ACT 1 ~ DRIFT
It was leafbare, a snowy night, and freezing.
And there was an odd she-cat, her eyes were glistening a bright blue with a small streak of red in her right one. She could feel pain through every step she took, she knew it was almost time.
Despite being heavily expectant with kits, she managed to stumble across a pine forest that smelt heavily of other cats. Perhaps these cats could help her in her delivery? She had no idea, all she cared for right now was a safe and warm place to give birth.
Managing to find a hollow tree she collapsed within it, her pants were loud and harsh. She was as uncomfortable as it was, but a foreign pain was now shooting from her stomach. It was the worst possible time, yes, her kits were coming.
"They'll be cursed," she whispered before yowling in pain "They'll be cursed."
The she-cat unsheathed her claws and clawed at the ground in pain, she writhed, she yowled, she growled, until - two small bundles lay at her side, mewling and pawing at her stomach. The she-cat let out a sigh, her delivery had gone fine, and everything seemed fine but...
She gasped, her breathing was starting to dwindle, she could feel the affect of the curse taking over her-
Then suddenly there was a rustle in the bushes from outside, although she was struggling to breath, the she-cat shakily stood up and pushed her kits underneath her with a sweep of her thick tail. She heard the snow crunch and out leapt a big pale gray-white tom, he looked confused and completely unprepared for an attack, the she-cat relaxed a bit.
His eyes met her bright ones and he gasped.
"W-who are you?" He said in a cowardly tone "Why are you on ShadowClan territory?"
ShadowClan? The she-cat thought as she glared at him, still wheezing What's a ShadowClan?
"Let me repeat myself," said the tom, his voice still shaky but he was gaining his courage "What are you-"
The big tom trailed off and with a jolt, the she-cat realized he had seen her kits. As if they knew the were being stared at, one of them mewed loudly, the other was prodding it's littermate with tiny, feeble paws.
"You're a mother," said the tom more softly and sitting back on his haunches "And those kits can't be more than a couple of sunrises old, can they?"
"They were just born," coughed the she-cat, "they-they-"
She collapsed completely, the kits shriveled up next to her and the big tom stared in shock. The she-cat was writhing again, her coughing growing louder and more dominant.
Completely panicked, the tom rushed over while yelling "I'll help you, I'll help you!" but he gasped when he saw the sight of the mother. Her eyes had gone from a bright and clear blue to a crimson red. How was that possible? The tom could only stare in shock.
"They will be cursed," hissed the she-cat between short breaths "the kits will be cursed, cursed I say!"
She writhed some more as the tom watched, when she finally stopped she had suddenly gone very limp. The tom gasped, but when he heard her cough he let out a sigh of relief before he heard her say.
"Their names are Rue and Serpent," she murmured silently while letting off a shaky and weak cough "may ShadowClan take care of them well."
With one last jerk of the tail, the big tom realized that the she-cat had just died.
"Wait!" He yowled leaping over and prodding her with a paw "What's your name? Where'd you come from?" His attempts at reviving her did not work and with a wave of fear he realized he was alone in the forest with these two newborn kits. He turned to them and with a stun saw that both had opened their eyes.
The first kit, a tom, which the tom presumed to be Serpent, had mottled black fur and dark blue eyes. The second kit, a she-kit, Rue, had patchy black-and-white fur and the same eyes as her brother. Both looked at the tom with such a monotone stare, no curiosity, no mewls as they glanced at him, completely silent. A shiver went down the toms spine.
"H-hello," he softened his voice as he spoke to the kits "I'm Frostpaw, I'm going to take you to your new home? Okay?"
The kits didn't say a word, as the tom, Frostpaw, padded over to them and nudged him with their nose. The she-kit glanced at her mother, Frostpaw noticed and he spoke,
"I'll come back to get her after," he said in a shaky voice "Don't you worry."
He nudged the kits under his belly and walked them straight to camp. As he walked in camp, the she-cat guarding the camp, Aquatail hasped as she saw the kits, and immediately shooed them away from Frostpaw and to the leaders den.
Frostpaw glanced off at them, and took a couple of paces towards them. He watched as Serpent stopped dead and turned to look Frostpaw square in the eyes. When Frostpaw met his eyes, he stopped dead in horror.
Serpent's eyes were red.
Driftpaw was, as she thought herself, a normal ShadowClan apprentice. She trained everyday, hunted everyday, and shared tongues with her friend Gempaw everyday. Everything in Driftpaw's life was seemingly normal, then thhere was her mentor, Serpentshade.
