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"Our elders, and our elders' kin, and their kin before them, fought to keep Sunningrocks in our territory. Many of them lose their lives, giving up their last breath for stones that belong to us. Can we give up where they did not, turn tail and flee when they kept fighting so that their kits could hunt and play and bask on these rocks? Will you fight with me now, in honor of all our elders and unborn kits?"
— Darkstar speaking to RiverClan about Sunningrocks in Code of the Clans, page 34

Sunningrocks is a rock formation in the old forest located on the eastern shore of the river.[3] It is often the source of conflict between RiverClan and ThunderClan due to its uses as both a place for cats to bask in the sun,[1] and to hunt prey.[4]

Description

Sunningrocks is located to the eastern shore of the river in the forest territories. Along the shoreline of the river, the area is sandy.[5] It is a large granite rock formation,[6] with smooth gray boulders.[7] On one side, it faces the sun, while the other side is sheer, overshadowing the river.[8] The smooth rocks are flat, making them a desirable location for cats to sunbathe and rest.[1] Within Sunningrocks there is cleft where cats are able to shelter in.[9] In the rocks, prey is able to hide in small cavities between the boulders.[10] Between where Sunningrocks and the forest meet there is said to be an abundance of prey nearby.[4]

Battles

Due to its location, Sunningrocks often switches ownership between RiverClan and ThunderClan. Conflicts have spanned generations over the ownership between ThunderClan and RiverClan, having lasted from Oakstar's leadership,[11] up until the Clans were forced from the forest territories.[12] Most fights that break out over the rocks are border skirmishes, however, some skirmishes have been noted to be outright battles.[13][14] These battles would often have casualties and would prolong the drawn-out fights over the patch of territory.[15]

Known deaths

This is a list of deaths, ordered chronologically, that took place at Sunningrocks.

Book mentions

In The Prophecies Begin arc

Into the Wild

Tigerclaw challenges Oakheart after the RiverClan deputy and his cat cross the border. A battle erupts between the ThunderClan and RiverClan cats, and the forest Clan retreat after more RiverClan warriors arrive. Redtail signals for the ThunderClan patrol to retreat, allowing their rivals to gain ownership of Sunningrocks.
A few days following, ThunderClan attempt to reclaim Sunningrocks. The patrol fights another RiverClan patrol. Oakheart and Redtail die in the battle, and Tigerclaw claims that he killed Oakheart to avenge ThunderClan's fallen deputy. Lionheart and Tigerclaw later show Firepaw around ThunderClan territory they identify Sunningrocks as the boundary with RiverClan.

Fire and Ice

Fireheart and Graystripe take their apprentices, Cinderpaw and Brackenpaw for a hunting assignment at Sunningrocks. The group of cats briefly rest on the warm rocks and the two young cats ask about Redtail and Oakheart's deaths. Later on, Tigerclaw tells Fireheart to send Cinderpaw to Tallpines instead of Sunningrocks for her hunting assessment. The deputy states that RiverClan scent had been found there and that they need to be warned off before any training happens.
Later, Fireheart berates his friend for meeting with Silverstream and it turns into an argument about RiverClan hunting at Sunningrocks. Graystripe tells the tom that RiverClan has been hunting there since before he was kitted. Whitestorm later patrols the area with Sandpaw and Mousefur. Fireheart and Sandpaw visit Sunningrocks later and find that the river is frozen over. The young she-cat proposes that they take advantage and invade RiverClan to steal back prey that had been stolen over the moons. The two cats return to ThunderClan camp and after some deliberation, a patrol is sent to the river via Sunningrocks.
In the days leading up to the next Gathering, Fireheart recalls patrol after patrol has reported scenting RiverClan at Sunningrocks. Bluestar brings this up at the Gathering, angrily pointing it out to Crookedstar and stating that Sunningrocks belongs to ThunderClan.

