Mountainkit's Journey

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The story A Twisted Path should be read FIRST and I'm that author I just couln't get into that account. But read it first and THEN read this!

Submitted: June 04, 2010

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Submitted: June 04, 2010

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Mountainkit blinked, his eyes burning. “Mama…” he moaned weakly. But there was no answer. He remembered his mother telling him about SnowClan, her birth Clan. But he had been born here, in the mountains.
Mountainkit’s head swam as he tried to haul himself to his paws. He froze as the scent of mouse reached his nose. Still lying on the floor of the cave, he waited until the small brown animal was a few paw steps from him. He lunged forward and succeeded in landing a blow to its spine, killing it instantly. Mountainkit knew somewhere in the back of his mind that an apprentice would be proud, but he was too exhausted to care. With a whimper he fell back and, as his head hit the stone, everything went black.
When he came to, Mountainkit’s first thought was that he had never been so hungry. He rolled towards the mouse he had caught, wary of it. He’d never eaten prey before. He cautiously tore off a mouthful and gulped it down. Delicious! He quickly finished it off, and felt a bit better. He pushed himself to his paws and staggered to the mouth of the cave. He sat down heavily with a thump, breathing hard. It was difficult to believe that he was tired so easily.
“Mother! Father!” he called hoarsely. The only reply was the echo. Mountainkit was on his own.
After a nap, Mountainkit felt ready to leave. He knew that he couldn’t stay there, where he was so exposed. So at sunhigh, he padded down the slope and into the valley. There, the trees were tall and leafy, with sunlight dappling the forest floor. Birds sang in the afternoon heat.
As he trekked through the undergrowth, Mountainkit became aware of a nagging feeling inside of him. He came to a clear, cold stream and took a drink. When he looked up, he leapt backwards in shock. Another cat was standing on the opposite bank!
“Hello, Mountainkit. I’ve been waiting for you,” the cat mewed calmly. It was an old she-cat with dappled golden fur and lively green eyes. Only the gray fur on her muzzle betrayed her old age.
“Wh-who are you?” he stammered.
“I am Dapplesun,” she informed him. “I walk these forests and help weary travelers.” As she spoke, she picked her way across the stream using a series of stones.
“How do you know my name?” Mountainkit wondered suspiciously.
“I know many things, young one. Your name is the least of them. But let us put that behind us. You are hungry, yes?” At Mountainkit’s eager nod, Dapplesun disappeared into the ferns, but came back within a few heartbeats, a large vole in her jaws.
“Thank you!” Mountainkit mumbled around a mouthful as he devoured the fresh-kill. When it was gone, he sat up and began to groom his paws.
“You have come far, little warrior. Farther than many a kit would have the courage to venture.”
“Um, thanks, I guess,” Mountainkit was confused.
“Are you tired?” Dapplesun queried.
“Super tired.” Mountainkit yawned.
“You may sleep here tonight. No harm will come to you.” As she spoke, the gray kit noticed for the first time that it was dusk. The day had passed so quickly! Shaking his head to clear his mind, Mountainkit settled down in the nest of feathers that Dapplesun had made for him.
When he woke, the air was chilly but clear. He thought at first that the sun had fallen to hover over his head, but it turned out to be Dapplesun’s face.
“Little warrior, it is time to wake up!” she mewed briskly.
“Why do you keep calling me that?” Mountainkit asked.
“I call you little warrior because you remind me very much of the Clans that used to walk this forest.”
Mountainkit remembered his mother telling him about SnowClan. “What were they like?” he prompted eagerly.
“There were four Clans: ShadowClan, RiverClan, WindClan, and ThunderClan. They lived in separate territories. ShadowClan cats were wily and cunning, while RiverClan alone enjoyed swimming and knew how to fish. WindClan were fast and small. ThunderClan were bold but could hunt well in the forests. At the full moon, they met in peace, but many, many seasons ago they scattered.”
“How?”
“No cat knows. My mother’s mother, Ravensong, was born into WindClan. But my mother’s father, Birchstorm, was a RiverClan cat. My mother, Hollypelt, fell in love with a loner named Cloud. She told me stories of the Clans that her parents knew.”
