Chapter 1: A Song to Passersby of the Great Journey

"Hear ye, hear ye! A skilled minstrel will perform whatever you wish!"

Redtail's eyes gaze across the crowd of passersby with displeasure. True to their title, they pass by without a second glance.

"Hear ye this! I'll sit and sing till any of ye lend an ear to my songs!"

With that, he closes his eyes and strums soulfully on the lyre perched on his knee.

"A song to sing, a tale of old. Times have passed, tales to be told. What may I say, what may I do? I may do nay until I sing for you.

"Seven cats with naught alike, woven pasts, filled with dislike. Prejudice and pride o'ercome, till all depart, four joined in one."

A few people are stopping to listen. When cats behind them hiss impatiently, some sit around Redtail's stool.

"Darkness...and sky...and water...and crush...the forest...there. Four Clans, four cats, all to one."

When he speaks next, his voice is melancholy and seems to echo.

"Darkness, air, water, and sky will come together, and shake the forest to its roots. Nothing will be as it is now, nor as it has ever been before."

A few onlookers shiver at Redtail's ominous words.

He picks up the beat, almost reciting a poem now.

"One and one and one and one, and then two others too

Come and meet at the Fourtrees to decide on what to do.

Squirrel and Storm, they tag along.

Bramble and Tawny met before,

Storm and Feather never tore,

Squirrel knows Bramble, better than'd be liked

But Crow's alone, lone in his flight.

To the sun-drown place, and hurry!

Twolegs come, not kind or furry,

Destroy the forest, trees and all,

The work of their monsters' paws.

Meeting Midnight, not a threat,

Nor at the darkness of moonhigh."

Redtail pauses and recites another prophecy.

"A dying warrior the way will show."

He resumes his poem.

"And the forest, chaos, despair

Hiding from the Twolegs there.

Cats are dying, prey is frying

(Though how, I neither know nor care).

The seven return, but now are six

Feather was lost, betwixt

The mountains and their former home—

Died in a prophecy not her own.

'A silver cat will save us.'

And save them she did, though at a cost to great for Crow to bear.

Then double back, o'er mountains again,

With the rest of our Clan and kin.

Find a new home, along the shores

Of a lake. Surrounded by moors and trees galore

This seemed to be the place.

Then another prophecy

Between a Leaf cat of med:

'Before there is peace, blood will spill blood, and the lake will run red.'

Before it came true, she ran away with Crow.

Midnight, she returned, warned to go back to Clans:

Badgers killed, badgers growled, badgers, badgers all over.

Clan was saved,

Cinder gave up her life,

And it was returned to her.

Crow and Leaf split,

And blood spilled blood

As Hawkfrost was slain by his brother Bramble.

Peace had come.

But another prophecy was ahead..."

Redtail gazed at his audience.

"Though moons pass until we know where to be led."

He bows his head, his song complete.

The crowd around him applauds wildly. Redtail removed his minstrel's cap and holds it out to the audience; within moments it grows heavy with coins.

"Thank you, thank you much. I appreciate it! Oh, thank you kindly!"

A dappled golden cat rises to her paws and places a gold coin into his cap. "Nay, it is thee we must thank, for thy wonderful account of the Great Journey! How often dost thou expect to be at this here corner, playing thy bards?"

Redtail smiles at the she-cat's old English, as well as her misuse of 'bard.' "Aye, I shall be here whenever I can, to sing and entertain!"

The she-cat smiles broadly in return. "I thank ye! My name, it is Mothdapple, and pardon my English. I am trying to make a good impression, for I am not from this time."

Mothdapple winks an amber-yellow eye and departs, leaving Redtail mystified.

"Be ye from past or future, if you return, I'll sing any song ye wish!"

Thank ye kindly for reading! I beseech thee, please review, and if you wish, contact me with a Private Message to allow thy own character to visit Redtail and suggest a song.

Farewell, wherever you fare!