|"We should leave WindClan alone."|
|— Lionpaw to Hollypaw in Dark River, page 128|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter eight of Dark River. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 8 (of 21)
- Page Numbers: 114-128
- Lionpaw and Heatherpaw are playing in the tunnels. Heatherpaw names Lionpaw Lionclaw of DarkClan. Lionpaw flexes his claws as Heatherpaw calls down to him from the highest ledge in the cave. Moonlight streams through the gap in the roof, turning her pelt silver. She leaps down and touches her nose to his, mewing congratulations. Lionpaw's fur tingles.
- Heatherpaw's blue eyes flash in the half-light as she says he first has to prove himself a warrior by outrunning her. Lionpaw complains that it's not fair, because she's a WindClan cat and they run faster than anyone. Heatherpaw says that if he wants to be a DarkClan warrior, he has to be as fast as her. Lionpaw mews in that case, then launches himself at her, stretching his paws around her to soften her fall, but pins her to the ground.
- The two wrestle, until Heatherpaw lets go of him. Lionpaw meows he wishes she was in ThunderClan. Heatherpaw shudders, saying she doesn't want to live under trees closed in by stone walls, and they didn't need to live in the same Clan, since they had the cave. She reaches a paw out to bat a burr from behind his ear. Heatherpaw then leaps over the river and begins to sniff at one of the openings, wondering where the other tunnels lead. Lionpaw jumps after her, dank and stale air seeps from the tunnel, making him shiver.
- Heatherpaw asks if he thinks one leads to ShadowClan. The fur lifts along Lionpaw's spine, and he mews he hopes not. Heatherpaw suggests they explore, but he backs away, saying there's no hurry, they have enough fun in the cave. Her eyes sparkle as she mews there could be scary creatures down there, with huge teeth and sharp claws. Lionpaw nudges her to shut up. Heatherpaw darts away, calling him to follow, he still has to prove he's a warrior. She crosses the river with a graceful leap, while Lionpaw dives after her, and as he lands, his hindpaws slip into the dark water. His heart lurches as he feels the strong current, and he scrambles forward, shaking droplets from his paws. Heatherpaw warns him to be careful, she doesn't want to lose him. Seeking comfort in Silverpelt, he glances up at the gap in the roof, the sky outside is lightening, and Lionpaw mews they have to go.
- Heatherpaw sighs in reply, and Lionpaw hopefully suggests they meet again tomorrow. She weaves around him, saying she can't, she has a training assessment the day after and she doesn't want to be too tired. Lionpaw gives a shrug, understanding. They say their good-byes, then hurry away, each to their separate tunnel. Lionpaw bursts from the entrance, relieved to smell fresh air. He wriggles happily under the brambles, while thinking this is his part of the forest, then pulls himself out the other side.
- Through the leaves he can see the star-studded sky is growing pale, and he begins to race through the forest, having to get back to camp before the camp woke. A deep mew of greeting sounds in his ear and fur brushes his flank. Lionpaw bristles with alarm, glancing sideways to see the faint outline of a cat keeping pace with him, and he wonders if he is dreaming. The outline says they've been watching him, while shimmering - a huge tabby tom with amber eyes, which shine in the half-light. Something brushes Lionpaw's other flank. Heart pounding, he turns to see another shadowy cat running beside him - a second tabby with ice-blue eyes. Lionpaw's mew stammers as he asks who are they.
- The amber-eyed tom answers that they're kin. Lionpaw glances anxiously from one to the other, asking if they're from StarClan. The blue-eyed tom growls they were warriors once. Lionpaw's tail prickles and he wonders if they're Tigerstar and Hawkfrost. Hawkfrost stiffens, jerking his head around to stare into the forest, warning him about someone coming. Lionpaw ducks behind a hazel tree. Paw steps beat the forest floor, Spiderleg races past, and Lionpaw hardly dares to breath. The long-limbed black tom disappears into a swath of ferns. Lionpaw creeps out from behind the hazel, calling the two dead cats names. The two warriors had disappeared. He calls in a whisper for them to come back. The ferns rustle where Spiderleg had disturbed them, then the forest falls silent, expect for the call of birds heralding from the dawn.
- Lionpaw creeps through the dirtplace tunnel, yawning. The camp is still silent, and relief floods his paws, but is then replaced by guilt. Being away from Heatherpaw's side made him suddenly aware how sneaky he is being. He shouldn't feel so pleased that he'd been able to creep back to his nest, unnoticed. He scoots around the edge of the clearing, clinging to the shadows, then slips into the apprentices] den. Hollypaw lifts her head, asking if it's Lionpaw. Panic sears his paws, then irritation, and he hisses yes. She yawns, wondering where he is going. Lionpaw hesitates, then answers dawn patrol.
