Leader: Silence of the Night (Silentnight) –black tom
Deputy: Risingmoon (Rising of the Moon) –pure gray she-cat
Healing Cat: Lightningclaw (Claws of Lightning) –yellow tabby with a scar that looks like lightning
Shinningnight (Shinning Stars of the Night) -a white she-cat
Starynight (Stary Night) –a gray tom
Sunset (Setting of the Sun) –orange tabby tom
Sunrise (Rise of the Sun) –yellow she-cat
Duskpelt (Dusk of the Night)-brown tom
Darkmoon (Darkest Shade of Moon)-black she-cat
Skypelt (Pelt of the Sky) -bluish-grayish she-cat
Nightsky (Sky of the Night) –a pure black she-cat
Cometblaze (Blazing Comet) –a golden tabby she-cat
Breezetail (Tail in the Breeze) –a black and grey tabby she-cat with white markings
Swiftfoot (Swift on her Feet) –a grayish- bluish and white she-cat
Sunstrike (Strike of the Sun) –a golden tabby
Cloudwillow (Cloudy Willow) –a fluffy gray she-cat
Skywatch (Watcher of the Sky) –a cream colored she-cat
Dawnflower (Flower at Dawn)-dawn colored she-cat
Cloudysun (Clouds of the Sun)-whitish-orangish she-cat
Leader: Fur in the Gorse (Gorsefur)-greenish-brownish tabby tom
Deputy: Heatherbracken (Heather in the Bracken)-a brown she-cat
Healing Cat: Blackleaf (Blackest Leaf)-black tabby
Tallbreeze (Tall Trees in the Breeze) gray tom
Windyhill (Wind on the Hill)-a tan colored she-cat
Summerair (Summer in the Air)-an orange-yellow-reddish she-cat
Rainstorm (Storm with Rain)-blue-gray tom
Stormcloud (Stormy Cloud)-blue-gray tabby tom
Lightningscar (Scar of Lightning)-an orange-yellow tabby with a scar running down his eye onto his neck
Mistycloud (Mist from a Cloud)-gray tortoise shell she-cat
Cloudyair (Clouds in the Air)-white tom
Windpool (Wind by the Pool)-bluish she-cat
Cracklefur (Crackle of Lightning)-brown tabby
Boomingthunder (Booming of Thunder)-grayish tabby tom
Whirlwind (Whirling Wind)-a silver tabby she-cat
Floodwater (Flooding Water)-blue-gray she-cat
Fogwater (Foggy Water)-white she-cat
Leader: Fur of Crystals (Crystalfur)-pure white she-cat
Deputy: Winterair (Air of Winter)-white-blue she-cat
Mistypool (Misty Water Pool)-white-blue she-cat
Hawkfrost (Frost of Hawk)-brown-white tabby tom
Poppyfrost (Frost of Poppies)-red tortoise shell she-cat
Frostytrail (Trail of Frost)-a black tom with jet white paws
Icyclaws (Claws of Ice)-a pure white tom
Hailfoot (Sky of Hail)-white-gray tom
Snowstorm (Storm of Snow)-white she-cat
Coldfangs (Fangs of Cold)-pale white tabby
Icecloud (Cloud of Ice)-pure white tom
Clearsnow (Clear Snow)-pale gray tabby tom
Icefire (Ice Fire)-a blue tortoiseshell tom
Snowdrop (Drop of Snow)-a bluish and whitish she-cat
Willowsleet (Willow in Sleet)-white tortoise shell she-cat
Snowfern (Ferns in Snow)-tortoise shell she-cat
Dewspot (Spots of Dew)-a gray she-cat with one huge white spot on her back
Leader: Tail of Cinder (Cindertail)-brown she-cat
Deputy: Redlight (Light of Red)-red tabby
Healing Cat: Bigheart (Big Heart)-a brown tabby tom who is completely blind
Dustfur (Dusty Fur)-dusky pale brown tabby
Goldenheart (Heart of Gold)-yellow she-cat
Silverfoot (Foot of Silver)-silver tortoise shell she-cat
Smokynose (Smoky Nose)-a smoky black tabby tom
Ashtail (Ash Tail)-a white-brown tabby
Leaffur (Fur made of Leaves)-dark tabby tom
Ripplepelt (Ripple Water)-dark gray tom
Morninglight (Morning Light)-a tortoise shell she-cat
Springshine (Sign of Spring)-white-brown she-cat
Blackheart (Heart of Black)-pale black tom
Pinefur (Fur of Pines)-short haired tabby
Waterflow (Water’s Flow)-bluish white tom
Forestleaf (Forest Leaf)-grayish greenish tortoiseshell she-cat
Tawnyfur (Tawny Fur)-tortoise shell she-cat
Kinkpelt (Pelt of Kink)-gray-brown she-cat
Runningrainbow (Running Rainbow)-white tom
Leader: Pelt of Honey (Honeypelt)-orange-yellow she-cat
Deputy: Weaslefur (Weasle Fur)-brown furred tabby
Healing Cat: Brightlight (Brightest Light)-brown she-cat blind in one eye
Shrewfern (Shrew in the Fern)-gray tabby tom
Otterfur (Fur of the Otter)-pale brown tabby
Birchfall (Falling Birch)-light brown tom
Earthwing (Wings of Earth)-brown tortoise shell she-cat
Rabbitfoot (Rabbit’s Foot)-white she-cat with pale brown paws
Mousewhisker (Whiskers of a Mouse)-a brown tabby tom
Grizzlynose (Grizzly’s Nose)-a black tom with a huge nose
Beetleeyes (Eyes of a Beetle)-greenish-grayish she-cat
Birdtrail (Trail of a Bird)-red-brown she-cat
Harespring (Spring of Hare)-white-brown tabby
Toadpelt (Toad’s Pelt)-dark brown tabby tom
Bumblestripes (Stripes of a Bee)-an unusually black stripped tom
Fishtail (Tail of Fish)-a silver-white she-cat
Voleear (Vole’s Ear)-pure white she-cat with two brown ears
Bluebird (Blue Bird)-bluish she-cat (mother of Otterfur’s kits Squirrel (a ginger she-cat with a bushy tail), Starling (a reddish she-cat), and Wolf (a brownish gray tabby tom)
A dull expression sat upon Swiftfoot’s gaze as she sulked into camp silently. The catmint dangling from her mouth felt dry, like it was withering away too soon as she sloppily placed the herbs onto the ground inside the healing den. Lightningclaw’s frustrated, yellow gaze bothered her but she didn’t look up as she tried to tidy up the rest of the den. “Swiftfoot leave.” meowed Lightningclaw sternly. The she-cat blinked at him. “Leave.” he repeated. “And don’t come back until you realize it wasn’t your fault.” “It was my fault!” she quickly snapped back. “He could’ve lived for several more seasons…” “You did what any other healing cat would’ve done!” he hissed, losing his patience. “He must’ve been like that for a while before anybody realized what was going on! There was nothing more you could’ve done.”
Rays of sunshine poked through the trees of Star Tribe territory. “Hurry Swiftfoot; we should get this catmint back to camp as soon as possible!” called Lightningclaw from in front of her. Swiftfoot quickly picked up the pace and managed to catch up to her mentor. “These herbs will do nicely for any new infections of greencough in our camp.” meowed Lightningclaw happily. “Should we give some more to Darkmoon?” asked Swiftfoot through a mouthful of the bitter herb. The healing cat shook his head. “We gave her the rest of our supplies; she should be fine. Her greencough will eventually go away as she continues to build up her strength.” There was an edge to Lightningclaw’s voice; as if he was saying less than he really knew. A yowl of distress rang throughout the forest as they came up to the entrance of camp. “Oh you two are back! Thank goodness!” meowed Snowpetal with rising panic. “What’s wrong?” asked Lightningclaw calmly. “It’s Moonpool.” explained Risingmoon. “He has greencough.” “What?” growled Lightningclaw lashing his tail doubtfully. “That’s impossible! Swiftfoot and I have checked on him every day; he should be perfectly healthy.” “I’ll go.” meowed Swiftfoot racing in with the catmint she had collected. Moonpool’s former apprentice, Silence of the Night, lay beside him with worry. Panic rose in Swiftfoot’s chest as she realized how much older and frailer he looked. “No!” rasped Moonpool weakly as he saw Swiftfoot chewing up the stems. “I’m already as old as I can be; save it for Darkmoon; any cat either than me.” Silence of the Night looked at his former mentor, grief flaring in his eyes as if he was respecting his last wish. “But-” Swiftfoot protested trying to sound firm. “This tribe will survive without me.” he interrupted, his gaze fading. “Don’t say things like that you old mouse-brained idiot.” Cloudysun teased gently, though her gaze filled with sadness as she stared at his weakening body. Moonpool didn’t reply though he blinked at her kindly as his breathing grew more rapid and shallow. There was a moment of silence as the rest of Star Tribe squeezed into the elder’s den to get a last glimpse of their dying former leader.
Swiftfoot sighed heavily as the scene vanished from her head once again. “I-I could’ve saved him if I hadn’t been out searching for catmint.” Swiftfoot retorted stubbornly. “Swiftfoot you know exactly why we went out!” he snapped. “If we hadn’t, Darkmoon would’ve succumbed to the sickness just like Moonpool!” Darkmoon had been sick with whitecough at first but eventually greencough followed and Lightningclaw decided to give the she-cat all their remaining catmint to help her pull through. “This tribe needs you Swiftfoot; I won’t be around for much longer.” Lightningclaw continued. “My legs are stiff and my muzzle’s turning gray; soon you will take on your own apprentice.” “I’m not even a full healing cat yet; I’m going out.” muttered Swiftfoot padding out of the den. She needed to get her mind off of all her responsibilities. A pang of guilt crept into her heart. I wish I could see Blackheart again, she thought despairingly. She longed to see his calm, gentle gaze once more and breathe in his sweet scent. Swiftfoot sighed heavily. No! She thought to herself. I need to concentrate on something else. “How did Moonpool become sick?” The words blurted out of her mouth without warning though, no cat seemed to notice. Swiftfoot retraced her steps back to her encounter with Voleear at the River of our Ancestors. Swift Tribe had been infected with whitecough and greencough and it had spread through prey to the other territories. “But Silence of the Night banned anyone from catching prey close to Protecting Tree until Swift Tribe was better.” Swiftfoot mumbled thoughtfully. “It could have been an older mouse the warriors had caught moons ago; before the ban was put on!” Horror struck Swiftfoot immediately. Does that mean Swift Tribe is still heavily infected? The healing cat apprentice padded up to the prey pile to give it a quick sniff. There was no scent of greencough or whitecough on any of their kills. Swiftfoot sighed in relief. That should mean Star Tribe in the clear, for now but; what about Swift Tribe? I have to help Voleear! Swiftfoot turned her head to look at Breezetail across the clearing as she chatted away with Cloudwillow. “Breezetail, may I talk to you alone?” asked Swiftfoot giving a curt nod to Cloudwillow. The tabby she-cat nodded her head in farewell to the young apprentice and trotted off with Swiftfoot.
“Is this about Moonpool?” she asked in agitation as they headed down to the lake close to Protecting Tree. “For Sky Tribe’s sake it wasn’t your fault!” “I could’ve saved him!” Swiftfoot snapped back before calming herself down; there were more important matters right now. “I want you to help me find Voleear again.” “What? Why?” hissed Breezetail lashing her tail in annoyance. “I was thinking, the only reason Moonpool could’ve gotten infected with greencough so easily is if he had eaten prey from Swift Tribe’s border.” explained Swiftfoot. “That’s mouse-brained!” snapped Breezetail. “We haven’t hunted there for moons! Darkmoon could’ve spread the infection!” “Darkmoon was kept isolated from any cat either than Lightningclaw and I!” retorted Swiftfoot losing her patience. “Just trust me ok?” “No way! I’m not getting in trouble with my mentor again!” Breezetail hissed padding away. “You can get in trouble but I’m not going to risk it.” “But we’ll be right back!” Swiftfoot protested desperately. “I can’t go alone!” The apprentice sighed, slowly turning around to face her sibling. “This is the last time I’m coming with you, you mouse-brained idiot.”
