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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42. Epilogue

Epilogue

Sharpstar looked at the motionless body on the ground in front of him. The cats around him stood in a shocked silence as he tried to register what he’d just saw. Rainfur was now a much more interesting cat than he’d first thought, but even so, Sharpstar knew the idiot would die soon.

Being Stormpaw’s brother was odd itself, but being previously a Twoleg was the most shocking. Sharpstar couldn’t understand most of went on in those memories because he couldn’t understand their language, but he knew from the body signals what really mattered. Like the fact that it had been Rainfur’s brother that had started everything. The depression, death, Jactur. Everything.

Sharpstar had to feel every emotion Rainfur did when the memories came, but even so, he didn’t care. He knew what it felt like to lose a sibling, let alone two. He knew what it felt like to be whispered about, even if it had not been because he had a scar. He knew what it felt like to be depressed, even if Rainfur went deeper. Sharpstar could relate.

That was why the tabby leader hadn’t killed Rainfur, though with the wound he gave the grey and white tom, Sharpstar doubted he would live much longer. He didn’t regret that, though. If Rainfur died, it would be just as satisfying to him, because the former ShadowClan deputy was the only thing standing in his way to becoming the Leader of the Forest.

“Is he dead?” asked Tigerpelt from a few feet away. The other Clan cats knew better than to interrupt Sharpstar’s fight, for the fight between him and Rainfur was to be his only, and so he’d told everyone before the attack that he was going to be the one to kill the demon.

“Not yet,” Sharpstar told his deputy. “But I don’t want anyone to know that. Gather up Talonclaw and a few others you can trust. You know where I want you to take him. Do it quickly, though, because he might wake up soon.” Tigerpelt nodded before he gathered up his Warriors. Sharpstar turned to face his Clan, noticing the fear in their eyes as he did.

“Flamepelt!” Sharpstar yelled, his eyes narrowed as he tried to sort out what he wanted to have happen. “Send word out the other Clans that their leader is dead! Also tell them that they must meet for a Gathering on the island. Every cat will go—including the kits, elders, and queens. ThunderClan will also go, and if any of you take one step toward Rainfur, I will personally kill you myself.” The ThunderClan cats backed away a few steps, their head low as they looked at Rainfur’s motionless body.

“Amberstorm, Duskfeather, and Ivyclaw,” Sharpstar called. The three cats walked over, obviously shaken by the death that had just happened before them. “You will escort me to the island and will not leave me until I say otherwise, understood?” The three cats nodded before they walked with Sharpstar out of ThunderClan’s camp.

Sharpstar smiled slightly as he walked through the familiar forest. He had finally shown these cats who was really the ruler of the forest, and now he would enforce it by completely taking over. The forest was his now. All if it. Ashkit would have been proud of Sharpstar, and he knew it, but there was a small feeling of disappointment, for he never heard his sister cheering him on in the background as he took Rainfur’s memories. Not even one single yell.

*

Sharpstar sat near the large tree in which the gatherings were previously held. Of course, this tree would not be very important anymore. Not when he was through with telling the Clans of his plans of the future. They wouldn’t like it and he knew that, but they had no choice but to respect him.

Sharpstar watched as ShadowClan, the last Clan to arrive, walked in with shocked expressions on their faces. Sharpstar noticed Stormpaw, who was near the back, looked very tired but also the most upset. He guessed losing his brother twice wasn’t exactly a pleasant experience. Sharpstar didn’t blame the apprentice, but he hoped that the mouse-brain would get over the loss soon.

As the Clans settled in, Sharpstar remembered the day he exiled Rainfur. After that he remembered exactly what happened to the demon when Rainfur had started traveling toward his hometown. Sharpstar shivered as he thought of having to be trained by that monster.

After a few moments, Flamepelt’s ginger fur caught Sharpstar’s attention as the young ThunderClan tom walked over to him, a look of grief on his face. Sharpstar knew that Flamepelt still loved the Clans the way they were, and was probably shocked that so many good cats died, but he also knew that the ginger Warrior would always be true to him, for he would do anything to save his sister.

