The flood was the worst we’d ever seen.
Our home was completely lost. The cave we stayed in was entirely flooded, and we watched cats die.
We lost sight of our beach and haven’t seen it since. We were in paradise, and it was just gone, right before our eyes.
My name is Ripplestar. My leadership witnessed the fall of OceanClan.
Our home was a cave and a surrounding beach. We had dens carved in each corner by the soft rain that would come. Our queens got the driest part and I suffered the wettest fate. It was an oath taken by me and every OceanClan leader before me.
Our beach led to many cats getting together and a wonderful place for our apprentices to go. They stood watch on the beach for their warrior ceremonies, to be blessed with both StarClan and the ocean itself.
We hunted in the woods not far away. We fed on fish and forest food both in our diets. Our medicine cats soaked seaweed in fresh water to be rid of the burning elements in it.
Then the flood came.
We evacuated as many cats as we could. I watched kits be swept up with their mothers who couldn’t escape. I watched two of our elders drown. I saw one apprentice get trapped, and another get crushed. I’m plagued by the guilt of them even now.
Now, those of us who escaped are homeless.
Nobody knows who we are...
The lost migration has begun with those of us who survived.
one - sandwhisker
I remember when the flood came.
Ripplestar’s leadership was young. She’d only just gone from her old name - Ripplebreeze - to her leader name, and yet, something was bound to go wrong.
We would contact StarClan by heading further down the beach and to a wave-washed rock that jutted out of the ground. It was massive, and constantly got splashed - but it was said that the waves connected us to our ancestors, as well as being under the moon.
Ripplestar and her medicine cat, Patchpool, would constantly discuss what was happening. The worst part was that nobody knew when it was going to happen, and it did, at one of the worst times. The peak of newleaf.
Queens struggled to escape. The leafbare before had killed many of our cats due to illness, and the fact that there were three queens was the most prosperous thing we could imagine. We lost two of them in the flood.
We narrowly escaped into the forest, the remaining ones. It hit during the night. The survivors? Ripplestar, Patchpool, two terrified apprentices, and a trio of warrior siblings, along with a singular queen... I was that queen.
When the storm had long passed, Ripplestar was devastated. Patchpool had tried desperately to calm her down, to make her feel like all of the deaths we had weren’t her fault, but she couldn’t be convinced.
“The only thing I have left,” she sighed, “is you all.” We had an even four she-cats and four toms, and the eight of us were now stranded.
“What do we do now, Ripplestar?” I asked quietly.
“Well, Sandwhisker... I don’t know. But we need to move. Our home is destroyed; we must find a new one. And... we need to find them. The Clans of legend.”
“What?!” Flameclaw called, his eyes wide, one of the trio.
“But the Clans haven’t been found in years!” Icewing sputtered.
“What will we do if we find them?” Thunderfang yelled.
“Alright you three, settle down.” She didn’t seem annoyed - Ripplestar was very good at keeping a level head - but her voice was stern. “Here’s our plan.”
“We move in the direction of the sun. When StarClan mentioned this flood, I was told to follow the sunset. That will lead us to wherever we want to go. Our goal is to find the old Clans and make a home for ourselves. Provided we do find them, we introduce ourselves. Any questions? Concerns?”
“What about my kits?” I couldn’t resist bringing it up - after all, I was the last queen.
“Sandwhisker, when your kits come, we’ll rest and let you support them. But until then, we must keep moving. Any other concerns?”
“Yes, Ripplestar.” Creekpaw and his friend - Dovepaw - had stopped shivering. “We didn’t want to disturb you while you were talking, nor did we mention this to anyone whatsoever, but... Dovepaw has kits of her own coming. Soon.”
She’d raised an eyebrow, and Dovepaw shivered, but the calico leader shook her head. “There is nothing we can do about having two queens. Let us be happy for the two we have.”
We began our journey the very next day. I stuck with Dovepaw - I wanted to discuss about being a queen. “Hey, Dovepaw. Doing okay?”
