a drawing of my brother’s cat oc! he’s got super powers to grow herbs on his back!
a drawing of my brother’s cat oc! he’s got super powers to grow herbs on his back!
✨Later on, I’ll add Tigerstar and Mapleshade to this post.✨
mm growl bark bark brifselfrost
“I can’t leave. I have sworn to protect my Clanmates.”
They’re a splotched brown cat with white spotting and pollen-stained claws, along with one overturned ear.
“I still can’t believe we’re doing this.” Tawnypelt drawled quietly.
Crowpaw snorted, “That makes two of us.”
“Well believe it!” Squirrelpaw piped, a tail-length in front of them. Her eyelids dipped into a sneer. “If you’re too scared, why don’t you just turn back?”
“Jabber-mouth.” Tawnypelt mewed quietly, but she was openly amused. Crowpaw scoffed with a roll of his eyes.
“As if we could leave you to do this yourselves.” Crowpaw teased, “With your loudmouth, the tribe would just pounce on you the second you enter.”
Squirrelpaw waved her tail dismissively. But both apprentices jolted when they heard a low snort from the huge tom that followed them from behind. “You say that like that isn’t the most likely outcome.”
Crowpaw’s fur laid flat as he turned towards Talon. They had encountered the cat when they’d taken shelter in a cave which was the territory of him and his fellow outcasts. They had all once been members of the Tribe that the clan cats had escaped, sent out by their Tribe to kill Sharptooth. The wounds that coated their pelts told enough about how that mission had gone.
“The Tribe most likely have not forgiven us for failing to kill that beast.” Talon mused, cracking his large head to the side with a grunt. “It wouldn’t be out of character if they wanted to kill us then and there.”
The truth in his words set into Crowpaw’s chest like thorns. They still didn’t know exactly what the Tribe were capable of, they might have escaped them last time, but that was only because they were distracted by Sharptooth. Crowpaw still felt the sting of what had been left of his fight with Crag.
Tawnypelt growled low in her throat, glaring at the outcasted cat. “Aren’t you about as pleasant as a fox.” She grumbled. It was clear she shared his thoughts though; it had been her who had been most against the idea of returning to the Tribe to kill Sharptooth.
Talon shrugged lazily, “The truth isn’t often pleasant in the mountains.”
“Clearly.” Tawnypelt muttered.
Stormfur’s voice rattled from the front. “We’ll be fine!” He insisted, the break in his pitch giving him away. “They still think I’m the prophesised cat! They won’t try to attack me.”
That doesn’t include the rest of us. Crowpaw mused, but he was smart enough to keep silent this time.
“Aren’t you the prophesised cat?” Talon questioned.
Stormfur’s tail went low as his pelt quivered. “I…I don’t know.” He admitted shamefully. He had told the others about his dream, where his mother had visited him with the message of ‘a question that had many answers’. Stormfur didn’t claim to know what this question was, but he seemed to think it had something to do with the Tribe. Hence, why he wanted to go back. “But they think I am. They won’t want to risk it.”
Talon scoffed with a vicious lash of his tail, but he didn’t say anything else.
Crowpaw scowled at the cat, but his heart still wavered at the clear lack of belief from the former cats. They knew the Tribe from experience, knew exactly what they could and would do. Perhaps they were all being foolhardy in going back.
But Stormfur was determined to go there.
And if Stormfur was going, so was Feathertail.
The rest of them couldn’t leave either of them to take on that group by themselves, to take on that beast alone. They saw what Sharpooth was capable of doing to a whole Tribe. There was no way Crowpaw wouldn’t let either of his friends risk their lives like that.
Even if it did mean going back to face that creature as well.
Crowpaw still grimaced, his pelt prickled, at the thought of that. He remembered the terrible memory of the face of the molly that Sharptooth had taken. The fear. The blood. If he had to see that face again, on any other cat, Crowpaw wasn’t sure he would return sane.
If he saw that face on one of his friends, Crowpaw wasn’t sure he’d be able to return at all.
He stiffened, looking up at the cats around him, the cats he’d hated so passionately when this all began. Know, they were all cats he would gladly have by his side in battle, as friends. He knew they all thought the same.
Some thought more than others, Crowpaw knew. His mouth suddenly went dry as he looked up wearily at Feathertail.
No matter what he truly thought of her, he knew that he could never leave her behind. He wanted to help protect all of them, even if he was an apprentice. He wanted to fight with them even if it took him until his last breath.
He wanted to prove why he was chosen by Deadfoot. He wanted to make sure he went home making his father’s name proud. He wanted to go home proving that he was a true warrior.
Most of all, he would help his friends fight Sharptooth because he wanted to go home with them all beside him.
And now, they had a plan for how to take down the beast.
Well, one of them had had a plan. Crowpaw’s tail curled, as he smirked, his eye darting to his side, admiring the young cat walking with him.
“So,” Crowpaw mewed, “You’re sure about this poison idea?”
Squirrelpaw’s tail waved from side to side, she let out a proud purr. “Of course! You saw what Sharptooth was like; that thing will eat anything it can.” Her eyes narrowed, “It’s sure to go for prey literally left right in front of its fat nose.”
Crowpaw looked back for a moment. One of the former Tribe cats carried a wad of leaves in its mouth, carefully making sure to not spill the contents wrapped inside. Just one taste of the death berries and he wouldn’t taste anything again.
Crowpaw hoped they would work on the lion when they were stuffed inside the prey it was eating.
“What if it can smell the berries?” Crowpaw thought aloud.
Squirrelpaw’s nose wrinkled, “Can you smell them?”
“Then there shouldn’t be a reason that he could either. Sharptooth may be a monster, but it’s still a cat.”
Crowpaw wasn’t sure if he would call that thing a cat after what they’d seen it do, but he kept that to himself. Squirrelpaw had a point, there wasn’t anything to suggest that Sharptooth was different in its sense of smell. Still, he couldn’t help but be cautious. Her idea was their best chance of killing the thing. If it failed…
“You should have more faith in this wise cat.” Squirrelpaw preened, her nose proudly facing the air as she curled her tail; unwittingly, it ran under Crowpaw’s chin. His cheeks began to burn, his eyes screwing tight into a frown. “You might actually learn to appreciate a good idea when it’s given to you!”
“I’m not saying it isn’t a good idea.” Crowpaw mewed, “It’s the only one we have, after all.” He had to concede to that.
“So, stop whingeing then!”
“Look, I do think your plan will work. I’m just…” He groaned. He couldn’t say it, and he could feel her smirk on his skin.
“Oh Crowpaw, stop worrying. We know what to do.” She meowed, a deciding lash in her voice.
He felt her tail thump against his back, hard, hitting the sore wound from when he’d fought with Crag. He let out a muffled hiss of pain, glaring down at Squirrelpaw. That was a cruel move!
His anger faded as Squirrelpaw looked back at him with wide, apologetic eyes. “Sorry!” She cried, “I didn’t mean to get you there!” Crowpaw braced back a little at the flashing guilt on her face. She pressed her pelt against him with a regretful purr. “I’m really sorry.”
Strangely, Crowpaw felt his own stomach twist, any irritation that was left fading as he felt the cat’s soft, fuzzy pelt stroke his own. He could practically feel her skin against his. Her fleecy Thunderclan pelt was softer than anything Crowpaw had felt in his life.
Soft. That was one word that didn’t sound like it belonged anywhere near Squirrelpaw. Crowpaw was pretty certain if he ever called her that she would use her claws to show him just how soft she was. But that was just her. And Crowpaw found himself chuckling at the idea.
She was a ball of fire, this cat. A small ball of fire, but hot-headed enough to burn those who fanned her flames enough. Once, Crowpaw saw it as abrasive. Now, it was one of the things he loved the most about her. She had a quick mind, and often enough it would make Crowpaw laugh out loud.
Starclan knew, he’d never laughed so much before he met her.
And when she let the hardness drop, when she actually let herself become, well, soft, it never seemed out of place. She was just a kindhearted cat underneath all that fur. Crowpaw simpered as he watched her gaze up at him, still brimming with guilt. The emerald core in her eyes flickered hopefully, sending a shine across her face. When she was this close, Crowpaw could catch the fresh tang of wildflowers that marked her like a gentle wind.
Her eyes sparkled up at him, and Crowpaw felt his tail fur frazzle. He struggled to keep stoic as he processed his own thoughts. He’d never noticed it before, but Squirrelpaw glimmered when he looked at her. The way her bright ginger fur blazed beside the dark ginger stripes that cascaded along her back, the white tufts that ran down her jawline and belly, the emerald sheen of her eyes that glittered like full moonlight.
Alongside her broad nature, it was hard to catch at first glimpse, but this cat was undeniably cute.
