|"Was it all lies? If Darktail was fighting on the side of the rogues, then clearly he’d never been a true friend to SkyClan. What else had he lied about? Knowing the other Clans? The quests? Hawkwing’s blood ran cold when it suddenly occurred to him that Darktail must have been planning this attack—manipulating SkyClan as he and his rogue friends prepared for it. Was every moment he spent here part of some twisted plan?"|
|— Hawkwing's thoughts when Darktail's true intentions are shown in Hawkwing's Journey, chapter 16|
While SkyClan initially has the advantage, Darktail betrays them, revealing his alliance with the rogues, and his desire to see SkyClan destroyed. The odds now against SkyClan, many cats start fighting for their lives, until Leafstar calls for a retreat of the gorge, now a lost cause.
Many cats are lost in the sudden retreat, and are not able to follow their Clan. With the loss of the gorge, many of SkyClan's members lose hope, and the disappearance of some of SkyClan's warriors contributes to this. Leafstar however, gives the order to find the other four Clans, starting a long journey for the lost Clan.
- Firestar and Sandstorm reinstate SkyClan from its previously disbanded status, managing to convince rogues, loners, and kittypets for the reunification of the lost Clan. They quickly learn that the last time SkyClan was a proper Clan, they were overrun by rats and disbanded by Spiderstar, SkyClan's last leader, and quickly have to deal with the threat of the vermin. While the battle is costly, losing Rainfur and one of Firestar's lives, SkyClan is able to drive them back and become a proper Clan. Leafdapple is named the new leader, becoming Leafstar. Sharpclaw is named the deputy, and Echosong as their medicine cat. Confident that SkyClan can now thrive, Firestar and Sandstorm disembark back for ThunderClan.
- Leafstar initially struggles coming to terms with her leadership position, but is well respected by all her Clanmates, and makes a new role for kittypets who wish to assist during the day, but return to their Twolegs at night, calling them daylight warriors. This is met with much criticism from all the SkyClan cats, who believe they are not true warriors and should not be present. Though they slowly become be acquainted to their Clanmates, some more then others. They fight against Dodge and his gang of cats, and later induct Sol into SkyClan, but he is quickly disliked by the majority of the Clan, who believe he is more then he seems, which is proven true by Shrewtooth and Leafstar who discover him trying to lead away Leafstar's kits. Leafstar brings him back to the Clan, where he is exiled, much to SkyClan's content. 
- Later a patrol of kittypets who were harassing them on their territory, where they meet Ravenpaw, a former ThunderClan member who brought two young cats, Riley and Bella, for SkyClan, though Ravenpaw dies due to cancer and he is given a proper farewell by Leafstar. 
- Darktail finds his way to SkyClan territory, claiming to Hawkwing that he inhaled some smoke from the fire, where he is, though reluctantly, brought to Echosong by Hawkwing. Darktail's charisma allows him to be quickly by most SkyClan cats, and when he claims that he knows where ThunderClan is, and two expeditions are led out to find them, both failing, and the first resulting in the death of Billystorm. Darktail eventually leads his rogues into the gorge, and instigates a battle with all of SkyClan, resulting in the death of five SkyClan cats and many going missing, as well as SkyClan being forced out of the gorge. Darktail and his cats take over the gorge, and SkyClan goes on a long journey to try and find the other Clans.
- A fire breaks out near Twolegplace, trapping three SkyClan apprentices, Pebblepaw, Cloudpaw, and Duskpaw. A band of SkyClan cats are able to rescue them all, but Duskpaw succumbs to extreme smoke inhalation and dies, upsetting his family, especially his brother Hawkwing, who blames himself for his death. Pebblepaw and Cloudpaw are treated for minor burns, and although Hawkwing saved Pebblepaw, he begins to resent her, as he chose her over his own littermate.
- Hawkwing goes back to the place where the fire was started, mourning his dead littermate, and meets a cat named Darktail, who claims that he inhaled smoke from the fire and asks for treatment. Hawkwing reluctantly brings him to Echosong, the Clan's medicine cat, and Darktail's charisma allows him to become well liked by all of SkyClan, and he eventually reveals that he knows where the other four Clans are. With this knowledge, Leafstar allows an expedition to be made to go and find them.
The failed journeys
- The first expedition consists of Billystorm, Waspwhisker, Hawkwing, Blossomheart and Pebblepaw, heeding Darktail's instructions on finding ThunderClan, the birthplace of Firestar and Sandstorm who reinstated SkyClan seasons ago. Along the way, the patrol encounters badgers, who kill Billystorm. The death sends the patrol home, which causes many cats distress, especially Pebblepaw. Hawkwing in particular blames Darktail, believing he knew about the badgers and purposefully wanted Billystorm killed. Darktail denies this, and the majority of SkyClan backs him up, which results in Hawkwing getting punished for losing his temper.
