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☾overѕнαdowed☽| ᶜᴬᴺ ʸᴼᵁ ᴱˁᶜᴬᴾᴱ ʸᴼᵁᴿ ᴾᴬˁᵀ﹖

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The Common Stray

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Banner/Divider/Header/etc. by me!
Credit to the awesome title goes to Dawnkit! Thanks Dawn~ :3




Dedicated to some amazing people in my life. Though there isn't many, you guys gave me a reason to live. A reason to get up everyday, even when there are times I don't have the will to do so. You guys are the reason I'm still alive today. Without you, I would've been gone long ago. I love you guys...this story is for you <3

 

-"Belle"


"Who you are now is what defines you, not what you were. Leave the past behind, because your future is so much brighter."
 
LightClan and DarkClan had been under siege with a powerful group of rouges for many moons. Their leader--a once clever and powerful tom named Jiro--led attacks on the Clans during every full moon. Jiro was a ruthless cat with no morals, killing even kits if they stood in his way. However, one fateful night, all of this changes. Jiro is slain by an unknown cat and peace is brought to the forest. During this, a she-cat delivers three kits into the world of LightClan. One kit, a tom strikingly similar to Jiro, is born to this she-cat. The tom is named Shadekit, and raised in the Clan ways. Little by little, Shadepaw's true nature begins to rear up as a mysterious cat overshadows his thoughts. Shadepaw brushes it off at first--But what Shadepaw doesn't know, is that sometimes the past comes back to haunt you--even if from a previous life.





Welcome to my 'fic, ☾overѕнαdowed☽! If you recognize the plot, it's because I had a story similar to this one a while back. I couldn't keep up with it, and it was cancelled. So, after some much needed changes, I finally decided to write it again. So, I hope you guys enjoy it!












Prologue (See 3rd Post)

Chapter One (See 3rd Post)

Chapter Two (See 3rd Post)

Chapter Three (See 3rd Post)

Chapter Four (See 3rd Post)

Chapter Five (See 4th Post)

Chapter Six (See 4th Post)

Chapter Seven (See 4th Post)

Chapter Eight (See 4th Post)

Chapter Nine (See 4th Post)

Chapter Ten (See 4th Post)

Chapter Eleven (See 5th Post)

Chapter Twelve (See 5th Post)

Chapter Thirteen (See 5th Post)

Chapter Fourteen (See 5th Post)

Chapter Fifteen (See 5th Post)

Chapter Sixteen (See 5th Post)

Chapter Seventeen (See 5th Post)

Chapter Eighteen (See 6th Post)

Chapter Nineteen (See 6th Post)

Chapter Twenty (See 6th Post)

Chapter Twenty-One (See 6th Post)

Chapter Twenty-Two (See 6th Post)

Chapter Twenty-Three (See 6th Post)

Chapter Twenty-Four (See 7th Post)

Chapter Twenty-Five (See 7th Post)

Chapter Twenty-Six (See 7th Post)

Chapter Twenty-Seven (See 7th Post)

Chapter Twenty-Eight (See 7th Post)

Chapter Twenty-Nine (See 7th Post)

Chapter Thirty (See 8th Post)

Chapter Thirty-One (See 8th Post)

Chapter Thirty-Two (See 8th Post)

Chapter Thirty-Three (Coming soon!)

http://s15.zetaboards.com/Wayward_Warriors/index/

The Common Stray

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--»LightClan

--»Leader: Brightstar- Tortoiseshell she-cat with white paws. Has amber eyes and a large nick in her left ear.


--»Deputy: Thornpelt- Muscular dark brown tom with blue eyes.
Apprentice: Rowanpaw


--»Medicine Cat: Snowfeather- Small gray-and-white she-cat with yellow eyes.
Apprentice: Sunpaw




--»Warriors


-»Sedgewing- Ginger tabby she-cat with blue eyes.


-»Dustfall- Dark gray tom with darker gray specks along back. Has dark green eyes and a scar across his right eye.
Apprentice: Shadepaw


-»Raincloud- Gray tabby tom with yellow eyes.


-»Tigerfur- Dark brown tabby tom with silver eyes.
Apprentice: Furzepaw


-»Lostwhisker- Cream colored she-cat with almost no whiskers. Has hazel eyes.
Apprentice: Tinderpaw


-»Ceaderheart- Golden tabby she-cat with blue eyes.
Apprentice: Mudpaw
 


--»Apprentices


-»Shadepaw- Dark gray tabby tom with light gray paws. Has dark blue eyes.


-»Rowanpaw- Dark ginger she-cat with a white puff on her chest. Has brown eyes.


-»Sunpaw- Orange tabby tom with white paws. Has green eyes.


-»Furzepaw- Tan she-cat with light tabby stripes. Has brown eyes.


-»Tinderpaw- Black tom with yellow eyes.


-»Mudpaw- Dark brown she-cat with light brown flecks. Has silver eyes.
 


--»Queens


-»Whiteflower- Pure white she-cat with bright blue eyes. (Mate to Dustfall. Mother to Brackenkit and Jaykit.)


-»Willowcloud- Long-haired light brown she-cat with amber eyes. (Mate to Thornpelt. Mother to Owlkit, Icekit, and Mousekit.)


-»Darkmist- Darker gray she-cat with dark green eyes. (Mate to Tigerfur. Mother to Fernkit and Nightkit.)




--»Elders


-»Swiftwind- Old reddish-brown tom with blind blue eyes.


-»Mistystorm- Light gray she-cat with silver eyes. Has a crippled back leg.


