|New Generation Series|
|Preceded by: |
|Damaged||Succeded by: |
The greatest promise is made to a friend but can be broken by the thorns of betrayal......
A blue gray she-cat stepped out of the gloom. The usually bright forest now held shades of gray. She snarled and a tortoishell and golden cat came out of the ferns. The golden tom said in a soothing, calm voice, "Shhh! Bluestar! You don't want to wake Mosskit." and the tortoishell cat flicked her tail at a small kit sleeping by the pool. The tiny kit stirred and streched, bounding over to her mother she meowed, "Hello mama! Hi Lionheart, Spottedleaf!" turning to her mother she meowed, "I know why you're mad and I can help!"
The cats looked at each other but the kit began to speak, "The forest may be in danger but Raincloud is swaying. Blackstar swears on Tallstar's spirit that he saw a flash of her yesterday, but she was gone." the golden tom chuckled, "I bet Tallstar was worried!"
Mosskit laughed too, "He was! But anyways, it is getting better."
Bluestar licked her, "But what about Bramblepath?" Mosskit licked her mother back and stepped away, "Bramblepath will do what she think is right!"
"And what of all the kits?" asked Spottedleaf, "What kits?" asked Mosskit, "Scarshade has the only ones."
Bluestar's gaze clouded, "Ah, but there will be more. Soon." she told her child. The cats all stared into the Looking Pond as if searching for answers in its crystal depths.
Bramblepath ran into the RiverClan camp. She knew she was tresspassing but as Mistystar saw her she just sighed, "They're in the nursery." she told her. Mossnight, Leopardheart, and Brightshadow were also with her. Their friend, Scarshade had just given birth to Reedwhisker's kits. Well, at least they knew she was all right.
They thundered into the nursery and stopped, gasping. In the only nest Scarshade was curled around 3 small kits. One was a bright ginger like her, one black like their father, and one a black and orange tortoishell.
"They are beautiful" Mossnight gasped. It was the first time she had spoken in moons. Bramblepath sighed. Then she quickly glanced over at Brightshadow. He wasn't getting any ideas, was he? He looked just as happy and blissful as the rest of them.
Scarshade noticed them. "Come say hello!" the group moved closer and, pointing to each kit, she meowed, "The ginger one is Shiningkit, the tortoishell is Dappeledkit, and the black one is Cloudykit."
The cats all sighed again and it seemed the last 3 moons of silence and arguing had floated away and into it's own Dark Forest.
One of the kits, Cloudykit, opened its eyes and yawned. Scarshade meowed, "Cloudykit opened his eyes! Quick, find Reedwhisker!"
Brightshadow fetched the kit's father and Reedwhisker came in, his proud gaze rested on Cloudykit first, then Scarshade. The kit, like all others, began to poke its littermates whispering, "Come on! There's so much to see!"
The cats all laughed and Bramblepath looked around. It was nice to be with friends again.
Icestar lead a patrol through the territory. She struggled to keep away from Spottedhorse and Sundrizzle, the pair had been flirting all morning. She looked up at the sky and wondered if her brother and father were watching her. She felt a flash of resentment. Some cats had all their family and her's was all dead. Well, Ferncloud had just gotten green cough but still.
She sighed. Being leader was hard. And not as fun as she'd thought it would be. She was only a young warrior! She felt as if she couldn't be leader. She didn't have that much ambition.
But Bramblepath did. She had awe in her eyes as she was made deputy and when Icestar spoke at gatherings or called a Clan meeting, Bramblepath hung on to every word.
I should retire.
The thought was so sudden, Icestar stumbled. Was that the answer? She didn't want to be leader anymore and Bramblepath was a great cat.
She nodded as she thought, "Bramblestar of ThunderClan." she murmered. It sounded good. Knowing what she had to do, Icestar called Spottedhorse and Sundrizzle from where they were hunting and led them back to camp.
She had a ceremony to carry out.
Icestar had leapt onto the rock, summoning the Clan. The cats came wearily from their nests and they straightened in shock as their leader told them what was happening.
"All hail Bramblestar!" she yowled.
Bramblepath blushed as the Clan cheered. Before she could say anything, Jayfeather swept her out of the den.
