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ThunderClan

Leader: Dapplestar – tortoiseshell she-cat with blue eyes

Deputy: Cindertalon – gray tom with yellow eyes

Medicine Cat: Thrushwing – tabby tom with white paws and amber eyes

Warriors:

Brackenleap – brown tom with dark brown paws, tail tip, and ear tips
Fawnfeather – tabby-and-white she-cat with amber eyes

Snowtail – thick-furred white cat with green eyes (xe/xir/xirs)

Apprentice, Nightpaw

Dewwhisker – blue-gray tom with a plumed tail and yellow eyes

Apprentice, Cloverpaw

Jumpheart – gray tabby she-cat with blue eyes

Podleap – tabby tom with green eyes

Primroseleaf – orange tabby cat with green eyes (she/her)

Cedarstep – gray tom with amber eyes

Beechsnow – dark brown tom with yellow eyes

Apprentices:

Nightpaw – dark gray tom with dark green eyes

Cloverpaw – tabby-and-white she-cat with yellow eyes

Queens:

Blueflower – blue-gray she-cat (Tallkit, Silverkit)

Elders:

Daisystem – ginger she-cat

Sparrowflight – dark brown she-cat

Barkjaw – tabby tom with dark brown paws

 

RiverClan

Leader: Rushstar – tabby tom with blue eyes

Deputy: Pebblebrook – gray she-cat with amber eyes

Medicine Cat: Pikefang – reddish tom

Warriors:

Sunpool – ginger she-cat with yellow eyes

Icepoppy – silvery cat with blue eyes (they/them)
Apprentice, Thistlepaw

Shimmerfish – tabby cat with amber eyes (aqua/aquas/aquaself)

Willowtail – gray tom

Apprentice, Troutpaw

Appleheart – tabby tom with green eyes

Heatherfall – tabby-and-white cat (it/its/itself)

Silverwater – silver tom with white paws and a white chest

Apprentice, Otterpaw

Morningwish – tabby she-cat with yellow eyes

Runningsplash – silver she-cat with green eyes

Apprentices:

Thistlepaw – tabby tom

Troutpaw – reddish tom with amber eyes

Otterpaw – dark brown she-cat

Queens:

Tawnyfeather – dark brown she-cat

Lionsnow – silver-gray she-cat

Elders:

Raintail – gray she-cat



WindClan

Leader: Dovestar – mottled gray she-cat

Deputy: Ashwillow – gray tom

Medicine Cat: Tansynose – cream-colored she-cat

Warriors:

Stormfire – gray cat with amber eyes (fawn/fawns/fawnself)

Apprentice, Darkpaw

Gorsefang – tabby tom with yellow eyes

Haretalon – tabby-and-white she-cat

Swiftstream – tortoiseshell she-cat

Apprentice, Aspenpaw

Duskbreeze – tabby cat with yellow eyes (fae/faer/faerself)

Apprentice, Mistypaw

Larkflight – cream-colored tom with amber eyes

Apprentice, Emberpaw

Sharpsong – tabby tom with green eyes

Berryclaw – tabby-and-white tom

Apprentices:

Darkpaw – dark gray tom

Aspenpaw – tabby cat with green eyes (fel/felis/feliself)

Mistypaw – gray she-cat with green eyes

Emberpaw – small brown tom

Queens:

Sedgefoot – tabby she-cat (Shykit)

Elders:

Mossybrook – tortoiseshell tom

Whitefur – white tom with amber eyes

Leopardsong – gray she-cat

 

ShadowClan

Leader: Flintstar - gray tabby with dark gray paws (aer/aers)

Deputy: Vixenstalker - reddish she-cat with yellow eyes

Medicine Cat: Ivystem - brown-and-white she-cat with amber eyes

Apprentice, Flowerpaw

Warriors:

Patchclaw - white tom with black patches

Rockslip - large gray tom with yellow eyes

Apprentice, Sparrowpaw

Fallowleap - tabby she-cat with green eyes

Apprentice, Daisypaw

Crowrunner - black tom with amber eyes

Finchsong - black she-cat with yellow eyes

Jaggedstrike - ginger tom with green eyes

Flyspeck - white tom with black paws and ears

Grasstuft - dark brown tabby with tufted ears and green eyes (they/them/their)

Honeywhisker - light tabby she-cat with amber eyes

Lichenstep - gray cat with blue eyes and a long tail (xe/xir/xis)

Apprentice, Hickorypaw

Apprentices:

Sparrowpaw - black tom with yellow eyes

Daisypaw - ginger she-cat with green eyes

Hickorypaw - gray tabby with amber eyes (he/him/his)

Flowerpaw - reddish she-cat with green eyes

Queens:

Mottlepelt - mottled brown she-cat with blue eyes, pregnant

Tumbleskip - light brown tabby with yellow eyes (Moonkit, Palekit, Hazelkit) (ze/zir/zis)

Elders:

Jaylight - ginger tabby tom with blue eyes, former medicine cat

Bumblefrost - silver-and-black tom with yellow eyes



Cats Outside Clans:

Gracie - tortoiseshell kittypet with yellow eyes

Sadie - ginger kittypet

Patch - gray rogue

Chapter Text

“There must be some mistake . ” The star-flecked warrior protested. Another StarClan cat, a mottled she-cat, shook her head .

“You know as well as I that it was only a matter of time, Dewbright . ” Dewbright, a thick-furred silver tabby, shook their head .

“What can we do, Fernwish?”

“What can be done?” Fernwish retorted . “We must simply give our wisdom to the medicine cats and leaders as always .

“No!” Dewbright protested, baring their fangs . “I will not just sit back!” Fernwish’s yellow eyes widened .

“Dewbright-”

“My mind is made up . ” The silver tabby snapped. “I will choose a cat from my own Clan and I recommend you do the same if you care about the Clan that was once yours . ” With a flick of their tail, Dewbright darted off . Fernwish sighed and gazed at the pool.

“They’re really going to do it then?” A voice came from a clump of bushes . Fernwish started before replying .

“It’s rude to eavesdrop, Sagefeather . ” The bushes shook and a creamy brown she-cat emerged, amusement twinkling in her amber eyes .

“If I hadn’t, I would’ve missed out on something very important . ” Sagefeather meowed. “And I think I ought to share this with my old WindClan friend…” Fernwish snarled but the starry she-cat didn’t flinch .

“Now all the Clans will be on equal ground . ” Sagefeather sniffed. “One StarClan warrior from each Clan-”

“Enough!” Fernwish curled her lip . “If you’re going to tell your old friend Gorseheart then go ahead . ” Sagefeather dipped her head in mock respect.

“As you wish, oh great one.” The cream-brown warrior hared away, eager to spread the news. Fernwish watched her go, her mottled brown fur still bristling. I hope Dewbright knows what they’re doing because I don’t know that this chain of events can be undone….

Chapter Text

“Silverkit! Get back here!” Blueflower’s stern mew rang across the camp. Primroseleaf watched the little silver kit as she tumbled into Jumpheart’s paws. The gray tabby flattened her ears and backed away from the kit cautiously. Primroseleaf stifled a purr of amusement at her Clanmate’s wariness; Jumpheart usually treated kits as if they were made of glass.

“Come on, Jumpheart, you’ve got to get used to kits for when you have a few of your own someday!” Daisystem, an elder, purred. Jumpheart shifted uncomfortably while Primroseleaf gave her a sympathetic glance; She knew Jumpheart was uninterested in having kits from their previous conversations. Blueflower picked up Silverkit by the scruff.

“It’s time you took your nap; Tallkit’s already asleep.” Silverkit wrinkled her nose.

“Tallkit’s always sleeping.” The kit complained mutinously. If Blueflower heard, she gave no indication but just slipped into the nursery.

“Jumpheart, Primroseleaf, fancy a patrol?” Cindertalon, the Clan deputy, called as he padded out of the warriors’ den.

“Yes, please!” Jumpheart answered her littermate.

“Great! Jumpheart, you can lead a patrol at the ShadowClan border, take Primroseleaf, Snowtail and Nightpaw with you. I’ll have Beechsnow, Brackenleap, Dewwhisker and Cloverpaw patrol the RiverClan border.”

“Let’s grab Snowtail and xir apprentice.” Jumpheart nudged Primroseleaf. “I saw xir taking some fresh-kill for Blueflower.”

“I’ll get Nightpaw then.” Primroseleaf replied. Trotting over to the apprentices’ den, she called for the dark gray apprentice. Nightpaw climbed out, his dark green eyes bleary with sleep; he had been sent on the dawn patrol.

“Afternoon patrol on the ShadowClan border.” Primroseleaf told him as they headed out the gorse tunnel to meet Snowtail and Jumpheart.

“Let’s go!” Snowtail meowed, flexing xis claws. Nightpaw nodded to his mentor and took off towards the border.

“Hey!” Jumpheart grunted, chasing after him. Reluctantly, Primroseleaf ran after them, Snowtail close behind.

“Nightpaw’s fast.” She commented.

“And he’s almost done with training.” Snowtail responded. “Pity he won’t be able to train with his younger siblings, though.” Tallkit and Silverkit were six moons younger than Nightpaw, their kin from another litter. Snowtail had conceived both litters with Blueflower, making xim an unusual choice for Nightpaw’s mentor.

“Nightpaw!” Jumpheart snapped when Snowtail and Primroseleaf reached them. “I’m leading this patrol!” Nightpaw’s dark green eyes glimmered with mirth.

“I just needed a run to wake me up!” He insisted. Jumpheart sniffed.

“Just keep back.” She padded ahead of the others, tail in the air.

“She’s something, isn’t she?” Nightpaw murmured to Primroseleaf. Feeling a sharp twinge in her belly, Primroseleaf grunted in reply as Snowtail passed them.

“I know she’s a bit older than me,” Nightpaw continued, much to Primroseleaf’s dismay. “but I’m going to be a warrior in less than a moon now and Jumpheart hasn’t taken a mate, so I figured I have a chance-”

“ShadowClan patrol ahead.” Primroseleaf almost sighed in relief at Jumpheart’s call. Ahead, emerging from the pines and standing along the side of the Thunderpath were Vixenstalker, Honeywhisker, Fallowleap, and Daisypaw.

“Hey Nightpaw!” Daisypaw called. “Remember me from the last gathering?” Nightpaw nodded.

“Good to see you too.” He told the ginger she-cat.

“How’s the prey running?” Vixenstalker, the ShadowClan deputy, asked politely. Jumpheart flicked her ears.

“Fawnfeather caught a pheasant yesterday.” Vixenstalker’s yellow eyes widened in admiration.

“Congratulations!” She purred. Fallowleap nodded, her green eyes round. “Well, we should get going; Daisypaw might just continue without us!” With a wave of her tail, the reddish she-cat gathered her patrol and set off into the pine trees.

“I can’t believe the Clans used to have battles!” Nightpaw exclaimed as the ShadowClan patrol disappeared. “Sometimes it feels as if we’re almost one Clan!” Snowtail’s ears pricked but Primroseleaf noticed xe didn’t say anything.

