Series: Moonlight Series
Preceding: Death Night
Succeeding: Rising Troubles
|Snowpaw's had her first Gathering- and a Clan's in trouble. And Nightfern's found a she-cat that brings news of terror to her and her kits. But what happens when Snowpaw's hurt?|
Snowpaw sadly padded along her mentor. Tonight was the Gathering. Her head was bowed in grief for the dead
warrior, Brackenheart. His loss, and Jettkit and Shadekit's deaths had put the clan in a mood of sadness. A fern gently brushed the side of her white face. Ripplepaw gently nudged her flank, and murmured, "Brackenheart will be greatly missed."
Mistpaw twined her tail with Snowpaw's.
"Come on," she said. "Tonight is our first Gathering!"
Suddenly, a mixture of smells hit Snowpaw. "Eww, what is that horrible stench?!" spat Snowpaw, wrinkling her nose. "It must be ShadowClan!" snorted Ripplepaw.
Snowpaw turned her wide blue eyes on him. His orange eyes brightened. Right before they crossed the log to reach the island where Gatherings were held, Hollystar kinked her tail over her slender back, telling ThunderClan to stop. "Do not tell ANYONE anything that may affect ThunderClan," she warned.
A voice whispered in Snowpaw's ear. "What would we tell ShadowClan?" Ripplepaw scoffed.
Snowpaw jumped, and let out a hiss. "You scared my pelt off, Ripplepaw!" she spat crossly.
"Oh, sorry..." he muttered. Hollystar looked at the warriors she had chosen.
Sandpool, Firefur, Stormfall, Nightfern, Goldenflower, Bluefrost and Cinderfur.
The apprentices: Mistpaw, Ripplepaw, and Snowpaw. The elders: Greenflower, Shiningstream, and Littlemoon. And Fawnpelt had come too, with Featherpaw. Hollystar signaled to go on. Trembling, Snowpaw put one shivering snow-white paw on the hollow log. She edged across the log.
"Easy does it!" encouraged Nightfern. After what seemed a life time, Snowpaw crossed the log. She gasped. A huge rock stood in the middle of a grassy clearing.
Thick trees surrounded the edge of the small island. A tiny pool with trickling water was under the rock. And the CATS! Snowpaw looked around.
She could spot RiverClan easily, by their glossy pelts and plump bellies.
ShadowClan had slim muzzles, and were slender and muscular. WindClan was skinny and small, their pelts thin. A RiverClan she-cat crashed into her.
"Oh, hi! My name is Echopaw. This is my first Gathering!" she chattered friendly. Her pretty golden tabby pelt was well-groomed.
Her small delicate paws, strangely, were tabby black. Snowpaw sat next to Echopaw.
"I'm Snowpaw." Echopaw chirped on as if she had not heard anything.
"There's Streamstar, he's RiverClan's leader." She lifted her slim muzzle to a long-haired molted grey tom with a white muzzle flecked with age and blue eyes.
"There's Shadestar. He's ShadowClan's leader." Shadestar was a dark tortoiseshell tom with unwavering grey eyes. Snowpaw found Whitestar easily. He was small and underfed, his ribs showing out of his thin black-and white pelt. He trembled on the smooth rock.
"Poor WindClan!" gasped Snowpaw.
"They look as if there starving!"
Echopaw shrugged. "We are all starving. Leaf-bare will be upon us soon."
A strong yowl silenced the Clan Cats. "I will begin first," yowled Hollystar.
"Five of our apprentices, Firepaw, Sandpaw, Reedpaw, Swallowpaw, and Dawnpaw have become warriors. They are now Sandpool, Firefur, Swallowflight, Dawnfrost, and Reedtail."
Cheers greeted these words. Never have their been so many new warriors. For the first time, the clans were over-populating.
"Also, our senior warrior, Brackenheart, died in the storm. A tree crushed him. Fawnpelt was unable to save him. At the same time, Amberheart's kits were being born. She had 3 kits. One was born dead, the other died soon after, but the third survived. Her name is Moonkit."
