Okay, here's my first chapter! Or prologue, really...I hope you like it! I should have Chapter 1 uploaded in a few days or so.
Anidori-Isilee doesn't own Warriors!


Prologue

A dark gray tom huddled in the moonlit clearing, his fur bristling and blue eyes fixed on a tortoiseshell cat perched calmly on a great silver boulder with its tail curled neatly under its paws. Four great oaks towered high above the gray cat's head, almost seeming to touch the hot, white stars in the sky. The leaves were bleached silver from the moonlight; everything else was swallowed up by deep black shadows. The tortoiseshell cat spoke, her unblinking green eyes staring straight at the gray tom.

"StarClan has seen a time of great darkness and uncertainty coming. Only the warrior of shadows and starlight, in the Clan but not of it, can see what lies hidden to save the Clans."

"What does it mean?" the tom snapped, hiding his alarm behind anger. "How will I know this cat? When is the trouble coming? Tell me, Brightspots!"

"StarClan cannot see all," Brightspots gently reminded. "We cannot tell you when or how the trouble will come. But it will be terrible when it does. The chosen cat will need the courage of LionClan, the cleverness of LeopardClan, and the strength of TigerClan to succeed. Do not be afraid, Jayflight; StarClan will walk with you every step of the way. You will know the cat when she comes; you will meet her soon. Good-bye, my old apprentice." As soon as she finished speaking, Brightspots faded into the shadows until only her scent lingering in the still night air showed she had been there. Jayflight crouched still as stone in the silver glade, his blue eyes shadowed with a horror only he could see.

"What in the name of StarClan can I tell Whitestar?" he murmured.

Petal lay stretched out on her side, her soft gray fur slicked with sweat. Her jaws gaped in a soundless wail of agony as her paws scrabbled uselessly at the dirt, her pale blue eyes glazed over with pain and terror. Her kits were coming, and it was all going wrong!

Her pelt rippled as another powerful spasm wracked her body; her nostrils were filled with the scent of blood. The soft green ferns above her waved as she convulsed again.

There was no one to care for or protect Petal as she gave birth. The kits' father had vanished; Petal liked to think that he had died rather than abandoned them, because the thought that her beloved Cloud had left her and their unborn kits hurt more than she thought anything ever could. Petal's every rib showed underneath her fur and her light blue eyes were sunken into her face; she couldn't remember what it felt like to be full-fed. As her time approached, she had found it harder and harder to find food for her and her kits, as her round belly made her slow and off-balance. She'd gotten weaker and weaker until she couldn't catch prey for herself. The last meal she could remember having was the last few mouthfuls on a long-dead rat carcass early yesterday.

She let out another piercing shriek, this one fainter than the others as another tremor made her shudder. She had pushed two into the world; another was on its way.

The gray she-cat let out a trembling gasp and went limp as the last kit was born. Petal tried to lift her head, but she just couldn't move at the moment. A feeling of love washed over her, briefly hiding the agony, as she heard her kits' voices for the first and only time, raised in tiny, high-pitched mews. The joy was quickly followed by a wave of grief when she realized there were only two voices, not three. One had not made it.

Her ears twitched feebly as she heard a twig snap somewhere in the distance. A faint yowl drifted on the slight breeze. Alarmed, she tried to push herself to her feet, but her paws fumbled weakly until she stopped, gasping for breath. My kits! Must protect my kits… She panted for a moment, and tried again, but she couldn't seem to get herself to stand.

The bracken on the other side of the tiny clearing shook as four fearsome-looking cats leaped out of the shadows. Their pelts were criss-crossed with the pale scars of many battles, their eyes narrowed in anger. Petal felt herself tremble in terror. She shook her head, fighting the darkness that was clouding her sight and her mind, making it hard for her to focus. My kits… Must protect…my kits…

"So you are the crow-food eating rogue who's been stealing our prey!" snarled the largest, a muscular white tomcat, as he bounded into the sunlight.

Petal dimly heard the words and felt a flicker of confusion. What in the world were they talking about? She'd just crossed into their territory that morning. She never ate their prey…

A second voice drifted through the thick haze that clouded Petal's mind.

"So much blood!" The shocked mew belonged to a wiry dusky brown she-cat. "Nettlepaw, go fetch Jayflight! This cat needs help!" The youngest cat, a little brown tabby, raced back through the bracken, its soft kitten fur fluffed up in fear. The lean, long-limbed she-cat whirled to face the white tom. "Don't claw her, Icestorm!"

"And why not, Mouseleap?" The great white tom swung his head around and glared at the she-cat, sheathing and unsheathing his long, curved claws.

"Just look at her!" Mouseleap said. "She probably couldn't help herself. She looks like she hasn't had a decent meal in weeks!"

Icestorm looked closely at Petal, and his yellow eyes softened slightly. The last cat, a young pale tabby tom, padded past him and sniffed Petal's flank. Suddenly his head jerked up as he found the three tiny bundles at Petal's side, too tired and weak to make any more noise.

"She's got kits!" He hissed to the others.

Mouseleap and Icestorm bounded to the tabby's side.

"You're right!" Icestorm meowed in shock.

