Gray Wing.DTC-1 "Tom? Twolegs called a Tom, Tom?"

Although this article is based on canonical information, the title of this subject is conjecture.

"...I understand your needs, and I wish no ill on any cat. Take your watermint, and then go. But next time you think of approaching our border, think again. The border is closed - do not forget that."
Mistystar to Alderheart in River of Fire, page 54

A watermint shortage occurred in River of Fire when cats began to fall ill from a bellyache sickness. The supply shared by WindClan and ThunderClan was used up, prompting cats from both Clans to seek out an alternate supply near RiverClan's border, which was closed. After talking with Alderheart, Mistystar agreed to let them go in peace,[1] but continued to insist on keeping the borders closed, despite the wishes of her medicine cats.[2]

RiverClan suffered when their leader insisted Willowshine could not search for watermint outside their territory, even when several of their cats come close to dying.[2] More cats fell ill in RiverClan, leading Willowshine to make plans to disobey her leader and collect watermint elsewhere.[3] Before she could act, a fire devastates RiverClan's camp,[4] prompting them to reopen their borders and rejoin the Clans.[5]



For a quarter moon, more and more cats have contracted a bellyache sickness in ThunderClan. Alderheart searches for more watermint to cure it, largely to no avail. Their supplies are running low, and there is little to none left in their stream by WindClan's border able to replenish their stocks. This leads to heightened tensions within the medicine cat den as they try to keep the Clan healthy. WindClan has had several cats fall ill as well, leaving a large shortage of the herb needed to cure the sickness. Meanwhile, RiverClan harbors the only remaining viable source of watermint left, but their borders are closed, so neither WindClan or ThunderClan has traveled there to collect any.[1]


Leafpool: "Alderheart, we could really do with more watermint. It's by far the best thing to treat this sickness."
Alderheart: "That means going to RiverClan. The only other place I know it grows is by the border stream between RiverClan and WindClan. And RiverClan isn't exactly being a friendly group of cats right now."
Leafpool: "I know all that. But our cats haven't been getting better, and we need warming if we're to contain the sickness and stop it spreading."
—Alderheart and Leafpool River of Fire, pages 37-38
Cats in several Clans have become ill from a bellyache sickness, which is cured with watermint. A shortage of the herb develops as medicine cats including Alderheart, Kestrelflight,[1] and Willowshine[2] continue to stretch their remaining supplies to help their Clanmates. Alderheart decides to go to RiverClan for watermint, and is joined by a WindClan patrol. While Mistystar agrees to let them gather some, but sends them away with a stern warning that RiverClan's borders are closed.[1] Cats continue to fall ill, but with the herbs, the medicine cats are able to combat it and nurse their Clanmates back to health.[6] Briarlight passes away from the illness, due to being too weak to fight it.[7]


The search for watermint

Jayfeather: "Why are you chewing up that chervil root? The sick cats need watermint! Are you still an apprentice?"
Alderheart: "We don't have watermint. Do you expect me to pull it out of my ears?"
Jayfeather: "No. I expect you to stay out there until you find some."
Alderheart: "Don't act like such a kit, just because we have a lot to do! You know there's hardly any watermint left in the border stream. We might have to find another supply."
—Alderheart and Jayfeather River of Fire, pages 37-38
Alderheart travels to the WindClan border to get watermint, which is needed in ThunderClan. He is unable to find any by their border with WindClan, as it has all been picked by Kestrelflight. Bramblestar gives his permission, so Alderheart goes and asks RiverClan for watermint with Sparkpelt and Twigpaw. They join with a WindClan patrol, and start to pick herbs at the border. They are confronted by two RiverClan cats, Shimmerpelt and Havenpelt who demand to know what they're doing. Alderheart offers to go to their camp and talk to Mistystar, and they agree. Once they arrive, the medicine cat explains the situation, and the blue-gray she-cat agrees to let them take the herbs. However, she says that they can't come back, so they quickly gather as much as they can.[1]

Combatting the illness

In ThunderClan, Squirrelflight and Sparkpelt fall ill, though the rest of ThunderClan begins to heal. They are moved into a separate den to keep the illness contained. Alderheart, Leafpool, and Jayfeather use their new supply of watermint to cure Whitewing and Plumkit.[6] The medicine cats find out at their half-moon meeting that SkyClan is so far unaffected, and they instruct their patrols to stay away from each other to keep the sickness from spreading. Kestrelflight continues to help WindClan heal, with their supply of watermint.[8]

Rising tensions

"I hate talking like this. We're medicine cats. It's our job to help out sick Clanmates, not to argue about which of them deserves the treatment more."
—Willowshine to Mothwing about the cats with the vomiting sickness River of Fire, page bonus scene, chapter 1
The sickness spreads into RiverClan, and their watermint supplies dwindle. Willowshine and Mothwing are running out quickly as their den fills with more ill cats. Tensions are high in camp because of the borders being closed, causing some cats to get restless. Willowshine and her leader argue about keeping RiverClan all alone, but she is sent back to her duties.[2] More cats fall ill, including the elder Mosspelt. The medicine cat is aware they could die, and lets Mistystar know, but the leader dismisses her. Willowshine becomes doubly frustrated with her leader and makes plans to gather watermint outside RiverClan territory against orders. She reasons that she was sent to do her duties, which are to help her Clanmates any way she can.[3]

Set ablaze

Main article: Fire (RoF)

