Series: Leopardclaw's Short Stories
|Nine lives of a leader. Nine chances to live. Nine chances to die.
The thing Webstar least expected in his life was to be deputy, let alone leader. He never aspired to be powerful. He just wanted to be like his idol and lookeed up to his mentor. Then StarClan told only him a prophecy. Nine lives are nine chances to live and die. Nine lives you will need to endure the nine pains of your destiny...
Webstar is epic enough to get a super edition. Yesh. Now we return to the past, where Webstar is but a dream...
A pink-grey she-cat raced over the moors over StarClan, to reach where a grey and black tabby she-cat sat in wait.
"Greetings, my friend. I sense you wait in anticipation, yet trepidation. What is wrong?" The grey and black tabby raised her head, and had an almost humorous look in her eyes.
"Why, Heatherstar, can you not sense it? Can't you feel it? WindClan is about to have a great cat born. I know it in my bones." Heatherstar gasped in realisation, happy realisation.
"Yes, Larkwing, I sense it! But, however I see great pain and suffering aroung this kit. He will need the strength of nine lives to face the pain I see ahead." Larkwing nodded, briskly. As a pool formed, images of cats formed and faded. Nine cats formed, and nine faded. An unspoken thought was in the air.
An Omen! Nine deaths!
As the two WindClan cats turned and walked away, a small, grey tabby kit rippled and wavered in the pool. He looked up, then the image shattered into thousands of tiny raindrops, like tears falling on StarClan's moors.
"Webkit? Webkit, are you awake? Webkit? Oh, look!" A small, squaking voice whispered in Webkit's ear before breaking off into high pitched giggles.
"Heartkit? Why are you chasing that feather? Wouldn't you rather be out on the moors and catch a rabbit, or bird?" Webkit was curious as to how his sister could want to play with feathers, when they could be learning about the world.
"Webkit, don't be silly! When you're a warrior you can't play with feathers and you have to hunt! Being a warrior sounds boring! I'd rather stay a kit!" Heartkit tumbled back into random giggles, batting and biting the feather.
"Maybe, Webkit, when you become an apprentice, you will see that being a warrior is great responsibility. Have fun while you are still a kit." Heartkit squaled again, and raced into the cat who was standing in the nursery.
"Father! Father!" The great cat meowed a deep meow of laughter.
"Greetings, my daughter. And greetings, also Webkit." Webkit nodded his tiny head respectfully to his father.
"Greetings, father. How are you? And, I was wondering, what are we going to do about the lack of prey? I, well, I heard that we might all be moving to another place, far, far away! How could we ever make such a journey?" Shatteredheart just smiled.
"There will be no journey, nor will I ever let anything harm my precious kits," He raised his voice slightly as his mate, and Webkit's mother, Whisperweb cam into sight. "Nor my mate. No food shortage will harm this Clan, and especially not my family." He smiled, but Whisperweb had a worried, panicked look on her face.
"I'm sorry, love, but the journey will take place. We set out next half moon. Tallstar has confirmed it."
Webkit thought hard about this matter. I wonder if we will become apprentices before we leave?"
Great, stone hills rose above the horizon. Webpaw's thin legs ached. The had been travelling for the last week, and, now he was an apprentice, he had to learn what Tallstar had to teach, as well as trek on every day. It was tiring, but Webpaw enjoyed having the leader as his mentor. He remembered what Tallstar had said to him during his first training session,.
"Webpaw, you are inquisitive! You don't seem like the other apprentices, you don't aspire to be leader or great. You merely seem to want to learn all you can to be the best and most loyal warrior you can be. I sense a great destiny in you, Webpaw. Your willingness to learn will make you a greater warrior some day. I can sense it"
Webpaw did only want to learn and be a great warrior. If I am ever leader, I will be the most loyal leader ever!
"Webpaw?" Heartpaw padded over. She seemed a lot more serious now she was an apprentice. Her mentor was the cat Webpaw looked up to most wthin the Clan, other than Tallstar, of course.
"Heartpaw! How are you? How is your training with Iceslash?" She purred at her brother.
"Why bother about training now? We're on a journey to somewhere no cat has ever been before! Let's play with the other apprentices!" Webpaw was relieved that she sounded like her old self again. Reluctantly, he agreed to go and play, less because he wanted to, but because he loved his sister and wanted her to be happy. And, just for that time, she was, they were.
