The Wildfire Blazes
Series: None (stand-alone contest story)
Allegiances: The Wildfire Blazes Allegiances
Spellcheckers: Please ask to spellcheck.
|They call them Wildsmoke and Blazefire.
It suits them rather perfectly, especially in their personality: fiery, rash, instinctive, and bold.
They’re twin sisters, completely and utterly identical. Young, as well. Warriors, not new, not senior. No one can tell them apart. As close as sisters can be . . . they can practically read each other’s thoughts.
And each of them knows something strange has been going on in AdderClan . . . they just don’t know what.
But when you’re identical, anything can happen.
“What are you doing!?” she cried, her voice a snarl. “I trusted you.” Her voice wavered, and became quiet. “They will never forgive you. You’ll be condemned to a life among darkness.”
The two cats continued to stalk toward her, pinning her against a smooth stone.
“We have something to tell you. Before we kill you.”
“I’m enlightened. I’ll really be able to carry it to the grave. What?” The she-cat’s voice was sarcastic and sneering, but inside, her heart thudded against her chest painfully.
“You’re not who you think you are.”
“Helpful. Really, thanks.”
“Dustcloud, shut up.”
“No, but seriously! The adder would so kill the coyote.”
Wildsmoke grinned and smacked her former mentor with a gray paw. “Who cares?” Dustcloud frowned, looking slightly offended. “Look straight ahead, idiot.”
“I’m sure the goldenrod also cares. Keep on telling yourself that, my friend. It will come through one day.” Wildsmoke mewed dryly.
“Quit distracting me, Wildsmoke. We’re suppose to be hunting.”
“Fine, fine.” Wildsmoke dismissed her friend easily, but neatly jumped to her paws and strode through the plains, tail held high. Dustcloud caught up to the she-cat, padding silently alongside the pretty cat. He had been her mentor once, but he was her best friend.
The cold scent of a snake drifted past her nose and she instantly dropped into a crouch, pressing her lithe body close to the dusty, crumbling, sunbaked ground. She gave a little nod to Dustcloud, and he backtracked slowly, giving her room.
She heard a quiet hiss and the rustle of a still tumbleweed. A light brown striped head poked its head out, its tongue flicking in and out, sensing its surroundings.
Wildsmoke pounced fast, knowing it would scent danger in a second. She struck it quickly on the head, darting out of range from its flashing, venomous fangs. It thrashed wildly beneath her, spitting posion from its mouth in defense. Wildsmoke slashed her claws down at the snake, searing off its head neatly. The tabby body stilled as its head tumbled to a stop.
“Nicely done! Did you cut the head off enough so that no poison is left in the body?” Dustcloud called, appearing from behind a sandy boulder. Wildsmoke snorted. “Of course. I’m not that daft.”
Dustcloud grinned. “You were taught from the best. Think those RattleClan idiots know the secrets we do?” He sat down, curling his pale gold tail around his paws.
“No. And it’s time to go.” The smoky gray she-cat’s brow furrowed slightly. “I’m worried about Blazefire. She’s been so ill.” Wildsmoke gently scooped up the adder in her mouth and flicked her ears toward the sandy hollow, AdderClan’s camp.
The sun set across the dry desert, casting a bright orange glow over the bare ground. The horizon seemed to stretch on forever as the sun loomed above it.
“Let’s go,” mumbled Wildsmoke, her mouth full with the dead snake.
Dustcloud and Wildsmoke traveled across the desert and reached AdderClan shortly before the sky turned dark. Tumbleweeds and desert plants hid the deep hole in the earth, sloping down gently. Dustcloud padded between two thick brushes, his long tail disappearing. Wildsmoke followed after him, flaunting her massive catch. It would feed at least six cats.
“We’re back!” she yowled, more then a tinge of pride in her voice. “I caught an adder,” she added.
The camp was getting ready for nighttime, and didn’t pay any attention to Wildsmoke and the snake dangling in her mouth. Her mother was trying to nudge a plank of old dried wood into the gap between the bushes to prevent scorpions from getting through, along with her Clanmate Sand-dune, but wasn’t getting very far. She looked up as she heard Wildsmoke’s voice.
Littlesong’s pale green eyes were hazy as she stared as her daughter. “Hello, Wildsmoke. Nice of you to join us,” she murmured. Sand-dune touched Littlesong’s shoulder gently and moved towards Wildsmoke. Hissing quietly enough so Littlesong didn’t hear, she growled, “Where have you two been? You see Littlesong isn’t well, with Blazefire being on the verge of death and all.”
“What?” stammered Wildsmoke. “’On the verge of death? What’s that supposed to mean?”
Dustcloud’s eyes narrowed at the same time. “I was Wildsmoke’s mentor. We were out late because Wildsmoke caught an amazing snake.”
