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Side Series-Shadewing's despair: Chapter 1- Shadekit Meet Thunderclan!

by Shadewing

Shadewing Shadekit learns all about Clan life with her obnoxious siblings.
Chapter one, Shadekit's loss

"Why can't she open her eyes?" a meow echoed through the kit's ears. "Is she even alive? Why is she so still?"

Another one. The small kit was warm, and became warmer as her mother's tail wrapped protectively around her. "Emberkit, Smokekit, be patient. She will open her eyes when she is ready." Is this that time? To open my eyes? The small kit thought, her ears twitching slightly.

With a surge of confidence, two green eyes opened. "Look! Look! Shadekit's awake! Now we can Leave the nursery!"

One kit bounced excitedly. His pelt was dark grey, like her. He also had bright Amber eyes and ginger spots running down his back. The other kit was a lighter grey with blue eyes and white speckles spotted all over his pelt.
What do I look like? Shadekitthought with concern, wondering if she looked as good as her brothers. "Emberkit, and Smokekit, this is Shadekit." Her mother introduced. Shadekit felt her mother's warm eyes on her as she stood on shaky legs. The dark grey she-kit took one step forward and tumbled right into Emberkit who- as Shadekit finally realized- was the one with ginger spots.

Emberkit mewled in surprise as his sister landed on top of him in a squeaking pile of fur. Purring, her mother came over and picked up Shadekit by her scruff and gently set her back down again on all fours.

"Cherryflight, how are our kits?" Meowed a cat at the entrance of the bush they were in. Shadekit looked right at the back Tom as Cherryflight mused "Oh, we're learning how to walk without tripping over our paws".

Quietly Shadekit crouched down -which proved easier than walking normally- and approached the new cat.

He wasn't very large, just barely bigger than the white and ginger she-cat she called mother. The Tom was pitch black, the same color as the world before Shadekit opened her eyes. Over one of his eyes green eyes there was a patch of white fur that looked a little bit funny. The Tom crouched down to be closer to Shadekit's level. "Why hello Shadekit! I'm Nightspirit!" He meowed quietly, his tone pricking with pride and excitement.

"You have bright green eyes, just like I do! Do you want to see?" Nightspirit added, standing to his full height and glancing at Cherryflight for permission. "Green.... Eyes?" Shadekit stuttered unsure of how to answer. "Yes. I would like to go see my green eyes." She confirmed, her voice more confident now that Nightspirit seemed happy. This cat was important to her, and if he was happy, then she was happy.

Nightspirit picked up Shadekit by her scruff and laid down. "Ok kits. We are going on an expedition to Palesky's den!" He meowed through a mouthful of Shadekit. Emberkit leaped on top of Nightspirit's back, but Smokekit looked at all of them as if they were crazy.

"I will stay here and keep Cherryflight company." The light grey kit mewed, looking at his beaming mother. "Alright, the Palesky patrol needs to get going, or else night will fall, and the Badgers will come and eat you!" Cherryflight played along, her pelt swimming in happiness. Shadekit squeaked in concern, and she was sure she heard Emberkit squeak too.

Nightspirit finally stood and stared to make his way across the ThunderClan clearing to the large cave in the middle of the cliff where a wonderful aroma of herbs wafted from. Shadekit blinked as Nightspirit walked into the sun.

As soon as she could see again, her eyes were darting from place to place, trying to figure out where, who and what she was around. "Nightspirit! Are those your kits? Congratulations!" Meowed a golden Tom and his apprentice from the brambles guarding the entrance to the camp. A light grey she cat ran over to the newly-pronounced father. "Oh Nightspirit! They're perfect!" She purred.

"This must be Emberkit, the spots look just like stray embers! And this must be Shadekit!" The light grey she-cat added, her blue eyes sparkling in excitement and a tad of jealousy.

"Yes Featherbreeze. Smokekit is in the nursery with Cherryflight if you want to go meet him as well. Besides, we are on a patrol to visit Palesky, we need to get there as fast as we can." Nightspirit meowed, almost unable to keep a purr out of his voice.

Featherbreeze stood for a moment in confused silence from the looks of it, and then she purred. "Oh, I see. You must go see Palesky, she's a very important cat." The light grey she-cat meowed, glancing in the direction of the cliff where the medicine cat den was.

Shadekit gave a small happy yawn as her patrol entered the medicine cat den. A pale calico cat was in the corner by a small pool of water, soaking moss and sorting leaves. Nightspirit placed her down gently and Shadekit padded up to the medicine cat.

