• Disclaimer: I do not own Warriors or Ginger. They are owed by their authors. (Ginger is owned by my friend, Bunbun454.) I only own Fern and Sparrow.

    Fern could see nothing but darkness, and hear nothing. That was, until his stomach growled. The gray cat roused himself from his rough dry moss bedding and padded out of the dark cave, his claws clinking against the hard ground. Fern had to really concentrate to sheath them, as they were naturally unsheathed. He blinked blearily against the bright, pale sunlight. As he waited for his blue eyes to adjust, Fern was once again reminded of his hunger. A mouse blinked its way into Fern’s vision as soon as he was used to the light. The said small life was soon blinked out of existence by a swift move of a gray paw. But the mouse was not enough for the tomcat. As soon as a squirrel was seen, Fern dashed after it, so intent on his prey he did not realize he was being chased as well…

    When Fern was just a tail-length away from the squirrel, something big and heavy landed on his back, making him collapse under the weight. His nose wrinkled as he breathed in the acrid scent of a familiar loner. Fern squirmed out of Ginger’s grip and turned to glare at her with his blue eyes.

    “What, were you trying to eat me, mouse-brain?!”

    “Sorry,” Ginger mumbled, looking down at her paws with amber eyes. “I thought you were someone else.”

    Fern spat back, saying, “Were you going to eat him?” Ginger decided not to respond back to that, and turned away from his gaze. Fern’s glare turned from menacing to worry as the tortoiseshell walked straight into a tree, but immediately flickered back to menacing. He even threw in a smile to make it seem more real.

    Ginger walked around in a few dizzy circles before collapsing at Fern’s paws. She looked like she was sleeping. The sunlight added golden dots to her already spotted pelt. He poked her a bit before snatching a few black seeds from a nearby flower and placing them by Ginger’s head. She should wake up soon. He then proceeded to find some more prey.

    The rest of the day was quite boring, with no adventure whatsoever. It was normally like that. Fern plopped down on his dry bedding for a short nap to regain his energy and think about the day.

    Ginger had once again been looking for someone. The only other cat in the Great Forest that wasn’t anti-social was Sparrow, that wiry light brown tabby that said he was from something called 'Windclan'. And he was so annoying; no one could stand to be near him. But he could be good company at times. What? Just because he was descended from Bloodclan didn’t mean he was as hostile as them. His father had even wanted to give him the name of his Great-grandfather; Scourge. Fern was still trying to avoid meeting other cats in fear of them being his kin.

    Becoming frustrated with his bedding that was slowly turning to dust, Fern set out to find some fresh moss. He walked out of his cave, to the forest that seemed to glare at him as though he were Scourge. Shuddering at the thought, Fern padded along with his tail and head down. He wandered far to find fresh moss, as it was all dry from being in the sun. He might have wandered past another cat, but he didn’t take any notice; it could have been his kin, anyway. Shuddering again, Fern continued on until he came to some moss.

    The moss was the freshest he had ever seen, shining brightly into his day. It was also the softest he had ever felt. Fern looked up to see the landmark that would mark this glory of finding the soft moss- and froze.

    Sitting before him was a pond of glittering water hidden by stone walls and fed by a trickling waterfall. Its captivating beauty entranced Fern to go closer. It seemed to reject him, yet at the same time, beckoning him to take a drink. Fern slowly padded up to it, feeling the many paw prints in the stone, enchanted by its sparkling beauty. He cautiously dipped his head in, blessed by the water that washed his face. Fern’s mind was suddenly filled with pictures of a lake, a big island, numerous cats all living together and the most beautiful image of all; a tortoiseshell cat, perfumed with the luscious scents of many herbs. She spoke in the most melodic voice Fern had ever heard. He was too busy listening to it to identify what she was telling him.

    “Seek not for kin,

    Seek for the heart withi

    Fern may have heard the cat’s prophecy, but he didn’t show it. “What is your name?”

    She smiled back at him. “Dapplepelt.”

    Dapplepelt slowly faded away, and Fern was back at the pool. He picked up some moss and skipped back to his den. Fern didn’t notice a tortoiseshell cat walking in the direction he had just come from. That was, until she spoke to him.

    “What piece of crowfood made you so mouse-brained?” Ginger's teasing voice had no hope of preventing the gray cat's wonderfull day.

    Fern just replied, with a love-struck face, “I just met the most beautiful cat in the world.”

    Ginger looked at him with a disgusted face. “Who, Sparrow?”

    The gray cat just ignored her and continued skipping merrily through the forest.

    Fern was pondering about Dapplepelt all the way back to his cave.

    ‘Was she real, this goddess of beauty? Or was I just dreaming it all? Those wondrous scents from foreign lands…. they were calling to me. They must have come from far-off lands. I wonder if my great-grandfather lived there. No! I must stop thinking about him!’

    Shaking his head fiercely to rid himself of these thoughts, Fern didn’t notice his head collide with solid stone. Well, not so solid anymore. There was a loud crack, and Fern stumbled onto his new patch of moss. His nose automatically buried itself against his fur, ready for sleep.

    Few things disturbed him as he slept. Thoughts of Dapplepelt clouded Fern’s dreams. Even a badger could walk in, attack, maybe cut all his fur off so he looks like a hairless rat, and he still wouldn’t awake. The only thing that woke the gray tom was the soft snuffling of a mouse, but only for a brief moment.

    The next day would hold a surprise no one could expect.....