The fourth book in the HawkClan series. Newtstep and Yellowstar are settling in well to their new positions, but with Dustleap still around and a threataning new prophercy around Yellowstar, the two cats must rely on each other. Meanwhile, Smokestorm may be betrayed again, though it may not be Hailwhisker. Hickoryheart struggles to keep his feelings for Blackbreeze under control and Stormtooth is haunted with something in his youth...

1. Prolouge

A dark brown she cat padded across the moonlit ground. A muscular brown tom and a silver she cat followed. "Mother, where are we meeting Briarberry?" the silver she cat asked.

"We're not too far away Rainstar" the brown she cat said.

"There she is!" the brown tom said. A white she cat with brown patches sat on the ledge of a cliff. The brown she cat hissed when she saw the cat next to her. "I said HawkClan cats only Briarberry!" she spat. Briarberry dipped her head. "Mousestar followed me Hawkstar" she said. Hawkstar softened her gaze, then nodded.

"Alright, so what are you going to talk about Hawk?" Mousestar asked her sister playfully. Hawkstar smiled and faked a swipe at her sisters ear, then both got serious. "It's about Hickoryheart and Blackbreeze" Haswkstar said. "I see" the brown tom said. "But why?"

"It's connected with Stormtooth Thrushstar" Hawkstar replied.

"But what do two young cats have to do with our brother?" Mousestar asked.

"I don't know yet" Hawkstar said.

"Is it with one of their future kits?" Briarberry asked.

"Do you know if they are having kits?" Rainstar asked. "They aren't mates yet."

"I have a strange feeling they will" Briarberry said.

"Then that means..." Mousestar said, but she was cut off by a sound. "Did you hear that?"

"Yes" Hawkstar said. Thrushstar, Rainstar and Briarberry watched as a yellow she cat and a golden brown tom, the colour of Hawkstar's paws moved out of the bushes. The yellow she cat pressed her head on Thrushstar's fur and the golden brown tom sat next to Mousestar. "Leopardclaw, Lionstar, how nice of you to join us" Hawkstar said warmly. Lionstar purred.

"I heard you were talking about two young cats" he said.

2. The first sorting

Newtstep attacked his brother, his claws stained with blood. "I will not let you harm my kits!" he yelled. Dustleap dug his claws into his chest. Newtstep yowled in pain. "Why was it you with the prophercy!?" he asked. "It should of been me! I should of been the stronger brother!"

"I thought we were the best of friends!" Newtstep yelled.

"We were" Dustleap said, pinning him down. "Goodbye Newtstar."

Newtstep woke up gasping. He breathed slower and slower until his breathing became normal again. Just a dream he thought. "Are you okay?" a voice very much like Dustleap asked. Newtstep startingly turned around and saw Smokestorm. "Oh, Smokestorm! Sorry, I'm fine" he said and shook his head.

"Is this about Dust..." Smokestorm started.

"Don't use that word around me!" Newtstep snapped. Smokestorm flinched. Newtstep sighed. "I'm sorry I yelled at you" he said. Immediately, another thought came into his mind. "How did you know?"

"Can I tell you later?" Smokestorm asked. Newtstep nodded.

"Can you lead the dawn patrol?" he asked. "Take Hickoryheart, Blackbreeze and Spiderclaw with you." Smokestorm nodded and led the two new warriors and Mallowflower's mate out of the den.Newtstep then headed out of the den himself, moving towards the nursery. As usual, Stormkit and Nightkit were play fighting outside, though they stopped when they saw their father. "Daddy!" Stormkit squealed.

"Do you want to play badger attack?" Nightkit asked.

"Badger attack?" Newtstep asked.

"There's a cat pretending to be a badger and the other one, two or more cats try to bring the badger down" Stormkit said. Newtstep smiled. "Did you make this game up yourself?" he asked.

"Yeah!" Nightkit replied.

"Well, I'll definantly play" Newtstep said.

"Yay!" the two kits yelled.

"I'll be the badger" Newtstep said, getting into a somewhat threataning position.

"HawkClan, attack!" Stormkit yelled. Nightkit ran next to him as they leapt onto their father's back. Newtstep tried to shake them off, but softly. Stormkit pretended to fall off, while Nightkit was trying to hold on. Newtstep playfully swatted at Stormkit, though he dodged his blow. Feathersplash smiled as she and Mallowflower poked their heads out of the nursery. Newtstep pretended to fall as Stormkit leapt towards his chest. "We win!" Stormkit yowled.

"Not yet!" Feathersplash said. "You have to beat that badger's three companions." The two kits turned around and saw Feathersplash, Mallowflower and Stormtooth in their badger like positions. Meanwhile, Newtstep got up and circled them before crouching down next to Feathersplash. "No fair!" Stormkit shouted. However, the four badgers attacked. Stormkit playfully hissed and swatted at Mallowflower and Newtstep, while Nightkit pawed at Feathersplash's face and faked a swat at Stormtooth. Mallowflower fell in defeat, followed by Stormtooth. "I haven't had that much fun since my time as deputy!" Stormtooth huffed.

"I need to tell Spiderclaw this" Mallowflower also huffed. Feathersplash fell after a long struggle, then finally,  Newtstep fell for the second time. "We win!" Stormkit yelled. "Again!"

"Alright, you win this time" Newtstep said.

3. The wrong message

Hickoryheart followed Smokestorm across the moor after their border patrol. Blackbreeze walked next to him and Spiderclaw brought up the rear. Hickoryheart looked across the moor, ignoring the feeling he had clawing at his belly. "Are you alright?" Blackbreeze asked. Hickoryheart bristled and swiped at her, claws unsheathed. Blackbreeze slinked back, while the two older warriors stared at Hickoryheart in shock. Hickoryheart quickly shook his head. "Blackbreeze! I never meant..." he started, but was cut off by his friend.

