|"You stupid, stupid kit! [...]Don't you know by now not to stop in the middle like that?"|
|— Clear Sky to Jagged Peak in The Sun Trail, page 182|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twelve of The Sun Trail. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 12 (of 26)
- Page Numbers: 170-183
- Horror seems to nearly overwhelm Gray Wing, but he throws himself forward to stop any other cat from running onto the Thunderpath. He yowls that Shaded Moss is injured, blocking Tall Shadow, and intercepting Jackdaw's Cry, who was shouldering his way out of the thorns. Tall Shadow rushes onto the Thunderpath and grabs Shaded Moss, dragging him into the long grass. Gray Wing stops each cat cat who emerges out of the bushes. Clear Sky is the last to emerge, and he thrusts Jagged Peak in front of him. His eyes widen as he sees Shaded Moss's body, and Jagged Peak lets out a wail. Gray Wing's two brothers follow him over to Shaded Moss's body.
- Cloud Spots is bending over Shaded Moss's body. He looks up, and announces that Shaded Moss is dead. Rainswept Flower throws herself down beside Shaded Moss, her muzzle into his fur. She lets out a wail that he can't be dead. Gasps of horror and disbelief come from the other cats huddled around Shaded Moss's body. Gray Wing rests his muzzle on Shaded Moss's head. Gray Wing notes that his fur is still warm, and merely a thin trickle of blood escaped from his nose and mouth, but other than that he would appear to be sleeping. Grief stabs at Gray Wing's heart. Clear Sky pads up to Rainswept Flower and murmurs that they have to leave, and that it isn't safe to stay there.
- Rainswept Flower shrieks that she can't leave her father for the monsters. Clear Sky begins to tell her that there is nothing she can do, when Shattered Ice interrupts him, saying that they can't abandon Shaded Moss here by the Thunderpath. Shattered Ice says that they'll bury him across the Thunderpath. Gray Wing casts a glance towards the bushes they had gone through. He can still smell the dogs. Shattered Ice, Dappled Pelt, and Moon Shadow gather around to help carry Shaded Moss's body. Gray Wing helps them as well, while Clear Sky keeps watch for monsters. The four cats begin to drag Shaded Moss's body across the Thunderpath. Gray Wing sees the black and white tom's tail dragging on the ground. A fresh pang of grief hits him.
- Gray Wing, Moon Shadow, Shattered Ice, and Dappled Pelt carry Shaded Moss into a stretch of deep grass under the shelter of a line of bushes. Rainswept Flower murmurs that they can bury him here, like they would in the mountains. Dappled Pelt touches her nose to Rainswept Flower's ear, gently, and says that they can use sticks, and soft grass to cover Shaded Moss. Rainswept Flower gives a tiny nod, and her and Dappled Pelt stay sitting by the dead tom. Gray Wing notices his brother, Clear Sky, walking rigidly alone, and staring at nothing. Gray Wing figures that he must be thinking about Bright Stream. Gray Wing realizes that Bright Stream has no stones or sticks to cover her body, wherever she ended up.
- Gray Wing desperately wishes that he could apologize to the white tom, but the words stick in his throat. Gray Wing begins to gather some twigs and large leaves, and begins to lay them onto Shaded Moss's body. Rainswept Flower lashes her tail out, blocking him. She asks if she can stay with him for just a little longer. Eventually the rest of the group returns, sitting down their twigs and leaves, to gather around Shaded Moss. Rainswept Flower touches her nose to Shaded Moss's pelt, saying that he was the best father ever, and that she will never forget him. Tall Shadow adds that they couldn't have had a better leader to lead them out of the mountains.
- The others begin to pay their respects to Shaded Moss. Gray Wing then touches his nose to the deceased tom's head, and thanks him for his courage, and that they will continue the journey in honor of his memory. Clear Sky adds in honor of Bright Stream as well. Turtle Tail nods in agreement, saying that they'll miss her, and that she was strong and confident and so gentle. Dappled Pelt adds that she would have been a wonderful mother to Clear Sky's kits. Jagged Peak merely presses up against Clear Sky's side, silently. Night falls, and everyone stays huddled around Shaded Moss. As pale dawn light begins to filter through the sky, Rainswept Flower lays the first twig on Shaded Moss's body.
- The rest of the cats begin to help, covering him in silence, and then began to pad away toward where the sky was beginning to brighten, with Rainswept Flower in the lead. Every cat seemed locked in their own private misery. Gray Wing realizes that even his little brother, Jagged Peak has stopped complaining. He also notes that even though Tall Shadow still limped because of her injured paw, she was giving no sign away to any pain she felt. The sun trail takes them through a cluster of Twoleg dens. The shrill bark of the dog, startles them, but their grief is stronger than their fear. All of them. Gray Wing realizes that all the group can manage is a halfhearted scamper over to the next wooden wall, and scrambling over it.
