|"We are glad you came. You taught us a lot, and we'll miss you when you're gone. But I guessed you wouldn't stay forever. The call of home is strongest when you have kits. I'm glad they will be raised among their own kind as warriors."|
|— Fierce to Tigerheart and Dovewing in Tigerheart's Shadow, page 299|
In the Super Editions
- As Tigerheart wanders into unfamiliar territory, looking for his mate, three cats step out. Fierce is one of the cats, with a brown-and-black cat and a long-furred smoky gray cat – Ant and Cobweb. They pad slowly towards him, ears flattened, until the tabby tom says he's looking for someone. Fierce moves closer, demanding who he is. Tigerheart introduces himself, then says he's looking for a friend, and has traveled a long way to look for her. The tortoiseshell curiously asks if he's looking for a she-cat. The tom replies that the she-cat is his mate, and she's carrying his kits.
- Fierce asks of her name. Tigerheart replies that it's Dovewing. The tortoiseshell tells the brown-and-black tom, who she addresses as Ant, to see if there's a cat who has that name. As Fierce introduces herself and Cobweb, the outsider blinks hopefully at him. He asks the two strays if they live here, but the cat glances at him warily. She asks how long has he been travelling, and Tigerheart responds for days. She replies that he must be tired, but he says he'll keep travelling if he has to, and Fierce stares at him. Desperate, Tigerheart tries to see if the stray is trying to hide something.
- At last movement appears in the shadows, and Ant appears, whispering something in Fierce's ear. The she-cat curtly meows that Dovewing is here and will see her mate. As they walk through the streets, the tabby nervously asks if Twolegs come here. Pausing on a ledge, Fierce replies not anymore. The ShadowClan tom sees movement among the shadows, and pushes past Fierce to see his mate. The tortoiseshell nudges him out of the way so they can jump off another ledge. Cobweb and Ant follow her, while Tigerheart is left staring at them. After a while, he can't stand it anymore, so he shouts Dovewing's name. Fierce quickly quiets him down, as she doesn't want him to disturb the sick cats living here.
- As they move through the streets, Tigerheart spots a couple of cats, and sees one carrying something soft towards a stick that drips water onto the ground. The tortoiseshell follows the outsider's gaze and explains that the she-cat is collecting water for cats too sick to reach the drip-pipe. Intrigued, the tabby asks if everyone drinks from there, but the she-cat corrects him, saying cats who aren't sick drink outside, and the drip-pipe is for everyone else. Another nest that smells of blood and herbs catches Tigerheart's eye, and asks if the cat sitting there is a medicine cat. Fierce is confused, and the tom explains what he means. Cobweb points out that the tom is Bracken, and he's treating Rascal's rat bite. Ant adds that everyone takes care of the sick here.The ShadowClan tom notices that Ant is battle scared, Cobweb has half an ear missing, and one of Fierce's legs is shorter than the others. This makes the tom scared.
- Anxiously, Tigerheart asks where she is, and Fierce asks if the she is Dovewing. The tabby tom confirms this, and the tortoiseshell leads him beneath a wooden ledge on legs. Furless pelts make up a nest at the back. As Tigerheart and Dovewing discuss matters, Fierce, Cobweb, and Ant are standing at the back, looking protective, though not prying.
- After Tigerheart calls out a greeting to Spire, Blaze rushes up to his mentor and asks if they can hunt. Fierce flicks her tail fondly and instructs him to find Mittens to help him hunt. She heads towards Dovewing's nest, accompanied by Cobweb and a brown tabby she-cat. The tortoiseshell meows that they've met Spire, and the tabby says he was expecting the two Clan cats. Fierce dismisses that as nonsense, as he gets confused often. They look after him, however, and he is a good healer. The dark brown tabby mentions Blaze, the kit who helps the black tom. Fierce purrs, saying Blaze is good for Spire and keeps the tom on the ground, even if his thoughts are in the clouds.
- Dovewing comments that Spire keeps staring at her like he knows something, and adds that he acted weird around her mate earlier. Interested, the tortoiseshell's eyes round, and the she-cat next to her comments that Spire sometimes mixes up his dreams with reality, purring that maybe he thinks Tigerheart can fly. Fierce introduces the tabby next to her as Cinnamon, and tells Tigerheart his mate's glad he came. The gray queen has told the guardian cats much about the tabby. The she-cat meows that he's here now, and Dovewing has told all of them that he's a warrior. Fierce hopes Tigerheart can help them.
