Our prologue opens in the Dark Forest with Breezepelt and Hawkfrost engaging in some erotic grappling. Well, they're supposed to doing some battle training, but since Hawkfrost is involved, it's riddled with lines that can easily be taken out of context.
Really. Read every single fight with Hawkfrost. There are innuendos in every single one
Tigerstar breaks up their training scrap, and they struggle to pull their panting, sweaty bodies apart as he critiques them. Darkstripe then comes in, and wraps himself around Tigerstar as he praises Hawkfrost.
I can't tell if he's hitting on Tigerstar or Hawkfrost, but it's pretty obvious he wants both of them. He's in every she-cat/gay tom who loves bad boys' dream.
Tigerstar says they need to fight harder for the upcoming battle, and reminds Breezepelt of why he is fighting: Crowfeather.
They talk to Breezepelt about how he has been wronged and that he needs to seek vengeance for the wrongs that have been committed as he looks on like a cute little kit. He's just begging
for fangirls here.
Hawkfrost suggests more practice, wanting to get on top of Breezepelt again, but Tigerstar sends him to walk in an apprentice's dreams, saying that she
is needed for the battle. Hawkfrost's sexual tastes are anything but picky, so he goes.
We then have Dovepaw, unable to sleep due to her feelings of guilt about Rippletail. She decides to kill time like any person would: spying on people.
As she uses her senses to check all around ThunderClan territory, she notices that there are two cats walking around the lake and hurries over to Jayfeather's den to tell him.
Jayfeather calmly asks who the cats are, which she should have checked first. When Dovepaw identifies them as Mothwing and Mistyfoot, Jayfeather deduces that Leopardstar has died and that they are heading to the Moonpool so Mistyfoot can get her nine lives.
Dovepaw asks about if it is the deputy that always becomes leader, and even though she should know the answer to that, Jayfeather says yes, but also mentions the possibility of a coup, like with Onestar.
Dovepaw asks Jayfeather if he thinks that might happen to Mistyfoot, and he says if she is going to the Moonpool, she must not have been challenged, but adds that there was a time where she might have been.
Jayfeather uses this to switch the conversation to Hawkfrost, and seems to be disgusted by the sound of his name. Now, this is what I don't get. Jayfeather has met Hawkfrost for like five seconds in The Sight
, and briefly at the end of The Fourth Apprentice
, so why does he hate him so much? I mean, everything Hawkfrost did happened before he was born, and even if he mind-scanned a summary of Hawkfrost's actions from Brambleclaw, it still doesn't explain why he acts as if Hawkfrost personally hurt him.
After helping Jayfeather out for a while, Dovepaw joins the dawn patrol with Ivypaw, and they run off playing towards the lake, until the rest of the patrol catches up to scold them for all the noise they made.
They start the patrol, and almost immediately, Ivypaw gets a splinter. Cinderheart pulls out the ragged, bloody splinter (seriously, look at some of the splinters these cats get. They are hardcore
splinters), and they see that it came from Jayfeather's broken stick.
To prevent any future hardcore splinters, Brambleclaw decides to throw the two halves of the stick into the lake. As the pieces of the stick are thrown into the lake, Dovepaw hears a cat yowl in agony.
Yup, it's Jayfeather. He is apparently so attached to the stick, that when his beloved is cast away, completely unbeknownst to him, he feels pain. JayxStick is just canon, okay?
After some confusion about the pain he felt, Jayfeather checks on Poppyfrost's new kits, and everything is happy until Squirrelflight and Leafpool walk in. He starts getting all pissed and thinks to himself about how much he hates them. What a jerk.
Later, Mothwing and the newly named Mistystar stop by at ThunderClan camp on their way back and of course take the opportunity to tell the Clan about Leopardstar's death and Mistystar's new leadership, but they also mention the deaths of some RiverClan elders like...Blackclaw...aww...
He may have been a one-dimensional minor character, but back in tNP, he was Hawkfrost's bitch. He was his Darkstripe...
Firestar offers them travelling herbs for their journey back, and as Mothwing and Jayfeather head over to his den, Mothwing says "Longtail seems to be stiffer than ever."
Jayfeather probes Mothwing about how the ceremony went, since he wants to see how it worked with Mothwing not believing in StarClan, and eventually goes into her memories.
Mothwing sees Mistystar twitching as she receives her lives, but writes it off as...something. She just refuses to accept that anything is actually happening.
When it's over, Mistystar confronts Mothwing and says that she wasn't there. Well, although medicine cats apparently have some role in the leadership ceremony, I don't remember Cinderpelt or Featherwhisker walking around in Firestar or Bluestar's ceremonies, so I don't know why this is out of the ordinary. Besides, the leaders aren't supposed to talk about what happens during their ceremony, so how would Mistystar know whats normal?
Mothwing tells Mistystar that StarClan does not exist for her the way it exists for her, and that she has lived without the same guidance they give her but has been able to serve her Clan without StarClan.
Jayfeather snaps out of the memory, and Mothwing tells him that she has no connection with StarClan, but it doesn't make her any less of a medicine cat.
Hold on. The stuff Mothwing says to Mistystar and Jayfeather makes it sound like she acknowledges that StarClan exists, but simply refuses to follow them or have faith in them in any way, which just seems...odd.
Afterwards, Lionblaze takes Jayfeather out into the forest and confronts him about the broken stick. Jayfeather tries to explain to Lionblaze why he broke a stick in a fit of rage without making it sound completely ridiculous even though it makes perfect sense to people who know what he's talking about. Like trying to explain Warriors
He tells Lionblaze about the stick's connection to the cats that used to live by the lake, as well as Rock and the tunnels, but he decides not to tell Lionblaze his real motives behind breaking it, simply saying that they can't always look to the past, and that they need to find their own destiny for themselves. I don't know why he can't just tell Lionblaze that he broke it because Rock betrayed them by hiding the identity of their parents, and was always pretty unhelpful.
Later, Lionblaze and Cinderheart are teaching Dovepaw and Ivypaw to climb trees, as Firestar has decided that ThunderClan warriors should start learning techniques for ambushes and attacks from in trees.
After the apprentices practice their techniques a bit, Dovepaw hears a WindClan patrol being attacked by dogs, and she sees Sedgewhisker being bitten.
