Parallel Paths: Ravenpaw and Scourge by Viperfrost

Art by yolly-anda

Viperfrost returns with another installment of their Parallel Paths series, this time taking a look at the BloodClan leader Scourge and the former ThunderClan apprentice Ravenpaw.

Hey, everybody! Viperfrost again, here to talk about Scourge, the cutthroat ruler of Bloodclan, and Ravenpaw, the nervous apprentice of Tigerclaw.

Ravenpaw and Scourge both started out as small, nervous cats that were bullied and traumatized into fleeing.

Ravenpaw’s Experience:
1. Family. Ravenpaw’s parents were Robinwing and Fuzzypelt. He had six siblings, but his litter only consisted of himself and Dustpelt.
2. Upbringing. Ravenpaw’s brother and the other kits in the nursery (Sandkit and Graykit) didn’t bully him, but they did play his social anxiety for laughs, such as in the ending of Bluestar’s prophecy, where Ravenpaw is studiously peeling off the stalk of a leaf when Dustpaw sneaks up on him and just about scares him out of his fur.
3. Trauma. Ravenpaw’s trauma began when he was apprenticed to Tigerclaw. In an effort to prove that he wasn’t just a cowardly, anxious cat, he stayed behind at the Sunningrocks battle, even after Tigerclaw told him to leave. There, he witnessed the murder of Redtail. Tigerclaw then traumatized and intimidated him for a long time so that he wouldn’t say anything, even going so far as to push him into hunting in Shadowclan territory and catching an adder, both of which could have landed him in serious trouble. After discovering Tigerclaw’s treachery, Ravenpaw’s denmates helped him to escape before it got worse.
4. Fleeing. Fearing for his life, Ravenpaw couldn’t go back to his home. Instead, he went to Barley’s barn. He was well-fed and slowly got used to not having to look over his shoulder all the time. He relaxed, and became less high-strung and nervous.
5. Mate/Kits. Ravenpaw never canonically had a mate or kits, though he is often shipped with Barley. Side-note: Many (including myself) believe he was, in fact, mates with Barley, but it could never be canonized because the books are sold in certain places where that content wouldn’t be allowed.
6. Final Personality. Ravenpaw’s final personality was not just shaped by his traumas, but by his mentor (Barley, not Tigerclaw). He arrived at Barley’s barn with PTSD. He was afraid and he was anxious. Barley gave him confidence. He taught him the ropes of living on the barn, and Ravenpaw became comfortable in his life. Ravenpaw became stable enough in his confidence to embark with Barley’s niece and nephew all the way to Skyclan so that they could become warriors, mentoring them on the journey. When you read about Ravenpaw in the first arc, did he strike you as the sort of cat who would be able to do that? Ravenpaw and Barley stuck together through thick and thin, including that time Barley’s brothers Snake and Ice tried to drive a wedge between them. Barley’s aid to Ravenpaw was never forgotten, and it made him who he became.

Scourge’s Experience:
1. Family. Scourge was born as Tiny. His parents were Quince, who was a friendly maternal type, and Jake, who was everyone’s father. He had a brother, Socks, and a sister, Ruby.
2. Upbringing. Scourge was raised by Quince. His siblings bullied him often, picking on him because he was so nervous and jumpy as well as being the socially anxious runt of the litter.
3. Trauma. Scourge’s trauma began when Ruby told him that kittens who didn’t get adopted were thrown in the river. He tried to appeal to the people who came to see the kittens after that, but they were focused on Socks and Ruby. In an effort to prove that he wasn’t just a cowardly, anxious cat, he went out to the forest. There, he was traumatized by Tigerpaw, who nearly killed him upon Thistleclaw’s prompting to “teach him a lesson”. He was saved by Bluefur, and ran away.
4. Fleeing. Fearing drowning in the river, Scourge couldn’t go back to his home. Instead, he went to Twolegplace. He subsisted on garbage and scraps for a while, always fearing attacks from other cats. When asked for his name, he made a new one for himself based on his mother’s warnings of the Clan cats being scourges, symbolically demonstrating the shedding of his previous life.
5. Mate/Kits. Scourge never canonically had a mate or kits, though he is often shipped with Bone.
6. Final Personality. Scourge’s final personality was not just shaped by his traumas, but by his mentor. Scourge had lied to the other strays, telling them that the dog tooth in his collar was a trophy from a fight, rather than a failed attempt at removing the collar. His future second-in-command, Bone, and a cat named Brick told him about a dog that was roaming loose, and pressured him to walk his talk and fight the dog. Scourge knew that he was almost certainly going to die, but went anyway. He knew that if he didn’t, it would all be for nothing; no one would respect him, and he had nowhere else to go. His fate would be sealed either way.
As luck would have it, the dog was spooked by his shadow and ran away. After that, he became the cold, unfeeling cat everyone remembers from the two books he appeared in. Now, the book glosses over a lot of what follows, but it is rather important. Sure, Scourge had apparently scared away a dog, but he was still young, perhaps the age of an apprentice. He had no fighting skills and no real strengths besides his talk. He couldn’t have gotten to his powerful position by himself in that state.
What must’ve occurred was that Bone took him under his wing. Bone was essentially Scourge’s spokescat, telling everyone about how very powerful he was. He was already well-established in the area, so they would’ve believed him. He slowly recruited everyone, cat by cat, into becoming what was eventually known as Bloodclan. And remember, Scourge had no fighting skills at that point. But by the Darkest Hour’s Bloodclan battle, he was some sort of ninja cat with the ability to destroy anyone, despite his tiny size. Now, if Scourge had sought the training of one of his followers, it would have made everyone strongly doubt all that Bone had told them about him. He couldn’t have done so. So how did he become a ninja? Under Bone’s training, of course. Bone then became Scourge’s deputy, and the closest thing Scourge had had, or would ever have, to a friend. Scourge was majorly shaped by Bone, of all cats, to become who he was. He thought himself superior because that was what he was taught. He thought everything he did was right because no one would dare tell him it wasn’t.
They worked as a team, Scourge and Bone. Bone would’ve died for him, and he did. They did everything together, from collecting fangs for their collars and claws to put over their own to forcing everyone to obey the rules set forth. Bone’s aid to Scourge was never forgotten, and it made him who he became.

Scourge and Ravenpaw became very different cats, no doubt, but I believe their starting circumstances weren’t so different.

Questions for BlogClanners:
1. I always found it interesting that Scourge’s abjectly terrible actions (making rules against families staying together, having Snake and Ice attack and nearly kill their sister Violet to prove their loyalty, etc.) led to Ravenpaw, a cat of similar starting circumstances, being offered a safe refuge to live (the very thing Scourge never had). How do you think Ravenpaw would have turned out if Barley’s barn was not an option and he had to go elsewhere with no allies beside him?

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