Chapter One Edit
Cinderpaw watched Fireheart leave camp, her tail flicking in dismay. Should I go see Tigerclaw anyways? she thought. A strange feeling was bunched up inside her, something that was mysterious and frightening to her. She decided otherwise, and padded over to the prey pile. She picked a thrush and went to join Brackenpaw, Thornpaw, and Swiftpaw besides the apprentice’s den. “…. And you’d never believe how long it was! It seemed to stretch all the way across Snakerocks! Oh, hi Cinderpaw! I was just telling Thornpaw and Brackenpaw about the huge adder that was at Snakerocks when I was on border patrol yesterday.” Cinderpaw glanced at Swiftpaw, “I’m glad it didn’t get my big, strong warrior.” she teased. Swiftpaw’s ears twitched, “Lucky for you, it didn’t get me! If it did, nobody would’ve been able to rescue you when you fell into the stream yesterday!” Cinderpaw sighed, “So? If you were in StarClan, I’d be lonely without you.” Swiftpaw looked down at his paws, while Thornpaw looked at them, jealous, and Brackenpaw glared at them, half-amused. Cinderpaw purred, “Oh, you two! You know I could always use extra warriors to protect me!” Sandstorm and Dustpelt, the newest warriors, watched them, whiskers twitching in amusement. The apprentices ignored them, and Thornpaw said, “Yes, Oh Great One, you always need extra warriors to protect you, especially when you have my kits!” Swiftpaw gasped, “No, she’ll have mine!” Cinderpaw shook her head, “StarClan, what am I going to do? Anyways, we’re still apprentices! We have plenty of time to decide! Or should I say I have plenty of time to decide.” Satisfied, Swiftpaw and Thornpaw went back to eating their prey. Cinderpaw finished her thrush, and began to wash her pelt.
Suddenly, the border patrol, Whitestorm, Graystripe, Runningwind, and Mousefur, burst through the camp entrance, carrying a dark tabby tom, his fur covered in blood. Graystripe panted, “Tigerclaw is dead!” Goldenflower poked her head out of the nursery, “What?! Why?! I’m going to have his kits! He’ll never be able to see them!” Frostfur came out of the dirtplace tunnel, startled, blue eyes wide. Yellowfang came out of the medicine cat’s den, “How? So many cats are dying lately….” She shook her head. Graystripe meowed, “We found him besides the Thunderpath. His back was crushed.” Yellowfang shook her head again, “Must have been hit by a monster.”
Fireheart padded through the entrance tunnel. Seeing Tigerclaw’s bloodied body, he gasped, “What happened?” As Graystripe retold what had happened, Cinderpaw watched Tigerclaw in horror. That could have been me! I’m really glad I listened now! She noticed that Graystripe and Fireheart glance at each other, with a gleam of… victory? Why in the name of StarClan would Graystripe and Fireheart seem victorious that Tigerclaw is dead? Had they planned to kill Tigerclaw?
Cinderpaw cringed at the thought. She padded slowly over to Swiftpaw, Brackenpaw, and Thornpaw, who were listening to Halftail, Patchpelt, One-eye, and Speckletail talk about all the battles against RiverClan for Sunningrocks. “This latest battle has been the first battle that we’ve been beaten on our own territory since I was born!” rasped Patchpelt. Fireheart and Graystripe glanced at each other again. What do they know?
Chapter Two Edit
A few dawns later, Cinderpaw, Swiftpaw, and Brackenpaw became warriors, and Yellowfang took on an apprentice: Brightpaw. Cinderpaw beamed as she received her warrior name, Cinderpelt. Brackenpaw became Brackenfur, and Swiftpaw became Swiftwind. Thornpaw got in trouble, so he couldn’t become a warrior for another moon. That figures, thought Cinderpelt, he’s always trying to impress me. He has always wanted me to be his mate. Well, I like Swiftwind better, anyways. I’ll just have to find time to tell him.
Cinderpelt purred as Brightpaw became Yellowfang’s apprentice. Yellowfang is lucky; Brightpaw is calm, faithful, and ready to learn. And she’s patient with Yellowfang’s cranky ways. I don’t know how she can do it! She remembered when she was an apprentice, she always played with the kits. Brightpaw, then Brightkit, was very playful, but she was always careful with all of the other kits, especially the younger ones. And Brightpaw used to always hang around the medicine cat den. She always thought that the little white and ginger she-kit would become the medicine cat, and she was right. But Yellowfang always looked troubled when she was training with Brightpaw. Is there something wrong with Brightpaw?
