Oaks: A Short Story

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It had all begun with four great oaks. Grown so close together that their branches could almost prick the others' bark. Close enough for roots to intertwine and suck at the last droplet of water when the drought season came. And yet they had always stood together. As guardians of the forest.
Every full moon, the sight of the looming oaks served to remind the clans of their past, and guide their present. That their battles were not ones of hate, but of comradery. But even such powerful icons could not stop the glares that were cast that evening as soon as Tigerstar led his warriors into the sacred hollow.
The ShadowClan leader deflected the narrowed eyes of his onlookers with a cool gaze and confident stride as he took his place atop the Great
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A trio of soft, furry bundles slept peacefully within a den of wood chips as their mother watched over them with warm affection in her tranquil eyes. The she-cat smiled before dipping her head to slide out of the make-shift den. She paused for a moment, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the inviting sunshine on greenleaf.
The pale she-cat broken into a run, taking in the freshness of the air and winds of the forest she had been apart from for so long. At last, she was back. She felt free, and afraid. Somewhere within the forest, was the cat she had once fled from. Despite her return, she knew she had no interest in facing him again.
She stopped to catch her breath, tasting the air around her for the scent of fresh kill. The undergrowth was alive with the scurrying of prey. She spotted a rabbit sniffing at a small patch of grass.
Dropping into a crouch, she carefully slide herself towards it, careful not to make any noise, or allow her scent to reach its senses. Her eyes briefly shifted towards a tree stump. The mark of the ShadowClan border. Part of her knew better than to hunt so close to the boundary, but she didn't want to pass up the opportunity to catch a day's meal in one
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"Take care of yourself, okay?" she warned. "ShadowClan can be pretty rough on trespassers." She flashed a good-natured smirk. Sasha gave a quiet nod, touching her nose to her friend's cheek.
"Thank you, and good luck with your patrol," she whispered. Russetfur dipped her head before rejoining her clanmates.
Sasha watched them leave, letting out a little breath. Russetfur would tell Tigerstar no doubt, and he'd come looking. But Sasha wouldn't let him find her kits. When they had been born, she had sworn to raise them alone. Their father would have no part in their lives.
She carried the rabbit back to her den. Her kits were nearly five moons old now, and were always tumbling around, eager to stray from the den and cause mischief.
"Mama, you're back!" Tadpole exclaimed, as she brushed through the entrance. Her eldest bounced up to her, eyes round in awe of the fresh kill his mother had brought.
"A rabbit!" Hawk mewed. "It's huge!" Moth, the youngest sat beside her brothers, her tail twitching slightly.
"Look what we found today!" Tadpole cried, pulling a blue collar peppered with dirt from the back of the

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