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The Journey to the Forest Territories takes place in The Sun Trail, when members of the Ancient Tribe choose to follow the Sun Trail to find a new home, due to the lack of prey in the Mountains.


Description

Premise

With the Tribe in a rough leaf-bare, Stoneteller receives a vision for some cats to leave the Tribe and follow where the sun rises, while a sustainable group remains in the mountains. The Tribe debate for a few days whether cats should leave or not when Stoneteller decides they will cast stones to decide once and for all. A majority of the Tribe vote that the cats that want to leave may leave, and the followers of the sun leave soon after. Gray Wing decides to stay, but his younger brother Jagged Peak follows the followers of the sun and their mother, Quiet Rain convinces Gray Wing to find Jagged Peak and go with the other cats to their new home.

Overview

Gray Wing finds Jagged Peak and they both catch up with the rest of the group. The group find themselves hunted by eagles and Clear Sky makes a plan to draw three eagles away and catch the fourth. The only flaw was that his mate, Bright Stream is killed. The group continue on into the Twolegplace where they face many new experiences. They are spooked by a dog however, and Shaded Moss runs onto a Thunderpath where a monster kills him. The group continue on with Tall Shadow as leader, they very soon reach Highstones, and the territory where they settle in.

Summary

Before the Journey

Stoneteller watches as the Tribe fight over an eagle carcass. Lion's Roar, a Tribe elder, tells Stoneteller something must be done to help the starving Tribe. Stoneteller protests that Jay's Wing had promised the mountains were their home when she receives a sign in the form of a brilliant light and realizes some cats need to leave the mountains.
Shaded Moss and Half Moon announce to the Tribe about the sign and say those that choose to leave with go with Shaded Moss. Later, they cast a vote by stones, resulting in the vote that cats that want to leave may leave. Gray Wing decides to stay back, however, his adventurous brother, Jagged Peak follows the journeying cats, and it is decided Gray Wing will find Jagged Peak and join the journeying Cats.

Gray Wing Begins His Journey

Quiet Rain goes with Gray Wing to search for Jagged Peak until they come across a thinly iced waterfall. Quiet Rain tells Gray Wing she can’t go any further so Gray Wing runs across the ice, breaking it as he crosses. Gray Wing calls a goodbye to his mother, hoping she hears and knows Gray Wing is safe. Gray Wing follows Jagged Peak’s scent and after losing it for a while, he finds Jagged Peak being attacked by an eagle. They drive the eagle away, and although Gray Wing is injured, he comforts his younger brother.
They continue on and after climbing a sheer cliff face, they are forced to shelter from a blizzard. Gray Wing falls into a stream, however, and Jagged Peak saves him by using a stick. He soon leads the two of them on the scent trail of the other journeying cats before they shelter for the night. Gray Wing dreams of being in the Tribe cave again among his Tribemates, even after he wakes up he can still hear their voices. He soon discovers the journeying cats they are trying to find are near and he and Jagged Peak run to meet them. They are both greeted warmly.

The Journey Continues

The cats continue their journey with Gray Wing and Turtle Tail, a cat that likes Gray Wing, at the back. Clear Sky, Gray Wing’s brother, tells that his mate, Bright Stream is expecting his kits. The cats then walk in pairs across a stream, and Jagged Peak soon spots eagles heading towards them, and Gray Wing rescues Dappled Pelt from slipping.
Now trapped, Clear Sky makes a plan to catch one of the four eagles and prove who is more dominant. Gray Wing, Turtle Tail, Bright Stream and Cloud Spots lead three eagles away while the rest of the cats kill the fourth eagle. Bright Stream is caught and carried away by an eagle while saving Gray Wing. Gray Wing attempts to save her, but Turtle Tail and Cloud Spots stop him. Clear Sky is distraught, and Gray Wing blames himself for her death.
The group continue on, crossing a river by using stepping Stones. Quick Water, hating water, slips and Falling Feather saves her. They soon decide to settle down for the night in a thicket of bushes, and Jagged Peak and Moon Shadow catch some prey. The next day, the cats run into a herd of sheep. Gray Wing also runs across a field and catches a rabbit. No one eats very much though, and are surprised since they are used to a prey-bare climate.
They continue traveling along the Riverbank, and they soon smell an acrid scent and hear rumbling. Clear Sky and Gray Wing go ahead and discover a Thunderpath. The two brothers investigate and soon help the others across. They continue through a forest, with Clear Sky and Tall Shadow jumping into a high oak to see how far the trees go on. They see the trees end not too far away, but won’t say what’s beyond them.
Shattered Ice scents a dog, and the dog chases them until a Twoleg comes and retrieves it. When the cats start to travel away from the trail where the dog chased them, it begins to rain. They come across a Twolegplace and Shaded Moss tells the others they have to find shelter.