-»Goldenblaze- Magnificent golden tabby she-cat with blazing green eyes.
 



--»DarkClan


--»Leader: Duskstar- Large silver-and-white tabby tom with a large scar across his chest. Has yellow eyes.


--»Deputy: Redfrost- Dark red she-cat with ice blue eyes.
Apprentice: Blackpaw


--»Medicine Cat: Ashwing- Black tom with gray variations. Has dark blue eyes.
Apprentice: Sootpaw




--»Warriors


-»Rippleclaw- White-and-black tom with silver eyes.


-»Runningheather- Lithe light brown tom with blue eyes.
Apprentice: Snowpaw


-»Leafshimmer- Brown-and-white she-cat with piercing green eyes.


-»Bramblefrost- Long-haired ginger-and-white she-cat with blue eyes.
Apprentice: Crowpaw


-»Mothflight- White (with dark gray ears) she-cat with brown eyes.
Apprentice: Mosspaw


-»Brackenstripe- Tan (with a large brown stripe) tom with yellow eyes.
Apprentice: Oakpaw




--»Apprentices


-»Blackpaw- Black she-cat with bright yellow eyes.


-»Sootpaw- Fluffy gray she-cat with hazel eyes.


-»Snowpaw- White tom with amber eyes.


-»Crowpaw- Tuxedo she-cat with light blue eyes.


-»Mosspaw- Golden brown tabby tom with green eyes.


-»Oakpaw- Brown-and-white tabby tom with brown eyes.
 


--»Queens


-»Russettail- Ginger she-cat with gray eyes. (Mate to Duskstar. Mother to Hailkit and Smokekit.)


-»Pinefur- Brown she-cat with green eyes. (Mate to Rippleclaw. Mother to Cinderkit, Dapplekit, and Flamekit.)


-»Owlwhisker- Calico she-cat with amber eyes. (Mate to Brackenstripe. Mother to Gorsekit and Swiftkit.)




--»Elders


-»Eaglewing- Dark brown tom with white paws. Has blue eyes.


-»Dewfrost- White-and-gray she-cat with yellow eyes.


-»Jaywing- Small dusky brown she-cat with green eyes.





--»Cats Outside the Clans


--»Zen- Mysterious black tom with odd swirly gray markings along his flanks. Also has gray markings beside his red eyes.


--»Jiro- Dark gray tabby tom with light gray paws. Has dark blue eyes. Now deceased, Jiro was the leader of the rogues that terrorized the two Clans.


--»Nova- Sleek jet-black she-cat with piercing light gray eyes. Former member of Jiro's gang.


--»Sylan- Reddish-brown tom with a bushy tail. Has amber eyes. Former member of Jiro's gang.


--»Reima- Tan she-cat with white paws. Has green eyes. Former member of Jiro's gang.


--»Taho- Battle-scarred dark brown tabby tom. Has blue eyes. Former member of Jiro's gang.


--»Jet- Skinny ginger-and-white she-cat with silver eyes. Former member of Jiro's gang.


--»Mystic- Black she-cat with white paws. Has hazel eyes. Former member of Jiro's gang.


--»Jester- Cream furred tom with violet eyes. Former member of Jiro's gang.


--»Diesel- White tom with dark gray front paws. Has brown eyes. Former member of Jiro's gang.
 
--»Feathersong-  A light gray she-cat with dark blue eyes. Scars lace her muzzle. The only known survivor of RainClan.




Territory Map



http://s15.zetaboards.com/Wayward_Warriors/index/

The Common Stray

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ᴘʀᴏʟᴏɢᴜᴇ

Sounds and yowls of screeching cats shook through the dark forest. Birds flew from the trees while small rodents scurried, terrified by the horrendous sounds of battle. Crashes through thick leaf-fall brambles, followed by the tired thudding of paws, were a sure sign that the battle was almost over. Looming over the moonlit clearing, crimson droplets bathing the forest floor, a shadow watched the fighting cats. His dark blue eyes sparked with menace, teeth bared in a smirk as he watched two of his subordinates corner a tom by a tree. 

“How does it feel, Nightstar?” the tom spoke, his voice filled with malice. “After all, your brave friend fought so well...before he died.

The last word was hissed out in amusement, Nightstar snarling at him. The moon shifted from behind the clouds, revealing the tom's dark gray tabby fur—his light gray paws strained red from the blood of Nightstar's good friend. A scar lined the tip of his nose, while another laced his right flank. The DarkClan leader could do nothing but stare at the tom with pure hatred, his blue eyes dark with anger. One of the tom's subordinates—a sleek, jet-black she-cat—shoved Nightstar against the tree, her piercing light gray eyes shining with disgust. The other subordinate—a battle-scarred brown tabby tom—watched with amusement, his blue eyes glimmering with excitement.

“Well?” the tom taunted. “Do you have any last words? Or shall I just have them kill you now?”

The large black tom glared defiantly. “You sure like to talk, don't you...Jiro?” Nightstar hissed. “After all, that's the only thing you have going for you.”

The she-cat slashed Nightstar's face, slamming him to the ground. “Impudent fool!” she hissed, Nightstar letting out a grunt as he was forced to the ground.

“Nova,” Jiro growled. “Let him speak, I'm...curious to what he has to say.”

Nightstar grimaced, lifting his head to look at Jiro. “Don't think this battle is over, Jiro!” he hissed. “Even if I die, my Clan...no, both Clans will go on!”

