Rainfur glared at the ThunderClan deputy as he stood, knowing who sent Tigerpelt and what the tom was planning to do. Rainfur’s heart kept calm under order, but he could feel the urge to attack growing, and he knew the urge would soon burst uncontrollably.
It wasn’t the power with Rainfur that created the urge, nor was it the fact he needed to protect Stormpaw. It was because he knew Tigerpelt, and he wanted to help the misguided tom greatly. The only problem was now wasn’t the time to do it, and so he wanted to attack him.
The other two cats, whom Rainfur knew as Talonclaw and Hawkstrike, stood silently as Tigerpelt smiled wickedly at Rainfur. Talonclaw. Father of kits who were probably around two moons old. This made Rainfur curious as to who’s side Talonclaw was on.
“I know why you’re here, Tigerpelt,” Rainfur said. “Why? If you kill me, how would that help you?”
“I am deputy! If I kill you, Sharpstar will reward me!” Tigerpelt said, standing quite proudly. “If I kill you, he will trust me beyond all else!” Rainfur shook his head.
“Sharpstar won’t care,” Rainfur told the tabby tom. “Sharpstar only wants you to kill me so he doesn’t have to do it. He’s afraid that if he kills, StarClan will take his lives. Tigerpelt, Sharpstar trusts no one. He’s not like Ravenstar.” Tigerpelt scoffed.
“Is this your sorry excuse to save yourself?” asked Tigerpelt, scoffing loudly. “You know what? I overestimated you. You are worthless, Rainfur. The only thing you ever did was kill. I guess I should thank you for that, though, because if it wasn’t for your exile, I wouldn’t be deputy.” Rainfur’s tail lashed irritably.
“Tigerpelt, listen,” Rainfur growled. “It doesn’t need to be this way. What about your kits? What about your family? What about Ivyclaw? They need you, but not as a murderer. They need you as you, the strong tom I remember.” Tigerpelt’s eyes narrowed, anger flashing through his is in an instant.
“You don’t know what they need,” Tigerpelt hissed. “And what about your kits? You’re leading a war, Rainfur, and you think that your kits are safe? They’re as good as dead, and they haven’t even been born yet!”
“That was Sharpstar’s decision, and it had nothing to do with me,” Rainfur growled. “You, Tigerpelt, need to find out what’s more important for you. Being deputy, or having family?”
“I don’t need mentoring from you, Rainfur,” Tigerpelt hissed, getting into a fighting position.
Rainfur lunged first, a bit too fast for Tigerpelt. However, Talonclaw and Hawkstrike were on him first, holding him down as Tigerpelt stood up, smiling evilly.
“Sneaky, Rainfur, but you forgot that you’re outnumbered,” Tigerpelt spat. “Not so smart anymore are you?” Rainfur hissed with fury, struggling to hurt the tom that was irritating him.
“Rainey, you aren’t getting free,” Tigerpelt hissed. “And, unfortunately for you, Sharpstar told us to make you die a very painful death. I must do what my leader says, shouldn’t I?” Rainfur tried to move his body, but it wouldn’t. He was being pushed into the ground, leaving his muscles sorer and sorer.
Tigerpelt’s claws unsheathed and he quickly raked them down Rainfur’s belly. Rainfur gave a small grunt, but bit his tongue to keep himself from doing anything else. He didn’t want to sound weak. He refused.
Eh, Rainfur? Jactur asked, sounding a bit worried. Do you need my help?
I’ve got it! Rainfur snapped. I can do this on my own!
Geez, I was just asking, Jactur muttered.
“Hmm? That didn’t hurt? Well then, lets try something else. . .” said Tigerpelt, bringing up his claws and then slashing them across Rainfur’s face. He struggled more, but Rainfur still wasn’t let free. His face was stinging and his stomach was burning, but he was determined not to make a sound.
“How strong you are,” Tigerpelt taunted. “I used to salute you on that, Rainfur. I used to love the fact that you were determined not to show the pain. In this situation, however, hiding it will actually be bad for you. I’m not giving up until you scream.” Then, without thinking apparently, Tigerpelt sunk his claws into both of Rainfur’s shoulders and raked them down his flacks.
