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   Chapter 3 Sparkpaw of HunterClan

City of Ice and Fire By Grace Estellar Characters: 22004

Updated: 2019-07-30 23:31


********Goldenclaw's POV*******

"So, you're becoming a member of HunterClan then? For real?" He asked Clary.

The two were eating breakfast before heading out on patrol for the day; a plump field mouse lay between them from where they were sitting outside the Apprentice's Den. Most of the cats were awake and moving about now. The exception to this being Brackenfoot. The newest warrior had his warrior vigil the night before. He had stumbled into the den tiredly this morning as Arrowheart, Nightrose and Goldenclaw were getting out of their nests.

With all the excitement of last night, Goldenclaw hadn't heard that Clary had spoken to Blossomstar about becoming an apprentice yesterday. The knowledge that Clary had been nervous about asking Blossomstar about this and hadn't asked him for help left a sour note in his stomach.

Well, it's not like you've been warm and welcoming to her recently, his mind pointed out. Still, she should know that she can always count on me....right? Goldenclaw was unsure where he stood with his...sister as of currently. He hated to think that they'd no longer be close. The idea of being without Clary tore at him like a vampire's fangs.

The distance he'd been keeping in concerns to Clary wasn't because he didn't care about her. No, it was because he cared about her too much. Way too much then a brotherly love. It made him feel as though there was something wrong with him. Distance will help, he kept telling himself. He wondered how many times he'd have to tell himself that, and in turn enact it too before it would be true. Right now, I doubt it ever will be.

"Yea, I...Arrowheart went with me and all to talk to her. She said my ceremony would be sometime today." Clary sounded pleased, her green eyes sparkling. Goldenclaw forced himself not to stare directly into her eyes. She's too pretty for her own good. Clary was a beauty all of her own, like a unique blend of fire she was always burning bright.

"Oh, that... that's good." He told her. Clary seemed to be searching his gaze, Goldenclaw stared at Vultureclaw.

The deputy was organizing more patrols for the day. He watched as one of the groups headed out of camp. At the head of it was Badgerstripe, his black bulky frame leading Palenose and Frondleap out of camp. As Palenose was early on in expecting kits, her stomach was only bulging slightly. It would be at least a moon or two before she started showing, at that point Featherflight would prescribe for her to live in the Nursery.

Her mate Specklefoot was waving her off now. The ginger speckled tom was pressing his head into his mate's muzzle, purring soft, sweet nothings into her ears. Palenose was murmuring them back to him, a fond smile stretched across her face. This, this was exactly the type of thing that Goldenclaw had wanted to have with Clary someday. Maybe he'd been foolish to dream of it so early in their relationship, but he had known that he wanted everything with the ginger she-cat. Absolutely everything. And now I can't have it...

"Are you sure? I mean, I'm sorry I didn't ask you for help, I just figured you were busy with...well everything." She admitted. Goldenclaw took another bite of the mouse that was between them, the woodsy taste of it bathing his tongue.

"Yea. I'm glad that you'll be here. You have every right to be here...just as much as me." He told her.

"You're referring to our father, aren't you?" She asked him.

Goldenclaw sighed, dipping his head. He was staring right over Clary's head now, that way he gave off the impression of meeting her gaze without really doing so. It was a trick he used whenever he got scolded by Silvermoon or Badgerstripe for pulling some pranks back when he was a child. It made it easier to face them then; he found it also made it easier to face Clary now. Regrettably, it also made him feel like a coward. He didn't want to dwell on that now.

"Yea, Frostfang...a lot of cats here don't like him Clary. He did some awful things back in the day. It looks like he wants to do awful things now too. I don't want either of us to be judged for it." He told her.

He'd already started seeing how certain cats were treating him differently. Cats who he'd known all his life, acting like he was an outsider. He didn't like it one bit, but the idea of that treatment being given to Clary was even more unappealing.

"I'll be fine Goldenclaw, they hold a grudge against us forever. That would be mouse brained." She commented.

"You've only been here a short time Clary. Clan cats...we're not all as open minded as you might hope." He said.

"What, so I should just give up? Run home to my house folk and pretend I'm not a Shadowhunter?" She asked, her tone incredulous.

"No. What I'm saying is that you can't expect everyone to be welcoming of you. There will be cats that like you...and cats that would rather see you gone." He ended darkly. The anger in Clary's eyes vanished, replaced with something sad. He could go as far as to say it was sympathetic. He hated it. Sympathy was never a feeling he wanted to garner from anyone.

"Goldenclaw...you can't think like that. I'm sure plenty of cats want both us here. And besides, we have each other now. And our mom too." She murmured encouragingly.

Goldenclaw barely held back the growl that rose in his throat. "She might be your mother, but she'll never be mine. Silvermoon is my mother. If anything, Russetleaf is just the she-cat that abandoned me."

