A claw moon glowed on smooth boulders,turning them silver.
The silence was broken only by the ripple of water from the swift,gray river and the whispers of trees in the forest beyond it.
There was a movement in the shadows,and from all around lithe dark shapes crept stealthily over the claws shone in the moonlight.
Wary eyes flashed like the then,as if on a silent signal,the felines leaped at each other,and suddenly the rocks were alive with wrestling,
At the center of the frenzy of fur and claws,a massive dark tabby pinned a bracken-coloured she-cat to the ground and drew up her head truimp-
-hantly."Oakheart!" The tabby growled. "How dare you hunt in our territory?
The Sunningrocks belong to ThunderClan!"
"After tonight,Tigerclaw,this will be just another RiverClan hunting ground!"
The bracken-coloured she-cat hissed back.
A warning yowl came from the shore,scared and anxious."Look out! More RiverClan warriors are coming!"
Tigerclaw turned to see sleek wet cats sliding out of the water below the soaked RiverClan warriors bounded silently up the shore and threw themselves into battle without even stopping to shake the water from their fur.
The dark tabby glared down at Oakheart."You may swim like you and your warriors do not belong on this side of the river!" She drew back her lips and showed her teeth as the cat struggled beneath her.
The desprate scream of a ThunderClan tom rose above the commotion.
A wiry brown RiverClan she-cat had pinned the brown warrior flat on his belly.
Now she lunged toward his neck with jaws still dripping from her long swim across the river.
Tigerclaw heard the cry and let go of a giant leap,
she knocked the enemy warrior away from the tom."Quick Mousefur,
run!"She ordered,before turning on the RiverClan she-cat who had threatened rose to his paws,wincing from a deep gash on his shoulder,and raced away.
Behind him,Tigerclaw spat with rage as the RiverClan she-cat tore open her blinded her for an instant,but she raced forward regardless and sunk her teeth into the leg of her RiverClan cat squealed and struggled free as Tigerclaw's teeth closed around her leg again.
"Tigerclaw!" The yelp came from a warrior with a tail as red as fox fur."This is impossible! There are too many RiverClan warriors!"
"No,Redtail. ThunderClan will never be beaten!" Tigerclaw yowled back,sprinting to Redtail's side."This is our land!" Blood was welling around her broad white muzzle,and she shook her head impatiently,scattering shining scarlet drops onto the rocks.
"ThunderClan will honor your courage,Tigerclaw,but we cannot afford to lose anymore of our warriors," Redtail urged impatiently."Bluestar would never expect his warriors to fight against these impossible will have another chance to avenge this defeat." She met Tigerclaw's gaze steadily,then sprang onto a boulder at the edge of the trees.
"Retreat ThunderClan!" She once her warriors squirmed and struggled away from their and hissing,they tottered towards a heartbeat,the RiverClan cats looked this battle so easily won? Than Oakheart yowled a truimph soon as they heard her,the RiverClan warriors raised their voices and joined their deputy in caterwauling over their victory.
Redtail looked down at her a flick of her tail,she gave the signal to leave and the ThunderClan cats dived down the far side of Sunningrocks,then disappeared into the woods.
Tigerclaw followed last. She hesitated at the edge of the forest and glanced back at the bloody face was grim,her eyes furious amber she leaped after ThunderClan into the silent forest.
In a deserted clearing,an old gray tom sat alone,staring up at the clear night around him in the shadows he could hear the breathing and moving of sleeping cats.
A small tortioseshell tom emerged from a dark corner,his pawsteps quick and light.
The gray cat dipped his head in greeting."How is Mousefur?" He meowed.
"His wounds are deep,Bluestar." Answered the tortoiseshell,settling himself on the cool grass. "But he is young and strong;he will heal quickly."
"And the others?"
"They will all recover,too."
Bluestar sighed."We are lucky not to have lost any of our warriors this time. You are a gifted medicine cat,Spottedleaf." He tilted his head again and studied the stars."I am deeply troubled by tonight's has not been beaten in its own territory since I became leader." He murmured."These are difficult times for out clan.
The season of Newleaf is late,and there have been fewer needs more warriors if it is to survive."
"But the year is only JUST beginning," Spottedleaf pointed out calmly.
"There will be more kits when Greenleaf comes."
The gray cat twitched his broad shoulders. "Perhaps,but training our young to become warriors takes ThunderClan is to defend its territory,it must have new warriors as soon as possible."
"Are you asking StarClan for answers?" Meowed Spottedleaf gently,
following Bluestar's gaze and staring up at the swath of stars glittering in the darkening sky.
"It is at times like this we need the words of ancient warriors to help us.
Has StarClan spoken to you?" Bluestar asked,glancing at the medicine cat.
"Not for some moons,Bluestar."
Suddenly a shooting star blazed over the treetops,and Spottedleaf's tail twitched and the fur along his spine began to lift.
Bluestar's ears pricked but he remained silent as Spottedleaf continued to gaze upward.
After a few heartbeats,Spottedleaf lowered his head and turned to Bluestar.
"It was a message form StarClan," He murmured softly.A distant look came into his eyes."Fire alone can save our Clan."
"Fire?" Bluestar echoed."But fire is feared by all the clans! How can it save us?"
Spottedleaf shook his head. "I do not know." He addmitted."But this is the message StarClan has wanteed to share with me."
The ThunderClan leader fixed his cloudy blue eyes on the medicine cat.
"You have never been wrong before,Spottedleaf." He meowed."If StarClan has spoken,than it must be will save our Clan."