The wind was hissing, slithering through the forest like a snake. The sun was shining, fighting away the clouds; a typical new~leaf day in MoonClan territory. Tornadokit didn’t know the difference, though. Everything in this world was new. The dark grayish brown tabby tom with black stripes crept forward using a clumsy hunter’s crouch, attempting to leap onto his only brother, Tsunamikit. The black and white kit’s back was facing Tornado, completely unaware that he was being hunted like a piece of prey.
However, a petite little tortoiseshell came prancing over from where she had been resting by a bush, a den called the Nursery.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” She questioned, putting her face directly into Tornadokit's.
“You just ruined it, Avalanchekit!” Tornadokit huffed at his sister, sitting down with an exasperated sigh.
"Ruined what?" The little kitten whined. Tornadokit's patient was quickly ebbing away.
Tornadokit looked over to the petite calico she-cat and the longhaired tortoiseshell tom that sat by the trees around camp, his parents.
"You better ask Basilstar for your warrior ceremony soon, or else our kits will be sharing your apprentice duties with you, Poppypaw." The tom looked to his mate with eerie amber eyes. But she looked back at him with all the love a cat could muster for another.
"Well my dear Rogoflame, maybe you should teach me a few lessons?" The female purred in response, cuddling up to him. In his moment of distraction, Tornadokit was slammed into by who he assumed correctly was his brother.
Tornadokit hit the ground with a tiny thud, the air racing from his lungs, escaping his body. This was a new feeling he’d never felt before and he seriously feared death. He began to thrash his legs, expecting for some cat from StarClan to appear and take him away as he’d heard in stories. Or worse, what if he was swooped away by the much dreaded Ice from all the scary Nursery tales?
“Tornadokit are you alright?” The tiny tom, still gasping for air he couldn’t catch, looked up to see his father’s intense gaze fixed on him. “You’ll be okay, just sit up and breathe slowly.” Tornadokit did as he was told, his eyes wide with dread. But as he began to breathe slower, he felt his lungs fill with air once more and he gulped with relief.
“That’s called getting the wind knocked out of you.” Rogo purred softly. “It’ll happen again in battle I’m sure, but now you have the advantage of knowing how to deal with it."
“He tried to kill me!” Tornadokit howled and leaped for his brother, but Rogo stuck his paw out in a flash and stopped him in his tracks.
“You are brothers. There will be no fighting. Do you understand?” Rogo looked down to his son, his eyes blazing intensely for a reason he could not possibly comprehend.
“Yes, sir.” Tornadokit mumbled, his rage building as he looked over and caught Tsunamikit sticking his tongue out.
“Why I oughta-“ Tornadokit tried to leap again but this time, he was snatched up by the scruff by his mother. Rogo padded towards Tsunami and Avalanche, offering to tell a story.
“I wanna hear the story, too!” Tornadokit thrashed his tiny limbs, and his mother set him down away from his littermates.
“Your father’s a boring story-teller.” She joked, her eyes reflecting the immense amount of love she had for her family. She began grooming Tornadokit which made him squirm and squeal in disgust. “I have something more exciting to do.”
“Like what?” The kit huffed, glaring at his siblings.
“Would you like to take a walk in the forest?”
“OH WOULD I!” Tornadokit gasped. “That’d be awesome! Can we?”
“We can. Just be quiet, and stay close. Understand?” Poppypaw looked around to make sure their Clanmates weren't listening.
“Yes I do mommy!” Tornadokit rubbed against her leg, purring loudly. “Let’s go!”
“I’ll be back, Rogo.” Poppypaw called to her mate.
“Good-bye, my sweets.” He waved his tail to her as he continued his story. “I love you.”
“I love you too, everyone.” Poppypaw flicked her tail and the two took off towards the entrance.
"Where would you two be going, Poppypaw?" Tornadokit's eyes widened in surprise as an older female questioned them. He looked to his paws, hoping that if he didn't move she wouldn't see him trying to sneak out with his mom.
"I'm teaching him to use the Dirtplace tunnel, Luna." Poppypaw swiftly lied, padding right past the accuser.
The forest was better than Tornadokit could’ve ever imagined. The trees were taller than he expected, the sunlight filtering through and warming his pelt. Flowers swayed in the breeze beside him and birds sang their welcoming songs. It was as if the entire forest was on their best behavior for him.
“Where we goin’, mama?” Tornadokit asked, his eyes darting everywhere.
“We’re here.” She purred and sat down among a cluster of trees taller than the others, the grass squishing under Tornadokit’s paws.
“What is this place?” He breathed, looking up. There wasn’t many leaves on these trees but something in the air made Tornadokit feel that this place had great powers he would never truly understand.
“This is the Oracle trees.” Poppypaw explained. “It’s sacred…You can hear StarClan cats speak here through the trees sometimes. It’s glorious.” She was closing her eyes, breathing in deeply. Tornadokit looked her up and down and took a seat by her side, trying to copy her.
