|New Generation Series|
|Preceded by: |
|Faint Whispers||Succeded by: |
The most important promise is made to a friend but it can be broken by the thorns of betrayal....
Tigerstar seethed. He had found out that his son was in love with the expendable cat he had found to help him rule the forest! Tigerstar was sure that Raincloud would not learn anything if she was staring at his son googly eyed. And worst of all-Hawkfrost liked her back! Tigerstar groaned inwardly. What a bad time for a heartless cat to fall in love! He remembered Sasha and Goldenflower and shook his head. They didn't matter half as much as his power.
He growled as he past Hawkheart. The WindClan medicine cat sneered and continued on his way. Well, one good thing about the SatrClan war was that the Dark Forest cats now ran into each other more often. This made good for spreading evil plans and finding guards for those 2 stupid StarClan cats.
Tigerstar sat down. He was upset. His plans were being ruined! And they had taken moons to make! He began to thump his head on a rock but then an idea came to him.
Perhaps....if Raincloud wouldn't learn willingly without playing with Hawkfrost...he would have to force her to work hard. Tigerstar smiled and went off to find Hawkfrost.
Jayfeather cursed as yet AGAIN the cobwebs refused to fuse his broken stick together again.
"This isn't funny Rock." he muttered.
Just then he heard a rustle behind him and he heard Maplekit mew, "Shouldn't you be saving those cobwebs? I know you like the pretty sticky but you really shouldn't waste herbs." the kit walked in and plopped herself on a rock. "You know, Mousefur has a cold." Jayfeather looked at her in alarm, "She has a fever and is coughing. Her nose is running some too. It could easily turn in to green cough right? So maybe you'd better go give her some Feverfew." Jayfeather looked at the kit. He was thinking of making her his apprentice but she was only 4 moons old. She did show a interest in medicine though and her memory for herbs was excellent. Suddenly, listening to her sharp intake of breath, he knew she was going to start talking again so he yowled, "BRAMBLEPATH!!!!!!"
The tabby she-cat appeared almost immediatly. "You yolwed?" she said sleepily. Jayfeather understood her anger. He would be grumpy too if he had been woken up at moon high.
"You're sister escaped again." he meowed. Bramblepath looked at her sister and picked her up, carrying her to the nursery. Jayfeather turned back to his work but it had come apart again. Jayfeather decided to leave it and get some sleep. He curled up in bed and as he drifted into dreams he thought about Bramblepath. There was something strange about her....
If only I knew what.. he thought. Then he fell fast asleep only to be woke up at dawn by Maplekit.
Bramblepath yawned. Today's meeting was going even longer and she was STILL tired from Jayfeather waking her last night. The Gathering had been uneventful and she just wanted to go home and sleep. Leopardheart, Bramblepath's sister and friend was speaking "My dream-cats made me take an oath." she said. The others all said they had too and each cat shared their oath with their friends.
Mossnight spoke first, "I promised Feathertail I would watch Crowfeather." Everyone was puzzeled by this but Bramblepath stood up and meowed, "Firestar made me promise to rescue Spottedleaf and Blackstar from the Dark Forest. Raincloud flicked her ear and said, "That's weird. My oath was one of secrecy." she said feeling hot, remembering how she and Hawkfrost had been forced to meet after training bouts with Tigerstar. Scarshade told the cats about her grandmother, "Bluestar said that we had to keep the Clans together."
Leopardheart's paws scruffed, she didn't want to reveal her oath but her friends were watching her closely, "Sandstorm told me to become a part of the phropecy and to take more control." Bramblepath felt hurt that StarClan thought she was being a dictator but she shrugged. The 5 she-cats turned to Brightshadow. He shrugged, "I got nothing." Bramblepath stood and said, "Well then let's go home." she walked off and Breightshadow quickly murmered, "My oath was to find out who the Dark Forest's agents are." Mossnight cocked her head, "And why can't Bramblepath know?" she asked.
"She just...can't." said Brightshadow, "And don't tell her!!!" The others looked like they would question him again but Bramblepath yowled, "Why am I walking alone? Come on! I'm tired! Let's go!!!" Brightshadow and Leopardheart quickly said good bye to their friends and ran back to their warm nests.
Bramblepath yawned as Cloudtail poked her.
