|"I'll miss you, too. But I know there's no way we could be together. We lead such different lives. I can't stay here, and I know you have responsibilities and can't leave your Clan."|
|— Velvet to Alderheart in River of Fire, page 240|
Velvet is a gray she-cat with long, silky fur and amber eyes.
In the A Vision of Shadows arc
- "Clan life is really different from how I imagined it. Fuzzball made me think it was all fighting and hunting, but you do so much more! You heal cats, and you make sure every cat is cared for, especially the kits and elders..."
- —Velvet to Alderheart River of Fire, page 201
- Alderheart asks how he knows about the Clans, and the ginger tom begins to talk excitedly about all he's heard about forest cats. Velvet interrupts her friend, and drops her scrap of fur. She explains that Fuzzball has nothing but dreams about Clan cats, and is very excited to be here. Bramblestar says this is all very flattering, but that they'll have to leave because kittypets aren't in the forest for a reason. Their eyes fill with disappointment, and Alderheart can't bear to look at them, especially Velvet. The medicine cat turns to Bramblestar, telling him to look at the pair. Alderheart elaborates that both are covered in soot, tired, and have traveled a long way to ask for help. He asks Bramblestar if he can at least treat Velvet's burn wound before sending them back to their Twolegs.
- Bramblestar is still undecided, but Stormcloud adds in that ThunderClan took in kittypets during the Great Storm, and that didn't turn out badly. The leader meows that he knew he might say that, and sighs heavily. Velvet begs the dark tabby for help, saying that her leg hurts badly. She recounts that a huge bolt of fire came from the sky, and it caught a tree on fire, which then fell on her housefolk's den. Velvet meows that all the other dens around it caught fire too, and she only just managed to escape with Fuzzball and what's left of her favorite toy. She affectionately pats the scrap of fur, saying that while wild cats might think it silly, it gives her comfort. Some of the surrounding warriors suppress amusement of this, but Alderheart says he doesn't think it's silly at all. He thinks it's natural that she'd need something from her old home to face the dangers in the forest.
- Velvet glances at Alderheart gratefully, and continues that they'd go home if they could, but that their housefolk fled, and a huge monster came with loud wailing noises. The medicine cat adds that it'd be cruel to turn them away, since they're wet and tired from their journey. Bramblestar isn't happy, but agrees they can stay until the fire is gone and their housefolk are back, but not any longer. Fuzzball lets out an excited screech, and Velvet quietly says thanks, and that they won't be any trouble. Bramblestar grunts, replying that they should try and stay out of every cat's paws.
- Alderheart directs the two kittypets to come with him, explaining that he's a medicine cat and they can stay in his den while he checks them over. They pad across the clearing, with Velvet and Fuzzball looking around with wondering eyes. Upon entering the medicine den, Alderheart introduces the pair to Leafpool and Jayfeather. Fuzzball greets them excitedly, while Velvet dips her head politely. Jayfeather glares at the pair, not returning their greetings. The blind tom complains about his nest having thorns, and so Alderheart, with relish, assigns Fuzzball to help. The ginger tabby kittypet pounces on Jayfeather's nest, and starts asking excitedly why he's blind, and how it happened. He groans and looks at Alderheart, stating that he's going to kill him when he gets better. The younger medicine cat and Velvet watch in amusement, their whiskers twitching.
- Alderheart says that they have enough moss here to make a nest for her, so then she can sleep. Velvet sets down her toy, saying that she can rest later, when he doesn't have as much to do. The she-cat insists she can help, and explains she lived as a stray for a few seasons, and took care of herself. Velvet meows that she learned some things about herbs and healing, so she'd like to be useful. Alderheart is surprised, and blinks in gratitude at her offer. He tells her that she can help after he treats her wound, so long as she doesn't move too much. Velvet agrees, so Alderheart leaves and fetches some budrock root. He explains that she can chew it up, but not swallow, so it can be used as a poultice for her burn. The kittypet sniffs the root, commenting that it's bitter. Alderheart offers to do it instead, but she declines, saying she'd like to learn something new.
- He watches as she chews the root, and asks if she's always been a kittypet. Velvet spits out the pulp, replying no. She continues that her first housefolk went away and left her behind, so she had to live as stray for a few seasons. Velvet meows that when the weather got cold, she found new Twolegs. Alderheart begins to pat the poultice on the she-cat's burn, and asks how she managed to do that. Velvet mrrows with laughter, saying that she sat outside the Twoleg's den and meowed, then looked sad when they came out. She imitates this expression, putting on a pathetic expression and stretching her eyes wide. Alderheart thinks that that was a smart plan, as he can't imagine a Twoleg resisting such a pretty cat. He thinks that talking to her is really nice, but that he'd better get back to work.
