A New Moon
Allegiances: Coming soon
Preceding: Snowsong's Secret
Succeeding: Coming soon
|The rouges have taken one step closer to attacking the Clans - this is the final battle. Cats are disappearing and dying. And Ripplepaw's told Snowsong's of a message, that will turn her life around. Will she be able to hide it from her Clan?|
Prologue EditA small dark tabby with white paws and muzzle sheathed and unsheathed his claws. They shone unnaturally, glinting in the pale yellow moonlight lethally. The claws were enforced with dog's claws. He was standing in a dark alley that stunk of Twoleg and rot. A massive black tom stood at his side.
In the corner of a box lay a broad-shouldered orange tabby tom. Blood spilled from a wound in his ripped open throat, the scarlet liquid pooling around his motionless body. His green eyes were glazed and he stunk of death. The black tom flicked his tail at the dead orange tabby.
"Percy. Should we move him away? I enjoyed watching Lily wailing, personally. And we should attack soon, before they gain force against us." the dark tom growled. His voice was low and deep.
The small tom nodded. "A wise decision, Dagger. But you failed to kill the Clan cats." The small tom's amber eyes flashed, and he raked his claws across the black tom's face. The tom held back a shriek as warm blood ran down his broad face.
He dipped his head in submission. "I'm sorry, Blood." He backed away.
"We will attack in a quarter of a moon. Ready our cats."
A lean white she-cat with dark, dark blue eyes stepped out from the shadows of a building. She was young, but her face was lined with bruises and scrapes, and her tail drooped below her rangy limbs. Her brilliant eyes gleamed as dully as the sickly moon. She was clearly undernourished and expecting kits. Her thin muscles trembled as she padded over to the small brown tabby and bowed, her thin but bloated belly swinging with each unsteady step. She rasped her bloody tongue over his head, but her mind fought back fury to show affection to this killing machine. He purred.
"When do the kits come, Blue?" His voice was hard and uncaring. Like his former mates, when his mate gave birth, he'd kill the weak ones and save only a single. The sick white she-cat coughed, racking her body into a spasm of jerks. She shuddered and composed herself. "Maybe in a quarter moon, Blood."
His eyes flashed with malice. He was going to kill his kits, and take over the Clan cats. All was going well.
"Oakblaze! Oakblaze!" Nightfern howled. Her handsome reddish-brown mate was nowhere to be seen as she scanned the unfamiliar territory. Twoleg places loomed above her slim silver head as she yowled in terror. A thin white she-cat shrieked as a small tabby ripped open her throat in a corner, snarling.
Nightfern woke up with a start. Just a dream, she thought. But it had been scary. Who was the white she-cat? Not Snowsong, for sure. Her former apprentice was brave and well-fed, not thin and desperate. She remembered when she had told Snowsong how she felt about her friend Goldenflower's mate, Ravenfeather.
Snowsong had had a look in her clear blue eyes- hurt, was it?- when she told her that she didn't like forbidden relationships.
Sure, her father was a loner and she had been a loner in kithood, but her mother had been captured and needed company. She was scared and lonely from when the Twolegs took her from ThunderClan. She couldn't blame her mother and father.
But Goldenflower had still been a ThunderClan warrior. Nightfern sighed. She was never going to fall asleep. Might as well take a walk to Twoleg place to see if the dream made sense. She stood up and brushed her tail gently across an unmoving cat sleeping next to her. Oakblaze, her loving mate. Nightfern pushed her muzzle into his warm fur and held back a purr as not to wake the others as his sweet scent wreathed around her. "I'll never lose you, Oakblaze. I promise." She padded halfway out of the den, watching Snowsong as her paws twitched in a corner. Eagleclaw and Birdsong, her siblings, were next to her. Her scent gave off bursts of distress.
Is she having a nightmare? Nightfern wondered. She softly prodded the beautiful white she-cat as she whimpered.
"Snowsong. Snowsong, wake up!" Snowsong opened her clear blue eyes and stared at Nightfern. "Wha- what happened?" Her voice was cracked with terror. Nightfern shushed her and rasped her tongue over her ear gently. Snowsong was a little kit again, terrified and innocent.
"Snowsong. Were you dreaming.... of Ripplepaw?" Her voice was gentle and understanding. Snowsong hesitated, and nodded, flicking her ears.
"He was drowning in the lake. I tried to save him. But... he... he was already gone." She stared up at her former mentor, grief clouding her gaze.
"It's not your fault," Nightfern whispered. "Come with me. I'm going for a walk."
Snowsong stood and padded after Nightfern as the dark-footed tabby made her way across the den. Nightfern's ears twitched and she stopped Snowsong with her tail. Snowsong spotted Mosspelt on guard duty. The blue-gray and white patched she-cat was tired, but not giving up as easily as Leopardfoot. The golden-brown tabby tom's eyes were closed, and his paws kept slipping on the rough grass.
"Some warrior..." muttered Nightfern. She walked up to Mosspelt, who regarded the silver tabby with alarmed blue eyes. "Why are you awake?" she asked.
