“Psst,” whispered a distant voice, all while Rainfur felt a nudge on his shoulder. “Psst!”
“What?” asked Rainfur, opening his eyes. After adjusting his sight to the light, he sat up, quite confused. At first, he had no idea where he was, but then he remembered the day before. He was deputy, and he had a duty to perform.
“Sorry I had to wake you so early,” Poppyheart murmured, sitting next to him. “I was noticing the senior Warriors wake, and I know they want to see if you’ll get up just as early.” Rainfur nodded in response, knowing full well that the elder Warriors would test him.
“Yeah, I know,” Rainfur sighed. “I just hope I don’t screw up.”
With that final word, Rainfur stood and walked out of the medicine den. He’d decided to sleep there after receiving some nasty glares from the Warriors who stated that he did not belong in their den. Feeling quite capable of moving, Rainfur listened to them. They had every right to hate him, so for now, he would listen to them.
As Rainfur made his appearance, the four elder Warriors glared at him, seeming to find something wrong. It was before dawn, and they expected him to be up? After reminding himself once again that he was a deputy now, he gave a respectful bow to the Warriors before reaching the fresh-kill pile.
He wolfed down a mouse quickly, knowing that he would be yelled at if he took more than his share. Rainfur told his hungry stomach that he would hunt later, but for now, he had patrols to set up. This was going to be one of the hardest parts, having no idea who was who.
As expected, the other Warriors woke up early as well. They were all eagerly awaiting Rainfur’s orders as they crowded him, trying to test him again. They wanted to know how he did under pressure, which was quite alright to Rainfur.
At first he shied away, but then he reminded himself that he needed to be strong for Robinwing and his kits. Rainfur stood tall, seeming to challenge any cat who tested him. They all took two steps back before awaiting their orders, making Rainfur smile.
“This is going to be hard since I don’t your names,” Rainfur wondered aloud. “Don’t worry, though. I’ll manage without the introductions.” A small apprentice suddenly jumped up to him, looking curious. He was around eight moons old, and quite tiny for his age.
“How are you going to do that?” the apprentice asked, his amber eyes looking at Rainfur with curiosity. “You need to know the names and the cats to know who to call out for the patrols.” Rainfur smiled.
“What is your name, young one?” asked Rainfur.
“We have no time for introductions!” hissed Snakeheart, his eyes flaring with anger. “You said that yourself.” Rainfur looked to the elder Warrior, still smiling.
“This apprentice asked me a question, and I shall answer it,” said Rainfur simply. “He is young, and needs to understand things like organizing patrols, for a cat like him might actually need to know these things in the future. The introduction is polite, something I hope all of you have learned by now.”
A few cats murmured, but none of them said a word. They were trying to figure Rainfur out, and to do that they needed to stay silent. Rainfur smiled as he realised how much intelligence he’d gained from giving Jactur a name, something he wouldn’t ever regret.
“My name is Owlpaw,” the dark ginger tom replied. “Can you answer my question now?” Rainfur raised his eyebrows at the apprentice, quite surprised that he was talking like that.
“Ah, patients, young Owlpaw,” Rainfur murmured, cursing at himself for sounding like an elder. “That is one thing a Warrior must master before gaining his full name. Now, to answer your question, I will need your full attention.” Owlpaw tilted his head with surprise as Rainfur walked over to a massive looking tom, one that looked like he could fight several cats at once.
“We are at war right now, Owlpaw,” said Rainfur, looking quite serious now. “That means that the patrols near the ThunderClan border must be strong. Like this tom here,” Rainfur said, flicking his tail toward the cat he was near. “However, strength only gets a cat so far. For instance, if a cat were to use its strength against another strong cat that is equal to him, they would be fighting for a long time. So, filling a ThunderClan border patrol with strong cats may not be such a great idea.” Owlpaw seemed to be following, his eyes wide with amazement.
“With this information, I know that I must choose a cat thinner and quicker, such as Snakeheart,” Rainfur continued. “Having those two cats alone will be powerful enough to take on ThunderClan Warriors. I must keep in mind, however, that there may be several cats on the ThunderClan patrol they meet, and thus they would be dead in seconds. I must add four more cats that are either very strong and very fast, or the equal in both disciplines. This is a large number of cats on a patrol, but with a fight just waiting to happen, it’s best to create large patrols.”
“What if it was a RiverClan border patrol?” asked Owlpaw curiously, engrossed in the conversation.
“That would be different,” Rainfur told him. “You see, I’m hoping RiverClan will help us in this war, but I am not yet sure. Because of this, I will first make sure I send out only four cats. That is a low enough number to show them that it is not a threat, yet a high enough number to show them that we are not weak. If I equal the strength and speed, I will create a perfect patrol, therefore urging RiverClan to join us as they know we are strong and loyal to the Warrior code.”
