|The Birdstar Series|
|Preceded by: |
|Battle||Succeded by: |
The Striking Bird will save the Clans from The Flaming Thorns.
Allegiances of StormClan
Leader: Dapplestar-Tortiseshell she cat
Deputy: Thornflame-tan brown tom
Medicine cat-Smallfoot-Dark gray, almost black tom
Warriors: Dawnfoot-Gray she-cat with light gray paws.
Wolftooth-Brown tom with long teeth.
Duskfur-Mottled orange-brown she cat
Shortail-Gray and black tom with a short tail
Brackenfall-Small light gold she-cat
Longpelt-long haired tom
Brightspot-black she-cat with white spots
Molefur-Light coated tom
Cheetahspots-Orange she-cat with black spots
Mosslight-White she-cat with brown spots.
Apprentices: Fuzzpaw-Tabby she-cat
Rockpaw- Gray tom
Queens: Fireflight-Flame colored she-cat. Mother of Birdkit (Black and white tom) and Featherkit (Gray tabby she-cat)
Hazelsplash-Gray and brown she-cat
Allegiances of DarkClan
Leader: Barkstar-Brown tom
Medicine cat: Flamefur-Bright ginger tom
Warriors: Grayheart-gray she-cat
Apprentices: Smallpaw- Speckled she-cat
Queens: Splashfire- tortiseshell she-cat
Allegiances of AirClan
Leader: Mintstar- Silver she-cat
Deputy: Spottedsplash-spotted she-cat
Medicine cat: Redspots-tom with ginger spots
Queens: Littleshine-pretty she-cat
Allegiances of WaterClan
Leader: Sunnystar-gold furred tom
Deputy: Vinestripe-tom with wavy stripes
Medicine cat: Mousetail-brown and white tom
Queens: Cardinalfeather-ginger she-cat
Cats outside the Clans
Sparrow-Brown, black, and white she-cat
Helix-Gray and white tabby tom
Red-gray she cat with unusual redish blotches
Rain-silver blue tabby she cat with darker flecks
A small gray tom sat looking up at the stars. A dappled she-cat joined him. Shooting stars flamed across the sky. One in the middle was brighter than the rest. The tom's eyes widend. "It is an omen!" The dappled she-cat turned. "What does it mean?" "The Striking Bird will save the Clans from The Flaming Thorns." "But, what does that mean?" The tom shrugged. "Only StarClan knows."
Dapplestar sighed. It had been a hard season. But yes, was not the arrival of new kits a happy time? Padding out of her den she went down the bank. As she went up the path a warrior passed her. Dapplestar mewed "I hope you are going to wake up one of those dozy apprentices." The warrior nodded. “Exactly.”
Birdkit opened his eyes. Where was he? I must be asleep. He thought. A silver bundle knocked him over. “He’s opened his eyes Mom! Can we go outside? Please?” Another voice meowed, “Ssshhh, here comes Dapplestar.” Birdkit turned to see a tortoiseshell she cat entering. “I’ll fight you if I have to!” He squeaked. A fire orange she cat hushed him. “Have some respect for your leader Birdkit!” Dapplestar purred. “He has the makings of a warrior. He will be a great warrior one day.” The silver she cat bounced around. “Can we go outside? It’s boring here!” The orange she cat glared at her. “Hush, Featherkit.” Dapplestar flicked her tail.“Never mind, Fireflight. She has spirit. She will also be a great warrior.” “So can we go outside?” “What do you say, Fireflight?” “They can go.” Birdkit and Featherkit hurtled out of the nursery, paying no mind to the brambles snagging their pelts. Not looking where he was going, Birdkit charged into another cat. He found himself staring at a tan brown tom with a thundercloud of disapproval on his face. “What are kits doing outside the nursery?” He growled. Featherkit trembled. “Our mom said we could go.” “Well, that’s no excuse. Go back to the nursery where you belong.” “Wait a minute, Thornflame.” Birdkit turned to see Dapplestar coming out of the nursery. “Their mom did say yes. So they can go.” Thornflame scowled. “Well, don’t get into trouble, or you’ll answer to me.” He turned and padded away. “Hey Birdkit, look at this!” A little ways down from the nursery and a little behind it, there was a creek bed. He walked to