[ PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING: Chronologically, this battle thread takes place before the other two! Familiarize yourself with what is to take place in this thread HERE. Because Briar and her warriors are confronting a lone hunting patrol, we only need a few Pine Group cats in this thread (at most, maybe 6 or 7). When the Pine Group refuses to comply with Briar's command, the Marsh Group will attack. After a skirmish, the Pine Group will escape into the trees and one of their members will go to tell Rain what happened. It can be assumed after that post that Rain and the reinforcements have shown up, and this thread can once again commence as the other two battle threads.

Also, please only post in one thread per character. ]

The camp was usually still asleep at sunrise, save a few earlier risers who ventured out for a hunt, but today, things were different. Briar had gotten up early that morning, shared a measly meal with Amber, before trudging out of the den she shared with him to settle in the center of camp. One by one, all of those who had pledged themselves to fight had rallied with her and by the time the morning light was able to touch the muddy ground, she set off with her battle patrol. Normally, she would shadow behind her groupmates on hunting patrols, eager to let those less experienced and far more interested in the thrill and bragging rights of a good hunt go before her, but today, she took the lead. Her head was held high, shoulders taut and poised. She was the queen of this forest, it was time she looked the part.

As the sun climbed higher in the sky, Briar led the way to the four great oaks in the near center of the forest. All of her ventures there had led to an encounter with a pine cat, so she was sure she would come across a patrol eventually. She paused in the middle of the clearing between the Fourtrees and lifted her head to the sky, parting her maw to get a scent of the air. She could smell them alright, their mingling scents of kittypet, loner, rogue. Her nose wrinkled in disgust. Turning to her soldiers, Briar let her eyes trail over each one. She hoped they would all come out of this, that they'd revel in their victories tonight under the full moon. But she also knew that this encounter had the possibility to go in the worst - and probably most predictable - direction possible. She might lose friends today. But she couldn't let those thoughts linger for long. They had a forest to take back. She could worry about the consequences of war after the fact. Waving her tail, she signaled those with her to stop.

Before her, a patrol of pine cats materialized from the morning mist. The bristly fur on the back of her neck shivered and her eyes narrowed into slits. "We've let you hunt in our forest for far too long while our prey pile dwindles and our young starve," she hissed, claws digging into the moist earth. "This is your one and only warning. Leave my hunting grounds and never return." She waited, her eyes baiting them. Should they refuse, her cats knew what to do. She would not even have to give the word.

A slender figure would move not far behind Briar as the patrol made their way to Fourtrees. Leafs' heart was pounding in his chest, and his paws felt shakey, yet his expression would appear to show nothing more than irritated boredom. He knew his NPC father was somewhere among the group as well, wanting to display his fighting prowess while keeping a judgemental eye on his heir. Leaf felt his jaw clench and his ears pinned back against his slender white skull. He would skid to a stop as they reached their destination, and the fur along his spine would bristle as a patrol of Pine cats materialized before them.

His lips curled back in a silent snarl, fangs bared in warning that matched his leader's words. From the corner of his eye, he finally spotted his father, standing tall and proud, and yet his gaze wasn't on the other group. Instead, the large tom's skeptical stare lingered on Briar as if waiting for her to make some cowardly move. Leaf's stomach twisted, hoping that none of his group mates caught the look as well and he forced himself to bring his attention back to the Pine cats.

His long tail lashed, but otherwise, he remained taunt and still, waiting for the silent command from Briar to finally run these disgusting outsiders out of their forest.

All IC opinions only! Leaf's dad is a stinky man
( ) Crow didn't sleep that night. They didn't even want to try, too afraid of the nightmares that they would face... Screeching, claws flashing, blood gushing. And even if they had wanted to, how could they with this worry that weighs on their mind? They could lose Everest by the time the sun sets tomorrow. They could lose their whole world.

By sunrise, Briar leads the war patrol out of camp. Crow's eyes are misted over, their jaw clenched in bitter resignation. This is it. If Rain's colony doesn't leave, lives would be lost. They just need to ensure that Everest's life isn't.

The journey to Fourtrees is silent yet deafening. The four oaks would typically bring a smile to their face, as they met with their lover underneath the twisting branches. But now, the sight of the great oaks in the distance only opens a pit of dread in their stomach. As they draw closer, the all-too-familiar scent of Rain's colony washes over the patrol. Most recoil, wrinkling their noses at the smell that they call foul. But Crow doesn't. They try to pinpoint Everest's scent underneath all of the others, but there's too many. They could only hope that Everest wouldn't be here.

