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EOTW: Faded Boundaries: Chapter Twenty Three

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By Jayie-The-Hufflepuff   |   
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Warriors Series 5.5: Echoes of the War
Book 1: Faded Boundaries
Chapter Twenty Three

     Silentpaw plucked up a cod from the fresh-kill pile, trying to ignore the taste of it on her tongue. All around her, cats were busy, gathering branches and moss from the dens, or carrying herbs or prey. Today was the day RiverClan moved back into their old camp.

     Several times, Silentpaw had forgotten the camp she'd been living in was only a temporary one. It was so comfortable, and it was starting to feel like a real home.

     “Are you going to miss this place?”

     She nearly jumped at Eelpaw's voice behind her. He'd managed to sneak up on her, somehow. “Huh?” She dropped the cod at her paws. “Oh, well, yes,” she admitted.

     He purred. “Me too,” he told her. “I'll miss eating by the mossy rock.”

     “And competing to see who could climb the tallest boulder,” she added with relish.

     Eelpaw twisted his head around to glance around the whole camp. “This hasn't been too bad as a camp. But I really want to show you our real camp. You'll love the apprentice's den. Finpaw and I wove feathers and shiny twoleg things into the walls of the den.” He sobered. “Who knows if they'll still be there after the flood, though.”

     Silentpaw could tell her friend was getting nervous about the return to their camp. She couldn't blame him – his camp had been underwater for an entire moon. Who knew how much it had changed? But she couldn't say that to Eelpaw. Instead, she reached out and gave his ear a friendly lick. “Don't worry about it,” she told him, lifting her head confidently. “Your camp will be fine. Whatever damage the flood did, it can be rebuilt.”

     “You're right.” Eelpaw relaxed. “Thanks, Silentpaw.”

     She flicked her tail with a purr. “You're welcome. Now come on, let's get this load to camp.” Silentpaw picked up the cod as Eelpaw grabbed a pike off the fresh-kill pile. Together, the apprentices joined the crowd steadily gathering by the camp's entrance.

     Mistystar stood before her Clan, head and tail head high. “RiverClan, today we reclaim our home,” she called out in a voice rippling with strength and pride. “The flood took everything from us. We lost our home, our prey, our pride. But we survived, because we are RiverClan!”

     The crowd was buzzing with excitement. Cats began to chant, “RiverClan! RiverClan! RiverClan!” Silentpaw joined in, her heart bursting with pride as she cried out, “RiverClan! RiverClan!”

     “Now let's go home!” The RiverClan cats yowled in excitement. Mistystar began leading her Clan through their territory. Silentpaw walked alongside Eelpaw, Finpaw, and Pondbreeze. Every cat's jaws were full of something, so none of them spoke. But the excitement was thick in the air, crackling like a storm. Silentpaw's pelt was bristling with it. She could barely keep herself from taking off at a full run. As much as she would miss the camp in the boulders, she couldn't wait to help RiverClan settle back into their home.

     She could hear cats towards the front of the group yowling with joy as they grew closer. “We're home!” Willowshine yowled. Yowling and roaring with joy, the cats of RiverClan took off, pawsteps thundering over the land as they raced towards their home. Silentpaw ran beside them, her heart pounding hard in her chest.

     There were several splashes as cats dove into water. Silentpaw felt a jolt of surprise as her paws brushed against water, but after the initial surprise, she leaped in without hesitation. Eelpaw and Pondbreeze swam beside her, guiding her through the water, until they reached the other side.

     Together, they climbed up on the shore. Eelpaw dropped his pike, shaking out his wet pelt. “We're here,” he breathed, sounding like he could hardly believe it. “This is our camp.”

     Silentpaw lifted her nose, trying to scent the camp, but all she could smell was the cod in her jaws. Eelpaw spoke again, sounding excited as a kit. “Let me show you where the fresh-kill pile usually is.”

     He led her through the camp, practically bounding with excitement. Other cats were already working, dropping off prey at the fresh-kill pile or restoring dens. Silentpaw dropped her cod where Eelpaw directed her. She could smell the other fish there; the pile was steadily growing. From across the camp, behind a thorn bush, Willowshine called out. “Most of my herbs are gone, but the den seems fine. I should have enough stores from the other camp to restock.”