Her coat was quite pretty; silver and black tabby with the brightest blue eyes a cat could ever see. “Sort of. How do you do it, Sandwhisker?”
“Yeah, like.” She struggled to walk; her belly had already begun to swell a bit. “Managing this thing.”
“I breathe, for one thing. You’re baring the next generation beyond our small party. How far along are you?”
“Almost there, I think. You?”
We had no conversation through the rest of it, only followed Ripplestar. We placed a lot of trust in her, our leader, to guide us.
We would walk until our paws hurt. That first night, I heard Dovepaw start yelling. “Sandwhisker?! I’m - I’m in a lot of pain - is this what kitting feels like?!”
I couldn’t answer - this was my first litter, and she’d been so much further than I’d realized. “Patchpool!!”
She yelled for hours, and my ears had started to hurt. They were Creekpaw's, of course, and he watched over her, making sure she was okay. Sometime later the screams would stop, and the rest of us glanced over at Patchpool for guidance.
"She's gone." His eyes were dark. "She had five kits, two of which were stillborn. The other three... Sandwhisker, can you take them?"
"Um..." It was hard to say; I easily could've seen myself having the same. "I'll take them. For Dovepaw."
"For Dovepaw," the remaining cats echoed.
He placed the three by my side, each of different colors. One was a silver tabby, like his mother, with a lighter silver tone over his body. Raccoonkit. Another, chocolate, like Creekpaw's father. Larkkit. The last - brown tabby, a bit of a combo between both his parents. Pikekit. I didn't tell their names, not immediately.
Creekpaw buried Dovepaw by himself, away from everyone else. In his mind, the grief he felt was different from everyone else's, and as his wails rang out into the forest, Ripplestar came to check on me.
"How are you feeling, Sandwhisker?"
"I'm doing okay with them. As for me... Ripplestar, what if I can't handle them all?"
"You will. I know it's hard," she sighed. "My mother had to do something similar. I was with six other kits; we had only two queens and one had died in the process. So her four kits came with my mother, who birthed three more. Somehow I, the runt, lasted the longest."
"You were the runt of the whole thing?! I would've never thought!"
"Lies, I was. The smallest, and only calico. And she saw something special in me." Her eyes were wistful, and somewhat sad. "It was all before you were born."
"I know you're not that much older than me, Ripplestar." She glanced over at me. "You've never once expressed interest in anyone. If anything, I'd expect you to be with Patchpool. Even if he is a medicine cat."
"A leader and a medicine cat being mates is definitely something unusual." She watched Creekpaw come back to the group, then abruptly left to comfort him.
We would leave again, a few days later.
two - patchpool
I failed my Clan when I let the queens die.
There were two queens and Sandwhisker. One of them was kitting when the flood hit.
I couldn’t save her. I’d felt terrible because I chose to save myself - and not her.
Ripplestar and I exited after Creekpaw came back. We didn’t speak until we were away from everyone, and she sighed when she stared up at the moon. “Patchpool,” she murmured, “I can’t believe I failed.”
“What?! You, a failure?!? Not at all!!” I stared at her with wide, disbelieving eyes. “If anything, I failed. I left a queen to die. I let so many cats die because I couldn’t save her and the other queen -“
“I’m their leader.” Her eyes were heavy with emotion. “I should’ve done more.”
“No, no, no... Ripplestar, don’t beat yourself up.” I shushed her gently, and she blinked at the ground. “Please.”
“You need to be there for them. They rely on you. They need you there!!”
She blinked at me for a moment, then took a deep breath. “No, you’re right. I can’t be so upset. I can’t, I can’t.”
“We can’t give up.”
We kept moving. Sandwhisker needed help carrying the three kits she had, and I would check on her daily to make sure she was alright.
Ripplestar followed the sun each day, and we rested at night. One day, however...
Flameclaw, Icewing, and Thunderfang insisted on going hunting together, and I stayed with Ripplestar, Creekpaw, and Sandwhisker. The queen nursed Creekpaw’s kits with extreme care, and the apprentice regularly studied them. “Creekpaw.”
