Series: Blazeheart's Secrets Series
Allegiances: Loner's Freedom/Loner's Freedom Allegiances
Preceding: Warrior's Destiny
|Blazeheart is trapped. Lionstrike is trying to get her back. Nightbreeze has just found out the truth about her 'sister'... and everything will come down to a choice made by one cat.|
Hey everyone. I was going to make Warrior's Destiny longer, but I hit a big problem. I can't think of a new villian. I've tried evil twins, unnatural cats, hobos and plain weirdos, but nothing seems to work with my current plot. Plus, the ending on Warrior's Destiny sounds cool. :D So again, sorry for all of you who wanted to see Ember die. I have his death planned out in this book.Let's go to Candy Mountain
A flame-coloured she-cat lay curled up in a mossy nest.
"Wake up, Day." A brown tom stood over her.
"Where am I needed, Gorgeleap?" Day's green eyes flickered open.
"It is time." The brown tom flicked his tail towards a pool with a waterfall flowing down it a few fox-lengths away.
They padded over to the pool. The water seemed to be made of pure silver.
"You know what to do," Gorgeleap mewed.
"Yes... the Dreampool was specially made for loners who join StarClan so they may share dreams with the living," Day mewed and closed her eyes. The waters of the pool rippled for a brief moment, then went still. Gorgeleap blinked in confusion.
"The waters of the pool won't respond..." Day opened her eyes.
"We were warned that there would be a time when this would happen," Gorgeleap reminded her.
"Yes... but that can only mean..."
"It can only mean one thing," he finished for her. "It is time for the prophecy to come true."
Blood trickled down Blazeheart's paw, pooling at her pad and filling the night air with a sharp, tangy smell. This was all she had been seeing for weeks- an endless rain of blood, making her dizzy and not quite conscious. Ember enjoyed torturing her- he said he would make her die slowly. Featherclaw had been luckier. He had been adopted into his old Clan again- a betrayal she had expected. She could hear voices coming from outside. She couldn't quite hear what they were saying, but she pricked her ears to listen a little better.
"She's in here," mewed a voice.
I've heard that voice before, she thought.
"Blazeheart! Are you ok?" Lionstrike was at her side in the blink of an eye.
"Lionstrike! How did you-"
"I helped him." Featherclaw stepped into the den.
"So you didn't betray me!"
"I would never betray you." Featherclaw's blue eyes were honest and steady.
"Hurry!" Lionstrike mewed. "Tiger and Eagle are waiting for you. And... Nightbreeze."
"She... she knows?" Dread settled like a stone into her belly.
Lionstrike nodded. "But that's not important now. We only stunned the guards. They won't stay asleep for long, and there might be reinforcements."
"Yes, there might be," a voice snarled. Lionstrike whipped around to see Ember standing behind them, flanked by two, muscly, stocky guards.
"Ember," Lionstrike hissed.
"Ah, dear brother!" Ember mewed sarcastically. "It's so good to see you. I've been expecting you."
Lionstrike froze. She saw his eyes cloud over and smelled fear scent. She had never seen him show fear before, especially not in the face of danger.
"You've said that before," the golden tom mewed.
"Indeed I have," Ember hissed. "You think I forgot that day? Forgot what you did? You abandoned Sweetpetal!"
"She must have died giving birth to your scrawny, malicious body!" Lionstrike snarled.
"You're a traitorous fool, Lionstrike," Ember growled. "Now you will die!" The black tom bared his teeth and prepared to spring onto Lionstrike's shoulders and bite down on the golden tom's neck. But before he could even raise a paw a flash of dark, reddish flame-coloured fur slammed into him. Another knocked out the two guards swiftly. Ember lay on the ground, winded.
"Quick, Blazeheart!" Eagle yowled. "Run for it!"
Every cat fled the scene. As she glanced back over her shoulder, she saw Ember try to get up. She limped a bit faster, but got more exhausted with every bound. She grew dizzy, and eventually, the world spun, and everything went black.
The first thing Blazeheart saw when she opened her eyes was Nightbreeze standing over her.
"I- I'm so sorry," she croaked. "I'm not-"
"My sister?" Nightbreeze finished. "No. You'll always be my sister, no matter who your real parents are." The black queen bent over to lick her forehead.
"How is she?" Eagle stepped into her shrunken field of view. His eyes lit up when he saw her. "You're awake! Everyone was so worried. Lionstrike had to carry you out of the BoneClan camp and Dotty nearly had a fit-"
"Lionstrike," she murmured. "Where is he?"