Crow's breath catches in his throat as a small hunting patrol materializes from the mist. His eyes scan over them, desperately hoping he wouldn't glimpse Everest's blue tabby fur amidst the patrol.

He's silent, his tail lashing in a nervous manner as Briar speaks. Please, don't put up a fight.

− ♱ ABOUT : he'd been sunning on a rock nearby when he heard them arrive, his short, curly figure nothing but a cream splotch on the slate expanse. the stink of marshland hits his nose and he nearly gags, wrinkling his already squished face into an expression of pure disgust. gross! does their entire swamp smell like that? small ears flatten and the feline lowered himself from his perch, thick coat bristling in anger. there was plenty of prey to go around! it wasn't his nor his kittypet friend's fault that the mangy hairballs weren't all that great at hunting. puffing himself up in an attempt to appear larger, marigold would inch his way towards the assaulting ferals, baring his teeth enough to expose the pale pink gums above. he wasn't very threatening most of the time, given his stature and blue scarf collar ; though he certainly made an attempt now.

" all this ' our forest ' business, i'd have been under the assumption that your mangy group actually knew how to hunt! " he spits, pale yellow eyes flitting briefly to the side, waiting for . . someone else to show up. there were three, much larger marshland cats poised to strike and he was only one cat. they may not have been able to catch a squirrel back during that skirmish in the pines, but by the looks of their unsheathed claws, they would certainly catch him if they tried. he could only hope he wouldn't face the same fate : ripped in half, " there's enough prey to share, you won't let you bully us away with your greed! "

  • MARIGOLD ; he / him, fifty seven months old, pine group member
    − cream cameo selkirk rex w daffodil eyes, smells like tobacco and vanilla
    death fodder, attack in gold, penned by antlers

— Marshers, alot of them, all gathered 'round their leader just... ominously standing in the clearing. The four great oaks provide a strange sort of backdrop, framing Briar's cats in shadow as the sun shines overhead. It doesn't take a genius to see that this spells hostility.

And as soon as she speaks, his fur is bristling along his spine. His eyes sharpen, brows pinch together in disbelief. The arrogance, and entitlement to call this her forest. It was laughable. Verdant eyes flicker to Marigold, the other's lips already pulled back in a snarl. Well met, well said. Once stands beside him, chin tilted to assess the opposing forces with a critical stare. He tilts his head, let's out a low drawl of a hum, feigning thought. His ear flickers with each minute shift of the marshers. "Yeah, no."

"Has it ever occurred to you all that we don't have anywhere to go either? 'Course it hasn't, cause all you swamp rats can think about is yourselves," he spits. His eyes scan the patrol of cats, looking for any openings. Sure, they were a teeny bit outnumbered, but it's nothing he can't handle. Probably. "Only home I could find is with rain. So unless you plan on slaughtering us like a pack of dogs, we're not going anywhere!" 'Course, with all they've tried already, he wouldn't put it past them.

✵ ღ ☾ IT TOOK ME BY SURPRISE - Azalea was silent as she rose that morning, wordlessly standing amongst the patrol of volunteers, her only communication limited to side-glances of support towards her group mates as they began to move.
Azalea flanked the side of the patrol, her long legs giving her more of a stride than a walk as the ventured forward, each paw step bringing them closer to what would inevitably turn into a blood bath.
Azalea was ready, there was a rarely a moment where she was caught unprepared, but even so this was different. Very different.
Before too long, the sickly sweet scent of pine smacks her in the nose, and instantly her ears are pinned backwards, and her pupils morph into slits.
She only recognizes one, the arrogant prick that had sauntered into the marsh lands only a pawful of sunrises before.
She shouldn't speak.
Swamp rats.
❝ it is obviously what you kittypets want ❞ she spat in the direction of Onceler.
They had their clear answer. The kittypets had chosen their own demise.
She hardly looked to Briar before she sprang. The orders they had been given were clear.
Her attention targets the arrogant Onceler, and she lunges at him, bowing her head she would attempt to ram the crown of her skull into his chest.
❝ Speech. ❞
[initiating fight with @ONCE. ]


╰☆☆ Blaise is terribly unskilled in the art of hunting, and he's decided if he's going to continue living among the pine cats, he'll have to start making a better effort to learn. So far, some of the kinder cats have shared their kills with him, but even the nicest among them have begun to give him judgmental stares, and Blaise has decided enough is enough. He either goes back to his housefolk's nest and begs at the windowsill, or he is going to have to learn to catch prey.

