"Mistfeather," Poolsplash's blue eyes were duller than the normal sparkle of enthusiasm that they normally had. "I need your help."
"With what, if I may ask?"
"I don't necessarily want anyone to know. And this is not information for all ears. Can you take a small break and come for a walk?"
I looked for my apprentice, Softpaw. Her nimble paws made the slightest noise while she was packing herbs away. As she looked up, her green eyes shining from the dark crevice where she had been stuffing herbs for leaf-bare. "Mistfeahter, if you need to discuss something with your sister, then I'll gladly stay here and continue with the work I've been doing. Unless, of course, you need me to do something else."
I took a deep breath. "Quite alright. You just continue on, and I'll be back soon."
"Of course," and with that, her green eyes turned down and disappeared from view.
Poolsplash and I padded out of the camp silently, only the noise of the fall leaves on the ground crackling beneath our paws to break the silence. As soon as we were free of pricked ears trying to pick up what was bothering Poolsplash and why it was so urgent, I asked softly, "So...what did you need?" A small thought crossed my mind. "You're not sick? Or injured? Right?"
"Of course, not. It's just that..." I noticed a certain moony tone to her voice.
She hasn't made a connection with any cat in the Clan, I noted. So...that may mean... I couldn't even bear the thought.
"How could you?!" I blurted out without thinking.
"What?! You know?"
"More like, just figured out, mind you." I snorted.
"That's not the entire need...I'm leaving the clans with him, but just for a little while, of course!" she added before I had a chance to even think about what I was going to say. "And, you need my help, because..."
"Tell them that I've caught an illness... Say that I've had to leave until I'm better. Anything! Please, Mistfeather!"
Sighing, I closed my eyes to think for a moment. When I opened my eyes, I mewed, "Fine."
When I returned to camp, it was almost moonhigh. Before coming back, I had gone scavenging for herbs. "Trying to make myself useful, other than gossiping." I had told Poolsplash. She had ignored that and asked me when she'd be able to leave. Two days time, I had told her. It had pleased her, and we both went off.
Softpaw was still awake when I walked into the small den. I dropped the small amount of herbs at her paws. "Mind putting these away? I've had a long day, and I went a long way to find them."
"Of course, Mistfeather. What good would come if the medicine cat fell ill?" she joked. I yawned and curled up in my nest. With my ear to the ground, I could hear Softpaw as she dashed to put the herbs away. My tail twitched. She's a good medicine cat, I thought. Mid-thought, I drifted into a deep sleep.
The two days passed more slowly than I had expected. The first seemed as if it were to last my entire lifespan and there was no way to end it, and the second lasted what seemed like 1,000 moons. Poolsplash had been bugging me every heartbeat of the day asking when we'd be leaving. I finally snapped and told her that we could leave early.
After the confrontation with Poolsplash, I ran over to Russetstar, who was sitting beside my mother, Redflower. The look of fake worry that I had on my face must've scared my mother. She obviously thought something was actually wrong. I turned to Russetstar. "Poolsplash has caught an illness, and I'm afraid that it may be highly dangerous. If you don't mind, I'm going to escort her to a barn where other cats can watch her while she recovers."
"I suppose you could. How long would she be gone?" asked the dark ginger tabby.
"Er..." I tried to remember how long Poolsplash said she'd be gone. Ah, yes, I thought. 3 months or so... "Three months."
"That's so long!" gasped Redflower.
"It's for the safety of the clan..." I tried to reason with her.
"I guess, but, I'll miss her."
I sighed then shook my head. "I'll leave now. Bye," I waved my tail. "I'll see you soon."
Poolsplash danced happily through the trees as we headed for the OceanClan border. I tried to feel happy for my sister, but it felt almost impossible. "Poolsplash, will you stop running like that?! It's getting on my nerves." I growled. She stopped dead and swung her head around to glare at me. "Well, excuse me for being happy!" she snapped. Her voice was bitter, but sweet, as if she still anticipated getting to the border as soon as possible.
"So," I mewed. "You never told me who he is."
"Er...his name is...Bloodclaw..."
Though I had never heard this name before, it seemed to bring memories back. Wind whipped and twirled around me, but my paws stayed planted firmly on the ground. The wind whispered, "Feathers of mist will drown the blood that lay beyond the foggy ocean to defeat the splash of the pool..." The words kept repeating, and I let out a loud, blood curdling, almost ear splitting screech of terror, but the wind drowned it out. Poolsplash, who stood, frozen, nearby, seemed to sink into the ground. I stared at where she had sunken, and I yowled. Where she had sunken, was a puddle of scarlet liquid. Blood...