“Wow!” said Owlpaw. “Clans can tell that much from patrols? That’s amazing! I thought Deputies were just second in command, but now I feel they are very smart! Thanks for telling me, Rainfur!”
“You’re welcome,” said Rainfur, chuckling slightly. “Now, I’ve got to organize more patrols. Can you wake up Stormpaw for me, though? I’m putting him on the dawn patrol with me.” Owlpaw bobbed his up and down before bouncing off, leaving Rainfur to finish.
Rainfur continued creating patrols, making enough hunting and border patrols for the day, feeling quite proud of himself when he finished. Stormpaw had joined him around seven minutes after Owlpaw went to go awake him, leaving Rainfur to look at him when he got the time.
“I see you’re awake,” said Rainfur. “Ready to get a look of the territory?”
“No,” Stormpaw muttered. “I hate this place. I didn’t even have a choice to live here.” Rainfur tilted his head in curiosity.
“What do you mean by that?” asked Rainfur. “They didn’t take you prisoner or anything. Nightstar wouldn’t do that to a kit your size.” Stormpaw scoffed.
“I was found somewhere near the ThunderClan border by a large patrol,” Stormpaw hissed. “They took me in, got me healthy, and then refused to let me be an apprentice or even give me a name. I was just a cat to them, just another mouth to feed. They’re idiots, in my opinion. This whole operation is.”
“You remind Nightstar of me,” Rainfur growled, narrowing his eye. “With the damage I caused within the Clans, he didn’t want to take his chances. Now that I’ve trained the chaos within me, he knows it’s safe to make you an apprentice.” Rainfur growled, making Stormpaw rolled his eyes.
“Oh, and don’t you ever talk about how stupid these cats are,” Rainfur hissed. “They are smarter than you will ever be thus you keep acting like this. I have become much smarter and much more aware of myself since I’ve come to the Clans.”
“What are you talking about?” asked Stormpaw, looking confused and angry.
“I was depressed and lonely when I came to the Clans,” Rainfur growled. “When I made friends and allowed myself to open up to others, I became aware of why I need to live. I was ready to die, and I was supposed to, but because I’ve found love, I will stay.” Stormpaw rolled his eyes.
“As if you know what it’s like to be ready to die!” Stormpaw hissed. “If it weren’t for these stupid Clan cats, I’d be dead, which is where I wanted to be in the first place!” Rainfur growled with anger before realizing how loud they were getting. Luckily for them, there was no cat around to hear them.
“Before thinking that you’re the cat who’s in the most pain, try and find out more about me,” Rainfur hissed. “Look around you before just assuming that you are the one who needs sympathy. It may help erase the brat you are.” Stormpaw narrowed his eyes in fury, clearly challenging Rainfur. After turning around, Rainfur flicked his tail toward the dawn patrol that was almost leaving.
“Let’s go before they leave us,” Rainfur growled. “Or do you want to stay here and continue to be the Odd One?” Rainfur heard the bratty apprentice follow him, smirking as he did.
Rainfur smiled to his patrol before nodding to the patrol leader to start. He had told the tom that he wasn’t going to lead the patrol because he had no idea where he was going. The patrol leader, who Rainfur still didn’t know the name of, had agreed and was now walking toward the camp entrance.
As they walked into ShadowClan territory, Rainfur noticed Stormpaw fall to the back while he, Rainfur, was pushed to the front. A brown and white she-cat fell beside him, smiling widely.
“I thought the explanation to Owlpaw was quite interesting,” the she-cat said happily. “Where did you learn all that stuff? Did that monster really teach you that?” Rainfur nodded.
“His name is Jactur,” Rainfur reminded her.
“Oh, right,” said the she-cat. “Speaking of names, my name is Tawnyfoot. Cats call me hyper-active and crazy, but that’s just me.”
“You certainly brighten up the mood,” Rainfur mused. “So who else is on this patrol?” Tawnyfoot gasped with happiness as he asked the question.
“Well, the patrol leader is Treeleg,” said Tawnyfoot, flicking her tail to the light brown tabby tom in front of them. “I think he’s a big meany. He hates Poppyheart, Stormpaw, and you because you’re not Clan born. I don’t like him much, but he’s a good fighter. I also believe he’s a few moons younger than Snakeheart and Nightstar, but I could be wrong.”
“Are they brothers?” asked Rainfur.
“Yep,” Tawnyfoot replied.
“That would explain Nightstar’s anger yesterday,” Rainfur told her, feeling good about knowing such good information.
“Yeah, those two are always bickering,” said Tawnyfoot. “Anyways, the she-cat behind us is Blackpetal. She’s the most loyal cat you could meet, though in some ways, she’s pretty scary. She doesn’t trust many cats, so a glare is what you’ll get from her at best. Then there’s Stormpaw, you and myself. Did I miss anyone?” Rainfur shook his head.
“I’m really sorry about Blackfrost,” Rainfur murmured, remembering as soon as he heard Blackpetal’s name. Tawnyfoot lowered her head a bit before shrugging.
