|"However long it takes,... we will make a hole in the ground, big enough for all our fallen friends together. In life, they were torn apart; in death, they will be united."|
|— Tall Shadow after the battle in The Blazing Star, page 7|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter one of The Blazing Star (book). If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 1 (of 28)
- Page Numbers: 6-14
- The battle is over, and Tall Shadow declares that it is time to bury the dead. Thunder's attention is dragged to the blood and bodies of cats across the clearing. He notes that both the dead and the living look vulnerable. He spots a crow looking greedily at the corpses and a shudder runs through him. The ginger tom realizes that Tall Shadow is right, no cat should be left here when they've given their life in such a bloody battle.
- Thunder then realizes that he knew everything that had happened had been leading up this battle. Nothing could have stopped the constant fighting over territory. He remembers the spirit cats telling them to stop fighting, and wishes he could stop it. Thunder wonders how they'll manage to go back to peacefulness. The tom tries to find meaning in the horrible battle, but is unable to. He wonders if the deceased cats died that day in order for the living to understand that territory brings bloodshed.
- Thunder carefully approaches Tall Shadow, saying that there's so many, referencing the dead. He asks how they can protect them all. The she-cat responds by stretching a foreleg and extending her claws, explaining that the claws spilled blood, and will now make things right. The tabby tom understands what she means, but it's painful for him to think about what possibly could make things right. Tall Shadow tells Thunder that all the living cats will dig their friends a grave. She says they'll all be united in death, in contrast to their separation in life. Thunder remembers the spirit cats telling them to unite or die, and agrees to her idea. The other leaders, Gray Wing, Wind Runner, and River Ripple agree too. Gray Wing warns that it will take much effort, but Tall Shadow insists that they must protect their friends from foxes and crows.
- They all begin to dig the grave when Thunder notices Clear Sky standing farther away, looking reluctant to help. The ginger tom approaches his father, reflecting that they had been fighting to the death not long ago. Clear Sky drops his head in shame, rasping that the battle and deaths were his fault. He whispers that so many of them were killed. Thunder remembers all the bad things his father has done to him; he still feels sympathy for the gray tom. He encourages Clear Sky to join the grave digging and leads him to the other cats. Thunder is already exhausted from fighting, causing him to nearly pass out as he's digging the grave. He hears crows cawing and digs faster.
- Tall Shadow soon declares that the hole should be big enough, and tells everyone to start gathering their friends. Most cats divide into pairs, but Thunder goes alone, finding himself by Hawk Swoop's body. Her fur is clotted with blood, and there's a gash in her throat. He remembers how the she-cat had always cared for him. He angrily spots Clear Sky approaching Rainswept Flower's body. The ginger tom realizes how the two mountain cats had been friends since kithood, and how Clear Sky had killed her anyways. The gray tom, grief in his voice, murmurs that he's sorry, and Thunder realizes that he's really grieving for his lost friend. He reflects that the guilt will hurt him more than any claw could.
- Thunder picks up Hawk Swoop by her scruff, struggling to carry her by himself. Hawk Swoop's kits, Lightning Tail and Acorn Fur beg him to let them help carry the dead queen. Lightning Tail grabs Hawk Swoop's tail, while his sister works her shoulder under the ginger she-cat. Together, they carry the deceased she-cat to the grave. As they roll her into the hole, her kits looks away, as if they can't bear to look at her lifeless body any longer.
- Gray Wing approaches, wheezing that no day could be worse than the day of the battle. He adds that the coming days can only get better. This encourages Thunder a little. Lightning Tail and Acorn Fur grieve for Hawk Swoop, telling her they'll never forget her and they'll miss her. The rest of the cats gather around the grave to speak final words to their dead friends. Shattered Ice speaks first to Jackdaw's Cry. Voice rough with grief, he tells his friend that they'll never dig tunnels together again, and the hollow won't be the same without the black tom. Cloud Spots approaches, adding that their deaths won't be in vain, and he promises that they'll learn from this day. The other cats start yowling that they promise too. Thunder stands by Tall Shadow; River Ripple and Wind Runner approach too. Clear Sky approaches seconds later, keeping his distance from the other four. The ginger tom thinks about how they almost look like they're guarding the grave. Gray Wing limps over to his brother, but the two still keep their distance from the others.
- Tall Shadow yowls for every cat in the clearing to listen to her. She announces that this must never happen again. She adds that they will listen to what the starry cats told them, they will remain peaceful. Clear Sky purrs in agreement, happy that they'll finally have other cats to guide them. Gray Wing turns to his brother with a compassionate gaze, exclaiming that the reason Clear Sky had been so hostile all this time was because the weight of leadership had been too much for him. The light gray tom apologizes shamefully. Thunder feels hope stirring inside him, thinking now that his father has someone to guide him, he'll be okay, meaning that the battle was worth something. He then stops himself, realizing that nothing will ever make all the deaths needed. Tall Shadow continues her speech, asking the cats to promise that they will not fight, but instead live peacefully and respect each other regardless of where they live or who they are.
- Her gaze flicks to Gray Wing, but the tom tells her to look to Thunder. He tells the black she-cat that his foster son is the cat who should take the rightful place as leader alongside the others. This awakens panic inside the ginger tom, who believes Gray Wing is distancing himself. It is noted that the gray tom looks overcome by illness or grief. Thunder feels reluctant, but knows that the weakened cats need him now, and accepts the role immediately. He agrees with what Tall Shadow said. Wind Runner adds in her agreement. River Ripple agrees too, and Thunder notices that there is much more feeling in his voice than the tom's usual calm appearance despite not being particularly close to any of the deceased cats.
- The ginger tom looks at Clear Sky, asking him if he agrees. The light gray tom, as if staring at something only he could see, starts at Thunder's voice, and quickly murmurs his agreement. Thunder wishes his father would put more commitment into his decisions, but realizes he must be shaken up by the night's events, just as the rest of them are.
Notes and references
|The Blazing Star (book) 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 • Chapter 22 • Chapter 23 • Chapter 24 • Chapter 25 • Chapter 26 • Chapter 27 • Chapter 28 • Bonus Scene|
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