DON'T LIKE CHANGE — shell collecting

Since the meeting, things around camp have been tense. Cicadastar is injured, a group of children told off the leader of another clan and were punished accordingly, and Beesong seems to be having a generally bad time at the moment. Everyone’s stressed, which he understands, but maybe his thoughts work differently from theirs, or maybe he isn’t involved enough, because the stress just slides right off his back. Like water off the fur of a duck.

Everyone else is stressing, and he’s just doing his normal thing. Yesterday’s thing was training, practicing his fighting stance and reflexes until his legs felt like they would fall off if he trained any more. And today’s thing is… interior decorating. Or just decorating, he supposes, since all he plans on doing is making his nest look pretty. And what better to make his nest look cool and shiny than shells? It’s a river, there’s shells all over the bank!

He waves his tail to get the attention of one of the cats standing nearby. "I dunno if you can see it but there’s a shell riiiiiiight… right there," he points with an outstretched paw to a particularly shiny shell that’s just a touch too close to the water for his liking. "Could you grab it for me?" He bats his eyes pleadingly at the feline closest to him, trying his best to look helpless. Like a damsel in distress. Except instead of a damsel, he’s a fully-grown tom with a leg-quaking fear of water.

A distraction was just what they needed really. With everything going on and the amount of worry and stress upon their shoulders, they felt like a break was needed. They loved the river and everything about it so when Clayfur suggested they go shell hunting, they couldn't help but agree! Raccoon had been standing belly-deep in the water with their muzzle drenched with droplets hanging off their face. They looked over to Clayfur as he waved his tail asking for help with something. Of course they waded their way on over with a bright smile in those brilliant orange eyes of theirs, "Whats up Clay-man?" They cheerily questioned with a wave of their water-soaked tail.

Clay then motioned to the shell that was just out of reach of him, and they couldn't help their head tilt. Could he not get it? Suppose the water wasn't for everyone, so they gave a small shrug and grinned, "Only if you promise to share it with me," It was a playful jester and then moved through the water, feeling the shell under their paw. Raccoon then dove straight down for the shell, bopping their nose against said shell before grasping it with their teeth. Pushing themselves back up from the depths, Raccoon shook their head to clear away water from their ears and eyes, "Ta-da!" They purred and offered the shell to Clay.
It's one of the rare days that he does not suffer with a throbbing skull.

Beesong hums as the small group treads along the riverbank, padding on the far right side of them as to catch the tidbits of conversation. A distraction from his own squall of emotions is what he needs. With the tension that's been building, it's what everyone needs.

Clay waves his tail, and Beesong's head perks up. Tired aqua eyes fix themselves onto the brown tabby, their humming faltering as they wait for Clay to say what it is he wants. When he does, Beesong stands on their tiptoes and cranes their neck, trying to see what it is that Clay's interested in... but there's too many tall guys in the way. "I don't-" Before they could finish their sentence, Raccoon dives into the river. Within heartbeats, they emerge from the depths with something clasped between their teeth. "Ohh, I see, I see!" Beesong blinks at the shell with a wide grin. It is pretty! "A shame that you've gotta break it in half!" That was the terms of the agreement; Raccoon would retrieve the shell only if Clay promised to share it with them. Beesong hums once more, swaying back and forth on their paws. "Would've been better if you'd gotten it yourself, huh, big guy?"

Was this a...was this a thing they did here? Now, he wasn't brand new to RiverClan by any means but Ember had also not been here when it formed nor did he know about the great battle outside the whispering and murmurs telling stories of its bloodshed and prophecy that inevtiably led to the forming of these groups, but he had not seen anyone keep this shells before. Did they have a purpose? Was there a meaning behind it? He wanted to ask but there was a small part of him that detested the idea of speaking up for his own curiousity because it would call attention to his ignorance, but another part of him wanted to know. Ember sat nearby, a cloaked shadow blending neatly into the bend of an old tree with hanging branches, all but invisible aside from the two burning eyes fixated on the riverside cats interests on what was basically just trash. Right?

