Hey everyone, sorry that it took me so long to get this darn chapter written. I'm really just very lazy when it comes to getting the next chapter up. But i worked very hard on this one and hope that everyone will enjoy it or at least have something to say about it in the review section.
I would like to make a shout out to Spottedstream who sent me a message asking me to please continue and kicked my butt into gear, so everyone has them to thank for this chapter finally being completed and posted.
Also I would like everyone to know that I've kind of scratched the idea for a sequel to this story as I really have no idea on what to do or if I even have enough ideas to finish an entire book so what I plan on doing is writing a bonus chapter at the end of this book that will be set in the future with one of Moonstream and Swiftbreeze's kits.
Also I will be writing another book that is like a companion story to this series as it will be taking place in Shadowclan a few moons after this story ends so that everyone can enjoy some new characters and get a glimpse into the world that Ravenstar has created within his clan. The main character of the story will be Ravenstar's daughter who is still unnamed at this point in time. Feel free to submit name/character ideas for some cats in Shadowclan as I'm having some trouble coming up with new characters.
I really hope that everyone enjoys the chapter and leaves a review. Alrighty now onto the newest chapter.
Moonstream sat outside the nursery staring down at the limp fish between her paws, she had attempted to eat the trout but the events of the day had driven away her hunger. She turned her gaze towards the medicine den where Splashtail was currently resting with her last living kit, now named Swankit. Spottedwhisker had buried the other two nameless kits among their ancestors before returning to his place beside Splashtail to soothe the grieving queen.
Movement caught Moonstream's attention and she watched as Nightswallow emerged from her den, looking worn out and tired. The old medicine cat stared longingly towards the disappointingly small prey pile before turning her attention back to drying and organizing her herbs. Moonstream stood up, lifting the limp trout in her jaws and trotted over towards her former mentor, her swollen belly almost touching the ground. Nightswallow looked up at Moonstream as the gray and white queen set the trout down gently.
"You looked hungry" Moonstream explained, settling down beside the black she-cat and tucking her paws under her chest daintily.
Nightswallow blinked gratefully taking a few swift bites of the trout before continuing her work, her tail tip flicking back and forth rhythmically as she organized her herbs.
After a few moments of silence Moonstream spoke "Is Splashtail going to be okay?"
Nightswallow sighed loudly stopping her work and staring down at her paws "Her grief is swallowing her up. She hasn't been suckling Swankit and she isn't registering the fact that the kit needs her, she just stares ahead grieving for her lost kits. Swankit is weak already and with no other nursing queens at the moment I'm afraid that she won't survive the night, not unless Splashtail starts nursing her."
"What about Shadefoot?"
"Her milk has long since been dried up; her kits are nearly four moons old and have been eating freshkill for a while now and Doveheart has no milk left since her kits are almost apprentices" Nightswallow sighed "Spottedwhisker asked me to leave so that he can try and get her to nurse and I figured I should finish organizing and drying the last of the herbs you gathered for me to stock up the winter store."
"Do you need anything else?" Moonstream asked hopefully "Honestly I feel useless just laying around camp and Scorchkit is still too young to leave camp to gather herbs."
Nightswallow purred affectionately "He is helpful and better at memorizing herbs than you ever were" the elderly medicine cat teased affectionately.
Moonsteam nodded knowingly "Being a medicine cat was never my calling, we both know that."
"Well I could use some coltsfoot which there is a good patch of it growing near the kingfisher tree, remember where that is?" When Moonstream nodded Nightswallow added "You could also get some daisy leaves while you're out since this cold weather will cause the elder's joints to ache."
"Alright" Moonstream meowed, standing up carefully noticing Nightswallow's gaze travel cautiously to her swollen belly "I'll be fine, I take some company along with me and we will bring back even more herbs than I could carry alone." Without another word the gray and white queen made her way towards the warriors den thinking about Splashtail and Swankit hoping there was something she could do to help save the young kit. She easily spotted Galefore, Bumblestrike and Flameclaw sitting closely together. As she approached the group of toms Galeforce looked up at her, his blue eyes burning with worry.
"What's going on?" Moonstream asked, looking at each of the three toms, noticing they all shared Galeforce's worried gaze.
