October Fanfiction Contest Results + November Art Contest

Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to the long-awaited results of the fanfiction contest!

Before we start, all of your entries were amazing. 😀 Sunny and I had trouble choosing! (Speaking of, thank you, Sunny. You’re a lifesaver. 😉 )

I know you’re excited to see who won, so let’s get to it!

 

3rd place goes to Sorrelpaw! The formatting of your fanfiction is ingenious and makes for an all-around entertaining read!

[expand title=”CLICK HERE to read her fanfiction: The Art of Doing Nothing!”]

“Hello! Here you are welcome. Do sit down.”
“I apologize, but I am rather busy. I’d rather finish the tour quickly.”
“The tour? Oh yes, so that‘s what Ravenstar was talking about. You want to know about our lives as Warriors, don’t you.”
“Yes, but I’m actually here to see what Warriors do to prepare for Halloween. It’s part of a prompt for the October BlogClan fanfic contest, and so naturally I’d come to you to get a glimpse of how Warriors prepare for Halloween.”
“I see. Well, have a seat–maybe not there, sit closer where you can see more clearly. Yes that’s it.”
“Thank you.”
“Let’s look at Applewhisker’s hunting patrol first shall we?
~~~
Applewhisker pounced on the mouse, but too late! The small creature scuttled away and disappeared. Applewhisker sighed and turned to face his patrol. Nettlewind was sympathetic. “That was a hard catch, it’s okay to miss.” However, Applewhisker’s own apprentice Daisypaw snorted. “He never manages to catch a THING!” The apprentice murmured to her denmate Runningpaw. Runningpaw nodded,and shot an angry look at Applewhisker.

Nettlewind padded forward. “Look, there’s a squirrel!” She whispered to Applewhisker. “Why don’t you try and catch that?” Her invitation did not go ignored. Applewhisker began stalking it, but his hind paw slipped on the dried autumn leaves as he padded forward and startled the prey. The squirrel chittered and ran away. Applewhisker sighed again. “I told you so!” Daisypaw hissed to Runningpaw. “he shouldn’t even be a WARRIOR yet!”

~~~
“Major fail!”
“Yes, unfortunately. Applewhisker lacks confidence, even though he passed his assessment.”
“How about another scene? Applewhisker does seem slightly hopeless.”
“Of course. Look.”
~~~
“You’re right, Fallowlight. I should have addressed the issue already.” Boulderstar sighed. “But I want the Clan to feel safe.”

Fallowlight purred. “They’ll feel safer knowing their leader notices all the trouble. Come on, go call a Clan meeting, I’ll get Applewhisker and send someone else to fetch Goldenwing. Go on.”

Both cats left the leader’s den.
~~~
“Sorry, I can tell this isn’t what you’re looking for.
“It’s not. I’d love to know what Boulderstar’s problem is though. And who is Fallowlight? The med-cat? Deputy? Boulderstar’s mate?”
“Boulderstar’s deputy. If you like I can show you the med-cat Hawksnow.
“Hawksnow!”
“Yes, Hawksnow. Very talented but hates the smell of blood. Gets apprentices to patch up wounds because of it.”
“Oh, that seems interesting. I’ll certainly–”
“Be careful! You almost fell into the Looking Pool.”
“Oh right–yes thanks–oh wow look my hand got wet! Have you got a cloth? This water isn’t poisonous, right?”
“It isn’t. Look, here’s a cloth.
“Thanks. I’m really clumsy.”
“Right. I’ll show you Hawksnow. You can put the cloth right there. No, not on the chair. Over here, see this peg? Yep that’s it.
~~~
Marigoldtuft hissed as Patchpaw applied a poultice of horsetail and stinging nettle onto her wounds. Patchpaw backed away anxiously. “Are you okay?? Should I get Hawksnow?” The medicine cat was outside the den because he simply could not tolerate the scent of blood. “Drives me dizzy,” he used to explain. “I’m fine,” Marigoldtuft assured him. “Just stings a bit.”

The pale gray-and-white she-cat sat up. “Thanks, Patchpaw!” She mewed as she padded out of the medicine cat den. Patchpaw nodded and padded to where fresh water dripped from the den roof onto the ground to clean the poultice off his paws.

Marigoldtuft did not thank Hawksnow, but the medicine cat didn’t seem to mind. His abnormal dislike of blood was by now not very abnormal, and it was considered usual for him to mix the poultice and an apprentice to apply it onto the wound. The apprentices even included being in his den as part of their daily duties. Patchpaw came out of the den and nodded to Hawksnow. The medicine cat wrinkled his nose and padded away because the scent of Marigoldtuft’s blood had tinged his fur.