Driftpaw had always thought as a kit it was impossible to loathe someone inside your own clan, that was until her leader, Willowstar assigned Serpentshade as her mentor. Serpentshade was as cold as the ice that covered the lake when it was Leafbare, he cared for nobody, nobody but himself. He was always taunting Driftpaw, telling her that she would not make a good warrior and she should be Spiceleaf's (the medicine cat of ShadowClan) apprentice. Driftpaw stayed strong, but always ranted to Gempaw about how annoying and crude he was.
Gempaw mostly always agreed with Driftpaw, but they could never agree on Serpentshade. Gempaw was drawn to his handsome features, she mooned after him whenever she could. Driftpaw was disgusted by the idea of even liking Serpentshade, to her there could be no colder cat anywhere.
So, as Driftpaw pushed herself out of the apprentices den, she was met with a surge of cold air, a foggy morning and the grass was lightly covered in frost. Driftpaw, like all the other cats of the clans, knew that Leafbare was coming soon, she scowled at the idea of Leafbare. She hated Leafbare, snow and cold were not something that mixed well with her thin coat. She was also met with a very irritated looking Serpentshade.
Great.... She thought while she watched Serpentshade open his mouth to scold her Just how I wanted to start off my morning, perfect.
"You're late Driftpaw," said Serpentshade in a faint voice, although Driftpaw could see his lip curl in disdain "so as soon as we are done with this hunting patrol, you can go tend to the elders for the rest of the morning."
Driftpaw nodded numbly, Serpentshade shot her one last withering glance, then turned and beckoned for her to follow. She followed him to the camp entrance were two cats named Darkshadow and in fact Serpentshade's own sister, Ruefrost were waiting.
Darkshadow was yet another she-cat that fawned over Serpentshade, it was quite disgusting. Then there was Ruefrost, she was as cold as her brother, although she did not show it verbally, she never spoke much, but always looked as if she had dung under her nose.
"Any suggestions on were to go?" Asked Darkshadow casting a glance at Serpentshade "Perhaps down near the RiverClan border?"
Serpentshade scowled at Darkshadow.
"Unless you want to catch dirty fish," he growled "and perhaps get your pelt soaked in mud would you want to go hunting near the RiverClan border."
Darkshadow bowed her head, completely embarrassed, but did not utter a word. Out of the corner of her eye, Driftpaw saw a ghost of a smile on Ruefrost's face as Serpentshade taunted Darkshadow.
As cold as the bitterest Leafbare day thought Driftpaw disgusted.
"ThunderClan border would be a good place to hunt," remarked Ruefrost in a neutral voice "the place has been teaming with mice and voles, we should get some good freshkill there."
Serpentshade nodded his approval and flicked his tail, leading the hunting patrol out of camp. Driftpaw fell behind and watched her mentor and the others lead off. after a while, they arrived at the border, Serpentshade turned to the patrol.
"Split up," he muttered before starting to pad up the border a ways "It'll be harder to hunt in pairs or the prey will hear us, meet back here when you think you have caught enough."
After a couple moons of training, Driftpaw knew that "when you think you caught enough" meant that "you ebtter catch three or more pieces of prey or training tomorrow will be tough and leave you sore."
Ruefrost nodded and walked off into the bushes, Darkshadow walked down the border and away from Driftpaw, leaving her by herself.
Okay, thought Driftpaw walking away from the border on light paws let's see here...
Driftpaw caught the scent of mouse and followed it carefully, she peered over a bush and saw the plump creature eating seeds at the base of a pine tree. Driftpaw smiled to herself and dropped into a low crouch before...
She leapt at it with quick reflexes, the poor mouse didn't see it coming and a second later it was hanging limply from Driftpaw's jaws. She buried the prey by the base of the tree, reminding herself to come back after for it.
she went off on her own and caught two voles to go along with the mouse before padding back to the meeting place, only to find everyone else there.
Serpentshade had caught five pieces of prey, each bigger and juicier then the next, Driftpaw's eyes bulged. Ruefrost had caught five as well, Darkshadow four. Altogether they had caught enough to feed the whole clan, yet Serpentshade still rounded on her.
"Ruefrost, take Darkshadow back to camp with the prey, Driftpaw and I have a little training to do." he said in a tight voice.
Ruefrost smiled, but it was a cold and frosty smile, not light and warm, before she led Darkshadow through the bushes with the parcels in their mouths. Driftpaw turned to Serpentshade and gulped, he looked angry.
