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Note: This story will be continued after the completion of The Forgotten Clan Series.

Silent as Snow

Author: Shadewing
Status: Incomplete
Preceding: The Flame, The Smoke
Succeeding: The Spark, The Ember
Spellcheckers: None
Icewing has found out that Longwhisker is Dapplefur's son. After he murdered her, Longwhisker was banished from AshClan. Along with the stress and guilt of still meeting with him, Icewing must deal with a new threat that will force to start on a journey to a place from her kittypet past...

Prologue Edit

Dapplefur lay in the MistClan nursery, their scents churning around her. It was nighttime, and camp was peaceful as Dapplefur relaxed, the agonizing cramps that came as kitting neared finally gone. Grief and shame washed up inside her swollen belly each time she thought of what she had done.

I left my Clan! I'm an enemy now! I don't ever deserve to be called a warrior again, she thought sadly, her eyes drifting over and landing on a sleeping Frostwing, the snow white queen whom she shared the nursery with. The she-cat had most definitely not been eager to accept Dapplefur as her denmate. But Dapplefur knew that part of it was because she had just kitted, and lost one of her newborns. She could feel the sorrow practically pulsing from the queens pelt into hers. It only added to her own grief.

A rustle in the entrance brought Dapplefur's gaze away from Frostwing and instead to Nightfreeze. The black she-cat bent her head to drop a plump vole before Dapplefur, then settled down beside her, pressing her fur against the queen.

"How are you?" she asked, only caring in her voice. "Feeling alright?"

"Fine," Dapplefur replied warmly. She was glad to have her friend - not to mention Snowheart's sister - here for company. She had welcomed Dapplefur with open arms after finding her, heavily pregnant and alone, on the MistClan border.

"That's good. Moonpelt wanted to come see you, but he had a patrol."

Dapplefur purred as Moonpelt, the shadowy gray tom who was Nightfreeze's mate, came to mind. He had also been one of the few to be kind to her, and she was grateful.

"Borders all quiet?" Even though she was in the nursery, Dapplefur still thought and acted like a warrior. Nightfreeze responded with a nod.

"You'll be kitting soon," she said quietly, drawing her tongue over Dapplefur's flecked shoulder.

"Since when were you a medicine cat?" Dapplefur tried to sound teasing, but deep down she was scared. She was giving birth to a halfClan son! What a dishonor! What would AshClan ever think?

"I may not be, but Featherfoot is. She says that it will happen in the next few days."

Dapplefur felt a jolt deep within her.

"The next few days?" she asked in shock. Was she ready to do this? Would MistClan accept this?

"Yes. Aren't you happy at all? You're going to be the mother of Snowheart's kits," Nightfreeze reminded her.

Dapplefur quickly replied with a yes, but deep down, she wasn't happy. Sure, she was going to be a mother, but the price she had already paid was high...her pride, her Clan, her friends, everything she had known.

What more would this take from her?

3 days later..

"Ouch! Don't press so hard!" Dapplefur complained to Featherfoot, the medicine cat of MistClan.

"I'm sorry," she said apologetically, lessening the pressure of her paw, which was firmly planted on Dapplefur's belly.

It was time. Dapplefur was kitting.

Another contraction seized the queen, and she clamped her jaws together to stop from crying out. Compared to being a warrior, kitting was hard!

Finally, a silvery bundle appeared, and she felt her muscles relax, the contractions ceasing. Featherfoot quickly rasped her tongue over the kit, licking its damp fur.

"A tom!" Nightfreeze nudged Dapplefur excitedly. "Isn't he a beauty?"

Despite her misgivings several days ago, Dapplefur couldn't help but feel a rush of affection and love for her son.

"Yes. He's magnificent," she breathed, purring.

"And strong," Featherfoot added. "He'll be a fine warrior, with yours and Snowheart's blood."

