A Leader is a warrior who is highest in the Clan hierarchy. The word of the Clan Leader is the warrior code, and all other Clan cats must obey them. They have their own den, and are assisted by a deputy in their tasks. Each Clan has one Leader, and their names end with -star
In order to become Leader, a cat must meet these qualifications:
- Trained at least one apprentice
- Had the rank of warrior at the time when the Leader chose the Deputy
- Selected by the previous Leader to become Deputy
- The previous Leader must be deceased, retired, or banished
- The warrior must have been Deputy at the time of the Leader's death, retirement, or banishment
When the former Clan Leader dies or willingly retires, the current Clan Deputy is appointed as the new leader. He or she makes a journey to the Clans' sacred place (such as the Spirit Lights on Free Mountain), escorted by the Clan Medicine Cat, to receive their nine lives and their leader name.
The ancestors greet the new leader with the following words: Your old life is no more. You have now received the nine lives of a leader and StarClan grants to you the guardianship of your Clan. Defend it well, care for young and old, honor your ancestors and the traditions of the warrior code; live each life with pride and dignity.
Upon sharing tongues with SpiritClan at their leader ceremony, the new leader is granted nine lives by the ancestors. This does not mean they will live longer, but they can survive accidents or injuries that would claim the life of a cat. Each of the lives are granted by a single ancestor, usually from the same Clan, as a gift of an attribute.
Leaders usually serve until the end of their lives, but there are some exceptions:
A Clan Leader can resign if he or she wishes to do so . This is approved by StarClan, and the current deputy can be appointed as the new leader. The former leader loses their leader name and the lives granted by the ancestors.
When a leader decides to retire, he/she must travel to the Moonpool and renounce their remaining lives, except for one. Then a new leader can be created.
A Clan can demote a leader if they consider him or her unfit for the position . This is not approved by StarClan, and the ancestors won't recognize a new leader and give them their nine lives as long as the former leader is alive.
The Clan Leader usually stays in their den; cats are usually not allowed in the leader's den, apart from the deputy, to report. They can also go on patrols, or train their apprentice, if desired. For an older leader, a cat usually brings them fresh-kill, otherwise they care for themselves.
A leader has various tasks and privileges:
- Oversee the daily operations of the Clan and give them orders
- Speak on behalf of their Clan at Gatherings
- Lead the Clan in battles
- Appoint new apprentices and assign them to mentors
- Appoint new warriors once they finished their training
- Appoint a new deputy if the former deputy died or resigned
- Counsel with the deputy and the senior warriors and listen to their reports
- Discuss about prophecies and omens with the medicine cat, and listen to their advice
- Solve conflicts between members of the Clan
- Decide if a non-Clan cat can join the Clan
- Exile Clan members who severely broke the Warrior Code or who present a danger to the Clan
- A leader is also expected to carry out warrior tasks, like going on patrols or mentoring apprentices
If the leader cannot carry out his or her tasks (for instance, because of illness or injury), the Clan deputy will substitute for them.