Behold the last chapter of Roses in the Dark… I'll add an excerpt to the sequel after this... I still need a title for a sequel so please vote! Here are the results so far:
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Please vote when you review this chapter! It rains in this chapter at a sad point… sorry! I just couldn't resist! And 200 reviews? That's crazy, pure insanity. Thank you so much my reviewers, thank you SO much!
WildCroconaw: Oh yes, Leopardheart… she has been missed :-[
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Chapter 38: Lives
A vast array of different shades of sunlight poured into the dark hollow where Rosewater stood, her dark cream fur on end. She blinked her icy blue eyes, looking around in confusion. Beneath her paws was dust, but above the ditch she stood in were long and lush grasses. The taste of prey lingered in Rosewater's mouth. This forest was bountiful of it.
I need to find a way out of here. She figured. She looked at the steep walls surrounding her. She took in a long breath and gathered her strength into her hindquarters. She pushed off and leapt towards her barrier, scraping it with her claws but finding no grip. She slid back down onto the ground, a cloud of dust brushing up behind her.
"Rosewater? What are you doing?"
Rosewater snapped her head up, instinctively, her claws slid out of her paws. "Adderstar!" She hissed, looking around furiously.
"You are quite mistaken my dear." Rosewater looked up out of the hollow. Her gaze rested gently on the speaker. It wasn't Adderstar, not the least. She saw the slim tortoiseshell she-cat, Leopardheart.
"I…" Rosewater sheathed her claws shamefully. "I thought you were Adderstar."
"He's messed you up good then." Leopardheart murmured. "But you don't need to worry, you can relax, he's gone. You killed him."
Those final words seemed to tear into Rosewater. "I killed him." She repeated. "He's gone… but then why am I in StarClan? Who has killed me?"
Leopardheart gave a weary smile. "You're not dead my dear. Your wounds got to you, you were down, knocked out cold. You came to StarClan for us to congratulate you." The tortoiseshell purred.
Rosewater inhaled sharply. Of course she couldn't feel any of her wounds right now, but she expected the pain to be far worse when she woke up… if she woke up. Something about her was still tense though, how could she be sure Adderstar was really gone? She remembered killing him, clear as falling water, but why was some threat looming over her.
"Where's Oakstar?" She breathed. "And Iceblossom, Swanwhisker, Leafshine?"
"Let's get you out of that hollow first brave one. You'll find it easiest here in the corner." Leopardheart flicked her tail, sitting above the hollow and in the long grass.
Rosewater nodded. She took off at a sprint and scaled up the portion of the wall that Leopardheart had suggested she climb, with ease. She joined her friend, touching noses in greeting. "All of your friends are here. And more than you've mentioned." She added darkly, her face shadowing.
Rosewater felt her heart fall in her chest. Is Stonefang alright? "Who else has joined your ranks?" she asked dryly.
Rosewater swallowed back tears. She turned around slowly to see Lionfire's striking ginger pelt emerging from the thick undergrowth. "Lionfire." He voice crackled.
Her brother looked magnificent in StarClan, like a leader fresh from LionClan. He gave her a weak smile. "Rosewater…"
"Who killed you?" Rosewater demanded, her voice squeaking as she struggled to hold back a wail of distress. Lionfire wasn't with her anymore. He wouldn't be with her back in ThunderClan. But… what about Goldenkit? He would be devastated.
Lionfire shrugged. "I don't know. They came up behind me and simply finished me off like that though. There was no time for me to try and fight back." He said. Rosewater could see a glimmer of sadness in his eyes.
"Oh…" Rosewater murmured. "Anyone else?" she asked.
"Many have come… but you can't see them now. You're waking up." Leopardheart meowed. She smiled at Rosewater once more. "Remember what you've done Rosewater. It's the key to the future."
Rosewater's vision dotted to dark stars as Leopardheart and Lionfire were covered. Oh StarClan… how many have we lost? Darkness succumbed her, accompanied by an eerie silence. Then she heard a she-cat's voice.
"She's waking up!"
"Rosewater!" That was Stonefang's whimper. He was alive! Feeling more encouraged, Rosewater snapped her eyes open to see the familiar worried gray face of her mate as he peered down at her, his leaf-green eyes were stretched open and weary, she could tell he was barely keeping himself awake.
