|"We have a small problem on RiverClan territory. We've had to leave our camp. Only for a short time. We're sorting the trouble out. We shall move back as soon as it's fixed. Until then we'll be staying on the island."|
|— Leopardstar at the Gathering in Dark River, page 136|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter nine of Dark River. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 9 (of 21)
- Page Numbers: 129-144
- Hollypaw shivers as she treks around the lake shore to the Gathering. She ducks between Brackenfur and Squirrelflight to hide from the chilly wind. Squirrelflight promises it will be warmer on the island. Hollypaw hears Brambleclaw's impatient voice rise above the wind, commanding to get off of there.
- She slips out from her sheltered spot to see he is yowling at Berrypaw, who is padding along a log lying in the shallows. Through her narrowed eyes, she watches as Berrypaw loses his balance and falls with a splash into the water. Once out of the water, Brambleclaw cuffs him around the ears.
- Firestar leads the group past Horseplace, the dark shapes of the horses beyond the fence make Hollypaw uneasy. A horse stamps its foot close to the fence, making Whitewing yowl in surprise and leap sideways, crashing into Mousepaw, sending him tumbling down onto the pebbly shore. Hollypaw wonders why everyone is so jumping, gazing around at her Clanmates. Lionpaw brushes against her as she follows Brambleclaw down the sandy bank. He mews he wishes he had stayed in camp with Jaypaw.
- Hollypaw glances at him, thinking he looks sleepy, then asks if he is okay. Lionpaw meows he's just tired after training. Dustpelt halts in front of them, ears pricked, warning that WindClan is approaching. Hollypaw sees a swarm of dark shapes moving against the heather, heading down to the shore. She asks her brother if he thinks Firestar will mention the squirrel hunting. Lionpaw shrugs, murmuring who knows. The WindClan cats stream onto the shore ahead of ThunderClan, heading onto the marshy shore of RiverClan territory. Hollypaw wrinkles her nose as muddy water squelches between her claws. Firestar has veered closer to the water, hurrying his Clan forward so they pulled ahead of WindClan.
- Dustpelt mutters squirrel-thieves, glancing sideways at the rival Clan. Berrypaw echoes the brown warrior more loudly, and the insult ripples through ThunderClan until it rings above the blustering wind. Hollypaw tenses, glancing warily at WindClan. Tornear's eyes blaze in the moonlight, while Breezepaw curls his lip in a menacing snarl. But Onestar pads on calmly, eyes fixed on the fallen tree ahead. He reaches it first, but singles with his tail to WindClan to step back. Firestar leads ThunderClan past and jumps onto the tree-bridge. He gazes down at Onestar, giving his thanks.
- ThunderClan files across the tree-bridge, and when it's Hollypaw's turn, she scrambles up through the tangle of roots, then catches the first scent of RiverClan, and is relieved they made it to the Gathering. She picks her way along the trunk and leaps onto shore, then kneads the sand beneath the pebbles to keep warm as she waits for Ashfur and Leafpool to follow.
- Once everyone is over, Firestar signals with his tail and plunges into the undergrowth. Hollypaw darts after him, urgent to speak to Willowpaw. A barb stabs her nose, but she pushes on into the softer ferns and emerges ahead of her Clanmates. The clearing is packed with gray pelts glowing in the moonlight like stones among tortoiseshell and brown pelts, some sit in groups exchanging hushed words, some lay at the edges gazing around warily, while small cats weave around larger ones, some so small Hollypaw can hardly believe they're apprentices. She scents the air and finds no sign of ShadowClan.
- Lionpaw catches up with her, asking why they're so many cats. Hollypaw shakes her head, her pelt bristling with unease. Every cat in the clearing is RiverClan. Lionpaw mews that some are a bit old to be there, while staring at a thickset tabby tom, whose muzzle is speckled with white whiskers. A dark tabby she-cat sits beside him, her pelt matted as if she could no longer grown herself properly.
- A very young cat hurries over to the elderly she-cat, calling her name, his eyes wide in fear as he mews he can't find Graymist or Sneezekit. Swallowtail sweeps her tail around the little cat, Mallowkit, reassuring him his mother will be back in a moment, and Sneezekit is probably with her. Lionpaw asks, surpised, if she said kit. Hollypaw doesn't reply, staring at Willowpaw, who is laying out some herbs in front of a heavily pregnant queen. Alarm flashing tin her paws, Hollypaw zigzagges through the busy clearing to Willowpaw's side, asking what is going on. Willowpaw looks up, eyes filled with panic. Before Willowpaw can answer, WindClan burst into the clearing.