Willowshine leaves camp to gather watermint, but as she does, the camp catches on fire. She evacuates with her Clanmates, helping the cats still weak from the sickness. Willowshine is thrilled when she sees the other Clans have still come to help, despite RiverClan's frosty welcomes.[3] The Clan is able to evacuate safely, though Mothwing and Willowshine lose most of their herb supplies.[9] At the next Gathering, RiverClan rejoins the other Clans and gets assistance to rebuild their Clan. Medicine cats from other Clans also offer herbs, so that the Clan can continue to heal from their injuries and the sickness.[5]

The passing of a friend

"Don't...worry about me, Millie. I and hunt StarClan."
—Briarlight's dying words River of Fire, page 210
Despite being sick, Jayfeather helps Ivypool give birth to her kits while Alderheart and Leafpool are away at the Gathering.[5] Days later, when Alderheart visits the nursery to check on Ivypool's kits, he finds Briarlight is ill. He has her moved back to the medicine den, and is shocked he hadn't noticed. However, even though she is given watermint, she is too weak to take to the treatment. The she-cat is dying by morning, and her family gathers to say goodbye before she passes. They sit vigil for her through the night, and Alderheart is devastated he couldn't save her from the sickness, as a medicine cat should be able to. Jayfeather gives him rare praise, and insists nothing more could be done. The rest of ThunderClan is now healthy, and he takes comfort in that.[7]



Alderheart is the medicine cat of ThunderClan, working alongside Jayfeather and Leafpool. He tries to help his Clanmates recover from a bellyache sickness, but is hindered by lack of supplies. With Bramblestar's permission, he takes a patrol to the RiverClan-WindClan border to gather more watermint to replenish their stocks. They are joined by a patrol of the latter Clan, and after an audience with Mistystar, permitted to take what they need. Alderheart is glad, but still concerned that RiverClan insists on staying disunited from the Clans.[1]
With the new supplies, ThunderClan cats still fall ill but have a way to recover.[6] Alderheart works with other medicine cats to ensure the sickness doesn't spread beyond the Clans it's already in.[8] A fire prompts RiverClan to rejoin the other Clans, so he shares ThunderClan's supplies with them as they were all lost.[5] Alderheart is devastated when Briarlight dies from the illness because he wasn't able to save her, but takes comfort in Jayfeather's praise that the rest of ThunderClan is now healthy.[7]


Willowshine is a RiverClan medicine cat, along with Mothwing.[1] She wishes for the company of her fellow medicine cats, despite RiverClan's borders being closed. Willowshine continually questions Mistystar on whether staying separate is a good thing, as tensions arise in camp. Cats begin to fall ill from the bellyache sickness, and she struggles to treat them due to lack of watermint.[2] Despite cats becoming close to death, such as Willowshine's mother Mosspelt, Mistystar continues to insist the borders are closed, and that she may not get herbs from other territories. Willowshine reasons that her duties are to heal her Clanmates no matter what, and makes plans to go against orders.[3] However, before she can, a fire devastates RiverClan's camp and prompts them to rejoin the Clans. Willowshine receives help from the other Clan's medicine cats by way of supplies and also extra assistance within camp.[5]

Leafpool and Jayfeather

Leafpool and Jayfeather are ThunderClan medicine cats, along with Alderheart. They join him in caring for their sick Clanmates, and Leafpool prompts Alderheart to go find watermint near RiverClan.[1] When they return with some, the three use it to combat the illness even as cats continue to fall ill.[6] They work with the other medicine cats to ensure that the sickness doesn't spread further than it already has, by keeping border patrols away from each other.[8]
When a fire prompts RiverClan to rejoin the other Clans at the Gathering, Leafpool offers to travel to their camp to help treat injuries and share herbs for the sickness. However, while she and Alderheart attended the Gathering, it left a sick Jayfeather to deliver Ivypool's kits.[5] As a result, Briarlight, who was in the nursery, caught the illness and quickly died due to not being strong enough to fight it. Alderheart is devastated, and Jayfeather comforts him and gives rare praise.[7]


Mistystar is RiverClan's leader, who has been enforcing RiverClan's separation from the other Clans. When Alderheart comes to their camp, he explains why his Clan and WindClan need the watermint on RiverClan's border. Mistystar lets them take the herbs, wishing no harm on any cat, but continues to insist their borders are closed.[1] Her medicine cats disagree, especially Willowshine, who can see the tensions arising in camp. However, Mistystar will not be convinced, even when cats begin to come close to death with the belly sickness.[2] Watermint supplies run short in RiverClan as time goes on, and when Mistystar refuses to let Willowshine search for it outside RiverClan territory, her medicine cat plots to do it anyways.[3] However, when a fire devastates the Clan's camp, she leads her Clans to rejoin with the others and accepts herbs from other Clans to heal the sickness and their injuries.[5]

See also

Notes and references

Events in the Warriors series
The Prophecies Begin Battle for SunningrocksBrokenstar's tyrannyPlan to divert the dogsBloodClan's invasion
The New Prophecy Finding MidnightA new homeWindClan civil warAmbush of the badgers
Power of Three A Tribe in needAssault on ThunderClanFireTracking a killer
Omen of the Stars Saving the lakeDrought in the lake territoriesFight for the borderWar with the Dark Forest
Dawn of the Clans The first battleFollowing the sun trail
A Vision of Shadows Alderpaw's questYellowcough epidemicThe Kin's campaignShadowClan's downfallWatermint shortageFireBattle for the stolen kitsShadowClan versus SkyClan
The Broken Code Clash of the Clans
Super Editions Talltail and Jake's excellent adventureSkyClan's revivalA storm of epic proportionsBlood, water, and badgersBattle of the gorgeBattle against the Sisters
Novellas A predicted starvationRavenpaw's travels
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