As Ruinstone, Deputy of WindClan, and Snow That Covers Mountain's kits, Brookpaw and Flashpaw grow into Warriors, they are summoned by the Ancients, and called on a mission that could change everything if they fail...
Prologue - Summoned - Brookpaw
I stretched, allowing the warm air to hit my tortoiseshell fur. My jaws opened automatically as a yawn fluttered out of it, and I closed my eyes. Just as I was about to fall asleep, however, a cat knocked into me, sending me hurling off the rock. I got to my paws, and shot a look at Flashpaw, who was sitting contentedly on the rock, his ginger fur glittering in the Greenleaf sun. I growled, and playfully pounced on the rock. We tumbled off it, and soon, were in a furious play-fight by the Smooth-Rocks. I suddenly paused, as a patrol of cats padded towards us. Our own Clan, in fact. Sitting up straight, I stared as a patrol consisting of Snow, Cloudstar and Fallenstrike approached us and stopped a few fox-lengths away- I noticed that Snow's eyes were clouded with worry as I throughly examined them.
"You two- come back to camp. Crowstar attacked while you two were play-fighting." Cloudstar snapped, his blue eyes filled with anger. But I noticed, under the angry layer, was fear. I held my breath as we followed the patrol back to camp, my heart dropping as I noticed all the injured cats lying in the clearing.
"Great StarClan!" I heard Flashpaw mutter under his breath, "It's going to take forever to patch up these warriors... even with Swiftwind by my side!"
Desperately, I searched the crowd of cats. My gaze shifted from Whiskerpaw, whose cream body was covered with patches of dry blood and scars. I felt my blood go cold as I recognized a familiar stone-gray pelt among the other cats- Ruinstone.
"Ruinstone!" I yowled, dashing to his side. Meadowbreeze growled at me, but I ignored her. Dropping down to my father's side, I began to lick desperately at his scrapes and scars. I shuddered, licking away part of the fur on his face- the skin underneath was scorched brown. Ruinstone opened his eyes and blinked, and let out a small groan.
"Brookpaw... have Swiftwind and Flashpaw tended to the others yet?" Ruinstone groaned, digging his paws weakly into the soft earth beside him. I shook my head and scanned the crowd of cats; Ruinstone was by far the most hurt.
I held back a sob. "You need to have your cuts tended to! You're losing a ton of blood!"
Ruinstone shook his head, and flipped over to his other side, letting out a hiss of pain as he did so. I glanced over at Swiftwind's den, relieved to see the black-and-white she-cat pad out of the den, Flashpaw and his mouthful of herbs beside her. I flicked my tail, signaling for them to come to Ruinstone.
"No!" Ruinstone protested, as Swiftwind and Flashpaw dropped to his side, "The others need help more! Tend to them!"
Swiftwind let out a sigh, and began to wrap cobwebs around my father's sleek body. I detected a glimmer of annoyance as she did so. "Listen, Ruinstone... you aren't that young and heroic apprentice you were seven moons ago. The older you get, the easier it is to catch infections and such. And just remember that there is a fine line between nobility and stupidity."
Ruinstone opened his mouth to insult Swiftwind back, but then shut it again. Silently, I watched as they, together, patched up Ruinstone and applied herbs to his cuts and re-opened scars.
I couldn't bear to watch anymore. Spinning around, I padded over to the elder's den. Poking my head inside, I purred as Greeneyes and Gingerstripe, the former Leader and Medicine Cat, purred in greeting. Although I knew both of them couldn't see, I knew their other senses were sharp. I sat down beside the scarred body of Greeneyes, and wrapped my tortoiseshell tail around my front paws.
"Why are you here, Brookpaw?" Greeneyes meowed, touching my shoulder with his scarred black tail. I purred, but then glanced over my shoulder nervously.
"Crowstar attacked our patrols." I explained, looking at my tail, "Ruinstone was hurt..."
Greeneyes chuckled. "Your father dealt with torture, a falling moon and Tigerstar, little one. I think he'll survive a few scratches."
Greeneyes did have a point. Nodding my head in thanks, I got to my paws. I had gone hunting for the elders, and already eaten my prey. Padding into the Apprentice's den, I laid down on my bed of moss beside the sleeping form of Gorgepaw, and closed my eyes. As I fell asleep, I thought of the Gathering a few nights ago. Seeing Ruinstone sitting on that branch beside the five leaders made me feel so proud to have him as my father. He was always there to support me. He was the best father I could imagine.
I opened my eyes- for a moment, I thought I was blind. All around me was white- I could see nothing else. But then, the ground shook, and three stones rose from the white I was standing on. Turning around, I felt relief wash over me as I saw Flashpaw, who was sleeping a few fox-lengths behind me. Even if he was here with me... where could we possibly be? I knew I wasn't in StarClan- there wasn't a star in the sky.
"Brookpaw?" Flashpaw murmured, getting to his paws, "Where are we?"
I jumped, as two shapes appeared from the white behind Flashpaw. I calmed, as it was only Ruinstone and Snow.
