Since Spirit had heard of the four Clans, she had had the desire to join them. However, she knows she doesn't have the courage to join one of them alone. When she comes across a former Clan cat, who knows a lot about the four Clans and their daily lives, can she work up the courage to join one of the four, and to fulfil her desire?
My name is Spirit.
I am a rogue, who has always longed to be part of a group of cats. Not vicious cats, who fight at every second moment - a nice, relatively peaceful group, who fights only when they need it.
I suppose that is what is best. My father died when he was slaughtered by one of those vicious groups. Now, I fear them.
I wonder if there is a place, beyond where I hunt right now, where I could stay. This place seems that there is nowhere for me...
The truth is, I have a desire to join a group...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Swishing my tail, I ducked down. The vicious rogues were stampeding along their territory again, like they always did. Stilling my tail, I stayed silent. I knew too well that those cats would punish me greatly if I was caught.
"Nothing here," hissed a cat, his voice scornful. I saw a chestnut-brown tom emerge, and leave his scent near me.
"Nonsense," replied a gray she-cat. "I smell a cat." Her teeth were bent in a snarl of defiance.
"Still, our boss only orders us to attack cats that are on our territory," retorted the first cat. "The cat that we are smelling is not on our territory."
Thank the spirit-cats, they're not going to go after me, I thought.
The two cats marked their scent, and padded away. Trembling, I emerged from the grass. I didn't like this place.
I'll go ask Stone if he knows anything, I thought.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Stone was the oldest, and wisest cat I knew. His dark gray fur was ragged, and patched. Standing at the edge of the old cat's den, I mewed to let him know I was here.
"Spirit?" Stone croaked, as he heard me. "Come in. What do you wish to seek?"
I padded in slowly, to see Stone's burning dark gray gaze staring at me intently.
"Well?" Stone repeated. "Spirit, what do you want to ask me."
I trembled as I spoke: "I want to know if there is any cats beyond these hunting grounds that would be friendlier - and more honorable - than these rogues that live around here."
For a moment, I expected Stone to hesitate, and think about my words for a while. Instead, he nodded thoughtfully.
"I know what you might be looking for," the old tom replied. "You might be seeking the Clans."
Clans? "Clans?" I echoed. "Who are they?"
Stone gave a weary sigh. "There are four Clans beyond our hunting grounds. Find the edge of the moor and the pines, and follow it. That is the way to the Clans, if you wish to follow it." Stone shuffled his paws apprehensively. "I am guessing you want a group like them."
I nodded eagerly. This is exactly what I want!
"Do it, then," Stone mewed, as if he could read my thoughts. "It is your destiny to go over there, and seek what you find."
"But -" I stammered. If I was to go, I would never see Stone again.
"I am reaching the end of my days on this land," Stone rasped. "By next leaf-bare, I will be gone. Follow the path our ancestors have set out for you, Spirit. This is why you have one of the most sacred names of all cats."
I mewed a final farewell, then exited the den. Tomorrow I would start my journey to the Clans.
Tomorrow, I would start to find out my destiny.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
My paws ached as I travelled. The greenleaf sun was beating down on me, but I didn't feel its warmth. Leaf-bare was the worst season for me, as I could easily be seen shivering out of my fur.
The horizon, which I could see how far the moor and pines stretched out for, was not full of them. The end was relatively near.
Maybe I'm getting close to these Clans, I thought. What should I do when I get there?
That was a fair thought. Barging into Clan grounds was definitely not the wisest thing to, especially if they would be hostile. To me, there was only one way how I could do this.
I need to watch them first.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Silence enfolded the land in front of me, as I reached the line of scent. Sniffing it warily, I could smell the scents of different cats. On the other side, there were different scents again - yet laid out in the same way.
Is this the Clans? I thought.
How was I meant to know if this was the Clan cats or not? It was hard for me to tell, not knowing anything about what they did. Suddenly, a thought popped into my head:
Is there any other cats I can ask?