“Can you tell them to me?” Mountainkit wanted to know.
“I can tell you how it was when the Clans met their fate…” Dapplesun paused and took a deep breath. “The leader of RiverClan, Poppystar, was angry with ThunderClan. She accused them of stealing prey. But ThunderClan’s leader, Stonestar, denied the accusations. He said that only ShadowClan would stoop that low. Badgerstar, leader of ShadowClan, was furious. He attacked ThunderClan. But WindClan allied themselves with ThunderClan and fought against them. The WindClan leader, Gorsestar, died that night. Poppystar received a sign from StarClan saying –“
“What’s StarClan?” Mountainkit interrupted.
“StarClan are the spirits of cats who have died. Each star that you see in the sky is a StarClan warrior. Anyways, Poppystar received a sign from them that told of a black cat that would bring evil to the Clans. At this, she and the other leaders forgave ThunderClan for prey stealing and turned to their medicine cats for advice. Crowcry of RiverClan and Cottonclaw of ThunderClan heard a prophecy. It said, ‘The cat with night in his pelt will scatter the four forever.’ Naturally, all four Clans panicked. My mother was born then. She was raised in WindClan, but soon left and joined RiverClan. She was there when the black cat came. He said his name was Tigerflight, and that he only wanted shelter. So Poppystar let him stay for the night, and he left the next day. Every cat was confused. Why would StarClan send a sign that never happened?
“But for moons after he left, cats would die mysteriously in their sleep. Their Clan mates would find them in their nests, their pelts soaked with blood. A few cats, however – four, to be exact – rose to power. They quickly became deputy of their Clans. There was Flamecall, from ShadowClan, and Streamfury of RiverClan. From ThunderClan there was Frostbreeze, and WindClan had Bloodstorm. These cats were fierce and skilled fighters, able to move silently and swiftly through all of the territories as well as their own. They each killed their leaders and turned their Clans into something that was horrible. Suddenly RiverClan was drowning other cats in their waters, and cats were falling from the tall ThunderClan trees. Some were strangled in the ShadowClan pines, while others bled to death on WindClan moors.
“The medicine cats, though, held fast to their beliefs and StarClan. They remembered the old Clans and sought to bring them back. My mother, Hollypelt, was one of the few who were with them. They blamed it all on Tigerflight, knowing that he came to them in dreams to teach them evil.
“One day all of the leaders met to discuss what would happen next. Berrypaw, a ThunderClan apprentice, followed them to their meeting place and listened. He told his medicine cat that they were planning to leave forever. So when it came time for the Clans to scatter, Hollypelt hid. She ran from her Clan and took with her all of its secrets. Moons later, after the scent marks had faded and claw marks from gatherings could no longer be seen, she returned to these forests. She fell in love with a loner named Cloud. I am the only survivor of their last litter, and of course I am very old indeed.”
Mountainkit stared in wonder at the elderly she-cat in front of him. “But…but that makes you the last Clan cat!” he squeaked.
“Not quite, little warrior. There are other Clans whose names have reached me. There are BreezeClan and SnowClan, far to the north. Nearby there is WhiteClan. If you go there the cats will welcome you, but it would be a bad choice. All WhiteClan cats have white pelts; it is the only way that they can hunt in the snow. Do not seek to stay.”
“Are there any Clans nearby?” Mountainkit wanted to know.
“Only one: StormClan. Even then it would be a long journey. These mountains are harsh; do not forget that.”
“Maybe that’s where my parents went!” Mountainkit was so excited at the thought of seeing his mother again.
“Little warrior, I must remind you that such a journey would be difficult for older cats, let alone a small kit like you. Your nickname does not make you a warrior… although, in time, you may become one.”
“But, Dapplesun, the only way to really do that would be to join a Clan, right?”
“I…yes, little warrior, that is true,” Dapplesun sighed. “If you must go, then I will give you this advice: These cats will not be like me. They will expect you to know how to fight.”
 
