|Seeking Light Series|
|Preceded by: |
Riding the Wind
|Waking the Shadow||Succeded by: |
Chasing the Thunder
After many moons of living in a cruel WindClan, Icewhisker and Emberheart have had enough. But what will the cries of two young warriors do?
Chapter One - Dark Dreams - Icewhisker
I gasped to myself as I looked around.
Once again, I was surrounded by darkness- the only light in sight was a pale green light that emerged from the sickly fungus that dotted the tall, intimidating trees. I pricked my ears as I heard a soft pawstep- and darted behind the nearest tree as fast as I could. In silence, I watched as Blazefur emerged from the nearby trees, Brokenstar and a newcomer beside him.
"You understand your task, Shadowbreath?" Blazefur hissed, flicking his fire-like tail in annoyance. The black tom- Shadowbreath, nodded, and sighed.
"I have no choice in the matter, Blazefur. You have me under your disgusting little paw." Shadowbreath retorted, eyes blank as he spoke. Blazefur hissed, and pawed at the ground for a brief moment.
"Feel pain." Blazefur suddenly ordered. Shadowbreath let out a wail of horror, and collapsed. I watched, eyes wide, as Blazefur purred, and laughed as Shadowbreath struggled to get to his paws.
Blazefur sighed, clearly getting bored of Shadowbreath. "Stop."
Immediately, Shadowbreath's violent attack ceased. Eyes wide with pain, Shadowbreath got to his paws and sat down. "I'll get to your task immediately. Deathsong is by the Night-Tree, correct?"
Blazefur turned, and nodded. "Now leave, and don't come back until you find Deathsong."
Shadowbreath nodded, reluctantly, and ran into the darkness. I felt a pang of pity for him- after all, it was as if Blazefur had him under his control... did he?
I knew it was time for me to leave. I bit my shoulder, and almost instantly, I felt the light return to me.
As I got to my paws, I shuddered. Tonight was the Gathering. And sure enough, Thunderstar would say something to offend the other leaders. He never, ever, failed at upsetting them.
Shaking my head to relieve myself of last Gathering's memories, I padded out of the den and sighed with relief. Today wasn't my day to groom Thunderstar. Looking around for Roseclaw and Emberheart, I purred with excitement as I noticed Emberheart enter the camp, three plump mice dangling from his mouth. Minnowpool was by his side, as always, and Emberheart wore a smirk on his white-and-ginger face. I purred; Minnowpool seemed to be the only thing that could make my brother happy these days.
I shook my head- who had said that? Looking around, I confusedly padded towards Emberheart and licked his forehead. "Did you hear that?"
"Hear what?" Emberheart replied, dumbstruck.
"I just heard it again!" I protested, jumping to my paws. "Someone needs help!"
"Shut up, Icewhisker." came a growl from Branchwhisker. She stared at me for a few moments, then turned away, disappearing into the darkness of Thunderstar's den. I couldn't understand- why was I the only one hearing the cries for help?
I padded away, not wanting to answer any possible questions my brother might ask me. I sat down, by the entrance to our den, and closed my eyes. I didn't know why, but I wanted to go back to the Dark Forest. Shadowbreath and Blazefur intrigued me, and I had many questions I wanted to ask. But how would they react? Blazefur... he didn't seem quite so nasty once I got under his eyes. I noticed, for a brief moment, a flicker of sorrow the first time I had seen him. If he were truly evil, wouldn't he not experience sorrow?
I don't want to go to the Gathering tonight, I thought, grooming my tabby paws, I want to dream. I want to go back to the Dark Forest.
Suddenly, as if he were able to read my mind, Thunderstar called for a clan meeting. His powerful voice echoed throughout the clearing, his eyes blazing with fierceness. I slowly padded towards the Tall-Rock, WindClan's gathering place, and sat down, beside Minnowpool and Boneclaw. Thunderstar shifted uncomfortably atop the stone, and held his head high as a brown tabby she-cat brought him moss soaked with water. He sipped a bit of the water, and nodded.
"I have been thinking about the cats I wish to accompany me to the Gathering tonight- they shall be Brownbranch, Wildheart, Minnowpool and Emberheart. That will be all."
I felt my heart skip a beat.
I could sleep tonight.
And I could see the Dark Forest.
I dashed back to the Warriors Den, pacing uncomfortably for a few moments. Oh, how I wanted to sleep.. but if I slept now, at Sunhigh, Thunderstar would know... and he'd have me grooming him for a moon. Shuddering at the thought, I dashed out of the den.
I'd sleep later.
Chapter Two - Just an unordinary day - Emberheart
"I don't want to go to the gathering, that's just the thing!" I meowed, looking over at Minnowpool. She purred, then flicked her silver tail. I scowled in frustration. Why did she find my anger humorous?
Suddenly, we froze. The call of an eagle rang clear in my ears. Half-paralyzed with fear, I looked up, and gasped as I noticed a giant eagle swooping down, its sharp talons glittering in the sunlight.
Just as it approached, I realized that it was showing a weakness by decending- it revealed its neck and chest just as it swooped in to attack. Unsheathing my claws, I pounced on the eagle, swiftly delivering a bite to the neck. Adrenaline pumping through me, I continued to bite until the eagle let out one last shriek, and died.
Turning around, I laughed as I noticed Minnowpool staring at me, wide-eyed.
