dim morning ; haunting

Jun 8, 2022
A steady fog rolls over the surface of the marsh, blanketing the area in a tangibly thick haze. It's not an uncommon sight in this place, hardly Croak's first. He's grown and adapted. His eyes, though tired, can scrounge their way through most darkness. Each and every blade of grass and patch of flowering buds; each dip in the ground that would lead to murky water and mud squelching underfoot, it was all stored in his mind. He knew this land better than his own skin.

'Course... That wouldn't be the case for everyone.

A practiced route for some may be a complicated maze for others. Just an expanse of dirt and grass and mud. That strange feeling of having the ground press between your pads for the first time, seeping in between and refusing to release its claim. It was clear some of the youths in this group weren't cut out for such a life. None of his business, though. Company and safe going is what they came for, and it's what they'll get. They'd figure out where they belong with time.... Doesn't mean he can't take advantage of that though.

A small stature hunkering between clumps of reeds, further concealed by muddied light and heavy fog... it'd be something hard to pick out for an inexperienced young marsh-goer. Finding their way home, lost in this mist... Why doesn't he make it just a slight more unnerving?

He hums through the mist, tones crackling within his throat more and more the higher he goes. Never been musically gifted, he supposes. A medley begins quiet, and then gradually rises in volume, an appropriate eerie tune, he thinks. Maybe no one's even about at this time of day. He's merely an old fool, crooning to himself in the stagnant air. He doesn't really care, lived too long to be concerning himself with what impression he makes. He'd make his own fun.

"Woe... Woe..." he rasps, voice wavering with the words of some kinda... spirit? Yeah, let's go with that. "Woe is me... Life extinquished too soon... Dreams left to rot... Unfair, unfair..." All the while he lays in place, stony-faced aside from grin threatening to creep upon his face. Who knew he was such a good actor?

[ TL;DR It's a dim, foggy almost-night and old man is trying to scare some teenagers <3 ]
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╰☆☆ Twilight is one of those who is not quite well-versed in traipsing through their swampy abode. She's from far away, lands that are dry and exposed to the sun, where she can see the hawks circling down to their feathers. Here, the sun is a rare sight, and though she likes to think she's grown accustomed to it, the mud can be a bit much for her at times.

Nonetheless, she's called Briar's group her home, and she has no intention of leaving. Her son has urged her on a few occasions to go--he's especially nervous now, with the kittypet infestation--but Twilight cannot bring herself to do so. She's made friends, and even the cats she doesn't know well yet are simply friends waiting for her to get to know them, in her mind.

Frog's Croak is one of them, a strange older tom whose genes can be seen throughout the camp, from Salamander and Toad's Prowl bringing in kills, to Gecko's twin boys pouncing about.

She catches a glimpse of dark fur, blending in with the environment almost imperceptibly, and prepares to call out to him. She pauses, however, upon noticing his game. He's hunched, humming and chanting, to what looks like nothing to her. Only after gazing hard through the mist can she see a blurred young cat's shape.

"Oh, you're too much," she mutters to Frog's Croak, giving him a chastising look. "Poor thing will be even more scared to leave the camp now." As long as it isn't Ash, she supposes she can't be too upset... he doesn't need any more reasons to be afraid, truly.

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    ── There are few places a cat as pale as Roseal can hide, and this isn't one of them. The marsh is all long, damp shadows and mud, earthy and dark; in it, he might as well be the full moon on a cloudless night. He could roll around until his fur's a shade closer to his surroundings, but he doesn't think he needs to. While this group of cats and the other group of cats are in the middle of a quarrel over territory, Roseal is an unobtrusive tumbleweed drifting across the dueling grounds. Sort of.

    Point being he's fairly confident they won't bury him somewhere in the bog to never be seen again. Bigger fish to fry.

    It's a very moody atmosphere, isn't it? The fog crawls through and doesn't stop until it hovers spectral wisps over every inch of this place. Makes it difficult to find his way, but Roseal wasn't heading in any particular direction in the first place, so it's hard to be lost when you don't have a destination.

    He thinks he should be unsettled by the rough warbling that drifts in through the mist. It isn't normal, 'least as far as he's aware, and yet the plaintive unfair, unfair doesn't invoke fear but empathy. That can't be normal either, so he's done as he always has when he experiences something inexplicable: he ignores it and chooses irreverence. "Too soon? You sound a little too old for too soon, whoever you are."

  • 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.​

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Knowing one's way around the marshlands Leaping Toad calls home is important. It isn't hard to get lost in such a dense area, and it's even more difficult when it's getting dark out. The fog drifting through was an added bonus to Leaping Toad's game for today - wandering deep into the marsh and trying to find his way back home.

Frog's Ribbit was too scared to join Leaping Toad for this specific game, as the fear of being alone- of being separated from his brother and lost in the marshlands- gnawed at his mind. But, Toad wasn't scared like Ribbit was! Surely it wouldn't be too hard to find his way back home, after all!

The young tom set off a bit before the sky started to dim, in order to give him enough time to find his starting spot. By the time he deemed himself far enough away from camp to start the game, however, the blue-hue of the sky had already began to darken with the lack of light. But, Leaping Toad would be fine, because, he always wins the games he makes up.

Though, with each step into the fog before him, the shape of the trees around him began to look more and more alike. The ground is void of paw-steps tracing his former pathway, the view before him lacking any significant landmarks. He was lost- far more than what he made himself out to be in the first place. His heart is pounding as he looks around, blue eyes trying to find something, anything, of familiarity.

