|New Generation Series|
|Preceded by: |
|New Generation||Succeded by: |
The ginger cat stood. His fur ruffled slightly in the breeze and the five other cats stood next to him. They were all staring intently at a pond that allowed them to see all the cats they watched over.
"It is time," the ginger cat began.
"Time for what, lunch?" asked the gray cat.
"Oh shut up Graystripe! What is it Firestar?" This was a ginger she-cat.
"Be kind Sandstorm; he does not know when he is funny and when we would all like to dunk him in the Moonpool." The ginger cat's whiskers twitched.
"Hey-" began Graystripe as Sandstorm laughed.
"The cats need new heroes. The Three are gone, driven into the tunnels by insanity. The fire is gone. The questing cats have broken apart. We need a new generation of heroes," Firestar continued with authority.
"Only for ThunderClan?" This was Sandstorm speaking. Firestar flicked his ear in acknowledgement, but before the ginger tom could speak three more cats came from the shadows near the pool. Firestar seemed surprised, "Leopardstar! Blackstar! Tallstar! Welcome!"
The dappled golden she-cat hissed, "Did you think we would let you choose the fate of the forest without us?"
Graystripe and Sandstorm said at once, "Shut up Leopardstar!"
The former Riverclan leader sat down but she was tense with anger. Firestar stepped forward with stars in his fur and said,
"Very well! Three cats will be chosen from ThunderClan and one from each of the other Clans." Leopardstar drew herself up to argue but stopped when Blackstar muttered, "I knew we should have brought Crookedstar instead!"
Each cat stood, each taking a turn to stand at the pool and reveal their choice.
"Scarkit!" said Leopardstar, showing a ginger kit with a small scar in the pool.
"Mosskit!" confirmed Tallstar showing the young silver she-kit.
"Rainkit!" yowled Blackstar naming the gray spotted she-kit.
"Leopardkit!" chose Sandstorm quickly showing the cats a dappled kit with golden fur.
"Brightkit" meowed Graystripe naming a black and white tom.
Firestar stepped forward to make the final choice and he showed a she-kit with one white paw and brown tabby fur. "Bramblekit!"
"It is decided!" the other five cats murmered.
"These kits might not be able." muttered Blackstar.
"I have seen this too." Tallstar confirmed.
"The greatest promise is made to a friend, but can be broken by the thorns of betrayal." Firestar meowed quietly. "I know."
"Friend or foe, these kits are our only hope. They will be the new generation!" Sandstorm proclaimed.
With that the cats all turned and left. However if they had stayed but a moment longer they would have seen dark tabby tom with a white underbelly sneak forward and look at the pool, seeing the kits' faces. After a minute the cat ran back to the shadowy forest that he had come from.
Bramblestar woke up. He wondered why he was not in the warriors den, then remembered how a few sunrises ago Firestar had been killed by a mountain lion that had wandered down from the mountains. It had taken the united force of WindClan and ThunderClan to drive it away.
Bramblestar felt a pain in his chest as he remembered the one other time he had seen and fought a mountain lion and what it had taken to stop the beast. He could tell Crowfeather remembered as well because the WindClan warrior had been fighting hardest and in the end Crowfeather had been the one to kill the terrible beast. These memories brought back more memories of Squirrelflight when they had been mates. They would never be mates agin, Bramblestar was sure of that. And Dusksky had just kitted.
Dusksky was a pretty brown tabby with white paws. She was also Bramblestar's new mate and he loved her very much. She had started kitting in the middle of the night and Jayfeather had sent Brambletar to his den. He decided to go visit her.
He padded out of the den and practically ran to the nursery. Inside was Dusksky and Moondapple. Moondapple had a young black and white tom kit at her side. Bramblestar politely asked the about the kit's name and Moondapple proudly replied, "Brightkit!"
Bramblestar said a few more words and then padded to his mate's nest. Inside were two small she-kits. One looked a lot like Bramblestar, a dark brown tabby, but she also had a single white paw like her mother. The other kit was a golden dappled she-kit.
"What are their names?" asked the ecastic leader. Dusksky looked up and tapped each kit on the head with her tail. "The tabby is Bramblekit and her sister is Leopardkit!" Both kits looked up at their father with their mother's brilliant green eyes.
Bramblestar was touched.
"You named one after me? And they're both so beautiful! These two are going to break quite a few toms' hearts!"
