- Sigh* I can't get the cover to work. Cover coming soon!
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Flamepaw padded along, lost int he snow. she hadn't seen a blizzard like this in a long time! It wasn't anywhere near as bad as the one she had gotten lost in as a kit, but she was still lost.
Her mentor, Snowfluff, and her had gotten seperated while out on patrol, and now everyone was lost in this sudden blizzard. She was starting to feel weak, and scary thoughts were flying through her brain. What if she never got home? What if she died? She would never see Icecrack again, or Tabbypaw, or Flutterstar, or anyone else from her clan. She would never get her warrior name!
Flamepaw couldn't go on anymore, she would die out here. She had beaten the greatest blizzard in history, lasting for three moons, but she was now getting beaten by this mild blizzard that had only lasted an hour or so.
Flamepaw's world faded, and she collapsed into the snow.
Flamepaw opened her eyes. She felt warm and safe, the blizzard was almost forgotten to her. She lifted her head and blinked around. She seemed to be in some kind of Twoleg box, packed with some fluffy material. She tried to stand, but a tortiseshell she-cat appeared out of nowhere and poked her back into the nest with her nose.
"You're weak, you must rest, at least until the blizzard is over." the she-cat meowed.
"Who are you?" Flamepaw asked.
"I'm Speck," the she-cat meowed, "I'm a stray."
"A stray?" Flamepaw asked, curious.
"Cats who don't have twolegs." the she-cat answered. She strated shuffling through a pile of the fluffy material in teh back of the box. "You're a Clankitty, one of those cats from the clans."
"You know about the clans?" Flamepaw asked.
"Yes, every once in awhile a member of my group ventures in their territory then comes back and tells us all about it." Speck meowed, still digging. She pulled out a metal container that smelled of food. "Here, it's some twoleg meat." she meowed. He gave some to Flamepaw, but the tiny she-cat refused.
"Clan cats aren't allowed to eat kittypet food." she meowed.
"This isn't really kittypet food." Speck meowed. "This is food Twolegs eat, and they threw this out. It's as good as prey."
"I just wanna go home!" Flamepaw cried.
Speck dropped the food back in the pile of fluffy stuff, then she pricked her ears. "My kits are back." she meowed, turning towards the entrance. three apprentice-age cats strolled in, carrying rats, reeking of carrion.
"This is all we could find." sighed a golden tabby she-cat. A tortiseshell-tabby she-cat raced over to her mother and dropped a small rat at her feet.
"You should eat this one! I caught it just for you!" she squealed.
However, the last one, a black tom, saw Flamepaw in the nest and padded over to her. "Who are you?" he asked.
"I'm Flamepaw." Flamepaw meowed, "And who are you?"
"I'm Night Wind."
Polarpaw entered FreezeClan camp, flanked by the patrol. Behind her was he rlittermates, Snowpaw and Shiverpaw.
The apprentice waited while the golden she-cat, Lightheart, and a tom she didn't know padded away to fetch Fridgidstar. "I'm going to sneak off!" Snowpaw whispered excitedly in Polarpaw's ear.
Polarpaw stamped on her sister's tail. "No, you're not." Polarpaw hissed, "It's your fault we're in this mess!"
"Oh, come on," Snowpaw mewed, "We're not in a mess."
"How so?" Polarpaw asked, not letting her sister go.
"They love us!" Snowpaw purred with amusement, then tugged her tail free and bounced off.
"Honestly," Polarpaw spat, "She's just a kit!" she turned behind her and saw that Shiverpaw was just sitting there, head bowed and ear flat. "Are you okay, Shiverpaw?" She asked her brother. Shiverpaw ha been acting strange and jumpy ever since he had learned of his power.
"I'm fine..." Shiverpaw mumbled, not looking at his sister.
"Come on," Polarpaw meowed turning to pad farther into camp, "maybe keeping an eye on Snowpaw will cheer you up." Shiverpaw followed Polarpaw, head still bowed and tail dragging and making a small trail through the melting snow. Only when Polarpaw saw this did she notice something.
"Look!" She exclaimed, pointing at a spot on the ground. Shiverpaw trotted up to where she was and looked.
"So?" he asked, lifting his head to give his siter a confused look.
"It's dirt!" She meowed, sticking a claw in it. "It snow is almost gone!" However, before Shiverpaw could respond, a gray she-cat padded up.
"You are Flameheart's kits?" she asked, looking down on the two.
"Two-thirds of her kits." Polarpaw meowed back, no fear in her voice upon being adressed by Fridgidstar, Leader of FreezeClan, "Snowpaw went off exploring the camp."
Fridgidstar nodded at the apprentices. "Go find her then come back and see me." she meowed, turning away and going back into her den.
Polarpaw smacked Shiverpaw with her tail. "Let's go find Snowpaw." she meowed before turning around and padding away.
