|"I am glad Mille has chosen to keep her name. I am no warrior, but I am a ThunderClan cat. I stay in the nursery rather than hunt and fight because that is what I do best. I care for our young as though each kit were my own. This is my gift to the Clan, but I do it in my chosen name."|
|— Daisy about Millie choosing to keep her name in Dark River, page 87|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter six of Dark River. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 6 (of 21)
- Page Numbers: 81-98
- Hollypaw yawns, stretching in the den entrance. The morning sun feels warm on her paws. She looks over her shoulder to where Lionpaw is still sleeping in his nest. Cinderpaw is already at the fresh-kill pile, Hollypaw calls to her if there's anything. Cinderpaw replies there's only a mouse, but it's a bit stale, while pawing it with an uncertain look on her face.
- Hollypaw pads over, suggesting they should see if Daisy wants it for her kits first. Daisy, who is sunning herself outside the nursery, while Ferncloud's kits tumble around her, calls over that they can wait for the dawn patrol to bring something back.
- Foxkit offers he doesn't mind eating a stale mouse. Daisy protests that he has a cold, he should only have warm food. Foxkit complains, while Icekit teases he's just greedy, while cuffing her brother around his ears. Foxkit turns on her at once, pouncing. Icekit squeals and pummels him with her hind legs. Daisy moves her tail out of the way as they roll past her. She mews it'll be a relief when they move to the apprentices' den, but Hollypaw knows she doesn't mean it.
- Leafpool is looking out from the elders den, calling Hollypaw and Cinderpaw to clean out the bedding. Cinderpaw bounds over, abandoning the mouse. Hollypaw says she'll get fresh moss. She races over to Leafpool's fresh stock beside the medicine den, grabbing a wad of it and carrying it off to the elders' den. The honeysuckle that trails over the elder bush where Longtail and Mousefur sleep is bright with new leaf, fresh tendrils swaying in the breeze, buds forming that would one day be flowers.
- Hollypaw ducks inside and drops the moss. Cinderpaw is already busy, scrabbling through the old bedding, bundling out the stale bits. Leafpool looks up from where she is crouching at Longtail's side. He has an infected tick bite, Leafpool is putting a poultice on it. She wants the bedding clean so he won't get another. Mousefur stiffly sits up, saying it is good to see newleaf again. Longtail winces as Leafpool washes more herbs into his wound. He agrees, the forest smells nice. The elder adds he's been thinking about going out.
- Hollypaw blinks in surprise. Since Longtail has lost his sight, he rarely leaves camp. Mousefur croaks only if she can go with him, he'll need someone to keep an eye out for foxes. Hollypaw echoes foxes, tucking her tail close to her. Cinderpaw tosses a wad of moss towards the entrance, saying foxes aren't that bad. Hollypaw gasps, asking what about the ones that chased her. Cinderpaw points out she had only been a kit at the time, they wouldn't seem so scary now. Hollypaw isn't convinced.
- Cinderpaw goes on, foxes are just a nuisance, it's badgers they need to watch out for. The gray tabby's eyes grow wide. She says they are terrifying, hoping she won't meet another one, the fur rippling along her spine. Hollypaw sits up, echoing, another badger, she's never even met one. Cinderpaw tips her head to one side, confusion clouding her gaze, saying, she's right, while reaching out and tugging some stale moss beside Mousefur. She must have dreamed it.
- As Hollypaw begins to reach for fresh moss, she notices Leafpool staring at Cinderpaw. Her mouth open as though it is frozen mid-lick. Longtail starts fidgeting, asking her if she's finished yet. Leafpool replies, no, bending her head quickly to finish. Firestar's call for a Clan meeting sounds outside the den. Mousefur narrows her eyes, hoping everything is okay. She slowly gets to her paws. Hollypaw glances at Cinderpaw, excitement fluttering in her chest. She darts out the den ahead of the others and sees Firestar leaping down the tumble of rocks beneath the Highledge.
- Seeing the fresh-kill pile well stocked, Hollypaw whispers to Cinderpaw as she catches up, the dawn patrol is back, as maybe they've brought news. Once the Clan settles, Firestar sits down in the center of the clearing, gazing around, eyes shining. Hollypaw murmurs to Cinderpaw it doesn't look like anything bad. Firestar begins with there is something he's wanted to do for a while. He continues, newleaf is here, it seems like a good time for new beginnings. Hollypaw leans forward excitedly.
