|Preceded by: |
|Survival||Succeded by: |
A warriors worth is not proved by their origin, but by their deeds......
Prologue - For Better or Worse - StarClan
For the second time in a few days, Bluestar stormed over to Tallstar, "How could you????" he looked at her,
"It's not my fault Shasta died!!!"
She rolled her eyes, "I ask you to help them and you send four cats to them. I think you've finally seen your mistake! Then, one of the cats DIES!!!"
Tallstar looked at her calmly, "Are you done?" she nodded, still fuming, "Well, I have a plan for them. More cats will join them. It will be hard and there may be deaths. But they'll make it. And the Clans will have much to do with their future."
Bluestar sighed and lowered her tail and head in a sign of defeat. Then she looked at the old WindClan leader again, "I hope you're happy. You've proven your point. Blackstar is still gloating but he's stopped doing it so much. But, whatever you're plan is, do it soon. Have mercy on these poor cats."
Tallstar nodded at Bluestar as she walked away. Then he looked in the pool at the 7 cats who were beginning to stir from their sleep. He leaned in and as if them could hear him, said, " You will have great destinies young cats. I promise, you will be fine. The Clans depend on you being strong. Hurry on your way. Shasta gave his life so you could survive. Make sure you honor his sacrifice by helping us."
Then, he turned and left the cats to their fate.
Chapter 1 - Weird - Moonbeam
It felt so strange. Being without Shasta I mean. I really liked him. As a friend I mean. Every once in a while, one of us will turn to ask him something and he's not there. Then we all are silent for a while. I just can't stop crying. He was terrified of dogs after what happened to his old mate, Seirra. And he would attack one for Joy. I looked at my best friend. She was walking in silence, her creamy pelt glowing dimly in the sunlight, her eyes red from the tears she shed in the night when she thought no one would hear or see.
I think his death affected her most. She had hated him until he died saving her. She thought we all blamed her and now won't speak. Well, she does. But she used to be an unstoppable talking machine. Now, she only talks when she has to.
We've been walking since sunrise. I don't know where we're headed, just that we're going to a safer place to live.
For a few days now, we had been heading towards where the sun falls. We didn't really know why or talk about it, just instinct drove us there. I kept walking but a curse pushed me back to the real world. I turned to see Josie hunched on the ground. Rosebud and Nicco were next to her. Her paw was bleeding badly. I looked at Gingersnap who had been leading us for the day. He sighed seeing Josie's injury. "We'd better find shelter."
We found a large cave and crowded in. There was plenty of room for us and we relaxed as if it was opur own home and not a forsaken cave. Chestnut simply fell on the floor, asleep. Rosebud went around, sweeping away cobwebs to get a cast ready for Josie. It was strange to see how we had all become accustomed to each other. I was about to get some moss when I heard a voice.
"What are you doing here?"
Chapter 2 - New Addition - Joy
I jumped as I heard the voice. I was closeest to the back of the cave but I was no where near it. I felt a claw slice slowly across my neck, "What have we here? Kittens far from home?"
I hissed, "No! We're just looking for a place to spend the night so leave us alone ya big furball!" I could feel the tom wheezily laughing, his whiskers brushed my head as they twitched in amusement. He meowed, "Settle down feisty!" as he stepped away from me, "I'm Hunter. This is Skye, my kit and his mate Fiona. My mate should be ariving soon. You can stay here for the night. Where ya heading?"
We setteled down as Moonbeam told Hunter about our plans. I looked at the cats carefully for the first time. Hunter was a black cat with a notch in his ear. Skye was a tortoishell tom, brown and black. His mate, Fiona, was smaller. She was a purplish gray tabby and she listened intently whenever her mate talked. Suddenly, we heard a rustle and a brown and white she-cat entered. This must be Skye's mother and Hunter's mate.
"Hi Summer!" Hunter called as the she-cat entered. "These are some cats just dropping by!" she nodded, "What are they doing?" she asked curiously. He smiled, "They're heading fr a new home!"