She plopped down next to the calico to look at the water in her den. Her reflection stared back at her and for a moment, Shadekit was certain there was another cat in there. The small grey she-kit squeaked in surprise and burled up next to the calico cat, who purred in return.

"Shadekit, that's your reflection. It's you! Go on, take another look." Shadekit did as the calico she-cat suggests and looked back into the small pool of water, this time staring at the cat inside intently. She noticed that there were two bright green eyes on her face, pasted onto her face right above her nose. Shadekit was so enticed by the image that she leaned too far down, dipping her pale pink nose in the water.

"Cold!" She mewed quite loudly as she jerked back from the mirror of water. "Shadekit, water is for drinking and soaking moss. Not only will it help heal injuries, but it gives life to us." Palesky meowed, obviously purring at her antics. Shadekit nodded silently and looked to Nightpelt, who was watching from the entrance.

"Palesky! These are my kits, Shadekit and....Emberkit? Emberkit, where are you?" Nightspirit's eyes scanned the den, looking for his ginger-spotted Kit.

"Nightspirit? Why does Palesky keep mouse bile in her den? What does she use that for?" Emberkit's voice called from somewhere in the den. Shadekit gingerly padded towards the sound of her brother's voice, pausing in front of a smaller cave within the den.

"Emberkit, if you eat anything you could get sick." Palesky's meow behind Shadekit scared her and the tiny kit wriggled out of the way as the larger calico cat padded into the smaller cave that had the lingering scent of the she-cat. 'That must be her nest.' Shadekit thought as she trotted back up to Nightspirit.

The black Tom nuzzled her gently before directing his attention to Palesky, who when Shadekit turned, had Emberkit dangling from her jaws. Shadekit purred in amusement as Emberkit flicked a glop of green-gooey stuff from his paw in disgust.

Palesky gently set down the kit, and for a moment Shadekit thought she saw annoyance flash in the medicine cat's eyes. The though was quickly dispelled by a quick look of joy and happiness. "Ok, Nightspirit. I have a quest for you and your patrol." Palesky meowed, more amusement dancing in her eyes.

"I need you to see Dovestar and tell her that Volepaw needs to come and get his Chervil." Palesky requested. Emberkit jumped excitedly. "Yes Palesky! Come on Shadekit! Let's go see Cherryflight's kin!" The young kit raced out of the den with a sluggish Shadekit behind.

Shadekit padded up to her brother who stopped dead in the center of the clearing. "Where is Dovestar's den?" He mewed quietly, almost silently. "Mouse-brain! It's the roomy looking den above the Rockpile!" Shadekit meowed like Emberkit was talking nonsense, but to say the truth, Shadekit took a wild guess herself. The den emanated a scent similar to Cherryflight's, much like Palesky's to Nightspirit.

"Dovestar! We have a message from Palesky!" Emberkit started intently into the den, knowing enough to ask permission before barging into the Leader's den. "Come in." Meowed the voice from the inside. Emberkit trotted into the cave proudly, but on the other hand Shadekit tentatively took each step.

"Cherryflight's kits!" Purred the soft grey she-cat. "What message did Palesky send with you?" Dovestar rose from her laying position to more of a dignified sit.

"Palesky wanted to let you know to send Volepaw to the medicine cat den for his Cherryvil." Emberkit responded. "Chrevil? Sherryvil? Carryvil....." Shadekit purred as she watched her kin stumble over the word. "Chervil. Volepaw needs his Chervil." Shadekit responded, earning a smile from Dovestar and a dignified pout from Emberkit. "I was about to get it, I didn't need your help Shadekit."

Dovestar nodded in thanks. "That was a very important message. If Volepaw forgot his Chervil, he could get sick. You did a great deed today young ones." She praised, dismissing the kits with her tail. "Go on. Tell Cherryflight to come see me later, after I finish with the hunting patrol." Dovestar meowed as she followed the two kits out of her den.

Shadekit stood on top of the Rockpile before she made her way down the large slope. The camp looked huge from here, and Shadekit felt so much taller than all the other cats in the clearing.

The dark grey she-kit finally cleared the last rock as a hunting patrol returned from their journey, and a successful journey from the scent of it. A small white Tom cleared the brambles first, a plump mouse hanging from his jaws. After came a large, menacing brown tabby that simply the sight of him made Shadekit shudder. His name was. Vineclaw, the deputy. The white cat before him is Smallgaze, mentor to Tigerpaw.