Jiro watched through narrowed eyes, as Nightstar lifted his head to address the cats from both DarkClan and LightClan. Each cat in the clearing had either been severely wounded, or was being pinned down by one of Jiro's cats. Brightstar, LightClan's leader, watched with regret at not being able to help her old friend.

“Warriors, watch closely! You're about to see how a real warrior dies!” Nightstar yowled, suddenly springing to his paws and slamming Nova aside. He charged for the rogue that had his deputy—Duskclaw—and bit the rogue's scruff, throwing him aside. Duskclaw watched, his yellow eyes wide with horror.

“Nightstar!” Duskclaw yowled. “Don't do this, it's crazy!” the large silver-and-white tabby pleaded.

Nightstar growled. “Quiet, you fool!” he hissed. “This is my resolve...I refuse to fail as a leader any longer! I can only hope my death won't end in vain,” he hissed, leaping towards Jiro.

“Nightstar, no!” Duskclaw yelled, struggling to get to his paws. Brightstar looked away, as Jiro leaped towards the DarkClan leader and met him halfway, slicing Nightstar's side. The black tom yowled in pain, as he fell to the ground with a sickening thud. Blood soaked the ground around Nightstar as he gasped for air. Jiro stood over him, pressing his paw tightly on Nightstar's throat.

“Foolish old cat,” he meowed coldly. “Giving up your last life to protect a bunch of cats who will never be able to avenge you. Smart move,” he smirked, dark blue eyes glistening with malice. He pushed his paw down on Nighstar's throat harder. “Now,” he started. “If you plead for your life, I will make your death quick and painless.”

The black tom's determined blue gaze looked up to meet Jiro's cold gaze. “Never, you fox-heart. I will never plead for my life to a cat as worthless as you.

Jiro's eyes darkened with an unreadable expression, before hissing: “Very well, then you can die a painful death that not even your precious StarClan can protect you from!”

Duskclaw watched with pure horror in his yellow eyes, as he struggled to stand, blood welling out of the wound on his chest. “Nightstar!” he yowled, as Jiro finished the DarkClan leader off.

Licking his muzzle clean, Jiro kicked Nightstar's lifeless body away from him. “How boring,” he sighed. “I hate righteous old fools, they're never any fun.”

Eyes shaking with sadness and horror, Duskclaw stared at his leader's corpse. “Nightstar...” he growled and snarled at Jiro. “Hey, mange-pelt!” he hissed.

Jiro sighed, annoyed. “Oh great, here comes the weird insults,” he rolled his eyes, looking at Duskclaw. “Honestly, don't you fools use any normal insults?”

Snarling, Duskclaw flailed a bit, managing to get to his paws and heave his chest off the ground. “Coward! Fight me! I'll kill you!” he hissed.

Smirking, Jiro walked over, shoving Duskclaw down with his paw. He scoffed and walked away, flicking his tail over the deputy's nose. “Please, you can't even stand. Killing you would be as much fun as killing a kit,” he looked back at him. “And trust me...I would know,” he laughed darkly.

Duskclaw hissed, muttering out a profanity he heard one of the rogues use, before shifting his gaze towards the trees. Jiro narrowed his eyes, quickly following his gaze. Among the trees, a shadow figure stood, it's red eyes shining in the darkness. Jiro growled and faced it, his dark blue eyes locking in with the mysterious cat's red eyes.

“Who are you? Are you bold enough to challenge me?” he called to the cat. “Well, what are you waiting for? Bring it!” he challenged, unsheathing his claws.

In a flash, the shadow vanished, Jiro's eyes widening as he sensed a cat behind him. Quickly spinning around, the shadow slashed at him, it's red eyes narrowed. Before he could react, Jiro took a fatal blow from the mysterious cat's claws, falling to the ground. Everyone looked on in horror, as the shadow glanced back at them, before disappearing into the darkness.

“Jiro!” Nova yelled, rushing towards her leader. She gazed down in horror as she looked at the lifeless body of the powerful rogue. “J-Jiro...h-he's...dead!” She yowled.
The rogues looked at each other in disbelief and utter horror, before rushing out of the clearing in terror. Even Nova, Jiro's most loyal subordinate, ran away. Duskclaw stared at the darkness where the shadow came from.

Could that have been...StarClan? No, StarClan wouldn't look so evil...what was that!?

The thudding of paws could be heard, some cats from both Clans appearing in the clearing. After some mourning over Nightstar's death from both Clans, each cat returned to their camp, leaving Jiro's body behind.

* * * *

Meanwhile, moments after Jiro's death, a LightClan queen finally finished kitting. Suckling against her warm and soft belly, three little kits wriggled together. The queen—a ginger tabby by the name of Sedgewing—watched them proudly. Snowfeather, LightClan's medicine cat, purred with satisfaction.

“Have you thought of names yet, Sedgewing?” the small gray-and-white she-cat asked.

Sedgewing purred, licking the dark ginger kit, the only she-cat. “Yes, I have,” she mewed. “The she-cat I've named Rowankit. As for this tom,” she nosed the orange tabby. “I've decided on Sunkit.”

Snowfeather nodded in approval. “Very nice names,” she purred. “However, what about the third one?” she asked, her gaze darkening a bit as she looked at the last kit, a tom.

Sedgewing gave a curious look, before getting a closer look at her other son. She gasped a bit, realizing the striking resemblance to Jiro. “H-He...How!?” she yowled.

Quickly rushing to her side, shushing Sedgewing while comforting her, Snowfeather shook her head. “I have no idea,” she answered. “But this kit is of no relation to that monster. Close resemblance or not.”

