September 17, 2020 at 3:05 am #8069
Jade green eyes aluminate in the dim shadows created by towering pine trees, their trunks remaining firm with the humid breeze filtering through the dense forest. The young apprentice’s dusty brown ears perking up at the faintest sounds of dried leaves brushing against the damp earth, animals scurrying into hiding, and frogs croaking throughout the marsh lands. A small smile pulls at his black rubbery hued lips at the familiar sound of one of his favorite things to hunt; frogs. During his second moon as an apprentice did he learn that he actually had a talent besides strategy, there was just something about hunting the slimy sneaky little things that brought him a sense of thrill, especially when no one is around to scrutinize his every move. Today happens to be one of the rare days that Hyenaflower allowed him to go off on his own. To explore and train on his own, just the thought of having no one else around caused a more carefree smile to lighten on his maw.
Dusty was going to use his free time to explore the darkened pine forest and perfect his hunting along the way. Tearing his gaze away from the slush moss beneath his paws, ignoring the dampness clinging to the pads as he slips through a barren brush, shifting his slender form to avoid getting nicked by the pointed branches. Pursing his lips as he briefly glances around, nostrils flaring as the strong scent of musty rain, moss, and soil invades his senses along with hints of frog, not the most appealing smells, but home nonetheless. After moons spending time within the confinements of the forest, the dimness and lack of proper lighting no long serve as a hinderance for him, but an advantage. His creamy fur tends to stick out like a sore thumb, but luckily enough his dusty brown patches compensate well enough. “Which way to go?” he mumbles under his breath, his green eyes flickering right and left with indecisiveness. Cocking his head slightly as he stares intently to the right, as that’s where the strongest scent of frogs radiated from.
With that thought in mind, Dustypaw was off on his next little adventure. He knew where the majority of the little green and brown frogs loved to reside, a little secluded marsh land further within the forest. He has often found himself there hunting frogs or when he was much younger; chasing them. The young tom felt more relaxed at having a destination in mind, especially when said place has become a little save haven for himself. A small pep in his step as he quietly ventures further into the dense foliage, ears flickering back every once in a while at hearing strange sounds, his heart speeding up at times, but forced himself to continue onwards, not wanting his siblings finding out about his cowardliness, or worse; his mentor hearing about it. Frowning at the thought, Crimsonpaw and Firepaw still would not let him forget his first time out of camp and his fear of water.
“It’s just me here….and frogs. I’m okay” he reassures himself, his paws sinking lightly into the soggy earth, telling him he was close to the froggy hideout.September 29, 2020 at 1:48 pm #8187
It wasn’t unusual for Tawnypainter to take time out of his day to hide himself away in the forest. Since returning home, he’d found it difficult to return to his former self. The way cats looked at him, as though they pitied him, caused his head to spin and his pelt to itch. He’d been something great once, but it had been stolen from him, ripped away by the twolegs who had taken him from his home for so long. The quiet in the territory, surrounded with nothing but the song of birds and the croak of toads and the occasional breeze rustling the branches of pines, was just enough to ground him and remind him that though much had changed, he was still Tawnypainter and this was still home.
It was one such walk when the painted tom stumbled across a scent he felt seemed out of place here, especially alone. Dustypaw was still an apprentice, and though coming close to his warrior name, he still should be accompanied by some-cat while out of camp. Turning his paws to follow the other tom’s path, Tawnypainter made his way deeper into the forest. He lingered a moment as he caught sight of the apprentice, watching how he stalked the scent of frogs, his brows furrowing slightly.
