Over the next few weeks, the clans will enjoy a relatively prosperous green-leaf and leaf-fall, but become even further embroiled in the war. As such, tensions between and within the clans are lingering and both border skirmishes and accusations of murder should be fairly commonplace. The Deliverance will continue to disrupt clan life. The clans are still unaware of their existence, let alone their involvement in the murders, which has lead to a witch-hunt as accusations run rampant and clans grow more suspicious of one another; these accusations have caused a great amount of tension which will fuel the war. The witch-hunt will likely shift its focus to be war-related as the war commences; instead of accusations for the murders, cats will be accused of being traitors/spies for other clans, as the Deliverance fades into the background, their goals largely accomplished.
The clans will experience a shift in life as leadership and daily activity changes to accommodate the war, potentially including changes in leadership style, changes in the emphasis on battle training for apprentices, and changes in the patrol system to better defend borders. New systems such as temporary war camps or guard posts may be established in some clans, though these plans are tentative.
In EarthClan, Risingstar and Glasswind will reinforce EarthClan’s identity by turning it into a safe haven from the other warring clans by taking a defensive position in the war, encouraging specialization, and creating a familial and accepting atmosphere. In EclipseClan, Fencerunner will introduce a regime of self-improvement upon the clan for the sake of strengthening the clan. While she will prioritize battle skill, she will also tie in aspects of clan pride and unity.
Most of these plans are tentative and still being actively discussed. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the Plot Planning Pages.
Born a friendly kittypet by the name of Virgil, Moonstar was abandoned by his owners and fled to the city, where he joined a gang. He grew up in the city, learning to scavenge for food and defend himself. Despite encountering many horrors, Virgil never lost his idealistic belief that cats are truly good. He befriended an old queen named Mary, who fell terribly ill and died shortly after giving birth to her kits. Virgil took the kits and fled to the forest, hoping to shield them from the violence of the city. However, surviving in the forest proved a challenge for Virgil, who had never learned to hunt; only one kit, a tom named Reed, survived. As Reed grew, he and Virgil slowly built a small group of loners, former kittypets and gang members who shared Virgil’s hope for a peaceful life. After many moons passed and Reed had grown into a rebellious young tom, Virgil’s former gang was chased out of the city by their rivals and fled into the forest. They attacked Virgil’s band leaving few survivors. In the battle, Virgil was horribly injured and separated from the others. With infected wounds and a worsening fever, he took shelter in a cave. He believed that he was hallucinating when he found a large, glowing stone inside his refuge. Losing the last of his strength, he collapsed.
He awoke and found himself surrounded by cats made of stars. Mary came forward, and introduced the assembled cats as StarClan, before explaining that Virgil’s destiny was to lead a united forest. She taught him of The Warrior Code and bestowed upon him nine lives. The sacred name “Moon” was presented to him and his clan, signifying the importance of his mission. StarClan returned him to the cave where the Moonstone was, fully healed and rested. Virgil, now Moonstar, set out immediately to find the surviving members of his little band. He built MoonClan, intending to name Reed as his deputy. Reed refused, seeing his healed state and believing that Moonstar had abandoned them and made up the extravagant visions to cover up his cowardice. To those who remained, Moonstar gave clan names and ranks. The deputy was Silverwing, the best friend of Hawkeye. The medicine cat was Fallenleaves, who was hopelessly in love with one of the warriors, Rabbitfur, who was also the daughter of Moonstar. There was only one apprentice, Mudpaw, and four warriors: the aforementioned Rabbitfur and Hawkeye, Snowpath, and Shadowfang. These days were peaceful, if not a bit strange due to the lack of organization and rules (i.e. The Moonstone was eaten by a shark that proceeded to die in a creek and get eaten by the cats of MoonClan). The summer was unusually hot and a wildfire started; no one was killed, but most of MoonClan's territory was destroyed.
Reed watched the clan grow from afar, taking care that Moonstar never found him. He admired Moonstar, even if he still blamed him for the death of his friends, and resolved to start his own clan, following many of Moonstar’s traditions, but not acknowledging StarClan’s hand. He called his group RiverClan after their territory, the river-laced land south of MoonClan, and he accepted anyone who wanted to join. His clan grew faster than MoonClan, as many cats found Moonstar’s stories about StarClan hard to believe.
The Battle of BoneClan
The peace in the early days of MoonClan was shattered when they learned of RiverClan, who lived to their south. RiverClan’s small size had previously allowed them to managed to avoid MoonClan, until Sharkstar, a gang leader with a horde of city cats under his sway, overthrew and executed Reedstar. MoonClan had grown quite a bit when they learned of RiverClan's - now BoneClan’s - troubles. By this time, Moonstar's lives had slowly dwindled down to one. Wolfsong, a warrior of RiverClan, joined MoonClan, but stubbornly did not tell them why, honoring Reedstar’s wishes of keeping Moonstar uninvolved.
MoonClan cats started being attacked when they went out to hunt, causing Moonstar to order them all to go hunting in groups of no less than three cats. He mistakenly believed that a city-clan had once again forced their way into the forest, and was trying to establish a claim to the territory using city tactics rather than those of the forest. Fallenleaves was killed while gathering herbs with Rabbitfur and Silverwing, Rabbitfur gave birth to Fallenleaves’ kits half a moon later. Rabbitfur, in a bout of insanity brought on by grief, began to ignore Moonstar’s rules, thinking that Moonstar was becoming paranoid in his old age. She hunted alone and while crossing a creek she was attacked by a shark (our rules for realistic roleplay weren't in place at the time) and barely escaped alive. Hawkeye, who had been following her, brought Rabbitfur back and told the clan what had happened.The clan returned to the clearing where Rabbitfur had been attacked and found the shark dead on the side of the creek. Wolfsong finally told them what was going on in RiverClan, wondering if the shark was a message from StarClan in reference to Sharkstar. Moonstar went to the Moonstone to seek guidance, but was killed on his journey. Hawkeye and Silverwing discovered his body and returned it to the camp. After mourning his death, Silverwing received her lives and named Hawkeye as her deputy.
The killings stopped for a while, but just when MoonClan thought they were gone for good, Rabbitfur was killed in the warriors' den as she slept. Hawkeye found her body and reported it to Silverstar, who buried her. Shortly after this, Silverstar received a prophecy she assumed to be about Robinkit, a kit found in the forest with her dead mother and adopted by the clan.
Robin flies above the nest
Showing proud her blood red chest
will she succeed, maybe not
Maybe she will plummet to the world below
Silverstar held a clan meeting and revealed the prophecy to the entire clan; Robinkit trained harder than ever and grew into an intelligent young she-cat. As a warrior, she was given the name Robinwing, and an assignment to spy on BoneClan. Using the cover name "Bloodheart", she traveled to BoneClan with the story that her mother was murdered by MoonClan when she was a kit and they had held her there, trying to hide the truth from her.
Despite being suspicious of her story, Sharkstar accepted her into the clan. She met a cat named Darkeagle, a former RiverClan cat that had resisted Sharkstar's rule, earning himself a prison cell for his troubles. He was the first to discover the truth about her identity, but had fallen in love with her and promised to help keep her secret. She spent nearly a moon in BoneClan, plotting with Darkeagle and the other prisoners. Four days before she was to return to MoonClan, Sharkstar caught wind of what was going on and refused to allow her near the prisoners. Due to the trust of the other warriors she had befriended, she was able to slip past him and into the prison where she told the prisoners that she would be leaving that night. Promising she would try to sneak them out with a few of the apprentices that had proved to be sympathetic to their cause, she tried to leave the prison before Sharkstar noticed her there. However, Sharkstar was waiting outside the prison. He had finally put the pieces together. He had seen the love Robinwing and Darkeagle harbored for each other and he intended to kill Darkeagle in front of her, then kill her and the other prisoners.
Darkeagle had never been a great fighter, and now that he had become weak with sickness and hunger in the prison, he stood no chance against Sharkstar. Sharkstar dragged out the fight, making a show of his skill, until the four apprentices that Robinwing had been scheming with attacked him, unable to sit back and watch any longer as he killed one of their closest friends. The confusion generated was enough for the prisoners to escape and join in on the attack. Robinwing managed to escape with Darkeagle into the relative safety of the forest, where the prisoners caught up with them.
When the little group reached MoonClan, Darkeagle was rushed to the medicine cat den. In the next few weeks, MoonClan fretted about how to deal with the growing threat of BoneClan. Silverstar called a clan meeting to discuss the next step MoonClan would take with their new knowledge of BoneClan and with the help of the former RiverClan prisoners and apprentices. Hawkeye and Silverstar talked privately in the leader's den about what they should do but were interrupted by Wolfsong before forming a plan.
That night Hawkeye snuck out of the clan, meaning to murder Sharkstar. She crept silently into BoneClan’s camp and was not noticed until she stood over a sleeping Sharkstar, about to kill him. He was a light sleeper and woke with a yowl, alerting the clan of the intruder. Back in MoonClan, Robinwing awoke from a startlingly realistic nightmare about Hawkeye fighting Sharkstar; she roused Darkeagle and told him about the dream. He advised her to tell the clan, as it was likely sent from StarClan and should be taken seriously. Together they woke up the clan and led them to BoneClan, preparing for battle.
MoonClan's arrival could not have been better timed; when they reached RiverClan’s camp, Sharkstar had pinned Hawkeye and was about to kill her. The sudden attacking clan distracted Sharkstar for a moment, giving Hawkeye the opportunity to kill him instead. With no one giving orders, BoneClan cats fled or turned on each other, making the fight much easier for the Moon- and RiverClan cats. MoonClan and RiverClan came out victorious. With the threat of Sharkstar gone, the RiverClan cats began to rebuild their clan, under the new name StormClan and with Wolfsong as their leader.
The War of the City
Several days after the battle Hawkeye wandered off into the city where she was born, and where her siblings, Raven and Merlin, still lived. There she talked to Raven, who had risen to the rule over the entire city, having brought nearly all of the gangs under her control, while ridding the city of the rest. When she returned to MoonClan, Silverstar was upset with her for leaving the territory without permission. Over the next few moons Silverstar and Hawkeye grew apart, often fighting over trivial matters. Hawkeye became increasingly violent and was banished from the clan after nearly killing an apprentice during training.
Queen Raven welcomed her home when she reached the city and allowed Hawkeye to rule beside her. Together they created an army larger and fiercer than had existed in any living cat’s memory. Learning of what was happening in the cities, StormClan and MoonClan knew that if they were attacked they had little hope of winning. Border skirmishes between the city and forest became increasingly common, and the clans became more welcoming to the idea of war.
The final straw in the eyes of the clans was when Mosspath was murdered by Hawkeye, who took to wandering the forest and killing any cat that dared cross her path. Hawkeye was tracked but never caught in any of these incidents.
Blizzard, an owner of a popular bar, played an important role in all of this by offering a place for city cats to exchange news as well as a place for Hawkeye to recruit cats into the army she and Raven shared. To them Hawkeye was not a villain, but a hero, as they had suffered under the clans’ rule. Many had died when the clans rose to power in the forest because they could no longer hunt there, limiting them to whatever they could scavenge from two-legs’ garbage. They worshiped her sister for uniting them relatively peacefully and stopping the gangs that many of their kin had lost their lives to, and they appreciated Hawkeye for her active opposition to the clan cats.
Battlecry, a messenger for Raven who often got lost in the forest delivering messages, was an exception to this general sentiment of the city cats. At one point, Waterdrop captured her and brought her to MoonClan as a prisoner. Knowing her situation was hopeless, Battle Cry told them everything they wanted to know about Raven and the city without fighting back or trying to escape. After several moons, Battle Cry became an ally for the clans and used her extensive knowledge of the city to help them. In return for her help, she was taught to hunt and fend for herself. As she opened up more, she became good friends with Spottedfire, the new deputy of MoonClan.
When the first battle came, the clans believed themselves to be well prepared but did not see one thing coming: neither Hawk nor Raven bothered to show up. They set a high-ranking guard, Bone, in charge instead of risking their own lives. Bone laid a trap that the clans would have fallen for, had Battle Cry not spotted it and stopped them. The battle ended in a stalemate, largely due to poor leadership on the side of the city, but both sides had heavy casualties. Raven was pleased with this, as the forest cats had become even greater monsters in the eyes of the city cats. Throughout the following moon, many more city-cats joined her ranks, doubling the size of her army.
During the second battle, Hawk had seemingly gone mad; she came to the battle herself this time and laid no elaborate traps for the clans. She and Silverstar fought one on one until both died of blood loss. The clans won as the city cats had no leadership and felt no need for revenge of Hawk, who they had lost respect for due to her madness. Raven disappeared, all of her former power lost, and was not heard of for many moons.
Meanwhile, Battle Cry discovered the bodies of the cats that had been killed by “BoneClan” many moons before, including that of Moonstar, and realized they had actually been murdered by Silverstar and Hawkeye. Finally putting all the pieces together, she realized that they had been working together to take over both the forest and the city, aiming to achieve what even Raven could not have done. Over time, the two had grown paranoid and greedy, resulting in the end of their partnership and the failure of their plans.
Spottedstar became the leader of MoonClan, naming Waterdrop as her deputy, and she sent Battle Cry to start a new clan in the city: NightClan. Hawk and Silver’s bodies were laid on a ridge overlooking all of the clans. StarClan caused a white tree with red sap to grow in that spot, killing the grass around it and leaving the surrounding land barren. This tree became known as Hawk’s Tree. The three clans began to hold gatherings here every full moon.
Cove and Vidia
Several moons passed in peace following the Great War, but a new problem arose. Lakekit and Crescentkit of StormClan were starting to fight with the other kits, but not normal play-fighting of kithood. The problem was ignored until Lakekit killed his brother and was banished with his “mate” Cresentkit, who changed her name to Vidia. They wanted revenge on the clan for banishing them and started killing cats with their group whom they called VenomClan, though it was was all just a big bluff. They were stopped by Warpath and Sparrowsong after they killed the pair’s son.
Battle Cry, now named Fallenstar, had founded a successful clan with a few warriors, an apprentice, and a handful of kits. NightClan had been untouched by Cove and Vidia, and only faced minor border troubles with the gangs that had reformed in the aftermath of Raven’s rule. This peace came to an abrupt end when Fallenstar met Littleleaf, the medicine cat of StormClan, at a gathering. They quickly fell in love and started meeting each other at night in Blizzard's now abandoned bar. The young couple managed to not get found for moons until Spottedstar caught them together and overheard their conversation. She didn't immediately tell her clan because of her former friendship with Fallenstar; instead, she spoke to her deputy on the matter, trying to decide what to do about it. However, Frostfur was eavesdropping and overheard everything- the rest of MoonClan knew before Waterdrop and Spottedstar even stopped talking. They tried to cover up the whole thing and keep it from StormClan, a decision they would abandon when Spottedstar found out that Fallenstar was pregnant and going to have her kits soon.
Spottedstar took a vote on whether or not to tell StormClan about the illicit relationship, and her clan voted “yes.” Warpath, Sparrowsong and Frostfur tried to sneak out to warn NightClan, but Spottedstar found out and made sure they wouldn’t be given a chance to leave the camp until after she returned from telling Wolfstar and the rest of StormClan.
Blackrose, one of NightClan's warriors and the daughter of Darkeagle and Robinwing, turned on her clan and joined StormClan, where she was born, to banish her former leader for her crimes. Opalheart considered joining NightClan but couldn't leave her clan and mate, Frostfur left MoonClan and joined NightClan to be with her kit-hood friend Icewind. Fallenstar had her kits: Pigeonkit, Yellowkit, Snakekit and Rustkit. She lost a life giving birth to them, and refused Icewind’s offer to kill them before MoonClan started a war over it. That night Runnerstride promised Icewind that if she died he would protect Frostfur, who Icewind was deeply in love with.
Spottedstar convinced StormClan to help them on an attack against NightClan. StormClan was struck by unfortunate event after unfortunate event starting with a devastating flood of their camp, the battle was postponed for a moon and StormClan was left with only 6 cats remaining. NightClan won the battle by a landslide, Spottedstar and several MoonClan cats were killed while only two NightClan cats were badly injured. Waterstar, the new leader of MoonClan, merged the two clans into one after StormClan's new leader, Swiftstar, died of black-cough during the battle that she had been unable to attend. While there was not another large-scale attack made, border skirmishes were frequent and bloody.
Fallenstar named her son, Snakefang, as her deputy during the same ceremony in which he received his warrior name. He was known for being arrogant and cruel, so when his promotion was announced at a gathering a few days later, it created an uproar in the clans. Insults were exchanged which quickly escalated into a battle. Many cats were killed and there was no clear winner; another battle later, Fallenstar was killed by Waterstar while seeking guidance from Star Clan at the Moonstone. Her body still rests there.
Snakestar became the leader of NightClan, and under his rule the clan became a greater threat. NightClan cats grew increasingly daring and often hunted in MoonClan’s territory. The war, now called Fallenstar’s War, grew far beyond a fight over the relationship between a leader and a medicine cat, both sides’ hatred for each other growing with each passing moon. Waterstar was killed by Snakestar in the fighting, leaving her daughter, Dawnstar, as leader of MoonClan. There was no end in sight for the clan cats.
Birth of DawnClan
Ambermist, a warrior of MoonClan, started a new clan in the hope of escaping the war. He called it DawnClan, and attracted cats from both MoonClan and NightClan. Despite their good intentions, StarClan refused to acknowledge DawnClan as a true clan, regarding them only as a dangerous group of rebels and traitors that abandoned the clans they had been born into or joined. They did not grant Ambermist his lives, but he pretended they did to earn the respect of his clan mates after his mate, Briarthorn, urged him to do so.
As the war raged on around them, Bloodrose, a warrior of DawnClan, was killed by Duskwhisker, a warrior of MoonClan. Breaking the promise of peace, DawnClan attacked MoonClan. Amberstar believed that if they did not show the strength of their clan they would be pushed around by the other clans;this was the only way to survive. The battle was short but bloody, and DawnClan emerged victorious, proving to MoonClan that they could hold their own in a battle despite their peaceful inclinations.
After this, Briarthorn discovered she was pregnant. Due to several past lovers dying as they carried kits, Amberstar became increasingly paranoid. He committed suicide, finding himself still unsatisfied with his life, by running out into the Thunderpath and being struck by a monster. His death came as a shock to the clan who had not noticed his recent decline, as well as to his mate, who had given birth only days before he killed himself. Greystar came into power with Splatterfur as deputy; together they forged an alliance with MoonClan, dismissing Amberstar’s past conflicts.
