Hey guys! I know it's been forever since my last update. That's because I was pretty busy (and lost muse for a while). But chapter three is finally up! Hope it was worth the wait! Enjoy! Also I edited the prophecy a little bit in the prologue of this story. You might want to go back and look at that some time.
Chapter 3: Dawn Patrol
Badgerpaw awoke from a sharp prodding in his side. He opened his eyes to see a blurry image of Icepaw standing over him. "Wake up, sleepy head," she said. "We have dawn patrol with Hawkstrike and Braveclaw, remember?"
"Keep it down over there!" came a hiss from Thunderpaw's nest. "Some of us are trying to sleep!" Icepaw just rolled her eyes.
"Just meet us by the entrance when you get up," Icepaw mewed quietly before disappearing through the den exit. Badgerpaw yawned and sat up. My first dawn patrol...not my favorite thing so far. A quarter moon had passed since Badgerpaw's and Maplepaw's apprentice ceremony. Badgerpaw had learned how to hunt, his first prey being a plump vole (which Hawkstrike had said Honeyear would enjoy). Fighting came almost like a sixth sense to the young warrior-to-be, mastering each move as they came. He even took Thunderpaw down within a few heartbeats in his first mock fight with the older apprentice, much to the sandy tom's embarrassment. Thunderpaw claimed to have let him win, but Badgerpaw wouldn't let him forget it anytime soon. His whiskers twitched in amusement at the memory. That flea brain is all talk and no fight. Hawkstrike was extremely proud of his apprentice, saying he'd be a terrific ForestClan warrior someday. This morning he was to go on dawn patrol. Badgerpaw gave his pelt a few licks before standing and shaking himself off. He stepped over Thunderpaw's twitching tail and exited the den. Meeting the patrol at the camp entrance, the four left.
"Foxstar told us to patrol the MarshClan border," Hawkstike, who was leading the patrol, announced whilst they padded through the territory. "Apparently yesterday's evening patrol reported MarshClan scents on our side of the border." Badgerpaw's heart sped up slightly. What if we get into a fight? It'd be my first fight with another clan! he thought in excitement. He started imagining tearing his claws through fur and flesh, biting into an enemy cat's tail, chasing them out of his territory. Since he was daydreaming, he didn't realize that the patrol had stopped behind a bush near the MarshClan border, and he bumped right into Braveclaw.
"Oof!" Badgerpaw grunted, falling back. He shook his head to clear it from his fantasizing and looked up at an irritated Braveclaw. "Sorry," he muttered, getting to his paws and taking a place next to Icepaw, who was trying hard not to laugh. The young apprentice's ears went hot in embarrassment. "It's not funny," Badgerpaw mumbled.
Icepaw looked at him. "I know, I'm sorry," she said, a glimmer of amusement still in her amber eyes. A glare from Hawkstrike silenced the two apprentices.
"If you're through chatting, we can get on with the patrol," the warrior growled. "Now, all we're going to do is renew the scent marker and look for any fresh traces of MarshClan scent," he said curtly, shooting a glance at Badgerpaw as though he could read his thoughts of attack. The patrol stepped out into the open from their shelter in the bush. As soon as they did so, a wave of MarshClan scent hit Badgerpaw, and he sneezed in disgust, sticking out his tongue at the putrid smell. Hawkstrike sniffed the air and growled, causing the others to glance at him. He was standing with tense muscles and bristling fur, his claws extending out into the forest floor.
Badgerpaw opened his mouth to ask what the problem was, but he was suddenly bowled over. A startled gasp escaped his throat, and he glanced up. A MarshClan apprentice, about as old as Icepaw by the look of him, was standing over him. He had dusty brown fur, which was ruffled and spiky, his amber eyes gleamed with hostility, and his black striped tail lashed to and fro. Claws pierced Badgerpaw's back as he was pinned down. All of his training came back to him at once, and he went limp, remembering the basic trick of appearing to be defeated. The enemy apprentice laughed and bent down to give Badgerpaw a nip on the neck. "Typical ForestClan," the tom jeered. "Giving up as soon as the fight starts!" At the last moment, Badgerpaw launched upward with all his might, throwing the now startled MarshClan cat onto his back. Badgerpaw scrambled to his feet and tried to leap on top of the thrown apprentice, but he was too slow and the MarshClan cat jumped to his feet as well. The two squared off for a moment.
