The Ways of the Dark Forest – And how to get there Part 1 by Cedartalon

Artwork by MossclawArt

Cedartalon discusses the Dark Forest’s role in the fourth arc, Omen of the Stars

After the sharp-eyed jay and the roaring lion, peace will come on dove’s gentle wing.”
Ever since I had read those words at the beginning of Omen of the Stars, my favorite Warriors arc, I knew that these next five books would be different from what I was used to reading about – A group of cats trying to survive in the wild and fight off various enemies, none of which seemed to come out all at the same time – and I was right.

The second book on OotS, Fading Echoes, was by far the book I had read the fastest. It was(and still is) so intriguing to learn about the ways of the Dark Forest, or Place of No Stars. So that’s what we are here to talk about.

What exactly are the cunning, manipulative, and dangerous ways of this forbidden place?

Let’s start at about the middle of Fading Echoes, where Ivypaw is dreaming of a beautiful meadow. This brings us to our first ‘rule of the Dark Forest(DF)’, if you will – entice the cat to train with a pretty setting, such as a meadow or lush forest. This seems to be easy, since the cats know that they are dreaming, it would be better to start with good dreams instead of heading straight into a nightmare. This works especially well on young cats like Ivypaw, who would be drawn to such beautiful places, and would want to learn more.

The next rule is also in this scene – senior warriors of the DF should entice the target, not new warriors. This is mainly why we see Hawkfrost, Tigerstar, Brokenstar, and Thistleclaw bring in the new apprentices. If they were to send new warriors and apprentices to bring in new blood, it could actually send more cats away. This is because, unlike the senior warriors that are fully committed, the new warriors and apprentices might still know of the danger the DF is putting them in, therefore, they would most likely try to warn the targets away.
Next is that once you’ve learned some of the basic skills, i.e., hunting skills, they ask you a few semi-personal questions. Some examples are: “Haven’t you always wanted power?” “Isnt it great to be feared?” “do you wish to learn more?” etc. they sometimes say so in a mnacing way, like you have to say yes. They emotionally manipulate you, to the point where youre practically a puppet, saying yes to everything. They make you an apprentice.

As you become an apprentice, exercises and tasks become brutal and dangerous. We see this in the scene where Ivypaw must attack Mapleshade underwater. It is even worse when you become a DF warrior. At your assessment, you must kill an inocent cat from StarClan. For some, this will be an easy task – after all, they’ve been training for moons, and they have most likely desensitized to dying cats. Once you become a warrior, there isnt any going back. You stay, or they kill you.

This is the end of part 1. Part 2 wll disscuss how bad your sins would have to be for you to go to the Dark Forest. Thak you for reading!

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