Dusksky purred and the leader realized his mate was exhausted. "I'll go fetch you a great piece of fresh kill," he promised.
He padded out of the den as happy as could be. He went to the fresh-kill pile and saw Jayfeather, the medicine cat, choosing a squirrel for the sick deputy, Icecloud.
"Hi!" meowed Bramblestar.
Jayfeather nodded and said, "Have you seen your kits?" Bramblestar nodded.
Jayfeather said, "Strange, you know that other kit, Brightkit? Well all three of those kits were born at the same time!" Both toms pondered this strange occurrence.
They had no idea that one kit each from Windclan, ShadowClan, and RiverClan was also born at the exact same time.
High above them in StarClan, Firestar smiled.
"It has begun."
Mousefur grunted as a kit barreled into her side. She began to yowl but then realized the kit was holding a large mouse in its jaws.
"Hello Bramblekit! What've you got there?" she asked.
"It's my first catch! I was patrolling the camp with Leopardkit and Brightkit and suddenly a big mouse jumped out at us! And we leapt on it but I was the one who killed it!" the three-moon-old kit squeaked. A few moments later, her two playmates ran through the entrance of the den, barreling into Longtail.
"What the- OOF!!!" the blind warrior cried. After Mousefur had calmed him down, she turned back to the kits and noticed that Leopardkit and Brightkit both had mice too, the same size as Bramblekit's.
"Well I think this deserves a story," she meowed. The kits squealed in excitement and ran to get the younger and older kits.
All the kits listened intently as Mousefur told the story of "The Great Catch". At the end the older kits went to play-fight and the younger kits curled up with the elders to hear more stories and to take a snooze. Leopardkit licked her pelt happily.
"What should we do now?" she asked her two friends.
"We never finished our patrol! The camp could fall into danger again!" yowled Brightkit. The three kits ran to the edge of the clearing and began sniffing around again and leaving their scent on plants.
Berrynose came up, "What are you doing?"
"We're doing a patrol! We have to protect the camp," said Bramblekit seriously. The warrior's whiskers twitched, and he went away.
The kits had just reached the entrance to the camp when Bramblekit smelled a stinky something.
"Hold it!" she ordered her patrol. She smelled deeper and her friends tasted the air too. Brightkit looked up, his amber eyes wide.
"That smells like a-" A large ginger paw reached out of the bracken and swatted him aside.
"FOX!!!!" Bramblekit and Leopardkit yowled.
The fox stepped out of the bramble barrier. It caught sight of the kits and licked its lips.
Bramblekit yowled to Leopardkit, "Get Bramblestar or someone! I'll hold it off!!"
Bramblekit's terrified sister ran back into camp and Bramblekit looked at the fox. The fox seemed confused as to why its lunch was standing defiantly and not running around screaming. Bramblekit used the fox's astonishment to attack. She yowled and landed squarely on the thing's back. It reared up and tried to shake the young kit off, but it couldn't. After what felt like an eternity the fox managed to swing Bramblekit off of its back.
Luckily Bramblestar and a large patrol of warriors broke through the bracken and jumped on the fox, driving it away. After Jayfeather had seen to the kits' injuries and the patrol's with some help from Cinderheart and Brightheart, Dusksky ushered her children inside where they all went to sleep.
The kits were very pleased. Their story had spread all around the camp and everyone was looking at them like they were heroes, which Bramblekit thought they should. After all they were heroes. But a moon later everyone was still talking about it and the kits had gotten bored with the story. Luckily the Clan now had something else to think about. Poppyfrost's kits were now old enough to become apprentices. Molepaw's mentor was to be Berrynose himself and Cherrypaw's mentor would be Rosepetal. The whole Clan was celebrating. And now the three other kits were almost ready to be apprenticed as well!
"Mom, can we go fight ShadowClan?"
"Brightkit I told you no! You're not even apprentices yet!" scolded Moondapple.
"Nice try," said Bramblekit sadly. They were so close to being 6 moons!
Dusksky returned from a visit with Bramblestar, her eyes gleaming. "Wash up kits! You too, Brightkit."
The kits licked their fur as Dusksky murmered something to Moondapple, whose eyes also brightened. The kits were puzzled but just then Bramblestar called them.
"It is time for your apprentice ceremonies!" he meowed.
