Hey all!

Here I am, back with the newest installation of 'A Guide to the Clans', with the promised chapter of Clan ceremonies, positions held within the Clan and places in camp.

As I am not allowed to upload a chapter with no story content, please forgive me for my little prelude. If you can simply not be bothered to read it, skip it. It's simply there for the sake of formalities. However, if you want to read it because it makes you laugh or something, who am I to stop you?

Previously, Snowfeather had thought that it was surely clear to all what the solution to not knowing a Clan ceremony was. Now, however, she was feeling like it wasn't quite so obvious. Maybe it was due to the sad demise of Common Sense (see her profile for the funeral speech), or maybe authors were too lazy to do the logical and, what Snowfeather thought to be the obvious, thing.

Scrolling through FanFiction archive, drinking a can of Clawke (or was it Pawpsi?), she stumbled across yet another story with an incorrect Clan ceremony, and let out a soft growl of frustration. Surely, even if authors were too lazy to go and pick up a Warriors books and look through it to find the ceremony, or didn't posses any of the books, they could still look it up on the Warriors Wikia, couldn't they?

After pausing to leave a review, stating that would the author be so kind as to include the proper ceremony words in their fanfiction, the snowy white she-cat clicked to a random chapter in the story. Upon reading it, she let out another growl. Why, oh why, couldn't authors check their work for errors? Anyone could tell that it was the 'camp entrance', not the 'clamp entrance'! And was it not common sense for a queen who was only a few sunrises away from giving birth to not go on a hunting patrol?

Closing the internet, though the errors in the story still irritated her, she opened yet another Word document, so as to inform all the readers of 'A Guide to the Clans' of the correct ceremonies, ranks, and places in a Clan.

After putting the last full stop* in place and checking her work through, Snowfeather saved her latest chapter and uploaded it onto .

It reads as follows:


Clan Positions

Though you are probably all familiar with the ranks within a Clan, let me just refresh your memories for you, so as not to progress and find that you are all completely befuddled by my waffling. Here they are:

Leader
Deputy
Medicine cat
Medicine cat apprentice
Warrior
Apprentice
Queen
Kit
Elder

Let me just remind you of the rough ages of each category.

Leader: Difficult to describe, as there is no specific age rule as to when a cat becomes leader. However, given the fact that a cat must be a warrior (see below), and must have mentored at least one apprentice, we will go by the assumption of at least 25 moons, and even that is very unlikely.

Deputy: Again, difficult to determine, but they must have trained at least one apprentice, so again, at least 25 moons. A deputy automatically becomes leader after the previous leader's death, as is decreed by StarClan. The deputy is usually the one who sends out patrols, as opposed to the leader.

Medicine Cat: From when they finish their training, and have become a full medicine cat in the eyes of StarClan, to their death (usually) or retirement (rare).

Medicine Cat Apprentice: From 6 moons until they are accepted as full medicine cats in the eyes of StarClan, which is usually around 16 - 19 moons, remaining as apprentices for 10 – 13 moons. [1]

Warrior: A cat is made a warrior after passing their warrior assessment and receiving their full warrior name. An apprentice is usually made a warrior around 14 – 17 moons, and will remain a warrior until their death, or until they become an elder. At around 65 moons, a cat will become a senior warrior, and will be, generally, treated with more respect. The leader may discuss serious matter with senior warriors, as they have the greatest amount of experience and have the most wisdom.

Apprentice: From 6 moons [2] until they pass their warrior assessment and receive their warrior name, usually around 14 – 17 moons, with the apprenticeship lasting 8 – 11 moons. [3]

Queen: Queens are she-cats who live in the nursery while expecting or nursing kits. Most cats (i.e. Sandstorm, Sorreltail, Whitewing) are only temporary inhabitants of the nursery, staying there while heavily pregnant until their kits are apprenticed, others (i.e. Daisy, Ferncloud) stay in the nursery permanently, choosing to help raise the kits of other queens and teaching them about the ways of Clan life, instead of returning to the warriors den and continuing with warrior duties.

Kit: Until apprenticed at 6 moons (see [2]), kits remain in the nursery with their mothers for the first few sunrises. After that, they explore the camp, visit the elders' den for stories and play in camp, but they are forbidden from leaving camp, though many a kit has tried to sneak away.

Elder: When a warrior is unable to continue with warrior duties, either due to age or injury, they will join the elders' den. If retiring due to old age, a warrior will retire at around 90 moons (approx. 7.5 years), though some cats carry on going until around 112 moons (approx. 9.3 years).

[1] Note: even if they have received their full medicine cat name, a medicine cat apprentice will not become the Clan's full medicine cat until the death or retirement of the previous medicine cat. There may only be two medicine cats in the Clan at any one time: one medicine cat and one apprentice.
[2] Note: Some kits may have their apprentice ceremony held back by one or two moons due to serious misbehaviour.
[3] Note:Some cats (e.g. Firestar and Greystripe) have had their warrior ceremonies at 12 moons, but this is earlier than most.


