1

In America, down south in Nashville, Tennessee is a very popular city. Its streets bustled with people who had business with others, either about contracts for new buildings, or new businesses, or new stars that were ready to make their names known in the world. The city was a glorious sight to many people, but the city is not where this story begins. This story begins in the suburbs of Nashville, where a young girl with short, dark hair lay in her messy bed, covered in sheets, and drooling slightly on her pillow.

She groaned as the sunlight hit her face, and turned over in her bed to keep it from hitting her closed eyes. Although, it didn't make much difference in how well she slept, for her mother soon came knocking on the door.

"Leanne?" Her mother called from the other side of the door, "Leanne, you better be awake in there!" The girl in the sheets curled up unhappily, putting her pillow over her head to block out the noise of her mother banging on her bedroom door.

"Go away…!" She groaned out. Her words fell on uncaring ears as her mother, a tall woman with the same dark hair opened the door, and scowled at the sight of her daughter in bed.

"Come on, Lee, get up!" She said.

"Mom, it's summer vacation!" Leanne groaned, "Let me sleep!"

"Not in my house!" Her mother said, she grabbed the sheets and pulled them off of her daughter, who curled up even more at the loss of her source of warmth, "It may be summer, but it's Saturday, which means chores, young lady! Now get your booty out of bed, you have work to do."

"Mom, come on!" Leanne whined, looking up at her mother with her unhappy grey eyes.

"Uh-uh." Her mother said, "Up and at 'em, kiddo. I'll be waiting for you downstairs with breakfast." Leanne sighed and collapsed against her mattress as her mother walked out of the room.

"You suck!" She called at her mother from her room.

"Get out of bed!" Her mother called back. Leanne sighed, knowing if she didn't get up now, her mother would probably get the hose and spray it on her (Because she's done it before, and she wouldn't be surprised if she did it again). Leanne pushed herself out of her bed and shuffled over to her closet with an unhappy scowl. She was not a morning person.

Leanne was about seventeen years old, with black hair that went down to her shoulders, the ends curling up ever so slightly, but that was only because of her bed-head. She had silvery eyes that she had always found unusual and didn't really like. Her skin was slightly pale from the fact that she didn't really get out much, mostly because she didn't get many chances to, but that didn't really matter to her. She stood at about 5'5" with skinny limbs, and a flat stomach. She scowled as she put on her new shirt, seeing that her B-cup chest, had seemingly grown overnight into a C-cup chest, because her shirt was suddenly much tighter. She let out an unhappy growl as she took it off and put on a dark blue tank top instead. She stepped into her work jeans (Which she had cut to look like capris) and pulled a comb through her hair before using a hair tie to make it into a small ponytail.

She walked out of the room and down the stairs to where mother was in the kitchen. When she saw her, her mother handed her some toast covered in jelly, along with a biscuit and some eggs.

"Eat up." She said, "We're gonna do some heavy lifting today." Leanne groaned again and slammed down in a chair near a table, munching on her toast with a scowl, even though she really did like the grape jelly her mother had spread on the piece of bread.

"What are we doing?" She asked, "And by 'we' I mean me." Her mother gave her a look.

"That's one." She said, holding up her index finger. Leanne rolled her eyes. Ever since she was a child, if she had ever made a smart remark to her mother, she would give her a warning. She did the 'three strikes and you're out' rule, meaning if she said three smart ass comments, she'd be punished. When she was little, it was just being sent to time-out, or having her favorite toys taken away. Now, if she got three strikes, she would either be grounded, or have her car privileges taken away. "And we are going to be cleaning up the attic today. It's time we got rid of all that junk up there."

"Mom, isn't half that junk Nana's?" Leanne asked, and her mother nodded. Leanne never liked her Nana, she was far too old-fashioned and always insisted on her eating the most disgusting food she could think of and telling her the strangest stories, which she assumed she only told because of her senility. Leanne finished up the rest of her breakfast and grabbed a glass of milk, downing the liquid in less than a minute. "So, when do we start? When you're ready?"

"No, we start when you're ready." Her mother said, "And since you just finished off your breakfast, I'd say you are." She smirked at her daughter, who frowned.

"It's always me who has to do the heavy lifting." She said, "And you wonder why you have so much flab around your middle." She smirked at her comment and her mother scowled at her.

"That's two." Her mother said, holding up two fingers. Leanne frowned and bit, "Make it three, and you lose your cellphone."

"Fine…" She grumbled.

