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In the Super Editions
- Sandgorse is a WindClan tunneler. He is the mate of Palebird and father to Tallkit and his deceased daughter Finchkit.
- Sandgorse noses his way past some warriors leaving camp. Tallkit notices that his pelt is speckled with earth as Sandgorse tells Woollytail that he's left a pile of sticks at the tunnel entrance. He then tells Woollytail that he'll have to manage shoring up the roof without him, as he wants to show Tallkit something. Sandgorse licks a sprig of moss of his son’s ear and announces that it's time he learned how to dig. He hears Shrewkit jeering at his nurserymate and snorts, saying he's a typical moor-kit, as he is scared of getting sand in his eyes. He heads to the tunnelers bracken patch and stops beside Woollytail's nest while Tallkit ducks under his belly. Sandgorse talks briefly to Woollytail, asking if sticks will be enough to hold up the tunnel ceiling. Woollytail suggests if they should take a different route to the gorge, and Sandgorse's belly twitches. When cave-ins are mentioned, he glances over to the elders' den. He is thinking about Lilywhisker's crushed leg as a result of a cave-in. Sandgorse suggests exploring the rabbit warrens where there may be clay seams they can easily dig through. Woollytail thinks it would be a waste since they worked hard through leaf-bare.
- Sandgorse takes Tallkit over to a patch of earth behind Tallrock and explains that it's a good place to start learning, and he learned to tunnel there. Tallkit asks if he gets tired of digging, and Sandgorse replies that being a tunneler takes more than just digging, explaining that they patrol it too, and it's a good place to hunt during leaf-bare when all the rabbits have taken shelter from the cold, saying that's why Shattered Ice first started WindClan's tradition of tunneling. He explains that WindClan has tunneled ever since and are learning more and more. Without them, WindClan would suffer many hungry moons. Tallkit gives it a try, but Sandgorse informs him that he is not digging right, and shows him the proper way. Tallkit is impressed, thinking there is no hole he can dig or earth he can shape with his paws. Tallkit copies this, and does very well, impressing his father. Sandgorse warns him to slow down but Tallkit falls into the hole he is digging. Sandgorse drags him out by his tail and checks if he is okay. Tallkit says he isn't hurt and runs off to his mother.
- Sandgorse bounds after him, saying he was doing great, but Tallkit protests, saying he wasn't. Sandgorse is persistent, saying he can't give up yet, but Palebird, shoos him off. Eyes round with worry, Sandgorse promises to try again later. He does, asking if he's calmed down yet. He also says the sooner he gets digging the better. Tallkit asks his mother if it's alright if he goes, noticing the eagerness in his father's tone and Palebird agrees. Sandgorse beckons him to follow and says he knew one fall wouldn’t put him off. Sandgorse takes his son over to a cluster of rocks near the elders' den. He explains he wants him to practice moving stones as tunnelers move rocks heavier than themselves. He mentions it's an important skill, and tells Tallkit to try the smaller ones first. He instructs Tallkit to roll it towards himself. Tallkit thinks it will squash him but Sandgorse says the first rule of tunneling is that you're stronger than you think. Tallkit tries with one, but doesn't do well. Sandgorse suggests using a smaller one, and pushes one forward. Flailfoot thinks Tallkit is too young to move rocks, but Sandgorse says it's never too early to learn how to tunnel.
- Shrewkit teases Tallkit for slipping over and Sandgorse says to not listen as he thinks he doesn't understand patience. Heatherstar suddenly calls for a meeting, so Sandgorse orders Tallkit to wait there. Sandgorse heads for one end of the hollow where the other tunnelers sit. He sits next to Woollytail and Hickorynose. While they are waiting, Tallkit says that Sandgorse told him it's the noblest life of a warrior. Shrewkit retorts he would, as he has so much mud in his ears it has filled his head. Tallkit says it’s not true before Barkkit tells them to watch the ceremony. After the ceremony, Sandgorse says that they will at least have Tallkit train as a tunneler apprentice in a few moons. Barkkit mentions to Tallkit that Sandgorse will make sure he gets a tunneler apprentice. Tallkit later mentions that Sandgorse is helping building a tunnel down into the gorge, and says he's proud to follow in his father's steps.
