Chapter 3-1

posted August 3rd, 2017, 11:00 am


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August 3rd, 2017, 11:00 am

WildfireK

Chapter 3-1

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The cats of ShadowClan returned home in silence, save for occasional muttering and angry whispers. Lynxstar led the cats – or were they chasing him? – back to their home, though Lynxstar knew that perhaps home itself would turn against him. Though he had tried his best, through an impossible dilemma, Lynxstar found himself facing intense dissatisfaction within his own clan. He had destroyed ShadowClan’s reputation by allowing Ebonystar to get her way, and bring about the anger of StarClan. The pride that these cats wanted to feel justly for so many moons had been squashed yet again by another leader. How many seasons would it take for a good one? Perhaps Frostfire would heal ShadowClan’s wounds. Though Lynxstar had failed ShadowClan, Frostfire seemed triumphant, however much she tried to hide it. A surge of panic flared in Lynxstar’s chest. Frostfire had seemingly won, so what would become of him? The surge of panic was replaced by suspicion. This gathering had turned out well for Frostfire. In fact, getting ThunderClan angry at ShadowClan would indeed benefit the albino she-cat. What if she was the one who had marked the border past where it should be? Lynxstar flashed back to five days ago. Was there any opportunity for his deputy to do such a thing? In fact, there was. When Twoheart, then Twopaw, and Frostfire had ventured out alone to hunt, they could have accomplished the task. Since they were both great hunters, while one marked the border, the other could hunt to provide a cover and prevent suspicion. Lynxstar hung his head in defeat. Like always, Frostfire was one step ahead of him. Despite his meticulous planning and endless caution and consideration, the ShadowClan leader had fallen.
A hard jolt from the side jostled the brooding leader. Lynxstar whipped around to face the gleaming amber eyes of Swampshine.
“What in the name of StarClan were you thinking?” the medicine cat hissed in a scathing whisper. The clan’s susurrus suddenly stopped, as the cats silenced their conversation to watch Swampshine’s confrontation. Such insubordination was nearly unheard of in the clans. “You can’t just switch moods like that! You can’t act all polite, then childishly retort! The clans think you’re indecisive now, and they feel like you have no control over us!” The tortoiseshell shook her head. “You’re too distant. It’s like you never pay attention. You don’t try to get to know us at all, and you don’t listen to what we know is best for the clan,” Swampshine ranted, taking a pause to breathe. Lynxstar braced for more blows. To hear this sort of thing from a ThunderClan warrior was bearable, but from his own medicine cat? That was beyond deflating. Lynxstar felt his confidence shatter. Yet, he felt a prickle of indignation.
“You don’t know…” Lynxstar began, but managed to keep his words under control, as he as an expert at that. “Right,” the leader corrected himself, starting again. “If that’s true, let’s fix that now. What does the clan think is best?”
“Step down.”
“S-sorry, what was t-that?”
“You heard me and you understand exactly why. Step down.” Lynxstar paused whipped around frantically as his cats came to a halt. There was Frostfire, looking at Lynxstar like he was a helpless piece of prey, and Shadowsmoke, who stood silently off to the side. Crowsand, Coalblaze, and Aspensong looked outraged, Voidtail and Cypressroot were silently panicking, trying to keep calm, but for the most part, it seemed that most cats were fed up with Lynxstar’s leadership.
“I-uh-right. Yes, I will step down from the position of leader of ShadowClan. Frostfire will become leader, and I will return to my place as a warrior,” Lynxstar, unable to come up with anything else to say, dipped his head for the last time as ShadowClan leader. Swampshine turned to Frostfire, accepting the disgraced tom’s defeat. This couldn’t be happening so quickly! Lynxheart was almost certain that Frostfire would wait at least a few more moons. He had badly misjudged how most of the cats in his clan felt, and he was paying the price.
“Frostfire, will you do the honors?” Swampshine asked. Frostfire nodded eagerly. Lynxstar braced as his clanmates stepped back as the albino she-cat made her way to the center of the circle of cats where Lynxstar stood. The two paused a moment, looking at each other for a taut, solemn second, then Lynxstar dropped to his knees, baring his neck. Frostfire unsheathed her claws. The same claws that had killed Rubystar. Lynxstar sadly remembered his nine lives ceremony, and the cats that had given him the blessing. Each one’s voice echoed in his mind as the seconds ticked down.
Nine lives. One for courage.
Slash.
Eight. One for caution.
Slash.
Seven. One for empathy.
Slash.
Six. One for self-control.
Slash.
Five. One for righteousness.
Slash.
Four. One for faith in StarClan.
Slash.
Three. One for assertiveness.
Slash.
Two. One for love.
Slash.
One. One life for trust.

