Rowanfall's Journey Starts
Series: The Rowanfall Tale
Allegiances: Rowanfall's Journey Starts/Allegiances
Succeeding: Embark on Fate's Journey
|Rowankit seems like a normal kit, but a prophecy says that she is a danger to the clans and is not suited for warrior life. Mistfrost, Rowankit's mother, is determined to prove this prophecy wrong, but Rowankit doesn't want to battle or hunt. Rowankit ignores her mother and goes for the life as a medicine cat, but Mistfrost doesn't take it lightly. What will Rowankit do? How can she prove that she doesn't want to be a warrior. That deep down, she doesn't even want to be a clan cat?|
A misty, pale gray she-cat was curled in the nursery, grooming her fur. She had deep blue eyes and tufts of white on her chest that shown out against the rest of her gray-ish fur. She she licked her paws, long, sharp claws slid out.
"What are you doing, Mistfrost?" asked a she-cat sitting next to her in a moss nest. This other she-cat was a tannish-brown color with green eyes and white paws.
"My claws feel...odd." the first she-cat, Mistfrost, meowed, "I think I got something stuck in one when I was out hunting."
"That shows you what happens when you go out hunting while you're still nursing kits." the second she-cat mewed, highly disapproving of Mistfrost's behavior. "You need to take care of Rowankit. I'm tired of taking care of your kit while you're out hunting and on patrols."
"Don't insult my parenting skills, Tanclaw." Mistfrost hissed, her fur on end.
"Don't be a bad parent, then." the tan-brown she-cat muttered, rolling over and licking her two kits.
Mistfrost gazed into her own nest, at her kit. Rowankit was a brown she-cat with pale ginger paws and tail, a white tuft on her chest, and deep blue eyes. Maybe she was a bad mother. "She won't ever be a warrior."
"Who said that?" Mistfrost looked around the nursery, and saw a brown tom with stars in his pelt gazing down at her. He was tall and strong-looking, muscles bulging.
"Rowankit won't ever follow the Warrior Code. She can't be a warrior. She is a danger to the Clans." The tom faded into nothingness and Mistfrost was left staring at the wall of the nursery.
Mistfrost had an internal struggle. She would never be a warrior... she was a danger to the clans... would Mistfrost get rid of her? Mistfrost closed her eyes, not knowing what to do. She decided. She gave Rowankit a lick and meowed, "I'll show those StarClan mousebrains. You will be the best warrior WindClan has ever seen."
Chapter 1: Rowankit's GameEdit
Rowankit groomed her long, brown fur in the sunlight. "Those dumb ThunderClan cats." meowed the one of the two kits beside her. "They're hidden underneath their trees in the dark while we're out in the nice, warm sun."
"Don't forget ShadowClan, Heatherkit." added the other kit. The two kits were one tom and one she-cat, the tom a fluffy brown tabby and the she-cat a leann gray tabby. "They only come out at night."
"And RiverClan's got their heads stuck in the river, watching fish instead of the sun." the tom, Heatherkit, sighed with content.
"Come, Larkpaw." came a voice. Rowankit looked up and saw a ginger tom with blakc tabby stripes nearby.
"Coming, Tigertail." a brown she-cat apprentice finished off the rabbit she was eating and padded over tot eh tom before they left the camp for training.
"I wish I was an apprentice." Heatherkit sighed, his eyes getting a faraway look as he imagined how great it would be to train.
"Me too!" Featherkit, the she-cat, jumped up and started acting out battle moves that she had learned from Milkpaw earlier that day.
"I couldn't care in the least." Rowankit mewed, looking back down at her leg as she washed the dust from it. She heard a thud and looked up again. Featherkit had frozen in mid-battle-move in shock and fallen, while Heatherkit just sat with his jaw open. "What?" Rowankit asked, not seeing why they were so shocked.
"You don't want to become an apprentice?" Heatherkit finally meowed. Featherkit still lay motionless ont he ground in shock, jaws gaping.
"Nope. Couldn't care. I've never been that great at hunting or fighting anyway." Rowankit continued grooming her pelt.
"You mean you don't want to be a warrior?" Featherkit asked at last.
Rowankit flicked her tail irritably. "Let's just forget the subject. If I show you a game, will you stop asking me about it?"
"Maybe." Heatherkit murmured.
"Okay, come over here." Rowankit stood and padded into a nice, clear space in camp. She gazed around for a bit, then found what she was looking for. She trotted off to the camp wall and pulled out a long, strong-looking leaf. "Heatherkit, you go first." Rowankit meowed. She wrapped the leaf over the brown tom's eyes and carefully used her tiny claws to tie it in place.
"What's this for?" Heatherkit asked, flipping his head around to try and locate Rowankit.
"It's part of the game," Rowankit meowed, "I call it the Blind Badger. you run around and try to find us while your blindfolded, but we can't get too far or hide in the dens."
So they played. Heatherkit and Featherkit seemed to find Blind Badger fun, and Featherkit was especially good a it. However, one trick that Rowankit loved to use was to pick up a rock and toss it, so when it thudded, the "Blind Badger" would think some cat was over there, leaving her to sneak by.
"I think its about time you kits went to bed." Came a sudden voice. Rowankit used a claw to slice off the blindfold, as she was playing the "Blind Badger" at the moment, and saw the clan deputy, Fallowstretch, smiling down at her.
"'K, Fallowstretch." she mewed, and the three kits padded back to the nursery. As Rowankit curled up to sleep in her nest with Mistfrost, she wondered why the other kits were so shocked that she didn't want to be a warrior. Surely there was more to life than fighting and killing?
Chapter 2: Mistfrost's TrainingEdit
"But Miiistfroost!" Rowankit complained as Mistfrost carried her by the scruff. "I don't wanna be a warrior!"
"You will be a warrior, Rowankit." Mistfrost mewed, voice muffled through Rowankit's brown fur. The queen was carrying her kit to a hidden clearing just outside camp. It was blocked off by a hill, the camp wall, and a small stream. She was going to train Rowankit early, hoping she would become a warrior earlier and prove these lying StarClan furballs wrong!
"But I don't want to!" Rowankit pouted, waving her paws half-heartedly. "I don't wanna fight, or hunt! I just wanna be me!"
