Song four of Night Visions.

When the days are cold

And the cards all fold

And the saints we see

Are all made of gold

“Flamegaze,” said Dapplestar softly. “You do realise what happened last night, yes?”

Flamegaze snorted. Mosspaw had told everyone about her secret, and she had been sent to exile. So here she was, sitting stiffly below the Feathertree as Dapplestar sentenced her to exile. But she could go somewhere though. To the rogues, where she truly belonged.

“Mosspaw told us that you killed Bramblefoot, and plotted with a group of rogues to destroy Meadowclan?”


“And you accept exile, yes?”

“Yes!” she snapped at him. “Now let me go already!”

Dapplestar groaned and rolled his eyes. “Then I sentence you to exile. Leave and never come back. If anyone sees you, they can kill you. Blah blah blah, now get out of my sight.”

Flamegaze snickered as she was out of earshot. Leave and never come back?

Oh she’ll be coming back.

Back for blood.

When your dreams all fail

And the ones we hail

Are the worst of all

And the blood’s run stale

Rookpaw leapt around Mosspaw. “Isn’t this exciting?” he squealed. “Our final assessment!”

“I guess,” Mosspaw groaned. The exile of Flamegaze may have lifted the spirits of the for the five clans, but Mosspaw felt devastated. And the fact that his warrior ceremony was approaching was not helping. “I want to go for a walk, for preparation,” said Mosspaw.

Rookpaw shrugged. “Sure.”

“Stupid Dapplestar,” Mosspaw cursed under his breath. Why did he have to exile Flamegaze? Dapplestar could have made her live like a loner in the clan, at least. But Flamegaze had a right to be exiled. She had killed a lot of cats, and was responsible for the deaths of his family.

He remembered Gorsefoot, the religious nut job who, after he died, came to cats to reassure them about ‘being a believer’. He was said to be summoned by thinking of him.

Mosspaw froze. He had just thought of Gorsefoot. A grey cat appeared in front of him, smiling and ghostlike.

“Are you a believer?” he smiled.

Mosspaw stared at him. He surged backwards and suddenly saw himself as a kit, huddled up against Larknose.

“The stars control our fate Mosskit. They love us and want to protect us.”

"Then why do cats die?” he asked.

Larknose turned her head away. “Go to sleep little one.”

“No,” said Mosspaw coldly. “Not anymore.”

I wanna hide the truth

I wanna shelter you

But with the beast inside

There’s nowhere we can hide

“Flamegaze!” gasped Layla. “Why weren’t you at the meeting?”

“I felt ill,” lied Flamegaze. “And I was exiled this morning.”

A smile spread across Layla’s face. “Great! You want a rogue name?”

“Sure. Ceremony now?”

“I’ll arrange it.” Layla vanished, and Flamegaze followed her scent.

The camp looked different from when Flamegaze last saw it. There were more dens, and the camp looked slightly more sinister.

“Let all cats who have killed gather beneath the Bloodrock!”

One by one, cats slunk out of the dens, some from outside the camp. They were pleased to see Flamegaze standing with Layla.

“Flamegaze has been exiled today, and has agreed to join White Ashes.” The crowd cheered. “Flamegaze, your new name is now Flame. May you have success in your future.”

Flame felt warmth in the bitter cold. She was a true member of White Ashes at last.

No matter what we breed

We still are made of greed

This is my kingdom come

This is my kingdom come

Mosspaw slipped past the dens and ran out of the camp. He had just finished his assessment, and he didn’t care if he passed. All he wanted to do was find Flamegaze. He had to apologise to her.

He smelt Meadowclan, and ignored the yell of “You’ve trespassed!” He caught Flamegaze’s scent, along with another cat’s, but it was faint. He kept off running, but soon he lost the trail and was surrounded by a blizzard.

Shapes danced in the corners of his vision, and he wondered if it was real or not.

“Mother?” he meowed weakly at the ginger shape approaching him.

The cat licked his cheek. “I’m here, Mosspaw,” she soothed. “Everything is going to be fine.”

When you feel my heat

Look into my eyes

It’s where my demons hide

It’s where my demons hide

“Mosspaw?” Flame prodded him with a paw. “Mosspaw!” she screamed.