"Stonefang!" Rosewater purred. She was surprised at the rough and rusty sound of her voice. She leaned up to touch noses with him but felt the stretching of cobwebs on her back, she was tearing open her wound again. She fell back down to the ground, gazing up at Stonefang miserably.
Stonefang leaned down to touch her nose. "You did it Rosewater!" he purred. "You've done it! You killed Adderstar! You've saved the Clans!"
Rosewater smiled. "Well glad to hear all the Clans' problems are gone because of me." She teased.
Rosewater twisted her head slightly to see Petalwind sitting before her. The medicine cat's white and brown pelt was ragged, even stained with a little blood. Her green eyes were sorrowful and tired. Is everybody exhausted? She wondered. "What do you mean not entirely?" she asked dryly.
Rosewater felt a claw enclose around her chest. "Right…" she mumbled, blinking her eyes. "But… we still have Stormwhisper. She'll become our new leader."
"Not exactly." Petalwind cringed at her own words. "Stormwhisper was killed in the battle." She said softly.
Rosewater's eyes widened. "Then who will lead-
"Just what I'm trying to figure out." Petalwind mumbled. Rosewater's heart went out to the young she-cat. Her trusted mentor had been killed and she was the only cat who others in ThunderClan could look for advice from at the time.
Rosewater nodded slightly. "Yes… I suppose you'll just have to keep your ears perked for StarClan's whispers of advice."
Petalwind smiled lightly. "I guess so. And we still have to bury all of the dead bodies on our land, we're holding vigil for all of them tonight, and then Squirrelfang and some others are going to be burying them."
Pain stabbed into Rosewater's heart. "Lionfire…" she mumbled.
Stonefang leaned down to rub his cheek against her. "Goldenkit's devastated." He murmured.
"As he should be… can I visit him? He probably doesn't trust anyone right now does him?"
"He really doesn't." Petalwind meowed softly. "But you're not in good enough conditions to go and see him."
"But… I must at least see who we've lost." Rosewater insisted.
Petalwind dipped her head. "They're bodies are splayed across the clearing. Hopefully you'll be able to identify them; they're bodies' reek of rotten blood."
Rosewater gently rolled onto her paws. "I can make it there. I must say goodbye to those we've lost." She insisted.
Petalwind nodded passively. "Take it slow." She ordered. "And Stonefang, go with her. I must look after Rushfall."
Rosewater's head snapped to the medicine cat. "Rushfall? Where is she? How is she?"
"Sleeping in that corner." Petalwind meowed, motioning with her head over to a bundle of black fur. "She's still alive; even though she doesn't look like it. I'll be able to keep her alive, save for numerous scars."
Rosewater looked at Rushfall for a heartbeat. The scrawny WindClan she-cat was splattered with cobwebs, with blood seeping out of the edges. "I'll visit her when she wakes up." She told Stonefang. Her mate nodded in agreement.
Rosewater slowly got up to her paws. Her body ached and popped. "Are you sure you're up to going out there?" Petalwind asked her eyes wide.
Rosewater nodded. "Of co-
"It's Rosewater. You know as well as I that she doesn't take no for an answer." Stonefang interrupted.
Petalwind purred in amusement as Rosewater butted against Stonefang, her eyes jaunting nervously with embarrassment.
"Let's go." Rosewater murmured. She took slow steps out of the medicine cat den, Stonefang beside her every mouse-length.
The sight that she saw when she got out was horrific. Dead bodies were placed all around camp, each groomed as well as possible to reveal the familiar, heart-breaking pelts of loved ones.
Rosewater took in her view as Stonefang pressed comfortingly beside her. Oakstar's pale brown tabby body was among the first she noticed which stabbed at her heart. Stormwhisper's body was placed beside his, they're eyes closed as if they were only sleeping peacefully.
Iceblossom was lying nearby. Though the monster hitting her had caused permanent damage to her lifeless body, she still looked as though she could by alive and well. Her heart dropped as she recognized more of her Clanmates: Swanwhisker, Leafshine, Ravenfire, Thornbird, and Rockheart. And of course, the still body of Lionfire was near.
Rosewater recognized Goldenkit pressed against his father, the spitting image of her brother. Rosewater hobbled over slowly. "Goldenkit." She murmured softly.
Goldenkit raised his head slowly. His fur by his eyes were matted down where fresh tears had slid and his eyes were watering, on the brink of crying again. "What?" he said.