A soft rumble echoed in Crowpaw’s throat. His eyes widened and he quickly coughed it away. “I-It’s fine!” He said curtly, pressing his tail against her flank. “It doesn’t even hurt that much anymore!” He added, sucking in his cheeks in order to stop them from burning.
Squirrelpaw let out a soft mew, grateful but biting. “Of course, it doesn’t.” She teased, gently tapping his rump with the tip of her tail.
She didn’t say anything after that, but Crowpaw didn’t notice from how his mind fizzed. He did just about catch her face flicker with realisation as she saw how close she was to him. She took a light step away, but nowhere near far enough to say that there was a problem between them, to Crowpaw’s relief.
Desperate to break the delicate tension, Crowpaw let words form in his throat. They never came out though, as a call from the front made the apprentices look up.
The grey apprentice looked up. Stormfur met his gaze from the front, he’d slowed down in his pace, obviously waiting. “Could I talk to you for a moment?” His eyes were still misty, a nervous twitch running across his back.
Crowpaw jerked his paw up, scratching a patch on his neck that suddenly tingled. It wasn’t that he didn’t like Stormfur, it was just who he saw when he looked at him. The Windclan cat felt his insides dance at the thought that Stormfur knew what was going on between him and his sister.
Speaking of which, Feathertail was moving back away from her brother, inviting Crowpaw to take her place beside him. Her eyes met his briefly and she gave him a tender smile. “Go on.” She purred.
Had she said something to him? About Crowpaw? The grey tom muttered a low moan. He didn’t like the look of this.
“What are you so scared of?” Squirrelpaw said, raising a brow.
Crowpaw jolted, giving the molly a deadly stare. “I’m not scared!”
“Then get on up there.” She smirked, “You might want to hold your tail between your legs to stop it twitching.”
Crowpaw forced himself to stiffen, his cheeks going dark again. He wasn’t lying. He wasn’t scared, he was just…worried. Crowpaw managed a silent growl. Fox-dung to this!
“Don’t worry, he’s not angry at you or anything.” Feathertail mewed. Crowpaw’s brows raised up as he saw Squirrelpaw’s tail flick in confusion. What was Feathertail doing? Did she want the others to know about how she felt about him?
“I-I know that!” Crowpaw spat out the words like a death berry before it could go down his throat. “Why would he be angry at me? Why would I even care if he was?”
Immediately, he began to regret how loud he was being. He noticed several of Talon’s group exchange confused glances with each other, Squirrelpaw still looked at him as if his fur had turned white, and Feathertail was just chuckling knowingly to herself.
“Just go.” Feathertail mewed lightly, her eyes gleaming with a mischievous spark. “He doesn’t bite…much.”
Crowpaw felt the shiver go down his back again. “H-Ha ha.” He deadpanned.
“Crowpaw, please can you just get up here?” Stormfur’s voice meowed again, his tail waved to him impatiently. “I want to talk to you about something.” Crowpaw shifted uneasily. It was true that Stormfur didn’t sound especially irritable or hostile.
Ah, mouse-fur! He’d just make a bigger scene if he refused.
“Alright.” Crowpaw said, beginning to pad up to the Warrior. He just about managed to ignore the soft snickering of Feathertail and the judging groan of Squirrelpaw. Stormfur kept his eyes on him, gentle and patient, as Crowpaw began to get closer.
The Windclan tom felt something tighten inside him; with every paw step he was noticing just how tall the grey Warrior was. In fact, he towered above him, and Crowpaw knew it wasn’t just the plumy pelt that made Stormfur look as strong as he was.
It was unlikely that the Warrior would pounce on him, but it was still a possibility that made Crowpaw tense. He liked Feathertail, but if this Warrior wanted a fight, Crowpaw wouldn’t hold back.
Crowpaw bit his lip, intending to cause some pain. What was he thinking? By Starclan, Squirrelpaw was right. He needed to stop anticipating the worst.
Still, standing right next to him, knowing that his sister liked him like he did, Crowpaw really didn’t value his chances.
“Hey.” Stormfur said, friendly enough, once Crowpaw was next to him.
Crowpaw tried not to sound like his throat was lodged with frogspawn. “Um, hey. Everything alright?” After what the tom had been through, it was polite enough to ask that.
Stormfur scoffed, albeit without a hint of malice. “You do know where we’re going right?”
“You know what I mean!” Crowpaw snapped, glowering when Stormfur mustered a throaty laugh. Starclan above, being nice was overrated sometimes.
“Easy there.” Stormfur smirked. “You really get riled easily.”
“I’m just kidding.” Stormfur looked down, his neck fur fuzzing. Crowpaw narrowed his eyes, but he didn’t respond. The Riverclan cat loosened, softening his gaze on the apprentice. “I’m doing as well as I can, considering the circumstances. You?”
Crowpaw shrugged, “I’m fine, I guess.” His eyelids halved across his eyes, “I mean we’re going back to a tribe that held us prisoner and expected you to take down a cat ten times your size, so I suppose I have some concerns.” He couldn’t help it; he was still struggling to grasp just what they were doing.
Stormfur muttered tonelessly, giving his shoulder an embarrassed lick. “Yeah… I can understand that.” It should have been Stormfur who was the most concerned about this, he was the one who was the target of the Tribe’s greed.
Crowpaw felt a slight worry creep over him. “They didn’t attack you, did they?”
“Oh? No, they didn’t. They just kept me in that cave, giving me prey every couple of hours.” Stormfur mewed calmly, “For the most part, they didn’t even talk to me. Except for that Stoneteller cat.” He drawled over the word like it was venom.
Crowpaw’s fur smoothed down, reprieved. He didn’t think the cat looked like he was harmed, but it was good to hear it from him.
“Anyway,” Stormfur sniffed, looking up absently for a moment before looking down cloudily at Crowpaw. “I heard that it was you that stuck by Feathertail while they were keeping me there.”
The chill scratched all over Crowpaw. His paws. His legs. His back. His breath.
“Who told you that?”
“Brambleclaw.” Stormfur said, still not taking off the eyes Crowpaw felt but couldn’t meet. He prided himself on being strong, on having guts that no other apprentice did. But now, he felt small, judged, guilty. He bristled at the name, his eyes sliding to the side where the brown tom trudged ahead with an apprehensive wilt on his whiskers.
Trust him to
spill it. Crowpaw sulked. He hadn’t even seen the tom looking at them.
“Look, it was nothing bad.” Stormfur said, his tone a curious mix of impatience and soothing. Whatever it was, it didn’t help ease anything.
“What was it then?” Crowpaw’s heart tightened for the worst.
The heavy grey paws softened as they walked on. Stormfur’s muzzle sagged a little. “I was worried about how she’d been, so I asked him.” He paused for a moment. “His exact words were that you stuck by your friends when they needed it. That you were able to stop her crying throughout that awful night.”
Crowpaw’s neck stiffened up.
The blue stare whipped back to the brown tom. Not with bitterness, but with complete surprise.
Was he actually trying to help me?
It was true. Crowpaw had comforted Feathertail, but Brambleclaw had confirmed that? To the cat that if he knew the full story would never trust Crowpaw anywhere near Feathertail?
The tom that he’d hated more than foxes, and had held him in the same regard, had done that.
Crowpaw could only stare ahead. Stunned.
“So?” Stormfur waited.
“Well, yeah. Of course, I did.” Crowpaw held. He’d had to do it; he couldn’t stand seeing her so upset. He’d do it again if he needed to. Feathertail would always be his friend and that meant he would always be there for her when she needed it.
If that was all he could do.
“Did any of them hurt her?” Stormfur asked. Crowpaw was glad to see the growl on the edge of his lips was not directed at him.
“No. They tried to be as hospitable as they could.” Crowpaw drawled mockingly. That stupidly polite tone they’d kept when they were literally holding them all prisoner had aggravated him to no end. “They didn’t attack any of us. Until I leapt at them that is.” Crowpaw used his tail to point out the swelled mark from when Crag had swiped at him the night they’d found out the Tribe’s real intentions.
A small murmur of relief left Stormfur, followed by a light chuckle. “Of course you did.” He shook his head, glimmering with recognition. “But she wasn’t hurt right?”
“No. They never got her.” Crowpaw wasn’t sure he would be alive if they had.
“Good.” Stormfur sighed. The relief in his eyes gave a sense of ease to Crowpaw. It didn’t look like the tom suspected anything. Crowpaw caught notice when Stormfur’s tail went flat and his head dipped down. The fur on his back lowered along with the shine in his eyes. “I should never have trusted them.” Stormfur said quietly.
Crowpaw groaned. Not this stupid moping again! He swatted Stormfur’s front leg with a sheathed paw. “How many times do we have to tell you? It wasn’t your fault.”
