(Sequel to Rogue.)
Fifteen moons since the deaths of Oakstar, Ashpoppy, and Breeze.
Fifteen moons of a cold quiet.
Until the quiet is shattered.
Leader: Briarstar: old calico she-cat with amber eyes and a thick tail
Deputy: Lionwhisker: golden tabby tom with long, fluffy fur and pale green eyes
Medicine cat: Pearshade: light brown tabby she-cat with large green eyes and a long, thin tail
Nettlestorm: light brown tom with fur that sticks up at all angles and yellow eyes
Icefern: very pale gray she-cat with a white chest and blue eyes
Rosegaze: albino she-cat (white with pink eyes)
Cherrydapple: ginger she-cat with darker flecks and golden eyes
Redfire: flame-colored tom with hazel eyes
Runningleaf: long-legged light brown tabby tom with a white underbelly and milky blue eyes
Cinderfrost: smoky gray she-cat with amber eyes
Goldenheart: Golden tabby she-cat with amber eyes and long, thick fur
Poppynose: dark gray she-cat with deep blue eyes
Embergorse: golden orange tom with hazel eyes
Patchclaw: black and white tom with green eyes
Sorrelbreeze: small tortoiseshell she-cat with amber eyes
Finchflight: yellow tom with a long, ringed tail and golden eyes
Snowpaw: fluffy white she-cat with leaf-green eyes (Kit of ? and Poppynose)
Sagepaw: white/cream tom with milky blue eyes (Kit of ? and Poppynose)
Pebblepaw: pale gray tom with blue eyes (Kit of ? and Poppynose)
Featherpaw: pale gray, almost white she-cat with fluffy fur and blue eyes (Kit of Sorrelbreeze and Runningleaf)
Goosewing: elegant white she-cat with light gray speckles and golden eyes, (mother of Nettlestorm’s kits: Sheepkit, Cloudkit, and Bumblekit- four moons old)
Rainwillow: silver and black tabby she-cat with green eyes (mother of Redfire’s kits: Cloverkit and Silverkit- two moons old)
Swiftsong: black and white she-cat with golden eyes
Leader: Greenstar: pale silver tabby she-cat with large green eyes
Deputy: Robinsong: brown tom with a silver muzzle
Medicine cat: Skyflower: pretty white she-cat with hints of blue in her fur
Dappleshade: tortoiseshell she-cat with green eyes and a broad figure
Brackenclaw: light brown tabby tom with golden eyes
Sunnycloud: light ginger she-cat with a fluffy tail
Mousetail: small brown tom with a short, skinny tail
Leader: Amberstar: ginger she-cat with dark amber eyes
Deputy: Twistedfoot: matted light gray she-cat with a crooked hind leg, amber eyes
Medicine cat: Marshfang: old, dark brown tom with hazel eyes and a bobbed tail
Antfoot: old, dusky brown she-cat with small paws
Snakefur: brown tabby tom with black stripes
Leader: Rainstar: silver and black tabby tom with a white tail-tip and silver-blue eyes
Deputy: Brookflower: white and brown tabby she-cat with leaf-green eyes
Medicine cat: Flintclaw: pale gray tom; former warrior
Cats Outside the Clans:
Chip: eggshell colored tom with a long, skinny tail and yellow eyes
Shimmer: Golden tabby she-cat with thick fur
Pik: smoky gray tom with amber eyes and half a tail
Molly: Wiry, dark brown she-cat
Chapter One: Not The Only One Edit
Cats slithered into the clearing, one by one, flashing rheumy eyes. A pale gray coat shone out above the rest, bursting with excitement.
“Watch out!” A RiverClan tom hissed as she shoved past him. He snorted and stalked forward, shaking his head. “WindClan apprentices.”
Featherpaw paid no attention. She scurried to catch up to the rest of her Clanmates, when suddenly she ran smack into another cat. Both hit the ground.
Featherpaw scrambled back, eyes widening. “I’m sorry!” she squeaked as the other cat gathered to his paws. “I just got excited, because this is my first Gathering.”
The brown tom laughed and shook out his coat. “It’s okay. It’s my first Gathering too!”
“Really?” Featherpaw whispered. She reached out and gave his coat a sniff. “ShadowClan?” she guessed. “You smell like trees.” The apprentice laughed.
“Close, but not really,” he meowed. “ShadowClan cats look like that.”
As he spoke, he pointed his fluffy tail towards one of the four trees surrounding the clearing. A large group of cats sauntered out from the shadows, glassy eyes narrowed. The patrol passed the two apprentices, and one nasty-looking she-cat curled her lip at Featherpaw. The WindClan she-cat squeaked and jumped back. Once they had fully passed, Featherpaw turned to the tom.
“They’re scary,” she admitted once the ShadowClan cats were out of earshot. The other cat nodded his agreement.
“Yeah. ThunderClan is so much better,” he mewed. “I’m Owlpaw, by the way.”
“Featherpaw,” she replied. As she spoke, a loud mew cut her off.
“ShadowClan has arrived. Let the Gathering begin!”
She traced the voice to an old, silver tabby she-cat with the largest emerald eyes she had ever seen. She must be Greenstar, leader of ThunderClan!
“I will go first,” Greenstar went on. “We have had an abundance of young ranking in our Clan this moon. Berrypaw and Pouncepaw have become Berryfur and Pouncewhisker. Deerspring has moved to the nursery. And last but most certainly not least, Owlpaw is our newest apprentice.”
As Owlpaw’s name was chanted, Featherpaw leaned over to him. “You don’t have any littermates?” she whispered. Owlpaw shook his head.
“Me neither,” Featherpaw mewed. “I’m glad I’m not the only one.”
Rainstar of RiverClan gave his report rather quickly, with only news that his deputy, Brookflower, was expecting kits. Then Briarstar stepped forward.
“WindClan has been flourishing as leaf-bare draws to an end,” she announced, gaze sweeping the Clan. Even as the oldest leader, she still looked young and proud. Featherpaw wondered how it was possible, since her littermate Paleberry had died from old age just a moon ago.
“Although we are deeply upset by the death of our beloved medicine cat, Paleberry, we welcome her apprentice Pearshade as WindClan’s sole medicine cat.” The young she-cat shrunk back as her name was chanted, and Featherpaw didn’t blame her. She had received her full name only two moons ago, and now she was faced with the duty of the whole Clan.
“On a positive note, we have one new apprentice: Featherpaw.” Featherpaw flushed as she was cheered and pressed close to Owlpaw. Briarstar stepped back and nodded at a ginger she-cat. “Amberflower, your turn.”
The ShadowClan leader nodded apprehensively. For a ShadowClan cat, she sure didn’t look all that intimidating. But she stepped forwards anyway, and raised her head to the night sky.
“If you couldn’t tell already, Volestar has died, and I have received my nine lives as Amberstar,” she announced, voice trembling slightly. “Our new deputy is Twistedfoot. That is-”
“ShadowClan is most certainly not thriving,” cut in a loud meow. Featherpaw looked down in shock to see the cat that had glared at her earlier sitting at the base of the rock. Now she was standing, tail lashing.
“Twistedfoot, please sit do-” Amberstar stuttered, only to be cut off by the deputy again.
Twistedfoot lived up to her name: Her back leg was twisted awkwardly and had a strange poultice covering it. But somehow, she was deputy? The thought confused Featherpaw.
“We need more land,” Twistedfoot went on, hobbling back and forth. “ShadowClan has three litters of kits. And that’s why we’re asking ThunderClan for a piece of their land.” Angered yowls finished her demand.
“ThunderClan is not giving you anything,” hissed the silver-muzzled deputy of ThunderClan, Robinsong. “ShadowClan has the largest territory and we all have mouths to feed.”
“But not as many as us,” Twistedfoot growled. Before Featherpaw had time to process what was happening, Twistedfoot gave an alarming shriek and leapt at Robinsong. With speed that was nearly impossible for a disabled cat, she landed on top and lunged towards his throat.
“Stop!” Amberstar wailed. “Twistedfoot, get off of him this instant!”
To Featherpaw’s surprise, the deputy did as told and slunk back to her spot by the rock. Twisted foot sat down, unfazed by turning heads, and jadedly licked a paw.
“Gathering dismissed,” Greenstar growled, narrowing her eyes and hopping off the rock. Owlpaw gave a concerned glance at Featherpaw before following his Clan. Amberstar nodded at her warriors before heading away into the darkness. Twistedfoot gave one last glare at Featherpaw before she disappeared, swallowed by the shadows.
Chapter Two: Like Pines Edit
The following day brought unexpectedly nice weather for late leaf-bare. The snow that dappled the ground had melted to mush, much to Featherpaw’s delight, and the sun was shining brightly.
At the head of the patrol was Featherpaw’s mentor, Goldenheart. Featherpaw was lucky to have the pretty she-cat was a mentor. Goldenheart had had four mentors as an apprentice- Cherrydapple, who moved to the nursery early, Breeze, who Featherpaw had been told was exiled wrongly, Ashpoppy, who had died for betraying the Clan, and lastly Lionwhisker, the deputy. It had all paid off though, and Goldenheart was already a respected member of the Clan despite her young age.
Beside her was Runningleaf, Featherpaw’s father, and his apprentice Pebblepaw. Pebblepaw and his siblings, Sagepaw and Snowpaw, had been apprenticed two moons before Featherpaw, and didn’t exactly take a liking to her. Snowpaw didn’t really like anyone; her nose was always turned up or curled whenever she passed anyone. Her brother Sagepaw only seemed to look down on Featherpaw. He never talked to her, but his glare said a thousand words. Pebblepaw was different. He and Featherpaw had been practically inseparable in the nursery and remained as friends.
The four cats trekked through the snowy fields, not bothering to crouch low like they normally would. The past month had been laid back, with the war between ThunderClan and RiverClan ceasing. Of course, there was always ShadowClan’s deputy, but what was a deputy going to do? Amberstar had looked especially concerned at the Gathering, like her choice of deputy hadn’t been right.
