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The Song of Fire

Chapter Text

Prologue

"Be warned, Mistecho. The two are coming. The beginning of the end is near."
A pale tawny she-cat flattened herself to the ground in fear. "Is there nothing we can do?"
The StarClan warrior glared at her. She shrank back from his firey gaze. "You know there isn't. You of all cats should know that we are powerless to change the future."
Mistecho nodded. "Yes. When are they coming?"
He started to fade. "Soon. Very soon." "No! Ripplepelt! Come back! How do I..." Mistecho gasped.
She woke up on cold stone. All around her, the medicine cats from the other Clans slept peacefully.
Mistecho spun around and raced for home. Her paws thrummed across the stone as she stumbled up the slope. As she reached the entrance to the Moonpool cave, a faint voice echoed in her ear. "Be careful..."
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Mistecho tripped. She fell over a tree root and landed on her face.
"Ow," she muttered. She gingerly stood up, relieved to feel that nothing was broken.
As she rose to her feet, she heard a pale scream in the distance.
"What on earth..." she murmured. What cat could yell like that?
She shook her head, frustrated. She didn't need to know who it was to help them! She was RiverClan's medicine cat!
Mistecho raced on. She plunged into ShadowClan's pine forests and dashed between the trees. They couldn't hurt her, after all. She was a medicine cat, and she was on her way back from the Moonpool. That alone nearly guaranteed her safety.
She crossed out of ShadowClan's territory and into her own. The terrain was instantly more familiar here.
Another wail sounded in the direction of the camp. It sounded like Splashdrop, a pregnant queen due any day now.
She must be giving birth!
Please, StarClan, wait until I get there for anything to happen! Mistecho prayed.
Mistecho was nervous. There was always an element of risk in queens giving birth. But Splashdrop was the runt of her litter and was always smaller and more fragile than her brothers. She didn't fight or hunt, but did apprentice chores like gathering moss. This made her weaker still, and if she could hear her howls from the Moonpool...
Mistecho put on an extra boost of speed. She raced through the reed barrier and skidded to a halt in the center of the clearing. Splashdrop was lying on the ground, panting. Her mate, Frostfang, was with her, crouched over her head. All the other cats were in their dens, though she doubted they were sleeping.
Frostfang glanced up. "Mistecho!" Fear filled his mew. "Something's wrong."
Mistecho ran over. Something was wrong. The kit was fighting to come out, but when Mistecho touched Splashdrop's stomach, it was burning hot to the touch.
She steeled herself, then started pumping Splashdrop's stomach with her paws. The kit gradually turned around. "It's turning!" she cried with relief.
With one final push, the first kit was born.
It had a brown pelt and amber eyes, but it was...smoking.
"What's wrong with her?" Frostfang gasped.
"Nothing...she's just special." Mistecho murmured.
"How?" Frostfang asked.
"I'll tell you later!" Mistecho exclaimed. She was bent over Splashdrop, feeling for the second kit. This one slid out easily, her white paws and calico body tumbling out. She immediately slid to her mothers stomach, looking for milk.
There was something wrong with Splashdrop, however. There was too much blood.
Mistecho bowed her head. She wasn't expecting Splashdrop to speak, but there was no mistaking her raspy voice. "Can I suckle them just once?"
Mistecho felt as if her heart might break. "Of course. Your kits are beautiful."
The exhausted mother pulled the kits weakly to her stomach for milk. As soon as the white and calico kit touched her, however, she stopped bleeding.
Frostfang didn't notice. He was crouching over his mate's head, licking her ears.
Mistecho noticed. She stared at the tiny bundles of fur, innocently suckling.
"They are here." she murmured.

Chapter Text

Shimmerkit stared after her sister, her heart sinking in despair. Firekit's gray pelt was fluffed up, and her tail lashed back and forth angrily. She didn't look back at the three kits gathered outside of the warrior's den, not once.

A soft tail brushed her shoulder, and a warm pelt pressed against her on the other side. "Poor Firekit," murmured Icekit. "Will she be ok?"