"Where are we going?" she asked him in puzzlement.
Jayfeather looked at her, his blue eyes directly onto hers. "Isn't it obivious? You are a new leader. We have to get your lives!"
Bramblepath gasped as she suddenly realized. She was a Clan leader. Bramblepath was gone. And this strange Bramblestar was all that was left.
They hiked over WindClan territory. Finnally they reached the Moonpool. Bramblepath risked a glance at Jayfeather. How much does he know? she wondered. His ear twitched, "It's rude to stare." he told her.
Bramblepath blushed. She touched the Moonpool with her nose, wondering what would happen next. She felt Jayfeather settle down beside her and she opened her eyes to a new and starry world.
As Bramblepath looked around in awe she saw StarClan, waiting for her. She stepped over, seeing familiar faces in the crowd. They quieted and the first cat, Firestar, stepped foreword. "You have finally become leader." he said. "It is time for you to recieve your name and nine lives." Bramblepath bowed her head as Firestar approached. He gently nudged her, "With this I give you loyalty. To know what is right when others see nothing." She felt a slight tingling sensation and it faded. The next cat was Feathertail.
- "With this life I give you nobilty." she told Bramblepath. "Know who you can trust and love but remember you must keep them close to your heart and protect them at all costs." The life was warm at first but at the end there was a flash of gray and a pain. Bramblepath was not sure it was all from injuries, knowing this was Feathertail's last seconds of life. Spottedleaf stepped foreword.
- "I am grateful that you rescued me from the Dark Forest and I give you the gift of gentleness and courage. Be kind to your Clanmates and other cats but have courage to go to where no light shines." this life was tiny at first but seemed to grow until Bramblepath thought she could do anything. Blackstar was next.
- "With this life, I give you the gift of belief and hope. Don't ever lose them." the life was full of doubt and questions, false dreams and lies. Bramblepath dipped her head and looked at the next cat. It was a blue gray she-cat, her fiur glowing strongly. "With this life I give you ambition and sacrifice." Bluestar said. "You must keep your leadership but understand the cost. The life she gave was excruciating. There was pain, confusion, loss, doubt, and betrayal. But at the end there was a tiny flutter of hope and belief. Bramblepath sighed. The next cat was Honeyfern, "Hey!" she called, more friendly and open then the others, "I give you the gift of decision, knowing what to do and when to do it, understanding the costs." her life was full of pleasure and hope but at the end was an anguish so great that Bramblepath whimpered slightly.
- Graystripe approached her next, "With this life I give you mentoring. You must care for all cats, big, small, ThunderClan, or not." A proudness spread through Bramblepath and she felt like challenging a cat. Graystripe walked away and a brown tabby took his place, smiling. Bramblepath spoke for the first time, "DAD!" Bramblestar smiled, "With this life I give you the gift of kinship, protection, and care, your Clan is your family and you must protect them with your lives." Bramblepath nuzzled her father and went back to her place. The last cat had not arrived but Bramblepath saw a gray mist appearing. The last cat stepped out.
The cat had dark blue eyes and a dappeled gray coat. She looked at Bramblepath with sorrow, "With my life, I give you the gift of love and friendship. You must care for your friends and the cats you care for. Guard them with your life. And hold on forever." the cat turned away and Bramblepath asked, "where are you going?" the cat replied slowly, "I"m not dead. Yet. But I will soon join the ranks of StarClan." Bramblepath looked at her more closely and saw a brown tabby tom waiting for the cat.
"Raincloud....I'm so...sorry. Really I-" Raincloud looked at her, "Peace Bramblepath. This is an honor. You have found your place, I must find mine. I will have no memory of this when I wake. These are my decisions to make, not yours."
And then she was gone.
The StarClan cats began murmering but then Feathertail stepped up, "You now have the 9 lives of a true clan leader. We harold you by your new name, Bramblestar!" Bramblestar looked around as the cats echoed her name, cheering loudly. She saw her father pretending to cry and he mouthed, 'You took my name!' she grinned but tears prickled at her eyes. She called, "Thank you, good-bye!"
