In Your Arms
Series: Angel Series
Allegiances: Angel Series Allegiances
Succeeding: Your Guardian
|Morningkit is born to Thrushfeather and Cloudwhisker along with her sister, Splashkit. Morningkit begins to dream of strange cats and a prophecy is introduced to the young, new member of SandClan. She will be greatest leader in history.
But dangers lurk about that can change that. Will Morningkit fall and lose the track her destiny is in, or will she overcome all odds?
A ginger she-cat trudged tiredly over the rocks and stones that made up the landscape of the mountains. The she-cat breathed heavily as she took every step. Her pads were bruised and cut, and she had a wrenched claw on her front right paw.
"You know we can stop if you want to, Sandstar." a dark gray tom mewed as he supported some of Sandstar's weight on his shoulder.
"No, Stormface, I'll be fine. Just a little bit further, you know. I can feel it." Sandstar argued with her deputy. The idea of leaving the Lake had been wonderful once. Now, the thought of ever leaving the Lake brought yearning into the heart of every cat that left the Clans to establish new ones of their own in new territory.
"Sandstar, you've been saying that for the past five sunrises. Do you really believe we will ever reach the forest?" Stormface argued with his leader. Sandstar just shook her head.
"We'll be fine, honest."
"Fine? We already lost at least five cats from each group on this journey." Stormface growled and looked over his shoulder at his dying clanmates. "We're hungry and there's no sign of prey here on the mountains."
"If Firestar and our ancestors made it once, we can make it. I can feel we're getting nearer. I can smell it- I smell the scent of prey and oak trees." Sandstar was persistent, and she didn't plan on giving up on the journey she had planned. Many cats had followed her. Many from all the four Clans: WindClan, ShadowClan, RiverClan, and ThunderClan.
She was not giving up now.
Stormface sighed and his blue eyes looked determined. "I am your deputy. It is my duty to stand by you always. And that is what I'll do, Sandstar. I will stand by you until my dying breath."
"I got you, Thrushfeather!" Morningkit squeaked as she jumped onto her father. Thrushfeather playfully growled and turned belly-up.
"Oh no! Attack of the kits! Someone save-" Thrushfeather was cut off when Morningkit's sister, Splashkit, jumped up onto her father.
"Met too! Me too! I got Thrushfeather, too!" She squealed and playfully cuffed Thrushfeather's ears.
Morningkit giggled and looked admiringly at her sister. She was a silver and white tabby, just like their father. They looked identical if you didn't count their eyes color. Splashkit had pale yellow eyes like her mother, and Thrushfeather had green eyes.
"Morningkit! Splashkit! Get off of your father this instant! He's been out on so many patrols today, I don't even know if his paws lived through it all!" Cloudwhisker padded out of the nursery and stood at the entrance. She stared at her mate and kits with gentle pale yellow eyes that held love and affection.
"Now come on you two, it's time for your nap." The white queen padded over to the three cats and picked Morningkit up by the scruff.
"When I'm older, I'm never going to have a nap!" Morningkit grumbled softly and flicked her tail angrily.
"If I'm leader, I'm going to ban napping!" Splashkit announced proudly, puffing out her chest as she walked. Morningkit giggled with her sister as Cloudwhisker wriggled through the nursery entrance.
It was dimmer inside the nursery, but still held some substance of light that allowed the cats inside to see their way. The nursery was big and in one of the corners, it held a training area. Morningkit stared proudly at the corner with turquoise eyes. After all, she made the idea up.
Cloudwhisker set her mottled gray and white daughter down on a soft nest of dried grass, downy feathers, and soft moss. Splashkit joined her sister in the nest and curled around Morningkit in a tight ball. Morningkit opened her mouth and let out a big yawn. She licked her scruff and put her head gently on Splashkit's flank.
"Sleep my darlings, and before you know it, you'll have enough energy to take down more than just your father." Cloudwhisker whispered as she stroked her kits with her tail. Morningkit's eye lids began to droop until they felt as if they carried a million rocks.
Soon, Morningkit drifted into peaceful sleep.
Morningkit jumped in the air and swatted at a butterfly. The insect flew higher after every attempted swap. Morningkit hissed angrily and tried to jump high, but the butterfly was too high out of reach. The butterfly seemed to be mocking her.
No one is to mock me! I am at the top of the food chain, you fluttering beetle-brain! She growled to herself and kept swatting at the butterfly.
Morningkit stopped angrily and sat on the ground, surrounded by long, lush, swaying grass. It was taller than Thrushfeather! Where am I? Morningkit asked herself and stood up. She sniffed at one of the long blades of grass and flinched back. It smelled of cat!
Did I sleep walk and walk into another Clan's territory? She thought shakily. But it was impossible! None of the other Clan territories had this much lushes grass. The sun was bright and the rays made everything light up. Everything was clear and there was a river that ran through the middle of the beautiful field. The water sparkled brightly and the water flowed softly, making calming sounds.
Fish swam in the clear water with grace and passion. This was a beautiful place, but who did it belong to? Maybe Thrushfeather and Cloudwhisker gave it all to me! She thought for a moment. Yes! But where was Splashkit?
Maybe this is all for me. Maybe Thrushfeather and Cloudwhisker gave Splashkit some other field. Morningkit was enlightened by the idea of this whole beautiful haven being hers and hers only. But suddenly, a pang of loneliness stabbed her heart like a snake's tooth embedding someone skin.
Morningkit looked around, hoping some other cat would appear.
On cue, a beautiful, slender, sleek, black she-cat with dark blue eyes and small, neat ears appeared from across the river of glistening water.
"Hello, young one." greeted the she-cat calmly. Morningkit just growled and hissed.
"Hey, get off my territory! My mother and father gave it to me! Out you! Out!" Morningkit's mottled gray and white fur bristled and she unsheathed her claws in a vain attempt to look threatening.
But the black she-cat's eyes betrayed no fear. Just amusement.
"This land is everyone's territory. Yours and mine alike." She responded calmly. Her calm and soothing voice made Morningkit's fur flush and her claws to sheath. Morningkit, feeling less threatened, sat down, but still kept cautious just in case.
"I still don't know who you are." Morningkit mewed shyly and looked down at her paws.
"Little one, my name is Rainshadow. I am here to talk about a prophecy that foretells your future, little Morningkit."
Morningkit widened her eyes at the sound of her name. How did this strange yet beautiful cat know her name?
"How do you know my name?" Morningkit asked curiously.
Rainshadow smiled and said, "My dear, I am your ancestor. You come from a long line of great leaders that have been put down in history and their lives still live on in the stories you are told. Sandstar, for instance."
"Sandstar? I am related to Sandstar?" Morningkit jumped up and down in excitment. For Morningkit only being three moons old, she had a lot to brag about!
"Yes, my dear. You are also related to me. You see, I am Sandstar's sister and your father's mother. I died on the Second Journey, which Sandstar had made up. She wanted to leave her homeclan, and so did a lot of other cats. Cats from all Clans joined her, and made four individual groups that make up the Clans you know. I fell into a crevice in the ground when your father was a warrior." With every word Rainshadow said, it made Morningkit jump in awe and stare at her ancestor.
"So," Rainshadow mewed, "you are destined in a prophecy, like all the great leaders that are related to you."
And then she spoke of the prophecy.
"Like fire, you will burn through the forest. But beware, even the most strongest of flames can be diminished by water and rock." Rainshadow closed her eyes as she said the words to the prophecy and quickly blinked them open when she finished. "Morningkit, you have a great destiny ahead, but it can be easily took off track if you are not careful. You must not speak of this prophecy to anyone but your medicine cat. I have seen it many times over, a cat speaks of the prophecy to a goo friend or kin, and betrayal makes its way in. Be careful."
Rainshadow's image began to dissolve in the air and her sweet scent was the last to leave.
Morningkit jumped when she woke up. She quickly stood up, energized with the known fact that she was to be leader.
But I have to be careful, Morningkit remembered Rainshadow speaking of betrayal in friends and kin. Morningkit looked down at Splashkit and wondered how someone is capable of betraying their kin. That will never happen with me and Splashkit!
Morningkit's first instinct was to go to the medicine cat's den and console with Echoleaf. The pretty medicine cat must have gotten the message already.
Morningkit stretched and groomed herself a bit. She didn't want to look like a dirty furball when she was going to discuss something important with the medicine cat.
As Morningkit quietly exited the nursery, the rays of the sun dappled her pelt and warmed her to the bone. Her first new-leaf was coming, and she was ready for it! Morningkit quickly padded towards the medicine cats' den under Highrock, but the little mottled kit couldn't help but look up at the Highrock, which she will eventually be addressing to the Clan.
Morningkit looked back down and shot a quick glance through the camp. No sign of anybody. She picked up her pace and took off into a trot, climbing up onto Highrock. The air became less warmer, but not enough to declare it to be leaf-bare up there. Climbing was difficult, but Morningkit was determined to get up. And she did.
"Wow!" Morningkit gasped as she stood on top of Highrock. The scenery was beautiful. Morningkit could see past the gorse tunnel from there, and she caught a glimpse of vague figures moving through the undergrowth beyond camp.
"What are you doing up here?" mewed a voice behind Morningkit. Surpirised, Morningkit jumped and whisked around. There in front of her, stood the proud ginger shape of Sandstar.
"What are you doing up here, Morningkit?" The leader asked the kit gently. No sign of hostility or disappointment in her voice.
"I, er, was looking at the sky. It's very pretty." Morningkit lied and turned her head upaward to look at the cloudless sky.
"I just wish I can fly up there like a bird." she lied again. Lying to my Clan leader! I sure will be an honest leader, won't I? She mewed to herself disappointingly.
"Are you waiting to sprout wings like a bird by being up here?" Sandstar asked with a hint of amusement in her tone.
"No, Sandstar." Morningkit responded with a giggle. "I can dream, but I can't sprout wings!"
"Well, we better get you down from here, or else you won't here the last of it." Sandstar turned and flicked her tail for Morningkit to follow.
Thanks StarClan! Morningkit sighed and followed her leader down the rocks.
"Hey, Sandstar?" Morningkit mewed, "Is it true you're my kin?" She couldn't help but ask the question that pricked at her fur.
