Book 1: Warriors: The Shadow Outcast

I am human, or I was. I was fine, and now I'm cursed with insanity. They say I can do great things, but all I've done so far is kill. Sacrifice can only get me so far, and the feeling of exile and outcast isn't new to me. Is this what you wanted StarClan?

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25. Chapter 23

Chapter Twenty-Three
| Rosestar |

“Rosestar,” murmured a tall black she-cat, bowing her head with respect. “The ThunderClan cats have kept to their side of the border, not once stepping out of line since the meeting you and Sharpstar had yesterday. He has kept his promise, and his cats tell me he will only give us another half-moon to decide. That is all.” It was quiet for a few moments before Rosestar replied.

“Very well,” Rosestar muttered, hoping she’d have more time. “Tell Sharpstar that I am thinking about it, and thank him again for the offer. Such a clever cat, he is. He’s the reason that monster is gone, and the reason I’m sane again. WindClan is no longer threatened.” Rosestar looked to Blackpelt with suspicion, waiting for a reply to a question she never said aloud.

“No, WindClan will not be threatened any longer,” Blackpelt agreed, a fear in her voice. “Rainfur and Sweetpaw have left and have not been scented since. May I ask, however, if you have decided about Sharpstar’s offer?” Rosestar sighed, hoping that her deputy wouldn’t ask. She knew she had to answer, though. It was a very important matter.

“I have not decided, but I have been thinking about it,” Rosestar told the tall black she-cat. “WindClan is my prized possession, with purity greater than any Clan has ever known. To have it combined with that loner-filled waste-land would be very wasteful.” Blackpelt sat down before nodding.

“Sharpstar has killed Yelloweye, the kit of the loners we found just a few seasons ago,” Blackpelt reminded Rosestar. “He has also made Frostpaw work harder, refusing to let Snowdrift give him his full medicine cat name. Sweetpaw is nowhere to be found, and Robinwing’s kits are to be executed as soon as they are born, according to Sharpstar.”

“They better be!” Rosestar spat, hissing with anger. “How dare Ravenstar keep such a monster within his Clan! At least Sharpstar has sense. With Robinwing’s kits being the offspring of that monster, they must be killed. Otherwise I will not agree to his deal.” Blackpelt dipped her head with respect.

“You are remembering our part of the deal, aren’t you?” asked the brave deputy. “We will finally have twice the territory we used to have, and we’ll be able to prove our strength to RiverClan and ShadowClan. We will also have all rights on the queens, giving us power over all of the kits, including Robinwing’s.” Rosestar sighed.

“But remember, though, that we won’t have any say over our own Warriors,” Rosestar reminded Blackpelt. “Sharpstar will lead them, making me unable to control my own Clan.”

“Rosestar, he is stronger than you are,” Blackpelt reminded the moody leader. “With only one life, you need to step down and let him lead this Clan. Sharpstar is the best leader I have come to know, and with him leading our pure Clan, we can be sure that he will make it stronger.” Rosestar nodded, giving another sigh.

“You are right, Blackpelt,” Rosestar told her, a smile on her face. “I am lucky to have a deputy as good as you.” With that, Blackpelt dipped her head in respect before leaving the den. Rosestar stayed, her thoughts coming to overwhelm her.

I must decide within a half moon, Rosestar thought. It’s so difficult! And with all the bad things that could happen. . .I must remember, though, with Sharpstar’s lead that monster will never return! Yes, that would be good, but what about my Warriors?

I can’t decide too quickly though, for Harestar told me to be sure of myself. Oh Harestar. . .what am I going to do? You led this Clan as if it were as easy as playing, but how did you do it? And how did you know about the offer? Why are you telling me to be smart about my decision? You would jump at an offer like this, doing anything to make you’re Clan strong. Why are you telling me to be smart about this? It’s as if you’re telling me it’s a trap. But why would it be? Sharpstar is my hero! I don’t like him as much as you, of course. Oh, Harestar. . .I wish you were here. . .


 

| Cloudstreak |


 

“Cloudstreak!” called the familiar voice of Reedfeather. “Can you take care of Duskkit and the others for me? I need to see Wolfheart!”

“Sure!” Cloudstreak called back as she ran toward the nursery. Duskkit and his siblings were now four-and-half-moons old, nearly ready to become apprentices. It was exciting to watch them play, and it was fun to swim in the memories that she always seemed to get.

As she walked into the nursery, she was greeted by five wonderful kits. They all pinned her down, each of them nipping at a certain spot on her body. Their small paws tickled her stomach, making her giggle and thrash in their grip. It was quite refreshing from a full day of patrols.