Dovepaw talks to Lionblaze and insists that they go and help her since they formed a bond on the journey upstream, but Lionblaze tells her that the warrior code tells them not to make friends outside of their Clan, insisting that things have changed since the journey. Dovepaw says he's being cold, and says that she
They get into an argument over it, and Dovepaw says that the prophecy is bigger than the warrior code and starts talking about how they have to be loyal to either the prophecy or the warrior code, and that he and Jayfeather have to make a choice, before storming off without an answer.
The training session then gets back together, and Cinderheart suggests that they teach the apprentices how to cross between trees, an idea Lionblaze doesn't like because he's secretly not comfortable in trees.
When they get to a particularly weak branch, Lionblaze says it won't be able to support their weight, to which Dovepaw responds with "Your
weight, you mean!" Oh, resorting to fat jokes now? It seems Dovepaw is still upset.
But Lionblaze gets revenge when Dovepaw lands on a somewhat weak branch and falls. She lands on her feet, totally unharmed, but the branch falls after her and almost lands on her just before Lionblaze pulls her out of the way. He quickly says "However much you think you know, sometimes I'm right, okay?"
He just showed her up big time, but for some reason she acknowledge this badass moment, or that she was almost a Dovepaw Sandwich.
Now this is the moment where Dovepaw really clicked for me. Her defiance of Lionblaze, her confusion about the prophecy, her desire to live a normal life, her naïveté.I started to see something in her here, and her character just gets even more developed as the book goes on.
I loved Ivypaw's character development, too. I know they were both in The Fourth Apprentice
, but I say they weren't really introduced until Fading Echoes
, since their characterization here just blows The Fourth Apprentice
out of the water.
I think that between them and the extra polish that Lionblaze and Jayfeather have had lately, this book is good enough from the characters alone.
Anyway, Dovepaw is still determined to do something about Sedgewhisker. Fed up with Lionblaze treating her like a dumb apprentice instead of an equal partner, she and Ivypaw sneak out at night to visit WindClan.
They manage to sneak into WindClan camp and into the warriors den. Of course, things don't really go according to Dovepaw's plan, as Sedgewhisker starts bitching at them about how WindClan can take care of themselves.
Then all of the other warriors start waking up, and they get treated like actual invaders. After continual embarrassment and being told off, they are escorted home by Heathertail and Breezepelt.
After eating a whopping helping of crow, Dovepaw still wants to apologize for making Ivypaw come, at which point Ivypaw bitches about how Dovepaw didn't make her do anything. Ooh, issues!
We also get some insight into Breezepelt and Heathertail's relationship, but I end up a bit confused as they start having an argument over Breezepelt constantly growling at the apprentices. Throughout tPoT, Heathertail seemed to be the only cat who could stand Breezepelt. I can understand that she doesn't really love him, but aren't they at least friends? She doesn't act like it...
And I know they aren't really a loving couple, but are they at least considered mates like Crowfeather and Nightcloud? It's not very clear.
Anyway, now its time for embarrassment round two, as Breezepelt and Heathertail plan to bring the apprentices right to Firestar. Lionblaze and Jayfeather also show up to add to all of the tension between these cats and give Heathertail an opportunity to take a jab at Lionblaze.
Firestar gets pretty intense about the situation, and after the two WindClan warriors leave, he says that he wants to talk to Dovepaw, Lionblaze, and Jayfeather alone.
Once they're alone, he confronts Dovepaw about how she knew about the dog in WindClan territory and the beavers from the previous book. He also moves on to Lionblaze's vaguely defined skill in battle, and Jayfeather's ability to walk in other cats' dreams. Jayfeather realises that he knows they're the Three.
Firestar continues to dramatically, but slowly, get to the point, but Jayfeather is too impatient and just yells "We know!" in order to get things moving.
Now that it's out there that they are the Three, they talk about the prophecy, and it seems that Firestar knows even less than Jayfeather, so we don't learn much.
Firestar gives them his full support, telling them to see him if anything comes up, relieved that the Three have finally come.
...And that's it. After that cliff-hanger, he simply acknowledges it, and gives them his support.
With that out of the way, Jayfeather goes out on a walk to brood about the stick and be all Jayfeather-y. He heads to the lake and starts apologizing to Rock about breaking the stick, and as usual, starts begging for answers.
In the middle of his stick angst, Jayfeather notices that he is near the ShadowClan border, and is perplexed by the fresh ShadowClan markers he scents, which belong to a single tom.
Before he has time to think about it, he gets attacked by Tigerheart. When he realises that he has attacked a medicine cat, Tigerheart lets him up.
When Jayfeather starts asking him what he's doing out so late at night, Tigerheart starts getting defensive, leaving Jayfeather suspicious.
The next chapter opens with Dovepaw waking up a few days later. We learn that she had a rigorous training session the day before where Lionblaze made her test the limits of her powers, and she's thankful to get some rest.
But then Ivypaw comes in from the dawn patrol, complaining about how Brambleclaw let Dovepaw sleep in. She seems pretty fed up about Dovepaw getting special treatment from both Firestar and Brambleclaw. Again, Ivypaw's jealousy is obvious.
It also seems that Firestar told Brambleclaw about the prophecy. Do we see any of Brambleclaw's reactions whatsoever? No.
Dovepaw tries to help Ivypaw feel better, but then gets called out for the border patrol with Lionblaze, Thornclaw, Graystripe, and Briarpaw. The patrol heads out to the ShadowClan borders to check the markers, and they find ShadowClan scent within their borders.
Dovepaw immediately notices the scent as her beloved Tigerheart's, and a ShadowClan patrol which coincidentally includes Tigerheart shows up.
The patrols get in a little argument about the ShadowClan scent in ThunderClan territory. Thornclaw eventually offers the patrol to just come up a scent it themselves, and Tigerheart takes him up on the offer. Dovepaw realises that he is volunteering so that when he checks the bush, he will disguise his old scent with new, and is impressed by how clever he is.
Beyond Dovepaw's obvious crushing over Tigerheart, I actually agree with her. It's a very clever plan.
But as Tigerheart comes and checks the bush, Dovepaw whispers to him that she knows it was him. Tigerheart starts panicking, and says that he can explain himself at the upcoming Gathering. Instead of exposing him to the patrol, Dovepaw agrees to his terms.
It seems that Tigerheart is aware of Dovepaw's feelings for him, as he abuses them by making her offers that no one in their right mind would accept, knowing that she will do whatever her hunky Tigerheart says.
