Chapter 1: Four Apprentices at a GatheringEdit
Four cats stood on the Great Rock, glaring down at all the cats moving about in in the shadows. A white she-cat with gray paws stepped forward, the gray muzzle tinted with age apperant even in the fading light. "Riverclan has two new warriors, Frostpool and Graybreeze. Also, we also have three new apprentices, Nightpaw, Heartpaw, and Aloepaw."
A dark gray tom dipped his head to the she-cat then meowed, "Congradulations, Icestar. ThunderClan has some new apprentices too, Goldenpaw and Tabbypaw. Sadly, Runningbreeze died in the outbreak of Greencough, the new deputy is Juniperbush."
A furry white and brown tom dipped his head deeply at the gray tom. "ShadowClan grieves for Runningbreeze, also, Stormstar."
"Your brother was a strong warrior, Mudstar." Stormstar sighed.
Meanwhile, a group of apprentices sat in the crowd, whispering to each other and ignoring their leaders. "Goldenpaw, show us that fighting move!" a ginger she-cat with white paws begged.
"No way, Heartpaw!" the golden she-cat meowed, fur bristling.
"Why not?" Heartpaw pouted.
"I can't give away secrets in between clans!" Goldenpaw turned and walked away in a huff.
A silver she-cat with tabby stripes on her tail frowned after her sister. "Goldenpaw!" she called. "come back!"
"Silence! your leaders are speaking!" a nearby warrior spat.
"Her loss." a brown tabby she-cat shrugged.
"What's your name?" the silver she-cat asked the brown tabby.
"I'm Aloepaw." The brown apprentice meowed. "And this is my brother, Nightpaw." She flicked her tail to a pure black tom with gazing green eyes that were boaring into the silver she-cat's skull.
"Oh, well, I'm Tabbypaw, Goldenpaw's sister." the silver apprentice meowed, dipping her head. "Runningbreeze was my father, and Stormstar is my mother's brother."
"Nice, your family are all high-rankers." Aloepaw meowed.
"Oh yeah, and I know what my warrior name will be." Tabbypaw curled her stripes tail around her paws. "My mother suggested the name Tabbytail because of something with my grandmother, I forgot the story."
"you know, we should have been in the same clan." Heartpaw sighed. "It would have been so cool to have a she-cat like you as a sister."
"Hey!" Aloepaw meowed indignatly, swiping her sister on the nose with her paw.
"And we can't even be friends, or we might be betraying our clans." Tabbypaw sighed.
"Well, we could only be friends at Gatherings, how about that?" Heartpaw meowed. "We'd be best friends, like denmates, but outside of Gatherings we're enemies."
"That's a good idea!" Tabbypaw meowed, her ears pricked. "But I don't know if Goldenpaw would approve, she's super loyal."
"Well, maybe Goldenpaw doesn't need to be included, maybe, for now, it should just be the four of us." Aloepaw suggested.
"But there has to be some rules." Heartpaw meowed, stepping forward. "No holding a grudge if our clans are battling,and no holding a grudge of one of us beats the other in battle. Also, no giving away clan secrets."
"that sounds reasonable." Tabbypaw meowed.
"If you had been respecting your leaders," the warrior snapped, "you'd notice the Gathering has ended!"
Bye Heartpaw, Aloepaw." Tabbypaw meowed as she started to pad away after the warrior. "And you too, Nightpaw!" then she turned and ran up the slope into ThunderClan territory.
As the three RiverClan littermates turned to leave, Aloepaw noticed that Nightpaw had been unusually quiet the whole time. She frowned at her brother, but the black tom was staring into the ground, not meeting the eyes of any cat.
Chapter 2: the next GatheringEdit
Aloepaw stared around the clearing. she didn't see Goldenpaw, but she saw Tabbypaw with her striped tail curled around her paws. ahe sared around her and saw Heartpaw kneading the ground with her paws. She saw Icestar flick her tail and she flew down into the clearing to Tabbypaw's side.
"How's the prey running?" Aloepaw asked.
"Great, I fought a badger!" Tabbypaw mewed excitedly. "Goldenpaw had to stay in camp, though. she got hurt really bad." Tabbypaw's voice changed to worry. "I was really scared. She has a big scar down her side now."
"Is Featherfoot taking good care of her?" Heartpaw asked, joining her sister.
"Very good care." Tabbypaw meowed, nodding her head.
A dark brown tom and a white she-cat padded over. They smelled of ShadowClan. "Hello, I'm Frostpaw, and this is my brother, Mudpaw." the white she-cat meowed.
