|StormClan Rising Series|
|Preceded by: |
|Born From The Storm||Succeded by: |
A Blood Oath
Leave your praise here please! :)
Hickorypaw opened his eyes. My first visit to the Moonstone! He thought to himself. He looked around, his eyes narrowing to slits against the bright lights of StarClan. I wonder if I'll see Shatteredstep?
"Hickorypaw!" Mallownose called, "Don't lag behind! StarClan have something important to tell us, that's why we're all here." He meowed as Hickorypaw caught up to him. "Normally we'd all have our own dreams." Hickorypaw nodded, signalling he was paying attention, "Even you and I will be apart during this time."
"I wonder what StarClan has to say." Sorrelmask, IceClan's new medicine cat, asked aloud. Her mentor Bittergaze had died a quarter moon ago, leaving Sorrelmask to be the sole medicine cat of her Clan. "They've never had all of us together like this before."
"Maybe the Shadow Cats are back?" Peachpaw said quietly. The Shadow Cats had killed many of the Clan cats in a huge battle a few moons before Hickorypaw had been kitted, Peachpaw's mother and father among them.
"Don't be silly." Ashleg, Peachpaw's mentor meowed, wrapping her tail around Peachpaw, "The Shadow Cat's are gone for good." Everyone murmured agreement. "And even if they were to come back, we could handle them. She puffed out her chest, "ForestClan can drive them all away single pawed."
Hickorypaw rolled his eyes. "Typical of a ForestClan cat." He meowed so only his mentor could hear.
"Shush." He mewed, amusement making his usually deep voice light. To everyone: "We should get going. The moon won't stay in the sky forever, the sun has to come up sometime."
The group of medicine cats continued along the steep path that led up a hill. Hickorypaw knew, from Mallownose's stories, that there would be a small Starpool, in which StarClan could look into to see their living counterparts, where the medicine cats would converse with their starry ancestors. Hickorypaw's pelt prickled with anticipation, he would finally see StarClan! And, if he was lucky, he might even see Shatteredstep. He quickened his pace, and then they were over the hill.
The Starpool glittered into the bright StarClan-light, it was the size of a small lake. Hickorypaw gasped, as did Peachpaw and most of the other medicine cats, who had never seen the Starpool. Mallownose was the only one to stay quiet. His gaze swept the Starpool's shore. "I don't see a single cat." He meowed grimly.
The cats murmured quietly to each other, looking around. Hickorypaw squinted against the light, "I think I see someone!" He called behind him, already running down the slope. When he and the rest of the cats reached the Starpool, a black and grey tom padded out from under a bush.
"Dapplesparrow!" Peachpaw rushed forward, nuzzling her father.
"Peachpaw." He touched his nose to her ear tip. "Swallowtail and I have missed seeing you grow up so much." He purred. They stood like that for several blood-beats, then Dapplesparrow pulled away. "Now is not the time for a reunion, my dear kit." He meowed, "I have a message for all of you."
"What is it?" Sorrelmask asked.
"A storm of change is coming, and it will tear the Clan apart." His eyes glowed with starlight as he spoke, quickly fading when his message ended.
Then everything went black.
~ ~ ~
Wind blew the rain sideways as Hickorystep ran across the ShadeClan camp from his den to the nursery. My first kitting without Mallownose. He thought to himself. I know he trained me well enough, but I hope I can remember everything!
When the brown and black tabby tom was in the warmth of the nursery, he shook out his pelt. "Hey!" Cherrytail hissed, "Some of us are trying to sleep you furball!" She curled her body around her kit, Thistlekit. That was the last kit the Mallownose had birthed since the fire.
Hickorystep shook his head, Windpelt needed him. "Windpelt?" He called into the deep nursery.
"Here!" The small grey and ginger she-cat called from the back of the nursery, she was in the kitting hollow of course! How could Hickorynose of forgotten that, of all things? He shook his head again. It's mistakes like these that I need to quit making. He thought to himself. He quickly padded back to the kitting hollow, and settling himself down by the she-cat.
He gently pressed his paws to Windpelt's stomach. "They'll be here shortly." He told her. Turning to Yellowglare, Windpelt's mate who was in the mate's nest, in which the kitting queen's mate would stay in until her kits were born, and whispered "Would you go to my den and get the herbs I've laid out? They'll be outside of the store."