“We’re nearing the ThunderClan border,” Goldenheart informed the apprentices. “Smell that?” Featherpaw and Pebblepaw hoisted their noses up and took in the forest scent. “Yeah,” Featherpaw replied. “I talked to a ThunderClan cat at the Gathering last night.” Owlpaw, she reminded herself. Goldenheart nodded.
“Hold on,” Pebblepaw meowed before Goldenheart could reply. “Smell that?”
“Smell what?” Featherpaw replied, eyes narrowing. She didn’t smell anything out of the ordinary.
“It smells like… like pines,” Pebblepaw went on, wracking his mind for a description. “Like ShadowClan.” Goldenheart narrowed her eyes in concentration.
“You’re right,” she mused. Then she dropped into a crouch and slunk towards the border. “Get down, and stay close to me,” she ordered briskly. Featherpaw did as told, and thanked StarClan she blended in with the graying snow. There could be a trespasser!
“It smells like it’s on ThunderClan’s side of the border,” Runningleaf put in. “I don’t think WindClan has anything to worry abo-” he was cut off with a cough.
Featherpaw stood. “You okay?” she asked worriedly. Runningleaf shook his head.
“I’m fine,” he insisted. “Newleaf is on its way, that’s all.” He barely finished his sentence before he broke into another coughing fir.
“That is most certainly not all,” Goldenheart meowed sternly. “Let’s get you to Pearshade, before it gets any worse.” Runningleaf didn’t argue.
Before Featherpaw realized it, she was back at camp and outside the medicine cat’s den, anxiously waiting for Pearshade to come out. Pebblepaw had gone to the apprentice’s den to share the news with Sagepaw and Snowpaw, and Goldenheart had made her way over to share a hare with her sister Poppynose.
“Featherpaw? What’s going on?”
Featherpaw turned to see Sorrelbreeze anxiously padding up to her. Coughing erupted from the den, and Sorrelbreeze’s eyebrows drew together.
“Is Runningleaf in there?” she went on worriedly. Featherpaw nodded to her mother.
“He started coughing on patrol, and Goldenheart insisted we come back,” she replied. Sorrelbreeze sighed.
“Thank StarClan for that she-cat,” she meowed. “I don’t know how she managed to get Runningleaf to come home from patrol early, but-”
“But thank goodness she did.”
Featherpaw and Sorrelbreeze turned to the medicine cat’s den, where the concerned face of Pearshade was shaded by the darkness.
“He's come down with whitecough,” she mewed simply. She sounded raspy, like she hadn’t spoken in a long while. Sorrelbreeze’s ears flattened.
“That’s horrible,” she whispered. “StarClan bless you caught it early on. I don’t want it turning into something worse.”
“Like greencough?” Featherpaw asked, tipping her head up to look at her mother. Sorrelbreeze nodded.
“Yes, like greencough. Now be on your way, go get something to eat.” Featherpaw nodded, and Sorrelbreeze padded into the medicine cat’s den. Curiosity filled her, and Featherpaw crept up to the entrance once Sorrelbreeze's fluffy tail had disappeared.
“It… it won’t get worse, will it?” Sorrelbreeze’s voice was low. There was a silence that Featherpaw pictured Pearshade shaking her head.
“I wouldn’t think so,” the young medicine cat replied evenly. Sorrelbreeze sighed deeply as Runningleaf exploded into a cough.
“Sorry for being paranoid,” the tortoiseshell replied. “It’s just… I lived a life without a father and most of it without a proper mother. And Runningleaf… he never had greatest parents either. I want only the best for Featherpaw, and Runningleaf coming down with a cough isn’t getting her life off to a good start. So… please understand why I am being a bother.”
“I understand,” Pearshade replied softly. “But you don’t need to go out of your way tot be a great parent, and neither does Runningleaf. Parents are a huge aspect in life, but they can’ be there forever. One day Featherpaw will need to stand her own. Do you understand?”
There was a long pause. When Sorrelbreeze finally spoke, her voice cracked with bleakness.
Chapter Three: She'll Make It Edit
A few days had passed since Runningleaf had come down with whitecough, and just as Sorrelbreeze had feared, it had turned to greencough. The tortoiseshell spent every available moment with her mate, giving him prey and giving him someone to talk to. Featherpaw found it sweet but unnecessary. Pearshade was overwhelmed.
Featherpaw shook her head to clear her thoughts.
“Are you paying attention?” Cinderfrost mewed, glancing over her shoulder at her apprentice, Snowpaw. The fluffy white she-cat rolled her eyes and groaned.
“Of course, Cinderfrost,” she replied in a honey-slicked voice, with eyes crackling. Cinderfrost raised an eyebrow.
“Is there a problem?” The dark gray she-cat meowed icily, turning her gaze to Featherpaw. “Do you have a problem hunting with Featherpaw?”
Yes, Featherpaw silently replied. Snowpaw gave her a sidelong glare before returning it to her mentor.
“Not at all,” she chirped, blinking up at Cinderfrost innocently. Cinderfrost tipped her head to the side.
“Alright, then,” Goldenheart meowed. “You two hunt off towards ThunderClan territory. Featherpaw, this is your first hunt without me supervising. Snowpaw, I expect you to stay with her.” “Of course I will,” Snowpaw replied, shooting yet another glare at Featherpaw. Cinderfrost nodded.
“Off you go, then,” she finished before streaking away in the fields with Goldenheart close by.
Snowpaw turned to Featherpaw with her face wound up. “Great,” she spat. “Just my luck to be paired with the newbie.” Featherpaw stared at her paws, unable to respond. Snowpaw hissed in annoyance.
“Come on,” she growled, “I smell a rabbit this way.” Featherpaw crouched and both apprentices stalked up on the nearby dusty shape until they were on either side of the oblivious animal. Suddenly the rabbit paused mid-chew and realized it was being hunted. Snowpaw bunched up her haunches and leapt at it, but had no intention to catch it. The rabbit, startled, sprung off in Featherpaw’s direction, where the pale gray she-cat hid unknowingly in the grass. Then she outstretched her paws to finish the catch, but the rabbit swerved last minute and darted away. Featherpaw heard Snowpaw shriek at her, but she was already pursuing her prey.
Without checking to see if Snowpaw was behind her, Featherpaw bounded across the moor after the rabbit when she skidded to a halt.
Snowpaw scrambled up beside her, breathing heavily.
“Nice job!” she spat sarcastically. “You let it go into ThunderClan territory!”
“Sorry!” Featherpaw wailed. “Not every cat can be as great as you, Snowpaw!”
Snowpaw’s eyebrows drew together and she leaned over to where her nose was almost touching Featherpaw’s. “Well not every cat can be a failure, ‘cause you’ve already claimed the throne.” “Do you even realize who you’re related to?” Snowpaw went on, taking threatening steps closer and closer to Featherpaw. “Your father is the son of Oakstar and Ashpoppy, the biggest traitor in WindClan history. Your mother didn’t even live in a Clan her apprentice years.”
“And your mother was so desperate she mated with a rogue!” Featherpaw interrupted furiously, bristling. Snowpaw leaned back. “At least I know my fath-”
She was broken off by the strong scent of ThunderClan.
Featherpaw and Snowpaw both whirled around. A small brown tom was bounding towards them, fur on end. He skidded to a halt at the border.
“Owlpaw!” Featherpaw realized. “What’s going on?” Owlpaw stopped to let out a few breaths before looking back up at them with wide amber eyes.
“ShadowClan is attacking ThunderClan,” he panted. “We didn’t expect them and- and we’re outnumbered.”
“So you need WindClan’s help,” Snowpaw mused.
“Snowpaw, go get the warriors, I’ll go with Owlpaw,” Featherpaw decided. She darted into ThunderClan territory before the white apprentice could argue.
Owlpaw didn’t speak as the two apprentices bounded through the woods. Featherpaw found herself constantly stumbling over the roots, but kept a somewhat fluctuating pace as she ambled on. Suddenly Owlpaw busted through what looked like a barrier, and Featherpaw followed. Screeches hit her ears as soon as she entered camp. One small brown tom broke away from the battle and his eyes narrowed at Owlpaw.
“One apprentice?” he snarled. “She isn’t going to win the battle for us.”
"Her friend is getting more warriors, Mousetail,” Owlpaw replied. Mousetail opened his mouth to speak but was cut off as a large ShadowClan tom landed on his back.
“Come on!” Featherpaw squeaked, nudging Owlpaw with her shoulder. A small yet muscular brown tabby she-cat stumbled out from the battle, and Owlpaw and Featherpaw exchanged a nod before leaping at her. The brown she-cat saw them and hopped out of the way, baring her teeth. Featherpaw skidded to a halt and whirled around to face her.
“ThunderClan is bringing WindClan to this battle?” she sneered. “Cowards.”
“And two-on-one is extremely unfair,” hissed a tom, slithering up beside the brown she-cat. Featherpaw quickly put together that they were mentor and apprentice. The silver tabby tom narrowed his eyes. “Let’s finish them, Brindlepaw.”
Brindlepaw grinned and leapt at Featherpaw, while her mentor made advances towards Owlpaw. Featherpaw slammed to the ground, Brindlepaw easily on top. The brown she-cat unsheathed her claws and slowly dragged them across Featherpaw’s cheek. Featherpaw gasped as her own blood drenched her fur.
“WindClan cats are so pitiful,” Brindlepaw remarked coldly. “You look hardly out of the nursery. Too bad you won’t-” She was cut off as Owlpaw wriggled out of the large tom’s grip and slammed into Brindlepaw. Brindlepaw shrieked as Owlpaw landed on top of her, snarling.
“Snakefur!” she yowled. “A little… help?”
Her mentor bounded towards her, but Featherpaw stood in front of Owlpaw and Brindlepaw.
“One move, and he’ll kill her,” she threatened, aware of her voice trembling. To her surprise, Snakefur did nothing but curl his lip and back off.
“Brindlepaw is nearly a warrior,” he snarled. “She’ll make it without me.” Then he darted off into the thick of the battle. Brindlepaw’s jaw dropped.
“SNAKEFUR!” she yowled. Owlpaw dug his claws into her chest. Just as he did, Featherpaw’s ears pricked. The WindClan cats had arrived, with Snowpaw in the lead! Owlpaw raised his head as the other Clan entered, but as he did, Brindlepaw reached up at drilled into his neck. Owlpaw, in a frenzy, scrambled off of her.
