Snatched: The Story of Snowkit

Snowkit was always assumed dead by ThunderClan. But what if he wasn't? What if StarClan took him away from the Clan that would have never given him a chance? What if he had a greater destiny than anyone in ThunderClan could have believed?


8. Lessons

Snowpaw watched, sitting atop a rock, as Frost played with her two brothers. Her mouth opened in a battle-cry as she launched herself from the top of the rubble-pile where Lightning spoke to the group, landing squarely on Cricket. He saw Cricket's mouth open in a yelp as he squirmed underneath his larger sister. Then, Rain came to the rescue of his brother, knocking Frost off of Cricket and pinning her down. A smile curled Snowpaw's muzzle, although he knew he couldn't join in. He wouldn't be able to hear their battle cries, to hear them yelling things like 'down with Fear' or 'Lightning will save the day!'. It wasn't nearly as fun without those little quirks, or so he had always thought. Big and Ginger had always gad more fun playing without him.

"What's the matter?" he felt Moss say, as she wrapped her tail around him. It had been a half moon since he had first joined her family, and he was beginning to be able to detect rumbles while touching other parts of the body, not just the throat, although the throat was the best option.

Snowpaw just shrugged, and Moss nuzzled his side.

"You want to play with them, huh?" she asked. "Frost told me that when you changed your name, you became an apprentice. That means you learn from other cats, right?"

Snowpaw hesitated, and then nodded. "Yeah, I learn from a mentor," he said quietly. Moss smiled at him.

"Would you like a lesson, then?" she asked. Snowpaw turned to her, surprised.

"A lesson?" he echoed. Moss simply smiled and got to her paws, and padded away. Snowpaw followed her quickly, excited to see what sort of lesson he would learn. Moss led him along, finally stopping near a large boulder covered in moss.

"I was named Moss for my eyes," she explained, touching the boulder gently with her tail. "We use moss for all sorts of things; carrying water, bedding, holding juices and the like." Moss reared on her hind legs and braced her front paws against the rock. She pushed with all of her might and it flipped over on its side, exposing dark earth and cobwebs.

"Cobwebs are used for binding serious wounds like yours. They can cause infections though, so we usually pair them with something to stop the infection; yarrow, marigold, burdock leaves, those sorts of things." Snowpaw nodded slowly at Moss's words, and as they walked she pointed out the plants she had been talking about. "Those berries are deadly," she told him, pointing at a bright red clump, "if eaten you will die very rapidly. Even one berry can kill a cat like yourself."

Snowpaw watched the berries nervously. What if he had eaten them, when he was out alone, or even with another cat? They would have called out for him to stop and he wouldn't have heard them. He would have eaten them and died. Snowpaw shivered, and continued following Moss.

She showed him all sorts of plants that day, and by the time they returned home, Snowpaw was tired but pleased with all of the things he had learned. Most cats recognized herbs by sight, but Snowpaw could recognize them by scenting and touching them as well. Moss had said she was proud of him.

I'll be the best warrior, he thought. I can get Tabby to show me how to fight, and then I'll know all about herbs too! He let out a rumbling purr, and curled up beside Moss to sleep.

* * *

A rough paw jolted Snowpaw awake. He blinked slowly, and saw moonlight glinting off of white fur. For a moment he thought he was dreaming, but mismatched eyes twinkled at him, and he realized it was Frost.

She jabbed him again, and this time Snowpaw caught her paw in his mouth. She looked surprised, and jerked it out, motioning for him to follow. Snowpaw did so, and saw Cricket and Rain sitting near the pile of rubble.

"You said we'd have our first Clan meeting on the half-moon, did you forget?" Frost whispered, pressing her pelt against his. Snowpaw shook his head quickly; in reality he had, but that wasn't important.

"We've decided we're calling this the StonePile," Rain said as they approached and Snowpaw put his tail on Rain's side, while keeping his pelt pressed against Frost. Rain's voice had the ring of authority, and Snowpaw realized Rain wanted to be leader.

Snowpaw nodded slowly. "Leaders address their Clan on high places like this," he told them.

"So, we know all about the warrior code and stuff," Frost said eagerly, "What's next?"

"We'll need a leader, a deputy – that's the second in command – and a medicine cat," Snowpaw said, glancing around the group. "And then one of us will have to be an ordinary warrior."

"I'll be the warrior," Cricket offered, putting his muzzle on Snowpaw's shoulder so that he would understand. "I'm not good for anything else."

Rain nuzzled his brother's shoulder, before turning to Snowpaw. "I want to be leader," he declared, just as Snowpaw had thought.

"What does a medicine cat do?" Frost asked curiously.