“It’s not that big a deal,” said Tawnyfoot, the happy glint in her eye gone. “I mean, cats die every day, and they’re still with us, just in StarClan. We’re in a war, and we don’t have time to mourn over our lost ones.”
“That was very bravely put,” said Rainfur kindly, lighting up her face again.
The patrol walked toward the border that belonged to no one on the other side. Rainfur had hoped to keep his return a secret from all of the Clans until the gathering that was going to happen the next day. It would be safer, especially with orders to kill him on sight from Sharpstar.
“Wait!” hissed Treeleg, making the patrol stop. “Twolegs are near! Quick! Hide!” As the other patrol members hide behind a nearby bush, Rainfur followed with confusion. They were scared of Twolegs?
“Stormpaw! Get over here!” Treefoot hissed, watching as the brown and white apprentice just stood there, looking very confused as to why they were hiding.
“But why?” asked Stormpaw. “Those stupid kids won’t hurt us at all as long as we’re careful. They’re too busy playing with their dog.” Everyone in the patrol aside from Rainfur narrowed their eyes with confusion.
“Kids?” asked Blackpetal. “What are those animals?”
“Another word for Twoleg kit,” Rainfur hissed, eying Stormpaw. “Now get over here. I’m sure they won’t hurt us, but we must take caution.” Stormpaw walked over and hid with them, knowing what Rainfur had said was basically a kind way of saying, play along before I make you clean out the elders den for a moon.
Rainfur and the others watched carefully as the Twolegs talked outside their tents, barbequing and playing with each other in the summer air. It was something Rainfur remembered doing a lot with Daniel and Alfie when he was younger.
“Why are their nests so small?” asked Tawnyfoot. “I thought they lived in huge nests that had several rooms and were taller than the mountains!”
“Those ‘nests’ are called tents, mouse-brain,” Stormpaw growled. “And they’re just temporary. They’ll leave after summer is over.” Rainfur quickly nipped Stormpaw’s neck, making the small apprentice hiss with fury.
“Shut up,” Rainfur hissed lowly, too small for the others to hear.
“Tents? That’s an odd name for a den,” Tawnyfoot wondered aloud. “I wonder how they move the den. It’s so huge! And what’s summer?”
“Another word for green-leaf,” Rainfur muttered. “Now can we get moving? The Twolegs aren’t going anywhere, and we need to keep moving before one of those dogs scents us.”
A small brown puppy was coming over, straying from its owners as it followed the scent of cats. It was coming closer and closer to the bush, and though it was small for dog, it was too big for a cat to handle. Rainfur quickly tried to figure out how to scare it. Puppies were naturally interested in everything, but if that something attacked it, they would soak up the information like a sponge and never go to that bush again.
As soon as Rainfur made up a plan, however, Stormpaw stepped out of the bush and padded over to the dog, making everyone on the patrol gasp.
“Stormpaw, what are you doing?” Tawnyfoot called after him.
“Stormpaw, get over here this moment!” Treeleg hissed.
“StarClan, that apprentice is going to get himself killed,” Blackpetal muttered.
“Don’t worry, he knows what he’s doing,” Rainfur growled, getting their attention. “Like me, he’s had experience with dogs of all sizes, as well as with Twolegs, which is why he knows so much. This particular dog is young, and will be easy to scare. However, he’s planning something else, I can see it in his eyes.”
Stormpaw was looking the dog in the eye as it bounded up to him, its tongue out and its tail wagging. As it reached Stormpaw, it tilted its head in confusion, probably thinking, ‘that’s a strange looking dog.’ Stormpaw gave a play bow, looking straight to the dog. The dog barked loudly, also going into a play bow.
Stormpaw jumped to the side, and the puppy followed. Stormpaw jumped to the other side, and the puppy mimicked the move. This went on for a few more minutes before Treeleg had had enough.
“I’m going to go get the mouse-brain before he kills himself,” Treefoot hissed. “Nightstar wouldn’t be happy if his apprentice got killed by a young dog.” Rainfur hissed in warning, dragging the impatient tom back.
“Just wait,” Rainfur growled. “He’s doing something good. The puppy is barking loudly, getting its Twoleg’s attention. See look, they’re calling it.” Treeleg was quiet as he listened to the small family call for its puppy, who licked Stormpaw once before running back up the hill to its owners.
Stormpaw walked back, slimy and slobbery from the puppy’s lick. He did not look happy, but the rest of the patrol still sniggered and laughed.
“What’s so funny?” Stormpaw snapped. “I’d like to see you all try and stand up to a dog twice as big as yourselves!” Rainfur smiled at Stormpaw, quite proud of his apprentice.
“Good job, Stormpaw,” Rainfur told him. “You managed to use your extra intelligence to get the Twoleg’s attention. Good thinking.” Stormpaw just glared at Rainfur before looking away.
