|"We should have never left in the first place! We should have stayed and helped our Clans."|
|— Stormfur about the Clans in Dawn, page 35|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter three of Dawn (book). If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 3 (of 25)
- Page Numbers: 33-42
- Squirrelpaw runs ahead of Stormfur and Brambleclaw in the direction of the ravine where the ThunderClan camp is located, on their way home from their journey. She notes that the smell of Twoleg monsters hovers in the air, and when a rumbling growl sounds further ahead, she develops a feeling of unhappiness. Squirrelpaw realizes that the Twolegs are at the camp already and sees a place where a hole had appeared in the forest that had bordered the ravine. Brambleclaw comes up beside her and looks out from the trees. He tells Squirrelpaw to be careful, and she feels his pelt touch hers. The apprentice notices that a wide trail had been dug through the trees, and the ground is now bumpy, muddy, and churned up like the moor, not hidden and smoothed by plants as she'd remembered it. The journeying cats' route to the camp is blocked by roaring monsters destroying more trees. Squirrelpaw flattens her ears and hides under the bracken.
- With his voice unusually calm, Brambleclaw reminds her that Midnight the badger told them it would be bad, and Squirrelpaw moves closer to him for comfort. The dark tabby declares that they can't go this way, as it is too dangerous; the group will have to go around and come toward the camp from the other side. Stormfur suggests that Brambleclaw lead, as he knows the territory better than Stormfur. After Brambleclaw asks if she is okay, Squirrelpaw replies that all she wants to do is get back to ThunderClan. Brambleclaw takes off away from the area destroyed by the Twolegs, the others following. Squirrelpaw dashes toward the clearing where she and the other apprentices had trained, wondering how her Clanmates could have lived with the Twolegs and their monsters so close.
- Squirrelpaw races ahead of Stormfur and Brambleclaw and runs along the path leading to the gorse tunnel, pushing her paws against the ground. Fear tightens her chest, and she lowers her head and dashes through the thorns without hesitating. Screeching her father's name, she explodes into the camp. She realizes that the clearing is completely empty, and the whole Clan's scent is stale. Squirrelpaw walks to Firestar's den underneath the rock where he usually stood to speak to the Clan, thinking he might still be there despite the danger of the Twolegs and the monsters. However, his nest is wet and musky, untouched for many days. Squirrelpaw leaves her father's den and pads over to the nursery, noting that it was the safest place in the camp. She smells a fox inside, and the scent almost hides the faint smell of queens and kits. Squirrelpaw panics, and she tells Brambleclaw about the fox when he comes up beside her. The dark tabby comforts her, saying that the scent is stale and that there was no trace of a fight.
- Realizing that Brambleclaw had been about to say blood, Squirrelpaw wonders aloud where the Clan has gone and doubts that ThunderClan would have been able to leave the camp without getting hurt. The warrior tells her that he doesn't know, but assures that the journeying cats will find them. Stormfur joins them and asks hoarsely if they are too late and Squirrelpaw declares that they should have returned sooner. Shaking his head, the gray warrior snarls that they should have stayed to aid their Clans instead of going on the journey, but Brambleclaw unsheathes his claws and digs them into the ground, growling that they had to go as it was the will of StarClan. Squirrelpaw again asks where ThunderClan has gone and runs ahead of the others back into the clearing. She hears the other cats follow and Stormfur's muttered curse as a bramble scratches him. He comes up beside Squirrelpaw, ignoring the scratch, and looks around the ThunderClan camp, commenting that there is no blood or evidence of a struggle. Squirrelpaw agrees, noting that there is no evidence in the camp that the Clan had been attacked. She wonders if that means that the Clan had been unhurt when they left and speculates that they moved someplace safer. Brambleclaw nods at her conclusion, seeming to agree.
- Stormfur advises that they should continue checking for scents, as there might be clues to where the Clan has gone. Squirrelpaw decides to look in the medicine cat's den and observes that the hollow leading to it is as quiet and abandoned as the rest of the camp. The apprentice goes around the edge and pushes her nose into the bracken, noting that there are no fresh scents. She turns around and walks toward the split rock where Cinderpelt sleeps and where the herbs are stored. Even though the smell of herbs is still strong, she realizes that the medicine cat's scent is as faint as Firestar's had been. This disappoints Squirrelpaw, and she goes back out into the clearing, looking hopelessly around. She suddenly realizes that her sister, Leafpaw's, scent was even fainter than Cinderpelt's, and she knows that it means her sister had left before the rest of ThunderClan.
- Squirrelpaw is yanked out of her thoughts by a screeching warrior's shriek from above. Squirrelpaw sees dark-colored fur, then collapses as a cat lands on top of her. Furious, the apprentice flails wildly, her paws scrambling and her fur fluffed up. She notes that she is strong and lean from the journey, and the other cat gasps at the strain of holding on to Squirrelpaw's pelt. The she-cat rolls over and claws scratch her flank as her attacker falls to the ground. Squirrelpaw lets out an angry hiss and turns to face her assailant, who had also gotten up and is glaring at her with her fur standing on end. She accuses Squirrelpaw of trying to steal her supplies, and Squirrelpaw realizes that it is Cinderpelt, exclaiming her name.