Forest of Secrets

Ravenpaw recalls to Fireheart and Graystripe the battle at Sunningrocks where Redtail and Oakheart were killed. He reveals the truth that Tigerclaw had killed the previous ThunderClan deputy, not Oakheart and that the RiverClan deputy had spoken strangely about one of his warriors. Fireheart and Graystripe decide to investigate further and meet Silverstream, narrowly avoiding being found by a RiverClan border patrol at Sunningrocks. Fireheart asks the RiverClan she-cat if she was involved in the battle at Sunningrocks but, Silverstream tells him that she wasn't but can bring a cat that was. She brings Mistyfoot to talk to the ginger ThunderClan tom about the battle. Mistyfoot tells him what she knows and that Oakheart died in a rockfall. She and Silverstream organize for Graypool to meet Fireheart to answer more of his questions about the battle and inquiries.
Fireheart later takes a patrol to the RiverClan border, bringing Runningwind, Graystripe and Sandstorm with him. As they reach the rocks, they notice that the river is swollen due to the melted snow which has cut Sunningrocks off from the ThunderClan cats. Fireheart and his patrol return to camp and he reports to the rest of ThunderClan what he had seen. Later on, Fireheart and Graystripe save two RiverClan kits after they near Sunningrocks when the gray tom wants to see Silverstream.
Following the flooding of the river, Graystripe continues to meet with Silverstream in the surrounding area of Sunningrocks. Fireheart catches them one day but finds Silverstream bleeding out while delivering her and Graystripe's kits. The RiverClan queen dies during the process and the event prompts Bluestar to reveal to Fireheart the truth about her own kits, Mistyfoot and Stonefur and she gave them up at Sunningrocks. Fireheart returns to Sunningrocks after talking with Bluestar and finds Graystripe having just buried Silverstream. In the following days, Fireheart reveals to Mistyfoot what had happened to her friend and where she is buried.

Rising Storm

On their way to Highstones, Fireheart and Bluestar bypass Sunningrocks. Later on, Fireheart heads to Sunningrocks in hopes of seeing Graystripe. Instead, he finds two ShadowClan cats nearby, Littlecloud and Whitethroat, that Cinderpelt treats for rat-borne sickness.
When fire strikes the ThunderClan camp, they evacuate to Sunningrocks. However, as the fire continues to burn, it begins creeping towards the rocks. In order to stay safe, ThunderClan cross the river and are met and helped by Leopardfur. RiverClan allows ThunderClan to shelter in their camp while the fire rages on and Fireheart notes that it is clear they will want something in return for their hospitality. He thinks that they will demand Sunningrocks.

A Dangerous Path

Fireheart leads a hunting patrol to Sunningrocks and notes that RiverClan's leader, Crookedstar, is growing old and that Leopardfur has more authority. He is firm in his belief that she will demand something in return for aiding ThunderClan when their camp was destroyed by fire. As they near the rocks, Longtail instructs his apprentice, Swiftpaw to practice his listening skills. Later on, Fireheart and Sandstorm meet Graystripe at Sunningrocks, finding the tom on ThunderClan territory.
At a Gathering, it is revealed formally that Crookedstar has passed away and that Leopardstar assumed leadership. Graystripe reveals to Fireheart RiverClan's plans for taking back the rocks. In the days following, Bluestar leads a patrol of ThunderClan cats to Sunningrocks and finds a RiverClan patrol gathered with Leopardstar. The RiverClan leader brings up the rival Clan's debt to them and states that they are claiming back the rocks. A fight ensues over Sunningrocks, with Leopardstar starting it by attacking Bluestar. ThunderClan manages to fight off the RiverClan patrol and remain the owners of the territory.
Fireheart mentions the battle at Sunningrocks where Redtail was killed to Bramblepaw when he tells the young tom about his father. Later on, when a pack of dogs is loose in the forest, Fireheart instructs his Clanmates to seek shelter in the trees above Sunningrocks. Bluestar questions her deputy when he tells her to lead her Clan to Sunningrocks to aid in his plan, but, he reassures her that it is the right thing to do.