- Intrigued by their lifestyle and how it differs from other rogues and loners, Tigerheart asks how they came to be. The tortoiseshell shrugs, replying that sick cats come and go, and those with wounds that never heal stay permanently. It's safer to befriend others, and every cat does what they do best, such as healing, fighting, or hunting. Cinnamon looks over the newest newcomer and says he could be useful. His mate proudly states that of course he will be useful, but she wishes she could help too. Fierce sternly reminds her that she has kits to worry about, and says her shoulder wound is a reminder of what happened. Alarmed, the tabby asks if she really has been fighting. The tortoiseshell explains they've been having trouble with a fox, and Cobweb adds that it's been stealing herbs. Cinnamon says Dovewing told them a few warrior moves would do it, but the queen isn't quite as good as she used to be.
- Cobweb chimes in with the fact that the pregnant she-cat tried to teach them some moves, and Fierce meows that Dovewing is too close to giving birth to help the guardian cats properly, and tells Tigerheart that the she-cat told them they must work together to drive off the fox. Tigerheart thinks that they already work together well, glancing around at the setting. Ant is waiting to soak up water with a furless pelt from the drip-pipe, while a tortoiseshell strips leaves and lays them down on the side of Rascal's next. A brown-and-white tom jumps down from the cave and takes it down to a sick she-cat. The tabby tom asks where they learned their medicine skills. Fierce explains that a cat named Pumpkin stayed with them. The stray lived with forest cats and learned that herbs could be useful. The astonished tom wondered if Pumpkin had stayed with SkyClan before their exile from the gorge.
- The tortoiseshell goes on, saying the stray knew a few herbs and taught them what they looked and smelled like. Since then they've been experimenting with what works and what doesn't. They realized that common sense is important when treating cats. The guardian cats have collected an abundance of healing knowledge, but fighting is a completely different area. They hope Tigerheart can teach them. Tigerheart thinks this is why Spire is relieved they are here, because he wants someone to drive the fox away from the herbs. Fierce stares at the outsider, asking if he will help. The tom admires the fact that she requested nothing in return, thinking about how different she is than Dash. He asks if the same fox that took over the herb patch injured Dovewing. The guardian she-cat confirms this, and says they need to drive out the fox before the cold kills off the herbs.
- Tigerheart requests to lead a patrol to check out what they're dealing with, and Fierce agrees. She asks Cobweb, Cinnamon, and Ant to come with them. Telling them they're going to show the outsider the herb patch, they begin to head out. They head through the alleys and then Fierce stops. Tigerheart asks if they're there yet, and the tortoiseshell replies that there are no more dens past here, just Thunderpaths and monsters. Worried, the tabby asks if that's dangerous. Ant reassures the tabby that they know a safe route. The guardian cats lead the ShadowClan cat to where a tunnel is beneath the Thunderpath. He follows them into the tunnel until they emerge on the other side.
- Now they are at the herb patch, which smells like the stench of the Thunderpath. Tigerheart asks if the herbs taste bad, but Fierce replies that they just wash off the stink before the herbs are used. Cobweb and Ant agree that the willow and feverfew are doing well, and the tortoiseshell decides to check on them later when the fox problem is solved. However, the gray tom complains that by the time ice-chill rolls around frost will have killed all the herbs. The guardian she-cat isn't too concerned, as they have plenty of time before the frost arrives. Cobweb retorts that's only if they're lucky, otherwise, they'll have to wait until warmingtime. Tigerheart suggests they check the whole slope, so they can see if it's made a den and to see what kind of fox it is. Vixens, in particular, will be harder to drive out. Fierce dips her head, and lets the tom lead the way. They pick up a scent and follow it all the way uphill, until the ShadowClan tom hears a growl. A fox is behind them, and slams into Cobweb and Ant. As Tigerheart, Cobweb, and Ant struggle to fight the fox, Fierce throws herself onto the fox and sinks her teeth into the creature's shoulder. Cinnamon bites down on the fox's hind leg, and it throws Fierce off.
