|Cover Artist:||Wayne McLoughlin>|
|Publish Date:||5 November 2013|
|Editions:||Hardcover, E-book, Paperback|
|The mountain cats from the Tribe of Rushing Water followed the sun trail to a new territory, convinced that in a land with more prey, their lives would be free from strife. But while no cat has gone hungry, tensions are rising. The once firmly united group has split in two—and a young cat named Thunder is caught in the middle.|
|Preceded by:||The Sun Trail|
|Followed by:||The First Battle|
- You will make things right. When the time comes, I know you will.
- The mountain cats followed the sun trail to a new territory, convinced that in a land with more prey, their lives would be free from strife. But while no cat has gone hungry, tensions are rising—and the once firmly united group has split in two.
- Caught in the middle is a young cat named Thunder. Orphaned after his father, Clear Sky, rejected him, Thunder has thrived under Gray Wing's watchful eye. But Thunder cannot escape the memory or hurt of his father's rejection. When a devastating fire rips through the forest, Thunder's natural abilities are put to the test. Impressed, Clear Sky invites Thunder to join him. But allegiances borne over time can be stronger than blood ties, and Thunder is forced to decide if he is with his father—or against him.
- Coming Soon
Detailed Plot Summary
- Thunder, a young kitten, sees his mother in a dream, begging her for stories. Storm, his mother, had died giving birth to him, but visits him in his dreams. She picks out a personal favorite - when she first met his father, a cat who had loved Storm at first, but then cast Thunder out due to him reminding him too much of his love. She describes how they first saw each other in the forest, and how Storm could easily see the love that glowed in his eyes passionately. Thunder is puzzled, asking how things are so different, comparing the supposed love in his eyes to how Clear Sky turned him away from his own camp. Storm explains that the love is still there, but Clear Sky doesn't know what to do with it. She assures Thunder that he can help Clear Sky find out how he can find a way. Thunder has a vision, in which he can see his father, his tail and head raised as he paces across the moor. Storm sees him as well, and tells Thunder to leave him be as he starts to rise to talk to him. He protests, repeating Storm's words, yet Storm silences him, telling him that the time isn't right. She reassures him that he will know when it is, though, and comments that Thunder has so much of his father in him. Thunder's pain - which has been bottled up for so long, finally explodes as he asks why Clear Sky refuses to acknowledge him, and why can't he go to him. Storm can only look at him with sympathy, saying that he will make things right when the time comes.
- After Gray Wing, one of the cats that live on the moor, finishes teaching Thunder, Acorn Fur, and Lightning Tail, a hunting lesson, he is initally shocked by the sight of a cat he never expected to see - Turtle Tail. Turtle Tail had left to live with a Twolegplace cat, before the moor cats had found their new camp. After Turtle Tail is introduced to the new kits, she and Gray Wing talk, telling him about a new cat that joined her and Bumble in their Twoleg nest. After she confirms she is staying with the moor cats, Gray Wing finds out that she is pregnant - studying her swollen belly. He asks her how it happened, and Turtle Tail replies densely that she made a mistake, saying that at first Tom was nice and friendly, but then he became cruel. She finds it necessary to tell Gray Wing that if she had kitted in the Twolegplace, then her kits would have been taken away from her as soon as they could live without her milk. Shattered Ice spots Turtle Tail, and at first, Turtle Tail assumes he would be happy to have her back, but instead, he is hostile, taking her to Tall Shadow - the moor cats' appointed leader. Tall Shadow welcomes Turtle Tail warmly, explaining what has happened since she was gone - including the story of how Jagged Peak broke his leg and was exiled from Clear Sky's group. However, Tall Shadow's mood erupts badly - and she stalks away from the two cats. Shocked by her sudden change of mood, Gray Wing decides to show Turtle Tail around to dispel the tension.
