Who wants to read the 20 page Warrior Cats fanfiction I wrote when I was twelve that I have no memory of writing but that was just mailed back to me by a friend I haven’t seen in probably eight years?!!
You’re in luck! Here it is, in all its glory, with spelling errors, inconsistent capitalization, typos and weird storytelling choices all left perfectly intact in order to truly capture my childhood essence. Also it’s missing the first nine pages but I swear they don’t matter.
Also available on AO3 if you prefer: https://archiveofourown.org/works/25077949
She-cat called Mousetree sat flicking her ears irratabley. “One of those kits should have been mentored by me. I’m older and more experienced and I’ve never had an aprentice.” Mousetree wailed.
The Thunderclan deputy, a large silver and black tabby with a twisted foot, Thistlefoot, listened quietly. When he responded his voice was calm and even. “It was up to Moonstar to decide who mentored them. She believed that there were things that Poppypelt and Pinecloud could teach them that you could not.”
“Such as?” growled Mousetree.
“Poppypelt and Pinecloud are very calm and reserved. Those aprentices need caution more than anything. And you tend to have a bit of a temper, something kits with that much energy don’t need. I’ll look into getting you an aprentice but there’s not much I can do. Now, I believe I asigned you to the dawn patrol. You’d best get some rest.”
Thistlefoot was well respected in all the clans, and few could match him as a fighter. Despite his bad paw he was swift and strong. He was expected to be a strong Leader.
As Mousetree stormed off the lovely Moondust entered. “Who’s going to the gathering tonight?” Moondust mewed politely.
Thistlefoot sighed and listed the cats. “Rosesky, Swamppaw, Sunpaw, Snowfur and Thunderpaw, Foxtail, Lion’sMane and Sundrown and you. AcornHead’s being left in charge while we’re gone. Can you tell everyone for me? I have to talk to Moonstar.”
“Okay. I better get on it.” Moondust mewed.
Thistlefoot slowly made his way to The leaders den beneath the highrock.
“Moonstar? I have an odd feeling that something strange is going on.” Thistlefoot began worriedly. “We haven’t seen any of the clans for a moon.”
“Shouldn’t that be considered a good thing? We don’t want trouble with the other clans.” Moonstar did not seem scornfull or indifferent only puzzled.
“I agree, but why should they be so peacefull? I’m only saying that we should be prepared.”
“Thank you Thistlefoot. I’ll remember that. Its time to leave for the gathering.”
Sundrown, a golden tabby she-cat, stared across the clearing at FourTrees. Shadowclan and Windclan had arrived but there was no sign of Riverclan.
Sunpaw came over and sat down by Sundrown.
“Where could Riverclan be? They should have been here by now”
As soon as the words were out of her mouth Riverclan appeared over the crest of the hill.
“Where’s Broadstar? They only brought the deputy, Mossbird.” Puzzled Rosesky approaching Sundrown.
Mossbird ran straight across the clearing and leaped onto the greatrock. The Windclan leader, Ravenstar, and The Shadowclan leader, Tawnystar, looked at each other in confusion.
“Cats of all clans I have important news!” Mossbird called proudly without waiting to discuss with the leaders who would speak first.
Ravenstar moved forward and faced Mossbird.
“I hope Broadstar is well, no bad news I hope?”
“Broadstar is fine. Our clan just has many preparations to make. Broadstar did not wish to come,” Mossbird answered stiffly. “Once again I have important news. Change is coming to the forest. Riverclan has seen it. If we join together Riverclan can lead you through the dangers!”
Moonstar eyes were wide with disbeleif. “What is this danger Mossbird?”
“Why should I, I mean How can I Riverclan help you if you do not join us? Broadstar will give you one moon to make your decision.” She curled her lip in a sneer. “I’m finished. You may continue with your worthless gossip of kits and warriors, soon that will all be a thing of the past.”
The rest of the gathering passed uneventfully, every cat was to busy thinking over the odd proclamation of Riverclan to pay much attention to the rest of the talk. Every cat seemed bewildered, even Riverclan.
Back at the camp Thistlefoot entered the leaders den to see Moonstar pacing wildly.
“Are we going to join Riverclan Moonstar” Thistlefoot mewed quietly.
“I’m not sure. They would not say what the danger was.” She frowned. “I’m going to speak to Riverclan. I must see Broadstar. I’ll take only Thunderpaw with me.”
“He’s an aprentice. A medicine cat aprentice. A sign of peace to show we don’t want to fight. But Thunderpaw is also one of the strongest cats in the clan so if we are unjustly attacked we will be able to defend ourselves.”
As soon as Moonstar and Thunderpaw were out of the camp Thistlefoot arranged to lead a patrol along the Riverclan border.
Thunderpaw tagged along behind Moonstar. He cautiously looked around at the unfamiliar Riverclan territory. It seemed an odd mision to him. Riverclan obivously was not going to tell what the danger was, so why were they crossing into enemy territory?
The wind carried fresh Riverclan scent to Thunderpaw. He stiffened and looked at his leader. Moonstar’s ears were pricked but she merely continued walking. Out of the brush stepped a Riverclan warrior. He growled and took a step backward.
“Take me to see Broadstar,” Moonstar demanded. “I must speak with him.”
The tom nodded and walked forward into the brush. Moonstar followed.
The Riverclan camp was a bustle of activity. The was no fresh kill pile and it did not appear that there were any patrols out. In the center of the activity was Mossbird, shouting orders. When Mossbirds saw them she turned and stormed over.
“Moonstar, what do you want?” It was not spoken as the customary deputy to a leader. It was said as one leader to another.
Moonstar’s voice was cool and even. “I must speak to Broadstar. Take me to him.”
“You come here with one of your strongest warriors and expect to be lead to our leader. Really Moonstar.”
“Mossbird I’m surprised. Thunderpaw is an aprentice. And whats more a medicine cat aprentice. Surely he is not a threat?”
“Hmph. Broadstar does not wish to see anyone, not even his own clan. Why should I take you to him?”
Moonstar’s long white pelt bristled at Mossbird’s arrogant tone.
“Let her in Mossbird,” came a voice Thunderpaw recognized as Broadstar’s.
Mossbird grunted and led them to a thorn bush. Thunderpaw could see a cat moving inside through the leaves.
“The aprentice will stay with me,” growled Mossbird.
