Yellowfang stands beside Raggedstar's body, while the cats of ShadowClan file out to sit vigil for their deceased leader. Every cat is stunned that he has died so soon. The older cats and elders are particularly shocked. Archeye comments that Raggedstar shouldn't have died so soon, that he should've served his Clan for many more seasons. Hollyflower murmurs that it is terrible to lose all nine lives at once. Brokentail stands at his father's side, saying that the WindClan cats were determined to send him to StarClan. Yellowfang struggles to focus and pads over to stand by her son. She reminds him that they must go to the Moonstone so that he can get his nine lives. He hisses that he will not leave his father's body in the cold, and that they will go tomorrow.
The gray she-cat is surprised, as she thinks that Brokentail wants to be leader. However, she complies with the tom's request, and says that StarClan will understand. As dawn approaches, the elders gather to prepare Raggedstar's body for burial. She thinks that if WindClan truly did this, there will soon be war. She hears angry voices, and sees Scorchwind, Cinderfur, Tangleburr, and Blackfoot huddling together. Cinderfur asks what they are going to do, because WindClan will see them as weak without a leader, and might attack. Tangleburr replies that it's for their new leader to decide. She is clearly angry, but is controlling her fury. Blackfoot hisses that Brokentail needs to get a move on, and Scorchwind meows that they can't let WindClan get away with this. Brokentail, who is watching his father's body, tells the tom that vengeance can wait until they have grieved. Yellowfang notes that her son is further from launching an attack on WindClan than ever. She doesn't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing.
Yellowfang walks over to the medicine catden, where Runningnose is rolling up balls of moss. He asks his mentor if Brokentail even wants to be leader, seeing as he just became deputy. She agrees that it is a big responsibility, but the dark brown tabby is not alone, and is strong enough. He needs his Clanmates to support him, and most of all he needs his mother. She leaves her den to find her son and finds him next to the mound where Raggedstar is buried. She tells him that they need to go to the Moonstone to get his nine lives. Brokentail murmurs that it's too soon, and Yellowfang insists that they cannot leave ShadowClan without a leader. He hesitates, then agrees to do this for his Clan.
They walk along the marshes of ShadowClan, but when WindClan territory comes into view, Brokentail's eyes flash with fury. He refuses to walk through WindClan to go to the Moonstone, and Yellowfang complies, but reluctantly. They walk farther up the Thunderpath near the Twolegplace. By the time they get to Highstones, darkness has fallen. The two walk down the long tunnel that leads to the shimmering stone. Yellowfang remembers her last dream, of fighting kits, and hopes that she doesn't have to see it again. Luckily, she is not greeted with bloodstained kits, but with a long strip of marsh. Now her son is not a grieving cat, but a tall, erect one. He demands to see his ancestors, and soon they see movement. Cedarstar is in the lead, with Stonetooth at his side. Other cats are there, whom Yellowfang do not recognize. It appears that only eight cats are there, until she sees that one of them is a tiny she-kit skipping along the grass.
The medicine cat is surprised that Raggedstar is not here to give a life to his son. Then she thinks that his spirit must still be traveling to StarClan. Cedarstar steps forward, and bows his head in front of Brokentail. He gives the to-be leader a life of living by the warrior code, and says that wiser cats than them have lost their way without it. Yellowfang detects a hidden threat behind that, but Brokentail doesn't show any loss of confidence as he receives the life. He doesn't look like he is in pain, other than a twitch of the eye. The gray-and-white tom backs away, and Stonetooth takes his place. The former ShadowClan deputy gives the dark brown tabby a life for duty. He tells the tom to remember what he owes his Clan as well as what his Clan owes him.
Next is Dawnstar, who previously had given Raggedstar a life. She gives Brokentail a life of honor, and says to use that honor carefully. This is the first time Brokentail shows emotion, as he closes his eyes and digs his claws into the earth. As the she-cat withdraws, he fixes her with a challenging glare. A skinny gray tom who Yellowfang does not know the name of steps forward. He gives the tom a life for truth, and tells the tabby that without it, kin will be set against kin and Clan against Clan. The gray she-cat begins to feel uneasy, because all Brokentail's lives have come with a warning. She also senses a sort of reluctance from the StarClan cats, one that she never sensed with Raggedstar's ceremony. Then the medicine cat dismisses these thoughts and thinks that Brokentail will be a great leader when he has more experience.
The next cat to come forward is Lizardfang, and Yellowfang is pleased to see that his limbs are no longer frail and his pelt thick and shiny. He gives the life of judgement, so that Brokentail may choose the right path when the time comes. The dark brown tabby does not stand still; rather, his tail and legs twitch uncontrollably. He struggles to regain control. The she-cat thinks that her son cannot stand to receive four more lives, and then she sees the next cat in line. It is her own daughter, who gives her brother a life of love for kin. She tells him that now his Clan is kin too. Brokentail bends down to receive the life, and jerks his head away, as if he has seen something he cannot bear.
