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Book 1 in the ArcticClan Series


Prologue

Icestar opened her icy blue eyes to encounter a world she has visited before: StarClan's Forest. She looked up from the water's edge to see a silver cat walk toward her. You have made you decision?" he inquired as he sat down on the grass. "Yes father," Icestar mewed back, "The old FrostClan is not my home anymore. I have decided to leave and form a new FrostClan. Needlefoot wanted to lead FrostClan; I knew I could not stop this ambition. He and I have had many fights." She paused and looked down at her paws, "If another fight would to come out of this, many cats would be lost--both their lives and in their loyalties." She looked back up at her father as he spoke. I am not angered at your choice, for it was wise, a very wise choice. But I am greatly saddened that we both need to leave our homes, and you will leave your friend. Doesn't that upset you?" he asked. Icestar shook her head. "Needlefoot is a strong cat, Silverstar; his new Clan will pull through. I will miss him, but I have decided that he becoming leader is a great risk of trouble that may come up for the new FrostClan." she concluded. Silverstar nodded. "Your ancestors and I will find FrostClan's new home. Search the skies for silver and blue aurora. Find that and you have found your home." A breeze picked up and he faded away.

Chapter 1

Part One The aurora...We have found our home! FrostClan's new dawn has arrived!" Icestar yowled to her Clanmates. She listened as they all chimed in, including her newest warrior, Blackstorm, who was finally accepted into the Clan for her loyalty, trust, and bravery. She then looked at Poppypaw, her apprentice of many moons. Icestar decided, along the journey, that Poppypaw was the right choice for deputy. I'll need to give her a warrior name and an apprentice." Icestar thought and made a permanent note of it. "Bramblemask and Shadepool," she mewed to two of her senior warriors, "Check that camp to see if anything is still lurking in there. Swiftstripe, you go with Foxpool to find some useful herbs and moss for bedding. Take Berrypaw with you." All five cats nodded and headed off to their destinations. Icestar," Blackstorm came up to her, Can I lead a hunting patrol?" she mewed. Icestar gazed at her for what seemed like forever; she had to start giving her a chance to lead patrols. "Yes," she replied, "Take a couple of others with you." Blackstorm's eyes glowed with pride and she nodded. She set off looking for hunting companions. Finally, Bramblemask and Shadepool returned with news of the camp. There is a fresh scent of fox down there," Shadepool reported, "but there are no dens for foxes to live there. It may have passed through recently. There are numerous dens. One has a pool of water in it; perfect for Foxpool. The dens are close to each other, perfect for an emergency." Bramblemask concluded. It's fine for me," Foxpool meowed, "but it is your decision, Icestar. Part Two StarClan have declared it our home," Icestar's voice started to rise, "And so it shall be!!!" Icestar's yowl rang around the clearing. Every single cat cheered, even the kits. They had found their new home, but there would be plenty of time to celebrate later. The first task was get every cat down into the new camp and have Foxpool check for any injuries. Icestar started sounding out commands, "Swiftstripe, you and Barkwhisker help the queens and their kits down there first. Shadepool, get some other cats to help you with the elders. Bramblemask, you and Dusteyes go look for some dens. Send Berrypaw and Patchpaw to find some fresh moss. Bramblespots, help Foxpool carry his herbs, and then help him with any injured cats. Icestar turned to address the remaining cats. "Eaglefoot, keep watch for the hunting patrol. I then want the rest of you to get checked out by Foxpool and Bramblespots. At sunset, we will meet in the center of camp and I will address which dens are suitable for sleeping. What about a deputy? When will you decide who will be the new deputy?" Snowpelt, one of the elders, asked. StarClan understands that we need to get settled in first before a deputy is chosen. I have not even made a completely official decision yet," her voice lowered, "It will be a wise choice though. Tomorrow we will have some warrior and apprentice ceremonies. We need all the help we can get. I will be searching some of the territory around the camp, and the hunting patrol will report the best places to hunt. I will inform you all on this at sunset." Icestar concluded. Sunset slowly approached. The hunting patrol returned with some good and bad news. There is a really mossy area not to far from here," Blackstorm mewed, "It's perfect for training. Just beyond there is a wooded area filled with prey. But the bad part is," Poppypaw's eyes clouded in fear, "It's near a Twoleg nest... It's across a river," Stormcloud explained, "But the Twolegs could cross over a bridge to get over here anytime. If we do stay here, we should double patrols during greenleaf; it could be a Greenleaf Nest. It could also be a Leaf-Bare Nest," Poppypaw