Chapter Text

“Nice trout!” Pikefang congratulated Morningwish as the tabby she-cat laid her catch on the pile. “I’ll see if our visitor would like it.” Mottlepelt of ShadowClan was visiting RiverClan before she had her kits; cats of different Clans visiting one another wasn’t unusual.

“I’ll take it.” Morningwish volunteered. “I’d like to see my sister.” Tawnyfeather’s kits were expected any day and her mate Sootwing had recently fallen against a stone and drowned. Tawnyfeather’s only living kin were Morningwish and her kit, Otterpaw.

“Well, she’s doing fine coping with her recent loss.” Pikefang twitched his ears.

“Actually, Otterpaw can take that to the nursery.” Pebblebrook, the RiverClan deputy, bounded over. “I need you to help with Troutpaw and Thistlepaw’s assessments.” Morningwish pricked her ears.

“They’re ready to be warriors?”

“Almost.” The deputy replied. “They have one more moon of training, but they’re doing very well so Rushstar wanted their mentors to assess them.”

“How will I help?” Morningwish asked eagerly. Pebblebrook sniffed.

“Ask Icepoppy and Willowtail; they’re in charge.” Morningwish ignored the gray she-cat’s dismissive tone. She could be a bit friendlier.

“Where are they now?”

“Waiting by the border with ThunderClan.” Why didn’t you say so in the first place? Willowtail will claw my ears off if I’m late! Biting back the words, Morningwish forced herself to dip her head to the gray she-cat before hurrying off through the camp barrier.

 

Panting by the time she reached the border, Morningwish saw her Clanmates exchanging words with a group of ThunderClan cats who were basking at Sunningrocks.

“How’s Lionsnow?” A dark brown she-cat asked, drawing a paw over her whiskers.

“Just moved into the nursery!” Icepoppy purred, their blue eyes shining; Lionsnow was their sister from another litter.

“Raintail must be pleased for her daughter.” The elder responded.

“Oh, there you are Morningwish.” Willowtail sniffed as the tabby she-cat padded up next to the group. “I was wondering where you were.”

“Sorry.” Morningwish muttered, knowing the gray tom wouldn’t care for her excuses.

“Young cats, always in a hurry!” Another ThunderClan elder teased. Willowtail ignored him.

“Rushstar wanted us to do hunting in pairs for land prey for the assessment.” The reddish apprentice Troutpaw informed Morningwish. “Willowtail said you’re with me and Heatherfall is hunting with Thistlepaw.” Not one for wasting time, Willowtail meowed,

“Morningwish and Troutpaw, go towards the WindClan border, Heatherfall you and Thistlepaw stay near this border.”

“Good luck!” Icepoppy added before the two mentors hared off.

“How are they supposed to follow us if they go first?” Troutpaw muttered.

“C’mon.” Morningwish flicked the reddish tom’s ear and broke into a run. Troutpaw huffed with surprise and hurried after her.

“The woods near the minnow pool?” The apprentice called to her. Morningwish flicked her ears to show she had heard before veering left. Slowing to a walk, she spied the small patch of woods before stopping altogether. Troutpaw ran into her. He opened his mouth for what would probably be a smart remark, but Morningwish shook her head rapidly. Closing his mouth, the red apprentice dropped into a crouch to survey the clearing. Morningwish scanned the clearing as well and spied a gray squirrel near the roots of a tree.

“I’ll go around and you come at it this way.” Morningwish whispered. Troutpaw nodded, his amber eyes gleaming eagerly. Dropping into what she hoped was a convincing crouch, Morningwish circled the wood until she was on the opposite side of the tree. Making out the red pelt of Troutpaw, Morningwish nodded and the both creeped towards the tree. Almost right next to the tree, Troutpaw hid among a clump of tall grass while Morningwish hung back so he could make the catch. The squirrel stopped its sniffing and looked up warily. Now, Troutpaw! The red tom leaped from his cover and pinned his prey before biting it on the neck. Morningwish waved her tail and stood up.

“Well done!” Troutpaw puffed out his chest and laid his prey down.

“Your crouch was good too.” He replied kindly. Morningwish shrugged.

“You really didn’t need me to help you.”

“Okay, you two!” A voice called. Willowtail appeared from a clump of bracken. “You did very well getting so close to your prey, Troutpaw.” The apprentice’s amber eyes shone.

“Are you assessing my fishing skills next?” He asked hopefully. Willowtail shook his head.

“I did that yesterday.”

“And battle moves?” Troutpaw swiped the air playfully; RiverClan didn’t practice battle moves seriously like most Clans since they had been at peace for moons. Troutpaw, like most apprentices, simply saw battle training as a way to tussle with his fellow apprentices.

“I thought we’d do that the last moon of your apprenticeship.” Willowtail told Troutpaw. The reddish apprentice frowned.

“So I’m not getting my warrior ceremony today?”

“Troutpaw, you’ve only had five moons of training.” Willowtail reminded him. Morningwish fidgeted awkwardly, wishing she wasn’t witnessing this. Troutpaw continued to scowl but picked up the squirrel to cover it.

“Let’s head back to camp, so I can tell Rushstar.” Willowtail meowed. Troutpaw ran ahead of the two warriors. Willowtail watched him go while hissing crossly. Morningwish walked briskly alongside Willowtail, feeling too awkward to say anything.

When they reached camp, Willowtail headed for Rushstar’s den as Thistlepaw boasted to Otterpaw by the fresh-kill heap. Troutpaw’s squirrel was on top while the apprentice himself was nowhere to be seen.

“A squirrel?” Pebblebrook commented, on her way from Rushstar’s den. “Smells delicious!” The gray she-cat grabbed it and tore into it with ravenous bites. Morningwish wrinkled her nose. Now I have to have that image in my head while I eat!

“Hey Morningwish!” The tabby she-cat turned around to see Appleheart waving her over with his tail. “Fancy sharing a carp?”

“Yes!” She purred, trotting over to sit next to the green-eyed tabby. They took turns nipping at the plump fish delicately.

“Runningsplash caught this.” Appleheart told her. “She’s a brilliant hunter!” Morningwish purred in agreement as she sniffed the carp. “Did you hear that Cedarstep and Beechsnow of ThunderClan might be visiting soon?” Appleheart continued.

“No!” Morningwish gasped. “I doubt ShadowClan gets this many visitors.”

“Not true.” The tabby tom purred. “I heard a couple WindClan cats are visiting the marshland soon.”

“And growing webbed paws?” Morningwish joked. Both cats purred with amusement.

“Appleheart.” A ginger she-cat walked over to the two cats.

“Hello Sunpool.” Appleheart replied. Morningwish glanced back and forth between the two. Have I missed something? Sunpool and Appleheart had been mates for moons; Troutpaw and Thistlepaw were their kits.

“Would you like to go on a border patrol? I’m leading one with Shimmerfish.” Appleheart shook his head.

“I just finished a hunting patrol.” The ginger she-cat frowned.

“Very well.” Sunpool replied curtly before walking stiffly over to Shimmerfish. The two cats left for the border. Appleheart had a sour look on his face.

“Sorry you had to see that.”

“It’s all right.” Morningwish muttered. I’ve been witnessing awkward things all day.

“She’s  been acting strange lately is all.” Appleheart explained. “I’m sure she likes Shimmerfish.”

“Shimmerfish?” Morningwish echoed. “But aquas never had interest in having a mate.”

“That can’t stop Sunpool from liking aqua, though.” Appleheart meowed quickly. Morningwish frowned; Sunpool didn’t seem the type of cat to want more than one mate. Oh, well. Morningwish shrugged. Appleheart knows her better then me. She bit into the carp.

Chapter Text

“Watch out!” Patchclaw called out. Hazelkit squeaked in alarm as the sharp end of a bramble landed less than a tail-length away from her. “Kits!” Patchclaw grumbled.

“Hazelkit!” Tumbleskip ran across the camp to examine zir kit. The young queen’s yellow eyes were wide. After making sure the two-moon-old kit was all right, the light brown tabby glared at Patchclaw. “You should be more careful!” Patchclaw shrugged.

“I assumed the kits would have enough sense to stay out of the way.”

“And I assumed the kits wouldn’t get struck by falling brambles!” Tumbleskip retorted. As Patchclaw opened his mouth to tell zir that Hazelkit hadn’t been hit by the bramble, the medicine cat interrupted.

“For StarClan’s sake!” Ivystem stood between the two cats. “Stop arguing.” The medicine cat was frowning at the quarreling cats while her apprentice Flowerpaw stood nearby, green eyes wide. “Patchclaw, be more careful with those brambles or some cat will get hurt. Tumbleskip, please keep Hazelkit and her littermates away. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it?” Tumbleskip sniffed.

“Come on, Hazelkit, your littermates are playing fox attack with the elders.” When the tabby queen left, Ivystem turned to Patchclaw and narrowed her amber eyes.

“Really?”

“What?” Patchclaw asked.

“The second tiff today.” The brown-and-white she-cat spat crossly. “Just try and keep to yourself, okay?” Patchclaw twitched the tip of his tail.

“Not my fault.” He muttered, feeling somewhat like a mutinous kit. “The kits were in the way yesterday as well.”

“What about Daisypaw?” Ivystem pressed. “You nearly bit her head off when she asked if you wanted to join Vixenstalker’s patrol today.”

“Because I’d just finished the dawn patrol and now I’ve got my paws full expanding the warriors’ den!” Patchclaw shot back. “Which I’ve actually got to finish by tomorrow for the WindClan visitors.” Ivystem bristled; Patchclaw thought she was either going to cuff his ears or keep arguing but instead she just spun around and stomped towards her den. Flowerpaw, her apprentice, had been lingering nearby as if she wasn’t sure if she should get involved or not. At Ivystem’s departure, Flowerpaw hurried after her mentor without looking back at Patchclaw.

Frog dung! Patchclaw thought. Now not even the medicine cat likes me! Part of him wished that he could keep his temper under control while the other part wished Ivystem wasn’t so short-tempered.

“Hey Patchclaw!” Hickorypaw and his littermate Sparrowpaw ran over to the black-and-white tom. “Lichenstep and Rockslip told us to help you.” Patchclaw felt a rush of gratitude for their mentors.

“I actually need you to gather some moss for the visitors’ nests.” Patchclaw told them. “We have three cats coming; one elder and two warriors.” Hickorypaw nodded; to Patchclaw’s relief, he didn’t complain about gathering moss.

“We’ll do it.” The gray tabby apprentice assured Patchclaw. Sparrowpaw nodded in agreement with his littermate before the two apprentices headed out of camp. At least I didn’t ruffle their fur. Patchclaw thought, picking up a bit of bracken. He began to weave it through the warriors’ den.

 

Later, Patchclaw looked on proudly at the finished warriors’ den. Hickorypaw and Sparrowpaw stood nearby, their pelts covered with scraps of moss and bracken. The elders’ den had a new nest with dry moss.

“Well done, you two.” Patchclaw meowed. “You can go tell your mentors that you’re done.” The apprentices beamed before rushing towards the camp entrance; their mentors had gone on a hunting patrol earlier and were due back any moment. Patchclaw stretched out before going to the fresh-kill hole where his littermate, Flyspeck, was sniffing a squirrel. Mewing a greeting, Patchclaw slipped past the black-and-white warrior to find something for himself.