I was taken back into reality by a weight bowling into my side. "Mistfeather! Mistfeather!" It was Poolsplash. "Wake up! No jokes!" I blinked open my eyes and stood up. As Poolsplash began licking at my ruffled pelt, I looked around. Everything was normal again. "What happened?" I asked.
"Well...er...I told you his name and you blanked. You were still standing of course, but, your eyes were going blank."
"Whatever. Let's just get a move on." Poolsplash supported me as I walked alongside her. I heard the waves of the river growing closer. "We're getting near." I commented before letting her walk on her own, without my weight. She raced ahead as I staggered along, still wary of the vision. "Wait," I called. Poolsplash turned around. "What?"
"There's something I need to tell you."
She ran back and sat beside me as I slowly settled down. "Well?"
"When you told me his name, I...I had a vision. The world seemed to have frozen, and winds began to pick up. Then, I'm being truthful, the wind started...speaking...It said, 'Feathers of mist will drown the blood that lay beyond the foggy ocean to defeat the splash of the pool. I know, I'm the medicine cat, but, I thought you may have been able to help."
As Poolsplash and I approached the OceanClan border, the ferns rustled. Icebreeze walked out, followed by her sister, Feathersong. "What do you want, fish-breath?" sneered Poolsplash at Icebreeze.
"Nothing. Just seeing what you're up to--" She was interrupted by a deep purr on the other side of the border. "Poolsplash."
"Ha!" laughed Feathersong. "Looks like Poolsplash has a little crush!"
"Too bad," Icebreeze sympathized in a fake tone. "He’s in another Clan. Looks like we've got something to report to dear Russetstar. One of her most senior and favorite warriors breaking the code."
"Shut up, you two!" I snapped. "It's her decision to make, and hers alone." My eyes narrowed darkly on the two white she-cats. Poolsplash shot a glance at me before meowing, "Tell Russetstar. I don't care. I'll take whatever punish--" Bloodclaw's yowl interrupted Poolsplash as he leapt for Feathersong.
I stared at a bloody Feathersong. "You've killed her!" I screeched.
"She's not the only one whose live I'll be taking..." he stared at Poolsplash.
I thrust my muzzle up to his so that we were standing nose to nose. "I know what you're up to, and I'll give my life if it means protecting my sister."
"Brave words for such a puny medicine cat."
"Don't give him what he wants..." whispered a shocked Icebreeze. "That's what Feathersong did, and she was a seasoned warrior. No way will you survive against him."
I stared at her, and a pang of sympathy shook me. Shaking my head, I turned back to Bloodclaw. He had wrapped his tail around her and was brushing his claws softly down her fur. It's as if he's planning how to attack and kill... "Mind if I come with you?" I asked. "Sure!" exclaimed Poolsplash. "It'll be great!"
Bloodclaw dug his claws into the ground after untangling them from her fur. "Yes. Absolutely great..." he said through gritted teeth.
I helped Icebreeze carry Feathersong's corpse back to the camp. My mind was set on one thing. This is what I was afraid of. Either I have to kill him, or he will kill me and most likely Poolsplash... the thought ran through my mind. As the words of the wind whispered through my head, Icebreeze and I approached the camp. "I'm really sorry about Feathersong," I whispered.
"She and I both knew that one day a cat would try to stand up for themselves...She knew she had this coming..." mewed Icebreeze. "Just not so soon under the claws of a normal murderer, at least." The word murderer was as cold as ice when it escaped her.
I dragged the blood stained white corpse into the clearing and pushed her eyelids shut with my paws. Russetstar darted up and asked the worst question. "Who did this?"
"He murders every cat who gets in his way," snorted Tigerblaze.
"That's why you steer clear of his paws," meowed Darkmist.
“Listen, I’d appreciate some silence while I prepare her for her vigil.” I snapped, unhappily. I wasn’t angry because of the noise, of course. I was angry that I couldn’t save Feathersong.
When most of the cats had returned to their work, I went to Russetstar’s den and prepared to tell her the whole story. Just then Poolsplash burst into the camp and ran over to me. “Can we go tomorrow?” she asked in a hushed whisper.
“Great! Get your rest,” she called over her shoulder.
I padded over to my den. Softpaw was looking for pine sap for Feathersong. “How could this’ve happened?” she asked. At that moment, I remembered that Feathersong was her sister. She just hadn’t received her full name yet. I yawned. “She was at the wrong place at the wrong time, dear. Now...I need to tell you exactly how she died under the claws of Bloodclaw.”
“You know how brave your sister is, right? Well, of course you should. Anyway, her and Icebreeze were minding their own business when they...er...caught Poolsplash doing something against the warrior code...”
