let’s talk about skyclan
i keep saying i’m gonna, so i might as well keep my promises.
[1.8k words, 7 minute read, well sectioned and organized because i actually made an outline before i wrote it, for once]
section one: what is skyclan
skyclan is a clan built out of rogues and loners that somehow, through some miracle, managed to stay together long enough to beome their own clan.
skyclan is presently lead by leafstar. leafstar is proud, but fair. she reminds me a lot of bluestar in the first books, actually. bluestar pre-crisis, that is.
leafstar is protective of her clan, and while she’s very good at working with others because of their rules from the gorge, she also views skyclan as a seperate entity more than most other clan cats. 
the cats of skyclan are a varied group. many first generation cats still live in skyclan, such as frecklewish and bellaleaf. tree is born from the sisters, and his son rootpaw retains their powers. violetshine is skyclan by blood, but raised in shadowclan. she’s loyal to her clan, but values her family — they were prepared to stay if things went south.
skyclan has suffered a lot of hardship. more than any other clan, they’ve delt with loss. sorry, windclan. getting evicted for a few weeks is nothing compared to being eridicated for like fifty years, clawing back together, having your population cut in half like five times, stumbling to what is claimed to be safety, only to have to continue to fight for your right to exist. and then, once you finally get settled, once things start to look normal, you’re poisoned. by your neighbors.
yeah, no one can say shit to skyclan.
but it shows. they’re united, they’re resilent, and they’re confident. they don’t feel like they should adapt when they’re different from the other clans: rather, they’re proud of it. their very existance is a big fuck you to the four leaders who kicked out cloudstar so many years ago, and beyond that, their continued existance is inspiring.
section two: ancient skyclan
alternate title: what skyclan is not
okay, i’ve not made it clear, but i…don’t care terribly much about ancient skyclan. they’re, like, thunderclan but better at jumping and even more arrogant? that’s what i’ve gotten out of them lmao.
but for the sake of being complete, ancient skyclan was a proud, strong, and somewhat isolationist group.
they were farthest from the moonstone, so they had the worst relationship with starclan, which is why it was so easy for cloudstar to say they had turned on them. they also have this highly specific skill set of leaping, much like riverclan, which makes it hard for them to adapt. 
honestly, there’s not a ton of other interesting things to say about them. i like setting folklore in the perspective of ancient skyclan because (a) i can just name the cats anything in the pattern [bird][feather, wing, flight, cry] and get a legit sounding cat, and (b) it’s a neutral perspective on all the other clans, since skyclan doesn’t have particularly strong allegiances with anyone else.
section three: leafstar
leafstar is a good leader. i mean, she has some flaws, but those go away when her deputy problem rights itself.
and consider she had almost no guidance and she had no role models, i think she figured stuff out pretty well.  we see her build a skyclan that’s fiercely loyal and dedicated to the warrior code — to the meaning of the warrior code, not the words.
the words, yes, but skyclan is a moral, fair clan. i’m pretty sure should bramblestar (may he die so squirrelstar can reign) return, skyclan is going to become the new home for wayward loners and kittypets. i mean, it already is.
but this is about leafstar. she has a tough job, but she consistently favors fairness, unity, and collaboration. she’s the one who starts the naming warriors after others, and i think it’s a desire to make sure skyclan has strong roots.
i mean, that’s her driving motivation in skyclan’s destiny.
and yes, leafstar does start as a pushover, but she’s not a pushover for the obvious reasons. she knows sharpclaw is defying her authority, and she’s not happy about it, but she’s also fighting to keep her clan from falling apart, and she understands picking a fight with her deputy will only make problems worth.
i’ll admit, i’m not caught up in skyclan content. right now, my research project is riverclan. also, i’m not sure how i feel about the mangas, and reading them is going to throw me for a bit of a loop. so i don’t want to say too much here and contradict canon in obvious ways.
but. i really do adore leafstar. she’s got a lot of grit.
section four: what makes skyclan special
not their jumping. thunderclan can jump too. don’t let the battle scene (you know the one) fool you.
skyclan is special because they exist. like, they continue to thrive no matter the circumstances.
i just. leafstar takes in twigpaw, and she’s pissed that twigpaw leaves, but she’s calm and mature about it. leopardstar could learn a lesson or two from her.