Chapter 2: Flameheart
"Why do you think Night Wind is back?" Tabbysnow asked his sister for the hundreth time.
"He was with his two sisters and a bunch of other loners." Flameheart sighed, "They must be planning an invasion." She remembered Night Wind, and still hated and feared him. She had buried the memories beneath her pelt and never told anyone besides Tabbysnow. she had broken the Warrior Code, and wouldn't confess to anyone.
Suddenly, Flameheart scented HailClan. She peeked out of the Medicine Cat Den where she was sitting with Tabbysnow and saw a pure white she-cat bounce up to her. "Mommy!" Snowpaw purred, pouncing on her mothers head.
Flameheart purred with amusement before using her paw to swat the apprentice off. Then she adopted a stern expression. "What are you doing here, Snowpaw?" she asked.
"We're on a secret mission to find the invading loners' camp!" Snowpaw whispered mischeviously.
Flameheart flicked her ears in surprise. "Did Flutterstar send you?" she asked.
"Yes." Snowpaw meowed. She quickly explained what had happened when the loner leader, Naida, had come pleading for a home, and upon refusal, she had threatend to drive the clans from tehir homes.
"I knew they were planning an invasion!" Flameheart hissed under her breath. "Typical Night Wind! I bet he told the mousebrain Naida to invade!"
Snowpaw tipped her head to the side curiously. "What?" she asked.
"Er.. nothing." Flameheart meowed quickly. She strode into the medicine cat den and asked Frostfern, "Frostfern, is Tabbysnow well enough to return home yet?"
Frostfern gave Tabbysnow a quick look-over then turned to face Flameheart. "He'll need help, but he can return home." she told her.
"Great." Flameheart meowed. She turned to her daughter, "Snowpaw, we're going to say that Flutterstar made you come to fetch me and Tabbysnow and bring us home, okay?"
Snowpaw nodded, and at that moment, Polarpaw and Shiverpaw tumbled in. Snowpaw told them what to say, then the three turned and padded toward Fridgidstar's den. Flameheart turned and padded over to Tabbysnow. "I think that Night Wind and the loners have brought trouble." she explained to him. "That's why the apprentices are here, looking for the camp. I'm going to take them there then we're going back to HailClan."
"Back?" Tabbysnow's eyes grew wide, not in excitment, but in worry and fear. Flameheart ignored the look on his face and helped Tabbysnow to his paws. The two padded into the clearing of the camp.
Chapter 3: Flameheart
Flameheart, Tabbysnow, Snowpaw, Polarpaw,a nd Shiverpaw made their way through the sludge of the melting snow. "The snow is almsot gone." Flameheart commented to Tabbysnow.
"I know, the snow is melting." Tabbysnow meowed, seeming distracted. Flameheart saw he had a faraway look and wasn't paying attention at all.
"Are we almost there?" Polarpaw asked, sniffing the air, "I can smell a lot of those filthy rogues."
"Yes, they're hidden by the rock, right on the border." Flameheart responded. Polarpaw lead the way with Snowpaw on her tail, behidn them was Flameheart with Tabbysnow leaning on her, and taking up the back was Shiverpaw, looking dpressed. Flameheart noticed this.
"Shiverpaw, is everything alright?" she asked. Her son didn't answer, and she scowled.
Polarpaw slowed her pace and joined her mother's side. She whispered in her mother's ear, "He's been acting strange lately and won't tell anyone why."
Shiverpaw heard this, even though nobody but him knew.
"We're here." Flameheart suddenly hissed. She set Tabbysnow light down by the cover of an Evergreen and crept up to the camp. She saw a bunch of Loners she didn't know, but in the center she recognized Naida, Star, and Night Wind. they were passing out prey, probably stolen.
"We should report this to Flutterstar." Tabbysnow mewed, attempting to get to his paws by himself. however, Flameheart didn't move. Her fur was bristling and her claws were out, her eyes locked on Night Wind. Memories flittered around her mind...
"Flameheart! come on!" Tabbysnow snapped,a nd that tugged Flameheart out of her trance. The ginger she-cat helped her brother to his paws and let him lean on her as they walked back to HailClan camp.
Chapter 4: Tabbysnow
Tabbysnow gave a curious look at his sister. Her memories were swallowing her. He shook his head to clear it and padded along, ignoring the pain. That cursed snow fox! It had hurt him so badly, he had been in FreezeClan for a moon. Although he was happy to be going home, He was going to miss Lightheart...
Up ahead he saw the rock cleft where HailClan's camp was hidden. The five cats reached the tunnel and slipped under the twoleg material blocking the entrance.
Ahhh... he had missed his home! He inhaled the warm scent of the cave mixed with the scent of HailClan and purred. Next to him, Flameheart did the same thing. This was where they belonged!
