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I will use the way over used abandoned kit idea for this story. Enjoy! -- Dawnfeather  talk! 03:43, December 5, 2009 (UTC)


Allegiances

ShadowClan

Leader : Stormstar - Black she-cat

Deputy : Runningtail - Pale brown tabby tom with a long tail.

Apprentice : Yarrowpaw

Medicine cat : Flamepool: Ginger tom.

Apprentice: Briarpaw

Warriors:

Vinetail : Gray tabby she-cat with a stripe down her back.

Darkwhisker : Dark gray tom

Sandclaw : Pale ginger tom with white patches.

Apprentice : Goldenpaw

Tawnypelt: Tortoiseshell she-cat

Hazelwing : Fast pale gray she-cat

Apprentice : Stripepaw

Toadfoot : Black tom

Applefur : Red/brown she-cat

Marshpelt : Brown tabby tom.

Ivytail : Tortoiseshell and white she-cat.

Pebbletalon : Mottled gray tom

Tigerheart : Dark brown tabby tom.

Apprentice : Longpaw

Dawnpelt : Cream she-cat

Owlclaw : Light brown tabby tom

Redfoot : Red tom

Oliveheart: tortoiseshell she-cat

Raintalon: Pale gray dappled tom.

Apprentices:

Briarpaw : Brown tabby she-cat. Medicine cat apprentice.

Yarrowpaw : Speckled gray she-cat

Stripepaw : Brown tome with a black stripe down his back

Longpaw : Pale cream tabby she-cat with long limbs.

Goldenpaw : Dark ginger tabby tom

Queens:

Honeypelt : Ginger she-cat. Nursing Snowkit, although she is not her own.  

Larkflight : Tortioseshell she-cat. Expecting Marshpelt's kits.

Elders :

Russetfur : Old dark ginger she-cat

Whitewater : white she-cat, blind in one eye.

Rowanclaw : Ginger tabby tom

Littlecloud : Light brown tabby tom. Former medicine cat

RiverClan

Mistystar

Reedwhisker

Willowshine

Minnowpelt

Juniperheart

Brookshine

Stoneclaw

Otterclaw


WindClan

Onestar

Crowfeather

Leafpool

Kestralflight

Rabbitfoot


ThunderClan

Firestar

Brambleclaw

Squirrelflight

Jayfeather

Lionblaze

Graystripe

Brackenfur

Sorreltail

Ferncloud

Sandstorm

Poppyfrost


Cats Outside of Clans

Hollyleaf

Smoky

Floss

Jaques

Chapter One

Snow slowly fell through the night sky, covering the ground and trees like a thick blanket. Honeypelt raced over it, wondering why Tigerheart had asked for her to meet him so far from the camp on a night like this. While she was able to cope physically with the demanding task, she was scarred emotionally. Her kits, Seedkit and Cloverkit had died in the same night, at only a half moon of age. This had only been a nights ago, and now the only thing that slowed down Honeypelt's flight through the forest was the little bit of milk that she was still carrying.

A dark shape appeared, next to a pine tree. Tigerheart was crouching in the snow, looking down with his amber eyes. Honeypelt called out to him.

"Tigerheart! What's happening?"

"Honeypelt! Thankyou so much for coming!"

"Tigerheart, could you just tell me why you called me out here so I can get back to my nest and sleep?"  She hissed back at him. Honeypelt, while a queen and suffering dearly from recent losses, was still a very fierce cat, like any of her ShadowClan-mates.

Instead of speaking, Tigerheart put his head down into the snow, and pushed his muzzle against a clump of it.

"Yes? And?" Honeypelt asked with a tone which spoke well of her rising impatience.

But Tigerheart did not need to respond, for right at the moment Honeypelt realised. She realised that laying in the snow was a soft white pelt, tiny, and so still that it blended in well to her surroundings. A small white kit, only a few sunrises old, it's flank rising slightly every few moments, with a pause much too long inbetween. On it's forehead it wore a black mark, like a raindrop.

Upon seeing her reaction, Tigerheart asked a different question.

"Will you, for me?"

Understanding him immediantly, and understanding the entire reason she was called out into this deathly night for, Honeypelt could only answer with one thing.

"Yes."


Chapter Two

"Quickly, then Honeypelt! Take her to the camp."

"Don't tell me what to do, mouse-brain!" Honeypelt spat. But then her voice softened. "I'll go straight to the nursery. She won't survive much longer without my milk."

"No, wait..." Tigerheart looked down guiltily. "Drop her off with Larkflight, then go see Stormstar. Please, don't ask me why. it just has to be this way." 

Honeypelt opened her mouth to complain, but Tigerheart cut her off.

"Please, Honeypelt, no! Just go! She won't last much longer!"

