Chapter 9

Dovewing looked around in awe. Cats from all four of the Clans moved around in the ThunderClan camp. Some basked in the sun, others shared tongues quietly and some slept peacefully. The thing that shocked Dovewing the most was how the four Clans could act so friendly with each other. It's as if we were never enemies…

The past moon had a brought a lot of change. After Scourge's meeting the Clan leaders had decided that it would be safest if the four Clans moved into one camp. After a brief argument they decided that ThunderClan was the most suitable place. Of course, the ThunderClan camp wasn't nearly big enough to house four Clans at once so temporary dens had been set up outside. Dovewing was thankful that she was able to stay in the warriors den.

"Dovewing," A cat's call distracted Dovewing's thoughts. She turned to see Sandstorm approaching her.

"Firestar would like to have a word with you and Jayfeather." Sandstorm mewed.

Dovewing's eyes widened.

"You're not in trouble." Sandstorm assured her.

Dovewing nodded reluctantly. "I don't know where Jayfeather is though."

Sandstorm shrugged. "I'll find him. Why don't you go see what Firestar wants?"

"Okay." Dovewing replied.

"Why isn't Jayfeather with you?" Firestar frowned.

"Sandstorm went to go find him; I wasn't sure where he was." Dovewing mewed apologetically.

"That's alright. Whatever he misses you can fill him in on later." Firestar mewed.

Jayfeather shouldered his way into Firestar's den. "You wanted to speak with me, Firestar?"

Firestar dipped his head to Jayfeather. "You're here good. I need to speak with you and Dovewing about BloodClan."

Jayfeather's eyes narrowed. "What about BloodClan?"

Firestar flicked his tail. "I'm going to tell you about what they did to us in the old forest." He explained. "I just recently realized that you two didn't know much about BloodClan and I figured that it might help you two to know a bit more about them."

Jayfeather nodded slowly. "Alright then, tell us about the final battle."

Firestar gazed out at the cats gathered before him. To his left were the WindClan cats, to his right were the ThunderClan cats, behind him sat the ShadowClan and RiverClan cats. It seemed almost impossible to Firestar that nearly all of the cats from the four Clans could fit into the clearing at Fourtrees at one time but there they all were. And Firestar was standing on the Great Rock about to lead them into a battle against BloodClan. It was a battle that they most assuredly would not win. If you think that way you've already lost. Firestar scolded himself. He searched the faces before him once again and tried to shake off the growing feeling of anxiety that threatened to overcome him. Why am I the one leading the Clans into battle? He wondered for the millionth time.

"Firestar!" Sandstorm's sudden call interrupted Firestar's thoughts. He turned towards her direction. The she-cat sprang up next to him. "A lot of cats out there are starting to have second thoughts about entering this battle." She reported.

Firestar's eyes widened. "That's not good." He muttered. "What about you? Do you still think it's a good idea to fight BloodClan?"

Sandstorm lashed her tail out. "Of course, I would rather die a warrior's death than live the life of a coward." She hissed.

Brave words, Firestar observed. "Then what do you think I should do?"

Sandstorm shrugged. "Perhaps you should give them a speech."

Firstar blinked. "I've never given a speech before."

"Well it seems like it's time for you to give your first." Sandstorm mewed.

"What should I say?" Firestar asked.

"That's up to you." Sandstorm replied. "You better make it good though!" She purred.

Firestar nodded slowly. "Alright then, I guess I'll get started."

"There's one last thing I need to tell you, Firestar." Sandstorm meowed.

"What's that?" Firestar asked.

"I love you." Sandstorm murmured softly.

Firestar stared into her deep emerald eyes. "I love you too."

"Cats of all Clans!" Firestar yowled. "Give me your attention; I must speak with you all before we fight BloodClan."

"What does he want?" Some cat muttered crossly in the back.

He cleared his throat to start but then was suddenly choked with fear. I can't do this! The bleak thought screamed through his mind. He searched the crowd frantically until he made eye contact with Sandstorm. She dipped her head reassuringly to him. You can do this! Firestar heard her say.

