ALLEG IANCES THUNDERCLAN
LEADER Lionstar – golden tabby tom
DEPUTY Forestfall – brown tabby tom
MEDICINE CAT Flightfeather –old ginger and white she-cat with a muzzle gone grey with age Apprentice, Bluepaw
WARRIORS Nightfall – dark grey tom with black legs
Icepool – very pale cream she-cat with blue eyes
Darkstorm – brown tabby tom
Seedwhisker – pretty, pale grey she-cat
Rowanberry – dark ginger she-cat
Robinsong – reddish coloured tom
Silentspirit – grey she-cat with black flecks and tail
Snowbuzzard – long-haired white tom
Riverclaw – grey tom with blue eyes
Patchfoot – black and white tom
Tigerstripe – ginger tabby tom
Leafstep – tortoiseshell she-cat
APPRENTICES Bluepaw – blue-grey she-cat
Archpaw – grey tom with a black tail
Blackpaw – jet-black tom
Inkpaw – black she-cat with a white patch covering her eye and ear
QUEENS Daisynose – black and white she-cat mother of Bronzetail’s kits: Redkit (rusty brown coloured tom), Whitekit (tiny white she-cat)
Cloverpool – grey tabby she-cat
Appleseed – light ginger tabby she-cat
ELDERS Mossclaw – dark brown tom
Runningfox – ginger she-cat
Speckledflower – ginger she-cat with darker specks along her sides
LEADER Lightstar – beautiful cream she-cat with gold stripes DEPUTY Mousetail – musky brown she-cat MEDICINE CAT Darkpool – jet-black tom
WARRIORS Cloudstorm – long-haired grey tom
Deathclaw – black and white tom
Hollowheart – brown tabby tom
Foxwhisker – pretty ginger she-cat
Ravenflight – black she-cat
Yewtail – pale brown tabby she-cat
Elderflower – cream she-cat
Shadowstalker – dark grey tom
Chillheart – grey tom with blue eyes
Blackice – black and white she-cat
QUEENS Willowheart – pretty pale grey she-cat, mother of: Moonkit (grey tom), Starkit (light ginger tom) ELDERS
Redstorm – ginger tabby tom Cinderfur - gray tabby she-cat
CATS OUTSIDE THE CLANS Angel - cream kittypet
Smudge - small grey and white tom
Lily – pretty white she-cat
Utri – brown tabby tom
Lido – black and white she-cat
Bolta – black she-cat
Rory – ginger tom
Aidan – ginger tabby tom with three legs
Tawny – dark tortoiseshell she-cat with one eye
Contents Prologue – Broken Promises Chapter One – Lost Chapter Two – Forgotten and Found Chapter Three- The Uncovered Secret Chapter Four- Bolta’s Story Chapter Five – The Journey Begins Chapter Six – Truth Discovered Chapter Seven – The Lake Chapter Eight – The Clans Chapter Nine – The Gathering Chapter Ten – Fire, water and wind Chapter Eleven – The Moonpool Chapter Twelve – DeathClan Chapter Thirteen – HollyClan, JayClan and BoltaClan Chapter Fourteen – The Stone Hollow Chapter Fifteen – The Battle Chapter Sixteen – The End Chapter Seventeen – The Decision Chapter Eighteen – Gone Forever Epilogue – Bramble
“Jay,” Jay calmed slightly as she recognized Bolta’s voice. “Can you see me?” She stopped struggling, turning her head in the direction of Bolta’s voice. The truth was all she could see was blackness but she could imagine Bolta clearly. She imagined sleek her black fur and her amber eyes, standing uneasily by the doorway and staring at Jay. Jay knew she was staring at her because her fur had grown hot with the scorch of Bolta’s gaze.
“No,” Jay had decided against lying. “I can’t see you.”