His voice was heart-breaking. The squeaky bouncing voice of a kit was gone, replaced by an empty and hollow one. "It'll be alright. Don't worry, I'll look after you." Rosewater ensured.
"I want to go back to mother." Goldenkit meowed, lowering his face to press it into Lionfire's fur again.
Rosewater cast a helpless glance at Stonefang; she'd never been the best with kits. Her mate gave her a slightly reassuring half-hearted smile. He pressed his nose into her side, encouraging her to carry on.
She stumbled past her brother and sat down where no bodies were littered. Stonefang sat down beside her, his eyes watching her; ever-diligent.
"Where's WindClan at? How are they fairing?" Rosewater asked.
Stonefang smiled weakly. "WindClan is doing well, though they're numbers are few. They returned to their territory and have chosen Burningheart to be their leader. I believe he's traveling to the Moonpool to receive his nine lives sometime soon."
"How did they decide which cat would be leader?" Rosewater asked. "That could help us decide what we do."
"They asked their Clan which cat they trusted the most; Burningheart was mentioned a lot, so they decided he would become the next leader of WindClan; Burningstar."
"He's not changing his name?" Rosewater asked curiously. "Before he'd told me he hated the name Burningheart."
Stonefang shook his head. "He's hoping the 'Burning' in this one will bring out a different burning trait, like determination." He meowed.
Rosewater smiled. "Oh… so as soon as Rushfall is well they'll come back for her then?"
Stonefang nodded. "That's they're plan."
"What about Snowfeather?" Rosewater demanded, remembering her broken former apprentice.
"She's in the warrior's den." Stonefang smiled. "There wasn't enough room in the medicine cat den, but Petalwind said that eventually Snowfeather will have full use of her leg again."
"Good." Rosewater sighed, releasing some tension built up inside of her. "Can I visit her?" She asked.
Stonefang nodded. "I'll go over and see if I can try to get Goldenkit to feel any better." He said, deflated. He cast a look over at the miserable kit. "Come and get me when you're finished." He meowed.
Rosewater purred gently, rubbing her cheek against his before turning away, her gaze set on the warrior's den. She lowered her head as she padded inside, feeling the branches of the bush gently brush against her fur. She raised her eyes when she entered to look around. Many cats were sleeping, covered in cobwebs with dry blood on their fur. She recognized the white pelt of Snowfeather quickly, and quietly made her way over to her sleeping form.
"Snowfeather," She whispered, prodding her gently. "Wake up; I need to talk with you."
Snowfeather's white eyelids rolled themselves back to reveal distant green eyes. "I thought Stormwhisper said I didn't have to go to dawn patrol today." She mumbled.
Rosewater stifled a purr of amusement. Even in this depression, her former apprentice could find light; at least when she thought she was going on dawn patrol. "It's Rosewater, Snowfeather." She meowed.
Snowfeather's eyes brightened. "Rosewater?" she mewed, twisting her neck around to see her former mentor. "Oh! You're alive! You're alive!" she exclaimed, hopping to her paws.
"Careful!" Rosewater stopped her. "You still have your injured leg." She cautioned.
Snowfeather twitched her whiskers irritably. "Oh yeah..." she mumbled, holding it above the ground. "Mouse-brained thing! I'm stuck in here all day according to Petalwind." She hissed.
Rosewater gave her a wiry smile. "You've still have friends popping in and out, though since all of our fresh-kill pile is gone and our borders need resetting, and we need to bury these bodies and find a new leader; I think we'll be pretty busy." She murmured.
Snowfeather nodded her head sadly in agreement. "Yeah… but Redstreak promised he'd stay in camp with me." She said encouragingly.
Rosewater smiled slightly. "Okay Snowfeather, I've got to go, I hope you do well."
Snowfeather nodded. "Take care." She meowed.
Rosewater turned around and padded out of the den, met by the weak light soaking into camp. She looked up at the sky to see dark gray clouds hovering over, partly covering the sun and threatening to cover more. Today has been a miserable day… at least it's nearly over.
"Hey Rosewater, come over here!" Rosewater lifted her head at Stonefang's call. She noticed the large gray tom sitting at the medicine cat den entrance, Petalwind sitting nearby.
Rosewater trotted over, her heart wincing every time she had to go around a body of her beloved Clanmates. She shook her head in shame before reaching her mate. She raised her head to meet his gaze questioningly. "What is it?" she asked.
"It's time to say goodbye." Stonefang murmured his head low.
