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              Ceremo ny

Episode 5 of Anarchy. Please enjoy and comment below what you think.

Sandpaw’s legs went numb. I am a chosen now. Yowls of her campmates echoes around her. Lights seemed to flash from all around her and the world seemed to fade around her. She wobbled forwards, legs feeling as shaky as a kits. She felt Snake’s weight push against her shoulder as she was about to tumble down. 

“You okay Sandpaw?” Snake asked. 

“Yeah, thanks.” Sandpaw’s words slurred as she hobbled forwards, world oblivious to her. Shadowclaw came into view, his chest puffed out as he stared out at the vast amounts of enslaved gathered around him. He’s a little full of himself today, no, always. Sandpaw thought silently to herself. Shadowclaw briefly looked at her as she neared the root where the rest of the chosen were gathered. Duskpaw and the other hunter chosen sit on the root, glancing down at me like they owned all of the enslaved. Duskpaw puffed out his broad chest, pride swelling in his eyes. Arrogant furball, Sandpaw thought to herself. She staged up and plopped down on the big root. A large cloud of dust flew up as she sat down. Duskpaw coughed dramatically. 

“Sandpaw you causing a dust storm here.” Duskpaw joked. 

“Shut up.” Sandpaw growled. She straightened her hunched shoulders and tried to look dignified infant of the other cats. Little stars still blinked in her eyes from shock. I am a chosen now.

“These talented cats will now travel to ShadowClan in a grand test of their skills. Only one of these may apprentices from each sector will be chosen.” Sandpits stomach dropped. Only one? “The rest will be banished from ShadowClan and sent back to their sector.” Wow, banished seems a bit harsh. Duskpaw snorted as if he had heard her thoughts. 

“Good luck Sandpaw.” Duskpaw whispered. 

“Whats that supposed to mean?” Sandpaw asked. 

“You are never going to make it to an elite, you know that right.”

“Why don't you shut your mouth and try to hold on what little hope you have of making past the first round of eliminations.” Sandpaw sneered and padded away, tail high. She needed to show Duskpaw who was the boss. Duskpaw muttered something inaudible but Sandpaw just flicked her tail. Let him think what he wants to. Shadowclaw blabbered on about pride, dignity, and how treacherous the deserted games were but Sandpaw just tuned him out while she sat with the other selected behind the great gathering tree. All of the selected mingled together, chatting nervously quietly amongst each other. Sandpaw peered around, looking for Fawnpaw in the tangled mess of apprentices. 

“Sandpaw hey!” A cheerful voice sounded behind her. 

“Fawnpaw!” Sandpaw rushed over to greet her friend. 

“Congratulations on being selected!” Fawnpaw meowed.

“You too! I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you were and evaluated.” 

“Oh yeah sorry about that. I just didn’t feel like visiting your base without heather there…” Fawnpaw’s voice trailed off as she hung her head low in despair and grief. 

“Yeah I guess I should have come to you.” Sandpaw felt terrible about being so insensitive about her best friend’s sister’s death. 

“Hey I’m sorry..”

“Don’t worry about it.” Fawnpaw interrupted. She seemed okay but Sandpaw knew she was anything but. Fawnpaw had always been very conserved and shy. But she seemed to be doing alright cooping with all that had been happening. 

“If you need to talk, you know I’m always here.” Sandpaw tried to comfort. Fawnpaw looked up at her and twitched her nose in appreciation. Fawnpaw looked as if she was about to say something else when a large apprentice shover her away and soon in front of Sandpaw. Fawnpaw growled at the cat.

“Hey!” Sandpaw meowed, and rushed over to help her friend. The tom stepped infant of her. His amber eyes flashing up and down her pelt.

“Hey.” The tom said cooly. Sandpaw felt heat rising in her face. She tried to control her anger and mask her emotions to not egg the tom on.

“I’m Shatterpaw, from the Warrior’s sector.”

“And I'm Sandpaw from the get-out-of-my-way sector.” Sandpaw sidestepped to try and walk around the tom. Shatterpaw nimbly let in front of her. 

“Hey where are you going?” Shatterpaw asked.

“To help my friend who you shoved aside.” Sandpaw spat and tried to walk around the tom once more. Yet again, he blocked her. 

“Why don’t you stop leaping in front of me.” Sandpaw growled.

“Why don’t you stop trying to escape me.” 

“Why don't you go join your other thick headed warrior friends.” Sandpaw sneered and gracefully leapt over Shatterpaw. He looked dumbstruck by Sandpaw’s nimble escape. Sandpaw just flicked her tail and ran over towards Fawnpaw.

