Broken arrows

Broken Arrows is the first book in the Broken series.

Broken Arrows is about a cat named Emberpaw, who becomes friends with a natural enemy of every cat. Will his loyalty be torn or strengthened?

Chapter 1

Gold blended into black.
There was a cry of pain, and for just a heartbeat, the colors were their own. Only then could a cat on the sidelines see: fierce training.
Then the colors would blend again. The gasps of pain only came from the golden cat, never the black.
Finally, panting, they split apart.
"You've got to watch for this," the black cat snarled, batting the gold cat on the ear.
The gold cat snarled. "Why should you care? I'm not you."
"It's my job to," the black cat muttered. "Otherwise I wouldn't care."
"I was well aware of that," the gold cat snarled.
The black cat took a deep breath. "It's so hard not to get angry at you. You're taking too long to learn."
The golden cat stared. "I'm learning just as fast as my littermates!"
"It's not fast enough."
The gold cat made a noise of scorn. "I'm out of here. Nightfang, get over yourself."
The gold cat ran away, and Nightfang called after them, "Why don't you?"
The gold cat didn't look back.
After a while of running, he stopped at the river dividing their territory from RiverClan's.
He washed his ears and stared at his reflection. Emberpaw, this is you, they thought. Be proud of it.
Emberpaw continued down the river, eventually reaching the edge of ThunderClan territory- near where the kittypets lived.
He sat in the tall grass and tried to be alone.
A rustle.
A loud, obvious sniffing.
Dog! Emberpaw thought wildly, his ears perking up. Oh, no... Nightfang hasn't taught me how to fight one yet!
A nose peeked through the grass and the sniffing stopped.
Emberpaw froze.
A bark.
Emberpaw fled, and he heard the dog give chase, barking loudly and whining.
Emberpaw didn't look back.

He reached the camp, panting and coughing.
"What, is there a badger?" another cat asked Emberpaw.
"No, Gorgestep," Emberpaw replied to the cat.
Gorgestep- a brown tabby tom with extremely long legs- was the deputy of ThunderClan. It was legend that he had leaped the gorge in an attempt to attack WindClan, all of his patrol falling behind him. He had not beaten WindClan, but he would tell the tale to any cat who would hear it.
"Are you sure?" Gorgestep asked, worried.
"I'm positive," Emberpaw reassured him.
Gorgestep stared at Emberpaw, and he seemed to sense something. "Is something wrong, Emberpaw?"
"Nightfang did it again," Emberpaw sighed. "I got mad and ran away, and a dog found me, so I ran back here."
Gorgestep looked concerned. "Nightfang is a brutal mentor," he agreed. "He was a kit when I was an apprentice and he always used his claws when he fought his littermates. Fighting is real for him, and he takes it a bit too seriously, in my opinion."
I didn't ask for a lecture, Emberpaw thought angrily. But he replied, "Isn't there anything you can do about it?"
Gorgestep shrugged. "That is up to Cricketstar."
Emberpaw nodded silently. "Thank you, Gorgestep, but I think I should go be with the other apprentices now."
Gorgestep nodded respectfully and padded away, leaving Emberpaw to go find his denmates.
The first one he saw was Flamepaw- his littermate.
"Any trouble with Nightfang today?" Flamepaw asked, bounding over.
Emberpaw shrugged. "A bit."
"Something wrong?"
Emberpaw sighed. Images flashed through his mind as he replied, "A dog chased me."
Flamepaw's neck fur stood up. "No way!"
Emberpaw nodded and yawned. "I've got to go to sleep. Nightfang exhausted me, you know?"
Flamepaw nodded and bounded away.
Emberpaw was left to fall asleep in the apprentices' den.
His dreams were not peaceful.

