The Sky's Rise

Chapter 32

As Moonshadow and Nightclaw slept, Sunmist stood at the base of the fallen tree they'd sheltered under. She lifted her head and scented the air, her eyes closed. The amber orbs flashed open and she glared around. I know that smell... she thought and, with a swift glance over her shoulder, she started away quietly. "Hello?" She whispered into the night as she padded forward, but there was no answer. She took a few more steps before repeating, "Hello?" Still, no answer. She went on a little longer before coming to a halt. "Hello?" She called softly.

"Intruder!"

Sunmist yowled and fell under the weight of an unseen enemy. She yowled and rolled over, crushing her opponent. She quickly got to her paws, claws unsheathed, and whipped around to face her attacker. A dark red tom stood in front of her, his pelt dappled with small brown spots and his green eyes glowing with anger. "Who are you?" He growled.

"My name is Sunmist," She replied. "Who are you?" She growled as well.

"Did you say Sunmist?"

She snapped her head to see a black she-cat pad forward. The moonlight hit the light gray spots on her body, making them gleam, and her bright blue eyes shone in the dark. "Yes, who are you?" Sunmist hissed.

"My name is Fernpool, and this is Applefur," The she-cat replied. Sunmist stood there dumbly, her mouth open. Warrior names? She questioned in her head.

"I don't know a Sunmist. Where did you come from?" Applefur asked, his tone hostile.

"ThunderClan. Where did you come from?" She asked.

"Please, Applefur, stand down. I've been expecting her," Fernpool mewed before turning to Sunmist. "I am the medicine cat of SkyClan, and Applefur is one of our warriors," She explained.

"Wait... expecting me?" Sunmist asked.

"Of course. StarClan spoke of the unclear day and how night shall fall. The lost sky shall rise after its fall, and all shall be lost within the time of glory, but StarClan says not to fear, for the blue plain shall survive in the belly of the storm. Leafstar spoke of many sacrifices, but says we're not alone."

"I don't understand... StarClan told you we were coming?" Sunmist asked after Fernpool quit speaking.

"What do you mean we?" Applefur growled.

Just then, a storm of thundering pawsteps neared until a black tom skidded to a halt, followed by a light brown/gray she-cat with black rings around her tail and a blue eyed, dark brown tom. "We heard yowling!" The she-cat spoke.

"Lynxtail, it is nothing. We are fine," Fernpool mewed.

"Who is that?" The brown tom growled.

"Sunmist. And please, Bearfur, show her kindness. She is a friend," Fernpool replied.

"You're name is Bearfur?" Sunmist asked.

"Yeah, why?" The tom asked with a slight tilt of his big head.

"ThunderClan, the place I come from, has a cat named Bearfur. It's funny... you look like him," Sunmist whispered. Bearfur looked surprised and looked at the black tom.

"Fernpool, you know her?" The tom asked.

"She is a friend," Fernpool repeated. The black tom bowed his head. Fernpool turned to Sunmist. "Sunmist, you inquired you have companions. Am I correct?" Fernpool asked.

"Yes, Moonshadow and Nightclaw," Sunmist replied, feeling like she'd known Fernpool for countless moons.

"Shadepelt, take Lynxtail and go with Sunmist to get rest of her patrol. When you find them, bring them back to camp. Applefur, please go back to camp and wake Redstar. Tell him we have visitors," Fernpool instructed kindly. As Sunmist looked her in the eye, the blue orbs on her face looked as soft as the petals on a rose, but something dark hid right beneath the kindness. Something Sunmist couldn't quite place...

"Ready?" It was the gray-brown she-cat speaking. She was flanked with the black tom.

"Yes," Sunmist nodded after a moment of staring at the tom. She turned away and led them to the fallen tree. "Nightclaw, Moonshadow, wake up," She prodded them.

Nightclaw was up at once, his fur bristling. "I knew I smelled something!" He snapped as he stepped in front of her, shielding the she-cats from the strangers as he growled.

