"Maybe some of us should travel toward the place where the sun rises, to make a new home in the brightest light of all. Somewhere they will be safe, and well fed, with room to nurture generations of kits."
«As they stood looking out across the land beyond, the sun broke above the far horizon, flooding the landscape below them with golden light and stretching its warm rays right up to their paws. We have reached the end of the sun trail! He looked down into the pool of sunlight and saw empty expanses of grass, broken by patches of dense woodland that would offer shelter. A winding river reflected in the sunlight.»
—Gray Wing's thoughts as they arrive at the end of the sun trail The Sun Trail, page 176
The early settlers originated from the mountains, which at the time were overcrowded and many cats were starving. A large group of cats choose to follow Shaded Moss, who was appointed leader of the group, out of the mountains after the Teller of the Pointed Stones received a sign that they should follow a trail set by the rising of the sun to a new land.Gray Wing, Clear Sky, and Tall Shadow were among these cats. The journeying cats decided to head for the land beyond the distant peaks. Shaded Moss led the cats out of the mountains, albeit with Bright Stream's death but before they reach the forest territories, he was killed on a Thunderpath, and Tall Shadow took charge after his death.
The cats arrived to the forest territories after one moon of journeying and settled on the moor. A half moon after their arrival, they split into two camps with one led by Clear Sky in the forest and the other remaining in the moor under Tall Shadow's leadership. Eventually Gray Wing led the moor cats, followed by a coleadership between him and Tall Shadow, and eventually Tall Shadow and Thunder. After a great battle involving both groups, the spirits of their fallen kin rose and informed them to unite or die. They also urged the living cats to grow and spread like the Blazing Star. Eventually, Wind Runner left Tall Shadow's group to live elsewhere on the moor, and the moor cats befriend a strange tom named River Ripple who formed a group by the river. Following a great sickness and One Eye'sdefeat, Tall Shadow's group, urged by the mysterious spirit cats' message to grow and spread, decided to resettle into the current groups with Tall Shadow deciding to live in the pine forest and Thunder setting up a camp elsewhere in the forest. On his deathbed, Gray Wing proposed the idea of naming the five camps "Clans" and named them each with his kits, an idea which was quickly adopted by the newly formed Clans.
Tall Shadow's camp
"But there are flowers growing there, and trees. I loved the misty air. It felt special, somehow. As if it was a secret place, just inviting me to explore it. I can't explain it. I felt at home."
The early settlers originally settled on the moor in a shallow hollow lined with gorge bushes under Tall Shadow's leadership. After Clear Sky's group broke off, Tall Shadow's group resettled into another hollow on the moor with interconnected tunnels to carve out dens. This group came to be known as the moor cats.
Tall Shadow's pragmatic and overly cautious leadership irked some of her campmates and others begin to call for Gray Wing to lead them instead. Following a fire that resulted in her brother Moon Shadow's death, Tall Shadow stepped down to grieve and Gray Wing became leader of the moor cats. However, Gray Wing developed asthma following the fire and he grew too weak to properly lead. Gray Wing and Tall Shadow became co-leaders then. After the first battle, Gray Wing stepped down and Thunder took leadership alongside Tall Shadow. Tall Shadow felt a calling to the pine forest, and others began to grow unsettled by living on the moor with the cold weather. The group casted stones again to decide where to live, with the cats splitting up between the pine forest with Tall Shadow, the forest with Clear Sky, and besides the river with River Ripple. Tall Shadow's moor camp was then abandoned by the moor cats.
Tall Shadow led her new group to settle in the pine forest. When Slash and his cats threatened the groups, Tall Shadow's group was the first to implement individual training pairs between young cats and more experienced members. When Gray Wing decided to name the groups Clans, White Tail named Tall Shadow's group ShadowClan after their leader. After Tall Shadow received her nine lives, she was renamed Shadowstar.
Clear Sky's camp
Gray Wing: "Come down! You're not a squirrel!"
Clear Sky: "There's no reason cats can't live in the trees."
