- Below contains in-depth information for chapter eighteen of The First Battle. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 18 (of 23)
- Page Numbers: 230-244
- It is time for the meeting at the four trees, in which Gray Wing and Clear Sky had arranged so that they could try to peacefully discuss the dispute among their two groups about their territory, and the need to expand it. Gray Wing warns Thunder to keep his hackles down as they approach the hollow that shelters the trees, and Thunder asks why, as they are outnumbered, for Clear Sky had brought every single cat living in his territory to meet with Gray Wing. Gray Wing states that Clear Sky won't attack. Thunder asks why he would bring his whole camp if he didn't mean to attack. Tall Shadow asks what he will gain by harming them, and Thunder tells her that Clear Sky hurts cats just because he can. Gray Wing says he doesn't believe that. Gray Wing asks Thunder if he's coming, and Thunder thinks that he is no coward.
- Thunder rests his bristling fur, and as they enter the clearing, Thunder realizes it is deserted. He bets Clear Sky had told his cats to stay hidden as a hidden enemy is always the most dangerous. Gray Wing walks to the foot of the large rock in the center of the clearing, and sees Clear Sky at the top. Clear Sky invites him to join him. Thunder jumps on the rock with Tall Shadow and Gray Wing. Thunder asks Tall Shadow what they should do if Clear Sky decides to attack, and Tall Shadow replies to hope they don't. Thunder thinks that it isn't much of a plan. At the top of the rock, Tall Shadow asks Clear Sky why he brought the other cats from his camp. Clear Sky battles her question, asking why Gray Wing brought Thunder. Thunder growls that they don't trust him. Gray Wing thanks Clear Sky for coming, and Clear Sky replies that the meeting was long overdue. Thunder tells Clear Sky to stop acting like it was his idea. Gray Wing tells Thunder to be quiet, and Clear Sky agrees scornfully. Thunder flashes back at Clear Sky, saying to stop telling him what to do. Clear Sky says he forgot that Thunder was always Gray Wing's cat.
- Thunder replies that it wasn't true, and he tried to be the son Clear Sky wanted. Clear Sky asks if that was right, and Thunder retorts that Clear Sky wanted him to be cruel, just as he was; but Thunder never would be cruel. Gray Wing hisses at Thunder, and apologizes to Clear Sky, saying he was young and impulsive. Thunder tries to swallow his rage at Gray Wing's politeness, furious about Gray Wing apologizing for him. Gray Wing tells Clear Sky that the silence had festered beneath them, and talk may fix it. He prompts Clear Sky if they can go back to how things were when they first arrived from the mountains. Gray Wing asks Clear Sky if he remembers how it was to be warm for the first time, to have full bellies, to feel grass beneath their paws instead of snow and rock. He tells Clear Sky that they were proud to complete that dangerous journey, and they were united in their determination not to live in climates like the mountains had. Clear Sky cocks his head, retorting that he remembered the cats who died, asking if he forgot Bright Stream. He adds that when they arrived, the rogues didn't welcome them, and they had to fight for their land. Gray Wing tells him it wasn't true, as Wind and Gorse didn't fight them. Gray Wing adds that Nettle and Fircone were Clear Sky's allies, and Clear Sky asks if Fox was one of them. Gray Wing flinches, and Thunder realizes that Gray Wing was the one who killed Fox. Thunder snarls, saying that Fox died over the boundaries that Clear Sky had created. Tall Shadow tells Thunder to control himself, as now isn't time to settle scores with his father. Thunder realizes she is right, as they had come here to bring peace to the moor and forest. Tall Shadow begins to speak. As she does, cats from Clear Sky's camp become visible to listen to her.
- Tall Shadow begins, saying that the stars have looked down on this place for countless seasons, the stone beneath her paws had stood for endless moons. She continues, stating that the great rock did not rise from the ground for her to sit on, the trees did not grow to give the cats shelter, the grass didn't grow on the moor to soften their pawsteps, and that rabbits didn't hollow burrows for them to shelter in. She turns to Clear Sky, saying that the forest did not burn to destroy his home. Clear Sky shivers, and Thunder realizes that Tall Shadow had reminded Clear Sky of how vulnerable he had been when flames tried to engulf his camp. Thunder recalls on how Clear Sky wouldn't have survived if the moor cats hadn't interfered and helped him. Tall Shadow goes on, telling Clear Sky that the land isn't theirs, that they live there for a few moons moons and then disappear. She says that the land lives on; that it isn't theirs to claw into morsels - they must honor it and protect it, as it feeds and shelters them. She asks Clear Sky if they can be united in that.
- Thunder looks around, noticing the forest cats were watching the cats on the rock with close interest. Thunder wonders if they are considering Tall Shadow's plea. Thunder then turns his gaze onto Clear Sky, noting how he looked like a younger cat with his ears pricked and his whiskers quivering. He wonders if Tall Shadow had convinced them they could share the land in peace. Gray Wing tries to touch his muzzle to his brother's, but Thunder hears a triumphant meow from Jackdaw's Cry. He had caught a bat, and was eating it. Petal hisses that is forest prey, and Jackdaw's Cry tells her that this is no cat's land. Petal takes the bat away, saying it belongs to them and Clear Sky had forbade him from eating prey. Gray Wing is horrified, and Thunder knows that they are so close to an agreement, and he wills them not to fight, especially over prey. Clear Sky orders them to stop, and asks what he is doing here. Petal tells Clear Sky that they couldn't leave him alone with Birch and Alder, and Jackdaw's Cry snarls, asking if they think he would harm kits. Leaf says to never trust a hungry cat. Jackdaw's Cry states that it isn't his fault he's hungry, as Clear Sky hadn't let him eat since he arrived to the forest.
- Thunder is shocked, remembering the pile of fresh-kill in Clear Sky's camp that had been rotting as there was too much for the cats to eat. Thunder challenges Clear Sky if he really starved Jackdaw's Cry, despite his promise not to watch another cat go hungry again. The pale gray tom whirls, turning on his son, ordering him not to speak, calling him disloyal and ungrateful, blue eyes blazing with hurt. The ginger tabby shrinks back, wondering if Gray Wing sees him as disloyal too, and mews that it's his destiny, voice quiet. Clear Sky barges past his brother and thrusts his muzzle into Thunder's face, accusing him of betraying him and Gray Wing, shooting a glare at his kin.
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Notes and references
|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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