Rainfur was still confined to camp, but now he didn’t care. The war was coming, and he needed his strength. He knew now that there was a reason he was supposed to be strong. For his kits. For Robinwing. For everyone.
Flamepelt had already been informed of the invasion apparently, and he had told them that he knew Silverpelt from WindClan. She was a spy for RiverClan it seemed, so they were well informed. Flamepelt had returned the favour by telling them that Sharpstar had been planning to attack the day after they finally would. This meant they needed to work quickly.
Mudkit, Tigerkit and Rosekit were at first refused their apprentice ceremonies because Nightstar did not want apprentices that young in the war. However, Rainfur had intervened and told Nightstar that they deserved to be apprentices because their hearts were as strong as Featherpaw’s and Runningpaw’s. Hesitantly, Nightstar finally gave in and held the ceremony just a day ago.
Right now, the apprentices were training with their new mentors. Tigerpaw had gotten Tawnyfoot, Rosepaw had gotten Blackpetal and Mudpaw had gotten Spottedfur. Rainfur knew that they would be in the patrol in which would save Robinwing, and that was exactly where he wanted them. After all, they were the ones who’d been determined to save her.
Featherpaw and Runningpaw had also gotten their Warrior names at last. It was now Featherflight and Runningclaw, and boy were they proud of themselves. Just annoyingly so, nothing big.
Now that Stormpaw understood exactly what would happen if they were to fight, he was a little shy on being put in a battle patrol, but Rainfur insisted. Stormpaw needed to be close to him if something did go wrong, so it was only fair that Stormpaw went with him. This would be trouble if his scar was scratched, but they had trained loads. Rainfur just hoped that Stormpaw’s other half would show up soon.
So, in Rainfur’s mind, everything was okay. The battle patrols were set, the plan was simply to have three battle patrols filled with RiverClan and ShadowClan cats in each territory waiting to fight WindClan and ThunderClan. The three battle patrols attacking WindClan would try and kill Rosestar while also sneaking Robinwing out as well as keeping the regular Warriors down all at the same time. The three battle patrols in ThunderClan would be trying to keep everyone away from Rainfur and Sharpstar. It was simple, strong, and not impossible. It was perfect.
Something still seemed wrong though. What about Jactur? Rainfur needed him to fight Sharpstar, but if the tom wasn’t present, he was useless against a leader with nine lives. Rainfur hadn’t heard him at all since Jactur had figured that little life-or-death detail, and he was beginning to become really worried.
“Rainfur, Flamepelt has confirmed the resistances awareness of the planned invasion,” a she-cat suddenly said to him, bringing Rainfur out of his thoughts. He looked up and nodded to the patrol leader.
“Thank you,” said Rainfur. “Report to Nightstar before returning to your duties please.” The she-cat dipped her head respectively before walking away, leaving Rainfur in peace again.
It’s either tomorrow or the day after, Rainfur thought to himself. I’ll have my kits. I’ll have Robinwing. I can’t believe it. After seven moons. . .
“Rainfur, there has been report from Silverpelt,” a tom told him as he walked up. “Those who can be trusted in WindClan know of the planned invasion. They are waiting patiently.” Rainfur nodded.
“What about Robinwing?” asked Rainfur anxiously.
“She’s doing fine according to Silverpelt,” the tom reported. “She knows of what we plan to do. Silverpelt has made sure she’s ready to move.” Rainfur nodded.
“Thank you,” he told the tom. “I’ll report it to Nightstar.” The tom dipped his head before disappearing. It was at that moment that Sweetclaw of all cats walked up.
“Are you okay?” she asked him. Rainfur sighed.
“I’m stressed,” Rainfur murmured. “Robinwing is finally coming home, we’re going to start a full out war with the other two Clans, and I’m going to take out Sharpstar alone.” Sweetclaw smiled.
“It’s always you who worries about everything, isn’t it?” asked Sweetclaw, confusing him a bit. “Just leave it to Nightstar. All you need to think about is fighting Sharpstar.” Rainfur smiled to her.
“Thanks, Sweetclaw,” he gave her a small lick on the cheek before he saw Nightstar on the Highrock calling a Clan meeting. Rainfur took the deputies position as Sweetclaw joined the crowd of cats forming beneath the Highrock.
“As you all know, we are planning an invasion into ThunderClan’s camp,” Sweetclaw announced. “I have explained this to Rainfur, but it’s high time I explain everything to you.” There was a moment of silence before Nightstar continued.