- They run into old friends, Wind and Gorse, who explain that hunting has been rather complicated since Clear Sky had forbidden them from hunting in the forest. They describe how they had caught prey with two rogues, named Thorn and Dew. They elaborate on how, prior to the mountain cats joining, they'd had shared in peace and harmony, but after, the two rogues had threatened to tear their fur off if they got anywhere near their prey. After Turtle Tail, Gray Wing, Gorse, Wind, and Rainswept Flower hunt, they meet a loner called River Ripple, who accepts their offer in sharing prey. When they finish, they get chased by a dog - and when successfully outrunning it, they release that both Thunder and Jagged Peak are missing. However, Thunder isn't actually missing - for he goes out hunting with Shattered Ice. Shattered Ice proves himself to be a more three dimensional cat, not acting as rude as he did to Turtle Tail, but instead, kindly telling Thunder he should go back with his kin to protect him from the dangers of the forest. When Thunder protests that he wants to hunt, Shattered Ice lets out a defeated sigh and starts to teach him how to hunt, giving him advice on his hunting crouch. However, the lesson is disrupted by Leaf and Petal, who are about to attack.
- With luck on their side, Moon Shadow and Falling Feather appear from the bushes, fending off the possible attack. When they are asked to leave, Thunder asks why he can't see his father, and all cats are confused on the answer - feebly explaining that Clear Sky can't pick favorites, having to help every cat survive. As they start to depart, Thunder hears dogs - the same dogs that attacked Gray Wing and Turtle Tail. They spot Jagged Peak, also being pursued by the dog. They head off the dogs before they can attack Jagged Peak. As Shattered Ice goes back to camp for help, Thunder tries to protect Jagged Peak, only to have his efforts wasted as the tunnel they had taken shelter in starts to bury Jagged Peak alive. However, Wind and Gorse rescue Gray Wing's brother, saving his life.
- Afterwards, Gray Wing is thankful to the rogues for saving Jagged Peak's life, he asks Tall Shadow if they could join the moor cats. Tall Shadow allows them to stay for the night, but she declares afterwards they must leave. However, she takes into consideration their join request. With worries pressing on him due to how easy the dogs had chased Jagged Peak, Gray Wing confesses his anxieties about living on the moor to Turtle Tail. Turtle Tail comments on how quickly they ran to out chase the dogs, how Thunder and Jagged Peak could have found such a good hiding place, and where the other cats could have been to come to the rescue so quick. Gray Wing realizes that she is speaking sense, and realizes that what's around him is truly his home. Shattered Ice becomes infuriated with Tall Shadow for letting Wind and Gorse leave, and he tells her to her face that she has no leadership skills - declaring that Gray Wing should be their rightful leader. However, Cloud Spots heavily disagrees, and Shattered Ice rudely insults him, leading to a fight between the two denmates. Gray Wing pulls them apart. Several cats agree that Gray Wing should be their leader, but Gray Wing has more worries on his mind as he listens to Jagged Peak putting himself down. He wonders when his brother will ever come to like himself again; or if he will.
- Gray Wing and Thunder go hunting soon after the quarrel, and Gray Wing finds himself annoyed at his kin's natural instinct to stalk instead of run. He tries to convince Thunder to run, but he is interrupted by the fact that Turtle Tail is starting her kitting. She gives birth to three healthy kits, and she musters on how it'd be nice for them to have a father - a clear question to Gray Wing, asking him if he would like to be the father. Gray Wing, wanting to put Turtle Tail's request out of his head, dwells in sleep, and he sees Stoneteller, who warns him that he will turn his paws on a new path, commenting on how he may be the new leader of the moor cats. When Gray Wing visits Turtle Tail, he finds out that she has named her kits: Owl Eyes, Sparrow Fur, and Pebble Heart. When they take the kits out to explore, Turtle Tail runs into Bumble, who has new wounds on her. Turtle Tail is shocked, asking who gave them to her. Bumble merely replies that Tom did it, who has been bullying her ever since Turtle Tail left. Bumble begs to join Turtle Tail and her cats, but the two are uneasy, eventually deciding to take Bumble to Tall Shadow. However, Tall Shadow refuses, giving her an escort to her Twolegs. Bumble is outraged, and calls after Turtle Tail, telling her she will never forgive her.
