D E S T I N I E S
By Ginger (BreezeClan)
It was that time of morning when the sun was just peaking above the horizon and the sky was the beautiful milky color of sunrise. BreezeClan was going about daily business: Rockstorm sorting patrols, apprentices and mentors running out to the fields to train, or cats simply sharing tongues or stretching their legs.
Not Gingerheart, naturally. The red tabby was fast asleep in the warriors’ den, now abandoned and empty as cats awoke and began their daily routine. Gingerheart didn’t mind the quiet, of course. In fact, she relished it.
However, there was a downside to being the longest sleeper in the Clan. And that downside was named Cleverpelt.
“You awake in there?”
The brown tabby head poked in the den, blue eyes wide. Gingerheart groaned and rolled over to where her back was facing Cleverpelt. It wasn’t that she hated the young warrior, in fact, they had been close friends since kithood. But mornings brought Gingerheart’s mood down, and fast.
“No,” Gingerheart grunted, curling her fluffy tail tighter around her. She heard Cleverpelt laugh and bounce up to her. Gingerheart bit back a hiss as her friend prodded her in the side.
“Oh, come on,” Cleverpelt meowed, sitting down and wrapping her tail around her paws. She did that often, and it was a clear sign that told everyone that there was no point in arguing with her. After all, the deputy was her mate and her mother was Guststar, leader of BreezeClan.
Suddenly Cleverpelt leaned down, close to Gingerheart’s ear, and mewed in a low voice, “the hunting patrol just got back.” One emerald eye slowly opened. “You’ve grabbed my interest,” Gingerheart joked. “Is there a squirrel?”
Gingerheart was fully aware of Cleverpelt slowly breaking into a grin. “You bet your tail there is,” she replied.
A few heartbeats later, Gingerheart found herself being practically shoved out of the warriors’ den. She squinted against the sun, which was now at its rightful place high in the sky.
“Took you long enough.” Gingerheart scoffed jokingly as Spottedgorse padded up to her, tail kinked over her back.
“I told her there was food,” Cleverpelt added, trotting up beside Gingerheart. The orange tabby she-cat stuck her tongue out at her friend.
“And by the way, there wasn’t a squirrel,” she meowed, “liar.” Cleverpelt shrugged innocently.
“Well, you got her up,” Spottedgorse pointed out. “That’s something.” Both she-cats laughed.
“I have no idea why I’m still friends with you guys,” Gingerheart grumbled light-heartedly. Spottedgorse laughed, but it quickly faded to an icy silence. Gingerheart looked up at her friend, confused, but instantly knew why Spottedgorse had grown suddenly quiet.
Over by the fresh-kill pile was a beautiful silver tabby she-cat with a group of cats surrounding her, listening to her story intently. Her name was Silversong, and she had pretty much everything Spottedgorse didn’t. Gingerheart didn’t really understand why the tortoiseshell’s hatred ran so deep. Perhaps it was because their mothers had been sisters and Silversong was favored, or perhaps it was because Silversong excelled in everything she did. Gingerheart and Cleverpelt told Spottedgorse time after time that they were all better than her cousin, but nothing seemed to stop her one-sided war.
“Look, let’s get Rockstorm to put us on a hunting patrol,” Cleverpelt meowed hastily, nudging Spottedgorse with her shoulder.
“Yeah, then I won’t complain about being hungry,” Gingerheart added just as quickly. “A hunting patrol would really clear the mind.” Spottedgorse didn’t reply for a heartbeat, but finally nodded.
“You’re right,” she mewed, tension leaving her voice. “Maybe I just need to clear my mind.”
But as they approached the deputy, Gingerheart couldn’t help but feel Spottedgorse wouldn’t let her grudge go until she had gone beyond her own ability to make sure she ended on top.
Chapter Two Edit
By Spotteh (BreezeClan)
Spottedgorse, along with Gingerheart and Cleverpelt, padded slowly to Rockstorm. "Hi Rockstorm. How's about you put us on a hunting patrol?" Cleverpelt mewed to the deputy, who had just finished talking to Guststar. "Ooh, I just sent one out. I'll tell you when they return."
"Mmm... ok. Well, let us be off then." Gingerheart lazily meowed. She and Cleverpelt went back to the warriors den. Spottedgorse sat silently by the Highrock, staring at Silversong. She laughed right after she said something, and when she stopped, she continued right back on the train of her story. Spottedgorse huffed loudly and angrily pushed through the throng of cats. Silversong snapped her trap shut when she saw Spottedgorse pushing towards her. "I've had it. That's enough Silversong. I am sick and tired of you... always being better than me! You are always exceeding at everything I fail at! I am tired of it, and I don't care what your mom says, she is my family to... I-I..." Spottedgorse couldn't finish what she was saying because a fluffy ginger tail suddenly draped over her mouth, mid-sentence.
"That's enough for you too, Spot. Let Silversong finish her story. Go ahead." Spottedgorse squinted at Gingerheart, who was heading towards the gorse barrier. Cleverpelt nudged her shoulder, urging to move away from the crowd. "Hey, Cleverpelt! You and your friends can do your patrol now. The others just got back!" Rockstorm called to Cleverpelt.
"Did you hear that?"
Spottedgorse didn't turn.
"Spot. Did you hear that?" Cleverpelt repeated.
Spottedgorse still didn't turn.
"Spot? What is your problem?" Cleverpelt's voice was edged with worry. She walked around to face Spottedgorse, who's eyes were bloodshot. Her claws dug into the ground and her tail lashed. "I hate her. Hate hate hate hate hate." "Come on, Spot. Don't worry. She can't do nothing." They both padded over to Gingerheart, who was waiting silently by the barrier. "Are you guys going or what?" Rockstorm impatiently called to them. "We are going now." Cleverpelt answered.
The three cats padded down the ravine and next to the stream. Little minnows flickered through the pebbles and the cattails whispered when the wind blew. Cleverpelt slipped every now and then, the pebbles spraying to the opposite side. Gingerheart and Spottedgorse giggled whenever she completely slipped in. Cleverpelt, soaked, clambered out, her chin fur soggy and dripping. She look light-heartedly at the two other she cats and shook out her fur, spraying the two with water. "Hey!" they said is unison. Cleverpelt now was the one laughing. They carried on, joking about their past mates, and failed hunts, and mistakes on patrols. Spottedgorse's throat hurt with emotion; these three cats had been best friends since kit-hood, and they had spent almost every waking minute together, only doing patrols with each other, hunting together, laughing and making jokes.
But Gingerheart and Cleverpelt were worried: was Spottedgorse's fued with Silversong going to drive them closer? Or farther apart?
Chapter Three Edit
By Spots (LightningClan)
The sun was shining into the camp, through the holly bush, that is the warriors den. The sun hit Spottedwing's face, causing her to wake. Spottedwing stirred, then slowly got up and stretched. She slowly padded out of the warriors' den, rubbing her eye with a paw.
She saw Firepaw with Patchfeather, his mentor'a mate. "Good morning, Firepaw and Patchfeather" the small tortoiseshell purred to both of them. "You too, Spottedwing," Patchfeather meowed. "Hi, Spottedwing!" Firepaw meowed.
"Want something to eat?" Spottedwing asked the two toms. "Sure," Patchfeather meowed slightly licking his lips, to signal he's hungry. Spottedwing turned to Firepaw. "I could have a mouse or two," Firepaw chipped.
Patchfeather shook his head. "I don't think Whiteflower would let you have two. She doesn't want a slow apprentice," Firepaw looked disappointed. "Fine, I'll only have one,"
Spottedwing and Patchfeather laughed a little and then Spottedwing walked over to the fresh kill pile, grabbing a mouse for Firepaw, a vole for Patchfeather, and a thrush for herself.
The three of them sat down by the warriors den, eating their prey. Whiteflower padded out of the den and saw the three of them eating. "Hey, Firepaw! Come on we're going to train," Whiteflower mewed.
Firepaw looked up from his half-eaten mouse. "Let me finish my mouse first!" he complained. "Firepaw! I'm going to have to train with Shadepaw, Stonepaw and myself, if you don't come here!" And saying that she walked out of camp, but started running when she got out of camp.
Firepaw looked up and immediately stopped what he was doing and dashed after Whiteflower.
He called her name and trying to get her to stop, leaving Patchfeather and Spottedwing alone, slightly laughing at both of them. "Well, I don't think this half a mouse should go waste, so maybe I should," Patchfeather started before being interrupted by Spottedwing.
"Don't even think about eating it. Go take it to the elders," Spottedwing mewed. Patchfeather nodded hesitantly grabbed the half eaten mouse and padded over to the elders den. Spottedwing looked around camp. She saw Strikefur, the deputy, sending out some hunting patrols and Shadepaw and Stonepaw with their mentors.
She saw Waterfeather, Firepaw's mother with her mate sharing some prey. Spottedwing drew her attention back to the elder's den where Patchfeather was coming out. "Okay, I gave it to the elders like you asked," he meowed.
"Did they like it?" she asked. "Yes, it was Bristlefur, who ate it. She said it was one good mouse," Spottedwing nodded. "Okay," Patchfeather stood up. "Today's a good day," he meowed.
"Yes, it's a lovely day in LightningClan, I don't think anything bad could happen," Spottedwing meowed, then the two of them padded away, Patchfeather going to see his mate and her apprentice, and Spottedwing padded over Strikefur, who beckoned her over to go on a hunting patrol.
They left camp to start hunting and Spottedwing felt like 'nothing bad could happen.
By Wolf (LightningClan)
Firepaw sat down on the ground. “We need a patrol around camp, another Clan has been stealing are prey, and you have to go Whiteflower.” A Clan cat said.
“Please, have another cat go, I have a apprentice now, the patrol won’t be safe.” Whiteflower said. This made Firepaw worry. If it was unsafe. that would be bad.
“I know, but the Clan has to come first.” The warrior said. Whiteflower looked sad, but agreed. Firepaw watched, seeing his Mentor for what he did not know would be the last time.
Firepaw was eating his food, when a group of cats burst in. “A battle, at the border, all cats come quickly. This is not safe, apprentices are to young, warriors only.” A cat yelled cats ran.
“Whiteflower, where is my mentor?” Firepaw called, running to the border. But his Mentor was not to be found. The rest of the battle was fast, he did more waiting then fighting. After a while, his mentor Patchfeather came walking. Looking sad. “Patchfeather? What’s wrong?” Firepaw asked.
“Firepaw, my friend, your Mentor, Whiteflower, is dead.” Patchfeather said. Firepaw could not really understand. Dead? His Mother was dead? Firepaw just looked of, elsewhere.
“Firepaw, look at me.” Patchfeather said.
“You let me mentor die, you and the rest of the Clan, I don’t think she would have died if she was not on that patrol.” Firepaw said.
“Firepaw, even if she was not on that patrol, she would have most likely been killed anyway.” Patchfeather said. But Firepaw shook his head. “Firepaw, please.” Patchfeather said. But Firepaw was too sad for reason, he let his sadness turn to anger, and his anger turn to action. He ran, away. “Far away, away from the Clans, far away, away from the Clans.” Firepaw thought running. The apprentice, was sobbing, his heart was racing. He needed to leave the Clans, or at least he did in his mind. After all, why should he stay with the cats who had let his mentor die? Patchfeather, a cat he had trusted, had let his mentor die, but now Firepaw was free. To do whatever he wanted. But, as he looked around, freedom was something he no longer wanted. But I need to be free, he thought, he had to be away from the Clans. The next days went by quickly. The other cats did not show up, every day he walked more and more. Until his legs hurt, he would stop to eat, drink, rest, hunt, and sleep. But not for much else. A moon after, he must have been in a new forest. After all, the trees looked different. ‘I should be able to stop now.’ Firepaw thought. But no, not yet. ‘I miss Whiteflower.’ The cat thought.
His days with Whiteflower, and how he missed her filled his thoughts. But she was in StarClan now. And he would not see her until he joined StarClan as well. He was not an apprentice anymore. He was not in the Clans. ‘If I am not an apprentice, why does my name still end with paw? It should not! From now on, I am no longer Firepaw, but Fire.’ A true loner, no rules for Firepaw, well, ‘Fire’ now. The loner looked at the stars. Was one his mentor? He hoped. Where were the Clans? How far away was he? And he how long had it been since he left the Clans? Not long. A day maybe. Or maybe years. How would he know? How many times had the moon full since he left? No times? A hundred times? How should he know?
Fire was his name now. And he was a loner. Maybe he should forget being wild. He could be a kittypet. And live with twolegs. Why not? He would have a new name, and would not have to hunt. He should join the twolegs.
But how would his Mother feel? Knowing he had run from his destiny? He was going about this all wrong, his Mother would not want her kit to be a kittypet, he should do what she would want, and be a true warrior. A warrior that has left the Clans, but a warrior. Fire thought about that a warrior. That’s what he was. A warrior in no Clan, but a warrior, no more let tin this Mother down. He was a warrior.
‘I am a warrior, the one and only warrior, in no Clan, I think. I am a warrior, a brave warrior. A warrior who takes his destiny. A warrior in no Clan.’ Thought Fire. He was brave.Maybe Patchfeather wanted to see him, he knew he should go back, and he would, soon, but not now, in his new life, he was a warrior. And he was happy as a warrior, and in the Clans too. But he wanted to see his knew world before he went back to his Clan. So, a least for now he would be a warrior in this new place. A forest. Maybe too close to twolegsplace, but it was his new home. He could stop going from place to place. He had a new home now. And he did not need another home. But were there dogs here? He thought so, but he would be able to stay away from them, well, he thought he would. Other animals might be harder, but still easy. So he was good. For now.
Fire was his name now. But I need to be free, he thought, he had to be away from the Clans. The next days went by quickly. Agian, the other cats did not show up, every day he still walked more and more. Until his legs hurt, he would still just stop to eat, drink, rest, hunt, and sleep. Another moon after, he must have been in a new forest. After all, the trees looked different. ‘I should be able to stop now.’ Fire thought. But no, not yet. He missed Whiteflower, he missed her a lot. She had helped him learn how to live in the wild. Without her having had trained him, he would be dead by now. But she had been a good mentor. If he had stayed with the Clans, who would have been his metor? Maybe Patchfeather? That would not have been to bad, but he has to leave te Clans. If Whiteflower had not gone on that patrol, there was a chnace she would still be alive. A small chance, but a chance. What would things be like if he had lived? He might be a warrior by now. Maybe even with a mate and kits, or maybe he would an elder? Or a mentor? Or the deputy or leader of the Clan? How long had it been since he left? And which warriors were stil alvie?. He thought most were, but maybe not all. He did hope all were still alive, but how would he know? He tunred around, he should go back. 'I will spend the night here, but then I should go home, and see the Clans again. And live my life in the Clans. I will stay loyal to them, no matter what.' But, the next day, Fire found out he did not know which way he had came. How would he find the Clans?
Chapter Five Edit
The sun was slowly rising. The soft, windy breeze was ruffling the bushes and making the trees whisper. Cats squirmed in their nests while others slowly got up.
