“We change as the water does; if a stone falls before us, we flow around it with ease, if a mountain stands before us, we do not falter or end, instead we carve a path for ourselves through the stone. We do not fear the storms in life, instead we feel blessed by the rain that gives us strength and swiftness as it does the river. We are not just the grace of water on a calm day, but the unseen and underestimated ferocity of the current moving underneath.” - Icestar
Known for their grace and aesthetic beauty, RiverClan carries themselves with the same flexibility and flow of the water that is its lifeblood. They attempt to maintain an image of elegance and fluidity, and take pride in their ability to create unique paths around a crisis. It is a hope that they will carve a path that will linger until the stars themselves burn out, and are resourceful and pliable enough to find a way.
Other Clans favor the appeal of their maintained and shiny pelts, and some find them aesthetically pleasing for their sleek bodies and poise -- but this is muddied with the reputation of RiverClan being lazy and well-fed during the warm months, or even snobbish during times of political strife. Their neighbors find the idea of just sitting and waiting for prey to come into your grasp as a do-nothing and lax task, as most have to physically work to bring down a kill instead of waiting to pluck a slimy fish out of the water. Some carry the idea that RiverClan is pampered and lives easily due to the limited bodily strain involved with fishing.
Though not a rule, most of RiverClan keeps an oily and shiny pelt as a result of their diet. It seems to glisten in the sun and holds tight against their bodies, allowing them to paddle through the water without being weighed down by soaked fur. Those with bloodlines linking back to the old homelands may see a frequency in silver, gray and blue pelts; however, there is a large amount of diversity within colors and hues, as they require little natural camouflage for fishing.
Those with longer limbs and slimmer frames carry a natural advantage, as a graceful and slender physique makes it easier to pose without casting a large shadow over the water, and while these shapes are the norm for long RiverClan ancestry, it is not uncommon to see frames of all shapes and sizes. A hidden strength in the limbs and webbed paws are commonplace, as swimming against currents to cross the river builds lean muscle for any devoted water cat. There is also truth to the notion that cats seem to carry more weight or plump up by the time mid Leaf-Fall comes; the increase in their fatty diet gives them the mass needed to survive until thaw without becoming frail.
[RiverClan Camp as pictured above. Click here to see a bigger version!]
The river is the artery that carries the lifeblood of this Clan, flowing wide and easy along the edges of their territory. Most of RiverClan territory is blocked off from its neighbors by the water, and lined with small trees rooting in sandy and pebbled earth.
TREE BRIDGE - Named for the old oak that has toppled over the river, it is a mossy pathway to cross toward ThunderClan's bank without swimming. The log is always slick due to the algae that clings to its surface, kept damp by the spitting waters passing underneath. One side has the pebbles and reeds of the water Clan, the other the blooms of ferns and dense trees of their woodland neighbor. During times of flood, the Tree Bridge becomes incredibly unsafe to cross, leaving RiverClan cut off from the others.
FISHING ROCKS - Along the banks upstream, there is the visible peaks of large stones jutting out and over the surface of the water. The flat tops of these rocks provide a great perch to watch the rivers for the shimmering scales of fish working their way downstream. During sunhigh, the shadow of a patient warrior never casts directly over the water, making it a favorite vantage point. It is also more shallow here, allowing it to be a useful place to teach apprentices to fish without fear they will end up over their heads should their balance falter.
OVER STONES - The gem of RiverClan territory is the waterfall. The Over Stones crown the top, slippery ledges to watch the river tumble down in a low roar and continue its journey beneath. This place is loud and slicked with water, but the banks are dappled with a few precious herbs and the occasional large fish desperately trying to swim upstream and avoid being tossed over the approaching falls. The stones are slippery, and are to be walked carefully; losing your balance could send you toppling over the side, and depending on how you fall, it will be unlikely that the water will cushion your impact.
MISTY BANKS - The bottom of the falls, the misty banks are aptly named as they are constantly being sprayed in the glittering vapors of the water splashing into the pools. It is loud here, but yet somehow ethereal, as it is nice to watch the sunlight catching the mist in streaks of rainbow. Warriors sometimes utilize this place to grab stunned fish after they tumble over the side of the falls, and also as a means to stay cool while patrolling in the summer months.
