Cristalfall takes a look at the main villains of A Starless Clan.
Finally, I’m writing this the 3rd time and I hope it doesn’t get deleted after hours and hours spent on it. Hope you all enjoy reading this because this is quite a handful! Please share your opinions in the comments!! Anyways, I’ll be introducing my theory about the main villians of this arc. This is inspired by Bright Guardian Akira on YouTube, so if you don’t know her already and like great theories, I’d suggest checking her out.
This arc has, so far, no obvious villians thrown out at plain sight like Tigerstar in the first arc, yet both Mistystar’s and especially Reedwhisker’s death is suspicious. Mistystar has been uncaringly argued with way beyond her point, even though she was visibly distressed and obviously fragile, as she is an extremely old cat, being a fully grown Warrior at the very start of the series, Into the Wild. She’s been alive for over 7 arcs and is mentioned by Frostpaw to look extremely tired and frail even when doing daily tasks. That argument was causing her to collapse and have a heart attack. It’s starting to make me think it was on purpose. And we don’t even know who killed Reedwhisker. Only that he wandered into a strange place which provides poor hunting while on a hunting patrol. “Why would Reedwhisker have gone this way?”
he grumbled. “There’s not much prey near the Twolegplace.. stupid apprentice!”
Reedwhisker is a senior deputy, Mistystar’s son who was a kit in the second book of the series, Fire and Ice. He has a lot of experience, so why on earth would he go there if it’s a poor hunting spot? It’s almost like he was lured there, don’t you think?
Podlight shook his head in bewilderment. “I don’t
know where he went. We lost track of him; I thought
he’d just wandered off, chasing a rabbit or something.”
I think that the two conspiracy groups, RiverClan and ShadowClan, made up of 4 cats I would seem suspicious (Curlfeather, Duskfur, Lightleap, Berryheart) have a problem with the code changes and how most cats don’t have any influence over the code that affects them all, leading them to try more… ‘morally debatable’ things so that they could attempt to assert some more power
“it seems like more
living cats should help decide the rules we live by. I’m
not saying that Mistystar is trying to mislead us. But
what’s so special about the Lights in the Mist? Who
are they? Mistystar, Crowfeather, Shadowsight,
Rootspring, and Violetshine. Why should they get to
decide the rules for all the Clan cats? At least you’re a
leader, Mistystar, but Shadowsight’s the cat who got us
into the whole Ashfur mess, Crowfeather was a
and want to change the leaderships of clans whose leaders and deputies support the changes and make one of their own leader. In RiverClan obviously both RiverClan leader and deputy support the code changes, so they were swiftly removed. SkyClan might be the next target where both leader and deputy support code changes. The next book is literally called ‘Sky’ and Duskfur expresses contempt against SkyClan, stating “I’m not sure I know enough
yet about the SkyClan cats to trust them.” even though they were there for ages..
Strange that Frostpaw found a curled feather? It could have been another Mothwing and Hawkfrost situation, to help Curlfeather get into their role and argue against the rules. Curlfeather hardly seemed surprised when she got her position. I believe that they were also being manipulate by the Dark Forest in their dreams as well, specifically Mapleshade and Frecklewish, furious at the new code changes. Frostpaw’s dream confirming Curlfeather’s leadership could have been from the Dark Forest, because why would StarClan make Curlfeather the leader if she is suspicious? Dark Forest can also send dreams!
Let’s talk Dark Forest, for they seem to be hinted at being a central part of this arc. Bramblestar literally keeps dreaming about them. It’s relevant.
Squirrelflight let out a long sigh. “Yes, what
happened there has affected him deeply,” she
admitted, then added quickly, “He’s fine—completely
fine. He’s a great leader, and absolutely himself . . .
but he’s not sleeping well. He keeps having dreams
about the Dark Forest.”