- They decide to take a second journey, consisting of Darktail, Rain, Sagenose, Harrybrook, Hawkwing and Firefern. While this patrol is slightly more successful, they run into dogs, and making the group turn back, much to everyone's chagrin. When they return, they discover that raccoons attacked the gorge, killing Honeytail and rendering the Clan with low hope for ever finding Firestar and ThunderClan.
Battle for SkyClan
- In the middle of the night, rogues sneak into the gorge, killing Stormheart who was on watch duty. Hawkwing detects them, and alerts the rest of the Clan. The rogues have the advantage as many of SkyClan's warriors were asleep, but they quickly join the fight. Hawkwing manages to find Bouncefire, and they group up with Darktail. However, Darktail suddenly subdues an unsuspecting Bouncefire, killing him, leaving Hawkwing in shock. Darktail abandons Hawkwing, going for the deputy Sharpclaw. Though Sharpclaw initially has the upper hand, Rain sneaks up on Sharpclaw, springing onto his back and Darktail attacks him as well, killing SkyClan's deputy, much to the horror of the other SkyClan cats. With their hope diminishing, the rest of the cats begin fighting for their lives.
- Darktail stops fighting other Clan cats to talk to Hawkwing, calling SkyClan "soft", but says that Hawkwing is not like the rest of them, and offers him to join him and his band of rogues. Hawkwing, fueled by the death of his father, friend, and Darktail's treachery, denies, and Darktail expresses disappointment over Hawkwing's choice, but goes off to continue fighting. Patchfoot is killed trying to defend himself despite Hawkwing's best attempts to help, leaving the young warrior sorrowful and enraged that rogues would attack Patchfoot, an elder. In the midst of the battle, Leafstar orders for SkyClan's retreat, claiming the gorge as a lost cause. Many SkyClan cats are divided among one another in the chaos.
Forced from their home
- The majority of SkyClan is able to regroup at Ebonyclaw's Twoleg nest. The Clan is in shock and has many wounded. Fidgetkit helps out Echosong with the wounded as their second medicine cat Frecklewish is missing. Other cats report that Sandynose, Fallowfern, Cherrytail, Cloudmist and Mistfeather are not present, leaving many to believe they were killed. Snipkit also drowns when trying to cross a river, and her body is found by Tinycloud. The Clan grieves for the young kit, especially her parents, Sagenose and Birdwing. Cloudmist and Cherrytail are eventually found wandering Twolegplace, looking for their Clan. Leafstar is struck with grief over the loss of her daughter and deputy. However, she appoints Waspwhisker in Sharpclaw's place, and orders that they will be going to Barley's farm to find the Clans. As she says this, the daylight warriors Harveymoon and Ebonyclaw admit they will not be coming with them, surprising the Clan. Macgyver however, claims he is a SkyClan cat and he will be joining them. Mintfur and Nettlesplash admit they will not be coming with them as well, since they have four young kits which would be too perilous for them, but Mintfur says they may join up with them again. Leafstar leads SkyClan to Barley's farm thereafter, unsure of the treacherous journey ahead of them.
- With SkyClan on a journey, and rogues in the gorge, a patrol of ThunderClan cats found the gorge but found it overrun with rogues. Darktail briefly posed as SkyClan's leader, but his facade was quickly uncovered by the cats and he killed Mistfeather, a lost SkyClan cat, in a fight. He imprisoned Sparkpaw, Alderpaw, Needlepaw, Cherryfall, and Molewhisker, but they later escaped, being unknowingly tailed by Darktail and his gang, who discovered they were Clan cats.
- Meanwhile, with SkyClan, they encounter many hardships. When they reach Barley's farm, Cherrytail and Cloudmist stay behind with Barley, as the death of Sharpclaw, Cherrytail's mate and Cloudmist's father, had devastated them. This causes Hawkwing and Blossomheart, Sharpclaw's and Cherrytail's other son and daughter, to try and coax them otherwise, but to no avail, deeply saddening the two littermates. They also lose Pebbleshine, when they try to take chickens from twolegs, resulting in Pebbleshine getting trapped in a monster and taken away. Waspwhisker, Clovertail, Fidgetpaw and Birdwing when are later taken by Twolegs, who discover SkyClan's temporary camp, and take the aforementioned cats away, resulting in a severe loss of morale, and Hawkwing's promotion to deputy.
- Echosong leaves on her own to find the Clans with Harrybrook and Bellaleaf, although they return to no avail, and are able to help with a sickness that ravages through the homeless cats, unfortunately killing Firefern and Rileypool. As SkyClan presses on, they are reunited with Sandynose and Fallowfern who managed to find them again. Through hardships, SkyClan is able to find their way close to Clan territory, but with the loss of Echosong, who succumbs to an infection, leaving SkyClan without a proper medicine cat.  A young ThunderClan apprentice named Twigpaw encounters them, and helps lead them to Clan territory, finally meeting her father, Hawkwing, for the first time, and discovering her mother was Pebbleshine. Hawkwing in particular is overjoyed at finding his lost kit, and later, Violetpaw.