The cats bid her fare well and Bramblestar opened her eyes.
Jayfeather was still asleep and Bramblestar began to think.
Oh Raincloud. I'm sorry, what have I done?
Bramblestar returned home. She and Jayfeather had walked in silence for most of the way, talking only in short sentences. When she got home, Bramblestar was not surprised to see that most of the Clan was still awake. They rushed toward her and congratulated her as Jayfeather slipped away. "My little kitten! I knew you would be leader!" Dusksky called. Her voice softened as she added, "Your father would have been so proud of you!" Bramblestar wanted to tell her mother that she had seen her father but she remembered she could not speak about the ceremony.
- Leopardheart ran up to her, "Welcome back!" she said warmly. Then, her eyes glittering with mischief, "Now you can make me deputy!" Bramblestar growled and her sister laughed. But Bramblestar was puzzled. Who SHOULD be deputy?
She spotted Brightshadow and made her way to him until at last, the crowd melted away and they were alone, "Hey." meowed Brightshadow sadly. Bramblestar looked at him, "You know I'm still Bramblepath right?" when he didn't answer she sighed, "Fine I'll prove it to you." she dragged him over a group of warriors. She called out, "Hey Berrynose! You are a butt crack!" the warriors laughed and Berrynose stuttered, "Yes Bramblestar."
Brightshadow cracked a smile and Bramblestar pulled him into her den. He began to protest but she licked him, "Brightshadow. I love you just as much as I did before this and I will always love you."
He smiled at her and she forced herself to get serious, "Now, who the heck is gonna be deputy?"
Bramblestar was still thinking as the moon slipped higher into the sky. Brightshadow had fallen asleep and Bramblestar was still awake, she had to have a deputy before moonhigh and the time was slipping away like sand into the lake. She kept running over possibilities in her head but no one seemed right.
She also thought about her leader ceremony. Her lives ran through her and her heart leapt every time she saw a star twinkle as if StarClan was smiling at her. But what took up most of her thoughts was Raincloud. Her spirit had given Bramblestar love and friendship. Words kept running threough Bramblestar's head.
I won't remeber this when I wake...
It suddenly hit Bramblestar. She had never realized this but she had now.
Raincloud didn't know about the prophecy that foretold her death at her former friends claws. It didn't seem fair. Leopardheart knew where she was but Bramblestar's sister refused to tell. Bramblestar longed to run out and find her friend and warn her or scare her away.
But she was a leader now, she had no time. And though it broke her heart, she had to admit.
Raincloud was on her own.
Besides she had more pressing matters like- As if StarClan had heard her prayers, a sudden idea shot through her brain.
She knew who the deputy would be!!
Well, the Clan had gathered and Bramblestar had announced her deputy. A cat who was young but strong, who had born suffering with a warriors spirit. A cat that Bramblestar had already been friends with and a cat Bramblestar would trust with her life.
The Clan had agreed whole heartedly and Bramblestar swore to Leopardheart and Brightshadow she saw StarClan murmering.
Sorreltail had cried as her kit became deputy, all the cats cheered. Cinderheart looked totally surprised.
She remebered her father telling her the same thing about Cinderheart's grandfather: Whitestorm was a great deputy but when he was picked he was surprised. He was never arrogant enough to think or expect that he would be chosen.
Bramblestar was very pleased but now all she wanted to do was rest.
She lay in her nest dreaming, only waking when Brightshadow crawled in next to her.
'Nice job." he said.
Bramblestar murmered and slipped back into a deep sleep.
Bramblestar was dreaming. She was in a shadowy clearing, there was another cat walking just up ahead. Bramblestar recognized Stripes, the cat who had killed her father. She felt a yowl of rage boiling up in her and she began running. Stripes began running too. They ran until they reached a darker clearing.
Finally, Bramblestar caught up with her father's murderer. She yowled in triumph as her claws peirced the rogue's throat, his life blood trickeling away. And suddenly...he wasn't Stripes anymore. Another cat was dying in front of her claws.
The gray she-cat tried to choke something out, "Bramblestar...sorry...so...sorry." and then her eyes were blank.
