"Moonkit, Redkit!" Gingerfur mewed. "Stay away from the Elder's den, they're trying to sleep!"
Her kits were now two moons old and were already getting into trouble.
"It's quiet alright, Gingerfur. We weren't sleeping, merely sun bathing." A light brown tabby rasped.
"Brankenclaw, can you tell us a story?" Redkit mewed.
"Very well, But first, can one of you fetch me some thing from the fresh kill pile?"
"Ok!" Both kits then bolted from the Elder's den and toward the fresh kill pile.
"Still pitting kits against each other, Brankenclaw?" Purred a tank furred elder.
"I've been doing that since before you were born. Besides, it doesn't hurt the kits to have a little rivalry between littermates."
"What the old fur ball is trying to say is that he simply wants the kits to be the best that they can be" Mewed Russetpelt, lifting his head to look at Barktail with clouded eyes.
Heartbeats later, the two kits returned, both carrying the same rather plump squirrel.
Ripplefur purred in amusement. "It would seem that they are working as one."
"Looks like it." Barktail mewed.
"Alright, set that down and I shall tell you of Mountainstar, founder of our great clan."
As Brackenclaw told the story, Gingerfur made her way to Russetpelt, his ears twitched at her approach.
"Hello, sister." the dark ginger tom meowed.
Gingerfur purred and nuzzled her littermate, her twin purred in reply.
"How are the elders treating you?" She asked sitting down.
"Rather well actually. Although I admit I miss being in the forest, hunting for fresh kill with you. Watching as sunhigh became moonhigh."
His sister nuzzled him sympathetically. "As do I."
"Redkit is starting to look like his father." Her brother whispered.
Only Russetpelt knew who Redkit's real father was, every one else thought it was Nightwing, a dark gray almost black tom who had died by Viperstar's paw days before the battle at the gathering.
"I know," Gingerfur whispered back, her golden eyes locked on her kits. "But it doesn't matter now, it's done."
"Who was Mountainstar's mate?" Moonkit asked head tilted.
"No one but Starclan knows," Brackenclaw replied. "But who ever was our founder's secret mate, her descendants are alive in Mountainclan today."
Their eyes widened in awe and wondered which cats were descended from Mountainstar and his unknown mate.
"I bet its Cedarstar and Blacksting." Moonkit whispered.
"I bet it's me." Redkit said, puffing out his white fuzzy chest.
"Yeah, right!" She said hissing playfully before launching herself at her brother.
The Elder's den was soon filled with playful squeaks as the two kits tumbled over each other.
The four elders purred in amusement, it had been so long since they had such spirited kits.
Gingerfur followed after the kits as their tussle was taken out side the den, their play fighting didn't last long as the kits soon broke apart, panting as the tiny warriors fell to their sides. Their flanks rising and falling.
"You finished?" Gingerfur asked amusement in her eyes.
Moonkit giggled. "Yes, Gingerfur."
"Mouseheart, I can still fight." Redkit mewed, getting to his paws which he then tripped over.
Gingerfur purred then nuzzled her two kits. "Come, my little warriors, back to the nursery." She grasped the closest kit by the scruff which had been Redkit then carried him toward the nursery with Moonkit following close behind.
"When will we become apprentices?" Redkit asked as he was placed in the nest.
"Not for another four moons." Gingerfur replied before picking up Moonkit and placing her next to her brother.
"But that's ages away!" Redkit protested loudly.
"I know but you must until you are six moons old, that is the law of the Warrior Code." Their mother replied as she curled around them in the large nest.
"I know, but it's no fun to wait." Redkit said before starting to suckle.
"Did you hear about what happened at the Gathering last night?" Graytail asked the ginger queen.
"I only heard bits and pieces, why what happened?"
"Pantherstar's mate is dead, she was missing for a few moons, but he was visited by his mate who was now a Starclan cat."
"Pantherstar maybe a territory hungry piece of fox dung, but no cat should lose a mate like he did." Gingerfur stated.
Graytail nodded in agreement then looked toward the entrance of the nursery and purred as her mate, Blacksting entered with a blue jaw in his jaws. The black tom carefully made his way to the gray queen then placed the fresh kill in front of her paws.
"For you, my mate." The deputy said.
Graytail smiled. "Thank you, Blacksting."
Heartbeats later a large long haired black tom entered carrying a blackbird and a plump squirrel in his jaws.
Spottedtail lifted her head and smiled at the one eyed warrior. "Greetings, my mate." She purred.
The large warrior purred in reply before placing the black bird at the she-cats paws then placed the squirrel at Gingerfur's paws.
"Thank you, Sharpclaw. Judging by how plump this squirrel is, the hunting is going well." Gingerfur commented.
