Your three years in WaterClan have enhanced my short time here
“Come on, Aquapaw,” Featherpaw and Ivypaw stood over me disapprovingly as I struggled to get out of my nest.
“Later,” I mumbled, “Can’t they just do it later. I need to sleep now.”
“Don’t make us bring Mistypaw,” Ivypaw warned with a slight twitch of her whiskers, “She will be even crankier when she learns that she was dragged here because you didn’t get up.”
“Fine,” I mumbled, as I pushed myself up, “But I need to eat before we go.”
“You can eat there,” Ivypaw claimed as she and Featherpaw dragged me out of my den.
Trying to fight my sleep, I asked, “Where are we even going? This better be good because you ruined my first morning of what was supposed to be good sleep.”
The two exchanged an amused glance, and I chose to ignore it that time, as my jaws stretched and I let out another loud yawn.
“Come on,” Featherpaw tugged me and I let out an 'oof' as I was pulled across the clearing, only stopping to get a mouse from the fresh-kill pile before continuing to the elder’s den.
“What’s going on?” I asked, “What’s the big fuss about.”
But Featherpaw just dragged me there, Ivypaw following quickly behind her with brisk, light and happy footsteps as they walked inside the elders’ den.
The first thing I noticed as soon as I entered the den was all of the noise. There were too many apprentices too count, all talking away happily and with excitement while I observed, confused.
Featherpaw and Ivypaw beckoned for me to follow them to a corner or the den. I brought my mouse along with me, placing myself between the two cats.
“How did your training session with Emberclaw go?” I asked Ivypaw, “Did he show you that cool belly move yet?”
“No,” she shook her head softly, “He didn’t show me any belly moves. The only thing he showed me was how to pretend you have lost before jumping on them.”
I nodded slowly, before brightening, “I can teach you the belly move later on today if you want!” I offered, “I bet I would make the greatest mentor you have ever seen.”
Featherpaw laughed at me while Ivypaw gave me a curious look, “Don’t you have a hunting assessment later today?”
“Oh yeah,” I felt my stomach harden the way it always did when my hunting assessments were mentioned. I couldn't help getting excited at the thought of succeeding, but worried at the thought of failing.
“You’ll be fine,” Featherpaw assured me with a comforting lick, “Just stay calm and do what you know to do. I was worried about my assessment the other day, but I just forced myself not to get too excited and I did great. Rivershine even thought it might be a good idea to make myself I warrior earlier than planned.”
“Lucky!” Ivypaw exclaimed, “I can’t wait to become a warrior,” she purred at the thought and I smiled.
It would be great to finally become a warrior. Even though I was just a few moons into training it felt like I had devoted a whole life-time to the task of becoming a full member of WaterClan.
“So what actually are we doing?” I asked, “Are either of you willing to open your muzzles and tell me?”
Ivypaw glanced at Featherpaw and shrugged, “Wetstream is going to tell all of the apprentices a story!”
“Really?” I cocked my head to the side, slightly surprised, “Aren't they too busy advising Bramblestar and going on patrols and hunting to worry about telling the apprentices tales?”
“It was a surprise treat,” Featherpaw exclaimed, “I don’t know which story they are going to tell us though...”
At that moment Wetstream entered the den, an amused look on her face at all the apprentices so anxiously waiting for just a story, but also looking slightly flattered.
There was a few moments of silence as she walked up to the front of the den, smiling before she sat down in front of several gathered apprentices.
“What story are you going to tell us?” Fuzzypaw chirped from further ahead as all of the apprentices slowly quieted.
“I’ll tell you the story about...” Wetstream paused, “The history of WaterClan; and how it came to be, something which isn't spoken too much about in the clan these days and is important that you know.”
“What happened?” several of the apprentices were quick to ask and she flicked her tail.
“I am about to tell you the greatest story of the forest, which must be passed down from generation to generation and never forgotten; something I was here to witness most of.”
“You are old,” a cat breathed which earned them a “shhhhhh” from all of us, who were excited for Wetstream to start.