"They take care of the Clan, with herbs and stuff," Snowpaw exclaimed. The three kits looked disappointed, and Snowpaw felt like he wasn't explaining the medicine cat's holy duties well enough. "They speak to StarClan and get signs from them."

"StarClan are the dead cats, right?" Rain asked, and rolled his eyes. "Who would want to speak with them?"

"Leaders have to, also," Snowpaw told him. "Then they get nine lives from StarClan."

Rain's eyes glittered at the prospect, and Snowpaw's heart sank. He appreciates the warrior ancestors only for power, Snowpaw thought. Not a good quality in a leader, although he does care about the other cats, like Cricket. If Cricket was braver he would be a good deputy, or something…but he'll have to be a warrior for now.

"StarClan sounds cool," Frost said, and then wrinkled her nose. "I don't want to mess with a bunch of gross juices and stuff, though. Can I be deputy?"

Snowpaw considered the matter for a moment. Frost had been brave enough to find Snowpaw, and she cared about him enough to do so. She was quick to defend Cricket, and she tolerated Rain at the very least.

"I think you should be leader," he told her, and Frost's face lit up. She beamed at him.

"Really?" she purred, and Snowpaw nodded quickly.

"Rain, you can be deputy," Snowpaw told Rain, seeing the mutinous look on Rain's face. "That leaves me being the medicine cat, I suppose." It was fitting, seeing as how he had learned plenty about herbs today from Moss.

Rain nodded slowly. "So if Frost dies then I'm leader?" he asked, and Snowpaw nodded. Rain seemed satisfied.

"What are we going to name our Clan, then?" Frost asked. "They usually have names, right?"

"They're named for their leader," Snowpaw explained, "so we'll be FrostClan."

Frost let out a purr.

"So when I am leader will it be RainClan?" Rain asked, and Snowpaw shook his head.

"It will always be FrostClan," he replied. "Now, Frost, your name will be Froststar because you'll have nine lives and be in touch with StarClan. Rain, you'll need a warrior name…how about Rainclaw?"

Rain smiled. "Sounds fierce, I like it," he purred.

"What about me?" Cricket asked quietly. Snowpaw thought for a moment.

"You're fast, right?" he asked, and Cricket nodded quickly. "Cricketleap, then," Snowpaw proclaimed, and Cricket smiled.

"What about you?" Frost asked. Snowpaw paused for a moment to consider it.

"Snowstorm?" he suggested, and the others shrugged.

"It's as good as any. We aren't too good at names yet," Frost said with a smile. "So…FrostClan." She shivered. "This is going to be awesome, I can feel it."

Snowpaw smiled at her, feeling her own excitement welling up within him. "Call the first meeting," he told Frost, and she nodded quickly, climbing up onto the rubble.

"Let all those that can catch their own prey gather under the StonePile," Snowpaw said. Frost nodded quickly and repeated what Snowpaw had said. Cricket pressed his pelt against Snowpaw's, translating for him. Frost smiled down at him, her whiskers twitching with nervousness.

"Is there any news in our Clan?" Snowpaw asked. Frost hesitated for a moment.

"We would like to thank Snowstorm," she said finally, and Snowpaw's ears pricked with surprise. What had he done?

"We would like to think him for allowing StarClan to light our path," Frost continued. "I hope he has many long moons of life, and plenty of time being our medicine cat." She beamed down at him and Snowpaw beamed back, his heart glowing with pride.

"Can I speak?" Rain asked, and without waiting for a reply, continued, "I saw a fox on our territory the other day. We should be vigilant, and run it out if we have to so it doesn't eat our kits."

Cricket stiffened, and Rain leaned towards him, "It's just pretend, stupid," Rain whispered, but his tone was gentle. Cricket nodded quickly.

Frost glared down at her brother. "You interrupted me, that's disrespectful. Isn't it, Snowpaw?" She looked to him for support, and Snowpaw nodded quickly. Rain rolled his eyes, but said nothing else as Frost said some other make-believe things that gave them the appearance of a large Clan. Finally, Snowpaw noted the position of the moon.

"We should get back before Moss and Gleam stir," he said, but he was really just eager to dream and see if he had done well, according to the white she-cat who walked in his dreams. Rain glanced up at the moon.

"It isn't that late," he rationalized, but Frost was nodding.

"We don't want to be tired tomorrow," she said. "I, Froststar, leader of FrostClan, declare this Clan meeting over!" With that, she sprang down from the rubble. Rain shrugged, and he and Cricket headed for their den. Frost came to stand by Snowpaw, her eyes twinkling.

"Thanks for making me leader," she whispered, allowing him to touch her throat so he would feel what she was saying. She gave him a quick lick on the muzzle before hurrying to follow her brothers, leaving Snowpaw feeling warm and safe.

