"If there's one piece of fatherly advice I can give you, it's this: a friendship you choose is sometimes stronger than kinship. You can find some cat to care for. Don't spend your life alone, Tree. Even if you lose a cat you love, it's better than never having had them beside you."
— Root's guidance to Tree in Tree's Roots, chapter 10

Root is a yellow tom with six toes on one paw and green eyes.[2]


In The Broken Code arc

The Silent Thaw

"I saw my father in the forest after he died, and my mate's mother returned to speak to her kits."
—Tree to Bramblestar's impostor The Silent Thaw, pages 268-269
At a Gathering, Tree indirectly mentions Root when he is questioned by Bramblestar's impostor. He says he helped Twigbranch and Violetshine see the ghost of their mother, in addition to seeing his father himself.

In the Novellas

Tree's Roots

"In the two moons that he and his father had spent together, Tree had learned a lot. Root didn't always hunt the way the Sisters did: he believed in taking care of himself while expending as little energy as possible. So not only did he have unique hunting techniques, but he had also taught Tree to find food in Twopaw trash and in the unattended bowls of everkits. He'd shown Tree how to pick the safest spots to rest. And he'd shown him fighting techniques, but also what he said was more useful: how to arch his back and snarl and frighten off rogues and dogs so that they might not have to fight at all."
—Narrator about Tree and Root Tree's Roots, page chapter 8
While Earth is playing with his friend, Stream, he mentions how Earth is smaller than the rest of the Sisters. Earth looks down at his paws and thinks that his father, whoever he was, must've been small and yellow. Two moons later, Moonlight insists that Earth is ready to wander, telling her son that he will be a strong and capable cat like his father, who was well-suited to the world. Earth mentally notes that Moonlight has never talked much about his father.
Later, shortly after Earth is sent to wander, he is discovered by a trio of dogs. As the dogs stalk toward him, a yellow cat flashes by and attacks the dogs, telling Earth to run. Earth flees into a tangle of bracken, then watches as the cat gracefully dodges the dogs and claws their muzzles. One of the dogs flees, and the cat clings to the back of the other dog as they both disappear from Earth's sight. The cat-a tom-soon comes sauntering back into view, looking proud of himself.
The tom asks Earth if the kit is hurt, and Earth can now see that the strange tom's fur color is as yellow as his own, and that he has green eyes. Earth shyly replies that he's fine, and compliments the tom for his bravery. The yellow tom eyes Earth and remarks that he's a little young to be on his own. Earth protests that he's almost seven moons old, and the tom says that he wasn't trying to insult him before introducing himself as Root. Earth thanks him and tells him that he is Earth. Root gives Earth a friendly nod and tells him to take care, and Earth promises that he will, but wonders if Root is leaving now. Root turns and begins to walk away.
Not wanting to be alone, Earth quietly follows him. Root stops and turns back toward Earth, asking him if he's lost. Earth replies that he doesn't know of a safe place to go. Root hesitates before mewing that he knows of a safe place where they could sleep that night. Delighted, Earth hurries to Root's side and asks if he can stay with him. Root answers only for one night, as he's just passing through. Earth is happy to be with another cat nonetheless as he walks beside Root. Root gives Earth some tips about the forest as they walk, and soon Root stops at a tall oak tree. Earth incredulously asks if they're going to sleep up there, and Root says that a tree is the best place to sleep as it's safe from other animals. Earth is hesitant, but Root clambers up the trunk, and Earth follows. Together, the two toms curl up in its branches and fall asleep.
Earth wakes to find Root gone, and descends the tree to try and make contact with Stream, who died after being struck by lightning. Root comes back from hunting to see Earth talking to himself, and asks Earth if he knows a group that's all she-cats. Earth, amazed, asks Root if he knows the Sisters, and Root angrily replies that he spent a lot of time with them for a little while. He tells Earth about how he was mated to one of the Sisters, Moonlight, but that she left him while expecting his kits without a second thought because he is a tom. Earth wonders if Root could be his father, and tells him about how he was a kit of the Sisters who was sent away. Root is furious, and when Earth tells him that Moonlight is his mother, he realizes that Earth is his son. Root is even more enraged at the Sisters for the danger they put his son in, snarling that the dogs could have killed Earth.
Earth is excited and eagerly tells Root that they can take care of each other now. Root looks away, mewing that he is a loner. Earth asks Root if he is going to leave him just like Moonlight did, and when Root mutters that it's not the same, Earth insists that it is. Root promises Earth that they can stick together for a few moons while he teaches Earth to look after himself, so he won't be abandon him before he's ready like the Sisters did. Earth agrees. Root then tells Earth that he doesn't need to keep the name the Sisters gave him, so Earth changes his name to Tree.
Root and Tree travel for a couple moons, and Root teaches Tree how to take care of himself, and tries to convince Tree to stop trying to talk to the land like the Sisters wanted him to. Tree explains that he wants to have someone to talk to, as he and Root will have to part soon. Root awkwardly says that maybe he and Tree should stay together a bit longer. Tree realizes that Root doesn't want him to go, and blinks at his father affectionately.
A few days later, leaf-bare has arrived, and Tree and Root walk through the forest together. They manage to catch a large rabbit, but it attracts the attention of a fox, and it attacks them. Root tells Tree to run, but he refuses, and the two begin battling the fox. The two cats are winning when Tree is knocked away from the fox and lands on his side, unable to move. The fox lunges for Tree, but Root appears in front of him and slices the fox's eyes. Tree joyfully turns to Root, only to see his father fall to the ground, blood streaming down his side. Tree hurries to his father, trying to remember what Moonlight taught him about patching wounds, but Root tells his son that he is dying and doesn't want to be alone. Tree stays beside his father as Root bleeds out, and eventually falls still. Tree grieves beside Root's body for a while before deciding that he should wander alone.
Eight moons after Root's death, he appears to Tree to warn him of a fox that is approaching him and the pregnant she-cat he is staying with named Pebbleshine. Tree and Pebbleshine attempt to get away from the fox, but if finds them and attacks. Tree manages to defend Pebbleshine from the fox thanks to Root's warning. Later, after Tree and Pebbleshine part, Tree sees Root's ghost once more, and the two converse about the time they spent together. Root is proud of Tree and glad that they were able to spend time together, even if it was short. He tells Tree not to wander alone, and that he'll wander with him from now on before fading away.

