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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Fantasy · #2095568
The story of Nightmare, leader of Nightclan. This is a spin-off of the Warriors universe.
Note: This story is not in the same universe as the original warriors series and many of the traditions are different. Some will be explained in the story others will be explained here. Leaders to not take a star suffix, but instead, change their name to something of their own choice, this is a tradition that stemmed from a desire to make all cats equal and symbolizes the idea that their leader is a new cat from when they were a warrior. Clan apprentice training is different, they start at different times, and the final testing happens as an initiation and testing. There is no Starclan. Nightclan believes their ancestors live under and within the earth, and as such, they are referred to as Earthclan. There are a few other differences but these are some of the ones that are crucially different.

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Prologue


         The day that Nightkit was born was also the day they found the body of Sungaze at the bottom of the gorge; So when Crowfoot's cries rose up from the nursery in the Nightclan camp they weren't just from her contractions. This also meant that though the clan was aware of their newest clan member, his arrival seemed to fade into the background of mourning. When Crowfoot was able to compose herself and take care of her kit, she also made sure to put her hurt aside to love her little one. His coat was a glossy black with gray stripes, just like his father Rowan's. However, he didn't share his eyes. No, his bright golden eyes were his mother's for sure.

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Chapter 1: The Ceremony


         Nightkit left the nursery in glee as Crowfoot, his mother, called after him, "Please be careful! And don't bother any of the senior warriors!".

         He smiled and waved his tail at her in acknowledgment. He then pranced over to a small thicket of grass and leaped, landing muzzle first with a small thud. His mother stood up quickly ready to jump to his aid, when he got up and brushed the leaves off his nose and began to roll around, not fazed by a less than graceful entrance. His mother sighed and turned back to the nursery.

         Nightkits thoughts raced, and he was filled with a joy that only grew as he explored the camp. There were so many new scents to identify and so many new cats to meet! After fully recovering from his encounter with the grass tuft, he trotted about the camp. In his mind, he was the great explorer under the orders of his clan leader to find out everything he could about the enemy camp. It was only moments into his journey though that he walked directly into another cat, the force planting him squarely onto his bottom, dazed.

         "I'm sorry..." He said softly, head spinning as he looked up at the cat who he had run into.

         "Watch where you're going, runt." The huge black cat growled at him as he sauntered towards a patch of grass that looked well trampled. His pelt was covered in large light scars traversing his whole body.

         Nightkit stood immediately, only staying long enough to squeak out a small, "Yes sir!" before racing back to his mother where he knew he would be safe. His mother brought him to her side where he cuddled her while the other kits in the nursery giggled.

         Though Nightkit was the only kit in his litter, he wasn't the only kit in the nursery. Snowbreeze and Duststorm both had kits of their own, and Troutwhiskers was expecting hers in only a few moons, bringing the total to five kits and four queens in the cramped nursery. This meant that after only a few more minutes, Nightkit was getting antsy. He hated being stuck in the nursery, it was always hot, and everyone was always so cramped. Just as he was about to ask to go out again, A cry rang out from the center of camp gathering the clan for a meeting. Instantly, Crowfoot's mood soured and she reluctantly walked from the den. Nightkit, however, was very excited. He heard murmurs from the queens that there was going to be an initiation. This would be the first once since Nightkit was born and he was desperate to see how to become a true warrior. The clan gathered in a wide circle around the edges of camp and crowfoot positioned herself directly behind Nightkit, holding him tightly to her chest.

          "Mom! you're squishing me!" Nightkit protested quietly, trying to wiggle out of her vice-like grip.

         "Stay quiet." She snapped, leading him to wonder why she seemed to be so on edge.

         Finally, Bloodclaw, the clan leader, joined the circle. "Greetings Nightclan. Today is one of the most anticipated days for any young cat. Today, we are ready to finally initiate Finpaw." He said to an eager looking tortoiseshell apprentice, who shook in the dust next to him. "Finpaw has completed his training, and passed his testing, and so is ready to complete his final tribute to the Earthclan"

         Nightkit smiled and felt shaky himself. One day this would be him! His mother was still tense above him and he wondered what the final test would be. Was his mother worried that Finpaw would fail? His attention was drawn back to his leader as he resumed his speech.