He'd followed Onceler and Marigold out of camp with blissful ignorance of what lie waiting for them. Shadows split before his eyes and become spitting, cold-eyed cats, led by a she-cat with an impressively furious expression. She tells them to leave the forest or die.

Blaise's ears flatten, not out of anger, but out of confusion. He's heard about what had happened to poor Finch, of course, and the scars Tugger, Mud, and Fritter had returned with had been real enough. But he supposes he had always considered this something that would pass.

Briar does not look as though she's going to let it pass. There are cats of all ages and sizes flanking her, cats with bristling fur and unsheathing claws. Marigold and Onceler stand their ground, and Blaise swallows. He won't run--but he does not know if he'll be any use to them if a fight does occur.

And then a tall but young-looking she-cat hisses to Onceler and flings herself at him, eyes ablaze, claws extended, and Blaise stumbles backwards a few pawsteps. They are outnumbered--and this is a child! He looks back to the ranks spread behind Briar and thinks about Rain, how furious he'd be to know his colony is being advanced upon.

"I-- I'll get help," he stutters to his companions, and he turns on a heel and begins to run in the direction they'd come.

// hope this is okay, he can't really fight anyway. feel free to have anyone join him or come after him!
Briar's fur bristled at the first pine cat's remark. Greed. What a hypocritical accusation. These cats could easily take the spoils of the Twolegplace, whether kittypet or stray on the streets, but they chose to come into the forest Briar had seen generations grow up in. The marsh cats' prey pile dwindled as these fat, overeating kittypets encroached on their land. "If there was enough prey, then our cats would not be starving," she hissed, glittering eyes full of anger turning to the other cat with him that spoke. "You have plenty of places to go. Other forests. Back to the Twolegplace. This is our home and it has been for generations. We'll spill blood for it if we must, hopefully more of yours than ours," she snarled, lips curling back to reveal sharp fangs.

Azalea was already leaping towards the latter cat who had spoken, just as another of the patrol dashed off to warn Rain. Let him bring a battle patrol. They'd find out soon enough whose forest this really was. Her eyes locked on Marigold. "Marsh cats, defend your home," she hissed before launching herself at the tom, claws outstretched and aimed to dig into his shoulder.

/ initiating fight with @MARIGOLD

It didn't even take Briar's word for the muscular cinnamon tom to know what was expected of him. What needed to be done.
If the kittypets wouldn't leave on their own, it was time to spill some blood. Furious Rust was more than happy to do so, he wanted their land back!

"FOR THE MARSH!" A battle-cry bellows from the tom as he launches his paws into the air, thoughtlessly lunging for the first Pine cat he set his gaze on. His opponent? A feline, unknown to him, known as Lark.

Thorn sharp claws aimed to come down upon the top of their head and dig into their cranium. His other free paw aims to wrap around the feline's neck to sink his claws into their scruff. An expression of hatred and fury burns on his face, his opponent would be able to undoubtedly tell he means business.

/ @lark !! Just let me know in an ooc note when you want a killing blow. FEEL FREE to fuck Rust up a bit too!! Some deep wounds, causing him to pull muscles or awkwardly twist a limb, etc are fine

— He sees it out of the corner of his eye, a begrudgingly familiar tabby she-cat preparing to spring, before that same flash of fur is directly in front of him, claws outstretched, her head bowed and oh—

Not a moment to soon, he rears up on his hind legs and swipes at her, baring his teeth in a sharp hiss. "Why the hell are you here? So desperate for warriors you're recruiting kittens?" Now, now he's on the offensive. His lips pull back in a snarl, biting back a growl as his body drops to the ground. Adrenaline pumps through his veins, has his eyes blowing wide as he glances wildly around the clearing. The hurried ramblings of Blaise barely register in his mind, regarded with a harsh lash of his tail. "Don't need it!" he boldly declares.