"Right here." She felt fur brush against hers and Lionstrike rose up from beside her. "I'll get Dapplestream."
"Dapplestream's out," a voice mewed. "I can help."
She shifted up onto her paws and saw that she was in Dapplestream's den. A white tom with brown patches was sifting through herbs on the other side of the den, muttering to himself. "Catmint, borage leaves, birch bark, honey- ah! Here we go. Poppy seeds." The tom shook a few poppy seeds onto a leaf.
"Thank you, Mudpaw," Nightbreeze mewed gratefully. "You're learning so quickly! Dapplestream is teaching you well."
"Two poppy seeds every three hours for pain," Mudpaw mewed to Lionstrike, handing him the leaf. Nightbreeze twitched her tail in annoyance and cleared her throat.
"Oh, sorry, mother," Mudpaw mewed. I'm just so caught up in this medicine cat thing-"
"Don't worry about it," Nightbreeze purred. "I'm glad you're happy."
"Happy is one word for it," Mudpaw muttered. "Dapplestream is always on my case about everything!"
"She's only trying to help you," Blazeheart chided. "You shouldn't take that for granted, because one day, you'll be doing the same duties! Dapplestream won't be around to guide you forever."
"I guess so," Mudpaw sighed. "But it would be a lot easier for me if she was a little less harsh!"
"You wanted to be a medicine cat," Nightbreeze mewed.
"I know. It's a big destiny," the brown and white tom replied.
If only you knew how big destinies could get, she thought.
It was hard settling into Clan life again. Her secret was out. Some cats talked about her behind her back. Even Moonpaw and Aspenpaw, who were also apprentices now, avoided her. Creekshine and Darktail had been huddling together away from the accusing eyes of their Clanmates. The queens hissed at her when she walked past the nursery. Bearstep's eyes showed no emotion when he looked at her, and were full of hurt when he looked at Nightbreeze. Their nests had grown further and further apart each night. Guilt was eating away at her stomach. She had broken her sister's family apart. To make matters worse, Lionstrike had been driven out of the Clan and was staying with her family at Lifestream. Three days after her secret had been told, she saw pale dawn light change to bright sunlight and wondered why the dawn patrol weren't back. Bearstep had taken Etchpaw to the to train early in the morning, but his nest was still empty. She stretched her whole body, turned to flame by the morning light, and padded out of the warriors den.
The camp was completely empty. The fresh kill pile had not been restocked. She could feel every hair on her pelt stand up. Where was everyone? There had been a Gathering last night, but every cat who had gone was missing, now that she thought about it, including Toadstar and Quickstar. Nightbreeze and Shiningfeather's nests hadn't been slept in. Shadownight and Lionclaw from ShadeClan were missing too. Owlclaw, Rustlewind,Stillfire and Bluecloud- the dawn patrol- still hadn't returned. Suddenly, pawsteps echoed through the camp, and Bearstep burst through the front camp entrance, fear scent clinging to his pelt. He paused as Etchpaw scrambled through the entrance a moment later.
"They've taken Toadstar and Quickstar hostage!" yowled Bearstep, panting. "BoneClan- they've got Shiningfeather, Nightbreeze, Shadownight and Lionclaw.... Moonpaw.... and- and- Aspenpaw -and all the others," he added, his voice trembling.
Mudpaw's head poked out of the medicine den at the mention of his sisters' names.
"They've got some nerve, taking my sis-"
"Shhh," Dapplestream soothed him. "Let Bearstep continue."
"Etchpaw and I only managed to escape with our lives," the brown tabby tom mewed. "I think they're being taken to the StreamClan camp."
"But why?" Mudpaw murmured.
"That place is a fortress," Drippingfur mewed, emerging from the warriors den. He padded over to them, sat down and curled his tail around his paws, deep in thought. "They will expect us to come to their camp-"
"And be ambushed," she added, a ice-cold chill running down her spine. No one ignored her this time.
"But we could use that to our advantage," Featherclaw mewed, joining them. "They're expecting one Clan- not two. As far as they're concerned, ShadeClan have run far, far away. If we can capture their camp, we have a big advantage towards seizing the StreamClan camp."
"That's right," Drippingfur agreed. "If you can't beat them, join them. ShadeClan can pretend to give up their territory to BoneClan. Then they can attack."
"Good. I can lead one patrol-" Blazeheart began, but Featherclaw cut her off, fixing a stern gaze on her.
"Stay out of this, Blazeheart. Ember is after you, for some crazy reason. So's his daughter."