the edge. It was at least a fox length down to the creek. Looking to his right he saw a cave where the water for the creek came out of.”How do we get down there?” He asked. Featherkit shrugged. “Don’t know. Hey, look at this tilted tree!” “That’s the Hightree.” A voice growled. Birdkit swung around. Thornflame sat glaring at them. “and only leaders go up there. So don’t you try anything.” Birdkit puffed his chest out, staring at Thornflame. “We weren’t.” He squeaked. “we were just looking.” “Good.” He turned away. “Look, Birdkit!” “Come and see what I found!” Featherkit had found thick roots that went across the creek bed. “Let’s cross it!” Birdkit stepped out on to the roots. He was swiftly pulled back. An orange tom with amber eyes sat there. “Kits aren’t allowed on root-walk. But I won’t tell Thornflame. He’s always in a bad mood and would have your fur if he found out.” “Well, why is he always in a bad mood?” Featherkit asked. The tom shrugged. “I do-“ “Birdkit, Featherkit, come back to the nursery!” Fireflight called. Birdkit meowed, “But we’re talking with somebody!” Fireflight poked her head out. “Oh, I see you found my brother, Foxfur.” Foxfur purred. “I enjoyed talking to them. Go on kits. Back to the nursery.” When they entered the nursery Birdkit and Featherkit began chattering about their day outside. “Well, first we ran into this great big cat who’s mad all the time.” “Then we found a hundred foot tall cliff with a creek at the bottom!” “Yeah, and there was this big creepy cave!” Fieflight’s whiskers twitched. “Well, I’m sure you had a good time.” Another queen purred. “They look like quite a pawful.” “But remember Hazelsplash, your kids will be here soon. Come on kits, time for bed.” Birdkit fell asleep, full of milk and warm and happy.
A leaf fell on Birdkit’s nose. He sneezed. Dawn light filtered in through the tiny gaps in the thorns. Birdkit looked around. Featherkit, Fireflight, Hazelsplash and Willowsong were still asleep. He wanted to explore the camp some more. Slipping out the entrance he looked around. Through the barrier of thorns he could see cats on sentry duty. I’m not going over there. Hr thought. He wanted to see where the warriors den was. To his left there was a well worn path leading around a tree. On the other side of the tree he noticed a little hole in the in the same patch of brambles the nursery was in. Squeezing through the hole he found that he wasn’t in the nursery. He was in a den stacked with herbs. Soft snores came from a cleft in the brambles, also coming from the other side of the wall where nursery was. There was a sharp tug on his tail. Stumbling out, he found himself looking at the scowling face of Thornflame. “What were you doing in the medicine den?” he hissed. “I-I didn’t know it was medicine den.” “Well, you should see Dapplestar about this. I know yesterday you almost crossed root-walk. Good thing Foxfur stopped you. Follow me.” They marched past the nursery, over the base of the Hightree, took a sharp turn around and started down a creek bank path. Root-walk loomed overhead. A white she cat raised her head as they passed a small cave on the bank. “What are you doing Thornflame?” “None of your business, Blizzardflower.” Birdkit dabbed his paw in the creek flowing by. “Come on.” Thornflame hissed. He scratched his claws on a rock. A voice called from the cave. “Enter.” They entered the cave. Birdkit looked around. A trickle of water flowed from the back wall, through a cleft in the rock floor and turned into the creek. In one corner, a moss nest with bracken sat with Dapplestar in it. “What is it, Thornflame?” “This kit was caught in the medicine den.” He flicked his tail toward Birdkit. Dapplestar sighed. “Look Thornflame, I’m sure Birdkit didn’t know it was the medicine den because it was his first time over there.” Thornflame persisted. “Aren’t you going to punish