|"Life was so much more carefree on the moor."|
|— Thunder about the moor in Thunder Rising, page 187|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter seventeen of Thunder Rising. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 17 (of 24)
- Page Numbers: 181-187
- Thunder struggles to wake up, like a fish swimming through the depths of a pool. Before he opens his eyes, the tension of the air sets in, along with a subtle hostility from his campmates. For a couple heartbeats, the young tom is confused, then remembers being in Clear Sky's camp. Ever since he'd settled in, suspicious looks are cast at him, and guessed they'd been concerned about the future too. Thunder knows most seem relieved to be back in the forest, but not entirely happy, and he struggles to ignore the atmosphere. The ginger tabby scrambles up, and arches his back in a stretch. Bright sunshine shines through the leaves overhead, casting patterns on the ground; branches sway in the wind, and the pool in the camp dazzles.
- Clear Sky's cats already move around, but none of them look or speak to Thunder. He shrugs, trying not to mind them, and sits down, grooming his fur. While picking at a tangle in his pelt, his father approaches him, a tom named Leaf behind him. Clear Sky tells Thunder he's coming on a patrol with him and Leaf; Thunder is dismayed, and tries hard not to let it show, since the black-and-white tom never seemed to like him. One of his memories of Leaf was when he was snarled at, since he'd accidentally stepped on his campmate's tail.
- As the cats set out, the ginger tabby falls in behind, hoping that Leaf doesn't feel threatened. Clear Sky looks over his shoulder, praising his son for taking up the rear, then asks Leaf if he's right. The black-and-white tom reluctantly agrees, muttering, yet Thunder can see fury in his campmate's amber eyes. They continue on, with Clear Sky heading around bramble thickets and fern clusters; Thunder sees no sign of the old fire as he walks. He asks his father why his group didn't stay in the camp, and Leaf reacts with noticeable hostility, challenging the tabby if he thinks less of them.
- He protests, realizing how unreasonable he might've sounded, but Clear Sky silences the angry Leaf. The light gray tom compliments his young son, then explains how the wind carried the flames toward them, but then cut them off as they fled. Leaf asks if Thunder is satisfied, and the wide-pawed cat believes he should stay quiet. He falls back into his spot behind the black-and-white tom, looking around, noticing some patches where the leaves are scorched, and thinks of how afraid Clear Sky's group must have been.
- Just then, Leaf hisses about a squirrel, which brings Thunder back to the present. Their leader raises his tail, bringing the patrol to a halt; a squirrel climbs headfirst down a tree trunk. His campmate crouches down, ready to catch the prey, paw steps carious. Just then, Clear Sky interrupts, telling Leaf that Thunder can catch the squirrel. The gray tom lowers his voice, speaking to his son, saying that he can show the other cats how valuable he truly is. Leaf sits up, visibly irritated, flicking his tail, and glares at Thunder.
- The young ginger tom meets the amber stare, attempting to look apologetic, since it he did spot it. Clear Sky flicks his ear impatiently, urging the sleek-furred tabby to hurry. Nervousness prickles Thunder's pelt, and he tries to ignore Leaf's hostility. He looks over to the squirrel; the furry creature is now on the ground, scouring around the tree roots. The fiery ginger cat lunges, but crashes through some brambles, forcing himself to work his legs fiercer. Despite his efforts, the squirrel makes a get away, and Thunder loses it.
- He trudges back to his father and campmate, tail drooping, pelt hot with embarrassment. He wonders what's wrong with his hunting skills, and speaks aloud, stammering that he needs more to learn. Clear Sky agrees, blue eyes showing his disappointment, before directing his attention to Leaf. The gray tom tells him he and Thunder can finish the patrol, since he needs to do things, and stalks away. The black-and-white cat turns to the young tabby, eyes narrow, and snaps for him to follow, and be quieter.
- Thunder pads after the older tom, opening his jaws to taste the air, and pricks his ears, determined not to let down anyone and make up for his first miss. However, the forest is still and silent, and eventually, Leaf lays down in the shade of some ferns, sighing. He tells Thunder not much prey will be around after the noise he made, but when the ginger-and-white tabby comments about waiting, Leaf hisses at him.
- He states that he isn't mouse-brained, and knows more about the forest than the young cat does. Thunder tries apologizing, but his angry campmate tells him to pay attention, especially if he wants to follow in Clear Sky's pawsteps. Thunder's jaws gape in shock as he stares at Leaf, wondering if that's what the other cats believe: he's just going to be his father's replacement. The fiery ginger tom protests that he's got it wrong, saying that he doesn't want to be a leader, but Leaf interrupts again.
- He orders Thunder to be quiet, then makes a snide remark about his name. The young tabby sighs, settling down next to Leaf, gazing at the forest, alert for any signs of prey. He knows that he'll keep doing his job, but wants to make sure the others are aware he isn't with the group to become leader. Thunder asks silently if it's too much to simply fit in.
- Sunhigh approaches when Leaf returns to camp with Thunder; both toms carry prey, and they head for the center of camp. Leaf drops his fresh-kill at the edge of a pool, and Thunder lays his down in the same spot, just as Clear Sky pads from his den and over to inspect their catch. He praises his son, eyes resting approvingly on the fiery-pelted tom, but Thunder tries telling him the squirrel is Leaf's catch. However, the leader doesn't seem to hear him, and goes on about teaching Thunder in his own ways, and that he shows much promise.
- Thunder attempts to tell him once again both pieces of prey aren't his, but Clear Sky turns away. As more cats come around to look, he risks a glance at Leaf, hoping his denmate might understand, and feels sorry, but the black-and-white tom turns his back. Thunder sighs, and retreats instead of eating the prey, but watches the cats eat, misery spoiling his appetite. He pictures his adopted littermates, Lightning Tail, and Acorn Fur, and wonders aloud what they might be doing. He thinks of life on the moor, and how carefree it seemed.
Notes and references
|Thunder Rising 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 • Chapter 27 • Bonus Scene|
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