"Catching three measly pieces of prey isn't going to be enough for the clan when Leafbare comes," he growled as Driftpaw opened her mouth to argue, but Serpentshade caught her off "I guess it'll be some battle moves tomorrow, and don't expect me to go light on you either."
This was completely unfair, Driftpaw had caught plenty, more then she had the previous day and Serpentshade had not called her out for it. She was furious with his reaction, if anything he should be proud of his apprentice, she had caught three rather big pieces of prey! Driftpaw found herself retorting before she could hold back.
"Are you kidding me?" She hissed, the fur on her back bristling "I caught three good pieces of prey, and I'm only an apprentice! You're way to harsh on me! Why don't you take the furball stuck in your throat and spit it out already becayse I'm sick of the way you treat me!"
Serpentshade's nostrils flared, and Driftpaw watched in horror as his midnight blue eyes, shifted to a dark crimson red.
This has never happened before! Why are his eyes turning red?
Serpentshade's eyes ceased to change color as he raised an unsheathed claw and brought it harshly down on Driftpaw's cheek. Driftpaw gasped as the claw raked her and stumbled back while Serpentshade hissed at her.
"Don't ever defy me!" he hissed, and with an upmost relief, Driftpaw saw his eyes shift back to dark blue "And you will tell everyone at camp you got that cut from falling on a bramble."
Serpentshade then turned on his tail, and rushed out of sight while Driftpaw sat there trying to replay what happened, while her cheek was still on fire from Serpentshade's claw.
He's a monster!
Driftpaw continued her training without even a feeble comeback to Serpentshade. Whenever he bombarded her with harsh taunts, she nodded icily and headed back to whatever she was doing. After Serpentshade's outburst, she just wanted to get through the rest of her training quick and easy, before she was made a warrior and was free of Serpentshade's comments.
Today, snow had fallen hard and was still coming down when Driftpaw was roused from the den by Serpentshade. As per usual, his face held a nasty scowl, and he scowled at the sight of Driftpaw curled comfortably in her nest.
"I don't remember," hissed Serpentshade prodding his apprentice with a very sharp and unsheathed claw "telling you that you had the day off from training Driftpaw, get up and get ready!"
In the nest next to her, she saw Gempaw giving her a wicked grin, she didn't have to train today because she had a fair mentor. Driftpaw found herself scowling before heaving herself up and out of the nest and licking down patches of uneven ginger-white fur. When she finished she shot Gempaw one last sharp glare before bracing herself for the blizzard outside.
Driftpaw pushed out of the entrance, the pines surrounding ShadowClan's camp were covered in crystal-white snow, the flakes fell elegantly, almost like a little dance. Although it seemed as the snow had life and it was certainly beautiful, Driftpaw hated the cold it brought with it. Huffing, she wrestled through the thick snow covered ground to Serpentshade, who was standing a few fox-tails away.
serpentshade didn't utter a word, but turned and beckoned Driftpaw to follow him with a flick of his tail. She, unwilling, followed him to the entrance of the camp. Sereptnshade stopped and turned to face her, the cold glint in his eyes quite unsettling.
"We're practicing some fighting techniques," he started to explain in a flat voice "I expect you to put out full effort and to keep your claws sheathed, is that clear?"
"Crystal." Muttered Driftpaw, but Serpentshade paid her no attention as he turned and padded out of camp. Driftpaw, rolling her eyes, followed, her paws were already starting to go numb from the fluffy snow.
She followed Serpentshade to a small clearing, it was surrounded by pines, and in the middle there were a couple of tall rocks. Serpentshade always preferred coming to this clearing, the rocks helped imply other cats around you fighting, and that you had to move carefully as you fought. Driftpaw, almost limping, stood still and watched as Serpentshade leapt onto the tallest rock in the clearing, before turning to her.
"You never know when those filthy fish lovers," spat Serpentshade "or those fluffy ThunderClan weaklings will strike. Even with this blizzard raging, I'm sure they wouldn't hesitate to plot an attack. That is why we are out here today, you must build resistance to the cold and snow, and fight sharply as though it was a sunny and cloudless day."
Driftpaw nodded, and Serpentshade eyed for a swift moment before a malicious grin appeared on his face. Driftpaw nearly cringed.
"Attack me," he breathed, leaping almost gracefully from the rock and landing in the snow on light, agile paws. Although Driftpaw hated Serpentshade, loathed him, she couldn't help but think at that moment how strong and quick he was, and how he was so quick on his paws. . .
"What are you waiting for?" hissed Serpentshade, snapping Driftpaw out of her thoughts "Do I need to make the first move? I said attack me!"