As Lynxstar lay in his final death-spasm, a dreamlike state overcame him. Suddenly, all he saw was a blissful meadow. Lynxstar knew that StarClan had come to visit him. Sure enough, a white she-cat with stars in her pelt appeared in Lynxstar’s peripheral vision.
“Honeycry,” Lynxstar acknowledged, but Honeycry did not greet the leader back.
“Put all of your trust in StarClan. Whatever you believe, do not play with shadows. Walk with us, and you will gain entry to our grounds. However, if you decide to seal the entrance, you will find that you will be destroyed. Goodnight. Keep it that way,” Honeycry said briskly, not even looking in Lynxstar’s direction. Lynxstar felt a surge of frustration. Now, now that Lynxstar had lost everything, StarClan expected him to follow whatever vague plans they had laid out for him? The leader’s loss hat taxed his soul too much. Any more, and it would fade. ‘Put all of your trust in StarClan?’ Lynxstar was too beaten to have much faith, let alone redirect it. Yet, the StarClan cat had no consoling words for him. In fact, she had not even acknowledged what turmoil he’d experienced it, like she expected him to overcome it in a few seconds and move on, without hesitation. No cat could bounce back that quickly, not even a cat like Coalblaze or Aspensong. Lynxstar jolted himself awake and back to reality. He wanted no more to do with StarClan; all they would give him were orders.
“From now on, your name will be Lynxheart. I hope you continue to serve your clan well without the benefit of eight extra lives,” Frostfire announced. Lynxstar sighed. This marked the beginning of a new era – the Froststar era, and Lynxstar, now Lynxheart, did not like it one bit.
Satisfied, ShadowClan headed silently back to camp, this time with Frostfire at the lead. Lynxheart drifted towards the back of the pack. Tomorrow, Frostfire would receive her nine lives and appoint a new deputy, which Lynxheart knew would not be him. The tom wondered who Frostfire would choose. He predicted Voidtail, which was a good thing. Perhaps, if Lynxheart waited long enough, he could regain his position as ShadowClan’s leader. He would be able to use Voidtail to influence the clan and to keep an eye on Frostfire.
Now that he was a warrior and the conflict was over, Lynxheart could now relax his thoughts. He no longer had to constantly worry about what Frostfire would do and his threatened feeling would subside. However, overthinking would be a hard habit to kick. Lynxheart felt the cogs in his mind kick into action as the old thinking machine started up again. Lynxheart turned his attention to StarClan’s warning. What did it mean? Being an expert at interpreting words, especially the hidden meanings behind them, Lynxheart could draw a foggy idea of what they meant. Shadows either referred to ShadowClan or the Dark Forest. Putting all of his faith in StarClan would definitely draw him away from the Dark Forest, since they were pretty much opposites. Since it fit, Lynxheart decided to go with that. Growing up around the nursery tales that showcased the horrors of the Dark Forest, Lynxheart wondered why StarClan would tell him to avoid it like he didn’t already know that he should. Did that mean he was vulnerable? Did that mean he would be tempted and would need StarClan’s warning to help him resist? Lynxheart felt a prickle of resentment. StarClan had probably, like with all the other cats, seen his future and made plans for it. They decided what was right for him, and he would have to listen to them. But how well did they really know him? Lynxheart knew from his experience with his clanmates that no matter how much a cat analyzed and thought about another cat, they would never be able to truly understand them. Half of the cats that had stood by Frostfire Lynxheart never would have guessed would do so. How would StarClan be able to judge what was right for him by his actions alone? There was much more than just actions that defined a cat. Lynxheart shook his head gloomily. Perhaps his work on cats was not done. He would still have to mind his words around StarClan.
A soft, tan pelt brushed against Lynxheart, jolting him out of his reverie. In a split-second, Lynxheart noticed that he had fallen behind most of his clanmates, and while they chatted busily to each other, the tension of the gathering wearing away, Sandwave had slipped as well to see if Lynxheart was doing okay. The former ShadowClan leader flashed back to the moment that Swampshine had ordered Lynxheart to step down from leader. Sandwave had been eager to see a better ShadowClan leader in her eyes rightfully take her place, but that didn’t mean she didn’t respect nor agree with Lynxheart.