stated, remembering the nest near their old home. Icestar wished she had Needlefoot by her side. "If it is a prey-rich place, we should continue to hunt there. True, but we risk being seen by Twolegs. I think we should continue to explore and find another place to hunt," Stormcloud insisted. Part Three I think we should hunt there," Icestar decided, "We need the prey that's there during Leaf-Fall and Leaf-Bare. The Twolegs won't come until, hopefully Greenleaf, but if they do come during Leaf-Bare, we should find another prey-rich hunting ground for Leaf-Fall and Leaf-Bare; someplace that's far away from the Twolegs. Fair enough?" she concluded. All the cats nodded. "Good, I will announce it tonight. All those cats old enough to believe in StarClan gather around the FrostRock for a Clan meeting!" Icestar's voice rang around the hollow. Immediately, all of the Clan gathered. The hunting patrol has found a prey rich hunting place! Stormcloud, will you describe it for us?" "Yes Icestar," Stormcloud meowed, "As Icestar said, it is a very prey-rich place. The only bad part about it is it's near a Twoleg nest. All the cats gasped and exchanged worried looks. Fear not!" Icestar calmed them, "We have come up with a solution since we cannot risk not using a prey-rich place," she nodded to Blackstorm. We have decided," Blackstorm meowed, "That we will use that place for seasons when the Twolegs aren't around. We will look for another prey rich place for the seasons that the Twolegs are there. But no cat--apprentice or warrior--should approach the Twoleg nest unless it is for something important such as getting herbs. Foxpool and most of the Clan looked relieved. As Blackstorm finished, Icestar continued with her reports. "I will lead a patrol that will leave tomorrow night to explore the rest of the territory. Hopefully, we will return by Sunhigh the next day. And as for deputy...," Icestar paused. Many cats started looking around at the cats who would be eligible to become deputy. Icestar had many cats on mind that would make good deputies: Bramblemask, Dusteyes, Stormcloud, and even her closest friend Shadepool. But she had a huge surprise hiding in her pelt. But first, I need to fulfill a promise to an apprentice." She summoned Poppypaw forward with her tail. I, Icestar, leader of FrostClan ask my warrior ancestors to look down upon this apprentice," her voice rang through the camp, "She has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend her to you as a warrior in her turn. Poppypaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code?" Poppypaw looked up to StarClan and proudly declared "I do! Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name. Poppypaw, you will now be known as Poppyfeather. StarClan honors you bravery and courage and we welcome you as a full warrior of FrostClan. As Icestar jumped down from the FrostRock, Poppyfeather spoke up. "Icestar, Poppypaw is no longer my name. It reminds me too much of our old home and all of our old troubles. I'd like to be called....Wolfpelt." She raised her head proudly so that StarClan would hear her choice. Icestar stared at her for a long time. She, too, remembered so much of her old Clan. Poppyfeather was to be the first newly named warrior of their new Clan, and she would accept her wish, hoping StarClan would also. Very well," Icestar meowed and began recalling the words of a rarely used ceremony. Spirits of StarClan, you know every cat by name. I ask you now to take away the name from the cat you see before you, for she no longer wishes to remember our cold past. By my authority as Clan leader and with the approval of our warrior ancestors, I give this cat a new name. From this moment on, she will be known as Wolfpelt, for she will lead her fellow cats through the challenges of our new home." She stepped forward to acknowledge the newly named warrior, Wolfpelt. Voices of the other cats rang around the clearing as they chanted her new name. "One more ceremony will be preformed tonight. I say these words before the spirits of my warrior ancestors so that they may hear and approve my choice for deputy." The cold air hung around her as the cats of FrostClan waited for Icestar's choice. Icestar stared up at StarClan and nodded, "Wolfpelt will become the new deputy of FrostClan. Tomorrow she will receive her first apprentice, Sunkit. Once again, the Clan chanted her name as the wind blew and whispered Wolfpelt's name as well. Sunrise slowly approached. The warrior and apprentice ceremonies were preformed. Eaglefoot was mentor to Silverpaw, Sunpaw's sister; Dusteyes became Ravenpaw's mentor; and Shadowpaw was named Foxpool's apprentice. Berryfur, a new warrior, became Duskpaw's mentor, and Shadowpaw's brother, Sootpaw, became Stormcloud's apprentice. Finally, Patchpaw, Berryfur's brother, became the warrior, Patchface, and received Mudpaw as his apprentice. The territory patrol, consisting of Wolfpelt, Sunpaw, Swiftstripe, Dusteyes, and Ravenpaw, left on their journey. They headed north out of the camp and passed the Twoleg nest, coming upon a valley. Everything they passed they took note of; herb