"We are going for a walk. Let us through, please." Her voice was firm and commanding. Snowsong's eyes widened as Mosspelt nodded, seemingly in a trance, and stepped aside. Leopardfoot didn't do a thing.
"How did you do that?" she gasped as the two she-cats padded through the forest. Nightfern shrugged.
"When you're beautiful, smart, powerful, and have a voice like honey, cats will do what you want, sweetheart." Nightfern mewed. (lol)
"Fair enough." commented Snowsong.
"Wanna warm up?" asked Nightfern. Snowsong nodded. She really was cold.
Nightfern shook her head and sprang into a steady gallop towards Twoleg Place. Snowsong followed. The two she-cats merged, one pure white and one silver tabby.
Their pelts flowed, their eyes flashed, their ears twitched.
Nightfern stopped as the trees in the forest thinned out. "Entering Twoleg Place," she warned. Nightfern slowly walked out of the forest, poking her head out of the trees. "Safe." she murmured.
Snowsong padded along the hard black path, near white fences. Large Twoleg Houses loomed above her head. There were no stars. It was a silent night as the she-cats walked along the fence, thinking.
Nightfern was thinking about her dream. Snowsong was walking alongside her. She had to admire her former apprentice- she wasn't asking why they were in Twoleg Place. She sneezed as she passed a large, purple-leaved flower that reeked of sweetness. The ground was grey here, hard and strange under her dark paws. On the other side of the GreyPath was the forest. They were tall and bare. Snow heaped on top of the branches and an owl hooted.
They were stopped by a cheery meow. A unusual-colored she-cat was sitting on her fence, surveying the cats with interested light blue eyes.
"Hello! Where are your housefolk?" she asked. Snowsong stared at the she-cat. She was looked a bit like a tortoiseshell and white she-cat, but she was mostly white with clear black and gold patches. Very strange pelt color. She had a slender face and small paws.
"We don't have housefolk. We live in the forest." Nightfern snorted. The pretty she-cat looked at the Clan cats, and continued chattering happily.
"My name's Swan. Because of my pearly white pelt. See?" She turned around in the moonlight. It rippled off her pelt, showing her soft muscles.
This she-cat was very strange. Brain of cobwebs, no doubt.
"What does 'Swan' mean?" Snowsong asked. She tipped her head, puzzled.
"A swan is a beautiful bird. It's very large, and pure white, with a long neck and lots of shiny white feathers. They're stunning." she meowed.
Nightfern was about to take back her thoughts. She wasn't such a fluff brain.
Snowsong was looking interested. "Well, see you around, Swan." Snowsong called as she padded across the GreyPath towards the forest.
Nightfern thought about keeping on looking for a clue to her dream, but thought better of it and followed the ghost white she-cat into the forest.
When Snowsong had woken up a quarter of a moon ago, she had seen a terrible sight. Stormfall, the gray deputy, was sitting in the clearing. His amber eyes were filled with fury, like it was his fault he couldn't do anything.
He had been Ripplepaw's mentor, and taught him well. The beautiful white she-cat had play-fought with her best friend, and knew once he was a warrior he would be a dangerous opponent. But Ripplepaw's heart had lead him to kill himself, and his own worst enemy had been himself.
Snowsong still missed her best friend.
So, Stormfall was crushed that his lively apprentice was dead.
Now, as Nightfern and Snowsong's adventure of Twoleg place was over, Snowsong curled up in her moss bed and rested her head on her paws.
She had visited Bearclaw again in the last quarter moon, this time by the border of RiverClan. They had played in the water and slept together.
Tonight would be a Gathering- but since the moon was completely covered, it would be at the crack of dawn.
Snowsong sighed and closed her eyes again.
It was a while before they opened, but this time, she wasn't in her den. She was in a clearing, surrounded by sweet maple trees. The leaves were gold and red. The sun glowed in the distance, over tall mountains.
"Hello?" Snowsong called. "Where am I?" Her voice echoed through the clearing.
Her questions were answered.
"In StarClan." a deep voice mewed. Snowsong whirled around and fell to her belly with a cry. The cat who had spoken had a shining dark tortoiseshell pelt, and glimmering orange eyes.
"Please! Don't hurt me!" she begged Ripplepaw.
He stared at Snowsong with thoughtful eyes. "I would never hurt you, Snowsong." he whispered. Ripplepaw advanced towards her slowly.
"Why?" he asked. It was a simple question.
Snowsong couldn't answer it. "I... I don't know." she breathed. She slowly stood up, shaking her silky white fur. She was even more beautiful in StarClan then in real life, for her white pelt flashed with tiny golden stars and her blue eyes glowed with silver.
She turned and studied herself. Ripplepaw pushed his muzzle into her flank, shaking his head. She retreated, fear glazing her eyes. She watched the young tom warily, who gazed at her with such loving eyes.
Such grieving, love filled-eyes. Had Bearclaw ever looked at her like that? she wondered. She had a question for him.
"Why? Why do you love me?" she whispered. Ripplepaw lowered his head. "You were so kind and smart, and I thought you loved me too." he murmured.
