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Posted April 13, 2013
Posted September 2, 2012
Excitement prickles in my paws.
My first Gathering! I can't wait!
"Can you believe it? Six Clans in one place!" I gasp.
"I know!" My brother, Twigpaw, is trembling with excitement.
"Boys! Come here, you two!" Our mother, Heronflight, calls. "Bearpaw, Twigpaw, behave yourselves. Your father and I are staying here this time, so please be good. Don't fight, okay?"
"Okay, okay." I mutter, rolling my eyes to Twigpaw. I groom my mottled brown, black, tan, gold and white pelt. Twigpaw, who's identical to me—even his amber eyes—is bouncing up and down excitedly.
"Ready, FlameClan?" Deepstar asks.
"Yes!" I mew, along with many others.
We leave camp, scrambling through the trees. I jog up to join Sweetpaw. The white shecat with gold paws glances at me.
"H-hey." I say.
"Hello!" She answers.
"Yes! Very, very nervous."
"Hehe, me, too."
"It's our first Gathering! My sisters are TERRIFIED."
"Yeah... my brother looked ready to burst with happiness."
"Yeah, until he sees the Clans. Have you seen ThornClan's leader? Bloodstar? I heard he was HORRIBLE!"
"Really? Once I heard Thistlepaw killed Twoeyes! An elder, in THE SAME CLAN!"
Sweetpaw shudders. "ThornClan's just scary in general."
I feel petrified. ThornClan DOES sound scary. Once, their deputy, Gingerlight, came to deliver a message to Deepstar. She didn't seem so bad. A soft-furred orangey-gold tabby shecat with sharp gray eyes. Then Adderpelt called her 'badger-heart', and I nearly died of terror. I thought her claws were dog teeth—I was just a kit, then. She didn't attack, just unsheathed her claws and told him to back off.
We reach the Gathering place—a huge area of land. It had once belonged to OceanClan, but the rain broke the sandbar holding it together, and now it's an island. The storm had knocked down trees, and the Clans came together to drag fallen trees nearer and form a large bridge.
The sweet smell of forest and rivers hits me.
Sweetpaw wrinkles her nose. "Ew! ThornClan."
"I don't think they smell." I say. Oddly enough, I don't feel as afraid of them anymore. At only six moons, I feel strong. And ready.
I pad over the bridge, following Deepstar and Sunwhisker, the deputy.
The clearing is huge, but it looks empty with only ThornClan. A lithe, long-legged black and white tom with red flecks on his face, paws, and tail is pacing in front of the Moon Rocks. His amber gaze flicks to us.
"Greetings, FlameClan!" He calls. He sounds friendly enough.
"It's all an act." Sweetpaw hisses.
Bloodstar pads over to Deepstar and Sunwhisker, dips his head, and joins them, padding over to the Moon Rocks.
"You sure?" I ask.
"Look at him!" Sweetpaw looks disgusted. I frown and pad off. One of the things I don't like about Sweetpaw is she can be horrible about certain things.
A young shecat with an unusual mottled pelt—she looks like a black cat with large white and gray splotches—is sitting alone, beside a golden-brown tom. Dewdrop and her dark brown apprentice, Poppypaw, join them.
The mottled apprentice—I've decided she's about my age—looks out of placee for some reason. She shifts uncertainly, anxiously glancing at the Clans like she'd love to bolt among the queens, apprentices, elders, and warriors.
"That's Ivypaw and Creekstep." The voice makes me jump. My mentor, Minnowfur, has joined me. "Creekstep is the tom, Ivypaw is the shecat. They're ThornClan's medicine cats."
I nod. Another smell feels the air. A salty, almost fishy tang.
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