"How's that for hunter's instincts, huh?" I teased, flicking my tail as I dragged the eagle over to her. Minnowpool blinked, and purred as she recovered from her shock.
"Okay, okay. So you can hunt. Happy now?" Minnowpool meowed, her eyes still wide as she examined the eagle. I pushed it towards her, and turned, sniffing the air for any other traces of prey.
Minnowpool padded up to me, and sat down. "If I take this eagle, you won't have anything to take back, Emberheart." she whispered softly in my ear.
I shrugged. I would catch a mouse on the way back, and give that to Thunderstar. I had gone before without any food, after all.
"I'm fine, Minnowpool. Just go- Flamebird, Shinefeather and Goldentail must be starving by now. Plus I'd feel really guilty if I ate the food that could save your family's lives." I meowed, before dropping into a stalking position. I sniffed the air again, realizing that there was a squirrel nearby. Slowly approaching the scent, I skillfully tracked down and killed the squirrel before it could run.
Trotting back to Minnowpool, I looked up at the sky. It was a beautiful twilight, with the-
The Gathering! I thought, eyes widening. Without another word, we dashed off, back to the camp.
"You're late." Thunderstar hissed, coldly. I looked at my paws, attempting to avoid his heavy amber gaze, although it was futile.
Blinking back my emotions, I summed my strength, and stood up straight. "It was my fault, Thunderstar. I insisted on staying behind for extra prey..."
As I finished, Thunderstar's gaze shifted from me, to Minnowpool with the mouse and eagle. For a brief moment, I saw satisfaction in his eyes, before they returned to their normal, evil look.
"Very well. You'll be spending the Gathering in the Scar-Pit, Emberheart. As for Minnowpool, put that eagle in the fresh-kill pile and come." Thunderstar snarled. I gasped, and without hesitation, I followed the guards to the Scar-Pit. After all, I'd rather I go, then Minnowpool.
Casting a last glance at Minnowpool, I took a deep breath as they rolled the impossibly heavy stone out of the way... revealing ominous darkness.
I gasped, as a cat shoved me in, and all went black as they rolled the stone back in place.
I braced myself, for the first impossibly painful blow... but nothing happened.
Instead, I felt lightheaded. And then I fell into sleep.
Chapter Three - Caught in the Shadows - Icewhisker
I opened my eyes, purring in content as the shadows and darkness of the Forest in my dreams welcomed me. Feeling courageous, I took a small pawstep into the clearing, and wrapped my tail around my paws. I sat, gazing at the green fungus in silence, before sniffing the air.
Someone was behind me.
My heart began to beat faster. I jumped to my paws, and flung myself at the attacker before I could even realize who it was.
Suddenly, a burning pain soared through me. I yowled, as I collapsed at the ginger paws of Blazefur, who was examining me as he circled around my sore body.
"You're pretty good, for a novice." Blazefur meowed, softly, "You could have beaten me if I didn't have an unfair advantage."
I gasped, watching as Blazefur's whiskers went ablaze. The fire slowly crawled from his whiskers, to his muzzle, and onto his body... but it didn't hurt him at all. My eyes widened in wonder- how could he possibly do that? Feeling the pain leech out of my body, I got to my paws and nodded.
"How..." I began, unable to process the words.
Blazefur chuckled, and the fire disappeared as fast as it appeared. "Can I go on fire? Have you never been told the tales, kit? Of the falling moon... of Tigerstar's return?"
I shook my head. What was this cat talking about? Before I could say anything, Blazefur sat down and continued.
"Ruinstar. Snow That Covers Mountain. Bloodheart. Have you never heard the tale?" he meowed, calmly.
"I've heard of Ruinstar... how he went and saved the Clans from a rogue who threatened to the destroy the forest, but nothing more than that..." I trailed off, faint memories of Roseclaw telling me the tale as an apprentice.
Blazefur scowled. "The lies they've been telling you are awful. You must learn the truth, and I will not let you leave until you learn it."
And he told me everything.
The Council... the impossible powers... and how we were descendants of Ruinstar and Snow That Covers Mountain.
"It seems to be impossible, doesn't it?" Blazefur whispered in my ear, his voice soft, "But since I told you all this, would you tell me one thing...?"
I looked at my paws, before looking into Blazefur's soft green eyes. "What is it you need to know...?"
Blazefur hesitated, and turned away. For a brief moment, I was tempted to follow after him. But part of me kept me firmly planted to my spot. Quietly, I watched as Blazefur half-disappeared into the shadows, whispered something, then turned back.
"I need to know your greatest fear." he meowed, no expression in his voice. For a moment, I was too stunned to speak. But I answered, out of nowhere.
Blazefur smirked, and closed his eyes. Suddenly, he opened them- but no trace of their original green remained. Instead, they were completely white. My mouth open in a soundless yowl, I watched in horror as Blazefur spoke.
"Ewicxevpig, qobrxmig ay mxi Gbejv ojq Vjacf Kzoejv- I bound you to my service. From here until your death, you will be my servant." Blazefur commanded, "Now come to me."
I tried to fight it, but I padded straight up to Blazefur, my eyes filled with horror.
That was when I noticed him- black, rugged, and staring at me, his blue eyes filled with pity.
"I'm sorry, Icewhisker." Shadowbreath mouthed, before we were both forced to follow Blazefur into the seemingly endless darkness.