Panic, confusion and investigations, today in…
Trailing Stars: Chapter Two
Edited by: Sun For Two
illustrated by Jayfrost
Wolfpaw opened her eyes . . . It was nighttime and the forest was alive around
her, sharp and rich in scent and sight. She felt a chill wind rush across her, and she shivered.
It had been minutes since she had awoken in the forest, minutes since she had discovered what happened to her.
But now, as she re-awakened, she was ready to proceed in light of her new situation.
She had panicked at first, but now she barely felt any panic. She needed to find somebody or something that would tell her what she was doing here.
Her paws were sore from earlier’s pointless running, so she walked slowly. The forest had a very thick ground, and it felt muddy. Had it rained?
Suddenly, a flock of birds flew rapidly through the air. Wolfpaw blinked at the strange sight. The birds appeared to be scared.
What are the birds flying away from? she thought.
She heard a deep, menacing growl behind her, and she started running in the same direction as the panicked birds. Was there something behind her?
She kept on running, until she smelled something . . . strange.
She sniffed; the scents here were, in a way, familiar. There had been cats here, definitely cats. She sniffed again, two cats, with familiar scents.
But there were other scents around her. One that she recognized belonged to a badger. The lumbering black-and-white had obviously put up a fight because one of the other scents was . . . blood.
Her eyes widened at the scent but nothing was fresh. There was a lot of badger scent. This must’ve been it’s territory. What happened to it?
She looked around her. A fast-flowing river was on the right, the rush of the water sounding like a low melody. The scent of badger, it trailed right into it.
As Wolfpaw stared, she tried to picture what had happened. There had been a fight here. She was sure of that.
The badger was pushed into the river, she observed, so the cats . . .
She tried to find their trail, a sign that the cats hadn’t gone into the river with the badger. She purred as she realized their scent trail led far away from there.
Should I follow their trail?
The scents were familiar. Maybe they would know what was going on. There was the chance that she was imagining the familiarity, but she doubted it. Besides, she had no idea what else to do. She also noticed a small thorn patch next to her, but it seemed to be irrelevant to everything else.
Just as she decided to set out on the trail, she heard a loud yowling behind her. It was a caterwaul of triumph. Wolfpaw panicked, shock rooting her to the ground. She was able to move swiftly, hiding seemed like the best thing to do in this situation. But where would she hide?
There! The badger den! She was sure it was empty and the scent would protect her. She jumped inside and fought the curiosity to face the yowling cat.
But as the cat moved into view, she had to swallow back a gasp.
The cat had long, reddish-brown fur with a few tabby markings. Pale amber eyes shone above a pure black nose, and a fresh scar was sliced on one of her ears. But this cat also wore a familiar scent.
Wolfpaw was surprised that something about this cat was more familiar than the other’s she had scented earlier. But, she didn’t have the same feeling of trust. She had made up a story from the scents she had smelled, but wasn’t sure if the story was accurate. It seemed like the best theory the scents could add to. If she trusted that story, this cat might still have an air of hostility.
The cat’s ears suddenly pricked, and she sniffed the air. She ran away, heading after something only she could see.
As soon as she was sure the cat was gone, Wolfpaw went back to investigating.
I’ll follow the trail, but what if I go the wrong way?
She knew that was a possibility, that she would slip up. She strained her senses, flattening her ears and thinking of only the two cats. She was sure she had the trail, as clear as a map in her mind.
But as she walked forward, nothing looked like the map in her mind. She was sure she was still following the trail, but these two cats had done more than she expected.
She came to a gorge, a gorge that Wolfpaw could swear these cats had intended to use as a camp. There were dens, and she could put a proper Clan name on every one of them.
This is where the scent trail ended.
How do I get in?
She didn’t know if the cats would even be down there, but she knew she had to try. Where was the entrance?
It took her longer than she expected to find a neat pathway that seemed to stretch to an entrance. As she finally made it there, dawn had approached, turning the sky rosy shades of pink and orange.
She was very tired, but strangely scared. What if she had gotten the whole idea wrong and there were no cats here? Or worse, what if the cats were hostile?
