Warriors doesn't belong to me.
The bluish grey she-cat, carefully and as clearly as possible, muttered the events of her meeting with Fireheart and Nightstar to him around her prey, also Fireheart's call for a meeting at the mossy hollow. Once she was done Whitestorm nodded, his eyes flashing with no small amount of triumph. Bluefur bit back a chuckle, but couldn't deny that she felt triumphant by herself. She and Whitestorm had been of those that had, together with Fireheart, been for letting someone else in on their secret from the very beginning and while the start had been rather rocky, it seemed Nightstar had once again proven he was a worthy leader of ThunderClan. Because he'd bravely pushed through whatever had been thrown at him when discovering the truth.
Fireheart scanned his surroundings carefully, before sneaking up to the dirt place and sneaking out of camp. He found it slightly ridiculous that now that Nightstar was in the know, they had to be especially careful, but it was like that. Cats would question them much sooner if they constantly saw Nightstar leaving with one or more of the ten of them.
Shaking the thoughts off, Fireheart took a deep breath of the crisp and cool evening air that signalled that leaf-bare truly was about to begin. Checking his surroundings once more, the ginger tom quickly disappeared in the long shadows of sunset and made his way to the mossy hollow. This would most certainly be an interesting meeting.
Not only because Nightstar would be there. Fireheart and Bluefur had agreed to go over every prophecy they had received since being born here once more to see how much of them came true already. He was short of reaching the mossy hollow, when something suddenly blocked his path.
It was Dustpelt.
"Dustpelt what with StarClan", asked the ginger tom, to get the brown tabby's tail shoved into his mouth.
He gave Dustpelt a confused glare, but the tabby simply hissed: "Nettlebite and Eagleflight are still in the hollow." Fireheart nodded in understanding and the other warrior removed his tail. Silently the two of them snuck around the hollow to where Dustpelt had apparently already gathered Sandstorm, Reedheart and Silverstream.
Ignoring the senior warrior and former RiverClan cat, Fireheart padded up to Sandstorm and pressed his nose into the fur of her neck. "I'm sorry for how I acted today", murmured the ginger tom softly. Once Nightstar and he had returned to camp today, Sandstorm hadn't been there, so he hadn't gotten the chance to apologize before now.
Sandstorm simply purred softly and licked his cheek before she answered: "You had a lot to work through, I understand that."
"Really?", asked the ginger tom surprised.
He didn't want to sound that disbelieving, but Sandstorm had always had trouble understanding that sometimes he just needed time to sort everything through. "Believe it or not, yes", chuckled the pale-ginger she-cat. She pressed herself against him and added: "I love you Fireheart. You and Bluefur are our leaders right now, and that means you carry more on your shoulders than any of us. I need to accept that and I think I have started to."
Purring softly Fireheart licked her cheek now, before nuzzling her neck. "Oh cut it out you two", groaned Dustpelt softly. In answer he only got two hisses, which made him smirk.
Suddenly Silverstream's voice rang out. "They've left."
The two mates separated and Fireheart peered through the bushes. Yes, the hollow was finally empty. "Let's go then", murmured the ginger tom and slowly picked his way through the bushes until he entered the mossy hollow. Their group had just settled down, when Splashwhisker and Spottedpaw, followed by Nightstar, Ravenflight and Greystripe arrived.
The two younger warriors immediately split off from the other three and sat down next to Dustpelt, who had Sandstorm between himself and Fireheart. Nightstar seemed a little unsure where to go, until Splashwhisker brushed his tail against the leader's flank and gestured him to follow. Together the two toms sat down next to Reedheart while Spottedpaw sat down between her mentor and the one free space between herself and Fireheart.
The space didn't remain empty for long, because not too much later Bluefur appeared from the bushes, followed by Whitestorm and Hollyleaf. The two siblings settled down between Ravenflight and Reedheart while Bluefur sat down between Fireheart and Spottedpaw. Once she sat, Silverstream was the first to speak.