First Brightpaw was made an apprentice under Mousewhisker. Leopardpaw was to train under Icecloud, and Bramblestar would mentor Bramblepaw. The new apprentices ran to the apprentices' den and settled down into their comfy new nests.
The last thing Bramblepaw was aware of before she fell asleep was the warm touch of Brightpaw's fur aginst hers...
Bramblepaw woke up to an almost empty den. She tipped her head and looked around. Leopardpaw was stirring in her nest and Brightpaw was still snoring away in his nest. However, all of the older apprentices, Molepaw, Cherrypaw, Lilypaw, and Rosepaw were gone.
"Wake up!" she meowed to Leopardpaw. Leopardpaw streached and stood up and surveyed the den. Meanwhile Bramblepaw was studying Brightpaw, determining that it would take quite a bit to wake him up, so she leaned down and yowled in his ear, "SHADOWCLAN IS ATTACKING AND WE'RE GONNA GO FIGHT THEM WITHOUT YOU!!!!"
Brightpaw suddenly opened his eyes and ran out of the den yowling. Bramblepaw could hear the other warriors yowling in shock and annoyance as Brightpaw ran around yowling his head off that ShadowClan was attacking. After laughing a bit, the two she-cats walked out of the den to have their first day as apprentices.
Bramblepaw said goodbye to her friends and walked over to Bramblestar's den. She didn't know if she should meow or just go in and she was saved from having to make a choice when her father/mentor came out.
"Are you ready?" he meowed
"I was born ready!!"
The leader smiled and then without warning he sprinted towards the enterence to camp. Bramblepaw followed and as soon as they began climbing the ravine she began to loose breath. She lay down on the rocks and let her tongue hang out. Bramblestar stopped
"Bramblepaw!" he ran down the slope and picked up his daughter and carried her to the top of the steep hill.
"BOO!!!" Bramblepaw yowled after he set her down. Her father hissed,
"Why you little-" Bramblepaw leaped on her leader and they rolled in the grass, play-fighting. After a while they both lay on the grass panting.
"You STILL haven't told me what we are doing today!" Bramblepaw accused.
Her father looked at her cheerfully and smirked and said, "Well I think I'll take you to the mossy clearing for battle training as you have no clue whatsoever about fighting!"
He got up and Bramblepaw chased him all the way to the mossy clearing.
Bramblepaw collapsed outside the apprentices' den with a large rabbit. The older apprentices were chatting on the half-rock but Leopardpaw and Brightpaw were not back yet. Then Bramblepaw saw dappled fur and Leopardpaw and Icecloud walked through the tunnel. Leopardpaw dropped a mouse on the fresh kill pile and came over to where Bramblepaw was sitting.
"Mind if I share that rabbit?" she asked.
"Of course not!" purred Bramblepaw contentedly.
They had just settled down to eat when Mousewhisker and Brightpaw entered. Brightpaw said something to his mentor and then walked over to his two friends. He settled down and was about to tear a piece of the rabbit off when the other two cats yanked the prey away. Brightpaw looked up. "Hey-" The she-cats glared back.
"The last time we shared food with you, you ate it all and we went hungry!" Brambepaw meowed.
"And then you laughed when we got caught trying to eat a mouse!" hissed Leopardpaw. Brightpaw rolled his eyes and got a big thrush to eat.
"What did you guys do today?" asked Leopardpaw. Bramblepaw swallowed some rabbit and said,
"We trained for battle all day long!" Leopardpaw explained how Ferncloud took her hunting.
Then Brightpaw burped and said, "I got a tour of the whole territory, which will help in tomorrow's contest!"
Leopardpaw and Bramblepaw looked at him blankly and said, "What?" Brightpaw sighed.
"Tomorrow is the anniversary of the daytime gathering! All the Clans are meeting here for contests! There are 6 contests, hunting, fighting, climbing, swimming, diplomacy and racing! Don't tell me you've forgotten!? And we get to be apart of it!"
Leopardpaw and Bramblepaw gasped.
"We forgot!" yowled Leopardpaw. Bramblepaw quickly looked for her father and saw the Clan was crowding under the High Rock; they must have missed the calling.
Bramblestar explained the contest and said, "The other Clans will be coming on ThunderClan territory for the contest." His voice turned hard as he added, "Squirrelflight will be organizing it. Icecloud and I will also help." His voice lightened as he went on. "We have many apprentices and I want them all to be fully prepared. Since there seems to be plenty of daylight left, let's go into the forest and hunt, fight, and practice our skills!!" All the cats happily yowled and Icecloud, the deputy, hurriedly began organizing patrols.