"Get out of my territory!" growled Badgerpaw. "MarshClan scum!"
"Oh I will," the apprentice snarled. "Once I tear you to shreds!" He opened his mouth to say more but was cut short by Badgerpaw, who had thrown himself under the enemy, reaching out to hook his paws around his hind legs, causing him to fall onto his side. Badgerpaw was on him in an instant, pinning him down onto his back and raking his hind paws with claws extended over and over on his belly. The apprentice screached and squirmed, but Badgerpaw kept a firm grip on him. He raked the cat's belly a few more times before jumping off, sending his foe howling back into his own territory with a quick scratch across his face. Badgerpaw looked around to see if anyone needed his help. Hawkstrike and Braveclaw seemed fine, the warriors they were fighting not as experienced as the two senior warriors in battle. He watched in admiration as his mentor bit and clawed the enemy warrior fiercely, not letting up for a second. A squeal from Icepaw snapped Badgerpaw back into reality, and he looked over to see Icepaw pinned down under a warrior much bigger than herself. He had her pinned on her stomach and was clawing viciously at her back. Anger engulfed Badgerpaw and he rushed to his friend's aid. Badgerpaw rammed into the warrior's side, surprising him and causing him to stumble, knocking him off of Icepaw. The white she cat jumped to her paws quickly, although she was left rather weak from the ruthless attack. Blood matted her fur, covering her body. Despite the wounds, she aided Badgerpaw in attacking the warrior, clearly furious. They closed in on different sides, nipping at his paws and clawing his pelt in unison so he had nowhere to run except back into his own territory. The warrior swiped at Icepaw, only to have Badgerpaw claw his exposed side. Attacking Badgerpaw created the same outcome from Icepaw. Reluctantly the warrior turned tail and ran back to his own territory, clearly unhappy at being outsmarted by two apprentices. Panting, Badgerpaw turned to Hawkstirke and Braveclaw to help finish off the rest, only to watch the other intruders run back into MarshClan territory as well. The ForestClan warriors stood in silence for a moment, the only sound being the heavy breathing of the injured cats.
Hawkstrike broke the silence after a few moments. "Is everyone alright?" Badgerpaw glanced at Icepaw, who seemed to have the worst injuries out of them all. She had claw scratches all across her back, leaking blood onto her snowy white coat. Her left eye had a vicious gash across it, swelling it shut. Blood fell onto the forest floor from a scrape that extended from her shoulder to her chest, and she stood awkwardly, as though one of her paws had been hurt.
Badgerpaw's eyes grew wide. "Icepaw?" The young she cat didn't seem to hear him. Instead, she stumbled forward, losing her footing and falling to the ground. She let out a strange, whiny growl and lay still. "We have to get her back to camp!" Badgerpaw screeched.
Hawkstrike nodded tensely. "Braveclaw and I will carry her. You run ahead and tell Foxstar what happened, and tell Snowbreeze to get herbs ready." With a quick nod, Badgerpaw was off. After a short run, he burst into the camp and went straight to Foxstar's den.
He stood outside the entrance for a moment, calling out Foxstar's name frantically. "Come in, Badgerpaw," she said. "What's wrong? Did something happen on the patrol?" Badgerpaw quickly relayed the story to Foxstar. As he told her what happened, she grew more and more tense, the light of fury growing in her eyes and her fur bristling. The ForestClan leader was silent for a heartbeat before speaking. "Those foxhearts! How dare they invade our territory like that! And the nerve of the warrior who attacked Icepaw!" She snorted in rage. "Go tell Snowbreeze. Icepaw will need to be treated immediately." Badgerpaw, who had anxiously been kneading the ground with his front paws, nodded and darted out of the den. Curious murmurs were starting to spread through camp, but Badgerpaw didn't care. All that mattered at the moment was alerting Snowbreeze.
"Oh, hello Badgerpaw," Snowbreeze said in surprise as the young tom busted frantically into the medicine den. "Is something-"
"Icepaw is hurt!" the black and white apprentice interrupted the medicine cat, not allowing her to finish. "We were attacked at the border by a group of MarshClan cats and-"
Now it was Snowbreeze's turn to interrupt. "How badly?" she asked sharply. "Maplepaw, go fetch some marigold and cobwebs," the medicine cat addressed her apprentice. Badgerpaw quickly described the white apprentice's injuries as his sister whisked to the herb storage.
