|"This is where I share tongues with the Tribe of Endless Hunting. They send me signs through the shimmer of stars and moon in the water, the dance of light and shadows on the stones that rise from the floor and jut down from the roof, the echoes of wind, water, and pawsteps. Yet now they send to signs that promise relief for my tribe. […] Out ancestors have no help to offer. It is as though they don’t care that we are dying."|
|— Stoneteller to Jaypaw in Outcast, page 263|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twenty five of Outcast. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 25 (of 29)
- Page Numbers: 261-268
- Jaypaw lies in the moss-lined nest beside Lionpaw and Hollypaw, listening to the endless thunder of the waterfall. There seem to be voices in it too that are too faint for him to catch. Nearby, Tired cats murmur as they settle down to sleep. Jaypaw's siblings sleep deeply, exhausted from working so hard, and the mottled apprentice tries to doze too, but is unsuccessful. The young tom carefully slides out of the nest and pads into the center of the cave.
- Jaypaw notes that he is learning his way around, and knows the sleeping places of the cave-guards and prey-hunters, and scent his own Clanmates. He creeps across the cave floor with the waterfall behind him, and discovers a trickle of water drops falling into a pool. The gray tabby crouches down to lap, and notes that the water is ice cold and tastes of the wind. The apprentice thinks it is hard to believe that the Clan cats would stay in the mountains for much longer. He knows they aren't welcome in the Tribe, and thinks that forcing the Tribe to learn Clan skills won't solve anything. Still, Jaypaw wants to discover more about the Tribe of Endless Hunting before leaving, and rises to his paws, tasting the air.
- The medicine cat apprentice faintly picks up Stoneteller's scent on the cave floor and follows it toward the back of the cave, where a gap opens up. He slides through it and along a narrow tunnel until the movement of air and the faint echoes of his paw steps tell him that he has emerged into another cave. He knows it is open to the sky from a wisp of chill air, and as he pads forward, his pas splashes in a puddle of water and he sharply draws back, disgusted. Jaypaw brushes against stone and explores it with one with paw, noting that it juts from the cave floor. The air is filled with strange, whispering echoes, like those he heard in the waterfall, then a clear voice welcomes Jaypaw to the Cave of Pointed Stones.
- Jaypaw freezes, having been too intent on investigating to wonder if Stonteteller found him, and remembers that this is the Healer's private place, but he knows he can't pretend he isn’t there. The gray tabby thanks Stoneteller, and can hear paw steps approach him. Stoneteller speaks again, his voice now near Jaypaw's ear, that the Cave is where he shares tongues with the Tribe of Endless Hunting, and that they send him signs through the water, shadows, and echoes. The elderly cat's voice abnormally rises and falls, then he murmurs that they have now sent no signs that promise relief for his Tribe. Although Jaypaw had lost respect for Stoneteller when the Tribe leader had lied about the message from their ancestors, he can't ignore the Healer's age and wisdom, or the sharp sense of betrayal Stoneteller feels as he faces his Tribe's destruction. The old cat goes on that their ancestors haven't offer help, as if they don-t care, but Jaypaw isn't sure if Stoneteller is really talking to him, since it seems the brown tabby is speaking to a much older cat who had wisdom to share.
- Jaypaw hesitantly begins that Clan cats look to StarClan, who still aren't all-powerful, and suggests that the Tribe of Endless Hunting might not know how to help. Stoneteller asks why they were then brought there, since they promised the Tribe would be safe, and Jaypaw pricks his ears, curious what Stoneteller knows about the beginnings of the Tribe. The young tom asks where they lived before, and why they left to come to the mountains, but Stoneteller sighs that he doesn't know, as it was many seasons ago and his ancestor’s have not told him.
- Jaypaw pelt prickles, excited that the Tribe hadn't always lived in the mountains, and wonders if the Tribe of Endless Hunting are helpless because they are convinced they had been wrong, and the mountains weren't the right place for the Tribe cats. He claws the damp floor with his forepaws, and wishes he knew the whole truth. The apprentice asks Stoneteller what the signs say that night, and the Healer replies that there is very little, but a cloud drifts over the shine of the moon on the water, and that the echoes tell him nothing but the wind ruffling the surface of a puddle means change. The elderly cat signs again, sounding weary, and says that he doesn't know what the change will be, but that he will sleep. Stoneteller wishes Jaypaw a good night, and the apprentice echoes his words. The training medicine cat hears the Tribe Healer's paw steps retreating and then a scuffling noise, as if Stoneteller is making himself comfortable in a mossy nest. Jaypaw stands listening as the sounds die away, and tries to make some sense of the echoes in the cave, but they tell him nothing.
