So here it is - the end of my first story. If you have any suggestions for story ideas, let me know. This one skips around, too; it has a lot of time gaps in between. I hope you like it!
A week afterwards, Spottedpaw was finally allowed to leave the den, and she and Crowflight went on a hunting trip, just the two of them. Spottedpaw was glad to escape the uncomfortable awe and gratitude of her Clanmates; she really hoped she could be a normal cat now that Bane was dead and the forest was safe - and without a prophecy hanging over her head. A peaceful, all-day hunt with her best friend and love seemed like a good place to start.
When they finally padded back into the camp that evening with loads of prey (most of it Crowflight's), Spottedpaw was surprised by the crowd waiting for them. She had a surge of terror, wildly thinking that somehow Bane was back from the dead, but then she saw the smiles.
Whitestar was perched on top of the Highrock. "Come forward, Spottedpaw," he meowed, grinning.
Spottedpaw left her prey by Crowflight and padded up. She had a sneaking suspicion of what he might do, and her heart raced with excitement.
"I call upon my warrior ancestors to look down upon this apprentice," Whitestar said. Spottedpaw's tail twitched with joy. "She has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend her to you as a warrior in her turn. Spottedpaw, do you promise to follow the warrior code and defend this Clan, even at the cost of your life?"
"I do," Spottedpaw said clearly.
"Then by the powers of StarClan I give you your warrior name. Spottedpaw, from this day forth you will be known as Spottedfur." Whitestar had thought hard about what to name her, and decided that this was the best – not only did it identify her, it was a reminder of the prophecy and what the spotted cat with fur of shadows and starlight had done. "ThunderClan welcomes you as a full warrior."
He leaped down and placed his head on top of hers. Spottedfur, eyes shining, licked his shoulder respectively.
"Spottedfur! Spottedfur! Spottedfur!"
Spottedfur purred joyfully as her Clanmates congratulated her, Crowflight and Fawnpaw louder than everyone else as they pressed up against her sides. A sparkle on the side of the clearing caught her eye, and there was her family and Leopardclaw, cheering with the rest, tails waving joyfully. Tawnykit was racing around in circles in excitement, and Spottedfur laughed.
She was a warrior!
Spottedfur hissed, gritting her teeth as a spam coursed through her body.
"Come on, Spottedfur," Jayflight said calmly. "Just a one more. Push!"
"What do you think I'm doing?" she gasped, twitching again with a groan.
Jayflight rolled his eyes. "Don't get smart with me, Spottedfur."
Spottedfur growled and panted for breath, then went limp as a small wet bundle slid onto a soft mossy nest, joining the four already there. She thought about hitting the grouchy medicine cat over the head with a paw or throwing his own herbs at him, but a call from outside the warm, dark, milk-scented distracted her.
"Is she okay?" Crowflight anxiously asked, peeking into the nursery.
"Just great," Spottedpaw rasped, lifting her head and nudging her kits to her belly, starting to lick them over. Crowflight hesitatingly padded in and went to Spottedfur's side.
"They're so tiny," he whispered. "They're beautiful!"
"They're ours," Spottedfur said softly in between licks. Her heart swelled with warm love for her family.
"What should we call them?" Crowflight asked, purring as a tiny gray-black she-kit squeaked at his voice.
Spottedfur touched that one with the very tip of her tail. "Featherkit," she suggested.
Crowflight nodded. "I like it. And Frostkit for him," he added, gesturing at a tom such a light gray he was almost white.
A tortoiseshell she-kit with a bright pink nose was named Berrykit, while her dark brown tabby brother was named Duskkit. Spottedpaw paused at the last one, a sturdy gray and white tom, and her eyes clouded with memories.
"And Stormkit," she murmured. Crowflight smiled and licked her head, beaming at his mate and children.
"Stormkit is perfect," he agreed.
"I call upon my warrior ancestors to look down upon these kits," Whitestar called. "They would like to become warriors of ThunderClan, but must first become apprentices. Berrykit, from this day forth, until you have earned your warrior name, you will be known as Berrypaw. Thistlepelt, you are young, but Flameclaw has taught you well; I hope that his honor and leadership skills will pass through you to your new apprentice."
"Thank you!"Thistlepelt stepped forward, and Berrypaw stretched out her head and awkwardly touched noses with her new mentor.
"Frostkit, your mentor will be Bluestorm…"
And so the ceremony went on. Spottedfur felt her heart swell with pride and for each of her kits until she thought it would burst. Then it was her turn.
"It is unusual for kits to be trained by their parents," Whitestar said. "But no other kits are expected, and Spottedfur had proved herself more than worthy of an apprentice. Featherkit, step forward, please."
Featherkit, her big green eyes shining, bounced up.
"Featherkit, from this day forth, until you have earned your warrior name, you will be known as Featherpaw. Spottedfur, you have shown many times over that you are ready for the responsibility of training an apprentice, and Redfoot taught you the ways of hunting and fighting and the way of the code well. Pass on his skills to your apprentice."
Spottedfur touched her nose to her daughter's. "I will," she promised.
"You'll be wonderful," she whispered to Featherpaw.