“Stop! Stop!” Cloudstreak pleaded, still giggling in between words. “That tickles!” The five kits got off quickly, each of them giving small growls in warning, though it was just for play.

“We did it!” Foxkit announced, excitement in his voice. “We defeated a full grown Warrior! We can now become Warriors!” Cloudstreak sat up as they stepped off of her, laughing a bit as she saw the five healthy kits talking to each other.

“Let’s go tell Reedfeather!” Snowkit, the pure white she-cat, said. Her long fluffy fur still made her look like cotton, and though she was teased about it all the time, she remained strong, giving an insult back at anyone who would say anything.

“No way!” Mosskit yelled. “She would just tell us to be careful! Booooringgggg! We should tell Smokepaw, Maplepaw, and Oakpaw! They’d know how to make us Warriors!”

“They just became Warriors last half-moon,” hissed Nightkit, his sleek black fur standing out against the lighter coloured cats. “How wouldthey know how to make us Warriors?”

“Hey, here’s an idea!” said Foxkit, looking as if he thought his siblings were stupid. “Why don’t we go tell Bravestar? He’s the one who makes everyone Warriors! He’ll make us one for sure!”

“What about Wolfheart?” asked Duskkit, using a soft voice. “He’s deputy, and our father. I’ll bet he’d understand.” Duskkit’s bright blue eyes were filled with lots of emotions, though most of all, he just looked tired. Ever since the day he met Rainfur, he always looked like that.

The five kits looked at the small golden kit, all of them looking as if they’d seen a ghost. Nightkit looked disgusted that Duskkit would even bring up the subject, and Snowkit looked as if she were going to burst into tears. Foxkit and Mosskit shared shocked stares, and Duskkit looked as if he just wanted to run away.

“Duskkit, why would you of all cats bring that up?” asked Nightkit, narrowing his eyes with anger. “You were the one that found out about our ‘problem’, and you’re the one who made Wolfheart dislike us so much. I thought we agreed to never bring Wolfheart up again!” Duskkit’s tail was tucked as his brother got higher and higher, looking angrier and angrier.

“I—I—” Duskkit was at a loss for words, looking as if he were remembering too many things at once. “I just thought—”

“Thought what, that our father would magically like us again?” Nightkit hissed. “When hedgehogs fly, Duskkit! Wolfheart will never like us, and I don’t even want to know why. I can’t believe you brought him up on such a good day!”

“Nightkit, that’s enough!” Cloudstreak hissed, making the tall black tom shrink a bit. “You know better than to say things like that, and it’s even worse to say it to your own brother! You have to remember what he’s gone through!” Nightkit rolled his eyes.

“He saw a few nightmares, so what? We all have them,” Nightkit growled. “He’s just too scared to admit that he’s afraid of a little fox.”

“It’s not the fox!” Duskkit cried. “It was Rainfur. . .he was such a nice cat, and then when that scar was scratched, it was if he’d suddenly turned into a monster. It was terrifying! If you’d seen it, you would still be scared too!” Nightkit just shrugged and walked away.

“Come on, guys,” Nightkit muttered. “Let’s get away from this stupid scaredy-cat.” The other three walked away, leaving Cloudstreak and Duskkit alone. It was quiet, leaving them both with their thoughts.

It was horrible seeing Duskkit so sad. When he was younger, he was determined to do anything to do everything. He was such a brave little kit, proof of how great he was going to be, even if he was so small. After Rainfur showed him those memories, though, Duskkit just couldn’t sleep. It was horrible.

“Duskkit, I—”

“Leave me alone!” Duskkit hissed as small tears streamed down his eye. “I don’t need your help!”

“Duskkit, don’t you dare interrupt me when I’m talking to you!” Cloudstreak hissed, making the small golden kit look at her. The kit lowered its head, making Cloudstreak nod. “Good, now would you like to hear my part in the nightmare you keep having?” Duskkit tilted his head with confusion, making Cloudstreak smile.

“You were there?” he asked. “I knew that some cats were there, but I never knew you were.” Cloudstreak nodded.

“Yes, I was there,” Cloudstreak replied, smiling to the curious kit. “I was fighting the fox before Rainfur arrived with you and the others. He looked tired, and having met him before then, I was worried. He lead the fox into den, foolishly trapping himself. He fought bravely, but he wasn’t strong enough. We couldn’t attack—the fox had already wounded us enough to nearly take us all out. Then the fox bite Rainfur’s scar, and that was when Rainfur went insane. He started talking like Rainfur wasn’t there, as if he were someone else taking over Rainfur’s body. It was terrifying, and after the battle ended, I didn’t ever want to see Rainfur again.” Duskkit was leaning forward now, hanging on her every word.

