but i know no more than a frog does about bedsheets || intro

The marsh air is thick and uncomfortably warm. It holds a certain weight, as if it is a tangible thing that is pushing down on Betony's back. She creeps over mud and then, with the selfsame silence of an otter, slips into stagnant water shallow enough to wade through. Waterweeds part to allow Betony through: loosestrife similar enough in appearance to her namesake to be mistaken as the same, and cottony-headed bulrushes that tower higher than Betony could stand, even balanced on her hindlegs. Through thickly woven branches, moonlight reflects silver over the water's cedar-colored surface.

Frogsong stains the night, croaking and crooning loud enough to drown out the persistent buzz of swarming mosquitos. Along the shore of this pond-- one temporary, that dries come Leaf-fall and floods again when Newleaf brings a thaw, sedges grow in odd clumps, scattered between creeping ferns and weeds. They sway, and the frogsong grows louder with every strained step Betony comes closer. Betony doesn't know the quiet lives of her prey, doesn't know how they fight over the best places to croak from, or that every croak is a declaration of strength and eligibility.

One comes into view, only shades lighter than the mud on which it sits, stumpy-legged and strangely bulbous. It's throat inflates and deflates as a prairie chicken's would, and although it doesn't move from its spot, it turns in place at a near constant pace.

Betony lowers herself now, enough so that her chin skims the surface of the water, and her nose fills with its pungent scent. Three more steps, two more, and she'll be in pouncing distance.

The water is too heavy; the air is too heavy.

Betony leaps, but it isn't enough. It's a pitiable thing, a kitten could have done better. She misses, and worse yet she slips and the whole of her meets the mudslick ground. The frogs all stop croaking at once, and splashes ring out in rapid succession as they make their escape. In the sudden night-quiet, the ever present buzz of insects sounds both deafening and impossibly hushed. Betony doesn't stand right away; how could she? Rather, she breathes her way through what feels like a crushing and suffocating defeat.

Next time, she thinks-- next time, and pretends that she doesn't know it to be a lie.
marsh group | blue mackerel tabby | tags

"Betony?" The soft voice of Fire would just barely be heard over the heavy night air as if the humidity itself was muffling the already quiet night. Despite her fiery appearance, the somali mix seemed to materialize from the shadows themselves as she emerged nearby, emerald gaze glowing with concern and curiosity, "Are you alright?" The she-cat would step forward, nose twitching as if trying to discern from that whether her groupmate was hurt.

Once she was sure the blue mackerel was only nursing a bruised ego, she would offer a humble smile and meow softly, "Frogs are the hardest to catch. It took me absolutely forever to get the technique down. Even with a perfect pounce, they are super slippery." She wasn't sure if her words would help or not, but it felt better than saying nothing. "Need any help?"


It was impossible for her to not have a witness to such embarrassment. Betony lifts her head enough to look at Fire, at the blatant and burdensome concern in everything she does.

Are you alright?

No, Betony thinks, not in the slightest. She couldn't hunt, couldn't fight, couldn't exist without twisting over herself like a snake eating its own tail. But Fire is only asking if Betony is uninjured, and Betony wouldn't share her thoughts even if Fire wanted to know what was in her head. Betony responds with a noncommittal grunt.

Fire tries to soothe Betony, but the words feel like a splinter to her pad.

Suddenly, she gets angry, and she just gets so angry, and it's Fire's fault, or its her parents' fault, or its her very own fault. Betony stands slowly, tests her weight on her paws to insure that she truly is uninjured, and does everything in her power to swallow the quickly growing rage in her gut. She's good at hiding it, concealed under her usual placid expression, even if she feels like a cord pulled taut; threatening to finally snap.

Fire didn't even do anything wrong.

"They're all gone now," Betony notes. I was born here; I should know how to do this, Betony doesn't yell. She wishes her brother were here, "I'll need to... continue my hunt somewhere else." It feels more like she is asking a question-- can she continue somewhere else? Should she just give up for the night? Betony looks to Fire, searching for permission, and hating that she feels the need to seek it.

shadowclan apprentice | blue mackerel tabby | tags
*:・゚✧*:・゚✧ Flicker had not witnessed Betony's hunting mishap, which is undoubtedly for the best. The dour blue tabby has dark undersides from moving through swamp water, and the tortoiseshell gives her a curious look as she approaches and sits beside Fire.

"It's hot, but bogwater's not great f'r coolin' off," she says, flicking an ear against a mosquito. "Huntin' frogs shouldn't be that much work, though."

She isn't too much older than Bet. And she remembers a time when she'd struggled and slipped in the mud, unused to the infirm ground and the quick, jerky movements of the amphibians. It had been Moth who had taught her, but who would teach Betony?