"They're probably almost here," he finished, once again beginning to knead the ground. Maplepaw had returned with the required herbs and started to prepare a nest for Icepaw, her eyes shining with a mixture of fear and excitement. This will be the first time she has to treat a cat, Badgerpaw realized. I hope she's good. Icepaw needs her. Just as panic began rising in Badgerpaw, pawsteps were heard echoing in the entrance tunnel. Icepaw! The apprentice bounded over to the entrance in time to meet the rest of the patrol as they tensely carried the young she-cat into the den. Icepaw looked worse than she did when Badgerpaw had last seen her; her fluffy white fur was almost completely matted with scarlet, and she was still losing blood at an alarming rate. The white apprentice was out cold, eerily still. Her breathing was extremely shallow, and she was gasping in short pants. "Icepaw, hold on, Snowbreeze will help you," Badgerpaw whispered into his clanmate's ear as she was carried past. As they lay her in the prepared nest, Badgerpaw briskly padded over. He lay down next to her motionless body, tucking his paws under his chest and staring helplessly at her bloody, injured form. The apprentice began licking the blood from his friend, the sharp, metallic tang flooding his mouth. Snowbreeze began applying herbs to the gash on Icepaw's chest, chewing a poultice of marigold and licking it into place. Maplepaw applied cobwebs to the wounds with a little bit of help from her mentor, working alongside the medicine cat in a systematic way. An eerie hush had settled in the medicine den, the only audible noise the constant shuffling of the medicine cats, along with the rhythmic rasping of Badgerpaw's tongue against Icepaw's coat and the occasional order from Snowbreeze to Maplepaw. She'll be okay, she has to be, Badgerpaw thought desperately. She'll be fine, and we'll be training together again in no time.
It was past sun high when the medicine cats finished treating the injured apprentice, and most had vacated the medicine den, though Badgerpaw loyally remained. Having finished grooming the young she cat, who was still out cold and showing no sign of waking up soon, he was resting his chin on his weary paws, his pelt brushing against hers. The white she cat had cobweb in several areas on her back, and the medicine cats had created a covering for her gashed eye from a beech leaf which held a poultice of chewed up celandine leaves. The cobweb on Icepaw's chest had soaked through from the amount of blood pouring out of it, and Snowbreeze was in the process of removing and reapplying. Maplepaw was returning the unused leaves to their place in the store. "You know, Badgerpaw," Snowbreeze meowed as she fixed the webs into place, "it's past sun high. You should go get something to eat."
"Not hungry," mumbled the young tom, resting his chin on his paws with a sigh. Any appetite Badgerpaw would have otherwise had had flooded from his body due to worry about Icepaw's injured state.
"Nonsense," Snowbreeze mewed curtly. "You haven't eaten all day. You have to keep your strength up, especially since a war seems to be in the makings." She paused and looked down at the small figure of Badgerpaw, noticing the dull light of sorrow in his green, luminous eyes. With a sigh, she added more gently, "I know you are worried about her, but there's nothing you can do for her for now. That is your sister and I's job. If you really want to help, you need to go eat so that you will have the strength to ward off any MarshClan intruders that could end up hurting her further."
Badgerpaw's green eyes raised to meet the amber gaze of the wise cat, and, with a resigned sigh, stood to pad hesitantly to the exit of the den, stealing one last glance back at the unconscious form of Icepaw before leaving. As he entered the clearing of the camp, he blinked in the bright sunlight, unaccustomed to the glare from being underground in the medicine den too long. The young tom made his way to the fresh kill pile, tail dragging and ears laid back, with a dull, distracted look in his eyes. Ignoring the sympathetic stares of his clan mates, he picked a small, scrawny mouse from the pile and carried it to a secluded corner of the camp. The apprentice glanced around the clearing, taking in the scene around him. Cats were sharing tongues by now, and judging by the worried look on all of their faces, they all had one thing in mind: what was going to happen between them and MarshClan? The senior warriors were huddled at one end of camp, talking in quick whispers. They're probably discussing what we should do, Badgerpaw thought. Good. Foxstar will want to take action. The black and white tom dug his claws into the ground in fury. I won't rest until that warrior pays for hurting Icepaw.
So there's chapter three! Again, I hope you enjoyed and that it was worth the wait. Please leave me a review and tell me how I'm doing!