     “The dens aren't too badly damaged, Mistystar,” Minnowtail reported. “Part of the warrior's den was torn away, and the nursery has a gap in it, but the structures are sound. It shouldn't take long to rebuild at all.”

     Mistystar strode into the center of camp, looking all around with a purr. “Excellent,” she said. The leader bounded towards a tree stump near the fresh-kill pile, slithering up the bark to stand atop the stump. “Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey join here beneath the Tall Stump for a Clan meeting,” she yowled.

     Slowly, cats began to gather at the familiar call. Silentpaw stood to the front of the crowd, Pondbreeze and Eelpaw on either side of her. As they listened, Mistystar spoke. “The flood has ended, cats of RiverClan. Our territory is our own again. The construction of the pebble bridge is going well; by the time the Clans see us again, they will know nothing of our loss. They will only see that RiverClan is as strong as it has ever been!” All around, cats were cheering and yowling in support.

     A single flick of Mistystar's tail instantly silenced the gathered cats. “And what better way to show the Clans our strength than to introduce to them a new warrior?” She peered out into the crow. “Yarrowpaw, are you here?”

     Silentpaw heard pawsteps as the apprentice approached the tree stump. His pelt bristled with shock, and his legs were stiff as he padded forward. She and Yarrowpaw had never gotten along, but she couldn't help but feel a rush of pride for the tom.

     Mistystar leaped down from the stump, lifting her head proudly as she addressed her warrior ancestors in her home once more. “I, Mistystar, leader of RiverClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. He has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend him to you as a warrior in his turn.” Yarrowpaw lifted his head, pride beginning to replace his fear. “Yarrowpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code, and to protect and defend this Clan, even at the cost of your life?”

     The young tom rumbled, “I do.”

     “Then by the power of StarClan I give you your warrior name. Yarrowpaw, from this moment on you shall be known as Yarrowleaf. StarClan honors your ferocity and your strength, and we welcome you as a full warrior of RiverClan.” Yarrowleaf dipped his head to his leader. Mistystar rested her chin on his head, and he in turn licked her shoulder respectfully.

     “Yarrowleaf! Yarrowleaf! Yarrowleaf!” The Clan's voices rang out, strong with pride. RiverClan was home again, and they knew they were strong. The naming of a new warrior drove that home more than anything. Silentpaw yowled out beside her RiverClan friends. “Yarrowleaf! Yarrowleaf!” It didn't matter that she couldn't stand the aggressive tom. This was a proud moment for RiverClan, and Silentpaw was hardly about to let her personal feelings about once cat get in the way. “Yarrowleaf!”

     As the cheering died down, Mistystar spoke again. “As is tradition, Yarrowleaf will stand silent vigil tonight. But for now, our efforts must remain on rebuilding our camp. Reedwhisker will assign cats to rebuild sections of the camp.”

     The crowd broke up as the meeting ended. Reedwhisker began handing out patrols and assigning cats to rebuild. “Silentpaw, Finpaw, Minnowtail, Yarrowleaf,” he called, “I want you to patrol ShadowClan's border.”

     “If you don't mind, Reedwhisker, I'd like to lead this patrol.” Silentpaw was surprised to hear Mistystar speak behind them.

     Reedwhisker dipped his head. “Of course,” he mewed.

     Mistystar passed Silentpaw as she approached the patrol. “Come along, little one,” she mewed in a low voice. “Our patrol waits.”

SCENEBREAK

     The patrol left RiverClan's camp behind. It didn't take long for them to reach ShadowClan's border. To their surprise, however, it wasn't empty of cats. A ShadowClan patrol was there, sitting comfortably, as though they were waiting for them to arrive. Silentpaw could scent three cats, all warriors. She stiffened. What if one of them recognized her? The other Clans didn't need to know a ThunderClan apprentice had been helping RiverClan.

