The Journey to Midnight takes place in the first two books of the New Prophecy Arc, when six Clan cats travel to the sun-drown-place to meet Midnight, who informs them about the destruction of the forest and that the Clans need to find another place to live.
The four Clans of feral cats have been living in the old forest ever since they were founded by the four ancient leaders. However, at a given moment, Twolegs start to destroy everything in the forest in order to create another Thunderpath, and the cats are forced to find a new place to live. As not even StarClan knows a place nearby that would fit all the Clans, they appoint four cats, one from each Clan, to travel to the sun-drown-place - namely, the ocean, that is far west from the Clan territories - where they can learn if such a region is available, and how to reach it.
The chosen cats are Brambleclaw of ThunderClan, Tawnypelt of ShadowClan, Crowpaw of WindClan, and Feathertail of RiverClan. Despite the fact only the four chosen cats were supposed to go, two other cats accompany them, Squirrelpaw of ThunderClan and Stormfur of RiverClan, thus there are six cats in the party to find a new place to live.
After they receive their dreams of StarClan and decide what to do, the cats set off towards the ocean, or in their language, the sun-drown-place. During the journey, they get in trouble several times, but manage to survive. They meet Midnight, a badger living in a cave near the shore, who reveals that the forest is about to be destroyed, and the Clans must move to a new location, which they will find by following a "dying warrior", which is actually a shooting star.
On their way home, the six cats take the mountain route, where they meet the Tribe of Rushing Water, who force them to stay, believing that Stormfur, the none-chosen cat of the two RiverClan cats who went on the journey is part of a prophecy of theirs. Feathertail, Stormfur's sister and the chosen cat of the two RiverClan cats, dies to save the Tribe from Sharptooth, a mountain lion, fulfilling the prophecy, and the five remaining cats continue their travel, and eventually arrive home.
- The events start out during early leaf-fall. During a meeting of StarClan warriors, Bluestar speaks of a new prophecy, revealing that the forest will be destroyed soon, and four cats must undertake a quest to save the Clans, finding them a new place to live. Feathertail is chosen by Oakheart, Crowpaw is chosen by Deadfoot, Tawnypelt is chosen by Nightstar, and Brambleclaw is chosen by Bluestar. Although the StarClan warriors are surprised with some of the choices, they eventually approve of them, and agree to prepare the cats for the journey by contacting them in their dreams.
- Bluestar appears in Brambleclaw's dream, telling him about the prophecy, and that he must meet with the three other cats on the night of the new moon, listening what midnight has to tell them. She does not reveal more, but states that all will be made clear in due time, then disappears. The other three cats receive similar dreams from their ancestors as well.
- Brambleclaw wonders why StarClan had sent a message about great danger to one of the youngest, and least experienced warriors in the Clan, instead of the leader or the medicine cat, and decides to disregard it, not even mentioning it to Firestar. However, after learning at a Gathering that his sister Tawnypelt had the same dream, except with one of her ShadowClan ancestors, he begins to take the sign seriously.
- The chosen cats meet at Fourtrees at the next new moon. Brambleclaw is followed by Squirrelpaw, while Feathertail brings Stormfur along. They discuss about the vision, and Crowpaw almost starts the fight, getting into arguments with every cat, but he is stopped by the others. They "wait for midnight," as the ancestors told them; but midnight passes and there is no sign from StarClan. They discuss what to do next, and if they should tell their Clan leaders about the dream. Finally, they decide to wait for more signs, and agree to talk at the next Gathering.
- The following night, Brambleclaw has a dream about drowning in salty water; and even after waking up, he feels the taste of salt in his mouth. When Ravenpaw visits ThunderClan the next day to tell Firestar about the Twoleg activity, Brambleclaw tells him about the dream, and Ravenpaw states that the place in the dream is actually a real location, and can be reached by walking in the direction of the setting sun. Brambleclaw wonders if StarClan actually wishes him to go there. He meets in secret with the other chosen cats, and they agree that they should find that place.
- They agree to meet at Fourtrees the day before the next half-moon. Meanwhile, Firestar is worried about an omen about a fire and tiger that Cinderpelt had received when looking into a burning clump of bracken, hinting that Squirrelpaw and Brambleclaw present a danger to the Clan, or to each other, and tries to keep the two cats apart; nevertheless, they both leave to join the others.
