Warriors fire and ice, p.1
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       Warriors: Fire and Ice, p.1
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         Part #3 of Warriors series by Erin Hunter
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Warriors: Fire and Ice


  WARRIORS

  FIRE AND ICE

  ERIN HUNTER

  For my son, Joshua, whose smiles kept me happy as I wrote,

  and Vicky, my editor, without whom Fireheart

  would never have become a warrior

  Special thanks to Kate Cary

  CONTENTS

  ALLEGIANCES

  MAPS

  PROLOGUE

  Orange flames lapped at the cold air, throwing sparks up…

  CHAPTER 1

  Fireheart shivered. His flame-colored fur was still greenleaf-light; it would…

  CHAPTER 2

  Bluestar halted on the edge of the clearing with her…

  CHAPTER 3

  Bluestar led the way swiftly back to camp. The noise…

  CHAPTER 4

  As they headed out of the camp, the two young…

  CHAPTER 5

  Fireheart waited until the only sound he could hear was…

  CHAPTER 6

  Fireheart pressed his body warningly against Graystripe, who had padded…

  CHAPTER 7

  For a moment, none of the cats moved or spoke.

  CHAPTER 8

  Leopardfur lifted her head and yowled into the wind, “Whiteclaw!…

  CHAPTER 9

  Fireheart woke to find Graystripe sitting beside him, hunched on…

  CHAPTER 10

  Fireheart woke at dawn with the image of his sister…

  CHAPTER 11

  “Another day of sunshine!” Fireheart purred to Graystripe, feeling his…

  CHAPTER 12

  Fireheart lifted his head, about to speak, but Cinderpaw beat…

  CHAPTER 13

  As the sun sank into the forest, Fireheart waited beside…

  CHAPTER 14

  Fireheart’s hackles bristled with horror. How could Graystripe be so…

  CHAPTER 15

  Very, very quietly, Fireheart backed into the bracken. The RiverClan…

  CHAPTER 16

  The rain continued through the night and into the next…

  CHAPTER 17

  Fireheart stared in horror. Ahead of him, Tigerclaw had reached…

  CHAPTER 18

  Graystripe had already left his nest when Fireheart awoke the…

  CHAPTER 19

  In the following days, Fireheart struggled against the urge to…

  CHAPTER 20

  Tigerclaw turned to his warriors, his pale eyes flashing with…

  CHAPTER 21

  Fireheart stared at the tiny kit. “I never expected…” he…

  CHAPTER 22

  The days leading up to the next full moon dragged…

  CHAPTER 23

  RiverClan and ShadowClan had not yet arrived, but WindClan was…

  CHAPTER 24

  Tallstar spoke up, a dim silhouette on top of the…

  CHAPTER 25

  “Cloudkit!”

  CHAPTER 26

  Yellowfang, Dustpaw, and Sandpaw rushed forward in a defensive row,…

  CHAPTER 27

  Fireheart limped over to the clump of nettles and began…

  CHAPTER 28

  “I’ll find them,” Fireheart promised. He automatically looked around for…

  CHAPTER 29

  As the den grew lighter, Willowpelt woke up. Fireheart watched…

  CHAPTER 30

  Tigerclaw addressed the warriors in a fierce hiss that carried

  About the Author

  Other Books by Erin Hunter

  Copyright

  About the Publisher

  ALLEGIANCES

  THUNDERCLAN

  LEADER

  BLUESTAR— blue-gray she-cat, tinged with silver around her muzzle.

  DEPUTY

  TIGERCLAW— big dark brown tabby tom with unusually long front claws.

  MEDICINE CAT

  YELLOWFANG— old dark gray she-cat with a broad, flattened face, formerly of ShadowClan.

  WARRIORS

  (toms and she-cats without kits)

  WHITESTORM— big white tom.

  APPRENTICE, SANDPAW

  DARKSTRIPE—sleek black-and-gray tabby tom.

  APPRENTICE, DUSTPAW

  LONGTAIL— pale tabby tom with dark black stripes.

  APPRENTICE, SWIFTPAW

  runningwind—swift tabby tom.

  WILLOWPELT— very pale gray she-cat with unusual blue eyes.

  MOUSEFUR— small dusky brown she-cat.

  FIREHEART— handsome ginger tom.

  APPRENTICE, CINDERPAW

  GRAYSTRIPE— long-haired solid gray tom.

  APPRENTICE, BRACKENPAW

  APPRENTICES

  (more than six moons old, in training to become warriors)

  SANDPAW— pale ginger she-cat.

  DUSTPAW— dark brown tabby tom.

  SWIFTPAW— black-and-white tom.

  CINDERPAW— dark gray she-cat.

  BRACKENPAW— golden brown tabby tom.

  QUEENS

  (she-cats expecting or nursing kits)

  FROSTFUR— beautiful white coat and blue eyes.

  BRINDLEFACE— pretty tabby.

  GOLDENFLOWER— pale ginger coat.

  SPECKLETAIL— pale tabby, and the oldest nursery queen.

  ELDERS

  (former warriors and queens, now retired)

  HALFTAIL— big dark brown tabby tom with part of his tail missing.

