|"When my brother left here with Thunder, he said that sentiment didn't count for anything. I'm not sure that I agree with him. Sentiment counts for everything. Where would we be without each other? I'm so proud of you all for making friends with Wind Runner and Gorse Fur. But if I'm to truly lead, I need to know that you're all with me. Are you?"|
|— Gray Wing's speech to his group in Thunder Rising, page 207-208|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter nineteen of Thunder Rising. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 19 (of 27)
- Page Numbers: 198-209
- Gray Wing sits at the mouth of the den he shares with Turtle Tail, his paws tucked comfortably underneath him and watches the three kits play at the bottom of the hollow. Their squeals drift over as they leap on top of one another and roll around in the twigs and debris. He thinks about how Rainswept Flower wasn't wrong when she said they'd have their paws full and wonders how he used to fill his days before the kits came.
- As he slides into a doze, warm sunlight soaking into his pelt, he spots Sparrow Fur race up the slope toward him. She begs him to play with them, skidding to a halt. Gray Wing yawns as he rises to his paws, and asks what he has to do. Sparrow Fur explains Owl Eyes is being a fox, looking over her shoulder to Gray Wing as she bounces down the slope ahead of him, and they have to roll out of his way when he attacks them. Gray Wing realizes it's a good game for training, and one day they might have to do it for real.
- At the bottom of the hollow, Owl Eyes is racing towards Pebble Heart with his teeth bared as he growled, tiny and high-pitched. He declares he's a fox, going to eat him up. Pebble Heart shrieks and dives to one side as Owl Eyes leaps at him, landing on his back and waving his paws in the air.
- Owl Eyes spins around and hurls himself at Sparrow Fur. His sister waits until the last moment before darting aside with a yowl of delight and rolling over and over among the scattered twigs. Drawing his lips back into a snarl, Owl Eyes whips around to face Gray Wing, his tail lashing to and fro. He says he's the fiercest fox in the forest, and Gray Wing snarls back he's an even bigger fox. Owl Eyes flattens his ears and widens his eyes, meowing in a voice shaking with laughter he's so scared. He jumps to one side as Gray Wing pounces, landing a blow on Gray Wing's ear before he rolls away out of range.
- Gray Wing scrambles to his paws and shakes debris from his pelt and congratulates Owl Eyes, adding it's a good thing that he had his claws sheathed. Twigs cracking beneath his paws, he whirls around to attack Sparrow Fur, but as he charges forward, sharp pain claws through his lungs and he feels his legs crumple under him. He sinks to the ground and his chest heaves as he gasps for breath.
- The three kits crowd around Gray Wing, their eyes huge and anxious. Frustration wells up in Gray Wing as their bodies make it harder to breathe, but he knows better than to bat them out of the way. Turtle Tail's voice rings out from somewhere across the camp, telling her kits to get back and to give Gray Wing some air. A moment later she pads up to him, gently thrusting the kits aside. She asked if it's his breathing again and Gray Wing nods, unable to speak.
- Pebble Heart pokes his nose into his mother's side, saying he thinks Gray Wing needs some coltsfoot for his breathing, and asks if he should see Cloud Spots to get some. Turtle tail turns her puzzled gaze onto her son and asks how he knows about coltsfoot, and he replies Dappled Pelt told him. She nods and he darts off to Cloud Spots' den. Owl Eyes and Sparrow Fur huddle closer to Gray Wing, and Owl Eyes begs for Gray Wing to get better. His breathing begins to ease, enough to assure the anxious kits. He croaks he promises he will and Sparrow Fur adds she's never had a father like him and asks if he's like their father.
- Both kits fix their gaze on Gray Wing, eyes full of hope and love. Pain pierces Gray Wing's heart, more agonizing than his breathing troubles and opens his jaw to reply, but no words come. He isn't sure if it's illness or his fear of letting his emotions overwhelm him. Turtle Tail's gaze meets Gray Wing's over the top of the kits' heads. She meows briskly he is, and he's the best father any kit could hope to have.
- Returning with a bunch of coltsfoot in his jaws, Pebble Heart dashes up in time to hear what his mother had said. Letting the leaves fall, he hurls himself at her in a wriggling bundle of delight. He announces it's the best thing he's heard ever and now he really knows they belong. Cloud Spots, padding more slowly after Pebble Heart, sweeps his tail around to get the kits away from Gray Wing. He tells them to leave Gray Wing in peace, dipping his head to Turtle Tail and assures them that he'll look after him.
- Turtle Tail mews that it's time for the kits to name, gathering them together as she speaks, and tells them that they'll see Gray Wing later. Gray Wing weakly calls a yes after them as Turtle Tail herds the kits to her nest and he says they'll start training when he's better. He watches the kits vanish into their den before turning to Cloud Spots and asks if he is going to get better soon.
