Deep gurgles of thunder shook the land. Two ThunderClan kits, Frozenkit and Lionkit, hid beside their mother's belly.

"It's all right, little ones. StarClan are just having a Gathering. Listen closely and you can hear their individual paw steps," the queen, Badgerfoot, told her kits.

Frozenkit's eyes bulged to the size of moons. "They have Gatherings there?"

Lionkit burst in. "Of course they do you stupid furball!"

"You're sister, Sweetkit, is at the Gathering, watching over us," Badgerfoot said, ignoring Lionkit's remark. "She's there with your father."

Frozenkit tilted her head. "So Sweetkit and Whitefoot are making the thunder?"

"Yes, dear kit of mine," she answered softly.

A hunting patrol just returned. Their pelts were soaked to the point where their fur was draping on their bones. Prey had been scarce, it was very cold leaf-fall, and everyone was hungry. Oakleaf, a ThunderClan warrior, had nagged to find a squirrel.