THUNDERCLAN LEADER BLUESTAR—blue-gray she-cat, tinged with silver around her muzzle DEPUTY FIREHEART—handsome ginger tom APPRENTICE, CLOUDPAW MEDICINE CAT YELLOWFANG—old dark gray she-cat with a broad, flattened face, formerly of ShadowClan APPRENTICE, CINDERPELT WARRIORS (toms, and she-cats without kits) WHITESTORM—big white tom APPRENTICE, BRIGHTPAW DARKSTRIPE—sleek black-and-gray tabby tom APPRENTICE, FERNPAW LONGTAIL—pale tabby tom with dark black stripes APPRENTICE, SWIFTPAW RUNNINGWIND—swift tabby tom MOUSEFUR—small dusky-brown she-cat APPRENTICE, THORNPAW BRACKENFUR—golden-brown tabby tom DUSTPELT—dark brown tabby tom APPRENTICE, ASHPAW SANDSTORM—pale ginger she-cat APPRENTICES (more than six moons old, in training to become warriors) SWIFTPAW—black-and-white tom CLOUDPAW—long-haired white tom BRIGHTPAW—she-cat, white with ginger splotches THORNPAW—golden-brown tabby tom FERNPAW—pale gray with darker flecks, she-cat, pale green eyes ASHPAW—pale gray with darker flecks, tom, dark blue eyes QUEENS (she-cats expecting or nursing kits) FROSTFUR—beautiful white coat and blue eyes BRINDLEFACE—pretty tabby GOLDENFLOWER—pale ginger coat SPECKLETAIL—pale tabby, and the oldest nursery queen WILLOWPELT—very pale gray she-cat with unusual blue eyes ELDERS (former warriors and queens, now retired) HALFTAIL—big dark brown tabby tom with part of his tail missing SMALLEAR—gray tom with very small ears; the oldest tom in ThunderClan PATCHPELT—small black-and-white tom ONE-EYE—pale gray she-cat, the oldest cat in ThunderClan; virtually blind and deaf DAPPLETAIL—once-pretty tortoiseshell she-cat with a lovely dappled coat SHADOWCLAN LEADER NIGHTSTAR—old black tom DEPUTY CINDERFUR—thin gray tom MEDICINE CAT RUNNINGNOSE—small gray-and-white tom WARRIORS APPLEFUR—mottled brown she-cat BOULDER—silver tabby tom FERNSHADE—tortoiseshell she-cat FLINTFANG—older gray tom RATSCAR—scarred dark brown tom ROWANBERRY—brown-and-cream she-cat RUSSETFUR—dark ginger she-cat WETFOOT—gray tabby tom APPRENTICE, OAKPAW LITTLECLOUD—very small tabby tom WHITETHROAT—black tom with white chest and paws QUEENS DAWNCLOUD—small tabby DARKFLOWER—black she-cat TALLPOPPY—long-legged light brown tabby she-cat WINDCLAN LEADER TALLSTAR—black-and-white tom with a very long tail DEPUTY DEADFOOT—black tom with a twisted paw MEDICINE CAT BARKFACE—short-tailed brown tom WARRIORS MUDCLAW—mottled dark brown tom APPRENTICE, WEBPAW TORNEAR—tabby tom APPRENTICE, TAWNYPAW ONEWHISKER—brown tabby tom APPRENTICE, WHITEPAW RUNNINGBROOK—light gray tabby she-cat QUEENS ASHFOOT—gray queen MORNINGFLOWER—tortoiseshell queen RIVERCLAN LEADER CROOKEDSTAR—huge light-colored tabby with a twisted jaw DEPUTY LEOPARDFUR—unusually spotted golden tabby she-cat MEDICINE CAT MUDFUR—long-haired light brown tom WARRIORS BLACKCLAW—smoky black tom APPRENTICE, HEAVYPAW STONEFUR—gray tom with battle-scarred ears APPRENTICE, SHADEPAW LOUDBELLY—dark brown tom GRAYSTRIPE—long-haired gray tom, formerly of ThunderClan QUEENS MISTYFOOT—dark gray she-cat MOSSPELT—tortoiseshell she-cat ELDERS GRAYPOOL—thin gray she-cat with patchy fur and a scarred muzzle CATS OUTSIDE CLANS BARLEY—black-and-white tom who lives on a farm close to the forest BLACKFOOT—large white tom with huge jet-black paws, formerly ShadowClan deputy CLAWFACE—scrawny brown tom MOWGLI—brown tom with green eyes PRINCESS—light brown tabby with a distinctive white chest and paws; a kittypet RAVENPAW—sleek black cat who lives on the farm with Barley SMUDGE—plump, friendly black-and-white kitten who lives in a house at the edge of the forest; a kittypet SNAG—huge tabby tom STUMPYTAIL—brown tabby tom TANGLEBURR—gray-and-brown she-cat, formerly of ShadowClan TIGERCLAW—big dark brown tabby tom with unusually long front claws, formerly of ThunderClan
“Drive him out of the forest!”
The wound in Tigerclaw’s belly pulsed with agony, and he felt warm, sticky blood pooling beneath his paws. His Clanmates’ furious words seemed to be coming from a long way off, as if he were underwater, cocooned in peaceful cold.
“Tigerclaw,” Bluestar meowed, “have you anything to say in your defense?” The ThunderClan leader’s blue-gray fur was streaked with blood—Tigerclaw’s as well as her own—and her eyes were dull and unfocused. Tigerclaw felt a thrill of satisfaction that his actions, his careful plans, had left her shattered and flailing inside. He knew a broken cat when he saw one; this was the end of Bluestar’s leadership, even if he hadn’t managed to take her last lives. The thought numbed the pain in his belly and gave strength to his trembling legs.
“Defend myself to
“And how many cats would have died for it?” Bluestar replied softly. She shook herself, then lifted her head. “If you have nothing else to say, then I sentence you to exile,” she declared. “You will leave ThunderClan territory now, and if any cat sees you here after sunrise tomorrow, they have my permission to kill you.”
“Kill me?” Tigerclaw echoed. “I’d like to see any of them try.”
“Fireheart beat you!” Graystripe yowled.
“Fireheart.” Tigerclaw slowly turned his head to look at the ginger kittypet.
Fireheart sprang up, tail lashing, even though one of his eyes was swollen shut from a blow from Tigerclaw’s paw. “Any time, Tigerclaw,” he spat.
“No!” Bluestar interrupted them. “No more fighting. Tigerclaw, leave my sight.”
Tigerclaw made himself stand up, in spite of the trembling that shook his paws. A fresh wave of blood oozed from his belly as the edges of the wound shifted. He heard gasps from the cats around him but ignored them.
“Don’t think I’m finished,” he warned, staring at the battle-stunned faces around him. “I’ll be a leader yet. And any cat who comes with me will be well looked after.” He looked for his closest ally in ThunderClan, the cat who’d always told him that he should have been leader by now. “Darkstripe?”
The black-striped tabby stayed where he was, sitting among the warriors. “I trusted you, Tigerclaw,” he whimpered. “I thought you were the finest warrior in the forest. But you plotted with that… that
Tigerclaw forced his fur to stay flat. “I needed Brokentail’s help to make contact with the rogue cats. If you choose to take this personally, that’s your problem,” he sniffed. He looked at another cat who’d listened to his plans, promised to stand by him when he brought clear, strong leadership to their Clan. “Lo ...