AN: Sorry it took so long for this to get updated! I've been really busy lately blah blah blah. But yeah, hopefully the next chapter won't take so long now that I have the plot written down. Thanks everyone for your reviews, they're always appreciated!
Warm newleaf air filled Icepaw's lungs as she breathed it in. The forest was alive with life as she kept an eye on her target. It was a mouse, and each time she watched it she was reminded of the humiliation she had faced when she last hunted a mouse.
Seawhisker was somewhere nearby while she let her apprentice hunt. Icepaw was thankful for some alone time after what had happened the day before.
Tanglefur's death had shaken most of the Clan. The rogues had not been sighted since than, but Icepaw knew that it was only a matter of time before they returned. She had seen the look of malice in the toms that had cornered Lightpaw. They weren't likely to give up anytime soon.
Her whiskers brushed against the bush nearby, and the mouse had noticed. Alarmed that she had been detected, she froze and crouched lower to the ground. She didn't start moving until the mouse began to relax and search the ground for seeds once more. Relief washed over Icepaw when she leaped forward and caught the mouse. It made an attempt to flee, but she managed to give it a killing bite before it could scramble out of her grasp.
Once the mouse was caught she searched for a place to bury it. She was determined to catch more prey and prove that she was a skilled hunter. She didn't care if she was out all day and night if it meant coming back with a mouthful of prey.
She continued hunting like that throughout the day, and had even managed to catch a blackbird at one point. The large bird had been flapping around noisily on the ground. Icepaw managed to sneak up and catch it from behind.
"Well done Icepaw!" Seawhisker purred when she returned to her mentor. "I think the elders will be more than happy with this," she added when Icepaw bounded back with the mouse she first caught.
"So I did good?" she asked.
"Yes, you did wonderfully," Seawhisker replied.
She helped Icepaw carry the rest of her caught prey back to camp. By the time they returned to camp it was close to dusk. Icepaw's muscles felt heavy with exhaustion as she followed Seawhisker to the fresh-kill pile.
Relief washed over Icepaw's shoulders when she dropped her fresh-kill onto the pile. One of Lakepool's kits had bounded out of the nursery pile as soon as Icepaw turned to leave.
Icepaw resisted a twitch of amusement when Ravenkit carefully reached for the mouse. He was eying her warily, and it seemed as though he was struggling to keep calm. Ever since she had startled Ravenkit he was this way. Mistkit was a bit braver than her brother, and she wasted no time in approaching Icepaw.
"Hi Icepaw!" the little kit squeaked.
"Hi Mistkit, how are you and your brother doing?" Icepaw tried to sound reassuring as Mistkit began bouncing around excitedly.
"We're going to be apprentices soon," Mistkit purred.
"You're not even six moons old," Lakepool muttered. She'd staggered out of the nursery after hearing her squealing kits. Icepaw had no doubts that they had woken up any cat that was sleeping. "Don't wish your life away."
The gray-blue she-cat nuzzled her kit affectionately. Icepaw watched with disdain as she thought of the way her own mother had treated her.
The whole Clan had treated her like an outcast from the day her eyes opened. Icepaw knew that she was different. That was why she had been part of the Chosen kits. Even her own father had refused to visit after learning the truth. The Clan thought she would die in her first battle.
I'll show them what I'm capable of, she thought as she remembered the taunting looks they gave her.
DayClan would never accept her if they knew she was alive. LeafClan had accepted her, and she was part of something much bigger. She had friends, and even kin in the Clan that cared about her. At least in LeafClan she could make a name for herself.
"You're thinking about them, aren't you?" Icepaw nearly leaped out of her fur when she heard Brightpaw's voice.
She turned to see the pale tabby apprentice standing behind her. Brightpaw's head was tilted to one side as she watched her Clanmate.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Icepaw retorted. She looked away as soon as she said those words. Brightpaw always seemed to know when she was in a bad mood.
"Oh come on, any cat can see that you're thinking about the old Clans," Brightpaw snorted. She padded forward until they were sitting side-by-side. "It's only going to cause more pain if you keep thinking about them."
"Maybe that's what I need," Icepaw muttered crossly.
She was constantly reminding herself what DayClan had done to her. Because of them she was rattled with nightmares of drowning in the river. Brightpaw gave her a doubtful look before shaking her head dismissively.
"StarClan wouldn't want you living in the past," she murmured.
Icepaw's fur suddenly bristled at the mention of StarClan. She hated StarClan for the stupid rules they had made. It was their fault she had been treated the way she was in DayClan.
"They're nothing but stories to scare kits," she spat. Brightpaw's eyes widened in shock, but Icepaw had already made up her mind. "If StarClan was real than wouldn't we be dead? They have no power over us, and they never will!"