- Sandgorse returns to camp after working on the gorge tunnel. He greets Tallkit cheerfully and asks if he's had a good day. Tallkit says Flamepelt told him the story about the rabbit under ShadowClan territory, and how he almost got caught. Sandgorse thinks it's a good story. Heatherstar then addresses Sandgorse, asking how work is going on the gorge tunnel, looking concerned with the tunnelers' mud-streaked pelts. He reports that work is going fine, it's steep and they are using clay to strengthen the walls. Reedfeather says it sounds dangerous. Sandgorse says it's challenging, and when it's done, they will have a secret route from the top of the moor down to the river. Reedfeather asks if RiverClan will be able to see the tunnel entrance from the bottom of the gorge, Sandgorse tells him that they're using bramble to conceal the opening. He looks at Tallkit and explains with excitement that he can't wait to show the tunnel to him. Tallkit says he can't wait to see it, and Sandgorse purrs he might be an apprentice in time to finish digging it.
- Once the conversation is over, he asks Tallkit to help him clean away the grit from his ears. He shakes out his pelt, splattering Tallkit. He says he’ll have to get used to getting his fur mucky. Palebird rushes over, mewing that he's getting Tallkit all dirty. Sandgorse objects, saying he's helping him clean off. He asks Tallkit if he wants to help get the dirt from around his ears. He quickly goes on to say that he can't wait until all three of them can run through the tunnels as a family. Palebird says it might be some time before she joins them, and Sandgorse is startled and concerned. He assures her that she'll be strong enough to join them by the time Tallkit's an apprentice. Palebird turns away and leaves, so Sandgorse sends his son off to go comfort her. Tallkit asks about his ears, and Sandgorse says he'll wash it himself.
- Before Tallkit's apprentice ceremony, Sandgorse asks his son if he's ready, in which Tallkit replies he is. Tallkit is renamed Tallpaw, but is given Dawnstripe as a mentor, who is a moor-runner. Sandgorse jumps into the clearing, telling Heatherstar he made a mistake. Heatherstar insists she hasn't. Sandgorse explains both he and his mate want their son to become a tunneler. Heatherstar says she knows, but Tallpaw doesn't have the nature and physique of a tunneler. Sandgorse says that's not true, and points out his long tail, strong paws, and short fur. Heatherstar still holds her gaze and explains that Tallpaw prefers running freely. Palebird jumps down beside her mate and says Tallpaw will be able to chase prey underground just as well as above. Heatherstar still holds her original decision. Sandgorse continues angrily, growling that tunneling is in his kit's nature, and that his kin are tunnelers stretching back several generations. He says Tallpaw is his son, he will decide his future. Heatherstar shuts him down again and he turns tail on his son's ceremony.
- After the ceremony, it's mentioned by Aspenfall that if Tallpaw is anything like his father, he's an early riser as well. He glances at the tom that has his back to the hollow. Tallpaw says he must go talk to Sandgorse. He asks Sandgorse if he wants him to go tell Heatherstar he'd rather be a tunneler. Sandgorse asks if it's what he wants and when Tallpaw hesitates, he fiercely repeats himself. Tallpaw responds that it's not and Sandgorse snaps at him to not bother then. He's says he had such plans for their family. He then angrily looks over at Heatherstar and lashes his tail, saying no cat can change the fact that he was born to be a tunneler before marching away. Dawnstripe tells Tallpaw that Sandgorse will just have to get used to things. It's later briefly mentioned that Sandgorse named Tallpaw after his lengthy tail. The next day, Tallpaw calls to his father, but Sandgorse doesn’t hear him. The tunneler ducks into a tunnel and disappears. Dawnstripe says he must be thinking of a new tunnel, because they have hit seams of gravel.