For it was after the journey that the real journey would start.
The journey to survive.
Crossing the mountains was hard going, and it would be even if it had only been a few cats travelling. Only one cat had perished so far, Smokepaw of ShadowClan. Another ShadowClan kit, one Webpaw did not know the name of, had almost been taken away by an eagle.
How many more cats will die before we reach our new home?
Webpaw blankly watched as Barkface went over to Tallstar. The leader was getting more frail every day of this perilous journey. Webpaw sighed and sat dowm in the cave. The day before the last, the journeying cats had met the Tribe of Rushing Water. They seemed kind cats, and were hosting the Clans before they moved on to their new home.
Webpaw had heard talk of moving on from the mountains in the next day or so. For the most part, he was pleased, he found the cave suffocating and boring, but he would also miss the friendliness of the tribe. Tallstar rose dramtically to his paws and called a meeting.
"Cats of all Clans, and the tribe, I must announce four new warriors to you today. They have worked hard, and now are ready to take up the role of warriors. Crowpaw, Heartpaw, Wildpaw and Webpaw, please step forth. I have talked with your mentors, and they assure me that you are ready to become warriors. Crowpaw, from this day forth you shall be known as Crowfeather, in memory of one that was lost here, and in honour of your courage."
The Clans chanted, as loud as they could. Tallstar then gave Heartpaw the name Heartflower, and Wildpaw became Wildsmoke. Webpaw could not help but think how beautiful Wildsmoke was. She was a dark, grey brown tabby, with green eyes, and looked like a formidable warrior just like her brother, Crowpaw. Webpaw snapped out of his thoughts when Tallstar announced his name.
"Webpaw, you have worked hard. As your mentor, I say you have grown to be a warrior. From this day on, you shall be known as Webfoot, to honour your thoughtfulness, and your fighting skill." The Clans chanted, and Webfoot felt his ears go hot.
I'm a warrior!
A lake glimmered with starlight. The long journey had come to an end. The Clans had reached their new home.
This is it! Webfoot looked to his sister, and she smiled back. A cough turned Webfoot's attention to behind him, to where Tallstar lay, dying on the ground.
"Tallstar!" Webfoot's old mentor looked up, and to the other cats there - Onewhisker, Firestar, Brambleclaw and Barkface.
"Don't tell me to shush. I know I'm dying. I can...see StarClan....They are coming for me. I... do not wish...Mudclaw. He cannot lead my...my Clan. One...Onewhisker. You...are...leader...now..." Tallstar looked into Webfoot's eyes, then murmered "I know I must join you now, my mother..."
Tallstar sighed, and he ceased to live as his journey to StarClan begun.
"No!" cried Webfoot. Firestar annonced the devastating news to the Clans. Webfoot sat next to his mentor, grieving his loss. Wildsmoke, the other she-cat who was made a warrior at the same time as Webfoot came and sat by Tallstar too. Webfoot looked up for a minute, but she did not notice, and then the whole of WindClan came to grieve their beloved leader.
No WindClan cat slept that night.
Webfoot set off on a patrol. Just over half a moon had passed since the discovery of the lake. In a border battle, with ThunderClan, his idol, Iceslash had been struck down, and his mother, Whisperweb was now seriously ill in the medicine den. On the plus, Onestar had promised him Goldkit as an apprentice. He was Onestar's son, so it was an honour.
Webfoot caught two rabbits, but all the time was thinking about how he could teach hunting. He was deep in thought, and his expression must have shown it, because Wildsmoke came over to him.
"Webfoot, are you alright?" She seemed concerned, and she snapped Webfoot out of his thoughts.
"Yes, yes. Sorry. I'm just... Thinking." She smiled at him. Webfoot thought She's beautiful when she smiles.
As the patrol walked back to camp Webfoot lagged at the back, dragging Wildsmoke with with him. Wildsmoke had an expression of confusion on her face. She opened her mouth, probably to say 'What's going on?' but Webfoot spoke first.
"Wildsmoke... well, you see... The thing is... Wildsmoke. I, I love you. Will, will you be my mate?" Webfoot's whole body was quivering, and his ears burned. Wildsmoke looked at him with genuine surprise on her face. Her mouth twitched up into a smile. She licked the tips of his ears, and then whispered
Barkface solemnly climbed the Tallrock. The whole Clan had gatherered around and the mood along with the sky had turned overcast and drab. The whole Clan stood, for a moment, as if time had frozen, before Barkface sighed, and his voice echo through the deathly silent Clan.