- The six cats meet, and the four chosen cats argue about whether the two others should come, as they were not chosen and might represent a danger to the mission. But they finally accept their presence and start off, wondering why could not StarClan tell them what they need to know right there, and why must they undertake a long and dangerous journey instead.
To the Sun-drown-place
- The cats follow the edge of WindClan's territory, and in the evening, they arrive at Barley's barn. They meet Barley and Ravenpaw, who greet them warmly and offer them shelter for the night. They leave the next day at first light, and Ravenpaw accompanies them to Highstones, showing them the safest way to go, as the recent Twoleg activity around the Thunderpath made traveling dangerous. On the summit of Highstones, they gaze out over endless, unknown territories, and Ravenpaw tells them about places they will encounter and should avoid.
- They follow a path across fields divided by Twoleg fences where sheep graze, then cross a narrow Thunderpath with a hedge on the other side. Thrusting through the hedge, they get separated, ending up in gardens of different Twoleg Nests. Brambleclaw and Feathertail remain together, but cannot find or even scent the other cats, and are to be attacked by a dog. They slip back to the Thunderpath through the hedge, and eventually, find Stormfur and Crowpaw, being cornered by two large kittypets. Squirrelpaw and Tawnypelt appear shortly after to join the fight, which is broken up by a Twoleg emerging from the nest, and the Clan cats can get away. They go on, and find shelter for the night near a stretch of a broken-down wall. Tawnypelt has her salt-water sign, and the others realize that they are on the right path, being watched over by StarClan.
- During the next three days, the six cats travel through farmland, avoiding Twoleg Nests and meeting nothing more threatening than sheep, cows and horses. They come across a wheat field where a monster is harvesting the crop, and catch several mice. Squirrelpaw gets stuck under a Twoleg fence while trying to squeeze through a hole under it, and Tawnypelt manages to get her out after spreading dock leaves on her fur.
- Feathertail has her salt-water sign in a dream. The weather turns cloudy, but the Clan cats continue their journey, remembering where did the sun set the day before. Later that day, they are chased by a dog, and escape by climbing up tree trunks, Crowpaw saving Feathertail's life in the process. A Twoleg shows up to take the dog away. The cats meet an old loner who introduces himself as Purdy and leads them into a large Twolegplace where they can catch fish from a pool in a Twoleg garden. Crowpaw has his salt-water sign, confirming that they still are on the right path.
- The cats eat kittypet food in another garden, but a Twoleg kit appears and catches Feathertail. Squirrelpaw and Stormfur rub themselves against the kit's legs, and it drops Feathertail, making it possible for all six cats to escape. They continue through the Twolegplace, with Purdy guiding them; the hard surface of the paths making their paws burn, and by the end of the day, they are all hungry and exhausted. As the clouds break up, they see the setting sun behind themselves, confirming that they were traveling in the wrong direction. The Clan cats get angry at Purdy, but being lost in the Twolegplace, they have no other option but to continue following him. They find shelter for the night on an empty lot surrounded by a spiky fence.
- They press on, and are attacked by rats while passing by a dump. They manage to defeat the rats, but Tawnypelt gets an infected bite on her shoulder and limps painfully for the rest of the journey. They rest in an abandoned building, and Brambleclaw worries about the journey that has gone so disastrously wrong, but Squirrelpaw comforts him, telling that StarClan are watching over them.
- It takes the cats three days to get out from the Twolegplace, and enter a forest where they find shelter, prey, and burdock root for Tawnypelt's wound. They rest until next morning, then go on, leaving the forest and walking across a dry moorland. In the evening, they finally glance a large expanse of blue-green water reflecting the orange rays of the setting sun, knowing that they arrived at their destination.
- As they climb down the cliffs, the soil gives way and Brambleclaw and Stormfur fall into the water. Brambleclaw nearly drowns, but Squirrelpaw saves him. They find the cave seen in the dream where they are supposed to wait for midnight, and enter.
- During (and before) the journey, each of the four cats selected by StarClan has their "salt-water sign," a dream or illusion of drinking (or swimming in) salty water. This convinces even the most skeptical ones that they are on the right path, and indeed following StarClan's will.
- Brambleclaw has his sign right after the first meeting at Fourtrees: a dream about drowning in cold, salty water; the currents carrying him towards high cliffs edged by jagged rocks where a cave is visible.
- Tawnypelt has her sign on the second evening of the journey, when she laps up water from a puddle and finds it tasting of salt, when no other cat tastes the salty tang.
