|"...I understand your needs, and I wish no ill on any cat. Take your watermint, and then go. But next time you think of approaching our border, think again. The border is closed - do not forget that."|
|— Mistystar to Alderheart in River of Fire, page 54|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter three of River of Fire. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 3 (of 24)
- Page Numbers: 36-57
- Alderheart is on his way to the stream on the border with WindClan, as several cats have gotten sick over the last quarter moon. Brackenfur, Whitewing, and Plumkit have also gotten sick, and the medicine cat is worried about the kit. She's strong, but too small to fight back the illness. He also worries about Snapkit, Spotkit, and Flykit, as they're keen to explore. However, if they catch the sickness, they might not be able to survive. He hopes there's watermint at the stream, as ThunderClan needs it.
- When he gets to the stream though, he doesn't see any watermint, and thinks WindClan might be using it as well. Trying not to feel resentful towards Kestrelflight, he pads back, thinking that Harestar won't want to upset Mistystar by stepping over the border. The tom heads upstream, finally spotting a few stems of the herb and collecting it; they grow close to the waters edge so he is careful to not fall in. Afterwords, he goes back to camp with the precious leaves. Overhead, dark clouds mass once again, making Alderheart feel a tingle of unease. His medicine cat awareness tells him these are more than just clouds promising rain, and wonders if the darkening sky could be a litreal sign of the prophecy, The dark sky must not herald a storm, coming true, and he can't shake the sense of impending doom, disaster hanging over the Clans just like the clouds.
- Later, Alderheart is chewing chervil root, and Jayfeather demands why he's doing that, giving his shoulder a sharp prod, adding the sick cats need watermint. He spits out the chervil root chunks onto a leaf and suppresses a sigh. Jayfeather is crankier than ever now that so many cats are. Alderheart had given the scraps he'd found to Plumkit. He meows to Jayfeather that they don't have watermint, does he expect him to pull it from his ears. The blind tom grumbles he expects him to stay out until he finds some. Alderheart looks outside the medicine den, where rain is hissing heavily down; but he would willingly get soaked if it meant finding the herb. Alderheart teases Jayfeather to stop acting like a kit just because they have a lot to do, adding he knows there's hardly any at the supply by the stream, they'll have to find more. Jayfeather irritably adds he needs to chew the chervil root more thoroughly, the chunks are too big.
- Alderheart stops himself from pointing out Jayfeather had interrupted his chewing. Instead he meows they should talk more about the prophecy, but the blind tom waves his tail dismissively, mewing he doesn't care about it now, it's more important to help the cats get better. Leafpool is lying with Plumkit, giving her soothing licks, suggesting they move Briarlight into the nursery with the other healthy cats. The brown she-cat protests, but Alderheart agrees with Leafpool. While he speaks, he can't help but think of Whitewing losing the strength and will to fight the sickness. Jayfeather points out the nursery will be crowded, since there is no room in the medicine den for all the sick cats.
- Alderheart sends them to the apprentices den, moving Finpaw and Twigpaw into the nursery. He murmurs there's room and he gets Lionblaze and Bumblestripe to help move Briarlight. After she is settled, Alderheart is about to leave, when Blossomfall reaches to him with a paw, asking how Plumkit is. He replies she's doing fine, and Blossomfall shifts uneasily, mewing she should be with her. Alderheart gently tells her that's the last thing she should do, she could catch the sickness and bring it back to the nursery. Blossomfall agrees, but sighs it's difficult. He reassures her Plumkit is getting the best care possible.
- He heads back to the medicine den, thinking the best care meant giving Plumkit watermint, which they don't have. When Alderheart reaches the den, Leafpool and him discuss the watermint situation. The only other supply they are aware of is in WindClan territory, on the border with RiverClan. Despite the Clan having it's borders closed, Alderheart feels a tingle of excitement at the thought of going to RiverClan, thinking he can check in to see how they're doing, maybe convince them to return to the Clans. He decides to speak with Bramblestar about it, and the ThunderClan leader agrees eventually, but to take a couple of warriors with him, they don't know what to expect from RiverClan.