“Are you upset about stepping down? Sandwave asked. It seemed like a rhetorical question, one that Sandwave knew the answer to, but when Lynxheart looked at her face, he knew that the she-cat was ready for both answers.
“Yes. But ShadowClan is in good paws. Better ones,” the warrior tom replied. Sandwave nodded thoughtfully.
“You liked being leader, didn’t you? You wanted to hold on to that position. What was so great about it? Why didn’t you let Frostfire have what she wanted?” Sandwave asked quite a few questions, and the Lynxheart in the past would have dodged all of them deftly. However, the current Lynxheart was too defeated to hold back.
“Yeah, I guess. To be honest, when I realized what Frostfire wanted, I was scared that she would kill me because I was unfit for ShadowClan, like she did with Rubystar. But I think she respects me. She knows that I am still valuable to my clan without power. I guess that’s why she let me live. But… I don’t know. It’s hard to explain, I just… did it.” Lynxheart winced. Usually he was better with words. “I guess you don’t really question your goals until you fail.” Sandwave nodded. The former leader hung his head embarrassedly. Now that he had lost power, it seemed he could no longer speak with the careful precision that he had done so all his life. He had made such a bumbling fool out of himself in front of Sandwave. To Lynxsheart’s relief, the tan tabby she-cat didn’t seem to mind.
“Well, at least now you won’t have to worry about her. She is a great leader, like you said. Now you can just pick yourself up and start anew,” Sandwave told Lynxheart soothingly. The grey tom winced, but tried to hide it. Even though he knew that the she-cat was right, the phrase ‘pick yourself up’ was irreconcilable with the word ‘just’ and should never be put in the same sentence. Situations like these could not be taken lightly and dealt with easily. Getting over a loss like this could be treated as if it was natural, but in reality, very few could ever do it. Lynxheart knew he probably wasn’t one of those cats.
“Right,” Lynxheart agreed, even though he still felt unsure. “A fresh start, free of worry,” the Maine Coon flashed a fake smile. That carefree fresh start that Lynxheart spoke of would not be his. Sandwave wasn’t fooled by his façade.
“It’s okay. Now that you’re a warrior, we can spend more time together so you won’t have to be so lonely.”
“I’m not lonely! I’ve got Crowsand, Coalblaze, Aspensong, Cypressroot, Voidtail…” Lynxheart listed indignantly, not caring anymore that he was speaking so freely.
“You’re right. But still… I’ll be there if you need me, okay?” At this, Sandwave walked faster, catching up with the rest of the clan. Watching the she-cat go, Lynxheart felt a surge of affection. The she-cat obviously respected him and cared for him enough to check on him before any of his friends did. That stood out to the observant tom’s mind. She must have liked him a lot in order for her to do such a thing, and that sort of affection couldn’t be gained by just a well-done first impression during a hunting patrol. Perhaps Sandwave would become closer now that Lynxheart was free from his constant worry and leadership responsibilities.
Lynxheart, not wanting to be left behind everyone else like an outcast, padded up to Cypressroot and Coalblaze, who were talking to each other like friends usually did. Both their heads turned to Lynxheart as he approached, and even though they seemed to be making an effort to ignore what had just happened in fear of persecution, Lynxheart could see their eyes immediately fill with pity and sorrow as soon as they laid eyes on him. Coalblaze was the first to acknowledge Lynxheart’s loss with words.
“I’m sorry about what happened, Lynxstar,” the young black tom mewed.
“I know that you weren’t alive when I was a warrior – StarClan, has it really been that long? – but you must call me Lynxheart now, Coalblaze. Also, don’t be sorry. I wasn’t the leader that ShadowClan needed. Frostfire is. She’ll be a better fit, and now that she’s spared me, we can go back to living normally, before I had to be overly cautious,” Lynxheart responded. Even though he believed in what he was saying, as it was a reasonable statement, he couldn’t help but feel empty anyway, like a part of him was missing. Lynxheart decided to name the weight that was tugging on his heartstrings, calling it grief. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling, and Lynxheart wanted to do away with it as quickly as possible. Or, was that a good idea? Perhaps he could learn from this feeling. Lynxheart analyzed his grief like he would do with any cat. It was there because he had lost his power, and even though it was better off in Frostfire’s hands, part of Lynxheart still wanted it back, despite all the reasons Lynxheart provided against that desire.