Clary gasped at that. "You can't mean that Goldenclaw. I'm sure mom loved you. She never would've intentionally left you." Goldenclaw didn't want to talk about this anymore, it would just pull at his already torn heart.

"Whatever you say. The real question is, who do you think your mentor will be?" He asked her. If Clary noticed the subject change, she didn't comment on it. Her expression became thoughtful.

"I'm not sure. Have you heard anything? You told me you heard murmurings about who your mentor would be before you were apprenticed." She inquired.

"No. Whoever it is, Blossomstar is keeping it very tight lipped. Has she called anyone to her den? Littlebird and Dustcloud both went to talk to Blossomstar before Arrowheart, Nightrose and I were made apprentices." Goldenclaw told her. Blossomstar had an odd way of going about many things, but she always talked to the cats involved whenever a ceremony was about to occur. It was like a strange permission slip sort of thing.

Clary shook her head. "Not that I know of. Nothing out of the norm at any rate." Goldenclaw considered this.

The usual for Blossomstar as of the past few moons were her deputy, medicine cats, and Arrowheart. Even now that Arrowheart was Blossomstar was no longer his mentor, his Parabatai still kept a close bond with the leader. The same could be said for Nightrose and Littlebird. The two she-cats often shared prey, chatting about their day.

If only Dustcloud were still here. The fluffy brown tom hadn't even gotten to see his apprentice become a warrior. The thought of all those missed opportunities with the late deputy felt like a heavy stone in his gut, weighing him down. He pushed it away. The constant grief had slowly passed, but occasionally it rose back up in him like an angry wasp coming back to sting him once more. He doubted this would ever go away. A part of him relished in the pain, it was a reminder of why he could never stop fighting, lest something like that happen again.

"That doesn't help us. I guess we'll just have to wait and see." He told her. Clary agreed, gulping down the last bit of mouse. The two exchanged a few more words before joining a hunting patrol. It was Petalfall who led them out camp, the she-cat not bothering with small talk as they headed towards the Tall Pines. This was a good thing too, as Goldenclaw's mind was elsewhere.

********Arrowheart's POV*******

Arrowheart tentatively touched the water before him, watching the resulting ripples cascade across the trickling stream. The rushing water was cool to the touch. He was unsure how MagicClan cats enjoyed swimming in it, especially during this time of year.

Leaf Fall (or fall for people who're wondering...it's August for them) had begun. The leafs were starting to turn red and orange and brown. A few of them had already scattered to the ground. The heat and humidity of summer had given way to a constant breeze in the air. It chilled the forests cats; it sent the trees shaking with it. Unlike Leaf Bare, the prey was still out and about in abundance.

This time of year was turning out to be Arrowheart's favorite. Running in the constant breeze gave him such a rush. Patchfur agreed with him on the wind being splendid. The two toms had went out hunting together this morning. They'd headed over to the border with MagicClan, picking off a few mice and thrushes as they went.

Patchfur was swimming in the stream now, his lithe form paddling around in the cool water. The tom had dived underwater moments before, letting the stream consume him. From Arrowheart's standpoint on the sandy shore he could see Patchfur swimming like a fish in there.

I wonder if he misses being a MagicClan cat...Patchfur had been kicked out of his former Clan for murdering a kit. Willowkit's death wasn't his fault though... He wished MagicClan understood that.

But then, if they did understand then they might forgive Patchfur and let him return to them. As much as Arrowheart wanted his crush to be apologized to, for the truth to come out and be comprehended, he was afraid of what that might mean for the two of them.

Their relationship, still undefined was brand new. It was a blossoming thing that needed to be cared for, cherished. He wasn't fully certain it would withstand long distance. Having a relationship with a cat from another clan was frowned upon, especially in HunterClan.

And for Arrowheart, a cat who hadn't even come out to his parents, let alone his clan, was afraid of how everyone would react if the truth got out. And yet....there's no way I'd give him up. Arrowheart could be uncertain about a lot of things, but how he felt for Patchfur was something he never doubted.

Speaking of Patchfur, his black head shot out from the water sending droplets splattering everywhere. Some of which landed on Arrowheart's nose, making him sneeze. Patchfur laughed at the cute sound. Water was dripping from his whiskers, his fur plastered to his body like a wet suit, golden green eyes sparkling with laughter. The warlock was in his element here surrounded by the shining river.

"What do you think? I haven't swam in so long I feel like I'm getting rusty." Patchfur admitted.

Arrowheart wiped the water off his nose. "You were mesmerizing as always." He told him. "I don't think I'd be any good at it though, I'm no fish." Patchfur snorted at that, pulling himself onto the shore. Water dripped off his wet form like a scattered shower.

