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Chapter One

Snowstar's Worry

"Quick! Get Featherdrift!" rose a voice from the nursery. It was a pure white tom, and he looked distraught, like something was wrong. If there was ever a reason for panic, now would be the time. He looked to the nearest cat, a lean brown she-cat. "Russetfur!" he yowled. "Go!"

The she-cat paused, and looked at the cat that had spoken to her. "Snowstar! What's wrong?!" she asked, concern filling her voice. Her leader seemed really worried.

"It's Brackenheart! Her kits are coming!" Snowstar paced up and down the small area near the nursery. He couldn't bear to be in there. Those were his kits being born - almost a quarter moon before they should be. This worried him, badly. He didn't want to think of a world without Brackenheart - or these kits, which he would love with all his 5 remaining lives.

He watched Russetfur run off to the other side of the clearing, where the medicine den was located. She then disappeared into a small hole embedded into a tree stump. That was where Featherdrift, and her apprentice, Flutterpaw made their nests. It was only a moment later that the medicine cat emerged from the hole, with Russetfur and her apprentice in tow. The medicine cat carried a bundle of herbs in her jaws. The expression on her face was nothing but concern for her fellow Clanmate - she must have guessed the same thing Snowstar did; Brackenheart's kits were early.

"How is she?" asked Featherdrift as she slowed down before entering the den which held her leader's mate. All Snowstar could do was stare into the nursery - listening to his mate's cries of pain. The silver she-cat's tail flicked in agitation. "Oh, never mind! You stay out here and keep your mind off of Brackenheart." she paused, and then purred, realizing how nervous he was. "Don't worry, Snowstar. You know as well as I do that she'll be fine. Brackenheart's a tough she-cat, and she won't go down without a fight."

Snowstar's ears flicked, as if there was a bug bothering him. "I know. I know," he said, his voice now tinged with impatience, as well as worry and annoyance. "I'm just scared for her, you know...remember what happened to Snowbird..." his voice drifted off, as if he were remembering some long off memory. Snowbird had died many seasons ago, bearing his first litter of kits - one of them was now a warrior, Cloudstrike. The other 3 kits did not make it through the night after they were born. Snowbird was much too young, and Snowstar didn't want the same thing happening to this she-cat, the one he cared about so much, and would be willing to put the rest of his lives on the line for.

"Featherdrift! Get in here! They're coming!" Flutterpaw's voice arose from the inside of the nursery, and she sounded impatient.

Featherdrift's head shot in the direction of her apprentice's call, and her eyes widened. "Great StarClan!" she exclaimed. She apologized to Snowstar, and ducked her head into the nursery.

As she entered, Mosswhisker, a gray she-cat, ushered her kits outside, so they wouldn't get in the way. She was the mother of Valorkit - a tom that looked like a spitting image of his father, Firewind - and Tinykit, the little she-cat had just gotten over a bout of sickness, so, she didn't look happy to be going outside. "I don't wanna come outside!" she protested. "What happens if I get sick?" Tinykit whined to her mother.

Mosswhisker looked to Snowstar, as if she was expecting support from her Clan leader. Snowstar purred and rested his tail onto the very small kit. "Don't you worry, little Tinykit. You won't be outside for long." he paused, and added as an afterthought "If it's alright with your mother, how about I take you and your brother for a small walk outside the camp? I'm sure your paws are getting itchy to be outside."

Valorkit's eyes widened as he spoke. "Really?" he asked, overjoyed at the fact that Snowstar would want to spend time with him and his sister. As Snowstar nodded, the orange kit looked to his mother, and with wide eyes, asked "Can we Mosswhisker? Can we go with Snowstar?"

Mosswhisker was just about to reply when her mate, Firewind, came out of the warrior's den to meet up with his mate. The den was right next to the nursery, just in case something would happen - the nursery would be the easiest to guard. "Well, Mosswhisker. I was just about to ask if you'd go hunting with me. Snowstar can keep an eye on the kits. He needs something to keep him busy." he looked at his leader, and dipped his head in respect. "If you don't mind, that is."

Snowstar nodded. "I don't mind. It was my idea anyways." he paused, and looked at Mosswhisker. "Don't worry. We'll just be outside the camp." He started to walk away, using his tail to beckon Valorkit and Tinykit to follow him. "Let's go!" he mewed happily. He then lead the two kits out of camp - hoping that he would one day do this with his own kits...and maybe with their kits after them.

