|"The weight of trying to lead a Clan and be a mother has been heavy on my shoulders... since the day I realized I was going to have kits. Now... with a young one crying in front of me and warriors grumbling behind me... it feels as if that weight might finally crush me. A question rises up in my mind, not for the first time. Should Clan leaders ever have kits?"|
|— Leafstar thinking about being a mother and Clan leader in Beyond the Code, page 18-19|
|Beyond the Code|
|Chapter Number:||1 (of 3)|
|Point of View:||Leafstar|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter one of Beyond the Code. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 1 (of 3)
- Page Numbers: 7-43
- Leafstar sits on a large rock and watches her kits play beneath her, noting that it feels like an eternity since she was their age. She thinks that her kits are the best thing that ever happened to her, even better than becoming the leader of SkyClan, and she sometimes wonders if they are more important. Leafstar watches her little ones play, and part of her hopes that they never have to go into battle. She asks herself what she is thinking and whispers that they are destined to be warriors.
- Clovertail comes up from behind Leafstar and asks what she was saying. Leafstar turns around, surprised, and tells Clovertail that she was just talking to herself. Clovertail sympathizes that it is hard knowing that they will grow up to fight and be in danger, but that they can't keep them in the nursery forever, and that it is an honor to know that they will serve their Clan one day. Leafstar agrees, and thanks Clovertail for helping her since her kits were born. Clovertail says she is welcome, and looks over at the entrance to the gorge where a tortoiseshell tom comes down with a prey in his mouth. She notes that Sol is fitting in pretty well, and Leafstar thinks that Sol has been a good addition to the Clan, by learning fast about hunting and patrolling the border, and being respectful to the experienced warriors. She wishes that increasing their numbers was always that easy.
- Two young she-cats run toward Leafstar and Clovertail, and Leafstar thinks that Birdpaw and Honeypaw could use a lesson or two on respect. Clovertail notes that the apprentices don't seem to have enjoyed removing the elder's ticks. Leafstar jokes that she can't imagine why. As the apprentices cross a small stream, Honeypaw hurtfully says that Lichenfur told her she was as clumsy as a turtle. Birdpaw points out that Sol doesn't have to do apprentice tasks, and both young she-cats complain that it is not fair. Leafstar tells them that Sol isn't exactly an apprentice, as he is full-grown and has lots of experience. Honeypaw protests that he should then have a warrior name, and Leafstar assures her that he soon will.
- Later, Leafstar thinks that it has been very hot lately, and that she doesn't remember the last time it felt that hot for so long. She notes that the fresh-kill is scarce, and sees the pile of fresh-kill getting bad and attracting flies due to the heat. A black she-cat, a ginger-and-white tom, and a white tom are seen resting in the shade of a large rock ledge, while a black tom and a ginger-and-white tom watch them scornfully, and Leafstar notes that the heat creates a problem, since the daylight-warriors would rather bask in the sun than build up the fresh-kill pile, and that even her mate, Billystorm, isn't too enthusiastic about going on another patrol. Billystorm is seen with his eyes closed, sweating. Rockshade mutters the word daylight-warrior, and Billystorm asks Rockshade if he wanted to say something. He replies by asking Billystorm to start working for once, and that the Clan shouldn't go hungry just because they are full on kittypet food. Harveymoon angrily offers to not eat anything if it would make them happy, and Bouncefire replies that it would, as Harveymoon eats a lot every day. Harveymoon coldly answers that he didn't realize his eating habits upset Bouncefire so much, and suggests not turning up at all. Bouncefire replies that it would suit him just fine.
- Leafstar's head pounds when Clan cats snap at each other, and she thinks that the heat makes it happen more. She knows that they are frustrated and don't mean the things they say, but would rather go and put a stop before anything bad happens. However, before she can finish her though, as she jumps down from her den, Harrykit, who plays with his sisters, gets his nose poked on a thistle's thorn. He lies on the ground and squeals, and when Stormkit asks what happened, he wails about his nose. Leafstar turns her head and looks.