Later that day, Swiftwind and Cinderpelt were hunting along with Brackenfur, Longtail, Dustpelt, Fireheart, and Cloudpaw at Tallpines. Fireheart, who was leading the patrol, suddenly stopped. “I think we should split up,” he meowed. “ Me, Cloudpaw, and Brackenfur will stay at Tallpines. Longtail and Dustpelt, you check out the area by Sunningrocks. Cinderpelt and Swiftwind, you go towards the Owl Tree and see if there is any prey there.” Longtail looked annoyed, but he and Dustpelt went towards Sunningrocks, while Cinderpelt and Swiftwind went in the direction of the Owl Tree. “Poor Cloudpaw,” remarked Cinderpelt, “He always liked Brightpaw, and now she’s a medicine cat apprentice, so they won’t be able to be mates.” Swiftwind meowed a ‘Yeah’ in reply, but he seemed to be distracted. Cinderpelt laid her tail onto Swiftwind’s shoulder, looking into his eyes with concern. He looked back, and for just a moment their eyes met, a gaze full of love and affection. Then Swiftwind said, “Cinderpelt? I’ve been trying to find a time to say this, but after becoming a warrior, both of us were so busy. Now I’ve found the time, and I’d like to ask, will you be my mate?” Cinderpelt’s heart leaped with joy, and she immediately purred, “Yes, Swiftwind. I’ll be your mate.”
Later, as the pair padded into the camp, Cinderpelt noticed the rest of the hunters had came back. Fireheart was sitting next to Sandstorm and Graystripe, who were sharing a rabbit. Dustpelt and Longtail were sharing a thrush, and Brightpaw, Cloudpaw, and the two newest apprentices, Ashpaw and Fernpaw, were sharing a couple pigeons. Whitestorm and Bluestar were sitting beneath High Rock. Whitestorm chuckled, “Youngsters. Both of them have been mooning over each ever since their eyes opened!” Sandstorm purred, and she and Fireheart glanced at each other lovingly, while Dustpelt glared at them jealously. Dustpelt is just like Thornpaw! Cinderpelt thought. Or, Thornpaw is just like Dustpelt. Either way, I can see there will be trouble. Bluestar watched as Swiftwind and Cinderpelt dropped their catch- a squirrel, a chaffinch, and a rabbit- in the prey pile, and padded to the warriors den. A look of happiness was in her eyes, but Cinderpelt could see it masked something else…. sorrow? Cinderpelt thought, Maybe she’s just grieving over Tigerclaw. But that was quite a few dawns ago! What else could it be?
Chapter Three Edit
A half moon later, Goldenflower’s kits were born. As Cinderpelt made her way to visit Goldenflower, a wave of happiness went over her. She looked down at her swollen belly and thought, I’ll have to learn a lot about kits before I have my own! She pushed her way through the nursery entrance. Goldenflower was suckling two kits; a dark brown tabby tom-kit and a tortoiseshell she-kit. The tom-kit looks just like his father! Cinderpelt realized. Goldenflower was gazing down at her two kits proudly as Cinderpelt entered. Goldenflower looked up, “Hello, Cinderpelt. Come to see the kits?” Cinderpelt nodded, and the pale ginger she-cat went on, “Once these two little ones get older, I just know they’ll be trouble!” Cinderpelt purred, “They look so innocent now.” Goldenflower shook her head, “Looks deceive you sometimes. I remember when you and Brackenfur, Swiftwind, and Thornclaw were kits. What a group you four were! I remember when Redtail, Spottedleaf, and Willowpelt were kits. Tigerclaw was just an apprentice, and Brindleface, Whitestorm, and Frostfur were kits also. Lionheart and I were younger warriors, and One-eye, Patchpelt, Speckletail, Halftail, and Dappletail were all warriors, but mind you, Halftail was Sparrowpelt, and One-eye was White-eye. Smallear was a warrior too, and he was just starting to become cranky!” She chuckled, but then it seemed a dark cloud slid itself over her head, and sighed. “So many familiar faces have gone since then.” The two grieved for a moment, but then Cinderpelt brightened and said, “But your kits will be warriors before you know it, and they’ll be able to make their Clan proud.” Goldenflower nodded slowly, “Yes, they will. Their father was a brave warrior, and these kits should take after them. Look at Bramblekit’s strong appearance, and Tawnykit looks lithe already! Yes, they will make their Clan proud. And so will yours.”