He looked over at me, ginger tail twitching. “Yeah?”
“How’d Dovepaw get away with it?”
“In not telling you? I don’t know.” He stared over at his sons. “She did what she wanted, and that included not telling you. Sandwhisker seems to be a good mother to them.”
“Yes, but I’m worried about her... Ripplestar.” She glanced over at me. “I know this is temporary, but Sandwhisker is dangerously close to kitting. I need to care for her.”
“We can stay, if that’s what you’re insisting.” She heard the trio of warriors enter with prey for the Clan. “I also need to discuss something with you.”
“I don’t know where the Clans are,” she gasped. “All I’ve been doing is following what StarClan told me, because I was visited. I couldn’t believe it, but the ones who told me... Mistystar, Firestar, Tallstar, Rowanstar. I thought it was them, anyway...”
“What did they look like, Ripplestar?” I had to be sure; they could have easily been fakes.
“Well... Firestar was ginger. Bright green eyes. He was one of ThunderClan’s greatest leaders.” Sounds like him. Okay... “He, um, didn’t say anything to me. None of them did, a-actually...”
Wait. What?! “They had to have said something.”
“Nothing. Everyone’s losing hope in us... Even our ancestors...” She was pacing now. “What do we do?!?”
“Ripplestar, breathe!!” Her terrified eyes were hard to meet. “Forget about their hopeless attitudes. We gotta survive, and defy our ancestors.” I had to pause and breathe myself. “The flood destroyed our home, but it can’t destroy our spirit. So we must hold on, we’ve got to, for all our sakes!!”
“But - but -“
“And you’re our leader!!! You’re our guiding light! Our Clan needs you, Ripplestar...”
“You can do it, I know you can.”
She sighed, took a breath, and opened her eyes to a newfound anxious determination. “You’re right. I’m gonna do my best.”
I hoped that for everyone, she tried harder than she ever could. We need each of her nine lives to guide us all. I don't know what we'd do if-
The thoughts stopped when Icewing crashed into the small clearing. "Ripplestar," she gasped, "there's someone here who wants to see you."
three - ripplestar
Someone wants to see me?! They've heard of us?? "Take me to them. Patchpool," I called over my shoulder, "take care of Sandwhisker."
He nodded, and as I left, I could hear her faint groaning. Icewing lead me carefully, her silver tabby fur easy to follow among the bushes. She was following the scent of her brothers, and as we came upon them, I met the gaze of the cat in front of me.
Their fur was deep brown tabby, almost ebony, with static blue eyes that stuck out like a fish out of water. "Hi," they murmured, and I raised an eyebrow. Who was this cat? "My name's Inazuma..."
Inazuma. Okay. "What are you doing here?"
"I had a strange dream," they sighed. "I was chasing a rabbit, then I ran into something... it told me to 'find the ones who are separated' or something. Whatever. I was going to ask if you were the ones separated." They looked familiar, almost like the Tigerstar of legend, but...
"We've been separated, yes, from our home." I wasn't going to give too many details. "Was there any other details?"
"Some prophecy, I think, something like 'when the last one is reborn, the exiled shall end their sorrow.' Whatever the last one means..."
I didn't understand it either, but... "Inazuma, if you're getting something like this, you've got to be important."
"Me? Pah, important? That's never happened." They scoffed and closed their eyes. "Nobody even likes me."
None of us knew how to respond to them, so I replied, "Regardless, usually what happens when cats like us get dreams is that either we're involved or someone we know is involved."
"I don't really know anyone." They shifted, then glanced around us. "But what does it mean?"
This caused us all to think. "Well," Thunderfang sighed eventually, "'the exiled' is most certainly the remains of OceanClan. If we're even considered a Clan anymore."
"As long as we believe in StarClan, we are perfectly valid Clan members," his brother responded indignantly. "Our hope will save us."
"But what exactly is 'the last one?' It's not exactly clear," Icewing murmured. "It could be anyone. Inazuma is right; what are we separated from?"
