It can't be. They don't look alike.
Soaringstar knew that last thought was a lie. They had the same build - skinny, yet muscular.
"I know she is," Dewpaw meowed. "Please, listen to me."
Oh, StarClan. What am I meant to do?
"We'll get back to this later," Soaringstar sighed. "I just don't know what to think right now."
"No buts. Just leave me alone for now. We'll talk about this later."
Dewpaw, crestfallen, padded out of the tunnel den. Soaringstar looked down at his paws.
What am I going to do?
Wanting to get away, he raced out of his den, out of the camp. Running away, just for some space.
Dewpaw is right... That scent was his. I remember it clearly... Kit-scent, all right, but it was Dewpaw's. No wonder it was familiar - Dewpaw is right.
Those words, yet unspoken, rang in his ears: Dewpaw is right.
Staring around, willow trees arching above his head, he heard the song of a bird.
You will see the flight, hear the song, witness the flash of a wing, and gaze at the feather of the cat who will change your path...
Soaringstar sighed. The peace was ruined. The prophecy had returned - again, and he was unsure what to do.
Hmm... Now what will I do? This shows that the prophecy has once again returned - and that the first sign was likely real. But is this one?
Tansystar's words echoed: You will see the flight...
That was done.
Hear the song...
Was that where the prophecy was up to?
Sighing, Soaringstar padded away. There were so many thoughts on his mind right now - and he was unsure which to believe or not.
Chapter 10 (POV: Wrenpaw)
"You have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to begin your training. From this moment, until you receive your warrior names, these apprentices will be known as Stormpaw, Lightningpaw, and Thunderpaw."
Two-and-a-half moons had passed since the rogue battle. The Clan had grieved for Amberspirit, Sparrowsong, and the young Fernkit. But today, more of WillowClan's young would carry on the traditions. Specklewing and Smallspeck's kits were becoming apprentices, Raindapple's kit, Silverkit, had grown well, and recently, Newtfoot had given birth to Finchsong's kits: Sparrowkit, in honor of Sparrowsong, and Amberkit, in honor of Amberspirit.
New life will always come to the Clan.
"Stormpaw, your mentor will be Molewhisker."
Wrenpaw saw the black-and-gray tom raise his head proudly. He had been jealous since Driftwing got Dewpaw to mentor. Now he would be happy that he had an apprentice of his own.
"This is your first apprentice..."
Wrenpaw turned her gaze towards the Clan's newest warriors, Ravensong and Nightfleck. They nodded at her in a friendly manner before turning back to the ceremony.
Stormpaw touched her gray nose to Molewhisker's black one, and the Clan watched approvingly.
"Lightningpaw, your mentor will be Shadebreeze."
I hope Lightningpaw cheers up Shadebreeze, Wrenpaw thought. The black she-cat had been depressed since the loss of Amberspirit. Although Ravensong, Nightfleck, and Sunfrost helped, she had still felt hurt.
"... I hope you will train him well."
Two black noses touched as two cats, both pitch-black, touched noses, symbolifying a lasting bond.
"And Thunderpaw, your mentor will be Finchsong. He is a young cat, but I am confident you will train him well, Finchsong." Soaringstar mewed.
He's been a warrior for eight moons, Wrenpaw thought. Surely he has enough experience?
Finchsong and Thunderpaw touched noses, and then there were cheers.
"Lightningpaw! Thunderpaw! Stormpaw!"
After the cheering died down, the new mentors and apprentices left to explore the territory. Wrenpaw basked in that memory for a moment, savoring it. She saw Silverkit, Sparrowkit, and Amberkit scamper at the edge of her vision.
"Go get me!" Sparrowkit squeaked, his black fur bristling.
"You can't!" Silverkit taunted, twitching her long, feathery, silver tail.
"Rawr!" Amberkit shrieked, ginger fur fluffed up, scraping her white paw along the ground.
Wrenpaw turned to see Soaringstar.