The Lights of The Mists are being talked about as the reason of the rule changes, Lightleap is being haunted by
The books have shifted towards bringing back old characters. Most notably Ashfur returning after 10 years and Firestar showing up randomly in a Light in the Mist. This arc is also EXTREMELY similar to the last and I suspect that there will be more in the near future. As Akira calls this ‘Echo Theory’. Bristlefrost is almost identical to Sunbeam, both getting rejected by their good friend who is a love interest but remaining friends with them, having tension with their other friends relating to love interest, struggling with rebellions, struggling to decide which side to take and finding comfort with a cat outside the clan. Rootspring is almost identical to Flamepaw. They both find a part of themselves ‘weird’ and are resentful to whoever ’caused’ this, worry about their skills and matching their peers, are both brash, impulsive, hot tempered and have conflict with their primary parental figure. Shadowsight is almost identical to Frostpaw. Both are inexperienced medicine cats with lots of responsibility placed on their shoulders during a time of increasing chaos, both don’t want that power, prefer to stay away from the spotlight, both are anxious, fragile, kind cats who get traumatized, both have strange visions. Shadowsight’s visions got twisted by Ashfur to try and manipulate him, so under Echo Theory, same goes for Frostpaw. That would make sense with the curled feathers. But for the visions to be faked, there would need to be at least 3 cats faking the visions. So that brings me to…
First of all, the Frecklewish situation. Why would the ‘story team’ suddenly make Frecklewish a DF cat if they weren’t going to use that in an way? After the fans got outraged, they wrote a hasty and inaccurate article condemning her and essentially retconning her character to make her seem ‘evil’. Yes, Frecklewish is morally grey, but she’s not Dark Forest worthy. That article uses the ‘Warrior Code’ excuse, that she should be in hell because she broke it. By that logic, Firestar should be in the DF. Oakstar should also be in the Dark Forest because he committed the exact crimes that Frecklewish did.
They also made things up that weren’t in the books to support their point and the format was extremely… off. The story team had previously written articles about morally grey cats like Blackstar (who has done MUCH worse things, including directly supporting two dictators and murdering a guy in cold blood) and talking about both sides of the argument (evil side Vs good side – he was a great ShadowClan leader after what happened) giving us a balanced perspective of his character and they had a poll about him that we could vote on? But Frecklewish? It’s literally – ‘she’s evil, case closed’. Why do you think they tried so hard to include her? To include her in the next books, otherwise this is nonsensical. They probably wanted to include the Dark Forest but they didn’t have enough cats as they killed a LOT of them in a Light in The Mist so they shoved a morally grey cat into there to add to the population. They literally ONLY have Mapleshade. More on her later. She might have even appeared already in this book, but that’s highly debatable. Frostpaw has seen a LOT of cats that she doesn’t know and guesses who they are, this scene might be no exception.
Finally one cat emerged more clearly: a
golden tabby she-cat with a spotted pelt and gleaming
amber eyes. Frostpaw had never seen her before, but
she had heard stories about the time when she led
Frostpaw asks if she is Leopardstar and the she cat says yes, but what if it’s Frecklewish posing as Leopardstar? They look EXACTLY the same. Now you might be wondering, what is her motive? Why is she helping RiverClan? Well, she’s not exactly helping, if anything, she might just be speeding up the conspiracy group’s plan to make Curlfeather the leader and maybe somehow try to bypass They would have found Reedwhisker eventually. I find it interesting that ‘Leopardstar’ doesn’t seem to have any interest in the code at all. That’s quite unlike her I would say because usually StarClan cats would have some expression at least at what the living cats are telling them even if the only thing StarClans says is an omen. Especially Leopardstar. She always was fiercely loyal and cared about what would happen to RiverClan.
as she recounted the suggestions the
Clans had made about changes to the code.
Leopardstar’s expression remained blank; as Frostpaw
explained, she couldn’t guess what the leader thought.
“Are you okay with that?” Frostpaw asked when
she had finished.
Leopardstar nodded, but when she spoke, it was
about something completely different.
You could say she just wanting to give the sign to Frostpaw to speed up their plan and start their influence against the rules as soon as possible and maybe cheer up the clans a bit, making them feel more secure because ‘StarClan’ is with, making them take their guard down at least a little.
Under Echo Theory, if this vision is fake, just like Shadowsight’s, it has to be Frecklewish.
