LEADER HAILSTAR—thick-pelted gray tom
DEPUTY SHELLHEART—dappled gray tom
MEDICINE CAT BRAMBLEBERRY—pretty white she-cat with black-spotted fur, blue eyes, and a strikingly pink nose
WARRIORS (toms, and she-cats without kits)
RIPPLECLAW—black-and-silver tabby tom
MUDFUR—long-haired light brown tom
CEDARPELT—brown tabby tom, stout and short-tailed
BRIGHTSKY—nimble white-and-ginger she-cat
PIKETOOTH—skinny brown tabby tom with a narrow face and protruding canine teeth
LAKESHINE—pretty, long-haired, gray-and-white she-cat
SHIMMERPELT—night-black she-cat with glossy pelt
APPRENTICES (more than six moons old, in training to become warriors)
SOFTPAW—small, lithe, white she-cat with tabby patches
WHITEPAW—pure white tom with tabby-striped tail and brown paws
QUEENS (she-cats expecting or nursing kits)
ECHOMIST—long-haired gray she-cat, fur tipped with white to give her a soft, cloudy appearance (mother to Volekit, Beetlekit, and Petalkit)
RAINFLOWER—pale gray she-cat (mother to Stormkit and Oakkit)
FALLOWTAIL—light brown she-cat with blue eyes and soft fur (mother to Graykit and Willowkit)
ELDERS (former warriors and queens, now retired)
TROUTCLAW—gray tabby tom
TANGLEWHISKER—long-haired tabby tom with a thick, knotted pelt
BIRDSONG—tabby-and-white she-cat with ginger patches around her muzzle, flecked with gray
LEADER PINESTAR—red-brown tom with green eyes
DEPUTY SUNFALL—bright ginger tom with yellow eyes
MEDICINE CAT GOOSEFEATHER—speckled gray tom with pale blue eyes
WARRIORS STONEPELT—gray tom
STORMTAIL—blue-gray tom with blue eyes
ADDERFANG—mottled brown tabby tom with yellow eyes
TAWNYSPOTS—light gray tabby tom with amber eyes
SPARROWPELT—big, dark brown tabby tom with yellow eyes
SMALLEAR—gray tom with very small ears and amber eyes
THRUSHPELT—sandy-gray tom with white flash on his chest and green eyes
ROBINWING—small, energetic brown she-cat with ginger patch on her chest and amber eyes
FUZZYPELT—black tom with fur that stands on end and yellow eyes
WINDFLIGHT—gray tabby tom with pale green eyes
SPECKLETAIL—pale tabby she-cat with amber eyes
QUEENS SWIFTBREEZE—tabby-and-white she-cat with yellow eyes (mother of Leopardkit: black she-cat with green eyes, and Patchkit: black-and-white tom with amber eyes)
MOONFLOWER—silver-gray she-cat with pale yellow eyes (mother of Bluekit: gray she-cat with blue eyes, and Snowkit: white she-cat with blue eyes)
POPPYDAWN—long-haired, dark red she-cat with a bushy tail and amber eyes
ELDERS WEEDWHISKER—pale orange tom with yellow eyes
MUMBLEFOOT—brown tom, slightly clumsy, with amber eyes
LARKSONG—tortoiseshell she-cat with pale green eyes
LEADER CEDARSTAR—very dark gray tom with a white belly
DEPUTY STONETOOTH—gray tabby tom with long teeth
MEDICINE CAT SAGEWHISKER—white she-cat with long whiskers
WARRIORS RAGGEDPELT—large dark brown tabby tom
FOXHEART—bright ginger tom
CROWTAIL—black tabby she-cat
BRACKENFOOT—pale ginger tom with dark ginger legs
ARCHEYE—gray tabby tom with black stripes and thick stripe over eye
QUEENS FEATHERSTORM—brown tabby she-cat
ELDERS LITTLEBIRD—small ginger tabby she-cat
LIZARDFANG—light brown tabby tom with one hooked tooth
LEADER HEATHERSTAR—pinkish-gray she-cat with blue eyes
DEPUTY REEDFEATHER—light brown tabby tom
MEDICINE CAT HAWKHEART—dark brown tom with yellow eyes
WARRIORS DAWNSTRIPE—pale gold tabby with creamy stripes
REDCLAW—dark ginger tom
ELDERS WHITEBERRY—small pure-white tom
Thick storm clouds swirled across the night-dark sky. Rain battered the tightly woven dens where the RiverClan warriors had been sleeping.
The RiverClan leader flattened his ears as he heard his mate’s terrified cry. He dug his claws into the mud, steadying himself against the water that swirled around his legs. The river had broken its banks and was streaming into camp. He twisted his head around, searching the shadows.
“Hailstar!” Echomist shrieked again. Her cry was muffled by the kit who swung from her jaws. Another clung to her back. She was staring at a nest of twigs that was spinning away from her on the floodwater. A small kit was struggling to cling to it as the woven twigs collapsed like loose leaves.
Hailstar dived for the nest and grabbed the kit just before he disappeared beneath the water. He thrust his son at Timberfur, who was chasing another nest. “Take Volekit to the elders’ den!” The brown tom took the dripping scrap of fur and bounded toward the high end of the camp where the elders’ den was still untouched by the rising water.
“Follow him!” Hailstar ordered Echomist. She nodded, her eyes huge with fear, her long gray fur flattened to her body by the rain.
Hailstar scanned the camp. Gleaming pelts darted in the darkness like panicked fish. A lithe ginger-and-white she-cat was clinging on to the remains of the warriors’ den, trying to claw together its fast-fraying walls. A stout tabby tom tried to block the foaming channel where nests swirled out into the river.
The sky lit up with a white flare as lightning blazed. Thunder crashed and the wind hardened. A new wave of water surged through the camp.
“Shellheart!” Hailstar called to his deputy. “What’s your opinion?”
A dappled gray tom, peering upriver from a beech stump among the reeds, called back, “The water’s rising fast, Hailstar! The elders’ den isn’t going to be safe for much longer.”
Hailstar lashed his tail. “We’ll have to abandon camp!”
“No!” The ginger-and-white she-cat let go of her den and faced the RiverClan leader.
“We can’t leave everything our ancestors built for us!”
“We can rebuild it!” Hailstar snapped.
“It won’t be the same!” Brightsky plunged through the floods and clamped her paws around a floating nest.
Shellheart bounded down from the stump and splashed toward his Clanmate. “Together we can rebuild anything,” he insisted. “Except cats who have drowned trying to save bits of twig.”
Brightsky reluctantly let go of the nest and watched it spin away into the reeds, then raced for the high end of camp.
Black, bubbling water surged around the edge of the elders’ den, making the woven willow stems sway with the flood. Hailstar bounded up the slope and shook the den with his paws. “Get out!”
Echomist slid through the entrance. Three kits, like half- drowned mice, followed her. She stared at her mate. “Where should we go?”
“Head for high ground.” Hailstar flicked his tail uphill, where the riverbank climbed toward a swath of trees and bushes.
A tangle-furred elder slid out of the den. “I’ve never seen a storm like this.”
A tabby-and-white she-cat followed. “Where are we going?” she rasped.
The tom stroked her spine wit ...