“Missing Mottlepelt?” Patchclaw asked; the mottled brown she-cat was visiting RiverClan before she had her kits.

“I can’t believe she’s traveling so far carrying kits!” Flyspeck sighed. “I’d rather her come back soon; if she waits too long, she won’t be able to travel and then the kits will be born in RiverClan.”

“Ivystem said Mottlepelt would be fine.” Patchclaw reminded him.

“She only recently found out she was pregnant, right?” Besides, she’ll want to come back by the Gathering, I’m sure.” Flyspeck shifted uncertainly.

“I just wish I was able to talk to her or see her.” The black-and-white warrior meowed desperately. Patchclaw dipped his head awkwardly.

“I’m sure Mottlepelt misses you as well.” The words felt strange and empty.

“thanks.” Flyspeck replied. “Hey, when are you going to get a mate?” The topic Patchclaw had been dreading came up. “There are plenty of available she-cats, Honeywhisker for instance. “ To Patchclaw’s chagrin, Flyspeck continued. “She’s a nice young cat. Or maybe Vixenstalker?” A nice young cat? Honeywhisker was too young, Patchclaw reflected; she had only recently become a warrior while Patchclaw had been one for about eighteen moons. Vixenstalker didn’t seem to have any interest in having a mate, preferring to concentrate more on her deputy duties.

Uncomfortably aware of Flyspeck’s scrutinizing gaze, Patchclaw merely shrugged.

Chapter Text

Burnet, chamomile, daisy, sorrel … Tansynose mentally recited the herbs as she worked on three small piles of traveling herbs. Whitefur, Berryclaw, and Haretalon were traveling to visit ShadowClan at dawn. It was past moonhigh now and the only cats awake were Gorsefang, on guard, and Tansynose. Mistypaw was curled up in a heathery nest, fighting a fever; Tansynose observed her steady breathing rate. Padding outside the medicine cat den, Tansynose breathed in the fresh scent of the moor. Her paws itching for a run, the cream-colored she-cat padded up to Gorsefang.

“Not sleeping?” The tabby tom inquired.

“No point when I have to get up at dawn.” Tansynose nodded towards the sinking moon.

“Just yowl if you need help.”

“I won’t be long.” She promised. “The days are getting colder.” Tansynose bounded from the camp, enjoying the feeling of the wind on her whiskers. Running towards the gorge, Tansynose spied a rabbit nibbling on a sparse patch of grass. The cream-colored medicine cat’s claws itched at the possibility of fresh-kill, and she turned towards it. The rabbit sensed Tansynose a split-second too late and she seized the rabbit, biting eagerly. The creature grew limp in her jaws and Tansynose released it with a flash of satisfaction. Feeling triumphant with her kill, the medicine cat returned back to camp carrying the rabbit. Gorsefang’s yellow eyes lite up.

“Nice catch!” He congratulated her. Tansynose dropped it in front of him.

“Share it?” She offered.

“Please!” Gorsefang purred, crouching to take a bite. They finished the rabbit off swiftly. Tansynose was swiping her tongue over her mouth when Berryclaw got up stretch in the creamy dawn light. The tabby-and-white tom’s eyes were still bleary with sleep.

“I’d better rouse the others and see them on their way.” Tansynose told Gorsefang. The tabby warrior nodded.

“And I’ll wake Sharpsong; it’s his turn for watch!” Gorsefang’s yellow eyes glinted mischievously. Tansynose flicked her tail and padded over to Berryclaw.

“Will you wake Haretalon?” She asked. “That way, I’ll get Whitefur up.” Berryclaw nodded.

“Sounds good.” Tansynose padded over to where the elders slept.

“Whitefur!” She called to the white heap of sleeping cat. Amber eyes blinked open.

“Dawn already?” The elder rasped, beginning to stretch.

“Berryclaw’s waking Haretalon now.” Tansynose replied.

“I don’t see why we had to get up so early.” Whitefur sniffed.

“Dovestar wants you to make it to ShadowClan early.” Tansynose reminded the white tom. “And she’ll be seeing you off.”

“Looks like Haretalon is finally up.” Whitefur glanced to where the tabby-and-white she-cat was stretching next to her like-pelted brother. Stormfire, Darkpaw, Swiftstream and Aspenpaw were getting ready to head out; they were on the dawn patrol. A flash of mottled gray fur alerted Tansynose to Dovestar’s presence. The gray she-cat padded over to Berryclaw to exchange words.

“You should go join them.” Tansynose meowed.

“Yes, yes.” Whitefur muttered, cranky. The elder padded over to join the three cats with Tansynose following; she was expected to see them off.

“...And you know when to cross the Thunderpath?” Dovestar was asking. Berryclaw lifted his chin.

“Yes, Dovestar.”

“Good. Tansynose, are they ready?” Dovestar queried.

“I need them to come into my den so I can give them their strengthening herbs.” Tansynose answered; She pretended not to notice Haretalon wrinkling her nose.

“Very well.” Dovestar meowed. Tansynose trotted over to her den, her three Clanmates following. The cream-colored medicine cat flicked her tail towards the three piles she had made earlier. Each cat crouched in front and began to lap up the herbs Tansynose checked on Mistypaw. The gray apprentice’s green eyes were still bleary with sleep; the cats coming in must have woken her.

“How are you feeling?” Tansynose asked.

“Hungry!” Mistypaw  mewed.

“Good.” Tansynose told her. “That means the fever is going down.” The medicine cat glanced over to make sure the traveling herbs were eaten; sure enough, Haretalon was wrinkling her nose while Berryclaw drew his tongue over his jaws.

“Thanks for the herbs.” Whitefur croaked. Berryclaw murmured agreement while even Haretalon nodded her thanks.

“No problem.” Tansynose purred. “Mistypaw, I’ll see about getting you some food.” The gray apprentice looked pleased.

“I can ask the dawn patrol when I see them.” Haretalon volunteered.

“That’d be great if you could.” Tansynose replied, pleasantly surprised; she had almost felt that Haretalon didn’t respect her. Haretalon dipped her head and left, following the other two cats. Tansynose felt happiness tingle in her paws; she and Haretalon had been close as kits and apprentices, but when Tansynose had decided that her path led to the medicine den, Haretalon was devastated. Knowing that Haretalon was, at least, beginning to accept the decision, made Tansynose feel as if she could run across all four territories.

Chapter Text

 

“Welcome to ShadowClan, WindClan visitors!” Flintstar greeted the three cats. Vixenstalker, Ivystem and Flowerpaw stood nearby.

“Thank you for your hospitality, Flintstar.” Patchclaw recognized Berryclaw from past Gatherings; the tabby-and-white warrior dipped his head respectfully. The warrior and elder behind him dipped their heads also.

“Our friends on the moor are always welcome.” Flintstar meowed good-naturedly. Vixenstalker murmured agreement and Ivystem stepped forward.

“You must be tired from the journey.” The medicine cat mewed. “Please, come with me to my den.”

“Our medicine cat gave us strengthening herbs already, but Whitefur’s joints may be sore.” Berryclaw replied. Ivystem dipped her head.

“Very well; my apprentice Flowerpaw will show you to my den and give you some herbs.” Flowerpaw, looking nervous to be one her own, led the white-pelted elder away. Patchclaw watched as Ivystem began to sniff each of the two WindClan visitors. Flintstar murmured something to Vixenstalker and the reddish deputy padded over to the cluster of warriors where Patchclaw sat.

“Rockslip, you and Sparrowpaw take Honeywhisker for the sunhigh patrol. There’s going to be two hunting patrols today; mine and Grasstuft’s. Grasstuft, take Lichenstep and Hickorypaw.” The dark brown tabby dipped their head. “Flyspeck, Jaggedstrike, and Patchclaw, you’ll be on mine.” Feeling Flyspeck’s gaze on him, Patchclaw flicked his tail and tried to appear eager. Grasstuft and Lichenstep ran to get Hickorypaw while Jaggedstrike strolled over to the deputy.

“What border are we hunting at today?” He asked. Patchclaw rolled his eyes; Jaggedstrike had been suspected for the position of deputy when Bumblefrost retired, but when Jaggedstrike’s littermate became deputy instead, the ginger tom made no secret of his surprise. Now, the ShadowClan warrior imposed his controlling attitude over Vixenstalker more than anyone.

“I thought the ThunderClan border.” Vixenstalker narrowed her yellow eyes. “Unless you object, of course.” She added dryly.

“No, no.” Jaggedstrike sniffed. “Just what I would have chosen.” Vixenstalker scowled and started towards the border, setting a brisk pace. As he ran alongside the other patrol members, Patchclaw felt a surge of anger on Vixenstalker’s behalf; Jaggedstrike had no right to take out his anger with a decision Flintstar made on Vixenstalker!

Patchclaw still felt grumpy when Vixenstalker slowed to a halt and signaled for them all to spread out. Spying a squirrel sniffing for food at the roots of a beech, Patchclaw dropped into a crouch. He creeped forward, about to leap, when a loud clump alerted the squirrel; it ran up the tree, leaving Patchclaw behind. Lashing his tail, Patchclaw stomped over to where the noise had come from. I swear to StarClan, if that’s Jaggedstrike, I’ll shred him ! Patchclaw poked his nose through a clump of ferns and peered out, half expecting the ginger pelt of Jaggedstrike. Instead, a black-and-white creature with a long, pointed snout, berry-bright eyes, and huge paws stood, sniffing the air.

Horrified, Patchclaw backed up slowly, not daring to breathe. The badger didn’t seem to notice; it started sniffing loudly at a clump of bracken. Oh StarClan, please don’t let one of the others be hunting there ! Patchclaw prayed; he was thankful that at least no apprentice had come along. Patchclaw pulled himself fully out of the ferns and tasted the air, trying to tell which one of his Clanmates was closest. Patchclaw scented Vixenstalker; she had gone towards the Thunderpath. The black-and-white warrior bounded towards the Thunderpath, taking care not to tread on any branches. Patchclaw burst out of the cover of pines and glanced around.

“Vixenstalker!” He hissed, not daring to shout.

“Hey ShadowClan!” Patchclaw gritted his teeth and turned around to see a group of ThunderClan cats staring curiously at him; a dark brown tom was the one who had called out. Beechsnow...and that’s Snowtail and Nightpaw with him . “Everything all right?” Beechsnow blinked, his yellow eyes showing concern. Maybe… Patchclaw realized.

“Actually, there’s a problem.” He called back, just loud enough for them to hear. “There’s a badger here and I can’t find the rest of my patrol.” Beechsnow nodded in understanding.

“We’ll help you fight it.” He replied. “C’mon Jumpheart.” A pretty gray tabby padded out from under the cover of the frees, flicking her ears. The patrol glanced around before Beechsnow gave the signal to cross.

“Where is it?” Snowtail asked quietly. Patchclaw nodded towards where he’d seen the badger and, with a nod from Beechsnow, led the group deeper into the territoyr. When they reached the cluster of ferns, Patchclaw peeked through them to make sure the badger was still there. The ShadowClan warrior nodded to the rest of the cats.