"It is, with the deepest regret, that the news I must announce a loss to the Clan. I'm sorry to announce it, but Whisperweb is...dead." His voice was hushed, but Webfoot had no trouble hearing.
A wail full of grief echoed through camp. The near white mottled body was brought out into the clearing, and laid down. Drizzle started to fall and Webfoot yowled his grief to the stars. Slowly the Clan dissolved, and Webfoot was left, sitting over his mother's corpse.
The moon rose and fell, and morning came, the drizzle never having gotten heavier or ceased. Webfoot slowly rose as the elders came to bury Whisperweb's body. He watched until they were out of sight, then noticed that his mate's tail had been on his shoulder for a while.
"Webfoot," she said, softly, but with and undelying trace of excitement. Webfoot turned around, puzzled. "Webfoot, I'm going to have out kits."
Webfoot looked at his mate, fear, happiness and love in his eyes.
Wildsmoke had moved into the nursery. Barkface had said that she was only a few days from giving birth. Webfoot had just returned from a hunting patrol, and had returned just in time to hear a yowl.
"Wildsmoke's kits are coming!" Webfoot raced to the nursery, but was denied access by the young Whitetail, heavily pregnant with her own kits.
"No. You'll be no help. I'll tell you when you can come in."
After a wait of what seemed like forever, and many agonised sounds, Webfoot was finally allowed in. But he had been warned that he may be shocked at what he saw. He was.
His first sight was a lot of blood. He then turned his gaze to Wildsmoke who was licking one kit. He then looked at the other kit, who appeared to be being ignored. It had silky, sand coloured fur, with three round spots on her left cheek. When Webfoot looked closely, she was not breathing.
"Webfoot... Come look at our kit." It was only Wildsmoke and Webfoot in the nursery. Webfoot laid down next to his mate.
"Wildsmoke... I'm sorry. I-I... What should we call them?" Wildsmoke looked sadly to her still kit, and said
"I want to name her Leopardkit. She will watch from StarClan." The two looked sadly, then turned their attention to the brown-grey tom.
"Eaglekit," Webfoot whispered. "I think he will be a fine warrior." There was a moment of silence, and as Webfoot was about to leave, Leopardkit grasped gently in his jaws, Wilsmoke whispered back.
"I do too."
"Goldspot! Goldspot!" Webfoot watched proudly as his first apprentice became a warror. He also watched as his son left for training with Ashfoot and Tornear with his apprentice, Spottedpaw. Spottedpaw was Whitetail's daughter, who had been born several days after Eaglepaw.
"Webfoot?" He whipped around to see Onestar. Secretly, Webfoot thought that Onestar was mad, and disbelieved in StarClan. "You have been selected to go on a patrol with your sister, Wildsmoke, Shatteredheart and some other warriors. And myself. ThunderClan have crossed the border again." Onestar stalked off.
As the cats approached the border, ThunderClan yowled, and charged. Webfoot was surprised when a cat launched into his side, knocking him away. His claws met flesh, and he tore and bit and the enemy. He looked to where Heartflower and Wildsmoke were fighting. They formed a formidable pair.
He was snapped back into the action when a cat he recognised as Thornclaw tore a chunk out of his ear. Webfoot lashed out, and bit into his tail, sending blood everywhere. The two engaged in swiping at each other with their claws, making claw marks all over their pelts.
Webfoot launced at Thornclaw, and his claws hit into his face and down his neck, leaving great bloody trails where his claws hit. Thornclaw screeched, and ran off into the battle. Webfoot turned to see his sister and mate. He looked just in time.
In time to see Onestar launch at his sister.
Webfoot bounded over and swiped at his leader. Onestar pushed him roughly to the side, winding him so all he could do was watch. Heartflower turned to look at Webfoot, blood frothing from her mouth, fear plastered on her face. She mouthed the words 'I'm sorry' before making a choked noise and laying down in the dust.
Onestar smiled cruelly at Webfoot without noticing Wildsmoke leap at him, fire in her eyes.
"You do not hurt my mate's family!" she shouted as her claws hit home. Onestar spasmed, and swung at Wildsmoke, flinging her into the dust.