The patrol returns and reports the ShadowClan scent inside the border, and Firestar says that they will increase patrols, and mention it at the Gathering, but only if completely necessary. He doesn't want to stir up too much aggression.
Jayfeather also tells Dovepaw and Lionblaze about his encounter with Tigerheart on the border. However, Dovepaw decides to stay quiet about Tigerheart until the Gathering.
And now it's the night of the Gathering. Dovepaw obviously gets to go, since she gets special privileges from Brambleclaw...even though going to Gatherings is in no way connected to the prophecy. And as you would expect, Ivypaw is again jealous of the special attention Dovepaw gets from the senior warriors.
ThunderClan ends up being first at the Gathering, and Blossompaw climbs up on the Great Oak and refer to herself as "Blossomstar". Yeah, that's not
Squirrelflight agrees with me, and yells at her to get down. Blossompaw quickly gets down, landing awkwardly, and Millie starts bitching at Squirrelflight because Blossompaw is limping slightly.
Yes, she's bitching just because one of her kits got a boo-boo when Squirrelflight accidentally surprised her by reasonably telling her off.
Dammit, Millie! Everybody already hates for absolutely no reason. Stop giving them a legitimate excuse!
The other Clans show up, but the Gathering starts before Dovepaw gets a chance to talk to Tigerheart.
When it's RiverClan's turn to speak, Mistystar announces that she is now leader, but for some reason doesn't mention her deputy, and goes on to honour the memory of Leopardstar, saying that she would do for her Clanmates, when one cat in the crowd whispers "Or Tigerstar
," It seems some cats were wise to their "political" relations; in the past.
When it's ShadowClan's time to speak, Blackstar starts talking about how there has been too much ThunderClan activity on the border, to which Thornclaw responds by yelling at him that it was ShadowClan who left scent on ThunderClan territory.
As the Clans
discuss this, Dovepaw stares at Tigerheart, wondering if he feels guilty, and realises that she smells blood; Tigerheart is injured. She assumes his Clanmates figured out about him leaving his scent on ThunderClan territory and punished him.
She starts to feel sorry for her precious Tiggy Wiggy, and then Sandstorm yells at her for staring at Tigerheart. You know, like how Cinderpelt told Leafpool to watch where her affections fall when she caught her staring at Crowfeather. Hmmm, I sense a connection...
Blackstar goes on a rant about how ThunderClan seems to act like the other Clans owe them a debt because of the mission to the dam that all the Clans participated in. Despite the fact that, you know, they don't act like that and never tried to boss any of the Clans around.
Some other cats also start talking about how Firestar sucks for trying to make friends, and that he's a coward because he actually supports peacekeeping. And they call him a kittypet for good measure.
Why are Blackstar and these cats sounding like those Warriors
fans that constantly bash Firestar and ThunderClan for either stupid or made up reasons? This is just one of those moments where I can't help but think that Vicky is taking a cheap shot at the more annoying parts of the fanbase.
As the Gathering ends, Dovepaw goes to find Tigerheart so she can get her explanation.
She catches up to him, and when she starts pressing him about what he was doing inside her border, he insists that there is nothing bad going on, and that she needs to trust him on this.
They have a big, tender emotional moment, and Dovepaw once again accepts this answer, simply because she trusts
him so much.
The fact that she bends to his will so easily, not to mention every single ounce of subtext in this scene makes it blatantly obvious that she is in love with him, but she has Leafpool Syndrome.
What is Leafpool Syndrome? It's like Firestar Syndrome, except you're in love with the person who is in love with you, but are totally unaware of your own feelings.
Then Tigerheart tries pushing his luck and starts talking about how they were almost "friends", and says that things would be much easier if they were in the same Clan, obviously trying to see if he can get into her pants before they have to head back to their Clans.
In a sudden moment of realisation, Dovepaw notices that she is leaning too close to Tigerheart, and suddenly changes the subject to his wounds. As usual, she doesn't get any useful answers, and Tigerheart doesn't get into her pants, leaving both of them thoroughly unsatisfied as they leave.
When Dovepaw rejoins ThunderClan, she learns that ShadowClan and WindClan are acting like Warriors
fans again and are hating on ThunderClan for doing stuff that they don't do/existing, but it eventually breaks up.
Our next chapter opens in a bright, happy field. An unknown apprentice frolics happily through the field, and tries to catch a mouse, but when she fails to catch it an unknown cat comes in and says "Tough luck"
The two cats start talking, and seem to get along well. The older tom starts helping the apprentice with her pounce, and they eventually start talking about the apprentice's sister, who she really admires.
They eventually break up their little training session. As the apprentice leaves, the older tom offers her his name: Hawkfrost. He asks her name, and she identifies herself as Ivypaw.
That's right; the cat that Tigerstar sent Hawkfrost to train at the beginning of the book was Ivypaw. The fact that it's Hawkfrost makes me suspicious why he's being so nice...
But, their frolicking is cute, and I love IvyxHawk.
But it seems weird that Dark Forest has access to such a bright and sunny field. I can't help but picture Hawkfrost abusing this so much. Whenever he's done with Ivypaw, I imagine him taking all sorts of different she-cats into his little field and seducing them.
As Ivypaw wakes up, she is informed by Cinderheart that Blossompaw is having her assessment, and that she will be partnered up with her to see how well Blossompaw can hunt in a group. Upon learning that she will be paired with Ivypaw, Blossompaw starts bitching about how Ivypaw sucks, and starts comparing her to how awesome Dovepaw is. Ivypaw is not amused.
As Ivypaw keeps telling herself that she is just as good as her sister, we learn that the apprentices won't be assessed by their own mentors; they're going to mix and match. Between this and the tree climbing training from before, Thornclaw starts to mock the fact that Firestar seems to be constantly making new training methods.
I can't help but notice that Thornclaw has been getting a lot of attention lately, specifically in the form of challenging Firestar's authority. I'm thinking that this might be the Erins' way of hinting that he will be the next leader of ThunderClan. Just putting that out their so I have gloating privileges when it turns out I'm right.
Anyway, they get started on the assessment, and Ivypaw sets out to show up Blossompaw with her newly-acquired Hawkfrost skills. And indeed, Blossompaw gets annoyed at how Ivypaw now sucks less than her.
As they finish the assessment, Ivypaw starts thinking about Hawkfrost again,
completely won over by his obvious charms
, and thinks he is a StarClan warrior. Uh...Close enough?