Sandstar stopped mid-step and turned around and sat down. "Yes. It's true. You see, my sister Rainshadow is your father's mother. Rainshadow died on the Second Journey, two sunrises after we had started." Sandstar's green eyes hazed with sorrow and rememberance.
Saddended, Morningkit sat right next to Sandstar and pushed her tiny muzzle into Sandstar's leg.
"Well, I have to go now, Sandstar. I have to speak with Echoleaf." Morningkit announced, standing up. Sandstar looked down at her and nodded. Morningkit nodded respectfully back and zoomed towards the medicine cats' den.
"Echoleaf?" Morningkit called for the medicine cat, "Echoleaf?"
"I'm here." Came a muffled voice form the back of the den. "I'll be right with you."
Morningkit sat down and looked around the den. It smelled of herbs and honey and the den had a little waterfall with Koi fish in it. Some kinds of jewels and diamonds were at the bottom that made the pool light up. Morningkit was on the egde, between pool and solid ground, when pawsteps approached.
"Why, hello, Morningkit, what brings you here?" inquired the pretty tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat. Behind her, Cavelight, Echoleaf's apprentice, was sorting herbs.
"We got a fresh new stock today while you were napping. So why did you come?" Echoleaf asked again.
"Oh, sorry! Well, can we talk in private?" Morningkit added in a whisper. Echoleaf nodded and turned to tell Cavelight to call her when she was done.
"Bye, Morningkit!" Cavelight called as the two she-cats exited the den. Morningkit flicked her ear to let the medicine cat apprentice know that she heard him.
"So, Morningkit," Echoleaf began when the two had reached the entrance to the gorse tunnel, "what did you want to talk about?"
"First of all, did you have a dream with a black cat with dark blue eyes?"
"Well, yes, actually. Her name is Rainshadow, and I right?"
"Well, I heard about the prophecy already, Morningkit. You don't need to worry about anything." Echoleaf reassured.
"Oh, gee, thanks." Morningkit flicked her tail and bounded away towards the apprentices' den, thinking of herself in there.
"You can't wait, huh?" mewed Frecklepaw from the inside of the den.
"How did you know it was me?" Morningkit asked as the dark gray, almost black, she-cat appeared from the den.
"Well, first of all, I could hear your pawsteps. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole of BrackenClan could hear you! And second of all, there are gaps in the walls of the den. Which reminds me, I have to inform Stormface abou that. Bye, Morningkit! Enjoy your dreaming!" Frecklepaw bounced away and met with the SandClan deputy, Stormface.
Stormface was a hadnsome, well-built, dark gray tom with a lighter face.
Morningkit's turquoise eyes turned cloudy with imagination. She would have the rank he has one day!
"What are you doing here, mange-pelt?" growled a voice from inside the den. A black figure appeared, and a ray of sun hit it. It was Darkpaw.
"Sure you're not talking about yourself, dog-dung?" Morningkit retorted. The black apprentice snorted and licked his paws. He's a real pain in the butt! Morningkit thought.
Saddened that her perfect day was destroyed by Darkpaw's presence, Morningkit decided to go back to the nursery. That's much better than hanging around Darkpaw!
The sunhigh patrol was entering camp. In it, was Appleblossom, Tunnelheart, Clovernose, Chestnutclaw, and Appleblossom's apprentice, Quickpaw.
"Hiya, Morningkit!" Greeted the ginger and white apprentice cheerfully. Morningkit nodded her head and darted towards the nursery.
Morningkit stepped inside and noticed that her mother and sister were awake. Splashkit was over at the training corner with Keblekit, the only other kit in the nursery.
Cloudwhisker and Mapleflower, Keblekit's mother, were chattering like crows side-by-side.
"Did you hear what happened in MeadowClan?" Cloudwhisker spoke.
"No, what?" Mapleflower cocked her head and flicked her ears.
"Well, they just lost a kit and their queen, Leafstem."
"Oh, StarClan put their souls at peace."
"But good news is, that BrackenClan have a new kit."
"Oh, StarClan, bless them!"
Morningkit rolled her eyes and went over to the training corner.
"Can I practice, too?" She asked as she neared the corner. Keblekit turned and nodded his head.
"Go on, Morningkit."
Morningkit nodded her head in grattitude and got into a crouch. She waggled her haunch, her eyes locked on the reeds they used for training. Morningkit took a deep breath and jumped, hooking the highest reed of them all. Keblekit's and Splashkit's eyes widened in surprise as their denmate took down the reed.
"Wow!" Keblekit exclaimed with wide amber eyes. "That was amazing! Splashkit, she officially broke your record!"
Splashkit was cheering Morningkit on and came over to her sister. "You were great!" She exclaimed proudly. "I'm glad you're my sister." She added with a lick on Morningkit's ear.
"Kits!" called Thrushfeather, who was entering the nursery.
"Daddy!" Splashkit and Morningkit both squeaked at the same time.
"Do you two want to come out exploring with me?" Thrushfeather surprised them with the exciting news. He looked over at his mate.
Cloudwhisker nodded her approval and both sisters yelped in excitment.
"Let's go!" Thrushfeather began to leave the nursery with the two sisters right behind him.
"Can I come too?" Keblekit pleaded. "Please?" Thrushfeather turned around.
Keblekit bounced around in pleasure.
"But you won't go unless you behave." Mapleflower scolded her kit. Keblekit stopped and followed Thrushfeather out of the den.
"Come on you three, before your mothers change their minds!" Thrushfeather called, stopping and waitnig for the three kits. Morningkit was breathing hard as they climbed over the ravine and trotted through the undergrowth. I imagined this to be a lot easier! She thought.
Keblekit wasn't having any difficulty at all. He strod through the forest as if he were a senior warrior and this was like a patrol. Keblekit was just a few sunrises younger than Splashkit and Morningkit, but he was sure a lot stronger.
"Come on, Morningkit! Look what we've found!" Splashkit called and disappeared behind a decaying log. The scent of pine was growing stronger as they went farther away from camp, and Morningkit caught the faint scents of prey and morning dew.
Morningkit climbed over the log and climbed down. Splashkit, Thrushfeather, and Keblekit were standing around something dark and small. The smell of prey overwhelmed the young mottled gray-and-white she-cat.
"What is it?" Morningkit inquired as she neared the group.
"It's a mouse!" Keblekit announced happily. "Let's play!"
"No!" Thrushfeather growled, "We do not play with food. Besides, this doesn't smell like SandClan at all. More like... like... BrackenClan?"
Suddenly, three unknown warriors jumped out from the tree line and surrounded the group. Trhushfeather growled and spat, fluffing out his silver and white tabby fur. Splashkit and Keblekit were hidden behind Thrushfeather's back legs. Morningkit quickly crouched next to her sister.
The warriors had their claws slid out, but one of them just stared.
"Ha! Look, you two, it's just a warrior and three kits! Perfect!" It was a light gray tabby she-cat.
"Riddlesong!" Thrushfeather growled and wrapped his tail around the three kits. Keblekir was pressed against Morningkit and his eyes were widened in fear. Riddlesong, Morningkit thought for a moment, isn't that the BrackenClan deputy's name?
Yes! Morningkit remembered her mother talk about the first ever BrackenClan deputy. But what were they doing here?
"We don't mean any harm, Thrushfeather. We just came here to take a kit or two back with us. You see, life in our new home is taking time to adjust, and we don't have food for many of our warriors. I am sure that with kits as hostages all the Clans won't take time in recovering them in exchange of food." Riddlesong took a menacing step forward. Her two other warriors, a small gray and white she-cat and gray tom, took a step, too.
"Thornfang, Moonfeather, now!" Riddlesong jumped ontop of Thrushfeather and batted him on the ears. Thrushfeather slid his claws out and clawed the deputy. Clumps of fur fell onto the ground next to Morningkit's paws.
The kits were exposed now.
Moonfeather and Thornfang looked at all the kits, deciding which one to chose. Thronfang widened his eyes and motioned toward Splashkit. It was obviouse they were going to choose her. After all, she looked like Thrushfeather.
"Her." Thornfang hissed and took Splashkit by the scruff.
"No! Morningkit, Keblekit, help!" Splashkit pawed at the air and tried skwirming around.
"Quick, Keblekit, help me-" But Morningkit couldn't finish because Keblekit was already gone. His tail was the last thing to disappear. He ditched us! Morningkit hissed and ran after Moonfeather and Thronfang. I guess I have to rescue my sister on my own!
Closer, now, and Thrushfeather and Riddlesong still fighting, Morningkit let out a loud meow to alert the two fleeing warriors that she was right behind them. Moonfeather stopped and turned around. Morningkit jumped up onto her back and clawed her.
Moonfeather yowled as tiny claws sliced her skin and ripped out clumps of fur. Blood splattered onto Morningkit's muzzle, scaring her as her first encounter with blood scent her falling on the floor. Moonfeather growled and toyed with the mottled she-cat a little before she picked Morningkit up by the scruff.
"They'll sure miss this one, Thronfang." Moonfeather meowed through fur. Thornfang eyed Morningkit and looked down at Splashkit. The silver and white tabby kit was frozen, and dangling from the gray tom's mouth.
"Yeah," Thornfang flung Splashkit at a tree. A loud thump sounded and Splashkit slid down the trunk, landing on the ground. Blood welled up around her, and covered her white fur.
Morningkit was furiouse and enraged. She skwirmed around and tried to claw Moonfeather again. But it was too late.
The two BrackenClan warriors were soon joined by Riddlesong and the trio began to head towards their territory.
Thrushfeather's yowls were growing fainter as Morningkit was taken hostage, away from her family and Clan.
Morningkit was flung into a bramble den that she thought to be the nursery. It smelled of milk and warmth. Morningkit was scared and her torquoise eyes were widened. Morningkit's neck fur bristled and she suddenly longed to be back in the SandClan nursery, made of ferns. With Cloudwhisker and Splashkit. Mapleflower and Keblekit.
With her Clan. Morningkit was begging to wish Cloudwhisker would have called them in for another nap instead of Thrushfeather taking the three kits out for a walk in the forest. I am definatly not banning naps when I'm leader!
