This is a fanfiction that is currently in progress by Cela08, revolving around her three fanClans, HailClan, BlossomClan, and SlateClan (but mostly HailClan.) The story mostly focuses around an apprentice named Shrewpaw, and occasionally her sister Melodypaw. This is book 1 of ?.
The Story Edit
Prologue: Rainy Day Edit
"I hate the rain," a dull grey tabby hissed.
The thick-furred silver tabby let out a sigh. "We needed to do it before the Clan found her body. She got crushed by a gang of shrieking monsters because WE were chasing her, so hiding her corpse is our responsibility. We can't let anyone find out."
"But what about HailClan? She's their warrior, and they're the vicious Clan who tears out other cats' throats for fun... Or something like that." the grey tom replied, trying to rile up the silver she.
"Ironfang, if you don't just shut up, I'll be the one ripping out a throat here." she snapped. "Besides, HailClan might not even notice she's gone if they're anything like the stories queens use to scare their kits."
"Well, I guess that would be unfortunate for her." Ironfang mewed, as they finished burying the body under a rotting log. As they cleaned themselves off and walked away, he heard a rustling noise. "...uh, Gleampelt, did you hear that?"
"Yeesh, are you paranoid today or something? We're getting back to SlateClan camp, now." And Gleampelt simply continued along, with a sharp glare at Ironfang when he hesitated.
Behind the ferns were sharp, glowing blue eyes, having seen the entire incident transpire.
Chapter 1: A New Beginning Edit
The hustle and bustle outside the Nursery was paid no heed by the ginger she, gently licking the heads of her kits.
"But mom, I'm already clean!" a small calico kit mewed in protest.
"Nonsense, Melodykit! We want to look our best when we watch your big brother get his warrior name!" the queen replied, moving on to cleaning her other kit, a little brown kit with a white underbelly. "Look, dear, your brother was born without siblings, so surely he'll want his new little sisters to attend his warrior ceremony!"
"Mom, I think they're starting the ceremony already..." the brown kit said, hearing the leader shouting from the Mountainstone for the others to gather for a meeting.
"Oh, Shrewkit! Already? Oh dear, we should hurry then!" With that, the mother grabbed Shrewkit by the scruff of her neck, and dashed outside, gesturing with her tail for Melodykit to follow. By the time they entered the clearing of the camp, the leader, Pebblestar, was already giving him his warrior name.
"Then, by the approval of SoulClan, your name is now Rapidclaw." Pebblestar announced, and Rapidclaw nodded.
"Oh, were you late, Brightflower?" a ginger tom asked, walking out of the crowd. "Don't worry, you didn't miss much. I'm sure my niece will be a great warrior."
Brightflower nodded, still a little sad that she missed the ceremony. "And I'm sure Melodykit and Shrewkit will be amazing warriors when it's their time, Ashsong."
"I'm gonna be the best warrior ever!" Melodykit squeaked in response.
Shrewkit playfully cuffed her sister over the ear. "No, you're wrong! I'm gonna be the best! I'll be the leader too! And I'll fight off all of the nasty rude cats who say HailClan is bad with one paw tied behind my back!"
Brightflower giggled a little. "Now, now. I don't know about all that. Come on, 'Shrewstar' and 'Melodystar', back into the nursery."
A couple moons have passed. HailClan had learned of Yelloweye's disappearance, and had sent out a search party to no avail. Otherwise, the next moons were uneventful.
"Mom! Mom, guess what?" Melodykit mewed, Shrewkit hopping up and down beside her.
"Huh, what?" Brightflower asked, in a daze from the sudden awakening. "I'm tired, you know-"
Shrewkit didn't even wait for Brightflower to finish her sentence before cutting in. "We turned 6 moons old, mom! We can be apprentices now and learn cool battle moves and learn how to hunt and be cool and-"
"And become warriors and be the best warriors ever!" Melodykit interrupted, finishing Shrewkit's sentence. "How long until Pebblestar gives us our apprentice names, mom?"
"Be patient," Brightflower mewed. "Nobody else is even up yet, I think... You'll wake up the whole camp..."
