THUNDERCLAN LEADER BRAMBLESTAR—dark brown tabby tom with amber eyes DEPUTY SQUIRRELFLIGHT—dark ginger she-cat with green eyes MEDICINE CATS JAYFEATHER—gray tabby tom with blind blue eyes LEAFPOOL—light brown tabby she-cat with amber eyes WARRIORS (toms and she-cats without kits) GRAYSTRIPE—long-haired gray tom DUSTPELT—dark brown tabby tom SANDSTORM—pale ginger she-cat with green eyes BRACKENFUR—golden-brown tabby tom CLOUDTAIL—long-haired white tom with blue eyes BRIGHTHEART—white she-cat with ginger patches MILLIE—striped gray tabby she-cat with blue eyes THORNCLAW—golden-brown tabby tom SPIDERLEG—long-limbed black tom with brown underbelly and amber eyes APPRENTICE, AMBERPAW (pale ginger she-cat) BIRCHFALL—light brown tabby tom WHITEWING—white she-cat with green eyes APPRENTICE, DEWPAW (gray-and-white tom) BERRYNOSE—cream-colored tom MOUSEWHISKER—gray-and-white tom CINDERHEART—gray tabby she-cat IVYPOOL—silver-and-white tabby she-cat with dark blue eyes APPRENTICE, SNOWPAW (white, fluffy tom) LIONBLAZE—golden tabby tom with amber eyes DOVEWING—pale gray she-cat with blue eyes ROSEPETAL—dark cream she-cat POPPYFROST—tortoiseshell she-cat APPRENTICE, LILYPAW (tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat) BRIARLIGHT—dark brown she-cat with sky-colored eyes, paralyzed in her hindquarters BLOSSOMFALL—tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat BUMBLESTRIPE—very pale gray tom with black stripes APPRENTICE, SEEDPAW (golden-brown she-cat) CHERRYFALL—ginger she-cat MOLEWHISKER—brown-and-cream tom QUEENS (she-cats expecting or nursing kits) DAISY—cream, long-furred cat from the horseplace ELDERS (former warriors and queens, now retired) PURDY—plump tabby, former loner with a gray muzzle
SHADOWCLAN LEADER BLACKSTAR—large white tom with one jet-black forepaw DEPUTY ROWANCLAW—ginger tom MEDICINE CAT LITTLECLOUD—very small tabby tom WARRIORS CROWFROST—black-and-white tom TAWNYPELT—tortoiseshell she-cat with green eyes APPRENTICE, GRASSPAW (pale brown tabby she-cat) OWLCLAW—light brown tabby tom SCORCHFUR—dark gray tom TIGERHEART—dark brown tabby tom FERRETCLAW—black-and-gray tom APPRENTICE, SPIKEPAW (dark brown tom) PINENOSE—black she-cat STOATFUR—tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat POUNCETAIL—brown tabby tom QUEENS SNOWBIRD—pure-white she-cat DAWNPELT—cream-furred she-cat ELDERS SNAKETAIL—dark brown tom with tabby-striped tail WHITEWATER—white she-cat with long fur, blind in one eye RATSCAR—brown tom with long scar across his back OAKFUR—small brown tom SMOKEFOOT—black tom KINKFUR—tabby she-cat, with long fur that sticks out at all angles IVYTAIL—black, white, and tortoiseshell she-cat
WINDCLAN LEADER ONESTAR—brown tabby tom DEPUTY HARESPRING—brown-and-white tom APPRENTICE, SLIGHTPAW (black tom with flash of white on his chest) MEDICINE CAT KESTRELFLIGHT—mottled gray tom WARRIORS CROWFEATHER—dark gray tom APPRENTICE, FEATHERPAW (gray tabby she-cat) NIGHTCLOUD—black she-cat APPRENTICE, HOOTPAW (dark gray tom) GORSETAIL—very pale gray-and-white tom with blue eyes WEASELFUR—ginger tom with white paws LEAFTAIL—dark tabby tom, amber eyes APPRENTICE, OATPAW (pale brown tabby tom) EMBERFOOT—gray tom with two dark paws HEATHERTAIL—light brown tabby she-cat with blue eyes BREEZEPELT—black tom with amber eyes FURZEPELT—gray-and-white she-cat CROUCHFOOT—ginger tom LARKWING—pale brown tabby she-cat QUEENS SEDGEWHISKER—light brown tabby she-cat ELDERS WHISKERNOSE—light brown tom WHITETAIL—small white she-cat
RIVERCLAN LEADER MISTYSTAR—gray she-cat with blue eyes DEPUTY REEDWHISKER—black tom APPRENTICE, LIZARDPAW (light brown tom) MEDICINE CATS MOTHWING—dappled golden she-cat WILLOWSHINE—gray tabby she-cat WARRIORS MINTFUR—light gray tabby tom MINNOWTAIL—dark gray she-cat MALLOWNOSE—light brown tabby tom APPRENTICE, HAVENPAW (black-and-white she-cat) GRASSPELT—light brown tom DUSKFUR—brown tabby she-cat MOSSPELT—tortoiseshell she-cat with blue eyes APPRENTICE, PERCHPAW (gray-and-white she-cat) SHIMMERPELT—silver she-cat LAKEHEART—gray tabby she-cat HERONWING—dark gray-and-black tom QUEENS ICEWING—white she-cat with blue eyes PETALFUR—gray-and-white she-cat ELDERS POUNCEFOOT—ginger-and-white tom PEBBLEFOOT—mottled gray tom RUSHTAIL—light brown tabby tom
CATS OUTSIDE CLANS SMOKY—muscular gray-and-white tom who lives in a barn at the horseplace CORIANDER—tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat who lives with smoky
Firestar sprang up the tree, digging his claws into the rough bark, and spotted the squirrel on one of the outer branches. He leaped toward it, reveling in the strength in his haunches, pleased that he still kept his sense of balance. The squirrel fled, jumping from branch to branch, higher and higher. As Firestar crouched, ready to follow, he heard a voice calling him from below.
He halted; the leaves around him rustled as the squirrel vanished into the dense foliage. Firestar allowed himself a single hiss of regret, then turned and scrambled down the trunk to the ground.
Bluestar, the former ThunderClan leader, was waiting for him at the foot of the tree. Her blue-gray fur shimmered in the sunlight. “Sorry to disturb you, Firestar,” she meowed. Her eyes glinted. “I see you haven’t lost any of your hunting skill. You looked pretty comfortable up there… but I’m happy to leave the tree hunting to others. Walk with me,” she added, nodding deeper into the forest.
Firestar padded by her side, enjoying the sun’s warmth soaking into his pelt.
“ThunderClan has had a difficult time, hasn’t it?” Bluestar commented, as if she had picked up Firestar’s regrets. “Wounded cats had scarcely healed after the Great Battle when the greencough came.”
Firestar hesitated before replying, swallowing the wail of grief that rose in his chest.
He took a breath and let it out in a long sigh. “There has been so much loss, so much pain. But t ...