Banished Stars (Chapter 9)
Word-Count: 1,247 Content Warnings: ??? Written: 2017?? Last Edit: ???
The sun reflected off the ocean waves with blistering intensity. Flickerstar squinted into the light, trying to see the shadow creeping toward her. "Hookstar," She said.
Hookstar grinned. The large fang that jutted out of his teeth glinted. "Flickerstar of Tideclan... I've come to make a proposal."
"You've come to bring war." Flickerstar responded. "Tideclan is well aware of Ridgeclan's plot to conquer the beach. That you would come this far into Tideclan territory is message enough."
"You don't know everything," Hookstar hissed. "You will listen to me, Flickerstar."
The black-and-white she-cat continued to gaze unafraid into Hookstar's eyes, patiently yet defiantly, awaiting him to finish.
"Tideclan will surrender itself and its territory to Ridgeclan, or we will chase you out of the Coastlands." Hookstar said.
Flickerstar narrowed her eyes. Tideclan warriors stood behind her, waiting expectantly for her answer, and the fight that would soon follow. "You think yourself more powerful than Starclan, Hookstar, and that drive for power will leave you and your clan in ruin. Tideclan will not surrender."
The brown tabby and his jutting fang dug his claws into the pebbly ground. "I expected you to say that..." He lunged at Flickerstar, who dashed to the side and out of Hookstar's grasp.
The Tideclan warriors attacked. Ridgeclan warriors jumped down the rocks to join the fray. Hissing, shrieking, clawing cats wrestled across the ground. Blood poured against the ground, fur ripped from its owners. The battle was brutal, as both clans fought with the greatest of their strength. The waves of the ocean crashed and sprayed against the border rocks, and the tide began to swell in. The water licked and brushed away the dead warriors.
The fight was pushed back, deeper toward the cliffside by the water. Flickerstar slashed a Ridgeclan warrior across the face. From the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of Hookstar sneaking around the stones.
"The camp!" Flickerstar called. "Hookstar is headed toward the camp!"
Creekcall, the Tideclan deputy, cried out, "Warriors to the camp! Protect the Queens and Elders!" Tideclan cats pushed off their attackers, paws bounding over the stones. The Tideclan camp was in a hidden cave along the shore, protected from the ocean by a mighty boulder. During the high-tides, it would be nearly impossible for any cat except the strong swimmers of Tideclan to enter.
The Ridgeclan cats hissed, scratching and nipping at the feet and tails of the Tideclan warriors as they left. They did not cross the water into the Tideclan camp, standing on the edge of the deep pools.
Flickerstar caught Hookstar by the thigh as he emerged into the smooth ground inside the cave. Hookstar hissed and rolled onto his back, kicking at Flickerstar. Tideclan warriors surrounded Hookstar on all sides, biting at him when he tried to flee from Flickerstar's grasp.
Raincloud kept herself in front of the small divot of stone where the queens nursed. Her blue eyes scanned quickly across the cave, looking for any Ridgeclan warrior that might try to sneak up. She didn't see anybody near....but something at the very edge of the cave startled her. It was a ray of sunshine, bringing light to the musty air, from above the great boulder that protected the camp. Raincloud's heart dropped into the pit of her stomach. The boulder was being loosened!
"Flickerstar!" She shrieked. "The boulder! They're moving the boulder!"
The black-and-white leader jumped up, eyes wide. She confirmed the sight of the shifting stone. How could Ridgeclan move such a steady, unbreakable barrier? Flickerstar could see no one, but her scraping and clawing from the outside. "Evacuate! Evacuate the camp!!"
Hookstar thrusted his body off the ground, digging his fangs into Flickerstar's throat. She roared, beating against the cruel leader with her feet. The warriors that had gathered were rushing to find all the kits, queens, elders and apprentices.... but it was too late.
An earth-shaking rumble was followed by a deafening crash. The water exploded inside the camp. Cats where thrown against the rocks, bones shattering instantly. Raincloud watched in horror as she was forced away from the nursery, the queens and kits screaming. She tried to swim back, but the waves only forced her further away.
Flickerstar's head sprang out of the water. "Crystalsight!" She cried, before the dark shadow of the Ridgeclan leader pulled her down.
The medicine cat, Crystalsight, treaded water to stay afloat. Her eyes moved quickly. "The ridge...climb... up the ridge!" She gasped.
Raincloud looked up to see the footholds that were in reach now that the water had lifted them up. She scrambled over, desperately trying to cling onto the slippery rocks. The water was continuing to rise and slam against her. Somehow, she managed to pull up. Raincloud wasted no time, climbing up. She slipped frequently, but managed to recover every time. She pulled herself to the outside of the cave and collapsed outside on the wet grass.
Crystalsight was behind her. Then followed Crabclaw, carrying Shellpaw in his mouth. The brothers, Pebblepaw and Puddlepaw, followed, pushing each other up. Raincloud was relieved to see them....but so many were missing. She ran to the edge of the cliff, looking down below. She could see cats being thrown into the sea. If they were alive or dead, she couldn't tell.
The forms of Hookstar and Flickerstar shot out of the cave on a foamy wave, blowing onto the pebbled shore. Raincloud could barely see them, but they lunged at other viciously. Hookstar grabbed at Flickerstar's leg, and pushed her into a shallow puddle, holding her under. Flickerstar twisted her spine and jumped out of the puddle, and was side-struck by a great wave. Both cats were flung out into the ocean.
Even in the dark sea, they grappled. Waves rushed against them, and Raincloud couldn't see them anymore.
"They're under the water...!" Raincloud cried. Crabclaw and the apprentices circled around where she stood, to look down. Crystalsight stayed back, staring upwards. Raincloud manage to tear her eyes away from the thick dark sea to notice Crystalsight's skyward look.
"Crystalsight..." She said quietly. "What does Starclan say?"
"Down here!" A voice cried from a lower ridge. Raincloud looked down to see Frostfang, Cedarpaw, and Wavecrash. Their fur was soaked to the bone. Cedarpaw's eyes seemed hollow.
Crabclaw reached down, trying to help the three other cats up. Raincloud's eyes were affixed upon Crystalsight, the beautiful and powerful medicine cat. "Crystalsight....what does Starclan say? What could they possibly say about this...this massacre?" Her voice cracked with sorrow.
Crystalsight breathed out, her breath like a small mist. She spoke in an ancient voice. "Creekcall is dead. Flickerstar is dead."
Raincloud shouted, "Dead? What do you mean she has five lives left-"
"She's dead!" Crystalsight hissed in a voice beyond her body. "Our deputy is Wavecrash, now."
Wavecrash had just heaved himself onto the upper ledge to hear Crystalsight's vision. His face was shocked and fearful. "What- but- Creekcall-- and-" He couldn't finish his thoughts.
Crystalsight turned her glistening blue gaze into Raincloud, who nearly fell backward from the force of the stare. "Starclan has named you Rainstar, leader of Tideclan." Lightning struck the beach, breaking the sky and pouring out rain. The cat's fur stood up with electricity.
Raincloud couldn't move. She couldn't speak.
"Rainstar," Crabclaw whispered. Shadows of Ridgeclan warriors crept down the rocks. Crabclaw's eyes quivered. "Rainstar, what...what should we do?"
Her stomach twisted in fear, letting out a whisper from deep inside.
"Run," She said.