"Are you mouse brained!?" Blackbreeze asked. "I was kicked out of my birth clan and now my friend tries to attack me!?"

"I'm not like your birth clan!" Hickoryheart hissed.

"You're starting to be like everyone in my birth clan when I was chased out!" Blackbreeze shouted and stormed off towards the camp. "Blackbreeze..." Hickoryheart started, but stopped when Spiderclaw put his tail on his shoulder. "We know it's an accident" he said.

"I never meant to lash out" Hickoryheart said. "She just startled me."

"She'll know that it's an accident eventually" Smokestorm said. "Now, let's go home."

4. The first battle

Yellowstar chewed a part of his lark and swallowed. "Father?" a voice interuppted him from the rest of the lark. "Come in Hickoryheart" Yellowstar said, then bit off another piece of his lark. The brown warrior stepped into his father's den, head low. "What's wrong my kit?" he asked.

"I tried to attack Blackbreeze!" he cried. Yellowstar's eyes widened.

"Why!?" he asked.

"It was an accident! She just startled me and..." Hickoryheart trailed off. Yellowstar stood up and wrapped his tail around his shoulders. "Hickoryheart, there's something I should of told you..." he said, but was interrupted by a screech. Hickoryheart rushed out quickly, while Yellowstar slowly poked his head out. He yowled in shock as he saw Flamestar charging into the camp. Yellowstar quickly thought, then decided. "HawkClan, attack!" he yelled, then jumped off the ledge. It was his first battle as leader and he wasn't going to let Flamestar's clan take their territory. He lunged at the grey tom, claws fully extended. Flamestar yowled in pain as he tried to shake off the new leader. Yellowstar tumbled off, but quickly got up and knocked him over. Flamestar hissed and lunged, slashing the side of Yellowstar's muzzle. Yellowstar bit Flamestar's face and the muscular tom backed away. "You're a new leader, but you impress me Yellowstar" Flamestar said. Yellowstar hissed.

"You don't seem like the strong leader that I thought Flamestar. The wound you inflicted on me isn't even deep!" he yowled. Flamestar's eyes flared with anger and flung at Yellowstar's throat, but he swiftly moved out of the way. Flamestar snarled. Yellowstar yowled in triumph. "Retreat!" Flamestar yowled. As the clan disappeared into the forest, Yellowstar heard greiving.  He slowly slipped his head into the nursery and saw Mallowflower and Spiderclaw comforting Sweetwind. "No!" Yellowstar yelled, flinging himself at his mother. Mallowflower breifly left, then came back with her distraught littermates.

"What happened?" Smokestorm asked.

"Windclaw died protecting me" Mallowflower said. "She was a great mother."

"She was indeed" Yellowstar said. Hailwhisker placed his head on Windclaw's cold chest fur. 

"Goodbye Mother" he said. Sweetwind still greived, until she looked at her brother.

"Your wound looks bad" she said.

"It doesn't hurt, really!" Yellowstar said.

"All wounds need treating, don't you remember how Thrushstar lost one of his lives because he refused to see a medicine cat and his wounds got infected?" Sweetwind asked.

"I guess you're right" Yellowstar sighed and left with his sister.

5. The new kits

Three moons later.

Smokestorm led Spiderclaw to the nursery. He quickly ran to his mates side as Mallowflower screeched in pain. "It's okay Mallowflower" Spiderclaw said. Mallowflower was about to say something, but the arrival of the first kit, an orange kit with light brown markings, stopped her. Marigoldstem, who got her medicine cat name a few moons ago, fed Mallowflower some rasberry leaves. "It's a she cat" Sweetwind said.

"How about Morningkit?" Spiderclaw asked. Mallowflower nodded, then yowled in pain again. A grey kit came out. "A tom" Sweetwind said.

"Stonekit" Mallowflower said, then yowled as the third kit came out. A silver cat squirmed towards it's mother. "Another she cat" Marigoldstem said.

"Hm..." Spiderclaw thought for a while, then said, "Shimmerkit." Mallowflower nodded, then the final kit came out. The kit was black, with a white chest, paws and muzzle. "Another tom" Marigoldstem said, feeding Mallowflower more rasberry leaves. "Frostkit" Mallowflower said. Smokestorm looked at his sister's kits. What gorgeous future warriors! he thought. Spiderclaw warmly looked at his precious kits. "They're going to be great warriors" he said.

"Yes they are" Mallowflower said, giving Frostkit, the biggest kit, a swift lick.

6. Haunted

Stormtooth snarled and lunged at the lumbering creature above him. However, the creature knocked him down with with it's huge paw. Gasping for breath, Stormtooth tried to scramble to his paws. Slowly, he got up, but then saw a cream coloured she-cat being shook around, limp and lifeless. "Dawnlight!" Stormtooth yowled, then saw his mate fall to the ground. 

Stormtooth woke up with a jolt. He looked around panicked, then breathed normally. He got up and walked out of the elders den. "Stormtooth?' Feathersplash asked, seeing her grandfather and friend go past the nursery. Stormtooth turned to her. "Oh! Hi Feathersplash!" he said. "I was just going for a walk."

"I was about to go for a walk too" Feathersplash said.

"Then should we walk together?' Stormtooth asked.

"Sure!" Feathersplash replied

"I'll come too" another voice said. Stormtooth saw Smokestorm come out of the warriors den. Stormtooth nodded and the three cats were about to go, until one last cat yowled. "Where are you going?" Newtstep asked.

"We're going for a walk" Feathersplash said. "Mallowflower will look after our kits if I don't come back by dawn."

"Our kits are almost ready to become apprentices" Newtstep said. "I'll come too."

"I don't need your protection all of the time Newtstep" Feathersplash said.

"I feel that troubles coming" Newtstep said. Feathersplash nodded, while Stormtooth thought. Maybe it's a bit too dangerous. However, he shook it off and went with the queen, warrior and deputy towards the moor. Newtstep stiffened as he smelled the air. "What's wrong?" Stormtooth asked.