"Hello!" A cheerful, young mew sounded from behind Morningkit. The she-cat whirled around and saw a tortoiseshell-and-white tom kit that was the same age as Morningkit was. He had dashing yellow eyes and was strong-built. He was a handsome kit.
"Hi." Morningkit replied. She was a bit more sure about talking to this kit because, well, he was a kit.
"What's your name?" The young tom asked Morningkit asked, sniffing her. "You smell funny."
"I smell funny? You smell funny!" Morningkit retorted and flicked the kit on the ear soflty. The tom just giggled.
"Your name?" He persisted.
"Oh, right. My name is Morningkit. Future leader of SandClan." Morningkit then stiffened up. Oh no! Me and my stupid, big mouth!
"Cool! I'm going to future leader, too! You'll see, one day." The kit puffed out his chest and held his head high and proud. "My dad said as soon as I was old enough and experienced, tha he would choose me to be his deputy."
"Who's your father?" Morningkit asked curiously.
"Brackenstar." The kit replied calmly, not moving from his proud position. Son of Brackenstar? Wow!
"My name is Rockkit. You wanna play?" Rockkit crouched down and waggled his haunch. Morningkit giggled soflty and jumped playfully on Rockkit.
Rockkit play-hissed and rounded up on Morningkit, knocking her on the floor. Stunnded, she stayed belly-up on the floor until Rockkit pinned her by the shoulders.
"I win! I win! I win!" Rockkit exclaimed proudly.
"Rockkit, come over here, it's time for your nap!" called a dark gray she-cat in the corner of the nursery.
"Coming, Falconjump!" Rockkit called and looked straight into Morningkit's eyes. "That's my mother, Falconjump. You want to take a nap with me?" He asked kindly and beckoned his head towards his mother and bed.
Morningkit shyly nodded and followed Rockkit towards his mother.
"Hello, dear." Falconjump greeted kindly and nodded at Morningkit. "You're from SandClan, right? Well I'm sorry to hear you were taken from your Clan. Brackentstar is getting a little crazy because of the shortage on food, but I'm sure you'l be back in your Clan in no time." Falconjump patted the space next to Rockkit. Morningkit gratefully climbed into the moss bed and curled down. Rockkit licked her ears and layed his head on her flank, just like she does with Splashkit back in SandClan.
May StarClan help you, Splashkit. I'll be back before you know it, just like Falconjump says. I love you.
"No, no! Morningkit, I said not to attack Frogkit yet!" Rockkit yowled as Morningkit got off Frogkit. Frogkit was a PineClan kit, taken from his home for the same reason they took Morningkit. It had been a moon exactly since her kidnapping, and her heart yearned to see her sister.
Sandstar was persistant, and she wasn't planning on giving food to BrackenClan. However much they missed Thrushfeather's daughter. Frogkit was taken from PineClan a few sunrises after Morningkit. The white tom kit was friendly and cheerful. He was kind with Morningkit, but he couldn't top Rockkit.
Rockkit and Morningkit had formed a strong bond and, like Morningkit and Splashkit, would follow each other around and sleep together.
Faclonjump was a kind queen that had taken care of the two captured kits as if they were her own. Brackenstar had visited frquently. He was Rockkit's father. But Brackenstar had visited regularly because he wanted to say sorry to Morningkit and Frogkit.
Morningkit was growing more and more comfortable in her new home. A lot of warriors were kind to her, like Moonfeather and Thornfang. The two warriors had grown to love the mottled gray and white she-cat. playing with her and the other kits in their spare time.
Another cat that had taken a special intrest was the medicine cat, Reedsong. The tom would often pull Morningkit aside and talk to her about prophecies and how important it was to understand them. He talked about great leaders that had recieved prophecies.
Maybe he knows, too, Morningkit had throught one time. Maybe all the medicine cats do?
Riddlesong went by everyday without glancing at the captured kits. If she did, she showed no remorse about abducting them. Her blue eyes stayed blank, and her body wasn't revealing anything either.
"Come one, Morningkit, we're going to play hide-and-seek!" Rockkit called as Frogkit and he disappeaed nehind the nursery. "You're it!"
Morningkit flicked her tail and put her head inbetween her paws. "One... two... three..."
By the time Morningkit had stopped counting, there were no signs of the two kits. Where did they go?
Morningkit used her nose and sniffed the air. The scent was fresh and near her, but she wasn't sure where?
Suddenly, a loud yowl broke the calm silence and dozens, more, jumped into the camp. A familiar scent wafted into her nose. SandClan!
Sandstar was in the middle of the clearing. BrackenClan warriors were beggining to rise from their dens and jump onto the intruding cats. Brackenstar appeared from his den and jumped onto Sandstar. A bloody cry of pain split the air and blood splattered onto the ground.
"Morningkit!" Falconjump called from inside the nursery. Scared out of her fur, Morningkit dashed inside. Falconjump was in the far corner with Frogkit and Rockkit huddled next to her. Morningkit squeezed inbetween the dark gray qeen's legs. Rockkit was next to her.
"Don't worry, I'll protect you," he whispered into Morningkit's ear. She was still and didn't move. She was scared. Frogkit's fur was on end and his eyes were wide as the cry of battling cats grew stronger. Suddenly, the nursery shook as if a cat had accidentaly hit the bracken den.
"Their coming near the nursery!" Falcnonjump gasped. Rockkit fluffed out his fur and slid his tiny claws out.
Morningkit was astounded as Rockkit hissed at an invisable enemy infront of him. He's not scared! But yet, his eyes were still wild and fearful. He wants to act brave infront of me!
Morningkit's ears roared as a cat's face appeared through the entrance of the nursery. It was a silver and white tabby face... Thrushfeather!
Falconjump hissed as Thrushfeather grew closer to the huddled cats.
Flaconjump suddenly stopped. "Thrushfeather?" she inquired loudly, through the cries.
"Yes, Flaconjump." Thrushfeather replied dryly. Flaconjump shook her head and suddenly pushed Morningkit towards her father.
"Here. Huh, I must be crazy, betraying my own Clan. But I can't hold a kit hostage. Is PineClan out there, too?" Falconjump cocked her head, waiting for Thrushfeather's answer.
"Yes, they're here for Frogkit."
"Tell someone to send over a cat. I'll give them Frogkit." Falconjump bowed her head and licked the top of Frogkit's white head.
Thrushfeather nodded and picked Morningkit up by the scruff. The tom turned away with his daughter and, through the battle cries in the camp, Morningkit barley heard the words coming from Rockkit's mouth.
"I love you, Morningkit."
"I know name you Morningpaw, you mentor: Stormface." Sandstar called as Morningpaw padded over to her new mentor, the SandClan deputy.
Stormface's nose touched hers with kindness and his blue eyes were full of pride and joy. "I am proud to be your mentor," He whispered for only Morningkpaw to hear.
Morningpaw quickly turned towards her family as the Clan began to call Morningpaw's and Splashpaw's new names.
"Splashpaw! Morningpaw! Splashpaw! Morningpaw!"
Morningpaw rubbed her cheek against her sister's and purred.
"We actually did it," Splashpaw purred, "just one pawstep closer to banning napping!" She added with an amused gleam in her pale yellow eyes. Morningpaw purred louder and turned to her parents.
"We are so proud of you two. We couldn't have asked for better kits." Cloudwhisker meowed and bent down to lick Morningpaw's pelt smooth.
"Mother!" She protested, flinching away. "We're not kits anymore!" Morningpaw lay on the dusty ground and tried to wipe away her mother's slobber. Cloudwhisker chuckle softly and her yellow eyes turned bright with proudness and joy in her daughters.
"Now, we can finally go out without the troubles of kitnapping!" Thrushfeather joked and bumped Splashpaw gently.
"And we'll have more strangth to take you down!" Splashpaw growled playfully and jumped onto Thrushfeather's back. The two similar cats play-fought until Splashpaw's mentor, Blossomshade, came over.
"Come on, Splashpaw, Stormface is leading a sunhigh patrol. I want you to come and I'll show you the territory. You, too, Morningpaw." Blossomshade turned and headed towards the gorse tunnel, where the patrol, consisting of Thornspike, Stormface, Wingfeather, Birchtail, and Darkpaw.
The black apprentice caught Morningpaw's eyes and hissed menacingly. Birchtail turned on his apprentice and flicked his ears. Darkpaw fliched and rubbed his ear with his paw.
"Come on!" Splashpaw called from next to Blossomshade. "Or we'll leave you behind!"
"Coming!" Morningpaw rushed to the patrol and stood next to Stormface.
"Right," the deputy nodded and entered the tunnel.
Morningpaw went right after him, her ears roaring with excitment. Wow!
It had been moons since Morningpaw's last visit outside of camp. Ever since her return, she had been scared of leaving the camp, fearing BrackenClan might attack and take her again.
But now, she didn't have to worry. With the protection of a whole patrol, nothing could go wrong, right?
Splashpaw giggled behind her, making Morningpaw curiouse. She turned her head and saw Splashpaw and Darkpaw, side-by-side, joking around as if they had been friends for a long time. Morningpaw's spirits drowned as her sister licked Darkpaw's cheek. The black tom's icy blue eyes brightened and he whispered something into Splashpaw's ear.
Stormface led the patrol near the BrackenClan border. All the cats marked it, and they moved on to Fourtrees. Fourtrees was a beautiful place. There were four giant oaks surrounding the clearing and a large rock in the center.
"That's where the leaders address to the Clans." Stormface breathed into Morningpaw's ear and began to walk again. The patrol moved on, but Morningpaw stayed rooted to the ground, staring at the giant rock in the center. She quicky ran back to the patrol and continued with the learning.
As much as Morningpaw wanted to learn about her Clan, it troubled her. SandClan and the other Clans had only established their territories. There were more skirmishes on the border now . They weren't used to these new lands. Stormface had said that they had lost cats even when they arrived to their new homes. They were still adjusting.
But they're getting on well. We're getting on well.
Morningpaw breathed in the foresty scent and flower buds were beggining to bloom. Birds and bees fluttered near the flowers and trees, and Morningpaw was especially attracted to the beautiful rocks near the riverbank her Clan called Sunningrocks.