- Sparkpelt approaches with Twigpaw, offering to go with Alderheart. He feels warm anticipation as Bramblestar agrees, thinking it will be good to with with his sister on the expedition to RiverClan, especially if it means Twigpaw goes as well. He notes his worries about his friend, how she looks so sad and anxious all the time, now is his chance to see how she's getting along with Sparkpelt as her mentor. The group of three set off with Sparkpelt in the lead. They cross the border with WindClan, keeping close to the lakeshore. Alderheart asks Twigpaw how she's doing, as the pad side by side behind Sparkpelt. She curtly answers she's fine, and he knows something is wrong.
- He goes on to ask how she's getting along with Sparkpelt, and Twigpaw gives him another quick answer. Before he can press any further, a WindClan patrol intercepts their path. Sparkpelt and Twigpaw begin to bristle, but Alderheart tells them to take it easy. To the medicine cat's relief, they don't appear hostile. Featherpelt greets them, with Hootwhisker and Larkwing. He explains they're on their way to collect herbs and the patrol joins them, wanting to collect more for their own Clan. On their way to the border, they pass horseplace, where a young horse frightens them. They scatter as it comes near the fence, but Alderheart realizes it probably didn't even notice them.
- They continue on their journey until pass the tree-bridge and reach the border. The WindClan and ThunderClan cats begin to gather herbs, when Twigpaw nearly falls into the stream as the ground gives way beneath her. Sparkpelt saves her, but gives her a noisy scolding. Alderheart hopes the noise from the two cats doesn't alert RiverClan. He heads for the clumps, but before he can reach them two RiverClan warriors, Shimmerpelt and Havenpelt stop them, reminding them the borders are closed. Sparkpelt angrily points out they haven't crossed the border and they need the watermint for their sick Clanmates, it's the warrior code. The two RiverClan cats look uncertain, meowing to please not make trouble and just go. Alderheart slaps his tail across Sparkpelt's mouth before she can make any more comments and wonders if they would allow them to cross the border to explain to Mistystar why they're so close to their territory. After a moment of talking to each other, the two warriors agree, but only Alderheart is allowed to cross, since he is a medicine cat.
- The stream is too deep here for Alderheart to cross, so Shimmerpelt and Havenpelt lead him to a spot where a stone juts out. The tom nearly falls into the stream, but makes it across. They splash through another, smaller stream that borders the camp. As they enter the camp, ears prick in surprise at the sight of a cat from another Clan. Alderheart is uncomfortable from all the stares and is relieved when Havenpelt fetches Mistystar. The RiverClan leader greets him with a slight dip of her head, asking why he is here when he knows the borders are closed. Alderheart replies politely, explaining the problem in ThunderClan and WindClan, and he promises they'll stay on the far side of the border, never intending to set pawstep on her Clans territory or collect herbs from there. Mistystar gaze rests thoughtfully on him, mewing they came very close to crossing the border.
- Fear stabs Alderheart as he wonders if she's going to consider it an act of aggression but he silently goes on that he'll not go home without watermint. Mistystar allows them to take the herbs, warning to think next time before approaching the border, it's closed. Alderheart thinks to himself that they've gotten the message by now, and notices Willowshine shifting her paws uncomfortably, obviously unhappy with Mistystar. Alderheart bows his head to the leader to show deep respect, thanking her, then turns to go, but his paws drag, a huge weight in his chest. He turns back, asking if she wouldn't change her mind, asking if she knows how ShadowClan collapsed and joined SkyClan, surely it's in every Clan's interest to stay strong. He sees the news affects her as she draws herself and her eyes grow intent, but she relaxes after a moment, repeating they're borders are closed while her Clan rebuilds and she's sorry to hear about ShadowClan, but it's not RiverClan's responsibility, then dissmisses Alderheart with a wave of her tail.
- He struggles to hide his disappointment as he leaves camp, because for a heartbeat he thought he had reached her. Shimmerpelt and Havenpelt escort him back to the border, where the ThunderClan and WindClan cats collect as much watermint as they can carry. As they set off back along the lareshore, Alderheart is aware of Shimmerpelt and Havenpelt still guarding the stream until they are out of sight. The WindClan patrol says their good-byes at the other side of the horseplace and he and his Clanmates make their way back to their territory. He tries to feel optimistic, thinking he might have failed with Mistystar, but they can at least treat the sickness now. However, as soon as he pushes his way into camp, Jayfeather bounds toward him. He demands to know where he's been and what took so long, since more cats have fallen ill with Squirrelflight being the worst.
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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