SANDY CLEARING - True to its name, the Sandy Clearing is a wide open and flat playing field of soft earth and clays. It is walled by the occasional sprig of water reeds or rush, and provides a suitable place for apprentices to practice battle training without worrying about obstacles while performing more complicated maneuvers, or while wrestling wildly over the ground.
The most frequent meals for RiverClan are aquatic in nature. The fresh-kill pile is always coated in shimmering scales and their pelts are kept glossy and water-resistant as a result.
Fish are the most commonplace. Smaller freshwater fish are always spotted between a hungry warrior’s paws in times of thaw and running water; these include bluegill, grayling, bloater and shad. Minnows and pupfish are often used as snacks or treats, especially when maintaining energy during hours on the Fishing Rocks.
Larger freshwater fish are also common for a seasoned warrior who has cultivated a strong grasp and a finessed technique - bass, trout, perch, large carp and the infrequent sucker fish are not unusual on the fresh-kill pile. However, the larger the fish, the easier to miscalculate and be dragged into the river by one too heavy to catch alone.
Predator fish are less frequent due to both their size and their mouthfuls of teeth, and can even pose danger when fishing. These include eels and lamprey, whose slender snake-like bodies are easy to slip through even a skilled pair of paws, along with catfish and larger forms of trout and bass. Paddlefish are not a threat to a warrior in anything but their size, and can drag a cat down with their weight in a panic - so these fish are often left to be killed by a patrol.
Birds are also frequent, especially species drawn toward the waters. Waterfowl are the most common, such as ducks, loons, coots and grebes. Less commonly a warrior may be seen awkwardly dragging a goose back into camp, or a patrol carrying a swan or cormorant that they hunted as a group. Shore birds like plovers and sandpipers peck at the pebbles and shallows, while kingfishers, gulls and blackbirds may skim the surface for small fish or insects.
Snacks like crayfish, mollusks and eggs are also commonplace. However, be wary of what nest you are stealing from, because a large crane or heron bearing down on a lone warrior with a beak as sharp as it is precise is a very poor way to end up in the healer’s den, or worse, held under the water in its grasp and drowned. Geese and swans will also aggressively defend their young, and hiss as loud as any warrior - but their size makes them a more manageable opponent.
During the winter months, RiverClan relies on ground prey - this includes vole, shrew, field mouse and muskrat. However, the freeze chases most into their underground burrows for their long sleep, and so the water Clan must grow stocky on fish to avoid starving during Leafbare.
The plants that thrive on RiverClan soil are those that are drawn to the water, and those that enjoy full sun and sandy earth to root into. The most lush plants, and a variety outside of their usual, take hold in the patches where the sand and clay turn into rich dirt, close to their borders.
Sweet sedge is the most frequent, and endures through the cruelest of winter moons like rush. And while the territory is not known for its trees, they are the only Clan with a rich supply of willow bark and leaves - and there are a few alders further up the riverbanks who keep their bark no matter the cold. They also provide some extra resources like sticks, moss and ivy.
There are a few flowering herbs that pop up, dappling the territory in freckles of color. These include the more common; like borage, celandine and chamomile. Daisies, marigolds and lavender seem to enjoy the sandy soil, and feverfew and coltsfoot grows in bushels alongside the water. Because of the falls, the damp soil makes a home for watermint and mallow.
There are also a collection of shrubby bush and leafy plants too, that either enjoy the harsh sun of the deeper parts of the territory, or the sandy-pebbled soil. These include berry bushes like blackberries, raspberries, and winterberries. Fennel, goatweed, horsetail, and thyme dot the territory in a variety of locations, along with ragweed and lovage. Root plants like burdock and comfrey are less common, but can be sniffed out near the falls.
Toxic plants like water hemlock and meadow saffron also thrive in this territory, so be careful when picking flowers to bring home for the queens.
RiverClan finds themselves somewhat lucky that a river full of fish keeps many predators or threatening animals unbothered by the warriors patrolling downstream. During times of drought or an illness plaguing their food source leaves them more of an open target, along with the desperation of hunger in the winter months.
Large predatory fish will usually not kill a cat outright - though they can easily swallow a kitten who got swept under the current - but instead the threat comes from their rows of sharp teeth and ability to drown a warrior who miscalculated or grew too bold while fishing. This includes pike and walleye - but the most frightful are the massive and rare shadows of sturgeon and muskies, who can easily pull even a large warrior down into the bottoms of the river. Pikes and muskies both are capable of nasty bites, and may brazenly attempt to grab at smaller cats swimming across the current.