- Hazelpaw sits up groggily and blinks, mewing she thought she was doing that with Honeypaw. Lionpaw mews he's joining them, for experience. Hollypaw tucks her nose back under her paw, murmuring she'd rather it be him than her. Hazelpaw prods Honeypaw awake, and Lionpaw glances longing at his nest, his paws heavy as stones, but Hazelpaw is already brushing past him, leading the way out of the den. He pads after her, leaving Honeypaw stretching in her nest. Sandstorm notes he's up early, from where she sits at the entrance beside Dustpelt, looking surprised to see him. Lionpaw mews he wants to join the patrol.
- Sandstorm asks Honeypaw if she's ready, while her apprentice stumbles from the den, blinking the sleep from her eyes, then gives a nod. Sandstorm leads the way out of camp. Back in the forest, Lionpaw gazes longingly at every patch of moss, wishing he could lie down and rest. He trots after the patrol, trying to not trail too far behind as they followed the ShadowClan border, renewing the border. At last, Dustpelt mews it's all clear. Sandstorm sniffs the air, deciding they should check the WindClan border, and Lionpaw's heart sinks. They turn and head back through the forest, and Lionpaw feels his gaze glazing with tiredness. Far off through the trees, something is stirring. Tigerstar's name jumps to his head as he scans the forest, but it's only a fern flickering in the light breeze.
- Lionpaw wonders why they came to him that morning, then realizes they must know about his meetings with Heatherpaw, and his paws tingle. The patrol nears WindClan territory. Dustpelt stops to mark a tree, while Honeypaw climbs down into the gully for a drink, disappearing beneath thick brambles. Hazelpaw's stiffens, mewing for them to look, while staring over the border. Breezepaw and Harepaw are pelting toward the stream, ahead of them races a squirrel. The WindClan apprentices weave skillfully through the thick undergrowth. Dustpelt pads to Sandstorm's side, wondering why they're hunting here. Sandstorm points out it is their territory. Alerted by Hazelpaw's warning, Honeypaw had scrambled up from the stream, mewing that WindClan don't eat squirrels
- Dustpelt narrows his eyes, saying he thought they only hunted rabbits. Two more WindClan pelts appeared. Tornear and Whitetail are watching the apprentices from the edge of the moor. Hazelpaw warns they're still heading toward them. Breeazepaw and Harepaw pelt after the squirrel, their eyes fixed on the prey. Dustpelt warns they aren't slowing down. Sandstorm reassures him they won't cross the border on purpose. Dustpelt replies, they might accidentally, the stream is hardly visible here. The brown warrior drops into a crouch and creeps to the edge of the gully, ducking behind some brambles that cover it. Breezepaw and Harepaw's pads thump the ground as they hurtle nearer, still not slowing.
- Dustpelt rears up, yowling across the stream for them to stop. The two apprentices skid to a halt, their eyes wide with alarm. The squirrel leaps the gully and disappears up a tall birch. The WindClan warrior, Tornear, breaks into a run, racing to the border with Whitetail on his heels. Tornear halts at the edge of the gully glaring at Dustpelt, saying, how dare he frighten their apprentices. Dustpelt arches his back aggressively, meowing they were about to cross the border. Breezepaw asks how he knew that. Dustpelt accuses him that they weren't slowing down. The apprentice claims he could have gotten it in one more stride. Lionpaw curls his lip, saying he was no where near it. Breezepaw bristles defensively.
- Lionpaw spits back that WindClan can only catch rabbits, and ThunderClan are the best at squirrel hunting. Harepaw squares his shoulders beside his denmate, saying not anymore, every WindClan apprentice has special training in the woods so they don't have to rely on rabbits anymore. Sandstorm's eyes grow wide, asking why. Tornear turns his glittering gaze on her, hissing it's none of her business. Dustpelt paces the borderline, lashing his tail, wondering if this is so they can invade ThunderClan's territory. Whitetail steps forward, her ruffled fur smoothing. She mews evenly that they have woodland on their territory, it would make sense to use it, and the elders still speak of the hunger WindClan suffered when the Twolegs started poisoning the rabbits before the Great Journey.
- Lionpaw let his claws curve back into their sheaths, thinking that made sense. Harepaw nods, adding, there are sheep on the moorland now, Twolegs with their dogs - before Tornear silences the apprentice with a flick of his tail across his mouth, snapping that's none of ThunderClan's business either. He adds as long as they stay on their side of the border, they will hunt what they like. A ThunderClan cat protests that squirrels don't know about the border, they will cross over it, and WindClan would be eating their prey. Tornear snaps that if it's on WindClan territory, it becomes their prey. Dustpelt stops pacing and lets the fur stand on his back, meowing that squirrels have always been ThunderClan prey.
