|"You think of River Ripple as just a rogue. But he is more than that. He has an old soul. He walked this land before the mountain cats arrived. He has seen more of life than you think- and what he hasn't seen, he has the power to imagine."|
|— Turtle Tail to the living cats in The First Battle, page 281|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twenty two of The First Battle. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 22 (of 23)
- Page Numbers: 278-283
- Gray Wing follows Clear Sky's gaze, recognizing the silver tabby as his brother's second love, Storm. Thunder wonders aloud what's happening, and the dark gray tom turns to see Hawk Swoop's body gleaming with stars as a spirit rose. The orange tabby assures Thunder that she will never leave him, and not to grieve. More spirits rise from the fallen bodies, gleaming with stars; Gray Wing swallows, feeling afraid at the sight, and wonders what is happening, expecting stars to glitter in his own fur.
- Tall Shadow and Rainswept Flower greet each other. The latter's fur is bright with stars, not matted with blood or wounds, and her throat wound isn’t visible. The spirits carry no injuries, none of the wounds that ended their lives, and Gray Wing spots Frost, unhurt, the other cats, such as Falling Feather, Fircone, and Jackdaw's Cry. Falling Feather apologizes to her brother, Jackdaw's Cry, and the two reunite. Thunder slips around the bodies, stopping beside Gray Wing, and the young orange tom asks what's going on, his body trembling against the gray tom's side. He spots more of their old friends, like Bright Stream, Shaded Moss, Fox, and Moon Shadow, following the spirits into the clearing.
- Turtle Tail appears, and she strides toward Gray Wing, the tiny kit Emberkit accompanying her, before meeting with his mother, Wind Runner. The wiry brown she-cat and her son meet again, purring loudly, before Turtle Tail asks if Gray Wing will say anything.
- The sleek gray tom is lost for words, caught up in the tortoiseshell's beauty, but admits he thought he wouldn't see her again. Thunder moves forward, apologizing to her for not burying her properly, but Turtle Tail only thanks him, saying that he left her where her kits couldn't see her, which is what she wanted. She then turns to River Ripple, thanking him for helping Lightning Tail and Thunder find Pebble Heart, Owl Eyes, and Sparrow Fur. Her eyes gleam with loss, and Gray Wing feels his heart ache, knowing how much his former mate misses her children.
- She swings her head around, addressing the living cats as she declares that despite their opinion about River Ripple being a rogue, he has an old soul, and has walked the woods for a long time. She asks the silver tabby if he dreamed of them arriving at the forest, but he asks what cat could've. Clear Sky cuts in, telling Gray Wing that it can't be real; Turtle Tail hisses, calling him a fool, challenging when he thought it was okay to kill his friends.
- The gray tom steps back, tail low, defending himself, saying he only wanted to protect his group. Turtle Tail orders him to leave, and he pads away, while Wind Runner and Emberkit walk to the clearing edge to meet Gorse Fur. Gray Wing leans toward the white-and-tortoiseshell she-cat, hoping to feel her warmth, but the air around her is cold and has no scent. He suggests the kits getting to see her, but she declines, telling him not to be a mouse-brain, since his foster kits need him and so does his campmates.
- Gray Wing tries touching his nose to her cheek, desperate, but his nose just passes through her as if she isn't there. He growls that it would be better had she not appeared at all; Turtle Tail replies that she doesn't think he's selfish, and not to prove her wrong, then steps back with the other spirit cats. Clear Sky starts toward Storm, causing Gray Wing to warn him not to try. The light gray tom asks what the spirits have to say, and the two brothers listen in, curious for their message.
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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