Heaving a sigh of relief, Sedgewing nodded. “Yes, you are right. There is no way,” she mewed, staring at her son. “I think...I think I'll call him, Shadekit.”


ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀ ᴏɴᴇ

Flashes of various pelt colors skimmed across the forest floor, leaves and dirt swirling into the air. A dark flash of tabby fur darted up a tree, two more following suit. Down below, three more silhouettes wove in and out of the bushes—perfectly in sync. A dark gray tabby pelt flashed before the three cats below, knocking one to their side. The unfortunate cat was a black tom, no older then ten moons. He looked up, meeting the somewhat menacing dark blue gaze of his attacker.

“Shadepaw!” a gruff voice sounded behind the dark gray tabby apprentice. “Good job.”

Shadepaw turned around, his eyes shining with pride. He glanced back at his denmate and chuckled. “Sorry for the scare there, Tinderpaw,” he mewed. “I tend to get caught up in my training.”

The black tom snorted, getting up. “You don't say?” he muttered.

“Oh, Tinderpaw, lighten up. After all, it's all in good sport,” said Tinderpaw's mentor, Lostwhisker.

“Good sport for who? Me or Shadepaw?” he growled. “I think that furball wretched my shoulder.”

Shadepaw rolled his eyes. “I didn't tackle you that hard.”

Glancing at his mentor, Dustfall, Shadepaw raised his head proudly. The dark gray warrior sighed, the light from the trees revealing the darker gray flecks along his back.

“Even so,” Dustfall began. “Remember that this is just training and nothing more. You tend to get too carried away, Shadepaw.”

The LightClan apprentice sighed, looking down at his light gray paws. For a moment, Shadepaw thought he saw a tinge of red stained against his paws, only to shake his head and look back up. Rowanpaw had joined them, her dark ginger fur seeming to be bursting with energy, her white chest tuft barely visible. Joining in beside her, Raincloud purred with amusement. Shadepaw could feel his father's warm gaze on him, before nudging Rowanpaw playfully.

“Just be glad Rowanpaw here manages to contain her excitement,” he joked, Rowanpaw's fur fluffing up a bit.

“Hey!” she purred, nudging their father back. Lostwhisker and Dustfall watched them, laughing a bit as the two carried on in their playful banter.

Shadepaw however, was off in his own thoughts. Staring into the treetops, he couldn't shake the feeling that he was being watched—that someone or something—was waiting to get him alone.

How long do you plan on hiding? I'm getting bored~!

A voice rang in Shadepaw's ears, making him jump and quickly direct his gaze into the trees. Shadepaw shuddered, realizing he wasn't just being paranoid—someone was watching him! A set of red eyes gleamed in the darkness of the forest, quickly vanishing as Shadepaw took off in their direction. Ignoring the calls of his Clanmates, the young tom burst through the forest, bearing the pain of burs and thorns latching onto his pelt. He skid to a halt as he reached the end of LightClan territory, the river gurgling just a few feet ahead.

I'm at the clearing the leads to the border between our territory and DarkClan's, Shadepaw thought, looking around. Was that cat from DarkClan? Did everyone else see or hear him too?

Oh, you came. Heh, how amusing...too bad it's quite too soon to give out introductions. Perhaps we'll meet again soon, 'Shadepaw'.

Growling at the mocking tone used to say his name, Shadepaw spotted the red eyes peering from the trees across the river. He snarled and started to make a running jump towards DarkClan's territory, before feeling something hard slam him towards the ground. With a loud grunt, he glared up at the angry scowl of his mentor.

“Mouse-brain!” Dustfall spat, pinning him down. “What in the name of StarClan were you thinking!? You know the warrior code forbids trespassing on another Clan's territory!” he scolded.

Raincloud nodded, approaching them. “That's right,” he said. “If a DarkClan patrol saw you, you'd be shredded in a heartbeat!”

Shadepaw sighed, shoving Dustfall off of him. “Yes, yes. I know,” he muttered indignantly. “I just don't get what the big deal is, seeing how everyone always talks about how both our Clans fought against that band of rogues. Wouldn't that be against the warrior code?” he argued.

“That's quite some nerve your son has there, Raincloud,” Lostwhisker commented, Rowanpaw and Tinderpaw exchanging shocked glances.

Growling, Dustfall cuffed Shadepaw over the ears. “That is an entirely different case! Those rogues could barely be defeated with both Clans, let alone just one!” he snarled. “We lost a lot of cats during those times, including DarkClan's late leader, Nightstar. It would be best you didn't forget your place, apprentice.

With that said, Dustfall turned and stormed off, tail twitching angrily. Raincloud sighed, shaking his head. Shadepaw scoffed, rolling his eyes.

“Geez, who put thorns in his pelt?” he mumbled.

Exchanging a look with Raincloud, Lostwhisker guided Tinderpaw and Rowanpaw back to camp, leaving Shadepaw and his father alone. Raincloud touched his nose to Shadepaw's shoulder, before walking towards the other side of the clearing. “Come,” was all he said.

Sighing inwardly, Shadepaw obeyed, padding after his father. The two cats walked in silence for a bit, before the reached another clearing in the heart of both Clan territories. The clearing had an ominous feel to it, a large rock looming above them, shading almost half the forest floor. Shadepaw recognized this clearing, as this is where their Clan had peaceful meetings with DarkClan every full moon. Although he had only been to one gathering, Shadepaw remembered almost every detail of the area—as if he had been here numerous times before.

Watching as his father closed his eyes, feeling the cool green-leaf air blow against his fur, he sighed.