Stormfur had kept this gloomy mood ever since they’d gotten him out; muttering constant apologies and self-aimed scolds about how it was his fault for getting so close to the tribe and keeping the group there longer than they’d originally planned.
Perhaps there was a layer of truth to the latter part, Crowpaw considered bitterly. But it wouldn’t have mattered regardless.
“They wouldn’t have let you leave no matter what you thought of them. It’s not your fault they betrayed us.”
“But I wanted to stay.” Stormfur admitted, a shiver in his breath. “I actually wanted to spend more time there when you all wanted to leave.”
“So what?” Crowpaw snapped. “That’s just because they were teaching you their hunting techniques.” Crowpaw muttered to his side with a sneer. “That might be the best thing they ever did actually. Now you can actually hunt properly.”
“Oh, pack it in!” Stormfur meowed, but his upturned lips exposed a small grin.
Crowpaw whipped his tail smoothly. “Look, I don’t want to repeat myself here. It wasn’t your fault, alright? Nobody here thinks it was. Even if you’d wanted to leave after the first night, those cave-scum would have just kept you prisoner. You are their chosen cat after all.” Crowpaw added with a roll of his eyes. Stormfur took note of it, his brow knotting.
“I still could be, you know?”
“And I could lose my mind and jump off the waterfall for a nice swim. Doesn’t mean it’s likely?”
Stormfur’s muzzle creased. “Well, knowing you…”
“Seriously though. I don’t think this is just a mistake, Crowpaw.” Stormfur looked as if the thought made him scared. “Silverstream came to me, there has to be something else going on here.”
You said she didn’t tell you what she meant though. Crowpaw thought sceptically. He kept silent, however. He didn’t need the Warrior to start moping again.
“Besides,” Stormfur’s pelt prickled with anxiety, as if he was having trouble processing his own thoughts. “We all saw what Sharptooth did. As much as I hate them for what they did, they don’t deserve that.”
Crowpaw looked up, narrowing his eyes in bemusement. Was he talking about the Tribe? “Are you mouse-brained? They held us all prisoner for Starclan’s sake!” Crowpaw exclaimed, “They practically wanted to sacrifice you to that monster! Why would you feel sorry for them?”
“They did a terrible thing.” Stormfur agreed, but his eyes flickered with a deep pity, and something else. “But they were just desperate for their pain to end. Every clan has been guilty of that at some point.”
“That’s a load of rabbit-dung.” Crowpaw muttered hotly. “They got in the way of our journey. Who cares what happens to them?” He’d seen them fighting the group, he’d felt Crag’s claws over his pelt, he’d seen the marks the Tribe had left on Squirrelpaw. Even if they were desperate for some kind of solution, Crowpaw couldn’t forgive them for what they did.
“They weren’t all bad.”
“Oh why?” Crowpaw scoffed. Was Stormfur really that naïve? “Because they gave you prey? Oh, please. That’s like a mouse thanking us for playing with it for a while before we kill it.”
“Don’t be mouse-brained.” Stormfur said, an edge of hostility to his voice. Crowpaw furrowed his brow, Stormfur’s compliance sending a frustrated quiver along his back.
“All right then!” Crowpaw spat, “Name one cat there who you think deserves our help.”
Shock filled Stormfur’s for a cold moment, and he hesitated. Crowpaw scoffed, thinking he had caught Stormfur out. But bizarrely, there did look to be an answer in Stormfur. He looked to worried to speak the name though.
Finally, he relented. “Brook.” He said quietly.
Crowpaw had to think for a moment to remember the cat, then the pictures came back. Vague images of Stormfur going off on his own, hunting and talking, with a sleek, brown molly. Crowpaw had thought of it as nothing but friendly banter at the time. But now when he looked back on it, he could just about remember the way Stormfur would trill excitedly around her or the way his eyes would glow with joy.
Oh, he had to be kidding him.
“Really?” Crowpaw sighed, Stormfur looked away in embarrassment. It was clear to the both of them what they were talking about now.
“Is that why we’re going back?” Crowpaw’s tail whipped angrily. Was this all some stupid way for Stormfur to prove his love to some she-cat?
“Of course not!” Stormfur declared, his anger flaring. “I’m going back because I believe in what Silverstream said, and I will respect her advice.”
Crowpaw huffed. Likely story. He decided to keep quiet on that though. No matter what reason Stormfur had for going back, Crowpaw couldn’t deny that if Silverstream had visited Stormfur that meant that Starclan had to be intertwined in this someway. Maybe there was a chance that this was part of their journey after all.
Besides, what did he care who Stormfur liked? It was far too late for him to be judging cats for falling in love outside of their clan. Although…
Crowpaw stiffened a little as his blue stare met Stormfur. “I thought you liked Squirrelpaw.” He said, his voice low.
Stormfur convulsed where he stood, his body wracking up and down with a series of humiliated hacks, like he was trying to cough up a frog. He inhaled deeply to compose himself, but the second he found Crowpaw’s bored, knowing stare, his head ducked away again with a fluttering shame.
“Am I wrong?” Crowpaw asked, raising an annoyed brow.
“Y-Yes and no.” Stormfur tried his best to sound solid. He looked down at the apprentice frigidly, his whiskers twitching sheepishly. “I thought I did. But now, I’m not so sure.”
Crowpaw’s lip curled; how couldn’t Stormfur know whether or not he liked… He paused, softening all over.
Stormfur didn’t seem to realise. “I mean, at the time, I definitely liked her.” He said, keeping his voice quiet as he glanced back at the ginger cat fondly. “She’s an amazing cat, no doubt about it, and I hope to see her more when we get back home. But…” Something entirely different came into his eyes. Something made purely of bliss and ecstasy. Crowpaw had seen it before on Feathertail’s face.
“But Brook… she’s different.”
Crowpaw said nothing.
“I know we were only there a few days. But whenever I was around her, I just felt happy.” Whatever he was thinking looked like they made Stormfur the happiest that Crowpaw had ever seen him. “I could talk to her from sunhigh to sunset and not get bored, like we could tell each other everything. It was completely different to what I felt for Squirrelpaw.”
Crowpaw was hearing all this for the first time, and yet somehow he felt he could understand completely where Stormfur was coming from.
Stormfur sighed, “I guess that sounds like a load of frog-dung to you, huh? That’s fine.”
Stormfur reared up in surprise. “Wait. Really?”
Crowpaw looked up gingerly, his mind clouded with thought. “So, you just knew that you felt something different then, right? You knew something was up? There was something else you felt.” He kept his tone stony enough but closed in was the edges of hope - or it may have been disappointment.
Stormfur’s eyes lit up. “That’s exactly it! I couldn’t stop thinking about it for a day! You know what it’s like?”
Crowpaw didn’t know if he could answer that. He tried to picture Stormfur’s feelings and twist them in his own memories. They were patchy and disjointed, he tried to grasp on to the conclusion he sought. At times he felt he could understand Stormfur’s emotions, but other times he wondered that he didn’t.
It was a jumbled, frustrating mess.
Stormfur took Crowpaw’s silence in, his face changing. A realisation swept over him, a blend of irritation and acceptance. His yellow eyes dimmed down heavily, and he breathed in like the ocean swallowing the tide.
“Right. Of course, you understand.”
What Stormfur was suggesting was as clear as the mountain’s peak. Crowpaw began to feel bad because he didn’t understand. He knew it wasn’t his fault, but he still felt sympathy for the grey Warrior. Sorry that he couldn’t truly grasp what the Warrior was feeling. Sorry that Stormfur thought his assumptions were the clear truth. Sorry that he didn’t feel how Stormfur expected that he felt.
But he was never one for making that clear.
So, with a dread that was beginning to sting, he kept his mouth shut.
But Stormfur, mollified and flaming with an adverse accession, carried on. “Listen.” His voice was softer than Crowpaw could ever commemorate. He glanced behind them and Crowpaw didn’t need to look to know who he was thinking about. “I just wanted to thank you, for looking out for her while I was gone. I really do appreciate it.”
A hopeful relief came to Crowpaw. The hope that that was the end of it all. He could accept that and move on.
But of course, it wasn’t the end.
“And also,” Stormfur carried on, a weariness muffling him. He coughed and gave Crowpaw a trusting look. “She – She told me that she’s let you know how she feels…about you.”
Crowpaw’s silence was telling.
“And, I want you to know that if you decide to carry on with,” He sighed, “This; That I hope you can make each other happy.”
There was such faith in the way Stormfur spoke that Crowpaw thought he was going to be sick.
Through a clenched throat, he just about whispered, regretting how much it sounded like the nervousness that confirmed Stormfur’s acceptance. “You’d be fine with that.”
There was an apprehensive moan in the way he spoke, but his smile was fragile and defeated. He’d given up and taken what he thought with the best he could. “I’d be a real hypocrite if I wasn’t, right?”
