|Destiny of the Clans Series|
|Preceded by: |
|Blood Red||Succeded by: |
Bolta sat side by side with Hollypaw and Jay. The sun was setting and finally the Clan cats had begun to venture from their hiding places. Jay flicked her ears in annoyance. Bolta could tell that she wanted to say more.
“We should probably go now,” Hollypaw murmured. “Nobody will notice us.” Bolta and Jay nodded in agreement and they all got to their paws. It was easy to slip away without any cat noticing. Once they were in the forest they could at last talk without fear of being overheard.
“Do you really think StarClan will come to us if we go to this place?” Jay asked.
“Yes,” Hollypaw meowed confidently. “It’s were the medicine cats go.” Bolta said nothing. She didn’t want to `share tongues` with StarClan. She didn’t want to have anything to do with these stupid dead cats. All she wanted was to live a normal life with Flora and Finn... They made their through the forest, avoiding the stone hollow and keeping to the trees. Bolta let herself fall behind Hollypaw and Jay, only half-listening to their conversation. It was dark now and the moon was casting a reddish glow over the forest. She felt the hair rise on the back of her neck. Did this mean that they had the right idea? Or did it mean that DeathClan had the right idea? They quickened their pace and veered out of the forest. Her claws slid out. The scarlet light was almost blinding without the cover of trees. They had begun to run, leaping over a silver shimmering stream and scrabbling up a twisting rocky path. At last Bolta saw it. A small sandy clearing with gorse bushes sheltering it from the wind. In the centre of the clearing was a pool of silvery water. Definitely not ordinary water. It shimmered and sparkled with stars, the wind didn’t seem able to touch it and nor did the blood-red moon.
Instinctively, Bolta moved forwards. Something was pulling her closer. Closer... Something was moving her paws and making her crouch by the water’s edge. Something made her lap the silver liquid. It was if icy water was trickling down her spine. Bolta tried to pull away. Struggling and struggling... But that made it hurt worst. She relaxed and felt a wave of calmness rush through her. Unnatural calmness... Suddenly it was peaceful. The wind had stopped, Jay and Hollypaw were asleep by the edge of the pool and to her utter astonishment the moon was no longer red. But what made Bolta panic was that it wasn’t just the three of them in the clearing. Four starry cats sat in front of her. She recognized Jayfeather at one. He sat at the front beside a flat-faced she-cat with long matted grey fur. Behind them sat a blue-grey she-cat and a pretty tortoiseshell she-cat. Bolta stared. They weren’t attacking. That meant... StarClan had come to her?
“Hello Bolta,” meowed the ragged grey she-cat. It was StarClan...
“You can’t back out,” Jayfeather meowed. “You’re the most powerful of all. We need you to save them.” Bolta just stared.
Why should she? The Clans had nothing to do with her.
But cats are dying... You saw what happened to Lionstar...
“Our families are dying, Bolta,” Jayfeather meowed.
“You can’t back out,” the ragged she-cat meowed. “You’re the most powerful of the three.”
I can back out, Bolta held her tongue. I want nothing to do with the Clans.
But if you back out then more cats will die. You saw what happened to Lionstar...
Bolta almost jumped a tail-length. Those weren’t her thoughts. She wasn’t thinking that!
“Think what it’s like for us,” the tortoiseshell she-cat mewed softly. “Watching our families die without being able to do anything.” Bolta sighed. She could imagine herself watching Finn and Flora die with her paws glued to the ground. It would be torture.
“You have to work together,” the blue grey she-cat told Bolta. “Otherwise you will fail. You will need fire, water and wind all through your journey.”
“Okay, okay,” Bolta meowed. “I won’t back out. Just tell me what you want us to do.”
“What do we have to do?” Hollypaw asked. Brambleclaw, Leafpool and Lionblaze had come to her. They exchanged glances.
“Well,” Brambleclaw meowed. “First we’ll have to tell you what happened to WindClan and RiverClan.” Leafpool drew in a long breath.
“It happened first to WindClan six moons ago,” she began. “It was dark. An ordinary day in WindClan. A few warriors were still sharing tongues or fresh-kill. Meanwhile over by horse-place was the original DeathClan.” Hollypaw cocked her head to one side.
“Original?” she echoed.
“Yes original,” Lionblaze meowed. “Their leader Death wanted to rule all of the Clans. He told his warriors to attack the weakest Clan first. So they crept over the hill, keeping to the shadows. When they got to the WindClan camp they told the warriors that they could either join DeathClan or die. A few cats fled, a few gave in and joined but the remaining warriors were murdered by Death himself.
They did the same to RiverClan but because most of the DeathClan cats had fled, most RiverClan warriors escaped. Death was furious.”
“He killed most of his warriors in his rage and went next to ShadowClan,” Leafpool continued. “But the only cat awake was Lightstar.” Hollypaw hissed.
