|"The water could rise before we know it. Something like this is bigger than Clan rivalry. I don't want to hear that any RiverClan cats have died from these floods."|
|— Bluestar addressing ThunderClan about the floods in Forest of Secrets, page 177|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter eleven of Forest of Secrets. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 11 (of 30)
- Page Numbers: 115-123
- Sandstorm meows in surprise while gazing out over the flooded river, and the other cats, Runningwind and Graystripe, grunt in agreement. Fireheart is speechless with horror, and instantly recognizes the shining expanse of water with Spottedleaf's ominous words that water can quench fire in his mind. Fear chills him, and the ginger warrior ponders how this will affect his Clan. Graystripe attracts Fireheart's attention by pressing close to his side, and he notes the panic in his friend's eyes, realizing why. Fireheart knows he is afraid for Silverstream, because the land on the RiverClan bank is lower so the floodwaters can spread much farther. He wonders how much of the camp on the island is underwater, and feels he has grown to like Silverstream in spite of his concerns. Fireheart also holds a grudging respect for Mistyfoot and Graypool, and doesn't want to see any of them driven out of their camp, or worse, drowned.
- Runningwind pads to the edge of the river, and remarks that RiverClan certainly isn't going to like the flood. The warrior gazes out over the shining expanse and notes that it's a good thing because it'll keep them off their territory. Fireheart feels Graystripe tense at the note of satisfaction in Runningwind's voice, and he shoots his friend a warning glance. The ginger warrior points out that they can't patrol the border now, and meows that they should go back to camp and report this. He adds firmly to Graystripe to come along as the gray warrior glances once more in anguish across the swollen river.
- When they arrive at camp, Bluestar hears the news from the patrol and calls a Clan meeting. Fireheart takes his place near the front of the crowd, and notices with a prickle of annoyance that Cloudkit had come trailing after Brindleface even though he is too young to come. He sees Yellowfang and Cinderpaw watching from the mouth of the fern tunnel; even Brokentail emerges from his den, guided by Mousefur. Fireheart observes that the morning is coming to an end, and a stiff wind ruffles the fur of the cats in the clearing. He shivers, but isn't sure if it is from cold or apprehension. Bluestar addresses the assembled ThunderClan cats, and meows that their camp may be in danger. She explains that the snow has gone, but the river has burst it's banks which leaves part of the territory flooded. A chorus of dismayed yowls erupts, but Bluestar's raises her voice above them and orders Fireheart to tell the Clan what he has seen. Fireheart rises to his paws and describes how the river had overflowed near Sunningrocks, leaving them as tiny islands in the middle of a fast-flowing river.
- When Fireheart finishes, Darkstripe pipes up and meows that it doesn't seem that dangerous to ThunderClan, since they have plenty of territory left for prey. The dark warrior comments they should let RiverClan worry about the floods, and a murmur of approval breaks out, although Fireheart notes that Tigerclaw is silent. The deputy is almost motionless as he sits at the base of Highrock, save the twitching tip of his tail. Bluestar demands silence, and firmly states that the water could spread. The leader says that this is bigger than Clan rivalry, and she doesn't want to hear that any RiverClan cat has died from these floods. Fireheart notices a strong glow in her eyes as she speaks, as if her words mean more than she said. Puzzled, he remembers how angry Bluestar had been with him for meeting RiverClan warriors; yet now her strength of feeling suggests a current of sympathy running deep within her.
- Patchpelt speaks up from among the elders and mews that he remembers when the river last overflowed many moons ago. He remarks that cats from all Clans drowned, and prey died too, so ThunderClan went hungry while their paws stayed dry. Patchpelt states that this is not just RiverClan's problem, and Bluestar commends him that that was well said. She notes that she remembers such times too, and had hoped to never see such times again. Bluestar orders that no cat should go out alone, and that kits and apprentices shouldn't go out without at least one warrior. She tells the Clan that patrols will go out to see how far the flood has reached, and sets Tigerclaw to the task. Tigerclaw agrees, and meows he'll send out hunting patrols too so that they can build up a stock of prey before the water rises any further.
- Bluestar nods, and raises her voice one more time to announce that the meeting is over so they can go to their duties. She leaps down lightly from Highrock, and pads across the clearing to talk to Patchpelt and the other elders. Fireheart waits to see if Tigerclaw would assign him to a patrol when he notices Graystripe edging away from the circle of cats. He heads after him, and catches up to the gray warrior just as he's about to make a break for the gorse tunnel. Fireheart questions where he's going, and hisses that Bluestar just said no cat can go out alone. Graystripe turns a panicky look on him, and protests that he has to see Silverstream to be sure she's okay. Fireheart lets out a sigh of exasperation, because he knows how his friend is feeling but thinks in frustration that he could've hardly chosen a worse time to go visiting his mate.
- He asks Graystripe how he'll get across the river, and Graystripe grimly replies that he'll manage because it's only water. Fireheart spits that that's nonsense, and remembers the time Graystripe had fallen through the ice and Silverstream rescued him. He reminds Graystripe that he almost drowned once, and queries if that was enough. Graystripe doesn't answer and swings around, heading toward the tunnel again. Fireheart glances over his shoulder, and sees the other cats gathering in groups under Tigerclaw's direction, ready to go out on patrol. He hisses to Graystripe for him to stop, and instructs his friend to wait where he is. Once the ginger warrior is sure Graystripe is still there, he bounds across to the deputy. Fireheart meows to Tigerclaw that he and Graystripe are ready to go, and comments they'll check the RiverClan boundary downstream of Sunningrocks if that's alright. Tigerclaw narrows his eyes, clearly displeased that Fireheart took it upon himself to choose which area he was going to patrol. He has no reason to refute with Bluestar in earshot, and growls that he can go and try to bring back some prey as well.