Stepping out of the brush, now standing behind Dustypaw, the tom spoke. “Shouldn’t you be with a warrior?” he challenged, though there wasn’t so much as a hint of annoyance in his tone. His tail tip flicked, his expression calm. “Especially given the tension in recent moons, it’s not very safe for you to be out alone,” he reasoned, stepping closer to the other tom.September 29, 2020 at 9:05 pm #8195
The young feline could sense that he was being followed, pursing his lips as he did not expect anyone to be out in about around this time. Rolling his jade green eyes as he believed Firepaw was following him as she was the type to always invite herself when her company was not needed. Pretending he sensed nothing as he hoped that she would get distracted along the way. Instead of continuing his trek easily through the worn-down path before him, the slender white and brown tom slips further into the thick foliage to lose whom he believed to be his sister. Squinting his green eyes in discomfort at the sudden brightness hitting his sensitive irises, causing them to dilate into slits. Grimacing at the cold slush earth lapping at his paws with each step, sighing softly under his breath as he takes in the scenery around him.
Trees boarder the marsh area with their intimidating heights with tall grass taking its place, the ground waterlogged with muddled water from past rainy seasons. The air around the marsh smelled musty, but the view and sounds around him more than made up for the smell. Flicking his tail, lightly swatting at a cattail, restraining himself from using one of his claws to poke it open, no matter how satisfying it is to watch it’s cottony insides float away. Jumping slightly at the sudden deep voice resounding from behind him, tearing his gaze away from the small marshland, looking over his shoulder in surprise.
‘So….not Firepaw’ he groaned inwardly as he gives Tawnypainter a sheepish grin, left ear flicking slightly as he takes in the older warrior’s words. “Well…” he splutters out lamely as he tries to collect his thoughts to form words. “Uh well Hyenaflower knows where I am at. I’m sure I am save enough away from the boarders” he tried to reason, though he knew that Tawnypainter was correct, being away from camp unsupervised is not the best way to go during all the tensions within the clans. Biting his lower lip as he takes another look around, his paws itching to pad further into the marshland to hunt frogs and enjoy his time away from home.
“Shouldn’t you also not be out alone? I mean….I know you are warrior and more than capable of taking care of yourself, so I didn’t mean to sound like you weren’t competent enough-” Dustypaw’s ears pin backwards against his skull as he trails off from his nervous babbling. Awkwardly clearing his throat as he avoids eye contact, “Just meant that it really isn’t safe for anyone to be out and about alone if you put it that way” was all he said before his attention immediately hones onto the grayish green frog hoping from its hiding spot within the tall grass into a small lily pad.September 29, 2020 at 10:49 pm #8196
Dustypaw’s nervousness at being caught tugged at the corners of Tawnypainter’s lips, a smirk forming there as the younger tom fought to defend himself. In another life, the rambling may have annoyed him, but having gotten on in moons this tom had mellowed out. He wasn’t as angry as he always had been, nor did he see much reason anymore to really care about silly things like rules. And so when he responded simply with, “Then I suppose it’s a good thing neither of us are out alone, yeah?” he felt no doubt in his choice.
His eyes narrowed as Dustypaw seemed to become distracted, his gaze following the line of the apprentice’s own. His smirk was back, and he wondered briefly if he should interrupt the tom’s hunt. Though with leafbare fast approaching, any amusement he might get out of doing so would surely be outweighed by the absence of whatever prey could’ve been caught. Instead, he chose to watch the other tom’s form, curious to see how he’d do. Frogs were tricky even for Tawnypainter, what with their ability to seemingly vanish in puddles he hadn’t even been aware of; it would be interesting to see how this apprentice went about it.September 30, 2020 at 12:39 am #8201
His usual nervousness washing away once he realized that Tawnypainter would not force him back to camp. Letting his stiff posture uncoil as he nods in understanding, if he didn’t tell on Tawny, the older warrior wouldn’t tell on him. They would stick together, yet do their own thing. Simple enough, that way Dusty would still be able to enjoy his time in the marshes, perfecting his technique on hunting frogs, he needed to impress his mentor after all. Mumbling a small thanks before slowly slipping away, not wanting to lose track of his current target. The little hopper that had caught his attention stood at attention upon a small lily pad, it’s grayish green slimed skin catching in the morning light. It’s protruding eyes constantly moving as if ready to hop away at a moments notice. Frowning as Dustypaw quickly realizes that the little springer would not be an easy catch. Momentarily forgetting the company around him as he lowers himself into the tall reeds, allowing his slender form to disappear from sight.
