There are lots of versions of these out, yes, yes, I know, how original of me. But I wanted to do one to! And I've had the idea for a while. I might not be updating often, because right now my main prioridies are Never Fall in Love and Yellowfang's Secret, but the story's pretty easy, so I'll get a chapter in every now and then.
Okay, okay, so the usual story. The clans have been taken over by a group of cats called the Mainland cats. The Divisions (districts) are around the lake territory. They rebelled once, hence creating the Hunting Games (like the Hunger Games). And now we follow our character Catmint, as she participates in this hole crazy thing. You dig?
Now, let's get started.
Territory: Oak Forest
Prey and Gathered Food: mice, squirrels, rabbits, birds, berries, nuts, herbs
Ancestors: Tribe of Rushing Water
Prey and Gathered Food: mice, hares, falcons, hawks, berries, herbs
Territory: Marsh and Wet Moorland
Prey and Gathered Food: otters, fish, frogs, water voles, herbs
Territory: Lakeside Beaches
Prey and Gathered Food: fish, others, frogs, clams, muscles
Territory: Hills and Moorland
Prey and Gathered Food: rabbits, falcons, moor hens, field mice, berries, herbs
Territory: Riverside Marshes and Moorland
Prey and Gathered Food: rabbits, water voles, fish, muscles, berries herbs
Territory: Lightly Treed Oak Forest
Prey and Gathered Food: mice, shrews, voles, small fish, rabbits, berries, herbs
Territory: Lakeside Pine Forest
Prey and Gathered Food: fish, toads, frogs, lizards, mice, squirrels, minks, berries, herbs
Territory: Fruit Tree and Oak Forest
Prey and Gathered Food: lizards, mice, squirrels, fruit, berries, herbs
Prey and Gathered Food: rabbits, field mice, berries, herbs
Territory: Lakeside Moorland
Prey and Gathered Food: rabbits, fish, mice, voles, herbs
Territory: Pine Forest and Marshes
Prey and Gathered Food: mice, squirrels, frogs, toads, lizards, berries, herbs
dark brown she-cat with white muzzle and paws, black flecks around pale green eyes; sister of Primrose, daughter of Dawn and Coal; cat of Division Twelve
cream-furred she-cat with blue eyes and a stub of tail; sister to Catmint, daughter of Dawn and Coal; cat of Division Twelve
cream-furred she-cat; mother of Catmint and Primrose, former mate of Coal; cat of Division Twelve
skinny black tom with brown underbelly, chest, and muzzle; brother of Silks and Maxy; cat of Division Twelve
pale golden she-cat with amber eyes, dyes fur often; escort of Division Twelve for Hunting Games
gray and brown she-cat; sister of Nightingale and Maxy; cat of Division Twelve
brown tom; brother of Nightingale and Silks; cat of Division Twelve
The Sacred Law:
This empire rose up the ashes of a place that was once ruled by four unjust and unholy clans and tribe, who brought pain and suffering to our cats. A brutal, unprovoked war began between the innocent Mainland and the clans. When the clans fell, the result was our a empire, a shining Mainland ringed by thirteen Divisions, which brought peace and prosperity to its cats. Then came the rebellion of the Divisions toward the Mainland. Twelve Divisions were defeated, the thirteenth destroyed. The Sacred Law was lie down, and as a reminder of the terrible war that should never be repeated, we have our Hunting Games.
In punishment for uprising, each Division must submit one tom and one she-cat between the ages of six and twelve moons, to participate in a seasonal Hunting Games, in which the competitors must fight to the death in a controlled arena. The last competitor alive is crowned champion.
A finch twittered merrily in the distance. Ironically, nothing was truly merry about this life. This life was cold and unforgiving. But finches aren't very intelligent, so they know not when to twitter merrily or when to remain silent and solemn like all else.
A dark brown she-cat was awoken by this careless chirping of the finch. Her pale green eyes blinked open slowly. She, alone, was quite glad that the finch had twittered, because she was sleeping late.
She shook the moss from her somewhat-groomed pelt and stretched quietly, sighing into the cold morning air.
Catmint was her name. A strange name to any Twoleg reading this, but a sentimental name for the she-cat. She was named after a vital herb, one which cured deadly sickness. Her father and mother had taught her of many herbs. They were known as a "medicine cat family", meaning they were descended down from what was once called a "medicine cat", or a healer for a so-called "clan".
"Clans" were now mostly forgotten. It was said that these clans were groups of cats bound by a "warrior code". They lived together, the stronger hunting for and defending the weak. It sounded like a nice idea to Catmint. If cats shared food, none would go hungry, right?
That definitely wasn't the case of the conditions she lived in now. All Division cats hunted for the Mainland cats.