Bramblestar approached his daughter as her friends were led away by their mentors. Bramblestar told her to follow him for a grand tour of the territory. They raced out of camp in a sea of warriors, anxious to practice so they could beat the other Clans at fun games. Bramblestar quickly escorted her around the territory and hurried her home for a lesson in hunting and a short sparring lesson.
Several bruises, a tired paw, three mice, and one large rabbit later Bramblepaw collapsed in the apprentices' den only to be woken a moment later by her friends pading in beside her. They all fell asleep only to be woken what seemed like minutes later to Hazeltail's call.
"They're here!!" And the apprentices raced outside along with the rest of their Clan to go greet the visitors and have some fun.
Leopardpaw blinked, she was still tired and she was in shock at just how many cats there were.
Bramblestar gave the signal and all the cats yowled as one and ran into the woods.
A cat ran each contest and apprintices were everywhere. Warriors talked and play fought. Leopardpaw lost sight of her friends as everyone split into different directions.
Leopardpaw decided to go try the diplomacy contest. She could see a ShadowClan apprentice and a WindClan apprentice sitting on either side of a rock. She approached the crowd surronding them and heard Ashstar, the WindClan leader say, "Your 2 Clans have been arguing about prey theft and you 2 must sort it out. Begin now!"
The WindClan apprintice who was considerably smaller stuttered, "My Clan did not steal your prey. We want peace!"
The ShadowClan apprintice yowled, "SURE YOU DO!!!!" and leapt onto then WindClan apprintice. After the fight was broken up Ashstar called for next contestants.
Leopardpaw sat on one side of the rock and her opponant, a RiverClan cat called Beetlepaw, sat opposite of her. Ashstar called to begin and Leopardpaw said, "We didn't steal your prey. ThunderClan wants nothing more then to be RiverClan's friends and we don't want to hurt you."
The RiverClan apprintice said, "Even if you did not steal our prey then something did! And ShadowClan has already said it was you!"
Leopardpaw gulped, not sure what to do. Then she shook her head and said, "But can you trust the word of those cats?" ignoring the boos of the ShadowClan cats in the crowd she went on, "ThunderClan will help you find the culprits and stop them." she headed away from the rock and a minute later she caught a squirrel. She laid it on the rock. "This is a peace offering. We would not steal from noble RiverClan. We want to stop whoever is. We want to be your friends. Let us help you. Let us befriend you. We are all cats and that is all that matters."
This was greeted by silence and a minute later Beetlepaw said, "I agree!" Ashstar leaped up and a little choked up she called, "Leopardpaw is the winner!"
Leopardpaw beamed proudly and nudged the squirrel over to Beetlepaw who took it, nodded thanks and ran off.
Leopardpaw caught the eye of her mother and father who were in the crowd. Her father was beeming proudly and her mother was cheering. Leopardpaw had never felt better.
Brightpaw was feeling slightly sick. He had just won a bet with a ShadowClan apprentice that he could eat more frogs and his stomach was turning backflips. He decided to go to the hunting contest and maybe catch something to give to Bramblepaw. He headed in the direction of the contest and he was worried his lumbering might scare off the prey.
He arrived just in time. Russetstar gave him the evil eye for being late for the contest but he didn't care. His opponant was a pretty gray WindClan cat with big blue eyes. Brightpaw forgot all about giving his prey to Bramblepaw and knew this pretty she-cat would get his catch. But then the she-cat gave him a look and asked Russetstar, "Do I have to do this with....him?!?!?! It's an insult to my skill!"
The spectators laughed and even Russetstar managed a small twitch of her whiskers. "I'm sorry. You must. It's okay dear, you won't have any trouble winning!" she proceeded to explain the first cat to return with 5 pieces of fresh kill would win. Then she called start and Brightpaw raced off.
A little while later he only needed one more piece of prey and he finally spotted and caught a mouse. He saw Mosspaw running through the trees with a piece of prey. He would have to hurry to beat her but if she was only carrying 1 piece of prey at a time...he glanced down at his pile with sudden inspiration.
Brightpaw staggered back to the starting ground with 2 squirrels on his back, a rabbit in his mouth, a mouse under his chin and a starling balanced on his head. Russetstar and the other members of the crowd were stunned as he dumped all 5 pieces of prey next to Mosspaw's pile of 4. Just then the gray apprentice burst through the trees holding a magpie.