But, if he wanted to continue loving Lightheart, this wouldn't be where he belonged. Not anymore...
Tabbysnow shook his head to clear it again and pulled himself away from Flameheart, managing to balance on his own, but just barely. He saw Flutterstar slip out of his den to greet them. "Ah! Flameheart, Tabbysnow!" Flutterstar purred to his grandchildren. "You're back!"
"Yes, but Tabbysnow will need to be in the cave for a bit longer." Flameheart told him. Tabbysnow bristled.
"Hey!" Tabbynsow meowed, "I'm fine!" However, this was disproved as at that moment his wounded paw gave way and he plunged into the dust on the floor of the cave. Flameheart rushed over to him and helped him up.
"Come to my den." Flutterstar meowed, flicking his tail towards his den. Flameheart and Tabbysnow follwoed him with the apprentices at the rear, walking slowly.
Chapter 5: Flameheart
Flameheart helped Tabbysnow to lay on the floor of Flutterstar's den, then gazed into her grandfather's eyes. Flutterstar was so old, but so full of energy...
"Tell me," Flutterstar ordered the three apprentices as they entered, "About the loners' camp."
Polarpaw stepped forward, flicking her tail over Snowpaw's muzzle to stop her from speaking. "There were tons of loners," Poalrpaw meowed, "more than I could count. And they were lead by three cats, that tortiseshell-tabby she-cat, a golden tabby she-cat, and a black tom."
"Th tom's name is Night Wind." Flameheart blurted, without thinking.
"How do you know?" Polarpaw asked, surprised.
"Er..." Flameheart did some quick thinking. "I heard one cat talking to him when I saw the camp before."
"You saw the camp before?" Flutterstar asked. Flameheart quickly explained how she had first stumbled upon the loner camp, leaving out the part where she reacted to the appearance of Night Wind.
"I see." Flutterstar meowed, then turned to Polarpaw, "Go on."
"It was on the border in between us and FreezeClan." Polarpaw continued, "Far in, near the Gathering Place."
"That means we can't drive them out." Flutterstar muttered. He thought for a moment, then raised his head. "I see one way we can learn their secrets,a nd their way of living."
"How?" Snowpaw asked.
"We send in a spy." Flutterstar meowed simply.
"Who?" Flameheart asked, flicking her ears. Not her, please, not her, she had just gotten home and she was afraid to be near Night Wind...
"I'm not sure." Flutterstar admitted. He thought for a bit more, then meowed, "How about Polarpaw? She is young, so they won't expect an attack, and she's good at sneaking around, because her pelt can mix with the sludge of the snow-"
"NO!" Flameheart yowled.
Every cat in the den gave her a surprised look. "Why not?" Flutterstar asked, looking puzzled.
"Well... uh..." Flameheart meowed, thining quickly once more. "She's too young! If they attack her, she won't be able to defend herself well."
"Yes I will!" Polarpaw huffed.
"Actually, anyone would get overwhelmed in an attack." Flutterstar pointed out, "They have more in numbers than us."
"Well, uh... She just can't!" Flameheart spat.
"Flameheart, unless you provide a reason," Flutterstar meowed, "I will send her anyway."
"Well... uh... Please don't send her!" Flameheart cried. She collapsed on teh dusty floor of the den and rested her head on her paws. "I don't want her around Night Wind!"
"Flameheart, tell us what you're talking about!" Flutterstar snapped.
Flameheart sighed. "Fine, I'll tell you."
Chapter 6: The past Flameheart
"The blizzard stopped!" Flamepaw cheered, "I can go home!"
"But I'll miss you." Night Wind sighed, smacking Flamepaw with his paw.
"And I'll miss you too, I just want to get home." Flamepaw mewed, returning the smack. Night Wind reached around and grabbed her tail in his teeth.
"Hey!" Flamepaw pummeled Night Wind with her front paws, making him let go of her tail. The two went on with their play-fight until Speck enetered the box they were playing in.
"Come on, you two." Speck meowed, grabbing night Wind by the scruff and pulling him away from Flamepaw. "It's time for Flamepaw to go home."
"I'm so happy to go home!" Flamepaw purred, bouncing out of reach of Night Wind as he swiped at her again. "I'll get to see Icecrack and Tabbypaw and Flutterstar--" the she-cat went on to list clanmates while she swiped at Night Wind once again.
"Well, it's time for you to head home now." Speck meowed, using her paw to push open the flap of the box so Flamepaw could pad out. "I'll take you home."
"Me too!" Night Wind meowed, pawing at his mother, "I wanna take her home too!"
"Fine, Sweetie!" Speck purred with laughter and took the two young cats out of the box. She turned back towards the box and called inside, "Naida, Star, don't take one step outside while I'm gone!"