"Today we will all rise to fight a great evil that threatens to consume the forest." Firestar started his speech strongly. "We have been given the chance to either stand our ground and fight or turn tail and run. If you are standing before me today, that means that you have decided to fight." He paused. "You are all true warriors."

Cries of agreement broke out across the clearing. Firestar noted that Sandstorm was one of the loudest cats. He waited for the noise to die down and then continued, his eyes blazing. "Scourge thinks that he can just come into our territory and take it from us but he is far from right." He growled. "Our four Clans were established long ago and have faced many troubles since then and still remain today. We will still remain tomorrow. I can tell that some of you may doubt this but that is because you've forgotten why the four Clans still exist." He lifted his head to Silverpelt. "The fifth Clan; StarClan."

"He's right." A cat called out from amidst the WindClan cats. "StarClan are the whole reason behind our existence. Without them we'd be nothing."

"Exactly!" Firestar mewed. "StarClan have watched over us for countless moons, and they are watching over us even now. It is because of StarClan that we must fight."

"Why?" Some cat challenged. "What if it is StarClan's will for the Clans to avoid destruction and find a new territory?"

Firestar narrowed his eyes. "We must stay and fight because of the Warrior Code that our Clans established. The Warrior Code proclaims honor. What honor is there in fleeing? It is StarClan's will for us to fight!"

"But BloodClan will destroy us!" A voice wailed.

"This battle is ours!" Firestar proclaimed. "BloodClan may have more numbers but we have StarClan on our side! No evil can ever compare with StarClan they will always shine brightly, guiding and protecting us." He noticed cats in the clearing nodding their heads. The speech was working! "Another advantage we have is our diversity."

A couple of cats looked up at Firestar, confused.

"The cats of RiverClan are clever and as slippery as the fish that they catch in the river, ShadowClan are fierce and strong, WindClan cats are graceful and quick and ThunderClan warriors are strong and courageous. If we combine our strengths we are unbeatable. This is how we will beat BloodClan. Together."

"Our strengths make up for our weaknesses." Some cat muttered.

"Yes." Firestar acknowledged the cat. "If we can fight together with StarClan on our side we will defeat BloodClan."

Caterwauls and cries of triumph erupted around the clearing.

This is unreal. "Are you listening to me warriors? I said that we will defeat BloodClan!"

The cries grew even louder but it wasn't enough for Firestar. He needed every cat to cry out as loudly as they could. "I ask you again, warriors. Are you listening!"

"Yes!" All cats responded simultaneously and the whole forest seemed to shake with the power of the single word.

When the cats quieted Firestar felt adrenaline pulsing through his body. "Then we will fight together to defeat BloodClan. We will unite as one Clan. LionClan!"

"Was that good enough, Sandstorm?" Firestar inquired in a teasing tone.

"That was amazing." Sandstorm purred. "Do you really believe that?"

"What?" Firestar asked.

"Everything that you said in your speech. Do you really believe that we'll defeat BloodClan?" Sandstorm pressed.
Firestar nodded. "I know that we will defeat BloodClan."

"Every other cat certainly believes that." Sandstorm mewed.

Firestar nodded and then he suddenly blurted out, "I'm really glad that you're here with me."

Sandstorm smiled. "I wouldn't miss out on this for anything." She replied.

Firestar thought of the coming battle and the realization that Sandstorm might die jolted through him like lightning. "You'll be careful during the battle, won't you?"

Sensing the sudden change in Firestar's tone Sandstorm replied, "Of course I will, silly furball." She pressed her nose to Firestar's flank affectionately. "I'm not a little kit you know."

"I just don't know what I'd do without you…" Firestar trailed off.

"You won't have to find out." Sandstorm promised. "I'll be fine."

Firestar nodded though he didn't feel very assured. He changed the subject. "When do you think Scourge will finally arrive?"

Sandstorm peered up at the sky. "It's almost sunhigh." She observed. "He could arrive at any time."