More and more Marshers reveal themselves within the clearing, slithering out from the fog like snakes– An inkling of doubt wells up inside him, the words he’d yowled only seconds ago sound more and more like a joke. His gaze flashes around wildly. He needed to get rid of some of them, quick. Take them out of commission, give himself less to deal with.

"Watch it, Goldie!" Once shouts a ragged warning, huffing as the dark-furred leader hurtles toward Marigold. Small and thin-furred, he wasn’t sure why the guy was even here, but he seemed to be the only backup he had at the moment, so he better do his damn best.

He shoots Azalea a ‘stay the hell away from me’ glare, before risking a glance away from her. The tom's eyes lock onto another target, someone he can really sink his claws into. On a whim, he draws himself into a crouch, before springing toward a target picked at random.

[ Interacting with @𝒜𝓏𝒶𝓁𝑒𝒶 ; attacking @FLICKER ]
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╰☆☆ Flicker had barely slept the night prior. Her limbs had twitched with adrenaline, anticipation, her claws flexing in and out of their sheathes and tearing moss where she wanted to tear fur. She'd followed Briar's call almost giddily, her pawsteps light and her eyes gleaming. After a shared, meager breakfast with Moth and a hasty grooming, Flicker had followed Briar into their first confrontation with the spineless kittypets.

Briar gave them a single warning. "Leave my hunting grounds and never return." Flicker knew they wouldn't leave, though. If it had been that simple all along, they wouldn't be here now, would they?

Sure enough, the black and white tom had spouted off, and Azalea, little spitfire she is, had attacked him. Briar had thrown herself at the soft-looking tom without giving him a chance to flap his gums any longer.

Flicker's own eyes trailed after the retreating tom, a flame point like Ember, but with thick fur and a kittypet collar. She prepared to spring after him, bunching her muscles and enjoying the burn in her haunches. Not so fast, pet, she thinks to herself, and she prepares to sprint when she's knocked to the side.

The green-eyed tom who'd scrapped with Azalea is pinning her, and she can't believe she's let herself be blindsided. He's small, perhaps her size, but she's surprised by the weight of his muscles and the venom in his gaze. "Get offa me, you overfed rat," she spits, aiming to bite one of his paws. She writhes under him, furious at herself for letting him surprise her. He has the upper paw now. It's a bad position to be in.

[ attempting a futile attack on @ONCE. ]

Dawn ✧ he/they ✧ Marsh Group. ░░░░░░░░░░░░░
The cries of pain echoed through the air, yowls broke through the sound barrier with a force. Hisses spat with blood against green grass and this thrill of adrenaline rolling through an cinnmon marbled pelt. Claws flexed with excitement and the face of this cat remained stoic, almost like he felt nothing in the midst of the battle. Blue eyes scanned the world around him, and he bunched up under his sleek pelt rearing to get going. Who could he attack? What cat would lay to his claws?

Her ear flicked as Briar's warning hit it. She gave her leader a glance. The pine cats were never going to heed her word, she had to know that. Moth had to wonder if it was even for them, or if it was supposed to be for herself. To let her say she had given them a chance to leave. So that when the blood from both sides stained the land she could lay the blame squarely at the paws of the other side. Assuage her own guilt.

That wasn't fair, she knew that.

Her own fears were clouding her thoughts.

The kittypets rebuff them, as expected, and Briar gives the word. Moth's eyes narrow, muscles tense, but she does not move. Her groupmates would win or lose this fight themselves, she had one goal in all this.

Keep Flicker safe, no matter what.

Her eyes find the tortie, ready to pounce on the same target their leader had found. Good. He looked the soft sort, and Briar's side was a safe place to be. She prepared to follow along when another tom slammed into her friend, bowling her over and pinning her in an instant. Fear filled her mind and adrenaline shot through her veins. Before she could think, she was moving.

With a fearsome screech, the grey tabby flew through the air toward Once. Aiming to tackle him off the molly beneath him and send the pair tumbling away.

// tackling @ONCE.
— Easier than he’d expected. His lips curl into a cruel smirk, though his eyes still blazed with unrestrained fury. Writhing beneath him was a tortoiseshell littered in scars. Some were still fresh, living proof of any scraps she’s been in, her selfish devotions over land.

Her retort is met with a low growl and a lash of his tail. And she tries to gnaw at his paw. He scoffs, raises it just to just to slash claws across her face, before a yowl catches his attention.