"Badgers" Newtstep snarled. Stormtooth hissed, then saw a group of the creatures coming towards them. As Stormtooth backed away, the three other cats slashed and bit the badgers. Stormtooth just watched in horror. No! he thought, watching Feathersplash being tossed around by a badger, just like the way his mate was.

7. Help

Newtstep slashed the badger who had his mate in it's jaws. The badger stumbled and released the limp Feahersplash. "Feathersplash?" he asked.

"Newtstep, behind you!" Smokestorm yelled. Newtstep turned around and leapt out of the way of another badger's death blow, but was hit by another badger. Slowly, he got up and saw a cream coloured pelt. It was one of Flamestar's clan's cats Blossompuddle. She attacked the badger, followed by Smokestorm and two of the other clan's cats Breezestorm and Clawpaw. Newtstep leapt onto the badger as well, killing it. "Thanks for your help" Newtstep said.

"No problem" Blossompuddle said.

"We better go now Blossompuddle" Breezestorm said.

"I know" she said. Clawpaw said nothing, but started to leave. Breezestorm narrowed his eyes at the young cat, but followed. Blossompuddle then left, following the other two cats. Newtstep watched the three cats go, then turned to his mate. He put his head on her chest fur, then backed away as he felt her moving. "Wake up, wake up!" Newtstep said excitedly. Feathersplash slowly opened her eyes and looked at her mate. "A...Are the badgers gone?' she asked weakly.

"Yeah, they're gone" Newtstep said. Feathersplash smiled.

"I've cheated death again" she croaked.

"Yes you did" Newtstep said. Feathersplash slowly got up and, supported by Smokestorm and Newtstep, began to walk towards camp.

8. The truth

Hickorryheart saw Blackbreeze slowly come out of the warriors den, followed by Copperstrike. They were talking to each other and looking at each other somewhat affectionately. Anger clawed Hickoryheart's belly. However, he just turned his head to the fresh kill pile. He walked towards it and grabbed out a squirrel. He turned and saw Blackbreeze and Copperstrike sharing a mouse. Angrily, he thrust his squirrel away and stormed back into the warriors den. His siblings Timberfall and Daisypool were still sleeping, along with the eldest warrior Wolfpelt. Hickoryheart sighed in releif and sat in his nest. He listened to his brother's light snoring, then fell asleep. "Hickoryheart!" a she cat's voice woke him up. Daisypool nosed her brother to his paws. Hickoryheart shook his pelt, then dodged the playful blow of Breezestorm. Daisypool laughed, along with the other young warrior. "What's going on?" Hickoryheart asked.

"I've been meeting Daisypool since I first saw her when we were apprentices" Breezestorm said.

"What!?" Hickoryheart asked, shocked by his sister's forbidden love.

"Unfortunately, Flamestar found out" Breezestorm said. Hickoryheart smiled.

"So, you're in HawkClan now?" he asked. Breezestorm nodded. Daisypool shifted her paws uneasily. "What's wrong Daisy?" Hickoryheart asked, before getting swatted at by an annoyed Daisypool.

"Never call me Daisy again!" she yelled, then smiled to herself.

"You're expecting kits, aren't you?" Hickoryheart asked. Daisypool nodded.

"Yes, but that's not why I'm smiling" she said. Hickoryheart looked and saw Blackbreeze sitting by the entrance of the warriors den. "Copperstrike told me you love me" she said. Hickoryheart walked over to his friend. "I never meant to swat at you on that patrol. All I had was overwhelming feelings that I couldn't control." Blackbreeze pressed her head against Hickoryheart's.

"It's okay Hickoryheart" she said. "I think it's time."

"You mean..." Hickoryheart started, but was cut off by Blackbreeze's purring.

"We're not friends anymore. We're mates."

9. Snow

Yellowstar watched from his den as snow fell. Stormkit and Nightkit tumbled and disappeared in the white blanket. Slowly, he stepped out and his paw touched the cold sandy ledge. He soon padded across and wandered across. Marigoldstem emerged from the medicine den, along with her mentor. "Great! How are we going to find herbs in the snow!" Sweetwind growled. Yellowstar shook his head.

"Don't you remeber when we were kits Sweetwind?' Yellowstar asked.

"I don't want to remember" Sweetwind growled, pain in her eyes. Yellowstar nodded sadly. He remembered that Sweetwind had a crush on Brokensnow's littermate Crowkit. However, he died of greencough a moon before they became apprentices. Sweetwind hadn't been the same since. "I'll see you later sis" he said and padded across the moor. As he padded across more, he thought about his dearly departed mate. I'll be there Brokensnow Yellowstar thought, then entered the snow covered forest. It wasn't long until he got the scent of another cat. Russetfire?! he thought. Yellowstar watched as the she cat jumped onto him. She hissed, then stopped. "Yellowstripe!" the she cat said.

"Yellowstar" he said. Russetfire smiled. Her russet coloured pelt was shining in little sun in the sky and she looked healthy, apart from being a little thin.

"So, how's the clan been?" she asked.

"Oh Russetfire, there's been so much going on!" Yellowstar said. "My kits have become warriors!"

"What are their warrior name's?" she asked.

"hickorypaw is Hickoryheart, Timberpaw is Timberfall, Daisypaw is Daisypool, even Marigoldpaw has her medicine cat name Marigoldstem."

"What about my litter mates?" she asked.

"Mallowflower's given birth to Spiderclaw's kits, Morningkit, Stonekit, Frostkit and Shimmerkit!" Yellowstar started. "Hailwhisker's doing fine too."

"WWhat about Smokestorm!?" she asked.

"Shall we go and see him?' he asked. Russetfire nodded happily.

10. The reunion

Smokestorm lay in his sister's nest. Russetfire's scent had been stronger than ever, so he lat Breezestorm take his own nest so he could sleep on her's. "Come on Lazystorm" his brother said, nudging him to his paws.