Driftpaw growled dimly, before throwing herself at Serpentshade. A smirk, and he slid to the side, the snow almost making a trail for him, as he dodged Driftpaw's attack. Trying to recover from her miss, Driftpaw almost ran into the boulder, but she gained her paws, and fast enough in time to turn and see Serpentshade bounded towards her, paws outstretched.
Driftpaw leaped high in the air as Serpentshade neared her, the wind whistles in her ears, snow in her eyes, and she dove with a rather clear shot at Serpentshade's back.
Although her attack was witty, clever, Serpentshade had just enough time to roll in the snow and out of her line of fire. Driftpaw went face-first into the snow, and it took her many moments to get out. By the time she had, Serpentshade had her pinned, his face held an ugly sneer.
"Although that leaping attack was smart," he started in a drawling tone, and Driftpaw's eyes widened to the size of the moon, was this going to end in a compliment?
" You were clumsy, before that leap, you made the stupid mistake of throwing yourself at me. I mean come on, a kit could have fought better than you, and at least a kit would have the heart to fight."
Driftpaw hissed, and realizing she was still beneath him, tried to push herself up, but her paws were pinned, and Serpentshade made no move to release her. Instead, he lowered his head and whispered in her ear,
"At this rate," he whispered dangerously "Your little friend, you know the one with white fur, annoyingly loud, the one the same age as you? What's her name Gempaw? Yeah, she'll be in the elders den before you can even become a warrior."
Driftpaw grinted her teeth, mashed them together, careful not to lash out like last time.
His eyes will glow red again, he'll hurt me again.
"Even the kits will be senior warriors before you're called up for your warrior name."
"Oh please, just because I can't fight in the snow doesn't mean I won't be made a warrior at the same time as Gempaw," hissed Driftpaw, not being able to help herself "and come to think of it, you might not be a warrior of ShadowClan by the time I'm a warrior, maybe let it slip to Willowstar you clawed me because I didn't catch enough prey. . ."
Serpentshade's eyes grew darker, a flash of red surged through them, and his nostrils flared. He leaned his head back, but still not yet releasing his grip on her. Instead, he unfurled his long, dangerous claws, and dug them into Driftpaw's flesh, making her cry out.
"If you ever dare mention that or let it 'slip' to Willowstar, I'll kill you." He whispered hauntingly, "I'll kill you."
He got up and off of her, and Driftpaw thought it was over. She stood up, shaking the snow off of her, completely unprepared. . .
Serpentshade dropped his bulky shoulder and shoved her into the boulder, making her head hit the rock head first. She gasped, and the pain immediately started to take affect.
Her gaze went blurry, and all she could see was Serpentshade, standing over her, a wicked and cold grin on his face as the snow swirled before him. He looked down at the shell of his prey, just waiting to tear out her throat. Although she had hit her head from his blast, she knew he could cover it up by saying she wasn't to careful enough in training. Serpentshade knew that Driftpaw wouldn't utter a word, so carelessly, he stood back and sheathed his claws. His eyes gleamed a wild red by now.
"Don't mess with me Driftpaw," he whispered, the wind almost carried away his voice but Driftpaw still heard it loud and clear through the headache starting to purge her head "Because your training will seem a lot longer than it really will be, and it will be a lot more painful than the others training, I can promise you that."
"Is this a threat?" Driftpaw said meekly.
"It's not a threat," said Serpentshade simply, but his eyes still glowed scarlet "It's a fact, and you should know by now not to mess with me."
Driftpaw still lay in a heap in the snow, her eyes half closed, her mouth hung open. Her head surged with pain.
"Now get up," said Serpentshade in a gruff tone "We're heading back to camp."
Driftpaw nodded numbly and managed to get to her paws.
"You will go straight to the medicine cat and rest for the rest of the day," she ordered her straight away as they began walking through the storm and towards camp "But I expect you to be ready for training in at most three sunrises."
Driftpaw didn't say anything, but Serpentshade got the message. They walked back to camp in silence, Driftpaw's head still pounding, and as they almost neared the camp entrance, Driftpaw heard a soft voice whispering in her ear. she wasn't sure if she was crazy, or it was the injury sustained to her head that was making her hear things. However, the soft voice was clear and echoing-
"Driftpaw," It seemingly whispered, and Driftpaw stopped walking, her eyes widened, her paws trembled. She felt as if she were going to collapse.
Although Serpentshade harshly ordered her to keep moving she couldn't, instead, her eyes rolled into the back of her head, and she fell to the ground unconscious, the sweet voice still echoing in her pounding head.
Coming Soon. . .