|"StarClan have shown me the way. To survive the hardship ahead of us, we must join together. As four Clans, we waste our energies in striving against each other. As one, we would be strong. We must unite!"|
|— Tigerstar to the warriors at the Gathering in The Darkest Hour, page 136|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twelve of The Darkest Hour. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 12 (of 30)
- Page Numbers: 131-141
- Firestar pauses at the top of the hollow before leading his cats down to the Gathering. The night is still and clouds are building up on the horizon, so that Firestar begins to wonder if StarClan is going to hide the moon to show that it is not their will for the Gathering to take place. But for now, the moon rises high above the clouds, and the scent of cats drifts up to Firestar from the hollow below. Graystripe, who is crouched at Firestar's shoulder, murmurs that WindClan are the only cats so far, and wonders what is keeping the others. Firestar shrugs, mewing StarClan knows, and he personally wouldn't care if Tigerstar never shows up.
- He signals with his tail and leads his warriors as they race down through the bushes and into the clearing at the center of the hollow. As Graystripe said, only WindClan cats are present. Firestar spots their leader, Tallstar, seated with his deputy, Deadfoot, near the base of the Great Rock. Tallstar dips his head, greeting Firestar as he approaches, mewing that Tornear told him he met Firestar on his way to Highstones, and they grieve for Bluestar. Firestar bows his head in turn, meowing so do her own Clan, she was a noble leader. Tallstar mews he will be a worthy successor, he's served his Clan well, and Firestar is surprised by the warmth of his tone, and he stammers he hopes to serve it even better in the future.
- Tallstar nods in response, then springs to the top of the rock. Before he follows, Firestar glances around at his own cats, who are already circling among the WindClan warriors, exchanging news. Firestar is pleased that the two Clans seem friendly toward each other, in spite of the recent clash over prey. Worried as he is about ShadowClan and RiverClan, it’s good to think that he might find allies in WindClan. He waves his tail toward Onewhisker, and his apprentice, Gorsepaw, who are settling down to talk with Sandstorm, then Firestar jumps up to stand next to Tallstar on the Great Rock.
- He recalls on how he once stood here, when he took Bluestar's place while she was ill from the fire, but he still isn’t used to looking down on his cats from such a height, nor seeing their eyes gleam from the reflected moonlight as they stare up at him. Firestar’s tension increases as he thinks about the confrontation with Tigerstar that will surely happen before moonset. He remarks how the other two Clans are late. Tallstar twitches his ears in agreement, pointing out that clouds threaten the moon; a trace of anxiety crosses his face as he suggests that perhaps StarClan is angry.
- Firestar looks up, seeing the clouds he had noticed earlier are spreading farther across the sky. The air tastes damp and his fur prickles with expectation, and he wonders what it would mean if StarClan veiled the moon and Tigerstar was left to plot in secret until the next Gathering.
- Deciding that the time has come to confide in the WindClan leader and ask for advice, Firestar begins to voice his worries about Tigerstar; but he never finishes, as a triumphant yowl from the top of the hollow interrupts him, and a heartbeat later more cats begin to race into the clearing as the other two Clan arrive together, their cats fanning out below. Tigerstar reaches the top of the Great Rock in a single bound, and Leopardstar scrambles up beside him.
- Tigerstar doesn’t greet Tallstar and Firestar, or discuss which leader would go first, instead addressing the cats in the hollow immediately, declaring he has news, listen well, for great change is coming to the forest. Firestar stares at him in confusion. When Tigerstar first mentioned news, for a moment he thought he was referring to Mistyfoot and Stonefur’s half-Clan heritage, yet that would not merit such a spectacular arrival or make Tigerstar talk about great change.
- Below them in the clearing there is dead silence, all the cats staring up at the Great Rock, eyes wide as they wait for Tigerstar to explain. Every hair on Firestar’s pelt begins to bristle, and he can’t tell if it’s being caused by the tension of the warriors assembled below or the threatening rain clouds. Tigerstar repeats great change, and that StarClan has shown him that it’s ShadowClan’s task to prepare every cat in the forest to meet it. Firestar hears Tallstar quietly mutter, every cat, then the WindClan leader takes a step forward, beginning to speak to Tigerstar, but the leader of ShadowClan sweeps on, ignoring Tallstar’s interruption.