“I suggest we spread out and and attack it from all sides.” Beechsnow meowed. “Nightpaw, you take the back.” The dark gray tom lashed his tail mutinously but said nothing. “Let’s go.” The cats spread out around the badger; Patchclaw saw Nightpaw’s dark green eyes gleaming in the shadows and felt a flash of guilt. One of these cats might not return .

“Now!” Beechsnow yowled, throwing himself forward. The ThunderClan cat’s claws sank into the badger’s shoulder and it screeched in pain. Patchclaw ran forward and clawed the badger’s other side; out of the corner of his eye he saw Nightpaw clawing the badger’s haunches while Snowtail and Jumpheart handled the front. Patchclaw saw the gray she-cat bravely scooch forward and extend her paw to claw the badger’s nose. It screeched, thrashing. Beechsnow was thrown off and the badger turned. Patchclaw thought it was running away when he saw its dark eyes land on Jumpheart.

“Jumpheart!” Patchclaw yowled. The gray tabby’s blue eyes widened in fear as she watched the badger’s huge paw come swooping towards her. Patchclaw felt frozen with fear. Then, the badger’s paw changed direction and smashed near Snowtail with a sickening crunch .

Chapter Text

“Where are they?” Cindertalon grumbled for the fourth time. Primroseleaf rolled her eyes; the deputy seemed more annoyed than concerned. Cindertalon wanted the dawn patrol to report back before sending out a hunting patrol; with the time the dawn patrol was taking it could very well be time for the sunhigh patrol before they got back.

“Who was on it?” Dewwhisker asked; he was leading the hunting patrol.

“Beechsnow, Jumpheart, Snowtail and Nightpaw.” Cindertalon frowned as he watched Cloverpaw play with Silverkit. Primroseleaf purred with amusement as the apprentice held a ball of moss just out of reach of the silver-furred kit. At five moons old, Silverkit already demonstrated a gift for jumping. Her littermate Tallkit had preferred tackling his sister to leaping, but recently the gray-and-white kit hadn’t been seen outside the nursery. According to Thrushwing, the kit was just sleeping a lot to fight off a possible sickness. Primroseleaf privately wondered if the kit would be better for his apprentice ceremony; his sixth moon would be at the next half moon.

“They’re back!” Podleap, on guard, called. Cindertalon opened his mouth to call out but his yellow eyes widened. Primroseleaf scented the air and her heart plummeted when she scented blood. Jumpheart! But the gray tabby she-cat seemed unscathed save for the fearful look in her blue eyes.

“Dewwhisker, get Thrushwing.” Cindertalon meowed. “What happened, Jumpheart? Where’s the rest of your patrol?”

“Badger…” Jumpheart murmured, quivering. “There was a badger and Snowtail…”

“Snowtail!” Blueflower, had been keeping an eye on Silverkit, ran over at the sound of her mate’s name. “Where’s Snowtail?”

“He’s alive.” Jumpheart whispered hoarsely. “But-”

“Keep back please!” Thrushwing shouldered Cindertalon aside to sniff Jumpheart. “It’s okay, you’re safe here.” The tabby tom ran his tail over the she-cat’s back reassuringly. Jumpheart closed her eyes, but a rustling clump of bracken made her blue eyes open wide again. Nightpaw and Beechsnow supported Snowtail between them. Blueflower let out a wail.

“Blueflower, why don’t you take Silverkit back to the nursery?” Primroseleaf heard Dewwhisker mew quietly. “I’ll tell you how he is.” The blue-gray queen, still looking distraught, nodded faintly and picked up Silverkit in her jaws. The little she-kit’s amber eyes were wide.

“Primroseleaf, please make sure Jumpheart eats this thyme.” Thrushwing told the orange warrior. The white-pawed tabby hurried over to Snowtail. Primroseleaf crouched beside her friend.

“You heard Thrushwing.” She meowed, licking Jumpheart between her ears; the gray she-warrior was still shaking. “They’ll help you feel better.” Primroseleaf promised. Jumpheart looked down at the bundle of thyme and began to lap them up. Relieved, Primroseleaf ran her tail over the she-cat’s back as Thrushwing had done. The medicine cat didn’t say what to do afterwards so Primroseleaf made no attempt to move Jumpheart.

“Do you think Snowtail will be okay?” Primroseleaf looked up to see a wide-eyed Cloverpaw. The tabby-and-white apprentice looked lost; her mentor Dewwhisker was helping Thrushwing and Snowtail was her kin.

“I’m sure xe’ll be fine.” Primroseleaf replied uneasily; after all she hadn’t seen Snowtail’s condition.

“Primroseleaf,” Cindertalon meowed. “I want you to take Cloverpaw on a hunting patrol. Take Brackenleap as well, please.” When the warrior cast an anxious glance at Jumpheart, Cindertalon added, “I’ll keep an eye on her.”

“Okay.” Primroseleaf sighed. “Where’s Brackenleap?”

“I’m here.” The brown tom stepped forward. “And ready to go.”

“What about the sunhigh patrol?” Primroseleaf queried; Fawnfeather was supposed to be on it but the she-warrior was probably with Snowtail as the two were littermates.

“Dapplestar has offered to lead it along with Podleap and Cedarstep.” As Cindertalon answered, Primroseleaf noticed the tortoiseshell pelt of the ThunderClan leader. Dapplestar was usually keen to lead border patrols although it was common knowledge her closest friend was Shimmerfish in RiverClan. Most cats knew the reason behind her eagerness to travel the RiverClan border but didn’t care.

“I’ll hunt near the owl tree then.” Primroseleaf told the deputy. Cindertalon nodded and nudged Jumpheart to her paws.

“C’mon.” He addressed his littermate. “Thrushwing told me you can have a nice, tasty mouse and then rest up. Would you like that?” Jumpheart made an affirmative noise.
“Primroseleaf? Are we going?” Brackenleap called.

“Yes, yes.” The orange warrior snapped out of her stupor. “Come on, Cloverpaw.”

 

When the hunting patrol returned, Dewwhisker sat outside the medicine cat den looking subdued. Dropping her catches-a shrew and a chaffinch-on the pile, Primroseleaf hurried over to the blue-gray tom.

“What’s the news?” Dewwhisker shook his head.
“Nightpaw’s going to have his warrior ceremony.” He replied. “But Snowtail...well Thrushwing’s doing his best. Jumpheart’s doing well.” The warrior added. “She and Nightpaw are both doing fine although still shaken.”

“And Blueflower?” Primroseleaf asked.

“She’s not taking this well.” Dewwhisker’s yellow eyes were shadowed. “Silverkit and Tallkit can eat fresh-kill now, though so at least she doesn’t have to worry about her milk.”

“Where’s Jumpheart now?”

“Resting in the warriors den with Fawnfeather; Nightpaw’s in the apprentice den.” Dewwhisker replied. Primroseleaf thanked the blue-gray warrior and headed towards the warriors den. Ducking inside, the orange warrior spotted Jumpheart washing herself while Fawnfeather dozed nearby.

“You doing okay?” Primroseleaf called quietly.

“Yes, thanks.” The gray tabby replied. “I just can’t believe it...poor Snowtail. I thought the badger was going for me and I froze. I...I don’t know why it didn’t go for Nightpaw. He was very aggressive in attacking it.” She added.

“They’re making him a warrior.” Primroseleaf informed her.

“He was brave.” Jumpheart meowed after a pause. “He deserves it.”

“Yes, well you all were.” Primroseleaf responded quickly. “Will you be fine to watch the meeting?”

“Mm-hmm, I’ve rested but I’m not sure Fawnfeather is recovered.”

“Nightpaw is her littermate’s son.” Primroseleaf pointed out. “I’m sure she wouldn’t want to miss it. Anyway, the sunhigh patrol isn’t back yet so she still has time to rest.”

“Should we wake up Nightpaw? He should be ready when Dapplestar gets back.”

“I’ll do it.” Primroseleaf volunteered. “You just wake up some more.”

“No objections here.” Jumpheart purred. Relieved, the orange tabby warrior backed away and went to rattle the apprentices’ den.

“Nightpaw!” She called.

“What is it for StarClan’s sake?” The dark gray apprentice’s fur was ruffled from sleep and his dark green eyes were narrowed.

“Do you really wanna look like that for your ceremony?” Primroseleaf quipped.

“Well obviously I was going to clean up first.” Nightpaw sniffed. “Blueflower’s going to watch, right?”

“I’m sure she will.” Primroseleaf meowed. “She can’t miss your ceremony while she’s busy pacing outside the nursery.” She muttered. Nightpaw chose to ignore the comment, apparently, so Primroseleaf went to check on Jumpheart. The gray tabby was stretching outside the warriors den.

“I woke up Fawnfeather.” Jumpheart mewed. “She seemed okay.”

“Then I guess its almost time for the ceremony.” Primroseleaf saw Dapplestar’s multi-colored pelt through the bracken. Podleap and Cedarstep were close behind, their brown and gray pelts contrasting each other.

“Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather here for a Clan meeting!” Dapplestar stood on the Highrock, calling out the summons. Since his rude awakening, Nightpaw had groomed himself so that no clumps of moss or fern fronds were on his dark pelt; it shone in the sun’s light. Blueflower stood nearby, her eyes brimming with emotion. “Nightpaw, I have been told of your bravery in facing a fierce badger today and it is time for you to become a warrior.” Nightpaw’s green eyes gleamed. “I, Dapplestar, leader of ThunderClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. He has trained hard to learn the warrior code and I commend him to you as a warrior in his turn.” Dapplestar looked down at Nightpaw, her blue eyes bright. “Nightpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to protect and defend this Clan, even at the cost of your life?” Nightpaw took a deep breath.

“I do, Dapplestar.”

“Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name. Nightpaw, from this moment you will be known as Nightclaw.” Dapplestar jumped lightly from the Highrock. “ThunderClan honors your bravery and skill in battle and I welcome you as a full member of ThunderClan.” The ThunderClan leader rested her muzzle on Nightclaw’s head and the new warrior licked her shoulder in return.

“Nightclaw! Nightclaw!” Primroseleaf chanted with the rest of her Clan. As she watched, Blueflower sat outside the nursery. The blue-gray queen lifted her muzzle and called,

“Nightclaw! Nightclaw!”

Chapter Text

“Morningwish, wait up!” Morningwish rolled her eyes as Pebblebrook ran across the clearing to catch her.

“What?” She demanded. “I was just going to go fishing. Did I need permission?” When hurt flashed in the deputy’s amber eyes, the tabby she-cat instantly felt guilty.

“Just wanted to let you know Rushstar’s letting you go to the gathering.” Pebblebrook  muttered.

“Oh, thanks.” Morningwish studied her paws. “Pebblebrook, I-”

“Forget about it.” The gray she-cat padded towards Rushstar’s den.

“Frog dung!” Morningwish muttered to herself.

“Everything okay?” The tabby she-warrior glanced up to see Tawnyfeather, her dark coat gleaming in the sun. The queen’s kits belly hung low; the kits were due very soon.

“Not really.” Morningwish answered her sister. “I just ruffled Pebblebrook’s fur yet again.” Tawnyfeather curled her fluffy tail around her paws.

“You got along as kits.” The dark brown queen reflected. “Didn’t you two fight as apprentices?”