"Shush, Rowankit," Mistfrost meowed, setting her kit down gently in the clearing, "You will be a warrior, and you'll love it when you are one! Fighting and protecting your clan is worth more than the world to the warriors."
"But it's not for me!" Rowankit complained, "I don't want to have to wash blood off my claws, I don't want to return from every battle close to death, I don't want to watch my friends die over a petty fight between clans when we don't even know what we're fighting for!"
Mistfrost brought her paw down hard on Rowankit's head. "Don't you dare say that!" she hissed, then calmed herself. "Every time you say something like that, I will hit you."
"Abuse!" Rowankit yowled, cupping her paws over to head as if she was trying to hold in the pain.
"Shush, now, attack me." Mistfrost padded over to the other side of the clearing, then turned and faced her kit, teeth bared. Rowankit sighed and stood. She fixed her gaze on Mistfrost's right ear, and dived. Mistfrost jumped out of the way and placed her paw on Rowankit's back. "I win."
"I don't wanna train!" Rowankit squealed, wriggling out from under her mother's paw, "I don't want to be a warrior!"
Mistfrost bunched her muscles as Rowankit attempted to run away, and landed in front of the kit. She reached down and grabbed the brown she-cat's tail in her teeth, biting down hard. Rowankit squealed even louder, and Mistfrost realised that someone from camp must hear her. She planted a paw on Rowankit's back and pinned her down.
Pantherfur, a wiry black she-cat with glowing green eyes, broke into the clearing. "Is Rowankit okay?" she asked, panting from her run. "I heard her crying."
"She snuck out of camp," Mistfrost lied quickly, "When I found her, she yowled and tried to run away."
Pantherfur looked suspicious, but padded away. "I've got to take Dawnpaw training," she explained, then added, "You'd better stay in camp from now on, Rowankit."
Chapter 3: A BattleEdit
"I found you, Heatherkit!" Featherkit squealed. They were playing Blind Badger again, and Featherkit was the "Blind Badger". She had her dainty paws on her brother's back, having just located him.
"You still need to find Rowankit and Milkpaw!" Heatherkit mewed, padding off to stand on the rock where the caught cats sat. Already sitting there was Dawnpaw and her sister, Rosepaw.
"This is fun!" Dawnpaw purred to her sister while Featherkit stumbled around, trying to find Rowankit. "I remember when we used to play this as kits."
"You were terrible at it then," Rosepaw teased, "and you are terrible at it now. you kept trying to talk to the Blind Badger while they were looking for you!"
"Oh, shush, you!" Dawnpaw smacked her sister playfully with her paws.
Hiding beside a nearby rock, Rowankit crouched. She saw Milkpaw, a white apprentice tom, wander dangerously close to Featherkit as he ran to hide beside the stone with Rowankit. He raced past the gray tabby she-cat, skidding to a haul next to Rowankit. "That was close." he whispered.
"I hear you, Milkpaw!" Featherkit mewed, trotting over to Rowankit's and Milkpaw's hiding spot. however, Rowankit had a back-up plan. She picked up a nearby pebble and tossed it over Featherkit's head, it landing on the other side of the clearing. Featherkit turned around, racing over to where the rock had fallen, and Rowankit dashed out to find another hiding place.
"That's enough playing, Milkpaw." meowed a gray tabby she-cat with spiky looking fur.
"Are we going training, Pricklepelt?" Milkpaw asked, pricking his ears and padding over to his mentor.
"Yes, and Fallowstretch, Rosepaw, Mousespots, Dawnpaw, Tigertail, and Larkpaw. All the mentors and apprentices." the she-cat, Pricklepelt, responded.
"But Acornpaw's an apprentice." Dawnpaw pointed out, trotting over to Pricklepelt and Milkpaw, Rosepaw on her tail.
Before Pricklepelt could respond, Featherkit jumped on her back, climbing onto her head. Once she was on Pricklepelt's head, she landed square on Milkpaw's back. "I win!" Featherkit mewed, batterning Milkpaw with her paws while Pricklepelt and the other purred with laughter. Milkpaw was pinned in the dusty ground, pretending to be captured.
"I'm dying!" he mewed, pretending to writhe in pain.
"You still need to find Rowankit." Dawnpaw reminded Featherkit.
"Aww!" Featherkit whined, letting Milkpaw up, "Rowankit doesn't count! She's too good!"
"You need to work on reliying on your other senses!" Rowankit called from her hiding place. Featherkit ran over to her voice, but Rowankit tip-toed away carefully.
"Well, we should get going." Pricklepelt reminded the apprentices. "Fallowstretch is waiting for us in the training hollow." The apprentices and Pricklepelt left, leaving Rowankit and Featherkit to continue playing.
Rowankit pricked her ears, lifting her head from her mouse. Recently, Mistfrost had decided she was old enough to eat fresh-kill. Rowankit was a moon and a half old now, but kits usually started eating fresh-kill at two moons old.
Rowankit licked the blood off her face from the mouse and sniffed the air. She smelled blood- not just the mouse's.
Rowankit wasn't the only one who smelled blood. Vinetail, Grayhaze and Rabbitfur were sniffing the air as well. "Blood!" Pantherfur yowled, alerting the camp.
Pricklepelt emerged in the camp, carrying Milkpaw by the scruff. Behind her was Fallowstretch with Dawnpaw leaning on him, Rosepaw limping beisde Larkpaw, and last was Tigertail, carrying Mousespots on his back. All were terribly injured, blood welling from wounds. Milkpaw was limp and Mousespots had a large scratch on her belly.
"There was a battle." Pricklepelt meowed simply, voice muffled through Milkpaw's fur.
Berryblossom rushed out to meet the cats, Acornpaw stumbling after her, wieghed down by all the herbs he was carrying. "We should heal Milkpaw and Mousespots first." Berryblossom instructed Acornpaw, who nodded and raced over to Tigertail. Tigertail sat down slowly, setting Mousespots on the dusty floor of the camp.
"ShadowClan was trespassing on our territory." Pricklepelt explained, setting Milpaw in front of Berryblossom. "They just jumped out of the heather at us. There were two patrols! We sent Milkpaw back to sent help, but one of them pounced on him."
"Everyone in my den!" Berryblossom meowed, picking up Milkpaw by the scruff, easy to lift the small tom. She led everyone into the den while Acornpaw healed Mousespots in the clearing, unable to move her yet. After a few moments Berryblossom came back and helped- after healing the others.