Chapter Four Edit
One and a half moon later, Cinderpelt had Swiftwind’s kits: Patchkit, Sunkit, Dewkit, and Crowkit. As she nursed them, she watched Tawnykit and Bramblekit play-fight on the other side of the nursery. “Come get me!” squealed Tawnykit, and she dodged out of the way of Bramblekit, who leapt towards her. The little dark brown tabby squeaked, “I will, don’t worry!” He pounced onto his sister, who mewed in surprise, and was instantly got knocked over. “Be a little gentler, Bramblekit.” Cinderpelt meowed. The tom-kit mewled, “Sorry” and he began to wash himself. “Hey, look!” Tawnykit yowled suddenly, “The border patrol is back! And there is somebody else with them, too!” Bramblekit ran over to stand next to his sister, and sniffed the air. He wrinkled his nose and sneezed, “Eww! He smells like a fox!” Cinderpelt recognized the scent immediately. “ShadowClan!” she hissed softly. The two kits gasped. Cinderpelt mewed, “You two are in the way for me to see, so just describe him for me.” Tawnykit answered, “He’s black, with white paws, chest and throat. He doesn’t look like what the elders describe in the stories. He doesn’t look that scary.” The pale gray she-cat thought for a moment, then meowed, “Sounds like Littlecloud’s brother, Whitethroat. I’ve seen him at Gatherings. What is he doing?” This time, Bramblekit replied, “He is talking to Bluestar right now.” He paused, then added, “Bluestar has asked Yellowfang to join them; Brightpaw, too.”
Goldenflower walked in, and meowed, “Whitethroat has come to ask if he could become a medicine cat. ShadowClan has a terrible sickness, and one by one ShadowClan cats are dying. He said he hated to leave his brother, Littlecloud, but he was desperate to stay alive.” Tawnykit snorted, “I’d rather die with Bramblekit than go to ShadowClan.” Goldenflower swept her tail over Tawnykit’s mouth, “Hush, little one. You won’t have to do that.” Cinderpelt sighed, “But she is right. I know I’d do the same for Brackenfur.” Goldenflower nodded, “Yeah, I’d do the same for Lionheart, if he was still around. It looks like Bluestar is calling a meeting. Lets go, you can leave the kits for a moment. Or, you could move over here by the entrance, so you can nurse the kits and still see what the meeting is about.” Once Goldenflower, Tawnykit, and Bramblekit moved out of the nursery, Cinderpelt positioned herself at the entrance so she could see Bluestar on the Highrock, but she could still nurse her four kits. As everyone gathered around the Highrock, Bluestar began. “This ShadowClan cat,” she meowed, flicking her tail at Whitethroat, who was sitting at the base of the Highrock, “wants to join us, and become a medicine cat. He says that there is a terrible sickness, and cats are dying one by one. He says he knows much about the herbs from his brother, Littlecloud, who is now Runningnose’s apprentice. I have talked to Yellowfang and Whitestorm, who both agree we should bring Whitethroat into our Clan. Brightpaw, I know you’ve been training as medicine cat, but you will now be training as a warrior. Whitestorm, you’ll be Brightpaw’s mentor. You have compassion, wisdom, and skill; I want you to pass all those down to this young cat.”
Bluestar hopped down from the Highrock, signaling that the meeting was over. Cats padded over to the prey pile, taking prey and settling down in groups to talk about Bluestar’s decision.
Cinderpelt noticed that her kittens were asleep, so she stood and padded out of the nursery. As she walked past Darkstripe, Longtail, and Dustpelt, she swiveled her ears toward their conversation. “First Yellowfang, now Whitethroat!” Darkstripe growled. “Who is going to be next, Stumpytail? Wetfoot? Nightstar, Cinderfur, Runningnose, Dawncloud, Darkflower and Tallpoppy? She mind as well ask all the Clans come live with us!” Cinderpelt sighed, then she made her way to the prey pile. She grabbed a sparrow, and went to sit by Goldenflower, Whitestorm, Mousefur, Fireheart, Runningwind and Sandstorm. They were all gathered in a circle, but Goldenflower moved over so Cinderpelt could sit down. Runningwind meowed, “I still don’t get why Bluestar keeps bringing ShadowClan cats into our Clan. ThunderClan doesn’t need this. We don’t need half-Clan cats!” He glared at Fireheart defiantly. Cinderpelt looked confused, so Goldenflower whispered, “When Fireheart was an apprentice, he found Yellowfang on the edge of our territory. He fed her, and himself, so he broke the warrior code. His punishment was to take care of Yellowfang, who had battle wounds from Fireheart, Firepaw then. Apparently, some cats still think he is an outsider, even though he is one of our most loyal warriors.” She glared at Darkstripe, Longtail, and Dustpelt. Whitestorm replied, “But Whitethroat could be useful. It’s one less warrior for ShadowClan, another medicine cat for ThunderClan. And there won’t be any half-Clan cats, because medicine cats can’t have kits, anyways.” The large white tom looked thoughtful, “I do feel sorry for the apprentice who brought the rat with the disease into their camp, though. Maybe Bluestar will give them some herbs, so their Clan isn’t wiped out.” Runningwind growled, “Why? They deserve it. They were the ones who drove out WindClan.” “But, Fireheart and Graystripe brought them back. And it was Brokenstar, Blackfoot, , Russetfur, Clawface, and other rouges who drove WindClan out. They aren’t in ShadowClan anymore, and the other cats did it only because they had to listen to their leader. Part of the warrior code says that a leader’s words are law.” Cinderpelt nodded.
