Prologue: The Legacy of DarkClan
DarkClan always was a mystery. Of all the clans, they were the most enigmatic. No cats except DarkClan themselves knew anything about how their clan worked. No one had any idea how their kits were raised, how their apprentices were trained, or how they chose their deputies and medicine cats.
All the clans had their own variation of the warrior code. Each clan made it a part of apprentice training to learn the other clan’s warrior codes. All of them, that is, except DarkClan. They certainly learned the other warrior codes, but they kept their own variation a strict secret. When gatherings were held, the DarkClan leader was only ever accompanied by the deputy and medicine cat.
For seasons, the other clans had wondered about why DarkClan were so secretive, so unwilling to talk to any other clan. Moons passed, and eventually DarkClan stopped coming to gatherings. They stopped patrolling their borders, and their medicine cat stopped going to the Moonpool.
One day, the other clans sent a patrol into DarkClan territory to find out once and for all what was going on. The whole territory was completely deserted. The freshest scents were from moons ago. But when the patrol ventured into the camp, they found a group of cats gathered in the warriors den, snarling but afraid.
In truth, DarkClan had left the forest one moonless night, and never came back. But not all of them left. Only Coldstar, the deputy, the strongest warriors, the queens and their mates left. The rest of the cats, along with the medicine cat, stayed behind.
DarkClan had left the weaklings behind, the younger warriors and elders, the apprentices and the kits. The medicine cat, Nightshade, delivered a chilling message to the clans, directly from the leader himself.
“DarkClan have grown tired of the weak ways of the forest. For moons, we have scouted beyond our territory, trying to find our new home. And when we found it, we left.
“DarkClan has taken only the strongest. The strongest warriors, Redclaw our deputy, and the queens. The queens will breed a new generation of DarkClan warriors. Warriors who are born to kill!”
DarkClan’s leader, Coldstar, was probably the only cat the other clans would easily recognize. He had a stark white pelt, so short his skin was almost visible through it. The other clans would tell their kits nursery stories about him eating naughty kits who broke the warrior code. What the other clans didn’t know is that they had touched so close to the truth.
DarkClan have been away from the forest for many seasons now. They have a new leader, Scorchstar, who may be even more brutal than Coldstar ever was.
Then one day, a cat was born into DarkClan. A cat who had the compassion that every other cat in DarkClan lacked.
This is her story. The tale of her struggle to act as ruthless as her clan, when she knew their ways were wrong.