"I would have been happy with you." she breathed. Her voice was soft, like the breezing willows.
"I know." said Ripplepaw. His eyes suddenly turned snow cold, flashing with fury. Snowsong scrambled back, bumping into a maple.
"I'm not mad at you right now," he growled. His white claws dug into the soft soil. He was distressed.
"But I do have a message for you." Snowsong listened.
Snowsong stared at Ripplepaw, horror clouding her gaze. Panic seized her. Her mind fought and whirled like a endless rainstorm, thundering and crashing and darkening thoughts.
"No! No, I can't have kits!" she screeched. "Please!"
Ripplepaw glared at her. "It was your choice. Every night you visited that... that RiverClan traitor, you betrayed your Clan." His voice was cold and harsh.
"What? How... how did you know about Bearclaw?" she whimpered. "I see you every night. Last night. The night before. Every single night, for a quarter moon." Ripplepaw said.
"But... but I can't... can't have kits. What will I tell the Clan?" She remembered the recent nights with Bearclaw at the RiverClan border and Gathering island. Snowsong looked down at herself. Ripplepaw was right. Her belly was swollen- the tiniest bit, but it was still rounded out in the sides.
"You figure it out. I can't help you." "But who will the father be?!" she cried. "I said figure it out. But I can tell you something important. DeathClan will come, and they will impact your life. Forever."
The forest around Snowsong whirled and turned, blurring into unrecognizable shapes, spinning and turning. Ripplepaw stayed where he was, as Snowsong's vision faded. He gazed into her eyes.
"It is time."
Snowsong gasped, and the world shook as she opened her eyes. She was back in the den. It was morning.
Light from the dawn sun burned into the room as she blinked and shaded her eyes. Next to her, Goldenflower stirred. "Oh, hi." She yawned, revealing small, sharp white teeth.
"'Good morning." Snowsong sighed. "Good dreams?" Goldenflower asked.
Snowsong walked into the clearing, out of the warriors den. She stopped in the entrance and stared around the clearing. It was two dawns after the dream with her dead friend. Goldenflower had been announced a proud queen, bearing Ravenfeather's kits. The lithe black tom was very proud, and lately on patrols had caught a lot more prey than usual.
Snowsong was ready to tell Hollystar that she was bearing kits. She wasn't sure how the leader would react- the Clan had so many queens it was hard to manage. Goldenflower, added to the nursery, ate especially a lot.
Firefur and Sandpool were sitting against the large log, sharing tongues. Three patrols were out for food, because the queens were needing it.
Bluefrost was comforting Stormfall in the corner, next to the hawthorn. Snowsong a bit of the she-cat's words.
"... You can't go on like this. We miss Ripplepaw, but you forget our son needs you. Featherpaw is your son. Please. Love, move on..." the blue-grey she-cat pleaded with Stormfall. The sturdy grey tom hesitated, a flexed his shoulder.
"It's hard, Bluefrost! I need to put the Clan first..." Snowsong couldn't bear it. She wrenched her gaze from the mates, and saw Mistpaw speaking with Swallowflight, grooming each other's fur. The black-and-white she-cat was spending more and more time with the wise green-eyed warrior.
Mistpaw murmured something, and Swallowflight's gaze softened. She paused, and turned around, catching Snowsong's eyes. Her amber eyes were filled with rage and fury so strong, it blew Snowsong's mind. Mistpaw's fur didn't bristle, but her eyes was clouded with sorrow and sadness, too. Mistpaw narrowed her eyes, before turning back to Swallowflight and rasping his head.
Snowsong shivered. Why did Mistpaw look at her like that? She heard pawsteps behind her and saw Nightfern pushing her way through the den. "What was that all about?" she growled.
"I... I don't know." admitted Snowsong. The silver tabby watched Mistpaw. "Are you going to Hollystar?" asked Nightfern. "Yeah. I need to tell her some news." Nightfern nodded. "Kay. See you around. I'm meeting Oakblaze near the shore."
Nightfern dipped her head and padded towards the bramble entrance. Snowsong stared after her former mentor, filled with a burning longing.
Why is her love so easy? Because mine is forbidden.
Snowsong sighed unhappily, but looked down at her belly and gave it a protective lick.
"I will do anything to help you." she whispered, before walking out of the entrance and padding to Hollystar's den under High Rock.
"Hollystar?" she called quietly. She poked her head through the lichen. Hollystar was sitting in the middle of her den, speaking to Spottedstripe. The beautiful black-and-gold tabby looked worried, and her pelt sparked with distress.
Hollystar nodded to Spottedstripe. "I understand. Fawnpelt will check on her. Go call her." Spottedstripe dipped her head and passed Snowsong. "Hi, Snowsong."
"Hello, Spottedstripe." Spottedstripe nodded and exited the den. Hollystar looked up.
"Come in, Snowsong." Snowsong padded into the mossy den. "What's up?" asked the black she-cat.
Suddenly feeling sick, Snowsong stalled her reason for coming in. "What's wrong with Spottedstripe?" she asked quietly.