—Gray Wing and Clear Sky while climbing treesThe Sun Trail, page 197
A portion of the journeying cats split off to form the forest group under Clear Sky's leadership, preferring to hunt in the forest than on the moor. This group eventually became known as the forest cats.
Clear Sky allowed the local rogues to join his group and began enforcing boundaries to protect his territory. His group was also the first to coin the term "camp" for their home. Due to his fear of losing those he loves, Clear Sky began aggressively expanding and defending his territory from outsiders, including the moor cats, and wasn't afraid to resort to violence. His group ranked members of the camp according to their worth, place, and reputation with Clear Sky, instead of family ties and personal relationships. Those who couldn't contribute to the group were exiled. After the first battle and One Eye commandeering his group, Clear Sky learned from this mistake and gained a much softer and caring leadership style, though it was not smooth enough to keep Thunder in his group. When Gray Wing decided to name the groups Clans, he named Clear Sky's group SkyClan after his brother's determined gaze towards the horizon. After Clear Sky received nine lives, he was renamed Skystar.
River Ripple's camp
"I don't live in either camp. But any cat is welcome to come with me to my island home."
River Ripple lived by the river for moons before the mountain cats arrived. He was originally from a group called the Cats of the Park, though he was exiled when Twolegs destroyed his home. Ripple dedicated his life to the river that saved him and renamed himself River Ripple. River Ripple assisted the moor and forest cats in escaping a fire and earned their trust with his patience and wisdom. River Ripple lived alone, though frequently hunted in the area with Night. After witnessing the massacre at the first battle, the spirit cats encouraged the other leaders to listen to River Ripple's wisdom, and he was usually the first to decipher the spirit cats' messages. He created an open invitation for cats to join him on his island by the river, and warmly welcomed those who enjoyed swimming. When the groups took in former members of Slash's group of rogues, River Ripple suggested a formal ceremony for the newcomers to swear oaths of loyalty to their new homes. When Gray Wing decided to name the groups Clans, Black Ear named River Ripple's group RiverClan after its leader. After River Ripple received his nine lives, he was renamed Riverstar.
Wind Runner's camp
"Okay, maybe now I'm making a home for my family. But I'm doing something that's more than wandering around like a rogue cat, without a real home or friends. I've learned a lot from living with others, and now I want to put that to use here. The hollow and the forest aren't the only places a group of cats could live."
Wind and her mateGorse lived on the moor before the mountain cats arrived. They befriended Gray Wing and taught him how to hunt rabbits on the moor and explore the tunnels thaw crawled beneath the land. The pair grow curious of the moor cats and their unified group, and requested to join them, though it took some time for Tall Shadow to trust them and fulfil their request. Wind was renamed Wind Runner to assimilate with the moor cats. Wind Runner quickly demonstrated leadership capabilities, and cats began to suspect if she wanted to lead the moor cats. Wind Runner and her family left Tall Shadow's camp after the death of her kits Emberkit and Morning Whisker. Instead of leaving as a rogue, Wind Runner decided to use what she learned about the value of a strong and supportive group to create her own. She settled her camp near the middle of the moor in a shallow hollow. While initially wary of strangers, Wind Runner opened her home to others once she learned to trust them. When Gray Wing decided to name the groups Clans, he named Wind Runner's group WindClan after its leader. After Wind Runner received her nine lives, she was renamed Windstar.
"You're right. Cats should only be here if they want to be. So I should leave. [...] I won't disturb you, or hunt near your camp. I'll live somewhere else in the forest—but I can't be a part of your group anymore."
Thunder was born in the new land to Storm and Clear Sky, though his father disowned him and Thunder was raised by Gray Wing on the moor. Despite living on the moor, Thunder's heart belonged in the forest. Thunder joined his father in the forest after proving his courage and leadership during the fire. However, Thunder left Clear Sky's group after witnessing his father's cruelty towards cats he deemed as weak. Thunder earned leadership of the moor cats alongside Tall Shadow following the first battle, but chose to rejoin his father in the forest when Tall Shadow's group split. However, Thunder grew frustrated with his father's irrational orders and he decided to form his own group in the forest away from his father. Several members of Clear Sky's group joined him, urged by Thunder's compassion and dedication to others. His group settled in a sandy ravine in the forest. When Gray Wing decided to name the groups Clans, Silver Stripe named Thunder's group ThunderClan after its leader. After Thunder received his nine lives, he was renamed Thunderstar.