"Now, I suggest you get upstairs and get started." Her mother said, pointing up the stairs. Leanne started walking towards the stairs, and before she left the kitchen, she stuck out her tongue at her mother's back, "I can see you, missy!" Leanne quickly pulled her tongue back in and dashed up the stairs, not wanting to lose her cellphone privileges so quickly. She went up to where the attic door waited and pulled on the string to open it up and bring the ladder down. She climbed up and looked around at all the boxes sitting around the attic, heading over to where a large one sat in the corner of it. She opened it up, and saw that it was filled with a bunch of Nana's old belongings. She reached in, picking up one of her old diaries, and flipped through the pages, she found all kinds of strange doodles inside of weird patterns, and when she tried to read her grandmother's handwriting, she found that her cursive was just a bit too calligraphic for her liking, and could only make out a few words.

"Thunder… Sword… Omens… Book… Cats." Leanne scrunched up her nose at the words, wondering exactly what her Nana had been writing about in those diaries. She checked the date, seeing that her grandmother had written about these things when she was about her age, maybe younger. She shook her head, closing the diary and putting it back in the box. Her eyes caught something shining, and looked to see a beautiful, round, red jewel in the box. Eyes sparkling in curiosity, something that had gotten her into more trouble than she cared to mention over the past seventeen years of her life, she reached for the jewel, seeing that it was attached to a chain as a sort of necklace that vaguely reminded her of Egyptian jewelry. Leanne smiled at the necklace.

"I think I'll just hang onto this one." She said to herself, deciding that this particular piece of junk would stay with her. She took the necklace and put the chain of it around her neck, hooking it together. Once it was on, she smiled down at the lovely jewel. She reached for the diary, planning on putting it back in the box, when her eyes caught something on the page and she opened the diary again. She quirked an eyebrow at the strangely drawn circle on the page. She didn't pay it any mind, and moved to put it back in the box, not seeing that her fingers had brushed against the page. The circle suddenly began to glow brightly and Leanne instantly dropped it, but the circle was still glowing, and soon the necklace began to glow as well. A similar circle from the book began to glow under her feet, and the light began to burn. She cried out from the brightness, covering her eyes with her hands to try and ease the sudden sting from the glowing necklace, whose light was glowing brighter and brighter with each second. She got up, trying to find her way around the attic through her temporary blindness, and headed straight for the exit. Her foot went through the hole in the attic floor, and she screamed as she fell through.

She let out a grunt when she landed on the ground, thanking God she wasn't hurt. She sat up, surprised to feel the carpet below her feel more like grass under her skin than actual carpet.

"What in the heck…?" She blinked away the sudden blindness she had suffered from the necklace, and was surprised to see that she was sitting on the ground, in a forest, outside. She instantly stood up, looking around for something familiar, but saw nothing. She didn't see any sign that she was still in her attic, or anywhere near her house for that matter. "Mom?" She didn't hear a response, "Mom?!" Still, there was no reply, "Marissa?!" She tried her mother's first name, and she still didn't get a response. Now, she was starting to panic, "Mom?" She ran, looking for any sign that she was near her house. "Mom!" She ran through an innumerable amount of trees and bushes, "Mom!" Her eyes began to well up in hysterical tears, "Mom!" She screamed out her last word and she ran through the trees, and was surprised to see she had come out of the forest, and now looked ahead of her to see a city surrounded by a huge wall. Her heart beat at an incredibly fast pace, realizing there was nothing like this back in her home.

Looking around, seeing that she had no other options at that moment than to go towards the walls and look for some kind of help, Leanne started walking towards the city.

As she got closer and closer, she saw some guards dressed in strange uniforms standing outside the walls of it. She was even more surprised when she saw their face paint. They even had the strangest ears, they were rounded, yet pointy, like a cat's ears. As she came into their line of sight, she saw one of them pointing at her, and shouting something she couldn't make out to the other guards. Soon, she saw them running towards her with spears, and she began to panic. Did these people take her for a threat? She was soon surrounded by the soldiers, and as she got a closer look at them, she realized it wasn't face paint they had on, but fur! She saw they also had fangs in their mouths, and claws on their hands (paws?). They pointed the spears at her and she looked around at them fearfully.

"Ugh!" She heard one guard say in disgust, "I thought you Wood Forgers didn't come until spring." Leanne looked at him oddly.

"What?" She asked, not knowing what a Wood Forger was.

"Are you some kind of novice?" One asked, "You must be the strangest one I've ever seen."

"What's that around her neck?" Another asked, pointing to the necklace she wore.