- While Tallpaw is out on a border patrol, Sandgorse suddenly bursts out of a tunnel entrance, his fur spiked up and eyes wide. He asks Mistmouse if she's okay before calling back down into the tunnel. He gets an answer, and Sandgorse says they are safe. Straightening up, he explains there was just a cave-in, though everyone's fine. He says there is too much sunshine so the soil shrinks, creating cave-ins, and that they could use a few days of rain. Tallpaw thinks what if he was caught in a cave-in, and notes in the half-moon since he became an apprentice, they are growing more distant and even when Sandgorse talks, there was no warmth for his son. Tallpaw thinks if only he would see Tallpaw train he would understand. Sandgorse asks if the group of cats are patrolling, and Dawnstripe says they are almost finished. Sandgorse gazes at the heather and tells them that he'd been digging down in the tunnels all night. Ryestalk asks if they're tired, to which he responds that they're so close to completing the tunnel, he's not resting until work is complete.
- Mistmouse asks about the cave-in, and Sandgorse is confident that they'll clear it. He meows back into the tunnel, sticking his head in to hear the echo. He confirms the soil’s light and easy to bury through. He looks back up and says that it'd be the perfect time for Tallpaw to get some tunneling experience. Tallpaw protests, saying he's still patrolling, but Dawnstripe remembers Heatherstar does want apprentices to spend at least a day underground. Sandgorse asks how they would learn the importance of the tunnels if they don't experience it. Dawnstripe agrees, and Sandgorse beckons to Tallpaw with a flick of his tail. Sandgorse says he is glad his son is finally learning what tunnelling is about. He looks at Tallpaw with pride, the first time in half a moon. Tallpaw is determined not to let his father down, and lies to him he's looking forward to it. He thinks once he is underground, he will understand why Sandgorse finds it so special. Sandgorse lets Mistmouse go first then urges Tallpaw to go. He tells him not be put off by the darkness, he has ears and whiskers to help.
- Sandgorse follows his son in, and comments that it will be colder deeper in. He teaches Tallpaw on listening above, hearing the paw steps of the moor runner patrol above. He explains about how each step from a different creature is different, like a rabbit thumps and sheep and dogs steps are louder. Mistmouse says that he can tell the difference between a ThunderClan and a WindClan patrol by their paw steps. Sandgorse growls ThunderClan prances over the moor like they own it. They have no idea they are being tracked and WindClan knows exactly when they enter WindClan territory and exactly when they exit. Sandgorse nudges Tallpaw, prompting that Hickorynose and Woollytail would be digging on the other side of the cave-in, they need to go help. They walk through, Tallpaw reassuring himself that Sandgorse will protect him. Sandgorse points out a tunnel leading to the high-moor, and he explains that every tunneler knows every step of the tunnels. They can get anywhere on the territory, even past the border. Tallpaw asks if Heatherstar comes into the tunnels. Sandgorse says occasionally, she just doesn't understand it like they do.
- They reach the cave-in and start digging. Sandgorse instructs Tallpaw that they always work in two. In a cave-in, the most important rule of tunneling is to never leave your partner. Another cat's life is more precious than one's own, never forget that. Mistmouse chimes that one tunneler dies, two tunnelers survive. Tallpaw asks what to do with the earth Sandgorse has dug out and Sandgorse instructs him to spread it out as thin as he can. After being asked again, he also instructs Tallpaw to press stones into crevices; they never get rid of stones as they useful for shoring up the walls. After some time, Sandgorse can tell their close, and asks Tallpaw if he can hear their voices. Tallpaw asks if the tunnel will collapse again when they clear out the cave-in. Sandgorse says all the earth that will fall has fallen. He explains he knows by no noise of loose dirt or falling stones or even creaking. They push through, meeting with the rest of the patrol. They head onwards to the gorge tunnel. Tallpaw asks if they are still working through the clay seam. Sandgorse says they are and it's hard to figure out the depth, but yesterday he hit clay.
- Sandgorse explains they have been digging through the clay seam all night. They should break to the other side soon. He tells Tallpaw how pleased he is that his son is there to see them complete the gorge tunnel. Tallpaw starts to get nervous, and bumps into a wall. Sandgorse reminds him to concentrate. They arrive at the area, and Sandgorse orders Tallpaw to wait while they dig. While digging, Sandgorse tells Tallpaw that this is what he dreamed of, working with his son to dig a new tunnel together; Digging a tunnel that will change WindClan forever. Tallpaw wonders if his father thinks he is changing his mind on training as a moor runner. He sounds excited as he screeches they'll hit air any moment. However, a creaking sound is heard and the patrol is forced to run. Sandgorse checks every cat is there, then urges Tallpaw to run faster. Water explodes into the tunnel and Sandgorse barges past Tallpaw, demanding he keep his nose to his tail and continues running away from the water spilling into the tunnel.