The Mainland cats were a group of, how did they put it? "Rogues", maybe, or hostile non-clan cats. They had long since taken over the clans, which they, when they had overpopulated, divided into twelve Divisions, each hunting in a seperate territory to sustain the Mainland cats. In return, the Mainland cats gave them grub.
Grub was the nickname Division cats had named the gross food that the Mainland gave them. It was usually a mixture of crow-food and Twoleg rubbish, mixed in with herbs and vegetation to keep their strength up. It normally had bugs in it, like grubs, hence the name.
Not a very fun arrangement for the Division cats, huh? Why not rebel against the government? The Division cats had rebelled, but had lost the battle. That's how the Hunt was created.
The Hunting Games of the Sacred Law, or the Hunt, is when the Mainland took two young cats from each Division made then fight to the death in an arena. It showed the utter power of the Mainland, that they could take the Divisions' young ones and kill them, and they could do naught about it.
That's when Catmint remembered. Today was the day of the Drawing of Stones. It was a ritual that dated back to the very first cats, but Catmint doubted that it was used in this manner. Each cat between the ages of six and twelve moons was issued one stone, but they could issue for more if they wished. The cats received the stones coated in mud, and when the escort gave the cue, the cats would remove the mud from the stones. If one of the stones had the mark of blood upon it, then they were the lucky male or female tribute of the Division. With each stone a cat issued for, another paw-ful of grub was added to their family's income.
Catmint's sister stirred in her sleep. She let out a cry and shot to her paws. "Catmint!" she shrieked! "Catmint!"
Catmint rushed to her sister's aid, and wrapped her tail around her slender, frail shoulders. She was shaking violently. "It's alright, Primrose. Hush now," she soothed. Primrose's calmed down, her little cream stub of a tail twitching. The rest of her tail had been torn off by a Mainland cat when she was just a tiny kit.
"Hush, Duck-tail," Catmint whispered. Duck-tail was what Coal had nicknamed her sister, trying to lighten the idea of having lost her tail.
Coal was the father of Catmint and Primrose. He had died in the marshes a season ago. He had been a joker, always cheering them up when they were sad. Now that he was gone, their trio of a family had been reduced to a dark little excuse.
"I dreamed that it was me," Primrose whispered, her blue eyes huge. "Me, in the Hunting Games. They were chasing me! And I couldn't find you! I ran and ran and ran, but I couldn't find you!" she said, tears beginning to well up in her eyes. Catmint pressed her muzzle comfortingly into Primrose's soft cream-colored fur.
Why does the Mainland have to do this? she thought angrily, listening the Primrose's rapid breathing.
"Why don't I tell you a story?" she said, smiling brightly. Primrose sniffled and nodded. "I'll tell you the story about the Shadow cats."
Primrose looked up at her with her enormous sapphire eyes, and Catmint began her favorite story. "Long ago, in this very land, powerful cats ruled. They lived together with a great leader, and hunted in the shadows of the pines and the depths of the marshes. They stalked through the night, and feasted on frogs and lizards and mice and squirrels! When the kits were six moons old, they were trained to hunt and fight for the other cats. And when they completed their training, they became warriors! Other cats lived around the lake too, but the Shadow cats were the greatest. They were the best warriors. And it is said that we are descended down from them, and their legacy lives on... in... us!" Catmint whispered, finishing dramatically.
Primrose's eyelids drooped and she yawned. "That was a great story," she said, curling up in a tighter ball. Catmint rose from the nest and gave her sister's ears an affectionate lick, and then exited the den.
Catmint waded through the muddy area at the entrance to their den. Not really an ideal place, but all the ideal places were taken up by Mainland cat dens. By the time marshes ended, Catmint was covered in sticky muck from her paws to her belly. She sat on a tall boulder that looked out over the lake and began to wash the mud out of her fur.
When she finished, she continued on through the pines until she came to the old Twoleg nests. There was a hole row of about five Twoleg nests that were abandoned. Mice and rats scuttled around constantly. She scrabbled up a pile of flat slabs of smooth stone, and hooked her claws onto the edge of the roof, and pushed upward with her hind legs. With that, she plopped herself down on the roof. This was where she always met Nightingale.
She recalled the first time she had met him. It was one of the very first times she had wandered into the old Twolegplace without Coal. She was nervous, but determined. She had climbed up onto the roof of the first Twoleg den, and looked over the tops of the others. The sun had been glinting of the clear stone that filled the holes in the sides of the dens.
"Hey, there, she-cat!" he had said, just materializing behind her. She had nearly jumped off of the roof.
"Don't sneak up on me, you piece of fox-dung!" she had spat, trying to defy him, though her legs shook with fear. "I'll fight you!"
He laughed and took a mock-threatening step toward her. She had unsheathed her claws, and raised a paw. "Don't come any nearer!" she hissed, her voice quivering, and her eyes wide.
