Rising Sun is the first book of Out of the Shadows, a fanfiction series written by Frostfeather.
ShadowClan is on the brink of collapse. Everyone knows what happened to ThunderClan, who were not quick enough to handle the rogues sweeping across their territory like wildfire. Now several warring rogue factions are in ShadowClan land, each trying to get ShadowClan to fight for them. When a ShadowClan patrol becomes target of a guerrilla assault, Snowstar is forced to take action and drive out the rogue groups. But there is more to the hostile cats than noticed at first sight. With communication to WindClan and RiverClan cut off, just how long is ShadowClan able to survive?
Snowstar- fluffy white tom with a grey-tipped tail and ears
Echofrost - pitch-black she-cat with amber eyes
Whitewhisker - thick-furred white tom with grey ears
- Apprentice - Shrewpaw
Antshade - slim black tom with a brown belly and muzzle
Toadflame - dark brown tom with green eyes and black stripes
- Apprentice - Amberpaw
Falconwing - spiky-furred brown tabby she-cat with amber eyes
- Apprentice - Russetpaw
Talonflame - light grey tom with black paws and ginger splotches
Speckleleaf - light brown tabby she-cat with white spots
Rocktail - stocky grey tom with a scar running down one flank
- Apprentice - Cloudpaw
Maplecloud - brown-and-cream she-cat with green eyes
- Apprentice - Sandpaw
Webflight - light grey tabby tom
Rainfeather - light grey tom with a white muzzle, tail-tip, and ears
Shiverflame - tortoiseshell she-cat with a long tail
Smokestripe - dark grey tabby tom with amber eyes
Honeywhisker - ginger tabby she-cat with green eyes and a white tail-tip
Rushstorm - thin black-and-white tom with blue eyes
Shrewpaw - skinny grey tom with blue eyes
Sandpaw - sandy-brown tom with blue eyes
Cloudpaw - thick-furred white tom with amber eyes
Russetpaw - reddish-brown tom with green eyes
Amberpaw - brown tabby she-cat with green eyes and a white chest and muzzle
Silvercloud - silvery-grey she-cat with emerald-green eyes
- Pricklekit - small black tom with green eyes
- Gingerkit - dark ginger she-kit with amber eyes
Emberdusk - light brown tabby she-cat with grey ears
- Juniperkit - small brown tabby she-kit with a grey tail-tip and ears
- Blazekit - ginger tabby tom with a white belly and brown paws
- Breezekit - light grey tom with green eyes
Crowsong - frail grey-and-brown she-cat with one deaf ear and large black splotches
Nightpoppy - thick-furred black she-cat with green eyes
Lightstorm - grey-and-white tom with tufted ears
Stoatwhisker - young brown tom with a crippled hind leg
Copperstar - lean golden-brown she-cat with sharp green eyes
Leafshade - light grey tom with green eyes
Rootwhisker - dark brown tabby tom with misty blue eyes
Petalwhisker - cream she-cat with blue eyes
- Apprentice - Finchpaw
Bluefire - black tom with piercing blue eyes
- Apprentice - Foxpaw
Copperflight - golden-brown tom with amber eyes
Rowanblaze - brown tabby tom with amber eyes
Thistlebriar - grey-and-white she-cat
Hillshade - cream-and-brown tom
Meadowspring - grey tabby she-cat with blue eyes
Brindlesong - light brown tabby she-cat
Spottedleap - mottled golden-brown tom
Sootflame - grey she-cat with amber eyes
- Apprentice - Owlpaw
Firewing - ginger tom with slashed ears
Elmtail - cream tabby tom with green eyes
Swiftstep - black-and-white she-cat
Fernmouse - pale brown she-cat with green eyes
Flintshade - smokey grey tom with amber eyes
Owlpaw - light grey tabby tom
Finchpaw- ginger-and-white tom with green eyes
Foxpaw - reddish-brown tabby tom
Heatherdrop - light brown she-cat with blue eyes
- Skykit - golden-brown tom with sky-blue eyes
- Leafkit - small brown tom with green eyes
Furzedust - grey she-cat with blue eyes
- Hollowkit - black tom with a white chest and muzzle