Brindlepaw smirked and swung her head towards Featherpaw. “Well what,” she growled, “do we have he-”
She was cut off as another cat from behind picked her up in their jaws and swung her away. Brindlepaw hit the ground, dazed, and was in too much shock to return to her paws. Featherpaw and Owlpaw exchanged a grin, but it didn’t last.
Featherpaw looked up at the cat with wide eyes and felt her stomach drop.
It was Twistedfoot.
Chapter Four: What A Name Edit
Twistedfoot could move especially well for a disabled cat. The deputy curled her lip in a snarl and circled Featherpaw.
“Looks like I’ve got a little WindClan apprentice for meal tonight,” she growled, smacking her lips tauntingly. “Next time, fight your own battles.”
Then she unsheathed her claws and gave a ghostly battle cry. Featherpaw dodged to the left, but Twistedfoot caught on and jerked towards her, barely missing her chest. The two rolled over in the soft dirt of ThunderClan. Featherpaw somehow landed on top, but Twistedfoot curled her lip and lurched forward, to where Featherpaw was lower.
“I saw you at the Gathering,” she snarled, her breath hot on Featherpaw’s ear. “Featherpaw, eh? What a name.” She spat every word like it tasted of crowfood.
“Well let me tell you-” Twistedfoot went on, slowly drawing her unsheathed claws close to Featherpaw’s neck. “There can-”
Suddenly there was a livid shriek. Before Featherpaw realized what was happening, Twistedfoot was bowled off of her by a light brown tabby shape. Emerald eyes flashed, and Featherpaw recognized the cat at once. Greenstar!
The ThunderClan leader landed on top of Twistedfoot, and aimed blows at her chest. Twistedfoot screeched, not from horror but anger, and tried desperately to scramble away. Suddenly, there was a nearby battle cry. Sleek, skinny cats exploded from the brambles, leaping atop the ShadowClan cats.
“WindClan is here!” Featherpaw heard a dark brown tom yowl, flinging a warrior from his back. ShadowClan cats shrieked as their enemies doubled, and most of them raced back towards their own territory. Twistedfoot hissed in defeat and Greenstar released her, glaring.
The ThunderClan and WindClan cats kept their hackles up until ShadowClan had completely gone.
“Mousetail, Berryfur, make sure they’re out of ThunderClan territory,” Greenstar ordered. The two toms exchanged a glance before darting off out of camp.
“Thank you!” Featherpaw exclaimed, looking wide-eyed at Greenstar. “You saved me!”
Greenstar blinked thoughtfully at her. “It is my duty to help others,” she replied curtly before standing and padding up to the tallest rock in camp.
“Cats of ThunderClan and WindClan!” she yowled. Heads turned towards her, and Skysong, the ThunderClan medicine cat, wove through the crowd up to the front. “Today has been a victory. Without WindClan, ShadowClan may have taken our much-needed land.”
“We are glad to have helped,” Lionwhisker replied, dipping his head. “But we’d best be on our way. I hope there is peace between our Clans for many moons.”
As WindClan turned to leave, Featherpaw felt someone tap her flank. She turned to see Owlpaw grinning broadly.
“Meet me at the border tonight?” he whispered, so that no other cat could hear. Featherpaw was too exhausted to disagree.
Once the cats reached camp, Lionwhisker spoke to Briarstar privately to speak about the battle. Featherpaw waited by the fresh-kill pile, and explained in great detail to Pebblepaw about Snakefur, Brindlepaw, and Twistedfoot. He listened in patient wonder until Briarstar called the cats together.
“WindClan, you fought excellently today,” she announced, beaming for her Clan. “This victory will secure our friendship with ThunderClan. I would especially like to thank two apprentices today. Because of their bravery, ThunderClan and ShadowClan might be in a great war and lives would have been lost. So Featherpaw, Snowpaw, WindClan thanks you.”
There were polite cheers, and Snowpaw gave the tiniest smirk. Featherpaw felt her heart swell.
As the gathering dismissed, she wandered off to the medicine cat’s den. Sorrelbreeze was still inside; she could hear her murmuring to Runningleaf. But before she could announce the news to her parents, Pearshade blocked her path.
“Oh no you don’t,” she growled, narrowing her eyes and spreading her paws in a way that Featherpaw couldn’t see inside.
“Why not?” Featherpaw replied, feeling annoyance rise in her. “Sorrelbreeze can visit Runningleaf.”
Suddenly Pearshade’s gaze darkened. She sucked in her breath, then lowered her head to where she and featherpaw were eye-to-eye.
“Thats because Sorrelbreeze is sick, too,” she whispered. “I’m sorry Featherpaw, but Sorrelbreeze has come down with greencough.”
Chapter Five: We Mean No Harm Edit
“Featherpaw! Are you paying attention?”
Featherpaw blinked back to reality. Goldenheart was staring sternly at her, and Snowpaw was smirking. Featherpaw tried desperately to shake her night with Owlpaw to the back of her mind, and stared at her mentor blankly.
Goldenheart sighed in slight annoyance and pointed her tail at Sagepaw. “I said, you and Sagepaw will be practice fighting. In these past few days I’ve taught you the basic techniques, and I want you to apply those moves and those moves only.” The golden she-cat stepped back and nodded at Sagepaw. “Begin.” The pale tom crouched at Featherpaw, no emotion on his face, and leapt. Featherpaw slid underneath him, but Sagepaw caught onto her pelt and landed on her back.
“Don’t let your eyes betray you!” Goldenheart instructed. Featherpaw’s eyes bulged as he placed all his weight on her back. Where’d he learn this? In desperation, she twisted around, and Sagepaw slid off of her back, trailing his claws along her back as he did so.
“Sagepaw!” Redfire snapped from beside Goldenheart. “Claws sheathed!”
Featherpaw recoiled from the shock of the scratches, but hopped to her paws. There was a tense moment as she and Sagepaw circled each other, hissing. Both cats leapt again, and Featherpaw kept her gaze on the ground. Don’t let him know the way you’re going. It worked; Sagepaw struck lower than usual and Featherpaw landed on his back. Sagepaw dodged to the side as soon as he realized what was happening, and Featherpaw landed on all fours.
“That’s enough for right now,” Goldenheart meowed, interrupting the fight. “You two sit out now and watch Snowpaw and-”
“Er, excuse me?”
All six heads turned towards the vast moor. Two cats padded up to them, heads low.
Immediately, Redfire and Goldenheart bristled. The apprentices followed their lead.
“Who goes there?” Redfire spat. The tom dipped his head. Now that they had climbed the hill, Featherpaw could see them clearly: There was a cream-gray tom whose fur reminded Featherpaw of an eggshell, and a pretty, thick-furred, light golden she-cat.
“Greetings,” he mewed in a slightly accented voice. “We mean no harm. I am Chip, and this is my sister Shimmer. We live on the farm.”
Shimmer nodded, and Redfire raised an eyebrow.
“We’ve been scenting unusual scents near the barn. It makes us feel unsafe,” Shimmer went on, green eyes bulging. “We’d appreciate it greatly if we could live with your Clan, only for a bit.”
Goldenheart and Redfire exchanged a bewildered glance.
“What type of scents?” Goldenheart asked, trying to keep herself calm. Featherpaw forced her fur flat and felt a prickle of unease.
“Strange ones,” Chip replied, narrowing his eyes. “We can’t place them, but they’ve been bothering our family greatly. My mother and father have gone back to the safety of the Twolegs, but we weren’t allowed to be seen. Since my mother’s mother was a Clan cat, she was hoping maybe we would be welcomed.”
Goldenheart nodded thoughtfully after he finished. “Fair enough. I will take you to Briarstar, and she can determine your placement.”
Shimmer sighed gratefully as Redfire began rounding up the patrol towards camp. As he did, Featherpaw couldn’t help but feel anxiety rise in her. From behind Shimmer and directly apart from the other siblings, she felt more confused and lost than ever.
Chapter Six: Didn't You Hear Edit
Featherpaw pricked her ears as Owlpaw skidded to a halt in front of her. A day had passed, and he was eager to meet her again at nightfall.
“Who ruffled your fur today?” Featherpaw teased. Owlpaw laughed, then shook his head.
“Didn’t you hear?” he meowed, practically stumbling over his own words. “That mean ShadowClan deputy was exiled! Mousetail told me!”
Featherpaw eyes widened as she remembered the crooked leg and bared teeth of Twistedfoot. “Really?” she breathed. “Why?”
Owlpaw’s eyes rounded. “I overheard the older warriors talking about it,” he mewed, dropping his voice. “Apparently, she planned the battle behind Amberstar’s back. Once Amberstar found out, she was furious and exiled her.” Featherpaw stayed quiet throughout his tale and let the cooling airs of leafbare chill her. She shook her head in annoyance.
“She made a stupid choice, didn’t she?” she murmured. Owlpaw nodded and huffed, his breath coming out in wisps.
“I’ll say,” he replied. Before Featherpaw knew it, the sun was rising and she was forced to head back home.
“It’s morning,” she remarked, glancing to the sky. Owlpaw paused from his story and sighed.
“We should be heading back, then,” he replied. “Look, I may not be able to come these next few nights. I’ll- I’ll see you around, ‘kay?”
Featherpaw forced a smile. “Okay.”
When she ducked under the gorse barrier to camp, everyone was already up. Lionwhisker was ordering patrols, as usual, and cats were groggily grooming their fur. Near the medicine cat’s den, Chip was engaged in a conversation with Sorrelbreeze.
“So you’re a barn cat?” Featherpaw overheard Sorrelbreeze rasp. She saw Chip’s head bob in a nod and Sorrelbreeze’s eyes light up. “So you’re Fern and Java’s son?”
She didn’t wait for the reply, nor bother with whom Fern and Java were. Suddenly Briarstar brushed past her, eyes widened in alarm. At the same moment, a patrol consisting of Icefern, Embergorse, and Patchclaw ducked through the barrier.