As the name of her mate sounded, Dapplefur hoped that he was happy as he watched from StarClan. The kit was a mash-up of the two, with Snowheart's silver pelt, and Dapplefur's flecks. He immediately latched onto her belly, kneading with his tiny paws. She could feel his strength. At least she had delivered a healthy kit.

"What will you name him?" Nightfreeze asked, as Dapplefur chewed the borage Featherfoot had set down before leaving the nursery.

Dapplefur thought for a moment. She wanted to say Snowkit, but that wouldn't fit this kit. No, she had another name in mind, one that described her change of feelings just now.

"Rushkit. His name will be Rushkit."

Chapter 1 Edit

Icewing sat, her head down, in front of Dapplefur's grave. She felt guilt burn inside as she stared at the mound of earth.

It's my fault she's dead. It's my fault Longwhisker is gone. It's my fault that Tigerwind won't speak to me.

Icewing shook her head angrily, trying to clear her mind. She dreaded going back to her Clan, knowing that only scorn and mistrust awaited her there...

A twig snapped behind her. She whipped around and found herself face-to-face with Tigerwind.

"Wh - What do you want?!" she stammered, backing away a few steps.

His eyes were stone cold as he stared at her.

"I want to talk to you. Now." Icewing flinched at the icyness in his tone. She followed him through the bushes and to the stream. He faced her, still staring her down. Icewing stared back.

"What?" she said, a little too harshly.

"Well, what did he say to you?" he snapped back.

"Who are you-" Icewing realized he was talking about Longwhisker. Sadness pierced her heart like a shard of ice.

Tigerwind growled impatiently.

"He...he said goodbye," she managed to say without choking up. There was a pause. Images of Longwhisker disapearing into the forest kept appearing in Icewing's mind. She pushed them away wearily. Nightmares had kept her from getting any sleep.

"Are you still...with him?"

She nodded slowly.

"Well, now it's against the code. I doubt you'll ever break that again," he mewed mockingly.

"Shut up. Love isn't against the code and you know it," the fur on her neck rose threateningly.

"When you're not in the same Clan, it is!"

"I've had enough!" she snarled, pushing her face close to his until their noses nearly touched. "I get it, you want me to love you instead! Well I don't, mouse-brain!"

"Watch who you call mouse-brain!" he shot back, his voice slowly rising.

"Just because I'm still going to see him doesn't mean-" Icewing stopped, shock rippling through her. She had said too much.

"So you have been seeing him!"

"No, no! Not...yet.." she trailed off. "Please, Tigerwind, I'm begging you. Don't tell the Clan!" Icewing held her breath as he thought, waiting for his answer.

"I won't tell them," he mewed finally. "Come on, let's go back."

Icewing reluctantly followed him to the barrier, her tail down. She wanted to say sorry, but she didn't know how. Why couldn't he just see she didn't love him? Was it really that difficult to notice?

Redstripe, give me your courage and strength. I need it, she thought as a chilly wind whipped her fur. Several soft flakes came with it, making her pelt uncomfortably wet.

Leafbare had arrived.

Chapter 2 Edit

One week later...

Icewing woke to a harsh wind whipping the warriors den. She opened her eyes, shivering, and could already see the white blanket outside. Stretching, she glanced at Longwhisker's empty nest, her pelt prickling with sadness. She wished he hadn't left.

Padding outside, Icewing flinched at the uncomfortable wetness on her paws as she stepped through the snow. It wasn't very deep, but that didn't stop it from being cold. Icewing padded over to the fresh-kill pile to find it half-buried. The other warriors joined her, forming a circle around it. She couldn't but notice the gap they left between themselves and her.

"What do we do? I'm not eating snow-covered prey!" Eagleflame mewed.

"We'll have to send out extra hunting patrols, mouse-brain," Stormfang growled at him.

"If there's any prey that hasn't gone under the snow," Mistflower snorted.

Tawnyleaf pushed her way through. She stared at the fresh-kill pile.

"Stormfang, Mistflower, Icewing, you will go on the sunrise," she ordered. "Birchpelt, Runningflight, Tigerwind, you'll go hunt."

