|"Jagged Peak's leg is broken, but if we bind it up with these sticks, the bones will join again. I've never done this before, but I watched Stoneteller once when Sharp Hail fell off a rock. He was fine. You will be too, Jagged Peak."|
|— Dappled Pelt about Jagged Peak's broken leg in The Sun Trail, page 274|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twenty two of The Sun Trail. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 22 (of 26)
- Page Numbers: 266-275
- Gray Wing lopes across the moor towards the trees, cold claws of wind penetrating his fur and the grass under his paws stiff with frost. The cold season is coming again. Ahead of him in the green mass of the forest is blotched with brown, yellow, and russet. As Gray Wing draws closer the wind whirls dead leaves into his face. Under the outlying branches, he spots Rainswept Flower leaping and bounding to and fro, paws outstretched as she tries to catch the falling leaves.
- Halting to watch her, Gray Wing asks after a few moments if Rainswept Flower is having fun. Rainswept Flower spins around and stands blinking in embarrassment, her forepaws scuffling the ground. She mews that its good exercise and Gray Wing sympathetically purrs. He talks about the colors and falling leaves of the changing forest and says it was never like this in the mountains. Rainswept Flower agrees they never had trees like these. She leaps into a drift of leaves in a hollow among the roots of a tree. Scrambling up with bits of leaf sticking to her pelt, she lets out a yowl of delight, declaring she loves the crunching sound they make.
- Gray Wing's paws were itching to try, but he needs to focus on hunting. Just then, Jackdaw's Cry appears through the trees, his tail twitching and eyes sparking with anger. Gray Wing asks what's wrong, and Jackdaw's Cry growls he wanted to see Falling Feather. But some cat he's never seen turned him away, saying Clear Sky didn't want any cats in that part of the forest. Rainswept Flower exclaims its flea-brained and asks if he told the stranger if Falling Feather was his sister. Jackdaw's Cry replies he did, but it didn't do any good; he just showed Jackdaw's Cry his claws and he was a lot bigger than him, so he left.
- Gray Wing meows he's sure it's just a misunderstanding as he remembers how Fox had stopped him on his way to Clear Sky's new home, and says he'd never stop any of them visiting. Jackdaw's Cry grunts and says that Clear Sky would need to make sure his cats know. Thinking for a moment, Gray Wing says he'll go see what's happening down there - he hasn't been to Clear Sky's part of the forest for a long time. He adds in his head that he hasn't seen Storm in two moons, either.
- Plunging into the trees, Gray Wing follows the stream down to where his brother lives. As he veers across the track leading to Clear Sky's home, he picks up some unfamiliar scents and thinks that Clear Sky must be gathering more rogues to live with him. He draws close to the clearing when two cats step out of the undergrowth and block his way -- one is Fox, the other was a vaguely familiar white tom which Gray Wing recognises as one of the rogues who attacked Storm. He sees the yellow she-cat, Petal, who is sitting on an old stump a couple of tail-lengths away.
- The white tom demands roughly what Gray Wing is doing, and he replies he's come to visit Clear Sky. Fox puts in that Gray Wing's Clear Sky's brother, but it doesn't give him the right to hang around anytime he pleases. The white tom sneers it's a good excuse and says he thinks he's come to steal their prey. Gray Wing's neck fur bristles as he asks how it's their prey, as prey is for every cat. Fox snarls that Clear Sky doesn't see it that way, sliding out his claws and tells Gray Wing to shove off. The white tom paces forward to Gray Wing and demands to go, now.
- A voice meows to ask what's going on, and Gray Wing turns to see Storm. She greets Gray Wing and he dips his head, hardly knowing what to say. The white tom turns to Storm and explains that the rogue was stealing their prey, but Storm mews cuttingly that she doesn't see any prey doesn't smell any prey and accuses them of being a pair of crow-food-eating flea-brains. Fox protests he's only doing his job, but Storm rolls her eyes and says that Fox and Petal know Gray Wing as Petal tries to act like she wasn't involved with any of it. Storm then says Gray Wing can visit Clear Sky any time he likes. With a contemptuous tail flick, she pushes past the two toms and leads the way down the track toward Clear Sky's clearing. Gray Wing asks why the cats were so hostile, and Storm glances over her shoulder to say Clear Sky thinks it's important to build a strong community and believes part of that is to keep other cats away from the prey that they hunt.
- Gray Wing isn't sure if what Storm said was true, and questions if there's enough prey for everyone in his head. He asks Storm if she likes it in the forest and she says it's a safe place where cats look out for each other, and Clear Sky and her will be happy to have their kits grow up there. Gray Wing feels like the words will choke him, but he forces out congratulations and they push their way through the fern barrier of Clear Sky's clearing. Clear Sky rushes over to them and lays his tail across Storm's shoulders, ignoring Gray Wing. He demands to know why Storm left the camp, and Gray Wing guesses that losing Bright Stream made him extra protective.