     Yarrowleaf bristled and arched his back threateningly, predictably, but a sharp hiss from his leader made him sheathe his claws. Mistystar signaled to the patrol to stay back, then took a step towards the ShadowClan patrol. “Specklefoot. Snowbird. Wetwhisker,” the leader greeted coolly. “What brings you to the border today?”

     The younger she-cat, Specklefoot, spoke. “Greetings, Mistystar,” she said evenly. “We've come seeking two of our warriors. They seemed to have gotten lost during the flood.” Her tone was stiff. Silentpaw guessed that the ShadowClan warrior wasn't thrilled about admitting that they had lost cats. “A queen and a younger warrior. Have you seen them?”

     When the missing cats were mentioned, Mistystar relaxed, if only a little. “I'm sorry to say we haven't seen your cats. I will send word to Rowanstar if we hear any news about them. My sympathies.” It was a clear dismissal. Silentpaw was surprised Mistystar was being so curt. If there were truly cats missing, shouldn't they be doing all they could to help? But she held her tongue.

     Specklefoot hesitated, then dipped her head. “You have ShadowClan's thanks for it,” she rasped. Silentpaw could hear the concern under her tone – whoever these cats were, Specklefoot sounded truly worried for them, however she tried to hide it. “We will be back to check if you have heard more soon,” she added sharply. With that, Specklefoot took her patrol back into her own territory.

     Silentpaw blinked in surprise. “What was all that about?” she asked aloud. The ShadowClan cats seemed so cagey, they'd barely given anything away. Who were the cats that were missing? And why had Mistystar reacted so coldly to them?”

     Mistystar said nothing. She was staring over the border, watching the ShadowClan cats retreat into their own territory. Finally, she mewed, “Minnowtail, can you take them all back to camp?” she asked quietly. “I have a matter to discuss with Silentpaw.” The apprentice's ear flicked in surprise.

     The senior warrior seemed surprised as well, but didn't argue. “Yes, Mistystar,” Minnowtail said. She led the patrol away, taking them farther into RiverClan's territory.

     When they were gone, Silentpaw turned to Mistystar. “Why didn't you help ShadowClan find their cats?” she finally asked. With other cats around, she would never challenge the leader, but she was too curious to keep quiet now.

     Mistystar sighed. “We've been having trouble with ShadowClan stealing prey,” she admitted. Silentpaw remembered the Gathering, before the storm that had changed everything. Mistystar had accused Rowanstar and his warriors of prey theft. “They've left squirrel blood well beyond the border. We haven't scented them since the flood, but now that travel between territories is easier again, I'm sure we'll be finding their scents soon enough. I have to be wary of any ShadowClan patrol, in case they're here to steal.”

     Silentpaw gave a frustrated growl, lashing her tail. “Why can't the Clans just help each other?” she growled. “Everything would be so much easier if warriors didn't just tiptoe around each other every time they needed help.”

     The leader purred in amusement. “It isn't always as easy as that, sadly,” she told Silentpaw. “But that's not what I wanted to talk to you about.” She drew herself up, tone suddenly becoming serious. Silentpaw listened with ears perked. “Silentpaw, your reasons for coming here might have been flawed. But I am incredibly grateful for all the work you have done for my Clan. You have hunted for us, provided for our young and old, bolstered the spirits of our cats. You have friends here, and as a cat from outside the Clan, that is not an easy feat.”

     “Thank you, Mistystar,” Silentpaw mewed in confusion. She was flattered, but she didn't know where Mistystar was going with this.

     “You could have a place here, Silentpaw.” The apprentice stiffened in shock. “The apprentices have all but accepted you as one of their own, and the warriors and queens are all fond of you. You have the makings of a true RiverClan warrior.” Mistystar looked down at the apprentice, asking seriously, “What do you think, Silentpaw? Would you like to stay here?”

     Silentpaw's whole pelt was bristling in shock. She had started to consider RiverClan as comfortable as a home, true. But to become an apprentice of RiverClan? To stay there for the rest of her life? It was tempting, far more tempting than she could have ever imagined. She imagined training beside Finpaw and Eelpaw, earning her warrior name and hunting and fighting to defend the fish and the streams of RiverClan, the quiet lapping of the streams lulling her to sleep at night. It sounded wonderful.