Shoulders rolling as he lightly presses his paws into the wet grass, being careful enough to not put too much weight on one side. Toes spreading apart, the webbed skin between the toes absorbing the impact as his paws sink into the murky waters. Ears perking up as he listens intently for any indicators that the frog had sensed him, smiling slightly as no splash was heard. Knowing it was best to take it slow, as he had learned in the past that rushing would not guarantee success. Lips parted, letting the scents waft in, he could detect that Tawnypainter was still near by as well as the unsuspecting frog.
Narrowing his gaze as he focuses solely on the croaking creature, Dusty’s form could be seen only slightly when he moves, holding his breath with each step he makes, hoping the little creature could not hear the pounding of his heart. Adrenaline coursing through his veins with anxiety but also excitement as he gets closer. Pausing suddenly as he watches the stocky short frog shift upon its perch, turning towards the right, giving dustypaw a clear view of its vulnerable side. His form twitches as he restrains himself from leaping into action, his mentor’s words echoing in his mind as a reminder and warning. ‘Now Dustypaw, when attacking a frog, you have to be extra careful as their eyes are ever watching’.
Oh how right she was, just watching it’s bulging eyes swirl in every direction made him feel uneasy. Brows furrowing as he ponders on what his next coarse of action should be, he needed to find a way to distract his target to quickly make his move. Dustypaw has had close catches, but little success, yet he was determined to learn and to achieve his goal in killing his first frog. Sighing slightly through his nose as he slowly lifts his paw from the murky confinement, jaw clenching as his paw lightly brushes against a small stone, nearly scaring the poor apprentice at the sudden touch. Just when he was about to continue onwards did a sudden idea struck him, green eyes widening before looking back down into the muddled shallow water. The marshland’s water reached just a little above his paws, about mid way along his legs.
’I hope this works’ he inwardly thinks, grimacing as he silently lowers himself even more into the cold water, his white belly fur submerging in the murky brown water. Using one of his paws to hook against the small stone, loosening the stubborn rock from its hold to the mud, sticking his muzzle slightly into the bitter water. Using his teeth to grasp hold of the stone, nose wrinkling in disgust before rising back into his former position. Miraculously Dustypaw was able to retrieve the stone without alerting the frog that was too busy on a hunt of its own. With abated breath, he tosses the stone in the opposite direction, hoping to distract it long enough to attack. Smirking in triumph as the little hopper easily falls for it. Turning its stumpy form in the direction of the ripples, its throat bloating in hunger at the prospect of finding a mosquito.
Muscles tensing, putting all his weight into his hind legs, ready to spring into action. Quickly he leaps from his hideout within the reeds, claws unsheathed and at the ready. Letting his claws sink into the lily pad, his head moving downwards in swift precision. Jaws snapping closed as his fangs pierce into the frog, at least he thought so. Frowning at the odd flowery taste on his tongue, Dustypaw rises fully to his height just in time to see a ripple of water, where the frog had disappeared to. Confusion apparent on his features, jade eyes crossing as he looks down to see what laid clutched in his jaws, a pure white lily flower stood in the place where the frog should have been. Feeling his cheeks heat up with embarrassment as he hurriedly spits out the flower, choking slightly as a few petals stick to the back of his throat and tongue.
”Oh frog legs! I almost had it!” Dustypaw exclaims, completely forgetting that Tawnypainter stood not too far away from the slightly damp looking apprentice.
October 18, 2020 at 10:31 pm #8363
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by Roach.
Tawnypainter watched with interest, the realization slowly coming that Dustypaw likely was going to catch that frog. He settled back, his eyes widening at the trick the apprentice pulled with a stone. It was a genius move, something he’d never have considered himself. And then, just when he leapt, the frog slipped away. The painted tom froze for a moment before Dustypaw rose, nothing but a flower clamped between his jaws. He suddenly burst into laughter, coming out of the brush to brush against the other tom’s flank.