“There will be six battle patrols,” said Nightstar. “Three going into WindClan territory, the other three going into ThunderClan territory. The patrols entering WindClan territory has two priorities: kill Rosestar, though please leave that to Bravestar, and get Robinwing out. The patrols going into ThunderClan are going to take down as many cats as they can while Rainfur kills Sharpstar.
“The first patrol entering WindClan territory is going to be as followed: Blackpetal, Stonefur, Leopardclaw, Spottedfur, Treeleg and Rosepaw. The second will consist of Scorchspot, Mudpaw, Rainpaw, Jayfrost, Whitestream, and Pineshade. The third patrol will have Snakeheart, Nightclaw, Maplepaw, Wolfheart, Flamecloud, Stripeclaw, and Pebblestorm.
“The first patrol entering ThunderClan territory is going to consist of Rainfur, Otternose, Oakpaw, Waterstep, Thunderheart, Tinyear, Stormpaw, and Cloudstreak. The second, Redfur, Dewdrop, Bluefeather, Owlpaw, Swiftfeather, Featherflight and Sparrowbreeze. The third and final patrol will be Dawnstripe, Lightwing, Softwillow, Pikefur, Ashbreeze, Splashpaw and Brightpaw.
“We have not decided a time, but it will happen today, tomorrow, or the day after,” Nightstar finished. “Be ready to fight to the death.” Nightstar dismissed the Clan in which started murmuring to each other. Rainfur stood alertly as Nightstar walked up to him, a grave look on his face.
“Have you any idea when yet?” asked Nightstar. Rainfur shook his head.
“We need to recover from the recent attack before fighting again,” Rainfur replied. “We are nearly there.” Nightstar nodded again before talking with a few of his senior Warriors. Rainfur sighed once again.
It seemed like everyone was depending on him now. Nightstar, RiverClan, ShadowClan. . .everyone. Rainfur couldn’t think of what would happen if he failed. No. He wouldn’t fail. He couldn’t.
“Jactur!” Rainfur yelled into the darkness of his mind. “Jactur, I need you!” No answer. Really? How could Jactur ignore him like this? The battle could be at any moment!
“Jactur, we’ve planned an invasion!” Rainfur called. “I need your help to defeat Sharpstar! Without you, I’m done for!” Still no answer. What did Rainfur need to say?
“Jactur, I don’t care how depressed, angry, or insane you are!” Rainfur yelled irritably. “Get your tail over here before I do it for you!” Finally, Jactur’s starry figure showed up before him, yawning.
“Geez, Smokey,” said Jactur. “I was just sleeping. . .”
“For two whole days?” asked Rainfur, making Jactur shrug. “Look, we need to—”
“I know, I know,” Jactur hissed. “We need to defeat Sharpstar. Just because I’ve been sleeping doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention. I’ve just been. . .thinking I guess.”
“About what?” Rainfur hissed, getting really frustrated. “About what Sharpstar knows? How can it be that important? It won’t matter anyway. We’re killing him soon.” Jactur’s eyes narrowed with anger, making Rainfur take a step back.
“Rainfur, what he knows will make all the difference in the world,” Jactur hissed. “I don’t like it that I can’t tell you, but I can give you advice.” Rainfur tilted his head.
“What?” Rainfur asked.
“Don’t give Sharpstar a second to think,” Jactur told him. “Kill the demon before he has a chance to do anything.” Rainfur sighed.
“Gee, that helps,” Rainfur muttered, his eyes narrowed. “I thought that’s what we were going to do anyways.” Jactur hissed loudly, his claws unsheathing.
“You’re missing the point!” Jactur hissed. “If you let him think” — Jactur put particular emphasis on the word think—“for just one second he will kill both of us. You need to keep his mind busy, so that he can remember what he can do. Just remember that, okay?” Before Rainfur could say anything, everything faded away until he flicked his eyes open to the Warriors’ den.
Rainfur sighed. Why couldn’t Jactur have told him more? Now he had nothing. At least he knew Jactur was there, though. Rainfur felt better because of that.
Feeling no need to go back to sleep, Rainfur stood up and walked through the Warriors den and out to camp where he saw a familiar apprentice standing near the nursery. He smiled before making his way over to Stormpaw.
“Nightmares?” asked Rainfur curiously as he sat near his little brother. Stormpaw was staring at the stars, a strange look on his face.