She wasn’t sure what to say first, or how to approach a cat, if there were any cats. She didn’t have to. Just then a silky-furred, silver-gray tabby stepped out of one of the dens.
Wolfpaw was not prepared when the cat turned around and saw her, eyes sparking with confusion.
Now, as Wolfpaw saw this cat, she realized she was very familiar. The scent was almost exactly like her own. But the other cat didn’t seem to recognize her at all.
Now Wolfpaw really needed to remember this cat. What was her name? She was sure she knew . . .
“Dawnmist?” Wolfpaw was surprised to hear herself speak, but the cat was even more surprised. Not because Wolfpaw was there, but because she knew her name. This was good. Wolfpaw wasn’t alone anymore. The rest of BlogClan must be here too!
“Who are you?” Dawnmist asked. She didn’t seem hostile and her eyes seemed to carry no expression at all.
“Wolfpaw!” Wolfpaw mewed.
Dawnmist blinked then she yowled out a name, “Copperclaw!”
At the signal, a brown tabby she-cat appeared from one of the dens. Wolfpaw gasped at the sight of Copperclaw.
The deputy of BlogClan!
Copperclaw’s expression was blank as she stared at Wolfpaw.
“That’s Wolfpaw,” Dawnmist meowed, “she found our camp.”
At the sound of Wolfpaw’s name, hostility faded from Copperclaw, left with more confusion. “How?”
“I followed your scent trail,” Wolfpaw recalled what had happened. “I was next to this river and your scents were familiar. I decided I would follow.”
Copperclaw nodded. “You’re a very good tracker.”
Wolfpaw was surprised to hear the deputy praise her, but she had more questions that she was hoping could be answered. Dawnmist was the medicine cat. Had StarClan talked to her?
“What’s going on?” Wolfpaw asked. “Do you know why we’re here?”
Dawnmist gazed at the sky, now fully into dawn. “I think StarClan wants us to start a Clan, they want us to unite.”
At the end of Dawnmist’s words, they all heard something.
Turning around, Wolfpaw saw a familiar sight, a strong cat with thick reddish-brown fur.
Did she . . . follow me?
Wolfpaw instantly tensed and she noticed how Copperclaw unsheathed her claws and the back of her fur sparked with hostility. Wolfpaw was small, an apprentice, and she didn’t appear as a threat. That must have been why she wasn’t attacked in the first place. But a full-grown, strong and long-clawed cat posed as a huge threat.
But Dawnmist, Dawnmist seemed calm, mystified even.
“Who are you?” Copperclaw hissed.
She started to approach them, and Wolfpaw found that the cat was even more familiar than Dawnmist had been.
As soon as she spoke they all froze.
But that means that she’s…
Copperclaw lost hostility in a second, her eyes shining. Dawnmist kept the same expression.
“Copperclaw,” Cakestar meowed, “did you find this camp?”
“She did,” Dawnmist answered for the stunned deputy.
“I see, you’ll make a good deputy.”
Copperclaw was still frozen but she managed to nod. Wolfpaw was just wondering, how did Cakestar known that they had to start a Clan?
“We were planning to start searching for cats today,” Dawnmist meowed, “but are you tired?” She turned to Wolfpaw, “Are you?”
Wolfpaw had been tired for a while, exhausted even. She nodded.
“We’ll start searching at sunhigh.”
They settled into a den and Wolfpaw immediately felt sleep claim her. As the dreams began to stir inside her they seemed to carry messages, but she was still confused for what was to come.
Wolfpaw was still sleeping by the time sunhigh came, she was awoken by the chatter of
the cats outside. She could tell they were getting to work; Cakestar was taking charge as leader and Copperclaw was getting into her role as deputy. But there were only four cats, and no patrols yet.
Wolfpaw got onto her paws and stretched, stifling a yawn. She hadn’t slept for long but she felt fully rested and a purr escaped her throat.
“Wolfpaw, you’re up,” Copperclaw meowed.
