|"Jaypaw zigzagged over the shore, sniffing at the pebbles, trying to trace where the stick had gone. Why had the storm chased him away? He should have made sure the stick was safe before he ran home like a fox-hearted coward!"|
|— Jaypaw searching for the stick in Dark River, page 159|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter ten of Dark River. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 10 (of 21)
- Page Numbers: 145-161
- Jaypaw hears the brambles swish at the entrance to the medicine den and asks if Hollypaw is gone. Cinderpaw sighs she must have remembered something she had to do. Jaypaw goes back to wrapping his marigold and horsetail poultices in leaves. He suddenly feels his pelt warm under Cinderpaw's gaze. She is staring at him, her mind tingling with curiosity. Irritation makes his claws itch as he wonders how long she's going to be staying there, she was obviously bored and Jaypaw missed the peace and privacy. He turns to her, asking if something is wrong.
- Cinderpaw says no, her voice oddly thoughtful, continuing that she thinks she had a dream about him and he could see. Jaypaw's ears twitch and realizes she remembers her dream. He waits for Leafpool's pelt to spark with alarm, but the medicine cat is busy soaking horsetail stems in the pool, her mind focused on the task. Jaypaw pads forward, casually asking what he was doing in her dream. Cinderpaw fidgets in her nest, mewing she doesn't remember, she was just surprised he could see.
- Jaypaw flicks his tail, wondering what would happen if Cinderpaw worked out that she had been Cinderpelt. Leafpool calls that it's time for Cinderpaw's medicine. Excitement sparks in Jaypaw's belly. This could be his chance to find out if any trace of Cinderpelt remained. He darts to the back of the cave, ignoring the comfrey that would help the apprentices bone heal, picking up some mallow instead. If Cinderpelt's knowledge still lingered, she would know it was the wrong herb.
- He drops the mallow leaves in her nest. Cinderpaw mews they smell nice. Jaypaw tells her it's mallow, great for broken bones. He searches her mind for doubt, but finds nothing but gratitude. Cinderpaw thanks him, but then Leafpool whisks past and snatches the leaves away, telling him she needs comfrey. Jaypaw can feel suspicion pricking in her pelt, then lies that he grabbed the wrong leaves. Irritation flashes from Leafpool as she tells him to be more careful. Jaypaw knows she doesn't believe him, and he wonders if he had been testing Cinderpaw. She snaps at him to go back to making poultices, softening her voice as she apologizes to Cinderpaw.
- Jaypaw pads to the back of the den, thinking it's unfair, and Leafpool has no patience with him these days, yet she put up with Cinderpaw's fidgeting and boredom. He asks Leafpool if the horsetail is ready yet, even though he knows it'll have to soak over night. She meows no, to use the ones she soaked last night. Jaypaw hooks a soggy stem from a pile and begins to knaw crossly at one end. Leafpool pads over to him, asking what's the matter with him. Jaypaw snaps the question back.
- Leafpool snaps back that she's not the one giving Cinderpaw the wrong medicine. Jaypaw answers he only wanted to see if she would know the difference. Leafpool meows that she's Cinderpaw, not Cinderpelt. Jaypaw protests that there has to be something there, and Leafpool replies it's not up to them to find it. Jaypaw feels her breath on his cheek as she murmurs they have to let Cinderpaw find her own destiny. Jaypaw wonders what's wrong with helping her along, surely she derserves to know the truth. Leafpool replies that if StarClan wants her to know, they'll tell her. Jaypaw mews so she's happy to leave it in StarClan's paws, and Leafpool sounds shock as she answers, of course, and so should he. Jaypaw goes back to chewing, wondering why Leafpool is so in awe of their ancestors, if she really believes dying makes a dumb cat wise. He'd met them and they seemed no different from living cats.
- Jaypaw blinks open his eyes at the sound of Cinderpaw's voice calling his name, and he asks if she's okay. Cinderpaw mews she's fine, sounding wide awake. Jaypaw lifts his muzzle and snifs the air, it smells as though dawn has only just arrived. He wishes she would sleep longer, or she'd at least let him. Cinderpaw meows that Leafpool has gone to check on Foxkit, and she thought they could play a game while she was gone. Jaypaw struggles to his paws, yawning, feeling the energy coming off of Cinderpaw in waves. She complains she wishes she could move her leg, she feels fine apart from it. Jaypaw tells her she needs to keep still if she wants it to mend properly. She sighs she knows, but she's so bored.