Rosewater fought back bitter tears as she looked at the scattered cats. "Which one do I go to?" she asked softly, attempting to keep her voice from rising into a squeak. "There are so many loved ones." She whimpered.
Stonefang pressed his nose against her pelt, it felt comforting to Rosewater, but only slightly so. She watched as light rain began to trickle down, ever so gently. She noticed the gray and white head of Hailwhisker peek out of the warrior's den, eyes dull, her head low she crept out to pad over to her mate Rockheart's lifeless body. Many other warriors followed her; each and every one had the same criteria as they spread among the dead ones.
Rosewater breathed in the air slowly. She saw Petalwind get up and walk over to press her nose into Iceblossom's snowy white fur. She too rose to her paws, leaving Stonefang's side she made her way to where her brother lay peacefully; his son snuggled up next to him. She took her place by his side and leaned forward to bury her head in his golden fur, tears streaming down her face in the eerie silence.
Her muscles stiffened as the night went on, going so long without any movement and sitting still as cold rain splashed down on it; she was drenched. It was probably moon-high about now, and no cat had even attempted to leave the spot where they were positioned.
"It's time for a new leader ThunderClan." Petalwind's cry was subtle and surprising after so long sitting under silence. "We can't carry on without one."
"Who would be leader though?" Hailwhisker piped up in a small voice.
Rosewater stayed silent, her tears dried on her face as she stayed motionless by her brother.
"I… I've got a message from StarClan." Petalwind murmured.
That got Rosewater's attention.
"What was it?" Firestripe asked.
"Nothing much… I just heard Iceblossom's voice… she said "remember the key to the future"."
Rosewater's ears swiveled up as she got to her paws, her head snapping towards Petalwind. "What?" she asked, remembering her visit to Leopardheart earlier.
"Remember the key to the future." Petalwind repeated, meeting Rosewater's icy blue eyes.
"That… that's what Leopardheart said to me." She mumbled her heart racing rapidly in her chest.
"What exactly did she say?" Petalwind asked, her green eyes narrowing.
"She said "Remember what you have done, Rosewater. It's the key to the future." Rosewater meowed.
"Rosewater…" Petalwind murmured. "Do you think that means…" she broke off from her sentence.
Hailwhisker lifted her head, her eyes lightening.
Rosewater's head snapped down to little Goldenkit. The small tom sat up, his eyes bright as he chanted.
"Rosestar!" Stonefang encouraged, a broad smile across his face.
"Rosestar!" Leafsparrow called.
"Rosestar." Petalwind meowed, catching Rosewater's eye with a smile.
What? This must be a dream. Rosewater told herself, looking at her Clanmates with pure bewilderment.
"Rosestar." Rosewater was surprised to see Grayblaze raise his head too, his gray fur hung in clumps from the seemingly endless rain that continued to pour down now. Grayblaze gave Rosewater a small nod when she met his gaze.
"Rosestar!" Goldenkit cried again. "Rosestar!"
"Rosestar! Rosestar!" Featherfoot joined in with Firestripe.
"Rosestar!" Snowfeather called.
Rosewater sat in awe, watching her Clanmates around her chant for her to become leader of ThunderClan. Something so many cats dreamed of, but rarely achieved.
"You… you can't be serious." Rosewater protested modestly lowering her head. "I'm not… I can't be the leader." She murmured. "I'm not fit for it."
Petalwind padded over to her, her green eyes burning. "StarClan has spoken Rosewater. Do you accept it or decline?" she questioned.
"… I accept."
Cheers broke out from her Clanmates as they chanted "Rosestar".
"We'll travel to the Moonpool as soon as possible." Petalwind meowed, her eyes bright even in the dim of time itself. "But you must pick a deputy. To watch while we are away."
Rosewater smiled lightly. Was this really happening? Who should she pick as deputy? Stonefang? No. That was too obvious signs of favoritism among her Clan, besides Stonefang wasn't assertive enough to be deputy, he couldn't give out orders.
Dawnpool? Not experienced enough.
Leafsparrow? Petalwind had mentioned she would be retiring.
Rosewater turned away and padded for the high-ledge. I never imagined myself up here; not in a million seasons. She jumped up onto it and turned to face her Clan. Her Clan. They would be her responsibility now.
She looked over them as they gazed up at her, their eyes sparkling with excitement and anxiousness in the dark of night and the dreary of the rain. Perhaps rain is rather a good thing. She thought absently.