* * *

"I'm so proud!" the she-cat purred, rubbing muzzles with Snowpaw. "You're making such progress! You're going about it correctly, just a bit at a time. After a moon or two of play, I suspect your friends will be bored of this game, and so then you should move in with a new idea, of becoming warriors for real."

"Warriors for real?" Snowpaw echoed. "What does that mean?"

Her blue eyes sparkled at him, but she didn't reply. "I knew we were right to pick you, Snowpaw," she said softly, and then flicked her tail. "Come, we have much to talk about."

She led Snowpaw through the forest. "We're going to learn more about herbs today," she said, "but a special kind."

Snowpaw nodded slowly, watching as she pointed out a strange, thick leaf. "We use these during kittings," she explained. "We slide the leaf underneath the queen to soak up the blood."

Snowpaw nodded slowly, thinking of Moss. She was huge now, and didn't leave the den often. It was quite nice of her to take him through the forest, showing him everything. It must have been taxing on her, though.

"I know those," he said, pointing to more leaves. "Those are borage. Moss eats them every morning."

The she-cat nodded. "Those are for milk," she said, and they continued on. As they went, the she-cat pointed out several other kinds of herbs that Moss hadn't shown him, some with interesting uses. The only ones that Snowpaw didn't see were deathberries.

Finally their little tour came to an end, with the she-cat facing Snowpaw, still smiling.

"I'm very proud," she said softly. "Keep up the good work, Snowpaw, and we'll make a Clan out of them in no time."

With that, the dream began to fade. Snowpaw closed his eyes.

When he opened them again, he was in Moss's den. Her huge form blocked the entrance, and Snowpaw nosed her side gently to wake her so he could get out. Moss blinked slowly; her green eyes appeared dazed and unfocused. She moved over to one sight, letting out a quiet sigh as she did so.

"Bellyache?" Snowpaw inquired, and Moss nodded.

"I'm a little sore from the walking yesterday," she replied, and Snowpaw looked down at his paws.

"Sorry," he said. "you shouldn't have taken me."

Moss licked his nose gently. "Don't say things like that," she said. "You're just as much my kit as these," she gestured at her stomach with one paw.

"I'll get you something for the soreness," Snowpaw offered, and Moss smiled at him.

"That would be wonderful," she said, and Snowpaw left the den, striding out of camp with purpose.

He found what he was looking for soon enough, a clump of tansy. The she-cat had told him all about it; the leaves were good for joint pains and soreness. Snowpaw stripped the leaves off of the plant and carried them back, depositing them in front of Moss. She chewed them up and swallowed them without asking what they were, and Snowpaw felt a glow of pride at the trust she put in him. She let out a sigh and closed her eyes, relaxing, and Snowpaw padded away to join Frost, Rain, and Cricket who were playing again.

"We'll meet again tonight, okay?" Snowpaw whispered. The others turned to him and nodded quickly, all smiling.

"Want to play?" Cricket offered, pressing his muzzle against Snowpaw's side. Snowpaw blinked in surprise.

"I don't know if I can," he said quietly. "I can't hear you coming, or anything."

"No sneaking around, then," Frost said from his other side. "We'll just come straight at you, okay?"

Snowpaw hesitated, and then nodded, feeling grateful. Frost grinned and she backed away, crouching down and wagging her hindquarters around. Snowpaw smiled, remembering the first time they had played.

The sudden attack from the left knocked Snowpaw over, and he found little Cricket grinning at him.

"I wasn't hiding," Cricket said joyfully, "you could see me, you just weren't paying attention!"

Snowpaw smiled up at him. "That was my fault," he agreed, and Cricket moved to the side. Then, suddenly, Frost, Cricket, and Rain all turned their heads violently and stared at something. Puzzled, Snowpaw turned at looked at what they were staring at. Moss was lying on her side, panting, her mouth open in a cry.

Lightning burst from his den, running to her side. Gleam appeared, and began herding the kits towards her den.

"Wait, what's going on?" Snowpaw asked, straining to be heard over Moss.

Gleam hesitated, and Snowpaw quickly offered his tail. "Moss is kitting," Gleam said finally. "Hurry, now, this isn't something for kits to see."

"I'm an apprentice," Snowpaw said, and then moved quickly, avoiding her outstretched paw and running forward, towards Moss.

"We need to move her!" Snowpaw shouted. "Not back into the den, farther into the open! She'll need air."

Lightning glanced at him, and hesitated. Snowpaw met his gaze evenly.

