{Allegiances} Pinepaw of ShadowClan -- now Pinestar -- is the new leader of ShadowClan. New warriors are born, growing up to be the greatest cats the clans have seen. Name spoilers for The Fourth Apprentice and Fading Echoes


Pinestar watched her camp from the Highledge, black pelt gleaming in the sunlight. Her former apprentices, Darkfang and Wildheart, were some way away, discussing something. The medicine cat, Frosttail, was sitting under a rock ledge, the shade making her tortoiseshell pelt darker. Her apprentice, Flowerpaw, was preparing some poultice. Tigerheart and Dawnpelt – the elders – lay dozing under the shade of a lone pine tree that grew in the clearing, their pelts dull with age. Pinestar closed her eyes as she remembered her father, Smokefoot. The black-pelted warrior had left her many moons ago, but it felt like only the day before. Pinestar’s heart ached with pain as she remembered her mother.

When her eyes blinked open, Pinestar’s gaze drifted over to her deputy and mate, Starlingpelt. Toadfur, Patchtail and his mate Applehawk were padding out of the clearing, into the forest to hunt. Nightstorm and Stormflower padded in, their jaws full of prey.

A queen’s annoyed yowl came from outside the nursery.

“Talonkit! Volekit! Come back here this instant!” Tallwhisker meowed sternly, her tail twitching.

Scorchfoot turned to his mate and padded to his kits, nuzzling the two small creatures and his other kit who had stumbled out of the nursery after its siblings. Talonkit squealed in happiness and grabbed on to her father’s nose, mewling. He lowered his head and she scrambled to the top, grabbing onto his ears with tiny, milk-white teeth. He lifted his head and strode to Tallwhisker, shaking his head to send the white kit tumbling to the ground. She squeaked in surprise, then sat up and shot her father a sad pout. Pinestar knew she was faking it. She wasn’t really hurt.

With a jolt Pinestar realised that those kits were her kin, as Tallwhisker was her cousin. Blackpatch was lazing just outside the nursery, the canopy of brambles shielding her from the sun. Pinestar saw Ripplepaw pick four mice by their tails and bring them to the nursery, dropping one at Tallwhisker’s paws. The pale gray apprentice dipped his head to Scorchfoot before padding to Blackpatch, dropping a mouse at her paws before padding into the nursery to deliver the remaining mice to the other queens. Only then did it occur to Pinestar that Blackpatch was pregnant.

“More kits for ShadowClan,” Pinestar purred.

Crowfire and Ravenfur were sitting outside the warriors’ den, eyes fixed on their mother Smokefrost as she shared tongues with her mate, Ferretfur.

Flintpaw strode into camp with her head high, jaws full of prey. Her mentor – Ratpelt – padded in after her, heading for Pinestar after watching his apprentice deposit her fresh-kill onto the pile.

“Yes, Ratpelt?” Pinestar meowed, looking at the warrior.
“I think that Flintpaw is ready to become a warrior,” Ratpelt meowed, dipping his head to the black she-cat.
“Of course. I will announce her name at sunset,” Pinestar meowed, dismissing her warrior with a flick of her tail.

She thought of names for the apprentice. Flintstep? Flintwhisker? Maybe. Flintclaw or Flintpetal? She thought of more names as her Clan buzzed and remained oblivious to her.

Silvernose – the newest warrior of ShadowClan – padded out of warriors’ den. Finchpaw should be with her, Pinestar thought sadly. Finchpaw had been Silvernose’s brother, but he had died of fox attack a moon ago. Pinestar turned her attention to the apprentices’ den. Deerpaw was eating a shrew, her ears pricked at the call of her mentor, Ravenfur. With a wave of sadness, Pinestar remembered her sister, Deerkit, who had died of starvation when she was merely Pinekit.

Pinestar was jolted back into the present when the oldest kits let out loud caterwauls and play-fought with one another. Greenkit, Brightkit and Skykit were pouncing over one another, their mother, Bluethorn, watching close by. Their father, Skyclaw, had died a quarter-moon before they had been born.

As Pinestar looked up at the sky to see what time of day it was, she realised that all that had taken place between sunhigh and sunset.

“Let all cats old enough to fight in real battle gather beneath the Highpine for a Clan meeting!” Pinestar called loudly, her voice echoing around the clearing.

As the cats gathered, Pinestar quickly thought of names again.

“It is my pleasure and honour to perform this ceremony. By making new warriors, we show that ShadowClan remains strong. Flintpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and protect your Clan, even at the cost of your life?”
“I do,” the gray-and-white she-cat meowed.
“Then by the power given to me by StarClan, you will now be known as Flintpelt. StarClan honours your courage and strengths and we welcome you as a full warrior of ShadowClan.”
“Flintpelt! Flintpelt!” the Clan cheered.

“From now until dawn, you will sit silent vigil and guard the camp,” Pinestar meowed, her gaze resting on the newly-named warrior. “This is also one of my favourite ceremonies, when little mischievous kits start their path to becoming full-fledged warriors. Greenkit, Brightkit, Skykit,” Pinestar began, almost forgetting to name the other kit not from their litter, but born the same time as them, “Sagekit. StarClan, these kits would like to become warriors, but must first be apprentices. Kits, from this day on, until you receive your warrior names, you will be known as Greenpaw, Brightpaw, Skypaw and Sagepaw.”

“Yellowstripe, you will train Greenpaw. Tigerheart was your mentor,” Pinestar meowed, nodding to the dark tabby elder. “I expect that you will pass on your skills to your new apprentice. Smokefrost, you will train Brightpaw. Ferretfur was your mentor, and I hope you will pass on all you have learnt to your new apprentice. Logscar, you will train Skypaw. Skyclaw was one of your apprentices, and he grew to be a fine warrior. Make Skypaw live up to her father’s name. Nightstorm, you will train Sagepaw. Your mentor was Dawnpelt, and I hope all you have learnt will be passed to your apprentice,” Pinestar finished.

“Greenpaw! Brightpaw! Skypaw! Sagepaw!” the Clan cheered loudly.

“Ferretfur, Patchtail, Applehawk and Mossheart, I understand that you wish to retire?” Pinestar meowed.
“Yes, Pinestar,” the meowed in unison.
“Very well. Ferretfur, Patchtail, Applehawk and Mossheart, from now on, you will rely on apprentices and younger warriors to fetch fresh-kill for you, and you will no longer be able to go on patrol. Ripplepaw, since Patchtail is retiring, you will be trained by Timberfall.”

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