|Destiny of the Clans Series|
|Preceded by: |
|Broken Truce||Succeded by: |
Hollypaw ate side by side with Nightfall and Flora. A full moon was floating high in the sky. Hollypaw watched it, surprised that it was glowing just as brightly as ever. Then she glanced around for her sister’s white fur. Her eyes scanned the crowd of ThunderClan and ShadowClan cats again and again but she couldn’t see any white fur. With a jolt Hollypaw realized Snowpaw wasn’t here.
“I wonder if any cats will go to the Gathering tonight,” meowed Nightfall, apparently unaware that his second daughter wasn’t here.
“I think Lightstar will go,” Flora mewed. “She wouldn’t miss one for all the prey in the world.” Then a sudden idea struck Hollypaw.
“Can we go?” she asked. “Just a few of us, I mean.” Nightfall eyed her thoughtfully.
“I think that would be a great idea,” he meowed. Raising his voice he yowled, “I think we should go to the Gathering tonight!” Mews of agreement rose from the cats around them.
“Rowanberry, Seedwhisker, Nightfall, Foxwhisker, Bolta, Jay and Hollypaw should go,” Robinsong yowled. No cat argued. Hollypaw knew Robinsong had almost made ThunderClan deputy so was considered a very high up warrior. She was proud to be his apprentice. “And if you’re going, you should go now.” Hollypaw leaped to her paws and followed Nightfall to the crowd of chosen cats. They began to move immediately. Hollypaw soon fell into step with Rowanberry.
“Snowpaw didn’t come with us,” she whispered. Rowanberry’s eyes widened.
“She didn’t?” she demanded. “I thought you and Snowpaw did everything together!” Hollypaw felt her fur grow hot.
“Well I had been avoiding her lately,” she confessed. “Because she keeps hanging around Blackpaw.”
“That’s no reason to avoid her,” Rowanberry meowed. But she fell silent as they approached the island. As quietly as possible, the Gathering cats slid along the fall log and onto the island. They crept forwards and hid in a tangled mass of bramble bushes, peeking out at the two leaders on the branches of the twisted tree.
“DeathClan will rule the lake!” Lionstar was yowling, his fierce eyes glowing. For the first time Hollypaw noticed the colour of his eyes. They were blood red.
“But who will be our leader?” demanded a cat. Hollypaw felt her heart skip a beat as she recognized Snowpaw.
“I will of course!” Lionstar declared, his claws ripping at the branch he was sitting on.
“No,” Lightstar climbed down the tree so that she was on the same branch as Lionstar. Hollypaw saw a flash of claws and Lionstar fell to the ground. Her stomach lurched. Her eyes were fixed to the spot where Lionstar lay. She kept expecting him to stir but she knew he wouldn’t. Lightstar had murdered at a Gathering night. She glanced up at the moon and felt her eyes widen in horror and her fur bristle. The moon had turned scarlet and appeared to be dripping with blood. Hollypaw heard the cats around her give terrified cries. Foxwhisker had begun to back away, her dark golden eyes round and scared.
But Hollypaw couldn’t move. Her eyes were now fixed on Lightstar. Her claws glinted red but apart from that there seemed to be not even the tiniest drop of blood on her pale fur. She glared out at her DeathClan warriors.
“And that’s what will happen to you if you dare try to run away,” she snarled. “That’s what will happen if you try to take my place as leader.” Then her voice softened slightly as she looked out at her cats. “Silentspirit will be my deputy! And Cinderfur my medicine cat!” Hollypaw stared. Cinderfur! The ancient grey she-cat sat at the back of the gathered cats. Her eyes drooped and she seemed to have no idea what was going on. She didn’t even look up as Lightstar called her name.
“What about Darkpool?” asked Blackpaw.
“He was a traitor!” Lightstar growled and turned around. “The Gathering is over!” Without waiting for a response, Lightstar leaped off of the branch, bounced off of Lionstar’s body and led her Clan away.