Summer gasped and the others beamed. I was puzzeled, "Why? Are you looking for one too?"
Summer shook her head and Hunter meowed, "No! We want to join you!"
Chapter 3 - Just...No - Gingersnap
Gah! More cats who wanted to join! That would make 12 of us- I bowed my head in sorrow. 11 of us. Rosebud clearly didn't want to discuss it at all. She smiled and bounded up to the cats, "Well, tomorrow we'll all leave, as happy as if we'd been denmates for moons!" Summer seemed stunned when Rosebud threw herself at the brown and white she-cat and licked her all over.
I laughed along with the others and then, when we regained our composure, we talks for a bit and went to sleep. But I couldn't fall asleep. I stayed awake, worrying.
Were we doing the right thing? Where would we go? Were there anymore cats who would join our group?
And the last, most important question: Will anyone else die?
I shook those thoughts away and looked at Moonbeam's sleeping form. The rise and fall of her flank calmed me and I lay back down.
Everything would be ok.
It had to be.
Chapter 4 - Setting Out, Setting Sun - Moonbeam
We woke up when the sun was just setting. I could tell that Gingersnap wanted to stay here for the night and leave in the morning but with the hot days of summer here, the best time to travel might be at night. Besides, I thought as we streached, the rogues wanted to leave. Summer and Hunter were whispering in excitement and Skye was clawing at the grass. Fiona said nothing but there was a light of excitement in her eyes. I wondered what had happened that made them want to leave so bad.
We started walking towards the horizon. After what felt like forever, the sun began to rise. And we saw what had been over the cliffs on the Horizon. It was beautiful.
The cliffs fell away into a sparkeling, vast, blue-green body of water. A few scarregly trees were on the cliff, forming a bit of a border between the water and us. There was sand all around us, occasionally lifted by the wind into swirling puffs that died away.
It was breath taking.
Most of the others were watching agape as I was but Joy focused on the distant Twolegs on the beach below us with a wistful look in her eyes. I knew she wouldn't do anything though. She owed that much to Shasta. Gingersnap was looking for a shelter as usual. He found one, "Over here!" he called, "We're lucky to get a den out here!" he added as we tore ourselves away from the veiw reluctantly.
We were just beginning to head into the small cave when I heard a voice behind us.
"Hey! Stop! Don't go in there!"
Chapter 5 - Again - Joy
I saw a black tom streaking towards us, amber eyes wide in alarm. "No!" he called again, "Don't!" We had already halted and he caught up to us, panting. I rolled me eyes, "Now what?" Moonbeam glared at me but I didn't cared. I had faced the temptation of Twolegs today and I didn't want to have anymore paitence. The tom looked hurt and a little hostile and I felt guilty. The black cat spoke in a quiet, accented voice, "That's my den. It's all I have. You may have it if you must. Please."
Moonbeam shook her head although Gingersnap and Skye looked like they were considering taking this cats only possesion. I hissed lowly at them as Moonbeam spoke, "No thank you. We thought it was abandoned. What is your name?" the cat looked happy we would not invade but upset that he had to talk more, "My name's Pitch." he told us reluctantly. Moonbeam was about to say something and I saw her eyes focus in on the scars on Pitch's sides, "What happened?" she asked worriedly.
Pitch looked frightened but he had to say something, "I....fall down the cliffs a lot." he told us sheepishly. Moonbeam's gaze softened, "Why don't you come with us?"
Pitch started to shake his head and sarcastically I meowed, "We won't take no for an answer!" he looked at me and nodded. Moonbeam growled at me and the others seemed to not care.
Wow, I didn't know this cat feared us that much!
Chapter 6 - Final Additions - Gingersnap
After that cat, what's his name? Pitch, yes. I wasn't prepared to let anymore strays join our group. But what are you supposed to do? Turn away cats in need of bad help? When 3 cats stepped out of the gloom, I knew in my heart that we had 4 new travelers. I leaned in with Moonbeam and Joy, "These are the last 4 cats! I don't care, no one else joins!" they nodded and turned back to the fog where the cats had appeared.
