|"You're safe now. From now on, I will be your father."|
|— Gray Wing to Thunder in The Sun Trail, page 243|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter twenty-six of The Sun Trail. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- With each paw step he takes away from Twolegplace, Gray Wing becomes convinced that he is doing the wrong thing. That night, he sleeps fitfully in his nest at the new camp, which seemed full of thorns and pebbles. When he closes his eyes, all he can see is Storm, thin and desperate, yet to him was full of courage.
- The next day, dawn light trickles over the moor, and Gray Wing comes to a decision; he wouldn't give up on Storm, for she and her kits were a part of his family, and that he thought family should look after one another. Across the moor, Gray Wing keeps a lookout for prey, and pounces on a rabbit as it pops its head out of its hole. He decides he would carry it to Storm's empty den to help feed her kits. On his way, he does not find any signs of Clear Sky or his cats. After he pads through the forest, he approaches Twolegplace, and sees Turtle Tail running away from the red stone dens, ears flattened and fur fluffed up in panic.
- Gray Wing then bounds across her path to intercept her, and asks her what was the matter. Turtle Tail's eyes stretch wide as she fixes a wild gaze on him, and tells him that he has to come, for Storm's den was under attack. She does not wait for a reply, and spins around and races back towards Twolegplace. Gray Wing drops his prey, and takes off after her, an image of the den coming to mind, and wonders what could possibly attack something huge. He then thinks that Turtle Tail must be wrong, but if Storm was in danger, he would have to help.
- Before the den comes to sight, Gray Wing hears a low rumbling sound, which grows louder until it fills the whole world to him, as if it were breaking thunder overhead. The air is thick with the reek of monster, and the scent of stone and dust, and Gray Wing, shaking with apprehension, realizes that something terrible, to him, was happening. After skidding around with Turtle Tail shoulder to shoulder, he gets first sight of the den, and halts sharply, as if he slammed into a wall. The den is half hidden in a cloud of dust, behind it lying a vast monster. Its paws are bigger than he had seen before, its sides glaring yellow, and its jaws, a shiny silver, steadily bite into the stone walls of the den. Gray Wing calls for Storm, but the monster's roaring is loud enough for his calls to drown it it. He turns to Turtle Tail, and tells her that he would be going in. Turtle Tail's eyes are wide with terror, and pleads him not to go, stating that the monster would eat him too. He ignores her, and takes a pace forward, but with a louder thunderclap, one of the den's sides collapses on itself, and broken stone flows onto the path like water. Dust billows out, which suffocates Gray Wing, and stings his eyes.
- After the dust clears, Gray Wing feels that he had been turned to stone, his paws stuck to the ground. He guesses that Storm would had heard the noise of the monster before then, and that she must had brought her kits to safety. He is proven wrong, as the dust begins to clear, and he spots Storm's panicked face staring out of a hole in the wall of the den, up near the the top. It is noted that her jaws are gaped wide in a silent plea for help, and Gray Wing yowls that he was coming. His gaze meets Storm's for a moment, but the yellow monster takes another bite out of the wall, which causes the den to tilt sideways and begin to collapse, and the she-cat vanishes from sight. Gray Wing and Turtle Tail crouch close to the ground as the den collapses, and the roaring is loud enough to make pain claw at his ears. The surging clouds of dust from the debris blot out the monster and the den, and the sound gradually dies down. Gray Wing looks up, and realizes that the monster had stopped its feeding, and staggers before racing towards the debris. Through the dust and stones, he hears a feeble cry, which makes him call out to Storm that he was coming once more.
- Gray Wing frantically digs into the rubble, until he touches silver fur, and clears away the debris until Storm's body is exposed. Her legs are stretched stiffly, her eyes closed, and dust clots her fur. Beside her lie the three limp bodies of kits she tried to protect from the falling debris. Gray Wing is worried, and bends his head to lick her fur, which makes Storm flicker open her eyes. Focusing on Gray Wing, she lifts her head a little to see her kits, and whispers that she just wanted to keep her them safe. Gray Wing comforts her that she did all she could, and she requests him to tell Clear Sky that she was sorry, before her head flops back and her eyes close.