Mistfrost suddenly appeared next to Rowankit, asking, "What happened?"
"There was a battle." Rowankit meowed simply. Everyone in the camp was staring at Acornpaw and Berryblossom, the tension unbearable. Finally, after what seemed like seasons, Berryblossom raised her head with a sad expression.
"She's dead." she meowed. There followed yowls of grief and anger. Acornpaw jumped up, looking especially angry, and raced over to the medicine den. Pricklepelt was at the entrance, waiting for him.
"Who did this to her?" Acornpaw asked. Rowankit could understand his anger, Mousespots had been his mother.
"That new warrior, Shadespeckle." Pricklepelt answered, looking surprised. Acornpaw just hissed and padded inside the den, Pricklepelt following him.
Rowankit suddenly felt a rush of anger towards Mistfrost. "You see?!" she hissed at the misty-gray she-cat, drawing gazes from all over the clearing. "You see what comes of battle? You see why I don't want to be a warrior? You see why I don't want to fight?"
Rowankit stormed into the nursery, everyone in the camp staring at her in surprise.
Chapter 4: Acornpaw = MissingEdit
Rowankit padded around in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere. Mist clouded her vision and she couldn't see her own paws in front of her. She blinked, hoping that would clear her eysight, but she was still lost in endless mist.
Suddenly, Rowankit saw a light ahead. She raced towards it, but it ran away. As she ran, she somehow could tell where all the rocks were, as if she knew this territory like the back of her paw. The light was getting farther and farther away, but Rowankit kept running, determind not to be lost forever in this mist.
The light was whispering something that Rowankit couldn't hear. As she got closer, she could just make out what they were saying, "...doesn't want to be a clan cat.... danger to the clans..." Rowankit ignored them and kept running.
Rowankit started to slow down, unable to run any longer. What was this light that could run for so long? "Stop!" Rowankit yowled, coming to a stop, "Please, stop! I don't want to be lost!"
The light disappeared, but their whispering continued in Rowankit's ear, "Lost... abandoned... alone forever, danger to the clans..."
Rowankit writhed in her nest, yowling, "Lost! Please don't leave me alone!" She opened her eyes. She saw Mistfrost and Featherkit leaning over her worried.
"Bad dream?" Mistfrost asked, licking her kit's ruffled fur.
"Er... yeah." Rowankit meowed, standing and trotting away from her nest.
"Where do you think you're going?" Mistfrost asked, glaring at Rowankit. "Get back to sleep."
"I don't think I'll be able to sleep." Rowankit meowed, "I'm going to talk with Acornpaw, he's always up at Moonhigh." She slipped out of the nursery, glancing up at the beautiful moon. It was almost full. Rowankit thought about hhow ShadowClan would have a lot of explaining to do when they went to the Gathering in a few days. Of course, Rowankit wouldn't be going, she wouldn't be an apprentice for a little of four and a half moons.
The little brown she-cat padded across camp and into the medicine cat den. Her friend, Acornpaw, was always awake at Moonhigh. He was the medicine cat apprentice, and said that the moon called to him, making him unable to sleep through the moonlight.
Rowankit wanted to talk to Acornpaw because, not only he was her friend, but he was a medicine cat. Strange, scary dreams were his area, and Rowankit had a hunch that her dream hadn't been a normal one. However, hr plans were interupted when she saw that Acornpaw wasn't in the den. Careful not to wake Berryblossom, she checked the herb store and the small cave in the very back that hid a water source for sick cats who couldn't walk. Inside the cave was Milkpaw, Pricklepelt, Tigertail, Dawnpaw, Rosepaw, Fallowstretch, and Larkpaw. But not Acornpaw.
"Rowankit?" Rosepaw raised her head. Obviously she hadn't been sleeping, or Rowankit had woken her up.
"I-I'm looking for Acornpaw. "Rowankit explained, whispering to make sure not to wake the others.
"He said he was going out." Rosepaw whispered, "He didn't say where, though."
"Oh, okay." Rowankit whispered back, disappointed. She turned and exited the den, padding back into the moonlight. She stopped by the fresh-kill pile, which was empty except for a cold, tiny rabbit, and gazed up at the night sky. Acornpaw had a point; the night was beautiful.
Rowankit suddenly pricked her ears. She heard Acornpaw. The moon was starting to sink and the beautiful sunrays of dawn glowed onto the moors of WindClan. The tiny brown she-cat waited for her friend to enter camp. She froze, suddenly scared out of her wits. She smelled blood, too... and ShadowClan!
She ran and hid just inside the nursery, yowling, "ShadowClan invasion! ShadowClan invasion!"
Almost everybody rose at once, pouring into the camp with claws out and fur prickling. Vinetail and Rabbitfur, brothers, raced tot he front of the group and hissed as Acornpaw dashed into the camp, covered in blood. Behind him emerged a ShadowClan patrol, barely hurt.
"You killed Shadespeckle!" hissed a white she-cat at the front of the patrol, attempting to leap at Acornpaw. However, Rabbitfur leaped in front of the injured medicine cat apprentice and blocked the she-cat way. she crashed into Rabbitfur's muscular shoulders. She was stunned for a moment, then backed up and glanced at the other two cats with her.
"Acornpaw must die!" yowled a black and white tom behind the she-cat. "He killed my brother!"
"Acornpaw couldn't kill!" Berryblossom objected, appearing through the crowd and approaching the shadowClan cats. "He doesn't even know how to fight, let alone kill Shadespeckle."
"I saw it!" meowed the third cat, a light brown she-cat. "He snuck into the Warrior's Den and killed him before he was even able to stand up!"
"Acornpaw didn't kill Shadespeckle."Larkpaw hissed, emerging from the Medicine den to defend her brother.
"Yes he did!" the whole ShadowClan patrol hissed at once.
"Yes, I did."
Everyone looked around in surprise to see it was Acornpaw who had spoken.
Chapter 5: Exiled!Edit
The small brown tom leaped up onto a nearby boulder so he would stand over the crowd. "I did indeed kill that murdering ShadowClan scum." he meowed.
Two reactions came from this, in the WindClan cats came mewls of surprise and shocked faces, while from the ShadowClan patrol came hissing and insults.