- Tigerheart yells orders at the guardian cats, and tells the tortoiseshell to go for the fox's tail. However the fox proves too vicious for them, and Cobweb gets injured. Although the creature eventually becomes scared, when backup arrives it becomes happy again. The brown tabby yells for Cobweb to get up, while Fierce launches herself at one of the foxes, driving it back with her wild swings. As they drive a vixen back, the brown tom gives the order to run. He stays behind, and Cinnamon asks what about him. Fierce is guiding the others into the tunnel, with Tigerheart following soon after. They realize that the foxes are mates, and if cubs appeared they would overrun the herb place so that no cat can collect herbs again.
- Tigerheart wants the cats to fight, but Pipsqueak says the guardian cats don't fight. The ShadowClan tom reminds him that Fierce says some of them heal, hunt, or guard. Dotty argues, however, that keeping watch for danger is different than beginning an attack on foxes. As the brown tabby glances at the guardian cats, he notices Fierce in the shadows, hanging back. Peanut points out that they need to restock the herb store, and they will fight if it comes to that. Dotty retorts that the brown-and-black she-cat won't do it, because she's a healer. Fierce steps in, and meows if you don't want to fight, you don't have to. Tigerheart tells the tortoiseshell she should encourage them, because she's their leader. The she-cat flicks her tail and tells him they are all equals, not like a Clan.
- Tigerheart insists they have to start thinking like one to protect their territory, and Dotty argues they don't have territory. The ShadowClan tom and the guardian cats argue for a bit before the tabby looks to the tortoiseshell for help, and wonders why she isn't supporting him. She steps forward and agrees with Tigerheart, saying they all joined because they needed help and/or shelter. Without the herbs they wouldn't be here, and the future visitors need that patch of land to receive the same care they did. Pipsqueak asks Fierce if she's asking them to fight, and she replies fighting can help them get rid of the foxes and collect the herbs, but it's their choice if they want to. Dotty asks if the she-cat really is going to let Tigerheart teach her fighting skills, and the tortoiseshell tells the white-and-ginger she-cat of course because the warrior has useful knowledge.
- After several days of basic moves, Fierce meows they've learned enough, and now they must devise a plan to get rid of the foxes, and Tigerheart reminds them that they are fighting together, not alone. After he tells them tips on how to win. Dovewing steps forward and says if they take positions around the slope, one cat can be in the middle, acting as bait. The cat can lull the foxes into a false sense of security, tricking them into thinking the group of cats are weak. However, the cat must look harmless, and the queen suggests she should do it. Fierce objects before anyone else can say anything, and the rest of the cats chime in. Tigerheart tells her mate she's not going anywhere, but the gray she-cat protests she wants to help. Spire steps in, saying he can be bait instead of Dovewing. He's skinny, small, and looks half-crazy. Fierce begins to argue he's not, but he says his thoughts wander and he seems lost most of the time. He tells them he trusts the guardian cats to protect him. Fierce asks if he's sure of this, because he needs to concentrate. The black tom promises the she-cat, and tells her she's sure.
- Blaze runs up to his mentor and offers to be bait with him; however, Spire tells him he should stay behind and keep Dovewing occupied. The ginger kit runs to the queen and boasts that he's the best at keeping cats occupied, and with him the gray she-cat won't even think of Tigerheart fighting. Fierce declares she won't need to, because a little more practice will easily drive off the foxes.
- The next day, the cats get into position as Spire pretends to wander around aimlessly and yowl. A growl sounds from a corner, and Tigerheart sees a red pelt running through the shrub and at Spire. The black tom streaks to a juniper bush for safety, and Fierce swipes her claws at the fox chasing the healer. It turns and advances on her instead, just as Cinnamon and Ant burst out to attack it. Pipsqueak leaps out to surround the fox, and fury shines in its eyes as it lunges for the tortoiseshell. Fierce dodges while Pipsqueak bites on its tail and the others claw the fox's flank. As it thrashes wildly, the short-legged she-cat brings her claws down on its muzzle. As Tigerheart, Rascal, Mittens, and Dotty attack the oncoming vixen, Fierce and her cats claw the vixen's mate. Both run out after escaping their attackers.