- SkyClan's leader at the time, Leafstar deals with the loss of her beloved mate Billystorm, and later, her daughter Stormheart in a relatively short timespan, as well as one of SkyClan's oldest members, Patchfoot, whom she was close friends with. She then loses one of her longest friends and deputy, Sharpclaw, distressing her. However, she maintains a level head and leads her Clan to Barley's farm. She then leads her Clan, trying to find the other four, but unsure of their destination. Along the way, she struggles to keep her Clan's hopes up, eventually losing Curlypaw and Parsleyseed to the kittypet life. She then loses Firefern, her other daughter due to sickness, and grieves for her along with her son Harrybrook, but soon loses him as he decides to accompany Echosong to find the other Clans by themselves. To make matters worse, she loses her newest deputy Waspwhisker and old friend Clovertail, but makes Hawkwing, Sharpclaw's son, the next deputy. She continues leading her Clan despite all the hardships, and eventually makes it to the lake, where she helps drive out Darktail with the other Clans.
- The son of Onestar and Smoke, Darktail was raised to despise the Clans and their way of life by his mother after Onestar, then Onewhisker, refused to let them join WindClan. Darktail somehow finds his way to the gorge, where he manipulates the SkyClan cats to lower their guards by appearing friendly and benevolent. He reveals his true nature when he orders his band of rogues to attack, and he kills Bouncefire, in front of all of SkyClan. He then kills Sharpclaw, the deputy, and his actions cause the remaining SkyClan cats to retreat from the gorge, giving Darktail the victory until a patrol of cats come some moons later.
- Darktail and his group move on to the lake, where they terrorize the other Clans and begin a tyrannical rule which causes mass suffering and heavy casualties on all five Clans. He is killed by his father Onestar, ending his reign of terror once and for all.
- A young SkyClan warrior, Hawkwing becomes close with Darktail until he reveals his true intentions by ordering an attack on SkyClan for the gorge. Hawkwing is offered the position of deputy at Darktail's side in exchange for his loyalty, but he denies and remains loyal to SkyClan. Hawkwing struggles with the loss of his father, Sharpclaw], and brother, Duskpaw. Although resentful of Pebblepaw, he grows to become fond of her, and eventually her mate, becoming the father of their kits. During SkyClan's journey to the lake, he becomes a foster father to the kits of Plumwillow, and becomes deputy when Waspwhisker is taken by Twolegs. He quickly adapts and matures to his new role and helps lead SkyClan to Clan territory, where he is reunited with his daughters and gets reassurance of Pebbleshine's death after she disappears for many moons.
- "Leafstar, this is a bad idea. This cat is not one of SkyClan. He doesn't understand what it means to be a Clan cat."
- ―Hawkwing to Leafstar about Darktail's stay in SkyClan Hawkwing's Journey, page 103
- "As long as I'm alive, SkyClan will never be exiled. We will always survive!"
- ―Hawkwing thinking about SkyClan Hawkwing's Journey, page 169
- Darktail: "Listen, I like you, Hawkwing. You're different from the other SkyClan cats. You're more like me. Surely you realize your best chance of survival will be with me and my rogues? We're going to take the gorge for ourselves. Join us! We're so good together, Hawkwing. We understand each other. I'll make you my deputy."
- Hawkwing: "Even if I believed you, do you think I would join you? After you and Rain murdered my father? Never!"
- Hawkwing's Journey, page 189
- "To Hawkwing's amazement, something flickered in Darktail's eyes and he angled his head aside, as if he were honestly disappointed by Hawkwing's response."
- ―Hawkwing observing Darktail after he rejects his offer to be his deputy Hawkwing's Journey, page 189
- Darktail: "We have developed our own code. After we left the other Clans, SkyClan realized our members were becoming weak, and we decided to make up some new rules. SkyClan rules reward the strong and aggressive—the cats who will best defend the Clan."
- Sparkpaw: "What about sick cats, then, or elders?"
- The Apprentice's Quest, pages 204-205
Notes and references
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 368
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, chapter 17
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, chapter 16
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 188
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 191
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 218
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 184
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 189
- Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 333
- Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 468
- Revealed in Firestar's Quest, pages 487-497
- Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 501
- Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 480
- Revealed in SkyClan's Destiny, allegiances
- Revealed in Beyond the Code, page 76
- Revealed in Eclipse, page 165
- Revealed in Ravenpaw's Farewell, page Chapter 10
- Revealed in The Ultimate Guide, page 56
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, chapter 5
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 73
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 20
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 94
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 216
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 227
- Revealed in The Apprentice's Quest, page 224
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 277
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 297
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 377
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 379
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, page 404
- Revealed in Hawkwing's Journey, manga
- Revealed in Shattered Sky, page 198