2. Chapter 2
Vixenstar stopped. No cat was following her. Good. She panted then stumbled. Her paw was twisted horribly and it burned with pain. She was almost at camp. She could sneak in get Mistywater to tend to her foot and no-cat should ever know. She cursed under her breath as she saw Rainpetal on lookout. She realised that she could not go around the camp, she was on the verge of collapse. The river was everywhere and nowhere and spinning. Her mind was feverish because of the pain. She stumbled on. Rainpetal spotted her and ran to her.
“I’ll get Mistywater, wait here.”
“Where else will I be!” Vixenstar snarled.
Vixenstar watched the tortoiseshell bound into camp. She felt the world begin to tilt within her cocoon of pain but she dragged herself onward. Mistywater appeared, though rippling like a touched reflection, before a numbing darkness overtook her.
Vixenstar groaned and opened her eyes. Her paw didn’t hurt but she felt extremely groggy. The world was blurry. She yawned then blinked and the sunlight streaming into the cave became distinct. A shadow appeared framed by the light before merging into Mistywater carrying catmint. Her blue eyes narrowed with anger. Her mist grey coat didn’t stop gleaming as she strode into the den.
“What in PastClan were you thinking?”
Vixenstar glared at her to try and remind Mistywater it was not her place to contradict her leader’s actions then eased herself onto her haunches.
“Her and the kits are fine but do not change the subject.”
“It was nothing, I’ve survived worse.”
“Oh so your in-kit, you battle a cat ten times your size twice in one Sun and then fall off a rock into the river. What is a worse situation that you’ve been in?”
Vixenstar looked down feeling ashamed.
“It, it was a mistake.”
Mistywater’s anger faltered then disappeared.
“Your kits are fine by the way.”
Vixenstar smiled her thanks.
“We need to go see Weedstar.”
“About the territory?”
“No about her son.”
Vixenstar, Pineleaves, Mistywater and Rainpetal had been sitting at the border from Sunhigh but it wasn’t till Sundown that they were finally approached by two ForestClan cats. One Vixenstar recognised from last night; a long legged tabby with a torn ear and a limp. The other was familiar but she could no remember the name. This cat was gold like the sun with one green eye, one blue eye and four white paws.
Rainpetal sat upright with shock. “That’s my sister.”
Vixenstar had forgotten that Rainpetal’s mother was an ForestClan cat.
“What do you want?”
The tabby Elite snarled the question.
“Hi Rainpetal,” Aspendawn whispered.
“We wish to speak to Weedstar.”
Aspendawn flicked her ear as a motion to follow them. She was in front with Vixenstar on her right and Rainpetal on her left. Mistywater attentively skipping just behind them and then Pineleaves trailing second from last, uneasy in the ForestClan territory almost being pushed along by the tabby warrior ,whose name was Beechfur, into the heart of the territory; the ForestClan camp.
The WaterClan cats scanned the forest. It was mainly oak, birch and beech with the odd pine appearing. They did live in a forest but theirs was much more open, more coniferous and marshy as it was by a river. The closeness of the trees was quite unnerving and their instincts screamed out an nonexistent ambush. The camp was hidden beside a waterfall, the small caves and bushes making it warm and fairly dry. Weedstar sat on a rock and when her head whipped up, her eyes flashed then showed no emotion.
“I have been expecting you.”
“I’m sorry but it was in my defence.”
“I have seen the paw marks. Yes it was in your defence. My son got carried away with most things that he described as nothing.”
“I’m sorry about the other ForestClan cat.”
Weedstar looked puzzled.
“What other one?”
“The one who wouldn’t let one of my side go.”
“Oh, that was one of his mates. A total rouge.”
Vixenstar nodded because she knew that Weedstar knew she was pregnant with Snow leopard’s kits. The former kitty-cat leapt off the rock and motioned that Vixenstar follow her.
“You have my word that nothing will harm her.”
Vixenstar followed the leopard-like cat out of the camp and deeper into the forest.
They stopped underneath a bramble.
“Do you know?”
“Yes, my son said he was doing it to disgrace you and your clan but he loved you. Till Aspendawn stopped chasing Ravenheart. He spent a lot of time with her. She though went on about rouges. How she’d love one as a mate. So he was lost to insanity, the worst kind, the insanity of love.”
“His kits will not succumb to that. I promise.”
Weedstar smiled a sad, little smile.
“I know you will do your best.”
“But I need to ask, what happened to Ravenheart?”
With that Weedstar got up, stretched and yawned.
“Well, time to go back I think.”
As they walked back to camp, Vixenstar wondered if her kits would be normal. Then as they got to camp Vixenstar recognised the scent of a WaterClan cat speaking to Mistywater who was already being escorted with a wailing Pineleaves to the border; quickly.
“Buzzardfeather, what in PastClan is wrong?”
“Its Pebblekit, she’s stopped breathing!”
Buzzardfeather wheezed his heaving sides shaking with fear.
Weedstar smiled at them.
“Please, Weedstar can I go with my sister, there are many things I need to say. There is much explaining I must do.”
Aspendawn pleaded, her eyes wide with anticipation. Weedstar nodded and Aspendawn raced with the WaterClan cats back to their camp.
As they got to camp, a wail rent the air.
Aspendawn bowed her head and muttered something. Rainpetal bowed her head and muttered something to. Mistywater came out holding a tiny scrap of silver tabby fur, her eyes as bright as stars. A hobbling Willowspirit followed wailing, and a silent Pineleaves at her side. He looked at Vixenstar and mouthed why, why us. Vixenstar strode over and sat silent by the scrap of fur. Rainpetal and Buzzardfeather came beside her and together all three bowed their heads. Soon the whole clan was there. Thornclaw came to comfort Rainpetal who was just sitting next to her sister unresponsive. Buzzardfeather called to Ravenfur and she went to groom Willowspirit, helping to calm her. Cloudheart, Brightbrook, Mosstwig and Catnip came, the she-cats sympathising with each other about Pebblekit and how Wilowspirit must be feeling. The elders came and sat with the apprentices and Cinderwing came to join the vigil. All the clan sat in silence through the drizzle, looking at the forlorn scrap of silver fur.