~~~
“Oh StarClan.”
“I believe you weren’t looking for this either…”
“Yes… No please don’t sigh, I’m sure you still have many scenes left. I’ll find something to write, I will.”
“Alright. Well let’s look at Brindlekit’s outside-of-camp expedition, which unfortunately is ending…”
~~~
Brindlekit yelped as she was scooped up into Willowfern’s paws. The young queen took Brindlekit’s scruff in her teeth and sighed. “Naughty kit!” She mewed, her voice muffled by the kit, “what were you THINKING, running out of camp like that?!”

Brindlekit whined with protest. “Grasskit and Molekit are so boring! I wanted to have fun!”

Willowfern looked exasperatedly at Mistystone who had accompanied her on the kit search. “Well it won’t be fun if a fox or a terrible BADGER eats you up will it?” She mewed as she entered the camp with the kit dangling from her jaws. “Go on, Grasskit’s with the elders. Look, there’s Molekit,he’s found a piece of moss to play with! Go On! Join them!” She set Brindlekit on the ground. 
~~~
“Well I’m sorry to say but this still isn’t what I need…”
“Oh, what exactly are you looking for?”
“Like i said, some thing to help me write the fanfic. Some Halloween related stuff, you know…?”
“Oh. Then I can’t help you much.
“Why? Your Looking Pool can see nearly everything!”
“Oh, after all, Warriors don’t celebrate Halloween. Thanks for coming anyway! And use the back door, that’s the exit.”

_______________________________________________

[/expand]

2nd place goes to Shadowedrose! Your writing flows nicely and the plot is beyond captivating! Bravo!

[expand title=”CLICK HERE to read her fanfiction: Lost!”]

October 30th, Just Past Moonhigh

Frostleap shivered in the brisk Leaf-fall air. She hated this time of year, the twolegs always made the most chilling sounds. Walking cautiously through the forest with evening past, she could only be reminded of when she was young, scared, and alone. The Dark Forest had cast a horrible spell on her, the rot and decay used to welcome her. She had been stronger then, but now she felt like a different warrior, not the brave young hero that had killed vicious Mapleshade. A howl pierced the air, mournful and melancholic, sending a chill straight to the bone. Frostleap bristled in alert, senses pricked. A voice rang through the silence,
“Do you remember me, dearie?” The voice was honey, yet there was something unsettling in it, almost like it was rotten. She tentatively turned around, bracing herself for a certain horror. A face. It was horrible, demented. An unnatural U-shaped smile was permanently set against its face, fangs peeking out from underneath the lips. Flashing, pure white pupils against a strong green peered out of the gloom, holding rage, fear, anger, and sadness cooped up in a unnatural mix. As soon as it appeared, it disappeared. She sprinted toward what Frostleap thought was the general direction of camp, the dark trees skimming past her as she raced, faster and faster, the face reappearing inside her mind, urging her forward. She halted to a stop, then fell to the ground, exhausted.

October 30th, Dawn

Dawn was upon her, but the tall, looming trees blocked out most light. As if it needed to be darker, a dense layer of fog spread across the area. It was all so vague and dreamlike. Then realization hit Frostleap in the eye. She was lost. It was only then when she took a closer look at the landscape did she see them. They crowded the area, each with unique pelts, but the same face. The face, to be exact. They cried out in silent wails, and although their bodies seemed solid, they moved as if they where liquid shadow.
“We are the Lost, sweetie.” That voice again. That face again. A nightmare revisited. She recognized those eyes, that steely green glare. The glare she thought she had faded, so very long ago.
“Mapleshade?” Frostleap asked.
“So you figured it out. Those killed twice, those forgotten…. They all come here. But see them?” Mapleshade gestured to a trio of cats headed the direction she had come from.
“Tigerstar, Spottedleaf, and Hawkfrost are following your scent trail. They want revenge.” Frostleap let out a small gasp.
“But why isn’t Spottedleaf fighting Tigerstar? He killed Firestar after all.” She asked. Mapleshade’s dreadful smile widened.
“Spottedleaf believes that she’s walking next to Bramblestar. To her, father is son, and son is father.” Frostleap felt positively sick.
“What are they after?” She asked.
“Don’t you know?” Mapleshade hissed spitefully.
“Spottedleaf and Tigerstar are headed to the Moonpool,they’re going to make Bramblestar and Firestar Lost. Hawkfrost, however, is still seeking out power.” Then Frostleap realized who she was talking to, and what she should be doing. Quick as a flash, Frostleap raked her claws across Mapleshade’s back. The wounds disappeared instantly. Mapleshade looked at her, amused.
“Lost cats don’t just die, silly. You have to do it a special way.” She purred silkily. Cautiously, Frostleap padded backward, then ran.

