Warrior Cats/Recap/Beyond the Code

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

A short while after the end of The Rescue, Leafstar watches her kits play, reflecting on how perfect they are. Sol has also been fitting in well with Clan life.

All is not perfect, however. There's currently a drought, and due to poor hunting and unbearably hot weather, the Clan cats are arguing amongst themselves frequently. One particular debate gets heated enough that Leafstar has to step in... only to be distracted by her kits, who are wailing because Harrykit's hurt his nose. Leafstar feels the strain of being both a mother and a Clan leader, but thankfully Billystorm and Sol take care of the kits so Leafstar can sort out her quarreling warriors.

They decide to save hunting for evening, when there'll be more prey out. This doesn't completely work, however, since that's also when foxes and badgers are more active - Ebonyclaw gets a bad bite on her leg. They decide to send two patrols of eight cats each so that they can fight off any predators. Half of Patchfoot's patrol doesn't return, and Leafstar initially worries, but Patchfoot reassures her that Sol had an idea and that he wanted to split the patrol. Whatever his idea was, it must have worked, since his cats come back with more prey than the Clan has eaten in moons. Sharpclaw feels that something is wrong there, so Leafstar offers to join Sol's patrol the next day. He shows her his "hunting technique": stealing a fox's prey as it goes into its den to bring the cubs out. When they get back to camp, Leafstar and Sharpclaw tell him that it's wrong, and they all agree to put it behind them. During a training session that day, Leafstar notices that Sol's hunting skills aren't all that great, and resolves to help him out more.

That night, a pair of foxes attack the camp, having followed the scent trail the patrol had left behind after stealing prey from them. During the fight, Leafstar notices that her kits have come out of her den and want to help fight. She calls to Sol to take her place so she can get her kits to safety, but Sol freezes in terror. Leafstar has one heart-stopping moment where she tries to choose between her kits and the rest of her Clanmates, but then Lichenfur runs in and brings the kits back to the den.

After the battle, Sol apologizes to Leafstar, and explains why he wants to be a warrior so much... His mother, Cinders, didn't have much patience for her kits (who she hadn't bothered to name), but they would behave whenever she told them stories of the "sky warriors", who grew as big as lions when they were angry, fought with the fierceness of tigers, and ran as swift as cheetahs. Sol's early life wasn't easy, and it was made even less so when Cinders' mate came to her and announced that he was leaving her for a new mate that didn't complain as much. Finally, Cinders couldn't take it any more, and left each of her kits at a different Twoleg nest. He never saw her again, but he also never forgot his dreams of the sky warriors - a dream that has a chance of becoming a reality, now that he's found SkyClan.

Leafstar gives Sol a private battle training session. He isn't very skilled, but he improves by the end of the day. At the Clan's Gathering that night, Leafstar comments about how SkyClan is doing better. They've fought off the foxes, and rain is coming to end the drought. Sol jumps in and says "And now you have a new warrior! Right?" Leafstar awkwardly explains that that's not quite how it works, but Sol doesn't listen, instead snapping that Leafstar was just trying to humiliate him, and running away. At that moment, a bolt of lightning flashes in the sky, and a downpour starts. The Clan rushes back to the dens to shelter. After some time, they discuss evacuating the lower dens, since water is collecting down there. And then they see it: a wall of water on its way to wash through the gorge. The entire Clan flees to high ground and waits out the flood. After the water recedes, they begin to assess the damage to the camp. The camp is messed up, yes, but that's not the worst: Lichenfur has drowned. The Clan, including Sol, gathers to sit vigil for her.

Looking around, Leafstar silently asks StarClan why they sent the storm. Billystorm reassures her that they can fix up the dens and get through it - that SkyClan will survive. Leafstar isn't as certain, and hopes to StarClan that he's right.