“Something like that.” Morningwish muttered, her ears hot. “She just got stuck up and I couldn’t deal with that.” Tawnyfeather glanced at the nursery.

“Mottlepelt’s going to return to ShadowClan at the Gathering tonight.”

“I’m sorry.” Morningwish meowed. “I know you two grew close.”

“I know but she has to return to her mate.” Tawnyfeather mewed sadly. “He’ll be missing her.” The dark brown she-cat broke off with a wince and put a paw on her large belly.

“Should I get Pikefang?” Morningwish gasped. Tawnyfeather shook her head.

“I think it was just one kicking.” Morningwish eyed her littermate uncertainly; she’d heard that Tawnyfeather’s kits were overdue from Raintail.

“I’m going to get him anyway.” She told Tawnyfeather. The dark brown she-cat had a pained look on her face.

“Maybe you should, actually.” Morningwish bounded across the clearing to Pikefang’s nest where the reddish tom was washing.

“I think Tawnyfeather’s kits are coming.” She blurted out. The medicine cat’s yellow eyes widened.

“Fetch some moss soaked in water and a strong stick, if you can.” Pikefang ordered, getting up. He ran to where Tawnyfeather sat. Morningwish padded briskly to the back of the den where Pikefang kept stores of moss. Grabbing a large clump, the tabby warrior darted outside to where a pool sat. When the moss plunged underwater and broke the still surface, minnows fled to the bottom of the pool. Morningwish picked up the soaking wad of moss and hurried to the nursery where Tawnyfeather had been moved. Slipping inside, she saw Lionsnow licking Tawnyfeather’s ears gently. The dark brown she-cat lay on her side, flanks heaving. Pikefang had a paw on her belly.

“Two or three, I think.” He meowed. “Here, these herbs will help.” Morningwish noticed the pile of herbs next to Tawnyfeather’s muzzle. “Oh, Morningwish.” Pikefang turned. “Please give some of that water to your sister; it will help her swallow those herbs.” Unable to reply with the dripping moss, the tabby she-cat merely nodded and squeezed past the medicine cat. Tawnyfeather’s jaws were parted, making it easy for Morningwish to squeeze the drops of water into her mouth. “The stick, please.” Pikefang meowed. Morningwish set the moss down next to the herb poultice.

“Still have to get it.”

“Hurry, please!” Pikefang snapped. “The kits are coming now ! Lionsnow, give Tawnyfeather those herbs!” Morningwish slipped out of the nursery and glanced at a tree near the fresh-kill heap; one branch was hanging low. I could snap part of that off, She realized. Quickly, Morningwish went over to the tree--a beech--and jumped, clamping a segment in her mouth. Using her teeth, she snapped it off before dropping back down on all four paws.

Triumphant, Morningwish returned to the nursery. Runningsplash and Silverwater sat outside, looking anxious. A drawn-out yowl sounded from the nursery.

“Better get that in there.” Runningsplash nodded to the beech stick. “That’ll keep her quiet.” The small silver she-cat moved aside so that Morningwish could walk past and into the nursery.

“You have it?” Pikefang’s yellow eyes were wide. “Good! Mottlepelt, take it and put it in Tawnyfeather’s mouth; she can bite on it instead of yowling.” The ShadowClan queen did as she was told, Morningwish looking on. “Get ready, Tawnyfeather!” Pikefang hissed. “The first kit’s coming!”

“Is she going to be okay?” Morningwish whispered to Lionsnow.

“Your sister’s very strong.” The silver-gray she-cat reassured her. “You can stay and watch.” No way !

“I-I should see if I’m needed.” Morningwish stammered.

“I think Tawnyfeather would appreciate it.” Lionsnow meowed. “Sootwing’s...not here for her.”

“Fine.” Morningwish gave in.

“Push, Tawnyfeather!” Pikefang urged. Morningwish saw a ripple pass through Tawnyfeather’s belly. The dark brown queen had a determined look on her face. A gasp escaped her. “Well done! The first kit is born! Mottlepelt, come help it.”

“A tom!” The mottled brown she-cat exclaimed.

“Come on, Tawnyfeather!” Pikefang encouraged her. Morningwish licked her sister’s ear.

“You can do it.” She whispered.

“The second kit!” Pikefang purred. “Morningwish?” The tabby warrior followed Mottlepelt’s lead and licked the kit’s fur the wrong way. It was gray like Sootwing. Morningwish stared at it, her breath caught in her throat.

“Morningwish?” Lionsnow meowed. “Are you okay?”

“Fine.” Morningwish breathed.

“Wonderful, Tawnyfeather!” Pikefang exclaimed. “You have a tom and a she-kit! Care to see them?” The dark-pelted queen nodded, too tired to speak, Morningwish suspected.

“Your she-kit reminds me of Sootwing.” Lionsnow remarked. Tawnyfeather’s expression was unreadable.

“I’d like to name her Echokit.” She decided as the dark gray kit raised her head and let out a shrill cry.

“What a set of lungs!” Mottlepelt purred. She nudged the tiny tom kit towards his mother. Morningwish her sister’s son for the first time; a tabby with a dark brown stripe down his back.

“Onekit for him.” Tawnyfeather’s eyes were soft as she stared at her kits. Morningwish watched as the two wriggling kits suckled at Tawnyfeather’s belly. Welcome to RiverClan, kin.

Chapter Text

Tansynose sniffed Mistypaw all over, occasionally poking the apprentice with her nose.

“Can I please go back to training now?” Mistypaw begged. Tansynose hesitated.

“If you’re okay tomorrow, I’ll tell Duskbreeze you can resume your duties.” She conceded. Mistypaw’s green eyes gleamed brightly.

“Thank you!” She exclaimed. Tansynose stifled an amused purr.

“Why don’t you go eat a rabbit and then rest up?” The medicine cat suggested. “I’m sure the other apprentices will tell you about the Gathering tomorrow.” Mistypaw dipped her head and padded towards the fresh-kill pile. Tansynose followed; Dovestar was gathering the cats chosen for the Gathering.

“Mossybrook, Swiftstream, Aspenpaw, Stormfire, Darkpaw, Ashwillow, Sharpsong, and Tansynose.” Dovestar recited the names. Darkpaw and Aspenpaw were play-fighting nearby; Shykit watched with wide blue eyes until Sedgefoot called her kit inside the nursery.

“I’m here, Dovestar!” Tansynose called to the mottled gray leader.

“That’s everyone, then.” She raised her voice. “Let’s go!” At their leader’s beckon, Aspenpaw and Darkpaw halted their sparing while Mossybrook stood up, readying himself for the trek. Tansynose slipped into the group, running alongside Sharpsong. The chubby tabby warrior mewed a greeting but concentrated on running. Tansynose privately wondered how well Mossybrook was; the tortoiseshell tom elder had been complaining of sore joints recently. But when WindClan arrived at Fourtrees, Tansynose was relieved to find he had kept up well. Tasting the air, the cream-colored she-cat found ThunderClan and ShadowClan already present.

“Hey Tansynose!” Ivystem pushed her way through the group of cats. A young cat, Tansynose recognised Flowerpaw, stood next to the ShadowClan medicine cat.

“Greetings.” Tansynose dipped her head. “How’s the prey running?”

“Things tonight have been...strange.” Ivystem confessed. her amber eyes darted around.

“ThunderClan is angry!” Flowerpaw blurted out. “I tried saying hello to Fawnfeather and she looked as if she was about to claw my ears off!” Tansynose widened her eyes.

“Why?” The Clans had been at peace and friendly since before she was born; even as a kit Tansynose remembered her mother mentioning that she couldn’t ever remember having a battle.

“A ThunderClan patrol helped chase off a badger on ShadowClan’s territory and Snowtail was  badly injured.” Ivystem meowed. “Thrushwing couldn’t even make it tonight.”

“Will Snowtail be okay?” Tansynose gasped. Ivystem shrugged.

“Guess we’ll find out tonight when Dapplestar says something.”

“Do you think she’ll really say anything?” Flowerpaw ventured. Ivystem shrugged apathetically.

“RiverClan.” The brown-and-white she-cat scented the air. “At last! Flowerpaw and I are going to find Pikefang. Coming?”

“In a minute.” Tansynose answered; she wanted to talk to ThunderClan first. Pushing past the mingling group of WindClan and ShadowClan, Tansynose saw the familiar blue-gray fur and plumed tail of Dewwhisker. The ThunderClan warrior was sitting near a younger cat--most likely his apprentice--and talking to a couple RiverClan warriors.

“Cloverpaw’s been training for only a moon, but she has the hunter’s crouch perfected!” He bragged. A tabby she-cat with yellow eyes purred.

“Congratulations, Cloverpaw.” She mewed. “You should come visit RiverClan soon!” A small silver RiverClan warrior’s green eyes sparkled with amusement.

“Morningwish is right.” She meowed. “We wouldn’t need any fishing patrols if what I hear from your Clanmates is right, Cloverpaw!” The tabby-and-white ThunderClan apprentice scuffled her paws timidly. Tansynose slipped next to the she-cat called Morningwish.

“Greetings.” She mewed politely.

“Hey Tansynose.” Dewwhisker replied. “She’s the WindClan medicine cat.” He added to Cloverpaw; her yellow eyes widened in respect.

“I’m Runningsplash.” The small RiverClan she-cat introduced herself. “And this is my Clanmate, Morningwish.” Morningwish dipped her head formally.

“I think the Gathering’s about to start!” Cloverpaw glanced at the Great Rock. Tansynose noticed Rushstar beckoning to Dapplestar; the tortoiseshell leader was deliberately not looking at ShadowClan’s leader, Flintstar.

“I better go, Pikefang and the other medicine cats will be waiting for me.” Tansynose told the others.

“StarClan light your path.” Runningsplash replied. Tansynose hurried over to where the other medicine cats sat. Pikefang dipped his head but was unable to say anything as one of the leaders yowled loudly.

“Let the Gathering begin!” Tansynose looked up to see Flintstar calling the summons. Aer gray fur turned silver in the light of the full moon. Flintstar glanced at the other leaders; Dovestar dipped her head while Rushstar nodded curtly and Dapplestar ignored aer altogether. “Things are well in ShadowClan; Honeywhisker has become a warrior.”

“Honeywhisker! Honeywhisker!” As the ShadowClan warrior’s name was called, Tansynose noticed most of ThunderClan rudely keeping silent. Flintstar looked peeved but stepped back so that Rushstar could report.

“Tawnyfeather has given birth to Onekit and Echokit.” He announced. “Although I regret to inform you all of her mate Sootwing’s death.” Rushstar waited until the sympathetic murmurs receded before continuing. “On a happier note, Thistlepaw and Troutpaw have both completed their assessments.” The tabby tom signaled to Dovestar and the gray she-cat stepped in front.

“Mistypaw and Darkpaw have recently become apprentices.” She announced. “Other than that, there is nothing to report.” It was ThunderClan’s turn now; Dapplestar brushed past the other leaders.

“Nightclaw sits vigil in the camp tonight.” She meowed curtly. “Prey is running well.”

“If there is no other news, then the Gathering is over.” Rushstar declared.