In the Twolegplace

The cats travel alongside the Thunderpath to the Twolegplace before they settle down for the night in an abandoned monster den. Gray Wing takes first watch with Rainswept Flower. A monster comes close to the sleeping cats, but doesn’t find them. Hawk Swoop and Jackdaw's Cry take the second watch. The next day, Moon Shadow goes out hunting and gets into a fight with some kittypets, prompting the other cats to save him.
The cats decide to leave the Twolegplace and all hunt in the open away from the Twolegplace. They soon cross a marsh before finding a barn with plenty of mice to shelter in, prompting Rainswept Flower to wonder if the barn is their new home. Other than Gray Wing, all the cats agree the barn is a safe place to live and raise kits. The group settle down in the dry grass to sleep but are woken up by the noise of pounding feet. Hawk Swoop is the last to wake as sheep coming into the barn trample her over, but Clear Sky manages to grab her before she is crushed. Her leg is dislocated however, but Cloud Spots puts it back in place.
They journey on with failing enthusiasm as it’s soggy and prey is scarce. They meet a cat who questions their motives for travelling but wishes them luck. Dappled Pelt soon finds a stream and fishes while Shattered Ice and Moon Shadow hunt in the forest. Gray Wing soon hears a dog and the cats run in terror towards the Thunderpath. Gray Wing desperately warns Shaded Moss to stop, but a monster kills him.
Gray Wing throws himself in front of the other cats and yowl Shaded Moss is hurt. Tall Shadow races across the Thunderpath to fetch Shaded Moss’s body, and Cloud Spots confirm that he is dead. Rainswept Flower is distraught, refusing to leave her father’s body behind. The group carry him across the Thunderpath and lay him down on his side, covering him with sticks and leaves, mewing their farewells. They continue along the Sun Trail, soon reaching the end of the Twolegplace.

Reaching the Highstones

They are not far, as they settle down for the night in the copse. The noise and the chill of the wind soon wake the shaken cats, and Tall Shadow suggests they continue. They finally reach the top of the Highstones, and look out at the landscape below them. They gain optimism, and talk of where they could live. Tall Shadow suggests they explore, and Jagged Peak attempts to run ahead, only being stopped and scolded at.

After the Journey

The run into a Thunderpath and all make it across safely before the group settles in a hollow next to a pool. Later, some members of the group separate into the forest, making Clear Sky’s group. The groups soon fight at Fourtrees, and spirits of dead cats tell them to unite or die. They settle things and work together, eventually splitting to five groups, the five Clans.

Characters

Gray Wing

Gray Wing didn’t go with the journeying cats at first, but his adventurous younger brother went after them, and Quiet Rain asked Gray Wing to go after him and go to their new home. Gray Wing found his brother and they both found the journeying cats and continued journeying with them. Gray Wing blamed himself for Bright Stream’s death as she sacrificed herself for him. At the end of the journey, Gray Wing easily settled in the open moor, where Tall Shadow’s group stayed.

Jagged Peak

Jagged Peak wasn’t allowed to go with the journeying cats because of his young age. Stubbornly, he followed them anyway, and Gray Wing was forced to go find him. Just in time as Jagged Peak was being attacked by an eagle. Jagged Peak was headstrong, disobeying the older cats and almost dying at the Thunderpath at the new territory. He went with Clear Sky to the forest where he settled.

Clear Sky

Clear Sky was eager at the start to leave the mountains to the unknown. Convincing his mate, Bright Stream, they both set out with the rest of the cats. He was devastated that Bright Stream along with their unborn kits died, but never did blame Gray Wing for it, only himself. As the group settled on the moor, he found he felt at home in the trees, and took a group of cats to settle there.

Bright Stream

The mate of Clear Sky, he convinced Bright Stream to go with him on a journey to a new home, one he probably regretted later. Bright Stream shoved Gray Wing out of the way of an eagle, saving his life, but the cost was great as the eagle took her instead. Clear Sky and Gray Wing grieved, leaving Clear Sky with a mark that affects his actions later on.

Shaded Moss

Shaded Moss was given the role of leader of the group, and he led them through many experiences the group has ever faced before. He made Tall Shadow his successor before he died, spooked by a dog, he ran onto a Thunderpath where a monster kills him. His death left the group weary of Thunderpaths for a while, and his daughter, Rainswept Flower, grieved endlessly.

Tall Shadow

Tall Shadow had the task of taking over leadership subtly after the death of Shaded Moss. The group didn’t have far to go though, arriving at Highstones soon after Shaded Moss’s death. Tall Shadow helped settle the group on the moor, and let cats go live in the forest, who formed Clear Sky’s group.

Characters that took part in the Journey


Quotes

"We trust the Teller of the Pointed Stones to know where our future lies. We will follow the path of the rising sun, but we will always carry the mountains, and all of you, in our hearts."
—Shaded Moss's departing speech The Sun Trail, page 43


"We will learn as we travel. We have trusted you to send us toward the sun; now trust us to travel safely and to find this new place to live."
—Shaded Moss to Stoneteller The Sun Trail, page 45


Shaded Moss: "How is Stoneteller? It seems as if we've been away from the caves for moons already."
Gray Wing: "She's okay. But she's desperately worried about all you cats who have left; she's afraid she made the wrong decision."
Shaded Moss: "We were the ones who decided. Each cat who came on the journey. Stoneteller just pointed out the opportunity."
—Shaded Moss on their decision to leave The Sun Trail, page 92


Falling Feather: "I’m so sorry. I know what it’s like to lose a cat you care for. We traveled here from the mountains, a long way away. The cold season is harsh up there, and there wasn’t enough prey for all of us. Clear Sky’s sister, Fluttering Bird, died because she didn’t have enough to eat. She was only a kit."
Petal: "That’s hard."
Falling Feather: "Her death gave us the determination to come here and find a better life. We didn’t want any cat to suffer like that again."
—[Falling Feather to Petal The Sun Trail, page 19 (Bonus Scene)

Trivia

  • The group takes seven days to leave the mountains.[11]
  • Jagged Peak leaves a day after the main traveling group leaves,[12] and Gray Wing leaves the day after.[13]

See Also

References and Citations

  1. Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 14
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 15
  3. Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 32
  4. 4.0 4.1 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 33
  5. Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 37
  6. Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 44
  7. Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 45
  8. 8.0 8.1 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 59
  9. 9.0 9.1 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 91
  10. 10.0 10.1 Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 93
  11. Time intervals on the journey.
  12. Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 55
  13. Revealed in The Sun Trail, page 62

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