- Mothstar – light brown spotted tabby she-cat with amber eyes
- Lightclaw – blue-grey tom with white front paws and hazel eyes
- Beefur – fluffy golden brown tabby tom with copper eyes
Warriors: (toms, and she-cats without kits)
- Mapleflight – reddish-brown tabby she-cat with amber eyes
- Iceflower – white she-cat with one amber eye and one blue eye
- Apprentice, Featherpaw
- Haywhisker – cream tom with amber eyes
- Flameclaw – ginger tom with icy blue eyes
- Fernpelt – pale ginger she-cat with green eyes
- Spidertooth – black tom with copper eyes
- Apprentice, Spottedpaw
- Darkbelly – tortoiseshell she-cat with green eyes
- Batfang – dark brown tabby tom with amber eyes
Apprentices: (more than six moons old, in training to become warriors)
- Featherpaw – blue-grey she-cat with yellow eyes
- Spottedpaw – tortoiseshell she-cat with blue eyes
Queens: (she-cats expecting or nursing kits)
- Violeteyes – pinkish-grey she-cat with purplish-blue eyes (mother to Berrykit, black she-cat with blue eyes, Ashkit, grey tabby tom with amber eyes, and Volekit, light brown tabby she-cat with yellow eyes)
Elders: (former warriors and queens, now retired)
- Leopardwillow – dark brown spotted tabby she-cat with amber eyes
- Leafblaze – brown tom with orange eyes
- Patchstar – tortoiseshell tom with a white spot on his chest and orange eyes
- Harestep – white tom with green eyes
- Sunflight – long-haired ginger she-cat with yellow eyes
- Apprentice, Duskpaw
- Elmclaw – light brown tabby-and-white and green eyes
- Coalfoot – black tom with green eyes
- Apprentice, Blazepaw
- Larchstripe – dark brown tabby she-cat with amber eyes
- Stonetail – grey tabby she-cat with amber eyes
- Apprentice, Dovepaw
- Dawnbriar – silver tabby she-cat with green eyes
- Hazeclaw – grey-and-white tom with yellow eyes
- Claypetal – reddish brown she-cat with orange eyes
- Apprentice, Nightpaw
- Nettletooth – brown-and-white tom with amber eyes
- Duskpaw – silver tabby tom with pale blue eyes
- Blazepaw – tortoiseshell she-cat with a mostly ginger face and green eyes
- Dovepaw – long-haired white she-cat with amber eyes
- Nightpaw – black-and-white tom with amber eyes
- Dappleshine – tortoiseshell she-cat with blue eyes (mother to Goldenkit, ginger tabby-and-white tom with blue eyes)
- Ashentail – long-haired golden brown tabby she-cat with grey eyes (mother to Frostkit, light grey tom with icy blue eyes)
- Sparrowsplash – grey-cream tortoiseshell she-cat with grey eyes
- Lilyfur – cream she-cat with green eyes
- Dustcloud – long-haired brown tom with yellow eyes
- Shadesong – dark brown tabby tom with blue eyes
- Wolfstar – brown she-cat with grey eyes
- Yewtail – dark brown tabby tom with amber eyes
- Paleheather – pale ginger she-cat with amber eyes
- Mousetail – brown she-cat with copper eyes
- Apprentice, Silverpaw
- Gorsebreeze – dark brown tabby tom with green eyes
- Oatfall – patched cream-and-white tom with amber eyes
- Eagleclaw – brown tom with amber eyes
- Apprentice, Hawkpaw
- Bramblecloud – dark brown tabby she-cat with blue eyes
- Ravenpelt – black she-cat with green eyes
- Apprentice, Littlepaw
- Fogstripe – silver grey tabby tom with green eyes
- Silverpaw – silver tabby she-cat with blue eyes
- Hawkpaw – light brown tabby tom with amber eyes
- Littlepaw – tortoiseshell she-cat with yellow eyes
- Brighwhisker – light brown tabby she-cat with pale blue eyes (mother to Leafkit, brown tortoiseshell she-cat with amber eyes, and Slatekit, grey tom with blue eyes)
- Ryeberry – creamy brown tom with green eyes
- Minnowstar – silver tabby tom with amber eyes
- Cherryfur – ginger she-cat with orange eyes
- Cedarfrost – grey tom with a white spot on his chest and blue eyes
- Apprentice, Thrushpaw