Thunderpaw couldn’t hear what Moonstar and Broadstar saying but he could tell by the otne of their voice that something was wrong. After awhile Moonstar rushed out. Her fur was fluffed out and her eyes were stretched wide.
“We’re leaving. Now.” Her voice made it sound as if the world were collapsing beneath her paws.
They left the Riverclan camp in a hurry but Mossbird bounded after them.
“Don’t go the way you came, don’t go over the Stepping Stones. We’ve scented rogues over there. Follow the river to Sunning Rocks. Near there is a fallen tree. You can cross over that way.”
Mossbird nodded a farewell and raced back to her own camp.
As the cats neared Sunning Rocks Thunderpaw stepped in a small hole and fell to the ground. His muzzle was next to a hole identical to the one he’d stepped in. A strange scent flooded his nose. Thunderpaw’s eyes widened in alarm. He raised his head just in time to see a reptilian head emerge from another of the small holes.
“Moonstar!” Thunderpaw’s alarmed call was just enough to urge Moonstar to turn her head. The snakes head darted out to bite Moonstar’s hind leg. Thunderpaw leaped just as the glistening fangs connected in Moonstar’s leg.
Thistlefoot’s patrol pricked their ears. The sounds of a tussle near Sunning Rocks drew them closer. They bounded across a fallen log into Riverclan. A small patch of land lay ahead. Dozens of snake holes littered the ground. Moonstar lay on the ground, gritting her teeth in pain. Thunderpaw was franticly looking about. At his feet lay a dead adder.
“Moonstar! What happened?” mewed Thistlefoot in alarm.
“An adder. I have to get back to camp,” Moonstar muttered.
“Deerleg, you and the others take Moonstar back to camp. Thunderpaw and I have to go warn Riverclan of the adders.”
Thunderpaw once again found himself in the Riverclan camp.
Mossbird came up to greet them.
“Well its the wasted aprentice and the proud deputy. Yes such a waste of a strong cat. Now what do you want this time. An attack?”
“We came to warn you. You have adders near Sunning Rocks. We killed one but there may be more.”
“adders? Really. I trust no one was hurt?”
“We are fine thank you.”
As they turned to leave Thunderpaw glanced back to see Mossbird glaring after them.
The camp was in an uproar. Every cat wanted to know what had happened. Thunderpaw hid in the shelter of Snowfur’s den. Snowfur was worriedly treating Moonstar. Thunderpaw felt like his exhaustion would overwhelm him yet he could not sleep. However sleep finally overcame him.
Thistlefoot’s eyes opened to see Snowfur prodding him. It was the middle of the night and everyone else was asleep.
“It’s Moonstar,” Snowfur wailed. “She wants to see you.”
Thistlefoot imediately jumped to his paws.
At Moonstar’s den Thunderpaw was busily working.
“I’ve got to get some herbs for Moonstar. Thunderpaw will be here,” Snowfur’s meow sounded scared.
Moonstar’s head turned so that she was facing Thistlefoot and Thunderpaw. When she spoke it was in gasps, as if a full sentence would be to much.
“Riverclan… danger. Help… Broadstar. Grab for power. The clan… needs… strong leadership. Beware… Riverlcan. Be a… strong… leader.” Moonstar’s breaths were coming in gasps.
“Moonstar rest, please. You’ll soon be better.” Thistlefoot pleaded.
Moonstar shook her head. “You will… be a strong leader. The clan… is strong.”
“Moonstar. I need your help, Moonstar!”
But Moonstar lay still.
Snowfur came in with a bundle of herbs. She dropped them and lowered her head in grief for her dead leader.
Sunpaw awoke at dawn to an eerie wailing. She padded outside to see The light brown elder, DustThroat, sitting outside the leaders den wailing. The gray and white Tom, Graytail, appeared with the silver taby Tigerstripe. They were carrieing their leader between them.
They placed Moonstar’s body in the center of the clearing. As the rest of the clan awoke and poured out of their den’s wailing broke out at the sight of their leaders lifeless body. Sunpaw searched for Thistlefoot. She spotted him leaping onto the Highrock.
“Let all cats old enough to groom their own prey gather beneath the Highrock for a clan meeting.”
Thistlefoot’s deep yowl echoed throughout the clearing and seemed to reassure the clan.
“Moonstar is dead. Killed by an adder bite.”
His voice was thick with grief and his eyes brimmed with sadness.
Snowfur leaped on to the Highrock beside Thistlefoot and began to speak in her quiet reassuring voice. “As our new leader Thistlefoot will be taking a leader’s name. His name shall now be Thistlestar.”
Thistlestar stepped forward. “Graytail take some cats to bury Moonstar’s body. Foxtail take the dawn patrol out. Deerleg you can take a patrol at Sunhigh. Pinecloud take a warrior and your aprentice hunting.” He paused and took a deep steadying breath. “The new deputy of Thunderclan shall be,” he stopped then boomed, “the new deputy of Thunderclan shall be Foxtail!”
No cat who looked in least surprised excepting Foxtail herself. Thistlestar had hoped to cheer the clan with a new deputy and did cheer them a little but not enough.
Foxtail got to her feet. “I would be honored to be the new deputy,” there were a few scattered cheers before Foxtail continued, “but surely there must be someone better, someone with more experience?”
Thistlestar’s deep tone rang out in the forest. “None that I can think of are more suited than you. Foxtail surely you have heard the rumors that you would be the next deputy? Those rumors were spread not just because it was clear you were favored not only by myself but by Moonstar. Those rumors were spread because the clan thought you could do the job and do it well. Although none thought you would have to do it so soon.” As Thistlestar finished Foxtail nodded slowly, as if giving her consent.
Thistlestar repeated loudly, “Foxtail is the new deputy of Thunderclan!” and this time it was met by the applause of a whole clan. The clan was cheering for a new deputy, a new leader, and a new start.
Rosesky paced just inside the gorse tunnel entrance to the camp.
“Where is Thistlestar? Should have been back by now. No organization any more.”
Foxtail trotted up to Rosesky, surprised by the pretty gray she-cat’s distress.
“What’s wrong Rosesky? Anything I can do?”
Rosesky looked at Foxtail. Thistlestar had been a different kind of deputy, more strict and commanding. Foxtail organized patrols but she also seemed to more listening and comforting, no cat could really describe what was so different about her. Because she was not Moonstar or Thistlestar the clan seemed to recoil from her new authority as if she were the adder that had killed Moonstar. Despite all that Rosesky looked at Foxtail with respect.
