Leader Graystar- dark gray tabby tom
Deputy Fernstripe- dark russet tom with a very dark russet stripe along his spine (tunneler)
Medicine Cat Swanwing- young pure white she-cat with large, round blue eyes
Sheepfoot- brownish gray tom with white paws
Heatherstorm- pretty silver she-cat with long fur and very long legs
Mountainface- heavyset brown tabby tom with yellow eyes
Mottlefur- dark tortoiseshell tom with a black tail
Raincloud- pretty silver she-cat with long fur
Spottedclaw- dark brown tom with a black patch on his shoulder
Sorrelstem- mostly gray tortoiseshell she-cat
Liontooth- big brown tabby tom
Firebird- bright ginger and white she-cat with sparkling yellow eyes
Hailgorse- light gray tom with shaggy fur and sparkling yellow eyes
Hazelwhisker- black and orange she-cat with green eyes
Mintpelt- brown and silver tom with long fur
Dawnlight- soft creamy she-cat with shaggy fur and sparkling blue eyes
Sharpclaw- mottled tabby tom
Reedwing- dark brown tom
DuskFtail- black and white tom
Mistydawn- white she-cat with silver tabby patches and yellow eyes
Harepaw- dark tortoiseshell tom
Daisypaw- dark tortoiseshell she-cat
Lilypaw- white she-cat with tortoiseshell patches
Gorsepaw- ginger and white tom with long front claws like talons
Eaglepaw- very bright silver tom with long front claws like talons
Cherrystem- golden she-cat adorned with white stripes, mother of Graystar's kits (Thymekit, Dustkit and Owlkit)
Sedgeface- black and white she-cat, mother of Mintpelt's kits (Acornkit and Silverkit)
Hayberry- dark brown tabby she-cat with yellow eyes, expecting Spottedclaw's kits
Fuzzyfur- very old mottled tabby tom with spiky fur
Sandmouse- ginger tabby tom
Berryfang- cream she-cat with an almost white muzzle
A joyful yelp filled the hollow. It was well past moonhigh. The round, yellow moon was sliding down towards the horizon and a watery gray light was starting to light up the moor.
Heads were peeking out of dens. "Has she had the kits yet? Are they alright?" those words were whispered. A white she-cat slid out of the den, her blue eyes tired but bright.
"You all are fussing more than a queen fusses over her kit!" she purred. "Cherrystem is fine, already sitting up and washing the kits." A gray tortoiseshell padded forward. "And the kits?" the tortie demanded, her forepaws kneading the ground anxiously.
Swanwing's ears twitched. "She's kitted two tough little toms and a beautiful she-kit. They haven't named them yet. Graystar is too busy fussing over Cherrystem and asking if she wants fresh-kill or wet moss. I think she is ready to claw his ears off by now!"
Purrs rumbled throughout WindClan's camp. Every single cat was bubbling with joy, but no one else was happier than the two mates that huddled in the nursery.
Deep inside the sheltered gorse bush, tiny mewls emerged from three tiny, wriggling bundles. The golden and white she-cat let out a loud purr.
"Can I name them?" she whispered.
"We can name them whatever you like." replied the gray tom. He shifted from his crouching position. "Go ahead."
Cherrystem bent over her tiny kits and meowed, "Well, this dark gray tabby looks a lot like your father, Dustclaw. Can we name him Dustkit?"
Graystar nodded, his eyes glistening with sadness as he remembered how his father had died a muddy death in the tunnels.
Cherrystem continued. "What about this gray and white tom?" she meowed. At that moment, the gray and white kit's eyes flashed open. They were blue and only open for a heartbeat, but they were huge and round.
"Those eyes!" whispered Graystar. His mate purred. "Well," she purred, "I suppose we're going to have to name him Owlkit!" Graystar nuzzled his son. "I couldn't ask for a better name."
Cherrystem turned her eyes onto her last kit, a she-kit. "What about our beautiful daughter?" she questioned. Graystar's eyes were glued to the wriggling bundle of golden brown and white fur. "Thymekit." he mewed. Certainty was strong in his voice. "Thymekit?" Cherrystem exclaimed. "Well, it is a nice name," she conceded, "and I have named Dustkit and Owlkit."
Graystar licked her ear joyfully. "What does it matter? They're our kits, and thats all that matters."
Cherrystem purred as her mate padded towards the nursery entrance. "Mind if I tell them the names?" he mewed.
Cherrystem swung her head from side to side. "Go ahead."
Graystar bounced out of the den. "We've named them!" he announced, puffing his chest out proudly. "The dark tabby tom is Dustkit, the gray and white tom is Owlkit, and the golden and white she-kit is Thymekit!"
