|"I say these words before StarClan, so the spirits of our ancestors may hear and approve of my choice...Whitestorm will be the new deputy of ThunderClan."|
|— Firestar appointing Whitestorm as his deputy in The Darkest Hour, page 77|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter six of The Darkest Hour. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 6 (of 30)
- Page Numbers: 66-78
- As Firestar and Cinderpelt journey back to the ThunderClan camp, he remembers how he and the medicine cat had stayed the night in Barley's barn. Firestar thinks how the horror of his vision had subsided, and he is looking forward to seeing his Clanmates. As Firestar emerges from the gorse tunnel into ThunderClan's camp, he sees Whitestorm and Brackenfur sharing prey together. He notes that the apprentices were play-fighting outside their den, and picks out Bramblepaw's pelt amongst the others. He reminds himself to train his apprentice, because there was no reason for his apprentice's training to be delayed since he was leader now, and thinks of Bluestar. Firestar pads up to Whitestorm, but before he can approach him personally, Ashpaw calls Firestar's name, greeting him with his leader name excitedly.
- The Clan crowds around Firestar, greeting him happily, but Firestar feels a pang in his heart. He thinks he would be distant from them now that he was leader. Fernpaw asks Firestar if he really saw StarClan. Firestar replies that yes, he did, but he isn't allowed to talk about the ceremony. Fernpaw turns to Dustpelt and says she bets Firestar is going to be a great leader. Dustpelt growls that Firestar better be, and Firestar gets the feeling that Dustpelt's love for Fernpaw would prevent Dustpelt from arguing. However, as Dustpelt gives him a nod of respect, Firestar realizes that Dustpelt's loyalty to the warrior code would ensure his support.
- Graystripe pads up to Firestar, and asks him how it was. Graystripe comments that Firestar looks like a fox that's been dead for a moon. Firestar replies that it was tough, in a low voice only meant for Graystripe's ears; however, Cloudtail overhears them and comments that it is only their beliefs that make Firestar trek to Highstones and back for cats to accept his as leader. He says that as far as he's concerned, Firestar's already proven himself worthy to lead ThunderClan. Firestar gives Cloudtail a hard stare, for as he appreciates Cloudtail's support, he wishes that he could tell Cloudtail about his ceremony to shock him into respect to StarClan, but he knows it won't happen. Lostface then comes up, saying that the ancient traditions still matter, and that StarClan is watching over all of them. She then licks Cloudtail's face, and Cloudtail in return Cloudtail does the same. Firestar's annoyance fades as he admires Cloudtail's dedication to Lostface.
- Firestar then notices Whitestorm, and goes over to greet him. He asks how things went while he was gone, and if there was any trouble. Whitestorm assures him there wasn't anything at all; they patrolled the entire territory, and there had been no sign of dogs or ShadowClan. He adds that Sandstorm took out a hunting patrol, while Mousefur and Brackenfur sent out the apprentices hunting as well, and that Bramblepaw is a skillful hunter, and that he lost track of how many pieces of prey he brought in. Firestar tells Whitestorm that he is glad, but in his mind he feels a small bit of doubt; for Tigerstar was a great hunter, too, but that didn't stop him becoming a murderer and a traitor.
- Cinderpelt approaches him, and tells him she is returning to her den, and if Firestar needs anything, just call. She reminds him to also appoint a new deputy before moonhigh. Firestar nods; other duties had been more important, but now, this decision needed serious thought. He remembers his own deputy ceremony, when Bluestar had been so shocked by Tigerclaw's treachery that she appointed Firestar as deputy a day late, and without the correct words. The Clan had been scared that StarClan would be angry, and had made things difficult for Firestar in his early days of deputyship. Firestar is determined not to make the same mistake.