him?” Dapplestar’s eyes blazed. “Punish a kit? Surely not! Honestly, Thornflame!” Her eyes softened as she looked at Birdkit. “You can go, Birdkit. Sorry about that.” As Birdkit padded away, a voice hailed him. “Hello, Birdkit.” Looking over, he saw the small cave with a few cats in it. They were sleeping. Birdkit shrugged. The creek gurgled on. Suddenly Birdkit felt thirsty. As he bent down to drink, he saw the reflection of a cat. Looking up, he saw Foxfur watching him on root-walk. In a single bound he jumped to the bank. “I saw Thornflame take you do Dapplestar’s den earlier. Why was that?” Birdkit shrugged. “I don’t know why. I accidently went in there and he nearly bit my head off.” “Well, he’s always looking for somebody to get in trouble.” Birdkit nodded toward the bank cave. “What’s that?” “The elder’s den.” Birdkit sneezed three times. “Hmm… looks like you might have a chill since Thornflame took you over in this chill. Come on, we’ll go to the medicine den.” They squeezed through the bramble entrance. A dark gray tom looked up. “Yes, Foxfur, what is it?” “I think this kit has a cold.” A snowy she cat came out of the cleft in the brambles with a mouthful of herbs. “Snowpaw, tell my if this kit has a cold.” Snowpaw inspected Birdkit. “No, I don’t think so. Tale him back to the nursery.” The gray tom stopped them. “Wait a minute. What’s your name, kit?” “Birdkit.” The tom stared at him oddly. Foxfur nodded. “Go on Birdkit. As Birdkit went back to the nursery, Thornflame passed him. He glared at him. “Birdkit, Birdkit where are you!” Fireflight was calling. She hurried out of the nursery. “Birdkit there you are! What have you been doing?” Birdkit glanced at Thornflame. “Oh, Thornflame took me to Dapplestar’s den to get me in trouble.” Fireflight glared fiercely at Thornflame. “In StarClan’s name, Thornflame! It sounds like you have no more brains than a kit!” Thornflame opened his mouth to protest but thought better of it. Fireflight marched back to the nursery with Birdkit. Thornflame stalked away. “Come on, kits. Let’s get some fresh kill.” Fireflight called. She squeezed out of the nursery, closely followed by her kits. She lead them to a flat rock stacked with fresh kill. Looking around, Birdkit saw Thornflame glaring at him. Birdkit twitched his whiskers. “Here.” Fireflight dropped a sparrow in front of them. Featherkit took a bite. “Oh, this is good!” Birdkit took his part of the sparrow to the edge of the creek bed. Root-walk was so close! If only Thornflame wasn’t watching. He looked down to see Dapplestar emerge from her den pad down the bank, go up the path, turn, go over the base of the Hightree, and cross root-walk to a den made of bracken, leaves, and branches, and vanish inside. A minute later, she came back out. Crossing over, she nodded to Birdkit. She walked up the Hightree and perched near the top. She yowled, “Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey join beneath the Hightree for a Clan meeting!” Cats began filtering from parts of the camp. Birdkit saw Thornflame take his place proudly under the Hightree. Dapplestar began again. “It is time that Fuzzpaw, Pinepaw, and Rockpaw are made apprentices. Fuzzpaw, Rockpaw, Pinepaw, come out.” Birdkit watched as three cats emerged from the den. Each one crossed root-walk with their tail and chins held high. Then they took their places on Hightree. Dapplestar began the ceremony.” I Dapplestar, leader of StormClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend her to you as a warrior in her turn. Fuzzpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to protect and defend your Clan, even at the cost of your life?” ” I do.““Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name. Fuzzpaw, from this moment you will be known as Fuzztail. StarClan honors your courage and honor, and we welcome you as a full warrior of StormClan.
