United Stars (Chapter 1)
Word-Count: 1,179 Content Warnings: ??? Written: 2017?? Last Edit: ???
Tideclan traveled southwest through out the night. Just before dawn, they had found what looked to be a part of the Behemoth that had fallen off its tracks and died. Plants grew in the cracks of its armored shell, and insects had swarmed to the moist darkness inside. It had been the living Behemoth that had carried the clan to these Drylands a moon ago, after they had been driven from their home in the Coastlands. Now that they had been driven out again, it seemed appropriate to return to the Behemoth.
During the time that the remains of their clan had been given shelter by Dustclan, Tideclan learned of the great ranges of stars that watched over each of the Dryland's clans unique Starclan. They called them Nightkeepers, giant astral beasts who protected and lead the clan in life and death.
Sitting inside the rusted metal beast once again, Rainstar wondered if the Behemoth was the Nightkeeper of Tideclan. Tideclan, the clan that could only run away, protected by the enormous monster that so quickly plowed through its tracks. It seemed fitting.
In the Coastlands, there had never been Nightkeepers. She had never heard of them, but when she found out, she had longed for one. Although the original thought was a cruel joke, somehow the thought of a Behemoth Nightkeeper became a cold comfort.
Crabclaw entered the dark chamber."Rainstar," He called softly. The grey-and-white leader turned to face him with sad eyes. Crabclaw said again,"Rainstar... we're outside of the other clan's territories. Frostfang and I walked for quite a while to check for scent markers, but we found none."
Rainstar blinked and slowly began to smile."Perfect, this is Tideclan territory now. Go back, leave our scent markings.... bring your apprentices with you!"
"However," Crabclaw said, hanging his head low."We found no prey. Dustclan had small brushes and grass, but this is just....just cracked dirt and sand. There is nothing to attract prey here. The only other living things I've even seen are the beetles under here."
Rainstar's heart raced, trying to think of something to say."This is Leafbare," She reminded him."Plants may grow here when Newleaf comes."
"I hardly can remember its Leafbare, with this heat." Crabclaw shrugged.
"But then what will eat until then?" Hissed another cat. It was Wavecrash."We can not wait until Newleaf to eat."
"There is prey," Rainstar growled back."It's just hidden...it might be underground, like the water."
Wavecrash sighed, he relaxed his muscles from the aggressive stance."Rainstar..." He said, eyes low,"I know you want to make this work....but it can't. Tideclan doesn't belong here. We belong in the Coastlands, we have to go back."
Rainstar could hear the real sympathy in his voice. For a brief moment, she felt sorry for him...the poor cat who lost his clan and was thrusted into the position of Deputy so suddenly, just as she had been. But anger flashed in her heart soon after."Do you think it's my decision if we can go back?" Rainstar hissed.
Wavecrash immediately mimicked the aggressive posture of his leader."You are the one who lead us here!"
"How would we go back?" Rainstar said,"Tell me, how would we get there? Ride a Behemoth and hopes it stays on the same path? Walk? How long would that take-- do you think these cats can make it?" She flicked her tail at the scrawny cats around them."We can't go back, Wavecrash, and that is not my decision to make. We live in the Drylands now, and constantly snapping at me is not helping the clan!"
Wavecrash tried to stand tall, but his shoulders sagged. He gasped for words."You lead us here! This is your fault!! Everything we knew is gone because of you! You should have never been leader!" He hissed with cold fury,"I hate you!"
Rainstar breathed heavily. Wavecrash had been so aggressive to her the past moon, and she had always responded with equal aggression. She was so wrapped up in her pride, she had failed to notice the true message of his anger. Wavecrash missed home. He missed the cats that had drowned in the final battle with Ridgeclan. He was scared. Suddenly, his verbal lashing didn't hurt.
She stepped closer to him, sitting down beside him and giving him a lick. Wavecrash snarled and pulled back. His eyes seemed to show that Rainstar had seen his weakness, and he wasn't happy about it.
Crystalsight, the beautiful medicine cat, whispered to Rainstar."You can see it now, I can tell." Rainstar nodded. She knew that this feeling was not isolated to Wavecrash. The entire clan missed their beach, and she needed to be strong. She had to become somebody they could rely on.
"We'll find prey." Rainstar said firmly."We will just have to keep looking. We'll find....our stars." Wavecrash turned away from the other cats, embarrassed, and slunk off deeper into the belly of the Behemoth.
Rainstar cleared her throat."Crabclaw, you and I will go mark our new territory. We will take Cedarpaw and Puddlepaw with us to train."
"My apprentice is Pebblepaw." Crabclaw chuckled as her corrected her. Pebblepaw and Puddlepaw were brothers, who looked almost identical except for their eyes. They were confused for each other often.
Rainstar couldn't help but laugh too."Pebblepaw, then. Take your apprentice." She smiled and turned around to look for her own apprentice, Cedarpaw.
Cedarpaw was laying down. Her eyes were wide but she didn't seem to be looking at anything. It seemed like her cold gaze was going past the physical world, into something only she could see. A cold shiver ran through Rainstar as she approached the young brown she-cat."Cedarpaw?"
"Yes, Rainstar?" Cedarpaw said without turning to look at her mentor.
"We're going out to define the borders for our clan. You are coming. It'll be good for you to understand the new Tideclan territory."
Cedarpaw stood up, shifting her ghostly gaze toward Rainstar, but the leader felt as if she looked through her."We can't be Tideclan anymore."
"What?" Rainstar wrinkled her nose in confusion."Of course we can...we can be a powerful clan in the Drylands like we... we were before."
"There are no tides here." Cedarpaw said.
"I guess not," Rainstar scrambled to answer,"But-"
"Didn't you hear them?" Cedarpaw whispered."We're Lostclan now."
Rainstar gulped."The name is not what is important. What's important is that we have each other, we have the Warriors Code, and we have Starclan."
"I don't know these stars." Cedarpaw protested.
Rainstar briefly considered sharing her idea about the Behemoth Nightkeeper, but decided against it."There is no place we could go where Starclan can not follow," She said."Now, come on, let's go. You've got to train to be made a warrior!"
Cedarpaw looked away."Alright," she said halfheartedly and stood up.
Relieved that she finally managed to rouse the distant young cat, Rainstar headed toward the glowing exit where Crabclaw and Pebblepaw waited. Cedarpaw followed, muttering to herself,"Lostclan...Lostclan..."