- Tall Shadow, suddenly tired, asks Gray Wing if she should consider making Gorse and Wind apart of their group, reflecting on how it could be time to let another cat take charge. She begs to be left alone with her thoughts, and Gray Wing realizes that he learned something new about Wind - that she can take control smoothly and is very clever. After the cats settle in for sleep, Gray Wing wakes up, smelling smoke. He realizes the forest is on fire, and calls to his denmates. They realize that Clear Sky and his cats will get the worst of it, and they run to their aide. They save the cats caught in the fire, and River Ripple helps. Thunder is especially courageous in the fire - helping each cat escape and even finding a stream for the cats to soak themselves in, then to go rescue the others, despite the terrible danger they are all in. They pull through, and manage to save the forest cats. After being escorted out of the forest by River Ripple, Thunder and Gray Wing realize that they hadn't seen Clear Sky, and call for him desperately. He answers their calls, and the two brothers are overjoyed. It doesn't last long, for the forest starts to burn again, and they advise Clear Sky to safety. They escort Clear Sky and his cats to their camp, as long until the fire wears off.
- As they walk together, Gray Wing proudly tells Clear Sky about how Thunder saved his life. For the first time in ages, Clear Sky acknowledges his son - even praising him, and makes a joke that leads the other cats to laugh. However, Thunder doesn't answer, instead asks Clear Sky if he loved his mother when meeting her. Clear Sky answers yes, yet there is no time to elaborate as they must return to camp. Tall Shadow asks River Ripple if he wants to come, yet he refuses, wishing them the best of luck. After returning to the hollow, Clear Sky and Thunder go hunting together, only to be ambushed by a swarm of rats. They work together to defeat them, and Clear Sky praises him, asking if Gray Wing taught him that. Thunder denies it, and Clear Sky tells him he learned something new today. Clear Sky explains to Thunder how he decided that his cats couldn't be victims, and how he protects his family - all of his family. When they return, Gray Wing scolds the two for leaving without telling any cat. Clear Sky is shocked, not knowing he had to ask permission to hunt with his son. As he stalks away, Thunder follows him, knowing he has done nothing wrong, but wondering why he feels like he betrayed Gray Wing.
- Gray Wing watches the two, accepting the fact that Thunder is Clear Sky's son, but also nothing that he meant nothing to him until now. Tall Shadow walks over to Gray Wing, and out of no where, she asks if he can take over as leader. Gray Wing is shocked, and Tall Shadow admits that she was a coward, explaining how Wnid thought it was okay for her to take over, and how she was scared behind the flames, and if it weren't for Jackdaw's Cry or Thunder, she would have been dead. She also comments on how the other cats don't want her as leader. Gray Wing tries to convince her of all the good things she has done as leader, but Tall Shadow merely refuses, saying Gray Wing should take it. She adds for him not to rub it in her nose, and Gray Wing responds that he'd never dream of hurting her. He goes over to talk to Clear Sky, who is praising his son.
- When he turns to Jagged Peak, he sneers at him, saying that he only survived, while Thunder took the lead and showed the other cats to leap over the flames. Jagged Peak tries to explain how he was responsible for looking after the camp, but Clear Sky cuts him off, scorning at how he stayed behind where it was safe. Gray Wing intervenes, saying how Jagged Peak has been very useful, and how they needed him. Clear Sky apologizes, but Jagged Peak doesn't buy it, saying that Clear Sky just thinks that he's a waste of space, saying that he'll never be good enough. Clear Sky tries to apologize again, but Jagged Peak limps away. Clear Sky turns to Gray Wing, saying he didn't mean to. Gray Wing scoffs, asking if he means anything. Clear Sky explains that he was trying to do the best, and Gray Wing counters on how he could do the best by humiliating his brother. Clear Sky says he can't help it, for it isn't his fault that Jagged Peak fell out of the tree, and that weak cats can't contribute to survival. Gray Wing tells him that they're all doing a good job of surviving, telling Clear Sky to relax. Clear Sky starts to praise Thunder more, commenting on how Storm was brave and that quality passed onto his son. He then asks if Thunder wants to join the forest cats.
