I loved reading Warriors as a kid. I lost track and stopped reading after "The Sight," but the original and second series are what I'll always treasure. I don't condone Scourge's path to murder and revenge, but I find his story and character fascinating. Not surprisingly, this Scourge-centric oneshot is quite dark.
Ice In My Veins
The tabby before me made a grand, pathetic show of groveling at my paws. "I-I assure you, Scourge, I will not fail you again."
I looked down from my perch on the Twoleg waste box and sniffed in disdain. "I'll hold you to your promise, I suppose." I made a show of flexing my claws and letting them scrape against the metal top. "If you fail a second time, you will certainly lose more than just your rank."
The tabby's gush of relief and gratitude at my mercy went unheard as I had Bone dismiss him. The only reason I spared that cat was because we were shorthanded on able-bodied fighters. Bloodclan was fast becoming a name to be feared in these parts, and I intended to keep up that image. I will not stand to have our growing reputation stained by the incompetence and softness of my underlings. We had a rigorous selection process, but a weak cat or two always somehow managed to slip through into our ranks. It was my job to sniff out the weaklings and cast them away. Only those with power can thrive. I knew that from personal experience.
"Bring in the next cat," I commanded. "He or she will be the last one I'll see for today."
Bone went off to do my bidding, and seconds later he returned with a perplexed look on his broad face. "Erm...it's your littermates. They have returned."
My fur prickled and I hissed in annoyance. As the leader of a powerful army, it was downright embarrassing for me to be related to those two oafs. They had the nerve to persistently return to Bloodclan territory, beseeching me for more food. No matter how many times I threatened them and told them to never come back, they'd show up again anyway. Did they forget how many times they've treated me with cruelty and neglect? They were the very reason why I never enjoyed life as a kit, even when we had our loving mother. Even when I stood at the top as Bloodclan's leader, the proof of the shame and humiliation surrounding my origins still came in the form of my littermates. When could I ever do away with Socks and Ruby once and for all?
Suddenly a brilliant idea struck me. I let a crooked grin spread across my face. "Let them come see me, Bone. Don't worry...this will be the very last time."
Bone hid his confusion and dipped his head at me before going to retrieve them. Socks and Ruby padded up to me, their ribs showing through their wiry bodies and mangy fur. If I had a heart of kindness, I'd pity them. But I remembered what they had done to me when I was a kit, and my heart remained a ball of ice.
Ruby's ears perked up as she looked up at me. "Tiny! It's so good to see you."
"My name is Scourge, you blithering idiot!" I snapped. "Are you really that stupid?"
Ruby flinched back and muttered an apology. Socks meekly curled his tail close to his paws and said nothing.
I had to rein in my anger and my bristling fur laid flat. I made no move to jump down from the Twoleg waste box. "What do you want?" I asked coldly. I paused, but they didn't dare answer. "I'm guessing it's more food, as always."
Socks and Ruby exchanged an uncomfortable glance.
I sighed and shook my head. "I've been going about this the wrong way. There's a saying the Twolegs have: don't give the man a fish, but teach him how to fish."
Socks and Ruby didn't appear to understand my cryptic answer. They merely stared at me with vacant eyes, always those eyes aching with hunger and lack of intelligence.
"So..." Socks finally said. "Does that mean you'll give us food or not?"
I suppressed the twinge of contempt in my chest. "Follow me, and I'll show you something so that you'll never have to worry about starving again."
I turned away and nimbly hopped down from my perch. Hope and happiness glinted in their eyes, and they put more spring into their pawstep as they trailed after me. I led them through a secret pathway to a river. Not many cats knew about it, and the few that did tend to keep away due to rumors of the wild cats that guard their territory just over the other side. I didn't let that scare me, of course. It took me some time, but I eventually knew how to catch fresh fish by the river. I would never teach that art to Socks and Ruby. Not in a million moons. And even if I wanted to, they'd be too slow and stupid to get it, anyway.
My former littermates rushed ahead of me to huddle over the bank.
"Wow, fresh fish!" Ruby exclaimed.
"You'll really teach us how to catch fish on our own?" Socks asked as he turned to me.
"Of course. We're family. It's only right that we support each other." I said this to drive a thorn of guilt into their paws, but it looked as if my jibe went unnoticed. They were too busy staring at the water with excitement.
I flicked my tail to get their attention. "I'm taking time out of my busy day to teach you how to fish. Don't ask questions, and just watch."
Socks and Ruby said nothing as they nodded. Now I knew I had their complete trust. The fools.
"Sit on your haunches like this, and make sure your shadow in the water is out of sight."
Socks and Ruby did their best to imitate me. They slipped into clumsy crouches. I didn't bother to correct them. "Good, that's it. Keep your eyes on the water and study the fish's movements. The key is to read them and move before they do."
Socks and Ruby blindly obeyed and fixated their gazes on the water, eager to get their paws on fresh fish.
In our adulthood, I was still smaller than my littermates. But I had something they didn't. I was stronger and smarter. In the end, I won and they lost. I unsheathed my claws and dug its reinforced tips into Socks's neck fur. With a smooth, savage swipe I flung him facefirst into the water. Ruby couldn't move fast enough. Her mouth was still wide open with shock as I snagged my claws into her neck, and flung her into the water to join Socks.
They yowled in fear and panic as they floundered in hopeless futility. They choked and gurgled as water rushed into their mouths to cut off their frantic cries. I threw my head back and laughed.
"Look who are the ones that end up in the river! Now you can have all the fish and water you want. Tell the dead that Scourge of Bloodclan has sent you!"
Socks and Ruby dwindled out of sight as the river carried them downstream and I no longer heard the splashes from their paws.
Not a single bit of remorse and regret entered my heart that day, as I had killed my littermates in cold blood. Socks and Ruby were only two more kills to my repertoire of many deaths. Now that my littermates were out of the way, I had bigger problems to face. My thirst for blood wasn't quite sated by the deaths of Socks and Ruby. I needed to kill that big, striped wild cat. Only then would my quest for power and revenge will be complete.
Mistyfoot and Stonefur, leading cats of the Riverclan border patrol, could hardly believe what they just stumbled upon. The bloated bodies of two cats, one black and white tom and one gray she-cat, were spotted by the river, entangled in a bunch of reeds. The border patrol gingerly fished them out of the water. As she and her brother inspected the bodies, Mistyfoot pulled back and wrinkled her nose.
"Kittypets, by the smell of it."
"But why are they so thin?" Stonefur inquired. "They're bloated from the water, but look how malnourished they are."
"They were either abused, or became stray cats. We'll never know." Mistyfoot's gaze lingered on the scratches on the bodies' necks. "All we know is that they've been attacked, and met their end as they drowned."
Stonefur shook his head. "What an unfortunate fate. Whatever did this must have no heart."
Mistyfoot finally took her eyes away from the dead cats. "Let's give them a quick burial and be on our way. Leopardstar expects a report from us soon."