"Then, by the approval of SoulClan, your names are now Shrewpaw and Melodypaw. Shrewpaw, you will train under Sunwhisker, and Melodypaw, you will train under Twistedtail. Sunwhisker, I trust you will teach your courage and perseverance, and Twistedtail, I trust you will teach your hopefulness and alertness." Pebblestar announced.
As he finished, Shrewpaw and Melodypaw ran over to their respective mentors, touching noses with them.
"Shrewpaw! Melodypaw! Shrewpaw! Melodypaw!" the Clan chanted, with Brightflower looking extremely proud of her kits.
As Pebblestar stepped down from the Mountainstone, Melodypaw and Shrewpaw dashed over to Brightflower, full of glee.
"We're gonna be the best apprentices in the Clan, mom!" Shrewpaw mewed, her voice almost a squeak from the excitement she had bottled up all day.
Melodypaw was hopping in circles around Brightflower. "We're gonna train so well and be the best warriors in the whole world!"
Brightflower chuckled, beaming with pride at her kits-turned-apprentices. "Now, I'd say that if you really want to be that great of a warrior, you'll need to train first? Why don't you use up some of that energy with your mentor instead of hopping around?"
"'Kay!" both apprentices said in unison, scampering off to meet up with their mentors.
And that's when their story began.
Chapter 2: Morning Dew Edit
Sunlight filtered through the cracks in the rocks, illuminating the hollow within the side of the mountain. Two cats stood upon a stone in the path leading up to the hollow, one a tom with long yellow fur, and the other a brown tabby with a bent-up tail. Both stared down at the little apprentices making their way up the side of the mountain, cautiously using the rocks as footholds.
"I hope we don't have to climb up here every time we train..." Shrewpaw whined, a little tired. "It's kinda tiring."
With three of her paws tightly grasping the stones, Melodypaw pointed up at the two cats. "Look! Sunwhisker and Twistedtail! We're almost there!"
As the two siblings scrambled up the side of the mountain, their mentors looked very pleased. "Great job, you two!" Twistedtail purred, their bent tail flipping up with pride.
"Are we gonna have to keep climbing the side of the mountain?" Melodypaw asked, hoping with all her heart the answer was no.
Sunwhisker chuckled with amusement at Melodypaw's question. "Of course not. You two took the long way. There's a somewhat hidden tunnel on the other side that leads up here. Sometimes you'll have to use the long way for practice, though." He gestured towards an ajar stone within the hollow as he spoke.
Shrewpaw and Melodypaw sighed with relief simultaneously, and then Melodypaw piped up with another question. "Uh, Twistedtail, just wondering... Are you a boy or a girl?"
"Oh, no, no. I'm not comfortable with being either, so I'm an agender. Just use 'they' instead of he or she, okay?" Twistedtail didn't like being asked that question, but they understood where the confusion arose. (AN: Sorry about how stilted introducing Twistedtail as agender was, but I haven't seen any nonbinary cats on the wiki and was worried someone would get confused.)
"Come on, we oughta get to training! You didn't both climb up the side of this mountain to chat, right?" Sunwhisker said, flicking his tail towards the stone hollow. "Now, if it's okay with Twistedtail, we'll do some fighting practice. Twistedtail will need to advise and participate too, though - I'm not doing their job for them, after all!"
"Should we really start with battle training?" Twistedtail asked, somewhat unsure.
"Well, of course!" Sunwhisker answered, finding the question kind of silly. "You know, with our tensions with the other Clans always being too high, everyone should be able to defend themselves in case of attack."
Twistedtail nodded. "Oh, that makes sense. Okay, you two. Let's get started!"
All four cats stepped into the little cavern. It was dim, but not too dark to safely train. A soft trickle of water was heard from somewhere in the cave.
"This place is cool!" Shrewpaw mewed, with Melodypaw nodding in agreement. "So, what are we gonna learn?"
"Well, we'll just start off with the basics. Later on in your apprenticeship, I'll show you the cool stuff." Sunwhisker explained.
Melodypaw panted with exhaustion. "Sis, that was a lotta training. I can't wait to see the cool stuff, though."
"It was kinda fun practicing!" Shrewpaw mewed, and then another thing caught her attention. "Sunwhisker, can I leave through the tunnel or do I have to climb down?"