"What exactly did you two plan for tonight now?" She looked directly at Fireheart and Bluefur, prompting everyone else to do the same. The two former leaders exchanged a glance, before Fireheart nodded, an indication his former mentor understood well.
Bluefur herself took a deep breath before she answered: "It has been four whole seasons now till the ten of us came back to life and a lot has happened since then. That adding to the fact that we now also have Nightstar to confide in", she gave the black-furred tom a smile, "had us both thinking that it would be best to simply start from the first prophecy we received since arriving here. We move along the flow of time and see whether or not and how they came true already. And inform Nightstar of a few things he should know."
She and Fireheart looked around, scanning if anyone had problems with their plan. No one did so Fireheart nodded to Spottedpaw and she said: "As most of you remember, the first prophecy fulfilled itself the second we all were born here. It's the one Thunder gave Fireheart. Time will solve all mysteries. This one needs little explanation I believe. It was merely to inform us just where and especially when we landed."
Everyone nodded in understanding and Sandstorm picked up: "The second one was the one Spottedpaw received when we were kits, correct?"
"Which one was that again?", asked Splashwhisker.
"When the Dark rises once more, pain is all they leave behind. The hunt goes on, deep in the night, until the last breath of the warriors from the Sky. If they fail, eternal night will end the time of the Clans", answered Fireheart softly. "This one we do have mostly figured out I think."
"Yes, the rising Dark are the reborn Dark-Forest cats", began Greystripe.
"The warriors from the Sky, well if we aren't completely wrong, those are the ten of us", picked Ravenflight up.
"And the last part is rather self-explanatory", ended Reedheart.
Fireheart caught the soft shudder that went through Nightstar when he understood what Reedheart implied. It was true though. Should the ten of them fail and fall to, Tigerclaw he supposed it was now, and his cats, the time of the clans would end.
"On to the next one?", offered Hollyleaf softly after a while.
Fireheart nodded at that and stated: "The next one Spottedpaw received the day the first of us became apprentices. Many seasons went by, but now Fire and Tiger will meet once again to fight over the peace of the clans."
"That one is rather self-explanatory as well", stated Whitestorm strongly. "Once again it will be you and Tigerstar who will face off against each other in the end."
Fireheart nodded and was about to continue, when Nightstar cut in: "How many times did you two face off against each other?"
"I was wondering about that too", admitted Splashwhisker.
"The times were it wasn't directly us too or not?", asked Fireheart.
"What?", asked Reedheart confused.
"A lot of times", answered Dustpelt simply. "To many to count properly."
Nods of agreement came from all of the former StarClan warriors and Nightstar shook his head slightly. Fireheart gave him a small smile, assuring him he was alright, before he continued: "Now then, the next prophecy was…I believe it was the one we got from Dawn, right?" He turned to look at Bluefur.
The she-cat tilted her head, before she nodded and said: "Yes. Dawn's was the next one. It was: Ten from starry sky have to come to find goal of six travellers. Dawn will help."
"Who is Dawn?", asked Reedheart now. "You never really told us."
Fireheart exchanged a nervous glance with Bluefur, before he admitted: "The reason we never told you who Dawn is, is that she…isn't exactly a cat."
"What?", asked the three tom's in unison.
"You heard me. Dawn isn't a cat…she's a badger. And honourable one, very much like her ancestor Midnight, but a badger no less."
Reedheart and Splashwhisker looked to be close to gaping, but Nightstar merely shrugged and sighed: "I think after today, nothing can shock me anymore before I had a good night's rest."
"That's one way of seeing it", chuckled Whitestorm.
"Continue", added the black tom. "I'm quite intrigued."
The ginger tom nodded and continued: "Short after Dawn gave us her prophecy, Spottedpaw received another one from Star Clan. Moons of peace followed the fight of blood. Now blood threatens once more. But does it threaten the Tiger or the Lion? Only Dawn can reveal! This prophecy is a little harder to interpret, but I think I figured it out."
"Please do tell", grunted Greystripe softly. Interpreting prophecies correctly was a talent only a very small amount of cats had. And Greystripe wasn't one of them.
