FEATHERSTRIKE burst into the leaders den in the large gorge filled with trees, the place TreeClan called home. "Smallstar! Birchwing has just had her kits!" he squeaked. Featherstrike was the deputy, and proud father of these kits. "Brilliant! More warriors for TreeClan!" purred Smallstar. Featherstrike was a small white tom-cat black splodges, and Smallstar a old tom with a grey tinged muzzle and a deep brown coat with a smallish tail.
As they walked into the nursery, they purred as Birchwing held her kits close. One was white with most of its tail orange-brown with orange-brown paws. The other was small and white, with black stripes and paws. "Two?" asked Smallstar. Birchwing chuckled, "No, three. The other went exploring somewhere..." and just as she said that, a small orange-brown she-kit tumbled over her mother, with a stripy white tail and white paws, a white scruff and belly, and a small squeak. "What are their names?" asked Smallstar, chuckling at the she-kits innocence. "Snowkit is the white one, Wingkit the pale one, and Birchkit the small one." answered Birchwing gently. Smallstar froze as he remembered the prophecy:
Hazel will strike, and Birch will fall. Cling to the nest, cling to the tree, Birch will rise, you will see.
Chapter One: Medicine Cat?
SNOWKIT squealed and slashed at Wingkit. Wingkit fell back and onto Birchkit, who was watching doves with her big, blue eyes. Her brother and sister had green eyes, and her mother and father, so it was unusual. "Watcha, Wing!" she squeaked as she tumbled across the camp, to the front of the medicine den. "Here, Sunrise, for your bones," said a voice, and soon spoke another: "Thank you, Greytail," croaked the second voice. Soon Sunrise, a elder with a long brown tail, paws and scruff. "Why hello, Birchkit!" She purred and licked Birchkit on the head. Birchkit rushed back to her mother, but as she ran, she tripped on a root and tumbled out of camp, out of the gorge...
Chapter Two: Rogues!
"WELL well well, what do we have here?" asked a tall, scrappy brown cat. He had glaring amber eyes, and Birchkit spotted a smaller version of him lurking in the bushes.
"Two kits," replied a smaller cat, not the one from the bushes. He was much more handsome, and looked kind. He was purring gently and looking at Birchkit.
"I know that, Tree!" growled the other one, and he picked Birchkit up by the tail and swung her round to see 'Tree' try to pick up Snowkit, and get a paw to the face.
"I sense danger, Storm.." he mewed Tree, trembling, whilst washing his face gently with one shaking paw.
"Well, mother did say a flood might come.." mewed the cat who Birchkit guessed was Storm. Birchkit squeaked and struggled free, and then grabbed her sister, before they rushed down the gorge. Birchwing and Featherstrike rushed towards them, licking the rogue scent off them. Smallstar called a Clan meeting and Snowkit was made Snowpaw, apprenticed to Birchwing, Wingkit made Wingpaw, apprenticed to Featherstrike and Birchkit was made Birchpaw and apprenticed to....Smallstar!
Chapter Three: First Gathering
IT HAD been a moon since they were first apprenticed and they trudged excitedly to the gathering. It seemed as soon as they got there the RunningClan cats where spitting and laughing at GrassClan. Smallstar stepped in and hissed at them, and they soon stopped, as Smallstar mentioned the truce. But, alas, that did not stop them for gossiping about TreeClan like a bunch of kits. Soon a big tall one came over and mewed something to them and probably the whole Clan fell about laughing.
Eventually the gathering started when StoneClan rushed onto the island. Runstar leaped up as far as he could on the tree, and yowled loud and clear:
"Cats of all Clans! Our medicine cat has had a...a...FLOOD WARNING!" he yowled, and a gasp rose from the many voices of cats.
Smallstar walked forward. '"Surely only RunningClan will experience this misfortune, since they live near the river right?" he sneered, glaring at Frightstar, the RunningClan leader. Birchpaw recognised this as the big tall one that made the Clan fall about helplessly.
Frightstar raked his claws across Smallstar's back, breaking the truce completley. "Ha! I bet YOUR Clan will flood in the gorge!" he snapped, half laughing and Smallstar was curled up weakly on his branch. Greytail quickly run forward and Icefoot came and helped her carry him. Soon a big dark cloud came across the moon and Snowpaw, Wingpaw and Birchpaw shivered. Frightstar yowled to the sky, begging forgivness, but it was too late. The gathering was over, and there was a flood coming.
Chapter Four: Flood!
THE next few days was spent preparing for the flood. Shelters were made in trees, flattened and chopped to make flat bases. Big, wooden shelters were built with moss and leaves and bird feathers (Crow and dove) to make nests. "Are we all ready? The flood is due tommorrow. I want all warriors to get as much fresh prey as possible and put it on the pile," ordered Smallstar, "and I want you to get all last minute items."