“What was she doing?” gasped Softpaw.
“She was...” No telling the truth... I thought. “Erm...catching prey on the OceanClan side of the border.”
“How can you tell?”
“Your tail was twitching. Your tail only twitches when you lie.”
“You’ve got a good eye.”
“You’re my mentor. I know a lot that goes on around here. More than you’d think or want me to know.” Her green eyes glinted mischeviously as she left the den. I just let the thought of her bitter sweet voice leave my memories as I slipped into a slumber.
Dreams that night weren’t normal. They were flooded with images of Bloodclaw, his claws stained dark scarlet, tearing the skin of Poolsplash. Blood poured out of her like the ocean that borders the territories. “Poolsplash!” I yowled, but to no avail. The laughing of Bloodclaw and the shrieking of my sister drowned out my desperate yowl. I whirled around, looking for a cat to help. There had to be someone! Looking back, a shimmery outline came into view. “This is the destined path.” It whispered. “Only you, Mistfeather, have the power to stop it. Only you have the power to change destiny. Not ever StarClan has this much power. Only you…” I was awoken by a paw prodding me in the side.
“Are you sure it’s safe?” asked a worried Russetstar. “You saw what happened to Feathersong, and if he’s there again, the same could happen to you.”
“We’ll be fine.” Poolsplash assured her former mentor. “Nothing to worry about.”
Redflower continued to lick her fur. “Make them stay,” she had ordered Russetstar. The leader had refused, as it would be better for the Clan, though, it wasn’t. Poolsplash had been faking an illness since I asked permission to leave. “What do you think she has, Softpaw?” I had asked.
“I think you two just need an excuse to leave the Clan for a while.” I had dismissed her with an annoyed hiss.
I let out a big yawn as Poolsplash and I set off for the second time. I had pretended to smear herbs on her so she would carry that scent and no cat would be suspicious. Every cat except Softpaw, that is. She had asked if she could come. I had told her no, because the Clan wouldn’t have a cat who knows about medicine. Knowing that would annoy her, and keep her farther from the secret, I felt quite accomplished. Though, her friend, Clawpaw, had begun to pester me about why we were actually leaving. My guess was Softpaw had set off to tell every cat in the Clan we were lying. Poolsplash hadn’t cared when I told her, though.
Bloodclaw’s scent had already begun to prick my nose as we approached the place where I had received the first prophecy. “He crossed the border.” I meowed. Poolsplash just nodded and darted ahead. “Bloodclaw!” her happy mew came from ahead. I didn’t want to hear what they were saying, so I slowed a bit. “I see your sister didn’t come.” He must’ve made himself louder on purpose, otherwise, I wouldn’t have heard him. “She came. Mistfeather!” I heard the call and raced ahead to find them.
“Something wrong?” I asked as I dashed up. “Someone hurt?” My eyes scanned Poolsplash’s untouched fur, and then Bloodclaw’s sharp claws. “Nope. We’re all fine…” growled Bloodclaw.
“Then let’s get a move on,” I urged.
“Why are you in a rush?” asked Poolsplash. Without answering, I danced away from the Clan territories. StarClan grant us a safe journey…and watch over my sister.
Chapter Six (New POV)
I awoke alone in the medicine den for the first time. Mistfeather had said that Poolsplash had caught an illness. But I had known better. I had been plotting with Bloodclaw every time that he wasn’t busy. Plotting for him to kill those two weaklings, so I could become the first medicine cat who refused to live by the will of StarClan. “Softpaw!” As my name was called, I peeked my head out of the den. “Yes?”
“Gustflower’s nose got stabbed in the thorn tunnel. Could you come and fix it up?”
“Good. She’s right in the clearing when you’re ready.”
“Er…Redflower?” I called as I walked across the clearing toward Gustflower.
“I know something about your daughters that you may want to know. I’ll tell you after I fix Gustflower’s nose.”
I padded into the forest with Redflower. “So, what did you have to tell me?” she asked.
“Poolsplash isn’t really sick. She has a mate in another Clan.”
“You’re lying,” growled Redflower. “Unlike my daughters.”
“Heh. Don’t be so sure about that…” I sneered.
Chapter 7 (New POV)
I yawned as the sun disappeared behind the forest treetops. We had stopped in a large meadow. Almost like a field. This is where we were resting for the night. “So, you really love him, don’t you?” I asked Poolsplash.
“Of course I do…What’s the worst that’s going to happen to me, anyway? I get heavy with kits.”
“Or he kills you before you have the chance,” I whispered.
As we padded through the field the next morning, Poolsplash kept looking at me, worriedly. “What?” I snapped.
