PrologueThe forest was dappled with the gentle moonlight. Silverpelt was gently blanketed with a thin layer of mist, giving the dark sky an eerie feel. Occasionally, a slight scuffle could be heard below the leaves, but the heavy air of the night stifled the noise.
A pale gray tom padded down from the sky. His coat was dappled with stars and his pawsteps left a glowing silver trail. He was walking down towards a small pool, crystal clear and illuminated with starlight. He sat near the edge of the pool and looked at his sides. Other cats were coming now, and soon the pool was surrounded by sleek-furred spirits.
"You knew this was coming, didn't you Stormstar?" a thick shouldered black-and-white tom meowed. "Why didn't you tell us?"
"I did know, Fangstar," the gray tom replied. "I didn't think you needed to know so early. Forgive me." Fangstar dipped his head in acceptance.
"How will the Clans recover from this?" a golden tabby she-cat yowled. "This is nothing short of a catastrophe!" Many other cats cried out in agreement until Stormstar raised his tail to silence them all.
"Do not forget what the Clans have suffered before," a solid brown tom said. "They were always able to recover. Do you doubt the strength of your kin?" A few cats murmured to each other, nodding at the brown tom's words.
"Oakclaw is right," a long haired ginger she-cat with a white belly said. "The Clans have strong leaders that can help them pull through."
"Especially with what is coming," a cat said from the back of the crowd. A weary, gray tabby tom weaved his way to the edge of the pool.
"What do you mean, Fogpelt?" Stormstar asked. "What do you know?"
Fogpelt sighed heavily. "All I know is this." He raised his voice to a rasping call and said, "Wind will join with sky. Earth and water will become one and darkness shall burn the trees."
The entire mass was silenced by Fogpelt's ominous warning. Moons seemed to pass before anyone spoke.
"Who will lead the Clans if this prophecy does indeed come true?" The ginger she-cat asked.
"That is why I am here, Sparrowfeather," Stormstar mewed. "Like Fangstar pointed out, I have known about this for a long time. That is why I have decided to choose a new leader."
Many shocked yowls arose from the masses. "A new leader?" a tortoiseshell cat called. "But they already have a leader, and a good one too!"
"Enough!" Fangstar hissed over the astonished cries. "We aren't going to get anywhere by bickering all night!" A few of the cats nodded in agreement.
"Well?" the tortoiseshell cat asked. "Who is your pick then?" Stormstar looked down into the water. The reflection changed, and one of the cats purred with surprise.
"You never cease to surprise me, Stormstar!" a white tabby she-cat smiled. Stormstar shot a loving glance at the she-cat.
"And what's that supposed to mean, Cherryclaw?" Stormstar teased.
"Your pick!" Cherryclaw said. "He's not even an apprentice yet!"
"How can we know he'll be the right cat?" A dark gray she-cat with a white tail meowed. Stormstar turned his pale green eyes on her.
"Do you doubt my judgement, Snowtail?" Stormstar asked. His voice was calm, yet it was laced with power. "He is the right cat, I promise." Snowtail bowed her head in apology.
"So are we agreed?" Stormstar asked. The mass of cats buzzed like bees before all nodding in unison.
"Very well," Stormstar growled. Silently, he turned and vanished into the night. Eventually, the rest of the cats left, leaving only Fogpelt staring down at the pool.
"Stormstar had better be right about you," Fogpelt whispered. The cat slowly got up and disappeared into the brush. The night looked as if nothing had happened at all.