"Ivykit's got whitecough. It's not uncommon. We are in leafbare. Hopefully, it should be gone in a quarter moon." Her voice was crisp, and undistracted.
"Well? I know you're not here to ask me that." Hollystar mewed.
"Oh, yeah. Sorry. I'm afraid lots of cats are going to be angry at me. Well, the thing is-"
Her voice was cut off. "You're having kits?" asked Hollystar. Snowsong stared at her in surprise. "How do you know?" she quipped.
"You're pretty round, Snowsong. You must have been expecting long before now." Hollystar purred. "Congratulations. Who's the father?" she asked.
Fear welled inside of Snowsong. Her worst fear. She shifted uncomfortably, avoiding contact with her Clan leader.
"Do I have to tell?" She finally managed.
Hollystar looked at her. Amusement glowed in her shocking green eyes. "No, of course not. It's your secret, to keep save." she purred.
"Thanks Hollystar. When are you going to announce it?"
"Right now. And don't worry about cats being angry. They'll have to answer to me."
Snowsong followed Hollystar out of the den nervously. She didn't know what to expect. The sun outside wasn't so cold anymore, and the frost on High Rock was melting.
Using the rocks cleverly assembled to make a path of stairs leading to the top of the den, Snowsong leaped after Hollystar. Up here, she could see the whole camp:
Goldenflower, who was looking up curiously and making her way towards the rock, Ravenfeather at her pawsteps; Mosspelt grooming herself; Lionleaf and Fernpelt sharing tongues, next to Sandpool and Firefur. Many cats had noticed.
Hollystar yowled. "Cats of ThunderClan! We have a Clan meeting!" The camp buzzed, and soon all queens and warriors, as well as elders and apprentices, were gathered 'round.
"Today will be another successful day for ThunderClan. We will be welcoming a new queen. Snowsong." she mewed loudly.
Snowsong looked around. Lionleaf and most of the cats looked pleased, but Mosspelt, Mistpaw, Specklewing, and several others looked disappointed.
"Another queen? It's the middle of leaf-bare." growled Mistpaw under her breath. Swallowflight rasped her head. "Mist, be happy. More kits."
Mistpaw looked up and turned her gaze on Snowsong sitting high, with her chin raised defiantly. Her eyes burned through Snowsong like acid through a leaf, and just as angrily.
What's wrong with her? Wondered Snowsong.
Does she know?
Snowsong fought silently with herself for a heartbeat. She can't know! A darker voice in her head argued. Oh, yes she can! What if she watched?
Stop it! Snowsong took control and struggled to listen to the Clan meeting.
"We welcome Snowsong to our queens. Clan meeting over." Hollystar nodded and leaped off High Rock, beaconing to Stormfall and leading her deputy out of camp.
Snowsong slowly descended, and waited for her Clanmates to make a move. Goldenflower padded up to Snowsong, purring.
"Congratulations, Snowsong!" Goldenflower mewed. The pregnant tortoiseshell was pleased and round. Snowsong sagged with relief. At least someone appreciated her and her unborn kits.
"Thanks, Goldenflower. I guess we'll be denmates for the next moon." Snowsong replied. She was nervous and scared. She had broken the rules.
"Come on, I'll show you were you will be sleeping." Goldenflower mewed.
"If you don't mind, I'd like to sleep in a nest next to yours." Snowsong replied. This gentle tortoiseshell calmed her, for some reason.
Goldenflower nodded. "First time mothers must stay together. By the way, who's the father?" she quipped.
Snowsong's blue eyes widened, and her muscles tensed.
I can't let her know! Her mind screamed.
Quickly, she said, "Thanks, Goldenflower. I really appreciate it."
She looked around, pretending she didn't hear her, and saw Nightfern talking to her mate, coming into camp. She walked towards them.
Nightfern, wrenching her gaze from Oakblaze, saw Snowsong. "Hi, Nightfern. I'm a queen."
Nightfern's jaw dropped. "Um... congratulations! Who's the father? I never really saw you with any connection with any cat here. Well, maybe Ripplepaw."
Oakblaze pushed his mate playfully. "Gosh, Night. You're scaring the poor thing." The handsome reddish-brown tom rubbed his cheek against Nightfern's.
"I prefer not to tell." whispered Snowsong. Nightfern looked deep into Snowsong's eyes. Quietly, she led Snowsong into the hawthorn, brushing her tail-tip against Oakblaze's to stay put.
In the private corner, Nightfern watched her former apprentice shift uncomfortably.
"Are they Ripplepaw's?" Nightfern asked seriously. The silver tabby curled her tail on her paws. "It's okay to tell me, you know. You and Ripplepaw were young, but I won't tell anyone." she breathed.
Struggling, Snowsong nodded.
"Yes. My kits are Ripplepaw's."
Snowsong couldn't believe what she had just done. Ripplepaw is going to kill you! her mind snarled. Her breathing shallowed, and her heart pounded like a flying bird's.
Nightfern simply nodded. "Can I tell you something?" she asked. Snowsong narrowed her eyes. What would this honorable warrior want to tell her? "Yes." Snowsong replied.
