Leaf-fall in GingerClan
Series: The Way it is Series
Preceding: DuskClan's Greenleaf
Succeeding: The War of Leafbare
|Deathstar has fooled Duskstar into reign of the forest - again. Now he just has to figure out how to stop his daughter from falling for an enemy, and keep all the cats under a tight hold.
Beacuse if he lets it slip, there will be war.
Jordan shook her head, and laughed. But not evilly.
She was in love.
If her father ever found out, StarClan knows what he would do! But she did not care. She loved him, and even if the Clans fell to war, she would stand by him.
So she thought. Until the fateful words were spoken.
"Jordan? I have to tell you something...."
Jordan was still a young cat, a noble warrior, but young. Her sister was even younger, just warrior age, but strong all the same. Though she was strong, she was still tasked with taking care for some of the nursery queens. Now that leaf-fall was coming, it was starting to get colder.
She entered the nursery, it was empty. Jordan was somewhat surprised, she had been expecting Lithium, Lithiumheart, to be there. Then she remembered that she was one of the only cats to know of her pregnancy. She was keeping it quiet, as she liked to be a warrior, and also thought that she may be frowned upon. Jordan didn't see why.
She also didn't see why Clan politics was so dramatic, and why they couldn't all let DawnClan be, and let the former rogues make their own choices. But Jordan was only a warrior, senior, and really she didn't care.
She walked swiftly to the apprentice den to find Lightningpaw. He was older than her, she was nine moons, he was ten, but his father, his unknown father, had made him be an apprentice to become part of the Clan. And she was his mentor. As she reached the den, she saw a pale shape against the shadows. "Lightningpaw?" she called out softly.
He poked his head out. "Oh, Jordan! Is it time for training?" Excitement flared in his lightning blue eyes. She smiled.
"Yes, yes we are. Come on!"
Jordan and Lighningpaw raced thriugh the territory, stopping occasionally to notice the forest boundaries, or forest landmarks or places to hunt. They found a place to hunt, and Jordan decided to teach the apprentice hunting skills.
"So, I guess now it's time to hunt. Can you hunt already?" Lightningpaw looked into her eyes. Haven't I seen those eyes before?
"A little, I think," Lightningpaw turned away, and dropped into a crouch. Jordan observed him, and then tenderly showed him he was doing it wrong.
"If you get as low to the ground as possble," she showed him. "And keep your tail low to the ground too.... Yes, like that." They crept through the dark undergrowth, and both leaped at the same time, catching two squirrels in unison. Jordan smiled, and Lightningpaw's blue, blue eyes glittered with happiness. What is this? What is this feeling, this happy, lovely feeling?
The two headed back to camp, and snuck in. Jordan's father was holding a meeting.
"Cats of our Clan, I have a proposition for you all..."
Jordan looked at her apprentice, and they knew that whatever Deathstar was about to suggest would not be good, and that it would be to benefit him in some way. Some bloodfilled, tyranical way.
"You see, my friends, I have been thinking. I have thought, over the past few days, that, though it is good, I am going to.... modify the Clan system. I will lead all, Duskstar will act as deputy. Then warriors, you will be split into working cats, hunting cats and fighting cats. You may say that this is the rogue system again, but no. For I am offering you, Dawnstar, an opportunity to join us. The ranks will work as this...."
Jordan looked at Lightningpaw. She could see fear in his eyes. She was about to comfort him, but then a part of her fathers speech caught their ears.
"By the next moon this system will be fully running. You will consent to this or die. I will assign you all over the next week. If you do not consent, you will die. And if rebels have a revolution, there will be war. You have been warned...." Lightningpaw looked spooked, and before Jordan could talk to him, he ran off, disappearng between the restless crowd.
"Father!" Jordan called out as she reached his den. She saw the dark ginger tom in the shadows.
"Jordan? Come in, sweetheart." Jordan took a deep breath, and entered. "What's wrong, honey?"
"Father, I think it is time for Lightningpaw's assesment." Jordan's heart was racing. Deathstar narrowed his eyes.
"Lightningpaw, my father has told me it is time for your assesment! And I have something to tell you too..." Jordan flattened her ear, embarrasssed.
"What is it? Come on, it can't be that bad!" Lightningpaw teased her gently.
"I love you!" she burst out, and then licked her chest, her ears burning. Lightningpaw stopped, frozen. He didn't appear angry, and when he defrosted, he said
"I... I love you, too." The two sat down together, watching the brown and orange leaves spiral gently to the ground, and pile up, one by one. "Come on," he groaned, getting up. "You have to watch me catch prey, right?" Jordan nodded, and he bounced off through the leaves. She laughed, knowing it was for show.
Jordan tracked him through the forest, observing him catch several pieces of prey. He also fought off a young fox impressively. I wonder if we'll be able to be together. I wonder if there will be war. I wonder so many things, but as long as we can be together, then does it matter? She thought not.
"Lightningpaw!" she called out to him, the assessment was finished. "The assessment is done!" A near white shape knocked her gently off her paws, and the two cats tumbled into some fallen leaves, sending them flying everywhere. Jordan smiled, and laughed. She had never been so happy.