- Gray Wing is mortified. He tries to convince Thunder that he can think about this when he's older, and Thunder angrily tells him that he's not a kit. Thunder then asks if they don't know what tomorrow brings, and Clear Sky confirms. Thunder reminds Clear Sky how he left him on the moor, and if it weren't for Gray Wing, he wouldn't be alive. Clear Sky tells him he passed the test - apparently wanting to see if Thunder could survive without him. Gray Wing isn't fooled, disgusted how Clear Sky tries to twist his lies. Thunder agrees, and Clear Sky flashes Gray Wing a scorching look that challenges him, and Gray Wing isn't prepared for the challenge. Not yet. He knows that he has to prep Thunder for his departure. Tall Shadow makes the announcement to the moor cats that she is retiring from the post of a leader. When Clear Sky congratulates him, Gray Wing hesitantly suggests that their groups could be able to work together. Clear Sky merely gives him a fifty fifty, and prepares to leave with the other cats. Prior to his departure, he tells Gray Wing that he doubts they'll be seeing more of each other, preparing for what the future comes to hold. He comments that it makes no sense of who is leading his cats these days, and Gray Wing asks what he means. Clear Sky tells him that his group needs to be more organized.
- Gray Wing struggles to control his temper as he is outright told what to do in his own camp, and he retorts that they were organized enough to save their lives. They quarrel more, but eventually, Clear Sky takes Thunder with him, cautiously asking Gray Wing if he would dare interfere with the bond of a father and son. When he doesn't answer, Clear Sky leaves. Gray Wing goes to say his last goodbyes with Thunder, reminding of how he raised him. He tells Thunder he knows him better than Thunder knows himself, and orders him to say goodbye to Hawk Swoop. When Clear Sky waits for Thunder, annoyed at how long it took for him to say goodbye, he leaves, and Gray Wing is left wondering if he'll ever see his nephew - the cat he could call his own son, for he raised him from birth - again. After settling in with his leadership duties, Turtle Tail joins him, with her three kits. As they curl up into sleep together, Gray Wing wonders if he and Turtle Tail were truly meant to be.
- Thunder takes the morning patrol with his father, Clear Sky, and one of his cats, Leaf. Leaf is rather hostile to Thunder, and when Thunder misses a piece of prey, Clear Sky grumbles on how he should've brought him to the forest earlier. He orders Leaf to take care of the patrol, as he has other duties to do. Leaf turns to Thunder and scolds him, before saying that he should pay attention before he becomes leader. Thunder is puzzled, wondering if Clear Sky only brought him so he could be the heir. When they bring a squirrel and a mouse to camp, all of Clear Sky's attention is to Thunder, praising him for his catch. Thunder explains that the squirrel is Leaf's, yet he ignores him. Leaf is offended at all the attention Thunder is getting, and as Thunder listens to his father telling him how he's going to train him in the ways of the forest, Thunder can't help but miss the carefreeness of life on the moor. The next morning, Clear Sky takes him out to leap, telling him that fear is a feeling to avoid. However, Thunder isn't that skilled at climbing trees, where that is their next lesson. Clear Sky tries to explain that he brought him back because he wanted to do the best for him, yet Thunder isn't convinced. The two of them go back to their camp, and Thunder realizes that he'll show Clear Sky that he'll be fine in the forest. He runs into River Ripple and another she-cat, and Thunder gets into a brawl with a strange tom.
- Clear Sky starts to chase after the tom, declaring that cats who hurt his son will be punished, and River Ripple tells him he can't keep telling cats what to do. Clear Sky is irritated by River Ripple's so called arrogance, and tells him to say it to his face, adding that he can do what he likes. Thunder starts to say something, yet Clear Sky glares at him viciously. River Ripple interrupts, saying he'd like to hear what Thunder has to say. Clear Sky informs River Ripple that Thunder doesn't have an opinion, and River Ripple himself is shocked. When he leaves, Clear Sky turns and congratulates his son on expanding the territory. Thunder tells Clear Sky he was fine back there, and he didn't have to shove the cat. Clear Sky comments on how they were in the forest, and asks how that's fine. Thunder says that they can go where they were like, as they were there before them. He then asks if he does have an opinion, and Clear Sky tells him that he does, he was just putting that cat in his place. He asks if Thunder gets it, and Thunder lies, saying that he does. He wonders if Clear Sky will spread the word of their encounter, and Thunder wishes that it had never happened.