Bearstep drew himself up to his full height and puffed out his chest. Blazeheart had no idea who had brought the yellow ochre and water, but he had painted stripes on his face with it. Everyone else had stripes too. Mudpaw handed the solution to Dapplestream.
"For refills," he joked.
"Goodbye, my apprentice," the dappled she-cat mewed, resting her tail on his shoulder.
"We'll go by WindClan territory," Bearstep mewed, gathering the patrol. "Let's go!"
Blazeheart licked Mudpaw's ear, comforting him as the patrol bounded away out the camp entrance.
Nightbreeze blinked open her eyes. Her head felt dizzy, and she could see fuzzy shapes above her.
"I'm taking her to Ember," mewed a voice.
"Shut up, Claw. She's not ready to go yet." A dark cream she-cat came into focus. Nightbreeze immediately hissed when she picked up the scent clinging to the she-cat's pelt.
She's a BoneClan cat! That has to mean... she looked around. As her vision cleared, she recognised the blood-streaked walls and the bones woven into the roof of the den. She was in the heavily-guarded den that BoneClan kept prisoners in. Then she realised who the cat standing over her was.
"P-Pastel?" she mewed weakly.
"I'm not Pastel anymore," the she-cat mewed sadly. "I'm Marrow."
"You joined BoneClan," Nightbreeze mewed angrily. "You once fought alongside us in the first battle against BoneClan. You're a traitor."
"Leave us," Marrow mewed to Claw. When he was gone, the dark cream she-cat hissed, "I had no choice!" Sadness clouded Marrow's eyes. "Ember gave me a choice. Join BoneClan, or... watch my little Twilight die."
"I'm so sorry. I let my mouth get the better of me. I have kits too now... I understand."
"It's ok. I betrayed you... I betrayed everyone I love..." Marrow sighed. "Listen, I'm going to help you get out of here. I don't know how, b-but I want you to give a message to Ferret for me when you're out. Tell him... tell him I love him."
"Of course," Nightbreeze mewed softly.
"I'll be back at moonrise," Marrow mewed. "Make sure you're ready to run."
Nightbreeze started to wait, frozen as if time had stopped. But time soon caught up to her, as it always does. Claw and another tom, Antler, dragged her out of the den and threw her in the dirt in front of the prisoners den. When she struggled to her paws, there was Ember. Marrow wreathed around the black tom, shooting Nightbreeze a look of warning.
"My lovely mate here tells me you're Blazeheart's sister," Ember mewed.
Mate? Nightbreeze was about to give Marrow a questioning look, but decided against it.
"But she doesn't look anything like her," Talon mewed from where she was sitting on a group of rocks in the corner of the camp.
"Talon, my sweet," Ember said with a hint of warning in his tone. "Maybe you should organise the sunhigh patrols?"
"Yes, father," Talon muttered, stalking off.
Looks like I've found Talon's weak spot, Nightbreeze thought. Already, a plan was starting to form in her head. She glanced over her shoulder to see if the bush was still there. Sure enough, there it was, crawling up the wall of the prisones den, sporting many dark red berries
"I want information from you," Ember mewed.
"I guessed that already. But if you want it, I'm going to need prey," she mewed, lifting her chin a little.
"Of course." Ember motioned to Talon, who waved her patrols away with a hiss.
"May I eat it in private?" Nightbreeze asked, knowing what the answer was.
"No. Marrow, go with her. Make sure there's no trouble."
"Of course, my sweet." Marrow licked him over the ear and pretended to be reluctant to leave him. Talon, returning from the fresh-kill pile, flung a mouse grasped in her teeth at Marrow's paws. Marrow scooped it up and hurried Nightbreeze along, shoving her forward under the pretense of treating her like a prisoner. Nightbreeze nudged her subtly and gestured with her eyes towards the bush. Marrow's eyes widened, but no sound came out of her mouth. She nodded and when they were close enough to the bush, she gave Nightbreeze a big shove that sent her flying towards the den. Nightbreeze's teeth managed to tear a clump of berries from the bush before she hit the floor of the den with a thud.
She sat up, coughing and hid the berries in her belly fur as Marrow dropped the mouse at her paws. She took a long, slow, bite, carefully chewing.Then she ate a berry. Another bite, another berry. Two bites later, she had consumed four of the berries.
Four should be enough, she thought, If one can kill a kit.
When Talon stalked over to hurry her up, she pushed the mouse away.
"What is it?" she mewed sternly.
"Don't you speak to me like that, you filthy Clan cat!" Talon mewed. "You have no right!"
I really don't want to argue with her, but I have to bide myself some time.