|"Cats of the Tribe of Rushing Water. Last night I read the signs in water and starlight, and the Tribe of Endless Hunting spoke to me. They do not want us to be driven out of our mountain home, so I have decided to let the Clan cats help us."|
|— Stoneteller to the Tribe in Outcast, page 235|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twenty two of Outcast. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 22 (of 29)
- Page Numbers: 228-238
- Jaypaw knows that both Lionpaw and Hollypaw are disappointed, but he doesn't feel the same; what mattered to him most was making it as far as the mountains, which they did. However, he still wants to learn the secrets here before going home. The apprentice lays quietly in the nest and tries to picture the cave and the waterfall. He feels the Tribe cats' fear and vulnerability, as well as desperate weariness. Jaypaw wonders why the Tribe of Endless Hunting isn't helping them.
- Jaypaw thinks of Stoneteller, then the roaring waterfall grows louder until his eyes open and he finds himself standing on the exposed rocky outcrop where he had confronted Rock before. Now, stars glitter overhead and Stoneteller stands a tail-length away, with his back to Jaypaw. The apprentice darts into the shadow of a rock and peers out. A slender tabby, like the Tribe cats but with stars in his fur, approaches. The gray tom guesses that he is a Tribe ancestor.
- When the ancestor is a fox-length from Stoneteller, the healer greets him and asks for guidance. The ancestor is briefly silent, then replies that he has none, and that the Tribe of Endless Hunting has never tried to fight an endless battle. He sighs that they see no end to their troubles. Stoneteller protests, but the ancestor sadly mews that there is nothing to do and that it isn't a safe place. He turns and begins to walk away, and Stoneteller first calls at him to wait, lashing his tail, he then halts and lowers his head in defeat. The old tom staggers to the shelter of a rocky overhand and flops down, eyes closed.
- Jaypaw instantly springs out of hiding and races along the stony ridge, but a few heartbeats later, the ancestor reappears from the shadows, still pacing away. The apprentice calls for the other cat to wait, and the ancestor halts and gazes at Jaypaw, then whispers in shock that he has come. Jaypaw is surprised at how the Tribe of Endless Hunting cat recognizes him, but the cat tells him to follow. Jaypaw does, and the two cats head down a zigzagging narrow trail across the cliff face. Jaypaw is glad that he can at least see, unlike the journey yesterday.
- The ancestor eventually halts, beckons Jaypaw with his tail, then leaps off the cliff and disappears. Jaypaw wonders if he is supposed to just jump into the shadows, but he looks over the edge and sees that the ground is not that far down. He easily jumps and sees that he is in a silent stone hollow, similar to the ThunderClan camp, except that its sides are sheer and much taller. The path they had taken seems to be the only way up or down, and in the center of the hollow is a pool, with starlight shimmering on its still surface.
- Jaypaw blinks and realizes that what he thought was starshine in the pool is actually light coming from the ranks of starry cats sitting around it. He finds it strange to see ancestors who aren't from StarClan. One of the ancient cats rise and comes close enough to sniff Jaypaw, and he murmurs in a muffled voice that they heard the apprentice would come, but didn't expect him to come so soon. Jaypaw wonders what "soon" means to the old spirits, and he asks if they are talking about the prophecy. The old cat confirms this, and repeats the prophecy. The young medicine cat is excited that they knew. The ancient spirit questions where the other two are, and Jaypaw answers that they are in the cave, then asks where the prophecy came from. The former doesn't answer. A different, brighter spirit from farther around the pool demands to know why the tabby ancestor brought Jaypaw. Some of the other cats murmur in agreement, gazing hostilely at Jaypaw, but he thinks that he can walk where he likes and might be able to help the Tribe.