- Jaypaw feels a wave of sympathy for her, and something whistles through the air and bounces softly off his shoulder; a moss ball. He decides it's okay and the two play, before Cinderpaw asks what it's like to be blind, and Jaypaw asks her what it's like to see. She replies she doesn't know, she guesses normal, and Jaypaw answers that being blind feels normal to him. She then asks if it's hard to not be able to tell where everything is. He mews he can tell, everything smells or makes a sound, and he sometimes gets a sense of things. Cinderpaw wonders if it ever gets frustrating, and he replies only when he is treated like he's different, he doesn't feel different, so it's annoying when everyone makes a fuss, and it's like they feel sorry for him when there's nothing to be sorry about. Jaypaw flicks the ball into the air, then swipes it toward Cinderpaw.
- Leafpool's furious mew sounds at the entrance and she darts across the den and whisks moss ball into the pool, then rounds on Jaypaw, demanding what he is doing, making her stretch up like that. Cinderpaw instantly defends him, telling Leafpool it was her idea, but the medicine cat ignores her, scolding him that he should have known better. Jaypaw bristles, meowing that he told her not to move from her nest. Leafpool goes on that that's not good enough, her leg must be healed properly, and her mew drops to a whisper, adding she must train to be a warrior. Anger explodes in Jaypaw's chest and he demands why she must, why would it be such a disaster if she had to take a different path, he had to.
- Leafpool freezes for a moment, then slowly replies that he is blind, and Jaypaw's rage falls away, wondering if his mentor thinks he's a lost cause. Leafpool hurries away to Cinderpaw's nest and begins to fuss with her cobweb binding. Jaypaw leaves the den, hearing the Clan busy in the clearing, Graystripe and Millie chatting together as they weave the roof of the new den, Lionpaw chasing Foxkit and Icekit around the nursery, Ferncloud and Dustpelt sharing tongues below Highledge. The brambles swish behind him, and Leafpool's voice is matter-of-fact as though nothing had happened, as she states they need to fetch herbs.
- He searches her mind for any lingering guilt but her thoughts seem carefully shield. She goes on as she leads the way out of camp that the marigolds should be flowering by the lakeshore. Jaypaw doesn't speak and sulks in silence as they trek up the slope and over the ridge, and as they emerge from the trees, a chilly wind cuts through his fur and he smells rain. Leafpool heads down the slope to the shore, murmuring she sees some, veering into the wind. Jaypaw narrows his eyes against the blast, thinking this is a pointless journey, and asks if she realizes they have already got another pile of marigold in their den.
- Leafpool slows her pace to match his, telling him if there is to be a battle, they must be prepared, their first duty is to heal the Clan, and Jaypaw feels her willing him to speak, she sounds anxious as she asks if he agrees. Grudgingly, he lets himself be drawn into conversation, mewing yes, but what about sharing tongues with StarClan, that's their duty too, why didn't they warn them that a battle is coming. Leafpool answers that StarClan doesn't always tell them everything that's going to happen. Jaypaw bristles with frustration, demanding if they have to just wait until they're told, they can walk among them in their dreams, surely they can find out for themselves. Leafpool asks if he is questioning the wisdom of StarClan, and he bits back his reply - that he can't figure out why being dead makes StarClan so wise.
- Leafpool goes on that there is more to being a medicine cat than sharing with StarClan, he still doesn't know every herb, and she gives him an example, asking what this is. A sharp tang baths Jaypaw's tongue and he reaches down to feel it's small soft leaves and he answers it's feverfew, good for aches, then turns away, adding that it's no good to use now because it's flower won't be out for another moon. The scent of vole catches his attention, and quick as a flash, he catches it, killing it with a sharp nip. He pads back to Leafpool, dangling his catch under her nose. She meows he did good, and he flings it at her paws, the mornings frustrations suddenly swamping him, and he demands if she now believes he doesn't need eyes to see.
- He waits for anger to flash from her, but instead feels her tail sweep his flank, meowing she has always believed in him. Emotion swells from her, sentimental and oppressive. Taken aback, Jaypaw edges away and darts down to the shore. He realizes this is where he found the stick, and excitement tingles in his paws. He carefully picks his way over shore and feels a large drop of rain between his shoulder blades. He shakes it off, then ducks as another hits his nose. Jaypaw can smell the sticks strange scent now, and hurries to where he left it and drags it out onto shore. Leafpool catches up with him, asking if this is the same stick he found last time.