- Resting a paw on her chest, Gray Wing comes to the conclusion that she was not breathing, and gives her a goodbye to himself. Numb with the grief of losing her, he collects loose stones to pile gently on her body, but a tiny movement in the dust alerts him. Turning his head in disbelief, he sees that one of the kits, a ginger tom, stirs a little, and realizes that he isn't dead. However, the remaining walls of the den shake around Gray Wing, and he digs away the rubble that partially covers his body, and brings him onto the path as the walls collapse. Turtle Tail tells him to go that way, and pushes him around the corner. She asks him where was Storm, and he informs her that she was dead, along with the other two kits, but one was alive. The two lick the kit until he starts squirming feebly, and lets out a tiny wail. Turtle Tail says that he was going to live, and offers to help take him back to the forest. She ignores Gray Wing's protests, and lifts the kit gently by the scruff, and the two take the kit out of the Twolegplace and into the forest, where they stop to catch their breath.
- Away from the Twolegplace, Turtle Tail tells Gray Wing that she knew he was blaming himself, but it wasn't his fault, and it was different than what happened to Bright Stream; Clear Sky now has a child. She gently convinces Gray Wing to return him to his father, but he is hesitant, not wanting to lose his last connection to Storm. He can't decide what to call the kit, and Turtle Tail touches her muzzle to the kit's, asking his name. When he squeaks that he doesn't know, Gray Wing thinks that Storm hadn't decided on names yet. Turtle Tail suggests 'Thunder' as he was born of Storm, in the midst of a storm of stone and dust, yet he had survived. Thunder lets out a high-pitched mew, and she thinks that he agrees.
- Gray Wing bids farewell to Turtle Tail, and plunges himself and Thunder deeper into the woods, staggering with exhaustion when he finds the path to Clear Sky's camp. Before he can reach it, he is only to be stopped by Frost, Petal, and a black-and-white tom. Frost informs him that he wasn't welcome there, and Petal fixes a hostile gaze, and informs him that he killed Fox. Gray Wing, speaking with difficulty due to carrying Thunder, replies that it was an accident, remembering that Petal was the sister of Fox and could not blame her for her anger, adding that Clear Sky knew that. The black-and-white tom demands who the kit was, pushing up close to him, which causes him to whimper and try to shrink away from him. Gray Wing says that he would tell Clear Sky, not them. The three cats glare at him, and he realizes that he couldn't fight all of them, tired of all the hostility. He requests for them to take him to his brother. At first, the cats don't move, but Petal steps back, and beckons him with her tail. She agrees to take him to his brother, but warns him not to put a paw wrong, or he would wish he had never been kitted.
- While the black-and-white tom stays on guard, Frost and Petal escort Gray Wing, one on each side, along the track. Gray Wing thinks it was like they thought they were spies, or they were their prisoners. Upon arriving in his camp, Clear Sky leaps down from a tree, and demands him what did he want. Gray Wing glances at the other cats, and Clear Sky waves them back with his tail. When they retreat to the edge of the clearing, he sets Thunder down at Clear Sky's paws, and tells him that this kit was his son. Thunder dips his head and blinks shyly at his father, and Clear Sky asks where was Storm. Gray Wing bows his head, and explains that she was dead. Clear Sky stares at him, and he explains the events prior, and tells him that she spoke to him before she died, and states that she asked him to tell Clear Sky that she was sorry.
- Clear Sky is bewildered upon hearing the death of his mate, and breathes out that he couldn't believe it. He thinks that Storm did not deserve a dreadful death, and paces away for a few paw steps before turning back to Gray Wing and his son. He informs him to take him away, stating that there was no place for him there. Gray Wing does not believe what he hears, and tells him that he was his son. Clear Sky, in a bleak voice, explains that he couldn't raise him, since he thought it was his fault his mother died, and that if he had stopped her from leaving, she would be still alive, and asking what kind of life he could give her kit. Gray Wing begins to understand that if Thunder were left in the camp, it would be a constant reminder to Clear Sky of what he lost. Clear Sky then demands how he could raise a kit, and that he had too much to do, protecting his cats. Gray Wing retorts that he had cats who would help him, and that Thunder needed him, in which Clear Sky responds to by shaking his head decisively and declining his suggestion, stating that he needed a father who could take care of him - one that to him, didn't bring bad luck to every cat he cared about.