“I bet she killed him,” she spat. “I bet she killed him like she killed Lionstar.”
“Lightstar is a good cat,” Brambleclaw meowed quietly. “But she is scared. Fear makes cats do awful things. But she didn’t kill him. She said that she’d finish of ThunderClan if Death left her warriors alone. But when most of ThunderClan went away, it didn’t go quite according to plan. So Lightstar decided to make another DeathClan to destroy the first DeathClan. When Lionstar said he’d be leader she had to kill him. He didn’t know what she was planning.” Hollypaw gasped. She stared wide-eyed at the three starry warriors.
“So we have to fight the first DeathClan,” she meowed after a moment. “Well, that can’t be too difficult.” Leafpool, Brambleclaw and Lionblaze exchanged guilty looks. What aren’t you telling me? Hollypaw wondered.
“The thing is,” Lionblaze meowed. “DeathClan are already dead.” Hollypaw was now completely lost.
“Then how could Death kill his warriors?” she asked.
“Because Death knows how,” Brambleclaw told her. “Death is the leader of The Dark Forest.” Hollypaw stumbled backwards. She couldn’t help it. Her paw lashed out, and ripped through Brambleclaw’s brown tabby fur. Her eyes widened and she tried to stop herself. But it was impossible. It was if something was controlling her, making lash out ripping and tearing at the StarClan warriors. The StarClan cats were backing away, almost as horrified as Hollypaw. Hollypaw tried to back away too but she couldn’t. She struggled and struggled. I’m waking up, she told herself fiercely. I’m waking up before I hurt more cats.
But the other her other half kept fighting and slashing the air. It wasn’t until Leafpool, Brambleclaw and Lionblaze had disappeared until she finally opened her eyes.
She gulped in air, panting as if she had been underwater for too long. Then to her horror she figured she was drenched. But not it water. She was drenched in blood... Scrabbling to her paws, Hollypaw ran down the rocky path and leaped into the stream at the bottom. She didn’t care that it was as icy cold as the Moonpool water or that she was being swept further and further down the stream. She only stepped out when her fur was back to its normal pale ginger colour. Shaking drops of water from her pelt, Hollypaw tried to calm herself. Her heart was beating so hard she thought it might explode.
Hollypaw turned around to see Jay standing at the base of the winding rock path. Her eyes were just as wide as Hollypaw’s. Well she couldn’t have possibly seen what Hollypaw had been covered in. But had she scented it? Hollypaw took a calming breath and faced Jay confidently.
“What is it?” she asked. She froze as she saw the fur along Jay’s back ripple.
“I can smell it Hollypaw,” she growled. “The scent of blood is heavy in the air. Turn around.” Hollypaw gasped. Every hair on her pelt bristled, her claws unsheathed and she stood frozen on the spot and staring into the stream. It made it look even spookier with the red moon glowing down onto it. Hollypaw gaped at it for a while and then turned away from the stream of blood.
“It’s... horrible... red stream,” Hollypaw stammered. Then her voice broke and came out in a wail. “It’s all my fault!” Jay’s fur laid flat and she approached Hollypaw cautiously.
“How can that be your fault?” she asked nervously.
“I was covered in it when I woke up,” she cried. Her breathing was ragged and she stared guiltily into Jay’s blue eyes.
They weren’t judging or accusing. If anything they were sympathetic.
“Yes but what happened before that?” Jay mewed with strange calmness. Hollypaw took deep gulping breaths. She forced her claws to unsheathe and her fur to lie flat. Closing her eyes, she stepped closer to Jay.
“Well there was a moment,” she began, her voice barley a whisper. “When I couldn’t control myself. It was if something was in my mind, making me fight the StarClan warriors...” She had expected Jay to gasp or hiss but the grey tabby said nothing.
“Don’t let them come in your head,” she meowed. “Imagine a wall of thorns, too strong for any cat to push or climb over and no gaps for it to climb through. Try it.”
Think, think, think... Block me out...
Hollypaw stared in Jay in confusion. Those weren’t her thoughts! She began to think desperately. But she didn’t think of thorns like Jay had suggested, she thought of a wall of fire. Fire was much stronger than thorns. To her surprise it worked. Jay’s eyes glowed.
“You’re a natural!” she mewed. “You’re fantastic!”
“But how did you do that?” Hollypaw demanded. “How did you know?”
“Before The Dark Forest came they tried to attack my mind,” Jay explained. “But I’ve practiced blocking my mind to other cats.” Hollypaw nodded, feeling better. Know if anything tried to control her again she could block it out with the wall of fire. She knew it would work. What she wanted to do know was rip The Dark Forest apart. To save her family. To save Flora and Nightfall and of course Snowpaw. Then maybe after that she could track down her other brother and sister.
If you want to know what happens next, read Flood!