"I'm not certain yet whether the fight of blood is the first battle against BloodClan or the fight against the Dark Forest, it could even be both. Now blood threatens once more is a little unclear as well. Considering the time we received the prophecy it could have been a warning of either BloodClan coming to attack or Scourge being reborn as well. The third phrase sheds light on it all though. But does it threaten the Tiger or the Lion? With Scourge making the conscious decision to stay loyal to RiverClan and not join his former clan-mates or join up with Tigerstar, he is definitely threatening the Tiger."
"Considering the Lion spoken of in this prophecy most likely means you", agreed Bluefur.
"But…why only Dawn can reveal?", asked Sandstorm confused. "When we went to see her, she said absolutely nothing about BloodClan or Scourge."
Fireheart chuckled at that and said: "Because here we made a mistake." He got confused glances and explained: "This Dawn, spoken off in the prophecy is not hinting on the badger with the same name, but the time of the day. Scourge completed his decision to remain as Duskpaw and loyal to RiverClan exactly on the dawn of day during the battle against BloodClan."
The others stared at him until Splashwhisker stated: "That only goes to show just how delicate and complicated the process of interpreting a prophecy actually is. Unfortunately not many cats actually appreciate the effort put into it." At this he huffed slightly, remembering how he'd been pushed at times. Nightstar looked more contemplative and Reedheart had given up trying to follow the turns the conversation had taken.
If Fireheart as completely honest, the only ones who seemed to have completely understood everything that had been said right now were Splashwhisker, Spottedpaw, Nightstar, Bluefur, Whitestorm, Hollyleaf and himself.
After a short silence, Greystripe got himself together and asked: "How about we move on to the next one?"
Everyone nodded, then Fireheart suddenly froze. "Fireheart?", asked Ravenflight confused. The ginger tom tried to answer, bu this heart clenched painfully when he remembered what the next two prophecies let to.
Bluefur next to him sighed softly and ordered: "Leave him be, the next two prophecies are those we got directly from Dawn."
"Just when did you go visit her?", asked Nightstar suspiciously.
Fireheart bit back a shudder when Sandstorm answered: "Before the battle against ShadowClan." Then she got up from her position and settled down right next to her mate, pressing her warm fur against his flank.
Nightstar's eyes flashed with grief and understanding and Spottedpaw finally whispered: "The first prophecy Dawn gave us was: In deepest grief and danger, strong Oak will help you stand and provide cover for the visiting Jay. We still haven't figured out what that means unfortunately. The second one on the other hand…it came to pass soon after we heard it."
Spottedpaw trailed off, prompting Nightstar to ask: "What was it?"
Fireheart took a shuddering breath, before he softly said: "Tiger leads Shadow to Thunder and only sacrifice of blue stone can help."
Nightstar's eyes widened and he whispered: "Sapphirefur. The apprentice that attacked you and prompted her fall…that was Tigerstar wasn't it." Fireheart gave a soft nod and lowered his head a little. He still missed his former mentor dearly. Sandstorm rubbed her head against his shoulder for comfort. A soft growl escaped Nightstar's throat and Fireheart smiled slightly. Was it wrong that he felt protected just by Nightstar showing his displeasure of Tigerstar's doings?
"Are there any others?", asked Splashwhisker after a while.
Fireheart shook his head and Spottedpaw answered out loud: "Not that I could recall."
"Alright, Fireheart you said you had something to tell us?", asked Bluefur on. Everyone turned to look at the ginger tom, who took a deep breath and composed himself quickly. With a second deep breath he straightened up and nodded.
"I did." He looked around to see that he had everyone's attention and continued: "Today I visited the Moonpool. StarClan called and Thunder and Leafpool told me a few rather interesting, though terrible, things. Shadow is suffering from having to watch her clan fall to darkness once more. And StarClan can do nothing to stop them." Hisses sounded through the air. "Furthermore, they're also still stumped over what role Scourge and WindClan play in this whole mess."
"I believe that holds true for all of us", stated Silverstream dryly. "Scourge never really had any connection to any of us."