Honeypelt dipped her head and picked up the kit in her teeth. Then she turned around and sprinted as fast as she could back towards the camp. before long she could hardly breathe, and the kitten she held in her mouth did not help. But she couldn't stop, she knew that this little kit's life depended on that. It never squirmed or even stirred once while Honeypelt flew across the snow, which made her even more determined to keep going.

The ginger queen ducked under the clump of undergrowth into the ShadowClan camp. She did not slow down even then, and instead ran straight across to Stormstar's den, near the roots of the HighTree. Only as she came to the den's entrance did she slow down, and she came to a skidding stop, only a moment before hitting the tree trunk. Then without pause, she ducked under the root into the leader's den. Stormstar, alarmed, managed to subdue her shock and hastily spoke.

"Honeypelt! What is this?"

Gently placing the kit at her paws, Honeypelt nuzzled it to see whether it was still breathing. It was, but only weakly. She needed to finish this conversation, fast.

"I..." Honeypelt suddenly remembered that Tigerheart seemed desperate not to be associated with this kit, so she quickly edited the story in her mind. "I found her abaonded out on the other side of the twoleg den. But she needs help, she is hardly breathing, and she nearly froze to death." She tried to speak as quickly as she could.

Stormstar's eyes gave away that she did not want to welcome this kit she knew so little about, but she could see the urgency of the situation, and the warrior code prevented her from delaying.

"Take her to the nursery, try to feed her, and warm her as much as you can." Stormstar passed Honeypelt and the kit, and left the den. Honeypelt picked up the kit again and followed.

Chapter Three

Honeypelt ducked into the nursery, and gently put the kit down at the edge of her nest. The air was slightly warmer than the camp outside, but Larkflight was nowhere to be seen. Honeypelt guessed that she had quickly left to have a word to someone, probably Flamepool, Runningtail, Stormstar, or her mate - Marshpelt. She was the biggest gossip in the clan, and she loved to try and influence those in power to do things the way she wanted. While a true-blue queen who showed no signs of returning to the life of a warrior, Larkflight would be a very powerful enemy to have.

Honeypelt curled up around the kit, and tried to position herself so that it could feed. But yet it did not move, although she grew warmer and her breathing seemed to speed up the tinyest amount. She heard sounds at the entrance of the den, and saw Briarpaw bounding in with her ears up and wide eyes, excited to have a patient, closely followed by Flamepool, her mentor, and Stormstar. Briarpaw crouched and took a few quick steps forward until she was right next to Honeypelt and the kit. She sniffed at the tiny white bundle and froze, and her ears flattened.

Flamepool nudged his apprentice lightly, and then turned his attention to the kit. Briarpaw understood and backed away a few steps.

"Lick her, quickly! Make her fur poke up."

Honeypelt got to work straight away, using her tounge to fluff up the kit's fur.

"Briarpaw, go get some borage. You remember which one that is, don't you?" Flamepool commanded his apprentice calmly. Honeypelt wondered if he felt differently inside. She heard the quick pawsteps of Briarpaw scuffling to get out of the den in her hurry. She wasn't so good as her mentor at keeping her composure. Honeypelt didn't dare look up though. She furiously spent all of the effort she could in making this kit warm.

Stormstar found her voice after a few moments of near silence in the nursery. "Honeypelt, I know about-"

She was cut short by Briarpaw's arrival with her mouth stuffed as full as it could get with a herb Honeypelt remembered as borage. The apprentice dropped it close to Honeypelt.

"Eat this! It will help your milk and stop it from dissapearing. I'll finish warming up the kit"

Honeypelt uncurled herself so that the kit was still against her side but Briarpaw could now get close enough to lick it. With a jolt, she realised that she already felt attached to this kit. She ate the borage as quickly as she could, trying not to think about it. from experience she knew that it's taste was not the most pleasant one. Flamepool stood slightly back from his apprentice, watching her his a slightly impressed look in his eyes.

Again, Stormstar started to speak, just as the fur on the back of her neck started to lay flat again after Briarpaw's interuption.

"Honeypelt, I am sorry about the loss of-" She fell silent at a tiny noise from the direction of Briarpaw. The kit let out one tiny cough, and then opened it's mouth in a silent meow. She then changed her position slightly and started to kneed Honeypelt's belly. Honeypelt and Briarpaw's eyes both grew wider similtaniously. Flamepool purred, and Stormstar just looked on in shock.

"Impossible..." Stormstar murmed. "I thought it was far gone."

"She, if you don't mind, Stormstar!" Honeypelt hissed.

Flamepool's purring grew louder. "Well done, both of you!" He mewed, nodding to Honeypelt and Briarpaw.