“No.” She shook her head. “I need to speak to Thistlestar. He’s been out hunting Thunderpaw since dawn. He’s only been leader for four nights and he’s already doing whatever he likes.”
”He needs to think. He takes Thunderpaw out because Thunderpaw is to busy hating himself for not knowing what to do for Moonstar to ask questions. I’ll talk to you and then I’ll tell Thistlestar.”
“Fine. I want Sunpaw to be made a warrior. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made his own apprentice, Leafpaw, a warrior as well. They are the two oldest aprentices besides Thunderpaw. Sunpaw deserves to be a warrior. I think Thistlestar should take them out and assess them. It would boost the clans spirits to have two new warriors.”
“I agree. I’ll speak to Thistlestar.”
Thistlestar trudged through the gorse tunnel at that moment. Rosesky looked excited.
“Thistlestar! We need more warriors. I think Sunpaw and Leafpaw should be made warriors.” Rosesky pricked her ears forward waiting for Thistlestar’s answer to her request.
Thistlestar looked thoughtful. “We’ll do it before we eat tonight.”
Rosesky seemed perfectly content with his answer.
Thunderpaw ducked into the aprentice den. Foxpaw sat up as he entered. Thunderpaw sighed as he sat down.
“I don’t think I want to be a medicine cat.”
“This isn’t because of Moonstar is it?”
“No. It’s… don’t you think I’d be a better warrior? I mean I’m big and strong and I’m having trouble controlling my temper. A medicine cat is supposed to be gentle. I’ve seen Rabbitpaw sitting outside the den and listening to Snowfur teach me. I can’t help thinking Rabbitpaw would make a better medicine cat than me.”
Foxpaw thought a minute. “If that’s the way you feel then you should talk to Thistlestar. You’re just as good a hunter and fighter as any warrior. And you’re right, Rabbitpaw does seem to want to be a medicine cat.”
Thunderpaw nodded. “I’ll talk to him now.”
Thistlestar was in his den when Thunderpaw found him.
“Thistlestar? I’ve come to a decision. I want to be a warrior not a medicine cat. I think Rabbitpaw would like to be Snowfur’s new apprentice, after all Moonstar was her mentor.”
Thistlestar nodded “If you’re sure…”
“Very well. It’s nearly sundown. I’ll talk to Rabbitpaw and Snowfur.”
“Let all cats old enough to groom their own fur gather beneath the Highrock for a clan meeting.”
Thistlestar looked noble and dignified on the Highrock. He held his head with a new air of authority.
“Sunpaw you have trained hard to earn your warrior name. From here on your name shall be Sunset.
Leafpaw you have also trained hard for this moment. Your warrior name shall be Leafstream.
Thunderpaw. You have chosen to become a warrior instead of a medicine cat. Your warrior name shall be Thunderwing.
Rabbitpaw, Moonstar was your mentor. You have chosen to train to become a medicine cat. Snowfur shall now be your mentor.
Thunderwing, Sunset and Leafstream you will sit vigil tonight and gaurd the camp.”
Thistlestar jumped down from the Highrock to signal the end of the meeting.
Stormcloud the black and white she-cat, prowled through the undergrowth with her aprentice, a large ginger tom called Horsepaw, behind her. She scented mouse but ignored it. She wasn’t hunting. Stormcloud was patrolling the Shadowclan border.
Shadowclan scent flooded her nostrils and Tawneystar stepped out of the undergrowth. The Shadowclan leader aproached Stormcloud.
Tawnystar’s ears twitched self consiciously.
“Stormcloud. I came over to warn Moonstar that we’ve seen rogues on your side of the thunderpath. I’d be gratful if you would tell her for me.”
Stormcloud sniffed. She could smell a large Shadowclan patrol. This was no friendly warning.
“Horsepaw go tell… Moonstar… Tawnystar’s.. message. Quickly. I’ll be right behind you.” She turned slowly. Sharp claws grasped her sides and a weight dropped onto her back. Yowling broke out and Stormcloud saw a lean warrior leap on Horsepaw.
Stormcloud hissed and threw off her attacker. Fear for her clan lent her paws speed. Horsepaw stretched out and ran beside Stormcloud. They leapt down the ravine with the Shadowclan cats just behind them. They plunged into the camp.
The prickily Graytail leaped to his feet smelling their fear scent. His closest friends Deerleg and Onestripe were right behind him.
Lion’sMane burst out of the warriors den. “What is it?”
“We’re being attacked.” Yowled Stormcloud.
“Attacked? By one of the other clans?” Wailed Lion’sMane in disbelief.
“No genius. The mice chased us here from the Shadowclan border.” Snapped Stormcloud. She was Foxpaw’s close friend and shared her dislike of the golden tom.
Shadowclan burst into the camp. Graytail flexed his claws and leaped at Tawnystar. Onestripe battled beside him. Moondust and GoldenRain raced into the clearing followed by Thunderwing. It had been five nights since he became a warrior and his choice had left him satisfied. All around the clan was leaping into battle, driving out the Shadowclan cats. As the last Shadowclan cat fled Thistlestar made his way through the triumphantly yowling cats. He leaped onto the Highrock. There was no need to gather the clan, they were already looking up at him.
“With the warnings of danger from Riverdclan, Windclan and Shadowclan are desperate to prove that they are strong. I believe that is why Shadowclan attacked. We must not show weakness and invite attack. That is why I feel that we should not inform the other clans of Moonstar’s death until the next gathering where I will announce it.”
Graytail frowned. “So we should show our strength and attack them!”
Stormcloud growled and got to her feet.
“Oh yeah, Tawnystar looked real strong sitt’in there in the woods lookin’ at her paws and mumbling something about rogues on our side of the Thunderpath!”
“Quiet!” Thistlestar snapped regaining quiet. “Thunderclan does not attack without cause. It was that way with Moonstar and it is that way with me. Skypelt, take Sundrown, Mousetree and Acornhead to make sure Shadowclan has left our territory.”
The tortoiseshell she-cat nodded and led the other three she-cats into the forest.
“Snowfur and Rabbitpaw, start tending wounds. Poppypelt…” He was cut of by Snowfur.