Blueleaf stretched and then let out a huge yawn. She slowly padded out of the warriors den, only to see a large battle patrol. Blueleaf was instantly awake, and ran up to her leader, a gray tabby. "What's going on?" she asked urgently. The leader ignored her and kept organizing the patrols. Then, Blueleaf spotted somebody.
Whiteflower! She can't go on this patrol! She still has Firepaw to take care of! StarClan keep her safe!
But, the other cats didn't seem to notice that recent queen was going into battle. Before Blueleaf could say anything, the battle patrol hurried away.
Blueleaf was eating a plump, juicy mouse. Then, her ears pricked.
Are those pawsteps?
Then she saw the battle patrol enter the camp. She scrambled to her feet. She smelled the air. "Death." she breathed.
All the cats huddled around the battle patrol.
"How did it go?"
"I bet you taught those mangy crow-food eaters a lesson!"
"Is that death I smell?"
The question hung in the air for a moment thick with tension. Finally, the cats spread out to reveal a dead body. Blueleaf walked over to the body and huddled around with everybody else.
Then, Blueleaf spotted a red pelt shining above all the others.
Firepaw? That could only mean one thing. Whiteflower is dead.
Blueeaf shook her head back to reality. She saw Firepaw running away from his fellow clanmates to Twolegplace.
What is he doing? He can't run away! Doesn't he realize that Whiteflower is dead?
"He's running away!" yowled a ginger tom.
His father. Oh, doesn't Firepaw realize what he's leaving behind? His clan, friends, and family.
"All that are old enough to catch their own prey gather!" the leader called.
After all the cats gathered, the leader looked at them urgently. ''Blueleaf, Patchfeather, Spottedwing, I want you three to go and find Firepaw." the leader meowed.
Blueleaf stared at her leader. Then, she exchanged glances with Patchfeather and Spottedwing. All three snatched their gazes back to their leader.
"M-me?" Blueleaf asked. "Yes you. You all know that Firepaw can't survive on his own. I trust you three. Even if you don't come back, StarClan will tell us." the leader winced at the thought of losing three of her warriors.
"Go now. Firepaw ran toward Twolegplace. If you stray too far from home, don't come back. Firepaw would be too young for such a journey." the leader mewed.
All three scrambled up and nodded their goodbyes to their clanmates, too shocked to speak.
Am I really going to leave my precious Clan?
Then, Blueleaf shook her head.
All of my family is dead except Jaggedclaw and Birdsong. I have nothing left to live for.
Then, she looked back at Jaggedclaw and Birdsong.
I feel like my heart is being torn in two!
"Go. I'll take care of Birdsong. At least you know that if we die, we're watching you from StarClan." Jaggedclaw mewed quietly to his mother. "Oh my son, I couldn't be more proud of you." Blueleaf whispered to Jaggedclaw. Jaggedclaw looked at his mother one last time. "Goodbye." he said. "Goodbye my dear." Blueleaf said.
Then, she padded out of the camp with Spottedwing and Patchfeather.
She took one last look at her clanmates and then whipped her head around. "Come on, It's time for us to go." Spottedwing whispered to them. Blueleaf nodded slowly.
I might never see my Clan again. Blueleaf thought solemnly.
Chapter Six Edit
By Clever (BreezeClan)
Cleverpelt padded along the edge of a brook, her paw pads rubbing against the smooth stones. Water lapped at her white paws and dripped from her pelt. She shivered. Her fur was still wet from falling into the stream, and the cold morning air didn’t help either.
She and her friends were telling stupid stories like they had eaten too much prey and were romping through the territory at night. Gingerheart was babbling about one of her patrol experiences.
“So, I was out on the moor with Cinderflower when we saw this rabbit just high-tailing it out of there!” Gingerheart exclaimed. Cleverpelt felt herself smiling at the mention of one of her daughters. While other cats thought she and her kits were stuck up because her mother was Guststar and mate was the deputy, her best friends knew better.
“Then Cinderflower said ‘bet you can’t catch that’ and I said ‘bet I can!’ So I chased after it and ended up tumbling down a hill!” Gingerheart finished triumphantly. Spottedgorse giggled.
“Did you catch it?” the tortoiseshell asked, nudging her affectionately. Gingerheart shook her head.
“I didn’t think so,” Cleverpelt chuckled slyly as her paws skimmed across the river stones. Gingerheart’s eyes widened and the ginger tabby threw up her paws.
“I was THIS close!” she said, glaring down at the small space between her paws. Spottedgorse snickered and flicked her tail. “Sure...” she laughed.
Gingerheart glared at them with mock fury, and Cleverpelt giggled. Suddenly, the wind changed direction, blowing the grass on the moor south. They were by the river that acted as a border between LightningClan and BreezeClan. The brown tabby pricked her ears and lifted her myzzle.
“What is it, Clev?” Spottedgorse asked, tipping her head to the side after she’d recovered from the fit of giggles. Gingerheart turned to her as well and angled her ear towards LightningClan’s territory.
“I smell something,” she said, surprised by how serious the goofy trio went. They were all fiercely loyal to the well being of their Clan, so maybe it was to be expected.
“Well, obviously you smell something,” joked Spottedgorse.
Cleverpelt tossed her a sarcastic look. “It’s LightningClan,” she stated, and sniffed again. “Very close to the border, and very strong as well. Recent.” She listed off. Gingerheart’s eyes widened while Spottedgorse’s narrowed in suspicion.
“Anything else?” she pressed.
Taking in another whiff, Cleverpelt paused, sapphire blue eyes shut tightly. “Smells like a younger cat.” She told them, one eye fluttering open and flickering between them.
Spottedgorse flexed her sharp claws. “We should teach them a lesson,” the tortoiseshell hissed softly, glaring at LightningClan’s territory. Cleverpelt drew her tail over her friend while Gingerheart stepped into the stream.
“Hold on there, Spot,” she said, sniffing in the water and the small blades of grass that flanked it. “The scent has not crossed the borders.” She brought up a paw to groom it, her rough tongue rubbing against it. “I don’t smell any prey scent either.”
Looking doubtful, Spottedgorse stepped beside Gingerheart and sniffed catiously, lowering her head. Cleverpelt and Gingerheart stared at her expectantly as she swung her muzzle back and forth. She raised her head and looked back at the two.
“I can’t smell anything on our side,” she admitted, but Cleverpelt noticed that her claws were still unsheathed.
“Alright,” the brown tabby said. “Let’s go back to camp. We patrolled a border and caught some prey. That should satisfy Rockstorm,” she finished, flicking her white tipped tail.
“You always satisfy Rockstorm,” added Spottedgorse, nudging her.
“Oooo!” Gingerheart hooted. Cleverpelt shook her head in embarrassment, gently hitting the other tabby with her paw. “Shut up!”
The three made their way across the wind-blown moor and back to camp, chatting about stupid stuff, daring each other to leap of cliffs in pursuits of butterflies, making each other tell embarrassing secrets for the sole purpose of a laugh.
It wasn’t until they reached camp that things started to go downhill. Fast. Cleverpelt nuzzled Rockstorm’s cheek and purred a greeting. He had been waiting at the entrance for them.
“Did you make Gingerheart do all the work?” Rockstorm joked. The she-cat had three mice swinging from her jaws, one caught by each friend. She shook her head while Cleverpelt told him that it was a joint effort.
Cleverpelt heard Spottedgorse’s laugh falter, and turned her head to see Silversong talking with her friends. The brown tabby sighed. Sometimes Spottedgorse’s behaviour was childish. “You just have to let it go,” she whispered and nudged her shoulder. The tortoiseshell grunted.
“We smelled some LightningClan by the border,” Cleverpelt informed Rockstorm. Her mate nodded slowly. “Not on out territory, but very strong. I think it was a younger cat.” The grey tabby’s gaze didn’t waver as he looked down at the shorter she-cat.
“Was there any fear scent?” he asked.
Cleverpelt thought back. Now that he mentioned it, she did remember a twinge of fear in the scent. She nodded. Rockstorm looked somewhat relieved.
“Ahhh. I don’t think they’re planning an invasion.” Rockstorm continued, ignoring Cleverpelt saying she didn’t think there would be an invasion. “I heard of a skirmish between LightningClan and another Clan. Was it NightClan? I think it was.” Cleverpelt watched him speak, mock anger glimmering in her eyes. “Anyway, that apprentice or whatever you smelled was probably just scared.”
“Still, maybe Guststar should be informed,” Cleverpelt meowed before thanking him and heading towards Spottedgorse, who was on her way to the warrior’s den.
Gingerheart scurried after her. “Spottedgorse, I know you hate Silversong. Honestly, I do to.” Anyone who aggravated one of her best friends was not on Cleverpelt’s good list. “But I think you should-” The tabby was cut off by Spottedgorse lashing her tail across the brown tabby’s mouth.
They burst into the warrior’s den when Cleverpelt saw the tears glistening in her friend’s eyes. “I hate her!” she screeched furiously. Cleverpelt and Gingerheart stepped back. “Why does she have to be so pretty and perfect?” she asked no one in particular.
“She’s everything!” hissed the she-cat. Cleverpelt tensed her shoulders; glad no one else was around. The light was dim, but she could see Spottedgorse’s amber eyes glowing with hatred. “She’s everything I’m not!”
Cleverpelt and Gingerheart were quiet when they heard her choked sobs. She collapsed into her nest. Quickly looking back and forth, the two tabbies awkwardly padded over to their friend and murmured soft, encouraging words and stroked her pelt with their tails.
Gingerheart exchanged a glance with Cleverpelt, Things are going to get complicated.
By Patchy (LightningClan)
Three cats padded side by side. About two days past since they left LightningClan in search of Firepaw. "This is hopeless!" Blueleaf moaned, "We're never going to find him." She meowed sadly. "We would have left the clans for nothing..." She trailed off.
Spottedwing, who was in the led, stopped and turned to Blueleaf, her eyes bold. "Never give up, Firepaw's out here, I can feel it." She hissed, she then softened. "We can stop to rest and hunt." She meowed flicking her eyes to Patchfeather and Blueleaf.
Spottedwing had taken part at being leader on their trip and was doing pretty well. Spottedwing led the way once again into deep bracken and brambles. Patchfeather tripped, annoyed he got up. "Do we have to go this way?" He asked stumbling up.
"Yes, yes we do." Spottedwing mewed and dismissed his complaints. "Bossy." Blueleaf whispered, clearly in a better mood. Blueleaf jumped. "Mouse! I smell mouse!" She screamed.
"Shh do you want it to hear you?" Patchfeather whipped his tail over his mouth. "Whoops sorry." Blueleaf whispered. Spottedwing herself was shaking at the thought of food. Patchfeather noticed that he did too shiver at the thought of prey.
They hadn't eaten since they left LightningClan. Patchfeather saw the mouse. Spottedwing nodded to him. He sprang into it. He killed it swiftly. He turned back to the she-cats to see them wide eyed and smiling. He knew those looks. Something was on him.
"What's on me?" He asked in a shaky voice. "A spider." Blueleaf mewed high-pitched. "Ahh! get it off!" He mewed. "Well I don't want to touch it." Spottedwing meowed. "Me neither." Blueleaf mewed shaking her head quick.
"Is there a creek?!" He asked whipping his head around. "I don't know!" Spottedwing meowed. Patchfeather rubbed his shoulder on a tree to see a green spider crawl off. He shook his pelt out. Spottedwing looked like she was going to laugh.
"Your such a drama queen." She chuckled and turned around. Blueleaf watched Patchfeather. "Did it bite you?" She asked worried. "No, My furs too thick, anyway I got it off before it could do anything." He mewed proudly fluffing out his tail.
"Whatever you say." Blueleaf meowed padding away, rolling her eyes. Patchfeather fallowed. They settled in a clearing with moss. Spottedwing sat down. "Wheres that mouse?" She asked looking to Patchfeather. A pit formed in his belly.
"Oh yeah... I forgot it." He meowed carefully. Spottedwing's eyes widen. "You forgot it? how could you have done that?" She asked angry. "Err.... I don't know." Patchfeather shrugged.
Spottedwing's gaze was icy. "Just for that you have to catch another one." She meowed sharply. "What? oh come on." He puffed padding into the forest.
The light was orange and the sky was blood red with streaks of pink, blue, yellow, then it turned to the night sky full of stars. He had to make this quick. The scent of vole hit his nose he saw it in the half-light. He crouched, then out of no where a blur of gray and orange sliced his gaze.
It caught the vole and turned it's eyes on Patchfeather. His eyes widened. "Patchfeather? what are you doing here?" He asked running up to him hitting his head on Patchfeather's chest. It was Firepaw. "Me, Spottedwing, and Blueleaf came to find you." Patchfeather meowed.
Firepaw looked in disbelieve. "You.. you came after me?" He sounded like he couldn't believe anything. "Even after Whiteflower died... don't you feel sad?" He asked.
Patchfeather's chest hurt at the mention of his deceased mate. "Of course I do but that doesn't mean I would just leave you behind." Patchfeather replied. "Why did you get so worked up?" Patchfeather asked. "She was my mentor, she was like an older sister to me, or a mother to me when Waterfeather wasn't there."
Patchfeather nodded. "Come on we have to get back to Spots and Blue." Patchfeather meowed turning around.
Then he saw a rabbit and sprang onto it and killed it. He picked it up and turned to the amazed Firepaw. They made it back to the others at Night-Fall.
"Firepaw!" Blueleaf yowled running up to the apprentice purring. Spottedwing who had fallen asleep woke. "Firepaw?" She asked wide awake. "It's so good to see you all again!" Firepaw purred. "Same to you." Spottedwing purred.
After the greeting they ate then started telling stories about their adventures. "So then the squirrel dashed up the tree and-" Firepaw had been saying but stopped at a snarl. He looked wide eyed to Blueleaf sitting next to him. "What was that?"
Then their jaws gaped open as four huge foxes came into the clearing, all hungry looking. "Run!" Spottedwing yowled dashing away, the others hot on her heels, but the foxes weren't going down that easy, they were chasing after them!
Firepaw tripped, Blueleaf and Spottedwing were ahead, not knowing. A fox snarled in Firepaw's face, Firepaw was frozen in fear. Terror crashed through Patchfeather, he couldn't just leave him. Patchfeather sprang in front of Firepaw and hit a fox in the face it sneered, then yelped when two cats jumped onto them.
Patchfeather joined in with the pelt ripping, fallow soon by Firepaw. The foxes now confused, the cats took their chance and ran to a tree above them. They got to the safe branches just in time, the foxes below them angry.
Panting, Spottedwing looked at them. "Don't think we forgot about you." She huffed. "Lets get some sleep." Blueleaf meowed. They curled up in the tree and drifted to sleep.
Patchfeather woke to them still in the tree dawn light shining through the branches, the others were already on the ground, besides him and Firepaw. Patchfeather nudged the tom. "Wake up." He said softly and jumped onto the ground.
Firepaw landed behind him. "We should go home now." Spottedwing meowed. They looked around. "Erm.... Which ways home?" Firepaw asked. Blueleaf looked startled. "I thought you guys knew!"
