Wildfeather is that cat...the one no one talks to,the one no one cares about.Sure they help her in battle,hunt with her,share their prey.But beyond that...nothing.
Turtleshell is the medicine cat.And he hates it.He didn't choose this path,but he can't live any other way.
Everything they want is forbidden,but not all of it is just black and white violation of the medicine cat code.
It goes beyond reality.
As I stepped out of the pond and shook out my coat in the icy air,I sighed.Sometimes I came out her and just talked.Not to any cat.To the songbirds in the trees,the wind in my fur.To myself.I began talking like this now.
“Why must everything be so difficult?"I asked of myself.But I couldn't answer.My whole life was a secret,a lie.
No cat is meant to hold my curse.It isn't right.I turned and looked at the pond.My reflection shimmered in the water.It was cold that night.I should be heading back to camp.My Clan would worry for me.But I didn't care.Not at that moment.
I wasn't planning to go back into the water,but I couldn't stop myself.
It was kind of a weird feeling,thinking back on it.The first moments in the water,I mean.It was wrong,not natural,but to me,it was almost second nature.I was born with the secret.The lie.My mother had told me in a hushed voice,as soon as I was old enough to understand,that I was to hide my curse.
“Wildkit,you must never share your burden with any cat.You are special,powerful,but no one else with see it that way.You must aviod it at all costs."She had said to me.That was the day before she left me.I never wished my curse on any other cat,but I didn't want it for myself,either.My mother had called me powerful,but I didn't feel powerful.
I felt alone.
As I slipped deeper into the water,I began to swim.Not up,but down.To the dark water near the bottom of the pond - a lake,really, - where the only place of safety I knew was.
As I swam into the cave,I pulled myself out of the water,into the small section of air that was there.I crawled onto the bank,shaking my fur and waiting to dry.
It was a long time before I dried enough to stand and walk around.I couldn't stay down there long,or the Clan would come looking for me.And then they would know.
Finally I knew I should go back up.Silently I slipped into the water and swam to the surface.Poking my head up to make sure the coast was clear,I climbed out of the water.
As I waited to dry off,I counted the stars.I had almost reached 40 when I stood to go.“Till next time."I whispered to the pond as I ran through the forest.Till next time...
Wildfeather As I opened my eyes I saw bits of rain drizzling down outside.A day to stay in.Too wet.They'd know.Even the prey,being soaked,wasn't an option.Today was a day I'd go hungry. I did this every so often.Wouldn't eat,I mean.Turtleshell,the medicine cat,didn't like when I went hungry like that.But he didn't know.So I told him I had a cold or stomache ache if he got suspicious.He would give me an herb or two,and usually leave me alone. The day wore on and by sunhigh the rain had stopped.It was still damp outside,though,and if I got over my sickness too quickly,Turtleshell would know I was faking. He came in later to see me and brought several herbs with him.“How are you feeling,Wildfeather?"He asked. I shrugged.“Tired,but fine,I guess." He nudged an herb towards me.“Eat it."I licked up the leaf and swallowed it.It had a bitter taste and was horrible. “that tasted awful!"I exclaimed. Turtleshell nodded.“Yes,and you will finish the rest of it."He shoved the small pile of herbs toward me.“They will help your stomache ache." He picked up the other herbs and left.I ate the rest of the herbs,though nothing was really wrong with me except for the fact that I was hungry.What harm could they do?They were healing herbs,for helping cats,and besides,it was something to eat while the prey was soaked.
Early the next morning I learned what harm the herbs could do.I didn't know then what the herb was,though I now know it was bitterreed,which,if taken in large amounts,could cause severe problems.I had no use for the herb,and now I was regretting eating the whole stack.
My stomache really did hurt then and I wasn't so hungry anymore.Turtleshell came to check on me at sunrise,and was slightly surprised that the herb didn't help me.Instead I was worse.He pulled out more herbs,these all ones I at least recognized my smell,if not by name.
He shoved a smaller stack towards me,and I tried to choke down the plants.I itched to dive into the pond,but I couldn't leave camp.I felt too ill.
By sunhigh I could barely move.Shimmereyes offered me a bite of her mouse,but the sight of prey made me gag.I felt awful.
Then I began retching.Shimmereyes went for Turtleshell,who tried to give me willow leaves.The thought of eating something else repelled me.But I had to.The medicine cat glared at me as I tried to refuse the herb.
“You should be better by now,Wildfeather."Turtleshell muttered.“You really weren't that ill.The bitterreed should have helped you."
I groaned,from both the pain and the realization that the herb I had eaten the night before was not only for healing,but could cause poisoning.I was lucky that Turtleshell had only given me the small pile.Any more would have destroyed me.
Days blured together as the poison caused sickness.I had vomitted up most of the herb,but it still made me dizzy as endless pain racked my body.
A few days later,I'm not sure how many,I felt well enough to eat.But as a took a bite into the vole I suddenly felt dizzy and pushed it aside.I had to go to the pond sometime.It was the only place I could relax,not worry about the secret,but Turtleshell had been watching me closely the last few days.He would know if I left.
And I didn't want him to know.
I still hadn't returned to the pond when the Gathering came around.I hated Gatherings.Too many cats.Too easy for them to find out.And Dawnstar had just called my name for the Gathering patrol.Clearly Turtleshell must think I am well enough to go.