- Alderheart tells her to keep still, and adds that he's going to get some cobweb to hold the poultice in place. Velvet lets out a sigh of relief and says it feels better already, and that he must be a great medicine cat. Jayfeather snorts at that, but the other medicine cat ignores him. He binds up Velvet's leg, and then goes outside the den to help the other cats waiting for him. Velvet follows, and Alderheart asks her if she can take out a thorn. She says yes, and asks Birchfall if he minds. The warrior is surprised, but sits and says he'll deal with a badger just to get it out of his paw. After making sure Velvet knows what she's doing, Alderheart turns away to help Cherryfall.
- Moments after, it starts raining again without warning. Alderheart yowls for every cat to get inside the den just as a claw of lighting crashes down, leaving the medicine cat half blinded. As his vision clears, he alerts everyone that there's fire, but a different one than in Velvet's Twolegplace. The gray pelted kittypet walks out of the medicine-cat den and joins Alderheart and Bramblestar, meowing in shock. Bramblestar mews curtly that perhaps Velvet should go back to the Twolegplace now that Alderheart has treated her wounds. He says that Clan cats might be hurt, and space will be needed in the medicine den. Alderheart objects, stating that Velvet knows about healing, and with Jayfeather and Leafpool sick, he'll need help. Bramblestar agrees reluctantly, and decides there's not time to argue.
- Later, Alderheart peels the poultice off of Velvet's burn, giving the injury a sniff. He comments that it's healing really well, and that it should stay uncovered for now to get some air. Velvet purrs that it hardly hurts at all now, and compliments him for being a good medicine cat. Alderheart isn't sure that's true, and feels embarassed. He tries to find a way to change the subject, but Velvet speaks first, recounting how surprised everyone was that Ivypool had her kits the night of the Gathering. Alderheart nods in response, and his mind begins to wander. When he snaps back to reality, he realizes that Velvet is speaking again, talking about how Clan life is more than she thought it'd be. The kittypet recalls that Fuzzball made it seem like everything would be hunting and fighting, when it's really so much more, like healing and caring.
- Alderheart responds that it's the warrior code, and he realizes that she's fitting into ThunderClan better than any cat might've expected. The medicine cat thinks that they have a lot in common, and wonders how great it'd be if she decided to stay so they could spend time together. However, alarm jolts through him, and knows seeing more of the gray kittypet would be a bad idea. Alderheart knows his heart already pulls towards her, which is forbidden for a medicine cat. He then turns to Jayfeather, knowing the tom has his ears pricked, listening to everything they say.
- Fuzzball returns to then den, bringing prey for the blind medicine cat. The tom's chattering wakes up Jayfeather, who is irritable. He tells Alderheart to go check on Ivypool's kits, and the young medicine cat starts to feel resentful. The dark ginger tom knows that his task is only to get him away from Velvet. He dips his head to the gray she-cat, and leaves the den. At the nursery, after discovering Briarlight is ill, he insists she be moved to the medicine den. Alderheart returns to find Velvet drowsing in her nest, and Jayfeather and Fuzzball sorting herbs. He tells them about the she-cat falling ill, and Thornclaw and Poppyfrost soon bring her into the den. Velvet springs up and pulls together some ferns and moss, ready to make another nest. She mews kindly that Briarlight can settle down here, and questions if it's comfortable enough. The ill she-cat slinks into the nest, saying it's great, but she's sorry to be giving everyone so much trouble.
- Fuzzball fetches some watermint, and Velvet thanks him before stripping off the leaves. She lays them in front of Briarlight, instructing the she-cat to chew them up into small bits before swallowing. As the brown she-cat licks them up, Velvet soothingly strokes her. Alderheart thinks that she's a great cat, caring for others even though she's a kittypet. Velvet looks up at him with a shy, friendly glance, which the medicine cat returns.
- The next morning when they wake up, however, Briarlight's condition has worsened and she is dying. She requests to say goodbye, and Alderheart goes to wake Velvet, shaking her urgently by the shoulder. The kittypet wakes up immediately, asking what's wrong. Alderheart explains that Briarlight is dying, and asks her to go find a Clan cat to fetch her kin. Velvet's eyes widen in horror, but she rises to her paws and slips out of the den. Alderheart follows her out of the den moments after, seeing all the warriors clustered around the gray she-cat as she passes on the news.
