A/N: This is it. The epilogue of Cruel Season. Wasn't the last chapter sad? It actually made me cry. And my writing never makes me cry. Ever. How odd is that?
Well, the Three are dead. Time for the epilogue, wouldn't you say?
Not to worry, I'll try and get working on Voice of the Stars soon.
-goes to get tissue- I'm sorry, just a bit sad.
The thunder crashed outside of the nursery as Squirrelflight looked out. The wind buffeted the walls of the nursery through the storm. Water seeped through a crack in the walls, creating a miniature river. The sky had darkened to an extreme black, almost as if a shadow had cast itself over everything.
Squirrelflight's belly clenched in pain.
"Leafpool!" she called. Leafpool rushed into the nursery to assist her sister.
"It's okay, Squirrelflight, it'll be fine," Leafpool said quietly. Ferncloud licked her kits' heads, and the two fell asleep. Honeyfern blinked her eyes open, and then yawned.
"You'll do fine, Squirrelflight," she whispered, falling back asleep. Squirrelflight groaned in pain as her sister pressed on her underbelly. She closed her eyes and gritted her teeth. After a few hard clenches, it was over. She breathed deeply, sucking in the life-giving air.
"Congratulations, Squirrelflight. You have five healthy kits," Squirrelflight turned to see five scraps of fur. A tiny orange tom-kit squeaked quietly and moved closer to Squirrelflight. His resemblance to his grandfather was eerie. Two dark brown tabbies, one tom and one shecat, tried to reach Squirrelflight, but the shecat stumbled over Leafpool's paw. The medicine cat gently picked her up and set her down by Squirrelflight. A dark ginger she-kit moved closer to Squirrelflight, leaving only one more kit. She was right by Squirrelflight's hind paws, and her fur was ginger with dark brown stripes.
"They're beautiful, Squirrelflight," Whitewing congratulated. Squirrelflight nodded.
"Would you like to name them now?" Leafpool asked. Squirrelflight nodded.
"The tom that looks like Firestar will be Blazekit," she decided. Ferncloud nodded quietly.
"The tom that looks like Bramblestar will be Branchkit. The shecat that looks like her father will be Thicketkit."
"Fine names," Whitewing commented.
"The dark ginger shecat will be Gingerkit, and the ginger shecat with the dark brown stripes will be Stormkit."
"Excellent choices," Ferncloud said. Squirrelflight purred as the five tiny kits pressed against her stomach.
"Leafpool?" Bramblestar's voice called. His tone was weary, and Squirrelflight could scent blood.
"Yes, Bramblestar, I will be right there," Leafpool responded, quickly licking Thicketkit on the head. Leafpool padded out of the nursery.
"Yes, Bramblestar?" she said, looking at the bleeding leader. "Oh StarClan! What happened?"
"A battle," he said wearily.
"With which Clan?"
"All of them. And, well, I'll tell you as soon as Brackenfur gets in," he sighed.
"Why is the rest of the Clan behind?" she asked.
"They told me to go ahead. I lost a life, Leafpool."
"I will explain everything as soon as everyone arrives. Now, how is Squirrelflight?"
"She has five healthy kits, Bramblestar. You may go in and see them," she said as she ran into the medicine cat den. Bramblestar padded into the nursery and purred when he saw Squirrelflight and his kits.
"They're beautiful, Squirrelflight," he said warmly.
"Their names are Thicketkit, Branchkit, Gingerkit, Blazekit, and Stormkit," she said, placing her tail on each one in turn.
"Good choices," he purred.
"Bramblestar! We're back!" Brackenfur called wearily. Bramblestar nodded to his mate, and then padded out of the nursery.
"Leafpool, I will explain everything," he murmured as the cats began filing into camp. He jumped onto the HighLedge.
"Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather here beneath the HighLedge!" he called. Several sleepy warriors padded out of their dens, as did the queens and the elders. Cats were still coming into camp, most limping and bleeding from wounds. Mousewhisker came in, gently dragging Hollyleaf's body. Cinderheart followed, dragging Jayfeather. And lastly, Birchfall dragged Lionblaze's body into the camp. Leafpool gasped.
"What in the name of StarClan happened?" Foxstalker asked.
"We were attacked by Sol. He had brought cats from the Dark Forest to help him take over the Clans. Hollyleaf, Jayfeather, and Lionblaze were brave warriors. They went to face Sol, and StarClan warriors came to help the Clans win the battle. Unfortunately, the three brave warriors died killing Sol."
