Chapter 1 Edit
It started a moon ago.
Mistypaw remembered every detail. Iceflower bursting through the camp entrance, pawing at her throat. Her clanmates clustering around, trying to figure out what was wrong. Kat’s expression morphing from quiet authority to shock and confusion when she realized that Iceflower couldn’t speak. The fear and shock that had kept Mistypaw rooted to the ground.
Little did everyone know that the attack was only the first of many. One by one, cats came back to camp with various ailments- everything from itching uncontrollably to losing sense of sight, smell, sound, taste, or hearing. Some got over the sicknesses. Some did not. The camp lived in fear. Each cat that had been struck with the strange sickness gave the same report- being attacked by a strange, dark-pelted rogue.
Mistypaw jerked awake, heart racing, eyes wide. Something was terribly wrong. She could feel it in her bones. Cautiously padding out of her den, she looked around for anything suspicious. Nothing. The only thing out was a leaf, dancing around the starlit clearing. Mistypaw visibly relaxed. The attacks have got us all spooked. Maybe I need to stop imagining things, she thought.
As Mistypaw padded back inside her den, she heard something that made her fur stand on end. A low, bone-chilling yowl. She froze. Slowly turning around, she saw a scene that made cold dread settle like a stone inside her belly.
A sea of dark-pelted rogues flooded into the camp. Mistypaw barely had time to yowl “Attack!” before the camp erupted into chaos. Warriors darted around, trying their best to defend themselves against the intruders, but they were outnumbered by many. Then Mistypaw saw something that made her realize that BlogClan had no hope in trying to fend off the attackers.
The BlogClan warriors were fighting bravely, but every single time an intruder’s claw touched their skin, they would fall. Mistypaw knew. These cats were the ones responsible for the sickness that had struck so many cats in the past moon. She was distracted from her thoughts by the sight of Raggedoak trying desperately to fend off three attackers at once, and darted over to help her.
“Stay away from their claws,” she hissed.
Raggedoak nodded and changed her strategy to defensive. The two fought alongside each other for a few moments, trying hard to keep themselves safe from the deadly claws. Then, without warning, the intruders turned tail and ran out of the camp.
Cakestar leaped up to the highrock, signaling a clan meeting. The few warriors that hadn’t been struck crowded together, eager to hear what their leader would say.
“Tonight has proved one thing- we aren’t safe inside our own borders anymore,” Cakestar began. “I think the purpose of this attack was to scare us. After all, fear is an enemy’s greatest weapon. We must meet this attack with one of our own. We have to let this group of cats know that they haven’t scared us, that-”
“Cakestar, may we speak?” Mistypaw turned her head to see Wavepaw and Mistpaw gazing up at their leader. Cakestar nodded, curious.
“Well, in the fight today, we noticed that, well, these cats are too well-orchestrated to be just a band of rogues.” Wavepaw mewed.
“We noticed that their fighting strategy, it was almost like a- almost like a Clan’s.” Mistpaw finished.
“Hmm.. you’re right..” Cakestar meowed thoughtfully. Then she straightened up. “If what these apprentices say is true, then I must enforce a new rule. No cat is to be allowed outside of camp alone. We are already weak enough as it is, and I don’t want to lose more warriors. We must strengthen our boundaries. This… Clan is a bigger threat than we have ever faced before, and we must rise up to meet it once we have regained our strength.” Cakestar leaped off the highrock, signaling the meeting to be over, and Jayfrost began organizing the hunting/border patrols.
Mistypaw padded over to a small group of cats clustered around the warrior’s den. They were talking in hushed voices. “This isn’t right, living like this. Living in fear isn’t good for us,” Eagleclaw mewed.
“Exactly,” Hobbitheart answered. “If this Clan is trying to scare us, they’ve done a pretty good job.”
“Stop it. We can’t think like this,” Iceflower cut in. “StarClan will help us find a way through this. We will rise up and meet this threat, no matter how dangerous it be.” Her words lit a small flame of hope in Mistypaw’s heart.