"Were you born Clan, or are you a rogue?"
Chapter 11 (POV: Bramble)
"I - want - to - get - out - of - this - place," Bramble growled under her breath, digging her claws in the ground.
"What's wrong with you?" Rock sighed. "Your anger has shown lots since Dew let us. If he wanted us again, he would have found us by now."
Four moons had passed since the fire.
A terrible day, Bramble thought. The pain for Dew was still fresh in her mind, and for Wren. Bramble was annoyed that she couldn't save them.
If only I'd remembered Wren, Bramble thought angrily. Then none of this would have ever happened.
"You're probably right," Bramble sighed sadly. "Dew was always close to his family."
"He wouldn't have abandoned us," a deepish mew sounded nearby.
Bramble turned her broad head to see Adder.
"He must have found somewhere close to his heart," the dark tabby went on. "I still miss him," he went on, lowering his huge head.
My poor son, Bramble thought. You miss them almost as much as I do...
"When I'm a few moons older, I'd like to look for him," Adder mewed. "And Wren, if they're both still alive. If I see him, I'll ask Dew if he knows about Wren."
You're not leaving, Bramble thought.
"Don't leave yet," Rock meowed. "You're still inexperienced in fighting, stay a few moons longer with us."
"You're right," Adder mewed in his deepish voice. The tom's voice had gradually grown deeper in the last half-moon, and Bramble was sure it would be deeper before he was full-grown.
Back to the willows... I'd like that.
Bramble pushed the thought away. No! It would haunt me...
But Adder... Bramble was stumped about what Adder could think, she couldn't read her son's mind.
He might think it's... a tug towards Dew.
Bramble remembered that Dew had run in the direction of the willows in the fire. Bramble knew that the fire wouldn't have touched a willow leaf, let alone a willow tree.
Bramble sighed. Are all of my kits escaping?
Another voice answered: Maybe it's destiny.
No! Destiny is cruel! the first voice retorted.
"I'm going hunting," she mewed to Adder and Rock, before disappearing behind a slightly charred birch.
Things can only get better, right?
Chapter 12 (POV: Wrenpaw)
"Well, obviously, I'm Clan!"
What a stupid question, Wrenpaw thought to herself. How dare she say that she was rogue? She had no rogue blood in her. Absolutely none. She was Clanborn, and she knew it.
"Well, now that you're not doing anything," Soaringstar mewed briskly, "You can go clean the elder's den with Harepaw."
Harepaw raised his head from where he was eating a shrew. "Does it have to be now?" he complained. "I'm eating."
"Wrenpaw can start while you finish," Soaringstar mewed quickly.
Oh, why can't you keep your jaws shut? Wrenpaw thought angrily. She didn't like cleaning dens. At least, in two moons, she wouldn't have to do it anymore. Stormpaw, Lightningpaw, and Thunderpaw would have to do it all themselves.
Wrenpaw then sensed regret in her thoughts. She knew that she shouldn't be thinking those things about the Clan leader.
Sighing, Wrenpaw padded into the medicine den. Meadowcloud was there.
"Looking for moss?" she mewed. "Toadleap is in the herb store, ask him for some."
Wrenpaw nodded as she padded away, while Meadowcloud bent over Wolffoot again. The old tom had been ill, and Toadleap thought that he was going to die. Meadowcloud wasn't so sure.
"Let's see what StarClan has in store for him," Meadowcloud chided as Toadleap passed her some herbs.
Wrenpaw watched silently, wondering what was going on...
"Did you want something?" a gruff voice mewed.
Wrenpaw turned her head around in shock to see Toadleap.
"Moss, I see?" Toadleap guessed, turning into the store. "Take this." He dropped some moss carefully on the dusty camp floor. The camp floor was hard now, being in the middle of greenleaf, but in newleaf and leaf-fall the den was often dusty.
