Rainpaw sighed as he sat near Robinpaw and Shadowpaw, listening to the boring lecture about the hunting crouch. His mind was elsewhere as he pretended to listen, thinking of what happened around a week ago. That Gathering was the first and probably last he was ever going to according to Jayflight, mostly because it was his fault the fight even started. No one had been seriously injured, and even he had recovered from all of the wounds he’d gotten, but everyone seemed very, very distressed after that day.
Ravenstar hadn’t even come out of his den since that day, and everyone kept talking about it. They were all saying about how immature he was for starting a fight like that, but really Rainpaw didn’t blame the dark furred leader. He actually blamed Rosestar.
And that wasn’t the worst of it, actually. Everybody kept trying to ask him what he had to do with StarClan’s arrival, and of course he didn’t answer. However, not answering was actually making a lot of them very suspicious of him.
Oh, and of course everyone was very, very, curious as to who the “Saviour” was. Rainpaw didn’t know, but he knew that everyone thought it was him. All of the ThunderClan cats, anyway. It didn’t matter, though, because he knew that there was no way he could be the Saviour or the prophecy cat. He was just him, the ex-human ex-loner ThunderClan apprentice who was cursed with a scar that made him insane. That was it.
“Rainpaw!” Sharpfang growled suddenly, making him come back to reality. “Were you even listening to what I was saying?” Rainpaw looked up to his mentor and shook his head. Sharpfang growled with frustration.
“Rainpaw, if you don’t listen to me you won’t learn anything,” Sharpfang growled. “You’re days away from being ten moons old—you should know how to listen.”
“Sorry,” Rainpaw muttered. “I’ll try to listen next time.” He could feel Robinpaw’s eyes on him, and Shadowpaw’s, but he didn’t care. It was quiet for a few minutes before Sharpfang just sighed and flicked his tail in dismissal.
“You seem down today,” said Sharpfang. “Go ahead and take the day off from training. Just don’t get into trouble, okay?” Rainpaw nodded and left, knowing that a regular apprentice would have probably wanted to stay. He, however was not normal and did not want to stay.
He made it to camp quickly, thinking of the same things over and over. Frostpaw and Sweetpaw were busy doing their normal apprentice chores while the elders seemed to be sunning themselves. It was a normal day, yet something seemed to be wrong.
“Hey, Rainpaw!” called Lilyear, a kind elder. “Could get this annoying flea off me? I can’t reach it!” Rainpaw smiled, happy to help anyone he could, and ran over. He smiled as a greeting before catching the pesky flea and killing it between his teeth and spat it out.
“Thank you, Rainpaw,” said Lilyear happily. “You’re very kind. Most of the apprentice’s these days would rather go train for battle then help an elder like me.”
“I’ve seen enough of battle to know it’s nothing to be excited about,” Rainpaw replied. “Guess I’m different that way.” Lilyear smiled, her eyes twinkling a bit.
“Oh, you are different,” said Lilyear. “Reminds me of Ravenstar in some ways.” Rainpaw sat, then, and tilted his head.
“What do you mean?” asked Rainpaw. “It isn’t a bad thing or something like that, is it?” Lilyear shook her head.
“No, no,” she replied. “I’m only say that he too was different. He’s was a loner, just like yourself. The first non-Clan born cat since Firestar to become a leader.”
“Is that a bad thing?” asked Rainpaw. “He seems like a good Warrior to me.” Lilyear sighed and shook her head again.
“No, it isn’t,” she replied. “But there’s something different about him. He seems to know what dominance is and how to use it—as if he’d already been in a place like the Clans with the same rules: respect those higher than you and follow them without question. Of course, the Warrior code has changed a bit since my time, and therefore made everything softer. Anyways, I think he was apart of a group, one that isn’t as kind as the Clans and in a way, you remind me of him.” Rainpaw’s heart leapt as he realised just what she meant.
The Cats of the Storms.
Shadow had lived there, but he must have been exiled or something because he didn’t live there anymore. What if Ravenstar had come from there? It would help a lot with the rogue problem maybe, and that “little birdie” that Shadow kept talking about.
“I gotta go,” said Rainpaw then, leaving the den. “I’ll see ya later.” He then ran over to the highrock. He then walked into Ravenstar’s den.
“Rainpaw?” asked the dark tom. “What are you doing here? Is something wrong?”
“With the Clan? No,” said Rainpaw. “With me? Yes. Ravenstar, Lilyear told me that you were a loner and that you came from somewhere with much more power and cruelness.” Ravenstar’s blue eyes widened with shock.
