|"You're exactly where you belong. In ThunderClan."|
|— Jaypaw to Cinderpaw in Dark River, page 113|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter seven of Dark River. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 7 (of 21)
- Page Numbers: 99-113
- Birchfall snatches his paw away from Jaypaw as he tries to take a thorn out of the warriors pad. Jaypaw sighs that it's going to hurt more if he doesn't pull it out, so the tabby tentatively holds out his paw again. The medicine cat apprentice leans down, bracing himself, then gives a fierce tug.
- Birchfall leaps away, then hops noisily around the medicine den. Jaypaw spits the thorn out, while the warrior triumphantly meows he told him it was huge. Jaypaw touches the thorn with his pad, it feels like a claw. He mews it isn't deadly. Birchfall laps his wound, saying he isn't a very sympathetic medicine cat.
- Jaypaw pads to the back of the den, meowing he is here to heal Birchfall, if he wants sympathy go to the nursery. He picks up a mouthful of marigold and begins to chew it into a pulp. Jaypaw stiffens suddenly. Paws are pounding toward camp and he can scent Hollypaw's fear scent. He drops the pulp at Birchfall's paws, ordering him to wash it into the cut, before pushing through the trailing brambles that screen the den from the rest of camp.
- Hollypaw explodes into camp, announcing Cinderpaw has fallen from the Sky Oak. Jaypaw gasps he'll fetch Leafpool, pelting for the nursery where his mentor is tending to Foxkit, but Leafpool is already racing out. Jaypaw skids to a halt, narrowly avoiding her. Leafpool stops, trembling in the middle of the clearing.
- Horror pulses from her like blood from a wound and her silent plea for it to not happen again slices into Jaypaw's thoughts, as clear as if she had cried out loud. Hollypaw wails they have to go at once. Firestar pounds across the clearing, demanding what happened. Pawsteps sound on every side as the Clan comes running to see what's wrong.
- Hollypaw answers that Cinderpaw was helping Mousepaw down from the Sky Oak and she fell, her words coming in great gulps. Firestar orders Leafpool to help her. Jaypaw silently wills his mentor to move, but she seems rooted to the ground, her terror blocking out every other thought. He asks her what herbs will they need as he feels Hollypaw trembling behind him.
- Jaypaw presses, asking if they would need poppy seeds, when Leafpool doesn't answer. Just as panic threatens to overwhelm him, Leafpool snaps out of her daze and he feels her mind clear. She mews they will need poppy seeds, rush and cobwebs to bind any broken bones and thyme for shock. Jaypaw offers to fetch them, Hollypaw begs them to hurry.
- Leafpool demands who is with her, Hollypaw answers that Mousepaw, Brackenfur, Cloudtail, and Ashfur are there. Jaypaw pushes past Millie and Graystripe, racing to the medicine den, his tail bristling. He barges past Birchfall, who is standing in the entrance with his fur spiked. Jaypaw darts to the herb storeroom, lapping up several poppy seeds and tucking them safely under his tongue, then grabs a sprig of thyme and quickly wraps it up in a fat wad of cobweb, along with a pawful of rush.
- He picks the bundle up and hurtles back into the clearing. Jaypaw nods when Leafpool asks if he's got everything and Hollypaw calls for them to hurry, leading them out of camp at a run. Hollypaw plunges up the slope, Leafpool on her heels and Jaypaw runs after them, every sense alert while dodging trees only by a whisker.
- A bramble tugs at his paw and he stumbles forward, dropping his bundle. Leafpool turns quickly, saying she'll carry it, then swiftly picks it up and speeds away. Jaypaw hurries after her, keeping close while following her pawsteps as she weaves through the forest. Hollypaw mews she sees the Sky Oak as her paws beat faster against the ground, then warns to watch out for the fallen tree before her paw steps fall silent as she leaps over and lands with a thump on the other side.
- Leafpool follows, and Jaypaw doesn't hesitate, tensing his muscles and leaping as high as he can while praying he had timed it right. He feels the rotting bark of the fallen tree brush his paws as he sails over and lands lightly on the other side. Hollypaw has reached the others, calling him and Leafpool over. Jaypaw can feel the the panic flashing off of Brackenfur's pelt like lightning and he can hear Ashfur pacing around the Sky Oak and sense Mousepaw trembling.