- Firestar announces it is time for Millie to become a warrior. Hollypaw freezes. Millie had been a kittypet when Graystripe met her. He gave her some warrior training and she helped him on the long journey back home. But she wonders if that makes Millie a warrior. Hollypaw doesn't even know if Millie believes in StarClan. Mews of a approval ripple around the crowd. Whitewing calls it's about time, while Birchfall kneads the ground, saying Millie has the heart of a warrior. Hollypaw stares at them in surprise, thinking it surely couldn't be this simple.
- Firestar beckons the striped gray tabby. Millie steps forward, her chin held high, and Hollypaw can't help but admire her. Firestar meows that she has fought bravely in battle. He continues that she has made sure the Clan has been fed through leaf-bare, no cat here doubts her loyalty and skill. He goes on that she has earned the warrior name he gives her. Firestar pauses for a moment, then meows from this day on, Millie shall be known as.
- Millie interrupts, telling him to wait. Mews of surprise ripple through the Clan. She gazes steadily around the cats, her eyes glowing. Millie meows she is privileged to be considered a ThunderClan warrior. She continues that she could ask for no greater honor, and that she is grateful to Graystripe from rescuing her from her life as a kittypet. She blinks warmly at her mate.
- Graystripe steps forward, anxiously, asking her if she's not going to leave. Millie pads towards him, saying never, brushing her muzzle against his. She turns back to Firestar, saying that you can rely on my loyalty until the day she joins StarClan, and you must believe I will live and die to protect ThunderClan. She continues, but she doesn't want to change her name, she has always been Millie and she sees no shame in it. A shocked silence grips the Clan. Graystripe lifts his chin, saying Millie is right. It doesn't matter what she's called, it only matters how she acts, and he knows she will always put the Clan first.
- Hollypaw watches Firestar, wondering what he'll do. The ThunderClan leader shifts his paws uneasily, glancing from Graystripe to Millie. Suddenly, another mew sounds. Daisy wonders if she can speak. She slides between Spiderleg and Birchfall, stepping into the center of the clearing. Hollypaw pricks her ears. Daisy has never spoken at a Clan meeting before. Daisy begins, she is glad Millie has chosen to keep her name, her soft mew trembles a little. She says she is no warrior, but she is a ThunderClan cat, she stays in the nursery rather than fight and hunt because it's what she does best. She continues that she cares for all the kits as her own, this is her gift to the Clan, and she does it with her chosen name.
- Brook steps forward, saying she's right, her loyalty lies with ThunderClan but she would never give up the name given to her by the Tribe. Stormfur pads forward, running his tail along his mate's flank, asking if there is any cat there who would not trust Millie or Daisy or Brook to fight on their side, he stares challengingly around the Clan. Graystripe yowls no, and Brackenfur, Cloudtail, and Whitewing quickly take it up. Daisy's kits, Berrypaw, Hazelpaw, and Mousepaw cheer the loudest. Hollypaw watches uneasily.
- Suddenly, Thornclaw's mew rises above the others, telling them to stop, what would the other Clans say if they could see them now. Dustpelt nods, saying that ShadowClan has already tried to take territory from them because they are no longer pure forest-born. Spiderleg narrows his eyes, saying naming ceremonies are part of the warrior code, can they ignore them and still keep the respect of the other Clans. Hollypaw sweeps her tail over the ground, thinking Dustpelt and Spiderleg are right.
- Firestar's eyes flash, snapping for silence, to not forget they are talking about their Clanmates, he invited Daisy, Brook, and Millie to join ThunderClan because they would make them stronger. He glares around the clearing, saying you are happy to eat their fresh-kill and to have them fight beside you, do you want him to throw them out because they have the wrong names, do you want the other Clans to tell you what to do.
- Graystripe meows, of course not, while Brambleclaw puts in Millie and Brook are warriors already, names make no difference. Hollypaw thinks this isn't true, digging her claws into the ground. She stares at Thornclaw, willing him to speak, but he only dips his head to Firestar. Firestar blinks at him, turning once more to Millie, saying she may keep her name, they have seen her courage in battle and skill in hunting, she is ThunderClan now, may StarClan recognize her as a true warrior. Birchfall begins to chant ThunderClan, the others soon joining in. Hollypaw watches in silence, noticing Dustpelt and Thornclaw exchange anxious glances. Squirrelflight weaves her way to Hollypaw's side, asking if she felt like cheering.
- Hollypaw's whisker quiver, asking what if StarClan doesn't see them as true warriors. Squirrelflight murmurs if she really thinks StarClan is that narrow-minded. Hollypaw's fur ripples along her spine, saying they have the warrior code for a reason and this goes against it, Brambleclaw should have spoken out, he knows how important it is to follow the code. Squirrelflight smooths Hollypaw's fur with her tail, saying Brambleclaw is the Clan deputy, he must support Firestar. Her eyes giltter, adding to not forget Firestar was a kittypet once.