“Nothing. It’s just…what you said last night…” She shook her head and sped up to catch up with Bloodclaw. I sighed. Why does she like him? Oh StarClan, please show her that only trouble will come with him.
The sun had reached the middle of the sky as we approached the end of the field. Bloodclaw had begun to claw through Poolsplash’s silver tabby fur, until I saw his claws begin to sink slowly into her flesh. “Stop!” I yowled. Instantly, he ripped his claws from her fur and dug them into the ground. Poolsplash walked ahead, and he dropped back to walk next to me. “You may have been able to stop me this time, but not again.” He growled.
Chapter 8 (New POV)
I padded through the Dark Forest, looking for Thunderslash, my mentor. Before I could move another paw step, claws sunk into my back. I rolled over and let the weight leave my back as I went limp. “Nice strategy,” mused the tabby tom.
“Hello, Thunderslash.” I dipped my head. “What are we learning today?”
“Well, what do you want to learn?” he asked.
“More killing moves…” I growled. “In case Mistfeather makes it back alive.”
“Okay. Now, here’s what you’re to do…”
When I woke up the next morning, my ear was torn. Quickly, I put cobwebs on it and walked out of the den. Mistfeather’s den. Soon to be my den.
I walked over to Russetstar, who was talking with Redflower. I wonder if Redflower is going to become deputy when Gustflower dies or retires… I thought. Shaking my head, I mewed, “Russetstar, may I talk to you.” With a glare at Redflower, I added. “Privately.”
“Er...Sure...Let’s go to my den,” she suggested.
“I’d understand completely if you didn’t believe me, but I figure it’d be best for you to hear the truth. Mistfeather and Poolsplash didn’t go because Poolsplash is sick. Poolsplash has a mate in another Clan. His name is Bloodclaw, so, they went away with him.” I mewed.
Russetstar sighed. “I’ll set up a patrol to go find them. I only trust you because you’re a medicine cat apprentice.”
“Thank you,” I dipped my head and exited the den.
Chapter 9 (New POV)
I saw Poolsplash getting heavier each day, her sleek fur having to conform to the kits growing inside of her. Only I knew, of course. I would tell her tonight, after Bloodclaw fell asleep.
Of course, before I got the chance to tell Poolsplash anything, I had fallen into another one of my visions that I normally get.
“Poolsplash! Mistfeather!” came a yowl from the black swirling wind. “Get away from Bloodclaw!” Out of the dark air, I could see 5 looming shapes, other cats, advancing. “Poolsplash! Mistfeather! Before you’re hurt!”
I snapped out of it quickly and rushed over to Poolsplash. Quickly prodding her with a paw, she woke up. “What...?” she mumbled.
“You’re---Can I talk to you?”
We both walked to where we would be sheltered. “Poolsplash, you’re...expecting kits.” I murmured.
“What?” she gasped. “That’s great! They’re Bloodclaw’s, right?”
I nodded, sadly. “There’s something else, but, I won’t bother you with it.”
I sighed and padded to a hollowed tree to sleep. “StarClan, please protect my sister…” I murmured before falling into a deep sleep.
Chapter 10 (New POV)
I looked at Softpaw. “Mistfeather and Poolsplash have gotten themselves into a lot of trouble. Anyway, will you be able to manage yourself?”
“Yes, Icebreeze.” mewed Softpaw.
“Great. I’ll be back, along with the rest of the patrol when we find them and get them away from Bloodclaw.”
“What if they’re already dead…” ventured Softpaw.
“Don’t say that. They’re valuable cats, even if Poolsplash made a mistake.” I growled.
“Sure, sure, sure. I know some people believe that. Icebreeze, I’m not a fool. They’re bound to be dead by now.”
I cuffed my sister around her ear and whisked away, toward the patrol. “Where’ve they headed?” asked Redflower.
“They only left a few days ago, so we might be able to pick up their scent trail.”
“Very nice. So we leave now?” asked Hawkeyes.
“Yep,” mewed Stormclaw.
I sighed and nodded. “Lets go.”
“Icebreeze is the best tracker,” mewed my mate, Stormclaw. I licked my paw, then began to sniff the ground, trying to pick up their scent. Before long, I picked up a faint trail on the other side of the OceanClan border. Glancing both ways to make sure we wouldn’t be caught, I led the patrol across the territory and toward where the three cat’s scents were leading me.
“Er…This place is making me nervous,” murmured Redflower. “I’ve never been outside my Clan’s territory.”
“Perhaps we should’ve asked Yellowstar if he could spare some warriors…” I meowed. “Should we head back and ask?”
“I think we should,” meowed Redflower. “Anyone would be willing to look for the deputy of their Clan, even if he is murderous.”
