|"Walk through the night without looking back. At dawn, you will have left your kithood behind you and become true toms. May the ancestors who walk the land find you and give you guidance. "|
|— Moonlight to Chestnut and Snail in Tree's Roots, chapter 1|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter one of Tree's Roots. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 1 (of 10)
- Page Numbers: N/A
- Earth squeezes his eyes shut and attempts to become one with the grass. His ear itches and Earth scratches it with his six-toed paw. He pushes away thoughts about when he had last eaten, his stomach growling. Earth tells himself to focus and remembers Moonlight's instructions. He tries to concentrate, then opens his eyes, his nose itching too. He sneezes. Stream is beside him, shifting around. Earth complains he is hungry and Stream confesses he also can't concentrate. Stream adds that it is because Earth's fur is as bright as the sun, and squints at Earth, saying he couldn't see. Earth jumps onto his back and he knocks Stream over. They roll over in the grass, play-fighting. Stream wrestles him onto his back and he kicks out his hind legs, ending the fight.
- Stream states Earth is pretty strong despite his size. Earth scowls and tells him he isn't that small, just small compared to the Sisters. The tom is aware of how significantly smaller he is then Stream. He thinks that his father had been yellow and small like him. The tabby tom apologizes, and says Earth was bigger than the everkits at the Twopawplace, and they said they were six moons old. Earth smooths his bright yellow fur and sits beside Stream. He gazes out over the valley, and it is noted to be sunny and bright with flowers growing among the grass. He can smell prey and the scent of the Sisters. Downhill, he sees Moonlight talking to two other Sisters including Petal. Petal responds to Moonlight and trots away. Earth wishes that Moonlight would spend more time teaching him and Stream how they would use meditation to speak with the earth. Earth thinks that if she had told them, he would know how to hear them. He reminds himself it is a big responsibility to lead the Sisters.
- A breeze ruffles his fur and Earth takes a deep breath. He scents cedar and pine trees from the valley and the river. He tells Stream he likes it there, and states it is better than the garden by the Twopawplace. Stream tells Earth he likes it too, but there was no point in getting attached to the place since they would go into their wander in two moons and the Sisters would move on. Earth can't stop thinking about two other toms that were going to be sent on their wander that night and how he would one day wander too. He knows the world was as big as past the Twopawplace, over countless Thunderpaths, rivers farther and larger than a cat could see from the tallest hill.
- He suggests to Stream that they could come back after the Sisters move on, since it would be a good home. Stream's eyes go wide and he yowls that toms are supposed to wander the land, and to come back would be the opposite of wandering. Earth replies that it is good territory. He suggests to try again to meditate and talk to the land. Stream agrees, stating that he wasn't sure what it means. Earth says he doesn't either, but perhaps if they try hard enough they would be able to do it. Stream takes a deep breath and shuts his eyes. Earth follows, reminding himself what Moonlight had said again. He digs his claws into the dirt and listens hard, but is disappointed to only hear his Sister Ice's voice. He opens his eyes, and opens his mouth to talk, but stops when he sees his best friend. Stream is sitting perfectly still, muttering under his breath and stopping for a pause. Earth thinks Stream has been able to do it, and tries again. He hears nothing but the wind and wonders if anything is wrong with him. He waits for his friend, and Stream opens his eyes and says he is ready.
- When they are walking back to camp, Earth peeks at Stream to check he didn't look or seem different. He doesn't look any different. Earth wants to ask Stream what had happened, how he had done it, how it felt and what the grass had said. Earth hesitates, not wanting Stream to think of him as stupid. Stream had done is right, and Earth hadn't. He wonders if he wanted to tell Stream that. He thinks that Stream would think there was something wrong with him. Earth still is worrying if he should tell Stream or not when they get to the camp. The Sisters are busy; Tempest and Furze have come back from a hunting patrol; Petal and Hawk are sharing tongues; Moonlight, Snow, and Haze are talking outside Moonlight's den.
- Sunrise asks if they did it. Earth licks himself quickly, embarrassed, and says it went fine. Ice's eyes narrow as she saunters up behind Sunrise and she says Earth didn't hear anything. Earth defensively says it is hard, Stream agreeing with Earth. Stream adds they should try it first before teasing Earth. Sunrise flicks her tail and tells the two toms that Sisters sing to the stars. Ice sits down and mock seriously tells Earth it is important to get it right. She asks if he had offended the land. Sunrise joins in on the teasing, adding that Earth should get the land back on his side before the wander. Earth replies with as much dignity he can muster. He says he's hungry and heads to the prey-hole. Sunrise stops him, saying Chestnut and Snail get the first choice because they're leaving tonight. Earth's appetite disappears.
- When the moon rises, the Sisters go toward the hills. Earth and Stream exchange glances before following. Moonlight touches her nose to Chestnut and Snail, wishing them happiness. One by one, the Sisters say good-bye to Snail and Chestnut. When it is Earth's turn, his chest is tight with anxiety. He awkwardly says good luck to them, touching his cheek to Chestnut and Snail's. He adds they might see each other on their wander someday. Chestnut replies they might, looking excitedly at his brother, Snail, as though they can't wait to start their wander. Earth wonders what it feels like.
- The good-byes are finished, and Moonlight warmly tells them to start their wander and never look back. She says Chestnut and Snail will become true toms at dawn and protectors of the land. They dip their heads and thank Moonlight. Earth shudders, his tail lowering, then glances around to seeing any of the Sisters had seen. Earth thinks seeing a ghost would be creepy, but thinks Chestnut and Snail already knew what it felt like. The two toms hurry away, not looking back.
- Clouds cover the sky, and Moonlight tells them to get to shelter. Earth hopes Chestnut and Snail are okay, and curls up with Stream. He soon wakes up to his mother, Moonlight, letting out a cry.
Notes and references
|Tree's Roots chapters|
|Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Chapter 7 • Chapter 8 • Chapter 9 • Chapter 10|
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.