Rainfur woke the next morning, his eyes opening to the gathering place. He was still exhausted from swimming the day before, but he seemed much more refreshed. Groaning, he decided to get up, hoping that the other Clans wouldn’t flee at the sight of him.
As Rainfur sat up, he listened to the chattering going on. It must have been late dawn, because everyone seemed up. When he looked around, he found Robinwing, Amberstorm, Flamepelt, Sweetpaw, Shadowflame, and even Frostpaw in front of him.
Rainfur listened to their conversation as he adjusted his eyes to the bright light. None of them noticed his awakening, and with that, he was going to use it to his advantage.
“I can’t believe everyone still thinks he’s going kill everybody,” said Sweetpaw, a certain distaste in her voice. “I mean, we explained to them that he’s perfectly fine, and that when he wakes, he’ll be as good as anyone else around here. Why don’t they believe us?” Amberstorm shrugged, a small look of worry in her eyes.
“I don’t know,” Amberstorm replied. “However, I think it has something to do with the fact that Rainfur wasn’t exactly there last night. As Robinwing said, he was literally going insane.” Flamepelt looked at Amberstorm and nodded, but something else seemed to be bugging the young tom.
“I also think it has something to do with the fact that Rainfur just let it happen,” Flamepelt continued. “I mean, usually Rainfur has had no choice, but as soon as he saw Robinwing dead, he just. . .gave up.” Shadowflame murmured in agreement.
“Then when he went insane?” asked Shadowflame. “Do you think that has anything to do with it? Even then, he looked scary. He looked as if he didn’t have a soul. As if everything had just drifted away, and all he cared about was. . .well. . .what was it?” Shadowflame looked to Robinwing, waiting for an answer. Rainfur sighed as he realised what they were talking about, and he felt even worse when he saw the look on Robinwing’s face.
Robinwing was quiet as she looked at the ground, deep in thought as her eyes absently stared. Her fur was groomed cleanly, and there were no burns like Rainfur had been expecting. However, mentally, he could tell she was not doing very well.
“He. . .” Robinwing drifted a bit, still thinking. “He was going on about something, as if he were confused. I know he said he was a monster once, and that was after looking at Duskkit’s frightened state. It was as if he’d realised what he was right then, and he just couldn’t accept it. His mind was on an overload, and even though it was him with the mental pain, it was scary to watch. He felt so. . .distant from me. It was like he didn’t even know I was there. . .”
“How strange. . .” murmured Tinypaw, who was sitting next to Flamepelt. “I wonder if he’ll be stable when he wakes. Then again, either way, he’ll be furious. To think that the Clan leaders want him gone. . .” Rainfur suppressed the urge to gasp. The Clan leaders wanted him gone? But why? He didn’t do anything wrong!
“I think this all has something to do with his brothers,” said Flamepelt suddenly. “He kept saying that it was all his fault when he was an apprentice, and that he kept failing, and remember what he said to the demon? ‘I gave up because I thought I failed again, but after you killed Ravenstar, I used the life to save Robinwing, and that gave me another reason to live.’”
“Robinwing is his mate,” Shadowflame reminded the ginger tom. “Anyone would have given up at the sight of their mate’s dead body.” Flamepelt shrugged.
“And while that may be true, remember the word ‘again’ in that sentence,” Flamepelt pointed out. “So, that means he’s already failed, meaning he’s let someone die. Also, if it has something to do with his brothers, then he was there both times they died,” Flamepelt continued. “I know he was there when his first brother died.”
“He had two brothers?” asked Robinwing curiously. “He’s only told me about the one.”
“That’s because the other wasn’t the one that caused the demon, and therefore wasn’t important enough to mention, as I only talk about my past if it was handy information,” Rainfur growled, getting everyone’s attention. “The second brother didn’t die. I failed him by leaving him while I was forced to come here. As an older brother and having been through the same experience, I call that a failure.” Robinwing’s eyes were wide as she looked at his angry state, and the others were a little embarrassed.
“H-how long have you been listening?” asked Frostpaw, his head low.
“Enough to know what I need to,” Rainfur growled, his eyes narrowed. “I can’t believe—”
“Rainfur,” hissed Sharpfang from behind him. He quickly jumped to his feet and turned around, a little sore as he did so. “I see you have awoken.” Rainfur growled a little as he relaxed, his eyes still narrowed.
