In the forest deep there was a dark cold core. This is where the wildcats lived in their different Clans. As the forest grew colder and colder death gripping it's claws into the flesh of life, the forest itself seemed to freeze over.
There was a movement on the side of the rim. The darkness came to life and cats poured into the clearing. One in particular, a golden brown tom with cold amber eyes, leapt onto the stone standing tall in the center of the clearing. A honey brown she-cat sat as his feet.
“GoldenClan!” hissed a voice and the leader Maizestar lifted his head and gazed up at the opposing rim. CoralClan cats were pouring in, their staunchly leader Jadestar at the head. She leapt up to join him. “Maizestar why is it we smell your scent every day on our territory?!”
Maizestar smirked and took a step back. “Jadestar please. This is a Gathering for crying out loud!”
She just bared her teeth and said, “So then you shouldn't be shocked.”
“Jadestar enough!” came the commanding voice and all the heads turned to see a lithe Siamese enter the clearing followed by her Clan. She joined them on the Tall Rock. “This is not the time nor the place to start a war,” ordered Lynxstar of LavaClan.
Jadestar smirked baring her teeth. “Because every Clan knows that LavaClan can't start a war!”
Just then Foxstar a golden brown she-cat jumped up to join them. “Oh trust me,” she murmured softly. “LavaClan can start a war.” She sat down and let her tail swoosh around to cover her feet. “But Lynxstar is brave enough not to.”
A call came from below. “LavaClan could kick your butt any day Jadestar!”
Quickfeather, the CoralClan deputy, bared his teeth and stood nose to nose with Sharpclaw, the blind LavaClan warrior who had spoken. “You think you could, blind man!” hissed Quickfeather. “Don't be so quick to call us out, stupid!”
Sharpclaw just lifted his head and hissed, “At least we don't kill sick and dying kits!”
In the back of the crowd to cats who had never been to a gathering before crouched harmlessly. One was a halfClan half rogue tom named Gordon and the other a small golden she-cat with honey amber eyes named Dreampaw. Both were out of place for both were from StormClan, a Clan that did not associate well with the other Clans. They exchanged a glance before trying to surreptitiously back away.
But they were too late. They were caught. Smallscratch, a GoldenClan tom, had spotted them. He rushed quietly over to meet them. “Dreampaw!” he hissed. “So glad you could make it but this is not the time!” Dreampaw exchanged a glance with Gordon who just nodded. She nodded back to him.
“Thanks Smallscratch. What's going on?” Neither the cats surrounding the Tall Stone nor the cats on it had noticed yet that they had two strangers amongst them. They were too busy fighting amongst themselves.
He shook his head. “We're all in a lot of stress.”
Suddenly Foxstar the HeatherClan leader lifted her head. “We're ALL wrong! The enemy isn't us! The enemy is StormClan!”
All the other leaders drew back. Sharpclaw from the front row hissed and bared his teeth getting right up in Waveheart the HeatherClan deputy's face. “You calling my ancestors evil?”
She batted him away easily. “I'm not saying anything to you.” She turned her back to him.
Dreampaw and Gordon drew back their ears and looked at each other. What was going on?
Lynxstar watched her warriors with concern. “StormClan isn't evil,” she argued.
Maizestar muttered darkly, “You're only saying that because half your Clan is StormClan!”
Lynxstar stood in defence of her Clan. “No it's not! My Clan is pure LavaClan!”
“With StormClan ties!” spat CoralClan.
“Every Clan as StormClan ties!” Foxstar pointed out. “We have kits that grew up in StormClan, and they attacked their birth mother recently.”
Olivecoat, a warrior from HeatherClan, bowed her head in defeat. Her friend Lilyfang patted her with her tail. “They almost killed her!”
“They're lying,” whispered Dreampaw. “We don't have HeatherClan kits.” Gordon nodded in agreement.
“My kits are now warriors,” Olivecoat murmured softly. “Whiteclaw, Sweetpetal, Poolfern, and Quickfoot.”
Lilyfang nodded sadly.
Foxstar narrowed her eyes. “They have corrupted my warrior! Lilacleaf has left HeatherClan to go to the StormClan border and she never returned! That is my daughter they have taken!” her eyes blazed for a brief period before she looked at Maizestar.
“GoldenClan have a border with StormClan I believe that my warriors are every day harassed by them. We also have StormClan kits that have grown up in GoldenClan.” He eyed Darkblaze warily. Then he said. “But we are now pure GoldenClan. They cannot corrupt us any longer.”
Dreampaw and Gordon could hardly believe what they were hearing.
Lynxstar murmured a reluctant agreement. “They have chased some of our best warriors to us. That's why they're here.” She flexed her claws experimentally. “They do stop into our camp often.” She seemed to be in thought.
Only Jadestar had yet to speak. The leader was growing older and her fur was matted in some places. Finally she lifted her head proudly and spat, “We have no connection with StormClan whatsoever.”
“Uh...” spoke her deputy timidly. “No Jadestar we do.”
Jadestar's head whipped around to face Quickfeather angrily. “What's that?”
Quickfeather raised his head proudly. “I have mated with a StormClan she-cat once. Her name was Dreamtail. I have not seen her since.”
Dreampaw's ears pricked. An ancestor with her name....? She noticed Gordon and Smallscratch look at her quickly then look away. This has nothing to do with me! I'm not Dreamtail!
Jadestar narrowed her eyes. “Did she have kits?”
Quickfeather responded just as spiteful as the leader before him. “None that I'm aware of.”
Yes they did! Dreampaw suddenly remembered the nursery tales that Emberbelly, and Mapleswipe told her. They had a mother who had died defending the nursery by her name. Dreamtail had had kits with a CoralClan tom.
Jadestar smirked. “Then we are as free as if it didn't happen.” She turned her cold hard stare to the other Clan cats. “Well think what you want of those StormClan brats, but CoralClan will have nothing to do with it.” With that she leapt down into the clearing and with a flick of her tail disappeared into her side of the shadowy marshy undergrowth.
Lynxstar flicked her tail gathering her cats before her. “We will think, Foxstar of what you said.” She dipped her head and jumped down disappearing into the marshland.
Maizestar stood staring at Foxstar for a long moment before nodding and jumping down to disappear. Smallscratch ran with them.
Then the HeatherClan cats slowly disappeared into their territory leaving the two shocked StormClan cats to stare at each other in horror.
“What will we say?” asked Dreampaw quietly.
“We can't say anything,” Gordon murmured. “We can't give ourselves away.”
Dreampaw lifted her head proudly. “We can't do nothing! They're targeting our Clan!”
Gordon shivered and Dreampaw figured it wasn't only the cold. “I know! But YOU tell Stormstar that we spied on the other Clans and see what she says.”
So the two shivering warriors sat staring at each other in cold horror and shivering into each other's warmth before they turned and leapt up into the clearing and raced for home.