- Hollypaw mews hotly that he took a warrior name, he followed the warrior path and trained as an apprentice. The cheers are dying away as cats begin returning to their duties. Brackenfur calls Hollypaw, jerking her out of her thoughts. He is standing beside Cloudtail and Spiderleg. Their apprentices, Cinderpaw and Mousepaw are pacing back and forth. Brackenfur tells her it's time they assess her progress. He wants her, Cinderpaw, and Mousepaw to go hunting, catch as much prey as they can.
- Hollypaw's unease is replaced by excitement. Squirrelflight wishes Hollypaw luck and nerves flutter in her belly, wondering what would happen if she let Brackenfur down, but she tells herself that wouldn't happen. Cinderpaw and Mousepaw hurry over to join her. Cinderpaw glances anxiously to her father and mentor, admitting she doesn't know who she wants to impress more.
- Mousepaw vows to show Spiderleg he can catch a squirrel. Cloudtail pads over, saying they can start, they must hunt alone, the warriors would be keeping an eye on them. Hollypaw promises they will and Cinderpaw shots away, Mousepaw hurrying after her, while Hollypaw catches up as they race through the thorn tunnel, each pushing to be the first out.
- Hollypaw has never hunted alone and her whiskers twitch with anticipation. She asks where they'll be hunting as they burst out of camp. Cinderpaw announces she'll be at the stream near the ShadowClan border. Hollypaw mews it's a bit open there, but Cinderpaw reminds her she's good at jumping, even in the open the prey won't see her until it's too late.
- Hollypaw decides to stick to the undergrowth, she prefers stalking, she glances at Mousepaw and asks where he'll be going. Mousepaw announces he's with Hollypaw, undergrowth in easier, but once he's caught a couple of mice, he's going after a squirrel. Cinderpaw urges them on, charging up the slope away from camp. Hollypaw and Mousepaw speed after her, leaves fluttering behind them.
- As they near the stream, Cinderpaw veers away toward the bank. Hollypaw heads for a smaller dip where ferns grow thickly, while Mousepaw bounds away in the other direction. Hollypaw halts at the edge of the dip and steadying her breath, drops into a hunting crouch and creeps down the slope. She winds her way through the thick ferns, careful not to make them rustle. Hollypaw wonders if Brackenfur is watching her already, drawing herself forward slowly, telling herself to not think about that.
- She focuses her senses on the foliage ahead, opening her mouth to taste the breeze. Rabbit scent hangs stale in the air, but the smell of mouse is fresh. She halts to prick her ears as the ferns shiver up ahead. Hollypaw narrows her eyes and peers through the stalks and sees a small brown shape darting across the leafy ground. She realizes it's a shrew as is begins to root among the leaf litter. As she creeps closer, the shrew stiffens. Hollypaw's tail brushes a leaf, the noise making the shrew glance around. Hollypaw holds her breath, pressing her tail to the ground, willing herself not to move. The shrew continues its search for food.
- Moving as slow as a snail, Hollypaw draws herself forward. A twig cracks beneath her paw and the shrew darts away. She springs and shoots out her forepaws, catching the shrew in her claws before it has time to escape. Hollypaw nips its neck, killing it. Her heart pounding, she carries it to the roots of a beech and buries it, before turning back for her next catch.
- Before long, she catches another shrew and a mouse. As Hollypaw buries the last of her catch, she spots a flash of golden fur in the brambles at the top of the slope and wonders how long he had been watching her, hoping he'd be impressed. Ferns rustle and Mousepaw explodes from the woods behind her, declaring he's caught his two mice, and he's ready for his squirrel. Hollypaw snaps that he'll scare all the prey away. Mousepaw apologizes, flicking his tail, then asks if she's still hunting.
- Hollypaw concedes she thinks she has enough. Mousepaw asks if there's been any sign of Cinderpaw, hoping she's done okay. Cinderpaw emerges from the ferns, claiming she's done fine, four water voles dangling from her jaws. She drops them next to Hollypaw, asking if she can bury them with her catches.
- When Hollypaw points out they'll get mixed up, Cinderpaw tells her Cloudtail already knows what she caught. Hollypaw asks if she's spoken to him, mentors weren't allowed to help on an assessment. Cinderpaw assures her she hasn't, she could see him watching the whole time, since his pelt couldn't be hidden well. Hollypaw tells her how Mousepaw's still determined to catch a squirrel. Cinderpaw stares at the gray-and-white tom with surprise, asking if he's caught enough mice.