“What do you want, Sharpfang?” Rainfur hissed. “I just want to be at peace right now, I don’t care what wise information you’ve got for me.” Sharpfang narrowed his eyes as he shifted his noble stance. An amber flash of anger went through Sharpfang’s eyes, making Rainfur a bit curious.
“My name is Sharpstar now, if you please!” Sharpstar snapped, his eyes narrowing tighter. “And that is not how you should treat the Saviour of your life.” Rainfur stared at the brown tabby before relaxing completely, feeling that since the tom was a leader, and he should be respected.
“Whatever,” Rainfur muttered, looking at his paws.
“I’m calling a Clan meeting soon, and since you are the main point, you should be there,” Sharpstar hissed. “The other Clan leaders will also be there, and they will also have a say in what I have to tell the Clans.” Rainfur forced himself not to show any emotion, though sadness was overwhelming him. He knew exactly what the Clan meeting was going to be about, and though he wanted to talk back to Sharpstar, he couldn’t.
The noble ThunderClan leader then left, his head held high as he did so. The other Clan leaders followed him toward the great oak tree, preparing for a Clan meeting or, in this case, a gathering.
“How did he get his nine lives?” asked Rainfur as he stood up. “I thought he had to travel to the Moonpool.”
“Since StarClan was already there after you fell unconscious, they decided to give them to him then,” Frostpaw explained quietly. “I-I think that’s why Sharpstar’s so proud: every single cat in this forest got to watch him receive his nine lives.” Rainfur shook his head, getting even angrier. Sharpstar may have been his mentor, but he was still ticking Rainfur off. A lot.
Rainfur then walked forward, his heart aching with fear and sadness. Robinwing walked beside him, also sad, yet mostly worried. Rainfur ignored everyone as he got to the head of the crowd and sat down, looking up to Sharpstar and the others as they sat proudly on the branches of the oak tree.
“ThunderClan grieves the loss of Ravenstar, who has led this Clan through many seasons. However, through all of this, we must focus on his killer,” Sharpfang paused, then, letting the outbreak of yells stop him. Rainfur looked to the Clan cats, watching as the fear and anger flashed through their eyes.
“I didn’t do anything!” Rainfur yelled, narrowing his eyes. “You all saw me yesterday, and I’m fine now! I’ve killed before, yes, but that wasn’t me!”
“Ah, but you let him take over, didn’t you?” asked Sharpstar, forcing Rainfur look back to him. “And don’t forget about the deal you made with ThunderClan, and what you must do to stay true to that deal.” Rainfur narrowed his eyes, anger flashing through his eyes.
“It was still Ravenstar’s fault, wasn’t it?” asked Rainfur. “He was the one that made himself targeted by the monster, it was his fault!” Sharpstar shook his head, making Rainfur’s heart started to beat faster.
“What is this deal you are talking about?” asked Bravestar then, looking quite curious. “Remember, only your Clan knows.” Sharpstar nodded in understanding before replying.
“The first time ThunderClan saw Rainfur try to kill was when I was training with him,” Sharpstar explained. “I bit his scar by accident, and then regretted that. Rainfur had me pinned easily, and remember, he was just barely an apprentice at the time. I would have been a dead cat had it not been for Robinwing, who was brave enough to stop him.
“After that day, ThunderClan wanted him dead, for he was a danger to them. Even after he explained himself, we didn’t want him to live. After that, without even Ravenstar having a clue what was going on, Rainfur made a deal with us. The deal was that as long as we let him stay, he would give us the right to exile him if he ever did that again to another Clan cat. And, seeing as he’s killed Ravenstar, we have the right.”
“It’s not fair!” Rainfur hissed, anger surging through him.
“It was your deal,” Sharpstar reminded him before looking to the other Clan leaders. “Do you agree to exile him, even from your own territories?”
“I do,” said Rosestar instantly after Sharpstar finished. “He is a danger to my Clan, and I shall not have any threats lurking around in the darkness, no matter how tame they may seem at first. I have seen the monster within him face on, and I do not want anyone of my Clan ever experiencing it.” Sharpstar nodded before looking to Nightstar.
“I agree to exile him as well,” said the brave ShadowClan leader. “I have only seen this once, but even so, if he is able to kill a Clan leader so quickly, then he shall not be allowed in my territory. I shall not have my Clan ripped to pieces due to this threat.” Rainfur couldn’t believe his ears. It was happening all too quickly. He couldn’t admit that it was his fault. Why did this have to happen?
