And here we are, the journey begins; let the story unfold in the first chapter of…
Trailing Stars: Chapter One
Edited by: Cinnamonswirl
Illustrated by Jayfrost
A chorus of birds awoke the forest with their morning melody. Their noise echoed through the trees and streamed into Dawnmist’s ear like a river of sound. She stirred slightly but fought the urge to wake up, even if her dreams were being swept away by birdsong as it flowed through her ears and trickled from her mouth in a yawn.
She slowly adjusted her eyes to the sunlight as it flickered down from the branches. Her mind was still frozen from sleep as she drowsily stood up and stretched her stiff legs. It was only then, when she began to regain awareness, that Dawnmist realized something was wrong. All of the exhaustion that once possessed her body had vanished.
Dawnmist stared down at where her hands should be. Instead of fingers, she now had paws! Pointed ears were cropped above her head while a muzzle sprouted from her face, shagged in gray fur and whiskers. Her body was shrunken entirely while a tail waved behind her back. I’m a cat!
As Dawnmist gazed around the forest she realized it was not only her appearance that had changed. All of her senses, from sight to sound, were heightened. As she pricked her ears she could hear the slightest noise like a leaf scraping across the earth floor. She sniffed the air and a web of scents filled her nose like never before!
Shock slammed into her. Dawnmist raced forward, barging through a bramble bush. Thorns scraped against her side as she ran, but Dawnmist pushed forward anyway, overcome with confusion. Yet as much as she tried, Dawnmist knew she could never outrun her shock.
This must be a dream! She thought frantically. But when the pain of a thorn pieced through her flesh she knew. Pain only existed in reality.
Dawnmist slowly began to calm herself as a light breeze caressed her fur. After picking a thorn from her pelt she tried to think clearly. There must be a reason why I’m here. Did StarClan send me? She wondered. Maybe if I can find someone else, they may know!
She tested out her nose, hoping to scent another cat. If only Dawnmist could find someone else, than they could help her! She sniffed the air eagerly. The scent of prey was already strung out over her nostrils though and covered up the smell of everything else, making it difficult to tell things apart.
Knowing scents traveled better in the air she tried extending her muzzle towards the sky instead. Dawnmist blocked out all her other senses by shutting her eyes and flattening her ears; this was her sole focus. Come on, come on . . .
At last her nose caught something! The smell of a rogue flooded her nostrils, mixed with a forest-like scent. Something else mingled with the smells though: Blood.
She gulped, beginning to head in direction of the rogue. Even if she smelled blood, this may be her only opportunity to talk to someone. Determination guided her through the forest. Dawnmist weaved through the undergrowth, but her legs were unsteady as she ducked beneath gorse bushes and leaped over logs. Her body felt swift and smooth, but it would take some time getting used to. Fur is like clothing. I have to watch out in case it gets snagged on thorns, she observed.
The scent of both blood and cat grew stronger as she walked. It was only when a sudden cry split through the morning air that her uncertainty grew. Should I turn back? There’s bound to be someone else near.
Her curiosity drew her forward. Soon the pelt of a russet-colored she-cat came into view. Dawnmist shrunk lower to the ground so her stomach brushed against the grass, which was still covered by a blanket of dew. More battle cries shot across the air. She was surprised StarClan didn’t hear them.
Beside the ginger rogue Dawnmist spotted a large creature. As a Twoleg they didn’t seem to be so gigantic, but now they appeared as monsters. A white line sliced across the black creature’s chest and scars lay scattered over its body. A badger!
Fear made her body rattle. Crimson blood lay splattered across the ground from both opponents. This rogue was in no condition to talk. Let alone live after the badger was done with her. Dawnmist took a few paces back. Fear stripped her face of color, making it deathly pale.
Her best opportunity was to run before she was spotted. Dawnmist took off, a gray blur flashing through the trees when all of a sudden something knocked into her. I’m caught!
She waited for her own blood to be plastered across the forest floor as her throat was torn open by the badger. But instead nothing happened. A tabby she-cat stood over top of her. This cat was not the rogue from before though. She smelled different, almost like herself.
“What’s your name?” The cat hissed, her eyes glinting with hostility as she placed a paw over Dawnmist’s neck.
Dawnmist struggled to escape from the she-cat’s grasp. “Dawnmist!” She blurted, gasping for breath.
The tension on her throat loosened as the cat stumbled back. The she-cat looked angered for a moment, but all her anger seemed to melt away like ice.
“Who are you?” Dawnmist stood up, unsheathing her claws in case the light brown she-cat attacked again.