- Cinderpelt is surprised to see Squirrelpaw home, and she moves forward to press her muzzle against Squirrelpaw's cheek, and asks where she has been and if Brambleclaw is with her. Squirrelpaw, too concerned for her Clan to answer the medicine cat's questions, inquires where ThunderClan is. She is interrupted by the sound of pawsteps, and Stormfur and Brambleclaw emerge into the clearing. The dark tabby says that they heard fighting and questions if Squirrelpaw and Cinderpelt are all right. The medicine cat greets Brambleclaw, and says that she's happy to see him, then looks at Stormfur and asks him why he is here. After explaining, Brambleclaw asks who attacked. Cinderpelt replies that it was her, as she didn't recognize Squirrelpaw and she had come back to get some herbs. At the words come back, Brambleclaw queries where the Clan is. Cinderpelt sadly mews that ThunderClan had to leave, as the Twoleg monsters were getting too close, and Firestar ordered the Clan to evacuate the camp two moonrises ago. Squirrelpaw again asks where the Clan is, and the gray she-cat tells them that they are at Sunningrocks.
- Cinderpelt then mentions that she's always running low on supplies because Leafpaw has gone. Squirrelpaw asks what happened to her, and with sympathy in her eyes, Cinderpelt explains that Leafpaw was caught in a Twoleg trap. She notes that traps were being set for the cats, and Sorreltail witnessed everything was powerless to help. Squirrelpaw sways, feeling as if her legs have no strength left and finally understanding her dreams of terror and darkness and imprisonment. Brambleclaw asks where Leafpaw was taken, and Squirrelpaw, shuddering, notes that he sounds very far away. Cinderpelt tells him that they don't know, and Firestar sent a search patrol when Sorreltail came back, but the area where Leafpaw had been trapped was occupied by many monsters, and there was no sign of the apprentice. Cinderpelt comforts Squirrelpaw, pushing her cheek against Squirrelpaw's and telling her that it wasn't safe to continue looking for Leafpaw. The apprentice turns away, but the medicine cat gazes into her eyes, willing her to understand. The medicine cat goes on to say that Firestar had to think of the entire Clan and couldn't endanger more cats to search for Leafpaw. Cinderpelt looks away, regret in her voice, as she remarks that she wanted to help search, even though she knew she'd be no use. The gray she-cat glares at her hind leg which is weakened because of a past injury from a Twoleg monster. Squirrelpaw notes that Cinderpelt knows very well how damaging monsters can be to cats.
- Squirrelpaw realizes for the first time that the medicine cat's pelt looks as if it hangs from her, revealing the sharpness of bone underneath. Brambleclaw, who also notices, asks Cinderpelt how the Clan is coping. The medicine cat confesses they aren't managing well, telling the journeying cats that Larchkit died because Ferncloud didn't have enough to eat, and Dappletail had also died from eating a rabbit poisoned by Twolegs. Cinderpelt worriedly asks the traveling cats if they had eaten any rabbits, to which Stormfur replies they haven't seen any. Lashing her tail, Cinderpelt angrily states that the Twolegs have ruined everything, as Cloudtail and Brightheart are also missing, and they might have been caught by Twoleg traps like Leafpaw had been.
- Brambleclaw stares at the dirty ground and quietly meows that he had no idea it could be this bad, even though Midnight informed them that it might be. He trails off, and Squirrelpaw wants to console him, but she knows that nothing she could tell him would be of comfort. Staring at the dark tabby confusedly, Cinderpelt questions what he means. Squirrelpaw informs her that Midnight is a badger who the traveling cats went to meet. At this, Cinderpelt is disbelieving and looks warily around, as if she expects a badger to appear. The apprentice isn't surprised by Cinderpelt's reaction, as cats don't trust the generally bad-tempered black-and-white creatures. She remembers how she, along with the other journeying cats, had taken a long time to get over the surprise of meeting a badger.
- Squirrelpaw goes on to explain that they met Midnight at sun-drown-place. Cinderpelt is confused, and Stormfur informs her that StarClan sent one cat from each Clan there. Brambleclaw continues that the group was ordered to travel to where the sun drops into the sea at night. Cinderpelt is shocked at the mention of StarClan's communication, mentioning that ThunderClan thought StarClan had abandoned them. Brambleclaw confirms to her that StarClan spoke to him in a dream. Stormfur and Squirrelpaw add that Feathertail, Crowpaw, and Tawnypelt had that dream as well. Cinderpelt gazes with wide eyes at Brambleclaw, Stormfur and Squirrelpaw, stating that they should come and explain everything to Firestar. She adds that StarClan has not spoken to her since the prophecy of fire and tiger. Squirrelpaw wonders what that message means. Without looking at Squirrelpaw, Cinderpelt comments that she will find out about it soon. The medicine cat tells the group to come with her to the rest of ThunderClan, as the Clan needs to hear their tale.
Notes and references
|Dawn (book) 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 • Chapter 22 • Chapter 23 • Chapter 24 • Chapter 25|
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