"Honeypelt, this is exactly what I am trying to tell you! You can't just expect that ShadowClan will just take in this kit! It hasn't got our blood! It doesn't even have Clan blood, for crying out loud!" Stormstar yowled, struggling to keep her voice down.

"No! She will die without me! Even if you don't approve, the warrior code says that we must not let harm come to any kit, even if they are not from our clan!"

"The code doesn't apply to cats outside of the clans!" Stormstar shot back.

"The warrior code doesn't specify that point." Flamepool entered the conversation, keeping his vioce calm, unlike the two she-cats. "In these circumstances, however, I think that Honeypelt has the stronger point."

Stormstar hissed and opened her mouth to interupt, but Flamepool didn't give her a chance.

"Could you deny Honeypelt this, after what happened the other night? She has the milk to feed her, and we desperately need kits, leaf-bare or not. In a few moons we won't have any apprentices, and unless we take this kit in, we will only have Larkflight's kits, who haven't even been born yet, and won't be for another moon. Honeypelt needs time to grieve before becoming a warrior again and -" he quickly glanced at the ginger queen, "this kit will give Honeypelt the chance to be a mother again."

Honeypelt nearly protested. She wanted to say that no kit could ever replce her dear, beloved kits, but Flamepool had spoken in her defense, and she didn't want him to withdraw that support.

Stormstar looked like she had a lot of things she wanted to say, but instead she simply said, "Very well then, I can see I am out-voted-"

Briarpaw squealed in excitement. When she saw the icy glare from Stormstar she flattened her ears and shrunk back, in embarrassment.

Stormstar continued without taking another breath, "and before I go, I have a few words to say to all of you. I hope you understand the responsibility you have taken on here, Honeypelt. This kit could turn out to be the kit of a Kittypet, soft as moss. It could have have a heart as cold as ice. It may even turn out to be a good warrior, but I doubt it. Whatever happens, this kit is your responsibility." She turned to leave, but Honeypelt spoke before she could get away.

"The same goes for any kit ever born, Stormstar. Any mother has those very same obligations."

Stormstar didn't turn, but went outside into the cold night.

"We too should leave now. You need to get some rest. Briarpaw, get a piece of fresh kill for Honeypelt, please?" Flamepool dipped his head to the once again nursing queen, and then turned and left. Briarpaw followed.

Chapter Four

"Honeypelt! I got you a mouse!" Briarpaw came bounding back into the den. Honeypelt purred to see the apprentice bounding with joy like her normal self.

"Thanks."

Briarpaw started to turn, like she was going to leave, but Honeypelt called out to her.

"Oh, come on! Spit it out!"

Briarpaw's eyes shone.

"Well... I was wondering what you were going to name her."

Honeypelt thought for a moment.

"I really don't know. What you got any ideas?"

"Well... no. You're the expert at naming kits!"

Honeypelt purred and made a noise that sounded a lot like laughter.

"Oh come on! Cloverkit and Seedkit are brilliant names!" Briarpaw suddenly froze. "Oops..." she mewed in a quiet, frightened voice.

Honeypelt purred even louder. "Oh it's quite alright. I miss them, but I think Flamepool was right. This little one really is helping me with my grief."

Briarpaw sighed with relief. Then she started quierying again.

"Where do you think she came from? Who do you think are her parents? That mark on her forehead in interesting - maybe name her for it? Dotkit? No, that doesn't really work does it. Blackkit? No that just isn't right."

Honeypelt couldn't help but cheer up hearing Briarpaw's joyful, persistant chatter.

"But where did she come from? She can't be the snow's child!" Briarpaw laughed at her own joke. "Well, for now, let's just call her the Snow Child."

Honeypelt gasped. "That's it! The name! Snowkit!"

Briarpaw purred. "Yes, I told you that you had a knack for this! It's perfect."

"You came up with it, don't give me all of the credit. You had better get back to Flamepool and tell him. Leave Stormstar till morning though. I think we've already irked her fur more than enough for one night."

"Okay, Honeypelt! I'll come and see you and Snowkit tomorrow morning then."

Briarpaw turned and left for the third time that night.


~-~-~-~    =~-.,_,.-~=^*'*^=~-.,_,.-=     ~-~-~-~

Chapter Five

"Snowkit! Come back over here." Honeypelt called from her nest on the far side of the nursery. Snowkit suddenly stopped her fast crouching run towards Briarpaw's tail, only a few moments before she would have reached it. Her big green eyes were full of excitement and she spun around and ran back towards Honeypelt. "I already told you to stay on this side of the den until I tell you otherwise." Honeypelt scolded.

Marshpelt, Flamepool and Briarpaw were next to Larkflight, who had just given birth to a kit, and according to Flamepool, still had one left to deliver. Snowkit was nearly two moons old and was finding the situation rather exciting.