Cats began coming out of the trees. She spotted Hawkfrost with 2 kits but she saw her friends, Mossnight, Leopardheart, Brightshadow, and Scarshade stalking towards her.
Mossnight let out a wail, "What have you done?!" and she crouched beside Raincloud's body sobbing. Scashade said, "You disgust me!" Bramblestar backed away. Leopardheart snarled, "You should have died!!!"
Bramblestar looked at her mate, Brightshadow, the cat who always stood by her, "You make me sick you monster!" he said, and he clawed her face. Bramblestar crumpled to the ground, her heart and face burning. She could hear the cats mourning Raincloud.
Raincloud, Raincloud, Raincloud, Raincloud, Raincloud, Raincloud, Raincloud, no,no,no!
What have I done? she thought. And then she was in front of StarClan, "What have you done?" Feathertail snarled. Bramblestar tried to explain but the ground opened up and she tumbled into the Dark Forest. Tigerstar stalked towards her, "We've been waiting for you."
Bramblestar woke up screaming and crying.
After Bramblestar had calmed down, she took her friend into the forest. "I had a dream." she confessed, "About...Raincloud.
Both Brightshadow and Leopardheart looked upset and angry at the same time. Finally Brightshadow asked, "What happened?" Bramblestar explained and their eyes opened wide, in horror and sorrow. When Bramblestar finished, she was crying a bit. She wondered why.
Usually I'm not this emotional. ran through her head but a minute later the thought was gone.
Brightshadow and Leopardheart were still staring at her. Finally Leopardheart burst out, "Well. That won't happen. We won't let it. That's an awful nightmare." she said quickly.
Bramblestar looked at her. "There's a way we can make sure it doesn't happen." Leopardheart looked away, "I don't know what you're talking about."
Bramblestar took a step towards her sister, "You've thought about it before, admit it."
Leopardheart looked at her, green eyes wild, "So what? I won't do it!"
Brightshadow was puzzled, Bramblestar remebered he had no idea about any of this. "What's goung on?" he asked.
Bramblestar's eyes never left Leopardheart's face, "We are going to take a visit to see Raincloud." Brightshadow looked scared.
A minute later, Leopardheart's tail drooped and she began walking to the old Twoleg house.
Bramblestar was unhappy. She knew where Raincloud lived but couldn't do anything because the she-cat and her ghostly mate had moved dens. Leopardheart had apologized but Bramblestar was mad at herself for not going sooner.
Bramblestar stretched out besides Leopardheart and Brightshadow, feeling ravenous. Brightshadow got up, "Can I get you something?" he asked. Leopardheart's ears pricked up, "Squirrel!" she meowed. Bramblestar was about to ask for a thrush but suddenly said, "Mouse please."
Brightshadow disappeared and Bramblestar wondered why she had suddenly said that. But now a mouse sounded like the best thing in the world. She was craving it and couldn't help gulping it down when Brightshadow brought it to her.
He eyed her amusedly, "Bramblestar, should we increase the hunting patrols?" Bramblestar shoved him, "Dummy. You're the one who used to sneak out of camp and devour rabbits!"
Brightshadow blushed and Bramblestar licked him. Leopardheart stretched, "You 2 are disgusting!" she complained.
"Get a life." Bramblestar muttered. 'What?" Leopardheart said. Bramblestar shrugged.
They sat in silence, watching Cinderheart run around asking cats about patrols and trying to organize patrols. She got up, "How about we go on a patrol together?" she asked Leopardheart and Brightshadow. The cats shrugged and they leapt out of the thorn barrier.
The 3 cats ran out of the thorn tunnel and walked in the forest for a while. Bramblestar spotted a mouse hiding in the roots of an oak. She crouched down and began to stalk it but it heard her heavy pawsteps and darted away. Bramblestar straightened up, hoping that neither her sister or mate had seen that clumsy display.
She caught up with her friends. They walked across the stream that was the boarder with WindClan. Bramblestar remebered the night when WindClan was attacked. Mossnight crying as she remembered her mother lying motionless in the clearing, Ashstar's body. Raincloud's fault.
I couldn't stop her! she would sob.
Bramblestar felt pain as she looked across the moor.
