The names of the Ancients are all two word constructions, relating to nature and often describing the cat's appearance as well (such as Fallen Leaves or Dove's Wing). The names of Ancients do not change throughout time, unlike that of Clan cats.
Except for Jayfeather, who has dreams about them and travels back in time to interact with them, it is not known if the Clans know of the existence of the Ancients. The Ancients have further ties to the Clans, as a group of cats left the Tribe that the Ancients became and went on to form the Clans.
The Ancients had a leader, but they could step down from their position whenever they wanted, and name their successor. Knowledge of herbs was shared between a few cats, and each cat hunted for themselves, unlike the Clans. If there was enough food, the elders could have it. However, at some point before the cats had scattered and they had still been Tribes, they had been lead by an appointed Healer, that both lead the Tribe and held knowledge of herbs. Only if prey was left over would it be given to a different cat.Rock was an ancient Healer who was cursed with knowledge and living forever, and lived solely in the tunnels, part of the Ancient Tribe, and still lives today.
The majority of the Ancient Tribes were made up by sharpclaws; the equivalent of Clan warriors. Young cats training to be sharpclaws were called softpaws, similar to apprentices), and were also given a tutor. When a softpaw was ready to become a sharpclaw, they had to undergo a rite of passage: to go down in a network of deep tunnels and find their way out. Those who found their way out passed the test and were promoted to sharpclaws; while those who got lost eventually perished. Rock, an old, hairless, cat, watched over the cats that entered the tunnels. He marked which cats survived and which died on a stick.  Younger cats are considered softpaws until they have more experience.
No medicine cat or healer was appointed among The Ancients, but every cat learned about healing herbs in order to assist each other when needed.
Like the Clans, young cats are called kits, she-cats expecting or nursing kits are called queens, and retired sharpclaws are called elders.
The casting of stones
The casting of stones was a process unique to the Ancients and the Ancient Tribe. The Casting of Stones was a process where all the cats would gather to make a decision. The Tribe leader would draw a circle on a patch of earth, and divide it into two segments. Then, all the cats would choose a smooth, round stone, and push it into the segment which represented their choice.
For example, in Long Shadows, the casting of stones was to decide whether to go to the mountains or not. One side represented "go" and one represented "stay". Each cat pushed a stone what they wanted to do: go or stay. Eventually, "go" won out with Jayfeather casting the deciding vote and the cats became the Tribe of Rushing Water.
The ancient Tribe is once again going through a hard winter in the mountains when Lion's Roar approaches Stoneteller, telling her about how his mother had told him stories about the lake that they had lived by. Half Moon responds that she is the only cat left in the Tribe that remembers the lake, and when she asks, Lion's Roar says that he mentioned it as he believes that something must be done about the cold and hunger, and that perhaps Jay's Wing had been wrong about the mountains being the place for them. Half Moon responds that Jay's Wing had to be right, but receives a vision telling her that some of the cats would have to leave and find new territory. These cats that would leave would go on to the forest territories and form the Clans.
The Ancients are mentioned again when the Tribe casts stones as to whether or not they should allow any of the cats to leave the mountains, saying how casting the stones had decided whether the cats would leave the lake.
After the first battle Thunder asks his mother Storm if the spirit cats reappeared to the cats in the clearing to show the living cats that death is not the end. Storm retorts that he must already know that, he had already heard tales about Stoneteller sharing tongues with the ancients. Storm asks if he really thought that Stoneteller thought she imagined those cats.
Jaypaw finds a stick that Rock, an Ancient Healer, used to keep track of softpaws who went into the tunnels, marking if they survived or not. Later, Jaypaw dreams of following a softpaw named Fallen Leaves as he journeys through the tunnels to become a sharpclaw. However, the tunnels are flooded because of rain and Fallen Leaves is trapped inside and drowns.