“So what happened?” asked Duskkit. “Did you talk to him again?” Cloudstreak nodded.

“I didn’t know what had happened, and so I just hoped that it was the scar’s fault that Rainfur acted like that,” Cloudstreak explained. “I slept by him that night, and when he woke the next morning, I found his eyes clouded with emotion. I couldn’t read him, of course. No one can. However, he was back to normal, making me happier than an apprentice when its Warrior ceremony is being completed.”

“So what’s the point of this story again?” asked Duskkit.

Cloudstreak sighed before saying, “Rainfur isn’t the monster you’re afraid of, Duskkit, and I am sure that by now, he’s managed to control it. You don’t need to be scared. You just need to be brave for your sisters and brothers. Do you understand?” Duskkit nodded, standing proudly.

“I’m gonna be the best Warrior RiverClan has ever seen!” Duskkit announced, making Cloudstreak smile. “I’m going to make sure they regret exiling Rainfur, for if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be alive!”

“Alright,” said Cloudstreak, standing up as she realised that she’d helped the small golden kit. “Now let’s go find those trouble-makers of siblings you have.” Duskkit nodded before darting off, making Cloudstreak smile wider.


 

| Nightstar |


 

“Nightstar, ThunderClan have been giving us even more trouble,” said Blackfrost, the ShadowClan deputy. “We can’t risk a war with so many experienced Warriors on their side. Sharpstar is up to something, and we can’t just wait around for some dream cat until that happens. Four of our patrols have already had to drive ThunderClan cats out—we can’t just do nothing!”

“Blackfrost, I share your concern,” Nightstar told the black tom. “However, I just have a feeling. A strong one. And then with StarClan’s dream. . .I just don’t want to get into a war, but at the same time, I want to wait for the cat. He might be of some use to us.”

“And how exactly do you know that it’s a tom?” asked Blackfrost. “This cat could be anyone, which is my main point.”

“Blackfrost, I already told you,” Nightstar growled, getting a bit annoyed. “There was a fire, and then smoke. I was choking, and then I saw blood, making me afraid. The camp was on fire, and there was dead bodies everywhere. Then the smoke formed a cat, one with a star on its left shoulder. Lightning struck, and then everything went back to normal. Then the cat said ‘the stars will help you, but you must let the exiled return’. It’s Rainfur, and you know it. This cat is going to come back, and since I offered it to him, I am pretty sure he will return.”

“As this may be true, how long are you going to wait?” asked Blackfrost. “Nightstar, things are getting bad, and Sharpstar is getting more ambitious by the day. We need to stand up and fight. If we’re desperate enough, we could just make the Odd One an apprentice. We could train him to be a fighter, just like he says his siblings were. He has it in him, and if we just train him to know our ways, we could—”

“No,” Nightstar growled. “This cat is a loner, and an odd one at that, hence his name. I don’t want him to be an apprentice yet. I want to know his past, so he won’t just end up like Rainfur.” Blackfrost tilted his head, clearly confused.

“What do you mean?” asked Blackfrost. “What does Rainfur’s monster have to do with his past?”

“Haven’t you noticed?” asked Nightstar. “Rainfur’s power is triggered when he remembered something. I-I know it’s crazy, but the Odd One reminds me of Rainfur. This cat. . . he just keeps talking about strange stuff that has to do with Twolegs, and also, he has a sorrowed expression on his face. They’re just too similar, and with that, I shall not endanger my Clan until Rainfur returns.”

“And how do you know he’ll return to ShadowClan?” asked Blackfrost. “Why not RiverClan? He could also just stay a loner.”

“I gave him the option before he left,” Nightstar answered. “Also, he would want a life he’s accustomed to, and a loner is not one of them. If he knows what Sharpstar is planning to do with his kits, he’ll want to stay close to ThunderClan, so that he can watch their movements.” Blackfrost continued to look at Nightstar before standing up and dipping his head respectively.

“If you truly believe this is the best to do, than I shall trust you,” said Blackfrost. “Just keep in mind that you did agree to exile him, and that Rainfur would want revenge if he was smart.” Nightstar nodded and watched his deputy left, sighing with frustration.