(side note: i forgot leopardstar’s background lmao ofc she’s the way she is. i knew the broad strokes from bluestar’s prophecy but still.)
anyway. yeah. their tenacity. their ability to adjust. you know, how they do the sisters ritual with tree? the fact that leafstar finds a role for tree to play to begin with?
that’s why they’re special. and i have so many ideas i’m going to try to expand on below, but that’s what makes them skyclan.
section five: life in the gorge
i’m not going to focus on this too long. i just audibly sighed like a love interest in an 1830s novel. these two things are unrelated, i just wanted you to know.
anyway, we actually have a really good image of life in the gorge. i don’t think i have much to say here. uh, leafstar leaves offerings? to starclan?
i haven’t read tree’s novella and stuff but i just read leafstar’s home for misfit and/or misguided warriors which implies that continues in their current territory because of…genocide or something?
anyway go read that fic, and read skyclan’s destiny if you want to know what skyclan life in the gorge looks like. i’m not going to say terribly much about it because although in my “aus to write one day maybe” list i do have “crow + leaf -> skyclan ???” so ig it might come up, but like i sad somewhere before now, i’m on a riverclan research and world building kick right now.
section six: names (leagcy)
okay, so i planned out the sections for this before i finished writing my more in-depth post about names. so. uh. it’s kind of a pain to renumber things.
look, there’s not that much to say here. leafstar names warriors and kits after others because it’s what she knows. why is it what she knows? i don’t know. a lot of first gen skyclan cat names are names clearly assigned to fully grown warriors (looking @ you, shortwhisker) so like. idk.
but i think when she had her leader ceremony, and when firestar did all the warrior ceremonies, she was like “right we name XYZ with ABC because of IJK” and then she doesn’t have the same contexual pool of names to pull from as the other leaders, so she takes what she knows
and it turns out that it becomes part of the culture.
section seven: prayer (offerings)
alright so. you know what nope fuck nope. it’s 1:36am. i am not writing a treatsie on how skyclan prays. that is a tomorrow deal my friends. and by tomorrow i mean a sepearte post.
section eight: culture (kittypets)
you know, i don’t like that skyclan gives up the daylight warriors think. i know why they did but it was a really good solution to a really unique problem.
i guess they don’t have the problem any more, but still. i think skyclan continues to take in refugees at a far higher rate than any other clan.
mostly because they’re chill about names. i mean, kind of? i don’t think leafstar would want to get in the habit of letting cats keep their names, but she let tree do it, so…
personally, i would have named daisy either “daisyheart” or “mallowblossom.” this has to do w my headcanons re. the prefix mallow ik it’s my blog name it’s unrelated and i’m still kinda insecure about it.
section nine: life by the lake
once they’re in the lake, i mean, skyclan is…they adapt. it’s not easy for them.
they have to give up a lot, both in terms of people they leave behind, and their way of life. it’s important to remember they had a different relatinoship with the warrior code than the other clans.
okay, i know that i’m missing info in tree’s novella and hawkwing’s journey and skyclan and the stranger so i don’t want to say too much here, because i actually think skyclan is a pretty well developed entity and i don’t want to directly contradict anything without unintentionally, so i’m going to leave this here.
although i do think that no matter what, skyclan is always going to view itself apart from the clans, at least until there are no cats who remember the gorge, or who’s parents remember the gorge, if not much longer. because, well, in a way, it’s going to be until no cat can remember a time before skyclan was at the lake until they can properly integrate.
and by then, who knows. maybe the cats will have moved on again.
section ten: closing thoughts
god i somehow rambled more and less than i thought.
i really like skyclan, but it’s going to take me a while to do anything with them because they’re low on my content consumption list ATM. please stick around, though, because i do want to do something with them. i just need to find the right vibe.
it’s probably not going to be mallowstep, tho. it’d feel kind of weird to actually put that down on paper.
: riverclan has been isolationist for so long (for literally all but one or two series) it feels like at this point i need to stop making jokes about it and start making it a thing. i mean, i did. when i write dovefeather or jaywing, riverclan is still isolationist. in dovefeather, when we get the inside perspective, it’s because they view themselves as divine. so. yeah. but even so, riverclan-who-is-isolationist is part of the broader unit. while skyclan is a newcomer. not integrated.
: this is the other reason ancient skyclan is boring, either they’re literally thunderclan 2.0 or they catch birds, birds, and more birds. i’ve gone with birds, since that explains why they struggled in the gorge with the rats (something thunderclan 2.0 should have been much better at dealing with), and because it says something about the nature of modern skyclan. at a certain point, you have to say, “this is not a reconstructionist endevoour” and it’s not, that’s because that would fail.
: firestar spent so much time saying “i’m not the leader” that like. leafstar doesn’t know if she can trust what he did.
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lessons from crookedstar’s promise
so! i just finished crookedstar’s promise, which is so good holy shit go read it. okay, my taste in super editions is kind of...questionable considering my favorite is bluestar’s prophecy, and i will fully admit, it’s not tallstar’s revenge.
but i did literally stay up reading it until 2am and my chest hurt at the end. like, i felt physical pain because of the strength of my emotions.
so, you know, i highly recommend.