- Feathertail has her sign on the sixth day of the journey, in a dream about drinking salty water in a stony landscape.
- Crowpaw has his sign later the same day while catching fish from a Twoleg pool.
- Back in the Forest, all cats are worried about their missing Clanmates. Soon, all leaders find out that the other Clans lost cats as well, and discuss about it on a Gathering. They are uneasy, wondering why StarClan did not send them a message. Only Leafpaw, Squirrelflight's sister knows about the mission StarClan gave to the cats, but did not tell about it to any other cat.
- When Tawnypelt gets an infected bite on her shoulder, Leafpaw senses Squirrelpaw's distress and sends her a dream suggesting that burdock root should be used for treating rat bites.
- As the six questing cats enter the cave, they meet a badger, one of the deadliest enemies of the forest cats. They panic, but the badger does not seem to be hostile, and introduces herself as Midnight. The cats understand that the StarClan warriors referred to her when they told to "listen to midnight."
- Midnight leads them to the back of the cave and treats Tawnypelt's wound, while Brambleclaw tells them about their journey. She eventually reveals that all Clans are in danger, as the forest is about to be completely destroyed by Twolegs to construct a new Thunderpath, and there is no way to stop it. The six cats must lead the Clans to find a new home, which will be shown by a dying warrior, seen while standing on Great Rock.
- Brambleclaw realizes that the journey has brought them very close to each other, and how much his companions mean to him. He agrees that they have become one.
To the Forest
- The six cats start their journey home, to warn their Clanmates about the danger and to lead them to a secure place. They leave in the morning, and Midnight escorts them to the edge of the forest near the large Twolegplace, where they meet Purdy, and hunt for prey. They are attacked by foxes, but Midnight appears and speaks with the creatures, telling them that the cats are only passing through, and in the end, the foxes leave.
- At the edge of the woods, Midnight tells that instead of traveling through the Twolegplace again, the cats should go towards the mountains, as it is a more direct route. The cats protest, saying they rather go the way they came, and Purdy warns them about a danger, but Midnight insists, and the six cats finally agree. They say good-bye to Midnight and Purdy, and start off towards the rising sun.
- The second day, the cats are already in the mountains, having a hard time climbing the rocky slopes. There is no clear path, and they are forced to follow winding narrow clefts, jump through large gaps, and often having to turn back to find another route. Tawnypelt starts to limp again, and Brambleclaw is worried about her. An eagle attacks Stormfur, but his companions save him. The next day, they reach what appears to be a dead-end and find a waterfall. They scramble upward, and cross the mountain stream that feeds the waterfall; Feathertail almost slips in the stream below, but Crowpaw saves her. It is apparent that Feathertail and Crowpaw have gradually fallen in love.
- However, the stream floods and all six cats are washed away, plunging over the waterfall and plummeting into the pool below. They survive and manage to climb out, only to find some cats approaching menacingly, their fur covered with streaks of mud. They prepare to defend themselves, but the strange cats look excited to see them and escort them to the Cave of Rushing Water, a cave behind the waterfall where the Tribe lives.
- The Clan cats learn about the Tribe, their hierarchy, their customs and their life in the mountains. The Tribe cats welcome them to their cave and offer them food, and Stoneteller heals Tawnypelt's wound. The Clan cats rest and recover, helping the Tribe in various tasks, such as hunting. They soon realize that the Tribe are afraid of something, but unwilling to tell what is the matter, and Brambleclaw wonders why are they so secretive about it, and why are they acting so welcoming.
- The six cats want to return as soon as possible to the forest to take Midnight's news to the Clans, but soon it becomes apparent that the Tribe do not wish them to leave. Finally, Stoneteller reveals that there is a prophecy about a silver cat that would deliver them from the menace of Sharptooth, a huge mountain lion. He believes that Stormfur is the said cat, and effectively keeps him prisoner. The other five cats are thrown out of the cave the next morning, and escorted to the edge of the territory. They return, however, after sunset, to rescue their friend; they smear their furs with mud and head for the Cave of Rushing Water.
- As they arrive at the cave, they see Sharptooth entering and hear a terrible shrieking breaking out. They enter as well, tackling the two cave-guards at the entrance, and using the chaos to leave with Stormfur, with no cat trying to stop them.