"Nightclaw, stop it!" Sunmist mewed, shouldering her way out from behind him. Moonshadow followed her closely. "This is Lynxtail and Shadepelt. They come from SkyClan," She mewed. Nightclaw blinked as he looked at her. The growl held deep in his throat stopped and his fur lay flat once more.

"We mean no harm," Shadepelt mewed.

"SkyClan? Do you think that's the sky in the prophecy?" Moonshadow whispered in Sunmist's ear.

"Yeah, I do," She whispered back with a small nod before turning to the two SkyClan warriors.

"Shall we head back?" Lynxtail asked. Sunmist nodded and slowly, she, along with Nightclaw and Moonshadow, followed the warriors back to a stone camp. Instantly, Sunmist began shaking. This is the place from my dream! She realized after only a moment of being there.

"Fernpool, are these the cats?" A small reddish tom with tiny white spots padded forward.

"Yes, Redstar," Fernpool mewed. "This is Sunmist, Nightclaw, and Moonshadow."

"They are the ones StarClan spoke of?" He asked.

"Yes," The medicine cat answered simply. Redstar turned his head and approached the ThunderClan cats. Slowly, even in the dead of night, the SkyClan cats began to gather.

"Are you Sunmist?" He asked.

"Yes," Sunmist replied evenly.

"Why are you here?" He asked.

"StarClan spoke of a prophecy," Sunmist mewed. Behind her, she could feel Nightclaw tense.

"What prophecy?" Redstar asked.

"The night will fall, leaving the day alone, but the sky will bring them close when dusk comes during the storm," Sunmist answered.

"So you understand what's going on?" Redstar asked.

"No, honestly I don-" Sunmist was cut off with loud barking and yelling.

"They're back!" A gray tom with yellow rings called from a high perch.

"Everyone, get to the highest ground you can!" Redstar yowled. "You three, come with me," He ordered and bounded away, though there was a slight limp. Sunmist didn't argue or question as she followed quickly. Moonshadow and Nightclaw followed just as fast as scared cats ran to all sides as the barking grew louder. Redstar led the way up a sole pine tree just as a swarm of dogs raided the camp.

"Dogs?" Moonshadow exclaimed.

"We've battled them for moons, now hush," Redstar hissed as the dogs scented the ground. Sunmist watched in horror as a little black and white dog ran off. She followed its gaze and gasped when she saw what it was aiming for.

A gray tom with a large scar in his ear was trying to scramble up a large boulder, but kept losing his grip. As the small dog began to yap like mad, the gray tom spun, his green eyes wide with terror. "We have to help him!" Nightclaw yowled.

"There is no helping him!" Redstar hissed, his words dripping with heartache.

"We have to try!" Nightclaw argued.

"There are at least ten dogs down there. There is no saving him, and if you go down there, you'll die too!" Redstar mewed. Nightclaw fell silent and Sunmist buried her head in his fur as the other dogs followed the small one that still yapped. She could hear hissing, and yowls from the tom as he tried to save himself. The last thing she heard from the tom was a loud, agonizing screech.

"Die! Die! Die!" The dogs chanted as if they were one. A large black and brown dog with pointy ears and long legs looked up at them, burning holes into Sunmist's pelt with threatening brown eyes. It flicked it's stumpy tail and bounded away. The others followed, howling and barking the whole time.

All the cats stayed where they were, even after the noise was long gone. They just stayed there, paralyzed with fear.

After a long time, Moonshadow asked, "Why were they here?"

"I do not know, but like I said before, we've been battling them for moons. I have lost many great warriors against them, but StarClan has shown us salvation," Redstar murmured.

"And what is that?" Sunmist growled.

"Day and Night," Redstar replied as his eyes flickered between Nightclaw and Sunmist, and the hairs along the she-cats' spine prickled. StarClan... you've sent us to our deaths?