“Hey arrow you okay?” Sandpaw asked Fawnpaw. Fawnpaw was sitting alone and looked vey angry at the warrior apprentice.

“That was extremely rude.” She fumed. 

“Woah Fawnpaw, watch you dirty mouth there.” Sandpaw joked, lightly shoving her friend’s shoulder. Fawnpaw twitched her whiskers in amusement. 

“What did he want anyways?” Fawnpaw asked. 

“I don’t know and I don’t really care either. He can go flirt with some other she-cat because this one isn't interested.” Fawnpaw sniggered as Shatterpaw turned his head to look at the two she-cats.

“Keep walking Shatterpaw.” Sandpaw growled. Shatterpaw spun around fully to face Sandpaw. He said nothing but just stared into her eyes. Sandal felt heat coursing thorough her pelt. 

“As I said, keep walking Shatterpaw.” Sandpaw hat to remain confident and his staring was becoming strange. He finally broke his gaze and returned back to a large group of strong-looking apprentices who were probably the chosen warriors apprentices. 

“Well that was… Strange.” Fawnpaw broke the silence between them and stood up. “Lets go take a walk and assess our competition.” Fawnpaw joked.

“Good idea,” Sandpaw agreed. Together, they walked through the groups of gather apprentices. Fawnpaw told her about the other selected form the healers sector and who was going to be the biggest competition for her. Sandpaw in turn, told Fawnpaw about all of the events that happened in the span since she last visited, purposely leaving out the part about Glade. I wonder how he is doing now. Sandpaw thought to herself. She felt so empty without her older brother’s guidance. 

“We need all of the apprentice lined up by sector for the final exit parade!” A lithe black She-cat called. She must have been a ShadowClan hunter judging by her small shape, black pelt, and air of confidence in her voice. All elite ShadowClan hunters must be black, it was a required. All of the chosen silent filed into line as if they had reversed this multiple lines. Sandpaw stumbled in the mass of apprentices rising to file in line with their sector. Sandpaw peered around, trying to find her sectors chosen. She recognized Duskpaw’s dark grey pelt and the rest of her sectors chosen filed in behind him. Arrogant furball! Sandpaw thought and she slunk to the back of the line. 

“Alright lets go!” The black she-cat called. Sandpaw tried to catch a glimpse at Fawnpaw standing in her sector in front of her. The line started to move forwards making a grand exit in a curtain of low hanging willow branches. Sandpaw heard the faint cheering of the enslaved as the chosen filed out. Sandpaw took a brach in the muscle as she tried to exit the branches gracefully. She heard a ranger’s apprentice giggle behind her. Sandpaw spun around and hissed at the cat. Sandpaw tried to regain her dignity by sticking her chin in the air. Cheers erupted as she excited the curtain of branches. The enslaves had parted to reveal a path leading through the gathering clearing. A shady looking cat ducked behind a bush in the back of the crowd. Sandpaw didn’t know how she noticed him, he perfectly blended in with the shadows. Sandpaw lost her footing when she turned her had and stumbled, catching herself just in time before she hit the ground. 

Then, the screeching started. Yowls seemed to explode around Sandpaw as she regained her footing. Her fellow selects spun wildly around, looking for enemy threats. All around her, enslaves were yowling, screeching, howling, and driving away unseen attackers. Some cats were talking others while other formed groups and advanced on others. Why are the enslaved attacking each other? We have lived in peace for so many years! Her thoughts were cut short when the familiar yowl of Shadowclaw sounded from behind her. 

“Get the selected out of here!” He yowled at his Clan mates helping with the ceremony. Strong, confident looking cats swarmed around Sandpaw, guiding her out of harm’s way. She struggled to peer over bodies to see if she could find any of her base mates or anybody she knew. 

Sandpaw wished she hadn’t. Because the last thing she saw before she was carried away with he rest of the chosens was Snake. Outnumbered at least three to one. Sandpaw tried to call out to him but her yowl was drown out by the sound of fighting cats all around her. Snake turned to face her. And the last thing Sandpaw saw was her mentor and closest friend disappear under a pile of enemies, possibly never to emerge again. 

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“Quickly, this way!” Cats seem to pour down the dusty slope running through unfamiliar territory. Sandpaw stumbled, a root catching her foot. Fawnpaw seemed to appear from beside her help her back to her feet. 

“C’mon Sandpaw, we have to hurry.” Sandpaw’s legs felt like water as she rand beside her friend. The scene kept playing in her head Cats fighting, yowling and blood being spilt. Gruesome images bound to haunt her for the rest of her life. The worst of all, Snake being dragged down into that pile of fighting cats. Sandpaw had no idea if he would survive. She shuddered just thinking about it. The world seemed to blur around her. 

