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Essay
This page contains a fan fiction written by Forestpaw13.
This page contains the opinions of the original author(s), and is not patrolled for factual accuracy.
Remember that this story is non-canon. It may contain false characters, plots, or locations.
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Part 1

Featuring: An introduction, the beginning of a war, a death, a foster family, a new home

Death's Diary: To Dusk

Her death was expected, like every creature.
Everything dies. I just help them die.
Some creatures, humans, mostly, cling on to life. I arrive too early, and I have to see their last moments.
* * *I've Noticed* * *
Everyone doesn't wish to die.
But everyone wants to remembered as good.
I see the colors first. In this story, at the end, I see white.
* * *White* * *
White, my friends, is the color of purity.
I see white the least.
And if you want to know what I look like, look in a mirror.
I look. Just. Like. You. But better.
I saw the subject of this story three times.
* * *Three Times* * *
Staring at her brother.
Staring at a ShadowClan cat.
When I collected her.
But of course, to learn the nature of all three deaths, you have to ignore me, and read between the lines.
Or directly on them, which, frankly, is much easier.
So, I'll do that.

The Great War

Forestpiv
I am walking to collect another soul. A young tom kit.
Two creatures stand next to the dead kit, a she-cat, and a she-kit.
"Night!" the she-kit wails.
"Be quiet, Dusk," the she-cat growls.
The she-kit buries her head in the dead tom kit's fur. "No," she complains. "It's too cold."
I feel my feet sinking into the snow, the ground, something that only happens when I become attached to the mortal world for too long.
"Come on," the she-cat pleads to Dusk. "We need to go, or ShadowClan will consider us as..."
I see three shapes over the snowy horizon. One is running faster then the other two.
As the first cat reaches the mother and daughter, his hackles raise. "You've left the camp?" he snarls. "Oh, you're in for it-"
"We're not WindClan," the she-cat mews quickly. "We're traveling through."
The cat slowly sheaths his claws. "Well, where are you headed?"
"ThunderClan," the she-cat meows. "Dusk needs a group of cats to care for her."
As the other two cats reach the trio, the new cat meows, "Well, what's with this?" He steps forward and paws the dead tom kit's body, previously named Night.
But, as I only know, a soul has no name.
"He died of cold," the she-cat whispers. Her voice breaks.
"Bury him," the tom cat commands the youngest cat.
"But, Blackclaw," the cat pleads.
"Stonepaw!" Blackclaw screeches.
Stonepaw steps forward reluctantly and picks up the dead body, causing Dusk to wail in pain. "No! Don't take Night!"
"He'll be safe in StarClan," Stonepaw mews quietly, so only the she-kit can hear. "He'll be okay."
Dusk's eyes shine with worry as Stonepaw retreats back to his comrades.
"Well, get going," Blackclaw mews to the traveling pair. "If you're found here, you'll be punished."
Dusk instantly scampers towards her mother, trembling in fear and in cold.
"Shh, Dusk, it's okay," her mother coos. "You'll be safe soon."
"ThunderClan's territory is that way," Blackclaw mews briskly. "Once you cross the river, you will be safe."
He calls Stonepaw, carrying the tom kit's body, and the unnamed comrade to him, and they walk away, tails held high.
"ShadowClan," the she-cat growls. "Dusk, watch out for them. They are bad, bad cats. Never forget that."

Foster Family

Dusk is marched to the ThunderClan camp.
A cat is sitting guard outside.
"Please, we need to speak to whoever's in charge," the she-cat mews.
The cat nods and steps aside. The she-cat leads Dusk through the tunnel, and they emerge into a camp surrounded by high rock walls.
Protected.
"Stay close to me," the she-cat murmurs to Dusk. "I don't want to lose you."
Dusk nods and obeys mutely.
A cat bounds up to the pair. "Am I taking this kit?"
"Are you Aspenheart?" the she-cat asks in reply.
The new she-cat nods. "Of course, mouse-brain. No other cat cares around here."
The she-cat is slightly taken aback. "I'm Dawn."
"And who is this?" Aspenheart asks.
"Her name is Dusk," Dawn murmurs.
"Is she WindClan?" Aspenheart asks quickly. "Because if-"
"She's not WindClan," Dawn growls, interrupting.
Dusk's eyes are wide. "Momma, where are we?"
"We're at your new home," Dawn replies quietly. "I'm sorry, but this cat is your Momma now."
Dusk hisses. "No!"
* * *She Knew* * *
Dusk knew that something was going on.
She wasn't sure what.
She didn't want to know.
Dawn's eyes are sad as she pushes Dusk to Aspenheart.
"No!" Dusk wails.
"I'm sorry," Dawn whispers.
She is gone.