“That reminds me. Poppypelt needs to move into the nursery. Another warrior will have to take over Spottedpaw’s training.”
Thistlestar looked over the cats in the clearing. Skypelt and her patrol had stopped to see who the new mentor would be. Mousetree was looking up hungrily. She had wanted one of these aprentices for herself but Thistlestar new she was not the right cat. Still his decision could make him very unpopular with the firey she-cat. Six other cats stood out at him. Graytail, Deerleg, Onestripe, Thunderwing, Sunset, and Leafstream. Graytail didn’t have the patience for a cat like Spottedpaw. Deerleg showed a strong dislike for the apprentice. Leafstream and Sunset were quite young. That left Onestripe and Thunderwing. They were not as calm as Poppypelt, but maybe they could get Spottedpaw to put her energy to good use.
“Spottedpaw needs a new mentor. Her mentor shall be… Onestripe.”
The white warrior leaped to his feet. He had one ginger stripe running along his flank.
Thistlestar realized that this was the young warrior’s chance to show that he was not just Graytail’s follower. It was his chance to prove himself. Snowstorm, a gray queen, moved forward to congratulate Onestripe.
Something was nagging at the back of Thistlestar’s mind.
“Thunderwing. May I speak to you in my den.”
Thunderwing entered the den to see Thistlestar pacing wildly.
“Thunderwing. Why did you go that way?”
“What?” Thunderwing was bewildered.
Thistlestar snorted impatiently. “Why didn’t you and Moonstar cross at the Stepping stones?”
“Mossbird told us they’d scented rouges near the stepping stones. She told us to follow the river until we’d reached a fallen tree. Why?”
Thistlestar didn’t appear to hear the young tom. The nagging had only grown stronger. Something was out of place.
“You can go now Thunderwing.”
Skypelt, Sundrown, Mousetree and Acornhead stood at the Shadowclan border. They had seen the raiding party cross the hard gray thunderpath and disapear into the undergrowth.
“Let’s wait for a minute to make sure they don’t come back,” suggested Acornhead mildly.
The other she-cats nodded in reply. Soon Skypelt got up to leave. Her thin gold and black body tensed as the roar of an approaching monster on the thunderpath. She turned to see a glistening white monster approaching.
Its hard shiny pelt gleaming in the sun as it swerved as if it were a young kit, still unsteady on its paws. The she cats mouth opened in a yowl of suprprise as the monster leapt of the path and came towards them! The warriors leaped out of the way as the monster collided with a tree. It lay on it’s side, black paws churning in the air. The twolegs inside the monster’s belly looked trapped and began to yowl soundlessly.
Skypelt hissed, her ears pinned back, then led the patrol back towards camp. Once a safe distance away from the thunderpath the ginger Acornhead sat down, shaking her broad head.
“Lousy twolegs. They’ve probably scared away all the prey from this area. Badgers at Snake rocks. Adders at Sunning Rocks. Now this. To top it all off we’ve got an inexperienced leader who leaves camp at dawn and doesn’t come back ‘til sundown.” Wailed Acornhead.
Skypelt frowned. “The adders are across the river and the prey will be back there by the thunderpath by sunhigh tomorrow. Thistlestar was a great deputy and is a great leader. He is not gone all day. Show some respect for your leader.”
“He did a fantastic job reasigning Spottedpaw a mentor,” mewed Moustree with bitter sarcasm.
Sundrown’s face twisted into a scowl. “This is the kind of talk that tears a clan apart. Besides, Onestripe is a quite capable mentor.”
Skypelt sighed. “Let’s just get back to camp and report this to Thistlestar.”
Thunderwing, Onestripe and Spottedpaw leaped quickly through the forest.
“So… this… is your…training… plan? Wear… out…Spottedpaw… before… she can… do any… permanent damage.” Panted Thunderwing.
The group stopped to rest. Onestripe shook his head.
“No. I’m getting her to use her energy for hunting and fighting. Although I do try to go quickly.”
Thunderwing laughed. Onestripe seemed like a different cat when he was away from Graytail and Deerleg, less prickly and more open.
“Badgerleg is healed now. He’ll be taking over Starpaw’s training again, leaving Lion’sMane to us.”
Thunderwing hesitated. “Something’s been bothering Thistlestar since Moonstar died. I can’t tell what… and I don’t think he can either. I’m sure it has to do with… what was that?”
A rustle in the undergrowth warned him of approaching cats, and the scent told him they were not from any clan he knew.
Three cats emerged from the ferns, two toms and a she-cat. The invaders hissed and arched their backs.
“Rogues!” Spat Onestripe.
Thunderwing smelled Thunderclan as they were unexpectedly joined by a hunting patrol consisting of Badgerleg, Sunset, GoldenRain and Thistlestar.
The strange she-cat flexed her claws in indignation.
“Rouges! How dare you? We are loyal members of Ledgepack!”
Thistlestar began to look interested.
One of the toms stepped forward, giving the she cat a warning glance.
“We are battlers of Ledgepack. We only wish to pass through your pack’s land. Our pack was driven out and we must find new territory before snowcover.”
Spottedpaw flicked her ears in confusion.
The tom looked uncertain. “Yes. The time of year when snow covers the ground.”
“He means leafbare,” explained Thunderwing.
“Is your whole clan with you?” Thistlestar mewed.
“Our pack is waiting for us in the valley with the four oaks.”
“Fourtrees? The other clans will not be happy to see your there at the gathering tomorrow night.” Thistlestar paused. “You may stay here in our territory until the morning after the gathering. Go and tell your leader and then meet me back here.”
Thistlestar could not really think about what he had just done, he was to busy trying to deal with the horrible suspicion that was forming and replacing the nagging that had been in the back of his mind since the death of Moonstar. A horrible suspicion that Moonstar’s death had been no accident.
His thoughts were put aside as the bushes rustled. The cats tensed, expecting an attack. Out of the bushes burst a young rabbit ran from the bracken, its paws pounding the earth. The patrols nearly laughed with relief.
Soon after the previously seen cats emerged from the bracken. Behind them was an elderly black tom. The black cat stepped forward and dipped his head.
“Greetings. I am Night, ruler of this pack. You have met my scouts Hill,” the ginger tom who done most of the speaking, “Sky,” the she-cat, “and Drop.” The Third cats dipped his head.
Thistlestar’ stepped forward. “I am the leader of this clan. My name is Thistlestar. You’re welcome to stay at our camp. This way.”