"The kit-scent must have been hidden by the smell of all this blood," Mouseleap whispered. She faced the others. "Remember what Jayflight did to Mistyfur's kits?" She picked up the biggest, a gray and white tom, by the scruff of its neck and gently set in down in front of the tabby tom. "Lick its fur the wrong way." She picked up the second, a white and black she-cat, and set it in front of Icestorm. "You too." The great white cat bowed his head and began swiping his tongue over the kit's fur.

Mouseleap took the third for herself; after a few moments she paused and sniffed its fur. "This little one has passed into the ranks of StarClan," she murmured, her eyes dull with grief. Mouseleap stood up, picked up the kit again, and placed it by its mother's side under the shade of the cool green ferns. Petal's rasping breaths were coming slower and slower, as the wiry she-cat pressed herself against Petal's other side, gently licking her around her ears. Petal longed to sink into the comforting black darkness that was surrounding her, but she knew she couldn't. Not yet.

"My kits…," she gasped. "Please... take care of my kits…."

"Nonsense," Mouseleap meowed briskly. "Our medicine cat is coming. He'll give you some herbs to make you better, and then you'll have a nice, long rest."

Icestorm padded over and stood over the two she-cats, the kit dangling from his mouth. He lightly set it down and comfortingly rasped his tongue over Mouseleap's ear. "She's not going to make it," he mewed softly. "And you know it." Mouseleap looked at him sadly and hung her head. Icestorm turned to Petal. "Don't worry. We'll take care of your kits." Petal couldn't find the strength to acknowledge his words with more than a tiny twitch of her ears, but Icestorm could see her gratefulness in her steady gaze.

Petal's dimming eyes briefly sparked to life as she looked at the kit Icestorm had set down in front of her to talk.

"Let me see all of them…..for the last time…" she murmured.

The pale tabby brought over the second kit and placed it next to its littermate. Petal's tongue rasped once over each of the tiny heads, and then gave a long sigh. Her flanks stopped moving, and her eyes dimmed.

Mouseleap looked up at her two companions, her eyes dark with sorrow. "She's dead," she whispered.

"But her kits aren't," Icestorm reminded her. "Although they might be, if we don't get them to camp soon." Mouseleap gently closed Petal's eyes, then stood up and picked up the second kit.

Just then, Nettlepaw and a smoky gray tom skidded into the clearing, the gray cat's jaws full of herbs. His bright blue eyes widened with shock as he set down his herbs. "Great StarClan," he whispered. Quickly recovering, he padded over to the dead she-cat, sniffing her flank. While he worked, Icestorm quickly told him what had happened.

"She just died, before you got here, along with her smallest kit," Mouseleap murmured.

"Herbs wouldn't have done her or the kit much good anyway," the gray tom said softly. "It seems that she was already dying when you found her, and the kit was stillborn." He moved on to inspect the other two kits. Suddenly he froze, every hair on his pelt bristling.

"What is it, Jayflight?" Icestorm mewed curiously.

The medicine cat forced his fur to lie flat on his shoulders, shaking his head quickly to clear it, and turned away from the surviving kits. "They're alive, but not for long. We need to get them to camp. Maybe Doveflight will nurse them," he suggested. "Icestorm, you and Mouseleap take the two kits to Doveflight. Make sure you tell her, and Whitestar for that matter, the situation. Reedtail, you stay and help me bury her."

Icestorm and Mouseleap dipped their heads and padded out of the clearing with the kits dangling from their mouths. "Come, Nettlepaw," Mouseleap mewed past her mouthful of fur. The little brown tabby leaped to his paws and followed, his amber eyes sadly looking back at the scene in the clearing once more as he padded away, tail drooping.

Reedtail dipped his head as well. "Of course, Jayflight," he meowed. Together they turned and dragged Petal's body into the center of the clearing, and dug a grave under the shade of the ferns where Petal had died. As they picked up her body again and gently arranged it in her grave beside the tiny body of the stillborn kit, Jayflight gave Petal a last lick, smoothing the ruffled gray fur.

"Don't worry," he murmured. "Your kits will have a home in ThunderClan."

As they buried Petal's body, Jayflight's thoughts turned to the last surviving kits. One, a tom, was grey and white…the other, white and black…of shadows and starlight.

"What in StarClan's name can we do to stop the darkness from coming?"

"Nothing. StarClan said that the warrior, in the Clan but not if it, of shadows and starlight, will be our only hope," Jayflight meowed.

"If this kit will be as powerful as you say-"

"She will be," Jayflight interrupted. "StarClan's prophecy was very clear concerning her appearance and what she will do. She fits the description perfectly! She was born to a loner, but will be raised in the Clan. It will be the only life she knows – she will be in the clan but not of it! And have you seen her fur? It's black and white – the colors of shadows and starlight."

"There are other cats with white and black fur-"

"And how many of them are not Clan born, Whitestar?" Jayflight snapped.

Whitestar sighed wearily. "What do you suggest I say to the Clan?"

Jayflight twitched his ears as he thought. "Say nothing," he decided. "Such a prophecy would only scare everyone, and they would treat her differently because of it. Besides, the prophecy said a warrior, and she's just a kit still. The prophecy won't fulfill itself tomorrow. Treat her just as you would any other kit."

"And this prophecy said nothing about her brother?" Whitestar asked.

"No. StarClan never mentioned him," Jayflight replied.

"Okay…Will you tell me if StarClan shows you anything else?"

"I always do, Whitestar," Jayflight meowed over his shoulder as he left the den of ThunderClan's leader. "You can count on me."