     But then she thought about the cats she would be leaving behind. If she stayed, she would never hunt with her brother again. She would never train beside Snowpaw and Amberpaw, she would never hear Cloudtail's tall tales, or banter with Jayfeather, or have Cinderheart try and lick her ruffled fur flat. ThunderClan wasn't just her Clan; they were her family. RiverClan were her friends, but ThunderClan were her life. Every elder and kit and warrior was precious to her. As much as she had enjoyed her time with RiverClan, she could never leave them. She would live and die a ThunderClan cat, whatever other friends she mate.

     Her voice was strong with assurance as she told Mistystar, “I'm more grateful for this offer than I can say. But I can't stay here. ThunderClan is my home.”

     Mistystar was silent for a few moments. “I have to say, I hoped you would stay,” she finally said. “But I understand your decision. Only you know best where you belong.” Her tone became lighter as she told Silentpaw, “There was a time when I stayed with ThunderClan, you know.”

     Silentpaw's ears flew up in surprise. “Really?” It was odd to imagine the noble RiverClan leader among the trees and undergrowth of her own territory. To her, Mistystar would always be associated with the calm waters and fish of RiverClan.

     “Yes,” the leader replied. “Firestar offered me shelter after Stonefur's death. ThunderClan was very kind to let me stay with them, and being half ThunderClan, perhaps I could have made a home there. But my heart would always belong to RiverClan, and I always knew it. I returned, and eventually rose to the leadership of RiverClan.” She purred, touching noses with the apprentice. “I wish you the same luck, Silentpaw. RiverClan no longer needs your help. You may stay in our camp tonight, and tomorrow, a patrol will escort you back to ThunderClan.”

     The apprentice wanted to protest. She wanted more time to say goodbye to her friends. But she knew Mistystar was right. Silentpaw belonged in ThunderClan, and now that RiverClan no longer needed her help, she had to return to them. “Thank you Mistystar,” she said, dipping her head in respect. She was overcome with a rush of strong emotions. Her friendship with Eelpaw, her fondness for RiverClan, and for Darkbreeze, all came rushing to the surface. She didn't know what it was, but she felt like something was beginning, something powerful and important.

     “I may be a cat of ThunderClan,” she told Mistystar solemnly. She almost felt the strength of StarClan backing her words. “But I will never allow the boundaries between Clan and Clan to stop me from helping cats who need it. I have friends here, like you said. Whatever loyalty I have to ThunderClan, I will never spurn the friends I have made in other Clans to prove anything to my Clanmates. I will always do what I think is right, no matter what any cat thinks. I have been a friend to your Clan, Mistystar, and I will continue to be, even when I no longer live among you.”

     Mistystar stared silently at the apprentice. She was completely still – Silentpaw couldn't read her at all. Finally, she mewed, “Like I said, it's not always that easy. The Clans will always be enemies – we may have to face each other in battle one day. But I hope that you can keep your word.” She reached out her muzzle, touching her nose to Silentpaw's ear in a surprisingly fond gesture. “I'll miss you, little one.”

     The two cats made their way back to RiverClan's camp. Mistystar immediately made off to speak to Reedwhisker and Willowshine, while Silentpaw rejoined Eelpaw in the apprentice's den.

     The den was made of a hazel bush. After the repairs made during the day, it was tight and secure as if the flood had never happened. “Most of the feathers are gone, but there's a couple blue jay feathers about, and some finch feathers,” Eelpaw told her. He seemed determined to describe every inch of the camp to her. “There's some shells as well, and some shiny twoleg things. We don't know what they are, but they look pretty, all shiny and colorful. When the early morning sun shines through the den, they all light up and cast beautiful colors all over the den.”

     Silentpaw sat back on her hind legs, running her paws along the walls of the den. She could feel the thick branches of the bush, and the various bits and pieces that had been woven in. It was a nice texture. “It sounds beautiful,” she told Eelpaw, though she couldn't imagine any of it herself.

     Her tone seemed to tip Eelpaw off to something. He grew somber, his tone tinged with sadness as he asked, “You're leaving soon, aren't you?”

     She sighed. “Tomorrow,” she told him.