- As he watches Cinderpelt limp back to her den, he realizes that only two cats have not come to congratulate him: Darkstripe, which didn't surprise him, but the other was Sandstorm, which puzzles him. Looking around, he spots Sandstorm a while away staring at him uncharacteristically. He greets her, and asks her if she's okay. She responds that she is, but stares at her paws and doesn't meet Firestar's gaze. Now, Firestar is certain something is wrong. He had been looking forward the whole journey home to see Sandstorm, share tongues with her, and sleep beside her in the warriors den, but now, since he was leader, he couldn't do that. He would have to sleep alone in Bluestar's old den underneath the Highrock. Then he suddenly realizes that's the reason she had been so nervous around him. He tries to comfort her, telling her he's still the same cat, and that nothing has changed.
- Sandstorm protests that everything has changed, because Firestar is now Clan leader. Firestar responds by telling her she's still the best hunter and the most beautiful cat in the Clan. He says Sandstorm will always be special to him. However, Sandstorm is still distressed, saying that Firestar is closer to Cinderpelt now more than any cat, because she and him both know secrets about StarClan that ordinary warrior don't. Firestar assures Sandstorm that Cinderpelt is ThunderClan's medicine cat, and one of Firestar's best friends, but she isn't Sandstorm. He admits that things have been more difficult in the last few days, especially with Tigerstar and the pack, but he says in a few days they'd be able to go out and patrol together like they used to.
- To Firestar's relief, he sees Sandstorm relax, and some uncertainty fading from her eyes. She reminds Firestar that they need an evening patrol, and asks if she should round up some cats and go. Firestar notices she sounds more crisp, like her old self, but he guesses she's still covering up a bit of unhappiness. Firestar responds that it's a great idea. He orders her to go to Sunningrocks, and make sure RiverClan isn't up to their old tricks. He figures it would be just like Leopardstar to try and claim Sunningrocks while ThunderClan was still shaken about Bluestar's death. Sandstorm nods and gathers Brackenfur, Longtail, and Tawnypaw, and all four cats head out.
- Firestar turns and heads towards the leaders den. It is still hard for him to think of it as his own, and he realizes with a pang that he misses his old spot in the warriors den. Before he reaches his den, he hears his name being called. He turns and sees Graystripe hurrying after him. Graystripe hesistates before continuing. He says he's not sure if Firestar was thinking of naming him deputy, and that he didn't have to. He says he knows a lot of cats still don't trust him ever since he returned from RiverClan, and that he won't be hurt if Firestar chooses another cat. Firestar feels a pang of regret; he would have chosen Graystripe over any other cat to hunt and fight by his side and give Firestar the support he would need from a deputy. But he realizes what Graystripe says his true. Graystripe had only just returned from RiverClan, and although Firestar had no doubts about Graystripe's loyalty to ThunderClan, Graystripe would still have to prove himself to regain the trust of his Clanmates.
- Firestar shakes himself briefly, and as he heads over to his den near the Highrock, he hears movement inside. Thornpaw whirls around as Firestar enters the den. He explains that Whitestorm told him to change Firestar's bedding and fetch him some fresh-kill. Firestar exclaims that it looks great, and tells Thornpaw to thank Whitestorm for him. Thornpaw turns to leave, but Firestar calls him back. He tells Thornpaw to ask Mousefur to have a word with Firestar tomorrow regarding Thornpaw's warrior ceremony. Reflecting to himself, he realizes it's long overdue. Thornpaw's eyes light up in excitement, and he dashes off.
- Firestar settles down in his new nest, and slowly eats the rabbit, while reflecting to himself. It was thoughtful of Whitestorm to change his bedding, but he realizes that Bluestar's scent is still here. He wonders if it will ever fade, and that perhaps it never will. Firestar is comforted when he thinks about Bluestar and her wisdom in leading ThunderClan. As shadows start to enter the den, he starts to feel lonely as he realizes that he is alone in his den, without any other cats sharing tongues, purring, or snoring softly while they sleep. Then he shakes himself. He has an important decision to make, and it was vital for him to get it right, for the new deputy would affect the Clan for many seasons to come.