“How did she know that?” asked Ravenstar. “I—I never told anyone!”
“Yes, but I’m smart enough to figure it out,” said Rainpaw. “Ravenstar, was this place you were from called the Cats of Storms?” Ravenstar nodded slowly, worry in his eyes.
“Brilliant,” said Rainpaw, closing his eyes.
“What?” asked Ravenstar.
“Shadow, the rogue’s leader, comes from that place, but was exiled,” said Rainpaw. “He told me himself.” Ravenstar’s eyes widened.
“The Mountain’s Shadow?” asked Ravenstar. Rainpaw nodded, and this increased Ravenstar’s fear. “No, no, no. Not him, not him!” Rainpaw tilted his head.
“Can I ask what is so bad?” asked Rainpaw. Ravenstar stared at the ground for a few moments before looking up to him.
“Shadow is my brother,” Ravenstar replied. “He was evil, I knew, but that’s just how it was in that. . .group of cats. You see, they live in the forest, but they’d much rather live here. They are cruel cats that think loners and rogues must never exist and therefore must be either killed or put to work. The she-cats aren’t treated all that nicely, but they are respected more than rogues and loners. No matter the blood or gender, though, they adore power. So for example, if you showed up there, you’d be treated as if you were leader of StarClan. They’d love you.” Rainpaw’s eyes widened.
“And you lived with these cats?” asked Rainpaw. Ravenstar nodded.
“Yes, my family lived there, all of them did, but I couldn’t stand it,” said Ravenstar. “Shadow thought I was weak and my other family members did as well, and soon they disowned me. I always came back from training with wounds, and this was even before I was six moons old. They’re cruel, and I knew that, and so I left, hoping the Clans were at least a bit more decent.
“When they accepted me and trained me as an apprentice of their own, I was so happy. I nearly almost didn’t believe them at first, but soon I got used to the kindness and the respect.
“When I became a mentor I couldn’t believe it. Snowstorm was just so. . .so good to me. He always wanted to make me proud, and I was. He was a loner too, so I understood him, and we got along great. When Cloudstar appointed me deputy, I was shocked, and most cats believed it was a horrible idea. You know, because I was a loner. They all said that I was just lucky, and that I would never gain the spot of a leader.
“But that was before the first band of rogues attacked. When they did, I fought as I hard as I could. Cloudstar only had a few lives left, and he lost them all that night fighting my brother. I became leader too quickly and here I stand. Ten moons later, and I’ve already lost seven of my lives.” Rainpaw stared at the ground, trying to figure out this puzzle that he knew was going around.
“Do you think Shadow wants revenge?” asked Rainpaw curiously. Ravenstar nodded, looking straight into Rainpaw’s eyes.
“Yes, and that’s why I need you,” said Ravenstar. Rainpaw narrowed his eyes in confusion, tilting his head a bit.
“What?” asked Rainpaw.
“Rainpaw, you heard what the StarClan cats said at the Gathering,” said Ravenstar. “‘The Saviour is coming’. That has to be you! You’re the only one that can kill them, with that scar of yours. Sure, we can wound some of them, but that doesn’t matter. If these rogues are being led by Shadow, they won’t give up until you kill their leader, and only you can do that.” Rainpaw’s eyes widened, his lightning blue eyes shocked at what he was expected to do.
“I’m not the only one who can do that!” Rainpaw pointed out, standing now. “What about Bravestar and Nightstar? They’re strong enough! Even Rosestar could do it—she hates rogues!”
“They can’t, Rainpaw,” said Ravenstar. “There are too many of them, and if I’m not mistaken, Shadow had already made you a target. Rainpaw, remember the whispering that the StarClan cats gave to us? About the pariah, the unwanted, and the unloved? You were all of those things before ThunderClan found you.”
“Yes, but what about the martyr, the shadow, and the unprotected?” asked Rainpaw. “I’m none of those things, and you know that!”
“I’m not so sure about that,” said Ravenstar. “I may know nothing of your past, but I can see the hints. You grew up like I did, pushed around and doing everything you could to save those you loved. You really didn’t care how you turned out, only that your family was okay.” Rainpaw narrowed his eyes, growling lowly for warning.
“Don’t talk about that, Ravenstar,” Rainpaw mumbled. “That past is behind me, and I will never need to remember.”