Bumblestrike looked over Moonstream's shoulder and Moonstream followed the tom's gaze to see that Sunvine was sitting beside her father's den animatedly describing a story to Driftflight and Foamsplash. The tom's paws moved back and forth as he described something akin to a fight to the youngest warriors while the she-cats stared at him, admiration coming off them in waves. Not too far away sat Lightbounce, jealously in his narrowed amber eyes, his white tail flicking back and forth anxiously.
"Well hasn't he got them wrapped around his whiskers" Moonstream snorted.
"Moonstream" Galeforce began cautiously "Swirlspots is missing."
"What?" Moonstream demanded, her green eyes blazing "How?"
Bumblestrike's shoulders slumped "She got up before dawn and went for a walk; Flameclaw says he saw Sunvine go out through the main entrance not too long after she did. He came back but she didn't."
Flameclaw's ginger fur bristled "I had no idea he could be capable of the things he has done" the older tom growled, indicating that Galeforce had explained everything to the two toms. Flameclaw stood up his luminescent amber eyes narrowed to slits "We have to go now, she may need our help."
Galeforce nodded "Moonstream and I will head towards the Thunderclan border, you and Bumblestrike can look towards Windclan."
The two toms nodded then made their way out the main entrance with Galeforce and Moonstream on their heels.
Before splitting up in search of the she-cat Flameclaw turned to face Galeforce and Moonstream his amber eyes glowing "You two know her best, find my sister and bring her back to camp."
"Y-you don't think he hurt her d-do you?" Galeforce struggled to get the words out, fear for his friend and fear for the future of Riverclan racing through his mind.
"I don't know" Moonstream snapped, Galeforce flinched at her harsh tone and the she-cat sighed "I'm sorry I didn't mean to snap, are you picking up her scent anywhere?"
Galeforce nodded "Just barely, it's stale, probably from before sunhigh but the trail leads to sunningrocks"
"Sunningrocks? Do you think she crossed the border for help?"
"Would she be safe across the border?" Galeforce asked carefully, a narrowed look from Moonstream and he knew the answer.
"Would who be safe across the border?"
Galeforce and Moonstream turned around to see Swirlspots staring at them, her amber eyes glinting curiously.
"What happened to you?" Galeforce asked "You didn't come back to camp Flameclaw and Bumblestrike were worried."
"And so were we" Moonstream added, throwing an annoyed glance at Galeforce.
Swirlspots frowned "I've just been out here thinking."
"All morning?" Moonstream asked skeptically "What happened here last night?"
Swirlspots looked down at her paws nervously while her friends stared at her waiting for her response.
Shalepelt sat outside the nursery grooming her sleek black fur while keeping an eye on her sister Shadefoot's kits while the older queen went out of camp to stretch her legs. The kits were playing hunter and prey and Ivykit was quietly stalking Perchkit who was pretending not to notice,
As the smaller brown tabby approached her brother the larger tom would take a few steps forward, keeping the distance between them. When the frustrated she-cat hissed in annoyance and charged after him the tom took off with equal fervor.
Shalepelt watched her niece and nephew amusedly finding them to be very entertaining, she knew that she wasn't cut out to be a mother but her sister had always longed for kits to care for and raise as her own.
As the hunting patrol made its way through the camp the two kits raced around getting under their paws. Foxstreak lifted one of her forepaws to allow Ivykit to slide under and Lightbounce jumped back a few steps in order to avoid the racing kits.
"Ivykit, Perchkit stay out of the warrior's way" Shalepelt ordered, waving the kits back towards her with her long black tail.
Both kits skidded to a halt in front of their aunt looking up at her with innocent eyes, Shalepelt rolled her blue eyes and sat back down signaling that the kits could go back to playing. The brown tabby kits raced a few fox lengths away to a small reed clump to play.
Ivykit tried to guard the reed clump and keep her brother from touching it when she spotted a warrior coming towards them. The tom was larger than them but smaller than the rest of her clanmates and he had a pale gray and black striped pelt with sandy markings along his paws chest and face. The scariest thing about him was his bright yellow eyes.
The tom looked down at the kits for a moment curiously before looking towards the nursery "Hello kits" Sunvine began and as he spoke Perchkit stopped playing and looked at him nervously.
"Where is your mother right now?"
"She went out" Ivykit began, looking down at her paws uncomfortably.