- Settling deeper into the moss, Firestar wonders if he ought to sleep, and wait for Spottedleaf to come to him in a dream and tell him who he should appoint deputy. Then he hears a gentle, teasing whisper in his ear telling him that it is his decision. Outloud, Firestar sighs and tells Spottedleaf that he will decide. He starts to let his mind drift and think about what cats would be the right decision. He knows it cannot be Graystripe, and Firestar is grateful that Graystripe made that decision easy for him. The new deputy would have to be brave and experienced, and cat whose loyalty would never be questioned. He knows that Sandstorm fits those criteria, and he knows it would reassure Sandstorm more than anything else that Firestar still values and cares for her. But Firestar knows that is not the right reason to choose a deputy, and besides, he couldn't have chosen her because she hasn't had an apprentice yet. Shaking his head, he realizes that's his own fault—he chose Brackenfur to mentor Tawnypaw when Sandstorm was the obvious choice. It had taken Sandstorm a long time to forgive him, and Firestar hopes that Sandstorm never realizes Firestar's previous mistake affected Firestar from choosing her as deputy.
- He starts thinking of other cats, and he realizes there is one cat who towers over all the other possibilities: Whitestorm. He is strong, experienced, and brave, and had not shown a scrap of resentment when Firestar had been made deputy that a lesser cat might have felt. Whitestorm had supported Firestar from the beginning, and was always the cat Firestar had turned to when he needed advice. He realizes that Whitestorm is older than most cats, but still has a good few moons before he joins the elders. He knows that Bluestar would approve too, since her and the white warrior had been good friends. Satisfied, Firestar decides that Whitestorm will be the new deputy.
- He waits a while, finishing his rabbit. As silver light starts to seep into his den as the moon rises, he gets to his paws and shakes the moss scraps off his pelt, then pads into the clearing. He notices there are a few cats already in the clearing, clearly waiting for the announcement. He sees Sandstorm and her patrol sharing fresh-kill together, but instead of going over to speak with her he leaps up onto the Highrock and summons the Clan with the familiar words that Bluestar used to use. He watches as cats start to slip out of their dens and settle in front of him in the clearing. He sees Darkstripe sit near the back of the group, staring up at Firestar, and Brackenfur sitting not too far off, watching Darkstripe as instructed. He sees Bramblepaw emerge from the apprentices' den, and he wonders if he will sit near Darkstripe, but instead he sits next to his sister, Tawnypaw. Mousefur walks by both of them and snaps something at Tawnypaw, and Tawnypaw turns her head away sharply, as if the two cats had had a disagreement. Sandstorm and Graystripe were sitting together too, with Lostface and Cloudtail nearby, and the elders sitting together near the edge of the clearing.
- Swalling his nervousness, Firestar begins the ceremony, telling the Clan the time has come to appoint the new deputy. He makes sure to use the right words, and announces that Whitestorm will be the new deputy. For a moment there is silence, and then Whitestorm stares up at Firestar, and a look of pleasure and surprise spreads across his face. Firestar realizes that the surprise was one of the reasons Firestar had chosen Whitestorm; the white warrior never would have expected to be chosen. Slowly, he rises to his paws and adresses the Clan. He says he is honoured to have been chosen and will do his best to serve ThunderClan. As he finishes talking, cats begin to yowl their congratulations, and a few cats call out his name. Cats start to press against Whitestorm, congratulating him, and Firestar knows he made a very popular choice. For a moment he stays on the Highrock, staring down at his Clan. He has nine lives, a loyal deputy, and a Clan full of brave warriors ready to face anything. The threat of the pack is over, and Firestar has to believe that soon they can drive Tigerstar out of the forest.
- Just as Firestar is about to jump down from the Highrock, he notices Darkstripe. His eyes burn with cold fire, and Firestar is instantly reminded of the his dreadful vision at his naming ceremony, and the prophecy that came along with it. He doesn't know what the words of the prophecy mean yet, but he knows the words are laden with doom: there would be battle and bloodshed. In Darkstripe's stare, Firestar sees the first cloud that could unleash the storm of war.
|Whitestorm's deputy ceremony|
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 66
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 67
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 68
- ↑ Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 70
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 71
- ↑ Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 72
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 76
- ↑ Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 69
- ↑ Revealed in The Darkest Hour, page 74
|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.