"Um…" She tried to come up with a good response, but found her words leaving her at the sight of the cat people around her.

"It's the long lost Jewel of Thundera!" One soldier gasped, "I recognize it from the portraits!"

"Thief!" A soldier shouted, "Where have you been hiding it?"

"W-What?" Leanne asked in shock, not believing that these creatures were calling her a criminal right off the bat.

"Get it!" A man said, "And take her to the king so she may see proper punishment!"

"Huh?" Leanne exclaimed in shock. She was suddenly grabbed by two clawed hands and being pulled away, "Wait! I haven't done anything! Let me go!" She squirmed against their grasp as hard as she could, not liking the idea of being taken before these peoples king as a criminal. As they pulled her into the streets, she kept trying to get out of their grip. As they went through the city, she saw almost everyone there was cat-like in appearance and nature. She looked down at their feet as they dragged her, and down at her own feet, seeing she was still wearing her sneakers, while these people only wore sandals. On impulse, she lifted her feet and slammed them down on her captor's feet. They cried out in pain and she ran off from them, heading into the city's alleys.

"Don't let it get away!" A soldier shouted, and she soon heard the sound of soldier feet following her. As she ran through the city, she saw people screaming at the sight of her, some screaming in shock and in disgust as she ran by.

I'm making too much of a scene, Leanne thought, I need to make myself more inconspicuous. As she passed by a stand, she noticed some cloaks for sale and she grabbed one and pulled it with her. She ran down the alleys as fast as her feet would take her, trying to outrun the guards behind her. She noticed one of the buildings had something of a ladder resting on the side of it. And a thought came to her, remembering how she had spent a good remainder of her summer free-running. She climbed up the ladder as quickly as her feet would take her, the soldiers not far behind. The cloak she had stolen billowed out behind her as she ran across the roof of the building. She jumped off the roof and landed on the roof of the building next to it. The soldiers looked at her in awe at her sudden jump, amazed that she didn't hesitate at all. They followed her lead as best they could in order to get to her.

Leanne ran as fast as she could, suddenly very thankful she had decided to join a free running group that did everything in downtown Nashville. It was quite a rush to jump from old building to old building, but with soldiers chasing after you, it made the rush sort of worse. She leapt off another building, planning to grab onto the roof, but she had miscalculated, and just barely touched the roof, and fell. She landed on the tarp that shaded a vendor's stand, and she bounced off it onto the ground. She apologized to the frightened vendor as she ran down the streets, planning to lose the soldiers in the crowd, keeping her face hidden below the cloak's hood. She heard them following her, so she did her best to disappear into the crowd, and when she looked back, she saw some soldiers had gotten caught up in the crowd and weren't able to go much further, but some were still running towards her.

She looked around, and smiled when she saw a small space between two buildings that was just big enough for her to squeeze in. So she went and hid in there, sitting still as the soldiers kept running.

"Where did she go?" A soldier asked, seeming to have lost her trail.

"This way!" Another said, and they kept running right past her hiding place. Leanne smiled as she saw them run.

"I can't believe that worked." She said, standing up and walking through the alley to the other side. She pulled her hood in closer to her body, so as not to draw any attention to herself. She looked around, noticing how rundown and dirty everything seemed. "I must be in the bad part of town…" She sighed to herself, "Great work, Lee." She pulled the cloak closer to her and kept walking.


In the palace…

Lion-O whistled a cheery tune as he walked through the castle hallways, his hands in his pockets. As he passed by the throne room, he glanced in and saw his father talking with someone else, a soldier, about something he couldn't quite hear.

"Well, go out and find her!" His father bellowed to the soldier, who quickly bowed and ran off. He watched as his father reached up and massaged the place between his eyebrows with a sigh.

"Father?" Lion-O asked, Claudus looked up at his son as he came towards him, "What's wrong?"

"An intruder was spotted outside the walls," Claudus said, "When they got closer, they saw she was some kind of… Well, they're not sure what it was. All they know is that it closely resembles the Wood Forgers. Now, she's loose somewhere in the kingdom."

"Really?" Lion-O asked, excited at the prospect of some new species.

"But that's not the worst part." Claudus said, "It's carrying the Jewel of Thundera with it."

"The Jewel of Thundera?" Lion-O said in surprise, his blue eyes wide. The Jewel of Thundera was widely known in ancient legends as the Jewel of Omens, because the jewel on the necklace that held it, and the jewel on the Sword of Omens were cut from the same stone. It was said to have all the same powers as the sword, but it acted more as armor than an actual weapon. It brought the ThunderCats great prosperity and happiness, but one day, over five hundred years ago, a strange being, who was unlike any species they had ever seen, came and took the jewel, and then disappeared. No one had seen it since. "How is that possible?"

