Warriors rising storm, p.1
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       Warriors: Rising Storm, p.1
 

         Part #5 of Warriors series by Erin Hunter
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Warriors: Rising Storm


  WARRIORS

  RISING STORM

  ERIN HUNTER

  To Denise—this is as close to a song as I could get

  Special thanks to Kate Cary

  Contents

  ALLEGIANCES

  MAPS

  PROLOGUE

  An agonized groan echoed across the moon-bleached floor of a…

  CHAPTER 1

  Warm shafts of sun shine streamed through the canopy of…

  CHAPTER 2

  Fireheart saw a ripple of pale amber fur and looked…

  CHAPTER 3

  “Have you seen Cloudpaw?” Fireheart emerged from the fern tunnel…

  CHAPTER 4

  Soft paws padded through Fireheart’s dreams that night. A tortoiseshell…

  CHAPTER 5

  The ThunderClan leader had reached the top of the ravine…

  CHAPTER 6

  “StarClan grants us safe passage,” Bluestar repeated stubbornly.

  CHAPTER 7

  “Bluestar, it’s been a quarter moon since we returned from…

  CHAPTER 8

  Mews of alarm and the pounding of paws in the…

  CHAPTER 9

  “Where have they gone?” Fireheart gasped.

  CHAPTER 10

  Fireheart held his breath as the Twoleg door opened. He…

  CHAPTER 11

  “Cinderpelt! What are you doing here?” Fireheart spun around to…

  CHAPTER 12

  “Help! Don’t let them take me!” Fireheart heard Cloudpaw’s desperate…

  CHAPTER 13

  “Is Cloudpaw okay?” asked Ashpaw.

  CHAPTER 14

  Over the next few days, the streams in ThunderClan territory…

  CHAPTER 15

  Fireheart carried the ball of wet moss gently between his…

  CHAPTER 16

  Fireheart’s claws felt rooted to the Thunderpath as he stared…

  CHAPTER 17

  Fireheart padded heavily back to the Thunderpath. The smell of…

  CHAPTER 18

  “Not as long as Fireheart is alive,” Cinderpelt argued.

  CHAPTER 19

  “Ravenpaw!” Fireheart sprang forward to give his old friend a…

  CHAPTER 20

  Fireheart heard grass swishing behind the hedge and tensed his…

  CHAPTER 21

  “Quick! This way!”

  CHAPTER 22

  “Fireheart?” Bluestar looked up as he pushed his way through…

  CHAPTER 23

  “Fire! Wake up!” Fireheart yowled.

  CHAPTER 24

  “Yellowfang!”

  CHAPTER 25

  Fireheart dropped Speckletail’s kit at Whitestorm’s paws and turned to…

  CHAPTER 26

  Fireheart felt as if he had slept for only a…

  CHAPTER 27

  By late afternoon the lingering smell of smoke had been…

  CHAPTER 28

  With a tender lick, Fireheart closed the medicine cat’s eyes…

  CHAPTER 29

  The sky stayed gray and cloudy over the next few…

  CHAPTER 30

  The air in the clearing was heavy with the scent…

  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

  FIREHEART—handsome ginger tom APPRENTICE, CLOUDPAW

  MEDICINE CAT

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

  WARRIORS

  (toms, and she-cats without kits)