"We use this part of our territory to hunt fish. We might live in dense undergrowth, but some of our Clan came from RiverClan, so they still eat fish." Stormface mewed as he marked the border. Morningpaw nodded and took in all the knowledge she could.
By the time Morningpaw and the patrol had returned, she was beat. Morningpaw quickly made her way to her new den, where a moss bed was waiting for her.
"We made this for you while you were gone." Frecklepaw mewed and Quickpaw patted the nest down. Morningpaw purred her thanks and gratefully flopped down. Thank StarClan!
Morningpaw gave a huge yawn and closed her eyes, drifting into darkness.
Morningpaw stared sourly at Splashpaw and Darkpaw near the elder's den, which was a fallen tree. Morningpaw huffed as Splashpaw giggled and Darkpaw tickled her sister's ear. Splashpaw lay belly-up and Darkpaw began to stroke her soft belly. Stupid, arogant furball!
Ever since Splashpaw and Morningpaw had become apprentices, Morningpaw's silver and white tabby sister had spent more and more time with Darkpaw. He might be nice and sweet around Splashpaw, but it was a whole new story with Mornringpaw. He would glare at her with menace and speak with her with malice in his voice. He had once placed a thorn in her nest. Darkpaw had made up the lame excuse that she had carried the thorn in her pelt after a patrol. Splashpaw had backed him up!
I'm her sister! Sisters stick together forever! Not with some stupid thing like Darkpaw! Morningpaw got bored of watching her sister moon over the black tom and stood up. She padded slowly towards them, but wanted to get into the elders' den.
Darkpaw stopped tickling Splashpaw and looked up at Morningpaw. He nodded and looked back down at his lover. Splashpaw just waved her paw in the air at Morningpaw. She spends more time with him than me! Morningpaw thought bitterly.
Morningpaw went through the entrance in the fallen tree. Inside, there was only one moss bed. The only elder in the Clan was Cometshine. She was a pale brown she-cat and was nicer than a queen with kits. Cometshine was Cloudwhisker's mother. So, this made Cometshine Morningpaw's kin.
"Hello, Morningpaw, nice to see you today." rasped Cometshine, looking at Morningpaw with delicate pale green eyes. "Come, sweetheart, sit next to me." Cometshine patted the space next to her. The elder coughed dryly that made her shake. Cometshine was very old, and was coming close to the end of her days on Earth.
"Cometshine," Morningpaw began, sitting next to the elder,"why did they name you Cometkit?" Morningpaw had always been curiouse, since she was a kit, but was too shy to ask.
"Well, darling, on the night I was born, there was a great storm. My sister, Moonfall, or, Moonstar, was born on that night, too. When I was coming up, getting ready to enter the world in which we both live in now, everything seemed hopeless. My mother was losing a lot of blood and I was coming out tail first. The medicine cat at the time was sure we'd both die, but then a comet tore through the sky. All the pain was suddenly lifted, and my mother stopped losing all the blood. I came out quickly and was as healthy as my sister. My mother knew then and there was she wanted to name me. So, that's how I came to be Cometshine." Cometshine's eyes went cloudt with rememberance.
Morningpaw listened intently on the story. It surprised her, the stories that were held by her kin. First Rainshadow, then Cometshine. Who was next? Cloudwhisker? Thrushfeather?
"Morningpaw," Cometshine coughed, "mind getting me some water, please? And call Echoleaf and Cavelight. I'm having a bit of pain in my chest." Cometshine broke into another chorus of coughs. Morningpaw bolted out and went out of camp. Quickly, Morningpaw found a tree with moss and tried scratching some off. In the proccess, Morningpaw accidentaly didn't pull her paw soflty enough. Her claw got caught on a thin, long root. Mornringpaw cursed and tried to pull her way free. Suddenly, an aching feeling seared through Morningpaw that made her fur stand on end.
The mottled she-cat let out a painful yowl. She finally got herself free. Morningpaw looked at her paw closley and gasped. Her claw was wrentched badly and blood was oozing out of the wound. Morningpaw set her paw on the floor, putting pressure on it. Morningpaw let out another cry of pain and lifted her paw up. It hurt real bad.
Morningpaw looked at her claw, then at the gorse tunnel, that seemed so far away yet so close. Morningpaw turned and limped slowly towards the tunnel. Her paw was swelling up and blood kept coming like a waterfall. Morningpaw grunted as she got nearer to the entrance to camp.
She quickly got in. Splashpaw was near the tunnel and Morningpaw's eye. Morningpaw didn't say or do anything, just headed towards the medicine cats' den. Cavelight was right outside, and was turning around, apparently heading for the elders' den, when he caught Morningpaw.
"Great StarClan that is horrible!" Cavelight ran inside the medicine cats' den adn appeared again with Echoleaf. The pretty medicine cat she-cat had cobwebs in her mouth and Cavelight had marigold and some chervil.
"Here, lay your paw down." Echoleaf ordered.
"But it hurts!" Morningpaw protested. Why hasn't Stormface showed me the proper way of getting moss? She hissed to herself.
"Now!" Echoleaf growled. Surprised by the Echoleaf's tone, Morningpaw quickly set her paw down on the ground. The Clan was beggining to circle Morningpaw, Echoleaf, and Cavelight. It pained Morningpaw as Echoleaf sniffed at the wound.
"Cavelight, go get me some comfrey root." Echoleaf ordered, pressing down some cobweb on Morningpaw's paw. Splashpaw was sitting next to her, licking Morningpaw's flank. Morningpaw suddenly felt gratefull that her claw was wrentched badly. At least she's with me now.
Cavelight returned with some comfrey root. Echoleaf nodded, without taking her eyes off of Morningpaw's paw.
"Now this might hurt a bit, Morningpaw, but just for a second." Echoleaf warned. Morningpaw's heart beat fatser than a birds. What is she going to- Her thoughts were cut off as Echoleaf pulled what was left of Morningpaw's claw.
Morningpaw let out a shriek of pain. Splashpaw's ears were flattened against her head as she heard her sister scream in pain.
Echoleaf quickle pressed more cobwebs and but on some marigold and chervil. The tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat took the comfrey root and chewed it into a poulitice and put the poulitice onto Morningpaw's paw. The swelling was going down, and her bleeding was becoming less and less of a waterfall. Splashpaw's anxiousness was leveling.
Thank you, StarClan! Morningpaw thanked her ancestors.
"Come into my den for a while, Morningpaw, until the swelling goes down and the infection cures." Echoleaf padded towards her den. Cavelight walked beside Morningpaw and setted up her nest when they got inside.
"Here. Nice and comfey." He left Morningpaw alone in her nest and went over to the dark side of the den. The lights coming from the diomands inside the pool of water were glimmering and blinking, making Morningpaw curiouse. Morningpaw made sure she was alone, and got up, and padded towards the edge of the pool.
It wouldn't hurt to take a drink, right? Morningpaw thought, and licked up a small amount of water.
Morningpaw gasped and widened her eyes. The world turned black, and she was engulfed into darkness, but only for a second.
When Morningpaw blinked and finally saw something, she wasn't in the medicine cat's den. Or StarClan territory.
She was in the middle of a strange camp.
Morningpaw blinked in surprise. She saw dozens of cats around her. Maybe I'm dreaming. These aren't cats I know. Morningpaw lifted her paw and found that it wasn't sore. Wow! Echoleaf and Cavelight are great!
Morningpaw bit herself hard, thinking the shock might wake her up. But only pain made her jump into the air. I'm not dreaming, I'm actually in a different camp! Morningpaw flinched as she wondered how in the name of StarClan she got there. One moment she was beside the pool in the medicine cats' den, and now, she was in the middle of an unknown camp.
And the smells and territories are different, too. She wasn't in the forest, either! StarClan help me! Morningpaw bristled as a cat padded closer to her. He'd see her! But the auburn tom went right through her. What?
His eyes were looking at someone, but Morningpaw was unsure who it was. Morningpaw turned her head and looked over her shoulders. The aurburn tom was sitting next to a pretty pale ginger tabby with white paws and muzzle. She licked the tom's ears and whispered something into his ears.
"Come on, I need to tell you something." The she-cat got up and made her way out of the camp. She climbed a lot of rocks until finally getting out of the camp. Morningpaw followed, trying hard not to lose her footing on the high ledges.
The apprentice got up and followed the two cats. The auburn tom didn't ook eveil. He was hadnsome and young, and Morningpaw guessed the two cats were mates. Or littermates.
"What did you want to talk about, Gingerstripe?" The aurburn tom inquired. Gingerstripe sighed and looked into the tom's amber eyes.
"Foxfang, I... I recieved a prophecy a long time ago, when I was a kit, and it said I was going to be a great leader. That I had to watch out for danger and not to tell any living soul, but, I know I can trust you," Gingerstripe purred and rubbed her cheek against Foxfang's. "Littermates don't betray each other, right?"
Morningpaw let out a satisfied huff, when suddenly, the image of Foxfang and Gingerstripe disappeared and turned into swirls of colors.
Morningpaw blinked and found herself in a deep, dark part of the woods. The moon shone through the canopies and the soft chirping of bugs was the only sound made. A rustle in the bushes next to Morningpaw alerted her. Foxfang came out; his amber eyes were darkened and looked menacing. His fur was dull as he went through the moonlight.
There were two other cats, two toms, and Foxfang headed their way.
"Goo, you're here." Foxfang breathed. "You know what you need to do, right, Rootstem?" One of the toms, a brown tabby, nodded his head. Foxfang turned his head to the other tom: a speckled, gray and white cat.
"And you, Feathertuft?" The speckled tom bowed his head and all three cats slid out their claws.
"Right," Foxfang began,"Gingerstripe is waiting for me at the lakeshore. Once there, I'll give you the signal to attack. By the end of tonight, I will become leader, and there will be no Gingerstripe to stop me."
Rootstem licked his lips. "I can already taste the blood."
Morningpaw gasped as she watched the three toms leaving their spots and heading towards the Lake. Morningpaw was going to follow them, but everything turned swirly again, and she was consumed by blackness once more.
Morningpaw blinked her eyes open. She was back in the medicine cats' den! Morningpaw backed away slowly from the pool of water, where diomands shone and fish swam and water poured down.