- Mews of surprise ripple from them as they squeeze among the RiverClan cats. A tiny kit is wailing Graymist's name in the middle of the chaos. Swallowtail darts forward and plucks the kit up in her jaws and pads back to Mallowkit. Hollypaw turns back to her friends, asking why kits and elders are there. Willowpaw begins to speak, but Firestar's mew cuts her off as he asks Leopardstar what is going on. Onestar hurries across the clearing, growling that it looks like she brought all of RiverClan. From her place among the roots of the Great Oak, Leopardstar blink, saying she has. Onestar stumbles to a halt, eyes wide. Hollypaw leans forward, wondering what has happened to RiverClan.
- ShadowClan then arrives at that moment. Firestar plucks at the earth, saying they should start the meeting, then they'd find out. He leaps up onto the lowest branch of the oak, Leopardstar following, and Blackstar and Onestar climbing up beside him. Below, the Clans jostle as they struggle to find space to settle. Willowpaw stays with the pregnant cat, and Hollypaw hisses if everything is all right. Willowpaw tells her to join her Clanmates, while pawing at a ball of herbs, avoiding Hollypaw's gaze.
- Hollypaw nods and falls in behind a group of RiverClan warriors padding toward the oak, almost bumping into a queen who returns to her kits. Hollypaw joins her Clanmates, squeezing past Berrypaw, who flinches, hissing to watch his tail, and Dustpelt warns her to be careful as she steps on his paw. Hollypaw gingerly slides around Lionpaw, making sure she only put her feet on solid ground. He asks if she found out anything, to which she replies with no. Brackenfur orders them to sit and stay quiet. Hollypaw blinks a silent apology and looks up at Leopardstar. The RiverClan leaders gazes steadily from the oak, beginning that they have a small problem on their territory, and they've had to leave camp. Blackstar's eyes glitter with interest as he echoes her. Leopardstar quickly answers that it's only for a short time, they're sorting out the trouble, and they will move back as soon as it's fixed, but until then, they will be staying on the island.
- Hollypaw glances anxiously at Silverpelt as she wonders what will happen to the Gatherings. Onestar stares accusingly at Leopardstar, asking where RiverClan is hunting. Russetfur stands up, the fur pricking along her spine as she says there can't possible be enough food on the island for the whole Clan. Leopardstar glares at the ShadowClan deputy, mewing they have the lake. Crowfeather calls from below if that's enough, what will they do when they fish out the shallow waters around the island. Mistyfoot bristles, meowing they aren't eating rabbits if that's what they're worried about. Firestar asks what they'll do about Gatherings, gazing calmly at Leopardstar.
- Leopardstar answers they hope to be back at their camp by the next full-moon. Blackstar demands if they're not, it's not fair for them to outnumber every other Clan at the Gatherings. Thornclaw stands up, pointing out that no cat ever lived at Fourtrees, it was a special place for all Clan cats, like Mothermouth. Leopardstar meets his gaze, saying they would not be doing this if they had another option. Onestar's claws scratch the bark beneath him, wondering what will happen if they can never return to their camp, where will they go then. Anxious meows sound from the clearing below.
- Leopardstar's gaze sweeps the cats, mewing they are worrying about something that will never happen. Blackstar's tail twitches, hissing what if it does. Smokefoot of ShadowClan lifts his chin, saying one Clan will have to go. Silence grips the clearing. Hollypaw's belly tightens, wondering if one Clan could be driven from the lake. Firestar's mew rings out over the clearing, saying they have to believe Leopardstar, they must give RiverClan a chance to return to their territory. Sandstorm put in at least until the next Gathering. The cats mutter, but no one argued. Firestar nods, mewing that if RiverClan is still living on the island by the next full-moon, then they'll decide what to do. Blackstar nods curtly, Onestar flicks his tail, muttering. Firestar gazes over the Clans, saying ThunderClan has little to report, one of the apprentices got wounded, but she is recovering well, and newleaf has brought plenty of prey to the forest.
- Hollypaw digs her claws into the ground, realizing he is hinting about the squirrels. Onestar narrows his eyes, announcing that WindClan is healthy and prey is running well on their lands too. ThunderClan begin to get angry and mutter that Firestar hasn't mentioned the squirrels. Blackstar begins his report, that there are a few Twolegs by the lake, but none near camp. Firestar nods, saying if there isn't any other news, they should leave RiverClan in peace. The Gathering ends and Hollypaw is relived to see ShadowClan and WindClan disappearing into the undergrowth. She hurries back to Willowpaw, asking what is really going on, why did they leave camp. Willowpaw's mouth is full of herbs as she murmurs she can't talk right now.