"Justify what you have done." Blazestar appeared from the crowd and leaped up onto the bolder next to Acornpaw.
"You guys could never understand." he replied simply, then comtinued to explain anyway, "Earlier, I was mourning over my mother's death under the moonlight, like I've done every moonhigh since she died. I suddenly looked down and saw a vision. There was blood all over my paws, soaking into my fur. When I looked up, I saw Shadespeckle attacking Mousespots and giving her that fatal wound. StarClan wanted me to kill that murderer."
Acornpaw's eyes shone with something between fear and shock, as if he had finally realized what he had done. He stepped back and gazed at his paws, as if expecting to see them still soaked with Shadespeckle's blood. "But what if StarClan is wrong...?" he murmured, as if to himself, although the whole camp and the ShadowClan patrol heard it, "StarClan might have turned evil... Why would they want me to become a murderer? Or was it my own selfish deire to avenge Mousespots's death?"
"I cannot let this action go unpunished." Blazestar meowed finally, when Acornpaw just backed up further and started muttering to himself about blood, "Snowpelt, Goldnight, Whiteshade, you should return to your own Clan now. I will discuss what teh consquence of this action will be with my medicine cat and deputy." The ShadowClan cats left in a huf, Acornpaw was taken into the Leader's den, and Berryblossom, Fallowstretch, and Blazestar all went inside the Leader's den to discuss what had happened.
"StarClan..." Rowankit growled, padding from her hiding place with her claws out. She dug her tiny claws into teh soft, dusty ground and hissed, "StarClan turned my friend into a murderer... How can they lead the clans into pointless battles and use warriors for their own selfish needs?"
"What did you say?" Heatherkit asked, padding up to her.
"Nothing." Rowankit sighed, sliding her claws back in. "What to go find something to do until we find out what Acornpaw's punishment will be?"
"Let's go talk with Larkpaw." Heatherkit suggested, "I bet she's torn up."
Rowankit looked up from where she was sitting to see Blazestar jump up onto the boulder to address his clan. Once the clan was gathered together, He started to speak, "We have agreed on Acornpaw's punishment." he meowed, gazing out over the clan. Rowankit noticed Acornpaw flanked by Rabbitfur and Fallowstretch, sitting beside the boulder. "The punishment is exile."
There were many outbursts of both approval and rage. "He's too young!" Pantherfur protested, "He would strave! He has no idea how to hunt or fight!"
"You want a murderer among us?" Grayhaze, Rowankit's father, hissed.
"He won't live a second out of WindClan territory!" Pricklepelt yowled.
"He should have thought of that before he became a murderer." Blazestar mewed, narrowing his eyes. He flicked his tail at Acornpaw. "Now go, if we see you on our territory again you will be attacked." And the meeting broke up.
"Acornpaw, wait!" Rowankit meowed, racing after her friend as he left camp. He stopped and looked back at the small kit.
"You shouldn't have to go." Rowankit cried, tears streaming down her face.
"I do have to go." Acornpaw reached forward and touched Rowankit's nose with his. "But I leave my spirit here with WindClan." the small brown tom turned, and he padded away, leaving Rowankit to cry at the injustice of it all.
Chapter 6: ApprenticesEdit
Rowankit sat beside Heatherkit and Featherkit as they watched Milkpaw, Larkpaw, Dawnpaw and Rosepaw get their warrior names. "Then from here on, you shall be known as Milkpelt, Larkfeather, Dawnrise and Rosepad." Blazestar jumped down from his boulder and touched the tops of the four new warriors' heads. "May StarClan be with you always."
"Milkpelt! Larkfeather! Dawnrise! Rosepad!" the clan cheered. It had taken a few moons and many battles between ShadowClan and WindClan for both clans to get over the deaths of Mousespots and Shadespeckle, along wtiht eh loss of Acornpaw.
At the thought of her old friend, roankit glanced at Berryblossom. She was worried, Berryblossom was getting old and she had no apprentice now. It would be at least a moon until Ravenpelt had her kits- she had moved to the nursery not long ago, carrying Vinetail's kits.
Rowankit sighed. this was supposed to be a good day, but she was absorbed in other cats' problems. She was going to be an apprentice, she should be excited! However, she just felt saddness at the fact that she was going to be forced to fight and hunt when she really cared for neither one.
"Rowankit, Featherkit, Heatherkit, please step forward." Blazestar called, snapping Rowankit out of her head. The three kits stepped forward. Featherkit was wriggling with excitment, and Heatherkit looked like he was going to explode from pleasure, but Rowankit just sat there.
"Featherkit, you have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to be apprenticed. From this day on, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Featherpaw. Your mentor will be Grayhaze. I hope Grayhaze will pass down all he knows to you." Grayhaze and Featherpaw touched noses, then faded back into the crowd.
"Heatherkit, you have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to be apprenticed. From this day on, until you get your warrior name, you shall be known as Heatherpaw. Your mentor will be Vinetail. I hope he will pass down all he knows to you." Heatherpaw and vinetail touched noses, then Rowankit was left alone. She suddenly felt everyone's eyes burning into her pelt, and wished that Blazestar would hurry up and finish the ceremony.
"Rowankit, you have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to be apprentice. from this day on, until you get your Warrior name, you will be known as Rowanpaw. Your mentor will be Fallowstretch. I hope he will pass down all he knows to you." Rowanpaw reached forward and touched noses with Fallowstretch quickly, then ran from the stares into the crowd.
"Featherpaw, Heatherpaw, Rowanpaw!" the clan cheered. Rowanpaw just ran into her new den, crying. Why wasn't she happy? That was easy; she didn't want to be a warrior. Why couldn't she choose her own destiny?
Chapter 7: The Power of MistfrostEdit
Rowanpaw pricked her ears. What was that she heard? She padded around, and found herself in a lush forest. Where was she? She saw tons of cats she didn't know. There was a white and black tom, a brown she-cat, a golden tom, and many others. they were all making musical sounds in their throats.
"What are you singing?" Rowanpaw asked, calling over the sound of their voices, but they just ignored her. What was going on? How are they making noises prettier than birds?
Rowanpaw suddenly spotted a brown she-cat standing atop a large rock in the center of a big rock pile. She padded over to her, climbing up the rocks. She seemed to be the leader- and she was familair. It wasn't until she got a good look at the she-cat did she recognise her.