"To see our father" Perchkit continued, looking nervously at his sister before giving his short brown tabby fur a quick nervous lick.
"Oh really" Sunvine murmured, more to himself than to the kits, he narrowed his yellow eyes and the two kits raced off towards the elders den.
Sunvine turned towards the nursery where Shalepelt was laying down and sauntered over puffing out his chest as he reached her.
"Hello Shalepelt" the sandy gray tom meowed.
Shalepelt tossed him a narrowed glance before turning her gaze back to the where the kits had been "What do you want Sunvine?"
"Your sister sure is lucky she has you around to help watch her kit" Sunvine meowed "Especially when she is off doing starclan knows what."
Shalepelt bristled and narrowed her blue eyes "Well it's not easy being a single parent" she snorted standing up in an attempt to walk away from Sunvine.
"Oh I know it is" Sunvine continued beginning to carefully groom his short fur as he waited for Shalepelt's response.
She turned to look at him, her blue eyes skeptical "Really? And how would you know what it's like to raise kits?"
Sunvine's eyes glinted as he spoke "I once had a mate and kits of my own when I lived in Thunderclan. Sadly my mate and two of my kits were lost to sickness although I'm sure my last remaining kit is a warrior by now and I'm sure he is making his clan proud" a strange feeling of pride and warmth surged through Sunvine at the thought of his last living kit, the feeling was foreign to him since he had lost Shadowsplash.
"I'm sorry for your loss" Shalepelt murmured sympathetically "It must have been hard to leave your last kit behind to be raised without you."
Sunvine nodded "Whatever happened to Shadefoot's mate? It must have been hard for her to get over his death as well."
Shalepelt stiffened and spoke carefully "He has never been around."
"So he is still alive?" Sunvine asked eagerly, his yellow eyes narrowed as he interrogated the black she-cat "Where is he?"
Shalepelt stood up casting a harsh blue glare at the tom her fur raising along her hackles "I don't like what your insinuating Sunvine" the she-cat snarled "Enough of your questions, you don't need to know anything more about my sister and her kit's father. Stay away from them."
Without another word the black she-cat stormed away from Sunvine, heading into the elders den to check on the kits. Sunvine watched her go triumphantly; he had learned what he wanted, he lashed his tail back and forth irritably before heading towards Reedstar's den.
Moonstream and her two clanmates entered the camp at sunset to see Reedstar on his ledge calling a clan meeting. The setting sun cast a sickly red glow over the blue gray tom and a chill hung in the air.
"What is it now?" Swirlspots hissed as the trio made their way into the mass of gathered cats. Moonstream settled down beside Foxstreak, the large ginger she-cat was bristling as she watched her leader and when Reedstar spoke again, Moonstream understood why.
"Swankit has shown herself to be too weak to continue life within this clan" the blue gray tom groweled "She must leave the clan immediately"
Cries of outrage from Riverclans's members sounded and a few queens leapt to their paws with their claws unsheathed willing to fight tooth and claw to protect the clan's newest member.
"You can't do this" a voice cried and Swirlspots recognized it as Spottedwhisker, Swankit's father. The brown tabby tom stood up staring at his leader with hate filled blazing yellow eyes "I will not allow you to kill my daughter."
Reedstar turned an icy cold stare at the tom before sneering "Splashtail herself has accepted the kit's imminent demise, I suggest you do the same."
"She is grieving the loss of our other kits" Spottedwhisker insisted, his hackles raising and his tail fluffing out to nearly twice its size "She will be able to nurse Swankit soon enough."
"I will not have such weakness in my clan" Reedstar snorted, lashing his tail about "She will be exiled and anyone who disagrees with my decision may join her. But I warn you, I will not allow Riverclan secrets to make their way into the other clans. If you are exiled from my clan you must leave the clan's territories or else be hunted down" his yellow eyes flashed "and silenced."
Swirlspots slowly began to weave through the crowd, leaving Moonstream and Galeforce to watch Reedstar in horror, trying to reach Spottedwhisker as an idea formed in her head; she was able to get beside the tom before he could continue to protest and quickly whispered in his ear.
"I have a way for Swankit to live, a way for you to see her again."
"How?" Spottedwhisker asked his heart pounding so hard in his chest that Swirlspots could easily hear it. The cream and white queen curled her fluffy tail around Spottedwhisker's in an attempt to comfort the shaken tom.