The rest of the patrol went quickly and quietly like Rainfur had wanted. He memorized his surroundings, trying to do his best to look like he had authority, not like a kit. This didn’t exactly work, though, because he was so interested in everything around him. ShadowClan was the only territory he hadn’t figured out.
By the time they’d returned to camp, the rest of the Clan was waiting. They seemed curious as to how it went, knowing very well that Twolegs were near the territory they went by.
“Any news?” asked Nightstar, padding over with a look of pride on his face. Rainfur shook his head.
“Nothing very important,” Rainfur responded. “We had a bit of trouble with a dog that had wondered off, but thanks to Stormpaw, no one was hurt. The Twolegs seem to be keeping out of the territory, and no rogues or loners were scented.” Nightstar nodded.
“Looks like your apprentice is smarter than I originally thought,” Nightstar told him. “Great work. I announced the gathering patrol just a few moments ago. You and Stormpaw are joining us tonight, along with Blackpetal, Tawnyfoot, Snakeheart, Stripeclaw, Scorchspot, Sweetclaw, Poppyheart, Featherpaw, and Runningpaw. You might want to rest until then.” Rainfur nodded.
“I shall do so,” said Rainfur before turning around. He walked toward Sweetclaw, who seemed to be playing with Mudkit, Rosekit, and Tigerkit. He sat and watched, smiling as he saw Sweetclaw trying to teach them the hunting crouch.
“You see, that’s all you have to do,” Sweetclaw was saying, crouching low to the ground. “If you do it correctly, you’ll be the best hunters in the Clan!”
“We’ll be as good as daddy!” Mudkit exclaimed. The other two agreed before they found Rainfur sitting there. Their faces lit up as they bounded over to him, their small bodies quite fast for their age.
“Hey, you’re that new cat, aren’t you?” asked Mudkit, his small brown body standing at Rainfur’s feet. “Rainfur, wasn’t it?”
“Of course, mouse-brain,” Rosekit teased, standing by his brother. “What else would he be called, Waterleg?”
“Hey, it fits!” Mudkit pointed out. “Anyway, will you come train with us? I remember you telling the others that you’re faster and stronger than Sharpstar! Can you teach us?” Rainfur looked at them in surprise, quite shocked that they knew about Sharpstar.
“Please?” asked Rosekit, looking quite hopeful. “We want to become very strong so that when we become apprentice, we can kill those flee-bags that killed daddy!”
“Revenge isn’t something kits as young as you should have,” Rainfur murmured. “Think of it this way, if I show you some moves, you’ll be learning so that you can fight ThunderClan and destroy the threat to ShadowClan, okay?” The kits nodded in understanding before Rainfur stood up, ready to show them something he’d just recently learned.
“Okay, here’s what you’re going to do,” Rainfur told them. “Rosekit is going to be behind me, Mudkit is going to be in front of me, and Tigerkit, you’ll surprise me, okay?” The kits nodded before getting in their places, ready for instructions.
“Now I’ll attack Mudkit, and you guys will defend him, okay?” asked Rainfur. He saw quick nods of agreement before he crouched low to the ground and lunging playfully toward Mudkit.
After a few moments, Rosekit and Tigerkit were on top of him. Rosekit was near his shoulders while Tigerkit was on his hindquarters. Rainfur fell as if he were over-powered, but accidentally made Rosekit slip. She gasped, shock overcoming her as her hind legs slid off the side of Rainfur. Her claws instinctively unsheathed, digging into Rainfur’s skin.
“Ow!” Rainfur hissed loudly, reaching back and grabbing Rosekit’s scruff. He set her down before sitting up, making Tigerkit slip off. Rainfur quickly reached over and licked his wound, realizing a bit too late that it was his scar in which was scratched.
The adult cats that had gathered to watch the kits play all gasped with fear, standing up—ready to attack. Rainfur just looked at them, smiling widely. They all looked shocked as he just sat there, and as they relaxed, Rainfur noticed the admiration in their eyes.
“Told you I was safe,” said Rainfur, grinning. “As long as I know it’s going to happen, I can prevent my change. Even if I can’t prevent it, nothing bad will happen. Never again should you worry about meeting the insanity I once had.” The cats around him whispered to each other, looking very shocked and relieved.
“Thank you for showing us that move, Rainfur!” said Tigerkit. “That was awesome!”
“Yeah, that was so cool!” Mudkit agreed.
“Sorry I scratched you,” Rosekit whispered her head lowered.
“It’s okay,” Rainfur told her, smiling again. “Just remember that cats always fall on all four feet, so you didn’t have to worry about staying on.” Rosekit looked up to him, smiling warmly. The three kits ran off into the nursery then, jumping up and down with excitement.
I wonder if that’s what my kits are going to be like. . .Rainfur thought.
Rainfur walked beside Nightstar uncomfortably. Even when he was in ThunderClan, he usually stayed to the back and let everyone else lead. Now, however he was pushed to the front because he was the deputy. It was strange, and it felt very odd.