Not Flicker, she decides.

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    ── "Nothing here is good for cooling off," he sighs, watching the young tabby instead of the tortie. He'd seen the missed opportunity, but Roseal isn't interested in lecturing her for the hunting mishap. Honestly, he isn't a prime candidate for teaching at all; he's not the sort of person anyone should look to in admiration or aspiration.

    The battle with the pine cats hadn't produced anyone who meets that criteria either, though somehow he doubts that's the sort of opinion people want to hear after losing friends and family. No one who made it to the other side is better than they were before.

    So, he won't be offering any hunting tips to her, unfortunately. Half the time he doesn't even attempt catching frogs, if he can help it; they're disgusting and he hates how they stare unblinkingly with those bulbous eyes. "I think I heard some of those infernal slime spheres not too far from this spot, if you want me to lead the way."

  • n/a​
  • ──── surr'oseal'isme (roseal). he/him pronouns. roamer; goes where he pleases.
    ──── approximately thirty-eight months old; not entirely certain of his own age.
    ──── single & uninterested in any romantic attachments; possibly open for flings.
    ──── very tall, scarred albino with sharply-peaked ears and a bobbed, scruffy tail.​

  • unebebebebbebe.png
( ) it's with a soft yawn that spring stumbles upon the scene. sleepless nights are clear in his movements, limbs tracing loosely over the ground as he makes his way through the forest. it seems many of his clanmates have had the same idea as him- if he can't do anything to help the politics, might as well provide for the group. the voices ahead have alerted him to the others, and his ears prick up as he recognizes each. "is everything alright?" he calls, and then... ah. at the center of the conversation is a form spring will always know. his sister, paw deep in mud, face calm enough that he knows just from a glance the emotion raging inside. as he arrives, she picks herself up and roseal offers a new hunting area.

understanding the situation more fully now, spring can't help but feel a pang for his sister. she's always tried to be the provider of the family, intensely independent, especially after their parents had left. he can't imagine all of the eyes are helping her deal with this situation. still, ever the mediator, the boy approaches, leaning in to offer betony a small nudge on the shoulder. "i bet you'll catch twice as many frogs in the place roseal shows us. the ones here are probably bad anyway," he declares, casting a glance around at the others, as if daring them to disagree. smoothing the fur on her back with his tail, spring tips his head. "plus, they're all... hoppy. always bouncing all the time."

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"Mud is actually good for cooling off. If you like that sort of thing." Her figure slips from the shade, burning eyes calculative to the group that has gathered to comfort one whom has failed in her hunt of some frogs. Her eyes narrow slightly and she doesn't give away much in what she is thinking, not at all. In fact she has no real need to join them either. Right now she is as a ghost herself, a pass figure who shows her face every once in a while. She has much to think on right now and coddling someone on a lost frog is the last of then. Still she stands proudly as she flicks her tail against her thigh at a passing fly that chose to land upon her pelt.

"I don't plan on going with all of you. But trial and error is usually a key factor of hunting so learn and do better." With a shrug of her shoulders she turns and starts to make her leave from them. Gaze lingering for just a moment before she makes her way.

Flicker appears, and Betony, still burning with shame and frustration, ducks her head away. It confuses her at first-- coolin' off-- but looking down at herself, filthy like a kit, Betony understands. As her other groupmates arrive, they assume the same as Flicker and Betony, under the weight of that assumption, doesn't have the strength to correct them. If they want to believe Betony was trying to cool herself off, then that is what Betony was doing.

The reassurances hurt more than they should. They aren't meant as an insult, but they carry the same sting. Her groupmates feel the need to encourage her as if she were moons younger. But Betony is already like a kit, isn't she? She hunts just as well as one.

"It wasn't the frogs here that were bad," Betony tells Spring, voice hushed as if to hide her words.

Bone's advice is acknowledged with a nod. She knows this, (her groupmates think she's stupid,) but the reminder can't hurt. With enough practice, maybe Betony can pass as someone useful; maybe her clanmates will even consider her competent.

Her eyes find Roseal then, and although she doesn't have it in her to look at him directly in the eye, she does speak once more, "I would like that," then, uncertainly, "...if you still want to show me."

shadowclan apprentice | blue mackerel tabby | tags
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Fire had opened her maw to allow Betony to choose the next hunting grounds when their groupmates seem to materialize from the shadows around them, offering more words of reassurance and advice. She had been grateful at first, but when she looked back at Betony, it would seem that the blue mackerel wanted nothing more than to let the bog swallow her up.

She would appear thoughtful after that and when the younger molly accepted Roseals' offer of leading to a new hunting area Fire would meow softly, "Would it be ok if I tagged along? My hunting needs a lot of work too."