"No!" screamed Webfoot, his heart broken. The two cats he loved most had been killed by his crazy, blood thirsy leader. He leaped at his injured leader, and struck him to the floor.
Onestar had lost a life. I killed my leader. But he murdered my mate and sister. Webfoot knew he had committed a terrible crime, but so had Onestar. Onestar was coming round, and the battle seemed won. He smiled twistedly.
"I won't tell, if you don't." His eyes were wild and crazed as he fled into his injured Clan. "My Clan, we have won the battle, but suffered heavy losses. Who are among the dead?" Cats spoke, and Webfoot felt broken.
Today I lost my mate, my sister and my father. I have only one family left. I swear to StarClan, I will protect him with my life!
"Eagletalon! Eagletalon!" Webfoot shouted his son's name with pride. He also shouted Spottedfeather's name too, she was Whitetail's kit, and Webfoot had noticed how Eagletalon had looked at her.
Webfoot padded off towards Barkface's den. Barkface had been kind to Webfoot over the last moon, when his grief had been the worst. As Webfoot entered the herb scented cave, he realised that it was empty.
I wonder where Barkface is? Webfoot found that his paws had brought him to Onestar's den. Webfoot hated Onestar with a passion. After the battle, the cruel, blood thirsty leader had told Webfoot that he was only helping with the prophecy. What did he know about the prophecy?
Inside the den, the leader and the medicine cat were arguing.
"StarClan! What rubbish! I do not care for prophecies! Only one prophecy matters - the one about Webfoot. It foresees him losing everything he loves! Nine! Well I tell you, I'll help him! He's lost his mentor, mother and father, his mate and sister and his kit!" Onestar then broke off into manic, crazed laughing.
Barkface merely sighed. Webfoot realised that Barkface was about to come out of the crazy leader's den, so he made his grey pelt merge into the rock. As Barkface walked past, unnoticing, Webstar had a shattering thought.
If I am to lose nine of my most loved friends and family, I have only lost six! Who else must I lose?
Webfoot padded happily into the nursery. Eagletalon's mate, Spottedfeather had just their kit. Webfoot had not yet seen her, so he was visiting. What he saw shocked him.
The kit was a leopard spotted kit, with three spots on her left cheek. For a moment he was lost in the past, seeing an unmoving body, so similar to his granddaughter.
"Webfoot," said Spottedfeather softly. "We called her Leopardkit. After Eagletalon's sister." She seemed concerned for him, but Webfoot replied sharply.
"She must never know!" Webfoot then realised that he had spoken too sharply. "I'm sorry. But she can't. Please." Spottedfeather smiled sadly, but nodded.
"I understand," she whispered. "I shall tell all that visit that she should not be told of her heritage. Are you sure that you do not want your own granddaughter to know that you are related?" Webfoot took a deep breath, and sighed.
"I believe it is for the best. I believe that she will be safe if I protect her from the knowledge of her family." Webfoot felt deflated, tired and old as he left the nursery.
A starry voice of a lost cat whispered in his ear in the breeze. Your destiny is one no cat would wish, but your granddaughter's is to be difficult too. For Clouds and Claws will come, and the Ancient Laws will sleep at peace once more......
The Clan crowded into the clearing, as a meeting was called. "Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather for a Clan Meeting," Onestar's voice rang through the clearing. Webfoot thought that he could hear bitterness in his voice. "We have a cat, ready to become an apprentice today. Barkface?"
The old medicine cat of WindClan padded slowly into the center of camp. Webfoot saw an amused smile on his face. Webfoot wondered why. "Cats of WindClan. I have decided to take an apprentice, as I am not young anymore." There were purrs of laughter rippling through the Clan. "The cat I have chosen, or rather, has chosen to become my apprentice shows great promise. She will be an excellent medicine cat. Cats of WindClan, your next medicine cat shall be Leopardkit." Webfoot smiled for the first time in moons.
"Leopardkit, do you wish to become apprenticed to Barkface?"
Leopardkit looked with wide eyes at Barkface, and then at Onestar. In awe, she almost forgot to speak. She nodded, and stuttered "I do." Webfoot remebered his apprentice ceremony, and how nervous he had been.
"Then tonight, you shall travel to the Moonpool to be accepted by StarClan." rasped Barkface. He looked through the crowd, and caught Webfoot's eye. Webfoot nodded to him, trusting the medicine cat to keep his secrets.