"Hello." Heartpaw meowed. "This is my sister, Aloepaw, and this is a Thunderclan apprentice, Tabbypaw."
"We can introduce ourselves, Heartpaw." Aloepaw meowed, playfully smacking her sister with her paw.
"Well, hello Heartpaw, Aloepaw, Tabbypaw." Frostpaw meowed, dipping her head.
"I'm the best fighter in the clan!" Mudpaw mewed, thrusting his chest out proudly.
"O really?" Heart paw asked. She leaped forward and pinned him down, and Mudpaw struggled but couldn't escape the strong ginger she-cat. Heartpaw stepped backwards and curled her tail around her paws. "If you're the best fighter in ShadowClan, I worry about you guys." she purred playfully.
Aloepaw was talking with Tabbypaw. "Is there something wrong?" she asked ehr friend. "You look worried about something."
"It's nothing, I'm just worried about Goldenpaw." Tabbypaw meowed. She pricked her ears as Stormstar started his report,
"A badger was found on our territory, and we chased it over the border to ShadowClan. We warn you, Mudstar, to keep a look out." the great leader called.
Mudpaw and Frostpaw didn't seem to be listening. "I was named for my father, Mudstar." Mudpaw was bragging.
"Wait, your father is Mudstar?" Aloepaw blurted.
Frostpaw and Mudpaw nodded, curiousity on thier faces. "Well, Mudstar's brother was Runningbreeze, who was Tabbypaw's and Goldenpaw's father. So, you guys are related!" Aloepaw pronounced.
"Yea, I guess we are." Frostpaw meowed, sitting next to Tabbypaw.
"If Mudstar and Runningbreeze were brother, why were they in different clans?" Heartpaw asked.
"No idea, I guess I never really thought about it before." Mudpaw meowed.
"I know." a Shadowclan warrior appeared out of nowhere. "I will tell you, only if you pay attention and listen your leaders!"
The five apprentices turned to the leaders and listened to Icestar's report. "The river has thawed and RiverClan is well-fed and strong again. Also, now we are strong again after the storm, we give Sunningrocks to ThunderClan again."
Aloepaw, Heartpaw, and many other Riverclan warriors let out yowls of protest and dismay.
Icestar continued, "RiverClan doesn't need it, we have plenty of prey, and now the thaw has come it will be underwater anyway."
"She can't do this!" Heartpaw exclaimed. "The other clans will think we're too weak or something!" Then she flipped and snarled at Tabbypaw, "ThunderClan doesn't own Sunningrocks!" she hissed.
Tabbypaw looked surprised and back away in fear. Heartpaw was strong and muscley, and could have torn the scrawny silver apprentice apart in a matter of seconds.
However, Aloepaw stepped in front of her sister. "Remember the rules? We can't blame her for her clan."
"ThunderClan has done nothing, this is all your leader." Frostpaw pointed out quietly.
"Are you insulting Icestar?" Heartpaw snarled.
"Heartpaw, calm down!" Aloepaw snapped.
"All of you calm, truces count for apprnetices, too." the shadowclan warrior barked, placing his tail in between the Riverclan cats and the ShadowClan cats.
"The Gathering is over!" Stormstar called,a dn the cats all left. It took until Aloepaw was almost back to camp before she realized the ShadowClan warrior had never told them how Mudstar and Runningbreeze came to be in different clans.
Chapter 3: An Unexpected VisitEdit
Aloepaw, Heartpaw, and Nightpaw sat in the cool water. they watched the shadows flying around their paws, waiting in silence...
Nightpaw shot out a paw and scooped out a big silver fish that was bigger than him. The fish slapped at him before he could fling it out of the water, and it slipped away form him. Aloepaw, being the fastest of the three, leaped out and pinned the fish to the pebbles on the floor of the river with her claws. She lifted the fish out of the water and bit it, killing it quickly.
She gave it to Nightpaw, who, very embarassed, carried it back to shore.
It had been half a moon since the last Gathering, and Aloepaw was heartily wishing she could be sitting on Sunningrocks, soaking up the warmth, instead of sitting in this icy water. The three apprentices went back to staring into the water, waiting for the fish.
"Ow! Heartpaw!" Aloepaw exclaimed as her sister clawed her in the side. Her head snapped up, but her annoyance faded when she noticed what Heartpaw was pointing at. "That's Stormstar, and Juniperbush!" she exclaimed again.
"He's walking along the border, he looks like he's searching for something." Heartpaw remarked. "Want to get closer and see what their talking about?"
