Series: Weight Of The Stars Series
Allegiances: Graceglow's DewClan Allegiances
Succeeding: Fading Starlight
|Gracekit's life is a hard one. Only she knows that Cloudflash, the evil deputy, has killed their leader, Goldstar. She needs some help, but with the weight of the stars on her shoulders, can she fulfil a prophecy or will she die in the attempt?
Gracekit's story is full of mystery and despair. It will keep you reading.
“Just one more kit, Sunstream! You’re doing fine!” the bracken-coloured tom didn’t look so sure. Sunstream had been ill from a fever, but if she wasn’t going to make it, the misty grey she cat would have told her mate, Bravewing. The medicine cat listened to the rain and wind pounding at the ground outside. To the joy of everyone in the small den, a thin mewling filled the battered nursery, and Bravewing heaved a sigh of relief.
“You know what they say,” mewed Mistheart. “Kits born into a storm like this one are destined to be great.” The golden she cat purred. “Surely you don’t believe that, Mistheart?”
Mistheart’s eyes showed no emotion.
“Goldstar was born into a storm. Look at him now.” The two mates had to agree.
“Shall we name them now?” asked Sunstream. “I’ll name the brown tabby. She can be Treekit!” she purred happily.
Bravewing was flooded with pride, and named the small silver tom Rainkit. Mistheart looked at the third kit. She was a beautiful white, with brown face markings, a brown paw and a brown tail. Her eyes were already open; a beautiful shade of blue, not unlike the sky they gazed at every day, or the rivers from which they drank. She glowed with a faint aura only the old medicine cat could see, and a strange voice murmured in the old cat’s ear.
The saving grace of the Clans
Shall hold power beyond imagination
To save or destroy life as you know it.
“You are StarClan’s grace to DewClan…” muttered Mistheart.
Sunstream saw Mistheart’s expression.
“Would you like to name her?”
Mistheart dipped her head in gratitude.
“I shall name you Gracekit,” murmured Mistheart. To herself, she added, for the grace that I believe you will bring our Clan.
Gracekit pelted down the slope which led towards the nursery, sending puffs of snow in her wake.
“Catch me if you can, Treekit!”
Treekit moaned enviously.
“Gracekit, I can’t run as fast as you can! Nobody can!”
That’s true, thought Gracekit. I’m the fastest kit in the nursery. Thank StarClan! She was small, fast and strong. Perhaps being born in a storm had helped her? No, she didn’t believe in such superstition. But Mistheart had. Oh, Mistheart. She had died of old age a few moons after their birth. The whole Clan was shaken by her loss, but they knew that Leafheart would make a brilliant medicine cat. Gracekit had always wondered what lay behind the layer of ferns that guarded the medicine cat’s den. She had caught an occasional whiff of sweet or sour scent, but that was it. Her train of thought trailed away as Sunstream called to them.
“Come back in, you’re going to get a chill!”
Gracekit sighed. Chills? THAT’S all you’re worried about? I was just about to beat Treekit to Skytree! Her thoughts were bitter, but at least she knew that she would get to the nursery before Treekit, before even Rainkit. Her speed came in handy for that, if nothing else. She sat down and ate her share of the fat vole her father had caught. For him at least, hunting was good, even in leaf-bare. Leafheart poked her head through the lichen that served as an entrance to the nursery.
“Just coming round to check you’re all okay. Any kits snuffling? Queens coughing?”
Bravewing was playing with his kits.
Leafheart purred. “Any Bravewings willing to help me collect herbs?” Bravewing purred and got up.
“Sure I will. See you later, kits!”
“Bye Daddy!” chorused the kits.
~ ~ ~
Skykit prodded the kits awake.
“Wake up! Shadekit and I wanna go explore!”
Gracekit groaned. Scarletwind’s kits were a moon older than they were, due to be apprentices very soon. But then, thought Gracekit, we’re more mature than they are. Sunstream’s kits already had enough sense not to venture out of camp; Cloudflash, the deputy, had already seen a badger prowling around, and was certain it was a mother. The queens frequently scared the kits with tales that even a baby badger could swallow a kit whole.