The ceremony continued twice. Pinepaw being named Pinefall, and Rockpaw being named Rockclaw. The Clan cheered, “Fuzztail, Pinefall, Rockclaw!” Dapplestar silenced them. “They will now sit a silent vigil for the night. This meeting is over.” She lept down from the Hightree.
Birdkit woke up. I’m going to find the warriors den. He thought. He went out the entrance of the nursery. He started on the path to the medicine den. Then he noticed `another path veered to the right. Going down it, he saw a path in to a creek bed. In the creek bed, the water ran into a cave. The sandy banks had nests with sleeping forms in them. At the back of the cave, the water went in to a crack in the wall to the leaders den. Now that I’ve found it, I’d better get away before Tho-. His thoughts were cut off when a gentle tug made him whirl around. Foxfur watched him. “Well, looks like our kit found what he was looking for, yes?” Birdkit nodded. “Oh, yes. But now that I’ve seen everything, there’s nothing to look at.” Foxfur thought a moment. “Well, I’m sure your mother wouldn’t mind if I took you out of the camp.”
“Yes, really. Come on.”They were about to go thro ugh the thorn barrier, when a growl stopped them. “Foxfur, where are you taking that kit?” It was Thornflame. Foxfur squared up to him. “I’m taking this kit out of camp just to the field. I am his kin after all, aren’t I?” Thornflame hissed, “Well, if that kit gets hurt, you’ll answer to me.” He stomped away. “Never mind him. I’ll show you the field.” As they padded out of camp, new scents reached Birdkit. Leaves, birds, mice, other cats.
“Is this what it’s like every day?”
“Well, there are always new scents.”
“Do all kits come out in the forest?”
“No. Only if their lucky.”
“What’s it like, being a warrior?”
“Well, you hunt, patrol, fight, go to gatherings…”
“Gatherings? What are those?”
“It’s when the four Clans meet to exchange news.”
“When will I go?”
“When you’re an apprentice.”
“I hope I don’t get Thornflame as a mentor.”
“I hope so too. Look, here we are!” A field stretched in front of them. The long grass waving in the breeze. “Oh, wow! It’s so, so, big!” Foxfur started in to the grass. “Keep hold of my tail. There’s a rock in the middle that’s great for sunning.” When they reached the rock, Foxfur bounded up to the top. “Now you try.” Summoning power to his hind legs, Birdkit scrabbled up the rock, using his claws for support. When he reached the top, Foxfur was purring. “You have long claws for a kit, and great strength. Now, lie down and feel.” The rock was smooth, the warmth seeped in to Birdkit’s black patches. “Ooh, this feels good.” “I’m glad. Now we’d better get back to camp before your mother starts worrying.” As they entered camp, Featherkit bounded up. “Birdkit, where’d you go?” Birdkit puffed his chest out. “Into the forest.” Featherkit’s eyes grew huge. “Really? What was it like?” “Oh, there was this fifty foot cliff that I climbed up.” The kits scrambled away to tell their mother. As Foxfur turned he noticed Thornflame glaring at him. He dipped his head and continued, though he could feel Thornflame’s eyes boring in to him.
The nursery felt crowded. A few days after Birdkit’s adventure in the woods, Hazelsplash had given birth to three kits. Pearkit, Hillkit, and Woodkit. Also, a quarter moon after that, Willowsong had given birth to Seedkit, Blackkit, and Gingerkit. It was raining outside, so they were confined to the nursery. Birdkit heard the cold wind howl outside. All the kits were tumbling around the nursery play fighting. Gingerkit bumped him. “Oof!” he squeaked. Featherkit balanced precariously on a banch sticking through the wall. “Gotcha!” She hurled herself off the branch on to Birdkit. “Lemme go!” Featherkit pinned him down until Blackkit bumped her away. “You stay off him!” Just then, Foxfur entered, dripping wet, but carrying fresh kill. “I thought our queens and kits could manage to eat something.” Fireflight purred. “Mouse brain. Dry yourself off.” Foxfur shook himself off, spraying water everywhere. They enjoyed the thrush brought to them. Hillkit called to Birdkit. “Watch this!” Wiggling his haunches, Hillkit pounced on a leaf. Hazelsplash lifted him by the scruff. “Come on, that’s enough. Time for bed.” “Aw, mom!” Fireflight thought the same. “Yes, kits, time for bed.” Birdkit complained, “But mom, it’s so crowded. There’s not enough room to sleep!” “Well, I’m sure you’ll be apprentices soon.” “But still-“ “Come on.” Birdkit woke up at dawns light. A drip of water splashed on his nose. The rain had stopped, but it was still wet. “Wait for me!” Startled at the sound of his sisters voice, he hared away, only to bump in to Thornflame . “Well?” he hissed. “What’s it to you?” He snarled, “Don’t you talk to a deputy that way!”
