|New Generation Series|
|Preceded by: |
|Oath||Succeded by: |
The greatest promise is made to a friend but it can be broken by the thorns of betrayal.
The brown tabby rushed to the clearing. He usually walked slowly as he was trapped forever but his favorite son had extrordinary news. He slowed as he came to a clearing where the tabby tom with a white underbelly waited. The bigger tom slowed to a more dignified walk, "Well Hawkfrost?" he asked.
The other tom, Hawkfrost, looked smug and said, "We have another chance to rule the forest!"
The bigger tom looked slightly more interested. "How?"
Hawkfrost said, "Well we need a genius plan from you Tigerstar, but your grandaughters have been choosen to be the next heroes!"
Tigerstar looked surprised, "Rainpaw, Bramblepaw, and Leopardpaw?"
Hawkfrost nodded "There are 3 more, Mosspaw of WindClan, Brightpaw of ThunderClan, and Scarpaw of RiverClan!"
Tigerstar looked pleased. If they could take over the mind of just one of these young cats they could have a large chance to rule the forest!!!!
"Tigerstar, StarClan will meet them in dreams tonight! If we could delay just one of those StarClan cats so the other can speak to one apprentice..."he trailed off but his father understood and finished his thought, "...then we can persuade one of our young friends to join us!!"
Both cats laughed and Tigerstar tried to decide which cat to speak to, "I think Leopardpaw is too strong for our powers. I would love to talk to Bramblepaw but she wouldn't...The other 3 are no relation to me and are therefore, worthless. So that leaves Rainpaw. I will visit her, you hold off Blackstar."
Both toms sped away.
Hawkfrost padded to the edge of StarClan territory where he waited for Blackstar. When the white tom came, stalked the ShadowClan leader and pounced, attacking him. The 2 tussled but eventually Hawkfrost won. He dragged Blackstar to the Dark Forest, to a cave where Brokenstar would sit guard.
Now Tigerstar could easily pretend to be that cat that had chosen Rainpaw. Hawkfrost laughed. Rainpaw had no idea just how powerful she was going to make her half uncle and grandfather.
Bramblepaw knew she was asleep and that a cat would come to visit her but she didn't know exactly what to do. Feathertail had promised her that someone would talk to her to help her. Everything seemed so....weird.
Something prodded her and she slowly opened one eye. A handsome ginger tom was looking at her. "Well you must be Bramblepaw, not a morning person I see." Bramblepaw looked up at him and the cat sighed. "Apprintices. Ok, anyways, my name is Firestar and-"
Bramblepaw shot up, "OH!!! I know you!! You were the leader when my dad was deputy!!"
Firestar looked at her, a little annoyed at being interuppted but he continued, "Er...yes, I was. But I'm dead now. So, I take it Feathertail talked to you?" he watched as Bramblepaw nodded.
"Ok, good. Now I'm going to explain this to you as simply as I can. And keep in mind even I don't know much about this." Firestar cleared his throat.
" 6 StarClan cats chose heroes. Your friends will tell you about their dreams but you need to listen to this. You and your friends are the new heroes of the forest. You will be in charge of protecting the cats and Clans, at least for a little while."
Bramblepaw felt panicked and Firestar felt her tremble.
"But you won't go it alone!" he promised, "You will have your 5 other friends to help you. But this may be more dangerous then we had anticipated. The Dark Forest is stirring. Dark times approach. They are angry that we had won the war against them but they will retaliate. For each of your friends a different StarClan cat will train you to help the Clans. I will train you, so you'll be completely prepared." And with that, he licked her head, turned, and padded away.
Bramblepaw's eyes flew open. All her friends were waking up. Leopardpaw did her usual morning stretches, her fur glowing in the weak light. Scarpaw was bouncing up and down, her long fur tangled in a briar bush. Brightpaw and Rainpaw were still snoring. Mosspaw was waking up slowly and she snuggled back in her nest but then just got up. Bramblepaw realized how ridiculus they must look. How could these 6 apprentices save the Clan?