Chapter Text

At Rushstar’s dismissal, Dapplestar made her way down the Great Rock and gathered ThunderClan together with a sweep of her spotted tail. Relieved, Primroseleaf stood up and followed the tortoiseshell leader. All throughout the Gathering, the ThunderClan cats had kept close so as to prevent any angry outbursts; Fawnfeather was furious when Dapplestar decided not to discuss Snowtail.

What ?” Fawnfeather had hissed, anger blazing in her amber eyes as she’d stared at Dapplestar. The tortoiseshell she-cat had been sitting on the Highrock. “ShadowClan needs to pay for what they did!”

“Fawnfeather, the other Clans may be on ShadowClan’s side if we stir up trouble.” Dapplestar pleaded. “Besides, this may start a war and ThunderClan could be blamed. Snowtail will live and I will not risk battle over xis injury.” Unfortunately, the leader’s words hadn’t soothed the situation. In fact, Fawnfeather wasn’t the only unhappy cat; both Podleap and Cindertalon had refused words with ShadowClan.

“Can you believe Flintstar?” Primroseleaf heard Brackenleap hiss to her left. “That heap of fox dung didn’t mention the badger or even thank ThunderClan for our help!”

“I wish I could get my paws on that ShadowClan scum!” Podleap agreed. His green eyes glinted furiously. Primroseleaf shivered, scared of the bloodlust plaguing her Clanmates. She wished she could talk to Jumpheart, who always seemed to know just what to say.

 

“Wake up, dormouse!” Primroseleaf opened an eye to see Nightclaw standing over her. “It’s sunhigh and we’re doing a border patrol with Jumpheart, Dewwhisker and Cloverpaw!” Attempting to ignore the bossy new warrior, Primroseleaf stepped outside to stretch.

“Afternoon.” Jumpheart was already awake, sunning herself.

“Hey.” Primroseleaf’s mouth went dry as she watched the gray tabby’s fur light up in the sun.

“Dewwhisker’s getting Cloverpaw.” Jumpheart informed her. “Poor Cloverpaw must be tired from the Gathering.” She added sympathetically.

“Well she should be on time for a patrol!” Nightclaw appeared from the warriors den. Big talk from someone who was an apprentice until yesterday ! Primroseleaf thought but she kept the words to herself.

“She’s only seven moons old,” Jumpheart pointed out. “And your kin; go easy on her!”

“Here we are!” Before Nightclaw could respond, Dewwhisker ran across the clearing with Cloverpaw. The tabby-and-white apprentice’s fur was still ruffled and her yellow eyes were bleary from sleep.

“Excellent.” Nightclaw sniffed as Primroseleaf struggled not to roll her eyes. “If you’re all ready, let’s not delay.” Primroseleaf’s belly was protesting, tight with hunger, but the orange warrior would rather go hungry than give Nightclaw an opportunity to make a snide remark. As the patrol set off towards the ShadowClan border, Jumpheart fell back to join Primroseleaf.

“Maybe we can hunt on the way.” She blinked her blue eyes sympathetically. Primroseleaf’s ears burned.

“ShadowClan can probably hear my belly growling.” She mumbled. Jumpheart flicked her tail.

“Nightclaw would just love meeting some ShadowClan cats.” She changed the subject.

“He wouldn’t start a fight?” Primroseleaf gasped. Jumpheart shrugged.

“He’s still upset about Snowtail.” The gray she-warrior pointed out. “Xe was not only Nightclaw’s mentor but also his kin.”

“How is Snowtail?” Primroseleaf wondered.

“I think xis paw is broken. I’m not completely sure, though.”

“I hope Blueflower’s okay.”

“She has Dewwhisker.” Jumpheart reminded Primroseleaf. “He’s been keeping an eye on her and the kits.”

“Primroseleaf! Keep up!” Primroseleaf mutinously lashed her tail when she heard Nightclaw.

“He’s so bossy!” She complained.

“Still growing out of that ‘new warrior’ air.” Jumpheart purred in amusement.

“Please don’t tell me that you’re defending him.” Primroseleaf pleaded.

“He’s going through a tough time.” Jumpheart reasoned. “Besides, he can be good fun.” Primroseleaf knew her friend was right but couldn’t help feeling a pang of disappointment that Jumpheart was defending Nightclaw’s bossiness.

“ShadowClan patrol!” Dewwhisker hissed. Jumpheart and Primroseleaf hurried to catch up with the rest of the patrol where they found Nightclaw glaring at a patrol across the Thunderpath. Two black-and-white toms and a light-colored tabby she-cat stood, looking confused. To Primroseleaf’s surprise, a stiff-legged Cloverpaw stood next to Nightclaw.

“Hello!” The tabby ShadowClan warrior called-bravely, Primroseleaf privately thought. “How’s ThunderClan?” Cloverpaw’s tail was bushed out with fury. Even Dewwhisker looked angry with the cats from the marsh.

“Not so good now that one of our cats still hasn’t recovered from a badger’s attack!” Nightclaw snarled.

“I’m sorry to hear that.” A white tom with black patches dipped his head. “Please give Snowtail my thanks for xis help and my sympathy for xis injuries.”

“Why?” Nightclaw snapped. “None of that will help.” The ShadowClan cats looked taken aback at the dark gray tom’s harsh rejection. Dewwhisker stepped forward.

“Perhaps you should be on your way.” He suggested quietly. Still looking confused, the ShadowClan patrol disappeared into the pine trees.

“And don’t come back!” Cloverpaw hissed. Dewwhisker ignored the apprentice and turned to Nightclaw.

“I thought Dapplestar made it clear that we weren’t to provoke ShadowClan.”

“I didn’t .” Nightclaw huffed. “But they didn’t even act like they’d done anything wrong, I couldn’t let them get away with that!” Dewwhisker met Nightclaw’s glare. Primroseleaf sunk her claws into the ground anxiously. Would Nightclaw really attack the blue-gray warrior? She readied herself to defend Dewwhisker. Unexpectedly, Nightclaw dropped his gaze. “Sorry, Dewwhisker.” He mumbled to Primroseleaf’s surprise, who couldn’t remember hearing the new warrior apologise before.

“It’s all right.” Dewwhisker replied compassionately. “I know you must be feeling angry about Snowtail’s injuries.”

“I heard that xe might not be able to be a warrior anymore.” Primroseleaf exchanged a shocked look with Jumpheart. Poor Cloverpaw let out a whimper; all anger directed towards the ShadowClan patrol was forgotten.

“Nightclaw,” Jumpheart rested her tail on the dark gray tom’s flank. “Snowtail won’t give up the fight easily.” She reminded him. “I’m sure xe will be fine and besides, xe wouldn’t want you to worry  yourself sick.” Nightclaw nodded, his dark green eyes narrowed in thought. Primroseleaf felt a pang of sadness for the dark warrior; Nightclaw might act like a pain in the tail but he was just worried for Snowtail. I feel like a jerk! Primroseleaf realized guiltily. I should have gone easier on Nightclaw with his parent being so hurt!

“Let’s catch something for Snowtail.” Dewwhisker suggested. “Xe likes vole the best.”

“Right!” Nightclaw nodded. “I’m going to catch the juiciest vole in the whole forest!” He straightened up and puffed out his chest.

“Me too!” Cloverpaw meowed.

“Let’s get to the RiverClan border first, okay?” Dewwhisker teased while Primroseleaf purred with amusement.

Chapter Text

“I can’t believe this!” Vixenstalker snarled, pacing the clearing. Her red tail lashed from side to side. Patchclaw looked past the furious deputy and at Flintstar. The gray tabby’s tail was curled around aer dark gray paws; Flintstar looked calm as a vixen. When Honeywhisker, Flyspeck and Patchclaw had returned from patrolling, they reported a ThunderClan patrol’s hostile behavior.

“There were five- five- cats on patrol!” Honeywhisker kept on pointing out.

“ThunderClan has always been friendly.” Jaylight reflected, his blue eyes thoughtful.

“A ThunderClan cat was very rude to Flowerpaw at the Gathering.” Ivystem told Flintstar.

“We should invade their territory!” Daisypaw called bravely. “That would show them!”

“That’d make the other Clans blame us and all of ShadowClan for breaking the peace for seasons to come. Fallowleap, Daisypaw’s mentor, reminded the ginger apprentice. Daisypaw looked sulky but Patchclaw noticed her littermate Flowerpaw blinking gratefully.

“I’m just glad none of our cats were visiting there.” Patchclaw’s own littermate, Flyspeck cast a worried look at the nursery. Mottlepelt had returned last night, tired but happy.

“I think it would be a good idea not to have any visitors at ThunderClan.” Ivystem meowed.

“And RiverClan!” Finchsong called. “Rushstar wasn’t exactly courteous to ShadowClan last night.”

“What about WindClan?” Hickorypaw ventured. An awkward silence enveloped the clearing.

“Did you send out the visitors?” Patchclaw strained to hear Flintstar’s words.

“Hunting patrol, just like you asked.” Vixenstalker confirmed. “Rockslip, Sparrowpaw and Jaggedstrike are with them. And I asked Bumblefrost to take Whitefur out sunning near the WindClan border.” Flintstar raised aer voice to address the cats in the clearing.

“WindClan was cordial and gave no reason to indicate any blame to the rumors of the ThunderClan warrior Snowtail’s injuries.” Rumors ? Patchclaw had told Flintstar the truth of the disastrous badger assault. Why would aer let cats believe it’s just a rumor? I doubt it’ll work…

“Will there be a battle?” Palekit, sitting with her littermates between their parents, squeaked.

“Hush, Palekit.” Grasstuft meowed sternly. “You too, Hazelkit. You two won’t be allowed to attend meetings anymore if you can’t keep still like Moonkit.”

“I think I should go to ThunderClan.” Flintstar announced. “I will bring Ivystem and Flowerpaw and we will make peace with them.” Patchclaw saw Jaylight nod as if he were remembering his days as a medicine cat.

“Do you want an escort to the border?” Vixenstalker asked.

“Thanks but it’s not necessary.” Flintstar answered, dipping aer head. “We’re stretched a bit thin as it is with the visitors.”

“We can still spare a few cats.” Vixenstalker protested. “Patchclaw and Crowunner, please escort them safely to the border.” Crowrunner jumped at the sound of his name.

“Yes, V-Vixenstalker.” He squeaked, amber eyes wide. Patchclaw joined his Clanmate to walk alongside Flintstar’s group. Flowerpaw looked anxious while Ivystem remained calm. Nothing fazes Ivystem , Patchclaw realized. The patrol set off and, To Patchclaw’s surprise, Flintstar dropped back to match his pace.

“You can go on ahead to keep an eye on Flowerpaw and Ivystem.” Aer told Crowrunner. The black tom ran to catch up with the two medicine cats. When he was out of earshot, Patchclaw turned to the ShadowClan leader.

“What’s this about?” He asked. Flintstar looked faintly surprised.

“Well, well, nothing gets past you, does it?” Aer purred; more seriously, Flintstar added, “Personally, I believe that you did nothing wrong by asking the ThunderClan patrol for help with the badger but they seem determined to blame us for Snowtail’s injuries. If I dismiss these accusations as mere rumors spread by ThunderClan to stir up trouble, the other Clans may start viewing ThunderClan as suspicious. I figured that it might be our best chance to turn this whole mess on ThunderClan.” Flintstar finished.