"The old Clans!"
"I swear on my paws, if you say something about us losing connection to StarClan one more time-"
"Quiet, both of you!" I was lost in thought up until they started bickering. "The last one... Inazuma." They perked up as I mentioned their name. "Do you know about the Clans?"
"Clans, in general, are new to me."
"Okay, so the Clans are groups of cats who live together. Usually there is a leader, with the suffix star - I was once called Ripplekit, then Ripplepaw, then Ripplebreeze, and right now, Ripplestar, as I am my Clan's leader."
"We have a deputy... or, well, had one..." Egretfeather got swept up in the waves trying to rescue the elders.
"Our deputy died in an accident." I cleared my throat; no use in grieving. "There's a medicine cat, who cares for us when we're sick. Ours is tending to a queen -"
"Cats who are expecting kits, or have kits of their own."
"We also have three warriors, all three of whom are here. Icewing, Thunderfang, and Flameclaw are all here, and one apprentice - Creekpaw."
"You said you had one queen. How is she doing?"
"By the time we return, we should have more." They perked up at this.
"Is it okay if I follow you all around for a bit?"
"Uh..." I glanced back at the three warriors, who each gave me a confused gaze. "...Sure."
We headed back to the clearing, the five of us, where Patchpool was tending to Sandwhisker. "Is she okay?"
"Yes, she's going to be alright... Easy, Sandwhisker, just breathe..." He glanced over his shoulder, just long enough to see Inazuma, then turned back as she began screaming again. "Currently has three kits... I think there's one more."
"Does she have names for the newborns?"
"She's a bit busy..." Patchpool tended to the queen with a determined stare, then sighed in relief as she stopped screaming. "Good. She's okay... six kittens here. What are their names, Sandwhisker?"
"The first three are Pikekit, Raccoonkit, and Larkkit." She wrapped her tail around all of them, sighing as they attempted to push past each other. "Then the three I bore are Heronkit, Duskkit, and Cinderkit."
Inazuma glanced over at them, studying them with interested eyes. "You add kit to the ends of their names?"
"It's a Clan thing," I explained to them, and Patchpool turned back to me.
"Who's this?" he asked, flicking his black and white tail towards them.
"My name is Inazuma. I've been given something that concerns me, so I thought to look for the 'ones who are separated.' I'm assuming that's you all." They held their own, and he raised an eyebrow disapprovingly before turning back to Sandwhisker, to check on her one final time. Sighing as she gave him an indignant stare, he turned back to us again.
I shooed the trio of siblings off to care for Creekpaw and Sandwhisker, then took the loner and medicine cat off separately.
"Tell him what you told me, Inazuma."
four - sandwhisker
Creekpaw came to check on his kits while he was in the area, looking at his sons and singular daughter with pride. "Hey, little ones..." He wasn't as interested in mine, though I didn't really mind; I liked my kits myself.
The only one that caught my eyes of his kits was Pikekit. Something is off with him. Hmm... well, it's none of my business right now. I think my favorite of my own is Cinderkit. In a matter of days, I knew they'd be walking around, acting like siblings even though they weren't.
Ripplestar had decided that she'd let Inazuma stay with us until we knew what exactly was going on. We were determined to keep ourselves together and to wait until the kits could walk long distances before we moved. That left Creekpaw to be a "father" to the six of them, even though Thunderfang was still trying hard to train him as his apprentice. Our leader seemed to have the knack for him as a deputy, but she and Patchpool talked every day; I suspected something was happening to them, though I said nothing.
Inazuma hadn't settled in well with the rest of us. As the six kits began to grow, they seemed disgusted by them and disinterested in Clan life as a whole. That didn't bother me, though it did bother Flameclaw.
"Why can't you just accept the ways we do things!!"
"I'm not like you," they responded calmly. "I just don't fit in and don't want to do the same things as you Clan cats."
He groaned, but Ripplestar's fierce gaze caught him before he could. "Inazuma is a guest." She glanced over at me, watching the kittens walk around. "They seem to be doing well."