- Oatkit - spiky-furred cream-and-brown tom
- Icekit - light grey she-kit with ice-blue eyes
Emberleap - skinny ginger she-cat with blue eyes
Featherstar - thick-furred white she-cat with amber eyes
Mistlebush - bluish-grey and white she-cat with blue eyes
Larkcloud - brown tabby she-cat
- Apprentice - Cloudfall
Troutleap - muscular dark grey tom
- Apprentice - Nightpaw
Timberfoot - dark brown tom with amber eyes
- Apprentice - Dewpaw
Pineskip- brown tom with green eyes
Tidesplash - ragged blue-grey she-cat with blue eyes
Slatestripe - grey she-cat with blue eyes and a darker stripe down her back
Ripplesand - light grey tabby tom with green eyes
Streamslip - grey she-cat with blue eyes
- Apprentice - Dapplepaw
Fernflight - black-and-white she-cat with green eyes
- Apprentice - Pouncepaw
Tawnypool - golden-brown she-cat with green eyes
Mossyfang - grey she-cat with a black tailtip and ears
Icetail - white tom with a fluffy tail
Driftfeather - light grey-and-white tom
Cloudfall - white tom with amber eyes
Pouncepaw - white tom with ginger tabby patches
Dapplepaw - tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat with green eyes
Nightpaw - black tom with amber eyes
Dewpaw - light grey tabby tom
Brindlespring - brown tabby she-cat with blue eyes
- Beechkit - cream tabby tom
Lakemist - blue-grey she-cat with amber eyes and dark grey ears
- Otterkit - thin brown tom with amber eyes
- Marshkit - brown tabby tom with green eyes
Snowshine - skinny white she-cat with blue eyes
Mudfang - dark brown tom with a plumy tail
Goldenwing - golden-brown she-cat with green eyes
Cats Outside the ClansEdit
Ivy - slim grey she-cat with cunning blue eyes
Buzzard - white tom with dark grey tabby patches and many scars
Wasp - brown tom with blue eyes and a long tail
Coal - muscular grey tabby tom with a slashed ear
Glacier - white tom with grey ears and green eyes
Stone - bulky grey tom
Storm - blue-grey tom with black ears and dark green eyes
Kudzu - brown tabby tom with amber eyes
Swallow - small white she-cat with large ginger tabby patches
Thestrel - large grey-brown tom with blue eyes
Steam - thick-furred light grey tom with green eyes
Scales - sleek dark grey tom with amber eyes
Jaguar - golden-brown tom with black spots and a long scar running down one flank
Panther - black tom with green eyes
Leopard - golden-brown tom with black splotches and green eyes
Lynx - small golden-brown tom with amber eyes and large black ears
Tungsten - silvery-grey tom with amber eyes
Cobble - stocky grey tom with amber eyes
Dark - slim black tom with deep green eyes
Shine - thick-furred light grey she-cat with almost lime-green eyes
Soft - fluffy white she-cat with light green eyes
- Coconut - small brown she-kit with green eyes
- Penguin - fuzzy black tom with a white chest, muzzle, and tailtip
Berry - cream she-cat with green eyes
Dash - black-and-white tom with amber eyes
Pine - dark brown tabby tom with amber eyes, one of which is blind
Indigo - dark grey-and-white she-cat with dark blue eyes
Tree - large brown tom with green eyes
Sun - ginger tom with a white chest, muzzle, and paws
Quail - light grey she-cat with green eyes
Crimson - powerful russet tom with a long scar down one side
Heron - dark grey tabby tom with a white muzzle and chest
Starling - ginger tabby she-cat with amber eyes
Stripes - mottled brown tabby tom
Quartz - pure white tom
Whirlpool - grey-brown tabby tom with green eyes
Yew - grey tabby tom
Mint - light grey-and-white she-cat
Acacia - dark brown she-cat with amber eyes
Ice - skinny white tom with blue-grey eyes
Crag - grey tom with white flecks and green eyes
Robin - brown tabby she-cat with blue eyes
Pike - black tom with a white chest and green eyes
Flurry - grey-and-white tom with amber eyes and large ears