Wildsmoke didn’t pay any attention to Dustcloud as her heart contracted with fear. Her sister, her precious sister, on the verge of death? When she had last seen Blazefire in the morning, she was sickly, but not that sick. Wildsmoke felt ill herself.
Sand-dune’s pale eyes softened. “Wildsmoke, go see your sister. I’ll watch Littlesong for you.” The dark brown tabby padded back to Wildsmoke’s mother, leaving her alone with Dustcloud. She looked up at her ex-mentor. “Go. I’ll bring the snake to the pile.” Wildsmoke nodded, an unspoken thank-you, and pelted to the medicine cat tunnel, ignoring the strange looks her Clanmates gave her.
Blazefire was lying in the corner of the den, coughing. Wildsmoke hurried to her sister, pressing her dark nose in her pelt, slick with moisture and heat. “Blazefire! What’s going on?” she asked, lowering her voice so the medicine cat wouldn’t hear.
Her sister gave her a crooked smile. “I don’t know. I just keep on getting worse as the days go by . . . I have the same dreams, every time I sleep. Flashes of… you and me running in a forest. A forest, can you believe it . . .” Blazefire’s voice trailed off in a fit of spasms. Her orange eyes, recently dull with her illness, rolled to the back of her head and her body convulsed in the moss.
“Pebblestrike! What’s wrong with her?” Wildsmoke shrieked, whirling around on AdderClan’s medicine cat. The brownish-gray tabby was already hurrying toward her, a bundle of Desert Holly held cautiously in her mouth.
Pebblestrike sent Wildsmoke a blazing look that screamed move out of the way! Wildsmoke cast an anguished look at her thrashing sister and pelted out of the way. Pebblestrike practically hurtled to her side and gently pried open her jaws, poking in the bit of the soothing desert plant. Saliva and foam bubbled at Blazefire’s mouth, dripping down her angled chin to the floor.
She stilled seconds later, and Pebblestrike cast a confused glance at Wildsmoke. “Huh. That wasn’t suppose to work that fast, but that’s good.” Blazefire was unconscious, and sticky, humid heat surrounded her like a thick fog.
“I’ll be right back. I need to check on your mother. Clean her up, will you?” Pebblestike nodded towards Blazefire, and then strode out of the clearing into the tunnel to the exit. Wildsmoke slunk to her sister’s side and began to groom her, smoothing out her ruffled fur and cooling her down.
“Sister, what is going on?” she whispered.
“Trees . . . run, run, run run! Mother . . . doing? Ouch . . . what happened . . . ?”
Barely audible murmurs coming from Blazefire woke Wildsmoke, who was sleeping next to her sister. Wildsmoke’s sunset-colored eyes blinked rapidly, adjusting to the complete darkness. She tensed, sure she looked like a shadow, thanks her ash coat, almost unheard of in the desert Clans.
When she was sure no one was there, she turned to Blazefire, who was now sleeping soundlessly. She sat down, curling her tail around her paws, and watched her sister for a moment.
Her slim, lithe body was stretched out as if she was running from something. Her dark gray coat, the color of smoke during a fire, was still damp from her sweat. A slim muzzle, shiny white teeth, and a rather broad build for a she-cat.
Wildsmoke heard a pang in her echoing heart. Blazefire was so much like her - fiery, bold, and headstrong, but her illness had made her delicate and quiet.
It was strange the way she and Blazefire looked. Cats in the desert Clans tended to have a small, athletic build, and a sandy colored coat, with pale brownish eyes. Littlesong had their larger-than-average shoulders, but her coat was pale gray, dotted with browns.
Wildsmoke’s head snapped up as she heard the gentle sounds of a cat padding to the medicine cat den, following the winding tunnel to the wide clearing.
Pebblestrike’s head appeared, guiding another cat into the den. She spoke softly, soothingly. The pale green eyes that gleamed in the darkness were all to familiar to Wildsmoke. Her mother.
Hooray. Her sister was sick and her mother was mentally ill. Whoop.
“Here, Littlesong. Just sit down right there, in that corner. I’ll be right back with some white bear poppy.” She sent Wildsmoke a stern look as she looked on, helpless.
Littlesong drifted - there was no other word to describe it - to the opposite corner and whispered something under her breath. Pebblestrike was busy on the other side, collecting some dry plants, but Wildsmoke could hear what Littlemoon sang…
The trees scream and howl
“Blood! Blood!” they cry
The bird flies down
Rips eyes from the helpless cats
Blind, they shriek and gurgle
Red soaks through roots
Littlesong gave a crazy little giggle.
Wait - her mother was psychopathic and mentally ill. Yay. Inside, Wildsmoke knew she should feel more sensitive - heck, she should have been yowling in fear for her family.
Her father had died when she was young from a snake bite, and Littlesong’s condition had gradually worsened. Wildsmoke and Blazefire had been with him - they had been bitten as well . . . as they were told.