Morningpaw backed up until she bumped into something furry and soft. The apprentice whirled around and gasped. Cavelight was standing right in front of her.
"Oh, Cavelight, you scared me!" mewed Morningpaw. I hope he didn't see me by the pool. Morningpaw prayed to StarClan.
Cavelight stared at her, but didn't speak. His amber eyes betrayed no anger or disappointment. He wasn't mad at her at all.
"It is called the Pool of Signs," Cavelight began, lifting his head up and staring at the pool. He walked up to it and rearranged some crumpled herbs that were in the spot Morningpaw was sitting.
"Sorry!" Morningpaw squeaked soflty.
"It's all right, they were old herbs anyway." Cavelight sat down beside the pool and stared down at his reflection and at the fish.
"This is where Echoleaf and I recieve most of the prophecies and omens. Your prophecy, for instance." The gray and white tom looked back at Morningpaw. The warrior apprentice padded slowly next to Cavelight and sat down.
"You know about my prophecy?" She asked.
"Of course I do. It's the job of a medicine cat to know everything and anything that will, has, or is happeneing to the Clan. But don't worry, Morningpaw, you need not fear. I can keep a secrete. Especially one as big as this one." He added, dipping his paw into the clear pool and missed a koi by a claw-length.
"These fish, they can tell us things." Cavelight mewed and kept staring at the pool.
Morningpaw cocked her head. "They can speak?"
"No, no. Echoleaf and I can just inturrpret signs by the way they move." The medicine cat apprentice stood up and turned his head over his shoulder. You're all better now, so you can go back to the apprentice's den."
Morningpaw then, suddenly remembered her paw. It wasn't hurting anymore, and it wasn't swollen. Thank StarClan and my medicine cats!
"Thank you, Cavelight." Morningpaw thanked the gray and white tom and bounded out of the den. Morningpaw took in a deep breath with her first pawsteps out of the den.
It was almost moonhigh, and the camp was quite. Seedshine was on gaurd duty for the night and was watching carefully for any movement. Hawksight and Graystorm were sitting in the middle of the clearing staring at the stars.
"I think they're lovely." Graystorm breathed. Hawksight rubbed his head against her's and licked the she-cat's shoulder.
"Just like you."
Morningpaw stuck her tounge out. Yucky, mucky, love! Morningpaw quickly snuck through the clearing, avoiding the two warriors in the middle of it. She reached the apprentice's den and went inside, thankful to be back into a den that she was more familiar to.
Splashpaw was snoring softly. Darkpaw, who was next to her, was twitching, as if he were dreaming. Morningpaw mumbled as she tried to ask herself why her sister prefered a nest next to idiotic Darkpaw instead of her.
Morningpaw gratefully reached her nest at the back of the den, next to Quickpaw and Frecklepaw. The two she-cats were sleeping soundly and didn't at all stir. Morningpaw gave a big yawn and smaked her lips. She curled around and lay down in her nest.
Thank you, StarClan, for this wonderful day. Or, the wonderful day until I saw Splashpaw and Darkpaw...
"And that's how you get moss off a tree without wrenthing a claw!" Stormface joked and bumbed Morningpaw on the side.
"Hahaha, very funny, Stormface." Morningpaw mewed and jumped on Stormface.
"Hey! How do you know how to fight?" He inquired, pushing the mottled gray and white apprentice off.
"There are things called friends that tell their friends what they learned that day." Morningpaw wagged her haunch and got into the hunter's crouch. She had been an apprentice for days now and she had learned how to master the hunter's crouch perfectly. She had caught a rabbit on her first go at hunting.
Splashpaw didn't pay very much attention to Morningpaw, but that didn't bother her anymore. She had come to the decision that she wouldn't fret about her sister and her love for Darkpaw, and stay focused on her training to become a warrior.
"Hey, Morningpaw, can you come hunting with me?" Splashpaw appeared over the ravine and called to her sister.
She was alone, and her tail-tip twitched with impatience.
"Uh, s-sure." Morningpaw stammered and turned to look at Stormface. The dark gray tom nodded his approval and Morningpaw bounded up the slop towards her sister.
"What's up?" Morningpaw reached her sister at the top of the ravine. Splashpaw rubbed her cheek against her sister's.
"Come on, let's walk." Splashpaw led the way back down the ravine and deeper into the forest.
"I've heard you've been having troubles with Darkpaw?" Splashpaw mewed after a while.
"Well, not exactly with him. We haven't talked for a while."
"But, you are having troubles with him? I mean, I've seen the way you look at him and me, Morningpaw. You don't like it." Splashpaw stopped walking and looked at her sister with pale yellow eyes.
"I admit it, I don't like that you're mooning over Darkpaw. I guess I'm just jeleouse. I mean, when was the last time we've had a proper conversation?" Morningpaw added. She sat down facing her sister. She suddenly noticed that they were close to Fourtrees. The place where Gatherings were held and cats from the four Clans united under a truce. They were in a barren clearing near it.
Tonight's the Gathering. Maybe Splashpaw and I can go... Morningpaw thought, taking her mind off of the conversation she was having with Splashpaw.
"I understand that you don't like Darkpaw, but that gives you no right to say I'm mooning over him!" Splshpaw suddenly growled.
"Then how do you explain that moony look you always give him? That softness that overtakes you when you're near him! You're with him as if he were your best friend!" Morningpaw argued, standing up.
"Well he is my best friend! No one else, just him! And what if I like Darkpaw? That gives you no right to choose who my future mate should be! For all I care, you can die hating Darkpaw, but I'll still love him." Splashpaw unsheathed her claws and hissed.
Her first six words stabbed Morningpaw in the heart. Darkpaw was her best friend? I thought we were best friends.
Suddenly, a loud screech sounded from above the two she-cats. At the same time, they both looked up at the clear sky. Not a tree blocked it. They were out in the open.
A speck in the sky hovered above them. The speck became larger and larger every heartbeat, until it was close enough for Splashpaw to realize what it was.
"Eagle!" She screeched but didn't move. Morningpaw was as well rooted to the ground. The eagle screeched again, but the apprentices didn't move. They were scared out of there minds. They were never trained to fight a hawk!
Morningpaw unsheathed her claws and fluffed out her fur.
The eagle came. He dashed down and was becoming more than a speck in the sky.
"Aahh!" Splashpaw yowled and tried to run.
"No!" Morningpaw screeched as she watched her sister being chased by the eagle, who was close to the ground. Splashpaw was so close to the cover of the trees, and Morningpaw willed her on.
Suddenly, a pained yowl split the air and the eagle sunk his deadly talons into Splashpaw's silver and white tabby fur. Morningpaw dashed over to her sister, who was being carried away by the eagle.
"No!" She yowled again and launched herself into the air. She felt claw ripping skin and the eagle cried in pain, but didn't let go of Splashpaw. Morningpaw found that she was weighing the eagle down, but not enough.
The mottled gray and white apprentice sliced the eagle's skin and feathers poured onto the clearing near Fourtrees. Morningpaw bit the eagle's wing, but the giant bird still stayed in the air with Splashpaw in his talons. Blood was pouring out like a waterfall from Splashpaw, and was landing in the clearing. She was still.
Suddenly, the giant bird flapped it's wings really hard, and sent Morningpaw falling.
Morningpaw hit the ground with a loud thud and couldn't move; only her head. She lifted her head and looked at the sky. The eagle and Splashpaw were becoming smaller and smaller until they could be no longer seen.
"No," Morningpaw whispered and heard pawsteps approaching quickly. "No..."
When Morningpaw woke up, she was no longer in the blood-covered clearing. Covered in Splashpaw's young, innocent blood. Her life taken away by an overgrown bird that could have been easily become prey for the Clan.
"Oh, good. You're awake. You know, the Clan is worried about you. Especially Cloudwhisker. StarClan knows how much she's crying right now. She doesn't think you'll make it." Echoleaf was stroking Morningpaw's back.
"Here," Echoleag grabbed a dandelion and chewed it up, "eat this." She poured the white liquid into Morningpaw's mouth. Morningpaw licked her lips and suddenly felt relief. Her back was killing her!
"And this." Echoleaf had a daisy leaf in her mouth know, and was chewing it into a paste. She plastered the paste onto Morningpaw's back.
"You just love being in the medicine cat's den, don't you?" Echoleaf half-heartedly joked and lay down beside Morningpaw.
"Morningpaw, Splashpaw was killed by an eagle and was taken away. I'm so sorry, young one." The pretty tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat licked Morningpaw all over.
My sister, Splashpaw... dead?
Everything happens for a reason, Morningpaw. A soft voice whispered through the breeze and disappeared. It was Rainshadow's voice! The sweet scent that was Rainshadow's appeared then disappeared.
Please take care of her, Rainshadow. Morningpaw prayed.
"Can you talk, sweetheart?" Echoleaf mewed and checked Morningpaw's mouth. Morningpaw flicnhed away.
"Yes, I can talk fine. It hurts a little, though."
"Don't worry. You just hit your jaw a bit hard in the fall. Nothing to worry about, though."
The pawsteps of another cat sounded and Darkpaw appeared next to Morningpaw's bed. His icy blue eyes were clouded with sorrow and disbelief.
"Can I have a few moments with Morningpaw?" Darkpaw asked and closed his eyes and sat down.
"Sure, Darkpaw." Echoleaf gave Morningpaw one last glance and got up and left.
"What do you want, Darkpaw?" Morningpaw growled huskily.
"Why did you let her die?" Darkpaw growled through gritted teeth.
"Let who die?" Morningpaw turned around and faced Darkpaw.
"Splashpaw, you stupid peice of fox-dung! That's who! Why did you let her die? Why?" Darkpaw put a paw on Morningpaw's throat.
"Darkpaw, what the-"
"Shut up! It's all your fault that Splashpaw was taken away from me! You should have fought off that eagle! You had enough battle skills to do that! You just stood there, and watched her being torn to peices and taken away from me. I hope StarClan pities you." Darkpaw growled and pushed his paw harder.