Lynxheart knew that the part of him that wanted his power back was the same part of him that had kept him from giving up and had led him instead to fight Frostfire through influence in the clan. It was the part of him that liked being in control, the manipulative, micromanaging part of him. The part of him that was almost a mirror image of Rubystar.
There it was again. Another reverie, another spate of endless thought, another torrent of words. Lynxheart’s mind reeled. He had thought too much this season. He heard his own voice more than anything else. The past season’s worries and observations caught up to him, bowling him over like an enemy warrior. How Rubystar and Frostfire were able to do this without struggling as much as he did was a mystery to him. Now that the conflict was resolved, Lynxheart could finally relax. Why did his mind insist on observing every little detail? It took up so much energy and there was no more room in his mind for anything else. Stop thinking! Lynxheart scolded himself, but his mind whirred on, spurred by his own discomfort. Stop!
“Is this normal?”
Lynxheart was jolted out of his bitter fight with own mind, to see the worried face of Cypressroot peering at him curiously.
“Yeah, it’s normal. He had a lot on his mind, more than any cat should have. He needs a lot of time to think and plan, so he does this a lot. You know, sometimes I wonder what he’s thinking about,” Coalblaze responded, consoling his newfound friend that Lynxheart had earned for him.
“Well, if I was still leader, I wouldn’t tell you, but now, I have to just let go. Most of the time when I was planning on how to beat Frostfire, but now that she’s won, I’m trying to relax. It’s not working very well.” Lynxheart shook his head grimly.
“Sorry about that. That, and not doing anything when Swampshine ordered you to step down.” Coalblaze looked guiltily at Cypressroot, avoiding Lynxheart’s gaze. He was afraid of what he would find there, afraid of the scars that bore the mark of his own claws. Cypressroot looked down at the floor.
“That’s fine. I would have done the very same thing. I have done the very same thing,” Lynxheart muttered, as his mind brought up memories of Rubystar, being confronted by Frostfire and the whole of ShadowClan, Lynxheart included. When Rubystar had been stripped of all of her remaining lives one by one, Lynxheart had stood and watched, his mouth shut, his mind already planning for his imminent inauguration as leader. Coalblaze looked comforted by that fact, but Cypressroot did not. Instead, the brown warrior turned silently and awkwardly to fact the rest of ShadowClan in front of him, signifying that the conversation was now over. The brown warrior picked up his pace to join Roserain and Crowsand. Roserain, as always, was chatty and shamelessly talking about Lynxheart’s leadership, while Crowsand, in a fashion that impressed the patient, discreet former ShadowClan leader himself, nodded along, seemingly clinging to every single word even though he disagreed with them.
Coalblaze, now alone with Lynxheart, edged closer to the light-grey warrior. Now that Lynxheart’s worries were solved, and the habit of self-consciousness was no longer necessary, Coalblaze would have much more time with him to blissfully while away. Coalblaze knew that one of the few, rare times that Lynxheart was comfortable and truly happy, was when he and Coablaze could just talk and enjoy some repose. Alas, the black warrior still felt a bit guilty that he had stood by and watched his former mentor and stalwart friend die eight times. Coalblaze could just smell the victory and triumph in Frostfire’s eyes as the event that she had planned and worked for for many, many moons unfolded, even though it was just a memory. The black tom shuddered as his mind pictured an eager Frostfire tearing apart Lynxheart’s body, something that she had wanted to do for so long, but it was his mentor, his friend, being torn apart, and Coalblaze felt a unstoppable torrent of anger bubble up from the depths of his gut. With the taste of bile on his tongue, Coalblaze leaned forward and spat on the ground. Why had it taken him this long to feel this way? Coalblaze felt his fiery anger turn itself upon him, joining forces with his guilt. As soon as the black tom felt the heat, he knew he needed to find somebody to blame. He scanned the ShadowClan cats until he laid eyes on Swampshine. Instantly, memories of Swampshine dismissing and challenging her own leader, Lynxheart, and calling upon the cats of ShadowClan to unite against his friend, flew towards Coalblaze’s attention and blinded him with their contents. Then, Coalblaze saw that everything he saw had begun to gain a red tint, as was the hue of the memories, and he felt the bile rise in his throat once more. First, Coalblaze began to shake. Then, the black tom spat once more. He felt air flow out of his mouth, making a low hissing noise, and he bared his teeth.