Leopardheart had begun to mark the border and Brightshadow ran to the other end to mark the farther reaches. Bramblestar began to follow him when she heard Leopardheart yowl, "Over here!"
Bramblestar and Brightshadow both ran to her expecting to see an enemy patrol.
Instead they saw 2 she-cats and 3 kits.
Scarshade smiled widely as her kits argued with Mossnight, "We've come to visit you!"
Raincloud was walking with Tigerstar. He was trying to lunge at her and she dodged. She was about to turn around and brag but she stumbled and fell. Tigerstar pinned her on her stomach. She yowled, "Let me up you fox heart!"
Tigerstar snarled, "That was horrible! You are obviously too stupid to remember anything I tell you!" Raincloud growled, "It's not my fault! I've been really weird and out of it the last couple of days."
Hawkfrost nodded. "It's true. Like yesterday, she wanted a thrush but suddenly she had a craving for a rabbit. It was weird. Very weird."
Tigerstar snarled, 'Weird or not weird. Disabled or not. You WILL train better and harder. How do you expect to be leader otherwise?"
Rincloud flinched, "Well, it's not my fault! I can't just tell my claws to do things because YOU said so! So shut up!"
Tigerstar stood up. His fur was ruffled and his pelt was dirty. But his eyes burned brightly like small stars. But there was no warmth in them at all.
He turned to Hawkfrsot and Raincloud, "You are bansihed from here until you can train properly!" he told Raincloud, 'You too." he added to Hawkfrost.
"Good!" said Raincloud. Hawkfrost stuttered, "Um...Dad..you can't banish me. I've been condemed here for evil beyond the light of StarClan and this is my punishment. Plus, I live here."
Tigerstar snarled. "Well don't come back!"
Raincloud stalked away with Hawkfrost at her heels, wondering what had happened to her already messed up life.
Raincloud and Hawkfrost ended up in thheir new den, a hollow besied the moon pool. Raincloud took a deep breath.
"I feel kind of dizzy..."
Hwkfrost guided her into her nest and she feel into it, falling asleep almost instantly. She had a very strange dream.
She was walking along a path when suddenly she felt a pain in her stomach and blacked out. When she woke up (in the dream) there were 2 kits staring at her. One had gray dappled fur like Raincloud but with a white belly like Hawkfrost. The other had a tabby pelt like Hawkfrost. They both had ice blue eyes, the she-cats just a bit darker then the toms.
Raincloud couldn't help feeling something for the kits. She felt puzzeled.
Why do they look like me and Hawkfrost?
She stepped up to the kits, "Where's your mama?" she asked in a friendly tone. The kittens laughed, "Funny game mama!" they nuzzeled her and ran off. Rainclud woke up.
"Hawkfrost?" she said.
She thought of all the weird behavior and the kit dream and she knew it meant one thing, "I'm expecting kits."
Bramblestar setteled herself down carefully in the clearing as Mossnight, Brightshadow, Leopardheart and the kits played. Scarshade settled down as well and watched her offspring play, eyes glowing.
"They are so adorable." Bramblestar said as Cloudykit tumbled into his mother's lap. He immediatly jumped up and ran off, jumping on Brightshadow. The black and white tom yowled in mock surprise and fell to the floor, allowing the kits to climb all over him.
Bramblestar laughed, He would make a great father. she thought. She pushed the thought away, instead telling her best friend about all her weird behavior.
"I missed a mouse the other day, it heard me coming. And I have had these weird cravings. I've been really emotional and I've had trouble sitting down!"
She expected her friend to laugh but Scarshade looked thoughtful. She continued, blushing, "And..I think I've gained weight."
"No, I don't think that's it." said Scarshade, "I used to get like that all the time." Bramblestar relaxed but tensed as Scarshade went on, "When I was expecting kits."
Bramblestar's mind reeled. She didn't understand. Then she gasped as it came to her.
She muttered, "Be back." to Scarshade and left.
"Brightshadow!" she called. Her mate stopped playing with the kittens, "What's up?" he asked, looking worried.
Bramblestar took a deep breatrh, "There's something I have to tell you...."
Please read the Sequel: Fallen!