Forest Against the City
Cloverleaf, Dawnstar’s son and a warrior of MoonClan, disappeared. He had been kidnapped by a gang, but seeing signs of struggle at the NightClan border, Dawnstar accused Snakestar of kidnapping him. Snakestar would not take this insult, so he he attacked MoonClan. NightClan was not nearly as strong as it had been in Snakestar’s youth, so with the help of DawnClan, MoonClan slaughtered them, but lost many of their own warriors including Nightfrost, their deputy. Shortly before this, Snakestar had named Sunkenskull as deputy of his clan, a position he had left vacant for most of his life. She ordered a retreat and the clan returned to their camp with half as many warriors as they had left with. In the gathering following Sunkenstar’s appointment as leader she insulted the clans that had recently defeated her in battle, sparking renewed hatred for NightClan. This precipitated Dawnstar’s decision to finally appoint Emberheart as deputy, fearing leaving the position open any longer. Splatterfur, the deputy of DawnClan, drowned in the river and left the position in DawnClan vacant.
Mudsplash, a warrior of MoonClan, fell ill shortly before Cloverleaf escaped his captors and returned to his clan. Several clan members grew gravely sick and died, starting a plague of black-cough. Frostflower, a pregnant medicine cat, traveled to DawnClan to get help from Lightstep, her former mentor who had moved to DawnClan when they were left without a medicine cat. Lightstep agreed to help and left Littleberry, her apprentice, in charge of DawnClan while she was out. Autumncolors, the medicine cat of NightClan, was killed by a falling branch and replaced by Riversong. As the plague grew worse, Frostflower's pregnancy was discovered by the clan and they forced her to resign as Medicine Cat, Ospreyfeather –a loner with only basic knowledge of healing- replaced her. To make the situation that much worse, Lightstep died of the plague before she returned to DawnClan.
In NightClan, Sunkenstar was disgusted with the behavior of her clan. She created stricter rules regarding mating, romance and kits and named Phantom-mask as her deputy. After Nightbird gave birth to her kits, Sunkenstar threw her from the roof of the camp. She brought in a nasty loner queen, Deadgaze, to care for all of the kits so their mothers could return to their duties as warriors sooner. Still, the clan did not listen to their leader and did nothing to stop their behavior. Meanwhile Sunkenstar found insanity slowly pulsing through her veins and got to the point that she ripped her claws out and killed her henchman, the hideous Muttface, in an uncontrollable rage.
While on a border patrol, several NightClan cats discovered an elder Briarthorn sitting at Hawk's Tree. They brutally slaughtered her in front of a MoonClan patrol. Her body was discovered by a DawnClan patrol and the clan prepared to attack NightClan, seeking revenge. Anticipating this move, Sunkenstar ordered her own clan to intercept the clan as they traveled to NightClan’s camp so the battle would be on DawnClan territory. The MoonClan patrol returned to their clan and told Emberstar what had happened, so she led her clan into battle on DawnClan's side to repay her clan's debt to them. The battle began, quickly turning sour for the much softer DawnClan until MoonClan arrived, at which point the battle changed tone in Dawnclan’s favor. Outnumbered two to one, NightClan was forced to retreat.
After returning to his camp, a mourning Phantom-mask announced their defeat to the cats of NightClan that had not joined the battle and told them of the death of his two sisters. His clan had no pity for him or his personal loss, and criticized his leading ability. Phantom-mask was shocked and offended by the lack of respect his clan gave him and threw the loudest opposer, Ghost, into the prison. Ghost quickly escaped, as the majority of the clan believed he should have been named deputy instead of Phantom-mask, and the clan continued to rebel against their newly named deputy. Meanwhile, Phantom-mask discovered that one of his sisters had merely been taken prisoner in DawnClan and escaped; she returned to her clan and brother. Shortly after her return, Ghost and Phantom-mask got into another argument which ended with Phantom-mask ordering Fatality, his sister, to attack Ghost. Ghost survived the fight and Phantom-mask stormed out of the camp on a patrol with Fox. Both were hit by a monster and Phantom-mask was taken in by the two-legs that used to own him and his sisters. Meanwhile, Sunkenstar awoke and banished Fatality from the clan when Ghost and Deadgaze told her what happened.
Phantom-mask escaped the two-legs with three apprentice-aged cats and took them back to the clan. To the surprise of himself and the rest of the clan, Sunkenstar allowed him to remain both in the clan and as her deputy. Shortly after his return, a NightClan patrol tried to set a new border with MoonClan and were caught in the act by a MoonClan patrol. In the resulting skirmish a MoonClan warrior, Bouncefire, was nearly killed. Angered by NightClan's arrogant actions following their recent defeat, Emberstar called a meeting and told her clan they would attack at sundown without the aid of DawnClan. MoonClan easily defeated NightClan despite the battle taking place in NightClan's camp at their preferred hour of night. Phantom-mask surrendered and returned the territory they gained from MoonClan in Snakestar's rule to its original owners. After promising not to not attempt to change the border again, Phantom-mask allowed the MoonClan cats to return to their territory without any more fighting.
The Creation of SunClan
In the plains south of NightClan, a group of loners banded together and decided to form a clan, which they called SunClan. SunClan was discovered marking their borders by a DawnClan patrol and, while they were intrigued by the group of loners, Greystar decided not to investigate further. Several days after the battle, a gathering took place. SunClan introduced themselves to the clans and Greystar and Emberstar offered to send warriors to live in SunClan for a moon to teach them how to be a clan, as they clearly lacked all knowledge of the clan’s traditions and beliefs, including StarClan and the warrior code. Mothstar gratefully accepted and Emberstar spoke for her clan, continuing the gathering as normal. After she finished speaking she and Sunkenstar began snapping at each other; Greystar interrupted them and informed the other clans of DawnClan's prosperity. After Greystar finished speaking, Emberstar told her clan to return to their camp except for those going to SunClan. Sunkenstar pounced on Emberstar, starting a battle. NightClan was torn to shreds by the three opposing clans and Sunkenstar was killed - after revealing the spies she had placed in DawnClan and MoonClan. Immediately after Sunkenstar's death, MoonClan retreated. Ravenfrost, MoonClan’s deputy, died in the battle and Emberstar named Lunarshade as the next deputy. The spies returned to NightClan. To much of NightClan’s surprise, Phantomstar named Ghost as his deputy, possibly in a bid to gain the support of his clan.
The Apprentices Take Charge
Things remained tense between the two clans, but this didn't stop two daredevil apprentices, Lionpaw and Aurorapaw, from sneaking into NightClan's territory. They were discovered by a patrol and taken captive in NightClan's prison where they were harassed by other apprentices; Aurorapaw attacked one of the NightClan apprentices but was badly injured. After insulting Phantomstar, both were hurt, but survived. When Emberstar noticed their absence, she led a patrol along NightClan's border where she ran into Darkpaw, a NightClan apprentice, and Phantomstar. They confirmed that the apprentices had been captured and Emberstar told them that if the apprentices were not returned in 5 sunrises, MoonClan would attack. The next day, Lunarshade and her and Emberstar's apprentices ventured out into the forest to hunt, but they were attacked by a badger. Lunarshade killed it, but returned to the camp with an odd speech pattern and doing other strange things which encouraged Emberstar to send her to see the medicine cat, Cherryblossom. Cherryblossom did not find anything obviously wrong with Lunarshade, and since she was not acting dangerously did not keep her there to be watched.
Pantherpaw, a NightClan apprentice who wished for peace between the clans, waited at the MoonClan border and was found by a patrol. They returned with him to the camp where he was interrogated by Emberstar, who expressed her wish for this to end without bloodshed. Lunarshade, still behaving strangely, interrupted their conversation, but Emberstar sent her away before Pantherpaw would notice anything wrong, fearing he would see a weak spot in the clan and tell Phantomstar. She allowed him return to his clan unharmed, and told him that if he got Lionpaw and Aurorapaw out she would welcome him as a member of MoonClan.
Pantherpaw attempted to smuggle the apprentices out of NightClan but failed, and by the next morning the deadline had passed to return the apprentices without bloodshed. Emberstar led MoonClan into battle; they attacked the camp and quickly recovered the apprentices. Wishing to teach NightClan a lesson, they did not immediately return to their camp. The battle raged on until Ghost called for the fighting to stop. He promised MoonClan that if they ceased fighting, NightClan's medicine cats would treat their wounded and he would allow them to return to their territory unharmed. Emberstar accepted the offer and, thinking they had learned their lesson, she suspected nothing of this deal. Many of MoonClan's warriors were suspicious at first, but let their guard down once the injured had been helped. Right before Emberstar called for MoonClan to go home, Ghost attacked and took another of her lives, the rest of his clan leaping into action and attacking the vulnerable MoonClan warriors. Several MoonClan warriors were slaughtered before Emberstar gave NightClan the territory they had won in the last battle back.
In DawnClan, Greystar drowned and lost all of her remaining lives. Hawkfeather became the leader and named Falconwing as his deputy. The day after Greystar's death, a gathering was held, the first since Sunkenstar’s death. NightClan spoke first; next, Mothstar told the other clans of how quickly SunClan was growing. NightClan and MoonClan remained civil until Emberstar spoke, announcing Lunarshade as her new deputy. Ghost, who spoke for NightClan, accused Emberstar of naming her most "barbaric" warrior as deputy, sparking outrage from MoonClan. This almost turned into another fight when Ghost told a warped version of what had happened between them and MoonClan. Sensing a battle could easily start, the leaders put aside their own fighting for a moment and attempted to settle down the clans.
Mothstar criticized the kit-like behavior of the other leaders, offending Emberstar who believed that he was not in any position to speak, as he knew little of the complicated history the older clans shared. Ghost accused Emberstar of trying to control the other clans, overstepping her power as a leader. Mothstar melodramatically responded to Emberstar's remark by threatening to commit suicide, only taking it back when Ghost said that Emberstar couldn't control herself. After a while longer of bickering, Hawkstar spoke. He mentioned a MoonClan warrior, Stormheart, who had washed up on a DawnClan shore and was being nursed back to health by their medicine cat. While thanking them for helping Stormheart -who she hadn't even realized was missing - Emberstar made the mistake of implying that DawnClan owed MoonClan. Hawkstar protested, saying that DawnClan owed MoonClan nothing. Emberstar reminded them of the help MoonClan had given them since Amberstar founded the clan, the gathering was called to an end and MoonClan quickly left. Seeing how this could easily end the already fading allegiance between the two clans and give NightClan a potentially powerful ally, Ghost told Hawkstar that NightClan would help DawnClan if they ever needed it.
The clans suffered an unusually dry New-Leaf, which led to a hot Green-Leaf. The river shrunk down on its banks, plants began to wither and die in the heat, and prey became scarce. Mothstar died, leaving Rainstar as the leader of SunClan. Another gathering was upon them; the clans gathered and shared news. Rainstar, whose clan had been hit hardest by the drought, told Hawkstar how desperate their situation was, Emberstar joined her and pressured him to share his clan’s water if their own streams were to completely run dry. Hawkstar resisted and Phantomstar backed him up, saying that the other clans would need to find their own water sources and could not steal from DawnClan. The gathering ended with no agreement made and the drought worsened until SunClan and MoonClan warriors were forced to steal water from DawnClan. Emberstar traveled to SunClan to forge an alliance, Rainstar quickly agreed. In NightClan, Ghost was struck by a monster and killed and replaced by his son, Crimsonfire.
Cats in MoonClan and SunClan began to die of thirst and in SunClan of sickness spread by dirty water stolen from NightClan. Emberstar and Rainstar attacked with both their clans out of desperation, but were easily defeated by DawnClan once NightClan came to their aid. A short time passed, MoonClan and SunClan once again attacked and were forced to retreat. Many cats had died of thirst or in the battles when the drought finally came to an end, leading to an unusually rainy Leaf-fall.
Mistyfur, the medicine cat of MoonClan, abandoned her clan and joined DawnClan, leaving her newly named apprentice, Mysterypaw, behind. NightClan began to raid MoonClan again, causing them to double their patrols along that border. Emberstar named Mirepath as the deputy, feeling that Bearclaw was not the right choice to lead the clan. While on a border patrol, Emberstar and several of her warriors discovered Phantomstar and a patrol of NightClanners on MoonClan territory, a skirmish broke out and ended in the death of Phantomstar, who had been sick and acting strangely. He bit Emberstar's leg and she came down with the same sickness, magnified by her extensive and infected wounds she became very ill. Mysterypaw sent for Shimmerpaw and Coldheart, the medicine cats of SunClan, but they were unable to save her. Emberstar died the next evening, leaving the very inexperienced Mirepath as leader who named Leafpelt as his deputy. In NightClan, Crimsonstar named Adderscar as his deputy, but quickly replaced the cat with Ivory, causing Adderscar to leave the clan.
End of Fallenstar's War
Crimsonstar and Mirestar met at their border and agreed to bring the war to an end. A gathering took place the next night, with all of the clans in attendance. Compared to past gatherings, it was fairly uneventful. News was exchanged and NightClan officially broke off their alliance with DawnClan. SunClan and MoonClan remained loose allies, despite pressure to split. Leaf-fall slipped into leaf-bare; prey remained scarce. A blizzard hit the clans, forcing SunClan to seek shelter from MoonClan. Mirestar refused to allow them inside the camp, formally ending their alliance.
The Famine and The Missing Kits
Moons passed in relative peace as New-Leaf arrived. Prey remained scarce, and the populations did not bounce back as expected. This hit SunClan particularly hard, forcing them to steal prey from DawnClan. While hunting on DawnClan territory, a SunClan patrol was caught and a skirmish began, DawnClan warrior Lakesong was badly hurt. The patrol returned to the camp where Lakesong was treated, but her condition steadily worsened. In NightClan, Masquerade and Bloodpath plotted to kidnap kits from every clan and train them to believe NightClan and Kor, the leader of a large gang, were working together to destroy the clans, then use these kits as spies and finally build an army from them.
Several kits were discovered missing from MoonClan and DawnClan, including some of Mirestar's and Lakesong's and Lakesong tore out across the territory looking for her daughter. Both clans sent out patrols, neither had any success in finding the kits. Many of DawnClan's younger warriors rallied to attack SunClan, suspicious they kidnapped the kits and angered by Lakesong's likely death. Hawkstar was convinced by his mate to hold back the warriors and he considered sending a patrol of himself, several queens and the medicine cat to SunClan to make peace without having to raise a claw. In the end, he decided against this and his clan continued to simmer.
Bloodpath was exiled from NightClan and began to kill cats from the other clans whenever he got the opportunity. One of his victims was Coldheart, the aging medicine cat of SunClan. Under the mistaken belief that DawnClan was responsible for her death, Rainstar attacked DawnClan. The battle was devastating, resulting in many casualties on both sides. In the end DawnClan was victorious and forced SunClan to retreat.
An old lover of Bloodpath, Moonwhisper was banished from Nightclan for murder. Crimsonstar took a patrol out to hunt her down but they were unsuccessful; on the patrol, however, Ivoryfang was being stalked by Kor. Discouraged from their search, the patrol came across Moonwhisper while returning to the camp, and she agreed to lead them to Kor's base. Bloodpath learned of Moonwhisper's "betrayal" and came across Ivoryfang as she was heading for the base. She stated she was no longer a part of any of Kor's plans and she and Bloodpath made a short truce under the assumption that Ivoryfang would help him to kill Kor, as Bloodpath had been trying to do for several moons. Ivoryfang lead him to the base, where he attacked and killed Kor, later finding Moonwhisper badly injured from a fight with Masquerade. She confessed to plotting against him with Kor. Ivoryfang returned to the camp and was confronted by Crimsonstar, finally informing him of Bloodpath's treachery and of their involvement with Kor and his gang. Crimsonstar responded with indifference on the matter, believing that Bloodpath and Moonwhisper were no longer a threat, as Kor's gang would likely kill them. While he was suspicious of Masquerade, as she had been missing from the camp for several days, Crimsonstar had not learned of her involvement yet.
Hawkstar retired, and Lilystar named Troutscale as her deputy. That same day, Rainstar was hit by a monster, leaving Duskstar to lead the camp with his deputy Flameclash. They found evidence of Rainstar's body at the NightClan border and began to suspect NightClan of attacking. The two new leaders encountered each other at the Moonstone where they had journeyed to receive their lives. Duskstar discovered that DawnClan had not been responsible for Coldheart's death, and he and Lilystar made peace between their clans, the two wondering if Coldheart and Rainstar had, in fact, died at the paws of NightClan. Several former NightClan warriors who had been involved with Kor joined SunClan and confirmed’ that NightClan had killed the cats.
Only a few days after this, a gathering took place. During the gathering, SunClan accused NightClan of killing Coldheart, an accusation both NightClan and MoonClan took great offence to. Following the Gathering, NightClan jeered SunClan into attacking them at the border and went to MoonClan, highly exaggerating the fight in order to gain their support in a battle they planned to start. The battle took place shortly thereafter. As promised, MoonClan aided NightClan in an attack on SunClan.
The battle was short and bloody. After the death of their deputy, SunClan surrendered to the two clans. As their leader was out, a warrior named Hailstorm spoke for the clan. Crimsonstar demanded he and his clan allow NightClan and MoonClan to take portions of their territory. Hailstorm attempted to refuse these demands, but his sister Palefur accepted them, knowing that this was the best way to prevent further bloodshed within their clan. SunClan went to DawnClan in search of help; they agreed to send warriors to protect SunClan borders.
Crimsonstar began to go mad with grief due to the death of his mate. MoonClan was facing a similar problem as Mirestar grew ill, eventually losing all control of his own actions and attempting to remove his medicine cat, Lichenstone, who he had always quarreled with, from power. MoonClan came to the medicine cat's defense and overthrew Mirestar, leaving his weak deputy, Dappleshade, in charge. Mirestar died in the course of this revolution, his flesh falling off in a manner that some cats attributed to disease, and others to the will of StarClan.
Crimsonstar's depression and growing insanity led him to believe that StarClan had given him the task of destroying SunClan, even at the cost of his own clan. He informed Ivoryfang, his deputy, of this plan and she attempted to quietly go against him in order to save NightClan. Crimsonstar went to MoonClan in an attempt to get their support, but badly insulted Dapplestar. The two leaders fought tooth and claw, both losing a life. After returning to his camp, Crimsonstar went ahead with the plan without MoonClan’s support, and without telling his clanmates he intended to kill every cat, down to the youngest kit, in SunClan. Once NightClan attacked, SunClan sent a patrol of their fastest cats to DawnClan, who agreed to help defend them. NightClan began to lose the battle once the DawnClan reinforcements arrive, but Crimsonstar refused to call a retreat. However, Ivoryfang ignored his orders and called the retreat herself, allowing the surviving NightClan cats to flee.