“Are you sure it’s the best course?” Patchclaw wondered.

“Our ancestors-” At Patchclaw’s wide-eyed stare, the gray tabby leader broke off. “It...was clear to me.”

“Wait, did StarClan tell you what to do?” Patchclaw gasped. Flintstar ducked aer head awkwardly, not meeting the black-and-white tom’s eyes.

“Please don’t tell any cat.” Aer pleaded.

“Don’t worry.” Patchclaw reassured his leader. “I won’t tell.” Flintstar breathed a sigh of relief.

“Thank you, Patchclaw.” Aer glanced up ahead. “Ah, I see we’re at the border now. Thank you for the escort.” With a flick of aers tail, Flintstar signaled for Ivystem and Flowerpaw to follow aer across the Thunderpath.

Chapter Text

“I don’t understand!” Ashwillow wailed. “She was getting better!” Tansynose winced and flattened her ears nervously.

“I know.” She responded. “I’m sorry and I’ll work even harder.”

“Oh, I don’t blame you Tansynose.” Ashwillow pointed out quickly. “I’m just worried about Mistypaw...I wish Flowersayer was still here.” Flowersayer was the mother of Ashwillow’s kits, Mistypaw and Darkpaw. She had died while giving birth and Tansynose still felt guilty-and responsible- for the queen’s death.

“I’ll give her some more feverfew.” Tansynose dipped her head. I’ll have to gather all that’s left, she reflected.

“Thanks,” Ashwillow meowed. “I can send a warrior to help if you’d like.”

“I’d appreciate that.” Tansynose told him. As the deputy padded away, Tansynose privately wondered if he would be so eager to send warriors away from patrol if it was another cat sick. Brushing away these thoughts and pausing to scold herself- of course he would! -Tansynose checked on her patient.

Mistypaw had been almost fully recovered before Tansynose had left for the Gathering. When the medicine cat had returned, Duskbreeze-who had been asked to keep an eye on the apprentice-had reported that Mistypaw had started yowling in  her sleep. Fae had tried to wake her but Mistypaw hadn’t woken up. Since then, Tansynose’s efforts to wake Mistypaw had mostly been in vain. The gray apprentice occasionally stayed awake long enough to get a drink, eat, and ingest some herbs.

“I should ask the other medicine cats at the next Moonstone meeting.” Tansynose murmured aloud; it would be within a few sunrises. She began to check the stock of feverfew.

“Ashwillow told me you needed help. What can I do?” Tansynose turned to see her littermate, Larkflight.

“I need feverfew.” She informed him. “Here’s a bit.” Nudging some of the sharp-smelling herb towards Larkflight, she continued. “I need whatever you can find; frosts will be starting soon and it’ll kill whatever’s left. Feverfew grows best near the water.”

“I can take Duskbreeze with me.” Larkflight sniffed the feverfew, his nostrils flaring. “Fae’s been feeling a bit lost with faer apprentice on the mend. I’m sure this’ll cheer faer right up.” The cream-colored warrior added cheerfully.

“I’m going to take this borage over to the nursery; you can leave the feverfew there for Duskbreeze to scent and look at if you’d like.” Larkflight’s amber eyes widened.

“Is Sedgefoot all right?” He demanded. “What about Shykit?” He pressed; Shykit was his kin as Sedgefoot was Larkflight’s mate.

“They’re both fine!” Tansynose snapped. Ignoring the hurt look in her brother’s amber eyes, the cream-colored she-cat brushed past Larkflight with the crisp tang of borage on her tongue.

Chapter Text

Morningwish purred as she watched Onekit totter about on uncertain legs. The little tabby kit had recently opened his eyes which were bright blue-for now. Echokit sat next to Tawnyfeather. The dark she-cat was trying to coax Echokit into walking but the gray she-kit obstinately refused, staying by her mother’s side.

“I see he’s going to be an adventurous kit.” Raintail purred as she watched Onekit.

“I’m going to play with him when he’s a bit bigger.” Otterpaw boast as her green eyes sparkled. Onekit let out a squeal as he stumbled. Instantly, Tawnyfeather’s fluffy tail bushed out.

“Is he all right?” She demanded. Morningwish hurried to examine the kit. He seemed unscathed but the shock of Tawnyfeather’s reaction had Onekit pressing his ears flat against his head.

“You’re okay.” Morningwish purred; she remembered hearing that if a kit fell, the important thing was not to fuss. Onekit seemed reassured now that some cat was behaving calmly and unsteadily picked himself up. Morningwish, relieved that he was old enough to understand, steadied Onekit with her muzzle. The tabby kit squeaked happily.

“Well done.” Morningwish jumped when she saw Appleheart standing next to her.

“You startled me!” She gasped. Appleheart’s whiskers quivered.

“Sorry, I thought you knew I was right behind you.” He told her.

“Uh, no.” Morningwish concentrated on letting her fur fall flat. She watched as Onekit curled up next to his sister; Echokit was already dozing.

“Your kin are adorable.” Appleheart meowed. “I’d like to have another litter.” He confessed in a lowered tone. Morningwish felt pinned by the tabby tom’s green eyes. Self-consciously, she glanced around the clearing but the cats who had gathered to see the kits were now going about their duties. I certainly hope he doesn’t expect me to offer carrying his kits! Morningwish internally recoiled from that thought and struggled not to flinch.

“Uh,” Morningwish replied wittily. “Have you talked to Sunpool about it?” Appleheart shook his head.

“She’s always with Shimmerfish.” He scuffed the ground with a forepaw. “I’m just afraid aqua might make fun of me and Sunpool might go along with it.” Morningwish blinked sympathetically.

“I’m sure Sunpool wouldn’t do that.” She reassured the tabby warrior.

“Even so,” Appleheart meowed. “I’d like your help in order to talk to Sunpool.” He glanced around to make sure no cat was listening before leading Morningwish to a secluded area of the camp.

“What do you want me to do?” Morningwish asked.

“Well Shimmerfish and Sunpool are on a border patrol right now with Heatherfall so around twilight I’d like you to ask Shimmerfish to go fishing with you at Sunningrocks. I’ll be able to talk to Sunpool that way.”

“That’s a great plan!” Morningwish purred. “I’d be glad to help.”

“Thanks.” Appleheart told her. “I don’t think I could do it without you.”

 

When Morningwish returned from a fishing patrol, it was nearly twilight. Appleheart was sharing a pike with Silverwater and Shimmerfish was sharing tongues with Icepoppy while Sunpool dozed in the fading sunlight.

“That looks delicious.” Lionsnow’s eyes lit up when she saw Morningwish’s catch. The pregnant queen was growing larger every day. Morningwish dipped her head to the silvery she-cat and padded across the clearing to approach Shimmerfish.

“Hey Shimmerfish, would you like to go fishing at Sunningrocks with me?” When Shimmerfish hesitated, Icepoppy nudged aqua.

“Go on,” They purred. “I should go check on Thistlepaw anyway.” Shimmerfish dipped aquas head.

“Have fun.”

“What’s happening with Thistlepaw?” Morningwish asked as the two cats began the trek to Sunningrocks.

“I hear he’s having his warrior ceremony soon.” Aqua meowed.

“What about Troutpaw?” queried Morningwish. “I know he had a tiff with Willowtail.” Shimmerfish shrugged.

“I don’t think that Rushstar would do that to his kin.” Aqua muttered. Morningwish recalled that Rushstar was Appleheart’s brother from another litter and that Appleheart was the father of Troutpaw and Thistlepaw. She pushed away her thoughts when Sunningrocks came into view. Shimmerfish let out an excited trill and launched aquaself into the water, swimming strongly across the fast-flowing water. Morningwish followed, purring with happiness; it made her gleeful to see Shimmerfish in the water where aqua seemed to belong more than any RiverClan cat.

“I’m so glad we share Sunningrocks with ThunderClan.” Morningwish shook her fur to dry it. Shimmerfish murmured agreement as aqua pulled aquaself from the river.

“ThunderClan was just here.” Shimmerfish scented the air. “Hm, Fawnfeather, Cedarstep and Beechsnow.” Morningwish wondered if aqua was missing aquas close friend from ThunderClan, Dapplestar. “Now, Morningwish why did you want me to come all the way out here for?” Morningwish turned to the tabby warrior and looked deep into aquas amber eyes.

“Do you,” She asked quietly. “have feelings for Sunpool?” Shimmerfish’s amber eyes widened.

“What?” Aqua gasped. “StarClan, no! We’re just friends!” Shimmerfish had obviously been stunned by the question and Morningwish knew that her Clanmate was telling the truth.

“I mean it’s just that you two are always together.” The excuse sounded weak and Shimmerfish’s incredulous stare made Morningwish drop her gaze to study her paws.

“Whatever, you certainly spend enough time with Troutpaw!” Shimmerfish retorted.

“Ew!” Morningwish exclaimed, wrinkling her nose. “I remember him being born! No thanks.” Shimmerfish’s whiskers twitched.

“Fair point.” Aqua purred. “Anyway, I was just teasing.”

“Ve-e-ery funny.” Morningwish gently cuffed Shimmerfish’s ear.

“Anyway,” Shimmerfish snorted. “Why don’t we get back to camp?” I saw the fresh-kill heap and it’s pretty full.”

“Sure!” Morningwish replied. “Appleheart doesn’t even have to worry now.” She added out loud.

“What?” Shimmerfish hissed, narrowing aquas amber eyes. “What does Appleheart have to do with this?” Busted! Well since Shimmerfish isn’t even interested in Sunpool, I guess there’s no harm in telling aqua.

“Well,” Morningwish began nervously. “Appleheart thought that you might like Sunpool and so he wanted to talk to her alone and I-”

“He’s alone with her?” Shimmerfish’ brown fur was fluffed out and aquas amber eyes blazed. Without another word, the tabby warrior launched aquaself into the water and swam strongly across and arrived on the river bank without breaking stride. Confused, Morningwish followed Shimmerfish. The RiverClan tabby ran as though aqua had winged paws; Morningwish was struggling to keep up.

“Shimmerfish!” She called between gulps of air. “Please slow down!” Aqua gave no sign that aqua heard Morningwish. The tabby she-cat’s legs ached from trying to keep up with Shimmerfish but she refused to slacken her pace until Shimmerfish did. To Morningwish’s relief, Shimmerfish halted. The tabby she-cat narrowly managed not to collide with her Clanmate.

“No!” Morningwish looked past Shimmerfish to see what had made aqua wail. Sunpool was laying on her side, claw marks covering her ginger flanks. She was breathing heavily and her yellow eyes were dull.

“Shimmerfish?” Sunpool stirred.

“I’m here.” Shimmerfish licked Sunpool’s muzzle and then froze. “You!” Aqua spat, arching aquas back. Morningwish looked where Shimmerfish’s gaze led and saw a tabby pelt half-hidden among the reed beds. Appleheart!

“Oh thank goodness you’re here!” The green-eyed tom exclaimed unexpectedly as he slid out. “There was a fox and it attacked poor Sunpool.” Shimmerfish snarled at Appleheart and Morningwish shoved herself between them.