Sunwhisker hesitated for a second. "Well, it would help you improve to climb down-"
"Sunwhisker, they're exhausted! Let them use the tunnel." Twistedtail interrupted. Sunwhisker sighed amusedly, pushing the boulder blocking the tunnel out of the way. The apprentices dashed through, giggling and challenging one another to a race, sliding down.
"Haha, I win!" Melodypaw purred with glee.
Shrewpaw shook her head. "No, I won! I got here first."
Melodypaw playfully batted Shrewpaw over the ear. "You silly furball, I'm faster!"
Walking out of the tunnel, Sunwhisker could barely keep himself from laughing. "If you really want to be fast, first you gotta rest up. Shrewpaw, I'm going to explain to you how to hunt tomorrow, and you'll need to remember that sort of thing."
Shrewpaw nodded, running off to the apprentice den.
"Wait for me!" Melodypaw squeaked in surprise. When they reached it, they flopped down into the mossy beds, trying not to disturb the other apprentices trying to get to sleep. "Oh, I might have trouble sleeping, because I'm so excited for my second day as an apprentice." she whispered.
Shrewpaw agreed. "Me too." Then, she closed her eyes, and drifted to sleep.
Chapter 3: Somewhere Edit
Shrewpaw awakened to find herself in an unfamiliar location. It was a forest of some sort, but the trees thickly clustered around her seemed dull and washed-out... and actually, almost fake, as though touching them would make the facade collapse around her. Even stranger, looking up into the sky only revealed an empty grey void, with neither clouds nor stars upon it.
"H-hello? Anyone there?" Shrewpaw mewed, frightened and confused. "Melodypaw? Mom? Sunwhisker? Anybody at all?" Looking around, the trees were to tightly clustered together to squeeze through, and she couldn't catch the scent of anyone - the air was thick and hard to breeze, and reeked of smoke, despite her being able to see clearly. "Somebody help me!" she mewled as loudly as she could.
"Sorry to have kept you waiting." an unfamiliar voice rang out, as if in reply. It was smooth yet somewhat eerie, and stirred up a feeling of unease within Shrewpaw.
Claws appeared from in between the trees, ripping away what seemed like simply air, making an opening which a cat walked through. As Shrewpaw reached to see what was behind the cat entering, she saw only pitch-blackness stretching on forever.
It wasn't as though the cat who Shrewpaw was facing was uninteresting, however - he wasn't like anything Shrewpaw had ever seen. He was a very light - almost white - grey, with a sun marking on his back. His eyes were white with odd blue pupils, and his ears didn't seem to be hollow, as though they were simply there for aesthetics. Flamelike blue patterns danced upon his tail, chest, legs, and ears - and the side of his face? - swirling around. But what caught Shrewpaw the most was that he was abnormally thin - there wasn't even enough room to hold a ribcage, or really, anything. Parts of his body seemed too bendy or just plain fake.
"What's the matter, girly? Cat got your tongue?" he mewed, snapping Shrewpaw out of it. "Ha, it's funny because you're a cat, and you're in full possession of your own tongue."
"Wh-who are you?" Shrewpaw stammered, still bothered and confused. "I want to go home! I don't like this place at all! Where even am I?!"
He let out a sigh, rolling his eyes at Shrewpaw. "Y'know, ya ever think to use that little brain of yours? You're dreamin', stupid. I have no clue how you ever came to the conclusion that this is real. Like, 'heyyyy, here's a weird and kooky place that makes no sense existin'! Surely this is real and I'm fully concious!' Not very bright of ya, kitty." As he imitated Shrewpaw, he did the most unflattering voice he could muster.
"W-what?" Shrewpaw simply squeaked.
"Lemme explain it to ya - my name's Dawn. One of the Walkers. Short for 'Walkers of the Countless Realities' but snazzy names don't mean much." As he explained, he stretched his claws out and yawned, clearly very bored. "Point is, my job is to maintain order within your three lil' insignificant Clans. Deliver some prophecies, grant blessings to cats, straight-up intervene in problems when they get too large... It's the only real reason your precious HailClan is even still around. And yet I get no respect. All the credit goes to boring ol' SoulClan. Of course, why tell your grandkits about the mighty Walker keeping the Clans together when you could just go on about a buncha' dead cats who occasionally say cryptic stuff?"
