|"Don't...worry about me, Millie. I shall... run and hunt again...in StarClan."|
|— Briarlight as she dies in River of Fire, page 210|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter sixteen of River of Fire. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 16 (of 21)
- Page Numbers: 200-214
- Alderheart peels the poultice off of Velvet's burn, giving the injury a sniff. He comments that it's healing really well, and that it should stay uncovered for now to get some air. Velvet purrs that it hardly hurts at all now, and compliments him for being a good medicine cat. Alderheart isn't sure that's true, and feels embarassed. He tries to find a way to change the subject, but Velvet speaks first, recounting how surprised everyone was that Ivypool had her kits the night of the Gathering. Alderheart nods in response, and his mind begins to wander. When he snaps back to reality, he realizes that Velvet is speaking again, talking about how Clan life is more than she thought it'd be. The kittypet recalls that Fuzzball made it seem like everything would be hunting and fighting, when it's really so much more, like healing and caring.
- Alderheart responds that that's the warrior code, and he realizes that she's fitting into ThunderClan better than any cat might've expected. The medicine cat thinks that they have a lot in common, and wonders how great it'd be if she decided to stay so they could spend time together. However, alarm jolts through him, and knows seeing more of the gray kittypet would be a bad idea. Alderheart knows his heart already pulls towards her, which is forbidden for a medicine cat. He then turns to Jayfeather, knowing the tom has his ears pricked, listening to everything they say.
- Fuzzball returns to the den, bringing prey for the blind medicine cat. The kittypet tom's chattering wakes up Jayfeather, who is irritable. Jayfeather insists he's cured, and Fuzzball gets excited, saying he can help with medicine cat stuff now. The blind tom sighs, asking StarClan to give him strength. He tells Alderheart to go check on Ivypool's kits, and the younger medicine cat feels resentful. The dark ginger tom knows this task is only to get him away from Velvet.
- He dips his head to the gray she-cat, and leaves the den. At the nursery, he checks on Ivypool's kits, and learns their names. He assures that they are healthy and feeding, compliments that they're beautiful. Ivypool confides in Alderheart that she was upset about Dovewing leaving, but that her kits have helped her realize what's important. Alderheart says that he's sure her sister had her reasons, and the queen agrees, and says she can accept it. Ivypool hopes she'll see her sister again someday, and Alderheart hopes so as well.
- He turns to Cinderheart, and she begs him not to wake her kits, because it's the only time she can rest. She affectionately strokes them and Daisy says they're strong young cats, and will be apprenticed soon. Alderheart agrees, and pads over to Briarlight. He discovers that she is ill, and insists she be moved to the medicine den to keep it from spreading. Briarlight tells him that she didn't want to be a bother, but he insists.
- Alderheart returns to find Velvet drowsing in her nest, and Jayfeather and Fuzzball sorting herbs. He tells them about the she-cat falling ill, and Thornclaw and Poppyfrost soon bring her into the den. Velvet springs up and pulls together some ferns and moss, ready to make another nest. She mews kindly that Briarlight can settle down here, and questions if it's comfortable enough. The ill she-cat slinks into the nest, saying it's great, but that she's sorry to be giving everyone so much trouble.
- Fuzzball fetches some watermint, and Velvet tells him thanks before stripping off the leaves. She lays them in front of Briarlight, instructing the she-cat to chew them up small before swallowing. As the brown cat licks them up, Velvet soothingly strokes her. Alderheart thinks that she's a great cat, caring for others even though she's a kittypet. Velvet looks up at him with a shy, friendly glance, which the medicine cat returns.
- The next morning when they wake up, however, Briarlight's condition has worsened and she is dying. She requests to say goodbye, and Alderheart goes to wake Velvet, shaking her urgently by the shoulder. The kittypet wakes up immediately, asking what's wrong. Alderheart explains that Briarlight is dying, and asks her to go find a Clan cat to fetch her kin. Velvet's eyes widen in horror, but she rises to her paws and slips out of the den. Alderheart follows her out of the den moments after, seeing all the warriors clustered around the gray she-cat as she passes on the news.
- Alderheart has Larksong go fetch Leafpool, as she should be here. He returns to the medicine den where Millie, Graystripe, Blossomfall, and Bumblestripe are gathered around Briarlight. Graystripe murmurs that he can't believe this is happening, and Alderheart adds that her condition declined quite rapidly. He realizes that she hasn't been eating much, and can't fight the sickness well due to lack of movement.
- Leafpool arrives, and Twigpaw enters the den, and they say their goodbyes. Millie begs Briarlight not to leave, but she tells her mother that she'll be able to run and hunt again in StarClan. She closes her eyes and lets out a final breath, and Millie wails. Her mate and kits gather around her, and Alderheart leaves the den. He collapses in his grief, and Jayfeather follows him. The blind tom blames this on himself, knowing Briarlight must've caught the sickness when he delivered Ivypool's kits. However, Alderheart reminds him that a lot could've gone wrong in the kitting if he wasn't there. They comfort each other, and Briarlight's body is brought out of the medicine den.
- Alderheart is sad, but feels lightened by the praise Jayfeather has given him. The cats of ThunderClan form a ragged circle around Briarlight to keep vigil for her. Twigpaw recounts that the brown she-cat was always kind, and helped her feel like she belonged. Millie and Graystripe step forward next, saying that they're proud of their daughter, and she had the heart of a warrior. Blossomfall adds that she hopes her kits share those same qualities as her sister. As the sky above the hollow lightens, Leafpool uses the ritual words to send Briarlight to StarClan. Millie and Graystripe, as elders, then carry her body out of camp for burial. Alderheart watches them, thinking it must hurt so much more because they're her parents as well.
- After Briarlight's burial, Velvet tells Alderheart to go sleep. She guides him towards his nest, and pushes him into the moss. Velvet insists that she'll wake him if needed, but that she can take care of any minor aliments or wounds. Alderheart protests, but she lays her tail across his mouth, saying she's going to take care of him. The tom muzzily slinks into sleep with Velvet's scent surrounding him, thinking that it feels nice to have someone care.
- Spotkit (Unnamed)
- Flykit (Unnamed)
- Snapkit (Unnamed)
Notes and references
|River of Fire 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 • Bonus Scene|
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