Purrs erupted from the cats that swarmed the hollow. A black and white head popped out of the elders den. "Can I go back to the nursery now? Acornkit and Silverkit are getting fidgety, and tired!"
Graystar nodded. "Of course, Sedgeface!" The black queen turned around back into the elder's den, to return a heartbeat later nudging two sleepy kits forward, one a brown tom patched with black and the other a silver tabby she-kit.
Graystar puffed our is chest. He looked up at the stars, closer than ever before. The clawmoon gleamed and shone a cold, white light upon the moor. Nothing would ever hurt his clan, his mate or his kits. He wouldn't allow it.
As his clanmates melted back onto their dens, a rustle in the heather made Graystar's ears prick. "Aren't you going to bed, Graystar?" meowed Berryfang, an elder.
"No, just- just going to look at the stars." Graystar muttered. Finally, the clearing was empty.
"Psst!" a voice made him jump. He turned around to see a pale gray she-cat leap out of the heather that edged the camp. Her fur glittered with starlight and she carried the scent of lush growth and wet stone.
"Dewflower?" Graystar gasped, his yellow eyes opening wide with amazment. "Mother!"
Dewflower dipped her mottled head. "Yes, my dear. It's me." her cheerful voice faltered for a moment. Graystar's eyes darkened. "Is there something wrong?" he murmured.
The tortoiseshell ignored this. "You and Cherrystem have kitted three fine kits." she purred. The words seemed to catch in her throat. Graystar dipped his head.
Suddenly, with blazing eyes, Dewflower hissed, "I have a prophecy for you."
A cold tingle, like icy water, slipped down his spine. His mouth was dry and his pads grew sticky with sweat. Dewflower's mild greenish blue eyes turned completely white- pupils, whites and all.
"Trinity of kits, born. The one like the dead father shall live to be a warrior, the one with eyes rounder than the moon shall brave a horrific death of a friend, and the one with the fur of her mother will make the ultimate sacrifice for her clan."
Graystar's fur bristled. "Is that all?" he demanded.
"A battle between the wind and the forest," A broken promise, A broken heart. Braver than any warrior, The kit with the fur of her mother shall leave a legacy!"
A sudden, brilliant light started to shine from Dewflower's pelt. Heat radiated off the StarClan cat's fur and with a gentle whisper, Dewflower disappeared.
Graystar was scared.
Chapter One- Storytime
"Cherrystem, I want to go outside!" a dark tabby kit squealed.
His mother lapped at his ruffled fur, smoothing it out carefully. "I know dear, but it's pouring down with rain! You'll get soaked right down to the bone. Besides, your only one moon old. If you catch a cold, you won't be able to fight it as well as me or Father. Dustkit, stay still!"
Dustkit twisted around to face his mother. "I don't like being stuck inside." Thymekit, who was watching for this whole time, jumped on top of her brother. "You've got me to play with!" she purred, batting at him with moss-soft paws.
A black and brown tom and a silver tabby she-cat leaped across the nursery. "You've got me and Silverkit to play with!" the tom mewed. One moon older, the two young cats loomed over Thymekit and Dustkit like sheep.
"It's no use. Dustkit has always been fussy. Don't mind him, Acornkit!" Thymekit sniffed. Silverkit let out a hiss. "Dustkit is the fussiest kit in all of the clans!" she yowled. In a corner of the nursery, a dark brown she-cat with a white underbelly stuck her paws over her ears. "Great StarClan, can't any cat get any peace in here?" Her swollen belly shook as she rolled over
Sedgeface called from the opposite corner. "Silverkit! Acornkit! Come here, we're going to have a nap. And stop bothering poor Hayberry! She's going to be kitting in a half-moon!" Grumbling, the two older kits snuggled down next to their mother.
A soft paw hooked Thymekit into the depths of her nest. Dustkit was already there, blinking up at his mother. As usual, Thymekit's other brother, Owlkit, was valiantly trying to climb up into the nest. He was the smallest of the litter, but the stockiest. Cherrystem grasped him by the scruff and heaved the gray and white kit into the curve of her belly. "I'm going to tell you a story. What do you want to hear about?" mewed Cherrystem. "I want to hear about TigerClan." Thymekit meowed immediantly.
"Well, kit," sighed Cherrystem, "Once, there were three clans, each populated with great cats. There were LionClan, with fur as golden as the sun, and the toms had giant mane. They were brave and true to their word."
"There was TigerClan, masters of hunting, able to sneak up on birds and mice without making a single sound. They were golden too, but they had black, black stripes streaking their fur. They were sneaky, clever and utterly loyal."