Prologue Broken Promises
Leaves crunched under the she-cat’s paws as she streaked down the slope leading to Sky Oak. The snow had already started falling and a strong gust of wind hit her side. She could see the huge tree though. Just a few paces away... Thrusting her head inside the hollow trunk she saw with relief that her two kits lay unharmed and undiscovered in their makeshift nest. She pulled herself inside and curled up beside them. By the time she had gotten comfortable, she could no longer see more than a few tail-lengths outside for all the snow. Spending the night there seemed a good idea. The kits would freeze before they made it to the hollow. The tabby she-cat lapped soothingly at all of her kits. There were four of them; three she-cats and a tom. The first born was pale grey, the second was ginger tabby and the third was a big ginger tom. The fourth born was the weakest by far. She was a long-haired white she-cat. This would be Snowkit, she decided. The first kit would be Jadekit and the third, Bramblekit. The ginger tabby however seemed hardest to name. She looked exactly like herself and her brother Finn. But it was a she-cat so she couldn’t call it Finn. So she would be Hollykit. The she-cat closed her eyes, curling around her beloved kits. Sleep washed over her like a black wave. It had been a hard day. But tomorrow would be much harder...
Milky dawn light was now coming through the entrance to the Sky Oak. The air was cold and smelt like frozen water. Knowing it was time to go; she scooped up her kits and trudged out into the freezing leaf-bare day. It took a while to get back to camp but soon she was standing outside of the nursery. Taking a deep breath the queen pulled inside. Cloverpool was asleep beside Skykit. Skykit had been Cloverpool’s only kit. The undersized black and white tom had problems with breathing and was very weak. He probably would never be able to be a warrior. She lay her four kits down beside the sleeping queen. After, very careful not to wake Skykit, the tabby prodded Cloverpool awake. She blinked away sleep and looked up at the tabby with wide and confused green eyes. “What’s this Flora?” she asked. Then she gasped. “Are these your kits?” Flora nodded and then motioned her to keep quiet.
“No cat can know they are mine,” she whispered. “Tell Nightfall if you like. Their his kits anyway. Please look after them.”
“Of course I will,” Cloverpool murmured, looking down at the four newborns. “I’ll treat them as if they were my own. What are their names?”
“Jadekit, Hollykit, Bramblekit and Snowkit,” Flora mewed. “Thank you so much Cloverpool. I’ll never ever forget what you did for me.” Cloverpool purred and lapped the four kits.
“It’s no problem,” she meowed. “Skykit will be glad of the company.” But Flora could tell that it wouldn’t just be Skykit that would be glad of the company. She could tell that he only had a few more breaths left. Cloverpool would be glad of these kits when Skykit was gone. Flora gazed down at her four beloved kits for the last time. Then she pulled out of the nursery with the grief of a queen who had just lost her kits forever.
A dark tortoiseshell she-cat limped forwards through the snow. Her sides were stained scarlet and as she struggled on she left little drops of blood behind her. As she came into a pool of moonlight it became visible that she only had one eye. The other eye had been ripped from its socket. She looked odd in the darkness, with only one glowing amber eye, but that was an old injury. It had happened moons ago when she had first met Aidan. She had been stalking a mouse by the lake when she had heard rustling in a nearby bramble bush. Turning around she had seen two glowing green eyes and then a well-muscled tom stepped out. Her eyes had lingered on his missing front leg but she managed to ignore it.
“Who are you?” she snarled.
“This is my territory you know.” The ginger tabby hissed, the fur on his back rippling, his claws unsheathing. The she-cat stared for a second as his lips curled to show his teeth. He looked terrifying.
“I go where I want, thank you very much,” growled the tom, taking a step forwards. The she-cat moved closer too. Her fur was on end now, teeth bared and claws unsheathed, ready for battle. She crouched down to the forest floor, studying him closely. The tom copied. She leaped to the side, an instant too late. The tom had pinned her to the ground and was raking her belly fur with thorn-sharp claws. She let out a cry of pain and tried to throw him off. He was surprisingly strong, despite his missing leg. She tried again and again, but it was half-hearted. She was beginning to tire. The tom could sense it. He became more gentle and was about to back off when she leaped upwards. His claws slipped and slashed her eye. The she-cat howled in agony as her eye was taken out. Dizzy with pain she staggered around for a bit until the tom pressed against her side, supporting her.
“I’m so sorry!” he gasped, and she could actually feel the shock coming off of him. “I didn’t mean to...” She was trembling furiously, her vision was blurred.
