Chapter OneIt was early newleaf, and small buds were beginning to grow on the tall trees around the camp. Rocky spires whistled in the wind and the stars glowed bright. At this time, the cats of MountainClan were asleep. Warriors slept high in the trees, curled up where limbs meet, or sprawled out on a thick branch. The apprentices were nestled in small spot surrounded by rocks, and the elders were curled up inside a very thick bush. Higher up the rocky glades of the camp was the medicine cat’s den, surrounded by small weeds, and covered in moss. The leader and deputy slept in a large crag in a rock.
And then there was the nursery. Nestled deep within a rocky crevice that faced the rising sun, one queen slept alone, her belly swollen. She was pure white and beautiful.. She was sleeping peacefully, until she felt a small kick, and then everything happened quickly.
A yowl sounded through the camp, waking the warriors and apprentices. Immediately, a large warrior the colouration of a fox leaped down from a large branch and sprinted to the nursery, to see his mates face scrunched up in pain.
“RIPPLEDPOOL!” He yowled for the medicine cat, his voice echoing throughout the rocky glades and tall trees the cats called home.
A delicate face appeared out of the medicine cat’s den. She was a beautiful blue-grey, with black tufts of fur and a very long tail, her eyes an ice-blue. When she saw Foxtail’s worried face, she knew that something was wrong with Whiteclaw, his mate, and stepped back into the den and as quickly as she could grabbed a leaf and tied up some herbs. “Juniper berries, poppy seeds, borage, thyme, and some watermint and coltsfoot just to be safe.” After she had them all wrapped up, she dashed out of the den, meowing for her apprentice Birchpaw.
Rippledpool entered the den and began to use the various herbs and cures that she had, when she heard paw steps, and turned to see her apprentice, as well as the leader of MountainClan, Sparrowstar, and the deputy, who was also her sister, Drizzletail.
“Birchpaw, I need a lot more poppy seeds and thyme. Show Sparrow Star and Drizzle Tail which ones they are and bring back as much as you can!” Rippledpool meowed with urgency. There’s something wrong with this litter, I hope Whiteclaw can make it…
“Do you think she’ll make it?” Foxtail said, as though he had read her mind. Rippledpool turned her head to look at him. Her eyes were kind and poured hope into him.
“She’s a strong warrior, fierce and kind. If anyone is to survive something like this, it’s Whiteclaw.” Foxtail looked down at her.
“I know, I’m just so worried for her.” Foxtail babbled on.
“Stop talking! Whiteclaw needs to focus! I think the first kit is stuck!”
“U, ugh! Rippled-” Whiteclaw tried to choke out.
“Shhh. You need your energy.” Rippledpool meowed soothingly.
“Rippled Pool! We’re back with the herbs you wanted!” Birchpaw meowed from the front of the den. He quickly walked in, with Sparrowstar and Drizzletail behind him. Rippledpool took a few of the poppy seeds and pressed them into Whiteclaw’s mouth. She chewed them, and her face softened a bit. Renewed with energy, a yowl sounded throughout the camp, and three kits appeared on the ground, a blue-grey, a white, and a black.
“They are, aren’t they.” Whiteclaw replied, her voice still a bit weak. So the three cats, Whiteclaw, Foxtail, and Rippledpool each licked a kit until they were nice and clean and dry. The kits, exhausted, cuddled up to their mother and fell asleep.
“Oh my! The’re so tired they didn’t eat! Is that healthy, Rippledpool?” Whiteclaw asked, her eyes filled with fear. Rippledpool licked her ear to comfort her.
“It’s fine. I’m certain later today they’ll be hungry, so it’s okay if they don’t eat now. Tell me when they wake up though, so that I can stop in with some borage leaves when they get named.” Rippledpool licked her on the ear again, nodded to Foxtail, and left the den.
Sparrowstar and Drizzletail still stood outside of the den, smiling at the new kits.
“MountainClan’s newest warriors.” Sparrowstar sighed, her voice happy and proud.
“They look strong, especially that black one with the long tail.” Drizzletail meowed, gesturing at the dark coloured kit. He was wiggling around in his sleep, kicking with his hind legs.
“The poor thing, maybe we should tell Rippledpool…” Sparrow Star mewed in worry, but then the new mother Whiteclaw licked her largest kit, and he stopped his kicking and fell back into a peaceful sleep. “Phew.” She smiled and relaxed. Drizzletail bumped her shoulder.
“You’re as worried as Foxtail!”
“I know, it’s just that they are the new life blood of the clan, and we always need more warriors!” She replied.
“We’ll be fine. Come on, let’s go get some fresh kill.” Drizzletail turned away from the den and began walking towards the small crevice where the fresh kill was hidden.
“Oh yes, I should send out a hunting patrol too. Barkface, Stonepelt!” Sparrowstar meowed. A tall cat with broad shoulders and a scratched up brown face leaped down from a tree where he was vigilantly taking guard. A black cat with a grey tail leaped back into his place.
“Sparrowstar.” Barkface bowed his head in obedience.
“Stonepelt here!” A small-ish grey cat leaped over a boulder and landed right next to Barkface, skidding to a halt.
“Erm, yes. I want you two to take Vinepaw and Rabbitpaw out on a hunting patrol. Teach them how to hunt at the Sun Stones, but stay away from GrassClan at all costs! They are having a good hunting season, and may try to take the Sun Stones into their territory.” Barkface and Stonepelt nodded and walked towards the elder’s bush, where the apprentices were helping to change the moss.