“Do we have to?” piped up Treekit. “It’s nice and warm in here.” Gracekit rolled her eyes. It was mid-newleaf, and it was nice and warm everywhere. Treekit was just scared. Once, when the kits were three moons old, a leaf had fallen on Treekit's nose and she had refused to come out of the nursery for half a moon. Gracekit and Rainkit teased her for this, but only lightly, as she was their sister, and they were very happy to be related to her.
“It couldn’t hurt, Treekit. I mean, we won’t go far,” reassured Rainkit.
Gracekit steeled her nerves and boldly mewed,
“I’ll lead the patrol!”
The other kits agreed, and all of the kits padded out of the dirtplace tunnel.
Within five minutes, Blazekit was complaining, Shadekit was boasting about his amazing catch (a beetle), Lightkit had a mischievous twinkle in her eye and Skykit was trying to lead the patrol.
Gracekit uttered a sigh of pure frustration.
“Skykit, I’m leading the patrol! I’m leader of KitClan!”
“KITClan?” spluttered Skykit. “Where did that come from?”
Actually, thought Gracekit, I don’t really know.
“Let’s go anyway.”
The kits kept travelling. Nearer Twolegplace, Gracekit found a small shiny silver container wrapped in red.
“What’s this?” she lapped up some of the brown liquid seeping from it. It tasted odd.
“It feels bubbly on my tongue!” she purred, and motioned for the other kits to have a drink.
Soon the kits were tired, and they returned home.
“Where were you?” screeched a furious Sunstream. “That badger is still out there, and-and-and-”
Lightkit cut her off.
“Oh Sunstream! It was amazing! We went exploring, and Shadekit caught a beetle, and we found some nice, bubbly brown liquid-”
Smokey padded in.
“That’ll be cola,” mewed the former kittypet. “My Twoleg used to drink it.”
Gracekit tipped her head to one side. Cola? Was that a Twoleg word?
“Don’t mind me,” he continued. “Just here to change the bedding.”
“You should really give yourself a Clan name,” chided Scarletwind for the millionth time. “When you became an apprentice, I thought you would, but…”
She stopped mid-sentence when a screech rang out from the clearing, and Cloudflash’s voice was clearly heard.
“GOLDSTAR IS DEAD!”
Chapter Two- GracekitEdit
Gracekit's mind whirled. Dead? Dead?! But how? He was relatively young, with no ailments...she remembered how brave Stormcloud had died. Had Goldstar been killed? Who would want him dead though? Gracekit padded outside, where there was a commotion forming.
"I bet it...."
"...StrikeClan must have..."
The muttering did not cease as Gracekit padded to Goldstar's body. There was something wrong; even a kit could tell. His fur seemed too smooth, too clean, along his flank and neck. She walked over to get a closer look, but Cloudflash pushed her away, looking to be full of grief, though since he was so much bigger than her, she could not see very well.
"A vigil is no place for kits. Go back to the nursery; Scarletwind will look after you; Sunstream's sitting vigil...Goldstar was her brother." his voice was stern.
Gracekit sloped away, certain something was up, but as a kit, she could not voice her opinions as they would accuse her of making up games. Perhaps when she was an apprentice...would she ever be an apprentice? Would Cloudflash ever allow her ceremony to be held? She pushed the thought out of her mind and settled down in the nursery. She had decided to go look at Goldstar in the morning as she drifted into sleep.
Her dreams were brief. She was in a strange abyss, just floating. A black and grey patched tom, who seemed to control it well, was padding away. He turned around and his bright amber eyes seared into hers. He whispered something, sounding merely like a breath in the wind. ..ew's.....ace...
Then Gracekit woke up. She went to get a small vole to share with her littermates and gulped her share down. She padded to the body which had not been buried and parted some of the fur. Long, deep scratches showed. Goldstar had been murdered...but by who? She stared at the claws. White fur, scentless. There were a mere three strands. How had Gracekit seen them? She didn't know. There was only one white cat in the Clan who was of the age to kill someone. She stared at her new leader addressing the Clan from Skytree. A single word blazed in her mind.
The young white tom padded through the undergrowth, stalking his prey of choice; a mouse.