Shadekit knew of Tigerpaw from stories shared by Brightdust, their mother. Brightdust had an accident during birth and so she never returned as a warrior. Shadekit wondered what happened to make it so bad that Brightdust couldn't be a warrior, but she dared not ask after Emberkit was scolded for asking such a thing.

Tigerpaw was a brown tabby Tom with black stripes and white underfur. His kin, Oakpaw, and himself were quite popular among the clan for their strength, quick thinking and kindhearted nature. Tigerpaw -according to Brightdust's stories- liked to keep to himself and not interact with more than two other cats at a time. Oakpaw was the social one.

As Shadekit expected, Tigerpaw cleared the brambles as soon as Vineclaw took one step from the tunnel. From his jaws dangled a thrush and a plump squirrel, which made her stomach rumble. The dark grey she-kit began to pad up to the apprentice, but she stopped herself. 'It would be rude to take his fresh-kill.' She told herself. Shadekit spun on her heels and directed her attention to the nursery, where she could ask Cherryflight for a piece of fresh-kill and then her mother would go get one.

"Shadekit! We can't go to the nursery yet! Let's go see if the elders will tell us stories! Foxpaw said it was a great way to learn about fighting!" Emberkit meowed as he barreled into his sister. Shadekit gracefully rolled with the momentum of Emberkit's pounce and used her hind legs to push him slightly into the air, successfully pushing him off her.

Emberkit squeaked in delight and surprise as he landed. "Wow. That was a good warrior move! How did you do that?" He ran towards her and crouched down excitedly. "What about the elders?" Shadekit mewed as she shook out her freshly-dusted pelt. Emberkit sat up and pinned his ears in embarrassment. "Yeah, let's do that."

Shadekit popped her head into the elder's den. Three cats were laying in there, sharing tongues and complaining about a drift of wind that sneaks into the den. "Ah, we have visitors!" Meowed a sandy brown she-cat as she spotted Shadekit. "Come on in kits! We don't bite... I'm sorry... Branchtail and I don't bite."

"Lostsight the kits are too young to see me rip you to shreds for that comment." Grumbled a blue-grey she cat sitting next to Lostsight, the sandy brown cat. Laying across from the two she-cats was a brown tom with a crooked tail.

Emberkit marched into the den bravely with his head held high. "I'm Emberkit and that's Shadekit." He mewed as he took a seat near Branchtail. "Ahh yes. Nettlestream was kind enough to announce that a few moons ago. Nightspirit's kits." Lostsight mewed politely.

"I have a question, why does everyone know us? We haven't been out of camp until today." Shadekit cocked her head in confusion. "Oh young one, news in his camp spreads like wildfire, the second you were born we knew you were Cherryflight and Nightspirit's kits." Branchtail responded.

Emberkit shrugged and looked up at Branchtail. "Can you tell us a story?" He mewed, his Amber eyes glazed in excitement. Branchtail's eyes mimicked a look similar to Emberkit's as if he too were excited to hear stories. "Oh no. Lostsight has many better stories than I do." Branchtail flicked his tail to the sandy brown elder.

Lostsight purred and beckoned Shadekit over to sit by her. The sandy she-cat looked disoriented, and seemed to sense things later than the other elders. "Now kits," Lostsight meowed as soon as Shadekit sat down. "Ever wonder how my name was changed to Lostsight?"

Shadekit sat in awe, horror and suspense as the blind elder continued with her stories. The old she-cat had been born blind, and she couldn't see anything at all. Not even the wonders of the camp. Yet, Shadekit was amazed how Lostsight could still navigate around, or never see the sun that beats down and warms your back.

It was coincidental when Cherryflight padded in. Lostsight just finished up the story about fighting while blind. "Is this a good time? I think the kits need a bit of rest after their missions today." Shadekit gave a yawn to unconsciously prove her mother's point. Her eyes finally rested on Emberkit, who was curled up in Branchtail's large, fluffy tail, asleep. Cherryflight purred to herself and gently went to receive her kit. Shadekit was about to follow Cherryflight out of the den, but Lostsight held her back for a moment.

Shadekit's green eyes pricked with curiosity as she watched her mother walk out of the elders den. The dark grey she-kit looked up at Lostsight's blind yellow eyes in question. "Shadekit, you are a strong cat. Your heart is as strong as stone. Remember that you have the power to protect if you need it." The sandy brown she-cat meowed before shooing the kit out of their den.

Shadekit stumbled out of the den and into the sun. She pondered over what Lostsight assured, but it just made her more sleepy. Her green eyes followed the path that Cherryflight took back to the nursery, but she didn't think she could make it all the way across the clearing without falling asleep. Shadekit settled beneath a tree that provided shade, but small beams of light filtered through the leaves. Before she knew it, Shadekit was sound asleep.

