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This story is by IcewrathXFeatherswirlXCraneheart.

PrologueEdit

Two amber eyes glowed in the gloomy, foggy forest, shining with sinister cruelty and cunning. A spiky-furred, gray tom stalked to the eyes and nodded a greeting.

"Tigerstar, my former apprentice, you are doing a good job of leading the Dark Forest for someone who was a small, weak apprentice," Thistleclaw meowed, a teasing glint in his eye, "But I built you up to be a strong dark ally."

"Save it, Thistleclaw," Tigerstar meowed, stepping out of the shadows, "I am working on domination of the Clans. I have a master plan."

Thistleclaw narrowed his eyes, "Tell me more."

"I see dark blood in each of the Clans, and I will use them to my advantage!" Tigerstar explained in a low whisper. He led Thistleclaw to a murky pool and stared into it. Thistleclaw followed his lead and a brown tabby tom with blue eyes appeared.

"There's Hawkfrost of RiverClan, my son," Tigerstar meowed, gazing fondly at the cat in the pool.

"How, might I ask, is he dark?" Thistleclaw snorted, "Just because he is your son, doesn't mean he's evil."

"He became deputy when Mistyfoot went missing. She came back and took it away. He wants it back, Thistleclaw. It's as simple as that," Tigerstar meowed, "I know he will listen to me."

"And in WindClan?" Thistleclaw snapped impatiently.

"Mudclaw," Tigerstar meowed, watching as a mottled dark brown tom with amber eyes appeared, "Tallstar named Onewhisker leader when he died, but Mudclaw wants his leadership. I will help him with this."

"And if he doesn't listen?"

"I can make him listen. I can kill him slowly, one live at a time. Or I can let him live and kill off the rest of his Clan," Tigerstar meowed, "Probably the second choice, so there isn't a Clan anymore and the Clans are ruled by Tigerstar blood."

"So, I assume the dark blood in ShadowClan and ThunderClan will also be your kin?"

Tigerstar nodded and new cat appeared in the pool: a she-cat that was different shades of gray and a light sandy brown. "That's my daughter Tawnypelt. She has a good heart, but I can change that. I will kill all she loves if she refuses to be leader."

Thistleclaw flicked his tail dismissively, "Why don't you choose a tom? She-cats are no good at being evil!"

"Shut up, Thistleclaw!" Mapleshade snapped from nearby.

Thistleclaw snarled, then turned back to Tigerstar, "ThunderClan?"

A brown tabby tom with amber eyes appeared in the pool, bearing a striking resemblance to Tigerstar.

"You?" Thistleclaw asked in alarm.

"No, you idiot!" Tigerstar hissed, "Brambleclaw! My son! He, too, has a good heart, but I can change that, too."

"When will this take place?" Thistleclaw asked, his amber eyes glowing.

"Not long... not long. Within a few hours, Mudclaw will control WindClan. The rest will follow shortly."

Thistleclaw nodded, then called, "All cats of the Dark Forest, gather around! Tigerstar has a plan!"

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"Spottedleaf! Bluestar! Redtail!" Raggedstar called, padding over with Sagewhisker. Crookedstar, Mudfur, Tallstar, and Deadfoot were coming not far behind.

"What is it, Raggedstar?" Redtail asked turning around and flicking the red tip of his tail. Bluestar and Spottedleaf were still huddled together, deep in thought.

"We understand Bluestar wanted us all here," Tallstar meowed.

Redtail gave Bluestar a bewildered glance and Spottedleaf finally stepped forward, whipping her tail across her brother's mouth, "Yes, sit down."

The six cats of the other Clans sat in the soft grass overlooking a gentle waterfall. Bluestar was still, letting the wind ruffle her fur.

"When will Bluestar speak?" Deadfoot asked impatiently.

"Quiet!" Tallstar hissed, "Bluestar will speak when she is ready!"

Mudfur murmured something to Sagewhisker and they softly discussed something none of the others could hear. Then, Bluestar turned around.