As if in reply to Sandstorm, the sudden stench of rotten crowfood and blood suddenly wavered over Fourtrees. "They're almost here." Firestar muttered. Then in a louder voice he called, "To me, LionClan!"

All of the cats in the clearing filled in behind Firestar obediently. He fixed his gaze on the other side of the clearing and searched for any traces of BloodClan cats. Firestar noticed a cat entering the clearing, followed by another and another until Scourge himself appeared in front of the BloodClan cats. Firestar shivered when he spotted the black cat, remembering how he had violently killed Tigerstar the other day. Scourge silently started to make his way to the Great Rock. Firestar signaled for his warriors to stay and he went down to meet with Scourge.

"Hello Firestar." Scourge's greeted him with an icy mew.

Firestar dipped his head. "Scourge."

"Have you made your decision?" Scourge demanded.

Firestar didn't answer his question directly, "We were hoping we could reach an agreement with you."

Scourge's eyes narrowed. "What do you mean?"

Firestar prayed to StarClan that Scourge couldn't sense his fear. "We want to stay in the forest so-"

Scourge cut him off. "No. BloodClan is going to move into the forest. Life is too hard in Twoleg Place, prey is too scarce."

Firestar continued. "I was going to say that we would be willing to share some of our prey with BloodClan." Just until we have enough numbers to deal with you that is. He thought silently.

Scourge shook his head. "There isn't enough prey to support your Clans and BloodClan."

Firestar started to become desperate. "Isn't there any agreement that we could come to that would allow us to stay in the forest…"

"BloodClan is moving into the forest." Scourge repeated with a more menacing tone.

"Please Scourge; I'm just trying to avoid an unnecessary battle here." Firestar tried to reason with him.

Scourge's ear flicked. "There doesn't have to be a battle. I gave you the chance to leave."

Firestar frowned. "Is it really worth it? Your cats are going to die in this battle for what? A little more room to stretch their legs?"

Scourge's fur bristled now. "We will have the forest. Battle or no battle."

Firestar shook his head sadly. "If we must fight, we will fight. StarClan will lead us to victory."

Scourge sneered at him. "StarClan? That's a tail for kits. All of your cats will die because of your foolish beliefs. Besides, if you really believed that StarClan would lead you to victory you would not be afraid to fight BloodClan."

Firestar blinked. "I am not afraid to fight you, I am only saddened by the unnecessary bloodshed that is about to occur.

Scourge hissed at him and turned and stalked off to his Clan. Firestar returned to his at the top of the clearing.

"Well?" Sandstorm demanded. "What were you two talking about?"

"I tried to convince Scourge not to fight but he wouldn't listen to me. He says that BloodClan is moving into the forest regardless. I tried to reason with him but it didn't work…" Firestar trailed off.

Sandstorm nuzzled him affectionately. "There was nothing you could do." She murmured. "He's set on getting this forest. We're going to have to fight him for it."

"May StarClan be with us." Firestar whispered. We are Firestar. The sweet voice of Spottedleaf mewed to Firestar in his head. Never forget that.

"Remember, we must fight as one. This battle will be delivered to us from StarClan." Firestar gave his last few words to his warriors and turned to see Scourge let out a battle cry and the BloodClan warriors take off down into the heart of Fourtrees. "LionClan, attack!" Firestar yowled with everything within him.

LionClan surged forward as one and Firestar felt the familiar pelts of Graystripe and Sandstorm pressed up against him as they headed into battle. Memories surged through his mind like a roaring wave. He saw the first time that he met Graystripe, himself hunting with Sandstorm, sneaking past the RiverClan border with Graystripe at his side and the first time Sandstorm confessed her love for him. What if either of them was to die in this battle? Firestar didn't want to think about what that would mean. Focus on the battle, he told himself over again. The first lines of the BloodClan cats were almost in striking distance. Firestar bunched the muscles in his legs and propelled himself at the enemy, his claws outstretched.

One of my chapter finally has some decent length… Don't forget to review!