"Let all cats old enough to swim gather to hear my words!" Shorestar yowled as she exited her den. Dewwhisker, Quickflash, Stream, Tawnybird, and Mothear alll followed her, whiskers twitching excitedly.
Riverpaw nudged Ripplepaw to his paws. "Get over there!" the medicine cat apprentice mewed. "You're going to be a warrior."
Ripplepaw grunted with each pawstep. "Wingfoot nearly prevented this."
"She didn't mean to be so harsh," Pinestep added from where she sat nearby, her tail neatly tucked around her paws. "You both took each other by surprise. Really, it could've been worse."
Ripplepaw weakly shrugged as he padded towards the other cats in RiverClan. He finally touched noses with Graypaw and said something quietly to her. Riverpaw watched as Havenpaw sat beside Lightningsong and Minnowfeather. Then, Strikestone caught his eye as the senior warrior took a seat beside Shorestar.
There's something going on between those two or I'm no medicine cat, Riverpaw thought.
"Today, five apprentices took and passed their warrior assessments!" Shorestar's mewed proudly. "Bluepaw, Tinypaw, Havenpaw, Graypaw, and Ripplepaw are all ready to become warriors of RiverClan. I have spoken with their mentors and the cats that they fought with during their assessments, and everyone agrees that it is time for them to be gifted their new names." Shorestar looked towards the darkening sky, only the brightest silver stars twinkling through the pink-gray clouds. The moon was faint and shaped like a claw. "Do you promise to protect your Clan, even at the cost of your lives?" Shorestar asked as she turned her gaze back to the apprentices.
"I do," all five echoed.
"Then I, Shorestar, leader of RiverClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down upon these apprentices. They have trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend them to you as warriors in their turn," the pale gray she-cat replied. "Bluepaw, from this day forward, you shall be known as Bluethorn. StarClan honors your tenacity and persistence."
"Bluethorn! Bluethorn!" the Clan called as the bluish she-cat padded up to Shorestar and licked her shoulder.
Shorestar's eyes gleamed as she continued, "Tinypaw, from this day forward, you shall be known as Tinybird. StarClan honors your ability to adapt to new surroundings and your generosity."
As the Clan cheered the she-cat's name, she, too, licked Shorestar's shoulder. Then, the tortoiseshell padded over to her mother, Quickflash and licked the warrior's cheek.
"Ripplepaw," Shorestar began again, "from this day forward, you shall be known as Ripplewhisker. StarClan honors your warmth and thoughtfullness."
Ripplepaw opened hs jaws and yowled "Ripplewhisker! Ripplewhisker!" as loud as he could. He'd been happy for Bluethorn and Tinybird, but they weren't his kin. If I had made a different choice, I'd be up there with them, he thought, but I'm satisfied with my lot in life, and it's best that I stick to it.
"Graypaw, from this day forward, you shall be known as Graystream. StarClan honors your spirit and energy."
Again, Riverpaw opened his jaws wide-- the feeling of his heart beating inside his chest was unlike any it had been before. He was so proud of his littermates; there was no other word for it than pride, and that was okay.
Silence fell once more as Shorestar stared at Havenpaw. "From now on, you shall be known as Havenwing," she mewed decisively. "StarClan honors your courage and dedication." As Havenwing, Graystream, and Ripplewhisker each licked her shoulder, and the Clan finished calling the names of all the new warriors, Shorestar yowled, "Let us welcome RiverClan's newest warriors! Tonight, we shall feast, and in three days time, we will present them to the other Clans and show them that we are stronger than ever."
Show ThunderClan that we're stronger than ever, Riverpaw thought before pushing it away. Tonight was supposed to be a fun event, not a night to be wasted thinking about battles. His littermates had just become warriors-- that needed to be celebrated.
"I know what you just thought about," Pinestep whispered in his ear. "I had the same thought, too. But let me worry about that. Let tonight be about them."
Riverpaw nodded, shaking out his fur as he pushed up against his hind legs. "I'll do my best."
"I know you will."