The Darkest Hour

After defeating the dogs, Fireheart sends Graystripe to Sunningrocks to alert the Clan of Bluestar's death. Later on, Firestar sends Sandstorm with a patrol to Sunningrocks to make sure RiverClan hasn't attempted marking the border. In the following days, Firestar himself heads to the rocks in a patrol with Graystripe and Thornclaw.
Firestar stands at the top of Sunningrocks looking over RiverClan territory, following the return from WindClan's territory. Next to him, Sandstorm comforts him and a few days later he returns back to the rocks. Firestar falls asleep and meets Bluestar in his dreams who tells him that StarClan doesn't interfere with the forest, that they only watch and care for those in it.

In the The New Prophecy arc

Midnight

Brambleclaw suggests hunting at Sunningrocks, but Squirrelpaw that the hot weather will have prey hiding. The tabby warrior replies that it is still early and that prey would still be out and about for a while. Later, Squirrelpaw catches at a vole at Sunningrocks.

Moonrise

Mothwing teaches Leafpaw how to catch fish while the apprentice had been gathering herbs. Cinderpelt later mentions that chickweed grows near Sunningrocks when she takes Leafpaw herb gathering.

Dawn

ThunderClan shelter at Sunningrocks after twolegs begin invading the territory with their monsters. As the twolegs continue to destroy the forest, the Clans all begin to suffer and ShadowClan is forced to also seek shelter at Sunningrocks with ThunderClan. The decision to leave the forest territories is made by the Clan leaders at Sunningrocks, with Firestar stating that if ShadowClan remains camped with ThunderClan, the journey would begin a lot easier.

Twilight

A patrol of cats begin to explore the new territories and Ashfur comments that they haven't found anything similar to Sunningrocks in ThunderClan's new territory.

In the Power of Three arc

Sunrise

Mousefur mentions that Sunningrocks was large enough for all of a Clan's cats to bask in the sun together to Purdy.

In the Omen of the Stars arc

The Forgotten Warrior

Cinderheart recalls Sunningrocks, along with other landmarks from the old forest when she finds out that she is Cinderpelt's reincarnation.

The Last Hope

Firestar dreams of a fight at Sunningrocks when Jayfeather appears to him to tell the tom that he is the fourth cat of the prohpecy.

In the A Vision of Shadows arc

River of Fire

Bramblestar tells Twigpaw about Graystripe's past with RiverClan. He mentions that he was exiled from the Clan after they tried to reclaim Sunningrocks from ThunderClan.

In the Super Editions

Crookedstar's Promise

Stormkit sees Sunningrocks when he climbs a branch after being dared by Volekit. After, Rippleclaw bursts into camp alerting his Clanmates that ThunderClan has taken control of Sunningrocks. Hailstar refuses to fight back due to the Clan's weakened state following the flood. Instead, he sends Shellheart, Rippleclaw, Ottersplash, and Brightsky back to Sunningrocks to warn the ThunderClan cats. Three moons later, Stormkit and Oakkit sneak out of camp to Sunningrocks where they encounter Goosefeather who scares the kits. As they escape, Stormkit breaks his jaw on a stepping stone.
Following a Gathering, Hailstar announces to his Clan that they will take back Sunningrocks while ThunderClan is weakened by leaf-bare. Hailstar leads the patrol, but, as they fight one ThunderClan patrol, a second one, led by Stormtail appears and overwhelms them. Hailstar loses a life as a result of the complication. In the moons following, Hailstar decides that RiverClan must try again to reclaim Sunningrocks. He proposes that instead of battle, they will scent mark the border as much as they can until ThunderClan gets the message to who truly owns Sunningrocks. Hailstar takes a patrol of warriors to remark the boundary line. While they do, they scent ThunderClan, but, are lucky enough to finish their task without interruption. RiverClan enjoys their reclamation of Sunningrocks and Hailstar decides that while they have the upper hand against ThunderClan, they should claim more territory around the rocks. He takes a patrol consisting of cats that believe in the battle, as a few RiverClan cats don't believe they need the proposed territory.
ThunderClan, however, resets their scent markers in leaf-fall, leaving most RiverClan cats wondering when Hailstar would give the order to reclaim Sunningrocks. Hailstar soon makes the decision that they are to reclaim them and takes Crookedjaw, Voleclaw, and Mudfur with him and organises a second patrol as backup. After they scent-mark the rocks, they encounter a ThunderClan patrol, led by Adderfang. Mudfur challenges Adderfang to fight solo, leaving their patrols watching hopelessly. Mudfur emerges victorious, winning RiverClan its claim to Sunningrocks.
A few moons pass and Sunstar brings a patrol of ThunderClan cats to RiverClan camp, calmly stating that Sunningrocks belong to his Clan and that they are taking them back. Hailstar tells the opposing leader that they will have to fight, but, the ThunderClan tom remains calm and states that if they need to fight, they will, but that this was a warning. Crookedjaw and Hailstar discuss what to do with the territory following Sunstar's message and it is decided that they will allow ThunderClan to claim the rocks. Crookedjaw announces the decision to the Clan, stating that they will allow ThunderClan their hunting rights until newleaf. Come newleaf, RiverClan reclaim Sunningrocks under their new leader, Crookedstar's, leadership.

