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Deathberries Series
Preceded by:
Rush
Air of Treason Succeded by:
Last Stand
Ten moons have passed. One cat wants to go against everything they've known, and yet another wants to go against the biggest threat...

Prologue

Part 1

Eight Moons Ago...

"They're beautiful," Berryclaw mewed hollowly.
Three kits squirmed by Airstar's belly. One, a golden-brown tom, another, a gray tom. The third, a darker golden-brown she-cat.
"You choose one to name," Airstar whispered.
Berryclaw pointed with his tail to the she-kit, who was by far the smallest. "Dawnkit."
Airstar purred and nodded. "Yes, and this one is Eaglekit, after Eaglestar." She pointed to the gray tom.
The leader had not long before, due to a mysterious sickness, or so WindClan thought.
"What about this last one?" Airfur asked quietly.
"Brackenkit," Berryclaw suggested.
"Yes," Airstar mewed. "Brackenkit."

Part 2

Now...

"Dawnpaw," Berryclaw spat, "will you pay attention?"
Dawnpaw turned to her mentor, also her father. "Fine," she sighed.
Berryclaw had caught her staring towards ShadowClan territory once again, where the famed Littleclaw lived.
Dawnpaw felt a longing, one beyond ever before. She wanted to meet Littleclaw. Never, at either of her Gatherings, had she gotten a chance.
But, at this one, she thought, she would. She was determined to.
And, as her plan told her to, she and Littleclaw would become friends, and the thing she longed for the most would happen.
All she had to do was wait...

Part 3

There was the long wait...
And he still did not come.
Smokestar's fur bristled as he realized that Toadstar, ShadowClan's newest leader, was not going to join him here tonight.
"All he has to do is fall asleep," Sharpstar mewed quietly.
"He is asleep," Smokestar murmured. "But he's resisting. He's resisting my presence."
"Then go to him," Sharpstar suggested. "He doesn't always have to come to you."
Smokestar thought for a moment.
Another cat appeared next to him. "Maybe Berry has struck again."
"No," Smokestar replied. "He would be here now, a shadow of a shadow next to me."
Grayfoot's eyes gleamed. "Berry would not allow just one life to be lost. Now that Airstar is leader, he must know about the nine lives every leader has."
Another cat pushed her way forward. "Even Airstar trusts him, now?" Dawnpaw spat.
"They're mates," Grayfoot growled.
Bluepaw entwined his tail with Dawnpaw's. "There's more then one threat," he pointed out softly. "There's three..."

Chapter 1

Littleclaw stared. There was something small... something behind there...
She pounced, and with a gasp of triumph, she felt her claws sink into a fat thrush.
As she stood up, she glanced at her new apprentice.
Yewfur and Nightpelt's son, Acornpaw, was standing behind her.
After two moons, you'd think he caught something, Littleclaw thought, annoyed.
"Littleclaw," Acornpaw mewed hesitantly, "are you my kin?"
Littleclaw looked at the apprentice. He was quiet, usually.
"Yes," she replied. "Nightfur is my son."
Acornpaw stared. "Woah."
Littleclaw purred. "Come on, you've got to catch something, so you can catch up to your littermates!"
Nightpelt's other two kits were named Nutpaw and Rushpaw.
Acornpaw shook his head. "It's too hard, though!"
Littleclaw sighed. StarClan, help me. She took a deep breath and mewed, "Don't you want to serve the Clan?"
Acornpaw shook his head stubbornly. "No, I hate ShadowClan!"
"You're acting like a kit!" Littleclaw hissed. "Come on, Acornpaw, I know it's hard, but it gets easier when you catch something."
Acornpaw took a hostile step forward. "How are you going to make me, huh?"
"I'll tell Toadstar that you'd like to be exiled," Littleclaw threatened.
Acornpaw's eyes widened. "No... please!" he begged.
"Why should I listen?" Littleclaw asked. She was pushing it, she knew, but if this was the only way to train Acornpaw, she would do it.
"Don't tell Toadstar, please!" Acornpaw begged.
Littleclaw turned, pretending that she was about to go back to camp.
"I'll catch something!" Acornpaw screeched.
Littleclaw stopped and purred to herself. Now, training her stubborn apprentice was going to be a breeze.


A cat stood in the shadows, watching the argument unfold. She wanted to step in, but she couldn't.
She took a deep breath and turned away. Away from happiness.