October 30th, Sunhigh

Twisting and turning, she sprinted, following her scent trail closely. She only wanted to get back to Thunderclan camp, and warn her Clan of the dangers to come. Yet how could she convince them that the danger was real, and it wasn’t just a dream? She didn’t know, but she had to get back there. That was when she saw the tree ahead of her, and rammed into it full force, not able to stop. Her vision went black, and she collapsed.

October 30th, Dusk

Frostleap woke up, feeling well rested and strong. Ready for the dawn patrol, she got up and stretched. Almost immediately, the memory of the day struck her. Her throat hardened into a hard knot of determination, she was ready to face whatever dangers may come, invigorated by the golden filter of dusk. She stretched, then took off sprinting. She had a rush of adrenaline, and was not about to waste the energy she got from it. She didn’t run for a long time, the sun was still visible in the sky when she found the clan camp.
“Frostleap, you are now officially on apprentice duties’’ The Thunderclan deputy, Hawkeyes mewed haughtily.
“Disappearing for a day is the exact thing you shouldn’t be doing, and I am very disappointed in you.” Frostleap shook with outrage.
“Hawkeyes, I am going to speak with Yellowstar now, please excuse me.” She said, struggling not to burst into rage. She spun around, and walked to the leader’s den, claws unsheathed.
“Yellowstar? May I come in?” She asked.
“Enter.” Yellowstar mewed. Frostleap entered, nodding respectfully to Yellowstar. “Yellowstar, I just had a very troubling adventure……”

October 30th, Nighttime

Yellowstar looked at her closely, then burst out laughing.
“That’s the worst excuse I’ve heard in moons! Frostleap, you don’t have to make excuses, I can forgive and forget!” He mewed, still snickering. Frostleap’s eyes widened with worry.
“It’s true though, I swear it!” She exclaimed anxiously. Yellowstar looked at her skeptically.
“Right, and I’m a mouse.” He chuckled. Frostleap growled softly, then raced out of camp with a new determination. Perhaps she could get to the Moonpool in time….

October 30th, Moonhigh

She had just arrived at the Moonpool. She wasn’t sure what to do, she just lapped at the crystal water, and let sleep take her away. She awoke in the most beautiful forest she had ever seen, the moonlight gently filtered through dense, but not to dense trees. She spotted a cat with stars in his pelt, carrying a freshly killed vole.
“Hello? Where is the Starclan camp?” Frostleap said cautiously. The tom looked at her with mild relief.
“Come. We’ve been waiting for you.” He led her to a clearing, where there was a shallow scoop in the ground, revealing mossy nests. There seemed to be cavelike structures attaches to it where she figured there would be more nests.
“Cats of all clans!” The tom mewed. Every head swiveled in his direction.
“Frostleap here has something to say.” He backed off, and she timidly approached, and began to tell her story once more.

October 31st, Dawn

This time, the cats believed her.
“I will summon the leaders.” The tom said, who’s name she found to be Riverstar, said.
“In these circumstances, hopefully they’ll be asleep.”