Now, let’s talk Mapleshade. Since both her and Frecklewish are in the Dark Forest, it might mean working together and that would be a TERRIBLE (but interesting) idea because they hold an enormous grudge towards each other that they will never let go and for sound reason. Mapleshade killed Frecklewish in cold blood, sneered and told her ‘i hope you die in agony’, was mates with Frecklewish’s beloved brother’s murderer and tactlessly used her dead brother’s name and lied to a grieving family. Frecklewish cruelly snarled for the kits to be exiled, physically assaulted Mapleshade and watched the kits drown without interfering. So these two are far from being happy girlfriends. But I do feel pretty confident on Dark Forest meddling in this arc and since there needs to be at least 3 cats faking the visions, while the execution is still unknown, looks like they are working together.
Apart from that, Mapleshade has PLENTY of reason to attack the clans. The 1st is the easy one: Appledusk’s kin. Mistystar is Appledusk’s great great granddaughter and Reedwhisker is Mistystar’s son, which places both of them in Appledusk’s direct lineage. Mapleshade has been swearing revenge on them for centuries, wanting to torture them a bit like she did to Crookedstar. The 2nd one is the new code changes. ‘A warrior may switch to the clan of their choice to be with their mate after successfully completing a physical challenge the new clan sets’ Mapleshade’s dream is practically legal now, without any setbacks. She always wished to be with Appledusk without any distruptions or secrets and so that they could just be a happy family. But as half clan relationships were still not allowed then, she blames this rule for taking away her clan, kits and mate as the discovery of the kits’ half clan parentage immediately sent anything she valued with her life down the drain
and started a life of misery. But Mapleshade won’t ever be happy for anyone else. Instead, she’ll be feeling murderous envy. ‘Why did everyone else who were in my position get to live happily and I didn’t?’ She’ll want revenge since she’s Mapleshade. I’d also say that maybe subtly, a rule change that might have also triggered her is the rule that relates to Oakstar, the leader who exiled her and her three two-moon old innocent kits, ‘the leader’s word is the warrior code’. This justifies his horrible actions and Mapleshade might also be feeling bitter that cats nowadays can challenge their leaders. This arc’s RiverClan situation strongly parallels the events of Crookedstar’s promise, which is Mapleshade’s meddling causing many deaths and destruction in a short period of time. The events of this book might also be her meddling.
With that said, I don’t think they’re the only villians. I think that they’re manipulating and using the cats I’d say are sus via Dark Forest dreams. They might be pushing those angry cats to the limit and helping them with their plans. So, let’s start with why I think that these four cats have something to do with this plan.
∆ CURLFEATHER ∆
Duskfur’s daughter, probably a family link between them.
She is the one ‘chosen’ to be leader by the probably fake omen of curled feathers that Frostpaw received. When she becomes leader, she doesn’t seem surprised at all. It’s like she knew about the omen. And if she knew about the omen, she was a part of it.
Curlfeather is on the patrol where Reedwhisker was killed.
“Curlfeather, I’ll take you, too,” Reedwhisker
added as he passed the spot where Frostpaw and her
mother were eating together.
When Reedwhisker goes missing, Curlfeather doesn’t show much emotion. She’s extremely cool and all about finding him. She seems impatient to become leader. It’s like Curlfeather knows he’s dead. There’s no mention of anxiety or shock in her scenes. She’s usually quite an emotional cat.
“That’s right,” Curlfeather meowed. “We tried
looking for him—we followed his scent trail, but there
was rain last night, and the ground is too wet to hold a
scent. In the end we thought he would be waiting for
us back here in camp.”
“Yes, we must find him soon,” Curlfeather pointed
“Of course we’ll find him,” Curlfeather mewed
briskly. “We have to. Or else . . .” She let her voice
When Reedwhisker’s body is found, Curlfeather immediately suggests that the fall killed him, that somehow he got distracted and ran into bad territory like an apprentice, which is extremely illogical in itself, considering Reedwhisker’s experience. When Frostpaw examines Reedwhisker’s body and tries to guess what killed him, Curlfeather immediately dismisses her and pushes her own ‘theory’ onto the other cats. If she were involved in his death she would precisely want to direct attention away from her and her followers onto other things to keep their secret plan safe. If Reedwhisker truly fell from a ravine and onto some sharp stones, I’d bet that stone scratches would look different from badger scratches. Even sharp stones are wider than badger claws and don’t cut that deep. As well as the fact that there would be many scratches spread out along his body, rather than just a few. So it seems more probable that he was somehow murdered, whether directly or indirectly, by those cats. It might even have been about the dogs that killed Curlfeather in a freak accident!