Whitestorm was the oldest warrior, now that Tigerclaw and Lionheart were dead. Only he and Darkstripe were senior warriors now. Whitestorm was very wise, but also compassionate. I hope I get to be like him one day. He’s so wise, thoughtful. I’m not going to be like grumpy Darkstripe, or Dustpelt and Runningwind.
Sandstorm and Fireheart also nodded. As Cinderpelt ate her sparrow, she started thinking. Why was Bluestar bringing in ShadowClan cats? It seemed strange, but it did make sense. She watched Whitethroat and Yellowfang sitting by each other besides the medicine cat den. Darkstripe, Dustpelt, and Longtail casted glaring looks at them, but the former ShadowClan cats ignored them. Sandstorm also noticed them, and sighed. “Do they always think Yellowfang is going to lead all of Brokenstar’s rouges into camp?” Fireheart let out a low growl, “After taking care of her for many moons, and getting to know her, I believe she would defend our Clan with her life. I think Whitethroat will, too.”
Chapter Five Edit
Cinderpelt finished her sparrow, and she padded over towards the nursery. Swiftwind was headed towards the warriors den, but when he saw his mate he turned around and padded up to his mate. “How are the kits doing, Cinderpelt?” he meowed. She blinked warmly at him. “Just fine, Swiftwind. Do you want to go see them?” Her mate nodded, and, pressing against each other, they padded towards the nursery. Crowkit, Sunkit, Dewkit, and Patchkit were still sleeping in a warm heap. Bramblekit and Tawnykit were sleeping, too, along side Goldenflower on the other side of the nursery. The two mates pushed through the nursery entrance. Cinderpelt laid herself down besides the kits, curling her tail around them. Swiftwind gazed warmly at the four little kits. “They are beautiful.” He whispered, “They’ll grow up to be fine warriors, I know it.” Cinderpelt nodded. In just a few dawns, she thought, they’ll be able to open their eyes and play with Bramblekit and Tawnykit. After a moment, Swiftwind pushed his way through the nursery entrance. Cinderpelt set her head down on her paws, and sighed happily. She quickly fell asleep, thinking of how her precious kits would be able to become powerful warriors one day.
When she awoke, Cinderpelt found that her kits were nursing, and that Tawnykit, Bramblekit, and Goldenflower were gone. She raised her head, looking around and her ears twitching. She could hear Goldenflower talking to Whitestorm outside of the nursery. “Cinderpelt’s kits are growing quickly,” Whitestorm was saying, “They should have their eyes open soon.” Goldenflower replied, “Yes, they should any day now. Tawnykit and Bramblekit would probably like someone else to play with, since Speckletail doesn’t let Snowkit play with the other kits and Brindleface’s kits are still pretty young.” Whitestorm purred in agreement, “They should make strong warriors, all of them.” Cinderpelt laid her head back down, listening to her kits breathing. She swiveled her ears towards the nursery entrance, listening to the commotion inside camp.
Fireheart was ordering the border patrol to go out, which included Cloudpaw, Brightpaw, Mousefur, Brackenfur and Sandstorm. Fernkit, Ashkit, Bramblekit, and Tawnykit were playing, while the elders talked besides the prey pile. Halftail croaked, “It’s so hot I feel like I’m snow, and I’ll melt!” One-eye rasped, “This is the hottest greenleaf there has been in many, many moons!” Patchpelt meowed, “I actually can’t wait until leafbare!” Cinderpelt sighed. She had a thick coat, and so did Swiftwind and the kits, along with many other cats. Even though greenleaf is a time of plentiful prey, it also meant that everything was hot. She suddenly envied RiverClan, who could go to the river anytime to cool off. ShadowClan is lucky, too, thought Cinderpelt, they live under thick pine trees. Poor WindClan, they live where there is no shelter. Cinderpelt shook her head. I’d rather have trees and undergrowth than no cover at all!
Four dawns later, Cinderpelt’s kits had their eyes open, all blue. Cinderpelt felt happy that new apprentices were being made, and kits being born. Willowpelt had her and Whitestorm’s three kits, Sorrelkit, Rainkit, and Sootkit. Rainkit was a dark gray tom, Sootkit a lighter gray tom, and Sorrelkit a tortoiseshell and white she-kit. Just like Willowpelt’s siblings, Redtail and Spottedleaf, Cinderpelt realized with a pang. And her mother, Dappletail. aThe dark gray queen watched Crowkit, Patchkit, Sunkit, and Dewkit play with Bramblekit and Tawnykit.