"Here's the last one! What's my prize?" she asked cheerfully, not noticing Brightpaw.
Russetstar choked out, "Brightpaw has already won!"
Everyone cheered and Brightpaw spotted his mother cheering and blinking away tears. He stood up straighter and Mosspaw meowed, "Well you aren't as bad as I thought'd you be." and with that she turned and stalked in the direction of the racing contest.
Brightpaw soaked in his glory for a minute then, putting his prey on a large flat log the crowd had kindly pulled over his pulled his catch off to find a certain pretty tabby apprintice.
Mosspaw stalked away from the hunting contest. She was infuriated! The idiot tom had humiliated her, made her own jibed remarks seem foolish. No one did that to Mosspaw.
Well she thought grimly those fools at the race won't know what hit them.
Mosspaw wasn't a mean cat, not really. But Breezepelt was a horrible father and it was common knowledge her mother, Heathertail, hated him with all her heart.
When she got to the race path several cats were lined up. Among them were 2 ShadowClan apprentices, a WindClan apprentice named Leafpaw, and a fat Riverclan apprentice whose name was Heavypaw. There were also two small kits but Mosspaw knew that they were not important. But she was a fierce defender of the weak and if any of the older apprintices shoved the smaller cats she would make sure they got what they deserved. Not that she had been an apprentice for that long. Only a day.
Mistystar yowled "GO!!!" and everyone raced forward.
The 2 younger apprentices immediatly fell behind and so did the chubby RiverClan cat. But Blossompaw and the 2 ShadowClan cats were still running fast. One of the 2 ShadowClan cats was falling behind and the other was slowly stopping. But Leafpaw was pulling ahead of the other speedy WindClan apprentice.
Mosspaw grunted and ran faster then she had ever run before. She slowly pulled ahead and crossed the finish line. The crowd cheered and Mistystar yowled the news up to the sky.
Heathertail licked her daughter's head proudly. She started to say something but then tensed. Mosspaw looked at her mother and followed her gaze. Then she saw what had made her mother so mad.
Breezepelt was off near some trees, flirting with another she-cat.
Rainpaw was so mad. She waned to chriek! Those no good WindClan cats, filth, had run past her. Stupid Frogpaw. If he hadn't tripped onto her she would have won. She stalked off towards the climbing contest. but then she heard raised voices.
"Mosspaw wait here!"
"No!!! Stay here!"
The first cat marched off and Rainpaw could here more noises. She crept closer and heard the noises again.
"-I didn't even WANT to be your mate and I love Mosspaw but how can you do this when we have a daughter?!!"
A tom answered in a mumbly voice and there was the sound of a body hitting the floor and a muttered curse and the she-cat stalked away. A minute later a bleeding tom and pretty, but nervous looking, she-cat followed. Rainpaw snickered in amusement and left.
Rainpaw ran to the climbing contest and hurried as she heard Squirrelflight call "On your mark..." She had arrived just in time, but she was tired.
The apprentices surged up the trunk. Rainpaw ran up with them but stopped at the first branch. She caught her breath and watched the other apprintices fall to the floor. The only cat besides Rainpaw left on the tree was the silver cat who had won the race. She didn't seem to be climbing. More like clawing the tree to shreds.
As Rainpaw scrambled up the trunk she heard the she-cat mutter darkly, "-take that Breezepelt! I hate you so much.." But Rainpaw just sped up.
Eventually she was at the top of the tree. She held her breath. It was amazing! She could see everything! And that was the moment that Rainpaw knew she wanted to feel so powerful all the time. She wanted to be leader.
And that would change the lives of our other 5 heroes very much.
Rainpaw got down and Squirrelflight announced her win but there was no happy mom to cheer for her, only ridiculus looking Tigerheart. Her father. Her mother was a ThunderClan brat and Rainpaw tried hard not to think of her.
She yowled her victory, then slumped over to her waiting father.
Scarpaw happily padded over to the swimming contest. She looked around at her competition and laughed. It was all RiverClan cats! And everyone in RiverClan knew that Scarpaw was the best swimmer. Out of the apprentices at any rate.
But then 5 other cats came to join them. 3 ThunderClan and 1 each from WindClan and ShadowClan. Scarpaw hardly paid attention to them.