“Coalblaze?” Lynxheart’s worried mew shocked Coalblaze enough for the world to fade back into normalcy.
“Swampshine… Swampshine is a fox-hearted, mouse-brained, dirt-faced, arrogant cocky traitor with a badger’s breath and a-a-a-she’s just the worst medicine cat ever!” Coalblaze hissed, his anger taking control. Thankfully, his whispered his words quietly enough so that only Lynxheart could hear him. Otherwise, Coalblaze might have had faced the angry claws of his clanmates, and while he didn’t care now, he would definitely care later as Swampshine would probably refuse to heal his wounds.
“Coalblaze–“ Lynxheart started, absolutely blown apart by the fact that his optimistic, innocent friend would say something like that, but the former leader was cut off by a quick paw that lashed out and struck his cheek. Lynxheart cried out in pain, unable to control itself, and soon every cat was silent.
“Did–did–was that Coalblaze?” Aspensong asked disbelievingly, turning around to face her best friend. Coalblaze glared back murderously, then, in an instant, his malicious look faded, replaced by one of utter shock and remorse.
The black tom’s shocked gaze fled towards Frostfire, who sat wearing a mask portraying a calculating expression. Coalblaze knew that she would work her magic on him next. Now that she was in power, she needed the whole of ShadowClan under control to prevent uprisings, and Coalblaze would need to be tamed. Next to her stood Swampshine, and Coalblaze felt another surge of anger overpower him. His stomach lifted as it would normally do in joy, but now, it was a symptom of rage. She looked so smug, so content that Frostfire had won, and even that Coalblaze had lashed out. The warrior just knew she disliked Lynxheart, and he could not stand by and let that happen. He knew that she was his clanmate and had seen to his wounds countless times, but he did not care. He just didn’t. He wanted to feel that stupid fox-hearted cat’s fur in his paws, and this time he wouldn’t achieve his goal by cuddling or piggyback rides. Coalblaze leapt.
In a second, Coalblaze felt his clanmate’s body underneath his. His heart leapt with joy. He swiped left, right, left, right, back and forth, his claws raking Swampshine across her face, her body struggling helplessly and his attacks blinded her in their movement. Blood pooled on her muzzle and around her face as the she-cat bore the warrior’s wrath.
Coalblaze pinned the she-cat on the ground, and dug his claws the deepest he could into her flesh, further even than he had done with Nightshade. The medicine cat yowled in pain, and Coablaze bared his teeth, hissing madly at Swampshine. Suddenly, prying paws pushed him off, and teeth fastened around his scruff. Slashing at the air viciously, Coalblaze struck the muzzle behind him. Shadowsmoke gave a small yelp as she let the black warrior go. Turning on the dark tabby, Coalblaze hissed a warning. Back off. I need this. Shadowsmoke backed away.
Coalblaze was soon lifted off his feet at Swampshine barreled into him from the side. While he was distracted, the she-cat had regained her balance and uprighted herself, readying for retaliation. Coalblaze made his body go limp, and Swampshine struggled as she was forced to stumble over the young warrior in order to land swiftly on the ground. Coalblaze hit the ground with a hard thud and rolled forward, springing upwards to face the tortoiseshell.
“Stop!” Frostfire’s commanding voice rang out through the trees. Swampshine immediately swiveled to face the albino she-cat, preparing to justify her attack in the name of self-defense. Coalblaze did not, instead avoiding eye-contact with his new leader. The black tom felt a soft, wary tail on the shoulder of his bristling body. This time, he did turn, and saw the face of his friend, Lynxheart, the very same cat he would attack his own clanmate to defend. Coalblaze’s spirits plummeted as he saw what kind of emotions Lynxheart was wearing. His face showed a medley of sadness, shock, fear, and love. Without even saying a word, the former leader convinced Coalblaze to stop. The black warrior felt tears well up in his eyes. What would happen now? What would his clanmates think of him now that he had attacked their own medicine cat? Surely he wouldn’t be forgiven? Since Lynxheart was Coalblaze’s mentor, what would they think of what his apprentice had done?

