Blazing - Book One: Into the Wild

Seasons ago, Bluefur refused to give up her kits, and Thistleclaw became deputy in her place. Thistlestar leads his clan cruelly, greedy for land. In his territorial rage, he chases away and injures young kittypet Rusty. RiverClan rescues Rusty and accepts him into their clan, but while he just wants to learn the ways of his clan, he finds himself in the middle of a desperate war.


20. Chapter 18

Fireheart stretched his jaws in a wide yawn as the sun began to rise in the sky, casting soft orange glows across the early morning sky. He shifted his paws quietly- he was feeling quite stiff from sitting this way all night.

He looked over his shoulder as he heard pawsteps approaching him and his fellow new warriors. It was Leopardfur.

"You may leave your posts now and speak," she told them. "Welcome back to the Clan as true warriors."

Mosspelt nodded before yawning. "Thank you."

"Feel free to eat or sleep," Leopardfur said, twitching her whiskers. "But be ready to patrol by sun-high." The golden deputy turned away and padded off towards the fresh-kill pile.

Silverthorn stretched. "I'm sleeping. These bites still hurt pretty badly."

Shadepelt rose quietly. "I'm eating first."

Fireheart nodded. "Fresh-kill sounds great."

Mosspelt yawned again. "I'm with Silverthorn. Any longer and I'll fall asleep on my paws!"

The four cats parted ways, and Fireheart and Shadepelt padded towards the fresh-kill pile. Fireheart grabbed a small trout and was about to head to the corner of camp where he usually ate when a call stopped him.

"Hey, Fireheart!" He blinked and turned to see Silversteam sitting by the reeds where the river came right up by camp, making the shallows where kits learned to swim. She was with Heavystep, Frogleap, Reedtail, Dawnbright, and Sedgecreek, all of whom were eating and chatting. "Come sit with us warriors!"

Fireheart purred and headed towards the group. Heavystep and Silverstream scooted aside to make room for him, and he took a seat and dropped his meal.

"How's it feel to be one of us?" Silverstream asked, flicking him with her tail.

"Great!" Fireheart purred, taking a bite of his trout. "I can't wait to get to my nest, though."

Heavystep nudged him with his shoulder. "Silverstream and I made nests for all of you. I can show you to yours after you're done eating."

Dawnbright grinned at her former apprentice. "I never got a chance to congratulate you last night. I'm proud of you, Fireheart."

Fireheart swallowed his mouthful and smiled. "Thank you. You were a great mentor."

"Where's the others?" Reedtail asked. "Everyone else too tired to eat?"

"Silverthorn and Mosspelt did," Fireheart replied. "Shadepelt said she was eating, but I don't know where she went…"

Heavystep nodded past their group. "She's eating with Vixenpaw."

Fireheart looked over her shoulder to see the two she-cats sharing a fat fish. They were talking quietly to one another, too quiet for Fireheart to catch what they were saying, but Vixenpaw looked happy.

Fireheart and his companions returned to their meals. This is good, he thought happily. I feel like a real part of RiverClan now.

Dawnbright purred in amusement as her sister's kits tumbled from the nursery, yowling battle cries. They were just over four moons now, and it seemed every time Fireheart saw them they were bigger.

Soon enough they'll be apprentices, Fireheart thought, and with a little thrill of excitement, he added, Maybe I'll get to mentor one of them!

As they finished their meals, Fireheart yawned, blinking drowsily. I'm beat.

"Ready to sleep?" Heavystep purred, and Fireheart nodded quickly. "Follow me."

Fireheart followed him past the medicine cats' den, towards the large reed den that made up the warriors' den. He had only poked his head in once or twice, but never properly been inside. The den was about three times larger than the apprentice's den, woven out of reeds, mud, and willow branches, with the far back wall ending at the trunk of a tall willow. Nests were scattered throughout the den, and Fireheart noticed the largest, nicest ones were towards the center.

"Who sleeps there?" He asked, nodded at the larger nests.