"It is," Sharpclaw replied his voice was a deep rumbling purr. "The fresh kill pile has been well stocked." He then turned his attention to his mate and nuzzled her.
Gingerfur began to eat the squirrel, her gaze wondered out of the nursery toward Snowstorm's den.
The entrance of the Duskclan nursery quivered, a heart beat later a black and brown kit burst out, fur puffed out excitedly. A jet black kit followed after her littermate not as crazily as the other kit, a third kit appeared a heart beat later, its pelt looking just like that of a badger.
"Two more moons is still so far away!" The tom said.
"Waiting two more moons isn't going to kill you, Bearkit." The badger furred kit replied, giving him a small nudge.
The black and brown kit let out a playful hiss before leaping onto the she-kit and the pair began to tussle while the remaining kit simply watched. She gave her chest fur a lick then looked up when a startled shriek from across the camp.
The pair of play fighting kits had just startled Littlefang; the medicine cat apprentice, the she-cats fur was sticking out in every direction.
"I-I'm sorry, Littlefang," Bearkit stammered. "We didn't see you."
The small she-cat's fur flattened out a few heartbeats later. "It-its ok, it was a simple mistake." She replied before vanishing into the medicine cat den.
He went to go in after her when another cat emerged from the den. It was Foxfur, Littlefang's mentor.
"Ah, Bearkit," Foxfur said. "What bring you here, not sick are you?"
"No, I'm fine. I just wanted to see if Littlefang was alright." Bearkit replied.
"Littlefang is just fine, but she's still recovering from emotional trauma from some moons ago." The Medicine cat mewed.
After Wolfstar had returned from the Cave of Starclan, he and the clan agreed to never mention Viperstar or her name within the clan again, nor would they hold Bearkit and his sister Blackkit accountable for their mother's actions as they were still newborn kits at the time.
"Will she get better?" Bearkit asked.
"In time. Right now I'm having her gather herbs and memorizing their uses for sickness and injuries."
"How will that help though?"
"By having her do all this, her mind is slowly healing itself. But it also doesn't hurt to learn something new."
"Oh, ok." Bearkit said before looking around the older medicine cat to see his apprentice busy looking at herbs.
"Bearkit." Called a gray tabby queen who was sitting near the entrance of the nursery.
He looked over his shoulder. "Coming, Featherstone," He replied before turning back to Foxfur. "Bye, Foxfur."
"Goodbye, little one." Foxfur said before watching the kit run over to Featherstone.
May Starclan keep you on the right path, Bearkit. The Medicine cat prayed as Bearkit reached his foster mother.
A large fluffy gray lifted her head as Featherstone entered, the three kits followed her in.
"Bearkit and Badgerkit get into trouble again?" The queen asked.
"No," Featherstone replied. "They did however, scare Littlefang almost out of her fur."
"We didn't mean to." Badgerkit mewed.
"I know," The gray tabby commented. "Now to your nest, Badgerkit."
The badge furred kit wondered over to the fluffy gray queen who helped her into the nest, the kit instantly tried to get away when her mother started giving her a bath.
"Owlclaw! You already gave me a bath this morning!" She protested.
Owlclaw gently held her down. "True, but that tussle you had with Bearkit has gotten you dirty again."
Bearkit giggled quietly as he watched Badgerkit, he suddenly let out a startled squeak as he was pinned down by Featherstone and he too was given a bath, much to the amusement of his sister.
"You also need a bath, my little one." His mother mewed.
Bearkit grumbled irritability and glared at Blackkit who was still smirking amused.
A small brown queen who was heavy with kits rose from her nest and stretched, back arching as she did so.
"I hear that Duskclan will be getting two new Warriors." The brown queen mewed.
"Both Rockpaw and Cloudpaw have definitely earned their warrior names." Agreed Featherstone between licks.
A gray-silver queen purred at the mention of her kit; Cloudpaw.
"Can we watch the ceremony?" Blackkit asked.
"I don't see why not." Featherstone replied, letting Bearkit up who quickly scurried away.
"Any cat strong enough to make the trek to The Fallen Red Wood meet beneath to Rock Ledge for a clan meeting!" Yowled Wolfstar's command.
Several heart beats later, the rocky-sandy hollow was filled with Duskclan warriors, only four cats stood apart from the rest of the clan. Wolfstar stood atop of the Rock Ledge, looking like a warrior of Lionclan, he looked down at the four cats to his left and addressed them.
"Crowpelt, Swiftbreeze. Are you satisfied with the progress of your apprentices?" Their leader asked.
Both warriors raised their chins proudly, it was Crowpelt; the Duskclan Deputy who spoke first.
"Yes, Wolfstar, she has worked hard and made her clan proud." The blue/black tom replied.