locations, a stream, a few fox dens. They slowly crossed a mountain and set up camp for the night. When they awoke, they saw a sight they would never forget... Part Four I-Ice-Icestar," Ravenpaw's voice shook, "What's THAT?!?!" Dusteyes defensively moved closer to his new apprentice. Icestar had no idea either. Her eyes were wide at she stared at the bright lights reflecting off of strange, tall objects. They were all clustered together like rabbits cornered in their dens. In between them wound many badger-lengths of Thunderpaths, and crossing them were monsters and....TWOLEGS?!?! How could Twolegs be so dumb crossing Thunderpaths? They could get hit!" Swiftstripe hissed. No...," Sunpaw's voice was so quiet that Icestar didn't even hear her speak, "Look...!" She pointed a shaky paw toward a monster. The monster slowed down and stopped to allow the Twolegs to cross! "Unbelievable!" Dusteyes hissed. What is this thing, Dusteyes?" Ravenpaw mewed quietly, her eyes wide with fear. It was Wolfpelt who spoke. "They're a bunch of Twoleg Sets; not nests, these are much bigger. It-It's a field of Twoleg Sets! We're not going to explore them. It'll be too dangerous. Let's mark this as the end of our territory. No cat from our Clan is to go beyond this point," Icestar declared and the patrol seemed to settle down a bit, but they still looked cautious. The patrol continued on their task. At Sunhigh, that came across an empty field when Sunpaw hissed, "Icestar! Look! It's a cat!" Indeed there was a cat, this cat looked so familiar, but Icestar couldn't tell under all the visible injuries. The patrol raced toward the cat's side. Swiftstripe started sniffing the cat's injuries. "Sunpaw, get me some cobwebs. Ravenpaw, marigold. Dusteyes, go with them incase rogues attacked and bring back juniper or poppy seeds back as well," she listed the herbs she needed. Wolfpelt prodded the cat and whispered in her ear. "Hey, hey, wake up. Are you okay?" The cat stirred, and raised her head. Her face was truly clawed, her ear was ripped, her eyes just slightly open. "What....?" The cat mewed. She opened her eyes wide when she saw the FrostClan cats. "Don't hurt me!" she hissed, "Please let me go! I'll get off your territory! The anxiety in the cat's voice started to stir Icestar's memory. Dusteyes, Ravenpaw, and Sunpaw returned with the herbs Swiftstripe requested. The cat shivered as Swiftstripe gently applied the herbs, her eyes wide with fear. Icestar was afraid that the frightened she-cat was going to dart away as soon as Swiftstripe was finished. "Now, won't you tell us your name?" Swiftstripe mewed in a soothing voice. Bee-Beech-Beechtail....," the she-cat stammered. "Beechtail!" Icestar hissed aloud. Beechtail was Needlefoot's younger sister. She had stayed behind, only half supporting her brother when Icestar left. "Beechtail, it's me, Icestar! What-What are you doing out here? I-I-I was looking....for you....Needlestar's new Clan, MidnightClan, isn't the same as it was when you used to be leader. He's too aggressive, too pushy, and he frightens all the kits and apprentices. The strongest ones support him, the rest are too scared to do anything else, so they do what he wants," she mewed quietly. So why did you come here?" Dusteyes meowed, his eyes narrowing. "Because, MidnightClan needs help. I followed your scent here because none of the other Clans would help. They refused to help, they even refused the queens! It's terrible, you have to help!" Beechtail meowed desperately. Let's help you first," Wolfpelt mewed quietly, you're a disaster!" The patrol walked back to camp at a steadily pace, Beechtail leaning on Swiftstripe's shoulder and Dusteyes watching the rear. Wolfpelt sent the apprentices on ahead to warn Foxpool. Let all those cats old enough to believe in StarClan gather around the FrostRock for a Clan meeting!" The Clan already knew of Beechtail's arrival, so there would be no need to announce it. She was resting peacefully in the medicine den. Icestar announced her Territory Patrol Report first. Then it came down to the real business: MidnightClan's trouble. Needlestar has done great damage to his Clan. The kits and apprentices are scared out of their pelts, the other Clans have refused to help the queens, and the rest of the cats are too scared to do anything else. We need to return to our old home and help them!" Icestar yowled. But what if Needlestar planned this? What if he has the other Clans' support? If he has allies with the whole of another Clan, it'll be too much for us to handle!" Snowpelt hissed. Not every Clan has his support," Beechtail came limping out of the den with Foxpool at her side, "Rainstar and AquaClan have not given him any support. See! She admits it, you traitor!! Why wouldn't Rainstar support him when everyone else has?" Snowpelt hissed yet again at her. She is my father's sister, and would never have her Clan support it if a terrible ruler came over the Clan," Icestar mewed steadily, "And I trust Beechtail completely. Why would she risk her life to come find us if this was not happening? Do you not trust your former Clan member, Snowpelt? If she says her brother is destroying his Clan, then she must be part of it!" the elder yowled; the other members started glaring uncertainly at her. "Enough! I will decide if we help MidnightClan or not! If we can get the support of my kin, Rainstar, we may be able to send Needlestar away