Chapter 2

Nightfang scuffed the ground with his paw. Emberpaw stared at his paws, tail twitching back and forth.
Cricketstar stared at the pair. "It seems as if I chose a bad mentor for a weak cat," he mewed loudly.
Both Nightfang and Emberpaw stood up and protested, but Cricketstar silenced them.
They resumed their old positions and Cricketstar continued to speak. "I've received a complaint from Gorgestep."
"Why would he care?" Nightfang snarled.
Cricketstar felt a flash of anger. "Shut up!" he hissed. "I never asked you to speak."
Emberpaw still stared at his paws, and Cricketstar snarled, "Look up, weakling. Or are you scared to look into my eyes?"
Emberpaw glared at Cricketstar, and Cricketstar felt a pang of satisfaction.
"Good," he murmured. He turned back to Nightfang. "What do you have to say about the complaint?"
"I don't mean to hurt Emberpaw," Nightfang whispered.
"You should mean it," Cricketstar snarled. "A true warrior teaches no fear."
"It's smart to have fear," Emberpaw whispered.
"What did you say?" Cricketstar hissed. "Are you contradicting me, apprentice?"
"Yes, Cricketstar, I am," Emberpaw spat. "It's smart to have fear, because then you know right from wrong."
"No cat needs to know the difference," Cricketstar retorted. "We should all act on instinct," he added.
"Like... attacking on instinct is good?" Emberpaw asked slowly.
Cricketstar saw Nightfang glance at his apprentice, but he thought nothing of it. "It's alright to attack on instinct," Cricketstar encouraged.
"Good," Emberpaw mewed.
Emberpaw leaped, claws outstretched.
"Geroff of me!" Cricketstar screeched. He felt Emberpaw's claws scratching him and there was pain, endless pain...

He woke at moonhigh.
Why do I hurt all over? Cricketstar asked himself.
He remembered: Emberpaw. I messed up there.
He gasped as he stood up and stretched. He poked his head out of the den to see the guard pacing in the center of the clearing- Gorgestep.
"Gorgestep," he called quietly.
His deputy looked up and bounded over, his bright eyes wary.
"What's wrong?" Gorgestep asked quietly.
"Emberpaw's wrong," Cricketstar spat. "Do you see my back?"
Gorgestep looked beyond Cricketstar and gasped. "Emberpaw did that?"
Cricketstar nodded angrily. "He attacked me."
"I don't believe you," Gorgestep growled. "Just get some sleep, Cricketstar, and see Ryetail in the morning, will you?"
Cricketstar watched as his deputy resumed his pacing, his shoulders tense and his eyes dark.

Chapter 3

Emberpaw nodded as Nightfang continued, "And stay away from RiverClan, okay? They're already tense enough."
Nightfang was commanding Emberpaw to hunt on his own- not an evaluation but a "skill builder". Nightfang was being much nicer to Emberpaw after their meeting with Cricketstar.
"Okay," Emberpaw nodded. He stood for a second, tasting the air and wondering where he could go.
He remembered the dog by Twolegplace and skipped over it in his mind. His mind danced over Snakerocks and Sunningrocks and finally landed on the Owl Tree.
He set off, weaving through the trees and brushing against all of the bushes purposely.
When he got to the Owl Tree, the sun was above his head- sunhigh. There were no shadows, and Emberpaw was grateful for the fact that it wasn't greenleaf, but in fact, late newleaf.
About a mouse-length away, he saw a rustle underneath a leaf and he leaped...
A vole landed between his claws and he purred in satisfaction.
I should eat this before some other cat finds me, Emberpaw thought quickly. I never got to eat this morning, anyway, he added to himself.
He slipped through the trees. He didn't realize where he was going until he reached the tall grass that the dog had found him in a quarter-moon before.
There must be something to me here, he thought. Okay.
He set down the vole and tore off some of the meat. He sighed in satisfaction and ate the rest.
He had one bite left when he heard something sniffing.
Emberpaw froze and stood up, ready to run.
The nose...
The bark.
An animal stepped through the tall grass and Emberpaw gasped.
Because the dog was tiny.
Emberpaw pushed the last of the vole towards it and the dog sniffed it. It gobbled up the meat and looked at Emberpaw.
Emberpaw shrugged. "That's all I have," he mewed.
The dog looked confused, cocking its head to one side.
Emberpaw realized his mistake. It doesn't understand me, I don't understand it.
A twoleg called in the distance and the dog barked- high-pitched and excited.
Emberpaw raced into the trees.
A twoleg appeared and picked up the dog. The dog whined and stared at Emberpaw. Emberpaw shrunk into the shadows, praying-
The twoleg said something to the dog and walked away.
Emberpaw did, too.

