Chapter 18-Escape

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-A Quarter-Moon After Chapter 15-

Today was his time to escape. Ravenpaw had been secretly putting his plan into action for about a quarter-moon. It was now or never. His father surely would be close to giving in to Lakeclan’s demands for more territory.

He had noticed a long, thick branch that had been frozen to the ground. If he was only able to loosen it, he would be able to use it float his way across the lake for long enough to make it a good distance in the middle of the night. You could only hope that he would not be noticed or run into any night patrols.

He knew that Starktail would want him to suffer, so he had subtly tricked her into letting him sleep by it, making her think that it had been her decision. He knew that she would know he would not be able to swim a good enough distance under his own power. Ravenpaw had been loosening the soil beneath it, even using the moisture of his own dirt and soil scent markings to help him. As a bonus, Lakeclan cats would be warded off by the nasty smell, and they were too lazy to make him bury it, seeing as he was sleeping in his own filth. All the better for him, they would think.

Now the branch was ready. A three-quarters Moon dimly shone through the cloudy, black sky. The clan was silent and asleep. There were three guards on the strip that connected the island to the mainland. He would need to silently lure and kill Starktail before he set off into the night. And he knew how to do that. Then I will have a hero’s welcome for saving my clan by smothering Lakeclan’s dark heart.

Ravenpaw stabbed his front foot pad into a thorn that he had found. He let out a natural yowl of pain. It would sound genuine enough, therefore, to get Starktail to come. Soon enough, moments later, she came. Her gait was off a little and her voice slightly deeper than usual, but he just chalked it up to her being awoken on the middle of the night.

“Now what have you done to yourself, you filthy fox?” she growled. The moon’s glow made her black pelt show a little. Her blue eyes were full of crankiness.

“Sorry to disturb you,” Ravenpaw simply stated, “but I accidentally stepped on a thorn. Please get it out.”

Starktail sighed as he lifted up his paw. When she looked at it, extending her neck to do so, he made his move. Ravenpaw quickly slashed her throat to a state where she could not make a sound or move, but could was still alive. We are taught some about how cat bodies work for a reason.

He dragged her to the edge the shoreline.  He turned her around so he could look at her. Starktail’s eyes showed fear and a plead for mercy. A barely audible croak emitted from her mouth.

“No one can hear you now. Don’t bother evening asking for mercy with your eye. Ravenpaw darkly whispered. “You have made me, my clan and your own clan suffer. Now you shall suffer, long and slow death tonight. Think about what you have done to us while you die. Then you will suffer enternal hunger in The-Realm-Of-Banishment.”

Then he ripped her eyes out, and then shoved her face into the water, his grip so strong that he made her head top bleed. He could feel her hopelessly trash her head around in an attempt to make her body move. This is my revenge for you Rustwood. May you now Rest In Peace. You are the greatest mentor a Marshclan cat could ever hope for.

Time passed before Starktail stopped struggling. Satisfied, he dumped her body into the lake, to be eaten by the fish and to never join her Clanmates at The Tree Memorial. Now it was time to leave this cold island for good.

Ravenpaw set loose the branch, sending it tumbling to the lake with a huge splash. He heard the camp awake to the commotion. He quickly scrambled onto the branch, and used his hind legs to push himself away, and then paddled with them. The island was soon behind him as he floated within sight of the mainland.

He set himself to a slower pace to conserve her energy. Soon, his legs turned cold from exposure to the cold water. Time passed slowly for him. Ravenpaw knew that Lakeclan would be searching for him now. His golden brown fur wasn't exactly the best camoflauge.

Once the island was barely on the horizon in the pale night shine, Ravenpaw steered himself toward the shoreline. From his time around Marshclan and Lakeclan border, he knew that once the island was barely visible, the border was near. After awash I got ashore, cold and wet, joy tingled in the tired paws upon the sand. I am now home. My father will be relieved to see me! Now that I am no longer imprisoned, no longer leverage. He will be proud of me for having been self-reliant, outwitting my enemy, and ending the threat to Marshclan.

For him, it was a quick sprint to the Marshclan camp, it seemed. At least he got to dry off some. As he went to approach the entrance, he saw that his old friend Longheart was standing guard. But when he caught gazes with him, he saw his friend’s gray fur was risen and his green eyes showed anger boiled with protectiveness.

“What’s the problem?” Ravenpaw asked, his voice echoing into the night.

“You are, killer!” growled Longheart. “You’re not supposed to be here! Get out before I have to kill you!”

Ravenpaw was very taken aback by Longheart’s accusation. “What are you talking about? I have just escaped from the Lakeclan camp! They took me!

“Fine then. Let’s play dumb, shall we?” retorted Longheart. Then he yowled into the night “We have a situation at the entrance! I need Treestar and back up now!”

Ravenpaw heard the gray tom’s claw scratch the earth. He waited, unarmed, to see what was going on. Moments later, his father and two other warriors, were beside Longheart.

“You should not be here, Ravenpaw.” Treestar called out. “Be gone, or die, son. You have been exiled for a year for the murder of Rustwood.”

“What?” Ravenpaw cried out “I didn’t kill her! STarktail did when they took me a quarter moon ago!”

“I wish I could believe you.” His father’s eyes showed a tortured mind. “But you are already known as a killer among the clans. It is three witnesses to one. With your scent by her body, you were the last known one to be with her, and that fact that you just vanish are enough evidence to constitute murder. Starktail was merely traveling to Valleyclan, asking for an escort, they said. But the you killed Rustwood, tried to go after Starktail, and they took you to their camp to await punishment.”

“You know in your heart that that is now the truth! In fact, I killed Starktail before I escaped! She was manipulating her clan! Without her, there is now peace. I can come home now!” Ravenpaw admitted.

“It is Clan over kin, and you know this!” argued Treestar. “And killing is wrong! Consider is two years of exile now! I am not killing you because we here know the truth and you are my son. The other clans would shun us if we had not complied with Lakeclan’s demands!”

His father walked up to him, sheathing his claws. “I am sorry son, but you now that this must be done. I will be miss you. I am proud of you for what you have done for your clan, and who you are. Know that while you are gone. It will be a long time.”

Ravenpaw’s heart went cold. We are Marshclan! We do not submit to other clans! And now for father banishes me for being loyal to me clan? He is no true father of mine! I was meant to be the leader! Two years is too long! I will never be able to recover my reputation!

In his silence, his father spoke up again. “Know that from now on, to Marshclan and to your ancestors, you are a warrior. I name you Ravenheart, for your dedication and loyalty to your clan. You have now completed your warrior training.”

“I accept your naming.” Ravenheart growled. “And in return I name you no longer my father for rejecting your family. You can’t just not kill me for being kin. Like you said, it’s either Clan or kin, not both. Tell Leopardclaw that I will forever love her as a true mother, and tell Longheart that he was my truest friend.” Ravenheart than ran off into the night, leaving the sounds of his father’s cry for him to come back slip into the night air.

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