Prologue

Soft, cottony strands of grass fluttered and blew in the late autumn breeze. Their heads were busy releasing the last clutches of pollen that they held so dear and the air had became a thick soup of small orbs. Willow trees and prickly bushes dotted the woodland, breaking up the pattern of grass and soil. An unusually strong gust of warm air blew the grains into a small circle were they revolved around each other, before settling back into their place.

The grass parted slowly, as a shadowed figure steps gingerly from the woodland. Its paws were dark black, but its fur was muddy orange. Silence wrapped around the grassy plain as another much like the first, only smaller and much brighter, stepped from the tree line.

"Dolt, there is nothing to fear, this place is safe." Said the larger of the two, in a soothing tone of reassurance. He lifted his head and scanned above the grass. After making sure that his statement was correct and it was safe, he straightened up and stood tall. His short muzzle ended in a wet, black nose, and his whiskered lip showed the small tips of white canines. His claws were well worn, and his tail ended in a white tip, as all fox's did.

The second came to stand by the first, her head now also held high, much out of wanting to seem just as confident as her larger companion than real trust of the strange surroundings.

"Father told us to stay away from here. You know this is Felis territory." Whispered Dolt urgently. Her brother scoffed. He moved forwards into the middle of the grassy expanse.

"Since when did we all have different forests?" He sneered. "Do the birds have their own forests? I know the dogs don't, so why should cats?" he said dismissively. Dolt pawed at the ground nervously as her dominant brother sniffed around for a while.

"I just want to see what is so special about this place. We can leave in a bit if you're going to be such a cub about it." Dolt growled non-threateningly at her brother.

"Trima, we should at least stay in the trees." She whispered. Trima nodded and moved towards the nearest willow tree. He froze, his paw just touching a blade of dark grass.

"Listen," he hissed through clenched jaws, "do you hear it?" Dolt looked quickly from her brother to the rest of the clearing. She scanned the undergrowth, moving her ears to try and pinpoint the elusive noise. Then she heard it, the muffled sound of raised voices from the other side of the opposite clump of trees.

"Come on." Said Trima simply as he trotted to the nearby foliage.

"No!" Dolt exclaimed, half whispered and half shouted, but it was too late, she watched as the white flick of her brothers tail disappeared from view. She breathed heavily in the now unfriendly and unknown clearing. She gave one half hearted look back to the place where they had entered and ran to where she had seen her brother leave.

She broke through the bushes into the main forest. Trima was a few leaps ahead, his tail swishing from side to side as he walked towards the echoing voices. Dolt leapt over a small bush and scampered to her brother's side. He didn't say a word as she arrived, but gave a flick of hi left ear to indicate that he had seen her.

They walked together, both now curious to the voices and peered into the gloom. Nothing was visible yet, but the elevated noise made them pretty sure they were nearing their destination.

The trees broke away somewhere up ahead, as Dolt saw the thinning of the long, tall trunks. Clouds dotted the dark sky, and they were only visible by the silver shine that the moon left on their fluffy edges.

Dolt looked at her brother as he motioned with his head from her to follow him. Dolt quietly snuck behind her sibling as they turned left and came at an angle to the corner of the clearing. The voices were audible now, as more joined in the chorus of shouting.

Dolt had no idea who it was or why they were angry, but she had the feeling that finding out would be quite fun.

Trima ducked and wormed his way into a dense holly bush. Dolt followed coming to sit at the left of her brother.

"I can't see anything." She whispered, as quietly as she possibly could. Trima shot her a look and then squinted ahead. Suddenly the clouds above them parted and the forest became illuminated by sparkled light. In front of the two small Rag'an lay a clearing with no tall grass only short stunted stems that showed signs of constant wearing. In the centre there was a large rock spire, that jutted from the earth, and lay nearly half as tall as even the tallest tree in the Felis Forests.

This was not what drew Dolt's eyes however. She could not believe the number of cats that stood on and around the rocky tower. Felis of all sizes, ages and appearances shouted there anger to the top of the rock. Dolt and her brother's eyes both scanned the top of the stone, until they both, simultaneously landed on the cat that stood highest in the order.

He had long flowing grey hair, which shone vibrantly in the nights glow. His tail flicked angrily as he looked down upon the crowd below him.

His features were too far to see form the foxes hiding place. The cat gave his tail one last flick and the crowd became silent once more. He opened his mouth an spoke in a clear tone, that quite easily demanded the attention of every animal there.

"You must see my way of thinking," he said slowly, "the Rag'an have been a plague on this forest like no other. They speak of their special spirit and lord over the forests." Dolt turned to her brother who mirrored her own confusion in his face.

"The time has come for the Felis to put a stop to this. We far outnumber them, and they know it. Why do you think they give us only one forest to call our own?" Murmurs of agreement now rose from the crowd. The uncertainty in Dolts mind was fast being overrun by fear.

"We should leave." She hissed at her brother. He shook his head and bent his head to get a better view of the proceedings. The cat continued, with yowls of approval now rising from every corner of the meeting.

"Felis do not belong under fox rule. I say it is them who belong under us. So I ask you my brothers, to spread the word of truth. Let every Felis hear the call of their leader. Prince Nyne declares Rag'an to be an enemy of the cat!" The cats meowed their support of Nyne, as Dolt slowly backed away from the bush.

"And what a better way" continued the prince "to start this night, than proving to them and ourselves how sincere we really are! We seemed to have been joined by two young foxes. Spying on a meeting of the cats is unwise, young ones."

Dolt's heart froze as the cats began to follow their leaders gaze, as it fell upon the shaking holly bush. Trima turned and ran from the vantage point, with Dolt scampering at his heels. Sounds of hideous hissing were heard from behind as she pushed away, past her brother. His heavy panting beside her let Dolt know he was still nearby. She jumped through two sets of bushes and ducked beneath a fallen tree.

Silence. She skidded to a halt and whipped around on the spot. Her brother was no where to be seen. She frantically called out his name to the woods. A twig snapping behind her sent images of terrifying proportions racing through her mind. She stumbled and tripped, falling roughly on her face. A rough sandy laugh came from a dense mess of brambles to the right of her.

She slowly turned and looked into the dark shadows. Two sets of glowing orbs stared back at her. Everywhere she looked small dots of reflected light began to appear. She curled into a small bundle, as the orbs danced towards her, anger and misery shining from their depths.