- Cloudtail calls that she's still breathing. Leafpool drops the bundle and Jaypaw crouches beside her as she leans over Cinderpaw. He can hear the injured apprentices breathing, quick and shallow. He touches his nose to her flank, she is as limp as a dead mouse, making his belly tighten. Leafpool pronounces that Cinderpaw's in shock, ordering Jaypaw to lick her chest while she gives her thyme.
- Jaypaw spits out the poppy seeds and begins licking Cinderpaw. Her heart beats rapidly beneath his tongue. He smells herbs as Leafpool tears open a bundle and chews the leaves into a pulp that she can drip into Cinderpaw's mouth. Brackenfur's mew trembles as he asks if she's going to die and Leafpool snaps she won't let her. The medicine cat moves around to Cinderpaw's other side, ordering Jaypaw to lick more gently now. He begins to lick more delicately, relieved to feel her heart slowing. He can hear Leafpool sniffing Cinderpaw's body as she examines her.
- She suddenly stiffens. Jaypaw whispers what's wrong as Leafpool backs away, as though stung by a wasp. Brackenfur nearly knocks Jaypaw over as he surges forward, asking what's wrong. Jaypaw wonders what has frightened Leafpool so much and stops licking, searching her mind. He feels dread there like darkness threatening to overwhelm her. Leafpool gulps, mewing she has broken her hindleg.
- Jaypaw suggests they can bind it with rushes, but Leafpool doesn't reply. Fear and bewilderment sparks from Brackenfur as he asks if she won't die because of a broken leg, will she. Leafpool doesn't move and Jaypaw focuses on her mind, seeing an image of a gray cat limping and he feels grief sear Leafpool's heart. Jaypaw tears one of the rushes free, jabbing it at Leafpool. She jerks then takes it and Jaypaw feels a wave of relief as she lies it beside Cinderpaw's broken leg and takes another.
- Jaypaw passes her a cobweb and she begins to carefully bind the rushes to Cinderpaw's leg. She mutters they'll need to secure it until they get her back to camp, then she can set if properly. When she finishes, Leafpool sits up, telling Ashfur and Cloudtail to help Brackenfur carry her back to camp, and to make sure her leg moves as little as possible. Cinderpaw lets out a soft moan as the warriors lift her and Leafpool gasps for them to be careful.
- Jaypaw can hear her paw steps dancing around the warriors, pushing aside brambles while fear sparks from her pelt. She warns them to watch out for some roots, take her around the fallen tree, avoid a dip, and to hold her more steadily. Hollypaw trembles while pressing against Jaypaw, murmuring she thought Cinderpaw was dead. Jaypaw reassures her she'll be okay, she's got a strong heart, it's only her hindleg that's broken.
- Leafpool's mew takes him by surprise as she sharply says, only her leg, a warrior needs four good legs. Hollypaw presses her muzzle to Jaypaw's ear, whispering that she's never seen Leafpool so upset. Jaypaw shakes his head, agreeing. He leans against Hollypaw, letting her guide him through the undergrowth. He wants to focus on Leafpool, he can feel panic, anger and regret seething in her mind. He wonders why. It wasn't her fault Cinderpaw had fallen out of the tree, it was just an accident.
- Cinderpaw's fur swishes against the sandy floor as the warriors lie her gently down in the medicine den. Sorreltail is in the den already, plucking the ground with trembling paws, grief and fear crackling from her pelt. Honeypaw and Poppypaw fidget beside Hollypaw, breathing in frightened gulps.
- Leafpool briskly thanks Brackenfur, Ashfur, and Cloudtail, then tells them to leave. Brackenfur begins to protest, but Sorreltail interuptes softly, saying she'll stay with her. The brambles rustle as the tom follows Ashfur and Cloudtail. Jaypaw bends down and licks Cinderpaw, who's unconscious again, between the ears, promising they'll take care of her. He feels Hollypaw's gaze on his pelt and he advises her she should go, Firestar is waiting. He can sense the ThunderClan leader's presence outside the den.
- Hollypaw asks if Jaypaw will make Cinderpaw better, and he answers that they'll try. As Hollypaw pads from the den, Leafpool murmurs to Sorreltail that she'll do everything in her power to make her well. Sorreltail mews she knows she will, her voice cracking with grief, but Jaypaw can still hear affection in her mew. She has been Leafpool's friend since before he was born.