October 31st, Sunhigh

Frostleap paced anxiously, trying to think of a plan. That was when they appeared. Starclan cats were scattered all over the territory, ready to sound the alarm should the Lost appear. The agreed sound was a hawks cry, and when she saw the faces, that was what she let out. The Lost couldn’t see it, but the territory was swarming with warriors, all heading back to camp with caution. Several more guards were added to Bramblestar and Firestar’s den. That was when the attack came. Only four cats, but they had seasons upon seasons battling, and not a claw could touch them. She saw Mapleshade lunging after Riverstar.
“Why are you here?” She demanded. Mapleshade’s eyes were wilder than ever, and when she replied, it was ragged and gruff.
“Free…. Kits….. Save…..” She was crazy. They all were, Frostleap realized, just that Mapleshade was slightly more sane. She lunged at her, and her claws pricked her throat. The position was familiar, Mapleshade had taught the Death Blow so well, and the last time Frostleap used it was when she killed her. Or rather, made her Lost. The effect was immediate. She dropped to the ground, and vanished. A realization hit her. “Everybody, kill them the same way they died the second time!” She yowled, hoping the cats could hear her over the fray. Apparently they did, because the yowling soon stopped, and peace came.
“We did it.” Riverstar breathed, and sent her home. She awoke at the Moonpool, and trotted back to camp. When Frostleap arrived, the medicine cat, Duskshimmer, said to her,
“Welcome back Frostleap! Starclan appointed you deputy!” Frostleap gasped in shock, and stumbled back a bit. In the corner of her vision, she saw Hawkeyes was enraged. She couldn’t care less.

_______________________________________________[/expand]

1st place goes to Willowstep! This was a wonderful fanfiction! Warning to whoever plans to read it: this story has a lot of heart, and is an emotional roller coaster full of ups and downs and everything in between.

[expand title=”CLICK HERE to read her fanfiction: Dawn!”]

early leaf-fall

I’m sorry for your loss.

Wait… what? I mean, Summershine is in the medicine cat den, down with a cold. But that’s a superficial wound that can heal within the blink of an eye.

Or can it?

During the night, a nightmare chases after me with frightening agility. It claws at me, swiping and scratching at the wall I’ve unconsciously created. Summershine, curled up and glassy eyed, haunts me as I race through the damp forest. Gnarled branch-tips dig into my flesh. A trail of blood snakes through the trees. But all I care about is getting away from it. It doesn’t end for an eternal… well, who knows how long.

The next morning, the nightmare subsides and I wake up in the world to find the nest beside me cold. Empty. I can still see the imprint she has left, a slight hollow in the perfect fronds of tender greenleaf ferns.

The air chokes me, the morning sticky and suffocating. My heart races faster and faster until it seems everything will explode altogether.

I stumble into the medicine cat den misty-eyed and groggy. The world spins like a never-ending carousel and a wave of nausea deems it the perfect time to crash down on me. Two words float out of my mouth.

Where’s Summershine?

A frozen silence.

She died yesterday, an unfortunate soul answers, oblivious to the pain it’s causing me.

I fight the urge to run out of the den, out of the camp, out of the territory, out of the forest, out of the world. Red swathes my vision in a stage curtain of crimson velvet as I let out a cry and crash to the dusty ground. You’re lying, I snarl up at their shocked faces. You’re lying, and you all know it. What kind of Clanmates are you?

The medicine cat turns a sympathetic face to me, the blue depths of his eyes shining with understanding. I’m sorry for your lo-

No. It’s those five words again. StarClan, please, no. I don’t want your stupid pity! I yell. I can sense nothing but a pounding storm of rage and I don’t care one bit; my Clanmates can’t possibly understand the claws tearing at my heart. You’re not even right, for StarClan’s sake! Summershine is fine!

You’re not getting it, Aspenwing starts, but I interrupt. Bare my teeth. And recklessly slash at him, my heart crazed with grief. A bright red gash appears, bubbling scarlet. The medicine cat is still as ice as he slowly reaches up to the scratch on his face with a trembling claw.

And without looking back, I run.

I have no idea where I’m going. For all I know, I can be sprinting in circles. Nothing matters right now. Nothing matters except the fact that the cold truth is sinking in, and it hurts too much for me to bear.
~~~

I collapse in a sunlit clearing. I can sense the soft grass pressed up against my fur, cool breeze brushing the tips of my whiskers. But nothing can put out the wildfires raging red-hot in my mind. No amount of sun can dry the tears I shed. Nothing can piece a shattered heart back together.

When I feel like I stretch my eyes open again, I look at my surroundings.

Leaf-fall has carried out its first strike; the cold wind stings my upturned cheek. The sun shines with a tinge of blood-red.

And finally, my breath hitches as my gaze falls on the small, lonely maple standing in the corner, cloaked in shadow.

My heart breaks all over again. This is my clearing. Summershine’s clearing. That maple… is her tree.

When we were apprentices, bright-eyed and mischievous, we’d sneak away from our mentors with practiced ease and delve into the forest. The territory had been a mysterious place, paradise and hell at the same time. We apprentices dreamed about what treasures could be hidden in the woods, but Summerpaw was… well, different. She wouldn’t sit around; she would go do it.

We would curl around the little maple at night, watching the skies twinkle with stars and shadows, mist and twilight. Tails entwined, fur brushing. Everything was perfect for thirteen moons.

The maple had been a haven for me and her- it was where we had invented games, laughed and gossiped, confided and comforted. It had been ours. 
~~~