Birchpaw walked up to him gently. "Sir, I will check the borders." she said, then added, "And I will pick up as much prey as I find." Smallstar nodded his approval, so she padded into the woods. Soon she came across a bunch of GrassClan warriors standing at the border.
"Please, we were sent by Strikestar! We have no shelter...we've tried but we won't survive. We beg for your help!" meowed the one at the front.
"Follow me..I'm sure Smallstar won't mind." Said Birchpaw, and she led the troop of GrassClan warriors to Smallstar's den. "Smallstar!" she called and she went in.
"What the StarClan? What are these cats doing here?" asked Smallstar, staring at the cats. Birchpaw explained it all, then the GrassClan cats added a few bits. "Very well. Go find your Clan and bring them to our camp." He said, and soon the rain started to fall. The GrassClan and TreeClan cats hurried up the branches, TreeClan helping the other cats who wernt so experienced. Soon, the water began to rise and GrassClan yowled as their leader fell down repeatedly. Soon the deputy cried out, the leader was old, and on his last life. The deputy was young, not fit yet, still in training. He leaped down and clawed his way up to his leader. He grabbed the leaders scruff and chucked him upwards. The leader landed safely on the base..but Footheart slipped, and dissapeared under the murky water. He splattered up for a few seconds, but a downpour of rain hit him down. There were bubbles...then it stopped...Footheart was the deputy, who risked his life to save his leader, and died doing so.
"He will be honoured by StarClan!" Yowled Smallstar. Strikestar grived over the side of the base, before Greytail and Silverleap escorted him to the new med-den. Birchpaw noticed Greytail and Silverleap smiling at each other, purring when near each other, and once, gazing up at the full moon (Gathering was cancelled) with tails LINKED.
"Oh no..." gasped Birchpaw. What if Greytail has kits? They would be half-borns..like Greystripe and Silverstrea- oh no... it's true. It's Greystripe and Silverstream with med-cats! Oh my StarClan..this means Greytail or Silverleap will die! Oh this is great...
Chapter Five: Greytail + Silverleap?
SOON Greytail moved into the nursery..expecting kits. It was still flooded, even-though it had been 3 moons. Did StarClan want Greytail to have her kits up until their apprentices so Silverleap could see? Greytail had snuck out, of course.She swam to the island each night, and she and Silverleap licked each other and nuzzled each other, until one day, Greytail was feeling sick, so she checked herself to see if anything was wrong with her and...she was expecting kits! She told Silverleap first, then Smallstar. She admitted she had been meeting Silverleap in private, and then Smallstar softened. He said he would ask Silverleap to join as a warrior and Greytail's apprentice, Sorrelpaw, would become med. Greytail gasped and hurried over to ask Silverleap. Silverleap nodded and ran over to Strikestar. Strikestar frowned, then nodded. "If it's young love, I'm all paws." He said, and Silverleap thanked Smallstar. Silverleap was 14 moons and Greytail 11. Greytail walked over to Birchpaw and spoke to her firmly. "I know you have been following me and Silverleap, Birchpaw. But it's over now. Thank you, for keeping our secret."
"No problem.." said Birchpaw
Chapter Six: Meeting Tree
SOON the flood stopped, and GrassClan returned home. Silverleap said goodbye to all his friends, and told his apprentice and best friend, Oakheart, to take care of the Clan. Then he slinked into the nursery and helped his mate waddle out of the small cozy den and to find the tempoary convenientment for the queens. He soon helped her settle down. "Oh, Silverleap. What would I do without you?" asked Greytail.
Soon Birchpaw trailed behind Smallstar and Frozenice, carefully stepping over dripping fur and dead prey. Birchpaw kept picking up muffled mews and a strange, free, tangy scent. She told the two warriors she thought she saw something, and she'd go to see what it was. She followed the scent until she came to a bush which REEKED of it! She sniffed and poked her nuzzle in. She heard faint breathing and squashed into the bush, and came face-to-face with a small tom, about her age, slightly bigger than her. He was a dark brown, with tan-brown tail, paws, scruff and belly. She stared at him, and he stared back. It was the rouge which she'd met as a kit. "I-It's you.." he muttered.
"HOW LONG WILL YOU BE, TREE?!" screeched a crackly voice. Birchpaw stuck her head out to see a old blonde she-cat march over. She must have thought Birchpaw was her other son, Storm, because she grabbed Birchpaw too. The cat started to drag Birchpaw and Tree until a deep brown tom ran over.
"Margie! Thats the wrong cat!" he mewed. He was obviously Tree's father. Margie spun round and dropped Birchpaw.