- Meanwhile, the daylight-warriors and full warriors shoot insults at each other, but Stormkit wails that Harrykit is going to bleed to death. Billystorm tells Leafstar that he will see to the kits and runs off. Leafstar sighs and thanks him, and turns to the quarreling cats, ordering them to be quiet. The cats fall silent, and a ginger tom and a black tom approach also. Leafstar tells her cats that the daylight-warriors are valuable to SkyClan, but they must contribute to the fresh-kill pile. She adds that they are aware that hunting is difficult in the heat, and suggests changing the patrols to dawn and dusk only and sleep during the day. Shrewtooth frets that if they do that, their enemies might mind out and attack them, but Sharpclaw reassures him that they obviously wouldn't all sleep at once.
- However, Leafstar can hear Harrykit wailing that his nose is destroyed, and Billystorm reassures Harrykit that they will prevent him from dying and save his nose. Sharpclaw tells Leafstar that he thinks Billystorm isn't the best with her little ones, and suggests that she goes to see her kits, while he sorts it out. Leafstar thanks him.
- Leafstar approaches Harrykit and thinks that leading a Clan and being a mother is stressful, and as she licks Harrykit's nose while her other kits rub against her legs, she notes that the weight will soon crush her. She sadly looks down and wonders if Clan leaders should ever have kits.
- Sol comes up to Leafstar with moss in his mouth, and calls his leader's name. When Leafstar asks what it is, he answers that he thought it might help for the little one. Sol tells Harrykit that he will soon be as good as new, while the she-kits watch in amazement. Harrykit smiles at his sisters, the moss spread over his nose, and Sol asks Leafstar how she manages her kits and the Clan. Leafstar responds that it takes patience and help from her Clanmates. Sol jokes that it must sometimes be hard to tell the Clan apart from the kits, but Leafstar laughs, adding not usually.
- Billystorm comes up to Leafstar and apologizes to his mate for being inable to settle the kits on his own. Leafstar forgives him, and Billystorm tells her that she is a brilliant mother. He turns to Sol and asks if he doesn't have a patrol at the time. Sol answers that he doesn't, and asks if he want him to lead one. Behind Leafstar, Firekit calls to her mother that Harrykit's nose is going to be okay, and Stormkit adds that they are hungry. Leafstar is amused, and tells Billystorm and Sol that they should discuss patrols later. The toms agree as Leafstar comes up to her kits.
- Later, Sharpclaw approaches Leafstar as she nurses her kits. He looks away, embarrassed, and mutters that he is going to let the cats take a break until the sun begins to set. He goes on that they have enough fresh-kill to last the day, and there is no point in storing it since it spoils so quickly in the heat. Leafstar allows him to do that, and Sharpclaw walks away, saying thanks, and Leafstar thinks that Sharpclaw is a fantastic deputy.
- Later, once the sun has set, the daylight-warriors go back to their Twoleg nests, but Billystorm and Ebonyclaw decide to stay to hunt for the Clan, without eating from the fresh-kill pile. Leafstar is proud of her mate, and Sharpclaw thanks them and shouts to all the cats that he want three patrols made up of warriors and apprentices. Leafstar knows that though he hides it, Sharpclaw is relieved at the extra help.
- Leafstar's kits come up to her, wanting to go on patrol themselves. Leafstar thinks that since the kits were napping all afternoon, it will be a miracle if she gets any sleep that night. As the warriors leave the gorge, Leafstar notes to Echosong, who passes by, that Sol is fitting in with them. She comments that she is glad he joined the Clan, as he seems determined to be the best warriors ever. Echosong voices her doubts that they don't know where he came from, though Leafstar counters that she doesn't know much about Echosong's past life either.
- Leafstar is in her nest and her kits sleep next to her. She is sleepy after putting her kits to sleep, but as she closes her eyes, warriors run across the gorge, and Sharpclaw yowls for help that there are injured cats. Leafstar jumps down from her den in panic and calls for Echosong to come at once. Echosong runs out of her den, surprised, a leaf in her mouth. Clovertail runs up to the patrol and sympathizes Ebonyclaw's leg, which is at an odd angle. Echosong, herbs in her mouth, asks the warrior if she can move it, and she stammers that she can, but it hurts.
- Leafstar's kits stir at the turmoil, and soon begin wailing for her. Honeypaw rushes toward Leafstar's den, reassuring her leader that she'll see to the kits, and Leafstar thanks the apprentice, as she climbs up to Leafstar's den.