"Okay." Aloepaw meowed. She propled herself into teh freezing river and swam to the other side. Heartpaw was less than a tail-length behind her, and nightpaw was bringing up the rear. At the other side of the river, they hid in a bush and attempted to hear what Stormstar was saying.
"- was here not to long ago. Her scent disappears into the river."
"Maybe we should wait until a patrol comes, then we can tell them to keep an eye out for her." Juniperbush meowed, gazing over the border.
"good idea, we should wait until a patrol comes by." Stormstar lay down next to his deputy with his paws tucked under his chest.
The three apprentices jumped out, making the Juniperbush flinch. Only then did Aloepaw notice that Juniperbush and Stormstar were wounded badly, their fur covered with scratchs and blood. "Who disappeared into our territory?" HEartpaw asked urgently, walkign right up next to the border.
"I'd prefer if a warrior came to deliver the message." Storm star told the apprentice. "I want to make sure that Icestar will completely believe me."
"Er... I can go get a warrior." Nightpaw meowed quietly. Aloepaw jumped, she had been Nightpaw's littermate, and she had only heard him speak about five times. Nightpaw was very quiet.
"I'll go get a warrior." Aloepaw meowed. "I'm fastest, and if this is an ambush of some sort, you two would be better at fighting while i'm gone." and Aloepaw ran off, her brown tabby fur whipping around in the wind as she ran. She burst into camp and rna to the nearest warrior, her mentor, Brambleleaf. "Brambleleaf, come! Stormstar's on the border and he wants to speak to a warrior!"
While Brambleleaf listened to Stormstar, the three littermate swam in circle in the river, pacign away their worries that they mgith have chased a foxx or soemthing into their territory. When Stormstar, Juniperbreeze, and Brambleleaf all stood, aloepaw swam to the shore the ask her mentor what they had said.
"They said an apprentice went missing, and they lose her scent on our border." Brambleleaf told them.
"Who?" Aloepaw asked, tensing. Could it be one of her gathering freinds?
Heartpaw and Aloepaw let out crys of fear and grief, and ngihtpaw bowed his head so his whiskers touched the ground.
"Why are you so worried about a ThunderClan apprentice?" Brambleleaf asked, swimming across the river with the three apprnetices behind her.
"Nothing, we just know her." Aloepaw meowed.
Aloepaw woke up to a paw jabbing her in the side. She looked up into watery bllue eyes. It took her a long moment to recognize the silver pelt and ThunderClan scent. "Tabbypaw!" she exclaimed in a whisper tone.
Chapter 4: An Unexpected DeathEdit
"Shush!" Tabbypaw meowed. "Come on, I need to show you something. Heartpaw too."
Aloepaw prodded the ginger apprentice next to her and crept out of the apprentices den after Tabbypaw. The three apprentices snuck out of camp, slipping into a patch of brambles outside the camp entrance to aviod beign caught by Scalefur , the warrior guarding the entrance.
They swam along the river, Tabbypaw struggling to swim in the current. Her thick silver pelt wieghed her down,a nd Aloepaw and Heartpaw swam on etheir side of her to help her swim. After they swam through the raging river, they reached the shore that lead farther into RiverClan territory.
"Tabbypaw, what are you doing away from ThunderClan? Stormstar was over here looking for you!" Heartpaw meowed.
"It will all be explained in a moment." Tabbypaw muttered, navigating her way through allt he bushes and clumps of bramble. A few moments later she got her fur caught in a bramble and hissed in annoyance. "I thought Riverclan didn't have any annoying undergrowth." she spat as she struggled away, leaving a good deal of her pelt on the brambles.
"Only in this part of the territory, I think this place used to be an island like Sunningrocks, only now it's on RiverClan territory." Aloepaw meowed. She ran beside Tabbytail, whne they fianlly came to a ditch. Tabbypaw ran into the ditch so quickly that she lost her footing rolled head over paws.
Aloepaw was about to follow her when she scented blood. The scent was coming from the ditch. She rna down after Tabbypaw and lifted her head to find th scent. Tabbypaw has stood and was padding in circles around a bramble patch. She lifted the brambles away, and Aloepaw's heart froze.
Goldenpaw lay there. Motionless. Covered in blood. "Goldenpaw!" Aloepaw exclaimed. She rushed to her side, and saw her open one, big, blue eye. Then she heaved a breath and a gargling sound came form her throat. She closed her eyes and heaved another breath.
"We...we...we..." Aloepaw faltered, unable to speak in her fear, worry, and surprise.