When everyone was awake or mostly awake Bramblepaw called the apprentices to discuss they're dreams. They all agreed that they had the same dream and that each of them would be visited by a cat for lessons.
"Graystripe told me that he would see me soon!" offered Brightpaw.
Leopardpaw looked happy, "Sandstorm said she was honored to help train me!" the dappeled apprentice's fur was puffing up proudly.
Mosspaw licked Leopardpaw's ear and said, "Tallstar told me that he couldn't wait to help me out! He said we were each special!"
Scarpaw bounced up and down "Leopardstar told me that she had never seen such a great cat!"
Bramblepaw smiled and told them about her encounter with Firestar.
Then Rainpaw thrust her way forwords, "Well my mentor has already started to teach me stuff!"
Bramblepaw saw the usual smugness around the apprentice but there was a haunted look in Rainpaw's eye. Bramblepaw was about to say something but she realized they would be missed from the celebration if they didn't meet soon. She quickly whispered to meet at the island at moon high. Then the apprentices scattered, going back to their Clans.
After 6 moons of training for battle and hunting and endless training sessions in the night it was finally happening! They were going to be warriors!!! Bramblepaw was so excited. Leopardpaw was trying to look calm but she couldn't hide the excitment in her eyes. Brightpaw was jumping around just being hyper.
Bramblepaw looked up into StarClan and whispered "Are you watching Firestar?"
She thought she heard her StarClan mentor purr in her head You may be a Clan warrior but you aren't ready to pass our test! Bramblepaw sighed.
She thought about Rainpaw, Scarpaw, and Mosspaw. They were probably getting their names too. Well. She would find out at tonight's gathering.
Bramblestar yowled and the 3 oldest apprentices ran to sit under the rock. The Clan made a wide circle around them so Bramblestar could call them up. Molefoot and Honeyflower seemed happy too that their former denmates would be made warriors.
Bramblestar spoke the familiar words and Brightpaw was made Brightshadow, Leopardpaw was made Leopardheart. Then Bramblestar called his daughter and apprentice up to the rock. He spoke the words, mentioning her leadership skills and bravery. Then the last apprentice was made Bramblepath.
At the Gathering, while the leaders announced their news, 6 new warriors were high in one of the oaks. Bramblepath, Brightshadow, and Leopardheart were telling their friends of the good news. The others all agreed that they had been made warriors the exact same time and they wondered if that had anything to do with the phropecy they had only learned a little about. Mossnight's eyes shone "We all got great names!"
Raincloud and Scarshade agreed. Then all the friends grew silent and stared up and StarClan. They had no idea they were also being watched by 2 different types of cats.
StarClan crowded around Firestar as he happily purred "They are beggining to come together!"
All of StarClan celebrated and they thought that for a little while, the Clans would be safe.
In the Dark Forest Tigerstar and Hawkfrost sat looking at the same scene. Tigerstar smiled. "Our little Raincloud has turned into a fine warrior!"
Hawkfrost purred but he was a little sad as he looked down at the beautiful she-cat.
"Dusksky is kitting!" Bramblestar yowled as he ran out of the nursery. Bramblepath sighed. They had only found out her mother was having kits 3 moons ago and when Bramblestar had visited his mate today she had calmly told him she'd been kitting since dawn. The ThunderClan leader had freaked out completely and was now running towards Jayfeather's den, still yowling his head off.
A minute later the blind medicine cat made his way across the clearing with a bundle of herbs in his mouth with Bramblestar following anxiously behind. Bramblepath sighed. It was going to be a long day.
When it was all over Bramblepath went to see her mother. Dusksky looked happy and pleased as she introduced her oldest daughter to her new siblings.
"The oldest one is the smoky gray one, her name will be Cinderkit. This golden tabby is the second oldest and her name will be Maplekit. And this little tortoishell will be named Spottedkit."
The 2 older she-cat stared at the 3 squirming kits. Bramblepath could not have been happier. She had 3 new sisters!
I wonder if Brightshadow and I will have kits... Bramblepath blushed and quickly pushed that thought away.