Snowkit jumped in the air and the spun around in a circle, chasing her tail. "I'm sorry, Honeypelt!"

"Good. now settle down here next to me, and try to stay still!"

Snowkit tried to do as she was told, as managed to stay still for as long as it took for the first kit to be cleaned and for Briarpaw to fetch some more herbs. However, as Briarpaw entered the nursery, a falling leaf clung to her pelt and came off as she passed Honeypelt and Snowkit. Snowkit watched it as it drifted passed her, and then suddenly sprang on in just before it hit the ground.

"Snowkit! What did I tell you?" Honeypelt hissed.

"But I didn't disturb Larkflight or the medicine cats!" Snowkit protested. "Can't I play, as long as I stay on this side of the den?"

"No, you need to rest. We all know you aren't going to be getting much sleep until later after the new kits go to sleep."

"But I can't see what's happening if I lay down!"

"I'm sure that Briarpaw will tell you when the next kit is born. There is no need to worry."

Snowkit dipped her head, defeated. "Okay, Honeypelt." She lay down in the curve of Honeypelt's belly, and suckled a bit, because she still hadn't eaten much fresh-kill yet, and it was much more convienient than asking her to go and get some from the pile.

A few moments later she was a white fluffy ball, sound asleep, tiny, but much bigger than she had been nearly two moons ago when she had first come to the clan. Flamepool took a quick glance at her and purred, seeing that despite the little kit's protests during the night, she was very sleepy and did actually need to sleep.

Larkflight groaned in pain, and Briarpaw called out, "Well done, Larkflight, you've done it!" The call was so loud that Snowkit woke up from her short sleep.

Larkflight was already in better shape now that the pain had ended. She lifted her head, trying to see her kits, but Flamepool picked up the first one and placed it in the curve of her belly, while Briarpaw brought the other one into her view as she licked it clean. The first one, a black and white tom, opened his mouth, trying to meow, and then started to suckle from his mother's belly. A moment later, Briarpaw placed the second one, a pale gray tom who was almost white next to him. It squirmed feebly and soon copied the first, hungry for it's first meal.

Then Snowkit's eyes closed as she fell back to sleep.

Chapter Six

"Palekit, Thornkit!" Snowkit bounded over to Larkflight and her kit's nest. "Come and play!"

"Snowkit! come back over here! You know that they aren't old enough to play yet, they are only just over a moon old. You need to calm down." Honeypelt scolded her foster kit again.

(A/N: Sorry about the filler chapters, but I need to show some way of Snowkit getting older. I didn't want to go from four chpaters straight after one another to skipping over 6 moons of Snowkit's life. So clan events and some random things which she does and plot hints are going to be the next few chapters. Sorry! I plan on making each addition to this series about 10 chapters, or maybe 15 chapters each. Sorry about the long note! lol) -- Dawnfeather  talk!

"Can you tell me a story then?"

"What kind of story?"

Snowkit paused for a second. "How did I get my name?"

Honeypelt purred. "You've heard this one before!"

"But I don't remember it!"

"I know that you do, I only told you again a few sunrises ago."

Before Snowkit could respond, a howl came from outside the den.

"Let all cats young and old gather beneath the High Branch for a clan meeting!" came Stormstar's call.

"Can I go, Honeypelt, can I?" she asked enthusiastically. She was growing bigger every moon, Honeypelt noted. 

"I suppose so."

Snowkit stayed close behind Honeypelt as they left their den to join the gathering clan.

Stormstar started the meeting.

"This morning, Yarrowpaw and Stripepaw fought in a border skirmish against RiverClan. They both fought like true warriors, and their mentors agree with me that it is time that they were made warriors. Yarrowpaw, Stripepaw, please step forward."

Both apprentices obeyed. Each of them looked shocked and excited, but neither of them showed any hestitation.

"I call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on these apprentices. They have trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend them to you as warriors in their turn. Stripepaw."

The young brown tabby stepped forward.

"Do you promise to defend your clan and uphold the warrior code, even at the cost of your life?"

"I do."

"Then from this day forth I name you Stripenose. StarClan honours your speed and determination."

Stripenose dipped his head, and Stormstar quickly tapped it with her nose. Then Stripenose took at step back.

"Yarrowpaw, do you promise to defend your clan, and to uphold the warrior code, even at the cost of your life?"

"I do!" The gray apprentice yowled.

Stormstar seemed pleased by Yarrowpaw's fierceness. "Then from this day forth, I name you Yarrowfur. StarClan honours your fierceness and loyalty."

Briarpaw yowled "Yarrowfur, Stripenose, Yarrowfur, Stripenose" at the top of her voice before the other cats even had a chance to start cheering for her siblings. Stripenose quickly slipped to her side.