Chapter 2

"ENOUGH!" Icestar's angry yowl rang through the clearing, "I will help Beechtail and MidnightClan if no one else will. She jumped off the FrostRock and headed toward the exit to the camp, signaling that Beechtail should follow. Together, they headed back to MidnightClan. It was Sunhigh by the time they reached the Midway point between the 2 Clans. They stopped to rest and take the time to hunt. Suddenly, the bushes rustled. Icestar defensively moved in front of Beechtail, drawing her lips back into a snarl. A familiar face popped out of the bush, "Blackstorm! What are you doing here? I thought you could use some help fighting off Needlestar's warriors, and," she stepped aside, "I brought some help," she grinned. Out of the bush came Bramblemask, Eaglefoot and Silverpaw, Stormcloud and Sootpaw, Dusteyes, and Shadowpaw, Foxpool's apprentice. Just the team I would have chosen," she approved, "But I expected Wolfpelt to come, not you. Was she against Beechtail? No, but she felt that I could use the challenge of choosing a patrol," she grinned, "So are we going yet or not? Icestar jumped on a rock to address the patrol, "We'll rest here for the night to hunt and let Shadowpaw gather the herbs she needs. I want the other apprentices to help her. The rest of you are free to hunt. I need to talk with Beechtail about our plan of attack. The patrol raced over the fields the next SunHigh, easily avoiding any obstacles. The plan was to attack at dusk, when the last patrol went out. Beechtail and Icestar would go after Needlestar. The apprentices would guard the entrance and attack the patrol when they returned. Stormcloud and Bramblemask would help any cats in trouble while Dusteyes and Eaglefoot attack Needlestar's supporters. Before hand, the patrol would roll in dust and mud to hide their scent. They laid low until dusk came. Finally, it was time. The patrol's left, Icestar," Silverpaw reported. Good, now you and the other apprentices go guard the entrance. If the patrol comes back, you know what to do. If Beechtail comes out, she'll lead you to the AquaClan camp to get Rainstar. She doesn't know about this yet, so you'll explain it to her if the time comes," Icestar directed. Silverpaw nodded and dashed off. The rest of the patrol started creeping up to the back entrance. Beechtail went in first, looking like she was attacked by her brother's supporters. As soon as the rest of the Clan was around her, Icestar yowled the battle command: FrostClan, to victory! Attack! And the patrol raced in. Icestar looked for Beechtail; she had her brother pinned down. Icestar rushed in and pulled him by his scruff to his den, with Beechtail following. Hissing and spitting, she threw Needlestar onto his moss bed. Icestar? You came back! But with Beechtail--" he looked confused, "Are you joining-- Get....out.....get away from this Clan. You rule MidnightClan no longer. Beechtail told me everything," Icestar drew her lips back into a snarl. "You've frightened every cat that hasn't supported you. Now leave," she stepped aside to let Needlestar pass. No...I AM leader here! You do not decide what this Clan does!" He leaped at Icestar, bowling her over and out of the den. They fought for quite some time. Finally, they both stopped and we're staring at each other; both weakened by the fight. Most of Needlestar's supporters had been driven off, and the rest of the cats were taken out safely. The apprentices still guarded the entrance and Dusteyes and Bramblemask looked on, waiting to spring in at anytime. Needlestar collapsed, panting hard. Beechtail stared on in horror. No more..." he rasped, "Please...stop....Beechtail...help--" his eyes became sightless, and there was an eerie silence. Suddenly, he came back, gasping for breath. Beechtail ran over to her brother. Icestar signaled to Bramblemask and Dusteyes to bring back the Clan for a meeting. Let all those cats old enough to catch prey join beneath the NeedleStone for an important Clan meeting!" MidnightClan slowly gathered, still unsure of their surroundings. "It is time to decide Needlestar's fate," Needlestar was resting beside the Stone with Beechtail tending to his wounds. Icestar started to become unsure about her loyalty. "Will MidnightClan accept Needlestar as leader again? 