“Who is dead?” asked Sharpstar, standing as Flamepelt started to answer.

“Bravestar killed Rosestar unfortunately, though from what you’ve said about her that is a good thing,” Flamepelt reported, his voice shaking as he talked. “Wolfheart killed Bravestar moments later, though he reported that the RiverClan leader was chanting something beforehand. Bravestar ended up controlling Mudpaw, a ShadowClan apprentice, to attempt to kill Wolfheart, but failed after the apprentice gained control of himself. Wolfheart is alive. . .and so are the kits.” Sharpstar’s eyes widened. The kits were supposed to be dead.

“Are they here?” Sharpstar asked. Flamepelt nodded, flicking his orange tail toward a large group of WindClan cats who were both carrying two small kits in their jaws as well helping Robinwing stand. Sharpstar growled lowly in frustration, but figured he’d kill them later if he had to.

“What about Nightstar?” asked Sharpstar, making Flamepelt flinch. The ginger Warrior sighed to calm himself down before answering the question.

“He’s dead as well,” Flamepelt whispered, his voice barely audible. “He was killed by Tigerpelt just before you took down Rainfur. The Clans belong to you now, Sharpstar.” The tabby leader smirked, forgetting about the kits after hearing that. Finally he had everything to himself.

“Gather with Wolfheart, Snakeheart, and Blackpelt,” Sharpstar ordered, flicking his tail toward the three cats sitting by where the deputies usually sat. “I will call the gathering to order in just a few moments.” He waited for Flamepelt to walk away before Sharpstar climbed up the large tree, the feeling of victory making him stronger.

After finding a high enough branch, Sharpstar pulled himself onto it and looked down at his Clans. He smiled as he looked at the large group of cats that he now controlled, knowing full well he would be their king until his lives were lost. Sharpstar wasn’t scared of dying quickly though, for he knew he would be heavily guarded when the time came.

Sharpstar gave a large yowl, calling all of the cats to gather below the tree. No one really needed to be called to attention, for they were already waiting for the news they didn’t want to hear. Sharpstar still wanted to do this formally, for he would be doing it for many more years afterward.

“ThunderClan, ShadowClan, RiverClan, and WindClan. By my fierce claws, your leader, Rainfur, has fallen. But that is not all,” Sharpstar said as the cats below him yowled in protest. “The Clan leaders Rosestar, Nightstar, and Bravestar have died in the war that you have witnessed, and will not be returning. This allows me to set my wonderful plans into motion because you see, the other leaders would not have let me show them what I wish to do with the Clans.” The cats below him continued to stay quiet, though there were whispers of disbelief that all of the leaders fell within that day.

“First of all, let me appoint the new leaders to your Clans,” said Sharpstar, making a few Warriors curious. “Snakeheart, you will be the new leader of ShadowClan. I hope that you lead your Clan into a better future, something your brother failed to do.” Snakeheart—well, Snakestar now—nodded, an approving look in his eyes as Sharpstar looked to Blackpelt.

“Blackpelt, you will be the new leader of WindClan,” said Sharpstar. “I pray to StarClan that you lead like Rosestar, making your Clan flawless and perfect, just like she would have wanted.” Blackstar nodded, her eyes showing her happiness. None of them knew what was coming though. They just thought they would be leading their Clans normally.

“Wolfheart, you will be the new leader of RiverClan,” Sharpstar announced. “May you find respect in those who hated you before, for your leadership is one of the greatest in these Clans.” Wolfstar nodded with a serious yet proud look on his face. Sharpstar hid his smirk as he thought of what his Clan would be doing.

“Flamepelt, you will be the new leader of ThunderClan,” Sharpstar told the Clans finally, leaving Tigerpelt to yowl with fury. Sharpstar glared at his friend to be quiet before he looked back to the newly named Firestar. “I hope that you will lead this Clan just as good as I did.” Flamestar nodded slightly, but Sharpstar didn’t mind. The poor tom was still in shock from the earlier events, and now he had to deal with this.