"The senior warriors sleep towards the middle," Heavystep explained. "It's warmer there. Us newbies get outer nests. Speaking of which…" Heavystep led Fireheart along the left wall towards a round, mossy nest that was full of down and cattail fuzz. He nodded down at the nest. "We made 'em extra soft, for your first new nest. It's up to you to deal with them from now on, though."

Fireheart grinned at his companion. "Thanks, Heavystep."

Heavystep shrugged good-naturedly and turned around as he began to pad out the den. "No problem."

With a satisfied sigh, Fireheart sank into his soft nest, curled up, and closed his eyes. It was not long before he was plunged into a peaceful, dreamless sleep.

Fireheart pounced on a fat water vole, nipping its spine sharply before he picked it up and padded towards the rock where he'd stored his pile. As he dropped the vole, he heard the dead bracken from the forest rustling.

Fireheart felt himself bristling as he flattened his ears and looked towards the forest. Is it Tigerclaw with another patrol of apprentices? "Who's there?" He demanded, lifting his tail in the air and arching his back. "Show yourself!"

The stranger froze, and the movement all but stopped.

Fireheart snorted. "I know you're there."

After a pause, he blinked as Sandpaw padded out from the undergrowth. Her ears were flattened as she glared defiantly at him, but he frowned as he saw how she looked. She seemed tired, skinnier than when he last saw her, and her back and sides with riddled with fresh, undressed wounds.

"What do you want, kittypet?" Sandpaw demanded. "I'm on my side of the border."

Fireheart relaxed his stance. "You're hurt," he pointed out. "What happened to you?"

A wary look flashed in the she-cat's eyes. "That's my business, fish-face!"

Fireheart rolled his eyes. "Wow, great insult. Did Tigerclaw teach you that one?"

Sandpaw bared her teeth at him. "I can still take you, kittypet!"

Fireheart sighed. "Look, I'm just asking what happened. You look hungry and hurt."

Sandpaw scowled at him. "Why should you care about me?"

"It just doesn't seem right," Fireheart said, taking a step closer. "Why didn't your medicine cat patch you up?"

Sandpaw hesitated and looked away for a moment. "Fine, I'll tell you. ShadowClan attacked us last night. They…" She sat down and flattened her ears again. "My father was killed in the battle."

Fireheart's heart sank. "Oh. I'm so sorry." He glanced at his hidden kills. "Would you like a vole?"

Sandpaw narrowed her eyes. "I can't take that from you."

"Please," Fireheart picked one up and padded closer to her before he dropped it at her paws. "You shouldn't be starving this late in Newleaf."

Sandpaw stared down at the vole. "Fine. But only because you dropped it at my paws. If anyone asks I'm telling them you forced it down my throat."

Fireheart laughed. "If that makes you feel better." He sat down and watched as she crouched to take a large bite. "Is your Clan okay?"

Sandpaw gave him an odd look. She did not reply and took another bite before she sat back up and twitched her whiskers. "Thistlestar is planning on forging an alliance with RiverClan," she told him. "He wants your Clan's help in defeating ShadowClan once and for all."

Fireheart blinked in surprise. "Why does he need our help?"

Sandpaw stared down at her paws. "They stole kits," she admitted quietly. Frostfur is distraught and a lot of cats were injured. He knows you gave them hunting rights, she he thinks he can use that to convince you to help us."

We took them back, though, Fireheart thought privately.

Sandpaw was quiet again as she finished off the vole and licked her lips in satisfaction. She already looked better, Fireheart thought- less lethargic.

Fireheart turned away for a moment to fetch another. "Here," he offered, dropping it before her. "Take one back with you, too."

Sandpaw stared at him quietly for a moment. "You're one of the most confusing cats I've ever met," she stated, before she picked up the vole and retreated into the forest again. The dead bracken swished behind her until she was gone from sight.

Fireheart watched her go curiously. I feel like she left something out… But what? And why didn't their medicine cat fix her wounds?

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