Without warning she stalked off, leaving a shocked Brightpaw behind. She didn't care if what she had said was wrong. StarClan didn't exist. If they did none of this would have happened. Innocent kits wouldn't be sent away by their own Clan to their deaths.
. . .
The day seemed to drag on for Rosefall as she thought of what to say to Briarleaf. Her friend had been avoiding her since their conversation the night before. In a way Rosefall understood why Briarleaf was so unhappy. It went against everything they were taught from the moment their eyes had opened when they were kits.
But even Graystar agrees that it is wrong, she reminded herself.
There was still the slightest hint of hope that other cats would agree with her. Cats who would stand up for themselves against StarClan's rule.
"Rosefall, you can go with Whiteclaw and Dewstep on the border patrol," Swampfoot meowed when he noticed she was doing nothing. "Patrol the WoodClan border."
Annoyance flared within Rosefall when she saw the gleam in Whiteclaw's eyes. Since Icekit was marked as Chosen they had avoided each other. Whiteclaw had refused to visit the nursery when he heard the terrible news.
"Let's go Sunpaw." Whiteclaw flicked his tail to Sunpaw, a pale ginger tom who had Whiteclaw's attitude.
Rosefall couldn't help but roll her eyes when Sunpaw gave her a disdainful sniff. He was an older apprentice and would likely become a warrior within a moon. And he refused to let the Clan forget that.
She fell in behind Dewstep as the mottled gray warrior followed Whiteclaw. Dewstep wasn't nearly as annoying as Whiteclaw or Sunpaw. If anything he was quiet and thoughtful compared to the rest of his Clanmates. Because of that he was avoided most of the time.
"I can't wait to become a warrior!" Sunpaw announced as he bounced alongside his mentor. Whiteclaw gave him a sharp look that told him to stop, and Sunpaw slowed down a bit. "Maybe I'll get to fight my first battle too!"
"Battle isn't something that you seek," Whiteclaw snapped. "You don't know what it is like to fight in a battle."
Sunpaw's ears flattened when Whiteclaw simply padded ahead. Rosefall smirked when she noticed the tension between them. Whiteclaw didn't have much patience for apprentices like Sunpaw. She had a feeling that he couldn't wait for Sunpaw to become a warrior.
Rosefall studied the territory carefully as she followed the patrol. DayClan's territory was covered with large trees and dense undergrowth. It made hunting difficult when there were piles of leaves for prey to hide in.
One of DayClan's more popular spots was the boulders that were piled up beside a stream. The sun hit the boulders at just the right angle, and the elders often liked to sun themselves there. It was also a prime spot for adders as well, but they didn't usually come out until greenleaf.
It didn't take the patrol long to reach the WoodClan border. Rosefall's eyes narrowed when she saw the fallen trees that made up the border. A storm had struck the forest seasons upon seasons ago, knocking down several trees at once. Now they lay in a pile of rotting bark and moss.
"I hope I can claw someone's ear off today," Sunpaw growled as he stared at the border.
Whiteclaw slapped his tail across Sunpaw's muzzle, earning a glare from the apprentice.
"We don't say those kind of words near the border," he snapped.
"Why not let him?" Rosefall's fur bristled when she recognized Duskstorm's voice. Duskstorm was an aggressive cat who didn't take things lightly. Rosefall remembered during a Gathering she had tried to pick a fight with a cat moons older than her.
"I think you scared the little apprentice," another cat sneered as he stepped out of the bushes.
"We're only patrolling the borders, we don't want any-" Whiteclaw was cut off by Sunpaw's yowl of fury.
The apprentice suddenly lunged forward with his claws outstretched. The dark brown tabby smirked and stepped aside, letting Sunpaw collide with Duskstorm. Rosefall's eyes widened in horror when Duskstorm's claws raked along his face.
"Touch me again you annoying furball and there will be more pain where that came from!" she snarled.
His only response was a growl as Duskstorm glared at him. Anger suddenly pulsed through Rosefall as she watched Duskstorm turn around. Though Sunpaw deserved what he got it should have been from his own mentor, not a cat from a different Clan.
"This isn't over!" Whiteclaw hissed as the dark brown tabby turned to leave.
"You're right, we're only just getting started," the tabby grunted. "Next time we might not let him live."
The words sent chills down Rosefall's spine. She knew from serious expression that he meant what he said.
"We need to take him to Heatherstorm," Dewstep mewed when Sunpaw returned.
Rosefall felt the fur along her spine bristle when she saw how badly scratched his face was. His eye was half closed, and blood welled up from the sides. Mossear was not going to be happy when she found out what had happened.
AN: So yeah, lots of drama happening in all of the Clans. I just love Rosefall's character, and creating Duskstorm was just as fun. Anyways, next chapter should come out next weekend when I get the chance.