Flame - ginger tabby tom with green eyes
Mouse - brown she-cat with green eyes
Fennel - light grey tom with green eyes and darker ears
Samoa - reddish-brown she-cat with green eyes
Lightning - black tom with white flash on chest
Bluebird - small blue-grey tom with big blue eyes
Elkleap - cream-and-brown tom
Feathercloud - grey she-cat with blue eyes
Wildblaze - mottled brown tom
Gorsewhisker - grey-and-white tabby tom
Beetleshade - brown-and-white tom with black ears
Shadeflight - grey tabby she-cat
Cloverwind - light brown tabby she-cat with green eyes
Badgerflame - black-and-white tom
Mistyfern - grey-and-white she-cat with blue eyes
Thrushfang - light brown tabby tom with a white chest and tailtip
Blazeberry - ginger tabby she-cat with green eyes
Brackentail - golden-brown tabby tom with hazel eyes
Sorrelbreeze - tortoiseshell she-cat with green eyes and a white chest and paws
Larchpaw - brown tabby tom with amber eyes
Jackson - cream-and-brown tom
Blade - dark grey tabby tom with a torn ear
Hare - brown-and-white tom
Cedric - thin grey-brown tom with amber eyes
Crow - black tom
Amethyst - light grey she-cat with unusual lilac eyes
Spark - ginger tom with green eyes
Bartholomew - brown tabby tom with blue eyes
Seedstar sat atop the Highledge, tail flicking anxiously. She could hear the thundering of paws in the distance.
"Seedstar?" The young leader turned, spotting her deputy Elkleap scrambling up the rocks until he had found a position beside her. "The rogues are coming. A ThunderClan patrol was sent out to investigate. They should come back any moment now."
Seedstar nodded her acknowledgement. "Thank you, Elkleap. Make sure our cats are ready. I have a feeling we won't be left alone."
Elkleap's whiskers twitched. "Yes, Seedstar," he replied, making his way down the Highledge. Seedstar sighed, trying to calm her nerves.
"Seedstar! Seedstar!" Thrushfang and Hollysky tore through the camp entrance, covered from head to tail with bite and claw marks.
Seedstar's gaze darted to the two warriors. "What happened? Did you see the rogues? Where are Vineshade and Pidgeonpaw?" She asked, bristling with alarm.
The two heavily wounded cats collapsed. Blackstone rushed to treat them, a bundle of herbs in his jaws.
"W-we ran into the rogues," Thrushfang began shakily. "They attacked us and killed Vineshade. We were forced to retreat."
"And Pidgeonpaw?" Seedstar pressed.
Thrushfang glanced down, tears welling at his eyes. "We tried to carry him back...."
Hollysky stared at her paws as well. "He died on the way here. We buried him a few tree-lengths outside the camp."
Seedstar dipped her head in sympathy. Pidgeonpaw had been Thrushfang's enthusiastic, eager apprentice. It must be hard now that he was gone. She turned to Elkleap. "Is everyone prepared? We need to be carefu-" She broke off, noticing a gap in the camp wall. Elkleap turned to look as well.
There were two amber eyes staring through the hole.
Seedstar barely had time to comprehend what was being said when rogues began irregularly pouring through the camp walls, screeching battle cries and flinging themselves at the gathering crowd of clan cats. Badgerflame, Whitefrost, and Feathercloud rushed to meet the four rogues at the camp entrance. Thrushfang and Hollysky struggled to their paws while Tallpaw and Larchpaw crashed into a rogue heading for the apprentice's den.
"Defend the nursery!" Seedstar yowled as she flung herself from Highledge onto a brown tom, sending both cats crashing to the ground. Jaggedpaw, Mouseflame, Gorsewhisker, and Adderleaf rushed to defend the den and the kits inside. Seedstar pushed herself to her paws and flung herself at a huge tom, kicking and clawing wherever there was flesh available. This isn't another border skirmish. This is an invasion.