- Gray Wing knows that there is no point trying to persuade his brother to accept Thunder, and he, shocked, states that this was truly the end of their brotherhood, adding that he could no longer recognize him as the littermate he grew up and traveled here with. Clear Sky nods, stating that he if couldn't accept him as leader of those cats, and what he did for them, then there was no relationship left between. He then turns and walks away, which leaves them Thunder and Gray Wing alone, except for the guards. They then escort the two out of the camp, and Thunder, confused, asks if that was his father. Gray Wing confirms that he was, wishing that he wasn't, and the kit asks if he was sure, and wonders why he didn't like him. He only responds that it was complicated, but it wasn't his fault.
- In the moorland, Thunder and Gray Wing are exhausted by the time they reach the camp. The other cats rise to their paws as he pushes through the gorse bushes that line the hollow and pads down the slope. Tall Shadow questions him, asking who was the kit, and where did he come from. Gray Wing sets Thunder down, he being half asleep, and he introduces him as Clear Sky's son. Hawk Swoop, who is pregnant, takes a pace forward, and asks him if he was flea-brained, questioning him why he brought him there, and suggests that Clear Sky would use him as an excuse to attack them. Gray Wing confirms that her suspicions were false; Clear Sky did not want Thunder anywhere near him. Briefly, Gray Wing explains to the cats how Storm had died, and his meeting with Clear Sky. Meanwhile, Hawk Swoop's gaze softens as she looks down at the kit, and when he finished speaking, she nudges Thunder close to her, pressuring him to her swollen belly. She then heads towards her tunnel-nursery, and encourages him to follow her. She then glances over her shoulder, and tells Gray Wing that she agrees to nurse him.
- However, when Tall Shadow gathers the others together, and asks them what to do with Thunder. Shattered Ice is the against the idea of keeping him, stating that he was a stranger, and that they weren't his kin. Gray Wing interrupts him, stating that he was his kin, along with Jagged Peak. Upon being mentioned, Jagged Peak speaks up from where he was sitting at the entrance to his den, and agrees with his brother, saying that he had a right to be there. Shattered Ice retorts that his closest kin was Clear Sky, and asks how would they know that Clear Sky wouldn't change his mind and demand the kit back. Rainswept Flower explains that if he wanted him back, they would send him back. She adds that if the father wanted the kit, then that was a good thing, but if they didn't keep him, she asks how was he to survive. Cloud Spots points that it would be difficult to care for Thunder, explaining that he needed milk. Dappled Pelt quickly responds that Hawk Swoop was near enough to kitting, and agreed to care for him. Before she can continue, Cloud Spots points out that he only said that it would be difficult, not that they shouldn't try. However, Jackdaw's Cry, the mate of Hawk Swoop, asks if any cat was thinking of her, stating that she would have her own kits to care for - his kits, and it wasn't fair for her to be expected to manage to care for another one.
- Upon hearing his comment, Dappled Pelt informs Jackdaw's Cry that she had made her decision. Before he can continue, Gray Wing, tired of the debate, pads to the front of the followers of the sun trail, and states that if Thunder was the son of Clear Sky, then he was his kin, and that this would be his home for now on. He says that if Thunder goes, he goes to, to which Tall Shadow, shocked, informs him that there was no need for that. Gray Wing then tells her to then let Thunder stay, and Tall Shadow asks the cats if any one of them objected to that. The cats glance at each other, with Rainswept Flower giving a nod of approval, asking what kind of cats would they be if they refused to help the kit. No cats argues with her, although Jackdaw's Cry mutters something under his breath, but does not speak his objection out loud. Tall Shadow then announces that it was agreed that Thunder was one of them now, and leaps down the rock into the midst of the cats. Gray Wing dips his head to her in gratitude, and spots Thunder sitting at the mouth of Hawk Swoop's burrow. It is noted that he had heard every word of the debate that had raged over him, and was horrified, his eyes wide and scared. Gray Wing then pads over to him, and rests his muzzle upon the little cat's head, and states that he would be safe now, and that from now on, he would be his father.
- Thunder is named after the collapsing building he is born in, and after his mother, Storm. However, it was said that Thunder was named after the Thunderpath. It has been also been stated that he got his name because he used storms to his advantage, hunting during the loudest thunderclaps, confusing his prey.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 302
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 304
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 307
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 311
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 312
- ↑ Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 306
- ↑ Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 305
- ↑ Revealed in Erin Hunter Chat 7
- ↑ Revealed in the Warriors App
|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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