The seventh cat to come forward is yet another stranger, a small tabby she-cat. She gives the ShadowClan tom a life for clear sight, so that he may choose his own destiny and the right path. Brokentail looks exhausted, yet throughout the ceremony he has not made even the slightest whimper. The next cat to give a life is a plump black-and-white tom. He gives the tabby a life for strength and says that this is the time that ShadowClan will either stand or fall, and that he must be strong. Yellowfang wonders what the cats mean, seeing as they have spoken of a divided path often. She doesn't kmow what the choices are, and if her son will make the right ones. When the to-be leader receives this life, he seems to revive a little, as if the strength is flowing in his limbs already. At last the end of the ceremony is in sight, and Yellowfang begins to relax.
Sagewhisker now steps forward to give Brokentail the last life. She gives the tom a life of compassion and to use it to care for the weakest, from the kits, to the elders, to the sickly. A spasm of pain rocks the tabby, and Yellowfang is afraid that he won't be able to stand on his paws. However, Brokentail does not fall, and now the StarClan cats cheer him by his new name, Brokenstar. He solemnly thanks his ancestors and tells them that he'll make ShadowClan the strongest and most feared. The StarClan cats begin to fade, until it's just Brokenstar and Yellowfang. The tabby says it's time to return, then snarls that it is time for vengeance.
Dark has fallen by the time they return, and Brokenstar leaps up onto the Clanrock to call a Clan meeting. He forgets a couple words, but Yellowfang is confident that her son will use the right words once he has more practice. Newtspeck emerges from the nursery with Littlekit, Brownkit, and Wetkit; however, there is no sign of Mosskit, Volekit, or Dawnkit. Brokenstar glances at their mother disapprovingly and tells her to bring them out. She starts to object, but the leader asks her if they are part of the Clan. She responds yes, and he growls for her to get them. Featherstorm looks angry, but she does not protest, and reappears with her kits.
He says that he will not rest until WindClan has been punished and ShadowClan is the most feared of all the Clans. The tabby announces that from now on, warriors will train only to fight, and that hunting is simply a waste of time. Cats will have to scrounge for food whenever they can. The Clan is silent, and in shock. Yellowfang thinks that there is some fear mixed in as well. Brokenstar continues, and says he will also appoint a deputy. He chooses Blackfoot, and the white warrior steps up to the Clanrock. He thanks Brokenstar, and says he will do his best to serve ShadowClan. All around, cats relax. Blackfoot is popular, and even though he never mentored an apprentice, there aren't any kits to apprentice anyways.
The leader declares that he now needs an apprentice, so he calls up Mosskit. Yellowfang protests that the kit isn't old enough, and her son responds that this is his decision, and they will go with it. Reluctantly, Featherstorm prods her son awake. Brokenstar announces that Mosskit, now Mosspaw, will be his apprentice from now on. Volekit is clearly jealous, and says it's not fair that his brother can be an apprentice, but he can't. Dawnkit agrees, arguing that they're just as old as he is. Brokenstar says he'll make them apprentices when they're as tall as their brother. Blackfoot will be Dawnkit's mentor, and Clawface will be Volekit's.
Upon hearing this, Volekit arches his back as if trying to be taller. Featherstorm hisses for him to stop that, because he is too young to be an apprentice and so is Mosspaw. The deputy assures her that it is a great honor, and that she should be proud. Newtspeck says nothing and sweeps her kits closer to her. Some cats still look worried, while most are not. Wolfstep comments that they don't have any apprentices, and they need to start training more cats. Flintfang says that Mosspaw is big and strong, and he'll be a good apprentice. Runningnose pads up to his mentor and says they'll need more marigold. He sounds concerned, yet resigned. He tells her that she shouldn't be troubled, because everything is going to be fine; WindClan will regret killing Raggedstar.
I give you a life to live by the warrior code. Remember it well, Brokentail, and let it be your guide. Wiser cats than you or I have lost their way without it.
I give you a life for duty. Remember what you owe to your Clan as well as what your Clan owes to you.
I give you a life for honor. Honor is expected from all cats, but most of all, from a Clan leader. Use the honor of leadership carefully.
Skinny gray tom:
I give you a life for truth. Without it, kin is set against kin, Clan against Clan. Hold fast to truth in all your dealings and let it guide your words.
I give you a life for judgement. ShadowClan stands at a place where the path ahead divides. Choose to follow the right path, for the good of the Clan.
I give you a life for love of kin. And as Clan leader, remember that every Clan cat is your kin.
Small brown tabby she-cat:
I give you a life for clear sight. Brokentail, know yourself and your destiny, but know too that destiny can be changed if you choose the right path.
Plump black and white tom:
I give you a life for strength. This is the time you and your Clan will stand or fall. You need to be stronger than ever.
Brokentail, I give you a life for compassion. Use it to shelter the weakest in your Clan, the kits and elders and the sick. Use it to show mercy to your enemies and to choose the path your paw steps will follow.