Hello. I put up that author's note half-expecting to have no-one respond. I was suprised to find that some of the people who used to read this still have their eyes out for updates. I'm very grateful to everyone who responded.
I am, as you may have noticed, indeed continuing this story. This is a chapter I have been working on for quite a while. I've rewritten in a couple of times and I think I'm happy with the result.
I hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Warriors or Harry Potter.
Dustpelt was leading a border patrol when Windclan attacked.
"I can't believe how far Windclan have pushed the border this way," Cloudtail said with an angry sniff.
Dustpelt gave a non-committal grunt.
"We should put our scents where they were originally," the white warrior went on.
"Of course," Dustpelt agreed.
"Or maybe we should show them that we're not afraid of them by putting them further," suggested Sorreltail.
"Good idea," Cloudtail said.
Before Dustpelt could agree, he was jolted sideways as a large weight slammed into his side. With a hiss, he rolled and threw the enemy off, and, partly from Dustpelt's strength and partly from his own momentum, the cat was thrown further into Thunderclan territory.
A cat who falls for that trick must be inexperienced, Dustpelt observed.
Sure enough, an apprentice, who Dustpelt vaguely recognised as Weaselpaw, was standing where Dustpelt had thrown him. He had been lucky. About a tail length to the right of where he had landed was a large thorn bush.
More Windclan warriors were charging across the border, and Dustpelt saw Onestar leading them. Some paused to confront the Thunderclan patrol, while others took advantage of the distraction and ran in the direction of the camp.
"No!" Dustpelt yowled. He cast around for the nearest Thunderclan cat, "Whitepaw! Try to get ahead of them! Warn the clan!"
Whitepaw didn't respond. Quick as one of the twoleg monsters, she shot off through the trees in the direction the cats had gone.
There were four Windclan cats left fighting Dustpelt's patrol. One, a large black-pelted tom, had Cloudtail by the paw and was refusing to release the Thunderclan warrior. Cloudtail was twisting, swiping at his attacker's muzzle with his free paw. Dustpelt could tell he needed help.
But before he could go to the aid of his clanmate, Sorreltail got there first. She dragged the warrior by the tail until he was forced to let go of Cloudtail in order to snap at her. Cloudtail took advantage of the opportunity and managed to slash the Windclan warrior's side. The cat yowled and ran off in the direction of the Thunderclan camp, where Windclan was likely to be winning.
"Fall back," Dustpelt called to his remaining warriors, "we have to help the others at the camp."
Sorreltail and Cloudtail obeyed almost instantly, to Dustpelt's surprise.
In a desperate race, the Thunderclan and Windclan cats pelted towards the Thunderclan camp.
"A what?" said Squirrelflight, still fighting to catch her breath.
"A Whomping willow. The upwalkers planted it. I think it guards the secret entrance," the strange cat explained.
"Twolegs do sometimes do some weird things," Brambleclaw agreed.
Not even looking slightly confused at the term he had used, the cat sat down and licked a paw, "you can say that again."
Squirrelflight was still glaring at the other cat, so Brambleclaw said the thanks for her, "thank you for saving Squirrelflight's life."
"I could have got away on my own," the ginger warrior insisted.
Firestar shot his daughter a sharp look, "what Squirrelflight means to say is that she is very grateful."
"I'm sure," Brambleclaw didn't know if the cat was being sarcastic, but he saw the humorous glint in her eyes and relaxed.
"What's your name?" asked Crookshanks.
"I don't… really have a name. But the upwalkers- did you call them twolegs? call me Pyrena," the cat- Pyrena told them, "you can call me that."
"My name's Crookshanks," Crookshanks said.
Giving Pyrena a polite nod of greeting, Firestar also introduced himself.
There was a pause, in which everyone looked at Squirrelflight, who snapped, "I think Pyrena knows my name is Squirrelflight, since you mouse-brains tend to criticize me every five seconds."
"Even so, it would be nice if you could be polite and tell her anyway," Firestar told her.
"It's fine," Pyrena said, flicking her tail.
Brambleclaw purred in amusement and flicked Squirrelflight's flank with his tail affectionately. She scowled at him.
"Where are you guys from?" Pyrena asked conversationally as the group of cats walked casually through the forest.
"I've always been a kittypet," Crookshanks told her.
"I was a kittypet until a few moons ago. My Upwalker was a cartographer."
"I'm sorry. I don't know what a map is," Crookshanks admitted.