A few heartbeats passed and Tornadokit had yet to hear anything. Did the StarClan cats not like him or something? He opened his eyes, about to speak when a strange scent hit his nose. Poppypaw seemed to scent it as well and by the waves of anxiety flowing from her pelt, even Tornadokit knew it wasn't good. She stood immediately and scooped up Tornadokit in her jaws. Turning, Poppypaw set Tornadokit down by the roots of a tree, her eyes reflecting the gravity of the situation.
"Darling, I know you want to explore, but right now I have to deal with something. If you're good, and stay here, when I come back I'll show you the whole territory.." A loving purr emanated from her throat as she ducked her dainty calico head and nuzzled him. "I'll be right back, I promise."
With that she turned and slipped away. In a clearing visible from where she had left Tornadokit, a strange tom approached and the two came face to face. Tornadokit could tell from the scent this was not a tom from MoonClan. This stranger froze, tilting his head in surprise as Poppypaw hissed. The massive cougar-pelted tom's hackles rose, and his claws unsheathed. Taking this gesture as a threat to her clan, the Queen lunged. The stranger rushed forward to meet the attack, and as was usually the case, the fight didn't last long. The tom reared as Poppypaw launched herself at him again, and with an enormous paw, swatted her to the ground like a fly. He descended upon the calico in one swoop, his jaws clamping down onto her skull. The she-cat shrieked in agony, but could do little more than struggle as her assailant released her skull and snatched her up by the throat, flinging her against the tree with disturbing ease. A crack rippled through the forest, and the calico slumped to the ground, twitching. The tom looked around then pelted off, as if alarmed by his actions.
It had been a few measly seconds that had changed Tornadokit's life and MoonClan's future forever. Tornadokit watched silently, getting that breathless feeling again. But this time, he had almost wished he wouldn't breathe again.
"M...Momma!" He darted over to her side. "Wake up mommy, we need to go catch that bully!" He nudged her side, and blood began to spill over his paws. "W-What's this...Momma? Why aren't you moving? Talk to me!" He suddenly grew very angry and anxious. What now? How would he get home? What would he tell his siblings, his father, his Clan?
"Love... you, Rogo...sister..." With the final breath she could manage, blood gushed from Poppypaw's maw and she went limp, her pupils growing to fill her eyes as they rolled back. Life flitted from her body. Tornadokit couldn’t process what was going on, but he had heard of cats dying. Was this it? What happened next?
Tornadokit was panting now, about to have a panic attack. "M-Mommy..." He whimpered, nudging her side with his head. This was a truly horrific sight for a kit of his age. "I love you too mommy.." He sniffled and suddenly lifted his head. This moment would be forever ingrained in his mind, and the killer's image would always remain in his mind as well. He would have vengeance even if it killed him. "I'll get you help, mommy. I'll make it all better." He turned. As he was about to run off, a raven swooped down, preparing to eat from Poppy's carcass. Completely enraged, Tornadokit let out the most fearsome snarl he could muster and used a front paw to smack the bird with all of his might. It let out a screech and fluttered backwards. He lunged towards it, flailing his paws. "Don't you TOUCH HER!" He roared and continued running at the scavenger until it flew off to look for an easier meal. "Need to get home...Get home for mommy. Mommy will be okay. Home. Need to go." He began looking around frantically. Which way had they come from again? Taking a random direction, Tornadokit took off like a bullet. Not even the fastest falcon could catch this kit to stop him from delivering the news of his mother's murder.
Tornadokit crept after his father who had snuck from camp at precisely moonhigh. Tornadokit did not fear any creature in the forest other than the monster that was being born in him. Rogo didn't even seem to notice or care rather that his son was tracking him. They traveled for a long time, and Tornadokit refused to let him limbs rest. If anyone was to see this assailant get what he deserved, it was Tornadokit.
Rogoflame seemed to know exactly where he was going as he forced himself through a camp entrance to a Clan Tornadokit had never scented before. As Tornadokit crept after his father, nearly on his tail, his eyes widened like the moon as the murdered sat in the middle of this camp like he knew this was coming.
"Rogo... I didn't know she was your mate. I thought she was the one who had been trespassing on Windclan territory..." Tornadokit narrowed his eyes. How did this murderer know Tornado's father? The massive cougar-pelted tom turned and looked to a white tom. "Russettail, Keep the kit out of the way..." Returning his gaze to Rogo he meowed. "This doesn't have to happen, Rogo."
"Is it not against the Warrior Code to kill another cat unless completely necessary?" Rogo snapped although Tornado knew from various stories that Rogo himself could care less about the Warrior Code. He was completely unaware of his kit being here, as he was blinded by fury. "What kind of warrior ARE you, Tuonostrike?"
