In the prologue, Gray Wing visits the mountains in his dreams. An elder complains about stones in their nest. Jay Frost offers to help, but an unnamed queen tells him that his paws are too soft for moving stones. The elder says that he will need tough paws in the future. Elsewhere, Lion's Roar tries to get Misty Water to eat. She tells him to give it to a younger cat and that it is the last piece of prey. At the edge of the cave, Twisted Branch, who is sharing tongues with Snow Hare, points that the hunting party would be back soon. Gray Wing runs to greet him, but is stopped when four kits sprint in front of him. Their mother, Dewy Leaf, scolds them not to run, and Gray Wing is relieved to know that she kitted safely. He tells himself that if Moon Shadow had stayed for his kits, he would probably still be alive.
Stoneteller hears him and walks over to greet him. He is surprised to see her, and she tells him that they share the same dream. She also says that he is both asleep in his nest, and in the cave when he asks. He asks about Quiet Rain when she sees her. He wishes aloud that he could tell her that he and his brothers were okay, and Stoneteller promises him that she'll tell her. Gray Wing, however, barely hears her, lost in regret over Jagged Peak's injury and his quarrels with Clear Sky. Stoneteller assures him that it isn't his fault. She then gives him the prophecy; "...greed is only the beginning. There will be war."
She asks about Turtle Tail, and he purrs in reply. She is delighted that he has relied her love at last. Gray Wing zones out thinking about her kits, only to hear Stoneteller ask him why he has come, and that he has brought change. He wonders if they all are born with change. She agrees that they are all born with blood, but blood only marks the beginning of bloodshed. Gray Wing starts to wake up, and yells for Stoneteller to stay. She replies by telling him that she has always believed in him. Gray Wing is engulfed in darkness, leaving the cave.
In the prologue, Gray Wing dreams he is back in the mountains, sitting in the cave behind the waterfall. He realizes where he is, and thinks that it's been so long since the travelling cats left the mountains. The tom sees Stoneteller and notes that she's gotten so old. Gray Wing sees his other old Tribemates, such as his mother and Dewy Leaf. The tortoiseshell she-cat has had three kits. He also notices Snow Hare, and remembers how the elder would tell such great stories.
Gray Wing decides to follow Stoneteller into her den, amazed at how beautiful her cave is. He believes he hadn't made a noise, but, as he is stalking towards his former Healer, she extends a paw to stop him. The tom wonders how she knows he's here, as he's dreaming. The white she-cat asks him why he's following her, and Gray Wing can't seem to find an answer. Stoneteller reveals that she invited him, she called him there. She adds that part of his heart will always be with the mountains. Gray Wing realizes she's right, he sometimes longed to be back in the mountains, back in the cave with Quiet Rain.
Stoneteller knocks down a spider web, but the spider clings onto a web at the last moment. She asks Gray Wing what the spider did, and he replies that it saved itself. She then asks what the spider will do next, and he replies that it will build a new home. Stoneteller tells him that one day, he must be just as flexible as that spider, he must be stronger than ever before. Gray Wing looks over at his mother, thinking about how it's been so long since he left her in the mountains. The Healer tells him to make his mother proud.
In the prologue, the mountains are first mentioned by Stoneteller as the home of the Tribe of Rushing Water in defense against the intruder rogue cats. Both groups of cats claim the mountains as their own for prey and territory.
Later during a hunting session, Hollypaw has difficulty focusing. In order to help her, Brook mentions that she had difficulty adjusting to hunting in the forest, as she is used to hunting on bare mountain slopes. Hollypaw later mentions how she would like to see the Tribe of Rushing Water, but thinks the mountains are too far away to visit.
When Jaypaw meets with the other medicine cats and their apprentices at the half moon, he sees Rock. Rock tells him that he will find the answers to his questions in the mountains. When Jaypaw meets up with Leafpool in her dream, they see Feathertail, and Leafpool tells Jaypaw that she died in the mountains. When the medicine cats are returning back from the Moonpool, Jaypaw consults with Leafpool about her dream. He believes that something is wrong in the mountains, and that Brook and Stormfur should be told about it. He also believes ThunderClan is involved, and he knows he must find a way to go to the mountains.
After Lionpaw has a disagreement with Berrynose, Stormfur talks to him, and Lionpaw asks him about the journey to the lake . Stormfur mentions that when he stayed in the mountains with the tribe he met Brook. He also tell Lionpaw about how Feathertail died in the mountains. After they finish their discussion, Lionpaw just makes out the mountains in the distance. He wonders what the mountains look like, and describes how he wants to see the world outside of ThunderClan's borders. He feels that the mountains are calling him, and he wonders if he can find a way to the mountains. 
Later when Talon and Night come to the ThunderClan camp, Jaypaw goes inside Brook's thoughts. When he sees the Tribe speaking about the attack of the rogue cats , Talon mentions that the mountains rightfully belong to the tribe. After Stormfur tells the Tribe of his plan to rid of the rogue cats, Brook supports him by mentioning that the Tribe has lived in the mountains for many seasons, and asks if they are going to leave after doing so little. The Tribe cats go to battle the group of rogue cats, resulting in the death of several Tribe cats. Stoneteller blames Stormfur for the attack and banishes him, mentioning that there is no place in the mountains for Clan cats.
