“The new deputy of ShadowClan will be Rainfur.”
Rainfur’s eyes grew wide, and he stood there with shock as ShadowClan called out in protest. They all refused, and Rainfur actually agreed. He wasn’t ready to be deputy yet—not only was he only eleven moons old, he hadn’t even become a mentor!
“You must be joking!” a young tom yelled.
“That’s outrageous!” a she-cat hissed.
“You can’t do this!” yowled an elder Warrior. “He isn’t experienced! He’s only eleven moons old!”
“I understand that this is sudden and mouse-brained,” Nightstar told them, standing tall. “However, I feel that it needs to happen, only for now. He is smart, as I have figured out, and he is strong, as you have all seen. He may become a loner after the fight, and if that is the case, then I’ll let him go and choose another deputy. It’s as simple as that.”
“It’s not that easy, Nightstar,” growled the elder Warrior. “I’ve been in this Clan many moons, and not once have I seen such a foolish act. Have you no common sense? He has not yet even had an apprentice! How will StarClan react?”
“He trained me!” Sweetclaw suddenly yelled. “It may have been only a moon, but he trained me to know the ways of the Twolegs, and many other life lessons!”
“Did he teach you how hunt?” asked the elder Warrior, narrowing his eyes. “Did he teach you how to fight, or to even understand the Warrior code?” Sweetclaw shook her head, but she wasn’t afraid. She was furious.
“No, but he did give me a Warrior name,” Sweetclaw growled. “Sweetclaw is my new name.” The elder Warrior snorted with laughter.
“Oh, so did he pretend to be Rainstar of ThunderClan?” the elder Warrior hissed. “He may have given you a name, but officially, you are still an apprentice.” Sweetclaw growled lowly for warning.
“That isn’t true,” Sweetclaw hissed. “StarClan told him that they approved, and I saw it. If you want proof, go ask them.” The elder Warrior growled.
“Don’t talk about our Warrior ancestors that way!” the elder Warrior hissed. “If you claim yourself a Warrior, then you must act like one!” Sweetclaw hissed.
“Snakeheart, Sweetclaw is actually a Warrior,” Nightstar interrupted. “StarClan told me, just a half-moon ago, actually.” Snakeheart, the elder Warrior, tilting his head with confusion.
“What are you saying?” asked Snakeheart. Rainfur was surprised as well, for he was looking at the noble leader in confusion.
“Days ago, Shadowstar himself told me,” Nightstar explained, sitting on the Highrock with a proud expression. It was hiding something else, but he wasn’t lying. Nightstar was telling the truth. “He told me that Rainfur had given Sweetclaw a name, and they approved.” Snakeheart narrowed his eyes with irritation, his tail lashing.
“Fine, Sweetclaw is a Warrior,” Snakeheart hissed. “That still doesn’t prove to anyone that Rainfur is supposed to be your new deputy.”
“Actually, StarClan sent me a dream about that as well,” Nightstar told him. “Our Clan was dying, and I was the only one left, the only thing I could see was fire. A smokey figure came, and then everything was normal. Do you call that proof? StarClan told me Rainfur was going to return, and according to that dream, he will help us all.”
“Is that why you want to appoint him deputy?” asked Snakeheart. “Are you mouse-brained? Rainfur may save the Clans, but he doesn’t need to be deputy to do it!”
“Where’s the rule against it?” asked Nightstar his eyes narrowed. Rainfur could tell the noble leader was getting irritated, but usually a leader would control his emotions a bit better than this. Were Snakeheart and Nightstar related?
“He hasn’t had an apprentice!” Snakeheart pointed out. “The Warrior code clearly states—”
“We will give the Odd One an apprentice name and let Rainfur train him,” Nightstar growled. “It’s been done before, and as Sweetclaw said, Rainfur taught her well. Is there anything wrong now?” Snakeheart wanted to find an excuse, but he couldn’t, leaving Rainfur shocked. Not once in his life did he think to be deputy, let alone one in ShadowClan.
“Right then,” said Nightstar proudly, turning his attention to the rest of the Clan. “For today, Snakeheart will take over the deputy duties to let Rainfur settle in and bond with his new apprentice. Tomorrow, however, will be the day you will listen to him, understood?” There were murmurs of agreement before Nightstar nodded in dismissal while jumping off of the Highrock.
Rainfur sat there, shocked yet somehow grateful. This would move the trusting process along with ShadowClan, and the sooner he did that the sooner they’d be able to attack ThunderClan with—hopefully—RiverClan at their side. For once in his life, he was getting lucky.
Well this’ll be interesting, said Jactur. You’ve never really ordered a whole group of cats around before.
Yeah, and I was hoping I’d never have to, Rainfur hissed. I guess I’ll just have to get used to it.
“Rainfur,” said Nightstar, walking up to him. “I know that it is unfair not to give the Odd One a normal ceremony, but unfortunately, I don’t have the time. I want you to name him, to give you some bonding time. The faster you trust each other, the faster training will be.”
“You want me to name him?” asked Rainfur, clearly surprised.
“It’s not that hard,” Nightstar told him before running off toward his den. Rainfur rolled his eyes before turning around, finding the Odd One right behind him.
“Er, hi,” Rainfur murmured.
“What ridiculous name are you going to give me now?” asked the Odd One, his green eyes narrowed. Rainfur shrugged.
“I hadn’t really thought of anything,” said Rainfur truthfully. “I named Sweetclaw, but it wasn’t as hard. I guess I named Duskkit. . .I don’t know, maybe he was easier for some reason.”