"No, no..." she sighed, "Deadfoot is right. I was just thinking deeply..."

"So what is this meeting all about?" Crookedstar asked.

"I see war clouds rising in the Dark Forest," she murmured.

"I have seen this, too," Spottedleaf meowed softly, "I fear Tigerstar and his cats will attack, but how?"

"Bluestar strikes a good point," Tallstar stated, "The Dark Forest will attack. But who will they attack and how?"

"Good question," Mudfur nodded.

"They could attack the Clans," Deadfoot meowed, then added, not bad tempered, "Obviously."

"Or they could attack StarClan," Sagewhisker meowed softly.

The murmuring leaders, deputies, and medicine cats went silent, staring at her.

"The Dark Forest might just attack us because we guide the Clans. If they take us out, StarClan is by far their greatest loss and it will leave the Clans open to the Dark Forest for the taking," Sagewhisker explained.

"It's so simple!" Crookedstar meowed.

"We must defend the Clans," Raggedstar meowed, "All this time the darkness was right under our muzzles. StarClan must prepare."

Bluestar nodded, "Yes, StarClan must be ready. We cannot let the Clans go dark."

Chapter 1: MudclawEdit

Mudclaw stalked through the undergrowth, snarling in contempt.

I should be leader! he growled inwardly, I will be leader!

Mudclaw had a plan to take his leadership back. Onewhisker was on his way to the Moonpool right now and Hawkfrost was ready to carry out his part of the plan. However much Mudclaw disliked RiverClan, all he wanted was his leadership. And he could get that with Hawkfrost's help.

Mudclaw stalked along until he got to where Onewhisker was. He started to battle Onewhisker fiercely. Many cats were watching already from all Clans. He curled his nose angrily.

Now cats will see me kill Onewhisker! Just great!

Mudclaw heard a crack as lightning struck a tree on the island in the middle of the lake. He turned to see the tree falling... right toward him.

Why did I have to have my leadership! he thought in despair.

Then, he saw a familiar brown tabby tom with amber eyes. At first he thought it was Brambleclaw, but he noticed it's scars and faint transparency.

Tigerstar!

Tigerstar reached out with one huge paw and batted Mudclaw out of the path of the falling tree and grabbed hold of Onewhisker's leg with his teeth, throwing him under the tree and leaping out as it touched the grass.

A sickening snap was heard and wails fell upon the Clans. Mudclaw felt pleasure spreading through him as he realized Onewhisker was dead, but he bowed his head anyway.

I am finally leader! he crowed silently. He looked over and saw Tigerstar looking on approvingly.

Grudgingly, he silently said, Thanks, Tigerstar.

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Mudclaw rested his head by the Moonpool, feeling a warm rush of pride as he was leader after all and that he was the first cat to recieve his nine lives at the pool.

Part of him doubted that the ThunderClan medicine cat apprentice had found any useful link with StarClan, but he touched his nose to the pool anyway. Immediately his vision flooded with light and he was in what appeared to be a ghostly white copy of the island in the middle of the lake. He was surrounded by starry cats and he smiled knowing he was with StarClan. The cats looked warily at him, as if he carried incurable diseases.

"Welcome, Mudclaw," a black and white tom, Tallstar, restored to his youth meowed. There was little warmth in his voice, but he went on.

Tallstar touched his nose to Mudclaw's murmuring, "With this life, I give you wisdom. Use it to make the right decisions as leader of WindClan.

Mudclaw felt a jolt of pain stronger than any lightning bolt and he gritted his teeth to stop him from crying out. The pain ebbed as another cat came forward. The cat's twisted paw helped him to recognize him.

"Mudclaw, with this life I give you perserverance," Deadfoot meowed, touching noses with him, "You used it to fill my pawsteps as deputy, now use it to fill Tallstar's pawsteps as WindClan leader."

This life flooded into him painfully, but less painful than Tallstar's life had been.