The pack followed the clan cats deep into Thunderclan territory.
As they aproached the camp Mousetree and Graytail rushed out, pelts brsitleing.
“They must have smelled Ledgepack,” Thunderwing whispered to Onestripe.
“I’ll announce your presence to the clan,” Thistlestar mewed in his deep growling voice.
“Thunderwing!” The black cat shook himself then looked around to see who had waken him. It was the ginger ledgepack battler, Hill.
The tom came up to him looking uncertain.
“Thunderwing?” Thunderwing nodded and the tom went on, more confidently now. “Your ruler, Thistlestar wishes to see you.”
The pack had just come this morning and they were already relaxing inside the camp. Thunderwing made his way across the camp. He saw the fierce battler, Sky, curled up alongside Mousetree. Hill was approaching Sunset. The tom seemed strangely interested in the she cat. Thunderwing shook off the thought and entered the leader’s den. Thistlestar was lying with his head on his paws as if he were asleep. His eyes were wide open but they looked distant as if his mind was far away.
“Thunderwing,” He spoke in a soft whisper, “we’re going to Riverclan.”
Sunset felt her fur tingle when she saw the handsome ginger tom turn towards her. Hill had hunted with her earlier. Something about the hunt had made her heart beat faster. She felt unexplainable pleasure at seeing Hill.
“Sunset!” Hill purred in genuine delight. “Have you eaten?”
“No. Will you eat with me?” Sunset’s fur grew hot.
Hill seemed pleased. “I’ll get you something for you,” Hill purred. He bounded over to the fresh kill pile and returned with a thrush and a vole.
Sunset took the thrush and they settled down to eat.
“This land is rich with prey, much better hunting land then our old home.” He sighed. “Some of our pack are becoming quite comfortable in your clan and it worried me.”
“Your clan will soon find a new home overflowing with prey.”
Hill looked as if he wanted to say something but had thought better of it. Instead he muttered something about going to talk to Night. Sunset sadly watched him go.
“Thistlestar why are we here?” panted Thunderwing.
Thistlestar did not answer. Instead in reply he snapped, “I smell no rogues.”
Thunderwing stared at his leader in shock. They were in Riverclan territory next to the Stepping Stones.
“Thistlestar that was a moon ago. The rogues Mossbird warned us of would have left long ago.”
“Yes, but when you first entered this territory with Moonstar did you smell rogues?”
“No,” Thunderwing answered hesitantly.
“Hide, a patrol is coming.”
As they hid in the bushes a patrol could be heard.
“Those adders are definatly gone thanks to Thunderclan.”
“They’d been stealing the prey over there for so long I didn’t care who got rid of them.”
“Beechfur. Quiet. I smell intruders.”
Thistlestar stepped from the bushes with his head held high. “I wish to speak to Broadstar.”
Thistlestar sat down in Broadstar’s den. Mossbird was out of camp, otherwise they would not have been allowed in.
Broadstar glanced around anxiously as Thistlestar spoke. “What did you tell her when Moonstar visited you?”
Broadstar’s ears twitched nervously. “I told Moonstar that this was none of my doing. Mossbird has taken over the clan. Only her three thugs and I know that she is in control. My clan thinks I have turned my back on them, ruling them without taking part in their lives. You must not agree to join Riverclan. Mossbird is planning to attack whoever will not join her. She wants it clear that Riverclan is the danger. You will probably have another few days after the gathering. She is not a good planner. She did not stop to think how she would fight three clans with one. Somehow Mossbird will find a way. Remember…” He broke off suddenly. “Yes. Your only hope of a peaceful life lies in Riverclan.”
Thunderwing confusion was clear until he spotted the brown tabby shape of Mossbird through the branches at the back of Broadstar’s den.
Thistlestar picked up on the change immediately.
“The danger comes from behind your territory? That explains why no other clan has foreseen it.”
They paused as Mossbird trotted away.
“As I was saying, remember Thistlefoot, don’t give in to Mossbird’s threats. You should leave now.”
Thistlestar stood and left the den. They crossed the camp without attracting Mossbird’s attention and soon found themselves in their own territory. Beneath the OwlTree Thunderwing and Thistlestar stopped to hunt. The bracken parted to reveal Sunset and Hill, walking so close their pelts touched. Sunset looked embarrassed to be found walking alone with the Ledgepack tom. She lowered her head and stepped to her left at the same time as Hill stepped to the right.
“Hunting?” Thunderwing questioned.
“Uh... yeah… what you said. Hunting,” stuttered Sunset. “We should hunt somewhere else. Right Hill?”
The large tom nodded. Thunderwing smiled as the pair bustled off.
Thistlestar sat down next to Thunderwing. “You do know what we’ve discovered don’t you?”
“What do you mean?”
“Riverclan knew about the adders. There never were any rogues, Moonstar had learned Mossbird’s secret” he paused as Thunderwing shied away half knowing what his leader was going to say. “Mossbird sent you that way on purpose. She made up the rogues. She wanted Moonstar dead, and she succeeded. However, Mossbird has no idea of her triumph. Right now I assume she is terrified that Thunderclan will betray her secret to her clan.”
“Why shouldn’t we? Stop this threat now, once and for all.”
“It would just be our word against hers. As far as their consorned it would be their deputy’s word against a rival clan’s deputy. “
The tom wearily got to his paws and trudged off.
“Did you hear?” Foxpaw raised her head from her mouse when she heard Thunderwing’s voice. The black cat purred at the sight of the red aprentice.
“What?” she mewed gently.
“Rawtooth joined the elders den. Swamppaw’s training has been left to Lion’sMane.” He let out of mrrrow of laughter. “Swamppaw’s following him around like a love struck kitten. Poor cat has to put up with a dreamy eyed aprentice.”
Foxpaw snorted unsympatheticly.
“Guess who Lion’sMane’s got eyes for?”
Foxpaw scowled. “I don’t care as long as it’s not me.”
Foxpaw leaped to her paws at the mention of her friend’s name.
“Well,” she said trying to stay calm, “I’m sure she’s got no interest in him.”
“Oh I wouldn’t be too sure about that. He’s a decent looking cat.”
“But that can’t be!” She wailed. “Stormcloud knows how awful he is, how I dislike him.”
“I could distract her from him. She’s not so bad looking herself.”