"We have dawn aptrol." he told her.
"groablgighQUIfbblngwlibv Nwgjhwoighwbj" she told him.
He sighed and then yowled in her ear, "GET UP YOU LAZY HUNK OF FUR!!!!!!!!" Bramblepath scarambled up and Cloudtail looked at her with concern in his eyes, "You look dead on your feet!" he told her. He left her to sleep and she slept the day away.
The next day she got up early and headed towards the nursery. Her 5 moon old sisters had begged her to come play with them. She and her friends had been some type of legend in the nursery ever since they saved the kits from ShadowClan and publically humiliated Russetstar.
Bramblepath poked her head in and immediatly Maplekit, Cinderkit, and Spottedkit attacked her. She was thrown out by the force of their sudden pounce and she stumbled. She tried to swat them off but had no avail. So she rolled over. When she heard squeks she figured the kits would relax. She got up and the kits sprang up. "Teach us how to fight!! Teach us hunt!! Please!!!" Bramblepath laughed and began to show them some battle moves.
Then she saw Brightshadow. He was creeping through the fern tunnel and looking rather guilty. Bramblepath wondered where he was going. She was tempted to folow her mate but the kits were still looking at her and she had no choice but to stay with them.
But as she played she couldn't help but wonder, What is Brightshadow doing? And why does he look so guilty? And, most important, why hasn't he told me anything?
Brightshadow hurtled out of camp. He felt bad as he raced away. He had seen Bramblepath playing with the kits and he wanted to join her but he knew he couldn't. He had to meet with the others to disscus his oath.
As he neared Fourtrees he could hear the 4 other cats talking. How did Leopardheart get ahead of me? he wondered. She must have woken up early. Unlike Bramblepath, Leopardheart could sleep for any amount of time. Once she had come back from patrol, exhausted and laid down. About 5 minutes later she was called for another patrol and she popped up, fresh as a daisy.
Raincloud spotted him first. "Hey! We've been waiting forever! Are you going to give us some answers?" she looked troubled about the very little Brightshadow had told them 2 nights before.
He sighed. "Here's everything you need to know. Graystripe and Stormfur told me to find out who is being influenced by the Dark Forest and take them back to StarClan's side. Failing that, we have to stop them. While doing this, if we can stop any member of the Dark forest we should."
Scarshade looked a little less puzzeled, "But why can't we tell Bramblepath?" Bramblepath was Scarshade's best friend and Scarshade was worried someone's feelings would end up getting hurt. Brightshadow looked a little awkward, "Well.....I can't tell you. This could be dangerous and I don't want her getting hurt." Mossnight sighed, "Brightshadow, we all know you like her ok! But I think you're gonna get hurt unless you can include her!"
Raincloud looked troubled, "I agree. You know what she's like when she's mad." she cautioned. Brightshadow started to say something else but then Leopardheart spoke, "You need to tell her Brightshadow. Not one of us. You. And you need to do it now. She will get so mad if you don't and we need to work together to make the phropecy come true. We can't do that if Bramblepath is mad at us. I know this is hard for you." she added, voice softening. "But you need to understand that she isn't some pretty kittypet that you need to protect she might even be the best warrior out of all of us!" Leopardheart was shocked at just how much she sounded like Bramblepath. So was everyone else. Raincloud, Mossnight, and Scarshade quickly said good bye and left and Brightshadow ran back to camp, hopefully to tell Bramblepath the truth.
It was only then that Leopardheart realized she had fufilled her own oath.
Bramblepath stormed to the enterence. The kits were taking a nap. She had enjoyed playing with them but she wanted to know what Brightshadow was doing. She didn't watch where she was going and bumped into Brightshadow.
He started to say something but she hissed, "I don't know what you were doing, but you weren't on patrol or hunting! You were meeting with someone weren't you? Why can't you tell me these things?!" she stalked past him into the forest and he ran after her. When they got to the clearing near ShadowClan where they had once taken the kits, they stopped. Bramblepath was still fuming but she was happy Brightshaodow had followed her. He said, "I need to tell you something." she listened, dreading what she would hear next. She was shocked when he said, "I wasn't completely honest about my oath. I was told to find who was obeying the Dark Forest cats and stop them. I didn't tell you because I thought you would get hurt." he expected her to yowl or hit him or...something! But she just said, "I wish you told me that earlier. I was so scared something had happened."