The tom's blue eyes glowed with happiness, but Jordan thought he looked worried slightly. He obviously noticed her concern, and nugded her, toppling her over into some leaves. Lightningpaw came and lay on his back next to her as the leaves floated down again, as softly as if they had fallen from a tree again. They fell as Jordan and Lightningpaw's happiness would fall, and as Deathstar's grasp on peace would fall, plunging the cats into war.
Sides would have to be chosen; and happiness would not follow.
"Lightningfall, Jordan, Kayle and Firesky, you will, as fighters, take a patrol out. Try not to get killed." Deathstar sent them away. He had already murdered three cats for rebelling against his new system. No other cat dared. As they headed through the forest, Lightningfall took Jordan on a detour, having scented a 'fox'.
"Jordan, I have something I need to tell you," Lightningfall seemed distressed.
"What is it, love? You know we need to get back, Lithiumheart is going to start kitting today probably, and-" Lightning hushed his mate, a sad expression on his face.
"Please, listen. I don't want to be what I am, but I have no choice. A war will come, there is no stopping it. The former rogues will stand alone, and I'm sure your family will break apart from the Clans to fight themsleves. DuskClan and DawnClan certainly won't stand together. What I'm saying is that sides will have to be picked. And we won't be able to stand together."
Jordan was puzzled as to why he was saying this. What reasons do we have to be apart? He can fight with my family, my father wouldn't mind. What's going on? Cold fear built up in her stomach, freezing her insides, making her heart jump into her mouth. "Why, why not? There's not a reason why we can't be together, right?"
"There's every reason why we shouldn't be together!" he shouted. Jordan flinched, speechless and shocked at her mate's violence. "I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry. I should never have fallen in love with you. This can never work. I will be expected to lead the rogues, and you will be expected to follow your father."
Jordan was still confused. I don't understand.... The question was on her face.
"We can't be together, because, because..." he turned his head away, but his words could still be heard, clearly.
"We can not be together, because I am the new leader of the rogues. I am Jay's son."
Jordan stared at Lightningfall, her mind blank, unable to think, to move, to speak. "I am so, so sorry..." His voice was laden with regret, sadness. "We have one more night... Tomorrow they want me to lead them.... To stand up to Deathstar... I will be resposnsible for starting the war... Can you forgive me? This is not what I want, but I have no choice." Jordan looked into his electric blue eyes, and saw Jay in them, the golden streak that had developed was just like his father's, but his father's eyes had been gold with a blue streak.
"I forgive you. It's not your fault," Jordan wept inside. How.... How can this have happened? Why? Why? The two wandered back, unsaid thoughts of grief clouding the air.
As they got closer to camp, Jordan broke away, sensing something was wrong. She jogged to the nursery, and realised, Lithiumheart is kitting! She didn't know whether to be happy, or scared. She waited, nervously, hearing cries of pain from inside.
"Jordan? You can come in now," Branchtail called from inside. Jordan entered as he left; he inclined his head slightly. The nursery was gloomy; everything covered in dark light. She stumbled cautiously over to where Lithiumheart and her kits lay.
"Hello," she whispered, eyes lighting up as she saw the tiny kits. "What are they called?" Lithuimheart grinned, and pointed at each kit in turn. "Thunder," He was a dark, black tom, his little eyes glowing a light, bright green. "Flash," The little she-cat was silver, mottled, eyes sealed shut. "And Hawk." The final kit was a tiny black tom, with tiny amber eyes, and three little spots on his left leg.
"They're beautiful," Jordan breathed in awe. "Beautiful." Lithiumheart smiled thinly.
"I know, I know about the rogues. I know there will be war. I know my kits will grow up in hell. I know that your StarClan look down on me unfavourably. And I accept this. If I die - no, hear me out - If I die, look after my kits. Jordan, I've had enough time to think through this, and I trust you. Will you?" Jordan choked on tears; she never wanted to loose her best friend.
Jordan inclined her head into a nod, and Lithiumheart smiled, sadly, gratefully. "My name is Lithium, not Lithiumheart. I'm so, so sorry, but sides have to be chosen, and I have no choice. I am with the rogues. I fear the harder decision lies with you: I abandoned the tom who loves me, you have to choose betraying your father or leaving the one you love. And I think in your heart you know what you must choose."
The tears fell now, and Jordan ran from the den. Lightningf- Lightning loves me, but now our forever is severed by politics and rivalries. And I must choose my father, he'd rather kill me than be ashamed of me. Lightning will love me forever, I know it as I will love him, but now we must fight; to live and to survive. I will survive...
"Jordan, my sweet, can you taste it?" It was Deathstar, his dark eyes glowing maliciously.
"Um... N-no, father," Jordan stammered, knowing perfectly well he meant the war.
"War, my darling!" he whisper-shouted. "War! Then we shall rule this darned forest, and you shall be a queen among the cats! Are you ready to fight, along my side?" A lump had formed in her throat, and she croaked out one word.
War on the horizon, opposing sides' treaty fracturing, sides chosen. As the last leaves of leaf-bare fell, so did the last of the peace. And a cry was to be heard all over the forest, when the land was frozen and hard, a cry of such meaning: sadness, pain, fire and pride.
"We are at war!"