When Jaypaw is sent back in time as Jay's Wing, he emerges from the tunnels as a sharpclaw about a moon after Fallen Leaves drowns in them. He spends a few days living with them and discovers that they are worried about Twolegs and their monsters digging up the land around the lake. The cats also view Fallen Leaves' death as a bad omen and many are discontent with living by the lake.
Stone Song overhears Jaypaw describing the mountains to a couple other cats, and thinks it sounds like the perfect place to live. He asks if Jaypaw would show them the way there. The Ancients argue about whether or not to leave, and decide by casting stones, with Jaypaw casting the last stone for them to leave as he realizes that the cats would go on to become the Tribe of Rushing Water and leave the lake for the Clans. Furled Bracken steps down from leader after the stones are cast and counted to be in favor of the leaving side. Stone Song takes his place and that cats prepare to leave. Jaypaw wants to stay and help them reach the mountains, but Rock sends the ThunderClan apprentice back to his time.
Jayfeather travels back in time again, as Jay's Wing, and appears when the cats have just arrived at the mountains. Half Moon is the first to notice and speak with him, and are both astonished to see each other, Half Moon says that she thought that he didn't want to travel with them anymore, but Jayfeather replies that he was scared at first, but decided to return. Their conversation is cut off when Jayfeather spots Stone Song speaking to the other cats.
When all of the cats see him again, he repeats that he changed his mind and returned to them, but many aren't convinced and Half Moon seems to be the happiest that he is back. Stone Song does not seemed convinced that the mountains are the right place for them, and Jayfeather tries to teach the cats how to hunt. A patrol leaves the cave, but just as Jayfeather misses a shrew, an eagle attacks the cats. It is about to take Chasing Clouds away, but they manage to save him. Jayfeather is buried in the snow afterwards as their fight triggers the snow above them to become lose. They are safely dug out, and Jayfeather treats their injuries, although he becomes frustrated when trying to explain a hunting technique to the discouraged Ancient. He heads off to the Cave of Pointed Stones and Half Moon follows him; she is amazed by the cavern.
Later, the cats give Jayfeather's hunting a try, with him acting as bait. They successfully fight off a large bird and their spirits lift as they head back to the cave. Rock appears to Jayfeather and explains to him that Half Moon's destiny is to become the first Stoneteller. Jayfeather tries to persuade the old tom to let him stay with the Ancients, but Rock refuses and disappears.
Soon after, Jayfeather tries to tell Half Moon her destiny, but she grows angry, telling Jayfeather that if he didn't want to be with her he should just tell her. As they are arguing, Shy Fawn begins to kit and both cats go to help. Shy Fawn's kits are delivered safely, and Jayfeather notices that one of them, Lion's Roar, looks a lot like Jayfeather's own brother, Lionblaze. Jayfeather realizes that Dove's Wing, Jay's Wing, and Lion's Roar are past incarnations of Dovewing, himself, and Lionblaze.
After Shy Fawn kits, Jayfeather tells Half Moon of her destiny again. This time she accepts and Jayfeather performs a ceremony, appointed Half Moon as Teller of the Pointed Stones. Half Moon protests that she doesn't want to be the cat's leader, and Jayfeather responds that she should call herself a Healer. The cats part and Jayfeather is sent back to the present.
In the prologue some of the Ancients meet with Midnight, Rock, Bluestar, and Spottedleaf to discuss the impending battle between the Dark Forest and the Clans. During the battle with the Dark Forest, the ancients appear along with Midnight in the ShadowClan camp to help defend the camp, against their Dark Forest enemies.
While talking about the Moonpool, Rock says that there had once been three Tribes, his kin, living by the lake, that had scattered long before the Clans had arrived. They used the Moonpool to meet with the other Healers, who were both leaders and medicine cats of their respective Tribes. They would drink from the pool and wait for visions to appear, and Rock also reveals that the ancient pawprints in the spiraling stone path belonged to them.
Vicky has stated that the Ancients went to the Tribe of Endless Hunting at their death.
Vicky will keep in mind about writing an e-book about the Ancients.