0 "Never!" Ashstep, the senior warrior, stepped out of the crowd. "He never deserved to receive the nine lives as a leader. He should leave--" all the cats yowled in agreement, "and we want you to lead us again, Icestar. MidnightClan has never been the same since you left and no other cat is up for the challenge as leader. We need you here Icestar. I am," Needlestar rose to his paws, "I know what I did wrong. I understand now. I don't need full power to rule, just the support of my Clan. I see now how you are a great leader, Icestar, and to my Clan," he added, "I wish to be your leader again." Many cats yowled "Traitor!" as he sat back down; the rest looked to Icestar for guidance. "This is not my decision. It is yours and StarClan's. Part Six The MidnightClan was silent for what seemed like seasons. Then, a kit who looked no more than four moons stepped out of the group. He looked exactly like Needlestar. "This must be his son," Icestar thought. The kit walked up to his father and stared him straight in the eye, then turned around to face his Clan. Brave and bold as he was, he started chanting his father's name up to StarClan. As is StarClan agreed, the clouds that threatened the moon moved away, and it shone brightly. A few cats in the crowd gasped when they saw the sign. Some cats quietly started chanting Needlestar's name, then, the whole Clan joined in. "It is decided, Needlestar will continue his leadership!" Icestar yowled. The Clan yowled in agreement. The deed was done and it was time to return to FrostClan. She jumped down from the Needlestone and walked over to Beechtail. Thank you Icestar. You have given my brother his Clan's trust back," Beechtail mewed. Don't thank me, thank Needlestar's son," Icestar chuckled. No Icestar, it was all thanks to you," another voice sounded from outside the den, "Icestar, you have shown me what it truly means to be a leader," Needlestar walked in and dipped his head toward Icestar, "But I both think it is time that you and your patrol return to your Clan. Yes, I believe you're right," she turned to face Beechtail, "Will you return with us? She shook her head. "No, I need to help my brother look after his Clan. I need to make sure he sets his paws in the right direction," she grinned. The trip back to the Clan wasn't very long. The patrol left that dawn and got back to the Clan by sunset. Icestar and Blackstorm walked together in step, while the apprentices were chattering happily about the battle. The rest of the patrol brought up the behind. The camp was going about as usual; Wolfpelt was sitting beneath the FrostRock, two of the apprentices, Snowpaw and Cricketpaw, were practicing their battle moves. A hunting patrol was depositing their prey on the fresh-kill pile. "We'll hold a big ceremony for all the apprentices," Icestar thought. The ceremony was a big hit. Every cat feasted on a plump piece of fresh kill. The new warriors, Sunpelt, Silverheart, Ravenwing, Duskwalker, Cricketsong, Snowrose, Mudstripe, and Sootstep, were listening to the elder's tales of the great Clans. The kits were play-hunting outside the nursery, their mothers looking on. Shadowpaw was helping Foxpool sort the herbs....everything was going perfectly. Suddenly, huge bands of clouds covered the moon. Cold, north winds were starting to blow, and...it started to snow. Something was coming, and every cat knew it. There was howling outside the camp. Kits ran back into the nursery. The elders ran back to protect the kits and the queens, followed by Mudstripe and Sunpelt. Ravenwing, Sootstep, Shadowpaw, and Foxpool ran into the medicine den to grab supplies. Too late; suddenly, a whole Clan of cats burst through the RockTunnel, snarling and growling. Their scars from previous battles were touched by the increasing snow. Two cats dashed off toward the medicine den, hoping to corner the medicine cats and their assistants. A huge, jet black cat stepped through the middle of the group; his dark amber eyes glinting in the poor moonlight. Two familiar gasps came from behind Icestar. The gasps belonged to Blackstorm and Snowrose. Did they know someone before they joined the Clan? Part SevenCruel!" Blackstorm and Snowrose hissed. That's right," he growled, "I'm back.... Ah, Blackstorm; I see you joined this worthless group of cats along with Snowrose. Such a shame..." "It was the better choice than joining you!" Blackstorm hissed defiantly. Icestar quickly beckoned Snowrose over, who was bristling in fear and fury. "Who is this cat?" she hissed quietly. That's Cruel. He knows both Blackstorm and I. He met Blackstorm when she washed up your old Clan territory's shore. He almost got her to join then," Snowrose's eyes grew wide, "He chased me off of his territory when I accidentally wandered onto it. I suspect he didn't trust anyone after his encounter with Blackstorm." Snowrose's red specks eerily started to glow.... Well he certainly isn't welcome here!" Icestar hissed. She walked through the middle of the Clan cats to stand beside Blackstorm. "Leave our territory now, or expect a battle." "...And you must be Icestar!" Cruel's dark amber gaze burned into her pelt, "I've been told about you... What is he talking about?" Icestar thought, "Blackstorm and Snowrose are loyal warriors; they wouldn't set something up like this! You need to leave...now. Cruel laughed, "Oh, I don't intend to..." His line of warriors took a few steps forward, but the Clan cats held their ground. Icestar suddenly thought of Foxpool and the rest of the cats helping him. "I plan on taking over this territory and expanding my rule. I Hope to be the greatest cat on this side of the mountains! you are the only thing in my way; Step down now. Snowrose saw something in his eyes that