The large tom swung a paw at Seedstar, but she ducked easily. She only noticed she fell for the ploy when the other massive paw slammed into her jaw and sent her tumbling. She rolled away as the terrifying figure bore down on her, foaming at the mouth. He reared up to strike a devastating, maybe even fatal blow when Mistyfern broke away from the writhing mass of cats and dove at the tom's legs, sending him toppling.
"Thanks," Seedstar breathed, nodding her appreciation. Mistyfern dipped her head and plunged back into the battle, leaving Seedstar to finish off the stocky tom sprawled on the ground. A yellow tabby rushed forward, hissing, but Seedstar lunged forward and struck the tabby between the ribs with her shoulder. Both cats spat with fury as they leapt again, crashing against each other and clawing in a whirl of fur and blood. The yellow tabby mercilessly drove Seedstar back with a flurry of blows, tearing the ThunerClan leader's ear. The she-cat roared in fury and reared up, slamming both paws on the tabby's shoulder blades and driving the rogue into the ground. She clamped her jaws around the tabby's throat, jerking her head back and feeling the attacker go limp. She dropped the cat and turned to see Elkleap staring at her. "That snap...."
Seedstar dismissed it with a flick of her tail. She stepped back, trying to survey the devastated camp. Grassfoot and a rogue lay dead next to each other, with Blazeberry shaking Grassfoot frantically. Bramblesting was slumped against the camp wall nearby, eyes dull. Blackstone reared up at the entrance of the medicine den, three rogues surrounding him. Jaggedpaw and Gorsewhisker were left as the only two remaining nursery defenders, and Seedstar watched in horror as one of the rogues kicked Gorsewhisker away and slashed at Jaggedpaw's throat, striking down the weary apprentice. Two rogues barged into the nursery, blood staining their pelts.
"Quick! We have to help the queens and kits!" Seedstar called to the remaining warriors, racing towards the nursery. She skidded to a halt by Jaggedpaw.
"I-I'm sorry... I tried to stop them...." he sputtered.
Suddenly, a grey she-cat pounced on Seedstar and sliced her other ear open. Seedstar yowled in fury, striking out at the she-cat's skull, but the rogue easily danced away. She swung at the rogue's head but at the last moment her paw swerved downward, tearing a long scratch in the grey she-cat's leg. She grunted in pain and flung herself at Seedstar again, throwing both she-cats to the ground. Quick as a flash, the grey rogue was on her again, her claws arcing down toward Seedstar's head.
And with a flash of pain, the whole world went dark.
It was almost sunhigh when Smokestripe finally accepted his need to get up. He wearily pushed himself to his paws, blinking several times before leaving the warrior's den. He craned his neck to see Snowstar having a quiet chat with Echofrost, Antshade, Silvercloud, Toadflame, and Falconwing near the leader's den. Whitewhisker ordered Shrewpaw around the medicine den, while Nightpoppy and Lightstorm shared a mouse at the elder's den. Rainfeather was supervising Silvercloud's kits, Pricklekit and Gingerkit, near the fresh-kill pile, while Emberdusk fondly watched her own litter, only a half-moon old. Smokestripe shook out his fur and started toward Shiverflame, Rushstorm, and Honeywhisker, who were grouped together by the camp wall and were murmuring in low voices.
"Hey," Smokestripe greeted, sitting beside the three warriors.
The three cats looked up, nodding their welcome.
"Hi," Rushstorm replied. "Do you know what Snowstar and the senior warriors are talking about?"
Smokestripe shook his head. "No, sorry. Why?"
"We heard about the rogues entering our territory, and what they did to ThunderClan," Shiverflame murmured.
Smokestripe had heard that several rogue groups were at war with each other in ThunderClan territory, and had launched a devastating attack on ThunderClan to eliminate them as a threat. Over half of ThunderClan, including their leader, Seedstar, and medicine cat, Blackstone, were killed in the horrific siege, and the remainder had scattered, leaving ThunderClan to be destroyed forever. Now the rogues were running wild on ShadowClan territory, free to do what they wanted without a strong force to stop them.
