As she came upon the MoonClan leader, Brightpaw could clearly see his thread--bright blue, thinner than normal, but woven together with an intricate and uneven red one. She unsheathed her claws, Cinderstar and Ebonystar were holding Fallenstar down, with Echostar and Deadsoul nearby for support if needed.
“Don’t touch me!” Fallenstar--or, whoever was in control at the time--hissed, his mouth contorted in a painful way, his eyes bulging as he pleaded for his life. He trembled slightly, his neck nearly snapping with the effort, before he faced Brightpaw again.
“Do it. Make me pay for what I’ve done.”
Brightpaw nodded, this was the true Fallenstar, his true wishes. Raising her claws, the tabby shut his eyes, looking almost peaceful if it weren’t for the stains of blood and torn flesh throughout his body.
“Fallenstar, leader of MoonClan. By the will of yourself, by StarClan and by the leaders of all of the territories, I remove you from your position and take away your life!”
It wasn’t a proper ceremony by any means, but it was at least something. Brightpaw brought her claws down, and for a brief second, Fallenstar heard an earsplitting scream emit from his throat.
Then, everything was silent.
“So that’s it, huh…” Echostar mewed, pacing around Fallenstar’s lifeless body.
Ebonystar nodded. “It’s all over.”
The cats that were battling with each other in the star-filled moor just beyond where this had all taken place had vanished. The Dark Forest cats either returned to the shadows of the dark forest, or they reunited with their StarClan clanmates, full warriors once again.
From Fallenstar’s body appeared shining lights. The cats gathered squinted before the brilliant lights faded into shapes, and soon were recognized as warriors. Most departed without a word, but one stayed behind. She was a beautiful calico she-cat, whose brilliant green eyes looked very familiar.
“Risingmoon,” Cinderstar greeted, immediately recognizing Patchstar’s daughter.
The calico Medicine Cat dipped her head. “Greetings, leaders and chosen StarClan guests. On behalf of StarClan, I would like to thank you for freeing not only myself and others, but for ridding the Dark Forest cats and bringing peace to the forest.”
All at once the cats from all Clans could hear the chanting of a familiar prophecy."Though spirits of the dead are readily seen, their cries shall not be heard. A great star shall fall and is followed by another, who shall reap havoc among the Clans. The spirits of malevolence must be stopped and the fallen star shall once more rise to greatness."
“The spirits of malevolence have been stopped, and now the forest can return to peace.” Risingmoon’s voice was soft like silk, which was a relief as it fell on ears used to the sounds of battle. As the cats listened, they could also make out a very quiet sobbing sound from nearby, and the cats gathered turned to look as the tiny form of a kitten padded out of the starry bushes.
“Morningkit,” Deadsoul was the one to speak. “I thought that was you I smelled here.”
“Is he--?” the young she-cat sniffled, standing next to Rowanpaw, as if she was hiding from the others.
“He is dead,” Risingmoon nodded, looking at the limp pelt of Fallenstar.
A voice spoke behind the Medicine Cat. “Risingmoon,” it addressed the calico, who turned as two cats materialized behind her; one a black tom with a horrid scar on one eye, and the other, a young kit, smaller even than Morningkit.
“Worm,” she greeted the black tom, dipping her head respectfully. No one seemed to recognize the young kitten except for Deadsoul.
It was him who said the tom’s name aloud. “Muddykit,” he addressed, glancing slightly at Morningkit, who repeated the name in wonder.
“Please, silence,” Worm insisted, looking to the young starry kitten by his side. “My business here will be brief, I assure you. You see, my great-grandson here has a gift he would like to give.”
Nudging Muddykit forward, the young brown tom cleared his throat. His voice was high pitched, a voice that would never develop into the deeper one a Warrior would have. “My father, Fallenstar, was a brave cat,” he began, glancing at Morningkit for just a moment. “He was deceived and lied to, but he always had the Clan’s best intentions at heart, even from kithood. I do not want to see his life end like this.”
“What are you going to do with him?” Cinderstar asked, looking at the young kit.
Worm cleared his throat. “Though we in StarClan do agree that Fallen is not yet fit to be leader, we do believe he has the capability to be a great one. We propose you this; If Fallenstar earns our respect within six full moons, we shall grant him his nine lives again--the proper way,” he looked to Risingmoon, who nodded in agreement.
“You want him to continue to lead MoonClan?” Ebonystar growled, not very fond of the idea of Fallenstar still in charge.
Worm lifted his ragged tail, and Ebonystar silenced himself respectfully. “If Fallenstar does not prove himself within that time, StarClan will send a sign as to who will be best to lead MoonClan in his stead.”
Risingmoon turned her gaze to Ebonystar, then looked in turn at Echostar and Cinderstar. “Leaders of the Clans, we pray you leave MoonClan in StarClan’s paws. We shall watch over them now, you need not worry; the Dark Forest cats have been vanquished, and all shall be at peace once again. Focus on your own Clans...MoonClan shall once again rise to greatness.”
Muddykit stepped forward. He padded past Morningkit, nudging her ever so slightly with his tiny shoulder, before approaching Fallenstar’s face. His eyes looked ahead unblinkingly, and Muddykit took a deep breath before he touched his nose to his father’s.
“Fallenstar, with this life I grant you rebirth. Use it to rebuild your Clan and your life anew, and allow StarClan to guide your path. Should you use this life for your benefit, you may one day return here and receive eight more.”
Risingmoon let out a purr. “Very nicely done, Muddykit,” she praised before turning back to the other Leaders. “It is about time you get home now. Kindlestar has called off your warriors; they wait for you back at your camps. Take MoonClan’s example and rebuild your own Clans and your own lives; remember the Warrior Code, and hold it dear to you. The territories can be at peace again if you choose it to be so.”
When Fallenstar opened his eyes, he was being carried on Echostar and Ebonystar’s backs, with Morningkit trailling behind, worried tears in her eyes.
“Morningkit…?” he mewed, his voice hoarse. His body felt like it had been hit by a monster and then tossed over the gorge.
Morningkit’s eyes lit up and she bounded closer. “Daddy!” she cried. “I’m sorry, I knew I shouldn’t have followed but--I wanted to make sure you---you were--”
Without thinking, Fallenstar scooped her up with his loosely swinging paws and held his daughter close to him, breathing in her sweet scent. She smelled of Timidbreeze, and Fallenstar felt tears streaming from his eyes.
“Thank StarClan you’re safe.”