“I don’t think you’re being reasonable,” said Bravestar as Sharpstar looked to him. “As long as he’s sane, he’s okay, isn’t he? Why can’t you just accept him, just as Ravenstar did when he came to your Clan?”
“Because he is a threat to my Clan, and there are no replacements for Ravenstar,” said Sharpfang, narrowing his eyes. “If you can’t decide, then why don’t you ask you’re Clan-mates?” Bravestar’s eyes narrowed for only a moment, and then he looked to his Clan.
“Send him away!”
Bravestar then glanced a sorry look to Rainfur before looking to Sharpfang and saying, “Exile.”
Rainfur’s eyes widened with fear as he realised what was happening. Sharpfang looked back at him, a frown on this face. As Rainfur turned around, he saw the many angry looks that he was getting. His heart raced as he noticed that all of them seemed to be getting closer.
Rainfur panicked, unable to think correctly as he saw Robinwing’s shocked stare. He felt a warm tear fall down as he looked to Sweetpaw and his other friends, and he felt his heart lurch.
Rainfur then ran, his mind on another overload. However, he could handle this one, though in some ways, he felt like just giving up again. As he ran, he could hear Sharpstar’s voice as clear the chirping of a bird.
“Rainfur is no longer a Warrior, and shall no longer go by that name,” Sharpstar called to the Clans. “He shall go back to being called Matthew, for that is loner name.” Rainfur ran faster, unable to hear anything else behind him. He leaped onto the fallen tree and sprinted off, his lungs barely letting him go any faster.
Rainfur knew not where he was going, or even what direction. He just knew that he was never going back to the Clans. He couldn’t, not if he wanted to get killed.
Thousands of things went through his head as he realised what was happening to him. Rainfur finally understood that he was never going to see Robinwing ever again. Rainfur understood that he wasn’t going to name his kits, and he knew that those kits would be looked down upon and hated by everyone aside from Robinwing. Rainfur understood that he would never see Flamepelt, or Shadowflame, or Sweetpaw, or even Cloudpaw ever again. Rainfur knew that he was never going to see Thorntail, and he knew he was not going to get to see Duskkit and his siblings grow up. Rainfur understood that he was never going to become a true Warrior, and he knew that he was never going to make up for the failures and crimes he’d committed in the past. Rainfur knew it, and it was killing him. Everything was ending now. Everything.
Rainfur finally collapsed near a large pine tree, crying and gasping for air. He whimpered and sobbed more than he’d ever had in his life. This was the end. He was stuck in his cat body without a clue how to live. This was it.
“Rainfur, don’t give up!” yelled the distant voice of Cheetahfur.
“What’s the point!” Rainfur yelled to himself, his eyes closed. “Why can’t I give up? I don’t know where to go! You told me to find a place to belong when I first came here, Cheetahfur, and now look at me! I’m done for!” Rainfur continued crying, unable to stop. He didn’t know what to do. He was lost.
Finally, after such a long time, Rainfur fell asleep. His body was still exhausted from the day before, and since he cried so much, he was even more tired. When he slept, he still didn’t find peace. It was only a never-ending dark shadowed place, and even then time didn’t go quickly. There was just one thing that kept going through his mind through all of that: what do I do now?
The Saviour is on its way!
The monster is near!
Huh? Rainfur thought as he opened his eyes to complete darkness. What was that? The voices he’d been hearing were ghost-like. Not like StarClan, like real ghosts. They were high-pitched and all female, but also very quiet. He had a hard time understanding them, even though he really didn’t even know what they were about.
“Having trouble, are you, cry-baby?” asked the familiar voice of the demon. Rainfur immediately opened his eyes wider and turned around, watching the cat opposite of him smirk in front of him.
“What are you doing here?” asked Rainfur, his eyes narrowed. “I thought I defeated you enough to stay away!” The demon only laughed, the grin of a monster on his face.
“You do not understand what you must truly do to gain my allegiance, and therefore I will not listen to you, whatever you do,” said the demon, his voice echoing throughout the darkness.
“Why would I want to gain your allegiance?” asked Rainfur, his eyes showing curiosity. “You’re my enemy, the memories of my past, and something I would rather not deal with.”
“Why, you ask?” asked the demon, his head tilted with fake innocence. ”Wouldn’t you like to share my strength, without having the scar scratched? Wouldn’t you like to have your scar scratched, without having to worry about who I’d kill? Wouldn’t you like to be in control, and yet let me be me?” Rainfur thought about this carefully, actually noticing how nice those things sounded. But then he shook his head rapidly.