"They have been! I think they're almost ready to move." I glanced up at the sky, seeing the dark clouds. "Though we should wait. A storm seems to be coming."
Her eyes shifted to worry. "Ugh, I hope it isn't-"
"It won't be," Patchpool called, nudging her shoulder from beside her. "Nothing could be as bad as that."
"Everyone, seek shelter." The rest of the cats were relatively near her - Creekpaw, Icewing, Flameclaw, and Thunderfang had been awaiting her orders. "If what Sandwhisker says is correct, there's a storm coming. You four," she called to them, "help her move her kits out of harm."
They came to move the six of them, and Pikekit squealed as he was lifted by his father. "Put me down!! I'm not afraid of no storm!!"
"You may not be, but you're too precious to us to get hurt." As he wiggled, I carried Cinderkit, who hadn't argued whatsoever.
"You okay, Cinderkit?"
"Yeah.. I just don't like that Inazuma doesn't like us!! They're mean!!" She grimaced in my grip, frowning as I set her down. "My own brother is nicer than them, and I don't even like my brother that much!"
"You'll like him eventually, Cinderkit. Someday he'll matter a lot to you."
Thunderfang carried two of them under a bush to seek shelter, placing Heronkit and Duskkit by my side. Their sister had already settled, indignantly turning her nose away from them. "What do you mean, mama?"
Icewing and Flameclaw were right behind Thundefang, setting Raccoonkit and Larkkit down next to my side. "I mean, you will learn to like your brothers. I'll tell you kits a story later on."
I gave the warriors and Creekpaw a glance. "You should seek shelter too. This bush isn't big enough to fit eleven cats in here."
"Alright, you guys, let's leave her alone," Thunderfang responded, leading his siblings out with the apprentice trailing behind him. The latter gave me one final glance at his kits, then sighed and left, just as it began to rain.
The six kits glanced outside at the rain, watching with wide gazes. Heronkit almost stepped out, then jumped back as he felt the splash of a raindrop hit his fur. "Why is it cold!!"
"Rain is sometimes cold," I murmured to him before shifting my position. "Now, do you kits want to hear a story?"
"Yeah!!" They crowded around, eyes wide with interest.
"Cinderkit, you asked me about why you should care for your brothers." She smiled and blinked up at me, proud to be mentioned. "You kits may be wondering why exactly you're not in anywhere stable." They cocked their heads, but I continued nonetheless. "Anyway, before you kits were born, we lived by an endless body of water. We called it the ocean, like our Clan, OceanClan."
"That's why we're called OceanClan!!" Duskkit called. "Yeah!!"
"That's right. The ocean supported us for many years. We were able to support our entire Clan based on the ocean and the forest, like you see around us. Ripplestar has lead us for many moons; she lead us through many seasons of calm."
"Why aren't we still there?" Larkkit asked.
"Would you believe me if I said the ocean betrayed us?"
"No way!" Cinderkit gasped.
"It wouldn't!!" Raccoonkit sputtered.
"There's no chance!" Pikekit yelped.
"The bad news is that it did." The memories made me upset, but I wasn't going to show them any of that - they had to remain happy. "One day a terrible storm overcame us and lead us into darkness. We lost everything, almost all of us. I lost my mother to the storm, and my father to the darkness. None of my siblings survived."
"Your siblings... they're gone?!" At this, Cinderkit had begun to shiver. "You had brothers?"
"I had a large family. My mother had three litters of kits in her life, and probably a fourth would've come as well. When the storm struck, I had two living brothers and three living sisters, all older than me." I took a breath, then sighed. "We fled our home in search of a new one... and that is where we are now. We can only hope that we'll be able to give you kits that life that we had."
"All those cats..."
"I admire my surviving Clanmates every day because of how brave they are. Each and every one of us has lost someone important to us, and you all may loose someone you like, too. But like us older cats, you've got to be strong, together." I hated being like that around them, but...
