MoonHerd's Final Stand
Mudpelt followed Mistystar and Swanwings toward Fourstones. They didn't try to disguise their presence in WaterHerd territory, as there were no warriors left, besides Nightriver, to oppose them. When they reached Fourstones, they hid behind the same copse of pine trees where Mudpelt had seen Beaversplash being 'taught a lesson'.
"…and we must stay strong and true to MoonHerd to battle this threat," Hawktalon was neighing.
"Hawktalon only made you into MoonHerd so he could have more power!" Mistystar neighed indignantly, stepping out from behind the trees.
All of the horses turned to stare at her. Mudpelt and Swanwings stepped out behind her.
"StarHerd doesn't want this," Swanwings added.
"If you want things to go back to the way they should be, feel free to join us," Mistystar neighed. "We are staying where SunHerd did."
Mistystar turned and galloped away. Mudpelt followed her, hoping her words were enough to convince some horses to join them. They needed all the help they could get.
The next morning, Mudpelt woke to the alarmed whinnies of Whitewater and Fishleap, who were on watch. He looked over the edge to see five horses galloping toward them from SwiftHerd territory. They stopped at the bottom of the hill and looked up.
"We are from SwiftHerd. We wish to join you," a horse neighed.
"Then come up," Mistystar neighed.
Mudpelt saw that it was Bluebell, a light blue roan mare, Petalfur, a mare who had made the journey with him, Windmane, a stallion who he had met at a Herdmeet, Runningwind, a stallion who had gone on the journey with him, and Clovertail, a brown mare.
Mudpelt and Fishleap greeted Runningwind and Petalfur warmly.
"We are glad you have come," Mistystar greeted them.
"But where's Tumbleweed?" Mudpelt asked.
"He's too busy with his deputy duties, and he wanted to look after the horses that stayed," Petalfur replied.
Later that day, two TreeHerd horses came to join them: two mares named Honeymane and Fernpelt.
"I think that's all we can expect to join us," Mistystar neighed. "Now we just have to wait for Hawktalon to come to us."
The next day, Mudpelt stood on watch. He saw many horses walking towards them.
"Mistystar, they're here!" he neighed.
She nodded, and turned to the horses standing before her. "We must fight now, in the name of StarHerd, in the name of tradition, and in the name of the horses who were captured and beaten just because Hawktalon didn't like them!"
The horses whinnied and stamped the ground.
"We will stay up here where we have the advantage," Mistystar ordered. "Silverstream and Swanwings, try to stay near the back."
She motioned for the horses to follow her, and trotted to the edge of the plateau. Hawktalon and the council stood below, looking up at her.
"Go back to your Herds and we will not harm or punish you, I promise," Hawktalon neighed.
"If you come up here, we will fight you," Mistystar neighed, her ears pinned.
"Very well," Hawktalon neighed. "MoonHerd, attack!"
The StoneHerd horses were the first to surge up the hill. Mudpelt reared up at a StoneHerd stallion, coming down hard on his shoulders. The stallion stumbled and fell, rolling down the hill and scattering other horses as he went.
"Circle the hill!" Mistystar ordered.
Mudpelt looked down and saw Rabbitstar leading some warriors around the hill from one side, and Willowstar from the other. He noticed that the council seemed content to watch rather than fight, but he knew they would have to be defeated before they could truly win.
The battle raged for hours, and while the MoonHerd horses lost many, Mistystar's horses lost very few. They had a great advantage, but the council still wouldn't fight.
Mudpelt neighed his plan to Mistystar, who shook her head but agreed. All of the remaining horses followed Mistystar as she charged down the hill right at the council. The council was so surprised they scattered, and Mistystar bowled into Hawktalon, knocking him to the ground.
Mudpelt stood on his haunches, while Mistystar stood on his front. He angrily struggled, but the other horses were distracting the council so they couldn't come to his aid.
"Promise to leave now, Hawktalon," Mistystar ordered. "Swear to leave and never return, or I will kill you right now."
Hawktalon glared at her. "Can I take horses with me?"
"Whoever will follow you is free to go," Mistystar answered.
"Fine," Hawktalon neighed, barely choking it out. "I will leave and never return."
Mistystar and Mudpelt got off of him, and he got to his feet.
"Wolfpelt, Bouldermane, Sleettail, will you come with me?" he asked his Herdmates, who had been listening but held back by Petalfur, Fishleap, Whitewater, and Fernpelt.
They looked awkwardly at each other, and shook their heads. Hawktalon glared at them.
"Fine," he snapped. "Then I'll go alone."
He walked away from any Herd's territory, looking defiant.
"Thank StarHerd he's finally gone," Mistystar neighed.
Then Mudpelt and Mistystar walked back toward WaterHerd territory side by side.