She feels proud to be visited by a StarClan warrior,
especially one as smexy as Hawkfrost
, and feels that it gives her an edge over her sister, because she's really obsessive over not feeling inferior to her. Of course, these feelings of self-satisfaction simply aren't complete if she doesn't brag to Dovepaw about it, so Ivypaw does just that.
She starts to tell her sister that a StarClan warrior came to her in her dream, but before she can tell Dovepaw who it is she gets dragged off by Lionblaze.
Ivypaw again starts feeling self-conscious again, and devotes herself to training until she is even better than her sister so that she can get the same amount of attention. I find it ironic that Ivypaw is jealous of Dovepaw for getting so much attention, yet own her motivation is based entirely around her relationship with Dovepaw.
I also find it kind of odd how one training session with Hawkfrost makes her go from average to below average to having an advantage over older apprentices. Tigerstar did the same with Lionblaze, too. Does being in the Dark Forest just make you inherently better at making cats learn to kick ass incredibly quickly? Or does Tigerstar just know that many superior techniques that somehow haven't worked their way into the Clans' training?
We then get to see what Lionblaze was dragging Dovepaw off to, and it seems that Firestar is having a meeting with the Three about the situation on the ShadowClan border. As they discuss the situation, Dovepaw's Dovepaw Senses start tingling. She hears roots coming out of the ground: One of the trees at the top of the hollow is falling.
The rush out into the camp and warn everybody, rushing the Clan clear out the entire camp. As they get all of the cats out of the camp, the giant tree starts falling towards the camp. But Mousefur complains about how she left a mouse in camp, and tries to run and get it, because she says wasting prey is an insult to StarClan.
Yes, Mousefur, but StarClan says to respect the life of every piece of prey you kill because they die so that you can live, so if anything, getting yourself killed over a single mouse is an even bigger insult than just wasting it.
But since Mousefur won't shut up about it, Longtail goes in to get her freaking mouse, and Briarpaw goes after him to try and stop him.
As you would expect, this doesn't end well, as the tree then falls into the hollow. Epicness all around as all of the branches of the giant tree crash all around, snapping and flailing everywhere as it smashes into the camp. This is by far the most dramatic scene about a tree falling that you will ever
Everyone starts digging their way through the twisted branches, until one group manages to find Longtail and Briarpaw. But then one of the sticks they were using to prop up the branches starts breaking, so Lionblaze sticks himself under and supports all of the branches by himself, because being that strong is apparently part of his power. With Lionblaze supporting the tree, the other cats are able to pull Briarpaw's body out.
So by the end of the day, Longtail is dead, and Briarpaw is severely injured, and there is no mention of Mousefur's mouse. What happened to that damn mouse? We may never know. And I really wanted to know...
Jayfeather starts to treat Briarpaw, but is completely perplexed by her condition. There isn't a scratch on her, but she has lost all feeling in her legs.
The warriors get to cleaning all of the branches out of the camp, as Jayfeather continues to do what he can for Briarpaw. Leafpool manages to sneak up on Jayfeather while he's taking care of Briarpaw, and asks how she's doing.
In between Jayfeather trying his hardest not to sympathise with Leafpool, she tells him that Littlecloud has dealt with a similar case and recommends that he talk to him. Grudgingly admitting that Leafpool had a good idea, Jayfeather tells Firestar that he plans to head to ShadowClan to talk with Littlecloud.
Of course, Firestar insists that he goes with Squirrelflight, since he's pushing for him to stop being such a dick to her and Leafpool, so Jayfeather just ditches.
Jayfeather decides to check the elder's den before he leaves, and we see that Mousefur is angsting about Longtail's death, and says that it was all her fault. Yes, Mousefur, it was all your fault.
As Jayfeather leaves camp, Squirrelflight catches up to him, and it seems his plan to ditch her has been foiled. Jayfeather reminds us again of how much he hates Squirrelflight, as she starts talking and they end up getting in an argument about the whole situation with her and Leafpool.
Jayfeather shoots down any notion of them loving them, or Leafpool deserving any sympathy, with short, curt responses, prompting Squirrelflight to come back with a huge rant about how much of a selfish jerk he's being.
This is almost exactly what I've wanted to say to Jayfeather. Squirrelflight wins an internet for this epic lecture. But somehow, Jayfeather doesn't care, and he shrugs it off like it was nothing. Grrr.
They encounter a ShadowClan patrol, who immediately suspects that they are invaders. After that mess gets cleared up, they get escorted to their camp.
They tell Blackstar about the falling tree, which is weird, considering that in Sunset
ShadowClan knowing about the badger attack was a big deal, and start talking to Littlecloud about what happened to Briarpaw. He tells that that her backbone must be broken, making Jayfeather feel sick as he thinks about how fragile his own spine is. And it only gets worse from here.
Littlecloud tells him that his similarly injured patient died because his immobility caused him to keep getting coughs that kept coming back, making it harder for him to breathe each time. Littlecloud describes it as his chest filling with sickness, unable to drain out, until finally there is no air left. Have fun sleeping tonight, kids.
They decide that Briarpaw will have a better chance of surviving if they manage to keep her moving, and as Littlecloud gives Jayfeather some herbs before he leaves with Squirrelflight, he vows to himself that he won't let her die.
I might as well now discuss a popular misinterpretation of Jayfeather's character that bugs me a bit. People think that since Jayfeather is such a jerk to everyone, that when he actually cares about someone's well being that he's in love with them, like what happened with Poppyfrost, Cinderheart, and now Briarpaw.
Of course, although Jayfeather acts like a jerk towards everyone, that doesn't mean he doesn't care about his Clanmates. It doesn't mean he doesn't care about their well being. He doesn't want them to die
. Jayfeather does care, and does whatever he can to help any cat that is severally injured. That is what you're seeing.
I've never been fond of people supporting pairings with no basis, but it gets irritating when people misinterpret an important aspect of the books just to justify them. I'm a bit more forgiving towards CinderxJay, since there is some stuff beyond "Oh, Jayfeather is nice to her!" in Eclipse
, but he hasn't really spoken to her since then, and I still don't get why it's so popular.
I can also tolerate BriarxJay, but only in terms of just how kinky it is. How kinky, you ask? You'll see...
So as Jayfeather gets back to ThunderClan camp, he gets right down to inspecting Briarpaw. To find the place where the break occurred, he starts nipping at her spine and going lower and lower. Nipping her lower and lower, until he gets to her tail...