“Its fine,” she meowed, her voice much higher than usual and shaking slightly. “I shouldn’t have gotten up like that.”
“Look, I’ll get you to shelter and make up for that mouse you almost had,” he meowed. “I’m Aidan by the way.”
“I’m Tawny,” she replied and let him carry her to safety. Now Tawny was desperately searching through the blizzard. She knew she couldn’t make it much further; if she could just find Aidan... Then she saw him, hurrying towards her. His green eyes were wide as they ran along her injured body. He pressed himself to her side and Tawny let herself fall into him.
“What where you doing?” Aidan demanded with a hint of a snarl in his voice.
“What do you think you were doing, endangering yourself and the kits?” Tawny sighed. She was deeply regretting the thought of going out had ever crossed her mind. If only she had left it to Aidan and the others... “I’m sorry,” she meowed tiredly. “I just didn’t think.”
“I know you didn’t!” snapped Aidan. “Now come. Bolta and Utri are waiting up ahead.” Tawny swayed slightly.
“What about the others?” she asked. “Are they all right?”
“Rory has sprained his paw and Lido has torn a claw but the rest are all right,” Aidan assured her. Tawny nodded and padded onwards. She could just make out the silhouettes of Bolta and Utri up ahead. Utri looked terrified, swinging around at the slightest sound. Bolta just sat still, staring ahead at nothing. Utri leaped forwards as Tawny and Aidan approached them.
“Are you both okay?” he demanded. Aidan nodded calmly. Utri relaxed slightly. “I’ve been so worried!” he cried. “Can we go now? It creeps me out to be in the dark when it’s snowing. You can’t see or scent anything!” Aidan nodded and Bolta padded to Tawny’s other side and pressed against her. Tawny let them carry her back to the old abandoned two-leg nest where they lived. They went single file through the crack in the wall and then Bolta and Aidan carried her up the steps to one of the rooms. Lily and Smudge sat sharing tongues on the window-ledge; Rory was licking his paw tenderly underneath them while Lido and Angel were curled up on the old cobwebbed sofa. Utri and Bolta went to join Lido and Angel while Aidan and Tawny curled up together on the armchair. Aidan began to lap soothingly at Tawny’s blood-stained fur and before she knew it she was fast asleep.
“They’re coming!” Tawny cried. Lily and Angel purred calmingly. Lily put her paw upon Tawny’s stomach and felt. A moment later Tawny scented a warm, new, milky smell and Angel put a tiny kitten in front of her nose. Tawny began to lap it and very soon it began to breathe. She purred in delight and rubbed her cheek against it. Very soon Angel gave her another kitten. She did the same.
“Oh,” gasped Lily suddenly. Tawny pricked her ears and craned her neck to look at the pale she-cat. Something was wrong... “I’m sorry Tawny...” Lily sighed. “These two are still-born.” Tawny felt a wave of grief and tried hard not to wail. How could she be upset about two kits she didn’t even know? But at the same time... Lily gave her the two dead kits. One was a ginger tom, the other a smoky grey she-cat. Tawny stared at them for a while and then began to clean their fur.
“Shall I get Aidan?” Angel asked.
“I think that’s it.” Tawny said nothing, still lapping the two tiny kittens’ fur.
“No,” she decided. “Tell him I’ve gone outside and I’ll be back in a moment. Say nothing about the dead kittens. I’ll bury them.” Tawny picked up the two dead kittens and padded outside on unsteady paws. She was unbelievably tired, but this was important. It had to be done. She set down the kits on the snow and began to dig a hole. She didn’t stop when she reached the grass. No fox will get my kits. Soon she had a deep hole. She picked up the first kit, the tom, and set him down at the bottom. Tawny grasped the other kit in her jaws and was about to lay her down when she squirmed in her mouth and gave a huge squeak. Tawny quickly put the she-cat back down on the snow and nosed the tom. It was stone cold. Even if it had been alive it was dead now. She began to put the earth and snow back over the hole. Tawny picked up the she-cat and hurried back inside. This kit needed warmth. And quickly...