- Redfang – dark ginger tom with amber eyes
- Briarclaw – dark brown tabby she-cat with green eyes
- Honeynose – creamy brown she-cat with yellow eyes
- Apprentice, Daisypaw
- Heronfeather – blue-grey tom with orange eyes
- Duckfur – brown and white she-cat with amber eyes
- Apprentice, Oakpaw
- Wrenflight – dark brown tabby tom with amber eyes
- Lionpelt – golden brown tabby tom with orange eyes
- Apprentice, Moonpaw
- Seth – silver tabby tom with blue eyes, formerly a loner
- Thrushpaw – grey she-cat with green eyes
- Daisypaw – tortoiseshell she-cat with white paws and yellow eyes
- Oakpaw – light brown tabby tom with amber eyes
- Moonpaw – grey tabby tom with pale yellow eyes
- Rosestream – brown she-cat with copper eyes (mother to Rosekit, brown she-cat with blue eyes, Skykit, light grey she-cat with blue eyes, and Nightkit, silver tabby tom with blue eyes)
- Mousepelt – brownish grey tom with amber eyes
- Flameheart – pale ginger tom with orange eyes
- A group of lithe, muscular shapes moved through the shadows of the pine trees. In the lead of these shapes was a large tortoiseshell tom, his orange eyes glowing in the shade like small suns. Suddenly, a yowl sounded in the pine forest. The tom turned his head back to the rest of the cats, and saw a dark brown tabby she-cat with her mouth open, sniffing the air.
- “What is it, Larchstripe?” the tortoiseshell called.
- “Blood…” Larchstripe responded. She took in another breath of air. “I smell cat blood, Patchstar.”
- “What?!” a shout came from another one of the cats.
- Patchstar closed his eyes for a few moments. When at last he finished considering his choice, they reopened, glowing once again. “Lead us there, Larchstripe.”
- The group followed the tabby she-cat as she followed the scent’s trail. They weaved through the trees, moving ever closer to the border they shared with ThunderClan. Larchstripe let out another yowl as she saw the source of the blood-scent.
- Lying on the border was a tortoiseshell she-cat, her sides covered in gashes, each oozing large amounts of blood. Larchstripe ran straight to the she-cat and began to lick the wounds with her rough tongue.
- Patchstar turned to a small, black-and-white tom standing behind him, his eyes blazing in fury. “Go fetch Sunflight!” he shouted. Seeing the hesitation in the small tom’s eyes, he yelled again. “Go!” The black-and-white cat burst off in the opposite direction as fast as he could run.
- “What happened to you, Blazepaw?” Larchstripe asked sorrowfully.
- “I fought them off…” the tortoiseshell rasped. “Did I do well?”
- “Who did you fight? Who did this to you?!” Larchstripe shouted, her eyes narrowing in a mixture of sadness and rage.
- “It wa-” Blazepaw began to reply, but her response was cut off as she began to hack up blood.
- Larchstripe began to lick the she-cat’s flank harder while making a purring sound, as if to calm herself down as well as the wounded cat.
- The black-and-white tom came back, followed by a fluffy, ginger she-cat. Sunflight’s mouth was filled with sharp, bright green leaves. She ran up to Larchstripe and Blazepaw, but sighed in defeat. “I'm sorry, Larchstripe,” she replied sadly as Blazepaw coughed up more blood. “There’s nothing I can do to stop internal bleeding. She is in the paws of StarClan now.”
- Patchstar approached the dying apprentice slowly. “This is a ceremony that hasn't been used in many seasons, and I wished that I would never have to use it.” He blinked slowly out of respect. “I ask my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has learned the warrior code and has given up her life in the service of her Clan. Let StarClan receive as a warrior. She will be known as Blazeheart.”