“Our new leaders will travel to the moonpool together, but first I shall explain a few things,” said Sharpstar, making a few cats murmur with confusion. “You see, things are going to change around here. The Clans will no longer have queens, elders, Warriors, and apprentices. They will only have one of those positions.

“WindClan will continue to be where the queens stay. Whether they are expecting or nursing, the queens will reside within WindClan until the kits are six moons old. After this, the queens will return to which ever Clan they belong to. I would not consider this Clan a worthless Clan, for many of you will notice that it is here where our upcoming generation is made.” WindClan murmured to themselves, but it seemed that most of them were already used to the idea of being the queen Clan.

“When the kits become six moons old, they will go to ShadowClan, where they will be trained. Mentors will be assigned and so they shall train in all four abilities: hunting, fighting, mentoring, and guarding. After three moons, their mentors will be able to decide which ability that apprentice is good at. After this, that apprentice will train on that one ability for the rest of it’s apprenticeship.

“When a medicine cat is in need of an apprentice, they will either be given a sign from StarClan, or will choose one themselves after traveling to WindClan. This kit will not be trained in ShadowClan. It will be trained in the Clan in which the elder medicine cat comes from.

“Furthermore, ShadowClan is an important Clan, for it gives us a new generation of trained Warriors.” ShadowClan seemed amazed that this was happening. But they were also confused, as if there had been too much going on for them to be able to understand what their Clan was going to be for the rest of its existence.

“When an apprentice becomes a Warrior, it will go to either ThunderClan, RiverClan, or this island, depending on which ability it was the best at,” Sharpstar continued. “You see, ThunderClan will continue to control the fighting Warriors of the forest. So if there is ever a need for a battle patrol to fight some rogues or loners, we send a patrol from ThunderClan. An important aspect of this forest is protection, and they will give it.” Most of the ThunderClan cats cheered at this, because they were thought to be the most important Clan even when it was only a ThunderClan WindClan allegiance.

“RiverClan is where cats skilled at hunting reside,” Sharpstar explained. “Though you may not think that this Clan does much, it does. You will count on this Clan for food and sometimes water in green-leaf, for no one is allowed to hunt but them. RiverClan cats will probably be the most commonly seen cats throughout the Clans.” RiverClan didn’t like the idea, but they didn’t hate it either. They just seemed to hope that the new future of their Clan would be enough.

“This island will no longer just be a gathering place,” said Sharpstar, creating surprised murmurs from below. “I will live here, guarded by the Warriors who were trained to do so. I will be named Sharpmoon after the shining moon that stands before the stars at night. I am the new king of this forest as your leaders are my deputies. We will continue to have gatherings here, but this will continue to be were me and my family live.”

There were many yowls of protest, and though many stood up to challenge him, the new leaders of the Clans stood up and hissed at their Warriors to be quiet. Sharpmoon smirked slightly at how controlled the forest was now, and how great it was to be king. Finally, after so many moons.

“Quiet!” Sharpmoon yowled, making the island fall into silence. “Today we will be moving around the Clans. I want all of the apprentices to move to ShadowClan immediately, and all of the Warriors to stay here for testing. Queens and their kits may move to WindClan. The Clan leaders must choose their deputies now. The elders may also go to WindClan, for the kits need entertainment, no?”

Sharpmoon stayed on his branch as the Clans moved around together. ShadowClan was first to leave after Snakestar chose his deputy. WindClan was second after Blackstar took Mudpaw, who was now a medicine cat apprentice, and the other queens, making sure to leave Robinwing as she did.

On remembrance of his enemy’s family, Sharpmoon jumped down from the tree and walked over to the silver she-cat who was watching her kits suckle at her belly. Sharpmoon wrinkled his nose in disgust as he noticed the small she-kit who looked too much like her father.

“Well I see you survived,” Sharpmoon muttered as he looked down to Robinwing. The silver she-cat looked up to him with narrowed eyes, anger flashing like a flickering flame in her eyes. Sharpmoon ignored this and continued. “You shouldn’t have gotten attached, for I shall kill them now.” Robinwing stood up and protected her kits as her lips drew back into a snarl.