"This is the Ancient's Domain." Ruinstone meowed simply, "They have summoned us here."
I opened my mouth to ask who the Ancients were, but shut it as three cats emerged from the snowy blankness behind the stones. In the middle of two smaller cats, was a large tortoiseshell-and-brown tom. His eyes twinkled of gold. To his left was a smaller white tom, and to his right was a sleek black she-cat. They jumped on the stones, and gazed at us for a brief moment.
"We are the Ancients. Sol, Luna and Astrum- creators of StarClan, the Dark Forest and the Mortal World." the tortoiseshell tom, Sol, meowed, "And we have summoned you here to go on an important mission."
Ruinstone's eyes twinkled with excitement. "What kind of mission, great Sol?"
The white tom- Astrum, looked at his paws. "There has been a disruption in time. Back in the ages of Firestar, someone has done something that will cause SkyClan to disappear in your time. You must go... and bring SkyClan to the lake. If you don't... history will be changed forever."
I gasped- there was a time when SkyClan didn't live at the abandoned Horseplace? I blinked- it just seemed to amazing to be true. But before I could say anything, the white world around me disappeared, and I was staring up at a blue sky.
"Hey! You rogues again?" A black tom hissed from beside me, "I guess we'll just have to teach you a lesson."
Oh no... I thought, Are we really back in the old ages?
Chapter One - Past - Flashpaw
"Rogues?" Ruinstone meowed, quizically, "What do you mean?"
The black cat flicked his tail in annoyance, casting a quick look at the two cats behind him. One was a dark grey tom, the other was a light brown tabby she-cat. Both looked equally angry at us.
"Let's take them back to Onestar, Breezepelt." the light brown she-cat meowed, examining us, "He might be able to get some information out of you."
I looked back at Snow and Ruinstone, but they said nothing. Quietly, we padded across the moorland... our Moorland! My heart raced as I realized this was WindClan in the past! I could hardly recognize it... it was full of grass, and there was hardly any trees. How could these cats survive? I gasped for breath as we entered the camp- they were surprisingly fast. Breezepelt, the black tom, stopped by a crack in the hills surrounding the camp. He sat down, tail wrapped around his paws, his green gaze fixed on us.
"Go in. Onestar is inside- but Ashfoot is with him. Don't try anything funny..." Breezepelt snapped. I padded into the den, following Brookpaw and my parents. My eyes widened as I noticed a mottled brown tom in the corner of the den, his snow-white muzzle matching Snow's fur. He gave a worried look at Ashfoot, the gray flecked she-cat beside him.
"Names." Onestar ordered, his amber eyes blazing. No one said a word.
Onestar let out a snarl. "I said give me your names, and I expect you to do so."
Ruinstone nodded, and took a breath. "I am Ruinstone, deputy of WindClan. This is Snow That Covers Mountain, and our kits, Brookpaw and Flashpaw. Could you--"
"I am the deputy of WindClan." Ashfoot hissed under her breath, "I have no idea who you cats think you are, but we will not tolerate you imposters on our territory.
"But if they are imposters..." Onestar trailed off, his amber eyes showing his struggle to put together the puzzle, "Ashfoot, please escort these four to the Nursery. It's not being used at the moment..."
Before we could say a word, we were ushered out of the den by Ashfoot. She lead us to another crack in the hills surrounding the camp, and flicked her tail.
"In." she spat. I followed Ruinstone and the others in, breathing in the air. It smelt like the WindClan I knew, but slightly more sweeter. Sitting down on a pile of soft moss, I began to groom my ginger tabby paws. Brookpaw shot me a worried look, but I ignored it. After all, these cats were our ancestors. They wouldn't kill us, would they?
As night fell upon the camp, I realized that my kin were sleeping, but I was far from it. I padded towards the entrance to the den, but froze as I realized that two cats were guarding it. I silently dropped to my paws, and got into a sleeping position as I noticed Onestar's mottled brown-and-white figure coming towards the den.
"Good moonhigh to you, Onestar. Have you decided what cats are going to the Gathering?" meowed Breezepelt's familiar voice. I watched, in dead silence, as Onestar nodded.
"I'm going to go with the ThunderClanners. Firestar and I have much to catch up on. Besides, I want to take the prisoners with us." Onestar meowed, his voice as cool as ice. Breezepelt and a tortoiseshell she-cat entered the den, tapping each one of us with one of their long claws. I got to my paws, and waited for them to say something.
"Onestar wants you to come to the Gathering with us." the tortoiseshell meowed, calmly. Ruinstone nodded, and followed them out of the den, stopping by a large rock. I stopped, but I padded behind Snow and Ruinstone. I knew they'd protect me; after all, they did have their powers...
Onestar gracefully leapt upon the rock, and looked down upon the cats that were crowding around the stone. He took a deep breath, and shuffled his paws. "I wish for Ashfoot, Whiskerpaw, Leaftail, Antpelt, Heathertail and Sunstrike to attend the gathering with me, along with our... guests."
