shadowclan: "we'll beat the survival into you."
shadowclan is a tight knit community. all cats in the clan, even if not biological family, are regarded as such. cats may have stronger bonds with some more than others, but they are expected to be respectful and friendly in the least.
the downside of such a strong community is that secrets never stay secrets for long. word spreads like a wildfire, and although unsaid, it's widely assumed that a private life cannot be had at all within the confines of the territory.
shadowclan prides themselves on their strength, both physical and mental, and their survival skills. they are known to be able to
leaders are regarded as not only the figureheads of shadowclan, but also as almost parental figures. clans leaders play a large part in the life of every cat, at least up to adulthood. shadowclan leaders must be compassionate, selfless, and fiercely protective of their family.
shadowclan leaders are more involved with the life of the clan than usual. they personally observe the training of each apprentice, attend most patrols, and spend what little free time they have overseeing their clan from a cozy spot in camp, most usually their den. this has often led to an overworked rule over shadowclan across the decades, but it is always particularly awarding, if not to the leader, then to the clan. this helps the clan grow together and makes sure that no cat is left in the dust.
the loss of lives are seldom shared with anyone outside of council and the leader's family. it is regarded as bad luck if any cat outside of these circles finds out about the life count of a leader. it is said to lower morale and heighten tensions.
shadowclan camp is located down into a large split in the earth. it's a moderately steep climb to get down to camp. the edges of the ravine are surrounded by brambles and underbrush, effectively disguising the slice into the earth. the camp is designed with easy escape spots and hiding places in mind in case of an ambush, and is also quite easy to defend.
the prey pile is tucked deeply under a large stump in the middle of camp. a cat the size of an apprentice must almost fully stretch down under the stump to snag a piece of prey.
against the east wall of shadowclan camp is a large log, long hollowed and decayed, with a rough split through the middle. both sides are pressed into the soil, closer to each other than the length of the split log, forming an arch. this is not only used as a place for announcements, but it also houses the current leader. as stated before, the entire log is hollow, and the leader takes up residence near the center of the split, making it easy to spot any intruders as it is faced towards the entrance. the inside of the log is littered with faintly glowing mushrooms and moss. the log is an easy escape route too, as the top is only a few paws under the edge of the ravine, so long as you can get up without disturbing the leader within. this is popular dare with apprentices and newer warriors, but lands them all in hot water one way or another. unbeknownst to other clan members, there is a small exit inside of the log, right behind the area where leaders make their nests, hidden with padded moss. behind the moss is a small tunnel that leads out to an unknown spot in the territory before it surfaces.
the elders' den is a large half of a hollowed out log situated near the middle right of the camp. it's quite cozy, moss padded down on the bottom to provide a comfortable living space. the two entrances on either side are surrounded by a thin coverage of ferns which provide shade to those napping inside. adjacent dens are not allowed to expand within one-and-a-half tail-lengths of the elders' den.
the nursery is built into the side of the ravine in a spacious crevice in the wall. it is a roomy hollow in the side of the cliff, large enough to house four or five nursing queens at a time. the floor is covered in sand to provide a soft area for kits to scuffle in, although queens grumble about picking the grains out of their fur. nests usually have bracken and ferns covering the bottom to prevent any sand from entering. the walls are covered in small scratches and larger carved pictures of heroes vanquishing villains and opposing groups falling under shadowclan. stories have come and gone across the walls, being worn out and replaced by newer carvings over the moons. rudimentary family trees can also be carved onto them, although this is not required.
the nursery is roughly two tail-lengths above the ground, and there are plenty of routinely tested ledges to hop down to. shadowclan members make sure to grow large ferns and clovers down below in case of an accident. once a kit can prove that they can safely make their way down the wall without help, they are deemed old enough to socialize and most males are able to bury their instinctual urge to kill any kits not sired by them at that point. this usually happens around four or five moons of age. once all of a queen's kits have proved themselves, they are technically not required to stay in the nursery any longer. most queens decide to stay anyways to watch over their young though, especially if there are no other queens present.
the medicine den is located near the back of camp, inside a large, hollowed tree right in front of the opening to the deeper parts of the ravine. a light covering of ferns surround the roots to allow shade to those inside. the space between the roots are used to house patients, and extra nests are usually available. herbs are stored in the crevices in the walls of the tree, tucked in safely and securely in case a medicine cat has to swarm up the inside of the tree quickly. the medicine cats make their nests on the strongest of tree branches on the top of the tree and surrounded by leaves, save for the large opening in the top looking out upon the sky.
the warriors' den is built against the ravine near the front of camp. multiple bushes have grown out of the spot where stone meets soil, arching over to create a plant cavern of sorts. ferns are woven and draped over the bushes to allow any rain to slick right off of it. there are small cracks in the ceiling, purposefully made to allow extra air and sunlight to filter through, but can easily be plugged in case of storms. the floor of the den is covered in ferns and bracken. it needs replacing every week, so nests are dragged out to warm in the sun while apprentices work to clear out and recover the floor.