Bluestar's Prophecy

RiverClan swarms Sunningrocks while it still belongs to ThunderClan. In retaliation, Pinestar leads one patrol to attack them while ordering Stormtail to lead a backup patrol to attack from the far side of the rocks. ThunderClan manages to chase away the RiverClan invaders and holds onto Sunningrocks without any injuries sustained.
Moons pass, and RiverClan has reclaimed Sunningrocks and some ThunderClan warriors are unhappy with Pinestar's decision to not act. Sunfall sends patrols to ensure the rival Clan are not crossing into the forest as well as claiming the rocks. The patrols continue and one day, they watch a RiverClan patrol cross into the forest. The ThunderClan cats, led by Sunfall, watch and wait until their back up patrol arrives. The second patrol led by Thrushpelt arrives and the ThunderClan cats are successful fighting off the intruders, but RiverClan still holds Sunningrocks.
Following Pinestar's leave, Sunstar announces that ThunderClan will reclaim Sunningrocks as they need all the territory they can get. He takes a patrol to the RiverClan camp and tells them that ThunderClan is taking back Sunningrocks, and they are being fairly warned that any opposition will be met with battle. The next day at dusk, a patrol goes out and sets a new border, reclaiming Sunningrocks as ThunderClan territory. RiverClan does not attack the patrol, and the border is made peacefully.
Bluefur takes her kits to Sunningrocks so that they can live with their father, Oakheart. The queen explains to her curious kits that they are going on an adventure to Sunningrocks. On their way there, Mosskit dies from the cold as Bluefur struggles to carry them through the cold. Many moons later, RiverClan takes back Sunningrocks during Bluestar's leadership and she ponders the necessity of the extra territory but knows that if the challenge was left it would be thought of as weakness by WindClan and ShadowClan

Firestar's Quest

Firestar and Sandstorm go to Sunningrocks, the ThunderClan leader wanting to clear his thoughts. He confides to his companion some of his thoughts and worries, but, doesn't tell her about his visions. In the following days, he and Sandstorm pass the rocks on their journey to find SkyClan. As they leave, Firestar wonders if Leopardstar and RiverClan would make a move to reclaim Sunningrocks.
In the gorge, Sandstorm finds a heap of rocks near the river that remind Firestar of Sunningrocks back in the forest. The tom finds himself being reminded of the life back in the forest when he and Sandstorm repeatedly return to the warm rocks near the river that act similarly to Sunningrocks.