Shrewpaw was getting more confused by the minute. "Wh-... why am I here?"
That brought Dawn's attention back to the reason he was here. "Oh, dang. Guess I got sidetracked. 'Kay then, kitty, down to business. I can tell you the long way, or the short way." He didn't even give Shrewpaw a chance to reply. "Eh, short way's easier. To get it out in one sentence - your Clan is most likely doomed. Less brief? Your Clan is probably going to be destroyed by some SlateClan cats. Can't tell ya who. It wouldn't be fun that way, anyway. 'Fraid to say that nobody'll listen to an apprentice, though, girl."
"What?!" Shrewpaw mewed in horror. "HailClan... destroyed?"
"Yup, unless Pebblestar picks up his furry rump and does a better job as a leader. I'd say you're better off givin' up with those odds." Dawn then flattened his ears in disgust as he continued, somewhat under his breath. "'Course, that's assuming Dusk doesn't do something stupid as usual. Moron can't even manipulate fate without trippin' over his own tail."
"Uhh..." Shrewpaw tilted her head to the side, wondering if Dawn had forgotten she was still here. "Who's Dusk?"
Dawn was startled to see Shrewpaw still here and asking questions, but then he sighed in annoyance. "My lil' bro. Absolute loser and idiot, and his job's to maintain chaos. If you ask me, he's the most incompetent Walker on this side of unreality. How 'bout you get outta here, though? You've overslept, kitty. Sunwhisker's gonna be upset with you."
"Wait, what?!" Shrewpaw mewed in surprise. "How do I wake up?!"
Dawn gestured towards a door connected to nothing, which Shrewpaw was sure wasn't there before. "Walk through there. To the kitties outside, you're sleepin' and not waking up. Much longer in here and they'll think you've gone comatose. You better go now."
"O-okay, okay!" Shrewpaw replied, dashing towards the door. When she opened it and went through... nothing happened. "Y-you lied to me..."
Dawn rolled his eyes. "Kitty, Walkers don't lie. Bye."
Shrewpaw then noticed with a start that something WAS happening. Dawn vanished in an almost comical puff of smoke, and then the trees around her began to melt into a thick, black liquid, beginning to cover up the ground around her.
She didn't want to touch it, and in fear, she clung to the sides of the door's frame, noticing the black liquid rising higher and higher. Even upon the top of the doorframe, it was going too high up for her to get away. When it touched her fur, it stung horribly, and soon, she was frantically trying to swim in it, but to her horror, she found the grey "sky" was simply a ceiling. Quickly, it went over her head, and her lungs began to burn. It felt like she was drowning in acid, and her insides were being crushed by the thickness of the liquid...
Shrewpaw's eyes flickered open. Melodypaw was standing over her, looking relieved to see Shrewpaw awake. Behind her, Sunwhisker was looking stern and upset.
"Shrewpaw, you do know the patrols for today were assigned as you pretended to stay asleep? You got us so worried, we thought we'd have to take you to the medicine den... on your second day of training!" Sunwhisker scolded.
Shrewpaw winced, knowing it wasn't her fault she "slept in". "I-I had a bad dream-"
"Shrewpaw, it's time to get to training. Unless you want to be lazy all day - then I can teach you how to take care of the elders." Sunwhisker sighed.
Shrewpaw looked downtrodden, but tried to cover it up. It was going to be a long day.
Chapter 4: Yesterday Was Better Edit
"You're lucky i'm still teaching you the basics of hunting today after your… mishap, this morning." Sunwhisker meowed, still miffed about Shrewpaw seemingly sleeping in. "If it was a joke, nobody was laughing."
Shrewpaw knew she could try to tell Sunwhisker why she was asleep so long, but would he even believe her? After all, the thought of some unearthly cat-thing keeping her asleep and delivering a threatening prophecy would sound ridiculous coming from an apprentice - even ignoring the bit about "Walkers" and "SoulClan getting all the credit". If she told ANYONE, it'd be Melodypaw, but Shrewpaw felt like unless it became important, she'd ignore it.
"Are you daydreaming, Shrewpaw?" Sunwhisker suddenly asked, snapping Shrewpaw back into focus. "We didn't come out here to play with falling leaves!" The anger in his voice from before was mostly gone, he now just had a tone of slight bemusement. "I brought you out here to teach you how to hunt."