Reaching his tail to flick the tip of his companion’s ear, a strong purr could be heard in his chest. “StarClan,” he breathed, “That’ll surely feed the elders.” Beyond his amusement, however, he realized the embarrassment the younger tom must be feeling having been seen doing something so silly. How many leafbares had Tawnypainter himself missed a catch in direct sight of others and broken his own paw on the ice? The crooked set of it told that it’d happened plenty.
“Don’t feel bad,” he reassured him suddenly, though the purr still rumbled in his throat. “I don’t think I’ve ever caught a frog my whole life; they’re pretty tricky.”October 19, 2020 at 2:12 pm #8370
Sticking his tongue out, running it along his white fangs, trying to get rid of the horrid flowery taste as well as a few petals stubbornly clinging to his tongue. Dusty brown paper thin ears perking up at the hearty deep laugh resonating around the small marshland clearing. Cringing as he turns his lean form in Tawnypainter’s direction, his jade green eyes narrowing in mild irritation at his laughter. Though his embarrassment overtook as his main emotion, slowly slipping his tongue back into his mouth. Dustypaw wished he was more like Firepaw and Crimsonpaw, if it had been either one of them in his place, they would have easily laughed it off or lying saying that they had meant to do that. Right now he was too tongue tied to even react to his failure to catch the frog.
Feeling Tawny brush against him in a simple reassuring gesture snaps him out of his thoughts. Briefly glancing away from the older warrior, it was nice to hear joyful laughing than the usual scorn from Hyenaflower. The one thing he hated the most was feeling like a burden, which he often felt like in her presence as his mentor had made it very clear on who she wished he was; Firepaw. From the very beginning of his apprenticeship Hyenaflower voiced her thoughts on having to train an overly emotional and often physically incompetent apprentice. At first he was determined to prove her wrong, to show her his worth. As moons went on, he learned that he was not warrior material.
Dusty did not have the burning determination like Crimsonpaw or the natural talent of Firepaw. All he head was his mind; his intelligence. With moons of training, he figured that brute force nor speed were not his strengths but strategy is. Coming up with plans on the whim was how he got by, sadly today his little plan did not go accordingly to plan. Pouting, not caring how childish he looked in Tawnypainter’s eyes. His left ear twitching in sensitivity to a tail flicking it in a teasing manner. Panic striking him at the mention of telling the elders this little story, he knew well enough that no elder can keep a secret. Telling an elder something is just begging for the whole clan to know.
“I-um…will deny anything you say” he lamely spits out, trying his best to sound convincing but failing terribly. Everyone knew very well how much Dustypaw struggles, would it surprise anyone that he caught a flower instead a frog? It would just prove Hyenaflower’s point. The loud purring from Tawny slowly relaxes the easily riled up apprentice. Turning his head slightly to look back at the painted brown warrior. Listening silently to him before giving him a bland look; “I know you are only saying that to make me feel better” he retorts with a huff. “Which doesn’t by the way” Dustypaw sassily adds, inwardly surprised at himself as he was only this sassy when it came to his siblings.
“Hm I guess I will need to time my approach better next time. The stone would have worked but something gave away my presence…” mumbling to himself, brows furrowing in thought as he stares off in the general direction of where the greyish green frog disappeared to. “My shadow!” He suddenly blurts out as he turns back to Tawny. “That’s why it didn’t work! With the sun coming up from behind me…ugh I’m so stupid how did I not think of that?” The white and brown tom continues to mutter to himself, his fluffed tail flicking side to side, sometimes swishing sharply to convey his emotions.October 19, 2020 at 4:47 pm #8371
His smirk remained as Dustypaw tried to defend himself. He was about to make some joke on the others trusting his word or other, but then the apprentice was doubting his reassurance. Cocking his head to the right momentarily, he lifted his left paw, showing off the deformity of it. “If I were skilled enough to catch a frog, I don’t believe hunting squirrels would have given me this,” he pointed out before once more lowering his paw to the ground. “I’m not one to lie to spare your feelings; sweet talk never helped any-cat.”