Just as he reaches risqué territory, she stops reacting to his
nips. In order to double check if that is the area where the break occurred, he starts jabbing around the area with one of his claws. Digging it in harder...
Oh god, considering how low down he's gotten, I can't help but think about exactly where he's digging his claw in...
Of course, as if all of his inspections of her lower body weren't suspicious enough, you have to consider that he's sleeping in the same den as a she-cat that can't feel a thing from the waist down. He could have his way with her in her sleep, and she wouldn't even know.
Although, I would also like to submit the fact that Jayfeather is able to inspect and treat her without any sexual thoughts crossing his mind as proof of him being asexual. As fun as all of these jokes are, I just think being asexual fits Jayfeather really well.
Anyway, with his inspections done, Jayfeather breaks the news to Briarpaw and Millie. As he starts telling them about Littlecloud's patient, Briarpaw asks what happened to him, and when Jayfeather doesn't answer, she immediately guesses that he died.
Millie apparently thinks this constitutes him telling her daughter that she was going to die, and starts shoving him and yelling at him, saying that he isn't fit to be a medicine cat.
Dammit, Millie! Again! I'm beginning to think that Millie has realised that the fans are going to hate her no matter what she does, so she's given up and decided to bitch at popular characters whenever she feels like it.
Jayfeather explains that Briarpaw has a good chance of surviving if they keep her active, but Millie continues to justify the fans' feelings towards her by freaking out about Briarpaw, saying that she'll never hunt, be a warrior, or have kits.
Have kits? So we're acknowledging that vital sexual equipment exists down there? I'm amazed by how the Erins can get away with some of this stuff.
Our next chapter starts about a quarter moon later with Firestar holding warrior ceremonies for Briarpaw and her siblings, now Bumblestripe, Blossomfall, and Briarlight. We also learn that Jayfeather has devised some exercises for her to keep her body healthy, which she has been practicing constantly. Apparently she can even fetch herself prey from the fresh kill pile. This chapter seems pretty optimistic compared to the way the last one ended.
When talking about her exercises, it's also mentioned that Jayfeather has told her to yowl loudly to help keep her chest clear, giving us the line "when she wailed and yowled under Jayfeather's instruction." What kind of "instruction"?
Dovepaw, Ivypaw, and a few other warriors go out gathering moss, and Dovepaw notices that Ivypaw seems to moving like a different cat. I'm guessing all these differences in Ivypaw are picked up from Hawkfrost, so does that mean she now walks with a suggestive strut?
Lionblaze decides to snatch Dovepaw away from the patrol and talks to her about more ShadowClan scents inside the border, telling her that he thinks they might try to take advantage of the tree falling and invade.
Lionblaze starts pressing her to tell him anything she has figured out with her powers. Dovepaw starts getting all defensive, since she knows that it's just Tigerheart, and she yells at Lionblaze that they are her powers and that he shouldn't tell her how to use them.
As things start getting tense, Ivypaw barges in, and their argument gets broken up. Of course, for Dovepaw its out of the frying pan and into the fire, since now she gets in an argument with Ivypaw about how she won't tell her what she was talking to Lionblaze about.
Ivypaw keeps asking her why she's so special, and as she tries to hide the answer from Ivypaw, Ivypaw says that if Dovepaw can have her secrets, so can she. Dovepaw realises that she is talking about the dream from StarClan she told her about before, but when she asks about it, Ivypaw won't tell her and insists that Dovepaw is jealous (oh, the irony), because she doesn't want Ivypaw to be more special than her, and barges off.
They head to elders den to make nests out of the moss, and Ivypaw is giving Dovepaw the silent treatment, while Mousefur keeps moping about Longtail, saying she likes the old nests better because they smell like him. Okay...
Dovepaw is still upset over what is happening between her and Ivypaw and talks to Jayfeather about it. When the subject comes to how Ivypaw is jealous of her, Jayfeather talks about how Hollyleaf ended up not being one of the Three.
Jayfeather mentions how knowing that she wasn't one of the Three was the hardest thing for her. Umm, wasn't the whole warrior code, which she had built her life around, being broken into nothing thing the hardest for her? And didn't she still think she was one of the Three?
When Dovepaw asks Jayfeather what happened to Hollyleaf, she simply said that "She went away", but not telling her why. I wonder why he didn't say she died.
Maybe because she didn't
Dovepaw still wishes she could be a regular warrior so that she could get away from all of her problems with Ivypaw and the prophecy. She is also fed up with all the secrets but decides that she needs to keep the prophecy secret, even if it means losing Ivypaw.
And now we're in another of Ivypaw's dreams about Hawkfrost, and it seems now that the field isn't as nice and friendly as it used to be. The flowers are gone, the sky is cloudy, and a chilly breeze blows through the field. It seems Dark Forest cats can't keep a place pretty-looking for long.
Scared to be alone in this foreboding environment, Ivypaw tries to find Hawkfrost, and eventually spots his "dark rump"
The place may have gone downhill, but the view is still spectacular~
Hawkfrost seems a bit tired, and he's acting pretty grumpy, probably because all the sex he's been having with random she-cat is catching up to him. But Ivypaw persuades him to teach her more stuff
with his penis
and they get to training.
Hawkfrost shows her a technique for knocking an opponent over, which Ivypaw tries immediately, hooking her front paw around on of his hind legs, and he doesn't budge.
Wait a minute...Hawkfrost has a she-cat's head practically between his hind legs and he doesn't ask her to...Wow, he must be pretty dedicated to training her for the battle...
He teaches her how to it properly, and they eventually start talking. I don't know how much of the way Hawkfrost acts around Ivypaw is faked, but they're just so cute together!
They eventually talk about Dovepaw, and Ivypaw talks about how all the senior warriors seem to think she is so special, and that she is keeping some big secret from her. Hawkfrost also asks if she's told her about him, and when she says no, he says it's a good idea, because if Dovepaw wanted to learn all of his moves, too, remarking that "She's your littermate, not your echo, right?"
And the title of the book is Fading Echoes
... O i c wat u did thar.
Ivypaw wakes up, feeling sore, since "Hawkfrost had worked her hard" (
) and starts training with Cinderheart and a few other warriors to practice battle strategies by holding mock battles where two patrols compete to capture the other patrol's base, another of Firestar's new ideas.