But then she realized something. Could the phropecy and resposibitlity that had been bestowed upon her by StarClan themselves hurt her little sisters in anyway? For the first time Bramblepath realized that because of her power, someone close to her could get hurt.
Bramblepath was hiding. Behind the Great Oak to be exact. The Clans were slowly leaving and she had to stay hidden so she could meet the others. The Gathering had been short and there was pleanty of moonlight.
Finally, everyone was gone. Bramblepath slipped out and Brightshadow jumped down from the oak. Scarshade and Mossnight ran out of the ferns and Leopardheart and Raincloud came up from a hole. The 6 cats stood together to report their own news.
"Firestar told me it will not be long until we are ready to begin helping the Clans!" exclaimed Bramblepath.
Raincloud smirked "Sure. My mentor told me he will train me until the end of time."
Everyone looked at her but then realized nothing had really happened and everyone said good bye.
But Bramblepath stayed. She hopped up on the Great Oak and realized how comfortable she felt, and she realized Bramblestar had been right at her warrior ceremony. She was a born leader.
Just then she heard a rustling and Brightshadow emerged from the bushes. "Bramblepath, I know you're there." he said.
Bramblepath meowed softly to let him know where she was and he climbed up beside her. They sat in silence. Then finally Brightshadow spoke. "I was hoping you would stay behind actually. I have something to tell you." Bramblepath looked at him. She could barely see him but she knew he would be there, blue eyes glinting as he looked at her, a grin on his face.....Brightshadow continued, "Well, things are getting kind of tense. Between the 6 of us, between the Clans, everything. And in the end friendship is all we have left. And love." he looked at her and Bramablepath realized what he was asking her to do. What she wanted more then anything. She looked at him and he continued, "And, well.....um...the thing is I was wondering if you felt the same way." he blurted. Bramblepath laughed. She felt Brightshadow shrink back and she leaned against him.
"Of course you stupid furball. I love you more then anything. And I always will." she meowed happily. Brightshadow purred. "Really? We can be mates? Forever?" she purred and twined her tail with his. "Of course silly! But it has to be our secret! Promise me!" He looked down at her. "I promise. Our secret. Our Oath."
They stared at the sky, thinking about what had happened and what it meant.
Bramblepath woke up and prepared to run to go on a patrol or something but then she relaxed. She, Leopardheart, and Brightshadow had promised to take the kits out to play while their mothers got some much needed rest. Then she remembered something about Brightshadow and the night before. She remebered their Oath and smiling, she turned to wake up her mate and sister.
The queens said good bye to the kits and Bramblepath led them up the ravine with Leopardheart and Brightshadow behind to help stragglers. All together there were 10 kits. Cinderkit, Spottedkit, and Maplekit were bouncing alongside their older sister. The younger kits Yewkit, Berrykit, Softkit, and Eaglekit were not far behind, trying to keep up with their older denmates. And to round it off the older kits Sunkit, Tigerkit, and Fleckkit were peppering Brightshadow with quistions.
"What's it like to be a warrior?"
"I want to be a warrior!"
Bramblepath laughed. She led the kits and her 2 friends over by the ShadowClan borders. The trio had found a perfect place to play, a mossy clearing with a small pool. Most of the kits ran to play but some stayed behind. Spottedkit and Cinderkit were still bouncing around Bramblepath and Maplekit had wandered up to a horsetail plant.
"Is this horsetail Bramblepath?" she asked
"Yes it is, good job Maplekit. Do you want to be a medicine cat?" Bramblepath replied.
Maplekit nodded her head but then Bramblepath smelled something disgusting and hostile. She tasted the air and recoiled in alarm.
Suddenly the beautiful clearing the cats were in didn't seem cozy or happy anymore. Bramblepath noticed just how closely the trees were packed, just how far away camp was. No one would escape. And then they were tapped. There was a patrol of about 10 ShadowClan cats.
Rowanstar was there along with her deputy Tawnypelt. Rowanclaw, Raincloud, Ivytail, Kinkfur, Tigerheart, Dawnpelt, Snowbird, and Toadfoot were there too. Bramblepath looked at Raincloud for help but she saw nothing in the spotted cats gaze but anger, but there was something even deeper. A warning?