Crimsonstar was not pleased with Ivoryfang's behavior, and shortly after the battle the two fought; Ivoryfang killed her leader and returned to NightClan badly injured. She spent the next several days in the medicine den, leaving the clan with no leadership since she had named no deputy. NightClan teetered on the edge of chaos as the chances that Ivoryfang would die of her wounds without having named a deputy increased. Duskstar was killed by a NightClan warrior on the border, leaving Hailstar as the leader of SunClan with Endlesstides as his deputy. Hailstar announced a number of changes that were to take place in the clan, limiting their individual freedom in return for creating a stronger, more unified clan.
War of the Lost Kits
To make matters worse, several NightClan kits kidnapped kits from all of the other clans, and brought them to a secret base in Raven's Fortressas a prank to the other clans. The other NightClanners didn't know about this. Although the other clans began to notice that they were missing kits, a rainstorm washed away their scents before they could be tracked. Meanwhile, Ivorystar soon recovered and named Sandmask as her deputy.
A gathering took place, in which all of the clans blamed each other for the missing kits, breaking all alliances that still existed between the clans and bringing more tension between them. The kits were eventually discovered by SunClan, who brought MoonClan to their side and planned to confront NightClan during the next gathering, hoping to use this situation as leverage to require them to shelter the other clans in the event of a blizzard during the coming leaf-bare. MoonClan and SunClan were unable to win DawnClan to their side, because they believed that since the kits were unharmed, NightClan should remain unpunished. The gathering came around, and NightClan was shocked by MoonClan and SunClan's accusation that they had been responsible for the kits’ disappearance. They refused to agree to sheltering the other clans if needed. Many accusations and insults were thrown about before a NightClanner attacked a SunClan warrior, beginning a large and bloody battle that included all four clans. DawnClan and NightClan entered a loose alliance against MoonClan and SunClan. All of the clans began to prepare in their own ways for the war that all saw approaching. Hailstar of SunClan took the most extreme measures, requiring patrols to be larger and more frequent, and demanding that all of his warriors and apprentices be hunting, defending the clan, or training with every waking moment.
The morning after the gathering, a MoonClan medicine cat apprentice was attacked by a NightClan patrol while gathering herbs near the border. Dapplestar immediately traveled to SunClan and asked Hailstar for SunClan's support in attacking NightClan's camp. SunClan reluctantly agreed, afraid of losing their alliance with MoonClan, and the two clans attacked NightClan. The battle was bloody and long; Ivorystar killed Dapplestar before being killed by Hailstar. After Ivorystar was killed, Dancingshadow, a NightClan elder, called for NightClan to surrender. MoonClan and SunClan returned home after warning NightClan not to act out against the other clans again. Wildspirit was then named the new deputy of MoonClan under Shadowstar.
In DawnClan, Lilystar committed suicide by drowning herself in the river. Her body was discovered by a patrol and returned to the camp, where they informed Troutscale, the deputy, of her death. As the clan mourned, he went out into the forest to think about who to name as his deputy. However, several sunrises passed, and it became clear he wasn't returning to DawnClan. Blueshore, a kind and respected DawnClan warrior and daughter of Hawkstar, called a meeting and asked for the clan to decide on who was going to be their next leader. They decided that she was the most deserving of the position, so she traveled to the Moonstone to receive her lives after naming Clawstrike as her deputy.
Sandmask, who had been the deputy under Ivorystar, now NightClan's leader, named Raze as her deputy and traveled to the Moonstone alone, although she was attacked by a dog and killed. Raze found her body the following morning, then quickly buried it and returned to the camp. He told the clan a MoonClan patrol had killed her. Raze didn't go to the Moonstone to receive his lives, for he did not believe in StarClan. Smalltail was named as his deputy and Raze began to change much of the clan's law. He changed their traditions to exclude StarClan in any way he could and gave his warriors more freedom, as well as sending a number of spies to the other clans. Raze traveled to DawnClan to get their support, using MoonClan and SunClan's brutal attack on their camp and the murder of the deputy to bring the peaceful clan to their side. Bluestar easily agreed to ally their clans, quite charmed by the NightClan leader.
MoonClan experienced a sudden Greencough outbreak and quickly ran out of catmint in their territory, forcing Lichenstone to travel to DawnClan in search of supplies. Ottervoice, DawnClan's medicine cat, refused to give him any since they were needed by DawnClan, but Lichenstone refused to back down until he had been gotten the herbs. Lichenstone claimed that Ottervoice was forgetting her duties as a Medicine Cat and letting cats die due to the petty feud between their clans. Ottervoice struck out at him and soon a fight erupted in the clearing, resulting in the death of Minnowleap, a DawnClan warrior. Lichenstone and his patrol returned to MoonClan's camp empty-pawed and greencough quickly took the life of their deputy, Earthfur. Wildstar named Hollyheart as his new deputy, a rather controversial decision as she was an inexperienced warrior who had just joined the clan, as well as being the one to have killed Minnowleap.
Over the next few weeks, there were a number of border skirmishes between the two sides and several NightClan and DawnClan warriors were badly injured, erasing any doubts DawnClan warriors may have had about the wisdom of allying themselves with NightClan, and prompting NightClan and DawnClan to attack MoonClan's camp in a large battle. Shortly before the battle, Raze sent one of his senior warriors, Bearfrost, to go to SunClan's border and speak with a spy he had stationed there, Warpaw. They met at the border and Warpaw reported the recent border skirmishes between DawnClan and SunClan to Bearfrost. Orcasoul, the medicine cat was out gathering herbs when he caught NightClan's scent and attempted to investigate what was going on. He overheard a good part of their conversation but accidentally sneezed, alerting the two NightClan cats to his presence. Bearfrost sent Warpaw back to the camp and killed Orcasoul, leaving his body on the Thunderpath in the hopes that SunClan would believe he had been run over by a monster.
As NightClan and DawnClan attacked, MoonClan was quickly overwhelmed and by the time SunClan arrived to help their allies, the damage had been done. Wildstar, the leader of MoonClan, surrendered to NightClan and DawnClan. He agreed to give portions of both his own territory and SunClan's territory to the enemy clans. NightClan claimed The Burnt Woods from SunClan and the land north of it for themselves, but gave the portion of SunClan's territory from the river to the thunder-path to DawnClan. These territorial losses were devastating for both clans, but left SunClan especially vulnerable to the quickly worsening leaf-bare.
As prey disappeared, MoonClan and SunClan became desperate and a number of border skirmishes broke out between them and the enemy clans, finally culminating in an attack by SunClan against DawnClan. While they were weak and far outnumbered, SunClan fought fiercely long after the point where many clans would have retreated as they knew that if they did not win this battle, those that survived the fight would likely starve over the next moon. After the bloodiest battle that had been seen in seasons, SunClan was forced to retreat when Hailstar lost his final life. SunClan and MoonClan clung on as leaf-bare ended, thanking StarClan for the early new-leaf. As the weather grew warmer and prey reappeared, they became stronger and more ready to attempt another attack. Endless-star and Wildstar planned a joint attack against DawnClan, but when NightClan arrived to help their allies, MoonClan and SunClan were defeated once again.
In this time DawnClan and NightClan became far closer than alliances in the past had been, partially due to their leaders' relationship. Raze, now Jetstar, the leader of NightClan, and Bluestar, the leader of DawnClan were mates. Their clans were initially critical of their leaders' involvement with each other, but in time as they won battle after battle and it became clear that the two clans could rely on each other, the clans became more accepting. The close relationship between the two clans lasted even after Bluestar - who returned to the name Blueshore - retired after delivering a litter of kits and left Clawstrike as leader. Clawstar named Burntstripe as his deputy.
MoonClan's deputy and Wildstar's mate, Hollyheart, went missing. The distraught leader, unwilling to name a new deputy until he was sure that Hollyheart would not be coming back, allowed Lichenstone, the elderly and bigoted former medicine cat infamous for running Mirestar out of MoonClan, to act as an unofficial deputy. Lichenstone died of old age after a moon, forcing Wildstar to name an official deputy. He named Lavenderstorm, an idealistic and hard working she-cat, as his deputy.
Green-leaf arrived and MoonClan and SunClan joined together again in a desperate attack against NightClan. The combined forces of the two clans savagely attacked NightClan's camp and forced them to surrender and return the territory that had been lost three battles ago, all before NightClan could seek help from DawnClan. After the battle, in a visit to DawnClan, Jetstar and Blueshore were out in DawnClan's territory and were attacked by a badger. Blueshore was killed, prompting Jetstar to retire to DawnClan and spend the remainder of his life with his kits. His well-respected deputy, Calais, made the controversial decision to name Midnightsong, a former MoonClanner who had just recently joined NightClan, as her deputy, sparking outrage in her already wounded clan. Hollyheart suddenly returned to MoonClan after moons of being missing, giving a great shock to her clan that had assumed she was dead and raising the question of who would remain deputy: Hollyheart or Lavenderstorm? Anticipating this, she spoke to Wildstar and expressed her wish not to be given the position back. Lavenderstorm remained deputy.
Several moons passed in peace as NightClan and DawnClan allowed MoonClan and SunClan to keep the territory they had regained. Come leaf-bare, it was clear that the war was over. Calais, the leader of NightClan, traveled to the Moonstone to receive her lives and her name as a leader: Frozenstar.
Leaf-bare set in and the clans had all begun to relax, until Wildstar, the leader of MoonClan, was out on a walk along the NightClan border when he came across a patrol of NightClanners. A NightClan warrior, Crimsonblood, eagerly crossed the border at the prospect of getting some MoonClan blood on his paws and started a fight with the leader. Wildstar was quickly overwhelmed by the patrol and taken to NightClan’s camp as a prisoner. Frozenstar reluctantly agreed to take him, as while she knew that they could be entering a potentially bloody conflict, she did not want MoonClan to believe them weak. A gathering was to take place in a few days; she planned on taking advantage of that opportunity to peacefully return the leader in exchange for a portion of MoonClan’s territory.
When the full moon came and the clans gathered at Hawk’s Tree, NightClan took Wildstar with them in the hope that the whole situation would be resolved quickly. However, when Frozenstar gave Toxicflame, MoonClan’s deputy, her demands, he adamantly refused and insisted that Wildstar be given back without payment as NightClan had started the conflict. Frozenstar repeated her demands, warning that Wildstar would be killed unless MoonClan would give the burnt woods and the territory north of it to NightClan, and expecting him to agree to those terms. Toxicflame stubbornly refused this offer once more, expecting the seemingly timid leader to back down, and Frozenstar again warned of what would happen to their leader. After repeating the offer a third time, Frozenstar was left with no choice but to have the MoonClan leader killed.
She personally killed Wildstar as the gathering erupted into chaos around her. SunClan immediately fled the scene, not wanting to be involved in the conflict, and DawnClan supported NightClan. The battle was short, but extremely bloody, as DawnClan and NightClan slaughtered many MoonClanners before Toxicflame called for his clan to retreat. Two days after the battle, NightClan and SunClan patrols clashed in a minor skirmish, prompting Goldenstar to lead a patrol to each of the other clans to officially declare their position as neutral. The moon dragged on, and tensions neither faded nor flared into border skirmishes or another large battle. MoonClan had just begun to recover from the sudden loss of their leader, and Toxicstar had established himself as a strong and warm replacement, minimizing the divisions within his clan that had been caused by Wildstar’s death, when another gathering rolled around. All of the clans were eager to avoid another conflict and the gathering was unusually short; the leaders gave only short addresses, save for a brief conversation between Goldenstar of SunClan and Frozenstar of NightClan.
Concerned with the possibility of an alliance between NightClan, DawnClan, and SunClan, MoonClan tried once more to win a decisive victory over NightClan. They attacked NightClan’s camp with nearly the full force of their clan, leaving behind few cats to guard the camp while they were away, and were hit by a short and bloody defeat. Following Toxicstar’s death, Jaybird, his deputy, called a retreat and MoonClan returned to their camp, the fear that all the other clans would band together in one great alliance against them growing ever higher.
Shortly after the battle, a mysterious and deadly disease began to appear in NightClan unlike any the clans had ever encountered before and for which there was no known treatment or cure. When the medicine cats convened for a routine meeting at the Moonstone, NightClan’s medicine cats, Spiritshine and Foggyice, mentioned the disease to the others. Weepingtiger, a stern MoonClan medicine cat with a high degree of reverence for StarClan, warned them that it could be a punishment from StarClan. Shortly after the medicine meeting, Frozenstar had her sick clanmates removed from the camp in order to prevent the disease from spreading further, but cats continued to fall ill and die from the sickness.
When MoonClan began to make threatening noises, knowing of the weakness in NightClan as a result of the sickness, Frozenstar moved forward with an attack on their camp, reinforced by DawnClan. Believing that outnumbered two to one MoonClan would easily fall, Frozenstar sent her deputy to lead the battle rather than personally leading her clan. The two allies were met with considerable resistance from a clan that had been greatly strengthened in the moon since their previous defeat. Seemingly against all odds, MoonClan emerged victorious following a DawnClan retreat. In the fighting, several NightClanners had attacked MoonClan’s elders, medicine cats, and kits, angering both their enemies and allies. Injured in the battle, Burntstar of DawnClan chose to step down. Willowsong became leader and named Lotuswhisper as her deputy.
A gathering was held six days later and tensions immediately ran high between the four clans. The gathering was called to order soon and as soon as the leaders began to speak, they quickly descended into petty bickering. MoonClan told the other clans about NightClan’s attack on the kits, elders, and medicine cats of the their clan before announcing their intention to drive NightClan from the forest. NightClan responded haughtily, asserting that MoonClan lacked the strength to destroy their clan, prompting DawnClan to sever their long-lived alliance and back DawnClan. Fearing the imbalance of power that would result in the destruction of NightClan, SunClan forged an alliance with NightClan. A long bloody war seemed inevitable as the gathering came to a close.
Shortly after the gathering, the medicine cats met again. They agreed to a plan of ceasing gatherings and moving any ill into special camps provided by their respective clans to prevent the disease from spreading any further, but tensions ran too high for them to agree upon any measures in which the clans would work together to find a cure and treat their sick. Jaystar ordered an attack upon NightClan shortly after this meeting and after a long and bloody battle, this effort proved to be a failure. The disease began to rapidly spread through the remaining three clans.
MoonClan and DawnClan futilely attacked NightClan and their leadership began to crack under the pressure of the disease and their repeated inability to defeat the clan they had pledged to destroy. Their clans began to be disillusioned by the war and their leadership, a sentiment only magnified by Jaystar’s seemingly irresponsible pregnancy.
The Rise of the Medicine Cats
Weepingtiger, MoonClan’s medicine cat, had repeated dreams about a bird, one day while out in the forest he saw a bird just like it and followed it to a patch of an unfamiliar plant. He began to administer this plant to the sick and they began to miraculously recover. He claimed that this discovery was given to him by StarClan. Weepingtiger pointed to this discovery as proof that his clans, and their medicine cats, were favored by StarClan. For this Weepingtiger earned the adoration of his clan in contrast to their growing impatience with the increasingly perceived as incompetent Jaystar, a pattern that was repeated in DawnClan when Weepingtiger shared the herb with their ambitious young medicine cat, Dawnswallow.
Encouraged by the discovery of the herb, Jaystar and Willowstar decided to press forward with a sudden attack on NightClan against the advice of their medicine cats’ to wait for the sick to fully recover. The ensuing battle was devastating for the forest clans, despite having been attacked by the sickness for a moon longer, NightClan, with SunClan’s support, was able to quickly throw back the invaders.
Just as MoonClan and DawnClan were edging on mutiny, Weepingtiger proposed a radical idea during a medicine cat meeting: the leaders would split their duties with the medicine cats. Leaders were to act as “head warriors”, cats who would organize the day to day activities of the clan, such as patrols, while medicine cats held the power to make major decisions. He advocated for a closeness with StarClan among all cats of the clans alongside a strict enforcement of the warrior code. Cats were expected to lead full lives protecting their clan, adding to its strength in new kits, by training apprentices to be the best they could be, etc.
Dawnswallow, the medicine cat of DawnClan, quickly agreed to the plan and the cats agreed to take the issue to their warriors. In a powerful speech Weepingtiger was able to sway his clan against Jaystar’s protests that he was a power hungry cat taking advantage of the situation for his own selfish ends. Dawnswallow met with more resistance among her ranks, but Lotus-star proved to be more receptive of the idea than Jaystar had been and Dawnswallow won out.
Another attack on NightClan was carefully planned by Dawnswallow and Weepingtiger to coincide with the return of new-leaf and the full recovery of their sick. Their victory was quick, definite, and, the medicine cats insisted, gifted to them by StarClan. This victory erased what doubts remained in their desperate clans and allowed Weepingtiger and Dawnswallow to present another radical change: the alteration of the warrior code to match their system of leadership and altered values.
The two medicine cats also agreed to send three spies to NightClan and SunClan with the other cats who fled their clans. These cats were informed of a battle set to take place the day after the following full moon, during which they were instructed to go to the sick of the infiltrated clans and offer treatment to any cat willing to pledge loyalty to MoonClan or DawnClan. While SunClan and NightClan were initially suspicious of these cats, they were desperate for warriors and accepted the spies into their ranks.
The full moon came and with it another gathering. MoonClan and NightClan arrived first and immediately descended into bickering. SunClan was the next to arrive, with their new, inexperienced leader Quickstar entering the conversation in a childish manner. DawnClan arrived late and the gathering proceeded icily; back-handed comments interjected throughout mundane reports. As the gathering was called to a close, Frozenstar, Quickstar, and SunClan’s deputy, Ryestep, discussed plans to attack MoonClan.
MoonClan and DawnClan struck before these plans could ever come to fruition, and the offensive clans won another striking victory. NightClan’s surrender emboldened Weepingtiger to demand no less than Frozenstar’s execution and, knowing that the destruction of her entire clan was imminent if she did not agree to the terms, Frozenstar acquiesced. SunClan fled the scene as Frozenstar was killed by Lotus-star, while Quickstar spat out an agreement to give only three fox-lengths of territory to DawnClan.
During the battle, the spies completed their mission. A handful of sick NightClanners pledged loyalty, while the mission in SunClan was less successful with only one cat agreeing to join MoonClan. Lynxcloud, now the leader of NightClan, named Coldterror as her deputy and traveled to the Moonstone to receive her lives. She enacted a number of unpopular changes in her clan to protect them from MoonClan and DawnClan, including mandating that all cats believe in StarClan and closely follow the code.