“Why did you bring me here?” Shadepaw asked, sounding more demanding then curious.

Opening his eyes, Raincloud's eyes didn't leave the rock. “This place, is more then just our Clan's meeting grounds. This place...holds a dreadful and dark past for our Clans, even the two that were lost.”

Right, I almost forgot. There were two other Clans—GaleClan and RainClan—that were wiped out by those rogues, Shadepaw thought, remembering the stories he heard from the Clan elders. He listened as Raincloud went on:

“To think one cat could hold so much power, it was if all the power of the Dark Forest resided in him. Each Clan had to suffer and watch as their friends...no, family, be slain before their very eyes. GaleClan's leader, Talonstar, was forced to submit when that monster threatened his kits,” Raincloud closed his eyes. “I was only an apprentice then, but I remember how he pleaded for his life and the life of his kits. Jiro didn't care however, and killed them all before our very eyes. The cats of GaleClan were furious, and began to attack recklessly in retaliation, only to be slain one by one by Jiro's rogues. Not long after, Jiro planned an ambush on RainClan's camp during the night—killing not only Breezestar, but every cat within the Clan.”

Shadepaw watched and listened attentively, as Raincloud dug his claws in the ground—a sure sign that reliving these memories was painful for him. After a moment, he continued on:

“There was nothing any of us could do. When we got wind of the attack by an apprentice who managed to escape, RainClan was no more. The only thing we saw and smelled was death, and we spent the entire night not only burying those lost, but mourning as well. Both GaleClan and RainClan were gone, and we realized that soon, we would be too if nothing was done. Nightstar, DarkClan's leader at the time, was determined to put an end to it all. He had a strong sense of pride and loyalty to his Clan, which ended in his death. When we fought the final battle here, not even Brightstar was able to save Nightstar from his gruesome death. In the end, Nightstar gave his final life for his Clan, as any leader should. However, he didn't even manage to touch Jiro. What or who really killed Jiro, no one really knows. Even if he was slain before our very eyes, no one would be able to tell you what that thing was. All we know is that whoever it was, is our Clan's savior.”

“Our Clan's savior, huh?” Shadepaw echoed. He met Raincloud's gaze, his dark blue eyes portraying nothing but interest. “Why exactly are you telling me all of this anyways?”

Raincloud sighed. “Well, I think it is best you think of that answer for yourself. After all, when you get back to camp, you owe Dustfall a sincere apology,” he answered, turning to head back. “Might as well have an idea as to why, right?”

Sighing and sitting down, Shadepaw shook his head. “Even so, how does that answer my question?” he asked. “If we worked together so closely as comrades, why do we need to go back to being a separate Clan again?”

Glancing over his shoulder, all Raincloud answered with was: “Sometimes, when the only thing you have to move on is by going back to all you've ever known...it's the only hope and comfort you've really got to things ever being close to normal again.”

With those parting words, Shadepaw watched as Raincloud disappeared into the sea of trees, leaving the young LightClan apprentice to his own thoughts.


ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀ ᴛωᴏ

Dusk was setting in, the sky's iridescent hue of colors beginning to darken to a deep blue. Shadepaw walked back towards camp, his head buzzing with a million different thoughts. What bothered the young apprentice the most was the mysteries surrounding the death of Jiro. Every cat who was there claimed that the vicious rogue was killed by a shadow, possibly sent by StarClan. However, Shadepaw didn't believe this. After seeing what he had seen in the forest earlier, there was much more to Jiro's death then StarClan had to answer.

There was no way that cat I saw was normal, Shadepaw thought. It had no scent and it moved way too quickly. If it was StarClan, why would it hide from me?

“Shadepaw!”

Growling from having his thoughts disturbed, Shadepaw drifted his gaze ahead of him, where the orange tabby fur of his brother was squeezing through their camp's bramble barrier. A strong waft of herbs filled his nose, making Shadepaw wrinkle up his nose.

“Sunpaw,” Shadepaw sighed. “What do you want?”

The medicine cat apprentice tilted his head. “I was worried when I saw that you didn't return to camp with Raincloud,” he mewed. “Is everything okay?”

Everything was fine until you came and interrupted my thoughts! Shadepaw thought irritably. Tail twitching, he gently pushed past his brother. “I'm fine,” he muttered.

Sunpaw frowned and quickly darted beside him, before stepping in front of his path. “Shadepaw,” he started. “I'm not stupid. Dustfall came back with his fur in a bunch, and Rowanpaw told me Raincloud had taken you off to speak with you.”

“Then why did you even bother asking if you knew?” Shadepaw snapped, rolling his eyes. “For saying you aren't stupid, that really doesn't seem smart either.”

Sunpaw opened his mouth to say something in response, but the rustling sound of some bushes nearby stopped him. A small gray-and-white she-cat emerged, holding a handful of herbs in her mouth. Snowfeather. Figures. Shadepaw snorted and kept walking, Snowfeather's gaze burning into his pelt.

“What's the hurry, Shadepaw?” the LightClan medicine cat inquired. “Is there something we should know about?”

Fur bristling, Shadepaw gritted his teeth. “No,” he hissed, storming off into camp. She's acting like I'm hiding something! Arrogant herb-sniffer!

Ignoring the greetings from his Clanmates, Shadepaw crept into the apprentices' den—a dip in the ground underneath a large fallen tree—and curled up in his mossy nest. Blocking out the concerned whispers and questions, he shut his eyes tight as darkness engulfed him.