Throughout the training exercise, Ivypaw shows off all of the moves that she learned from Hawkfrost. However, Dustpelt start getting suspicious, Dustpelt even remarking that they look like RiverClan moves. Ivypaw is afraid that they recognize Hawkfrost's moves.
But neither of them actually saw Hawkfrost in an actual fight. Even if you consider just tackling someone and holding them down
them to be fighting, Leafpool only saw that when she was a medicine cat, and therefore wouldn't have cared about analyzing his fighting style at all.
Oh, and speaking of Leafpool and Dustpelt, they're on the same team during the exercise, but at one point Dustpelt tackles Leafpool. I'm guessing he hasn't had some alone time with Ferncloud for a while and just decided to tackle the nearest she-cat. No! Bad Dustpelt! Only Crowfeather can do that!
After they're done, Leafpool comes up to Ivypaw and starts asking her about the battle moves that she was using. Ivypaw insists that she was just lucky, and gets upset because she thinks all the other cats don't want her to have any secrets. Why can't she have nice things, too?
Our next chapter opens with Jayfeather and Lionblaze having a private conversation about what to do about the Dark Forest. They decide not to include Dovepaw, since they don't want to scare her, even though this is probably the only opportunity for her to know that Tigerheart isn't worth trusting.
As Jayfeather tends to his herb garden, they begin to go over everything they know about the Dark Forest. They talk about how Tigerstar is using kinship and weakness in order to get cats like Tigerheart and Breezepelt on their side, and how he has other allies in the Dark Forest.
They deduce that Tigerheart is in cahoots with Tigerstar from their shared kinship, Lionblaze recognizing him using some of Tigerstar's moves in the previous book, and Jayfeather seeing him on the ShadowClan border alone. They suspect that Tigerstar is getting him to scout around the border, but they're powerless to do anything at this point, and they can't prove anything since no cat will admit their loyalties lie outside of their Clan.
They decide the break up their little meeting, as Jayfeather wants to get some rest before the medicine cat Gathering, and when Lionblaze comments about how he seems to enjoy taking care of his plants, Jayfeather remarks "Plants do what they're told. Unlike apprentices." If not for his use of the word "apprentices", and my lack of affinity for plants, I would use this line whenever I could.
Lionblaze then asks if he's considering getting an apprentice, and Jayfeather simply says that he won't as long as Leafpool is around. Apparently he still thinks the Clan needs her, in between his bouts of hating her.
The book skips ahead to Jayfeather meeting Littlecloud in ThunderClan camp before heading to the Moonpool. Littlecloud asks Jayfeather about Leafpool, and he gets all pissy again, actually having to try and get rid of all of his feelings of sympathy. Oh, Jayfeather.
Littlecloud tells him that everybody makes mistakes and that "Some have echoes that last forever" O i c wat u did thar.
They finally get to the Moonpool, and in his dream, Jayfeather ends up with Flametail, who he was suspicious of on their trek to the Moonpool due to his relation to Tigerheart. But as Flametail goes off to do actual medicine cat business, Yellowfang starts scolding Jayfeather and tells him that she should trust Flametail since he is a medicine cat, to which he responds "Leafpool
was a medicine cat."
Seriously, does he just insult Leafpool whenever he can?
The subject eventually comes to the rising threat of the Dark Forest. But, when Jayfeather tells her that the Dark Forest is rising and that he was attacked by Breezepelt and another cat at the Moonpool, Yellowfang is shocked.
Wait; didn't Yellowfang witness Jayfeather fighting Breezepelt and Brokentail? And was't she the one that actually told him that the Dark Forest? Looks like we've got a plot hole here.
In fact, Yellowfang is learning something from Jayfeather that he himself learned from her...It's a stable plot loop...We may never know where this piece of information originated from...
Anyway, now that everyone seems to be up-to-date on the fact that shit's gotten bad, Yellowfang decides that they need to go to the Dark Forest. She leads Jayfeather to the Dark Forest, heading through StarClan territory where we get a gratuitous Silverstream cameo and they eventually bump into...Firestar?
No, it's just a mostly empty shell; a placeholder for the lives he has lost so far for until he loses his ninth. Of course, since it's just a placeholder, it can't hear or speak, so I take the opportunity to make a joke about how Firestar has become a ghost of the former main character he was.
Now, I stand up for Firestar all the time, but it is a fact that he simply isn't as important a character as before. He's more like...that guy. But he was actually kinda active in this book, so now that I've been set up, the joke is ruined. Curse you, Firestar! You ruined my joke!
With this perfect body double of Firestar wandering around, I can't help but think about how Spottedleaf could abuse this. I mean, she's wanted Firestar all this time, and here's mindless clone that essentially is Firestar, right down to the penis. I swear she's pleasuring herself with him whenever she's not playing messenger girl.
I also wonder what would happen if Firestar happened to lose his ninth life and this clone became the real him while Spottedleaf was, erm...using him. Now that
would be awkward.
And speak of the devil, Spottedleaf shows up and joins them as they trek into Place of No Stars.
As the cats search for Tigerstar, they are all somewhat scared, especially Yellowfang, much to Jayfeather's surprise.
The group eventually bumps into Brokenstar, and it seems that he is what Yellowfang was so afraid of bumping into. As all of Yellowfang's guilt comes back to her, Jayfeather goes into her memories in order to bring both him and any readers who haven't read the first series for some reason up-to-date on both her and Brokenstar's backstory.
Of course, as we all know, Yellowfang's backstory involves her having kits as a medicine cat, which, as we also know, really pisses Jayfeather off for some reason, and he starts saying that she is she is just like Leafpool.
And Yellowfang simply responds with "Mistakes happen" a humorous, if not cruel, way of putting it. But Spottedleaf comes in to spare Jayfeather's feelings by saying that he wasn't a mistake and that he was always loved. I'm not even sure he hears Spottedleaf here since he's still reminding himself of how much he hates Leafpool.
Spottedleaf starts pressing Brokenstar about why they are training cats from the Clans and...Wait...Yellowfang and Jayfeather only told her that Tigerstar was plotting against them. How does she know about them training cats in their dreams? The mystery goes even deeper...
Brokenstar simply denies all accusations, and says that he's fine with them exploring his territory, but only if they allow him to explore StarClan. As you could probably guess, they refuse the offer, so Brokenstar tells them to leave.