Chapter Two

Valor and Holly

"Come on! Let's go, Hollykit!" rose a voice from the nursery. It was a tom, by the sound of it. He seemed like he wanted to go outside, but he was waiting for his companion to follow.

All the kit's call got in response was a humph from deep inside and a small squeak in reply to the grumpy kit. Her tail had just gotten nipped by her mother, Brackenheart. "Hollykit, don't be so crabby! What would Snowstar say?" Hollykit's mother usually threatened her daughter with Snowstar when she didn't do something outside. Snowstar was Hollykit's father, and he encouraged healthy activity in all the cats, from the youngest kits to the oldest elders. "Come on, go with Valorkit," she urged, with a flick of her tail in the direction of the orange tom.

"Yeah, Hollykit! Let's go!!" Valorkit, Mosswhisker and Firewind's kit, jumped with happiness at the thought of going outside with Hollykit - the two were best of friends from the moment Hollykit opened up her eyes; he was the first cat she looked at, and Mosswhisker said that would form a bond between the two that lasted for as long as StarClan chose to foster that bond. So far, Valorkit's mother was right. For three moons, the two kits had been inseparable. Wherever Valorkit would go, Hollykit would follow, padding ever-so-slightly behind him. The orange kit ran outside, his tail flicking in happiness.

"Hey! Valorkit!" Hollykit called, trying to hold back a laugh "Wait for me!". The brown and black she-kit ran outside, trying to catch up with her best friend. She didn't think that it was very fair that he'd never wait for her. Once she got outside, though, she about crashed right into him. Lucky for Hollykit, though, Valorkit noticed his friend coming, and sidestepped out of her way, trying to stifle a laugh.

"Great SpiritClan!" Valorkit teased. "You're as clumsy as a badger!" His laugh echoed through the camp. The only reason that the kits were allowed out of the nursery, was because the warriors and apprentices were out training or hunting, leaving the camp desolate and empty - save Snowstar, his deputy, Whiskerswipe, Brackenheart, the queens and one or two warriors sleeping from guarding the camp all night. Valorkit was just about to open up his mouth to suggest something, when a voice spoke up - and it wasn't Hollykit's. "Well, well, well. Are there some kits entertaining themselves today?"

Hollykit turned around, and looked at the cat who spoke. It was a big light gray tom, and Hollykit recognized him instantly. It was her father! "Snowstar!!!" she mewed happily and jumped on her father. The force was enough to send Snowstar down to the ground.

"Goodness, Hollykit! You're always so full of energy, aren't you?" Her father asked. Snowstar was content with his kits - all three of them. Although he was a bit frightened of the prophecy that centered around his youngest daughter, Hollykit. He tried his best not to tell anyone, especially Featherdrift. She would know what it meant, but he decided to keep quiet - he didn't want the whole camp to know that Hollykit would have more power then the spirits of her warrior ancestors, who now live in SpiritClan. He shook his head, driving away thoughts, since he felt a small paw prod him in his side. "Huh? What?" he asked, not exactly with it.

"Father?" Hollykit mewed quietly, looking from Valorkit to her father. "Is something bothering you? I think you should go to Featherdrift - you don't seem too well...."

Snowstar shook his head as he looked his daughter in the eyes. "No, don't worry. I'm fine. I'm just thinking too much, that's all!" His tail flicked Hollykit's ears as he walked past, back to Brackenheart and Whiskerswipe. I'm not going to tell her. Not yet. She's nowhere near ready! She's not even an apprentice yet. he thought to himself.

Chapter Three

Lion's Blaze

"Let all Clans gather here beneath the Spirit Sky Tree for our moonly meeting!" Snowstar's voice rose throughout the clearing, and attracted the attention of all the cats from the clans. It was cold outside, and most of the cats tried to press together as close as they could, to keep warm. Even the bitterest of warriors were sitting close to each other - proof of how cold the weather was.

Hollypaw - who became an apprentice five moons ago, sat next to her best friend, Valorsong. He had received his warrior name two moons ago - as he rescued Fernpool's kits from a fox that strayed too close to the queen while she's taken her kits out for a walk around the camp.

It may have been two moons ago, but the orange warrior sure as SpiritClan didn't act like a warrior. His attitude had almost gotten himself landed in the apprentice den for another moon - he would keep his warrior name, but have to do apprentice tasks (feed the elders, search them for ticks, and so on). As Hollypaw thought about her friend, and what trouble his actions have gotten him into, she went into a moment where it seemed that she was seeing things through some other cat's eyes - something as of recently, she'd been having a lot of. She could even see herself, the brown and black she-cat that Valorsong thought so highly of, and would do anything to protect her.