"You'll have your medicine cat name before long, you'll see." They both purred. Yarrowfur joined them. Snowkit could see the other twwo apprentices; Longpaw and Goldenpaw, a few tail lengths away, cheering for their former den-mates. Then Hazelwing, closely follwed by her mate, Sandclaw, appeared.

"I'm so proud of all you you!" The gray she-cat meowed.

Snowkit felt a jolt inside of her. Would her mother and father congratulate her at her warrior ceremony? Or even her apprentice ceremony? Suddenly she felt sad. She had never known her mother or father, but she would love to have. She sighed. She had never even met her mother or father, she had no one to comfort her when she got sick, or to go to when she wanted to talk.

But then she realised that she did! Honeypelt was every bit her mother. Did it really matter that they were not of the same blood? Honeypelt could play exactly the same role in her life as a real mother would. Suddenly she felt a lot better, and ran after her foster mother back into the nursery.


Chapter Seven

Snowkit looked behind her to see Honeypelt and Larkflight having afternoon naps.

"Come on!" came a hushed voice from just inside the nursery. It was Palekit, now three and a half moons old. Thornkit was next to him, peering out into the camp.

"Now, go!" he whispered. It was the signal! Snowkit, Thornkit, and Palekit raced out of the nursery, into the camp. A patrol led by Vinetail started entering the camp just as they flew by the fresh kill pile, but before any cat noticed them, they were inside the medicine cat den.

Thornkit waited by the entrance while his brother and Snowkit sniffed around. He had been apointed guard because he had been the slowest in a race to the fresh-kill pile in the morning. Snowkit was glad to see him keeping his word.

"Hmm, this looks nice!" came a mumbling from Palekit's direction. Snowkit looked around at him just fast enough to see him chewing a leaf.

"No!" came a meow from the entrance of the den. Briarpaw raced in and flew full speed into Palekit. He starting coughing and gagging.

"Oh no!" Thornkit yowled. Snowkit ran to Palekit's side and realised that her friend was choking. She felt helpless - there was nothing she could do!

"Do something!" she yowled at Briarpaw, but Briarpaw had her paw down Palekit's throat, trying to get out something, whatever Palekit was choking on.

Suddenly, Flamepool came running in, and he pounced on Palekit's tail, sticking his claws in.

Snowkit yowled fiercely and pounced at Flamepool, clawing at the medicine cat who was attacking Palekit. All of this had taken hardly even a second, and at exactly the same moment, Palekit coughed, and out came a little red mush with tiny cream seeds in it. He stopped coughing, and sat gasping for air.

"Will-will he be okay?" Thornkit asked?

"Of course, you stupid kits! What do you think you were doing, eating herbs from my stocks?" Flamepool mewed, annoyed.

Snowkit hissed. She kneaded the ground, getting ready to spring at the medicine cat again.

Briarpaw jumped up and positioned herself between Flamepool and Snowkit, facing Snowkit. "Cool it off, Snowkit!"

"Get out of the way, Briarpaw!" Snowkit spat back. She was bluffing though - she knew there was no way that she could take on two fully grown cats at once, medicine cat or not.

"My name is not Briarpaw!"

Snowkit got a glance of Palekit straightening up, and movedd so that she was shielding him from Flamepool.

"Snowkit, calm down - I was helping Palekit, not harming him. And Briarheart and I have been at the Moonpool all night, remember? It was well and truly time that she got her full name!"

"And Flamepool saved Palekit's life!" Briarheart continued Flamepool's speech for him. "What better way to make a cat cough something up than to shock them - and what better way to do that than to pounce on their tail?" She dipped her head in embarrassment. "I'm just sorry that I stuffed up treating my first patient after recieving my name! I'm so sorry, Flamepool!"

"And I'm sorry that we have such misguided kits in our clan!" He shook his head. "Trying to eat strawberries that haven't been de-seeded? We use the seeds for strength and to make strengthing herbs taste better when with is, and the remaining berry for a treat, but if you aren't careful, it can get stuck in your throat!"

"Well, we have never used strawberries until we recently found them in the twoleg garden, and tried them for their uses! Maybe we shouldn't use them at all." Briarheart murmured.

"No, it tasted great!" Palekit mewed excitedly, already back to his old enthusastic self.

Snowkit purred. "You didn't seem to be thinking that when you were choking."

Flamepool turned serious again. "I am not joking, you three. You should know better than to go into the herb store! And eating the herbs, I have never heard of that one before! Snowkit, you are nearly an apprentice, you should know better that Thornkit and Palekit!"

"I'm sorry, Flamepool." Snowkit mewed. Her friends echoed her.