There was too much going on. The Odd One’s presence, the safety of his Clan, ThunderClan’s change, Rainfur’s exile, and even prey. Nightstar loved being a leader, but at times he just wished he could be a regular Warrior again, and live in peace without a care in the world.

Indeed, the safety of his Clan was at stake. With Sharpstar wanting to combine the Clans and kill any none-Clan born cat, ShadowClan was not safe. Sharpstar would start a war and destroy them, leaving their territory bare and easy for them to take. Luckily for them, though, RiverClan was being nicer than usual, leaving them safe on that side.

The prey, which had not completely come back since the fire, was very weak. Every Clan was striving for more prey, and at the last gathering, ThunderClan had demanded more territory from ShadowClan and WindClan, who both refused. It was going to end in war if the prey didn’t return, and that was not what Nightstar wanted.

The Odd one was scaring many cats, who were also thinking that he acted too much like Rainfur. The tom had long dark brown fur with midnight blue eyes. He had white splotches, and one that looked like a crescent moon. When they had found the cat, he was wobbling on his feet, crying ‘I was supposed to be dead’. He was also mumbling, saying things that no one understood. It was strange, and that was the reason Nightstar could not make him an apprentice. Not until Rainfur had arrived.

Yes, that is what I must do, thought Nightstar. I must wait until Rainfur returns, saving the shadows from the night.


 

| Robinwing |

Robinwing’s jade green eyes flickered open, tired and soaking wet with tears. Until she’d fallen asleep, she’d been crying. This was usual, for her, but she knew that it wasn’t usual for others.

Her light blue-grey fur hadn’t been groomed since Rainfur had left, leaving it very dirty and matted. It was also very dull, having no light like it once had. Her swollen belly didn’t help matters, but she didn’t care. Nothing mattered anymore, not after Rainfur left.

Robinwing’s heart ached every day, finding many ways to remember her mate. She was lost without him, something she’d never felt before. No one was allowed to help her, not with Sharpstar in the lead.

“Robinwing!” called Talontooth from outside the nursery. “Sharpstar wishes to speak with you in his den if you can make it. Quickly, thus you want it to be painless.” Though Robinwing knew Talontooth wanted it to sound more masculine, she could hear the sorrow in his voice.

Robinwing stood up, sniffling a bit. Grassfur gave an encouraging nod to her, moving only the slightest so she didn’t disturb Lilykit and Cloudkit. Robinwing smiled at the two small white kits, both of them being identical aside from the fact that Lilykit was a she-cat and Cloudkit was a tom. One day, she knew she would have kits, and sadly, she didn’t want that day to come.

Robinwing then walked out of the nursery with her head lowered, knowing not of the pain that was about to come. It was bad enough that she wasn’t allowed the proper food to feed the kits inside her womb, but being looked down upon by everyone who followed Sharpstar just doubled the fear within her.

As Robinwing looked around, she found everything just like the day before. Gloomy, dark, and depressing. There was no fresh-kill pile, for everyone just hunted for themselves. The apprentices still hunted for the elders and Queens, but aside from that, everyone was left to fend for themselves. Everyone had at least one wound on their body, even the medicine cats. Sharpstar punished anyone who went against him, making everyone fearful of him.

Flamepelt and Shadowflame were laying near the Warriors den, both whispering to each other. Flamepelt seemed better since Yelloweye’s death, but even so, there would forever be a scar on the young tom’s heart.

Yelloweye had been executed by Sharpstar himself to show how pure he wanted his Clan. There was no chance for the tom, since he was a loner, making Robinwing realize how much her kits were endangered. Then, Sharpstar announced the execution of her kits, making her dread the day she give birth. Her own kits would be murdered in front of her, just because her mate was Rainfur.

Robinwing then walked toward the Highrock, knowing better then to ask that Sharpstar to come down. She would have to make the long and painful trip up to his den, leaving her vulnerable, just as the scary leader liked it.

She jumped upon the first rock, feeling her stomach disagree with her movement. The pain hit her hard, but she continued on, refusing to ask for help.

By the time she reached the top, she was breathing hard. Her lungs were asking her to just lay down, and her legs were demanding that she stop. Robinwing walked forward, though, right into the ‘lion’s’ den. The dark den showed no life aside from intense amber eyes that flickered open at her entrance.

“You have awoken, I see?” boomed the familiar voice of Sharpstar. “I sure hope that you are not in pain. Did the trip up here leave you exhausted?”

“No,” Robinwing breathed, controlling her lungs as well as the shaking in her legs. Her eyes were narrowed with determination, hoping to cover any other emotion it could. “The kits are coming soon, leaving me restless. I promise to deliver them to you, though. I know what has to happen.”

