|"There was going to be peace after all."|
|— Thunder about the meeting in The First Battle, page 113|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter eight of The First Battle. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 8 (of 23)
- Page Numbers: 107-113
- The sun burns the mist from the moor, when Thunder reaches the boundary. The wide-pawed tom jumps up the slope, causing the ferns to swish. He stops when he reaches the peak, and gazes at the heather stretching toward the blue sky. Thunder's pelt is warming up from the sun, and he relishes the feeling. The shade of the forest is different, and then he wonders what Jackdaw's Cry is doing now. He contemplates if Falling Feather will help make a nest, glancing back at the forest uneasily. He muses that he had no choice, for the black tom volunteered to stay with Clear Sky. The big ginger tom is content to know that his father promised to keep Jackdaw's Cry safe, and plus, his sister is with him. Thunder quickens his pace, pushing through some heather, then follows a sheep trail.
- The trail leads to a smooth stretch of grass, and he breathes in the sweet smell of blossom. He breaks into a run, and his mind wanders in thought. Suddenly, paws slam into his side. He's flung off his paws, yowling, and sprawls over the grass. Thunder's nose is filled with a tom's scent, and he extends his claws. Twisting to face his attacker, he sees copper fur, and the cat crashes into him again. Heavier than a badger, claws latch into his ginger tabby fur, and he is rolled over. Blood pounds in Thunder's ears, and he struggles to rake the tom's stomach, but the paws hold him tightly.
- World spinning, and panic rising, the moor cat slashes his claws at the copper-colored tom's nose. The tom shrieks, and releases him. Thunder finds himself alone, and he stumbles to his paws, then sees the tom. The cat sits on his haunches, rubbing his nose with one paw. It questions why Thunder did that, claiming to be playing. Thunder glares at him, telling the copper-furred tom claws need to be sheathed if he was playing. The cat licks his paw, then runs it over his dark moleskin muzzle. He sits up straight, and meets Thunder's amber eyes. The ginger moor cat snorts, and observes the unfamiliar tom, seeing the cat's size, but it has no muscle. The kittypet's stomach sags, and his flanks bulge, while his pelt looks silky.
- Thunder narrows his amber eyes, not being able to remember the tom. He asks who he is, but when the kittypet says his name, the moor cat doesn't understand. He thinks the tom is dumb, demanding what the copper cat's name is. The ginger tom pauses, noticing a twine around the tom's throat, and jerks his head toward the rope. He asks what the rope is, but the fat kittypet is now staring at Thunder as if he's stupid himself. The ginger tom grunts, and realizes the cat's name is Tom, and that he's a kittypet with no manners. The wide-flanked copper-colored tom shrugs, and mentions his housefolk.
- Thunder knows that Turtle Tail stayed with Twolegs, and briefly imagines her being named She-cat. Tom sticks out his tongue, and licks his scratched nose, asking why the big-pawed tom had to claw him. Irritation is in the fat cat's voice, and he adds that if he ends up scarred, his owners will be sad. Thunder asks why, and the copper-furred kittypet explains they like him staying handsome. He stares across the moor, and asks Thunder about his home. Despite the casual tone to his voice, the moor cat is uneasy. Thunder questions why Tom is there, and the plump tom explains that he's searching for a friend. The fur lifts along Thunder's spine, before realizing Tom is talking about Bumble, the dead she-cat.
- Tom says he misses her, adding that he hopes to play with her again. The big ginger tom apologizes, informing the feathery-furred cat about Bumble's death. Tom thrusts his mole-skin muzzle forward, asking how. The moor tom's thoughts whirl, and he admits no cat can be sure, then glances down at her grave, offering the kittypet to see where she lays. He looks back at the heavy tom, and sees Tom's copper-colored pelt bushed out, and his eyes are sparkling with disbelief. Thunder explains Gray Wing, and some other cats found her, and leads the house cat down the slope. They reach the grave, and Tom starts tasting the scents.
- He paces around the bloody markings, nose to the ground, then exclaims of badger scent. Thunder feels sorry for Tom, thinking about him being dumb, and corrects him, saying it was a fox. Tom interrupts him before the ginger tabby finishes, and he meows about another cat. After some time analyzing said scent, he stares at the wide-pawed tom. Thunder's tail twitches, wondering if he should mention Clear Sky. Tom sniffs the grass blades again, telling Thunder that he knows the smell, then refers to Clear Sky as a vicious rogue. Pain claws the former forest cat, thinking of his father as a brutal rogue. Tom pads closer to Thunder, questioning him as to why the mountain cats had to come. A sneer twists the kittypet's mouth, adding that Turtle Tail ran off expecting his kits.
- Thunder shows his fangs, the plump tom's stinking breath washing his face. The ginger tabby defends his tortoiseshell campmate, but Tom doesn't answer, instead growling about how she stole everything from him. The fat-stomached cat glares at Bumble's grave, calling the dead kittypet a mouse-brain. Suddenly, Tom's agitated gaze softens, and his tone changes to that of sweet blossom scent. Thunder nods cautiously, but hesitates when the copper-furred kittypet asks to take him to Turtle Tail. Tom rounds his eyes, questioning if her kits are okay, and Thunder swallows. He knows something isn't right, and backs away, stating that has to leave.
- The soft-furred tom tries pressing harder, but the moor cat manages to stop him. Tom tells him to let Turtle Tail knows that he's waiting, and sits down. A chill passes through Thunder's pelt, and he glances up the slope, able to see the hollow where the camp is. Relief floods through him, for swaths of heather shield it from view. Foreboding tells Thunder not to take Tom to his home, and promises to tell her. He races up the slope, plunging over the hill. Zigzagging through fresh rabbit tracks, the ginger tom hopes their droppings hide his scent. He nears the hollow, then imagines Gray Wing, which excites him. He hopes that peace can become reality after all.
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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