He probably would be. But he wasn’t. Because what he suspected wasn’t correct. And Crowpaw wished he knew why. Small parts of him wanted to let Stormfur’s acceptance actually mean something, but he didn’t know if he could.
He wasn’t like Stormfur. He didn’t know what Stormfur felt. He hadn’t changed like that. Maybe he should have felt that he had, but it wasn’t the truth.
But how could he tell him or her that. It wasn’t the time.
Crowpaw managed to drain away from the conversation with some quip at Stormfur’s expense, the kind that was too cryptic and cowardly to be a real explanation. But it worked. It kept them calm before they made their way into a more dangerous situation. Still, Crowpaw knew he’d have to say something to her soon enough.
She deserved an answer.
She didn’t deserve the one that Crowpaw would give.
She was beautiful, no doubt. She was kind, she was loyal, she was brave, she was one of the best friends he could ask for, and he didn’t want to lose any of that.
But he hadn’t been changed like Stormfur.
He did love her. But it wasn’t the way that she loved him.
He didn’t know why it was like that, but it was the way it was. And he felt terrible for it, despite his straight face. He felt like his own intestines were trying to suffocate him as if to punish his decision. He couldn’t even look back because he knew that if he saw her face, the guilty sting would crawl all over him again.
Soon enough he’d have to face it though. She’d been brave enough to come to him, she had earnt the same from him.
And she would get it. But they would focus on this first. He would face her when they had dealt with that thing back at the Tribe. Then once this was all over, when they were ready to continue on their journey, he’d be able to tell her the truth.
He hoped she would forgive him.
We will leave Crowpaw in his grave mood for the moment. Because as he’d walked away to meet the grey Warrior who’d called him over, two she-cats who shared a similar interest in him were watching him head off with his head dipped and his tail between his legs.
Squirrelpaw groaned with barely disguised exasperation. “Honestly, what’s creeping over his pelt?” Crowpaw never let himself look like this, in fact he practically battled to look like the strongest cat every day, so seeing him so rattled was nearly stupid for Squirrelpaw.
Feathertail snickered softly, “He does look pretty shaky, doesn’t he?” If there was a hint of knowing buried in the Warrior’s tone, Squirrelpaw didn’t catch it. Feathertail exhaled, “Still, it isn’t like it isn’t normal. We don’t know how the Tribe will ‘greet’ us after what happened.”
Squirrelpaw frowned. She already had a clear idea how the Tribe would react. Her cheek still stung enough to remind her of their last encounter. “Well, we’ll just have to make sure they know were the only chance they have.”
Feathertail smiled, a glowing purr in her throat. “Don’t you mean your plan’s the only chance they have.”
The apprentice beamed a confident grin, but she still blushed from the praise. “Yep!” She chirped. “With a little help from her merry group!”
The Riverclan cat trilled with amusement, “It will make an excellent story for their kits!”
Even in the realisation of what they were heading towards, the two couldn’t help but laugh. It wouldn’t be too long now, and that was a good thing. The sky was beginning to darken, and in the dirty grey above them, the pale outline of the moon was becoming clearer. Soon the light would be glistening on the waterfall and Sharptooth’s hour would come.
But behind her laughter, and what she’d said to Crowpaw, Squirrelpaw had to feel a little nervous. They would definitely be prisoners rather than ‘guests’ when they inevitably ran into the Tribe guards, and whether their help would be accepted after their escape didn’t look so likely.
Hopefully the Tribe cats had the sense to listen.
Squirrepaw didn’t count on it.
She looked back to where Crowpaw was now openly talking with Stormfur. She gave Feathertail a cautious glance. “How’s he doing?” She asked her friend – that was what she had to focus on, her friend – gently.
Feathertail turned to Squirrelpaw smoothly, a small grateful smile on her muzzle. “Better than I hoped.” She replied, “It doesn’t look like they hurt him. He was shaken up earlier, but he looks like he’s getting better.”
“That’s good.” Squirrelpaw said, her tail gently tapping the Warrior’s back leg. She had been worried that Stormfur had been injured; no one knew what those cats could have done to him. She pressed her pelt against Feathertail’s. “At least he’s back where he belongs.”
“True.” Feathertail said returning the gentle touch. She looked so content that it made Squirrelpaw ache a little. What had she been thinking? Trying to avoid the two of- Ugh. She was glad it didn’t look like Feathertail had suspected anything from it. She didn’t need Squirrelpaw’s problems to be added to her own.
She’d thought giving them time alone would have helped them along. It had just created a needless wedge between the trio. It had been them from the beginning. If it wasn’t for Feathertail, Squirrelpaw would have never made such close friends, would have never given her best friend a chance, would have been left alone with a Warrior who didn’t respect her.
When it came down to everything, all that had been good for Squirrelpaw since the journey began had started due to Feathertail’s kindness.
She really was the greatest Warrior Squirrelpaw had ever met.
She was everything Squirrelpaw could ever wish she could be.
Squirrelpaw tried to pretend swallowing didn’t feel like holding back everything bad.
“Are you okay as well?” The ginger cat said, fighting the stiffness along her jaw.
Feathertail shrugged flimsily, “I’m just glad he’s safe.” She looked to the side, “I am worried about all this though.”
Squirrelpaw nodded, “I don’t blame you. Do you really think your mother told Stormfur that he was the chosen cat?” She asked guardedly, careful to not sound as if she didn’t trust him.
It didn’t look like Feathertail was offended. She did squirm a little though, her lips tightening and her pelt quivering. “I do believe that he saw Silverstream, I’m still not sure if it means he’s the “silver cat” though.”
The nervousness in her voice surprised Squirrelpaw - something lingered in it. “You think Stormfur made a mistake?”
“Not exactly. I do think it has to do with the Tribe.”
Squirrelpaw’s ears perked up, “How come?”
Feathertail’s face twisted. Squirrelpaw was sure she’d seen the Warrior’s face go through all the negative emotions at least one. Anger. Fear. Despair. But what pulled at Feathertail’s expression was something new, something cold, complete stone cut uncertainty and mystery. The silver tail swung in contemplation, before going still as Feathertail’s soft voice came back.
“The night before we left, I heard something.”
“What?” Squirrelpaw just about made sure her voice wasn’t a shout. “What was it?” She asked, her eyes wide. It had to be something important if Feathertail was like this.
Feathertail looked ahead, as if staring into the pull of a whirlpool. “They were quiet.” She said slowly, “But I’m sure I heard voices behind the waterfall.”
“Couldn’t they have just been the Tribe?”
“No. I mean, it was like they were… inside the Waterfall.” Feathertail moaned, realising how foolish it all sounded. Squirrelpaw was taken aback. Inside the waterfall? That didn’t make any sense. Could it have just been the Tribe’s voices echoing around the cave.
Squirrelpaw gingerly tapped Feathertail’s shoulder. “Well, what did they say?”
Feathertail sighed, “It was stuff about the silver cat.”
Squirrelpaw rose a brow. That didn’t really help that much. “Are you sure it wasn’t any of the Tribe cats?”
Feathertail looked at her, Squirrelpaw flinched at the crest-fallen expression. “It didn’t sound like any of them. They were… quieter. Whispery.”
Squirrelpaw felt a chill caress her spine. No matter who they were, it didn’t sound good. “So, what does this mean?”
“I can’t say for certain.” Feathertail meowed honestly, her eyes shimmering. “But doesn’t it seem a little odd that after I heard these voices, Stormfur also gets a visit from Silverstream.” Squirrelpaw’s brows raised up to the point they may have left her forehead. “Maybe… we are meant to deal with the Tribe.”
“So Stormfur’s the silver cat?” Squirrelpaw gaped. If Feathertail was right, who knew what was going on?
“I’m not saying that. I don’t see how any cat could kill that thing on their own.” Feathertail shuffled where she stood, glancing up to the darkening sky. One lone star blinked at her, glinting in the blue ocean of her eyes. “I just think that our run in with the Tribe wasn’t as random as we thought.”
Another tremor crossed the apprentice’s back. Feathertail looked dead serious; did that mean that she thought Starclan was involved? Why would Starclan put them through all this? Would it have not made sense to tell Stormfur about this before they’d begun the journey? They should have told him if he truly was chosen for this.
It sounded way too implausible for Squirrelpaw. Starclan had told all of the chosen cats where they were heading, and then they’d made it. It was Midnight who’d given them the directions back. She couldn’t see why Stormfur wouldn’t have already been told about something as important as this. Still, what was clear was that both the Riverclan siblings had shared some kind of vision about this ‘silver cat’. So maybe it was true that they were meant to kill Sharptooth.
Squirrelpaw huffed to herself. Would have been nice to know that at the beginning.