As they padded closer to the scent markers, the bushes started to rustle. “Halt!
Breezetail’s eyes went wide with terror. Had the oncoming Swift Tribe patrol heard their conversation? Three pairs of accusing, cold eyes stared down on the apprentices as they took a few steps back. Birdtrail’s fur stood on end with rage while Beetleeyes and her apprentice, Bumblestripes stood behind her; unsheathing their claws aggressively. “What are you two mange-pelts doing so close to our side of the border?” snarled Birdtrail coldly. “I-I was trying to catch a squirrel before it crossed into your territory.” Breezetail lied shyly. Bumblestripes snorted. “With a healing cat? And hedgehogs fly!” sneered the apprentice with a smug look on his face. Though they were outnumbered, Breezetail couldn’t help but get ready to spring at the apprentice. Beetleeyes quickly silenced her apprentice before things escalated. “She wanted to show me a move she had learned.” Swiftfoot retorted defensively. The patrol just narrowed their eyes suspiciously. “If you ever come this close to our border again, we’ll claw your eyes out.” Birdtrail threatened before stalking into the trees with the rest of her patrol following. Breezetail could feel her heart beating rapidly as they waited several long, agonizing minutes. “That was close.” hissed Breezetail sighing in relief. “Let’s get this over with before anything serious happens.”
Both she-cats quickly rubbed themselves in Swift Tribe’s putrid scent before nervously padding back into unwelcoming territory. “Ok Breezetail, you know what to do.” Swiftfoot whispered. Breezetail nodded and silently wove through the undergrowth, poking her nose out occasionally in search of Voleear.
“Mouse dung!” spat Breezetail after several moments. “She must not be out here.” “Well we should probably head back to our own territory then; no sense in waiting until she comes.” muttered Swiftfoot in disappointment as the two she-cats headed back. “But it worries me that none of the healing cats were outside of camp; it must have gotten worse over the past couple moons.”
“Sneaking off again!?” scolded Sunrise as Breezetail and Swiftfoot padded back into camp. The entire camp was relaxing as they chatted away and ate their catches in peace. “This is the second time too!” continued Sunrise fustratedly. “No kill for tonight; go out hunting with a patrol.” Sunrise pointed with her tail to Nightsky, Cloudwillow, and Sunstrike who were pacing around the entrance impatiently. “Swiftfoot!” yowled Lightningclaw appearing from the leader’s den. “Healing den now.” As Swiftfoot nervously trotted towards her mentor, Breezetail sluggishly made her way over to the hunting patrol she had been assigned to. “No warriors?” asked Sunstrike in confusion. “I thought that wasn’t allowed.” “Experienced apprentices can go without a warrior at some point; with their mentor’s permission.” explained Nightsky who looked overjoyed at teaching someone younger than her about tribe life.
“Nightsky?” started Cloudwillow as they headed out into Star Tribe’s vast territory. Nightsky let out a sigh of frustration. “What is it Cloudwillow?” “Is our mother really a kittypet named Lilac?” she asked shuffling her paws on the ground uncomfortably. “I-I was talking to Scarlet earlier about my parents and…” Nightsky’s hard gaze softened immediately. “Scarlet told me the same thing so I’m guessing it must be true.” Both young apprentices looked at each other with disappointed gazes. “Oh.” muttered Sunstrike in embarrassment. “So we really are kittypets?” “Of course not!” Breezetail spat, trying to get the conversation moving on a bit faster. “Scarlet brought you here for a better life; you would be a kittypet if you looked like you ate nothing but crow food for your whole life!” Cloudwillow’s eyes widened. “I would never eat crow food!” she protested. “Good.” meowed Breezetail before changing the subject. “Which border shall we go to first?” “Can we hunt water vole?” squealed Sunstrike bouncing up and down excitedly. Breezetail felt her stomach flip upside down. “W-well…” meowed Nightsky looking a bit queasy herself. “Please!” begged Cloudwillow looking up at the she-cat with round eyes. “Ok ok; let’s go to Roaring Water.” meowed Nightsky looking defeated though she followed the excited apprentices hesitantly.
“You two hunt together for now; try to see if you can catch any water vole but remember not to cross the border!” instructed Nightsky as the apprentices dashed off upstream. “Never thought I’d ever go this close to Roaring Water again; or Rainbow Tribe all the same.” Breezetail murmured coming up to her sibling. “It’s hard to even comprehend what happened; I-I’d never really thought of Swiftfoot to be the one to break the code.” For the first time; Breezetail felt sympathy for her sister. “We don’t know for sure if she truly broke the code; she continued to stay loyal; who knows how long it would have gone on for if we didn’t interfere anyway.” Nightsky snorted disbelievingly but didn’t protest.
Excited squeals broke the she-cats out of their depressing states. Cloudwillow and Sunstrike came rushing out of the undergrowth with wet paws as they chased a small vole back into its home. Nightsky sighed. “Maybe we should hunt with them; they don’t seem to hunt very well together yet.” Breezetail beckoned the two apprentices over before they could scare away all the prey in the forest. “Breezetail, you and Cloudwillow can hunt upwind while Sunstrike and I go downwind; we’ll meet back here shortly.”
The scent of vole lingered in Breezetail’s nose as they headed up wind. The tabby she-cat beckoned Cloudwillow to duck down before the vole could suspect that anyone was near. “What direction is the wind pointing to?” Breezetail asked in a soft voice. “Downwind.” meowed the apprentice after examining her fluffy fur. “Very good; you will head upwind and chase it down towards me so it won’t detect my scent.” Breezetail explained before Cloudwillow silently raced off. Breezetail settled herself farther down ready to pounce in some honey suckle and ivy tendrils. The tabby she-cat breathed in Cloudwillow’s scent; the apprentice was moving at incredible speed! Breezetail barely had time to concentrate before biting at the frizzy vole’s neck underneath her paws. “That was great!” exclaimed Breezetail looking completely impressed. “Where did you learn to run like that?”
Nightsky’s patrol headed into camp with mounds of juicy prey dangling from their bloody jaws. The scent of fresh kill was overwhelming and Breezetail almost felt like swallowing her entire catch. “That was awesome!” exclaimed Sunstrike as he dropped off his five plump, brown mice onto the kill pile. “Yeah, I want to do that again tomorrow!” Cloudwillow chimed in enthusiastically. “Tomorrow you won’t have time.” explained Nightsky as she settled down with a vole. “You’ll be battle training all day tomorrow.” Cloudwillow’s blue eyes went as wide as moons. “Claw to claw combat?!” she exclaimed loudly. “I can’t wait!” “Paw to paw combat actually.” Nightsky corrected as the entire camp turned to their attention. “No claws are allowed in practice; save it for a real opponent.” “Breezetail, I need you in the healing den as soon as possible.” Lightningclaw called before quickly disappearing back into the healing den. The she-cat waved her tail in farewell to Nightsky before confusedly heading into the healing den. “What’s going on?” she asked before noticing Swiftfoot in the corner, shuffling her paws around nervously on the ground. Lightningclaw silenced her with a flick of his tail. “This is the second time you two have just left camp without permission.” he growled in disappointment. “Where have you been disappearing to?” Breezetail gulped heavily but didn’t answer his question. “Well?” snapped Lightningclaw when neither she-cats spoke. “If you want us to find out the hard way that’s fine-only the entire camp will know where you’ve been going, or you could tell me and nobody else has to know.” Swiftfoot sighed hesitantly before opening her mouth to speak. “W-” “Voleear needed our help; we gave her some catmint and trespassed in Swift Tribe territory.” Breezetail meowed defensively even though she knew her sister should be the one to take all the blame. The apprentice got ready for the next few words to erupt from Lightningclaw’s mouth. You owe me Swiftfoot!
A sigh was all that escaped from the healing cat’s mouth as he hung his head with exhaustion. “Swiftfoot, Breezetail, you did a good thing even if it meant breaking the code. But Star Tribe has enough trouble on our hands already; we can’t risk helping anybody else. The next time I see you sneaking off I’ll have someone look after both of you day and night. Understood?” Both sisters nodded their heads gratefully; they had only come off with a small warning for their carelessness. “Now go before I change my mind completely.” he meowed when they didn’t leave.
“Is there something wrong with Lightningclaw?” Breezetail asked when they had left the den. “I don’t know; he’s been like this ever since the new prophecy; something is definitely wrong.” she explained sounding worried for her mentor. “But it’s only going to get worse for him."
Pale, grey clouds covered the afternoon sky. A small but harsh breeze blew ever so often in Star Tribe’s camp; making the day seem to go by peacefully. “Is the border patrol back yet?” Silence of the Night asked impatiently. “They’re still patrolling the borders I guess.” meowed Skypelt a distance away. “I hope nothing has happened.”
“Silence of the Night!” Risingmoon yowled as they trotted back into camp. The patrol was on high alert their fur fluffed out in alarm; Nightsky could tell something was terribly wrong. Shiningnight and Halfmoon followed her more slowly, letting the deputy have space with their leader. “What’s going on?” he demanded. “Blood is here!” Halfmoon interrupted in a panicked voice. “What?” hissed Starynight from beside his mate. “But it’s too soon!” Wails of distress echoed through camp. “Silence!” Risingmoon yowled unexpectedly. “Blood Tribe is not here.” The deputy shot an angry glare at the warrior. “We’ve found blood covering most of our territory; though it seems to be closer to the edge.” “This could be the first prophecy for Blood Tribe’s attack; blood will spill into territory.” exclaimed Lightningclaw. “Take me to the scene.” “I come too.” volunteered Scarlet stepping out of her place among the warriors and apprentices. Silence of the Night nodded his head in agreement. “Swiftfoot, Nightsky, Risingmoon, and Lightningclaw; I would like you to accompany me to Rainbow Tribe. We need to make sure no more damage has been done. Meanwhile, I would like Shiningnight, Wintersky, Skywatch, Scarlet, and Starynight to try and clean up as much of the blood as possible; we will not back down against the upcoming war no matter what stands in our way.”
Nightsky could feel Swiftfoot tense beside her as they neared Roaring Water. A bitter feeling crawled over the she-cat as she remembered her sister’s shocking betrayal. Silence of the Night stopped before the river. “We will wait until a patrol notices us.” he instructed neatly sitting on the harsh rocks.
It didn’t take long for a Rainbow Tribe patrol to find Star Tribe patiently waiting for them. Smokynose, Waterflow, Ashtail and Forestleaf cautiously padded up to the group of newcomers. “What do you want?” Smokynose growled, unsheathing his claws territorially. “I believe I have something important to discuss with Tail of Cinder.” meowed Silence of the Night calmly as he dipped his head in greeting. The patrol narrowed their eyes suspiciously but eventually gave in and ushered them towards their camp.
The deeper they were escorted into Rainbow Tribe territory, the more traumatizing it got. It was clear to everyone Rainbow Tribe had already gotten the message; the forest floor and rivers inside their territory were stained red with the blood of unknown cats. Nightsky shivered uneasily. “We’re here.” Smokynose announced, dismissing their horrid thoughts on Rainbow Tribe’s territory. “Greetings Tail of Cinder.” meowed Silence of the Night bowing his head in respect as they padded into Rainbow Tribe’s camp. The rest of the warriors, queens, apprentices, and elders gave them hostile looks as Tail of Cinder padded down the leader’s rock in no hurry. “What does Star Tribe want?” she snapped fustratedly. “Rainbow Tribe has enough problems already.” “From looking at your territory, I can see Blood Tribe has also sent you the message as well.” meowed Silence of the Night ignoring her hostility. Tail of Cinder’s expression changed in an instant as she looked at him with interest. “A message from Blood Tribe?” she repeated. “We think it could be a sign from Blood Tribe.” he explained. “The battle will be very soon, I wish to spread the news to every tribe before anything further happens.” The Rainbow Tribe leader stayed silent. Her hard, amber gaze flickered between the Star Tribe cats as they patiently waited for an answer. “So you would like me to spread the news to Winter Tribe, is that it?” she finally asked. Silence of the Night nodded his head without hesitation. Nightsky felt her belly tighten as Tail of Cinder’s deputy; Redlight went into a deep conversation with his leader.