As this thought occured to her, and voice jolted her from her thoughts. It was a tom-cat's voice, that much she knew. But, there was something different about this voice, as if she'd never heard it before. That's odd... thought Hollypaw, with a flick of her ears. I've never heard this voice before. I wonder who it might be... It doesn't sound like Snowstar or Valorsong...so who is it?

"Hollypaw.... Hollypaw!" Spoke the nameless cat again. This time, it seemed closer than when she heard it the first time, as if the cat were right behind her. However, when Hollypaw turned around, what she saw next almost sent her to SpiritClan herself. None of the cats were moving! As she turned back around to look at her father, she realized that all of the cats seemed frozen to their seats. Then came the voice again, but this time was right in front of her. Hollypaw's gaze drifted to the spot right in front of her, and then she noticed that only one cat aside from her was moving. There was a golden tabby tom seating right in front of her - she'd never even noticed the cat before, and he didn't seem like he belonged to any of the Clans that were here tonight. There were stars in his fur! Which shocked Hollypaw. "Hollypaw. So you've finally noticed me." spoke the cat as he turned around. He also had amber eyes, which gleamed with excitement. Or was it something else?

"Who are you?" Hollypaw asked. "I've never seen you before? Are you from SpiritClan?" Her voce was tinged with hope - she'd never before met with one of her ancestors, and she hoped that this would be the time she finally met one.

"SpiritClan? No. I am not." He paused, and lifted his front paw, which seemed to be flecked with spots of dry blood that had never washed off his paws. "My name...is Lionblaze." He spoke.

Hollypaw looked at the tom with confusion. "Lionblaze? Where are you from then? If you say that you're not from SpiritClan?"

Lionblaze laughed, and his tail flicked. It was easy to tell that there was something up with this cat, and that he wasn't normal. But then again, nothing seemed right anymore, regardless of where you lived or which Clan you came from. "I am from a Clan not known by the cats of the mountains. I am from ThunderClan. Well, I was from ThunderClan, anyways." He paused, and when he did, Hollypaw bombarded him with questions.

"ThunderClan? Where's that? And what do you mean when you said you were from ThunderClan? Did you get exiled or something like that? Or did you just decide to leave? What about family? Did you have any kits or a mate? What about siblings?" The little brown she-cat was out of energy, just from speaking. She stopped and let Lionblaze answer - he was looking at her with a look of amazement in his eyes, as if he'd never heard a cat speak that fastly in his life.

"Woah. Calm down, Hollypaw. I said I was from ThunderClan, because I now live in StarClan, with my mate, Cinderstar, and my brother, Jayfeather. My sister, Hollyleaf...as far as I know, she's also in StarClan. At least, I hope she is. My kits live on, one of them following my brother's path, and the other leading my former Clan with pride. But, enough about me. That is not why I came here. I came to tell you of a prophecy. One that centers around you. If you're willing to hear it, I will tell you." Lionblaze's look grew serious, as he looked at Hollypaw. "You must not act like a little kit anymore. There is so much that you need to do."

Hollypaw flinched. How could something so big center around me? I'm so small compared to everyone else... she thought to herself, hoping that this Lionblaze couldn't read her mind. She took a deep breath, and looked the golden tom right in the eyes. "Yes. I'm ready. Tell me what it is I need to do."

Chapter Four

Wandering Souls

"Yes. I'm ready. Tell me what it is I need to do.".. Those words flashed around through Hollypaw's head. Oh, how she wished she knew what she was getting herself into! She also wished that she had Valorsong with her - he'd know what to do. The brown and black she-cat shivered at the prospect of not having her friend around; it just wouldn't be the same without the warmth of the orange tom near her. Hollypaw looked around, and yet again, the grim harshness of what had been told to her came crashing down, like someone dropped a ton of rocks on her back, and expected her to get up. She let out a small 'oomph' and shook out her fur.

Lionblaze purred and flicked his tail. Was that laughter in his voice? There was something about the aura that radiated from the golden tom that made Hollypaw feel like she was safe. Not that she didn't want Valorsong to be with her...it was just... She felt like she could trust this tom - the one with stars in his fur, and the smell of forest trees on his fur."Are you okay, Hollypaw?" Asked Lionblaze. There was concern in his voice, as if he really cared about the she-cat.