“I suppose it doesn’t matter.” Feathertail said, breaking the silence. “Whatever these voices or visions mean, I’m not going to leave Stormfur behind to do this alone.” Her tail lashed with a cutting finality.
“None of us are.” Squirrelpaw meowed, her claws unsheathing a little, already picturing the hostility the Tribe would show them. If that Crag wanted anymore scars, Squirrelpaw would be happy to oblige! “We’re in this together.”
Feathertail gave the apprentice an adoring lick on the ear. “I know how grateful he is for all your bravery.”
Squirrelpaw blushed, pulling away with a chuckle. “Make sure to remind him to thank us.” She looked up at the grey Warrior ahead, her smile fading to confusion as she saw him visibly twitching, with what she could only assume was embarrassment, while Crowpaw looked on monotonously at him. “What in Silverpelt are they talking about?”
“Hm?” Feathertail followed her gaze, pausing for a tense moment, before her eyes widened, her pale cheeks darkening. “Oh. Them.”
Squirrelpaw raised a brow, “Crowpaw was acting like a punished kit earlier, now Stormfur looks like he’s stepped in fox-dung? What’s up with them?”
Feathertail looked away, and Squirrelpaw saw that her blush was only darkening. Her tail was tucking down, hiding away like a mouse in its den. Squirrelpaw looked to her, knowing well that Feathetail’s eyes were twitching from side to side nervously. “Feathertail?”
The Warrior slowly turned, giving the Thunderclan cat a long look. There was small, but hard, trust growing on her face. Squirrelpaw gulped, suddenly feeling sick. “I…I think I know.” Feathertail mewed.
Squirrelpaw had guessed that. “Okay…so?”
Feathertail smiled weakly, rubbing closer to the smaller cat. Squirrelpaw felt colder at the touch. “You see, Squirrelpaw,” Feathertail said gently, “I may have told Stormfur about certain…” She hesitated, a shadow falling over her eyes. Then with a sudden bravery, she found Squirrelpaw’s trembling pupils.
And it was all revealed.
In that instant moment, the brief second that she met those blue pools, full and swarming with love and caution, Squirrelpaw knew what they were talking about, she knew what Stormfur was talking about with Crowpaw, and she knew that Feathertail was about to share something life threatening with her.
And despite the fact that she already knew what she was about to say, and that she had known about it for a long, excruciating time. In her mind, she still begged for Feathertail to not say it.
But beside the pleading in her mind, she kept still and maintained her false shock.
“Certain feelings I have… about Crowpaw.” Feathertail’s eyes sank a little as if the mere saying of it wasn’t enough of an explanation.
Squirrelpaw didn’t stop in her tracks as her thoughts were clarified with a burning honesty. She didn’t twitch or fall like she imagined she would days ago. She just carried on walking, as if there wasn’t anything vaguely troubling about it.
“I see.” She said finally. “Does, um, Crowpaw know about it?”
Feathertail nodded frailly, “I told him before we rescued Stormfur.”
He knows. Those two words pounded so hard in Squirrelpaw’s ears, thrashing and crashing until they made themselves settled in her brain. Squirrelpaw respected Feathertail just a little more at that moment. She had been able to come out and say it and was now possibly reaping the rewards.
But then again, she didn’t know or suspect how Squirrelpaw felt. And that was how it was going to stay.
Squirrelpaw could see, just see, how much Feathertail loved the tome when she looked at him. Squirrelpaw understood it well, she had no reason to go against the molly. No good reason, anyway.
“Okay.” Squirrelpaw said.
Feathertail mrrowed with surprise. “Okay? That’s it.”
What else do you want me to say? A little voice at the back of her mind was scratching to be released. Squirrelpaw kept it muzzled. “Is something wrong?”
“N-No, I just thought you’d be more shocked.”
“Well, I’m surprised,” She lied, “But, I mean, you’re both my best friends. I’ve got nothing against it.” That was a half-lie.
“Really.” Not quite.
An incredible relief and grace passed over the Warrior. Her smile gleamed so brightly that Squirrelpaw had to respond with her own. She did realise however that she needed to act more natural than this. Her head cocked up with an amused snort. “Though I can’t for the life of me think why you would want to be with him of all cats.”
That was an impossibly big lie.
And Feathertail countered it, she talked about his bravery, his wit, the kind nature he kept hidden like a pearl behind his prickly exterior, how he had always seemed to be there for her. All were qualities Squirrelpaw understood, very well.
“Okay, okay. Maybe there are a couple of good things about him.” Squirrelpaw chirped. She knew the atmosphere cooled when Feathertail erupted with a delighted mrrow. “So, you told Stormfur then?”
Feathertail looked aside again, “Yes.”
“And?” Squirrelpaw remembered how Stormfur had suspected this all along. She doubted he’d be too pleased to find out he was right. He’d already lost one family member because of a situation like this.
Feathertail found her brother again, wistfully. “He…He didn’t really say anything. He just listened as I explained what happened and, well, now he’s talking to Crowpaw.” She breathed in softly. “It doesn’t look so bad, so far.”
It was true. Stormfur looked more nervous than the apprentice. So it wasn’t like the tom was threatening to rip the younger cat’s ears off.
That was good for Feathertail.
“Just wait. We all know Crowpaw has a way with words.” Squirrelpaw jibed. “He can’t help himself.”
“Oh, don’t say that!” Feathertail moaned.
“It is true.” It was something that made her laugh.
Feathertail groaned, but it was laced with defeat. “I just hope they’ll be fine until after this is done.”
“I was just joking. You know neither of them would start something now. If they’re smart, they’ll save whatever anger they have for Sharptooth.”
Feathertail grinned, “Well, they are toms.”
The laughter burst up again. It made Squirrelpaw tired. She found her eyes on the ground. What she thought, she did not want to say, but she would. It would be the last collision she needed for acceptance.
She breathed in and out, preparing her voice.
It left her like she’d been winded.
She sniffed forcefully, trying again, two more deep cycles of breath.
“Crowpaw likes you too then?” Did that sound as quiet or painful as it did in her head?
For a long moment, Feathertail was quiet, then above her thin smile, her eyes lidded halfway. “I…I don’t know.”
The fact that concern was the first thing to strike Squirrelpaw was bizarre. She expected many things, but the worry that made her jolt up was not one of them. She just couldn’t stop herself, the small pitch of unease in her friend’s throat made her twist. “W-What do you mean?”
Feathertail shrugged, “He said he needed some time to think about it.”
Squirrelpaw hid her internal screaming with an open gape. “He-He what?!”
Feathertail giggled lightly, “It shouldn’t be surprising. Honestly with how close Windclan are known for when it comes to Starclan I expected a simple rejection.”
She made it sound small. How did she do that?
Squirrelpaw’s mind was in a full on breakdown. What the heck?! Time to think?! Could Crowpaw not just get it over with and save them all the trouble. She knew it was silly, but Squirrelpaw could feel a vein throb as her blood began to boil! Her vein splintered eyes whirled to where Crowpaw was, his handsome face making her teeth chatter furiously.
“That mouse-brain!” She seethed in a whisper. Feathertail had had the bravery to do what Squirrelpaw had wanted to do herself, and the tom just didn’t give her an answer! Is that what he would have done if she had told him how she felt?
Feathertail let out a rumble of humour, “Don’t be angry with him. It’s not that hard to imagine. You’ve seen what happens when it comes to… half-clan cats.”
Squirrelpaw thought of Greystripe, his kits, how they could only ever meet at gatherings now. There was truth to Feathertail’s words.
But Crowpaw was the one with the problem. “So that’s what bothers him, is it” A part of Squirrelpaw wanted to storm up to the tom. Squirrelpaw had been writhing for days over this, and this was what they all got. An anti-climax! “By Starclan, he should count himself lucky that someone like you would like a mouse-brain like him!”
That was painful to say as well. But Squirrelpaw’s mouth was ahead of every part of her brain, she was steaming! Feathertail was amazing, how could he throw a chance like that away!
Feathertail rubbed her tail over her friend’s pelt, chuckling. “Thank you, Squirrelpaw. But he has a right to say no.” The lowering in her tone made it clear that wasn’t what Feathertail would like to hear, but she kept up. Squirrelpaw’s anger twisted with marvel. How could this cat be so strong about things that made Squirrelpaw lose her mind? “If he says no, that is.”
It hit Squirrelpaw like an extended branch.
Crowpaw hadn’t denied anything. He still had all the time in the world to say yes. Maybe he was a fool for waiting like this, but she doubted Feathertail would mind if it led to the answer she craved.
Suddenly Squirrelpaw’s anger left, replaced by irritation and a queasiness she could remember well.
No matter what it was, Feathertail still had a chance. Possibly a good chance, Crowpaw certainly wasn’t the cat to think about something unless he was genuinely considering it.