  WHITESTORM—big white tom

  APPRENTICE, BRIGHTPAW

  DARKSTRIPE—sleek black-and-gray tabby tom

  APPRENTICE, FERNPAW

  LONGTAIL—pale tabby tom with dark black stripes

  APPRENTICE, SWIFTPAW

  RUNNINGWIND—swift tabby tom

  MOUSEFUR—small dusky-brown she-cat

  APPRENTICE, THORNPAW

  BRACKENFUR—golden-brown tabby tom

  DUSTPELT—dark brown tabby tom

  APPRENTICE, ASHPAW

  SANDSTORM—pale ginger she-cat

  APPRENTICES

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

  SWIFTPAW—black-and-white tom

  CLOUDPAW—long-haired white tom

  BRIGHTPAW—she-cat, white with ginger splotches

  THORNPAW—golden-brown tabby tom

  FERNPAW—pale gray with darker flecks, she-cat, pale green eyes

  ASHPAW—pale gray with darker flecks, tom, dark blue eyes

  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

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

  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

  NIGHTSTAR—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

  WHITETHROAT—black tom with white chest and paws

  QUEENS

  DAWNCLOUD—small tabby

  DARKFLOWER—black she-cat

  TALLPOPPY—long-legged light brown tabby she-cat

  WINDCLAN

  LEADER

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

  DEPUTY

  DEADFOOT—black tom with a twisted paw

  MEDICINE CAT

  BARKFACE—short-tailed brown tom

  WARRIORS

  MUDCLAW—mottled dark brown tom

  APPRENTICE, WEBPAW

  TORNEAR—tabby tom APPRENTICE, TAWNYPAW

  ONEWHISKER—brown tabby tom APPRENTICE, WHITEPAW

  RUNNINGBROOK—light gray tabby she-cat

  QUEENS

  ASHFOOT—gray queen

  MORNINGFLOWER—tortoiseshell queen

  RIVERCLAN

  LEADER

  CROOKEDSTAR—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—gray tom with battle-scarred ears

  APPRENTICE, SHADEPAW

  LOUDBELLY—dark brown tom

  GRAYSTRIPE—long-haired gray tom, formerly of ThunderClan

  QUEENS

  MISTYFOOT—dark gray she-cat

  MOSSPELT—tortoiseshell she-cat

  ELDERS

  GRAYPOOL—thin gray she-cat with patchy
fur and a scarred muzzle

  CATS OUTSIDE CLAWNS

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

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

  BOULDER—silver tabby tom, formerly of ShadowClan

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

  RAVENPAW—sleek black cat who lives on the farm with Barley

  SMUDGE—plump, friendly black-and-white kitten who lives in a house at the edge of the forest; a kittypet

  TIGERCLAW—big dark brown tabby tom with unusually long front claws, formerly of ThunderClan

  Maps

  PROLOGUE

  An agonized groan echoed across the moon-bleached floor of a forest clearing. Two cats crouched in the shadows under one of the bushes at the edge. One of them writhed in pain, lashing his long tail. The other cat raised himself to his paws and bowed his head. He had been a medicine cat for many long moons, and yet he could only watch helplessly as the leader of his Clan was overpowered by the sickness that had already claimed so many lives. He knew of no herb that would ease the cramps and fever this sickness brought, and his patchy gray fur bristled with frustration as the leader convulsed again and then fell exhausted into the moss-lined nest. Fearfully, the medicine cat leaned forward and sniffed. There was still breath in the leader’s body, but it was foul and shallow, and the tom’s thin flanks heaved with every gasp.

  A screech ripped through the woods. Not a cat this time, but an owl. The medicine cat stiffened. Owls brought death to the forest, stealing prey and even kits that had strayed too far from their mothers. The medicine cat raised beseeching eyes to the sky, praying to the spirits of his warrior ancestors that the owl’s call was not an ill omen. He stared through the branches that formed the roof of the den, searching the dark sky for Silverpelt. But the swathe of stars where StarClan lived was hidden by clouds, and the medicine cat shivered with fear. Had their warrior ancestors abandoned them to the sickness that ravaged the camp?

  Then the wind stirred the trees, rattling the brittle leaves. High above, the clouds shifted and a single star sent a frail beam of light through the roof of the den. In the shadows, the leader drew in a long, steady breath. Hope leaped like a fish in the medicine cat’s heart. StarClan was with them after all.

  Weak with relief, the medicine cat lifted his chin, giving silent thanks to his warrior ancestors for sparing the life of his leader. As he narrowed his eyes against the shaft of starlight, he heard spirit-voices murmuring deep inside his head. They whispered of glorious battles to come, of new territories, and of a greater Clan rising from the ashes of the old. The medicine cat felt joy surge in his chest and pulsate through his paws. This star carried much more than a message of survival.

  Suddenly, without warning, a wide gray wing swept across the ray of starlight, plunging the den into darkness. The medicine cat shrank back and pressed his belly to the floor as the owl screeched down and raked the roof of the den with its talons. It must have smelled the sickness that weakened the leader, and swooped in search of easy prey. But the branches were too thick for the owl to break through.

  The medicine cat listened to the slow beating of wings as the owl flew away into the forest, then sat up, heart hammering, and searched the night sky once more. Like the owl, the star was gone. In its place was only blackness. Dread crawled beneath the medicine cat’s pelt and clutched at his heart.

