Mudpelt's Warrior Ceremony
Mudhoof woke up, his fur tingling with excitement. Today was the day he would be made a warrior! He was now two years old, the age when all apprentices were made into warriors. He looked around the den and saw Goosehoof resting with his eyes half closed. Goosehoof was the only other apprentice besides Mudhoof. Toadnose and Splashstream had been made into warriors. Silverstream was pregnant with another foal, and Mudhoof was happy for her. He would have a new sister or brother. Minnowmane had moved to the elders' den and Silverpool had died of old age.
Mudhoof looked down at his coat and saw it was dusty from the training he had done with Ottertail earlier that day; he had been so tired he had fallen asleep. I'll go down to the river to clean up, he decided.
He trotted down the bank to the gently flowing river. He didn't hesitate when he got there; he trotted straight in and started swimming strongly. This is my specialty, he thought with exhilaration. Mudhoof splashed out of the water and shook himself. Water sprayed everywhere.
"Hey," he heard some horse squeal.
He turned around to see Mistyfur standing next to him. He whickered a greeting and pressed his muzzle against hers.
"I can't believe you're becoming a warrior today," Mistyfur neighed excitedly. "Congratulations!"
"Thanks," Mudhoof whickered. "But I'd better go; Reedstar will kill me if I'm late."
He trotted back to the camp where he met Swanhoof and Waterpearl.
"Good luck," Swanhoof neighed.
"I'm so proud of you," Waterpearl whinnied.
Mudhoof touched muzzles with them both, and then pricked his ears as he heard Reedstar's neigh.
"Let all the members of WaterHerd gather here beneath the Grasshill for a Herd meeting," Reedstar neighed.
When the Herd had settled, Reedstar began. "Mudhoof, step forward."
Mudhoof stepped forward, pushing out his chest and staring straight forward with his head high.
"Mudhoof has reached the age of two years. He is ready to become a warrior. Ottertail, do you agree that this apprentice deserves to become a warrior?"
Ottertail stepped forward and looked at Mudhoof proudly. "I do."
"Then Mudhoof, I now name you Mudpelt by the will of StarHerd. WaterHerd honors your strength and courage."
Reedstar walked down the Grasshill and touched noses with Mudpelt.
As soon as he stepped away, Mudpelt heard his Herdmates all neighing,"Mudpelt! Mudpelt!"
Swanhoof, Waterpearl, a slightly pregnant Silverstream, Ottertail, and Toadnose came forward. And then he saw Mistyfur, looking on with eyes full of love and joy. He walked up to her and touched muzzles with her.
"Congratulations," she whickered.
Toadnose came over and nudged him. "You're finally a warrior! Now we can be denmates again."
Swanhoof walked up to him, her eyes sparkling. Medicine horses didn't necessarily receive their name when they were two, only when their mentor deemed it was necessary. Mudpelt hoped that Swanhoof would receive her full name soon; Mosswings had been getting very stiff and had some white hairs around her muzzle.
"Congratulations," she neighed. "You deserve it!"
"Thanks, Swanhoof," he whinnied, breaking off when he heard Ottertail call his name.
"I've got to go," he neighed, touching muzzles one more time with Swanhoof.
He trotted up to where Ottertail was sitting in the middle of the camp
"Congratulations," she neighed.
"Thanks for everything, Ottertail. You were a great mentor," Mudpelt replied.
Ottertail looked down, embarrassed. "Well you know you must stand vigil tonight. You will guard the camp and reflect on what it means to be a warrior."
Mudpelt nodded. He turned his head to see Reedstar walking over. Mudpelt nodded respectfully.
"The sun is setting. It is time for you to start your vigil," Reedstar neighed. "You cannot speak until sunrise."
Mudpelt nodded, and Reedstar and Ottertail walked away. He watched Goosehoof walk into the apprentice's den and saw Silverstream disappear into the nursery. The warriors in the middle of the camp settled into their places.
Mudpelt looked at the stars and listened to the river roaring by. He felt a thrill of satisfaction. This moment was what he had worked for all his life and it had finally happened. I am a warrior!