She took a deep breath. "Oakblaze and I have decided not to have kits for a long time." Snowsong shrugged. "It's not bad." Snowsong said. Nightfern relaxed.
"Awesome. Bye Snowsong." she called as she stood up and padded towards her mate.
Snowsong sagged with relief, and padded to the nursery.
Goldenflower was sitting alone. Willowfern, Spottedstripe, Creamsplash, and Featherfoot were sleeping soundly, with their kits by their sides.
"May I come in?" whispered Snowsong, sticking her head inside. Goldenflower looked up. "Of course. Come in." Snowsong walked in quietly and headed towards Goldenflower. She lay down on her side, letting her belly lie against the warm moss. Goldenflower stretched over Snowsong's slender body and began to groom her fur. Snowsong let her head lay down on covering, and the gratefulness of comfort finally washed over her.
Snowsong woke up an eternity later. She and Goldenflower had slept for the whole day. It was sunset. She blinked. Only she and Goldenflower were in the nursery. The older queens had went to stretch their legs. Goldenflower was looking outside the nursery, a curious look on her face. She turned back when she heard Snowsong. Snowsong yawned, just as a black tom pelted into the nursery and started yowling his whole stupid head off. Snowsong held back a growl. Goldenflower stared at the cat. Ravenfeather was probably screeching that Goldenflower was in labor. She thought. Until she actually heard his ruckus.
"Firefur's dead!" he yowled.
Goldenflower leaped up and pelted out of the den, Snowsong at her paws. There, in the clearing, the whole Clan was circled around a figure. Snowsong pushed her way to the front, causing a cat to snarl as she murmured a low, "Sorry."
Firefur was laying, limp in the clearing. His handsome face was severely clawed out. Tufts of his flame-colored fur was ripped out to the skin. His pelt was darker red, with blood. Dirt and leaves were caught in what remained of his fur. One of his eyes were missing, showing only an empty socket.
Snowsong held back a vomit as Sandpool became to scream. "No! Firefur!" she wailed. The pale ginger she-cat's light eyes were bewildered, just like Dappleleaf's. "He said he was hunting! He said he'd be back!" she screeched, crying and wailing for her dead mate. Her claws kneaded against the grass, tearing the roots.
Snowsong brushed her pelt against hers. "I'm so sorry. I felt like this, too." Tears streamed across her sharply defined face. "Why? Why Firefur?" she whispered. Snowsong curled her slender tail around Sandpool's shoulders. "Let's get some rest. It's been a long day... you need it." Guiding Sandpool away from the shocked whispers and glances, she led the tabby she-cat into the empty nursery. "You're going to sleep with me tonight. Okay?" Sandpool's eyes were a pale, pale green. "Okay." she whispered.
Hours later, Snowsong woke up from a deep sleep. The warm, ruffled patch of fur where Sandpool had laid her head was flat and cold. Sandpool was gone. "Goldenflower," she hissed. The tortoiseshell she-cat lifted her head and blinked sleepily. "What's up?"
"Sandpool's gone." Goldenflower leaped from her nest. "I know." she said quietly. "She left five minutes ago. I wanted to give her some time before I followed her, so she wouldn't scent me. I'm going to follow her."
Snowsong nodded as Goldenflower flipped around and stalked out the nursery entrance.
Snowsong padded anxiously on the outside of the nursery, waiting for Goldenflower to come back, safe, with Sandpool.
The camp was nervous; she could tell. Eyes flashed warily, the musky scent of fear crept down Snowsong's throat. Cats slinked across the clearing, bellies close to the ground, and gossip traveled around the camp faster than Nightfern could charm a tom.
A dark brown kit was sitting inside the log in the clearing, with green, blue, yellow, and amber eyes staring at him. "And a huge, out-of-control bird with gigantic teeth and claws, like, bolted after Firefur and then tumbled over him, ripping him apart with his huge, sharp, dangerous claws-"
"Hawkkit!" Snowsong snarled. "Stop spreading those ridiculous rumors, now!" Hawkkit stared at the snow-white queen with eyes wide as an owls and then scampered out, the other kits following behind.
Snowsong sighed. She hadn't meant to snap like that. A couple cats gazed at her, caution in their eyes. Snowsong sat down in the patch of sunlight, with her tail curled neatly around her small paws, and felt a warm breeze flit through her pelt. Leaf-bare was ending, soon. In a moon or so. A yowl sounded from the entrance of camp. Snapping her head up, Snowsong's eyes widened as she watched most of the warriors cram around it, blocking who was at the entrance.
A blur of black pelted out of the leader's den- Hollystar. Hollystar snarled, and the warriors and queens moved- making a path. A tortoiseshell pelt walked through, in her jaws a motionless body of pale ginger fur.
Snowsong felt faint. Two deaths. One of a friend. This surely couldn't be happening. It was a dream.
Wake up, wake up, wake up! she mentally screamed.
She never did. She already was.
After Sandpool's vigil, Snowsong padded heavily to her den and rolled on her side, closing her eyes. She could already hear the kits kicking inside her. Bearclaw would be so proud...