Brightshadow purred. They both sat in silence and Bramblepath said, "Remember the kits and Russetstar?" Brightshadow snickered, "You mean Russetpaw!" both cats laughed for a little while and Bramblepath licked Brightshadow.
They were just about to return to camp when all of a sudden, the bushs in front of them began to shake. And it sounded like another cat.
- This is kind of off topic but, hey. Cliffhangers. Keeps ya reading. So anyways, this is after prologue where Tigerstar hatches his evil plan to force Raincloud to train. Thanks.
Spottedleaf felt so cramped. Blackstar was taking up a lot of space. He didn't try to, but he was a large tom. And they didn't have much den room anyways. Suddenly something slammed into Spottedleaf's side, giving a grunt. She hoped it was prey but she had discovered long ago that the Dark Forest held no prey, and even if it did the StarClan prisoners weren't likely to get any.
She heard pawsteps and she began to focus on the new comer. He had several scars, and once again Spottedleaf missed her medicine den in StarClan. He was a dark colored cat. She could tell that much. His breathing was quick and his heart rate was a bit fast.
Spottedleaf began making a bed for the new cat. She also wondered where he had come from, he wasn't StarClan. He smelled like the toadstools of the Dark Foest.
Blackstar got up and prodded the tom. Spottedleaf was about to scold the old leader for being so cruel to a cat who was obviously injured. But she forgot as the cat looked up at her with ice blue eyes.
"Hawkfrost!" she gasped.
The bushes rusted again and Brightshadow hissed. Then a large brown tabby with a crooked tail appeared. He smiled, revealing yellow teeth. "It is time to join your friend young ones! Of course, you should be prepared. you won't be coming back."
Brightshadow laughed and both the stranger and Bramblepath glared at him. The stranger disappeared but so did the forest around Bramblepath. She yowled but it was like trying to swim to the bottom of the lake.
She was wasting her energy. It was black and cold and she felt like she was being pulled and jerked around. She realized that her yowls could not be heard. And she was tumbling, twisting, and turning into the engulfing darkness, forever lost.
* * *
Brightshadow noticed the forest swirling and being sucked away from him. Or was he being sucked away from it? His muddled brain refused to think straight and he couldn't concentrate.
Am I dying? he thought. Then he realized if he was, he wouldn't be feeling any pain. But now he felt like he was being pulled and pushed by invisible things and he was helpless. His paws felt like rocks and he was falling, falling, falling.....
* * *
At the same time 6 cats hit the toadstool covered ground and awakened to a cold new world.
Raincloud opened her eyes. She was back in the Dark Forest. She wondered why. After all it was the middle of the day! And why had it hurt to come this time?
Her brain was hurting and she sat down as it filled up with more questions. Why had Brokenstar came to fetch her? Where were the others? Why was she here?
who,what,when,where,why?who,what,when,where,why? who,what- "STOP!!!!!" she screamed. She felt as if she was both bursting and constricting. She was scared, she wanted to go home. She whimpered as she saw Tigerstar approaching.
"What-? Why-?" was all she could choke out.
Tigerstar smiled, "Well you see, I couldn't let you and your little friends destroy me so I had no choice but to take you from the forest." Raincloud noticed he had mentioned her friends.
"Where...friends?" she asked. She knew she sounded like a kit on catnip but she couldn't help it.
Tigerstar looked happy, "Well, you won't see them but their around. And because you have already begun training with me I will spare you from the effects of the Forest." her brain sluggness vanished, as did her pain. Raincloud stood up.
"Take me to my friends!" she demanded. Tigerstar looked bored. "Well, if you want to be pushy I could just go kill them." his eyes gleamed as he added, "Or Hawkfrost. You know I haven't seen him around lately..." Raincloud gritted her teeth and followed the dark warrior through what appeared to be her new home.
Scarshade was falling,falling-WHOOMP!!! She fell back as the impact of the ground shocked her. Her eyes were spinning and her head hurt. Scarshade attampted to shake it off and was still trying when 2 cats entered the clearing.
"Look Darkstripe! It's a new apprentice!" one called
The other cat sneered, "I see Graywing."