"I thought you knew!" Spottedwing meowed looking at Patchfeather.
"Oh well that's just great, we're lost!"
Chapter Eight Edit
Gingerheart and Cleverpelt spun around, eyes wide, as a shadow blocked off the light at the front of the den. Spottedgorse clambered to her paws, jutting out her chin, and blinked rapidly.
Gingerheart felt her heart sink as she recognized the voice, then the pretty silver tabby fur.
“No one is, Silversong,” Cleverpelt meowed in a somewhat icy voice. Spottedgorse shouldered past her friend and stalked up to Silversong.
“Yeah,” she added, recovering very quickly. “But with those huge, delicate ears of yours, you might have mistaken.” Silversong looked slightly taken aback but kept a smile, masked with a slim coat of a sneer. From her sky-blue eyes, she glanced at Spottedgorse curiously.
“Listen, we’re all friends here,” Silversong purred. Then her voice dropped so low it sounded threatening, “just know, that if you’re seriously being a kit about being jealous of me-”
The silver tabby gave her cousin a quick, up and down look. “- Let’s hope you never have any real problems.”
Spottedgorse bristled, and Gingerheart quickly tapped her spine with her tail. Cleverpelt’s eyes flashed and the brown tabby stood, and even Silversong’s widened ever so slightly. Cleverpelt was not to be messed with.
“Real or otherwise, there was no problem to begin with until you showed up,” the tabby growled. “Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to hang out with some real friends.”
“Let’s hope you never have any of those,” Spottedgorse added, blinking innocently. Silversong scoffed as Gingerheart let out a low whistle.
“Shaaaade,” she meowed. Cleverpelt laughed and the three brushed past the warrior, leaving her inside.
“I hope you’re happy,” Cleverpelt huffed to Spottedgorse as they made their way across camp. “That probably cost my reputation.”
“What reputation?” Gingerheart joked, nudging her friend with her shoulder. Spottedgorse laughed, finally genuinely and non-faltered. Gingerheart inwardly sighed in relief. Finally things could be normal once more.
Of course, the exact opposite happened.
“Hello there, Gingerheart, Cleverpelt,” the warriors spun around to see a small, light gray she-cat padding up to them. The she-cat’s gaze traveled across the group as she named each of them, and her smile faltered ever so slightly, “Spottedgorse.” “Fernsky,” Spottedgorse replied through gritted teeth. As much as Gingerheart was getting sick of the tension between Spottedgorse and Silversong, she could understand her hatred for Fernsky.
The gray she-cat had been a warrior long before she decided to become medicine cat, and during her times as a warrior she had been a queen and had kits. She was also Spottedgore’s mother’s sister, and although Spottedgorse’s mother had died not long ago, the two had been as close as hairs on on a mole. They shared interest so close, in fact, that they had a favorite kit between them. That kit had been Silversong, and Spottedgorse had long hated her aunt for picking obvious favorites and turning her own mother against her.
“Have you eaten yet?” Fernsky went on, purposely looking directly at Cleverpelt and Gingerheart. The two exchanged a glance before shaking their heads. Fernsky laughed. Despite being a middle-aged cat, she still had a tinkling laugh and looked moons younger. “Get to that, then,” she instructed, half-joking. Then she padded away, tail wavering.
Spottedgorse huffed and turned away.
“I hate my family,” she growled before grabbing a mouse and sauntering away.
Spottedgorse had acted off the rest of the day. Gingerheart and Cleverpelt noticed it, naturally, but soon the rest of the Clan did, too. It wasn’t a little mood swing or irk, the tortoiseshell had gone out of her way, stomping and rolling her eyes at every passing cat. She refused to talk to anyone, even her best friends, until nightfall.
Gingerheart had trouble sleeping. Spottedgorse’s behavior worried her enough to stay awake until moon-high, during which she was typically long asleep.
It was around that time when she was reflecting the day’s events. What was she going to do? No, scratch that- what was Spottedgorse going to do? She couldn’t sulk forever; knowing her friend, she would kill a cat before she let go of her happier, carefree self. The last thought worried Gingerheart, and she turned around, expecting to see Spottedgorse’s rising and falling flank next to her. Instead, it was cold and empty.
Gingerheart felt her heart sink in dread. Something was horribly, horribly wrong. Carefully, she picked her way out of the den and stuck her nose to the ground. To her dismay, she scented Spottedgorse- and it led out to the forest.
The forest was still and quiet in the midst of the night. Gingerheart closed her eyes and soaked in the night smells, but shook her head immediately. She had other things to take care of.
Suddenly the orange tabby froze. The bushes rustled, too large to be prey, and Gingerheart knew exactly what was behind the bramble thicket. Cautiously, she crept through, not bothering to shake out the thistles, when she spied a dark shape hunched over. Spottedgorse swung her head around. Her amber eyes were huge and wild, and her pupils grew round as she recognized her friend.
“Ginger, please don’t tell,” she pleased in a husky whisper. “They won’t know, just don’t tell.” “Spot, what’s going on?” Gingerheart meowed, voice slightly trembling. Spottedgorse didn’t answer. She looked like she had run through the entire Dark Forest and back.
“Spottedgorse, tell me,” Gingerheart went on, taking a step forward. There was an eerie silence before Spottedgorse finally stepped to the side.
Gingerheart gagged and stepped back.
“Oh my StarClan…” she cried, feeling as if her throat was wrapped in thorns. “Please, no…”
“Friends don’t bail,” Spottedgorse reminded her in a creepily calm voice.
“I know,” Gingerheart wailed, stumbling back even more. “But this is-”
“This is going to end your time in this Clan.”
Gingerheart and Spottedgorse spun around to see the gleaming pale eyes of the medicine cat, and Gingerheart felt her stomach drop to her paws. Fernsky padded up towards them, glaring coldly at Spottedgorse.
“What you have done, dear Spottedgorse, disappoints me gravely,” she small she-cat growled, stalking up to meet Spottedgorse nose to nose. “Guststar will exile you once I tell her about this. Then I will never have to look at your miserable face again.”
“This is all your fault,” Spottedgorse spat, her voice breaking. Fernsky gave her an eerie, uncharacteristic smile.
“It isn’t my fault you killed your own cousin.”
Then she darted off towards camp, leaving an astounded Gingerheart, a horrified Spottedgorse, and Silversong, whose eyes slowly faded from brilliant blue to empty navy.
Chapter Nine Edit
"Oh StarClan, what have I done." Spottedgorse lazily drug herself to her nest. Just last nightfall, she had cold-heartedly killed her only family in BreezeClan: Silversong, her cousin who everyone loved so dear. Before she pushed into the warriors den, Fernsky peeped her head out. "What do you think you are doing? You aren't welcome in this den. Go sleep with the apprentices." Spottedgorse ignored her and pushed past her. Fernsky spun around and saw Spottedgorse laughing as she settled into Fernsky's nest.
"Hey!" she whispered. "I don't want to wake up the other warriors, but I will if you don't get out!" Spottedgorse sat up and washed her fur. "Yea? And what're you gonna bout it?" Fernsky hissed and pushed Spottedgorse from her nest. "Fine, fine. I'm leaving. Happy?" Fernsky's eyes narrowed. "Yes, but Guststar isn't."
Spottedgorse spun around, her spine-fur bristling. "How dare you. You told Guststar?" Fernsky nodded. "Oh, bother. Speak of the devil." Guststar hastily pushed into the den. "Get out of here now!" she hollered. Spottedgorse shivered and dashed out of the den, Guststar close on her heels. The leader dashed up to the Clanledge, gathering the Clan for the ceremony - the worst ceremony no cat would ever dream of.
"Let all cats join together for a meeting." Almost at once, the whole of the Clan darted out of their dens, some going harder and pushing to get to the front. "Today, we have a 'loyal' member amongst us. This cat killed an invaluable cat of our ranks. Today, we gather to honor the death of Silversong, and to exile Spottedgorse, her murderer." The apprentices gasped loudest, followed by the queens and elders. The warriors, most the she-cats, cried and sobbed. They would never hear another one of her stories for a long time.
"Spottedgorse, do you have anything to say to testify your word?" Spottedgorse looked down at her paws. She shook her head. "No, Guststar. Do what you wish. I admit to killing Silversong." Guststar stared at her with hatred pooling in her eyes. "Then by the name of StarClan, I hereby exile you from BreezeClan. I give my warriors permission to attack and kill you must you be seen on our territory. Now go."
A ginger cat and a brown tabby pushed through the crowd right when Spottedgorse was about to push through a leave. "Wait." It was Gingerheart, one of Spottedgorse's closest friends. "I am going with her. There is nothing I wouldn't do for her, same for me." The brown tabby spoke up next. "Me too." Guststar gasped. "Cleverpelt? My daughter. Why are you going with that rat-bag?"
Cleverpelt looked astonished. "Why would you say something so hurtful about one of my friends, a kit you knew who's mother was your best friend? I don't feel you as family now. I am leaving, along with Gingerheart." The three cats padded out through the gorse tunnel, not even bothering to look behind them.
Right when they were out of sight and ear-shot, they dashed off towards the lake, running next to the stream in which Cleverpelt had fallen into half a moon before. The three slowed and stopped, starting to finish their giggly conversations about toms and hunting. A few moments after Gingerheart finished her side, Spottedgorse stopped. She raised her nose and sniffed. "Hey Ginger, do you remember that smell from a few moons ago?"
"Yea, why? Do you smell it?"
Spottedgorse nodded. "I smell it, and this time alot stronger. The fear-scent is strong... and..."
Gingerheart and Cleverpelt listened intently. "And what?"
"And it's on our territory." Spottedgorse put her nose to the ground and sniffed, facing the direction to the camp. "The scent smells of an apprentice, young, maybe 10 moons. And... there's another scent! At least 3 cats, maybe 4. Their scents are right on the trail of the apprentice. We should investigate." Gingerheart stared at Spottedgorse. "Wow, she is good." she whispered to Cleverpelt, who was staring, mouth a gape, at Spottedgorse.
Spottedgorse dashed off into the trees, away from the camp, hot on the the trail of the cats, Gingerheart and Cleverpelt hot on her heels. The wind and out-hanging branches whipped at their fur and the wind dried their eyes. Spottedgorse's fluffy tortoiseshell fur was matted and leaves stuck to her legs. She stopped abruptly at a sandy hollow, where scuff marks from running paws were strewn everywhere which way. "Can you smell the direction, Spot?" Cleverpelt asked. Spottedgorse nodded and kept walking straight. The two other shecats followed and saw a sight: a crow and two squirrels lay, twisted and bloody, in a pile.
The squirrels had maggots by their neck and mouth, and the crow was dis-embodied. Gingerheart and Spottedgorse gagged, while Cleverpelt sniffed. "Spot, does this smell like the scent you smelled?" Spottedgorse went closer to investigate. "Yes, it does." She continued on.
She thought to herself, What does this mean? Is an apprentice trying to launch an attack? No, that can't be it. Oh gosh, is my former Clan in danger of enemy Clan cats? Spottedgorse shook the thought away, but she couldn't fathom the idea.
Spottedwing was still attempting to calm her companions down. "Calm down!" she screeched. Blueleaf turned to look at her. "We are lost! How can we?" The four of them were in some bushes they made dens. "I agree with Spottedwing, we should clam down and maybe we can figure something out," Patchfeather mewed.
Spottedwing rose to her paws and went to get some prey. "What would you like?" she asked them, putting her paw over two maggot covered squirrels and a dis-embodied crow.
Patchfeather looked disgusted, at what had been offered but he chose to share one of the squirrels with Firepaw, while Spottedwing and Blueleaf ate the other maggot covered squirrels.
Blueleaf looked ready to vomit and Spottedwing was reluctant to eat. Patchfeather and Firepaw were eating it with a disgusting look on their faces. The two she-cats finally started eating but very slowly.
Patchfeather stood up slowly after he was done and he let out a large groan. "What's wrong, Patch?" Blueleaf asked him. Patchfeather and Firepaw looked sick. "I think we accidentally ate a maggot and now we feel sick," he meowed.
Spottedwing turned to Blueleaf. "Hey... Um... Do you remember any of the herbs that help stomach aches?" Blueleaf shook her head. "Wait! Maybe yarrow? It will help them vomit up the maggot," Blueleaf meowed.
"That's right! We should go find some," Spottedwing said, "Stay here," she mewed to them, and both of them nodded. Spottedwing and Blueleaf started to walk away trying to find it.
Spottedwing suddenly stopped, and Blueleaf bumped into her. "What's wrong, Spotty?" Spottedwing hushed her. "I smell cats, maybe a group of three." Blueleaf looked happy. "Maybe they could save us!" she mewed.
"Let's focus on the yarrow for now, they smell like BreezeClan." Blueleaf looked a little disappointed but then nodded. "Is that it?" Spottedwing asked pointing her paw over to a plant with a white flower on top.
"I think so," Blueleaf said. She picked it up, and dashed back the way they came with Spottedwing hot on her heels. They finally reached their base and went to Patchfeather and Firepaw.
"Here," Spottedwing mewed. Patchfeather chewed it and then vomited up the maggot. Firepaw did the same. Patchfeather padded over to his two friends and thanked them. He suddenly stiffened and sniffed the air.
"What is it?" Firepaw asked him. Patchfeather turned to him. "I smell cats, BreezeClan cats," Spottedwing spoke up. "I smelled that scent earlier! And I feel as if it's getting stronger,"
"Oh no, are they looking for us?" Blueleaf asked. "Maybe," Patchfeather mewed. "Will they attack?" Firepaw asked. "Can everyone, stop worrying!" Spottedwing screeched.
"Why? Someone could be coming for us!" Firepaw said. "Or saving us!" Blueleaf added. "Or killing us!" Patchfeather meowed. "Okay! There will be no killing!" Spottedwing yowled.
"Are you talking about us? We want to know who you are." Spottedwing knew it was the BreezeClan cats.
Oh no, is our group going down because of a group of BreezeClan cats?
Firepaw put out his claws, ready to fight. But the cats did seem to want to fight. A group of a few cats, came. "Who are you?" Asked one. No cat wanted to respond. Spottedwing did so first.
"I am Spottedwing, these are my friends." The group said who each other was.
"We are on our way back to the Clans." Said Patchfeather. Spottedgorse shook his head.
"We do not plan on going back there." Spottedgorse said.
After a while, the group went on there way, the two groups together, why go back to the Clans? No one knew where to go, but they would go together. Soon after, Gingerheart got a scent of something.
"Fox" she said. With that, the group of cats turned to face the whatever would attack.
"Stay back Firepaw.” Said Clever. But why? Cats looked down on Firepaw, he could fight same as any cat. He sniffed. 'The scent seems like it's coming from...behind us....” Thought Firepaw. Just then, FirepS heard a growl. A fox was behind them, soon a battle started, it was so fast, Firepaw could not see what was happening. He closed his eyes and slashed around his claws.