"Now Blizzard," whispered the golden tabby. "Step lightly and don't swish your tail so much."
The tom, a mere six moons old, nodded to his father and pounced. He swiftly killed the mouse.
"Thank you, Comet!" Blizzard mewed, his mouth full of mouse.
A sound interrupted their hunt.
"Windfur will be the new deputy of DewClan!"
Do Clan cats ever shut up? thought Blizzard, supressing a hiss.
"Come on," mewed Comet. "Star will be waiting."
Right. Star. His mother was not a good hunter. She needed the prey they brought her, and this mouse would be enough for all three of them. He padded back to the small 'camp' they had. A small bush for Dirtplace, a couple of dens for them and any other loners that may need shelter and a small pool nearby for water. It wasn't much, but it was home.
"Star! We're back!"The silver tabby padded out, squealing with delight as she saw her son's first catch.
"So big! I doubt even Comet could catch a mouse that big!" Her white tail tip flicked in excitement. "I bet it'll taste great!"
Comet nodded his agreement. "Well....are we going to eat the mouse or just scare it's spirit?" Blizzard gave a small mrrow of amusement, and they all enjoyed the first good piece of prey they'd had in days.
By the time they had finished, the sun was sinking into the hillside behind the forest. Star drew one of her snowy paws over her ear and yawned. Comet purred.
"That was a good catch, son. We'll turn you into a fine hunter, you'll see."
Blizzard's leaf-green eyes glowed with pride, and he modestly mewed,
"It was a slow mouse, and kind of old..." Comet's praising me. Why am I being so modest?
"You and I both know it wasn't! Now, it's getting dark so you'd better get some sleep."
Blizzard dipped his head to his father, and padded to his small den, drifting into sleep.
Chapter Four-Blizzard and SkypawEdit
The tom's jaws stretched wide in a yawn. It had been a half moon since his hunt, and his paws were itching to explore. It was dark, for a morning, but he wasn't put off. He pelted out of his den, away from his small territory and into a stretch of forest he had never seen before.
Clan territory? Those noisy furballs never think to mark that border, do they?
He padded further, looking at things he did not have in his camp; a small tree stump, for resting on, a fallen log with small claw marks; made by cats about eight moons old, he guessed. He stopped short when a white pelt flashed through the bushes.
"Get off our territory!"
The snowy tom froze. A clan cat!
"Who are you?" he mewed boldly.
"I'm Skypaw. I'm an apprentice of DewClan, and if you don't get off our territory now, you'll be crowfood!"
Blizzard looked at the white she cat. She was slightly older than him, but by the look of her she had only just begun training; a quarter moon at best. He had been training for a moon, so he might just be able to overpower her. She leaped at him with unsheathed claws, and they began to fight. His claws dragged down her flank and she sliced his ear. Skypaw pinned him down and scratched at him.
This she cat must just be small, he thought, trying to ignore the pain. She's obviously been trained to fight more than I have. He wriggled from her grip and hared away to his small camp.
He sat in his den with some cobwebs on his nicked ear. Star had known a few herbs that could help him, but his thoughts were of the Clan cats; what would it be like, to live in a bigger group than three?
Skypaw sat by the small rock in the camp, munching on a mouse.
"So Shadepaw," she mewed casually. "I fought off a loner today. He had white fur, and he was slightly bigger than you!"
"Well I caught a vole," he mewed.
Shadepaw doesn't believe me! Skypaw was outraged, but before she could reply, Cloudstar's voice carried from Hightree.
"Cats of DewClan! We are one pawstep closer to finding out who killed Goldstar!" The cats yowled in triumph.
"There was fur between his claws. It was white, and carried the scent of willow."
"There are willows outside the territories!"
"Rogues! Rogues are going to kill us all!" fretted Coldflower.
"Psst! Skypaw! Didn't you say the loner you fought was white?"
Skypaw's blood ran cold. "Yeah..." Why did I let him escape? Thoughts whirled through her head. Had she let a killer escape? He was so young, though...but did age matter? He was old enough to fight. She gazed round the Clan, most cats muttering for revenge, but only Gracekit was glaring up at Cloudstar, unmistakeable hate in her eyes.