Yellowglare exited the nursery without a word. "My kit's will be alright, right?" Windpelt asked, "I know this storm has to be a bad omen." Worry shone in her eyes.
"Oh yes, yes." Hickorystep meowed. Typical queen. Yellowglare soon returned, carrying the herbs and a stick, "Good thinking." Hickorystep mewed.
"The storm is getting worse." Yellowglare watched as Hickorystep gave the stick to Windpelt, putting it in her mouth so she could bite down on it to help with the pain. "You should hurry." He lightly hissed, "I need to know that my kits are safe before I return to Meadowstar.
"They'll get here when they get here." Hickorystep meowed, "But it shouldn't be much longer. Her belly is so swollen-" Thunder rumbled outside, "- That your kits will be born in a few blood-beats." He prepared the herbs, then turned to the large tom, "If you need, you can return to Meadowstar. I'll come to get you when they're born." Toms are always so protective, but they just end up getting in the way.
"Alright." Yellowglare turned to leave, "But get me as soon as they're here, that's an order." He was gone.
"I'm sorry about him," Windpelt panted, "He's just worried about the kits ever since I fell when we were escaping the fire." She bit down on the stick. "I think it's time." She growled around the stick.
Hickorystep got into position, Cherrytail and Thistlekit coming to wait close by to help in anyway possible. Windpelt's body tensed as the first kit, and soon after second kit, appeared. "Nip the sack and lick them from tail to head to get them breathing." He told the queen.
"I know how it works." Cherrytail mewed grumpily.
Hickorystep turned back to Windpelt. There should be just one more." Windpelt panted in reply.
"Hickorystep!" Cherrypelt gasped. "I think these kits are... Are dead." She whispered, head bowed. She used her tail to keep Thistletail back. She bent down to him, and whispered to him to return to their nest. After her was gone, she turned to Windpelt. "I'm so so sorry, I know what it's like to lose a kit before you even get to know it."
"Shush!" Hickorystep hissed, "She still has one kit left, don't scare her furless!" He turned to his charge, "Push, now!" Windpelt arched her back and screeched as a bolt of lightning flared outside, in the center of the camp. It's light penetrating the nursery, bathing it in light. Hickorystep looked around, the light wasn't fading! This must be a sign from StarClan!
A small, dark grey kit slid out from Windpelt, the only spot of color in the white, light-bathed den. Hickorystep nipped the small sack that surrounded the kit, licking him so he would start breathing. As he was doing so, he could hear a faint whisper in his ear, "A storm of change is coming, and it will tear the Clan apart." And the light was gone.
Stormwhisker watched as Meadowstar jumped onto the Highrock. "Let all cats old enough to defend their Clan gather beneath the Highrock for a Clan meeting!" Stormwhisker felt the cats of ShadeClan gather around himself, their leader, and the large, sun-bleached rock that was the Highrock. "Today," Meadowstar's light voice rang out around the clearing, "We are here to welcome an apprentice to the ranks of his soon-to-be warrior brethren."
Stormwhisker felt his apprentice, who sat beside him, twitch with excitement. Stormwhisker felt a warm glowing feeling spread from his chest to his paws, he was proud of his apprentice. "Brackenpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to protect and defend your Clan, even at the cost of your life?"
Brackenpaw's mew shook with nervousness, but he managed an "I-I do."
"Then by the powers of SunClan, I give you your warrior name. Brackenpaw, from this moment you will be known as Brackenfoot. SunClan honors your loyalty and spirit, and we welcome you as a full warrior of ShadeClan." Meadowstar warm, amber gaze rolled over both Stormwisker, who was once her own apprentice, and Brackenfoot. She had never had kits of her own, and considered the two as close to kits as possible.
As the Clan dispersed, Stormwhisker, with the newly named Brackenfoot at his heels, headed over to the camp's entrance. "Are you ready for your vigil?" The deep grey tom asked his former apprentice.
"Of course!" Brackenfoot meowed, his wide. It still didn't feel real, being a warrior. He was finally a warrior, a full member of the Clan. He could now have a mate, his own apprentice, and after that, maybe even deputy, and then leader. He could do anything!