"I know what I'm doing," Snowpaw growled, and Lightning nodded slowly, grabbing Moss gently by the scruff and pulling her. Moss trembled in his grasp, letting out a moan Snowpaw couldn't hear as she sank to the ground again.

"Er, Tabby, go find me some thick leaves. There's a bush nearby where you can find one," Snowpaw ordered, calling the first name to come to mind. Tabby nodded quickly and dashed away. She returned with a clump of leaves, all different kinds and thickness. Snowpaw would have smiled, if he hadn't been so stressed. He chose the thickest, sliding it underneath Moss. She let out another moan, and it appeared she was making words. Snowpaw bent beside her, pressing his tail against her throat.

"Tansy," she croaked, and Snowpaw blinked, confused. Then, it came rushing back to him, something that the white she-cat had said earlier, something that he had forgotten; tansy could cause pregnancies to move faster. They could cause miscarriages.

Snowpaw was suddenly gripped by fear. How much had she eaten? How long had it been?

"Just hang on, Moss," Snowpaw said. "Lightning, groom her, soothe her, do something. Just tell her to keep pushing."

Again Lightning met Snowpaw's gaze and seemed about to argue, but another groan from Moss caused him to begin whispering into her ear, licking her gently, lovingly.

The first kits head became visible, and there was the smell of blood.

"Push, push!" Snowpaw shouted, aware that he was being louder than necessary. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Mud, looking worried, Slate, with a helpless look in his green eyes, and Tabby, pale under her fur with fear. Gleam had disappeared, comforting her own kits. StarClan, help me do this! Snowpaw prayed. Please, let us get through this!

The first kit was out, with a final push and a cry from Moss. It was strange looking, feeble and with matted fur. Wordlessly, Snowpaw nudged it towards Moss's stomach. Immediately, Mud stepped forward to lick the scrap of fur. It was strange, seeing the stoic, fierce warrior bending down to lick the helpless kit to life. Snowpaw bit his lip, hoping the kit would be alive. He wouldn't be able to tell, he wouldn't be able to hear its first cry. Suddenly, Mud's stern face split into a smile, and Snowpaw knew the first kit would be alright.

The second kit appeared, and within moments it too was out, and being licked into life by Slate. Slate looked troubled, and he kept nudging the kit with one paw, before licking it again. Finally, Snowpaw bent down and put his ear over the kits heart. Sorrow clutched his chest: the kit was dead. Snowpaw closed his eyes, feeling sorrow wrack him. He opened his eyes and stared at Lightning. Lightning actually looked scared; his eyes were wide, pleading almost. Snowpaw shook his head.

One kit, then, was that it? Snowpaw stared down at it. It was golden, like its father, and looked healthy enough. It was tiny, but surely big for a kit, the way Lightning was gazing at it, as if the kit and Moss were the only creatures in the world to him.

And then, Moss trembled again, and Snowpaw turned, surprised to see a third kit. Hope stirred in his chest; perhaps the golden kit would have a sister, or a brother. Lightning pleaded for Moss to push, and the third kit was out. Snowpaw began licking it immediately, begging for it to stir, to move, to cry out. StarClan, please, Snowpaw thought. Let it live, please. Don't punish Moss for my mistake! Don't leave the golden kit all alone!

And then, he felt it through his paws and tongue, the slightest whimper of life. Snowpaw found himself letting out a jubilant cry, and he hurriedly moved the kit over to its mother, watching as it latched on and began to suckle.

And then, Moss was silent, exhausted. Snowpaw felt like collapsing himself, and when he looked up at the sky, he found the sun was setting. Snowpaw blinked in surprise – how could so much time have passed? – before finding himself watching Lightning. Lightning's face was tender as he looked down at his kits and mate, and Snowpaw found himself wishing that Lightning would stare at him that way, feel that love for him. And then, Lightning did look up at Snowpaw, and there was gratitude and relief shining in his eyes.

"Thank you," he said, and although Snowpaw couldn't hear it, he could read it on Lightning's lips. Snowpaw nodded, and stared down at the kits.

"I'll take care of this one," Snowpaw said softly, picking up the dead second kit. Lightning gazed at it a moment, and then closed his eyes, nodding. Snowpaw strode past the other cats, out of camp, into the forest.

He chose a spot near the old, mossy boulder that Moss had first showed him. He began scooping out the earth – it was still somewhat damp – and placed the kit inside its grave, feeling sorrowful.

"I'm sorry," he whispered to it. "It was my fault." StarClan, watch over this one, he prayed. Never let me make a mistake like that again.

Snowpaw had learned his first and hardest lesson of becoming an apprentice. Sometimes, no matter how hard you tried, you made mistakes. And sometimes, others paid for your mistakes with their lives.

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...