     Eelpaw hesitated. “I'll miss you,” he finally said, sounding a little stiff.

     Oh no you don't. “Eelpaw, I'm an apprentice of ThunderClan,” she told him firmly, thrusting her muzzle in his face. “But if you think for one minute that that means I won't be your friend anymore, think again. Don't push me away because I'm from another Clan.”

     “The warrior code says we're supposed to put our friendships aside for the good of our Clan,” Eelpaw argued.

     Silentpaw lashed her tail, ears flattening against her head. She snapped, “Do I look like I care? If I were going to listen to the warrior code every time it wanted to get in my way, I wouldn't even be here in the first place. You're one of my best friends, Eelpaw. There's no reason that has to change.”

     Eelpaw stared at her a moment longer. Finally, he sighed. “There's no point in arguing with you, is there?” Silentpaw was relieved to hear the warmth re-enter his tone. “Alright. Let's spend one last night here as denmates. Then I'll see you at the next Gathering.”

     Silentpaw purred. “I like the sound of that.”

     As the moon began to rise, Silentpaw curled up in her nest, in the apprentice den in RiverClan's true camp. As she closed her eyes, she felt Eelpaw's sides rise and fall beside her, and she heard Finpaw snoring from across the den. As she drifted off into sleep, she felt nothing but confidence about her decision.
© 2015 - 2020 Jayie-The-Hufflepuff
COVER: link
ALLEGIANCES: link
PROLOGUE: link
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NEXT: link

Disclaimer: This was written before Bramblestar's Storm was even announced. Any similarities to Bramblestar's Storm and its plot are pure coincidence, you can check the dates, please don't kill me.

I was not planning on writing two full chapters in one night. But ya know, stuff happens. XD

This was a really, really hard decision to make. I always planned to have Silentpaw return to ThunderClan. But writing her in RiverClan was so interesting, and she fit in so well, that I was insanely tempted to let her stay.

But I've planned out too much of this fic to change it now. And honestly, the main reason I sent her back to ThunderClan is because Ivypool is just too cool a mentor to give up.

Don't worry. This isn't the last we've seen of the RiverClan cats we've met here.

Back to Blazepaw, then we'll have only two chapters left, one to wrap up Silentpaw's story, and one to wrap up Blazepaw's story. Then it's onto Book Two of EOTW.
Comments8
anonymous's avatar
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Forteycat's avatar
ForteycatHobbyist Digital Artist
hmm, i don't like silentpaw's feelings towards eelpaw...
too close for comfort..
i like this chapter though
Jayie-The-Hufflepuff's avatar
Jayie-The-HufflepuffHobbyist Writer
Too close for comfort? How so?

Thanks! :D
Forteycat's avatar
ForteycatHobbyist Digital Artist
well, they are friends yes, but silentpaw had expressed fondness towards him, and i haven't quite caught up on the book yet, but i hope this doesn't become a problem in the future. maybe, maybe not. i dunno, just a thought! :p
Jayie-The-Hufflepuff's avatar
Jayie-The-HufflepuffHobbyist Writer
Ah, gotcha. We’ll have to see. ^^
Devinital-TLK's avatar
Devinital-TLKHobbyist Digital Artist
Aw man, she's leaving.
Some part of me was hoping she'd stay for good but I knew that her loyalties were to Thunderclan. Oh well, she made friends and who knows, maybe that will pay back in the future.

Also, I'm wondering if Silentpaw's warrior name will have some connection to Riverclan after all she did. I mean it was sort of a big deal what she did and I imagine Bramblestar might want to honor that (after she's been punished). But this is only me speculating. xD
Jayie-The-Hufflepuff's avatar
Jayie-The-HufflepuffHobbyist Writer
Yeah, I wish I could've let her stay, but it wasn't to be.

Perhaps. ^^

That's an interesting idea about her name. :) Perhaps.
Devinital-TLK's avatar
Devinital-TLKHobbyist Digital Artist
We shall see won't we. ;)
Jayie-The-Hufflepuff's avatar
Jayie-The-HufflepuffHobbyist Writer
Yep. ^^
anonymous's avatar
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