Author's Note: I've spent a long time working on a personal project reconstructing the ThunderClan family tree in a way that makes sense biologically. (The Erins weren't actually too knowledgable about cat genetics, and there were quite a few cats that quite simply could not have looked the way they looked.) And it occurred to me while constructing it that the Clan cats really should have an issue with inbreeding depression. The more I thought about it, the more a narrative started to emerge to me, particularly in regards to the tyranny of Brokenstar. His motivations and methods, while ruthless and cruel, make a lot more sense in the light of a sickly and steadily dwindling population. Moreover, Bluestar's decision to bring in Rusty makes a lot more sense if ThunderClan can't maintain its own kit population.
I was really torn whether or not I wanted to post this story since I don't want people to misinterpret my intention with the piece. When I say I'm rewriting Warriors, I don't want you to think I'm "fixing" it, or that my version is "better". I'm putting my own unique spin on the series, celebrating aspects of the books that endeared them to me, and expanding the universe in directions I find interesting. As with any adaptation, there are going to be things that I don't include that people will be upset that I dropped, things that I will add or change that people won't like. I just ask that if you do comment on these things, comment constructively. Otherwise, the original series still exists, and you are welcome to prefer it.
Author's Note 2: I have been told that posting the allegiances as a chapter alone is a violation of the community guidelines, since it does not itself constitute a narrative story. The idea by doing so was to mimic the structure in the actual text, but, never let it be said that I willfully break the rules. Therefore I'm combining this section with the Prologue. If this change is disconcerting to any returning readers I apologize.
Author's Note 3: I am endeavoring to be creative with this rewrite- I don't want to lift too many lines or passages directly. But sometimes, for the sake of maintaining the integrity of the story, things will have to sound incredibly similar or even exactly the same. Again, I am trying to avoid direct copying as much as I can. When it does happen, I am in no way claiming original intellectual property.
Bluestar- blue-gray she-cat, tinged with silver around her muzzle, with a large scar cutting across one shoulder
Redtail- small red tom. Littermate of Willowpelt. Brother of Patchpelt and Spottedleaf. Father of Dustpaw and Sandpaw
Spottedleaf- beautiful dark tortoiseshell she-cat with a distinctive dappled coat. Sister to Willowpelt, Patchpelt and Redtail
WARRIORS (toms and she-cats without kits)
Lionheart- magnificent golden tabby tom with thick fur like a lion's mane. Son of Speckletail and Smallear. Littermate of Goldenflower. Mated to Frostfur
Tigerclaw- big dark brown tabby tom with unusually long front claws. Mated to Goldenflower
Whitestorm- big white tom. Father of Graypaw. Mated to Willowpelt
Darkstripe- sleek black-and-grey tabby tom. Son of Patchpelt. Littermate of Longtail
Longtail- pale tabby tom with dark black stripes. Son of Patchpelt. Littermate of Darkstripe
Runningwind- swift tabby tom. Son of One-eye and Halftail. Littermate of Mousefur. Mated to Brindleface
Willowpelt- very pale gray she-cat with unusual blue eyes. Littermate of Redtail. Sister of Patchpelt and Spottedleaf. Mother of Graystripe. Mated to Whitestorm
Mousefur- small dusky brown she-cat. Daugther of One-eye and Half-tail. Littermate of Runningwind
APPRENTICES (more than 6 moons old, in training to become warriors)
Dustpaw- dusty tan tabby tom. Littermate of Sandpaw. Son of Redtail
Greypaw- long-haired mackerel tabby tom. Son of Willowpelt and Whitestorm
Ravenpaw- small, skinny black tom with a tiny white dash on his chest and a white-tipped tail. Brother of Frostfur and Brindleface
Sandpaw- pale ginger she-cat. Littermate of Dustpaw. Daughter of Redtail
Firepaw- handsome ginger tom
QUEENS (she-cats expecting or nursing kits)
Frostfur- beautiful white she-cat with blue eyes. Littermate of Brindleface. Mated to Lionheart
Brindleface- pretty tabby with white spots. Littermate of Frostfur. Mated to Runningwind
Goldenflower- pale ginger she-cat. Daughter of Speckletail and Smallear. Littermate of Lionheart. Mated to Tigerclaw
Speckletail- pale tabby, and the oldest nursery queen. Sister of Halftail. Mother of Goldenflower and Lionheart. Mated to Smallear
Halftail- big dark brown tabby tom with part of his tail missing. Brother of Speckletail. Father of Runningwind and Mousefur. Mated to One-eye
Smallear- white tom with very small ears. Oldest tom in ThunderClan. Father of Goldenflower and Lionheart. Mated to Speckletail
Patchpelt- small black-and-white tom. Brother of Willowpelt, Redtail and Spottedleaf. Father of Longtail and Darkstripe
One-eye- pale grey she-cat. Oldest cat in ThunderClan. Virtually blind and deaf. Mother of Runningwind and Mousefur. Mated to Halftail
Dappletail- once-pretty tortoiseshell she-cat with a lovely dappled coat
Spottedleaf approached the High Rock with trepidation. Inside, her leader was resting, waiting for news of the sick clan members. She was not going to like the message that needed to be delivered.
A soft grumble issued from behind the ivy curtain. Rustling noises indicated the leader rising to her paws and stretching. "I can smell you loitering out there, Spottedleaf," Bluestar called. There was a tired acceptance to her voice. "Come on in and be done with it."
Spottedleaf sighed, shouldering her way into the leader's den. She sat slowly, curling her tail over her paws for comfort.
"How are the kits, Spottedleaf?" Bluestar asked. Her voice was direct, but the way she addressed the medicine cat was soft. Spottedleaf blinked her eyes closed, bowing her head to her chest.
"I lost them," she replied quietly.
Bluestar turned her head away, her jaw tightening. "You did your best," she murmured. Spottedleaf's tail twitched.
"Perhaps if Poppyfur was still here…" she said, her voice cracking.
Bluestar drew herself up indignantly, cutting across before Spottedleaf could finish. "Poppyfur trained you well," she dismissed, her tone broaching no argument, "We all have faith in your skills, Spottedleaf. You should too."
The medicine cat could not maintain eye contact with her leader's burning gaze, so she looked down at her paws, ears lying flat against her head. "It's just… this is the fifth litter I've lost kits from. I am still so young compared to the other medicine cats. Perhaps I don't have enough experience yet."
Bluestar licked the tabby tortoiseshell's shoulder. "It's no cat's fault," she asserted, "Times are difficult. Has StarClan spoken with you?"
Spottedleaf shook her head. "Not in many moons."
Bluestar closed her eyes, sighing deeply. "…Perhaps it is time we journey to Mothermouth. Come. You can gather the supplies while I see to Brindleface. She will need comfort."
Spottedleaf blinked as she followed through the curtains, then went rigid as she took in the night sky. A comet streaked from one end of the horizon to the next. Bluestar sat down beside her and waited patiently for the glazed expression to pass from Spottedleaf's face.
"What did you see?" Bluestar asked.
"Fire," she answered, slowly, "The forest, all around, engulfed in flames. But no-cat was harmed. We were safe within it, bolstered by it."
Bluestar unsheathed and resheathed her claws, creating small tracks in the dirt as she pondered this. "How can that be true?" she asked finally, "All cats fear fire."
"I do not know," Spottedleaf said, "This is the vision StarClan has chosen to share with me."
Bluestar turned over the information in her mind. "Your prophecies have never been wrong before," she mused, "If this is the word of StarClan, it must be so. Fire will save the clan."