"You think I didn't try to fight the bird? She's my sister, for StarClan's sake! You don't think it tore my heart to peices when I saw her blood covering the ground beneath me? Her skin being cut by the talons of the eagle? When the eagle threw me off and me, on the ground, watching my sister's lifeless body being taken away from me? You don't think it hurts to know that we don't even have a body to mourn with? That my only sister, sibling, was taken away from me?" Morningpaw's voice began to crack and her heart felt like it was about to brake into a million peices.
"You should have killed that eagle, you usless furball!" Darkpaw growled and slashed a claw at Morningpaw's ear.
"Ow!" Morningpaw flinched when she felt the warm blood trickle down her ear.
"For Splashpaw, fox-dung." With one last hiss, Darkpaw left the den and left Morningpaw, helpless and mourning, with a nooked ear.
A moon went by after Splashpaw's death, and the Clan kept mourning. Especially Morningpaw. She died before we settled our differences...
Cloudwhisker was losing a lot of weight. She looked like a squirrel in leaf-bare: skinny, fragile, and weak. Morningpaw's mother wasn't being put on any patrols anymore, and the frail she-cat looked as if she was going to die.
Everynight, before going to sleep, Morningpaw would pray to StarClan and for her mother.
But the prayers were not taking on much affect.
"Cloudwhisker!" Morningpaw called one day. "Would you like to come out hunting with me?"
Cloudwhisker poked her head out of the warriors' den and shook her head. "No, darling. I'm not in the mood."
"You're never in the mood..." Morningpaw mumbled and followed Stormface and the patrol consisiting of Thistlespike, Clovernose, Tunnelheart, and Keblepaw, Tunnelheart's new apprentice.
"We'll hunt near Fourtrees." Stormface announced and led the way down the ravine, through the trees, and into the clearing.
Morningpaw was in the tree line, afraid to move another pawstep and go out into the open. The patrol went on, but Thistlespike turned his head.
"Hey, Morningpaw! Come on out here! Don't worry, I'll protect you." The spikey gray tom beckoned Morningpaw with his tail, and, reluctantly, Morningpaw followed slowly.
She reached her clanmate and stayed close to his side. So close, their fur brushed. Morningpaw's head reached Thistlespike's shoulder. The two cats followed the rest of the patrol across the clearing. The stale scent of blood was growing stronger, and Morningpaw caught a swift glance of the place where Splashpaw's blood fell.
"Splashpaw, I miss you." She whispered looking up at the sky.
I love you, A voice whispered. It was vaguely farmiliar. Morningpaw kept walking, and she caught a vague glimpse of two figures near the tree line.
Morningpaw gasped and made Thistlespike stop.
"What's wrong?" He turned his head in the direction Morningpaw was looking at then back at Morningpaw. "What do you see?"
"Two cats! Can't you see them?" She lifted her head and looked into Thistlespike's gray eyes. "Right there!" She flicked her tail at the spot, but the cats weren't there anymore.
"I could have sworn..." Morningpaw shook her head lightly and mewed, "Maybe I'm just hallucinating."
"Don't worry, I know how you feel. Losing kin like that, I mean. I lost my brother Fallenkit to a hawk back where I used to live." Thistlespike comforted the young apprentice.
Morningpaw's sadness suddenly lifted a bit, just a tiny bit, and she walked on with Thistlespike at her side.
Morningpaw entered the SandClan camp with a fat and juicy squirrel that was almost as big as her!
"Great job, Morningpaw." Stormface praised. "Now take that over to the nursery. The queens will love your kill. Oh, and tomorrow, we're practicing more battle training. You've been running behind lately."
Morningpaw nodded and padded quickly towards the nursery. There were two queens now, Graystorm and Blossomshade. Blossomshade had moved into the nursery a day after Splashcloud died. Her mate, Tunnelheart, often visited her in his spare time.
As did Graystorm's mate, Hawksight. The two young cats were estatic when they learned they were going to be parents.
Morningpaw entered the nursery with the prey and blinked to adjust to the light. Blossomshade was snoring softly, her belly swollen with kits. She was very close to birth.
"Here you go." Morningpaw set the squirrel down at Graystorm's feet. The light gray queen sniffed the prey and looked up at Morningpaw.
"Thank you, Morningpaw. We're grateful." She added and began to eat the squirrel with swift, neat bites. Blossomshade stirred in her nest and lifted her head up. Her blue eyes were droopy and tired, but she managed to get up and lay down next to Graystorm.
"Thank you, Morningpaw." The queen began to gobble the squirrel up.
"No problem." Morningpaw turned and squeezed out of the nursery. She had been pleased to be in there again. Her thoughts drifted back into the past. Splashkit and her frolicking around, attacking Thrushfeather, bothering the warriors, learning from apprentices.
Morningkit and Splashkit would often play leader and deputy. Morningkit was always the deputy, and Splashkit leader. Little did the two know that that would change. Morningkit was to become leader, and, possibly, Splashkit the deputy.
But that can't happen know, Morningpaw thought sadly. There is no Splashkit to make deputy.
Morningpaw sighed and walked silently towards the apprentice's den.
"Hey, Morningpaw, feel up to a border patrol?" Marshstep called. The mottled brown tom was next to the gorse tunnel with Wingfeather, Flareheart, Frecklepaw, and Specklepelt.
"Sure." Morningpaw called back. It wasn't like she had anything better to do.
"Where's Stormface?" Morningpaw asked when she reached the sunhigh patrol.
"He's taking a brake," Wingfeather responded. "That makes Marshstep leader of this patrol. Come one." The friendly light gray she-cat nodded her head towards the gorse tunnel and disappeared through it. Morningpaw followed her clanmate and the patrol out of camp and back into the forest.
"Where are we going to be?" Morningpaw asked, keeping step with Wingfeather. The she-cat was Graystorm's sister, and the two looked very much alike except for the fact that Graystorm had darker front paws.
"We're patroling the MeadowClan border." Wingfeather responded while the patrol went down the slope. "We'vebeen having some unwanted activity there these past few days."
Morningpaw quickened her pace. When I'm leader, no cat will dare trespass on my territory!
Frecklepaw fell into step with Morningpaw.
"Hey, Morningpaw, I'm sorry again about Splashpaw." Frecklepaw mewed. Morningpaw shook her head. Frecklepaw had kept on saying that ever since Splashpaw died.
"No need to worry. Everything happens for a reason, right?"
"I guess." But Frecklepaw wasn't convinced. The apprentices kept following the warriors nearer and nearer to the MeadowClan border.
When they got there, Morningpaw wrinkled her nose. They weren't very close to the border, and yet, she smelled MeadowClan as if they were on their territory. The moorland was yet too far away to be smelling like that. But I'm sure this is our-
Morningpaw's thoughts were cut off as a yowl split the air and a body knocked her over. Morningpaw was stunned for a moment, her head was spinning in confusion.
Then suddenly, she regained her focus and gasped. A MeadowClan cat was right in front of her.
"Are they sending kits out to fight now?" The tom sneered and unsheathed his claws. His ginger and white pelt bristled. He growled and swiped a paw at Morningpaw.
Morningpaw dodged and ducked. She wriggled her way under the tom's belly and swiped his paws from under him, escaping his falling body by a claw-length.
The border was begging to smell like blood and the sound of fighting cats was louder than a horde of badgers lumbering right past you.
Morningpaw slid her claws out and let out a battle screech. She launched herself at the tom's exposed belly, and clawed it. Blood soaked her paws and the tom beneath her was skwirming hard. He hissed and lifted his unsheathed paw up, then threw it down. His claw hooked Morningpaw's nooked ear, making the wound deeper than it already was.
Morningpaw yowled in pain and threw herself off the tom, rubbing her ear. Blood trickled down the side of her head, but that wasn't enough to make her run.
The mottled gray and white apprentice hissed and launched herself at the tom one more time, but he was ready this time. His paw hit her with force and sent her flying across the ground.
Mornigpaw felt blood streaming down her forehead. She dizzily lifted her head and saw Frecklepaw fighting a pale brown apprentice Morningpaw recognized as Timberpaw.
Wingfeather was fighting two cats: a blue-gray she-cat and a bright tom with ginger patches. Marshstep was fighting a brown and white tom. Flareheart and Specklepelt were batting at a silver and black tabby she-cat.
Flareheart dodged the tabby she-cat's flailing paws and bit her tail. Specklepelt ahd her pinned to the ground.
"Please, let me go!" The she-cat pleaded.
"You shouldn have never considered crossing our territory, Crescentmoon." Specklepelt growled and clawed Crescentmoon's flank.
Morningpaw got up and shook her head, sending drops of blood flying onto the ground. Dizzy with shock, Morningpaw lost her footing and fell down again.
"Ha!" laughed the ginger and white tom. "I knew this was too easy!" He placed a paw triumphently over Morningpaw's flank and yowled into the air.
StarClan help me! Suddenly, two figures appeared next to Morningpaw. Rainshadow and... and Splashpaw.
Splashpaw's eyes were filled with emotion.
"Splashpaw, I'm so sorry about what happened before the hawk came. I should have accepted your love for Darkpaw." Morningpaw's eyes swelled up with tears.
"No need to worry, sister. I understand now, and I watch over you everyday. I need you to concentrate though, our Clan is too good to be beaten by some MeadowClan cats."
Rainshadow was next to Splashpaw and nodded her head. "You have the strangth, you just have to dig deep into your heart, Morningpaw." Rainshadow's sweet scent wreathed around her, making Morningpaw feel comforted, next to the fact that Splashpaw and her had settled her differneces.
Dig deep into your heart.
Morningpaw closed her eyes, searching for that hidden strength the StarClan cats believed she had. She struck it. Her strength began to return. Her heart beat fast and the blood in her ears roared, but Morningpaw wasn't afraid. The hidden strength-- love -- was helping her back up to the top.
Morningpaw yowled and kicked the ginger and white tom in the tummy with her back legs.
"What the-" Morningpaw got up and threw herslef onto the tom. She ducked her head and hit the tom square in the belly. He let out a pained squeak and fell back, back-up. Morningpaw jumped onto his back and held him with her paw.
The mottled apprentice bit into his ear and pulled hard.