- Fireheart replies in agreement, then races back to Graystripe and pants that they're on patrol now so no one will wonder where they've gone. Graystripe begins to protest, and Fireheart meows that he know his friend has to go, but he'll be coming with him. He feels a prickle of guilt as he says this, because even on patrol Clan warriors aren't supposed to cross boundaries. Fireheart knows Bluestar would be furious if she knew two of her warriors were risking their lives to go into enemy territory when their own Clan needed them so badly. He thinks firmly to himself that he can't let Graystripe go alone, because the gray warrior could get swept away in the floods and never return. Graystripe murmurs a thank you to Fireheart as they exit the tunnel, and notes that he won't forget this.
- Side by side, the warriors scramble up the steep, rocky slope. Fireheart notices how muddy the ground is underpaw, because the melted snow had soaked the earth like the heaviest rainfall even without the deadly floodwater from the river. When they reach the edge of the forest, he notices the water had risen even higher and the Sunningrocks aew almost submerged now. He sees the current swirl around them in tight circles, and meows that they'll never be able to cross here. Graystripe suggests they head downstream, so perhaps they can use the stepping-stones. Fireheart mews uncertainly that they can try, and begins to follow his friend when he hears something, a thin wailing sound just above the wind and rushing of the torrent. He calls to Graystripe to wait, and asks his friend if he can hear something. Graystripe looks back, and both cats stand with their ears pricked, straining to catch the sound. Fireheart hears it again, the distinct sound of panic-stricken kits mewing in distress. He asks Graystripe where they are, because when he looks around he can't see them. Graystripe flick his tail in the direction of Sunningrocks, and replies they'll drown without help.
- Fireheart sees the current had driven a mat of twigs and debris up against Sunningrocks, with two kits balanced precariously on it, their tiny mouths stretched wide as they wailed for help. Even as he watches, the current tugs at the mat, threatening to sweep it away. Fireheart yowls at Graystripe to come on, urging him that they have to get to the kits somehow. Taking a deep breath, the ginger warrior wades into the flood and immediately feels the icy water sack into his legs and a paralyzing chill creep up his legs. The tug of the current makes it harder to stay on his paws with every step taken. Graystripe splashes in behind him, but stops when the water reaches his belly fur, and chokes out Fireheart's name. Fireheart twists around to give him a comforting nod, and understands how the river might terrify him after his near drowning a few moons ago. He tells his friend to stay there, and meows he'll push the mat over to him.
- Graystripe nods, trembling too hard to speak as Fireheart wades forward a few more steps before launching himself in the current and beginning to swim. The warrior thrashes his legs instinctively to push himself through the black water, and remembers the kits are upstream of Sunningrocks, so if StarClan is kind, he'd be carried towards them. For a moment Fireheart loses sight of the kits, although he can still hear their cries. The smooth gray bulk of Sunningrocks looms up beside him, and Fireheart kicks out strongly, fearing for a heartbeat he'd be swept past. The current swirls, and his paws work furiously as the river tosses him against the rock, driving the breath out of his body. Fireheart scrabbles at the rough surface, and as he braces himself against the splash of the water, he finds himself face to face with two kits. He notices both are very small, probably still suckling from their mother. One is black, the other is gray; their brilliant blue eyes are wide with terror. The mat they are on is made of Twoleg rubbish, twigs, and leaves but when they see Fireheart, both kits start to scramble towards him. Fireheart panics as the mat lurches, and the kits' wails grow louder as river water splashes over them.
- Fireheart gasps for them to keep still, and paddles madly against the current. He briefly wonders if he could climb up on the rock and haul the kits up with him, but doesn't know how long it'll be until Sunningrocks is fully submerged. Fireheart thinks his best plan is still to push the mat over to Graystripe, who had moved downstream already in a good position to catch the mat as it is swept towards him. He mutters for StarClan to help them all as he pushes himself off the rock, thrusting at the mat with his muzzle to guide it into the current. The two kits whimper and flatten themselves against the twigs. Fireheart puts every scrap of energy he has into pushing the mat forward with his paws, and can feel exhaustion draining the strength from his limbs. His fur is soaked, and Fireheart is so cold he can barely breathe. As he raises his head, he realizes with horror that he can't see Graystripe on the bank. He thinks that it seems there is nothing in the world but churning water, the mat, and two terrified kits. Graystripe calls out to Fireheart, and the ginger warrior thrusts the mat towards the source of the voice. It spins away from him, and his head goes under and he coughs and chokes as he claws his way back to the surface to see Graystripe pacing on dry land a few tail-lengths away. For a heartbeat, Fireheart feels relief that he's almost there but as he focuses his blurry eyes on the kits, fear pulses through him as he realizes the mat is breaking up. He watches helplessly as the twigs underneath the gray kit gave way and the tiny creature is plunged into the torrent.
Notes and references
|Forest of Secrets 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 • Chapter 26 • Chapter 27 • Chapter 28 • Chapter 29 • Chapter 30|
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