After several heartbeats of whispered conversation, Tail of Cinder finally nodded her head. “Rainbow Tribe will help spread the news to Winter Tribe but no further.” she meowed sternly in case Silence of the Night had any more ideas. “That is all I hoped for; thank you for your cooperation.” Silence of the Night replied dipping his head one last time to the tabby she-cat. “Ashtail, Forestleaf, Smokynose, Waterflow; escort them back to their side of Roaring Water and carry on with the rest of your patrol.” ordered Tail of Cinder padding away. “I will head over to Winter Tribe as soon as possible and speak with Fur of Crystals.”
“Aren’t we heading back to camp?” asked Nightsky as they trotted towards the Protecting Tree. “We must warn Swift Tribe as well.” explained Silence of the Night not looking back at his daughter. “Who knows if Fur of Crystals will spread the message onto Tornado Tribe-or if Tornado Tribe will spread it to Swift Tribe.” “But it won’t be easy to convince Pelt of Honey.” objected Lightningclaw. “We mustn’t do anything rational.
The camp was quiet and almost completely empty; only the queens, elders, a couple warriors and apprentices still remained. “Where did Swiftfoot and Nightsky go off to?” Breezetail asked as she grabbed a mouse from the pile. “They went with Silence of the Night to tell the other tribes about the blood, remember?” explained Cometblaze tiredly settling down beside her sister. Breezetail let out a grunt and ate her plump mouse in silence. “Breezetail, Cometblaze; could you do me a favor?” called Darkmoon as she slowly made her way over to the apprentices. Cometblaze looked at the she-cat in surprise; she had definitely been putting on some bulk. “If you two see Nightsky when she comes back, tell her Starynight is going to go out battle training with her ok?” asked Darkmoon unexpectedly. “Sure.” replied Breezetail not looking up at the she-cat. Darkmoon dipped her head in thanks before retreating close to the healing den. “D-did you see that?” Cometblaze asked in a low voice. Breezetail looked at her curiously. “See what?” she repeated. “Do you think Darkmoon has been eating past her limit?” continued Cometblaze. Her sibling looked at her in bewilderment. “Darkmoon doesn’t look that fat.” she snapped back. “See for yourself.” replied Cometblaze angling her ear towards the black she-cat. “Huh; I guess you’re right.” Breezetail mumbled. “I guess I have to admit; Darkmoon does look a bit bulkier than usual. “I wonder if anyone knows what’s going on with Darkmoon?” exclaimed Cometblaze eyeing the she-cat curiously. Breezetail shrugged her shoulders. “Who knows? We can ask Swiftfoot when she gets back.” “Ask me what?” meowed Swiftfoot padding up to her siblings with Nightsky beside her. “Hey, how did it go?” asked Cometblaze nodding her head in greeting. “It went fine with Rainbow Tribe; Swift Tribe was less enthusiastic about the idea but it eventually worked out.” explained Nightsky. “Did anything happen while we were gone?” Breezetail shook her head. “Nothing that you could count as exciting.” she meowed. “But Swiftfoot, I suspect Darkmoon is waiting for you at the entrance to the healing den.” Breezetail pointed with her tail to the plump looking she-cat as she struggled to groom her fur. Swiftfoot sighed. “I’ve been wondering what’s going on with her; she is definitely acting quite strange around us.” “Including me.” added Nightsky sounding concerned. “Should we ask her what’s wrong?” Cometblaze shook her head. “I don’t think that would help; especially not in the wide open. Maybe we should get Swiftfoot to inspect her again.” Swiftfoot nodded her head. “I highly doubt she’s been eating too much; Darkmoon isn’t like that.” Swiftfoot muttered half to herself. “Let’s go before Lightningclaw decides to continue sorting herbs in the healing den.”
“Oh Swiftfoot! I’ve been waiting for you!” greeted Darkmoon, looking completely relieved at the sight of a healing cat. “I would like to talk to you in private.” Cometblaze changed puzzled glances between her sisters. “Would it be alright if we could come too?” Nightsky asked politely. Darkmoon looked at Swiftfoot’s siblings uncertainly. “I-I don’t know; it’s kind of a big secret.” stammered Darkmoon, completely nervous of their presence. “It’s ok Darkmoon;” reassured Swiftfoot in a soft tone. “They’ll make sure nobody else can eavesdrop on us; Breezetail you can help me with Darkmoon while you two guard the entrance.”
Swiftfoot’s reassuring words seemed to have worked but Darkmoon still looked uncomfortable as they settled down inside the healing den. Cometblaze quickly blocked off half of the entrance to the healing den as Nightsky settled down beside her. Darkmoon looked around awkwardly before deciding to seat herself across from Swiftfoot and Breezetail. “So what’s the important news?” urged Swiftfoot calmly. The black she-cat hesitated for a few moments before she opened her mouth to speak. “I-I’m going to have my first litter of kits.” she whispered in a barely audible voice. Shocked silence filled the healing den; only Swiftfoot didn’t look surprised as she nodded her head happily. “Then my suspicions were right!” she meowed enthusiastically. “That’s great news Darkmoon!” “But why haven’t you told anybody?” asked Nightsky in dismay. “You were always acting so strange around me.” Darkmoon sighed. “I guess I do owe you an apology; I just didn’t want anyone to make a big fuss.” “Does Silence of the Night know about this?” asked Swiftfoot. Darkmoon nodded her head. “I’ve been keeping it a secret from everybody.” “Well, I bet your mate will be very proud of raising adorable kits.” meowed Swiftfoot sounding overjoyed. Darkmoon stayed dead silent; her face looking sad and angry at the same time. “H-he doesn’t want to be announced.” she mumbled not looking up. “He didn’t want kits; that’s another reason why I’ve been keeping it a secret.” Cometblaze was about to speak up but Swiftfoot stepped in to soothe the gloomy she-cat. “Sometimes a mother doesn’t want the tribe to know who it was and that’s perfectly fine.” “Thank you Swiftfoot but I can promise you this; it wasn’t a cat from another tribe. I swear on behalf of Sky Tribe!” Swiftfoot quietly whispered something into Darkmoon’s ear and the black she-cat immediately relaxed. “But Darkmoon I’m afraid everyone is going to find out sooner than you think.” Swiftfoot reminded her. Darkmoon sighed heavily, defeat showing in her voice. “I knew it wouldn’t be kept a secret for long.” “I’ll have to escort you to the to-be-mother’s den until you bear your kits.” explained Swiftfoot. “Breezetail, get a rabbit from the kill pile and meet us in the nursery. I’ll bring some poppy seeds to help you sleep; you don’t seem to be in any pain.” Breezetail raced past Cometblaze and Nightsky without hesitation. “What about bedding?” asked Cometblaze trying to contribute. Swiftfoot shook her head. “Dawnflower will welcome her with a nest. You two can continue with your patrols and battle training; we’re all good here.” Nightsky shrugged. “No problem; I’m going to go hunt with Halfmoon. I’ll see you later!” she called before rushing over to the waiting warrior. “Breezetail, Cometblaze!” called Shiningnight from the other side of the clearing. “Could you take Skywatch out with you? She hasn’t been out yet today. Ask Duskpelt if Cloudwillow could go as well.” “Sure thing!” answered Breezetail as she gathered up the two apprentices. “Cometblaze ask Duskpelt if Cloudwillow can go. We’ll wait by the entrance for you.
Four pairs of paws thudded against the soft earth as they trotted out of camp. Cloudwillow and Skywatch chatted away in front of them, gazing at the forest in excitement. Cometblaze ushered the apprentices over after a moment of exploration. “Which border should we hunt at first?” asked Cometblaze as if testing the apprentices. “Protecting Tree!” squealed Skywatch bouncing up and down excitedly. “I want to hunt shrew and vole!” Breezetail looked at Cometblaze doubtfully. “I don’t know; Swift Tribe could still be infected with greencough for all we know.” Skywatch’s shoulders dropped in an instant. “Oh-ok.” she muttered disappointedly. Breezetail sighed fustratedly. “If you really want to, we can quickly go and patrol the border-but no hunting ok?” Skywatch’s tail shot up eagerly. “Ok!” she mewed racing away with Cloudwillow on her tail. Cometblaze let out a purr of amusement. “Were we ever that eager to go on a patrol?” she asked. Breezetail shook her head. “I hope not.”
“No fresh Swift Tribe scent!” squeaked Cloudwillow as the two experienced apprentices finally made it to the border. The stench of greencough was barely visible and Breezetail sensed their luck was finally turning around. Cometblaze had also noticed the change in Swift Tribe’s scent. “Silence of the Night will be pleased to hear about this.” she exclaimed happily. An uproar of unpleasant cries of fury interrupted their happy thoughts. “Cloudwillow, Skywatch; stay behind us.” ordered Breezetail as the cries continued to wander closer to their territory. The tabby she-cat hissed in annoyance as the apprentices stood beside her with unsheathed claws. Breezetail craned her neck to hear any signs of threat as the forest became eerie silent. Not even a mouse was moving but there wasn’t anything else coming. “Let’s go there’s nothing-” A rustling of bushes distracted Breezetail from finishing her sentence. A pitiful blood stained she-cat tumbled uneasily out of the bushes. The only thing that wasn’t covered in blood were her unusual looking eyes. Forest green and dark blue eyes stared back at the patrol with a terrified glare. “Stand back!” snarled Breezetail, her hackles raised aggressively. “No please!” the stranger pleaded frantically. “I-I’m just looking for somebody-” The scared she-cat stopped in her tracks as she spotted the two apprentices between Cometblaze and Breezetail. “Who are you and what do you want?” snapped Cometblaze blocking her view from the two frightened she-cats. “Oh me?” she asked wearily. “My name is Lilac-Lilacpetal! Yes that was it.” Breezetail narrowed her eyes. “We should get her back to camp.” meowed Cometblaze. “She needs to get cleaned up and I bet she’s lost a lot of blood.”
“Impressive.” exclaimed Silence of the Night as he examined Lilacpetal’s combat skills. “You have more experience than any kittypet I’ve ever seen.” After the patrol had returned back to camp, Lilacpetal had been taken straight to the healing den to get her injuries treated and clean her blood stained fur. Though the stranger was a former kittypet, Lilacpetal’s combat skills tell a completely different story. Now the kittypet was showing off her skills with Halfmoon as the two struck each other with powerful but less dangerous hits. “You aren’t honestly considering her staying with us, are you?” protested Wintersky in a disbelieving and outraged voice. “Kittypets aren’t allowed in tribe life!” “I know the code, thank you Wintersky.” snapped Silence of the Night. “But Star Tribe could us more warriors; this could help with our upcoming battle.” “What battle?” Lilacpetal asked, cocking her head in curiosity. “Against Blood Tribe.” replied Risingmoon signaling the two cats to stop fighting. Lilacpetal’s fur started to bristle in alarm. “Blood Tribe?!” she exclaimed in panic. “Yes. Why? Have you heard of them?” asked the deputy suspiciously. “Y-yes; I actually…” Lilacpetal stopped herself from saying anymore. “I see them in twoleg place sometimes.” She’s hiding something, Breezetail thought uneasily. “So you’ve met them?” asked Silence of the Night, his gaze looking fascinated. “Excellent; you and I shall have a quick discussion about them later on today-but for now I wish to ask you a serious question.” Lilacpetal looked up at the black tom uneasily, as if expecting the worst. “Would you like to live as a tribe cat?” he asked. Breezetail could see the tribe’s hostility growing as they waited for Lilacpetal to answer. “W-well, if it’s ok with you-I’d love to!” Lilacpetal stammered excitedly. Hisses of annoyance rose from the rest of the tribe as they stared at the kittypet in dismay. Silence of the Night flicked his tail in pleasure. “This will do greatly! Now, let’s not waste any time to teach you the ways of tribe life. Shiningnight, Skywatch, Cloudwillow, and Lilacpetal shall go on the next border patrol; teach our newest edition to the tribe about tribe life and let her explore our territory.” Though Shiningnight didn’t look pleased at the idea of having to take care of three apprentices, the warrior accepted without protest. “Wait Lilacpetal.” barked a voice from the back of the crowd. The white she-cat instantly spun around, as if she recognized Scarlet’s disconcert voice. “Scarlet?” exclaimed Lilacpetal, her eyes growing round with happiness. “It’s been so long!” Scarlet dipped her head in greeting to her old friend. “How do you know Scarlet?” asked Starynight suspiciously. “Scarlet once helped me against Blood Tribe; we go back eclipses.” “Lilacpetal!” Shiningnight called from the other side of the clearing. “The sun isn’t going to stay in the sky all day; let’s go.” “Right.” meowed the she-cat before racing after the waiting border patrol. “First we welcome a fox into our camp, now a kittypet who knows this fox; just what we need.” Wintersky muttered loudly, swishing his tail in dismay at the newcomers. “Lilacpetal is definitely strange.” commented Swiftfoot. “She seems to keep eyeing Star Tribe’s newest apprentices as well.” “I know every cat is different; but Lilacpetal is definitely out of the ordinary.” agreed Nightsky.