- When Gray Wing is playing with Turtle Tail's kits, he starts to have a coughing attack. Turtle Tail's kits beg him to get better, saying that he's like a father to them. Cloud Spots treats Gray Wing, telling him he'll be fine. Cloud Spots suggests that Wind and Gorse should have names like the rest of the mountain cats. Gorse suggests that Wind's name should be Wind That Chases Rabbits Down Burrows, and Wind cuffs him, saying that he could be called Gorse Prickle Stuck In Paw. All the cats laugh, and Rainswept Flower suggests that Wind could call herself Wind Runner, due to her being extremely fast. Turtle Tail suggests Gorse Fur for Gorse, considering how the fur on the top of his head sticks out like gorse spines.
- Gray Wing calls his cats, asking them if they would be with him if he were to lead. The crowd lets out yowls of approval, and Gray Wing tells Lightning Tail that this was true strength, due to Lightning Tail suggesting before that strong cats could stand up to Clear Sky. Lightning Tail dips his head, all hostility towards Gray Wing gone, as he tells him that where he leads, they will all follow. When Gray Wing wakes up the next day, he realizes that he truly loves Turtle Tail, scolding himself for turning her away earlier. When Gray Wing goes out to teach Turtle Tail's kits how to hunt, Gray Wing starts to have another coughing bout, where Pebble Heart treats him quickly and efficently. Gray Wing is impressed with his knowledge of herbs, and asks him if he ever has dreams. Pebble Heart lies to him, saying he's never had them. When the kits scamper away with Jagged Peak after reaching camp, Turtle Tail scolds him for his illness and not receiving help. Gray Wing explains that he can't look weak in front of all the cats he has to lead, and Turtle Tail asks him about next time.
- Gray Wing tells her all he needed was air, and there won't be a next time. They get chased by dogs all of a sudden, but being two intelligent cats, they successfully run them off. Gray Wing thanks Turtle Tail for agreeing not to tell his secret, and Turtle Tail gruffly replies that she never agreed to say anything. Gray Wing warns the moor cats of the possible danger, saying that for the rest of the day they should all keep together and stay close to the hollow before the dogs come home. When Pebble Heart has a vivid dream that keeps him moving, he explains one of the dreams he's had very often to Gray Wing after he guesses that he'd had it, and several like them before. He says that he was walking down a long, dark tunnel, and there was a glittering light at the end, as if a star was shining underground. Gray Wing asked if it scared him, yet Pebble Heart denies it, saying that he was excited by it, wanting to get to the end of the tunnel. He says that he could hear other cats, feeling as if they were trying to tell him something. But he never gets to figure it out, for he wakes up before he can reach the end of the tunnel. He tells Gray Wing what happens in this dream, explaining that he saw a very big fight where cats were screeching and clawing one another, adding that he thinks he saw Clear Sky in that dream. He confirms that he's dreamed it before, and Gray Wing wonders if it is some kind of warning. He assures Pebble Heart to not tell any cat, for he must be kept safe if he's this important. When he is cut off by a cry of grief, he realizes that Moon Shadow, sick from his wounds, had died when the other cats were asleep. They bury Moon Shadow, and Gray Wing makes sure that no cat will ever forget him.
- Owl Eyes goes missing, and several cats go to him track him down, including Gray Wing and Tall Shadow, who is determined to not see a cat buried again. Gray Wing tries to rescue Owl Eyes, and finds that the only solution is to hide under a tunnel. But rain starts to pour heavily down, and Gray Wing's chest is too tight for him to escape with the other cats. As they try to escape, they run into a badger's nest, and they get attacked. Owl Eyes is scratched, but they manage to escape with no terrible wounds. Turtle Tail is outraged at Gray Wing when she finds out what he had done, and Gray Wing tries to defend himself, but his chest is tightening again, leaving him not to breathe. Turtle Tail realizes that he's seriously ill, and declares that he needs time to recover and that he could not lead the group of cats. When Thunder is out patrolling the borders, he sees Bumble. Bumble updates Thunder on the news about how she isn't a kittypet anymore, and is a wild cat now. Petal and Frost are with him, and they tell Bumble she is trespassing. Bumble defiantly tells them that she can go where she wants, and Frost and Petal chase her out. Thunder tries to explain that Petal and Frost could've been kinder, but Petal tells him that she's been lonely ever since she was a kit, and she owes Clear Sky for bringing her in. They go back to camp, for Clear Sky has scheduled a meeting. When Frost and Petal talk about what he may do, they suggest that he could give certain cats responsibilities, yet scorn on the possible cats. Thunder is shocked by the way they go about their denmates. Frost explains that in the forest, every cat's place depends on how much Clear Sky likes them, for his word is the law.