“If a fox attacked Sunpool then why were you skulking about?” Shimmerfish hissed. Appleheart blinked calmly.

“I was chasing it off.” He replied. “Now are you going to keep asking me strange questions or shall we fetch Pikefang to treat her wounds?” Morningwish saw Shimmerfish raise aquas hackles.

“Shimmerfish, please go get Pikefang.” She pleaded. The tabby’s amber eyes were narrowed.

“Stay here with Sunpool.” Aqua told Morningwish. “Protect her.” The meaning was clear in the final glare that Shimmerfish threw at Appleheart before aqua bounded away. Sunpool exuded a whimper so Morningwish crouched beside the ginger she-cat and began to lick her wounds. StarClan, please give speed to Pikefang and Shimmerfish.

Chapter Text

“Good evening, Snowtail.” The thick-furred white warrior nodded to Primroseleaf. Snowtail’s front paw was crushed but xe still could walk albeit with a little more trouble. These days, xe was training more and more to get used to the loss of xis paw.

“Did you see Flintstar and the medicine cats come through earlier?” Fawnfeather asked as she picked the feathers off a sparrow. Snowtail shook xis head.

“I did.” Podleap meowed. “I escorted them in.”

“What could they want?” Blueflower scowled. Since Snowtail had been excuse from the medicine cat’s den, the blue-gray queen seldom left xis side.

“Dapplestar will let us know.” Podleap meowed confidently.

“How are the kits?” Fawnfeather changed the subject.

“Silverkit is already boasting that she’ll be the best hunter.” Snowtail purred. “Her mentor will definitely have their paws full with her.”

“And Tallkit?” Fawnfeather pressed. Blueflower beamed.

“Tallkit has decided that he wants to be a medicine cat.” She announced proudly.

“Congratulations!” Podleap purred. Primroseleaf and Fawnfeather echoed it.

“Thank you all.” Blueflower meowed.

“Have-” Fawnfeather’s question was cut off by a loud yowl from Dapplestar’s den.

“That’s completely outrageous !” It sounded like Flintstar. Primroseleaf felt the fur on her spine begin to raise. She wasn’t the only one ruffled by the ShadowClan leader’s outburst; Blueflower cast a worried look at the unguarded nursery while Podleap raised his hackles and sank his claws into the ground.

“I’m going back to the kits.” Blueflower said quietly before hurrying off. Fawnfeather followed the blue-gray she-cat and stood guard outside the nursery.

“Prim, look!” Podleap addressed Primroseleaf. She turned to see Flintstar storming out of Dapplestar’s den. The gray tabby’s tail was slightly bushed out and aer was flanked by aers medicine cats. Dapplestar appeared a moment later, her blue eyes narrowed.

“This isn’t over, Flintstar!” She called.

“That’s where you’re wrong.” Primroseleaf caught the muttered words as the ShadowClan leader whisked by her. The younger medicine cat--still an apprentice, it seemed--struggled to keep up with her leader’s long strides.

“Podleap, Beechsnow, Nightclaw and Primroseleaf, see our visitors off.” Dapplestar commanded. The word ‘visitors’ sounded like venom as she spat it. Primroseleaf, as well as the other warriors, had to sprint to catch up with the three ShadowClan cats. Silently, the ThunderClan cats formed a semi-circle around the unfamiliar cats. Flintstar had slightly slowed aers pace although aer kept shooting distrustful glares at the patrol. The older medicine cat, Ivystem, kept her amber eyes forward although the younger cat was wide-eyed and looked slightly frightened. Primroseleaf tried, to no avail, to suppress sympathy for the young cat. It isn’t her fault that Flintstar is a mouse-brain or that aer dragged her here. Nonetheless, Primroseleaf quickened her pace to match the rest of the cats as the group neared the thunderpath. When they reached it, the ThunderClan cats halted as Flintstar and aers medicine cats began to sprint across the thunderpath.

“And don’t come back!” Nightclaw yowled. The younger medicine cat halted at Nightclaw’s taunt; she looked over her shoulder, as if confused as to why Nightclaw would say that. Unfortunately, the young she-cat had stopped right in the middle of the thunderpath.

“Flowerpaw!” Ivystem called desperately, over the roar of the oncoming monster. She was about to run to her apprentice but she was too far away. Primroseleaf, however, was closer and dashed towards Flowerpaw, aiming to barrel herself and the ShadowClan apprentice out of the monster’s path. Please, StarClan!

Chapter Text

“Flowerpaw!” The loud, anguished wail woke Patchclaw from his light sleep. He stepped out into the center of camp to see Fallowleap and Jaggedstrike hunched over a small, limp body. The reddish body of Flowerpaw lay lifeless in front of Flowerpaw’s parents. Fallowleap was wailing loudly while Jaggedstrike’s green eyes showed nothing but shock.

“What happened?” Patchclaw asked Finchsong, the nearest cat.

“Flintstar just came back and-”

“ShadowClan, gather!” The black she-cat was interrupted by Flintstar’s Clan summons.

“Aer will explain it now, I’m sure.” She whispered. Flintstar was not happy; aer ears were flat against aers head and his fur was spiked along aers spine.

“I have grave news, ShadowClan.” The ShadowClan leader began, aer amber eyes shadowed by sadness. “Flowerpaw was struck by a monster on the thunderpath and was killed.” Fallowleap whimpered, burying her head in Flowerpaw’s fur. Ivystem nudged a leaf wrap towards the grieving mother, but Fallowleap refused to look up.

“We were being... escorted from the territory when a ThunderClan warrior taunted us. Flowerpaw turned to look back and another one of their warriors cowardly attacked her.” Indignant, furious yowls sounded throughout the camp.

“Snake-hearts!”

“Cowards!”

“For ThunderClan to attack such a young cat,” Flintstar continued, above the noise. “Especially a medicine cat, is the most aggressive act that has been committed for moons; we cannot let this go unpunished!”

“We’ll tear them to shreds!” Grasstuft declared. Yowls of agreement rose up.

“Ivystem, has StarClan spoken to you at all since Flowerpaw’s passing?” Bumblefrost, an elder, called. Ivystem stood, her haunches shaking slightly, to respond.

“I don’t need to commune with StarClan to know that they are displeased at ThunderClan and their barbaric ways.” The medicine cat’s amber eyes burned with pain. “For ThunderClan to do such a wicked act is an open declaration of war on their behalf!”

“We should attack right now!” Patchclaw heard Fernsong challenge from next to him.

“Exactly!” Mottlepelt agreed. “My kits won’t be safe with ThunderClan on the loose!”

“ShadowClan, I heard your concerns.” Flintstar spoke again. “And I too wish to avenge Flowerpaw. However, we must think first. ThunderClan can match our numbers so we need allies to defeat them.” The Clan was silent for a few seconds while this sunk in.

“Do you mean WindClan?” Patchclaw spoke up. For the past few moons, members from both ShadowClan and WindClan had visited the other Clan frequently. Thank StarClan that Flintstar sent the visitors back before this meeting! That would have been so uncomfortable for Fallowleap and Jaggedstrike…

“Yes, Patchclaw, I believe that WindClan will be eager to aid us against ThunderClan, especially once they learn of what those heathens have done.” Flintstar’s amber eyes glinted with promises of vengeance. Patchclaw’s Clanmates murmured their approval and he could feel the tension and desire for avenging Flowerpaw in the air. “I will visit WindClan when the sun rises.” Flintstar continued. “Ivystem, will you be able to come?” The brown-and-white she-cat nodded, her expression determined.

“Flintstar, I will not rest until ThunderClan pays.” She promised. Murmurs of approval and appreciation for Ivystem echoed. Honeywhisker laid her tail on the medicine cat’s shoulder comfortingly.

“Well said, Ivystem..” Flintstar meowed. “I’m sure StarClan honors your devotion as much as we do. Now, I am implementing some new rules effective immediately; apprentices are not to leave the camp alone or without a warrior. Likewise, no cat is to leave the camp alone and Ivystem, I would prefer if you send warriors to gather supplies as necessary. However, if you must leave camp please take at least two warriors with you.”

Ivystem nodded in acknowledgement to her leader. Patchclaw was surprised that none of the apprentices were complaining. They must be too frightened with Flowerpaw’s death.

“Finchsong and Patchclaw, would you please get some rest? I would prefer for you two to accompany Ivystem and me to the border at sunrise.” Finchsong, from where she sat next to Patchclaw, spoke up.

“Of course, Flintstar.” Patchclaw nodded his agreement and Flintstar jumped down from aer perch, nonverbally dismissing the Clan meeting. “Isn’t this exciting?” Finchsong whispered to Patchclaw. Patchclaw winced.

“Oh StarClan, that came out wrong.” Finchsong rapidly backtracked, shaking her head apologetically. “I-I didn’t mean about….you know, Flowerpaw. I just meant about getting to do something about it. We can show ThunderClan what happens if they mess with any of us, is all I meant.” Patchclaw found himself unable to formulate a response so Finchsong settled for awkwardly scuffling her forepaw in the ground until the two cats were interrupted by Flyspeck padding over, which Finchsong seemed to take as her cue to go pay respects to Flowerpaw.

“Patchclaw, could you please talk to Mottlepelt?” Patchclaw’s littermate asked softly, angling his ears to where his mate was by the nursery. The brown she-cat was flicking her tail restlessly, staring at Flowerpaw’s lifeless body where Jaggedstrike and Fallowleap still sat grieving. “Seeing those two isn’t easy for her, she’s really worrying about the kits.”

“I’ll try.” Patchclaw promised. “But why don’t you?”

“I will .” Flyspeck assured him. “I’ll be there with you. I’m just not sure I would say the right thing and I figured you would help since...you know…” The mostly white tom trailed off awkwardly, breaking eye contact with his littermate.

“No, why?” Patchclaw retorted, feeling his ears flatten involuntarily. He made sure to keep his tone low so as not to disturb the grieving cats.

“Well, you know, you were once a she-”

Don’t .” Patchclaw interrupted his brother sharply. “Just don’t. I’ll talk to her by myself, thanks.” Without another word, Patchclaw brushed past Flyspeck to walk over to Mottlepelt.

“Oh, hello Patchclaw.” The mottled brown queen greeted him listlessly. Her blue eyes were still trained on Flowerpaw’s anguished parents.

“Hey, Mottlepelt, how are you holding up?” Patchclaw returned her greeting and took a seat next to her. Instead of staring at Jaggedstrike and Fallowleap however, he opted to keep an eye on the unusually subdued apprentices. Sparrowpaw and Hickorypaw were both trying to comfort Daisypaw.

“I’m worried just like the rest of the Clan.” Mottlepelt finally tore her gaze away to focus on Patchclaw; he could feel her dark blue eyes trained on him. “But I know Flyspeck will protect them.” She added, giving her large belly a few protective licks. Patchclaw turned to watch her; Mottlepelt’s kits would be coming soon.

“I will too.” He reminded her. “Kin is important.”

“I know.” Mottlepelt replied. Her shoulders relaxed. “Thank you, Patchclaw. For that, and talking to me, I mean. Flyspeck was over here before trying to talk to me, and then I saw him go over to you. You’re fortunate to be close to your brother.”

Patchclaw didn’t respond.