"ThunderClan! As I am becoming your new leader, I must assign a new deputy." She called. She was surprised at how naturally the words came to her, simply rolling off her tongue like nothing.
Hailwhisker looked at her in utter surprise but delight. Perfect… Rosewater thought.
"You were the best mentor an apprentice could hope to have, like my mother who diminished so long ago. Will you be my deputy?"
"Hailwhisker! Hailwhisker! Hailwhisker!" The Clan chanted.
Rosewater raised her tail for silence. "Now I need to travel to the Moonpool to receive my nine lives." She meowed. "I'll be back by sunrise." She hopped down from the Highledge, watching as cats swarmed around Hailwhisker to congratulate her.
Rosewater turned to meet Petalwind watching her expectantly. Rosewater sighed. "I suppose so." She murmured. This was still such a shock to her, such a large surprise. Never, not even as a kit had she seen her as a leader. She was ambitious, but not that ambitious.
Petalwind prodded forward a leaf containing herbs on it. "Eat them, they're traveling herbs we have a long night ahead of us." She meowed.
Rosewater nodded, bending down to lap up the foul tasting medicine. "I'm ready." She meowed, looking up at the sky, invaded with dark clouds.
Petalwind nodded. "Let's go."
It didn't take the ThunderClan cats too long to reach to Moonpool. Rosewater and Petalwind both knew the worn path by heart and quickly made their way through the undergrowth and upstream to the cavern.
Rosewater shuddered when she reached the entrance and looked down at the crystal clear creek. Memories of Adderstar hung recent and thick in her head. She looked back to Petalwind who sat patiently watching her.
"Are you ready for this?" the medicine cat asked, her own eyes wide and nervous.
Rosewater nodded taking a deep breath. "I think so." She meowed. I'm ready to become the leader of ThunderClan. Petalwind padded inside of the Moonpool and Rosewater hung near. She saw the dark pool in the corner, its water still. There was no reflection of the moon tonight, only storm clouds were above.
Rosewater padded quietly over to the pool, Petalwind at her side. She gave a large exhale to relax herself and then lay down to lap up some of the cool water.
"Welcome to StarClan Rosewater, I see that you've interrupted our message clearly."
Rosewater lifted her head to meet the clear green eyes of Leopardheart. She broke into a smile. "Leopardheart!" she raced forward to rub her muzzle against the tortoiseshell WindClan she-cat.
Leopardheart purred, lowering her head. "Rosewater, we are here to give you your nine lives, and your new name." She meowed, blinking her eyes.
Rosewater scanned the forest setting, noticing eight more unidentifiable silhouettes on the horizon. "When will they come over here?" she asked.
"They'll come when it's their turn to give you a life." Leopardheart informed her. "Now be brave, young warrior and stay strong; this will be different than you expect."
Rosewater tilted her head questioningly as Leopardheart vanished from her vision. She cast a sideways glance back to see the white and brown patched she-cat sitting a few fox-lengths back. She gave her an encouraging nod and Rosewater faced forward again, taking a deep breath to prepare herself.
The first cat who stepped forward was Iceblossom. The former ThunderClan medicine cat's pure white fur was sleek and shiny; small stars entwined in her. She blinked her blue eyes warmly and gave Rosewater a smile. Rosewater could feel surprise and delight radiating off of Petalwind behind her. Iceblossom dipped her head to them.
"Hello Rosewater," Iceblossom meowed.
Rosewater smiled. "Hello Iceblossom," she mewed. "It's great to see you again!"
Iceblossom purred in amusement. "You too young one." She paused. "I'm here to give you your first life; the gift of mentoring." She leaned forward to touch noses with Rosewater, and the dark cream she-cat felt a jolt course through her, her memory snapping back to when Snowfeather was just an apprentice and passing her skills down to her.
Rosewater gave her pelt a quick shake of surprise, her icy blue eyes rising back up to Iceblossom. "Thank you." She meowed quietly. Iceblossom smiled, turning around to pad back to where the other identifiable cats were.
The second cat padded forward at a slow gate. Rosewater could see a dark gray tabby pelt and scented a she-cat, it was Stormwhisper.
The former deputy walked up to Rosewater with a smile on her face, her light blue eyes shining and muscles rippling underneath her starry fur. "Rosewater." She purred.
