Moons had passed since the birth of ForestClan. The forest was at peace, but the peace didn't last long. Rogues were always a problem with the Clan, and one rogue had even managed to kill Oakfoot during their many border fights.
Willowstar's lives had been fulfilling as she led the Clan. Throughout those lives, she had gone two deputies. Shadowpelt had retired after his leg was severely injured by a fox. He spent most of his time tending to Petaltail and her kits. Ambertail, the new medicine cat and Honeypool's only daughter, had done everything she could to save the leg. In the end, Willowstar had been forced to name Doveshine as her deputy.
The Clan was thriving, and Willowstar had only one life left. That single life was enough to make her wish she could join Leopard, Mousekit and all of her former Clanmates from LeafClan. She knew that the Clan was worried about her safety, heck, who wouldn't be? She was the one who saved them from a tyrannical leader.
They will understand when my time has passed, she thought as she limped out of the Oaktree.
"Mother, will she see me become an apprentice?" Willowstar's heart felt heavy when she heard the voice of Bluekit, one of Ashfall's kits. Ashfall was a silver and ginger dappled she-cat, daughter of Petaltail and Shadowpelt. "I want to be a strong leader like her one day," Bluekit added when she realized that most of the kits were surrounding her.
Amusement made Willowstar's whiskers tremble. She'd seen kits grow up and become fine warriors for many seasons. This season was no different. There was Larksong's litter, and even Mistrose had returned to the nursery after announcing that she was expecting Mudstripe's kits. Though he had been left terribly scarred, Mudstripe had survived his wounds and lived on to tell the tale. Many kits had looked up to him in his life time, but even he was beginning to gray around the muzzle.
"Willowstar, it's good to see you up and about," Ambertail meowed when she realized that the ForestClan leader was awake.
"I have my reasons," Willowstar replied. "How is Badgerclaw?"
Her son was always getting into trouble, even as a warrior. He'd gotten surrounded by a group of rogues that had trespassed the border. Since he was alone, he was viewed as vulnerable, and attacked. Fortunately another patrol had found him before the rogues could kill him. But she knew that he would not be the same after the incident.
"He's fine," Ambertail replied. Her voice was filled with annoyance as she glanced back at her den. "He always complains though. I don't know how Embertail put up with him when he was a kit."
"You have Embertail's attitude," Willowstar murmured thoughtfully.
"Do you think she'd be proud of my skills?" The sudden question made Willowstar eye her carefully. Like her namesake Ambertail was always uncertain of the path she'd taken. She was always questioning the future and whether or not it was worth training as a medicine cat.
"Embertail could never feel more proud," Willowstar replied. "She always had a keen eye when it came to those who's faith were strong."
"Ambertail, can you check on my wound?" The medicine cat's attention was shifted to Frostfeather, Doveshine's sister. The gray and white speckled she-cat had been badly injured by a Twoleg trap near the gorge several days ago. She'd been forced to stay within the camp for three days now, and was getting antsy. Willowstar shook her head in amusement as she watched Ambertail's fur bristle in exasperation.
A sudden chill swept over Willowstar as she saw stars in her vision. At first she wasn't sure where it had come from. Her fur bristled slightly until she felt the warmth of a pelt brush against hers. Starlight gleamed within the newcomer's eyes as the cat approached her.
Is it time already? she asked silently.
It is, the dark shape replied.
"Willowstar!" She flinched when a voice could be heard in the background. The shape suddenly faded as another image clouded over her vision. "Willowstar, what's happening?" She recognized Petaltail's voice. "Ambertail, can't you stop this?"
"It is her time," Ambertail rasped. "I can see StarClan gathering around her."
Willowstar felt a sense of relief wash over her when she saw the star-dappled cat once more. He was standing beside Petaltail, who seemed oblivious to his sudden appearance. Ambertail only blinked in understanding. The sorrow within her eyes showed.
My daughter, how I wish I could have taught you what I know, Leopard whispered.
May we now go? Anxiety was beginning to get to her as she watched more cats leave the clearing.
Yes, my love, Leopard mewed. You've led the Clan well, and your time has come to join StarClan.
A final breath of hope escaped her lungs before she followed Leopard. That last breath of hope was exactly what ForestClan needed.
A/N: Wow, I can't believe this is finally over! I've only worked on this for a month, but it feels longer than that. Anyways, Storm's Cry will likely be started tonight. I'm looking forward to starting it, and hopefully my faithful reviewers will enjoy it too ^^