- Note: I hate Graywing. She let 3 kits drown and she calls herself a med. cat???
Scarshade felt woozy. She needed time to think. But first she needed answers. She pounced on Graywing and snarled. Darkstripe ran away, yowling. "Tell me what's going on?" Scarshade hissed in the medicine cat's face.
Graywing was shocked, "I-I d-don't know." she stuttered. "Tigerstar just announced he was sick of StarClans meddling and he would bring their champions into the Dark Forest so they couldn't escape!"
Scarshade let go of the cat and watched her run away. She still was puzzled but at least she had some answers. She had already figured out that her friends must have been there too. She had to find them and look for StarClan so they could get back home. She set off in grim determination.
Scarshade walked for what felt like hours but she wasn't getting anywhere. She tried to walk in a different place but still had no avail. Then she realized that this was the border with StarClan. She was so close to home, but she couldn't get there.
Scarshade took one looks at the invisable boundry and burst into tears.
Mossnight was dizzy. She spun in circles, trying to find a way out but she hit something. Hard.
Mossnight bounced away from the tree and sat down. she looked around. Glowing fungi, shadows, this had to be the infamous Dark Forest. She was confused but managed to shake it off. She looked around, trying to see another cat. Mossnight spotted the tom who had brought her here.
Well... she thought grimly If I can't get any answers from him, at least I'll have revenge.
She crept up behind him but he spotted her and began to run. She chased him, knowing she would win. WindClan cats were the fastest. But time seemed to slow, trees that weren't there before appeared. She swerved and ducked but just as she thought she had the tom, she crashed into a tree. Her head hurt as she slipped into unconciousness. The last thing she heard was the tom's voice.
"We'll put you with the others. Tigerstar will have one less scrawny hero to deal with!" and then there was laughter.
* * *
Mossnight woke up and she was surronded by cats. She tried to back away but there was no room. The cats leaned in.
"Do you think she's ok?" asked a tortoiseshell anxiously. A white tom with black paws responded. "I think so. This is Mossnight. One of our chosen!" From the back of the cave a voice grumbled, "Another one? There's no more room!"
The tortoiseshell fretted, "I wish I had my herbs!"
The tom replied, "She will be healed. She just has a knock on the head."
"There's going to be no room-"
"Shut up Hawkfrost!" yowled the she-cat.
Mossnight whimpered. "Where am I?" The tortoiseshell stroked her fur, "You're safe. For now." she said. Mossnight looked around. It seemed like there was no enterence or exit to the cave. She just wanted to go home. Mossnight closed her eyes and cried into Spottedleaf's fur.
Brightshadow felt like he was being dumped down from the sky He landed on the ground with a thud and sat up. He was in a small clearing. Alone.
Where had Bramblepath gone?
He was beginning to feel a little scared. No one was with him in this strange place. He looked around, looking for a way out. He could see nothing but- there! There was movement in the ferns! Brightshadow was still optimistic that it would be help and as a dark tabby emerged he felt like yowling thanks to StarClan. Perhaps this cat could take him home!
The strange new cat began to speak, "My name is Tigerstar. I had Brokenstar bring you and your friends here so you couldn't ruin my plans. Although," he said smirking, "I have to admit, if you hadn't told them about your oath then maybe you wouldn't be in this situation." he smiled broadly, "Oh well." and Tigerstar bounded away.
Brightshadow fought to calm himself down. I'm a monster, I brought my friends here. I don't deserve to be alive! My friends are in danger and it's all my fault. I wish I hadn't told them. I was so stupid! I knew we would be in danger! But no! I had to tell them!! Then a more rational part of him thought You know Tigerstar is evil. Maybe he is just trying to work you up and make you upset. He doesn't want the phropecy fullfilled. Why would he be nice and tell me the truth? Brightshadow had convinced himself but then he realized something.
His friends- the other cats of the phropecy....
Brightshadow fell to the ground and gave into hopelessness.
Bramblepath landed with a thud. She dragged herself up and looked around. She had no clue where she was and Brightshadow was gone. Suddenly a tabby burst through the ferns laughing. He stopped when he saw Bramblepath and he muttered something that sounded like, "Why are there so many of them?" Bramblepath felt confused but then the toms face shaped into a smile. "Hello there little one! You look like your lost. Can I help?"he asked in a poisonisly sweet voice. Bramblepath recognized him now, Tigerstar. "No thank you, I'm fine." she said politely. He cocked his head, "I have a little training bout with another apprentice, you could join in." he said, the words more of an order then invitation.