Onestar finished the ceremony, Webfoot thought, with reluctance. "From this day on, Leopardkit, you shall be known as Leopardpaw. The good wishes of all WindClan go with you." The Clan cheered her name, Webfoot loud as any other cat, although he suspected that Onestar did not find her apprenticeship pleasing.
As the two walked out of camp, headed for the Moonpool, Webfoot could not help but wonder what troubles the Clan would face next.
Ashfoot was leading a patrol past the ThunderClan border. It was the moonhigh patrol, the night before the gathering. "Look!" whispered Eagletalon. ThunderClan were on the WindClan side of the border.
"We must chase them back!" hissed Pearlwhisker with excitement. Ashfoot looked for a moment longer, and then gave the signal to attack.
"WindClan, to me! ThunderClan have crossed the border!" A brown tom looked up, a snarl on his face.
"These trees belong to us, Ashfoot!" Ashoot just laughed, and replied
"WindClan will fight for them Dustpelt." That was the signal, so Pearlwhisker, Eagletalon and Webfoot raced forward, slashing and biting the enemy. ThunderClan were retreating, and a dark cloud came in front of the moon, making it appear to have a hole in it. The shadow of this engulfed Ashfoot, and she yowled before collapsing as the moon shone again.
As the patrol re-entered camp, Pearlwhisker, who was having a nervous breakdown, ran forward and cried out "It's Thu-th-ThunderClan! They attacked our patrol. They accused us of being on their territory. And, and, and the moon!" Pearlwhisker was gently taken inti the medicine den by Leopardclaw, as Onestar sneered.
"Enough." Onestar was cold; he had no sympathy for the quivering cat. "Barkface," Onestar spat his name like he was a kittypet. "Come and heal this cat. Oh, StarClan, help us through the doom." Webfoot knew that Onestar was now completely crazy. He saw Leopardpaw wince, thinking that the leader was good and kind.
"It is as StarClan foretold!" Barkface shouted, challenging the leader. "Ashfoot is dead!"
As Eagletalon brought her frail body into camp, the arguing commenced.
"Cats of WindClan. The deputy is dead. Ashfoot's replacement will be Webfoot. Also, a new warrior shall be named today. Lavenderpaw, you have trained well. You shall now be known as Lavenderwish." Webfoot was shocked, and was about to give thanks when a yowl rang through camp.
"Won't my mother get a replacement in the name of StarClan?' Crowfeather's pained cry lashed the air. Webfoot knew that he was going to have to clam the Clan, when Onestar smiled.
"No. StarClan hold nothing but doom for us. I will never use their name nor let my Clan suffer their selfish wrath!" And with that, Onestar stormed to his den, leaving Webfoot to deal with the panicking Clan, whose leader no longer looked to StarClan.
"Please, calm down! The gathering will be soon, and I think we know who is going. Please, if you are not going to the gathering, or something of high importance, go back to your dens! Calm down! StarClan, I ask that you forgive Onestar for his lack of respect, and ask that you accept me as deputy, and Lavenderwish as a full warrior of the Clan." That seemed to calm down the Clan, and from behind Onestar whispered
"You did not mean what you said about my forgiveness, did you?" Webfoot turned to look at him with disgust.
"No. StarClan would never forgive you."
"Cats of the Clans!" called Firestar, alerting them to the start of the gathering. Mistystar stepped forward to speak, but Onestar cut in front.
" will speak first. Cats of the Clans. I have recently had a most disturbing sign. Our medicine cat, Barkface is a traitor to the clan!"
Gasps echoed around the island. Onestar contined, madness in his voice. "Yes! He is turning out Clan away from StarClan. He is a traitor, so he must die!" The world slowed down. Onestar leaped from the branch he was perched on, and dug his claws into Brakface's throat. A leader shouted.
The world went dark.
Webfoot saw a ghost whispering in Onestar's ear as he collapsed, lying limply. The ghost turned to Webfoot, and he let out a choked yowl, as another cat did.
Leopardpaw! But Webfoot realised that she was crying out because Barkface was dead.
Webfoot led his shocked Clan home. Halfway to camp, what had happened suddenly sunk in. Webfoot collapsed, with realisation, and shock.
"Webstar?" Webfoot did not realise that Eagletalon was speaking to him for a moment.
StarClan, I am Webstar. I am leader!
"I'm fine. I'm just... shocked, that's all." Webstar took lead of his Clan again, and led them home, away from the horrors of what had happened on the island.