As I glance at the maple, a fierce possessiveness and love for it rushes forward. I must not let anything happen to it. It’s… it’s the only piece of Summershine I have left. I’ll do everything to guard it.

Night is majestic. Its vast, inky-blue cloak ripples with glowing nebulas and invisible planets. Tiny silver stars gleam like precious jewels.

But I can find no beauty in it anymore. Why does StarClan have to take away Summershine? What has she ever done to them? My claws dig into the supple earth beneath me. Can’t they have taken Aspenwing instead, for not saving lives when he needs to?

Of course not. He’s ThunderClan’s precious medicine cat. I scowl bitterly.

Without really knowing what I’m doing, I shift my gaze to my half-buried claws and promise to myself I’ll never look up at StarClan again.
~~~

The sun has barely peeked over the horizon when I stumble into camp, tendrils of musty, foggy sleep wrapped around me still. The cats on the dawn patrol, Sleetheart, Willownose and Duskpaw, give me strange looks. Sleetheart’s face says, What were you doing? Willownose gives me a glance that means, You look like a badger attacked you. And Duskpaw is quite simply, OH MY STARCLAN WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?! And I realize why when I check my reflection in a small puddle in the shadows of camp. My blue eyes are bloodshot, thin veins tracing my pupils. Usually, my pelt is groomed to smooth honey-like perfection, but today it’s a knotted mess. Scrapes and flecks of dried blood dust the pads of my paws with scarlet.

I sigh and stand, my paws dragging pale dust into the air as I scoot into the warriors den. A pang of pain reverberates in my heart as I find myself staring at Summershine’s empty nest. Why? I wail silently.

The place is a painful reminder of her death, and I can’t- I can’t be in here. Scrambling to my paws, I streak out of the warriors den and collapse. Tears spill out. These tears are for Summershine, and no one else.

It’s sunhigh and I haven’t moved a single inch. A puddle sits at my paws. I can see the dust swirling with the salty teardrops, creating a thick, muddy brown cloud.

The kits bounce out of the nursery, send a curious glance at me, and resume their carefree play. However, one certain kit doesn’t seem to be affected by my gloomy mood. Do you wanna play mossball with me? Bluekit squeaks, her green-flecked eyes staring up at me. Her gray-and-white fur is tousled as always.

I growl. No. Leave me alone! It comes out bristling with bitter thorns and shards of shattered rocks. Shattered rocks that I have no one to throw at but poor Bluekit.

The feather-tailed she-kit flinches and guilt washes over me. I didn’t know you were like this, she says quietly, and walks away, ears drooping and tiny paws dragging.

I can feel my own spirits plummeting down an abyss. Why do I have to be like this? I’m hurting so many cats, so many innocent souls. If this had never- if Summershine had never died, none of this would be happening.

Why… ?

If I can turn back time and save everything, everything will be alright. The Clan will be happy, and I will be happy. Is it even possible?

Not sure if I’m sane or not, I decide to strike a bargain with StarClan. To set everything right. The best place to find these cats is probably the Moonpool. The Moonpool. It’s always had an aura of mystery and secrecy about it. The name itself sounds like starlit water and silver dreams. But anything can be a ruse. Everything can be a lie.

do live in a world of backstabbing and grief, so it wouldn’t be surprising. But I can’t let go of this chance. If StarClan is as heavenly and godly as it’s told to be, I can’t let my shot go to waste.

Sucking in a breath, I plunge through the tunnel and out into ThunderClan territory.
~~~

The journey, with peril waiting to spring at me, extracts every bit of energy from me and I let myself collapse on the pebbles. Every nerve is blazing with fire, but I keep on dragging myself towards the glistening circumference of dark water.