- He says ShadowClan has the favor of StarClan, they are blessed because they have survived the sickness, and he has received the blessing of their warrior ancestors most of all because it was his task to restore and make ShadowClan great again. Firestar refuses to believe that StarClan are showing favor to Tigerstar, after all he had done to his birth Clan. He glances down into the clearing, looking for Runningnose. The ShadowClan medicine cat had done his best to support his Clan during the Nightstar’s ill-fated leadership, and Firestar has an idea that he isn’t entirely happy with Tigerstar as the old toms replacement.
- He wonders what Runningnose thinks of the announcement Tigerstar has just made, but even though he has searched the clearing carefully, he sees no sign of the medicine cat. Firestar wonders if he was left behind so he couldn’t deny what Tigerstar claims. At the same time he can’t help noticing that Stonefur is missing, and he wonders if the RiverClan deputy is in more trouble because of his half-Clan parentage, and what he thinks about his leader’s choice to ally her Clan with Tigerstar. One cat Firestar does spot below is Darkstripe. The former ThunderClan warrior is sitting beside Blackfoot, his eyes shining with admiration as he looks up at Tigerstar, and it’s clear that he had gone straight to ShadowClan after being exiled from ThunderClan.
- Tigerstar goes on, saying they all know the changes have already come to them, unwelcomed changes beyond their control, how last leaf-bare much of the forest was covered in floods, a fire swept through ThunderClan’s territory; as he mentions this, he flashes Firestar a look, making the ginger tom want to claw the arrogance off his face. Tigerstar continues, that Twolegs are moving into their territory in even greater numbers, life is growing harder, and as the forest changes around them, they must change to meet the crisis. Yowls of support rise from below, though Firestar notices they only come from ShadowClan and RiverClan cats. The warriors of the other two Clans are exchanging stunned glances, as if they can’t work out what Tigerstar is trying to say.
- Firestar feels just as shocked. He had been certain that Tigerstar would reveal Mistyfoot and Stonefur’s secret at the Gathering, and demand his own kits from ThunderClan. Firestar had braced himself, but now he is being left to face a completely different challenge. TIgerstar glances to the sky, where the storm clouds are massing more thickly still, meowing that StarClan has shown him the way, and to survive the hardship ahead of them, they must join together. He goes on to say that as four Clans, they waste their energies in striving against each other, but as one, they would be strong, they must unite.
- Total silence meets his words, and Firestar can hear a faint breeze stirring the leafless branches of the great oaks, and the distant mutter of thunder. Tigerstar tells them that Leopardstar has already agreed to join RiverClan with ShadowClan, they shall be joint leaders of a greater Clan, to be known as TigerClan. Firestar doesn’t believe in the “joint leaders” comment for a moment. Tigerstar would never share leadership with any cat. Now Tigerstar turns to Firestar and Tallstar, his amber eyes glittering as he meows that they have come to invite them to join the new Clan, let them rule the forest in friendship and peace.
- Before he finishes speaking, Tallstar steps forward, his fur bristling aggressively. But it’s not to Tigerstar that he speaks to, but the cats in the clearing below, his voice ringing strongly as he says TigerClan was the name of one of the great Clans of ancient times, Tigerstar has no right to use it now, nor does he have the right to change the number of Clans in the forest. He goes on, saying they have lived as four Clans for innumerable seasons, following the warrior code laid down for them by StarClan, to throw aside their ancient ways would bring disaster. Turning to Tigerstar, he hisses that he will die before he joins his Clan with TigerClan.
- Tigerstar blinks slowly, and Firestar can see the dangerous gleam in his eyes, but his voice is calm as he replies, saying he understands, these are important matters and an older cat like him will need time to see what he’s suggesting is for the good of the Clans. Tallstar snarls that he’s not so old that he’s lost his wits, calling Tigerstar a piece of fox-dung.
- Tigerstar flattens his ears, but manages to keep his temper, asking in a sneer what the new leader of ThunderClan thinks, all the hatred he has ever felt toward the flame-colored warrior is contained in those words, even the air feels scorched. Firestar’s veins throb as though they are filled with ice as he imagines the future.
- His territory and Tallstar’s lay between Tigerstar and Leopardstar’s. With ShadowClan and RiverClan in alliance, the two remaining Clans could be crushed between them. Glancing down, Firestar sees unease spread among the ThunderClan and WindClan warriors, Sandstorm is on her paws, yowling never to him, but some of the WindClan cats are talking urgently to each other, as if they are considering Tigerstar’s proposition. The dark tabby has been clever, Firestar realizes. Much of what he said is true, times are growing harder for all the reasons he had given.