Tuonostrike dug his unsheathed claws into the earth, eyes narrowing. "I know well as you that you forsake the Warrior Code! You don't get to pick and choose when it suits you!" Tuonostrike assumed a crouched position. "I'm the Warrior that isn't about to let you barge in here and put my clan in danger."
Tornadokit watched, trembling so badly he was about to collapse. In the presence of the tom that he witnessed kill his mother, he didn't know what to do or how to feel. What if his father got killed as well? What would he do? He looked up as the white tom came trotting over.
“Don’t worry; I’ll keep you out of the way.” Tornadokit did nothing but hiss at the tom as he sat beside the kit, wrapping his tail around him. Tornadokit peeked over it, not even caring anymore that this strange cat, a friend of a killer was trying to hold him back. Just like the other cats from this strange Clan that were beginning to creep out of the shadows, he was dying to see what was about to happen.
"But I never would kill a QUEEN!" Rogo roared and charged forward, completely throwing himself at Rogo with his claws unsheathed. Tuonostrike ducked sideways with ease. Turning, Tuonostrike charged at Rogo's side, lunging to slam his broad skull into Rogo's flank while he was still mid-air. Fighting ability versus speed. Tornadokit put these battling strategies in the back of his head as he knew they would come in handy one day.
Rogo twisted and unveiled his freakishly long canine teeth. He moved forward a bit to take the hit to the hip, but managed so sink his teeth into the other tom's shoulder in the process. Tornadokit watched in horror. Why was this tom Tuonostrike so strong? And his father's teeth so long?
Tuonostrike dropped to all four paws, a loud snarl rocketed from his jaws which were peeled back in a sneer. Tuonostrike threw his massive weight sideways to smash Rogo into the ground. It was either release or be squashed. No matter who seemed to be winning,Rogo wasn't going to hold back regardless of his relation to this tom.
Rogo snarled and released Tuono's shoulder. "Is this how you kill innocent queens, CRUSHING them to death? You coward!" Rogo used his teeth and slammed them into Tuono's side, leaving two puncture-wounds that looked like bullet holes.
Tuonostrike's hackles rose and he turned, snarling into Rogo's face. "Get off of me, you sharp-toothed little foxheart!" He threw himself back to his paws, blood gushing from the deep punctures. He lunged, dragging Rogo away and throwing him to the ground, slamming his claws at his face.
Rogo roared again and jabbed his back paws into Tuono's stomach, scratching the soft skin feverishly. "This is for my mate you MURDERER!" He snapped his jaws around Tuono's large front left leg and shook as vigorously as he could manage.
"And what about Essencefury!" The snarl from Tuono was filled with chilling cruelty. Tuonostrike ripped away from Rogo, and swiftly lunged firmly locking his jaws around Rogo's skull, just as he had done with Poppypaw before he had thrown her.
Who was Essencefury and what had his father done to them? Tornado's head was whirling and he found himself shaking. Rogo roared and curled up, using his back and front legs to claw at any bit of Tuono they could touch. He was growing desperate, his eyes wide and fearful. By chance, he looked over and locked eyes with little Tornadokit. Tornadokit gasped. Did he need to intervene? What would he do? Tuonostrike still didn't release, shaking his head back and forth like a wolf with a rabbit.
"STOP!" Something in Tornadokit snapped and he leaped over Russettail’s tail and sped over, his eyes blazing with the fury of the monster that was building inside of him after he watched his mother get slaughtered. He leaped, latching onto the killer's shoulder.
"TORNADOKIT! Go home this is NOT your fight!" Rogo snarled as best he could, still kicking at Tuono's side with his back legs. Tuonostrike shook his broad shoulders.
"RUSSETTAIL, I TOLD YOU TO WATCH HIM!" Eyes narrowed as he spoke through Rogo's skull, he released and instead ducked his head to grab one of Rogo's legs, and stepped on his chest and began pulling on the leg harshly.
"DON'T TOUCH HIM!" Tornadokit managed to scramble to Tuono's head. He stuck his tiny paws over the tom's eyes, his claws still unsheathed. He attempted to nibble the tom's ear. Rogo roared as there was a ripping sound emitting from his leg. Tornado’s father reared his head back and stabbed Tuono's chest with his teeth, yet failing to be deep or accurate enough to kill.
The huge cougar-colored warrior released when his chest was stabbed.
"This isn't the end brother!" Tuonostrike roared at Rogoflame. Stumbling away, he, in a unbridled rage, went ahead and head butted the nearest solid object by charging forward; which happened to be a tree. And he was totally aware still of his nephew, Tornadokit, clinging to his head for dear life.
Tornadokit fell to the ground completely limp. His eyes closed, and upon impact he feared to be dead. But instead, everything went black...Maybe this was what his mother had felt. He welcomed the darkness.