Reedwhisker, the deputy of RiverClan yowled for them to start. Without any more words Scarpaw dashed into the lake. She had to swim to the island and back. She had done it before in less then 5 minutes.
The ShadowClan and WindClan apprentices along with 2 ThunderClan apprentices and the 4 RiverClan apprentices quickly fell behind. After a while it was just Scarpaw and 1 ThunderClan cat.
Scarpaw turned around to see the other cat struggling, but making progress. But the shores of the island weren't far. Scarpaw would win. Scarpaw felt elated and lost in her own thoughts she reached the island and turned to see where the other cat was. She didn't see anyone else and thought the Thunderclan cat must have turned back but then she saw bubbles and realized something.
The other cat was drowning.
Scarpaw leapt into the water and pulled the young cat to shore. It was a brown tabby, with green eyes. Scarpaw recognized Bramblepaw, Bramblestar's daughter and apprentice. Luckily Bramblepaw awoke on the island and the 2 swam back to the shore.
Scarpaw's mother, Mistystar licked her and sang praises. Scarpaw looked around, trying to spot Bramblepaw but the apprentice was gone. She was headed for the last contest. the fighting contest. Scarpaw was disappointed her new friend had rushed off so fast but she pulled her mother in the direction of the last contest so she could watch her new friend.
WHAM!!! Bramblepaw's head was throbbing. The ShadowClan apprentice she was facing was brutally strong. In the crowd she could here her mother and father yowling advice, Leopardpaw and Brightpaw were yelling, her new ginger friend, Scarpaw had just arrived and was on her paws yowling. Bramblepaw was distracted and the other cat struck her again.
Bramblestar, who was in charge of the contest looked like he was about to end the contest to save his daughter from many injuries. Bramblepaw sighed. She could take care of herself and she would show them!
Bramblepaw collapsed on the mossy ground as she was pinned down by the ShadowClan cat. She went limp and when the other cat loosened his hold, she exploded backwards, throwing him off. She spun around and tackled her opponant. The tom got up, shocked and Bramblepaw kept hitting his muzzle with her paws, backing him up until he tripped over a root. Then she pounced on him. He struggled to get up but she cuffed him over the ear. Bramblestar called the game and Bramblepaw hopped up, pleased as could be.
Her mother and father were congragulating her. Leopardpaw was licking her sister, Scarpaw, the RiverClan apprentice was meowing congratulations. And Brightpaw was looking at her warmly.
Bramblestar said, "We need to get back to camp so the other cats can come and celebrate with us!"
Bramblepaw said good-bye to her new friend, Scarpaw and then raced back to her camp to help prepare, Brightpaw and Leopardpaw running beside her.
When the cats arrived at camp Blossomfall's kits were running all over the place. Sunkit was poking at a bug on the ground and Foxkit was batting at some leaves. Tigerkit was trying to get into Jayfeather's den while the blind medicine cat blocked his way.
"Please let me in!!! I need 5 poppy seeds to win the contest!"
"My mother said whoever gets 5 poppy seeds, 2 dead moths, 3 leaves, and a fern first wins!"
"Well you can't have any of my-" Jayfeather seemed to notice the returning cats for the first time. "Welcome back! Where are the others?"
Bramblestar replied, "They're helping the other Clans gather members and prey for the celebration."
"Well I hope they- NO!!!! I said YOU CAN'T HAVE ANY!!!" Jayfeather's response was interupted by Tigerkit making a mad dash for the poppy seeds. Jayfeather ran inside after the kit but a minute later Tigerkit hopped out on 3 paws, holding 5 seeds in his paws. The kit got to the nursery and started proclaiming his victory. "I WIN! I WIN! JAYFEATHER TRIED TO STOP ME BUT I TACKLED HIM!!! I WIN!!!!!!!"
Jayfeather came out of his den a moment later. "I'll be cleaning up, my supplies are low and scattered." and with that he headed out of the enterence.
Bramblestar looked at his mate and the 3 apprentices and said, "We have a lot of work to do. I want all the dens having fresh moss, a heaping pile of prey, the camp tidied up, and someone should help Jayfeather collect herbs.
The cats split up the duties and by the time the sun started to sink, they had made the camp look beautiful. Brightpaw and Bramblepaw had even found a large log that they filled with water for thirsty guests.
Bramblestar looked at the ridge and yowled, "They're here!!"