Hollypaw shrugged. "I guess I'm okay." her gaze drifted to where Valorsong sat. He was as still as a rock. A part of Hollypaw wanted none of this to be real, and that this was just a dream, and she would wake up, and go out on a hunting patrol or something. "It's just..."

She never finished, because at that moment, Lionblaze noticed where her gaze went, and he mewed "Would you like your friend to be in on this? I know for a fact... it's hard to keep something like this all to yourself." His eyes were clouded, and it seemed that he was caught in a flashback. Hollypaw didn't dare disturb him, though. For some reason, she got the impression that whatever the tom was thinking about, it played a key role in his life while he was in...what did he call it? ThunderClan?

Lionblaze shook his head, as if to drive away the memory. Hollypaw watched as the tom regained his senses, and went back to his normal self. Well, what Hollypaw knew to be normal, anyways. "Would you like Valorsong to be able to see and hear me, just like you can?" the golden tom pressed on.

"You're saying that you can actually do that? Amazing." Hollypaw was amazed, at more then just the fact she was special."Yes... I would... I don't think that keeping a secret from Valorsong is the best thing to do. He's my best friend, and I love him more than anything in the entire world." Hollypaw admitted.

With the flick of his tail, Lionblaze brought Valorsong into the "world" that he and Hollypaw were part of. "Now be cautious, little one. Remember that he will now know al of what you will know." He looked at Valorsong, and dipped his head. "Greetings, Valorsong, warrior of SnowClan."

Valorsong's green gaze looked shocked. "Where am I?" he spoke out loud. Then he looked around - and noticed Hollypaw and the golden tom, whose name Valorsong wasn't sure of. "Who are you, and how do you know who I am?" he asked, and there was nothing but pure confusion in his eyes."Hollypaw?! Where are we?"

Hollypaw was just about to answer, when Lionblaze stepped forward. "Calm down, young warrior. All is well." Lionblaze let his soft, amber eyes rest upon the two cats, who were sitting next to each other. He spoke again, and this time, was addressing Hollypaw, just as much as Valorsong. "You've nothing to worry about. Please, just listen to what I have to say - both of you." Both Valorsong and Hollypaw kept quiet as Lionblaze continued. "Hollypaw, there is a prophecy. It seems that you are not the only one that now knows about this. The one with the name of Snow knows as well, and he never said anything." he flicked his tail up to the Spirit Sky Tree, where Hollypaw's father, Snowstar, sat. Still as a rock. "But anyways... the prophecy....

"With a song of valor, the one born of Snow and Bramble will rise among us, and drift through the ranks of her Clan like a holly leaf growing in the roughest weather."

Chapter Five

Cold

The air was filled with the scent of twolegs. Nothing in the world aggravated the orange tom more then the smell of those nasty creatures that thought they ruled the land they lived on. They may be bigger than the cat and his family, but there was no way that he was going to stand for these twolegs that live so near his home. They threatened his family - his mate, Heartsong; his kits, Birdy, Poppy and Kanna. There was nothing that the tom loved more than his family. He was thinking of telling Heartsong that they needed to find another den to live in, but, the kits were still too young to travel a long distance in this cold weather. He sent a silent prayer up to SpiritClan - hoping that they would help him to make the right choices.

Flamethrower's ears flicked, and he shivered. It was cold out, and the clouds threatened the nice weather. Maybe it's going to snow...that can't be good for the little ones. he thought to himself. They're not that old...the cold weather may bring sickness.'

"Flamethrower?" a gentle voice shook him from his thoughts. The tom turned his orange head to see Heartsong, his mate, walking over to him. Three kits tumbled around at her paws. They were his pride and joy, so he wanted to protect them in case something happened.

"Heartsong? What are you and the kits doing outside? I don't want you getting sick..." he murmured to his mate, not wanting his kits to hear. They were enjoying themselves, and he didn't want to ruin their fun, but, he was their father, and looking out for them was the least he could do.

"I'm only outside because your offspring are annoying the living daylights out of me. You have no clue the amount of times they've asked to go outside in the past moon or so. You're always hunting for us." Heartsong's gazed drifted a little ways off, where she'd left her kits, under the watchful eye of their uncle, Kris.