Once we had all quieted down, Wetstream smiled and began her story, “Several seasons ago, when I was just a young kit, there was a loner who lived in these areas. He was respected and praised by all the other cats, for his honesty and leadership, as well as his strength and speed.”
We all nodded, listening closely to the story of the senior warrior, one of the most respected in the whole Clan.
“One day, this loner; his name was Saur, decided to bring the loners, struggling to survive, together in order to help the cats of the forest thrive without worrying about competition, or kits, or having your den ruined by a badger while you were away. He created a Clan; WaterClan. Where you sit right now, was where the first Clan meetings were held, when Saur was trying to bring more cats in, so that WaterClan could thrive.”
We all looked down at our paws in awe, all surprised at this new fact and all the more intrigued.
“By the time the Clan was large enough in size; Saur was rather old and decided to retire from his position as leader. He still helped solving matters, but he picked two of his most trusted warriors; Swiftfire and Bag, who was a former kittypet and took the warrior name of Applewhisker, to take over for him and lead the Clan to success.
“Under the paws of these two cats,” Wetstream continued, “The Clan began to thrive. I soon joined, when I saw how much easier life was along with many of the other warriors here. However, Swiftfire was also a rather old cat and he soon retired as well, joining the elders of the Clan.”
The cats were quiet for a moment, “In the meanwhile, there were several cats that decided they wanted to join and be a part of WaterClan, so the Clan was continuing to grow, and life was easy for those who lived here. When Swiftfire retired, Applewhisker; Saur’s old friend, picked Mistyfur to become his deputy and together they continued to lead the Clan to success. We suffered from a few rogues but it was nothing major.”
“Then, Mistyfur; who was also a rather old cat, chose to retire. Applewhisker, remained with the Clan, he was a strong tom and had been picked by Saur with very good reason to lead the clan he formed. With Mistyfur retired, Applewhisker needed a new deputy and so he choosed Sparrowsong, a very loyal cat who the Clan never doubted. She was popular and well liked, and everything she ever did was for the good of the Clan.”
When she paused for a moment, Wetstream was greeted with silence. We were all waiting with anticipation, not sure what to expect next.
Wetstream slowly sucked in her breath before looking back down at us, “This is the start of WaterClan’s dark ages.”
Featherpaw and Ivypaw are completely focused ahead of them, and I direct my attention the same way, enhanced by Wetstream’s ability to tell a story and keep the audience so caught up.
“That was when Applewhisker; who had grown very old by that time, decided to step down from leadership; something the Clan was completely unprepared for, as much as he may have tried to prepare them for it.”
“At first, then Clan was fine. Life continued, while Applewhisker was away from his usual post. That was until, the rogues arrived...”
“They were cruel cats with no purpose for what they did. They would set up traps for badgers to attack the clan, while we were sleeping they would come in large groups, attack the cats on guard and steal our prey our mess up our dens. They claimed the lives of several warriors and so much more prey that should have been taken by us. Life was horrible and hard with these cats around, and many cats left the Clan of fear, and what had been done to them, no longer believing in the purpose of Clan life, if they couldn't even be protected as well. Those of us that remained were distraught and caught up by all the fights, life was a challenge in the Clan, and there was nowhere for us to take our problems. We had several talks with the rogues but all they seemed to want was our destruction... for no good reason at all.”
“A while later Sparrowsong was forced to leave the Clan. It was too hard to run and she was brought down by the stress of it all. She was the only one cats had to turn to, and their expectations for her were so high, she was crushed by everything expected of her. Once she left, the Clan was left in such a desperate state, and Saur, who had retired as an elder, was forced to temporarily return. He helped recruiting new cats for the Clan, and soon needed to pick a new leader.”
“Bramblestar?” an apprentice asked, curiously.
Wetstream continued, “Bramblestar; Bramblepath then, was one of the candidates. The other two were cats named Maplefern, who is now and elder, and Hiddensun; who won, and soon became Hiddenstar, the first cat in WaterClan to take that as a suffix for their name.”