Ceremonies

There are quite a number of Clan ceremonies, but I will list them all here:

Kit to warrior apprentice
Kit to medicine cat apprentice
Warrior apprentice to warrior
Medicine cat apprentice to medicine cat
Warrior to elder
Warrior to deputy
Deputy to leader (nine lives ceremony)
Dying apprentice ceremony
Name changing ceremony

For all my examples, I use will Whitekit/paw/warrior name/etc.

Kit to warrior apprentice

Leader: Whitekit, you have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to become apprenticed. From this day on, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Whitepaw. Your mentor will be Seedfern. I hope/trust that Seedfern will pass down all she knows to you.
(Whitepaw and Seedfern touch noses as the Clan chants "Whitepaw, Whitepaw!")

Minor changes can be made, such as:
Leader: ... Seedfern, you were excellently mentored by Stormbreeze, and I expect you to pass down all you know to Whitepaw.
Leader: ... Seedfern, you mentored Sparrowflight excellently, and I know that you will do the same for young Whitepaw.
Leader: ... Seedfern, you are an excellent hunter/fighter/etc., and I trust that you will pass these skills on to Whitepaw.
Leader: ... Seedfern, you had proved yourself to be patient/kind/etc.[1], and I hope you will teach Whitepaw to be the same.


Kit to medicine cat apprentice
Part 1 (in camp):

Medicine cat: Cats of (Clan), as you know, I will not be around forever. So it's time I took an apprentice. I have chosen a cat who has shown caring/wisdom/etc. Your next medicine cat will be Whitepaw.
Leader: Whitepaw, do you accept the post of apprentice to Breezefrost?
Apprentice: I do.
Medicine cat: Then at the half-moon, you must travel to the Moostone/Moonpool to be accepted by StarClan before of the other medicine cats.
Leader: The good wishes of all the Clan/of all of (insert Clan) go with you.

Part 2 (At the Moonstone/pool):

Medicine cat: Whitepaw, is it your wish to enter the mysteries of StarClan as a medicine cat?

Apprentice: It is.

Medicine cat: Then come forward.

Medicine cat: Warriors of StarClan, I present you with this apprentice. She has chosen the path of a medicine cat. Grant her your wisdom and insight so that she may understand your ways and heal her Clan in accordance with your will.
Whitepaw apprentice touches her nose to the Moonstone or drinks from the Moonpool. Then Breezefrost and Whitepaw lie down and have a dream from StarClan.


Warrior apprentice to warrior

Leader: I, leader of (Clan), call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend her to you as a warrior in her turn.
Leader: Whitepaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and defend your Clan, even at the cost of your life?
Apprentice: I do.
Leader: Then, by the powers of StarClan, I give you your (full) warrior name. Whitepaw, from this moment on, you will be known as Whiteflower. StarClan honours your intelligence and loyalty [1], and we welcome you as a full warrior or ThunderClan.
(The leader rests her muzzle on Whiteflower's head, and Whiteflower then licks her shoulder, before the Clan chants, "Whiteflower, Whiteflower!" Whiteflower then sits a silent vigil that night, guarding the camp)


Medicine cat apprentice to medicine cat

At the Moonstone/pool

Medicine Cat: I, Breezefrost, medicine cat of (Clan), call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand the ways of a medicine cat, and with your help, she will serve her Clans for many moons.
Medicine Cat: Whitepaw, do you promise to uphold the ways of a medicine cat, to stand apart from rivalry between Clan and Clan and to protect all cats equally, even at the cost of your life?
Medicine cat apprentice: I do.
Medicine cat: Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your true name as a medicine cat. Whitepaw, from this moment you will be known as Whiteflower. StarClan honours your faith and determination, and we welcome you as a full medicine cat of (Clan).
(Breezefrost then rests his muzzle on top of Whiteflower's head, and she licks his shoulder in return. Then the medicine cats call out, "Whiteflower, Whiteflower!"


Warrior to elder

Leader: Whiteflower, is it your wish to give up the name of a warrior and to go and join the elders?
Warrior: It is.
Leader: Your Clan honours you and all the service you have given to us. I call upon StarClan to give you many moons of rest.
The Clan calls out, "Whiteflower, Whiteflower!" and Whiteflower joins the elders in their den.)


Warrior to deputy

Leader: I say these words before StarClan, so that the spirits of our ancestors/spirit of previous deputy's name (if dead) may hear and approve of my choice. The new deputy of (Clan)/(Clan)'s new deputy is Whiteflower.
(The Clan calls out, "Whiteflower, Whiteflower!")


Deputy to leader
(The deputy goes to the Moonstone/Moonpool and touches their nose to the Moonstone/drinks water from the Moonpool, before dreaming with StarClan. For a period of time, they cannot move, as the old life as being stripped away.)

Life-Giver: (touches the top of the new leader's head with their nose) With this life, I give you (gift) [2]. Use it well (stating reason for life). [3]
This is then repeated 8 more times, so the new leader has 9 lives. [4]
Previous Leader:
(After the last life has been given) I hail you by your new name, Whitestar. Your old life is no more. You have received the nine lives of a leader, and StarClan grants you the guardianship of (Clan). Defend it well; care for young and old; honour your ancestors and the traditions of the warrior code; live each life with pride and dignity.
(The StarClan cats then call, "Whitestar, Whitestar!")


