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"They were prisoners. If we'd left them there, Tigerstar would have killed them."
Firestar to Sandstorm about the RiverClan cats in The Darkest Hour, chapter 17

Below contains in-depth information for chapter seventeen of The Darkest Hour. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
Chapter Number: 17 (of 30)
Page Numbers: 183-189

Chapter description

Firestar, Graystripe, and Ravenpaw are helping Mistyfoot, Stormpaw, and Featherpaw escape from TigerClan. The ginger leader urges them onto the stepping stones, trying to get to ThunderClan's side of the river. Mistyfoot gasps that they'll have to leave her and the apprentices behind, as there's no sense in all of them getting captured. Graystripe snarls that they're all in this together, and they continue racing to the stepping stones. Firestar can scent that ShadowClan warriors are approaching, and comments that they're catching up. The leader leaps onto the stepping stones, and Mistyfoot slowly follows him. The RiverClan cats are very weak, which makes them go agonizingly slow.
Firestar patiently waits as Mistyfoot reaches him first, then turns to help Stormpaw. He urges the apprentice forward, and the apprentice prepares to leap. However, by now, the ShadowClan warriors are appearing out of the reeds. Featherpaw yowls that they're coming, and Stormpaw loses his balance. Firestar and Graystripe help him back up, while Ravenpaw continues to guide Featherpaw. Behind them, Blackfoot, Jaggedtooth, and several other pursuing cats have reached the first stepping stone. Firestar realizes that there's too many to fight, and continues to move Stormpaw forward.
Behind him, he sees that Ravenpaw is standing between Blackfoot and Featherpaw, and he worries about the loner put against Tigerstar's seasoned deputy. A wild screech splits the air as the ShadowClan warriors form a battle line, and Graystripe and Firestar go back to confront them. Moments later, Firestar hears a battle yowl from the ThunderClan side of the river. He sees that it's Cloudtail, Sandstorm, and Thornclaw, and watches as his warriors go to confront the ShadowClan cats. The white warrior at first mistakenly confuses Mistyfoot for the enemy, but Firestar quickly redirects him. Ravenpaw and Graystripe are tussling with Blackfoot on the central stone, and the black-pawed deputy soon falls into the river.
The white tom swims clumsily back to shore, and the ThunderClan warriors bunch together on one stone, ready to confront him again. However, Blackfoot orders his cats back off, unwilling to fight with the furious ThunderClan patrol. They soon walk away, disappearing into the reeds. Firestar helps Featherpaw and Stormpaw finish crossing the river, while Graystripe and Ravenpaw follow behind. The leader tells his warriors they've done a good job, and asks what brought them here. Cloudtail replies that Firestar had ordered more patrols to watch the border, and happened to be near. The leader feels relieved, and orders everyone back to camp.
They begin to walk, and Sandstorm asks what the RiverClan cats are doing here. Firestar explains that they were prisoners, and Tigerstar would've killed them if they'd stayed. Sandstorm is horrified, asking why, and he meows that they're half-Clan, which don't belong according to the dark tabby tom. Sandstorm protests that Tigerstar's own kits are half-Clan, but Firestar mentions that the ShadowClan leader was ThunderClan at the time, therefore making his kits pure-blooded. Sandstorm asks if he's going to let the RiverClan cats stay with them, and he says yes. They approach the ravine, and Firestar reflects on how peaceful it seems. However, the illusion is shattered as Whitestorm rushes out with Brackenfur on his heels. The younger warrior exclaims that he's glad they're back, because Tawnypaw has disappeared.

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