|"But perhaps the time is right to break with some of our traditions, so that we can preserve the rest. I will come with you."|
|— Stoneteller to Brambleclaw in Outcast, page 271|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twenty six of Outcast. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 26 (of 29)
- Page Numbers: 269-283
- Once the injured cats are treated and resting in their sleeping hollows, Stoneteller beckons to Brambleclaw to join him, and Lionpaw follows, eager to find out what the next move will be. Stoneteller sits down in the mouth of the cave, and sighs that the Tribe will have to leave the mountains. Brambleclaw’s eyes widen in dismay and he points out that having a large group of cats journey would be dangerous. The deputy also asks where the Tribe would go; Stoneteller shakes his head, having no answer to the question. Lionpaw contemplates if the Tribe could come to the lake, but he then realizes that it wouldn’t work. Brambleclaw adds that even in a new territory, it would be challenging to learn the new ways of living. The ThunderClan tom suggests finding a way of surviving in the mountains by trying out border patrols. Stoneteller disapproves of this idea and the time it would take, but Brambleclaw points out that the mountain cats are accustomed to the mountain terrain, giving them an advantage over the intruders. The Healer asks if the Tribe would restrict itself to one area, and Brambleclaw agrees but assures that it would be large enough for the Tribe. He suggests that Stoneteller comes to look for himself, but the latter responds that the Tribe of Endless Hunting has said that the Healer must not leave the cave, except for ceremonies. However, he adds that it might be time to break some of their traditions to preserve the rest, and he agrees to come with Brambleclaw. The deputy is happy to hear this and he announces that he will immediately gather a patrol. Brambleclaw tells Lionpaw that he can come too then races back into the main part of the cave. Lionpaw is reluctant to explore the entire territory again, as he is tired from the previous day, but he wants to help establish the border. The apprentice waits beside Stoneteller until Brambleclaw returns with Talon, Breezepaw, and Pebble; Crowfeather follows a little behind with Crag, Night, and a few other Tribe to-bes. Brambleclaw announces that his patrol will go one direction, and Crowfeather’s patrol will go the other, to ensure that they get around the entire territory by nightfall.
- Brambleclaw leads along the Path of Rushing Water and out into the open. Lionpaw leaps from the rocks to the flat ground around the pool, and he notices that the sky promises rain. Crowfeather’s patrol climbs the path beside the waterfall and vanishes, while Brambleclaw guides his group over the rocks on the opposite side. The deputy stops when they reach the twisted spike of rock that Lionpaw had picked out as the first border marker the previous day. Brambleclaw announces that they will set a scent marker there, and he asks Lionpaw to demonstrate. Talon asks if it should be Tribe scent, and Brambleclaw agrees that the cave-guard and Pebble can do the rest after Lionpaw has shown them how to. The three Tribe cats glance at one another, unsure that a border would make a difference to the intruders, and Lionpaw privately agrees. Breezepaw mutters that it is pointless, as the Tribe doesn’t understand how to make a border work.
- After Lionpaw sets the marker, the patrol continues along the ridge to the head of a valley with the stream, then on across the plateau. As another place for a marker, Brambleclaw chooses a stack of loose rocks that water drips over, but Stoneteller objects that the rocks are so wet that no prey can survive, making it purposeless in their territory. The ThunderClan warrior explains that markers have to be seen and easily identified, but they don’t need to be useful. The Healer gives a doubtful snort but doesn’t object while Talon sets the marker. The patrol then continues around the pool where there was a skirmish with the three intruders, and along the narrow valley where they had been ambushed by young trespassers. Outside of the valley, Pebble sets a marker by a huge boulder that overlooks a clump of trees. Stoneteller protests that they need that place in their territory, but Brambleclaw decides that it is not worth it. The Tribe leader argues that the Tribe cats have hunted there for seasons, yet Brambleclaw explains that a border must be manageable if it is to be defended. He adds that they must leave the trespassers enough space for themselves or they will attack, and Stoneteller angrily accepts. Brambleclaw dips his head and gestures for Talon to take the lead.
- The patrol’s route goes over the shoulder of a hill and down a boulder-covered slope, to a stream in the valley below. Before reaching the bottom, icy rain begins to fall, and Lionpaw is quickly soaked and cold. He asks Pebble how the Tribe cats stand the cold weather, and Pebble leads him to the side of the stream to show him. The she-cat rolls in the mud on the bank until her fur is thoroughly plastered with it, and she suggests that he does that too, as it keeps the warmth in and the cold out. She adds that prey-hunters also use the method so that prey doesn’t see them stand out against the rocks. Lionpaw gingerly lowers himself into a muddy hollow and rolls in the mud; as he does so, Breezepaw snorts in laughter and taunts that it will be hard to lick it off. Lionpaw leaps up and bowls over the black apprentice, dragging him down into the mud with him. Breezepaw tries to get out, but Lionpaw wrestles with him until his pelt is just as thoroughly mud-soaked. The WindClan tom spits at Lionpaw and surveys his filthy fur, while Pebble watches in amusement. She mentions how they taught the Clan ways and are now learning Tribe ways. Lionpaw clambers out of the hollow and shakes himself. Although he dislikes the mud on his fur, it does keep the wind out. He mutters that they should keep going.
- Talon jumps across the stream and leads the way up the slope beyond. As Lionpaw begins to climb, a yowl is heard, and Crowfeather’s patrol is seen from above. He exclaims that the whole border has been marked. The two groups meet on top of the ridge, and Crowfeather explains how other than an encounter with a couple of intruders, they set their markers with no trouble. Stoneteller announces that they should return to the cave. Talon leads the way back by a quicker route, and the rain eases off on the way. When the patrol reaches the pool by the waterfall, Hollypaw is in the middle of a training session with the to-bes who had stayed behind.