- "Thank you... Patchstar..." Blazeheart struggled to mew. As she thanked her leader, her green eyes began to dull as she neared death.
- When at last Blazeheart had stopped breathing, Larchstripe let out a quiet mew of sadness. She closed her eyes and sighed. Grabbing the tortoiseshell she-cat’s scruff, she began to drag the body back to the ShadowClan camp. The other cats of the patrol followed slowly.
- “No!” a shout called. A white she-cat emerged from a den of pine branches, her amber eyes wide with surprise. She ran up to her sister’s body, and buried her muzzle in its fur, making soft sounds of crying.
- “I’m sorry, Dovepaw,” Sunflight mewed sadly to the she-cat. “There was nothing I could do for her.”
- “It’s not your fault,” Dovepaw replied, not even looking up to face the medicine cat.
- Cries of outrage came from the cats of ShadowClan as they saw Blazeheart’s body.
- “It must’ve been ThunderClan!”
- “How could they have done this?!”
- “She was barely even apprenticed!”
- Patchstar sat atop a branch that overhung his den. His eyes were squinted in annoyance as his Clan argued among themselves.
- “They killed my kit, Patchstar!” Larchstripe shouted as she was being comforted by her mate, a large, white tom. :“They’re nothing but murderers!”
- Patchstar raised his tail for silence. Once the Clan had quieted, he let out a shout. “We will attack ThunderClan at sunrise!” He turned his head to Larchstripe’s mate. “Harestep, organize a battle patrol. No apprentices.” He jumped down from his perch and walked towards Sunflight. “Have I done the right thing?”
- The medicine cat sat for a moment, her eyes filled with worry. “I don’t know Patchstar. Only StarClan knows.” She turned and began to walk into her den. “The outcome of the battle tomorrow will give us an answer.”
- He stared intently on his target, its grey tail wrapped around its body. Crouch, he thought. Bend… jump! He pounced on the tail, its owner yowling in pain.
- “Goldenkit,” it cried, “don’t do that! It hurts!”
- Goldenkit chuckled. “Well then, Frostkit, maybe you shouldn’t leave it unguarded! A true warrior is always prepared for battle!” He pounced on the grey kit once again, this time aiming for his back. But Frostkit was ready for this attack. He turned around and rolled as the larger kit landed on top of him, switching their positions, leaving him on top. They wrestled in their den for a few moments. Suddenly, Goldenkit felt a tug on his scruff. His mother pulled him off the other kit and placed him back near her belly.
- “There’s no need for play-fighting this early,” the tortoiseshell she-cat told him. “The sun has just risen.”
- “But Dappleshine,” Goldenkit complained, “what else am I supposed to do? There’s nothing else to do around here!” He attempted to dodge his mother’s tongue, but to no avail. He had no choice but to allow her to groom his fur. I can do it myself! he thought. I’m not some newborn kit who can even see or hear!
- Annoyance flashed in the queen’s blue eyes. “If you’re going to fight, then take it outside. Ashentail’s still sleeping, and Sparrowsplash needs even more rest with her kits coming soon.” Goldenkit’s eyes shifted the two queens on the other side of the den. One was a golden brown tabby. This was Ashentail, Frostkit’s mother. The other had a pelt brindled with grey and cream, Sparrowsplash. She had just moved to the nursery a few days before. Now her kits were only a moon away from being born.
- “Okay,” Goldenkit replied shamefully. Turning to his friend, he added, “Let’s go!” Running out of the den before his friend could react, he stopped to let his eyes adjust to the bright sun. His pelt glowed warmly, its orange stripes standing out against their cream-and-white background. He felt something weigh down on his lower back and saw Frostkit’s front paws pushing down on his hindquarters. Goldenkit hissed playfully and batted at the other kit with his paws, making sure to keep his claws sheathed. They wrestled once again, rolling around in front of the den. Goldenkit felt his shoulders bump into something… or some cat.
- “Watch where you’re going!” a voice hissed. Goldenkit looked up to see Hazeclaw, his yellow eyes blazing against his grey-and-white fur. Suddenly, they softened, realizing that the cats that cats who had bumped into him were just kits. “I’m sorry,” he apologized softly. “I thought you were two apprentices.”