Shrewpaw simply nodded, embarrassed.
"Now, first of all, you need to remember how to be quiet, and light on your feet. No matter how tempting it is to dash after any prey you spot or scent, if they know you're there, they're good as gone." Sunwhisker explained, dropping into a hunting crouch. "Once you're close enough to your prey, drop into a crouch like this, and pounce! Boom, prey is caught. You try the crouch now."
Shrewpaw dropped into a flawed hunting crouch - her balance was off. She could stand just fine, but she'd tumble over if she tried to jump. Sunwhisker shook his head a little and approached her, adjusting her pose.
"Like that." he mewed. "Now, you just need to FIND prey in order to hunt it, so go get 'em!"
Shrewpaw nodded once more in understanding. "'Kay, got it!" She carefully stalked around the tiny forest, soon catching the scent of a mouse. She pounced - and the mouse fled before she could catch it. Sunwhisker, watching the whole time, suppressed a giggle.
Then, Shrewpaw noticed something was off. "Hey, Sunwhisker! I caught this weird scent…"
"Really? Well, keep your voice down a little - you'll scare off every mouse in the forest." He padded over to Shrewpaw and sniffed the air to catch the scent, and suddenly his fur stood up in alarm. "It smells like fox and blood!"
"Wh-what?!" Shrewpaw squeaked in shock. "We need to go tell Pebblestar!"
Sunwhisker shook his head. "YOU need to go tell Pebblestar. I'm going to find the fox den so we know where it is. It's too dangerous for you."
"I-I understand." Shrewpaw mewed, running in the direction of the camp.
Sunwhisker hurried through the wood, searching for the origin of the scent. It wouldn't be too hard, with how sparse the trees were. Eventually, there was no more need to follow a scent trail - a trail of fresh blood was upon the grass. It was gruesome, but it would do. He followed the trail, going quieter than before, hoping he could possibly take down the fox without help. At the end of the blood trail, he saw a dismembered cat corpse… and eating from it? The largest fox he had ever seen in his life.
With how fast Sunwhisker dashed back to the camp, you would have thought he was a rabbit.
Shrewpaw sped into camp, stammering so badly nobody could understand a word she said. It certainly caught the attention of the cats in camp at the time, however.
Finally, after a few minutes of panicked nonsense, Shrewpaw formed something coherent. "I need to talk to Pebblestar now! There's a fox in the forest! And I think a cat died too!"
There was shocked and worried conversation between the remaining cats, and finally, the medicine cat, Tumbletail stepped forward. "Pebblestar is out on a border patrol. I would believe that he would be back soon, however… This is very troubling…"
Then, just as Tumbletail finished her sentence, Sunwhisker rushed in, in a worse state of panic than Shrewpaw. Now the cats who were previously nervously conversing quietly weren't quite so quiet anymore - the reckless, foolhardy Sunwhisker? Frightened?
"G-giant fox! Enormous! Biggest i've ever seen!" he hissed in fear. "D-dead cat! Fox on the territory! We need to talk to Pebblestar RIGHT NOW!"
Everyone in camp was now exchanging looks of fear, and Tumbletail repeated that Pebblestar was not here - albeit more shaken, and her voice cracking.
Shrewpaw was hyperventilating. "What if they hurt someone?! Melodypaw's out training with Twistedtail! The fox could get them!"
Sunwhisker gasped. "Oh SoulClan, I forgot your sister was out there training! And Brightflower's on a border patrol in that area!"
"What?!" Shrewpaw's voice was cracking badly from pure fright and worry.
"I'm not gonna let history repeat itself!" Sunwhisker hissed with determination, running out of the camp again.
Shrewpaw yelled after Sunwhisker. "What are you even talking about?!" But he was already gone.
One of the elders - and Sunwhisker's aged mother - Lightfang, hissed in anger. "That moron's gonna get himself killed. He's no different from when he was a kit."
"Sunwhisker!" Shrewpaw squealed, running out of camp after him.
Most of the camp was in shock, now fearing for the lives of those out of the camp, and those they hold dear. This was certainly not a good start to the day.
(AN: I haven't written anything beyond this point. Remember to wait for updates! Next chapter might have an actual battle scene.)