- He is convinced that the cats of the forest could fulfill their destiny only if they are in four Clans, and even if for a moment he had considered joining together, he would have rejected it if Tigerstar was to be the new Clans leader. Tigerstar persists Firestar, with another glance at the storm-dark sky. Firestar takes a couple of paces that bring him to Tallstar’s side, spitting he’ll never let him take over ThunderClan. Tallstar invites him to make them, if he can. Tigerstar’s eyes widen and for a heartbeat he looks almost genuinely hurt. He meows he came here in peace with a plan to help them all, he wants them to recognize that this is the right decision and to come to him willingly, but to not delay long; he has a hint of menace, and finishes that StarClan won’t wait forever.
- Fury blazes up in Firestar and he spins around, turning his back on ShadowClan's leader and paces to the front of the rock, where he can look down at all the gathered cats; the time has come for him to speak, when he finished, Tigerstar would be revealed for what he truely was - a murderer who would wade through the blood of countless cats to get what he wanted.
- Firestar calls the attention of RiverClan, WindClan, and ShadowClan, mewing he cannot stay silent any longer; they can't trust Tigerstar any more than they would a cornered badger. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees a swift movement from Tigerstar, a bunching of muscles under his tabby pelt, but then he glances at the sky again, controlling himself and goes on listening with of look of deliberate indifference. Firestar goes on, that he knows many of them have wondered why Tigerstar left ThunderClan, and that the truth is this power hungry cat is dangerous, and he is willing to murder other cats to get what he wants.
- He breaks off as lightning stabs down from the sky and thunder crashes over head, drowning Firestar's wors; it sounds as if the Great Rock itself is being torn up. Tigerstar yowls it's a sign, while gazing up at the sky, his amber eyes glowing in the light of the moon that still shines between the gathering clouds. He goes on to thank StarClan for showing their will, and announces that the Gathering is over. Calling a command to his cats to follow, he bunches his muscles to leap down from the Great Rock, but before he springs, he turns his head, eyes narrowed with hatred, spitting bad luck, kittypet, and to think of his offer, it's his last chance to save those miserable cats.
- Before Firestar can respond, Tigerstar launces himself from the Great Rock and disappears into the bushes that line the hollow. ShadowClan cats pour after him, and Leopardstar jumps down in her own turn, gathering up the warriors of RiverClan. Tallstar and Firestar face each other, shocked and bewildered as lightning stabs down again. A gust of wind buffs the rock, almost carrying Firestar off his paws, and rain falls from the sky as the storm breaks. Almost blinded by the pouring rain, Firestar half jumps, half slithers down the side of the rock and streaks across the open ground to the shelter of the bushes, calling to his warriors as he goes. Moments later, he finds himself crouching beneath a hawhorn bush with Graystripe and Sandstorm huddled close to him.
- Shaking rain from his pelt, he looks around for the WindClan leader, but Tallstar had not followed. The rain is striking the ground so hard that drops scatter into a mist or spray, and the four oaks thrash and groan in the wind. Grasses and ferns are flattened by the fury of the storm, but the choas in the clearing is no worse than the choas in Firestar's mind. He raises his voice against the howling wind, meowing that he can't believe this, he didn't think even Tigerstar would dare claim power over the whole forest. Graystripe asks what else can they do about it, he didn't get to tell the truth about Tigerstar. Sandstorm's hackles rise as she points out that Firestar didn't start the storm.
- He says it's too late to worry about it, that prey has been killed and eaten now, they have to decide what to do next. Sandstorm snarls, asking what is there to decide, a light of battle shining in her green eyes as she goes on that they fight, of course, until they've driven the peice of crowfood out of the forest for good. Firestar nods, and though he says nothing, he can't help but think of Bluestar's prophecy during his dream at the moonstone; Four will become two. Lion and Tiger will meet in battle. He decides that Tiger means the new TigerClan, but wonders what is Lion. He pushes the question aside as he remembers Bluestar's ominous parting words; Blood will rule the forest.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 131
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 133
- ↑ Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 137
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 132
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 134
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 135
|The Darkest Hour 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 • Chapter 29 • Chapter 30|
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.