"Only ShadowClan would attack a patrol with kits in it!" spat Leopardheart.
Tawnypelt looked shocked when she saw the terrified kittens behind the warriors but Russetstar looked pleased. "Well, you won't be fighting for your own lives then, will you?" she smirked. Then she gave a battle call.
Leopardheart ran towards the kits and pushed then into the trees. Cinderkit, Spottedkit, and Maplekit were trying to get out so they could fight but Leopardheart shoved them back. Bramblepath knew it was hopeless. Brightshadow was already tiring and Bramblepath could feel her wounds starting to take their toll. Just then she was shoved into the ferns by....Raincloud. Bramblepath tried to claw her former friend but Raincloud just ducked. "Look, where is your camp? I'll go fetch help!" Bramblepath was surprised but she told her friend where the camp was. Raincloud rushed away.
Bramblepath jumped back into the battle and she saw that her friends were losing. Badly. Brightshadow was hanging limply in Toadfoot's hold and Leopardheart was trying to fight 3 warriors at once. Bramblepath panicked. Her mate could die but her sister could die too. And the kits were in danger. She ran towards Leopardheart's attackers and started to fight them off when she heard a sound she had never felt so happy to hear.
Bramblestar's war cry.
Almost all of ThunderClan exploded from the bracken and ShadowClan yowled in surprise and fear. Some broke rank and ran but most of them jumped at their new enemies. The fighting seemed to be favoring ThunderClan and Bramblepath was thanking StarClan but then Leopardheart let out a shriek and Bramblepath spun around.
Leopardheart was on the ground, a gash in her neck spilling blood. So much blood...and Russetstar was stealing the kits! Bramblepath started towards the ShadowClan leader but was stopped by Toadfoot. While she sent the warrior yowling, back to camp Russetstar had gotten the kits to the ShadowClan border.
She yowled to get the fighting cats' attention. Everyone turned and the ThunderClan cats cried out. Russetstar sneered and said, "We have your kits ThunderClan! Let all of us go and give us your prey or we'll kill them!"
Everyone was shocked and no one spoke but then from the pile of kits there was a squeak, "I don't like this! Let's just go get them!"
Russetstar looked down at her pile of hostages and suddenly, with Spottedkit in the lead, Bramblepath's little sisters exploded from the pile, smacking the ShadowClan leader in the face. Pretty soon Russetstar was being attacked by many little kits, all of them squeking with pleasure.
ThuderClan was laughing openly and a few ShadowClan cats were grinning.
Bramblestar stepped forword, "My tiny warriors, relent." he said. More laughs as the kits scampered over bowing.
Bramblestar turned to Russetstar, "Well, we have learned a valuble lesson today haven't we Russetstar?" he meowed. "Never try to attack us again or we'll sic our kits on you! Beware their overexuberence!" ThunderClan was laughing and Russetstar steamed with anger. Then Maplekit, Cinderkit, and Spottedkit walked up to her.
"You guys should leave!" yowled Maplekit.
Spottedkit thrust her way to the ShadowClan leader and patted her head with her paw, "It is ok Russetstar. You will learn how to fight one day." now ShadowClan and ThunderClan were on the ground laughing.
Cinderkit stepped up, "You could be our apprentice!" and the 3 kits pranced around Russetstar shreiking "Russetpaw! Russetpaw!"
Russetstar yowled in pure hatred and ran away. After a short while the ShadowClan cats starggered back to camp, still laughing.
ThunderClan went back to have a feast in honor of 3 very brave kits.
Bramblepath settled down into her cozy nest. She hoped she dreamed again tonight. She missed Firestar and Feathertail.her training.
Bramblepath opened her eyes to the now familiar StarClan hunting grounds. Firestar was there, padding towards her. He dropped a mouse at her feet. Bramblepath ate it and it made her feel warm and powerful. She looked up and said thank you. He nodded.