"Hailwhisker! I was hoping for a few more heartbeats of sleep!" Smokestorm groaned.

"It's snowing!" Hailwhisker said. Smokestorm shook off his sleepiness.

"Why didn't you tell me?!" he asked. Hailwhisker smiled.

"Let's go" he said.Smokestorm ran out of the warriors den and jumped ito the snow at the bottom of the ledge. Fortunately, he wasn't the only warrior playing in the snow. Mallowflower and Spiderclaw were play fighting like their kits, Breezestorm, Daisypool, Hickoryheart and Blackbreeze were chasing after leaves that fell and even Newtstep and Feathersplash were having fun, playfully leaping at each other and snuggling together. However, all but the kits stopped playing as they saw Yellowstar and another figure walking towards them. "No..." Feathersplash started. Newtstep yowled and Stormtooth backed towards the ledge.

"Russetfire!" Smokestorm yelled, running to his long lost sister. Russetfire, snuggled into his fur.

"I'm sorry I left" Russsetfire said.

"Everybody thought you were dead" Smokestorm said. "Everbody but me." Russetfire reluctantly backed away from her brother.

"Thank you for thinking that I was still alive" she said.

"Russetfire..." Copperstrike said hesitantly. Russetfire snuggled into her friends fur.

"I missed you as much as much as Smokestorm" she said, then backed away. Copperstrike nervously smiled. Smokestorm knew the massive crush he had on her and he didn't really mind. Mallowflower and Hailwhisker rushed to their sister. "Russetfire, you're alive!" Hailwhisker yelled. Mallowflower smiled and pressed her head against her sister's. "I've heard you have kits" Russetfire said

"I do" Mallowflower said. "Here they... Frostkit! Stonekit! Get off Sweetwind!" she yelled. The two toms reluctantly got off the medicine cat and shuffled towards their mother. Morningkit and Shimmerkit got a ride on their father's back. "What gorgeous kits!" she exclaimed. Mallowflower and Spiderclaw smiled and watched affectionately as the four kits played.

11. The badger attack

Stormtooth woke up to the lonely silence of the the elders den.  He had become quite comfortable without the noise, unlike when he was deputy. However, he still felt empty without the noise. Slowly, he padded out of the den, then wondered to the fresh kill pile. "Stormtooth!" Stormkit and Nightkit yelled, running towards the elderly tom.

"What is it young ones?" Stormtooth asked.

"We got you a vole!" Stormkit exclaimed, holding it by it's tail. Stormtooth smiled.

"You wanted to give it to me?" he asked.

"Actually, it was meant to be for Greykit, but he was already eating a magpie" Nightkit said. "So Feathersplash told us to give it to you."

"It's fine" Stormtooth said warmly, then rolled his brilliant amber eyes when they play fought. They're going to be the best warriors he thought. Then, he sat and took the first bite of his vole. Feathersplash settled down next to him. "You like the vole?' she asked.

"It's one of my favourite pieces of prey" Stormtooth replied, smiling. Feathersplash smiled. "Where's your mate?" he asked.

"He's sorting out the dawn patrol. Copperstrike is leading it and Russetfire and Smokestorm are definantly in it, but Breezestorm and Hickoryheart are fighting over the last spot" Feathersplash replied. Stormtooth looked at his vole, then looked back up alarmingly when he saw a cat stagger into camp. "Smokestorm?" Stormtooth asked, noticing the young grey warrior. Russetfire, Breezestorm, Copperstrike and Hickoryheart followed. All had injuries, Hickoryheart having the least, with only a wrenched claw and a small flesh wound on his chest. "What happened!?" Stormtooth asked.

"They're coming!" Russetfire yelled.

"Who's coming?" Feathersplash asked.

"Not who, what!" Hickoryheart shouted, pointing to a lumbering creature. Stormtooth's eyes widened with shock. All he thought about when he saw it was the encounter he had when Dawnlight died and the one when Feathersplash was almost killed. He felt himself knocked off his paws, even more breathless then he was when Dawnlight was around. "Stormtooth!" he heard Feathersplash's voice. Stormtooth tried top answer, but he was still out of breath. He got onto his paws painfully. "I'm okay" he croaked. Feathersplash nodded, then pushed him towards the medicine den to keep safe. Sweetwind lay low on the cold stone. "Are you alright Stormtooth?" she asked.

"I'm just out of breath" Stormtooth replied.

"Would you like some coltsfoot?" Sweetwind asked.

"I'll be fine" he replied. She nodded, then signalled him to lay low next to her. Stoprmtooth only heard the ripping of flesh and the screeches of cats. "I think it's safe now" Sweetwind said. Stormtooth dipped his head, then crept out of the den.

12. The new apprentices

Newtstep saw the elderly grey pelt of Stormtooth creeping out of the medicine den. "Are you alright?" he asked.

"I'm fine now" Stormtooth replied. Newtstep nodded, then became panicked. My kits! he thought. He ran towards the nursery and was releived to see three pairs of green eyes and one pair of blue eyes staring at him. Stormkit and Nightkit slowly casme out, followed by Frostkit then Greykit. "Are you okay?" Newtstep asked.

"Yeah we're fine Daddy!" Stormkit replied.

"We scared those clumsy badgers off!" Nightkit added, swishing his tail. Newtstep shook his head.

"What really happened?" he asked. Stormkit and Nightkit looked at their paws.

"Smokestorm and Hailwhisker saved us" Stormkit said. 