- The black she-cat exclaims that Lionpaw looks just like a Tribe cat, but Lionpaw states that he can’t wait to get it off. Hollypaw asks if it works, and her brother answers that it does but is disgusting. She rolls her eyes and points out that his golden fur really stands out against the rocks, and Lionpaw agrees, though he feels homesick for the forest.
- Brambleclaw sits on the rocks above the pool and tells the younger cats that Stoneteller is going to call a meeting. Lionpaw, Hollypaw, and the to-bes follow the deputy. The Healer is sitting on a boulder at the far end of the cave, and Tribe and Clan cats gather around him. Lionpaw and Hollypaw join Breezepaw and the Tribe to-bes.
- Stoneteller announces that the borders have been marked, and there are some doubtful murmurs from the Tribe cats. A white she-cat impugns that the intruders will respect the markers, and Stoneteller agrees. Night asks what they will do now, and Brambleclaw explains that they must now go tell the intruders to stay on their own side of the border. Cloud doubts that they will listen, but Brambleclaw says that the intruders must be given a chance, and the Tribe must speak to their leader under truce. Screech exclaims that the trespassers won’t honor a truce, yet Hollypaw mentions the peace among the Clans every moon. Lionpaw adds that StarClan would be angry if cats fought during the full moon, but Pebble doesn’t think that the trespassers know of StarClan or the Tribe of Endless Hunting. Meanwhile, the other cats continue discussing amongst themselves, until Stoneteller orders for silence. He announces that they will try Brambleclaw’s plan, but if it fails, the Tribe will no longer be able to live in the mountain.
- The next day at dawn, Lionpaw emerges from behind the waterfall and the rest of the patrol clusters together by the pool. All of the Clan cats except for Squirrelflight and Jaypaw are there, and Crag, Night, Talon, Pebble, and Splash are the Tribe cats that have been chosen. Pebble voices her surprise and excitement at being on the patrol, and she wonders if they will have to fight. Hollypaw hopes that they won’t, but says that in case they do the to-be should remember the battle moves she taught. Brambleclaw calls the cats together and announces that they will head for the pool where they met the trespassers, and follow their trail from there. Squirrelflight wishes the group good luck from the cave, and Brambleclaw tells her to keep an eye on things while they are away.
- Lionpaw notices that the journey to the pool doesn’t seem as far as it had earlier, and he realizes that his muscles and pads are getting used to walking across the rocks. When they arrive, Tawnypelt notices an intruder scent but guesses that the trespassers haven’t been there since the day the Tribe saw them. Crowfeather states that they went towards the narrow cleft in the rock, and he wonders if they took prey to their camp. Brambleclaw agrees that it is worth trying, and he leads the way.
- Lionpaw tries to keep track of the intruder scent as he walks, but it is hard to follow. It seems to have faded by the time they reach the head of the valley, and Tawnypelt mutters in frustration. All the cats silently taste the air, until Hollypaw announces from beneath a jutting boulder that she thinks she knows which way they went. Brambleclaw pads up and smells the air, then agrees and praises the black she-cat, telling her to take the lead. Hollypaw guides the cats beneath the overhang and up a steep slope, then down the other side. Pebble murmurs that Hollypaw is great for following the scent, and Lionpaw proudly agrees, mentioning how his sister is one of the best hunters back home.
- At the foot of the slope, the scent grows stronger again, and, detecting traces of many cats, Lionpaw guesses that they are approaching the trespassers’ camp. The trail crosses a dried-up watercourse then leads to a narrow cleft between two rocks. The gap leads into darkness, and the intruders’ scent is very strong. Brambleclaw murmurs that he thinks it is it, but states that they won’t go in because they don’t know how many cats they will be facing and walking inside uninvited is asking for an attack. The cats spread out into a loose semicircle as they wait, and Lionpaw notices that many of the Clan and Tribe cats are nervous. The golden apprentice pads over to Hollypaw and applauds his sister on finding the scent. His littermate hopes that the intruders will talk to them.
- Suddenly, there is movement inside the cleft, and the tortoiseshell she-cat Lionpaw had encountered before pokes her head out. Her eyes stretch wide in horror, and she immediately darts back into the cleft, yowling in panic. Brambleclaw comments that it shouldn’t be long. Eventually, Stripes steps out of the cleft and faces Brambleclaw, and more trespassers follow after him. Lionpaw notices that they all look thin and some are limping; they clearly aren’t finding mountain life easy. Stripes questions what they want, and after being gestured by Brambleclaw to speak, Crag announces that they wish to talk to end the conflict. The Tribe tom explains how the mountains are big enough to support every cat, but the territory needs to be divided up so that everyone has enough prey. Stripes tells him to continue, and Crag adds that the Tribe has marked borders around their territory. He demands that the intruders can hunt in the rest of the mountains but can’t cross the borders; however, the cave-guard is cut-off as the trespassers yowl in anger. Stripes takes a pace forward towards Crag and growls that the Tribe has no right to any part of the territory and no right to set borders. He declares that any cat can take from where they like. Tawnypelt protests, but Stripes interrupts that it is about life or death, and if necessary, the intruders’ life and the Tribe’s death.
- Night of No Stars
- Two unnamed Tribe to-bes
- Brook Where Small Fish Swim
- Twist (Unnamed)
- Unnamed black tom
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Revealed in Outcast, page 269
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Revealed in Outcast, page 271
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Revealed in Outcast, page 275
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Revealed in Outcast, page 276
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Revealed in Outcast, page 277
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Revealed in Outcast, page 279
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Revealed in Outcast, page 281
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Revealed in Outcast, page 282
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Revealed in Outcast, page 273
|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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