The Moonpool gave off a faint glow in the darkness. Leopardpaw was preparing to become a medicine cat.
"I, Cinderpelt, Medicine Cat of ThunderClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand the ways of a medicine cat, and with your help she will serve her Clan for many moons. Leopardpaw, do you promise to uphold the ways of a medicine cat, to stand apart from rivalry between Clan and Clan and to protect all cats equally, even at the cost of your life?" Leopardpaw stood boldly by the Moonpool, waiting to recive her name. Cinderpelt had kindly offered to conduct her ceremony, Webstar's leader ceremony and a special ceremony to send Barkface to StarClan. Webstar was grateful for this.
"Then by the powers of StarClan I give you your true name as a medicine cat. Leopardpaw, from this moment you will be known as..." Webstar broke into her sentence saying
"Wait! May I choose her name?" Cinderpelt looked puzzled, but agreed, telling him the words to say. "Leopardpaw, from this moment on, you will be known as Leopardclaw, in Barkface's memory and honour." Cinderpelt then completed the ceremony.
"StarClan honors your wisdom and strength of mind and heart, and we welcome you as a full medicine cat of WindClan." All the Medicine cats and Willowpaw bowed their heads to Leopardpaw.
'Now, Webstar, to recive your nine lives, you must drink from our pool and dream. We wish you the luck of StarClan.' Webstar nodded, but first asked
"May I first hear the words you say for Barkface?"
"Of course you may. This is not an official ceremony, but StarClan, we feel we must ask for Barkface's safe journey to join you. He was wise and well respected, and trained his apprentice, Leopardclaw, well. May you light his path to you." Every cat bowed their heads, saying their own personal words to the dead Medicine Cat.
"Barkface, I do not know what I would have done without you. You are the truest friend I could wish to have. May you be safe and happy. You are number eight."
Webfoot then broke the silence, and lapped a few of the crystal drops from the Moonpool. He then slept.
In the dream, StarClan came to him.
Nine cats were stood around him. Eight were those he had lost as part of his prophecy. There was Leopardkit, Shatteredheart, Whisperweb, Tallstar, Barkface, Heartflower, Goldspot and Wildsmoke, and Iceslash.
Goldspot walked up to Webfoot first. Webfoot had watched as his first apprentice had died in his first battle as a warrior. "Webfoot, I could never have wanted a better mentor, or a better leader. With this life, I give you hope, so that you will always have something to hold on to, even when all seems lost." Webfoot felt a tingling rush of heat pass through his body.
As Goldspot returned to his place, Tallstar came over. "With this life I give you justice to look after the Clan fairly, and protection so that you may protect all that you love but that what is destined for you to lose." Webfoot was unprepared for this life. It tore through him, like a bolt of lightning was running through his body. It burned, and the pain was nearly unbearable.
Barkface gave his life next. "I give you mentoring, and faith. So you may teach your Clan as it grows, and have faith in what you believe in." Another rush of pain flowed through Webfoot's body, leaving hm feeling weak and helpless.
"With this life," Whisperweb said. Webfoot felt a pang of sadness as he realised all his family were here. "I give you love. Use it well, my son." This life was warm and caring, like a summer's day within him.
Shatteredheart walked up to Webfoot. "With this life I give bravery, so you may face battles and peril with the courage of a lion." This life burned like fire burning through a dry forest. Webfoot wanted to yowl out with pain.
Iceslash followed Shatteredheart. "With this life I give patience. Use it when troubles come and panic arises." This life felt calm, soothing, like the cool, still lake was washing over him. Webfoot was tingling with excitement as his sister came to give her life.
"Heartflower!" he murmered. "I missed you so much!" She smiled, wisdom and content in her eyes.
"With this life I give you compassion, my precious brother. Be compassionate to those who have suffered, and remember your loss" A wave of sadness washed over Webfoot, making him feel as if he were drowing in a tidal wave of sorrow and despair.
A tiny kit bounded towards him next. "With this life, I give you trust. Trust in those who trust in you, and trust that we will always watch over you. It is not you fault that I died. Remember me in Leopardclaw." With that, Leopardkit bounded away, leaving Webfoot to face the one he loved most.
"I'm sorry," he whispered. "I tried, I did and-" Wildsmoke smiled, just as beautiful as she had been in life.
