Try to Break the Chains

Green eyes, like pale celadon fire, soft fur bristling at her touch. A question, a hope, in those eyes. The obvious was no longer impossible; but rather, prominent. Her sister, and the riddle of their relationship. And Arrah had to run…

Before her very nose, as she sat swimming in the memory, stood a tom with puzzled blue eyes, confusion combatting his panic. She'd always looked so very much like her sister; Arrah was ashen beauty, Sablefrost an elegant shape glazed head to tail with shadows. How could he smell of her when she'd commanded Arrah to run, as far and as fast as she possibly could? But it didn't matter now- she bared her teeth in a snarl, because she was mistaken, or her sister did not know this fool at all.

It certainly did not matter now, as he was ripped away, flung across the ring, blood soaking the torn fur of his throat. She supposed it was too late for him to run.

Sablepaw blinked. The scent was gone, as tantalising as it had been, as well as the tom.

His limp body was being dragged unceremoniously out of the camp, a ragged white tail trailing along behind him in the grass. She didn't know where they would take him. She told herself she would not care.

It didn't matter if Arrah's scent clung to his pelt, like moss to a tree. He was dead- so was her connection to her sister. She'd sent her away, told her to run, mentally snapped their instantaneous bond.

Sablepaw shook herself out of her daze. Another Tainted had been shoved into the ring. This time it was a thin ginger tabby tom, a scab matting the pale fur on his prominent ribs. This time it was Jaypaw's turn to fight.

The blue-grey she-cat's eyes were calm, her fur unruffled. She trusted her strength, her skills. The rumours weaving through the gathered crowd speculated that she'd brought back two Tainted mates and their kits- alone.

Morningstar fussily smoothed her whiskers into place before nodding to Jaypaw.

This time it was the Tainted who moved first. He barreled towards the slim she-cat, screeching, a feral light in his eyes. His cry was wordless, failing to contain his fear and pain. Jaypaw simply neatly sidestepped the tom, flashing out a paw to trip him. As he staggered, she shoved another paw at his stomach, pushing him over to display his scarred stomach. Without pausing, she swiped her claws down the length of his body; from neck to tail. He let out another shriek- such a delicate cat, with such a feminine voice- and flung himself to his paws.

The ginger tabby struck out blindly. Jaypaw seized his paw in her jaws and gave a tug, sending the Tainted sprawling next to her. She leaned down, and in a single fluid motion, grasped his shoulder in her jaws. Swiftly, she pulled her head back, keeping her jaws in place with one paw atop his shoulder. There was a sickening pop that echoed through the clearing. The brief moment of silence was shattered by his agonized scream.

The tabby flailed and managed to roll to his paws, dragging his dislocated leg with him. Jaypaw leapt after him. At first, she appeared to have miscalculated her jump entirely; she soared straight over his head. But her trailing hind legs struck his muzzle, knocking him into the ground. She landed, crouched, and spun around, a low growl emanating from her throat. The tom heaved himself to his paws and clumsily flung himself at the waiting she-cat.

This time Jaypaw rose to meet him, colliding with her severely weakened opponent in mid-air. She dug her claws deep into his fur and flipped him beneath her a mere heartbeat before they landed.

The impact was heralded with a dull thud and a contradicting sharp crack.

Jaypaw rolled to her paws, but the tom did not move. He did not get up.

"Congratulations," Morningstar purred smoothly, rising to her paws and giving a languorous stretch. Her sleek pelt gleamed in the sunlight; it was so slick and perfect, it was obvious she'd been grooming herself throughout the fight.

The crowd rose with her. They knew what would happen next, and though they would not exactly celebrate it, it excited them. They'd been in that position once; young, thrilled, poised to accept the new name that would mark them as a warrior of PureClan.

"May all cats old enough to unsheath their claws gather beneath the Speaking Hill for a Clan meeting," Morningstar cried, leaping onto her old perch on the small knoll. Thornstreak hovered beside it, the stump of his tail twitching.

"Let the apprentices known as Fleetpaw and Jaypaw step forward," she demanded. These ceremonies had become tedious to her lately; she tended to rush through them in an effort to finish quickly. What did it matter, if they had their names? Formalities brought out her boring side.

The siblings padded to the front. Their fur was dusty and spotted with blood, but their mother had no time to fuss and groom them. Besides, that was her job no longer. Any responsibility she carried for their appearance had stopped when they left the nursery.

"Young cats. Proven warriors in all but name. Do you promise to uphold and protect the warrior code, and to help protect PureClan from the invasion of the poison formerly known as love?" she asked.

The two nodded, murmuring, "I do." They couldn't say no, couldn't back out. They were tangled in Morningstar's web and were there to stay.

"Jaypaw. Under the eyes of StarClan I present you with your warrior name. The Clan honours your quest to evade the poison. You shall be known now as Jayflight."

The newly-named blueish-grey she-cat murmured a quick thank-you and backed away from her brother. He gave her no congratulations; only flicked an ear in her direction.

Morningstar turned to the tom. "Fleetpaw, under the eyes of StarClan I present you with your warrior name. The Clan honours your quest to evade the poison. You shall be known as Fleetstorm. Neither of you will receive your pair until they have completed their final assessments."

The Clan dispersed and Sablepaw hobbled back to her nest in the medicine cat's den.

The new warriors started their silent vigil. They didn't bother to clean the blood matting their fur; it was a trophy of victory, and it would remain until it had all but flaked away in tiny dry specks of crusty brown, once vital, but condemned to be forgotten.

:D Guess what? KonoDragon's beta-ing this story, so there should be a lot less mistakes.

There's also a new poll on my profile about Smokepaw and Strongpaw, if you wanted to vote :3

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