“You’re absolutely right.” Mistypaw knew then what she was going to do. She was going to find the strange Clan and figure out what they were trying to do, regardless of whether Cakestar permitted her to leave the camp or not.
Chapter 2 Edit
(I've decided to write in first person from now on, it seems easier.)
I paced anxiously in circles around the fresh-kill pile, which was dangerously low. Fear and anxiety were threatening to consume me, both for my clan and for myself. The threat of the strange new clan hung over us like a dark, evil cloud, swamping us all with bad feelings. I needed something to do, something to take my mind off my worries, something to-
“Mistypaw!” Winterpaw’s call interrupted my dark thoughts. “Didn’t you hear? You’re supposed to be doing a hunting patrol with me and Eagleclaw!”
“Oh, sorry!” I yelped, pushing away my embarrassment. A sense of relief swamped over me. Thank StarClan. “Okay, I’m ready. Let’s go.”
The three of us streaked through the forest, heading for a beech copse a few tree-lengths away from camp. I relished the feel of the wind running through my fur. It had been a long time before I felt this energized. Suddenly Eagleclaw halted abruptly, signaling with his tail for us to do the same. I parted my jaws, confused, and at the same time a rank scent hit the roof of my mouth. I’d never smelled anything quite like it before. Decay, rot, some sort of sweet-ish odor. While I was trying to decipher the different scents in my head, the bushes rustled and out came a mangy, flea-bitten old cat that’s pelt must’ve once been snowy-white.
“Hey! D’you guys reckon you could give me shelter for the night? I’ve come a long way,” the cat rasped cheerfully. I glanced at Winterpaw and saw my uneasiness reflected in his eyes. The recent attacks had made us all wary. We stood, fur prickling, unsure of what to say to this strange loner.
Finally, Eagleclaw spoke. “Erm, well…” he began awkwardly. “That decision is left up to our clan leader. We could take you to her, if you like..”
“Sure!” The cat meowed brightly. “I’m Twig, by the way.” He turned around and began padding away in the opposite direction from camp. “Well, are you guys coming or not?”
“You’re going the wrong way…” I hissed, refusing to put up with this cat’s nonsense.
“Okay, okay.” Twig blinked. “No need to get fiesty. Let’s go, and this time you lead.” he purred.
As we walked back to camp, I examined the state of Twig’s fur. You couldn’t even tell what color it was, it was so filthy. I could even see fleas hopping around. I recoiled in disgust. Whoever had fur-cleaning duty was in for a challenge. Eagleclaw, Winterpaw, Twig, and I padded through the entrance, ignoring the stares we got from the others. We headed straight for Cakestar’s den, keeping our eyes fixed straight ahead. My fur prickled under the curious gazes of my clanmates. After what seemed like eternity, we stopped at the foot of the highrock, where Cakestar sat.
“Tell me, why did you bring this cat into camp?” Cakestar didn’t seem angry, only curious.
“He said he needed shelter. We brought him here so you could decide whether or not to give it to him.” Eagleclaw replied unflinchingly.
“Hey, now, I can speak for myself!” Twig shouldered his way to the front. I inwardly groaned as he launched into a long tale about his journey through the forest. “So you see,” he finished, “I’m in need of a place to stay the night.”
“Jayfrost, Kat, Eagleclaw, come into my den with me so we can discuss the matter.” The group vanished into Cakestar’s den while the clan eagerly waited outside. A few moments passed, then they emerged.
Cakestar addressed the clan with a flick of her reddish tail. “We’ve decided to let him stay if, and only if, he allows someone to groom him.” She glanced distastefully as his ungroomed fur. A flicker of amusement bubbled up inside of me. I could tell that this was going to be… interesting.
Chapter 3 Edit
I stomped huffily towards the medicine den. Out of all the apprentices Cakestar could have chosen, of course she chose me to clean Twig’s fur. I sighed. His pelt was so filthy! I didn’t even know where to start! Tangles, burrs, ticks, dirt… he had it all. Oh well. I didn’t have anything against Twig, really. Perhaps he’d tell me an interesting story. This was a good chance to get to know him better.