Two of them were quite alike. Their pelts and eyes were differnt but their slender bodies were the same, their eyes the same shape. One was a creamy golden she-cat with golden eyes and the other was ginger with green eyes. I looked at the other 2 cats. One was smaller, not a kitten but not a cat. Their ginger pelt blazed in a weak beam of sunlight, blue eyes flashed at the last cat, a brown and white she-cat with cold amber eyes.
I sighed and stepped up to them. Immediatly, the brown and white she-cat sideled up to me, "Listen," she hissed, "We're coming with your little posse. Like it or not. Deal?" I nodded and they followed us. The cream she-cat licked me, "Thanks. I'm Maysilee. My sister, Sam, is the ginger one. The small cat is Gingerpaw. She's a lost apprintice. That unpleasent bundle of fur is Amelia. She joined our group the same way as we did yours: uninvited.
I sighed and nodded. Maysilee was pretty but I had 4 more cats to put up with. And the brown and white one, Amelia, looked like a killer. I shuddered.
Chapter 7 - Forest - Moonbeam
I was walking next to one of our newest additions, Gingerpaw. Her head was down and she sniffeled every couple steps. "What's wrong?" I asked her. She sniffeled and looked at me, blue eyes round, "I was just apprinticed yesterday. Reedwhisker was showing me around. He told me that he was going back to camp and he wanted to see if I could get back by myself. I began my way back and all of a sudden-" she gasped, "Twolegs! They shouted and chased me. I ran as fast as I could! But they kept poking me and throwing things at me. And when I woke up. I was lost!" It sounded so much like my story I couldn't listen. I had to change the subject.
"Tell me about Clan life." I told Gingerpaw. Her eyes gleamed, all hints of sadness gone, "Well..." she began. Just then, there was a yowl up front.
I hurried to stand next to Guingersnap who had made the noise, "What is it?" he looked at me, "Nothing's wrong. I just need to talk with you." he pointed around with his nose, "Down there is a beach. There's lots of housefolk and the big water where the sun dies every night. We can't settle there. Over there are feilds with a few housefolk things. We could go there. And over there, is forest. Wild and harsh. It might be hard but we could-"
He stopped as we heard a cry, "Stop! Gingerpaw! Come back!" the ginger apprintice had raced frantically for the trees. I grabbed her by her scruff, "Where are you going?" I mumbled through her fur. She looked at me, "That's where I lived!" I sighed and looked at the others, "I guess we'll have to find a home there."
We began walking. Gingerpaw started to say something and her eyes were worried but Sam hushed her and we kept going.
Chapter 8 - Settle - Joy
We walked into the forest that Gingerpaw used to live in, feeling vunerable in the world of enclosure and shadows. The only one who really felt at home was Gingerpaw. She couldn't stop bouncing around and playing. I watched her, feeling slightly jealous. She was going back to her home with a bunch of friends to come with. I would never see my home again or the friends I left behind. Still, I couldn't help laughing as she bundeled into me, "Sorry!" she squeaked.
I laughed as she ran back up and stopped. Her eyes darted back and forth as leaves drifted to the ground. Finally, she leaped up and trapped a leaf. Her jumping skills were excellent and her pads were tough. She didn't cry out in pain as she landed on a tough stick.
We kept walking, the first place we reached was made of dense woodland. I saw a big oak and it reminded me of the one outside Shasta's house. My heart seared in grief. I turned away and Moonbeam pressed against me. i could tell by the slight dampness of her fur she had seen the tree and had wept slightly. I pushed away and bumnoed into something. It was a house! I was about to yowl in happiness, I could have housefolk again! But then I caught sight of the black, empty window. The path was overgrown with weeds. The place had been abandoned.
Josie let out a sigh next to me, "It's a perfect shelter!" she breathed. Everyone began entering. We had found a perfect place to stay. But a part of me felt as if I was being taunted and tested. I walked in slowly, not noticing the glowing amber eyes that watched us.