Stone laid his tail on her shoulder. “He’ll wake up soon,” he promised.

Flame snarled at him. “Just leave me alone!” What was Stone’s problem?

Stone backed out of the den. “I’ll leave you to it,” he said hurriedly, and fled.

From beside her, Mosspaw twitched. Flame gasped suddenly. When she had calmed down, she laid her head on Mosspaw’s chest.

“I love you, Mosspaw,” she whispered. “Just please wake up!”

Don’t get too close

It’s dark inside

It’s where my demons hide

It’s where my demons hide

Mosspaw opened his eyes. He was in a den, but not one he recognised. It didn’t even smell like Featherclan at all!

His nose caught the scent of Flamegaze. He jerked up, and stared into those beautiful green eyes.

“Flamegaze,” he whispered.

“Mosspaw!” she exclaimed, and they touched noses.

“Where are we? He asked.

“In the rogue camp,” she answered. “And my name’s now Flame.”

“Cool.” He stood up and shook out his fur. “Can I go now?”

Flame looked shocked, then she laughed. “Home? Wouldn’t you rather be here with me?” She twined her tail around his.

Mosspaw was captured in the moment. “Yes,” he breathed. “It’s even better than my warrior ceremony.”

At the curtain’s call

It's the last of all

When the lights fade out

All the sinners crawl

“So you want to join?”

Layla was a quite horrifying cat, with scars and a blood-red pelt.

“Yeah. Flame’s here too.”

“So you’re friends?”

“Yeah.” Mosspaw scuffed the floor of Layla’s den with one paw.

Layla zoomed out of the den. “Two ceremonies in one day!” she chirped. “Gather round the Bloodrock, y’all!”

“Mosspaw, you have not yet killed or completed a special mission, you are you ready to undergo moons of challenges to earn your place here?” Layla peered down at him.

“Yes.” Anything to be with Flame.

“Then great. You will keep your name, until I decide when you are ready to be accepted as a full member.”

Mosspaw beamed.

“But there is one catch: You will never be returning home.”

So they dug your grave

And the masquerade

Will come calling out

At the mess you made

Day one of rogue life was harder than Mosspaw expected. He had to hunt ten pieces of prey at dawn, which he completed. Then he had to do battle training, in which he earned a few scratches.

“Not bad for a beginner,” Flame complimented. He ate at Sunhigh, and was sent to track a cat and ambush it. Unfortunately, the cat escaped.

Layla cornered him at dusk. “Rogue life is hard,” she warned him. “It’s survival of the fittest here. Today I had three cats executed because they failed hunting at dawn.”

Mosspaw shivered. “I think I can handle it.”

Layla loped off, and tossed Mosspaw a second glance over her shoulder.

Great Starclan, what have I gotten myself into?

Don't wanna let you down

But I am hell bound

Though this is all for you

Don't wanna hide the truth

“Flame?” Mosspaw called softly into the den where Flame slept. “Can I talk to you?”

Flame groggily woke up and padded over to him. “Yes?” she croaked.

“How do you survive here? Why are you here? Why did you kill so many cats?”

Flame sighed. “Let me tell you a story. It all started when my mother died…”

Mosspaw widened his eyes at Flame’s story about the demons, and how her mother died.

“Flame,” he whispered, “I’m so sorry!”

Flame stroked him with her tail. “It was my fault. I failed myself, and this is where I have ended up.”

No matter what we breed

We still are made of greed

This is my kingdom come

This is my kingdom come

“Look!” gasped a she-cat next morning. “The scavenging party has bought back kits!”

Layla was already at the scene. “Hmmm.” She peered closely at the kits: A white one, and a reddish-brown one. “These will do. Feed them meat, make them a nest, get a cat to monitor them.”

“I never knew the group cared for kits!” asked Mosspaw.

Flame dropped the rabbit she had been carrying. “It is unusual, but they usually survive.” She saw Mosspaw’s worried face. “Are you truly happy here?” she asked him softly.

“I’m happy wherever you are,” he answered loyally.

“Great!” chirped Flame. “Want to help choose names for the kits?”