“Hi Mistypaw! What can I do for you?” Kat meowed cheerily as I poked my head into her den.
“I don’t know where to start with cleaning Twig’s fur...” I replied, sighing.
“I see,” she said, her eyes glimmering with amusement. “Well, I’d advise you to first have him stand in a stream; that’ll wash most of the dirt out. He might not like it, but it will make your job a lot easier; you’ll be able to see his ticks better and get them out more easily. While you’re doing that, I’ll ask Winterpaw to prepare some mouse bile for you.”
“Okay, thanks!” I called as I padded away toward the hollow tree where Twig had decided to make his den. “I have to help clean your fur,” I meowed to him, wrinkling my nose at the stench.
He just blinked. “Okay, sure! It’ll be a relief to get rid of all these ticks. Where do you need to start?”
“Well…” I mewed hesitantly, “You need to first stand in a stream, so the dirt will wash off.” I held my breath, unsure of what his reply would be. I knew that most cats didn’t like to get their fur wet, especially elders like Twig. To my surprise, he just nodded. “You lead the way,” he said, getting to his paws and stretching.
I escorted him out of camp, nodding to Aspenflame, who was standing guard. We stopped at a small brook just beside the thorn barrier. Twig hesitated, screwing his eyes shut, then walked inside, shaking his paws as he went. I was impressed. He hadn’t even complained. I watched the water behind him turn murky as the dirt washed away. Gradually, it faded from a dirty brown color to clear, and I decided Twig was clean enough. “Okay, you can come out now.”
“Brr! That was freezing!” He hopped around, shaking the water off his pelt and doing some sort of wierd dance as he tried to get warm. I supressed a purr of amusement at his uncomfortableness.
“Now let’s get your ticks sorted out,” I meowed once we were back in camp. I had fetched mouse bile from Winterpaw, and was beginning to dab some on his fleas, wrinkling my nose at the unsavory scent. Now that the dirt was finally off his pelt, I could see that he was, in fact, snowy-white, with a thin brown stripe across his back and brown paws.
“Now, how ’bout I tell you the story of how I caught my first first prey,” Twig purred as I combed painstakingly through his fur. “You see, I was 4 moons old at the time, and there was this mouse-”
“Four moons?” I interrupted. “That was young!”
Twig’s eyes clouded. “Well, my mother died when I was still a kit. Came home one day without being able to use her hind legs, which proved to be fatal when we were attacked by a fox and she couldn’t fight back.” He began continuing his story of his first prey, but I wasn’t listening. Memories flooded my mind. Twig’s mom’s ailment sounded strangely familiar, and I was willing to bet that I knew what had caused it.
“Twig..” I meowed. “Do you remember what your mom said when she came back?”
He frowned slightly. I could tell that he didn’t like talking about it. I felt bad, but I had to know if my suspicions were correct.
“Yes..” he began hesitantly. “She was furious, talking about how she had been attacked by a white tom with a black tail.”
My mind was racing. Could it be… could it be that the cat that had attacked Twig’s mother had been part of the Clan that had attacked us a while ago? I hurriedly finished taking out his ticks, then raced over to Wavepaw to tell her what I had found out.
“…and I think that it was the same clan that attacked us the other day!” I whispered, finishing my story excitedly.
Wavepaw looked thoughtful. “It could be.. do you think we should tell Cakestar about this?”
“How would it even help?” I replied. A plan was forming in my mind, but I didn’t dare say it aloud yet. Finally I couldn’t stand it. “Wavepaw, I’m going to try to find that clan tomorrow and see what they’re up to.”
“You can’t! It’ll be too dangerous!”
“I can. Think about it! If I was sneaky enough, I could figure out who they are, what they’re doing, everything! We might even have a chance of defeating them!” I knew that it was against the warrior code, but I was not going to let that horrible clan hurt anyone else. I hated them with every last hair on my pelt, and I was going to make them pay for all the pain they had caused. Twig’s mother had died because of them, my clanmates were sick because of them, and who knew how many others had suffered? I was determined to find them and put an end to their evil.