- They finally escape the tunnel and all Sandgorse can express his annoyance that they got the location wrong. Tallpaw is shocked that Sandgorse wasn't even scared, but Sandgorse only points out that they didn't drown and that they simply learned for next time. Tallpaw says it's dangerous, but Sandgorse points out not if they know what they are doing. His eyes show exileration, and Tallpaw wonders if he enjoyed the run, and that he has more courage than Tallpaw originally thought. Sandgorse suggests he goes back to get cleaned up before coming back to help with the new section. Tallpaw refuses, and Sandgorse is shocked that Tallpaw didn't enjoy the excitement, clearly not seeing their lives were truly at risk down there. Tallpaw snaps, finally saying that just because Sandgorse enjoys tunneling doesn't mean he does as well. The next day, Tallpaw wonders why Sandgorse is obsessed with tunnelling. He thinks that Sandgorse makes him feel like a traitor. Shrewpaw tells Tallpaw he will be a tunneler one day as Sandgorse will make sure of that. Tallpaw defends, saying Sandgorse respects what he wants. Shrewpaw sneers of course he does.
- It is mentioned that they opened the gorge tunnel by moonhigh as promised by Sandgorse, but they spent until dawn safeguarding it. Even when they returned to camp they were anxious rather than exhilarated. Tallpaw wonders again on how his father wants him to be a tunneler, thinking because it's right for him doesn't mean its right for Tallpaw. The apprentice looks around for his father as it is the night for his first Gathering, but the tom is nowhere in sight. After noticing Tallpaw seems withdrawn, Dawnstripe asks if it's because of Sandgorse. She says it's going to take time for him to get used to the way it is, not cat can change his feelings overnight. Tallpaw asks if his father wants best for him, and Dawnstripe says he does, he just thinks it's being a tunneler. She explains he has to put up with Sandgorse, he can't change how he feels. Tallpaw admits he feel bad, and Dawnstripe asks enough to become a tunneler to please Sandgorse. Tallpaw guesses not. When the Greenleaf rogues come to visit, Sandgorse begs Algernon to tell more, calling him Algie.
- When Woollytail unknowingly assists a hunting patrol with catching a rabbit, he mentions that Sandgorse is underground, working on a second gorge tunnel. Dawnstripe is shocked to find out the first tunnel flooded and asks Tallpaw what he's talking about. Tallpaw admits that it happened while he was working underground with Sandgorse. Dawnstripe stresses he could have been killed, but Tallpaw says he was safe because he was with Sandgorse. Dawnstripe goes back to camp to talk to Heatherstar, and the leader is soon talking to all the tunnelers. Hareflight says it looks like they have more news on the gorge tunnel. Tallpaw thinks from their bristling fur that they are not talking of hunting, and that they are very skilled at hunting already. The conversation is finished, and Tallpaw is eager to talk to his father but it disappears when he sees Sandgorse's expression. Sandgorse snaps at Tallpaw, asking why he told Heatherstar about the flooded tunnel, calling his son a coward and says he can’t own up to his mistake. He rambles it’s bad enough his son is afraid of tunnelling and now his so scared of getting wet that he wants to stop all tunnelling. He explains that Heatherstar has told them to stop all work on the gorge tunnel. He hisses Tallpaw gets a fright, and something they worked on for moons is abandoned. He hisses at Tallpaw, telling him to stay away from him and the tunnels.