"It's this thing Upwalkers use. It's to help them find their way through their territories. It's sort of a depiction of what the land would look like from above. Their territories are huge, you see, so they need a better way of finding their way around."
Brambleclaw stopped dead, "do you still know where he is?"
Pyrena looked puzzled, "I imagine I could find my way back."
"Can you use these maps?" Squirrelflight asked, catching on to Brambleclaw's thoughts.
"I-I've never tried. But I have a vague idea of how they work. But you'd need a compass. I don't know where we'd get one of those."
"Surely your twoleg has one of those," said Brambleclaw.
"Well… yes. But he keeps it in a very safe place," Pyrena told them, "look. If you told me what this is about, then I might be able to help you."
"We need to find our way home," Brambleclaw told her, "we got taken here against our will."
"Oh," Pyrena said. She looked worried, "I could help you, if it was possible to get to my twoleg in the first place."
"What do you mean. Do you not know the way?" asked Crookshanks.
"I do. But- this place is guarded."
"By what? I didn't see anything when we were coming in," Squirrelflight pointed out.
"Didn't you? Can't you think of anything that could be here to keep us all in?" Pyrena said.
Annoyed at her tone, Brambleclaw snapped, "no, I can't."
Pyrena sighed, "follow me."
Pyrena led them back towards the Whomping Willow, but she turned sharply before they could go in range. She was staring up at the sky, as if looking for something. Finally, she halted, "just there," she directed, nodding towards something.
Brambleclaw followed her gaze, as did the others.
Suspended in the air, cloak floating in an invisible wind, was a shape that was horribly familiar.
It was the Dementor
Not the Dementor, Brambleclaw realised. A Dementor. Behind the creature were more, almost undefinable black smudges on the horizon. Though they were far away, it was undeniable what they were.
"There are hundreds of them," Squirrelflight whispered.
She was right. Now that Brambleclaw knew what to look for, more of the twoleg-like creatures were coming into focus. A cloud- no- a swarm of Dementors.
And it was undeniable what their task was.
Guard the school.
"Do you think they're there to keep the kits in?" Squirrelflight asked tensely as the five cats hurried back towards the huge stone structure.
Pyrena shrugged her sleek shoulders, "I don't know exactly why they are here, but they came only about a moon ago. The only information I can get my paws on is that something big is going on in the twoleg world. I've been here almost my whole life, and things have never been as tense with them. They used to come outside in their thousands everyday between lessons, but now the adult twolegs don't let them after a certain time of day. If I had to guess, I would say they aren't so much guarding against the kits getting out, than against something getting in."
Brambleclaw shuddered at the ominous feeling that surrounded those words.
"These twolegs aren't like any twolegs I've ever seen," Firestar added, "they can make strange things happen. Earlier, I saw one holding a handful of flames. And they created a pathway through solid stone. And they have a dangerous tree on the same territory they use for training kits. Even ordinary twolegs are extremely powerful. If they're afraid of something, then it must be a serious threat."
Pyrena nodded, "these twolegs are what is known among the cats around here as Magics. They can control the dormant powers and warp the world in ways that shouldn't be possible."
"Do you think there are cats like that?" Brambleclaw wondered.
"I don't know. I've never met one. Then again, I don't think the non-magic and magic twolegs have much contact with each other. I don't think non-Magics know about Magics. It could be possible that magic cats are there, just in hiding," Pyrena said.
Brambleclaw shook his head to dislodge the feeling of hopelessness that was threatening to overcome him, "is there no way past them at all?" he cried.
"Not for a cat. I know of some twolegs who might be able to fight them off. But I-I've only ever known of it working on one Dementor at a time. Not this many. Not all at once," Pyrena said.
"But what if all the twolegs worked together," Squirrelflight suggested.
But Pyrena shook her head, "it's hopeless. Maybe you guys should give up on going home, unless you want to become Magics yourself."
"Why couldn't we?" Firestar asked.
"Many cats have tried," the she-cat said, "but even twolegs have to practise for moons before attempting simple pieces of magic."
"How do you know this much?" snapped Crookshanks, "I've been around Magics my entire life, and yet I didn't even know anyone called them Magics until now."
To Brambleclaw's surprise, Pyrena gave an amused purr, "you've clearly never been to Hogwarts before," she said, "it's very hard not to be interested by the twoleg's strange ways here."
Crookshanks didn't looked entirely satisfied by her answer. Instead, the ginger tom glared suspiciously at her until she meowed, "well, it's been nice meeting you all, but I expect you would want to get back to your twolegs. They'll be getting worried."