Shimmerkit forced herself to react. "I hope so. This is one wound I cannot heal."

She numbly moved over to the shade and lay down, muzzle on her paws. Her silver pelt gleamed in the sunset's fading light. Icekit seemed subdued, walking along without her usual bounce.

Vinekit was nowhere to be seen.

"Hey, where's Vinekit?" Cloverpaw, a gray-and-white apprentice a half moon older than the kits, padded up and flicked her tail teasingly over Shimmerkit's shoulder. As Icekit lay down beside Shimmerkit, Cloverpaw noticed something was wrong. "Sibling troubles?"

Cloverpaw, and her brothers Owlpaw and Scorchpaw, were only a half-moon older than Shimmerkit and Icekit. They'd been in training for a half moon now, so Shimmerkit, Firekit, Icekit, and Vinekit would start their training any day now.

Shimmerkit nodded. "Firekit got mad at me because I healed a cut on her muzzle. She said I'd never understand, and then she ran off towards the nursery. And also, I don't know where Vinekit is."

Cloverpaw nodded seriously, then a playful light came into her eyes. "I know just what to do!"

"Really?" A seed of hope sparked in Shimmerkit's heart. "What?"

"Icekit, we need you too." The two she-kits leaned in towards Cloverpaw.

"All right. So this is what we do..."

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Later in the day, as Shimmerkit, Icekit, Vinekit (he'd been in the elder's den listening to stories) and Cloverpaw play-wrestled near the apprentice's den, there was a commotion on the rockfall.

"Cats of RiverClan, join together to hear my words if you are old enough to swim!" Rockystar's gruff yowl echoed throughout the camp. He stood on the rocks, the setting sun turning his gray-and-black pelt almost white. A small she-cat and brown tabby she-cat stood behind him, the she-cat with a look of fear, hope, and defiance. Her neck fur was fluffed up and her tail lashed back and forth. The kit was calmer, and she looked to be about Shimmerkit's age. Her clear amber gaze swept the crowd. As she turned towards the kits and 'paws, she froze and nodded once. Shimmerkit stretched out her forepaw, a silent "it's OK" gesture. The kit relaxed, and stretched out her paw in return.

As the Clan gathered, surprised murmured came from the crowd.

"Who are they?"

"They smell of ShadowClan."

"Why are they here?"

"Shimmerkit!"

Shimmerkit's heart leapt. She spun around, hoping...

Firekit bounded up to her, her gray pelt gleaming in the fading sunlight. "Shimmerkit! I have to tell you something!" She skidded to a halt besides her sister, sending up a cloud of dust.

Shimmerkit wrapped her tail around her sister's mouth and gestured towards the rocks. Firekit realized what was happening and nodded. Shimmerkit curled her tail around her paws and pressed against her sister, who was unusually warm, as always.

Rockystar stepped forward. "This is Quickpool and her daughter Fernkit of ShadowClan. They would like to speak to you."

Quickpool stepped forward. "I've been talking to all the Clans at Gatherings," she began. "And RiverClan seemed...calmest, I guess, and friendliest? I was looking for a Clan to flee-er, to join once I'd given birth."

Shocked murmurs rose up from the Clan. Firekit nudged Shimmerkit and said, "Why do you think they came here?"

The warriors seemed to be thinking along the same lines. Hostile eyes flashed up at the Rock, then back down.

Rockystar stepped forward. "Let her finish!"

The cats quieted, but tails still lashed and fur rose up.

Quickpool continued nervously, "I wish to join RiverClan because I don't want Fernkit growing up in ShadowClan."

"Why not ShadowClan?" some cat shouted.

"Yeah, is it just because we have more prey?" one of the elders called.

A determined light began to blaze in Quickpool's eyes. "I don't want Fernkit to live in ShadowClan because of the sickness and the leader! Three cats have died in the last half-moon of this diesease, and what does the leader do? Sit in his den and order more hunting patrols so he can stuff himself!"