"Maybe not

at first, but I can teach you. You never know when you might need to know how to swim. It could save your life." Patchfur told him.

Arrowheart eyed the water skeptically. "I guess, " he conceded. "You promise you'll help me? I...I don't know how to swim so I might drown." He admitted, a bit embarrassed to admit he'd struggle with something Patchfur did with ease.

Said tom was now giving him a soft smile. "You don't need to worry about a thing, I'll be here the whole time."

Arrowheart dipped his head, taking in a deep breath to steel himself for the task ahead. He stepped into the water hesitantly, shivering at the cold liquid seeping into his skin. Patchfur stepped in beside him, wading in the water like it was the most natural thing in the world.

"It-it's freezing in here." Arrowheart chattered. Patchfur looked at him amused, his black ears twitching.

"If you think this is bad, you should feel how it gets right before the water freezes over. Hardly no cat dares to swim in it then, and Berrypool would often forbid the few daring apprentices from even trying to." Patchfur told him.

"I can imagine." Arrowheart commented, shivering some more. The water was almost up to his belly fur. The cold tendrils sent tingles up his spine, it was not a pleasant feeling. Noticing Arrowheart's shivering form, the warlock moved the conversation forward.

"Don't think about the cold, you'll get used to it soon. Think about how relaxed the water makes you feel." He suggested.

Arrowheart gazed at the water lapping at his sides. He supposed it was relaxing. Now that he thought about it, the water didn't feel so bad now. With his height, his paws still touched the stony floor of the river. His claws scrabbled on the stones to keep a firm grip.

"Yea, I think I've gotten used to it. So...what now?" He questioned. "How do I swim?" Patchfur gestured to a spot further in the water, where the currents were slow.

"We've got to go a bit deeper first. Learning to swim is fun, but it's harder to do when your paws can still touch the ground." Patchfur waded over to the spot where he waited for Arrowheart to join him.

The young warrior hurried over to him, spending splashes of water up in his wake. At some point a fish flashed by him. The silver scaled creature brushed his fur, causing Arrowheart to leap forward in surprise. It had been such a quick contact, lasting no more then a few seconds. Despite that, the tom felt the sliminess of the water breather, the scales scraping as the thing went between his legs.

"You okay? You seem a bit jumpy." Patchfur called.

"Yea, one of the fish brushed up against me." Arrowheart told him.

Nothing else deterred Arrowheart's progress to the warlock so he reached him moments later. In this part of the stream, the water almost covered their shoulders. The river acted like a cold blanket to Arrowheart's body, draining away at the aches there from battle and patrols. It was oddly therapeutic.

"Now, the first thing you have to do is lift your paws off the ground. Don't worry, it's completely safe." Patchfur added at Arrowheart's worried look. Hesitantly, Arrowheart did as he was told, lifting his paws off the ground. He floated in the water, not moving, his position stagnant.

"Okay, so what next?" He asked.

"Next, you start paddling. Watch what I do and copy it." Patchfur lifted his legs up from the river floor. He rhythmically kicked at the water, his front paws scooping water downward, churning the water so he went forward. Arrowheart copied him, his movements less graceful from a lack of experience.

Patchfur observer his movements. "Not bad, but you need to loosen up. Your legs have to be able to paddle properly." He told him. Arrowheart grunted, struggling to do what Patchfur asked. Water churned from his paddling, splashing behind him in billowing sprays.

"I'm trying to." He gritted out. The water felt like it was weighing down. Considering the liquid seeping into his pelt, he supposed it was. Patchfur dipped his head. The warlock had stopped paddling, watching Arrowheart's swimming from the shore.

"You're not doing bad, you're just not used to it yet." He told him. Arrowheart was panting by the time he got back onto the shore. He flopped down in the sand like a wet ball of fur. He knew that the sand would make his pelt dirty though he couldn't bother himself with caring at the moment.

Patchfur licked soothingly behind his ears. Arrowheart gave him a little smile. "So, how did I do?" Arrowheart asked the older warrior.

Patchfur stepped back, looking him over. "You did great for your first time out. We'll focus on your technique more next time." Arrowheart huffed out a tired laugh.

"So there will be a next time, huh?" He asked imploringly, blue eyes meeting golden green.

"Yes. I'll make a swimmer out of you yet Shadowhunter." The older warrior told him. Together, the pair made their way back to camp. They hunted as they went, catching a nice load of prey.

******Clary's POV******

Clary paced anxiously around Nightrose, excitement making her claws shred the grass below. It was midday now, and the ceremony was set to happen soon. Blossomstar had informed her earlier that she wouldn't be the only cat to get apprenticed today. Dapplefur's kits were all now old enough to become apprentices, so the five of them would be apprenticed together. Clary was happy about this, as it made her feel even more connected to the rest of the Shadowhunters.

