|"Curiosity bit at her, sharp as a fox’s fangs. She wanted to visit the Tribe and see how cats lived when they knew right from the start what kind of life they would have and what their responsibilities would be."|
|— Narrator on Hollypaw’s thoughts in Outcast, page 55|
- Below contains in-depth information for chapter four of Outcast. If you are looking for a shorter summary of the entire book, please check the main article.
- Chapter Number: 4 (of 29)
- Page Numbers: 44-55
- Hollypaw exits the apprentice den and sees that the sky promises rain. She shivers and sits down, starting to groom herself. Around camp, the dawn patrol, led by Dustpelt, is just leaving; Ferncloud briefly pops her head out of the nursery to sniff the air; and Birchfall and Berrynose come from the elders’ den, each carrying a huge wad of moss. Hollypaw is amused to see the young warriors do apprentice duties, and as they cross the camp and vanish into the thorn tunnel, the black she-cat mischievously calls after them to squeeze all the water out of the fresh moss. Berrynose lashes his tail, but neither of the toms reply.
- As the rest of the Clan wakes up, a thin drizzle sets in. Lionpaw scrabbles out of the apprentice den behind Hollypaw, looking half asleep, and heads to the dirtplace tunnel, while Brackenfur and Stormfur emerge from the warriors’ den and head for the fresh-kill pile. Hollypaw inquires her mentor on if they will hunt, but the golden tom replies that all the prey will be in their holes. However, Hollypaw wants to do something, so she asks the senior warrior if she can go out herself. Her mentor gives permission, but warns her to stay away from the border and be back by sunhigh for a training session.
- Hollypaw dashes off and senses for signs of prey as the rain grows heavier. The she-cat’s fur gets wet from droplets on branches and grass, and she thinks that Brackenfur had been correct in that she wouldn’t catch anything, but she is just glad to be out of camp so she can think. Hollypaw notes how she must concentrate on her training, but that her mind tugs her to both goals of the future and questions of the past and the ancient cats. The black apprentice decides to concentrate on prey, and she dives into a hole in a sandy bank and crouches there. She hears a scuffling from farther down the hole where she is sheltering, and notices something big coming. The she-cat scolds herself for forgetting to check if the burrow was empty and prepares for a fox or badger. Instead, Hollypaw smells Jaypaw’s scent and questions her brother what he is doing.
- Jaypaw squeezes into the sheltered space beside her, smelling of earth and stale fox, and mumbles that he’s just sheltering. Hollypaw argues that he clearly isn’t, as his fur is dry and must have been in the tunnel before it started raining. She guesses that her littermate has been trying to get down into the tunnels again, but Jaypaw asks what’s wrong if he has. His sister protests that it is dangerous and reminds him of what happened to Lionpaw when the roof of a badger set fell in, and how they nearly drowned in the cave. The gray tom interrupts that he knows, but Hollypaw snaps that he acts like he doesn’t. She argues that it is raining and the tunnels will flood again, and asks how Jaypaw acts so mouse-brained. Her brother tells her to stop and points out that it is just an old foxhole and doesn’t lead anywhere. Hollypaw states that he still tried to go, then asks what’s so special about the cave.
- The tabby tom opposes that there is something special down there and crouches in front of her, gazing up at Hollypaw so intensely that she can hardly believe he is blind. Jaypaw admits that the ancient cats spoke to him, that his paws slip into their paw prints at the Moonpool, and that he used to hear their voices on the wind. The medicine cat apprentice continues that since they rescued the WindClan kits, he hasn’t heard them, which is why he must get back into the tunnels.
- Hollypaw gives her brother a sympathetic lick on his ear, unable to bear hearing the sorrow in his voice, but Jaypaw jerks away and meows that she doesn’t understand. Hollypaw tells him to explain it to her, and he hesitates, drawing in the earth with his forepaws, before finally revealing that there were other cats in the caves. His sister is confused, so Jaypaw explains that there are spirits of the ancient cats who lived here seasons ago. He continues that one of them, Fallen Leaves, went down there for the ceremony to make him a warrior, but he never came out. The young tom adds that the ancient spirit showed him where to find the lost kits. Hollypaw is spooked by the idea that invisible cats had been watching them, and Jaypaw goes on that another cat is called Rock, and he is very old. Rock had been in the cave and showed the training medicine cat that they would escape, along with helping him think of the way to do it.
- Hollypaw takes a deep breath and thinks that there might not have been anything to be afraid of – if Jaypaw is right, then the ancient cats saved the lives of them and the kits. She asks why he wants to go back now, and her brother miserably mews that he wants to learn why they don’t talk to him anymore. He adds that they also once lived here and might be able to tell them the best place to hunt or shelter. Hollypaw says that they can find those things for themselves, and looks outside the burrow. The rain has stopped, and in the sky the last of the clouds are starting to disappear. Sunlight sparkles on the raindrops, and she suggests that they get back to camp. Jaypaw questions if she understands, and he firmly states that it’s important. Hollypaw is briefly tempted to agree with him, but although she would like to know more about them, she isn’t willing to risk her life or Jaypaw's. She tells her littermate that he is important too, and the Clan needs him, so he shouldn’t put himself in needless danger. Jaypaw unhappily agrees, but has a mutinous look on her face. Hollypaw stifles a sigh, as she knows that he might agree with her now, but would go on doing exactly what he wanted.