seemed uncertain or unwilling, but she was still suprised. The Clan cats gasped. Never had they seen a cat seeking this much power. What would their faithful leader do? You're going to have to fight us to get what you want..." Icestar growled. Dark amber met icy blue. There was definitely going to be a battle...and it would be huge... Cruel chuckled, "You're definitely making a mistake...ATTACK! He howled. FrostClan, to victory! ATTACK! Swarms of cats charged at each other, their unsheathed claws shone in the moonlight. The snowstorm started to become a blizzard; StarClan were watching....they were watching in fear... Icestar ran towards the medicine den. "I must help Foxpool. I can't loose my brother!" She saw Shadepool, her faithful companion, and Barkwhisker, the ever-loyal warrior and true friend to Icestar for moons, fighting side-by-side. She hissed in their ears that she needed help, and off they ran... Meanwhile, Blackstorm and Snowrose charged at Cruel; all of StarClan were at their side. Snowrose jumped on top of Cruel and was instantly thrown off. "He's tougher than I thought," she mewed to herself. Blackstorm was hissing and spitting at Cruel. She then clawed him just above one eye. Cruel growled and bowled her over, clawing at her belly. Blackstorm started hissing in pain; his claws were truly sharp. Snowrose shoved him off of her and slashed one of his ears. "Let's face it," Blackstorm hissed in her ear, "We're going to need all the power of StarClan to stop him." Snowrose's flecks started glowing brighter. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning hit the ground not too far from the camp, separating the clouds. A huge star beam came down and surrounded Blackstorm and Snowrose. A silver tom and a brown tom with shining blue eyes stepped into the middle. Blackstorm gasped, "Silverstar?" Snowrose's eyes grew large, "Leader of Warren Blue-Eyes? Has the time come? Get off of my brother, you filthy rat!" Icestar hissed. She, Shadepool, and Barkwhisker finally reached Foxpool's den to see him, Shadowpaw, Ravenwing, and Sootstep cornered and bleeding from many scratches. Shadowpaw and Ravenwing looked exactly the same: wide-eyed, dark-colored, battle-scarred cats. Sootstep stood in front of his sister and Ravenwing. He was bleeding from a scratch on his side, but he stood his ground. Shadepool ran over to help, while Icestar and Barkwhisker helped Foxpool. Barkwhisker grabbed the huge brown tom by the scruff and yanked him off of Shadepool. Icestar helped her brother to his paws. Suddenly, the wind was knocked out of her. The tom had her pinned down on her back; she couldn't move a muscle! Icestar closed her eyes and prepared for whatever was going to happen. Suddenly, the weight disappeared. Barkwhisker had grabbed the tom again and pinned him down. Icestar saw out of the corner of her eye that his companion was being chased out of the den by Sootstep and Shadepool. Shadowpaw and Ravenwing were helping Foxpool up and started treating him. Icestar got up and walked over to Barkwhisker and the tom, who was begging to be let go. Icestar whispered thanks to Barkwhisker shoved her face into the tom's. "Get...out...and never...come...back..." She bit his tail hard and he screeched with pain and ran out of the den. "Let's go help those at the nursery," Barkwhisker mewed urgently. She nodded and they took off. Yes, the time has come my dear friend. The prophecy shall soon be fulfilled!" Blue-Eyes mewed. Prophecy? What prophecy?" Blackstorm looked at Silverstar. Snowrose's flecks started glowing brighter. "'White and red until the day of Cruel, then your true color will show.' This prophecy was brought upon me when I was a kit in the Warren. I know what it means now, Warren Leader. It shall be done," Snowrose mewed strongly. You don't mean..." Blackstorm mewed quietly. If I have to, yes, Cruel must be brought to some end. I'll be with you every paw step of the way...You're the best friend anyone could have, Snowrose..." Blackstorm licked her ear and smiled. Then the Power of StarClan and the SafeWarren will be given to you," Silverstar meowed. Suddenly, the beam of light grew stronger. A light-blue light enveloped Blackstorm while a red light surrounded Snowrose. Their wish had come true, now it was time for the prophecy to be fulfilled... Barkwhisker and Icestar approached the nursery to see Wolfpelt, Swiftstripe, Bramblemask, and Flowerpaw and Rainpaw battling a huge group of cats infront of the nursery. At the entrance, Cricketsong was hissing in fear. His eyes were wide and colorless, his fur stood on end. He would protect Rainstorm, Silverkit, and Poppykit no matter what. Shadowstream and Sunpelt were helping some of the stronger elders fight off a small group of cats. Barkwhisker rushed to Cricketsong's aide while Icestar ran over to Wolfpelt. Her tail was bleeding and she was limping. One of her ears was torn slightly, but her eyes showed no fear, only pride and strength. When is this battle going to end?" she hissed in her ear. Suddenly, there was a screech and a yowl from near the RockTunnel followed by a loud hiss. Blackstorm, Snowrose!! NO!!!