"Okay, you leap."
Littleclaw watched as Acornpaw leaped, following her whispered command.
He came up in awe. "I- I think I can do it!"
Littleclaw felt a surge of pride flow through her. "Good!"
Acornpaw glanced at the bushes. "Did you hear something?"
Littleclaw shook her head. "No."
"Let's go back to camp," Acornpaw sighed. "I'll try and catch something tomorrow."
Littleclaw nodded. The pride had disappeared.
She hoped it would come back again the next day.


Boulder stopped as she heard a noise coming towards her. She dove into a bush and peered out.
A red tom walked by her, followed by two younger ones that looked a lot like him.
"Eaglepaw, hurry up!" one muttered.
One cat hissed. "It's because you're going so slow."
The red tom pushed in between the two younger cats. "Quiet. We..."
The words were lost as Boulder stared at the red tom. He's so handsome...
She had fallen in love.

Chapter 2

Littleclaw led Acornpaw though the forest, towards the ShadowClan camp.
She couldn't stop thinking about Acornpaw's comment about hearing something. If Berryclaw was still there...
It'll be okay, Littleclaw convinced herself. Berryclaw's a Clan cat now. He won't hurt anybody.
Then she remembered Marshtail. Well, most Clan cats don't hurt other ones.
She stalked into the camp. Nutpaw bounded up to Acornpaw.
Littleclaw purred.
"Rabid squirrels!" Nutpaw yowled. "I drop magical brambles next to them!" She ran off, leaving Acornpaw sitting in awe.
"She always manages to surprise me," Acornpaw muttered.
Littleclaw purred, and turned to see Stoneheart, her son.
"Littleclaw," Stoneheart began, "where is Nightfur?"
Littleclaw replied, "I have no idea. Where's Mudpelt?"
Stoneheart winced at the mention of his brother. "Um..."
Littleclaw felt a pang of worry. "Where is he?" she demanded.
"Follow me," Stoneheart mewed hoarsely.
Stoneheart led Littleclaw out of the camp, to the WindClan border.
WindClan... That's where Berryclaw is, Littleclaw thought.
"Mudpelt's in WindClan?" Littleclaw quizzed.
Stoneheart sighed. "Yes."
"W-why?" Littleclaw sputtered. "Why didn't anyone tell me this before?"
"We didn't want to make you worried!" Stoneheart cried.
"How long has Mudpelt been gone?" Littleclaw demanded.
"A quarter-moon."
Fury rose up inside Littleclaw, and she had to grip the ground with her claws to avoid murdering Stoneheart.
Stoneheart looked dismayed. "I'm sorry, Littleclaw."
Littleclaw sighed. "Why did he leave?"
"He..." Stoneheart trailed off. "He wanted to join Berryclaw."

Chapter 3

Berryclaw sighed. How long am I going to be stuck here?
Next to him, his son, Eaglepaw, stood, letting his fur be buffeted by the wind. "It's so hot out!" Eaglepaw called.
Berryclaw nodded. But he was really looking at two figures on the horizon- a grayish tom cat and a light brown she-cat.
"Intruders!" Berryclaw screeched. "Come on, Eaglepaw!"
Eaglepaw's eyes widened but he followed Berryclaw over the moorland.
Berryclaw's breath got knocked out of him as he banged into something.
He looked up, angry, and saw a silver tabby she-cat. She had gray paws and stripes and ears.
Eaglepaw had stopped and was staring at the pair in awe.
"S-sorry," the she-cat stuttered.
Berryclaw forced himself to reply kindly. "It's no problem. What's your name?"
"Boulder," the she-cat replied.
"The intruders are gone!" Eaglepaw called, but Berryclaw didn't care.
"I'm Berryclaw," he told Boulder. "That's my son, Eaglepaw," he added.
Boulder looked crestfallen. "Oh," she murmured. "He's handsome..."
"Thank you," Berryclaw replied.
"I would love to join a Clan," Boulder blurted out, then she stared at her paws.
"It's really boring," Berryclaw sighed.
"It won't be!" Boulder meowed quickly. "There's fights, and you honor your Clan and get a warrior name and get trained by one..."
"It's not a big deal," Berryclaw told her.
Eaglepaw trotted back. "I'm Eaglepaw," he told Boulder.
Berryclaw noticed the fur on the back of Boulder's neck fluffed up at the sight of Eaglepaw so close.
"I'm Boulder," she replied. Her voice was forced.
Eaglepaw didn't seem to notice. "Well, Berryclaw," he began, "we'd better start heading back to camp."
Berryclaw glared at his son. "Who asked you?"
"Berryclaw, come on," Eaglepaw murmured, a warning tone in his voice. "You know we don't talk to cats that are lower on the food chain than you."
Boulder looked taken aback, but Eaglepaw didn't stop. "You know you have to perform that annoying ceremony. Remember when Airfur had to?"
Berryclaw nodded silently. What is he doing?
"We don't need that again. Toadstar threatened to kill the next cat who did."
Berryclaw nodded, and looked at Boulder.
A feeling that he had never felt flowed through him.
He forced himself to turn away.
Away from happiness.