He opened his eyes, there was no use fighting with his eyes closed. And there he saw, Patchfeather attacked by the fox. Firepaw stood there. The other cats were starting what should they do? No one made a move. As if no one knew what to do. They stood, frozen in fear. Firepaw looked at them, "I'm going to help Patchfeather.” He said. That seemed to brake Blueleaf's fear, Blueleaf shook her head.
"You can't Firepaw. You will get hurt." Blueleaf said. ’Then so be it.’ Thought Firepaw. He lunged at the fox. What had felt like hours, waiting for a cat to help, could have not even been a second. As Patchfeather seemed fine. Firepaw slashed the fox. The fox was strong, but so was Firepaw. With in seconds, Firepaw was winning. And, though he did not know how, in seconds, the fox had run into the forest. And Spottedgorse's face seemed to say that Firepaw, had been brave.
The next days were mostly walking. Everyone seemed surprised at Firepaw. But there was not much talk about it. The cats thought they might start new Clans, in a new place. Firepaw was not sure how he felt about that, after all, new Clans, would be cool. But he missed his Clan. And his family. His older brothers, and his parents. And of course the rest of the Clan. He still missed Whiteflower, and thought about her every day. The other cats who knew her, thought about her too. Or at least, Firepaw thought they did. They did not talk much. And when they did, they did not talk about Whiteflower. Firepaw looked at the ground. He missed his friends at home. But, Patchfeather was very close too him, and he was glad to have him with him.
Still, cats looked down on Firepaw, they thought less of him. But he was smart. He was not perfect, fighting came to him easily, but he felt no need to use his claws. His hunting was not great. Sure, he was the master of clever-comebacks, but no one needed a lot of those. What they needed were claws. And Firepaw did not have much good for those. What he did have, was csts looking down on him. It seemed like they also needed a cats name not to end with ’paw’ Firepas was helpful, and he liked the other cats, and much as they liked him.
Things were good for Firepaw, very good. But how would he know, where to make new Clans?
Chapter Twelve Edit
Blueleaf looked around at the traveling cats. "Let's rest here for the night," Blueleaf meowed, her tail pointing towards a large cave next to them. "Mind you we also have to hunt and get some herbs." Blueleaf pointed out. She could feel her own wounds still burning. "Blueleaf's right. Now, let's first of all get settled into the cave and then start hunting and herb picking." Spottedwing said. "Sounds alright to me." Firepaw mewed quietly, slightly trembling.
He's much to young to go on such a journey. . . .
All the cats wearily walked into the cave, all legs shaking. "Is anybody fit enough to hunt?" Spottedgorse asked. Cleverpelt and Patchfeather nodded their heads.
"Alright, you two can hunt, I'll go to pick some herbs." Blueleaf mewed. All the cats looked at Blueleaf, surprised."
You know about herbs?" Spottedwing meowed in disbelief.
"Don't forget, I was a very sickly kit and was in the medicine den a lot." Blueleaf murmured.
Blueleaf and the small hunting party padded out of the cave. Blueleaf sniffed around for a few moments.
Marigold! I can make a poultice out of that. And there should already be some cobwebs in the cave.
Blueleaf plucked the marigold and walked back into the cave.
"Back already?" Firepaw mewed weakly. Blueleaf nodded.
"With some marigold. I've come back to fetch some cobweb from the cave. I'll go out again later." Blueleaf said. She looked around the cave and spotted a corner with cobwebs in it. "Perfect!" Blueleaf exclaimed. She took the herbs over to Firepaw. "Now, let's see to your wounds."
Night was now falling as the cats huddled around each other to keep warm. Around midnight, Blueleaf woke up.
She walked outside and looked up at the stars. She sighed.
We might have found Firepaw, but will we find our clans?
Then, Blueleaf paused and remembered her leader's exact words before they left.
"You all know that Firepaw can't survive alone. I trust you three. Even if you don't come back, StarClan will tell us. Go now. Firepaw ran towards Twolegplace. If you stray too far from home, don't come back. Firepaw is far to young for such a journey."
She's right. We're far from Twolegplace. Which means we're even farther from our clan.
Blueleaf shook off the thought.
I wonder if Jaggedclaw and Birdsong are watching me from those stars? Or if my kits and Thundertail are? Or if all of them are.
Blueleaf looked back at the cats sleeping in the cave.
I should probably get some sleep. We're going to need to travel tomorrow.
Blueleaf huddled next to the small group of cats and slowly drifted into sleep.
Cleverpelt stared down at the small mouse that she had caught. Pain seared her heart when she didn't recognize the scent. She was far, far away from everything she knew and loved with only her best friends.
She remembered the sadness in Rockstorm's eyes when they said their farewells. "I guess this is goodbye," the tom had said in an icy tone. Her kits had swarmed around her with distraught looks, trying to get her to change her mind. A spear of agony stabbed her chest. The shock in her mother's eyes when she said she was going with her friends.
Her family. She missed them dearly.
Fighting back tears, Cleverpelt bent down to pick up the mouse. She thought of Gingerheart. If only she was out hunting with her right then. Her anxiety would be reassured by her bright, glowing eyes. She is my family now, the tabby thought. It would be even better if Spottedgorse's gaze was there as well. So is Spottedgorse.
"We should get back to the cave," Cleverpelt meowed. Patchfeather nodded, padding off to where he had buried his prey. The moon was just starting to rise; it wouldn't be midnight for a long time yet. Carrying the mouse, Cleverpelt trotted to where she had buried her catches, two mice and a small squirrel.
Digging them up, she held each of them awkwardly in her mouth. Patchfeather sprang over to her gracefully, a sparrow and two voles dangling from his jaws. He posed as he landed, and while Cleverpelt restrained the urge to laugh, she grinned as they headed back to the cave.
Eerie silence wrapped around the forest. Cleverpelt pressed against Patchfeather nervously, feeling safe in his calico fur. She hadn't known him for long, but she guessed that if they would be travelling together, she might as well trust him. She was afraid of the darkness that enveloped them. Cleverpelt looked up at the tom, who smiled through his prey.
The two ended up back at their temporary camp. They walked into the cave, where the cats were huddled next to each other, snoring lightly. Cleverpelt turned to Patchfeather, and the tom shrugged. They didn't want to wake up their campmates, so they settled for sharing a sparrow.
"We still have not discussed why the heck your group is out here," Cleverpelt said, taking a bite.
"I could say the same for you," Patchfeather meowed as nipped a small part of the sparrow off.
"I asked first."
Patchfeather drew in a breath, looking at Cleverpelt's sapphire-coloured eyes through his icy-blue ones. "Well, we had a little bit of a border skirmish," he started. Cleverpelt narrowed her eyes. A border skirmish hardly sounded like a reason to be running away from your Clan. "And Firepaw's mentor died. He ran away, and we were sent to rescue him." He paused. Cleverpelt urged him on. "But our leader said if we got too far away not to come back."
Cleverpelt snorted. Doesn't seem like a good leader to me, she thought. "Well," she started. "We're here because of family as well. Spottedgorse has- well, had, a cousin named Silversong. Spot hated her. She was so perfect and popular." A low growl caught in the tabby's throat. "One day, Spot just couldn't handle it. She found her alone at night and killed her. She was caught by her aunt and exiled by Guststar, my mother."
Patchfeather looked horrified, and Cleverpelt realized what she had just said. "Don't worry, she's not a psychotic murderer," she put in quickly. "If you knew Silversong, you'd want to kill her too." the calico looked doubtful, and the tabby scooched closer.
"Others think I'm stuck up because I'm mates with the deputy and my mother is the leader. I'm not. And I'm also not a liar," she said before taking another bite of the sparrow. Her white-tipped tail flicked.
"If you say so..." he said. Cleverpelt twitched her whiskers. "I do say so. Her, Gingerheart, and I have been best friends since kithood," she stated proudly. Patchfeather shrugged and took a bite of their meal. He looked thoughtful.
"I'm cool with her as long as she doesn't murder me in the middle of the night," he joked. Cleverpelt chuckled lightly. "So, how did you find us?" he asked.
"We've been smelling LightningClan by our border for a while now. But it's only gotten stronger, and the scent smelled like it came from a young cat. Plus, my best friend was exiled, so Gingerheart and I came with her. Where were we supposed to go?" she half asked, half told the calico tom.
Patchfeather took another bite of the sparrow right after Cleverpelt took hers. "I don't know," she said. Cleverpelt sighed.
"Rhetorical question, bud," she purred.
The tom laughed quietly, followed by a yawn. "I'm tired," he said, his voice airy.
"Really? Couldn't tell," Cleverpelt said, throwing up her eyebrows. Patchfeather poked her shoulder playfully. Both of the cats got up, Cleverpelt suppressing her own yawn, and walked over to the small huddle of cats.
The tabby lied down beside Spottedgorse and Gingerheart, curling her tail around and tucking her paws under her belly. Patchfeather curled up beside her and Blueleaf. Cleverpelt bent her head down and closed her eyes.
She tried to fall asleep to the soft breathing of her friends, but her mind swirled with possiblities. What were they going to do? They couldn't go back to BreezeClan, that was for sure. What if Patchfeather's group left? Where would they stay? All of the thoughts made her brain hurt.
With Gingerheart and Patchfeather's flanks pressed against her, she started to feel calmer. As long as they stuck together, the journey would be fine. Right?
Patchfeather woke to the sun shinning annoyingly bright in his face. Cleverpelt still slept next to him, Blueleaf's nest was cold. He carefully climbed out, the only ones left in the den were him, Cleverpelt, Firepaw, and Gingerheart. He looked outside, it wasn't too late, it was just dawn.
He padded over to Firepaw and gently poked him. He moaned and climbed up he looked at Patchfeather, his eyes sleepy. "What, are we being attacked?" He asked waking up right away and bristled at his words.
"No, it's just time to go hunting." Firepaw's fur lied flat. "Okay." He mewed. Patchfeather led the way out of the den to the open. the others no where to be seen. "They must already be out." Firepaw meowed. Patchfeather sniffed Leaf-fall was on the way, they probably wouldn't catch much.
"We'll hunt anyway." He puffed, with Firepaw at his side, they went farther into the forest. He watched as Firepaw opened his jaws to scent the air. He closed them and began to fallow one path, Patchfeather fallowed behind.
Firepaw suddenly sprang into the air. Patchfeather watched in amazement as he caught a large crow. The gray and ginger apprentice landed and padded up to Patchfeather, his eyes shone. Patchfeather watched him pad away with pride, he felt like a father to the apprentice.
Firepaw buried his crow and padded back to him. He opened his mouth to say something but was cut off by paw steps. They turned to see Gingerheart and Cleverpelt looking at the crow.
Gingerheart looked at the young tom. "Not bad." Firepaw bristled. "Like you could do any better." He meowed threateningly, but with a bit a amusement. Gingerheart just snorted. Cleverpelt turned to Patchfeather. "Where's everybody?" She asked.
"They're hunting." He meowed. She nodded. "We should too." Gingerheart meowed whisking her tail. Patchfeather led the way with Cleverpelt and Firepaw standing on each side of him. Firepaw looked up his eyes sparked.
"Hey Patchfeather, I dare you to climb to the middle." He meowed excitedly. Patchfeather glared at him. Firepaw looked like he wasn't sure now. "How dare you ask, I'll climb to the top." He mewed shoving Firepaw lightly. Firepaw's excitement returned.
Cleverpelt looked confused while Gingerheart looked at them like idiots. "Are you mouse-brained? your gonna fall." She yowled. Patchfeather tipped his head. "Do you think i'm that dumb?" He asked with a dumb look. Cleverpelt giggled and Gingerheart slightly laughed.
"Whatever you say." Gingerheart mewed rolling her eyes. Patchfeather leaped into the branches sap was on the bark. Firepaw was watching in amazement. Patchfeather kept going. His paw got caught is a few bumps, but he got through.
Not even half way up he smelled something bad. He sniffed. I've never smelled anything like it before he thought looking for where it was coming from. His heart started racing when he saw a it, it was gray, with a ringed tail and a black mask.
It snarled when it saw him and swiped him. He screeched and fell from the tree. He got up the others staring at him. "What happened?" Cleverpelt asked, shocked and worried. "I don't know! there's something up there." He meowed.
Gingerheart, Cleverpelt and Firepaw all looked at each other then at Patchfeather again. "What did it look like?" Gingerheart asked. "It was big, gray, ringed tail, black mask, and long claws." He mewed.
The other three looked thoughtful. then they shook their heads. "I've never seen anything like that." Gingerheart meowed still looking thoughtful.
They heard scampering and leaves move. They turned their heads to the tree, three of the things that Patchfeather saw came over, teeth bared. Cleverpelt looked horrified. "What are they?" She asked in a high-pitched voice.
"I don't know." Gingerheart and Firepaw seemed to share the horror, and Patchfeather realized he felt the same. The creatures then charged. The cats screamed and ran. The creatures pattered after them, they were quicker then they looked.
A wall of brambles blocked them away. "What do we do no- ah!" Firepaw was cut off by one of the things grabbing him with it's claw. It cut his neck bad at the sudden attack. Firepaw batted it's muzzle. Patchfeather sprang in to help, while Gingerheart and Cleverpelt battled side by side with the other two.
But they tried soon, the creatures were far larger then the cats, and stronger. Patchfeather bit into it's pelt and shook his head around.
It hissed and hit him in the cheek. He stumbled up and sprang away. One of the others was attacking Firepaw and Gingerheart was helping the apprentice.
Cleverpelt was left alone. Patchfeather leaped to her side and hit the thing just as it was going to bite her ear. Then Firepaw was on it, along with Gingerheart, and they ran across it's back and leaped into a hollow inside a tree.
Cleverpelt followed, with Patchfeather behind. The things tried getting in, they were to big. They sat painting. Cleverpelt looked at everyone in the cave, her eyes shining. "We all make a pretty good team."
“I hate the cave. The cave hates me. We’re all stuck here for eternity.”
“Firepaw, for the love of StarClan, please shut up.”
Gingerheart covered her ears with her paws. The sun hadn’t even risen yet, and Firepaw was singing. In a way, she couldn’t blame him. The ring-tailed animals, the cold hard floor of the cave- it wasn’t right. They didn’t belong here.
“If he doesn’t shut his mouth this instant, I will single-handedly throw him into a raingtail den,” Patchfeather growled as Firepaw continued his song. Spottedwing raised her head from the tight circle she was balled in.
“You don’t mean that,” she insisted. Patchfeather hissed.
“I mean every word.”
By that time, each cat had waken up groggily and grumpily. By the time Gingerheart got up and shook out her paws, Firepaw had started a new verse.
“You annoying furball,” came the muffled voice of Blueleaf, still curled up in her nest.
“Nothiiiiiiiing can compare, to the way the ringtails pull out your hair,” the ginger and gray apprentice went on to the bridge, passionately hopping atop a rock. Cleverpelt trotted up beside Gingerheart, who raised her eyebrows.
“Are you seriously not annoyed?” Gingerheart asked in a whisper. Cleverpelt laughed.