- Gray Wing then also realizes that the group had come to an end of the Twolegplace. Ahead he sees Highstones outlined against the sky. Anticipation tingles through him as he sees how closer Highstones is. They trek over a tough moorland and come to a copse of pine trees. Moon Shadow suggests that this could be a good place to hunt, but not with any enthusiasm. Dappled Pelt shakes her head, commenting that she's not hungry, and everyone else murmurs in agreement, as they lie down to rest in the shelter of the trees. Turtle Tail then asks if there's any point in continuing without Shaded Moss. She adds that maybe they should all just go home.
- Gray Wing springs to his paws, exclaiming that they can't go back, and that Bright Stream and Shaded Moss's deaths would be for nothing. Hawk Swoop who is crouching nearby Gray Wing, hisses that he didn't want to come in the first place. Gray Wing has to force himself to reply calmly, as he says that maybe not in the beginning, but that now he's come so far, and that this will be his new home as well. The setting sun covers the ground in scarlet light, as everyone settles down to sleep. Gray Wing dreams that he was in his old sleeping hollow in the mountains. A cry saying the name Shaded Moss, wakes him from his dream. He sees Rainswept Flower thrashing about, calling out Shaded Moss's name.
- Compassion surges through Gray Wing, as he pads over to Rainswept Flower, sitting down by her, and stroking his tail over her back. Her cries eventually evaporate into a quiet whimper. Through the branches of the trees, Gray Wing can see the near full moon overhead. He realizes that they've almost been traveling for a moon now. The wind eventually picks up, rattling the branches overhead. The noise and the chill eventually rouse every cat from their sleep. Tall Shadow says that the moon and stars give them enough light to see, and asks why don't they get going. Everyone agrees and they head off.
- The grass becomes rough and bristly, flattened by the wind, and the ground begins to slope upwards. Gray Wing pauses and takes deep breaths of air. Hope creeps into his chest, thinking that this feels like home. He glances over his shoulder and looks across the landscapes. A dark and uneven smudge is outlined in the horizon, and Gray Wing realizes that those are the mountains, and that they've come so far. Jackdaw's Cry exclaims that he can't believe it, and that he never imagined that the world was so big, seemingly echoing Gray Wing's own thoughts. The ground continues to grow steeper, with boulders poking out through the tough grass, but everyone keeps going.
- Cloud Spots puffs that this is harder than it use to be, and that all the good eating made him heavier. The grass eventually thins, and they begin to pad on stone. Gray Wing feels a sense of achievement tingle through him. They all eventually make it to the top. Turtle Tail yowls that they made it. The peaks are lower and narrower than in their home in the mountains, but Gray Wing is happy that they were a little familiar. He can tell that everyone is beginning to regain their optimism, even Rainswept Flower. They stand, looking out at the horizon, and the sun breaks far above the horizon, and it floods the landscape with golden light. Gray Wing silently exclaims that they reached the end of the sun trail.
- He looks down below Highstones. He sees empty expanses of grass, broken up by woodland, some of it dense woodland, and he also sees a winding river reflecting in the sunlight. He wonders aloud if this is where other "rogues" live. He adds that it looks like a place where cats can settle. Dappled Pelt murmurs that this could be their new home. Falling Feather exclaims yes, and gives her a nudge saying that there's a river for her to catch fish in, and for her to fall into. Clear Sky adds that there area plently of trees as well. Gray Wing hopes Clear Sky doesn't expect to be living under trees, because he wants to live in the open where he can breathe. Even though everyone seemed happy, a mist of sadness hung over them.
- Gray Wing wishes that Bright Stream and Shaded Moss could've made it this far with them. Tall Shadow Meows that they should go and explore. She begins to limp down. Dappled Pelt mews that when they get down there, she's going to find some herbs to heal Tall Shadow's paw. Tall Shadow takes the lead as everyone goes down. Jagged Peak scurries in front of her, and she snaps at him to get back, and that he doesn't know what dangers could lay ahead. Jagged Peak waits for the rest to catch up, and begins to pad beside Gray Wing, with his ears flat, and a chastened look on his face. As they emerge into a more open slope, Jackdaw's Cry lets out a startled mew.
- Gray Wing turns around, and sees a massive hole in the mountain's side, gaping open like a mouth with jagged teeth. Jackdaw's Cry runs up to it, peeking in side. He exclaims that it's really deep, loudly, and he listens to the echo. Tall Shadow pads after him, taking a brief look into the entrance, saying that they're not rabbits, and that they don't live underground. She adds for him to come on. Dappled Pelt catches up to Tall Shadow, and says that she shouldn't walk much farther on her injured paw. Tall Shadow nods, and says that they should at least go to the stretch of land moorland at the edge of the forest. The stone eventually gives way to rough grass, and then to softer grass, as they pad down from Highstones.