- Hollypaw sees the desperate plea in her friends eyes and says she understands, she'll come back later. Willowpaw spits the herbs out onto the ground, begging her to not get in trouble. Hollypaw promises she won't. She spots her Clan leaving, and Lionpaw beckoning her with his tail to follow. She touches her muzzle to Willowpaw's cheek, saying her farewells before darting away. When she reaches Lionpaw, he asks if Willowpaw said anything. Hollypaw answers not really, beginning to hurry through the ferns, heart aching for her unhappy friend. The siblings catch up with their Clanmates at the tree-bridge.
- Mousepaw anxously asks what this means for ThunderClan as he scrabbles onto the trunk. Squirrelflight jumps up beside him, mewing nothing. Spiderleg stops in the middle of the bridge, asking how can she be sure. Dustpelt narrows his eyes, murmuring if RiverClan can't stay in their own territory, they might try to invade WindClan or ShadowClan, and if that happens, none of the borders will be safe. Mousepaw mews that they're over on the other side of the lake, it won't affect them. He follows Dustpelt along the trunk as the warrior darkly mutters he hopes he's right. Spidereg growls this must explain WindClan's apprentices training in the woodland. Hollypaw shivers, wondering if they are right, and ThunderClan is in danger.
- The urgent voice of Ashfur calling Lionpaw's name wakes Hollypaw. Lionpaw is going battle-training with Ashfur. Hollypaw gets up, stretching, wondering if she'd get a chance to visit Cinderpaw before training. She hears paw steps hurrying outside and excited mews. Hollypaw pads from the den to see what the fuss is about. Apprentices are training and warriors building a half finished den. Mousefur is stretching in the sun with Longtail beside her. The blind tom calls to Hollypaw from across the clearing, asking if it's her he smells. Hollypaw mews yes, padding over. Longtail digs his claws into the ground, mewing he hears trouble is coming, and he wishes he could defend the Clan.
- Hollypaw quickly answers that there isn't any trouble, RiverClan just has a few problems. Longtail goes on, saying that it sounds like there's going to be new territory marking, and he'd like to see any Clan try to take what belongs to ThunderClan. Alarm bristles along Hollypaw's spine as she realizes he's enjoying this. She is relieved to see Brackenfur padding towards her, and he announces they're going hunting, if there's going to be a battle, they need to be well-feed. Hollypaw stiffens, asking if she can visit Cinderpaw before they go. He agrees, just to not take long. Hollypaw pads across the clearing, poking her head in the medicine den, asking if she can enter.
- Cinderpaw is sitting up in her nest, her hindleg sticking out awkwardly as she reached forward to chase a ball of moss. Leafpool is soaking dried horsetail in the pool at the side of the den, then greets her. Hollypaw pushes her way through the brambles, and Leafpool says she's glad she's here, Cinderpaw could do with some company, she's finding it hard to keep still. Cinderpaw pats the moss ball so it flies across the den and lands beside Hollypaw, begging her to throw it back so she can catch it. Leafpool leaps over and grabs the ball in her teeth, telling the apprentice she needs to keep her leg still if she wants it to mend straight.
- Hollypaw purrs with amusement as Cinderpaw rolls her eyes, then she notices Jaypaw at the back of the den, absorbed in his work. She calls to him, asking what he's doing. He answers that he's preparing herbs. Hollypaw remarks it's a lot of herbs, and feels sick as she remembers that those are to treat battle wounds. She pads to Cinderpaw's side, asking if anyone told her what happened at the Gathering. Cinderpaw shakes her head, saying she heard Leafpool and Jaypaw whispering about something when Leafpool got back, but they hadn't told her anything. Hollypaw tells her about RiverClan living on the island. Cinderpaw's eyes widen in shock, and Hollypaw continues that they can't use their camp for some reason and all the other Clans think they'll have to find a new territory. Cinderpaw gasps that that would mess everything up. Hollypaw agrees, glancing at Jaypaw, then adds it seems like everyone is expecting a fight.
- Cinderpaw plucks the moss in her nest, mewing she hopes she's better by then so she can join the fight. Hollypaw stares at her crossly, meowing there doesn't need to be a battle. Cinderpaw begins to speak, but Hollypaw cuts her off, saying everyone is just scared about RiverClan, and once they help RiverClan, everything will go back to normal. She pads out of the den, staring around. Foxkit and Icekit are playing outside the nursery, Longtail and Mousefur are drawing battle plains in the sandy ground, while Firestar is speaking to Brambleclaw. Hollypaw thinks if she can find a way to help RiverClan, maybe there'd be nothing left to fight about.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Revealed in Dark River, page 129
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 130
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Revealed in Dark River, page 131
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 132
- ↑ Revealed in Dark River, page 133
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Revealed in Dark River, page 134
- ↑ Revealed in Dark River, page 135
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Revealed in Dark River, page 137
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 138
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Revealed in Dark River, page 141
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 142
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Revealed in Dark River, page 144
|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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