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Chapter 2 - Apprenticeship

Hawkfeather awakes in a dark plane, only darkness surrounds her. She can hear paw steps but she couldn't see who is coming to her. She turns to see Swiftkit, fully grown, walking away from the moor that she calls home.

"She holds her destiny in her own paws."

Hawkfeather wakes in a rush. It takes a moment for the dawn light to break through her clouded eyes. She looks to the other side of her den to see Swiftkit still asleep.

Is StarClan unable to see her future?

***

"...And I welcome you as apprentices of WindClan!"

The clan cheers for the new apprentices. However, Swiftpaw can only hear Hawkfeather cheer her name. The clan breaks off to continue with their morning chores and duties. The apprentices are summoned to the entrance of camp.

"We are going to take you four on a tour of our borders," the silver she-cat meows. "Try to keep up. We are going to visit the Lake first. Lead the way Tumblewind."

The tom nodded to the she-cat and dash away. Swiftpaw runs after the four other apprentices growling under her breath, "Typical Frostmist. Never was able to count even if she had to."

Ahead was Lusterpaw, a sleek black she-cat. She has been nothing but cruel to Swiftpaw ever since she returned to the Clan. Always with Lusterpaw was Holepaw, a black and white tom. He isn’t as verbal as Lusterpaw but he doesn’t hesitate to follow her up. Then there’s Poppypaw, Redstar’s only kin. She is a tortoiseshell with white and a ginger red tail, like her father. She is smart, head strong, compassionate, and one of Swiftpaw’s only friends. Redstar took Swiftpaw as his own, thus they became close as kin sisters. Lastly, Stonepaw. He’s a grey tabby. He is soft spoken and caring towards Swiftpaw, though she rarely notices. It was nearly sun high when they reached the lake side. Swiftpaw is quite pleased with herself that she was able to keep up with the other apprentices.

Then, Frostmist starts to talk, "Now, the lake is a neutral territory about two fox-leaps away from the water's edge. Across the lake is RiverClan. Over there is SkyClan and over there is ThunderClan. You got that Swiftpaw?"

"Yes, I got it," Swiftpaw fought hard not to growl at Frostmist. Even though she's been a bully, she's still her superior warrior. And it doesn't help that both Frostmist and Tumblewind both got Lusterpaw and Holepaw as their apprentices. Stonepaw looks upon Swiftpaw with pity but his glance is ignored.

"Actually, SkyClan is across the lake, not RiverClan," Poppypaw quickly mews.

"Looks like mouse got your tongue!" laughs Tumblewind. Lusterpaw and Holepaw join in. Frostmist growls uncomfortably.

"Let's go and see the RiverClan border," Poppypaw sighs.

"Good idea, Poppypaw. Let's go!" Frostmist leads the charge. It's obvious that she became nervous but Swiftpaw pays no mind. It's not the perfect revenge to give to Frostmist by laughing at her mistake.

Swiftpaw runs alongside of Stonepaw but Lusterpaw and Holepaw wanted to have some fun.

"Are you sure you understand how the ThunderClan border works?" Lusterpaw teases.

"Such a shame, I would love to see what Yellowclaw would do," hisses Holepaw.

Before Swiftpaw could even give a reply, "Shut up back there! You’re scaring all of the prey!"

"Bossy-tail Poppypaw,"Lusterpaw growls under her breath.

Anger pulses in Swiftpaw's heart. She wanted to tear the two apprentices and warriors apart. But she forces the dark thought into the back of her mind. I'll show them! They will regret everything they ever did to me!

The trek towards the RiverClan border turns into a constant climb up the hills and steep slides down. Swiftpaw watches the two warriors on how they were able to walk up the hill. Sideways huh? She mimics their pawsteps and found it easier. Eventually, they reached the top of the highest point. She looks out and sees the lake, shining like silverpelt.

“That is SkyClan! I was told that territory used to belong to an ancient clan called ShadowClan,” Tumblewind meows over the wind, looking across the lake. “You can see it better for yourself, Frostmist!”

Frostmist only growls at his remark. Swiftpaw looks towards the proper direction and sees the territory completely covered in trees.

“So, why does ShadowClan no longer exists?” Stonepaw meows softly.

“The elders say that ShadowClan lost their faith in StarClan, thus made them weak. SkyClan came in and took over, keeping the tradition of four clans,” Frostmist turns to Stonepaw, “A clan without StarClan is weak and unwanted. That also goes to us cats as well.”