“You won’t hurt them as long as I’m alive!” Robinwing hissed, attracting some attention from the other Clans. “They are the only thing I have left of Rainfur!” Sharpmoon’s tail lashed at the sound of that monster’s name. His amber eyes seemed to burn into Robinwing’s pelt as she slowly let fear creep into her eyes.

“That name is not ever to be mentioned!” Sharpmoon hissed. “And those kits are to die by my claws whether you like it or not! I will not let those demons live in my Clans!” Sharpmoon quickly snatched the kits away from Robinwing, who was now being restrained by a random Warrior. He set them on the ground before him and raised his paws as he unsheathed his claws. But just as he was about to strike, Wolfstar interrupted him.

“Stop!” said Wolfstar, running over to them. Sharpmoon sheathed his claws as he saw the massive leader. He narrowed his eyes with confusion and anger as Wolfstar stopped before him.

“You order me, Sharpmoon, king of this forest, to stop an execution I’ve planned for three moons?” asked Sharpmoon, his eyes narrowed. “How dare you!” Wolfstar sighed, calming himself down as Sharpmoon awaited his answer.

“Why kill them when you can make them into fighters?” asked Wolfstar, making Sharpmoon sigh with irritation.

“Wolfstar, I will not—”

“Sharpmoon, these kits are the offspring of Rainfur, meaning they will be excellent fighters if not really powerful just like he was.” said Wolfstar, making Sharpmoon ponder. “If they have similar powers to Rainfur—as in having an insane half—then you can kill them. But why waste two perfectly healthy kits?” Sharpmoon narrowed his eyes into a scowl as he thought.

While looking at the two kits, Sharpmoon thought of what he could do with the kits. If they became fighters, they would be taught how cruel their father was, even if he was not. If they became guards, they would also come to hate their father, but not as much. If they became hunters, they would be very quick and agile. If they became mentors for the ShadowClan apprentices, then the next generation of cats would be very strong.

But even so, Sharpmoon wanted to get revenge. He wanted to show this forest how cruel he could be if they stepped out of line. Sharpmoon wanted them to fear his name, so that they would never try to start a war again. Something in his mind told him otherwise, and he couldn’t understand why. He was believing the voice though, the voice that told him to keep the kits alive.

“Deal with them later! For now, just focus on being the most powerful cat in the forest!”

It was Ashkit.

Sharpmoon hid his shock and happiness as he heard his sister’s voice, but he didn’t hide the fact that he was deciding. The kits were going to live, but their future would be undetermined, for Sharpmoon would want his revenge sooner or later.

“I will let them live,” said Sharpmoon at last. “But that kit shall be named Demonkit with no exceptions. Name the other one whatever you’d like.” The great leader left, glaring at the smaller version of Rainfur with anger. Now everyone will remember exactly who killed her father.

*

Mudpaw waited for Sharpmoon to leave before padding up to Robinwing. He’d actually asked Ravenstar himself if he could go back and help Robinwing, and though at first the dark leader had disagreed, eventually she let him go. Mudpaw was glad, too, for he wouldn’t have gotten to witness Sharpmoon giving Demonkit a name.

Mudpaw thought it was a horrible name, but in reality, he could understand why Sharpmoon chose it. That was the name that Rainfur was given, same with Jactur. Sharpmoon was showing the other cats what will happen if they ever do something like Rainfur did.

Mudpaw quickly looked over Robinwing after running up to her. There were no wounds, and she still seemed perfectly healthy aside from the fact she was exhausted. Even though Mudpaw hadn’t really trained as a medicine cat, he had a feeling that he would learn quickly, because he’d already learned how to tell if a cat was exhausted and how serious their wounds were. He figured that StarClan had something to do with it.

“I’m fine, Mudpaw,” Robinwing murmured, smiling at her kits even though they had been nearly killed. “We all are.” The silver she-cat looked up to him, but he didn’t pay attention. Mudpaw was too busy looking at the kits, checking for any injuries that might have come to be because of the intense labour that the family went through. “Thank you, Mudpaw, for saving my kits.” Mudpaw looked up to the young queen as she whispered that.