Before anyone else could speak, Swirlspot's clear voice rang out through the crowd "As deputy I will take responsibility for the kit. I will take her out and dispose of her."
Shock murmurs passed through the cats and Spottedwhisker bristled, about to protest. Swirlspots shook her head slightly the look in her soft amber eyes silencing the tom.
Reedstar nodded firmly "Of course Swirlspots you may dispose of the nuisance" he looked down harshly at his clan "And take Spottedwhisker with you, he needs to learn a lesson about true clan loyalty." Without another word the large blue gray leader vanished back into his den, leaving his clanmates staring after him in shock.
Swirlspots frowned but waved to Spottedwhisker with her tail indicating that he should follow her into the medicine den. When the two cats entered the sharply smelling den Swirlspots could easily see Splashtail. The ginger and white queen was staring blankly ahead, her golden eyes dull with grief, Swankit lay in a moss nest by herself. The small white kit squirmed around in the moss nest, wiggling blindly in search of sustenance. Swirlspots stepped forward to lift the small kit in her jaws but Spottedwhisker rushed forward, pushing Swirlspots aside with his shoulder and gently lifting his daughter carefully in his jaws.
Swirlspots sat beside Spottedwhisker at Sunningrocks waiting for the sun to rise, the moon was slowly beginning to set and a crisp breeze washed over the cats causing the hair along their spines to stand on end. Swankit lay between her father's paws quivering in the cold, every so often Spottedwhisker would duck his head covering the small she-kit with licks in an attempt to warm her up.
"Why are we out here?" Spottedwhisker demanded "If you're going to dispose of her then do it soon instead of waiting around for her to freeze to death."
Swirlspots flicked her ears in annoyance while staring at the black depths of the river before her, rippling in the darkness, she turned an annoyed glance at the tom "What makes you think I would actually harm a kit. I brought her out here to save her life" she turned her gaze back to the river "We just have to keep waiting." Spottedwhisker curled his tail around the small she-kit in an attempt to keep her warm as he and Swirlspots watched the sun slowly climb in the sky painting the morning in varying shades of orange and red. As the sun made its way through the sky Swirlspot's tail tip began to flick back and forth nervously and SPottedwhisker cast the deputy a nervous glance.
"What is the plan" he asked carefully, feeling Swirlspot's uncertainty rubbing off on him.
"We are going to give her to Thunderclan" Swirlspots replied matter of factly "I know for a fact that they have two nursing queens at the moment who could take care of her."
Spottedwhisker stiffened at the mention of the rival clan "What makes you think they will take her? You cant trust a hair on their pelts."
"Do you honestly believe that Thunderclan is as bad as Reedstar says?" Swirlspots asked, turning to face the brown tabby tom her amber eyes narrowed "He just exiled a newborn kit because she wouldn't nurse." Spottedwhisker looked down at his paws in shame before covering the small kit in a few brisk licks.
"No, I believe that Thunderclan will be the best place for her" Swirlspots continued "She will have a chance at a life she could never have in Riverclan" As the cream and white she-cat finished speaking, shapes moving over the hill caught her attention. As they came closer the Riverclan deputy stood up and fought to flatten her fur, which had begun to rise along her spine anxiously, to appear non-threatening to the Thunderclan patrol.
The small Thunderclan patrol approached Sunningrocks with Shimmerlight at the head of her clanmates; the fiery ginger she-cat looked shocked to see the Riverclan cats beside the river as well and carefully approached them while signaling for her clanmates to stay back.
"Swirlspots" Shimmerlight began, her ice blue eyes passing over the pale cream and white she-cat to her tabby brown companion and then down to the white she-kit "What are you doing here?"
Swirlspots dipped her head respectfully to the Thunderclan deputy "Shimmerlight" she began carefully, glancing behind the ginger she-cat to see the nervous looks passing between her clanmates. It had been many moons since the fighting patrol had actually come across a Riverclan cat and the Thunderclan warriors were obviously worried that a fight was not too far off.
"We both knew each other from back before this all began and I've always known you to be gracious and spirited. Speaking up when you spotted injustice and here I am to present you with an opportunity to prevent a heinous crime" Swirlspots nodded to Spottedwhisker and the tom nervously pulled his tail back to reveal Swankit to the rest of the Thunderclan patrol.