Shocked silence greeted these words. The Clans had not had 3 deaths in a single day in moons.
Streamstar spoke up. "But surely this is a sign from StarClan! Perhaps they are angry with ThunderClan! Thwy will punish you." Yowls of agreement or protest answered his words.
Cinderfur was up on her paws, snarling "Never!"
Hollystar growled. "How dare you, Streamstar. What reason does StarClan have for punishing ThunderClan?" Hollystar's sleek black fur was bristling, and her gleaming white teeth were exposed. Her green eyes smoldered with emerald fire.
"The truce!" yowled Shadestar. Whitestar said nothing.
Slowly, Hollystar's scruff fur relaxed, though her tail tip still twitched angrily.
Streamstar yowled, "RiverClan will go next. Our queen, Icecloud, has given birth to 3 kits. Prey is running well." Shadestar spoke up next.
"All is well with ShadowClan. I...regret my warriors Tawnyfur, Whitethroat, and Brownshade crossing your border to ThunderClan," said Shadestar awkwardly.
Amberheart and Bramblefur had driven the three intruders out, remembered Snowpaw.
"We have two new warriors, Snakefang and Blackleaf. We also have a new apprentice, Rowanpaw." continued Shadestar.
Whitestar looked terrified. He began in a tiny voice, starved with hunger.
"We have 2 new litters of kits. A warrior, Crowbird, was scratched blind by a rabbit. Our rabbits outrun us, and we have no water. We beg RiverClan to let us drink water from your stream. We cannot feed our kits; already Moorkit, son of Weaseltail and Whitefoot has died. Please!" he begged Streamstar.
Streamstar looked at him with pity in his blue eyes. "Of course," he murmured.
"But you must not steal ANY prey. Our apprentices will catch fish for you, but only until you can err... outrun your rabbits." Whitestar had not seemed to hear the veiled insult.
His eyes were full of relief. "WindClan thanks you. This Gathering has come to an end!" he yowled.
Snowpaw stood up and stretched. She pushed her muzzle into Echopaw's. "I hope I see you again," she said. "Me too.'" admitted Echopaw.
"Bye!" she called to her new RiverClan friend as Ivywater from RiverClan called Echopaw to leave. Snowpaw yawned.
"I'm tired!" she yawned. Ripplepaw appeared near her.
"Let's go. Hollystar is leaving." Snowpaw ran out the grassy clearing, crossed the log, and bumped into her mentor. Snowpaw was bubbling with excitement.
"That was a great Gathering!" she burst out. Nightfern purred. As they walked two fox-lengths from the lake, Snowpaw thought of her friend Echopaw. Finally, they reached the camp.
"It's time to sleep, little one." Snowpaw nodded, and stumbled into the apprentice den. She yawned, and fell into a deep sleep, Ripplepaw leaning beside her.
Snowpaw yawned and stretched. Her fluffy white coat stuck up all over the place, and her blue eyes were glazed with sleepiness.
"Why does Nightfern want me so early in the morning?" she complained. Ripplepaw leaned over and licked her ear gently. His orange eyes were amused.
"Why, that's part of being an apprentice!" he purred. Growling, Snowpaw playfully leaped onto his dark tortoiseshell coat and cuffed his ear. Eaglepaw and Birdpaw watched them, looking disbelievingly.
But soon Birdpaw meowed and leaped onto Snowpaw, her slender brown tabby shape bowling into her. Snowpaw laughed. She was soon covered in cats. Eaglepaw stayed were he was, his pelt touching Sorrelpaw's.
Crowpaw snapped, "What is with you? You're acting like kits!" Mistpaw pushed him over and sunk her thorn-sharp teeth in his scruff. Suddenly, Goldenflower, Nightfern, Nightbreeze, and Oakblaze pushed their way through the entrance. Nightfern snorted.