“What’s wrong?” Rainwillow hollered from the nursery, nudging her kits back gently with her tail. There was a ghostly silence. Embergorse swallowed nervously.
“There were scents inside the borders, Briarstar,” he announced. “Very distinct.” There were a few anxious murmurs. Briarstar tipped her head to the side.
“What kind of scents?” she growled, narrowing her amber eyes. Embergorse met her gaze evenly.
“ShadowClan,” he replied darkly.
Chapter Eight: Prey Can Wait Edit
“Okay, Featherpaw. I don’t need to explain anything else, do I?”
Featherpaw shook her head as Goldenheart looked at her sternly. The she-cat nodded brusquely.
“Off you go, then,” she instructed. “May StarClan give you luck.”
Featherpaw turned away and felt her paws tingle in excitement. My first solo hunt! The gray she-cat crept across the moor, desperately trying to remember everything Goldenheart had taught her at once.
Featherpaw reminded herself of each and every rule multiple times. Before she knew it, she had made it across most of the moor, and the ThunderClan scent was wavering strongly. The apprentice frowned. Why hadn’t she seen any prey. She lifted her nose to the air, concerned, when she froze. Something smelled oddly satisfying… like prey just killed and eaten. Featherpaw’s nose twitched, when suddenly she caught another scent.
She felt sick as she realized what it was.
Cautiously Featherpaw crept up to the large bracken thicket that took up a great deal of land. She kept low to the ground, careful to not let her fur snag on the thistles, and blinked as a blur of gray caught her eye. Immediately Featherpaw turned and darted out of the thicket. When she reached the open moor, she collapsed in a heap before scrambling to her paws.
After a moment of catching her breath, Featherpaw straightened her shoulders. If something was threatening WindClan, surely she should know what! Light-pawed, Featherpaw ducked back into the brambles and froze.
In front of her was another cat, oblivious to her and stinking horribly. In the cat’s paws was crowfood, and they were chewing it like it was rubber. Featherpaw froze when she realized who it was.
The light gray she-cat felt the sudden urge to run back and tell Goldenheart and Briarstar that Twistedfoot was on their territory, but something else stopped her. Twistedfoot looked ready to collapse. Being chased out of windClan wouldn’t do her any good.
Before the old deputy could see her, Featherpaw streaked out of the bracken and back towards camp. She didn’t stop until she had reached the barrier and broke through it. She leaned over, fighting for breath, and Goldenheart padded up to her. Her mentor’s eyes were narrowed, but concerned.
“Featherpaw?” she asked. “Where’s the prey? Are you-”
“Prey can wait.”
Featherpaw pricked her ears as another voice joined. Pearshade shoved past Goldenheart, bristling in alarm.
“Featherpaw, come with me,” the medicine cat meowed fiercely. “No time to waste."
“What’s wrong?” Featherpaw asked, wide-eyed. Pearshade shook her head.
“There’s no time for talking. In my den.” Pearshade’s eyes blazed with what Featherpaw thought was fear or sadness.
Chapter Nine: I Can See Edit
Featherpaw felt a prickle of dread as she followed Pearshade to her den. What’s going on? Am I in trouble?
Before the duo went in, Pearshade paused and sighed deeply before ducking inside.
It was cold and dark inside the den, but Featherpaw could make out Patchclaw, Icefern, and Runningleaf, who had well recovered from his bout of greencough. Suddenly, her mind pieced together Icefern’s choking sobs and Runningleaf’s drooping figure. Sorrelbreeze coughed violently but weakly, and glanced up at Featherpaw through rheumy eyes.
Pearshade stepped out of the way and Featherpaw numbly crept towards her mother, who gave her a crooked smile.
“Are... are you-”
“She fought a hard battle,” Patchclaw, her brother meowed softly, dipping his head. “And I don’t think she’s going to win today.”
Featherpaw felt sick. Sorrelbreeze beckoned her over, and she padded up numbly.
“My daughter,” she rasped gently, giving a rumbling purr. “I am so proud of you.”
Tears welled, blurring Featherpaw’s vision. “No… you’ll be okay,” she insisted, mostly to convince herself. Sorrelbreeze chuckled quietly.
“In StarClan, maybe,” she replied, lowering her head to her paws. “You will still have Runningleaf, my love. He will raise you.”
Runningleaf nodded, and a single tear slipped down his cheek.
But Sorrelbreeze held up her paw to silence her. “I love you, so much,” she whispered, closing her eyes. Her breathing gently slowed.
“Run- Runningleaf?” Runningleaf perked his ears as Sorrelbreeze spoke, no louder than a whisper. “I can see her!”
“You can what?” Icefern managed between sobs. “Who? Who can you see, Sorrelbreeze?”
Although she was practically still, Sorrelbreeze’s emotions were nearly palpable. Featherpaw felt moons and moons of memories flash through Sorrelbreeze. Suddenly she was living them, in a confused flash: a sand-colored tom lashing out at her small body, her confused mind as she was handed over to a silver and white she-cat, the cold numbness of rain, the warmth of the barn and the gray she-cat’s eyes, the unfamiliar yet welcoming scents of forest, the satisfaction of biting into the sandy tom’s neck, and the horror as the silver and white she-cat’s eyes gently close.
Sorrelbreeze gave a gentle sigh. "I saw her, mother," she murmured, flank rising slower with every breath.
And then, her breathing stopped completely. Icefern exploded in sobbing and threw herself onto her daughter, shaking horribly. Patchclaw was hunched over, tears dripping onto the stone floor. Runningleaf, through bloodshot eyes, smiled ever so slightly.
“Why are you smiling?” Featherpaw asked him, voice breaking. “Who did she see?”
Runningleaf blinked slowly and his smile became bittersweet.
“She saw Breeze,” he whispered.
Chapter Ten Edit
Featherpaw’s vision blurred as Sorrelbreeze slumped down in front of her. “No!” she managed between sobs. Without thinking, she turned and fled, not bothering with Runningleaf’s plea. Embergorse was by the entrance, and Featherpaw ran smack into him without noticing. The large tabby looked shocked, but Featherpaw only hissed at him and darted out of camp.
Featherpaw didn’t know where she was going. She just knew she had to leave. Without the reminder that Twistedfoot was still on WindClan territory, she darted towards the thicket until she felt the thorns brush her fur. Vision blurred by tears, she felt herself run smack into matted fur.
Featherpaw became suddenly aware of Twistedfoot. Meekly, she looked up at the scowling former deputy. Twistedfoot was glaring at her furiously through pale yellow eyes, and although her fur was unkempt, her muscles rippled dangerously underneath. She looked like Featherpaw, if she had been older and angrier.
Featherpaw’s mouth parted slightly, but no words came out. Sorrelbreeze’s death was still fresh on her mind.
“Well? Go ahead,” Twistedfoot snarled, unsheathing her claws. “Tell your precious Clanmates I’m here. That won’t matter, anyway. You’ll be dead long before they reach you.” Featherpaw looked up at Twistedfoot, who looked ready to keep her promise.
“That… that’s okay,” Featherpaw stuttered. She was surprised she had spoken at all, and by the looks of it, so was Twistedfoot. “My mother just... died. I am not afraid of death. K-kill me, too.”
“Pity,” Twistedfoot hissed. Though her voice was sharp, her eyes became softer. Then she backed away, into the darkest part of the bracken.
Featherpaw didn’t know what to expect, but surely this wasn’t it. Wasn’t Twistedfoot going to kill her? She was a ShadowClan cat, wasn’t she? Featherpaw shook her head and sped away, back towards camp. So many emotions were clouding her that she almost missed Sagepaw.
“Featherpaw,” he spoke evenly. His head tilted in mild confusion. “What are you doing out here?”
“Didn’t you hear?” Featherpaw replied, suddenly blinking back tears once more as she was reminded of Sorrelbreeze once more. “S-Sorrelbreeze is dead.”
“Oh,” Sagepaw meowed, still looking at her oddly. “That’s.. sad.”
Featherpaw bit her lip and bolted back towards camp. She didn’t stop and think about how emotionless Sagepaw had been. She hadn’t noticed why he was out of camp in the first place, either.
Chapter Eleven Edit
Featherpaw stared down at Sorrlebreeze’s body numbly.
As soon as she had returned to camp, she had been pampered thoroughly by Runningleaf, who was trying desperately to hide his misery. But as she looked over at him, she realized how much he would miss his mate.
It was Sorrelbreeze’s vigil. The sun had fallen, leaving WindClan- and Featherpaw- cold. Featherpaw, Icefern, and Runningleaf had been the only cats to stay the entire time. Almost every other cat came to touch Sorrelbreeze one last time, however- she was a popular cat.
Featherpaw was startled as she felt a flank touch hers. “I’m so sorry about your mother,” Redfire murmured. She looked up at her uncle, and saw his eyes damp as well. His tail touched her back comfortingly. “Don’t bother Runningleaf for a while, okay? You really scared him. After he lost both his parents, his sister, and then his mate... it’s really only us two he has left.”
Featherpaw stared at Redfire as he gently touched his nose to Sorrelbreeze’s flank and padded off. From what the rest of the Clan had told her, Redfire had once been quite the trickster- a Clan favorite. But now that he had matured, and Featherpaw wished she had known what he was once like. Runningleaf told her he had grown up quite quickly, after Oakstar became leader.
Featherpaw didn’t know a lot about Oakstar. She asked around, but cats would only duck their heads and ignore her questions. Once, she got Runningleaf to explain to her that he was widely hated but could not be stood up to, for the Clan thought he had murdered the previous leader and exiled his daughter to cover his tracks. Then the truth came out, and it was his mate all along. Featherpaw shook her head. She had a troubled family.
“Perhaps we should lighten the mood,” Goldenheart suggested, suddenly appearing on the other side of Sorrelbreeze. Her voice was honey-slicked and she looked at her apprentice sympathetically. “Shall we tell stories of Sorrelbreeze?”
“If anyone knows a good story about Sorrelbreeze, it would be Breeze,” Swiftsong rasped from the elders’ den. Her eyes flashed sadly. “Both of those cats were lost too young.”