"Now go back to the nursery, and make sure that Honeypelt and Larkflight know exactly where you are from now on."

Snowkit sighed and obeyed. She was so close to being allowed out into the forest, and now she had lost a lot of her freedom. But she knew she deserved it. "Yes, Flamepool."


Chapter Eight

"When do I get to be a warrior?" Palekit whined.

Snowkit purred. "I'm not going to be a warrior yet, only an apprentice."

"Only an apprentice?!" Thornkit asked, horrified that Snowkit could put down such a noble ranking within her clan.

"I want to be an apprentice!" Palekit finished Thornkit's statement.

"You will be, in a few moons."

"But I want to be an apprentice now, with you!"

"And we won't have anyone to play with!"

"You have each other! Before you two were born, I had no one! And Tawnypelt's kits will be born in a moon, you'll be able to play with them then!"

Before either could reply, Snowkit was saved by a call from HighBranch. She quickly licked Thornkit and Palekit's head, and said "I'll teach you everything I learn, I promise." and then turned and walked out of the nursery, next to Honeypelt, who had been washing her pelt during the entire conversation. Snowkit could feel it glowing, even the dark spot on her head.

As she approached the HighBranch, Snowkit glimpsed Longpaw and Goldenpaw emerging from the apprentices den, next to their mentors, Tigerheart and Sandclaw.

When the Clan had settled down around them, Stormstar started the meeting.

"Snowkit, please come forward." She called. "From this day forth, until you become a warrior, you will be known as Snowpaw. Dawnpelt, you are ready for an apprentice; you will be Snowpaw's mentor. Pass on all that Ivytail taught you." Dawnpelt dipped her head, and she and Snowpaw touched noses.

"Snowpaw! Snowpaw!" a cheer rose from her clan mates, and she felt her chest swell with pride. She was finally a true clan cat!

Goldenpaw and Longpaw rubbed against her. "I'll help you make a den later, if you want." Longpaw mewed. Snowpaw nodded eagerly.

"Today I also have the priviledge of performing a leader's most important duty." came Stormstar's call from HighBranch. "By making warriors, we show that ShadowClan is strong and will survive. Longpaw, Goldenpaw, come forward."

Snowpaw's new friends walked a few paces forward so that they were near the base of the tree.

"I call upon my warrior ancestors to look down upon these apprentices. They have trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend them to you as warriors in their turn.

"Longpaw, Goldenpaw, do you promise to protect your clan and uphold the warrior code, even at the cost of your life?"

Both young cats answered, "I do."

"Then from this day forth, may you be known as Longstep and Goldenstorm. Longstep, StarClan honours your speed and loyalty. Goldenstorm, StarClan honours your strength and enthusiasm."

"Longstep, Goldenstorm! Longstep, Goldenstorm!" the clan cheered again. Snowpaw joined in as loudly as she could. But suddenly her voice choked up, as she realised that Tigerheart was looking at her, not his apprentice, whom he was cheering for. Didn't he want them to be friends? He didn't even know her! Snowpaw started cheering again, but this time, it was defiantly. She would be friends with whoever she pleased!

"Snowpaw!" Dawnpelt called. "We still have time for you to find a den and go do some training if we hurry! Come on!"

Snowpaw raced past her mentor into the apprentices den. Being an apprentice is going to be great! she thought. But then she saw movement through a small gap in the den's wall's.. A flash of green, then black, then the normal brown of the elder's den thst was just a foxlength from her new den. She shivered. Her mind was just playing tricks on her, she decided, then she quickly scraped some leftover moss up into a pile in the centre of the den. She could live without fresh moss for a night.

"Seeing as I'm all by myself, I may as well make my nest here." she mumbled.

"How is it going in there? Do you need any help?" Dawnpelt called from outside.

"No, I'm coming now!" Snowpaw yowled back.


Chapter Nine

The fallen tree felt slippery underneath Snowpaw's paws. She panicked, and her claws sunk into the moist bark beneath her. Her weight began to fall to one side, and she froze in fear helpless to save herself from falling into the late Green-Leaf warm waters below. Dawnpelt picked her up by the scruff of her neck, and she immediantly came to life, hissing at her mentor for embarrasing her infront of ThunderClan, the only other clan on the island so far.

Dawnpelt placed Snowpaw on the solid ground of the island once they had reached it. "Remember what I told you, Snowpaw. Keep your mouth shut as much as possible. These cats will be your enemies again when the sun rises. Be careful what you say. Right?"

Snowpaw blinked, and dipped her head.

"Right."