“So, are you going to name me or not?” the Odd One snapped. “It seems you don’t have all year, with being the new deputy.” Rainfur narrowed his eyes, his ears pinning back to his head.
“Would you like to be called Oddpaw?” Rainfur hissed, making the Odd One roll his eyes. Rainfur thought seriously after that, trying to remember his realization. He also remembered that he was going to be training this apprentice, so he had to name him something. . .unique.
Dirtpaw? Maybe, but it sounds like a medicine cat name. Treepaw? I’ve never heard that before, but I guess it could work. Emeraldpaw? Wait, cats won’t know what that is. Plus, it sounds too girly. What about Brownpaw? Nah, too boring. Flamepaw? He’s not orange though. . .Rubblepaw? Nope. He’s not grey. Why is this so hard?
Rainfur thought for several moments before deciding on Treepaw, only he was disappointed that he couldn’t find anything better. He thought it only signified his chocolate brown coat, not the white part or his eyes. Then he thought of storms remembering that it could be any colour, really. A storm could be white, as well as brown when it tears up the ground.
Stormpaw didn’t sound like a bad name, actually, and it fit the tom’s personality perfectly. Storms were things that quenched fire, in Rainfur’s point of view, and really, the Odd One was keeping ShadowClan from exiling him again. Plus, he seemed to have a sharp attitude—which could signify the fierceness of a storm.
“Would Stormpaw be a good name?” asked Rainfur. At first the Odd One narrowed his dark green eyes with anger, but then he thought about it. After a few moments, he shrugged.
“I guess it’s better than ‘The Odd One’. . .” the small apprentice muttered, making Rainfur smile.
“Good,” said Rainfur. “You don’t have to do anything today, mainly because they let me get the day off. However, tomorrow, be prepared to get up early. I still need to organize patrols let alone find out where the territory is. You’ll be with me in the dawn patrol, understood?” Stormpaw just walked off, giving nothing in response.
Rainfur watched him leave before rolling his eyes and making his way toward the medicine den. He had a few wounds that had scabbed over, and he wanted to make sure that they weren’t infected. Usually he knew, but at the moment, his head was too full to recognize such things.
When Rainfur entered the den, he found that it was much larger than the ThunderClan medicine den. He would know, having had many injuries due to Jactur. The den seemed empty, leaving him disappointed again.
Just come back later, Jactur hissed. I’m bored!
Go get a life, Rainfur muttered, turning around.
I can’t! I’m stuck in here with boring ol’ you! Jactur pointed out. Can’t you just explore or something? It’ll help you with your hunting!
I need to stay here and rest, Rainfur growled. We’ll explore tomorrow, I promise.
But can’t you just—
“No!” Rainfur hissed aloud, unaware that he was getting angry. As he yelled this, a high pitched gasp was heard behind him, making him turn around. In front of Rainfur was a cowering little ginger she-cat, one who looked small for her age.
“Are you here to hurt me?” asked the she-cat.
“What? No!” Rainfur insisted, looking worried. “I was just—uh. . .nothing. It was nothing. I just came in here to get checked over. You see. . .I’ve been on the run for quite some time now, and with training and returning here without letting out my full ability is quite hard—”
“Full ability?” asked the she-cat, looking more curious than afraid now. “Do you mean you can be stronger than you showed us? Maybe even faster?”
“That’s what I’m thinking,” Rainfur replied, trying to figure out the she-cat. She was scared, and now she looked curious. Did she know something he didn’t?
After a few moments of silence, the small she-cat stood up and walked around him, looking at his scabbed wounds. She looked very curious as to how he got them, but she never said a word. She just looked.
“Er—what’s your name?” asked Rainfur, feeling uncomfortable with her just looking at him.
“Poppyheart,” she answered smoothly. “I’m very surprised you asked, actually. Nobody really likes me.” Rainfur faced her before sitting down, his head tilted to the side with curiosity.
“Mind my asking, but do you know why?” asked Rainfur. Poppyheart nodded.
“Nobody knows where I came from,” she replied, her head lowered. “I was six moons old when I arrived, and I was beaten and broken. I could hardly move, and I felt ready to die.” Rainfur rolled his eyes.
“I know the feeling,” he replied sourly. Poppyheart tilted her head.
“You do?” she asked curiously.
“Long story,” said Rainfur simply. “Continue with yours first.”
“Well, after I came, Nightstar told me I could stay, seeing as I didn’t remember anything but the pain,” Poppyheart explained, her head low. “Ever since then, I’ve stayed in this den, just waiting to heal physically, and mentally as well. I never did, and because I learned so much while I was in here, I became the new medicine cat after the other died. Nobody has really accepted me, though I have had a few friends.”
“Well that sounds familiar,” Rainfur muttered. “Though I guess my outcome was a bit better, wasn’t it?” Poppyheart looked at him with a confused look in her eye, as if she were surprised.
“You experienced the same as me?” asked Poppyheart. “How could that be? You couldn’t have been in that much pain and—”
“That wasn’t the point of what I just said,” Rainfur interrupted her. “Just don’t worry about it, and move on. Who cares if everyone distrusts you? Find the few cats who don’t and stick with them. It’ll help in the end.” It was quiet as Poppyheart tried to figure out what he meant. Rainfur left silently, smiling at his wisdom. Something had definitely changed when he accepted Jactur as himself, but he was still himself.