|"It was all foretold. You could not help what you did. It had to be that way. I forgive you Clear Sky, and now, you must forgive yourself."|
|— Quiet Rain about Clear Sky's actions in A Forest Divided, page 302|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twenty two of A Forest Divided. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 22 (of 25)
- Page Numbers: 298-303
- Thunder's mew jerks Clear Sky awake, and he lifts his head, blinking at his son. He realizes it's still night, and moonlight filters through the trees, being reflected in Thunder's amber eyes. The pale gray tom stiffens, asking why he woke him, his voice low, as to not disturb Star Flower. Thunder mentions that Pebble Heart sent him, since Quiet Rain is worse. Clear Sky gets up quickly, and hops from his nest, causing his sleeping mate to stir, but not wake up. His ginger tabby son nods to the bramble den, saying he's going to wake Jagged Peak now, and pads off.
- Clear Sky opens his jaws, and tastes the air. The stone tang of ice had faded, and musty forest smells bathe his tongue; a thaw set in, and melting snow drips from above. He heads through the slush, and into Pebble Heart's den, and the young gray tom is waiting for him. His eyes glitter with sadness, and his voice cracks as he mentions Quiet Rain's wounds. Numbness creeps up Clear Sky's gray paws, and he is unable to feel damp air or taste the pine-rich forest smells. The gray leader knows his mother is dying, but he has trouble on going to see her.
- Then, Star Flower appears, trekking through the snow, and brushes his flank with hers. He turns, and locks gazes with his mate, staring into her green eyes, and her breath warms his nose. Clear Sky's eyes close briefly, heart pounding with dread, before entering the den, blinking. Gray Wing turns as he enters, and he is crouching next to Quiet Rain's nest. He speaks, telling his brother that Pebble Heart gave her herbs to ease the pain, but isn't sure if she can hear them. The dark-furred rogue's mew trembles, and Clear Sky gazes at his speckled mother. Quiet Rain is just a scrap of fur in her nest, and he remembers how lively she'd been, even in the mountains, where prey was scarce.
- Now, the old she-cat lay limp, her energy drained to the very last drop. Her sides tremble with each breath, and her muzzle is crusty, eyes closed, which look as wet as fresh wounds. Gray Wing leans closer, informing her of Clear Sky's presence, since she asked for him. The forest cat stiffens when his dying mother groans, and watches as she opens her blue eyes, talking. The pale gray cat tries to keep his grief out of his tone, but is confused when Quiet Rain refers to him as her friend. Then, she appears to be talking with Shaded Moss, alarming the brothers.
- Jagged Peak pushes his way into the den, sliding in beside Gray Wing, asking of her condition. Clear Sky tells him of her talking to Shaded Moss, and the tabby's fur ripples, questioning if she knows they're here. Gray Wing's shoulders droop; Quiet Rain fixes her stare on Clear Sky, repeating Shaded Moss' name once more, saddening the forest cat. He swallows, fighting the urge to run from the den. The old gray she-cat has to catch her breath, stating the journey ends now, and then her ears twitch, like she's struggling to hear. Then Quiet Rain's brow furrows, asking why she's to forgive Clear Sky, since he killed cats, and chased his kin away.
- The broad-shoulder tom stiffens, heat washing his pale pelt. Gray Wing glances at his older brother, saying their old mother doesn't know what she's doing, but claws of grief dig into his heart. Suddenly, Quiet Rain's eyes close, and her head droops; Jagged Peak thrusts his muzzle forward, beginning to talk, but the words seem to run dry. Clear Sky guesses what the young cat is thinking, so he moves forward, and feels relief when the speckled she-cat's quiet breath washes his muzzle. But as he speaks, her eyes open, and he flinches back, heart lurching. The gray tom tells her his name, unwilling for her to mistake him for Shaded Moss again.
- Her blue eyes dart to Clear Sky, then to Gray Wing, and Jagged Peak. There is satisfaction in the sleek-furred cat's voice as she talks, telling them not to be sad, for she's lived a long and good life. Quiet Rain lets her gaze rest on Clear Sky, and she forgives him for what he did, before falling victim to a coughing fit, which makes her convulse. Jagged Peak calls for Pebble Heart to help, but the young tabby cannot do anymore. The coughing bout eases, and Quiet Rain rasps, saying that Shaded Moss told her everything was meant to happen to Clear Sky, and she forgives him. Just before her body falls limp and lifeless, the speckled she-cat tells her firstborn to forgive himself.
- Grief rushes over the forest cat as his mother's gaze grew dull, and he watches as Quiet Rain falls limp, flanks stiffening. The light gray tom stands up, and leans over his lifeless kin, brushing her eyes closed with laps of his tongue. Her words echo in Clear Sky's mind, causing his thoughts to spin with questions. Weak daylight seeps into the den, and Eagle Feather's mew rings out, before the sound of small paws splashing through the snow comes from the camp. Jagged Peak rises to his paws wearily, and leaves the den, Gray Wing following, tail low. Clear Sky gazes sadly at the lifeless body of his once lively mother, heart breaking, and thinks of her never coming to the forest, for she might've lived. However, somewhere within him knows the final moments with Quiet Rain were going to mark the rest of his life.
Notes and references
|A Forest Divided chapters|
|Prologue • Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Chapter 7 • Chapter 8 • Chapter 9 • Chapter 10 • Chapter 11 • Chapter 12 • Chapter 13 • Chapter 14 • Chapter 15 • Chapter 16 • Chapter 17 • Chapter 18 • Chapter 19 • Chapter 20 • Chapter 21 • Chapter 22 • Chapter 23 • Chapter 24 • Chapter 25 • Bonus Scene|
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.