A wailing noise causes the brown tabby to jump, eyes wide as he looks around. "H-Hello...?" he squeaks out, cowering close to the ground as the wails continue. He can't find the source of the noise, he realizes - the fog is too dense to see, to smell what is nearby. A ghost. It had to be a ghost. Maybe Ribbit was right about staying home, for Toad was going to be eaten by a ghost.

But, as the lamentations go on, Leaping Toad realizes the voice is familiar. That wasn't a ghost! He strains his ears in an effort to follow the noise, slowly but surely finding his way towards a clump of reeds. There! He bounds towards a form hidden within it, leaping at the cat. His grandfather! Of course, his grandfather had his own tricks to play tonight!

"Ha! You can't scare me!"
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And look at that, he's hooked himself a few suckers, if only for a moment. A grin spreads wide across his maw. Through the fronds, he can see the hunched shape of a younger cat, his grandson, he realizes, though he isn't sure he's ever heard him in such disarray before now. Dark tabby fur wasn't uncommon in these parts. But oh─ the pale fur of Roseal is much harder to miss.

And at the utterance of 'Too soon? You sound a little too old for too soon.' He can't contain the harsh bark of laughter that erupts from his throat.

His cover is almost certainly blown by now, if it hadn't been already. Soon, the wide eyes of his grandson are regarding him. His voice rises in a triumphant claim, Frog's Croak snorts, amused by the kid's bold faced lie. "Eh, I can't?" he asks, a rhetorical question. "Odd, 'cause it seems like I had a certain little Toad cowering like a mouse just a moment ago" he grins, wicked.

And that gleam in his eye would remain as he turns to Twilight, "Someone needs to keep these kid's ego's in check, eh? And you─!" he'd add. A shrewd face would peek over the clump of reeds, muzzle wrinkling at the scarred albino. "Try sayin' that to a real ghost, and see where that gets ya'," he challenges. "Smoked over a pile'a burning wood, I bet!"
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  • It's not only children whom Frog's Croak prank catches off guard. Cloud's family have lived on the marsh for generations; logically speaking, he should know the land like the back of his paw. Yet, as he blinks away drowsiness to a fog that was not there when he had first closed his eyes, he finds himself rather unsure of where he is. He sits in the spot where he napped for a moment, the fur on his back prickling, and tries to remember the way to camp. No luck. At least the white of his fur is camouflaged for once. He picks a direction and starts walking. Perhaps he'll run into his sister, and it will be like two little pieces of fog crashing into each other with none of the insubstantiality that fog is so fortunate to possess.

    When the haunting starts, he is halfway to falling asleep once again. Alarm pulses from his heart to the tips of his fur, and his claws unsheathe to dig into the questionably solid ground beneath his paws. He presses his ears against his head, wide eyes growing wider, until he shakes himself out of his fright enough to register voices nearby. Cloud squints through the fog and makes out the shapes of Twilight and Roseal, as well as that of the perpetrator being pounced on by his grandson.

    Cloud straightens up, puffing out a sigh. He got all scared over a joke, did he? It's not his fault he has trouble discerning—not gullible, per se, but tending to take things at face value. He trots over to his groupmates with his pelt still fluffed up and blinks between them, then turns to Frog's Croak and asks, "How do you fight a ghost?" His voice, already high in pitch, sounds like a mouse squeak after the false haunting. But, despite the prank, the elderly tom speaks with gravity about the nature of ghosts, as if completely certain they're real. It would be wise to be well informed on the subject.
  • Cloud is a compact and sinewy male in early adulthood with fluffy white fur. He is known for being absentminded and able to fall asleep anywhere at any time, resulting in a perpetually rumpled pelt that—combined with his small size and wide, hazel eyes—others tend to find endearing. Despite this, he can surprise with physical strength and intense dedication to the task at hand. Though preferring to keep to himself, when he speaks he does so with careful thought put into the content of his words. However, he is less attentive to how they are said, and his candid nature may be perceived as rude.

The young tom bats at his grandfather's tail. Scared? Him? Never! Leaping Toad was brave, and feared nothing! Except, maybe getting eaten by a ghost, or... getting lost in the marshlands on his own, or —

"W-Well... Ribbit would have been even more scared!" Leaping Toad retorts matter-of-factly, "He was too scared to come with me, so he would have been extra scared!" He imagines his slightly darker-furred brother would have leapt in the air at the noise, gaining air to the point of being mistaken for a bird, he'd jump so high.

His head turns to the white ball of fluff that arrives afterwards. The older feline's fur is sticking up in all sorts of directions, a detail the brown tabby finds amusing. Cloud got scared too! Leaping Toad wasn't the only one to have been spooked by his grandfather's tricks!

If it wasn't for his fur giving away that fact, Cloud's voice would've for sure given it away - squeaky as he asks about tactics in ghost battle. Leaping Toad sits up straight at his question, the thought of more battle training- more games to make out of Frog's Croak's haunting- exciting to him.

"Yeah," he says in agreement, turning to his grandfather, "How do we fight ghosts?"
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"Mmm-hm" Leaping Toad's claim is met with a half-lidded gaze and tight-lipped smile. Excuses, excuses, though maybe he wasn't too far off. "Maybe I should set up another test just for your brother, then."

He fails to restrain his amusement at the sound of cloud's warbling voice, high pitched like a mouse who'd been scooped up from its burrow. A low chuckle rumbles in his throat. So serious. "How do you fight ghosts?" he parrots the kids' question with a quirked brow. Had he heard about ghosts as he kid, he wouldn't have imagined fighting them to be a possibility. "What makes you think you can? S'why you hafta' be respectful while you're still alive to have the choice." He accents his words with his best evil grin. "One blasphemous word and they'll be draggin' you to an early grave!"