Rockystar quelled the cats in the crowd. "I have promised these cats that we'll vote. Every cat (yes, you too, kits) gather around these two sticks. If you want them to stay, scratch the right stick. If you don't, scratch the left."

The cats dutifully gathered in a line. Shimmerkit watched curiously, wanting to know the ShadowClan cats' fate.

Firekit was next. She bounded over to the "stay" stick and scratched it. Icekit, Vinekit, and Cloverpaw did the same.

Now it was Shimmerkit's turn. She took a deep breath and scratched the "stay" stick. Owlpaw and Scorchpaw nearly trampled her, so she quickly got out of the way.

The line dwindled. Quickpool and Fernkit watched nervously from the Rock.

Finally, the last cat had gone. Rockystar leaped down and padded over to the sticks. He studied them for a moment, then turned around and yowled, "The Clan has voted you can stay."

Quickpool nodded in relief. She carefully guided Fernkit down the rocks to Dapplefern, who was waiting to show them the nursery.

Owlpaw stood up and padded over to the sticks as the Clan dispersed. He examined them, then again.

"Hey, guys! Come over here!" he whispered. Shimmerkit bounded over, followed by the other kits.

Owlpaw's eyes blazed in disbelief. "The left stick was "go." The right was "stay." Right?"

Cloverpaw nodded.

"Then why does the "go" stick have 15 scratches and the "stay" stick has 12?"

Scorchpaw gasped.

"Rockystar has lied!"

Chapter Text

"Watch out, Firekit!" yelped Icekit. The heavy moss-ball was flying right towards her, hurtling along like a scared rabbit.

Firekit was paralyzed with fear. She could only stare at the ball, coming closer and closer...

Vinekit leaped in front of her trying to catch the ball, but it flew over his head. Firekit suddenly came to her senses and dodged out of the way. The ball only glanced off her cheek, leaving a small cut from the sharp stone inside. The ball tumbled to a halt outside the warriors' den.

Shimmerkit bounded over to her sister. "Firekit! Are you ok? That was the heavy ball!" She leaned down to lap at Firekit's cheek, cleaning the blood away. It wasn't deep, or particularly long, but it looked painful.

Shimmerkit brushed her muzzle against the cut, then stood back and watched it slowly close, until the only thing that suggested it was ever there was a thin scar, barely noticeable against Firekit's gray fur.

Firekit, relived of the injury, stood up and glared at Shimmerkit. Shimmerkit shrunk back, unnerved by the fury in her sister's eyes.

"Don't do that!" Firekit hissed.

Hurt showed in Shimmerkit's eyes. "Why not? I'm your sister!"

Firekit hissed. "You'll never understand. Never!"

She spun and bounded for the nursery, leaving three astonished kits dumbstruck outside the warriors den. Serves her right! She won't understand!

Firekit brushed through the bramble entrance of the nursery. She paced back and forth in the cool interior. Why was she shinning her sister? And by snubbed her, she snubbed Icekit and Vinekit too!

Firekit sighed. This was more complicated than Shimmerkit's power!

Why don't I have a power?

Suddenly exhausted, Firekit stumbled back to her nest and curled up into a tight ball. She tucked her nose beneath her tail, and let sleep's dark waves wash over her.

She woke in a darkened forest, the moon shining brightly onto the trees. Stars sprinkled throughout the sky glistened coldly.

"Well? Why are you here? We've never had a kit visit StarClan before."

The first thought Firekit had was I'm in StarClan? The second was I'm the first kit? Cool! The third was Wait! Someone's talking to me!

She spun around curiously. A pitch-black she-cat with one icy-blue eye and one eye that was a combination of green and ice, the colors looking as if they had been fused together.

The cat noticed her staring at her eye. "I was admired, in my day, for that eye. They thought I was part of a prophecy, or maybe special in some way. And, indeed, I was the first cat to live in all four Clans. But I was first a lonely rogue."

"Wow!" Firekit breathed. "Was it hard?"