Spottedfur watched as each of her kits were made warriors – Berrypaw to Berryleaf, Frostpaw to Frostfoot, Duskpaw to Duskstripe, Stormkit to Stormclaw. Finally, it was Featherpaw's turn.
"Spottedfur, is your apprentice ready to become a warrior?"
"She is," Spottedfur said, smiling at her daughter who was fit to bursting with pride.
"Then I call upon my warrior ancestors to look down upon this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend her to you as a warrior in her turn. Featherpaw do you promise to follow the warrior code and defend this Clan, even at the cost of your life?"
"I do," Featherpaw replied strongly, tail and chin high.
"Then by the powers of StarClan I give you your warrior name. Featherpaw, from this day forth you will be known as Featherpelt. ThunderClan welcomes you as a full warrior!"
Spottedfur cheered happily, and moved forward with Crowflight to congratulate their kits.
Spottedfur sat next to Crowflight, her children (some with their own mates now) scattered around them. The Clan was silent, crowded around Flameclaw's cold ginger body, as Whitestar slowly jumped to the Highrock, his gray muzzle evidence of his old age. His deep voice wasn't as strong or loud as it used to be, but it still carried to all corners of the camp as he called the ritual's words.
"I say these words before the body of Flameclaw, that his spirit may hear and approve my choice. Spottedfur will be the new deputy of ThunderClan."
Spottedfur's jaw dropped, feeling like someone had hit her in the gut. No way, she thought dizzily. She was deputy?
Crowflight nudged her up, beaming, and the Clan cheered. Spottedfur shakily walked forward to the Highrock. Whitestar climbed down stiffly and laid his head on hers. She gave him a lick, just like at her warrior ceremony, and stepped back.
"I'll do my best," she promised, still shocked, then whispered to Whitestar, "Me?"
Whitestar smiled. "What better choice could I make?"
Spottedfur swallowed, looking upon rows and rows of starry cats, their eyes gleaming at her. Then Whitestar stepped forward with a new spring in his step, looking younger than Spottedfur had ever seen him.
"Welcome, Spottedfur," he greeted with a smile, his deep voice clear with new strength. "Are you ready to receive your nine lives?"
Spottedfur took a deep breath and nodded. "Yes."
"Then with this life I give you compassion. Use it well to heal the hearts of cats whose souls have been hurt." He touched his nose to hers, and Spottedfur sighed as warmth and soft peace enveloped her with the comforting way a mother has with her kits. Whitestar stepped away, purring, and let Petal take his place.
Spottedfur received the life of hope from her mother, the strength to believe for better things even when the future seems bleak, then Cloud gave her a life of strength to protect every cat under her care. Heatherpaw gave her the life of friendship, to heal rivalries between other Clans, while Tawnykit gave her a life of youth, to keep on serving her Clan with the abilities of a young cat even when her fur turned silver with age.
Spottedfur swayed on her feet as liquid fire seemed to course through her veins.
Stormcloud gave her a life of courage, to keep on fighting even when it seems defeat is inevitable. Rosethorn gave her a life of faith, to trust StarClan and those around her, and Briarthorn gave her a life of love, to care for every cat like her own kits. After her came Icestorm, who gave her a life of endurance, to push on however long she may need to. And last of all, Toadfoot came forward.
"With this life I give you devotion. Use it well to serve your Clan to the utmost of your abilities."
Spottedfur was shaking, feeling like a stream about to overflow its banks. She barely managed to keep herself standing as her legs threatened to buckle underneath her. She'd had no idea becoming a leader could hurt so much…
She felt her strength begin to trickle back as the StarClan cats around her began to cheer her new name.
"Spottedstar! Spottedstar! Spottedstar!"
Spottedstar lifted her head with an effort and vowed that she would never fail her Clan.
Spottedstar curled up in her den, her old bones protesting the movement. She was old; her children's kits had kits…Mouseleap, her foster mother Doveflight, Fawnpaw (renamed Fawnpelt) and Redfoot had died, as well as her beloved Crowflight. Her muzzle was streaked with iron gray, and she had many scars added to the ones from her fight with Bane. Her limp had gotten worse nowadays. She was more than ready to join StarClan.
She wasn't worried, though. Her son, Frostfoot, was a perfectly capable deputy. In fact, she thought with a touch of dry humor, he did nearly everything except ceremonies and lead Gatherings. It had been peaceful for a long while now, although she'd been in her fair share of battles during her time…
She closed her eyes as her thoughts turned to the long years back when she and Crowflight were young warriors. She smiled drowsily, remembering hunting with him, with her kits, with her friends…sunlit days of playing with her kits in the forest...border patrolling…battles…
Her breathing slowed and slowed.
When she opened her eyes again, Crowflight was there with a smile, no longer gray and stiff but young and limber.
She leaped to her feet, feeling more spry than she had in years.
"I've been waiting," Crowflight said.
"So have I," Spottedstar purred, and pressed her side against his and sighing. "Come to take me home?"
They turned and left Spottedstar's den, leaving behind a still, huddled bundle of gray-streaked white and black fur. Crowflight led her up into the sky, where the velvety darkness dotted with glowing stars grew into a warm forest stirring with prey and where her friends and family were waiting.
So? What do you think? Did it end well? Review please!