This she-cat was borwn with pale ginger paws and tail, deep blue eyes, a white tuft on her chest, and a pink heart-shaped patch on her haunch. She was an older version of Rowanpaw! But what was with the heart on her haunch? Rowanpaw looked into the face of her older self. Older Rowanpaw closed her mouth, cutting off the song. She smiled down at her younger self... and winked.
"It's about time you got back home." older Rowanpaw meowed. She reached forward and prodded her in the side, and Rowanpaw smilied back at herself. Would she really look like that when she was older?
Rowanpaw woke up to see Heatherpaw leaning over her, prodding her in the belly. "Rowanpaw, Rowanpaw, wake up." he mewed, "Fallowstretch and Vinetail gave us the day off. But Featherpaw got caught when she snuck out of camp without Grayhaze, so she's stuck cleaning out the Elder's Den! Hehe!"
"Let's go hunting with Milkpelt and Larkfeather." Rowanpaw meowed, standing and stretching. She didn't really want to go hunting, she just wanted air.
"They're out on patrol." Heatherpaw mewed, "Let's just go for a walk by ourselves."
Rowanpaw stopped stretching and gazed at Heatherpaw in amazement. "How did you know I didn't want to really go hunting?" she asked.
"I know you." Heatherpaw explained simply. "Come on, I don't think Fallowstretch and Vinetail will mind if we go out without warrior as long as we're with each other."
"Okay." Rowanpaw padded out of cmap behind Heatherpaw. She noticed how he seemed do muscular, his muscles rippling under his dark tabby pelt. She should be as strong as Heatherpaw and Featherpaw, they had been training for three moons now, but she just refused to learn anything. She just didn't want to be a warrior. And because of all the pointless fights and other things, she was starting to wonder if she would even want to be a clan cat. But she could never leave her friends.
As they left the camp, they ran into Berryblossom. Literally. "Ow!" Heatherpaw hissed with annoyance, picking himself off of the ground, shaking the herbs out of his pelt. Berryblossom ran around quickly, picking up all the herbs she had dropped.
"Berryblossom." Rowanpaw meowed quickly, suddenly struck by an idea, "Can I be your apprentice?"
"What?" Berryblossom asked, looking up from her herbs.
"I want to train as a medicine cat." Rowanpaw meowed, ignoring the shocked faces of boht teh medicine cat and Heatherpaw.
"Don't be a medicine cat!" Heatherpaw exclaimed suddenly.
"why not?" Rowanpaw asked, looking at him curiously.
"Er.. just don't!" Heatherpaw mewed lamely, shuffling his paws and dropping his head.
"I have to." Rowanpaw sighed, "I have no future as a warrior."
"I guess I'll talk to Blazestar and Fallowstretch about it." Berryblossom meowed, looking thoughtful, "It would be nice to have a helper again..."
Heatherpaw looked miserable as Berryblossom padded away to her den to put away the herbs, but Rowanpaw wasn't quite sure why.
Mistfrost broke into the Aprpentice's den, smashing Featherpaw's empty nest in the process. Rowanpaw rose from her nest where she had been napping while Heatherpaw and Featherpaw went out hunting. "What is this I hear about you being a Medicine cat?!" Mistfrost hissed at her kit.
"I don't want to be a warrior!" Rowanpaw mewed, fur bristling.
"You will be a warrior!" Mistfrost hissed, stepping closer and pressing her face into Rowanpaw's.
"Let me rephrase," Rowanpaw mewed, stepping back, "I can't be a warrior, Mistfrost."
Mistfrost straightened and padded away in a huff. "This isn't over!" she hissed after her. "You will be a warrior whether you like it or not!"
Chapter 8: Medicine CatEdit
Rowanpaw was curled comfortably in her nest. She wasn't sleeping; she hadn't been able to sleep all night. She was still awaiting Berryblossom's answer the whether she could be her apprentice or not.
Something occured to Rowanpaw; she was taking the job that he exiled friend had lost. A pang of grief hit her as she once again realized that she would never see Acornpaw again. She wondered if he was okay wherever he was. He had never learned to hunt or fight, so maybe he was a kittypet. But, Rowanpaw realised, Acornpaw would never drop so low as to be a kittypet.
After she felt as though she couldn't take waiting anymore, the brown-and-pale ginger she-cat stood from her nest and tip-toed around Featherpaw and Heatherpaw into camp. She gazed up at the almost full-moon. If was to be medicine cat apprentice, she would get to go to the Gathering, even if Featherpaw and Heatherpaw couldn't.
"Something on your mind, Rowanpaw?" Rowanpaw jumped and tossed around to see Rosepad standing behind her. The white she-cat purred with laughter and poked Rowanpaw with her nose. "As observant as ever, I see."
"Oh, shush." Rowanpaw playfully smacked Rosepad with her paw.
"So, what are you doing up so late?" Rosepad asked, flicking Rowanpaw's paw away with her tail.
"I could ask you the same thing." Rowanpaw muttered, then, louder, she meowed, "I just can't wait until Berryblossom says if I can be her apprentice or not."
"I can't see why she wouldn't let you." Rosepad mewed, glancing towards the medicine cat den, "She's getting older, and you can tell the loss of Acornpaw is putting a lot of wieght on her shoulders."
Rowanpaw nodded, not sure what to say. She had barely noticed how old Berryblossom was getting; she had seemed so young and full of energy when Acornpaw had been there. Finally, the small brown she-cat shook out her fur and padded towards the medicine den. "I'm going to see if she's awake." she called over her shoulder to Rosepad.
Rowanpaw poked her head into the medicine cat den, finding Berryblossom's nest empty. She carefully tip-toed towards a crack in the rock behind her nest and squeezed in, finding the herb store empty as well. She next slipped through a tunnel that lead into a cavern under the nearby hill that was where the injured cats slept, but it was silent. She turned and padded back into camp where she found Rosepad still sitting and staring up at the sky.
"I'm guessing she wasn't there." Rosepad mewed, glancing at her friend.
"Nope." Rowanpaw sighed. "I guess I'll try to go back to sleep."
Rowanpaw opened her eyes, surprised that she had accutally drifted off to sleep. She lifted her head, and found her neck sore. She groaned- she must have slept on it wrong. She stood and gazed around the den; Heatherpaw and Featherpaw weren't there. They must be out training.
