Chapter 17-Starktail's Monlogue

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-Two Days After Chapter 16-

Sunpaw stood before the Valleyclan birch tree that was at the grounds of the Tree Memorial. The cold season air was still, and the birds chirps. With her stood Birchstar, Flowerclaw, and Sagepaw. In front of them was the cold and lifeless body of Rockheart. Her amber eyes gazed with no sign of life in them.

Sunpaw's felt sorry for Sagepaw. Rockheart still had lots of time to spend with her kits. Sagepaw is in grief now, and will be for some time to come. It is such a tragedy that she had to she had to die in that fire.

But she was also frustrated at Sagepaw too. She still does not speak to me,and still for no reason! Now she has the nerve to blame me for Rockheart's death! Why can't she just accept the fact that she was in that fire for too long? Not to mention the fact that one of those rogues clawed her throat! What have you done now, Brightwing? In fact, the only reason she let me one with her to her mother's burial is that Birchstar pressured her to let me "help my grief go." Birchstar clearly knows of our rift. Like the despicable Valleyclan cat she is, she has used this event to anger Sagepaw for fun.

Birchstar signaled to them that she was to about to begin the burial ceremony. The clan had held their vigil yesterday night. Now she was to be buried among countless generations beneath the Valleyclan tree. "Here we stand before the Valleyclan section of the Tree Memorial, to honor her with a burial, so that she may join the many who have been here before her. Here we stand, clan leader, a Mender, and her family. A complete circle to honor her."

"Generations ago, we were told be our ancestors to be closer together as clans. This was soon after we had formed.  We were told to bury all those that we could here, to bring us closer together, and thus more united." Birchstar continued on. "The souls of the dead could have an easy journey into the stars. Whenever we gather here at the full moon, they can easily watch over us and listen to what the clans have been up to. Here, Menders come together to talk to our ancestors. Let us now let Rockheart join among them, to bring the clans closer together and bring her peace."

"With that, Sagepaw and Sunpaw, you may now bury her, so that one who can see souls and one who has loved her can make sure that she is at peace." the Valleyclan Chief finished. With that, Birchstar walked away with Flowerclaw, her white coat making her soon dissolve into the snowy grassland.

Sunpaw now felt uneasy being alone around Sagepaw. She began to open her mouth to try to speak to Sagepaw, but Sagepaw cut her off. "Go away from here," Sagepaw growled, "You let my mother die! You have right to bury her at all!" Her angry almost purple eyes told Sunpaw that there was no way to talk about this.

Hearing the sounds of Sagepaw beginning to shuffle frozen soil, Sunpaw padded offer sit on the other side of the clearing. She took a moment to focus on Sagepaw's left flank. Signs of a harsh life. They will stay there. permanently. Three parallel scars down the middle, surrounded by blackened, stiff fur and skin. There was already some ginger fur growing around the top, and white around the bottom. But very little was growing inside of the wound.

Out of the blue, Sunpaw suddenly felt a pair of claws pressing down on her neck's side. "Step back behind the bushes." a female voice demanded. "Make not a sound, or you die."

Sunpaw complied and the claws vanished. Then she spun around silently and saw Starktail sitting there, looking smug. Her blue eyes shone with evil joy.

Then everything clicked inside of Sunpaw's head in an instant. "It was you!" she quietly accused. " It was Lakeclan she set fire to our camp, and you who killed Sagepaw's mother!"

"Very good!" purred Starktail. "I could see that you hold Sagepaw close to your heart at The Moon Meetings of the clans. I also know that you deserve to be punished for saving the life of an enemy of our clan. So if I could hit your friend close other heart, then I could hit you in the heart as well!"

"And a fire was a good way to do it." guessed Sunpaw. "It provided a distraction of a group of "rogues" to come in a devastate our clan. But you are a Mendor. Why would you do this?"

"Tell anyone of this, and they die." threatened an amused D
Starktail. "But you know that already. You see, Marshclan has been very aggressive to us for many lifetimes. If they had access to the lake, why they would attack us! I was made to be a Mender, formerly a warrior by our ancestors.  I took advantage of it. I could now tell my clan that our ancestors willed us to invade them, and if they didn't comply, why their health could simply fail! My clan is under my control now. Even the leader does not want to die. Besides, their next Chief will comply after what he has seen."

"You took Ravenpaw?" gasped Sunpaw.

"Yes" replied Darktail. "You saving him wasn't all that bad. If we can show him just how strong we are you will grow terrified of us, and submit to us later. I even took out his mentor to show him!"

"But why tell me this?" demanded Sunpaw.

Starktail's eyes widened. "Because," she whispered. "Your clan will be next! Besides, think of how much your clan will hate you when it happens, when you are forced to tell that you knew all along! I see potential in Sagepaw, and a way to fix your clan's snobby bastards such as you. If I can control her, then that is two clans Lakeclan will control. Then soon, we will have Blazeclan. And oh how we will eat in the cold season once we can have tribute from three clans! Now run along and play! Your friend is done burying my latest prey!"

Sunpaw was shocked to even know this. Why do I find myself in the center of all of Brightwing's plans? What do I do about it? What does she want me for?

She backed out of the bush and back into the clearing. A fresh mound of soil was now visible on the surface. With Sagepaw glaring at her, Sunpaw uncomfortably led the way back to camp.

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