“I feel so ashamed.” growled Snowpetal. “About what?” asked Nightsky, padding up to the angry she-cat. “Lilacpetal and I share the last part of our names. She’s a disgrace to anyone who has petal at the end of their name.” she continued, ranting on and on about the unwelcome newcomer. Nightsky took a few steps back, making sure not to get involved with Snowpetal’s fiery state. Though the young warrior did have a good point, Nightsky didn’t feel like getting too worked up over a former kittypet. “You look worried.” rasped Scarlet, stepping away from the mouse she was nibbling on. “Is it about Lilacpetal Sky of the Night?” Nightsky winced as the fox spoke her full name. “Scarlet, here in Star Tribe, only the leader is allowed to be called by their full name.” The fox’s beady eyes bore into Nightsky’s uncomfortable looking gaze. “Why you not trust Lilacpetal?” she asked. “I-It’s just, she sounds a lot like Lilac.” stammered Nightsky in an even tone. Scarlet nodded. “But their mother’s name Lilac; not Lilacpetal.” Nightsky looked away, frustration showing in her eyes. She thinks I’m doing this for Sunstrike, Skywatch, and Cloudwillow’s sake. “Well ok, if you say so. I’m going to head into the healing den; for Swiftfoot.” Nightsky murmured, leaving Scarlet to herself. The black she-cat let out a sigh; she was finally leaving all of her worries behind. Lightningclaw and Swiftfoot stared at Nightsky as she entered to healing den. Nightsky stopped in her tracks. “Sorry; I didn’t mean to interrupt anything.” meowed Nightsky dipping her head in apology. “No it’s ok.” Lightningclaw replied looking concerned. “Stay here; I shall grab your siblings; another prophecy has been for told.” “Another prophecy?” Nightsky repeated fustratedly. “Doesn’t Star Tribe have enough problems?” Swiftfoot sighed. “I honestly do not understand why it’s about them; this is so sudden!” “What’s what about?” asked Breezetail emerging from camp with Cometblaze and lastly Lightningclaw at the back. “Swiftfoot’s had another prophecy.” Nightsky murmured exhaustedly. “Another one?” complained Breezetail. “How many are you going to get?” Lightningclaw swished his tail along the ground for silence. “When Blood Tribe attacks; I need you three to stay close to Sunstrike, Cloudwillow, and Skywatch-” “What does this have to do with the prophecy?” Breezetail retorted impatiently. “Let me finish!” Lightningclaw snapped furiously. Swiftfoot quickly stepped in before her mentor could continue to rage. “In my dream, the three apprentices were surrounded by blood; moving blood. It was like they were being swallowed whole; and as it happened Spottedsong whispered something into my ear. A terrible secret shall be revealed that will bring Star Tribe to its knees.” “What is the secret?” Cometblaze asked abruptly. “I don’t know!” snapped Lightningclaw, as if not comprehending how the siblings were able to stay so calm after hearing the new prophecy. “Not even Sky Tribe knows everything! Now get out before I do something rational!”
“I’ll see you guys around; Halfmoon and I are going out hunting.” meowed Nightsky racing away to try and find her waiting friend. “Swiftfoot, about this prophecy; what do you think it means?” Cometblaze asked worriedly. Swiftfoot shook her head uncertainly. “I don’t really know what it could mean but one thing’s for sure; it can’t be anything good.
“Swiftfoot, I need to talk to you alone.” Breezetail muttered unexpectedly. “We’ll see you around Cometblaze; come on Swiftfoot, in the apprentice den.” “Ok.” meowed Swiftfoot flicking her ear in farewell to Cometblaze.
“We need to tell Cometblaze about the prophecy.” explained Breezetail once they had found a quiet spot in the small den. Swiftfoot cocked her head to one side. “Which prophecy?” she asked warily. “The one about the new sky rising.” meowed Breezetail trying to remember what Swiftfoot had told her. “Why?” Swiftfoot asked looked confused at her decision. “It just feels right; we need to tell someone else.” explained Breezetail. “Let’s go into the forest and find a quiet place to talk.” “You guys; Skypelt is calling for us.” meowed Cometblaze unexpectedly as she padded into the den. “Mouse dung.” Breezetail muttered in annoyance. “Even after we became apprentices; she still thinks we’re kits!” “Cometblaze follow us; we’ll be back before Skypelt can notice.” ordered Swiftfoot.
A quiet space close to the water’s edge satisfied the apprentices’ privacy. “So what’s up?” Cometblaze asked, resuming their conversation. As quickly as she could, Swiftfoot filled her sibling in on any missing information about the prophecy she had gotten seasons ago. “Why tell me so late?” asked the golden tabby she-cat in dismay. “Don’t you trust me?” “Don’t be ridiculous Cometblaze!” hissed Breezetail. “It wasn’t easy for Swiftfoot to tell me either!” Cometblaze stayed silent, not looking up at her littermates. An awkward silence lasted for a few minutes before an abrupt rustling broke their distrusted silence. “There you are!” meowed Skypelt thankfully. “Cometblaze I thought I got you to fetch these two for me! We need to head back to Star Tribe’s camp immediately; everyone is waiting for you!” “Looking for us?” repeated Swiftfoot, a puzzled look taking over her face. “All three of you; smooth down your fur this instant!” Skypelt snapped, ignoring Swiftfoot’s question. “You guys are already late.” “Is Nightsky already back at camp?” Swiftfoot asked as she groomed her tangled fur. “She never left camp; I stopped her before she could. She’s waiting back in camp with Halfmoon.” Skypelt answered impatiently. “Now hurry up!”
“Ok good; let’s go. Follow me quickly!” commanded Skypelt racing ahead. Though her mother looked impatient; she could see pride shining in her harsh gaze. “I don’t get it.” exclaimed Breezetail panting. “Is a tribe meeting this important? Did we seriously have to groom our fur for a meeting?” “Hygiene is part of life!” snapped Skypelt. “Though that isn’t the point for this occasion.” “Then what for?” asked Breezetail, an agitated look crossing her face. “You’ll see!” Skypelt meowed in a simple voice as they came to a halt in front of camp. “Join everyone else in the crowd.” instructed Skypelt in a low voice. “And, I’m proud of you; all of you. Now go in there. Congratulations.” “Wait, congratulations?” meowed Breezetail but stopped herself from continuing as they entered camp
“Do you have any idea what’s going on?” Nightsky asked, her confused gaze looking around the crowd for her siblings. Halfmoon shook his head. “I have no idea, if I’d known I wouldn’t have asked you to come out hunting with me.” “Oh I found them!” exclaimed Nightsky spotting her sisters entering the crowd of cats. “I’ll be back Halfmoon.”
“What’s going on?” demanded Cometblaze as Nightsky finally came into ear shot. The black she-cat shook her head, a puzzled look on her face. “I don’t know either; I couldn’t even go out hunting with Halfmoon before Skypelt told me to stay in camp for a tribe meeting.” “Cats of Star Tribe; we shall now start because for today, we have a warrior ceremony to acknowledge.” meowed Silence of the Night, interrupting their conversations. Nightsky’s fur bristled with shock and excitement. Had it really been five seasons already? Her mentor was waiting at the front of the crowd, her swollen belly weighing her down. Nightsky licked her chest with embarrassment, it was nice to see her mentor was proud of her but it was still weird to have her struggling to stand up and give a short speech for her apprentice just for the ceremony. “Nightsky.” meowed Silence of the Night, beckoning her forward. “Sky of the Night, you have trained hard these past few seasons; and now you have proven yourself worthy of living the warrior life. Darkmoon; any last words for your former apprentice?” Silence of the Night asked, turning towards the excited warrior. “I-I’m so glad you were my apprentice; over the past five seasons, you have showed true compassion for your tribe mates and a strong determination to help them when they’re in need.” Darkmoon praised; a glow of admiration showing in her eyes. Nightsky was astonished; was that really how her mentor felt about her? “Strong words for a proud warrior.” meowed Silence of the Night looking overjoyed at Darkmoon’s high praise for his daughter. “From this moment on, Sky of the Night, you are now a fully fledged warrior of Star Tribe.” Nightsky felt like she could soar as high as she wanted to. All of her tribe mates cheered triumphantly as she touched noses with her mentor. “You were destined to become warrior.” whispered Darkmoon as they acknowledged each other.
“Cometblaze, your mentor would like to say a few words before you become a warrior.” Silence of the Night explained as the tabby she-cat made her way to the front. “Congrats.” Nightsky muttered as she padded back into the crowd. “Cometblaze, you have done a great job with scouting and hunting over the past few seasons and your fighting skills have improved immensely; keep up your teamwork as well.” Sunset praised; dipping his head in respect to the she-cat. Cometblaze looked proud at her mentor’s praise; puffing out her chest with confidence. “Blazing Comet, it is my honor to now name you a full warrior of Star Tribe.” finished Silence of the Night looking down on his daughter with pride. Cheers of joy and triumph filled the camp once more as Cometblaze touched noses with her former mentor. Sunset muttered something into Cometblaze’s ear but not audible for anybody else to hear.
Sunrise nudged her brother playfully as he made his way back into the crowd. The she-cat clumsily made her to the front of the crowd as she waited for Breezetail to emerge from the back of crowd. “Breezetail,” Sunrise started as the tabby she-cat finally made it to the front. “You were always so strong-headed and nothing ever got in your way; you have the likings of a skilled tracker and fighter.” Nightsky could tell Breezetail wasn’t comfortable with being praised in front of big crowds; it was a strange habit from her sister. “Tail in the Breeze, congratulations; you are now a full warrior of Star Tribe.” Breezetail touched noses with her mentor and dipped her head in respect before padding back into the crowd. To Nightsky’s surprise, Duskpelt came forward excitedly and nudged her cheek proudly. Nightsky held back a purr of amusement as she saw Breezetail’s embarrassed face. “Duskpelt knock it off.” she hissed quietly, trying to avoid attention. Some of the excitement faded from Duskpelt’s amber gaze. “I-I know.” he stammered trying to sound casual. “I just wanted to congratulate you on becoming a warrior.”
Soon, the cats started to scuttle around camp as the ceremony came to an end. Skypelt and Silence of the Night approached Nightsky with happy expressions on their faces. “We’re so proud of you.” Skypelt purred, giving Nightsky an affectionate lick on her check. Silence of the Night nodded his head in approval before her parents headed over to congratulate Cometblaze and Breezetail as well. “Swiftfoot!” Nightsky called as her sibling started to head for the healing den. “Oh hi Nightsky.” replied Swiftfoot turning around to greet her sister. “How does it feel to be a warrior?” “It feels amazing.” Nightsky exclaimed proudly. “Hey-” Swiftfoot flicked her tail abruptly, cutting Nightsky from her sentence. “You needn’t feel pity for me; I’m going to the River of our Ancestors tonight.” Nightsky looked at the ground guiltily; I shouldn’t feel pity for Swiftfoot, she thought. “Swiftfoot!” Lightningclaw called, emerging from the healing den. “It’s almost time to leave; help me organize the den before we go!