“No!” Rainfur yowled, his eyes narrowed. “You’re lying! You just want me to give in to your strength!” The demon frowned, the happiness gone.
“Why would I lie to my own mind?” asked the demon. ”Why would I lie to myself? Don’t you remember? We are the same cat, person, or whatever we are. We are of one mind.”
“That’s not true!” Rainfur hissed, his fur bristling. “You are not me! You are just a past that was me, and has now been forgotten!” The demon hissed, baring his long fangs. He was obviously offended.
“I could be remembered!” the demon hissed. ”I could be brought up without the pain! I could live every moment without having to remember what we went through!”
“Liar!” Rainfur hissed, lashing his tail. The demon opened his mouth, but then shut it. The dark-blue eyed tom then calmed himself down with a long sigh, straightening himself out so that he didn’t look as if he were going to kill Rainfur. Then, the demon looked at him, a smirk on his face.
“I shall not push you, but remember this,” the demon said. ”I will keep coming, and each time I shall give you a hint at what to do. I know you, Rainfur, and eventually, if you have seen the right things, you will help me, and yourself.”
Rainfur suddenly opened his eyes again, only this time, to WindClan’s moor. Rainfur sighed as he realised that that had all only been in his mind, and remembered exactly what had happened the day before.
Suddenly Rainfur heard movement, making him jump to his paws and hiss in warning to the thing that was somewhere in the tall grass. He looked through the marsh, hoping that he’d find the intruder.
Rainfur took a few steps back as Sweetpaw jumped in front of him. It took a while for him to understand that the she-cat was in front of him, but then he shook his head and forced himself to realize it.
“Sweetpaw?” Rainfur asked, his eyes narrowed with confusion. “Why aren’t you with your Clan?” Sweetpaw shrugged, still happy.
“The Clans were being moue-brains, exiling you like that,” Sweetpaw replied. “I didn’t want to be with cats as scared as they were—I wanted to be with you. So, I woke before dawn and sneaked away. Luckily for me, the Clans were tired trying to hunt this morning, so no one woke.” Rainfur then shook his head, unable to really understand that.
“Go home, Sweetpaw,” Rainfur muttered. “Being a loner isn’t exactly something for a young kit like you to be doing.” Sweetpaw narrowed her eyes, her tail lashing with irritation.
“I’m not a kit anymore, mouse-brain,” Sweetpaw hissed. “I am eight moons old—almost ready to become a Warrior.”
“If you come with me, you won’t be able to,” Rainfur reminded the small she-cat. “You’ll just be called ‘Sweet’, and you’ll never see your family again.” Sweetpaw rolled her eyes.
“I mean a real Warrior,” said Sweetpaw. “Not those scared kittypets back at the gathering place. Plus, I don’t care if my name is Sweet, or if I’ll never seem my family ever again. It was their fault for not sticking up for you.” Rainfur rolled his eyes before walking away, his tail drooping.
“You don’t belong with someone like me, Sweetpaw,” Rainfur muttered, looking at the ground as he walked. “There’s so much to me that you don’t understand.” Sweetpaw then bounded up to his side, walking with him.
“You are my mentor now, Rainfur,” Sweetpaw insisted. “Besides, I know all I need to know about you, don’t I?” Rainfur opened his mouth to answer, but then shook his head.
Rainfur knew nothing of what he used to be, not now that his demon talked to him. Rainfur was lost as who he was, now that he was exiled, and he knew nothing of what he was going to be, due to the shadow in his mind. There was nothing he could do but try to find a home, which was going to be hard. He didn’t know what it was like, being a cat outside the Clans. The only thing he could do was live like he knew, and hope that no one would see through him.
“So, where are we going?” asked Sweetpaw, prancing beside him as she sniffed the ground and looked around wildly. Rainfur looked at her before rolled his eyes.
“I’m going to check on the fire,” Rainfur replied. “I want to do something for the Clans before I leave.” Sweetpaw then looked up from what she was doing, tilting her head with confusion.
“Where are we going when we leave?” asked Sweetpaw.
“Sweetpaw, you aren’t coming with me,” Rainfur growled. “You aren’t old enough.” Sweetpaw frowned before noticing a butterfly. She then jumped after it, her short attention span coming out into the open. Rainfur then continued walking, noticing the burnt ground underneath him.