He bent down and gave his chest a few licks then looked up grinning.
“You’d better not!” She dropped into a crouch and lashed her tail.
He laughed. “Na. There’s another cat I’d rather spend my time with.” He looked at her with undisguised tenderness.
“Oh. I forgot to tell you.” Foxpaw mewled. “I’m becoming a warrior this evening.”
“Congratulations. I’m due to go one patrol. See you.” He turned to go but Foxpaw called after him.
“Where did you go with Thistlestar this morning?”
Thunderwing was nearly overwhelmed with the desire to share with Foxpaw what they had learned. He caught himself. Thistlestar would announce it to the clan when he was ready.
“Just out hunting.” He walked slowly away, weaving among the Ledgepack cats.
“Let all cats old enough to groom their own fur gather beneath the HighRock for a clan meeting.”
At evening the call wrung out and the cats made their way to the huge rock at one side of the clearing.
Thistlestar raise his head and boldly began. “Foxpaw you have trained hard for this moment. You have become clever and fast. Foxpaw, your warrior name shall be, Foxwit.”
“Foxwit!” “Foxwit!” chanted the clan and soon Ledgepack joined in.
Thunderwing bounded over to Foxwit. They raced from the camp, their pelts brushing. Sunset watched them leave. She sadly wished that her own affection towards Hill could be so open and easy. She looked around for the ginger tom. She felt a surge of warmth at the sight of him. She knew that she should stop herself from becoming too close to Hill but she pushed thoughts of that kind away. Hill came to greet her and they went off to eat.
Foxwit looked around the camp for Stormcloud. She spotted the black and white she cat speaking to the queen Snowstorm. Deerleg, the father of Snowstorm’s kits, came over to Stormcloud and sat down. The three cats were watching the two kits, Clearkit and Rainkit, tumble about. Foxwit made her way over to Stormcloud. She leaned over to speak but before a word escaped her mouth Lion’sMane trotted up.
The tom flick his ears, signaling he wanted Stormcloud to follow him, and the two walked off. A little disappointed Foxwit sat down. She had been wanting to speak to Stormcloud about what Thunderwing had said earlier consorning Lion’sMane. Stormcloud’s behavior simply worried her more.
Foxwit turned to Snowstorm and Deerleg. “Your kits look healthy.”
Snowstorm turned to look at her with a said expression on her face. “Didn’t you hear? After your naming, when you were hunting with Thunderwing, Snowfur examined them. It seems they’re both completely blind. Thistlestar seems to think they can still be trained, though he’s not sure they’ll ever become warriors.”
“Oh. I’m so sorry.” Foxwit murmured.
“Don’t be sorry. They’ll one day be strong warriors.” Hissed Deerleg, rather more sharply than he intended. He glanced at Rainkit, a brown tabby like himself. The kit batted playfully at her sister, a white she-cat like her mother.
He stalked away and the other two queens, Moondust and Poppypelt, looked up from discussing their kits that were yet to be born.
“I heard once,” began Poppypelt quietly, “of a blind cat that became a warrior. Besides I’d be more worried about Spottedpaw and Goldpaw becoming warriors, than those two. Leave it to a stubborn cat like Acornhead to have kits like them.”
The she-cats let out a couple mrrows of laughter. Foxwit stood and padded over to the bush where the warriors slept. She ducked inside. Foxwit made her way over to the nest where Stormcloud slept. She scraped together a moss nest next to the black and white cat’s nest and went to sleep.
Thistlestar stood at the edge of the slope that led down to FourTrees. Beside him stood the Ledgepack leader, Night. Side by side the leaders lead their cats forward. Thistlestar leaped onto the Great Rock where the other leaders waited. Again Broadstar was absent, his stop occupied by Mossbird.
Ravenstar stepped forward. “Perhaps you’d like to go first, Thistlefoot.”
Thistlestar nodded and stepped up to face the clans.
“Cats of all clans, I bring grave news. One moon ago Moonstar went to visit Broadstar about Mossbird’s request.” Out of the corner of his eye he saw Mossbird hurriedly speaking to Night in a whisper. “Broadstar spoke to Moonstar and told her everything. Mossbird is currently in control of Riverclan. She has trapped Broadstar in his own den with her three followers. She spoke of danger, but the danger she spoke of is Riverclan. Mossbird is planning to attack us if we do not join Riverclan and except her leadership. Mossbird was a fraid. She sent Moonstar back a different way, making up a story of rouges near the Stepping Stones as an excuse. She knew there were adders the way she sent Moonstar. Our leader was biten and killed. I have taken the name Thistlestar.” He stopped and drew back. The Shadowclan and Windclan gazed intently at Mossbird. The Riverclan cat finished whispering and stepped forward.
“I do not deny it,” the brown tabby yowled. “As I have said, Riverclan will be strong. As one clan we will be more powerful than anything, even stronge than twolegs. I will lead the clan. In three days time Riverclan will meet you here. If you do not join us we will fight you and drive you out.”
Ravenstar stepped up. The wiry black Windclan leader’s head hunt as if he were ashamed. “Windclan will not fight, for or against Riverclan.”
Mossbird nodded, “so you will join us?”
“In three days, not a minute before.”
Mossbird seemed pleased. “Good. Wise decision Ravenheart.”
Thistlestar flinched at the obvious contempt Mossbird showed by calling the leader by his warrior name. For the first time he was worried. Riverclan still seemed to support Mossbird despite what she had done, promises of grandeur distracting them from her treachery and deceit. And now Windclan had yielded to Riverclan.
“Tell me Mossbird, how do you expect to fight three clans with one?”
Mossbird smiled. “Why Thistlestar! I had no idea there were that many clans in the forest. Lets see… one, two, three, four… five. Yes. Who is this cat Thistlestar? Would you like to explain.”
Thistlestar moved up slowly. “This is the Ledgepack ruler, Night. His pack is staying in my clan’s camp for a few days until they are ready to continue their search for new land.”
Tawnypelt scowled. “I believe it is my turn,” she snarled. “We have a new warrior. Hedgefur sits with us tonight. A litter of kits was born yesterday.” She dipped her head and stepped back.
Ravenstar opened his mouth to speak but Mossbird cut him off.
“Ravenheart, you are apart of my clan now, you are no leader, you have lost the right to speak.”
She hissed and tryed to chase him off the boulder.