“This was supposed to be a joyous day for me.” Sandpaw growled to no one in particular. 

“What?” Fawnpaw asked. 

“Just talking to myself.” 

“Oh, okay. Just tell me if you need anything.” Sandpaw leaned against her best friend. She knew this was someone she could always count on. Even after Fawnpaw had been through so much she was still always supporting Sandpaw. Sandpaw starred at her paws, that seems to be moving on their own according. This place was unfamiliar to her. ShadowClan cats barked orders at the selected cats to run and not to stop running. Sandpaw wanted nothing more than to turn around and run back to the gathering willow. She wanted nothing more then to see Snake waiting there for her, not a scratch on him. But she knew that if she went back that the attacking cats would slay her in cold blood and that would help no cat. So she kept running. The air was frosty around her, her breath coming out in small puffs of clouds. The dusty ground turned into soft grass beneath her paws. The trees seemed to be grow denser as they neared the center of the oasis. Many unfamiliar scents flooded into her nose and small streams trickled around the well worn path that the cats were traveling on. A strong scent overcame all the other though as they passed a large rock. This must be the ShadowClan border marker that Snake was always warning me to stay away from. Sandpaw thought that this rancid smell in its self could keep her away. The cats in-front of her began to slow. Sandpaw didn't even realize and ran straight into a selected gathering cat who she remembered was called Honeypaw. Sandpaw muttered an apology and wandered off to find Fawnpaw. The mob of cats seem to press down on her, making it impossible to breath. She kept bumping cats who appeared in front of her. She kept wondering where they were coming from. 

“Stop being so rude.” She mumbled at the cat who just appeared in front of her. The cat looked at her like she was insane and kept walking, looking behind his back occasionally at her. Sandpaw spotted Fawnpaw and stumbled towards her. 

“Hey, Fawnpaw!” Sandpaw called but at the same moment a tree grow straight up in front of Sandpaw. She ran muzzle-first into the tree. 

“Um, excuse me.” She growled and swiped at the tree. 

“Sandpaw are you okay?” Asked Fawnpaw.

“Yeah never better,” Sandpaw said whimsically. 

“All right well the cats are gathering in a large clearing just over yonder, lets go.” Fawnpaw shover Sandpaw’s shoulder over hers and began to guide Sandpaw to the group of gathering cats. Sandpaw constantly tripped on a root and stumbled even though the camp site was only a few fox-lengths away. The stars illuminated the tree tops which cast small beams of light onto the thin dusty path that wound through many tall trees. Many low-hanging branches walked Sandpaw in the face. Sandpaw didn’t seem to even feel it. Her eyes were glazed over and she seemed frail as an elder. The small path began to widen and open up into a large clearing. The clearing was surrounded by willow trees with branches swaying even though there was little wind in the cold desert night. 

“Gather cats of the selected!” A great voice boomed from atop a large rock at the edge of the clearing. All 25 of the selected filed in surrounding the rock on three sides. The sectors seemed very segregated, the cats did not mingle at all. The selected from each sector sat in huddled groups, occasionally casting glances at the other sectors. Fawnpaw and Sandpaw seemed to be the only exceptions. They sat together under that cat who had just spoken. 

“Welcome! This is a great honor for you cats to be selected for the deserted games. For the next two moons you will be trained individually by one of our Elite member here in ShadowClan. Gatherers, you do not have any special skill in your sector,” at that remark the gatherers grumbled angrily, “you will be trained by one of the cats in the sector you once belonged to. You Gatherers are here because you once belonged to a sector and were not always Gatherers and we can train you in the skills of the sectors you once belonged to.” Sandpaw was suddenly able to hear nothing else the cat on the rock said. She turned to the cat next to her, suddenly unable to remember who she was, but she seemed to still be able to hear the cat explaining the Deserted Games to them. Thats strange, she thought. Her paws suddenly felt like jelly. Her head was swarming eight strange thoughts and stars filled her vision. Sandpaw was unable to focus on anything as black began to ebb into the corners of her vision. Her head was throbbing and she felt dizzy. She felt something strange gush from her mouth but at the same time, was unable to feel much else. Angry, muffled yowls of disgusted cats emitted from around her. Sandpaw bang to sing into the ground. It felt slow but she knew it was not when her head hit hard on the ground. She could see faint blurs of cats gathering tightly around her but she could no longer stand to be awake and slowly slipped into unconsciousness. 

End Episode 5 

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