New Home

"Come," Aspenheart mews. "Let us go to our den."
Usually, while at the Clans, I see that each rank sleeps together"- an apprentice sleeps with the paws, the warriors sleep together.
Now, apparently, it is different.
Aspenheart leads Dusk to a den underneath a rock, which is deep and divided in two by bracken.
"Aspenheart?" a voice mews cautiously.
"What, you mouse-brain?" Aspenheart spits.
Another cat appears. "Is this her?"
* * *About Larchpelt* * *
He is kind.
He has a history.
He hates Shadowstar.
"Of course, Larchpelt!" Aspenheart spits.
Larchpelt's eyes are wide as he stares at the kit.
"Well, what are you waiting for?" Aspenheart hisses. "Bring her inside."
Larchpelt helps herd Dusk inside.
"Heil Leiter," he murmurs. "Heil Leiter."

Part 2

Featuring: a new friend, a fun game, a new life

Death's Diary: Leiter

"Heil Leiter!" all the cats yowl. Tails straight up, tail-tips point to the right. A sign of respect.
Supposedly.
The Leiter stands on a large rock, looking down on all the cats. "Those rogues will never see us coming," he mews.
I stoop to pick up a soul.
"Scartail is dead!" a cat wails.
"He deserves it," Shadowstar growls.
The cats below sit and stare, stare at the cat that came to power. Their leader, their savior.
"What are the rogues doing now, Shadowstar?" a cat yowls. I recognize them to be Stonepaw.
Shadowstar's eyes gleam as he looks down on the young cat.
* * *Shadowstar* * *
He is known as the Leiter.
He blames WindClan for the Clan's previous troubles.
Every cat has another to blame.
"The rogues are getting ready to attack," Shadowstar replies.
"Where?" Blackclaw asks.
"RiverClan," the Leiter growls. "And we must protect our territory!"
There are low yowls of appreciation, but I see one cat that is not.
A ginger tabby tom. No cat notices as they prepare to throw off the rogues.

A New Name

"Dusk," a voice whispers.
She stretches her eyes open to meet her first morning in the ThunderClan camp. Aspenheart stands in front of her.
"I want you to come with me," Aspenheart commands.
Dusk stands obediently. Her foster mother is respectable, but not like Dawn, she thinks.
Aspenheart leads her to the center of the camp, where a strong-looking tom is waiting. "This is der Vater," she mews. "The father."
"Hello," he mews. "Call me Goldclaw."
Dusk nods.
"I want to give you a Clan name," Goldclaw meows.
* * *Clan Names* * *
Clan names are important to Goldclaw.
I get them confused and twisted up. Not that dead cats' names matter.
Because, as I mentioned before, souls have no names. Only bodies do.
Dusk looks up. "A Clan name?" she asks.
Goldclaw nods, his rust-colored fur rippling in the cold wind. "A Clan name, with an old ceremony."
"Ceremony?" Dusk squeaks. "D-does it involve blood?"
* * *Ceremonies* * *
Long ago, ceremonies were honorary. Every cat got at least one, if they lived long enough.
Now, the word "ceremony", in ShadowClan terms, is a curse.
A "ceremony" involves blood. Lots of it.
"No," Goldclaw snorted. "I would never sink as low as der Leiter."
Dusk's shoulders relax.
"You are now known as Duskpaw," Goldclaw mews, "as, in the Clans, you are old enough to become an apprentice."
Dusk feels nothing. Is this supposed to be good? she asks herself.
Life in the Clans may not be so good.