“Sorrelbreeze was an interesting cat, outside the Clan or not,” Goldenheart argued, and featherpaw briefly remembered that Swiftsong was Goldenheart’s mother.
“I know a story, then,” Patchclaw meowed, stepping forward. He smiled in a bittersweet manner before sitting down and wrapping his tail around his paws. “When Sorrelbreeze and I were kits, our father… well… he wasn’t the nicest to her. So one day, Sorrelkit had had enough, but she wasn’t brave enough to actually speak up. So she found this old stick, right-”
As Featherpaw listened, she felt her head droop. She yawned and laid her head on her paws, flicking her ears as more cats told their Sorrelbreeze stories. Soon, she was asleep.
“Wake up, Featherpaw, we don’t have a lot of time.”
“Wha-” Featherpaw groggily raised her head. Instead of the night sky and Sorrelbreeze’s still body, everything was a brilliant shade of cyan and stars twinkled around them. A silver she-cat was looking down at her impatiently. Startled, Featherpaw scrambled to her paws.
“Is this StarClan?” she breathed, swinging her head back and forth. “Is Sorrelbreeze here?”
“Yes, and yes,” the she-cat replied, grinning. “Before you ask, my name is Breeze.”
“Breeze!” Featherpaw recognized the name in an instant. Breeze didn’t look at all what she expected- she had sleek, silver and white fur with sharp facial features. Her eyes were small, but shined a brilliant blue. Her tail looked ever so slightly crooked.
“Anyway, I’m just here to warn you,” Breeze went on, flicking her tail. Suddenly, her bright eyes grew mystic. “Beware the shadow of the hill, young Featherpaw, for it will destroy what you care for most.”
Featherpaw woke with a start. Pebblepaw was beside her, snoring gently, but she ignored him. Breeze’s words rang in her head.
The shadow of the hill…
The sudden realization made Featherpaw suddenly awake.
Twistedfoot is going to really kill me!
Chapter Twelve Edit
Featherpaw knew what she had to do. Without bothering to stretch, she stormed across camp without waking the other cats, and made her way across the moor to the bracken.
“Twistedfoot!” she snarled, stomping in. She saw the vague shape of Twistedfoot on the other side. The ShadowClan cat’s head raised in confusion.
“I have to kill you,” Featherpaw meowed bravely. “Or else you’re going to…” Featherpaw trailed off as Twistedfoot stood. The she-cat looked at her in what could only be described as amusement.
“I’m going to do what?”
“You’re… you’re gonna…” Featherpaw stopped and stared at the ground. Twistedfoot grew suddenly serious.
“I know you don’t trust me, okay? And I get that. But look-” Twistedfoot paused hesitantly before saying her name- “Featherpaw, I’m not the threat here.” Twistedfoot paused, maybe to let Featherpaw speak, but she only took a breath and continued. “Snakefur is the threat. He’s planning something, and someone is going to get hurt if you’re not careful.” Then she retreated to the back of the thicket.
Featherpaw backed away. It was the only thing she could do, really. She wasn’t sure to believe the old cat or not, but she felt like there was truth in her words. As Featherpaw was leaving, she felt as if she heard Twistedfoot murmur, “I’m sorry about your mother,” but didn’t listen close enough to find out.
The following night was the Gathering. Briarstar had asked if Featherpaw wanted to stay home, but Featherpaw insisted on going. After all, she was curious about Snakefur. Maybe Owlpaw would be there, too. Before Sorrelbreeze’s death, he hadn’t shown up to some of their meetings, leaving Featherpaw empty inside.
As she walked to the Gathering beside Goldenheart, she felt another pelt against hers. With a jolt, she realized Snowpaw.
“I’m really sorry about Sorrelbreeze,” Snowpaw said, almost stiffly. “I know Sagepaw wasn’t the nicest about it. He’s a jerk sometimes.” Then she bounded off. Featherpaw continued, confused, until she reached Fourtrees.
ShadowClan had already arrived. Beneath Amberstar was who could only be Snakefur. Featherpaw’s eyes slitted as she recognized him from the ThunderClan and ShadowClan battle. He had been Brindlepaw’s mentor. Speaking of her, the muscular brown she-cat was sitting in the front of ShadowClan, eyes shining prominently for her mentor.
“It looks like everyone is here,” Amberstar announced evely. “ShadowClan will go first.” Her gaze raked the Clans, as if daring the to speak of the loss. “Twistedfoot has been exiled for wrongly attacking ThunderClan. May I put emphasis on wrongly.” Amberstar dipped her head at ThunderClan. “We do not wish to fight you, Greenstar.” Greenstar merely nodded. Amberstar shook out her coat in embarrassment. “Snakefur is the new deputy of ShadowClan. Rainstar of RiverClan looked down at the new deputy with an expression of interest.
“StarClan grant he doesn’t follow the path Twistedfoot did!” he meowed jokingly. Many of the cats chuckled, but Amberstar bristled.
“Oh, it’s alright, Amberstar,” Snakefur meowed silkily, flashing his leader a toothy, malevolent smile. “Do go on. No one can be as bad as Twistedfoot, I can guarantee that.”
Featherpaw turned around and saw a dusky brown she-cat sitting behind her. She was older, Featherpaw could tell, probably an elder.
“Do you not like Snakefur?” she asked, genuinely curious. Featherpaw knew she sure didn’t. The she-cat’s gaze softened as she realized Featherpaw was speaking to her.
“Ah, ignore me,” she purred. Although her purr was a broken rumble, it had a motherly sensation to it. “My name is Antfoot. Anyway, I don’t trust either of them, really.”
Antfoot didn’t seem to notice the shushes she was getting. She lowered her voice anyway. Featherpaw flicked an ear as Briarstar stepped forward and announced Sorrelbreeze’s death.
“Both Twistedfoot and Snakefur trained in the Dark Forest,” Antfoot whispered, eyes darkening. “It was obvious, really. Snakefur was there because he wanted power, leadership.”
“Why was Twistedfoot there?” Featherpaw asked, suddenly feeling uneasy.
Antfoot’s eyes darkened. She did not reply for a few heartbeats. “The accident,” she rumbled.
Chapter Thirteen Edit
"...then Snakefur became deputy, and Rainstar was all like, ‘I hope he isn’t as bad as Twistedfoot.’”
Twistedfoot hissed. It was the next day, and Featherpaw had decided to tell her about the Gathering. If she was putting trust in the wrong cat, then so be it.
“Anyway, then I talked to this cat named Antfoot-”
Then Twistedfoot purred. Featherpaw had never heard her purr, and was quite shocked.
“Antfoot was like a mother to me,” Twistedfoot explained. “She’s a wonderful cat.”
“Yeah,” Featherpaw agreed. “But what about Snakefur? You said he’s dangerous. Antfoot mentioned you two trained in the Dark Forest…?”
“Right,” Twistedfoot muttered, looking at the ground. “I had my reasons, he had his.”
“Antfoot told me there was an accident,” Featherpaw meowed softly. Twistedfoot froze, and her claws unsheathed. Fatherpaw briefly wondered if she was going to attack her. Instead, Twistedfoot took in a long breath.
“When I was an apprentice, I was madly in love with Snakefur- ‘paw, at the time. Anyway, he returned my feelings.” Any softness in Twistedfoot’s eyes hardened lividly. “All of that was gone when I was hit by a monster. My leg was useless. My name was changed. I was ridiculed by almost everyone.”
“Even Snakepaw?” Featherpaw asked.
“Especially Snakepaw.” Twistedfoot was stalking back and forth now. “I was supposed to be a medicine cat, but I refused. I wanted to do something. I wanted to be a warrior. So, when I was offered the chance, I..." Twistedfoot hesitated. "I practiced.”
“In the Dark Forest,” Featherpaw murmured. Twistedfoot nodded. She refused to even look at Featherpaw.
“Antfoot was like a mother to me,” Twistedfoot repeated, “since I didn’t have one.”
“Did your mother die, too?”
“No, well, she’s dead now. But my mother didn’t live in ShadowClan. Neither did my brother.”
“So what was your name?” Featherpaw asked, glancing at the former deputy’s lame paw. "Like, before the... accident?"
“My name was the reason I hated you,” Twistedfoot growled, eyes glowering. Her eyes met Featherpaw's. “I too was known as Featherpaw- sister of Oakstar.”
Chapter Fourteen Edit
When Featherpaw returned to camp, there was a thick tension between the cats.
“What’s going on?” Featherpaw asked openly, narrowing her eyes. Goosewing stomped past her, leaving her kits confused in the nursery.
“I’ve had enough!” she was complaining loudly to her mate, Nettlestorm. Nettlestorm was nodding thoughtfully.
“We’re all fed up, Goosewing,” Cherrydapple promised, gently tapping her friend’s shoulder with her tail. The ginger she-cat looked wary. Featherpaw knew Cherrydapple had lost her mate, Stormstripe, as well as one of her kits, Bluepaw. Now she stayed more towards the nursery, around the kits. Her own kits, Finchflight and Pearshade, were grown. Speaking of Finchflight, the young yellow tom was murmuring to Shimmer. Both cats looked equally worried, but at Shimmer’s gentle stare, Finchflight relaxed.
“Pebblepaw!” Featherpaw exclaimed as her friend picked up a small bird from the fresh-kill pile. “What’s going on? Why is everyone so mad?”
Pebblepaw sighed and dropped his prey. “They’re fed up about the ShadowClan scents in our border,” he explained quietly. Featherpaw’s heart skipped a beat.
Twistedfoot was getting her former Clan in trouble.
“Are we attacking?” featherpaw whispered frantically, trying to flatten her fur. Pebblepaw nodded, but Rosegaze interrupted him.
“In a half-moon,” she meowed. Featherpaw looked at the white she-cat. She found her a bit odd, but then again, so did everyone else. Rosegaze was a very pale white cat with pink eyes. Sorrelbreeze would tell Featherpaw a specific name for cats like her, but Featherpaw couldn’t quite remember. Pebblepaw tipped his head to the side.
“You don’t seem too terrible angry,” he commented. Rosegaze shook her head.