Bearclaw! Mousedung! She's forgotten to tell him.
Well, now wasn't the time anyway... she drifted off to sleep.
When she opened her eyes, she was in a beautiful field off soft grass that nearly touched her long-furred belly. She felt a lot lighter, more free. She'd already had her kits!
Snowsong sniffed deeply. The air was amazing. She heard a kit's yowling sound from her left. Snapping her head, she spotted a dappled silver she-cat, a pure black tom with a white and golden paw, and a nearly identical pearly white she cat. They we not kits - they would have been new warriors!
Her children were purring and laughing in gentle mews as they bounded over the grass. A taller golden streaked tom sat off to the side, tail curled with a white she-cat...
It was her!
Snowsong heard a cough behind her and whipped around, shocked to see another Bearclaw . . . but this one wasn't older or younger. It was the real Bearclaw. A loving smile tugged on the side of his face as he bounded forward and touched noses with Snowsong, murmuring, "Are you with kits? Mine?"
Snowsong pushed her head into his chest, mumbling, "Yeah. What are we going to do? Is this a dream?" Bearclaw purred and tilted her chin up with his tail. "Anything is a dream when you're around, Snow. We'll get through this. We'll be together in the end." Snowsong smiled and winced as she felt her belly churn. "Ugh. Is it normal to have pain so fast? It's only been two-halves of a moon, I reckon."
Bearclaw frowned. "Go to Fawnpelt if it gets worse. Promise me. Promise you'll go." His voice was laced with concern and fear. "I can't live without you." Snowsong couldn't respond, except looking into his blue eyes and sighing happily. Nothing would ever be enough to say thank you. "I promise." she whispered.
And the two lovers sat side by side watching their kits and future selves until Clan life called them back from their dreams...
Snowsong yawned as she woke up. It was early morning, dawns after she had met Bearclaw in her dream. Mosspelt and Reedtail had been found dead in the river a couple days ago, and there had been a fox attack: Stormfall had been injured. The nursery was comfortable, with soft walls and vines, and moss that was ridiculously soft.
She looked around the nursery with sleepy eyes.
Next to her, Goldenflower stretched and yawned before rolling around and sighing happily.
Snowsong gazed around the nursery, standing up and leaping low over Amberheart and Moonkit.
She reached Creamsplash's nest, deep in the dark, warmest corner. The cream she-cat’s nest was cold, and she was gone.
Snowsong’s eyes widened. Where had the cream loner gone?
Snowsong got up and walked over to her denmate's nest.
"Creamsplash's gone!" mewed Goldenflower, who had just awoken. Amberheart leaped up on dark paws, as if she knew something was wrong all along.
All the queens woke up. Willowfern yawned and mewed. "Maybe she's just getting some fresh-kill." Meadowkit and Duskkit were sleeping by the crook of her belly, but didn’t wake up when she stood.
Snowsong stared at the pale gray queen. Maybe she was right. Maybe she had gone to get some food. Snowsong calmed down a little. She shook her head and began to groom herself.
Goldenflower wouldn’t buy it. She stood up and sniffed along the edges of the nest.
"But her nest is cold!" cried Goldenflower. The tortoiseshell queen was clearly distressed
Spottedstripe peered over Goldenflower’s head and took a long, deep sniff. The she-cat wasn’t taking a chance of waking up Hawkkit and Ivykit. The gold-and-black tabby nodded. "Goldenflower's right, the nest is cold, and her scent is stale."
Amberheart grew tense. "But she was here last night! Where could she have gone?"
"Where’s Violetkit and Iriskit?" asked Snowsong. The white she-cat walked over to the nest.
Amberheart began to call out the kits' names.
"Their scent is fresh." announced Goldenflower. "Then where are they?" asked Willowfern.
The nursery entrance trembled, and a beam of stronger light showed through. Two she-kits stepped inside.
"What's going on?" mewed Iriskit. The pale cream kit ran over to her nest. "Where's mama?"
Violetkit stepped inside after her sister. The little kit looked just like her mother. "I'm hungry!" she cried.
"Where were you?" asked Goldenflower. The two sisters looked at each other.
“How come you aren’t with Creamsplash?” asked Snowsong. She narrowed her eyes at the she-kits.
They looked uneasy. "Umm...w-we d-don't know." stammered Iriskit. Her blue eyes were wide, and her fear-scent was strong, as if she were lying.
"You can trust us. Please, where’s is your mother?" mewed Amberheart. The dark brown tabby tucked her kit, Moonkit, close to her belly.
Violetkit seemed to struggle. She didn't want to say a word but, she spilled it all out.
"We were playing with mama late last night in the forest, near camp. But then DeathClan came! And... and that’s the last thing we remember, except for Creamsplash calling us and telling us to go home. We ran back home as fast as we could because mama told us to run, run as fast as you can and don't come back!" Violetkit whimpered. Iriskit nestled next to her sister.
