The Lunar Games
Darktail's rogues have won. The Clans have been forced to give up 5 apprentices every 12 moons for the new form of entertainment the Kin have created; the Lunar Games. Only one winner, only one survivor. Only one cursed to live with the haunting memories of the battle. And it seems like that survivor.. Isn't me.
This is a crossover of Warrior Cats and the Hunger Games.
This story isn't about me. I mean it is, but it isn't. I'm just a side character, okay? Telling the story of a cat more important than me. So if I get a few things wrong, don't judge me, alright? I'm just an innocent storyteller. You can't blame me. I guess we have to get to the story now. I'm Barkpaw, by the way. Barkpaw of ThunderClan. Er, what's left of ThunderClan.
I stand in a straight line, my tail straight up to show i'm listening. I'm not, but it's a sign they believe. My best bud, Applepaw, is standing next to me, with his chest puffed out and his eyes blank. He's just wondering when he could get back to hunting. I mean, that's all we do in ThunderClan. Hunt, drink, maybe eat, sleep, repeat. That's our code, our little code and rule we follow all paws.
Anyways, back to the main event here; the Selection. It's where the so called "Guardians" call out the new tributes - we call them sacrifices behind their backs - who are chosen to participate in the Lunar Games. I'm not usually anxious, but i'm anxious. I can feel the heat of fear radiating off of Applepaw's flank. That only makes me even more scared.
But hey, who cares when 5 of my best friends are about to die? I check off the names of the tributes in my head, going along with what the Alpha says. "Sparrowpaw," Oh great, my possible mate. Now who am I going to mate with when this round of torture is over?
"Firpaw," Seriously? He's only 7 moons, still has his kit fluff! The things the Kin does. Absolute bee-brains, if you ask me. Applepaw's confident breathing is disrupted slightly, I notice little things like that a lot. It happens a lot, too, doesn't take much to make Applepaw wince or shudder. I still remember when I stuffed that smashed beetle in his nest when we were kits. Everything was simple back then. I sigh wistfully, wishing I could bring back that innocence, that purity. But it's gone now.
"Juniperpaw," And so is Juniperpaw. Oh, she was kind, good organizer. Not that good a hunter though. Sad to see her go, of course. This is why you have to learn to block out all emotion. It's not easy to hunt while your sobs are scaring away all the prey. This apprentice named Puddlepaw did that once, and I haven't seen him since. Now it's Duskpaw who's really sad. Poor thing.
"Barkpaw," Ah, too- Wait, what? I'm in it!? I have to try hard as I can to stop from choking on air. Applepaw lets out a soft whimper next to me, and I wobble on my paws. Is the sun brighter, I think it's brighter now. I can't think I can't feel I can't breathe I need air this is air oh no oh no. Deep breathes, Barkpaw, deep breathes. In, out, in, out, i'm going to die soon I will be killed by somebody in cold blood oh no.
"and Applepaw." Wow, i'll be killed while my best friend watches it. What an ending. Atleast they don't have work in the Otherworld. It's just existing, not living, not surviving. Perfectly fine. I don't see any problems with it (except the fact I have to be killed to get there), but I do see Applepaw's legs buckle under him, as if he's hoping he'll drop dead on the spot.
Actually, that might not be such a bad idea.
The Alpha stops pacing, and raises his neck to look over all of us with disgust glinting in his eyes. He hates ThunderClan, but he got stuck with it, so we can't drop out of formation unless we want to end up like Puddlepaw. "The five of you will go home, get whatever you call a decent meal, get all pretty and fancy, and meet me at the Red Hill by sunhigh. You will meet your mentors there." He froze, adding a curt nod to make it look like he cared about us.
Then the whole group disbanded and the five of us rushed over into little groups that mumbled and sobbed and mourned us, even if we were still there. They acted like we already died, but we probably would die in the end, so that was fair.
The moment I went to my group with Applepaw, my mother threw herself at me. She was sobbing loudly, and I generally feared for her safety because of it. She was gasping, barely getting enough air to breath. I never objected to her licks or her frantic tail stroke or her cheek brushing mine, I was going to die and we all knew it, better to love me while I can love you back.
"Oh my Barky, my little Barky!" She yowled, anxiously fluffing up my sides and rubbing against me. Applepaw's mother did almost the same, but she only licked. It just proved how lucky I am in this Clan. I went over the process in my thoughts. First, we would go through the travel, where we would follow the Great Path that connected all the Clans. Then, we would be prepared and interviewed/interrogated for information about our lives and our goals and hope that other cats will be kind or rich enough to buy us something to keep us alive.
Doubt i'll have any of those, though, so it's not that useful for me.
After some gentle coaxing from my little brother, how she should think positive, how she can name her youngest, final kit after me, give me a legacy. This made her more upset, so he instead discussed how the market prices are really low, and we might get a whole fish and half a mouse for a couple fresh berries.
Marketing was my mother's strong suit. She knew good deals and bad deals, and she knew what food would get a high price and the good foods that were cheap. Trading was simple to her, but to me it's just pointless numbers and objects given to strangers for objects that may or may not make you sick. Confusing, but interesting. Sort of like my life to you.
Anyways, we all traveled back to our home, a quaint little crevice of rocks and leaves that has a fire burning constantly. My brother gets the timber wood from the Shadow Forest, and it makes me feel empty, knowing he'll have that burden and all of my burdens, plus taking care of my soon-to-be sibling, and my mother who'll be in denial knowing i'll be dead after I go. Four moons old and already mature as a twelve moon old.
Took them a minute to prepare what the Alpha called the beginnings of a decent meal. Like we've ever had one here in this dump. Five minutes in and we had to grab our items and trinkets and scoot to the market to beg for any morsels. Same idea in all our heads, a boneless fish mound. We do this every special occasion, which is anything vaguely interesting, so it isn't that special anymore. But I think this mound will be a little saltier.
Strolling past the expensive front stands we pushed our way towards the back, everybody taking a look at my twig pouch. It wasn't much, but it was worth gold in our Clan. It had a shell on it, glued with the sap from the river trees. A gift from my mother's mother. It was a shell pouch they sold in RiverClan.
For background reference to things, RiverClan is the Clan of healing. They trade herbs for fish, and even better herbs for bigger fish. The fishers are stationed everywhere there, but they all know their basics. It's made into games for the little kits to play. But it isn't fun and games and crafting, this kind of pouch was created for carrying Red Deaths, the cursed berries that kill anybody who eats their seeds. It's used to put cats out of their misery, but I think most of the crimes there are committed using Red Death seeds.
I made a conscious check every minute to make sure my pouch was still pressed against my flank. You could not imagine how many thieves we get in the Marketplace every day. My brother stopped me as I almost trampled him, my gaze focused on a stand that sold skull seasoning, but some of those skulls looked a little too small to be from a fox. I directed my eyes towards a booth my mother was at, where they gave her a fish for the last of our Catnip. We heard there are multiple possible mentors that have driven themself mad for a need for Catnip, and i've seen cats like that. That stall owner had the same look in his eye.
I shuddered, walking away side-by-side with my mother, anxiously awaiting my almost certain doom. Not even fish could calm me now. Not even my mother's fish. I was going to die, everybody knew it, and the fish just managed to do it before me. When we got home we all took the bones from our fish and ate in silence.
I felt like I was going to hurl.
"I don't care if he isn't ready, he needs to be awake!" The voice was sharp, a snarl spoken like poison from a snail. I groggily raised my head to see my mother, cowering in the corner as Thorn stood like a rock separating us. From what I could see, it looked as if he was halfway through shredding her spirits. Trying to stay strong, I pushed myself up and growled.
"Leave my mother alone!"