- Tornear sneers if that's part of the warrior code, while taking a step forward, eyes glittering. Dustpelt drops into a crouch, ready to spring. Blood pounds in Lionpaw's ears and he unsheaths his claws again, forgetting his tiredness. Whitetail murmurs for her Clanmate to leave it, it's not worth it. Tornear drags his gaze away from Dustpelt and looks at Whitetail. Lionpaw holds his breath, then Tornear nods, agreeing, for now. Dustpelt watches with narrowed eyes as the WindClan cats turn and pad away along the border, deliberately not hurrying. Sandstorm flicks her tail towards home, ordering them to come on. Dustpelt doesn't move, saying not until they've left the trees. Sandstorm sits down and begins to wash her face, suggesting that the three apprentices may as well find some prey while they're waiting.
- Lionpaw reluctantly stops watching the WindClan patrol and follows Honeypaw and Hazelpaw over to a patch of brambles. Hazelpaw whispers if they think WindClan is planning to invade. Honeypaw's eyes stretch wide, wondering what makes her think that. Hazelpaw mews that chasing squirrels is what forest cats do, but they're moorland cats, it's a bit suspicious. Lionpaw comments that Dustpelt's acting like they are. Honeypaw glances over her shoulder, wondering why they'd want to take their territory. Lionpaw suggests that maybe the Twolegs and their dogs are more of a problem than they realize. Hazelpaw points out they coped with it last newleaf. Foreboding claws Lionpaw's belly as he says it might be worse this time.
- Firestar calls from Highledge if they've got anything to report as the patrol pads into camp. Dustpelt answers that WindClan is hunting in the forest. Firestar leaps down from the ledge, asking if it's ThunderClan's forest. Lionpaw pads quickly over to the fresh-kill pile and drops the mouse he had caught, then hurries back to join Dustpelt. He is ready to defend his Clans prey against WindClan, but he wonders if one of those cats might be Heatherpaw. Hollypaw stops him halfway, wondering what's going on. Jaypaw is with her, ears pricked with interest. Lionpaw explains what happened to his siblings, glancing at the patrol.
- Sandstorm explains two apprentices were near the border, chasing a squirrel and nearly crossed the stream. Dustpelt growls they should have known better, unless they're so used to crossing the border by mistake. Sandstorm reminds him that no WindClan scent was on their side of the border. Brambleclaw demands why they were hunting squirrels]]. Hazelpaw says that all the WindClan apprentices train to hunt in the woodland now. Brambleclaw stiffens, mewing they must re-mark the borders. Dustpelt tells him they already did. Sandstorm sits down, staring to say to not make a big deal out of it, it was just two young cats - Dustpelt cuts her off, hissing they were hunting their prey. Brambleclaw advises they should be on guard and it needs to be reported at the next Gathering. Firestar plucks the ground, asking if any WindClan cats crossed the border.
- Sandstorm answers no, and Firestar presses if there was definitely no WindClan cat scent on their side of the stream, Sandstorm answers none. Dustpelt snorts that rain might have washed it away, Firestar points out that they might not have crossed the border before. He turns away, saying he can't tell WindClan what to hunt on their own territory, and they'll leave it for now and see what happens. Jaypaw narrows his eyes, muttering, not again. Lionpaw glances at him, wondering what he means. Hollypaw explains that Firestar didn't want to help RiverClan either, even though Jaypaw dreamed they were in trouble. Jaypaw complains the Clans will never respect them if they never do anything. Lionpaw frowns, asking why does it matter, so long as no one crossed the border.
- Hollypaw protests there must be balance, if one Clan is too weak, they should help them, and if one Clan is too strong, they must react so they look strong as well. Jaypaw scowls, mewing he doesn't know about balance, and it just seems like Firestar's wasting another chance to make ThunderClan look as if they can take care of themselves. Flicking his tail, Jaypaw pads away. Hollypaw stares at Lionpaw, asking for his opinion. Lionpaw stiffens, suddenly picturing Heatherpaw chasing a squirrel toward the ThunderClan border. He stalls, asking what does he think about what. Hollypaw tips her head to one side, mewing, should Firestar challenge WindClan at the next Gathering. Lionpaw shifts his paws, uncertain what to think. A breeze ruffles his fur and a voice murmurs in his ear, telling him to be honest and to not be afraid of the things he desires. Lionpaw's belly twists with guilt, but he knows Tigerstar is right. He finally mews he thinks they should leave WindClan alone.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 114
- ↑ Revealed in Dark River, page 117
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 118
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Revealed in Dark River, page 119
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 120
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Revealed in Dark River, page 121
- ↑ Revealed in Dark River, page 125
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 126
|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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