They seemed very happy, as if they had been long-time friends. Like Fireheart and Graystripe, Cinderpelt thought sadly. A half-moon ago, Graystripe went to live in RiverClan, the Clan of his mate, Silverstream, and their kits, Stonekit and Featherkit. Silverstream died in her kitting, and Cinderpelt felt that her mentor’s life-long friend got more than he deserved. She had been there to see the death, and it was terrifying. Poor Whitethroat, thought Cinderpelt, it was the first cat that he lost as a medicine cat. Whitethroat had seemed so gloomy. Not cheerful, as usual. Just….lonely.
Cinderpelt stood. She would go to the medicine cat den to see how Whitethroat was doing. She padded past the kits, who paid no attention to her. “Can’t catch me!” squeaked Crowkit, as he darted past his siblings. The rest of the kits chased him, and Cinderpelt brightened slightly, in spite of herself. She entered the medicine cat den to find Whitethroat sorting out herbs. “Juniper berries, watermint, horsetail, marigold…. Oh! Hi, Cinderpelt!” He seemed cheery, but she could tell he was just trying to mask his sadness, “Yellowfang told me to sort out herbs that I gathered earlier.” Cinderpelt nodded to the young tom, and meowed, “I hope you can tell the difference between them before you started sorting them.” Whitethroat replied, “Oh, yes. This is marigold, which can help infection. That is watermint, which helps with fever, I think. Wait, no, watermint is for bellyache. And this is borage, which helps with… oh I forgot!” Cinderpelt purred, “Borage helps nursing queens make more milk when they are having kits. And I think Yellowfang said it also helps with fever.” Whitethroat sighed, “I should have known that! I’m the medicine cat, and I don’t even know what borage does!” Cinderpelt nudged him, “Its okay. You’re still young and you’re supposed to be learning. Make sure you pay attention to Yellowfang when she is teaching you.”
Yellowfang padded in, “Whitethroat, I’ve been training you for at least a moon, and you still don’t know what borage is?” Whitethroat dipped his head, “I… I just forgot… but Cinderpelt helped me.” Yellowfang shook her head, “She isn’t even a medicine cat, and she knows better. And I hope you know what cobweb is used for!” Whitethroat replied, “Oh yes! Cobweb is to stop bleeding.” Yellowfang nodded, “And what about dried oak leaf?” Whitethroat meowed, “Infection. And marigold, goldenrod, and dock are also used for infection.” “Yes, they are.” Meowed Yellowfang blankly, “What about thyme?” Whitethroat mewed, “Anxiousness and frayed nerves. And catmint can cure both whitecough and greencough.” Yellowfang nodded approvingly, “Your getting there, youngster.” She turned to Cinderpelt, “He’s getting there. But you should go back to your kits; they may be getting in trouble.” Cinderpelt dipped her head, and padded out of the medicine cat den. Her kits were still playing with Tawnykit and Bramblekit. Tawnykit batted a moss-ball towards Sunkit, “Catch!” Sunkit crouched, ready to pounce, when Dewkit leaped onto the moss-ball. “Hey!” squeaked Sunkit, launching herself onto Dewkit, “That’s mine!” Crowkit joined her, leaping onto Dewkit, while little Patchkit pushed his way through, trying to get the ball. The two older kits let out a mrrow in laughter.
Goldenflower, who was sitting besides the prey-pile, shook her head as Cinderpelt padded over. “Kits!” purred Goldenflower, “Well, it is your kits’ first time out, so I guess they are excited.” Cinderpelt nodded, and called to the kits, “Be careful, don’t hurt yourselves!” One-eye, Halftail, Patchpelt, Smallear, and Dappletail watched the kits, amused, while Speckletail watched over her own tom-kit, Snowkit, farther away. Snowkit was chasing a butterfly through the camp, not paying any attention to Speckletail’s orders.
Cinderpelt sighed softly, watching Snowkit. The deaf kit was older than all the other kits, but even Dewkit, Sunkit, Crowkit, and Patchkit had already achieved more motor skills than the little white tom. Speckletail was determined to make her kit a warrior, but Bluestar disapproved. “He can’t hear the cry to attack in battle. He can’t hear when a warrior comes up behind him, or any commands.” Bluestar had said respectfully to the elder she-cat. Poor Speckletail, Cinderpelt thought, she has so much faith in Snowkit, and he’ll never become a warrior.
“Hawk! Look out!” The yowl of Cloudpaw echoed through out the camp, and everybody scrambled to safety. Cinderpelt and Goldenflower nudged their kits to the nursery, while the warriors help the elders. Speckletail yowled, “Snowkit!” Cinderpelt turned to see Snowkit still chasing the butterfly, not hearing the warning cries of Speckletail. Fireheart raced towards the hawk as it swooped down towards Snowkit. Cinderpelt watched in horror as the huge bird grabbed the fluffy white tom-kit. Speckletail leaped herself onto the hawk as it began to take off. For a dangerously long moment, Speckletail hanged onto the bird. It then clawed her, and she dropped to the ground. The hawk flew away, with Snowkit screeching in terror. “No! My kit! Oh, my kit!” Speckletail yowled, her eyes filled with horror as the deaf kit was carried away. Brackenfur raced after the hawk, and Fireheart ordered Swiftwind to follow him. Sandstorm padded up to Fireheart, and Speckletail wailed, “It’s my fault! I left him . . . . and now he’s gone. The hawk should have taken me instead!” Sandstorm padded up to the tabby queen to comfort her, and Whitethroat led them to the medicine cat’s den. Then Bluestar padded up and meowed, “It’s not your fault, Speckletail. It could have happened to anyone . . . .” She glanced at Cinderpelt, who was still standing besides the nursery. Cinderpelt glared back, slightly challenging, as she nudged her kits into the nursery, who were mewling to come back out.
