|“||"Tell Dawson I was a hero!"||”|
–Worthy, Chapter Fourteen
The Wildcat's Claw is the sixth book in the Fall of the Beasts series, and the thirteenth book overall. Briggan, Conor, and Worthy are depicted on the cover, with the remains of the Trunswick Manor in the background. It is written by Varian Johnson.
The Heroes of Erdas are wanted fugitives. Conor, Abeke, Meilin, and Rollan have saved their world from countless threats. They are guardians from across the globe, united under one banner by their legendary spirit animals. But now the young champions are running for their lives, framed for a crime they didn't commit.
Branded as traitors, the four must uncover the plot against them, all while unraveling the mysteries of a set of powerful relics tied to an ancient secret.
Their search brings Conor home to Trunswick, where there will be no hero's welcome. They find the city transformed; the castle burned to the ground and the townsfolk poor and desperate. With a handsome reward offered for their capture, who can the friends trust?
The book starts off with Lenori, who has not been given food in two days. The Oathbound come to interrogate her on the Four Fallen and will give her food if she complies. Lenori refuses, and Cordelia the Kind slaps her, drawing blood with a spiked ring. She is given a small slice of cheese, but she grinds it up between her fingers, refusing to give into temptation.
The Four are on a boat headed towards Eura. Worthy tells them about The Wildcat’s Claw and that there may be a lead or two in the library of Trunswick Manor. He then tells Conor that the entire castle burned, so the records may have also burned. He implores Conor not to tell the others, and he reluctantly gives in.
When the boat docks that night, Abeke and Uraza go hunting while Briggan tackles Conor playfully. Meilin also allows Jhi out, and the panda licks her affectionately. Abeke comes back with two rabbits, and they set off, travelling for a few nights down dirt roads with wreckage from the Wyrm war. Conor and Abeke scout ahead while Rollan struggles to wake Worthy. Meilin and Anka talk about General Teng for a bit before they decide to split up, go into town, and grab supplies. Abeke and Anka were to go and gather warmer clothes and food while Meilin and Rollan go to gather weapons.
Meilin and Rollan walk and talk as they walk on the road. At first, though, Rollan thinks about Tarik, and Meilin can tell that something is wrong, so she holds his hand to comfort him and he nearly trips over a “boulder”. They talk about Worthy a bit until Essix allows Rollan to see through her eyes and he sees Oathbound in a tent in town. They go to warn Abeke and Anka, but first, Rollan takes a detour and gives a few coins to small boy he’d spotted earlier.
They get to the weapon shop and Meilin dances in front of a group of trappers after lying and telling them that they’re travelling performers. Meilin buys Abeke some arrows and barters for a sword, but the trappers grow suspicious when Rollan says they passed through Betarvius and they have to leave before she can buy it.
They get back to the campsite, pack up, and set off for Trunswick. Abeke and Worthy take the lead, chatting about Shane when they go to cross the Adunder River. Abeke realizes awhile later that it’s extremely quiet, and the group gathers together as arrows rain down from above. They recognize the arrows as the ones they bought from the village, signifying that it’s most likely the trappers who are shooting them. When Rollan tells them he told the trapper that they’d passed through Betarvius, Conor and Worthy groan, explaining that it’s a ghost town, explaining why the trapper was so suspicious.
They decide to make a run for it, and Rollan blocks the arrows with the Heart of the Land. Meilin quickly realizes that they were not being attacked, but cornered into a trap. Too late, she warns everyone to stop, but everyone has already fallen into the traps the trappers set up. They appear, and Merch, the trapper from the town, tells them to put their spirit animals into passive state and surrender. Merch says that he captured them because of a reward the Oathbound are offering. The four try to explain that they don't mean any harm, but the hunters ignore them. Merch then tells Rollan to hand over an amulet Cordelia the Kind told him about. Rollan refuses, saying that he didn't know what he was talking about. When Merch threatens him, Meilin tells Rollan not to do it, and he says that the Heart is better with the trappers than the Oathbound. He rolls his eyes, urging her to play along. They make a little scene until Merch allows the two to talk privately, chained to a cage. They make a plan to release their spirit animals and fight. Rollan tells them that he dropped the amulet in the forest by a specific tree.
Then, they fight. Jhi and Essix fight the trappers. Meilin uses Jhi’s powers to break the cage her and Rollan are tied to and grabs the Heart of the Land from his boot, using it to cause two earthquakes. Conor goes to free Abeke and Anka while the others fight (except for Rollan, who’s still tied up). Meilin takes out a bunch of the trappers, including Merch, and successfully claims the beautiful falchion she was bartering for at the village. They tie up the remaining trappers and start off for Trunswick again.
On the way, Worthy complains a lot more than usual and pretends to sprain his ankle to stall for time, clearly not wanting to reach Trunswick because the castle is burnt down. Conor implores Worthy to tell the team, but he refuses. Then, when they get into view of Trunswick and Rollan questions why he can’t see the castle yet, Worthy says it’s too cloudy, and Conor winces as he looks up at the cloudless sky. They’re all shocked when they see the manor and Worthy takes them to Dawson’s “estate”, which is a small cottage. Dawson, Rumfuss, and Kunaya are there to greet them, and Dawson says that the books they salvaged from the incident at the castle are in the Howling House. They discover that Dawson is the new Earl of Trunswick after their father ran away with a bunch of money. They stay there for the night.