- Cloud Spots rolls his eyes and says he is ill, but it's no excuse to behave bee-brained, and of course he'll be better soon; he survived the mountains, he can survive some smoke in his lungs. He adds it's not just the kits who need him; it's the whole group since he's the leader and has duties to fulfil. A scrabbling sound interrupts Cloud Spots and Gray Wing looks up to see Pebble Heart had come back. He begs Cloud Spots to help him treat Gray Wing and Cloud Spots pauses before replying with a yes. He orders Pebble Heart to collect the coltsfoot leaves and chew them up so he can dribble the juice into Gray Wing's mouth. Pebble Heart obeys eagerly, chomping on the leaves and letting the juices trickle into Gray Wing's gaping jaws. At last Cloud Spots mews, saying it's enough.
- Almost at once Gray Wing feels the pain ebb away, his breathing relaxing and he is able to scramble to his paws. Cloud Spots gives a satisfied nod, ordering Gray Wing to not unnecessarily exert himself for the next moon; after it, he'll be as energetic as one of Turtle Tail's kits. Gray Wing murmured back thanks, though he isn't sure whether he feels grateful or doubtful. But he was certain of one thing - he definitely feels hope.
- Gray Wing wakes up in his den, golden sunrays showing him Turtle Tail and the kits had left. He feels like he's slept for moons as he rises to his paws and gives himself a long, luxurious stretch. As he relaxes again, the sound of loud meowing and yowls of delight break out in the camp outside the den. Curious, Gray Wing pads to the entrance and looks out. Most of his denmates are clustered together in the middle of the camp; Wind and Gorse are there too. Apprehension prickles through Gray Wing's pelt, but he shrugs off the feeling. Every cat seems to be happy about something; surely they can't be gathering because danger was threatening.
- As Gray Wing gazes down, wondering what's happening, Lightning Tail breaks away from the group and bounds up the slope to him. He beckons with his tail for Gray Wing to join him and says Cloud Spots has suggested they give the two rogues longer names like them. Intrigued, Gray Wing pads down to join the others and slides into the crowd beside Turtle Tail. He thinks to himself that it could work well; if Wind and Gorse have names like them, then maybe all of the cats will agree they should join them. As the thought passes through his mind, he glances at Tall Shadow. She sits quietly at the top of the tall rock, keeping watch over the moor as she always is, and her expression gives away nothing.
- Cloud Spots tells Wind and Gorse it's good to have them here as Gray Wing sits down with Lightning Tail beside him. Cloud Spots continues, saying that it'd be better if they had long names like them if they're going to spend time with the mountain cats. Wind and Gorse let out identical snorts and Gorse asks what Wind should be called, suggesting Wind That Chases Rabbits Down Burrows. Wind bats at him with one paw, saying she'd rather give up chasing rabbits than having a name like that. She suggests he calls himself Gorse Prickle Stuck in Paw and Cloud Spots laughs, asking why he thinks they aren't taking it seriously. Rainswept Flower says that Wind should call herself Wind Runner since she's really fast. Wind thinks about it with her head cocked, then nods, saying it's her name now. Jackdaw's Cry asks about Gorse, and Hawk Swoop suggests Gorse Bush and Gorse Tail. Turtle Tail adds Gorse Fur for the fur of his that sticks up like gorse spines.
- Gorse meets Turtle Tail's gaze for a moment, then he decides it'd do. He licks his paw and draws it across his spiky head fur, thanking her for the name. Lightning Tail looks at the two rogues then lets out a long sigh, his excitement vanished like mist. Gray Wing asks what's the matter, and Lightning Tail hesitates then mews, at last, he wishes Thunder was here to see this. Trying to sound optimistic, he adds at least now there are new cats in the hollow who'll help in leading the group.
- Gray Wing feels his fur begin to bristle with hostility. He asks what he means by lead, as he thought it was his job. Even as he speaks, he realizes that however much he had fought against taking over leadership, his position already is important to him. Lightning Tail begins to protest and Gray Wing asks what he means, as Gorse Fur and Wind Runner aren't even part of the group yet and he talks about them leading. Lightning Tail looks injured, and Gray Wing wonders if he'd been too harsh with him. Lightning Tail weakly mumbles he only meant, but trails off as he casts a glance to Wind Runner and Gorse Fur, standing in the middle of a group of cats, congratulating them on their new names. Lightning Tail finishes, saying the more strong cats they have the better. Gray Wing still feels unsettled and asks what he means by strong.