 
 
For three moons, Mountainkit traveled the stone hills. Just before he’d left, Dapplesun had told him to follow the setting sun, so he did. It wasn’t easy - huge eagles and hawks swooped down on him more than once, and every so often he would have to be careful not to trespass on a loner’s territory. But for the most part, he could walk safely.
As time progressed, Mountainkit noticed that steep climbs were no longer difficult. His coat rippled with lean muscle and at times he felt as if he could leap between the mountains.
But soon the snow came, and Mountainkit was forced to stop. Huge drifts hid cliffs that he almost walked off of more than once. Prey was scarce as well, so he had to save his energy.
He found a cave that was sheltered from the wind and driving snow and made a nest as well as he could. But Mountainkit only had bracken, pine needles, and a few feathers. He began to despair of ever reaching the Clan.
For three moons he stayed in the cave, eating only snow. As soon as the world began to thaw, he ventured outside. Mountainkit basked in the glow of the warm Newleaf sun that warmed his pelt and brought back the prey. After resting a few more sunrises to regain his strength, he set off once more.
Two moons after spring came, Mountainkit discovered that there were other cats in the area. He was wary of them at first, but when they posed no threat, he relaxed. It was a while before he ever saw one.
Mountainkit was stalking a thrush through some tall grass and concentrating so hard that he didn’t hear the other cats coming.
“Hey!” he meowed angrily when the bird fluttered off. “That was my prey; I was stalking it! Go find your own!”
“We are not interested in your prey,” the other cat told him. He was a brown tom with white paws and ears. His companions were a pretty tortoiseshell she-cat and a younger tom with a white pelt.
“Well, then, what did you do that for?” Mountainkit hissed.
“Relax, you’ll get your prey!” the younger tom rolled his eyes as he bounded away. In a few heartbeats he returned with a field mouse in his jaws.
“We were simply curious about you. You’ve traveled in our territory for a moon now.” The brown tom told him as he ate.
“Oh, can’t you see that this isn’t working?” the tortoiseshell interrupted exasperatedly. She brought the leader away from Mountainkit and put her head near to his, talking urgently.
“Hi,” the white tom mewed, distracting Mountainkit. “I’m Damp Fog. What’s your name?”
“Uh, it’s Mountainkit.”
“What an odd name! Well, that’s my father, Flying Crickets, and my mother, Red Stone.” Damp Fog explained. He angled his ears toward each cat in turn.
“Are there any more of you?” Mountainkit wondered, thinking that they might be StormClan cats.
“Nope. Well, Flattened Grass used to stay with us, but she left. So did Icy Waters. Now it’s just us three!”
“Mm,” Mountainkit murmured absently. He was trying to listen in on the older cats’ conversation.
“I don’t think this is right,” Red Stone was hissing. “He’s just a kit! A kit!”
“He’s a strong kit, though. Not many could hunt like that.” Flying Crickets reminded her. Mountainkit felt a burst of pride at the compliment.
“I wonder where his parents went? He’s all alone…” Red Stone trailed off and stared at him. “He looks like those cats that we saw moons ago. You know, the silver ones.”
“You saw silver cats?” Mountainkit asked eagerly. “How long ago?” He was so desperate for news of his parents; he forgot that he wasn’t supposed to be listening. At his side, Damp Fog broke off mid-sentence.
“Before Leafbare. And we only saw them from a distance - we didn’t speak.”
“You’re sure they were silver, though?”
“Yes, quite sure. The moonlight gleamed on their pelts. Why do you want to know?” Red Stone’s words weren’t suspicious, but honestly curious.
“My…my parents are silver cats. They left me. I’m not sure why they did, but I still want to find them again.”
“Of course you do. Damp Fog, take him back to the den for tonight. He can leave in the morning.” With that, Red Stone vanished into the ferns, Flying Crickets on her tail.
“Well, let’s go,” Damp Fog mewed. He led the way through the trees. “I don’t know what my parents see in you. No offense, but you’re not exactly their type, if you know what I mean.”
“Huh?” Mountainkit was thoroughly confused.
“Well, Flying Crickets usually likes huge, hulking cats that keep everyone else away. And my mother always recruits good hunters, although she’s been known to take pity on whoever passes through the territory. Yeah, that must be it.” Damp Fog seemed to be trying to convince himself.
“Uh, sure,” Mountainkit was willing to go along with whatever the strange cat was meowing about, so long as he was allowed to leave.
When they reached the den that Red Stone had spoke of, he saw that it was simply a large hollow tree. Inside there were three nests.
“You can make yourself a nest,” Damp Fog told him, and abruptly curled up in his own and shut his eyes. Within seconds, the white cat was asleep.
Sighing to himself, Mountainkit simply cleared away a patch of earth outside. He had felt more connected to the stars since Dapplesun had told him about StarClan. Closing his eyes, he slept deeply for the first time in what seemed like a moon.
“Hey, Mountainkit! Wake up!” a loud mew jerked the silver-gray tom awake. He blinked open his eyes to see Damp Fog and Flying Crickets standing a few tail-lengths away.
“Let him sleep!” Red Stone’s reprimand came from behind him. Mountainkit scrambled to his paws and shook bits of leaf from his pelt.
“No, it’s OK, I’m up.”
“Great! It’s sunhigh already. You slept like a badger. Ha!” Damp Fog’s eyes sparkled with laughter.
“That’s not polite.” Red Stone cuffed her son over the ears as she neared him. “Be nicer to our guest.” She turned to Mountainkit with a gentle expression. “Would you still like to leave?”
“Yes, please.” Although he could see a logical path laid out in front of him, Mountainkit knew that he had to find his parents.
“We will escort you to the border of our territory, then.” Flying Crickets meowed sharply. Mountainkit guessed that the brown tom didn’t particularly like visitors.
When they reached the edge of the territory, Damp Fog ran up to him.
“Good luck, wherever you’re going. I hope you find your parents.” The white tom looked genuinely sad to see him go. Mountainkit realized that it must get lonely without friends. For the first time, he wondered what he was missing. Would I have friends in a Clan? He wondered. Then Red Stone padded towards him.
“I just want you to know…” the tortoiseshell lowered her voice. “I lost my parents as a young kit, too. I never saw them again. Whatever happens, don’t give up. Do whatever you have to do to find them.”
“Um, OK,” Mountainkit was surprised. The confident she-cat didn’t look at all like an orphan – but then, she was full-grown. She’d had a lifetime to adapt. “Well, I’ll be off, then!” he mewed in a falsely cheery tone. He turned his back on the strange cats that had helped him and bounded down the slope.
As he reached the bottom of the valley, he looked back. In the bright light of the midday sun, all three cats were dark silhouettes against the blue sky. Mountainkit quickly set off into the trees. Eventually he had to climb again, and at the top, he looked around.
He realized that he could see the place that he had left Red Stone. The faint outline of one cat could still be seen, and Mountainkit saw her rear up on her hind paws. Then she turned away and vanished into the trees, leaving only a thought behind. Mountainkit didn’t know whether the words were his or Red Stone’s.
Never stop looking. They will wait for you.
 
