Squirrelflight curled her dark ginger tail around her three kits. She noticed Ashfur pad inside the nursery.

'How are you, Squirrelflight? How are the kits?' The gray tom asked. Concern was flickering in his voice.

'We're fine,' Squirrelflight assured her mate. 'Just a little tired.'

At that moment, one of the kits, a black-and-white tom, opened his eyes. He flicked his yellow gaze over Squirrelflight and Ashfur.

'Have you named them yet?' Ashfur nuzzled the black-and-white kit, who mewed.

'Not yet...' Squirrelflight showed Ashfur the other two kits, who were both she-kits. One was tortoiseshell, black and white. The other was a pale gray tabby. 'What about Brindlekit, for the gray she-kit?'

'Like Brindleface...' Ashfur nodded. 'Ivykit, for the tortoiseshell, black and white she-kit?'

'And... Featherkit, for the tom.' Squirrelflight curled around her kits. 'They will grow up to be some of ThunderClan's greatest warriors.'

'Because they have such a wonderful mother.' Ashfur nuzzled Squirrelflight, who purred.


Featherpaw shivered inwardly. He didn't like the way his mentor, Brambleclaw, was glaring at him. The dark brown tabby tom was one of ThunderClan's finest and Featherpaw knew that he should be proud of having him as his mentor. But he also knew that Brambleclaw hated him and his littermates.

'Come on Featherpaw, why are you being so slow? We need to go hunting.' Brambleclaw's voice sounded above Featherpaw. The black-and-white tom nodded hurriedly.


'Get Ivypaw and Brindlepaw,' Brambleclaw growled. 'And Hollyleaf and Lionblaze.' Featherpaw bounded off to go find his littermates and their mentors. He found Ivypaw and Hollyleaf sharing a mouse in a shaded corner of the camp, and saw Brindlepaw and Lionblaze practising their stalking.

'Ivypaw! Brindlepaw! Brambleclaw wants you and your mentors,' Featherpaw called. Brindlepaw nodded and Ivypaw leaped to her paws.

'What are we doing?' The tortoiseshell, black and white she-cat asked. Featherpaw shrugged. Hollyleaf and Lionblaze got to their paws too. Both warriors padded up to Brambleclaw.

'What do you think of a joint training session today?' Brambleclaw asked. Lionblaze nodded.


'Fighting?' Hollyleaf sounded worried. 'But Ivypaw, Brindlepaw and Featherpaw aren't that experienced.'

'They're all on the same level,' Brambleclaw replied breezily. Hollyleaf shook out her pelt.

'You and Lionblaze can organise it,' the black she-cat mewed. 'I need to go patrol.'

'Oh wait- I forgot!' Lionblaze flattened his ears. 'I promised Cinderheart I would go hunting with her. Are you okay doing this yourself, Brambleclaw?'

'I'll be fine.' Brambleclaw called for Ivypaw, Brindlepaw and Featherpaw. 'We're going to practise fighting.'


'Why don't you three try fight me?' Brambleclaw faced Ivypaw, Brindlepaw and Featherpaw. 'After all, you have strength in numbers.'

'We're not weak alone!' Brindlepaw snapped, her fur bristling. The gray tabby's hackles began to rise.

'Brindlepaw, calm down,' Ivypaw mewed soothingly. She lapped at her sister's ears. 'We're not weak. We're strong.'

'Okay Brambleclaw, we accept your challenge,' Featherpaw told his mentor. Brambleclaw's amber gaze sparked with evil excitement as the tom unsheathed his claws.

'We're using claws?' Ivypaw sounded worried. 'But- we could hurt somebody!'

'Aren't you a warrior?' Brambleclaw mocked the apprentice. 'Only kits sheathe their claws in battle. True warriors don't.'

'Are you calling my sister a kit?' Brindlepaw unsheathed her claws, her tail lashing, her eyes flattened and her narrowed eyes blazing with blue fire. 'Bring it on!'

Brambleclaw attacked first. The dark brown tabby tom leaped at Brindlepaw. Throwing out a forepaw, he caught her left ear with his claws. Her eyes flashing with pain, Brindlepaw lashed out blindly, catching Brambleclaw's scruff.

'Hey! You said all three of us against you!' Ivypaw protested.

'Do you want to join the battle, then?' Brambleclaw sneered. 'I expect you'll just make it easier to win!'

Seething with fury, Ivypaw launched herself at Brambleclaw. She dug her claws into his pelt, clinging on the warrior's back like a tick on elders.

Brambleclaw was struggling to stand up with Ivypaw's full weight on him. At last he managed to stagger to his paws and, ignoring Ivypaw's weight, pinned Brindlepaw's tail to the ground with a forepaw. Brindlepaw yowled in pain.

Ivypaw leaned to one side and managed to make Brambleclaw fall over. Rolling away from the tom, she freed Brindlepaw. The two sisters stood next to each other, their pelts bristling and their teeth bared.

Brambleclaw recovered quickly and, leaping to his paws, turned to face Featherpaw. 'Aren't you going to fight?' The dark brown tom snapped. 'I don't want to be the mentor of such a coward!'

That was it.