Wrenpaw picked up the moss and padded out of the den. As she entered the elder's den, she saw the two other elders, Cinderdust and Littlestep, raise their heads.
"Ah, come to change our bedding?" Littlestep rasped, her voice shaking. "Get it done quickly." The old she-cat padded out of the den. Wrenpaw guessed she was going to visit Wolffoot. Wrenpaw heard whispers in the Clan about Wolffoot and Littlestep being mates when they were younger.
As soon as Littlestep had vanished, Harepaw came rushing in.
"I tried to hide from Soaringstar," he panted, "but he found me, and told me - to start cleaning!"
"It was the right thing," Cinderdust mewed from where she was sitting. The old she-cat rested her steely dark gray eyes on Harepaw. "Anyway, I'll move over, so you can clean. I don't want to go out, I'm fine in here for now." She shuffled away from her nest so that Harepaw could get rid of the muck that was stuck in there.
Harepaw groaned softly under his breath, but Cinderdust didn't hear him.
Wrenpaw padded over to Littlestep's nest to do the same.
"While you do your work," Cinderdust rasped, "do you want to hear the story about how WillowClan came to the willowy forest?"
Both apprentices nodded eagerly; Wrenpaw tried not to meet the she-cat's eye.
"Okay," Cinderdust started, "back then, WillowClan was led by a she-cat called Mossystar..."
As Cinderdust told the story, while Harepaw and Wrenpaw cleaned nests, Wrenpaw couldn't help feeling a stroke of peace.
Knowing about my past has strengthened me.
Chapter 13 (POV: Bramble)
This cold just brings back the memories from last leaf-fall.
Bramble sighed sorrowfully under an oak tree. Leaf-fall was starting to set in, and Bramble missed the warmth of the greenleaf winds already. Birch leaves littered the ground nearby as their golden leaves fell to the ground.
Rock padded around the corner, a squirrel in his mouth. Bramble purred weakly, not displaying her delight very convincingly. She was wondering where Adder was.
"Where's Adder?" Bramble asked.
"Out hunting," Rock mewed. "I hope he doesn't decide to leave us in a hurry."
Reminding herself that Adder was almost full-grown, Bramble suppressed a shiver. Bramble was worried about Adder leaving.
I lost two, I can't lose him as well.
"Let's share that squirrel," Rock decided, settling down beside Bramble.
Bramble mewed agreement as she took a bite of the squirrel.
I hope Adder stays. It was now well knowledge that the dark tabby wasn't interested in them like he used to. Bramble knew that he wanted to find Dew.
Wait a bit longer, my sweet. Stay for just a little bit longer.
The meaty flavor filled her sensed as Bramble took another bite. The squirrel was a little bit stringy, but that was normal as this time of year.
A dark shape flickered at the edge of Bramble's vision. Bramble recognized the scent of Adder as he neared. The muscular, large brown tabby nodded to his parents as he came past.
"Hi, Bramble," he meowed. "Hi, Rock." In his jaws, he carried two voles.
Bramble nodded to him as he sat down. "Anyone hungry?"
"Mmm-mm, I'll have a vole, Bramble can have the rest of that squirrel. Thanks, Adder," Rock replied.
Bramble didn't mind. She liked squirrel better than voles, anyway.
Rock pushed the squirrel toward Bramble, while Adder carried a vole towards his father. Once he had done, Adder settled down, with the remaining vole for himself.
Bramble liked this sort of peace, something she hadn't enjoyed in a while.
I was my fault. I grieved for Dew and Wren too long.
That pang of regret struck Bramble as she took a bite of the squirrel. Worry filled her.
What if I will never see Wren or Dew again?
The thought itself was frightening. Sighing, she could only rest her mind on one thing:
Wherever they are, keep them safe.
Chapter 14 (POV: Dewpaw)
"Okay, we have decided the second cats who will be helping to assess you."
Dewpaw felt a thrill of excitement. It was finally the day of the final assessment. Then he would be a warrior.
