The Dark Forest Trainees: Not so innocent by Mellowix

Mellowix shares why the Dark Forest trainees cannot be absolved of all doubt.

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In many reviews for Dovewing’s Silence, I’ve seen fans dislike accusers of the trainees who didn’t fight for the Dark Forest – Including considering Dustpelt a bad father for not allowing Birchfall bury the mother who was slaughtered in the Great Battle.

Giving the expression because the most Trainees didn’t fight for the Dark Forest, they’re innocent cats unfairly labelled. However, what I think is overlooked, is everything that happened before the Great Battle – The Training sessions. They’re still guilty of negligence, cowardice and lying.

It could not be more obvious the Dark Forest sessions were wrong. They were training with the worst mass murderers and tyrannical leaders in Clan history, many of who the Trainees would have heard in stories or even lived through a.k.a Thornclaw. The Training too brutal to be legal, unnecessarily getting themselves injured, wasting herbs and limiting their duties. They weren’t doing this to “become better warriors for their Clan” – If they genuinely believed that, they should of told their Clanmates so the whole Clan could benefit of it. Heck, the Dark Forest cat were encouraging the trainees to take violent revenge on their clanmates. Instead they, either selfishly keeping it to themselves or lying because they knew it was wrong. Blossomfall flat-out admitted this.

But it gets worse; they were actively covering up the murders of Clan cats. First with Antpelt – They knew the Dark forest cats were killing them, yet they carried on to crawl back to them and be loyal to them. They then do this a second time with Beetlewhisker, his fellow Riverclan trainees staying quiet while his clanmates desperately call out for him.

By far the worst, they did nothing about the upcoming Great Battle. They didn’t need to personally attack the Clans to be guilty of betraying them – They knew the Dark Forest’s plans to lead a genocide against their family and friends serval days beforehand. They were currently in no danger as the Dark Forest spirit wouldn’t reach the living world until later. Any what did they do? Selfishly put their lives above everyone else’s and kept quiet as a bunch of cowards.

They carried on this act until half way through the battle, hiding away. It’s apart of the Warrior Code to protect your Clan with your life – And the trainees utterly failed that duty, not coming to their senses until it was too late, dozens of their clanmates already slaughtered. It would be unacceptable if a Warrior neglected to report Bloodclan, rival animals, the Kin or any other fatal threats and the Trainees should be held accountable to this standard.

Though the trainees ain’t the only ones with hidden guilt. There are those who covered up the true extent of their crimes as well – I’m specifically referring to Onestar.

After the Great Battle and the trainees’ fates were being decided, Onestar was their most adamant defender among the leaders. To the point, he almost seemed to be rewarding them: Harespring became deputy, Larkwing became a warrior and Whiskernose got to retire.

However, after the Darktail reveal, it makes me reflect back on this time. Since he’s used scandal to keep up his own and Windclan’s reputation, he’d probably use similar tactics for the Trainees. When I looked into it, the results weren’t disappointing.

In Dovewing’s Silence, there’s a gathering discussing the trainees’ punishment. The Leaders were meant to take every trainee, however Onestar solely took Breezepelt, despite Crowfeather’s trial revealing there are 6 Windclan trainees. This tricked Dovewing into assuming Thunderclan had the most trainees and Onestar even drew attention to it:

“Onestar let his gaze rest on the ThunderClan cats. “I suppose we have to face the fact that some of our Clanmates were recruited by the Dark Forest, for whatever reason. Some Clans more than others,” he added meaningfully.”

Despite having the worst offender in Breezepelt, Onestar is the most adamant on “forgiving”. He’s strangely defensive and inpatient:

“The same goes for Breezepelt,” Onestar declared. “We suffered great losses during the battle. Why should I want to punish one of my few remaining warriors? We need Breezepelt on patrol, not wasted because of something that has finished.”

When Ivypool suggested explaining the trainee’s motives, Onestar was uncomfortable. If he had nothing to hide than the Windclan leader would consider this beneficial for his pro-trainee agenda. Yet he’s suspiciously not, especially when Breezepelt’s motive wasn’t as innocent as the other trainees:

“I think it would help to understand why some of us joined the Dark Forest,” she began. Onestar and Blackstar bristled but Ivypool kept talking. […] Onestar traced his forepaw in the dust. “I don’t need to know why Breezepelt made his choices. I only need to trust him from now on. Which I do.”

When Bramblestar brings up Breezepelt’s attack on Thunderclan, Onestar acts dismissive of it. He willfully ignores the fact that the Four Clans were allies during the Great Battle:

“With good reason,” Bramblestar meowed. He looked at Breezepelt. “There is at least one warrior here who attacked ThunderClan cats alongside the Dark Forest warriors. I cannot see that as anything but a betrayal of the warrior code.”

“Breezepelt never turned against his own Clanmates,” Onestar mewed. “That is the essence of the warrior code, surely? And he is my warrior, so it is up to me what happens to him.”

Breezepelt not turning against his clanmates is bluntly untrue; he was apart of the assault on Windclan camp:

There you are!” Breezepelt’s eyes shone. “We’re going to launch an attack on the [Windclan] camp. […] “As Breezepelt reared up to attack a WindClan warrior, Ivypool launched herself at him.

Considering it was a whole camp-full of cats, there had to be some Windclan witnesses to Breezepelt’s attack. From everything we know already, I believe Onestar silenced those witnesses and lied at the Gathering, in order to keep face.

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  • The Dark Forest is to blame, in my opinion. Not the trainees. Remember, when Ivypool first met Hawkfrost, she didn’t even KNOW he was evil. But eventually, it was too late: like it or not, she dreamed of the Dark Dorest every night. The trainees aren’t to blame.
    Lost In The Woods

    • But Ivypool quickly figured out they were evil, when she was introduced to Tigerstar and Brokenstar. She would’ve of heard them from stories. The likely reason why Hawkfrost’s introduced her, was because his crimes weren’t public knowledge. They were plenty of signs later on: Directly telling them to get violent revenge on their clanmates (Exp. Breezepelt and Hollowflight), getting them to injure each other in “training” and of course, Antpelt’s murder. Blossomfall admitted she knew it was wrong.

      Also trainees have the ability to stop dreaming of the Dark Forest whenever they like. They just need to put up a mental barrier; Crookedstar, Lionblaze and Brambleclaw did so. The Dark Forest stopped having power over them, as soon as they choose to stop letting them in.

  • some of it was a bit harsh since the trainees were being blackmailed so i don’t think they should be punished the way you said it

    • In what specific ways were they being blackmailed? Birchfall fought it was harmless training for a long time, so hiding his dreams from his clanmates was his choose.

    • For blackmail to take place, there needs to be secrets. However, the Dark Forest didn’t know anything, the trainee’s clanmates didn’t already.

      Everyone aware of Breezepelt’s and Blossomfall’s family issues for example. Instead of confronting these involved directly and healing in a healthy way – They willingly made their situation worse, by joining a group of mass murderers instead. Blossomfall admitted she knew it was wrong and she was purposefully making herself more “evil” as self-pity.

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