“Let’s start searching, we need to make a proper Clan,” Cakestar declared. “Dawnmist, Wolfpaw, you start searching in the forest. Copperclaw and I will go search around the gorge.”
Wolfpaw followed Dawnmist out through the entrance and into the forest. Dawnmist told the story of what happened when she woke up, the badger and Copperclaw. Wolfpaw’s story from the scents wasn’t far off from the actual event. Wolfpaw herself didn’t have much of a story to tell but she noted how she had seen the panicked birds earlier and how she had seen Cakestar before. They didn’t talk much after that, they kept their eyes and ears focused for other BlogClan cats that might be around.
Wolfpaw was uneasy when they entered the forest. She had never really liked the place.
“I was happy when I left here, too,” Dawnmist told her. She suddenly froze, “wait.”
The silver tabby pricked her ears and her eyes shined with an alert. Wolfpaw copied her, there was something suspicious ahead.
“This is about the place where the birds panicked,” Wolfpaw remember out loud. “I didn’t go any further in.”
There was a scent coming closer, a bitter and unwelcoming scent. Wolfpaw backed away slowly as she heard rough footsteps up ahead. They needed to get out of here!
“Foxes!” Dawnmist yowled.
Fighting wasn’t a skill for either of them. Dawnmist was a medicine cat, why didn’t Cakestar send Copperclaw with Wolfpaw and her? She realized with a guilty feeling that her leader had made a mistake.
They hadn’t run far enough and the smell of fox was deathly close.
Without thinking, she turned around. Two foxes were standing right in front of them, with dusty red fur and gray around their face. Their dark eyes seemed unearthly and their jaws looked powerful. These foxes were ruthless.
Wolfpaw shrank back but the foxes looked like they would attack any moment.
Suddenly, another cat charged into view.
“Copperclaw!” Wolfpaw meowed in surprise, “what are you doing here? Where’s Cake-”
Just then, the foxes charged, cutting off Wolfpaw.
Instantly, she unsheathed her claws. She knew fighting would be useless, Wolfpaw was not a fighter. It was Copperclaw who would save them.
The light brown tabby charged forward, straight onto the biggest fox. As blood began to stain her paws she let go. The fox wasn’t done yet.
Dawnmist seemed to be a quick-thinker despite not being a fighter and used the skill she had. The badger fight was a quick save, but was there something around here that could . . . Wolfpaw’s thoughts were interrupted by a swipe of claws. A terrible pain swept through her but she was surprised that the fox hadn’t gone right ahead and ate her. She turned around and jumped, escaping the fox’s jaws by a mouse-length.
Copperclaw sprang onto Wolfpaw’s attacking fox and sent a scar right through it’s neck. The first fox had fled.
When she regained ground she noticed something. Copperclaw hadn’t come alone, three unknown cats had come with her and they were now helping to fight off the fox.
Are they from BlogClan?
There was no time to sit and wonder. Where could this fox . . . there!
A huge patch of brambles was not far from them. If they could manage to get the fox over there then it would fall straight into the patch.
“Dawnmist!” The medicine cat was helping to fight the fox off. The cats didn’t seem to be struggling but neither them nor the fox were winning.
Wolfpaw pointed her ears towards the bramble bush and Dawnmist nodded, understanding the idea.
It all happened quickly after that. The cats tried to steer the fox over but it was smart, realizing quickly that the cats planned to drag it to it’s doom.
Suddenly, Copperclaw took a final swipe to the fox’s neck and in an instant it fell silent. Wolfpaw’s plan never needed to be put in action.
Copperclaw was triumphant and Wolfpaw tried her best not to be scared. The fox needed to die, if they were to survive that is.
“Where’s Cakestar?” Wolfpaw asked, it was the first thing she wanted to know.
“She’s sent me here I-”
Just then, they all heard a rustle up ahead. Wolfpaw tensed, what was it now?
The rustle was coming close but it stayed only as a sound, without a scent or an appearance. It was coming closer, and she couldn’t detect if it was hostile or not.
The cats unsheathed their claws, preparing for another fight as Wolfpaw wondered what would face them next.