Dapplestar and Foxfur stood behind him. “Don’t scare a kit! You know better than that!” “I wasn’t…” Foxhur stepped up to him. “You weren’t following the warrior code.” He hissed. Dapplestar nodded. “Yes, Foxfur. I will give you this chance, Thornflame, but if I see you doing that again….” Thornflame nodded. “Yes, Dapplestar.” he hissed. She bounded up Hightree “Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey join beneath the Hightree for a Clan meeting!” The cats gathered. “I think it’s time two of our kits became apprentices.” She nodded at Birdkit and Featherkit. “Come up.” Birdkit couldn’t miss the look of pride in Fireflights eyes. Hardly keeping his excitement under control, Birdkit walked up the Hightree. Followed closely by Featherkit. Dapplestar began. “Birdkit, you have reached six moons. It is time for you to be apprenticed. Until the day you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Birdpaw. Your mentor will be Foxfur.” Featherkit was named Featherpaw, her mentor was Mosslight. After the ceremony, Birdpaw noticed Thornflame glaring at him. Foxfur lead him away. “Come on, I’ll show you where the apprentices sleep.” “Do we cross root-walk?” “Yes." As they crossed, Birdpaw looked down. The creek gurgled past. “Here’s the den.” Bracken, branches, leaves and thorns were woven together in to a den. “Go inside.” The inside floor was lined with moss nests. “I hope it’s not as crowded as the nursery.” “No it won’t. You two will be the only ones in here for a while. Just until Hillkit, Pearkit, and Woodkit move in.” “Well, it’s more room.” “Now, I’ll take you hunting.” Birdpaw bounded after Foxfur through the thorn barrier in to the forest.
Birdpaw snuggled in to his nest after a long day of hunting. He was tired. Featherpaw lay beside him. “What did you do, Featherpaw?” “Sshhh… I’ve heard rumors from Fuzztail that Thornflame makes any apprentice that talks during sleep, run from one border to the other without stopping.” Birdpaw stayed silent.
It seemed that he had only closed his eyes when Thornflames growl woke him up. “There’s a gathering tonight, if you want to go, get up.” At the mention of a gathering, Birdpaw lept up and scrabbled out of the den.
That night, the cats chosen gathered at the entrance to the camp. Birdpaw felt sore. Today, Thornflame had tried everything to get Birdpaw not to go to the gathering. But, Dapplestar insisted. Featherpaw bounced. “Oh, this is exciting!” Birdpaw jumped at Thornflames growl. “Don’t start anything. Or I’ll see to it that you don’t go to a gathering until you’re a warrior.” “Thornflame!”
He turned at Dapplestar’s voice. “Don’t be harsh! Come up here with me. Warriors! Apprentices! Time to go!” They bounded out the entrance.