At last, I can’t hold up my head anymore. It drops and I, light as a feather, dip the tip of my nose to the Moonpool. I barely remember anything else as I droop like a wilted flower. My muzzle is precariously balanced on the edge. The silver water licks at my fur and retreats back into the pool.

Once.

Twice.

Thrice.

From a tiny ripple, it grows to a wild, reckless tide. With a final, condescending WHOOSH, the wave of moonlight rushes over my body and pulls me into unconsciousness.
~~~

I blink. In front of me is a vast silver-tinged meadow splashed in starlight, the scent of blooming honeysuckle blossoms drifting through the air. The sky is filled with a plethora of pale blue butterflies. Birdsong pierces the silence with three long notes, sweet like honey and vibrating with fragile highness.

StarClan is actually quite beautiful, and I drink in the peace. Until time starts to tick by, and my blue gaze darts around nervously, searching for signs of StarClan’s legendary warriors.

I nearly jump out of my fur when a voice appears out of nowhere. Oh, my love.
Whirling around, my claws slide out. But I realize… that it’s Summershine’s voice.

Where are you? I call helplessly, feeling like a lost kit. Please… please. If you love me, come out! My voice has an edge of desperation to it, so high-pitched I think I’m close to clawing the tranquil night sky to shreds looking for Summershine.

No, no, dear, comes Summershine’s voice again. I bite back a breathless gasp. I can’t. I can see you, but you cannot see me. Why have you come? Her soft, comforting voice instantly takes on a dry brittleness- like the dead leaves of leaf-fall.

StarClan is known for its magic, right? I begin, my voice taking on a tinge of hysteria. If I can ask StarClan to turn back time, or reincarnate you, see how much pain and suffering that would be eased. I’m not just doing this for myself. It’s for everyone in my Clan, from little Bluekit to… even Aspenwing. Please, Summershine, please. Just grant me this one wish.

A laugh rings in my ears, a laugh that rings of regret and sorrow. It’s so different from her usual sugar-sweet song. StarClan cannot grant these wishes of yours. We are not deities; we are the spirits who watch and guide those on the earth. I’m so sorry, sweetheart. I mean, I’d love to have another life. Is that her attempt at a joke? I’m already sick to the core.

I don’t want to hear anymore, Summershine, I force out. I’m leaving.

And with a blink, I find myself curled around the Moonpool, salty drops of sweat trickling through my fur.
~~~

mid leaf-fall

Come on, eat these poppy seeds, Aspenwing coaxes me like I’m a kit. With his plumy tail, he sweeps the three poppy seeds closer to my jaws. They will do you good. His eyes are expectant, watching me with a calmness only he can muster.

I avoid his searching gaze. Too drained to argue, I curl my golden-brown tail around my paws and slump again to the dirt floor. Why does Aspenwing care about me, anyway? I’m just a broken shell of myself, hollowed out until there is nothing inside me anymore. Ever since my StarClan dream, I’ve given up on life.

Aspenwing sighs and leaves me alone.

Everything I think about is all a flurry of why’s and what’s and who’s. Why did Summershine have to die? What did she do to StarClan? Who exactly was responsible for her death?

That question… I honestly don’t have an answer to. Because no one killed her.

She was the light in my life, the sun sparkling in the darkness for me. Without her, all of the colors, fuchsia and scarlet, indigo and gold, have bled out. The world is just a gray, gray prison.

Each time my heart drops, for some reason, my paws carry me to the little maple. Over the course of leaf-fall, it’s gone through quite a bit of change. The leaves are the color orange. The color of wide-eyed fascination and the thin glass of fragility, of marble-stone pride and sugared indulgences.

But like all the wonders of nature, the maple’s profound beauty can only last for so long.

Ever since Summershine’s left me, I can sense this deep, pulsing connection with the maple. It is mine. I am it. We are together.

