Warrior Cats/Recap/The Darkest Hour

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    One rainy night, two forest cats run through the city streets: Tigerstar, and one of his warriors, Boulder. They're on their way to meet a cat named Scourge - the leader of the city cats, whose followers would kill without question if he asked them to. Finally, they get to him, and Tigerstar is contemptuous, since Scourge is only the size of an apprentice - Bolder quickly warns him to show respect. Scourge recognizes Boulder as a former city cat, and impatiently asks why he's come back. Tigerstar steps forward and tells Scourge that he has a proposition for him.

    The main story picks up a few minutes after the end of A Dangerous Path. Fireheart, Stonefur, Mistyfoot, and Graystripe bring Bluestar's body back to the camp, checking to make sure is all clear and the dogs are definitely gone. Fireheart sends Graystripe to bring the Clan back from Sunningrocks, and Stonefur and Mistyfoot spend some time alone with Bluestar's body, grieving for their mother, who they never had really gotten a chance to know. The ThunderClan cats arrive back at camp, telling Fireheart about their own experiences, and then they discover Mistyfoot and Stonefur. ThunderClan is upset that they're there, but then Mistyfoot announces that Bluestar was their mother. Fireheart suggests that the two of them leave, and then he explains to the Clan how Bluestar gave up her kits. That night, the Clan holds the mourning ceremony for Bluestar.

    The next morning, it's time for Fireheart to travel to the Moonstone with Cinderpelt to recieve his nine lives and name. He falls asleep at the Moonstone that night, and is visited by StarClan. He recieves nine lives from Clanmates he had known, each with a gift: Lionheart (courage), Redtail (justice), Silverstream (loyalty to what he knows to be right), Runningwind (tireless energy), Brindleface (protection), Swiftpaw (mentoring), Yellowfang (compassion), Spottedleaf (love), and Bluestar (nobility, certainty, and faith). Just after StarClan calls him by his new name Firestar, though, a hill of bones suddenly appears, with blood flowing out of it. Bluestar hisses a prophecy: "Four will become two. Lion and Tiger will meet in battle, and blood will rule the forest." Firestar and Cinderpelt travel home, stopping to visit Ravenpaw and Barley on the way. He names Whitestorm his deputy - a popular choice in the Clan.

    Returning from hunting the next day, Fireheart, Graystripe, and Bramblepaw find Darkstripe whispering something to Sorrelkit, who collapses. They quickly discover that she's eaten deathberries, and Cinderpelt treats her, but they aren't sure whether she will live.

    The next day, Firestar patrols with Mousefur and Thornpaw. They discover some unfamiliar scents, but since the cats they came from aren't in the territory anymore, they put it out of their mind. Firestar holds a Clan meeting, where he makes Thornpaw a warrior (with the name of Thornclaw), and gives Lostface the new name of Brightheart. After the meeting, Sorrelkit wakes up. She tells Firestar that she saw Darkstripe meeting Blackfoot, and that Darkstripe had spotted her and given her the berries as a treat. Firestar immediately calls the Clan together again, where he confronts Darkstripe. Darkstripe refuses to explain himself, so Firestar banishes him, and, since Fernpaw now has no mentor, he makes Longtail her new mentor. Firestar later decides to tell Cinderpelt about the omen that had appeared after his leader ceremony, but she has no suggestions as to what it might mean.

    The next Gathering comes soon afterward. Firestar plans to tell all of the Clans about Tigerstar's treachery, but when they get there, ShadowClan and RiverClan arrive together, announcing great change. It turns out that the two Clans have joined, creating "TigerClan". He suggests WindClan and ThunderClan join, but they refuse. Furious, Firestar begins to tell the Clans about Tigerstar, but before he can get very far into his story, a storm starts and Tigerstar claims it's a sign that the Gathering is over.

    A few days later, Spottedleaf appears to Firestar, showing him a vision of himself as a lion. Startled, he tries to figure out what it has to do with "Lion and Tiger will meet in battle". He realizes "Tiger" must be TigerClan, but he wonders if he has to make a Clan called LionClan to fight it.