"So you're right, Max." Margie mewed. She dropped Birchpaw and stared at her. Tree gently stroked her tail with his, and then he linked tails with her and ran, pulling her along. Soon she unlinked them and ran beside him, and they dived into a bush. They both burst out with laughter, and Tree explained that Margie was his grandma, and his grandad was called Oak. They blabbered on for what seemed like moons, until Birchpaw realized it was moon-high! Tree is so funny...how can I tell him I have to go? I could camp out with him...he's so funny and sweet and got a great personality...he's kinda cute too....
Chapter Seven: Warriors!
So, after a LOT of arguing with herself, Birchpaw settled down next to Tree, listening to the call of birds, and Tree's soft purring, she soon fell into a deep sleep.......
Birchpaw woke up with a start. Tree was gone. The sun was high in the sky. She was tired, and she felt sick. She wandered back to camp where everyone was in a panic. "SHE'S HOME!" screeched Roseflight, and Birchwing rushed over and licked her furiously. Smallstar calmed the Clan with a meeting, to settle this.
"We are lucky Birchpaw is home. In time for her and her siblings warrior ceremonys...." he mewed and Birchpaw, Snowpaw and Wingpaw all squeaked excitedly.
Their mother and father cheered the loudest.
Chapter Eight: Tree Joins?
Birchwhisker kept seeing Tree. Soon she told Smallstar, and Smallstar said Tree could join! Birchwhisker was overjoyed, and rushed off to tell Tree. Tree didn't sound very excited. "My brother...Birch, we're good friends and all, but my brother! Hazel is my best friend....I can't leave him." Tree looked in agony, he couldn't chose. His love, or his family.
"Bring Hazel with you!" begged Birchwhisker, "I know he'll fit in," Tree looked uncertain. "I promise." So, after Margie shouted and screamed, she went into a sighing sulk and nodded. Tree packed, whilst Hazel taunted Birchwhisker into packing for him. Boy...Hazel sure does growl a lot. And it was true! He always seemed to be growling. He was lazy, stubborn and mean. Birchwhisker decided she didn't like him. Smallstar noticed this growl too, so he was named Hazelgrowl. Birchwhisker smirked. Of course, Tree was given a sweet name. Treeheart. Birchwhisker loved it, and complemented Treeheart many times that evening. Birchwhisker made a small nest for him (next to her) and showed him where to store his things (next to her storage). Treeheart sat vigil all night, whereas Birchwhisker couldn't get to sleep with the noise Hazel was making. CLASH! BANG! RATTLE! How much longer can I cope with this!? And it turned out not very long at all. About, half an hour later, Birchwhisker got up, with bed fur, and saw Hazelgrowl chomping away on a mouse, prancing about the camp, yowling into the night. She growled herself and stormed into Smallstar's den.
"No cat can get a wink of sleep with that racket!" She proclaimed, "Send Hazelgrowl to bed,NOW!" She growled. Smallstar said that would brake the Warrior Code, and Birchwhisker protested saying how many times Hazelgrowl had broken the Warrior Code that very night. Smallstar sighed and nodded, and went out and told Hazel off. Tree looked as if he might protest, but he didn't dare.
Chapter Nine: Pebblepaw!
The next moon, Greytail gave birth to one kit. She named him Pebblekit and she and Silverleap loved him dearly. Soon, he was five moons old and he seemed to have taken a liking to Birchwhisker, and Birchwhisker had taken a liking to him. The night before Pebblekit's apprentice ceremony, Birchwhisker started to chat to Treeheart, "Oh, Pebblekit's such a sweetie. He gave me a poppy yesterday!" Purred Birchwhisker. Birchwhisker thought she saw a flash of jealously in Treeheart's eyes, she looked again, but it had gone."I think I'm going to ask Smallstar for Pebblekit to be apprenticed me." She saw the flash of jealously again, no doubt about it.
Treeheart moaned, "'Why? What's so good about him?"
"Whats so good about him? He's sweet, kind and handsome...." She saw the flash of jealously again, and continued bitterly, "And he doesn't get jealous when I'm with you, my best friend, or when I talk about you!" She left her half-eaten vole and ran over to Smallstar's den.
"All cats old enough to catch their own prey, gather beneath the high-rock." called Smallstar. He beckoned Pebblekit up onto the highrock, and gave him his apprentice ceremony. "Your mentor will be....Treeheart." Shocked murmurs weaved through the Clan, and Birchwhisker stared daggers at Smallstar, but Smallstar only winked.
Chapter Ten: Mates
Treeheart seemed to be begging for forgivness after his and Birchwhisker's argument. Pebblepaw had done his best to please Treeheart, but Treeheart seemed to be wanting MORE than a 'I told you so.' from Birchwhisker. One night, when they'd made up, he said to Birchwhisker, "Birchwhisker...I want to ask you something.."
"Yes?" Replied Birckwhisker, licking her fur. Treeheart made an uncomfortable noise and Birchwhisker stared at him. "What is it..?"
