5. Unknown Skies Book 1: Listen to the Stars

Prologue

Shadows dance behind the firelight/And all the spirits of the night remind us:/We are not alone

--Listen to the Wind by Hayley Westenra

Prologue

In a secret forest glade, a group of cats gathered. Their numbers were so large that the far reaches of the group faded off into the undergrowth of the forest. Starlight glittered on their fur though the sun shone overhead. For a long moment they were quiet, wondering who would speak first now that they were together.

Then finally, the oldest of the old stood up. Four cats who'd long been sleeping took the center of the glade. All eyes looked on them, attentive.

"It has been decided," an old tom rasped, "StarClan will not interfere again."

"What?"

Confusion rippled along the cats' ranks, starting in the front and moving out as the cats realized what the cat had said. The mewing became a buzz like bees around a hive.

"Silence!" yowled the black she-cat in the center.

Immediately the cats shut their jaws. Now they just looked at each other in confusion. Finally one brave cat stood up.

"What do you mean, Thunder?" the silver-blue she-cat asked. "River? Shadow? Wind?" She looked at all of the first leaders, accusation in her blue eyes.

"Peace, Bluestar," Thunder rumbled, his tail swishing in command. "All will be explained this day."

"Then tell us!" Bluestar snapped, her ears twitching. "You can't just say StarClan won't interfere and expect us to understand."

Many cats nodded their heads in agreement. River and Shadow shared a glance. Would their decedents keep their respect or follow the new leaders who had more recently died? Finally River stepped forward.

"StarClan has long guided the four Clans. We want them to survive, but never in such a short time have we ever had to be awakened so many times. First it was BloodClan, then it was the Great Journey, then it was the prophesy of the Three and Sol, and now it's this. ThunderClan stands on the brink of destruction like it's never had and it is all our fault."

The cats yowled in protest. They had done nothing. Why place the blame on them?

"Quiet," Thunder growled. It took longer to restore order this time.

"What do you mean?" a black and white tom with a long tail demanded. The former leader of WindClan stood up in challenge when all was mostly quiet again.

"We've been given a prophesy," River meowed. "We've been warned what will become of ThunderClan."

And then Thunder went off on something that didn't seem related, "Ever since Firestar came, StarClan's role has changed. Once upon a time we just guided and warned, speaking only to leaders and medicine cats and on the rare occasion a chosen warrior. Now we interfere with everything. Coming down and showing ourselves at any time, giving cats our strengths. The Clans don't seem to make their own choices anymore. We always want to guide them to do it our way, not their own, and since we started interfering, so has the Dark Forest."

An uncomfortable hush started at Thunder's last hiss. He glared at them all.

"Tigerstar has spoken and guided cats ever since he died," Thunder continued when it looked like no one else would interrupt. "Before, when cats went to the Dark Forest, no one ever heard of them again and they walked alone. Tigerstar is gathering cats, living and dead, to destroy ThunderClan. The only reason he can do this is because of us. Our bothering the Clans has given the Dark Forest power."

"You're saying if we stop and ignore the problem it will go away?" an indignant gray cat spat.

"No," Thunder growled at her. "We are looking at the problem now, Yellowfang, and we've decided once we stop interfering and go back to the old ways, the Dark Forest will no longer have power. They will disband and no longer have the ability to cross into dreams and the living forest like we do."

"That's a big if," Yellowfang meowed, unbelieving.

"It's our only option," Thunder meowed solemnly, staring into her yellow eyes.

"What about the cats relying on us to protect them?" Bluestar demanded. "We can't just leave them alone with out any explanation."

"You won't have to," Wind meowed. "Medicine cats will be allowed to talk with other medicine cats and only at the Moonpool. The same with leaders. No more going out to them, they have to come to us." He set his eyes on a tortoiseshell she-cat.

Spottedleaf turned her head away.

"It won't matter soon," she meowed quietly. "He'd dying. Can I bring him?" she turned, her eyes flashing in sudden rebellion. She would go even if StarClan wouldn't let her. She would never let Firestar die alone.

"You may," Thunder nodded, sympathy in his eyes.

"What about ThunderClan?" a golden tom asked. "You said it would be destroyed. Why?"

"Oh, Sunstar," Thunder meowed, in his eyes a sudden ache. "Tigerstar is moving against them and it is our fault."

"But how? Why?"

Thunder sighed and closed his eyes. The ranks of former medicine cats and leaders waited while he collected his thoughts.

"Ever since we've been giving gifts to cats," Thunder meowed slowly, reminding them of Lionblaze, Jayfeather, Dovetooth, Fawnfur, Morningsong, and Sunstorm, "things have gone down hill. These gifts have all been to ThunderClan cats and Tigerstar has a grudge against ThunderClan and StarClan. He sees them as our chosen Clan, blessed by us. He wants to destroy them."

The cats stared at him in shock.

"Are we going to warn them?" Yellowfang asked quietly.

Thunder nodded. "We will choose cats and warn them. And then we will be silent."

"What are we going to tell them?" Bluestar asked glumly. "Nothing? Everything? You know what happened last time we withheld information. The wrong cat got it and almost destroyed ShadowClan."

"We will tell them what they must know," Thunder answered, his eyes hard.

"But who will be warn? Who will be able to stop this?"


2015 edit: So according to the Erin's when the cats fade from StarClan they are reborn again into the clans-- reincarnation. In my version of events, written long before any of this was known--I didn't even know the spirits faded (or 'died')--I thought they were still running around in StarClan. I didn't know what they could be doing, so I thought maybe they just slept away the rest of their spirit life until THE END OF TIME or whatever. I mean, Something has to give them the prophecies they pass on, so there must be Something greater in control (other than the authors) so a scheme larger than StarClan who decides the end.
In my story the older cats let the newer dead take over the leadership positions to contact the living cats because the living cats would know the recent dead and trust them better.
Also you will note that the names, colors, and genders of Shadow, Thunder, Wind, and River are all different than those who established the Clans as in the "Dawn of the Clans" Warrior Arc. I am not correcting this.
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