“And I’m not,” she replied. Featherpaw liked the way she talked, even if it wasn’t often- her voice was soft and silky, and some of her words were accented. “There’s no reason to be. It’s not like ShadowClan is attacking or stealing prey. It’s probably just an apprentice, though it could be something else.” Featherpaw froze. Did Rosegaze know something? But the albino she-cat didn’t seem to notice. “But I doubt it’s an entire Clan plotting against us. We haven’t done anything to provoke them. As much as we all don’t care to admit, they are smart cats. I don’t know. It’s just senseless to get riled up when there are more serious problems at paw.” Then she delicately picked up a sparrow and padded away.
“She’s weird,” Snowpaw sniffed, padding by. At her side was Sagepaw, who only narrowed his eyes at Rosegaze’s departing figure.
Featherpaw silently disagreed with Snowpaw. As eccentric as Rosegaze was, there was something else special about her. She wasn’t very old, but she was wise beyond her years. Featherpaw decided that if Goldenheart hadn’t been her mentor, she would have wanted Rosegaze.
“Owlpaw? What’s wrong?”
Owlpaw shook his head and stared at his paws. Featherpaw’s stomach dropped.
“If something’s bothering you-”
“It’s not,” he insisted. “It’s not you, promise.” He glanced away uncertainly. “It’s getting late. I gotta go. See you later, ‘kay?”
“But it’s only moonhigh!” Featherpaw exclaimed. Owlpaw looked at her uneasily before darting off towards his own territory. Featherpaw couldn’t hide her disappointment, but trekked towards home.
Before she got very far, she saw a distant shape on the moor. At first she assumed it was a rabbit and ignored it, but then she realized the running motion was that of a cat. Normally, Featherpaw would have just left, but when she realized who it was, her interest was sparked.
Chapter Fifteen Edit
Featherpaw followed Sagepaw carefully across the moor, keeping a distance between them. He was running straight towards the ThunderClan border, on the opposite side of Twistedfoot’s thicket. What the-
Featherpaw slowed and Sagepaw halted. Another cat appeared, purring. Sagepaw did the same, which surprised Featherpaw.
“Good, you came,” the new cat purred. Her voice was a she-cat’s but it held an eerie jaggedness to it. “I was hoping you wouldn’t miss our meeting.”
“Why would I miss spending time with you?” Sagepaw teased, sitting and wrapping tail around his paws. Featherpaw sucked in her breath as the moonlight hit the she-cat’s face. Recognition hit Featherpaw in a horrible moment.
“Anyway,” the she-cat meowed, “has your Clan gone mad yet?” Sagepaw laughed sharply, making Featherpaw flinch.
“Um, of course!” he exclaimed. “They’re going to attack in a quarter moon, by the way.” The she-cat chortled menacingly.
“I can’t believe Twistedfoot nested on your territory,” she exclaimed. “When I marked my scent, it was perfect. After this battle, you can join the right Clan.”
“I’m not even full WindClan anyway,” Sagepaw agreed. “It’s better this way. Besides, all I need is you, Brindlepaw.”
That was when Featherpaw stepped on the stick. She hadn’t even realized it was there, but froze when it snapped loudly and echoed. Sagepaw stood stiffly, ears pricked.
“What was that?” Brindlepaw whispered, hostility sharp in her tone. Sagepaw slowly turned his head.
“Someone must have followed me,” he growled. Then, without warning, he leapt in Featherpaw’s direction. Featherpaw streaked off, pressing low to the ground. Sagepaw was close behind.
“Show yourself!” The cream apprentice hissed, careful to keep his voice quiet. Featherpaw ran faster. She scrambled to a halt behind an ancient log and let out a long, inaudible exhale. She heard Sagepaw scramble to a halt before taking a long whiff of the air. She could almost hear his grin as he said, “Well, who do I have here?”
His eyes flashed when he rounded the corner and recognized Featherpaw.
“It’s you,” he meowed. No emotions tinged his tone.
“Brindlepaw,” Featherpaw rasped, trembling. “Why are you meeting her?” Sagepaw bared his fangs.
“None of your business,” he spat. “I’m afraid, Featherpaw, that your life is going to come to an abrupt end.”
Featherpaw stopped to process his words.
“You freak,” she hissed, suddenly realizing what he meant as he unsheathed his claws. “Attacking a Clanmate?”
“If it’s for a good reason,” Sagepaw growled. His nose was almost up to hers. “After all, that’s what Ashpoppy told me.”
“Ashpoppy?” Featherpaw mewed, not recognizing the name.
“The dung-face that killed my brother.”
Sudden hope flared through Featherpaw. Twistedfoot stalked out of the shadows and stood between Sagepaw and Featherpaw, snarling at the cream tom.
“I know you’re training in the Dark Forest,” Twistedfoot growled to Sagepaw. “And I’m not gonna lie- Ashpoppy is a pretty convincing she-cat. But attacking your own Clan, especially someone younger than you-” her gaze briefly met Featherpaw’s- “is low. Now fight me, like a real cat.”
Sagepaw stepped back.
“Oh, come on,” Twistedfoot taunted, sneering. “It’s completely fair. Dark Forest against Dark Forest.”
Suddenly Sagepaw spoke. Featherpaw had never seen him so angry. “You’ve been nesting on WindClan territory!” he spat. “I can tell Briarstar, and she’ll keep your head in her den as a trophy!”
“And in return, I‘ll tell her about your little meetings with Brindlepaw.” Twistedfoot leaned in until her nose was touching Sagepaw’s. “I’d watch what you say. Now scurry along. I wouldn’t want you to be late for training.”
Sagepaw looked ready to argue against Twistedfoot’s wry comment, but he said nothing and bounded away towards camp. Once he was completely out of sight, Twistedfoot turned to Featherpaw.
“I don’t know how safe it is for you to return now,” she meowed. “You can sleep in the thicket with me tonight, okay?”
Featherpaw smiled at Twistedfoot, who she could tell was trying desperately to hide her emotions.
“Okay,” she replied.
Chapter Sixteen Edit
Featherpaw looked around her. Cats were swarming the clearing, and she recognized none of them. She tried to call out, but her voice was lost.
Am I dreaming?
From the looks of it, she was. She tried to pick up conversations around her, but the dar cats were mumbling and muttering. Above her shone a half moon. Then she took in the sights of the moor around her. She was in WindClan!
Suddenly one cat stood out from the rest. Featherpaw took in his features; he was a large, burly tabby with red brown fur. He looked very young and strong, and his yellow eyes gleamed with ambition.
“Oakthorn!” Another cat called. Oakthorn did not reply. The new cat stepped forward and called his name again. This cat, a she-cat, looked like Breeze but smaller and rounder, and much older- elder age, perhaps.
“Don’t ignore me!” The she-cat cried, stomping up to Oakthorn. Oakthorn’s lip was beginning to curl. “I am your mother, for StarClan’s sake! I’m not going to be here much longer!”
“You’re not my mother,” Oakthorn growled, so low Featherpaw could barely hear him. “I have no mother. Swiftcloud died the day she met Darkpool.”
“For StarClan’s sake!” Swiftcloud cried. Featherpaw thought she was going to cry. “Oakthorn, this isn’t about me, you, or your father right now. This is about your kits.”
“Sundusk’s kits,” Oakthorn corrected, tipping his head at the nursery. Swiftcloud hissed.
“You are their father,” she meowed. “Sundusk will be nothing but a memory to them. So please do me one favor- be a father to them.”
“You’re insane,” Oakthorn sniffed. “Of course I will be! Ashpoppy is a great mother.” Featherpaw stiffened. Hadn’t Ashpoppy been the one Sagepaw had been training with?
“She is now,” Swiftcloud growled, voice growing suddenly eerie. “But I don’t trust that she-cat. It is up to you to protect your kits, y’hear?”
Oakthorn looked away, an Swiftcloud stomped away. Featherpaw saw his gaze turn to the nursery. Three kits were playing with a butterfly outside, their gray mother watching fondly. She saw Oakthorn’s gaze travel from a ginger tom, to a light brown tabby tom, and then- Oakthorn froze. His gaze sharpened on the last kit. The little silver and white she-cat was leaping after the butterfly, missing aimlessly. But Featherpaw understood: she looked just like Swiftcloud.
“But who is she?” Featherpaw wondered aloud.
“That kit? She is me.”
Featherpaw recognized the voice in an instant.
“Breeze!” she exclaimed. “Were you watching me? Was that a vision?” Breeze smiled slightly at her questions.
“It was an event from the past, yes,” she explained. “I showed you this for a reason, Featherpaw. This was my father Oakstar- thorn, at the time. If you think you’ve heard that outside camp before, it’s because you have. That was Twistedfoot’s brother.
“I’m sending you off with a mission, young Featherpaw. There is a cat in ThunderClan named Dappleshade. She and I used to be friends. I need you to find her, for she holds knowledge about Sagepaw’s heritage. Oh,” Breeze paused, and gave Featherpaw a loopy smile, “and tell her Breezefeather said hi.”
Chapter Seventeen Edit
A day had passed. Featherpaw had barely gotten out of camp, explaining to Goldenheart that she needed to stretch her legs. Goldenheart had looked worried, but let her go.
Now Featherpaw was waiting for a patrol to pass. She sucked in her breath, then let out a soft exhale. She worried briefly if her “walk” was going to pass, for she had been waiting for a long time, when suddenly the brush rustled.
Featherpaw crouched quietly on her side of the border and waited. Then she moved her back paw ever so slightly.
A light brown tabby’s ears pricked. “Did you hear that?” he asked. A dark ginger she-cat flicked him with her tail playfully.
“Ah, it’s just a squirrel. C’mon, Brackenclaw,” she teased. Brackenclaw narrowed his eyes.
“I’ll catch up in a second,” he called to the leader. “I’m just going to check something out.”
Featherpaw’s breath caught in her throat aas he neared her. When she felt she was close enough, she whispered, “psst. Brackenclaw.” Brackenclaw stiffened at the sound of his name.
“How do you know me?” he growled. Suddenly Featherpaw emerged.
“I don’t, actually,” Featherpaw explained, meeting his surprised stare evenly. “I’m Featherpaw, and I was just wondering who you happen to be related to…?”