While taking a walk near the NightClan border, Jaystar was attacked by a handful of NightClanners and killed. Upon finding her body, Weepingtiger ordered that his clan go into battle once more to avenge her death and once more, MoonClan and DawnClan easily defeated NightClan before SunClan could arrive to help. Having already exhausted the territory they wished to take from NightClan and being relatively supportive of Lynxstar, Weepingtiger demanded that NightClan give up a handful of kits and young apprentices. These cats would be taken to MoonClan or DawnClan, where they would be trained to “set NightClan down the right path” by loyal MoonClan warriors. NightClan accepted the terms, however the measure was not popular among MoonClan and DawnClan. Some warriors felt that it was barbaric to be stealing kits, others pointed toward the rule in their code stating that cats from non-believing clans had no place among their ranks.
As another gathering grew near, Weepingtiger began to feel increasingly anxious about attending it and when the night came, he opted to have his new head warrior, Eclipsestar, represent the clan. The gathering took place, the clans bickered with nothing of particular note being discussed or accomplished. In MoonClan’s camp, a warrior caught scent of a fox and gathered the few cats set the guard the kits and queens in a patrol to handle it. The mother and sibling fox attacked the camp while only Weepingtiger was there to defend the kits, but he managed to fend them off before anyone was badly hurt. When the gathering was brought to a close and MoonClan returned, the cats who didn’t attend were singing his praises. Weepingtiger grew more popular than ever in his clan, citing that StarClan had given him warning of the fox attack.
Lynxstar stepped down to the position of an elder, leaving her cruel and ambitious deputy, Coldstar, in charge of NightClan. Coldstar named the former rouge Phantom as his deputy. To make up for the recent losses, Coldstar decided to invite members of a city gang he had previously been a member of into the clan. Many of them were unsuited for clan life and violence broke out almost immediately in the camp, causing Pigeonwing to flee to SunClan. Fearing that they would lose their alliance when SunClan learned what happened, Coldstar sent his deputy to explain to Quickstar what happened and assure them that NightClan was capable of controlling their members.
Phantom’s meeting with Quickstar was short. After giving the SunClan a basic reassurance that things were under control, Ryestep interrupted and escorted him back to the border. The two exchanged small talk, but the hasty meeting left Phantom with the impression that Ryestep was hiding something about their clan, or their leader, who had come off as somewhat awkward during the meeting.
In DawnClan, the medicine cat apprentice, Clawpaw, put forth the idea of killing any cat who publicly opposed StarClan’s will by slipping poisonous foxglove seeds into their food to her mentor, Dawnswallow, who agreed to the plan. A medicine cat meeting took place the next day. It began with pleasant small-talk and Dawnswallow expertly was able to request that Weepingtiger show them were to find foxglove seeds without raising suspicions. The clans moved on to give recent news in their clans, then called the meeting to a close so Clawpaw could be given her full medicine cat name.
Juniperpaw and Scatteredsuns returned to SunClan and Clawpaw entered her medicine cat ceremony. Weepingtiger excused himself and Dawnswallow under the pretense of showing her where to find foxglove. They returned just as Clawpaw, now Clawtail, woke from her ceremony. The medicine cats returned to their respective clans.
Quickstar was worried by his earlier meeting with Phantom and began to worry about the loyalty of their allies and Coldstar’s ability to control his warriors. He went to Goldenhaze, the former leader of SunClan, for guideance, who suggested reaching out to DawnClan. The two clans, under this plan, would become allies and drop out of the war, leaving only MoonClan to continue their attacks upon NightClan. When Quickstar presented this plan to Ryestep, however, she immediately objected saying that they were risking too much by assuming that DawnClan wasn’t committed to their cause and would ally themselves with a non-believing clan and abandon MoonClan. Their dispute quickly escalated to Quickstar threatening to force Ryestep into becoming an elder, who responded by suggesting that they present their cases to the clan.
The leader agreed and called a clan meeting. However, instead of immediately bringing up the possible alliance, Quickstar immediately demoted Ryestep. After being questioned by his clan, he was only able to defend himself by saying that her constant criticism was impeding his ability to lead. Ryestep came forward at this point and described their conflict and her reasoning for not taking the risk of changing allies. Two sparred back and forth for a time as the clan increasingly turned against their leader. Cats were shouting for him to step down as the sparring continued, both because the clan opposed his idea of an alliance with DawnClan and because his childish way of lashing out at any cat who spoke too harshly against him. Ryestep defended her clanmates and reminded Quickstar of the importance of letting all cats of the clan freely speak. She took this point further by suggesting that their new deputy be chosen by the clan as a whole and all major decisions past this point be presented to the clan, discussed freely, and voted on. The clan latched onto this idea and voted for their new deputy, Epochwalker.
The next day in an attempt to regain the shattered support of his clan, Quickstar called a clan meeting with the idea of testing NightClan’s commitment to their alliance by performing a joint attack against MoonClan. The clan voted to go forward with this plan, and Quickstar lead a patrol to NightClan’s camp to discuss the attack with Coldstar. NightClan accepted the proposal easily and they went forward with the attack. SunClan and NightClan hit MoonClan hard and nearly secured victory for themselves before DawnClan arrived to save their MoonClan allies. NightClan fled before they could be confronted about the maiming of two kits in the fighting, leaving SunClan alone to surrender and negotiate terms with Weepingtiger. Like NightClan had done before, MoonClan demanded that SunClan give kits to be "educated", but this time they would be sent to DawnClan. Quickstar reluctantly accepted the terms and the kits were delivered before sun-high the following day.
Lashclaw, a MoonClan warrior, attacked and almost killed Tigerpaw, a strong believer in StarClan, and Pricklekit, a kit who had no faith in his warrior ancestors. Lashclaw was executed for his actions and Weepingtiger declared that any heresy or rebellion within the camp would result in the same fate. While Tigerpaw’s recovery stagnated, Pricklekit seemed as if he’d be up on his feet again in only a matter of days. Fearing what his clan would think of the nonbeliever’s miraculous recovery, Weepingtiger poisoned him with deathberries and declared to the camp that StarClan had declined to save him because of his lack of belief. Tigerpaw’s recovery was slow, but Weepingtiger held up his survival as a sign of StarClan’s blessing.
The Fall of the Medicine Cats
While MoonClan was nearing hysterics in their belief for StarClan following Tigerpaw’s recovery, Weepingtiger’s grip on his clan began to fade as dissenting cats gathered under the leadership of Geckospots and Amberstrike, and he decided to take further action to prevent rebellion. Weepingtiger brought together the strongest believing members of his clan as a secret legion of “enforcers” and assigned each pair a nonbelieving cat in the clan to dispose of. These executions were to be framed as disappearances and to be carried out as quietly as possible, however some members of the clan grew suspicious as a small number of clumsily carried out assassinations were discovered.
Among these cats was, Fernwillow, Weepingtiger’s apprentice and second-in-command. When she privately confronted him about her suspicions, Weepingtiger didn’t hide his actions under the belief that she would agree with him that the non-believing victims of these attacks were a danger to the clan. A true believer in StarClan, she thought that what he had done was wrong and that he should be punished by the clan for his crimes. Before she could expose the plot, Weepingtiger forced her to flee to DawnClan.
Fearing for his grip over the clan, Weepingtiger framed Fernwillow as a dangerous nonbeliever who he had exiled before she could do the clan harm and used this “betrayal” as an excuse to declare himself leader of the clan. Eclipsestar would return to the name Eclipseheart and be his deputy, while two new medicine cats would be volunteers from among the apprentices in their clan. As he made his announcement, a meteor shower flared in the sky above. Some referred to it as StarClan making “claw marks” across the sky in their anger; others interpreted it as a showof StarClan’s approval and a sign that Weepingstar had been "chosen". The event strengthened the beliefs of both the zealots and the nonbelievers, and scared many MoonClanners into remaining silent and declining to prevent the murders many suspected to be taking place, fearing StarClan's wrath. Many of the older warriors were comforted by the return to a more traditional structure in the clans, however there was unrest caused by worries that Weepingstar was driven by ambition, rather than a genuine interest in serving StarClan. Finally, wanting to add another layer of stability to his clan, Weepingtstar ordered all of the NightClan kits and apprentices they had taken prisoner to be returned to their home clan.
Geckospot’s and Amberstrike’s rebellion received a surge of new members following this shift in power, and Weepingstar become suspicious by Geckospot’s closeness to Amberstrike and the number of private conversations taking place between the pair and the less supportive members of his clan. Weepingstar brought Geckospots out into the territory to confront her about his suspicions and while she did not deny his accusations, he decided not to take action against it on the basis that it was not strong enough to harm him and by acting directly against their leader, he would fuel the nonbelieving cats to engage in an open rebellion.
Fernwillow was readily accepted into DawnClan, where dissenters had begun to congregate under the loose leadership of Sacredpaw and Locust-strike. In NightClan, Coldstar declared a ban on all fighting within his clan as the gang members that he had welcomed in become increasingly rowdy. This announcement was disregarded by a warrior, Flame, who attacked Shadowmoon over a petty dispute. When Coldstar was told of Flame’s actions, Coldstar had the disobedient warrior executed as an example to the other gang cats of what would happen to them if they did not respect Coldstar’s rule.
In DawnClan, Clawtail made a shocking discovery. Three kits that had been found in the territory were actually the kits of Dawnswallow and Weepingtiger. This finally prompted her to take action and as Dawnswallow left the camp to gather herbs, Clawtail called a clan meeting and told the clan the truth about the sudden deaths and the origins of the three kits. DawnClan was rioting for Dawnswallow's blood when the medicine cat returned and she was executed on the spot by the furious DawnClanners.
Clawtail announced she would step down from her medicine cat position when she had an apprentice trained and Lotus-star was allowed to peacefully step down from her position as head warrior, and left the clan shortly after. DawnClan selected Locuststrike, a strong willed and ambitious tom, and Sacredtears, a young idealistic she-cat, as their new leader and deputy, respectively. The SunClan apprentices that had been captured earlier were promptly returned to their clan.
Geckospots traveled to NightClan to secure an alliance for the rebels when the time came. Phantom, NightClan’s deputy, readily agreed to the alliance upon being given a promise that NightClan would be given a share of MoonClan’s territory when if the overthrow was successful. Next, Geckospots traveled to SunClan. Despite calls from his clan that he wasn’t respecting the system of voting that the clan had agreed on not long before, Quickstar agreed to the alliance with the MoonClan rebels. Knowing that she was in danger in MoonClan and could more easily coordinate with their allies from outside MoonClan, Geckospots temporarily joined NightClan. Coldstar was furious when he heard what Phantom had agreed to without consulting him, and called a clan meeting in which he admonished his deputy and threatened that if something similar occurred in the future, Phantom would be demoted. However, as he saw the new advantage they had against their ongoing war with MoonClan, Coldstar opted to uphold Phantom and Geckospots’ agreement.
Half a moon later, the MoonClan rebels made their move. As Geckospots gathered their allies in NightClan and SunClan to prepare for battle, Amberstrike leapt onto MoonClan’s highstone and addressed the clan. She accused Weepingstar of being a liar and a murderer, convicting him of orchestrating the disappearances and only taking his position for his own gain. Finally, just as Amberstrike called for the other rebels to rise up, Weepingstar calmly defended himself. His rationally presented statements sharply contrasted Amberstrike’s desperate pleas for support and he carefully maintained that Amberstrike’s actions were dangerous, that she was the cat calling for vengeance and death while he only wanted to make MoonClan a stable, StarClan worshipping clan. His voice only rose above a calm speaking tone when one of his warriors threatened Amberstrike. Finally, as Weepingstar asserted that his clan mates always had been free to follow whoever they wished, Amberstrike leapt on him with unsheathed claws.
The camp immediately burst into chaotic fighting as the warriors took sides. Just as the rebels seemed to be on their last legs and the loyal warriors of MoonClan and zealous StarClan cats about to win, NightClan, SunClan, and DawnClan arrived. Weepingstar knew that he could not hope to win against the combined forces of three clans and not wishing to cause further bloodshed, he ordered the remaining loyal members of his clan to stand down. In an eloquent speech, he addressed Geckospots’ and Amberstrike, telling them that by revolting, they had only caused meaningless bloodshed. His intentions, he asserted, were to allow the clan to pass onto a more moderate leadership under Eclipsestar when he inevitably died of his now advanced age. He confessed to assigning the enforcers to assassinate cats who he believed would tear the clan apart, not to support his leadership, but in the name of stability. He gave the names of all of his supporters and, finally, asked the cats to be merciful toward his enforcers, as they consider “how differently the coming moons would have played out had [he] died naturally and [his] role been assumed by Eclipseheart” without Geckospots and Amberstrike introducing the bloody rebellion.
Amberstrike scoffed at Weepingstar’s words, saying that he knew he was disobeying StarClan’s wishes and putting his clan in danger. Geckospots took a softer approach to replying to him, saying that their hearts were true, even if she knew their actions had negative sides to it. She suggested that Weepingstar be allowed to retire and live in the clan as an elder. She urged her clan to believe that wishing death of any cat, no matter their crimes, was wrong. Amberstrike admitted, with some considerable difficulty, that Geckospots was right—no more blood needed to be shed that night. Weepingstar decided to leave the clan, knowing that it would be impossible to keep peace with him as a constant reminder to his clanmates. His final words were a warning to Geckospots that she would one day see, just as he did now, that the world and the cats in it are not as good or honorable as she wanted to believe.
Weepingstar visited the Moonstone one last time, reflecting on his life, before accepting his exile to the loners’ forest and dying shortly afterward.
The Struggle for Stability
MoonClan’s transition to a traditional style of leadership faced challenges far greater than those faced by DawnClan. Geckostar was greeted with a mix of suspicion and fear punctuated by the hatred of remaining zealots who waited in the prison, their fates undecided.
Several suns had passed before the zealots made an unsuccessful escape attempt, prompting Geckostar to finally decide to simply banish them to limit the damage they could do to her fledgling clan. A second complication, unknown to the majority of the clan, came as Melodychant, MoonClan’s new medicine cat, privately informed Geckostar that she was pregnant. Soon after, she was kidnapped by rouges.
When it became clear that while Amberstrike had played an important role in the revolution, she would not be the assertive deputy MoonClan needed to recover from Weepingstar’s rule, Geckostar named Hailfall as her deputy. This decision was met with controversy, as he had just returned to the clan after being banished by Weepingtiger far before many of the warriors were even born, making him an outsider to much of the clan.
This final blow proved to be too much to the restless clan, and a skirmish broke out as a handful of warriors called for a democracy. Wary of the absolute power granted to their sole leader, they argued that the traditional clan structure was flawed from the beginning. They suggested that by allowing individual clan members’ voices to carry weight in making decisions, a cat like Weepingtiger –or Geckostar- could never come into power again. Others feared another change in structure and the violence any disagreements under the proposed system might cause. While no one was killed in the clash, it badly shook the clan.
Shortly afterward, four mysterious apprentice-aged loners joined MoonClan: Vein, Artery, Bone, and Flesh. Unknown to the clan, they had been sent by Bloodcrawler with a simple order: kill as many MoonClanners as possible.
Quickstar, SunClan’s leader, was killed in a sudden fox attack. As Epochstar made a graceful transition into his leadership and his clan mourned, DawnClan’s leadership began to crumble. Locuststar was proving to be an arrogant, demanding leader who did not respect his deputy’s empathetic nature. What should have been a short exchange between Sacredtears, the deputy, and an unruly young warrior escalated to Locuststar publicly condemning his deputy’s sensitivity.
The four clans met in a gathering much more civil than many in the past. When Geckostar informed the leaders of the other clans of the violent clash that had taken place just a few suns before, Epochstar suggested sending “guards” from each the other clans to stabilize MoonClan, protect the traditional clan hierarchy that had just been reinstated, prevent further fighting, and prevent unrest in their own clans. Epochstar, personally, used the clash as a reason to dispose of the short-lived democracy that had put him in power. NightClan and DawnClan readily accepted Epochstar’s proposal and Geckostar graciously agreed, desperate for any action that might bring stability to her crumbling clan
Just as the guards settled into MoonClan life, Vein, Artery, Bone, and Flesh killed their first victim, Ushio, without raising suspicions. Dyingpaw was killed shortly afterward. The apprentices reported back to Bloodcrawler, who killed Flesh for failing to obey orders. The remaining apprentices decided to lie low until any suspicions about them had dissipated. However, as Bone returned to give Bloodcrawler a report of their situation, another MoonClan apprentice, Halopaw, became suspicious and followed him. Bone caught Halopaw and maimed him before fleeing to the loner’s forest. Liondance, a NightClan guard, attempted to interrogate Vein about the disappearances. However, due to Liondance’s lack of concrete evidence, Vein escaped the conversation without revealing anything.
Artery and Vein reconvened in the territory, where Artery admitted that he was beginning to question Bloodcrawler’s orders. His conviction grew stronger as they began to argue, prompting Vein to attack Artery. Artery fled to the camp, pursued by Vein, where Artery was forced to kill his brother in self-defense. Geckostar confronted him and Artery confessed everything, accepting whatever punishment she wished to give him. After consulting her deputy, and Liondance, Geckostar decided to have Artery banished from the clan.
Wanting to form positive relationships with the other leaders, Geckostar sent patrols to NightClan and DawnClan, telling them what had occurred and warning the other clans of the chance that Artery might attempt to join their ranks under a new identity. Geckostar attended the NightClan patrol personally and she and Phantom, friends from the time she spent among NightClan’s ranks, exchanged their usual banter as Geckostar delivered her report. Coldstar joined in, and the three held a brief, good-natured conversation before Geckostar put in a good word about Liondance and returned to MoonClan. The meeting in DawnClan was terse, Locuststar seemed bored by Liondance’s report before dismissing him without a show of hospitality for the clan they were on seemingly good terms with. SunClan was given their own report two days later.
Melodychant, bloody from a recent fight, returned to the camp with kits that she claimed belonged to a loner. Her story was greeted with little suspicion from the rest of MoonClan, as rattled as the clan had been by Artery’s confession.
The suspicion dwindled as time went on and MoonClan returned to a sense of peace. When full moon arrived, a gathering was held and the guards were returned to their home clans.
A SunClan warrior, Nightraven, stumbled into his camp bleeding heavily from a wound to the neck and died shortly thereafter. The clan initially assumed that he had been attacked by a badger, but Icefeather, another warrior, soon realized that they were cleverly disguised scratches from a cat’s claws. Epochstar and Hallowroar, SunClan’s leader and deputy, began an attempt to track down the attacker, but no sooner had they begun than another victim, Spectralpaw, was claimed. Soon, the evidence clearly pointed to Iceblood, whose unrequited love of the apprentice Featherpaw drove him to kill his clanmates. After a public trial, Epochstar made the controversial decision not to execute the cat for his crimes, but to banish him. Iceblood repaid this mercy by attacking Epochstar and Icefeather before fleeing the territory. After some time, he returned to SunClan and foolishly attacked the camp. He was killed by the young warrior Spiderbite before he was able to kill any more of his former clan members.