- Echosong presses moss against Sharpclaw's ear as Leafstar asks her deputy what happened. Sharpclaw responds that they met a badger which attacked them, and explains that they drove it farther into the woods, but that all of them got hurt. Echosong tells her leader that Ebonyclaw got a nasty bite on her front leg and will have to stay the night. Ebonyclaw is worried that her Housefolk will worry about her, but Leafstar promises that she can leave as soon as Echosong is confident that she can walk back to Twolegplace, but is secretly devastated that a badger hurt them that badly.
- Later that night, Sharpclaw and Leafstar are walking in camp together, and Sharpclaw expresses that he thinks it is because they don’t usually hunt at night. Leafstar agrees that dusk is when they patrol borders, share food, and settle down for the night. Sharpclaw declares that changing their hunting patterns put them in competition with badgers and foxes, and admits that he doesn’t think dusk-hunting will work. Leafstar argues that prey is too well hidden during the heat of the day, but when Sharpclaw asks what they should do, Leafstar does not know. She says that she needs some time to work it out. Sol is seen silently watching them as they walk by.
- The next morning, in camp, Leafstar announces to SkyClan that instead of a few groups small groups, they will send two groups of eight. Sharpclaw, who stands beside her, explains that it will be challenging to move quietly enough to catch prey, but will offer much more protection. The Clan looks unhappy, and a dark brown tabby tom protests that such a big group would drive away all prey. Petalnose tells Sparrowpelt that they should give it a try, rather than be prey for other animals. After the Clan meeting is over, Billystorm and Leafstar walk together in camp, and Leafstar asks her mate to be careful. He promises her that he will keep his eyes open.
- A patrol of eight cats climb up the ravine. A black and white tom tells the warriors to keep quiet, and Leafstar watches them from a rock, her kits beside her. Her kits beg to go on patrol. Leafstar explains that if they will go on a patrol, they need to learn a few basics first, and asks who wants to hunt. Firekit passionately squeals that she does, and Leafstar explains that they will first learn how to sneak up on something. She offers to pretend that tail is a fox and crouches down, tail waving around in the air, and her kits approach, whispering to each other to be quiet. As they approach, Leafstar faces them and mockingly roars, her kits squealing in delight.
- As the moon rises, Leafstar lies on a rock, waiting. A patrol comes back, but only three cats have prey in their mouths. Leafstar is thankful that Billystorm has returned safely, but can see the disappointment on his face, and realizes that eight cats, indeed, can hardly catch anything. A patrol of four carrying only one squirrel, led by Patchfoot, returns, though he looks disappointed. Leafstar asks Patchfoot where everyone else is, and he stammers that Sol had an idea and talked them into splitting the patrol into two. Leafstar scolds Patchfoot that splitting up the patrol defeats the purpose of what they are doing, and asks where the others went. He quietly answers that he doesn’t know. Fallowfern asks him how he could have let her kits wander off into the forest, and frets that Plumwillow and Nettlesplash could in dnager. Patchfoot apologizes, but as he does, a voice calls out not to worry.
- Leafstar is very surprised when she sees Sol leading a group of four cats, a triumphant look on his face. All of the cats have large pieces of prey in their jaws, and Leafstar thinks that there is enough fresh-kill to feed the whole Clan for days. Cats gather around, exclaiming congratulations and compliments to the patrol. Tangle and Lichenfur poke their heads out of the elder’s den grumpily, complaining about the noise. Leafstar stands below the elder’s den and invites the two elders to join them. Leafstar is thankful that Echosong’s doubts were incorrect, and thinks that Sol must be the best hunter they have ever known.
- The next day, cats are seen sleeping around the gorge, and Leafstar notes that most of them just want to sleep all day, although even then Sharpclaw sticks to business, and he is seen approaching Leafstar’s den, where she sits outside. He expresses doubts about Sol, and Leafstar is annoyed at more suspicions, asking what bothers the deputy about him. Sharpclaw wonders where he learned to hunt like that after not being unimpressive in training. Leafstar suggests that if might have just started to click in. Sharpclaw is dubious about this, but Leafstar stretches and says that she will ask Sol to go with him tonight.