"Ouch! Stop it, stop it right now! You win! You win!" The tom skwirmed from underneath her and tried to pull free. Morningpaw gave him a thud on the head and let him go. As soon as he was free, he ran back over his side of the border and over the hills.
"Run, furball, run! And never come back!" Morningpaw hissed and turned to the other fighting cats. The yowlings died down and all the cats froze.
"That was Dapplepelt! You beat Dapplepelt! Nobody beats Dapplepelt, not now, not ever!" Timberpaw was trembling from tail-tip to ears. He flattened his ears and turned to run, his tail between his legs. The other cats followed, and Crescentmoon left blood in her wake.
"Run you stupid furballs!" Frecklepaw yowled and chased the MeadowClan cats to the border.
"Well done, Morningpaw!" Flareheart praised. "You did excellent!" Flareheart was congratulating Morningpaw, and the others did too.
"The look Dapplpelt had on his face was priceless!" Speckletail mewed.
"Yeah, and the way Timberpaw was shaking gave me the laugh of the day!" Frecklepaw fell onto her back and laughed really hard.
It wasn't me that did this. If it weren't for Rainshadow and Splashpaw, we would have most likely lost this battle. Morningpaw thought, ignoring the praises.
"Come on, let's get you all back to camp." Marshstep mewed and limped away towards the SandClan camp.
"Morningpaw! Morningpaw! Morningpaw!" The Clan cheered her name in the clearing of the camp. Marshstep had gone into Sandstar's den and told her about Morningpaw's battle.
"Well done, young one." Sandstar praised.
"Let's celebrate!" Seedshine called as she flung prey at the Clan. The Clan cheered as they caught their peice of prey. They murmers around camp were all about Morningpaw.
"Morningpaw deserves her warrior name right now!" Mapleflower commented to her mate, Flareheart. The flame colored tom nodded his head.
"But she's only been an apprentice for two moons."
"Morningpaw is this decade's hero!" Appleblossom mewed to Quickpaw.
"We should celebrate like this everyday." Keblekit exclaimed with a burp. "Hey, Morningpaw, planning on defeating any more enemy cats?" He called. Morningpaw smiled at her denmate and shook her head.
"Not if I'm going to get my ear ripped off next time." Her nooked her was wrapped in cobwebs, and so was her forehead. Her flank was covered in marigold that stung at her wounds.
"Dapplepelt never got beaten by anyone. Do you imagine the taunting he's getting because he was being beat by and apprentice?" Chestnutclaw, Thistlespike, and Clovernose were all huddled in a group together.
Thrusfether was next to Cloudwhisker. The white she-cat was still frail, and she was visiting the dirtplace more often than not. She looked weak and looked as if she could be knocked over by the softest breeze.
"See, my sweet? Our kit is a celebraty here!" Thrushfeather licked Cloudwhisker's ear. Cloudhwisker nodded and gave a big yawn.
"Well, I'm beat. I'm heading to the den. Coming, Thrushfeather?" Cloudwhisker began to pad to the warriors' den slowly.
"In a bit, darling." Thrushfeather called back as Cloudwhisker disappeared into the den. He looked over at Morningpaw and gave a big smile.
"Sweetheart," He breathed and walked up to his daughter. Morningpaw smiled. He looked so much like Splashpaw.
"Congratulations, Morningpaw. Splashpaw would have been proud." Thrushfeather pulled his daughter close to him and licked the top of her head. Instead of pushing away and drying her head like she would normally do, Morningpaw pressed closer to her father.
It had been some time since they had actually interacted like this. Thrushfeather was always too preoccupied with Cloudwhisker.
"I've got to go, Morningpaw. I'm proud of you!" He called and trotted to the warriors' den.
Morningpaw sighed and walked over to the fallen tree. Cometshine was out laying near the entrance to her den. The sky was beggining to turn a purple-ish, red-ish, and orange-ish color. That was when Cometshine liked to come out a little.
"Hello, Morningpaw. I heard about your big adventure today." Cometshine mewed looking at Morningpaw. "I'm proud."
"Thanks, Cometshine." Morningpaw huffed and flopped down next to her kin.
"StarClan is proud of you, too, young kit." Cometwhine said while looking up at the sky. "They wanted me to tell you that. My time on Earth is coming to an end, Morningpaw, and I want you to know that StarClan and I are proud." Cometshine gave Morningpaw an affectionate lick on the cheek.
The elder looked back up at the sky. "It is time." The soft breeze became wind, and sudden flower petals began to drift around Cometshine. Morningpaw gasped and stood up.
"Cometshine!" She called, but the elder said nothing. She just lay back down and relaxed herself. The wind picked up speed and the flower petals began to form some sort of tornado that covered Cometshine. She was out of sight.
"Somebody!" Morningpaw called and looked around her. Cats were not moving. Appleblossom was caught mid-step with her front right paw in the air. Frecklepaw and Quickpaw were play-fighting, and Quickpaw was in the air as if she was going to jump onto Frecklepaw.
Morningpaw turned back to Cometshine, her eyes widened in horror.
"Cometshine!" She called once more. The winds died down and the petals dissolved into thin air. Cometshine was laying down and looked like she was sleeping. She was limp and lifeless. Morningpaw turned back and saw that cats were moving again.
"Cometshine." Morningpaw snuffled and pushed her muzzle into her dead kin's fur. "StarClan, take care of her well."
A loud shriek came from inside the nursery and Tunnelheart came out of the den.
"It's Blossomshade! She's kitting right now!"
All cats began to gather around the nursery. Nobody saw Cometshine.
Morningpaw sniffled and turned to look over her shoulder. A sea of cats surrounded the nursery. Morningpaw looked back at her still kin. Cometshine looked so peacful...
Morningpaw shook her head and turned towards the nursery. The mottled gray and white she-cat raced over to the nursery and reached the tight group of cats. Pained shrieks escaped from the nursery, and the smell of blood was overpowering.
Out of the corner of her eye, Morningpaw caught Clovernose praying and silently bowing and lifting her head to the now darkening sky.
"Get back!" Cavelight hissed at the entrace of the nursery. He slashed his tail in irritation and his ears swivled in distress. "We need to space!" The cats back up from the nursery, squishing Morningpaw in the process.
"Ouch! Hey, watch it." Morningpaw spat when a cat stepped on her tail behind her. She rounded up on the cat.
Keblepaw's eyes were widened. "Oh, sorry, Morningpaw." He gulped and lowered his head. Morningpaw rolled her eyes at how dum Keblepaw was being. He get's hurt too easily!
Another pained shriek sliced through the air, making a lot of cats flinch. That's it! Morningpaw was frustrated for two reasons. One, Cometshine was lying dead and two, cats were stepping all over her tail. The she-cat pushed her way to the front of the crowd.
"What's going on?" She asked when she got to the front, clear view of the entrance to the nursery. A tortoiseshell-and-white tail flicked inside, and blood was beggining to appear.
"Blossomshade isn't sounding too good." Stormface responded next to Morningpaw. His eyes were fixed on the nursery. "This is my daughter we're talking about." He mewed sadly and his eyes hazed.
Morningpaw glanced up at her mentor, then back at the nursery.
"It doesn't smell too good either!" Quickpaw complained. Appleblossom turned and flicked her apprentice's ear.
"Watch what comes out of your mouth next time!" The ginger she-cat scolded.
Murmers rippled through the Clan about Blossomshade.
"I doubt she'll make it," whispered Darkpaw.
"The last time this happened was when Brightky beared Mudfur's kits. And only Leopardstar lived." Clovernose commented. The dark tortoiseshell she-cat was a senior warrior. Not too long until she's an elder. Morningpaw thought.
Morningpaw's ears burned. Blossomshade was ill with fever! Cometshine told me about that story. Brightsky had a fever and died a few days later...
Sudden panick for the white queen overcame her, and Morningpaw escaped the lines of cats, and entering the nursery.
"I told everyone to wait outside!" Cavelight hissed when he heard Morningpaw coming.
"Sorry." She mewed, staring at Blossomshade. She was white once, but now, she was dark and matted with blood.
"Might as well help. Here." Cavelight pushed a kit towards Morningpaw. "Start making her warm. Blossomshade is too covered in blood, and she can't be suckling a kit right now." Echoleaf hadn't said hello yet. The medicine cat's eyes were fixed on the laboring white queen.
Blossomshade flinched and yowled.
Morningpaw looked down and cocked her head. The kit was a beautiful ginger. She mewled for her mother and warmth, so Morningpaw pulled the kit in close.
"It's okay. Shh." Morningpaw tried to comfort the kit, licking the kit softly. The mewling died, and all was left was Blossomshade's pained cries.
"She's a moon early," Echoleaf finally mewed. "This is not good."
More blood poured out of Blossomshade. Graystrom, who was on the other side of the den, had her eyes wide opened.
"May StarClan be with her." The gray queen mewed and licked her stomache.
Morningpaw cuddled with the kit, when Cavelight yowled.
"Morningpaw, another one!" Cavelight pushed another kit towards her. It was a white tom, just like Blossomshade. "Morningpaw!" Before Morningpaw had a chance to lick the tom, Cavelight had another kit. Blossomshade's shrieking died down, but the blood kept pouring.
"It's the last one." Echoleaf announced. "And... Blossomshade didn't make it. She died of severe blood loss." Echoleaf bowed her head at the dead queen. "May StarClan bring you peace."
Morningpaw licked the two kits rapidly. The newer kit, a small, light brown she-cat, was twitching and squriming all over. Morningpaw suppressed a chuckle, and looked over at the small she-cat's littermates. She gasped.
The two older kits, weren't moving.
"I'll name them. The first one will be named Gingerkit. The second, Whitekit. And finally, the third... Morningpaw, would you?" Tunnelheart motioned to Morningpaw without looking up from his dead mate and two kits. The littles kit was the only one left.
"I-I name her Briarkit. May StarClan be with her." Morningpaw licked the tiny light brown kit. Tunnelheart;s eyes hazed with pain, and Stormface joined him. Sandstar stood in the center of the Clan.
"We will say our last good-byes and bury her in the morning. Cometshine!" The ginger leader called to the now dead elder.
They didn't even notice.