Yowls of alarm rang through camp as panicked paw steps made its way towards the healing den. Swiftfoot’s head shot up in an instant; ready to take action. “Swiftfoot, Lightningclaw!” cried Shiningnight racing into the den. “It’s Darkmoon; she’s having her kits!” “Swiftfoot; go to the nursery!” instructed Lightningclaw heading to the back of the den. “I’ll be there with herbs; just try to keep Darkmoon calm.” Heart pounding, Swiftfoot raced into the nursery, pushing her way to Darkmoon’s side as all the cats crowded around. Dawnflower lay on the opposite side, making sure cats weren’t too close to Darkmoon. Swiftfoot nodded her head; thank goodness for Dawnflower, she thought. “Toms; out of the nursery!” Swiftfoot commanded. “Shiningnight, Sunrise; guard the entrance. Skywatch, Breezetail; bring some moss-soaked water and Cloudwillow-grab some sticks and pine cones close to camp. Quickly!” As the assigned cats left the den in search of the requested items, Swiftfoot gently pressed her paws against Darkmoon’s swollen belly. The healing cat apprentice could feel ripples passing through her body each second; it was almost time. “I found some pinecones!” cried Cloudwillow racing into the den with a mouthful of dry plant. Swiftfoot quickly took one of the scattered pinecones and handed it to Darkmoon as a larger ripple past through her body. The pinecone crunched within seconds of being handed out. Darkmoon’s sister rushed to her side and gave her comforting licks as Cloudwillow handed the she-cat another pinecone. “Where’s the water?!” Risingmoon demanded. “Here!” announced Skywatch as she raced into the den with wads of moss dangling from her mouth. Breezetail came after her and gently put the moss down next to Swiftfoot. Darkmoon’s agonizing shriek announced the arrival of her first kit. “The first one’s coming!” Swiftfoot exclaimed excitedly. The next pinecone snapped; sending pieces flying everywhere as a wet pile of fur slide onto the dry bedding of the nursery. “It’s a ginger tabby tom!” Dawnflower exclaimed, looking at the kit in awe. “Cometblaze, lick his fur the opposite way so he can dry faster.” ordered Lightningclaw from beside Swiftfoot. The she-cat looked startled at his income; had he been there the entire time? Swiftfoot shook her head as another large ripple past through Darkmoon’s body; she had to stay focused. “Cloudwillow! Another pinecone!” Swiftfoot demanded. A gray tabby she-kit landed next to her brother on the bedding. Risingmoon instantly volunteered to lick the tiny kit’s soaking wet fur as Swiftfoot felt Darkmoon’s belly. “That’s it.” meowed Swiftfoot as Lightningclaw nodded his head with approval. “Well?” demanded Risingmoon as Lightningclaw looked at the kits more closely. “They’re both healthy.” he replied stepping back to let everyone else gather around. Darkmoon sighed with relief and lay her head on her nest; exhaustion sweeping over the new mother. Risingmoon gently nudged her sister’s kits to Darkmoon’s waiting belly. “They look beautiful.” purred Dawnflower looking at them affectionately. “Drink Darkmoon; you need all the energy you can get.” meowed Lightningclaw dropping the wet moss at the she-cat’s muzzle. “Somebody get her the biggest piece of the prey on the kill pile.” “Have you decided their names?” Risingmoon asked after a moment’s admiration. “The tom will be Midnight’s Shadow.” Darkmoon explained in a weak voice as she raised her head to look at her kits. “The she-cat I’ll name Spirit Rising.” “Midnight and Rising; those are beautiful names.” replied Risingmoon seeming proud of having her sister for naming one of her own kits after her
Anxiety-ridden, Swiftfoot made her way up to the River of Our Ancestors with Voleear by her side.
It had only been a few minutes after Darkmoon’s kits were born that Lightningclaw and Swiftfoot had to make their way to the river; only leaving Dawnflower in charge of the she-cat and Skypelt in charge of certain herbs that would help Darkmoon through her parenthood while they were gone. It had bothered Swiftfoot that Lightningclaw hadn’t allowed her to stay behind; it was important to make sure Darkmoon was strong enough in case anything would happen.
But now, something else was troubling her; Voleear was unusually quiet and hadn’t even greeted Swiftfoot when she came into view. “Is there something wrong?” asked the she-cat, looking at her friend worriedly. Voleear opened her mouth but stopped, looking hesitant. “I guess it’s no use hiding it now.” she muttered half to herself before starting. “You know that green cough had spread through Swift Tribe’s camp…” Voleear stopped, looking hesitantly at her talkative mentor. “Yes I remember.” Swiftfoot replied, trying to urge her friend to continue. “How is Swift Tribe doing now? You can trust me Voleear; we’re all healing cats here.” “I guess…” Voleear murmured more certainly. “We’re thriving; Swift Tribe has completely recovered-but there was one lose. Bluebird’s kit, Bear-he didn’t make it; he was the only one I couldn’t treat. The catmint wasn’t helping his worsening condition.” Swiftfoot nodded her head; clearly remembering Moonpool’s weakened state. “But anyway, tonight I’m going to become a true healing cat.” Voleear continued, clearly trying to forget her lose. Swiftfoot returned her friend’s gaze with a puzzled stare. “But weren’t you made a healing cat apprentice one season before I was?” Voleear nodded her head shyly. “Not exactly; I was in training to become a warrior first; but then I realized becoming a healing cat was my destiny. So after a season of training as a warrior, I became a healing cat so I got held back one season in order to finish my training as healing cat.” “I didn’t know that; I had just always assumed you had already been made a healing cat.” Swiftfoot muttered, looking embarrassed at her quick assumption. “Well no matter.” meowed Voleear. “When are you to become a healing cat?” Swiftfoot stopped in her tracks. “I totally forgot! Tonight is my ceremony as well!”
The gleaming water welcomed the healing cats warmly towards its edge as they all sat down in a wide circle; making room for Lightningclaw and Swiftfoot as her mentor led her to the front as a warm gesture. “Swift on her Feet, your training has come to an end. Though we all know you have much more to learn, your quick actions in these past, unforgettable moons was a sight to behold and I knew your time has come to take on your own apprentice one day.” meowed Lightningclaw looking at his apprentice with approval. “Swift on her Feet, you may now drink in the souls of our ancestors through this sacred river so they shall always be at your aid in times of need.” Lightningclaw swished his tail around the reflected moon in the River of Ancestors; showing her where to drink from. Swiftfoot obeyed and lapped up two mouthfuls of water; hearing soft, welcoming voices enter her mind each time she gulped.
Voleear’s healing cat ceremony ended soon after and everyone settled down; hoping for new prophecies to warn them of oncoming danger.
Swiftfoot’s surroundings were intensified by the warm and light of Sky Tribe’s sun. A gentle breeze blew past the meadow, revealing all sorts of creatures resting in the tall grass. Though Swiftfoot’s surroundings were relaxing, she knew she had to be ready for anything new from Skyflame and Cloudflare. Eventually, she could see grass moving unnaturally; suspecting that it was the elderly healing cats, Swiftfoot made her way over to her former tribe mates. But instead of seeing two pairs of serious-looking eyes, Swiftfoot found herself staring into Voleear’s fearful gaze. “Voleear?!” Swiftfoot exclaimed looking taken aback by her presence. “What are you doing here?” “Swiftfoot! Thank Sky Tribe I found you!” Voleear meowed relaxing her fur. “There’s something wrong with Sky Tribe! I can’t find any cat!” Swiftfoot’s gaze turned just as fearful-looking as Voleear’s. “Y-you mean they’re all gone?” she stammered, still trying to keep her cool. “I don’t know-maybe. Do you think they could’ve abandoned us?” Voleear blurted out. Swiftfoot shook her head, trying to reassure herself the same thing. “Don’t get too many ideas; let’s go look for them before we make actual accusations.”
But as they continued to make their way deeper into Sky Tribe’s territory; the emptier it became with each paw step. Swiftfoot started to have a dreadful feeling Voleear was right. “This is hopeless!” Voleear murmured, sounding utterly defeated. “Soon it’ll be time to return to our world and we still haven’t been warned of any danger!” Swiftfoot flicked her tail for silence; she could hear faint whispers a distant away. Voleear stayed completely silent, listening to the voices of what could be Sky Tribe cats. Not sure of who they might see, the she-cats stayed low to the ground; only poking up their heads as soon as they realized they were close enough. Voleear let out a silent gasp of what they saw. All of Sky Tribe was sitting below five , large shapes above them on a ledge; as if having a tribe meeting. As a tom spoke, Swiftfoot knew exactly who it was. Sitting atop the ledge with other unknown sky cats was Moonpool; the tom whom had died of green cough all those seasons ago. A guilty feeling arose Swiftfoot but she pushes aside as she noticed Skyflame and Cloudflare sitting among the crowd as well. What’s going on? She thought, looking over at Voleear who had the same puzzled look on her face. Both healing cats strained their ears to overhear anything but to no avail; they were sitting too far away. But their grim expressions seemed to tell it all; they were discussing the prophecies. There was a certain sense of fear lingering among the Sky Tribe cats, making Swiftfoot worry even more than she did before. “What are you two doing back here?” hissed a voice from behind the healing cats. Swiftfoot whirled around, terrified of who had caught them eavesdropping. Fortunately, Swiftfoot knew who it was. Starshine looked taken aback to see Swiftfoot. “Swiftfoot? What are you doing here?” she asked in a low voice. “Don’t you know this is a meeting for Sky Tribe cats only? You shouldn’t be here!” “You know this she-cat?” Voleear asked curiously. Starshine shot her an annoyed glare. “You two should wake up before you’re caught snooping around.” Starshine ordered before vanishing back into the crowd
Cometblaze swiftly moved through the honey suckle and ivy tendrils, trying to catch a glimpse or even a whiff of any signs of prey. Despite being one of the first cats out on an evening patrol, most of the prey in Star Tribe’s territory had still been scared off by an earlier patrol’s hunting party when Sunstrike, Cloudwillow, and Skywatch had been taken out for lessons. Now Cometblaze had nothing but two rabbits to show as her effort. What a lazy catch for a warrior, she thought in dismay as Nightsky came up to her. “Cometblaze we have to go back to camp; Silence of the Night wants to talk with us.” Cometblaze grunted a reply before the siblings headed back towards camp with two rabbits each dangling from their blood-stained teeth.
Silence of the Night stood before the camp entrance, eagerly awaiting their arrival with Breezetail at his side. “Thank you for coming on such short notice; I know we need to restock on prey but I have an important task for you to start right away.” greeted Silence of the Night as he led them into his den. As his daughter’s got comfortable, the black tom got ready to tell his story. “I have gathered you three here to discuss a very important matter.” Silence of the Night explained as he neatly tucked his paws in. “As Swiftfoot has probably already told you, she recently had a new prophecy about Cloudwillow, Sunstrike, and Skywatch. For this reason, I am leaving you three in charge of them until the battle is over-any objections to the task?” “I-I don’t understand.” Cometblaze asked. “Why choose us? I mean, we’re inexperienced warriors. There are other cats better for the job than us.” Silence of the Night nodded his head. “True, I could’ve chosen someone with more experience but you are their foster siblings and this could be considered training an apprentice-but it doesn’t mean you are their mentors.” “Sounds good to me.” Breezetail muttered. “Can we go now? I was assigned to a border patrol and they’re probably still waiting for me. “Yes of course. You may leave now.” Commanded the black tom but stopped Cometblaze before she could leave. “Cometblaze you’ll be coming with me to meet the other tribe leaders to discuss another important matter.” The tabby she-cat nodded her head before following him down the leader’s den. “May I ask why?” Silence of the Night flicked his tail nervously. “I’ve been thinking, with all these new prophecies about blood being spilt and a huge tribe of cats coming to wipe us out, I think we should bring every cat from every tribe over to the island where Peace Night takes place so that everyone can be taken care of. That wouldn’t guarantee everyone’s safety but it’s the safest way I could think of; especially if this ‘Blood Tribe’ is huge.” he explained as Risingmoon, Skywatch, and Swiftfoot were patiently waiting at the camp entrance. “Shiningnight, I’ll be leaving you in charge while we’re gone.” he ordered as the she-cat padded over. Cometblaze could see Lilacpetal trying to hide behind the warrior as she stared at the group of leaving cats. Concern was written all over her face. What is she thinking about?