- The cats see some sheep, but ignore them, continuing to walk for awhile all senses alert for any sounds of dogs or monsters. Cloud Spots points out another Twolegplace, as a bunch of red stone dens come into sight. Moon Shadow announces that he can smell dog, as he wrinkles his muzzle in disgust. Tall Shadow responds that they won't go near the Twolegplace, as she leads them around in a wide circle. Gray Wing looks at the moorland, which is sloping up ahead of them. He realizes that his legs suddenly feel heavy, and that his paws ache. He thinks of taking a long rest, when a familiar roar comes to Gray Wing's ears.
- Quick Water exclaims that it's another Thunderpath. The group of cats pick their way through a thin line of bushes, but then stop at a signal from Tall Shadow, who is halted beside the Thunderpath. Gray Wing stares at it in horror as monsters race in both directions, roaring and growling, and letting out long hooting sounds that Gray Wing had never heard before. He realizes that it's the biggest one yet. He wonders how they'll get across. Glancing at the others, he realizes that some are trembling with the memory of Shaded Moss's death fresh in their minds. Falling Feather whimpers that she doesn't want to cross, as she puts her nose on her paws, laying down. Hawk Swoop asks if they can just stay on this side with Highstones, and that there was plenty of space up there.
- Clear Sky points out that there was no prey. He adds that they need trees, bushes, and long grass to feed them all. Falling Feather mews that they can cross without her. Shattered Ice pads up to her, and rests his tail on her back, saying that they've come this far together and that they're not leaving any cat behind now. He adds that he'll look after her. Gray Wing notices that Turtle Tail looks terrified as well. He brushes his pelt against hers, saying that she'll be okay. Turtle Tail flattens her ears, saying that it's to soon after Shaded Moss. Gray Wing nods saying that he understands, but that the sun trail led them here. The cats gather at the edge of the Thunderpath.
- The far side looks a long ways away for Gray Wing. He admire's Clear Sky's courage, as he pads closer to the Thunderpath, scanning it in both directions, and leaping back just as a monster rushes past. Shattered Ice mews that they should split up. He tells Clear Sky to lead the first group across. He tells Clear Sky to bring Quick Water, Tall Shadow, Cloud Spots, and Jackdaw's Cry. Clear Sky and the cats they named, gather together. Shattered Ice then tells Rainswept Flower, Dappled Pelt, Turtle Tail, and Falling Feather to come with him. He tells Gray Wing to lead the last group with Jagged Peak, Hawk Swoop, and Moon Shadow. Gray Wing nods, bracing himself for the crossing.
- Every cat seems to feel better, now that Shattered Ice had come up with a plan. Clear Sky leads his group to the edge of the Thunderpath. They wait for an opening, and Clear Sky yowls for them to go. The dart across the Thunderpath. Clear Sky runs beside Tall Shadow, making sure she doesn't fall behind. Clear Sky's group reaches the other side, with merely heartbeats to spare before a monster roars by, and Gray Wing looses sight of them in the long grass. Shattered Ice declares that that wasn't so bad. He waves his group to the edge of the Thunderpath. Clear Sky reappears on the other side of the Thunderpath, and motions for them to go.
- Shattered Ice begins to lead them onto the Thunderpath, when Clear Sky yowls for them all to go back. With shrieks of alarm, everyone retreats. Shattered Ice grabs Falling Feather by the scruff, and hauls her back, as a red monster zooms by. Turtle Tail yowls and insult after it, as it passes by, seeming to have forgotten how nervous she had been. Shattered Ice, and his group aproach the Thunderpath again, even more cautious this time. This time they don't have to wait as long, and they cross the Thunderpath, quickly, with no monsters threatening them as they dash across. Gray Wing gestures with his tail for his group to come over.
- He forces his paws to stop shaking, as they line up at the edge of the Thunderpath. He yowls for them to go. They bound onto the Thunderpath. Once they reach the halfway point, he hears the roar of a monster approaching rapidly. Gray Wing shrieks for them to go faster. Gray Wing has almost reached the edge, when Clear Sky jumps out onto the Thunderpath, heading for the middle. Gray Wing skids to a halt, and turns around to see Jagged Peak standing frozen in the middle of the Thunderpath as the monster rushes towards him. Clear Sky saves him just in time, as the monster roars past. Clear Sky yells at Jagged Peak, calling him such a stupid kit, hissing at him that he should know not to stop in the middle like that.
- Jagged Peak cowers in the grass, as if wanting to hide from his older brother's fury. He stammers that he's sorry. Gray Wing mews that it was his fault too, and that he should have noticed Jagged Peak wasn't with them. Before Clear Sky can respond, Quick Water pushes her way forward, snapping at Clear Sky to calm down. She bends over, giving Jagged Peak a couple of licks, saying that he can walk with her for a bit. Jagged Peak struggles to his paws, and gives Quick Water a grateful glance. Every cat is shaky, and their fur is ruffled and dirty as they head up the slope, their excitement gone, as well as their courage.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 170
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 171
- ↑ Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 173
- ↑ Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 174
- ↑ Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 177
- ↑ Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 179
- ↑ Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 172
|The Sun Trail 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 • Bonus Scene|
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