- Sorreltail's breath ruffles Cinderpaw's pelt, whispering, may StarClan protect her. Honeypaw asks if she'll be all right, her mew frightened. Poppypaw sobs to not let her die. Sorreltail encourages them, telling them they'll go see Brackenfur, he'll need company. She guides her kits out of the medicine den, leaving Jaypaw alone with Leafpool. With the other cats gone, he can feel her anxiety buzzing like a swarm of bees. Suddenly, Cinderpaw stirs.
- Leafpool swishes her tail over the young cat's flank, soothing her and telling her what happened. Desperate hope flares in her mind, but her voice remains calm. She asks what Cinderpaw was trying to do, wondering if she thought she was a bird and thought she could fly. Leafpool's mew is as gentle as a mother's and Jaypaw wonders if is she ever felt sad she would never have kits of her own.
- Cinderpaw lets out a soft moan, then her breathing deepens as she slips back into unconsciousness. Leafpool is suddenly brisk as she tells Jaypaw to help set her leg. Jaypaw begins to help Leafpool gnaw through the cobwebs, releasing the rushes. Leafpool darts off to the cave to get new rushes before Jaypaw can offer. Leafpool starts putting the rushes in place and Jaypaw reaches out to help, but feels her paw already pressing the rush gently to Cinderpaw's hind leg while she uses her teeth to wrap the cobwebs around it.
- Jaypaw starts to feel like he isn't needed. He offers to fetch some comfrey. Leafpool mews what, sounding distracted, then agrees. Jaypaw collects a mouthful of leaves and chews them into a pulp. He can still hear Leafpool fussing over the dressing. Cinderpaw twitches and lets out a small whine. Jaypaw ventures maybe they should leave her to rest, there isn't anymore they can do for her.
- In an instant he feels Leafpool's hot breath on his face as she hisses there's everything they can do for her. Alarmed, Jaypaw backs away with his ears flattened. Anger flames from Leafpool's pelt as she mews they can't let Cinderpaw lose the use of her leg. Jaypaw stammers and Leafpool backs off, he feels guilt flood from her mind. She apologizes that she shouldn't have snapped, he's been a great help.
- Jaypaw thinks to himself that she didn't let him do anything, but he holds back the words, wary of antagonizing her again. Leafpool turns away, saying she has to go talk to Sorreltail and Brackenfur. The brambles rustle as she pushes her way through them. Jaypaw stays where he's at, wondering what has gotten into Leafpool. He knows she cares deeply for the Clanmates, but he'd never seen her angry that a cat has been hurt before. It is as though healing Cinderpaw is the most important thing she's ever done.
- He checks Cinderpaw's heart, pressing his ear against her chest. It is beating too rapidly, her breathing is too quick. Jaypaw settles down beside her and lets his warmth spread into her body. Speeding up his breath to match hers, he closes his eyes.
- Jaypaw is standing at the top of a ravine, thick woodland crowds every side, and far below, trees and bushes hide the ground from his view. He worries if this is part of StarClan's territory and Cinderpaw is dying. A gray shape below catches his eye. Cinderpaw is leaping from boulder to boulder down the ravine and she disappears into the lush greenery. Jaypaw starts to panic and scrambles over the edge of the ravine, following the path she had taken, fighting to keep his balance on the tumble of rocks.
- At the bottom, a dense wall of gorse blocks his way. Just in time, he spots the tip of Cinderpaw's tail disappearing into it. He races after her and finds an opening in the gorse. He slithers through and finds her standing in a sandy clearing at the bottom of the ravine. Bushes and ferns circle it protectively and at the far end, a jagged rock blocks the way out.
- Jaypaw calls her name, cautiously padding toward her, while tasting the air. It doesn't smell like StarClan territory, but there are some scents he recognizes. A tree stump near the edge of the clearing seems to smell of Firestar and Graystripe. The bramble bush beside him carries the scent of Dustpelt and Thornclaw. Cinderpaw gazes around, her eyes wide and her tail twitching with pleasure, mewing it's just as she remembered, she hasn't been there in such a long time.
- She pads over to the huge rock, meowing, that's the Highrock. She then turns and bounds over to the bramble bush, mewing that's the warriors den, then flicks her tail toward a fallen tree, saying that's the elders' den. Cinderpaw races across the clearing to another bush, saying that's the apprentices' den, and she used to sleep in it before. Her mew trails off and her eyes grow misty and she blinks, saying then she moved to Yellowfang's den.