I turned away from the scent markers, and tasted the air. I could smell three other cats nearby - two toms, one she-cat. It was fresh - and pooling. They obviously were doing something nearby, and not moving anywhere.
This could be my chance!
I tracked their scent, and found myself behind the bush. As I heard it, I felt my fur brush against the leaves, and them rustling in response.
Fox dung! I thought. Now they're going to know that I'm here!
Sighing, I padded out towards them.
The three cats there stared at me, and I took a good look at them. The she-cat was white with amber eyes. One of the toms was black-and-white with green eyes, the other was large, blue-gray, and had blue eyes.
"I'm Spirit," I started awkwardly. "I have travelled far and wide to be here. I have heard of the Clans that have lived around this area."
The black-and-white cat was obviously unimpressed with my comment, as his gaze blazed like fire at me. "We're not Clan cats," he hissed.
I flinched, due to the harshness of his comment. Pretending that I hadn't heard it, I asked: "Do you know where they are, then?" I already knew where they were - I just wanted to see what these cats knew about them.
The blue-gray tom heaved himself to his paws, and it seemed to me that he was doing this reluctantly. "I was a Clan cat," he meowed, "but not any more. Come on. I'll show you one of the Clan's territories."
Great! I thought. This is going to help me with my discovery of the Clans!
Looking at the blue-gray cat: I asked: "Whose?"
"It's not far from here," the blue-gray cat meowed, as he flicked his thick, yet sleek tail. It pointed at the woodland which bordered the moor. "FallClan."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I was shaking.
A moon ago, I had seen what FallClan was like. The vision still haunted me. How could I bear to see that cat get exiled?
"You're worrying about that again?" Bluepelt asked. The blue-gray tom licked my forehead as he went on: "The Clans aren't usually like that. They can be honorable, as well as mean. We need to choose the right time to fight, to decide what is best for the Clan. You'll see, Spirit."
"Can you prove this to me?" I whimpered softly. I couldn't bear to see what had happened to Goldenflight - the FallClan warrior that had been exiled - again.
Bluepelt's eyes lit up. "I have an idea," he meowed. "I'll show you something that I think's going to happen."
"What - what is it?" I asked, my voice trembling.
Bluepelt looked in the distance as his tail whisked over my spine. "In the middle of the Clans," he explained, "there is a large training area. Two cats from each Clan - one tom, and one she-cat - are chosen every three moons to train the apprentices of all four Clans. All the young cats - usually aged between six and twelve moons - train there, to gain the skills required to become warriors. At the end of it, they are usually sent back to their home Clan." I noticed that Bluepelt put a lot of emphasis on the word usually.
"What do you mean - usually?" I asked.
"That's a story for another day, Spirit," Bluepelt mewed, as he licked me again. "Just watch and see the Clans. In two moons' time, we'll watch some young cats become apprentices."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I watched from the branch of the tree, looking down, with Bluepelt pressing himself beside me. Cats were smarming around below our paws, looking like ants. They were mingling with one another.
"Cats of the Clans!" A dark shape jumped up onto a rock at the other end of the clearing.
At once, all the cats stopped moving. Then, they all sat down, in one sweeping motion. I was amazed with their timing with this.
"Today," the dark cat mewed, when all the cats fell silent, "we have one new apprentice, coming from PebbleClan, to train at the Apprentice's Training Grounds."
There were some cheers after this, then silence.
A dark brown she-kit stepped through, her fur bristling. An orange tabby was behind her, glaring around fiercely. I felt Bluepelt take in a sharp intake of breath."
"Come forward," the dark cat beckoned to the kit, who obeyed. "From this day forward, until you choose your warrior name, you shall be known as Brokenpaw."
Brokenpaw. The name rang in my mind. What an interesting name. I wonder why she was called that?
"Brokenpaw," the cat on the rock continued, "we wish you the best of luck with your warrior training. May you learn all the skills required to be a noble warrior of your Clan."
"I will!" Brokenpaw squeaked, dipping her head rapidly.
From where I was sitting, I purred. These young cats were all eager to learn. Maybe one day, I could have some of my own.