- Leafstar is seen approaching Clovertail and Honeypaw, and explains to the reader the two she-cats accept looking after her kits for an evening. Next, Leafstar approaches Sol, who lazily lies on his side. She asks him to lead another hunting patrol where she would tag along, despite them being full from last night. Sol is honored that Leafstar wants to come along.
- Later that day, a patrol of five cats leave the gorge, Sol in the lead, giving everyone the order to follow him. Plumwillow, who is in the back of the patrol with Leafstar, asks if they are the only patrol going out that night, and Leafstar confirms it.
- As the cats go into the forest, Leafstar thinks that from the start it is a strange experience, as Sol doesn’t do any of the usual things to identify prey. Leafstar says that she is unfamiliar with the technique, but Plumwillow reassures her that it is different hunting, telling her to just watch. Leafstar can hear prey all around her, but Sol ignores it and walks deeper into the forest. She wonders what he is up to.
- Soon, they enter a part of the woods with little prey that they have barely been to before. Leafstar wonders if this is his hunting grounds, and asks Nettlesplash what they are doing. He shows her a hole underneath a tree, which he explains is a fox den. Leafstar is surprised, and exclaims that they must get away from there, but Nettlesplash reassures her that it’s okay, telling her to wait. Leafstar thinks that it is very wrong, and is curious what Sol is playing at.
- Soon, two foxes comes near, their jaws laden with prey. The patrol stand in front of a tree, smirking slyly, but Leafstar stands behind the tree, asking why they are not running. As soon as the foxes enter their den, leaving their prey at the entrance, Sol gives the command to his patrol, and they run from the tree to the entrance of the fox den, snatching up the pieces of prey and running. Mintfur tells Leafstar to come on, but she watches from behind the tree in horror as a fox comes out the den, staring in confusement, a fox cub accompanying it to feed. She dashes away, horrified, and cannot even comprehend what just happened.
- When they are at the top of the gorge before heading into camp, Sol explains to Leafstar that if the foxes want to hunt at dusk, the cats can let them do their hunting for them too. Leafstar, having just come to the clearing, begins to stammer objections, then furiously yells at him that it is the absolute worst thing he could have done. She goes on that they just left a trail for the foxes all the way to camp, and asks what would happen if they come and attack. Sol stutters in confusement, but Leafstar angrily snarls that Clan cats use skills to hunt. Sol, frustrated, claims that it is a skill, but Leafstar counters that it is stealing, and orders him to stop it at once.
- At that point, Sharpclaw comes up to the top of the ravine, impressed at all the prey and curious how they caught it. Leafstar growls that they didn’t catch it, but a fox did. Sharpclaw hopes that she is joking, but Sol sullenly grumbles that it is food and the foxes didn’t follow them. He goes on that a patrol of four cats got plenty of food, and fails to see the problem. Sharpclaw furiously yowls that he knows nothing about the warrior code and has put the Clan in danger. The two toms face each other, growling, but Leafstar comes between them, telling them to calm down. She tells Sol that maybe it is okay if this is that last time, as Sol was trying to help. She adds that none of them will say anything about it to the rest of the Clan, and turns to the younger cats, demanding that none of them will say anything about it. Plumwillow says that they won’t, and Leafstar replies that they must have faith in their own hunting skills. She tells them to come and put this behind them.
- Unnamed SkyClan tabby
- Ebonyclaw (Unnamed)
- Sparrowpelt 
- Petalnose (Unnamed)
- Patchfoot (Unnamed)
- Fallowfern (Unnamed) 
- Plumwillow 
- Nettlesplash (Unnamed)
- Tangle 
- Lichenfur 
References and Citations
- ↑ Revealed in Beyond the Code, page 9
- ↑ Revealed in Beyond the Code, page 7
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Revealed in Beyond the Code, page 8
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Revealed in Beyond the Code, page 10
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Revealed in Beyond the Code, page 11
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Revealed in Beyond the Code, page 13
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Revealed in Beyond the Code, page 17
- ↑ Revealed in Beyond the Code, page 24
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Revealed in Beyond the Code, page 29
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Revealed in Beyond the Code, page 32
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Revealed in Beyond the Code, page 33
|Beyond the Code chapters|
|Part 1 • Part 2 • Part 3|