Disclaimer: I only own my made up characters. I don't own Warriors or any of the real characters.
Warnings: cursing, violence, abuse
Cats met in this chapter: (only the ones not actually from the book)
Reaper- black she-cat. Mother of Darkstripe. From BloodClan
Darkstripe aka Darkkit- silver and black tabby tom with icy blue eyes. Son of Reaper and Darkstripe. From BloodClan but brought to ShadowClan
Snaketail- harsh, brown she-cat with a black tail. Mother of Ratkit and foster mother to Darkkit. From ShadowClan
Ratkit- sickly brown tom. Last living kit of Snaketail. From ShadowClan
Frost- battle-scarred silver tom with light blue eyes. From BloodClan
Honeydew- deceptive gold she-cat. Originally a kitty-pet but now living in BloodClan
Slash- black and white tom. Originally a kitty-pet but now in BloodClan
Gingerstripe (name is not mentioned in this chapter) - large orange tabby. Father of Windpaw and Tigerpaw (not met in this chapter) mate of Thistlefeather (not mentioned in this chapter)
Oakbelly- white and black tom with brown belly. Former mate of Snaketail and father of her kits. Died in battle with BloodClan.
"What's in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
-Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
The she-cat walked silently into the night, between buildings and avoiding thundering monsters. In her jaws dangled precious cargo, a kit, barely more than a moon old. His eyes had barely opened and he looked intently around at the enormous, dark world that surrounded him. She avoided being seen by other cats at all cost. If they knew what she was doing and who she was carrying, they might kill him. No, they WOULD kill him and possibly her as well.
The black she-cat's name was Reaper. Her sister was Sasha. Sasha had taken her kits into the forest and they had been accepted there easily enough. BloodClan was not safe anymore, well it had never been safe, but now Scourge was gone and there was no order. Perhaps her kit would be able to have a better life in the forest and maybe even become a leader.
That would be perfect. Tigerstar had been a leader, perhaps Darkstripe's son would have the same ambition, she was sure he would have plenty of skill.
How she had been attracted to Darkstripe she was unsure of. Or had he been the one attracted to her first? She didn't know. Perhaps it was his quiet, secretive personality. Maybe it was his icy blue eyes watching her everywhere she went or his devotion to Tigerstar and his plan. Whatever it was, she had followed his striped tail into the two-leg shed that night. It had been the night before Tigerstar was going to lead BloodClan into the forest in front of the other clans.
'The day is upon us, Reaper. Tigerstar will finally rule the forest as he should and BloodClan will be right beside us. We shall run the forest the way it was meant to be run, and our kits will have a perfect home with us in the trees, or the moor, or by the river, wherever you like. It might be hard to get the forest the way we want it, and it might take some time, but we will manage. Tigerstar told me that as long as we have Scourge and all of BloodClan on our side, there is no way we can be stopped,' Darkstripe had said to her that night. And of course the next day BloodClan had entered the forest. But they had no intentions of serving Tigerstar or uniting the forest.
'BloodClan, attack!' Tigerstar shouted. No cat moved. Reaper looked down at the scene that would unfold. No cat ordered Scourge to do anything ever. Tigerstar was killed. The scene didn't bother Reaper, but it seemed to have killed Darkstripe. She had hoped he would stay and fight with BloodClan and join them, but he hadn't.
'I have no one, Reaper. I have no clan, no family, and no home. I'm finished. I will go to the battle tomorrow, but I will not fight for BloodClan, nor will I fight for the forest clans. I will kill that kittypet or die trying. That's what Tigerstar did, and that's all I can do. He was my mentor. I learn from him and do as he does.' Those were the last words he ever spoke to Reaper before he died. His life ended by a long haired tom just before he succeeded in his task.
Reaper had almost died herself by watching what had happened, but she had to go on. For Darkstripe, and for his kit. The kit he never knew about because she had never been able to tell him. She had seen the light go from his cold blue eyes and then close forever as his blood drained from his body.
'One less traitor in the forest, the better,' the grey tom had spat. Reaper cursed him. And she cursed the ginger tom Darkstripe had hated so. But none of that mattered now. All that mattered was taking care of all that remained of her love.
She dodged into an alley and hid under a dumpster, putting her kit down. She heard other cats approaching and she mustn't be seen. The black and silver tabby kitten mewled and she quickly placed her paws over his head, closing his mouth between her weight and the pavement. His throat released another mewl and she pressed a little harder.