The StarClan cat looked pleasent but his eyes were worried. Firestar looked worn out. His pelt huing from him in a way that didn't seem StarClanish at all.
"We have an important mission today." said Firestar "Blackstar has been missing for a long time and we need to find him. Quickly. I asked Spottedleaf to take over Raincloud's training but she's gone missing too. We have to find them."
There was a hint of desperation in Firetstar's tone but he continued, "You can find them."
Bramblepath nodded and concentrated. She could feel them, like a fire and it seemed to pull her forwards. She trotted around in a strange manner as she changed directions and the path grew more confusing but it ended at a place that Bramblepath had never seen before.
Firestar meowed, "Tigerstar has taken them. There is no hope."
They were looking at the Dark Forest.
Bramblepath gasped and Firestar turned to her, desperation in his eyes. "You have to find her. Save her! I mean...them! Don't let her-them fade away!"
He looked in her eyes with a crazed fire dancing in his.
"I promise," Bramblepath swore.
Leopardheart was fast asleep. She had many wounds and they hurt
But, she thought, as Sandstorm approached I was very risky in the battle.
When the she-cat reached Leopardheart she covered her in licks and Leopardheart's wounds faded away. Sandstorm smiled and led her to a small hole. Inside there was a very small moonstone that cast light around everything. Sandstorm sat and motioned for Leopardheart to do the same. Leopardheart complied and looked around but she snapped back to attention as Sandstorm began to speak, "Leopardheart, we have something important to tell you. You need to promise us something."
Leopardheart was puzzled. "What is it?" she asked curiously.
Sandstorm spoke again, "Bramblepath is a good sister and she is the natural leader of the group but we are worried that you are not stepping up to your responsbility. She makes the decisions, with the others but you say almost nothing! Why is this?"
Leopardheart lowered her head, "I feel like I have nothing to say."
Sandstorm shook her head, "But you do Leopardheart! You must speak out more. Accept your power, use it!"
Sandstorm turned her green gaze to Leopardheart, "Promise us!" she meowed.
She could feel the power coursing through her, and now she embraced it. She was ready to become a part of the phropecy.
"I promise." said Leopardheart.
Mossnight padded through the starry world alongside Tallstar. He was talking to her about the phropecy again.
"Mossnight, you are apart of great things...." said Tallstar. Mossnight stifled a yawn. She knew this was important and all but....wow. Tallstar could ramble. Tallstar must have noticed the expression on the young cats face because he said, "Let's leave it for tonight. Ok?"
As he padded away, Mossnight shot him a grateful glance.
Mossnight sat down and wondered what she should do. She couldn't wake up because the night wasn't over yet. She was about to try to catch up to Tallstar when a cat appeared on the horizon. When Mossnight peered closer she realized it was Feathertail, the cat who had first told her about her phropecy. Mossnight ran to meet Feathertail and Feathertail purred. Then she stopped and looked at Mossnight.
"Mossnight. I have something very important to ask you."
Mossnight looked up. "Yes?"
Feathertail looked pained as she said, "How is your grandpa, Crowfeather?"
Mossnight was surprised, "He is fine." she answered.
Feathertail looked a little happier and she said, "Promise me that you won't let anything bad happen to him!"
Mossnight was startled at the fierce tone Feathertail had used. She stuttered, "But why?"
Feathertail had already begun to pad away. She simply looked back at Mossnight with more pain in her eyes then anything could have described.
Mossnight whispered, "I promise."
Brightshadow bounded along with Graystripe. They stopped at a sparkling stream to take a drink. The water was cool and it filled Brightshadow up with energy. All Brightshadow wanted to do was run around but unfortunatly the other cat was sitting down. Brightshadow reluctantly settled down.
Graystripe was the first to speak, "We need to ask you something." he said.
Graystripe looked sad.
"Brightshadow. We are also aware of your....feelings for Bramblepath. You can't be with her! It would get in the way of the phropecy! You must leave her before it hurts too much to let go!" there was an understanding in his eyes. Brightshadow looked angry now.