- “We almost are!” Goldenkit protested. “I’ll be an apprentice in less than a moon!”
- “Yes,” the warrior replied, “but you aren’t apprentices yet. So stay near the nursery. Dustcloud won’t be so forgiving if you hit him.” He nudged the kits back towards the nursery. Goldenkit saw his mother step out of the nursery, her black-and-ginger fur standing out against the brown and green trees that surround the camp. I wonder where she’s going, he thought. But his mother walked off towards an area of the camp he didn’t recognize. :Ashentail grabbed her son with her jaws and returned to the nursery, ignoring his attempts to escape from her grip.
- “Good morning,” a she-cat called. She was ginger, faint darker stripes on her flank becoming more noticeable as she left the shade. Her yellow eyes glowed with love. Goldenkit wondered for a moment and then remembered that this was Sunflight, his mother’s sister and ShadowClan’s medicine cat. “You’re up pretty early.”
- “I can’t sleep in the sun,” Goldenkit told her. “It’s too bright, and it keeps getting brighter each day.”
- “That’s because it’s Greenleaf,” the medicine cat replied. “In a few moons, it’ll start to get cooler and the days will become shorter.” His aunt licked her chest and looked back up. “But until then, you’re just going to have to live with it like the rest of us.” Sunflight turned her head to point to the black warrior Coalfoot. “At least your pelt isn’t dark like his. Now you better head back to the nursery.”
- “Alright,” Goldenkit said sadly. He turned and returned to the brambles of the nursery. Yawning, he curled up in the shade and fell asleep.
- “Goldenkit, wake up.” Goldenkit sleepily opened his eyes. His looked up at his mother, her nose pressing against his flank.
- “What is it?” he asked slowly. The sun was just beginning to set, making the camp outside the nursery gain an orange tint.
- “It’s time for your apprentice ceremony.”
- Goldenkit jumped up in excitement. He was going to be an apprentice! The ginger tabby kit could feel his heart pounding. Then, he turned to his denmate, his blue eyes filled with sadness. He walked up to the light grey kit and gave him a short lick between the ears. “I’m going to miss you.”
- Frostkit looked up, his icy blue gaze unreadable. “We’ll be in the same den in a moon.” He paused. “Promise that you’ll still visit.”
- “Of course,” Goldenkit replied to his friend. He turned and walked into the fading sunlight.
- “Not yet,” Dappleshine said. She grabbed her son and began to give him a short grooming. “You have to look good during an important ceremony like this.” Goldenkit narrowed his eyes in frustration but didn’t try to struggle. He knew it would do no good. “Now you’re ready,” his mother said once she had stopped licking.
- Goldenkit walked out into the fading sunlight. He could see many cats he had never seen before, each with a different colored pelt. In the middle of these cats, sitting on the branch of an oak tree, was a large tortoiseshell tom, his eyes orange and a scar on the bridge of his nose. For some reason, he seemed to have a more regal look to him than the others.
- “You’re an apprentice at last,” a voice said. Goldenkit turned his head to see a wide-shouldered tabby-and-white tom. This was his father, Elmclaw. He had a pelt similar to Goldenkit’s own, only it was light brown instead of ginger and he had white paws in addition to the white muzzle and underbelly that Goldenkit had. Pride glowed in his father’s green eyes.
- Goldenkit looked up at the tortoiseshell tom and saw him flick his tail, summoning the kit forward. He realized this must be Patchstar, their leader. “Goldenkit,” he began, saying the words passed down for generations from StarClan, “you have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to be apprenticed. From this day, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Goldenpaw. I ask StarClan to watch over you and guide you until you find in your paws the strength and courage of a warrior.” Patchstar turned to a silver tabby she-cat. “Dawnbriar, your kits are apprentices and you are ready to take on an apprentice. You have shown yourself to be courageous and diligent, and I expect you to pass on all you know to Goldenpaw.”