“Good,” Sharpstar hissed. “If those kits aren’t excited, Rosestar won’t take me seriously, leaving me with no choice but to give up on the offer and start a war. I would rather not waste the lives of innocent Warriors. See? Your kits will not be murdered. They are just a sacrifice.” Robinwing calmed herself, but still continued to think: for your dirty needs.

“I understand,” Robinwing muttered. “Now what is it you wished to tell me?” Sharpstar looked to her suspiciously, as if looking for something that she was hiding. He gave up after a few seconds, and frown on his face.

“WindClan swears they’ve scented you’re past mate outside Clan borders,” Sharpstar explained. “You haven’t seen, heard, or scented anything, have you? I know that if he came back, he would immediately turn to you. Do you know anything? Remember, if you lie, you shall receive punishment.” Robinwing’s eyes widened with hope and shock. There was no way her mate could have returned. It was impossible! Or was it?

“I-I didn’t know anything!” Robinwing gasped aloud. She then narrowed her eyes, standing tall. “Where is he? I know you have him!”

“I don’t!” Sharpstar snapped, making her cower below him. “I wish I had his dead body in my hands, but I don’t! That mouse-brain is StarClan’s weapon, and they will use him against me, I know it! WindClan and ThunderClan shall kill him on sight, I know that, but if he returns to RiverClan or ShadowClan, I’m doomed. If you see anything, you best tell me, or you will get unpleasant treatment, do you understand?” Robinwing nodded.

“Dismissed.”

Robinwing sighed with relief, leaving as quickly as she possible could. Her mind was on overdrive, thinking of a million things at once. She wanted to go scout the territory and look for Rainfur, but she knew no one would let her.

I’ll just have go tonight, she thought, deciding at once.

*

The night sky loomed over head while a thousand stars glittered, showing their happiness. StarClan must have been happy, for everything seemed so light. The trees seemed to be swaying in the strong breeze that blew through, and the owls seemed to be edging Robinwing on.

It was hard to travel through the undergrowth with her belly, but Robinwing pushed through it. She was determined to see Rainfur again, and warn him of what was going on. She wanted to tell him to go to ShadowClan or RiverClan and live there until he came up with a plan. She wanted to tell him of what Sharpstar was going to do with their kits, and she hoped he would save them.

Finally, she got to the border, looking onto the territory that belonged to no one. Robinwing was looking onward, as if knowing her mate would appear. After a few heart-beats, though, she sat down, her heart sinking a little.

No! Robinwing thought. Rainfur will come! He’ll save the Clans! He’ll save the kits! He’ll kill Sharpstar and end the punishment! He’ll be the hero that was once a monster! He’ll show everyone his strength! I know he will!

She waited, and waited, and waited, but he didn’t come. Robinwing continued to be hopeful, but her faith was fading. When the moon began to set and a few golden rays appeared in the horizon, she started to give up. Finally, she just stood up, and turned around.

Suddenly, a familiar scent filled her nose and mouth. She gasped when she realised who it was, turning around to face the tom in front of her. A smile was on her face, but as she saw the cat in front of her, it faded.

Robinwing did not see the clean, happy cat she’d been expecting. Oh no, Rainfur looked quite opposite from that as his blue eyes looked at her. His fur was matted and unclean, just like hers, though there was something different about it. His light blue eyes were narrowed with anger, though pain and regret was hidden beneath it.

There was also something within Rainfur that made Robinwing’s smile turn into a frown of fear. A sense of knowing, and also a certain quietness. There was blood stains everywhere, and his muscles looked bigger. He had trained, Robinwing knew, but that training had changed her mate into something she didn’t want to know about.

“R-Rainfur?” she whispered, her voice high with shock.

“Hello, Robinwing,” murmured the dark cat in front of her. “I am sorry left you with that—that demon. I won’t leave you again. I promise. I know I was stupid to leave, but I promise you, I shall kill him. I will see his dead body within my claws before our kits have been born.”

Robinwing wasn’t breathing as she heard the words come out of her mate’s mouth. This wasn’t the cat she found by the border the day that they met. This wasn’t the cat she fell in love with. This wasn’t the cat she nearly watched die. This wasn’t the cat she watched turn into a monster. This wasn’t the father of her kits. This cat wasn’t who she knew.

This wasn’t Rainfur!

“Rainfur, what happened to you?” asked Robinwing, her voice barely audible. “What have you become?”

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