Bramblestar's Leadership Ceremony
Brambleclaw paddled up to the shinning pool, coated by the darkness of the night. He stood there for a while, breathing in the deep scent of the night. Jayfeather paddled up to the pool from behind him, and he turned to look at his medicine cat. “What do I do now?” he asked, excitement edging through his voice.
Jayfeather snorted. “You put your head down and take a sip of water from the pool. I hope it’s not too difficult for the new clan leader!”
Brambleclaw ignored the snappy blind cat. Jayfeather was known for his impatient attitude and he figured that if he was going to become leader he'd better get used to it.
Slowly he dipped his head into the water and started sipping it. It was cold and refreshing, yet it tasted different. As he drank Brambleclaw felt a strange motion swirling around him, and when he pulled his muzzle off of the lake and opened his eyes, he was standing in front of billions of stars.
The stars slowly started forming into cats, and they all whispered together, as one but yet as many. “Brambleclaw, are you ready to receive your nine lives?”
Brambleclaw forced in a confident nod, trying to look calm and prepared when he could actually feel himself ready to burst with a blast of feelings.
Several cats began to approach Brambleclaw, growing closer, but the first one that reached him was Swiftpaw.
Bramblestar felt a sad feeling as he remembered the apprentice. He had died from the dogs with which his father had placed to destroy the clan. “I’m sorry,” he murmured to the apprentice, who shrugged.
He leaned forward and touched noses with the lean, dark tabby. “With this life I give you patience,” he murmured and a wave of pain swept through Brambleclaw. It was a long lasting pain one that kept flowing through his body slowly, ripping him apart. He gritted his teeth as the young cat murmured, “Use it when you are in doubt, to help you make the correct decision.”
As the cat walked back Brambleclaw stared sadly at him wondering if the pain he had just felt had been surging through his blood for hours before he decided to give in to it. He didn’t have time to think though because the next cat approached him. It was Yellowfang, the old ThunderClan medicine cat.
Her voice was harsh, as she touched his head with her nose, “With this life I give you the ability to sacrifice.” Nothing could have prepared Brambleclaw for the blast of anguish that ran through his body. It was all he could do, not to yell out in pain. “Let it help you become a great leader, Brambleclaw, for no path to greatness goes without sacrifice.”
As she paddled back Brambleclaw remembered that she had lost her life in the fire that had raged through camp, while saving his life. “Thank you,” he murmured to the she-cat. She turned around for a moment and there was a sad smile on her face. She continued to walk as the next cat approached.
“Mousefur!” he gasped. “It’s so good to see you!” The old she-cat had died in the battle against the Dark Forest.
She purred, “It’s good to see you to, Brambleclaw. But I enjoy StarClan; I am finally fit and healthy again.” She touched her nose to his forehead, and this time Brambleclaw sucked in the life, not minding the pain, just wanting more of it; “With this life I give you a strong-will,” she whispered, “Let it help you survive hardship.”
The she-cat disappeared and was replaced by Ferncloud, who had also died in the battle. She looked happy, although there appeared to be some sadness in her eyes, due to separation from her mate.
“With this life I give you affection and care,” she murmured and this life contained to pain. Brambleclaw gladly accepted it, and the soft feeling that surged through him as well. “Use this on all the cats that need it,” she whispered.
As she took a step back she was replaced by Bluestar. Brambleclaw gasped when he saw the blue-gray she-cat. He had been a kit the last time he saw her, but now as she walked up to him, there was a look of respect in her eyes.
“With this life I give you wisdom,” she whispered, and Brambleclaw was hit by another flash of pain. This one seemed endless though, with dark memories and regret, “Use it to guide all of the cats under your control."
Before paddling away she whispered, “Sorry I didn’t show much wisdom during my last days. I was corrupted by Tigerstar’s evil.”
Brambleclaw nodded, “That’s okay, Bluestar, I know my father was horrible.” There was relief in the blue she-cat's eyes, and Brambleclaw finally realized just how lost she had been after the fire that burned the ThunderClan camp.
The cat that replaced Bluestar was one that Brambleclaw had been hoping to see. Her silver pelt shinned as she approached him. As she knelt down to give him a life, he breathed in her sweet scent, “With this life I give you love,” Brambleclaw had not been expecting the wave of pain that hit him. He felt how torn she had been, in between the clan she loved and the cat she loved, “Don’t be afraid to use it on other cats, especially Squirrelflight.”