Frostpaw looked more closely, and saw several
scratches running the length of Reedwhisker’s spine,
where the fur had been torn away to expose the flesh
beneath. The scrapes had bled, though the blood was
“That looks almost like a badger’s claws,” she
“Nonsense, that’s nothing like a badger,”
Curlfeather meowed. “The fall must have killed him.”
When Reedwhisker is actually found and she is under the watchful eye of the search patrol, she puts on an exaggerated font, showing emotion for the first time. Like I said before, it’s like Curlfeather knew he was dead. She immediately says so when his body is discovered.
“Oh, no!” Curlfeather exclaimed, her voice full of
distress. “He is dead! I just knew it!”
Now, about her death. Why would Curlfeather participate in events that led to her own death, you ask? It’s extremely likely that the rebels led the dogs to use them. But I believe it was an accident. No one can control dogs. Curlfeather must have felt betrayed in her final moments so she discloses some information to Frostpaw, warning her against the cats she believes betrayed her, to keep Frostpaw safe, that she knew fishy stuff was going on in RiverClan and would have told her more if she wasn’t literally dying.
Curlfeather was staring up at her, her eyes welling
with love and emotion. “Keep RiverClan safe!” Her
voice rose into a screech of agony. “And trust no cat!”
Duskfur, a cat I believe is part of the group is mentioned to be extremely dull and depressive, so yes, this is a freak accident. Killing Curlfeather was not part of the plan.
were dull with grief, and her tail drooped; she looked
as if Curlfeather’s death had aged her seasons in a
∆ DUSKFUR ∆
She seems quite suspicious in this book and considering her domineering nature and that she’s the eldest, being born way back in Eclipse while the other cats, even Berryheart, barely come close as she’s born in A Vision of Shadows, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s the ringleader of them all. Again the family link. She might be using Curlfeather to help her as Duskfur is the one expressing suspicion towards the new rules and her lack of power and influence over them, not Curlfeather. When you think about it, the only evidence against Curlfeather is her part in Reedwhisker’s death and the leader plot, while evidence against Duskfur is her protesting against the rules itself AND Reedwhisker’s AND Mistystar’s death. She seems to have the most influence out of all of them.
I feel like these quotes fully describe Duskfur’s motives. She’s bitter about how five cats (seven including Bristlefrost and Greystripe, but they’re dead) get to just.. decide the rules for all of them without any input from other cats, excluding the other leaders somewhat. She feels glazed over and unimportant, likely magnified by her valuable experience that is wasted. The rules impact *all* of them, all clan cats; elders, queens, kits, apprentices, warriors, deputies, leaders and yet only a few of them get an actual say in the matter. Admittedly, the rules are stupid and did need others point of view to balance them out so I wouldn’t be surprised if the conspiracy group saw all the flaws, set out to ‘fix” the rules and advocate for more equal power. Like the leader removal one, ‘3/4 of the clan must agree that the leader should be removed including all the important people and THEN all the other leaders must agree for them to be removed.’ That rule was crafted to prevent another Ashfur and many other dictator situations happening but they don’t help do that. At no point during Ashfur’s leadership did 3/4 of the clan agree that Ashfur should be removed, there were always cats who supported him, as well as cats who agreed with everything he did like Bumblestripe and Berrynose. It’s more if you look at Spotfur’s novella. Most of the clan seems supportive of Bramblestar! And it’s not like the other clan leaders would ever agree. Harestar and Mistystar helped Bramblestar and denied any suspicious things happening about him. Mistystar herself should know this before purposing this rule at a gathering. However, Mistystar outright denies Duskfur’s honest and admittedly bold statements and indirectly insults her by saying ‘ohh they get to decide everything because they were brave enough to go to the Dark Forest and you weren’t ‘, so their argument starts, and the group plan keeps going because their leader doesn’t listen. At this point, both sides feel hurt. Mistystar feels extremely upset and disrespected. Duskfur also feels extremely upset and disrespected. But Duskfur pushes the argument on, Mistystar’s response encouraging her to work
all the Lights in the Mist did and sacrificed, what right
have you, Duskfur, to doubt their intentions?