  SMALLEAR— gray tom with very small ears. The oldest tom in ThunderClan.

  PATCHPELT— small black-and-white tom.

  ONE-EYE— pale gray she-cat, the oldest cat in ThunderClan. Virtually blind and deaf.

  DAPPLETAIL— once-pretty tortoiseshell she-cat with a lovely dappled coat.

  SHADOWCLAN

  LEADER

  NIGHTPELT— old black tom.

  DEPUTY

  CINDERFUR— thin gray tom.

  MEDICINE CAT

  RUNNINGNOSE— small gray-and-white tom.

  WARRIORS

  STUMPYTAIL— brown tabby tom.

  APPRENTICE, BROWNPAW

  WETFOOT— gray tabby tom.

  APPRENTICE, OAKPAW

  LITTLECLOUD—very small tabby tom.

  QUEENS

  DAWNCLOUD— small tabby.

  DARKFLOWER— black she-cat.

  TALLPOPPY— long-legged light brown tabby she-cat.

  ELDERS

  ASHFUR— thin gray tom.

  WINDCLAN

  LEADER

  TALLSTAR— a black-and-white tom with a very long tail.

  DEPUTY

  DEADFOOT— a black tom with a twisted paw.

  MEDICINE CAT

  BARKFACE— a short-tailed brown tom.

  WARRIORS

  MUDCLAW— a mottled dark brown tom. APPRENTICE, WEBPAW

  TORNEAR— a tabby tom. APPRENTICE, RUNNINGPAW

  ONEWHISKER— a young brown tabby tom. APPRENTICE, WHITEPAW

  QUEENS

  ASHFOOT— a gray queen.

  MORNINGFLOWER— a tortoiseshell queen.

  RIVERCLAN

  LEADER

  CROOKEDSTAR— a huge light-colored tabby with a twisted jaw.

  DEPUTY

  LEOPARDFUR— unusually spotted golden tabby she-cat.

  MEDICINE CAT

  MUDFUR— long-haired light brown tom.

  WARRIORS

  BLACKCLAW— smoky black tom. APPRENTICE, HEAVYPAW

  STONEFUR— a gray tom with battle-scarred ears.

  APPRENTICE, SHADEPAW

  LOUDBELLY— a dark brown tom.

  APPRENTICE, SILVERPAW

  SILVERSTREAM— a pretty slender silver tabby.

  WHITECLAW— a dark warrior.

  CATS OUTSIDE CLANS

  SMUDGE— plum
p, friendly black-and-white kitten who lives in a house at the edge of the forest.

  BARLEY— black-and-white tom who lives on a farm close to the forest.

  BROKENSTAR— long-haired dark brown tabby, formerly ShadowClan leader.

  BLACKFOOT— large white tom with huge jet-black paws, formerly ShadowClan deputy.

  CLAWFACE— battle-scarred brown tom.

  BOULDER— silver tabby tom.

  RAVENPAW— sleek black cat with a white-tipped tail.

  PRINCESS— a light brown tabby with a distinctive white chest and paws—a kittypet.

  CLOUDKIT— Princess’s firstborn kit; a long-haired white tom.

  Maps

  PROLOGUE

  Orange flames lapped at the cold air, throwing sparks up into the night sky. The firelight flickered across a wasteland of ragged grass, making silhouettes of the Twolegs huddled there.

  A pair of white lights appeared in the distance, heralding the approach of a monster. It roared past on a Thunderpath that rose high into the sky, filling the air with sour fumes.

  At the edge of the wasteland, a cat moved, its eyes glinting in the shadows. Pointed ears twitched, then flattened against the noise. More cats followed one by one, onto the filthy grass. They carried their tails low and sniffed the bitter air with their lips curled.

  “What if the Twolegs see us?” hissed one of the cats.

  A large tom answered, his eyes like amber disks reflecting the firelight. “They won’t. Their night sight is weak.” As he padded forward the flames lit up the black-and-white fur on his powerful shoulders. He held his long tail straight up, sending a message of courage to his Clan.

  But the other cats crouched low against the grass, trembling. This was a strange place. The noise of the monsters battered their sensitive ear fur, and the acrid stench stung their nostrils.

  “Tallstar?” A gray queen flicked her tail uneasily. “Why have we come here?”

  The black-and-white tom turned to the she-cat. “We’ve been driven from every place we’ve tried to settle, Ashfoot. Perhaps we can find some peace here,” he meowed.

  “Peace? Here?” Ashfoot echoed in disbelief. She pulled her kit toward her and sheltered it beneath her belly. “With fire and monsters? My kits won’t be safe!”

  “But we weren’t safe at home,” meowed another voice. A black tom pushed his way forward, limping heavily on a twisted paw. He held Tallstar’s amber gaze. “We couldn’t protect them from ShadowClan,” he spat. “Not even in our own camp!”

  Anxious yowls rose from some of the cats as they remembered the terrible battle that had driven them from their home in the uplands, at the edge of the forest. A young apprentice wailed, “Brokenstar and his warriors may still be hunting us!”