The cats behind him were both excited, yet worried, and Rainfur knew exactly why. This would be the first time in a long time they’d be going to see a Clan gathering, seeing as the other one was cancelled because of the great fire. For that, they were excited, especially those who had friends from other Clans.
They were worried, however, because they knew how the Clans would react with Rainfur’s return. ShadowClan would be disgraced, but if they were thinking correctly, they would know that eventually, they would be thanking ShadowClan for letting Rainfur back.
“I’m not going to mention Stormpaw as a new arrival,” Nightstar was saying. “I don’t want Sharpstar knowing that I’ve let a loner into my Clan, having already let you in. I will, however, announce Stormpaw as an apprentice, for he needs the thrill of being cheered for. This will be before I explain your arrival, of course.”
“I understand,” said Rainfur. “But don’t you think they’ll be too interested in me to care about a new apprentice?”
“Indeed,” Nightstar replied. “I don’t really mind though, and I don’t think Stormpaw does either. He doesn’t really care about being an apprentice, does he?” Rainfur shook his head.
“No, and I’m hoping to figure out why before we go to war with ThunderClan,” Rainfur told his leader. “I have a feeling I already know, but I don’t want to take my chances. If he is who I think he is, however, I’ll be able to straighten him out when the time comes.”
“Such brave words from such a young tom,” Nightstar mused, smiling widely. “I have chosen wisely.” Rainfur dipped his head in respect before noticing that they were close to the gathering place.
It was so odd going this way. He’d always gone past WindClan territory to get to the Gathering place, and yet now they were going through RiverClan.
Rainfur’s life flashed before him, remembering the first time he saw Wolfheart and Thorntail together. It continued on as he remembered telling RiverClan about Thorntail’s pregnancy, and then bringing the kits here. Remembering Duskkit, however, just made him lower his head. That was another cat he owed something to.
When they reached the fallen tree, Rainfur was hesitant. At first he decided to be the last to go, but then another cat nudged him, reminding him that he was deputy, and he deserved to go first.
With a leap that seemed to last forever, Rainfur was on the fallen log, smiling as he remembered crossing with Robinwing and Shadowflame. Oh what he’d give to see those two again. Oh what he’d give to know that they were safe. Oh what he’d give to make sure that the leader beating them was killed.
After padding across the fallen log, he jumped onto the tiny island. Rainfur waited for the other cats to come, surrounding himself so that the other Clans wouldn’t notice him. The ShadowClan cats just shrugged it off and continued, but soon they went off to talk to the RiverClan cats.
As Rainfur got a larger look at the island, he found that WindClan and ThunderClan were talking with each other, yet they glared at any ShadowClan or RiverClan cat that went by. This would mean that Rosestar probably accepted Sharpstar’s offer, leaving him to growl in frustration.
“Rainfur?” asked a familiar voice beside him. “I-is that you?” Rainfur turned to see Cloudstreak, a young friend of his. Rainfur smiled as he saw her, forgetting about everything else.
“It’s me, Cloudstreak,” Rainfur told her. “It’s been awhile now, hasn’t it?”
“What are you doing here?” asked Cloustreak, her eyes wide with fear and shock. “I—I thought you—you w-were exiled!”
“ShadowClan took me in,” Rainfur told her. “You’ll probably hear the rest later.” Seeing her clouded with so much emotion saddened Rainfur, making him lower his head.
“Cloudstreak!” the familiar voice of Thunderheart called.
“I—I gotta go. . .” Cloudstreak murmured after a moment of silence. After she ran off to her brother, Rainfur smiled again. Seeing a childhood friend like that seemed to make him a bit happier, reminding him that this was all worth something.
“Rainfur! You’re back!” called Reedfeather from a few feet away. He hunkered, hoping no one noticed. “I can’t believe it! You smell like ShadowClan. . .is that where you’ve been staying?”
“I, er, can’t explain,” Rainfur told her. “I’m sure Nightstar will tell you. Anyway, how are the kits doing? Why are you here? Don’t the kits need you?”
“They’re with a new queen of ours,” Reedfeather told him, smiling widely. “I wanted to come see how everyone was doing with your exile, but it seems I came for another reason now. Anyway, Thorntail’s kits are doing quite fine. Snowkit’s become quite the little sweetheart, as long as you don’t call her a ball of cotton. Nightkit’s become more of a bully, but I’m hoping his mentor will train him out of it. I was worried about Duskkit, but it seems he’s gotten over his fear of you.” As Reedfeather finished, Rainfur felt his stomach lurch. The memory of Duskkit’s scared whimpers had come to his head, but he pushed them away with effort.
“I’m glad they’re okay,” said Rainfur. “I actually—”
A sudden yowl caught his attention, and then he found out that Bravestar was calling the Clan gathering. He quickly looked over to Reedfeather before lowering his head.