A Game

"Look outside," Larchpelt mews one day. "Look at all the apprentices playing their game."
Duskpaw follows his lead, and sees many apprentices pawing around a ball of moss. Two are guarding certain places.
"Go join them," Larchpelt whispers. "It'll be fun."
Duskpaw nods and runs to meet the other ThunderClan apprentices.
"Who are you?" one asks, annoyed.
"She's Duskpaw," another replies. "Here, Mosspaw, come away from there. Duskpaw, you're on Mosspaw's team."
There are groans from some cats.
Duskpaw bounds forward to guard the place.
"Okay, Duskpaw, don't let this ball of moss go by you," the nice apprentice mews.
Duskpaw nods.
"Go, Beechpaw!" Mosspaw spits.
Beechpaw runs forward, paws the ball as hard as he can...
It is in Duskpaw's mouth.
Beechpaw's jaw drops open.
* * *Beechpaw* * *
He is very proud.
He is very smart.
And he knew, straightaway, that he loved Duskpaw.
"Good job," an apprentice growls.
Duskpaw nods to them and walks to Beechpaw, whose pelt is standing on end.
"Am I good?" Duskpaw asks.
"Very," Beechpaw replies. "Very."

Mouse Bile

One morning, Larchpelt shoves a pile of leaves into Duskpaw's face.
"What?" Duskpaw asks.
"I want you to give these to Goldclaw," Larchpelt growls. "We get paid five mice a week, so don't slack off!"
Duskpaw's eyes widen, but she timidly picks up the package.
"Be careful," Aspenheart warns, "that's mouse bile."
Duskpaw nearly spits out the leaves, but she doesn't when Larchpelt glares at Aspenheart.
"Go," Larchpelt warns. "Or I'll claw you."
Duskpaw scampers out of the den and heads towards where she saw Goldclaw last- getting her Clan name.
When she arrives, Goldclaw is not there.
She sighs.
She sees, suddenly, Beechpaw, being led by another cat.
"Beechpaw!" Duskpaw calls, after setting down the leaves.
Beechpaw turns back. "What?"
"Where is Goldclaw's den?"
Beechpaw's eyes widen, but he does not reply.
"It's that way," the other cat mews. "At the very end. It's really big."
Duskpaw nods and and scampers on.
When she sees the largest den, Duskpaw sighs in relief, then goes to the entrance.
"Hello?" she calls timidly.
A cat- white and frail- appears at the entrance. I immediately recognize this cat as one to be knowledgeable, not old.
"What?" the white cat asks.
"I-I'm Duskpaw," Duskpaw says. "I- Larchpelt wanted this delivered."
The white cat purrs. "Of course, the mouse bile. I'll be right back with your mice."
Duskpaw skips in excitement. She is being paid for work!
The white cat arrives many heartbeats later, holding five mice by their tails. She drops them and says, "Here you go. I am Flakeheart, by the way," she adds.
Duskpaw nods. "Thank you, Flakeheart."
* * *A Lesson About Flakeheart* * *
She is frail.
Her only son died in battle against ShadowClan.
She considers Duskpaw to be her own.
Duskpaw picks up the mice and turns to leave, but Flakeheart calls after her, "Wait."
Duskpaw turns around and drops the mice. "What?"
"I want to show you something."
Duskpaw follows Flakeheart into the den. It is divided into five sections.
The smallest section is against a rock wall, in a crevice.
"Look," Flakeheart whispers.
Duskpaw gasps. There are tufts of fur all along the crevice. She can only imagine their owners.
"I want you to have one," Flakeheart murmurs. She pushes a black tuft of fur to a leaf, wraps it up, and pushes the tiny package to Duskpaw.
"Thank you," Duskpaw manages. She picks up the package and the mice and hurries out of the den.
Flakeheart stands at the entrance, watching.
Duskpaw goes home. Larchpelt takes the mice without a word. Duskpaw has already hidden the tuft- in a crevice in the wall of the den. Larchpelt will never find it.

Part 3

Featuring: The Hunter, revenge in the form of a freshly-caught mouse, a new friendship

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