* * * * *

An eerie full moon hung low over the forest clearing, as Shadepaw's gaze watched cats below him fight in a brutal battle. Blood stained his paws and the scent of death and blood mingled in the air, making him shudder with an unknown feeling. The scene suddenly flashed, and his gaze was now on three cats who were speaking to him. Shadepaw couldn't make out the voices, but he could tell they were angry. In another flash, blooded flooded his vision, followed by the heavy thud of a body.

In an instant, he was gazing into the angry, yellow eyes of a cat Shadepaw couldn't quite make out. Fear suddenly overcame him, when the gaze was turned towards the trees. Two menacing red eyes glared at him hungrily from the shadows, challenging...no, daring him to fight. Within a split second, the shadow flung itself at him, slicing his throat open with piercing claws. Horror filled Shadepaw's senses, as he collapsed to the ground in a pool of his own blood—the shadow letting out a mocking laughter before leaving him to die.

* * * * *

Waking up with a loud gasp, Shadepaw looked around, only seeing the darkness of the apprentices' den around him. Quickly looking over himself, he realized that all he just saw was a nightmare. However, Shadepaw couldn't shake the feeling that it was much more then that. Grunting, he heaved his body up out of the nest and crept out of the den. A half-moon hung in the sky, silhouetted behind a couple clouds.

If I remember right, Snowfeather and Sunpaw are probably heading to meet the other two medicine cats, Shadepaw thought, looking around at the desolate LightClan camp. He could make out the voices of Tigerfur and Ceaderheart—the two night duty guards—just outside of the camp's bramble entrance. Nearby, Shadepaw caught sight of Brightstar emerging from her den—amber eyes gleaming in the darkness like sparks from a flame. Brightstar? That's unusual...isn't she usually asleep this time of night? Shadepaw wondered, watching as his Clan leader disappeared through the bramble wall behind her den.

Quickly following after her, Shadepaw carefully kept his distance. Squeezing through the wall after Brightstar, he could see the old LightClan leader sitting in the middle of a small clearing, her head low. Noticing the old dirt mounds around the clearing, Shadepaw realized with a sharp pang of guilt, that this was the place his Clan buried their deceased.

“Shadepaw,” Brightstar murmured, opening her eyes to look at him. “What is troubling you?”

Fur bristled at being caught, Shadepaw heaved a sigh and walked over to join his leader. Sitting beside her, he met her tired gaze. “Nothing really,” he answered. “I just had this weird dream.”

“Weird dream?” Brightstar questioned.

Shadepaw nodded, looking down. “Yes,” he said. “I can't explain it, but it felt so real...like it actually happened.”

Nodding, the old she-cat looked up. “They say that some dreams can be remnants of our past, whether it be from our life now or our life previously.”

“But what if those memories are horrible?” Shadepaw asked.

“Our past does not define who were are now,” Brightstar answered. “It is what we are doing now to better ourselves, that makes us who we truly are.”

Confused, Shadepaw tilted his head. “Even if we may have done something that was really wrong?”

Purring, Brightstar looked at him, her eyes glowing a bit. “Rather insightful tonight aren't you, Shadepaw?” she laughed gently. “Your future is bright young apprentice, I do not think you have anything to worry about.”

Watching the stars in silver pelt glimmer in the night sky, Shadepaw narrowed his eyes. “Nothing to worry about, huh?” he echoed.

Then why do I feel like I should worry?


 ☾ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀ ᴛʜʀᴇᴇ

Dark shadows silhouetted across the clearing, while piercing red eyes looked on from all sides. Shadepaw could feel his paws racing along the hard forest floor, trying to desperately escape something. However, no matter how fast he ran, he could feel the enemy nipping at his heels. Crashing to the ground, he looked up in horror as a dark shadow loomed over him, crashing down onto him—smothering his yowls for help.


“Shadepaw!”

Shadepaw grunted and covered his ears, trying to block out his sister's annoying yowls. After a minute or two of constant prodding by her paws, Shadepaw sat up with a growl. Rowanpaw sighed, shaking her head.

“Shadepaw! You were thrashing in your sleep like a fish out of water!” she growled. Her gaze softened after a moment. “Are you okay?”

Grunting, Shadepaw flicked his tail so it sat in front of him. “I'm fine. Just a dream,” he muttered groggily.

Tilting her head curiously, Rowanpaw got to her paws and stretched. “Well,” she began. “It's morning anyways. Let's get going before we get stuck caring for the elders!”

Good point, Shadepaw thought. Standing, he hurried out after his sister, looking around at the LightClan camp.

Early morning light was filtering through the treetops, the light green leaves wet with dew. Swiftwind—one the elders—was gently being guided by his old-time mate, Mistystorm. The old reddish-brown tom had gone blind moons ago, having Mistystorm lead him wherever he needed to go. Not far from the elder's den, Shadepaw spotted Thornpelt—the LightClan deputy—sharing tongues with his mate, Willowcloud. Meanwhile, he could hear Tigerfur and Ceaderheart coming into camp, exhausted from their all night guard. Squeaking from the nursery, Shadepaw turned and watched as Brackenkit and Jaykit scurried outside.

As far as Shadepaw could tell, LightClan was as normal and dull as ever. He sighed, wishing for some sort of excitement, but all he got was the routine chattering of his Clanmates. Grumbling in boredom, Shadepaw looked around camp for something to do.

“Hey you!” a friendly, but sharp voice called to him.

Blinking, Shadepaw looked over his shoulder to see Goldenblaze, laying in her favorite sunning spot. He sighed with a smile and turned to walk towards her.

“Don't apprentice's these days do anything?” the old golden tabby she-cat teased, whisking her tail beside her as Shadepaw sat.

