Redberry explains why they think Fallen Leaves deserves more time.
Fallen Leaves is one of my favorite characters from the Warriors series, but we’ve heard so little of his story. He was one of the ancient cats who first lived around the lake, where the clans live now. These cats would eventually become the Tribe of Endless Hunting, and then some of them would split off to become the Clans in the forest territory before finally returning to the lake again. The cats around the lake completed a special trial to become a sharpclaw (similar to a warrior) wherein they had to enter the tunnels around the lake, meet with Rock, and then find their way out without ever returning to Rock’s chamber. We know that Fallen Leaves went into the tunnels but he never came out. Presumably, he drowned during his trial to become a sharpclaw after lying to Rock about the weather conditions, and then his disappearance haunted his mother, Broken Shadow, for the rest of her life.
What we don’t know about Fallen Leaves is… Well, anything else really, at least until he meets Hollyleaf. We don’t know when his spirit began to walk the tunnels, or what he did during all the time he spent there. Did he understand that he was dead? More importantly, why did he never leave to go in search of his family? Eventually, you would think his spirit would fade or some cat from the Tribe of Endless Hunting would come to retrieve him, but until the Great Battle, he remains in the tunnels. We know that he had a strong conviction that his mother would find him, but since we never learned about his life before the sharpclaw trial, we have no idea why he felt this conviction so strongly or how it influenced his decision-making.
It is possible that he couldn’t leave the tunnels because his ancestors and family had physically left the lake. This idea can be corroborated by the story of how Birdflight and her kits were finally reunited with Cloudstar, and all the other SkyClan ancestors, only after Firestar helped with the revival of SkyClan. Presumably, they could not be reunited before because they weren’t able to travel across the stars to find them – a physical cat to whom StarClan was connected was required: Firestar. However, if this is the case, why did Hollyleaf’s discovery of Fallen Leaves not lead Broken Shadow to him? We know that Starclan has some access to the Tribe cats, such as Rock – granted, Hollyleaf was living outside the Warrior clans at the time, so it’s possible this prevented Star Clan’s involvement.
We know that Fallen Leaves is finally reunited with his mother at the end of Omen of the Stars, but we never get to hear his side of the story. We don’t know how he was found and brought to the Tribe of Endless Hunting or what led to his decision to participate in the Great Battle. I’d love to read a full novella covering Fallen Leaves’ whole story. Surely he must have met some other cats during all those moons wandering the tunnels, or perhaps he had opportunities to speak with Rock again from time to time. His reaction when his mother Broken Shadow finally finds him again would fill readers with joy and satisfaction.
Fallen Leaves deserves a more fleshed-out happy ending. Hopefully day we’ll all get to read it!