Chapter 3

Part Eight Snowrose leaned close over Cruel. He was a handsome cat, barely scarred. She snarled as her tried to bat at her. Strike now and make it quick," he hissed angrily. "Or are you too weak. I am not weak," she whispered back. "I am strong enough to defy you and the cats you call friends. I am strong enough to step off you and tell you never to come back." Snowrose backed up. Blackstorm watched in fascination as some of Snowrose's glowing specks fell off. Cruel stood on shaky legs. He was curious about this young cat, he'd find out more. Snowrose looked him strait in the eye and cried: Leave and never come back. I'll leave, but not without making a mark." He scratched at the rock and made two huge gashes. Then with a flick of the tail, he and the other rouges ran off. But one rouge stopped before he left. With a cry, he threw himself at Icestar and threw her to the ground. Other cats came to the aid and killed the attacker, but Icestar was already lifeless. StarClan couldn't heal those wounds. All the cats of the Clan lifted their heads up high and let out a mournful and sorrowful wail. Part Nine Wolfstar sat proudly but nervously on IceRock. The sight of Icestar falling to the rouge was still terrible. But she had to move on. She was Clan leader now, but much had changed. Foxpool had dreamt a dream. A silver cat had walked near. She looked strait at Foxpool and whispered, "Do you know who I am?" Then her face changed. She was Wolfstar, then Blackstripe, and then Foxpool. Her face became each cat of FrostClan, and then returned to her original, which was like the young and joyous Icestar. "I am ArticClan." And then she padded away. So now FrostClan was ArticClan, lead by Wolfstar of IceRock. She called a Clan meeting. Each of you knows what befell us only a few days ago. We are no longer FrostClan, led by Icestar, but we are ArticClan, led by Wolfstar. We are lesser in number but braver in heart. So now I am to choose our deputy." The cats murmured with excitement. Who would it be? Would Wolfstar do a surprise nomination like Icestar had done, or would she pick a cat well respected? The names flitted through their minds: Bramblemask, Blackstorm, Dusteyes, Shadepool, or even little Snowrose. Blackstripe, our faithful senior warrior, are you willing to uphold the ways of Deputy of ArticClan? Blackstorm's fur quivered. So much had changed from the fateful moment when Cruel entered the clearing. She stared up and Wolfstar and meowed, "I do. The Clan began to chant her name: "Blackstorm, Blackstorm! Wolfstar smiled, and then got serious. "SO much has changed since Icestar left us. The battle with Cruel has left some of us with scars for life. But this is not an end, only a new beginning. Let us thank StarClan! Rainstorm and Cricketsong padded over to Wolfstar. "I think it's time for a new warrior," Rainstorm hinted. Rainstorm was Wolfstar's sister and Cricketsong was Rain's mate. Rainstorm was saying it was time for Riverpaw, Wolfstar's apprentice, to become a warrior. Right." Agreed Wolfstar. "Riverpaw, please step forward. You have done well in your training and it's time you were a warrior. Riverpaw, do you wish to uphold the ways of the Warrior Code, and use all the power, loyalty, and kindness you have to protect and strengthen your Clan? Riverpaw, with his head held high, replied, "I do. Then from now on, StarClan and ArcticClan will know you as Riverstone!" Wolfstar meowed. The Clan began to chant his name. "Now we should all get some rest. The dawn patrol tomorrow will be Snowrose, Riverstone, and Dusteyes. Small I know, but the rouges may have driven off any attackers." Wolfstar leapt down and padded to her den. The following morning, the patrol set off. All was well, until Riverstone scented blood. The four cats raced over. A cat, rouge probably, lay on the ground. The wounds were not severe, but there were many of them. Dusteyes and Riverstone ran to fetch Foxpool while Blackstorm and Snowrose would try to help the cat. Snowrose nudged him gently, then gasped. It was Cruel. And his wounds were worse at his front. He let out a heart-wrenching moan, and Snowrose found her heart fluttering. What happened?" Asked Blackstorm. So many traitors," he gasped. "So many claws. Just because I showed mercy. So much blood." He convulsed and Snowrose laid her tail gently on his side. Relax," she cooed. "Sleep. There is hope and help. No." His voice was fainter. "No hope at all. He fell silent and closed his eyes as the other two and Foxpool came into sight. While the two warriors hesitated, the medicine cat went to work. He hadn't let a cat