"What are you doing, Snowpaw? You look a mess!" It was true. Her pretty coat was covered in moss. Oakblaze purred.
"Let them off, Nightfern." Nightfern huffed. "Let's go, we are on border patrol today." meowed Goldenflower. "By the ShadowClan border," added Nightbreeze.
The apprentices became solemn at once. "Have they been crossing the border again?" asked Birdpaw. Oakblaze nodded. Crowpaw's smoky grey coat bristled, and his blue eyes blazed.
"If I catch that mangy ShadowClan cat, I'll rip his pelt off and claw is ears until they bleed and-" Oakblaze interrupted him. "Crowpaw, as my apprentice, are you really going to do that? And disobey me?" Crowpaw lowered his furious gaze. "Never, Oakblaze." Oakblaze looked satisfied. "OK, let's go!" Nightbreeze sighed. "Were wasting time."
The mentors padded out of the den. Birdpaw, Snowpaw, Crowpaw, and Mistpaw followed their them through the gorse tunnel. The forest was alive with prey; Snowpaw couldn't understand why ShadowClan would steal prey. Mistpaw jumped into a stalking crouch, and caught two mice under a tall tree. "It's the most prey-rich season! Why would ShadowClan steal?" she murmured to Mistpaw. Her friend nodded, her mouth filled with prey. Snowpaw heard the sound of gentle rushing water. The stream must be the border. They walked across it. The water was clear and shallow; just enough to swim across the border. Cats would only go up to their belly fur.
Then, in the shadows of a pine tree, she saw the shadows of cats slinking through ThunderClan territory. Letting out a yowl of alarm, she snarled and pelted after them.
She could hear Nightfern's gentle paw steps, graceful and fast, Oakblaze's noisy but strong steps, and Goldenflower's clean, neat footsteps.
Nightbreeze's skimming paw steps flew over the land like water.
The apprentices ran after them. Finally, she reached the ShadowClan cats and hissed. There were 6 warriors and two apprentices.The patrol was large:
Russetpelt, Rowanpaw, Snakefang, Whitethroat, Tawnyfur and Brownshade, Blackfoot, and Whitepaw.
"What are you doing in our territory?" asked Oakblaze. His tone was cold but polite. Snowpaw admired his self control. Russetpelt, ShadowClan's deputy had lead the patrol.
"Hunting," answered Russetpelt simply, her dark red coat bristling.
"And why on our territory?" snarled Nightfern. "We are extending the border. ShadowClan will now stretch to Twoleg place. We think ThunderClan is too weak to defend it's borders. The scent line gets weaker every day." the apprentice, Rowanpaw growled smugly.
Nightbreeze hissed in disbelief. Crowpaw snarled, his eyes filled with smoldering blue fire.
"Are you let these pieces of fox dung tell us what to do?" he spat. Without waiting for an answer, he launched himself at Rowanpaw.
My first battle! Snowpaw thought. Nightfern had taught her a lot about fighting the past week.
Snowpaw shrieked and unsheathing her claws, bowled over Brownshade, spitting with fury. She dove under Brownshade's tortoiseshell body, and ripped her belly with her claws from the tip of her tail to her chest. Brownshade gasped, and collapsed.
She did not move.
Goldenflower fought alongside Nightfern. They scored their gleaming white claws again and again over Whitethroat's face.
"And now, your getting beat up by Amberheart's sister!" Nightfern yowled.
With one finally bite of his black tail, they let go and he pelted off into the forest.
"And don't come back!" Goldenflower yowled. Tawnyfur was under Oakblaze, as Snowpaw watched he scraped her shoulder until she begged for mercy.