Shimmerlight's icy gaze softened as it settled on the small kit "What do you need Swirlspots?"
"Reedstar has sentenced this kit to exile" Swirlspots began, nervous to go into detail with the whole of the Thunderclan patrol as witnesses, not comfortable letting it be known just how desperate her clan was becoming as Reedstar's reign continued.
"What could a kit possibly do to offend you're leader" a large dark gray tom with black stripes and white chest fur spoke up from beside a tabby she-cat, his amber eyes were locked on Swankit in disbelief.
"She was considered weak because she wouldn't nurse immediately" Spottedwhisker snorted before looking down at his daughter sadly "Please take her, I would rather she lived in another clan if the alternative option was death."
"This is crazy" the small tabby she-cat spoke up "We can't take the fish eater's spawn, it's almost leaf bare and we have enough mouths to feed."
"Drizzelight" the black striped tom hissed "She is just a helpless kit and we have enough room in the clan for her."
"Have you forgotten Birdstrike" Drizzlelight snarled "That those foxhearts are responsible for our father's death?" as the tabby she-cat spoke her fur bristled along her spine and she turned wildly to face the Riverclan cats "I say would put the kit out of her misery and chase these two back to their camp mewling like kits."
Drizzlelight leapt forward heading straight for the stepping stones when Birdstrike tackled her and pinned her to the ground, one pay on her throat "That's enough Drizzlelight" Birdstrike snarled, lashing his long black tipped tail while baring his teeth.
Shimmerlight stared at the siblings in shock before speaking "Drizzlelight, leave" Birdstrike carefully released his grip, giving his sister enough room to wiggle free. The pale tabby shot the Riverclan warriors a blazing stare before racing off into the territory.
"We will take her back to camp with us, she will be fed and cared for although I cannot guarantee that she will be accepted" Shimmerlight meowed, flicking her tail in a way to let Spottedwhisker know he could cross the border to drop off the tiny she-kit "But I will do my best to protect her."
Spottedwhisker nodded, carefully crossing the stepping stones and setting Swankit down in front of Shimmerlight "Thank you Shimmerlight, you have saved her life which is more than I ever thought would happen. Please take care of Swankit."
With one last look the wiry brown tom crossed back into Riverclan's territory and vanished into the reeds. Swirlspots watched him go sadly before turning her gaze back to Shimmerlight "Thank you Shimmerlight" she ducked her before turning away, leaving the helpless kit in the paws of her clan's enemy, hoping that she did the right thing.
Shimmerlight lifted the small kit in her jaws and turned to Birdstrike nodding, both Thunderclan cats making their way back to camp. When the coast was clear, out of the shadows stepped Sunvine. The sandy gray tom watched the Thunderclan patrol vanish over the hill, his yellow eyes glinting triumphantly meowing out loud "Oh yes, this should work out perfectly."
Now Swankit is on her way to Thunderclan, what will Amberstar say? Will she let her join or not? And will the clan eventually accept her? Coming up soon there will be some very interesting things revealed about both Reedstar and Amberstar and you will get to learn about when the true reasons for the war lie.
Drizzlelight kinda acted like a brat but I was trying to come up with a personality for her and feel like Thunderclan is full of goody two shoes all the time. So now Drizzlelight has some inner demons, she has never quite gotten over her father's death. Birdstrike on the other hand is very sensitive and seems to have some strong feelings towards Swankit already.
Interestingly enough when I think about the relationships between all the cats in Riverclan Flameclaw and Swirlspots are brother and sister and also Bumblestrike and Doveheart are brother and sister. That mean that both toms are mates with each other's sisters. This can be explained by a quick story. In my mind all four of them were apprentices at the same time since they are older warriors in relation to Galeforce and Moonstream's generation so the four of them would have been very close growing up, doing practically everything together. So it makes sense that they would all end up together.
Also Nightswallow has two sisters Shalepelt and Shadefoot although she is a few years older than them, born in an earlier litter. Nightswallow herself is only a little bit younger than Reedstar and has known him her whole life.
Swirlspots in my mind is a few moons younger than Shimmerlight and would have seen her at gatherings so the two she-cats do know each other.