"We don't know who they are or what they might do." Honeywhisker added worriedly.
"Yeah, I know," Smokestripe responded. "I just hope they leave soon. I'd rather keep a normal life, thank you."
"Don't count on it," Rushstorm muttered darkly. "Anyway, is there anything interesting going on? I've been sitting on my tail all day."
Smokestripe shrugged. "It's kind of hard to find something to do when Snowstar just keeps us cooped up in camp. We're lucky the fresh-kill pile is still stocked."
"He probably just wants to know how dangerous the rogues are before he sends out any cats near them," Honeywhisker intervened.
Smokestripe nodded. "I guess that makes sense," he agreed. However, his mind was still plagued with disturbing thoughts. If the rogues destroyed ThunderClan, the strongest Clan in the forest...
What does that mean for us?
"Dash! Indigo! Tree! I want you on a hunting patrol! Pine, Sun, Quail, you're with me on guard duty," Berry barked.
Dash and Indigo quietly slipped out of the camp they had constructed, while it took a little longer for Tree to cross the clearing and join them. Sun frowned, glancing from Berry to the gathered cats and back. Although Berry was the head of the group, she was younger than most leaders and inexperienced in combat situations.
Sun shook his head, discarding the thought as he went over to sit beside his sister, Quail.
"Hi," he greeted as he waved each of his stiff joints around before sitting down.
"What's up?" His sister asked, tail flicking lazily.
Sun shrugged. "I was about to ask the same thing,"
"Hmm," Quail replied, whiskers twitching. "How long do you think it'll be before we can get out of this mess?" She asked, looking to start a conversation.
"I... I don't know," Sun admitted. "I don't want to fight in a war, but we can't just abandon our friends."
They both knew the dangerous position they were in by being in a group with other cats. Berry's group was currently locked in a war with several other factions for reasons Sun didn't exactly understand. All he knew was that there once was a massive group of loners, almost as big as a Clan, that joined together to drive out what at first seemed like just a few vicious rogues, who were now known as Ivy's group. However, massive internal divisions and conflict over who should have command over all the cats resulted in a bloody breakup of the large group, creating the factions that now were currently at war with each other.
"Comrades," Quail reminded him. "Just because we agreed to fight together doesn't mean we're friends with them."
"Well Dash and Tree seem nice enough, and Pine can't be left out on his own. I mean, he's a great hunter and a decent fighter, but he only has one working eye." Sun argued.
Pine, who was sitting at the other side of the camp, flicked his tail as if he overheard their hushed conversation.
"Anyway, Berry still tries to be a good leader, and Indigo... well, she's kind of mysterious, but we can still trust her, right? And we wouldn't last very long out on our own," Sun meowed worriedly.
"Well, I guess you have a point," Quail agreed reluctantly, "but that doesn't mean I have to like it here."
"I know, and I don't like it either," Sun responded, "but if it helps us stay alive, it works for me."
"Of course, stupid furball," Quail purred. "It's not like we can run off and join Ivy's hooligans and hope to be safe there."
Sun nodded, tail flicking anxiously. Ivy's group was by far the most mysterious and vicious group, willing to do anything to get a one up on their enemies.
"Well," he meowed, "I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens. After all, I don't get the privilege of being thrown into a horde of bloody, warring cats every day now, do I?"
"Fine. Speckleleaf, you can lead a patrol to scout around the territory. Take Rocktail, Webflight, Shiverflame, and Cloudpaw." Snowstar sighed.
Smokestripe leaped to his paws. "Snowstar's sending out patrols again!" He heard Rushstorm mew excitedly beside him. Honeywhisker nodded, tail flicking. "We won't be kept in camp any longer!"
He watched as Speckleleaf summoned the cats in question with a flick of her tail, leading them out of camp. She was a loyal warrior with a good head on her shoulders, and the patrol knew their way around. They would be safe. He saw Webflight pause for a brief moment, touching noses with his mate, Emberdusk.
"Be safe, okay? Those rogues seem dangerous." Emberdusk warned.
