My life was always just the box with a lock to enclose around my ambition.
I kept it secret and hidden, and used it to my will to get what I needed. What mattered most was to get the ultimate goal, the highest prize in my mind. I needed to get me, the one pawn, up to the treasure.
And I could start that by working harder.
Training, fighting, pushing myself to the brim and beyond until my bones were broken back to shape and my eyes were rimmed with weary.
I gave everything for her. I would have done anything, just anything, to get the one simple thing I wanted. One condition for my loyalty and allegiance for all my life.
But I never realized I wouldn’t get that, after working so hard for tens of moons, just to be tripped back down to the lowest, easiest position.
Love was a joy that destroyed me.
It started with the stories as a kit. The start was the easiest. My mother, Lilylight, always so beautiful and caring, would do whatever me and my sister wanted. She would feed us at command, speak to us at night until our puny eyes fluttered shut, and defend us from the cold and tragedies the word brought before we matured.
And when it came to story time, while my sister, Hollybranch, would always ask about true love and toms, it was me who asked about loyalty and positions.
“Well, dear,” Lilylight would always begin like that with her honey-glazed, soothing voice. There wasn’t a flaw I could see in her. She was what I wanted to be like-her personality, at least.
But when she mentioned the word deputy, I knew what my goal was. The way it felt when the noise of the word hit my ear told me what I wanted.
I would be like Lilylight–kind, smart, funny–and then I would be the deputy–strong, respected, powerful.
I would find a way to mash those together.
Huh, simple, I would think when I went through each growing stage. Older kit, young apprentice, new warrior.
All I have to do is work my hardest, be my nicest, and I would get the deputy role.
Power and a higher honor, working side-by-side with our awesome leader.
It all seemed so simple then.
Until I fell in love, at the end of the stages when I had almost struck my golden goal, and everything I had ever wanted crumbled in my eyes.
The middle stage was the second-hardest one. I wasn’t getting used to the fact of deputy, learning and pondering about it–and I hadn’t fell into that life-ruiner relationship yet–it was just me and my growing.
For any normal she-cat, that would come naturally and in time.
But for me, rushing it and getting it soon was all in the plan.
Now I just had to have patience. Patience and resilience, to work hard and wait until I was the right age, to earn my loyalty in my Clan of Riverclan and work up the trusted-list, and finally be named in that position.
Here is where the secretive box came in, where I wouldn’t speak of my intentional would go on quietly with what I had to do.
I never got any friends that way. My mother began to worry, my sister growing distant from me.
I followed my driven instinct and shut them out, not speaking or believing in them, doing what was necessary to have my choice.
And that was when I lost the half of me to balance out who I wanted to be.
Lilylight–perfect, gleeful, heartwarming.
Gone after I denied their existence.
The young she-cat, Silversand, me while I was changing and becoming a young adult.
Gone, after I denied my existence.
Now it was just me and my ambition. I would get what I needed, whether I had to do it by myself or not.
The scales tipped and I became fully determined. I lost track of who I was and did nothing to stop it.
I was here and my destination was a few ranks away.
So I left behind everything else I knew, respected, or cared about and became something different.
I became the goal.
The third step was the hardest of them all.
The third step was the most enlightening, joyous, perfected moment and step of them all…and it was difficult somehow.
Love is not a priceless object. You pay for what you feel.
I learned the hard way.
It all went down when she first called me into her den. Dapplestar sat gracefully in her den, and I noticed her pretty features.
She would be loved by many toms.
I stood at the entrance, posture straight, eyes direct, breathing the right amount of soft and the perfect length.
And yet she did it all without trying.
“Ah, Silversand. You’re so tense and well-guarded. Relax for a moment and let go of all your troubling duties.” Dapplestar purred, perfectly in her voice of awe.
I complied without hesitation. It felt oddly nice and I hated it.
I tried to bring the discomfort back. This was distracting from my goal. My goal could only be me following orders and working well.
“So…as we all know, sadly,” Dapplestar meowed and I leaned in to hear more of her. Her scent drifted to my nose and I didn’t shy away.
And I wanted to.
“…Our beloved deputy Lakewater is sick. Silversand,” my pelt tickled oddly when she mentioned my name, “Our medicine cats just informed me he won’t make it.”
Oh no, I should be devastated. Our helpful deputy, who was always good and kind to our leader, was dying.
But I had blocked out all emotions the day I decided my family was distracting, and now all I felt was…happiness. I was one step closer to my goal. Almost there. So little left to do.
“Oh no, Dapplestar, I am terribly sorry.” I didn’t care if I sounded like a brain-dead kit. All that mattered was one thing.
She laughed beautifully and something fluttered in me. I frowned inwardly. “Oh you’re so awkward and funny, Silversand. Thank you for lighting my heart when this darkness has struck.”
Her words flow wonderfully. Something in her eyes twinkle and she stares at me.
I realize I am staring back at her and turn away.
“You-you’re welcome…Dapplestar. I’m glad I am useful.”
“Oh, you have always been useful to me, Silversand.” She winked. I shook. “Anyways…it’s time I think about a new deputy.”
I tune her out while she carries on and grin crookedly. I’m there. Just around this corner. Hurry quickly and I’ll reach it.
“…And I was hoping you could help me pick possible candidates?”
Not what I wanted. But I could make do.
She was already beginning to trust me.
If I showed that I was the best candidate for her, a friend to ally with, I could be deputy after all.
Now all I had to do was knock down all opposing targets…and make Dapplestar think good of me.
In the end, what I did was so much worse, so much more unexpected, and so much more because of her.
It happened in a matter of days. All five senior Warriors wound up dead, each in different places, each with dried up blood and battered bodies.
The investigation went on long, and I had talked with Dapplestar every moment. I planned and suspected with her, we worked together as a team to find the serial killer who did this tragedy.
I was protected from my atrocity I did with the power of friendship…with the leader.
And now I was the only one left. Every Warrior thought I should have protection, be guarded constantly–I could be next.
And when Lakewater FINALLY died, at the perfect moment before it got suspicious why I wasn’t dead, I knew I was there.
And I didn’t even think of what I had done to get here. Who did I kill and who did I ignore.
I was the target and I reached it. I was named deputy swiftly and stepped up to that place beside Dapplestar proudly, with unrecognized emotions.
I wasn’t purely happy.
Probably just shock.
And when the sweet moons rushed by without anyone suspecting me, I could finally do every job and role I had wanted to.
For some reason I still spoke with Dapplestar. I never left my friendship with her…which confused me because I KNEW I used her to get here.
But years later, it all appeared like a flash of searing truth.
I was killed mercilessly in the nest of the deputy, where I slept. They found out and ended me, and I never knew what happened with my one love, the leader.
I wound up in a dark and unforgiving area, a forest of death and ungraciousness.
And that moment, that very moment when I got there, I knew the real reason of my ambition.
At one point I was the goal. I left behind every good thing I knew and focused on only that.
But in the very end, my real goal was her. Dapplestar was my love and I would do anything to stop those who came between us.
As deputy I could speak with her and discuss things like it was normal. No cat would think something weird was going on with us, or ridicule us for an odd she-cat and she-cat love.
If there was no one to possibly become deputy, and I was the last option, I could be with Dapplestar for a long time and make it seem normal.
We could keep our sudden love to us.
Now I was the ambition.
She was the goal.
And together we were the ones who broke me down.