“No,” hissed Cinderpelt softly, “I’m not letting any of you to turn into a hawk’s meal!” Fireheart called everyone to Highrock as Bluestar padded away into her den, growling something inaudible to herself. Cinderpelt meowed, “Be good. I’ll be right back.” And she sat down next to Whitethroat and Goldenflower. Fernpaw pressed herself against Dustpelt, and Longtail crouched nearby, as if afraid that the hawk will come back. Fireheart began, “We will sit vigil for Snowkit tonight. So rest now, so that you can sit vigil.” He paused, and then continued, “We think there is a dog running loose in our territory. We haven’t seen it, but we’ve scented it by Snakerocks and near Fourtrees.” Sandstorm called, “What about the dogs at the farm beyond WindClan territory? Maybe it’s one of those.” Cinderpelt shivered, and Goldenflower pressed against her reassuringly. “Maybe,” agreed Fireheart, “Until it goes away again, we all have to be especially careful. Apprentices mustn’t go out without a warrior. And all cats that leave camp have an extra duty. Look for traces of this dog-scent, pawmarks, scattered scraps of prey. . . .” Mousefur added, “And dung. The filthy creatures never think of burying it.” Cinderpelt saw Frostfur and Thornclaw cringe, both hissing to themselves. “Right,” nodded Fireheart, “If you come across anything like that, report it to me right away. We need to find out where the dog has made its den.”
Fireheart nodded, dismissing them, and the cats began to gather into groups. Dustpelt, Longtail, and Darkstripe went to the prey pile, and shared a large rabbit, while Brindleface, Frostfur, Goldenflower, and Willowpelt each grabbed a piece of prey and gathered around the nursery. Cinderpelt padded to the prey pile and grabbed a thrush, then pushed her way into the nursery. Tawnykit and Bramblekit were sleeping, while Dewkit, Crowkit, Sunkit, and Patchkit were play-fighting at the other end of the nursery. Cinderpelt meowed, “Be quiet, you four! It’s time for your nap.” The four kits meowed at the same time, “Aww! Where aren’t sleepy!” but they padded over to Cinderpelt, who had already laid down. They began to suckle, and soon after they fell asleep.
Cinderpelt began to eat her thrush, her mind whirling. She heard Swiftwind and Brackenfur pad back into camp, unsuccessful, and Fireheart quickly told them a summary of the meeting. Cinderpelt laid her pale gray head down onto her paws, and she fell asleep.
Chapter Six Edit
Cinderpelt awoke with the sound of a battle cry. Her kits were squealing with excitement at the entrance of the nursery, with Bramblekit and Tawnykit standing behind them. Goldenflower was watching from besides her kits, her eyes serious. She turned her head towards Cinderpelt, “Bluestar has decided to go battle RiverClan, since they were playing the old Sunningrocks trick.” Cinderpelt shook her head, hissing softly. “I wish I could go. We haven’t had a battle in awhile, and I haven’t been able to leave the camp since the reports of the loose dog.” Goldenflower nodded, “But you have four kits to take care of. You couldn’t leave me with six kits to take care of, could you?” Cinderpelt replied, purring, “No. I’m just saying, it’d be nice to go out of camp for a bit . . . .” She was interrupted with another battle cry, and she saw Swiftwind, Fireheart, Sandstorm, Whitestorm, Longtail, Cloudpaw, Ashpaw, Brightpaw, Fernpaw, Brackenfur, and Bluestar race out of camp; that left Yellowfang, Whitethroat, Frostfur, Darkstripe, Brindleface, Mousefur, Thornclaw, Dustpelt, Goldenflower, Speckletail, Willowpelt, One-eye, Halftail, Patchpelt, Smallear and Dappletail in camp. If RiverClan sends a patrol here, there should be enough to fight them here. She thought about the RiverClan warriors she had seen at Gatherings: Crookestar, Leopardfur, Mudfur, Blackclaw, Heavystep, Dawnpaw, Stonefur, Mistyfoot, Shadepelt, Loudbelly, Graystripe, Mosspelt, and Graypool. Graypool, Mudfur, and Dawnpaw probably wouldn’t be in the fight, but the young she-cat apprentice could. Mudfur was the medicine cat, and Graypool was an elder, so they wouldn’t fight. I could take on ol’ Stonefur if I could. Or maybe even Blackclaw, or Leopardfur! But I bet Graystripe wouldn’t fight. He’s probably guarding the camp, if you could call it a camp. Cinderpelt didn’t notice that Patchkit was meowing besides her. She looked down and the small black and white tom whimpered, “Why is the Clan going to fight? Are they going to fight the dogs?” Cinderpelt wrapped her tail around her kit, “No, they are going to fight RiverClan. Those fish-breathes are trying to steal back Sunningrocks! So, the Clan is going to wait in ambush until RiverClan has come to mark ‘their’ territory, and Bluestar will be ready.” The kits were jumping all around her, giving off a flurry of questions.