“But don’t you see?” asked Ravenstar. “You are the prophecy cat, the Saviour we’ve been awaiting. I know the prophecy, and it fits you perfectly.”
“No, I’m not the prophecy cat,” growled Rainpaw. “I can’t be. StarClan wouldn’t have chosen me, not with what I am. . .”
“Rainpaw, they chose you because of what you are,” Ravenstar reminded him. “Your insanity could save us all.”
“No, I’m not talking about that part of me,” said Rainpaw, looking at his paws. “I’m something else, something that they told me themselves they couldn’t choose.”
“You’ve talked to them?” asked Ravenstar, disbelief in his eyes. Rainpaw nodded.
“They’re the reason I’m cursed with insanity,” said Rainpaw. “Because of that one little mistake they made.” Ravenstar was quiet then, too shocked to say anything. Rainpaw just sat there, thinking of the many things he figured out.
Finally, after a few minutes of sitting there, he stood and walked out of the den. Rainpaw knew that there was something missing, one final piece that would tie everything together, but he just couldn’t find it. He knew that he probably had something to do with the prophecy cat, but there was no way he could actually be the one. It was impossible, but as Ravenstar had put it, he fit perfectly.
Rainpaw jumped down the highrock, his head low and his tail dragging on the ground as he walked toward the apprentices’ den. Robinpaw suddenly bounded up to him, her eyes flashing with happiness.
“There you are!” she said happily. “I was looking everywhere for you! Anyways, guess what Grassfur told me today?” Rainpaw sat down and put a smile on his face as he listened to Robinpaw speak.
“Shadowpaw and I are going to be Warriors soon!” said Robinpaw excitedly. “She said we’re both doing very well and that she’d speak to Ravenstar as soon as she could about making us Warriors. Isn’t that so exciting?” Rainpaw laughed a bit.
“Yes, it is,” said Rainpaw. “You’re very lucky, I don’t think Sharpfang will ever think I’m fit to be a Warrior.” Robinpaw rolled her eyes as he said that.
“Oh, don’t worry,” she reassured him. “He can’t keep you an apprentice forever.” Robinpaw then sat next to him, brushing her warm fur against his. Her blue-grey fur against his smoky grey and white fur made them look connected, and hearing her heart-beat reassured him that everything was okay, and nothing was going to tear them apart.
“Rainpaw,” said Robinpaw then, their tails twining together. “Do you like Cloudpaw?” Rainpaw smiled, feeling happy that she finally brought about that subject.
“Yes,” he said. “But as a friend. You are much more, and I will always remember the day you gathered up your courage and saved me from being exiled for something I didn’t mean to do.” Robinpaw purred then, and licked him again. It was beautiful moment, one that he would also remember.
But of course, it ended quickly. A loud yowl caught both of their attention, making them both stand up and look in that direction. Sharpfang, Duskfeather, Sweetpaw, and Brightpelt were dragging a body into camp, one that was lifeless.
The rest of the Clan had gathered to see who it was, and when the four cats stepped back to let them see, everyone gasped. Rainpaw heard Thorntail scream in disbelief, and he himself was shocked.
Jayflight, Ravenstar’s loyal deputy, lay dead and motionless on the ground before him.
“No!” Thorntail screamed, pushing through the crowd of cats, trying to see her brother. “No! No! No! No! No!” Thorntail was crying now as she lay down beside her dead brother, her tears falling onto his lifeless fur.
Rainpaw walked over to the body, sniffing it with care. When he realised who the scent on Jayflight was he took two steps back and the stared at the ground. Ravenstar had been right, Shadow wouldn’t give up. Rainpaw then looked up at Ravenstar who was sitting on the Highrock. Their eyes exchanged the conversation that they needed to have.
Shadow was Jayflight’s killer
“I say these words before the body of Jayflight, so that his spirit may hear and approve my choice. Sharpfang will be the new deputy of ThunderClan. I hope that his loyalty and strength match that of Jayflight’s, and that he will lead this Clan if he needs to do so with care.”
“Sharpfang! Sharpfang! Sharpfang!” the Clan cheered, though most of them stayed out, still grieving for their lost deputy. Sharpfang stood proudly, yet sadly, up on the Highrock, his eyes looking down to Jayflight’s body as the elders took it away.
Rainpaw hadn’t spoken since he’d seen the body, still trying to find out why Shadow had done it. He remembered Shadow saying that a “little birdie” told him that Snowstorm was next in line for deputy, and then he was killed. Now Jayflight was killed, and he was deputy. Who on earth would want to be leader that bad? Sharpfang was nicer now, so there was no way it could be him, and now Rainpaw was starting to wonder if he should warn his mentor about the link to the attacks.