"They told us they were going to take Creamsplash. They didn't take us as long as we didn't say anything to anybody. They would kill us if they found out about this." she explained. Poor Iriskit was trembling in fear. Snowsong's heart softened and she beckoned the kits close to her, wrapping her tail around them and setting her chin down on the floor. The kits gratefully snuggled to her warmth and sighed sleepily before Violetkit muttered, anguish still in her voice,
"DeathClan is coming."
Snowsong's head spun and she gasped. "We must tell Hollystar!" Goldenflower snarled. Her cousin was enraged. "I'll go. We need to secure camp now." She darted out of the nursery, looping as her belly swung.
She stood up and put her face close to the kits, who were wide awake and shaking. "Listen to me. Stay with Spottedstripe, here, in the nursery. Stay with Hawkkit, Ivykit, Meadowkit, Duskkit, Moonkit, Iriskit, and Violetkit." They shrank to the ground and nodded before darting off to Spottedstripe, who was hiding in the darkness of the corner. She was the gentlest queen, but fercious when it came to protecting kits. She nodded to her and said, "I'll send a warrior to protect you soon." Willowheart moaned. "It can't be," she whispered, bristling.
"Alright. Be safe." Snowsong heard a screech outside and the sound of battle, but then Goldenflower ran in, her eyes dilated and scared. She fell to the ground, her body writhering. "My kits are coming!" she screeched. "Save her!" whimpered Amberheart.
Greenflower limped inside the nursery, her white-speckled muzzle flecked with blood. She was Goldenflower's grandmother and a respected Clan elder. "Leave!" she rasped. "I'll take care of her; go fight!"
Snowsong, Amberheart, and Willowfern shot out of the nursery, unsheating claws. DeathClan was already here. They swarmed the camp in tides, forcing elders to scatter and warriors to fight. She she-cats split up and a rogue slammed into Snowsong's shoulder, leaving her gasping for air as she reared up and fought furiously. It was a black tom with a red collar, blood spiking his fur. He slashed at her as she snarled and batted paws at him. It was a fair fight, but then a light cream she-cat jumped on Snowsong from behind. She fell to her belly, quieting a low groan as she curled up, trying to protect her kits.
Snowsong spotted Pantherpaw sneak out the camp and run off into the forest. The little dark tom's eyes were filled with crazed grief and his body shook. She closed her eyes as her attackers clawed her pelt above her, and thought, I pray to StarClan he was not a coward and ran away.
Snowsong didn't know how long she sat curled there, defeated and trying to rise, to fall back down on her belly, praying she wouldn't harm her kits. A tuft of fur was ripped from her back and she arched it, screaming. No cat could help her. They were all busy with their attackers.
And then, the pain was taken from her. She felt the weight above her lessen and a roar as she spotted Nightfern strike the cats so hard, they never stood up again. Nightfern crouched down to Snowsong, tears spilling behind wide blue eyes. "Snowsong! Are you okay?"
Snowsong's breathing was ragged. "I'm fine. Thank you." She struggled to stand up, her legs weak. Nightfern guided her into a corner. "Stay here until you get your breath back. It has to be fast. You're white, the trees are green, you get the point." Snowsong nodded at Nightfern, who's pelt was bloody and ragged. Her eyes were wild.
Nightfern ran back to battle, a dangerous cauterwaul erupting from her throat. Rogues formed a wide circle around her, wary after seeing her kill two DeathClan cats easily.
Snowsong gasped for breath for a few heartbeats before forcing herself up. Her belly lolled and she felt vomit creeping up her throat. A aching pain her stomach nearly brought her down again, but it wasn't time for her to give birth. It was too early. All around her, cats were fighting. It was clear ThunderClan was not winning.
Featherpaw was fighting a young DeathClan she-cat twice his size. His silky light gray pelt was torn and the she-cat was tearing it off in tufts. The medicine cat apprentice wasn't fit for fighting. As Snowsong watched, Oakblaze wrentched the she-cat off him, but it was too late. Featherpaw fell to the ground, motionless, a score of claw marks across his body. From a distance she heard Stormfall and Bluefrost's anguished cries as their son died before them.
Oakblaze snarled and flipped the she-cat over on her belly, growling so hard she saw his whole body tremble. He was a frightful tom as he took his revenge on the she-cat, and Snowsong could tell why Nightfern loved him so.
Snowsong darted out of the bushes, but she was slammed to the ground again, this time by a mud-colored she-cat. The cat giggled wickedly as she curved her claw around Snowsong's right eye and whispered, "Pretty girl, do you want to right eye gone, or the left?" Snowsong curled her lips into a snarl and answered sharply, "None." She pushed upward and hooked her claw around the she-cat's legs, tugging her forward until she fell and then biting down on her ear.
"Right ear, or left?" Snowsong taunted, which was very unlike her. The mud she-cat grinned again and twisted her body like a fish, slitering underneath Snowsong and raking her belly. Snowsong grunted and fought her again, flashing her claws. But Snowsong was slow and tired - if she wasn't expecting she could have felled the cat. The she-cat pushed Snowsong down to the ground with a hefty paw and lunged at her throat.