“Frostmist is right. If a cat doesn’t believe in StarClan or loses faith, they will not receive their nine lives when they become leader, let alone, no protection from them. A true warrior follows the code and follows the will of StarClan.”

***

It has pass sundown by the time they return to camp. Swiftpaw is exhausted and wants something to eat. She heads over to the fresh kill pile. Just as she was about to pick a field mouse, Frostmist comes up and hisses at her, "Take that mouse to the Elders! You can eat last!" She picks up a lean rabbit and walks over to Tumblewind who is sitting with a few other warriors. Probably spreading lies about me. She picks up the mouse and takes it to the elders. However, none of them accepted her offer so she decides to take it to Redstar.

"Do you need something, Swiftpaw?"

"I just offered a mouse to the elders. They already have eaten. Have you eaten yet?"

"I'm not hungry. Thank you though. Go ahead and eat that and get some rest. I am going to teach you how to hunt tomorrow."

Swiftpaw feels her paws tremble in excitement, "Thank you, Redstar." She picks up her mouse and carries it to the apprentices den. She relaxes in her nest and takes one bite out of it before Lusterpaw and Holepaw approach her.

"I thought Frostmist told you to take that mouse to the elders?" Lusterpaw sneers.

"I did," Swiftpaw replies, "They didn't want it."

"Of course they didn't want it! They don't want anything from you!" Lusterpaw growls. "No one wants you here!"

Swiftpaw carries on eating her mouse, "I don't care. I want to be here. Nothing is going to change my mind."

Lusterpaw growls as she walks past Swiftpaw to her nest. She curls up and faces away from Swiftpaw, "Half-Clan bile."

****

It is dark. Swiftpaw knows that she is dreaming. She walks around in the darkness. It feels like a moon has passed by the time she comes across a starry plane. The smell of fresh grass and prey over whelms her as she feels a tug from her stomach. She explores the dew covered grass, searching for prey.

“Be careful, young one.”

The voice surprises her and she looks up to see a cat taking on the illusion of mist, stars shine in his fur.

“Who are you?”

“She who has no destiny, what is your desire?”

Swiftpaw stares at the tom, confused. What does he mean by…”no destiny?”

“What will you make of yourself, she who has no destiny?”

“I don’t know what you are saying about ‘no destiny’ but I can say this: I want to be the best WindClan warrior.”

The starry cat stares at her, “And why is this so?”

Anger rises threw her, “Why? Why! Brownwing tried to steal my loyalty to WindClan! I will prove every cat wrong about my mixed blood! They will regret what they have done to me!”

The cat dare not flinch at her words, “And how shall you do this?”

Swiftpaw gocks at the question. She thought she knew what she wanted but, she has no idea how to achieve it. But she had to come up with an answer, “The Warrior Code.”

“She who has no destiny, the code alone cannot achieve this goal, your wish, your dream. However, there is one thing you must watch out for: do not break the code with a black heart or –“

A loud roar rumbles out of the darkness. She turns to where she heard it. In the distance, she sees a tree line faintly touching the starless sky that over hangs it. She quickly turns back to see the tom but he was gone. She looks back, holding her gaze at the darkness. Suddenly, she is pulled towards the black forest faster than a swooping hawk. A pair of blood red eyes blinks before her as she is stopped a whisker away. Fear fills her body to the point it feels too heavy to stand. The creature roars again and she closes her eyes.

“You will face the same fate as them.”

She quickly reopens her eyes and dashes out of her nest into the clearing, trying to control her breathing. She looks around. It's nearly dawn.

What was that? Maybe Hawkfeather might know.

*****

"Step lightly; you don't want prey to hear you."

Swiftpaw and Redstar are alone in the tall grass. She keeps on practicing her stalk, to make sure she doesn't disturb the grass. She keeps on thinking about her dream and wants to talk to Hawkfeather about it.

"Pay attention, Swiftpaw. You're letting your tail drag on the ground."

"Sorry, Redstar. I have a lot on my mind."

Redstar sighs, "Is it about your decision?"

"No!" Swiftpaw quickly answers. "I will never regret my choice!"

"I see. So, what is on your mind?"

"Last night, I had a dream that I was in a starry plane. It was beautiful and smelled of prey. I even talked to a cat. But then, I was dragged towards a dark forest and I saw two red glowing eyes. Would you know anything about it?"

Redstar eyes widen, "A starry plane? Did you visit StarClan?"

"StarClan? Why was I in StarClan?"

"I don't know. Let's finish your training and I'll let you talk to Hawkfeather."

It is after sun high when she finished her training with Redstar. She rushes off to the medicine cat den to find Hawkfeather, who is getting ready to leave the camp.