- Dawnbriar stepped up to Goldenpaw and moved her nose toward his. Goldenpaw remembered that he was to touch noses with his new mentor. For a moment, blue eyes met green as the apprentice touched noses with his mentor.
- “Goldenpaw! Goldenpaw!” All of ShadowClan called his name, though he could hear the voices of his parents and Frostkit louder than the others.
- “I hope we get along well,” Dawnbriar whispered, her eyes filled with nothing but kindness. Goldenpaw nodded his head. As their leader jumped down from the branch, the Clan dispersed. Dawnbriar turned to her apprentice. “I’ll take you out tomorrow, but for now, get to know your new denmates before moonrise.” She turned towards the warriors’ den, taking a seat next to Hazeclaw.
- Goldenpaw walked towards the apprentices’ den, noticing a beautiful, white she-cat. Her fur glowed in the approaching darkness. “H-hi,” Goldenpaw said shyly. This was Dovepaw. She and her late littermate, Blazeheart, had moved from the nursery into the apprentices’ den just a moon before. “I’m glad to be your denmate again.”
- “Thank you,” Dovepaw replied quietly. “I missed you, too.” A black tom passed by, his white underbelly and amber eyes glowing in the darkness.
- “Make your bed wherever you want,” he said, “as long as it’s away from mine.” The tom padded into the den, leaving the other two apprentices behind.
- “Sorry about Nightpaw,” Dovepaw apologized. “He’s not like this all the time. He’s just not comfortable around other apprentices. He’s going to be a warrior soon.” Giving Goldenpaw a lick behind the ears, she padded into the den and lay down in a bed of moss. Goldenpaw entered after her. Avoiding lying down in the moss that smelled of Blazeheart, he curled up next to the fluffy she-cat. He lay awake for a few moments, taking in the sweet smell of her fur, before drifting off to sleep.
- Goldenpaw awoke to a cat prodding his side. Tiredly, he opened his to see his mentor, Dawnbriar, standing over him. “What is it?” he asked.
- “Time to get up,” she replied. “Since it’s your first day as an apprentice, I won’t be giving you training yet. Instead, you’ll be getting a tour of our territory.”
- Goldenpaw instantly jumped to his paws, excited to be able to leave the camp for the first time in the six moons of his life. “Great!” He quickly groomed the fur on his flank and turned his head back to Dawnbriar. “When do we start?”
- “Soon, but first, grab something off the fresh-kill pile.” His mentor pointed her striped tail to a pile of prey in the middle of the camp. “You’ll need the energy.”
- Goldenpaw nodded and walked over to the pile. He picked up a grey mouse that looked like it had a lot of meat to it. He looked around and spotted Dovepaw sitting next to the apprentices’ den. He hurried over to her and dropped the mouse in front of her. “Hi! Do you want to share?”
- The white she-cat’s eyes grew in surprise. Then she replied, “Sure.” Both apprentices bent down and began to eat the mice. In a matter of seconds, there was nothing left but a small patch of fur. “Thank you,” Dovepaw said to him, her amber eyes glowing with gratitude.
- “No problem,” Goldenpaw replied.
- “Goldenpaw!” Dawnbriar’s voice cried out from the other side of camp.
- “Sorry,” Goldenpaw apologized, “I have to train. Bye!” He flicked the end of his tail and padded over to his mentor. A silver tabby tom padded up to the two cats.
- He looked about the same age as Nightpaw, and about the same size, too, although his build was much slimmer, while Nightpaw’s was rather muscular. In fact, this cat was the spitting image of his own mentor, the only noticeable difference beyond size and build being his pale blue eyes, while Dawnbriar’s eyes were a shade of green not unlike Goldenpaw’s father’s own eyes. The tom nodded in greeting to Goldenpaw. “Hi, I’m Duskpaw.” Goldenpaw could hear his mentor purring slightly. Putting two and two together, he realized that Duskpaw must be Dawnbriar's son. 'Paw? Goldenpaw wondered. He wasn’t in the apprentices' den last night… Could he be Sunflight's apprentice? As if Duskpaw had heard Goldenpaw’s thoughts, he told Dawnbriar his reason for joining the two. “May I join you two? Sunflight wants me to search for tansy. She said that we’re running low.”