“Why don’t you two go?” suggested Hawkeyes, nodding to Stormclaw and I.
“Er…Okay…” I meowed and turned to face my mate. “Shall we go?”
“Okay,” he purred. “Race you there.” With that, he dashed toward OceanClan territory.
“How am I supposed to win against him?” I meowed, sarcastically, before racing after him. Before I got too far, I heard Hawkeyes growl, “Those two can turn anything into a game,” along with a meow of agreement from Redflower. My whiskers twitched in amusement and I sped up until I caught up to Stormclaw.
We padded back with two of Yellowstar’s warriors, Risingwhisper and Silentlark. “They seemed to be the only ones who cared enough to come to find Bloodclaw…” whispered Stormclaw in my ear.
“That’s because they’re his parents, but they don’t even look happy to come.” I whispered back.”
As we approached Redflower and Hawkeyes, Redflower awoke. She prodded Hawkeyes with a paw and he woke up, looking at us. “You’ve got ‘em. Let’s get going then.”
“Wait. Stormclaw and I haven’t slept for a day. Can we rest for a bit?” I meowed sternly.
“Icebreeze, I’m fine. Let’s get going before we lose their scent,” mewed Stormclaw, softly in my ear.
“Fine.” I opened my jaws and began to pick up their scent. “This way.”
Chapter 11 (New POV)
I glared at my sister. She was sleeping next to Bloodclaw. It’d be best if I attacked him now… I thought. Padding over to stand over him, I unsheathed my claws. Lightly, I dragged him away, making sure not to wake him. Carefully, I lifted my paw and placed it on his throat. I dragged my claws across his throat, slowly. His eyes blinked open and he glared at me. “What do you think you’re doing?” Bloodclaw’s voice was weak. Smirking, I meowed, “Keeping my sister safe. Have fun in the Place of No Stars, Bloodclaw.” I lashed my tail and whisked away, leaving Bloodclaw to die.
When I woke up in the morning, it was to a cry of sadness. “Poolsplash?” I asked. “What’s wrong?”
“B-b-bloodclaw…” she whimpered. “He’s dead…”
I sighed. I’d have to admit to the truth one day, and it’d be better for her to know. “Poolsplash…I-I’m sorry. I killed him….Last night…”
“Why?!” she screeched.
“He was going to kill you! I had to protect you!”
She sighed. “Let’s just go home. And bring Bloodclaw. His Clan’ll want to mourn for him.”
“Fine.” I growled. I walked over to him, and grabbed his corpse. Dragging it back to the Clan’s territory would be a job, but, I suppose it’d be worth it.
As we crossed the field once more, we came across a patrol consisting of Icebreeze, Stormclaw, Redflower, Hawkeyes, and two other cats, that smelled of OceanClan. Looking closely, I recognized Bloodclaw’s parents from Gatherings. “I-I’m so sorry about your son…” I stammered. “I-I…I wanted to protect my sister…”
“We know, he kills a lot of cats.” meowed Silentlark. “Mostly vulnerable she-cats,” he added, eyeing Poolsplash.
“Hey!” growled Poolsplash, unsheathing her claws. “I’m not vulnerable.”
“You’re just heavy with kits…” I whispered.
“Let’s go.” Meowed Risingwhisper.
Leaving the two OceanClan cats behind with their dead clanmate, we crossed the border into FogClan territory. I cast one glance back before dashing forward. My paws itched to run faster, but I knew I was at the limit. When I reached the camp entrance, I took a deep breath before rushing in. I padded silently to my den to rest, but when I entered, a bloody, ginger pelt lay in Softpaw’s nest. I walked over and examined the wounds. “Murdered…” I whispered and nudged her pelt outside my den. The Clan’d mourn tomorrow. I walked into my den once more and flopped into my nest. Within minutes, I was asleep.
I looked sternly at my nephew, Thrushkit. “Stop messing with the herbs. You may eat one and get very sick.”
“I will when you stop acting like an elder.” he teased.
“It’s not my fault I’m almost as old as one. Just, go back to the nursery before I carry you there.”
His eyes widened and he scampered out of my den and back to the nursery, where Poolsplash was waiting for him. Straining to listen, I could just make out Poolsplash scolding him. “…Your sisters have been worried sick…”
My whiskers twitched in amusement and I went back to work, envying my sister for once. Her freedom to love and my restraints. One day, I might just leave my position for that purpose, but, for now, I had to focus on my duties. Picking up some moss filled with mouse bile, I walked to the elders den, knowing it was my destiny to live the life of a medicine cat, watching my sister's kits grow up, happy and free.