"I saw how it happened," Mousewhisker choked. "They went to go kill Sol, I tried to help, but some cats were guarding him. Hollyleaf was killed first, and then Lionblaze. Jayfeather managed to snap Sol's neck, but just as he did, Sol snapped his." Mousewhisker broke off, his body shaking with sobs.
"We will hold vigil for these brave cats tonight," Bramblestar announced. "But, there is good news. Squirrelflight has given birth to five healthy kits." Squirrelflight padded out of the nursery, and gasped when she saw Hollyleaf, Lionblaze, and Jayfeather.
"No…" she whispered.
"It's alright, Heathertail. That's it. You're fine now," Kestrelfeather comforted her. Three tiny kits were beside her. Swallowtalon had left the nursery for a bit to wait for the Clan to return.
"Heathertail, I know it isn't my place to ask, but whose kits are these?" Kestrelfeather asked. Heathertail sighed.
"Lionblaze of ThunderClan," she whispered. "Please, Kestrelfeather, do not tell them, or anyone else. They will find out when they are ready." The young medicine cat nodded.
"Of course, Heathertail. Now, I believe you should name your kits."
"Alright," she mused. "Starlingkit," she said, placing her tail on a black tom-kit with dark gray stripes. Kestrelfeather nodded. "Swiftkit," she purred, pointing to the light brown tabby. "And Manekit," she whispered, placing her tail on the golden tabby, whose neck fur was already significantly thicker than his siblings.
"Excellent choices, Heathertail," Kestrelfeather whispered. "I'm sure they'll grow up to be great warriors."
Lionblaze purred with joy as he watched Heathertail and his kits. Jayfeather sat sharing tongues with HalfMoon, who had finally recognized him.
"Fox-dung!" Hollyleaf growled, whisking her tail back and forth. Starclaw was beside the shecat, trying to comfort her.
"Hollyleaf, you know StarClan couldn't have done anything-" he said.
"Starclaw, what is the point of having the power of stars in my paws if I can't be with the cat I love?"
"Hollyleaf, you were given that power to save the Clans from the Dark Forest cats. You accomplished that feat."
"That still doesn't explain it."
"Hollyleaf, you were destined to die that way. You were supposed to die saving the Clans from Sol." Hollyleaf hissed angrily. HalfMoon left Jayfeather and placed her tail over Hollyleaf's shoulder.
"Death is like the ending of a cruel season," she said. "It is inevitable, and often a relief. Yet, it is sad, for during the cruel season, cats may die." Jayfeather nodded.
A/N: Interesting ending. I have to give credit to edwardcullenissosexy for the 'Death is like the ending of a cruel season'. Woohoo!
Well, this is the end of Cruel Season.
Would you like a small preview of Voice of the Stars Book One: Warning? Course you would. Here you go!
VOICE OF THE STARS BOOK ONE: WARNING
"Ravenflight!" Leafstar called. "Would you mind accompanying the noon-high patrol?" The black warrior nodded and padded over to Sparrowpelt, Birdpaw, and Stormblaze. The gray shecat purred as Ravenflight approached, and the dark brown tabby warrior dipped his head. The gray apprentice bunched his muscles in excitement.
"Ready?" Sparrowpelt asked Ravenflight. The former loner nodded and the patrol padded out of the barn. The four SkyClan cats headed for the WindClan border, and Ravenflight scented the airy scent of the Clan on the moors.
"How's the prey running in SkyClan?" asked the leader of the patrol, who Ravenflight recognized as Crowfeather, the WindClan deputy.
"Just fine. In WindClan?" Sparrowpelt asked politely.
"Fine," Crowfeather responded. The two other cats of his patrol were silent. Ravenflight didn't recognize the dark tabby tom, but the black tom looked familiar.
"That's good," Stormblaze said. "Well, we must be going."
"So must we," Crowfeather said, and the dark tabby followed him. The black tom stayed at the border, anger in his eyes.
"Breezepelt! Come on!" Crowfeather yelled to the black tom, who turned and padded after his Clanmates. Suddenly, Ravenflight knew why the tom looked familiar. Breezepelt was Crowfeather's son, and Ravenflight had fought with him when Sol and NightClan attempted to take over the Clans. Shaking his head, he followed his patrol along the border, trying to think of why the deputy's son was so hostile.