the apprentices' den is x.
in warmer months, both the warriors' and apprentices' dens are often abandoned for a larger dogpile in the middle of camp. this is because during warmer seasons, the air begins to lose it's chill, making the dens stuffy and uncomfortable. the dogpile method also helps to strengthen bonds within the clan, and is encouraged by the council. when not being dogpiled upon, most of the floor space of the ravine is bare. this space is used for clan activities or even training sessions on days with bad weather, and is also a popular spot to sunbathe.
the leaning pine is an arching pine tree in shadowclan territory. it is said that when a foolish cat tried to reach the heavens by climbing up it's trunk, starclan struck it down as a lesson to the cats below.
during battles, the fighting cats are usually split up into three groups: the fangs, the claws, and the shades.
fangs are the primary fighters during battles. this group is always sent out first to take the first hits and weaken the opposition. cats chosen for this group are usually large and bulky. they don't necessarily have to be the fastest of the bunch, but they must be able to take lots of brute force. they are usually also heavy hitters, dealing damaging hits to send their foes spinning away.
claws are usually the backup fighters of the battles. they are sent in after fangs, either as backup or to end a fight. these cats are usually a bit smaller and faster, able to weave between cats to get to bigger fights. occasionally, they will pair up with a fang to make a deadly duo. they do not have to be the strongest hitters, but they must be able to skillfully maneuver their way through the throngs of battling cats to aid their clanmates.
shades are a special category of fighters, a group only found within shadowclan. four or five of these cats are usually chosen from the more experienced pool of warriors, and are usually a skillful blend of strong and quick. they have a multitude of jobs, depending on the situation. in some instances, they are sent to scout ahead and send word across the battlefield to switch tactics. in other instances, they are instructed to single out dangerous cats and occupy them. sometimes, in special circumstances, they may be instructed to fight alongside a weaker warrior or even slip past the battle and invade camp. there are no real set criteria for shades, as it depends on the situation, but it is helpful for the cat to be able to get around easily and without being seen.
some joke (although this is not always the case) that it is impossible to escape from shadowclan. foxes and rabbits puts this to the test. two groups are made, deemed the foxes and the rabbits. a small stretch of territory is chosen as the playing field, usually marked by common landmarks, but more extreme games use the entire territory. it is the rabbits' jobs to try and get past the foxes, who start at the edge of the playing field and slowly make their way inwards. to catch a rabbit, the fox must wrestle the cat down to the ground and pin them until they give in. rabbits are required to forfeit when caught and unable to get back up. when a rabbit is caught, they automatically join the fox group and must begin hunting down the remaining rabbits. the rabbits must try and escape the chosen territory before they are caught. if all the rabbits escape, they win the match. if all rabbits are turned into foxes, the foxes win. this means that even if there is only one rabbit remaining in the game, if they escape, the rabbits take the game. this is a common skill-building game in shadowclan, since it uses stealth, strength and strategy to win the game.
apprenticeship tests very wildly from cat to cat, but they all share one similarity. they focus on the cat's greatest weakness. shadowclan prides itself on warriors with no weaknesses to hold them back, so this is a crucial steppingstone in the life on the way to adulthood. the task is usually decided by council, but on some occasions, families are involved.
on the night of no moon, a feast is held in camp for any apprentices that have finished their training. (note: lets say that lilypaw finished her apprentice training a day after the new moon. she will earn her suffix and stand vigil, but her graduation will only be fully celebrated on the night of the new moon.) they celebrate on the night of no moon to signify the coming of age of an apprentice and new beginnings. this is also a time to tell stories about the new warriors or folktales of a time long forgotten. the new warriors are often asked to demonstrate their skills to the clan. this can be shown in any way, like through storytelling, acting, or most commonly, sparring with any superior cat.
after the festivities, the new warriors are led to the cottongrass copse by their former mentors to pay respects to their ancestors. they all must scratch a mark onto the worn stump in the center of the clearing before plucking a few strands of cottongrass and returning it home to weave into their new warrior nest.
the new warriors are not bound down by any curfew in their night of transition, but it is advised that they get an adequate amount of sleep, since they will not be pardoned from any patrols.
it is said that during nights with no moons, starclan cannot view the actions of the cats below. this is a popular day in shadowclan to battle, or for cats in general to make little bits of trouble. this is also partially why apprenticeship feasts are held on these nights, since it is said that the following morning, the new warriors will be viewed by starclan as entirely new cats. on nights without planned raids or apprenticeship feasts, the camp is more heavily guarded to prevent any tricksters from wreaking havoc on the neighboring clans.
some say that whispering a secret into a leaf and burying it ensures that it will never be discovered.