Rowanpaw suddenly realised what had woken her up. Berryblossom was sitting outside the Apprentice's Den, calling, "Rowanpaw, come out, I have good news."
Rowanpaw stuck her head out to find the sun blazing into her eyes. She blinked quickly and focused on the white-and-red she-cat. "Yes?" she asked, sleepily.
Berryblossom grabbed Rowanpaw by the scruff and tugged her into the sunlight. "Come on, wake up Rowanpaw!" she mewed cheerily, "You're my new apprentice!"
Rowanpaw woke up fully and smiled. "Really?"
Berryblossom nodded. "I went to consult StarClan yesterday at to the Moonstone, and they said it was a wise choice, so you're my apprentice. Of course, not officailly until we complete the ceremony next half-moon."
"Yippie!" Rowanpaw jumped up and down, delighted. "I'm going to be a medicine cat!" Berryblossom purred with amusement.
"You should bring your nest into my den, I think." Berryblossom mewed, nodding towards the Apprentices' Den. She turned and padded away, dissappearing into the medicine den. Rowanpaw was so happy, she wouldn't have to hunt or fight ever again, and she was still serving her clan!
Rowanpaw slipped into her den and pisked up her nest in her teeth. She dragged it outside, and on the way to the Medicine Den, she saw Mistfrost. The pale gray she-cat was glaring at her kit, bu tRowanpaw ignored her. What really surprsied her was that Heatherpaw had returned, a rabbit in his jaws. As he dropped the prey onto the fresh-kill pile, he had a sad look in his pale green eyes. Why was he so miserable lately?
Chapter 9: Herb SortingEdit
Rowanpaw sat in the Medicine den, grooming her fur as Berryblossom dug in the herb store. Every once in awhile the white she-cat would emerge from the crack in the rock with a mouthful of herbs and drop them in a pile next to Rowanpaw, then turn and slip back into the store for more.
Rowanpaw was growing impatient, and finally asked, "Berryblossom, what int he name of StarClan are you doing?"
"I need to show you the herbs," came the she-cat's voice, drifting from the crack in the rock, "and I need to sort the herbs. I'm killing two rabbits with one paw."
Rowanpaw poked her paw into the pile of herbs and pulled out a piece of bark. "What's this?" she asked, sniffing it, "It smells of ThunderClan."
Berryblossom poked her head out of the herb store to look at what Rowanpaw had. "It's Alder Bark, Goldleaf gave it to me a couple moons ago from his territory. Fallenstar probably made him do it to make us look weak- that was when we were fighting with ThunderClan." Her whtie-and-red head disappeared into the herb store once more, and Rowanpaw dug in the pile of herbs again.
The new medicine cat apprentice started sorting all the herbs that looked alike, keeping them in neat piles. She had sorted almost the entire pile when Berryblossom slipped into the main den with another mouthful of herbs. As she dropped the herbs at Rowanpaw's pale ginger paws once again, she meowed, "That's all of them. I sorted out all the old ones while I was in the herb store."
Rowan recognized a small yellow flower that rolled out the pile and onto her paw. "I've seen this one growing near the RiverClan border." she mewed, prodding it, "What is it?"
"Celandine" Berryblossom meowed, starting to help sort the herbs into different piles, "It helps sooth eyes when they're damamged. Thank StarClan I haven't had to use it in awhile, RiverClan used to get really angry whenever I picked it because they claimed it was on their territory."
"I see." Rowanpaw murmured under her breath. She dropped it in a pile next to her and picked up a brown root. She dropped it in a pile with some other similar roots, then dug in the pile again. She next found two small white flowers and dropped them into another pile. She picked up a bushel of purple-blue berries and set them carefully with others.
"You've made a few mistakes." Berryblossom mewed, pointing at the piles around Rowanpaw. Rowanpaw had been so absorbed in her herb sorting she had forgotten the medicine cat was there, and she jumped, startled. She accidentally landed on a purple berry and hissed with annoyance as it splattered all over her brown fur.
"What is this purple stuff?" she asked, unsure whether it was safe to lick from he fur or not.
"It's juniper berries, don't worry, they're safe to lick out of your pelt in to off-chance you're clumsy enough to splatter them all over yourself." Berryblossom purred in amusement. As Rowanpaw licked her fur clean again, she pointed at the piles around her apprentice's paws once more. "You see these roots? They're different roots, but you misstook them for the same. See, this is Burdock Root, and this is Comfrey root. You can tell because comfrey has a tangy scent. And these white flowers are different. This is Daisy and this is Feverfew."
"I see." Rowanpaw mewed, correcting the piles.
"Having fun?" Heatherpaw emerged into the Medicine den, bringing with him the scent of fresh-kill.
"Tons of it." Rowanpaw meowed, padding over to him, "If you consider getting covered in Juniper Berry juice fun."
The dark tabby tom dropped a bird and a rabbit on the floor, purring with amusement. "I do consider it fun." he joked, "because I'd rather get soaked in berry juice than be out hunting."
"I would." Rowanpaw meowed, sitting down as he rmentor joined their side and picked up the rabbit.
"Oh, yeah," Heatherpaw meowed, turning his attention to Berryblossom, "I stepped on a thorn on the Shadowclan border earlier. I pulled it out with my teeth, but Vinetail wanted you to look at it anyway."
The white she-cat lifted up the apprentice's paw and looked at the small wound. "It's fine, "she meowed, dropping it and turning towards the pile of herbs, "but I'll put some Marigold on it anyway, to make sure it doesn't get infected."
Chapter 10: Trip to the MoonstoneEdit
"Rowanpaw, it's time." Rowanpaw blinked open her eyes and saw Berryblossom prodding her with a paw. "It's the night of a half moon, we'd better get going to the Moonstone."
"K' Berryblossom." Rowanpaw staggered to her feet sleepily and shook the tiredness from her limbs. She stretched one leg at a time before trotting out after her mentor.
The two cats got ready to leave, said goodbye to the clan, and padded out onto the beautiful moors of WindClan territory. Rowanpaw, looking back at camp, saw Mistfrost with an angry glare in her eyes. I don't care. Rowanpaw thought, it's not any of her business what I make of my life.