Dawnpelt bounded off to sit with her siblings and Owlclaw, Oliveheart, Raintalon, and Redfoot. She was a good mentor, Snowpaw reflected, but she was glad to have a moment free from her mentor's supervision while there were so many new cats to talk. She had been in training for nearly two moons now, and this was her first gathering. Palekit and Thornkit were very excited because they would be becoming apprentices very soon. Snowpaw couldn't wait to have some company in the apprentices den. It would feel strange after all of this time by herself at night.

Snowpaw gazed around for someone to talk to. Her gaze fell on a couple of apprentices - ThunderClan, obviously, as no other Clan had yet arrived.

Bounding up to them she tried to act confident.

"Hi! My name is Snowpaw!" She mewed.

A gray speckled she-cat answered her. "My name is Ashpaw. You're from ShadowClan, right?"

"Of course! I can tell that you're ThunderClan."

"It's none of your buisness who's clan we are. Mind your own buisness! Come on Bluepaw! I can scent RiverClan nearby - let's go meet them!" spat a dark ginger tom. He and a dark gray tom bounded away towards the fallentree - bridge, where sure enough, Mistystar was running along without slipping a mouse-length.

"Don't mind him. Russetpaw likes to boss around anything that can walk, and Bluepaw has his bad moments. I'm Mosspaw by the way." Mosspaw spoke in a friendly tone to Snowpaw. He was a silver tabby.

Two RiverClan apprentices leapt off the tree bridge. A they were almost identical light brown tabby she-cats. The one with pale blue eyes went to meet Russetpaw and Bluepaw while the other one - who had amber eyes came over to talk to Snowpaw, Ashpaw and Mosspaw.

"Who are you?" she asked when she saw Snowpaw.

Ashpaw quickly started speaking. "Tawnypaw, this is Snowpaw. She's a Sha-"

"ShadowClan cat? Yeah, I can tell from the scent." Tawnypaw wrinkled her nose for the effect.

Snowpaw hissed and arched her back.

"Hey, hey, cool it! I was only teasing!" Tawnypaw purred.

"The gathering's starting!" Mosspaw cried.

Snowpaw turned her attention to the massive tree in the centre of the island. Sure enough, WindClan had arrived during her conversation with the other apprentices.

Onestar stepped forwards. He was getting old and frail now, and it was a well known fact that he was the oldest leader. Mistystar may have been about the same age, but she still seemed strong and healthy.

"WindClan has three new warriors - Beetlewing, Fernleaf, and Swiftleg." Snowpaw spotted a dark brown tabby she cat and her pale gray tabby sblings - one she-cat, one tom, proudly puffing out their chests, trying to look strong. Onestar continued his report. "We also have two new apprentices this moon - Runningpaw and Larkpaw. Prey is running well, and our young warriors especially are making good use of our strip of forest." While he said this, and quickly glared at Firestar, but ThunderClan's leader chose to ignore this comment. He then stepped forward to address the clans.

"Prey is running well in ThunderClan also. But we have managed to scent Hollyleaf -" The gathering started to break up because groups of cats were excitedly talking about Hollyleaf.

"Who is Hollyleaf?" Snowpaw whispered to Ashpaw.

Ashpaw hissed in anger at hearing the name.

"She used to be a ThunderClan cat until she turned treacherous and killed my mother's brother. I'm named after him. Then she went all crazy. She used to love te warrior code. One of the most loyal cats to it I have ever heard of. But then she found out that she shouldn't have been born because it was against the warrior code for a medicine cat to have a mate and kits - let alone a mate from a different Clan. She hates the warrior code now."

Snowpaw was worried. There was nothing more dangerous than a cat who wasn't thinking straight. A cat who would do anything to destroy the warrior code.

"Quiet!" a voice silenced every cat in the clearing at once with her loud, commanding meow. Snowpaw looked up at the tree to see that it was Mistystar who had spoken.

Firestar nodded to her, and then continued speaking.

"As I was saying; we have scented Hollyleaf on our territory. She was near the ShadowClan border. Stormstar - you may need to remind your patrols to watch out for her. She is very dangerous and-" Firestar was interupted by a hiss from Stormstar.

"Do not tell me how to run my Clan, Firestar! Do you not have your own to worry about? Haven't you -" saved the clans " enough times, or do you still wish to exercise authority over the rest of us?"

Firestar looked like he was going to answer back rudely, but then he just dipped his head and mewed, "Very well."

Stormstar then spoke a little bit about ShadowClan over the past moon - she didn't have much to say. Mistystar's report was much the same. It seemed that within a few moments the gathering was breaking up into Clans. ShadowClan were the first over the tree-bridge, and Snowpaw padded beside Longstep and Goldenstorm on the way back to camp, with Dawnpelt keeping an eye on her from behind.


Chapter Ten

Dry leaves rubbed against Snowpaw's pelt as she entered the ShadowClan camp. Dawnpelt was just infront of her, with Yarrowfur, Toadfoot and Owlclaw.