Nightbreeze quickly turned, his lithe body not able to pin down Snakefang. Instead, he was quick and clever, turning neatly and biting Snaketail's ginger and black shoulder. Snakefang fled. Rowanpaw was much bigger, and soon Crowpaw was pinned down. Rowanpaw let out a yowl of triumph that was quickly shut off as Crowpaw, quick as a snake, leaped up and dug his claws in Rowanpaw's thick ginger fur. Rowanpaw shrieked and fled to the ShadowClan border. Mistpaw and Birdpaw were cornered by Blackfoot and Whitepaw. Blackfoot scored his claws against Birdpaw's brown tabby fur.
She yowled in pain.
Snowpaw ran, and bit on Blackfoot's tail as hard as she could.
Whipping around, he caught Snowpaw by the head and she slammed into a tree. Dazed, and in pain, she saw Blackfoot advancing on her, tail whipping in glee. Suddenly, a blur of bracken-colored fur slammed into Blackfoot, knocking him unconscious.
It was Oakblaze! Birdpaw and Mistpaw made quick work of Whitepaw. He fled in a hurry.
That was the last thing Snowpaw remembered before her paws jerked, she wailed, and she closed her blue eyes.
"No, No, No!" she wailed. Snowpaw lay slumped on the ground, not moving, with Blackfoot and Brownshade. As she watched, Brownshade groaned and stumbled off to the stream.
But Snowpaw never did.
Blood covered her, and Nightfern could barley see her white fur.
Nightfern rushed up to her, and curled around her cold, cold body.
Oakblaze looked horrified; he pushed his muzzle into Nightfern's. Nightbreeze padded up to his sister and murmured,
"She will be missed..." Mistpaw let out a wail and pushed her muzzle into her best friend's fur.
Crowpaw looked sad and solemn.
But it was Birdpaw.
"NO! Snowpaw, please don't leave me; I'm your sister, please! What will I tell Heatherleaf and Darkfur?!" she begged. But Snowpaw did not answer her pleas.
Suddenly, Snowpaw lifted her head and gasped, "Help me..." Nightfern jumped.
"She's alive! We need to get her to Fawnpelt!" Together, Nightfern lifted her apprentice gently over Oakblaze's and Goldenflower's broad shoulders. Mistpaw and Crowpaw pushed their warm bodies to keep Snowpaw warm. Nightfern pushed through ferns and underbrush as they walked through the forest. Finally, they reached camp. Fawnpelt pelted out of her den, smelling the scent of blood.
"Sit her down here," she instructed as she lead them into the medicine cat den. Amberheart slept in the corner with her kit, Moonkit. They were still not well enough to be moved to the nursery. Oakblaze gently placed Snowpaw on the soft moss.
"Featherpaw, feed her some water." Fawnstep told Featherpaw. The silver tom nodded, and squeezed through a opening in the back of the cave. A tiny, drip, drip, sound was heard. There was a tiny waterfall, there in the back, trickling ice-cold water from the mountain snow. Featherpaw appeared holding a empty cone of nectar filled with clear water.
"Here, drink." encouraged Featherpaw. Snowpaw lifted her head feebly and took a long sip.
"Featherpaw, do we have any left over nectar for her?" asked Fawnpelt.
"Yes, we do!" said Featherpaw.
He stood on his back legs and fished some sweet smelling nectar out of the compartment.
Heatherleaf pushed her way through the den, followed by Darkfur.
"Will my kit live? she asked, her beautiful heather-blue eyes terrified.
"It's in the paws of StarClan." said Fawnpelt grimly. "Give her a good lick." she added.
Darkfur pushed where is daughter was and licked her fiercely. Featherpaw forced the last of the gold nectar into her pink mouth. She swallowed.
Now that Snowpaw's fur was snow white again, Nightfern could see the bleeding gash on her head. Featherpaw examined it and returned with a poultice of chervil, comfrey, goldenrod and chamomile. Featherpaw applied the poultice and then stuck a cobweb to her head to stop it from bleeding. Snowpaw looked much better. Her nose was more colored now, and she looked healthier.
"She will live!" announced Fawnpelt. Nightfern let out a sigh of relief.