Feathertail coughed, her face caught in a mix between embarrassment and relief. “Honestly, it’s fine. I’m just happy he wants to continue being friends.”
Don’t lie. I know. I know you want to be more.
“I-If he says yes. What are you going to do about the clans?” Squirrelpaw asked, out of pained obligation and self-hating curiosity.
The look on her Feathertail’s face said it all. Her shoulders dipped. “Who knows? I’m really just making it up as I go along.” She joked. “But I’m still hopeful. The clans might be different when we go back.”
“You think Riverclan would accept that?”
Only a flash conveyed the deep-rooted unrest in the Warrior’s heart. “They… accepted me and Stormfur…”
Realisation wounded Squirrelpaw. “I-I didn’t mean…”
“I know.” Feathertail mewed gently. “Look, I don’t know Squirrelpaw. I’m just hoping for the best. I’ve seen enough of Riverclan to know what can happen.” Her tongue slithered a little at that, before radiance glinted in her eyes again. “But I’ve also seen what the best they can do. Though, I can’t lie, I won’t be rushing to tell everyone in Riverclan.”
Squirrelpaw thought long and hard; rejection and acceptance casted shadows and hope in her mind, hope for Feathertail. Yes, the clans could change, her father was proof of that. But the line between Greystripe and his kits was also proof of their deep seeded traditions.
Like everything recently, there would be no answer until they faced it head on.
But then the last sentence came back, making the ginger molly look up incredulously. “If you’re so worried about how cats will react, why are you telling me this?”
Feathertail rose a brow, purring with a puzzled mrrow. “Because I trust you.” She smiled, “I mean you’re not ranting at me right now, so I guess I was right to do so!” She laughed, pressing her pelt against her friend.
Squirrelpaw felt sick.
Feathertail trusted her. Trusted her with something like this. Squirrelpaw trusted her as well. She knew if she said it, Feathertail wouldn’t recoil with disgust, but it wouldn’t be much better. She did trust Feathertail, but she couldn’t tell her that. The risks were there, sharp and crooked.
“Oh.” Squirrelpaw, trying to muster a cheeky laugh. “Well, I guess you should count yourself lucky then.”
“I already do!”
“Well,” Squirrelpaw smiled to pass away the sinking feeling in her gut. “Thanks for telling me! I hope he’s smart enough to make the right decision!” She did hope that. She wanted to go home and see her friends happy. She wanted to see them get past everything and succeed. Even if she wasn’t part of it.
Feathertail gave her a look that could melt ice. “I should be thanking you. I was honestly not too sure about telling you, but… it didn’t feel right. I don’t want to lie to you. After all, I’m sure you’d hear about it sooner or later from one of us.”
Squirrelpaw wondered if Feathertail was naïve or if she was just that lovely.
She cared about her either way.
“You don’t have to worry about anything, Feathertail.” Squirrelpaw said, a lot more calmly than she felt. But that was how they were. “You can tell me anything.”
I’m in love with him as-
She couldn’t do the same.
Feathertail pressed against her again, she was warm and soft, Squirrelpaw could feel everything good about her. “I appreciate that, Squirrelpaw.” She mewed.
This was everything Squirrelpaw knew she should feel. Happiness. Contentment. Friendship. That was how it had started between them all. That was how it should end – for her at least. She wouldn’t be the interfering, nuisance that she was commonly called. She would prove those voices wrong. She would accept this, and take hope for all the best.
A shine of purple caught Squirrelpaw’s eye. Tucked beneath Feathertail’s ear was the flower Crowpaw had given her from the Twoleg garden. The flower given to her by the cat she loved so dearly.
The flower Squirrelpaw had received now seemed like a mockery on her fur.
I’m sorry Feathertail but I love him and I don’t wish I didn’t because everything you love I love as well I don’t blame you for loving him because you deserve to love someone like him and he deserves to love someone like you but it hurts and I know it’s bad and that I shouldn’t but I can’t stop and I know you understand and I’m sorry-
She shut the rest of her mind up. Locked it away like a prisoner.
She focused on her friend beside her, and her happiness.
And to prove that, she didn’t pull away from the touch of her. Not even when they found the Tribe patrol.
It had started off well.
The Tribe guards had escorted them back, still limping and ragged from the wounds of their latest attack, Squirrelpaw couldn’t help but give a sneer to Crag as he stared at her with utter hatred. The cat was smart enough to not attack her though. The moon had just begun to rise over the mountain when they found the cave again.
The waterfall reflected the moonlight around the cave, revealing the extent to which Sharptooth had left the Tribe. Every cat looked wounded in some way or another, according to Stoneteller many were either dead or on the verge of dying. They were furious at their ‘saviour’ for abandoning them, and the whole cave seemed to break into discord when their banished Tribemates returned.
Then Stormfur explained what they were doing back, and despite the obvious mistrust, the Tribe had died down. Eventually, Squirrelpaw had been the one to reveal her plan, stuffing the dead hare with the death berries and leaving it at the mouth of the cave entrance.
The Tribe didn’t seem too convinced of the plan, especially when it was told it would need Sharptooth to return to their cave. For a while, Squirrelpaw had tensed herself for a fight. But soon Stoneteller accepted their plan, watching with ill dread when Talon sliced open his paw to leave a trace of blood outside the cave. The trail that would prick Sharptooth’s hunger and lead him back to the cave.
It was by no means a return without risk. But the plan was the best the Tribe had, and they knew that.
Squirrelpaw had just been helping Tawnypelt measure the safety of the distance between the bait and the cave entrance when the terrified cry erupted.
“Sharptooth! He’s here! He’s coming!”
Squirrelpaw’s entire body wracked with horror, turning to the darkness outside. The moon was full and luminous, and the splintering shadow of the predator and the fiery burn of his bloodlust was a terrible shape on the mountain.
Squirrelpaw raced away to hide. It was far too soon for the beast to arrive! The Tribe cats hadn’t even had the time to hide themselves yet. She saw them all begin to race away towards the Cave of Pointed Stones, leaving her and the other clan cats waiting in terror. They all began to sprint towards the cave walls, masking themselves in shadow. Squirrelpaw pressed herself hard against the stone, hoping the creature wouldn’t leave its meal due to the frantic rapture of the environment.
They could only wait as the large, snarling head left the darkness to enter the cave. The beast sniffed around, its eyes pinwheels of savagery, searching for any prey it could catch. Squirrelpaw quivered as the moonlight crashed on its large form, its claws tapping bluntly on the stone floor. Slowly, Sharptooth followed the trail of blood to where the hare lay. It examined the meal for a moment.
Squirrelpaw held her breath.
Then with a twist of its head that might had displayed disgust, the beast swung a large paw to the bait, knocking it far away into the shadows outside. Far from it, and the prey it was clearly scenting.
Hope abandoned Squirrelpaw. “No!” She cried. That had been their chance of killing the creature!
She only realised her mistake when the beasts hungry glare found the shadows she hid in.
Squirrelpaw went stiff with fear. Their plan had failed. Her plan had failed. And now they were stuck in the cave with this impossible enemy.
A brown shape leapt from the wall to face the monster. Squirrelpaw gasped when she realised it was Brambleclaw, his fur spiked with anger. “Get back!” He roared at the beast, not flinching when the beast growled and twisted to him. The Thunderclan Warrior’s voice pleaded out to his friends. “All of you hide!”
Squirrelpaw stared, not believing what she was seeing. Surely Brambleclaw didn’t think he could take on this thing on his own. The brown tom hissed furiously at the monster, before crouching down and leaping at the beast with his claws unsheathed.
Dear Starclan, he was crazy!
But when Brambleclaw twisted his body to dodge the lion’s claws, she saw the frantic worry in his eyes. The worry for all of them. He was doing everything he could to protect them
He was her clanmate. Squirrelpaw had to do the same.
With a surge of abandonment for the danger, Squirrelpaw pounced to where the lion was, sinking her claws into its thick tail and scratching deep into the flesh. The beast screeched, whipping its tail to dislodge her.
She heard Brambleclaw shout, “What in Starclan’s name are you doing?” The fear was stark.
Sensing that the beast would be swift in its attack, and knowing its attention was now on her, Squirrelpaw retreated. “Run!” She screamed at her clanmate. She didn’t look back but she heard the beast lunge forward, roaring in fury. Fear guiding her muscles, Squirrelpaw didn’t stop running until she found the cave wall. Leaping onto the nearest boulder, she grunted as she pulled herself up. She felt a snap behind her and knew Sharptooth had bit empty air as it tried to catch her tail. She didn’t stop climbing the mounds of rock until she had found herself panting and hissing on a jagged ledge of rock on the wall.