Trees froze, no wind appeared to be making white noise from any direction, making the journey to the island a bit unnerving. Silence of the Night seemed confident, his posture showed it all. “Did you already know about the prophecy?” Cometblaze asked unexpectantly as she slowed down to let her sister catch up. Swiftfoot shook her head. “Lightningclaw didn’t tell me until this morning.”
The scents of the other four tribes was strong, realizing they were the last ones, Silence of the Night’s patrol picked up the pace as they entered the clearing. “How ironic; the leader who ordered this meeting is late to it himself.” Pelt of Honey snapped, looking agitated. Silence of the Night dipped his head in apology. “Forgive me; I will try my best to be on time.” “Save the apology for later, we have much more important things to discuss than tardiness.” the Winter Tribe leader pointed out as Silence of the Night sat in their group with every other cat on the outside. “Lightningclaw has had another prophecy; Blood is to attack soon and we don’t have a moment to loose.” Fur in the Gorse nodded his head. “All the healing cats have had this dream.” he insisted. “What is the reason for this meeting if you’re just explaining what has already been understood?” “I was just getting to that.” Silence of the Night reassured as he continued. “I think it would be a good idea to make sure everyone has equal protection; from the likes of it, Blood Tribe is said to be huge-equally as dangerous.” “What are you suggesting Silence of the Night?” hissed Pelt of Honey as she glared at him unmoved by anything he had been saying. “I would like for every cat from each tribe to attend Peace Night together, to make sure an ambush on one of our camps doesn’t leave the rest of us weakened with hostages to worry about. If you would all agree to this idea, my tribe is ready to cooperate.” As the black tom finished his speech, surprised and stares of dismay shone across all of the leader’s faces. “That is outrageous!” spat Tail of Cinder lashing her tail with rage. “There is no way I am putting my tribe mates’ lives in any of your paws! Fur of Crystals nodded her head in agreement. “That would also be breaking the code.” she reminded him. That’s when Lightningclaw moved forward to object. “Sorry for my interruption but, we all know it would be breaking the code.” he confessed calmly. “But then why would Sky Tribe have sent us this sign? Our ancestors would never show us false prophecies.” Swiftfoot could see some of the leaders were having mixed doubts, whether to follow with the idea or not. Pelt of Honey snorted loudly. “We all know Sky Tribe would never false guide us but there is no way I am working with any of you.” “Not even for the future of our own tribe?” Brightlight added harshly staring up at her leader with her one good eye. Pelt of Honey searched for a reply but ended staying silent as her face went red. “I know I don’t have much of a say when it comes to big deals but, Sky Tribe sent us this message for a reason and I think we should do as they command.” meowed Bigheart stepping out of his place. Silence of the Night waited for an answer from the other leaders. “I think the healing cats are right.” Fur in the Gorse exclaimed. “Silence of the Night, I will accept your offer and bring all of my tribe mates to Peace Night.” Silence of the Night dipped his head gratefully. “As will we.” Tail of Cinder agreed dipping her head in acknowledgement. “I might as well.” Pelt of Honey mumbled. “Winter Tribe accepts your offer as well.” meowed Fur of Crystals. “I thank you all for your cooperation.” meowed Silence of the Night dipping his head with respect. “Tonight we will bring each and every cat in our tribe to Peace Night without question.” “What of pregnant she cats? Elders? Kits? How will they be able to cross safely?” Mistypool asked seeing as how the true conversation between the leaders was over. “We’ll give the elders strengthening herbs to make sure they’ll be able to make the journey without fail.” Lightningclaw answered back, deep in thought. “Could we give the strengthening herbs to the pregnant she-cats too?” asked Tail of Cinder. Mistypool shook her head. “She-cats going to bear kits aren’t allowed to have too many herbs, and since this poultice combines many others we can’t give it to them. Tribe mates supporting them would be much better and kits could be carried by apprentices.” she quickly suggested. “We should build a shelter for the elders and pregnant she-cats as well, on the outsides of the island perhaps?” Swiftfoot added shyly. “Great idea Swiftfoot!” Voleear exclaimed. “We could build a huge nursery and elders den for all the cats.” “That’s splendid!” meowed Fur of Crystals. “Apprentices could build the dens before Peace Night starts and one warrior from each tribe could help out too.” “Yes that would be plentiful.” agreed Silence of the Night. “A healing den will also be necessary.” “We should build it in a private, denser covered area of the island. I know a good place.” Brightlight suggested. “I think younger warriors and all healing cats should try to help out and each give an equal amount of each herb as well.” meowed Bigheart. “I think we have everything planned out then?” meowed Silence of the Night happily. All the other cats nodded enthusiastically. “Then we’ll start right away. Skywatch, go fetch the other apprentices and Sunset to help out and meet her immediately with the other tribes to discuss a plan; we’re leaving it in your paws. Got it?” Silence of the Night looked at the other apprentices just to get the message through to them.
Every other cat waited in silence as the apprentices finally returned; soon they were all working together and coming back from their territories with moss, weeds, leaves and sticks to start building. “We’ll be heading back now; we must discuss the new arrangements with everyone else.” meowed Tail of Cinder racing off with her comrades as she waved goodbye to the apprentices. “You know where to find me.” a voice whispered into Swiftfoot’s ear unexpectedly. The she-cat spun around and found deep, blue eyes staring back at her through the trees. Swiftfoot’s heart began to race. She hadn’t even noticed Blackheart had come here to represent Rainbow Tribe’s warrior! She shot a quick glance over to Lightningclaw to see if he had seen anything but the tom had his back turned as he said goodbye to Bigheart
Warriors and apprentices raced to and fro after Silence of the Night’s announcement about the new plan. “Go check on Darkmoon’s kits.” Lightningclaw instructed as he padded into the healing den. Swiftfoot’s fur started to get agitated by his bossiness but she held in any unforgiving comments.
“The meeting went well I assume?” meowed Darkmoon as Swiftfoot entered the den. “Yes. It was weird to see all the leaders cooperating so well together.” she admitted. “Well, with all the new prophecies and a fox telling us about a new danger, I wouldn’t be surprised.” Darkmoon pointed out. “So what’s the reason for you to be stopping by; I know you must be very busy with all the new orders.” “I came to check on you and the kits.” Swiftfoot explained. “Do you feel it hurts anywhere?” Darkmoon shook her head. “It’s not me you should be concerned about, Rising has been making weird rasping noises whenever she breaths.” “I’ve heard it too.” Dawnflower added as she turned around from her tongue bath. Swiftfoot put her ear onto the she-kits tiny chest. She could hear Rising rasping ever so lightly. “It’s only a sore throat.” Swiftfoot concluded. “She’ll be fine just don’t let her eat too much of anything if it starts to hurt. I’ll give her a tiny drop of honey just in case.”
Swiftfoot trotted out of the den and slowed her pace as she entered the healing den. Lightningclaw was still sorting herbs when she entered and flicked his ear in acknowledgement. “Any news about the kits or Darkmoon?” he asked not looking up. “Darkmoon and Midnight are doing just fine but Rising has a sore throat. Do we still have honey left?” she asked. “We have little honey left; it’s at the very back.” Lightningclaw replied glancing at the back of the den before continuing his work. “After you’ve finished with Rising come back here, we need to discuss something.” “Ok.” meowed Swiftfoot with relief. Her mentor was finally going to tell her what was on his mind. Scooping the thick, sweet liquid onto a small leaf, Swiftfoot slowly padded out of the healing den to make sure she wouldn’t drop any of the honey. “Are you sure this is enough for Rising?” Darkmoon asked doubtfully as the gray she-kit lapped up the honey with delight. “If I give her too much, especially when she’s a kit, she could have a sore tummy for a while.” Swiftfoot explained. “Don’t worry, sore throats don’t affect cats too badly; just tell me if things change ok?” Darkmoon slowly nodded her head. “Ok Swiftfoot, I trust you.” Swiftfoot waved goodbye to Darkmoon and headed for the healing den with enthusiasm. Lightningclaw’s serious gaze quickly changed her mood as she entered. “Is everything alright-” The elderly healing cat flicked his tail for silence. “Do you wish to go to Peace Night tonight?” he asked with a straight face. Swiftfoot slowly nodded her head. “Of course I do.” she meowed, looking a little bit puzzled. “Of course you do, unless there’s an emergency you have to come. But, don’t you find it awfully strange?” he asked. “Most cats barely mingle with the other tribes and when they do, there isn’t usually a strong scent coming off of their pelt when they return.” Swiftfoot’s mind went blank. Is he on to me? Lightningclaw looked at her before continuing. “But whenever you come to sit beside the healing cats before the meeting starts, the stench of Rainbow Tribe is all over your pelt. A particular warrior is very visible; by the name of Blackheart. Does that name ring a bell?” Swiftfoot stayed absolutely still. She couldn’t let Lightningclaw find out. “Blackheart is a warrior from Rainbow Tribe; of course I would know who he is. Rainbow Tribe is right next to Star Tribe.” she meowed casually. “Swiftfoot.” he meowed with a slightly agitated growl rumbling in his throat. “I know what you’ve been doing at night.” Swiftfoot tried to stay calm though she knew she was going to panic soon. “I-I don’t know what you’re talking about.” she replied but flinched, knowing she had used the wrong words. “You’ve been meeting ever since you were apprentices; both of you. You first met at Peace Night.” he continued as he closed in. Swiftfoot stayed where she was and tried to reason but no words escaped. Had her sisters told everything to Lightningclaw? Rage boiled inside her and she couldn’t hold it in anymore. “Fine.” she meowed keeping her voice cool. “You got me. But how did you know?” “Did you really think I wasn’t going to notice?” he snapped. “All the glances at Peace Night, whenever we went searching for herbs his scent was all over you too. I’m pretty sure your siblings are well aware of what you’ve been doing as well. Like I told you many seasons ago, you can’t hide anything from me.” Swiftfoot was silent with terror. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t run. She couldn’t even breathe. What am I going to do, she thought panic stricken. “W-why should I care?” she finally managed to say, trying to make her voice grow stronger. Lightningclaw looked a bit surprised. “Blackheart loves me and I love him.” Lightningclaw was flicking his tail as he tried to say something reasonable. “Swiftfoot, this could ruin your future. Silence of the Night will eventually have to hear about this.” he explained. Swiftfoot’s fur started to bristle. “Don’t you dare tell my father anything!” she spat unsheathing her claws. “Have you forgotten healing cat duties? We must report anything important right away.” he meowed calmly. “I can’t let you do that; Blackheart means everything to me. I won’t loose him.” she growled blocking the entrance. “So you’d rather loose you tribe and your duty than loose a forbidden lover?” he questioned, staring at the she-cat. Swiftfoot bared her teeth menacingly. “You dare question my loyalty too?” she snarled. “I will always stay loyal!” Lightningclaw’s yellow eyes flashed with fear for a heartbeat but soon calmed himself. “I will not let you destroy your future like some healing cats have already done.” he meowed in a softer voice. “Swiftfoot, I will be putting you under surveillance by two warriors during the day and during the night-” Swiftfoot bashed her skull into Lightningclaw’s head before he could properly finish his sentence. The healing cat stumbled backwards and fell into a pile of herbs where he stayed unmoving. Swiftfoot’s vision went blurry for a few seconds as her head pounded from the impact. When she didn’t hear Lightningclaw regain his balance, Swiftfoot looked over to the yellow blur before her vision cleared again. The she-cat gasped with horror. Lightningclaw’s forehead was bleeding from the blow and he was knocked unconscious. Swiftfoot instinctively stepped backwards, realizing what she had done. I need to get out of here, she thought panic stricken. Looking back at her injured mentor before swallowing the guilt, Swiftfoot raced out of the healing den in a rush. Nobody seemed to notice Swiftfoot’s strange behavior as they scurried around camp, thinking she was busy as well.