- As Dovewing starts her kitting, Fierce crosses the ground towards them, and tells Spire to help the queen. While Spire guides Dovewing to her nest, Fierce pulls Tigerheart away from his mate. The tabby insists she needs him, and the tortoiseshell assures the tom the gray queen is safe with Peanut and Spire. She says Peanut has had kits of her own and helped other queens with kitting. Both Spire and Peanut know what they're doing, as many queens pass through here. Tigerheart wants to be with Dovewing, but Fierce insists he calm down first. Even though it's his first litter, it'll be fine. The ShadowClan tom feels guilty, as he thinks he made Dovewing start kitting by upsetting her. The she-cat replies if every queen started kitting any time they were upset there would be lots of unexpected deliveries. Tigerheart still insists he shouldn't have said anything.
- Two moons after Tigerheart and Dovewing's kits are born, leaf-fall has turned into leaf-bare. Prey is scarce, and Fierce suggests they tour their favorite scrapcans to see if there's any food. Tigerheart follows Fierce, along with some other guardian cats and Fierce happily explains that Twolegs like to eat during the cold, which means more scraps. While Tigerheart reluctantly digs through the trash, Cobweb and Mittens search through the litter on ground level. The tabby tom hooks out a lump that smells like meat, and Cobweb's eyes brighten. Mittens then pulls out a soft white strip, saying Dotty will like it. Fierce also pulls out a bone and says there's more, then finds another and tosses it to the ground. Tigerheart is disgusted, as back home they leave bones for the crows, and here they're a treat. The tortoiseshell tells them to take it back to Cinnamon, who's guarding their first stash of scraps.
- While they're heading back, four strays surround Cinnamon and the scrap heap. Tigerheart darts forward to protect them, while the others follow. He beckons them closer, sensing that he might need backup. However, Fierce doesn't speak up while the Clan cat is arguing with the gray she-cat. When the strays leave, Fierce praises the dark tabby for how he handled it, and Cinnamon adds he prevented a fight.
- The gray she-cat returns, and Tigerheart demands what she's doing here, as Fierce and the others followed slowly. He growls to the guardian cats that she's on their land, and Fierce replies it isn't theirs. The tom is taken aback and says it's where they live and hunt. Ant frowns and explains they sleep in the gathering place and scavenge anywhere in the city. The dark tabby protests it's still their home. A brown tom pads up and asks the she-cat what's going on, calling her Fog. Fog replies to the tom she doesn't know. All the cats are looking unconcerned, including Dovewing, and he asks why they aren't defending their territory. She replies they don't mind sharing, and the tortoiseshell she-cat asks what's the point of arguing over land. Tigerheart asks if they have borders, and says they should when she tells him no.
- After a bit, Fierce pads up to Tigerheart and tells him to go easy on the strays. They had fox trouble, and he knows what's that's like. He's still angry and asks if she's going to let them stay on their land. She reminds him they don't have land; they don't own land. The ShadowClan tom is in disbelief that they are living in such a disorganized way. He reminds her they have sick cats and kits to feed, and they need to have territory that supports them even when it's freezing. Fog interrupts and says the weather has nothing to do with it, because Twolegs don't stop leaving trash because it's cold. Food rots slower during ice-chill anyways. Fierce begins to walk away, telling the others to follow her because this argument is worthless.
- As the tortoiseshell leads Tigerheart and Dovewing on a tour of her favorite scrapcans, Tigerheart glimpses movement, and makes out the slick shape of rats. He suggests they catch them, but Fierce protests the scrapcans are full. The ShadowClan tom argues fresh prey will be better for the sick, and that Littlecloud used to say fresh-kill was the best medicine. When Fog and Tuna show up, ruining the tabby's plan, he snaps at Fierce this is why they need borders. If they knew where their land was, they wouldn't have problems with hunting. While Tigerheart and Fog argue, the tortoiseshell suggests they go back to the scrapcans, now that the rats are gone. The ShadowClan warrior insists they need borders, so they know which land belongs to whom. Fog looks towards the trash and says they can have this land, and Fierce declines because the scraps are rotten. The gray she-cat argues there are plenty of rats for them, and they can have it.
- Tigerheart insists they need borders, while the short-legged cat doesn't want to because they need patrolling, and it sounds like a lot of effort. Fog agrees and says it would be better to spend the time scavenging. Tuna points out it's pointless, because the city is full of cats. Spire also comments that there would be more battles, and he doesn't want to waste herbs treating wounds. The tortoiseshell agrees and heads towards the tunnel, while the smoky gray rogue pads up the slope with Streak and Tuna at her side. Spire and Ant follow Fierce. After Dovewing argues with her mate for some time, she pads after the guardian cats.