- That night, Tallpaw talks to Sparrow about his father. Tallpaw explains his father's hatred and anger for him. Sparrow says Sandgorse is wrong that Tallpaw is coward. Tallpaw admits he was scared and Sandgorse wasn't. Sparrow points out the tunneler have faced floods for moons. Tallpaw mentions that he tunnelling is what Sandgorse wants. Sparrow says what Tallpaw wants doesn't seem important to Sandgorse. He advises the apprentice to aim for what he wants, not what his father wants. He explains Sandgorse chose his own destiny, why choose the destiny of his son. Tallpaw agrees that this is unfair, and decides to choose his own destiny. In the morning, Tallpaw tries to catch his father’s eye, but Sandgorse just shots him an angry look. When ShadowClan attacks, Sandgorse returns soon after. He checks to see his mate is okay, and Palebird says she is. He then overhears Shrewpaw blaming Tallpaw for Brackenwing's death. His eyes darken as he looks over at his son, and Heatherstar tries to explain that it's not Tallpaw's fault. Cloudrunner turns blame to the tunnelers, asking where they were when the attack happened, and Sandgorse responds angrily, saying the tunnels help with defense and that it would have given them an escape route. He adds that the tunnels are big enough for the entire Clan to hide in, but Cloudrunner squares him up, challenging his suggestion. Heatherstar pushes between the two and says that the Clan can't let the tragedy divide them.
- Sparrow later inquires about the gorge tunnel. Sandgorse responds they spent half of leaf-bare on it, but they had to abandon it. He explains that an apprentice got scared by a flood. Sparrow asks why the dug it and Sandgorse says it gives them a secret route to the river. When dawn comes, both toms are still talking. Sandgorse looks excited as Sparrow says the abandoned gorge tunnel was a waste. Sandgorse agrees, saying all that work for nothing. Sparrow says he sounds proud, and Sandgorse explains he knows it better than his pelt. Sparrow reasons they can go down there then, he knows what parts are safe and what aren’t. Sandgorse says he does as he built it with his own paws. Tallpaw wonders if the tunnels are all that Sandgorse cares about, and if he thinks his so special because he can dig. Algernon soon informs Tallpaw that he saw Sparrow going off with Sandgorse to go see the tunnel. They were talking about a tunnel that leads to the river. Tallpaw feels sympathy for Sparrow as when Sandgorse starts talking about the tunnels, he doesn't stop about tunneler rules and his tunnelling skills.
- Tallpaw goes out to hunt when he feels the group tremble underneath him; he's afraid at first but reasons that Sandgorse wouldn't take Sparrow somewhere dangerous. However, when Sparrow shoots up from a rabbit hole, Tallpaw demands to know where Sandgorse is. Sparrow explains that he lost him and Tallpaw tries to jump back down into the tunnel after his father. Woollytail pulls him out after he loses consciousness, and tells him they are trying to find him. Tallpaw says if his down there, they have to get him out. Plumclaw says that the whole tunnel has collapsed, and floodwater is in every branch. Tallpaw realizes that his father has drowned, and Woollytail says there is nothing more they can do. Tallpaw is still persistent, but Dawnstripe says if Woollytail can't reach him, no one can. She admits that Sandgorse is with StarClan now. Tallpaw turns on Sparrow, questioning him about why he left Sandgorse in the tunnel. He responds that he was lucky he made it out, as there was no way he could of helped Sandgorse. He was the one with all the skills, he shouldn't have taken him down there. Tallpaw believes he is blaming Sandgorse for his own death. Then Woollytail tells him that Sandgorse answered for his own recklessness.
- Palebird rushes out the nursery and asks if they found him. Dawnstripe tells her no and she collapses. Tallpaw mumbles that he is dead and collapses, and he feels Sandgorse's pain. Tallpaw snaps at his mentor that maybe if Finchkit lived instead of him, Sandgorse would have lived. Dawnstripe tells him not to talk like that. He says that if he insisted that he become a tunneling apprentice, Sandgorse would have survived. He then growls that Sparrow forced him into the tunnels that he was too nosy and bothered him until he took him down, then left him there to die. Sparrow apologizes that Sandgorse is dead, but it wasn't his fault. Tallpaw snaps at him and says he left him to die. Heatherstar jumps between them and says that words wouldn't change anything and that they should all go to sleep, but Tallpaw dreams of Sandgorse's death. A few days later, Flailfoot talks to Tallpaw about Sandgorse. He says that Sandgorse was a great planner, and knew the tunnels better than anyone else. He admits that Sandgorse hated worms though. Every time they reached worm soil, he would say he'd rather be covered in clay than have a worm under his claw.