“No, just dreams,” Stormpaw murmured. “We were humans. Alfie, you, and I. We were all together. No one died, and we were just in paradise. We were free to do what we wanted when wanted how we wanted. It was so different, but so. . .wonderful.” Rainfur nodded as he looked to the stars.
“Yes, that does sound wonderful,” said Rainfur. “However, where we are now isn’t that bad either. We’re going to fight for what we want, and we’re together. We may not be paradise, but Alfie is still with us, you know. Just. . .distant.” Stormpaw looked over to him, smiling warmly.
“Has Jactur returned?” asked Stormpaw after looking back to the stars. Rainfur nodded.
“Yes, but he’s stressed though,” Rainfur replied. “Whatever he knows must be horrible.” Rainfur didn’t say anymore. He was still mad at Jactur, no matter how many cats said otherwise.
“You’re okay, right?” asked Stormpaw, looking over to him again. “About having to kill Sharpstar?” Rainfur shrugged, not really caring one way or the other.
“It would be nice too—” Rainfur began, but didn’t finish. Something was going on. Something bad. He looked to his little brother, finding that he too, was looking shocked.
There was a feeling of urgency. As if they suddenly needed to run somewhere. Rainfur had no idea what it was, but it wasn’t new to him. This was the same thing he felt when they met with Cloudstreak. The same thing he felt when the last battle happened. The same thing he felt when a war was about to happen.
Without saying a word, both Stormpaw and Rainfur darted out of camp and over to where they felt the danger. He couldn’t tell where he was going, only that it was toward RiverClan territory. What had gone wrong? What was going on?
Rainfur ran until he saw the gleaming eyes of Treeleg, making him stop immediately. Stormpaw did the same as they waited for the fellow ShadowClan tom to join them. Rainfur’s feet were itching to follow the danger that was still further away, but he forced himself to stay put. Treeleg knew something.
“Rainfur!” said Treeleg. “Silverpelt has come to see me! It’s Robinwing! She’s in labor!” Rainfur’s eyes widened as his body froze in one spot. His kits were being born. Sharpstar was not yet preoccupied. They would die.
The war needed to happen. That would keep Sharpstar busy while Robinwing would be taken somewhere safer. That would help them. They needed to go. They needed to buy some time to move Robinwing. They needed to do that now.
“Inform Bravestar,” Rainfur growled to Treeleg. “Tell him that the war must begin! Send the planned Warriors over to our camp and we’ll do the same. Hurry!” Rainfur took off toward ShadowClan after that. He wasn’t even paying attention to Stormpaw, who still had no idea what was going on. He didn’t have the time. His mate was in danger.
When Rainfur made it to camp, he gave the loudest yowl he could make, leaving every single Warrior to wake. Nightstar saw Rainfur and quickly ran over to him, having a good idea of what was going on.
“Nightstar, we need to begin the war,” Rainfur growled. “Robinwing’s in labour, and I cannot let her kits be killed. I—” Nightstar stopped him by flicking his tail.
“I know what must be done, Rainfur,” Nightstar said warmly before turning to his waking Warriors. “Rainfur’s mate has come to labour. The war must begin immediately. Those who are going to WindClan, be aware that you must move quickly. You may leave to join your patrols.”
The camp then turned into complete and utter chaos. The patrols were being assembled, those who needed to reach WindClan were trying to leave, all while the RiverClan cats showed up, their shocked faces unmistakable. Thunderheart was first to reach him.
“You planned an invasion?” the RiverClan tom hissed. “Are you crazy? And why didn’t Bravestar say something earlier?” Rainfur sighed, his body literally shaking as he tried hard to calm himself down.
“There’s a spy in RiverClan,” Rainfur murmured. “I don’t know who it is, but I couldn’t risk finding out. Bravestar kept this all to himself, but now that Robinwing is in labour, he had to tell you. StarClan, why can’t everyone go faster?” Rainfur was really scared. One screw up and this plan could all go wrong. Everything would be for nothing.
“Rainfur, calm down,” said Thunderheart. “We’re all going to do fine. RiverClan camp is just as crazy as this, but we’ll manage, okay?” Rainfur nodded, but he couldn’t say anything. His mind was in too much shock and worry for anything to come out right.
“Rainfur! We need Stormpaw!” Tinyear called to him. “We can’t start without him!” Rainfur looked over to Tinyear with a confused look.