- Dawnbriar nodded and led the two apprentices through the tunnel into the pine forest that was ShadowClan’s territory. Duskpaw moved towards Goldenpaw while they were walking through the trees. “Sorry if my brother gave you any trouble,” he whispered. Nightpaw? Goldenpelt thought. Of course, the only other apprentice is Dovepaw. “He’s not exactly the most sociable of cats.”
- “You shouldn’t badmouth your Clanmates,” Dawnbriar told her son, overhearing his whispering.
- Duskpaw flicked his tail in embarrassment and changed the subject. “So, how do you like being an apprentice so far?”
- Goldenpaw twitched his whiskers before replying. “Well, I have really done much other than sleep.” He held in a laugh. “But it’s nice to have a lot of room in the den. It was already crowded before with just Frostkit and me, but it was starting to get cramped when Sparrowsplash had to move in. I’m gonna miss Frostkit, though…”
- “Well,” Duskpaw replied, “he’s only a moon younger than you. It’ll be no time before he’s back in the same den as you. Sparrowsplash will have her kits around that time, too. I doubt you’ll be denmates with them – even if you will be, it probably won’t be for very long – but you’ll have plenty of company with Nightpaw, Dovepaw, and Frostpaw. I guess the good thing about being an apprentice is that all of your denmates are around your age.”
- “Do you ever regret choosing to be a medicine cat instead of a warrior?” Goldenpaw asked. “The only denmate you have is Sunflight, right?”
- “I guess,” Duskpaw said, “but… I dunno, being a warrior wouldn’t be the same. I didn’t really get much excitement from play-fighting back when I was in the nursery. And being able to help my Clanmates sounded like fun to me, so I chose to be Sunflight’s apprentice instead. I guess StarClan agreed with me, too.”
- Dawnbriar stopped. Goldenpaw hadn’t noticed it before now, but the soft soil and grass that was covered in pine needles had suddenly shifted to rough sand. He could feel a cool breeze coming from in front of him. Nothing could feel more soothing than this in these hot, Greenleaf days. “This is the lake,” Dawnbriar told him. Wow! Goldenpaw knew that the lake was big, but he didn’t know it was this big! He could barely even see the Great Oak on the island across the lake. Pointing right with her tail, Dawnbriar signaled them to move on.
- They walked along the shore for what seemed like an eternity. Is our territory really this big? A few moments later, they stopped again. Goldenpaw could see a large, boxy shape in front of them. It looked like it was made of wood, but it was hard to tell, as there was quite a bit of moss growing on the side of it. “This is the Twoleg nest,” Dawnbriar told him. “They say that Twolegs used to live here, but there haven’t been any there since before even Patchstar was born.”
- “Did they leave?” Goldenpaw wonders.
- “No cat knows,” Dawnbriar replied, “but it makes patrolling our borders a lot easier without Twolegs getting in the way. Come on.” She signaled again with her tail for them to follow.
- They padded through the pine forest for a few moments before they came to a narrow area without trees. The ground beneath Goldenpaw’s feet was a patchwork of dirt, grass, and moss. He wondered whether this had once been a Twoleg path. The more he heard about these Twolegs, the more he wondered what had happened to them. However, he pushed away the thought as he heard Duskpaw cry out in excitement.
- “There!” Duskpaw ran over to a bunch of tall plants. They had narrow leaves with saw-like edges, and were topped with small, yellow flowers. The silver tom bit the leaves of a few of the plants, careful not to chew or swallow them. He nodded to his mother and Goldenpaw. “I’ll take these back to camp.” With a flick of his tail, he walked off towards the camp.
- Goldenpaw lay down in the apprentices’ den. The trek around ShadowClan territory had tired him out, much more than playing with Frostkit ever had. Well, at least I know where everything is now, he thought. He finished what was left of the mouse he had picked off the fresh-kill pile, and curled up in his mossy nest. I wonder what we’ll be doing tomorrow.