The warriors nodded and filed away.

Tigerwind's shoulder caught with Icewing's as he padded past her.

"Hey!" she snapped.

He turned and gave her a furious glance before storming off with Runningflight and Birchpelt.

Mistflower came up beside her, glancing ahead and not saying anything. Stormfang joined them shortly after, his eyes glinting with malice.

"Ready, Scarlet? Or is the snow too cold for kittypet paws?" he snarled, staring down at her.

"Call me Scarlet one more time and I'll tear you apart," Icewing hissed under her breath, neck fur rising.

"Oh, really?" He shoved his face closer to hers. "Kind of like Longwhisker tore Dapplefur apart?"

"Stormfang! Enough of this nonsense! Another word like that and you won't be attending the Gathering!" Tawnyleaf called from next to the Skyrock.

Stormfang gave Icewing one last evil look before starting off. Mistflower padded forward, then stopped, and glanced back at Icewing, who didn't move.

"Coming?" she asked, her voice flat and cold.

Icewing nodded and followed them out into the forest. The snow clung to her belly fur, making it uncomfortably wet. The trees looked like skeletons, their leafless branches reaching toward the sky. Icewing's belly growled. She tried to ignore it as they trudged on. The stream was visible beneath a thin sheet of ice as they passed it.

Finally, after what seemed like days, Stormfang halted at the NightClan border. Icewing heard him gasp as they came to a stop.

The snow around them was sprayed with blood. The border had been moved again, all the way to the Old Sycamore. Slaughtered prey had been thrown everywhere.

"NightClan again! They can't keep doing this!" Mistflower hissed angrily, sniffing the prey. "It must have happened near sunrise, after it snowed!"

"Jaystar will want to report this at the Gathering. Something must be done," Stormfang declared. Icewing remained silent. She didn't think her opinion would be judged very highly on this matter.

"Come on! Let's get back to camp!" Stormfang mewed impatiently, shoving past Icewing.

"What about the other borders?" Mistflower asked.

"Forget them!" he called back as he quickly padded away. Icewing took one look at Mistflower before pelting after him. For once, he didn't taunt her as she came up beside him. His eyes were dark with concern and...was that worry? Mistflower caught up, her harsh panting flowed into Icewing's ears. They raced back through the forest, passing the stream and trees and rocks in a blur of white and gray. When the barrier came into view, Icewing slowed down and skidded to a halt at the entrance, the others doing the same. Breathing hard and shaking snow from their pelts, they hastily pushed through and entered camp.

"NightClan! NightClan have moved the barrier and hunted on our territory!" Icewing yowled. Almost instantly, cats came into view, gathering around Skyrock as Jaystar leaped onto it.

"It seems this growing threat can no longer be ignored! Tonight, we will announce this at the Gathering! Hopefully, the other Clans will help us!"

"I wouldn't count on MistClan!" Eagleflame called out.

"What will we say about Dapplefur?" Mistflower hissed.

"Silence! MistClan have been our friends for seasons now! The days of rivalry are behind us!" Jaystar snapped. The cats nodded respectfully and fell silent once more.

"The cats who are going to the Gathering are Eagleflame, Birchpelt, Mistflower, Squirrelsong, Icewing, Featherfrost, and Maplepaw!"

"Hold on, you're sending Icewing?" Squirrelsong, a dark ginger she-cat, cried out in disbelief.

"We can't trust her! What if Longwhisker is there?" Stormfang mewed loudly.

Jaystar met their protests with a gaze as cold as ice, silencing both warriors immediately.

"Do you question my authority as leader of this Clan, Stormfang?" he asked, leaping down and landing silently before the huge tom.

"N-no, Jaystar," Stormfang stammered, bowing his head.

"Then I advise you to hold your tongue. The chances that Longwhisker is attending the Gathering are nonexistent. He has no Clan," Jaystar reminded them.