In the Novellas

Mapleshade's Vengeance

Mapleshade recalls the latest fight over Sunningrocks between ThunderClan and RiverClan and how Birchface had slipped from the rocks into the river, only to be followed by his apprentice, Flowerpaw. The two cats drown in the river as a result of the skirmish. She speaks to Appledusk of the same incident when she reveals to him that she's expecting his kits. Mapleshade believes her kits will be the answer to forgetting the feud over Sunningrocks due to their half-Clan heritage.

Pinestar's Choice

Pinepaw and a patrol consisting of Doefeather, Harepounce, and a few other ThunderClan warriors head out towards Sunningrocks on their way to Twolegplace to fight against kittypets.
Later on, Pineheart promises Doestar that he would defend their Clan's borders fiercely, especially Sunningrocks, after the she-cat notes that his father had a strong distrust for RiverClan cats. In the following moons, Pineheart earns his leader name and Doestar visits him in a dream. She apologizes to him for not leaving him the Clan in peace, but, Pinestar assures her that none of the battles were her fault. He states that everything would be easier if RiverClan gave up their claim to Sunningrocks.
After visiting Shanty, Pinestar feels reassured he was doing the right thing by not retaliating against RiverClan for their latest attack for Sunningrocks. Later on, Sunfall reports to him that he and his patrol had managed to chase RiverClan back off of Sunningrocks, averting a battle for another day.

Goosefeather's Curse

When Swiftpaw goes missing, Goosekit is told by a brown tabby tom that she was carrying herbs near Sunningrocks, in the reeds. The young kit tells his Clanmates this and quickly, Larksong takes Mumblefoot and Hollypelt to Sunningrocks to search for the apprentice.
Later, Goosepaw is collecting herbs while talking to his sister, Moonpaw. He sees Stormtail emerge from the reeds by Sunningrocks, looking for her. Returning back to camp after, Goosepaw recounts to Cloudberry a vision he had seen while returning from Sunningrocks.

Spottedleaf's Heart

Spottedpaw joins her mentor, Thrushpelt, in a hunting patrol led by Adderfang. They head towards the river where the large tabby scents vole leading him off to hunt near Sunningrocks. Later on, Spottedpaw, wanting to get away from Thistleclaw's judgement, ends up running towards the rocks, hearing the sound of the river when she realises how far into the territory she is. After also having a brief conflict with Bluefur, Thrushpelt takes her out of camp towards Sunningrocks to rest on the warm rocks. There, mentor and apprentice have a discussion about Spottedpaw's interest in medicine.

Redtail's Debt

Redpaw is upset that he couldn't accompany his mentor, Sparrowpelt, on patrol due to the threat of RiverClan at Sunningrocks. The young apprentice explains the feud over the territory as he continues to work beside his sister, Willowpaw. A patrol returns to camp and immediately report to Sunstar their encounter at Sunningrocks. Sunstar, with the aide of Tawnyspots and his senior warriors, decide that they must show RiverClan their strength to reclaim Sunningrocks after Hailstar ignored their previous warning. Sunstar calls to his Clan to announce to the Clan their plan, involving two patrols, one consisting of just warriors and the second consisting of warriors and their apprentices. Redpaw is assigned with Sparrowpelt to Bluefur's patrol. However, the patrol doesn't make it to Sunningrocks to give the warrior patrol help and are forced back to ThunderClan camp after being attacked by a hawk. The other patrol also returns, defeated by RiverClan at Sunningrocks.
Moons later, Redtail is named as Bluestar's deputy and Tigerclaw questions his opinion on the manner with Sunningrocks. Redtail recalls that since Sunstar's passing the issue with Sunningrocks had continued, but, they'd only lost one battle since Bluestar assumed leadership. Bluestar jumps to defend her deputy's decision against Tigerclaw, agreeing that they will eventually reclaim the rocks for ThunderClan. A little while later, Tigerclaw once again tries to persuade Bluestar's opinion on taking Sunningrocks. Redtail overhears her come to agreeance with the tabby and allows him to take a small patrol to remark the border. Weary of his Clanmate, Redtail opts to join the patrol with the tabby. Redtail, Tigerclaw and Ravenpaw go to Sunningrocks the next morning to mark the border and run into a RiverClan patrol led by Oakheart. The two deputies talk it out and almost manage to avoid bloodshed for the day until Tigerclaw attacks a RiverClan warrior, causing a fight to erupt. The fight ends when Redtail accidentally kills Oakheart after tearing his throat. As a result, ThunderClan reclaims Sunningrocks for themselves as the remaining RiverClan cats retreat.