"Hush Darkstripe, please, you must be silent or they will kill us," she whispered to him. The cats here had rejected Tigerstar and had no care for Darkstripe either. This kit was not wanted. He was an outcast and a bastard. His life meant nothing to any of the other cats, only to her, so she must save him. It was the first time in her life that Reaper cared about anyone but herself.
The cats left and she waited until she could no longer hear their paw-steps before she released her son's head and crawled out from her hiding space with him in her jaws. She glanced down the street and, seeing no one, continued towards the forest.
She did not intend to send him to the clan her sister had chosen, her kit had no one there. His cousins would probably reject him, not having gotten a chance to know who he was. Nor did she intend to put him with his father's birth-clan. Those cats cared far too much for their own righteousness and dignity. They were not fitting for the son of Darkstripe.
No the she-cat had something else in mind for her son. She had chosen the cats whose honor and dignity were forgotten in battle. The cats who thought a fair fight was as pointless as the cat they were destroying. The cats whose coats were darker and sleeker than the others. The cats whose coats were stained with the blood of their enemies before the other clans could cry out from their own coats being torn. The cats that did not discriminate their opponents. Young and frightened or old and weak, all were enemies. The other clans had seemed to hang back from their darker cousins, but Reaper sought them out. True, they were responsible for brutally killing many of her 'clan', but she had seen their skill and this was to be her son's new home.
She hung back at the edge of the forest, she must enter here. She must ensure that she was ever so careful so as to prevent premature detection by her former mate's birth-clan. The kit began to squirm in discomfort of being carried for such a long time. She placed him down gently so that he would not cry out.
"Not much farther little one. We must hurry, you must get to your new home before sunrise," she cooed and lay down. The kit crawled to her and began to feed. She looked down and swelled with pride at her only son. He was identical to his father in every way except for lack of a small scar across his nose. Leaving him would be hard, but she must do it, for him.
The kit finished his meal and she quickly licked him clean. His brilliant blue eyes began to close as he grew tired from a full, warm belly and she picked him up again. She took a deep breath as she entered the forest. The scent of prey and fresh air and other cats invaded her nose. She stepped over and thru the underbrush on the forest floor. She could smell the scent barriers laid down by members of this clan.
It seemed like an eternity had passed that she went thru some underbrush with such a heavy canopy that the sky was completely blacked out. In other places the moon shone down on her sleek black pelt so much that she was sure she glowed. She finally reached the long, black human path that would lead her to her destination on the other side. She investigated the side until she found a tunnel leading under the path. She crawled thru and emerged on the other side.
She looked around and saw the briars and tall grass that lead to the ShadowClan camp. She saw the crude tunnels burrowed by the cats thru this obstacle. She cautiously stepped in, holding the kit close to her chest to prevent injury to him. She picked her way thru the prickly mass and as she did she felt a cool breeze blowing around. There was a soft rustling noise of the grass and she could see it beginning to be worn down more and more, signifying much traffic. These cats must be experts at seeing in the dark because nearly this entire place was shrouded in darkness from the tall grass and bushes.
She tilted her head to the side and could hear that this clan was still awake, or at least several members were. This clan resided in the night, that was good for so did BloodClan since light brought more humans. She saw the camp entrance and hesitantly stepped in. Her presence was noticed immediately. The cats jumped up as though they had been expecting her.
"What business do you have here?!" a large, orange tabby hissed.
"You do not belong here!" a grey tom she recognized as Boulder shrieked.
"This coming from a traitor," Reaper retorted. Boulder hissed.
"Enough!" a large white tom with black paws shouted as he stepped forward. The others dipped their heads and stepped back in respect.
"Are you the leader?" Reaper asked not moving accept to ensure her kit was close with her paw.
"I am. And who are you?" the tom asked.
"I am Reaper of BloodClan and I have come with a request. I wish to leave my kit in the care of your clan," she said. The tom looked down at the kit.
"And what makes you think we want a stray such as this?" he asked, noting the kit's appearance.
"He is Darkstripe's son, he has no home in BloodClan," Reaper rasped.
"And what makes you think he would have a home here? Why not choose ThunderClan?" the tom questioned.
Reaper scoffed, "That clan meant nothing to Darkstripe, it shall mean nothing to his son." The tom paused and seemed to be thinking about something before turning to address a grey and white tom whose nose was running and a ginger she-cat. After a short conversation with them, the white tom turned to her again.
"What is the kit's name?" he asked.