She didn’t know where she was going until she heard the rushing of a small waterfall. Swiftfoot skidded to a stop as she realized she was right outside of her meeting place with Blackheart. She could smell his scent already waiting and slowly made her way in, trying to fake a smile. The black tom stopped licking his paw as she entered and greeted her with a lick on the ear. “Hey Swiftfoot! Great to see you again!” he meowed happily. “Yeah it’s great to see you again Blackheart…!” she meowed trying to purr but no sound came out. “Cut the happy act Swiftfoot.” he meowed in a stern tone. “I can sense you’re very unhappy. What happened?” “I-I injured Lightningclaw.” she explained leaning against him with wide eyes as she remember the moment. “Oh it was only an accident Swiftfoot-” “I did it on purpose. I knocked him unconscious and left him in the healing den alone. Everyone’s going to accuse me of trying to murder my own mentor!” she wailed. “What?” he meowed in bewilderment. “Why would you do that?” Swiftfoot sighed, knowing she would’ve had to tell the truth. “Lightningclaw knew about us the entire time.” she whispered lowering her head. Blackheart’s eyes opened wide and fear shone through. There was silence as the two friends decided on what to do. “Is this the end for us…?” he said half to himself. “Of course not!” Swiftfoot spat. “We need each other, Blackheart.” “Swiftfoot, we need to leave.” he meowed. “What? Why?” she asked. “Peace Night is going to start soon.” he meowed
The healing den was awfully quiet as Breezetail padded in. She had been looking for Swiftfoot everywhere she could think of but no luck. She could definitely detect Lightningclaw’s presence but she couldn’t see the healing cat anywhere. “Lightningclaw?” she greeted looking around. “I was wondering if you’d seen-oh great Sky Tribe!” she exclaimed as she saw the healing cat knocked out cold at the back of the den. “Lightningclaw!” she meowed putting her ear on his chest. Breezetail sighed in relief as she heard his chest thump. “Breezetail? Is everything alright?” asked Skypelt poking her head into the den. “Skypelt! I found Lightningclaw unconscious at the back of the den and he’s bleeding from his forehead!” she explained as her mother came over. “Oh dear!” she meowed looking at the tom worriedly. “How did this happen?” Breezetail heard Lightningclaw mumble something under his breath as he slowly opened his eyes. “Hmm?” he grunted as he saw two pairs of worried eyes staring down at him. “Lightningclaw are you alright?” Skypelt asked helping the tom to his paws. “I’m fine, I’m fine.” he mumbled shaking his head. “What happened to you?” Breezetail asked. “Oh I tripped over something in the den and hit my head on the wall.” he mumbled. “But your forehead is bleeding.” Skypelt pointed out suspiciously. “Huh?” he meowed before pressing his forehead on a nearby leaf, only to see blood on the herb. “I must’ve really hit my head hard then.” he grumbled before pressing his forehead on a cobweb. “Do you need me to fetch Swiftfoot?” Skypelt asked, still looking concerned. “I’m a healing cat; I can look after myself but thank you for your concerns. I just applied cobweb so I’m good for now.” he meowed reassuringly. “You can carry on with your duties and I’ll continue with mine as well.” “Well if you say so.” Skypelt mumbled before leaving the den with Breezetail just behind her.
Breezetail looked around the clearing, where was Swiftfoot? Her sister’s familiar pelt made its way across Breezetail’s gaze before she stepped in to tell her the news. “Swiftfoot!” she greeted as Swiftfoot made her way towards the healing den. There was a gloom in her sister’s eyes and she saw fear work its way into her face. “W-what is it?” she asked fearfully. Breezetail looked at her with a puzzled face. “I found Lightningclaw unconscious at the back of the healing den; he said he hit his head on the wall when he tripped over something and he got injured from it.” Swiftfoot started to shiver ever so slightly and she could feel relief and guilt sweep over the young she-cat. “I-Is he alright.” she meowed weakly. Breezetail nodded her head. “He just woke up and fixed himself too.” she replied looking worriedly at her sister. Was she really that concerned about her former mentor? Just then, Lightningclaw made his way out of the den and headed over to Silence of the Night without even looking at either siblings. As he passed, Swiftfoot looked like she wanted to say something but stopped herself and put her head down. “I’ll be right back.” she mumbled before heading into the healing den. Breezetail stared after her confusedly; what was that all about, she thought. She had never seen Swiftfoot react that way towards her mentor. Swiftfoot returned a moment later, emerging from the den with ragwort in her mouth. “Is that all you and Lightningclaw are bringing for the herb supply to Peace Night?” she asked curiously. “There’s no need.” Swiftfoot explained, seeming to have changed in the heart beat she had went into the den to retrieve the herb. “When our patrol left to meet up with the other leaders, we assigned apprentices and a few warriors to help out, sadly, I had other business to attend to, but Skywatch and Cloudwillow brought herbs to the healing den at the meeting place.” Breezetail nodded her head. “I think I remember seeing them run in and out of camp a few times. “Eat this.” Swiftfoot instructed Cloudysun, chewing up the herb for the elderly she-cat. “Can I help?” Breezetail asked, looking hopeful. Swiftfoot shook her head. “Cloudysun is the only cat to give any herbs to.” she meowed padding back into the den. “Oh, by the way, Silence of the Night needs you for a task.” Breezetail nodded her head in thanks before padding over to her father. “Breezetail, I need you to assign two apprentices to holding one of Darkmoon’s kits each.” he meowed. Breezetail scanned the clearing for the first two apprentices she could see. “Sunstrike! Cloudwillow!” she called as they raced over in a hurry. “I need you to each take one of Darkmoon’s kits on our way to Peace Night; we’ll be leaving shortly by the looks of things.” Both apprentices nodded their heads eagerly before racing off. “Also, you’ll be watching Skywatch from here on out until we get back ok?” Silence of the Night concluded before calling the apprentice over. “I’ve already assigned Nightsky and Cometblaze to one of the siblings.” Breezetail nodded her head as Silence of the Night left to talk to Risingmoon. Skywatch looked up at her warmly and waited expectantly. “What can I do Breezetail?” she asked as she saw her siblings come out with Darkmoon as they carried her kits. “Um, I need you to stay by my side until Peace Night is over; you need to look out for any suspicious activity-but only at my side.” she meowed, trying to make it sound like a serious task. Skywatch didn’t look to thrilled but nodded her head enthusiastically. As Breezetail looked around, she could tell everyone was on edge. Halfmoon, Snowpetal and Wintersky were guarding Cloudysun from the sides and behind as they moved out of camp. Starynight was helping Dawnflower while Risingmoon was supporting her other side. The rest of her tribe mates were already out of camp as Silence of the Night took the lead. “Everyone stay close! Once we get there bring the pregnant she-cats to the dens and have one warrior stay near them. Same goes for elders.” And with that, they were off. Breezetail and Skywatch stayed at the back of the group shot glances behind them just to make sure everything was fine. “Breezetail, what about her?” Skywatch asked as they neared the entrance of camp. Lilacpetal watched as every cat left before Breezetail neared her. “Why aren’t you moving like the rest of us?” Breezetail snapped impatiently. “I honestly don’t know if I should come.” she explained shyly. “Are you mouse-brained?! You can’t just stay behind!” Breezetail snapped back. “Breezetail’s right.” Skywatch chimed in. “You’re part of the tribe now and no one gets left behind.” Lilacpetal looked at her gratefully before dipping her head and hesitantly walking beside Shiningnight.
It didn’t take as long as expected to get across the twoleg made log and onto the island where every tribe was already gathered. As Nightsky, Cometblaze, Cloudwillow, Sunstrike, and Starynight went to find Dawnflower and Darkmoon a spot in the nursery, Cloudysun was escorted to the elder’s den by Lightningclaw and Snowpetal before Lightningclaw hurried of to the healing den for one last check with the other healing cats.
After everyone had settled down and everything was sorted out, Peace Night began immediately. “Prey is thriving within Winter Tribe and we’ve cleaned all the blood away from our territory.” meowed the white she-cat. As the leaders continued to report their news, Breezetail checked to see if Skywatch was still at her side, fortunately, Skywatch hadn’t moved an inch but was staring at Lilacpetal suspiciously a distance away. “Everything is well in Star Tribe. Darkmoon has given birth to Rising and Midnight. New warriors have been welcomed into Star Tribe; Nightsky, Breezetail, and Cometblaze. Swiftfoot is also a full healing cat.” Murmurs of agreement made its way around the clearing before Silence of the Night continued. Lilacpetal has joined our tribe.” “Joined your tribe?” Pelt of Honey growled. “You have some nerve bringing in a strange cat; especially at this time.” “She’s a kittypet.” Silence of the Night reassured. Growls of outrage rang around the clearing. “You can’t just bring in a kittypet!” snapped Tail of Cinder. “You don’t control the whole forest and who gets to be in it.” “And neither do you.” Silence of the Night retorted before turned away from Rainbow Tribe’s leader. “Lilacpetal is loyal; she hasn’t done anything to make me doubtful.” “Liar!” spat an icy voice coming from the twoleg built log. A shiver went down Breezetail’s spine as she smelt an overpowering stench, mostly reeking of blood. “Who said that?” snarled Fur in the Gorse as he whirled around the clearing, obviously knowing no one in the crowd had said anything. “Stay close Skywatch.” Breezetail hissed as they heard laughter and footsteps make their way into the clearing. Breezetail saw as every cat stood up, what stood before their only escape off the island. Millions of muscular-sleek-scar-ridden bodies emerged as the moon shone brighter than ever before. The leaders looked at each other, clearly knowing who it could be. “Who are you?” Pelt of Honey demanded, with hackles raised. “Us?” a deep voice answered back with a cackle as he shouldered his way to the front of the group. An enormous orange and white tabby tom appeared before all of his comrades as he spoke. “We are Blood Tribe.