"Cometshine!" Sandstar looked over at the elders' den and gasped. "Cometshine. Oh, Cometshine!" The ginger leader raced to the elder. Sandstar poked Cometshine's flank, hoping the elder would react. But she didn't.
"So this is what StarClan want. They... they want to take a queen, two kits, and an elder. Tonight, then, we have lost Cometshine, Blossomshade, Gingerkit, and Whitekit." Sandstar announced and all the cats bowed their heads.
"May StarClan light threir paths." They all said in unison. Morningpaw felt rotten inside. I lost Splashpaw, Splashpaw's mentor, her mentor's kits, and Cometshine? This is ridiculouse! Morningpaw sniffed and pawed her face.
Darkpaw was in the edge of camp, his eyes enlightened, and his mouth curved into a small smirk. A dark figure stood behind him, their tails entwined.
Four moons had passed since the terrible ordeal. Graystorm had given birth to Hawksight's four kits: Ticklekit, Softkit, Mintkit, and Blossomkit, after Blossomshade.
Briarkit was growing stronger everyday. Just a moon ago she had to deal with whitecough, but quickly recovered when Echoleaf took immediate action.
Morningpaw had grown to love little Briarkit. Tunnelheart disappeared a moon after his daughter's birth, and was never heard from again, although most of the Clan suspected he had run off with a female loner.
Morningpaw and Briarkit developed a strong bond, and Morningpaw considered Briarkit her second sister.
Cloudwhisker had passed six days after Blossomshade and Cometshine, and the Clan was devastated, especially Thrushfeather. Keblepaw was given to Thistlespike then.
Darkpaw and Quickpaw both became warriors, now Darkfrost and Quickstep, and Frecklepaw wasn't too far from becoming a warrior. Morningpaw couldn't take the image of the dark cat out of her mind, yet, she didn't allow it to interfere with her training.
"Hey, Morningpaw!" Stormface called, "Want to come to the Gathering tonight?" He asked while Morningpaw played with Briarkit. Morningpaw just shook her head. This was the millionth time she had turned down the offer of going to the Gathering. She didn't want to leave her Clan, not after what had happened.
"Well, this time, Morningpaw, there is no saying for you. I have decided to make you come." Stormface grumbled and winked. "That means you're coming." He joked and flicked his tail as he entered the warriors' den.
"Can I come to the Gathering, too?" Briarkit pleaded and jumped onto Morningpaw's back.
"Sorry, Briarkit, apprentices and older only."
"Well, when will I become an apprentice?" She growled and softly nipped Morningkit's scruff.
"In a few moons, I promise." Morningpaw turned and grabbed Briarkit by the scruff. The little kit squealed with amusment as she was playfully swung soflty in the air.
"Morningpaw! Hey, Morningpaw! Ya wanna come with me and do a two-and-two border patrol?" Quickstep yowled from across the clearing. Morningpaw turned around with Brairkit in her jaws.
"Er, sure." She called back through a mouthful of thick fur. Morningpaw set Briarkit gently onto the ground.
"B-but, Morningpaw! You said you were going to play hide-and-go-seek with me and the other kits!" Briarkit's bright blue eyes dulled with saddness.
"Don't worry, Briarkit, I'll play when I come back." She promised and bounded off towards Quickstep. The young, new warrrior nodded and squeezed into the gorse tunnel.
Morningpaw looked over her shoulders one more time, looking at Briarkit. The light brown she'cat sat sadly, facing Morningpaw. Graystorm came out and pulled her back into the nursery, where Graystorm's kits were frolicking around.
I'll come back, I promise.
Winds tugged at Morningpaw's and Quickstep's fur as they walked near the BrackenClan territory: near the Clearing. Morningpaw stiffined as they passed the place where her sister was taken. She could faintly hear the beating of the giant wings, yowls of anguish and pain, and then, everything going black.
"I'm sorry." Morningpaw whispered.
"What was that?" Quickstep asked, but not stopping.
"Nothing." Morningpaw replied and walked a little quicker, matching Quickstep step-for-step.
They were nearing the BrackenClan border, and Morningpaw caught a strong scent coming from the border.
"The BrackenClan border patrol get here before us?" Quickstep mewed and stalked forward, slowly. Morningpaw followed. They reached the border and saw a three-cat border patrol on the other side.
"Well, if it isn't SandClan?" smirked a golden tabby she-cat. The she-cat unsheathed her claws and crouched. "Looking for I fight, I presume?"
"No, Leaplegs, we're not. We're just here for a border patrol." Quickstep replied cooly, but Morningpaw could see she was fighting to keep her neck fur down.
"You call that a border patrol?" hissed a tortoisheshell-and-white apprentice. Morningpaw eyed him steadily, thinking he was vaguely familiar. Where have I seen you before? She asked herself. She knew this tom apprentice somewhere...
The apprentice caught her staring and squinted his eyes at her.
Another cat, a small gray and white she-cat Morningpaw recognized as Moonfeather, flicked the apprentice's ear.
"Stop it now, Rockpaw, you know better than to stare." She glanced at Morningpaw. "You're the kit we took, right?" She asked gentely, not showing any sign of hostility.
"Hey, you're right, Moonfeather!" Leaplegs jumped and crossed the border. Quickstep hissed and took a step forward, but realized that Leaplegs was only sniffing Morningpaw. Morningpaw flicked her ears as the golden tabby sniffed her.
"It is! It is Morningkit!" Leaplegs announced and jumped back onto her territory.
"Morningkit?" The Rockpaw echoed and went into deep thought. "Morningkit..."
"It's Morningpaw now." Morningpaw announced and puffed out her chest. Rockpaw... rock, rock, rock... Rockkit! She though excidetly.
"You're Rockkit! It's me, remember?" Morningpaw squeaked like a kit. Rockpaw's yellow eyes lit up as he remembered his SandClan friend.
"Wow! You've gotten so big, Morningpaw!" He mewed and stepped on the border. Morningpaw moved close, and Rockpaw pushed his muzzle into her mottled fur. "I... I've missed you, Morningpaw." He whispered, barley being heard.
"You know these cats, Morningpaw?" Quickstep asked, eyeing all the three BrackenClan cats.
"Yes, yes. Remember when I was taken by BrackenClan? Well, Leaplegs and Moonfeather would take care of me. And Rockpaw, well, Rockpaw was Rockkit back then!" She mewed, licking the top of Rockpaw's heakd.
"How's Falconjump?" Morningpaw asked curusly. Rockpaw lifted his head, his eyes filled with sorrow.
"Falconjump, she died a moon ago. An eagle took her." He mewed softly. The other BrackenClan cats lowered there heads.
"She was a great cat." Moonfeather mewed.
"I'm sorry for your loss." Quickstep said and motioned to Morningpaw that they should be going.
But Morningpaw was rooted to the ground. An eagle? An eagle took Falconjump? Could it be coinsidence that it was the same eagle that took Splashpaw?
"I've got to go," Morningpaw followed Quickstep away from the border, away from Rockpaw, and away from the Clearing.
"What took you so long?" Briarkit squeaked when Morningpaw returned to camp. "Now we don't have time to play! The Gathering patrol is already set in the middle of camp!" She bobbed around Morningpaw's paws, making her cautiouse with where she put her paws.
"Briarkit, not now." Morningpaw huffed and bounded away to the patrol in the middle of camp. Briarkit kept following Morningpaw.
"What did you see? Did you see another patrol? What about a fox?" Briarkit mewed. Morningpaw huffed. She's trying to stall, she doesn't want me going to the Gathering! Morningpaw turned to Briarkit, who halted.
"Briarkit, why don't you just go to Graystorm and play with her kits? I need to prepare for the Gathering." Briarkit shook her head.
"No way! When you left, Mintkit and Softkit were being mean to me! They kept swatting at me, and when I went to hit them, Graystorm got mad at me. They think just because they're younger, they can get away with everything!" Briarkit mewed and looked behind Morningpaw. Morningpaw turned her head and saw Ticklekit, sitting all alone, staring at the sky, which was beggining to dot with stars.
"Why don't you play with Ticklekit?" Morningpaw prompted and turned back to Briarkit. "He looks all alone."
"That's because Mintkit, Softkit, and Blossomkit don't like him." Briarkit announced and ran past Morningpaw to Ticklekit.
Morningpaw chuckled and joined the Gathering patrol.
"Right," Stormface motioned to the gorse tunnel. "Let's go." Sandstar took the lead, and led her group to the Gathering.
Morningpaw's first Gathering.
The insects began to chrip and stars lit the sky. The sky was clear, and the moon was swollen and bright.
Morningpaw breathed hard.
"Nervous?" a voice mewed from behind her.
Morningpaw turned her head to see Mapleflower. The brown and white tabby pushed her way next to Morningpaw.
"Yeah, kinda." Morningpaw admitted.
"It's okay. I remember my first Gathering, back when I belonged to WindClan. That's when I met your mother, Cloudpaw back then. She was fiesty, but all the toms mooned over her. She was beautiful, intelligent, and a very funny cat. It wasn't too long before we became good friends, sneaking out at night to meet each other." Mapleflower's eyes clouded as she stared up at the stars. Morningpaw sighed and looked up as well.
Are you watching, Cloudwhisker? She thought to herself.
Yes, my sweet daughter. And Splashpaw, too. A voice whispered in the breeze, then, a sweet and familiar scent hit Morningpaw like a wave. The mottled apprentice looked to her side and gasped.
Rainshadow, Splashpaw, and Cloudwhisker were walking at pace with Morningpaw. The three she-cats held love in their glowing eyes. As suddenly as they appeared, a soft wind took them away, taking Rainshadow's scent away as well.
"What's wrong, Mornginpaw?" Mapleflower asked. Morningpaw just shook her head and kept walking. Darkfrost was right infront of her, kicking up dirt purposly.
Some dirt went into her eye, stinging bad.
Suddenly, Thrushfeather appeared next to Morningpaw, where Mapleflower was. Now, the gentle she-cat was walking with her son, Keblepaw and her mate, Flareheart.
"You know they loved you, right?" Thrushfeather prompted. Morningpaw nodded.
"Good." Thrushfeather licked his lips. "Well, I better catch up with Seedshine. She said she wanted to see me." With that, Thrushfeather left, catching up with Seedshine.