|"The RiverClan medicine cat had meant well when she fetched water from the pool for the kits and elders. But what would the tainted water do to the cats who had drunk it?"|
|— Leafpaw thinking about Mothwing in Starlight, page 145|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter eight of Starlight. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 8 (of 23)
- Page Numbers: 137-145
- Leafpaw crouches close to Tallstar's body, watching the cats that had come to keep vigil for the dead leader as the sun rises. She shivers at the sight of the dead body, and thinks about how this ceremony is usually held at night, when the body isn't so visible. Leafpaw's thoughts wander as she looks away from the body, feeling anxious. She realizes that Onewhisker, named as the new leader just as Tallstar had died, couldn't go to the Moonstone to get his nine lives. They are all exhausted, and it is clear that Mudclaw, the former deputy would like use the opportunity to make trouble. Leafpaw wonders what will happen to the Clans if their leaders can't share tongues with StarClan. She silently thinks that the warrior code would fade into obscurity and they would become nothing but rogues.
- Leafpaw mews out loud that StarClan must guide them, and causes Cinderpelt to glance up from her conversation with Barkface. She asks her what the matter is, and Leafpaw apologizes for the disturbance and explains that she was thinking about what Onewhisker will do if he can't get to Highstones. Cinderpelt brushes Leafpaw's shoulder with her tail and reassures her that StarClan will show them a new place to share tongues with them, but Leafpaw asks when, as Onewhisker needs his nine lives right now. Cinderpelt tells her apprentice to be patient because StarClan cannot be hurried. She adds that instead of worrying, she should be doing something useful. Cinderpelt mentions that Mothwing has the right idea, as she is fetching water for the kits and elders. On the other side of the clearing, the RiverClan medicine cat is padding towards some WindClan cats with wet moss between her jaws. Leafpaw realizes that she hadn't done anything useful since they arrived, fretting over things she couldn't help.
- She apologizes to Cinderpelt, and announces that she was going to get more moss to help Mothwing. Cinderpelt nods and tells her she'll feel better if she'd busy. Leafpaw heads for the lake, spotting several cats bounding up slope, fur slick with lake water. Hawkfrost is in the lead, and he leaps up onto the tree stump and yowls for the other cats to listen. Leafpaw wonders if he should do that, as the stump is for leaders. Sorreltail echoes her thoughts, adding that it's just like the Great Rock at Fourtrees and Hawkfrost isn't even a deputy anymore. None of the cats challenge Hawkfrost, and RiverClan gathers to hear him speak. Leopardstar prompts him for information about the island. Hawkfrost reports that the island is everything that they could want in a camp, as they can fish in the lake, there's trees for shelter, and it's safe from predators and any Clans that might attack them. The RiverClan warriors mew in agreement, Blackclaw calling out that Hawkfrost had done a good job. He dips his head and replies that he only wants what's best for RiverClan.
- Squirrelflight joins her sister, and looks at Hawkfrost with unmistakable hostility. Leafpaw asks what the matter is and Squirrelflight mutters that she doesn't trust Hawkfrost, and keeps her eyes on him. Leafpaw agrees, and thinks back to the day in the old forest when Sorreltail had accidentally crossed the border while chasing some prey. Hawkfrost had found her, the only reason he let her go was Mothwing's warning about making trouble between the other Clans. Squirrelflight mews that she knows her sister doesn't trust him, is glad some cat agrees with her. They spot Mistyfoot as she pads towards the stump, and tells Hawkfrost that making camp on the idea is a bad idea. She mews that the kits and elders can't get there, and if something happened to the fish in the lake they couldn't bring prey across from the shore. Hawkfrost asks for Leopardstar's opinion, and the leader states that while he is correct about the camp being easy to defend, Mistyfoot has a point as well. It is decided that they will camp in the place Mistyfoot suggested, and Leafpaw prepares to watch Hawkfrost burst with anger. But he doesn't, and just leaps down from the stump. Squirrelflight seems satisfied that Hawkfrost didn't get what he wanted, and Leafpaw warns her to be fair as it's normal for him to want to find a safe home for his Clan. Squirrelflight snorts, and says he just wanted to challenge Mistyfoot. Leafpaw admits that she knows, but all the same Hawkfrost hasn't done anything wrong yet. Squirrelflight narrows her eyes and meows to give him time.
- Leafpaw dozes, worn out by the early start to the day. She stirs when she feels Cinderpelt's tail-tip brush her ear. She tells Leafpaw that she's going to help take Tallstar's body away for burial, and that Firestar gathering the Clan to leave. Leafpaw scrambles to her feet, and apologizes to Cinderpelt and asks why she didn't wake her sooner. Her mentor glances at her and simply murmurs that she needed the sleep. Cats are gathering around Firestar, Brackenfur leading Longtail over with the his tail draped over the elder's back. Ferncloud scolds Birchkit for getting under everyone's paws, and he shyly ducks his head. Leafpaw, excited about seeing their new home, suddenly feels wide awake, and asks Cinderpelt if there's anything she could do. Cinderpelt tells her to collect some horsetail as they might not get another chance for a while. Leafpaw nods, but asks if she can look for Mothwing because she wants to say goodbye. Cinderpelt points out that she'll see her again at Gatherings, but allows her to go find the RiverClan medicine cat. She warns her to not take too long as Leafpaw darts away and spots Mothwing. She greets her before wrinkling her nose at the scent of mouse bile. Mothwing says that Heavystep had insisted she deal with his ticks first thing in the morning, and had been so busy she hasn't had time to wash it off. She offers some water for ThunderClan's elders, and Leafpaw thanks her, taking the moss. She briefly wonders if she has time to take it for Longtail before she fetched the horsetail for Cinderpelt.
- Leafpaw jumps back, and detects a strange, sour scent on the moss that reminds her of crow-food. Mothwing asks her what wrong, and Leafpaw tells her the moss smells odd, and questions where she got the water from. Mothwing gestures with her tail as she mentions a pool of water she found, and that she was lucky to find it so close. Leafpaw asks her to show her, and Mothwing leads Leafpaw to the edge of the marsh where a small pool fed by a stream had trickled through the long grass. Leafpaw looks into the pool, and finds a dead, drowned rabbit at the bottom. Stepping back, she hisses and lets Mothwing see. Her eyes widen, and she exclaims that she didn't see the rabbit before as the water was reflecting the sky, and couldn't smell it due to the mouse bile on her paws. Mothwing asks if the elders will be okay, and Leafpaw says she thinks they'll be fine, but advises that she doesn't give them any more. Mothwing's tail lashes as she agrees, and realizes she'll now have to go to the lake for water. She says goodbye to Leafpaw as she bounds away, and Leafpaw calls back the same, and tells her to wash her paws.
- Leafpaw steps away from the water and rubs her paws carefully on the grass in case the poison had gotten on them.A little way off she finds some horsetail, and picks it for Cinderpelt. With this, they could go to their new territory and begin a herb stock. Leafpaw glances after Mothwing anxiously, and knows that she meant well by getting water for the kits and elders. She wonders about what it might do to the cats that had already drunk it.
Notes and references
|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|
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