- After Tallpaw has recovered from his injuries, he decides to become a tunneler in Sandgorse’s place. Heatherstar however calls for a Clan meeting. She says she admires the apprentice's loyalty to his father’s memory and they will grieve the tunneler for moons. She announces that due to Sandgorse’s death, there will be no more tunnelling for WindClan. Most of the Clan agrees, even Palebird tells Tallpaw she doesn’t want her son to die like Sandgorse did. Tallpaw is furious, saying that Sandgorse died for nothing. Hickorynose explains he didn’t die for nothing; his death will be the last in the tunnels. The tom admits he doesn't want his kits to die like Sandgorse did.
- Tallpaw still blames Sparrow for the death of Sandgorse, and is both surprised and furious no one else does too. Even after the rogues have left WindClan and Tallpaw received the warrior name he is still is angry at Sparrow. Tallpaw is given the name of Talltail in memory of his father's wish to be named for his tail. Still fuming, Talltail leaves WindClan to find Sparrow for revenge of the death of Sandgorse. He travels far, planning to kill Sparrow. He finds the rogue, and draws him to a cliff, where he confronts Sparrow again for the death of Sandgorse. He insists Sparrow made his father go in and then left him to die. Sparrow counters, then reveals that Sandgorse held the earth up long enough so that he could escape. Sandgorse died saving Sparrow’s life, and he died a hero. He asks Talltail if he believes Sandgorse would give his life for him. He explains he knows courage, and that’s what Sandgorse showed him when he died. Sparrow tells Talltail this isn’t courage and killing him won't bring Sandgorse back. Talltail decides to spare Sparrow, but Sparrow slips and Talltail is forced to save his life.
- On the way back to their camp, Sparrow says he is sorry for Sandgorse's death, telling it was an accident. He reminds him that Sandgorse saved his life, and he will never forget him. Talltail later mentions saving Sparrow is what Sandgorse would do. Talltail returns to WindClan, and tells Heatherstar what happened. He says he couldn’t kill Sparrow otherwise Sandgorse would have died for nothing. Talltail moves on from his father's death, becoming WindClan's deputy and soon leader. At his Leadership ceremony, Sandgorse comes to Talltail. His meow is thick with emotion as he says he knew his son would become a great warrior, he never needed to kill Sparrow to prove it. Talltail asks if he wanted revenge for his death. Sandgorse shakes his head. He explains there was no reason. Talltail asks if he really did save Sparrow, and Sandgorse questions what if he didn't, would Talltail still kill Sparrow. Talltail responds he doesn’t know, but is glad he didn't kill him. Sandgorse tells his son he did save Sparrow, he was telling the truth.
- Sandgorse gives Talltail his final life of forgiveness. He says forgiveness brings peace more surely than vengeance. Sandgorse apologizes to his son for having to learn the hard way, calling him by his new name of Tallstar. He says he couldn’t be more proud, and advises to go well and lead strongly. Protect his Clan for the storms ahead, they will come no matter what StarClan does. He explains that there will be a kit of his dearest friend that will need his help. Sandgorse tells him to watch him, guide his paws as he is very important to all the Clans. Sandgorse’s eyes cloud as he says he cannot tell anymore, but Tallstar will know this cat when he sees him. He advises for him to remember to not be afraid of flame. Fire brings life, warmth, growth, and death. Talltail vows he will always remember.
In the Field Guides
- Sandgorse is mentioned on Tallstar's page. Tallstar was born to Sandgorse and Palebird, who wanted him to be a tunneler. However, Heatherstar recognized that Tallkit preferred the moor over being underground, and she made him the apprentice to a moor runner, disappointing Tallkit's parents. After Sandgorse was killed in a tunnel while touring a rogue named Sparrow, Tallpaw tried to switch to tunneling, but Heatherstar forbade it due to the dangers of tunneling. When Talltail decided to let Sparrow live, the rogue described Sandgorse's death in saving Sparrow from the tunnel. Talltail left the group of rogues upon realizing the truth behind his father's actions.
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