Ranking Within a ClanEdit
Each Clan shares the same basic ranking system, consisting of eight distinct ranks.
When a cat is born into a Clan, they stay in the nursery with their mother until they are at least six moons old. The parents might name the kits after their fur colour or markings, or if another cat suggests a name for the new kit. When they do, they give it the first part of its name, with the suffix of 'kit'. For example, Bluekit, etc. A kit is expected to be curious, but well-behaved. They drink their mother's milk until they are ready to eat fresh kill, at which time an apprentice gives it to them. Kits enjoy playing games and exploring the camp, often getting under the paws of the other cats. They are typically not expected to participate in certain ceremonies, but this is often allowed. Before the fifth law of the warrior code was added, kits were often apprenticed too early, causing injury or even death because they were too small to fight.
When a kit turns six moons old, the Clan leader will assign them to a mentor (usually an experienced warrior), and change the last part of its name to 'paw. For example, Bluepaw. A kit can choose from two apprenticeships: a warrior apprentice, or medicine cat apprentice. A warrior mentor will begin to train his apprentice in the ways of a warrior, as well as giving him a thorough tour of the territory. Training includes mock battles, fighting and hunting techniques (often unique to each Clan), and teaching the apprentice the commands of the Warrior Code. One of the most important rules every warrior apprentice must learn is to feed the Clan first, and after elders, queens, and kits have had their share, the apprentices may take prey for themselves. A warrior apprentice will also be given tasks and chores around camp, such as changing bedding in dens and searching the elders' pelts for ticks. A customary punishment for an apprentice is to have them take care of the elders for a period of time, so they can learn their lesson.
A medicine cat apprentice will be instructed in the knowledge of plants, herbs, flowers, and other natural elements used for healing. They will be expected to memorize each plant along with its healing properties, and are frequently quizzed by their mentors. A medicine cat apprentice will also be taken to a sacred place every half-moon, where they meet with medicine cats and their apprentices from other Clans to connect with StarClan (a Clan of deceased cats who live in the stars). In the old territory, the forest, this place was the Moonstone. A cat would touch its nose to the crystal (located in the Mothermouth, or a deep abandoned mine) and connect with StarClan in a dream. In the new territory by the lake, medicine cats use the Moonpool (a pool located in a rocky alcove).
Apprentices are also allowed to attend Gatherings (where the Clans meet in peace every full moon).
When an apprentice shows signs of maturity and adequate skills, their mentor will evaluate them. The mentor will often send them out hunting, and watch from a distance. They will also be evaluated on fighting skills. The mentor then reports to the leader if they think that the apprentice is ready to become a warrior.
The leader calls the Clan together for a ceremony, reciting the proper words, and chooses a full name for the apprentice. For example, Bluepaw might be named Bluefur. That night, the new warrior must keep a vigil in camp from dusk until sunrise without speaking. After this time, they have become an official warrior.
A typical warrior's day may include border patrols (routine patrols around the territory's border to prevent invasion), hunting patrols (the warriors set out to catch prey for the Clan), and mentoring their apprentice. Warriors are also expected to fight when called, and to give their life in order to save the Clan if need be.
All warriors are allowed to mate. When a she-cat is ready to kit, however, she becomes a queen and lives in the nursing den until her kits are old enough to become apprentices. Some she-cats choose to stay in the nursery even after their kits have left, to help take care of the other kits.
When a medicine cat apprentice shows signs of maturity and adequate knowledge of herbs and treatments, they may be made a medicine cat. Their mentor holds a medicine cat ceremony (usually at the Moonstone or Moonpool), reciting the proper words, and chooses a full name for the apprentice.
A typical medicine cat's day may include gathering and organizing herbs, and treating conditions such as bellyaches, infected wounds, or heavy bleeding.
Medicine cats are held in very high esteem. This is not only because of their healing skills, but their special connection with StarClan. This connection begins when a medicine cat apprentice first touches the Moonstone or Moonpool. Medicine cats often receive dreams of StarClan. These dreams may guide a medicine cat in right choices, predict the future, or tell of an impending disaster. StarClan also sends omens, which often tell the same things, but appear as a vision or a sign in nature.
Medicine cats are often placed at the scene of a battle, and are not to be harmed. Injured warriors may return to the medicine cat to be treated for wounds, so that they may continue. If the wound is serious, however, they may not be able to continue.
Medicine cats, male or female, are not allowed to mate, because kits would distract them from their duty to the clan. Thus, in becoming a medicine cat, it is understood that they are sacrificing a family for serving their Clan. This rule has been broken more than once.
When a she-cat becomes pregnant, she may continue her warrior duties for as long as she can. However, when she is close to kitting, she will move to the nursery where she will stay until her kits become apprentices.
Queens do not need to reveal who the father of the kits is. However, she may reveal this if both she and her mate are willing. Oftentimes, cats in the Clan take guesses at who they think is most likely to be the queen's mate if she doesn't tell them.
Queens are brought food by apprentices, and occasionally warriors. Their bedding is changed frequently, and they are always taken care of. Queens are regarded as very important in the Clans, as they provide new warriors and medicine cats to serve the Clan.
When a queen has kits, she nurses them until they are able to eat fresh-kill. She cannot do battle, but has a warrior protecting her when others leave camp to fight.
If a warrior shows exeptional skills, wisdom, and abilities, a leader holds a ceremony to name them deputy. This ceremony must be held before moonhigh, according to the warrior code. Before this law was added, leaders often appointed their kin to succeed them. Their deputy remained in the same position when the leader died.
A deputy is an assistant to the leader, and replaces the leader when he dies. A deputy is not much different from a warrior; they still perform the same tasks and duties as warriors. However, they may help leaders in organizing patrols, and leaders often turn to the deputy for companionship or advice.
When the previous leader dies, the Clan deputy becomes a leader. Let's say Bluefur has become leader. Now, 'star is added to her name, to signify her position and importance. Before she gets this name, however, she journeys with the medicine cat to the Moonstone or Moonpool, and connects with Starclan. If Starclan approves of them, they will give them nine lives, each representing an important aspect of a leader. Deceased cats visit the leader, usually ones they knew while alive, and give the new leader their lives and new name.
StarClan then calls her by her official leader name, Bluestar. When she awakes, she returns to her Clan as leader. Like a medicine cat, however, a female leader may not mate or have kits. This is so she is fully concentrated on her duties as leader, and puts the whole clan first. Male leaders, however, are permitted to mate and have kits, such as Pinestar and Cloudstar.
Leaders are expected to make sure that the Can is safe, healthy, and strong. They chose whether or not to lead a Clan into battle, organize patrols, supervise fresh-kill supply, and hold ceremonies. Leaders are considered the most important member of the Clan.
When a cat is too old or frail to continue their duties in the Clan, they retire to the elders' den. Elders are highly respected, and are known for their story-telling abilities.
They are always well-taken care of, being fed first like the kits and queens.