When Jaypaw exits Brook's thought, Talon tells Firestar that Night and him are at the ThunderClan camp to ask that Stormfur and Brook return to the mountains. After Stormfur and Brook disagree with their request, Stormfur retells the story of their banishment from the Tribe. He starts the story by mentioning the group of rogue cats that came to the mountains. After talking, Brook and Stormfur later decide to return to the mountains. They decide that they will bring Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight with them to the mountains. Lionpaw realizes this is his chance to go to the mountains, and he finds that Hollypaw and Jaypaw also want to go.
Firestar speaks with Brambleclaw and Squirrelflight along with Stormfur, Brook, Leafpool, Graystripe and Sandstorm. When they leave the camp, the other cats discuss the mountains. Longtail tells Mousefur that he also wishes he could go back, so he can feel the terrain there again. Birchfall agrees with him, however Berrynose disagrees and expresses that he sees the mountains as distasteful. Dustpelt objects, mentioning that he's never been there. Jaypaw, Lionpaw, and Hollypaw then slip out of camp to listen to Firestar speak with the other cats. They are later called out of their hiding spot, and Hollypaw mentions that they'll never make it to the mountains this way. They later decide that the apprentices may come to the mountains, and that they also want to bring Tawnypelt and Crowfeather.
Brambleclaw and Lionpaw go to the ShadowClan camp to fetch Tawnypelt, and they explain that they need to go to the mountains to help the Tribe. Tawnypelt agrees to go, and explains to her kits that she is going to the mountains.
Squirrelflight and Hollypaw go to the WindClan camp to fetch Crowfeather, and Hollypaw explains that the Tribe cats are having trouble, and they need to go to the mountains. Onestar agrees to their plan and sends Breezepaw along with Crowfeather.
Jaypaw and Leafpool prepare herbs for the traveling cats before they leave. Jaypaw considers bringing some herbs to the mountains, Leafpool objects and tells him that Stoneteller will show him the mountain herbs. On the traveling cats way out of ThunderClan territory, Jaypaw sees the stick, and figures that he can't bring it with him to the mountains, but he knows he'll find Rock in the mountains without it. The cats make their way out of the Clan territories, and stop to look back, and recall how this was the first view the traveling cats had of their new home. Night says the Tribe would never leave the mountains like the Clan cats left their home because they belong there. The cats continue on their way and then stop to hunt, and Lionpaw wants to keep going, but Hollypaw mentions that the mountains aren't going anywhere.
Soon after, Brambleclaw is shown talking to Talon about the invaders. Lionpaw determines Talon's answers are unuseful for making a plan for when they get to the mountains.
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Upon reaching the mountains, the apprentices are surprised. While Jaypaw feels the sun warmer on his pelt and a whisper of breeze, Hollypaw whispers that it is amazing, and Jaypaw is curious and annoyed at what it is. Lionpaw, in awe, replies that it is the mountains, and that they are vast. Hollypaw explains that it is a huge wall of stone, all gray and steep and bare, apart from a few racks with grass growing in them. She tells Jaypaw that she wishes he could see, as it goes up forever. Lionpaw adds that he can't even see the top, as it is hidden in the clouds. Brook whispers the word home, and Jaypaw senses tension from her and the other Tribe cats. He guesses that they must be afraid of facing intruders in the place they had always thought of as only theirs. Night asks the Tribe of Endless Hunting to watch over them, and Jaypaw wonders if StarClan can see them under a different sky. Talon says that they will rest, but Squirrelflight is doubtful, reminding him that the apprentices aren't experienced climbers, and that they wouldn't want to be stuck out on the mountain overnight. Brambleclaw decides to go on, and they cross an open space as the ground begins to gradually slope upward, the grass underpaw growing thinner, with patches of loose soil mixed with grit, and the slope soon begins to steepen even more. Jaypaw begins to struggle with the slope, and Squrrelfight guides him toward a path that they can follow. Jaypaw begins to feel more confident as he climbs, but as the path twists higher into the mountains, he isn't so sure, and constantly pictures the long drop that his mother had warned him about.
The cats stop when Brambleclaw announces that there is a gap that they will need to jump. As Jaypaw waits, he thinks that he hates the mountains, and has troubles thinking why he had ever wanted to come. Jaypaw recalls that he had expected to discover the landscape of his dreams, but instead the wind wafts unfamiliar scents toward him. As it is Jaypaw's turn, he begins to get nervous, but Squirrelflight gives him directions, and Brambleclaw calls to him from the other side. Jaypaw successfully crosses to the other side, and as they carry on, he sense that their path leads between towering walls of stone. The path often winds and curves, and Jaypaw once hears the gurgle of falling water. When he picks up faint scents of prey, he wonders why any cat would want to live in and fight over such a unfriendly place. As they continue moving, Jaypaw wonders what the passage of time is, as there are no signs to guide him of if sunset is approaching.
The rocky path begins to slope upward and as the breeze picks up as if they are climbing out of a valley, Hollypaw calls to Lionpaw to come to where she can see forever. Squirrelflight orders her to get down, and Hollypaw apologizes, but says that one can see the whole world.