"Darkstripe," Reaper responded. A murmur went out among the cats but the tom silenced them with a flick of his tail.
"Very well, he may stay, but you must leave and not return," he said firmly. Reaper dipped her head.
"Very well and thank you," she said and licked her kit's ear before turning and leaving him. Boulder was sent to accompany her to the edge of the territory.
When Boulder left her to travel beneath the path, she flicked her tail in a farewell and slipped back into the trees. As she moved farther and farther away from her son she got a slightly hollow feeling but she forced herself to brush it off. Now was not the time for that. She traveled thru the forest with the same silence she had before but with more speed as the sun threatened to rise and she emerged from the forest at dawn. She hoped to get through two-leg place with the same luck, but that was not to be. Sitting on a fence was a light silver tom as well as a black and white tom and a gold she-cat. They lept down and surrounded her.
"What have you been doing in the forest, Reaper?" the silver tom known as Frost asked coldly.
"Yes, fraternizing with the enemy?" the she-cat, Honeydew, asked in a high-pitched and eerie tone.
"No," Reaper answered, looking straight ahead as they all circled her.
"Then what was it?" Slash, the black and white tom, hissed.
"I was just going for a walk," she said with a shrug.
"I don't think so. Where's your little baby, Reaper?" Frost asked his light blue, almost white eyes seemed to burn into her deep green ones.
"What makes you think I would have a kit?" Reaper asked growing worried but trying to maintain her composure. Reaper's eyes tracked to the multiple scars criss-crossing his muscular chest and a shiver rippled up her spine but she hid it.
Frost laughed. "Because we knew you were pregnant and you aren't now," he answered.
"So what did you do with him, Reaper? You don't seem like the type that would kill your kit," Honeydew growled lightly. This she-cat could make her voice sound so pleasant, yet would kill you in an instant. Honeydew had been favored by Scourge because of her incredible ability to play with a cat's head. She was the mistress of mental torture and could draw an answer out of the most skilled liar. Reaper could only think of one way out of this. She hung her head, she was sure not to look at Honeydew's blazing yellow eyes or she would stand no chance at getting away with a lie.
"He died," she said trying to sound full of sorrow. She didn't notice Slash behind her until it was too late.
"She's lying! She smells like the forest cats!" he shrieked. Reaper's eyes grew wide as she looked around the group. Damn Slash, he never could keep his nose to himself now he was going to be the death of her!
Frost shook his head. "Tsk tsk, Reaper, you know the price for lying and betraying us," Frost said almost casually. He was a born killer, having no mercy or remorse. His blood ran as cold as the frost he took his name from, his looks had nothing to do with it. He twitched his ears and all three of them attacked at once. The teeth driven into the collars of Slash and Honeydew glinting in the early morning light and the silvery scars covering Frost's chest were all she saw before a myriad of claws.
A short scream was all that was heard when Reaper's life ended.
Blackstar looked down at the tiny, frightened kit before him. The clan was murmuring something about Darkstripe, but he wasn't paying attention. This kit bore a remarkable resemblance to his father hence his name fit him perfectly. Now what was he supposed to do with him?
"Well, Blackstar? Are you going to rename him or not?" Runningnose asked, nudging his leader gently.
"No. He will keep his name. He will be Darkstripekit, but call him Darkkit if you choose. Is that understood?" Blackstar asked the clan. The cats murmured their understanding. "Good, um…" Blackstar looked around to his medicine cat for help on what to do next.
"We need a queen to foster him," Runningnose told him.
"Yes, of course," Blackstar recovered quickly. He wasn't even born here. How he had managed to become leader of these cats was a mystery to him, but with all the troubles they had encountered, he wanted to be a good leader. "You lot go to sleep. Runningnose, Littlecloud, come with me," he ordered. Runningnose and his apprentice nodded. Russetfur, his deputy, turned and went to the warrior's den. Blackstar picked up the kit and carried him to the queen's den, followed by the medicine cats.
There was, currently, only one queen in the nursery. She had only one kit: Ratkit. Her name was Snaketail. She was bad-tempered and harsh. Her brown fur and black tail made her blend seamlessly into the darkness that was ShadowClan's home. But how she had managed to get a mate was a mystery. Oakbelly had been the only cat she had ever been kind to and he was her exact opposite. He had died in the battle with BloodClan and Ratkit was all she had left.