Bramblepaw rushed to greet the visitors but Brightpaw held her back and said, "Wait! At moonrise meet me behind the nursery, I need to talk to you." Bramblepaw nodded and she sped off to greet the visitors and to have some fun.
Bramblepaw rushed to meet the visitors. She met with Scarpaw and they sat down with Brightpaw and Leopardpaw under the rock as Bramblestar explained the rules.
"Tonight is a happy night! Kits will all be in the nursery, our queens have some excellant games and later we will be taking the kits to an elders story time. Apprentices may go into the forest to play their games but be careful!!! Things besides cats stalk the woods at night. Warriors, deputies, and leaders can talk and play if they want. We have sleeping areas if cats get tired. We also have some water and groups will travel out to get more later. The dirtplace is behind the elders den. Please make ThunderClan's home your own for tongiht!"
The cats all yowled and the went in different directions.
Bramblepaw, Leopardpaw, Scarpaw, and Brightpaw all went over to the nursery to help organize the games for kits. Bramblepaw had the worst job. She had to stand still and allow kits to chase her tail. She winced every time tiny claws pricked her and eventually Blossomfall suggested the apprintices got some fresh air.
Bramblepaw and her friends ran out but Brightpaw was not with them. Bramblepaw was worried but then she looked at the sky and saw the moon was almost directly above her in the sky.
"I have to go meet Brightpaw." she told her friends. Leopardpaw and Scarpaw came too and the trio slipped behind the nursery.
They padded until they came to a starlit clearing with a stream trickling in it. There was a cave big enough for the 4 cats to sleep in and trees surronded them, but the she-cats could see the stars between the leaves. It was a beautiful place.
Brightpaw entered in behind them. "Isn't it great?" he asked Bramblepaw then he saw the 2 other cats. "Oh you brought friends, never mind."
He turned around and Bramblepaw thought he was leaving ut he just dragged a large log through the enterence and said to Bramblepaw, "This is for you...guys."
Atop it sat the prey Brightpaw had won at the hunting contest. There were 10 pieces all together because Mosspaw had to give him hers.
Bramblepaw licked Brightpaw's ear, "Thank you." his eyes met hers and they both smiled.
Then Scarpaw and Leopardpaw hissed as two new cats entered the clearing.
Bramblepaw and Brightpaw stepped forword and hissed. The 2 cats looked bored.
"Come on Mosspaw. These apprentices are losers. Let's go scare some kits." this was a spotted gray she-cat talking.
The other cat, a silvery gray said, "You're right Rainpaw. These guys look stupid."
The 4 other apprentices looked at each other and Bramblepaw shrugged. Then they faced the other cats and pounced. The 6 apprentices all tussled but they broke apart.
Rainpaw was the first to speak, "You guys cannot fight."
Then Mosspaw said, "Sorry I called you stupid, I was being a jerk." There was genuine friendliness in Mosspaw's eyes but Rainpaw still looked smug,
Then again Bramblepaw thought All ShadowClan cats look like that. But before anyone could say anything there was a slight wind and a silver tabby appeared in front of them.
"Hello." the new cat said in a gentle tone.
Rainpaw was poised to attack but the cat said, "I bring a message from StarClan."
The apprentices shared puzzled looks but they sat next to the StarClan cat.
The silver tabby went on, "My name is Feathertail. I was a friend of your grandma Rainpaw, your father Bramblepaw and Leopardpaw, and of your grandpa Mosspaw." her voice faltered as she looked at the WindClan cat. "Tell me, do you see him that much?" she asked Mosspaw in a pained voice.
"Sometimes. He's my mentor too. Crowfeather's nice."
Feathertail nodded with more pain in her eyes then a thousand heartbreaks. Then she went on,
"You 6 are very special. You areto be the next great heroes of the forest!"
The apprentices looked stunned and puzzled.
Feathertail said, "You have been chosen by your ancestors to do great things. The cat that picked you will walk in your dreams tonight and you will understand everything. And one more thing before I go."
She turned around and started walking away but she tossed over her shoulder, "The greatest promise is made to a friend but it can be broken by the thorns of betrayal!"
And with that, she left. The apprentices all looked frightened.
Bramblepaw spoke first, "Well she said we should be visited in our dreams so maybe we should get to sleep." the others agreed and they all padded into the cave to rest, unaware that this phrophecy would change their lives.
If you like this book read the sequel Oath.