"But now they won't wake up" Nightkit added. Newtstep looked alarmed, then went into the nursery. Both of his half brothers lay limp by Stonekit, while Russetfire greived over their bodies, especially over Smokestorm's. Mallowflower put her head into Hailwhisker's cold chest fur. "Come on, let's get their bodies to highrock" Newtstep said. Russetfire nodded sadly. "Why was it him?" she whispered under her breath. Newtstep put down Hailwhisker, then looked at the other cats. He hinself was unscaved, but the others were not. His mate was bleeding from her shoulder without her scar, but the wound wasn't serious. Yellowstar's scar on his muzzle had opened again, although he hadn't lost a life and Breezestorm was bleeding from his chest fur, desprately looking for Daisypool, who, with Blackbreeze, had disappeared. Hickoryheart still had the least injuries and was dragging his unconcious brother into the medicine den.. Newtstep came down from the highrock to see Feathersplash. She snuggled into him. "You seem fine" she said.

"Yeah, I'm fine" Newtstep said. "I feel bad for Breezestorm though" he said, slowly backing away. Feathersplash nodded, then saw two figures coming over the moor. "They're here!" Hickoryheart yelled, running across the moor to his mate. Breezestorm snuggled into Daisypool, not caring about his blood soaked chest fur. "You scared me!" he said.

"Blackbreeze showed me where to hide out unborn kits" Daisypool said. "I'll never do it again.

Two moons later

"Everybody old enough to catch their own prey, gather below highrock for a clan meeting!" Yellowstar bellowed. Newtstep watched proudly as his kits came from the side of Feathersplash, Stormkit and Nightkit from the right and Greykit from the left. "Stormkit, Nightkit and Greykit are now at the age of six moons" Yellowstar started. "It is time for them to become apprentices." Yellowstar turned to Stormkit. "Stormkit, you will now be known as Stormpaw. Hickoryheart, you have shown what you can do as a warrior" he said. "Please pass these skills onto Stormpaw." Hickoryheart smiled, then touched noses with Stormpaw. Yellowstar then turned to Nightkit. "Nightkit, you will now be known as Nightpaw. Copperstrike, you are long overdue for an apprentice. You will be great for Nightpaw's mentor" Yellowstar said. Copperstrike touched noses with the black tom. Finally, Yellowstar turned to Greykit. "Greykit, you will now be known as Greypaw. Timberfall, you have also shown how great a warrior you are. You will take on Greypaw" Yellowstar said. Timberfall touched noses with Greypaw. Yellowstar dismissed the cats. Feathersplash ran down the ledge, then smiled at her mate. "Ah! It's about time I can get back to my warrior duties! I mean, having kits was great, but I missed patrolling the borders, stalking birds and trying not to get my paws scorched on the moor" she said. Newtstep nodded, then looked towards the nursery when he heard a screech.

13. The new kits

Hickoryheart ran into the nursery, followed by Timberfall and Breezestorm. He watched as the first of Daisypool's kits slid out. Marigoldstem quickly fed her sister some rasberry leaves. "A tom" she said, looking at the brown bundle of fur. "How about Acornkit?" Breezestorm asked.

"That's a nice name" Daisypool replied, then cried again.

"Another tom" Marigoldstem said, pushing some rasberry leaves to Daisypool.

"That red pelt reminds me of someone" Daisypool said. "Redkit will be his name." Hickoryheart smiled, then looked at his father, eyes misted up. Breezestorm looked at Redkit, then Daisypool screeched for the last time. "A she cat" Marigoldstem said.

"Hazelkit" Breezestorm said.

"What great names" Daistypool said. " Acornkit, Redkit and Hazelkit. Welcome to the clan." Hickoryheart looked at his sister's kits and lightly placed his paw on Acornkit, who touched his paw. Daisypool smiled. "He's going to be a great warrior one day" she said. Hickoryheart nodded. Blackbreeze looked at the kits.

"I hope our kits are as cute as that" she said.

"Of course they are!" Hickoryheart said, snuggling into his mate's fur. His kits were due in a moon and he couldn't wait.

14. The ominous message

Yellowstar proudly looked at his grandkits, then his own four kits together. Brokensnow would be proud he thought. "Wow, it's nearly evening already!" Hickoryheart said. Yellowstar peeked out of the nursery and saw Newtstep sorting out the evening patrol. Feathersplash lead the other cats Russetfire and Spiderclaw. He hauled himself up the ledge and colaspsed into his nest. His eyes flittered open to see a familiar brown she cat, a black tom by her side. "Mother! Father!" Yellowstar yelled, putting his head into Windclaw's fur, then Podheart's. Both proudly looked at their son. "Hello my kit" Windclaw said, then looked at him.

"Do you have a message for me?' he asked.

"I do" Podheart replied, then started, "As the dust makes a slow return, the newt will find something from the returning fire. You must find out too Yellowstar, or blood will spill too early."

"Too early?' Yellowstar asked, but before he knew it, his parents were gone.

15. Stormpaw's first gathering

Stormpaw proudly held a squirrel, a shrew, two voles and a pheasant in his mouth. Nightpaw had a squirrel, two mice, a rabbit and two water voles. Both put their prey on the fresh kill pile and saw their father's eyes flash with pride. Hickoryheart put his prey on the fresh kill pile. Stormpaw held his head up high, as well as Nightpaw. "You two have done very well" Hickoryheart said. "Have a rest for now. We will practicing battle training later." Both nodded and they took a piece of prey into their nests, Stormpaw with a vole and Nightpaw with a squirrel. "I can't wait to train more!" Stormpaw exclaimed.

"I can't either!" Nightpaw exclaimed back. However, before they said more, Greypaw stormed in and angrily murmered to himself, "Do this Greypaw, you're not doing it right Greypaw, you're useless Greypaw, you can't have anything to eat Greypaw, Greypaw this, Greypaw that, Greypaw everything!" Stormpaw and Nightpaw just looked at their brother and crept out a little bit later.

Before sundown, Yellowstar called a clan meeting. Newtstep jumped onto highrock. "Alright, as you know, it's the gathering tonight. The cats that are going apart from me and Newtstep are Feathersplash, Stormpaw, Nightpaw, Hickoryheart, Timberfall, Spiderclaw and Copperstrike. Wolfpelt, you're in charge while we're gone" he said. Wolfpelt nodded and Stormpaw left with his brother, parents and the others. Once they got to the meeting place, Yellowstar jumped onto the rock, followed by Flamestar and BraveClan's new leader Foxstar. "Grr, where's Ashstar?" Flamestar groaned.