Brackenclaw seemed to be taken aback by the question. “Um… well, there’s my sister, Sunnycoud, and her kits will be born in a moon-”
“Congratulations,” Featherpaw interrupted.
“Thanks,” Brackenclaw meowed warily. “Anyway, my father is Wrenfur, and my mother is Dappleshade-”
“Dappleshade!” Featherpaw exclaimed. “Just who I’m looking for! Could you tell her to meet me here?” Brackenclaw looed even more weirded out, but nodded.
“Alright,” he mewed, turning away.
“Oh,” Featherpaw added hurriedly, “and tell her Breeze, er, feather sent me!”
The first thing Dappleshade said when she saw Featherpaw was, “Breezefeather, huh?”
Featherpaw smiled sheepishly. “I guess you could say I’m her… niece.”
Dappleshade smiled and tipped her head to the side. “I can see the resemblance,” she meowed.
“Anyway,” Featherpaw went on. “Breeze - that's what she goes by, came to me in a dream- she says hi, by the way-” Dappleshade grinned. “-and she told me you knew something about Poppynose’s kits…?”
Suddenly Dappleshade grew serious and sighed deeply.
“Ah yes- Poppynose,” she meowed. “I guess you can say I know the father of her kits.”
Featherpaw pricked her ears and leaned in.
“I’m only telling you this because I trusted Breeze,” Dappleshade warned. “I see her in you. Anyway, I only know about this in the first place is because one day I caught Poppynose in ThunderClan’s territory. I let her go, but her excuse was to meet up with a tom in Twolegplace.
"I’d see her go down there every other night or so, and I watched her to, y’know, make sure she wasn’t stealing prey or anything. One day she stopped coming altogether. When I talked to her at a Gathering, she was nearly in tears. She explained to me that when she told him she was having his kits, he disowned them, and her.”
“Oh.” Featherpaw felt suddenly sorry for Sagepaw, Snowpaw, and Pebblepaw. “What was his name?”
“You may have heard of his gang before,” Dappleshade replied, eyes narrowing. “His name was Pik.”
Chapter Eighteen Edit
A few days had passed since Featherpaw’s meeting with Dappleshade. Breeze’s words were still echoing through her mind, and Featherpaw couldn’t stand the tension.
She sat up in her den, just as Snowpaw entered and curled up to sleep. “Are all the apprentices in here?” She whispered. Snowpaw grunted, and Pebblepaw nodded. Sagepaw raised his head and glared at her.
“I have something to tell you all.” The apprentices were silent. Featherpaw took in a long breath. “I know who your father is.”
There were immediate protests from Snowpaw, but Sagepaw hushed her.
“Go on,” he egged to Featherpaw, as if daring her to. “I’d like to hear this.”
“It’s, um, he’s a rogue,” she explained awkwardly. “His name is Pik-”
“That’s rat-dung!” Snowpaw exclaimed. She was seething, and her fur was on end. “Liar!”
“Snowpaw, calm down,” Pebblepaw meowed gently. “I’m sure Featherpaw is-”
“Featherpaw is right.” All the apprentices froze. Poppynose appeared at the entrance, looking sheepishly at her paws. “How she knows, I won’t ask. But you had to be told eventually.”
“It’s true?” Snowpaw replied bleakly. her voice broke. “You… our father is a rogue?” Poppynose nodded, refusing to meet her daughter’s gaze.
“That’s all there is to it,” Poppynose mumbled. “We’ll talk more in the morning. Goodnight.” The apprentices muttered goodnights as Poppynose’s tail disappeared. As soon as his mother was out of sight, Sagepaw exploded.
“Feaatherpaw, you idiot!” he nearly screeched. “My reputation is ruined! You’ll pay for this!” Then he streaked out of the den, stunning the apprentices to silence.
“Where are you going?” Snowpaw called after him, but there was no response.
“He’s going to meet Brindlepaw,” Featherpaw murmured, realization striking her.
Featherpaw inwardly cursed. She hadn’t known Snowpaw would hear her.
“Who’s Brindlepaw?” Snowpaw insisted, getting more and more aggravated.
“A ThunderClan apprentice,” Featherpaw explained meekly, feeling her fur flush. Snowpaw’s eyes widened in anger.
“Did he learn nothing from what literally just happened?” she yowled. She bounded towards the exit.
“Wait!” Pebblepaw exclaimed. “Where are you going?”
Snowpaw paused and turned her head ever so slightly.
“I’m going to find my brother,” she growled. Then she was gone.
Chapter Nineteen Edit
When Featherpaw awoke, Snowpaw had not returned. Sagepaw was sleeping soundly, but there was no sign of Snowpaw. Featherpaw wasn’t all that worried until Goldenheart and Pebblepaw’s mentor, Runningleaf, came into the still-sleepy den and announced training would be cancelled for the day. At first Pebblepaw and Featherpaw sleepily celebrated, until Featherpaw caught a glimpse of what was really going on.
“Goldenheart, what’s going on?” Featherpaw asked, trotting up to her mentor as she turned to leave. The pretty she-cat stared at her grimly, and Pebblepaw appeared curiously behind her.
“I think it’s better you see for yourself,” she meowed. Her mew was heavy with emotion.
Then she stepped aside.
Snowpaw was laid across the clearing, unmoving. Featherpaw knew upon laying eyes on her that the apprentice was dead. Cinderfrost was bent over her apprentice, eyes closed and shuddering. Poppynose was sobbing loudly, and with no mate to comfort her, cats awkwardly murmured encouragement as the padded by.
Pebblepaw’s eyes rounded. “No!” he managed, streaking towards his sister.
“How did this happen?” Featherpaw managed bleakly as Goldenheart passed her. Her mentor paused and stared at her with soft eyes.
“We don’t know,” she replied sadly. “From her wounds, it looks as if she was attacked, but by who-”
“ShadowClan,” Poppynose rasped, eyes widening angrily from her daughter’s dead body. I’ve had enough of their stinking border-crossing, but this is too much.”
Briarstar suddenly appeared, tapping her soft tail on Poppynose’s shoulders. “Poppynose, I know you’re grieving, but there is no proof-”
Poppynose shook her off lividly. “Then who killed her, huh?” she laughed harshly. “What, did her mentor kill her? Of course not!” The entire Clan had grown silent. “Some ShadowClan scum has killed Snowpaw. Are we going to let this go?”
No cat replied. Briarstar coughed subtly. “The battle is in only a few days. I’m sure we willl fight like savages. Until then-” she added, with a strict glare at Poppynose- “we will most certainly not attack unless I command it.” Then she sauntered back towards her den.
“Are you going to share tongues with Snowpaw?” Shimmer asked, appearing behind Featherpaw. Featherpaw shook her head.
“Only the cats that knew her best,” she explained. Shimmer gave an “ah” of understanding. “She didn’t like me much.”
“Surely, though, forgiveness is important?” Shimmer meowed in her accented voice. She sat down, thick tail flicking, and gazed curiously at Featherpaw through her leaf-green eyes.
“Of course,” Featherpaw replied. She changed the subject. “Who do you think killed her?”
“I am not one to judge that,” Shimmer mewed, eyes glimmering. “But I have my assumptions. I’m sure we all do.”
Before Featherpaw could ask her what she meant, Finchflight padded up to Shimmer, signaling Featherpaw to leave.
Featherpaw glanced up at the sky. She was supposed to meet Owlpaw tonight, she realized. But when she looked back at Pebblepaw, who was gently grooming his sister’s coat, she realized she didn’t care. Owlpaw wasn’t the same Owlpaw as he was a moon ago. Pebblepaw, he wouldn’t change.
“Hey,” she murmured, padding over to him. Pebblepaw gave a weak smile in reply.
“She shouldn’t have gone after Sagepaw,” he rasped, eyes welling. Featherpaw comforted him, but the thought of Sagepaw struck her. She glanced over at the apprentices’ den and realized he was still sleeping soundly. Featherpaw rolled her eyes. She liked him better that way, anyway.
Featherpaw poked her head inside the thicket. Twistedfoot, as expected, was sitting near the back and gnawing on a tough squirrel. At her name, she looked up, and her beady yellow eyes glowed.
Featherpaw awkwardly approached her. “The… the battle against ShadowClan is in two days,” she explained. Twistedfoot sighed and tossed her prey aside.
“I know,” she whispered. “But I have nowhere else to go. I can’t leave now, it’s too late. And that’s why…” Twistedfoot paused, then shook her head. “Never mind.”
“Did… did you kill Snowpaw?” featherpaw whispered after a moment of silence.
“Why would I lay my paws on an apprentice?” Twistedfoot meowed. Her gaze sharpened suddenly. “Who does your heart tell you it was, Featherpaw?”
Featherpaw swallowed and looked back at Twistedfoot. The cream tom’s image flashed in her mind.
“Sagepaw,” she growled.
Chapter Twenty Edit
(Warning: Crude language)
A day had passed. Snowpaw had been buried outside camp, next to Sorrelbreeze. The battle was coming, in one day, and Featherpaw wasn’t ready. She sat outside the apprentice’s den, whiskers twitching as a raindrop landed on her nose. By the thunder and dark clouds, a storm was on its way.
Featherpaw didn’t know what to do about Twistedfoot. It was all her fault, really, for letting the old deputy house on WindClan territory. Perhaps she should talk to Twistedfoot. Maybe she could confess to Briarstar, and the battle would-
“Cats of WindClan!”
Featherpaw froze. She knew that voice anywhere.
“What are you doing here?” snarled Cherrydapple, unsheathing her claws. Twistedfoot merely stepped forward.
“I cannot speak on behalf of ShadowClan,” she bellowed. “But do not attack them. It is I who you have been scenting. I am the cause of your troubles.”
“Did you kill Snowpaw?” came Poppynose’s shrill voice. There was a pause.
“No,” Twistedfoot’s retort was sharp. “But bonds in your Clan aren’t as deep as you think.”
Brairstar suddenly emerged. “What in StarClan-”
“ShadowClan!” another cat interrupted from behind Twistedfoot. Twistedfoot’s eyes widened in horror. “ATTACK!”