“Sorry, I need to go,” Rainfur murmured before padding over to the other deputies.
Once Rainfur came into the moonlight without any cat in front of him, everyone gasped with shock, happiness or fear. As he sat by the roots where the other deputies were, he found three scorching glares sent at him.
The first was from Wolfheart, the RiverClan deputy. He looked both angry and sad that Rainfur had returned, and with a warning look from Wolfheart, Rainfur took a few steps back. This was not how he remembered the brave RiverClan deputy, but then again, no one seemed to be the same with a war brewing.
The second glare was from Hawkstrike—WindClan’s deputy—who Rainfur wasn’t surprised about. Not only had he nearly killed that tom, he’d killed eight lives of his mother, which was Rosestar. Rainfur knew that if any cat wanted revenge on him, it would be Hawkstrike.
The fourth cat who glared at him, the one that surprised Rainfur the most, was Tigerpelt, ThunderClan’s new deputy. He was a nice cat when Rainfur had first met him, but at the moment he looked very angry and aggressive. There was also something within him that Rainfur knew had changed, leaving him afraid. If Sharpstar could change that single cat, how many others were now as evil as that poor excuse for a leader?
“RiverClan prey has returned, and the fish are well again after the poisoning,” Bravestar told the Clans as he stood up to speak. “I am pleased to announce that we have had no trouble with the sudden rogue attacks like WindClan and ShadowClan, and that my Clan is strong. A Warrior of ours, Dewdrop, has now announced that she is expecting kits soon, with Thunderheart as the father. Aside from that, there is no more news.”
Sharpstar stood up next, leaving Rainfur to bite his tongue and dig his claws into the ground to keep from climbing up the tree and pushing Sharpstar off. His anger was boiling, and Rainfur could tell that Sharpstar’s was as well.
“ThunderClan is thriving!” Sharpstar announced happily. “Our prey has returned, our kits are strong and healthy, and our medicine cats have healed any wound that we’ve come across. I am pleased to announce that Grassfur has had her kits, who have been named Lillykit and Cloudkit.” Sharpstar smirked before continuing.
“On another note, I shall announce that I have given an offer to Rosestar, leader of WindClan,” Sharpstar continued. “The offer is basically a deal to combine both of our Clans to make everything simpler and purer.” There were murmurs everywhere, but Sharpstar did not stop. “If she accepts, I will become the new leader of both Clans, being both stronger and having more lives. I will have control over the Warriors, while she has control over the queens and kits. We will choose one deputy over the two of them, and we will combine the territories and land. The queens will live at her camp, and the Warriors will at mine. We will still have all four of our medicine cats, though hers will specialize in helping mothers kit, while mine will specialize in battle wounds. It is a simple offer that will help both our Clans.” Sharpstar sat down and looked to Rosestar eagerly.
Rosestar stood up then, giving a sharp glare to Rainfur before saying, “WindClan is doing fine after the rogues attacks, and everything along both borders have been staying on their side. Bramblepaw and Willowpaw have finally received their Warrior names: Brambletail and Willowbreeze.” Rosestar paused before glancing at Sharpstar, as if a little uncomfortable about something.
“I am also pleased to announce that WindClan has accepted Sharpstar’s offer.” Loud yells of protest followed her answer, but she just shook her head. “I want this for my Clan, and for StarClan. They need to see that just one Clan isn’t as bad as it seems.” Rosestar sat down after that, looking back to Rainfur.
Nightstar was the last cat to stand up, and though he looked quite proud, he was hiding an emotion in which was probably worry.
“ShadowClan’s prey has returned, leaving us ready for leaf-fall’s far away threat,” Nightstar began. “We have a new apprentice, Stormpaw, who has already begun training.” Though it was only for a moment, Nightstar stopped to let the younger cats cheer for Stormpaw, who looked quite annoyed.
“Though we’ve had a rogue band attack us, there were no serious wounds,” Nightstar continued. “While the attack as going on, Rainfur, the cat we exiled a moon ago, returned. At first, we were afraid, having seen what he can do, but after he explained a few things to us, I let him join my Clan.” As Nightstar paused, the murmurs, whispers, and protest began.
“Are you mouse-brain?” asked Rosestar. “He’s a murderer! He killed Ravenstar! How could you let him join your Clan like that?” Rainfur growled lowly, his eyes narrowed. How could anyone agree with that? They knew it wasn’t his fault, they just needed someone to blame.
“After giving me proof, I’ve learned that he’s actually controlled that will to kill,” Nightstar replied, sitting up confidently. “After the battle, I learned that my deputy, Blackfrost, died when some rogues attacked him and his apprentice. His body was brought back as I tried to decide who I’d name deputy.”
“So what, you just pick the strongest cat you could?” asked Rosestar. “You’re mouse-brain! Rainfur is not fit to be a deputy! He’s never had an apprentice, and he’s a murderer! He’s killed before!” Rainfur hissed again, feeling his fur bristling. He was getting sick and tired of being called a murderer, especially by Rosestar.