Mothwing's Secret

When Mudfur falls ill, Mothwing asks her leader if she can seek help from ThunderClan's medicine cat, Cinderpelt. Leopardstar lets her go, telling her that ThunderClan's camp is at Sunningrocks due to the destruction in the forest.

Mistystar's Omen

Following Leopardstar's death, Mistyfoot mentions a sandy slope in RiverClan to be a basking spot for elders, similar to Sunningrocks in the old forest. She visits the spot to speak with elders to find a place to bury their deceased leader.

In the Field Guides

Code of the Clans

Sunningrocks is mentioned in the story about the third rule in the Warrior Code. In a battle over the stones, ThunderClan attempts to take Sunningrocks into their territory. Most of RiverClan goes on the attack, but they are driven back.
Darkstar, the leader of RiverClan, gives an encouraging speech to her Clan, and tells them the battle is not over until they stop fighting. They attack again fiercely, catching ThunderClan by surprise. The RiverClan warrior Splashheart sees a warrior of StarClan fighting alongside him and guiding him, and he learns that it is a RiverClan ancestor called Aspentail continuing to fight to keep Sunningrocks. RiverClan send their rivals fleeing into the woods. Darkstar later dedicates the battle to the Clan's elders and kits.

Battles of the Clans

While giving the reader a tour of the forest territories, Tigerstar stops at Sunningrocks and mentions that the whole forest can be viewed from on top of them. He mentions that the rocks have been the place of numerous battles between RiverClan and ThunderClan. He claims that battles here were predictable, and that if a cat had the higher place on a rock, he would win.
Tigerstar takes the reader down into a gully between the stones, and tells them it was here that he watched Redtail kill Oakheart, and then he in turn killed Redtail so he had a chance at becoming deputy. The gully between the stones was very narrow, and Tigerstar believed no cat could see what was occurring.

Trivia

Interesting facts

  • In StarClan, there is a place called Warm-Rocks, which may be the counterpart to Sunningrocks.[19]

Mistakes

  • Sunningrocks has been misspelled as Sunning-rocks.[20]

Continuity

The following information is from sources considered non-canon or retconned.

  • In Secrets of the Clans, a 2007 field guide, Sunningrocks is said to have been an island that only RiverClan cats could reach.[21] It is also mentioned in the legend, "How LeopardClan Won the River" which tells the story of how LeopardClan got control of the river in the forest.[22]

Gallery

Official art

See also

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Revealed in Fire and Ice, page 123
  2. Revealed in Into the Wild, page prologue
  3. As revealed in maps where the story takes place at the forest.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Revealed in Into the Wild, page 58
  5. Revealed in Crookedstar's Promise, chapter 3
  6. Revealed in Redtail's Debt, chapter 3
  7. Revealed in Firestar's Quest, page 23
  8. Revealed in Crookedstar's Promise, page 9
  9. Revealed in Dawn, page 43
  10. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy, chapter 34
  11. Revealed in Mapleshade's Vengeance
  12. Books spanning from Mapleshade's Vengeance until the The Prophecies Begin arc frequently depict the landmark as a point of conflict between the two rival Clans.
  13. Revealed in Crookedstar's Promise
  14. Revealed in Bluestar's Prophecy
  15. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, chapter 3
  16. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 57
  17. Revealed in Into the Wild, page 241
  18. Revealed in Forest of Secrets, page 222
  19. Revealed in Fading Echoes, page 219
  20. Revealed in Rising Storm, page 254
  21. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 11
  22. Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, page 161
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