"Be glad I let you sleep in late this morning. When Meadowstar was my mentor, she made me get up early!" Stormwhisker flicked his tail, clearly still annoyed at his leader after all those moons, "I almost fell asleep." He meowed, amusement replacing the annoyance. "Now then, once the sun sets, you won't be able talk. I'll try to stay awake with you, and if you need water, flick your tail to the left, if you need fresh-kill, flick it to the right. Got that?"
"Yep!" Brackenfoot purred.
~ ~ ~ ~
Stormwhisker's snapped up. He had nodded of to sleep for the third time. Poor Brackenfoot, SunClan knows what kind of example I've been.
The dark grey tom raised his head, noting that it was almost dawn. He turned to his former apprentice, who was, in fact, still awake, "Just a little while longer now." Brackenfoot nodded his head, and flicked his tail to the right and then left. "I'll be right back." Stormwhisker whispered.
When Stromwhisker returned, with a ball of soaked moss and two water voles, Brackenfoot's favorite, he dropped the supplies at the newly-made warrior's feet. "When the sun fully rises, we will have to leave for your meeting with SunClan. Do you need a bit of rest before we go? SunClan will understand."
Brackenfoot shook his head. There was a glint in his eye that Stormwhisker knew very well from his mentoring days, it was the glint of anticipation.
"Then we will leave as soon as Meadowstar relieves you of your duty."
Mentor and apprentice sat together for the rest of the sun-rise. Stormwhisker did fall asleep again, he was, like his apprentice, excited to go to the Sunstone, the place where each of the Clans meet with their warrior ancestors. He pelt itched with the need to leave as soon as possible.
When at last Meadowstar padded out of her den, yawning and showing her fangs, Stormstar jumped up. "Meadowstar!" He called, padding over to his leader, "I think it's time for Brackenfoot and I to go to the Sunstone."
"Calm down Stormwhisker. I swear, if you were this excited about hunting and border patrols, we won't need the rest of the Clan! I need to talk to Brackenfoot one-on-one of a bit before you two leave." Meadowstar glanced over Stormwhisker's shoulder to gaze at Brackenfoot. "As you were my apprentice, I went with you anyway, but it is customary for a leader to talk to one of his or her new warriors before their first visit with our ancestors."
Stormwhisker nodded his head, "Can you do that now? I can't wait to go!"
"You do realise that this is Brackenfoot's journey, not your's, Stormwhisker?" Meadowstar meowed, her gaze shifting back to her former apprentice, "This his for him to grow into being a warrior."
"I know, I really do, but I'm so excite for him." And myself. Stormwhisker added in his head. "I just remember how great it was, my first trip to the Sunstone, and I can't wait for Brackenfoot to experience it!"
"Why don't you go out on the dawn patrol to release some of this energy?" Meadowstar suggested, "I should be done with Brackenfoot when you get back." The young leader looked to the warriors den as Yellowglare stepped out into the clearing, Bramblenose, Berrystep, and Minnowflash following behind. "Yellowglare!" Meadowstar called, "Stormwhisker will be joining you this morning!"
"The more the merrier!" Her deputy called back, "We're leaving now, are you ready Stormwhisker?"
The glaring traipsed through there territory. The males cats, everyone bar Berrystep, who was the lookout, marked the boundary at several locations.
When the group reach the Gold River, which was named for the color the water turned when the sun hit it, Berrystep's head shot up. "Does anyone else smell IceClan scent?" She dropped her head to the ground, scenting. "I think they may have crossed the border."
Yellowglare padded over to his sister, nosing the ground. "It's definitely IceClan, no doubt about that." After several long sniffs, the deputy stood back up. "I'll talk to Meadowstar, see what she says. We'll decide what to do then. I'm sure they were just hunting a piece of prey that crossed the border."
"But that's still breaking the Warrior Code!" Minnowflash, who had been quite for the majority of the patrol, meowed, "They're not supposed to cross the boder unless they need to speak with Meadowstar or Hickorystep."
"And so is not obeying your leader and deputy, Minnowflash." Yellowglare mewed calmly, "I will discuss this with Meadowstar when we return to camp, it is up to her on what we do. She is the leader for a reason." Yellowglare padded away from the border, in the direction of the camp, "Besides, the river is frozen, we cannot let IceClan starve."
"They'd let us starve." Stormwhisker heard Minnowflash mutter.