SS0301: We're baaaaaaaack!

SS: And with the most chilling chapter yet!

GS: OOOoooOOOooo!!

SS0301: . . . Riiiiiiiiiight.

SS: Sandstorm0301 does not own Warriors, me, Graystripe, Firestar, or the mysterious nameless cat who stars in this chapter. However, the warrior ancestors in this chapter are her creation.


SS and SS0301: . . . Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

SS0301: Read and enjoy!

GS: What if--


He opened his eyes. He was not in the Twoleg nest, but in a forest he had never seen. The woods were cloaked in shadow, and eyes gleamed between the trees.

"Who are you?" he growled, unsheathing his claws. "Show yourselves!"

From out of the shadows came a cat, a dark tabby tom with golden eyes. "We are rogues and we are outcasts. We are fighters and we are warriors. We are Clan cats and we are loners. We are one, and we are many."

A black she-cat with tawny paws and tail-tip padded forwards. "We follow the code, though it is not your code. We follow the code of tooth and claw. We follow the code of fang and talon. We follow the code of blood and fear and death. We follow the code of defending ourselves and the little we have to fight for, whatever the cost."

A third cat approached, a small dark gray she-cat with one ear tattered and the other torn, and the marks of many battles on her face and sides. "We mean battle and we mean fear. We mean death and we mean blood. We mean fierceness and we mean terror."

One more cat leaped forwards, a massive jet-furred tom. "We are those who were once FearClan."

"FearClan..." He could not suppress a shudder, half fear and half excitement. "Are you the warrior ancestors of this...FearClan?"

"Our descendants are all that is left of it, this is so," said the tom.

"So you have the power..."

"To grant lives, this is so."

He grinned. "You are like my StarClan?"

"This is so." The warrior paused. "But we are your ancestors, as well."

He did a double take. "How can this be?" But he believed it. "One of your cats came to our forest, a loner, and joined a Clan. ThunnderClan?"

"This is so," said the black tom, sounding pleased. But a shadow crossed his face. "But she was not the only FearClan cat to travel to your forest.

His eyes widened. He took in the sight of the old warrior, and then his gaze flickered to the small tabby warrior. Small and jet-black...a shiver ran down his spine as he realized the truth. "Scourge was one of your descendants."

"This is so," confirmed the tabby she-cat grimly.

"Was," repeated the black warrior firmly. "He is no longer."

So. His enemy had been killed. Sweet revenge, if not carried out by his own claws.

"I am Deathbringer, from Bringer of Death to his Enemies," said the black tom. "This is my mate, Smokeclaw, from Claw that Hides in the Smoke. My tabby warrior is Bloodtooth, from Tooth that is Red with Enemy's Blood, and my deputy, Goldshadow, from Shadow Against Golden Sunlight."

A golden-furred she-cat stepped forwards. "I am Lifesinger, from She Who Sings Life to her Kin," she murmured. She must have been a medicine cat.

"We lived in this forest, far from your home," said Deathbringer. "But now our own home is claimed by the Twolegs. What remains of FearClan is just a few cats, trying to cling to our code. They must be brought together by a strong leader. Will you be that leader?"

He raised his eyes to meet Deathbringer's. "I will."

"Then I appoint you leader. You will be Fearstrike, from He Who Strikes Fear Into Hearts."

"Fearstrike," he hissed with pride. "Thank you, Deathbringer."

But the FearClan cats were fading away, vanishing slowly like stars in the light of dawn. "You must regain your strength," said Deathbringer. "Stay with the Twolegs until you are strong again, and then come for the last of FearClan..."

And the forest was empty, but Fearstrike—what a name!--did not wake. He walked forwards slowly, scenting the air. It had a very different smell from his home forest, but he could smell cats. Not many of them, but enough to be the remnants of FearClan. He crept forwards, through the undergrowth, and saw them.

There was a camp, hidden in a small ravine beneath tangles of thorns. He padded along the edge and down to the camp's entrance, then passed like a ghost through the wall of briars. Though he didn't know them, here he could scent individual cats. His eyes scanned the camp. One dark warrior stood by the edge of the ravine, speaking to a she-cat who looked much like Goldshadow. The tom was large, and looked dangerous. Muscles rippled beneath his pelt, and his long claws were unsheathed. the she-cat was smaller and sleeker, but no less strong. There was fear masked in her golden eyes.

As he scanned the camp, he saw a golden tabby she-cat standing beneath a growth of ferns. His eyes locked with hers, and she looked surprised. She must be the medicine cat, if she could see him and no other could.

He padded across the clearing to speak with her. "I am Fearstrike, from He Who Strikes Fear Into Hearts. I have spoken to the FearClan ancestors, and they have asked me to help you."

"To lead us?" asked the medicine cat. "We are in need of a leader."

"Yes," said Fearstrike. "But not here. Wait for your own ancestors to give you a sign, for I do not know in which direction my own home lies."

"I will wait," said the she-cat, and darkness covered the forest.

His eyes opened to see the glaring lights of the Twoleg nest. He bit back a snarl and remembered Deathbringer's words: "Stay with the Twolegs until you are strong again..."

As the loud noises and senseless yowling of the Twolegs dragged him up from sleep, he focused on that. He had just one thought fixed in his mind.

I will wait.