It was all ash, and even though the sky shed some colour in the territory, Rainfur found a bland colour on the ground. He just hoped this wouldn’t scar the forest forever.
Rainfur continued walking, ignoring Sweetpaw and yet trying to figure out what he was going to do. He knew that Twolegs were near, he could smell them. He also knew that fire trucks must have erased the fire, for no storm could have made the fire disappear this fast. So, what he was going to do, was try and figure out which part was on fire, and which part was not.
Rainfur then heard voices of humans, making him look up to the large red fire-truck that the firemen were using to make the fire die down. Rainfur watched, a frown on his face. The humans were getting the fire demolished quickly, as they were working on the ThunderClan border at the moment.
As Rainfur looked across the lake, he noticed that RiverClan was also fire-free, same as most of ShadowClan. This meant that he’d have to leave the Clan territories quicker than he’d have liked, making him nearly cry.
“Wow!” Sweetpaw suddenly yelled in astonishment. “Those monsters are huge! Why do they have water coming out of their tails?” Rainfur chuckled a bit, remembering that she didn’t know as much as he did.
“This is called a fire truck,” Rainfur explained. “The water is to quench the fire, making it die down and eventually disappear. The Twolegs are really helpful for that. They are making the monster work, and therefore help us in return.” Sweetpaw watched in wonder.
“That’s so cool!” she whispered. “I didn’t know Twolegs helped us so much! Is that why all of the territories are okay now?” Rainfur nodded.
“There are more of these trucks, much more,” Rainfur replied. “Twolegs make a lot so that these fires don’t reach their homes.” Sweetpaw just sat there and stared, making Rainfur smile. It felt like she was his daughter, but as he remembered that, his heart flipped.
How is Robinwing doing?
He couldn’t help but wonder. He wanted to know what was happening back at the gathering, and how his friends where doing. Rainfur wanted to know what everyone thought of him, and how his kits were doing. He wanted to know so much, but in reality, he knew he could never see them ever again.
“Hey look!” a man suddenly called, forcing Rainfur out of his thoughts. “Those cats are just standing there! I wonder if they live around here?” Another man then came into view, staring at Sweetpaw and Rainfur. Sweetpaw was confused, even more so as the two men continued to talk.
“Rainfur, they’re going to try and catch us!” Sweetpaw stated, backing away. “We need to run!”
“No,” Rainfur growled. “They won’t come near us, not so far at least.” Sweetpaw tilted her head in curiosity.
“How do you know?” The over-excited she-cat asked. “Can you understand them?” Rainfur nodded, a smile on his face.
“I was a loner, remember?” he asked, making her nod.
“I wonder if their hungry. . .” the second man murmured. Rainfur then continued to listen. After all, he was hungry, but he couldn’t hunt. There was no prey—they’d all been scared away by the fire, and since everything was ash, Rainfur doubted that it would all come back. If the humans gave him food, then he would not need to look.
“Well, do you have anything they would like?” asked the first man, looking as if he were joking. The second man then nodded, a bright look in his eye. Then, the man disappeared. When he returned, he held some food that was wrapped in aluminium foil.
The man then unwrapped it, walked several steps in their directions, and then set the food down. The man then walked away, a smile on his face. Rainfur was confused as to why a fire man would do that, but then remembered that there were probably reporters here, so he dropped the question.
Rainfur then walked over to the food, sniffing with delight as he realised that it was bacon. Sweetpaw walked with him, though she was a little more cautious, though still curious.
“What is that?” she asked as Rainfur started eating the delicious meat.
“It’s called bacon,” Rainfur replied. “Oh, this is so good. I miss food like this. . .come on, Sweetpaw. It’s not poisoned or anything.” Sweetpaw then walked over, and slowly took a bite. However, when her tongue tasted the bacon, she started eating quicker. Rainfur laughed a bit, but continued eating.
When they were done, Rainfur looked over to the Twoleg who had gave it to him, but the man was already gone, making Rainfur shrug. He then stood up and nodded toward the gathering place.
“We’re going back?” asked Sweetpaw, confused. Rainfur nodded, knowing exactly how she felt. They betrayed him, and now he was going back.
“We are going to tell them that their territories are free of fire,” Rainfur explained. “I know it sounds weird to be going back to the place that exiled me, but I promise, they won’t do anything to hurt you and I.” Sweetpaw nodded before following him, though she still seemed confused.