Looking up at the sky, Brambleclaw noticed for the first time that the sun was creeping closer to the horizon, and the shadows were growing longer. Wherever their clanmates were, they would be settling down to sleep by now.
"You are right," the Thunderclan leader agreed.
"Thank you for answering some of our questions," his deputy added.
Squirrelflight gave Pyrena a dip of her head.
This is your last chance, Squirrelflight, Brambleclaw found himself thinking, thank her properly. Some mature warrior you are!
As if reading Brambleclaw's mind, Squirrelflight meowed softly, "I never did thank you for saving me."
"That's fine, Squirrelflight," Pyrena meowed, smiling. And with a wave of her tail and a polite nod, the black and white she-cat stalked away in the direction they had come.
"Are we going back to Neville," Brambleclaw asked Firestar.
Firestar hesitated, "he might try to lock us up again."
"Or he might see that you've come back and trust you more in the future," Crookshanks put in, "I had a friend whose twoleg was like that. He escaped once, came back, and the twoleg let him out more often afterwards."
"And plus, you need food. We didn't manage to hunt today," Squirrelflight added.
Firestar nodded, "then shall we meet here again tomorrow, in the same place?"
"We'll see if we can catch that rat," Squirrelflight promised with a flick of her tail, "he might be a small, scrawny creature, but I don't know any other places to get fresh-kill."
"Be careful," Brambleclaw warned, remembering what Squirrelflight had said about it being guarded by a twoleg.
"Of course," the she-cat huffed.
Firestar and Brambleclaw had further to climb than Squirrelflight and Crookshanks, so the four cats parted halfway up the stone castle. Squirrelflight and Crookshanks crawled into a well-lit room which looked similar to the one Brambleclaw knew.
Squirrelflight was on the edge of sleep. She was in that drifting state where it feels like you're falling. She could feel the warm nest around her, but it was fading, fading, into the merciful bliss of sleep.
"That she-cat's bad news," Crookshanks snapped from the cage beside her.
Squirrelflight's consciousness came flooding back. She fought back a groan of annoyance and instead snapped, "Crookshanks! You woke me up!" it wasn't entirely true, but it was close enough to the truth so that Squirrelflight didn't feel guilty.
He appeared not to have heard her, "there's something… off about her."
She sniffed in irritation, "what she-cat?"
"You know the one I'm talking about, Squirrelflight. Pyrena," he meowed.
"What's 'off' about her?" asked Squirrelflight, rolling over and closing her eyes again.
Crookshanks snorted, "I don't know. Maybe the fact that she just came waltzing in," Squirrelflight decided not to inquire as to what 'waltzing' was, "answering all our questions, and rescuing us from disaster, and-"
"Crookshank's, that doesn't mean she's bad news! If anything, it means she's good news. What were the chances of us just running into a cat who knew that much about twoleg society?"
"I know that," he said, sounding almost as annoyed as she had a moment ago when he first started talking, "but- I don't know."
"You know, but you don't know? Maybe you should go to sleep and we should restart this conversation in the morning," Squirrelflight suggested.
"But she knows so much! There's no way she could have picked up that knowledge as a cat. Maybe- maybe she's a Magic," Crookshanks argued.
Squirrelflight scoffed, "are you telling me she's a twoleg, now?"
"Of course not! But I'm just saying we should be cautious."
"The fact that she knows more about twolegs than you isn't a reason to think she's a bad cat. She's just spent longer around them than you have," Squirrelflight reasoned.
Crookshanks gave an annoyed huff, but didn't respond. After a moment, his breathing slowed down and he seemed to have fallen asleep.
Squirrelflight turned her gaze to the top of her cage, the idea of sleep suddenly not sounding so alluring. What Crookshanks had said had got her thinking.
Pyrena… that wasn't a cat name like any she had ever heard.
If anything, it was a Twoleg name.
Haha. I had this chapter waiting for the whole time I was on hiatus, and I still decided to leave you guys with a little cliffhanger. I'm so evil.
Just a little warning, updates on this story are... likely to be scarce. I have two other long stories being updated. It might even go down to once every two months. I do like this story, but it's currently at the bottom of the 'pecking order' compared to the others. If necessary, I will delay updates on this in order to keep some semblance of regularity to the updates of Plan: Apprentices and One Final Chance.
If you're not willing to wait for long periods of time, then I suggest you try not to get too invested in this story or maybe forget about it for a few months then check back when there's more chapters ready.
Thanks for reading. Please leave a review.