"Go and have a quick rest - take a piece of fresh kill as well. I'll call you later for a bit more work." Dawnpelt mewed. 

Snowpaw nodded her head and then dashed off towards the fresh kill pile. Taking a mouse, she turned toward were Palekit and Thornkit were playing just outside the nursery. Tawnypelt watched them sleepily as her new kits sleep in the sunlight by her side. Snowpaw had not yet seen them, and so after greeting her two friends, she went to talk to Tawnypelt.

"Hi Tawnypelt! How are you today?"

"Oh, I'm fine, Snowpaw. how is training going?" 

Snowpaw quickly remembered that Dawnpelt is Tawnypelt's daughter, so of course Tawnypelt would be interested in how Dawnpelt was coming along as a mentor.

"It's great! We went on a patrol today! How are the kits?"

"You haven't met them yet, have you? The golden she-cat is Brackenkit, the black she-cat is Poppykit, and the gray tabby kits are Dustkit" she said, indicating with her tail to a she-cat "and Eaglekit." she continued, indicating to a tom.

Snowpaw purred. "They're good names."

Tawnypelt blinked gratefully.

"I'll talk to you later, I get a quick break to talk and eat and then Dawnpelt and I are going out training again."

"She is working you hard." Tawnypelt noted.

"And I'm going to be a great warrior!" Snowpaw answered.

Tawnypelt purred. "I know you will be."

Snowpaw dipped her head, and then spun around to play with Palekit and Thornkit. She helped them to practise their hunter's crouches for a short while, as she hungrily gulped down her mouse.

As she watched, her focus began to drift, until her eyes were focused on the other side of the camp where Ivytail and Toadfoot were sharing tongues in the remaining sun. Maybe they would have kits soon, Snowpaw thought. Nearby, Oliveheart was looking slightly plump; maybe she was expecting kits. 

Everywhere Snowpaw looked, cats had family members and mates, mothers and fathers, even littermates. Her best friends, Palekit, Thornkit, Longstep, and Goldenstorm where still close to their parents, and yet Snowpaw had never known what it was like to have parents. What if she ever met them? Would they know who she was? Would she know who they were? Maybe she had already met them, and she had no idea!

Snowpaw's thoughts were interupted by Dawnpelt calling her name. Snowpaw jumped to her feet and spun around to face her mentor.

"Come on Snowpaw, let's go fetch some moss for bedding." together they raced towards the exit of the camp, but suddenly Snowpaw heard her name being called again. She paused to see who is was; Palekit was calling goodbye. 

Snowpaw yowled "Goodbye!" back, but before she could turn and leave the camp, she noticed Tigerheart staring at her with his bright amber eyes. Snowpaw felt a chill go through her, and trying to ignore what she had seen, she sped after her mentor, into the forest.


Chapter Eleven

"I get to choose where my nest is first!" Thornkit mewed excitedly.

"Okay, as long as I get one next to Snowpaw!" Palekit replied, equally excited. The two kits started to scuffle with each other.

"Calm down, you two, or no one will ever believe that you are apprentices: they'll send you straight back to the nursery when they find you out of camp!" Snowpaw purred.

Immediantly, Palekit and Thornkit sat up and tried to look serious. Snowpaw was in the nursery, quickly saying hello to her friends before their apprentice ceremony. The den was quite full as Oliveheart had just moved in and was expecting kits within a moon, and Tawnypelt's large litter were growing bigger and louder. Snowpaw was finding it rather suppressing and decided to take her leave early.

"I'll see you two at the ceremony! Be good until then!" Snowpaw trned and dashed out of the den. Only moments later, she heard Stormstar mew from HighBranch.

"Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather beneath HighBranch for a Clan meeting!" she yowled.

When nearly all of the cats had gathered in the centre of the camp, Palekit and Thornkit appeared at the entrance of the nursery, accompanied by Larkflight.

"Thornkit, from this day on, until you recieve your warrior name, you will be known as Thornpaw. Applefur will be your mentor." Applefur came forward,and the new mentor and apprentice touched noses.

"Palekit, from this day on, until you recieve your warrior name, you will be known as Palepaw. Redfoot will be your mentor." Redfoot was near the front so he did not have to move far to meet his new apprentice. They quietly greeted each other, and then went to sit down with Thornpaw and Applefur.

"I also have another ceremony to perform. Vinetail, please come forward." 

Vinetail obliged.

"Vinetail; is it your wish to leave behind the duties of a warrior and become an elder?"

"Yes, it is."

"Then StarClan and your Clan honour you for your many seasons of service. May you rest well and stay healthy." Stormstar dipped her head to the ageing she-cat, and Vinetail mirrored her signal.

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