"Your mentor shall be Rippedtail."
"What!" Silverpaw nearly yowled. Of all the warriors Copperstar could have picked for her mentor, it had to be scarred old Rippedtail. She had been hoping for a real warrior, like Dogclaw, or even Emberheart or Blueleaf.
"I will do my best to teach you all I know," Rippedtail mewed as his scarred gray muzzle touched Silverpaw's pale gray one, and he leaped off Highrock. Silverpaw reluctantly followed. "Let's start with a tour of the territory," Rippedtail dashed off.
"Wait up!" Silverpaw yowled after him and took off. Rippedtail was fast, Silverpaw had to struggle to keep him in sight.
Rippedtail darted in and out of trees as the pale gray she-cat tagged behind.
"Rippedtail wait up!" Silverpaw yowled, and Rippedtail paused just long enough for Silverpaw to catch up with him. "Why are you running so fast?" Silverpaw questioned.
Rippedtail ignored her question and began to pad warily through the underbrush.
"Rippedtail?" Silverpaw asked carefully.
Suddenly, Rippedtail whirled around. His amber eyes met Silverpaw's green ones, and he asked in a low voice, "Silverpaw, what I tell you today, what I show you today, you must promise not to tell any cat. Do you?" His amber eyes were pools of fire.
"What…why… yes." Silverpaw stammered.
Rippedtail turned away and said, "Then come."
Rippedtail tasted the air, Silverpaw did the same. There was an unfamiliar scent in the air, but before she could ask Rippedtail about it, A black ball of fur knocked her to the ground.
Silverpawyowled and tried to get the black warrior off but, but the warrior had both a size and experience advantage, and she easily pinned her.
"Nightpaw! That's my apprentice," Rippedtail snapped.
"Apprentice!" Silverpaw yelped, "she nearly killed me!"
The black apprentice bent down so that her and Silverpaw's noses were touching. "I didn't nearly kill you mousebrain. That was a beginner's move." And she lightly hopped off.
"What's going on?" A tom's voice drifted from the underbrush. A heartbeat later, a murky brown tom-cat appeared.
"Frogfoot, glad you could make it," Rippedtail greeted the tom. They seemed to know each other.
"I very nearly didn't," Frogfoot admitted," Hawkthorn's patrol caught me and Nightpaw leaving the territory." Then noticing Silverpaw washing dirt from her fur, Frogfoot asked, "Did Nightpaw tackle you?"
"Yes," Silverpaw said, "She almost killed me." To her satisfaction she saw Nightpaw's fur bristle.
"Nightpaw, if I've told you once I've told you a million times, don't…"
"Attack unless you know that the cat is indeed going to attack." Nightpaw cut in, "I know."
"Yet you never heed my advice," Frogfoot meowed. He sighed. "Where are Swiftbreeze and Stonefur?"
"I don't know about Swiftbeeze, but my new apprentice and I are here," a tom mewed from next to Silverpaw.
Silverpaw started, and jumped away. Another gray tom sat next to her, calmly washing his ears. A young striped tom hid behind Stonefur, his bristling so hard that Silverpaw thought it might come off.
Finally, after a black and white she-cat had arrived, Rippedtail started introductions. "Every cat, as you know, I am Rippedtail, and this is my new apprentice Silverpaw. We are ThunderClan."
Frogfoot stood up. 'I am Frogfoot and this is my apprentice, Nightpaw. We are ShadowClan."
"What?" Silverpaw yowled. These cats are ShadowClan! There is no way I am staying with ShadowClan cats!"
"Silverpaw wait until we finish introductions." Rippedtail meowed sternly.
Silverpaw sat down, but the fur on her back remained raised.
Rippedtail cleared his throat. "As I was saying, this is Stonefur and Wildpaw of RiverClan…"
"And I am Swiftbreeze of WindClan," The black and white she-cat twined her tail with Rippedtail's. Then, she fixed her gaze on Silverpaw. "Welcome to SunClan."
"SunClan?" Silverpaw asked, feeling extremely overwhelmed. "What is..."
Nightpaw hoped to her paws. "SunClan," she mewed, "Is a secret gathering of warriors and their apprentices. We share news, unhindered by clan pride, and try to sustain at least a small friendship with all other clans. When the apprentices become warriors, their mentors retire from SunClan, and the new warriors assume their positions as representation for that Clan.
"It is preferable that SunClan members not be in any position of position, leader, deputy, or medicine cat. It is best if the she-cats do not have kits while in SunClan. Proceeding to any of these positions while being an active member of SunClan could cause curiosity from the clan and endanger the existence of SunClan." Nightpaw paused.
"Thank you Nightpaw," Frogfoot meowed. His gaze turned to Silverpaw. "Silverpaw, can you keep SunClan's secrets? Do you want to join? All of these terms and conditions apply to you too Wildpaw."
Silverpaw and Wildpaw stared around at the cats from all clans staring at them. Wildpaw gave voice to the thought that was going through Silverpaw's mind. "But... what if we meet in battle? Do we have to hurt each other?"
Nightpaw purred in amusement, and Swiftbreeze shot her a reproachful glance. Rippedtail replied. "We learn play fights, almost like technique routines that you use if you must fight another." Silverpaw nodded, glancing at Wildpaw. The tom's fur was finally starting to calm down.
"What...what you you think Silverpaw?" Wildpaw asked quietly. "Should we join?" Silverpaw feltmildly surpirsed that it was Wildpaw asking her, and not the other way around. Silverpaw looked at the cats from all four clans surrounding her. Did she really want a part in this life? IS this what she wanted? Keeping secrets from her clanmates and family. And her sister, Whitepaw. They told each other everything.
"Silverpaw," Rippedtail reminded her. "Will you join?"
"I will," Wildpaw said, shuffling his paws.
Silverpaw lifted her head. "I will too," she meowed firmly.
Swiftbreeze nodded. "Then with StarClan as my witness," she mewed, padding over to Wildpaw and Silverpaw, "I declare these two apprentices true members of SunClan. May StarClan watch over you." She lowered her muzzle to touch Silverpaw's and Wildpaw's heads. The apprentices dipped their heads in acknowledgement. Silverpaw had made a huge decision. Now she was going to live with it