Sort of inspired by @fuuka ; [altias]
's Tribe fan-system, I've gathered my extensive thoughts on how BloodClan's system of living worked.
Foreward on sources:
There are three main sources we have on BloodClan life in the books. Barley's exposition on it in The Darkest Hour and Secrets of the Clans, The Rise of Scourge as a book, and to a lesser extent the information given on Russetfur and Boulder's lives as shown in Yellowfang's Secret and Tallstar's Revenge.
These sources give us a basic timeline. Scourge entered the twolegplace as a kit at the time Tigerstar was an apprentice in ThunderClan. Scourge's story of rising to power is given briefly in The Rise of Scourge, shown as a progression from just being a notorious cat in the region to a practical dictator. During this time we know of two cats who for sure knew who Scourge was and left BloodClan; Boulder and Barley.
What's significant about Boulder is what we know of his and Russetfur (then Red)'s life in twolegplace directly contradicts what Barley explains about BloodClan. Barley, as a BloodClan cat, was not allowed to live in groups past kithood, and his sister was nearly murdered because Barley chose to live with her. However, Boulder, as a twolegplace cat, lived in a small group with Red, Jay, Marmalade, and Pixie. Jay served as a pseudo-leader of this group, as shown in Tallstar's Revenge when he encounters this group.
My theory about this contradiction is that Red and Boulder defected from BloodClan at an early stage of its development. Late enough that Boulder knew who Scourge was and was able to point Tigerstar to where he lived, but early enough that enforcement of isolated living was not widespread. It's shown that Boulder and Red especially lived at the very edge of twolegplace, close enough to ShadowClan that they occasionally hunted there.
Barley, then, lived much more deep in twolegplace, and I assume was younger than Red and Boulder. He grew up under Scourge's rule, and must have defected not terribly long before the events of Into the Wild (though, long enough before the events that Bluestar would already be familiar with who he was)
So, the main thing to take away from that is that Scourge's rule was, I theorize, very centralized and only spread slowly across all of twolegplace, and was not as well reinforced at the edges.
With that explained, I'll get into more of my fan theories on how BloodClan worked as a society.
i. Founding and Rise of BloodClan
iv. Rulesi. Founding and Rise of BloodClan
Scourge gained some notoriety after he first defeated a dog in twolegplace, which is when his name started being spread among the cats in the region. But his true power didn't come until he killed the one rogue. When his name spread some cats started to look up to him as a leader figure, but other than giving advice to cats who would ask it, he didn't have much power. After that event, more cats came than he could care to talk to, so he had Bone and Brick chase off those he didn't care for. With that, the beginning structure of BloodClan was formed.
Then cats began to challenge Scourge. Secretly, Scourge didn't know much how to fight, so when the first cat challenged him it became clear to him he had to learn. He continued the tradition he'd started with his first fight; fighting directly to the death. Soon cats looked to be closer to him, and he established the Guards. Once he had that system, he was able to enforce any rules he decided to enact on Twolegplace, and the Bloodclan that Barley grew up in and knew was born. The next sections are based on BloodClan society at this time, at its height. ii. Rankings Guard:
Scourge never had a specific deputy, as he was a leader who never intended to fall. The next rank down from Scourge was Guard, essentially the only organized rank in BloodClan society.
Bone and Brick were the first guards, and other cats soon joined their rank. Guards first have to show off their fighting skills to Scourge to show that they are worthy to be part of his guard. Then an older Guard will give them half a moon of fighting instructions and teach them how to enforce Scourge's rules, and then the Guard will have to perform their first official duty, either taking out a traitor or taking out a nuisance, if a stray dog wandered into Scourge's territory or the like. This would get them the first tooth to their collar, making them official Guards. Only Guards had the BloodClan signature collars with teeth. Commoner:
Most cats in BloodClan. Their only contribution to BloodClan necessary was following the rules. Cats were generally free to live completely apart from Scourge, but only Guards were allowed to live in groups, and only Guards were guaranteed meals either by Scourge's grace or by the strength to take them by force.Mothers:
Mothers are allowed to live with their mate for the last moon of pregnancy and first two moons after birth, but then the couples must live separately again. Kits can live with their mother until they have reached one year of age, at which point they must either become isolated commoners or seek to be a Guard. iii. Names
Mothers are allowed to name their kits almost anything they want, though they generally stay in the loner tradition of simple, single-word names. Guards, when they complete their initiation, are given a new name, usually something more sinister than their original name, to distance them from their previous life and any family members they may have that remain non-Guards.iv. Rules
There were not many specific rules that governed BloodClan life, but the ones that existed were essential to guaranteeing Scourge's time in power and keeping uprisings from reaching him.
1. Cats must live in isolation if they are not new Mothers, kits under a year old, or Guards. This kept cats who wished to live socially in a position where Scourge could monitor them, and kept cats who might want to defeat him isolated.
2. Every battle is a battle to the death. Letting an opponent go alive was seen as weakness by BloodClan cats, and Guards were primarily trained to battle by going for the fastest killing blow. This kept the rampant population down and guaranteed the victor they would not face more resistance by that cat later. It also kept cats from being able to band together against Scourge, as the punishment for disloyalty would be death, invariably.
3. Commoners must always defer to a Guard's orders, even if that is giving up their own meal to the Guard. This kept Guards fitter and gave them a much easier life than commoners, making cats more eager to have the taste of power that was getting to Scourge's inner circle.
Aaand that's about all I have right now! It's late, I might remember and add more later. So basically this theory would have Russetfur and Boulder bailing around the time BloodClan was starting to spread to their region-- They'd have heard of Scourge and know that fights are supposed to be to the death, making them all the more surprised and respectful of the Clan's way of battle, which Russetfur emphasizes when she joins ShadowClan in Yellowfang's Secret
If anyone has a source where I could see how much time passes through the Super Edition books so I can more accurately judge how long Bloodclan was in power and how far along it might be when Russetfur and Boulder defected, and when Boulder may have defected, that would be awesome, by the way!