"We'll be the best we can!" Heronkit cheered. "I-I-I know we're in a lot of uncertain times and we aren't getting the normal kithood we should be, but it's okay! We'll survive!"
"Make our own paths!" Cinderkit called beside him. "Right guys?! We're the future of OceanClan!"
The rest of the kits howled beside her, not out of laughter, but out of support. "I'm glad you six are staying together."
"Yeah!" they all cheered, giggling to each other afterwards, except -
A sudden crack caught our ears. Every kit huddled next to me out of fear, except for...
"Pikekit!!" Raccoonkit called, seeing him separated and outside. He must've snuck away during the latter half of the story! "Pikekit, get back here!"
Having heard us, the kit glanced over his shoulder, and the loud yowl of Patchpool caught his attention. "Pikekit, get under the bush, now!"
He was too frozen in fear to move.
A branch cracked above and began to fall, and I looked away from him to see his father dashing towards him to protect him. "Creekpaw, no!"
He took the burden of the branch as it crashed, protecting his son, and weakly he nudged Pikekit out. "Pikekit. Stay safe, my son, and don't be afraid..." The weight on his back had scratched him badly and his blood began to soak the ground.
"Father?!" He nudged his father's face with a paw. "Father?!?"
The other five kits, by my side, watched in shock, and Patchpool struggled to pull the apprentice out on his own, having missed the injury I saw on the kit. "Patchpool - Pikekit's tail!!"
He'd lost roughly half his tail in the injury. "Oh no... Ripplestar!"
That was the day I knew something was changing.
five - ripplestar
I hate doing things like this.
Patchpool had been caring for Pikekit since his injury, but I had known the kit wasn't feeling like himself anymore. Within a few days, Sandwhisker came up to me, looking concerned as the trio of warriors behind her played with her other five kits. "Ripplestar, can I request something of you?"
"Sure, what is it?"
"Pikekit doesn't feel like himself, so... please, rename him Halfkit?"
What?! "Why would I rename him?"
"Halfkit suits him. I don't want cats to mess with him by calling him something he's not; he might get mocked for only having half of his tail."
"Sandwhisker, I'm not gonna call him Halftail."
"Ripplestar, I'm doing this out of love for him. I don't want him to be name-called in the future."
"Then what does that make this? Have you considered his feelings?"
"He already feels shameful. He feels like he killed Creekpaw."
"How would he feel about this name change?"
"Does it matter?"
"It matters to me." I stared at her, then saw the sadness and fear in her eyes before letting out a subtle sigh. "Fine. Patchpool!"
He poked his head out from under one of the bushes. "Bring Pikekit out, will you?"
"His tail has almost healed." The medicine cat nudged the kit out.
"Pikekit, from this day forward... you shall be called Halfkit." He stared at me with wide eyes, as did Patchpool and the rest of the Clan. "However. This change does not make you weak, and you shouldn't see it like that. You are being named because of your bravery." I met the gazes of the rest of the cats. "While this change may describe what your scar will become, you are just as loyal and brave as the rest of us. And you have every right to embrace that feeling." I cast my gaze down to him, meeting his eyes. "I'm sorry you have suffered... be brave, Halfkit."
The shocked eyes of the Clan met mine, but didn't echo any sort of disapproval. "Halfkit," Thunderfang called, "your father would be so proud."
"That's right... I have one more thing to say." I kept my eyes focused on the large golden tabby. "Thunderfang was the only cat to have an apprentice during these rough times. Unfortunately, his apprentice has passed, but he shows experience nonetheless. Thunderfang, will you accept the honor of being my deputy?"
"You're - You're making me deputy?! But -"
"You have proven yourself many times over by not only dedicating your life to the Clan's survival, but also defending your siblings from any harm that would come their way. We admire your strength, Thunderfang."
He blinked at me with a gentle gaze, then nodded. "I will do my best, as OceanClan's deputy, to continue dedicating my life to the survival of my Clan."
"Good... Patchpool, do you feel as though we're ready to keep moving, now that the kits can walk?"