They walked for what seemed like hours, jumping over rocks and gossiping all the way. After awhile, they saw the Highstones in the distance. "We're almost there." Berryblossom said, looking over the stones. "I can just see the shadow of Mothermouth."
"I'm tired." Rowanpaw panted, still trying her hardest to keep up with her mentor.
"At least we're not in ThunderClan, they have to walk the longest to get here. And we don't have to pass any enemy clan territory." Berryblossom pointed out. Then she glanced at Rowanpaw and saw how tired she was. "But I suppose your short legs must have taken quite a beating getting here. We can rest for a bit."
The sun was sinking when Rowanpaw and Berryblossom set off to the Moonstone again. It wasn't that far to walk after wards, and by the time they had reached the Mothermouth, the sun was gone and the moon was rising.
"Just folow me, Rowanpaw." Berryblossom meowed, flicking her soon-to-be-offical-apprentice on the nose. The she-cat with red spots slipped into the dark, narrow tunnel ahead of Rowanpaw and padded on. Rowanpaw raced in behind her and touched her tail with her whiskers as the last light from behind them faded.
It was pitch black. Rowanpaw couldn't see a thing! they had been walking for a long time, and she was about to panic. What if Berryblossom forgot the way? What if they could never make it back out? "what if they were doomed to wander this dark tunnel until they starved?
Then a ghostly, silvery light shone ahead. "Oh no!" Berryblossom gasped, "The Moonstone is already lit up! We have to hurry before the moon passes." She speed up, and Rowanpaw followed her on aching paws. Finally, they emerged into a huge cavern. In the middle of the cavern was a big stone, about three tail-lengths high that glowed beauitfully with the silvery moonlight.
Berryblossom swept Rowanpaw towards the Moonstone. she gazed into the glowing stone and meowed, "StarClan is listening." Then focused her attention on Rowanpaw. "Rowanpaw, is it your wish to enter the mysteries of StarClan as a medicine cat?"
Rowanpaw nodded, "Yes, it is."
"Then come forward." Beryblossom gestured towards the Moonstone with her tail and Rowanpaw padded closer. "StarClan, i present you with this apprentice. She has choosen the path of a medicine cat. Grant her your wisdom so that she may learn your ways and heal her clan at your will."
Chapter 11: An Unexpected DeathEdit
Rowanpaw stretched, flicking her tail back and forth while she did so. It had been moons since she had offically become Berryblossom's apprentice, three moons, to be exact. she remembered how great her first Gathering was, and all the Gatherings after that. The best thing about being a medicine cat was that you always got to go to the Gathering! Unless someone was terribly sick, of course.
Rowanpaw's ears twitched as she heard a twig crack. What was that? she wondered. She peeked out of her den and saw a tail slip away into a bush on the edges of camp. She followed it, and found that the bush was empty. I must have imaginged it. Rowanpaw concluded.
As she padded back into the den Rowanpaw winced. She had stepped on a thorn. She growled with frustration as she grabbed it in her teeth and yanked it out. she spit it away and limped into the den to find some Marigold.
"Uh-oh." She meowed to herself when she found only enough for her small cut left. "I need to get some more." She chewed up the marigold and spat it onto her paw, and when she finished she tip-toed around the sleeping Berryblossom to go out.
She saw pink slowly creeping across the sky as Rowanpaw limped through WindClan's territory in search of Marigold. She was heading for the gorge- there was a very lush, grassy path that always had marigold on it. She enjoyed the wonderful, fresh, morning air as she made her way slowly across the territory. Berryblossom would wake up and probably be very happy with Rowanpaw when she broguht back more herbs that they needed.
Suddenly, the ground in front of Rowanpaw fell away and she plummeted down. She hadn't even noticed that she had walked right off the edge of the gorge. She desperatley scraped at the dirt sides of the gorge, hoping for all her life not to fall. It was too late. The rushing water beneath her was coming ever closer. Rowanpaw closed her eyes as death came rushing up to meet her...
Suddenly, the rushing air on both side of Rowanpaw stopped. No, she had stopped. Something had her by the scruff. She blinked open her eyes to see the deadly, rushing water a tail-length beneath her. She looked up to see... could it be? What were th chances that the cat she was least likely to see would save her life?
"ACORNPAW?" Rowanpaw gasped. The dark brown tom was standing on a ledge that jutted out from the cliffs. He had reached out and grabbed Rowanpaw by the scruff a moment before she had hit the water. He dragged ehr backwards onto the ledge and smiled.
"You never had good balance, Rowanpaw." Acornpaw meowed.
"Thank you!" Rowanpaw panted, "But how did you get here? Why did you save me? How did you know I was an apprentice?"
"Well," Acornpaw purred with laughter, "I've been living in that cave behind me for some time." He flicked his tail to a cave that cut out of the cliff face behind him, "I saved you because I could never just sit back and watch one of my old friends die when I could ahve prevented it, and you look a bit young to be a warrior and a bit old to be a kit." He purred with laughter at his last answer.
"You've been living here?" Rowanpaw asked in amazement, looking at the narrow cave. From inside drifted smells of herbs and moss. "Wow!"
"Well, it was close to my old clan." Acornpaw meowed, slipping inside, "And nobody would ever find me. Unless, of course, they fell in and I had to save them."
"Hey, Acornpaw, guess what?" Rowanpaw meowed, slipping into the cave after him.
"What?" the dark brown tom asked.
"I'm the new Medicine Cat apprentice!" Rowanpaw and Acornpaw gossiped about what had happened since his exile, shairng news of each other's life.
Rowanpaw was positivley skipping when she returned to camp. She would not tell Acornpaw's hiding spot. She had Marigold with her, Acornpaw had given her some. It seemed like nothing could stop her cheerful mood.
Then she smelled blood. And Death. She dropped the Marigold and raced into camp. Her heart froze and she almost colapsed. There was the dead body of a white and red cat laying in the middle of camp.
Chapter 12: A Young Medicine CatEdit
"BERRYBLOSSOM!" Rowanpaw yowled. She raced to the center of camp and pushed the cats gathered around her away. She sat beside her mentor's body and pressed her muzzle in her cold fur. "What happened?" she demanded of the nearest cat, Dawnrise.
"She was attacked." The golden warrior ran her tail along Rowanpaw's back to comfort her. "She woke up to see you were gone, so she asked me to come with her looking for you. We saw that the Mariglod was gone, so she assumed you had gone to get more and we headed for the gorge. When we got there, A RiverClan cat just jumped out of nowhere and attacked us."