“I have given Stormpaw to Rainfur,” Nightstar hissed, narrowing his eyes. “And I believe my decision was wise on my behalf, and I shall not believe otherwise.”
“You’re taking too much of a risk, Nightstar,” Sharpstar murmured, glaring at Rainfur. “If his scar is scratched, he will kill again, and who’s to say it’ll be your own Clan?”
You’re just trying to get everyone else to agree with you, Rainfur thought bitterly, his tail twitching.
“I have to agree,” said Bravestar, looking as if he didn’t know whose side to choose. “How could you risk something like that happen? He may be strong, but he’s still not under control.”
Didn’t Nightstar just tell you that I was okay now? Rainfur thought.
“He’s under control!” Nightstar yelled, getting irritated. “He told me himself!”
“And where’s your proof?” asked Rosestar. “He’s still got his scar! He’ll kill us all! That monster is just a problem waiting to happen, one that is blood-thirsty and only wants revenge for what we rightfully did to him!”
Say one more thing, just one more, Rainfur thought furiously. I will show you what Jactur is really like.
Oooh, this sounds interesting, Jactur mused.
Stay tuned, Rainfur thought to his friend. If she says one more thing about you being a killer, I’m going to-
“It wasn’t him!” Nightstar hissed. “He had someone controlling him, you know that. But he’s controlled that part of him now! He’s fine, and he’ll be the strongest cat you’ve ever come to know.”
“Oh, so is that what you’re saying now?” asked Rosestar, raising her eyebrows. “Fine then, if that’s what you want. Either way, that part of him should be killed, for it does not deserve to live in this forest. It killed me just for the fun of it, that little—”
“Would you like your proof, Rosestar?” hissed Rainfur, making everyone look at him. His coat had turned an opposite colour, and his eyes were now a dark blue. His scar was glowing a brilliant yellow, and with one look, everyone gasped and backed away quickly.
“Get away!” Rosestar screamed to her Clan.
“No, stay,” Rainfur demanded. “I’m still me, and I won’t kill any of you. I’m not here for revenge, and just because I was out of control when I left, does not mean I am now. I made some stupid mistakes, but I’ve come back to make them right!”
“You’re. . .You’re faking it!” Rosestar hissed. “You’re going to kill us all.”
Rainfur’s eyes narrowed. He was furious, more than he’d ever been. They treated him as if he were from the Dark Forest. They talked about Jactur as if he were a demon. They didn’t even think about the fact that he could control himself. They were the mouse-brains, and they would soon see.
“Jactur, I think we have a little lesson to teach this mouse-brain of a leader,” Rainfur growled. The cats around him were looking at him as if he were a ghost, thinking that he was going to lunge at them at any second.
“You know what? I think that is a very good idea,” Jactur responded, his demonic voice echoing throughout the island, leaving everyone to scream. ”Shall I do the honours?”
“Go on ahead,” said Rainfur, his eyes pinned on Rosestar, who looked as if she were going to fall off the tree with fright. “Tell them of who we are.”
With a loud swoosh, ten blades showed up in the sky, fire connecting them. It looked like a star, just like last time, and it flickered with strength and beauty.
“Do not retreat,” said Rainfur, turning to the Clan cats. “I am not going to kill you. I am going to explain to you of what I am, and what I can do.” The cats still seemed scared, but they were at least a bit curious now.
Five starry figures showed up at the points of the stars. Thunderstar was at the top right point, and Shadowstar was at the top left point. Windstar was at the bottom left point, and Riverstar was at the bottom right. At the very top stood Cheetahfur, her eyes glaring at any cat who stared at her.
“The wish of a normal life,” said Rainfur, flicking his tail to Thunderstar. “To be brave and let my emotions go, leaving me to forget about my past, and move on. For this, I thank the wish that Thunderstar, the first leader of ThunderClan, gave me.” The cats around him were murmuring in curiosity now, recognizing the three other cats above.
“The wish of a family,” Rainfur continued, flicking his tail to Riverstar. “To be honest, kind, and freely accept those who try to comfort me. For this, I thank the wish that Riverstar, the first leader of RiverClan, gave me.” Now the cats were feeling safer as they realizing that Rainfur’s insanity had something to with StarClan, meaning that it probably wasn’t all that bad.
“The wish of loyalty,” Rainfur started again, flicking his tail to WindClan. “To not shy away from the thought of being protected, as well as the thought of blaming myself for a death I did not commit. For this, I thank the wish that Windstar, the first leader of WindClan, gave me.” Rosestar gasped in shock, her eyes wide with surprise. Rainfur smirked. He had accomplished what he’d wanted.