"I know... I know I'm always out... But, I have to take care of you. Kris helps out a lot, with the kits and all, but, there's only so much someone can do. I'm thinking we may have to go ask for help." Flamethrower shuddered. He knew about SnowClan, but he didn't want to ask for help. It would make him seem greedy.

"You mean SnowClan? Flamethrower, are you sure? What about Kris and the kits? Are you sure that they'd welcome them as well?" Heartsong cried out. She liked living with only Flamethrower, Kris and her kits. Too many cats gave her a headache. "I don't see why we should... I mean, aren't we capable of living here on our own?"

Flamethrower shook his head. He didn't want to leave either, but, it was getting cold outside, and they prey got less and less each day. "Heartsong...we don't have a choice. I feel SpiritClan calling me... We have to go. Even you can't deny the lack of prey around here."

Heartsong nodded. "Tomorrow. We'll leave tomorrow." She twined her tail with Flamethrower's. This had been their home. She didn't want to leave it.

Flamethrower looked at his kits, then at his mate. "Tomorrow."

Chapter Six

Destined

The wind was picking up, and whipping the snow around, making it harder to see. Between Flamethrower's jaws, he held Kanna, the smallest of his kits. His mate's brother, Kris, held Poppy, and Heartsong walked with Birdy. The storm was getting bad, but Flamethrower knew if he stopped, it would only prove deadly for the kits. They weren't familiar with the weather, like the older cats were. In fact, the kits weren't anymore then two moons old, so this type of weather could easily kill them.

"This storm came out of nowhere. I don't get it. I couldn't smell it in the air this morning...and SpiritClan told me nothing..." Flamethrower raised his voice, and called back to Kris and Heartsong. "Come on! Let's go! SnowClan isn't that far away!"

"I hope you're right, Flamethrower. The kits can't handle the snow for much longer." Heartsong spoke softly, and she looked down. The small kit in her jaws was shivering, and her eyes kept drooping. She spoke softy to her kit, trying to encourage the little one to live. "Come on, my little son. Don't close your eyes. We'll be somewhere safe soon...."

Quickening her pace to catch up with her mate, she wondered how much longer it would be. Nuzzling her mate, she looked in his eyes. "Are you sure this was the best thing to do?"

Flamethrower stopped in his tracks, and looked back. Something stopped him, but what? Focusing his vision to where Kris was, he squinted. "Kris! What's wrong with Poppy? Why do you have her sitting in the snow?! Don't you know that snow can kill a kit? Poppy!" He gave Kanna to Heartsong, who now held two of her kits in her jaws, and ran back to Kris. Looking down, he could see the lifeless body of Poppy, his only daughter.

"This is what happens when you trust people, Flamethrower. You put your kit's life in danger by trusting someone like me. You know my past, but you let me near kits. They didn't call me "the kit killer" for nothing. In fact, they still do. Your precious daughter has met her end...." Kris let out a hiss and screeched at the top of his lungs, "..and you're next!"

Lunging for Flamethrower, Kris unsheathed his claws. It felt good to kill again, and nothing would suit his need more then the cat who killed his only mate. He remembered the day that Snow was killed. They were walking along the Thunderpath when it happened. Flamethrower had shoved his own mate out of the way of a monster, and failed to protect the others that were with him. "This is for Snow!"

Flamethrower dodged Kris' attack, and ran to Heartsong, who was still a good distance away. "Let's go! We need to get away from Kris. He murdered Poppy, and is after us now! Heartsong, run!"

Running from Kris, Flamethrower wondered what could have caused Kris to go back to his old ways. The death of Snow had been a harsh one, yes, but he had assured the others time and time again that he was over it.

Suddenly, a ear-splitting yowl cut through the air. Two more followed it. One last blood-boiling yowl, this one from Kris, shook the air around them, and he could hear the crunching of snow as a cat ran off. Flamethrower walked to where the noises were coming from, and found himself face-to-face with a black and brown she-cat, a white tom and an orange tabby.

"Flamethrower. Great SpiritClan, is that you? I haven't seen you since I was a kit!"

Chapter Seven

Peace

"Snowheart!" Flamethrower laughed. "Is that you?" Flamethrower was overjoyed to see his old friend again. It had been many, many moons since the two had last talked.

"My name is Snowstar now, and I am the leader of SnowClan. I see you have a few friends with you. Now, who might they be?" Snowstar purred with happiness, and he flicked his tail. "You know what, forget I asked. Let's go back to camp, before this storm gets any worse. I welcome all of you to SnowClan for as long as you need to stay. Valorsong, Hollyfeather." He addressed the other two cats that were with him. "Take the young kits - these cats look exhausted, and need rest. Come."