- Fierce pads in between the other guardian cats that are going on a special patrol. They call it the outdoor gathering, where Twolegs pile food on these ledges, and some of them drop down and some they can take. Meat is on some of the ledges, and the guardian cats always eat well after an outdoor gathering. Tigerheart wants to join, but is waiting for Dovewing to get back from making dirt. When she does, he tells his kits to be good for their mother, as he's going out with the tortoiseshell. Blaze wants to go too, and the tabby warns him there's a lot of Twolegs there. He doesn't care and tells the tom it's boring with Spire and he really wants to see the outdoor gathering. Fierce asks if Tigerheart's coming and he confirms that he's going, while the ginger kit meows he wants to go too.
- She tells the kit that he would make a good lookout, and can help Dotty guard the stash. The ginger-and-white she-cat warns Blaze not to wander off and to stay near her. Fierce leads the way out the den entrance and on a new route away from the gathering place, where the outdoor gathering is. She takes the patrol between ledges, and in the shadows the ShadowClan tom feels safe. When Rascal mentions Twolegs bring their dogs and they can reach under the ledges, Dotty replies that a few swipes will scare them off. The tortoiseshell warns them not to be too vicious or they'll attract Twoleg attention.
- Fierce takes Tigerheart and Cobweb to see what the Twolegs have brought, and tells Mittens, Rascal, and Ant to search for fish while Blaze and Dotty guard the pile. She leads her two companions to a tunnel the ledges have formed, and they dash to ledges after ledges until the scent of food grows. Tigerheart's mouth begins to water as he spots a grouse. The tortoiseshell whispers that no one's watching, and so she swipes up and tugs the grouse through the gap. She tells the ShadowClan tom to bring it to Dotty while he stares at the fat grouse. He drops the bird off at the pile, and Blaze comments that he's never seen fresh-kill that big. Tigerheart tells the kit that Fierce and Cobweb are collecting more.
- When the tabby returns from the pile, he finds Fierce and Cobweb with piles of fresh-kill at their paws. The tortoiseshell happily tells him they'll need several trips to the gathering place with such a big haul. Anxiously Tigerheart suggests they take this back to Dotty and Blaze quickly before Fog can snatch it. She guesses they're looking for food just like the guardian cats are doing, because they also need to eat. The dark brown tabby knows she's never had to deal with cats like Darktail before, and replies that not all cats want to share. Cobweb nervously asks what he means, and the tabby asks Fierce if Fog looked like she wanted to catch the rats she chased off. This puzzles the tortoiseshell, and Tigerheart asks if she was chasing them or if she wanted to scatter them. The bewildered she-cat inquires why the rogue would want to stop them scavenging. The tom admits he doesn't know, but tells her Fog's camped outside her den and they always seem to bump into them wherever they go. He thinks she's trying to take over the guardian cats' territory.
- Fierce replies they don't have territory, and an exasperated Tigerheart insists they do, their places where they live and scavenge. He tells them to imagine if they couldn't live beneath the gathering place, or if they had to fight to rummage through scrapcans, or Fog sleeping in their nest. The tortoiseshell retorts she can't, alarm on her face. Her friend argues that Fog and her gang can; it's growing every time they bump into her, and she doesn't need to take care of sick or injured kits. If she wants to take over the guardian cats' territory, they could. Alarm flashes in Cobweb's eyes as well, and Tigerheart walks away to talk to Fog, who's arriving with Tuna and a black-and-white tom.
- After the tabby and the gray she-cat fight and the Twolegs panic, the former deputy scrambles towards the guardian cats and orders them to grab whatever they can and get out. They snatch prey and head for the alley with Tigerheart behind him with the grouse. After they've stopped running, Fierce angrily turns on her companion and demands to know what happened. The tom replies that Fog was trying to steal their rabbit, and the she-cat retorts that they can't go back because of him; the Twolegs will look out for them now. He asks if he should've let the rogue take the rabbit, and Fierce replies that there's plenty for everyone. They argue for a bit as to why Fog wanted their rabbit specifically before the tortoiseshell angrily snaps that it's maybe because Tigerheart has been provoking her wherever they go, and maybe it's what warriors do.