Hollypaw stared at the spot where Lightstar had disappeared. Snowpaw is in DeathClan... Sighing tiredly, Hollypaw crawled out from under the bramble thicket. Her Clanmates had fled. Careful not to be seen or heard, Hollypaw slid along the fallen tree and off of the island. Head down and tail drooping she walked through WindClan territory. It was a cold night and the wind ruffled her fur. She didn’t know exactly where she was going or what she was doing. Her paws where leading her. There was a rustle in a heather bush beside her and Hollypaw jumped a tail-length. Two cats stepped out. They weren’t showing any signs of hostility, just curiosity.
“I’m Thicket,” meowed a scrawny tom. “And that’s Maia. I didn’t know any other WindClan cats survived.” Hollypaw blinked in surprise.
“I’m not... Well my father is...” Hollypaw stammered, looking at the two new cats. Thicket was a brown flecked tom and Maia was a muddy brown colour. They looked very alike; definitely brother and sister.
“It’s okay,” mewed Maia. She stepped forwards so that they’re fur brushed lightly.
“Well,” Hollypaw meowed. “I have to get back to my Clanmates.” Maia’s eyes widened in surprise.
“There are still Clans left?” she asked.
“DeathClan and the Clan cats that don’t belong to DeathClan,” Hollypaw meowed. “And I’m not a DeathClan cat.” Maia nodded.
“I kind of figured,” she mewed.
“You don’t have a name?” Thicket asked. Hollypaw shook her head and turned to leave.
“Well, bye,” she meowed. But Maia and Thicket didn’t leave her sides. Together they walked through WindClan territory and back into ThunderClan. Hollypaw was glad of their company as she padded out of the forest and into the reddish gloom. Her Clanmates were hiding either in the hollow trunk of Sky Oak or in the bramble bushes and undergrowth that surrounded the clearing. Hollypaw beckoned with her tail for Thicket and Maia to join her and ducked into a holly bush. She made the leaves into a nest and curled up beside the two WindClan cats. Hollypaw listened as their breathing gradually became slower and peaceful. Her eyelids were beginning to droop but she didn’t want to sleep. Not just yet.
StarClan, if you’re watching now, please keep Snowpaw safe. Please don’t let Lightstar do to her as she had done to Lionstar.
Warmth and sunshine greeted Jay the next day as she pulled out of the bramble bush. She stretched luxouriously, feeling the sun scorch her blue-grey fur. All around her were the scents of cats and it was hard to pick out the ones she knew. It was very confusing trying to pick out Bolta’s smell but at last she found her sitting side by side with Flora and Nightfall.
“Hello, Jay,” purred Flora, beckoning her closer. “I was just telling Bolta the good news.” Jay glanced at Bolta, confused.
“Flora is going to have kits,” Bolta told her.
“Congratulations!” mewed Jay enthusiastically.
“We were just thinking up some names,” she meowed. “They’ll be born some time next moon.”
“We’ve thought of Summerkit, Songkit, Willowkit and Olivekit for she-cats,” Bolta went on. “And Sootkit, Thymekit, Moonkit and Riverkit for toms.”
“That’s fantastic!” Jay mewed distractedly. She turned away from Bolta and Flora and heard Nightfall get up too. Scenting the air she picked out Hollypaw’s smell. Jay dodged the other cats and approached Hollypaw. She imagined the pale ginger she-cat lying on the lush grass, her holly-leaf green eyes staring up at the sky. “Hey,” Jay greeted her. “I was looking everywhere for you last night. You know the DeathClan cats are sleeping in that stone hollow.” Hollypaw’s head snapped up. The sudden movement startled Jay and she backed away a couple of steps.
“Did you see Snowpaw?” she demanded. Jay didn’t answer. She turned her head towards Hollypaw. Or where she though Hollypaw was. It was confusing with all the other cats walking about. “You’re blind,” Hollypaw whispered. “I’m sorry. I never noticed.” Jay nodded.
“Not many cats do,” she mewed. “Only you, Bolta and Rory know.”
“Rory?” asked Hollypaw. Jay sighed, remembering Tawny, Aidan, Cleo and Spike. It seemed like moons since she had last seen her family. Jay glanced sideward’s towards where Bolta sat. Is she missing Lido? Jay imagined Bolta and Lido sitting beside each other. She knew Lido was black and white with golden eyes. “Jay?” Jay jumped.