When the dead of green-leaf swept over the clans, it was not marked by a dry and parched heatwave, but rather by a sudden and massive storm. The river quickly flooded as a dam upriver broke, forcing MoonClan, SunClan, and DawnClan to flee their camps, while a flash-flood drove NightClan to seek higher ground. The four clans fled to the high point of their territories: the abandoned two-leg barn in SunClan’s territory.
While the clans were initially determined to put aside their differences and work together until the flood waters subsided, tensions quickly rose as cats went hungry and waves of whitecough circulated through the crowded barn. As it came time for Phantom, NightClan's deputy, to retire, all of the clans assumed that Coldstar would pick the well-respected Liondance. However, Quietpaw, Coldstar's son, feared that with Liondance as deputy, his two fathers, Coldstar and Phantom, would be torn apart by the charming tom. He approached Coldstar and falsely reported that he had overheard Liondance and Blackpine plotting against him, causing Coldstar to name Scarletdeath, an old gang connection of his, as NightClan's new deputy. Liondance, enraged, discovered Quietpaw's lie and took him into the territory, where he forced the apprentice to choose between his own life, or the lives of his family. Quietpaw choose to sacrifice himself and, afraid that all of his siblings would be killed if he told anyone about Liondance's threat, waited for days before Poppypaw, working for Liondance, killed him.
Phantom discovered Blackpine and Liondance plotting out in the territory, and confronted Liondance about his ambitious nature. He warned Liondance against hurting Coldstar once he himself had died. Liondance mocked Phantom, calling him barbaric and pathetic for allowing Coldstar to prevent him from gaining any real power. Liondance then denounced the clan leaders and deputies for thinking they had any real power, as the public nature of their position within the clan would cause every step they took to be scrutinized, while a seemingly powerless warrior would be able to manipulate his way into actual power. While Phantom thoughtfully responded to these points, Liondance brushed aside his accusations and left Phantom only to resignedly exit the conversation.
NightClan’s troubles continued as an argument between Scarletdeath and Buckhunter, a SunClan warrior, escalated into a bloody fight. Buckhunter was killed, leaving his son as an orphan. After much turmoil between the clans, with cats accusing either side of being responsible for the fight and clashing over appropriate punishments for the murder, Epochstar declared that Scarletdeath would be banished from the barn. However, she was out in the territory at the time this punishment was announced. When she returned to the barn, Running-grain, Buckhunter’s brother, attacked her. She quickly knocked him out, but her role in the fight further inflamed the clans. Hostilities remained even as Epochstar banished Running-grain from the barn as well.
A week after the clans had fled to the barn, white-cough began to spread through the kits and elders. The medicine cats found themselves helpless to stop it, as the flood kept them from gathering herbs, and they had difficulty keeping the kits well-fed, warm, and dry. At their half-moon summit, they took the risk of traveling around the flooded territories to meet at the Moonstone and discuss what could be done to stop the sickness from spreading further.
However, white-cough was not the only problem plaguing the clans. DawnClan’s deputy went missing and was replaced by the inexperienced warrior Auburndream. A group of young cats began killing others at random. Poppydeath, their leader, began only with the enjoyment of killing, and Icefang joined her. The group grew, each new member having their own motivations of these thoughtless murders. These ‘assassins’, as they called themselves, killed a substantial number of cats while going unnoticed by the clans, who assumed the deaths were merely accidents resulting from going alone into the dangerous territory.
As if their troubles had not been extensive enough yet, a city gang executed an unprecedented attack against the barn and all the clancats within. They were able to kidnap several apprentices before retreating. Sirensong, a NightClan warrior, stepped forward and told the leaders that the attack was caused by her father, Blood, who wanted to kidnap her.
Shocked by the relative success of the attack, the clan leaders called a meeting to find solutions to the disorganized, inefficient system that defending and feeding the clans had disintegrated into. With an unusual lack of bickering, the leaders decided on a few changes that needed to be made: communal raising of kits, joint patrols and training sessions, and the temporary rank of “head warrior”.
The queens were to raise all of their kits together, rotating in their duties between taking breaks, caring for the sick, and caring for the healthy. All organized patrols were required to have at least three cats representing at least two clans, but ideally patrols would be larger and have at least one member from each of the four clans. Training apprentices would also be conducted as a whole. Each clan named two or three Head Warriors, cats that had no direct power to punish cats or make major decisions, but who could aid in the organization of patrols, training sessions, distribution of prey, and arbitrating disputes. As the meeting drew to a close, Coldstar announced that he was demoting the banished Scarletdeath and naming Liondance as his deputy.
Sirensong was frustrated with the leaders’ decision not to immediately declare war on Blood’s gang, and slipped out of the barn to confront him herself. Liondance, sensing an opportunity to please Locuststar (who viewed Sirensong as his daughter), sent a NightClan patrol that, with the help of Howlingpaw, attacked the gang and saved Sirensong.
However, even with the threat of Sirensong’s father eliminated, the clans did not enjoy peace. The assassins continued their random murderers, which the clans continued to interpret as unfortunate disappearances. This facade was finally broken with the violent death of Lilywish, NightClan’s medicine cat. As soon as her body was presented to the leaders, tensions ran high. The leaders argued about whether to investigate the scene immediately, before any evidence could fade, or to gather more information among the clans before deciding to rush into what might potentially be an ambush. No consensus was made, and each of the clans sent out separate patrols following what their leaders believed to be the best course of action.
While DawnClan, NightClan, and MoonClan’s patrols returned relatively quickly, having found nothing, SunClan set out later and discovered faint NightClan and MoonClan scents. When they called a meeting of leaders before the clans, hoping to have their cooperation in finding the murderer, the clans immediately burst into bickering. MoonClan and NightClan were defensive, assuming that the accusations were baseless: none of the other clans had discovered the scents and they showed no clear connection to a murder. SunClan and DawnClan insisted they were not accusing the clans as a whole, only that they wanted justice for Lilywish’s murder. As the fighting escalated, claws came out, and soon the clans were engaged in a full-scale battle.
SunClan and DawnClan emerged victorious as they forced MoonClan and NightClan to return to their territories, only just drained enough to be habitable. Locuststar, believing his strong-swimming clan would be able to return their home as well, decided to lead DawnClan home. Shocked by the sudden change in circumstances and the increasingly blurry line between clan alliances, all of the clans began the process of rebuilding their camps.
Rebuilding Clan Identities
Epochstar demoted his deputy, Hallowroar, and replaced him with Darkcrest. While complaints about this sudden switch in leadership began circulating, they were cut short by a much more immediate threat: a group of SunClan apprentices snuck out to visit their DawnClan friends. This visit did not go as planned; when they were asked to leave and refused, a fight broke out that ended with several of the apprentices nearly dead. A DawnClan patrol escorted the apprentices back to their camp, where Yuccathorn assured the DawnClanners that the apprentices would face appropriate consequences and nothing of the sort would ever be allowed to happen again. When Epochstar returned to the camp and was briefed about what had occurred while he was out in the territory, cats discussed what should be done to instill clan loyalty in the clan’s younger cats who had grown up during the flood.
The curious apprentices were only the first of SunClan’s troubles, as the day afterward Forgottenmoon, a former MoonClan medicine cat, appeared in their camp. She demanded that a warrior whose leg she had amputated at the barn thank her for improving his life before she would leave and kill herself. Yuccathorn and Risingangel confronted her, saying that she had no business with their clan and, more importantly, was unwell. They insisted that she be returned to MoonClan before SunClan could be blamed for her death, but when she refused Yuccathorn knocked her out. Forgottenmoon was then returned to MoonClan’s territory before waking and ultimately leaving the clans.
In NightClan, Coldstar’s age took its toll and he died suddenly in his sleep. Liondance took his place as leader and named Poppydeath as his deputy. When he arrived at the Moonstone to receive his lives, he discovered that Rosestar was there for the same reason. The two warriors discussed their alliance and decided it would be beneficial for their clans to hold an event in which the apprentices could play games together. The day was tentatively set for several suns after the gathering.
A gathering was held and while the clans initially welcomed the chance to visit the cats they had befriended during the flood, tensions soon sparked. A former DawnClan headwarrior, Seraphgaze, commented on the sexualities of Lionstar and Epochstar and while many cats spoke out against this behavior, Locuststar refused to apologize for his warrior’s actions. Epochstar claimed that Locuststar should be ashamed of how his warriors nearly killed SunClan’s apprentices, while Locuststar defended their actions and blamed the apprentices for barging in on another clan’s camp. The fight quickly escalated, until Locuststar formally ended his alliance with SunClan and called for DawnClan to return home early. After DawnClan left, Lionstsar and Epochstar discussed the possibility of allowing apprentices to openly travel between clans for a set period to find where they felt they belonged. However, three NightClan apprentices disagreed with this proposal and suddenly attacked Epochstar. Epochstar lost a life before Darkcrest killed one and the other two escaped. The three remaining clans called the gathering to an abrupt close and returned to their homes.
Lionstar ordered Poppydeath, his new deputy, to gather a patrol and track down and kill the two remaining apprentices. This patrol was to be carried out in secret, to prevent Lion from appearing barbaric by openly announcing that the apprentices had been killed. However, wanting to set the precedent that cats who disobeyed would be punished, Lionstar began spreading a rumor of how the apprentices had been handled.
The day after the disastrous gathering, Epochstar sent patrols to NightClan and MoonClan to tell them that the agreement would continue as planned. The borders opened and many cats decided to change clans - many of them apprentices, seeking belonging in SunClan.
DawnClan, meanwhile, was reaching the boiling point with Locuststar. Winterstorm, an out-spoken DawnClan warrior, publicly accosted him for what she considered to be rash, childish actions during the gathering, and soon many other warriors were backing up her sentiments. During this fight, a SunClan patrol headed by Risingangel arrived to inform Locuststar of the border-opening agreement the other leaders had come to. Locuststar refused to allow DawnClan to participate and entered into an argument with Risingangel, who left infuriated. This confrontation only served to further DawnClan’s frustration with their leader, and Frozencross suggested that Echosong (the recently named deputy) would be a much better leader. It soon became clear that many other warriors shared this sentiment, and the clan called a vote to decide whether Locuststar would remain their leader or the torch be passed to Echosong.
Echosong emerged with a narrow victory and Locuststar accepted his clan’s decision, granted he would be able to serve his clan as a warrior. Echosong, now DawnClan’s leader, accepted these terms, and the following night they traveled to the Moonstone to transfer lives. As they entered the mothermouth, it became clear that they were not alone, but rather had accidentally intruded on the medicine cat meeting. The pair were questioned and harassed by the group before they were able to touch noses to the Moonstone and have Locuststar’s lives returned to StarClan and have Echostar receive her nine lives.
The medicine cats concluded their meeting and returned to their clans, carrying the news of Locuststar’s demotion with them. Soon, gossip ran rampant through the clans about the exact cause of Locuststar’s downfall and why Echosong, a seemingly insignificant warrior, had been perceived as preferable.
Several days later, two groups of MoonClan and NightClan apprentices encountered each other at the border. Tensions quickly flared and when claws were unsheathed, only one Nightclan apprentice emerged with their life. Lionstar discovered the fight first and, wanting to avoid war, returned the MoonClan apprentices’ bodies to their camp and negotiated peace with Rosestar, who agreed to take the slice of territory between the river and the thunderpath as reconciliation for the loss of life.
As the full moon arrived, the clans gathered at Hawk’s Tree. The gathering immediately spiraled into bickering and ended quickly.
Following the gathering, SunClan was struck by a series of tragedies centered around its leader. Having lost his mate, Risingangel, to a badger attack a few suns earlier, Epochstar was attacked and killed by a badger himself, and then, in a separate patrol, lost another life to a group of rogues. Even after StarClan healed the brunt of his wounds, what remained became infected and considerably weakened him for several suns. In this time, his sons were killed by badgers. Struck by his age, the infected wounds, and grief for his mate and sons, Epochstar stepped down from his position. He died of another badger attack shortly afterward.
When Darkcrest, his deputy, traveled to the Moonstone to receive his lives, he interrupted the medicine meeting and was accosted for interrupting the sacred meeting by NightClan’s medicine cat. Not wanting to spark further conflict, he excused himself and waited outside for the meeting to end. However, DawnClan’s medicine cat was angered by how rude NightClan’s medicine cat had been to Darkcrest, and the medicine cat meeting, like the gathering, quickly descended into bickering and was called to an early close. Darkcrest then received his lives and became Darkstar; when he returned to SunClan’s camp he named Zenithrise, a friend of his since long before he had joined SunClan, as his deputy.
Lionstar, NightClan’s leader, and four of his sons were captured by two-leg animal control and taken to a shelter. The four kits were quickly adopted by separate families, so when Lionstar escaped the shelter he spent half a moon tracking down his kits. During this time, NightClan was under the rule of Poppydeath, Lionstar’s deputy, who quickly became overwhelmed by responsibility and started to impose new rules in an attempt to appear strong. Warriors ate first, followed by queens, kits, elders and finally apprentices. Cats were not allowed to question her orders - all mutiny would be severely punished. She refused to name a new deputy, receive her lives, or take the suffix –star. As well, no cats were permitted to believe in StarClan. When Lionstar returned with his sons, he found the clan on the edge of an uprising. Lionstar restored order and repealed the new rules, but made the controversial decision to keep Poppydeath as his deputy.
Cats, especially young warriors and apprentices, continued to ignore clan borders. Two MoonClan apprentices, while attempting to explore the burnt woods, fell into the river and were swept into SunClan territory, where they were discovered by a patrol. NightClan’s Medicine Cat Crowpoison was discovered on MoonClan’s territory searching for herbs and a brief skirmish broke out before she was returned to the border.
Seraphgaze and his avid supporter Blitzingbull, came across NightClan and SunClan patrols meeting at Hawk’s Tree. The DawnClanners warned them to leave their territory, but Dragonslayer swiped at Seraphgaze. Seraphgaze retaliated by ordering his patrol to kill the other warriors. Before his own clan could discover what had happened, Seraphgaze and his warriors took the bodies and delivered them to the warriors’ respective camps and gave warnings about the consequences of entering DawnClan territory again.
When the DawnClan patrol returned to their camp, Seraphgaze was confronted by Bearpaw and Mudpatch. Seraphgaze convinced them to step out of the camp and allow him to explain himself in the territory before they escalated their suspicions to Echostar. Once alone in the territory, he killed them.
While Seraphgaze was disposing of Bearpaw and Mudpatch’s bodies, Blitzingpaw told Echostar that the patrol had been attacked by a joint NightClan and DawnClan patrol. Echostar believed his story and the other leaders, who believed that Echostar had ordered the attacks, did not send patrols to investigate.
With the arrival of the full moon, the clans arrived at the gathering with an air of cynicism. From the start, few cats were expecting the meeting to go well and, to the surprise of very few, the gathering quickly erupted in bickering. Leaders and warriors alike, including MoonClan’s Aspenstar and his deputy Sneakstep, challenged the idea that cross-clan interactions and relationships, even on a controlled basis, could ever be successful. Aspenstar announced that his clan would be moving into complete isolation, prompting the other leaders to do the same.
While the isolation met little resistance initially, many clan members found the rules inconvenient and failed to comply with their leaders’ wishes. Cats attempted to move between clans as usual and apprentices and young warriors continued to meet at the Gathering Clearing.
A mischievous MoonClan kit, Sunkit, escaped his camp and traveled to the Gathering Clearing. Here he ran into groups of NightClan and SunClan apprentices and lied about his age so he wouldn’t be chased off. However, he quickly got into a fight with Aloepaw, a SunClan apprentice, and a fight broke out as another apprentice defended him. Soon, a MoonClan patrol tracking down Sunkit arrived at the clearing and demanded an explanation for what had happened. At first one NightClan apprentice lied about them being attacked by badgers, but soon the SunClan apprentices admitted to the meetings that had been taking place. Aloepaw, the same apprentice that had been bickering with Sunkit, began to fight with Sneakstep, prompting the deputy to threaten to call a meeting between their leaders before the MoonClan patrol returned to their camp.
Empirepaw, a DawnClan apprentice, was murdered by a NightClanner at the Gathering Clearing. When he was discovered by three MoonClan apprentices, they attempted to return his body to DawnClan and explain the scene, but were instantly met with hostility and forced to leave before explaining themselves. Blitzingbull, a DawnClan warrior who, like much of his clan, had assumed the three MoonClanners killed Empirepaw, took off toward MoonClan and demanded that the three apprentices be punished for the murder. Aspenstar refused to act without proof and sent Blitzingbull back to DawnClan, where he informed Seraphgaze of the situation and began to plot an act of revenge.
The growing lack of discipline among SunClan’s ranks became increasingly apparent as the moon went on. When a MoonClanner accidentally wandered onto their territory and was discovered by a SunClan patrol, Caveshadow ignored her patrol leader’s orders and attacked on sight. The MoonClanner was soon joined by a full patrol and the SunClanners were forced to surrender, losing a portion of their territory. Upon fleeing, an untrained apprentice on the SunClan patrol, Littlepaw, was separated from his clanmates and got lost. He stumbled upon the NightClan border and was discovered by a patrol, who returned him to NightClan’s camp as a prisoner. The NightClanners allowed him to escape after only a few days, having no reason to keep him, and while he managed to make it back to his territory he could not find his camp. Two days had passed before he was discovered by a search patrol, as his absence took a day to be noticed.
Darkstar responded to these failures by creating a new rank of “Head Warriors” to help him organize the clan. Yuccathorn and Ravenflash were chosen, though more would soon be awarded the rank.
Stonepaw, a SunClan apprentice, traveled to NightClan to find his father, Goshawktalon, who his mother, Dovecloud, had been protecting him from since kithood. Ravenpaw, Stonepaw’s friend, followed him there and the pair were able to quietly keep an eye on the clan for a few suns before being approached by Goshawktalon. Goshawktalon immediately recognized Stonepaw and commented that he believed the apprentice had died moons ago; soon the two began training together as mentor and apprentice. However, Stonepaw and Goshawktalon’s relationship quickly turned abusive.
Dovecloud reported the apprentices’ disappearance, and a patrol headed by Yuccathorn was sent to NightClan to discover what had become of them. The patrol came across a NightClan warrior, Scorchedfox, who reported that two apprentices matching the descriptions of Ravenpaw and Stonepaw had recently joined. Deciding that their work was done, Yuccathorn began to lead the patrol homeward, but before long they came across a horrifying scene: Goshawktalon and Stonepaw’s training session had ended with the apprentice on death’s doorstep.