What will my warrior name be? Dewfur? Dewfall? Or something else?
"Fennelpaw will be assessed by Sunfrost and Rosefall."
Rosefall slunk around, and gave the apprentices a nod before darting away.
"Wrenpaw will be assessed by Soaringstar and Nightfleck."
Nightfleck's young, but he deserves to have a lookover, Dewpaw thought.
"Dewpaw." Tangleleap's mew brought him to attention. "You will be assessed by Driftwing and Burninggaze."
Dewpaw nodded in response.
"And Harepaw will be assessed by myself and Finchsong."
"I thought that Finchsong would be busy mentoring Thunderpaw," Fennelpaw mewed curiously.
"He needs to know what to do when his apprentice has his assessments," Rosefall mewed from her current position, behind the trunk of a willow tree. "Shadebreeze and Molewhisker already know what to do."
"Anyway, get going!" Tangleleap mewed briskly. "Be back here at sunset."
Dewpaw ran out of the willowy clearing, Wrenpaw, Harepaw, and Fennelpaw behind him. He had the fire to be a warrior, and he knew it.
As the colored rays stretched in the sky, Dewpaw, paws skittering on leaves, was pleased. He was bringing his last lot of prey co the clearing: a squirrel. He already had some decent prey back there.
As he entered, he saw Wrenpaw towering over her pile of prey. His sister was the better hunter, but Dewpaw was stronger, and had the better fighting skill.
Soaringstar and Nightfleck were talking to each other, nearby.
Probably discussing Wrenpaw's assessment, Dewpaw thought. He was sure that Driftwing and Burninggaze would do the same thing.
As he had just finished thinking that thought, the two toms padded in, Burninggaze in the lead. The settled down near Soaringstar and Nightfleck, and more tense discussion was produced.
Soon enough, Harepaw and Fennelpaw arrived as well, with their assessors. Firstly, Sunfrost and Rosefall came, because Fennelpaw came back to the clearing before Harepaw did. A few minutes later, Harepaw followed, still on time, but just. The sky was darkening fast.
The eight warriors discussed the results in a circle, discussing for a long time. Dewpaw felt nervous. He wanted to be a warrior, but what if he failed?
Finally, Burninggaze parted from the group, and mewed to the apprentices, "Come here."
All four of them bounded forward eagerly.
The next words that Dewpaw heard thrilled him. Now he would have the same respect as his mentor, and most of the other adult cats.
"You have all passed."
Chapter 15 (POV: Wrenpaw)
"Let all cats gather below Bramblethorns for a Clan meeting!"
Moonlight shone in the camp as Soaringstar yowled a call to summon the Clan. Wrenpaw was tense with excitement. Her warrior ceremony!
Beside her, Harepaw, Fennelpaw, and Dewpaw were there, with their mentors. Lilyleaf was with her, as Soaringstar would be busy with the ceremony. Wrenpaw knew that there was a flicker of sadness in Lilyleaf's eyes. This is what she should've done with Amberspirit.
"Cats of WillowClan," Soaringstar mewed commandingly, "we are here tonight to name four new warriors! Wrenpaw, Harepaw, Dewpaw, and Fennelpaw, step forward."
Tensely, Wrenpaw stood forward, the other three beside her, the mentors behind her.
One by one, Soaringstar questioned the four cats, about the apprentices. When it came to question her, however, Lilyleaf just nodded vaguely.
The grief for Amberspirit must be still fresh in her mind, Wrenpaw thought.
"I, Soaringstar, ask my warrior ancestors to look down on these apprentices. They have learned your noble code, and I commend them to you as warriors in their turn. Wrenpaw, Harepaw, Fennelpaw, and Dewpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code, and to defend this Clan, even at the cost of your life?"
This was it. It was finally time.
"I do," Harepaw whispered beside her.
"I do," Dewpaw mewed strongly.
"I do," Fennelpaw answered.