At once, ShadowClan cats swarmed into the clearing. Featherpaw scrambled away as the too-soon battle began, only to see a shocked Pebblepaw be attacked by a blur of brown. Featherpaw hissed. Brindlepaw!
“Attack someone your own size, Brindlepaw!” she screeched, launching herself at the ShadowClan apprentice. Brindlepaw fell over, shocked, but when she recognized Featherpaw she grinned malevolently.
“Like you?” she scoffed. “Besides, after this battle, I’m going to be a full-fledged warr-
Brindlepaw didn’t finish her sentence. Instead, Featherpaw leaned down and swiftly bit into her neck. Brindlepaw gagged as Featherpaw stepped off and blood poured from her throat. Raindrops blurred the crimson blood and emerald grass until it was brown. Brindlepaw’s breathing slowed until it stopped, hateful glare still fixed on Featherpaw.
“You killed her!” Pebblepaw exclaimed, bounding up to her. “I didn’t know you were capable of that!”
“I didn’t either,” Featherpaw murmured, her gaze meeting his. “I guess I saved you then, huh.” Pebblepaw smiled for the first time since Snowpaw’s death.
“Yeah, I guess s-”
The moment was ruined as Sagepaw’s dripping and livid figure stared down at Brindlepaw’s limp body. His glare met Featherpaw’s.
“You killed Brindlepaw!”
Before Featherpaw could reply, Pebblepaw stepped in front of her.
“And you killed our sister,” he growled. Then he leapt. Brother fought brother. Featherpaw tried desperately to see who was winning, but another shape blocked her. She lost hope when she realized who it was.
“You killed my apprentice?” Snakefur snarled in disbelief at Brindlepaw’s limp body. His claws flexed. “You’ll pay for this!”
“No, she won’t. Featherpaw did nothing.” Featherpaw’s ears pricked as another cat leapt in front of her. Through the slurring rain, she hardly heard the cat. “It’s between you and me, Snakefur.”
Snakefur growled. “I thought you left, you feral,” he spat. Twistedfoot grinned eerily.
“Funny, if I was still a Featherpaw, you would have never called me that.” Snakefur hissed.
“Get out of my way,” he snarled at Twistedfoot. Without warning, he pushed her out of the way and leapt at Featherpaw to fulfill his vengeance. Featherpaw squeezed her eyes shut and waited for the death blow. It never came.
Her eyes opened at the Snakefur’s grunt. Twistedfoot’s burly shape hit the ground in front of Featherpaw.
“Twistedfoot!” Featherpaw cried, ears flattening as she rushed over to her friend. Twistedfoot raised her head, but immediately put it down as the gash in her throat began to bleed thoroughly.
“Please be okay, please,” Featherpaw whispered frantically, mainly to herself. Snakefur took a step back, like he was confused of how he had hit Twistedfoot and not Featherpaw. Featherpaw’s vision began to blur with tears. “You saved me!”
“I know,” Twistedfoot suddenly spoke. Her eyes locked with Featherpaw’s. “But I’ve exceeded my time here. My family awaits. But while I’m still here, do me one last favor-” Twistedfoot ever so slightly flicked her ear at Snakefur. She smirked one last time, then closed her eyes. Her last words were barely a mumble.
“Kill that bloody bastard.”
Chapter Twenty One Edit
Featherpaw stumbled back as Twistedfoot went still. “No!” she rasped, eyes widening.
But there was no time to mourn. Snakefur curled his lip and advanced towards Featherpaw.
“You got lucky once,” he spat, venom dripping from his voice, “but that rogue isn’t alive anymore to keep you s-”
Before he could finish, a silver tom whom Featherpaw had never seen before tackled him. Snakefur was so surprised that he didn’t even scream when the new tom leaned down and snapped his neck. The silver tom gave Featherpaw a nod before kicking away Snakefur’s body and bounding away.
“It’s the Allegiance of Fire!” Featherpaw heard Runningleaf’s distant screech. New cats were pouring into the clearing, and before long, it was obvious they were fighting for WindClan.
“What are you doing here?” spat a ShadowClan she-cat at one of the new cats. The cat she was fighting, a pretty white she-cat hissed and swung a claw at her.
“The Spirit Walkers told us Breeze’s Allegiance was in danger,” she snarled. Featherpaw’s ears pricked at her aunt’s name. “Friends help friends, even after death!”
Featherpaw stumbled back just as a ShadowClan tom gave a wail of defeat.
“Retreat!” Cried another ShadowClanner. “we’re outnumbered!”
Before Featherpaw knew it, the ShadowClan cats were fleeing for their lives, some of the Allegiance cats pursuing them. Briarstar pushed through the crowd as the last ShadowClan cat left, leaving WindClan in a stunned silence. The rain had begun to lighten.
“How did you know to find us?” Briarstar asked a small but prominent golden tom, perhaps the leader. The tom shrugged.
"Perhaps I have not quite introduced us yet," he meowed in a strange accent. "I am Thorn, and this is the Allegiance of Fire. Breeze was our friend, and although we had former issues with your Allegiance, we believe that friendships last beyond death." Thorn's head raised.
Featherpaw didn’t stay for the whole conversation. She was looking for someone, and when she saw him, she darted up to him. The silver tom smiled as he saw Featherpaw loping towards him.
“Thank you!” Featherpaw gasped as she approached him. “You saved me!”
The tom chuckled. “You didn’t stand a chance,” he remarked teasingly. Then he tipped his head to the side. “Do you know where Sorrel is?”
“Sorrelbreeze, you mean?” Featherpaw’s smile began to falter. “She died, not too long ago.”
“Sorrelbreeze, huh?” The silver tom murmured. Although his eyes shone with sadness, there was a spark to them as he heard Sorrelbreeze’s name. “I can see her choosing that name.” His eyes glimmered once more. “You’re her daughter, aren’t you?”
Featherpaw couldn’t help but suppress a smile. “Yeah,” she replied. The tom grinned.
“I can tell,” he replied. “You look so much like her- Breeze, too.”
“Ripple!” Called another Allegiance cat. “Leaving!”
Ripple gave Featherpaw one last smile before disappearing with the rest of the Allegiance. And although Featherpaw had never seen them before, she felt a calming sensation about them.
And inside of her, she felt the smallest bit of Breeze live on.
Bonus Chapter Edit
“Pebblepaw, from this moment on you will be known as Pebblefur. StarClan grant you follow the path of a warrior.”
Pebblepaw- no, Pebblefur leapt down from beside Briarstar and immediately made his way over to Featherpaw, who was cheering his name the loudest. Goldenheart smirked. As much as Pebblefur was still grieving Snowpaw, his affection towards Featherpaw was immense.
Goldenheart watched the throng assembled, then padded up to Briarstar. The old leader smiled at her warmly.
“How’s my new deputy?” she asked. Goldenheart purred. Although her father and deputy, Lionwhisker, had died in the battle, she had become deputy in his place.
“I was just wondering who all has died since this sunrise,” Goldenheart murmured, sitting down and sweeping her gaze across the Clan. “Many cats have, as far as I can tell.”
“Lionwhisker did,” Briarstar meowed, giving Goldenheart a sympathetic look. “So did Nettlestorm, and Sagepaw. Poppynose died too, fighting for her daughter.”
Goldenheart smiled grimly. “Poor Pebblefur,” she murmured. “He has no one left.” Briarstar nudged her.
“He has Featherpaw,” she commented, “and his mentor Runningleaf is like a father to him. Anyway, ShadowClan took their deceased with them, except the old deputy-”
“Twistedfoot,” Goldenheart interrupted. She gave Briarstar a sidelong glance. “That was insane of her, you know.”
“Indeed,” Briarstar murmured, amber gaze sweeping the Clan. “But I feel like there was something else, behind that moment. Something…” Goldenheart followed her gaze to the laughing pale gray she-cat.
“You think Featherpaw had something to do with it,” Goldenheart finished. Briarstar blinked.
“Somewhat, yes,” she replied. “There’s a gene in her family, I guess.”
Goldenheart purred, vaguely remembering having Breezefeather as her mentor, if only for a few days. Perhaps it was a gene- perhaps it wasn’t.
“Goosewing’s kits will be apprenticed soon.” Goldenheart changed the subject. “Who are you thinking for mentors?”
“Rosegaze, definitely,” Briarstar’s eyes shimmered teasingly. “It’s time, for StarClan’s sake, for her second apprentice. Probably for Sheepkit- he needs someone to calm down and learn proper things. Then Pebblefur, of course, for Bumblekit, and Patchclaw to keep Cloudkit down to earth!” There was a blur of golden fur, and Goldenheart recognized Shimmer.
“Speaking of kits,” Shimmer interrupted, padding up to the she-cats, “I’m expecting Finchflight’s!”
“That’s great!” Goldenheart exclaimed, purring. She and Shimmer had bonded in the past moon. “Does that mean you and Chip will stay?”
Shimmer purred. “Of course!” she turned to Briarstar. “Is that okay? May we have Clan names?”
“Absolutely,” Briarstar purred, whiskers twitching. “I will perform your ceremony tomorrow. Are there any names you have in mind?”
“We’d like to keep the first part of our names, if that’s okay,” Shimmer went on, hardly containing her excitement. “Other than that, I don’t have any ideas, no.”
“How do Shimmerleaf and, er, Chipfoot sound?” Briarstar meowed. Shimmer jumped a little in excitement.
“Shimmerleaf is so pretty!” She exclaimed. “I’m going to tell Chip right now!” Then she was off. Goldenheart laughed.
“Our Clan is growing,” she commented. Briarstar smiled and looked ahead. It was nearly sunhigh.
“I suppose it is,” Briarstar rumbled. As she did, Featherpaw skipped up to her.
“Briarstar?” she squeaked. “Is it okay if, um, we bury Twistedfoot, too? She deserves it more than anyone. During the battle, she, er, saved me.”
“Of course,” Briarstar replied. Featherpaw smiled and turned away, tail flicking, to talk to Pebblefur.
“I think her warrior name will be Feathershine,” Briarstar meowed, smiling ever so slightly. Goldenheart wasn’t sure if she was joking, and she hoped she wasn’t.
The name fit perfectly.