First was Antkit, the confident one, with his head high and eyes bright with eagerness. His brother, Berrykit, padded behind him, his eyes wide as well though looking more awed than eager and possibly a little intimidated.
Their sire chuckled a little as they approached him at the center of camp. Once they were before him, Stonestar lifted his voice.
"Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather here, at the center of camp, for a clan meeting."
For a moment there was an increase in the buzz of chatter from his clanmates, but it quickly died out.
"Antkit, come forward." Stonestar's deep voice rumbled.
The fearless tom padded forward.
"Antkit," Stonestar said as he had been taught, "you are now six moons old and it is time to begin your apprenticeship. From now on, until you have earned your warrior name, you shall be known as Antpaw."
Silence greeted this first new apprentice as every cat held their breath to find out who would be the first mentor.
"Mintfang," Stonestar called to his deputy, "you are ready for your first apprentice. You are a loyal and intelligent warrior as well as my deputy. I hope that you will pass on these traits to your apprentice."
Mintfang proudly padded forward and touched nosed with her new apprentice among murmurs of approval. Everyone was for this choice.
"Berrykit," Stonestar continued, turning to his other kit, "you too are ready for apprenticeship. From this day forward until you have earned your name as a warrior, you shall be known as Berrypaw. And I shall be your mentor."
There wasn't much surprise in the eyes of his clanmates at his second choice of mentor; nor was there any jealousy. The clan was too tightly knit to be petty in this matter.
As Stonestar touched noses with Berrypaw, it suddenly hit him. These, his sons, were the very first apprentices in the history of Earthclan. A history which was stretch into the future beyond the age of the star cats who had visited him according to the prophecy given him.
Without thinking, Stonestar parted his jaws.
"Berrypaw!" he yowled in triumph, "Antpaw!"
"Berrypaw! Antpaw!" his clan echoed with mirrored pride and joy.
And so, the first apprentices of the tri-clans were established.