"Then there was LeopardClan, faster than the wind, beautiful, powerful. They ran so fast it was like they were flying! They could swim too, like fishes. For them, it was as easy as running."
Thymekit snuggled closer. "And?" she pressed. Cherrystem turned her head away, her beautiful blue eyes rounding. "I can't remember..."
"Be quiet, Thymekit!" Hayberry called. "I can hardly think with you mewling on, asking nonsense questions!"
Thymekit felt anger bubbling in her chest. Why was she in trouble for asking questions? That was like scolding a bird for pecking for worms.
She thought of the three great clans. One day she would be as brave as LionClan, as clever as TigerClan, and as fast and beautiful as LeopardClan.
A striped gray head poked it's way into the den. Graystar stepped delicately over the nests, rainwater dripping off his whiskers and running in rivultes. He dropped a pitfully skinny crow in front of her. "It's the best prey I coud find." he mewed apolegetically. Cherrystem reached up and licked his cheek. "It's fine, my sweet. Anyway, can't you give this to Hayberry? She's the one who is about to have kits."
Graystar blinked. "I got this for you! I passes Spottedclaw on my way in. He's going to catch something for Hayberry." He gave Owlkit a quick lick between the ears. "You've got three kits to suckle."
Cherrystem tossed the crow over to Hayberry, who purred gratefully. "Thanks, Cherrystem! I was going to find something on the fresh-kill pile, but I'm so stuffed with kits that I can hardly move!"
Graystar sighed. Thymekit clambered out of the nest and wound around his legs. He glanced down. "Hello Thymekit!" he meowed, his eyes brightning. Purring, he picked her up by the scruff and shook her. Thymekit squealed.
"Mroww!" he hissed suddenly, and dropped Thymekit. Owlkit was hanging onto one of his hindlegs and digging his claws in. "No, Owlkit!" Cherrystem exclaimed. At that moment, Dustkit did the exact same thing as Owlkit but on the other hindleg. "M-r-no- DUSKIT! Mroww!"
Thymekit held back a loud purr. She loved being in WindClan.
Chapter Two- Apprentice
Cherrystem fussed over her kits. It was the end of leaf-bare, and her three kits were six moons old now. They were going to be apprenticed. Thymekit puffed out her chest as her mother lapped at her glowing golden fur. She was going to be a moor-runner, she was sure of it. Owlkit was definetely going to be a tunneler like the deputy, Fernstripe. Dustkit could be either- he was strong, with good eyesight, yet he had fast reflexes. He once caught a mouse!
The apprentice ceremony wasn't the only thing happening. Earlier that day all the apprentices other than Harepaw had earned their warrior names. Daisypaw became Daisysong, Lilypaw became Lilyfang, Gorsepaw became Gorsefur and Eaglepaw became Eagleclaw.
Graystar leaped onto the Clan-rock. "May all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather beneath the clan-rock for a clan meeting!" he roared, lifting his head as he recited the familier phrase.
Cherrystem nuzzled her three kits. "Good luck." she whispered, licking them all on the head. "Mother, I'm scared." Thymekit whimpered. Cherrystem didn't say anything, but smoothed down a stray tuft of fur on Thymekit's flank.
"Today we are gathered here for one of my favourite ceremonys." Graystar meowed. "Three kits- my kits- have reached their sixth moon and are ready to begin their warrior training. He dipped his head. "Dustkit!" he said. "From now on, you will be known as Dustpaw." The young tabby tom gulped at the sound of his new name.
"Hailgorse!" Graystar yowled. The long-furred tom stepped out proudly, his eyes glowing. "You are one of the clans most valuable warriors. You can catch a rabbit as easy as blinking, and you are so fast that you still surprise you clanmates. You support your clan no matter what. Pass on your sense of commitment and ferocious loyalty to Dustpaw so he can be as fine a warrior as you."
Dustpaw scampered up to his mentor to touch noses. "Dustpaw! Dustpaw! Dustpaw!" the clan cheered.
"Owlkit!" Graystar mewed. The warmth in his gaze was obvious- Owlkit was his favourite by far. Thymekit scowled. Owlkit was everyone's favourite.
"You will now be known as Owlpaw." Graystar announced. He lifted his head. "I can only think that our most senior tunneler is fit to mentor him," he meowed with a touch of pride. "Hazelwhisker, please step forward."
The black and ginger she-cat looked fit to burst as she touched noses with Owlpaw. "Pass on your strenghth and uttermost wisdom to Owlpaw, and train him to be a fine tunneler."