Birdpaw sniffed the air. They were close to the gathering place. He padded closer to Foxfur. "What does the gathering place look like?" he asked. "Well, there is a great tree that fell, going across the creek. There is the Great Ledge where the Clan leaders sit." "Who are the other leaders?" "There is Barkstar, Mintstar, and Sunnystar. Maybe you'll be a leader one day." "Really?" "Maybe. Were here." Birdpaw's eyes grew wide with amazment. He had never seen so many cats. Foxfur nudged him. "Why don't you go and find some other apprentices to talk with?" "But, I don't know any of them." "They're nice. They won't bite your head off." "Okay." Birdpaw went over to a group of young cats chattering. "Er... hi." "Hi." A speckled she-cat greeted him. A tom sniffed at him. "I've never seen you before." The she-cat shoved him. "Don't pay attention to Thrushpaw. He's always suspicious about new apprentices. I'm Specklepaw. What's your name?" "Birdpaw." "Well, Birdpaw, I-" A yowl sounded. Looking up, he saw three cats sitting on a ledge, a fourth coming up an oak that had fallen on to the side of the ledge. "Let us join beneath StarClan!" a brown tom yowled. Birdpaw saw Thornflame take his place under the ledge with the other deputies. The other Clan cats gathered on the other side of the creek. Dapplestar stepped on mound of soil. "Not much news. Three apprentices have become warriors. We have two new apprentices. Birdpaw and Featherpaw." Birdpaw felt hot under the stares of the other Clan cats. "That is all. Barkstar, you next." A huge brown tom stepped on to the mound. "DarkClan has little to report, other than two new kits have been born. Yatekit and Bushkit." Purrs of congradulations arose from the gathered cats. "Mintstar?" WaterClan brought news of Ravenkit being born, while AirClan had little to report. Dapplestar headed down the tree. "Warriors! Time to go." Foxfur fell in step beside Birdpaw. "How was your first gathering?" "Oh, awesome!" "Well, when we get home, you'll see how tiring it is." Foxfur was right. He dragged himself into his nest and fell asleep.
Birdpaw woke up. He wasn't in the apprentices den. A she-cat with gray fur and orange eyes stood by. "Wh-who are you?" Birdpaw stammered. "I am Yellowfang." she rasped. "Where am I?" "You are in StarClan's hunting grounds, little one." Birdpaw gasped. "Am I dead?" "No, no, little one." she rumbled. "You are here so I can deliver a message." "What is it then?" Yellowfang's eyes bored in to him. "Hard times are coming. You must prepare." "For what?" "I can not tell you that now, but what I will tell you, you must understand." "Well?" "You will be great. Greater than anything before. You must save all the Clans." Yellowfang began to fade. Birdpaw lept after her. "No, wait! What does it mean?" To late. She was gone. But Birdpaw could still hear her rasping voice. "The Striking Bird shall save the Clans..."
Birdpaw woke with a start. Thornflame's paw prodded him roughly. "What are you? A dormouse? Get up!" He padded out of the den, and spotted Foxfur. "Foxfur, is there somewhere I can talk to you in private?" Foxfur looked at Birdpaw in surprise. "Yes, come with me." Birdpaw followed him out into the forest. He wrapped his tail neatly over his paws. "Now, what do you want to talk to me about?" "Well... I had a dream last night." He leaned closer. "Go on." "I was in StarClan's hunting grounds. A cat called Yellowfang appeared to me. Who is she?" Foxfur began. "Long ago, before I was born, there were for Clans, which we are descended from. ThunderClan, RiverClan, WindClan, and ShadowClan. We are descended from ThunderClan, AirClan was WindClan, WaterClan was RiverClan, and DarkClan was ShadowClan. I am kin of Firestar, so is your mother. Another two of my ancestors were Lionblaze and Cinderheart. Lionblaze was a powerful cat, and took Cinderheart as his mate. Yellowfang was a friend of Firestar, but she died in a fire." Birdpaw understood. "Oh. well, the rest of my dream went like this: She appeared to me, and told me I must be ready. She did not tell me what it was. Also, she said I would be greater, greater than anything before, I must save the Clans."
"I don't know. As she faded away, she gave me a prophecy. The Striking Bird shall save the Clans. It's a mystery to me."