Thistlestar thrust his muzzle in Mossbird’s face. “He said he would join you only at the end of three days. He is still a leader.”
Ravenstar nodded his thanks to Thistlestar and started to speak. “Two litters of kits have been born. WE have three new aprentices, Lakepaw, Thrushpaw, and Seapaw. Our medicine cat, Birdtail, has taken an aprentice, Brackenpaw.”
“Now that you’re all done jabbering like jays we can go home,” hissed Mossbird.
Riverclan ran from the hollow with their tails held high, as if they had already won the upcoming battle. Thistlestar summoned Foxtail and the two went to find Tawnystar. They found the she-cat crouching in conference with her deputy, Jaybeak. The blue-gray she-cat raised her head and touched her leaders shoulder with her tail. Tawnystar turned and greeted Thistlestar with a dip of her head.
“Greetings. You failed to mention Foxtail was the new deputy. Congratulations.”
“Will you fight beside Thunderclan?” Rumbled Thistlestar.
Tawnystar hesitated. “What else can we do? Submit to being treated like foolish aprentices. Ravenstar is weak. What leader would let himself be treated like that. When do you expect your guests to be leaving?”
“Not soon, I hope. Windclan’s cowardice sickens me. I suggest you strengthen your camp. I’ll see you on the battle field.”
Thistlestar leaped down from the Highrock. He had just told the clan what he had learned of Mossbird’s plot. He looked around the clearing. Aproaching him from Ledgepack’s makeshift camp was Night. The ruler looked confident and proud.
“Thistlestar! My pack is leaving.”
“Have you found a home? I was not aware.”
“We have been made an offer, by Mossbird.” As the black cat spoke Thistlestar felt alarm growing inside him. “Mossbird said that if we fight for her and except her leadership we can have our share of territory in her forest. I have accepted.”
Night leapt up to the Highrock and called his clan. “Ledgepack. We are leaving We shall live with Riverclan for three days, and then, when Mossbird is ruler, we shall return and this will be our home!”
Ledgepack’s cheers nearly drowned Thunderclan’s gasps of horror. Reluctantly the Ledgepack mothers left the nursery. As the throng of cats moved toward the entrance, Sunset found herself looking for one ginger pelt.
Night turned. “Hill. Lead the pack. Hill?”
Sunset felt fur brush against her pelt and breathed in Hill’s warm scent. “No,” called Hill. “I’m not going with you. I will not help that evil cat drive out these cats as we were driven out.”
Night lashed his tail angrily and stalked off at the head of his pack.
Hill padded over to Thistlestar. “I’d like to say here if you’ll let me. If not I’ll move on, but no matter what I am no longer a battler of Ledgepack.”
Thistlestar nodded and gentley said, “you may stay as a member of Thunderclan.”
Hill walked back over to Sunset. “I love you Sunset, more than I could ever have imagined possible. But that’s not why I stayed. I stayed because what my pack is doing is wrong.” Sunset felt bitter disappointment burn in her paws. “It would be selfish to leave our home because of love. We would be depriving our clan, or pack, of a strong warrior and a friend. “Sunset nodded knowing he was right. “But I still love you Sunset.”
She leaned against him, breathing in the warm scent of his fur.
Foxwit glanced at Hill and Sunset. It reminded her she still hadn’t spoken to Stormcloud about Lion’sMane. She spotted Stormcloud and bounded over.
“Stormcloud! Can I talk to you alone.”
The two she-cats sat down in the ferns at the edge of the camp.
Foxwit took a deep breath. “Stormcloud don’t. Stay away from Lion’sMane.”
“What? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Stormcloud’s fur grew hot.
“Don’t try to hide it you’re clearly attracted to him. You can’t be. You know how much I dislike him.”
Stromcloud’s tail twitched angrily. “So what if I am? It’s none of your business. I happen to think Thunderwing is the most disagreeable cat I’ve ever met, that your affections are wasted on him, but I’ve never said anything because you’re my friend and I believe you truly have feelings for him. That’s between you and him,” hissed Stormcloud. She flattened her ears and stalked off.
Foxwit got up and went to search for Thunderwing. She spotted the black tom coming toward her. In her hurry she collided with the distinctive golden fur of Lion’sMane.
Foxwit bristled. “Watch it Kittypet,” she spat. Her fight with Stormcloud making her even more hostile than usual.
Lion’sMane snarled and bounded away. Foxwit felt Thunderwing come up behind her.
“Is your fight with Lion’sMane still going on? I thought it ended moons ago.”
“What’s wrong with that?” snapped, Foxwit, far more sharply than she intended.
Thunderwing flattened his ears as if she had struck him. “Its pointless. He made a mistake long ago and now everytime you see him you spit fire. Whenever you get near each other you act like kits. Face it Foxwit, it’s time to put old arguments aside.” He touched her gently with his tail. “Come hunting with me. The clan needs more fresh kill.”
The two cats strolled out of camp.
Two days until the fight, only two days. It was all Tigerstripe could think about. He aproached Thistlestar’s den, his gray and black tabby fur bristleing with the thought of what he was about to ask for.
“Thistlestar?” He called entering the den.
“I want to lead a patrol to chase off the badger at Snake Rocks. I’d like to take Thunderwing, Foxwit, Stormcloud, and Lion’sMane.”
“Some of our youngest warriors?” Thistlestar said questioningly.
“Also some of our strongest.”
“Very well. We must drive out the badger.”
Foxwit bounded from boulder to boulder up the ravine. At the top she stopped and gave her chest a quick nervous lick. Facing a badger was dangerous and she was glad she had two strong fighters like Thunderwing and Tigerstripe with her. As much as she hated to admit it, she was also glad to have the muscular Lion’sMane with her. With the three toms in front of her and Stormcloud by her side, she proceeded onward to Snake rocks.
As they approached Snake Rocks Foxwit’s fur began to bristle. The stench of badgers was now strong. She sat down to wait. It was early, just past dawn, so the badgers should have been returning from their night scavenging soon. They didn’t have to wait very long. Out of the bushes a young badger blundered. It stumbled into Foxwit. His eyes grew wide with fear. The young badger was now big enough to cause problems for a single grown cat. The mother followed her cub, snarling vicously.