“I just wish Rainfur would have been here to see them,” said Mudpaw, making Robinwing look to the ground. She was obviously really depressed of what happened to her mate. Everyone was. But Robinwing had saved his life many times, and she probably thought that it was her fault that he died. “So what are you going to name the tom? Obviously the she-cat is Demonkit now, but you can still name him.”

Robinwing smiled as she looked over to her pale grey son who squealed slightly as Demonkit got too close to him. They were both very large and healthy kits, and Mudpaw was sure that they would become strong and independent no matter where they lived.

“Bravekit,” said Robinwing at last, continuing to smile at her kits. “After Bravestar, for he saved my life more than once. I shall thank him by naming my kit after him.” Bravekit squealed just as his mother said that, and so Mudpaw laughed a bit.

“It seems as if he likes that name,” said Mudpaw with a large grin on his face. He let Robinwing look at her kits a little while longer before remembering exactly where they were. “Should we head back to WindClan? We aren’t very sheltered here with all of the Warriors being tested.” Robinwing looked up to him before nodding.

Just as she stood up, though, Mudpaw’s vision changed. It felt as if he were being lifted into the air as the island around him disappeared into a bright light that surrounded him too quickly. After landing on the ground, he found that he wasn’t on the island anymore. He wasn’t even in the forest.

Mudpaw looked around before discovering that he was in a large jungle that seemed occupied. There were many voices around him, and though some where distant others were very clear. He could only hear a few though, and as he tried to make sense of them, he found it nearly impossible.

“Dad! I’m a prince, can’t I at least come to a gathering?”

“Father, why must we fight these cats?”

“Father, why can’t we live in peace?”

“Father, I shall leave you tonight. I cannot live like this.”

Mudpaw only got a few more sentences before everything stopped. It was quiet as the scenery changed once again to… the sky? Mudpaw couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw that he was actually in the sky, standing in mid-air as he franticly looked around for an explanation.

Then suddenly Mudpaw scented smoke, and so he looked around, finding it riding the air above the trees just a few tail-lengths ahead of him. Below it a large fire flickered as it ate up the green trees and bushes. That was when he understood it. That was when he knew.

Smoke is only a warning for the fire ahead, Mudpaw thought, closing his eyes as he calmed himself. That means that this is only the beginning. . .

“Mudpaw? Mudpaw!” Robinwing screamed with a worried look in her eyes. After blinking several times, Mudpaw stood up straight and turned toward the silver queen, who now looked very confused and curious as to what had happened. Mudpaw just gave a weak smile.

“Medicine cat stuff,” he answered. “Now shall we continue?”

*

Stormpaw sat down by the fresh-kill pile, cutting out anything that he didn’t want to hear, see, or feel. So any sound coming from the ShadowClan camp was sent away. Any sights that should have interested him were shut out by his eye-lids. And the feeling of touch didn’t reach him. He was alone, just like he wanted to be.

Stormpaw was silently crying as he sat there, unable to show his emotions because of everything he was blocking out. He was too shocked, surprised, and depressed to do anything but sit there, for losing his brother again had broken him entirely. Stormpaw wasn’t even sure if he could be repaired.

Being mentally and physically fatigued didn’t help matters. Not only had he pushed his body to the limit by fighting the toms older and bigger than he was, Matar had used his mind as a battlefield for him and Rainfur to fight, leaving Stormpaw exhausted, not to mention wounded.

Stormpaw choked back a few tears as he thought of Rainfur. His brother, dead. His family, gone. His power, defeated. His reason to live? Gone. Stormpaw didn’t know what to do anymore, because even though he’d heard stories from Matar already about how Rainfur had become a cat in the first place, he just couldn’t live.

Rainfur wouldn’t have wanted you to kill yourself again, came Matar’s voice. Stormpaw flinched at this, releasing any barrier he’d made for himself out of fright. He was still not used to Matar’s ever changing thoughts popping into his own head. It was like someone was always watching you. You were never alone.

Well what am I supposed to do? Stormpaw asked, his words showing his irritation and depression. He hated the fact that he could be the prophecy cat. Matar had told him several times that because he was a candidate, he had to stay alive, no matter what happened around him.