"She has, Wolfstar. Many times over and she shall do so again in the future." Swiftbreeze commented.
Satisfied, the Duskclan leader jumped off the Rockledge and walked over to the four cats. He looked toward the heavens where Starclan resided then spoke again. "I, Wolfstar, Leader of Duskclan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on these two apprentices. For they have trained hard to understand the warrior code and I commend them to you as warriors." He paused to look at the two apprentices standing before him.
He first addressed the dark tortoiseshell. "Rockpaw, do you promise to uphold the Warrior Code and to protect and defend your clan, even at the cost of your life?"
"I do." Rockpaw replied, eyes burning with fierce determination.
Wolfstar looked at the fluffy white she-cat standing next to her and said. "And you Cloudpaw?"
"I do." Cloudpaw said without hesitation.
Their leader nodded once, proud of these two she-cats. "Then by the powers of Starclan, I give you your warrior names; Cloudpaw from this moment on, you shall be known as Cloudfeather. Starclan honors your courage and strength and we welcome you as a full warrior of Duskclan."
The large black and white tom stepped forward then rested his muzzle on Cloudfeather's head, the she-cat gave her leader's shoulder a respectful lick, as was tradition.
Cloudfeather then stepped back and joined the other warriors.
Rockpaw was shaking with excitement, out of the corner of her eye, she saw her twin Littlefang sitting beside her mentor Foxfur. She could that her sister was smiling at her.
Wolfstar looked at Rockpaw and smiled for a moment before speaking again. "Rockpaw, from this moment on, you will be known as Rockfang. Starclan honors your determination and your loyalty and we welcome you as a full warrior of Duskclan." He once again touched his muzzle to her head, the new warrior gave his leader a respectful lick just as Cloudfeather had done before slipping away and joined Cloudfeather.
A heart beat later, the entire clan began chanting their warrior names. Littlefang was on her paws, calling out sister's name before calling out Cloudfeather's name.
Wolfstar waited until the chanting died down. "Like the warriors before the, Rockfang and Cloudfeather must sit silent vigil until dawn. Guarding the camp as well as their fellow clan mates."
The two she-cat nodded then trotted over the only entrance to the Duskclan and sat down to start their vigil.
Bearkit watched the newly appointed warriors, excitement gripping his heart.
I will be the greatest warrior the forest has ever seen! He vowed as he looked up at Silverpelt.
Moonkit couldn't sleep, she couldn't shake off the feeling that something was going to happen.
Maybe I should go and make dirt. She thought.
As quietly as she could, Moonkit climbed out of the nest and the nursery and then headed for the Dirt Place. All she had to do was quietly walk past the Warriors Den then Cedarstar's den.
Easier said then done. She thought as she gazed around the clearing.
She stalked across the across the clearing, using the hunting crouch that Gingerfur had taught her and Redkit. She froze in the middle of the clearing when she heard a noise. She shrank into the shadows as the noise became the soft sound of paws on the sandy ground. A heartbeat later, a dark tabby tom named Darkpelt trotted past her hiding place as he headed for the Dirt Place. The silver-white kit waited for several heartbeats before the dark tabby emerged from the dirt place.
Once the dark tabby was back in the Warriors Den, she once again slid out into the open, the kit was completely unaware that she was being watched by the Mountain Clan leader.
She's using a perfect hunting crouch. He observed. But what is she doing?
He got his answer when she vanished into the covered area of the dirt place. Getting to his paw, the dark gray tom trotted over to where she had vanished, he then sat down and waited for the kit to emerge.
I can already tell that she will be a great warrior and skillful hunter. He thought with pride.
Having relived herself, Moonkit left the dirt place and let out a startled squeak when she padded into the legs of Cedarstar.
"What are you doing, Moon? Its nearly Moonhigh." The tom asked calmly.
"I-I couldn't sleep. I didn't want to wake Gingerfur, so I thought I'd go to Dirt place by myself." She squeaked.
Cedarstar dipped his head in understanding. "That was very thoughtful, Moonkit. But night is not safe for a kit out in the open, not even in camp. Owls have been known to swoop down and capture unwary cats."
Moonkit's blue eyes widened and she shrank back.
"I do not say this to scare you, I say this to make you aware of the danger," Her leader said. "I'll escort you back to the nursery. Unless your finished making dirt."
Moonkit's stomach made a strange noise and she bolted back into the dirt place. A heart beat later, she emerged feeling better after doing that.
"Better?" She nodded.
Cedarstar quietly lead the kit back to the nursery, once inside he padded back to his den and laid down, head in his paws.
A wail of pure anguish filled the clearing the next morning, the cry brought every cat into the clearing just as Brownfur stumbled out of the elder's den and into the clearing. She opened her jaws and wailed.
"Brackenfur… he's gone!"