"Don't worry, Emberdusk. I'll be back." Webflight laughed softly, turning to join the patrol.
Webflight and Emberdusk were two of the younger warriors, Smokestripe remembered. Their kits, Juniperkit, Blazekit, and Breezekit, were only a little over a half-moon old. The other queen, Silvercloud, was older, one of the senior warriors before moving to the nursery expecting Antshade's kits. Pricklekit and Gingerkit were three moons old now, and they were as lively as any cat could imagine.
Smokestripe could see the two now as they hurtled after Russetpaw, throwing themselves on top of the young tom and bringing him crashing to the ground.
"Aah, they got me! Amberpaw, help!" He called.
Amberpaw, Russetpaw's sister, leaned back again the camp wall. "Nah, this looks like it'll be fun."
Russetpaw growled in mock anger as he was swarmed by Pricklekit and Gingerkit. "I'll get you for this!"
Amberpaw turned away, grinning. "In your dreams, bro."
Smokestripe tried not to laugh as Gingerkit jumped on Russetpaw's head. "Amberstar, look! We defeated the evil rogue!"
Amberpaw nodded her approval. "Good job!"
"Pricklekit! Gingerkit! Get off poor Russetpaw!" Silvercloud called.
The two kits giggled as they scampered away, hiding mischievous looks. Smokestripe turned away, smiling, as he padded around the camp. A little exercise can't hurt, can it? A sudden yelp made him stumble back, jumping as Shrewpaw tripped and nearly collided with him. The medicine cat apprentice twisted so his shoulder hit the ground instead of his face, although he dropped the bundle of herbs he was carrying.
"Sorry!" The smaller grey tom apologized quickly, trying to scrape together the herbs which had scattered all over the ground ahead of them.
"Shrewpaw!" The medicine cat, Whitewhisker, stalked over to observe the mess Shrewpaw was desperately trying to clean as fast as he could.
The young apprentice froze. "Y-yes?"
"What did you do this time! Now I have to make another bundle," he snapped.
Shrewpaw hung his head, ashamed. "Sorry, Whitewhisker."
Whitewhisker sniffed, turning away. "Clean it up and come back to the medicine den," he sighed irritably.
Smokestripe watched as the grouchy medicine cat padded back to the medicine den, whiskers twitching. "What was that all about?" He asked.
Shrewpaw gathered the spilled herbs into a pile. "Oh, nothing. He always acts like that."
Smokestripe shrugged. "Okay then, if you say so. Isn't Whitewhisker being a little hard on you, though? You're only three quarter-moons into your training."
Shrewpaw shook his head quickly. "No! Nothing like that! It's just... complicated." He finished vaguely, rolling the herbs into a bundle and carrying them away.
Smokestripe frowned, watching Shrewpaw hurry away.
"Hello," a voice sounded from the camp entrance, making him jump. He whirled around to see a brown she-cat pad into the camp. "My name is Acacia, and I would like to see Snowstar."
Chapter Four Edit
Smokestripe slowly backed away, whiskers twitching uneasily. Shrewpaw nervously peeked out of the medicine den. Russetpaw and Amberpaw froze, looking up from their friendly argument. Rushstorm and Honeywhisker came to stand beside Smokestripe while Silvercloud shepherded her kits back into the nursery.
"Who's that?" Sandpaw challenged, eyes narrowed.
"Sandpaw!" His mentor, Maplecloud, scolded. "Don't be rude!"
Sandpaw's snorted and turned away, ears twitching.
"Hello," Smokestripe turned to see Snowstar approaching the rogue she-cat. "Who are you, and what are you doing in my camp?"
"My name is Acacia, I'm at your service, sir." Acacia replied curtly.
"Hmm," Snowstar noted. "I still want to know what you want."
Snowstar wasn't usually this hostile, Smokestripe remembered. But dark times had come upon them, and everyone was becoming a little sharp on the tongue.
"Well first things first, don't be afraid," Acacia warned, turning to the camp entrance. "You can come in now."