Their father had died.
The sisters had lost their memory.
Days passed. Blazefire’s mysterious sickness progressed. Littlesong’s insanity seemed to be on hold as she was confined in the medicine cat den. Wildsmoke cared after her sister, hoping she wouldn’t bow down to the deadly illness. The sun burned the ground, its intensity the strongest ever felt.
Wildsmoke and Blazefire had no idea of their lives before warriorhood for them. They had woke up one day, as old as a mature apprentice, to see Littlesong hovering above them, worry creasing her brow.
“Wildpaw! Blazepaw! Are you all right, kits?” They shakily stood up and gazed at their surroundings with wide eyes. Blood stained their faces, a tiny slit marring their cheekbones. Unfamiliar barren land, warm sand beneath their paws, the hot sun beating down on them, soaking through two dark gray pelts.
“Where are we?” Blazepaw asked sharply. Littlesong looked at her with troubled eyes. “We’re home,” she murmured soothingly. “We’re in AdderClan. We live here, remember?” Wildpaw’s orange eyes clouded. “ . . . No, I don’t. When did we get here? I only know who you are.” She had panicked, her voice rising with each word. Littlesong sucked in a breath. “You don’t remember?”
“No!” shrieked Wildpaw and Blazepaw in unison. The sisters looked at each other with wide eyes and stumbled next to each other, burying their faces in the other’s shoulder. “We lost our memory!” Blazepaw wailed.
Littlesong led a stunned Wildpaw and Blazepaw to AdderClan. A long-tailed golden tabby had spotted them - Dustcloud, and they had traveled together. Dustcloud claimed he was a member of AdderClan. Littlesong nodded at the tom and left her kits at the entrance, sauntering towards the camp. She had come back minutes later and guided her kits into the camp. Every cat treated them as if they had known them forever, and this truly upset the sisters.
They slept in the medicine cat den with Littlesong, where Pebblestrike had told them their father was buried, and they had lost their memory due to the bites. They were lucky to have survived.
A quarter moon later, Dustcloud was assigned as Wildpaw’s mentor. Blazepaw got Hollythistle. Life . . . slowly settled back to normal.
As normal is it could get.
Blazefire opened her eyes to find Littlesong above her. She held back a shriek and nearly collided with the wall. Her mother looked back at her with assessing, intelligent eyes. “Blazefire, come with me.” This wasn’t her hysterical mother. This was a smart, clever, not-to-be-messed-with she-cat. Her mother was back.
“What?” coughed Blazefire. She felt like beetle dung. “No way, Littlesong. I’m really sick.” Her mother’s light green eyes seared into hers. “You have to come with me, Blazefire. It’s for your own good. I’ll help you up.”
Blazefire’s eyes rolled to the back of her head as her vision swam, edged in dark green. Suddenly she was in a thick forest. The stars above shone.
A broad cat, as dark as night with glowing orange jewels for eyes started back at her. His eyes . . . they were exactly the same as hers. “Blazefire. How you’ve grown.” His voice was deep, and it held a tinge of pride. A beautiful, slim, athletic silver-furred she-cat sat next to him, twining her tail with his. They both looked young – as young as she was.
“Who are you?” she snapped. She didn’t want to be here. Blazefire pushed her fear to the back of her heart.
The pale she-cat watched her with eyes as clear and blue as a lake. They swam with emotion. Wait . . . lake? Blazefire had never seen a lake, except in her dreams. What was happening to her? Blazefire had been plagued with dreams for moons, and they worsened increasingly, causing her body to cripple and sicken.
The dreams varied. But all showed a large, grassy field, a forest, Littlemoon, and the two cats she was speaking to now.
“You must know us,” sighed the silver she-cat. “My name is Crystalspring. This is Shadowfrost. We are part of your past. One you must not forget. Be safe, young one. We will come for you.”
And they were gone. Just like that.
Blazefire’s eyes snapped open once again. Littlesong was looking down at her with something like horror in her eyes. “We must leave, now.” she insisted. Blazefire sighed, though she did feel much better.
“Very well. Where are we going?” she asked.
“To a field some time away from here. It’s very important.”
Blazefire forced herself up on unsteady legs, trying not to wake up Pebblestrike, and gave herself a quick groom before following Littlemoon out.
The moon was full, casting rays of liquid silver and shadowing the dark land. No owl hooted. No scorpions crossed the two cat’s paths as they trekked away from AdderClan and into the land of the wild.
The sun had just began to rise. Blazefire and Littlesong had walked the whole remaining night until they reached a large, empty field filled with short, wiry desert grass. Boulders lined the edge, turning orange with the glow of the rising sun.
The pale-gray she-cat sat down, curling her tail around her paws. She sighed. “Blazefire, Blazefire. You know too much.”
“What are you talking about?” snapped Blazefire, obviously not in the mood for games.