Chapter 4

Dawnpaw pawed the stone into place. She had spent since sunrise trying to get it out of the ground.
She had spent since sunrise avoiding Berryclaw.
She knew that her father hated her. It was obvious.
Her brothers, Brackenpaw and Eaglepaw, were loved by Berryclaw. Well, he showed more affection towards them.
But Dawnpaw knew one thing her brothers didn't.
Berryclaw was waiting.
Waiting for his escape.


Mudpelt saw two figures, distant.
He purred to himself. His mother was worrying about him.
That made him happy.
He had joined WindClan for one simple reason- he admired Berryclaw.
He knew that his mother was putting up a fight to kill Berryclaw, and Berryclaw was winning.
Any cat that managed to overpower his mother was admirable, in Mudpelt's terms.


The next day, Berryclaw called to Dawnpaw, "Training, now!" His voice was cold.
Dawnpaw sighed and stood up, from where she was sharing a rabbit with Brackenpaw.
"Good luck," Brackenpaw whispered.
Dawnpaw nodded at him and walked to Berryclaw, who was standing at the entrance of the camp.
They walked in silence, until Dawnpaw couldn't take it anymore.
"You don't even love her," she mewed.
Berryclaw stopped. "What?"
"You don't love Airstar. Why did you-"
"Shut up, you piece of mouse-dung!" Berryclaw spat.
Dawnpaw took a step back. In all of her moons, Berryclaw had hated her, but he had never insulted her.
"I love Airstar," Berryclaw hissed.
"You don't!" Dawnpaw replied angrily. "I haven't seen you with her since the day I was apprenticed!"
Berryclaw gritted his teeth. "She's a leader, Dawnpaw."
"Then show some respect for her!" Dawnpaw screeched.
She turned and ran away. But not before Berryclaw reached out and clawed her side.
I'm leaving, Dawnpaw thought as she ran. If he hates me, I hate him, too.

Chapter 5

Nutpaw raced up to Littleclaw and yowled, "Trees die in fire!"
Littleclaw stared. "Nutpaw, what?"
"I like dirt!" Nutpaw replied proudly.
Littleclaw snorted.
There was a large sigh behind Littleclaw, and she turned around.
Marshtail was standing there.
"Go away," Littleclaw hissed. "I don't need to be seen with you!"
Marshtail looked taken aback. "I see it you're angry with me?" he prompted, sitting down.
Littleclaw hissed. "I'm going hunting," she muttered. She stormed off.
Behind her, she heard Marshtail yowl, "I'm coming with you!"
"No!" Littleclaw hissed. "I wanted to train Acornpaw."
"I can help you train him-"
"Go away," Littleclaw moaned. "You killed my last apprentice, and our father."
Marshtail's eyes darkened. "I said I was sorry!"
"Nothing can ever replace Smokestar!" Littleclaw screeched. "I'm not sure if I can trust you anymore, Marshtail."
And, aware of all eyes on her, she stormed out of the camp.