"Is he always this impatient?" Foxstar asked, grooming his orange fur. Flamestar's amber eyes flared at the rookie leader's comment.

"What did you say you mouse brain?!" he snarled. Foxstar growled, then stepped back. "It's a gathering Flamestar" he said. "I will not claw your ears off. Yet." Flamestar rolled his eyes.

"Mother, is it always like this?" Stormpaw asked.

"Flamestar's always like this. You're father hates him" Feathersplash replied. "I hate him too." Stormpaw nodded.

"Is that Ashstar?" Stormpaw asked, staring at a grey figure walking towards the rock.

"Yes, that's Ashstar" Feathersplash replied. The usually bright grey she cat looked dull and skinny as she jumped onto the rock. 

"It's about time!" Flamestar said. "Now to tell you some great news. Blossompuddle's expecting my kits!" he said.  Newtstep's eyes went blank with shock, as well as Feathersplash's. Yellowstar's eyes widened.

"Well, that's some great news" he said, slowly shifting his eyes to his sons, then shifted his eyes back. "Well, we have three new apprentices, but one couldn't make it, but we still have Stormpaw and Nightpaw" he said. Stormpaw held his head up high, as well as Nightpaw. "Also, Daisypool is given birth to Acornkit, Redkit and Hazelkit" Yellowstar said. "Blackbreeze is expecting Hickoryheart's kits too." Stormpaw saw Hickoryheart scout around for a cat, but it seemed like that the cat he was looking for wasn't there and he relaxed. Foxstar nodded and took his chance. "We also have some new apprentices, Mistpaw and Spottedpaw" he said. A misty grey she cat and a brown tabby she cat dipped their heads. "We have a new warrior too, Poppyshine" he continued.

"Poppyshine! Poppyshine!" the clans cheered. Finally, Ashstar spoke.

"We have three new warriors, Cloudpad, Lillydawn and Harestorm" she said.

"Cloudpad! Lillydawn! Harestorm!" the clans yelled. However, Ashstar collapsed. She wasn't that old, despite being the most experienced leader. Her brother and deputy Wildpelt jumped to the rock.

"Ashstar! Wake up sis!" he yelled.

"Why did she do that?" Stormpaw asked.

"I don't know" Feathersplash replied. "She's not that old really. I don't know why." Stormpaw looked at the sky. Clouds were surrounding the moon, but were not covering it. Ashstar did not wake up.

"StarClan! Don't take my sister away! I'm not ready!" Wildpelt yelled, but Ashstar went cold. He greived into her grey pelt, then looked at the other clans. "This gathering is over!" he yelled and led his clan away for the first time.

16. Stormtooth's dream

"Stormtooth!" a voice screamed. 

"Dawnlight!" Stormtooth yelled and ran towards his mate's voice.

"Stormtooth..." Dawnlight's voice began to fade.

"Dawnlight, where are you?!" he asked. However, she didn't reply. Instead, he saw his sister's dark brown pelt behind some trees. "Hawkstar!" he yelled. Hawkstar slipped through a gap between them. 

"Stormtooth, you may be the only elder in HawkClan, but you have a destiny unlike any other. Just wait for the whispering dawn."

"Whispering dawn?" Stormtooth asked.

"You will see" Hawkstar said as she slipped away.




Stormtooth slowly opened his eyes to see Wolfpelt. "What is it my daughter?" he asked.

"Yellowstar wants to see the whole clan" Wolfpelt replied. Stormtooth sleepily got onto his paws and got out of the elders den. Yellowstar stood on the rock, Newtstep next to him. "HawkClan! We have lost a great warrior on patrol today. Flamestar and some of his cats attacked our patrol. They killed Spiderclaw" he said. Mallowflower yowled in distress and her kits cuddled next to her. Copperstrike just stared in the distance blankly and Feathersplash and Wolfpelt snuggled together. "We have lost an excellent warrior" Newtstep mewed sadly. "I have lost my best friend." Stormtooth looked over his grandson's body.

"Hunt in StarClan young warrior" he said. Timberfall walked up the ledge next and put his nose on his former mentor's chest.

"You taught me well Spiderclaw" he said. "I promise I won't let you down." After the goodbyes, Stormooth prepared to sit Spiderclaw's vigil.

17. The return

Newtstep sat by his best friend's body and next to his half sisters. Russetfire snuggled into Copperstrike's fur, while Mallowflower just tearfully looked at her mate. "Why was he killed?" she asked herself. Newtstep sighed. Feathersplash sat next to her mate.

"Who will Flamestar kill next should be the question" she hissed. Wolfpelt's eyes widened.

"You know?" Newtstep asked.

"Sparrowwing told me" Feathersplash said.

"F..Feathersplash, I'm sorry I didn't tell you" Wolfpelt said.

"It's alright Wolfpelt" Feathersplash said. "At least I know now." Wolfpelt nodded, then looked to the distance. "Is my eyesight failing, or do I see another cat charging towards us?"she asked. Newtstep was stricken by who the cat was.

"Your eyesight is fine Wolfpelt" Newtstep said, anger clawing his belly.

"It's him, isn't it?" Wolfpelt said.

"Yes" Newtstep said. He stood, followed by Feathersplash. Wolfpelt got up, as well as Russetfire. Mallowflower took her kitsinto the nursery and Yellowstar yowled.

"HawkClan! We must fight against these rouges, even if the leader was a cat of ours!" he yelled. Newtstep yowled and led the clan down the ledge. He charged into his brother. Dustleap tried to drive his claws into Newtstep's chest, but it was him who drove his claws into Dustleap's chest. "I have always been stronger than you!" he growled. Dustleap snarled.