Bristlefrost and Graystripe gave their lives.”
Frostpaw could hear how upset the Clan leader
was getting, but Duskfur didn’t seem aware of it, or
*she didn’t care.*
Duskfur, like I said before, goes way too far when it comes to arguing. She says the exact worse things when Mistystar is visibly in distress, even when she has an odd strain to her mew and is visibly struggling with her emotions. Duskfur is hitting at Mistystar’s sensitive spots, the shameful past about herself, when she was helping Ashfur, right in front of the entire clan and when she was in a fragile state. Those things need to be discussed in a different and gentler manner, when both people are in a calm rather than neurotic state. And she doesn’t stop. Duskfur keeps going.
Duskfur is hinted to not care by the text or ‘not be aware’. Hey, if a young apprentice like Frostpaw can pick up on it, you most definitely can, Duskfur. So I think that she doesn’t care. Duskfur forces Mistystar to try justify herself but she is overwhelmed by her emotions and collapses. No wonder that happened. When she gets yelled at for being a cause of Mistystar collapsing, she has literally no reaction.
…Mistystar, when you had us fighting
to defend him. Now you’re convinced that what he did
was enough to upend the whole code?”
Mistystar’s fur was bushed up in fury, and
Frostpaw could see her working her claws into the top
of the stump, as if she were tearing apart a piece of
prey. “Yes,” she admitted at last, an odd strain to her mew.
When Reedwhisker disappears, Duskfur practically l tells everyone ‘REEDWHISKERS DEAD!!’ when the RiverClan cats wonder if he’s coming back and are distressed. It’s like she already knows for a fact that he’s dead, because when she cast doubt on that Reedwhisker is alive, she leaves no room for considering the fact that he might be alive. It’s just he’s dead, and that’s it. Case closed’. May I mention that she does this twice.
“Stupid furballs!” Lizardtail interrupted. “What’s the point of arguing about it, when Reedwhisker will be
Frostpaw purred her agreement, pleased to see
Reedwhisker’s former apprentice sticking up for him.
But to Frostpaw’s dismay, few cats listened to
“We *don’t know* that,” Duskfur *retorted, glaring at
*“Should we have an acting leader?” Duskfur
suggested, her voice shaking with nervousness. “If
“It seems obvious to me,” Duskfur responded. “It
should be our medicine cat.”
Duskfur suggests having a temporary leader, maybe trying to open the RiverClan cats minds to having a new leader and forwarding their plans, but she suggests Mothwing. I think she didn’t want to draw attention to Curlfeather becoming leader because that’s random and may seem out of place. Duskfur knows Mothwing really well, that Mothwing doesn’t like being leader and Frostpaw is too young, so it’s undecided who is leader and whoosh! The omen of curled feathers arrives and Curlfeather is quickly accepted as leader. Duskfur expresses satisfaction when Curlfeather is appointed. “If I can’t be leader myself, then I’m glad it’s my kit. You’re a good warrior and *we all trust you*.”
Duskfur is the cat who expressed doubts about SkyClan, when the next book is literally called ‘Sky’ and both leader and deputy support the code, so like I said before, they’re the next targets and she’s part of it.
∆ BERRYHEART ∆
The only known and confirmed member of the rebel group, this section will be short because we know she is already in the group. We already see Berryheart complaining about how she she hates the new rules after Fringewhisker’s successful trial and tries to make the other cats agree with her and maybe help her ‘fix’ the rules, including Tawnypelt who is disgusted by this idea. I wouldn’t be surprised if she were making a rebellion by her words. She’s narrow minded and wouldn’t accept anything else, including being disgusted by her son having a forbidden romance and she makes up ‘issues’ about both the test itself and Fringewhisker’s performance. Berryheart outright tries to make Sunbeam join them and even her tone of voice is creepy and manipulative.