“My dear. I know you’ve been having dreams. Of a handsome black tom, a beautiful silver she-cat. Of a forest and lake you’ve never been. Of blood and destruction. Of running for your life . . . and not saving yourself.”
Blazefire froze, her muscles stiffening. Her mother wasn’t insane. It was just a fake mental illness. There was no way.
She stared back at her daughter calmly, unruffled. “You see,” she murmured, “I can’t let you survive and remember what happened. They would cast me out, if they didn’t kill me first.”
She sighed. “Unfortunate, really, that I’ll have to kill you.” Blazefire’s throat closed up. Her heart leapt into her throat, drumming against her skin.
Littlemoon unsheathed her claws, her green eyes shining. “Dustcloud,” she cooed. From the edge of the largest boulder, part of it moved and sauntered towards them. But it wasn’t a chunk of the boulder. It was Wildsmoke’s former mentor, advancing toward her with a wicked grin, his claws long and sharp as he dug them into the grass. He stood alongside Littlesong.
“What are you doing!?” she cried, her voice a snarl. “I trusted you.”
“They will never forgive you. You’ll be condemned to a life among darkness.”
“We have something to tell you. Before we kill you.”
“I’m enlightened. I’ll really be able to carry it to the grave. What?”
“You’re not who you think you are.”
“Helpful. Really, thanks.”
Littlemoon’s and Dustcloud’s eyes blazed. “I am not part of the family that you think I am,” she spat.
“… Mother?” Blazefire whispered. The flecked she-cat looked at Blazefire. “You are not my daughter, Blazefire. I am neither yours or Wildsmoke’s.
“I am your aunt. Your mother, Crystalspring, always thought she was better then me.” An ugly sneer twisted her pretty features. “And she was. She was prettier, smarter. She attracted the attention of Shadowfrost.” A brief flash of genuine emotion crossed her face, gone in an instant. “Together they had you and your sister. But we were never close as siblings. She thought that we were. She stole everything away from me. It was time I got my revenge.”
Dustcloud grinned at Blazefire. “We lived in ForestClan. Yes, we. I was a friend of Littlemoon’s. And one day, Littlemoon brought you two to a wide field in the forest. I came with her. Crystalspring and Shadowfrost were already dead. I had put deathberries in their food. The Clan thought Littlesong had brought the orphaned kits to explain what happened . . .”
Blazefire’s insides churned. This could not be happening. Her whole history, re-written. New enemies. A new family.
“She bashed your heads against a side of a rock, meaning to kill you, and dragged you off, far away from the forest into the desert, where no one would follow us. But you survived, and Littlesong was forced to claim you as her daughters. Your whole life was a lie.”
Littlesong looked at her earnestly. “We didn’t mean for the lie to get bigger and bigger. You two should have died. I should have come back to ForestClan and been accepted once again. It’s your fault I’m stuck here. You must understand why we must kill you, dear. No one can be able to know. You are weak now. It will be easy to kill you.”
Suddenly, a wide smile crossed Blazefire’s face. “Easy to kill?” She tilted her head back and laughed. “You’ve got the wrong she-cat, friends.”
She launched herself at her two enemies, yowling fiercely.
Wildsmoke practically glowed in glory. She had stopped Blazefire from following Littlesong out and taken her place, pretending to be her sister. Blazefire wasn't strong enough, and Wildsmoke was suspicious of Blazefire's motives.
Wildsmoke leaped on top of Dustcloud’s shoulders, pummeling him mercilessly with her claws. “You traitor!” she snarled as blood gushed from a wound on his side. He twisted and growled below her until she socked him in his stomach with a paw.
He gasped, his eyes widening. Wildsmoke took her chance and sliced his belly open. He didn’t deserve to live.
Dustcloud coughed, blood splattering onto Wildsmoke’s face. Littlesong began shrieking. “You killed him! You killed him!”
Wildsmoke backed away from Dustcloud and whirled toward her aunt. “You . . . you killed my mother and my father. You took my life away from me and my sister. You are no better then he is. You are worse.”
Wildsmoke tensed and landed the killing blow.
It was over.
Wildsmoke found her way back to AdderClan and Blazefire, covered in blood, leaving the bodies of the betrayers to rot in the killer sun.
Blazefire and Wildsmoke had left in a rush, telling no one where they had gone. No one had seen them leave. Blazefire, no longer plagued by memories of her past, was healthy again.
They knew were they had to go. It was an instinct. Even if their parents were dead, they know they would never feel completely safe in AdderClan. After all, they had accepted Littlesong and Dustcloud, believing their lies and playing along.
Wildsmoke and Blazefire stopped at the entrance of a wide, thick forest. The air smelled cool and fresh, unlike anything they had ever smelled before. The scent of warm, musky cats drifted past their nose.
The sisters looked at each other and smiled. They were home.