When the his leader, Jasperstar, passed away, deputy Windpelt was supposed to become leader. But he could not take the journey to commune with Starclan, as his pride needed him. The dry season was worse than it had been since any lion could remember, and though it should have come by now, the rainy season still had not returned and his pride searched in vain for water, whilst the weakest members of the pride where the first to feel the wrath of the drought that plagued the savannah. The cubs, instead of tussling and playing around the camp, instead lay in the shady shelter of the cave, bleary eyed and lethargic. As Windpelt passed by one evening, he overheard a cub weakly asking her mother when the rain would come. She was dead by morning.
Two more cubs died not long after, with no water there was no milk. Two elders died as well. Windpelt was devastated by the loss of the members of his pride. He was supposed to lead it, but what kind of leader would let his pride die out like that? He asked himself this question on many hot, thick nights as he stared at the twinkling stars above in Silverpelt for guidance.
On the second moon of the drought, Windpelt’s mate, Stormwing, was about to give birth to his cubs, but she needed water. Otherwise she would die, and so would the cubs. Windpelt knew it was useless, but that night he prayed to Starclan. He would sacrifice anything to save his pride. And his mate. He walked out into the dawn air, the colores in the sky glowing red as blood as the sun stretched its sleepy arms to the horizon. The last of the stars danced teasingly as they receded into the dark heavens as the sky brightened. Windpelt was about to give up hope, but as he stalked back towards the cave he saw a glimmer of brilliant blue in the corner of his eye. A drongo bird sat perched on a branch, eyeing him impatiently with its great yellow eyes, clicking its beak. It’s beak... it was wet! That could only mean one thing! Water! Was this a sign from his ancestors? The drongo took flight again, landing on another branch not far away. Windpelt followed it. He chased it until sun high, and then, when his energy was nearly spent, the drongo landed on a rock above a hole large enough for a jackal to wiggle though. Windpelt sniffed at the hole... Water! The sweet, fresh smell of an underground spring tempted his thirsty nostrils. The sound of gurgling, rushing water greeted his ears. He dug at the tunnel, swiftly clawing away the damp earth and rocks with his enormous claws. It was an underground river! He gulped the nourishing life water gratefully until he was so full of it that his belly hurt. He grabbed a clump of moss growing as the entrance of the tunnel, wetting it with water once he had had his fill.
As he emerged from the tunnel, he saw the drongo still watching him. “Thank you.” He whispered hoarsely to it, laying at its feet two grubs that had been in the tunnel. The bird snatched them up gracefully, took flight, and was gone. One aquamarine feather drifted on the wind, landing at Windpelt’s feet. He ran back to his pride, the water soaked moss clamped firmly in his jaws. “I found water!” He roared to his shocked pride. He brought the moss into the queen’s nests in the cave, and offered it to his mate, but she turned it down, and urged him to give it to the thirsty cubs in the other nests. She told him she could wait. Windpelt took the fittest members of his pride and bought them to the underground river. They carried as many dripping bundles of moss as they could carry back to the camp. Windpelt took the biggest bundle to the queen’s nests, over to his mate. She was curled up in her nest, apparently asleep, but when he nudged her, she didn’t stir. Worried, he rolled her on her side, her swollen belly looking oddly distended, the usually kicking and moving cubs inside where still. He lapped at her face, tried everything to wake her, but she was gone. He was too late. Stormwing was dead, and so where his future cubs.
Windpelt knew this was his fault. Hadn’t the elders told him as a cub, to be careful about what he wished for? He had told Starclan that he would pay any price to save his clan. And this was the price. Windpelt never took his leader name. He had lost faith in Starclan. He took the name Stormfeather instead, after his mate, and after the drongo that had lead him to the water that saved his clan. Stormfeather was a good and fair leader, and he always tried to help even lions outside his pride, and even other animals. He never fought if he could help it, but he never took another mate, and though he did father some cubs, he left it to their mothers to raise them. As far as he was concerned, they where not really his, he was just helping to strengthen his pride. He did raise one cub though; an orphaned male who later became his deputy.