“You have to admit, he has a lovely voice,” she purred jokingly, nudging Gingerheart with her shoulder.
“Until the stars fall from the skyyyyyyyyyy,” Firepaw sang, hitting an ice-shattering long note as the song drew to an end. “We’re all…. go-ing… to diiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!”
“All he needs are some backup dancers,” Blueleaf snorted, arching her back in a stretch halfway through the final note. Finally, the song ended, and Firepaw hopped down from the rock.
“I hope you’re happy,” Patchfeather growled. “I made it through your entire song without shredding my ears.”
“Jealous,” Firepaw teased.
“You know, he does have a point.” The six cats spun around. Spottedgorse emerged from her den in the shadows, eyes glazed from lack of sleep. Gingerheart inwardly sighed. Spottedgorse hadn’t gotten over the fact that she had killed Silversong, and most likely wouldn’t. However, she had done a good job leading the group since they’d met.
“What do you mean?” Spottedwing asked, grooming her thick, fluffy tail.
“I mean that Firepaw’s right,” Spottedgorse replied, shaking out her fur and glancing around the cave. “We don’t belong in a cave. I think it’s time we head out on an adventure to find a home fit for us.”
Firepaw hooted in agreement, and the other cats exchanged murmurs.
“We don’t really have a choice,” Cleverpelt murmured, glancing down at her paws.
“Yeah,” Blueleaf agreed. “We need to find a permanent home.” Spottedgorse nodded, looking relieved as the cats began to agree with her.
“We can eat before we leave,” the tortoiseshell announced. “Clev, would you like to hunt?”
The brown warrior nodded eagerly, flexing her claws. Patchfeather perked up from behind her.
“I can go with her!” he suggested almost too soon. Cleverpelt curled her tail in delight at his request. Gingerheart shook her head. Clev, you have a mate and kits. Think about them.
Spottedgorse nodded, not noticing the interactions between the pair. “We leave at sunhigh,” she declared.
Gingerheart raised her head in triumph as she picked up the nest of mice with her teeth. That should be enough, she told herself. Then we can eat, leave, and never retu-
Suddenly she froze. There was a vaguely familiar scent around her. She tried desperately to recall it, when suddenly it hit her- BreezeClan scent!
“Show yourself!” she hissed. She sent a prayer to StarClan, hoping that they would not recognize her scent. “I can smell you!’
As if a beacon, a small gray she-cat slid out from the brush. Gingerheart bristled.
“Fernsky,” she growled, then slammed her jaws shut. Fernsky smirked at her, eyes glistening coldly despite her scrawny frame.
“Gingerheart,” she replied smoothly. “Long time no see.”
“Why are you here?” the orange tabby hissed, hackles raising. “Just to taunt Spottedgorse?” Fernsky laughed roughly.
“Of course not,” she meowed darkly, grinning like a maniac. “That would be far too modest.”
Suddenly Gingerheart had a sickening familiar twisting in her stomach. Fernsky waited for an answer, and when none came, she went on.
“You see, Spottedgorse always hated on my innocent daughter,” she rambled, pacing in a tight circle around Gingerheart. “Not just her, either. All three of you. But hatred ran so deep that she killed a cat that did nothing but love.” Gingerheart narrowed her eyes.
“Maybe if you didn’t turn the whole Clan against her Silversong would still be alive,” she snarled. “I know what you’re trying to do, but it’s not working. I’m sticking by my friends until the end.”
“Loyalty,” Fernsky snorted, “easier said than done. Speaking of which, I still haven’t explained myself.”
Gingerheart pursed her mouth together but didn’t speak, bracing herself for any sudden attack.
“You see, I was very distraught over Silversong’s death, like any mother would be,” she explained in an icily calm way. “I wanted revenge for the terrible deeds that ended my daughter’s life. But alas-” Fernsky paused dramatically, then broke into a grin- “Spottedgorse simply has no family left. So I went after the next biggest target.”
Gingerheart felt sick. “... her best friends,” she finished quietly. Fernsky curled her lip in amusement.
“Very clever,” she mocked. “Speaking of clever, back to the reason I’m here today.”
“Cleverpelt?” Gingerheart whispered, eyes widening. Please don’t let her family be hurt.
“Oh, yes, Cleverpelt,” Fernsky went on, eyes sparkling as she realized how horrified Gingerheart was, “picked the wrong friends. And because of that, she no longer has a mate.”
Time seemed to freeze.
“Rockstorm?” Gingerheart rasped, barely a whisper. Fernsky purred darkly.
“Now BreezeClan is left without a medicine cat or a deputy,” she went on as if Rockstorm was nothing more than a fly. “He was quite simple to kill. I was exiled, naturally, but now I’ve found you.”
The old cat leaned forward until she was a whisker away from Gingerheart’s nose.
“And let me tell you, your little group isn’t off the hook until each and every one of you suffer like my daughter did.”
Then, before Gingerheart could comprehend, she was gone.
Oh, what am I going to tell Clever?
Spottedgorse crashed through the brush, waking every Bird in the nests around her. To her side, Patchfeather and Blueleaf slept uncomfortably in a tight circle. To her other side, Gingerheart, Spottedwing and Cleverpelt slept huddled in a group by the cave entrance.
The ringtails scurried around the entrance, making scratching noises and shaking leaves. Spottedgorse sat down and took a breath. Gosh. She had been trying to outrun the ringtails, which had cornered in the hollow outside the cave. Their beastly red eyes stared at her as they hissed and chased. She stirred Gingerheart, who lazily flipped to her other side. "C'mon Ging, we have to wake the others up and start moving." She sat up in her nest and stretched, her toes twitching.
She yawned and looked at Spottedgorse. "Oh, well I was just having the best dream, about to catch a..." Spottedgorse flicked her tail. Gingerbread looked at her eyes, which flashed as the sun shown over the horizon. She knew Spottedgorse was serious. Padding lazily over to Blueleaf and Patchfeather, she prodded hard in the sides, "Wake up, you lazy slugs. Spottedgorse says we have to start moving."
Patchfeather was the first to say something. "Where, and what direction, exactly are we going?" Spottedgorse froze and looked at the Tom. "I have no idea. That's why I want to discuss it with you all." Spottedgorse sat by the entrance while Spottedwing, Cleverpelt and Ginerheart all sat around her. Patchfeather and Blueleaf were the last to gather. "Ok, guys. We have to keep moving if we don't want go be discovered by the Clans."
"Yea, that's what I'd like to know."
"Guys. Relax. We'll find a way around this. We just have to think." Spottedwing spoke. "How about past the Clans and over the ravine behind Twolegplace?" Spottedgorse looked at Spottedwing like her head was about to explode. "Wow, ok. I hadn't thought if that. Sure... but we have to think of a way around the ringtails."
Patchfeather arched his back. "We can go around the edge of LightningClan territory and then to the farthest side of Twolegplace. And then carry on over the ravine. There has been no scent of the ringtails around there." Spottedwing started talking to Gingerheart. "Hey, all of you haven't let me have a chance to speak." Everyone in the room silenced. "Good grief, well thanks. Anyway, I think we should follow in and around the hollow right outside, then follow it behind the Twoleg nest behind BreezeClan territory."
"But Clev, the ringtails live behind BreezeClan." Cleverpelt shied away. "Ooh sorry. I forgot." Spottedgorse padded to entrance, hardly stirring the sand. "Well, let's follow around..." Gingerbread pressed her shoulder. "Spot? There's something I need to tell Clev first." Spottedgorse turned back to the centre of the cave. "Clev? Listen. I met Fernsky and a patrol a few days ago. She... she's killed Rockstorm because Spottedgorse killed her daughter." Cleverpelt gasped. Her voice quivered and her eyes watered. "Oh StarClan. Are you serious?" Gingerbread sadly nodded. "Yes I am serious."
Cleverpelt collapsed. "What are my kits gonna do without a father? Especially Cinderflower. She struggled most when I went with you." Gingerbread helped her shaken friend to the entrance. "C'mon Clev. Now we really have to go. The Sun is already peaking above the trees and the air smells of rain. We have to find new shelter, and quick." The 6 cats carefully pushed out of the entrance and into the underbrush. Cleverpelt was shaking against Spottedgorse, who pushed closer to steady her.
Oh StarClan, let us get through this without harm.
By Wolf Firepaw, and the others ran to find Spottedgorse, Gingerheart, and Cleverpelt.
"We need a new shelter." Spottedgorse panted. Firepaw was about to ask why but Patcfeather was too quick.
"Come then, we have no time to lose!" He meowed. Firepaw stood for a second, sniffing the air.
"Come on" said Blueleaf. Firepaw nodded and followed. Spottedwing in the lead, walked with the other cats. Ginger not far behind Spottedwing. The others were back a little bit. The all ran quickly. Firepaw panted after what felt like hours of running.
The other cats seemed to be about to fall. "Let's...stop...for....now.... " panted Patchfreather. "We're far away, but we do need a new a place to spend the night. This is no place to stay, but it's should be good for tonight, we can find a new place to stay tomorrow." Patchfeather said.
Firepaw sniffed, and looked for food. Once they had found food and water, Firepaw looked up. "We could stay here you know. Start a new Clan and stuff." He said.
But Ginger shook her head. "We need a place with better shelter to start a new Clan, Fire. Of we can find that here, then we can stay." She said. Firepaw new it was true. He looked around. And saw something that might be a help.
"Well, we could stay there it would work." He said. Patchfeather stood up and looked around.
"Where do you think we can Fire?" He asked.
"In that cave other there." Firepaw said. Patchfeather looked. It seemed to be safe, but Firepaw knew they would have to look into it. Plus, another Clan might be there, or it might not be a place for the cats to start a Clan.
"That just might work, good find Firery." Patch said. Firepaw smiled.
Clever stood up. "Let's check it out." The cats walked to the cave. Firepaw looked inside. It was dark, and small. But it could fit the group, the only thing was, was it safe for the group?
Also by Wolf
Firepaw entered the cave, and walked into the cave, the only sound was the cats class hitting on the stone ground. It looked dry, but was dry all they needed? It should also be safe. There seemed to be no water that got into the cave, but there was river right outside. The cave could flood. But the chance did seem big that is would. Firepaw saw no holes, whcih was great. And as he and the other cats looked, there were no dogs, or other animals. Not even ringtales. The thought of them alone made Firepaw almost wish he was home and safe, in the Clan, with his family. But then, he thought about it. These cats faced more him then his parents, or his brothers, or even his mentor, and faced with him. Wasn't this what family was? Staying together, and facing dangers to protect one another? Well, that's what Firepaw thought family was. And if the cats that were with him now weren't family, then he had no idea what was!
"It seems safe." Said Patchfeather. Firepaw looked at the older cats. They were like a family to him.
"We stay here for now." Said Spottedgorse. The cats nodded at each other, agreeing. It seemed safe. It was not dark yet though. There was a lot of stuff to do before the night.
"Let's hunt." Said Blueleaf. Ginger nodded. And the csts went to look for food.
"Firepaw, do you want to come hunting with me and Clever?" Asked Spottedwing. Firepaw nodded, and went to hunt with them. After they had buried there food, and went to look for more, Spottedwig called,
"Clever! Watch out!" Clever, and FirepW, though he was not close to Clever at all, looked to see what was up. A brown thing, with sharp fangs, and sharp claws, and a tail that looked almost like a beaver tail, was there. It looked like how Firepaw thought a beaver would look like, but not as big, and lighter brown, with a shorter tail. With no time to lose, Firepaw, and Spottedwimg, and Clever, lept at the heave like thing. Soon, Ginger, Blueleaf, Patchfeather, and Spottedgorse, joined them. Fighting the beaver like thing. Slashing it with there paws. The beaver like things claw hurt even though they out numbered it, winning seemed unlikely. They shoved it off. Firepaw slashed it's face. It ran. Firepaw panted. His legs hurt, he felt like he was about to fall. He looked around, everyone seemed to be there, but then, one was missing. Firepaw could not see to well, everything was blurry, but as far as he could see, one was not there.
"Where's Gorse?" He said.
Patchfeather shook himself off. And looked down at ground, his eyes got wide, "Down there." Spottedgorse was in the ground, his eyes were closed.
Firepaw could barely see, his eyes were fine, but only since he kept them closed while he fought. His eyes always looked blurry after he had his eyes closed, he blinked a few times. Which helped. He and some of the others dragged Spottedgorse back. Blueleaf followed them, she helped them clean him off, and healed his wounds, after all there wounds were treated, Spottedgorse woke off.
"We're lucky." Said Spottedwing. "We are all safe."
"That's good that we are all safe, but we might need a new shelter." Said Patchfeather. And the new place they found, was near twolegsplace.
Chapter Nineteen Edit
Blueleaf looked at Twolegplace. She sniffed in disgust. "Are we kittypets or loners?" Blueleaf meowed in disgust. "I would rather be back at the clans more then anything right now." Cleverpelt sighed.
She's still grieving about Rockstorm.
Then, Blueleaf felt like a lightning bolt had hit her. Rockstorm? Wasn't that one of the scents found on her mate, Thundertail, and one of her five kits, Sedgepaw's body?
"Clev? Did Rockstorm ever happen to patrol once by the LightningClan border and get into a border clash with a tom and an apprentice?" Blueleaf asked, trembling.
"Once he said that they killed a warrior and apprentice on accident." Clev murmured. "Why would you ask?" she mewed.
"My mate and son died from a border clash." Blueleaf said quietly.
Clev stared at her and her hackles raised. "Are you blaming my mate for killing your mate and kit? My mate is dead now! And do you care?" she hissed.
"You have no idea what I've been through! Have your mate and 4 of 5 kits died? I didn't think so!" Blueleaf snarled in her face.
Spottedgorse stepped between the two she-cats. "Clev, don't get mad at Blueleaf for Rockstorm's death. It was my fault." she mewed quietly.
Then, she whipped her face around to face Blueleaf. "Her mate died. Give her some slack, would you?" Spottedgorse meowed.
"Her mate killed 2 of my kin! Do you know what that feels like Spot? Huh? I didn't think so." she spat.
Stupid Rockstorm! Stupid BreezeClan in general! If it wasn't for those mangy, crow-food eaters, Thundertail and Sedgepaw would still be alive.
Blueleaf paused for a moment.
I'm a loner now. I decided to leave my kin to find an apprentice!
She glared accusingly at Firepaw but then finally sighed.
It wasn't his fault. He was driven away by grief.
She sniffed the air for prey. Then, a thought hit her. "Wait! Spottedwing, Patchfeather, and me traveled through here when we were trying to find Firepaw! We're close to home!" Blueleaf exclaimed.
Then, Gingerheart walked up to Blueleaf. "Don't forget that Spottedgorse was exiled and we went with her. So, technically, we can't go back to BreezeClan." Gingerheart explained.
Blueleaf's tail drooped. She had been looking forward to going back to the clan to see how her clanmates were doing.
I can't just ditch Spot, Clev, and Ginger like this! Even though Clev picked a horrible mate.