“You can’t find him?” Rainfur asked. Tinyear shook her head.
“We’ve looked everywhere!” Tinyear called to him. “Don’t you know where he is?” Rainfur’s eyes widened. Where did Stormpaw go? Where could he be? Could he risk looking for his apprentice right now?
“Rainfur?” asked Tinyear. Rainfur sighed and shook out the thoughts in his head.
“I’ll go look for—”
“Rainfur!” screamed the familiar voice of Owlpaw. “Something’s wrong with Stormpaw!” Rainfur’s eyes snapped over to were he’d heard his name being called. Owlpaw was dragging in a limp Stormpaw from the camp entrance.
Stormpaw’s eyes were starry, but everything else was normal. His eyes were wide, though, leaving Rainfur to stand in shock. Stormpaw wasn’t presently there, but Stormpaw’s power was definitely not in control either. This couldn’t be happening.
“No,” Rainfur whispered as the chaos temporarily stopped. “No, no, no, no, no, no, no!” Rainfur ran over to his apprentice, his heart beating quickly. This couldn’t be happening. Not now. Not when the war was so close.
“Stormpaw, snap out of it!” Rainfur hissed. “What happened Stormpaw? Stormpaw, answer me!” Panic had taken over Rainfur. His mind was too full of thoughts, and too full of worry to think straightly.
“It’s. . .happening. . .” Stormpaw whispered, his eyes widened. “What. . .do. . .we do. . .now?”
“Stormpaw, this isn’t what happened!” Rainfur cried. “This is too new to me! I don’t know what to do. . .I don’t know what to do. . .” Rainfur stared at his apprentice, feeling as if he were going crazy.
Robinwing’s in labor. We need to save her.
Stormpaw’s power is taking over. I need to find out why.
I need to save Robinwing.
I need to kill Sharpstar.
I need to help Stormpaw.
Robinwing’s my mate!
Sharpstar is your enemy!
Stormpaw is your apprentice!
I don’t know whats going on!
I need to fight!
I need to know!
Rainfur screamed. He didn’t know what to do. Stormpaw was in trouble. He needed help now. But so did Robinwing. So did everyone else around him who was now waiting for Rainfur to join the patrol. He needed to go. But he needed to save Robinwing.
Rainfur, you need to pull yourself together! Jactur hissed. Save Stormy and I’ll take care of Sharpstar until you’re done.
No! I can’t! Can I? This doesn’t make any sense! Rainfur thought. He felt like crying. Everything was falling. Everything was crashing down. Everything was going wrong. Nothing was right. Tears streamed down his face as he stared at Stormpaw’s shivering body.
“Help. . .me. . .” Stormpaw murmured, making Rainfur shake even faster. Why couldn’t everything be normal? Why couldn’t everything be going as planned?
“Rainfur, we need to go on,” Nightstar said. Or was it Thunderheart? Tinyear maybe? StarClan, this was confusing. Why couldn’t everything be usual? Why was he fighting again? Why was he living? Why couldn’t he just die? It would end the confusion. It would end the worry. It would end everything. He would be peaceful.
“We’ll be strong for Robinwing, Rainfur!”
“We’ll be the best apprentice’s ever for her!”
“We’ll train our hardest to learn to fight for her!”
Yeah that’s right. . .Robinwing needed him. . .but that didn’t help anything. If Rainfur left to help Robinwing, Stormpaw would kill them. Everyone.
Everyone. . .I need to save everyone. . .but I need to save Robinwing. . .but what about Stormpaw?
Robinwing. Stormpaw. Sweetclaw. Tigerpaw, Rosepaw, and Mudpaw. His kits. Thorntail. WindClan. ShadowClan. ThunderClan. RiverClan. They needed him. They needed him now. Crying wasn’t going to solve anything. Being weak wasn’t going to help anyone. He needed to be strong. He needed to fight.
Rainfur stood up, unsheathing his claws. He looked at his apprentice with determination filling his empty blue eyes. He knew what he had to do. He knew what Stormpaw was going through.
“Jactur will accompany you all,” Rainfur murmured, hoping they could hear him. “I will be back once I help Stormpaw. Be alert. He may break at any moment.” Without another word, Rainfur brought up his right paw and slashed a large wound on his scar, making his appearance change again.
