come what may [p. soot]

╰☆☆ There's only so many mice one cat can catch while lazing about the same four walls of the horse nest. Weasel can't say he doesn't like the abundance of prey that seek shelter and hayseeds within, but sometimes he has to admit he feels himself going stir crazy.

One of the other toms who lives near the barn--calls himself 'Big Guy,' though Weasel thinks his real name is Brick--is always coming and going. The brown tabby has never thought to ask where it is he's headed, exactly, and why he returns scenting of other cats... but he has his suspicions. His mother had met a stray who'd stopped by just the other day, and they'd told them an interesting, if not mousebrained, tale.

Groups of cats living in the forests beyond. Cats who are battle-hungry, who feed off of the fat of the land, protected from Twolegs. The idea is intriguing, though Weasel isn't sure how much he'd like living in a forest. Maybe I'll go find out today, he thinks, and just like that, he finds himself under the dark canopy of pines.

Weasel immediately hates how squishy the ground is, how dank the air tastes. The mud is slimy. He can't scent mice at all; all he can taste on the air is... frogs and stale cat scent, and he finds it repulsive. He starts thinking he'd rather live with Twolegs and wear one of those stupid collars than suffer in the closed-in darkness of the swamps.

"You'd have to be a fool to live here," he mutters to himself. He tilts his head up toward where he should see the blue expanse of the sky. But there are only glimpses of sun and cloud from where he stands. "What a dump."

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Despite living in the marshland her whole entire life, she agreed with the stranger's internal and external thoughts. This place was horrendous. There wasn't a pretty sight here in miles, it's why she had loved the pine forest so much... The only piece of beauty they at one point had any sort of claim too.

And now it was gone.

She wasn't very happy with the state of the marsh group, it was pathetic. Mannerisms have gone down the drain, honor, dignity... the fact they haven't ripped back their land from those kittypets spoke volumes to her about the state of the group. But this was home... and a majority of the cats here she had some sort of connection to. She couldn't leave it behind.

So in the murky swamps, she continued to roam, her own bundles of fur would soon be born into this land.

Soot's eyes narrow on the stranger, her fur bristles uncertain if he was friend or foe... and... she wrinkles her nose. His scent.

"I've never smelled someone who reeks so purely of dung before." She growls and lashes her tail as she straightens out her posture. Soot couldn't place what exactly that scent was, but she didn't like it. "Never seen you before and you're not a kittypet, so that's good enough for me. What brings you here?"

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╰☆☆ A dulcet voice worn ragged with mild hostility causes the fur to stiffen at his neck. Weasel half-turns, blue eyes becoming sapphire slits in his striped face. An unmistakable scent--feline at its core, but laced with the repulsive stench of crowfood and bog water--causes him to flinch.

And she's the one saying I reek, he thinks, indignant. Though her features are fine, beautiful even, the expression on her face is as sour as her scent.

"You're no flower yourself, swamp rat," he says, lashing his tail. He makes no moves to attack, but his muscles tense as though she might at any second. The barn place cats were not normally this aggressive, but he wasn't exactly expecting a warm welcome. "What business is it of yours, anyway? You own this disgusting place?"

He lifts his chin to her challengingly. It's only now that he's completely facing her that he notices she's expecting kits. What kind of pregnant cat accosts strangers, he thinks, shaking his head. The cats dwelling here are fools, it seems.


Swamp rat, unexpectant laughter erupts from her once heavily frowning features. The scent of swamp and crowfood was all she's known, her nose practically ignores its pungent odor now. The tabby before her is likely right, she was no flower. "You're a quick one with your tongue, aren't you? Have to warn... most ladies would rip a tom's ear clean off if they dared to make such an insult... To their face no less."

She flicks her feathery tail, her stance lightening into a somewhat more relaxed posture. Nonetheless, her head still is held high in the air, her pride never seemed to be let down. "Luckily for you, this lady is feeling generous today." She at last finishes, save for her own sharp-tongued insults of course.

"I live here, yes." She confirms his inquiry, "And as a feline who lives here if prey is what you're looking for go elsewhere. Not only because I don't want you taking any of our food, but also because you're unlikely to find anything here but crowfood." She snorts, an ear flicking at the buzz of an insect flying by.

"Surely I've shared enough information for you to tell me where you're from now? I'd love to know where that stench of yours came from, so I can avoid the place." Her insults have now transformed from genuine to mostly light-hearted. Soot judged character swiftly, and she has decided there is something about this awful-smelling tom that she fancies.