- Jaypaw nods, and she asks why he is so interested in it. He rests both paws on the wood, a gentle murmuring filling his mind, while he mews it's important. He traces his paws on the etching wood, lingering at the uncrossed marks, then feels sadness spike into his pads, knowing those marks are untold stories. Rain is spattering on the leaves overhead now, splashing drops onto his back, and Leafpool decides they should go back. Jaypaw asks what about the stick, as thunder rolls in the distance and the wind picks up, and Leafpool sounds worried as she mews they must get back to camp, she sees a storm coming, they shouldn't be out here in it. Jaypaw's fur bristles, he feels lightning prickle in the air, then a blast of wind pushes him sideways, knocking him away from the stick. Leafpool urges him to come on, and Jaypaw asks what about the stick, but Leafpool is already hurrying away, ordering him to follow. There's no time to drag it back to safety, so Jaypaw darts after his mentor, racing back to camp.
- The rain has stopped, but the wind still roars above the hollow as Jaypaw lies in his nest, listening to the forest creaking above the medicine den. His ears are pricked, full of whispers. He rolls over in his nest, flattening his ears, but the whispering is still there. He stretches out and pummels restlessly at the moss underneath him. Leafpool suggests he go for a walk from her nest, before he wakes Cinderpaw. Jaypaw agrees, sitting up, pushing his way through the brambles. Lionpaw calls him as he squeezes through the dirtplace tunnel. Jaypaw greets him curiously, his brothers pelt prickles with guilt and alarm and it smells of wind. He knows Lionpaw has been out in the forest, but the golden tom lies that he was just making dirt. Jaypaw narrows his eyes, wondering if every cat in the Clan has secrets.
- He mews he was just going out and he senses the weariness in his brothers paws, so he decides to test him, asking if Lionpaw will come with him. Lionpaw warily mews if he wants him to, and Jaypaw knows he feels too guilty to refuse. Birchfall hails them from the camp entrance, asking who is there. Jaypaw calls back it's only them, going out into the forest. Birchfall purrs a midnight adventure, it reminds him of his apprentice days, and he steps aside, calling after them as they leave to watch out for foxes. Jaypaw shivers at the memory of the fox that had attacked him and Brightheart, and Lionpaw reassures him he can handle foxes now.
- As they pad up the slope, Lionpaw asks where they're going, and Jaypaw answers the lake. Lionpaw makes no comment, uninterested. Jaypaw feels a dark cloud hovering in his brothers mind, absorbing every other thought. As they leave the trees and head down the slope, the wind whips Jaypaw's whiskers and he lashing tail in excitement at the thought of touching the stick once more. The scents of the other three Clans fill the air. He asks Lionpaw if he really thinks WindClan will attack. Lionpaw guides him around a rabbit hole, mewing it wouldn't make sense, it's RiverClan they should worry about, not them. Jaypaw meows what about the squirrel hunting, and Lionpaw mews why shouldn't they hunt squirrels.
- As their paws crunch on the pebbly shore, Lionpaw hesitates, asking why they're here. Jaypaw explains he left something here, and he must drag it into the trees to keep it safe from the lake. Lionpaw wonder what is is, and his Jaypaw answers it's a stick, to which Lionpaw echoes. Jaypaw sniffs the air, explaining it has markings on it, and he left it here. They search around for it, and Jaypaw heart begins to pound and he is certain it is gone. He checks the spot he left it, finding nothing. He hurries around, desperately searching. Lionpaw's mew is muffled by the wind as he asks if he's found it. Jaypaw meows no, panic rising in his chest. Lionpaw calls to him if this is it, and Jaypaw charges over, tripping over a piece of driftwood, ignoring the pain, he limps over to Lionpaw, already knowing it's the the right one. Jaypaw wanders away after snapping at his brother, feeling like he's let someone down.
- He wonders if the lake has reclaimed it and heads down to the beach until water laps at his paws, then paddles into the shallows. A voice calls him in his head and something tugs his fur, drawing him farther out. Jaypaw reaches down to the pebbles below, feeling for the stick, then suddenly, his paw knocks something and he knows this it the stick. He takes a deep breath, then plunges beneath the waves and grabs the end of the branch in his teeth, tugging desperately, and dragging it back to the beach. He lets go, taking in more air, before going back down. The stick is almost too heavy, until Lionpaw comes to help.
- They pull it into the shallows, Lionpaw demanding what he was doing. Jaypaw runs his paws over it, searching for the scratches, wishing the stick wasn't so big, so he could take it back to camp. He tells Lionpaw to look, running his paw over the marks. Water sprays from Lionpaw as he shakes himself out, calling him crazy. Jaypaw snaps that it's important. He tells Lionpaw to come on, so they can tuck it under a root.
Notes and references
|Dark River 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|
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