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How Far I Have Fallen is a one-shot fanfiction surrounding the training of Clan cats in the Dark Forest. Hawkfrost has a hidden side to him, a much sadder side, and his view shows the true horrors of the Place of No Stars...

~ Winterpaw

I'm in a war again. I'm fighting. Day in and day out I fight and battle and practice, it's like a normal hobby for me.

Ever since my time ended, I had to take residence in the Place Of No Stars. My actions....led by my father, Tigerstar, they only brought me to this dark and unholy place.

But I feel no anger towards Tigerstar. Not him, but I. I feel anger, hate, grief, sadnes, every bad feeling that tears you apart.

I'm in a war, not with claws and teeth and blood, but with myself.

Inside myself.

I hate what I have done...what I have seen...who I have worshipped. My own actions led to where I am now.

And I am not happy with it. Oh, how far I have fallen. How low I have sunk.

I watch, crouched in the corner by a brush of darkened trees, as the she-cats and Warriors and criminals stalk this unholy place. 

They battle each other, laugh at each other's mistakes, train their slaves of the real world and turn them into blood-thirsty war machines. I know I will have to train too, soon. But for now I enjoy—no, I use my time away. But in this time I only watch them abuse and wreck the trainees' souls, using the forgotten tongues that can scold someone's heart. Fox-heart. Mouse-brain. Death-heart. Wretched-face. They have no limits, no boundaries, when it comes to cruelty.

I know I am the same as all of them. I ended up here, so how else could I be? You're either innocent or you're not. It's just the way life worked.

But this wasn't life. It was afterlife, an awful torture prison that didn't bring you happiness in your late years.

A brown tabby Tom walks by, interrupting my pondering and hating. It's a distraction. 

Anything that's gets me away from thinking of my terrible life works in this world.

"HAWKFROST, get up! Come help me train the new batch of Warriors. They are here once again." The Tom spits the word "Warriors" like he despises nothing more than the living, breathing cats.  I know of my father's past, of how he was Tigerclaw, the power-hungry war lord that would do anything to get his goal.

"Yes, father," I meow, absent-minded. I rise to my paws, pushing away my feelings. I remember what I must do. Train them. Be harsh. Push all limits farther. We want them as crazy and deathly as possible, no being soft! I remember.

I sigh, unknowingly to my father who struts along confidently, and prepare for what horrific movements may come next. I follow behind him closely, as I always do. His shadow, his assassin, his son. The ground is freezing cold beneath, and the sun isn't singing. But then again, for as long as you lived in the Dark Forest, it never did.

My father stops. In front of him, lined up, is a row of trainees. They're young, lively, and I know just how much they will be turned. They'll regret they decided to come here so much that it will only turn the deadlier each hour.

"Listen up! I am Tigerstar, and I run most things here!" My father yells at the with might, while Brokenstar and Sparrowfeather watch from the sides, eyes narrowed. I know Brokenstar hates not leading everything. I also know how terrible he can be, how he acts, abuses, discriminates. He's the most villainous villain there was, besides my father.

Tigerstar continues, as I stand quietly from behind him. I see a few eyes drift my way, but I am in no mood to glare back or do anything. 

I just want to get out. 

"You will be trained here. You will become better fighters: swifter, smarter, deadlier." My father grins as he paces back and forth now, looking each one in the speech showing them a whole new look of "evil." What I see back is a whole new look of "terror."

Suddenly, a pretty white she-cat steps forward. She speaks softly and innocently. "We are doing this for our Clan, right? To become better Warriors?"

I wince sadly, knowing what comes next.

Tigerstar whips around, stares at the she-cat, and then the next thing I see is a paw slam her across the face. She stumbles backwards, gasping along with the other trainees. Brokenstar smiles from the side and a voice, sounding like Darkstripe's, laughs from behind.

Tigerstar has spittle flying from his mouth as he screams at the young cat. I watch sadly. "You dare interrupt me! Do not ever ask questions when I speak! You will know everything you need to know, and if you question my motives again, I will slash your tongue out."

