A/N: This fanfiction was written by me, and it has been published by myself on one other website. It's also my first serious fanfiction idea. Please read and review, it would mean so much to me. Thanks!
Not a single star shone down from the inky black night sky. The moon was only partially visible from behind several dark clouds. It was dark, but the grey she-cat trembling in a bush at the edge of the clearing saw everything. She pressed closer to her brother's side, his ragged breathing shaking her fragile body even more. A fluffy tail wrapped around both of the young kits, gathering them to a warm body.
Although she could no longer see what was happening in the clearing below them, the young kit was painfully aware of every death. Yowls and wails rose around them, wails of pain and grief, the yowls of a dying cat. Each voice was as familiar to her as her own nest, and each new voice which was abruptly cut off brought her the knowledge of another tragedy.
A metallic scent drifted through the air, wrapping around them. Although she wasn't sure what caused it, the young kit could only too easily guess by her older companion's reaction.
"The smell of blood?" She'd meant it as a statement, but her delicate voice barely held, and it came out sounding more like a question.
A warm, soothing voice brought the reply from above her. "Yes, my dear Ashkit. That's indeed the scent of blood." A sigh caused the air around her to ripple. Ashkit buried deeper into the brown belly fur she was pressed against. The fur blocked out the sounds of suffering, but instead it brought the silence of death.
A new voice sounded beside her. Her brother spoke quietly, but his voice was carefully calm. "Duskfeather, are we going to die?"
Duskfeather looked down to the young kit, a sad look glimmering in her amber eyes. "Not today, little one. StarClan are whispering to me. They will lead us out of here safely." Ashkit remembered that Duskfeather was the medicine cat, so of course they'd be safe.
A slow and gentle lick from Duskfeather in addition to the soothing thoughts allowed her to drift into a disturbed sleep, but a sleep nonetheless.
Duskfeather sat crouched in silence, watching helplessly as her Clanmates fell. Her eyes were wide with pain and anxiety, the uneven snoring of tired kits doing nothing to soothe her as it usually would.
Save us. She sent a silent prayer to StarClan. Although what they could do, apart from hiding the moon, she didn't know.
Duskfeather's instinct was, and always had been, to heal, but getting herself killed would do nothing to help her Clanmates, rather the opposite. Swallowing the growing lump of grief in her throat, she wrapped herself around the kits again.
Only a few heartbeats later, she perked back up. Duskfeather, watch. Soon you will know what to do. So she watched, as her mother died at the claws of three RainClan warriors. As her brother fought off one ShadeClan she-cat, only for another to take her place.
Soon, Sandclaw, the HazelClan deputy and his leader Featherstar were the only warriors left standing. Bodies were in spread all over the clearing. Featherstar was locked in combat with all three other leaders, and, despite her best efforts, she'd already lost two lives. While every other cat was watching the legendary struggle, Sandclaw turned to flee.
He bounded soundlessly across the mossy ground which had once been his home. Hope began to boil within Duskfeather, spreading until she was on her paws, ready to meet him halfway. But before she could race out of safety, the pale tabby stumbled on one of many rocks protruding from the earth. His body landed with a thump beside that of a fallen Clanmate. As the deputy's green eyes surveyed the she-cat they widened with shock and grief.
Duskfeather saw what he did a heartbeat too late to warn him. Sandclaw's wail ripped at her, its notes of grief breaking her heart into thousands of shards. The sound had roused the warriors watching the still ongoing battle between the leaders, and one MistClan tom covered the ground to get to Sandclaw in a few bounds. Before Duskfeather could even begin to understand what had happened, her deputy had fallen, dead, beside the Clanmate he'd grieved so deeply for.
We must flee silently. The realization was painted across her mind as clearly as if someone had spoken them next to her. She thanked StarClan for their guidance, and after complaints about his death she prayed that Sandclaw would join them peacefully.
She prodded the two kits awake, covering their mouths with her long tail to silence their protests.
"We have to run." She told them, her voice hushed and soft. Brackenkit, the tom, seemed to understand because he nodded and rose without a sound. After a few moments which seemed to drag on for moons, Ashkit joined him.
Duskfeather crouched down, signalling with her tail for them to climb onto her back. She struggled to keep her voice light as she spoke. "You've got to hold on, with your claws if you have to, and stay silent no matter what." She was pretty sure the kits weren't fooled by her tone, but they did as she asked.
Wincing as thirty six tiny claws dug into her shoulders and flanks, she stood back up. "Ready?" She asked, glancing back. After two confirming nods, she took off at full speed.
As she raced across the territory at full pelt, away from the battlefield, only one image was etched into her mind. An image of Sandclaw lying dead beside Tawnypetal, his expecting mate, and Duskfeather's only sister.