- Thunder is confused, and Petal tells Frost that Thunder doesn't need explaining, ruefully saying that he goes to the top due to his relationship with Clear Sky. They encounter Wind Runner, who is apparently hunting in their territory. Frost and Petal attack her, yet Thunder doesn't, aware of his relationship with the moor cat. When they finish, they instantly scold Thunder, questioning why he's on patrol if he doesn't even defend the borders. When they return to camp, they realize that Clear Sky's announcement is about adjusting the territory lines, saying that if he let his cats go hungry, he'd never forgive himself. He explains that he wants to expand them, and calls Thunder on one of the patrols to expand them. Thunder is torn - between loyalty to his father and what he knows his right. He marks the new border, and they approach a rogue cat, who turned down Petal in her time of need, explaining her hatred towards her. When the two she-cats fight, Petal ends up killing Misty, despite Thunder's attempts to have Petal let her go.
- Clear Sky is unsympathetic, calling Misty a stupid furball. Clear Sky turns to Thunder, telling him he sees so much of him in his son. Thunder finds Misty's kits, realizing that's why she fought so fiercely - to defend them. Clear Sky suggests killing them so they don't suffer, but Thunder rejects it. Petal suggests that she can look after them, but Clear Sky reminds her that Misty was the cat that refused her help. Petal assures Clear Sky that Misty is dead, and the kits haven't done anything to her. Thunder is surprised at Petal's sudden turn of character - she is much more sympathetic and caring, and Thunder instantly offers to help her take care of them. But before they go back to camp, Thunder takes a look at Misty's body, realizing she didn't have to die. He knows that Clear Sky didn't need all this territory, and if they didn't come there, none of it would happen. He wonders if Clear Sky truly would have killed the kits if Petal hadn't offered to take care of them, and horror fills Thunder as he realizes he cannot answer that question.
- Back in Gray Wing's territory, Pebble Heart reports of another dream - that something awful has happened at the edge of the forest. Wind Runner comes to the camp before Gray Wing can call cats to investigate, and Turtle Tail gives her a hard stare as she calls for a meeting. Gray Wing inwardly begs for Turtle Tail not to cause a scene, for although Wind Runner is pushy, it seems as if she has something important to say. When Tall Shadow refuses to acknowledge her position as a leader, Gray Wing realizes that he has to, declaring to himself that he won't let a rogue cat push herself to the top when Gray Wing has worked hard to achieve it. Wind Runner tells the cats about how she ran into Clear Sky's patrol, talking about how they viciously attacked her and how Thunder was apart of it. Gray Wing comes to a chilling conclusion that Thunder is one of them, and remembers the fight between him and Fox - which had torn Gray Wing and Clear Sky's relationship apart. Turtle Tail asks if Wind Runner is sure, and Wind Runner tells her that she can see where she had buried Misty, the cat who had died with Clear Sky and Thunder's scent markers on her. She mentions the fact that there were kits, but they couldn't find them. Jackdaw's Cry calls out, saying they need a leader. At that moment, Gray Wing knows he has to take control, and organizes the patrols. When they set off towards the edge of the forest, they realize that a cat is crying in pain - and they find Bumble, dying, with the reek of fox all over her. As she dies, with her wounds so fatal even Cloud Spots can't do anything, the cats realize that there is a stench of Clear Sky there, as well. Bumble tries to utter out her last words as Turtle Tail yells at Gray Wing for defending his brother, and Clear Sky leaps from the bushes, insisting that he only tried to warn her. Gray Wing demands if he killed Bumble, and Wind Runner joins in, asking if he killed Misty's kits.