Robinpaw hadn’t even spoken to him, she’d been too worried about Sweetpaw and what she’d seen. Amberstorm and Flamepelt were out scenting the territory for the rogues, and Thorntail had to go back to the medicine den to sleep. Nobody he really knew could talk to him, not that he really wanted it.
“Jayflight was the perfect deputy,” said someone behind him. “I just hope Sharpfang will do well in his spot. With Ravenstar only on his second life, who knows what’ll happen.” Rainpaw closed his eyes as he listened, hoping that Sharpfang was better than the loner-hater that Rainpaw had seen before he’d become his apprentice.
Ivyclaw suddenly rushed through the entrance of the nursery, her eyes flooded with worry. Rainpaw looked up to see how distressed the she-cat was, finding that she looked as if she were going to collapse as she stood there shaking like a tree in a wind storm. Rainpaw got to his feet, ready to hear the reason.
“My kits!” Ivyclaw screeched. “They’re gone! I can find them anywhere!” Rainpaw then looked to the other cats, hoping that one of them had seen them. Yelloweye, Ivyclaw’s mate, started looking immediately. The Clan looked and looked, but by moonhigh, the kits were nowhere to be found.
Rainpaw had called Sweetpaw to the apprentices’ den, making Robinpaw and Shadowpaw curious and so they followed. He didn’t really mind—if the kits were where he thought they were he’d need the two she-cats help.
They all gathered rather quickly, and then Rainpaw began explaining.
“Sweetpaw, do you remember where you found Jayflight’s body?” Rainpaw asked. Sweetpaw nodded, but the other two looked confused.
“What on earth are you talking about?” asked Robinpaw. “What do the kits disappearance have to do with Jayflight’s death?” Rainpaw looked to her, smiling.
“Robinpaw, I’d thought you’d understand,” he stated. “Look, don’t you think that Bluekit and Lionkit, two kits ready to become apprentices in days, would go looking for a reason to become one quicker?” Robinpaw shrugged.
“I guess so,” she said. “But I still don’t see the connection.”
“I’ll bet you anything Bluekit kit and Lionkit went to go scent out the killer of Jayflight, hoping to get revenge for everyone and therefore be made apprentices sooner than planned.” Rainpaw explained. “If we go to Jayflight’s body, maybe we’ll find them.” Robinpaw and Shadowpaw seemed to understand now, though Sweetpaw seemed very, very scared.
“But what if the rogues are there?” she asked.
“Then we’ll fight them,” Rainpaw put simply, though that just made her start to cry. Robinpaw rolled her eyes before looking at her.
“Sweetpaw, you’ll have two strong she-cats at your side who are over eleven moons old, and then you’ll have Rainpaw,” said Robinpaw. “Plus, if everything goes wrong, we’ll just have someone scratch Rainpaw’s scar. Then we’ll really be protected, won’t we?” Sweetpaw nodded, though she still looked scared. “If you don’t want to go, Sweetpaw, you don’t have to. You just can’t tell anyone that we went to go get the kits, okay?”
“Never!” said Sweetpaw. “I’m an apprentice now—I can do this!” Rainpaw smiled at the kit’s determination, and noticed Robinpaw smiling proudly as well. She would be a good mother, Rainpaw thought. A very good one.
“Okay then,” said Rainpaw. “With the Clan in such chaos, I doubt anyone will notice us leave through the thorn barrier, so let’s go. Sweetpaw, you’ll be in front.”
“I will?” asked Sweetpaw, her eyes widening with shock.
“Well of course,” said Rainpaw. “You’re the only one who knows were Jayflight’s body was found—you’re actually quite important.” Sweetpaw still looked scared, but Robinpaw came to the rescue again.
“Don’t worry, Sweetpaw,” said Robinpaw. “We’ll be right behind you—we’ll all protect you.” Sweetpaw then nodded, leading the way out of the apprentice’s den. They walked out of camp and no one seemed to notice. The plan was going perfectly.
They began running as soon as they were out, Sweetpaw taking the lead. Rainpaw ran beside Robinpaw, Shadowpaw behind them. The four apprentices ran quickly through the forest, all of them having one thing on their mind: save Bluekit and Lionkit.
Let’s just hope that Shadow has gone home for the night, Rainpaw thought, unable to think of what would happen if they actually did run into the rogues.