"I had fallen over the edge of the gorge..." Rowanpaw muttered, too quiet for Dawnrise to hear. "If I hadn't fallen over the gorge, she would have found me and we would have left before the RiverClan cat attacked. Or, if I hadn't used the last of the Marigold, I wouldn't have left and she wouldn't have come looking for me."
Rowanpaw started licking the blood out of Berryblossom's fur. "I'm sorry, Berryblossom." she murmured, "If I hadn't left, you wouldn't have died."
Rowanpaw's head hung low as she padded alone the lonley path to the Moonstone. Up ahead she saw Mothermouth, and sighed as memories of Berryblossom wieghed her down. As she got closer, more wieght wieghed on her heart until tears poured from her eyes. She stopped and sat on a nearby rock.
When she felt she could go on again, she padded farther on and entered the dark tunnel of Mothermouth. "I don't remeber my way through here!" she gasped out loud as the darkness surrounded her.
"We'll help yoooooou...!" trilled a voice. Rowanfall jumped as the owner of voice's pelt brushed against hers'. She looked around and saw a ghostly-looking, translucent cat padding beside her. It was a snowy-pale gray she-cat with kind, big, gray eyes.
On Rowanfall's other side padded a tom that looked exactly like the she-cat, only a bit older and with bigger muscles. "I am Snowcrystal." The she-cat meowed to Rowanpaw. "Grandmother of Berryblossom, and this is my brother, Palesnow." she flicked her tail to the tom on Rowanpaw's other side.
"The Moonstone is just ahead." Palesnow meowed in a deep voice.
Rowanpaw saw the glow of the Moonstone ahead. She raced in front of the two StarClan cats, eager not to be in the dark, narrow tunnel any longer.
When they reached the Moonstone's cavern, Rowanpaw panted for a bit. Was she getting Claustrophobic? It didn't matter. She now stood right in front of the Moonstone. She made a move to pad over to it and touch her nose to its cold surface, but Snowcrystal stopped her.
"We must perform the ceremony before you share dreams with StarClan." She mewed. Rowanpaw nodded and sat before the very pale gray StarClan cats. "Rowanpaw, do you promise to uphold the ways of a medicine cat, to stand apart from rivalry between Clan and Clan and to protect all cats equally?" Snowcrystal asked.
Rowanpaw nodded, wishing Berryblossom was the one performing the ceremony. "I do."
"Then, with the powers of StarClan, I give you your true name as a medicine cat." Snowcrystal gazed at Rowanpaw. Did Rowanpaw imagine it, or was there anger in the StarClan she-cat's eyes? "Rowanpaw, from this day forward, you shall be known as Rowanfall. Heal your clan well."
Rowanfall nodded. Rowanfall... she liked the sound of that. The brown she-cat padded over to the Moonstone and pressed her nose into it, entering the dreams of StarClan.
Chapter 13: The Heart of an AdventurerEdit
Rowanfall awoke in a beautiful forest. All around her were pretty white flowers with dashes of pink and a golden center filled with pollen. She leaned downa nd sniffed the flowers. They smelled wonderful! For a moment, she envied the StarClan cats and their peaceful home.
Rowanfall looked up and saw none other than Berryblossom herself watching her. "Welcome, Rowanfall."
"Greetings, Berryblossom." Rowanfall dipped her head. She was struggling not to run over and pounce on the old medicine cat playfully. She was the clan's only medicine cat now- she must act mature.
"I'm sorry that I had to leave you to be the clan's only medicine cat." there was sorrow in the white-and-red she-cat eyes. "But you are not at fault."
"But, if I had not left-" Rowanfall protested.
"It was not me going to look for you that killed me." Berryblossom stood and padded over to Rowanfall, looking angry. "It was Swiftstream!"
"Swiftstream?" Rowanfall thought for a moment, then meowed, "You mean 'Swiftpaw?' That snooty riverClan apprentice? He got his warrior name?"
Berryblossom growled deep in her throat. "Yes. He was challenged by his clanmate that he was weak, and dared him to attack WindClan."
"He was very foolish." a golden tom appeared, padding over to them. "I am Sandmask, old deputy of RiverClan."
"Swiftstream decided that the best way to hurt WindClan was to steal all our herbs and kill the Medicine cat. But, of course, you caught him trying to steal herbs and he didn't want to chance anything in camp again."
"When did I catch him?" Rowanfall asked, tipping her head to the side.
"You heard him snap a twig while he was stealing herbs, but all he got was the Marigold. That's why you saw a tail dissappear and why we were out of Marigold."
Rowanfall growled. She was sure that when Swiftstream returned home, his clanmates would praise him for killing her mentor. "I want to kill him!" she hissed.
"No!" Berryblossom meowed, padding over her and waving her tail. "Your destiny does not lie as a murderer, nor a fighter of any kind. your destiny is to embark on a long journey."
Rowanfall blinked. "A...long...journey...?" she meowed slowly.
"Yes." Berryblossom insisted. "You must travel far from the clans. But not for awhile yet."
"When?" Rowanfall asked. she had just noticed that Sandmask was not the only cats joining them. Snowcrystal and Palesnow had come to stand by her, not to mention the many, many StarClan cats in the forest. As Rowanfall said this, Berryblossom back into the crowd, along with Sandmask, Snowcrystal, and Palesnow.
Then the whole group of cats echoed at the same time, "The cat must embark on a great journey when the moon is full, the river is flooded, and the trees are still bare of leaves. It will be long and dangerous, it will most likely end in fear and hurt, but she will be protected with the Heart of an Adventurer, good friends, and her faith. The journey will be diffucult, but it will save her clan."
"Save her clan?" Rowanfall repeated, "the Heart of an Adventurer?"
"You shall save WindClan, Rowanfall." Berryblossom seperated from the crowd once more and padded over to her former apprentice once more. "And oyu will succeed with the Heart of an Adventurer." Berryblossom pressed her gray nose to Rowanfall's brown haunch. It seemed to glow for a moment, then the white-and-red she-cat pulled away and glow faded. In its place was a small, pink heart-shaped patch.
"You journey has just started, Rowanfall." StarClan echoed, and Rowanfall felt herself tug away from the dream.