Nightfern stood up and stretched. Silverpelt shined above her, and the forest was silent. The moon’s light gave the ferns outside her den an eerie, unnatural glow.
Her beautiful silver tabby coat was matted and sticky.
She uncurled her tail and yawned, careful not to put her tail tip near Stormfall’s nose. He was known to eat in his sleep. She sat on her rump and began to lick her stiff pelt, outside the lean muscles. It had been a long day.
Snowpaw was in the medicine cat den, not sick, but with a busted head. She would heal, but not for some time, thought Nightfern.
Nightfern finally decided to go for a night walk near the shore, next to the shelter of the forest.
She gingerly placed one paw over the jumble of warriors, careful not to step on them.
When she finally came out, quiet, gentle birdsong filled her ears. She took a path through the forest that had not been used in moons. The fallen leaves smelled fresh and comforting. The green moss felt light and soft. She picked up the pace, trotting through the calm forest. The smell of a large mouse filled her nostrils. She located it, stuffing it’s furry little face with nuts. Tail just but brushing against thick maple leaves, she crouched and leaped. It was dead before it could feel pain and shock.
Laying with dark silver paws tucked neatly underneath her slender body, Nightfern began to eat. The mouse tasted warm and crisp, filling her rumbling belly. When Nightfern was done, she continued padding on towards the shore.
Suddenly, she caught scent of fear and desperation, thick in the air like fog. Nightfern leaned down in the ferns so no one could see her. The cat came closer.
Suddenly, Nightfern leaped out, claws unsheathed, fangs open in a soundless snarl.
Nightfern crashed into the cat, growling. Shrieks ripped through the air. Nightfern stopped short just as she was going down for the shoulder and gasped, astonished. The cat she had attacked was a she-cat with kits!
Her coloring was unusual, a cream color with dark brown ears, legs, face, and tail-tip. Her beautiful coat was dirty and matted, her bright blue eyes filled with terror.
She hissed and raised her hackles, protecting her newborn kits. There were 2 female kits, one a spitting image of her mother, only with darker cream fur and points; the other, a light, almost milky cream with darker paws. They lay meowing and wailing.
Their appearance horrified Nightfern; they were skin and bones. Finally, the she-cat lowered her hackles and gasped,
“Please don’t hurt my kits!”
Nightfern cocked her head and soothed, “Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you. What’s your name?” The she-cat looked relieved. “I’m Lea, and these are my kits, Violet-” she pointed her tail to the dark she-cat “-and Iris” she nudged the cream kit. “I was a loner, and I lived in a cozy little barn, but Twolegs tore it down and I don’t know what to do. The cats over there-” she looked at ShadowClan’s territory and cringed. “chased me out and hurt Iris. Um... can we join your Clan? You can keep us safe."
Iris wailed. Nightfern could see her tiny body battered and scratched. Iris’s breathing became fainter every minute. It was clear that if she wasn’t helped, she would die.
“Come with me!” exclaimed Nightfern. Without waiting for an answer, she picked up Violet and pelted to camp. Lea followed, carrying Iris.
Nightfern rushed through the thick underbrush, Lea keeping pace. They finally made it to camp as the bright sun burst through the forest, turning the ferns from silver to gold.
“Hollystar! Hollystar! Come quick!” Hollystar sprang out of her den, her eyes wild.
“What’s wron-” Her emerald gaze fell upon Nightfern and Lea holding kits.
She gasped, seeming to understand. Hollystar dashed to Fawnpelt’s den. She returned with Featherpaw and Fawnpelt. Fawnpelt gently picked up Iris and Violet and looked at Lea trustingly. Lea relaxed her grip, and Fawnpelt trotted back to the den, Lea trailing behind. By this time, all the warriors had heard. Hollystar beckoned towards Nightfern and she told Hollystar everything. Hollystar jumped onto Highrock and yowled,
“Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey join me here for a Clan meeting!”
The warriors looked up. She continued on.
“A loner, Lea, has come to stay in the clan.