Dawnpaw stared after Brackenpaw in dismay. "You don't understand!" she yowled.
"Understand?" Brackenpaw asked. His voice was low, and he choked out every word. "I don't want to lose you to Berryclaw."
"I'm leaving because of him," Dawnpaw protested. "Brackenpaw, please. Let me go!"
Brackenpaw stared at his paws.
"Please," Dawnpaw pleaded.
At that moment, Eaglepaw bounded up to them. "What's going on?"
"Dawnpaw's leaving," Brackenpaw whispered.
Eaglepaw's eyes widened. "What- why?"
"I'm so tired of Berryclaw," Dawnpaw growled. "He doesn't even love Airstar."
Eaglepaw's tail fluffed up. "He doesn't."
Brackenpaw stared at Eaglepaw. "How- what?"
"There's this rogue named Boulder," Eaglepaw explained. "I think Berryclaw's falling for her."
"There's a ShadowClan cat named Boulderfoot," a voice whispered behind them.
Eaglepaw nearly leaped out of his pelt. "B-Berryclaw!"
"That's right," Berryclaw whispered.
Dawnpaw couldn't control her shaking. "G-go away."
"Why don't you?" Berryclaw shot back.
"She is," Brackenpaw mumbled.
Eaglepaw shot a glance at him.
"I am leaving," Dawnpaw mewed. "I'm leaving now!"
She raced out of camp.
She was safe. For now.

Chapter 6

Littleclaw stalked out of the camp and let herself disappear into the trees.
She was so tired of all the drama, of all the fear. She just wanted the cause dead.
Berryclaw had to die.


Dawnpaw shivered. The wind was cold.
Where could she go? She had just driven herself out of her home.
Then she had a thought- Littleclaw. Littleclaw could help her!


Mudpelt nodded as Airstar directed him onto a patrol with Berryclaw and some other cat.
"You're the new cat," Berryclaw growled as Mudpelt approached him.
"I am," Mudpelt replied smoothly. "Get over it."


Stoneheart stared at the mountain, the mountain where ThunderClan lived.
He let his mother's story settle in his mind- how Berryclaw had killed three cats, and almost Marshtail.
Then, in the end, he had gotten pushed off of a cliff.
Why can't he just go back there again? Stoneheart thought.


Littleclaw slipped through the woods, towards WindClan territory.
This was going to end.
She broke into a run.


Dawnpaw didn't even pause to think as she raced across the ShadowClan border.
She had to find Littleclaw, she was the only way...
The only way...
And with a gasp, she stopped.


Littleclaw hissed, her claws unsheathed instantly.
"What are you doing here?"
The intruder stood up. "I'm Dawnpaw," she mewed. "I escaped from my father. I want him dead."
The alliance was made.
The battle had begun.

Epilogue

(A/N: Decided to add this after some thought. It'll definitely set things for the next and final book.)

Berryclaw stalked into camp, with Eaglepaw and Brackenpaw right behind him.
"I'm done," he spat.
"W-with what?" Brackenpaw stammered.
Berryclaw glared at him. "Be quiet."
Eaglepaw stepped closer to his littermate.
"What's going on?" a voice asked. Berryclaw saw Airstar bounding over, her eyes alight.
Berryclaw stared at his paws. I can't betray my mate.
"Berryclaw, is anything wrong?" Airstar asked hesitantly.
I'm going to betray her, I'm Berryclaw, for StarClan's sake! Berryclaw took a step forward, doing his best to not break eye contact.
"B-Berryclaw?" Airstar stammered.
"My name is Berry," Berryclaw snarled.
"B-but-" Brackenpaw stammered, but Berry cut him off:
"You're my kit, you're going to stay with me," Berry growled.
"W-what?" Airstar stammered.
"I'm leaving. I'm taking Brackenpaw and Eaglepaw with me," Berry growled. "How hard is that to understand?"
And with a hiss, he spun around and stalked out of camp. He was going to find Dawnpaw.
And kill her.


Mudpelt stared in awe as Berryclaw- Berry- stalked out of camp.
Airstar lowered her head in sadness, and Mudpelt bounded up to her.
"I'm staying with Berry," he whispered. "I'll keep them away from here."


Berry stalked across the moor, aware of Eaglepaw and Brackenpaw stumbling along behind him.
"Berryclaw!" a voice yowled.
Berry's heart glowed. It was Boulder.
He stopped and allowed Boulder to bound up to him, then continued at a slower pace.
"Berryclaw, where are you going?" Boulder asked.
"To kill the cats that tried to kill me," Berry snarled. "My name is Berry."
Boulder didn't look surprised. "I'll join you."
Berry stopped.
"What?" Boulder asked.
"Nothing," Berry murmured. Forget about that, he urged himself. You love her, show it!
He entwined his tail with hers. Boulder gasped.
Berry nodded.
And walked towards the battle.


Be sure to look out for the next and final book, called Last Stand.

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