Cats of the Clans
Three Lost Travelers
Who’s there?Come forward, into the moonlight. Three kits, smelling of stars and the night? You’re a long way from StarClan, little ones. Did you stray too far into the shadows at the edge of your territory? You must be surprised to end up here, far beneath the ground, with such a strange-looking cat to welcome you. I doubt my name, or this place, is spoken of in StarClan.
Hush, don’t be scared. I won’t hurt you. I’ll show you the path home when day breaks, when there is light to see your way. Lie down—the floor is more comfortable than you may think. See how smooth it is underpaw? I would not exchange it for all the prickles and tickling things that line your nests. I have long forgotten how I ever slept amid such rustling. It is always silent here, apart from the echo of the water.
What did you say your name was? Mosskit? Of course, Bluefur’s kit, Mistyfoot and Stonefur’s little sister. And the underfed tom beside you?
Adderkit, yes, from WindClan. You were very young to go to StarClan, weren’t you? And named for the snake that… Yes, I know you too, 1
Blossomkit! Your white fur is unusual for a ShadowClan cat. Brokenstar may have promised you that you’d be a warrior before any other kit in the forest, but I don’t think he ever imagined you going into battle. You died too young, but trust me, you were saved from even greater horrors.
Three little kits who didn’t live long enough in the forest to learn about your Clanmates, their friends, and their rivals. There is a price to be paid in being a kit forever.
If you settle down—yes, even you, Mosskit—then I’ll answer your questions about the cats you left behind. Ha, the night is not long enough to tell you everything I know! There are so many cats, many more than you know about. You would be here a moon and more to hear of them all. But I shall tell you about the ones I remember most clearly, and the ones I watch still. Oh, yes, I have watched them all, from as far back as any cat in the Clans can remember, and farther. And not only the four Clans that live beside the lake now. Much as they might wish to think they are the center of this world, there are cats of equal worth—or more—far beyond their fragile borders. Cats reviled for being loners and rogues, simply because they do not wish to live in a hive of chattering voices: poor beleaguered SkyClan, driven out because of their fellow Clans’ selfishness; the Tribe of Rushing Water, who cling stubbornly to the mountains like the moss that grows beside the waterfall—I know them all. And BloodClan, who are not worthy of the name of Clan, and who will fade into the stuff of nursery tales once they have consumed themselves with their hunger for battle and bloodshed.
Who am I? I am Rock, the keeper of the world beneath the one your former Clanmates walk.
The watcher for more moons than you can dream of.
And the seer of all the moons to come.
Now, be still and listen.
I’ll begin with yourmother’s Clan, Mosskit. To many this is the noblest Clan, the Clan of heroes. But I take no sides; all Clans have their strengths and weaknesses, which differ according to whose story you listen to.
ThunderClan cats are impressive hunters; I’d even say I envied them their skills, but a life enclosed in rattling trees and wind-whispering leaves would not suit me. They have the skills to make themselves silent and invisible so they can hunt the little creatures that scuttle through fern and fallen leaf. You’ve heard of the hunter’s crouch, when they gather their strength into their hindquarters before making the final leap? That is a ThunderClan trick; you’ll not find it used by any other Clan.
ThunderClan has always been the fiercest guardian of the warrior code; if another Clan breaks it, you’d think every ThunderClan warrior bleeds from the wound. No cat could accuse them of being afraid to fight, as long as they believe the fight is truly justified—unlike others I could name, who seem to love the rip of fur beneath their claws and need no other excuse for battle. Hush, Blossomkit. Did I mention ShadowClan’s name?
ThunderClan have had their fair share of border trouble. Back in the forest they quarreled with RiverClan over Sunningrocks almost every season. When the Clans first came to the forest, this little hill of stones was an island and belonged to RiverClan because they were the only cats that could reach it, by swimming. But when the river changed course the rocks were joined by dry land to ThunderClan’s territory, and both Clans have laid claim to them ever since.
By the lake ThunderClan has faced a constant threat from ShadowClan on their shared border. For now Firestar has granted Blackstar’s Clan hunting rights on the exposed stretch of grass where Twolegs come in greenleaf; a wise move, some cats say, because there is little prey to be found there. And another reason for ThunderClan to proclaim how fair and generous they are. I wonder how long ShadowClan will be satisfied with this addition to their territory?
Yes, Adderkit,I know the ThunderClan leader was born a kittypet, but it makes no difference to me where a kit gulps his first breath. Mind you, Firestar has given his Clanmates precious little chance to forget his kittypet roots. He is the champion of all cats who are not Clanborn. No cat could argue that Cloudtail is not a worthy warrior, or that Daisy does not serve the Clan well in the nursery. But you can see how other Clans are suspicious of Firestar’s willingness to welcome loners and kittypets into the warriors’ den.
What was your mother thinking of, Mosskit, when she brought this too-brave, too-curious kit into the forest? Was Bluestar blinded by the color of his pelt, knowing he fulfilled the prophecy that fire would save her Clan? StarClan wanted him as much as Bluestar did. Poor Firestar, he scarcely seems able to close his eyes without some farsighted dream filling his mind. But he has handled this burden well, lived up to all of StarClan’s expectations. Maybe it took more than a Clanborn cat to discover Tigerstar’s treachery, or to bring WindClan home after they were driven out by ShadowClan. See, Adderkit, you should be grateful to Firestar for helping your Clanmates. Blossomkit, they did not deserve to be chased out of their home!
Even Sandstorm came to forgive Firestar his kittypet roots—and she is a cat whose opinion is worth a moon of prey.
I wish Firestar nothing but peace, and a long life. Ha, empty words from me, who knows how every one of Firestar’s nine lives will end.
Your mother was a great leader, Mosskit, even if the price she paid for it was higher than she ever dreamed. She gave you up on that snowbound night, you and your littermates, so that she could become ThunderClan’s deputy instead of Thistleclaw, who would have sliced through the forest until the paths ran red with blood. You should be proud of her for such loyalty to her Clan. Proud of your father, Oakheart, too, for raising your brother and sister to be strong, respected RiverClan warriors.
Was Firestar a replacement for the kits Bluestar never saw grow up?
An interesting question, little one. She was an excellent mentor to the kittypet, and trained him to be a wise and confident warrior. She saw him as the savior of her Clan from the moment the sun struck his flame-colored pelt. Spottedleaf had told her that only fire could save the Clan, so Rusty must have seemed like a gift from StarClan.
It’s too easy to say Bluestar went mad during the last moons of her life; you have only to think about what she gave up—including you, Mosskit—to understand how far she thought she had failed. Don’t forget that she gave up her ninth life to save her Clan from the dogs, throwing herself into the gorge to lead them to their deaths. Stonefur and Mistyfoot found her on RiverClan’s shore, so her final moments were spent making peace with her surviving children before she came to join you in StarClan.
Graystripe and Millie
Does Graystripe have any enemies, I wonder? Don’t bristle, Blossomkit; not even ShadowClan is the foe of every living cat.
He was the first to make friends with Firestar, when he was no more than a lost and curious kittypet. He and Firestar share the same foolish generosity: could you imagine any other pair of cats catching food for RiverClan when the river was pois ...