Rainfur willed his power to leak into Stormpaw, and as he did he closed his eyes and imagined the scene around him. With a lot of effort, he matched the breathing of his apprentice. Then he left his body to Jactur, entering Stormpaw’s messy mind.
It was dark, just like his own, but there were many memories playing. Most of them were of Rainfur, but there were some of Rosestar and some of even Nightstar. They were memories of the evil that Stormpaw had seen. Rainfur sighed before noticing a cowering figure in the middle of it all.
“Killer. . .murderer. . .he must pay. . .they must all pay. . .” the figure murmured. He looked like Stormpaw, but when the power was in control. The moon on his shoulder was full and his dull eyes were starry as if from StarClan. Just as Rainfur had thought. “Sinner. . .hater. . .killer. . .murd—” the figure stopped and looked up, narrowing his eyes at Rainfur.
“Murderer. . .you must pay. . .” the figure murmured. “Killer. . .sinne—”
“Shut up,” Rainfur hissed, his eyes narrowed. “Do something important like answer me. Why on earth did you take over Stormpaw’s body? I wasn’t feeding you the energy!” The figure tilted his head, his eyes still ghost-like. This was looking more and more like a horror movie to Rainfur at the moment.
“Blood. . .I needed blood,” the figure murmured. “Your blood. . .spilled over the floor . .You must pay. . .it was the only way to get you here. . .” Rainfur hissed in frustration.
“Why can’t you just ask for a name like Jactur did?” Rainfur asked, hoping to get a straight answer. The figure just shook his head slowly, still acting as a ghost.
“We are. . . different. . .” the figure murmured, pointing out the obvious. “I don’t need a name. . .for the trust. . .I need justice. . .I need your blood. . .” Rainfur took a step back as the figure stood, walking zombie-like over to him. “I need you. . .dead. . .your blood. . .on my tongue. . .”
“What are you, a Vampire?” Rainfur muttered, still backing up.
“I need your blood. . .to set justice. . .I need it. . .now!” the figure ran toward him. It was too fast for Rainfur to see, and as the figure lunged, he held his breath and prepared for the worst.
Jactur stood there for a few moments, trying to figure out if Rainfur made it. When he felt a bit of pressure on his shoulder, he smirked. The idiot did actually follow a plan correctly for once in his entire life.
Jactur then turned to the Clan cats, the smirk still on his face as he saw Stormpaw getting up with wide eyes. No doubt Stormy would be wondering what just happened and how he suddenly got control. That would all be explained later, but at the moment, Jactur knew what he had to do.
“Rainfur’s dealing with a larger issue at the moment,” Jactur told the stupid Clan cats. “I’ll take his place until he returns. Anyone have any questions?” Everyone was quite, shocked at the sight in front of him. Jactur sighed in frustration. Didn’t any of them remember that they were in a hurry?
“W-what happened?” asked Stormpaw, finally finding out how to stand without falling. Jactur looked over to the small apprentice before shrugging.
“Rainey is saving you,” Jactur replied. “He’s in your mind right now, keeping the power under control so that you can fight and everyone hear will be safe.” Jactur turned to the Clan cats after that. “I thought we needed to be somewhere. Did our date with ThunderClan get cancelled?”
“Right,” Nightstar murmured, looking very confused before turning to the RiverClan and ShadowClan Warriors. “Form groups according to your patrols! Quickly before Sharpstar has knowledge of what’s going on!” The camp then continued its chaotic behaviour as Jactur joined the first group of cats.
“Rainfur’s going to be okay, right?” asked a pretty black and white she-cat beside him. Jactur thought he remembered her name being Cloudstreak, so he just went with that.
“Depends on how powerful Stormpaw really is,” Jactur murmured. “However, I think he will live. He knows what he must do now.” And with that, Jactur turned to his patrol and smirked.
“Let’s go kick some ThunderClan butts!” Jactur yelled before the other cats joined in with their battle cries.
“Let’s get ‘em!”
“Rip them to shreds!”
“Rid them of their sins!”
Jactur smiled with satisfaction before turning and leading the first patrol out of ShadowClan’s camp. This was it. The day he would kill Sharpstar for what he’s done. The day he would kill Sharpstar for his sins and murders. The day he would end everything.
As Jactur tried to pace himself with the other cats so that he didn’t just dart away, he noticed that the sun was just then rising. It was signalling a new day. It was showing the others of the hope that they needed.
Good, Jactur thought as he looked ahead of him once more. At least know they’ll fight harder.