After Brokenstar leaves, Spottedleaf tells Yellowfang to go back to StarClan since Brokenstar is clouding her judgement. Jayfeather and Spottedleaf have to go it alone. Is it just me, or does two medicine cats in the Dark Forest sound like a suicide mission? I know that before Yellowfang left they were just three medicine cats, but she's Queen Badass. Now it's just Rape-Bait and Blindy.
Anyway, they eventually come across a clearing where Darkstripe teaching a bunch of Dark Forest cats death blows by killing them repeatedly as examples. What a grotesque use of immortality.
All I can think is: Why is Darkstripe
doing the training? Obviously Hawky is thinking the same thing, as he barges in and shoves Darkstripe out of the way. He grabs one of the cats and orders another one to come and slit his belly open. Charming.
As Spottedleaf and Jayfeather express their disgust at this, Tigerstar shows up behind them saying that there are no rules here. Jayfeather then starts yelling that if they were true warriors they would not need rules and could do no evil.
Why is Jayfeather
acting all heroic and idealistic? I understand that he's not as much of a jackass as he pretends to be, but this just seems way too bright and happy for him...
Jayfeather and Spottedleaf pester Tigerstar for answers, but he denies training any Clan cats or any purpose behind the training they're watching and talks down every single thing they say in the usual badass villain manner.
Eventually Jayfeather gets fed up and attacks Tigerstar, only to get pimp slapped away. He tried to attack Brokenstar, too. Why does Jayfeather suddenly think he can fight? Because he can see in dreams?[link]
Of course, they now realize that the only way they can get answers is if they force them out of Tigerstar, and that's never going to happen, so they leave.
Next up we have Lionblaze awake at night as he starts looking around the warriors den, wondering who, if anyone, could be working with Tigerstar. He seems to pay special attention to Thornclaw, which adds another gratuitous Thornclaw mention to my leader theory.
Eventually Cinderheart wakes up, and he tells her that he can't sleep, so she suggests that they go out for a walk, so the two sneak out of the den and head out into the forest.
They start goofing around and playing, and at one point Lionblaze starts comparing her to Heathertail, saying she's glad she's in ThunderClan. Their little walk helped cheer him up and got his mind off of his problems.
Yes, it seems Lionblaze is developing feelings for Cinderheart. Well, it's not explicitly stated, but from the way the scene is written, as well as him comparing her to Heathertail, it's pretty obvious. Not to mention that the Erins said there would be hints about Lionblaze's future mate in this book.
Of course, since their relationship starts to develop when they're off playing like kits, and his relationship with Heathertail was based off of playing in the tunnels, it makes me wonder if he gets off on this kind of stuff or something. He has some weird fetishes.
And now that the subject of Lionblaze getting a mate is out there, I can't help but think about how all the physical empowerment and loss of control that come from his powers would affect his performance in bed. It's...interesting to think about.
But next morning, Cinderheart is acting like their walk didn't happen, and Lionblaze is disappointed not to see the same warmth in her gaze again. Awww...
Lionblaze and Dovepaw eventually bump into Jayfeather on his way back from the Moonpool. Lionblaze and Jayfeather briefly explain to Dovepaw what the Dark Forest is, and they start talking about how they are training Clan warriors. Jayfeather adds that he say them training for something.
They explain to Dovepaw that they are also recruiting Clan warriors in their dreams by using their weaknesses. Lionblaze tells her that she needs to keep her senses alert to look out for any hints of cats being trained by the Dark Forest, even cats in ThunderClan.
Dovepaw is disgusted that Lionblaze and Jayfeather are telling her to spy on her own Clanmates, and accuses them of overreacting, saying that they don't trust anyone and are looking for excuses to use their powers. She storms off and Lionblaze considers that they're asking too much of her, but Jayfeather insists that she has to be strong.
We join up with Dovepaw again, still being crushed under the weight of her responsibilities, as she accidentally ends up in ShadowClan territory, coincidentally right in front of Tigerheart. He says he won't report her, since they are "friends", which prompts Dovepaw to start venting about how borders shouldn't stop friendship, as they reflect on their experiences on the journey upstream and Tigerheart reassures her that she is right to say that they should care about one another. I can't tell how much of this is legitimate agreement, manipulation, or trying to get into her pants.
Their intimate moment goes on for a bit longer, and as Tigerheart leaves, Dovepaw thinks to herself that Clanmates are Clanmates, but friends are just as precious.
Ironically, the next chapter opens with Hawkfrost saying "Clanmates are everything" as he tries to convince Ivypaw to follow the Dark Forest cats by saying that they are her Clanmates. Of course, Ivypaw hasn't met any of the others yet, so she just trusts him on this.
With the question of the mysterious cats that seem to watching them
answered, Ivypaw continues training with Hawkfrost until Tigerstar wanders into the picture, and Hawkfrost introduces him. She is noticeably freaked out at first, as most kids would be if you told them "Say hello to Adolf Hitler", but Tigerstar calms her down.
He goes on to talk about how he only desired to lead ThunderClan and guide them through hardship, and when he was exiled, he refused to surrender his honour by becoming a rogue and became leader of ShadowClan. He sounds a lot like Ashfur fangirls when they talk about Ashfur. He even throws in the word "misunderstood" for good measure.
I just love Tigerstar in this book. In his two whole appearances here, he is more badass and manipulative than in all of tNP and tPoT combined.
And I know he's being overly sweet and lying through his teeth to manipulate Ivypaw, but he does have a point about being banished from his home Clan: though they did horrible things, all of Dark Forest cats have essentially been cast away by StarClan.
I need to gush about the central conflict of OotS again. I just love the idea of all of the forgotten and downtrodden warriors rising up together to wage war with the heavens as a giant metaphor for the resolution of all hatred and ill will built up over the course of the series.
I love it for the great characters it gives us, and the all-encompassing scope of it all. Everything will be resolved. The oldest grievances will be put to rest. Grab some popcorn, sit back, and watch the storm break. Then, peace can come...for 6-12 months...
Tigerstar tells Ivypaw that ShadowClan is going to invade ThunderClan territory, and she is convinced because of all of the recent activity on the ShadowClan border, but asks why. Tigerstar tells her about the insignificant strip of land that ThunderClan gave to ShadowClan way back in the beginning of the third series. Anton Chekhov would be proud.