The rogue was quiet for a moment. “Copperclaw.”
Her eyes widened as she recognized the cat. Memories rushed to the surface of her mind. “The deputy of BlogClan…” She paused, trailing off. “But that means all of BlogClan must have been turned into cats!” Dawnmist exclaimed, half to herself.
“What do you mean? Why am I here?” Copperclaw growled, her attitude as prickly as a bramble bush.
Dawnmist took in all her knowledge, hoping what she said was true. “StarClan sent us here, and all of BlogClan. They want us to start a clan.” What if that isn’t true and I’m lying to her? Why else would we be here though?
“Is StarClan mousebrained? Couldn’t they have warned us first?” She hissed, her harsh voice becoming softer. “I’m sorry I attacked you. I didn’t realize who you were.”
Dawnmist placed her tail gentle on Copperclaw’s back. “I probably would have done the same in your position,” she meowed, trying to keep her voice quiet in case the badger was around. Should I tell her about the battle I saw?
“Yeah…” Copperclaw looked ashamed; her face was bright red with embarrassment.
I guess I can tell her later. She decided, glancing back and forth. “If all of BlogClan was turned into a cat that means others should be near. We should form a camp before we search for others though.”
Copperclaw nodded. “Good idea. Let’s leave this forest first. It smells to much like…” She paused, sniffing the air. “Badger.”
Her whiskers twitched uneasily. “Lead the way.” Dawnmist flicked her tail, wondering how Copperclaw knew which direction to head as they began walking. She was glad to be leaving the ominous forest. Dawnmist would much rather be in the open space where she could see the sky perfectly.
More than anything, she was glad to be leaving them with a friend.
She followed Copperclaw through the sloping undergrowth. When she spotted a mouse scurrying through the brushwood her belly rumbled with hunger. She pushed her craving for food aside though and continued on.
“I woke up beside a river. We can start there and search for a suitable camp,” Copperclaw said.
By the time they reaching the churning river dusk was setting on the land. The sun had splashed colors over the sky, its colorful canvas about to be washed away by night’s blackness. They both ventured onward to the riverbank.
“I think I saw a log somewhere when I woke up. We can use it to cross the river,” Copperclaw meowed, pointing her ear farther downstream. “Watch out though, the water is fast and deep.”
“Got it.” Dawnmist bounded in the direction she had pointed, her eyes scanning for a log where they could cross. She let the billowing water lap at her feet, loving the feel of it slip through the folds in her paw.
“Copperclaw!” She called, spotting the log. It stretched over the vast river and was covered by a layer of moss. Water streamed over its surface, making it look slippery. “Copperclaw!” She called again. Her words were left answered.
Glancing over her shoulder, Dawnmist’s whiskers twitched in amusement when she saw Copperclaw staring intently at the fish swimming below. She could have sworn the brown she-cat licked her lips as if she was about to dive head first to catch one.
As if expected, Copperclaw sprang forward, sending a flurry of water into the air. Drops of water sprinkled overhead like rain and the next thing Dawnmist knew a fish lay wiggling in her friend’s mouth. We’re like newborn kits out here. You don’t think we would be able to hunt. She does have the talent to be deputy.
She purred in approval. “Nice catch!”
Copperclaw’s expression was not a look of satisfaction though. Her legs trembled slightly as if the ground was shaking below foot. Her amber eyes were balls of fear. “Badger!”
The creature lumbered towards them. Its black eyes showed no emotion, but were focused intensely on Copperclaw and her. Considering its large size the badger headed towards them quickly, its teeth brought back in a growl that rumbled so loud it seemed as if it could shake the forest. Blood stained its paws, which told Dawnmist this was the same badger that had attacked the rogue. This must be its territory!
“Run!” Dawnmist yowled, racing towards the log. Copperclaw immediately dropped her catch and sprung foreword, her long legs covered a great distance as she followed after Dawnmist.
Water trickled over Dawnmist’s paws as she leaped onto the hollow log first. Her footing suddenly slipped though and she almost went barreling into the water. She shrieked in surprise, trying to stop herself from falling. Copperclaw shoved into her side, helping to balance her. Dawnmist rooted her claws into the moss. “Thanks!” she panted.
The badger had caught up with them and flung itself onto the log. She could see its muscles rippling beneath its fur as it chased after them. Its jaws snapped through thin air; razor sharp teeth ready to tear flesh and fur.