With her, she brings two new kits. We welcome them to ThunderClan.” The cats in the clearing looked at each other and nodded, satisfied.
Nightfern was stalking a juicy mouse. She paused, and waited while it sniffed the air suspiciously, it’s little whiskers twitching. It seemed to decide nothing was there, and oblivious to the danger, began to eat his food. Nightfern took her chance.
She pounced, scattering maple leaves as the deer mouse dashed for cover in a tiny hole at the base of a large oak tree. He was to late. Nightfern cuffed it’s ear, stunning it, and bit down hard on it’s tiny neck.
Thanking StarClan, she padded back to the camp, the mouse just one of the four she caught. Nightfern picked up the pace to camp. The mice were getting slightly chilled in the frosty fall-leaf season before leaf-bare.
She caught Hollystar’s voice as she squeezed through the gorse bush tunnel and green ferns covering its safe entrance. Hollystar was on Highrock.
Lea and her two kits, Iris and Violet were sitting at the base of the large grey rock next to Ivykit, Moonkit, Hawkkit, and Meadowkit, their best friends.
“-these loners will be welcomed to ThunderClan. They may not be born here, but we have earned two new kits and a queen.” Hollystar was yowling.
A protest came from Specklewing. “What will the other clans think of us? They will see it as weakness, not wisdom. Lea was stupid to come here and earn our sympathy. Drive her out, I say!” The elder’s orange eyes flashed with fury and her dappled ginger pelt was raised.
“Picky Specklewing!” muttered Nightfern. The cranky elder would still complain if StarClan themselves descended from Silverpelt to honor her. Hollystar was outraged.
Snarling, she spat, “You will respect what the clan leader decides... Specklewing, the leader’s word is law!” She let the threat hang in the air.
Nightfern knew that Hollystar barley ever got so angry. Specklewing growled disgust, raising her withered hackles. Half of the clan was spitting with fury at her ignorant words.
Violet and Iris cowered behind Lea, who was hissing. Hawkkit growled menacingly in defiance, pushing his dark muzzle Iris’s pale pelt. The bold tom had loved Iriskit from the moment they met.
Meadowkit, Moonkit, and Ivykit pushed their fluffy fur against Violet in comfort. Iris’s and Violet’s bright blue eyes were wide with terror.
“Enough!” bellowed Hollystar.
The Clan became silent at her angry words. “From this day on, Violet will be Violetkit, and Iris Iriskit. We welcome them as kits of ThunderClan.”
The Clan had calmed down. They began to cheer while Violetkit puffed out her small cream chest, and Iriskit put her dark paws over her eyes in embarrassment while Hawkkit licked her head in pride.
Nightfern could see Specklewing retreating to the elders den, fur flattened in shame and defeat. Hollystar looked at Lea, her green eyes filled with intelligence.
“From this day on, Lea will be... Creamsplash, for her cream-colored coat. Creamsplash ducked in head in acknowledgment and gratitude.
Hollystar added, “The kits are not old enough to be apprenticed, but Nightfern will be in charge of teaching Creamsplash how to fight since Snowpaw is not well enough to continue.”
Nightfern looked surprised. She walked forward, but Creamsplash cut her off.
“Hollystar, I would be honored to become a warrior, but I feel I should stay a queen full time. This is my second litter, and I can help the queens. Nightfern can teach me how to defend myself, but may I stay a queen?”
Hollystar purred in agreement. “That’s a wonderful idea, Creamsplash.”
The meeting ended, and all the cats went back to their duties.
At dawn, Nightfern heard several yowls from the nursery. Amberheart’s terrified voice was the loudest: “All the kits are gone!”
Alright, let me end off with this: I wrote this a long time ago, before I joined WSW, and I'm going to re-do everything by the end of 2012. I know it sucked, and please don't not read my other fanfiction because of this one. I was 9 when I wrote it. Go read the newest books of the series, or, my other work!