Rainfur gasped with fear when he realised his scar had been scratched. His eyes immediately turned to Stormpaw, who had woken up, and looked just as insane as last time.
“Stormpaw. . .” he whispered, leaving Tigerpelt to look up from Rainfur and over to the waking apprentice. The tabby tom didn’t seem to understand that Stormpaw wasn’t just crazy though because all he did was smirk.
Stormpaw rose from his spot, staring absently at the ground as if he was soulless. His starry eyes were wide with shock it seemed, and the white moon on his shoulder had turned full. There was no doubt in Rainfur’s mind now that Stormpaw had given into his power.
“Get off of me!” Rainfur hissed as he felt the energy drain from him. “He’s not just crazy. I need to help him!”
“As if we’d do that,” Tigerpelt sneered. “Your apprentice is merely crazy, and with that I shall kill him.”
“He’s too strong for you!” Rainfur screamed. “He’ll kill you within seconds!” Tigerpelt got into a fighting position, smirking as Stormpaw looked at him. That was when Rainfur could hear what his apprentice was mumbling.
“Killer. . .murderer. . .liar. . .” was what Stormpaw was muttering. “Weak. . .coward. . .killer. . .” Before Tigerpelt could react, Stormpaw lunged, his speed matchable to Rainfur’s. Tigerpelt was crushed as Stormpaw pushed the tabby tom to the ground, and the shock in Tigerpelt’s eyes were unmistakable.
“Killer. . .murderer. . .liar. . .” Stormpaw mumbled, unsheathing his claws and sinking them into Tigerpelt’s skin. “Die. . .coward. . .murderer. . .” Tigerpelt was struggling, his paws flailing in all directions, trying to get the unbelievable strength off of him.
Stormpaw didn’t even flinch when Tigerpelt’s teeth sunk into his leg, but Rainfur did. Stormpaw was his brother. Stormpaw was Daniel. Rainfur needed to save him before he had to witness the death again.
Jactur, we need to help him! Rainfur screamed inside his head.
How? Jactur asked. We’re already the highest we’ve ever been—Stormpaw helped you with that. So unless we up our game and push ourselves in to the Second Power, we’re not going to able to—wait. . .Rainfur, I know what you’re thinking, but we can’t—
We must! Rainfur hissed. I need to save Stormpaw! Jactur was quite for a few moments before sighing.
Fine, but be careful, Jactur hissed. You aren’t exactly ready for this, alright? Our body will probably be exhausted, and I probably won’t be able to get back in.
Okay, just do it! Rainfur hissed as Stormpaw sunk his teeth into Tigerpelt’s neck. He mustn’t kill anybody or—
I know, I know, Jactur muttered. Ready?
Ready, was the only thing Rainfur said before a strong pressure of wind pushed both Talonclaw and Hawkstrike back, leaving Rainfur to stand. A figure beside him sighed, and Rainfur smiled as he realised as it was Jactur. He wasn’t starry like usual though, he was a pure cat.
“If I hadn’t been walking away just a days ago, I would have found this weird,” Jactur muttered as he stretched out his body. Hawkstrike and Talonclaw stood up with shocked expressions on their face.
“What do we do?” asked Rainfur quickly.
“Go save Stormy and I’ll take care of Idiot one and Idiot two, understood?” asked Jactur, making Rainfur smile with amusement. Jactur always found a way to make Rainfur happier.
Rainfur then ran for Stormpaw, taking the small apprentice off the ThunderClan deputy. Rainfur held down Stormpaw with all of his strength, though kept an ear out for Tigerpelt as the tom stood up.
“Run!” Rainfur hissed to Tigerpelt. “Run, or I will let Stormpaw kill you!” Tigerpelt quickly snapped out of his daze before lunging to Rainfur, surprising both him and Stormpaw.
Rainfur prepared for the worst as Tigerpelt pinned him down. Teeth sank in his neck as exhaustion suddenly overcame him, and as blood pooled around him, he hoped absently that Jactur wasn’t dying.