Rainfur attempted to save the world when he became a cat, said Matar. So what about you? Stormpaw hissed in frustration. Why did Matar have to be so fatherly? It was just so annoying!

Yeah, and look how well that turned out, Stormpaw muttered. Can’t I just die and get this over with? I hate being like this! Can’t I just be normal and forget? Can’t I just move on? Matar sighed, and though Stormpaw couldn’t see him, he figured that the tom was annoyed with him too.

Even if Rainfur was alive, he wouldn’t remember you, said Matar, making Stormpaw narrow his emerald eyes in confusion. He didn’t know Sharpmoon could do that let alone if it was even possible. Rainfur must have left that part of the conversation out for some reason.

What? asked Stormpaw, still unable to believe it.

It was Sharpmoon’s doing, said Matar. He took all of your brother’s memories right after showing Rainfur everything. And then he killed him. Stormpaw clawed at the ground, his teeth clenched together in anger as he imagined the tabby leader dying a very slow and painful death.

I want to claw the fur off of that stupid cat’s butt! Stormpaw hissed. I want to kill him over and over, and then send him to the Dark Forest. I want to—

Stormpaw, stop, Matar hissed. I get the point. You want revenge. But you want to die, so how can you get it? Stormpaw blinked. He saw what Matar was saying, but he didn’t know if he wanted to accept it. But eventually, he did.

Fine, I’ll just have to—

Stormpaw’s head suddenly felt as if it were being ripped into two. He had to bite his tongue to keep himself from screaming, even more as Matar started yowling in agony. This lasted for many more moments before everything relaxed, sending the both of them into silence.

After a few moments, Stormpaw asked, What happened?

. . .That would be. . .uh. . .Jactur. Matar answered, sounding concerned. He’s obviously angry at Rainfur, but also a bit sad. He probably had to witness Rainfur forgetting everything, including himself, since your brother didn’t even remember any of his human memories. Stormpaw’s eyes widened, suddenly understanding what this meant.

You mean that idiot’s alive? asked Stormpaw, his heart racing as the pieces suddenly fit together.

Yes, but without Rainfur, he shouldn’t even be connected with us, Matar murmured. He should just be a lingering spirit, awaiting someone insane enough to attach himself to. But what we just witnessed was his anger at Rainfur, and this means that—

My brother is still alive, Stormpaw finished after interrupting Matar.

*

Rainfur opened his eyes slightly as the pain of the wound returned to him. He groaned as he sat up, his body weak after losing so much blood. But still got up, no longer feeling the touch of the three cats who had drug him to this unfamiliar place.

Rainfur winced as the wound on his neck and the screeching head-ache in his mind both doubled in pain at the same time. He knew that there was still someone in his head, like the voice he’d heard earlier, but he still couldn’t remember who it was.

After a few moments of letting the pain die out a bit, Rainfur looked around, finding that he was in a rocky area that suddenly dropped off a few tail-lengths ahead of him. For some reason—maybe it was just his instincts—he knew that there was an ocean crashing into the mountain side a few feet below the drop off, making him back away almost.

Rainfur caught a territorial scent a few moments later, making his senses go alert. Other cats lived here, and by instinct he knew that he was not in the safest place right then. But as he tried to stand, he just fell, unable to find the strength to step forward.

He tried several more times before giving up. Rainfur hoped that he could heal himself, because he knew that if he didn’t, he would probably die, not once understanding what was going on within him or around him. He didn’t want to die. Not only because common sense told him otherwise, but because there was the feeling of being needed as well.

Suddenly there was a rustling in one of the few bushes around him. Rainfur flinched, turning his attention toward the bush in which he’d heard the movement from. His ears automatically searched for any more movements to see if he was surrounded, but found he was not, allowing him to relax slightly.

After a few moments, five large cats walked out from the bush, their eyes narrowed onto him. There was a black tom with green eyes, a brown tom with amber eyes, a grey she-cat with yellow eyes, a cream coloured she-cat with dark blue eyes, and a slender golden she-cat with icy blue eyes who looked to be both the strongest, and the leader of the group.

