"Let all cats old enough to fight gather here below the Fallen Boulder for a clan meeting!" Nightstar's call echoed through the camp. Nightwing's excitement made his whiskers tremble. His first apprentice! The corner of his eye, he could see Tallpoppy frantically licking down her excitable kit's pelts ready for the ceremony. Scarletpaw was sour-faced as she sat beside him, watching the same scene. "I'm like a senior apprentice." She growled under he breath. Nightwing gave her an affectionate butt.
"It wont be long now." He assured her. Sharpstare was clawing bedding into the nursery across the camp, her bulging belly apparent. Blinded by his greif for Pebblepaw and Falcontalon, Nightwing had hardly noticed what had occured in camp. Snowstripe padded forward, giving his ear a swift lick. "I'm so proud of you, my little warrior." She purred. Nightwing batted her away gently, purring loudly. But Snowstripe's usually sleek fur was shabby-looking, sticking out in all directions as though she had lost the will to look after herself. Her eyes were dull, and her bone clear through her skin. With a pang, Nightwing realised just how old his mother was. It wouldn't be too long before she joined the elders den. "Brightkit, come forward." Nightstar's voice broke through his thoughts, and Nightstar watched a small light brown tabby she-cat with a white under belly and bright green eyes pad forward timidly. "Brightkit, you have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to be apprenticed. From this day on, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Brightpaw. Savagestep, you taught Whitethroat well the way of the warrior code, and how to be a proud and honorable ShadowClan warrior. I expect you to pass on all the same skills to this apprentice." Savagestep touched noses gently with Brightpaw, his eyes glimmering with apprehension before the two of them stepped aside. "Seakit, come forward." Nightstar invited. Next to come forward was a small white she-cat with grey paws and tipped-tail. One eye shone blue, while the other was green. She was as timid as her sister. Would this be Nightwing's apprentice? "Seakit, you have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to be apprenticed. From this day on, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Seapaw. Browntail, you are a brave young warrior, and it is time you took on your first apprentice. I expect you to pass on all you know to Seapaw." The two cats touched noses.
"You're doing fine." Browntail whispered encouragingly. They moved away to the side, and Nightstar called the last kit forward.
"Wolfkit, you have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to be apprenticed. From this day on, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known a Wolfpaw. Nightwing, you are a powerful young warrior, and a credit to your clan. It is time you also took on your first apprentice. I expect you to pass on all you know to Wolfpaw." Every hair on Nightwing's pelt shivered as he stepped forward. The apprentice that met him had dark grey fur and bright blue eyes. Confidently, he reached forward to touch noses with Nightwing.
"Brightpaw! Seapaw! Wolfpaw!" The clearing erupted into cheering for the new apprentices as the meeting came to a close.
"Nightwing!" Browntail pushed his way through the crowd and stopped infront of the black tom. "Me and Savagestep are taking Brightpaw and Seapaw to explore the territory. Do you want to bring Wolfpaw?"
"Sure!" Excited, Nightwing gathered up his apprentice and left camp, forgetting to say anything to Scarletpaw.
The moon was raising into the black sky when Nightwing made his way back towards camp. Wolfpaw was much more confident than his sisters. He was the first to explore every inch of the territory, always acting as a protector for Seapaw and Brightpaw. Nightwing made a note to take him out alone tomorrow. He couldn't afford to favouritise his sisters. Protecting them could unwillingly put him in danger. "Take your share from the fresh-kill pile and get some sleep. Its been a long day." Nightwing nodded to his apprentice, who aknowledged his words with a nod of the head. Nightwing slipped into the warriors den.
"Wolfpaw, stop trying to overpower me. It won't work, I'm twice your size!" Nightwing growled, stepping off of his dusty apprentice. The young grey tom lept to his paws and dropped into a crouch again, lashing his tail in fustration. Nightwing slowly began stalking around the smaller cat. This time, when he lept at him, Wolfpaw slid nimly to the side. Nightwing landed on the dusty hollow ground and turned, lashing out at him with a sheathed forepaw. Wolfpaw ducked under the extended paw and shot forward, batting his paws at his mentor's chest. His large grey paws were clumsy, and with the both extended, Nightwing was able to knock out his hind legs and drop him. Holding back fustration, the black tom dropped into a sitting position, licking a forepaw and swiping it over his ear. Wolfpaw was young, and this was only his second battle training. But he was a slow learner, refusing tantic to act on instinct and his size. The dark furred tom shook himself, digging his claws into the ground. "If Nightstar hadn't given me one the best fighters in the Clan as a mentor, I wouldn't be finding this so difficult!" He snapped, short-tempered. Nightwing's ear twiched with interest. Best fighters? That was a little far-fetched. "You think our enemies are going to go easy on you because your an apprentice? When the battle with ThunderClan, they will tare you apart if you dont-" The dark grey tom's gaze was into the tree-line. His slumped shoulders showed he was paying no attention. Nightwing lept to his paws and bowled the young tom over. He rolled him onto his back, exposing his soft underbelly. He pressed a forepaw to his apprentice's throat, while poising his hindlegs against his underbelly. "Pay attention!" He roared, baring his teeth in a furious grow in the younger tom's face. Wolfpaw's eyes widened with fear and he wriggled feebly under Nightwing's weight.
"I'm sorry!" He puffed. Guilt washing over his, the black tom stepped away from him.
"This training session is over. Back to camp."
The roaring of a flooding stream rang in Nightwing's ears as he sat at the bank. ThunderClan and RiverClan scents were strong in the air. He was aware that he was dreaming, as Sagewhisker was crouched infront of him, drinking water from the stream. "Why are we here? I'm not bound to come here when I'm awake." Nightwing mewed, confused. This wasn't a border of ShadowClans. Sagewhisker stood slowly wading into the water, flicking her tail for Nightwing to follow. Reluctantly, he did. She sighed deeply, turning to face him. "When the kin of your kin learns to own the Night, a river of blood will drown the forest." She whispered the prophecy Daggerclaw had been given, many moons ago. It had been a long time since he heard it, and the words made him shiver. The water around him grew hot and sticky. He looked down to let out a yowl of horror. The water rushing away from him had turned to dark crimson blood. The tide of the river began to rise, and Nightwing's paws were held to the ground. He screeched in horror and the dark, stinking substance climbed up his neck and began to cover his muzzle. "Sagewhisker!" But the starry she-cat had vanished. He could only hear her voice. "And when the Night is conqured, no star will shine in the black sky."