Fire and Shadow

AU. Rusty has been adopted not by ThunderClan...but ShadowClan!


29. Chapter Twenty-Nine

"What happened after Ravenwing saw the fire in ThunderClan territory?" Nightstar asked his deputy. It had been a few days since Firefang and the others returned from their quest to find WindClan and discovered the fire upon their return. Firefang had all but collapsed by the time he made it back to ShadowClan's camp. After a few days of rest and a night or two under Yellowfang's eye, Firefang was practically itching to get out. Fortunately, Nightstar had taken Firefang aside to get a full report.

"We followed him." Firefang answered, already tired after giving a full explanation of the journey, finding and convincing WindClan to return, and of their harrowing escape from the dog pack. "But there wasn't anything we could do. The fire was dying down by this point and the damage had already been done. ThunderClan's camp had been devastated and so had most of their territory." Firefang could still see Ravenwing's forlorn expression when he saw his home in ruins…it reminded him too much of the damage done to WindClan's camp. "We feared the worst, especially when we found Halftail and Patchpelt. They hadn't gotten out in time and the smoke…" Firefang trailed off.

Nighstar nodded sympathetically. "I understand." He sighed. "I knew them when we were all much, much younger, back when Halftail was Sparrowpelt, even." The black cat shook his head, dispelling his wandering memories. "And was that when you found—"

Firefang closed his eyes and bowed his head. "Yes." He mewed gently. "That's when we found Spottedleaf. She had been trying to bring the elders out when the smoke got to them."

"They hunt with StarClan now." Nightstar mewed solemnly.

Firestar felt a lump in his throat worse than any hairball and tried to push past it. "It was after—afterwards, that we went down to the river and found out that ThunderClan survived and was across the river in RiverClan territory."

Nighstar nodded. "It was generous of Crookedstar to do that…especially given what happened afterwards."

There was a pause as Firefang closed his eyes. "Perhaps if Spottedleaf hadn't died in the fire, she could've saved Silverstream."

"Mudfur couldn't save Silverstream either." Nightstar pointed out. "By all accounts it's nothing short of a miracle from StarClan that her kits survived and that Crookedstar didn't slaughter their father on the spot."

"Having the entirety of ThunderClan right next to his Clan's home probably helped." Firefang pointed out. "When we crossed the river, Crookedstar said that ThunderClan will be returned to their territory as soon as the fire and the smoke subside…and that his daughter's kits will be staying with RiverClan."

Nightstar lashed his tail. "Foolish tom…but Graystripe and his half-Clan kits aren't my problem. However the fact that ThunderClan's territory is ravaged and they're lead by one of the fiercest warriors in all the Clans is, not to mention the fact that there is a pack of wild dogs out in the forest."

"With the dogs out I wouldn't put out too many patrols." Firefang cautioned. "It would take a lot more than a patrol to handle even half of that pack and the more patrols that are out, the more likely it is that the dogs will scent them and track them back here."

"But with the dogs running through the forest there will be less prey, and with fewer patrols we'll bring in even less prey." Nightstar pointed out. "Not to mention the risk of attack from ThunderClan; especially since their own territory is so prey-poor at the moment."

Firefang sighed. "At a time like this we should try to encourage cooperation among the Clans to fight the dogs together."

A smile tugged at the corner of Nightstar's mouth. "Firefang, that's your solution to everything."

"Am I wrong?" Firefang meowed.

Nightstar shook his head. "No. You're not. I'll propose it at the next Gathering. Whether the others will listen is another story." The older cat gave a dry mrow of amusement. "Sometimes Firefang I think you would have been better named as 'Fireheart.' I've never known a cat that cared so much about everyone in his Clan and in the other Clans as you."

Firefang started to lick at his chest fur to hide his embarrassment. Then his ears perked up as he heard surprised yowls from outside the leader's den. "Intruder!" He heard Wetfoot call out. The ShadowClan leader and deputy sprung out, claws unsheathed.

Standing in the center of ShadowClan's camp, surrounded by bristling ShadowClan warriors was a single warrior; ripe with the fishy scent of RiverClan. Firefang felt his jaw drop open as he saw which RiverClan warrior it was. "Mistyfoot?" He gaped as he approached her. "What are you doing here?"

"ThunderClan!" Mistyfoot spat. "Tigerstar took advantage of RiverClan's hospitality when we let them stay on ourside of the river…he drove RiverClan out of our territory and claimed it for ThunderClan!"

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