- Mousepaw mews he just wants to show Spiderleg he can catch squirrels too. Hollypaw suggests trying upstream. Mousepaw announces he'll climb the Sky Oak. Looking amazed, Cinderpaw says it's the tallest tree in the forest. Hollypaw says there'll be squirrels in other trees in the forest, but Mousepaw insists, he's been practicing and he wants Spiderleg to see how good he is now. Cinderpaw comments how brave that is. Mousepaw darts among the trees, urging them to follow. Cinderpaw kicks up leaves as she scoots after him, while Hollypaw glances once more at the beech to make sure she would remember where she buried her prey, then races after them.
- At the base of the Sky Oak, Hollypaw gazes up through the branches. The trunk seems to go on forever, the blue sky glinting between the bright green leaves. Mousepaw stares up too, and Hollypaw is sure she sees his tail tremble. Cinderpaw teases him for being scared. Hollypaw digs her claws into the ground, silently urging Cinderpaw to not dare him into doing something he doesn't want to do. Hollypaw suggests why he doesn't just catch a couple more mice instead.
- The fur along Mousepaw's spine is spiked like a hedgehog. He mutters determinedly he's going to catch a squirrel, then springs up, stretching out his forelegs to grip the trunk with his claws. He drags himself upwards, managing to climb onto the lowest branch. He calls down that it's easy, while searching for his next perch. Hollypaw hears paws pounding toward them and Brackenfur hurtles out of the trees, panting, eyes wide with alarm, yowling for Mousepaw to get down. Spiderleg skids after him, snapping at Brackenfur to leave him alone, if Mousepaw wanted to do it, they should let him. Cloudtail pads out from the trees, beginning to speak but stops when he sees Mousepaw. Brackenfur and Spiderleg argue about what they should do.
- Mousepaw calls that it's easy. The branches are closer together and he is leaping nimbly upwards. Spiderleg warns him to not go too high. Leaves rustle above Mousepaw as a squirrel scrambles up the tree. As Mousepaw darts after it, Hollypaw's neck begins to ache from looking up. She can see the leaves shivering far above as the squirrel keeps climbing, staying a few tail-lengths away from Mousepaw, as if it is enticing him to go higher.
- Suddenly, the squirrel leaps out of the Sky Oak and lands into the tree next to it. Mousepaw freezes. He is so high up, he looks like a mouse, but even from the distance, Hollypaw can see his fur is bushed out from terror. Spiderleg encourages him to come down, then Cloudtail offers to go up and get him, but the black warrior argues that he can get down himself. Cinderpaw mews she'll get him.
- Hollypaw yelps as Cinderpaw begins to scramble up the trunk. Brackenfur hisses for her to get down. Cinderpaw pauses on the lowest branch, arguing that she can see an easy route to him. Cloudtail and Brackenfur exchange worried glances. When they don't response, Cinderpaw promises she'll go slow. Brackenfur nods, warning her to be careful.
- Cinderpaw begins to climb higher, taking her time between jumps. Hollypaw watches, her mouth dry, telling herself that she'll be all right. Brackenfur trembles beside Hollypaw, watching his daughter with round, frightened eyes. Cinderpaw is only a few branches away from Mousepaw. She calls up to Mousepaw, saying there's nothing to be afraid of. Hollypaw holds her breath as Cinderpaw begins to slowly guide Mousepaw down.
- The two cats become easier to see, getting closer and closer to the ground. A bird suddenly shrieks and flaps out of the tree just below them. Mousepaw squeals in shock, slipping from the branch. Cinderpaw lunges forward, catching him and hauling him back onto the branch. Mousepaw grabs at the branch and clings to the bark, his tail lashing with panic. Just as Hollypaw feels relieved, Cinderpaw wobbles and her hind paws slip over the branch, her forepaws churning desperately at the air, she yelps and falls.
- Hollypaw stares in horror as Cinderpaw drops, landing with a sickening thud. Brackenfur darts forward, mewing her name as he crouches over her limp, awkwardly twisted body. Spiderleg hisses to Hollypaw to get Leafpool. She glances at her friends twisted body then hurtles through the trees, back to camp to fetch the medicine cat.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Revealed in Dark River, page 81
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 89
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Revealed in Dark River, page 82
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Revealed in Dark River, page 84
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 85
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Revealed in Dark River, page 87
- ↑ Revealed in Dark River, page 88
- ↑ Revealed in Dark River, page 86
|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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