Blueleaf sighed. Let's travel towards the trees. This Twolegplace stinks." she finally meowed. "Sounds alright to me!" Spottedwing piped up. "Same!" Patchfeather said. "Totally!" Firepaw chirped.
The band started traveling towards the trees. Blueleaf narrowed her eyes at Cleverpelt.
Don't think I'm going to forget about this. This is far from over Clever. Don't worry, I won't hurt you in any way. I'm not as cruel as that. But I'll do something. Blueleaf vowed.
Cleverpelt growled in hostility as she glared at Blueleaf through narrowed, icy blue eyes. Grief stabbed her heart, her throat tightening as she thought of her beloved mate. Dead. And it was all Spottedgorse’s fault. It her friend had just cut the crap and let it go, Rockstorm would be alive. Now her kits were pretty much orphans.
The group burst into the winding trees upon leaving the Twolegplace. Cleverpelt wrinkled her nose in disgust. The twoleg den-ridden palace had smelled rank, like of carrion. She was glad to be surrounded by the forest scents.
“What are we going to do?” asked Firepaw, tipping his head to the side. Spottedgorse shrugged as she padded forward, shoulders hunched in determination. CLeverpelt scowled as she followed her friend. Gingerheart was to her right, with Patchfeather and Firepaw behind them, Blueleaf and Spottedwing lagging behind.
Gingerheart was silent as she padded beside the tabby. She knew that her friend was grieving and angry, and didn’t want to disturb her. Cleverpelt’s head hung low as if hanging from loose strings, her tail drooping, tears in her eyes. Patchfeather looked concerned, but didn’t ask any questions.
Her heart was frozen with sorrow as she dragged her paws along the ground. The group continued quietly, murmuring amongst themselves. Rage and sadness lingered in her gut and made her want to curl up and cry. It bubbled inside her like hot water.
She missed her mate. She missed her children. She missed her mother.
Why did she choose to come on this stupid journey?
Gingerheart nudged the white pawed tabby. “Time heals all wounds,” she murmured. Cleverpelt lashed her tail and hissed.
“Not a broken heart!” she exclaimed furiously. Gingerheart stepped back, a look of awe on her face. The rest of the group turned to look at her. Cleverpelt flattened her ears to her head as they looked at her, eyes wide in shock and confusion.
Patchfeather leaned forward as Cleverpelt felt the anger fizzle out of her. “Are you alright?” he asked cautiously, Firepaw shooting him a look of warning. The tabby shrugged. She didn’t have the energy to be mad, or even speak. Patchfeather leaned back, and Spottedwing whispered something that she couldn’t hear.
She didn’t care. She wanted to see her kits again. She glanced up to see the daylight waning, the intense bright blue replaced with a milky periwinkle. Something stabbed her chest, hard, and she reeled back. Will Rockstorm be watching me tonight?
Then, another sad thought flooded her brain. Probably not. I betrayed him.
A twinge of regret entered her body, followed by a heap of remorse. “I miss my kits,” she blurted out. She quickly slapped her fluffy tail over her mouth and shrank down.
Blueleaf turned to face her. Cleverpelt narrowed her eyes, hackles rising, but rose up slightly when she saw the flash of sympathy in her bright blue eyes. Gingerheart light stroked her tail along her spine. She also felt Patchfeather’s tail pat her reassuringly. She shivered.
Spottedgorse opened her mouth, but then closed it again. A moment passed. “I was thinking a lot about what Firepaw said.” Firepaw pricked his ears. “You know, about starting a Clan. We should go through with it.”
Firepaw’s chest puffed out with pride as Cleverpelt and Gingerheart exchanged a glance. The bewilderment was almost enough to keep the grieving tabby’s mind off her family for one second- almost.
“What would it be called?” asked Spottedwing. “Yeah,” Blueleaf said. Spottedgorse paused while Cleverpelt flicked a white paw.
“I don’t know about you Spot,” the tabby started, sapphire eyes glittering. She felt all of the gazes on her pelt, and she started to feel hot. “I think we should call it OneClan. We’re all one, amirite?”
Gingerheart nodded thoughtfully while Blueleaf flashed a glance at Cleverpelt. She felt it burn into her flank. She could tell it was one of anger at her ‘we are one’ comment. Cleverpelt stiffened. The tension between them could be cut with a claw.
“If we’re going to be in a Clan together,” Patchfeather began, looking at them all with a sweeping gaze with those icy blue eyes. “I say we get to know each other.” He flicked his tail tip. “Hi, I’m Patchfeather, and I’m a tom.”
The whole group burst into giggles, but Cleverpelt was laughing the hardest. She would take anything at this point to stop thinking about her family.
Chapter Twenty-Two Edit
Spottedgorse led the way through the forest, it was dry and very cold. Patchfeather made his pelt extra fluffy to keep the cold out. Two days had past since the fight between Cleverpelt and Blueleaf, they were still trying to stay far away from each other.
He fell into step with Cleverpelt, her head was hanging. "You okay?" He asked cocking his head. She jumped at his voice and shook herself. "Yes, It's just super cold." She mewed.
Spottedgorse stopped and looked at them. "Hunting will warm us up!" She mewed flecking her tail. "But we just did!" Firepaw moaned.
Gingerheart looked at him. "We may not be able to have food for awhile after this hunt, Leaf-bares almost here, and we don't have as many clanmates to help out, we're going to have to get plump." She meowed hitting Firepaw's nose with her tail.
He sneezed and fell backward onto his back. All the cats giggled. He got up and lashed his tail. "That wasn't funny!" He snorted. "Kinda was.." Spottedwing whispered to Gingerheart. He snorted and padded off. Spottedgorse sighed.
"Firepaw wait." She called. "Did he always do this?" She asked looking at Spottedwing. She nodded. "Everyday."
"Well, hes going to run off by himself, lets go find him." She sighed and padded off. "Wait, some of us should hunt." Gingerheart put in. Spottedgorse's tail swished. "Your right, you guys find it out, I'm going to go farther ahead.
Spottedwing and Blueleaf got up. "We're going with Spottedgorse." They went to find the tortoiseshell. "I guess that leaves you two and me." She puffed. "I'm leading." Patchfeather meowed and began to march, head and tail high.
The two behind him laughed. After awhile, they all shared stories, and became closer. But now it was about almost dusk and everyone was annoyed. "Why does he run away so much? And to make it worse, its still freezing!" Cleverpelt snorted.
"Shut up Clev! I hear something.." She meowed padding over to a bush. A scream split the air. "Ginger!" Cleverpelt yowled running over, Patchfeather fallowed. Then they both screamed when there was only air beneath they're paws.
They landed with a quiet thud. "Ow... " Cleverpelt whispered. In the half light, he made out Gingerheart's form looking up. A hole was above them, and no way up. He looked both ways, they were in a tunnel. "Ah!" Cleverpelt whined.
"What?" Gingerheart asked, fear lightened her voice. "My belly, it has a deep cut!" She breath quickly. "Calm down, let me look." Gingerheart meowed. Patchfeather glanced at the floor, blood shined in the light.
"Uh-oh.." Gingerheart gulped. "What? what is it bad?" Cleverpelt asked fearfully. "Part of the stones in the wound still." Gingerheart mewed. "How do we get it out?!" Cleverpelt asked, panicked.
"We have to pull it." Gingerheart replied. "Oh StarClan why? first Spottedgorse, then Rockstorm, now this?" She asked in pain.
"Okay, we'll do it quick, Patchfeather, part the wound, I'll pull it." She meowed. Patchfeather did as she said. Cleverpelt whimpered when he moved it. Gingerheart put her muzzle to it and bit quick and pulled away. Cleverpelt screamed pushing Patchfeather off her belly and stood up shaking.
Gingerheart spit out the stone and blood. She started to relax a bit. "What do we do now?" She asked quietly. Gingerheart perked. "Oh no, Firepaw fell down here, his scents in that tunnel." She meowed pointing her tail down the one closest to her.
"Lets fallow." Patchfeather meowed. Cleverpelt leaned on Gingerheart's shoulder and they went into the darkness.
Yet, after another long while, they were still in the tunnel. They Cleverpelt leaned on his shoulder for Gingerheart to take the lead, she had the sharpest scent so she would be able to find Firepaw easily. "You know what would be great right now? Firepaw's cave song." Patchfeather laughed.
"Dear StarClan... no." Cleverpelt giggled weakly. "Alright, why do you guys always have to start yapping whenever I hear something?" Gingerheart asked. Patchfeather and Cleverpelt had been making up dumb stories out of the blue, and they were being very annoying to Gingerheart.
They stopped when they heard a voice. "I hate the tunnel, the tunnel hates me..." They heard the muffled voice of Firepaw's cave song, with new additions. "Firepaw!" Patchfeather yowled.
The singing stopped and patters thundered lightly in front of them. "Patchfeather! Gingerheart! Cleverpelt! Thank StarClan!" Firepaw's voice rang into his ears. "Its nice to see you again." Patchfeather purred.
"I smell fresh air!" Gingerheart yowled. They fallowed her to a light filled hole. They exited the cave. "We did it!" Firepaw squealed giving a bounce of excitement.
"Well hi there." They looked up to see Blueleaf, Spottedgorse, and Spottedwing. Firepaw stayed with the Spottedwing and Spottedgorse, cats telling them about they're adventure in the darkness, Gingerheart and Blueleaf went to find herbs for Cleverpelt's wound.
He guided her over to her nest. She slipped down. "Thank you so much." Cleverpelt mewed and closed her eyes. "Anytime." Patchfeather nodded and padded into his own nest, Firepaw padded over.
"Spottedwing and Spottedgorse said I have to stay in my nest because I ran away." He meowed and lied in his nest, right next to Patchfeather. Patchfeather settled down next to him and Cleverpelt. "So I started falling down the hole, then..."
Firepaw's babbling began.
Chapter Twenty-Three Edit
A sudden chill woke Gingerheart. Blinking away the sleep from her eyes, she stood from the warmth of Cleverpelt’s flank. She wrinkled her nose in disgust. Something smelled… off.
Curiosity got the best of her, and Gingerheart followed the new scent out of the clearing and towards the thicker woods. Then she recognized it.
“Show yourself, Fernsky,” she snarled, whirling around. “You’ve done enough harm to my friends to stay in the shadows.” There was a muffled chuckle nearby. Two glistening green eyes met Gingerheart’s from the underbrush.
“Ventriloquists make wonders,” came the mocking reply, “but they don’t move a muscle.”
Gingerheart huffed, too weary to question the former medicine cat’s vocabulary.
“My point being,” Fernsky went on, slithering out from the bracken, “is that I am watching your desperate little group fall apart from the inside. And I’ve done nothing.” the green eyes narrowed to slits. “It’s all so marvelous.”
“For you, maybe,” Gingerheart snapped. “What did Cleverpelt ever do to you? Or Blueleaf?”
Fernsky blinked innocently. “Oh, they did nothing. I did nothing. They’re merely fighting, and I am enjoying it.”
“You monster,” Gingerheart snarled. “What’s next, killing Spottedgorse?’
Fernsky smirked. “Killing is painful, but not nearly as painful as emotional scars. No, Gingerheart, the biggest part of my plan will be executed soon enough. No one will die, but by then, OneClan- as you fools call it- will be destroyed, and you and your friends will be rogues without a scrap.”
Then she was gone once more.
Traveling was difficult the next day. Gingerheart felt each step grow heavier, and with each joke her friends told her laugh got duller. Blueleaf had lashed out at Cleverpelt more than once, but Gingerheart was too exhausted to intervene.
“How are you feeling?” Spottedgorse asked her at one point, softening and lowering her voice. Gingerheart shook her head and pressed onward.
She noticed the air growing steadily cooler, and realized leaf-fall was soon upon them. She looked to distract herself, to joke about Patchfeather flirting with Cleverpelt, but the she-cat was bitter towards him. Maybe she regretting talking to him so comfortably before she knew of Rockstorm’s death. Gingerheart didn’t know. She couldn’t keep Fernsky’s threat off of her mind.
“Should we stop and hunt?” Blueleaf asked shortly and icily. Cleverpelt rolled her eyes.
“We just hunted,” she snapped. “Maybe if you weren’t busy glaring at me you would have eaten.”
“Sorry. It’s just that when I’m standing next to a murderer, it gets a bit tense.”
“Hey!” Spottedgorse hissed, whirling around. “Let me remind you that the only murderer here is me. Clever has never laid a claw on anyone.”
“I can’t help what Rockstorm did,” Clever added quietly.
Blueleaf curled her lip to speak and unsheathed her claws. Gingerheart sucked in her breath and braced herself for a fight. Fernsky’s going to be thrilled.
Suddenly there was a gasp from ahead. Gingerheart heard Patchfeather growl to himself.
“What’s Firepaw gotten himself into this time?” he muttered, lashing his tail. Gingerheart got an all-too familiar gut-wrenching feeling as she followed the other still livid cats up the forested slope to the orange and gray apprentice. Could this be Fernsky’s huge plan?
She inwardly cursed at herself the minute she reached Firepaw. The woods ended, leaving the cats on a grassy slope. At the bottom of the hill lay golden layers of grass, and beyond that, lush, thick woodlands. Gingerheart sucked in her breath. It was simply beautiful.
Gingerheart felt Blueleaf pad up beside her, wide-eyed. For once the she-cat wasn't arguing, only staring in awe as the sun began to sink along the brink of the world.
“It’s like my own warriors’ clan,” she heard Spottedgorse whispered.
“No,” Cleverpelt murmured, stepping up beside her friend and gently tapping her spine with her tail. “Our own warriors.”
Spottedgorse smiled, and instantly, everything that Fernsky threatened, every feud between Cleverpelt and Blueleaf didn’t matter.
“It’s perfect,” Spottedgorse whispered.
Spottedgorse collapsed on the ground, tired after the long walk down the ravine. The other cats in her group had lay down in the tall golden grasses and stuffed themselves full of whatever they could find. Patchfeather curled closely to Cleverpelt, who purred when she warmed. THe sun beat down gently onto the cats, and the field seemed to glow from the rays. Spottedgorse stood up and yawned. "Gosh, we are beginning to become lazy. We need to get up and stretch a little." Gingerbread stirred next, swishing her tail over the shorter of the grass. "Spot? Can we please spend the day marking our territory?" She pointed her tail towards the prey heap, which was towering with birds and squirrels. "We have enough food that will last us until tomorrow, so let's mark the territory, shall we?" She prodded Patchfeather, who had just closed his eyes. "Hey, I'm trying to sleep." But he shut his mouth when he noticed the seriousness in Gingerheart's eyes. He yawned and shouldered Cleverpelt. She stirred.