"Stormwhisper." Rosewater murmured, feeling a hole form in her when reality sank in that she wouldn't be able to see this cat any more.
"I've come to give you your second life, a gift of love."
"Love?" Rosewater asked curiously. She hadn't known Stormwhisper to have much of a love life besides her mate Oakstar.
"Though I didn't often show my love often, you knew that Oakstar, or rather I knew and he knew. Love is expressed in many ways Rosewater, whether it's through loyalty or protectiveness. But I loved Oakstar and I trust that you love Stonefang as well." Stormwhisper meowed solemly. With that, she leaned forward to touch noses with Rosewater.
A warm feeling was spread throughout Rosewater as images of Stonefang flashed through her head, all the way as far back to when they he was just a kit, exploring the forest in the middle of the night. She smiled in happiness. "Thank you Stormwhisper, I'll miss you." She murmured. Stormwhisper smiled and gave a nod before turning and vanishing back with the other dark shapes of the cats.
The next cat who stepped up wasn't one who Rosewater recognized. It was a small pretty tabby she-cat, probably the age of an apprentice, with bright green eyes. Rosewater looked back at Petalwind with confusion, but the medicine cat shrugged as well.
"Hi Rosewater." The tabby spoke. "My name is Thornpaw, former apprentice of Rushfall and sister of your apprentice, Snowfeather."
Realization sank into Rosewater. So this was Snowfeather's sister, and the cat who Adderstar had brutally slain resulting in Burningstar's banishment. "It's a pleasure to meet you Thornpaw." Rosewater meowed, lowering her head in respect.
Thornpaw nodded back, her eyes holding wisdom beyond her age. "I've come for your third life, the trait of justice." She meowed. "I was killed by Adderstar for no good reason, even though Burningstar came to my rescue, it was too late. I give you this life to judge your Clanmates fairly, use it well." She meowed, reaching up on her hind legs to touch noses with Rosewater.
Rosewater felt a jolt of determination and wittiness, covered by anger over misjudgment. She closed her eyes to take it in, and when she opened them she only saw the tip of Thornpaw's tail disappearing on the horizon.
The next cat that came forward was a small cat too, though Rosewater instantly recognized her. "Brightpaw!" She smiled at her sister.
Brightpaw showed up with a spring in her step. "Hi Rosewater!" She purred. "I'm here to give you your fourth life." She informed, settling down slightly. "It's the gift of tireless energy, for you to have the ability to serve your Clan to the utmost." Brightpaw reached up to poke her nose against Rosewater.
This life felt differently, Rosewater could see herself running; sprinting, but her weariness never catching up with her, just to keep running and running and never stopping. She opened her eyes to Brightpaw still sitting there; the bright ginger she-cat's eyes were dulling. "Goodbye Rosewater, I'll see you… again." She murmured.
Rosewater smiled sadly. "Goodbye Brightpaw." She whispered to her sister. Brightpaw dipped her head before racing back away, her tail streaming behind her.
The next cat to show up was one whom Rosewater hadn't seen in awhile, her glorious mother Morningfeather. Morningfeather's long dark brown tabby fur was hung softly and her green eyes shown with love. "Rosewater." She greeted her daughter, rubbing her head against hers. Rosewater only purred in response.
"With your fifth life I give you the same desire for your Clan that a mother has for her kits." She paused. "I would've fought for the death and furthermore for you and your littermates, Rosewater." She reached over to delicately touch her nose against Rosewater's.
Rosewater nearly jumped out of her skin with surprise at the fierce anger burning inside of her, full of utter determination, so that nothing would get away with hurting her Clan. Rosewater shuddered with the sudden feeling of it all. "Thank you." She meowed quietly to her mother. Morningfeather smiled warmly as she turned to walk out of sight.
The golden tabby pelt that arrived next was a sight for sour eyes. Lionfire smiled at her kindly, large muscles underneath his short fur. "Rosewater! It's great to see you." He meowed.
Rosewater purred in response. "Goldenkit misses you a lot." She murmured.
Lionfire dipped his head sadly. "I trust that you'll take care of him." He insisted.
"Of course!" Rosewater meowed.
"And if you happen to see Larchwing and my other kits, tell them that I love them."
Rosewater nodded more solemly. "I will." She promised.
"Now here is the life that I give you." Lionfire meowed. "The life of loyalty, to what you know is right. To understand this will lead you to look beyond just that of the warrior code." He meowed. He quickly granted her this life and Rosewater felt a mild jolt of finding something new, a discovery for the better, and just like that Lionfire was gone again.