"Silverstream is right about that but...but WindClan…well I", Greystripe glanced at Fireheart, "we do have an idea about that."
Fireheart nodded and quickly he explained: "During a gathering Greystripe and I, as well as some WindClan apprentices, listened to one of their elders tell a legend." He hesitated for a second, taking in just how serious he was being taken and then continued: "The legend…it was about our battle against the Place of no Stars."
Silence reigned for a few heartbeats, then Dustpelt whispered: "I thought the clans really had forgotten about this battle. About our losses."
"ThunderClan, RiverClan and ShadowClan did", agreed Fireheart softly and couldn't help but shoot a short glare at Nightstar, Splashwhisker and Reedheart. All three winced. "But WindClan didn't. They held the stories and legends close and retold them again and again. Names were lost over the seasons, but they still know most of what happened? StarClan above they remembered in fact that I, a ThunderClan leader led the other clans against Tigerstar who used to be ShadowClan's leader."
"That…is impressive", admitted Whitestorm.
"It's not all. Thunder is debating whether or not StarClan should start dropping hints about the ten of us to Sunnydawn during each Halfmoon, Rootwhisker maybe too, if Spottedpaw wants to go through with her idea."
The medicine cat shrunk a little under the gazes that locked on her, but then she straightened and explained: "I came to know Rootwhisker quite well during the last few Halfmoons. He is still bright of heart and very hurt since he has to watch his clan fall into darkness and cannot do anything to stop it. If he'd know…I don't know if it would be an advantage for us, but having a medicine cat on your side is always a plus."
"Those words certainly ring true", agreed Whitestorm. "And it is no bad idea. I doubt that either of them will rat us out, but what about Glintstream?"
At this Spottedpaw hesitated, then Splashwhisker shook his head and said: "If you wish to inform her, I would wait. She is an amazing medicine cat, but very ambitious. I wouldn't trust her to keep your secret yet. Not until more cats know and you have the full support of those cats."
Fireheart nodded in thought and said: "You and Spottedpaw certainly should talk this through with StarClan during the next Halfmoon. Once you have a plan we could gather again, discuss it and then you could start implementing it."
Everyone nodded, then a yawn from Hollyleaf caught everyone's attention. Fireheart looked up, to see that it was deepest night already. "We should start returning to camp", sounded Nightstar's voice. "Otherwise other's will start asking questions."
"Are you sure you're alright with this?", asked Ravenflight nervously. "Keeping our secret from ThunderClan and especially Lionclaw I mean."
Nightstar locked eyes with the other black tom and gave a sharp nod. "I am Ravenflight, do not worry. I do not like keeping things from my cats, but this is a secret I am willing to protect with my remaining lives."
"Let's hope you won't have to do just that", muttered Greystripe worriedly.
"Let's", agreed Nightstar with a chuckle while Splashwhisker, Spottedpaw and Hollyleaf broke from the group and made their way to the camp entrance while Whitestorm, Silverstream Dustpelt and Sandstorm did the same, only to head to the secret path at to the dirt place After a short while Nightstar, followed by his three sons and senior warrior made his way back to camp as well.
The night was silent and cold, but Fireheart, despite the tiredness of his body felt more awake and hopeful than he had for a long time now. Far too quickly for his liking they reached the entrance and the ginger tom was about to enter it, when Nightstar called: "Fireheart wait please, I need to talk to you."
The ginger tom tilted his head at his father, but accepted and padded up to him, both of them watching the other three heading for the warriors den. Once they all were gone and all was silent again, Nightstar began: "I am not certain how much this will mean to you, everything considered but Fireheart", the two locked eyes emerald to emerald. Nightstar took a step forward and pressed his nose against his son's forehead. "I am very proud of you and your brothers."
With that Nightstar stepped back and brushed past the ginger tom, entering the tunnel and the camp. After a few heartbeats Fireheart got over the shock and the strange elation that had frozen him to the spot and he raced after the black tom. He caught him just before he started scaling the cliff and pressed his forehead against the leader's shoulder. "You have no idea just how much those words mean to me…father."