- Jaypaw pads to the side of the cave and finds a dip in the ground. It is bare stone without lining, but he curls up in it, knowing that he would only find the answers to his questions in dreams. He closes his eyes and wakes once more on the jutting outcrop of rock with the wind flattening his fur along his sides. Rock sits on a boulder facing him, moonlight glittering on his hairless body, and his eye seemed fixed on Jaypaw. The ancient cat warns Jaypaw to be careful, as they aren’t his ancestors, but Jaypaw retorts that he s careful, and must do something, as the Tribe of Endless Hunting aren't helping the Tribe. Rock replies that his Clanmates are, yet Jaypaw protests that that isn't right, as it is the responsibility of warrior ancestors to look after their descendants. Rock says nothing , but Jaypaw sensessadness coming from him, and is desperately curious at why Rock is so concerned about the Tribe cats. He is also irritated that no cat will tell him anything.
- Jaypaw lets out a frustrated howl as Rock's figure begins to fade, and Jaypaw briefly sees him as a shimmer against the rocks before the ancient Healer disappears. The Clan cat bounds forward and he finds himself scrabbling in the hollow in the Cave of Pointed Stones, where he had fallen asleep. Jaypaw spits in fury. He knows by scent that time has passed and Stoneteller has left the cave, and Jaypaw gets to his paws and gives himself a quick groom, the dream still clinging to his mind, and he thinks that he might be able to find his own answers once he has time to think. But he thinks that he has no time now, and an hear faint caterwauling in the distance; his muscles tense with the anticipation of disaster, and he locates the passage and patters down it until he reaches the main cave. The wails and yowls grow so loud they almost drown out the noise of the waterfall, and as Jaypaw steps into the cavern, he smells a stench of blood.
- Jaypaw, alarmed, asks what is going on, and smells Tawnypelt's scent. He bounds over to her and asks if there has been a fight, and the ShadowClan cat tersely informs him that there was a fight. The explains that the prey-hunters went out at dawn and brought down an eagle, then were spotted by the trespassers on the way home and fought for it. An unfamiliar voice snarls that they lost and had their prey stolen, and blames the Clan cats for keeping the cave-guards in the cave to learn battle techniques. Brambleclaw meows that the techniques they usenow wouldn't help them fight other cats, but the Tribe cat yowls back that they would be better than nothing. He says that his mate was injured in the fight, and his voice shakes as he meows that the doesn't know if she will lived. Brambleclaw murmurs that he is sorry, and asks Jaypaw to help Stoneteller with healing. Jaypaw accepts, thankful to have something to do, and finds Stoneteller, weaving his way among the injured bodies of cats screeching in pain. The apprentice mutters to himself that there are at most six of them, but they are making enough racket for a whole Clan.
- Stoneteller calmly tells Japyaw to chew up tormentil root and put it on Gray's wound. Jaypaw curiously sniffs at the root pushes against his paws, and notes that he never came across it before, asking for its name again. Steonteller tells him, and informs Jaypaw that it is good for all wounds and for poison. Gray painfully asks Jaypaw to talk later, and Jaypaw signs in acceptance, asking the gray tom if he licked the wound. Gray says no in surprise, as if never having though of licking his own wound, and Jaypaw snaps at him to do it, questioning what is the point of putting poultice on drying blood and messy fur. The medicine cat crouches down to chew up the tormentil and hears the steady rasp of Gray’s tongue. Jaypaw notes that the root has a strong aromatic scent and a sharp taste.
- As Jaypaw works, Stoneteller explains that they use wintergreen and tansy too, asking the young tom if he has heard of those. Jaypaw spits out the last of the chewed-up root and scoops up a pawful to put on Gray's wound. He answers that they have tansy, but used mostly for coughs, then asks Gray if the wound is now clean. The prey-hunter replies that it is okay, and Jaypaw mutters that it's about time, since caring for the cats is like dealing like kits. Hollypaw pushes her muzzle into Jaypaw's fur neck and tells him to calm down. She meows that she should tell him what to do, as she had come to help, but Jaypaw snaps that the Tribe cats need to start helping themselves. He then feels sorry for being sharp, as Hollypaw doesn't know that the Tribe's ancestors have given up on them, nor does he want to tell her. Still, he knows that if the Tribe cats didn't start helping themselves, there is no hope left for them.
- Unnamed Tribe cat's mate
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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