AN: So here's the beginning of Wanderers of Light. Please let me know what you thought of this, and I hope you enjoy it. This is the last book in the Raven/River series.


Prologue

A cool leaffall breeze brushed past the pale gray tom. His dappled fur rippled underneath a pelt that clutched to his bones. He was skinnier than ever, starving for food and maybe even a little revenge.

His blue eyes gleamed with anger as he stalked through the undergrowth. For moons he had been living as a loner. His name was Ashfur. He had been banished by Stormstar for a betrayal he never meant to start.

But after living as a loner for moons, his mind went mad. He was determined to get his revenge on the Clans and anyone who supported them.

"This might work." His ears pricked forward when he spotted a light illuminating in the distance.

He bounded forward, ignoring the sting of old wounds that reminded him of his past. The light grew brighter as he drew closer. Ashfur's tail flicked from side to side when he managed to reach it.

"What is this thing?" he asked out loud. It was a swirl of light that showed something on the other side. Trees and a bright sun greeted him.

Ashfur blinked when he realized that it could lead to a new destiny. The object seemed to be calling him forward. He took a deep breath and stepped forward, wariness suddenly enveloping him. What Ashfur saw next nearly took his breath away.

He was standing in the middle of an open field covered in flowers of all sorts of colors. Up above the sky was a pale blue with few clouds streaking across it. The rich scent of prey quickly found it's way into his lungs when he opened his mouth in wonder.

"Where in StarClan's name am I?" he wondered.

This place felt like paradise compared to the forest he resided in. Ashfur started moving forward, his paws trudging against the warm ground. Large, ancient looking trees surrounded him. A warm breeze had picked up, ruffling his patchy fur.

I could get used to this, he thought with a smirk. Then another, more fearful thought entered his mind. What if I'm dead? Without warning he unsheathed his claws and pierced his front leg. Ashfur bit back a yowl of pain when the claw left a mark on his leg. Nope, definitely not dead.

That meant this place was real, and he could make a living in a territory like this. Everything was perfect... almost. There was still something missing that made his eyes blaze with anger.

This world was missing Clans. Ashfur opened his jaws to taste the air, and he picked up the scent of cats.

Yes, this plan would work. He could force the cats from this territory to join him as a Clan. And once they were strong enough, he could finally get his revenge. Stormstar was going to get the surprise of her life when everything worked out. Ashfur would make sure of that.

. . .

Night had fallen over Eden as the Council returned to their hollows around the Great Tree. Ashia sat alone on one of the branches, eying the leaves on the tree warily. Things were changing far too quickly for her liking. First the one called Ravenflight had gotten through one of the Portals. And now more and more Portals were opening around the world.

"Ashia, you must come quickly!" The snow leopard froze when she heard Torch's screech. He was flying above her, and she could sense the waves of panic rolling off of him.

Carefully she made her way to the highest branch of the tree and saw what Torch was looking at. Her eyes widened in horror as she saw the leaves were beginning to wither away. Torch flew down towards her and landed on one of the branches beside her.

"The tree has never done this before," Torch said fearfully. "What is happening?"

"Eden is out of balance," Ashia rasped. "The Great Tree is... dying."

Her words sent thrills of alarm through Torch. His feathers fluffed up and he looked on in terror.

"Why?" Was the only question he could mutter.

"I already explained it. Something is wrong in Eden, and the Great Tree can feel it." Ashia tried to keep her voice calm as she thought of a better explanation.

Suddenly her body became rigid, and a thrill of alarm coursed through her. Ashia's eyes closed as she realized that the Great Tree was sending her a vision.

A stranger had entered the land through one of the many Portals. The stranger was ambitious, and already had plans for the future. The land would burn under his lust for power. The Great Tree was sending the Council a warning. And only one creature from the forest he came from could stop him.

Ashia's eyes flashed open as soon as they had closed. Torch was watching her curiously before she turned to face him.

"Call for a meeting," she ordered. "I know that it is late, but the future of Eden depends on this meeting."

Torch looked at her warily before nodding. With a flap of his wings he soared down into the hollows, alerting everyone to the meeting that was about to take place.

Ashia took a deep breath as she looked at the starlit sky.

Please let the Great Tree be wrong, she begged silently. We're doomed if our lives rely on those two.