WhiteWhiskers recalls the perils and triumphs of SkyClan.
Maybe this is obvious to everyone, but it only recently occurred to me: There is a whole SkyClan story arc (what classical scholars might call an epos) that is largely separate from the main arcs and could be read chronologically. It is one in which tragedy and suffering predominate. It starts, of course, with DoTC, as the settlers and local loners form the five clans, which are officially named by Gray Wing on his death bed. In Moth Flight’s Vision, the original five leaders receive their nine lives and the first official medicine cats are appointed.
In the novella Shadowstar’s Life we see the twolegs beginning to encroach on SkyClan’s territory. In Cloudstar’s Journey, the destruction of SkyClan’s territory is complete and they are forced to leave the forest and eventually find their new home in the Gorge. After this, SkyClan’s story diverges from that of the other clans; their fate unknown for many seasons and their very existence totally forgotten by the other clans. Then, in Firestar’s Quest, FS begins having dreams about the forgotten clan, in which Cloudstar demands that he go and find the lost clan. He and Sandstorm do so, building a new clan from descendants of the original SkyClan, loners, and kittypets. He teaches them the code and the proper ceremonies and helps them defeat the rats that destroyed the first SkyClan,
There follows a series of stories about the new SkyClan in the Gorge: SkyClan’s Destiny (SE), in which Leafstar and her clanmates try to figure out how to live as a clan in their new situation, without any experience to model their behavior on; SkyClan and the Stranger (graphic novel series), which chronicles the clan’s misadventures with Sol; and Ravenpaw’s Farewell (novella), in which Ravenpaw and Barley bring Barley’s niece and nephew, Bella and Riley, to the clan so that they can become warriors, and Ravenpaw devises a plan that helps the clan defeat a band of kittypets who are harassing the clan and raiding their camp.
Soon, the clan’s (relatively) peaceful life in the Gorge comes to an end. In Hawkwing’s Journey (SE) the clan, after suffering other lesser misfortunes, is attacked and driven from their camp my Darktail and his rogues. They begin their long and difficult journey in search of the other clans. They are like the ancient Israelites wandering in the wilderness in search of the Promised Land. In parallel with Hawkwing’s Journey is the novella Pebbleshine’s Kits. Hawkwing’s mate, Pebbleshine, who is carrying their kits, is taken away on a twoleg monster (truck) while trying to “liberate” a chicken from its cage, and is never seen again. She gives birth to two she kits in a culvert under a thunderpath before being killed by a monster.
At this point, the SkyClan epos begins to rejoin the main story arcs: in The Apprentice’s Quest, Alderpaw begins having visions of other cats who he has never seen. Sandstorm recognizes these cats as the reborn SkyClan. Alderpaw leads a patrol to find them, but by the time they arrive, SkyClan has already been driven from the Gorge by Darktail and his rogues. After escaping from the rogue camp, Alderpaw and the ShadowClan apprentice Needlepaw are separated from the main patrol, and they find Pebbleshine’s newborn kits. They name them Violetkit and Twigkit, and take them back to the clans to be raised. With Shattered Sky, the cycle is complete. Twigpaw, after many difficulties, finds SkyClan and leads them back to the Lake Territories. After further complications, they finally have their own permanent territory and, as in the beginning, there are again five clans—like the petals of the blazing star.