The Lunar Eclipse
Series: Lost in the Night Series
Succeeding: The Fire of Twilight
|Dazzle, taking her first glance at the world, has felt something out-of-place, something rather extraordinary. As she embarks on her life's journey, she begins to discover things-- things she would never know had she been ordinary--both about the world, and herself.|
Water pounded the stone slope, cascading and tumbling into the deep pool far below.
Several cats crouched around the edge of the freezing water, as sunlight slowly leaked into the gray stone hollow.
A dark gray tom stood up on a sheer path leading down to the pool. "Welcome, Tribe of Endless Hunting, to the meeting you have been waiting for." He made his way slowly down the shiny surface. "The silver-striped cat has come. A true one, this time. She may be young, but wondrous things will come to the Tribe of Rushing Water, if she recognizes her potential in time."
When he finished speaking, a different cat stood up. "But, Crag, don't you think it's cruel for such a young she-cat to bear so much responsibility? Her destiny is too soon, and what will happen when she must prepare for it? She could lose her life this way."
"We are all well aware of this, Brook," murmured the gray tom. "This kit is my kin as well. However, with Moon raising her as a loner, she will have extreme potential, even without the training of the Tribe."
Brook glared at him for a heartbeat, then sat down once more. "I only hope that she will recognize her destiny links to Shadow's. If they can't figure it out, then the Tribe is doomed for sure."
"Those two will realize it. They've been ready for centuries." Crag's eyes shined, and then he stirred the water of the pool with his paw, until it stilled. "If Dazzle and Shadow cannot discover the meaning of their existences...oh, will the Tribe suffer for it. But I'm sure that they will find out. They must."
Another tom, thick-furred and gray, brushed against Brook. "Don't worry. Have faith in them. They will triumph, as it has been since long before we knew ourselves as the Tribe."
"Faith, Stormfur? How can you have faith when the existence of those you love are at stake?" The she-cat sighed. "I don't know, Stormfur. I just...can't...bear the though of her destiny. Her mother was Moon, and don't forget who Moon's father was."
"Yes, I remember," purred Stormfur soothingly. "Ripple is loyal to the Tribe. He is just as strong, brave and loyal as his father." He glanced over at a small brown tom. "Pine, guide your kin well. She knows you, and needs you."
Pine nodded solemnly. "Any kin of Ripple's, I shall guide as well as any of you." His head lowered. "But...do we truly believe that Dazzle's destiny will bring the rise of the Tribe? She and Shadow could fail...and then where would we be?"
"Don't worry, Pine," Stormfur meowed, although somewhat hesitant. "We will guide them whatever way we can, to bring them the victory to come with their destinies."
Dazzle woke to the first sound she heard; the calling of the wind. She lifted her small head up into the air and glanced around. A soft, dappled gray tail was curled around her, as well as two other kittens, two balls of fluff, one white and one black.
The wind rushed by as Dazzle scrambled out of the nest. Sheltered under a pine tree's safe, frosty limbs, it had been the wide space of snow that Dazzle was born on. A sheer cliff rose up behind her, so tall that when she turned to stare at it, the long gaze to the top was nearly nauseating.
"Woah!" she gasped, staring up into the endless gray sky. Her voice echoed through the solid stone mountains.
"Woah..." Dazzle repeated, only this time quieter. "It's so...big!" The tiny silver tabby she-cat danced among the snow, chasing the little flakes of frost that leaped out of her reach whenever she landed.
"Dazzle!" called her mother's voice. The small kitten spun around to stare at her mother, Moon.
With her soft, fluffy dappled gray pelt and vivid amber-green eyes, you'd have to be crazy not to call Moon pretty. Her dainty paws were laid out gently in front of her, and her plumy tail was curled around Snowy and Smoky, Dazzle's sister and brother.
"Try not to leave our ledge, dear," Moon yowled softly. "I don't want to lose track of you."
"Okaaaaay!" Dazzle's echoing voice bounced off into the distance. "I'll be baaaaack sooooon! I'll goooo to the treeeee copsse!" She giggled as the echoes faded away, then bounded away towards the pine trees on the far end of the snowy ledge they'd made a territory of.
A lone hawk cried in the distance; making Dazzle suddenly feel scared. She backed away slowly into the shelter of the pine trees...only to feel pitch blackness enclose her.
It felt strange, to be walking among this cold stone path. The dream was closing around her...yet she felt energetic as if she really were walking around in the mountains.
What is this place? she thought uncertainly. Where am I?
"Simple. Welcome to the Tribe of Endless Hunting," murmured a warm, soft voice. Dazzle spun around to face a strange brown tabby she-cat; nobody she'd ever met before.
"Who are you?" Dazzle squeaked, trying not to feel intimidated by those warm gray eyes, even as they looked at her with nothing but kindness and warmth. "And what is the Tribe of Endless Hunting?"
"The Tribe of Endless Hunting is the spirits of cats when they have died in the Tribe of Rushing Water," murmured the she-cat. "My name is Brook, and you need to know something." She stirred the shimmering gray-blue water with the tip of her dappled brown paw.
"What?" Dazzle bounced up and down. "What do I need to know? And what is the Tribe of Rushing Water? And why are you telling me?"
"Hush, dear," sighed Brook. "Your mother's father was a tom named Ripple in Clear Water...his father was my son, Pine that Clings to Rock. They are members of the Tribe of Rushing Water; a group of cats living in the mountains. Your mother was once a member of them. She left to be with your father, and to escape the harsh life of a Tribe cat."
"And what are you going to tell me?"
"You, Dazzle, are the cat we've been waiting for. Your birth marks an era of hope for the Tribe. They have been suffering for many seasons now. Dazzle, your life has lit a flame of hope. You must uncover the lies within the Tribe. Untangle them, discover the truth that the Tribe needs...give them hope." The dream subsided, and Dazzle lifted her eyes open.
When Dazzle awoke, snow was falling. The cold white flakes flecked her pelt, melting on the spot.
"Whoa..." she breathed, glancing into the sky. Gray clouds blotted out the earlier light blue sky, and the whitish sun barely glinted through its dark shroud. "I've never seen it this dark before..."
The snow started to fall a little faster, and the bush's heavy branches kept it from falling all over her. She gently padded out from under the bush, and trotted back to the nest where Moon and her siblings were.
Before she could even reach it, she crashed into a light brown tabby tom. He glanced down at her with light yellow eyes and sighed, "Well, Dazzle, it appears that you've already ventured from the nest."
"Um," mumbled the little she-kit. "Who are you?"
The tabby chuckled. "I'm Birch. Your father." His eyes glinted.
"Oh. I knew that." Dazzle felt her pelt flare up with embarrasment.