When Beesong held an interest he thought perhaps they had some sort of medicinal value that only medicine cats knew about, because frankly he knew nothing of medicine outside the bare minimum of cobwebs making a good staunch for open maybe shells were used for...collecting blood or something-hell, he didn't know. Finally the curiousity got to him and he rose to stand with a lash of his whip-like tail before approaching the pebbled shore, taking a moment to stand in the water to enjoy the cool liquid pulsing past his paws.
"...can I ask why you're gathering those?" Watch it be something horribly obvious...
riverclan --- warrior--- tags
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Clay isn’t actually expecting anyone to go out and grab the specific shell that he’s pointing toward. In fact, he’s sort of expecting questions of why he can’t just go get it himself. Like, he’s a RiverClan cat, why doesn’t he just get into the river? The thought of diving beneath the water makes him shudder. But to his rescue is Raccoon, and the black and white seems all too happy to do it for him. All they ask is to share the shell with him, and he’s all too happy to like, trade the shell off every two days or something. "Yeah, I’ll share it with you. Of course," he chuckles. It’s only fair, after all.

He’s still in awe of the way that some of his clanmates move through the water with such ease. Like fish, they look like they belong there. Not like Clay. Clay belongs on dry land, where all four paws are settled firmly into dirt and not the rocky, silt-y riverbed. He watches the younger feline grasp the shell with ease, grinning back at him once they’ve held it out. "Thank you," he chirps, grinning at them.

Beesong jokes how sad it is that he’ll have to break the shell in half, and Clay snatches the shell between his paws. "We don’t have to break it! We can just… share it? Raccoon can have it one day and I can have it the next! Or—or even you could have it one day, too?" He’s beginning to feel self-conscious, stressing so much about a simple shell. So he pins his ears back, ready to pout, when Beesong hums out their question. Big guy, huh? That’s a new one, he thinks. Clay doesn’t think he’s that big, at least. Confusion washes across his face for a moment before being replaced by the pout from before. "I can’t swim," he admits, turning his face away from his clanmates.

Ember, thankfully, doesn’t ask the same question as Beesong. Even just the tabby asking is embarrassing enough. But the speckled black feline does ask why they’re collecting shells, and Clay pauses for a moment. Truth is, he doesn’t really know why he’s being so picky about the shells that he’s collecting. He just wants to make his nest look pretty. He tips his head to the side slightly, tail flicking. "We’re collecting them ‘cause it’s fun," he says almost on instinct, as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world. As if Ember is the fool in this situation, and not Clay himself. He doesn’t mean to sound dismissive, though, so he quickly remedied it with an added, "And they make my nest look cool! You should try putting some in yours, too."

Gill prefers rocks over shells any day, but the commotion over getting Clay a shall grabs the black and white kit's attention, and he can't help but to investigate just what's going on.

He watches with wonder as Raccoon dives into the water to retrieve Clay's shell for him - watches as he paddles through the water with such ease. Will he one day be big enough to do the same? To help others retrieve shells, and to get the shiniest of pebbles to decorate RiverClan's camp with?

He sure hopes so!

Gill's eyes widen at Beesong's suggestion to split it in half, and it isn't until his own protests leave his mouth that he realizes that Clay is protesting such a notion too. How could one split such a pretty thing? Surely even trying would break it into too many pieces? He finds himself dwelling on the thought of the shell being broken, but not for long, because, then... then Clay says something else.

Clay can't swim.

Perhaps Gill suspected such, with how he didn't want to get the rocks in the river that he'd told him about, but Gill doesn't think much differently of him. After all, he couldn't swim either! Maybe Clay was too small as a kit too, and just never got to learn?

"D-Don't worry! I... I can't swim e-either!" Gill tells him, though, he thinks it's something he's already told him. Either way, he hopes it makes Clay feel better about the lack of his own swimming skills. Ember appears, asks why Clay wants a shell, and the tom's answer sounds like all the reasons Gill collects rocks - because it's fun, and it makes his nest look cool. Hopefully he'll be able to find a nice shell for Clay to add to his collection, when he's big enough to be able to swim.
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