Prologue

My every pawstep was a crunch as I walked through the forest. I stepped on a stick with part of it sticking out, and it sliced into my paw. No biggie, I thought as I went to grab a cold green leaf. I got a piece of grass and licked at my wound. After the blood was gone, I put the leaf on my paw, and tied it there with the grass. It won't stay there, I thought as I walked on, But it's better than nothing.

I walked on, and saw a sparrow in a tree. I bent down, got my haunches ready, and kicked my legs to launch into the air. Thankfully, before I had jumped I made sure there was nothing under my legs that would have made a sound, so it just took a swift swipe of the claw to catch it.

After I had finished munching on my catch, I ventured into the forest a bit more. Right then and there, I noticed that my claw had been badly wrenched. I must have accidentally clawed into the bone of that sparrow, I thought. Then I realized that wasn't it at all. There was a small pebble in the pad of my paw, and I knew I had stepped on a rock. As I ventured on, I bumped into a strong, and definitely more muscular cat. He had a stern look on his face, and he locked my defiant glance. "What're you doing in my territory?" He asked.

"What're you doing in my territory?" I asked, looking at the scrawny gray cat's muscular back legs, trying to stay alert in case she tried to jump on me.

"Sorry," she said. "I was just wandering through the forest. Who are you?"

I could tell she was studying my stature and expression to see any signs of anger, and she kicked her back legs to get ready to pounce if she had to. "I'm Fallen Tree," I said. "Yours?"

"Jumper."

Must not be in a group, I thought. "Do you want to join our group?"

I could tell she was confused by the offer, and then she stared at me. "What do you mean, a group?"

I knew it. "A group is basically a group of cats, all with the same last name, but that last name is based off of the group name. We're Tree Group."

Jumper's expression suddenly became curious. "Could I really join?"

"Yeah, if you want to. If you were to join, from then on you would be called High Tree. Is that okay?"

She looked at me with a smile. "I'd be named anything and prefer it to Jumper," She said. I laughed. She laughed. The trees laughed.

"I have an announcement to make," I said, my voice ringing around the camp and echoing through the trees. "I know you all may disapprove of this choice, and I respect your opinions as you want to keep your group safe, but I'm taking in an outsider as part of the group."

Mixed meows of approval and protest rung through the camp. I flicked my tail, and there was silence. "Her name will be High Tree." The camp was filled with cheers and cats yelling out the name I had chosen. I said something to High Tree.

"Rule number one of The Rules of the Groups is to trust your leader's word." I flicked my tail to the cats who were huddled up and protesting.

"They don't tend to a lot."

"Are there other groups?" High Tree asked. I looked at her with a smirk on my face. "You're learning already!" I exclaimed. "Yes, there is one other group, called Cloud Group. There used to be four other groups, too, Sun Group, Flower Group, Grass Group, and Ice Group."

High Tree looked at me, obviously confused. "What happened to them?" I looked at her, with a hint of sadness in my eyes, but still trying to look strong. "Long ago, Hindpaw-Standers invaded our old territories. We had to find new territory in order to survive. Sadly, most of the groups didn't survive the journey."

High Tree looked in astonishment. "I used to live in a Hindpaw Territory! I never remember that!"

I looked beyond the horizon. "Like I said, High Tree, it was very long ago." I stared down at my paws. "Now ancestors of the group are scattered all around the forest." I looked at her and sighed.

"It was horrible."

"It was horrible," Fallen Tree said.

I looked up at the sky as the low, setting sun shined onto my pelt. Perhaps I can get them back, I thought.