Yuccathorn ordered her patrol to stand down, not considering Stonepaw to be their responsibility as he had left their clan, even if not with the intention of staying gone. Scorchedfox took the apprentice to SunClan’s side of the border, but Yuccathorn ordered her patrol to go back to their camp without Stonepaw.
As the apprentice lay dying, Sennagaze, a MoonClan warrior, stood not far away at Hawk’s Tree. Upon making out the scent of blood, she traveled along the burnt woods toward the scent. Upon finding Stonepaw, she mistook him for dead and ran back to her camp to report the unusual scene to Aspenstar. Aspenstar gathered a patrol to investigate the scene and was disturbed by what he found: the body had been moved and aside from the apprentice’s blood, there was no other sign of a fight in the intermingling NightClan and SunClan scents. When he returned to the camp, Aspenstar and Sneakstep met in private to discuss what should be done about the mysterious border skirmish. They were fearful of what the possible unrest in their neighbors could do to their own clan, but didn’t wish to openly end the isolation without proof that they needed to step in. Ultimately, Aspenstar selected four spies, two for SunClan and two for MoonClan, to enter these clans as “refugees” claiming that their leader had become a tyrant. He instructed them to send regular reports to MoonClan on the enemy clans’ condition and on any major events that had occured. The pairs set out shortly afterward and were accepted into their new clans with little suspicion.
When Dovecloud discovered what had become of her son, she was distraught and after an argument with Darkstar got out of hand, she fled the camp to retrieve him herself. However, when she reached the site where Stonepaw had been left, she found only a blood stain in the grass. A patrol was sent out after Dovecloud and soon began to help her track Stonepaw to where he had fallen under the care of a loner. Together, Dovecloud and the patrol returned him to SunClan’s camp.
While the patrol was out, Yuccathorn confronted Darkstar about the lack of discipline among their ranks. Darkstar made it clear that he disagreed on the call she had made to abandon Stonepaw, however agreed with her sentiment that the clan had become too lax. Darkstar reaffirmed the importance of the head warriors in maintaining order within the clan.
In DawnClan, Meadowbreath approached Ragnar to ask about his father, Seraphgaze, whose outspoken and strong nature she admired, particularly in contrast to Echostar, who had been increasingly criticized by her clan. As their conversation progressed, the two decided to hold a clan meeting to challenge Echostar’s policies. Tensions quickly flared as accusations flew that Ragnar was only trying to take the position for himself or that Echostar’s leadership had been a mistake from the beginning, forced upon DawnClan by their weakest members. Echostar reluctantly accepted demands to step up border security and the meeting subsided, but cats continued to throw their support behind various warriors as candidates for leadership, much to the horror of Echostar’s supporters.
The unrest in DawnClan did not subside for several suns, eventually culminating in a vote in which the clan narrowly decided that Echostar would remain in her position. However, believing that she was not the best fit for the leader position and fearing for the safety of her family, Echostar decided to leave the position. The nationalists who opposed Echostar were not comforted by this decision, as they considered the deputy Oriolewing even more inept than Echostar, and were horrified by Oriolewing’s choice in deputy: the weak-willed and emotional Riverblossom.
A border skirmish between SunClan and DawnClan resulted in the deaths of Ragnar and his son Uffe. Yuccathorn received considerable injuries during this fight and was forced into her retirement, leaving the head warrior position open. Darkstar chose Sandfoot, an ambitious and level-headed young warrior, to fill this vacancy.
In NightClan, Poppystar adopted a cruel, tyrannical leadership style which promoted NightClan as the strongest clan. She even went as far as to announce a new code:
As an unusually dry green-leaf progressed, NightClan’s warriors, increasingly influenced by gang-like ideals, took readily to this new code and, eager to prove their clan’s strength, began lashing out at the other clans. One patrol crossed into DawnClan’s territory and discovered a cigarette fire along a thunderpath; by laying dried grass and leaves over it they built the fire until it consumed the roadside, then fled the scene. The fire quickly spread throughout much of DawnClan’s territory and while it never grew large enough to consume mature trees, much of DawnClan’s underbrush was turned to ash and their camp was utterly destroyed. While the clan was able to evacuate the camp and escape the fire with few casualties, the greater danger was yet to come.
Ash ran into the rivers and caused a massive algal bloom, decimating the plant life as light was shielded from the river bottom. Decaying plant matter built up which, alongside the initial ash, choked out much of the fish residing in the affected rivers. Alongside the displaced forest creatures, the loss of fish proved catastrophic for DawnClan who, for the first time in their history, faced the real possibility of starvation.
Another group of NightClanners moved scent boundaries from the city side of their thunderpath border with SunClan, to the other side of the thunderpath to lure out a SunClan patrol. Darkstar himself lead the patrol, which fell right into the NightClanners’ trap. The skirmish was disastrous for the SunClanners, who were badly outnumbered, and NightClan was able to capture Darkstar and an apprentice, Littlepaw, without any of their members being killed or seriously injured.
When what remained of the SunClan patrol returned to the camp and reported what had happened to Icedawn, Darkstar’s extremely-new deputy, she initially responded with fury and planned to simply storm into NightClan’s camp with a small patrol and demand his return. Fearing that they would lose what remained of their leadership, a few warriors were able to dissuade her. Icedawn was overwhelmed by the sudden responsibility she had over the clan and named an additional head warrior to help manage the clan. At the suggestion of the head warriors and elders, she continued to press her clan toward a strict, clan-oriented lifestyle in order to strengthen their ranks so they'd be able to capture Darkstar. As Aspenstar heard reports of Darkstar's capture by NightClan from his spies, he grew more confident in the effectiveness of these spies and began considering extending his reach to DawnClan.
As days stretched on after the fire, DawnClan's prey shortage grew worse and worse and before long, pregnant queens were losing their litters and many warriors were too weak to carry out patrols. The nationalists blamed Oriolestar and Riverblossom's poor leadership for failing to prevent losses during the fire and interpreted the prey shortage as a sign from StarClan that these cats were unfit to lead the clan. Riverblossom was invited to join a border patrol with his former best friend, Meadowbreath, and another radical nationalist. The pair assassinated him and framed the death on SunClan - a story which the clan eagerly accepted. Many formerly traditionalist or neutral cats began to side with the nationalists, with the belief that their clan was in real danger and the traditionalists' commitment to nonviolence and friendliness toward the other clans was born only of cowardice.
To make matters worse, a group of SunClanners generally perceived as a drain on their clan were banished or chose to leave, and traveled to DawnClan. Despite considerable protest even within her own supporters, Oriolestar stuck to her morals and welcomed the group into DawnClan. In an attempt to gather more prey, a group of DawnClan traditionalists began trespassing in MoonClan’s territory, which had not suffered any damage from NightClan’s arson.
The four spies MoonClan sent to NightClan and SunClan gave regular reports back to MoonClan and were able to remain undiscovered for moons, prompting Aspenstar to extend his reach into DawnClan by sending two spies there, who were reluctantly accepted into the clan. Even just two additional members strained DawnClan even further than before. The traditionalists hunting in MoonClan’s territory grew more daring and, before long, were caught by a MoonClan patrol and engaged in a skirmish. Cats from both sides ran to their camps for reinforcements and the skirmish grew into a devastating battle. DawnClan was quickly defeated and forced to surrender the entire portion of their territory between the two forks in the river including the Abandoned Badger Set.
In SunClan, the senior warriors began to pressure Icedawn to abandon the imprisoned Darkstar and take up the position of leader herself in order to bring more unity to their strained clan. She reluctantly agreed and named Horus, a tactful and focused warrior, as her deputy. When she traveled to the Moonstone to receive her lives, StarClan agreed to strip Darkstar’s remaining lives and accepted Icestar as a full leader.
Poppystar’s deputy, Hattori, had opposed the changes in the clan’s structure and ideals from the start. With Poppystar’s influence spreading, to the point that warriors felt empowered to capture other leaders without orders, Hattori became more vocal about his views and suffered a marked decline in support. A group of NightClanners, led by the notorious Kingfish, began capturing even more cats from the other clans in order to antagonize Hattori.
However, Poppystar’s own principles began to work against her. The warriors were quick to retaliate violently to any perceived insult and, in her advanced age, Poppystar couldn’t defend herself as well as she once could. The leader was slaughtered by her own warriors, including her deputy Hattori, with Kingfish himself delivering the final blow.
Political Unrest and Coups
As Hattori traveled to the Moonstone to receive his lives, Kingfish attempted to organize a coup. First, he sent a pair of warriors to assassinate Hattori, then attempted to kill one of Hattori’s supporters himself. A fight broke out between Kingfish, Rookstrike, and Ivyfrost, with Kingfish emerging the victor and imprisoning his opponents. However, the assassins failed and when Hattori (now Chugaistar) returned, he restored order to the camp and imprisoned Kingfish. Chugaistar announced an end to Poppystar’s new code, released the prisoners, and named Scarletflame as his deputy. Shortly after Darkstar’s return to SunClan, he left the clans, acknowledging that his presence, even as a warrior, would only reopen old wounds about Icestar’s legitimacy, and lead to less unity in a clan which required it.
Chugaistar did not have a long reign. Kingfish, with his gang history and ideals, held the admiration of much of NightClan, many of whom ignored or disrespected Chugaistar. Chugaistar himself eventually left the clan to handle a situation involving his family outside the clans. Scarletflame remained to take up the leadership, and named a cat virtually unknown to the clan: Ricochet. Scarletflame herself was unremarkable, a trait that had initially made her appealing to Chugaistar. She was capable of holding her own in a fight but had more restraint that many NightClanners, while her deputy was quite the opposite. Ricochet was a lively, mischievous cat, well-suited for taking back the clan’s support from Kingfish and his growing band of rebels. However, despite the official leadership’s best attempts, Kingfish continued to gain support within his clan, by capturing outside cats, and from his many offspring. He built his own base deep within NightClan’s territory in an easily overlooked garage.
As DawnClan continued to suffer under the prolonged famine, a handful of apprentices began wandering through the loner forest and begging for food from two-leg campers. Tragically, it didn't take long before the apprentices were caught by two-legs and taken far from the clans. DawnClan sent out search parties, but with how strained their warriors were to simply stave off starvation, few cats could be spared and the search was abandoned after two suns. Oriolestar made the mistake of joining a patrol with two extreme nationalists, who assassinated her, much like how her old deputy Riverblossom had been killed. They laid the body out on the thunderpath and framed the scene as a suicide. Their plan was only aided by a sudden storm which cleaned the blood from their own claws and erased their scents from the scene. Left with only suspicion in place of hard evidence, Flamestar decided not to banish the nationalists, to the outcry of the clan's remaining traditionalists. To make matters worse, tensions only grew and grew in DawnClan until they snapped. The clan erupted into battle, leaving Flamestar and a handful of other cats as corpses. The more diplomatic but nationalist-inclined Lightningstrike became Lightningstar, and started her leadership on a controversial paw by deciding to banish all cats who had killed a clanmate - including her own supporters.
In MoonClan, Sneakstar grew weaker as they aged and finally died peacefully in their sleep. Fadedspot made a graceful transition into the leader position and named Rainmist, a loyal and unusually kind MoonClan warrior, as her deputy. SunClan only grew stricter as time went on, with the Head Warriors and queens pressuring she-cats into bearing kits to swell the clan's numbers. In NightClan’s territory, Kingfish died in a confrontation with his lifelong enemy, Price, a DawnClanner. His supporters dispersed without a clear leader, while Scarletstar and Ricochet rebuilt the clan’s strength and unity.
The Clans Divided
Lightningstar traveled to NightClan and requested that NightClan meet DawnClan at Hawk’s Tree on the full moon to discuss a possible alliance. Scarletstar agreed. Not knowing of the other clans’ plans, MoonClan and SunClan also agreed to meet at the former gathering clearing on the full moon to discuss an alliance of their own. All four clans arrived together on the next full moon, and when the initial surprise wore off, the clans decided to hold a full gathering. While the gathering was awkward and unproductive, the clans interpreted this unintentional convergence as a sign to end isolation and return to a regular pattern of gatherings and medicine cat meetings. The four clans returned to their camps without any fighting.
The following moon passed in relative peace. DawnClan continued to suffer under a famine worsened by the onset of leaf-bare, but even so just enough prey returned to the forest to avoid the deaths that many DawnClanners feared were inevitable. The tension between the nationalists and traditionalists began to subside as the clan started to look toward a hopeful future with NightClan as their allies. In SunClan, Icestar disappeared and then returned half a moon later, just as the clan was beginning to accept that Jaguargaze, her deputy, would take her place as leader. While some cats were only thankful that their leader had returned, many others saw Icestar's disappearance and nonchalant attitude as a sign that she didn't truly understand the magnitude of her position and wasn't fully committed to the clan. Jaguargaze himself was disgusted with Icestar's actions, and cats began to rally behind his leadership over Icestar's.
The tense but stable relationship between and within the clans remained stable throughout the following moon, but was broken by a handful of startling revelations at the gathering. NightClan arrived late, but the clans waited for them to arrive before officially beginning. Lightningstar, leader of DawnClan, lied and said that her clan was recovering from the famine and was growing with the addition of new kits. Icestar followed suit, briefly touching on her clan’s prosperity before passing the baton to Miststar, who did the same. However, before Scarletstar, could, speak a SunClan apprentice by the name of Buzzardface interrupted the gathering by revealing Icestar’s disappearance and declaring Jaguargaze as the rightful leader of SunClan.
Buzzardface was greeted by shocked silence and received no support from his clan, who largely attempted to downplay the implications of Buzzardface’s statements and insisted that the conflict between Icestar and Jaguargaze would be handled within SunClan, all without outright confirming the clan’s situation. Jaguargaze was initially silent, only his expression showing that he agreed with Buzzardface’s claims, but eventually, at his sister’s urging, Jaguargaze condemned Buzzardface’s actions and said that the tom should “learn [his] place within the clan.” Icestar did not speak up to defend herself, which only further colored the perception of SunClan that she was a coward and unfit to be leader. Lightningstar called the meeting to a sudden close, out of both annoyance at how long the gathering was running and worry that a SunClan civil war would only further destabilize the clans and ruin DawnClan’s chances of receiving aid from their neighbours.
The days following the gathering proved to be even more disastrous for the clans. Brokenpaw, the NightClan medicine cat apprentice, accidentally wandered into MoonClan territory while searching for herbs and was almost immediately captured by MoonClan, who decided to attempt to exchange her for the portion of territory north of the burnt woods which was historically theirs but had fallen to NightClan moons earlier. Further complicating the relationship between the clans, NightClan's deputy Ricochet unilaterally decided to send spies to both MoonClan and SunClan. In DawnClan, Lightningstar became frustrated with her deputy and replaced him with the occasionally volatile but fiercely loyal warrior Creeksplash, who she informed of her plan to ally DawnClan with NightClan. Two trouble-making DawnClan apprentices, Bouncepaw and Antpaw, were discovered hunting on SunClan territory and returned to DawnClan’s camp by Jaguargaze himself, who openly criticized Lightningstar for her inability to control her own clanmates.
The NightClan-DawnClan Alliance
The apprentices' disobedience proved to be the last straw for Lightningstar, who, seeing that her clan was once again forced to hunt on other clans’ territory to merely scrape by, decided to openly seek help in NightClan. When her patrol located the clan, she found them in shambles. Several suns before, NightClan’s camp had been raided by a twoleg trap-neuter-release program which had captured a number of their warriors. While NightClan was originally relieved to discover that their clanmates had not been outright killed, this only proved to be a silver lining on their anxiety over the clan’s future both in terms of their next generation and whether or not their own camp would even be safe anymore. Scarletstar was out in the territory searching for the scattered NightClanners, so it was Ricochet who brokered an unusual alliance with Lightningstar: Lightningstar agreed to send a handful of willing she-cats to bear NightClan kits, while NightClan was charged with serving as protectors of DawnClan, both aiding in the recovery of their full territory from MoonClan and offering food until DawnClan's famine ended. Lightningstar returned to DawnClan and announced the alliance to her clan, who reacted with mixed emotions. Only six cats ultimately agreed to go to NightClan and help with the repopulation efforts, but Ricochet accepted them nonetheless and kept his side of the deal.
Pantherfang, a former gang cat who had proved his usefulness by acting as a spy in SunClan, traveled deep into the city and returned with a band of new recruits for NightClan. The DawnClan cats who had agreed to bear NightClan kits were birthing their litters and NightClan's future appeared to be more certain than it had before; even DawnClan's population began to swell despite the arrival of leaf-bare. After a moon of training and gathering their strength, DawnClan and NightClan struck MoonClan in a sudden and devastating attack. MoonClan quickly surrendered, returning both DawnClan's former territory and Brokenpaw, the NightClan medicine cat who had been held captive for over a moon. When NightClan attempted to pillage MoonClan's herb supply, MoonClan's medicine cat Runepaw attempted to stop them. Miststar ordered Runepaw to apologize and allow the NightClanners to take what they needed. Runepaw grudgingly relented.
After DawnClan and NightClan returned to their respective camps, Miststar began gathering her senior warriors and planning how to proceed. MoonClan had clearly earned a powerful enemy between NightClan and DawnClan, whose alliance was unlikely to fail soon due to their stable leadership and new abundance of resources. They agreed that they must turn to SunClan, even though by informing SunClan of what happened and appearing weak they risked pushing SunClan toward siding with NightClan and DawnClan, where they would be safest.
The full moon arrived and the four clans gathered at Hawk’s Tree. The gathering was initially uneventful, but SunClan’s medicine cat Sharkfang threatened to throw the gathering into chaos by prodding at DawnClan and NightClan, before being rebuked by Jaguarstar. Lightningstar announced that DawnClan would be leaving and the remaining three clans followed suit. However, MoonClan’s leader Ravenstar sent her clan on ahead and doubled back to speak to Jaguarstar.
During the gathering, SunClan’s camp was attacked by a group of foxes. Several warriors were killed trying to defend the nursery before SunClan’s gathering attendees, joined by MoonClan’s Ravenstar, returned to the camp just in the nick of time. The foxes were easily chased away by the rest of the clan and Jaguarstar turned his attention to Ravenstar, who convinced Jaguarstar that the DawnClan-NightClan alliance was a dangerous disruption of the clans’ balance of power. With SunClan now promising to support her clan in the event of another DawnClan-NightClan attack, Ravenstar returned to MoonClan.
Upon returning to SunClan's camp, Sharkfang neglected to treat those injured in the fox attack because she thought her time was better spent speaking with Jaguarstar. In response to the medicine cat's increasingly self righteous behaviour, Scorchedwings demoted her to the rank of a warrior.