Suddenly, the weight was taken off of him. Rainfur looked up to find both Stormpaw and Hawkstrike ripping Tigerpelt away from him, and in the blurs that Rainfur caught, he found that Hawkstrike was actually trying to help him.
“Rainfur, run!” Hawkstrike hissed, but before Rainfur could do so, Talonclaw sent a near-fatal blow to Hawkstrike’s back, leaving the golden tom to fall. Rainfur gasped before realizing what he needed to. He lunged at Tigerpelt, pushing the ThunderClan deputy off of Stormpaw, who looked as if he were a ghost.
Rainfur hissed to Tigerpelt before turning around and pinning his apprentice down. He bit Stormpaw’s shoulder quickly making the small tom fade into unconsciousness. Rainfur stepped off his apprentice, a single tear falling from his cheek.
He hurt his own brother. He hurt Daniel. He hurt his own apprentice. He hurt Stormpaw. Rainfur knew it was for a reason, but he still did it. StarClan did this to them. Why? Why couldn’t they just be dead? Why couldn’t they just live together in the afterlife? Why couldn’t they just be normal cats, if they just had to live? Why?
Cats were now filing in from the camp entrance, all of them either only a bit wounded or perfectly fine. Their faces darkened as they saw the three ThunderClan cats near Stormpaw and Rainfur. Nightstar kept his cats back, knowing full well what Stormpaw had just gone through.
“Stay back!” Nightstar hissed to a curious apprentice. Was it Featherpaw? Runningpaw? Rainfur couldn’t tell. His vision was too blurred to know for sure. The voices were the only thing that let him know what was going on.
It was then that Rainfur fell, unable to hide his exhaustion. Someone was being held down, for Rainfur could hear the tom struggle. It wasn’t Jactur, though, which make Rainfur give a sigh of relief.
“Nightstar!” Jactur suddenly hissed. “Both Rainfur and Stormpaw are fine! Hawkstrike is innocent!”
“What about you?” asked Nightstar with a worried tone.
“I can’t do anything!” Jactur yelled irritably. “Just help Hawkstrike!” Rainfur heard movement, but then the struggling stopped. There was running, though that sound was gone in seconds. Rainfur guessed Tigerpelt and Talonclaw left. Hawkstrike, however, wasn’t as lucky.
“How is Hawkstrike innocent?” Nightstar demanded, sounding quite tired.
“He helped get Rainfur free,” Jactur explained. “He helped in attempting to fight Tigerpelt.” Rainfur heard small gasps, as if someone was trying to get up but unfortunately couldn’t.
“Poppyheart, can you heal him?” asked Nightstar as Rainfur heard the rush of another cat. There was a long silence before a small sigh.
“I’m sorry Nightstar,” came Poppyheart’s voice. “They gave a large wound. He’ll die within moments.”
“It’s okay, Poppyheart,” Nightstar murmured. “Let him be delivered to StarClan for what he has done today.”
“Sharpstar. . .” gasped Hawkstrike, sounding as if he were in extreme pain. “He knows. . .something. . .He plans. . .to. . .attack. . .again. . .two moons. . .He knows. . .”
“What?” Jactur asked, sounding as if he was catching onto something. “What does he know?” There was silence aside from Hawkstrike’s gasping for air. Then Jactur hissed loudly.
“I’m gonna kill that son of a—”
“Jactur, what happened?” asked Nightstar. Jactur just hissed louder. “What does—”
“I’m surprised StarClan even let that idiot become a leader!” Jactur hissed, sounding as if he were going to kill somebody if they were close enough. “That—that—demon should know his limits!” Jactur sounded crazy, but before Rainfur could understand why, he noticed Hawkstrike was quiet.
“He is dead,” said Poppyheart.
“Nightstar, I must leave,” said Jactur, sounding more demonic than usual. “Rainfur needs me. A word of advice when your Clan has been destroyed? Remember the words, ‘we pray for the Saviour’.” Rainfur suddenly felt the other half of him unite with the other, making him smile slowly.