“Yeah, when we have something to do,” Shadepaw half-joked. There's never anything to do around here!

Goldenblaze purred, sitting up. “Nonsense! There's plenty to be done around here! Like,” she tipped her head towards the fresh-kill pile, “Catching your cranky old grandmother a fresh thrush.”

Shadepaw's whiskers twitched in amusement. “I take it that you're hinting to me to go hunting for a thrush?”

Purring, Goldenblaze laughed. “Well, you did want something to do right?”

Sighing in defeat, Shadepaw stood with a playful snort. “Fine. I'll try to catch one, but no promises. An old cat like you know how hard they are to catch,” he teased.

“Hey! I'm not old!” Goldenblaze defended, puffing out her tail. “I'm just perfectly sharpened with wisdom.”

Rolling his eyes, Shadepaw started to pad off. “Well, I'll go catch one then!” he called over his shoulder, pushing through the camp entrance.

* * * *

Sniffing the air, Shadepaw growled as he prowled through the forest. So far, he had only managed to catch a few mice and a vole. Despite his best efforts, he had yet to come across any sign of thrush. Not willing to accept his defeat and take his kill back to camp, Shadepaw pushed deeper into the trees, carefully scanning for the small brown bird.

Tree after tree, bush after bush, the challenged was seeming more like a pathetic attempt. Not a single thrush! Shadepaw growled irritably. Sniffing the scents that marked the forest floor, Shadepaw made one last attempt to find the mangy bird before returning to camp.

At last! Shadepaw thought gratefully, scenting the small bird not far from where he was. Lowering his body and slowing his pace, he crept along the brambles, searching for the bird. Not far ahead, the little brown bird was pecking at the dirt, unaware of his presence. Gotcha.

Shadepaw quickly pounced, catching the bird off guard as he quickly bit into its neck. Satisfied at his triumph, Shadepaw picked the thrush up and quickly padded back to where he had stored his previous kills. As he dug up the prey he collected, he felt the uneasy feeling of being watched overcome him. Tensing, he hurried and gathered all the prey he could in his mouth.

Quickly turning and heading back towards camp, Shadepaw could feel his heart racing. What is this feeling? Why do I keep feeling this? Before he knew it, he was back in camp, his fur bristled as if he had just seen a badger. Unsettled by his appearance, Sedgewing approached him from outside the warriors' den, concern in her gaze.

“Shadepaw? Are you okay?” she asked nervously.

Shadepaw could barely make out her words, everything seeming to go mute. He could feel his legs become shaky, before falling onto the ground, his gaze fading to black.


ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀ ғᴏᴜʀ

An eerie coldness crept over Shadepaw as he walked, yowls of distant animals sounding all around him. Creeping through a narrow path, two rows dead trees loomed along each side, almost as if they were preying on him. Heavy fog hung low on the forest floor, adding to the dense and unnatural feeling atmosphere of the forest. Shadepaw flattened his ears, unsure of where he was at.

Welcome.


Yes, welcome.

Whispers of shady voices breathed into Shadepaw's ears, seeming to mock him each time he turned to look. Fur bristling, Shadepaw quickened his pace, racing among the seemingly never-ending trail. Feeling the unease of being chased creeping behind him, the young LightClan apprentice veered off the trail and down a muddy slope. With a yowl of surprise, he tumbled down the slope and into a shallow creek. Shakily sitting up, Shadepaw looked into the shallow water, the murkiness unsettling him even further.

Quickly getting to his paws, he walked back onto the dirt, shaking his pelt dry. Where am I? I don't recognize this place at all, Shadepaw thought nervously. And, I thought I made it back to camp? Deciding it was best to move on, the young tom quickly ran alongside the creek, hoping for any signs of life. Sniffing the air for any familiar scents, Shadepaw lifted his nose to take in the air around him. To his surprise, the only smells were of swamp...and death. Fur rising along his spine, the apprentice quickly ran forward. I don't like this place. Something is definitely not right, Shadepaw thought anxiously, suddenly feeling the ground disappear from under him.

Yowling in terror, he swiped his paws for any sort of ledge. Catching his claws into the side of a dead tree, he looked down hesitantly. Tensing, he caught the sight below him with horror-stricken eyes. Below, was a river, as red as blood. Shadepaw had realized he'd fallen off a cliff to a ravine, and was lucky enough to cling to a dead tree on the side. Using all the strength he had, he slowly pulled himself onto the rotten tree trunk, breathing heavily.

“Having trouble?” a deep voice sounded above him.

Startled, Shadepaw quickly looked up, noticing a pair of red eyes beaming down at him. Hesitantly, he returned the mysterious creature's gaze. “Who are you?”

The creature's eyes narrowed, but it seemed to be mocking him. “Such an impolite little apprentice, aren't you?” he taunted.

Growling, Shadepaw ignored his taunt. “Don't ignore my question! Who are you and where am I at?” he demanded.

“Who am I you ask? I don't know. Who are you?” he questioned.

Shadepaw twitched his tail irritably, flattening his ears. “I asked you first,” he snapped.

Laughing, the creature's eyes widened. “Very well. I am a simple being. Some may see me as their conscious, others may see me as the bringer of death. However, I don't see myself as either. But, how I see myself is irrelevant. How others see me is much more interesting.”

Shadepaw growled. “Well then, I see you as extremely irritating,” he hissed.

“Irritating you say?” the creature purred. “My, that sure is a new one. Shadepaw, was it?”

Tensing, Shadepaw looked at the creature with wide eyes. “How do you know my name? I never said who I was.”