- Hollypaw gives Jaypaw a nudge and pushes him to go on. He rises to his paws and shakes loose dirt off his pelt. Hollypaw leads the way into the open, and from behind her, Jaypaw asks her to not tell any cat what he just told her. The black she-cat is unsure, as she wants to go directly to Firestar or Leafpool and talk to them about her brother’s crazy obsession with long-dead cats, to stop Jaypaw from risking his life. However, she would always be loyal to her brother first, and she promises not to.
- Later, Hollypaw is having a hunting session with Brackenfur, Brook, Stormfur, and the other apprentices. The she-cat misses two pieces of prey and is frustrated. Brackenfur reminds her to put her paws down lightly, as a mouse will feel her paw steps before hearing or scenting her, and even he sounds impatient. The apprentice apologizes. Although the other apprentices made it a competition and had all collected a lot of fresh-kill, Hollypaw has only caught one shrew. Brackenfur notices that she isn’t concentrating today and asks if anything is bother her, but Hollypaw lies that she is fine. The apprentice is worried about her wishes to be Clan leader, and frets about Jaypaw's obsession with the ancient cats.
- Brook sympathetically touches her nose to Hollypaw’s ear and admits that she had a lot of trouble when she first came. She explains how it was hard to get used to hunting in the forest after living on the bare mountain slopes. The Tribe cat suggests Hollypaw to slide her paws forward when stalking so a mouse won’t feel her paw steps. Hollypaw mews that she’s try that, and Brook adds that it’s important to stay away from long grasses and ferns, as brushing against them will scare the prey. Hollypaw had known that, but forgotten with everything else on her mind. The tabby she-cat assures her that she’ll get the hang of it again, and notes that the apprentice would be a great hunter in the mountains, as she has strong back legs for leaping. Cinderpaw joins them and is surprised they need to leap when hunting. Brook explains that in the Tribe, they have to jump when catching birds that are landing or taking off, which is how they catch hawks and eagles. Lionpaw comes over and asks if the eagles carry cats away. The Tribe she-cat says that most aren’t strong enough to take a full-grown cat, only kits and to-bes, and kits stay in the cave with their mothers. She adds that hunting patrols always have a cave-guard with them. The rest of the apprentices cluster around to listen and ask what a to-be and cave-guard is. Brook explains that to-bes are young cats learning skills they need, and cave-guards are the cats who guard the cave and fight off hawks and eagles. She adds that she was a prey-hunter, and Stormfur was a cave-guard. Hollypaw is confused on if the cats have separate duties, and Brook replies that when kits are born, their leader chooses what they will be; big, strong ones become cave-guards while fast, nimble ones become prey-hunters. Lionpaw mews that he wouldn’t like to be unable to choose himself, but the tabby she-cat replies that it feels different when you grow up with it.
- Poppypaw asks about the Tribe leader and medicine cat. Brook explains that the Tribe of Endless Hunting walks over the Tribe’s skies instead of StarClan, and that instead of leader and medicine cat, they have a cat who is both, called the Healer, named Teller of the Pointed Stones, or Stoneteller. Stormfur explains that Stoneteller has his den just off the main cave behind the waterfall: its full of pointed stones and has a hole in the roof, so that when it rains the floor is covered with pools of water. The gray tom adds that Stoneteller looks at the reflections in the water and reads signs there. Hollypaw thinks that it’s a lot of power for one cat, and asks if he has a deputy. Brook refutes this, but tells her that the Tribe of Endless Hunting will send him a sign for who his apprentice will be so he can choose a kit to become Stoneteller after him. Hollypaw is jealous and thinks her life would be much simpler if it was planned out, remembering her mistake of first choosing to be a medicine cat. She thinks of how she wants to be Clan leader and hopes to be calm and reliant on the [[The Warrior Code|warrior code, instead of battle-hungry, selfish, or greedy. The she-cat dreams of putting the good of her own Clan above everything yet still remember the rights of the other Clans in the forest.
- Stormfur points out a mouse under the roots of a nearby beech tree and suggests that Hollypaw try to catch it. Hollypaw agrees and the other apprentices step back to give Hollypaw the best chance. The black apprentice tastes the air and decides that it’s a vole, not a mouse. A heartbeat later, she spots the plump creature scuffling among debris under the tree, and slides her paws over the moos like how Brook showed her. The vole first doesn’t seem to notice her, but as the she-cat drops into a crouch, it freezes then darts away. Hollypaw yowls and pounces to where the vole had been, then instantly traps in between her front paws. She slips it into a crack between two rocks and kills it with a blow of her paw. Brackenfur praises her and Brook repeats that Hollypaw had a great leap and has strong back legs. Brackenfur decides that to take the prey back to camp.
- As Hollypaw follows her mentor to the clearing, she keeps glancing at Brook, and notes that the tabby must love Stormfur a lot to give up everything she knew and come with him to a strange place and strange way of life. The black she-cat wishes she could visit the Tribe and see how cats lived when they knew front the start what life they would have, but she knows they are far away and doesn’t think she’ll ever travel as far as the mountains.
References and Citations
|Prologue • Chapter 1 • Chapter 2 • Chapter 3 • Chapter 4 • Chapter 5 • Chapter 6 • Chapter 7 • Chapter 8 • Chapter 9 • Chapter 10 • Chapter 11 • Chapter 12 • Chapter 13 • Chapter 14 • Chapter 15 • Chapter 16 • Chapter 17 • Chapter 18 • Chapter 19 • Chapter 20 • Chapter 21 • Chapter 22 • Chapter 23 • Chapter 24 • Chapter 25 • Chapter 26 • Chapter 27 • Chapter 28 • Chapter 29|