╰☆☆ She laughs at him, which he does not expect at all. He relaxes somewhat, though he's still on guard. "Most ladies would rip a tom's ear clean off if they dared to make such an insult... to their face, no less." Weasel snorts. "Is that what you are? A lady? Could've fooled me." His hostility has mostly faded, though, now that it's clear she isn't going to assault him.

The smoke-colored queen affirms that she lives here. He flicks his ears. How depressing, he thinks. The place is nearly suffocating with the moisture in the air, the way he can barely see the sky. That, and he feels he'll have to clean mud from between his toes for the next moon.

She warns him not to hunt. Weasel wrinkles his nose. "Don't have to worry about me taking your crowfood. I didn't come here to steal your slime." He wonders what they even eat here. He hasn't scented a mouse in some time.

Her question--well, it's not worded as a question, but he takes it as one--catches him a bit off guard again. "Where I'm from? I... I guess it does smell pretty bad. It's the horses and the other animals," he says, his tail twitching with irritation as he thinks about the vile beasts. "Big four-legged things that get fed by Twolegs. I don't go near them, but some of the other cats do."

Weasel shudders a bit at the idea. The massive things are so stupid, they wouldn't even notice if they trampled a cat, probably. "We just call it a horse place or 'the farm,' but that's where I live. It's fine. Twolegs are too close for my comfort, but they're easy to avoid if you know what you're doing. They're not interested in having cats in their nests." He tilts his head at her. "What's your name, anyway? Are you from this disgusting place?"

He thinks how odd it is for a cat so beautiful to be guarding a muddy, shadowy territory by her lonesome. Weasel thinks it's hardly worth defending.


A lady? Could've fooled me. His words actually manage to insult her though she does not show it aside from a disapproving snort. Rude... some tom's seemed to just have no manners. She supposes... the land she roams does not do much to truly show her beauty, for Soot was confident in her physical appearance it was hardly insecurity of hers unless insulted... Now is not a time to go back and forth on it, however.

He does give in and tell where he's from. He speaks of things called "horses", she's heard of them but only through stories and retold experiences from other cats. Large creatures who walked on four legs, but instead of paws they had stone-like feet... Sounded absolutely nightmare-ish to Soot, she'd rather not come face to face with one. "And you encounter those... things face-to-face often? Are they aggressive like dogs?" Curiously she inquires.

She purrs, "I'd suggest you come live in the swamps, but clearly you find this place dreadful... I don't blame you. But to me, this place beats horses and twolegs for company." Soot shrugs. She's not actually sure if Briar would take this cat in... but he seemed strong and capable enough. They could use more soldiers to fight against those kittypets when the time inevitably come. But she could tell recruiting the brown tom would likely be an impossible task, what a shame.

"I'm Soot. I was born here." She'd explain with a small nod, "It's certainly not a pretty place... but it's been a home to my colony for quite some time. Many here are fond of it. I took a liking to the forest we use to roam, but that was taken from us by some other... inferior group." Her invisible brows furrow a bit in irritation at the thought. "What about you? Whats your name?"


╰☆☆ Soot. Weasel supposes that's appropriate; her smoky blue fur could make him think of the remnants of the fires the Twolegs set to their fields when the dryer seasons have passed. He shakes his head at her question concerning the horses. "No, not aggressive at all. Just stupid." He sniffs. "I wouldn't care if I never saw one again myself, but it's where I've always been."

He almost smiles when she suggests living in the marsh. Though it's different enough, he knows he could never exist beneath a canopy of trees so dark. He already misses the sky and the fresh, open air, and he's only been here for hours. He decides to say as much. "Don't you ever feel... blocked in, here?" He isn't sure how else to say it. He hasn't the vocabulary.

Tabby ears flick at her statement that she's living here with a colony. His gaze sharpens at her mention of an inferior group. "Of cats?" He asks, incredulous. This place must be bigger than he thought. Not one, but two colonies of feral cats existing alongside one another. He's never heard of such a thing. "I'm Weasel," he says shortly. "I mostly live alone. There are some cats who live on the horseplace too, but we aren't a... 'group,' or anything."

He pauses to think about the others. Big Guy and Huckleberry are nice cats, and they've always been around. But Weasel would not say they make up a colony or anything like that. They catch their own mice, do their own thing. He doesn't even know where they are half of the time.