- Clear Sky shows some horror to the sights surrounding him, yet he greets Gray Wing cooly, his eyes almost accusing him of betrayal. When he is accused of killing Bumble, Clear Sky asks if they think he's capable of it. Gray Wing doesn't think he is, but he and Turtle Tail are two different sides of the same fresh-kill, for she believes Clear Sky could, saying that he is powermad, doesn't care about who he hurts as long as he get whats he want, and declares that she is an apology for a cat. Wind Runner glares scornfully at Gray Wing, asking him what they do now. Gray Wing tells Clear Sky to leave, and he asks him if he believes he's innocent. Gray Wing asks that if he didn't harm Bumble, then who did? Clear Sky explains that he gave her a warning, just a little cuff around her ear. She faints, weak from hunger, and he says that he left, but hearing a fox bark in the distance. He says he was going to get help, but Turtle Tail accuses him of lying. Clear Sky declares he won't be spoken to like that, and he looks at Gray Wing, as if expecting him to stand up for him. When Gray Wing doesn't respond, Clear Sky deems that he knows where he stands, and parts.
- They return to the moor cats, explaining what happened. With hisses of outrage and supporting meows, they come to a conclusion that Tall Shadow and Gray Wing should join forces and be joint leaders. Tall Shadow decides to formally welcome Wind Runner and Gorse Fur in their group. When Gray Wing talks to Turtle Tail, he believes that some cat has to get to the bottom of all the issues - the hunting, the expansion of territory, but most importantly, Clear Sky's head. Turtle Tail asks if the cat has to be him, and Gray Wing meekly replies that it couldn't be anyone else.
- When Thunder is in Clear Sky's camp, Fircone and Nettle ask if Thunder could make some arrangements, specifically how Clear Sky treats intruders. Thunder explains to his father, with Fircone, Nettle, and Frost, what the rogues think, and Clear Sky asks if Thunder speaks for all of them. Thunder inquires if they can look after what they have, and forget about expanding their territory. Yet, Clear Sky reminds him it's too late to stop what has already begun. He asks if the forest fire that was meant to be so little, still leave places scarred. He talks about how he's still seen effects of the fire that won't seem to wear off anytime soon. Thunder tells him that there's fresh growth too, and it won't always be like that. Thunder explains that he's only trying to help, and Clear Sky signals for Frost to come over to him. He commands him to show his burn, that he received from the forest fire, to all the cats. He declares that Frost cannot carry out his patrols anymore, and Thunder defends him, saying he still contributes to the group, and his wound just needs to get better. Clear Sky forces him to the ground, pushing his nose close to Frost's leg.
- He orders Thunder to lick his wound clean, as he cares so much. Thunder, not allowing himself to be treated like this, turns to face his father, asking what happened to him, reciting his own words when he said that he acted in the best interests of all of them. Quick Water comes to Thunder's defense, agreeing wih him. She tells Clear Sky that his mother, Quiet Rain, would not want to see him act like a torementor. Clear Sky snarls to keep her mother out of it, yet Quick Water presses on, asking is that why she wished good luck to him. Clear Sky tells his cats that he owes them an apology, commenting that they clearly don't understand what he was trying to do. He declares that Frost must leave the forest cats before he spreads the disease among the other cats. He orders Thunder to leave Frost in the remort parts of the woods, where maggots will find him.
- Thunder asks if Clear Sky is ordering him to abandon Frost somewhere to die alone, where no cat would care for him - and he realizes that's exactly what Clear Sky is telling him to do. Frost begs for Clear Sky not to do this, and Thunder realizes that this wasn't what it was to be apart of a group. Thunder leaps on the tree stump, to be scorned by both Clear Sky and Quick Water, which puzzles Thunder, as he believes Quick Water was on his side. He tells all the cats that he and Frost are leaving - and they will never return. Amazingly after that, a fox prowls into the clearing, and Clear Sky accuses Thunder of bringing it in. He shoves Thunder in the path of the fox, and Thunder easily beats the fox, but only with Leaf's help. Clear Sky even praises Thunder, saying that some cat taught him well. Thunder retorts that it wasn't him, and knows that his bond with his father was gone, and he could never trust him again. Clear Sky tells him if he leaves, he can't come back. Thunder tells him he doesn't want to come back.
