"Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey..."
"...gather beneath the Moss Rock for a Clan meeting!"
That was Patchstar's voice.
Fallenkit padded behind his siblings and Shadewhisker's kits. Seven new Apprentices would be named today. Icebreath had spent the entire morning fussing about each of their fur and yelling for them to stay still so she could clean them. Wishkit bit her on the nose. Fallenkit had laughed.
Shadewhisker's kits were lined up perfectly in a row, smiling and looking well-groomed. They were each excited, it was obvious; Fallenkit knew he should be too, but all he felt was dread. Things were about to get so much more complicated.
"Driftkit, Thrushkit and Ivykit, step forward." Patchstar called, and Fallenkit shook his fur out. He hadn't even noticed she'd already said the first part of the ceremony. Obviously his mind was elsewhere, but for once it was quiet. Well, as quiet as an excited Clan could be. All he could hear was the sound of his own heartbeat echoing in his ears.
"From this moment on you shall be known as Driftpaw, Thrushpaw and Ivypaw." the tortoiseshell leader continued. Her green eyes scanning the gathered crowd. "Burningleaf, you were taught well by Dewstone. I trust you will pass on all you learned to Driftpaw."
The Clan cheered the newest apprentice as he touched noses ceremoniously with the white-and-orange tabby. Thrushpaw's name was given second, and he was assigned Willowpool as a mentor, who was sitting lovingly next to Sorrelfox when her name was called. She touched noses with the younger tom, who then sat near her. His sister was next, and she was assigned with Smokeshine as a mentor. The two she-cats touched noses.
Oh StarClan, we're next...Fallenkit flattened his ears, dreading the moment that Patchstar would call his name.
"Wishkit, Spiritkit, Russetkit, and Fallenkit." the tabby tom cringed as his name was said, though he did his best to hide it. "Step forward."
He did as he was instructed, stepping closer to the leader's rock along with his littermates. Spiritkit and Russetkit were bouncing excitedly, and Wishkit looked indifferent as always. Fallenkit kept his gaze straight ahead.
"Wishkit, Spiritkit, Russetkit, Fallenkit." Patchstar repeated, "You have all reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you all to be apprenticed. From this day on, until you receive your warrior names, you will be known as Wishpaw, Spiritpaw, Russetpaw and Fallenpaw, respectively. Wishpaw, your mentor will be Dullsky." the leader continued with the ceremony, but all Fallenpaw could hear was his brother's sighing mew, "How disappointing."
Fallenpaw twitched his whiskers. Would Dullsky be able to handle his brother?
Would anyone be able to handle Fallenpaw?
"Spiritpaw, your mentor will be Runningbreeze. She has learned well from Fawnspots, and I hope she passes all she knows to you."
Fallenpaw watched as his only sister touched noses with the black she-cat that was to be her new mentor. Russetpaw was trembling with excitement beside Fallenpaw; the tabby had to stop himself from snapping at his brother to hold still.
No...let him have this day.
"Russetpaw, you shall be mentored by Hazefire. He has learned a lot from his mentor, Nightfall, and I hope he passes all he knows to you in his stead."
"Yes!" Fallenpaw heard his brother's relieved squeak before the red tom bounded over to touch noses with the golden eyed warrior, who was sitting near Quietbrook.
Oh StarClan...this is it.
Goodbye, kithood. I'm an apprentice now.
"Your mentor will be Eagletalon. He has learned much from Twigtail, and I pray he will pass on all his knowledge to you in turn."
"Eagletalon..." for a few seconds, the name didn't ring any bells. Fallenpaw's eyes widened as he realized who was to be his mentor. "That furball?" he hissed under his breath, turning around to find the brown-and-white tabby among the crowds. Without realizing it, Fallenpaw had gotten to his paws, making his way over to the tabby.
"...Russetpaw! Fallenpaw!" What was that noise?
"Wishpaw! Spiritpaw! Russetpaw! Fallenpaw!" How long had they been chanting?
Fallenpaw touched noses to the amber-eyed warrior, wrinkling his nose at the touch.
"Hey there, apprentice." Eagletalon smirked, lashing his tail. Fallenpaw pulled away. This was going to be a rough apprenticeship.
The voices of his Clanmates died down as Patchstar dismissed them. The cats returned to their previous activities, and Eagletalon had said something about waking up bright and early for training tomorrow.
Fallenpaw didn't pay attention. He was too busy listening to the sounds of more chanting. This time, not from his Clanmates. Not from any cat he wanted to hear from.
Fallenpaw, Fallenpaw! they chanted. Your destiny is here. Eagletalon's harshest punishment is nothing compared to what will happen if you do not embrace your fate.
Fallenpaw shuddered as the voices continued, spouting threats and hissing about his destiny.
He wondered if he would ever hear his final heartbeat. It may come sooner than he'd think if he didn't listen to what they were saying.
"Happy Apprenticeship," he congratulated himself. "Now...kill...or be killed."