  “Did you hear that?” a tom called through the entrance of the den, his voice high-pitched with alarm. The medicine cat squeezed quickly out into the clearing, knowing the Clan would be waiting for an interpretation of the omen. Warriors, queens, and elders—those well enough to move from their nests—huddled in the shadows on the far side of the clearing. The medicine cat paused for a moment, listening to the Clan murmuring anxiously to one another.

  “What’s an owl doing here?” hissed a mottled warrior, his eyes glinting in the darkness.

  “They never come so close to the camp,” wailed an elder.

  “Did it take any kits?” demanded another warrior, turning his broad head to the cat beside him.

  “Not this time,” replied the silver queen. She had lost three of her kits to the sickness, and her voice was dull with pain. “But it might come back. It must smell our weakness.”

  “You’d think the stench of death would keep it away.” A tabby warrior limped into the clearing. His paws were clotted with mud and his fur ruffled. He had been burying a Clan mate. There were more graves to be dug, but he was too weak to go on that night. “How’s our leader?” he asked, his voice tight with fear.

  “We don’t know,” replied the mottled tom.

  “Where’s the medicine cat?” whined the queen.

  The cats peered around the clearing and the medicine cat saw their frightened eyes gleaming in the dark. He could hear the rising panic in their voices and knew they needed to be soothed, assured that StarClan had not abandoned them completely. Taking a deep breath, the cat forced the fur to lie flat on his shoulders and padded across the clearing.

  “We don’t need a medicine cat to tell us the owl’s screech spoke of death,” whimpered an elder, his eyes brimming with fear.

  “How do you know?” spat the mottled warrior.

  “Yes,” agreed the queen, glancing at the elder. “StarClan doesn’t speak to you!” She turned as the medicine cat reached them. “Was the owl an omen?” she mewed anxiously.

  Shifting his paws uncomfortably, the medicine cat avoided a direct reply. “StarClan has spoken to me tonight,” he announced. “Did you see the star shine between the clouds?”

  The queen nodded, and around her the other cats’ eyes flickered with desperate hope. “What did it mean?” asked the elder.

  “Will our leader live?” called the tabby warrior.

  The medicine cat hesitated.

  “He cannot die now!” cried the queen. “What about his nine lives? StarClan granted them only six moons ago!”

  “There is only so much strength StarClan can give,” answered the medicine cat. “But our ancestors have not forgotten us,” he went on, trying to push aside the image of the owl’s dark wing as it blotted out the thin ray of light. “The star brought a message of hope.”

  A high-pitched moan sounded from a dim corner of the camp, and a tortoiseshell queen sprang up and hurried toward the sound. The others continued to stare at the medicine cat with eyes that begged for comfort.

  “Did StarClan speak of rain?” asked a young warrior. “It’s been so long since it rained, and it might cleanse the camp of the sickness.”

  The medicine cat shook his head. “Not of rain, but of a great new dawn that awaits our Clan. In that ray of light, our warrior ancestors showed me the future, and it will be glorious!”

  “Then we’ll survive?” mewed the silver queen.

  “We’ll do more than survive,” the medicine cat promised. “We shall rule the whole forest!”

  Murmurs of relief flickered through the cats, the first purrs that had been heard in the camp for nearly a moon. But the medicine cat turned his head away to hide his trembling whiskers. He prayed that the Clan would not ask again about the owl. He dared not share the dreadful warning StarClan had added when the bird’s wing had obscured the star—that the Clan would pay the highest possible price for their great new dawn.

  CHAPTER 1

  Warm shafts of sun shine streamed through the canopy of leaves and flickered over Fireheart’s pelt. He crouched lower, aware that his coat would be glowing amber among the lush green undergrowth.

  Paw by paw, he crept beneath a fern. He could smell a pigeon. He moved slowly toward the mouthwatering scent until he could see the plump bird pecking among the ferns.

  Fireheart flexed his claws, his paws itching with anticipation. He was hungry after leading the dawn patrol and hunting all morning. This was the high season for prey, a time for the Clan to grow fat on the forest’s bounty
. And although there had been little rain since the newleaf floods, the woods were rich with food. After stocking the fresh-kill pile back at camp, it was time for Fireheart to hunt for himself. He tensed his muscles, ready to leap.

 
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