“The wish of justice,” said Rainfur, flicking his tail to Shadowstar, while at the same time looking to Rosestar, Bravestar, Nightstar, and Sharpstar. “To sort out what my mind has made a mess of, to let fate carry me to where it wanted me to go, and let me take over from there. For this, I thank the wish that Shadowstar, the first leader of ShadowClan, gave me.” The cats were quiet now, trying to figure out who the last cat was.
“The wish of another life,” Rainfur continued, flicking his tail to Cheetahfur. “To be normal, to be free, and to live with the depression and guilt. For this, I thank the wish that Cheetahfur gave me. Once a Warrior of ThunderClan, now the bravest cat I shall ever know.” Rainfur looked back to the leaders now, narrowing his eyes tightly.
“These cats gave away everything to lead me to these Clans,” Rainfur hissed. “They are of StarClan, and to me, they were giving me a second chance. I trust these cats, and I shall forever. For that, you cannot say that I am not a Warrior.” Rainfur paused a bit before continuing.
“Cheetahfur, the one who has explained everything to me, was the one who wanted me cured the most,” said Rainfur. “She wanted me to have a life free of pain, and free of the memories that would haunt me forever. While she was trying to get rid of these memories, however, something went wrong. They rebelled against her, and then she let go of them as they retreated back into my mind.
“Since then, the thing you call my insanity, has lived within me,” Rainfur hissed. “It was always there, but never appeared until my scar was scratched. The memories were brought up, and then I went insane. That’s at least how it started out.
“The insanity grew, and with Sharpstar secretly training me to control it, it grew even faster,” Rainfur continued. “With every time my scar was scratched, it became more like a living thing, and eventually, it was just another cat trapped in my mind.
“At first I found it even worse than the first time my scar had been scratched, but then he started talking to me,” said Rainfur. “He kept telling me things I had no idea existed, like the fact that he and I were the same.
“After the fire that I’m sure you all remember, he told me to give him a name, resulting in trust and then combing our minds together. At first I refused, but just a half-moon ago, the memories came to me, and I wasn’t in my right mind. I gave the thing a name, in which he is now called Jactur.
“He let me know what was going on back here, and what horrible things could go wrong. I listened, getting angrier each time I noticed a problem. After this, he trained the anger, and made it strength and speed.”
Rainfur ran over to the nearest cat he could find within seconds, making everyone gasp. He then leaped all the way back to where he’d been with the strength in his legs showing greatly.
“He helped me, and now I’ve returned to set things right,” Rainfur hissed. “After giving him a name, I have found a connection with him. Like my brother, he knows all that I do, and now that he has trained me for his needs, he will help me defeat the danger I know is lurking in every shadow.
“Is that the proof you wanted, Rosestar?” asked Rainfur. “The proof of how StarClan was the one that brought me here, and thought I hate to admit it, StarClan is the reason eight lives of yours is gone. Is that the proof you wanted, Sharpstar, that I am as strong as I seem, and to kill me, you’ll need a lot more than a stupid cat willing to die for something as stupid as revenge? Is that the proof you wanted, Bravestar, that I am no longer a threat to any Clan, and with my strength, I will be able to defeat anyone I come across? I have proven my belonging, and I don’t want to hear another word about it.”
It was quiet for what seemed like hours. No one spoke, they just thought about what they just heard. Rosestar remained shocked, Sharpstar remained surprised, get angry, Bravestar remained humble looking, and Nightstar was now showing his pride.
“You—you’re lying!” Rosestar hissed, tears streaming down her cheeks. “There is no way StarClan would be the one to blame for bringing that monster into this Clan! It’s impossible!”
“Rainfur speaks the truth,” Shadowstar, Riverstar, Windstar, Thunderstar, and Cheetahfur echoed. ”It was our wish that he be brought here, and it was I, Cheetahfur, who made the mistake of trying to help a dying cat.”
“But—no! That’s impossible!” Rosestar screamed, her eyes wide. “StarClan would never doom my Clan like that!”
“We are not the ones responsible of the defeat of your Clan, Rosestar,” the StarClan leaders echoed. ”It is the one who makes the decisions that has to make the mistakes, and therefore has to pay the price.”
“No!” Rosestar screamed.
“Rainfur will stay. The Saviour will save us. Let blood be split unnecessarily, let death take the lives of many, but fear the name of the sorrowed soul. Fear the strength of the stars. Fear the growth of the sky. The Saviour is coming. The martyr. . .the pariah. . .the shadow. . .the martyr. . .the pariah. . .the shadow. . .the unloved. . .the unprotected. . . the unwanted. . .the unloved. . .the unprotected. . .the unwanted. . .”
The StarClan cats vanished, and Rainfur gasped aloud as he realised how tense he was. He relaxed, panting heavily. Letting Jactur do that took a toll on him and as his legs were shaking, he looked up to Nightstar, begging him to leave the gathering patrol out. Nightstar nodded before jumping down the tree, landing right beside Rainfur.
“You did something very brave,” was all Nightstar said before leading ShadowClan out of the gathering place.