Bramblepath began to back away. "No thank you." Tigerstar noticed her stepping away so he paced forward. "You only have to come once but I think you'll want to come back again." he meowed.
Breamblepath shivered. She sensed the barely concealed threat in the toms voice. She shivered and once again said, "I'd rather not. Thanks for offering." then she sped around and ran away before the tom could reply.
She heard Tigerstar curse and bound after her but soon she outran him. She skidded to a halt near a large oak tree. She was breathing heavily and was very tired. But she was also scared. What had happened and how had she gotten there?
She padded on, knowing she had to find her friends in the nightmareish jungle.
Leopardheart stopped spiraling down from the sky with a thud. She immediatly recognized the Dark Forest. Standing up she looked around but in her head she was praying ferventaly to StarClan.
Please let me find a way out of here! she prayed. But she hurriedly ended her plea for help when the air shimmered. She saw many faces, her mother, father, sister, and friends. Her dream cats. All of her close friends and family. she was releaved but then they began to speak.
"Why do you pray?" asked Dusksky.
"StarClan can't hear you here." sneered Bramblestar. Bramblepath smirked and said, You have no hope!"
Raincloud laughed out loud, "You? Escape? Hah!"
The voices chorused louder and louder until Leopardheart thought her head would burst. She yowled, "STOP!!!!" the voices stopped and as she realized what she had to do to defeat them, she began to think of other random things. As she did this, one by one, the cats faces disappeared. She sighed in relief and then yowled in delight as a faint luminous glow appeared in the forest. It was starry and carried the scent of StarClan. Her prayer had been answered!
She felt pleased with herself and she began to follow it and escape from the forest.
The cats of the Dark Forest met to discuss what had happened.
"My plan is working out perfectly!" Tigerstar began.
Graywing shook her head, "I think your wrong. One of those apprentices got me and made me tell them!" Tigerstar smiled but it was rather forced and he said "Still..they are not in the forest, undoing all of our hard work!'
There were murmers of agreements and a couple of disagreement and Tigerstar snarled, "Do you doubt my plan? Or me for that matter?" the cats said nothing and Tigerstar proceeded, happy.
"Jaggedtooth, how are the prisoners?" he asked. The ginger tom stood and said, "Most of the time they just talk but I think it won't take much for them to rebel. The medicine cat is alays talking about how great StarClan was and the leader is always muttering about something. Your son is forever complaining but I think he's sad. And we caught one of the heroes, Mossthingy. She's quiet too. They haven't made a ruckus or anything!"
Tigerstar nodded, "All is going accordingly!" he announced.
The cats cheered and everyone went their seperate ways. They chattered but after a few minutes all was silent.
In a a large clump of ferns Raincloud sped after Tigerstar. She had almost forgotten everything but her training.
High in StarClan cats were clustered around the Pool of Reflectence yowling. They had been shocked to learn that their heroes, and 2 of their members had been taken prisoner by the forces of the Dark Forest. Firestar was sitting and it was obvious he was thinking about Spottedleaf. Sandstorm sat far away from him, next to Dustpelt.
Finally Firestar spoke, "We must rescue these cats!'
Yowls of agreement came up but there was one voice that stood out.
"We have guided Leopardheart to where her friends are. She can find them and bring them out!" Feathertail said.
There were murmers of agreement, disagreemnt, and confusion.
Firestar looked pained. "But she is just one warrior. We can't leave our friends in her hands!" Feathertail looked at him seriously, "You are one warrior, yet you saved the Clans repeatedly. I am one warrior but I saved a whole Tribe and my love." her eyes clouded but she quickly yowled at the ranks of Starclan, "Does anyone of you doubt that one warrior can not handle thins?"
All the cats yowled in agreement and the meeting disadjourned. All but 2 cats. Firestar was staring into space as if he was rescuing Spottedleaf himself and Feathertail was thinking about long ago in the cold mountains.
She snapped herself out of it and padded away. Leopardheart was responsible for all of the Clans now. And she had to be strong.
Read the sequel: StarClan Calling!