"What?" She hissed to herself. "Willows? Cloudstar doesn't think we'll believe that, does he?" Sadly, the Clan seemed to believe his story. Gracekit whirled round and stormed out of camp, not looking behind her. She padded far away from camp and sat down on a rockpile. A small storm brewed, and the rocks above her twitched and fell on her.
StarClan help me! She thought, sinking into blackness.
"Will she be okay? Can she still race us?" a vaguely familiar voice squealed.
"She will live, young kit," mewed another voice. "However..." the cat's voice trailed away as she spoke to a different cat. "She will never run again. She will barely be able to walk, but she shall live. Her spine was badly bruised. She's lucky to be alive."
Gracekit's mind whirled. Never run again? Never?
But I was the fastest runner ever! There's no way; I was going to be the world's best warrior...
The voice went on.
"She can never become a warrior, Sunstream. I'm sorry."
"Leafheart, you speak the truth. I am truly sorry for Gracekit..."
Gracekit managed to open her eyes.
"Gracekit, you're awake!" mewed Treekit.
"Gracekit!" shrieked Rainkit.
"Gracekit..." mewed Sunstream. "I'm afraid that you'll never be a warrior...Leafheart's just told us."
Gracekit opened her mouth to protest, but decided it would be futile. She nearly cried but held it in. This was how her life was going to be. She tried to stand up.
Oh StarClan! That HURTS!
So her life would be filled with pain. Was that how it was going to be forever?
~THREE MOONS AFTER THE ACCIDENT~
Gracekit limped to the fresh-kill pile and grabbed a mouse. She then limped all the way back to the medicine cat den. Her siblings were apprentices. She was to be a kit forever. When she reached the medicine cat den, nobody was there. The walls were different-lichen clung to them and flowers trailed up.
Dew's Grace...your destiny is not to be a kit forever...you may not be a warrior, but there are other ways to serve your Clan...
A leaf floated down in front of her, then another. She recognised the scents and recited them from when she was being treated.
"Tansy. Feverfew. Juniper."
The medicine den returned to normal. Only then did she ponder what had happened.
Dew's Grace? Other ways to serve my Clan?
A realisation popped into her head when the stench of death hit her nose. A patrol had returned, paws thudding on the ground. She raced out.
A dead cat was splayed in the clearing.
Scarletwind was splayed in the clearing, legs splayed. Her green eyes were glassy and dull. Her white legs and underbelly were matted. One thing was obvious-the beautiful ginger she-cat had been killed.
"We found her in the forest. She was out hunting when we came across her." mewed Windfur, his deep mew thick with grief. "There was fur beneath her claws," he added, voice tinged with malice, "White fur. It smelled like willows."
Cloudstar leaped from his den inside the hollow oak, scrabbling up onto it.
All cats gather beneath Skytree! Gracekit noted even the wind seem to screech the cry. A thought blazed in the minds of the Clan.
That loner again! Gracekit hissed at the thought, then realised how late it was. She looked up at the sunset, her thoughts broken by the yowl of a new cat-Leafheart.
"Cats of DewClan! It is time for me to take an apprentice. Work is too much for me on my own. I have chosen a brave and worthy cat."
Gracekit glanced up, slightly bored.
"Your next medicine cat will be Gracekit-now Gracepaw."
Gracepaw blinked and looked up. Medicine cat apprentice. Her.
"Gracepaw," mewed Cloudstar, his icy eyes glinting with an emotion like a dark cloud. She could not read it. "do you accept the post of apprentice to Leafheart?"
"Yes. I do.."
"Gracepaw. Is it your wish to enter into the mysteries of StarClan as a medicine cat?"
Dew's Grace! This is your destiny.
"Warriors of StarClan...I present you with my apprentice. She has chosen the path of StarClan-she wishes to be a medicine cat. Grant her your wisdom so she may understand your ways and heal her Clan in accordance with your will."
Gracepaw looked into the glittering starlight of Starlake. A faint silver aura glowed around her. This was her destiny. Instantly she realised that she truly was Dew's Grace-she was special, and she was going to serve her Clan...no matter what.