Tall Shadow's camp
Tall Shadow's groups settled in three different camps: two on the moor and one in the pine forest. The traveling cats first settled in a shallow hollow on the moor lined with gorse bushes and small rocks. A pool of brown water lied in the bottom of the hollow.
The group later relocated to another hollow with tunnels connecting to it. The moor cats used the tunnels to travel across the moor and dug out dens to sleep in. The new hollow was also lined with heather, brambles on one side, and gorse bushes throughout that cats slept under. Nursing cats often slept in carved out dens along the hollow, or underneath the brambles. In the sandy clearing there are rocks On the far end of the camp is a large rock used to hold meetings by the leaders.Cloud Spots and Dappled Pelt stored herbs underneath a gorse bush lined with heather. Tall Shadow originally led the group until she stepped down following her brother's death and others questioning her leadership. Gray Wing took her place. However, he stepped down to co-lead with Tall Shadow following his persistent coughing. Following the first battle, Thunder and Tall Shadow led the moor cats. This second camp is not the WindClan camp as Wind Runner eventually created her camp elsewhere.
Tall Shadow later led a group to the pine forest, where the future ShadowClan reside. It lies in the heart of the forest between two thick brambles walls and the cats weaved the brambles to surround the whole clearing. The entrance is through a bramble tunnel. They make their dens by hollowing out a den under a bramble bush, and weave stems into the bush to strengthen it. Their nests are made of twigs lined with moss. The cats store their prey by the bramble wall.Pebble Heart stores his herbs in a bramble den at the far end of the camp.
Clear Sky's camp
Clear Sky's camp is located in the forest, where the future SkyClan camp lies. It is a sheltered hollow in the middle of the forest surrounded by deep banks of fern and bramble. To exit and enter the camp, cats must go through a bramble opening. There is a steep bank edging one side of the clearing with the tangled roots of an oak on the opposite side. A smooth rock juts out of one side of the clearing. An elder bush, a holly bush, ferns and a low-spreading yew serve as dens in the camp. Clear Sky's nest is in a hollow on the slope, but he tends to sit in the branches of the oak. The cats make their nests out of twigs lined with moss. A shallow pool in the center is where the cats drink from. There are two prey heaps; one at the roots of the oak, and the other on an edge of the clearing. Clear Sky addresses the group from a tree stump.
River Ripple's camp
River Ripple's camp lies on a well-drained island on the river, where the future RiverClan reside. Reeds and bushes surround the camp, and all the dens are made of reeds. The island is situated in a basin in the river. To get there one must swim through a small canal or cross the stepping stones. The reeds open up onto where the clearing dips into the river.
Wind Runner's camp
Wind Runner's camp is located near the center of the moor, hidden between the dips, and located where the future WindClan camp lies. It is surrounded by thick gorse, heather, and a narrow tunnel leads into the camp. A tall boulder lies at the head of the camp. The cats make their dens by weaving heather stems into the gorse along the edges of the camp.Reed stores his herbs in his den and the edge of the camp wall that he shares with his mate Minnow.
Thunder's camp is located at the bottom of a sandy ravine, where the future ThunderClan camp lies. The clearing is ringed by bracken, brambles, and trees. The cliff walls are steep but cats can climb down using ledges. The clearing is surrounded by gorse with a gorse tunnel leading to the camp. A large smooth boulder lies on a wide grass circled clearing. A fallen tree crowded by bracken is situated on the edge of the clearing. Dens are created using brambles and among the bracken and underneath hazel bushes. Cloud Spots's den is in a fern tunnel that leads to a small clearing in the bracken next to the boulder.