         "Today, Finpaw will be challenging Echoheart. He has been loyal to the clan for years and as his age catches him, he has willingly readied himself to raise up our, hopefully, newest warrior." Bloodclaw continued, as an orange and creme cat padded into the circle, now arena, with his head level. It didn't take much to see that he was getting older, his muzzle was clearly gray and his gait was disjointed from aches and pains.

         Nightkit looked at the two cats and became confused. This wasn't a fair fight. Finpaw was much stronger and freshly trained. He shrugged halfheartedly, thinking that it was maybe just supposed to be a special honor. Echoheart did deserve it. He was the nicest cat in the clan and by far one of the most loyal. He always spent time with him outside the nursery telling stories and jokes. If he was being given an honor then he most certainly deserved it, however, the seed of concern was planted in Nightkit's mind.

         "Finpaw, please enter the ring. The rules are the same as always. Finpaw," Bloodclaw said with a pause. "I must remind you that if you fail you must either leave the clan or join Echoheart in his duty." He said as the young cat looked upon Echoheart with a certain gravity in his gaze.

         "I understand sir, and I am ready." Finpaw responded, his voice joining in for the first time during the whole meeting.

         "Then you may begin"

         With the order, the two cats tensed and crouched, though to Nightkit it seemed like they might actually hate each other from the way they were glaring. After only a few moments, Finpaw leaped, landing directly onto Echoheart who didn't have the speed or the agility to properly dodge it. Finpaw sunk his claws deep into his opponent's pelt and Echoheart let out a painful shriek. Nightpaw winced. He didn't know if he wanted to have to hurt his own clanmates like that. Echoheart managed to shake off Finpaw, but he already seemed tired, and his wounds dripped, leaving small streaks of blood in his pelt. The cats around the circle began to cheer on the two, and Finpaw seemed pleased with himself. When Finpaw glanced away, Echoheart launched himself at Finpaw, knocking him over with his shoulder. Finpaw, now on his back, frantically clawed at Echoheart who began tearing at the young cat's underbelly, causing him to yowl in pain. Just as it looked like Echoheart may be winning, Finpaw's back paw connected heartily with Echoheart's jaw, knocking him to the ground dazed. Nightkit gasped, his own adrenaline rushed through his veins. He mentally urged Echoheart to get up, but Finpaw managed to get up quicker. The younger cat pinned Echoheart down, clawing and biting him in all his softest spots. The older cat didn't have the strength to get Finpaw off him and so he feebly tried to block the storm of attacks, letting out loud painful cries from underneath Finpaw. Nightkit watched in dismay. It was clear that Finpaw had won but yet he was still attacking him. He looked desperately to their leader to see if Bloodclaw was going to stop him, but to his frustration, he only saw pride coming from his leader.

         Soon, Echoheart stopped yelling, and then stopped moving. The pool of blood slowly grew under the defeated cat, and with a final spit towards Echoheart, Finpaw got off him, soaked in blood, but gleaming with pride. Nightkit stared eyes wide, in his head he begged Echoheart to stand, to move, to make a sound, but nothing came from the lump in the clearing. Nightkit whimpered softly and then noticed his mother holding back tears above him. Flinttail the deputy walked over to Echoheart and took a look at him before he dragged Echoheart's limp body to the edge of the camp.

         Bloodclaw yowled and drew the clan back to silence. "Finpaw has successfully completed his initiation and is now welcome to Nightclan as a full warrior. From this point on, Finpaw will be known only as Findaggar!" He yowled triumphantly. Every warrior cheered and embraced the new warrior in happiness and congratulations. Kits and warriors alike began chanting Findaggar's new name, but Nightkit no longer felt like celebrating. As the clan gathered around the new warrior, Nightkit slipped away to the nursery where he lay down and cried.



TBC...
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