"Aloepaw, go get your medicine cat!" Tabbypaw snapped. Aloepaw ran up the side of the ditch and pelted through the undeergrowth. She had never run so fast in her life, not noticing when she lost fur on brambles or when she tripped over rocks. She finally mad eit to camp and swam so quickly that she probably could have beaten a fish there.
She pelted into camp and into the medicine den. She roused the medicine cat, Volefoot, and was in such a hurry and panic that she was on the edge of picking up the brown tom and dragging him there by the scruff.
"What-?" Volefoot mumbled, shaking sleep out of his ears.
"Come now!" She snapped. Volefoot woke instantly. If Aloepaw was snapping at her superior like that, this must be urgent. "We need cobwebs, and soemthing to stop infection!" she panted. She waited while Volefoot gathered the herbs, then shot out of camp ahead of him.
When they arrived, Tabbypaw was washing the blood out of her sister's fur while Heartpaw attempted to comfort her. Volefoot ran down the side of the ditch and flew to Goldenpaw's side. "Where's the wound?" he snapped. Tabbypaw licked away some of the blood to show one big scratch on her neck, and another on her side. Volefoot pressed the cobwebs into her wounds while Tabbypaw continued to lick away most of the blood.
"Tabbypaw, cna you tell us how this came ot happen? And what you're doing so far into our territory?" Heartpaw asked.
"Ok, Goldenpaw and I were out hunting with Juniperbush, and we got attacked by a dog. I lured the dog away, but there were more of them. A second one chased me into the river, so I swam over here.i was going to go back, but there were still dogs over there and I got chased again. Then I found Goldenpaw, so I dragged her here. Before she got this weak, she told me that stromstar and Juniperbush were looking for me, so she had gone to look for me too,a nd had gotten attacked by the dogs."
"That's terrible!" Heartpaw exclaimed. Aloepaw and Heartpaw pressed their fur to Tabbypaw's silver fur. However, Goldenpaw gave a weak cough and blood spurt out of her muzzle, so Tabbypaw ran over to her sister.
"I'm sorry." volefoot sighed. "I'm afraid she's lost too much blood. She's in the paws of StarClan now."
"No!" Tabbypaw cried. She lay next to her sister and pressed her fur into the bloody golden fur. Aloepaw helped lick the blood out of Goldenpaw's fur, and heard Tabbypaw's cry of grief when Goldenpaw's chest stopped heaving with breath.
"Come on, we'd better return you guys to ThunderClan." Heartpaw murmured.
"Didn't you hear her story?" Volefoot meowed. "It's not safe for one apprentice dragging a dead apprnetice, she will stay the night in RiverClan then we can send out some warriros in the morning."
"Isn't that Icestar's descision?" Aloepaw asked.
"I'm sure she'll agree." Volefoot mewed simply. He prodded Tabbypaw to her paws then picked up Goldnepaw by the scruff. They started to head back to camp, but Tabbypaw didn't move. She just sat, staring into the darkness of the night, eyes wide with shock and watery with grief.
"Come on, let's get you back to camp." Aloepaw murmured.
Chapter 5: DepressionEdit
Volefoot dropped Goldenpaw in the clearing and left to report to Icestar. Aloepaw showed Tabbypaaw to the Apprentices' den, but Tabbypaw just walked in and lay down, staring into darkness as though she were somehwere else.
"It's my fault." Tabbypaw whispered suddenly. "If hadn't run off and gotten chased intot he river, she wouldn't have gone to look for me."
"Tabbypaw, don't blame yourself." Aloepaw meowed, pressing her fur against Tabbypaw's. "As soon as you start blaming yourself for deaths, you'll never come back."(haha, phrase from Scrubs!)
Tabbypaw didn't respond, she just lay in her nest and closed her eyes. Aloepaw turned to stare at Heartpaw, who stared back blankly. Then the ginger she-cat roused her brother. "W-wha?" Nightpaw mumbled. Aloepaw gave him a surprised glance, this was another one of those rare times he spoke.
"Goldenpaw died." Heart meowed, whispering so as not to rouse Tabbypaw. "Killed by dogs."
"What?!" Nightpaw gasped. "What about Tabbypaw?"
Heartpaw meowed so he could see Tabbypaw sleeping behind her. "She's fine, but she's really sad." Aloepaw meowed. Nightpaw hesitated , then he padded over to were Tabbypaw slept, dragging his nest. He set his nest next to her's and pressed his dark fur close to her silver fur.
Aloepaw and Heartpaw exchanged a surprised glance, then dragged their nests over Tabbypaw's and pressed their fur next to her's.