Smokestripe watched as a black tom with a white chest padded into the camp, followed by a grey-and-white tom who looked about an apprentice's age, a brown tabby she-cat and a grey tom with white flecks walking side-by-side, who must've been guards of some kind, and finished by an old white tom limping along after.
"Great, more rogues!" Sandpaw sighed frostily.
"What are they doing here?" Whitewhisker hissed.
"Hush," Snowstar warned. "We don't know who they are yet."
Although they were brothers, Snowstar and Whitewhisker did not get along very well, constantly at odds with each other.
"We wish you no harm here, " Acacia meowed impatiently. "Meet my group. This is Ice, Crag, Robin, Pike, and Flurry." "We really don't want a fight," Ice, the old cat, wheezed. "We just want to talk."
Snowstar stood there for several moments, considering the request. "Fine," he agreed at last. "I'll give you a chance to explain yourselves."
"We have an offer for you," Acacia started. "I believe an alliance would protect both of our groups."
Smokestripe froze, mouth gaping. One of the rogue groups giving them so much trouble wanted an alliance with them? Rushstorm and Honeywhisker looked just as shocked, pelts fluffed out in surprise. The two siblings sat there now, exchanging a nervous glance with each other. Smokestripe turned his attention back to Acacia, who simply sat there calmly, in contrast to the Clan cats.
"What? Why would I ally ShadowClan with a bunch of rogues!" Snowstar exclaimed.
"We aren't just a bunch of rogues, mind you," Acacia reminded the confused leader. Crag and Robin, the grey tom and brown tabby she-cat, sat there quietly, while Pike, the black tom, shifted his weight from one paw to another excitedly. Ice whispered something into Acacia's ear while Flurry, the young grey-and-white tom, pulled his ears back, expressionless. Acacia shook her head at Ice's whispered words. Smokestripe could just barely hear her quiet reply.
"They wouldn't attack us in their own camp, if they are truly cats of honor." She murmured.
Ice shrugged. "I just don't know about this," he croaked.
Snowstar was just below the hazel branch he made his announcements from, conferring with Echofrost, Antshade, Silvercloud, Toadflame, and Falconwing, something the apprentices had dubbed "The Secret Council". After a few minutes of anticipation, Snowstar turned to face Acacia.
"No." He said firmly.
Smokestripe's fur fluffed out, appalled. Was Snowstar seriously rejecting an alliance?
"W-why?" Flurry stammered. Pike stopped shifting in excitement, mouth gaping.
"Why do you say this?" Acacia asked. If she was surprised, she was certainly good at hiding it.
Snowstar sniffed. "I'm sorry, but I'm not ready to trust any rogues yet. Besides, who's to say you won't betray us the moment you get the chance?"
Acacia's whiskers twitched. "Well, if that's how you put it, I believe we'll be leaving now. Come on," she replied curtly, turning to her group. "We have a war to fight, let's move along."
Ice shambled into the woods, followed by Flurry and Pike. Crag and Robin hesitated before following them as well. Acacia paused, throwing one last look at the Clan cats.
"Hmm. ShadowClan's leader Snowstar," she mused. "Good luck."
She turned away and padded out of the clearing, blending in with the shadows of the camp wall before disappearing.
The ShadowClan cats sat there for a while, not a word being spoken. Finally, Gingerkit piped up from the nursery.
"What's gonna happen to us now?"
Snowstar stood there for a while, stunned. "I-I don't know."
"Good job, mousebrain!" Whitewhisker snapped. "Now we just lost our only chance of making it through this war alive!"
"Hey!" Smokestripe protested. "Don't talk to him like that! Weren't you the one who was so against having the rogues in the camp?"
Whitewhisker turned his cold glare on Smokestripe, instantly hushing the grey warrior. In truth, he was every bit as shocked as the others, but he didn't want to see his leader being humiliated in front of the Clan.
"He's right, Whitewhisker," Echofrost meowed. "You have no right to openly insult our leader."
Whitewhisker simply growled, heading for the medicine den. "Fine." He muttered.