- They travel through the night in a cold rain, and Stormfur leads them out from the Tribe territory, knowing the surroundings from his hunting patrols with Brook, a Tribe cat he grew close to. However, he starts to feel guilty for abandoning the Tribe when they needed help the most, and starts to believe that he is actually part of their prophecy. They try to take shelter in a cave, as they cannot continue in the darkness and rain, but meet three Tribe cats there. The three cats reveal that they were exiled from the Tribe as they could not complete a mission given to them by Stoneteller, to kill Sharptooth. Talon, one of the cats speaks about the fear the Tribe cats live in, and about prophecies that need to be fulfilled. Silverstream also appears in Stormfur's vision, and Stormfur finally decides to head back to the Tribe. The other cats are not happy about his decision, but reluctantly agree to return with him.
- Stoneteller is initially angry with them, but eventually accepts their help. They devise a plan to kill Sharptooth, making it to eat prey filled with deathberries, but they don't have time to put it in practice, as Sharptooth appears in the cave. Every cats tries to take cover, and the mountain lion corners Crowpaw, but Feathertail dislodges a rock from the ceiling of the cave that kills Sharptooth. Feathertail dies from the impact as well, and is buried under a tree by the waterfall which, according to the Tribe, is a great honor. It is revealed that Feathertail was the silver cat from the prophecy, not Stormfur.
- The five surviving cats leave the mountains and travel through open moorland. They are shattered with grief and are subdued by sadness throughout the rest of the journey because of their companion's death, feeling no sense of hope and relief. After several days of traveling, they glance Highstones, knowing that they are finally home. Getting closer, they see that the destruction of the forest has already begun, some Clans were already forced to abandon their camps, and even Fourtrees were destroyed.
- The five cats separate and return to their Clans, they are first welcomed with hostility, the Clans opposing to leave, and the chosen cats feel that their journey was in vain. However, the leaders eventually decide to heed Midnight's words.
After the Journey
- The journey made the cats strong and lean, and also brought them very close to each other. They share a special bond, and from then onward, they tend to do things together, and the cats still look to Brambleclaw for leadership out of habit.
Brambleclaw, the son of Tigerstar, was chosen to go on the journey by Bluestar. Although young and inexperienced at that time, he is a natural born leader; taking responsibility for the others right from the start of their journey, stating that if any of his companions were injured or even killed on the journey, it was his fault. The other five cats soon look up on him and become used to taking orders from him. In other words, he is the unofficial leader of the six.
Tawnypelt, Brambleclaw's sister, is chosen by Nightstar. Although some StarClan warriors doubt her loyalty, having changed Clans, Nightstar insists on sending her, and Bluestar remarks that it will take cats with a paw in two Clans to understand what has to be done. She is the one who got the group moving, and is smart and practical. She gets along well with Feathertail, and thinks very highly of her. She gets an infected wound while fighting rats, but carries on and never complains, despite barely being able to move.
Feathertail, a RiverClan warrior and Stormfur's sister, was chosen by Oakheart. She is peaceful and caring, and usually stops the toms from arguing. During the journey, she fell in love with Crowpaw, the WindClan cat. She is a good friend of Tawnypelt, and helps her when she is injured. After she falls in love with Crowpaw, the WindClan cat saves her life several times. She dies saving the Tribe and Crowpaw from the mountain lion, Sharptooth, as she was the chosen silver cat in Stoneteller's prophecy.
Crowpaw, the one mentioned with no kin within the group, is chosen by Deadfoot, a former WindClan deputy. He is the youngest cat to be sent to the journey; while the other three are roughly of the same age, Crowpaw is five seasons younger, and still an apprentice. The other StarClan warriors think he is too young to participate in the perilous quest, but Deadfoot convinces them to let him go. He is a defensive and snappish cat and has a barbed tongue, always arguing and disagreeing with the others. Crowpaw falls in love with Feathertail during the journey and grieves heavily following her death.
Stormfur, Feathertail's brother, is not a chosen cat, but he follows his sister, worried about her because of all they had been through together. He is a good friend of Brambleclaw. The Tribe thinks he is the silver cat of their prophecy and take him prisoner, but soon find out that Feathertail was the said cat. Later, he decides to stay with the Tribe where he takes Brook as a mate.
Squirrelpaw is the daughter of Firestar, and the youngest cat in the party. She is not one of StarClan's chosen cats, but forces Brambleclaw to let her go with him. She manifests a tireless courage and refuses to think that they would ever fail in their mission. There are several times when her determination and will to succeed puts fresh heart into all her companions. Her fiery attitude bothers the other cats, but neither Stormfur nor Brambleclaw seem to care, as they both fall in love with her. She grows especially close to Brambleclaw, and finally ends up becoming his mate.