Mosspaw’s face brightened. “Sure! I want to name them Bramble and Meadow. For the cats that I have lost.”

And the cats that you killed, he added silently.

When you feel my heat

Look into my eyes

It’s where my demons hide

It’s where my demons hide

Mosspaw ignored the coldness creeping into his paws. The weather in the rogue camp was even colder than the weather in Featherclan.

“I have decided on the names for the kits,” Layla announced. “The white one is Song, and the reddish-brown one is Bane.”

“Song! Bane! Song! Bane!” the cats cheered.

Mosspaw leant closer to Flame. Her heart was beating fast. “Tired?” he asked.

“No,” she yawned.

“Don’t try to trick me!” he teased.

Flame purred, something that she hadn’t done in a while. “I’ll go to my nest then.”

“Still a thorn in your bedding?” teased a soft voice.

Flame peeled her lips back in a snarl. “Get away from me, Faythe!” she hissed quietly.

But Faythe just jaughed and faded away.

Don’t get too close

It’s dark inside

It’s where my demons hide

It’s where my demons hide

“Kill him!” Layla’s yowl rang throughout the forest. Flame had pinned down a scrawny tom, who was writhing around, trying to escape.

Mosspaw shut his eyes and turned away. He flinched as a speck of blood landed on his light grey pelt.

After a moment of silence, Layla spoke again: “Your turn, Mosspaw.”

Mosspaw tentatively stepped into the clearing. From opposite him, a young she-cat with haunted eyes crept out of the shadows.

“Kay,” Layla hissed icily. “You have been caught stealing prey. Now execution is your fate.” She nodded to Mosspaw. “Go.”

Mosspaw leapt on top of Kay, pinning her to the ground.

“Don’t kill me,” she pleaded, so quiet that only Mosspaw could hear her. He glanced at her ribcage, the bones scarily poking out from beneath the skin. He stared into her eyes, pale green ones, full of loss, tears and fear.

He couldn’t do this.

So Mosspaw vomited onto the ground.

They say it's what you make

I say it's up to fate

It's woven in my soul

I need to let you go

“You can’t stay here,” Layla told him coldly. “You are weak.”

Mosspaw threw himself onto Layla’s forepaws. “Please let me stay!” he pleaded. “I have no purpose back in Featherclan!”

Layla studied him for a moment. “I’ll have to set you a mission,” she muttered grimly. “And find a way to overcome your fear of killing.”

Mosspaw’s heart leapt. He was being allowed to stay!

Your eyes, they shine so bright

I wanna save that light

I can't escape this now

Unless you show me how

Later that night, Mosspaw caught Flame’s eye. He padded over to her, and said “I might be asked to leave.”

Flame was horror-stricken. “Mosspaw! You can’t go!”

“I never said I won’t. But to stay here, it’ll be so hard…” he trailed off.

Flame looked determined. “I’ll do whatever it takes for you to stay here.”

Mosspaw stared deeply into her eyes. “Tell me how to survive,” he rasped.

When you feel my heat

Look into my eyes

It’s where my demons hide

It’s where my demons hide

Mosspaw sunk his teeth into the soft log.

“Good,” said Flame. “I made it so it feels like you’re biting a cat.”

“Cool.” Mosspaw nodded. “So am I supposed to me on an ambush patrol?”

Flame purred. “I didn’t think you’d guess. And I’m going too!”

Mosspaw’s face brightened. “Should we get back to camp then?”

Flame didn’t answer. She just laughed and ran back to camp.

I hope I’m ready for this, Mosspaw thought nervously.

Don’t get too close

It’s dark inside

It’s where my demons hide

It’s where my demons hide

“This is your chance Mosspaw!” Layla meowed eagerly. “Kill her before she escapes!”

Mosspaw stood looking down at a small wiry brown she-cat. “I’m sorry, but I have to do this,” he whispered.

He sunk his teeth into the young cat’s throat. Warm blood gushed into his mouth. He jerked his head away quickly, and spat out the blood.

“Well done, Mosspaw,” Layla praised. “You should be proud.”

But Mosspaw didn’t feel proud. He felt guilty.

He was a murderer. A cold-blooded murderer.

And to him, that was nothing to be proud of.

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