As the beast snapped and clawed the wall below her, she saw Stormfur following Feathertail up the opposite wall until they too reached a ledge. Above the cave entrance, Tawnypelt peered over a cleft, yelling obscenely at the creature. Squirrelpaw let out a sigh of relief, noticing as Brambleclaw sloped up to rest on a thicker ledge just below her.
“Stay back or I’ll claw your eyes out!” Her clanmate rumbled, his fur fluffed up in rage. Sharptooth only hissed and clawed at the wall some more, madly reaching for its next kill.
It couldn’t reach them though.
That was the main thing.
Squirrelpaw tried to regain control of her thumping heart, dousing her fear however she could, they were safe up here for now. They just needed some time to think, just think, of someway to get rid of this thing! She cursed the fact that her plan had failed. They were now lost without a means or plan of attack, and who knew how long Sharptooth would keep clawing to reach them
Not very long it seemed. As the beast’s ears twitched and it heavily met the ground, turning away with a hiss. Squirrelpaw cocked her head in confusion, leaning over to see where it was heading.
She found it.
And fear enveloped her all over again.
In a crevice on the ground level, just a tree length from where Sharptooth was slowly advancing, Crowpaw laid flat against the wall trying to hide himself in the cleft. Even from up where she was, Squirrelpaw could see it was too shallow to keep him safe.
The claws and hungry maw were growing closer, and Crowpaw knew it. He hissed wildly at the creature.
Squirrelpaw could see the terror in his eyes.
Almost without realising it, she leapt down onto the cleft below her, her breath quick and heaving. She had to reach him, she had to distract that creature, she couldn’t just sit back and watch. She prepared to leap to the ground floor.
As soon as she jumped, a pull on her scruff held her back to safety.
She knew who it was. “Let me go!” She screamed at Brambleclaw, not facing him as she hopelessly tried to claw her way out of his grasp. She tried to grip the rock, but Brambleclaw pulled her further away, leaving thin scratches from where her claws dragged back.
Squirrelpaw felt a heavy paw on her back, holding her down on her belly as Brambleclaw still held onto her scruff just in case. Squirrelpaw writhed and kicked, “Let me go! Let me go! We can’t just leave him!” Her voice rose into a high, pleading cry. She saw the beast drawing closer, she saw the fear heighten in Crowpaw. Her screams only grew in her throat. She twisted her neck to see Brambleclaw, furiously desperate to roar at him again.
She was taken aback when she saw the pain, the regret in his eyes. It was only there briefly before he screwed them shut, blocking out the incoming horror. “I’m sorry.” His muffled voice sounded out. “I’m so sorry.” He didn’t release his grip; she was his clanmate, he had to protect her like she protected him.
Her anger gone, Squirrelpaw gave in to the despair. She still tried to dislodge herself from the strong grip, whimpers growing in her throat, but by now she knew it was useless. Tears began to stream down her cheeks as she saw the inevitable horror that would soon reach her friend.
She would never see him again.
He wouldn’t come home with her.
She would never tell him…
Her paws collapsing beneath her, Squirrelpaw rose her chin, howling and sobbing.
“CROWPAW!” She screeched.
Then through her tears, she saw movement above the horror.
A silver shape burst onto one of the spiked pillars of stone that pierced down from the cave top. Squirrrelpaw thought she could hear Stormfur shouting. The pillar buckled under the force and broke away, plummeting down with the shape wailing beside it.
Squirrelpaw’s breath caught.
Though she could see the shape through her tears, it was the wail that told Squirrelpaw it was Feathertail.
A yowl made way to her throat, but she didn’t hear it above Sharptooth’s scream. The pillar tore through his body, impaling him to the ground. The rock spilt, sending a haze of dust into the air that shadowed over the twitching, bleeding body.
With a gasp of shock, Brambleclaw released Squirrelpaw and followed her as she jumped down the rocks, back to the cave floor. She searched desperately through the haze for her friends, racing with caution as Sharptooth convulsed in his own blood.
Finally, with an ugly groan, the monster lay still.
But Squirrelpaw had no relief. The dust had cleared. She found Crowpaw’s untouched body. He was standing over Feathertail, his jaw open in a silent scream of anguish.
Feathertail lay still, wet blood pooling from her head.
With a choked whimper, Squirrelpaw ran to her friend’s side. Stormfur was soon there too, his eyes wet with sorrow. The silver molly did not move, not even a twitch.
“Feathertail…” Squirrelpaw’s voice was raw with horror. “No.”
“Wake up.” Crowpaw begged, his voice in a horrible strain that made Squirrelpaw convulse with despair. “Please, Feathertail, wake up.”
“Sh-She’ll be fine.” Stormfur’s voice was quiet, but desperate, “She has a prophecy to fulfil.” He was clearly trying to comfort his own thoughts. The other clan cats made their way over, the two siblings were stiff and rigid, their eyes full of grief. As if Feathertail was already…
No. Squirrelpaw pressed her forehead against Feathertail’s pelt, desperately trying to stir her. It couldn’t be too late. Stormfur was right. She was chosen by Starclan, she had to go home with them, she had to-
Squirrelpaw flicnched back when she felt a small, lingering movement. Stormfur and Crowpaw jolted next to her. She saw Feathertail’s eyes flutter hazily, seeing the cats weeping beside her, but with no direction at all. The beautiful blue in her eyes was beginning to fade.
Feathertail looked at Stormfur, sleepily. “You’ll have to go home without me, Stormfur.” She muttered, her lips twitched and Squirrelpaw thought that would be the end, but soon a small smile found its way there. The smile that had given Squirrelpaw the first light of friendship. “Save the clan.”
Stormfur whimpered, nuzzling worldlessly into his sister’s fur, muttering a stream of pleads.
Then Feathertail’s eyes softly moved to where her two close friends stood, tears pooling down. She breathed raggedly, like she was cold and Squirrelpaw felt desperate to rub close to the cat again.
“Please!” Squirrelpaw begged, inhaling the soft, sweet scent. “Please Feathertail! You-You can’t!”
“I’m sorry.” She muttered. Squirrelpaw felt a soft press against her leg and realised it was the gentle touch of her friends’ tail. “I’m sorry I won’t be there to see you become the Warrior you deserve to be. I promise I’ll be watching over you.”
Squirrelpaw croaked out a sob. “No…no…” She thought of how alone she’d been in the beginning, she thought of all that had come because of that kind invitation. “I-I owe everything to you!”
“No, you don’t. You always repaid me…” Feathertail rasped.
“Feathertail,” Crowpaw’s soft cries made way, “Please, don’t leave me.” He sounded so hollow.
“I’ll always be with you,” Feathertail said, her voice aching with love. Her paw struggled to reach out, but it gingerly brushed against the cat she loved. “I promise.”
Crowpaw started to tremble with his cries, “I-I…” Whatever he was going to say next left his throat as a weeping breath. Squirrelpaw stiffened as she felt the soft breathing of Feathertail stop.
But she heard a soft whisper, “Look after him.” It slowed down until the end.
Slowly looking up, squeaking with pain, Squirrelpaw saw the eyes that held such kindness close and never open again.
Feathertail was gone.
Her smile. Her laugh. Her kindness. All her memories of this journey. All were gone.
Crowpaw was the one that wailed first. His head arched back, tears spilling down his face. Squirrelpaw didn’t try to hide it anymore than him. Her voice was a string of sobs and cries, punctuated by hoarse, dry, rasping breath. Stormfur weeped softly, nuzzling his nose to his sister as if to never lose her scent again. Behind them, Squirrelpaw could hear the muffled crying of Brambleclaw and Tawnypelt as they comforted each other.
Squirrelpaw stared at Feathertail’s body, unable to hold herself up. She buried her face in the fur. This was it. Feathertail would never come home with them. She would never see Riverclan or her father again. They would never meet in secret like they had promised for days.
She would never laugh or smile again. Squirrelpaw realised this all with a stinging, burning clarity.
Around them they heard the cheers of glee from the approaching Tribe cats. “Sharptooth is dead! We are saved!” Squirrelpaw held back her screams, she was too tired, too broken to care anymore. She didn’t care about their stupid prophecy. Their friend was dead! That was all!
Brook broke away from the cheering cats to comfort Stormfur. Beside Squirrelpaw, Crowpaw raised his head to meet the now sole Riverclan cats’ gaze. His eyes glazed with a terrible emptiness. “I-It’s my fault.”
Squirrelpaw rose up, “No!” She shouted.
“Yes, it is.” Crowpaw said monotonously, “I wasn’t quick enough. She died… for me.” His lips sucked in as his fur lined with tears again. “I-I couldn’t even…”
“Don’t say that!” Squirrelpaw said, pressing her head against Crowpaw’s neck. She wouldn’t let him blame himself for this! It was her plan that had… “It wasn’t your fault!”