- The apprentice tells the spirits to take a message to the Tribe of Rushing water that the Clan cats have come to help with the trespassers. The ancestors glance at one another, then shake their heads. The bright she-cat who had spoken before states that the Tribe doesn't need help, but Jaypaw gasps that the Tribe is starving to death. The tabby who led Jaypaw to the ridge shamefully replies that there is nothing they can do, and that they failed. Another cat agrees that the mountains are no longer safe. Jaypaw feels a wave of shame and betrayal from the starry cats, but he insists that the tribe doesn't have to give in so easily and must fight to defend themselves. Two cats who bear recent wounds rise and pad around the pool to Jaypaw. The first mews that they died in battle, and he states that no more blood must be spilled, as the Tribe does not believe in fighting. Jaypaw argues that the trespassers do, and that his Clanmates will help the Tribe cats. The other wounded cat takes a pace forward, his neck fur bristling, and disagrees that the only way to do that is to make the Tribe more Clan-like, which isn't their wish. He states that the Tribe doesn't fight and kill other cats, yet Jaypaw points out that things change. The spirit cat retorts that change isn't always for the better. His words echo in Jaypaw's ears as mist rises from the pool and swirls around him until he is back in the cave, blind, with Hollypaw nudging him awake.
- The black she-cat tells him that Stoneteller called a meeting, and the cats are all gathering in the middle of the cave. Jaypaw groggily scrambles to his paws, thinking that his hollow and pool from his dream seemed more real to him that the cave, and he grumbles that he is coming. The gray tom follows his littermates out of the sleeping hollow and across the cave to where the other Clan cats are sitting. The Tribe and Clan cats murmur, but grow quiet; Jaypaw imagines Stoneteller appearing in front of the cats, and he prepares for them to be made outcasts.
- Stoneteller begins that last night, he read signs in water and starlight, and that the Tribe of Endless Hunting told him they don't want the Tribe driven out of their home. The old tom announces that he decided to let the Clan cats help. Jaypaw is shocked that Stoneteller is lying, as the Tribe ancestors hadn't said that at all. He guesses that the healer changed his mind overnight, and decided to ignore the Tribe of Endless Hunting. The gathered cats begin talking immediately, and most seem eager to hear the Clan cats' suggestions, confirming Jaypaw's suspicion that the Tribe cats are happy with and do whatever Stoneteller wants. Stoneteller silences the cats and instructs them to listen to Brambleclaw.
- The ThunderClan deputy emerges from the group of cats and goes to stand beside Stonteteller. He confidently decides that they must first access the situation, and find out what the real threat is. He questions where the trespassers are taking prey, where they are fighting with the Tribe, and where there camp is. Tawnypelt adds that they must find out how much territory the Tribe needs too, and Stormfur agrees that they should establish borders. An eager chorus breaks out but Crag disagrees that, objecting that Brambleclaw is trying to turn them into a Clan, when they are the Tribe. The brown tabby insists that it is the only way to survive when there are other cats, and a couple of cats call out in agreement. Crag points out that the Tribe will still be losing their traditions, which makes them who they are.
- Hollypaw asks her littermates what they think, and Lionpaw immediately agrees with Brambleclaw. Hollypow points out that Crag is also right, and reflects on how she would feel if cats came into their territory and told them to do everything differently. Lionpaw points out that they aren't starving, and reminds his sibling that on the journey there, she was planning on how to make the Tribe more Clan-like. Hollypaw admits that it's different seeing it, then asks Jaypaw what he thinks. The former meows that isn't their decision or traditions, causing his sister to hiss in annoyance. However, Jaypaw knows that the problem is more complicated than his littermates understand, yet he is reluctant to talk about his dream. Still, he is unnerved to know that the Tribe of Endless Hunting did not want the Tribe to become a Clan. The gray tom remembers the spirit cats' shame and regret that they failed their descendants, when the mountains had promised protection. It suddenly strikes him that if the Tribe had tried to find refuge in the mountains, they must have come from somewhere else. The apprentice wonders where they came from, and what brought them here in the first place.
Notes and references
|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|
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