“Are we going to win?”
“How big is RiverClan?”
“Are they really scary?”
“Have you battled RiverClan before?”
“Did they hurt you?”
“Did you hurt them?”
Goldenflower purred, “Calm down, kittens. We don’t know if we are going to win; RiverClan is good sized, but they aren’t that scary. They are a bunch of fatties. Both me and Cinderpelt have battled those fish-breaths, and both us and them got hurt in the mean time.” Cinderpelt glanced at Goldenflower gratefully, and then meowed, “Hopefully nobody will get too badly hurt.” Goldenflower nodded, and she sat down besides Tawnykit and Bramblekit, who were still sleeping. And the pair of queens and kits all laid down, watching the camp entrance. While doing this, Cinderpelt fell asleep.
Chapter Seven Edit
“Cinderpelt! Wake up; the patrol is back! And they won!” Cinderpelt opened her eyes to see Patchkit in her face, his eyes bright with excitement. She sat up and Patchkit fell off her, but he kept bouncing around, meowing in excitement. She saw that Sunkit, Crowkit, and Dewkit were in the nursery entrance, along with Tawnykit and Bramblekit. Goldenflower was just outside the nursery, talking to Whitestorm. “RiverClan never suspected us,” Whitestorm was saying, “They were so surprised they could have jumped out of their pelts when we jumped on them.” Suddenly, Crowkit yowled, “Look! Someone new! He smells like fish.” Cinderpelt meowed, “What does he look like?” Dewkit answered, “He is solid gray, with long fur and a black stripe down his back.” Cinderpelt gasped, “It’s Graystripe!” Tawnykit tilted her head, “I thought he was RiverClan. He shouldn’t be here!” Whitestorm poked his head into the nursery, “He is going to join ThunderClan again. He saved Fireheart’s life by yowling that Leopardstar was about to leap on him.” Cinderpelt mewed, “Leopardstar? Is Crookedstar dead?” “Apparently,” meowed Whitestorm, “Anyways, we won. Graystripe is back, and many seem to not trust him.” He glanced over his shoulder at Dustpelt, Longtail, and Darkstripe, who were in a group along with Runningwind and Brackenfur. Fireheart was besides Whitethroat, who was tending to his wounds, alongside Sandstorm, who was being tended to by Yellowfang. Fernpaw, Ashpaw, Brightpaw, and Cloudpaw were discussing the battle with Brackenfur, Mousefur, Thornclaw, and the elders. One-eye croaked, “You’ll have to tell the kits about it.” “Yeah!” Fernpaw mewed excitedly.
As Cinderpelt scanned the camp, she saw Swiftwind limp up to Yellowfang, and with a jolt she realized he had a deep gash into his shoulder and another down his flank.
Cinderpelt gasped, “Swiftwind!” And she raced over to her mate. Swiftwind looked at her, and meowed weakly, “We won, Cinderpelt. We won back Sunningrocks.” Cinderpelt licked his cheek, “I’m so proud of you.” As Yellowfang was putting a marigold poultice on Swiftwind’s shoulder, she meowed, “Cinderpelt, go back to your kits. Swiftwind has to stay as still as possible for his wounds to heal, and don’t let the young ‘uns jump on him or anything, either. That could open his wounds again.” Cinderpelt dipped her head respectfully, and padded back to the nursery, where her kits were play-fighting. “Patchkit, it’s your turn to be ShadowClan!” squeaked Sunkit. “Aww, no! It’s Dewkit’s turn!” replied Patchkit. Dewkit mewed, “No, it’s Crowkit’s!”
“Now, kits. Here,” she nudges a piece of bracken over to them, “This can be ShadowClan.” “Okay!” the kits meowed simultaneously. Sunkit squeaked, “Look out! It’s Brokenstar! Run! RUN!” Little Patchkit whimpered, “Help! Blackfoot has me, he has me!” “I’ll save you, Patchkit!” mewed Crowkit, his small black tail lashing in feign anger. Cinderpelt purred, proud of her four young kits. “Come on, kits. It’s time for your nap.” Sunkit complained, “But mom! We want to play with Bramblekit and Tawnykit!” The two older kits had just padded out of the elders’ den. “No, you can play with them later.” All four kits padded obediently over to their nest, and quickly fell asleep.