"I do feel so, Ripplestar."
"Let's go, everyone! To a new home!"
"To a new home!"
We kept moving. Patchpool cared constantly for Halfkit, and I kept watch of Sandwhisker's kits. After a few weeks of walking daily, we decided to settle down for a bit, allowing kits and warriors to rest. Inazuma was still with us; while at a distance, they still followed behind us. They didn't particularly fit in; they didn't seem to be a big fan of the kits, particularly Raccoonkit.
"Why can't you just be happy with Clan life!!"
"I don't fit in, small one." They didn't meet the little tom's eyes. "I'm not one for this life."
"But you're still with us - why?"
"Because whatever that message given to me leads me to this group, and I'm still trying to figure it out."
From beside me, Patchpool scoffed. "Raccoonkit should be careful around them."
"What do you mean by that?"
"I don't trust them. They don't fit in with us."
"They haven't for a while." I could hear Cinderkit talking with Thunderfang about when exactly she'd become a warrior. "I don't know where to stop."
"You'll know when the time comes." His eyes went wide as he stared at the stars, his fur flaring up. "Oh. Well."
"You see something, my trusted medicine cat?"
"Mm, sort of. We're getting close, I can feel it. However." A cloud passed over the moon. "Something is gonna happen to us."
"Us, as in the Clan?"
"That's what I see. There's..." The cloud was followed by a few more; I saw it in his gaze. "There's a split. Several things are separating us."
"We'll have to be careful." Patchpool met my gaze. "How old are the kits?"
"Sandwhisker should know that." I turned to the queen, calling for her as I spotted her. "Hey, Sandwhisker! How old are your kits?"
"Four moons, Ripplestar." We really stayed put for that long. "They will be ready for apprenticeship soon."
"Cool." I glanced at Thunderfang, sighing as I spotted him. You are always faithful to us, and you wouldn't split from us, ever. A memory came flooding back, of us when we were younger...
Thunderfang had just become a warrior, along with his siblings. I'd already been one for longer than him; he was born when I was three moons of age. He had cast me a gaze as I trained a new apprentice, Cyclonepaw, in the art of fish hunting. I always knew I was talented in training hunters.
I'm not remotely an old leader. I was made deputy after our past one, Rowanstorm, retired. Later on he caught greencough and passed away. But Thunderfang knew something that day.
"He's a fast learner." His voice spooked me for a moment, and he rested his tail on my flank. Patchpool glanced out from the nursery, alongside his mentor, Crowfrost, who had been blinded as a kit. The patchy black and white tom always seemed to enjoy my company, and he came striding over to join us, slipping comfortably by my side.
"Hey Ripplebreeze, Thunderfang." He wasn't old at all - only a few moons older than me. "How are you two doing?"
"We're doing well." Thunderfang spoke before I could. "How about you, Patchpool?"
"Besides caring for Rowanstorm, not much. It makes me upset that he is losing health so slowly." The deputy had been deteriorating, and it seemed he would retire soon. Our leader was holding out, though - quite possibly against the will of his more experienced warriors.
I was both the youngest deputy and oldest warrior. Our queens had not had a successful season in moons when I was born. Crowfrost had felt something when I was born - he knew something. I have no idea what he knew or how he felt.
Rowanstorm passed away two moons after Cyclonepaw became a warrior. Our leader knew we were on a path to death - but still had hope in me.
I became leader of this Clan by the time I reached four years of age.
Thunderfang and Patchpool seemed to always be in debate. But if I was totally honest... Patchpool was always a friend.
"Patchpool." He glanced up at me. "Do you and Thunderfang remember when you used to fight?"
"Over you? Yeah, I remember it well. I... still don't know if you ever enjoyed my company in the same way."
"No, it isn't true. I'm not liking you like that." I couldn't stop his heart from breaking. "I'm sorry. But I want to mention something."
He turned his head to me. "You noted a split. Maybe it's already happened?"
"No. We're still moving." He shook his head.