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- "Darkness, Air, Water and Sky will come together and shake the forest to its roots. Nothing will be as it is now, nor as it has been before. The doom will come, but if the Clans meet it like warriors, they may survive. Four cats must be chosen to hold the fate of their Clans in their paws. (...) If the Clans cannot work together now, they will be all destroyed. Maybe it will take cats with a paw in two Clans to understand what has to be done. Remember that every Clan will be lost if one of our chosen cats should weaken or fail."
- —Bluestar Midnight, pages 2-5
- "It's your time now to fulfill a prophecy. Remember that StarClan don't like to make things obvious. They send us prophecies, but they never tell us exactly what we should do. They expect us to show courage and loyalty to achieve what has to be done."
- —Ravenpaw to Brambleclaw Midnight, page 95
- "Warriors of StarClan, if I could speak to you right now, I wish I could ask you if we're really doing the right thing, and why we have to travel so far. I wish I could ask you what trouble you have foreseen for the forest."
- —Brambleclaw Midnight, page 195
- "You're right; four were chosen, but six have come, and all deserve to be here. [...] When you set out, you were four. Six with friends who would not stay behind. Now you are one. [...] In days to come, you will need each other. Your journey does not end here, young warrior. It only just begins."
- —Midnight Midnight, pages 292-300
- "StarClan does not want me to say everything. Many answers lie within ourselves."
- —Midnight Moonrise, page 36
- "Neither prophecy is right. And neither is wrong. Everything depends on how cats interpret the prophecy. And whether the prophecy is fulfilled depends on what they decide to do about it. It is up to us to choose the code we live by. Your faith and your courage will tell you what to do."
- —Talon Moonrise, page 238
- "They had gained something very precious on that journey: a strong bond of friendship had been forged between them, stronger than rock and deeper than the endless water that washed against the cliffs where Midnight the badger lived."
- —Narration Starlight, page 10
- The journey is the only known event when StarClan willingly chooses and contacts warriors and apprentices who have never had prior contact or affinity for the spirit world.
- The journey to the sun-drown place took ten days - this can be deduced both from the references to time intervals during the journey, and from the moon phases (they start out a day before half moon, and arrive the second day after full moon).
References and Citations
- ↑ Revealed in Secrets of the Clans, pages 3-6
- ↑ Revealed in Into the Wild, page 25
- ↑ Although she does not tell him where they have to meet - the cats assume Fourtrees but in reality it was the sun-drown-place
- ↑ After 17 days
- ↑ Here, "midnight" refers to Midnight, a badger, although they do not know this until meeting her
- ↑ As revealed during the next Gathering
- ↑ The destruction of the forest is about to begin
- ↑ After 5 days
- ↑ In fact, the omen means that Squirrelpaw and Brambleclaw will find a new home for the Clans, and unite them for the journey
- ↑ The answer is revealed by Midnight: so that cats from different Clans could understand the importance of working together and trusting each other. In the coming moons, all Clans must become one in a similar way, unless they want to be destroyed
- ↑ Revealed in Dawn, page 7
- ↑ A shooting star
- ↑ It later turns out that Midnight meant Highstones, and not the stone at Fourtrees know as the Great Rock by the Clan cats
- ↑ It is not - according to the map, it is at least twice longer, and far more dangerous. Obviously, Midnight was in contact not only with StarClan, but with the Tribe of Endless Hunting as well, and directed the cats towards the Tribe, so they could fulfill the Tribe's prophecy. She even hints at this, telling about a path lying before them, and later the Clan cats suspect the same thing
- ↑ This is because they identify Stormfur as a cat from a prophecy of theirs
- ↑ As he was not one of the four chosen cats, so maybe his decision to join them was influenced by the Tribe of Endless Hunting
- ↑ The Tribe cats believed it was Stormfur because at their arrival, Feathertail's silver pelt was slicked black with water, and the Tribe took no notice of her
- ↑ Revealed in Dawn, page 37 and 44
- ↑ For example, exploring the lake in Starlight or traveling to help the Tribe in Outcast
- ↑ Revealed in Moonrise, page 174
- ↑ Revealed in Midnight, page 166
- ↑ See the Events Timeline for specific birth dates
- ↑ Notably Tigerstar capturing and wanting to kill them in The Darkest Hour
- ↑ Revealed in Moonrise, page 233