And just as Snowsong thought all was lost, a blur of rapid movement and a fearsome yowl sent the she-cat tearing across camp. Bearclaw was here. He bared his teeth and stood over Snowsong, looking unruffled yet raging. Bearclaw glanced at Snowsong, relief pooling in his gaze.
"Thank you," mewed Snowsong as she struggled to stand. Bearclaw tucked his head underneath her swollen stomach and brought her to her paws. He stared at Snowsong's belly briefly and responded, "We just got a report from Pantherpaw. He's brought all the Clans together to help." Snowsong felt faint. He was playing the just-another-Clan-cat role, but she didn't blame him. No one could find out about their relationship. His eyes became warm for just a second and he whispered, "I can't wait to see our kits. Stay safe - go to the nursery and hide. Love you." And then he was off, his golden pelt glistening as he yanked a tom off Amberheart, who, frankly, didn't look like she needed the help. She had a pile of moaning/dead cats around her.
Nightfern was grieving. She had seen her own brother, Nightbreeze, die under the claws of a DeathClan cat. A white tom, speckled with brown flecks, had ripped his throat out, and Nightbreeze crumpled to the floor, his lithe body limp.
There were so many cats . . . hundreds! The Clans had never had so many cats, but now that the other three Clans were here, it was more then evenly matched.
And Nightfern wanted her revenge. Her brother, his original name Breeze, his humor . . . gone, by the hands of a piece of filthy fox-dung.
Nightfern fought like the Clans might end - which, she thought with slight irony, might actually happen. Her best friends - Mothheart, golden and RiverClan; Strikeleaf, dark and ShadowClan; and Grayfawn, pale and WindClan, fought alongside her. They had burst from the bramble bush, apparently meeting each other on the way to the camp, and spotted a bloody Nightfern pinning down a tom and whispering in his ear, blood coating her claws.
That was Nightfern's signature move. Seduce, fight, seduce, and then kill or harm. It always worked, especially rogues who had probably never seen a remotely pretty she-cat in their lives.
Nightfern spotted the speckled tom - the killer, crouched and ready to launch himself at a fluffy gray and brown WindClan tom. She flicked her tail at her friends and they sprung at the speckled tom, Nightfern knocking him under his feet and slashing his legs. Strikeleaf raked her claws across his shoulders, painfully slow, while Grayfawn and Mothheart snarled and clawed him. The speckled tom, yowling in pain, broke into spams beneath them. Nightfern, eyes wild and crazed, ripped his throat out and he screamed endlessly and whispered in his ear. "You killed my brother like this. You deserve the same." The tom died gradually, moaning and gasping in pain as blood seeped from his throat and he jerked.
Oakblaze spotted Nightfern standing over the body of the tom and scurried over to her, slipping slightly on the slick grass, sodden in blood.
Nightfern pawed the grass. "I wouldn't kill so harshly," she whispered, a pain in her throat, "But he killed Nightbreeze." Nightfern burst into tears and buried her face in Oakblaze's broad, reddish shoulder. His tail stroked her head as he murmured in her ear, "It's all right, Fern. I understand." He shared his ancestor Oakheart's kindness, and Nightfern relished in it when she needed it. Oakblaze licked her cheek and Nightfern strength flooded through her again.
She pushed her shoulders back and managed a beautiful, feral smile. "Well, let's go murder Blood." Oakblaze flicked her shoulder. "C'mon." She nodded to her friends and Strikeleaf mewed, "We'll go finish off the rest." The dark tortoiseshell and her identical-looking sister, Firemoss, darted off toward her Clanmates. Mothheart and Grayfawn did the same. Oakblaze and Nightfern shoved their way through the thick battle, clenching their ears to deafen the screams of dying cats.
They scampered up HighRock where Blood was fighting Hollystar. The young leader's pelt was a slick, dark red, and she darted expertly out of Blood's claw length and returned. Hollystar was strong, but Blood was a nightmare. Nightfern pounced on the dark tabby from behind, noticing Hollystar's relieved sigh. Blood tried shaking Nightfern off but she was bigger then him. Oakblaze leaped out from behind Nightfern and dug his teeth into Blood's throat. The leader stuggled and thrashed, but collapsed under Nightfern's weight. She cut open his belly and murmured in his ear, "Cruel leader. It's time to go." Blood tried to bat her away, but blood gurgled out of his mouth and spilled out of his throat. Oakblaze shook his head back and forth, dragging Blood with him, until the DeathClan leader went limp and fell to the floor, gone.
Nightfern nudged his cold body forward to the edge of the rock and stood proudly, Oakblaze at her side. "Blood is dead," Oakblaze howled. "Give up." The DeathClan cats froze, shocked, and looked up to see Oakblaze shove his body. It tumbled to the floor, his dark eyes glassy, his body mangled. The remaining DeathClan cats screeched, and in a mirror image of the defeat of their former ancestors, BloodClan, thundered out.
The war was done.
I'd like to thank Cloudskye and all my adoring WSW friends. Love you! :P And, as always, my real-life love. Thanks, and I hoped you enjoyed it.