- She turns away after the tabby replies that warriors believe some things are worth fighting for, before stiffening and turning to meet Fog. The seething tabby steps aside and tells Fierce to handle Fog and her group. She eyes the smoky she-cat warily and snaps that they may never be able to scavenge at the outdoor gathering spot because the Twolegs will be looking for them. Fog casually replies that Twolegs won't remember them now that they left. The tortoiseshell retorts that they didn't have to steal the rabbit from Tigerheart, and they'd all have scraps to take home. Fog glances at the prey at the guardian cats' paws and comments that they'll still have plenty of scraps to take back. Fierce growls that they caught the prey, which means it's for the cats at their camp.
- The gray she-cat still wants their stash, and the tortoiseshell growls that they'd have more if the fight didn't start. Tigerheart wonders if the guardian cat is starting to realize the importance of borders and that even city cats have to fight for what's theirs. He strides in between the two she-cats and asks Fog why she can't go back and get scraps of their own. She asks why the guardian cats can't give her their scraps, and Fierce still says no. She inquires why Fog and her group are bullying them, and what happened. The rogue replies that they just want some food and a warm place to sleep. Annoyed, Fierce snaps that they can sleep near the gathering place, and wonders why they're so insistent.
- Fog explains that they were driven out of their home by foxes. It was a good home, but the foxes now occupy it and they have to find somewhere else to live. Tigerheart storms up to her and they start arguing. After their ensuing argument, he turns on the tortoiseshell and says this is why borders are needed. Fierce growls that they aren't fighters, but healers, and that not every argument needs a fight to be settled. The tom angrily thinks that Fierce is just making the rogue she-cat bolder by appeasing her.
- He calls a meeting the next morning and proposes his ideas to drive away the foxes populating Fog's old home. The tortoiseshell is skeptical of this plan working and explains that they need to figure out the number of foxes before they do anything. He agrees, but tells her that if they work with Fog they might have a chance. None of the guardian cats are enthusiastic about this idea, yet the tom still elaborates on his proposal. Fog will only make life difficult for them if she stays, and she's not going to sleep outside in this weather. Fierce asks if he thinks she'll go back to her old lands if the foxes are driven away. The other guardian cats argue that these foxes were strong enough to drive a band of cats out; however, Tigerheart insists that if they fight together there's a chance they'll overpower the foxes. A confused Fierce says first he says they're a threat, and now he wants to teach them how to fight.
- As Spire and Dotty quarrel over dreams, Mittens and Rascal arrive, their eyes filled with alarm. Mittens reports that cat scents are around the slabs, and that it's Fog's cats that have clearly been sneaking here. Rascal adds that fresh Twoleg scents are also there. The former deputy declares they need to get rid of Fog and her gang, before the Twolegs discover them. For a moment Fierce is thinking, then she concedes to the plan, asking to practice the moves he taught them. Pipsqueak nervously wonders if they'll fight the foxes now, but his fellow guardian cat replies not until they know how many. One way or another, though, it seems like they'll have to defend their home, so they should just prepare. The guardian cats quietly discuss this before turning to Fierce and nodding.
- Fierce and the others are practicing battle moves while Tigerheart surveys them. She asks the tabby what they should do if they're attacked by two foxes. He nods at her approvingly, and explains that they'll stay in pairs when it comes time to fight. Pipsqueak and Dotty pretend to be foxes while Rascal and Mittens pretend to attack them. The former ShadowClan deputy tells them that foxes instinctively go for the legs, so they should duck down and claw their muzzle. Aim for the eyes if possible. Then rear up and push off each other onto the foxes' backs. The creatures will crash into each other while the cats are on their backs. He lets the four cats try it. After the demonstration, Fierce suggests they all try it.
- They pair up, but Cobweb points out that Blaze is too young to fight. Fierce assures the gray tom that the kit won't be fighting, but he should learn the moves in case. She is interrupted by a squeal coming from Pouncekit. Three of the guardian cats run up. Dotty asks what the contraption is, and the tortoiseshell growls that it must be a Twoleg trap, as she can smell their stench. Cobweb finds a gap where the edges are and thinks they might be able to wedge it open. She grabs a stick and drops it, saying one end is thin and the other is thick. The gray tom suggests that feeding the thin end through can wedge it open. Building upon what he said, Tigerheart adds that they can also push the stick in to the thick end, and that might be able to move the mesh.