His eyes were drawn in the direction Dustypaw turned, and at the sudden exclamation, Tawnypainter was prepared to laugh once more until the younger tom insulted himself. A scowl settled on his face, his lips turning down in a heavy frown. “Hey now,” he soothed, gaze now on his companion again. “Making a mistake doesn’t make you stupid by any means. By that logic I’d be a raging idiot given my track record,” he reasoned. His eyes narrowed a moment before he defended himself. “I’m not an idiot. Anyhow, you’re still training; if some-cat clawing at the grave like myself can still manage to mess up hunting, it’s perfectly reasonable that you would, too.” Something about the angry way Dustypaw called himself stupid tugged at Tawnypainter’s heart, his gut twisting uncomfortably. He could see a lot of himself in that reaction, and he didn’t like the idea that some-cat else could be viewing themselves in that way.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself,” he murmured.October 19, 2020 at 10:15 pm #8375
Sighing softly to himself as his attention is once more drawn back to Tawny at hearing him speak again. Creases forming between his brows as a look of curiosity paints onto his face as he glanced down at the crooked deformity to the warrior’s left paw. Biting his lower lip as he felt bad for assuming that Tawnypainter’s words were empty. “Well…the squirrels surely had it out for you” he awkwardly jokes with a small grin tugging at the corner of his lips. Dusty felt more comfortable with Tawny knowing that he would tell him how it is and not try to spare his fragile feelings. He wanted to learn and grow, to improve himself in order to be the best warrior that he can be, plus impressing his mentor would be a nice bonus. It never occurred to the dusty brown and white tom that many warriors and apprentices alike struggled just as much as he. It was hard to see in a different perspective when he is continuously surrounded by those who don’t struggle with the basics of hunting or fighting.
His inner anxiety always get the best of him, causing his self doubt, and making him second guess his decisions on a daily basis. He has tried his best to ignore his self doubts, but the little devil perched on his left shoulder seemed to always win when it comes to inner battles. A shiver running down his spine at the sudden shift of mood, the air around him feeling thicker. His mouth forming a silent ‘o’ at the realization that his ‘inner’ mumbling weren’t so silent after all. ‘Great….’ groaning quietly to himself. Grimacing at his loose tongue, wishing that he could control what was said in his head to what was spoken out loud. “Said that out loud didn’t I?” Dustypaw questions, though by the look on Tawny’s face, he did not need an answer. Glancing away from his fellow clan mate as his anxiety spikes. Chewing on the inner part of his cheek, his ears flicking backwards while he shuffles left to s right to keep his mind busy.
Only tilting his cranium enough to eye him in the corner of his eye, as he hated how awkward he made the situation. “I really need to stop saying everything I think” he admits with shake to his head. A weak chuckle escapes his maw at Tawnypainter indirectly refers himself as an idiot, only to defend his comment moments later. His ears swirling in his direction, letting him know that he was giving him his full attention, even if he was not looking him directly in the eye. “I know you are right, but it doesn’t make my feelings toward myself lessen. It’s hard not to think negatively when you are use to it” he counters with his lips pursed as he lets his words hang in the air. “Well I sure know how to kill a mood” he mumbled with a roll to his green eyes.
With that he continues on his little adventure, water swishing around his paws creating endless ripples with each step he makes. Smiling softly as he enjoys the sounds of stray water drops plopping back into the murky water. Only pausing long enough to look over his shoulder, rising a brow with slight impatience as he wanted to enjoy his little day off while he could. “Are you coming?” His voice wavering with uncertainty, suddenly wondering if Tawnypainter wanted to go his own way. “I’ll be okay if you want to head back. I’m just going to do some more exploring” Dustypaw adds, making sure his voice remained steady as he would not guilt trip Tawny into tagging along to babysit.
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