“Who are you?” asked the golden she-cat in a melodic yet demanding voice. Rainfur flinched, realizing how out-numbered he was.

“I-I don’t remember!” Rainfur answered, the fear in his eyes making the golden she-cat harden her stare. She obviously didn’t like weakness, seeing as she had so few. For some reason, Rainfur was drawn to her, and though he didn’t know why, he hoped it wasn’t because of how pretty she was.

“He must be lying, Huntress,” growled the black tom with green eyes. “No cat can’t remember who he is. He must be faking it. Let’s kill him before he becomes a threat to us.” Huntress, the golden she-cat, flicked her tail, signalling for the tom to be quiet. Almost immediately, he shut his mouth, as if afraid of her.

“I didn’t ask for your opinion, Midnight,” Huntress told him, though she didn’t take her eyes off of Rainfur. “But I am curious, cat, how you don’t remember. Would you mind telling me?” Rainfur was shaking now, afraid that these cats would kill him.

“I don’t remember that either,” Rainfur murmured, lowering his body to the ground as he looked up to Huntress. “I-I just remember waking up just before this cat tried to kill me. Then I remember being drug over here, and then meeting you. I’m clueless otherwise.” Huntress looked curious now, as if his story had sparked her interest.

“Huntress, don’t fall for his trick,” said the grey she-cat with yellow eyes. “He’s just trying to lure you into his trap. Kill him.” Huntress gave a low growl, still not taking her eyes off of Rainfur as he stood their shaking.

“Ash, I don’t remember asking you for advice,” Huntress hissed, frustration showing in her voice. “Besides, I can see that he doesn’t remember it. You know how I am with reading cats.” The cream coloured cat sighed with annoyance, her dark blue eyes showing her boredom.

“We are supposed to be looking for that Volan,” the cream coloured cat muttered. “Can’t we just let him die? He’s a waste of our time at the moment.”

“Stop treating me like a kit!” Huntress hissed, making the other cats flinch. “You always have, Sand, and I have always hated that part of you.” Sand lowered her head, as if aware that she was going to get a punishment after the conversation was over.

“Such power I see within you. . .” Huntress murmured, circling Rainfur now. “Father would adore it. He would crave it. Maybe if you’re strong enough, he’ll make you his second in command.” The brown tom stood up next, looking cautious as he took a step toward their leader.

“You aren’t thinking of bring him with us, are you?” asked the brown tom. “Your father will be furious! This cat will only be a burden with those wounds of his, and how long will it be until he can work?” Huntress sighed, finally looking over to the cats behind her.

“If this tom was strong enough to stay alive through that wound, he shows proof of great power,” Huntress told them, her eyes narrowed. “Even if my father won’t accept him as a sighter, fighter, or hunter, maybe he’ll accept him as a servant. Besides, what harm could one so wounded do to us?” The cats still looked cautious, making Huntress even angrier.

“How do you know this cat isn’t faking the wound?” asked brown tom.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of cats this judgmental. said the strange voice. Rainfur hadn’t heard it since the tabby tom had wounded him, so now he was excited the voice was back.

Who are you? Rainfur asked, eagerly awaiting an answer.

I’m. . .uh. . .just a voice inside your head, the voice answered. You can call me Jactur though. I’ll explain everything later. Rainfur accepted that answer and turned his attention back to the conversation in front of him. Just as he did, Huntress stood straighter with a proud look in her eye before turning toward him.

“We shall take you to our home where my father will decide what to do with you,” said Huntress, looking very pleased that he was going to live. “Until then, you might as well know our names. I’m The Lone Huntress, though they refer to me as Huntress. The black tom over there is the Blizzard of Midnight, though we just call him Midnight. The brown tom is The Last Fire, and we call him Fire. The cream she-cat is The Sand of the Ocean’s Tide, and we call her Sand. The grey she-cat is The Spark’s Ash, and we call her Ash.” Rainfur nodded, taking note of their names.

“Oh, and welcome to the Cats of the Storms.” Huntress finished.

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