"I'm not sure." Claudus said, "But they are going to find it, of that much I'm sure."


Back in the slums…

Leanne made sure to keep her hood up as she walked through the streets, looking around for some way out of the city.

It shouldn't be too hard… She thought to herself, I mean, just head for the big white wall, but I'd still be caught by those guards. She sighed, This isn't going to be easy…

She jumped out of her thoughts when a body was suddenly thrust in front of her and crashed into the stand beside her. She looked over and saw a large cat man had been responsible for it, because he brushed his hands together as if to rid them of some nonexistent dirt.

"Next time I ask for your money, you pay it!" He growled at the dog man he had thrown into the stand. Leanne felt her blood boiling at the sight of the man and his cat posse picking on the dog man, who seemed to be a little older than him. He walked over to the dog man and picked him up by his collar, holding him off of the ground. Leanne clenched her fists tightly, feeling her fingernails making an indention on the skin of her palm. If there was one thing she absolutely hated in any world, it was a bully. Boldly, and without thinking, she walked up to the big cat man and grabbed his arm, her nails going through his fur to his skin.

"Leave him alone!" She said to him. The big cat looked down at her-make that glared at her, and she released his arm, mentally kicking her own butt for making the impulsive decision to jump into a fight that wasn't her problem.

"What did you just say?" The cat man growled, dropping the dog man on the ground. Leanne took a step back from him and his sketchy-looking friends.

"I said," Leanne took a deep breath to try and gather up some courage, "Leave him alone… Just because you're greedy, doesn't mean you can threaten people out of their money." She didn't look up at him so as to keep her face hidden under the hood. She didn't want them crying 'Wood Forger!' and getting some soldier's attention.

"What are you gonna do about it?" He asked, leaning down to try and get in her face, but she turned away. He scowled angrily, "Hey! Look at me when I'm talking to you!" He grabbed her arm painfully, and Leanne flinched. She clenched her fist, putting as much strength as she could into it and punched him across his furry face. He went back, staring at her in shock. He scowled angrily and pointed his finger at her, "Get her!" Leanne looked up and jumped back just before one of his goons could cut her with a sabre-like knife. He was about to go at her again, and she reached out, grabbing his hand and twisting it painfully, making him cry out. Another one, much shorter than her, came running towards her as if to tackle her. She pushed against his shoulders before he could hit, using her legs to help push him back. The struggle only lasted a moment, because when Leanne realized he wasn't the only one trying to get to her, she grabbed him by the straps of his clothing, picked him up, and spun slightly to hit him into the third cat man who came at her, sending them back into some of the crates. She gasped when her hood came off with the sudden throw, and the leader of the group looked at her in shock and disgust.

"It's a Wood Forger!" He gasped, getting a look at her face. He stepped back, "It's gonna kill us with its freaky magic!" She looked back at him, then around at the bystanders, who all looked at her in fear. Looking back at the man, she stepped in front of him, and he took a step back. She smirked demonically at him.

"Boo." She said. The cat man yelled out in fear and ran away, as did his posse, and some of the people who had been watching the fight. Some ran screaming, others just ran, calling for the guards. Leanne cursed and pulled her hood back on. "Figures…" She felt someone put their hand on her arm, and she whirled around, planning to hit them, but was surprised to see the dog man who was being threatened by the cats from before. He wasn't looking at her in either disgust or horror, it was closer to gratefulness.

"Thank you." He said to her.

"Uh, no problem." Leanne said, pulling her arm away, "You're okay, right?" The dog man nodded, and Leanne jumped when she heard the sound of marching footsteps.

"She's over there!" A voice shouted.

"You heard him, men!" One soldier shouted, "This way!"

"Crap…" Leanne hissed, she turned and ran down the street, skidding to a halt when some soldiers came on the other side. "Crap!" She turned to head in the opposite direction, but there were even more soldiers coming that way. She cursed again, and looked around for a way out. She saw an alleyway with a pile of boxes that she could have used as stairs, so she ran towards it. The soldiers followed her as she started to jump up onto the boxes. When she reached the fourth box, it collapsed, and her foot went through it. She yelped in surprise and fell off of the box pile and onto her back. She groaned in pain.

"Ow…" She felt her arms being grabbed, and she felt herself being picked up by the guards and dragged away. She didn't fight back, because she was in too much pain to do so.