"Hawkfeather, I need to talk to you."

"What do you need?"

Swiftpaw recounts her dream to Hawkfeather, whose amber eyes widen, "You went to StarClan?"

"What does it mean?"

"Come with me. I need to collect some herbs."

Swiftpaw follows her out of the camp. She realizes that they are heading towards the ThunderClan border.

"Where are we going?"

"I asked Jumpyrain to get a few herbs for me. There are some effective herbs that only grow in the forest."

"You trade herbs with ThunderClan? Does Redstar even know?"

"Redstar knows that the code of the medicine cats is different from the code of the warrior. We have no reason to fight against each other."

Swiftpaw sighs not in confusion, but in frustration, "So, what does my dream means?"

"Right. You were definitely in StarClan. The forest is the Dark Forest, where cats who do evil deeds live."

"But why was I sent there?"

Hawkfeather stops walking and turns to Swiftpaw, "You weren't sent there, you yourself went there."

"What do you mean?"

"StarClan chooses who to talk to; no cat ever has gone to StarClan by their own choice. Not since the three..." Hawkfeather turns silent. "I was given a message from StarClan."

"A message? Why do you want to share this with me? Does Redstar know?"

"Redstar does not know because it is about you."

"What!?"

"StarClan cannot determine your future. You must be careful."

Swiftpaw dazed in shock for the cat in her dream said that she had no destiny.

“StarClan cannot determine your future but you have a role to play, I can feel it. I’m not sure what it could be. Tell me, what is your desire?”

“To be a warrior of WindClan. That is my goal.”

“Just to be a warrior? Why not a leader?”

“Leader!? No – I’m not sure if that’s my path.”

“Whatever you decide, StarClan will be with you, even when the path is darken.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. The StarClan warrior wants to be of help. We are all walking in the dark.”

Hawkfeather and Swiftpaw continue towards the ThunderClan border. Swiftpaw slows her pace once the trees came into view. So, that’s what ThunderClan looks like. They approach the stream and Hawkfeather starts calling for Jumpyrain. From the reeds came a silver tabby. His amber eyes glare at Swiftpaw, “I thought we agreed that our trades are to be in private.”

“Forgive me, Swiftpaw is helping me today.”

“Swiftpaw? As in Brownwing’s kit?”

“Yes. Do you have them?”

Swiftpaw couldn't help but growl and the mention of her mother's name but her growl was ignored.

Jumpyrain clears his mind, “Yes.” He picks up a huge bundle of herbs and jumps across the stream. “Here:  Cat Mint, some Alder bark, Borage, Bright Eyes, Broom, and Celandine.”

“Thank you. Here is: Comfrey root, Dandelions, Goldenrod, and Juniper berries.”

“Juniper berries? How did you manage to retrieve these?”

“I had to go a bit more beyond the border to get these. I know you been wanting these.”

“Thank you! Ravencall would feel better soon with these!”

“Oh? What happened?”

“Cheeky tom decided to eat a decayed fish. I got him to vomit most it up but I didn’t have anything strong enough to help his pain.”

“I’m sure the berries will help.”

“So, Swiftpaw, correct? Are you planning on to be a medicine cat?”

“No. I am training to be a warrior.”

“Such a shame. I think you would be fantastic at that. And give Hawkfeather someone to talk to more often,” Jumpyrain purrs in a playful manor.

“How about we go our separate ways before we are missed.” Hawkfeather mimics him.

“Alright. Thank you Hawkfeather.”

“Like wise.”

Swiftpaw and Hawkfeather carry the herbs back home, but, Swiftpaw couldn’t help but think about Jumpyrain’s words. Could I be a good Medicine Cat? No. I love Hawkfeather but…I want to be a warrior. That is my destiny, even if I have to make it so myself.

Finally an apprentice and her first day isn't all that great.

Edit: Like Frostmist...I forgot where ShadowClan is... Thank you Secrets of the Clans!
Edit: I got a funny twist that just popped into my head. Instead of ShadowClan, it's SkyClan. Why? Keep tuned for future chapters about it!
Edit 3/12/18:
Even funnier that I have no idea where ShadowClan is at all on the lake home map. That was one edit. The other is that this chapter, to me, is the weakest. So, I have a character introduction for the other apprentices and an better interaction with StarClan. These really bugged me a lot.

I bet on all of my nine lives that you will not ever guess the cat she was talking to! >:3

The Legend of Swiftstar - Chapter 1 
The Legend of Swiftstar - Chapter 3 
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