"Stop pacing. You'll mess up your fur." The other she-cat told her. Clary let out a huff, her green gaze meeting Nightrose's brown one.

Her friend had been kind enough to give her a good grooming before the ceremony. Nightrose told her it was important to look well groomed for this sort of thing. Over by the Nursery, Dapplefur was busy grooming her kits.

Violetkit and the others were all antsy like her, ready to finally become apprentices. These kits had been waiting ever since their birth to begin training whereas Clary had only been waiting for a few moons, so she knew she shouldn't be so impatient. But I can't help it...all my life I feel has been leading to this moment. To finally become a part of the Shadowhunters.

"How can I calm down? I've been waiting for this for weeks now. I just....I've wanted this and..." She trailed off. Clary was unsure how to explain this to her friend.

Nightrose studied her carefully, resting her tail along Clary's flank. "I get it. Don't worry, the ceremony should be starting any minute now." Clary nodded, sitting down in an effort to calm herself. She didn't think she could wait much longer. Luckily, she didn't have to wait another second.

"Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey join here beneath the High Rock for a Clan meeting!" Blossomstar's summons rang through camp.

Warriors proceeded in an orderly fashion to their spots underneath the High Rock. Badgerstripe, Silvermoon, and Petalfall sat together in a cluster near the front of the crowd. Comfreyleaf was sitting outside the Nursery, her kits playing with a pine cone nearby. The two elders: Puddlestep and Mistwing sat outside the Elders Den sunning themselves.

Frondleap and Ashwhisker were somewhere in the middle of the group, with Littlebird and Ripplefur sitting nearby. The couple was whispering amongst themselves, their tails entwined. Junipernose and Honeybee were also sitting together in the same position except for at the back of the crowd.

"Good luck Clary. Wait here with Dapplefur and her kits till Blossomstar calls for you. I'm going to join my brothers." Nightrose told her before disappearing into the assembled cats.

Clary murmured her thanks as the other she-cat went by. Even though Nightrose and Arrowheart weren't technically related to Goldenclaw, they still considered him their sibling. They refused to call him anything else. Clary wondered what that made her to them. She is their sibling's sibling. It was a strange prospect to think about.

The four other apprentices to be were now skirting around her heels. One of them, Stripekit stepped on her tail as they bustled about. Clary winced, the small she-cat's claws had been sheathed but the weight of a paw wasn't meant to land on her tail. She lifted in up gingerly into the air gingerly so it wouldn't be stepped on again.

"Sorry about that." Stripekit murmured apologetically. The kits eventually sat down beside her, waiting to be called to the center of the clearing.

Dapplefur sat behind them, watching with pride. This was the warrior's first and only litter. Clary felt sad that the senior warrior couldn't have more with her mate, Foxtail. The former kittypet had never met the tom personally, but what from what she'd been told he was a good cat.

"Violetkit, Smokekit, Clary, Stripekit and Mousekit come now to the center of the Clearing." Blossomstar called out to them. The five cats moved to the appointed spot underneath the High Rock, staring at their leader.

"Violetkit, from this moment on you will be known as Violetpaw. Goldenclaw, you will be her mentor. Pass down your courage and skill to this apprentice." Goldenclaw looked shocked to have been chosen for an apprentice. With a sharp prod from his Parabatai he moved forward to touch noses with the tortoiseshell she-cat. The two then stepped back into the audience.

When they were settled Blossomstar went onto the next cat. "Smokekit, from this moment on until you earn your warrior name you will be known as Smokepaw. Nightrose you will mentor this apprentice. Pass down all your wisdom and tenacity to this apprentice." Nightrose looked honored to have been chosen, moving forward to touch noses with Smokepaw.

Stripekit and Mousekit became Stripepaw and Mousepaw in a similar fashion. They were given Frondleap and Ashwhisker as mentors. The two toms looked proud to have been picked. When the four cats stepped back Clary was the only one left in the center of the clearing. Blossomstar was staring at her with a critical eye, her expression revealing nothing of how she felt.

"Clary, I have thought long and hard about what your new name and mentor should be. I am happy to say I have now decided."Clary watched on with bated breath. "Clary, in honor of your flame colored coat that shines like a spark of new fire you will be known as Sparkpaw. Arrowheart, you will mentor this apprentice. Pass on everything you know to her."

Sparkpaw felt exhilarated as her new name was proclaimed by her clan leader. In the mix with that feeling was surprise. Especially when she found Arrowheart padding over to her. The two touched noses quickly before padding back into the crowd.

"Violetpaw! Stripepaw! Sparkpaw! Mousepaw! Smokepaw!" The cats cheered. Sparkpaw beamed at her name being called, but she hardly paid attention to it. I can't believe it! I'm finally a member of HunterClan. Then another thought struck her. My mentor is Arrowheart!

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