Birds of prey are extremely common, though they are usually more interested in grasping at the shadows under the water instead of a cat with claws and teeth, unless fish have grown limited and their bellies twist with hunger. This includes eagles, falcons, kestrels and hawks; but the most famous and beautiful of them is the osprey, who seems to calculate its catch moments before it folds its wings and completely disappears under the water entirely.
Wading birds can and will put up a fight if they find it necessary, if they or their young are threatened or cornered. This includes herons and cranes - both are a magnificent beast with a large wingspan, its beak is sharp enough to easily harpoon a fat fish with ease, so piercing a zealous warrior is not out of its realm. The smaller the cat facing down a heron, the higher the chance that cat will not return to camp without aid, as a heron can and will hold a warrior or apprentice under the water until the struggle ends, as a tactic it often utilizes with ground prey.
It is a relief that otters are not as frequent, along with beavers, but evidence of them in the territory fills any RiverClan cat with a stone of dread heavy in their stomach. They refuse to let them nest long enough to have young, or in the case of beavers: build a dam and dry up the river, and will assemble a large patrol to chase them out. Otters and beavers are aggressive, territorial and more than glad to kill a cat of any size, especially when guarding their offspring. A mature river otter can easily overpower a few cats even while fighting alone, and is a serious threat that requires strategy and ferocity to drive out.
Water snakes do not often bite unless they feel threatened, and often prefer to flee from a cat walking towards them. Cottonmouths, also known as the water moccasin, is the most common - and any RiverClan cat knows its appearance well enough to respect its space and allow it an easy escape. It also helps remove certain insects and pests from the territory, and rarely bites unless it feels it is necessary. However, copperheads and rattlesnakes also are known to swim, and sometimes enjoy basking on the smooth stones during sunhigh - copperheads tend to freeze when approached by a threat, in hopes its camouflage will keep it hidden, which is how unfortunate warriors tend to get bitten by stepping on them in the reeds.
Less Common: Bobcat, canines (fox, coyote, wolf), venomous spiders, mustelids (badgers and fishers)
Icestar was known for her beautiful pearly-white coat, like a silvery pelt of untouched snow, and her unusually long and billowy tail. Her one ashen foot stood out starkly, much like the dark freckle near her berry-pink nose. The leader’s two-toned eyes always seemed to peer down at any cat, regardless of difference in height, one blue and one green to set her apart. She was as regal as she was pretty, always carrying herself with an authoritative elegance and flowing gait. She was rather withdrawn and quiet, to the point of appearing cold to outsiders, and was even aloof with her own peers. Though never unkind, she died a tightly-locked box, with nobody having known much about her, even in her closest circles. Icestar was intelligent and strategic, and handled herself with tactful and precise diplomacy when it best served RiverClan. She preferred her own company, usually retreating to be alone, and her stoicism prevented anyone from understanding her feelings or opinions on anything. Her death was at the hands of the water she loved, sacrificing her last lives to save kits that got swept downstream during a flood; this last act showing RiverClan her true character and her deep love for her Clan. (she/her)
Twitchtail was a tall and slim tomcat with a noticeable strength in his muscled limbs, with a focus in his teal-blue eyes. He had a charcoal-black pelt with distinct smears of white across his face, toes and chest - and most notably, his snow-colored tail that bent awkwardly at the halfway point. The tomcat was emotionally intelligent in a way much unlike his leader - he was a good balance to her aloof personality. The deputy was very easy to get along with, and his demeanor always seemed to inspire confidence and morale within RiverClan regardless of the crisis they faced. He was stable and consistent, but brought the charisma that made even those outside of their borders view him as a brotherly and sturdy figure to rely on; there was always an emptiness when he could not attend Gatherings. Twitchtail never met a stranger. He is still alive, choosing to retire when his age started slowing him down during patrol. He now spends his day telling stories to kittens that visit him in the Elder’s Den. (he/him)
