The air was oppressing and thick with the faint scent of blood and death. The sky was dark, the atmosphere was heavy, and all hope seemed to be lost. Smoky clouds hid a clear sky and a chilling wind rattled the bare branches of dying trees. Blood leaked into the once pure river and contaminated the murky water, now swirling with mud, dirt and the deep crimson liquid. It splattered onto jagged, jutting rocks and stained the land.

While there were ear-piercing yowls and blood-curdling screams emitting from all sides of the battlefield, the war had made the cats' ears numb and their hearing fuzzy. Their vision blurred, wounds opening and their bodies aching, they stumbled from the ground and lashed out in a last, weak, pitiful attempt to fight, to redeem their honor and save their clanmates once more. But they couldn't. When the life had been sucked out of them already, their eyes could only flutter close feebly, and their bodies would hang limp, grow cold.

A large, strongly built sandy she-cat unsheathed her claws and scrambled up the trunk of a gnarly, thick tree. She heaved herself up, panting, her piercing red-orange eyes slitted and gleaming with fury. One of her eyes had been slashed at, her pelt had been heavily scarred, and some obvious lash marks streaked across her dull golden muzzle.

Two tomcats from the enemy clan raced over, their bloody fangs glinting as they cornered the she-cat, pacing around threateningly just below the tree she was perched on, thinking of a way to attack her. The she-cat hissed and flexed her claws, ready to jump in and slash their faces off when she had to. But the immense pain jolting through her body like lightning bolts as she shifted and moved herself prevented her from getting a good aim.

Rain poured down.

The hard, compacted dirt ground turned into a slick mud. The stable pebbles and logs on the shore of the large river slid into the water and drifted away. The land was stained and wet. The cats' pelts were drenched with the downpour and matted with mud and drying blood. The sandy-colored shed-cat could hear some last shrieks from her clanmates as the last of their lives slipped away. She could see limbs jutting out from the ground as dead cats were buried beneath the mud. She could see flailing paws and heads, popping up from the dark water's surface and desperately thrashing in the strong current, grasping on anything they could to survive. But eventually the growing wave washed them away.

A black tom raced over and slashed at the two enemy tom's muzzles, making them flee away. Once the coast was clear, for now, the sandy she-cat leaped down from the tree and panted hard, leaning against the black tom's shoulder. She narrowed her eyes and tried to make out something, anything, amidst the darkness and heavy rain. The first thing she saw were the tom's amber eyes, his hard gaze on her.

"Should we retreat, Larkfang?" the black tom asked the sandy she-cat urgently, his breath ragged and his pelt bloody as well. "The enemy is powerful. We've lost over half our clan already."

"No," Larkfang spat angrily. "We will never retreat!" She stood up by herself stubbornly and flexed her claws.

"But our leader," the tom insisted, fangs baring in a snarl. "He's already dead! Our medicine cat is gone! Most of are warriors are too. We are wounded and outnumbered. We can't win this time!"

"You are nothing but a coward, Blackpelt!" Larkfang hissed at him in rage.

"No, Larkfang," Blackpelt snarled back and shook his head sadly, a flash of something in his amber eyes. Maybe… pity. Pity for her. "Maybe I am, or maybe I'm not." He stood up straighter and his gaze met hers confidently. "But I know what is right."

Her anger boiling inside of her and finally erupting, Larkfang pinned her own clanmate down and held her claws at his throat. She sneered down at him, her red-orange eyes only slits.

"I fight," the large she-cat declared simply. "I will fight for those who keep fighting. I will fight for the sake of my future, and this clan's future. I fight for the strong, and for a stronger tomorrow." She lashed at Blackpelt and cast him aside. "You don't deserve to be here."

"Just know you are making a big mistake, you fool," Blackpelt rasped in a half-growl and staggered, coughing up blood. He laid on his side in the mud, his eyes slowly closing.

Larkfang sped away, using the last of her energy and lashing at any enemies that dared pick a fight with her. She raced from where Blackpelt released his last breath and didn't even look back.

The she-cat skidded to a halt as three enemy warriors rounded on her. Her back paws touched something. The sandy warrior glanced behind her and realized she was standing on the edge of the river. The same river that had drowned so many of her clanmates. The harsh current swallowed in rocks, logs, and even cats, never to be seen again. She stepped back when the three enemies stepped nearer and snarled at her, but a voice fought with her instincts.

This is why we lost. We weren't strong enough, brave enough, skilled enough. Now is the time if you want to take revenge. Now is the time to stand up, fight, and battle for what you've lost.

Larkfang's eyes widened and her ears flattened as she realized.

There is no better time… than now.

Shutting her eyes, unsheathing her claws, and with a last, sharp intake of breath, she felt a final burst of courage and power…

…And she charged.

Just something new I randomly thought of one day, and I figured it was a good idea for a story. Just wanted to try it out and see how it would work out. Please review and tell me whether or not I should continue this! Every review matters. :D I'll also be putting little facts about the Warriors series in each chapter, just for fun! Some you may know, some you may not.

Warriors Fact #1: Lionheart was Cinderpelt, Brackenfur, Brightheart and Thornclaw's true father.