- She threads the stick in through the gap, and as she pushes it in the tabby warns his daughter to move. As she gets deeper, he instructs her to pull the stick out, and it catches on the mesh. The tortoiseshell slowly levers it open, and Pouncekit is able to squeeze through. The stick snaps as she tumbles out, and Fierce jumps back while Cobweb and Tigerheart get out of the way just in time. Deep in thought, the ShadowClan tom asks her if she's seen these before. She says no, and Lightkit asks if the Twolegs are trying to hurt them. Just then, a wail sounds from the other side of the gathering den. Streak is trapped inside another one of the traps, and Fierce waves the cats inside the den as the Twolegs arrive.
- After the Twolegs leave, Growler announces that they've found more traps. Alarmed, Tigerheart asks if the kits are hidden. Fierce is sure the Twolegs won't find them, because the clutter will hide them. Returning to the stray, she asks to see the other traps. Growler obliges and leads them to a trap identical to the one that had held Pouncekit. Fresh-kill wafts from inside, and Tigerheart sees how his daughter was lured in. The black-and-white tom points out two more, one nearby, another near their camp. Cobweb leans in, sniffing the trap, and Fierce warns him not to go inside. He retorts that he's not a mouse-brain, and is just wondering how the kit made her trap shut. They test out their theory of stepping on a strip to make the trap shut, and it works. The tortoiseshell growls that the Twolegs are fox-hearts, and orders them to close the others.
- Mittens yells for Fierce, and Tigerheart goes to see what the noise is about. He asks if the tom has found any more, and Rascal replies they've found three more. Fierce asks for clarification, and hears that three more traps have been set up. Tigerheart asks if they should close these traps again, but Mittens replies that the Twolegs will only set more up. Anxiously, the tortoiseshell suggests they move on. However, the tabby retorts that this is the safest part of the city. An irritated Fierce meows that she doesn't know where to move to. Rascal and Mittens agree that they need to get rid of Fog, because that's when their space was invaded by Twolegs. She asks Tigerheart about his plan to recruit Fog's cats, and the tabby admits that Fog won't send help. She will, however, move back to her old territory once the foxes are gone. Fierce asks how many foxes there are, and the tom replies there are five.
- Both Mittens and Rascal suggest fighting Fog and her gang, but Tigerheart proposes another idea: to lure the foxes into the traps and have them be taken away by the Twolegs. He says they need someone like Fog, or Tuna, to show them the traps. The other toms argue that it will never work, but he keeps pressing. Eventually, they give in, and he offers to lead the foxes to where the traps are. Fierce also offers to help, as she's fast, even if she runs weird.
- The next morning, Tuna runs toward them and offers to help. However, the tortoiseshell is skeptical, and asks if they can trust him. The tabby counters that he wouldn't confuse the foxes if he wanted his old home back. Cobweb adds that the tabby also knows the routes better than the guardian cats. She stares at the rogue, then nods. As they begin their trek to where the foxes are. Tigerheart advises them to keep an eye out for each other, and to help the other if someone falls. Tuna agrees, but Ant and Cobweb are doubtful. Ant suggests finding a new home, as that's easier, but Fierce interrupts and says they're not leaving. She says a cat can spend her life running or she can make a stand. The brown tom replies that she's starting to sound like Tigerheart. She meows that she likes their den, and asks if they can find a better place to spend the rest of ice-chill. Ant concedes.
- Tuna asks Tigerheart if he's tired of fighting for the same territory, of living the same way. Fierce answers that the tabby's here; he left his Clans to live in the city. The rogue inquires why the tom still acts as though he's a warrior. He snaps that he still is a warrior, and Fierce begins to explain that he needs to be more flexible if he wants to survive, but is cut off by a crunch. The ShadowClan tom asks if they remember their routes, and they all nod. He directs them to where they're supposed to be: Tuna with him and Cobweb, and Fierce and Ant. Tuna and Cobweb will surround the largest fox while Fierce and Ant will try to corner the other. He tells Fierce to lead hers back the way she came, and for Cobweb to lead theirs through the stone clearing. They all nod, and Tigerheart tells them to go.