    One night, Ravenpaw arrives to pay his respects to Bluestar's resting place. Graystripe, meanwhile, is worried about his kits being in TigerClan, since Tigerstar knows that he's their father. Firestar, Graystripe, and Ravenpaw sneak into RiverClan territory to check on them. They come upon TigerClan holding a "trial" of all half-Clan cats - Mistyfoot, Stonefur, Featherpaw, and Stormpaw - becuase he claims their mixed blood makes them disloyal. He says that Stonefur will be welcomed back as a loyal warrior if he kills Featherpaw and Stormpaw, but he refuses. He is Defiant to the End as Darkstripe and Blackfoot attack him, killing him for disloyalty. Tigerstar decides to keep Featherpaw and Stormpaw alive for the time being. Firestar and his two friends discover where Tigerstar's keeping the half-Clan cats prisoner, so Ravenpaw lures the guard away, and they are able to get Mistyfoot and Graystripe's kits onto ThunderClan territory. They get back to camp, only to discover that Tawnypaw has disappeared.

    The next day, Mudclaw arrives at the ThunderClan camp, badly injured. He says that TigerClan has attacked their camp, and they are badly outnumbered. ThunderClan rushes to the rescue, but it's too late: TigerClan is already gone, leaving behind a dead Gorsepaw (who Firestar had once helped carry on the way to bring WindClan home) and a message from Tigerstar: WindClan and ThunderClan must meet him at Fourtrees the next day to join TigerClan, or else they would get what Gorsepaw did. They meet there the next day, preparing to fight. Bramblepaw realizes that Tawnypaw has joined TigerClan, but he refuses to do the same when Tigerstar offers. The two Clans give Tigerstar their answer, but instead of a fight starting, many, many cats come into the clearing, some of them wearing collars studded with teeth. Tigerstar introduces them as BloodClan, and orders them to attack WindClan and ThunderClan, but they don't move, awaiting an order from their leader, Scourge. Firestar takes this opportunity to tell all of the Clans about Tigerstar's past. Scourge replies that he will think about what Firestar has told him, and that they will not fight today. Tigerstar angrily leaps at Scourge, who takes one swipe at him - Firestar realizes that Scourge's claws are reinforced with sharpened dogs' teeth - and tears a massive wound from his shoulder to his tail. Tigerstar loses all nine of his lives at once. As the horrified Clans watch in silence, Scourge tells Firestar that BloodClan needs more territory. The forest cats have three days to either leave the forest - or meet BloodClan in battle.

    Firestar and Tallstar immediately come to an agreement to fight. ThunderClan spends the next two days preparing for the battle. Ravenpaw and Barley visit ThunderClan and announce that they are going to help fight. Barley tells Firestar that he used to be a BloodClan cat as a kit, and he explains that Scourge's one greatest strength is also his greatest weakness: he doesn't believe in StarClan. Firestar visits his sister Princess, telling her about the battle. Through the day, he still feels pretty hopeless, and shouts at StarClan, angrily asking why they allow things such as Tigerstar and BloodClan to happen, if they rule the forest. They appear to him and explain that they do not rule the forest, that they are simply The Watcher. Bluestar still manages to reassure Firestar, though. On the third day they visit TigerClan, where they convince Leopardstar to have ShadowClan and RiverClan join the fight, because only when all four forest Clans are combined can they hope to defeatBloodClan.

    Finally, the morning of the battle arrives. The forest Clans - temporarily one united Clan known as LionClan - meet there, and then BloodClan comes. The fight begins. During the battle, Darkstripe attempts to murder Firestar, but is killed himself by Graystripe. ThunderClan sustains a severe loss: Whitestorm is fatally wounded by Bone, the BloodClan deputy. He has just enough time to name Graystripe deputy before he dies. Firstar finally meets Scourge, and the two fight. Firestar loses a life, and meets with StarClan while his body recovers. They encourage him, and give him the emotional strength he needs to finish it. This is when he realizes what Barley had meant: since Scourge has no faith in StarClan, he does not have nine lives. Once again, they fight. Firestar uses a trick from his apprentice days, and gains the upper paw in the battle, finally killing Scourge. With the death of their leader, the remaining BloodClan cats flee.

    The Clans gather together and lick their wounds afterward. WindClan eagerly chases off all of the remaining BloodClanners. Leopardstar has decided that TigerClan is no more. Blackfoot will be the new ShadowClan leader, since as Tigerstar's deputy he succeeds him in leadership, and Leopardstar has named Mistyfoot her new deputy. Graystripe's kits go back to RiverClan, since that's their home. Tawnypaw, however, decides to remain in ShadowClan, because that's where she feels that she can be the best warrior possible. Barley and Ravenpaw return to their own home. Firestar sits with the cats who are dearest to him - Sandstorm, his mate; Graystripe, the best friend a cat could have; and Bramblepaw, the eager apprentice who proved his loyalty - and watches the sunrise, which is the most beautiful he has ever seen.