- He leaves the camp, with Frost and Falling Feather with him - Falling Feather escorting him to the boundary. Frost asks Thunder why he's doing this, and Thunder replies with the fact that Frost is annoying, but he doesn't want to see him die. Frost tells him that he probably won't be healed, but Thunder reassures him that the cats on the moor know about healing herbs, and will be able to fix him. Falling Feather wishes she could come with them, and when Thunder invites her, she tells him that the forest is where she belongs. Thunder realizes that his father had come to watch him leave, and he leads Frost to the moor. He knows that whatever brought Gray Wing and Clear Sky out of the mountains - maybe the hunger or the desperation - had sown a rotten seed in Clear Sky's heart, reminding Thunder that his father wasn't born bad. Thunder knows that whatever he shared with his father was gone, and as he turns to the moor, he realizes that the other cats were there. That Gray Wing was there. That hope was there.
- River Ripple, known as Ripple as well, wakes up to the gorgeous morning light. He then washes himself, in the correct order he was taught. He greets Arc, one of the Cats of the Park, who had chosen to teach Ripple when he was just a kit. Prior to eating their Morning Meal, they exchange a few words, with Arc reminding him to give thanks to the sun and the earth for granting him such a peaceful life. When Arc tells him that life can be hard, even for them, Ripple is confused, knowing that life has never been hard for them. Ripple comes to the fact where they do the same order every day, and they do things right. He knows that nothing will change, and everything is good. The next morning, they hear Twoleg monsters, that start to destroy the Park. Cats are trapped in a den of shiny mesh, most noticeably Dart, Shine, and Flutter. The monsters start to pursue the two cats, and Ripple is sure that he is going to die. Ripple leaps over into a river, and gets swept away, watching as Arc stands on the wall, unable to do anything.
- When Ripple tries to get back to the park, Twoleg kits throw rocks at him. He lets himself go back into the river to avoid them, and gives up hope that he could find his Park. Ripple tries to catch a fish in the water, but he fails. He spots two brown creatures with sleek fur that swim easily in the water, catching fish for each other and playing in the water. They spot Ripple, and start to hiss at him, and Ripple scares them off. With a sudden realization, Ripple knows that other creatures and Twolegs are enemies, as they tried to destroy his home. He knows that everything is falling apart. Sensing splashes around him, he wonders if the brown creatures followed him, but sees that they are just fish. He manages to catch one, and comments that it's delicious. He goes back to the Park, wondering if he will see his friends. Seeing that they aren't there, he starts to walk away, but realizes that the river comes to a stop. Climbing on a log, he looks down, scanning the river that cascaded into a pool. Unfortunately, the log slips and falls into the river, and he feels as if he is going to drown. He starts to swim to the shore, but his head hits against a rock, and blackness hits him.
- When he wakes up, he starts to plan out a method for catching fish, realizing that his shadow must be behind him, not wavering on the water. He flashes his paw in the water, and brings up a fish. He remarks that the river is beautiful, but misses his Park dearly. He gives thanks to the river, and meets a cat who comments on him being a water rat. He asks if he can join her group, and the she-cat tells him that she hunts alone, although he's welcome to stay in the land. She informs him that the land belongs to the wild cats, and he shouldn't steal prey from the other cats who have caught it. Ripple is saddened when she tells him that they hunt alone, and feels lonely as he remembers that he was in a group since he was born. The she-cat tells him that although they hunt alone, that doesn't mean they can't hunt with a friend. She asks him if he wants to join her, and she would introduce him to her brother. She suggests that they can give him some tips, and that he can show them what a 'water rat' hunts. She introduces herself as Night, and Ripple looks at the river, knowing that it gave him food, protects him from his enemies, and believes that it still is protecting him. He tells himself that he's not the young Cat of the Park anymore, and that he's something else - something more, a cat of the river. He knows that he should honor his protector, and tells Night that his name is River. River Ripple.
- In the back of The Sun Trail, a preview image is shown for Thunder Rising, which depicts only one bush in the lefthand corner. This contradicts with the official cover, which shows multiple bushes.
- Thunder Rising (EN), HarperCollins (hardcover), 5 November 2013
- Thunder Rising (EN), HarperCollins (e-book), 5 November 2013
- Thunder Rising (EN), HarperCollins (paperback), 23 December 2014
References and Citations
|Thunder Rising chapters|
|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|