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Former mate:

Moonlight:[2] Deceased, verified ghost


Tree:[2] Living (As of Graystripe's Vow)


Sunrise:[4] Living (As of Squirrelflight's Hope)
Ice:[4] Living (As of Tree's Roots)


Rootspring:[5] Living (As of Graystripe's Vow)


Needleclaw:[5] Living (As of Graystripe's Vow)


Unnamed ♂
See MoreRoot ♂Moonlight ♀Jack ♂
Violetshine ♀Tree ♂Sunrise ♀Ice ♀SquirrelLeafMoonUnnamed ♂Unnamed
Rootspring ♂Needleclaw ♀

    = Male

    = Female

    = Gender Unknown

Personality and traits

Root's personality is not unlike that of his son Tree; he is tough, good-humoured, laid-back and quite independent. However, he is also brave and kind, as he willingly risked his life to save Tree (then Earth) from a pack of dogs, even though the younger tom was a complete stranger at the time.[6]
Root is also wise and generous, as he believes not every cat has to follow the same path and has the right to decide who they want to be. Unlike his former mate, Moonlight, he encourages his son Tree to be who he wants to be instead of simply following rules.[3]
Despite being generally laid-back and a self-proclaimed loner by nature, Root does have a more vulnerable side, as he is capable developing attachments and holding grudges. This is shown by his bitterness and anger at his former mate Moonlight and her fellow Sisters for abandoning him, and later casting out his son and putting him in danger. Moonlight's desertion is the reason why Root prefers to be alone.[2] Although he at first agrees to only take care of and mentor Tree for a moon, Root quickly grows a genuine attachment to his son and considers staying with him forever. Ultimately, Root sacrifices himself to save his son, which he regards as the best thing he's ever done.[3]



"I was mated to one of the Sisters. I was with her for a while, and I thought they were great, strong and fierce. But then Moonlight and the others moved on without me. She said that toms don't travel with them and that they don't stay in one place, so she'd have to leave me behind. She left me without a second thought."
—Root to Tree Tree's Roots, page chapter 7
At some point, Root met and mated with Moonlight. He liked the Sisters, as he regarded them as good cats and fell genuinely in love with Moonlight. However, after becoming pregnant with his kits, Moonlight left Root without remorse, insisting that, per the Sisters' customs, he could not stay with her because he was a tom. This desertion changed Root's opinion of Moonlight and the Sisters, causing him to resent them very deeply. Root's bitterness toward Moonlight intensifies when he learns that she cast out their son Earth despite him being barely out of kithood and not fully ready to fend for himself, as well as the fact that Earth's age and inexperience nearly got him killed by dogs.[2]


Root: "What're you doing?"
Tree: "I'm...trying to talk to the grass. As a tom, I'm supposed to be able to, and I never have."
Root: "Does the grass really have a lot to say?"
Tree: "Toms are the guardians of the land. How am I supposed to do what I need to, if I can't even speak to the word around me? I keep failing."
Root: "Look. Not every cat believes what the Sisters believe. A tom doesn't have to look after the world. The world will keep on going."
Tree: "Moonlight told us-"
Root: "You don't live with Moonlight and the Sisters anymore. You don't have to live by their rules. You've changed your name, and you don't have to keep anything else they gave you either, unless you want to. Be who you want to be."
—Root and Tree Tree's Roots, page chapter 8
Because of Moonlight's desertion, Root didn't get to know his son until six moons after his birth. While living with the Sisters, Earth was somewhat curious about who his father was.[4][7] The two first met when Root saved Earth from dogs,[6] but didn't realize they were father and son until the next day. Root was furious that his former mate had banished their son despite his age and inexperience, and felt sorry for him. Though reluctant to do so out of fear getting attached, Root agreed to look after Earth until he was fully ready to fend for himself. He also suggested that Earth should change his original name since the Sisters didn't want them anymore. Earth then changed his name to "Tree" since he and Root slept in an oak tree the night before.[2]
Root then taught his son to care for himself during the next two moons. Root taught his son how to find safe places to shelter in and how to scavenge for food. He also encouraged Tree to be his own cat and not blindly follow the path the Sisters had sent him on. Root develops a genuine attachment to his son and considers staying with him forever. Unfortunately, Root sacrifices himself to save Tree from a fox, to which a devastated Tree resolves to wander alone from then on.[3] However, Root's ghost later comes to Tree and encourages him to let other cats into his life, advise Tree heeds.[1]



Interesting facts

  • Root is the same shade of yellow as his son, Tree,[2] and his daughter Sunrise.[8]

Author statements

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Revealed in Tree's Roots, chapter 10
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Revealed in Tree's Roots, chapter 7
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Revealed in Tree's Roots, chapter 8
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Revealed in Tree's Roots, chapter 1
  5. 5.0 5.1 Revealed in Lost Stars, allegiances
  6. 6.0 6.1 Revealed in Tree's Roots, chapter 6
  7. Revealed in Tree's Roots, chapter 3
  8. Revealed in Squirrelflight's Hope, page 94
Author references
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