In NightClan, Scarletstar retired, leaving Ricochet as the leader. He returned from the Moonstone with the name of Boundstar, and named Spidersong, a strategic and logical warrior, as his deputy. In SunClan, Scorchedwings was promoted from head warrior to deputy.
The next moon passed in relative peace, and with their set alliances still strong, the clans joined once more at the gathering. The conversation between the clans remained formal and it seemed as though the night would quickly draw to a close, when Sharkfang leaped onto Hawk's Tree and pushed Lightningstar into the raging river below. As the four clans stood silent with shock, Sharkfang shouted derangedly about how StarClan condoned her actions and were protecting her. She was proven wrong only minutes later as warriors from various clans cornered her and captured her. Despite the willingness of Scorchedwings to kill her own treacherous clan mate, the fate of Sharkfang was given to DawnClan to decide, and Creekstar opted to exile her from the clans.
New-leaf was late and uncharacteristically cold, so prey was scarce across all of the clans. While DawnClan was able to rely on NightClan's year-round supply of two-leg food and MoonClan's territory provided them more flexibility in terms of available prey, SunClan was hit hard by the cold and lack of prey. By the time that the weather warmed, several prominent SunClanners had died of green-cough, including several senior and head warriors.
Encouraged by her clan's friendly relationship with NightClan and her own budding feelings for a prominent NightClanner, Creekstar proposed that the two clans merge together into one: EarthClan. She was met with mixed feelings from her clanmates, but remained steadfast and began to plan how to win NightClan over to the idea. However, just as DawnClan began to warm up to Creekstar's idea of merging with NightClan, Creekstar journeyed to the Moonstone and never returned.
The Rise of EarthClan
The forest was tense as the clans approached another gathering, but their worst fears never came to light. The gathering was quick, only punctuated with some bickering between NightClan's leader Boundstar and SunClan's deputy Scorchedwings regarding a handful of recent border-crossings between the clans. DawnClan never arrived to the gathering, so as soon as NightClan returned to their camp, Boundstar gathered a patrol to check on their allies. What he found was a clan in shambles. As Creekstar had never named a deputy and was now presumed dead, DawnClan was left with no defined leadership and even in the best of circumstances were struggling to rebound from the unusually cold leaf-bare.
A handful of DawnClan warriors greeted the patrol and, after some bickering between factions of the divided clan, one DawnClan warrior blurted out Creekstar's plan. Her clanmates backed up her plan- some grudgingly, others enthusiastically- but Boundstar initially responded with disbelief that slowly turned into disgust as the DawnClanners pleaded with him to just consider their offer. When Boundstar returned to their camp, gossip quickly spread. Before long, Boundstar was forced to hold a clan meeting to discuss DawnClan's proposal. The clan was immediately enthusiastic about the opportunity, a handful of cats pointing out that it would be an excellent opportunity to take advantage of DawnClan's rich resources while posing minimal risk to themselves. However, others were more cautious and warned that DawnClan might somehow be setting up a trap. Now convinced and with the support of his clan, Boundstar decided to go forward with the merge.
Boundstar traveled to NightClan to deliver the news of his decision. With the merge, he announced, he would remain leader and Foxfur, another NightClanner, would be his deputy. To account for the imbalance of power, a handful of DawnClan warriors would be appointed to a “Council” where they could advise the leader but would ultimately hold no weight in making decisions for the clan. While this was greeted with mixed reactions by Boundstar’s new clanmates, their clan had another challenge to face in the form of their divided territories: the only way to travel between NightClan and DawnClan without moving through SunClan territory was through The Gathering Clearing, which required a patrol to climb down into Snake Gorge, a notoriously dangerous feat. The only suitable way to combine their territories was through The Burnt Woods, which currently was under SunClan control and would have to be taken from them. Exactly how EarthClan was to accomplish this transfer of territory quickly became contentious, with a handful of former DawnClanners advocating for a diplomatic approach and Boundstar’s patrol members arguing that they ought to simply storm SunClan’s camp and demand the territory, killing or capturing cats as necessary. Eventually EarthClan settled on a compromise in which Boundstar would give Jaguarstar the opportunity to peacefully hand over the territory during a Gathering and only ambush SunClan Camp if he refused.
Unbeknownst to Foxfur or Boundstar, a patrol of young NightClan warriors and apprentices started across the SunClan-NightClan border, looking for trouble. When they came across a SunClan patrol, they began shouting insults across the border and threatening them with the new EarthClan merge. SunClan’s refusal to engage with their taunting only emboldened the NightClanners, who crossed the border and attacked the SunClanners. While the SunClan patrol was composed of much more seasoned fighters, they were far outnumbered by the NightClanners and by the time the NightClanners were chased off, Scorchedwings, SunClan’s deputy, was dead, and their head warrior, Lightningcatcher, was badly injured. The rest of the SunClan patrol brought their bodies, and the news of the EarthClan merge, back to camp. Boundstar was furious when he found out what his clan members had done, assuming that it had extinguished all hope of a peaceful transfer of The Burnt Woods, but decided to proceed with his plan to take The Burnt Woods from SunClan.
That evening, the clans met at Hawk’s Tree for a Gathering. EarthClan arrived first, with the usual number of warriors expected from one clan at the Gathering, and those not in attendance waiting in The Burnt Woods for word to ambush SunClan’s camp. MoonClan arrived next, followed by SunClan, and the Gathering began. Kaiserstar of MoonClan questioned the absence of a DawnClan leader, prompting Boundstar to formally announce the EarthClan merge. He was met with outrage and disbelief only heightened by SunClan’s fury at the death of their deputy and further magnified by his demand that SunClan hand over The Burnt Woods. Jaguarstar refused this demand, stating that Boundstar must have been out of his mind to request territory after Boundstar’s warriors killed Scorchedwings unprovoked.
Meanwhile, the SunClanners not attending the Gathering anticipated another NightClan attack and decided to evacuate their queens and kits to The Sky Rocks and send patrols out across the territory. One of these patrols discovered the battle party hidden in The Burnt Woods and brought news back to SunClan Camp and to The Gathering Clearing. While Night, a SunClan warrior, only intended to whisper the news of the attack party to Desolatedunes, SunClan’s deputy, another SunClan warrior, Lionseeker, heard the news and exploded with anger, accusing EarthClan of being cowards and murderers.
Despite Desolatedunes’ and Jaguarstar’s attempts to divert their warriors back toward their camp, the Gathering Clearing erupted into violence. MoonClan stood by, with Kaiserstar merely reminding EarthClan and SunClan that they were being watched by StarClan. Lionseeker attacked and killed NightClan’s medicine cat, Crookedhalo, before Desolatedunes regained control over her clan and demanded that they return to their camp. Kaiserstar ordered a MoonClan retreat before they could be implicated into the battle, and the fighting moved to SunClan’s camp where a long and bloody confrontation ensued. Even as his clanmates were dying around him, Jaguarstar refused to give up the territory that many of them viewed as inconsequential. Only when his own daughter was kidnapped did he consider a surrender on the terms that she was returned to them, sparking outrage among the SunClanners who felt that the whole ordeal could have been avoided if Jaguarstar hadn’t been so proud and stubborn.
Point of No Return
The following moon was tense. MoonClan reached out to SunClan to form an alliance, which SunClan agreed to on the terms that they not attack EarthClan for the next moon in order to give themselves a chance to recover from their battle with EarthClan. As well, SunClan began to coordinate with a handful of NightClan rebels lead by Viperstrike and Pantherfang who set their base up along the loner forest and city.
Despite their best attempts, SunClan’s recovery was not peaceful. A handful of cats from “prides” outside the clan arrived and many of the experienced warriors felt as if their clan structure had been threatened. This fear only grew worse when Jaguarstar retired and the new leader, Desolatestar, named one of the pride cats as a head warrior. As well, the new deputy Honeysplash suddenly took off for an unauthorized mission outside of the clan’s territory that put her into conflict with her clan and, most importantly, her new leader. The situation with the pride cats came to a head as the two primary leaders of the newcomers split, with War choosing to take a harsher, pride-like approach to raising pride kits, and Night wanting to integrate their group into clan life. War and a handful of other pride cats left for EarthClan, where they were accepted by Boundstar.
Even with these new additions, EarthClan fared no better than SunClan. Throughout the moon they struggled to integrate the former NightClanners and DawnClanners, an effort that was made all the more difficult by their cramped camp, border skirmishes with MoonClan, and intraclan murders.
Only MoonClan enjoyed the short cease-fire, with the only notable event being a series of small border skirmishes with EarthClan in which no warriors were seriously injured. Their former deputy stepped down from the position and Kaiserstar named the sturdy, dependable, Mossbranch in his place.
The next gathering was tense, but peaceful. Kaiserstar of MoonClan had broken his paw, leaving his deputy Mossbranch to speak for his clan. EarthClan had not yet arrived when MoonClan entered the gathering clearing, giving them a moment to speak with their SunClan allies. Desolatestar agreed to meet with Kaiserstar at Hawk’s Tree once he had made a full recovery to plan an attack on EarthClan. EarthClan, meanwhile, was sent into disarray at Boundstar’s sudden disappearance and by the time they reached the gathering clearing, led by their deputy Foxfur, the night was half over. The leaders’ announcements were brief, but just as the gathering was winding down a cat claiming to speak for NightClan jumped onto Hawk’s Tree and announced that both NightClan and DawnClan rebels resided in the loner territories and would aid SunClan and MoonClan in separating EarthClan. EarthClan threatened to attack the NightClanner, but MoonClan and SunClan diffused the situation and called the gathering to a close.
EarthClan was wracked with scandal as a patrol discovered Tinysting, a SunClanner, in their territory with the intention of rendezvousing with his EarthClan mate, Icerain. The patrol attacked Tinysting and accused him of being a spy, however, a badger appeared on the scene and attacked Tinysting. The patrol chased off the badger and brought the injured Tinysting into their camp as a prisoner. Shortly after, Speckledstream returned to the camp from a patrol with a dead clanmate, claiming they were murdered despite the evidence suggesting the cat had died in a rat attack.
In the midst of these events, Foxstar had to leave the camp as he traveled to the Moonstone to receive his lives. When he returned, he immediately named a deputy, Elmcrest, and assigned him to investigate the potential murder. Elmcrest discovered that it had, in fact, been a murder, and had been committed by NightClan rebels. As Elmcrest investigated, Foxstar focused his attention on the prisoner Tinysting. Upon questioning, Tinysting revealed that MoonClan and SunClan were planning an attack on EarthClan's camp with the intent of cutting their territory in half, but he didn’t know when it would be or if the rebels would be involved. Foxstar then called a meeting with his most trusted warriors and his deputy, and they planned to pretend to be weak by letting the regular marking of their borders fall to the wayside and announcing that a sickness had spread through the clan during the next gathering so they could lure overconfident MoonClan and SunClanners into a trap.
They brought this idea to the rest of the clan and announced that apprentices were to focus all their attention on training for battle and scavenging food, as hunting was too time consuming. The warriors worked on a plan to quickly evacuate the camp when the battle was to take place, and moved the herbs and the weakest members of the camp to a temporary camp hidden within the city. Amidst these preparations, Foxstar continued to try and bind the former DawnClanners and NightClanners together through arranged mateships between warriors of opposite former clans. The next gathering went on without a hitch; Foxstar's plan of making his clan appear weak by bringing fewer warriors than usual and mentioning the illness was convincing enough that MoonClan and SunClan left feeling confident in their ability to win the upcoming battle.
That confidence did not last long, however. SunClan fell into famine and sickness when two-legs gassed the clan’s largest rabbit warren and cats ate the poisoned rabbits. MoonClan faced similar misfortune when a pack of wild dogs attacked a patrol and killed two apprentices. Kaiserstar then sent a patrol after the dogs, and while that patrol was successful in driving them away, more cats were grievously injured or killed.
While MoonClan and SunClan were facing these challenges, Foxstar hatched a plan to withstand the attack despite EarthClan’s much smaller numbers. First, they evacuated the queens, kits, and elders from the camp, and then set up ambush sites to which the EarthClanners would lure their attackers. Then they waited.
A handful of EarthClanners who were impatient for the battle to begin and uncomfortable with their kits being exposed in the meantime to a potential fox attack invaded SunClan’s territory without Foxstar’s consent. They made a great show of taking prey to ensure that SunClan would assume that they were so weak with hunger they’d been forced into it and trespassed far enough in the territory to display what they hoped would come across as arrogance. This strategy worked. When a SunClan patrol spotted them and returned the news to Desolatestar, she decided to take action against all of EarthClan and send a patrol to MoonClan, demanding that the battle proceed immediately. Kaiserstar agreed, and soon MoonClan and SunClan attacked EarthClan’s camp.
Both SunClan and much of MoonClan fell for EarthClan’s trap and allowed themselves to be split up and ambushed in unfamiliar terrain that was chosen to put them at a disadvantage. The remainder of MoonClan, including Kaiserstar, stayed in EarthClan’s mostly abandoned camp and set to destroying the dens. Here, Foxstar confronted Kaiserstar directly and took one of his lives before the last MoonClanners fled the battle. MoonClan and SunClan reconvened at their respective camps and began the process of recovering from the disastrous battle. While few had died, many more were injured and the clans were much weaker than they had been before the battle.
However, the following moon was kind to MoonClan and SunClan, and by the time the next gathering rolled around, their fighting forces were nearly back to their full strength. Kaiserstar of MoonClan opted to let his deputy Mossbranch attend the gathering in his place, as he wanted his deputy to have experience leading the clan before Kaisterstar’s impending retirement. Mossbranch gave a traditional address to the assembled cats, thanking StarClan for plentiful prey and kits, but before another leader could speak for EarthClan, Eclipse (a cat who considered herself the leader of NightClan’s rebels) stood and gave a similar address for NightClan. Desolatestar then opted to ignore Eclipse entirely and proceeded with her own traditional speech, followed by a similar address by Foxstar. Before any more tension could arise from the presence of the NightClan rebels, Desolatestar called a hasty end to the gathering and the clans departed shortly thereafter.
The next moon progressed slowly. Kaiserstar began to feel his age and upon retiring, traveled to the Moonstone to give his lives to Mossbranch. When Mossbranch, now Mossystar, returned with Kaiserstar’s corpse and announced the relatively unknown warrior Stallionheart as the new deputy, a few clanmates became suspicious. While their accusations of Kaistarstar’s murder or simply Mossystar’s lack of foresight never gained traction, a small number of cats lead by the charismatic warrior Stonestory remained critical of their new leader. Meanwhile, SunClan was wracked by scandal as Desolatestar discovered a senior warrior's affair with an EarthClanner, and banished the offending she-cat. The clan's misfortune continued as a fox attack killed a mentor-apprentice pair, shortly followed by a fox attack that left one of SunClan's most skilled and trusted warriors badly injured. Even EarthClan saw their fair share of trouble, as two kits escaped camp and were nearly killed by a dog before a senior warrior discovered the attack and chased the dog off. Worse, unknown to Foxstar, an EarthClan warrior named Threekings and a few of his lackeys had taken a small handful of NightClan rebels captive, and the NightClan rebels mounted an attack against him. They were successful and took an EarthClan prisoner of their own, only to have one of their queens kidnapped from their territory in retaliation a few days later.
Despite these difficulties, when the next gathering rolled around, each of the clans reported they were prospering. After the gathering, Desolatestar told Foxstar about the cross-clan love between their clans' warriors and made some overtures of peace. Foxstar was receptive to these sentiments, who, echoed by Mossystar, was exhausted by the petty fighting between the clans.
The Cougar and The Eclipse
As leaf-bare descended upon the clans, an even more unwelcome visitor came with it: a mother cougar and her cubs. First, a MoonClan patrol scented the cougar, and before two suns were out several of their apprentices and warriors had been killed either in attacks or in the resulting attempts to drive away the monsters. The other clans were more fortunate, with EarthClan having one encounter in which only two cats, including a prisoner, were killed, while both SunClan and the rebels remained entirely ignorant of the cougar.
As the moon came to a close and the cats gathered at Hawk's Tree, the mood was immediately tense. Even before the gathering was called to official order, Mossystar shared the news of the cougar attacks with the other leaders. When the gathering was officially called to order, the clans haltingly shared their news; Mossystar wasted no time in announcing the cougar's presence to the entirety of the clans, and Foxstar shared his clan's own trouble with the cougar, while Desolatestar and Eclipse initially remained silent on the subject. When Foxstar gave some lip service to the idea of clan cooperation, Stonestory, a frequently outspoken MoonClanner, stood up and admonished the leaders for "sitting on" such an important issue. Many cats were shocked at his behavior and as the leaders began bickering about the clans' independence and past quarrels a blood-red lunar eclipse began above them.
This seemingly overt sign of StarClan's anger frightened many of the cats, while others used it to advance their own agendas: MoonClan, to gather support against the threat of the cougar and to weasel its way out of the anti-EarthClan war Kaiserstar had locked his clan in; EarthClan, to show the legitimacy of their own position and to stress Foxstar's initial suggestion that the clans work together; and SunClan - with the most moderate approach - to question whether it was truly a sign from StarClan, asking whether any overly-hasty action should be taken at all. Eclipse, meanwhile, took this as a sign pertaining to her, personally, and interpreted the eclipse as a sign of StarClan's approval for her fledgling clan of former NightClanners. The clans agreed to send patrols of their strongest fighters to meet in SunClan the following sun to begin the hunt for the cougar and to drive it away from the clans. The next afternoon, the leaders each brought small patrols of their best fighters and together, they hunted down the cougar. However, their attack failed. While the cats fought with bravery, there were simply too few of them and the cougar was too large and strong to be easily brought down by a handful of cats. The leaders reconvened and planned to meet again at the full moon with the entirety of their fighting forces, spare a few cats to look after the vulnerable cats left behind at the camp.
As agreed upon, when the full moon arrived, the clans met at the gathering place and waited as Mossystar and Stonestory drew the cougar into their trap. When the cougar burst into the clearing, hot on the tail of the two MoonClanners, it and its cub were attacked by the clans. Many cats lost their lives that day, but the clans eventually prevailed and the cougars were run out. The clans regrouped and the leaders, deputies, and medicine cats agreed to meet at the Moonstone a half-moon later to seek guidance and discuss how to proceed.