Flamethrower paused. "Wait a minute. There's something I need to do first." Dashing off, he returned only a moment later with another kit in his jaws. "This little one didn't deserve to die. She was...killed. By that same cat you chased off. His name..." Flamethrower sighed.

Snowstar rested his tail on his old friend's shoulder. "We don't need to speak of it now...come back to camp, and we'll talk about it there. Okay?"

Flamethower sighed, and followed his friend. It seemed to him that going to the SnowClan camp would be the best thing right now, since the storm still hadn't let up. "That's fine by me... Let's go. It's only going to get worse out here."

Flamethrower walked side by side with Heartsong, his tail twined with her's, for the remainder of the trek to the SnowClan camp. Luckily for the SnowClan cats, their home was in a ravine, but the trees were so thick and sturdy, that the camp below almost never got wet or damaged. The trees had been around since the time of the great Clans of the forest, and not once had there been any danger.

The tom looked around. The whole area was covered in nothing but snow. He wondered how cats could live in a place like this. The only things that were around were trees, trees, trees, more trees and snow. It was beautiful, yes, but other then that, it was cold and when it all melted, it was just a mess waiting to happen. Fluffing his fur up against the wind and cold, he continued to walk.

Snowstar flicked his ears, and turned around to face the six cats that were behind him. They had arrived at a cave-like entrace, where a black tom sat and kept watch. He was looking the the other direction, so he didn't seem to notice the other cats' approach.

"Flamethrower, welcome back, my friend. This...this is SnowClan's camp. I'm sure you'll find that things have changed a bit since you've been around."

Chapter Eight

Secret

Hollyfeather watched as her father lead the strange cats into SnowClan's camp. It seemed that Flamethrower and her father were friends when they were younger - but for some reason, Snowstar had never told her and her siblings, Stickfeather and Hawkflight, anything about his adventures as a young warrior. Now, she wished that she had. Flamethrower was an important part of her father's life, and she wanted to know more about him.

Hollyfeather looked Flamethrower over. He seemed nice enough, but there was something about him that Hollyfeather didn't like. Maybe it was the fact that he and these other cats were loners...and SnowClan didn't take well to loners. She continued to watch the new cats as Snowstar lead them to the rock where Snowstar's den was. Hollyfeather followed, because she wanted to talk to Flamethrower - and learn more about the mysterious tom who entered her father's life all those years ago.

"SnowClan! I call you beneath the highrock for a Clan meeting! May those cats old enough to retrieve their own prey gather here underneath the skies of SpiritClan!" Snowstar's voice ran throughout the camp, and all at once, the other SnowClan cats appeared.

Hollyfeather's head shot up, and she noticed that Flamethrower was sitting next to Snowstar on the highrock. She wondered why in the name of SpiritClan her father would be making an announcement, since they had just gotten back to camp. Not wanting to ask, she found a place to sit next to Valorsong, her best friend and love of her life. Right in front of her sat Hawkflight and Stickfeather, her siblings. She could also see her mother, Brackenheart, sitting next to Featherdrift, the medicine cat.

"SnowClan! I invite you here now so I can introduce you to an old friend of mine. The elder of this Clan might remember this name. Flamethrower, I welcome you to SnowClan. Please, introduce yourself and your friends." Snowstar looked at Flamethrower, who felt a little out of place. Hollyfeather laughed as the tom tripped over his words while addressing the Clan.

"As Snowstar said, my name is Flamethrower. I have known your leader for many, many moons. I once had family in this Clan, but they fled the Clan during the time of Great Hunger. With me are my mate and kits, Heartsong, Birdy and Kanna. I had another, Poppy, but alas, SpiritClan called her to become one of their own. She was murdered by Heartsong's brother, who is infamously known as "the kit killer". I come to ask to join SnowClan, and I want to be able to train, so I can avenge my only daughter's death." he paused and looked to the small brown lump of fur that was lain by Heartsong. "SnowClan, Snowstar. Will you have us?"

Hollyfeather's tail flicked. She wasn't sure how to take this, considering they were loners! She looked over at Valorsong, and sighed. There was something she wanted to tell her mate, but she knew that it would only cause more tension in the clan. 'I guess I'll keep my secret for now. It wouldn't matter much right now... I'll talk to him once all the hype is over.'

