Starry cats gathered in a clearing. Their eyes glittered underneath the moon. Finally, a cat spoke.
"The time has come." She reported grimly.
The other cats looked down and nodded slowly. The prophecy that emerged at the dawn of the clans was unfolding.
"My clan will suffer, but we will succeed in the new era." A silvery tom reported. "The kit will bring war and peace. Our future will be one of victory." The tom then stepped back as a second tom, a large one with amber eyes and ginger fur, stepped forward.
"Stonekit will end the pain of war. He will lead a path to the future. He is the has blood of two great clans."
"Our decedents must never lose hope," A dignified black-furred she-cat said. "If they do, they will have no future."
"Let the dream come," Finished the cat who did not speak before, a brown she-cat. "Let the new era for our clans begin."
The early leaf-fall breezes wandered aimlessly into camp. The nursery walls protected the young cats from the bitter winds. A cream queen stood in a corner, three kits suckling. Her eyes wandered upon a grey tabby kit, only three moons old a most, sitting laying in some of the last sun rays of they year near the entrance of the den. She turned away quickly.
"Ow!" The tom-kit exclaimed! A large apprentice entered, making note to step on the kit's tail. Oakpaw, the cream queen's eldest son.
"Mother," He formally addressed the queen.
"Oakpaw, how nice of you to visit." Nettleleaf replied. "Stonekit, why didn't you move when Oakpaw entered?"
"You told me to go to that part of the den so not to disturb Hollykit, Hawkkit and Volekit!"
"You still should know better!" She snapped. Nettleleaf distrusted the kit, only because his origins remained unknown. At the night of the last gathering, the returning clan found the small tom by the river, hardly breathing. Nettleleaf, as the only queen, had to care for him. She resented the job.
"Nettleleaf, I came to check on you." said a large, light brown tom, his tabby stripes dark as he entered. "Our kits are doing well." He says proudly, yet coldly. Nettleleaf nods, then says. "Volekit looks just like you. I believe that he is the strongest, naturally." Stonekit sighed. He was young, yet he could tell things about cats. He knew that Talonstar was just a battle fierce cat who believed in violence. He could tell that Nettleleaf didn't love him, just the power in being his mate. And he knew that Volekit wasn't the strongest in the litter- it was Hollykit, the she-cat.
Oakpaw stood up straight and said "Hello, Father. Are you doing well?" Talonstar replied "Yes, yes, now run along and clean the elder's den." Oakpaw looked surprised and hurt and his father's coldness, and sulked away. Stonekit wasn't surprised, Talonstar rarely showed warmth or affection of any kind. Talonstar briskly turned and marched out of the den, pushing Stonekit aside. The only reason that he was accepted into the clan was because Seedflower, the wise young deputy, had reminded the hot-headed warriors that the warrior code made them care for kits. Oakpaw and his friends called him "kittypet", and made fun of him at any moment the could. Stonekit just ignored them.
He had the world on his shoulders.
But he just didn't realize it.
"Stonekit! Come on!" Hollykit squeals, her little head bobbing. "Mother says there's a clan meeting!"
Stonekit could only smile sadly. "Nettleleaf said I must stay in the nursery all day because Volekit stapped on my tail! I think she only likes him beacuse he looks like Talonstar!" Stonekit decided over a half-moon ago that Nettleleaf hardly cared for Hawkkit, as he looked like her sister Minnowstripe, the medicine cat, and she despised her. Stonekit learned that every flick of a tail, every meow, even a cat's pawsteps held feeling, and he could uncover what a cat truly felt.
Nettleleaf exited the den, Volekit stumbling behind her, Hollykit bounced away after her. Hawkkit cautiously tried to leave, but Nettleleaf hissed at the small kit and told him to stay in the den.
"It's okay," Stonekit meowed quietly to his denmate. Hawkkit looked startled at the bigger kit spoke softly. "I know how to see. It's great up there." Stonekit jumped and scrambled on top of a rock the jutted into the corner of the den. He pawed his way through the leafs and branches to make a small hole that only a slim kit could fit through. He leaped up through the small hole. "Come on!" He urged Hawkkit.
"O-Okay." mumbled Hawkkit nervously. He scrambled up on the rock, trying to poke his head through. Stonekit had to lift him up by his scruff. he "Look!" Hawkkit whispered in awe. "You can see the clan!" It was true, but Stonekit was looking past the clan- was seeing the water. The clear stream that ran just out of camp. Small minnows swam in the rocky bed of the brook, too small to even catch- even for a RiverClan cat! Stonekit knew water was special for him. He just didn't know why. He was hypnotized by the rushing water that feed the swift river. He knew that when he was an apprentice, he would go to the river and know the true secrets it held. Everything held secrets.
"Did you hear that?" Hawkkit interrupted his thought.
"Hear what?" inquired Stonekit.
"The battle! Talonstar said that we're gonna have a battle with Riverclan soon! I hope I'm an apprentice by then!" Hawkkit exclaims exictedly. Stonekit just sighs. Battles meant wounds and maybe deaths. Thunderclan had lost three warriors and an apprentice in his battles since Talonstar became leader, just in the last three seasons.
"But did you hear the river's heartbeat?" asked Stonekit. Hawkkit just looked confused, and padded to the hole, getting back in before Nettleleaf came back.
"Stonekit, you have reached the age of 6 moons, and it is time for you to be apprenticed. From this day, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Stonepaw. I ask StarClan to watch over you and guide you until you find in your paws the strength and courage of a warrior." Talonstar said gruffly. He then turned to Swanwing. "Swanwing, you are ready to take on an apprentice. You had received excellent training from Weedfoot, you have shown yourself to be wise and strong, and I expect you to pass on all you know to Stonepaw."
"Stonepaw! Stonepaw!" a few of Stonepaw's clanmates cheered. A few gave the new apprentice glances of uncertainly, and Oakpaw and his friends openly mocked him.
"Of course they gave the kittypet the mentor that can't even see where she steps!" they mocked. They were talking about Swanwing's left eye- she was attacked by a hawk as a kit, being clutched in it's talons before warriors brought down the bird. The medicine cats could so nothing to stop the scars. But she was a strong cat, and was respected by the warriors.
"Hey, at least my mentor can hunt and doesn't spend every second ripping out another warrior's fur!" retorted Stonepaw. That shut Oakpaw up. He scowled and marched away with his head high. If one thing was true in the world, Oakpaw was a proud cat.
"Stonepaw!" Swanwing was calling him. He raced over and barely avoided running into Swanwing. "You seem excited. Good. Now, I'll show you the territory borders-"
"Is the river there?!" Stonepaw excitedly interrupted,
"Well, yes, but why did you ask? We're not RiverClan- and I'm glad we're not! Imagine eating fish!" Swanwing exclaimed. Stonepaw just shrugged and followed his mentor to the ravine. He turned back, and saw Nettleleaf's kits looking at him in awe. He winked at his old denmates, and scrambled up the rocks and confidently padded beside his mentor.
"Okay, so today we'll just look around the border. I'll take you to the Thunderpath, where the Shadowclan border is, but you have to promise me that you won't go anywhere near it. Understand?" Swanwing asked. Stonepaw nodded, then headed out towards the stench from the other side of the territory besides his mentor.