 
For yet another moon Mountainkit wandered the rocky landscape that had become his home. The mountains never seemed to end. At times, he caught glimpses of lush green fields and sparkling lakes, and was tempted to go to them. But he always remembered Dapplesun’s advice: Follow the setting sun. And when Red Stone’s words echoed in his mind, he knew that he had to keep going.
But then he came to a place he was sure he’d seen before. The spur of rock jutting out from that cliff face – that was familiar. And that little cave over there, too.
“Fox dung!” Mountainkit snarled, scraping his claws on the stone. He was going in circles. The shadows were lengthening, though, and perhaps everything would look different in the light of morning. He trotted over to a dip in the rock and went to sleep.
When he opened his eyes, Mountainkit sprang up with his tail bristling. There were cats all around him! He crouched low to the ground and braced himself for a fight.
“Peace,” one of the cats mewed calmly. The speaker was a black she-cat with lively green eyes. A yellow tom stood next to her, and behind them were an elderly brown tom and a russet she-cat looking to be about the same age.
“Who are you?” Mountainkit hissed.
“All will be revealed in time…little warrior.” Those words stopped him cold. Only Dapplesun had called him that. As he looked with new eyes at the cats in front of him, he realized who he was looking at.
“You’re…you’re Hollypelt, aren’t you?” Mountainkit guessed. “And you’re Cloud.” He twitched his ears at the yellow tom. Turning to the elderly pair of cats, he remembered Dapplesun’s words. “You’re Ravensong and Birchstorm.”
“Yes,” Ravensong mewed simply.
“But you’re dead!” Mountainkit protested. “You went to StarClan! But…wait…does that mean that – that I’m dead too?”
“No, little warrior,” Hollypelt chuckled. “You are only dreaming.”
“But…why? Why would I dream about you?”


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