Ratkit was a small, sickly brown tom. He was the soul survivor of his litter and he was fading fast. His white sister had been still-born while his black sister hadn't survived her third night. He had not been able to fight in the battle like the other kits had and, as a result, Snaketail had stayed as well. Littlecloud and Runningnose were doing everything they could for him, but he didn't stand much of a chance. Snaketail, however, refused to accept this and was convinced that Ratkit would be fine and simply needed to grow a little stronger 'which he would in time' and he 'would soon be the strongest kit the clan had seen since Shadowstar's rule'. No one else shared her opinion.
Snaketail looked up when her leader and medicine cats entered the nursery. At first she expected them to come with more grave news that she wasn't likely to listen to, but Blackstar was holding something. Upon closer examination, the small creature was a kit.
"What's this?" Snaketail hissed when Blackstar set the bundle down next to her.
"This is your new charge," Blackstar told her.
Snaketail sniffed the kit. "I don't want a new charge. He'll only be a distraction from my precious Ratkit," she hissed, nuzzling her head into the barely-conscious kitten. He mewled a weak response before falling unconscious.
Littlecloud sighed, "Snaketail, Ratkit doesn't have a very good chance at even making it until the next gathering, let alone able to be an apprentice. He can hardly even open his eyes half-way."
Snaketail launched herself at Littlecloud with the full brunt of her furry. "What do you know?! You have no sense! I can't see why StarClan would bother to make a medicine cat out of a mouse-brain like you!" she shrieked.
Littlecloud, having been trained as a warrior, easily rolled on top of her and pinned her down. "StarClan have more sense than you do," he growled before releasing her. Blackstar seemed stunned at the small tabby's outburst but Runningnose knew what his apprentice was capable of and actually praised him for his actions, to himself, of course.
"Whether you want him or not, he's your kit now. His name is Darkstripekit. Do with him what you will," Blackstar said and exited the den.
"Littlecloud, bring me some herbs for little Ratkit, his breathing is labored again," Runningnose instructed his apprentice. Littlecloud nodded and ran out. He returned a short time later with a small bundle. Runningnose thanked him and set to work on Ratkit. Though he had never been able to successfully end his own draining nose, this kit had a problem that was much worse and the mucus caking his nasal passages was from a greater threat that lay far in his lungs where Runningnose could not reach.
Runningnose cleaned his face and reopened the kit's breathing passage before having him inhale an herb and eat a painkiller as well as an antibiotic. After disinfecting Ratkit's nose and throat, Runningnose could do no more for him. He turned his attention to Darkkit, who seemed perfectly healthy and Littlecloud had confirmed this. Runningnose gently nudged him towards his adoptive mother.
"Goodnight, Snaketail. May StarClan be with you and your kits," he said and left the den. Littlecloud turned to follow but was stopped by Snaketail.
"Hey, apprentice, where does this kit come from?" she asked.
"His mother brought him here from BloodClan. His father was Darkstripe, obviously. You may call him Darkkit, but I doubt you would," the tabby answered coldly before leaving the den.
Snaketail snorted, "Damn right I won't. Blackstar told me to do with him what I will. He probably should have been more specific. Oh well," she purred to herself and pushed the kit away as he began to crawl towards her for warmth.
Darkkit watched her from the other side of the nursery. He was cold. He had been cold before, but his mother's body was normally next to him to make it better. What did his mother look like? He couldn't remember. He had only seen her for a few days since his eyes had opened. He remembered her scent though. This cat was not his mother. Who she was, he did not know. She did not like him, but he didn't know what to do about it. He didn't even know what was going on. He wanted his mother. He wanted to be not as cold, but none of that mattered now. He curled his small body around himself and closed his eyes, trying to make his body stop trembling. Other kits would have whined, but his mother had taught him early to be quiet when she was not there, so he would.
It was not long after dawn that Darkkit raised his head and tilted it to the side. Snaketail and Ratkit were asleep curled up together and he had finally been able to curl up and sleep several tail-lengths away since Snaketail had shown no interest in having him sleep anywhere near her. Whether Ratkit would have complained or not was unknown since Darkkit wasn't even sure Ratkit was aware of his presence. The night had been cold and with his short coat sleep hadn't come easy but he had managed it. But now, something was troubling him.
He opened his bright eyes, looked out in the direction of two-leg place and uttered a single word.
Ok so that's the prologue. I don't know for sure what color Darkstripe's eyes were because in one book it says ice blue while in another they are described as amber. So I'm going with blue just because I like it. So I hope you liked this and feel free to review. And Darkkit has a special gift that you will find out later. Ok see ya.