He dipped his head, “I miss you Feathertail, we all do.” Noticing the longing look in her eyes he added, “So does Crowfeather. He has been lost ever since you disappeared.” There was a combination of hurt and love in her eyes as she walked back, to stand in her place alongside the other StarClan cats.
It was a ginger tom that replaced him, his pelt flickering like fire under the lighting of the stars. Firestar! “Welcome Brambleclaw, StarClan have been waiting for you a while now.” There was admiration in his eyes as he bent down and touched his nose to Brambleclaw’s head.
“With this life I give you honor,” he whispered. “Do what you know is right and you will find that you shall never regret it.” This life was painful, as Brambleclaw felt confusion, uncertainty and the pain of prejudice always lurking around in the hearts of other cats.
Before turning around he whispered, “You are no more your father than I am a kittypet. Do not let other cats blind your sense of judgment. You are who think you are not what they say you are.” Brambleclaw nodded as the leader walked back to the ranks of StarClan.
Just two left, Brambleclaw thought as the next cat approached. He smiled when he realized that the next one was his mother, Goldenflower.
“My son,” she purred as she approached him. “I am so proud of you, I knew you were destined to be great, just like your father, but a noble and respected cat instead of a feared monster.” Brambleclaw accepted her praise, as she finally pulled her nose up and touched his forehead.
“With this life I give you perseverance. Always continue, no matter how bad things look. For the worse thing of all is the fear of the worst.” This life was agonizing and it ran through him, grasping every nerve in his body and twisting it, trying to break him.
His mother gave him an affectionate lick before disappearing, blending back in with the cats of StarClan.
This is the last one, Bramblestar thought with relief. He loved seeing the faces of his loved ones again, but he didn’t think he would be able to take any more lives. He was weary and he felt pain all over, from the wave of feelings which had all crashed onto him at once.
The next cat that emerged was a cat Bramblestar thought might never want to see him again. Her black pelt shimmered and her green eyes shinned with a mixture of feelings.
She didn’t give him time to talk. Just walked straight up to him, and put her nose against his forehead. “With this life I give you acceptance,” she claimed, and this was the most painful life of all. Brambleclaw felt confusion and shock, guilt and hatred, then a sense of not belonging and debt far too large for her to handle. “The quicker the truth is accepted the less painful it is to face it. You cannot change the truth, father, but you can change what you make of it.”
Brambleclaw nodded, but he responded with guilt, “Don’t call me that. I was never a father to you, I apologize. I couldn’t accept that no matter who you were born to, you would always be my child.”
She shrugged, “I wasn’t much of a daughter either. I guess we can both forgive each other.”
He nodded and her expression turned from hard to satisfied.
Suddenly all of the cats seemed to be right beside him, but yet in a different dimension, at the same time. “Welcome Bramblestar, new leader of Thunderclan!” Bramblestar felt himself swelling with pride as the cats began to cheer, “Bramblestar! Bramblestar! Bramblestar!”
He woke up in front of the Moonpool. Jayfeather was staring at him expectantly. “Well…Did it work?” he asked, a little impatient. “Did StarClan give you your nine lives?”
Bramblestar nodded. “Good,” Jayfeather replied. “Now can we please get back to camp. I’m freezing out here.”
As he started to paddle away, Bramblestar remembered the life Hollyleaf had given him. “Wait!” he called after the tom and he turned around. Bramblestar inhaled deeply, “I’m… Sorry.”
He looked puzzled, “For what?”
Bramblestar shrugged, “I wasn’t the father you deserved to have. I abandoned you when you needed me the most. I forgot about you, just because I was mad at my mate.”
Jayfeather was quivering now and Bramblestar continued; “I promise I will try to be a better father, both to you and Lionblaze.”
The blind cat didn’t say anything; he just walked up to his foster-father and rubbed against him, purring. “I missed you,” Bramblestar whispered.
“I missed you too,” he responded before peeling away. “Now let’s go back to camp,your clan awaits you.”
Bramblestar followed his son down to camp, his camp, his clan, because he was now Bramblestar; leader of ThunderClan.