"With this life, I give you loyalty to your Clan and those who believe in you. Webfoot, your old life is no more! You should take your new name, Webstar, safe in the knowledge that StarClan have given you nine lives to lead your Clan by. Also know..." StarClan chanted his name, and Wildsmoke whispered in his ear, before fading to nothing, leaving Webstar with his reply on his lips.
'A new warrior must be made today. Leopardclaw, step forth.' Leopardclaw stepped toward Webstar and, at his signal, leapt up onto the rock. Webstar looked kindly upon her, and said 'I, Webstar, leader of WindClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend her to you as a warrior in her turn. Leopardclaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to protect and defend your Clan, even at the cost of your life?' Leopardclaw dipped her head as she said
'Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name. Leopardclaw, from this moment you will be known as Leopardclaw, warrior of WindClan. StarClan honors your courage and strength of mind, and we welcome you as a full warrior of WindClan.' The Clan cheered, and Webstar thought back over the last few moons.
Leopardclaw's prophecy had not let her be a medicine cat. Bravesoul was now the medicine cat. Webstar wondered about the prophecy.
Claws meant Leopardclaw, that much was certain. He also though that Clouds may be a cat, perhaps a kittypet, or a loner. As for the ancient laws, he did not know what that meant.
Webstar watched as Leopardclaw went off on patrol. Oh, Wildsmoke, why did you have to leave me? I am lost without you. Webstar saw her smile in his mind's eye, and thought he heard the wind whisper.
My love, I have never truly left you...
"Come in Leopardclaw, I can hear you out there." Leopardclaw wandered into the den. "What have you come for?" Leopardclaw sat down, and closed her eyes. Oh dear, I wonder what has happened.
"This cat, on the border today. A kittypet. She almost seemed..." Leopardclaw searched for the right word. "Familiar. I..I, feel like I know her, but I don't. I think she has, I," Webstar cut Leopardclaw off.
"You think it has something to do with your prophecy?"
"How...? How....? How did you know about my prophecy?" Leopardclaw was bewildered and stunned.
"I do. Clouds and Claws will come, and the Ancient Laws will sleep at peace one more. Do you think StarClan would not tell me my Clan may be at great risk?" Webstar wished he could tell her the whole reason. "You are the Claws, that is certain."
"This kittypet, my first thought was, that it looked like a cloud. Then it attacked me!" Leopardclaw was evidently attempting to sound angry. Webstar thought for a moment. Clouds...
"It seems to me that this cat may be of importance to your prophecy. She may be the clouds. So therefore, only one thing can be done. Invite the cat to the Clan." Leopardclaw was shocked, but agreed, leaving Webstar with his thoughts of pain and loss.
Webfoot could sense that the Clan were tense. He wondered why. Then he saw Leopardclaw, and a white she-cat. The clouds have come.
Webstar leaped onto the Tallrock and announced "Cats of WindClan, I know you are all wondering why this kittypet has been brought to camp. You may disagree, but in the warrior code, it tells of the leader's word being law. So here is my word, and I trust you all to respect my decision. This kittypet shall join WindClan."
The whole Clan fell silent. Leopardclaw nudged the kittypet towards Webstar. She sat, for a moment, and unpicked her collar, which fell to the ground with a soft thud. Leopardclaw mouthed Her name is Cloud at him.
"This apprentice has given her collar to show her loyalty," Webstar then spoke directly to Cloud. "From this day on, you shall be known as Cloudpaw, to honour your loyalty and pelt. Your mentor shall be Leopardclaw, seeing as she guided you to camp." Leopardclaw walked forward. "I expect you to pass on your courage and strength." Leopardclaw nodded.
The Clan dispersed, but Webstar watched as Leopardclaw showed Cloudpaw where she would stay. Even when all was silent, Webstar stayed atop the Tallrock. A gust of wind suddenly blew, and from the dust, a cat rose, adressing Webstar. The Clouds and Claws have come! But beware, tough times lie ahead for you, my love...
Webstar sighed. Oh, why did your death come so soon?
"We can't keep waiting. It's nearly leafbare, and they've been gone for just under a moon." Webstar had nearly given up. Cloudpaw and Leopardclaw had disappeared, and Webstar was convinced that the Clan was going to get destroyed.
"No! They will return! They must return! The prophecy!" Bravesoul tried to comfort his leader, but Webstar looked away.