The next cat was barely recognizable for Rosewater. It took her awhile to realize that this well-muscled large light brown tabby tom with gleaming eyes was the Oakstar that she had knew, but here he was in his prime.
"Oakstar!" Rosewater parted her jaws in joy.
Oakstar purred. "Rosewater, how lovely it is to see you again." He meowed.
"I've missed you a lot… thank you, for saving me from Adderstar." She held back tears.
Oakstar's body stiffened. "There are still many secrets behind these events." He murmured.
Rosewater widened her eyes with suspicion. "What? What do you mean?" she demanded.
Oakstar shook his head. "Now is not the time of it. Now is the time for your next life." He meowed. Rosewater quickly shook of her curiosity to prepare herself for this next life. "Here I give you the gift of nobility, certainty, and faith." He meowed. "So that you'll be able to lead your Clan in the way of the warrior code."
He touched her nose and Rosewater felt the life wash over her. "Thanks." She murmured respectfully.
Oakstar smiled, dipping his head to say goodbye as he turned to leave to join the other cats.
The slender tortoiseshell coat of Leopardheart came forward next. Rosewater noticed how, even though she was born a rogue, she had a WindClan cat's qualities, with long legs and a light build. Rosewater remember how Leopardheart's name had formerly been Turtleblood; what a foul name that was.
"Rosewater," Leopardheart purred.
"Leopardheart," Rosewater meowed. "I sure hope that you like the name I gave you, I was just a kit when I did it, I'm glad it didn't turn out to be Turtleheart." She twitched her whiskers with amusement.
Leopardheart smiled. "You did a wonderful job with my name; I hope that you pass it on to any other cats who you name from now on."
Rosewater purred. "We'll see."
"Anyways," Leopardheart shuffled her paws. "I will now give you your eight life, the gift of compassion, you must be mindful of those weaker than you Rosewater, as you always have been." She meowed. She touched her nose to Rosewater's, a warm feeling of wanting to help, help not being a burden, but a wish.
"Goodbye Leopardheart." Rosewater murmured.
"Goodbye." Leopardheart meowed as she vanished in the shade of the surrounding cats.
The final cat to come forward. Rosewater smiled with joy to see the dark gray pelt of Troutclaw. He was now in his youthful years as a young warrior; his fur was a darker shade and his muscles large, his movement swift.
"Hello Rosewater." Troutclaw meowed, his eyes twinkling with kindness and wisdom.
"Hi Troutclaw! Are you here to give me my ninth life or tell me that story that you never got around to."
Troutclaw gave a hearty laugh. "It's always nice to have a leader with a sense of humor." He meowed. "And yes, I will be giving you your ninth life." He added. "It's the gift of courage, to defend your Clan in battle as whole-heartedly as you can muster." He reached forward and Rosewater felt a spark, a light as if signifying the glory of achievement. She took in a deep breath and met Troutclaw's eyes before looking around to see that more StarClan cats had gathered around.
"Rosewater, you have gained your nine lives and been approved as the new leader of ThunderClan." Troutclaw announced. "You have met goals that StarClan set out for you before we expected, achieving in ending Adderstar's massacres and unraveling mysteries." He paused.
"I grant you the name Rosestar! Leader of ThunderClan!"
"Rosestar! Rosestar! Rosestar! Rosestar!"
StarClan chanted loudly. Glory encased over Rosestar as she stood in front of the whole of StarClan.
"Rosestar!" Troutclaw continued. "Lead your Clan to its peak!"
The image vanished from Rosestar with only the chanting of her new name ringing in her ears. "Rosestar! Rosestar!"
"Rosewater! Er- Rosestar! You're back!"
Rosestar smiled and broke into a sprint when she saw Stonefang standing in the entrance to ThunderClan camp; his green eyes were exhausted though he had a large grin on his face. He wound his gray body around her dark cream one and touched noses with her.
Rosestar purred. "I'm back Stonefang, I'm back." She purred, looking over the lake at the rising sun. She leaned against Stonefang's solid build as she stared at the horizon. The pinks and oranges of the sunrise blended into the sky, evading the dark clouds of their space.
"It's finally time for an era of peace." She murmured contently.
Stonefang just touched his nose against her ear, and together they watched as the sun rose, revealing a new time.