- After Briarlight's burial, Velvet tells Alderheart to go sleep. She guides him towards his nest, and pushes him into the moss. Velvet insists that she'll wake him if needed, but that she can take care of any minor aliments or wounds. Alderheart protests, but she lays her tail across his mouth, saying she's going to take care of him. The tom muzzily slinks into sleep with Velvet's scent surrounding him, thinking that it feels nice to have someone care.
- Later, Alderheart watches Velvet pad around camp to watch Ivypool's kits play. They both watch in amusement, and then start to walk together. Alderheart tells Velvet that her leg is much better, due to her not limping at all. He's glad she's better, but is wistful at the thought of her leaving for the Twolegplace. The tom hopes they'll still be friends, and both cats walk back into the center of the clearing. Velvet spots Bramblestar talking with Sparkpelt and Larksong, and comments that they seem happy. Alderheart agrees, but says he'd better get back to sorting herbs. He leads Velvet back to the medicine cats' den, and the she-cat offers to help him. They are amused to find Fuzzball bothering Jayfeather, even though the kittypet is oblivious to it.
- Rosepetal is in the den for a sore throat, and Jayfeather suggests that it might be a good idea for her to spend the night here. The medicine cat then asks how Velvet's leg is, and she says it's fine, but is confused by the change in subject. Jayfeather sniffs the wound, agreeing, and then says she should move into the apprentice's den with Fuzzball so that there's room for Rosepetal. Alderheart is angry that this is happening, knowing the blind tom is seperating him and Velvet purposefully. He knows Jayfeather feels threatened by them being together, but wonders why it's necessary to make her feel so unwelcome.
- Velvet sadly says that she doesn't know when she'll be able to return to the Twolegplace, due to her housefolk not being home. She agrees that she should move out of the medicine den, and Alderheart makes an effort to smooth his pelt, seeing Jayfeather's logic. Meanwhile, Twigpaw comes into the medicine den, telling Alderheart about her warrior assessment. Alderheart tells Velvet that he’ll help her settle into the apprentices’ den, and Twigpaw says it’s crowded in there, but there will be two less apprentices the next day.
- Velvet and Alderheart follow Twigpaw out of the medicine den. Alderheart says he’ll miss having Velvet around all the time, and asks if she will still help out in the medicine den during the day. Velvet is about to reply when Poppyfrost, Shellpaw, and Bumblestripe return from a border patrol with a strange cat. Velvet exclaims that it’s Ajax, a Kittypet who lives close to Velvet’s den. Bumblestripe explains that Ajax was looking for Velvet and Fuzzball, so they brought him to ThunderClan’s camp. Ajax says he doesn’t want to stay with ThunderClan, he just wants to talk with Fuzzball and Velvet.
- Velvet slips through the crowd of cats surrounding Ajax and is followed by Alderheart, Fuzzball, and Jayfeather. Velvet says hello to him and dips her head. Fuzzball bounces excitedly and says it’s great to see Ajax again. Ajax says he’s glad that he found them, and that he’s come to tell them that their housefolk are back and have fixed their dens after the fire. He asks them to come home, where it’s safe.
- Fuzzball says it’s fine at ThunderClan, and how much he’s had a great time, learning to hunt, fight, and learn about herbs. But he says he misses his housefolk, and thanks ThunderClan, Jayfeather in particular, for being such great friends. Bramblestar invites the kittypets to stay the night, as it’s getting dark. The trio are led over to the apprentices' den, but Ajax mutters to his friends that he's not sure about this. He expresses his disdain, but Fuzzball dashes over to the fresh-kill pile, bringing him a thrush. Ajax struggles to stay polite, but declines the meal.
- Alderheart mews to Velvet that her friend is a bit weird, and fetches a vole for them to share. They crouch side by side to eat it as the twilight gathers. Velvet says she knows, but that he's a good friend to come all this way to find her and Fuzzball, since he rarely strays too far. Alderheart asks her if she wants to go back to her Twolegs, and he hopes she'll stay, even though it's a bad idea. Velvet hesitates, but says she does, even though there are some parts of Clan life she's going to miss. The kittypet gives him a shy, sideways glance, and he realizes she's talking about him. Alderheart isn't sure how to respond, and instead works on finish his part of the vole.