Every cat was silent; Blood Tribe was huge! “Now let’s get acquainted shall we?” meowed their leader with a smirk. “I, am Blood-Shed leader of Blood Tribe and this is Shred, my second in command.” The whole clearing was silent. What is he playing at, Nightsky thought narrowing her eyes. “Oh come on.” he meowed sarcastically. “You aren’t gonna tell us who you are?” None of the leaders said anything, hostile glares were their only welcome. “Ouch.” he exclaimed pretending to feel hurt. “I guess I’ll introduce you instead. Pelt of Honey, Fur in the gorse, Silence of the Night, Tail of Cinder, and, oh what was it again? Crystal of Fur? Oh that’s right! Fur of Crystals, so sorry for not remembering who you were.” “How do you know this?” Fur of Crystals spat defensively. “Oh?” he exclaimed sarcastically. “You didn’t scent us? We were watching your little gathering. Honestly, how cute; spending your last moments all gathered in the same place before we kill all of you.” Blood-Shed spat the last part out as his tribe mates laughed at his lame joke. “Blood-Shed!” shrieked a voice from inside Star Tribe’s group. Nightsky looked around in confusion; who would challenge Blood-Shed like that? She spotted Lilacpetal making her way out of the group of cats to face the blood-thirsty leader. Blood-Shed’s icy gazed rested on Lilacpetal as the she-cat bared her teeth before backing off a few fox lengths. “Oh.” he simply meowed. “Haven’t seen you in a while. What do they call you here?” Cloudwillow bravely spoke up from Nightsky’s side. “Lilacpetal is part of Star Tribe. Don’t you dare touch her!” she snapped defensively. “Oh really?” Shred exclaimed, looking at his leader with amusement. “It’s pitiful they can even call you one of their own. I guess they don’t know you were once part of our tribe, Half-Heart.” “Well?” growled Silence of the Night when the she-cat remained silent. Lilacpetal sighed and lifted her head to face Star Tribe’s leader. “It’s true; I’m originally from Blood Tribe.” The clearing exploded with hostility. “How could you?” Cloudwillow growled furiously. “We trusted you!” Half-Heart looked away shamefully. “I for one never trusted her.” Snowpetal spat as she lashed her tail back and forth. “Wait, please-” Half-Heart pleaded as cats started to surround her. “You don’t understand I’m-” “Of course we do!” Wintersky growled. “You were their spy!” “No, no!” she cried. “That’s not true!” “It doesn’t matter anymore!” Nightsky meowed making sure her voice was heard. “The fight is about to begin anyway; there’s no need to pay attention to only one of their warriors; there’s a whole tribe to worry about.” Murmurs of agreement rose and every cat backed off of the scared she-cat. “No please!” she continued. “Let me fight by your side! I’m not with them anymore! They’re insane! I came to you for a different reason!” “And what is that reason?” Halfmoon asked suspiciously. Half-Heart looked at her paws before she replied. “I came here searching for something dear to me.” “Liar!” shrieked a cat from across the clearing. “Silence Karma!” Blood-Shed spat. “Or it’ll be your blood being spilled.” “But I bet the only reason she came here was to look for her kits-” The tom was cut off by a growl from Half-Heart. “How do you know that?” she spat. Blood-Shed had a creepy smile across his face as he shouldered Karma back into the crowd. “You remember him don’t you?” he meowed pacing back and forth. “Your mate?” Nightsky could see Half-Heart tense. “What did you do to him?” she growled in a scared voice. “Well, he did let you and your kits escape from Blood Tribe unharmed.” Blood-Shed meowed casually. “So we did what always happens to any traitor.” Half-Heart’s ears went flat on her head. “You didn’t…!” “But we did.” the tom meowed with a grin. “We made him suffer for two moons before giving him a slow, painful death.” “And that’s what’ll happen to the rest of you too.” Karma snarled. “No.” meowed Half-Heart. “I won’t let that happen; every cat here is willing to die trying to fight for their own tribe’s survival and even though they may not accept me as their own, I will die trying to protect these tribes too.” “You’re so pathetic.” Blood-Shed snarled as he grew closer to Half-Heart. “By the end of the night, your blood will be the only thing we can see.” “Just try it!” Half-Heart shrieked before bowling Blood Tribe’s leader over. The tabby tom got back on his feet and with a flick of his tail, Blood Tribe attacked. “We need more warriors keeping elders and kits safe!” cried Redlight as Blood Tribe warriors neared the nursery. “All healing cats to your positions!” Nightsky heard Lightningclaw yowl. “Cloudwillow try and stay close!” Nightsky ordered as the she-cat ducked under a warrior’s belly and kicked the tom into the air
Blood could already be seen clearly around the clearing and all Nightsky could do was avert her eyes towards her enemies. How many warriors have already been killed, she thought to herself in distress. Nightsky angrily landed a blow on a brown she-cat as she tried to attack Cloudwillow from behind. The brown cat hissed before lunging for Nightsky’s throat. Nightsky quickly dodged a second before she heard the warrior’s jaws snap at thin air. “Jaw-Drip are you even trying?!” snapped a tom as he fought Fishtail. “Shut up Bruiser!” the she-cat snapped back as she tried to hit Nightsky’s shoulder. “It looks like you’re getting weakened by a kitten.” Nightsky snapped as Jaw-Drip’s legs but the she-cat forced her front paws to slam down on Nightsky’s back. The black she-cat struggled frantically under her weight but the she-cat was too strong. Nightsky tried to claw at her shoulders as Jaw-Drip opened her mouth to reveal sharp, blood stained teeth veering course for Nightsky’s unprotected throat. For a few seconds, Nightsky didn’t know what to do but wait for it all to end; but just as fast, she heard a triumphant screech as Cloudwillow appeared and kicked Jaw-Drip off and sent her flying into another pair of warriors. Cloudwillow lunged after the she-cat and furiously dug her claws into the warrior’s shoulders as she cursed in her face. “Don’t come back!” Cloudwillow shrieked as the she-cat fumbled away. Nightsky nodded her head in thanks as Cloudwillow came back panting. “Nightsky we have to help the warriors guarding the nursery before they steal any kits!” The warrior nodded her head and raced off to the nursery with the apprentice by her side. “Stop right there!” she heard one of the queens snarl as a Blood Tribe warrior tried to snatch up one of her kits. As soon as she was close enough, Nightsky bolted for the warrior and bashed him against a rock with all her strength. The she-cat was still seething with rage as she jumped onto the tom before he could get up. “Nightsky!” Breezetail shrieked, trying to pull her sister off. “Stop it! He’s already dead!” Nightsky stopped and looked down at the warrior. “When you kicked him onto the rock he probably hit his head really, really hard.” Breezetail meowed as Skywatch looked away. The queen looked up at Nightsky gratefully. “Thank you. You saved me and my kits.” Nightsky dipped her head before turning back to Breezetail. “Let’s stay together from now on; you, me and Cometblaze-along with Cloudwillow, Skywatch, and Sunstrike.
“There are too many cats!” Breezetail shouted over the raging battle. “It could take us forever to find Cometblaze and Sunstrike!” “I think I found them!” Skywatch exclaimed as she raced into the thicket of fighting cats. Breezetail, Nightsky, and Cloudwillow followed, clearing away any enemies in their path. When they had finally caught up to Skywatch, she was helping Cometblaze and Sunstrike take down two warriors. Breezetail rushed in to help and raked her claws across the tom’s unprotected flank before he fled.
“I don’t get it.” complained Sunstrike after they had taken down their other opponent. “Why are we the only apprentices that have to stay with a warrior?” Breezetail looked at her sister’s doubtfully. “Should we tell them?” she asked. “Tell us what?” Skywatch asked curiously. “We don’t really have time.” Cometblaze pointed out. “We’re in the middle of a battle with dangerous cats!” Breezetail let out an annoyed hiss as the apprentices stared up at her expectantly. “Just tell them quickly-” meowed Nightsky before slashing at a Blood Tribe warrior. Breezetail let out a sigh. “Fine.” she mumbled before she looked at the three siblings. “You three are in grave danger if we leave you alone.” “Every cat is!” Sunstrike objected as he looked around the clearing. “Be more specific!” Cometblaze shouted as she and Nightsky took on warriors from behind. “Oh for Sky Tribe’s sake-a prophecy told us that someone or something will come after you and tell you something that could change your futures-that’s all I’m saying!” “So…something really bad will happen after all?” Cloudwillow repeated looking around warily. “Yes and that’s why we’re here with you; Silence of the Night assigned us to stay by your side!” Breezetail snapped, loosing her temper. “Breezetail!” yowled a voice from outside of the clearing. “Cometblaze! Nightsky!” Finally, Breezetail spotted Swiftfoot desperately looking around for them as she raced back and forth. “Swiftfoot! We’re here!” Breezetail yowled as she slashed her way through the crowd. “Swiftfoot what happened?!” Nightsky asked as they finally came in earshot only to see Swiftfoot had multiple scratches showing. “Have you been fighting?” “Of course not!” she retorted. “I’m a healing cat! Anyway I’ve been looking all over for you! Half-Heart wants to see Cloudwillow, Sunstrike, and Skywatch immediately.” “Why? We’re sort of in the middle of a battle.” Cometblaze asked. “I don’t know!” snapped Swiftfoot. “She said it was an emergency! Half-Heart may not have a lot of time left anyway so hurry over there! She’s badly injured!” “Where is she?” Cloudwillow asked. Swiftfoot pointed her tail to the other side of the clearing. “Just go on the outsides of the island and that should keep you from being spotted. I’ll meet you there after I get herbs.” And with that, Swiftfoot disappeared and the group made their way over to Half-Heart’s resting place.
Thick bushes and shrubs surrounded the white she-cat as she lay in an awkward position, her pelt completely soaked with blood. Breezetail could see blood oozing out a life-threatening gash on her throat as they finally reached her. Swiftfoot wasn’t in sight but Breezetail was aware of Lightningclaw sitting next to the she-cat with a troubled look on his face. Half-Heart twitched her ear as she sensed their arrival. “Scarlet…was right.” she rasped weakly. “These tribes are truly the safest place for a cat to live.” Breezetail winced as she heard screams from the ongoing war. “I’m sorry you have to see me like this; I had hoped we could live side by side without my true identity being revealed but, I’ve had bad luck my whole life.” she continued before coughing up blood. “You shouldn’t speak.” Lightningclaw whispered. Half-Heart shook her head. “Don’t waste your herbs on me. My time has come; it should’ve come when Blood-Shed wanted to kill my kits but…” The she-cat weakly lifted her head to gaze at the three apprentices. “You’ve grown up just fine without your mother to support you. And I couldn’t be more proud.” Breezetail felt Skywatch tense as Cloudwillow spoke up. “Y-you’re our mother?” she asked, looking at the she-cat hopefully. Half-Heart looked at the ground in shame. “I know it’s hard to take in- your mother is a rouge, a traitor, and a kittypet but…no matter what you think of me, I still love you.” Sunstrike padded up to his mother and sat before her. “I don’t care who you once were; I’m just glad you stood up for our new home-and was there to see us in our tribes as we did our duty as apprentices.” he meowed looking down on her warmly. Half-Heart looked at him in surprise and shed a single tear as Cloudwillow and Skywatch nodded their heads. “Your father would’ve been so proud-” she meowed before going into a coughing fit. “Stand back!” Lightningclaw ordered as she went into a spasm as blood ran out of her mouth controllably. “What’s happening?” Skywatch asked as their mother lay still. “She’s gone.” Lightningclaw confirmed after a moment of silent between the cats. “No!” Sunstrike cried as he looked at her cold body. “Now we’ll never see her again!” Nightsky comforted the tom with a lick over his ear. “Don’t worry Sunstrike, your mother has shown loyalty to Star Tribe; she lives in Sky Tribe now, watching over you forever.” “I got yarrow-” Swiftfoot meowed as she rushed in but dropped the herb immediately as she saw Half-Heart’s unmoving body. “We’ll have to leave her here until the battle is over; more cats need to be treated.” Lightningclaw meowed rushing away with Swiftfoot in the lead.
Lightningclaw quickly took the lead as they neared a cat’s body. “She’s still alive, I’ll take her from here; go look for someone else.” he meowed dragging the she-cat’s body into a more secure area. Swiftfoot nodded her head and from the edge of the clearing, searched for any cats in need of medical assistance. “Swiftfoot watch out!” shrieked a voice as a red tom came into view. The healing cat tried to run but was too slow as the tom sank his claws into her flank and slashed at her hurt shoulder. Swiftfoot let out a shriek as the tom tried to scratch her throat. “Take your paws off her!” snarled Blackheart as he bit down hard on the warrior’s throat. Swiftfoot regained her footing and thanked Blackheart. “Are you alright?” Blackheart asked worriedly. “We should stay together; I can help you retrieve the injured and I can watch your back.” “I’m fine.” she meowed, wincing at her injuries. “Blackheart-” “You don’t have to say it.” he meowed. “I understand Swiftfoot; you know where to find me if you need my help.” “Thank you Blackheart.” she meowed back with relief and sadness. “I’ll be happy for you no matter what happens.” “Same to you.” he meowed before racing back into battle. “Stay safe Swiftfoot! And whatever you do, don’t die before I do!” Swiftfoot let out a small purr of laughter before racing away to attend to more cats.
“Retreat!” shrieked a voice in the distance. Swiftfoot’s shot a glance around the clearing. Were they retreating? Or are we outnumbered? It had been several hours after Half-Heart died and more cats with serious injuries were lining up in rows but she hadn’t seen a lot of fatalities yet. Relief swept over Swiftfoot as she saw Blood Tribe’s leader race off the island with the rest of his tribe mates. “You haven’t heard the last of us!” he spat as he ran away and out of sight. Swiftfoot rushed onto the blood-soaked battlefield; it seemed like hundreds of cat’s bodies were lying around, mostly of Blood Tribe is seemed-some weren’t even dead yet but Swiftfoot didn’t even bother. She had to know how the elders and queens were doing. She could already here yowls of triumph as everyone celebrated and gave each other pats and hugs. A sickening feeling was coming over Swiftfoot as she stopped halfway. It definitely wasn’t over yet. “It can never come to an end.” she whispered to herself as she looked at the bodies and blood of cats she couldn’t recognize anymore. “It’s only just begun.”
TO BE CONTINUED…
As the story gets more intense, so do the sounds!