"StarClan have also forseen doom." Remebering what Wildsmoke had told him, he was sure that this was the troubles. The cats that were foreseen to save the Clan had gone from the Clan.
Bravesoul sighed, and looked out onto the bleak moor, frostbitten and bare. Webstar just stared, seeing the emptiness. A tiny movement, something white in the distance. Something white? Webstar gasped, leapt to his paws and squinted. Bravesoul had seen the movement too, and was grinning.
Webstar and Bravesoul raced out onto the moors, and they were right. Thank StarClan, they're back! Happy greetings were followed by Cloudpaw's ceremony.
"Cloudpaw, from this day on, you shall be known as Cloudtail to honour your bravery and strength," Webstar announced. As the Clan cheered, her thought her heard a whisper in the breeze.
The prophecy will be completed...
"Webstar, they need you! They need you in the past!" Webstar turned, coughing instead of calling out his love's name, getting the sensation of falling down, down, down, throught the dark....
Webstar blinked. He saw two cats, Leopardclaw and Cloudtail. No, Leopard's Claw and Snow Clouds. Webstar suddenly realised what was going on, and the words that Wildsmoke had told him rang through his head. And he knew what to do.
"Wait!" Webstar stepped from the shadows. "I need to cast my stone still, Furled Bracken." He stepped forward, sneaking a look to where Leopardclaw was sat.
"Go ahead, Webbed Foot." Furled Bracken said as Webstar set his stone down, putting the rule in place. I like that, Webbed Foot.
"The final rule has been voted for. Every rule must be followed from this moment." Furled Bracken sat down, deep in thought, Jagged Lightning growled with frustration. Webstar guessed that he opposed the rules.
"Wait! Webbed Foot!" Webstar turned around , surprised. He saw it was Leopardclaw, and knew what to say.
"Leopardclaw, it is me, Webstar. I have come through StarClan, and I soon must go. You have succeeded your task, now you and Cloudtail must return home to us. Only Bravesoul and I know what is really happening, the rest of the Clan think that you are Ill. StarClan will come for you soon. You must come home to us." Webstar then stepped into the shadows and faded out, hoping that they would come home.
Webstar knew that the prophecy was done, but yet had a terrible foreboding, only strengthened by Leopardclaw's return to the present.
Webstar heard marching, herad the sound of battle. "WindClan, attack!" he cried, and howled a battle cry. Silence fell for a moment.
Webstar locked paws with Firestar, battering him, avoiding blows. Webstar felt Firestar rake his shoulder, and Webstar flung the ginger leader into the battle.
Suddenly Webstar felt compressed, as if were underwater. He heard a retreat, and led his Clan away. He felt dizzy, deaf and then a clear voice split his silence.
"Webstar, you know what you must do. As one prophecy was completed, so is another. Your prophecy is ending, but you know what this foretells. Another death is coming..."
Webstar found himself in the camp. No, Eagletalon! No, my son! Webstar yowled to the moon, the golden moon.
And Leopardclaw became deputy.
Webstar entered the elder's den. "Leopardclaw," he said. She smiled. She looks so old, he thought sadly.
"Leopardclaw, I must tell you something. I, like you, was subject of a prophecy when I was younger, I was fated to have the nine cats I loved most to die, and that this was necessary for me to get my nine lives. You father was the ninth." Leopardclaw looked confused, about to speak, but Webstar kept going.
"When I became a warrior, I fell in love with a cat, Wildsmoke. She was like you in many ways, she had your personality. She died in a battle, Onestar, that traitor, he killed her. It was a terrible day, Onestar killed my sister and my mate and my father died too. Before she died, Wildsmoke, she had two kits. One of them died, and the other was..." Webstar took a deep breath. "Your father, Eagletalon. You were named after my kit, my Leopardkit. I lost so many, Tallstar, Barkface, Wildsmoke, Heartflower, Leopardkit, Eagletalon, Whisperweb, Shatteredheart and...." Webstar stopped, realising that he did not have a ninth cat.
"And me, grandfather. I am the ninth cat." Tears fell from Webstar's eyes, his granddaughter smiled, and lay down, taking her final breath.
I have lost everything! Webstar shouted, racing out onto the moors as the skies swirled grey, thunder rumbled, and lightning struck. He yowled to the skies, rain splashing his face as nine cats smiled sadly, surrounding the brokenhearted leader.