He claims that ShadowClan saw this decision as weakness, and that it apparently took them this long to do something about it...like they already did in The Sight
. Tigerstar says that the only way to show that ThunderClan is still strong is to take back the land. You've got to love how even though Tigerstar is still acting nice in order to manipulate Ivypaw, he still bashes Firestar as much as he can.
Of course, the situation on the border that makes a ShadowClan invasion seem plausible was created entirely by Tigerheart acting on Tigerstar's orders, and now he's just sent another cat to start an unknowingly pointless battle.
This is quiet a step up from Tigerstar's previous plans, which admittedly were mostly limited to "Make Cat A go to Place B". He deserves some applause for this scheme.
Anyway, Ivypaw wakes up, and is determined to convince Firestar to seize that strip of land back. She barges into Firestar's den, where Firestar, Brambleclaw, and Graystripe are talking, and proceeds to pull an entire prophetic dream out of her ass that basically screams that they need to stop ShadowClan from going crazy and killing everybody. Kudos to Kate for replicating the way a child talks when bullshitting an adult.
Firestar takes it seriously, and he decides that he needs to send a message to ShadowClan, before remarking "That act of kindness seems to have left echoes of weakness."
O I c wat u did thar...
Firestar decides that they need to take back the strip of land they gave to ShadowClan all that time ago, unknowingly moving perfectly according to Tigerstar's plan.
Firestar calls a meeting with the senior warriors and says that he will go to ShadowClan camp and give Blackstar an opportunity to surrender the land in order to avoid bloodshed if possible. Of course, this is ShadowClan, so it's just a formality.
Firestar, Jayfeather, and Brambleclaw head out for ShadowClan camp and request a private meeting with Blackstar, Russetfur, and Littlecloud. Firestar makes his proposition and Blackstar and Russetfur get all pissed and start yelling, again sounding a lot like Warriors
fans. I don't know why they're so pissed; Blackstar does the same thing pretty much all the time. The only difference is that Firestar actually decides to give warning.
Firestar ignores their protests, and says that his warriors will set the new scent markers at dawn, and that it is up to Blackstar to choose if he wants to stop them. Blackstar responds by saying that he's just making it sound like his choice, when it's really Firestar that's leading his warriors into battle.
Again: Why are we getting this from Blackstar
Our next chapter cuts ahead to dawn, where ThunderClan is lined up against the current border, ready for the battle to start. Blackstar decides that he's going to blame Firestar for everything that happens in this battle even though he's partially responsible for not backing down. Good ol' Blackstar.
Then the battle starts. Now, I really like the way this battle is set up. We get Ivypaw's POV for a bit, then we rewind and get Dovepaw, and then we rewind again and get Lionblaze. I think it's a neat idea that makes it more interesting.
As the fighting starts off, Ivypaw is kicking ass with her newly acquired Hawkfrost-skills, but although she can handle herself, she starts getting worried about Dovepaw and goes looking for her.
Now it's on to Dovepaw's chapter, back to the start of the battle. Unlike Ivypaw, Dovepaw is far too afraid to concentrate, and unable to follow what's going on when all of the fighting breaks out.
And thanks to her power, she can hear every single sound made in the battle. Hear every single screech, every sound of tearing flesh and claw on bone. Smell every drop of blood, every cat's fear scent...
As she wanders blindly through the fray, she gets saved by Lionblaze, and eventually bumps into Ivypaw, and she continues the charge with the rest of ThunderClan.
ThunderClan decides to re-evaluate their strategy. Thornclaw leads a patrol into the pine trees in ShadowClan territory and they climb up them while Lionblaze and Thornclaw stay on the ground to face the ShadowClan charge, leading to an awesome scene/major embarrassment for Blackstar.
As Blackstar comes up to them and sees only two cats, all he can say "Where are the rest of you?" At that moment, all of the ThunderClan patrol dives down from the trees onto the ShadowClan patrol, successfully gaining the upper hand.
As the battle rages on, Dovepaw sees Tigerheart charging towards Ivypaw. She runs off to go protect her sister from her precious Tiggy Wiggy, but is horrified to see Tigerheart stop, nod to Ivypaw, and run away.
Dovepaw starts thinking of all sorts of things that nod could mean, feeling jealous of Ivypaw because Tigerheart looked at her like that.
And now it's time for "Warriors
Fans Think the Darnedest Things". Some people actually seriously believed that the nod did indeed indicate some form of relationship between them. That somehow happened entirely off-screen without any recognition from Ivypaw throughout any of her chapters.
Yeah, that makes much more sense than him just recognizing her as a fellow Dark Forest trainee and deciding not to hurt her because Tigerstar told him that she was part of the scheme. That would be ridiculous
Dovepaw suddenly hears a howl of rage and sees Russetfur attacking Firestar. She has his throat clasped in her jaws and refuses to let go as the blood gushes from his wound.
Then Lionblaze comes to the rescue, and manages to pull Russetfur off of Firestar, his leader still bleeding heavily. End chapter.
We now get to see Lionblaze's side of the battle. At one point he begins questioning the validity of the battle, but this doesn't last very long, since he finds fighting so much more interesting. As he fights, everything seems to be moving like everyone was underwater. Lionblaze continues to plough through all of ShadowClan with his intense bullet-time fighting skills, but then he hears a yowl.
He looks and sees Russetfur with her death grip on Firestar and charges at Russetfur, pulling her off him. Upon hearing the cries from ShadowClan warriors Lionblaze realizes that Russetfur is dead. Lionblaze is shocked, unable to believe he killed her since he didn't even scratch her.
And it seems that ThunderClan has won the battle and the clearing is theirs. Of course, Blackstar also take this opportunity to blame the whole battle on Firestar again, saying that the clearing isn't worth all the blood that was spilled. Again: Why Blackstar?
But it seems that Firestar's wounds were severe enough to cause him to lose a life. That's right. This battle, orchestrated by Tigerstar, has led to Firestar losing a life. Yes, Tigerstar has indirectly killed Firestar; the first time any of his plans have succeeded to this degree.
But most importantly, Lionblaze is convinced that this battle shouldn't have happened and suspicious about the possibility of Dark Forest involvement. This abrupt ending leaves us with more questions than answers, desperately waiting to learn the truth about the battle, and the echoes it leaves behind.
Inspired by YuGiOh the Abridged Series
by LittleKuriboh (CardGameFTW)
I DON'T OWN THESE CHARACTERS
All characters are from WARRIORS by Erin Hunter
WARRIORS is © Harper Collins