A shiver ran though Shadekit's spine as she slowly started to open her eyes again. 'It's becoming Leaf-Fall.' She reminded herself. Her vision cleared and the tiny kit was surprised by the nest of moss and cotton that she was in. Sitting under the Sade to her left was Tigerpaw, famished from his last patrol from the looks of it. The apprentice was taking large bites of the thrush that laid in his paws, but stopped when he saw Shadekit awake.

"Oh. Sorry if I woke you Shadekit." Tigerpaw meowed as he stood to leave. "Did you make the nest for me?" She asked before the apprentice became too far out of earshot. Tigerpaw swiveled his head around to look at the kit before grinning. "Yes I did. You looked cold in the shade, and I had extra moss, so I decided to make a small temporary nest. The clan should always prioritize its kits." He meowed.

As Tigerpaw began to leave, Shadekit jumped up and raced towards the striped Tom. "Do you think you could help me move the moss to Cherryflight? She said she's been cold." Shadekit pleaded. Tigerpaw glanced at Smallgaze, who was eating a squirrel with Greyspots. The white Tom nodded to a wordless agreement before Tigerpaw turned his head to face Shadekit again. "Of course, I just think battle training would be more fun.

Shadekit was stunned by how much skill she already had in fighting as Tigerpaw volunteered to mock fight with her. Plus, her clumsy steps earlier evolved into graceful bounds and jumps, even causing Tigerpaw to miss a lunge for her scruff. Sooner than later, both kit and apprentice were on the dust covered clearing, breathing quickly.

"Wow, that was impressive." Tigerpaw meowed. It's not like he was the absolute best fighter, he just became an apprentice right as Shadekit was born, 2 moons ago. Shadekit stood and shook off clump of dust on her pelt, spraying a cloud of dust around herself. A larger apprentice padded over and instantly Shadekit knew who it was.

"Oakpaw, where did Greyspots take you hunting?" Tigerpaw asked as he regained his posture. "Oh, we went out to the lake border to hunt. It wasn't very successful, though we did catch a stray rabbit that wandered it's way from WindClan." Oakpaw meowed, eyeing Shadekit with curiosity. "So, this is one of Cherryflight's kits. You put up a good fight there." He purred, watching Shadekit puff up with pride.

Nightspirit wandered out of the Medicine cat's den, this time with Smokekit on his heels. The black Tom spotted his kit and quickened his pace to meet the small group. "It's almost Sundown and you haven't even gone to tell Cherryflight about your successful patrol?" Nightspirit inquired, purring as he watched Smokekit take a seat next to his dust-covered sister. Tigerpaw and Oakpaw shared a look of confusion before padding to Greyspots and Smallgaze for the Dusk patrol.

Shadekit lashed her tail in discontent. "I was having fun with Tigerpaw! He taught me about fighting!" She protested and Nightspirit's eyes widened. "So that is why you became a dust colored tabby!" He mused, causing Smokekit to roll his eyes.

2 moons later

Shadekit burst out of the nursery, Smokekit and Emberkit on her heels. "Last one to the brambles is a mouse-brain!" She mewed as she raced to the thorny tunnel. Emberkit lurched forward and surpasses her, but Shadekit couldn't afford to lose. She urged her paws faster and suppressed the move to barrel into her brother to hinder his movements.

"First!" Both kits yelled in unison. Emberkit and Shadekit turned their heads to look at Smokekit, who paced his run. "So mouse-brains. I suppose that if you are chasing a rabbit, you wouldn't have enough energy to continue hunting." He scoffed, his tail lashing in despair. "You couldn't outrun us, that's why." Emberkit mewed, his bright amber eyes glowing.

Smokekit growled, his own blue eyes swimming in frustration and anger. "Cherryflight! Smokekit and Emberkit are going to tussle!" Shadekit yowled in a sarcastic tone. A flash of white burst from the nursery as Cherryflight races to stop her kits. "Silverpelt kits! I can't leave you for a mouse whiskers length of time and your already under each other's fur!" The white queen scolded her two kits.

Emberkit gave one last hiss to Smokekit before spotting Tigerpaw and Oakpaw across the clearing enjoying their spare time. Shadekit watched as her ginger spotted brother raced over; probably to talk about battling. Shadekit dashed after him, hoping to be able to spare Tigerpaw and Oakpaw a bit of trouble. Before the two kits made it, Foxpaw, Volepaw, and Owlpaw all trotted over to their friends. Now that she thought about it, Shadekit was the only she-cat that isn't a warrior, elder or medicine cat.