I’m not going to know, am I? Rainfur asked.
No, said Jactur before Rainfur’s fuzzy mind shut off at last.
The next few days weren’t really slow to Rainfur. Sure, he was awake, and he knew it, but he didn’t really care. There was too much going on in his head, too much to think about. The days just passed away, and though he could feel Stormpaw stirring beside him every few moments, he didn’t want to get up.
Rainfur could help but try to figure out what Jactur knew. What was going to end ShadowClan? Jactur’s voice kept ringing in his head, ‘when your Clan has been destroyed’. What did Sharpstar know that could change everything? What was there to know?
A part of Rainfur wanted to just give in. He wanted to safely just hand over the Clan to Sharpstar, so no one could get hurt. Rainfur just wanted everything to be settled, so he could just lie down and sleep, for he was tired of fighting. He was tired of resisting.
Not many cats were wounded in the battle, though from what it sounded like RiverClan got the full blow. Many RiverClan cats showed up with blood pouring from their wounds, each of them gasping with shock as they realised Rainfur and Stormpaw were both in the medicine den.
It was around the third day that Stormpaw finally woke fully, and when he did Poppyheart sent him out because his wounds were limited. Rainfur’s, however, were a bit worse. Not to mention the mental and physical exhaustion. Stormpaw kept returning, of course, to talk to Rainfur as if he believed that’s what would wake him.
Why couldn’t it be that simple? Rainfur wanted to just forget about the battle and just move on. Of course, that wasn’t the case. He was forced to live with it, and though usually it would have been good for him, it was just making him even more exhausted at the moment.
“Poppyheart,” the voice of Nightstar suddenly sounded in Rainfur’s ears. “Is he—?”
“He’s fine, Nightstar,” Poppyheart told the anxious leader calmly. “I’m actually quite sure that he’s been awake for some time. However, he’s exhausted. Whatever happened must have tired him out, and with all that went on that I’m sure he heard about, he is not going to be quite happy when he finally does get up.” Nightstar sighed at this, as if really frustrated.
“I know,” Nightstar murmured. “I need him, though. If ThunderClan is going attack again, I’m wondering if we should attack first. I need his opinion first, however, because he always seems to know what’s going on.” Rainfur sighed a bit, but not loud enough for the other two to hear.
Invading ThunderClan would be a good idea, but they would still be out numbered. The battle would last long, but ShadowClan and RiverClan would be the two who would fail. Unless. . .
Rainfur quickly sat up, making Nightstar and Poppyheart look to him with surprised expressions. He didn’t really let them have a chance to say anything because he was too busy trying to create a plan.
“If you want to invade ThunderClan, you’re going to need to be stealthy about it,” Rainfur muttered. “I’ve heard from Flamepelt that there are cats who are on our side, and I’m only assuming it’s the same with WindClan. This would mean we just need to get word out that we’ll be attacking, and then the cats on our side will join as soon as we invade. We’ll outnumber them then, but if we are truly to succeed, it would be best of the cats going to WindClan could reach Robinwing. If we have her, than it would signify the war. We wouldn’t need to if I get to Sharpstar, in which I’ll kill him.”
“He’s got nine lives, Rainfur,” Nightstar pointed out. “Unless you pulled the stunt you did yesterday there is no way you could do that.” Rainfur’s eyes narrowed in warning.
“I took Rosestar’s lives didn’t I?” asked Rainfur, making Nightstar growl a bit. “She’ll be easy to pick off, by the way. Either you or Bravestar will be able to do that. That’s one less leader we need to kill.”
“Rainfur, when are you thinking we’ll do this?” asked Nightstar.
“Within the next three days,” Rainfur answered simply.
“Your wounds have barely recovered!” Poppyheart pointed out. “You can’t fight a leader with nine lives when you’ve just healed!” Rainfur sighed.
“Well when else would we be able to do it?” asked Rainfur. “You know very well Sharpstar is planning another attack once his Warriors are healed. He knows we’re weak, and he’ll attack now. We can’t afford that, so why not surprise him by invading first?”