"Owlpaw! Owlpaw! Owlpaw!" Once again, WindClan cheered for it's new apprentice, the tunnelers loudest of all. Cherrystem squealed. "Your brother's training to be a tunneler like me!" she gasped. Blinking, the golden queen gave Thymekit a quick lick on the cheek. "I suppose that you'll be a moor-runner like your father."
Graystar was looking over at Thymekit. The young golden and white she-cat lifted her head with as much dignity as she could possibly muster.
"Thymekit," Graystar murmered. His eyes glowed with a weird grief. He should be feeling proud! Thymekit thought indgiantly.
"Step forward!" Graystar purred, puffing out his chest. Thymekit stumbled forward until she was at the foot of the Clan-rock. "Mottlefur!" Graystar meowed. The dark-furred tom stepped forward. "You have mentored Firebird and Liontooth. I would be a fool not to consider you to mentor my kit. Train Thymekit- no, Thymepaw- to be the best moor-runner to the best of your amazing abilities."
Mottlefur padded up to Thymepaw and stuck his nose out. Thymepaw obediently touched noses with him while the clan cheered around her. "Thymepaw! Thymepaw! Thymepaw!"
Mottlefur purred. "You'll be the best moor-runner WindClan has ever seen, I'm sure of it!" he whispered. Thymepaw blinked gratefully.
"Dustpaw! Owlpaw! Thymepaw! Dustpaw! Owlpaw! Thymepaw!" WindClan yowled their approval of the three young apprentices. Dustpaw puffed out his chest. Owlpaw stood up straighter and Thymepaw gave herself an embarressed lick on her front paw.
WindClan surrounded the trio of apprentices, purring their congradulations. "You finally made it!" Gorsefur purred. "It seemed like yesterday that you were a tiny kit at your mother's belly." Fuzzyfur sighed, shaking his grizzled head. "Oh my darlings, I'm so proud of you!" gasped Cherrystem.
Thymepaw swung her head around, looking for her father. Graystar was nowhere in sight. A striped gray tail was disappearing through the entrance of his den. So much for saying congratgulations.
A gentle nose nudged her from behind. Mottlefur's dark green eyes shone. "Come on, Thymepaw. We're going to see the territory now!" He sounded like an excited kit. "Uh?" Thymepaw grunted. "Oh, right!" she squealed. "The moor!"
Mottlefur purred. "Let's go then."
The pair paused at the gorse tunnel that led out of the WindClan camp towards the open moor. "After you." Mottlefur meowed. Thymepaw slowly slipped through the tunnel. What she saw before her eyes was so beautiful that her jaw dropped.
Chapter Three- Borders
The moor swept out beneath the WindClan camp. At the moment the heather was a dry gray and the gorse's honey-gold had faded to brown due to leaf-bare. Patches of melting snow lay here and there, giving the moor a glistening appearance. A moor-hen's loud call rang across the open land while the wind bitterly cold howled and howled, blowing away ominous gray clouds and welcoming eggshell-blue skies.
"What do you think?" Mottlefur mewed, raising his voice so he could be heard over the wind. Thymepaw didn't reply. She simply let the wind buffet her fur and the rich, earthy smells bathe her tongue. "Is this the moor?" she gasped after a while. "This feels like a dream! I- I love it!" Mottlefur blinked warmly at her.
Suddenly, Thymepaw felt like she could run around the whole world. "I LOVE IT!" the little apprentice yowled. Her paws almost carried her away off into the heather.
"Let's go." Mottlefur murmured. His bony shoulders flexed as he leaped into the heather. Thymepaw followed more slowly, the fur on her back rising as the high-growing plants surrounded her. She fought back several large, tickling sneezes as the long grass brushed against her nose.
The whole place was amazing. Mottlefur showed her the gorge, the best places to lookout for trespassers, where the grass was thin and the gravel was sharp, the surprisingly sandy highmoor, and the sticky, muddy lower moor. He showed her the rabbit tunnels, where Reedwing cheerfully greeted them (his dark fur smothered in clay). He showed her the borders.
Thymepaw learned every clan's scent. They visited the RiverClan border first. The whole scent marker smelled strongly of fish, muddy water and willow bark. Then, the ThunderClan border. It reeked horribly of some sort of stinky herb and mice. ShadowClan came last. Thymepaw nervously checked out the Thunderpath, almost got run over by a monster and got lectured, then Thymepaw got frightened out of her fur by a toad hopping amongst some puddles. ShadowClan smelled of pinesap, muddy water ("Muddy water again!" Thymepaw exclaimed) and frogs.
She was having the time of her life, and her paws were grazed and aching by the time they got back to camp. "Find something to eat, you did great today!" Mottlefur exclaimed. He flicked her ear with his tail, then picked out a thrush. He settled down beside Sorrelstem and began grooming her ears.