"Oakpaw! Fight me! You're the ShadowClan warrior and I'm from ThunderClan!" Yowled Emberkit as he finally make his way over to the group of apprenticed toms. "Emberkit..." "Emberkit! If you want to fight, fight me. Don't go around messing with the apprentice's free time." Shadekit interrupted Oakpaw's tentative response. "Aww! but Shadekit, you're too strong!" Emberkit complained. "Oh? Are you scared ThunderClan warrior? ShadowClan is the best and strongest Clan in the forest!" Shadekit crouched in a mock fighting position.

Emberkit growled back in fake disgust. "ThunderClan is by far the best Clan! Not even ShadowClan can stand up to us!" The five apprentices grinned and started to take sides. Tigerpaw and Foxpaw padded behind Shadekit and became the offending ShadowClan cats while Owlpaw, Volepaw and Oakpaw all backed up Emberkit's ThunderClan. "ShadowClan! Attack!" Shadekit yowled.

Claws sheathed, kit and apprentice alike surged forward after their target. Shadekit launched for Emberkit, who squeaked and fell over. On the other hand, the apprentices were using their moons of training to aid their mock battle. Owlpaw and Volepaw teamed up against their orange and black brother, using their power in numbers to their advantage. Foxpaw was quick however, so he easily read and evade his sibling's movements.

Tigerpaw and Oakpaw were locked in an intense fight for bragging rights. Oakpaw batted left, Tigerpaw evaded and leaped, it was much more impressive than what the 'leaders' were doing over here. Shadekit pounced on top of Emberkit and pinned him. Her ginger spotted brother learns quickly, so he used his hind legs to gently push Shadekit off of him. Shadekit hissed at the gentleness, but if he did it any stronger, he would have launched her.

Shadekit had always been jealous of her brothers size for the past moon or so. They had grown much larger than her, not to mention they simply had more strength. Shadekit's advantage of quick thinking wasn't as useful anymore. The dark grey she-kit tried to become stronger by climbing trees and stalking tails of other cats, but Palesky recommended that she stop. "Shadekit, learn the ways of fighting quickly and steadily. You may never have the strength of your kin, but you have the wits to create your own style." The calico had advised.

Shadekit had a surge of confidence and faked a leap, but then turned to push Emberkit over -which proved to be easy; he has horrible balance- and pinned him down, taking special care to pin his legs. However, Shadekit neglected to watch his front paws which he used to pin her instead. "So do you surrender ShadowClan?" Emberkit hissed playfully. "Never...ouch! Yes! ShadowClan cats retreat!" Emberkit stepped on her tail, making her flinch. "ThunderClan will always be the best!" Yowled Emberkit as he hopped off of Shadekit.

Dovestar, Palesky, Nightspirit, Smokekit and all of the mentors were watching this mock fight play out. All of the cats were grinning at the antics and the fake tension of battle -with the exception of Smokekit of course. "Well fought ShadowClan cats, but Emberstar won. That means ThunderClan is indeed the best Clan." Dovestar meowed as soon as all the young cats regained their posture and realized their leader was watching them. The mentors seemed pleased with the progress their apprentices had made, even if it was displayed in a play fight. Smallgaze padded up to Tigerpaw "We need to go hunting. Surely that didn't wear you too much?" The white tom asked, musing at his apprentice's dust covered pelt.

Slowly but surely all the cats dispersed, leaving Smokekit, Emberkit and Shadekit in the center of the clearing. "So, Shadestar and Emberstar you were very rude challenging the apprentices." Smokekit scoffed, putting emphasis on 'star'. "You just need to learn how to have fun Smokekit! You're so boring!" Emberkit mewled, his eyes sparking with anger once more. In his anger, the small dark grey kit started coughing violently. "Emberkit? Do you feel alright?" Shadekit started sniffing her brother's fur for any scent of sickness.

Emberkit jumped away at Shadekit's touch and shook out his pelt. "Of course I'm fine. Emberstar never gets sick!" He protested. Shadekit sighed and backed off while Smokekit prodded his brother in an annoying way. The tiny ginger spotted kit was whisked off to the Medicine cats den as soon as he entered the nursery. Shadekit watched as her brother was sent off into the herb-stained den silently. Suddenly a yowl of surprise echoed across the clearing and a scent that was new to Shadekit emerged. "Badger!"
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