Crowpaw didn’t say anything, he just bowed his head and didn’t even react to the touch of his friend. She felt his sobs tremble throughout his body. Weakly, he seemed to give in on himself, leaning down to press his nose to Feathertail. Squirrelpaw fell beside him, muzzle rubbing on her lost friend, her body holding her sobbing friends up.
She couldn’t begin to imagine how he felt. It was clear now. Feathertail would have received what she deserved. Crowpaw… He… He…
They all sobbed for what might have been forever.
In the crisp moonlight, a lone beam rested on a lone object that wetly glinted in the pooling crimson. A pale dome which held treasures of golden stalks. The flower illuminated for a moment that no cat truly saw, a ghostly silver sparkling on the purple petals. Then the sparkling stopped, and it was just a flower in a pool of blood once more.
The clan cats didn’t leave until morning had risen.
None of them had gotten much sleep. None of them had really tried to rest. They mourned the loss of their friend, gave her all the respect she deserved. The Tribe cats were helpful enough, they helped find a fresh mound of land where they could bury her. They carried her away so gently, and the clan cats followed them the whole way.
It was a beautiful spot. Beside the waterfall where the pool made the ground soft enough to dig. Feathertail would have thought it was beautiful. Squirrelpaw held back her sob as she thought of how the cat had taught her to fish. Once she was buried, they all sat vigil for her, even the Tribe cats who took the time to thank their prophesised saviour once again.
But the truth was, Squirrelpaw knew, that none of them would be able to thank Feathertail enough for what she had sacrificed.
It was sun-high by the time the clan cats knew it was best they leave. They still had a journey to complete. Though two cats did wonder if it would ever truly be completed, ever truly be whole, without a close friend to be there when they returned.
Brambleclaw and Tawnypelt had left first, they knew it was best to give the other three as much time as they needed. Their tears had not even dried.
Squirrelpaw sat there, staring at the freshly buried grave, not wanting to look and know what was there, and not wanting to run away from her friend. So she sat there, nestled against the whimpering Stormfur, trying her best to hold onto whatever memories she could of his sister.
Memories were all they had now.
And then there was Crowpaw.
He didn’t even look like he was there. There was no colour in his eyes. No sign of the scrappy apprentice Squirrelpaw had hated, and no glow of the friend she loved. He was stiff, staring down, full of guilt he didn’t know he didn’t deserve. Squirrelpaw had tried to comfort him, but it was no use, he was cold to touch and did not speak a word back to her.
Honestly, how could Squirrelpaw comfort him? She needed someone to comfort her. But she stayed by the side of her friend, nuzzling into his neck, hoping somehow that one of them could feel something other than the heartache.
Squirrelpaw realised it was Feathertail who did most of their comforting for them.
They didn’t exactly know when it was, but they left. With all their prayers said, not enough thanks or tears could ever be shown. Squirrelpaw rationalised that Feathertail would want them to carry on as best they could.
It wasn’t much comfort.
But it was a thought anyway.
She nuzzled Crowpaw’s neck, gently. “Come on. We have to go.”
Crowpaw didn’t reply, he just stared.
Squirrelpaw inhaled, not hiding how broken she was. “We can’t do anything else, Crowpaw. I’m sorry, but we have to go home now.” She was in sync with him. She didn’t want to leave her behind. But they had to move on, even though they never would.
Hazily, without a word, Crowpaw rose to his feet. The only sound he made was a stutter of breaths. Squirrelpaw turned, using her body to hold him up, leading him away from the grave. In her mind, Squirrelpaw said one last goodbye to her friend. She didn’t turn back, though. Not even for a second. She couldn’t do that.
She just held Crowpaw close to her pelt, padding away to the mocking light where their friends waited.
Through the entrance, a sole ray of sunlight splintered through the cave, resting by the pool where a mound of wet Earth was freshly dug. The light flickered as it found three objects that rested together on top of the grave. Three colours that danced in sunlight glimmer, holding so much in their journey here.
The purple flower had been cleaned of blood. It rested delicately on the grave, nestled between a white flower and a light blue flower; three plants that would rest there together next to the glistening pool and the crisp sheens of light.
Not Snowkit getting officially introduced and then dying like 10 pages later
We get to see the clan leaders soon
“We want to stay until Darktail is defeated. He’s so cruel…We want to be sure that he’s gone for good.”
She’s a marble tabby with a big green ribbon collar and glossy long fur.
Deputy of ShadowClan
Bluestar is acting horribly but honestly i still feel so bad for her :( she’s been through so much
Some more warriors designs ^^
I feel like Mothwing is too bright but idk
Also pls ignore the bad anatomy on Tadpolei tried my best >_<‘
sorry if this is any nonsense, i am very tired and just trying to get the key concepts
first off: body type ideas for the clans! obviously not everyone looks exactly (or even remotely) like this, but this is kind of the stereotype, or the standard of beauty (plus lots of bonus culture info <3).
- thunderclan are styled kind of like lions, with fluffy chests and a tuft at the end of their tail. they are mainly ambivalent towards humans. its common practice to wrap part or most of their tail to accentuate the tuft at the end. their preferred weapon is the sword.
- windclan are significantly taller than the other clans, and very lean, with broad shoulders and narrow hips. living the furthest from human settlements, they retain higher levels of inborn magic (why they look less like normal cats). they have large paws. they operate hidden mines on their territory, and supply the other clans with most of their tools in order to maintain peace and control of their increasingly valuable land. they are the least friendly with humans, and will defend their territory with force. their preferred weapon is the spear.
- riverclan are the most materially wealthy of the clans by human standards, and the most beautiful. almost all of their original mainland territory has been lost, so they live almost entirely in their ships, with young kits and elders living on their island settlements. they trade extensively with humans, and often wear jewelry and fine fabrics. many cats (read: windclan) consider their relations with humans traitorous and riverclan to be hardly better than kittypets. their preferred weapon is the dagger.
- shadowclan are the smallest of the clans on average, and have short, sleek pelts. they live mainly in the coniferous forest of their territory, but patrol their marshes extensively on silent punts, with patrols often staying out for days at a time and sleeping shifts in raised watchtowers. they are the second least friendly with humans. their preferred weapon is the bow.
- the tribe are stocky and solid, with thick, snow-resistant pelts. closely allied with windclan, they also retain more magic than most of the clans. they used to ride eagles, but as humans settled the land and leeched much of the magic from it the art was gradually lost. humans who venture into the mountains almost always disappear, and riverclan keeps a distance from their cliffs.
- skyclan had long arms and feathery, squirrel-like tails, and lived in the canopy of an ancient deciduous forest. they were initially friendly with human settlers, but as their territory was encroached upon they left the island to issue a plea to the human king to stop settlement of the island entirely. they were never seen again. this is a major part of the reason shadowclan, windclan, and the tribe do not like humans.
kittypets, loners, and rogues are not quite what they are in the books, and the clans do not have quite the same attitudes towards them.
kittypets are cats who, recognizing that cats are at a disadvantage to humans and unlikely to come out on top in the long run, have allied themselves completely with humans. they usually live in the house of a human and are fed by them in exchange for pest control and entertainment. wild cats view kittypets as weak-willed traitors and essentially voluntarily enslaving catkind, kittypets view wild cats as clinging to a dying way of life and blind to the trajectory of the world. if you have ever read the webcomic housepets, for many born kittypets it is kind of like that, they are treated basically like permanent kids.
loners are cats who recognize what they can gain from humans, but are not willing to compromise their independence. usually, this will mean living on or near a human property in their own house and doing working for a wage. for example, barley in this au lives in a small house on a farm and rides a dog, acting as a shepherd. he is paid enough to buy things like clothes and furniture, and is allowed to set his own rabbit traps on the property. he does not hunt mice in the barn, as he views this as beneath him. kittypets and wild cats view loners kind of like centrists.
rogues are cats who, like the clans, are against humans and want to preserve cat culture, but who do not live in groups. before humans came, rogues were treated by the clans essentially the same as in the books, but now, united against a common enemy, they are generally respected and allowed to traverse clan territory freely.
(this is rusty and greypaw’s first meeting, dont expect these clothes ideas to be permanent in any way i am still figuring that part out)
finally a little map i sketched up! ideally it would have a better sense of scale (i have always hated the scale of warriors….) but we cant have everything we want in life i guess. the island should be like 50 miles across? its not small. (yes I know the blue and purple look very similar yes I know my handwriting sucks)
tag list! (feel free to ask to b added to this :3)
Ive never read Yellowfang’s Secret
Second design for the dark flame and the tyrant himself, Brokenstar
Pre-prisoner Brokenstar had his deputy to groom his fur for him
The most unrealistic part of Warriors Cats is that Firestar is supposed to be smart. I say this because he is orange