Chapter 3Edit<p style="text-align:center;">Turtleshell
As we walked to the Gathering I saw Goosewind and Talonclaw walking into the clearing.I muttered under my breath.Those two were the worst cats I knew.
Goosewind was the Medicine Cat of OakClan,and she was notoriously lazy in her duties.While I hated my job,at least I did my best.Goosewind was sort of in the same situation I was in.Except she only had herself to blame,yet blamed everyone else for her misfortune.
I was born crippled.My front paw is twisted at an awkward angle that makes me walk crooked.There really isn't anything wrong with me,but Dawnstar deemed me unfit for warrior training.So I am a medicine cat.
Goosewind,though,was cripple while chasing a fox on her own as an apprentice.I do not know what happened for sure,but I have heard she was told to stay in camp.When she went after the fox it bit her hind leg so hard that it nearly crushed the bone.Goosewindbecame lazy afterwards and she hated medicine cat training more than I did.
Talonclaw is a snob.Medicine Cat of CloudClan,he is rude and cruel to everyone.I wonder how his Clan even stays alive,the way their Medicine Cat acts.
When they were anywhere together,it was a bad place to be.And here they were,coming in at the same time.Goosewind sat a few tail-lengths away from me,Talonclaw next to her.He whispered something in her ear and she glared at me.
“What,fox-face?"I snarled.It was a Gathering,I wasn't supposed to fight with the other Clans,but even so,I couldn't help throwing in the insult.
Goosewind laughed.“Do you not know there is a mouse on your head?"I glared at her.It was an old joke to them,but it stung.See,I have unusual markings on my pelt,most noticable the odd white shape on my forehead that almost exactly looks like a mouse.
“Not funny,furball."I hissed.
Talonclaw unsheathed his claws,which was clearly aggressive.That was against the rules of a Gathering.“Medicine Cats who can't even walk should know their place."
I narrowed my eyes.“Why not look at your friend over there?She walks worse than I do,badger-breath!"
“You know better than to fight at a Gathering,Turtleshell."I winced as I heard the sharp voice behind me.“I thought I taught you better than that."
My mentor had died shortly after I was apprenticed.Though it was unnoficial,the HeatherClan medicine cat trained me.It was kind of weird,since my only training was being done at Gatherings or on the way to the Starstone.But She was a good mentor.And she always acted as if I were still her apprentice.
“I'm sorry,Sageberry."I muttered.Talonclaw smirked.
Sageberry turned her gaze on him.“And you,starting a fight on a Gathering?What must StarClan think?"
Talonclaw turned and said something inaudible to Goosewind,and they went into the crowd.
Sageberry sat before the Great Stone,where she always sat.I had to consult her about the bitterreed,and why it didn't help Wildfeather.
“Sageberry?"I asked.“There is this cat in my Clan,and I treated her stomache ache with bitterreed,but it only made her worse.Why is that?I only gave her a small amount."
The old medicine cat stared into the trees for a long while before she answered.“Bitterreed is a tricky herb.Even a small amount is too much,and it is only to be used for minor illnesses."
“It was a minor illness,"I protested,“There was nothing really wrong with her,just an upset stomache.But she was severely ill for several days after the bitterreed."
“You probably just gave her too much.She recovered,didn't she?"Sageberry asked.
“Then just watch her and be more careful with how many herbs you assign in the future."Sageberry suggested.I nodded,just as the Gathering began.
The Great Stone was a huge boulder,round in an oval shape with a flat top.The leaders stood on it every Gathering to adress the Clans.
“Dawnstar,"Frogstar said,“Would you like to go first?"Dawnstar nodded and stepped forward.
“DuskClan has had a prosperous moon.Prey runs well and herbs grow all over our territory.We have two new apprentices this moon,Featherpaw and Fogpaw."
The Clans cheered,“FEATGERPAW,FOGPAW!"A few times,then faded into silence.
Dawnstar stepped back.Sandstar stood next.“OakClan has also had good prey.We have five new kits this moon,Shiningkit,Glimmerkit,Glowingkit,and Sparklekit."
“Proud names,"One of the warriors behind me muttered.I admit,they were.
“We have one new warrior,Serpentstrike,"Sandstar said,waiting for the cheers for the warrior died away.“We lost an apprentice to a fox this moon.The fox was last seen near the HeatherClan border.It's scent is now stale and we haven't had problems with it since,though it might cause problems in HeatherClan,"She said,adressing Smokestar.“We have doubled border patrols in case the fox returns.We are not trying to be agressive towards your Clan."Smoketstar nodded her understanding.
Frogstar was to go next.“CloudClan has had scarce supply of herbs,though prey runs well.Thankfully no illnesses have risen in our absense of treatment,and we hope to remain that way till newleaf.We have four new apprentices,Ivypaw,Skypaw,Mistpaw,and Fallingpaw."As the cheers ended,I murmured to Talonclaw,“Why is he called Fallingpaw?"
“Because,"Talonclaw said in annoyance,as if I should know,“His mother was treed by a twoleg's dog that had gotten loose.She was in the tree during her kitting and one of the kits nearly fell out of the tree."
That seemed to me a horrible name to choose for your kit,an endless reminder that he had nearly died at birth.I couldn't imagine what name could be picked for that cat as a warrior.
I didn't hear the rest of Frogstar's announcement,and I barely heard the beginning of Smokestar's speech.
“HeatherClan fares well,"she began.