"Wha-?" Cleverpelt had a line of hardened drool down the side of her brown tabby face. The other cats tried to hold back laughs as Cleverpelt jumped into the nearby stream. "Stop it! It's not like you guys have problems!" Blueleaf was the last to stir and join them. "So what is your problem, then?" Blueleaf giggled. Spottedgorse pushed her. "Alright that's enough. Let's go set the markers." She dashed off into the golden grasses, leaving a trail of flattened grass behind her; Gingerheart reluctantly followed, this time slower and at a brisker pace. Cleverpelt pushed up behind her and Patchfeather, Blueleaf, Spottedwing and Firepaw followed behind in a some-what conga line. Spottedgorse carefully nosed the reed-like grass aside, sniffing every which way, noting the familiar landmarks and the strongest scents. Spottedwing pushed to the front. "So, do you think we'll meet any cats? I mean... that would be cool, but we'd have to fight and all-" Spottedgorse halted and eyed the boulder the towered above them. She straightened her tail and bent the tip, signaling for them to stay. She walked around the side of it, momentarily darting back followed by two massive gray and black dogs.
Gingerheart pelted off back towards the hollow where the cats had spent their first night. Patchfeather and Firepaw followed, Spottedwing and Cleverpelt following Spottedgorse. Blueleaf faced the dogs. She arched her back and hissed, her fur standing on end. Her hiss shook like a kitten facing a warrior. She spit at the dogs, who's jaws slavered with white foam. The dogs growled and barked. The larger of the two stepped back a few feet, slowly turning to late disappear behind the boulder. Blueleaf lashed at the smaller dogs' snout, striking a whisker dangerously close to its eye. Crimson blood welled up and spattered the sandy ground; the dog turned and fled, whimpering whilst leaving a trail of red spatters behind. Gingerheart and Firepaw peered through the grass, and carefully sniffed around the clearing. The other cats, including Spottedgorse, dashed back into the hollow. "Are the dogs gone? Wow, Blueleaf, you were really brave. Thank you for fighting the dogs." Blueleaf narrowed her eyes at Cleverpelt.
"Thanks, Spottedgorse." She curled her lip at Cleverpelt.
"You are welcome for not knowing your family died 'at the paws of my mate'!" Cleverpelt snarled, her eyes glared.
Spottedgorse pushed between them. "Hey, knock it off you idiots. We can't start fighting and expect a resolution. If you two keep fighting about ridiculous things, blood will be shed and lives will be lost. You two need to stop." Cleverpelt's lip softened and she cooed to Blueleaf. "You got lucky; heaven knows what I was gonna do." Blueleaf flexed her small claws. "Oh, you have no idea. Spottedgorse? Let's mark the territory now."
By Wolf After they marked where they lived, Firepaw stared out of the cave they lived in. Soon, Patchfeather came in.
"I hate the cave....."He muttered by mistake. "....Firepaw! You got the song stuck in my head!" He said. Firepaw smiled.
"Why do you think I song it is the first place Patch?" He asked. Patchfeather shot him a look. Soon, they other cats entered the cave, but not Ginger, who was on look out for OneClan.
"Will OneClan have a leader or deputy?"Spottedwing asked.
"For now, I don't think we need one. Maybe after a while." Said Spottedgorse. Firepaw hoped they never had a leader. They had all been equal on there way to start the Clan, and he thought it should stay that way.
Blue looked at Firepaw "We do need mentors, though. Firepaw is still an apprentice!"
"Firepaw has learned a lot, and fought well. I don't think a mentor is what he needs." Clever said.
"What he needs, is not to run away all the time." Spottedgorse joked. But he also shot Firepaw a look, that made Firepaw wonder why he ran away so much.
"Say, where's Ginger? She should be back by now." Spottedgorse said. He was right, which made everyone become silent.
"That's it, we are going to have a search party if Ginger is not back soon." Soda Patchfeather.
"Well, there won't be a need for that." Said a voice. Firepaw looked behind him, at the front of the cave, Ginger was one her way back in.
"What took you so long Gingerheart?" Asked Firepaw.
"Kittypet, by the border. He wanted to come back to the cave, but I made him leave." Ginger said, showing her claws. Just then, a small black-and-white kittypet, only a little older then Firepaw, entered. Ginger rolled his eyes.
"You should go back home, this is a Clan of wild of cats." Firepaw said, in no-nonsense way. He spoke to older cats that way, or else they wouldn't listen to him.
"I don't see a need to head back right away." Firepaw said.
"Look, we've faced being kicked out of our Clan, Ringtails, attacks, dogs, on-land-beavers, and worst of all Firepaw's cave song, we are not cats too mess with." Ginger said. Firepaw had to agree, though he didn't know how much this kittypet could mess things up, he did want a cat he didn't know to enter OneClan camp.
"Well, being kicked out of a Clan sounds bad, but I have kicked out of Twoleg's nests before, and if the 'ringtails' are raccoons, then I see them all the time. Dogs, are easy, 'on-land-beavers’ as you call them, I for one call them ’groundhogs’ but you can call the, whatever you’d like, are hard. But, Iv’e faced them too.” The kittypet said. “Though I do want to know, why were you cats kicked out of your Clans?" The kittypet asked.
“Long story.” Said Clever.
“Fine then.” Said the kittypet.
“Why were you kicked out of your Twoleg nest?” Asked Firepaw.
“I’ll tell you if you tell me why you were kicked out of your Old Clan.” The kittypet said.
“I came away from these guys, we met later, I did not get kicked out, I ran away.” Said Firepaw.
“Well, then tell me why they were kicked out.” Said the kittypet. Firepaw could tell the kittypet was playing, and not really trying to be sneaky, but Firepaw would not tell him what the others did not want him to say.
"I won't tell.” Said Firepaw.
“Fine then, I'd tell you, since you ran away, but in private.” Said the kittypet.
Firepaw rolled his eyes. “Fine. He said.
“I'm more like you, I'm more wild. I was born and raised a kittypet, but I always was more of a wild cat.” The kittypet said, and that was it.
For the first time, Firepaw thought of something. “Wait, you've been saying ’Twoleg’ not ’Housefolk’ and ’nest’ not ’house’ and ’kittypet’ rather then ’house cat’”
“Right, I was not cat one would really want to have. I ran away a lot, every time, they would get new cat, after getting the new, less likely to run away, cat, I would get sent to place called an ’animal shelter’ I would stay for a long time, then someone else would take me, I always tried to get out of the animal shelters, but it never worked. Whoever got me would send me back. The same thing happened this recent time, I got a home, I ran away, they got a new cat, but this time, the shelter I had been at, closed. They sent me too a new one. Which, they didn't know, would kill the cats there for too long, I was the only animal there, O you'll be there last animal, they have long since closed, I went back to see. I was there for too long, this time, I knew I had to get out, and I did, I have lived on my own ever since, I know the Clans, I stayed with them, for a while. And now I'm here.” Said the cat who had once been a kittypet.
“What's your name? And why are you here?" Asked Firepaw.
“I was called ’Checkers’ as a kittypet, I call myself ’Shadow’. I came since, well, the Clans would not take me in when they found out I was once a kittypet, since then, I’ve looked for another Clan to take me in, I loved being in a Clan, I was not a Clan cat for long, I never even got a warrior name. I always wanted a warrior name, though. And also the loyalty of Clan life. I overheard you all talking about ’OneClan’ and so now, I want to join.” Shadow said.
Firepaw was surprised. What should he say to this? “I don't know of the others will let you join, but I would. Would you like to know our names?” Firepaw asked.
“I already know your names, and who's who, I can watch harder then you think.” Said Shadow.
“Come on, let’s ask the others then.” Said Firepaw.
“This cat is called Shadow, he would like to join us.” Said Firepaw. The cats looked at each other. And they decided, with there eyes. But still, no one spoke up.
“You may join us, you will join as an apprentice, and be a warrior after a while, I name you, Shadowpaw.” Said Ginger.
"Thank you Gingerheart. I might not always be able to stay. So I might have to leave soon.” Said Shawdowpaw.
“Thank you Shawdowpaw, you are welcome here for the next moon, after that, you will have to leave.” Said Ginger.
“Fine then. I will enjoy this moon.” Said Shadowpaw.
Also by Wolf The next day, Firepaw woke up before the other cats. He walked off of his mets, mad walked outside. It was hard to know if it was true or not, that OneClan was safe at last. Had they been saved? Were they safe for now? Firepaw had no way to be sure, as he did not know what would come. He stared off into the sky for a second. Then, all of a sudden, Firepas felt a pang, he missed his home. His parents, his brothers, and also his mentor, Whiteflower, who had died. Firepaw stared at the ground, he had faced so much, he had fought so much. He missed how things were, sort of. But this life was better for him. Firepaw looked back at the cave, and walked back in.
The next few days were like most were in OneClan, fighting some animals, hunting, patrolling, that kind of thing. Which, was, fine for Firepaw. Soon, Patchfeather want over to Firepaw.
"Fire, it’s time for Showdowpaw to be named.“ Said Patchfeather.
"Wait, why him, and not me? Iv'e been am apprentice longer then him!” Said Firepaw. For it was true, Firepaw was only nine moons old, but he had been an apprentice a long time, Shawdowpaw had not even been an apprentice a moon!
“He’s twelve moons old Firepaw! And your only nine moons old!” Said Patchfeather.
“But he just started his training!” Said Firepaw.
“He said he was an apprentice in the other Clans before he came here.” Patchfeather pointed out.
Firepaw glared “But, not for as long as I was an apprentice!” said Firepaw.
“I'm sorry Firepaw, but your too young to be a warrior, he's not.” Patchfeather said. “Come, on you don’t want to miss this!”
I would like to miss more then you know! Thought Firepaw. He walked along with Patchfeather, and soon they heard Shadowpaw got his warrior name, Shawdowstrike. Which, even Firepaw had to agree was a cool name and all, but of Shadowstrike was allowed to be a warrior, he should too. The rest of the night was not a favorite for Firepaw. He liked the OneClan csts, but they had to know, he could handle himself. But then, he thought of something, OneClan did not have a leader, he didn't need the Clan to agree with him.
“Hey! Firepaw are you so coming to with us?” Asked Blueleaf.
“I will be there, but not this second. I'll be there soon.” Firepaw said.
“Okay, I’ll you then.” Said Blueleaf.
Firepaw jumped onto where Shadowstrike had his warrior name, Firepaw said, “I promise to help OneClan, always. So in the power of the stars, I give myself my warrior name, Firestorm.” Firestorm jumped down, and went to join his friends.
“Hey Firepaw!” Said Spottedgorse.
Firestorm looked at the older warrior, “My name is Firestorm now!”
“Okay, Cleverpelt go see what’s uo with him.” Gingerheart said.
“Not now! You go Spottedwing!” Said Clever.
Spottedwing glared at the cats, but went over to Firestorm. “What's with you today, apprentice?” She asked.
“I’m not an apprentice, I’m a warrior.” Said Firestorm.
Don’t have time for games, Firepaw, we did not make you a warrior yet.” Spottedwing said, calmly.
“It’s Firestorm now. You all did not make me a warrior, I made myself a warrior. It’s not fair that Shadowstrike, who has been an apprentice shorter then me, should be allowed to get his warrior name, but I can’t have mine!” Firestorm said.
“Shadowstrike is older then you.” Said Spottedwing.
“But that shouldn't’t matter! I was an apprentice for longer, I should be a warrior! So I am.” Firestorm said, worn pride.
“You can’t make yourself a warrior.” Said Spottedwing.
“There’s is not a rule that says you can’t.” Said Firestorm. And even there was I would defy it Firepaw thought.
“There is a rule that says the leader must make you a warrior.” Said Spottedwing.
“But, OneClan does not have a leader, so none of us, or all of us can make apprentices warriors, and since Shadowstrike became a warrior, that means we can all male apprentices warriors!” Said Firestorm.
“He was a point.” Said Spottedwing. The other cats seemed to agree.
“What's your warrior name?” Asked Shadowstrike.
“Firestorm.” Said Firestorm. The other Clan cats cheered for him. He grinned, he was a warrior now.
The next few weeks were the best for Firestorm, until one day.
“Well, this is it. It was great knowing you Firestorm.” Said, Shadowstrike, one day when they were sitting with each other.
“You’re not leaving are you??” Asked Firestorm, jumping up.
“I am Firestorm. it's been a moon. I just said goodbye to the others.” Said Shadowstrike.
“If you tell them, they will let you stay longer.” Said Firestorm.
“I’m a loner Firestorm, I was born to be one. I found that out. I had a great time with you and the others, but now I must leave. I think I’ll see you sometimes though.” Said Shadowstrike.
Firestorm looked off into space. “Okay. I hope so, goodbye Shadowstrike.
The loner looked at Firestorm, as he left. “It's ’Shadow’ now.” He said, and ran off, to what felt like to Firestorm, very far away.
Chapter Twenty-Seven Edit
The sun was now setting as the moon was rising into the sky. The grass was slightly damp. The trees were fairly quiet this evening.
The gang said their goodbye's to Shadow, Firestorm with a faint glimmer of satisfaction in his eyes.
After Shadow was out of sight, Cleverpelt faced the group. "I want to find Fernsky." she blurted out.
The group turned their surprised gazes to Cleverpelt. "What do you mean you want to find Fernsky?" Blueleaf snorted.
Cleverpelt did not blink. "I want to find Fernsky." she repeated.
"Why?" Gingerheart asked.
"I want to avenge Rockstorm." she meowed, unflinching.
The group exchanged glances.
"Cleverpelt, I don't think Rockstorm would want you to die the same way he did. . ." Spottedgorse's voice trailed off as she was mid-sentence.
Cleverpelt stared at the group. "So you won't help me?" she asked.
Blueleaf stepped up. "I will. I don't doubt that she killed my only son left, Jaggedclaw. Besides, her scent was also on my son and mate's body." she snarled.
The group looked at Blueleaf in surprise.
"I'll come." Firestorm said. "So will I." Patchfeather echoed. "And me!" Spottedwing meowed.
Before anybody else could say that they wanted to come, Blueleaf held up her paw for silence.
"This is for me and Cleverpelt to handle alone." Blueleaf mewed. Cleverpelt nodded her head in agreement.
Before anybody could protest, Gingerheart stood in front of them. "No. This is for them to handle alone." she said.
Blueleaf nodded her head in thanks at Gingerheart. Gingerheart returned the nod.
Blueleaf and Cleverpelt then left the small band and ran towards Twolegplace.
This is it. Even if I die today, at least I'll die as LightningClan's deputy.
Then, another thought came to Blueleaf's mind.
No, I'll die as a rogue. Blueleaf thought as she bared her teeth in a snarl.
When Cleverpelt and Blueleaf reached Twolegplace, they sniffed around. Then they heard a voice.
"Looking for me?" the voice mocked as it appeared from the shadows.
Blueleaf unsheathed her claws. Cleverpelt did the same.
"It's two vs. one Fernsky. Just give up already!" Cleverpelt snarled.
"Actually, I have a few friends with me." Fernsky said as the two cats positioned themselves slightly behind Fernsky.
Without warning, Blueleaf leaped at Fernsky. She went for Fernsky's throat but Fernsky ducked under Blueleaf. Fernsky turned around and faced Cleverpelt.
"Fox! Lilac! Go take care of Blueleaf!" she hissed to the rogues through clenched teeth as she slashed at Cleverpelt.