Dying apprentice ceremony

Leader: I ask my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has learned the warrior code and given up her life in the service of her Clan. Let StarClan receive her as a warrior. She will be known as Whiteflower.


Name Changing Ceremony

Leader: Spirits of StarClan, you know every cat by name. I ask you now to take away the name of the cat you see before you, for it no longer stands for what she is. By my authority as Clan leader, and with the approval of our warrior ancestors, I give this cat a new name. From this moment on, she will be known as Whiteflower, for (description of reason).

[1] Note: The full list of used virtues is as follows: bravery, courage, cleverness, determination, energy, enterprise, enthusiasm, fighting skills, forethought, honesty, independence, initiative, intelligence, kindness, loyalty, patience, skill, skill in battle (battle skills), speed, spirit, strength, thoughtfulness, warmth, and wisdom.
[2]Note: Some of the gifts given are: bravery, compassion, courage, endurance, faith, forgiveness, forethought, hope, humour, judgement, justice, love, mercy, mentoring, patience, pride, respect, trust, understanding and wisdom.
[3] Note: Almost all cats will add their own personal speech, relating to their relationship with the new leader or about their own life. It is usual for the life-giving cats to mean something special to the new leader, but that is not always the case.
[4] Note: In the rare event that the previous leader does not die, but leaves the Clan (like Pinestar) or retires, the number of lives they have left are deducted from the next leader's lives.


Camp

The definition of a camp in Clan terms is:

A site where a Clan makes their permanent home.

It is where Clan cats sleep, eat, meet, bring fresh-kill, injured cats are healed, report to the Clan leader or deputy, receive orders, share tongues and have ceremonies. The elders, queens and kits stay in camp, but apprentices and warriors leave the camp for their respective duties. The Clan leader and deputy also leave the camp. The medicine cats will leave camp to go to the Moonpool, to gatherings and to gather herbs.

Location

Here are the main criteria a Clan camp has to fulfil:

It should be hard to attack and easy to defend
It must be large enough to have room for all the cats in the Clan
It must be at a safe distance from any Twoleg nests, Thunderpaths or Twoleg paths, and protected from any other dangers
It should have a nearby source of water, or even one in the camp
It must have places for a warriors' den, elders' den, apprentices' den, nursery, medicine cat den and a leader's den

It should be noted that, while WindClan cat prefer to sleep outside under the stars, even they need places to shelter in bad weather.

Camps should also have some form of natural protection against outsiders, either in the form of water, stone or plants. These barriers also shelter cats from the weather. There is one main entrance, as well as a dirtplace tunnel, at the end of which is the dirtplace. In addition to any natural defences, warriors patrol the outside and guard the camp entrance day and night.

Structure
Main Clearing

Each camp has some form of a large, open space in their camp, where cats share tongues, eat fresh-kill, talk to each other, receive orders and gather for Clan meetings. Within the clearing, there is the fresh-kill pile, where fresh-kill is deposited, as well as a place slightly higher than the ground (e.g. a large rock or the branch of a tree) where the Clan leader addresses the Clan.

Dens: Dens are where cats go to recover, rest and sleep. They are in sheltered locations with nests inside, with moss, bracken, the wool of sheep, feathers or ferns used as bedding. It is one of the jobs of an apprentice to change the bedding from the nests, and to tidy the dens up. The different dens in a Clan are:

The nursery: The den where queens and kits reside. Usually the best protected den.

The warriors' den: The den where warriors and the Clan deputy sleep. Senior warriors sleep in the middle, where it is the warmest, and younger warriors sleep on the edges.

The apprentices' den: The den shared by all of the warrior apprentices.

The medicine cat's den: The den where the medicine cat and medicine cat apprentice sleep, as well as being the place where herbs and moss are stored. There is also space for severely ill or injured cats to sleep before they can return to their own dens.

The elders' den: The den where the elders sleep and tell stories to kits, or any cat willing to listen. It is usually the second-best protested den.

The leader's den: The den where the leader lives. Usually the nicest den, this is where the leader spends his thinking time. Some leaders spend a lot of time here, reflecting in peace, while others prefer to be out and about, going on patrols with their Clan and taking more time in the running of the Clan.

Other Places in Camp

Dirtplace: The place where cats go to make dirt, reached by the dirtplace tunnel. Crowfood and bones are dumped there too.

Burial Place: A place in camp where the dead are buried, after their vigil has been sat.


*What all you Americans seem to know as a period

Snowfeather sat back and admired her handiwork. She watched the screen for a little while longer, waiting for the reviews to come in.

And that, my friends, is the end of today's chapter on Clan ceremonies, ranks and places in camp. If you enjoyed, or found this useful, please add it to your favourites or follow it!

Next up will be names and colours of pelts, and possibly something else, depending on the length of the chapter.

For now, this is goodbye until next time, but don't forget to leave a review! You can give suggestions about what I should include for this essential guide if you have any ideas.

Snowfeather, over and out.