  The cry alerted one of the Twolegs around the fire. It stood unsteadily and stared toward the shadows. At once the cats fell silent, crouching lower; even Tallstar lowered his tail. The Twoleg shouted into the darkness and flung something toward them. The missile flew over their heads and exploded in a burst of thorn-sharp pieces on the Thunderpath behind.

  Ashfoot flinched as a shard grazed her shoulder, but she stayed silent, curling her body around her terrified kit.

  “Keep down,” hissed Tallstar.

  The Twoleg at the fire spat on the ground, then sat back down.

  The cats waited for a few moments before Tallstar stood once more.

  Ashfoot stood too, wincing at the new pain in her shoulder. “Tallstar, I fear for our safety here. And what will we eat? I can’t smell any prey.”

  Tallstar stretched his neck and rested his muzzle gently on the queen’s head. “I know you’re hungry,” he meowed. “But we’ll be safer here than back in our old territory, or in the Twoleg fields and woods. Look at this place! Even ShadowClan wouldn’t follow us here. There’s no scent of dogs, and these Twolegs can hardly stand.” He turned to the black tom with the twisted paw. “Deadfoot,” he ordered, “take Onewhisker and see if you can find anything to eat. If there are Twolegs, there must be rats.”

  “Rats?” spat Ashfoot, as Deadfoot and a smaller brown tabby bounded away. “That’s no better than crowfood!”

  “Hush!” hissed a tortoiseshell beside her. “Rat meat is better than starving to death!”

  Ashfoot scowled and dipped her head to lick her kit behind its matted ears.

  “We must find a new place to settle, Ashfoot.” The tortoiseshell went on more gently: “Morningflower needs to rest and eat. Her kits will be born soon. She needs to be strong.”

  The lean shapes of Deadfoot and Onewhisker emerged from the shadows.

  “You were right, Tallstar,” called Deadfoot. “There are rat scents everywhere, and I think I’ve found somewhere we can shelter.”

  “Show us,” Tallstar ordered, gathering the rest of his Clan with a flick of his tail.

  Cautiously, the cats padded across the wasteland after Deadfoot. He led them toward the raised Thunderpath, the firelight making their shadows loom against its huge stone legs. A monster roared overhead and the ground shook. But even the tiniest kit sensed the need for silence and trembled without crying out.

  “Here,” meowed Deadfoot, stopping beside a round hole, two cats high. A black tunnel sloped down into the ground. A constant stream of water trickled into it.

  “The water’s fresh,” Deadfoot added. “We’ll be able to drink it.”

  “We’ll have wet paws day and night!” Ashfoot complained.

  “I’ve been inside,” the black tom told her. “There’s some space away from the stream. At least we’ll be safe from Twolegs and monsters.”

  Tallstar stepped forward and lifted his chin. “WindClan has traveled for long enough,” he declared. “It’s nearly a moon since ShadowClan drove us from our home. The weather is turning colder, and leaf-bare will be here soon. We have no choice but to stay.”

  Ashfoot narrowed her eyes but said nothing. Silently she joined her Clan as, one by one, they filed into the shadowy tunnel.

  CHAPTER 1

  Fireheart shivered. His flame-colored fur was still greenleaf-light; it would be a few moons before it was thick enough to keep out cold like this. He shuffled his forepaws on the hard earth. The sky was finally growing light as dawn crept slowly in. But even though his paws were cold, Fireheart could not suppress a glow of pride. After many moons as an apprentice, he was a warrior at last.

  In his mind, he replayed yesterday’s victory at the ShadowClan camp: Brokenstar’s glittering eyes as the ShadowClan leader backed away, hissing threats, before fleeing into the trees after his traitorous companions. The remaining ShadowClan cats had been grateful to ThunderClan for helping them to get rid of their cruel leader, and for the peace ThunderClan had promised them while they recovered. Brokenstar had not just brought chaos to his own Clan—he had driven the whole of WindClan from their camp, right out of Clan territory. He had been a dark shadow in the forest since before Fireheart had left his kittypet life to join ThunderClan.

  But for Fireheart, there was another shadow troubling his mind: Tigerclaw, ThunderClan’s deputy. Fireheart shivered as he thought of the great ThunderClan warrior who had terrorized his apprentice, Ravenpaw. In the end, Fireheart and his best friend, Graystripe, had helped the frightened apprentice to escape into the Twoleg territory beyond the uplands. Afterward, Fireheart had told the Clan that Ravenpaw had been killed by ShadowClan.

  If what Ravenpaw said about Tigerclaw was true, it was best if the ThunderClan deputy believed his apprentice had died, for he knew a secret Tigerclaw would do anything to conceal. Ravenpaw had told Fireheart that the mighty tabby warrior had murdered Redtail, the old ThunderClan deputy, in the hope that he would become the new deputy…which, eventually, he had.

  Fireheart shook his head to clear it of these dark thoughts and turned to glance at Graystripe sitting beside him. Graystripe’s thick gray fur was ruffled up against the cold. Fireheart guessed he was looking forward to the first rays of sunshine too, but he didn’t say this out
loud. Clan tradition demanded silence on this night. This was their vigil—the night when a new warrior guarded the Clan and reflected on his new name and status. Until last night, Fireheart had been known by his apprentice name of Firepaw.

 
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