The rogues nodded as they pelted towards Blueleaf. Lilac sliced Blueleaf's nose. Fox slashed at Blueleaf's muzzle. Blood dripped into Blueleaf's eyes. Blindly, Blueleaf slashed at thin air. Blueleaf could hear Cleverpelt and Fernsky beside them.
"Did you kill Jaggedclaw?" Cleverpelt growled as she hooked her paw over Fernsky's ear.
Fernsky looked at her with wide eyes. "Yes!" she snarled as she slashed at Cleverpelt, dangerously close to her eyes.
Cleverpelt shook the blood out of her eye and she tried to get up. Before she could, Fernsky raked at Cleverpelt's soft belly flesh, causing blood to pulse from the wound.
Blueleaf sunk her teeth into Fox's pelt. She shook Fox's body dangerously. Lilac used her front paw and sliced at Blueleaf's neck.
Then, everything went dark.
Chapter Twenty-Eight (WARNING: VERY GOREY)Edit
“Blue!” Cleverpelt shrieked, her voice an ear-splitting scream. The blue-grey she-cat was held down by a thin, muscular silver she-cat and a massive, ginger tom. Crimson blood swirled down from a wound in her throat. The tabby struggled to get away, but Fernsky gripped her firmly.
Cleverpelt’s eyes burned with fiery hatred. “Let. Me. Go.” She growled. A smile crept onto Fernsky’s maw as she struck the tabby’s soft belly fur. She winced, letting out a cry of pain. “You’re a foolish one, ain’t ya?” she asked innocently.
She cast a worried glance towards Blueleaf, who showed no signs of movement. Warm blood pooled around her thin body, streaming down from several cut. Blood trickled into her eye, stinging the sapphire orbs and creating a red haze.
Fernsky’s green eyes were narrowed in malice. “LET. ME. GO!” Cleverpelt repeated, louder this time. She swiped her claws against the she-cat’s cheeks, hissing angrily as she brought her face down to her own. The grey she-cat seemed strangely calm.
“What are you going to do, little warrior?” she asked in a babyish voice. “Kill me? Forgiving your enemies is what annoys them the most.” Her tone dropped into one of fury as she ended, launching forward to bite Cleverpelt’s neck.
She pushed her away quickly, the blood from the former medicine cat splashing onto her already crimson-stained pelt. “I don’t think of you as my enemy,” she hissed. Fernsky’s eyes lit up with surprise. Relief flooded her body when she loosened her grip. Cleverpelt tightened hers, digging her nails into the rogue’s bony shoulders. “I think of you as my learning experience!”
Screaming, Cleverpelt pushed Fernsky back with all her might. Fox’s gaze darted to them, alarmed, and the rogue leapt off Blueleaf’s still body to slink over to them.
Cleverpelt flashed her blood-stained, sharp teeth. “Get away from me, you scum bag piece of dung,” she snarled. Fox straightened, scowling. The tabby dug her claws into the ground and hissed at him loudly.
The ginger tom went back to his position while Cleverpelt stalked up to Fernsky, who was writhing in pain in a pool of her own blood. A scream flew out of her ruby red lips as the she-cat sunk her claws into her grey belly.
Cleverpelt stared at Fernsky, her face twisted into a mask of disgust and loathing. The crazed she-cat was foaming at the mouth, and Cleverpelt leaned back as spit and blood erupted from her mouth. The brown she-cat felt a hot liquid surround her paw.
“You disgust me, old hag,” she hissed. Fernsky’s eyes darkened as she attempted to slash Cleverpelt’s throat. The tabby moved out of the way with ease, and strengthened her grip on the she-cat’s stomach. “What is wrong with you?”
“I wanted revenge...” Cleverpelt watched as Fernsky struggled to speak. She felt blood drip down her pelt and start to dry in the Sun. “Spottedgorse... killed... my... daughter... my one... and only....”
“You know what you did?” Cleverpelt snarled. A heartbeat passed. “THIS IS FOR ROCKSTORM!” She screeched, raking her claws down her belly. Fernsky wailed in pain, flailing her unsheathed paws pathetically. “THIS IS FOR WHAT YOU DID TO MY FRIENDS!” The tabby ripped at her shoulders. Fur flew from her claws and blood spurted from the wounds. Fernsky’s heart pounded wildly. She’s losing too much blood to stay alive much longer, Cleverpelt thought as a pool of blood quickly gathered around the two.
Pain seared through Cleverpelt, her wounds pulsating. She tried her best to ignore them, but they stung like fury. She winced as she hooked a claw onto Fernsky’s bloodied chin. “Now...” she began, her voice hoarse. “Did you touch my kits?”
A moment passed of silence. Spit and foam gargled in Fernsky’s mouth, a ghostly wail escaping from it. Cleverpelt stared, hard, a thin wisp of red clouding her vision. Her once bright eyes were frosty with hostility.
“Did you touch my kits?!” she barked. Despite her condition, Fernsky’s lips curled into a smirk, her muscles tensing.
“I may have hurt them...” Fernsky started. But Cleverpelt had already sunk her claws into the flesh dangerously close to the grey cat’s heart. Something inside her just... snapped. Killing her mate was one thing. Attacking her friends was another thing. But hurting her kits... was a way different story.
“YOU MONSTER!!!” screamed Cleverpelt, brutally ripping at her chest, bloody tears flying from her tearducts. Fernsky spasmed violently beneath her, but it was too late. Blood poured out of the open wound, shining in the sunlight. The crimson liquid wreathed around her neck. Fernsky made a choking noise as she tried to injure Cleverpelt, but she couldn’t. The tabby’s claws were stained red with blood, her chest splattered red and oozing.
“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??!!!” she howled, tearing at her ears, which were once delicate and perfect. Now they were torn and mangled. “I HATE YOU!!!” screamed the tabby, dragging her claws down the battered, crimson body. Fernsky was too injured to fight back, but Cleverpelt could still hear the troubled breathing and slow heartbeat beneath her skin.
She reeled backwards. Just as she saw the last of the light in Fernsky’s green eyes die, she launched towards her mangled neck. She viciously tore into her throat with her sharp teeth, snapping the life-giving vein. The last of the blood exploded, blending in perfectly with the red, battered body.
Fernsky’s breathing got shallower and shallower until in stopped completely. Cleverpelt stared, eyes wide, at the dead body. She slowly crawled off, horrified. She had never killed a cat before. Her body trembled as she stared at the crimson stained body, complete with large wounds stretching across her body. She carefully sheathed her claws, feeling the blood cake her fur in a pale brown mud.
Fresh blood splattered her body as she walked towards Blueleaf, her chest frozen, terrified. Fox and Lilac’s eyes widened in alarm, their gazes flipping from the battle-scarred and bleeding brown tabby to the mutilated body of their leader. That cat must be insane! was probably what was racing through their heads as they scurried away, wailing in fear. Why wouldn’t they be thinking that? Cleverpelt had just murdered a cat in cold blood and wore her blood as if some kind of medallion.
But she didn’t. She regretted murdering the she-cat. She promised that she would never kill another cat ever again, unless she was being dangerously threatened. Her heart raced as she stepped towards Blueleaf’s battered body.
“Blue...?” she whispered. Several heartbeats passed, and Cleverpelt felt whatever blood she had left run cold. The tabby pressed her ear to Blueleaf’s chest. Thump... thump... Relief washed over her. Her heart was still beating.
“Blue?” she repeated, watching hopelessly. Suddenly, one of the she-cat striking, milky blue eyes flickered open. “Clever...?” she asked, her voice weak and quiet, eye wide at her friend’s blood-stained body. She tried to heave herself up, but ended up falling back onto the ground in a heap. “Are... you alright?... Is... Fernsky dead?”
“Shhh,” Cleverpelt murmured soothingly. “Yes, Fernsky is dead. Everything alright now,” she mewed as she stroked Blueleaf’s shoulder. She looked relieved, but also pained. Cleverpelt’s eyes were drawn to a gaping wound in her throat. She gasped.
“Oh, Blue...” she said as she looked down at the wound. “We need to get you home. You need to get you treated. I’ll carry you”
“I’m fine,” Blueleaf protested. But upon trying to sit up, she fell into a heap of spluttering coughs. Cleverpelt narrowed her eyes and shook her head. “You’re not. I’m carrying you.”
Before Blueleaf could object, she carefully heaved the delicate, bloodied she-cat onto her scarred and sore shoulders. She felt the she-cat troubled breathing on her back, and she wanted to get her home as soon as possible, but she knew she had to keep a steady pace.
“Clever?” Blueleaf asked weakly. “I’m... sorry.”
“I’m sorry too,” Cleverpelt admitted. “Now try and rest. We’re going home.”
Gingerheart closed her eyes as the cool breeze ruffled her fur. Beside her, Patchfeather was dozed off in the tall grass, snoring lightly.
Seven moons had passed. Seven moons since the death of Fernsky, seven moons since the settlement of OneClan. Rogues, loners, and the bravest kittypets had joined until their Clan felt complete.
Of course, no Clan was complete without a leader. It was unanimous when voted, and Spottedgorse became Spottedstar. Gingerheart hadn’t witnessed her nine lives, but according to Spottedstar, StarClan had come to her in a dream and given her nine lives, despite being only a group of rogues. Whispers around the Clan strongly suggested her last life was given to her by Silversong.
Gingerheart sighed. Everyone seemed to be growing up around her.
Firepaw, eventually, became Firestorm and found a mate in a kind former loner. He now had three kits, and Gingerheart couldn’t be prouder.
The orange tabby glanced over at Patchfeather. Although he would never admit he had a crush on Cleverpelt, he did find a mate in a feisty, hot-headed rogue who never left his side. He too had kits, and they were apprenticed a moon ago. One had even been apprenticed to Gingerheart.
As for Cleverpelt, she never got over Rockstorm and most likely never would. Fernsky had ripped a hole in her heart that would never heal.
Blueleaf had been the temporary medicine cat until the new one, a small kittypet, had been fully trained. Although Blueleaf’s feud with Cleverpelt was over, tension was occasional between the two she-cats. Everyone was relieved when she began to show affection to a large, handsome rogue. Her kit had been born two moons ago.
But then, no Clan was without tragedy. Only two moons into settlement, Spottedwing had died, saving her beloved Clan from a fox. Patchfeather had mourned her death the most.
Then there was the new kittypet-medicine cat. Her name had been Fern as a house cat, but she had insisted on keeping it. She also wanted to choose her own name- and she chose Fernstem. Every cat was wary of her, because of how much she was beginning to resemble the former enemy of OneClan, but eventually the suspicions wore off.
Gingerheart grunted and padded away from Patchfeather, only to stiffen. Behind her, muffled giggles spouted out. Breaking into a smile, Gingerheart turned her head.
“Beetlepaw, Tawnypaw, what are you two doing to your father this time?” she whispered good-humouredly, careful not to wake Patchfeather. The brother and sister exchanged a mischievous glance.
“Nothing,” Tawnypaw purred sweetly, blinking up at Gingerheart. The orange tabby snorted. Tawnypaw had become her apprentice, and she had to admit, the spunky little she-cat was a lot of fun. She flicked her tail and headed towards the nursery, hearing a sudden gagging and yowling in the distance.
Inside the nursery, it was dark.
“Hi, Blueleaf,” Gingerheart whispered, careful not to wake Firestorm’s kits. She nodded at a pretty silver she-cat, “Willowfall.”
Willowfall nodded, stretching and revealing three tiny kits at her side. “Firestorm and I have decided on names,” she meowed softly. Gingerheart nodded in an urge for her to continue. Willowfall’s fluffy tail pointed at a bright ginger tom.
“Sunkit,” she whispered. She moved along to a slender, light gray she-cat. “Dovekit.” Then her tail trailed along to the last kit, a large, dusky gray tom with light gray speckles. “Stormkit.” Gingerheart purred.
“Those are beautiful,” she praised. Willowfall beamed. Gingerheart then turned to Blueleaf. She had only one kit, Thistlekit, but he was her pride and joy. Gingerheart watched fondly as they tossed a moss-ball back and forth. When Blueleaf saw Gingerheart, she laid the ball of moss aside and turned to her.
“Why in the nursery so often?” she teased as Thistlekit began to climb over her back. “Is there a certain announcement you’d like to make known?”
“Ging, I know you and Grayclaw are like, a thing now. Don’t be shy.”
Gingerheart paused and took in a deep breath. She decided that maybe she should tell someone other than Grayclaw and Fernstem.
“Fine,” she muttered, almost embarrassed. “I’m... I'm expecting kits.”
Blueleaf brightened. “Oh, I knew it!” she exclaimed, nearly waking Willowfall’s kits. “This is going to be great! All our kits will grow up together and be friends, just like our group was.”
“Spot doesn’t have kits,” Gingerheart pointed out. Blueleaf waggled her eyebrows.
“Um, have you seen her and Frosty?” she meowed, referring to the handsome white tom that had just recently joined the Clan. Gingerheart shrugged her agreement.
“I’m going to go tell her now,” Gingerheart announced. Blueleaf muttered goodbye before facing Thistlekit.
On her way over to Spottedstar’s den, Gingerheart spied Cleverpelt. Without a word, she nodded towards the den, and the brown warrior questioningly followed.
“Ginger?” Spottedstar asked, blinking in confusion from the darkness of her den. “Clev? What can I do for you?”
“We should talk,” Gingerheart suggested quietly. “Out by the top of the ravine. Just like the old days.”
By the time when the sun was about to set, the three she-cats made it to the top of the ravine. There was a silence of them huffing for breath before Cleverpelt spoke.
“It’s really pretty up here,” she meowed casually. She turned to Gingerheart. “I can see why you wanted to come up here.”
“That’s not really… why,” Gingerheart replied sheepishly, sharing down at her paws. Spottedstar’s ears flicked up.
“I’mexpectingkits,” she blurted, so that it sounded like one word. It took her friends a heartbeat to process her words before they broke out in grins.
“Oh, that’s wonderful!” Cleverpelt exclaimed. “Grayclaw’s?” Gingerheart laughed nervously and nodded.
“Man, now Clev and I are the only ones without kits,” Spottedstar joked, nudging Gingerheart with her shoulder. Gingerheart raised her eyebrows.
“Frosty…?” she meowed. Spottedstar pouted mockingly.
“Fighting again?” Gingerheart recognized the voice as Patchfeather’s. Behind him, Blueleaf and Firestorm crept up the ravine. Spottedstar chuckled.
“Look, it’s the family,” she meowed. Patchfeather glanced at his paws.
“Minus Spottedwing,” he murmured sadly, padding up to the group. Cleverpelt gently tapped his spine with her tail.
“She will be honored,” she replied softly.
Suddenly a ray of orange blurred Gingerheart’s view. The cats turned towards the sun, squinting, and suddenly let out exhales of awe. In front of them was the most beautiful sunset Gingerheart had ever seen, sinking below the trees and speckling the sky with the color of fire. Her friends stood tall around her, pelts tinged with the palette of StarClan. Gingerheart knew as well as each cat there that nothing was going to break them.
And suddenly, she felt on top of the world.