- The name sears Jaypaw's ears. Cinderpaw leads him to the medicine den. An eerie feeling pricks his tail as she leads him through a narrow tunnel into a much smaller clearing. A rock towers at the far end, split down the middle by a cleft big enough for a den. Cinderpaw gazes wistfully into the shadowy cave, mewing that Yellowfang used to keep her herbs in there. Jaypaw mews that Yellowfang is dead, she's with StarClan now.
- Cinderpaw looks at him, saying, of course she is, where else would she be. Jaypaw meows, he doesn't understand, why is she acting like she lived there too. Cinderpaw answers, she did, many moons ago before they left the forest. Jaypaw says she never lived in the forest. Cinderpaw's blue eyes sparkle with starlight as she says she once did, but she has tread a different path, the path of a warrior. She looks warmly at him and when she speaks, her voice seems deeper, more wise, as if she has aged in front of him. She tells him to tell Leafpool she has nothing to fear, she will recover this time, and tell her she is proud of her.
- Jaypaw's pelt bristles as vivid images throng through his mind of a young gray cat running through a forest, a monster screeching off a thunderpath, agony piercing her hing leg, blood and the wails of her Clanmates, memories of learning herbs and limping after Yellowfang, of kits born in a river of blood, of fear and a forest being ripped apart by monsters, of a long journey through snow and ice and snarling, black-and-white creatures, jaws snapping and hungry for revenge and death.
- Jaypaw takes a gulp of air, his paws unsteady beneath him. He asks if she's Cinderpelt, then awakes with a gasp, his pads wet and tail fluffed out. He jerks his head up, darkness filling his vision once more. Leafpool's breath stirs his fur, asking if he was dreaming. Jaypaw struggles to his paws and leans over the apprentice lying next to him. Cinderpaw's breathing is light and steady.
- Leafpool repeats her question and Jaypaw answers, trying to catch his breath. The violent visions he had seen still flicker in his mind, red with blood, pain and fear. Leafpool quietly asks if she'll get better. Jaypaw answers yes. Leafpool lets out a relieved purr. Jaypaw whispers she has been here before and Leafpool touches his flank gently with her tail, breathing she thought so, asking if she is Cinderpelt.
- Jaypaw tells Leafpool about his dream, how she led him to the old ThunderClan camp, how she seemed so happy there, he pauses, suddenly aware of Cinderpaw's body resting beside them, then asks Leafpool she thinks Cinderpaw knows. Leafpool murmurs she doesn't in her waking world, and they shouldn't tell her. Jaypaw asks why and Leafpool replies that it's enough that StarClan have let her come back and tread the warrior's path she always dreamed of following.
- Jaypaw pricks his ears, asking if Cinderpelt didn't want to be a medicine cat, while thinking he wasn't the only one. Leafpool answers that she only became a medicine cat after a monster crippled her, after the accident, there was no chance she could ever be a true warrior, so she served her Clan in a different way. Jaypaw says wouldn't she be happier to know that she is fulfilling her dream now. Leafpool mew grows serious as she says StarClan will tell her if they want her to know, they shouldn't try to shape her destiny.
- Jaypaw's mind begins to race as he asks if she thinks it'll change if they told her. He wonders if that means if it was right of him to keep the secret of Firestar's prophecy from Lionpaw and Hollypaw, and if he told them, would it make them act differently. Cinderpaw stiffs beside them, her voice is hoarse as she calls to Leafpool. Jaypaw offers to fetch some water and finds a wad of moss, soaking it in the shallow pool at the side of the den. He gives it to Cinderpaw, which she laps eagerly, then murmurs something he can't make out.
- She croaks she's hungry and Leafpool purrs with amusement, nearly saying that's more like the old Cinderpelt, but corrects herself, then saying she'll go fetch something from the fresh-kill pile. As Leafpool pads out of the den, Jaypaw hears Cinderpaw trying to stretch beside him, mewing that her leg hurts. Jaypaw promises she'll get better, she needs rest now. Cinderpaw murmurs groggily where is she, and while running his tail along her flank, Jaypaw answers that she's exactly where she belongs, in ThunderClan.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 99
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Revealed in Dark River, page 100
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Revealed in Dark River, page 101
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Revealed in Dark River, page 105
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 108
- ↑ Revealed in Dark River, page 110
- ↑ Revealed in Dark River, page 111
|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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