Dawnmist skidded across the log as far as she could, but the badger was still on their heels. She glanced back at Copperclaw who had turned around to slash at the beast. She watched as the badger’s jaws locked down on Copperclaw’s tail. It would be surprising if anything remanded but a stub afterwards. “Copperclaw!” She gasped.
The brown tabby she-cat tried to fend off the badger still. Dawnmist quickly turned ahead, but when she took another step a load crack split through the air. She was frozen in fear. The log was going to break. They would fall into the fast river!
Dawnmist lowered herself so Copperclaw could leap over her and make it to shore first. “Jump!” She yowled.
Copperclaw swung around to look at Dawnmist who was just dodging the badger’s massive paw as it aimed for her head. The she-cat leaped forward without question, flying overhead. Dawnmist didn’t have time to see if she landed safety. The badger advanced towards her now instead, all its paws firmly on the log.
She knew the tree trunk was going to break at any moment. Dawnmist’s nerves pulsed with fear as she waited for the badger to leap towards her. As planned it charged forward, letting out a long bellow.
Dawnmist dodged just in time, watching as the badger landed on a weak point in the bark. She heard an earsplitting crack as the log shattered and went tumbling into the river. The badger yelped and extended a paw towards her, as if trying to drag her with him. The beast only managed to grab a pawful of gray fur though as it crashed into the river with the trunk.
Exhaustion filled her lungs, but she managed to take one final leap to shore, landing beside Copperclaw. Her heartbeat was so loud it drowned out every other sound. She let it be her lullaby as she lay down and regained her breath.
Dawnmist woke up a few minutes later, her energy restored. Beside her Copperclaw sat cleaning her tail, which only had clumps of fur remaining and a gash from where the badger had injected his fangs. If we’re going to form a clan then I’ll have to be medicine cat. I know the herbs, but what if I can’t identify one? Will Copperclaw’s tail become infected?
She shook her head, clearing away any clouds of worry that lingered around her thoughts. “How long have I been asleep?” She asked, smiling. The moon was out and Silverpelt was shining, but now darkness became their enemies. At least now while their sight was limited their hearing and smelling would come in handy.
“Just a few minutes,” Copperclaw meowed anxiously, adding: “But I decided to explore while you were asleep. Just ahead is a gorge! It’ll be our new home!”
“Did you see if there were dens?”
“Yes! I spotted a few dens, but we’ll have to make sure their suitable. It smelled faintly of badger, but the scent was stale.” She flicked her tail, flinching as if she forgot her injury. “Let me show you!”
Dawnmist followed excitedly after Copperclaw. Tussocks formed a barrier around the bank so she stomped them down with Copperclaw’s help. Ahead was a wide stretch of moorland, which only took moments to cross. Half way through the bare landscape they both broke into a run, fueled by anticipation. We’re almost there!
“Here we are.” Copperclaw stopped abruptly at the quarries peak. Dawnmist reached foreword to gaze down at the camp. Far below lay a clearing, but darkness sheltered most of the dens. Sharp rocks could be seen jutting out of the quarry walls, but for the most part things seemed perfect.
“Is there a way to get down there?” She pondered, eyes sparkling with happiness. Bordering the bottom of their camp was a forest, where she could hear crickets chirping their nightly song.
Copperclaw nodded and lead them carefully down a pathway, but by the time they reached their new camp entrance they were both exhausted. The deputy glanced back at her tail often as if she was being bitten by flea’s second after second, while Dawnmist dragged her paws, still tired from their encounter with the badger.
“We should find a den to sleep in for the night. We can collect moss tomorrow and search for others.”
Copperclaw’s words were a relief as Dawnmist entered the clearing. Although she was amazed by the gorge, sleepiness tugged at her eyelids. Tomorrow they would have another adventure.
Wordlessly, Copperclaw began to head into one of the caves, positioned at the bottom of the gorge. The light-brown she-cat turned her head slightly to nod at Dawnmist, in both respect and satisfaction. “Goodnight.”
Dawnmist smiled in return. She waited till her friend had left before collapsing upon a jagged rock. Her silver pelt was bathed in moonlight as she gazed up at the stars. “Why are we here?” She wondered to herself, blinking back tiredness. So many questions whirled around in her mind; they were like a boulder weighing down her thoughts. “Please give me a sign StarClan…”
Her words were met with silence. Dawnmist let out a long sigh that echoed through the camp. “Goodnight world.” she whispered. As she drifted into slumber dreams began to form, one was so short it was only a simple word, yet it clung to her memory the most. Unite.
Now, that was good! Enjoy, BlogClan, and wait for Chapter Two (written by Owlsong)! 😀