The Beginning

"Gather round, kits," a young warrior croaked, sweeping a plumy white tail to gather the rambunctious younglings closer. They whispered excitedly amongst themselves, she always told such wonderful stories. "What story would you like to hear?"

A tabby braced his tiny paws against her white muzzle. "The one you're in!"

The warrior laughed, "You mean the one my mother was in? Are you sure? That's a long story, little one." He rapidly nodded his head, the other kits shouting their agreement. "Okay, if you insist. Now where should I start," she mused.

"At the beginning, silly!" a brown-pelted she-kit giggled.

"Don't be so rude, Bramblekit," she reprimanded gently.

Bramblekit pouted, "Snowflight!"

"Hush, all of you," Snowflight purred, "and I will begin."

"There was a time, long ago, when a battle raged across these very hills. The survival of the Clans that lived there rested on the weary shoulders of four prophesised cats. A lion, a flame, a dove, and a jay; they stood as the Clans last defence against the darkness.

It was foretold that they would slay the demons that had awoken from the darkest realms of StarClan; what wasn't foretold was that they might fail.

Once the battle had begun the four soon realised that their powers were failing. They watched as their kin succumbed to the icy claws of death. The warriors of the Dark Forest killed every cat until the battle ground ran red with blood.

The four were left till last, trapped by their utter horror and despair. Four mighty warriors of the Dark Forest appeared before them for the battle to end all battles.

The broken, the tiger, the hawk, and the thistle stood before the cats' prophesised to end them and their bloodthirsty plan to take the Clans for themselves.

In the fleeting moment before cat leapt at cat a single word was passed through their rank, a word that did nothing to stop the end from beginning. "No!"

A single cat shouted it from the shadows perched behind the awning roots of a willow tree. It was a word that would never be mentioned again for the rest of eternity. That cat watched with a blank face as the final battle took part and darkness beat the light that had fought so bravely.

The tiger drowned the flame in its own blood, the hawk drove its talons into the heart of the dove, the thistle pierced the lungs of the jay, and the broken claimed the soul of the lion. So the prophesised fell, not strong enough to beat back the darkness.

So many lives were lost on that dark night, and for what? To suit the ambitions of one cat who had acquired an army.

Some were given a chance, a choice. They were told to choose life in the darkness, or be put to death. Those that chose to live on where called cowards, but wanting to live is a temptation that is hard to ignore. Those that refused, those that wanted vengeance for the lost, chose to die, to leave the mortal world and join the world of the dead, to become dirt under the eyes of their overlords.

New Clans, five of them, were formed, though they were weak and had little numbers. A strange power morphed their old home into a valley much larger and diverse. SnowClan took to the snowy forest and plains. WaveClan found their home by the ocean, nestled on the towering cliffs. PhoenixClan claimed the searing desert. CedarClan grew a liking to the open forest. RogueClan decided the swamplands suited them best.

A plan to keep power over the five Clans was dawning on their minds. But even their never ending power could not foresee the birth of a sixth Clan. From the dark pine forest rose a new, bloodthirsty Clan. RisingClan killed for the fun of it, a perfect Clan in the eyes of the Dark Forest. Rising like the sun on a clear morning they became a threat to all Clans.

Finally, pleased with how much they had to reign over, the Dark Forest ceased their consistent meddling, and sat back to watch their pets play. After moons of rebellion, numerous deaths and so much blood spilt, they decided that needed something to keep the Clans mind off their imprisonment, something that would make their pets see them as undefeatable overlords whose word was law.

It was the voice that had cried out before the prophesied four had been slaughtered, the voice that had witnessed the death of his Clan, the voice that had just stared as StarClan was shackled, that created the perfect idea. The idea didn't make him seem so cowardly anymore, though he would die shortly after.

"A game of hunger. A game of death. A game of blood spilling blood."

And so the Game of Blood was born, and a new era of darkness settled itself over the Clans in an oppressive manner.