(also mistykit and stonekit are so cute holy shit. why was i never exposed to them before. god. god they're so adorable. nothing is allowed to hurt them.)
but also, there is some really good information about riverclan in it. i actually started taking notes about a fifth of the way through when i realized it was more than a couple of things, so i didn’t make 20 billion little posts about it. the worldbuilding in this was so good i actually bought a shadow in riverclan.
anyway. here are my takeaways.
the typical journey to warrior does seem to be six moons. at two seperate occasions, this is mentioned. there's also some idea of four seasons to a warrior vs. six moons of apprenticeship that's called into question because of the delay in crookedpaw's training.
seasons are a canonically unit of time.
thunderclan is the only clan comfortable in the thick undergrowth. this has interesting implications about their forest. i need to figure out more about their enviornment for riverclan prey purposes, so this is a nice clue.
the rule for mates really does seem to be all warriors are equal, but apprentices are never appropriate. crookedjaw and willowpaw are appropriate placed in terms of ages, but he waits for her warrior ceremony before they become official.
graypool goes, uh, for lack of a better way to say it, out of her mind when her kits die. which, yeah, understandable. warriors redux, which is where i draw a good percentage of my world building inspiration from, has the concept of luthnai, or queen madness, where queens are driven to act dangerously out of fear for their kits. warning: this is a pretty dark/grusome subject. it's not discussed graphically but do think before reading. here is a more detailed discussion, here is where it comes up in the story. so. this is something i want to write about longer form, but i just wanted to mention it.
related, graypool is described as trying to call to her kits, so they hear her in starclan. i'll have to examine my riverclan mourning beliefs.
riverclan lifestyle/physical way of life
riverclan warriors don't all sleep in one den! now, i don't read the manga, so maybe i'm missing something, but thunderclan is constantly implying all the warriors are in one den. so this is really interesting.
riverclan's camp is a lot more dangerous than the others. they're close to the river, so they have to deal with herons on a regular basis. herons are the size of a small person, which is really interesting. it'd be like if thunderclan lives under the owl tree.
they also deal with very different enemies. they're very comfortable dealing with dogs and twolegs, and we already know how thunderclan reacts to dogs.  they have training protocols and everything for it. but i get the sense they'd struggle with badgers and foxes --- not just for lack of training, but...well, i'm not sure. i'm still trying to figure that out. 
expanding on twolegs, they train to deal with them. they have specific moves to distract them. it's very interesting --- i don't think they would get on very well with kittypets, but they deal with twolegs much better than thunderclan. (perhaps this is part of why they're less concerned than the other clans during TNP?)
ice is another riverclan unique enemy. it's also interesting because kits like to play on it. riverclan just has a very good understanding of cold. something for me to chew on as well is that all the clans have similar enemies.
they mention specifically that leopardkit likes carp, to the extent that someone tries to catch one specifically for her. but carp are like...1.5-3 feet long. that's probably bigger than her. i have a lot of questions about the biodiversity of their river/diet, but this in particular is interesting. i'll have to do some research before i make any comments.
riverclan is said to have markings too strong to stalk. this comes up in BSP too, i just never thought about it. i think it's mostly bluster, but it's still an interesting idea.
okay and this is something pretty cool. riverclan dives for fish. now, crookedstar's promise is far from the first time we've seen this, but. i don't think most people appreciate how cool it is that they do that. it's incredibly dangerous and skilled and just. yeah. that's really cool. now, in my dovefeather au specifically, one of the plot points is dovepaw being taught how to hunt. but...like, she's not going to learn to dive for fish. nah. that's for warriors.
riverclan culture/spiritual/etc stuff
willowbreeze refers to the claw moon, which seems to be the new moon, or around then. i think i'm going to work out some names for different moons based on this. i try to avoid counting for cats, and more about sequencing and patterns, so i like this.
riverclan doesn't have any ideas about aprentices and mentors going out together on the first day. admittedly, this is mostly an invention of fandom, but it's worth calling attention to anyway.
there are some new insults: minnowheart, frogheart. i intially thought this was a little more detailed than just palette swapped insults, but now i'm not sure. either way, a good detail.
apparently thunderclan's preservation of prey is unique to them. it makes sense that riverclan doesn't preserve prey, because fish doesn't keep, which is admittedly how it's initially phrased, but i would think shadowclan would preserve prey too at the least, if not windclan (although riverclan is less likely to know about that), but they specifically mention thunderclan. this could be that riverclan and thunderclan are bigger rivals from riverclan's perspective, but i still think it's interesting.
thunderclan (and presumably shadowclan) is stated to be uncomfortable in the sun. this is mostly teasing by riverclan, but it is interesting. at least in the earlier books, thunderclan isn't active around sunhigh, and in the gorge, firestar and sandstorm shift to a more real-cat schedule because of the heat.
: yes, i know that the dogs they face are especially large, and goaded by tigerstar. but they still view dogs at all as a special, rare occurance. it's not something they train specifically to deal with.
: i want to say this is because despite what thunderclan wants us to think, they seem to skew more fast than strong, but that's not enough for me.
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