Fallingflake was a small cat blotched with gray and white patches. His name came from the flecks that sat only on the darker dapples on his body, reminding others of snowflakes on a gray winter sky. He had large blue-gray eyes, and was unable to hide the emotions he was feeling through them. The medicine cat was very meek, a skittish and timid type that preferred the company of the herbs that could not judge him. Highly intelligent but also anxious, it was not hard to make Fallingflake nearly jump out of his skin or start stumbling over his words; no matter how easily startled, he had no equal in his knowledge of more unique illnesses and injuries, and had a niche for diagnosing and solving new problems that arose within RiverClan. He was found in his nest one misty morning, curled into a tight ball - he had died peacefully in his sleep, seemingly having succumbed to the strange pain he had mentioned in his side. (he/him)
Mistyspring was a pretty blue-gray medicine cat with silvery accents as unique as her sterling eyes. She was a beloved healer, having created a new cure in the face of a foreign illness plaguing RiverClan in their new territory and saving many lives. Upon returning from the Moonlit Pond one humid evening, she collapsed suddenly in the middle of camp and did not get back up. The abruptness of her death caused ripples and rumors through a grieving RiverClan; the fact she fell only moments after returning from the holy place created an idea that the stars had struck her down, and snowballed into many being angry with StarClan and revoking their faith. It was soon after that Mistyspring appeared in her apprentice’s dream to grant him his full name, Fallingflake, and explain to him the truth. The healer, despite her youth, was hiding a bad heart for many moons, and the long walk in the summer heat had been too much a strain on her. She helped Fallingflake heal the hurt in RiverClan and convince them to forgive their ancestors for her untimely death. She is the most common figure seen in dreams and visions, usually coming to provide advice or encouragement for struggling healers or leaders. She was succeeded by Fallingflake. (she/her)
Rainstar was a dark-bluish tomcat with smokey indigo markings and gray-blue eyes. Elders talk often about him in his prime - his head high and his stare always fixed on the horizon and not on his past. They mentioned he had once been a very troubled cat in his youth, marked with scars on his legs from anxious overgrooming, but went on to be a noble leader that RiverClan was proud of. However, as he aged it became clear that he was slowly starting to lose his mental stability. He became paranoid, occasionally hostile and somewhat neurotic - likely growing senile and confused. They basically held his paws to get him to their new home, giving him the joy that he had led them to a better future he always dreamed of. He became plagued by bad dreams and often wandered away from camp and into the wilds like he had lost his sense of direction. When he succumbed to the stomach illness sweeping through the rivers, his Clan mourned him, but were glad he was free from the torment he seemed to be in daily. He was succeeded by Icestar. (he/him)
Leaders: Foggystar, Reedstar, Graystar, Herringstar
Deputies: Elmbranch, Stormscreech, Tadpoletail, Bluestream, Daisyheart
Medicine Cats: Littleberry, Storksong, Troutfin, Gillcloud
0-2 Moons Ago: Icestar loses her last lives saving a queen's kits who had gotten swept up in a flood during thaw. As the youngest of the leaders in the territories, her death came as a great tragedy for all Clans.
2-4 Moons Ago: Fallingflake passes in his sleep, found curled up peacefully in his nest. It seemed he succumbed to the worsening pain in his side that he mentioned briefly moons prior.
4-6 Moons Ago: Twitchtail retires graciously in his old age, no longer able to keep up with patrols like he could in his prime.
6-8 Moons Ago: A RiverClan patrol is separated from their Clan after a flash flood when a warm day causes the ice to melt. ThunderClan takes them in, and RiverClan is grateful when their cats are returned safely and well-fed.
8-10 Moons Ago: Several litters are born after a plentiful Leaf-Fall. Mentors have to double up on apprentices.
80-100 Moons Ago: Fallingflake meets his late mentor, Mistyspring, in a dream where she reveals that she had been hiding a bad heart for moons and that StarClan was not at fault for her death. RiverClan shakily accepts this and forgives their ancestors.
100-110 Moons Ago: Mistyspring dies shortly after returning from a trip to the StarClan place, leaving a strange hatred toward StarClan rippling through the Clan for a few moons. Many blamed the stars for her untimely end.
110-120 Moons Ago: Many cats become ill with a stomach sickness as they tried to adjust to the new types of fish in the river, Rainstar loses his last life to the illness and is succeeded by Icestar.
120-122 Moons Ago: Rainstar leads the journey. RiverClan arrives in their new territory and finds a perfect place for their camp.