The meeting was peaceful, if occasionally icy. After the initial exchanging of pleasantries and news, Eclipse preceded into the mothermouth alone to receive her nine lives. The others waiting outside were quiet at first, or talked lightly of StarClan's intentions, before the conversation turned to NightClan. A MoonClan warrior first brought up the now popular notion of EarthClan surrendering NightClan's old territory to Eclipse and the remaining rebels. Desolatestar approved of this idea, citing Foxstar's own admission that most EarthClanners rarely stepped foot in the territory due to the lack of prey. The conversation simmered down again to talk of StarClan and soon, Eclipse reemerged with her nine lives and the name Eclipsestar. Foxstar, in a low voice that the others wouldn't easily overhear, told Desolatestar that he believed Eclipsestar would continue to hold a grudge against EarthClan and worried that the other clans would, before long, take back up the banner of war in an effort to destroy his clan. Crimsonsky, a MoonClan warrior, butted into the conversation and brought back the idea of a territory exchange between EarthClan and EclipseClan. He was quickly reprimanded for speaking out of turn, but nevertheless Foxstar spoke up and agreed to gift NightClan's former territory to EclipseClan, along with a warning that they wouldn't concede any more territory. The other leaders were relieved to receive this news and soon called the meeting to a close. Mossystar and Eclipsestar headed straight back to their clans, while Desolatestar and Foxstar hung back to discuss a series of mysterious and possibly connected murders.
A New Normal
While the next moon seemed to pass peacefully, with the clans adjusting to the new era of peace, a darker current of suspicion and violence began to simmer beneath the surface. A gang called The Deliverance began to recruit cats from the clans and fared much better than previous groups had. These cats, who hailed both from city gangs and from all of the clans, believed that the clans were weak, and promised to bring true power to the forest. Unlike the clans, in this group each cat had an equal voice, and cats were required to kill a cat in front of the rest of The Deliverance to officially join the group. To complicate matters, a number of leadership changes occurred at this crucial moment in the clans' history. In EarthClan, Foxstar died and left a relatively uninvolved deputy, Shadowhawk, in charge of the clan, while in SunClan Desolatestar retired, leaving Omnistar as leader. MoonClan experienced the most dramatic leadership change. During a gathering that was expected to be Mossystar's last due to his age and declining health, Stonestory slipped away to the Moonstone in an attempt to claim the lives of a leader. Mossystar and Stallionheart, MoonClan's actual deputy, intercepted him there, where Stonestory falsely claimed to have already received StarClan’s blessing and his nine lives. Mossystar and Stallionheart were suspicious of this, but when questioned Stonestory threatened them with a duel to prove his status as leader. Stonestory was a very strong fighter and even though he was outnumbered, Mossystar and Stallionheart were unlikely to escape if a fight did occur. Instead, Stallionheart rushed to the Moonstone and received his lives as Mossystar and Stonestory argued. While Stallionheart, now Stallionstar, was asleep, Stonestory attacked Mossystar and the proposed duel began. Stallionstar soon joined the fight, which ultimately concluded with both Stonestory and Mossystar dead, and Stallionstar having lost a life. When the bodies had been buried, Stallionstar returned to MoonClan and informed the clan of exactly what had transpired.
As MoonClan settled into their new leadership, both they and the other clans experienced a number of murders and mysterious disappearances. EclipseClan faced the brunt of these deaths, punctuated by the disappearance of Eclipsestar herself while the leader was patrolling by alone.
Days passed and it became increasingly clear to even the most optimistic of EclipseClanners that their leader would not return. In short order, Hollowbreeze traveled to the Moonstone, acquired her lives, returned to her clan, and announced a new set of rules: all patrols must have at least three cats, permanent guards must remain at the camp entrance to enforce this rule and ensure no unknown cats enter the camp, and new recruits are to be scrutinized more closely. Brokenstar of EarthClan and Stallionstar of MoonClan declared similar restrictions, with Stallionstar taking it a step further by adjusting the apprentices’ training to prioritize battle skills.
The Longest Leaf-Bare
As the moon passed, the clans upheld these strict rules but the murders continued unabated. This misfortune continued as leaf-bare arrived uncharacteristically early. Initially the clans regarded this with only their usual resolve, but as the gathering approached, SunClan, EarthClan, and MoonClan neared starvation, as their prey had disappeared and hunting through thick layers of snow was an arduous, near impossible task. EclipseClan, however, thrived due to their steady food supply - which they supplemented with kittypet food - and relatively sheltered camp. At the gathering, Hollowstar offered to open her camp to the other clans until the weather broke. Her reasons were complicated: the decision was a mix of her attempts to showcase her fledgling clan’s strength, put the other clans in their debt, get a better sense for the other clans’ dynamics, and to investigate the source of the murders. While the other clans were suspicions of her due to NightClan’s past treachery and their general value of self-reliance, MoonClan and EarthClan accepted the offer. SunClan hesitated.
Initially, they moved to the Abandoned Barn, which proved to be too drafty to offer enough shelter to properly protect the kits and elders. This move was led by Sandrunner, the deputy, with the support of a handful of senior warriors, rather than by Omnistar, who many clanmates accused of being so preoccupied with his personal life that he’d ignored the clans’ safety. After a week’s stay in the Abandoned Barn, a patrol of SunClanners found a new shelter in the loner city and abandoned their territory to seek safety there. The conditions there were be far from ideal: the temporary camp was be crowded, poorly insulated, damp, and rat-infested. Worse, they will faced continuous danger from city clans and eventually a handful of bored and violent two-leg teenagers stumbled upon the camp and started attacking the cats with baseball bats. Sandstar then gave in to his clans’ fears about their safety and took SunClan to join the other clans in EclipseClan’s Camp. A small number of SunClanners refused and instead returned to their territory, where they faced starvation, exposure, and sickness.
Initially, the arrangement in which all the clans took shelter in EclipseClan’s Camp went well, but it didn’t take long for tensions to arise. The murders continued and leaf-bare turned even harsher as the moon went on, ushering in a new wave of famine and sickness that left even formerly strong warriors dead. Confounding these issues, a handful of fights and arguments broke out between the clans.
For instance, Maplesky, a MoonClan queen who’d just given birth, was murdered and her mate, Brambleheart, blamed another MoonClanner, Beartooth. Brambleheart took Beartooth back to the camp for a trial, but ended up killing him in a rage. Shortly afterward, a SunClan queen named Eaglefrost returned to the camp with a newborn kit that closely resembled Maplesky. Eaglefrost denied that the kit had any connection to Maplesky, but Brambleheart demanded that the kit be returned to him. SunClan rallied behind Eaglefrost, while MoonClan claimed the kit as their own. Eventually, Brambleheart himself was murdered by Smokethorn, a SunClanner. As well, a newly joined SunClan tom, Buzzing, mocked an EclipseClan tom, Hermes, was whining over a small scratch he’d received in a skirmish. Hermes took offense and challenged Buzzing, who ended up killing him in the resulting fight.
A precocious EclipseClan apprentice, Fencepaw, started a secretive fight club with a handful of other EclipseClan apprentices in an attempt to show off and build upon their battle skills. They quickly turned to recruiting young cats from the other clans and holding claws-unsheathed brawls in which the winner was gifted a substantial pot of food. While these meetings were initially fairly mild, they swelled in both size and violence and in one meeting, a SunClan apprentice, Oakpaw, was almost killed by a MoonClan warrior, Tangypaw.
Soon the clans had reached a boiling point. The leaders met in a public gathering to discuss the situation, which quickly descended into accusations and bickering. Stallionstar called for his clan to leave, followed by Sandstar, but before they could make it as far as a block away from EclipseClan’s camp, a handful of MoonClanners began arguing with some EclipseClan warriors and a fight broke out. This quickly escalated into a full-scale battle in which each of the clans fought the others.
As this battle raged on, the Deliverance met at Hawk’s Tree for a meeting. Here, they initiated several new members with ritualized killings of kidnaped cats and an unfortunate MoonClanner who’d followed them.
The battle in EclipseClan’s camp was bloody and savage, fueled by the slow-building tension that had brewed over the previous moon through suspicion of murderers hiding among the enemy clans, the skirmishes and bickering that punctuated their time, and the crowded and miserable living conditions. During the battle, a handful of EclipseClanners attacked the nursery and injured an EarthClan kit, while an EarthClanner mistook a MoonClan kit for one belonging to EarthClan’s deputy and took it to EarthClan’s camp with the others. Finally the clans broke away, each leader declaring war on the others, and returned to their camps. Lionkit, the MoonClanner kit that had been taken to EarthClan, was integrated into Wrinkledface’s litter and raised as an EarthClanner.
The next week passed slowly as the clans struggled to fortify their abandoned camps and reestablish their borders. The weather had not yet taken a turn for the better and MoonClan and SunClan continued to teeter on the edge of starvation with many of their strongest warriors injured or killed in the battle, while another wave of greencough brewed in all of the camps. In SunClan, further conflict arose as recently joined group of “pride” cats began to fight amongst themselves. First, a handful of them fled to EarthClan with some kits, and when one of the pride toms attempted to return them to SunClan, Brokenstar forced him out. Finally, the group’s leader was attacked and almost killed by one of the other toms, Risingsun, who then fled to EarthClan.
A skirmish broke out between SunClan and EclipseClan when an EclipseClan she-cat, Thundersong, attacked a former-EclipseClanner-turned-SunClan queen, Snakerain. When Sandstar discovered what had occurred, he demanded that EclipseClan hand over Thundersong to face punishment. Frecklemask received this message in Hollowstar’s absence and refused, but in her own arrogance she brought only a small patrol to remark the SunClan-EclipseClan border in preparation for the fight. A SunClan patrol headed by Sandstar met them there are a fight followed, ending ultimately in a draw, but an untrained EclipseClan apprentice was killed.
Frecklemask returned with her patrol and demanded that the dead apprentice be immediately buried, despite her mother being out of the camp. A few warriors accused her of being heartless and caused a scene before the apprentice’s mother returned to the camp and saw to the corpse. From there, Frecklemask’s reputation in the clan continued to deteriorate until many warriors were openly rebelling against her and vocally disapproving of her arrogant mistakes.
Just as leaf-bare turned to new-leaf, three newly apprenticed kits of Tigerfield, MoonClan’s deputy, went missing. The clan immediately feared the worst as the apprentices had received only minimal training in their first few days and their scents went cold at Snake Gorge, leading some to believe that they had simply fallen in and drowned. In reality, the three had been found by Foxfang, their revenge-see uncle, and taken prisoner in EclipseClan. In SunClan, tensions arose as a patrol stumbled across the corpse of a murder victim. The two cats who found it were presumed to be the killers and put on trial. While not immediately convicted, they were run out of the clan after another victim appeared. The infighting among the pride cats only worsened as the group split into two, with one segment remaining in SunClan under the leadership of Reign, and a second group fleeing to EarthClan and shedding their pride identity. In the SunClan group, factions began to break under Reign and his sons, who favored a less tyrannical style of leadership. When Reign discovered their plot to overthrow him, he confronted his son publicly and was rebuked by Anat, SunClan’s deputy, and got into a fight. Several SunClanners leapt to their deputy’s defense and Reign was run out of the clan, but took refuge in EarthClan with a handful of pride cats who remained loyal to him.
Brokenstar, EarthClan’s leader, receded from clan life and eventually disappeared, leaving his deputy Wrinkledface to lead the clan in his absence. As the full moon arrived, Wrinkledface took a small patrol of EarthClanners to the Gathering Clearing to assess whether or not the other clans would be attending. The EarthClan patrol was the first to arrive and they found several bodies, most decomposed beyond recognition. Fearing that the other clans would arrive shortly and blame EarthClan for the murders, Wrinkledface ordered the bodies be taken into EarthClan Territory and hidden from view. Several of the bodies were removed but the other clans arrived before the space was clear. Sandstar demanded to know what was happening, while Stallionstar instantly accused EarthClan of being the murderers, while Hollowstar remained back and said nothing. Wrinkledface attempted to defend her actions by saying the murders had occurred on Hawk’s Tree, which was technically a part of EarthClan's territory, and so EarthClan had jurisdiction over the bodies. Sandstar protested, saying Wrinkledface had no right to hide the bodies of his clan mates or shield the knowledge of these murders from the other clans, to which Wrinkledface said she had been planning on informing the other clans once the bodies had been buried and everything had calmed down.
Stallionstar continued to accuse EarthClan of being the murderers and several of the other MoonClanners joined in on the accusations. Wrinkledface moved to leave with the EarthClan patrol but before she did Stallionstar noticed Lionpaw, Tigerfield's stolen son. A MoonClan cat attacked a member of the patrol and a fight broke out between the EarthClan patrol and the MoonClan cats in attendance, with SunClan and EclipseClan just watching. The EarthClan patrol was quickly overwhelmed and Wrinkledface was taken prisoner by MoonClan with some of the other EarthClan patrol members. They intended to question Wrinkledface to find Tigerfield's other missing kits, who were actually in EclipseClan.
Once back in MoonClan's camp, Softlullaby accused Stallionstar of breaking the truce and disobeying StarClan by allowing the violence to break out at the Gathering. While Stallionstar was engaged in an argument with her, Wrinkledface staged an escape from the clan in which she used her own botched escape effort as a distraction to allow the others to exit unnoticed. Wrinkledface was badly wounded by furious MoonClan warriors, while most of the EarthClan prisoners escaped with help from a couple of MoonClan warriors.
Back in EarthClan's camp, worry was mounting over how long it was taking the EarthClan patrol to return. Amidst the tension, Troutstone (the medicine cat) was outed as having a poppy seed addiction and forced to relinquish his position after nearly killing a kit he was trying to heal while under the influence. A member of the EarthClan patrol returned with the news that Wrinkledface and others had been taken prisoner. With Brokenstar absent, the deputy gone, and the medicine cat shamed into stepping down the clan was left with no clear leadership and devolved into argument over how to handle the situation. Risingsun took the initiative and led a small patrol back to the Gathering Clearing to learn more information about the capture, where EclipseClan was beginning to depart and Sandstar was burying the bodies. He questioned Sandstar and Fencerunner about the incident while they buried the bodies together, at which point he learned Wrinkledface had made an attempt to hide the bodies and MoonClan had accused her of stealing Tigerfield's kits. Risingsun returned to the camp, where they were met by the recently escaped prisoners.
An impromptu election arose from the chaos, in which EarthClan selected Risingsun, a kindhearted newcomer, as their new leader and Glasswind, an individualistic, intense tom, as their deputy. This pair spoke to the recently escaped prisoners and with input from several other clanmates, devised a plan in order to rescue Wrinkledface. Lionpaw, alongside several other former MoonClanners, would return to MoonClan and claim that they had been held against their will in EarthClan. After they’d gained MoonClan’s trust, they’d find a way to smuggle Wrinkledface back out of the clan and return to EarthClan.
When Hollowstar returned to the EclipseClan’s camp after the Gathering, she called for a meeting with Frecklemask. Their discussion quickly fell into arguing and Frecklemask aroused a duel with the elderly leader. Despite Hollowstar’s age, her considerable skill allowed her to defeat Frecklemask and send the now disgraced deputy running from the camp. Hollowstar announced Fencerunner, the founder of the former apprentices’ fight club, as EclipseClan’s new deputy. Frecklemask fled to MoonClan, where she was taken prisoner and began to brew with plots of destroying and rebuilding her former clan under her leadership.
Struggling to gain the respect of her clan mates, Fencerunner challenged any warriors in EclipseClan who refused to accept her authority to a duel. Death Rattle, a large and battle hardened warrior accepted. While Fencerunner initially seemed on the verge of losing the fight, she gained the upper hand at the last second and defeated him. Humiliated, Death Rattle plotted his revenge.
SunClan continued to struggle with a string of gruesome murders, with the clan left at a loss when the murders continued despite the two prime suspects being under guard. Released from suspicion, the true murderer Smokethorn continued his killings. Smokethorn cornered Honeydusk, Sandstar’s pregnant mate, in the territory and began to torture her. Risingstar, EarthClan’s leader, overheard the struggle while returning from a romantic rendezvous with Fencerunner, EclipseClan’s deputy, in EclipseClan territory and rushed in to help. Honeydusk managed to escape in the ensuing commotion, but Risingstar was captured in her place. Smokethorn traded the EarthClan leader to the vengeful Death Rattle, and met his death in Snake Gorge shortly afterward when Honeydusk finally named him as the true killer.
Death Rattle held Risingstar prisoner over several days, torturing him and lying that Fencerunner had sent him to kill Risingstar. Risingstar managed to escape with the help of a couple of apprentices, but did not report the incident to his clan as he worried it would inflame already rocky relationships between the clans. While EarthClan may have demanded an answer for why their leader was injured and late to return from receiving his lives, another incident occurred that diverted attention away from Risingstar. Reign and his most loyal followers fled to EarthClan after attacking Anat, but were pursued by SunClanners who caught up to them as they attempted to cross into EarthClan’s territory and badly injured Reign. Risingstar- then, Risingsun, as he had been on his way to receive his lives- intercepted and helped Reign across the border to safety. Not long after, Anat lead a SunClan patrol to EarthClan’s Camp to retrieve Reign and told the EarthClanners of the trouble that Reign and his followers had stirred up in their clan, but Glasswind refused to hand Reign over on the grounds that Risingstar’s new policy of accepting outsiders meant that they judged cats only by their actions within EarthClan, not by what they’d done before joining. The SunClanners were angered by Anat’s refusal, but ultimately left peacefully.
Meanwhile, the patrol of EarthClanners sent to MoonClan embedded themselves into the clan framework for several weeks. With hostility and tension flaring between the MoonClan revivalists and the less devout members of the clan, the EarthClan spies were able to avoid suspicion and remained relatively unwatched. When the time came, the EarthClan spies gathered the prisoners and made a mad dash for the border. MoonClan warriors pursued them, but they were met by the waiting EarthClan force near the river. The two sides collided in battle. Brinepelt led the MoonClanners while Glasswind commanded the EarthClanners. Several casualties were sustained on both sides before EarthClan retreated back into their own territory with the rescued prisoners safely in tow. Frecklemask, the disgraced former EclipseClan deputy, fled to EarthClan with the prisoners.
Several days passed in peace, but soon another Gathering was upon the clans. The clans were tense, with many warriors expecting trouble, but it initially began in peace. EarthClan and EclipseClan arrived first and the leaders spent some time chatting, before SunClan and MoonClan also arrived. The gathering was called to order and while it began ordinarily, Sandstar soon drew attention to EarthClan’s new policy of allowing any cat to join the clan without question and criticized their choice to allow Reign to join in light of his previous violent outbursts. Risingstar faced even further criticism when he admitted during the Gathering that he never spoke to StarClan or recieved nine lives. When the Gathering was finally drawn to a close, Death Rattle attacked and attempted to kill Risingstar, before Blackpanther, an EarthClan warrior, killed him despite the attempts of EarthClan's medicine cat, Axolotlpaw, to save his life. Fencerunner took the body and returned to EclipseClan without comment and each of the clans quickly went their separate ways. When Risingstar refused to punish Blackpanther for killing Death Rattle, Axolotlpaw declared that she wouldn't help Risingstar when he needed him next.