"I always envied you. I always had to follow your lead from kithood to when we were warriors! Now you're deputy and I'm a rouge. Both of our parents perferred you! Why wasn't it me with the special destiny? Why isn't it me who's the dominant one? Why was it me who fell into a friendship with you?" he growled. Newtstep drove his claws deeper.  Dustleap struggled, until he went limp. Stormpaw looked at the lying cat.

"Was he our uncle?" he asked.

"Yes" Newtstep said bitterly. "He's not dead though. I've just severely injured him." Stormpaw nodded. Him and Nightpaw only had minor injuries, but there was no sign of Greypaw.

"Where's your brother?" Newtstep asked. A muffled voice answered his question. Greypaw lay by a pile of leaves. "Greypaw!" Newtstep yelled, running to his son. Feathersplash followed him.

"Greypaw.." Feathersplash chocked sadly.

"Don't worry you two" Greypaw croaked. "I may never become a warrior, but at least I know my parents."

"Do you really think that you're never going to be a warrior?" Yellowstar asked softly. "Everybody gather here!" he yelled,standing on the patch of leaves. "Greypaw is preparing to cross StarClan's borders, but first, before he goes, I will award him with the name Greytuft. I will also let him take this message to StarClan.It has been moons since Webpaw has died. I would like him to tell her that she will be known as Webfang" Yellowstar said.

"Greytuft, what a great name" Greytuft murmered.

"You were a great apprentice Greytuft" Timberfall mewed sadly. "I wished... I wished I was a better mentor..."

"You were a great one Timberfall!" Greytuft said. "I wouldn't of wanted a better one..." then, his eyes closed for the last time. Newtstep greived into his son's grey pelt. Feathersplash pushed her head against Newtstep's.

"First Spiderclaw, now my own son" Feathersplash said. "Who's next?"

18. Future hopes

One moon later

Hickoryheart rushed into the nursery. Blackbreeze was curled in a ball, yowling in pain. Sweetwind fed her herbs, while Marigoldstem saw the first kit, a grey kit, came out. "A tom" Marigoldstem said. 

"Pebblekit?" Hickoryheart asked. Blackbreeze nodded

"That's a great name" Blackbreeze said, then yowled in pain again. Hickoryheart yowled in shock when he saw a dark brown kit slide next to Pebblekit.

"Another tom" Marigoldstem said.

"Claw... Pine! Pinekit!" Blackbreeze spluttered. Hickoryheart nodded, then stared out for a while. Did she love Clawpaw? If he did, does she have feelings for him? Is our love just for jealousy? he kept thinking until he heard Blackbreeze yowl again. A pale brown kit slid into the moss. "Palekit" Hickoryheart said. "His pelt's just so, well, pale." Blackbreeze nodded, then yowled again. The last kit, a cream couloured one, came out.

"Finally, a she cat" Marigoldstem said. Hickoryheart saw Stormtooth's eyes widened. What's wrong with him? he thought, then looked at his only daughter. He looked at Blackbreeze and they nodded at each other.

"Dawnkit" both said.

"What great names" Marigoldstem said. "They're going to be great warriors." Hickoryheart smiled, then curled up to his mate.

"Stormpaw's having battle training with Nightpaw, Copperstrike and Yellowstar" he said. Blackbreeze smiled.

"That's great" she said. The question that came across his mind when Pinekit was born came back.

"Blackbreeze, do you really love me?" he asked.

"Of course" Blackbreeze said, then looked into her mates green eyes. "You're wondering if I still have feelings for Clawpaw, don't you?" she asked.

"It came across when Pinekit was born" Hickoryheart reeplied. Blackbreeze wrapped her tail around her mate's shoulders.

"I had feeling for Clawpaw once, but they're long gone. Hickoryheart, all I think about when I was attacked was you!" Blackbreeze ssaid.

"Really?" he asked. Blackbreeze nodded. Hickoryheart smiled and snuggled closer to Blackbreeze.

19. The promise

Yellowstar saw Newtstep come into his den. "You wanted me Yellowstar?" Newtstep asked. Yellowstar nodded.

"Newtstep, I had a prophercy a while ago. I want you to keep an eye on Russetfire.I'm on my last life and this is my last request" Yellowstar said.

"Last life! Yellowstar, you've only been the leader for moons! How is this your last life?" Newtstep asked.

"I have been far too careless my former apprentice" Yellowstar replied. "Getting hit by a tree. Attacking badgers without any of our clan's cats watching. I am not a leader at all. Your father never should of chose me as deputy."

"You're the greatest leader ever Yellowstar!" Newtstep said.

"You don't understand Newtstep!" Yellowstar snapped.

"Yellowstar, I'm  not that hapless apprentice that knew nothing. I'm your deputy and I know you're great" Newtstep replied, biting back a sharper repramind. Yellowstar nodded.

"Say that then" he said. "I lied to my kits, got so blinded by carlessness and my first apprentice still thinks I'm a son of StarClan." Newtstep snorted, then left the den. Yellowstar gave a cough. He wheezed and sprawled onto the ground. His chest infection which he hid from his sister had came up. "Yellowstar?" he heard his sister. Yellowstar tried to reply, but he was too weak to. Sweetwind burst through the lichen and saw her brother. "Yellowstar! What happened?!" she asked.

"Chest infection" Yellowstar said weakly.

"Why didn't you show me?" Sweetwind asked.

"I... I couldn't. I didn't want you to be as heartbroken as you were when Mother died": he replied, feeling himself getting weaker. Sweetwind looked ather brother, eyes full of tears.

", I can't lose you too" she said. Newtstep bounded into the lichen.

"Yellowstar..." he said sadly.

"I... I'm so sorry my apprentice" Yellowstar said, his voice starting to fade even more. Sweetwind struck her brother's chest with her paws. Yellowstar gave in a large breath. "Promise me Newtstep, do not be like me" he whispered.