Chapter 4

"He's dead."
Cricketstar's own voice rang in his ears as he stared at the dead cat in front of him.
The two cats next to him stared at Cricketstar, and suddenly he realized:
Cricketstar was standing over his own body.
"How did that happen?" Cricketstar mewed in a hushed voice.
The two cats beside him glared, and Cricketstar realized with a start- the two cats were the older versions of Emberpaw and Flamepaw.
Cricketstar began to run...
He slammed right into the walls of his den.
He blinked his eyes open and moaned in pain.
"Everything okay, Cricketstar?" Gorgestep asked, sticking his head through the lichen.
Cricketstar fought to look not as dizzy as he really was, and replied, "I'm fine. Just lost track of where I was."
Gorgestep stared at Cricketstar for a long time and disappeared.
Cricketstar- after regaining control- left the den and found a busy Clan outside. Cats were patching up dens and camp borders, and warriors were running back in forth from the dens to the borders to get things to work with.
"Hi, Cricketstar," a voice mewed.
Cricketstar turned to see the medicine cat apprentice, Molepaw.
"Hi, Molepaw," Cricketstar replied haughtily. He had to admit that he found Molepaw annoying- more annoying than the elders, even.
"Ryetail wants to see you," Molepaw added, and stepped aside to let his leader by.
Cricketstar nodded as he felt a flash of annoyance- Gorgestep had no right!
He entered the medicine clearing, fuming, but as he met Ryetail in his den he found not a look of concern, but one of dread.
"I've just received a sign from StarClan," Ryetail began instantly.
Cricketstar's mind began to turn.
"It seems as if something- or some cat- will be seriously harmed in the next quarter-moon," Ryetail murmured.
Cricketstar flinched. Ryetail had always been straightforward, and he was not one to lie or keep secrets. He often delivered messages without a thought of how the cat would react.
But, Cricketstar argued to himself, he's an astounding healer and it's his job to tell me.
Still, Cricketstar couldn't shake the annoyance he felt for Ryetail. "Thank you for telling me," he growled.
"Are you going to tell the Clan?" Ryetail asked anxiously. "Or Gorgestep, at least?"
Cricketstar shook his head.
He knew which cat was going to be harmed.

Chapter 5

Eyes narrowed.
Teeth bared.
Emberpaw leaped into battle at his leader's command, landing on a russet-colored apprentice.
"Hey, no fair!" they complained.
Emberpaw snorted and clawed their back.
"Oww," the apprentice moaned. They scampered away.
Emberpaw looked around for the border patrol fighting ShadowClan. Cricketstar was in it, as well as Nightfang. Another tabby tom was, too, named Duststripe.
Duststripe looked as if he was having trouble, so Emberpaw scampered over to help him.
"Go away!" the ShadowClan warrior snarled, but Duststripe looked grateful.
Emberpaw clawed the ShadowClan warrior's back, and the ShadowClan warrior leaped off Duststripe in pain.
"You'll pay," he growled. "I'll get both of you back, I swear to StarClan."
He ran off to ShadowClan's territory, yowling retreat.
The other ShadowClan cats reluctantly followed.
Cricketstar collapsed. Nightfang looked alarmed. "Duststripe, go get Ryetail and Molepaw."
Duststripe nodded and ran off.
"Cricketstar, are you okay?" Nightfang asked. Worry filled his voice, and Emberpaw realized with a pang that he still cared about his leader.
Then why don't I? Emberpaw argued with himself.
Cricketstar gasped for breath. "Tell... Emberpaw... hate..." he moaned hoarsely.
Emberpaw's eyes widened. Anger surged through him and he snapped.
"I'm right here, you piece of fox-dung! I swear that you're going to pay for what you said!"
Nightfang looked alarmed, but Emberpaw continued:
"You've been horrible to me ever since I became an apprentice. I'm not weak, and I'm going to prove that to you even if the other cats around you have to force you to watch! You're the worst leader that ThunderClan has ever had!" Emberpaw roared.
He spun on his paws and ran, seeking nothing but comfort.

Emberpaw skidded to a halt near Twolegplace and moaned. "What did I just do?" he asked himself.
He looked around at the fences and heard a bark.
His heart leaped in joy.
Wait, he thought. His heart stopped beating. I'm excited to see a dog?
He wailed in pain and clawed a pine tree nearby, and raced away.

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