Wrenpaw gulped then meowed, "I do."
"Then by the power of StarClan, I give you your warrior names." Soaringstar swished his tail, so that Harepaw came forward. "Harepaw, you shall be known as Hareswift. StarClan honors your speed and loyalty, and we welcome you as a full warrior of WillowClan."
Soaringstar bounded off Bramblethorns and beckoned for Hareswift to lick his shoulder. The young brown tom obeyed, and then sat by his former denmates, just as Fennelpaw stepped forward.
"Fennelpaw, from this moment you will be known as Fennelcloud. StarClan honors your diligence and spirit, and we welcome you as a full warrior of WillowClan."
Fennelcloud did the same as her brother, and she rejoined Hareswift and Wrenpaw in the line. Dewpaw was now striding forward boldly.
"Dewpaw, you shall be known as Dewfrost. StarClan honors your strength and your bravery, and we welcome you as a full warrior of WillowClan."
The former rogue purred as he licked Soaringstar's shoulder. Dewfrost went back to join Hareswift and Fennelcloud, and Wrenpaw now knew that it was her turn. Raising her head, she went forward to meet her mentor.
Not for much longer, Wrenpaw thought gleefully.
Soaringstar's mew snapped Wrenpaw to attention.
"You shall be known as Wrenfeather."
Wrenfeather purred. Finally, a warrior.
"StarClan honors your hunting skill and your swiftness, and we welcome you as a full warrior of WillowClan."
Stepping forward to lick Soaringstar's shoulder, Wrenfeather glowed with pride. When she stepped back, she heard Darkshade starting the usual cheers:
"Wrenfeather! Dewfrost! Hareswift! Fennelcloud!"
Soon enough, the whole Clan joined in. Dewfrost's name was chanted as loud as the others. He had won approval from his Clanmates easily.
Eventually Soaringstar flicked his tail for silence, and mewed, "In the tradition of our ancestors, Fennelcloud, Wrenfeather, Hareswift, and Dewfrost will guard our camp tonight, while we sleep."
Wrenfeather heard some of the older warriors muttering as Soaringstar broke up the meeting, and herded the new warriors to sit their vigil. Silence soon wafted the entire camp.
However, in the silence, there was a voice she could her, yet no-one was speaking.
It said: You will see the flight, hear the song, witness the flash of a wing, and gaze at the feather of the cat who will change your path.
Epilogue (POV: Bramble)
The winds of leaf-fall were just getting more chilly. Bramble was worried, and was reliving the events of last leaf-fall.
That dreadful day. Wren's loss was still fresh.
Rock rounded the corner, a mouse in his jaws.
"Depressed again?" he mumbled through the mouse.
"Are you ever going to get over it?" Rock whispered under his breath.
Is now my mate going against me?
"Is Bramble depressed again?"
Adder's broad head pushed out of a nearby bush, amber eyes serious, and binging cold fire.
Rock nodded; Bramble stared down at her paws.
There was silence for a moment, then...
"I'm sick of it! Will you ever stop, Bramble? Most cats would be over a loss by now. But it's been moons now. Why aren't you over it?"
Rock's moth gaped in shock, while Bramble just stared.
Something bad is about to happen.
"I'm going to find Dew and Wren. You two could've searched for them. But you haven't."
I believe they're both dead.
"I want to find them I know they're still alive. I know they are."
Hedgehogs will fly before I believe that, Bramble admitted guiltily.
A pang of regret struck her. No, I did not just think that.
"You can't stop me," Adder mewed icily. "I'm leaving. Goodbye."
Adder disappeared for the last time, and Bramble thought she had lost everything.
Oh, my kits...
Bramble buried her face in her paws. I am more grief-stricken now than I ever was before. What am I going to do now?
Thanks for reading Wren's Song!
If you haven't read the first book, read Wren's Flight.
If you want to read the next book, read Wren's Wing.
Until next time, see you!