We were all gapping as Wetstream continued, “A few seasons later Saur decided to leave the Clan, and move back to the elder’s den. Hiddenstar led the clan well, but the rogues continued to return and some of the warriors who joined the Clan had loyalties to be doubted, and chose not to stay very long when they learned some of the struggles. It wasn't the Clan’s brightest time, but it was certainly not a dark age, in which we were struggling to control our lives as warriors.”
“Hiddenstar soon chose to take Forestheart as her deputy, before she became a Foreststar; a leader as well and WaterClan was run by two leaders.”
Several apprentices exchanged surprised glances before returning to Wetstream, who was still not done with his story, “By this time, WaterClan had done a good job of fending off the rogues who no longer had the courage to come and attack us, alone, or steal our prey without having others to back them up.”
“And that was how FireClan formed.”
“So FireClan was formed to crush WaterClan?” Rainpaw asked and Wetstream nodded causing the apprentices to start murmuring among themselves, before they were quieted by a flick of the tail from Wetstream, who then continued.
“FireClan soon began to do the opposite of what they were formed to, which was to oppose Clan life. It wasn't long before they began to live it like us, and there were two clans in the forest, for the two types of personalities available. WaterClan was more relaxed and foundational on loyalty where FireClan were harsh and disciplined, relying on the urge to survive and thrive so that their Clan survived. However, although they might have turned out to become the as us, their desire for revenge has never died out.”
We were silent for a moment, all knowing that it was the truth. FireClan had attempted so many things to ruin WaterClan lately, and although none of them had succeeded it was known that they would stop at nothing to destroy WaterClan.
“Hiddenstar soon decided to retire as well,” Wetstream continued, “And Foreststar took over as leader of the clan.”
“When does Bramblestar become leader?” Nightpaw asked.
“Now,” Wetstream responded, “Because Foreststar picked Bramblepath to become her deputy, as the threats from FireClan continued to grow. We were soon caught in a battle against them; one that could destroy us if we lost.”
“Luckily we were able to fend off the attackers and WaterClan survived, although barely. We were greatly wounded in the battle, and we had to appoint another deputy to help the clan get back on its feet and healthy again, as well as continue to fend off FireClan who refused to stop attacking us. Foreststar appointed me to become deputy as well this time, to help lead the clan through another tough age.”
“But once our problems were resolved Bramblepath went back to being the only deputy of the clan,” Wetstream explained, “And there was peace among the clan.”
“But it didn’t last for long. FireClan soon came back, and constantly attacked us or stole our prey. They threatened us and continued to kill our cats, many of them apprentices of kits. WaterClan cats became scared and their loyalties to the Clan were soon to fade. The Clan was in need of more support than two cats could possibly ever offer, and so fights began to breakout both within and outside of the Clan. We were in a horrible state, and I remember how challenging it was to be a warrior at that time.”
She continued, “It soon cleared up, as cats began to understand that by working together they could overcome the threat of FireClan, and it wasn't long before we had pulled ourselves back together. By that time, however, something horrible had happened. Due to the stress, Foreststar stepped down from his position as leader of the Clan, retired to become an elder, and Bramblepath became Bramblestar.”
We were silent.
“Then things began to clear up; and for good. Forestheart returned, but as a warrior this time, while Bramblestar chose Birchfire to become her deputy.”
She smiled and sat still while the apprentices waited for more.
“What happened next?” I asked with excitement, caught in the history of the clan, “What happened after that.”
Wetstream gave us a sweet smile as she pulled herself up to her feet and smiled, “What happened next is the world you live in right now,” she claimed, “WaterClan still has some struggles and FireClan is a problem we will continue to deal with for a long time yet, but we are strong and we are a family. We are a place where cats can feel easy and comfortable.”
I saw a smile spread across Ivypaw’s face and gave her a knowing glance.
“We are a group that will stick together no matter what hits us and when one of us is hurt, all of us have been hurt. When the group has been attacked each individual has been attacked. And when one of us thrive, all of us have thrived. We are a Clan. A group of cats that count on, rely on and love one another. Together, we are on of the greatest forced the forest has ever and will ever see. We are life, we are hope, we are family, and we are a home."