With a yowl Tigerstripe threw himself at the cub. Foxwit slashed out at the mother her claws got thick black fur but nothing else. The badger leapt on Foxwit, pinning her to the ground. The mother raised her paw, ready to slash at her throat, a blow that would have surely killed a cat. Suddenly the badger was jerked backwards by a cat. Foxwit opened her mouth to thank Thunderwing, but it was Lion’sMane, not Thunderwing who stood there. She shut her jaws abruptly and leapt once again at the badger. She raked her claws along it’s side. Blood seeped from the wound. The badger roared angrily and shook her massive striped head. The badger turned and ran. Foxwit stared in horror.
“Its heading for the camp,” yowled Stormcloud.
Foxwit chased after it with the others pounding along behind her. As she neared the ravine she slowed down. The badger was nowhere to be seen. Suddenly a roar told her the badger was behind her. Foxwit whirled around with her back arched. The badger lunged forward, knocking the ginger she-cat backwards. Foxwit tumbled off the edge of the ravine, only managing to hang on with her front paws. Her hind legs dangled high above the ground. She flexed her claws trying to find grip, but her claws only scraped hard stone. The badger wheeled around to face the remaining members of the patrol.
“Thunderwing! Help me, I’m going to fall!”
The black tom leapt over the badger. The huge creature spun and lashed out at Thunderwing with a powerful forepaw. His face contorted into a screech of pain as the badger’s claws raked his shoulder. The badger turned back to the others. Thunderwing leaned over and grabbed the scruff of Foxwit’s neck in his teeth. He pulled backward, but with no result. Suddenly Foxwit felt another set of jaws grab her from the other side and together Thunderwing and Lion’sMane pulled her back onto solid ground. Foxwit briefly leaned on Thunderwing before leaping back at the badger. The big creature let out a last roar of defiance and lumbered off, herding its cub in front of it. The cats stood shoulder to shoulder, yowling in triumph.
Inside the camp Lion’sMane ran up to Foxwit. “Foxwit I need to speak to you.”
She laid back her ears but spoke without the usual venem. “What is it? I’m supposed to be on the dawn patrol, I need to get some sleep.”
“I think we should put old arguments aside and stop fighting.” Before she could reply he turned and bounded over to Stormcloud who was waiting for him by the fresh kill pile.
Sunset watched as Pinecloud and Onestripe led Spottedpaw and Goldpaw out of the camp for training. The usually frisky aprentices looked somber, burdened with the thought of the battle the next day. The whole clan was tense, as if Mossbird was right in front of them, ready to spring at them with claws outstretched. Sunset sighed and looked around for Hill. The big tom had seemed distraught since Ledgepack had left. Hill spent most of his time talking to the senior warriors, learning about the clans and the territory. Most of the senior warriors, Rosesky, Tigerstripe and Foxtail, were to busy to teach the battler, but Skypelt and Badgerleg realized that he needed to know these things if he was to be part of the clan. Sunset spotted Hill speaking to Badgerleg in a clump of ferns. On her way over to them she decided to stop by the medicine cat’s den. She peered into the dark den. Sunset was shocked to see no Snowfur but Thunderwing. The black cat was crouched beside Rabbitpaw speaking to her in a soft voice.
“Are you hurt Thunderwing?”
The black tom looked up at the sound of Sunset’s soft voice. “No, I… I was just helping Rabbitpaw with a mixture for tomorrow. Snowfur is gathering herbs so I thought I’d lend a paw.” He looked wistfully at the rows of herbs.
“You miss it sometimes don’t you?” Sunset murmured.
Thunderwing nodded. “Every now and then, but I’m a warrior now.”
“Thunderwing, I can’t remember what we use for infection,” Rabbitpaw called.
Sunset smiled and backed out of the den. She padded over to Hill as Badgerleg walked. Hill sprang to his paws.
“Sunset! Did you want to go hunting? I’d like to show you one of our hunting techniques.”
“Sure,” she purred.
They padded into the forest. Nothing about the quiet woods betrayed the threatof horrible danger the cats were preparing to face the next day. Sunset tasted the air for the scent of prey and picked up the scent of mousse. Here a cat could nearly forget about Mossbird’s treachery. Sunset sighed and brought her mind back to the hunt.
“Let all cats old enough to groom their own fur gather beneath the HighRock for a clan meeting!” The call echoed throughout the clearing.
Thistlestar began to speak. “Some warriors will need to stay at camp during today’s battle. All queens and elders will stay in camp with the kits. “
Snowstorm, Poppypelt, Moondust, Rawtooth and Dustthroat nodded.
“I also believe one warrior and one apprentice should stay behind. Starpaw you and Hill shall stay.”
“Thistlestar,” Hill raised his voice. “I would like to fight in the battle, to prove that my allegainances no longer lie in Ledgepack.”
“Very well.” He paused, looking for a cat to take Hill’s place. He noticed Deerleg looking up, hopeful for the chance to stay and protect his mate and kits. “Deerleg you will stay with Starpaw. The rest of you eat quickly and be ready to leave by dawn. Aprentices you will help Snowfur and Rabbitpaw carry their supplies to FourTrees.”
Thistlestar leaped down from the Highrock, dismissing the clan. He grabbed a thrush and began eating outside his den. Goldrain approached with his apprentice Quickpaw trailing behind him.
Goldenrain’s green eyes were troubled. He looked as if he wanted to say something but it was Quickpaw who spoke first. “Thistlestar, I… the clan is frightened. What will happen if we lose the battle?”
“We will be forced to join Riverclan or leave the forest.” Thistlestar mewed gravely.
“Which will we do?” The young dark brown tabby tom asked hesitantly.
Grief clouded Thistlestar’s eyes as he toward the small cat. Quickpaw was dwarfed by the huge leader’s powerful frame but now in the aprentice’s fear and uncertainty he looked even smaller. “We will not have to make that choice. We will win. We must win.”
Dawn was approaching when Thistlestar caught a flash of bright ginger-oragne fur and a cat staggered into camp. Firefur, the Windclan deputy stood in the center of the clearing, gasping for breath.
He raised his head to look at the Thunderclan leader. “Thistlestar, you must win the battle. Windclan is treated awfully. We have neither their respect nor their affection. All of us, even Ravenstar and myself are treated as less than aprentices. I am the only one who dares to defy Mossbird. If Ravenstar will not protect Windclan, I will. I plead for the chance to fight for my clan’s freedom. I want to go to battle with you, Thunderclan.”