- Fierce and Ant both approach the sleeker fox as directed. As Cobweb and Tuna both surround their fox, Fierce lets out an eerie wail. The foxes freeze and their eyes flash towards the tortoiseshell, her orange flecks glowing in the light. Before they can grab her, the tabby yowls, and the large fox turns around to face him instead.
- After they chase the foxes away, Fog appears and asks what the guardian cats have been doing, and where Tuna's been The brown tabby pants that they've been catching foxes. While Fog is trying to think of a response, Fierce and Ant join them. She hopes that Pipsqueak and the others have gotten the foxes into the traps, as she never wants to do that again. Part of her tail is missing; a fox got closer than she wanted. Just then, Pipsqueak bounds in and announces that they've chased the foxes into the traps.
- Fog keeps to her agreement and leaves the place where the guardian cats are. Fierce growls for the smoky gray she-cat to never come back. This is guardian-cat territory, and they will be ready to defend their borders. Tigerheart's chest swells with pride when he hears that. He thinks that Fierce is beginning to think like a warrior, and that maybe this isn't such a bad place to raise kits.
- When morning arrives, the tabby finds that his kits are missing. He asks a couple of cats, including Fierce, if they've seen his kits. She asks if they're missing, and he replies that he can't see them. Eventually he finds them, and gets them down from a tree. The tabby scolds them for going out without his or Dovewing's permission.
- The next morning Fierce asks if anyone wants to go scavenging with her. Ant, Cinnamon, and Mittens offer to go, and Tigerheart also offers to go. Before he can, his mate stops him and says she will go to. Dovewing asks a sleepy Blaze to look after the kits, and she heads off with Tigerheart.
- When they return, Tigerheart explains that he, Dovewing, and their kits need to leave. She doesn't seem to understand, and the tabby repeats what he said. His kits are off to the side, fidgeting and bursting with excitement ever since he and Dovewing told them they were going back to the lake. They tried to answer their questions, but they grew louder and the tabby knew he had to break it to Fierce before anyone else heard them. He tells the kids to be quiet and shares the news with Fierce. She calls the other guardian cats closer, and they all leave what they're doing behind. The tortoiseshell announces that Tigerheart, Dovewing, and their kits are leaving. Everyone asks him why he's leaving, and he responds that he's going back to the lake.
- Fierce walks up and touches cheeks with him, then with the gray she-cat. She says they've taught the guardian cats a lot, and they'll miss them. However, she guesses that they wouldn't have stayed forever. Looking at Pouncekit and Lightkit, she continues, saying the call of home is strongest when they have kits. Blaze wants to come, and although Tigerheart protests, he eventually lets the kit come with them. Spire, Cinnamon, and Ant also offer to come. The tabby is initially worried that ShadowClan will turn the guardian cats away, but Dovewing reassures him that they aren't rogues and they most likely won't be turned away.
- Ant apologizes for leaving, but Fierce explains that their nests won't be wasted, as plenty of cats will come now that it's ice-chill.
- Tigerheart's Shadow (First appearance)
- Tigerheart: "If Twolegs have such small memories, why don't you go back and get some scraps of your own? I'm sure you can find better prey than this. Besides, this won't be enough to feed all your bellies."
- Fog: "Why don't you give us your scraps and you can go and find more?"
- Tigerheart's Shadow, page 231
- "We don't all dream of being a warrior. We're healers, not fighters, and we managed to live in peace before you arrived. Not every argument needs to be settled with claws."
- ―Fierce to Tigerheart about the guardian cats Tigerheart's Shadow, pages 232-233
- Fierce: "We're not leaving. A cat can spend her whole life running, or she can make a stand and defend her home."
- Ant: "You're starting to sound like Tigerheart."
- Tigerheart's Shadow, page 271
- "Don't come back. From now on, this is guardian-cat territory, and we're ready to defend our borders."
- ―Fierce to Fog about their territory Tigerheart's Shadow, page 280
- (Warrior of the Week #108)
Notes and references
|Members||Boots • Bracken • Cobweb • Dotty • Feather • Fierce • Marigold • Mittens • Peanut • Pipsqueak • Rascal • Scowl|
|Former members||Antfur • Blazefire • Cinnamontail • Dovewing • Lightleap • Pouncestep • Pumpkin • Shadowsight • Spiresight • Tigerstar|