“Bolta isn’t my mother,” she meowed. “I left my family back home when I came looking for Flora and Finn. Tawny and Aidan are my mother and father and Cleo and Spike are my sister and brother.” Hollypaw nodded.
“You must miss them lots,” she meowed. “I know I miss Snowpaw.” So Snowpaw is her sister. Jay closed her eyes, letting the sun warm her fur. It was a nice change from snow, rain and wind. Wind... Purring slightly, Jay thought of howling storms and listened as the cats around her gave startled cries. She made the wind calm again.
“You can do that?” Hollypaw cried. “I can do this!” Jay strained her ears, listening. There was a crack or thunder and the bramble bush beside Jay caught fire. Crying out in shock, Jay leapt back, fur on end.
“Make it stop!” she yowled. She listened again but the fire roared on. Hollypaw was hissing in frustration.
“I can’t!” she cried.
“Let me past!” a new voice shouted over the frightened yowls of the other cats. Bolta shouldered her way past Jay. Suddenly the flames hissed and died. The scents of smoke and water were both heavy in the air. Bolta had made it rain! But she was confused. She hadn’t felt any rain land on her fur. Had she just made it rain over the fire? The watching Clan cats tried to run and soon Jay felt herself being trampled over by hundreds of paws. At last, when they were all safely hidden, Jay was alone with Hollypaw and Bolta.
“Water, fire, and wind,” she breathed. “It’s just as Jayfeather said. StarClan have made even more powerful cats.”
“Three will come again; the bright-eyed Jay, the prickly Holly and the brave Bolta,” Hollypaw recited. Jay rested her gaze on Bolta, feeling slightly hurt that she hadn’t been able to trust her.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Bolta demanded. Jay nodded. She hadn’t trusted Bolta either. She hadn’t trusted her not to keep quiet. But that had been stupid. After all Bolta had never told any cat of her blindness.
“Well we all know now,” mewed Hollypaw fairly. “All we have to do is figure out what we have to do.” Jay nodded. That couldn’t be that hard. Could it?
Then an idea struck her right out of the blue. She sniffed, keeping her nose to the ground until she found a small stone. Resting her gaze on it and concentrating as hard as she could, Jay imagined it being lifted up into the air. Her hold body seemed to tremble as she concentrated. Up. Up... There was a huge gust of wind and the stone was lifted high off of the ground. Purring, Jay let it back down.
“Wow,” Hollypaw meowed. “That’s well... Wow!”
“I wonder...” Bolta’s voice trailed off and Hollypaw and Jay followed her to the edge of the lake. Jay wished she could see but all she could do was listen. She waited. Nothing happened. Well, nothing that she could hear... Then Hollypaw gave a gasp of surprise and Jay heard a crack. She stepped closer to the water and touched her nose to it. It was cold. Icy cold... Bolta had made the water freeze!
“Wait,” purred Hollypaw. Jay leapt back from the lake. The water that had been so cold a moment ago was now hot as fire. Steam was coming from the lake making Jay hot and confused. She backed away and made the wind blow the steam towards the other side of the lake.
“That was great!” Jay mewed. “Now we all know what we can do!”
“But what do we do with these powers?” wondered Hollypaw. “Why have StarClan given us them?” Why had StarClan given them these powers? Why would they want cats so powerful? They could destroy all the Clans and probably every other living cat.
“StarClan gave us these powers,” Bolta meowed slowly. “Because they want us to destroy The Dark Forest.” Hollypaw gasped and Jay’s head snapped up.
“The Dark Forest?” Hollypaw demanded. “But isn’t that dangerous? Any anyway, aren’t the cats of The Dark Forest dead? How can they hurt us?”
“StarClan have already killed cats with these stupid prophecies,” Bolta hissed. “I’m not helping.” Jay narrowed her eyes at the black she-cat. She couldn’t say that!
“You are helping,” she meowed firmly. “All three of us are. If we don’t, more than three cats will die.” That was true. She had already witnessed Lionstar’s death. If there were more Lightstar’s wondering around then they were all in trouble...