Cinderpelt trotted into the clearing, her tail held high. She grabbed a mouse from the prey pile, and began eating. Willowpelt sat next to me, and she began eating a wood pigeon. “Your kits are growing well,” she remarked. Cinderpelt nodded, and Willowpelt continued. “I’ve been worried about Bluestar. She seems to not be as trusting to any of us, just Fireheart, and maybe Whitestorm. I mean, the rest of us haven’t done anything that would make her untrustworthy of us. She seems to be having them be in almost all of the patrols. One day, they could pass out in the middle of a patrol if they get tired enough! She has made Cloudtail into a warrior, but not Brightpaw, or the rest of the apprentices, and Brightpaw is more than ready! Fernpaw and Ashpaw aren’t ready, but still! Bramblekit and Tawnykit are ready to become apprentices, and they haven’t been. Your kits are ready too, and they haven’t been made into apprentices, either. Ever since Yellowfang died, this is how it’s been! She doesn’t even trust Whitethroat, her own medicine cat!” Cinderpelt sighed, “I’ve noticed that, too. She brings the bare minimum to Gatherings, too. And Fireheart always goes. Since my kits are nearly ready to become apprentices, I think I could leave them alone for awhile to go to a Gathering.” Willowpelt nodded, and then she meowed, “I don’t know what we’ve done.”
Chapter Eight Edit
Bluestar let Cinderpelt come to the Gathering, along with Fireheart, Cloudtail, Whitestorm, Whitethroat, Fernpaw, Darkstripe, and Sandstorm. She’s going to make us look weak if we keep bringing so little cats to the Gathering! There seemed to be twice as many cats in each group then ThunderClan’s. Cinderpelt saw Mistyfoot, a RiverClan warrior, and she padded over to her. Mistyfoot was talking to her brother, Stonefur, the new RiverClan deputy, Webfoot and Onewhisker, two WindClan warriors, and Oakfur, a ShadowClan warrior. Mistyfoot turned and meowed, “Hello, Cinderpelt. I haven’t seen you for a few Gatherings, and I’ve heard you’ve had four kits.” Cinderpelt nodded, and purred, “Three tom-kits: Patchkit, a black and white kit, Dewkit a pale gray tabby, and Crowkit a very dark gray tabby, and a she-kit: Sunkit, whose pale ginger.” Mistyfoot purred, “That’s wonderful. Goldenflower and Willowpelt have kits, too?” Cinderpelt noticed Oakfur and Webfoot walk away to a group of ShadowClan warriors, then meowed, “Yes, Goldenflower had Tawnykit, a tortoiseshell she-kit, and Bramblekit, a dark brown tabby tom-kit. Willowpelt had Whitestorm’s three kits: Sootkit, a light gray tom-kit; Sorrelkit, a tortoiseshell she-kit, and Rainkit, a dark gray tom-kit.” Mistyfoot nodded, and Cinderpelt continued, “We currently have lots of kits in ThunderClan.”
Then, Tallstar, the leader of WindClan, called for the Gathering to start. Cinderpelt sat down besides Mistyfoot, and Whitestorm sat down on her other side. Tallstar began, “All is well in WindClan. The rabbits are running, but not too fast for us. Otherwise, there is nothing else to report.” Bluestar interrupted, “But WindClan has been stealing ThunderClan prey!” Tallstar, along with the rest of WindClan, looked greatly confused. The elderly black and white leader meowed, “Why would we do that? We have enough prey for ourselves. We don’t need your prey.” Bluestar insisted, “We’ve found pieces of prey, fur, and blood, along with WindClan scent! That’s proof that WindClan has been stealing!” Tallstar hissed softly, his ears flattening and his claws unsheathing. Leopardstar, RiverClan’s leader, meowed, “Remember the truce!” Bluestar hissed, but her fur flattened and her ears pricked slightly. Tallstar glared at Bluestar, and then stepped back for Blackstar, the new leader of ShadowClan, now that Brokenstar had died. The white tom meowed, “The prey hasn’t gone to hide for leaf-bare yet. We have brought in some more cats into ShadowClan, making us stronger than before.” Cinderpelt gasped, and with a jolt she realized that the new cats were the rouges that invaded into ThunderClan territory! Cinderpelt looked over to the ShadowClan cats, and saw a dark ginger she-cat, Russetfur, and Boulder, a silver tom; both former rouges. And Blackstar himself was a rouge, also, at one time.
- Swiftwind will die in the badger attack in Twilight, in the New Prophecy, and Cinderpelt's new mate will be Ashfur