It’s the only piece of her I have left. And I’m determined to keep it.
~~~

Aspenwing seems to be pleased that I’m making more frequent excursions to the forest beyond the thorny camp walls. This is good for you, he reminds me for what seems like the thousandth time. Breathe in the fresh air. Let the sounds of  trickling water transform to music in your ears. Feel the breeze tugging at your fur, waiting for you to sprint like it does. Life is a treasure, my dear warrior. Keep it. Take care of it. Cherish it.

I want to tell him that I am cherishing life.

His bright blue eyes, gleaming like the endless sky, glitter with a world’s worth of memories and wisdom. I wonder what he’s seen, heard, felt, scented, tasted. For the first time in moons, I feel alive.

The maple is my treasure, the most precious jewel of all. Rubies glitter from its branches and diamond dewdrops bloom. With it, as I watch the rippling, soft light of sunset bathe its leaves with a orange-gold shimmer, I feel like I can conquer the world.
~~~

My shining triumph is short-lived. A half-moon remains before the icy blue talons of leaf-bare clutch the land.

One morning, I wake up to frost dusting the camp in a silver wonderland. And I wonder if my maple is as beautiful.

Of course. It is the most beautiful creation in the world, a masterpiece that cannot be surpassed.

But my spirits fall like the day when Bluekit approached me as my eyes widen at the sight of the maple.

It’s no longer in shades of flame, no longer the ever-burning candle nothing can blow out. The leaves are rimmed with frost, wisps of black drifting through like stormclouds in the sky.

No.

This can’t be happening.

    No, no, no.

The maple can’t be leaving me now. Please, no! I scream to the listless, silent skies. StarClan, you can’t do this to me! You can’t rip my maple from me! You can’t. Take. Summershine! Again!

As I watch, horrified, time seems to slow. I can see the leaf’s stem slowly detach itself from the branch. In three agonizingly long heartbeats, it completely frees itself of the branch and…

Time speeds again. Within the blink of an eye, the leaf flutters up and away, a tiny crimson speckle whirling through the clouds.

Why must life be so cruel? It’s taken everything I’ve loved, everything I’ve ever treasured.

Love.

Happiness.

Remembrance.

Everything is gone.

Nothing is left.

I can’t give up. Not now. Not yet. Not ever.

Scrambling to my paws, I run into the dense forest. I have a destination: the stream. When Summershine and I were apprentices, we had detested gathering moss there. But she’d been the light in it. She had found a way to make me happy. One day, she proposed having a moss fight. I was… skeptical, but nothing could go wrong with Summershine’s sharp mind. As we played, yelping and laughing as our pelts became tangled in moss, the sun would set and time would pass quickly. And then our mentors would yell for us, but what did that matter?

I shake my head, clearing out the bittersweet memories. It’s time to take action.

The stream looks as peaceful as it was when I was an apprentice. But this is no time for drowning in nostalgia. I unsheathe my claws, now blunt tips, and set to work. Scrape moss. Check. Soak moss in water. Check. Run back to maple. Check. Water maple. Check.

I allow myself a tight smile and return to camp feeling a bit better.
~~~

After two weeks, nothing has changed. Actually it’s gotten worse. The blackness spreads to all of the leaves, and more began to wither and blow away.

I stop eating. Sleeping. Talking. I shut myself from the world, waiting for the final day when there will be no going back to the good old days.
~~~

I weep through that last night, my tears falling. Watering the earth with grief and lost love. Clouds mist over the moon and nothing is right. Nothing will get better.

The dark skies of twilight vanish, and at the dawn of leaf-bare, something happens.

As I stare at the horizon, I fall silent. I’ve never seen anything as beautiful as a sunrise before, I realize. As the sun slowly, slowly appears from beneath, mesmerizing the world with its faint golden shine…

The first ray of the new day’s sunlight illuminates the tiny maple.

I remember the first day now. The day after Summershine left. The little tree sits in the corner, covered in shadows and afraid to say hello to the light. Small. Vulnerable. Alone.

Now it’s different. It may have lost everything, but it’s in the light now. Shining.

Shining with a new dawn.

A new future.

And hope.

The last leaf shivers, and everything is suddenly pure and clear. I reach for the tiny maple leaf. Without a moment of hesitation, I pluck it from the branch and watch it disappear into the brilliant, brilliant skies forever.

Life a never-ending mountain range. Climb a peak, and joy is imminent as success is found. But then, how are you supposed to descend the mountain?

You accidentally fall down a cliff and break a bone. However, injuries heal, and you achieve more as time goes on. Then you suffer more falls. And rise up again.

But one thing about life will never change. In the end, everything is worth it, because sunlight will always shine after the darkness.