"I will do your work but I won't let go of Bramblepath!" he seethed. Graystripe nodded but he looked sad. "Very well." he padded away. Brightshadow was thinking hard.
I can't let Bramblepath get hurt. They can make me do their work but they can't make me lose Bramblepath! I promise!
Scarshade was bursting with energy. She and Leopardstar were in the middle of a particulary hard sparring session. This time Leopardstar had invoited another cat and they were both trying to attack Scarshade. Leopardstar was trying to unbalance her while the other cat, Silverstream was clawing at her flank.
Spinning around Scarshade knocked Leopardstar off her paws and then turned and jumped on Silverstream. Silverstream yowled for the session to end.
The cats broke apart and Leopardstar smiled, "Nice job"
Then Silverstream smiled even bigger and said, "We have someone for you to meet."
A blue-gray she-cat stepped through the fronds.
"Hello Scarshade, my name is Bluestar. I'm your grandma."she said.
Scarshade felt a spark of recognition and leaped up "Hi!" she meowed. Bluestar laughed and grew serious.
"I'm afraid this is more then just a visit." she said. "I need to ask you something. All 3 of us have fallen in love outside the Clan and this important to all of us. While the Dark Forest attacks minds cats will begin to hate each other. You must try hard to hold the Clans together! If we let go of one another we will all be lost in the dark! Ask your friends for help. This is part of your mission. You must keep the forest in the light. Promise me!"
Scarshade held her head high and said in a clear voice, "I promise."
Raincloud ran through the shadowy forest, anxious to start training. She entered the usual clearing and all she saw was Hawkfrost.
She ran at him and attacked. he spun around and saw her. They rolled around laughing and play-fighting. Raincloud cuffed Hawkfrost over the ear. The dark warrior grunted and pretended to stagger around and then die. He let his tounge flop out and Raincloud giggled. She poked him and he didn't move. Then she turned around and left. Hawkfrost was puzzled but then he saw her running out of the ferns. She yowled and jumped on him. They laughed and went back to tusseling. They hadn't noticed Tigerstar walking in.
"Get up! Both of you!" the shocked cats stood up, their pelts dusty from their scuffle. "What's wrong with you?! You're supposed to be training, not jumping around like kits that ate to much catnip!"
The 2 cats hung their heads but then Hawkfrost said, "Say whatever you want Tigerstar. I...I like her and you can't stop me!"
Tigerstar looked so angry that even Hawkfrost shrank back. "You WILL stop seeing her or I will kill you both!!"
Hawkfrost hung his head and said, "Very well Tigerstar."
Tigerstar stalked away and Raincloud looked at Hawkfrost, "Why did you say that? I thought you loved me!" she prepared to walk off but Hawkfrost said,
"Wait! I told Tigerstar that but I still love you. We just have to keep our love a secret from now on. Ok?"
Raincloud looked happy, "I promise. We will be together forever." Their tails twined.
Spottedleaf cleared her head. It still hurt. If only I had some honey. she mused Then it wouldn't hurt so much... She heard a noise and turned. Blackstar was there too, claw marks all over his pelt.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
"I was attacked." she answered.
He shrugged "Me too." his face turned slightly concerned. "They didn't hurt you, did they?"
She shook her head, "They bumped me on the head but...wait. Who are they? Where are we? What's going on??!!"
Blackstar looked upset, "Tigerstar and Hawkfrost. Well, the other Dark Forest cats too. They sit guard. We're in a small cave but it's in the Dark Forest if that's what you mean. I don't know what they want. I was on my way to train Raincloud when they stopped me."
Spottedleaf groaned, "Me too!" then her eyes clouded and she whispered, "Poor Raincloud."
Blackstar looked unhappy and he said, "Don't expect to leave here. They don't have prey or streams here. We are lost."
Spottedleaf turned away to hide her tears and she heard Blackstar turn to go to his small nest. She looked up, "Oh Firestar. Hurry up and save me." she whispered. Then she turned and fell asleep in her awful predicament.
Although she thought It was nice to have Blackstar. She didn't want to be alone.
If you liked this read the sequel Faint Whispers