The inside of the nursery felt stuffy and dry from the Greenleaf heat that beat down on the land which Muleclan lived. Mulekit sat in the nest next to the warmth of his mother’s belly and his snoring sister, Sandkit. The young tom’s eyes scanned the low dimmed den for signs of anything interesting. He was becoming very restless within the den; his mother was over protective and hadn’t even allowed her kits, who were now 2 moons old, out of the Nursery. The fluffy little dark tabby stood, arched his back in a stretch, and slowly slinked out of the nest, ears alert for any sign of his mother waking up.
Mulekit sat at the nursery entrance, pushing his nose out past the log wall and thorn branches to smell the fresh air in the camp clearing. Slowly he placed one paw out of the nursery then the next; he paused and glanced around the camp. He had seen glimpses here and there from holes in the nursery wall but never the entire camp and it seemed huge for a small kit that had only known the inside of the nursery walls. The camp seemed to be almost lifeless due to the hot sun that burned down. Mulekit saw a few cats here and there sleeping in the cool shade of the back of a giant red rock wall in the back of the camp. Mulekit looked at it in amazement, without realizing it his small little brown paws were trotting across the soft dirt ground of the camp’s clearing towards the rock wall. He ignored the eyes he could feel watching him as he plopped his little but down, stood on his back legs, and glanced up the towering wall. Mulekit’s tail twitched as he breathed out in amazement, “wow!”
“It is amazing isn’t it?” A soft meow came from overhead and Mulekit looked to see a dark ginger tabby with pelt draped over the tall muscular frame that was known as Timberstar. The kit’s awe turned from the rock wall to the clan’s leader. He’d only seen Timberstar a few times but never actually met the leader.
“Come young one, I will show you the camp.” He grinned down at Mulekit who felt his heart pound with excitement. “We are at the back of the camp. Let us start from the front of the camp and work our way back.”
The ginger tom placed his plumed tail on the young kit leading him away from the rock wall. The two walked across the clearing to a stream that ran across the soft ground. Water plants lined the side of it and some jagged stones poked up out of the shimmering water. Beyond that water was a giant fallen oak tree. The tree’s branches stretched out in all directions and it looked almost impossible for a cat of any size to get over it.
“That there is the camp’s entrance. It is completely hidden to everyone except those who know where to look,” meowed Timberstar “try and see if you can see it.” Mulekit focused his eyes on the tree scanning every little detail of it but still could not see it. It wasn’t till a head popped up and a cat slipped into camp did he see the little tunnel that went under the fallen tree. He didn’t say a word but it was obvious to Timberstar that the he now knew where the entrance was.
“Remember to not be distracted when you enter camp or you might just fall face first into the stream. Now come over here.” Timberstar led the way over to the right side of the camp where bushes over flowed over the oak tree, across the stream, and over to help the right camp wall. The bushes were massive and overgrown with branches that twisted in all directions. The branches looked as if they were woven together to help create a more secure barrier. As small section of the branches were parted to help form an entrance.
“That there is the warrior’s den. It is the biggest den within the clan even with all of our warriors inside there is plenty of room. Not too far down from the warrior’s den your little eyes might be able to see another entrance very similar to this one. That is the apprentice’s den.”
“Do the apprentices share a den with warriors?” Mulekit asked as he tilted his head confused.
“No little one, they do not. Rocks and branches separate the two dens. But we keep the apprentices close to the warriors so they can be monitored and molded into the future fighters they are.”
“I can’t wait to become an apprentice. I am going to be the best there fighter ever!” Mulekit gave a squeaky growl as he attacked a shriveled leaf.
“All in due time young one. Now come, since you already know what the nursery looks like I’ll take you to see the elder’s den and then the medicine cat’s den.” Timberstar nudged the kit to follow him past the bushes back to the rock wall.
“There is the elder’s den. It is the smallest den within the clan because Muleclan does not have a lot of elders if any at all.” Timberstar pointed out the log that sat next to the nursery. He had always wondered what was on the other side of the log and now he knew. It was the elder’s den.
Timberstar kept walking till he came to the rock wall again and looked up . “We call this rock wall The Blackbird’s perch. When your grandfather and his brothers came to this territory a blackbird brought them here to this wall. The bird’s nest was high above the camp and was an alarm to the cats that were very fearful at that time. The offspring of that blackbird now lives high in that nest and warns us of any danger.”
“Good morning Timberstar! Goodmorning Mulekit.” A golden tabby head poked out of a small bush that sat at the bottom of Blackbird’s Perch. Mulekit automatically recognized the medicine cat, Lionleaf. “I see we finally escaped the nursery.” She purred looking down at Mulekit.
“Yes, I was just giving our soon to be apprentice a tour of camp. I must get back to my duties, would you mind showing him around the rest of camp?”
“Of course, I’d love to! Maybe I can inspire him to be a medicine cat one day.” Lionleaf’s hazel eyes lit up with excitement as she waved her tail beckoning Mulekit over to the small bush. The bush was has thick and mangled looking as those that formed the warrior and apprentice dens. It was a more peaceful bush with a sweet sent and blackberries all over the branches. Once inside the lighting was warm as the sun seeped through the branches. There were a few nests made inside the den and herbs of all sorts stored in the rock wall cracks.
“Do you sleep in here?” Mulekit asked.
“No, this is the Sick Den. In order to keep the rest of the clan cats from sick myself included I have a den specific for cats that are sick or injured. I also keep majority of my herbs and medicines in here that way I don’t have to run back and forth. I love being in here.” Lionleaf meowed as she busied herself with cleaning up some herbs she had laid out in the sunlight.
“Well where do you sleep?”
“Come, you might find this cool.” Lionleaf trotted out of the Sick Den. She led the way over to a crack in the Blackbird’s Perch. “My den and Timberstar’s den is in there. It is a cave. Would you like to see inside?” Mulekit quickly nodded in response and slipped into the den. At first it was completely black till his eyes began to adjust. The cave was a long, narrow hall with a high ceiling of thorn like spikes hanging down. The cave at the back seemed to split off in two directions. One tunnel led off to a little den decorated with herbs. The smell of catmint and lavender pooled out of the den and it was obvious even to an unexperienced kit that that was definitely Lionleaf’s sleeping den. He shifted his gaze to the other side of the cave to where a ledge sat above them.
“That ledge leads to the leader’s den. The only way to get up there is to jump. Only a few cats are allowed up there.” Lionleaf explained. “One day that will be your den.”
Mulekit tilted his head confused at the medicine cat’s words. He pondered on it for a moment but it quickly left his mind when his young kitten attention was drawn away by the angry call of his mother outside of the den. “Uh-oh…” Mulekit dropped his tail and slinked out of the cave to find his angry mother with her tail all puffed up. She scolded him all the way back to the left side of camp where the nursery could be found next to the elder’s den. Now that he knew what it was like outside of the nursery he wasn’t thrilled to enter the bush with bark walls that he had lived in for the last 2 moons.