“You know what you’re saying, don’t you Rainfur?” asked Nightstar. “You’re going to risk everyone just to win the war. That isn’t like you.” Rainfur sighed again, getting very irritated.
“I just found out that ShadowClan is going to get obliviated, and if we don’t act now, that may come true,” Rainfur hissed. “How else do you think I’d act?”
“Jactur didn’t tell you what Sharpstar knows?” asked Nightstar, his eyes wide.
“He can’t,” Rainfur muttered. “Apparently whatever power he used forbids him to tell anyone of the information he got. Hasn’t spoken to me since, and it’s worrying me.” Rainfur couldn’t hide the anger in his voice. Why was Jactur ignoring him? Why was Jactur just leaving him on his own?
After a few moments of silence, Nightstar sighed before saying, “If that is what you truly think is best for our Clan, I will send a patrol out to meet up with Flamepelt. You will stay here and rest, focusing on healing before the final battle.”
“Tell only Bravestar of our invasion,” Rainfur muttered, looking away from the noble leader. “Someone from ShadowClan or RiverClan tipped Sharpstar off about the fact that I was staying at camp. They knew.” Nightstar left without answering after that, and Poppyheart tended to his healing wounds.
Rainfur just sat there, looking at the floor of the den. Maybe Nightstar was right. Maybe he was risking everyone for everything. Something just angered him enough not to care. Sharpstar was hurting cats. Sharpstar was torturing them. He wanted Robinwing out of there. He wanted Robinwing to be free.
Rainfur sat near the fresh-kill pile, having a mental conversation with it. He wanted to eat, but he wasn’t hungry. He knew he should, but he didn’t feel like it. He was just too lost to eat, but Poppyheart kept insisting. . .
Rainfur sighed before standing and walking away, trying hard to reach Jactur. He never called. The knowledge of something that big was probably what was keeping Jactur so quiet. Still, the idiot’s normal comments on Rainfur’s gloominess were absent from the air, making Rainfur depressed.
Am I really alone? Rainfur asked himself. Am I really going to fight this on my own after having you as a partner for over six moons? No answer. Not even a sound. Rainfur sighed, but was brought back to reality when Tigerkit, Rosekit, and Mudkit ran in front of him.
“Rainfur! You’re awake!” said Rosekit excitedly.
“Yay!” said Mudkit happily, bouncing up and down.
“Finally!” said Tigerkit. “It’s been so boring over here!”
“Come on! Teach us something!” said Rosekit, making Rainfur shake his head.
“I-I can’t,” he murmured. “I’m not well enough yet.” The kits all gave disappointed looks before Rosekit bounced up again.
“Well then tell us a story!” she said. “I bet you know loads!” The other two kits bobbed their heads with excitement, as if agreeing with her completely which was odd for them.
“I, um. . .” Rainfur drifted, not really knowing what to say. Though he would love to spend time with the kits, he was really not in the mood to tell a story. But the kits looked excited, so he rolled his eyes and led them to the front of the apprentices’ den where they settled themselves as he tried to choose a story to tell them.
“So what kind of story do you want me to tell?” asked Rainfur curiously.
“And exciting one!” Tigerkit said immediately.
“No! I want one with love!” Rosekit interrupted.
“But I want a meaningful story!” said Mudkit.
“How about all three?” asked Rainfur, instantly making the kits interested. Rainfur smiled before quickly picking a story that he thought would be perfect.
“I’m assuming you know about the rogues that haunted the Clans before I was exiled from ThunderClan?” asked Rainfur. As the kits nodded, Rainfur continued. “Well, there were these two kits. Bluekit and Lionkit were their names, and they were very good kits, but one day they decided to leave right after we’d finished fighting a battle to go look for the rogues. They wanted to get revenge on the death of Jayflight, a previous deputy of ThunderClan.” Rainfur watched as the kits became very still, listening to his every word.