"Okay, mom!" the two sisters called. Flamepaw frowned. The two sisters hadn't been very fond of her, but she had become great friends with Night Wind.
The three cats padded along the streets of Twolegplace and soon entered HailClan territory. "I can go from here, thanks!" Flamepaw meowed sadly, padding across the border. Then she turned and looked back. She found Night Wind sitting by the border, looking at her with sad eyes.
"You know," Flamepaw mewed akwardly, shuffling her paws, "There is a rocky area just over there where no cat usually goes..."
"We'll meet there moonhigh tomorrow?" Night Wind asked when Speck was out of sight, reading Flamepaw's mind.
"Exactly!" Flamepaw purred. She turned and returned to her clan.
Chapter 7: Still the Past Flameheart
Flameheart, the newly named warrior, padded through the rock pile. She slipped throught he small crack to the clearing-like place in the center. She finally slipped into the center and saw Night Wind waiting for her, a big smile on his face and his head tipped to the side playfully.
"I missed you, Flamepaw!" He purred, "you weren't here yesterday!"
"I'm Flameheart now!" She purred, "I got my warrior name!"
"Yippie!" Night Wind swiped at her playfully.
Suddenly, Flameheart hung her head. "I feel so terrible..." She murmured.
"Are you sick?" Night Wind asked.
"No," Flameheart sighed, "I am a warrior now, but I'm still hanging around with a tom that's not in my clan."
"Aww... come on!" Night Wind mewed, pressing his fur into her's, "I'm sure it'll be fine."
Flameheart snuck out for the rock pile about two moons later. Her belly hung low with kits, and she had just managed to slip out of the nursery without Icecrack noticing her.
She slipped into the rock-clearing, but froz. There was HailClan scent. She poked her head through a crack and saw Tabbysnow and Night Wind facing each other, fur bristled and claws unsheathled.
"Tabbysnow! No! Don't hurt him!" Flameheart raced into teh clearing and flung herself between her mate and her brother.
"You're defending him?" Tabbysnow spat, surprised, "A filthy rogue?"
"Loner." Night Wind corrected.
"I love him!" Flameheart hissed to her brother, "If you attack him, you attack me!"
Flameheart sat alone in the rock clearing, waiting for Night Wind, when her belly started hurting. She ignored it at first, but then it hurt too much. She let out a yowl of pain and ceinged as pain stabbed through her belly again.
"Flameheart?" Night Wind called, poking his head out of a crack in the rock.
"Help!" Flameheart hissed, "The kits are coming!"
Night Wind raced over to Flameheart and shuffled his paws, not sure what to do. finally, he just decided to sit beside Flameheart and murmur to her gently, tring to comfort her. However, comfort wasn't his strong suit.
After a long time, the first kit was born. Night Wind knew what to do, he had helped Speck deliver kits in their loner group before. He licked the kit clean and waited for it to take its first breath. It inhaled deeply, and Night Wind set her down beside Flameheart. Then the next one came, this one a white she-cat with gray speckles. Night Wind licked her clean and she took her first breath, and she was set donw next to her sister. Finally it was over, and there were four heathly kits.
"Which ones do you want?" Night Wind asked.
"What do you mean?" Flameheart asked.
"Well, we each get two." Night Wind meowed, "I take two to my loner home and you take two back to your clan."
"I'm their mother!" Flameheart hissed, "I get to keep the kits!"
"We split them up equally!" Night Wind hissed back. "You expect me to live apart from my own kits?"
"You expect me to do the same thing?" Flameheart hissed.
"The Loners need more hunters!"
"HailClan needs more warriors!"
"I'll take these two." Night Wind mewed, reaching forward and taking the two toms.
"No you won't!" Flameheart sliced Night Wind's nose, making him drop the kits. Night Wind hissed, but instead of attacking Flameheart, he grabbed on of the toms he had dropped and jumped high in the air, landing on a high stone where Flameheart couldnt chase after him.
"Give me the kits!" He hissed. "All of them! you lost the chance to keep the other two!"
"Bring him back!" Flameheart hissed.
"No!" Night Wind set the tom down gently on the rock and held him there with one paw. "If you don't give me the kits, I'll kill him!"
"Dont!" Flameheart jumped up, racing to the base of Night Wind's rock.
"Give me the others!" Night Wind hissed.
"No!" Flameheart called, "Just please don't hurt him!"
"He's my kit, I can kill him if I want!" Night Wind reached own, baring his teeth.
"No!" Flameheart averted her eyes, and a few moments later, there was a thud as Night Wind tossed the dead kit to her paws. Flameheart looked up. The black tom had disappeared. Flameheart cried over the small kit's body. She dug and hole and buried him, then took her three remianing kits back to camp. She never saw Night Wind again... Until now.
Chapter 8: Polarpaw