"What's your name she-cat?" the black tom asked. Catmint hesitated, still deciding whether or not to trust this strange cat.
"My name is... Catmint," she replied, drawing her head up in a prideful manner. The black tom laughed again.
"Catnip? You mean like the stuff that grows in Twoleg gardens?" he asked playfully. Catmint growled angrily.
"The proper name is Catmint, not catnip," she hissed, the fur along her spine bristling. The stange tom rolled his eyes, and took another step closer to her.
"Proper, are we? You a Mainland cat, being all "proper"? You don't look like one, with that mess of twigs you've got as a pelt," he sneered. Catmint scraped her claws across one of the cleanly cut red stones on the roof of the den.
"I'm not a Mainland cat. And my pelt is not a mess of twigs!" she growled. This tom was really getting on her nerves.
"If you say so. Anyway, the names Nightingale. What're you doing in the ol' Twolegplace, Catnip? Don't you know its forbidden by the Mainland?" he asked.
"Well, you're here. What's so special about you that you get be here and I don't?" she mewed. Nightingale shrugged.
"I dunno. I always hang here. I haven't seen many other trotting 'round here, though. 'S why I'm surprised to see you here," he said casually.
"My father comes here all the time!" Catmint boasted. Nightingale nodded.
"I seen a tom, looks like you, 'round here. Good hunter. You hunt?" he asked. Catmint swallowed, wondering if he would test her, and nodded.
"What do you say to me n' you hunting together? Tomorrow? Same time, same place," he has said, and then, without letting her reply, he had left. And she had met him again.
Nightingale appeared again, at the exact same time as always, sleek and light-footed as he padded gracefully along the edge of the Twoleg nest neighboring the one Catmint sat on. He then glided over the space between them, and landed nicely beside her with a grin on his face.
"Show-off," she murmured, and thought again how fitting his name was. He was built exactly like a bird, and could almost fly across the rooftops as they went from one to another. The orange bird he was named after could barely match his perfect leaps with its wings.
The sun had now risen, and drenched the pines with its golden flow. Nightingale's amber eyes glistened in the light, and Catmint had to turn away to keep herself from staring into his handsome, angular face.
"Look at this!" he said, and dropped a leaf rap he held under his chin. He unraveled the leaf binding to reveal a ginger-furred creature hidden inside. Catmint let out a purr of delight.
"Squirrel!" she exclaimed, and pawed the bushy-tailed rodent as if to check if it was real. "How did you get this?" she demanded.
"Sneaked it," he said, and picked it up in his jaws. He dispatched the creature from its tail and pressed the feathery ginger tendril up against his ears.
"Happy Hunting Games, of the Sacred Law!" he mewed, imitating the high-pitched voice of Trinket, the Division Twelve escort, who often wore squirrel tails on her head.
The Mainland cats had a ridiculous habit of adorning themselves with tufts of brightly-colored fur, flowers, feathers, berries, or other parts of animals. It was supposed to make them look festive, but Catmint thought it made them look silly.
"And may the odds by ever in your favor!" Nightingale finished. Catmint laughed and tore a piece of flesh off of the squirrel.
"Oh, I wish Primrose was here! She's never tasted Squirrel before!" she mewed, licking up the meat in one swift bite. Nightingale passed her another piece, and before long, she has tucked in.
"That was delicious! I'll never understand how you trick Mainland guards," she said, admiring his skill.
"My stealth comes from my ShadowClan heritage!" Nightingale mewed. Catmint cocked her head curiously. "You know, the Shadow cats, from the nursery tales?" he asked.
Catmint gave him a quizzical look. "But why did you call it ShadowClan?" she asked. Nightingale shrugged.
"That's what my mother calls them. You know, the four clans? One of them must've been ShadowClan," he said thoughtfully. Catmint wondered if that was true.
"Hmm. Maybe, I guess," she said. "Now many stones did you issue for in the Drawing?" she asked.
"Fifteen," Nightingale said. As Catmint's eyes widened, he added, "I needed the extra grub! Silks and Maxy eat more than the rest of us put together nowadays."
Nightingale's mother had recently given birth to a litter of two kits. Nightingale now had five brothers and sisters and his mother to take care of. He needed all the food he could get.
"But what if you Draw a blood-stained rock, Nightingale? Then who will feed Silks and Maxy, and all of your other kits? I can't possible do that... I'm not a miracle-hunter like you are!" she said.
It was true, Nightingale could hunt better than any other cat. What if he died in the Hunt? How would his family survive?
"If I got Drawn, I'd win! And so would you. You can hunt well, too. You're used to the Twolegplaces, unlike a lot of the other tributes. We could win," he said. Catmint wasn't so confident.
Could I really win? she thought. I just hope I don't have to find out.