- Lightning Tail scrabbles at the ground with his forepaws, looking more uncomfortable with every passing heartbeat. Glancing around, he suddenly exclaims he has to talk to Acorn Fur. Gray Wing stretches out a paw to halt him as he springs to his paws. He meows to Lightning Tail that he hasn't answered his question, asking what he means by strong. Lightning Tail turns back to Gray Wing, his whiskers quivering with indignation. His claws rake the ground and he blurts out, at last, he means cats who can stand up to Clear Sky, and his neck fur fluffs up in anger as he says he can't believe Thunder went away with him after all the stories they've heard. He growls at Gray Wing to not pretend he doesn't know what he's talking about, as every cat knows that Clear Sky is trying to push others around.
- As Gray Wing stands staring at him, speechless, Acorn Fur bounds up to them. She glances uncertainly from Gray Wing to her brother and back again, and asks if the two are arguing. Gray Wing between shock and anger coldly replies they aren't, and asks why he would stop to argue with a young cat barely out of his nest. Lightning Tail rears back at the insult, ready to respond, but clearly thinks better of it. Whipping around, he stalks off toward Wind Runner and Gorse Fur, followed by his still-bewildered sister. Gray Wing stands where he is, watching. As his anger ebbs, he realizes he might be missing an opportunity.
- Racing across the camp, barely thinking about Cloud Spots' advice not to exert himself, he leaps on top of the rock beside Tall Shadow. She gives him a surprised glance, then edges back to make room for him. Facing the gathered cats, Gray Wing seeks out Wind Runner and Gorse Fur and dips his head to them. He congratulates them on their new names and continues that he hopes that they will bring their friendship closer together in the seasons to come.
- He thinks to himself about how he'd like to welcome them as full members of their group, but he's not sure if every cat is ready for it yet. And he wants to be as certain of himself as leader before he lets Wind Runner in because she might try to take over.
- Wind Runner responds to his words with a thank you, and by now all the cats have realised that something unexpected is happening. They turn to the rock and gaze at Gray Wing while he waits for silence to fall. It wasn't long, as every cat was eager to listen to what he had to say. He spots Turtle Tail at the back of the group, looking surprised. Standing tall as he could atop the rock, Gray Wing clears his throat and continues, saying that when Thunder left with Clear Sky, he said that sentiment didn't count for anything and he isn't sure that he agrees with him. Pausing, he lets his gaze travel over the assembled cats. His three kits were huddled together with Jagged Peak while Acorn Fur stands protectively beside Lightning Tail, whose fur is still ruffled from their argument. Gorse Fur and Wind Runner stand side by side. At last his gaze settles on Turtle Tail and strong feelings begin to surge through him at the sight of her, powerful as the waterfall that crashed into the pool outside the mountain cave.
- He continues, saying sentiment counts for everything, letting his voice ring out clearly across the camp. He says he's so proud of the group for making friends with Wind Runner and Gorse Fur. For a moment he feels Tall Shadow's stare boring into his back from where she sits behind him at the edge of the rock. He knows she'd always been cautious around the moorland cats, but he also knew she would have to accept them eventually. He continues that if he is to truly lead, he needs to know if they're all with him.
- When he finishes, Gray Wing closes his eyes and waits. His belly churns as the silence seems to stretch out for seasons. Then his eyes fly open as the air is split with yowls of delight and enthusiastic support. He blinks down at them, stunned and overwhelmed. He is aware of Tall Shadow padding up behind him and feels her breath warm his ear as she murmurs that she thinks he should get down now.
- For a heartbeat Gray Wing thinks his paws are frozen to the rock. Then he pulls himself together and leaps down into the crowd of his friends. They all press around him, brushing their pelts against his and resting their tails on his shoulder or pushing their noses into his fur. Confidence thrills through Gray Wing, filling him from ears to tail-tip at this proof of their loyalty. At last, he finds himself facing Lightning Tail. Gray Wing tells him this is true strength, and Lightning Tail dips his head in understanding his hostility gone. He meows where he leads, everyone will follow, and Gray Wing thinks it's all he needs to hear.
- Wind and Gorse change their names to Wind Runner and Gorse Fur respectively, and join Gray Wing's group of cats.
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Revealed in Thunder Rising, page 198
- ↑ Revealed in Thunder Rising, page 199
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Revealed in Thunder Rising, page 200
- ↑ Revealed in Thunder Rising, page 201
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Revealed in Thunder Rising, page 203
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Revealed in Thunder Rising, page 204
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Revealed in Thunder Rising, page 206
- ↑ Revealed in Thunder Rising, page 207
- ↑ Revealed in Thunder Rising, page 209
- ↑ Revealed in Thunder Rising, page 205
|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|
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.