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October 21st, 2017, 3:14 am

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view Midnight-fox18's profile

August 3rd, 2017, 11:50 pm

Midnight-fox18

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Oh I think this was the part that made me cri

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view WildfireK's profile

August 3rd, 2017, 11:53 pm

WildfireK

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@Midnight-fox18:
Crud. Italics don't work here XP oh nooo

Anyway, I made you cri? What I had no idea my writing could be so powerful... woah.. I'm kinda scared now...

*rereads Coalblaze part*
Holy Rayfi did I write that!? I AM scared... and impressed...

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view ShadowStalker1128's profile

August 8th, 2017, 8:59 am

ShadowStalker1128

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OH my god
Oh wow

This has probably been my favorite part so far
Holy shinx YES
Coalblaze attacking Swampshine...never saw that coming! That was wonderfully portrayed; Coalblaze's train of thought got me pretty pissed at Swampshine too, and I wanted to sink my claws into her fur as well! So glad Coalblaze did it for me lol

Only one issue...that part where Lynxheart steps down? It was okay, but I think of the clan had gotten more involoved it would have been better. Like, at first Lynxheart could have protested, but then ShadowClan could have joined in, yowling their reasons for Lynxheart stepping down. Maybe even had some cats defend him? I dunno, but it was still good. Just something to think about in the future

Very well done. ;)
I think I'll take a break now and get some breakfast

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August 8th, 2017, 9:04 am

WildfireK

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@ShadowStalker1128:
Aww Shad thanks!

It's my favorite part too (you're meant to be surprised)
And that passage also gets my blood running! Whooo! I did it! Yessssssssss

*phew*

Oh yes great suggestion - I tried to portray an air of shock by having nobody say anything - also the fact that a lot of people, in these situations, are scared to speak out (I know I wouldn't say anything)
but you're right, that's good to think about in the future, and that also would have dealt an emotional blow to Lynxheart - I like it
You're amazing at constructive feedback, Shadow!
Thank you so much!

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August 8th, 2017, 10:23 am

ShadowStalker1128

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@WildfireK: np :3

I put myself in the cats' paws, and yeah, if I was with Lynxheart I might not have said anything, but if I were for Froststar, I would have definitely let everyone know. And if I were Lynxheart I would be a lot more emotionally hit because of the facts that my Clanmates were dissatisfied and glad that wasn't leader anymore
But idk

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view Fire storm's profile

October 14th, 2017, 8:58 am

Fire storm

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I agree that Swampshine is horrible but holy crap Coalblaze is going to get in trouble for doing that.

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