die yet, and he wasn't going to start. He began by demanding cobwebs and poppy, which he got fast. Snowrose had a pretty good nose for the herbs. When Cruel's wounds were treated, somehow the five cats managed to get him back to camp without injuring him further. Wolfstar leapt up as they came in. What happened? They didn't mention it was Cruel." She spat his name in contempt. Blackstorm came over when Cruel was settled. "We found him nearly dead. He spoke of traitors, claws and mercy. I assume they reacted violently when Cruel left ArcticClan peacefully, and Snowrose was still alive." Wolfstar nodded. She still didn't like that cat in her Clan, but what could she do? She could not turn a cat in need away. Let him stay then" Part Ten: Wolfstar sat on IceRock waiting. Cruel limped silently out, leaning on Snowrose. He said he had a request of Wolfstar. He looked at the gathered Clan and smiled. "I meant privately Wolfstar, but in front of them all is good too." A few cats snickered but it quieted. You said you had a request, Cruel." He winced at his name. "Yes. I wish to be a part of your Clan." Cats gasped. No rouge leader had ever asked to join a Clan. Few lived long enough to be famous like Cruel. Blackstorm was curious herself as to his motives, but he seemed okay after his injuries; he had said nothing but bad words about rouge groups. Why, may I ask?" Cruel sighed. "Because life is good for you. You have little fear of death, StarClan protects you." Eyes widened when he mentioned StarClan. "Yes. I know they are real now. You are brave, loyal, and happy. I can see it in every eye. You have love. You can raise families with little fear that another cat will kill the kit out of spite." He drew a deep breath. "The rouges are different. Each day is survive or die. Kill or be killed. We are loyal to our leaders as long as they are stronger than the rest. Once they become weak in the eyes of many..." he trailed off and Snowrose licked his shoulder when a scab had broken open. "Few cats are happy with that life. And few kits raised in public eye live to adulthood." Many cats were shocked. Few had though rouge life so bad. Of course, that is only what happens when rouges try to make a Clan with out StarClan behind them, watching and guarding. I've seen a few happy-go-lucky rouges who are true to their title and travel alone or in pairs." Wolfstar nodded. She looked to Silverpelt, which was barely visible in the growing light. A soft breeze blew through the clearing. Trust him. Another tip-toed in and rustled Wolfstar's fur. Believe him. We know what we're doing. Wolfstar turned about to the gathered cats. "I have chosen to accept Cruel's proposition. Rouge known as Cruel, do you swear to uphold the warrior ways to the extent of your knowlege, stength, and courage?" Snowrose nudged Cruel. "I do," he said proudly and nudged Snowrose back. Wolfstar watched the small display and noticed, with great sorrow, that Cruel was only older than Snowrose by a moon. She supressed a grin. At least he still knew how to act like a proper kit. Then from now on, ArticClan and StarClan will know you as Braveheart, for you had the courage to show mercy when you were told have none." Snowrose threw her head back and yowled out his new name and the Clan cats followed. Just one more thing. Snowrose, you will have to teach him." She nodded happily at her leader's request. Please try not to be too much trouble?

Epilogue

A silky black cat tread cautiously over to the pool and sat carefully down next to the other she-cat. The second one turned her icy-blue eyes on the newcomer. Who are you?" I am from the Warren-Blue-Eyes." Ah. You are a medicine cat?" The black one nodded. "You came to see Snowrose?" Yes. I knew my daughter would leave me, but to where I knew not." She turned her face to the pool where the white cat was play-acting a Clan battle with Braveheart. "I see she fulfilled her destiny." Quite well too. I wish I had been able to congratulate her." There was a silence. "Is it so bad, dying?" No. I hardly remember it." I suppose that's for the best." The ice-eyed one nodded. It began to rain in the pool and Snowrose raced Braveheart back to camp. She won. The black cat rose. "It is time for me to go back." She took two steps away, then turned. "You were a good leader, Icestar. Don't worry for ArticClan. Wolfstar and Blackstorm will do just fine." Thank you for your words, Sorrow-Does-Not-Hold-Her. I will watch over Snowrose for you." Sorrow smiled. "I'm sure Braveheart will help you out." Icestar smiled too.

THE END

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