Snowstar's voice jolted her from her thoughts. "Flamethrower, we welcome you and your family to SnowClan. Would you like to pick Clan names for your kits? After all, I think it would be good." he lowered his voice, so only the cats closest to him would hear. "Plus, we all know how the other Clans get when there's a loner in their midst..."

Flamethrower nodded, and walked over to Heartsong. "We'll talk it over, and let you know when we come up with their new names. They're too young to care anyways..." He nodded and looked at Snowstar. "I thank you, and now I think we'll go rest for a while. It's been a long day... trekking through that snowstorm was quite exhausting."

Chapter Nine

Choices

It had been five moons since Flamethrower and his family had joined SnowClan. Him and Heartsong, his mate, had finally decided upon names for the kits. They were now known as Birdkit and Nightkit. In fact, they wouldn't be known as that for very long, because they had just turned six moons old. Snowstar would be having the ceremony later on this evening. According to what her father said, he wanted to do everything at once.

Only a day ago, Whiskerswipe, their deputy, was killed by rogues. In accordance with the old StarClan traditions, Snowstar had to name his new deputy soon - otherwise the Clan would be in turmoil. As Hollyfeather looked up to where the highrock was, she wondered who her father would choose to serve under him.

A voice jolted her from her thoughts. 'Valorsong...' Hollyfeather thought to herself. The two had fallen out in the past moon or so, and the she-cat had tried everything possible to make things right.

"Hollyfeather? Are you okay? Snowstar's going to start the Clan meeting soon."

"Huh? Oh, yeah. Valorsong, I'm fine. I was just wondering who father is going to choose to be his new deputy."

Valorsong sighed. "I don't know. Whiskerswipe was an amazing cat - and there aren't many who could replace him. In fact, I don't think anyone could replace such a kind and honorable cat. It makes me wonder.... If Mosswhisker were still alive, do you think Snowstar would have chosen her? I miss her so much..."

Hollyleaf rested her tail on Valorsong's shoulders. She missed Mosswhisker just as much as any other cat. Sickness had taken her and Crowflight from them. Looking at Valorsong, she pressed herself against him. "You know, she's up in SpiritClan, watching over you. So is Firewind."

"Hollyfeather.... I've been wanting to ask you something..." Valorsong was about to finish, when Snowstar's call rang throughout the clearing.

"SnowClan! This is a time of great suffering for us all... But, SpiritClan watches over us all. With brave hearts, we move forward. Whiskerswipe wouldn't want us to be mopping around, sad about his death. He would want us to move forward. Now, by the name of SpiritClan, I hope you hear and approve of my choice for SnowClan's deputy! Whiskerswipe, I choose Valorsong to be the new SnowClan deputy!"

Snowstar paused for a moment, and looked around. "He has suffered much loss, but I know it was for good. He has always looked forward, and supported his Clan."

Hollyfeather looked at Valorsong. There was an expression on his face that no one could read. Whether it was from sadness or joy, she didn't know.

Chapter Ten

Love

It'd only been a moon since Valorsong had been promoted to deputy of SnowClan, and things had already gone downhill. The other Clans were becoming restless and aggravated that such a young warrior had replaced such a well-loved and loyal deputy. Considering Valorsong wasn't much older then Hollyfeather, she could understand that. Valorsong had only just gotten his first apprentice, Oasispaw, and he was a handful. She purred as she watched the deputy attempt to teach his apprentice to sneak up quietly on an enemy. It wasn't going well.

"Come on, Oasispaw! I know you can be quieter than that! If a little kit can sneak up on me, then why can't you?"

Oasispaw shrugged and lowered himself closer to the ground. The young apprentice was bound determined to sneak up on the deputy of SnowClan, whatever it took. He looked over at Hollyfeather, as if he wanted some help.

Grinning, Hollyfeather nodded. A little help every now and then never hurt anyone, and Hollyfeather knew that Valorsong would let her win. The two'd been friends since kithood, and nothing would change that. Valorsong had his back turned, and Hollyfeather took advantage of that. Motioning with her tail, she indicated for Oasispaw to hide behind the tree, while Hollyfeather went right behind the deputy.

Oasispaw nodded and crept quietly away, trying to get to the tree that was only a few tail-lengths away from Valorsong. 'With Hollyfeather helping me, there's a good chance Valorsong'll be distraced by her.'

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