You were born on a rainy afternoon in the middle of new-leaf, suckling warm milk from your mother and curling up against your single brother, nuzzling against his fur. You were a normal, healthy kit with no ailments.
And this is how it began.
- - -
You met Tigerpaw when you were a young kit. He was a strong, big dark tabby who played with you when he wasn't busy. He batted at you with sheathed paws and taught you how to fight like a warrior.
You admired his skill, but you found it impossible to recreate his smooth, effortless movements, and so you simply watched him as he performed these clawing actions in front of you.
There were days he was too busy to play, and you sat staring woefully out at the crowded clearing. He was never there.
- - -
Redtail was your idol.
You looked up to Redtail in a way that no cat could fathom; he was like a father to you, warm smile in place and kind heart reaching out to you. You still admired Tigerpaw, but Redtail was something entirely different. He was family.
You became his apprentice one moonless night. A shooting star fled across the sky and you fancied it was a sign from StarClan that you were destined for greatness.
Redtail pressed his nose against yours and you purred too much to speak.
- - -
You became a warrior after a battle with ShadowClan. You lost your mother in that battle, and the Clan mourned her and pitied you.
"He can't lose another family member," cats fretted. "Not since we lost Vinekit."
Redtail said nothing, but his purr of welcome when the Clan called your name was enough.
- - -
Redtail was killed in battle, nobly, as a warrior should go. You heard the news from Ravenpaw, who collapsed onto the ground after feeding the information to the greedy Clan. You grieved in a silent, private way, and no cat understood your grief.
It was as if you'd lost Vinekit and your mother a second time over. Redtail's fur looked cold and dull in the moonlight.
- - -
You don't remember exactly how you came to love Tigerclaw. It happened gradually. You'd always looked up to him, even if your admiration for Redtail overshadowed it. You still don't remember how you fell in love, but you did.
Tigerclaw was a natural-born leader. He commanded the Clan with his voice, and he ruled with an iron claw; everything he did, he did it with authority and power. You admired that power. You wanted it for yourself, but at the same time, you merely wanted to be in his presence.
There was a time it was simple. You used to hunt with Tigerclaw and Longtail in a greenleaf forest, without the pressing worries of treachery and betrayal.
You didn't intend to love him, but you did. Everything went downhill from there.
- - -
At first, you didn't want to believe that Redtail was killed by Tigerclaw. After looking up to the dark tabby for so long, all you could think was, "He'd never do that to me."
But the signs all pointed to one clear answer, and all you could do was wonder why.
To rationalize, Tigerclaw never knew how close you were to Redtail.
Even so, you refused to follow your love into exile. It hurt too much, his betrayal; you'd rather die than follow him.
You realized your mistake much later. It would have been easier for you if you simply decided to leave right then.
- - -
You resented Firestar. You hated him because he didn't understand, and he'd never trust you. You hated him because he didn't pity you, and he didn't know that you loved Tigerstar.
You hated him because he wasn't Tigerstar, and if it weren't for him, you'd be with Tigerstar right now.
- - -
You met with Blackfoot for a single, innocent reason: you longed to hear from Tigerstar. You wanted to know how he was doing, what his secrets were, if he'd mentioned you at all - you wanted information. He wasn't in your Clan anymore, and you couldn't love him from across the clearing. Now, it was across the entire forest, a rift that broke your heart.
Blackfoot's ears twitched and he sniffed the air warily. Finally: "There's a kit behind you. I would suggest silencing her."
The glint in Blackfoot's eyes said it all, and before you could protest, he fled along the narrow path and you turned to face Sorrelkit.
Your paws shook when the death berries rolled onto her tongue, but the deed was done.
You never wanted to leave ThunderClan, and the idea of betraying this Clan for good sickened you. You wanted to be with Tigerstar, but you didn't want to leave. You were born here; these people were your friends.
"This isn't my Clan anymore." Your future always belonged in Tigerstar's amber eyes.
- - -
His last lives bled scarlet onto the ground, bathing the once-peaceful grounds with his life. His throat glistened with bubbling blood, and his jaws gaped a last defiant snarl.
Your paws were frozen to the ground, and all you could see was Tigerstar's eyes, glowing with amusement and praise.
It was all dark now.
Nothing was worth living.
- - -
All you wanted to do was see Firestar dead. It would make your life complete, end it all in a way that was fulfilling. Hatred burned for him. He let Tigerstar die; he let the entire forest come crumbling to pieces.
In your mind, he deserved to die.
You were killed at the claws of Graystripe, and rather than a white light coming to greet you, all that appeared was darkness.
It was too late to turn back now.