|"But we have more important things to discuss. Some cats have been questioning my decision to expand our boundaries. I want to put your minds at rest. It's for your own good. Can't you see that? The fire destroyed much of our territory and it will take time for the forest to recover and prey to return. We need more land to hunt until it does. And with Thunder and Frost gone and small mouths to feed... We need to claim as much territory as we can."|
|— Clear Sky pointing out the fire-damaged trees and defending his decisions in The First Battle, page 16|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter one of The First Battle. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 1 (of 23)
- Page Numbers: 7-20
- Clear Sky narrows his eyes at Thunder, who is climbing the slope to the moor with Frost, leaving the forest. He feels a pang of regret gnawing in his belly. Clear Sky recalls that Thunder left the forest willingly, while Frost was forced to leave due to an injury. He stops his thoughts when he thinks of his group as a Tribe. The leader thinks to himself that his group is stronger than them, as they are safe and well-fed. Turning to go back to camp, Clear Sky notices a flash of white at the edge of his vision and sees Falling Feather creeping through tall grass. He becomes irritable when he remembers her parting words to Thunder: that she wished she could leave with him. Angered that she'd considered leaving his group, Clear Sky calls her over to him. Falling Feather tries to sound innocent, but the leader can see guilt rippling around her neck fur. She explains to him she was just saying goodbye to them, but the gray tom accuses her of wanting to leave his group. Falling Feather's gaze sharpens and she tells him she decided to stay and can go where she likes.
- Clear Sky thinks of her as dumb, as she doesn't realize how much she needs him. He explains to her that they are a Tribe and if he can't depend on her loyalty, then she could leave. Falling Feather is shocked that he called the group a Tribe and says that half of their Tribemates are on the moorland or the mountains, and they have no Stoneteller. The gray tom feels humiliated and snaps at her that they're better than a Tribe and they have him for a leader. Clear Sky continues, saying that she should be grateful to him for finding this place. The young cat points out his arrogance by reminding him that they all worked together on the journey and Stoneteller will always be wiser than him. The gray tom criticizes Stoneteller's decision to stay in the mountains, if she was so wise. Stoneteller is stated to be staying in the mountains to look after her cats. Indignant, the leader says that's what he's doing for his own group. The white cat accuses him of caring only about boundaries and says they have enough prey in the forest. Clear Sky points out they have kits back at camp and reminisces about Fluttering Bird and her death. The pale tom says he never wants to see a kit starve again and Falling Feather hisses that he is just being greedy. Enraged, Clear Sky lashes out to claw the white cat's muzzle. Falling Feather backs off as if she hardly recognizes him, and he shows his teeth as blood wells on her nose. He states that he is sorry for hurting her but notes that any cat who questions his loyalty puts the whole group in danger. Clear Sky turns and heads deeper in the forest.
- Back at camp, Falling Feather heads across the clearing to the base of an oak tree. Clear Sky watches Quick Water approach her and put their heads close together. The leader feels uneasy they are discussing him, but lets it go, as he doesn't want to cause a scene. Clear Sky glances at Fircone and Nettle, the two toms who had persuaded Thunder to try to convince the leader to not expand the territory. Deciding to call a meeting to strengthen his cats' commitment, he leaps into the clearing. Leaf looks up and asks if Thunder really did leave. The gray tom flicks his tail and states he he already left, then asks for the cats to gather around him. Petal looks out from a yew bush with Alder and Birch. She orders the gray-and-white kit to not allow her brother to leave the den. Clear Sky feels guilty about killing their mother, and pushes the thoughts out of his head. He thinks how starvation would stalk his cats in the cold season, but Petal calls him back back to reality. Clear Sky announces that Thunder and Frost have left and turns his gaze toward Falling Feather. The leader states there isn't any room in the forest for traitors. He cuts off the she-cat's protest and is pleased to see guilt flashing in her eyes.
- Quick Water challenges him about not trusting Falling Feather. Leaf jumps in, asking if the rest of the group could trust her, as the rest of them didn't come from the mountains. Petal agrees with him and Clear Sky feels triumphant. As a "punishment" for Falling Feather, he decides that any cat can give her orders and take her prey if they feel like it. Turning to Nettle and Fircone, he states the some cats have been questioning his decisions. Nettle unsheathes his claws in defense. The leader decides to put their minds to rest about the territory. The fire had destroyed much of their forest and they need more prey to fill their bellies. Because of their vulnerability, they need to claim more land. Leaf asks how they can keep territory after they claim it. He is told by his leader they should patrol their boundaries and off fight any trespassers. His cats chant that they work together after he states these are dark times.
- Feeling proud, Clear Sky orders his group to battle train, and he urges Nettle to fight Fircone. They hesitate and are told to keep their claws sheathed. It is suggested the mountain cats and forest cats share their own skills for each other. The kits are allowed to watch just as the two toms begin. Fircone's tail swishes and he leaps toward his friend. They clash together and Nettle lands on the tortoiseshell tom. He is kicked back and the leader goads Fircone on. The friends continue fighting and the gray tom is prepared to give him the finishing blow to the throat. He is tugged back by Clear Sky and he praises them both. Fircone demonstrates to the group how he used his tail to twist in the air. The chapter ends with Clear Sky satisfied that his cats are skilled fighters.
Notes and references
- ↑ Revealed in The First Battle, page 7
- ↑ Revealed in The First Battle, page 8
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Revealed in The First Battle, page 6
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Revealed in The First Battle, page 12
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Revealed in The First Battle, page 13
- ↑ Revealed in The First Battle, page 9
- ↑ Revealed in The First Battle, page 10
|The First Battle 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 • Bonus Scene|
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