Kits would be nice, I thought wryly, looking at Brokenpaw again, who was now sitting at the edge of the rock where the dark cat was. But which cat would have them with me?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Thoughts were rushing through my head. They rushed by at intervals, fluttering past. Today, I decided that today I would make my decision to what Clan I would join.
I had lived with Bluepelt so long - and Corvus and Blanche, Bluepelt's companions - that I didn't want to see them go. But being part of the Clans was part of my desire, not theirs. I would have to leave them to join the Clans.
I don't want to leave Bluepelt, I thought. But I must.
The Clans' names rushed through my mind. PebbleClan. FallClan. StreamClan. GrassClan. Which one was for me?
I saw Bluepelt lurking around nearby. I called to him:
The large tom turned towards me, his blue gaze soft. Before he could speak, I spoke again:
"If I was to join a Clan, what Clan do you think I should join?"
Bluepelt stared at me for a long, stony moment of silence. Finally, he replied, slowly, yet confident with his words:
"Well," Bluepelt started cautiously, "What are your likes and dislikes about each Clan? What one would you rather join?"
That wasn't what I expected from him, I thought. However, I knew that this was my time to press my allegiance to a Clan. This was the time I would announce my future Clan.
After a lot of thinking, I finally replied. "Well... I don't want to learn how to swim." That ruled StreamClan out - feeling the cold wasn't a thing for me. "And PebbleClan's forest is a bit murky for my liking. FallClan..." I hesitated at them, not knowing what to say. Remembering Goldenflight, I went on: "Well, they weren't too nice to Goldenflight. GrassClan seems the most likely option."
Yes, GrassClan does seem like the best option, I thought.
"Go to GrassClan, then," Bluepelt whispered, his blue gaze fixed intently on me. "They are the most honorable of the four Clans. They will welcome you."
Losing confidence, I shook slightly with fear. "But... are you sure they will welcome me?" I stammered.
Bluepelt nodded. "Take the risk, Spirit," he mewed quietly.
We stared at each other for a moment, our gazes meeting. Finally, I nodded slowly. "I'll take this risk. I'm a cat that belongs inside borders."
As soon as I had said that, I whisked away in the direction of the GrassClan border.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I trembled in fear, yet excitement was running through me.
My mission had been a success. GrassClan had decided to take me in. Now, I was in their leader's - Snowstar's - den, as I waited further instructions.
Snowstar himself was beside me. The white tom looked irritated, as he growled: "Where are Brokenpath and Dustyheart? They should be here by now."
At that moment, there was a rustling, as two brown shapes made their way into the den.
"There you are," Snowstar huffed, as he noticed the two she-cats. "Let's get on with this, then."
It's obvious that he doesn't have all day, I thought, as I continued trembling.
Snowstar turned to me, and I felt his amber gaze burning into my pelt. "This, Spirit," the white tom mewed quietly, "is a naming ceremony. This is where you get your Clan name."
I nodded, and trembled again. In a matter of moments, I would have a name like Bluepelt's. I would be a true Clan cat - the desire I had when I first heard about them.
"Leaders rarely perform this ceremony," Snowstar went on, "but as you decided to join GrassClan directly, I will do the honors."
I took a sharp intake of breath at this. I was about to receive a Clan name!
"Spirit," Snowstar mewed quietly, "from this moment on, you shall be known as Cloudspirit."
I dipped my head in response, my new name ringing in my ears.
"Serve GrassClan well," Snowstar finished, and I felt Snowstar lick my shoulder.
My mind wasn't on the ceremony right now. It was on my name.
I purred quietly. The name was perfect.
I had earned it - now that I had fulfilled my desire at last.
Well, I personally love Cloudspirit so muchhhh <33333 She is epic.
This is the end of the short story - I hoped you enjoyed it!
The next short story in this mini-series focuses in on Brokenpath. (Note: In the story, Brokenpaw and Brokenpath are the same cat). It will be called Orphaned.
Until next time,