- Later that night, Alderheart feels like the the den seems empty without Velvet sleeping close to him. He leaves the den, and Jayfeather follows, telling the younger tom that he knows he and Velvet are starting to care for each other. The blind continues that the story always ends badly, and that while he can have feelings, he can't act on them. The dark ginger tom admits that he liked Velvet, but he'd never leave. Jayfeather surprised, asking if he wasn't thinking about going to the Twolegplace with her. Alderheart says no, but was only contemplating how to say goodbye. Jayfeather heads back into the den, and the dark ginger tom watches him go with a purr of affection.
- At dawn, Alderheart hovers at the entrance to the medicine den as Velvet and Fuzzball say their goodbyes. The medicine cat wants to hide, but sees the gray she-cat glancing around, trying to catch his scent. He walks out of the den and pads across camp, and Velvet comes to meet him. He mews that he'll miss having her around, and she says the same. However, she notes that there's no way they could be together, because she can't stay here, and he has responsibilities. Alderheart nods, telling her thanks for understanding. He says that he'll never forget, and the two cats touch noses briefly. They say goodbye, and Ajax calls for Velvet to hurry up. The she-cat tells Alderheart she has to go, and trots briskly after her friends. The medicine cat calls out a final goodbye, and sits as Velvet's scent slowly drifts from the air.
- Days later, as Alderheart pads around camp, he finds Velvet's scrap of fur she'd brought with her from Twolegplace. He wonders if she left it on purpose, or forgot it when she left. The medicine cat thinks that it won't do any harm to return it to her, and see Velvet one more time. Alderheart travels to the Twolegplace, but is confused by the many scents and sounds. He finds Fuzzball, who leads him to the gray she-cat's nest. The ginger tom says she'll be happy to see him, and has missed him. Fuzzball leads him closer, and then leaves Alderheart beside the fenceline. The medicine cat sees Velvet staring through a transparent wall, and yowls out to her. She looks up, and he's disappointed when she appears to flee. Alderheart is disheartened that she doesn't want to see him.
- However, moments later she emerges from the nest, explaining that her Twolegs had to let her out. She touches noses with the tom, and he tells the she-cat that he's brought her toy. Velvet is delighted and thanks him, saying she'd forgotten it when leaving. The kittypet meows that she didn't need it as much as she thought she would, due to how Clan life was. Velvet continues that it's great to see him, and offers to show the tom around. He agrees, and they walk around together until sunset. Once back at Velvet's den, she mews regretfully that it's time for him to go. He responds that it is, and says goodbye. She says her farewell, but notes that she's missed him. but that they might not be able to be friends. Velvet explains that he's chosen one life, and she's taking a different path.
- Velvet says she'll always be grateful for ThunderClan taking her in, and adds she has something to give him. She leads Alderheart around the side of the den to her housefolk's garden, stopping at a thyme plant. The kittypet says it's stronger than what grows in the forest, and digs up the plant, offering it to her companion. He accepts it, thanking her for the gesture, and promises to plant it. They say their farewells again, and say they'll never forget each other. Velvet whisks back into her den, and Alderheart stares after her.
- Later, Alderheart thinks about missing Velvet, but knows he's made the right choice in staying with ThunderClan. He then hurries to the medicine cat half-moon meeting, where he explains to Leafpool and Jayfeather why he's late. Alderheart meows that he'd gone to the Twolegplace to see how Velvet and Fuzzball were, which earns him a glare from the blind tom. He sets down his thyme plant, saying that the gray she-cat gave it to him, and it's stronger than the forest type.
Please do not edit this gallery
- "Wow, she's a pretty cat!"
- —Alderheart's thoughts upon seeing Velvet River of Fire, page 155
- "My first housefolk went away and left me behind, so I was a stray for a couple of seasons, but then the weather got cold, so I found some new housefolk."
- —Velvet about her past River of Fire, page 162
- "What a great cat she is. She may be a kittypet, but she really cares about other cats."
- —Alderheart's thoughts on Velvet River of Fire, page 207
- Alderheart: "I'm going to miss having you around camp."
- Velvet: "I'll miss you, too. But I know there's no way we could be together. We lead such different lives. I can't stay here, and I know you have responsibilities and can't leave your Clan."
- River of Fire, page 240
- "Good-bye. I'm glad you came. I've missed you. But I'm not sure we can be friends. You've chosen one life and I've chosen another."
- —Velvet to Alderheart River of Fire, page 275
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Notes and references
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