Its eyes seeming to smirk, the creature answered back, “I know all and I see all. You are the son of Sedgewing and Raincloud, apprentice to LightClan. I know you fairly well, as much as I know your entire Clan. However, it isn't the right time for you to know all the answers, so it's time to go back home.”

“Home? How? Where am I?” Shadepaw questioned frantically, seeing the red eyes fade away. “Hey! Answer me!” he yowled out.

Before any answers could be made, the tree underneath Shadepaw snapped, sending him spiraling down into the river below.

* * * * *

Thrashing about, Shadepaw shot up with a loud gasp. Staring at him with eyes as wide as an owls, Sunpaw quickly turned his head. “Snowfeather! He's awake!”

Gently pushing Shadepaw down with his paw, Sunpaw dropped some wet moss in front of him. Confused and shaken from the encounter with the creature, Shadepaw shivered, staring at the moss with wide eyes. Frowning, Sunpaw sat next to Shadepaw, curling around him in comfort.

“You must have had some dream,” he mewed. “You were moving around a lot. I was getting really worried.”

Shadepaw looked at his brother, confusion still clouding his mind. “W-What happened?” he asked.

Sunpaw sighed. “We don't know. You walked into camp with some fresh-kill and suddenly just collapsed. Sedgewing went into a panic and yelled for Snowfeather, so we brought you here into the medicine den. Snowfeather said you had a fever so we quickly tried to cool you down.” he explained.

His vision seeming to clear, along with his thoughts, Shadepaw looked around. He blinked, realizing he was in the medicine cat's den, the scents of herbs filling his nose. Looking down, he noticed he was in one of the spare nests Snowfeather used for her patients, the nest seeming to be a bit disorganized.

“Shadepaw?” Sunpaw mewed, snapping him back to his brother.

Shadepaw shook his head. “I-I see,” he sighed. “How long was I asleep?”

Sunpaw tilted his head thoughtfully. “Well, for at least a day. It's nearly sun-high now,” he replied. “Though, it'd be best you stayed in here until tomorrow.

Opening his mouth to protest, Shadepaw was quickly cut off by Snowfeather's small gray-and-white figure appearing through the den's entrance. Pawing through some herbs, Snowfeather kept her back to them. Shadepaw grunted. Arrogant she-cat.

“So, how are you feeling?” she asked, her back still towards them.

Shadepaw grunted. “Better...I guess,” he muttered indignantly. I'd be even better if I didn't have to be in here!

Snowfeather gave a nod of approval, before turning to face them, a small bundle of herbs in her mouth. She walked over, sitting the herbs in front of him. “Eat these. It's poppy seeds to help you rest and some lavender to make sure the fever doesn't come back,” she stated.

Sniffing the herbs, Shadepaw grimaced. “I feel fine, really,” he said.

Flicking her tail across his nose, Snowfeather pushed the herbs closer. “I'm not asking you to eat them, I'm telling you,” she said sternly.

Holding back a growl, Shadepaw leaned forward and swallowed the poppy seeds. Reaching one of his forepaws forward, he winced at a sharp pain. Snowfeather blinked, grabbing his paw in hers and giving it a look.

“Seems like you wrenched a claw or two. Pretty swollen actually,” she observed. “When on earth did you do this?” she asked.

Yanking his paw back with a slight wince, Shadepaw sighed. “How am I supposed to know? You're the medicine cat,” he muttered, chewing up the lavender with a grimace.

Narrowing her eyes, Snowfeather turned and dug through her supplies again, Sunpaw watching her curiously. “Sunpaw,” she mewed suddenly.

Sunpaw blinked, standing. “Yes, Snowfeather?”

Snowfeather looked at him. “Do you think you can go check on Willowcloud and the kits? I heard a bit of sniffling from Owlkit the other day and I wanted to be sure if he was well,” she mewed.

With a nod, Sunpaw started to head out. “Okay! Do you want me to check to see if Swiftwind's cough went away too?” he asked.

“Yes, that would be a good idea,” Snowfeather answered, digging through her supplies again.

Sunpaw nodded and quickly ran out of the den, leaving Shadepaw alone with Snowfeather. Watching the LightClan medicine cat through narrowed eyes, Shadepaw couldn't help but wonder if she sent Sunpaw out for a reason. She knows something. I wonder if she suspects my wrenched claw? Shadepaw looked at his paw curiously, his fur bristling just a little. I must have wrenched it on that tree when I fell. But, wasn't that just a bad dream? There's no way I could have been there without anyone noticing...

Suddenly feeling Snowfeather's paws grip his paw, Shadepaw jumped with a start. Snowfeather sighed. “Hold still. It's only some comfrey. It will help with the wrenched claw,” she said, spitting the poultice onto his paw. “You'll thank me later when your paw doesn't swell to the size of a fox.”

Grimacing, Shadepaw watched as Snowfeather mixed the poultice in. Sitting his paw down, she hooked some marigold on her claw and sat it in front of him.

“Here, eat this. It will stop any infection that might follow. Sunpaw may have already told you, but you will stay in your nest until tomorrow,” she said, curling her tail neatly over her paws.

Sighing, Shadepaw shook his head and laid down. “That's fine,” he grumbled.

Standing, Snowfeather turned to walk out of the den. Glancing back at him, she murmured something quietly under her breath before disappearing outside. Shadepaw watched her leave, his mind starting to cloud with the haze of sleep.

Was it just him, or did Snowfeather whisper something along the lines of, “Stay strong, little warrior”?

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