Berryheart, with a small
group of the older cats, all shaking their heads as if
something terrible had happened.
“Then join us,” Berryheart mewed. “You might like
what you hear.”
Her voice was pleasant but somehow it sent a shiver right down to the tips of
Sunbeam’s claws. “We’re only trying to preserve the
ShadowClan we all know and love—surely you agree
I always imagined Spireclaw with a ShadowClan she-
cat—I even had a few in mind. They would have
made beautiful ShadowClan kits together. But now,”
Berryheart continued with a lash of her tail, “I’ll have half-Clan kin whose mother will always have one paw
back in SkyClan. And all because of this stupid sham
of a test!”
∆ LIGHTLEAP ∆
I believe that she did have something going on, that she did witness something about Reedwhisker dying because after Sunbeam follows Lightleap, we hear this description and it’s definitely about Reedwhisker. This is during the exact time he was missing as well. She seems very defensive and secretive about it as well.
Sunbeam heard a
yowl of rage somewhere far ahead of her, as if a cat
had been suddenly surprised by an enemy. It was
followed—faintly, because of the distance—by the wet
growl of a fighting cat.
‘the noise was
really far away. It could even have been coming
Lightleap paused, looking back over her shoulder.
“Nothing happened,” she responded. “I trod on a thorn, that’s all. Now leave me alone.”
I think that she witnessed something she shouldn’t have, but was blackmailed into keeping quiet in some way. That would explain her lack of desire to tell Sunbeam and by extension ShadowClan anything and also the very improbable excuse of stepping on a thorn. Yeah, right. However, I don’t think she’s in the center or even willingly involved in it. Because she’s Lightleap and she’s a rule breaker. Why would she uphold some rules that she doesn’t care about? The conspiracy groups have the complete opposite plan, so no, I don’t think she’s involved in it.
I also want to add a bit about Podlight. I’m not really sure about him. They are many clues, but as for the rest of them, so many interpretations as they are extremely ambiguy. People suspect him to be part of the rebel group because of how much he supported Frostpaw’s visions, how he was on the patrol on which Reedwhisker dies and put of an ‘exaggerated font’ when he doesn’t return, being the only cat on guard when getting the sign for Curlfeather to be leader and because he has a family link to both Duskfur and Curlfeather, being son and brother respectively. Of course, this is quite suspicious but this one quote keeps me from calling him out; when Duskfur projects that Reedwhisker is certainly dead, Podlight has an unusually strong reaction to his mother’s comments. He seems oblivious to everything that’s been happening, is noted to be extremely harsh and warns about ‘not tempting fate’ as if he hopes he might be alive. He seems sure that Reedwhisker is back in camp and is shown to even be amused by his ‘scatterbrainess’. There were 5 cats on patrol. Apart from Reedwhisker, Curlfeather was on that patrol, a suspicious cat, Podlight and two other cats that show no signs of doing anything evil whatsoever. Podlight might be one of them. Also Podlight seems very confused when it comes to Mistystar’s death, when the other members aren’t really.
“Reedwhisker will come back!” Podlight
interrupted his mother harshly. “Why would any cat
think he won’t? We don’t want to tempt fate like that,
The amusement fled from Podlight’s eyes and he
stared at Mothwing in disbelief. “How?” he asked
eventually. “Surely she wasn’t on her last life!”
Of course, even if Podlight was in the conspiracy group, he might have not known about the number of lives Mistystar has left. But the group might have guessed. Mistystar is extremely old so it’s quite obvious that she doesn’t have many lives left, possibly having one and that’s what happened. None of the group seemed shocked about Mistystar having one life but he did.
So yeah. I’m not really sure. Maybe the next book will give more information! For now, I’m staying ambivalent about him.
Thanks for reading this rollercoaster of a post lol! I did my best to make it comprehensible but if I didn’t in some way, please tell me. Anyways, ciao and have a great meowy day!