The cat avoided the question, instead flicking her tail "You, on the other hand, you long to be special. You're envious of your sister, and you think you're useless. Well, you're right. You are useless! You'll never be a good warrior, but your sister will rule RiverClan! You'll be exiled, and your sister will rejoice when you are gone!"

Firekit's fur fluffed up, and her heart hardened a tiny bit more. How dare this cat say that about her! And Shimmerkit would never rejoice at her exile! She would be a warrior!

"You're wrong!" she yowled. "You're the one that's not special!"

"Oh, yes?" The cat moved closer to Firekit, her scent drifting around her.

"You're not special! I don't even know your name!" Firekit's fury was about to boil over.

"I am Fusionflower." the calm she-cat stated. She nonchalantly licked a paw and slowly drew it over her ears.

Her sudden calmness enraged Firekit even more. She focused on the ground in front of Fusionflower and prepared to pounce, her anger flowing through her.

Before she could jump, the ground burst into flames.

Fusionflower stayed where she was, still quietly grooming herself.

"Di-did you do that?" stuttered Firekit.

Fusionflower finally looked up. "No. You did."

Firekit felt every hair on her pelt fluff up. If she really had...

No. Fusionflower was lying, just like before.

But she had to at least try to do it again, right?

Firekit focused on the branches of a tall oak tree. She let her anger, and excitement, and fear, flow through her. She directed all her energy to the tree...

And the warm orange light of fire filled the forest.

I did it!

Firekit ran up to Fusionflower. "Thank you!"

The black cat didn't even respond, but Firekit didn't care.

I can't wait to tell Shimmerkit!

 

Chapter Text

Firekit rolled over in her sleep. Her gray fur was unkempt and messy. In her head, she was running along a stream that kept splashing up at her. Firekit tried to stay away from the water, but as one large wave washed up upon her...

"Firekit! Wake up!"

Firekit jolted up. The nursery walls came into focus around her. Shimmerkit's face appeared a mouse-length in front of her face.

Firekit sleepily clambered out of her nest, shaking off the weird dream. Today was the day she would be totally special!

Shimmerkit must have seen something in her eyes, because she tilted her head curiously. "What's up?"

Firekit gushed, "Oh, it's nothing. Well, actually, it's something, but I'll have to show you for you to believe it."

Shimmerkit nodded. "Shall I get the others?"

Firekit scrambled to her feet. "Meet me... by the river rocks!"

Shimmerkit padded out of the den. Firekit waited a heartbeat, then exploded out and ran into the early morning light. The sun's rays pierced through the thick clouds, but just barely. The scent of rain hung heavily in the air.

All around the camp, cats hustled and bustled, working in the din lighting to fortify the dens, stock the fresh-kill pile, and just generally bustling about the camp. There was an air of frantic excitement and fear, and the area sparked with tension.

Firekit blinked. That's odd, she thought, but nothing will keep me from showing Shimmerkit my power!

Her fur suddenly bristled. Shimmerkit was leading the other kits towards her, even timid Fernkit. She'd slept in the nursery last night, but had curled up in the far corner, away from everyone else. She didn't seem very social, but seemed calm, mostly, and quiet. Firekit wouldn't be surprised if she became Mistecho's apprentice.

She didn't have much time to dwell on Fernkit. Shoving her to the back of her mind, she pranced out towards the stream that cut through the camp, separating the elders', nursery, and medicine dens from the main clearing. The stream burbled fast and bright, and it was surrounded by large, flat rocks, where the elders and queens liked to lay and chat during the day.

It was also the perfect practice ground: if Firekit set anything important on fire, the water was right there.

Firekit stopped and sat at the highest rock on the pile, watching as the others gathered in a half-moon around her. Their curious eyes followed her every move.

Her paws tingling, Firekit directed all her attention to a leaf in front of her. All her fear, her excitement, her energy flowed through her and released in a flow of fire.

The leaf was ablaze.

Shimmerkit was the only one who didn't jump back. Her eyes glistened with happiness. "You are special!"

Firekit dipped her head, purring too loudly to sleep. She was special.