“When it rains, look for rainbows.
When it’s dark, look for the stars.”
-Unknown

_______________________________________________[/expand]

Once again, thank you to everyone who entered! I LOVED all the entries!!! 😍

Wanda the Wheel (who is flaunting autumn colors) has returned to select the October prize-drawers: Flowerpaw, who will be drawing for the third place winner, and Mapledrift, who will be drawing for the first place winner! (As always, if you two aren’t able to draw something for the winners, that’s okay! 🙂 Just make sure to let me know sometime soon!)

Now if you’d like to help out with drawing prizes for the November Fanart Contest winners, and can do so within three weeks, please fill out this form:

THE PROMPT FOR NOVEMBER

As leaf-fall progresses, the Warriors gather together and have one last feast, in preparation for leaf-bare. (Bonus points if you incorporate eggnog into your art . . . just kidding.)

RULES

  • No excessive gore, inappropriate scenes, cursing, or anything otherwise not found on BlogClan. Any entries of this nature will be deleted.
  • Only one entry per person!
  • Be respectful of all participants! Let’s make this fun for everyone!
  • Your entry must relate to the Warriors world.
  • The deadline is November 29th, 11:59 PM EST.

PRIZES

These apply to both the fanart and fanfiction contest!

  • Third place: a drawing (fursona, OC, Warriors character)
  • Second place: a drawing (fursona, OC, Warriors character) OR the ability to choose live chat’s colors*
  • First place: a drawing (fursona, OC, Warriors character) AND the ability to choose live chat’s colors*

*Colors must be approved by a moderator. 😉

_______________________

If you’re having a hard time finding the motivation to draw . . . just know this kitten, Pawcasso, thinks you’re an amazing artist and that you can do anything you set your mind to! ❤️

Last but not least . . . there will be a special announcement tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled for that! 😀 (EDIT: It’ll actually be arriving Friday!)

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Sundance

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Brightkit
Brightkit
November 4, 2017 1:48 pm

Congratulations, winners of the fanfiction contest!! All of the entries were absolutely beautiful!! 😀 Can’t wait to see who will be in the top three of the fanart contest, too. Which I won’t be in because I’m the worst artist you’ve ever seen (at least on the computer).

Foxtail (Foxie)
Foxtail (Foxie)
November 4, 2017 3:15 pm
Reply to  Brightkit

I’m sure your art is wonderful, Brightkit 😊 Don’t talk down to yourself like that! (hey do you wanna join my Blogfic? 😛 The form isn’t complete yet but it’s up in the fanfic collaborations page. You don’t have to though)


LØVƎSIƆK BLIИK (runnin’ 4 SW)

Bright Orange of Autumn Leaf (Brightkit)
Bright Orange of Autumn Leaf (Brightkit)
November 5, 2017 6:13 pm

I’d love to join in, Foxtail! 🙂

Foxtail (Foxie)
Foxtail (Foxie)
November 5, 2017 8:34 pm

Yay 😀 I’ll be looking for your form! (I’ll add more stuff to the form later when I’ve got the plot down better) It’s now on the page before the page it is on now on the fanfic collaborations page. But I can post it again if you want (ok I actually just might anyway haha)


LØVƎSIƆK BLIИK (runnin’ 4 SW)

Bright Orange of Autumn Leaf (Brightkit)
Bright Orange of Autumn Leaf (Brightkit)
November 6, 2017 1:53 am

I filled out the form when I found your post on the fanfiction collaborations page 😉 It’s up there now!

Fawny the Inactive
Fawny the Inactive
November 4, 2017 3:14 pm

This is just bothering me 😛
In the prompt it says “incorparate eggnog into your story ” when in reality it’s a fanart contest
Mine is gonna be traditional, is that k?


rip

Casket Lined with Blood-Stained Flowers (Peto)
Casket Lined with Blood-Stained Flowers (Peto)
November 5, 2017 2:35 am

hehe. 😉

Butterflyflower
Butterflyflower
November 6, 2017 10:00 pm

Here’s mine!
https://imgur.com/BfiYfQI

Maplepaw (Mapledrift)
Maplepaw (Mapledrift)
November 9, 2017 7:33 pm

Could someone ask Wistep what she wants me to draw for her, I haven’t been able to contact her

Thanksgiving Dishes Decorated with Flowers (Peto)
Thanksgiving Dishes Decorated with Flowers (Peto)
November 11, 2017 12:13 am

same, I haven’t been able to find Sorzi. 😛

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