In the morning, they discover that the Oathbound are in Trunswick. They decide to split up and head to the Howling House to attract less attention. Abeke and Meilin go together, racing across the rooftops and heading for the remains of the castle. The militiamen spot them and give chase, following them into the castle and falling through the floor. They go down and help the men before meeting up with the others at the Howling House.
After a long time of searching, Rollan discovers the picture of a warrior and a black wildcat. They find out that they have to go to an enchanted forest known as Wilcoskov to find the Wildcat’s Claw. They read about some more exaggerated tales of Wilco and Gransfen–the black wildcat and his summoner–and discover the other two gift’s names: Stormspeaker and The Dragon’s Eye. Worthy warns them of the supposed horrors in Wilcoskov, but they go nonetheless.
They return to Dawson’s “estate” to find the militia with Rollan’s cloak in their grasp. The head of the militia, Shylene, is convinced that she needs to hand the Four over until Worthy appears. She recognizes him as the boy who saved her when she was starving and locked in the stocks. She lets them go, even giving up a few men to guide them to the edge of the forest on horseback. Meilin and Anka spar one night.
The next day, they set off into Wilcoskov without the militiamen. The forest is ominous, with thick fog obscuring their vision and gnarled roots and branches slowing their progress. They come across some animal carcasses, and the bears that killed them give chase, trapping them in a tree for the rest of the day. Rollan tells them that Essix hasn’t been able to see the Oathbound for awhile, putting them all on edge.
The day after that, they come across a waterfall in a sort of warm, thriving oasis amidst the cold, unforgiving forest. Meilin speculates that it could be on a geyser or a fault line, keeping the area warm. They walk along the pathway behind the waterfall until Rollan falls into the rapids below. Meilin wants to dive in after him, but Worthy does instead, saving Rollan. Meilin gives him Tarik’s cloak, since he’s all wet and because she knows that they’ll all feel better with a reminder of Tarik.
They continue to pad along the ledge until they reach a cave, held up by the statue of Gransfen and Wilco. They walk through a bunch of narrow tunnels into a large, man-made cavern with a strange language etched into the walls. Two large slabs of rock–similar to the rock that the statue was made of–lay in the middle of the room. Hinges on the sides signify that they’re doors. They look for a trigger, since there’s no handles, and Worthy’s translation of the markings on the wall give them the clue to use the torches to heat the slabs. It works, and the slabs open after turning orange. A coffin rises from the hole in the floor with a sword on it—the Wildcat’s Claw. Worthy takes it and Gransfen rises. Worthy and Conor speak to the warrior, who speaks of Wilco and the bond tokens. He explains how the Wildcat’s Claw was made and allows them to have it. When Worthy presses them about the bond token process, the Four grow uneasy, unsure of the strength of their bonds.
Suddenly, the Oathbound are there. Their footsteps can be heard through the tunnels. They blow out the torches and give Anka the bond tokens in hope that she can escape with it. Abeke shoots an arrow into the dark, commencing the battle. Worthy jumps straight in, clawing at Oathbound left and right, and Conor goes to help him. Meilin and Rollan fight together on the other side of the room.
Then, the discover that Anka is down, and Worthy goes to protect her while Conor yanks a meerkat named Bomilo off of his face. Cordelia presses the tip of her sword to Anka’s neck and the fighting stops. Abeke is confused at why the fighting has stopped, but soon realizes the severity of the situation. They lower their weapons to the ground. Worthy tosses his cloak onto the Wildcat’s Claw, hiding it from sight. They’re forced to put their spirit animals into passive as Cordelia questions why they ran instead of facing trial along with the rest of the Greencloaks. Defiantly, Abeke tell her that they don’t abide to mercenaries like the Oathbound. Cordelia talks about how “kind” she is by not burning down entire villages, only half of them. She then tries to strike a deal, promising to allow three of them to live if they hand over the bond tokens. Worthy pretends to throw the Heart of the Land and reveals the Wildcat’s Claw. He sets a bunch of Oathbound on fire and the battle resumes.
They fight there way out of the cave, emerging in the mouth of the cave to find more Oathbound. Worthy buys them time with the help of the Claw while Conor, Meilin, and Rollan all jump into the rapids below. Abeke stays up, helping Worthy, but there are too many. Worthy uses the Wildcat’s Claw to slice the statue holding the cave up, causing a cave-in that meant risking his own life in it. Abeke jumps into the rapids, too, and when she finds her friends, she tells them that Worthy won’t be coming.
They sit by the fire, thinking about Worthy and discussing which bond token to go after next. They decide to go to Nilo, since Maktaba may have some leads. Nobody’s very excited about seeing Kovo again, though.
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 32
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 52
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 62
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 85
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 97
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 110
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 135
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 139
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 142
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 151
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 160
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 162-163
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 165
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 168
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 169
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 179
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 181
- The Wildcat’s Claw, page 33