"I promise Yellowstar" Newtstep said. Immediately, Yellowstar's kits burst into the den.

"Father!" Marigoldstem cried.

"Why didn't you tell us?" Hickoryheart asked.Yellowstar was about to answer, but he felt his last life slipping away from him. Mallowflower had came just in time for Yelllowstar to have his last words.

"The seven cats I love the most. My kits, my sister and my two apprentices. Make me proud. I will always be watching you from StarClan." Then, Yellowstar's eyes began to close for the last time, slowly losing focus of the seven cats he loved the most.

20. The legacy begins

Newtstep slowly followed Sweetwind to the moonpool. "Alright, touch your nose to the water" Sweetwind said. Newtstep nodded, then touched his nose to the water. He saw the moor and one of the nine cats. His scent was familiar and his gaze are warm. "Hello Newtstep, are you ready for your nine lives?" he asked.

"Yes Rabbitclaw" Newtstep said. Rabbitclaw smiled.

"You may not of been one of my kits, but I am extremely proud of you. I'm happy that Feathersplash has such a realible mate" Rabbitclaw said. Newtstep stifled a smile. Rabbitclaw placed his nose against Newtstep's forehead. "With this life, I give you justice. Use this life when you feel like you need it, like when you tried to avenge me" he said. Newtstep's muscles rippled through his grey marked pelt.

"I wished I could avenge you thoroughly" Newtstep mewed.

"Oh, don't worry" Rabbitclaw said. "You already have." He slipped onto the moor and was replaced by a she cat Newtstep never really knew, although the name slipped out of his mouth.

"Hawkstar" he said and bowed at his grandmother. The brown she cat smiled.

"Hello young one" Hawkstar said warmly. She put her nose on his forehead. "With this life, I give you determination. Use this life when you need it the most" she said. Pain hit the tips of Newtstep's claws. His muscles rippled in his pelt again. Hawkstar slipped onto the moor. He was replaced by a familiar grey tom. Newtstep saw his son touch his nose. Greytuft was fully grown now. "Hello father"he said. Newtstep smiled.

"Hello my son" Newtstep said. All of his feelings washed away when  he saw him. He forgot the pain Hawkstar's life gave him and looked into Greytuft's green eyes.

"With this life, I give you the ability to feel emotional pain. Use this life when you see someone suffering" Greytuft said. Newtstep was far too happy to see his son than realise the terrible pain that came with the life. Newtstep caught his breath, then Greytuft went off. Newtstep saw the fourth cat coming towards him. "Good evening Newtstep" Webfang said, looking at her sister's mate. Newtstep dipped his head. Webfang put her nose on his forehead. "With this life, I give you patience. Use this life when you you feel your patience wiltering" Webfang said. Unlike the first three lives, Webfang's life felt like a poultice being put over an injury. Webfang left for the moor, but it took a while for the fifth cat to come. Spiderclaw? Newtstep thought as the cat finally came foward. However, it wasn't his best friend. "Hello young one" he said.  "My name is Podheart."

"Hello Podheart" Newtstep said. "You look like my former mentor."

"I'm the father of your former mentor" Podheart said. 

"Oh" Newtstep said. Podheart put his nose on Newtstep's.

"With this life, I give you tireless energy. Use this life when you both need it and when you are depended on" Podheart said. Newtstep braced himself, but the pain never came. A wave of strength overcame him. Podheart slipped towards the moor, while Newtstep saw the familiar warm eyes of his mother. "Oh my son" Leopardclaw said. "You don't know how proud of you I am!" Newtstep smiled. Leopardclaw put her nose on his forehead. "With this life, I give you a mother's love. You may not be a she cat, but you will protect your kits with your life" she said. The pain that came from Leopardclaw's life was one of the worst in Newtstep's life ceremony. Newtstep almost fell down, but he kept his ground. Leopardclaw left, then was replaced by a familar she cat. "Good evening Newtstep" she purred.

"Good evening Brokensnow" Newtstep said. Brokensnow put her nose on his. 

"With this life, I give you protection. Use this life when you need and want to provide this skill" she said. Not much pain came through, except for a little bit oof a feeling that he was lightly scratched by a thorn. Newtstep looked at the two remaining cats. One kept in the shadows, while the eighth cat came. "Hello Stumpyfoot" Newtstep said, looking at the former medicine cat. "Hello Newtstep" Stumpyfoot said, then put his nose on his forehead. "With this life, I give you compassion. Use this life when you feel like giving affection to someone" he said. A warm feeling came through  Newtstep. Stumpyfoot left and slipt into the moor. The final cat came, his green eyes shining. "Thrushstar!" Newtstep yelled, flinging himself at him. Thrushstar snuggled into his son's fur. "My son. My best son. Iam the proudest father."

"Thanks Thrushstar" Newtstep said. Thrushstar put his nose on Newtstep's.

"With this life, I give you faith. You have quite a lot of this, but you can never have enough" he said. Thrushstar's life was soft and light. Newtstep watched as Thrushstar stood in frotn of him. "Your old life is over. From now on, you will be known as Newtstar. But beware. Your legacy will be unlike any other my son" Thrushstar said.

"Newtstar! Newtstar!" the other eight cats cheered as Newtstar woke up to see Sweetwind. 

"Good morning Newtstar" she said.

21. Epilouge

Newtstar yowled to the clan. "I am now your rightful leader!" he yelled. Feathersplash looked at her mate happily. "Now, I will appoint Sparrowwing as the new deputy" Newtstar said. Sparrowwing blinked in shock.

"Me?" he asked.

"After Wolfpelt, you're the most experienced warrior" Newtstar said. Sparrowwing nodded and smiled. 

"Sparrowwing! Sparrowwing!" the clan cheered. Sparrowwing smiled, while Newtstar heard his fathers words in his head, Your legacy will be unlike any otheer my son.

Book five: Rising shadows is coming out soon!