Featherpaw leaped at Brambleclaw. Since the dark brown tom hadn't been expecting the attack, he fell over sideways. Pinning Brambleclaw to the ground, Featherpaw struggled to keep the powerful warrior down. Brambleclaw was stronger, and much bigger than Featherpaw was. But somehow he was kept down.

Ivypaw and Brindlepaw rushed over to help. Brindlepaw hook her claws through Brambleclaw's scruff and Ivypaw pinned the tom's tail to the ground.

'This isn't it, apprentices,' Brambleclaw snarled. Suddenly the tom leaped up, shaking Featherpaw, Ivypaw and Brindlepaw off. 'You're all cowards, just like Squirrelflight and Ashfur.'


'We're going hunting today,' Hollyleaf told Ivypaw. 'With Lionblaze, Brindlepaw, Brambleclaw and Featherpaw.'

'Okay,' Ivypaw agreed.

'They're already waiting in the clearing,' Hollyleaf continued. 'Come on, or we'll be late.'

'Where's Brambleclaw gone?' Ivypaw asked Featherpaw once she and Hollyleaf had arrived in the clearing.

'He went hunting already,' Featherpaw replied. 'And Brindlepaw wanted to hunt but Lionblaze didn't want to. So he let her go by herself.' Suddenly a screech split the air. It sounded like Brindlepaw.

'That was Brindlepaw! Do you think she's in trouble?' Ivypaw spun to face Featherpaw, worry coating her voice.

'Maybe!' Featherpaw's eyes were wide. 'We have to find her!'

The two apprentices bolted off through the trees, searching for Brindlepaw. They picked up her scent and began following it. The scent trail led them to- Brindlepaw's body. Her gray tabby fur was matted with blood and the thick red liquid was pooling around her body. Blood poured from a wound in her neck.

'No! Brindlepaw!' Ivypaw threw herself down next to her sister's body. It was still warm. Suddenly Brindlepaw lifted her head slightly.

'Ivypaw? Featherpaw?' The she-cat's voice was little more than a faint whisper. 'It- it was...'

'Who was it, Brindlepaw? Who attacked you?' Featherpaw thrust his ear next to his sister's muzzle.

'It was- it-'

'Brindlepaw, you have to tell us!' Ivypaw mewed desperately.


Brindlepaw's voice faded away and her head flopped down again. Her blue eyes closed and she lay still.

'No...' Ivypaw wailed. 'Brindlepaw!'

'Wait, did you hear what she said? "Bramble"... It was Brambleclaw!' Featherpaw growled. 'He killed her!'

'But why?' Ivypaw whimpered. 'He's your mentor!'

'He's always hated us because our parents are Squirreflight and Ashfur. And Brambleclaw loved Squirrelflight before she took Ashfur as her mate!'

It all made sense now. Of course Brambleclaw would want to take revenge. But killing an apprentice seemed a little extreme...

'We have to make him pay!' Ivypaw leaped to her paws, her eyes blazing. 'He killed Brindlepaw! I'l kill him!'

'No,' Featherpaw hissed. 'We're not as bad as him! We'll tell Firestar! And Squirrelflight! And the whole Clan! That'll be worse than death. Banishment!'


'Brambleclaw, I trusted you. Every cat in this Clan trusted you! Everyone respected you! You're ThunderClan's deputy. Why would you break the warrior code, knowing that you're risking everything you've ever worked for?' Firestar's voice was filled with disappointment and anger. The ThunderClan leader stood on Highledge, glaring down at Brambleclaw.

'It was worth it,' Brambleclaw hissed. 'I wanted Squirrelflight to know the same pain that she put me through when she chose Ashfur! I needed her to learn, to realise what she's done to me!'

'But to kill one of her kits?' Firestar snarled.

'It was the only way to make her pay,' Brambleclaw growled. 'I don't care if you exile me, if you banish me from the forest! All I care about is whether or not my job was done. And it is.'

'You are officially banished from the forest!' Firestar yowled. 'Now get out of here, before my warriors claw off your pelt!' Brambleclaw turned and bounded out of camp, his tail flying out behind him.

'And as for you two... Ivypaw and Featherpaw,' Firestar mewed, his voice calmer, gentler, softer. 'You both showed extreme courage when you spoke up about Brambleclaw killing Brindlepaw. And for that, I think both of you have earned your warrior names. From now on you will be called- Featherwing! And Ivy-'

'Firestar?' Ivypaw spoke up. 'Um, could I please have the name Ivybrindle, in honour of Brindlepaw?'

'Of course.' Firestar dipped his head. 'Featherwing and Ivybrindle, we welcome you as full warriors of ThunderClan!'

'Featherwing! Ivybrindle!' The Clan yowled our their new names.

'What about Brindlepaw? Does she get a warrior name too?' Featherwing interrupted.

'She gave her life so that we could expose Brambleclaw and his wrongdoings! If she hadn't been killed Brambleclaw might have done even more harm to ThunderClan!'

'You're right,' Firestar agreed. 'StarClan, allow Brindlepaw to take on the new name- Brindlewhisker!'

'Brindlewhisker!' The Clan chanted.

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