Parallel Paths: Yellowfang and Leafpool by Viperfrost

Viperfrost takes a look at the similarities between Yellowfang and Leafpool, two of ThunderClan’s most notable medicine cats.

Art by nigelpuppy

Hello! It’s Viperfrost again, with the second installment of Parallel Paths. Last time, I discussed Bluestar and Mapleshade. This time, I’ll be talking about Yellowfang and Leafpool. Yellowfang and Leafpool were both medicine cats who followed their hearts, each ending up with three kits to show for it. I also just realized that Bluestar and Mapleshade each had three kits as well. Huh. But I’m getting off track, sorry! Both medcats also fell in love with a tomcat that was irritable and perhaps annoying. Yellowfang and Leafpool also both required a foster mom to nurse their kit(s), while concealing her identity. Their differences arise due to not only the cats around them, but also their family members. Let’s check out their experiences.
Yellowfang’s Experience:
1. Yellowfang’s mate was Raggedstar, the leader of Shadowclan. Her gift/curse of empathy meant that she had to become a medicine cat. While Raggedstar selfishly promised that if she became a warrior again he would make it so that she would never have to go into battle again. Yellowfang, still loyal to her clan at her core, broke it off with Raggedstar and fully committed to her position as medicine cat, though she was already pregnant.
2. Yellowfang needed to find a foster mom for her litter. However, the only nursing queen at the time was Lizardstripe, a cat who disliked her own kits for taking up her time and milk, much less a kit that wasn’t even hers. Lizardstripe only took in Brokenkit because she knew he was Raggedstar’s kit.
3. This created a hostile environment for Brokenkit, who was verbally abused by his foster mother and his foster littermates. He grew up to be Brokenstar, a cat who forced kits to go into battle as young as three moons old. But what about Yellowfang’s other kits? Oh, right. Hopekit and Wishkit died before they were even a day old. Yellowfang’s only surviving kit became a villainous murderer who killed kits, including his young aunt and uncle, Mintkit and Marigoldkit. He also killed his own father, Raggedstar.
4. What was their relationship? While Brokenkit at one point had a favorable relationship with his birth mother, so much so that she began to encourage him to become a medicine cat apprentice so that she could work with her son, he broke it off after his foster siblings made fun of him for his only friend being a medicine cat, and their relationship was rather rocky from that point onward. It culminated when Brokenstar forced her into exile.
5. Where did Yellowfang end up? Brokenstar exiled her after framing her for her younger siblings’ murders. She had to become a rogue. Yellowfang found refuge in Thunderclan, where she became the medicine cat after Spottedleaf and mentored Cinderpelt. She died in a fire, serving her new clan.
6. How did family factor into Yellowfang’s story? Yellowfang’s mother was led to believe that her own daughter had murdered her kits very easily. Should she have believed it that quickly? Similarly, her father is the first to accuse her of the murders. Though Brokenstar had indeed implied that only she knew what happened, that was a quick conclusion to draw. That was sort of odd, considering that Yellowfang’s littermates Rowanberry and Nutwhisker stood by her side to defend her, so it isn’t as though everyone in the family assumed that she was a step away from fratricide.
These factors made for a very negative life for Yellowfang, and culminated in her force-feeding her son death-berries.

Leafpool’s Experience:
1. Leafpool’s mate was Crowfeather, a warrior of Windclan. Leafpool’s natural affinity for herbs and connection to Starclan meant that she was destined for the medicine den, even though she ended up falling in love with Crowfeather during her apprenticeship to Cinderpelt. Unlike Yellowfang, when Crowfeather offered to take her away from all of it she agreed, and they ran away together. She came back to Thunderclan during the badger attack, because she knew the clan would need all the medicine cats possible. Like Yellowfang, she was already pregnant.
2. Leafpool also needed to find a foster mom for her litter. However, she had someone that she felt she could confide in safely and would take in her kits for certain. Yellowfang did not have the same sort of spiritual bond with her sister Rowanberry (also, the phrase “What sort of cat gives up her kit?” makes me think Yellowfang was probably right not to ask) that Leafpool had with Squirrelflight. Squirrelflight also had a mate, Brambleclaw, and they both adored the adopted kits (while it should be noted that Brambleclaw thought they were his at the time, I believe that he would have loved them just the same if he had known).
3. Jaykit, Hollykit, and Lionkit grew up with a loving and supporting family. Jaykit and Lionkit turned out to be members of the Three with special powers, and were essential to defeating the Dark Forest. Hollyleaf was a very loyal warrior before the secret of her lineage arose and she murdered Ashfur after he threatened to tell everyone. However, she still redeemed herself after she returned to Thunderclan by teaching them how to fight in the tunnels and by sacrificing her life in the Great Battle to save Ivypool.
4. What was their relationship? BEFORE the secret got out, she had good relationships with all three of her kits. Hollyleaf originally intended to become a medicine cat, though she had to switch positions with Jayfeather because of his blindness. This means that Leafpool got to spend time with two of her kits teaching them the art of her work, which is what Yellowfang wished Brokenkit would be interested in. She developed a close relationship with grumpy Jayfeather especially, since they spent all their time together, and was able to form bonds with her other kits as well because it was expected that she would be interested in them, as they were “her sister’s” kits. After the secret got out, she had less favorable contact with them, when Hollyleaf tried to force her to eat deathberries, when her other kits were angry with her because Hollyleaf had gone into the tunnels, etc.
5. Where did Leafpool end up? After the secret got out, Leafpool merely had to step down from her position and become a warrior. While she likely faced social problems relating to that, she didn’t have to actually leave.
6. How did family factor into Leafpool’s story? As we know, Hollyleaf had a lapse of judgement and spilled the secret at the Gathering anyway. Consider what happened to other cats who found a mate outside their own clan and had kits with them. Like Mapleshade, who was driven out of Thunderclan for breaking the warrior code, much less the medicine cat code in addition to it. As we know, Leafpool’s father Firestar was the leader of the clan, and didn’t want to drive out his own daughter. Thus, her family is likely why she only had to step down from her duties.
These factors made it so that she was able to have very good relationships with her kits for a long time, until the secret came out, at which point it all backfired.

Questions for BlogClanners:
1. Yellowfang thought that two of her kits dying and the other one becoming a vicious murderer was punishment from Starclan for her transgressions. Was it? And did she deserve it?
2. In accordance with the above post, was Starclan biased towards Leafpool? We know that ascending to Starclan does not magically make a cat into a Mary-Sue/Gary-Stu; they still have flaws. We also know that Starclan decision-making often depends on who precisely is in Starclan. So was Starclan biased towards giving Leafpool a better chance because of Starclan cats like Bluestar and Yellowfang having also had relationships/kits with cats from other clans?

Thus concludes my second article! Hope you liked it, and as always be sure to leave a comment. 😊

Fan Articles