There were yowls of disapproval as Onestar jumped off the rock. Cats from all around shot hostile looks towards us, their eyes clearing speaking what they didn't want to admit. They aren't guests, they're prisoners...
I felt the faint aroma of ThunderClan fill my nose. It was strange, smelling the old scent... it smelt like the trees, not like the burnt, musty scent ThunderClanners wore in my time. I felt my jaw hang open as I noticed the fire-like pelt and perfect green eyes come out of the shadows- beside him, was a tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat, her amber eyes blazing with confidence. They paused, noticing the WindClan cats watching them. Firestar flicked his tail, and purred.
"Are you coming, Onestar? Or are you waiting for rabbits to come by?" Firestar meowed, amusement in his old voice. I shut my mouth, and continued to stare in amazement at the she-cat.
As Onestar got to his paws, I couldn't help but shout her name. "Sorrelstar!"
Sorrelstar looked at me, a confused look on her face. She flicked her tortoiseshell tail, and shook her head. "You mean Sorreltail, little one."
I felt embarassment crash onto me as I looked at Brookpaw's face. I didn't even dare to look at my parents. I should have known that Sorreltail had not become leader! Feeling hot with embarassment, I followed the crowd of cats as they made their way around the lake, Brookpaw and Snow by my side- Ruinstone behind me.
"What were you thinking?" Snow hissed into my ear, "If you just go and shout out her future name, then history could be destroyed!"
As we approached the tree trunk that lead onto the island, I noticed how fresh it looked. In my time, it resembled a withered brown cat- it took much effort not to fall off it! Carefully, I let Brookpaw and Snow go first. Then, I dug my claws into the log, and began to pull myself up. From there, it was easy. The log was so thick and sturdy, I was surprised when I noticed Sorrelst-- tail, stumble a few fox-lengths ahead. I jumped off the log, landing with a thud beside Brookpaw. Joining the crowd of WindClanners, I jumped when I heard a mighty yowl from the Gathering Tree.
I scanned the tree, easily recognizing each of the leaders. After all, I didn't listen to all those elder tales for nothing! On ShadowClan's branch, rested the ginger figure of Rowanstar. A few fox-lengths away, on a thin branch, was Mistystar. Below her, was Firestar, and beside Firestar was Onestar.
"Greetings to all Clans!" Mistystar's mighty yowl rung throughout the island, "We have all discussed this, and ThunderClan shall share their news first."
Firestar stood strong, but I let out a gasp as he coughed, a splatter of blood landing a few fox-lengths ahead of him. "In the past few moons, Jayfeather and his apprentice, Cherrypaw, have discovered Redcough. This foul disease causes cats to cough up blood- and we have not yet found a cure."
I gasped, memories of Swiftwind telling me the cure for the coughs rushing to my head. I could almost hear her meow beside me- Catnip does not work for Redcough. You must mix Chamomile, Chickweed and Lavender together- if a kit, elder or apprentice needs it, mix in a bit of Honey and a tiny bit of Catnip.
"Sadly," Firestar continued, sitting up straight, "My loyal deputy, Brambleclaw, has been taken by StarClan. But we are strong- we are ThunderClan! We will survive!"
A wail of sorrow came from the ShadowClan crowd. I turned, watching a black tortoiseshell she-cat- who looked as if she were pregnant with kits- as she stumbled to the front of the crowd, and looked up at Firestar, pure sorrow and misery in her eyes.
"Please tell me this is a joke, Firestar!" she wailed, "Please tell me that Brambleclaw is safe in his nest, and this is all a bunch of Mousetails!"
Firestar shook his head, and a ripple of whispers and shocked cries arised. I jumped, as a mighty roar silenced the cats. Rowanstar came forward, his eyes scanning the crowd.
"So a cat has fallen to a disease! It isn't as if it's the first time! Pull yourselves together! We've had many deputies and leaders fall to Greencough!"
As Rowanstar finished, he looked over at Firestar, giving him a nod. Firestar said nothing, but glanced over at Onestar, who got to his paws.
"WindClan is stronger than ever! Prey is growing by the day! However, merely yesterday, we found intruders on our territory." Onestar spat the last words.
Laughs rose from the Clans. I pricked my ears, and caught the yowls of other Clans.
"What else is new, Mousebrain?"
"Have you just noticed that now?"
"You're getting old, you worthless lump!"
Onestar barred his teeth, and dug his claws into the wood. His eyes sparkled with fury, and his fur was on end. He waited, until the jokes and laughs died down, and straightened up.
"These cats claim they are from WindClan." Onestar meowed simply, "One calls himself, 'Ruinstone, deputy of WindClan'!"
There was a roar of shock from the ThunderClanners. I looked over the heads of the other cats, watching as a golden tabby tom, and a smaller gray she-cat, darted by the cats, and struggled to run over the log that attached the Island to the mainland.
"Lionblaze! Dovewing!" Firestar roared, standing up. I watched as the two cats disappeared into the shadows, leaving a very angry leader.
I jumped again, watching as Ruinstone and Snow got to their paws, and ran past the other cats before they could be stopped.
Without another thought, I ran after them.