"I-I don't know how to put this...Birchwhisker, I love you. I've loved ever since we met as kits. Birchwhisker," He sighed deeply, "Will you be my mate?"
Chapter Eleven: Kits, death, and exile.
Birchwhisker had answered yes at once, and soon became pregnant with kits. She moved into the nursery until one night she felt a terrible stomach ache, and gave birth. She had two kits, one named Wavekit, a white pelt with brown flecks, and the other Phoenixkit, a pale orange with darker orange splodges. Wavekit was a girl and Phoenixkit a boy. She nursed them and fed them, until they were five moons. The night before their apprentice ceremony, Birchwhisker walked over to the warriors den, and called for Treeheart, to discuss their kit's apprentice ceremony. She knew only Treeheart and Hazelgrowl were in there, and she heard a blood-curling yowl come from inside. She ran in, and saw Hazelgrowl standing over her mate, and his claws red with blood. "Hazelgrowl...." she whispered. During the five moons, Treeheart had been made deputy. Smallstar was close to death, on his last life, and Hazelgrowl was after Treeheart's place. "I never thought you'd stoop so low..." She crouched over her mate, but he still brothe in. He'd be dead in a few minutes, and soon Sorreldive hurried in with the right herbs. Birchwhisker accidently stepped in some blood, and Smallstar came out his den, and Birchwhisker was accused of murder. She ran out the camp, crying.
Chapter Twelve: The plot...
Soon Tree recovered, but Hazelgrowl swore to kill him if he tattled. But that didn't stop Treeheart visting the loner place every free second he got. They talked about their kits, what they'd do if they wern't restricted...but most of all, they talked about Hazelgrowl. He had become Hazelstar, Taking Treeheart's place because of his injurys...and he had killed Smallstar. Treeheart had seen it with his own eyes. "We should plot to release the Clan of his treachery..." she grinned. Fortunately, Treeheart agreed. They gathered cats secretly, and held training sessions. Soon, she had an army big enough to drive out Hazelstar and his followers.
Chapter Thirteen: The Battle
That night Birchwhisker led the way to the bushes near TreeClan camp. She and the loners and cats from other Clans hid, whilst Treeheart managed to lead the TreeClan cats into the gorge, and into the center of the camp. "Hazelstar, brother, may I talk to you?" purred Treeheart. Whilst Hazelgrowl was distracted, Treeheart flicked his tail and Birchwhisker yowled the attack signal to the sky. Her army rushed into the camp, and started attacking anyone not on their team (Except for elders and kits and queens) Birchwhisker leapt at Hazelstar and sank her teeth into his neck, waiting to have to do it again, but Hazelstar did not move. Slowly, his flank stopped moving. He was dead.
"I don't understand..." mewed Birchwhisker
"He killed to be leader." said Treeheart, "He did not recive his nine lives. Did not even travel to the moonpool. He said StarClan was a bunch of dog's dirt." Treeheart spat at his dead brother's arrogance. "He was a bunch of dog's dirt. I wonder where he'll go...now he's dead."
"The Dark forest. Where evil cats roam once they're dead. It's horrible there for eternity, unless you do one good deed." mewed Birchwhisker. "You have to show a cat...love."
Chapter Fourteen: Leadership.
Birchwhisker became leader, for her bravery and courage. She travelled to the moonstone, but got a unexpected surprise. StarClan told her she had broken the warrior code by becoming leader, and refused to give her any lives. Except for 3 cats. Smallstar was there, and, feeling guilty, gave her one life of judgement. Next was Featherstrike. He padded over and gave her, her life of wisdom. Finally her mother came, and gave her the life of love. "Use it to guide the ones you love.." she sighed, as if prediciting a terrible fate, that came with a decision. Birchstar was very clever with her lives, and managed to only lose 2 watching her kits grow up. Soon they both had mates, and Waveshine, her daughter, became pregnant. In a battle with RunningClan, Frightstar grabbed her scruff and made her lose one life. She only had one life left, and managed to make Frightstar lose another life. She had to flee as Frightstar lay unconcious, but she was nearly dead. She got back to camp just in time for her mate and children to say goodbye.
Chapter Fifteen: Bramblekit.
Birchstar was about to die, when Waveshine gave birth. She brought out her three kits, for Birchstar to see. "Name them." mewed Waveshine. Birchstar named a pale grey one, Windkit and a gentle brown one Rosekit and then she saw it. The runt. A small, light brown tortoise-shell one Bramblekit. Bramblekit was light brown with a black ear and black and white and dark brown splodges on her face, legs, pelt, tail, anywhere! She was extremely pretty.
Birchstar turned to Treeheart. "Take care with Bramblekit. I see great things in her." And with that, Birchstar's voice trailed off...