Squirrelsong nodded, her eyes wide. Icewing was shocked. She had never heard Jaystar speak like that before. Was he defending her because he was her father? Or was it simply for his own pride and honor? Whatever the reason, she was thankful that he had saved her from further taunting.

"Now, let's go," Jaystar cried, his voice returning to normal as he darted through the crowd. The chosen warriors all followed, none making a sound, although Mistflower tripped Icewing on her way out.

"Oops," she muttered sarcastically, her eyes holding a malicious glint.

Icewing sighed in irritation but said nothing.  

No Runningflight or Tigerwind to comfort me, she thought sadly.  She would be sitting alone at the Gathering. 

Icewing was silent the entire journey, and when she entered the crowd of cats, she immediately found a gap to sit by herself and just think. 

Why am I even here?  What's the point of staying, even if I am Clanborn?  They all hate me!

Suddenly, a familiar sleek black coat appeared beside her. 

"Nightfreeze!" she exclaimed, relieved to see a friend. 

"It's good to see you, Icewing," the she-cat mewed, her green eyes friendly.  "I see your Clan has abandoned you."  Her tone was observant, but concern was mixed in as well. 

"They hate me," Icewing agreed.  

Nightfreeze laid her tail across her back, comforting her. 

"I am sorry to hear that.  But I have a message for you from...you know who."  Her voice dropped to a whisper. 

"Longwhisker?" 

"Yes.  He wants you to meet him...tonight at the MistClan border.  Moonhigh," she muttered, looking around nervously.  

A feeling of joy and anticipation washed through Icewing.  She would see Longwhisker tonight!  

Suddenly, a loud, icy voice pierced her thoughts.  Blackstar, leader of NightClan, had gone up to speak.  Behind him, Jaystar looked very unhappy.  Would he challenge his fellow leader when he spoke? 

"My fellow warriors!  I have looked forward to this night for a long time!" he cried out.  "I-"

"I have looked forward to this night, too, Blackstar," Jaystar mewed coldly, stepping up beside the larger tom.  

Nightfreeze eyed Icewing.  

"Are they attacking your Clan?" she asked.  "We heard about them causing trouble." 

Icewing nodded solemnly, then turned her attention back to her leader, who was speaking.

"NightClan has been killing our prey, moving our borders, launching battles on us for moons!  We are suffering because of it!" Jaystar was yowling.  Some cats in the crowd looked shocked, others vengeful. 

Blackstar nudged him aside, an easy task due to Jaystar's half-starved body. 

"Jaystar, you always exaggerate," he said smugly.  "What harm do a few rabbits and mice do?" 

Jaystar eyed with pure dislike.

"You've been through leafbare before.  You know how hard it is," he growled. 

Blackstar ignored, now facing the crowd again.

"As I was saying, I have been waiting to make a little...announcement," he said, eyes glinting maliciously.  "Over the past several moons, NightClan have been gathering up warriors.  Not your usual warriors." 

"What kind of warriors are they, then?" asked a cat more toward the front.  

"Better ones!  Cats much stronger, much faster, much more...lethal," Blackstar answered.  "Or perhaps I should just...show you!" 

At those words, a group of huge, dark-colored cats poured in, joining their NightClan allies.  

"Who in Silverpelt are they?" Nightfreeze wondered out loud, peering in disbelief.  Icewing too was shocked. 

Tigerwind mentioned that they were getting more warriors...but where did these cats come from?  They smell of...death and dampness.  They're much larger...and they look so deadly, she thought to herself.  

"Where did you acquire these...new allies?" Jaystar demanded.  

Blackstar looked at him, his face radiating his pleasure at his surprised expression. 

"From twolegplace.  These cats make their home in the dark alleys and shadows," he explained.  "Why don't you tell them more, Scar?" 

An enormous dark brown tabby tom rose up from the newcomers and easily leaped up onto the rock, where he took the front position.  His huge yellow eyes glowed with murderous intent and bloodthirstiness.  

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