She blinks fearfully in response and scrambles to her paws. 

"Now," my father howls commandingly, "you will all be training with one of my....helpers. You," he stares at the white she-cat who now has a swollen cheek. "You're training with me...." He trails off smiling his toothy grin, and she only cowers in fear. I do not blame her. My father was—is a scary cat, and if I were still alive, I would never wish to meet him or be here.

Every cat around gathers into a circle. It's like ravens picking food. They circle, then dart out and grab the prey. Here they each grab a cat and push them along to go train. The young ones all seem unhappily confused. 

Like usual.

I see a shy, silver-and-white she-cat near the centre. At the moment I would rather not train, but just rest my paws and sleep for moons. I know that isn't an option, if I want to live.

But do I want to live?

I move forward swiftly. The she-cat looks at me in surprise and I murmur, "follow me."

I turn and walk off to an open area, not knowing if she is coming or not.

I sit in the little clearing, with the darkness and gloom surrounding me. I'm surprised to see that she-cat did follow, and is now a fox-length away awaiting my orders.

"What even happens here?..." She asks quietly. If she was with anyone besides me, she would get much much more than a scolding. 

"Just... Don't ask." I mumble lowly. She shrugs and I start to explain, unwillingly. After all the training I have done, I basically have the words memorized. It ashamed me that I do.

"First we will work on your technique and effects. So, hit me. All I want you to do is land a successful attack move on me."

She blinks, unsure of what to do. All of the trainees do that. They have no idea why they are instructed to hit their trainer.

They will learn soon enough.

She darts forward, catching me by surprise as I delve in my thoughts. She's fast, but not fast enough.

I leap backwards, but then ready myself to jump and do it. I land on top of her as she recovers from her leap. I push down, squishing her to the cold flat surface.

"Ow!" She yelps and I loosen my weight a bit. If my father or Brokenstar caught me doing that my body would be scarred for days once they got me.

"You need to learn to be quicker. Plot out moves better, recover faster."

She recoils at my harsh tone, and even I find it rude and condescending. I can't help it. "You try living here for moons!" Is what I want to say, but I don't.

She goes on about one of her first times here and other warrior things. As she blabs, I look over to watch the other training sessions.

Maggottail is yelling at a small Tom, as Brokenstar knocks a she-cat's paws out from under her. I avoid watching my father, who I know is doing something not-nice to the white she-cat. 

It makes me angry, to see this innocent cats being hurt. I know I am evil on my own, and I used to have such terrible goals and items, but now I just want peace. For everyone.

I am trembling now. I have much more fury than I know.

It's terrible, so horrible, what I do next. I completely hate myself much more, when I jut out a paw and strike the talking she-cat in the chest, to relieve my anger.

Abuse others to control myself. How stupid, how idiotic. How.....bad. I've fallen too far now. I have no hope of being light again.

The she-cat howls, and hits the ground hard, which attracts attention. Drops of blood scatter.

I look down, then over as I see a moving shape. My father is watching me from the sides. On the ground beside him is a limp, bloody body which I didn't even want a glimpse at.

He doesn't look mad, oh no. Not disappointed that I hurt a trainee.

He looks gleeful.

Because I no longer want anything to do with others, I dismiss the she-cat early. I learn her name is Ivypaw as she scrambles off to the real world, a wound on her nose and chin and chest. She says nothing after I explain.

Avoiding everyone's gaze, I return back to my spot from earlier. It's gone cold, but that's no shock.

Everything in my life is cold. Now, tomorrow, in a moon. Whenever I am still here, there will be no warmth or light.

I don't know that my eyes are closing. I slowly drift asleep, blotting out the screams of the pained trainees and the deathly laughs of my fellow dark-hearted associates.

My eyes do not open for a long time. I am resting, but I have no peace.

Peace will never come. 

My eyes stay shut for as long as possible, but when I open them, things are still not clear.

The one and only thing that will ever be clear, is that I fallen farther than I ever wanted to, and nothing will ever change that.

The end.

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