- Storm retorts she isn't going to break apart by going on a walk, and Clear Sky asserts its a risk she doesn't need to take and orders her to her nest to nap. Storm's eyes blazed with fury and she stalks off, disappearing under an elder bush. Gray Wing feels awkward, but it fades a moment later as Jagged Peak bounces up to him, purring it's so good to see him. Gray Wing responds its good to see him too, and Jagged Peak is almost fully grown, eyes bright and pelt shining with health. He's about to say something, but Clear Sky cuts him off by saying he's busy and asks Gray Wing what he wants, before ordering Jagged Peak to go hunting. Gray Wing asks if he can have a drink, and Clear Sky nods.
- Lapping a couple mouthfuls, Gray Wing takes a moment to collect himself then faces his brother. He meows that Jackdaw's Cry told him he wasn't allowed to come and see Falling Feather and was wondering what that was about. Clear Sky shrugs, and says Fox and Frost, the white tom Jackdaw's Cry and Gray Wing had to face, are a bit too keen about guarding the boundaries, but it's the only way to keep cats safe. Gray Wing's confused and asks what he means by boundaries, and Clear Sky explains he's trying to protect his new home. Choosing his words carefully, Gray Wing says that it worries him that they're creating divisions between the cats coming from the mountains. Clear Sky insists they're all free to visit at any time, and Gray Wing begins that Clear Sky should tell Fox and Frost that, but a terrified screech cuts him off.
- Falling Feather and Moon Shadow race across the clearing, and Clear Sky demands to know what's happened. Falling Feather pants it's Jagged Peak, who was hunting a squirrel and fell from the tree and Moon Shadow adds he can't get up. Gray Wing's belly lurches with anxiety as he follows his brother and the other cats out of the clearing, and thinks, anguished, about Jagged Peak's energy and courage. They halt a few tail-lengths into the forest at the foot of a tall beech tree, Jagged Peak laying in a clump of crushed ferns. Relief rushes through Gray Wing when Jagged Peak groans, but one of Jagged Peak's hind legs lay at an odd angle, blood trickling from his gash and clottings in his fur. Falling Feather worriedly asks what they can do, and Gray Wing meows he'll go get Dappled Pelt or Cloud Spots. He sets off at once, only halting for a heartbeat to yowl at Clear Sky to make sure to tell Fox and Frost to let them through.
- Gray Wing races along the edge of the trees and back across the moor, forcing out every last scrap of his speed. Wind blows through his fur and the rough moorland grass scrapes his belly. When he reaches the hollow, Cloud Spots was out hunting, but Dappled Pelt was stretching out in a patch of weak sunshine and talking quietly with Shattered Ice. She leapt to her paws at once when Gray Wing explained what happened, and she mews, of course, she'll come.
- Back at Clear Sky's camp, he and his cats didn't dare to move Jagged Peak from where he was among the ferns. Falling Feather was crouching beside him, licking him and murmuring encouragement. She rises to her paws and steps back when she sees Dappled Pelt, and asks if she can do anything. Dappled Pelt replies she's sure she can, and tells Jagged Peak she'll take a look at his leg and decide what's best. The little cat rasps with his voice in pain that he's glad Dappled Pelt's here for him. She bends over Jagged Peak's leg, sniffing down its length, and asks Clear Sky if he has any marigold. Clear Sky asks Moon Shadow if he knows where it grows, and tells him to get some. Moon Shadow dashes off and Dappled Pelt asks Gray Wing if he can find two long, straight sticks and a few lengths of bindweed. Gray Wing pads deeper into the wood, finding bindweed twined around a broken tree and two straight sticks, then makes his way back to Dappled Pelt.
- Dappled Pelt thanks Gray Wing and she continues with her diagnosis; Jagged Peak's broken his leg, but if she binds it up with the sticks, the bones will join again. She's never done this before, but she watched Stoneteller do it once when Sharp Hail fell off a rock, and he was fine. Jagged Peak murmurs he hopes he'll be fine, too. She warns that it's going to hurt a bit, and asks for some cat to find him another stick to bite on. After Clear Sky shoves another stick between Jagged Peak's jaws, Dappled Pelt straightens his injured leg and fastens the two sticks on either side with bindweed. Jagged Peak lets out a shrill wail and bites down on the stick so hard it splinters. Dappled Pelt mews that the worst is over, and compliments Jagged Peak on being brave.
- Moon Shadow reappears with a mouthful of marigold, which Dappled Pelt chews up and trickles the juice onto Jagged Peak's leg. She instructs Clear Sky to give Jagged Peak more marigold every day, thyme for shock and poppy seeds to help him sleep and asks Clear Sky if he has any of that. Clear Sky replies they can find some and asks Dappled Pelt to stay in his camp to look after Jagged Peak. Dappled Pelt exchanged a startled glance at Gray Wing and hesitates, but agrees, and orders Gray Wing to help her carry Jagged Peak to his nest. Jagged Peak was obviously in pain as they carry him back, and he was barely conscious at all by the time they settled him into the moss and fern. Dappled Pelt unhappily meows she needs to stay, and asks Gray Wing to let Tall Shadow know where she is. Gray Wing bids goodbye to Dappled Pelt, trying to glimpse Storm as he padded past the elder bush. But all he could see was a pale blur that might've been silver fur, lost in the shadows of her den. She doesn't call out to him.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 266
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 270
- ↑ Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 273
- ↑ Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 267
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 268
- ↑ Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 269
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 272
|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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