"Sn-Snowstar!" A hoarse cry sounded from the camp entrance. Speckleleaf dragged herself into the camp, covered in dust and blood. Rocktail followed, supporting a half-conscious Webflight. Both were covered in fresh bite and claw marks, blood dripping from every wound. Shiverflame dragged Cloudpaw into sight, breathing heavily. "We're under attack!"
Sun circled the clearing, restless. Quail sat nearby, tail flicking impatiently. They were wanting something, anything, to do, Sun knew. But Berry had curtly refused their offer to go hunting or patrolling.
"We need most of the group here," she had said.
Sun sighed, finally giving up and plopping to the ground. Silence hung in the air like a thick curtain.
"You gonna keep walkin' all day, or start bein' useful, huh?" Pine grumbled.
"How can I be useful? It's kinda hard when we're sitting here all day expecting an attack that will never come." He quickly shrunk away, embarrassed, as he realized that he said that out loud.
"Fine, you can go out," Berry called. "Dash, Indigo, and Tree are almost back, and I'm getting tired of your complaining."
Sun shrugged, exchanging an exasperated glance with Quail. The bracken fronds at the camp entrance suddenly quivered as the three cats in earlier question stepped into camp.
"How's it looking out there?" Berry asked.
"Nothing moves beyond our controlled territory. It's all quiet out there," Dash reported.
"Good," Berry nodded. "Sun, Quail, you can go now. Dash, Pine, Indigo, Tree, take up positions around the camp."
Sun and Quail dipped their heads gratefully, making their way through the camp entrance. They continued through the forest for a while, sniffing around the undergrowth for prey.
"Found anything?" Sun called, searching around the roots of a tree.
"Not if you keep yowling like that, I won't," Quail responded.
"Oh yeah. Right." Sun muttered, rolling his eyes at his sister. He stiffened, hearing a faint scuffle in a bush.
"Who's there?" He whispered, turning to Quail, who simply shook her head.
He slowly crept forward, Quail moving silently behind him. Suddenly, a black-and-white ball of fur rammed into him, sending him flying away from the bush. He sprawled on the ground, temporarily jarring his limbs. Quail and the black-and-white she-cat were now circling each other, growling.
"Who are you?" They both hissed at the same time.
"Put your claws away and I might tell you," the stranger meowed.
"Says the cat who attacked us," Quail retorted.
The she-cat sighed, sheathing her claws. She looked about the same age as Sun and Quail. "Fine. My name is Mint, and I don't want any trouble here."
"Then why did you attack us?" Sun asked, struggling to his paws.
"I thought you were the ones who were going to attack me," Mint replied.
"Oh," Quail frowned. "But what are you doing here?"
"What are you doing here?" Mint shot back. "You're on our territory."
"Since when was there a 'your territory'?" Quail demanded.
"Since we established control over this part of the forest and dealt with any... intrusion." Mint warned.
"Woah, woah, woah," Sun intervened. "Can we come to some sort of arrangement?"
Mint and Quail both stared at him. "What do you mean?"
Sun frowned, tapping claw on the ground. "We'll leave your territory and not come back, but you can't tell your leader we've been here." Sun offered.
Mint frowned. "How do you know I'm in a group?"
Sun rolled his eyes. "It's war. Everyone's going to be in a group soon enough."
Mint's whiskers twitched. "Fine. Just don't ever come back, and I'll leave you alone." She reluctantly agreed.
"Will do," Quail muttered, vanishing into the undergrowth. Mint headed the opposite direction, turning before she to disappeared. "Just remember," she warned, "Tell anyone, and I repeat, anyone about this encounter, and I'll slit your throat."
"Hmm, sure thing." Sun shrugged, turning to catch up with his sister.
"What was that all about?" She asked when he finally sped up to match her pace.
"The classic 'tell anyone and I'll kill you' stuff," Sun replied.
"Interesting," Quail noted. "Let's go home."
Two grey toms crouched in the undergrowth, watching.
"So do we attack?" The first one asked.
"No," the larger one replied. "Good things come to those who wait."
- The appearances of both Dapplepaw and Sorrelbreeze are based off of Grace, my kitty
- The first name I came up with was Toadflame