“Sweetclaw—Sweetpaw at the time—had been there when they found the body, so I asked her to take us to where it was. Since the kits had left when the scent was fresh, I figured they’d been using their sense of smell to follow the trail to where Jayflight was killed in hopes of finding the rogues. Robinwing, Flamepelt, and Amberstorm, who were all still apprentices during that time, listened as well, insisting that they help me. I let them.
“After Sweetclaw told us, we rushed over to the kits. They were far from camp, and by the time we found them, it was nearly moonhigh. It wasn’t that easy to catch them, though, because they went into an underground tunnel. I went after them, because at the time I was really small for my age. When I reached them, I knew instantly that it was the rogues hide-out.”
“The rogues hid underground?” asked Rosekit, amazement in her eyes. “No wonder ThunderClan couldn’t find them!” Rainfur nodded, smiling at the small she-kit.
“Robinwing, Flamepelt and Amberstorm joined me later, and that was when the fight broke out. I was their target, of course, because I’d killed a lot of their friends. Well, Jactur did, since I hadn’t quite controlled him yet. Anyways, the rogue leader, Shadow, wanted to hurt me badly. And so he did. He sent Venom—a cat with venomous claws—to scratch me. I didn’t know what it did, so I didn’t care. All I knew was that they were trying to kill Robinwing in front of me, and I didn’t like it.”
“So, on instinct, I let a cat scratch me. Jactur took over, and then we soon made it out. I met Robinwing and the others—who had the kits—later. They had escaped when everyone was worried about getting killed, so we got separated. Anyway, Robinwing was the only one who knew I wasn’t Rainfur. I mean, I knew who they were and stuff, but I didn’t know whether to attack or not. See, the venom was breaking the connection Jactur and I had at the time—which wasn’t really strong back in the day—and I wasn’t exactly feeling good.
“Then I saw Venom and instantly lunged. I killed him quickly, but after that I couldn’t do anything. The venom was burning painfully within me, and when I fell I could barely understand what was going on. Robinwing and Flamepelt helped me half way to camp where we met Thorntail and Grassfur. I remember a few others, but I wasn’t really paying attention.
“Next thing I know I’m at ThunderClan’s camp. In the middle of it actually. Snowdrift was trying his best to save me, but the venom was too strong. That was when Robinwing confessed she loved me. It was so sweet. She told me that it wasn’t supposed to end this way, because it was supposed to end with me and her becoming elders together after becoming Warriors, declaring each other mates, having kits, and living. I told her that she was wrong about one thing. I was already in love with her. She asked me a question. It was, ‘If I asked you to become mates with me, would you?’. I nodded.
“Before long, Jactur saved me, and then I was well again a few days later. It was an amazing night, and the night that changed my life.”
“Aw!” Rosekit said, her eyes glittering with tears. “Robinwing is so sweet! No wonder you had kits together.”
“I know! Those little guys are going to be the luckiest bundles of fur that ever walked—or crawled, in their case—in the whole forest having a father like you!” said Mudkit.
“Too bad she’s in WindClan,” Tigerkit muttered, though then stood proudly. “Rainfur, I promise that when I become an apprentice, I’ll work hard to learn to fight off those mangy flea-pelts they call WindClan and ThunderClan Warriors. We’ll get Robinwing back for you!”
“Yeah!” said Rosekit, also standing up proudly. “We’ll do our best!”
“We’ll be the best apprentices ever for your kits!” said Mudkit. “We’ll get your mate back!” Rainfur smiled, but couldn’t do anything else. How could he? The kits were all so determined, just like he was. All for Robinwing and his kits.
Was that how he was supposed to be? Rainfur sighed a bit. His heart knew that he needed to fight, but his mind was shocked on the realization of why he had to defeat Sharpstar. It was to protect Robinwing. It always because of that. Now the only thing Rainfur could think of was why he forgot about that.
But that wasn’t it. Another reason he was fighting was because of his kits. Though still unborn, they were depending on him. Without his help they would die. Without his help, they wouldn’t live for more than a few seconds. That was his reason to fight. For them.
And who would have thought that kits would have helped him?