His head snaps towards the sound, but he isn’t quick enough to stop the force suddenly bowling him over. With his paw in the air and the wind knocked out of him, the tortoiseshell is soon out of his grasp. He tumbles across the forest floor. Curses mesh with the string of hisses that escape his maw.

He recovers as quickly as he can, spitting out the grime that threatened to dirty his teeth. The tom flashes with white-hot anger, his previous victim all but forgotten as he zeroes in on moth. A moment’s rebound is all he needs before he flies toward her, claws outstretched to curl into her pelt and keep the molly down.

Her and the tom both go tumbling. In their moments in the air, relief flooded her. She had freed Flicker. The thought is knocked out of her when she hit the ground. Along with the air in her lungs. The desperation that had moved her paws had not given much thought to her landing, and she paid for it. She tasted dirt in her mouth. Felt it in her fur.

It took a moment before she could pull herself back to her paws, breathless and dizzy. Only to be slammed right back into the ground as her a body collided with her. A grunt left her. Then a hiss as claws sunk into her fur. She bore her teeth up at her attacker, tried to spit in his eyes. This was no place for honest fighting. This was live or die.

While he was, hopefully, blinded, Moth attempted to use both her hind legs to attempt to dislodge him and send him stumbling backwards.

// responding to @ONCE.
— The hit lands, knocks Moth to the floor with a gust of air. Her snarl is met with his own. Teeth glint in the light, his face creases in gnarled anger. "What the—" The most skin-crawlingly disgusting feeling overtakes him, seeps into his fur as she spits on him like some kind of diseased rat. His muzzle wrinkles at the feeling. It’s unpleasant, but not debilitating. It misses his eye— is that where she was aiming? "Do all you marshers pride yourselves on being so damn nasty?" he hisses.

Her legs batter at his stomach, but he tries to keep his hold, has to keep his hold, so help him. He heaves with the effort, strange, choked breaths. His patience is wearing thin. Anyone who decides to spit on him is undeserving of it. He only needed a moment, a second for her to quit her endless struggling, and then—

He relents for a moment, only a moment. The tom rears up and away, the illusion of compliance, before he crashes back down on top of Moth. His sneer is cruel. Green eyes shine with malice. He aims to create an opening, just a heartbeat of paralyzing shock before he’d attempt to rake claws across the soft flesh of her belly, a little too harsh, annoyance clear with each hiss and growl.

[ replying to @moth ]
Gorse hadn't wanted to believe that it would come down to this. She'd hoped that Rain and Briar could talk things out like adults rather than resort to fighting like kits.

It seems like all of that hoping turned out to be a waste of fucking time.

The red cameo picks her way across the battlefield, trying to look anywhere but at the corpses scattered about the clearing. So much blood spilled over something that could've been solved with compromises. Idiots, she thinks to herself.

A golden-furred tom stands in her way. With her lips curled, Gorse glowers at the pathetic scrap who reeks of carrion. "You bastards get your fill of blood yet?" Her furious voice sounds so unlike her typical peppiness. But she's past the point of friendliness. They've frayed her patience until it snapped. With a huff, Gorse lunges towards Dawn. It would appear that she was going to confront the younger tom head-on, only for her to sidestep and aim to slice open his flanks as she races past. Whether or not the attack was successful, Gorse would then whirl around and attempt to sink her teeth into his tail and pull with as much force as she could muster.

[ attacking @Dawn ! ]

Dawn ✧ he/they ✧ Marsh Group. ░░░░░░░░░░░░░
Things seemed to move slowly around him; seemed to take their time as cats lunged for one another. As blood splattered the grass and pelts of those around him, and yet he seemed to find no worthy opponent until he felt claws graze his flanks. Jumping backwards only to get his tail bitten to which he yelped in pain, blue eyes whirling on this cat that had previously spoken. There shouldn't have been any blood spilled, at least not over such stupid matters. Rain and Briar where just too proud, too proud to talk it out, too proud to work together instead here they were. Loosing lives upon lives for something as stupid as prey and land.

Lips pulled back into a snarl, baring white teeth and a pink tongue flicked out as it swiped over those pearly whites of his, "You are the ones who wish to spill blood, this is on your paws," He snarled back at her. Then lunged for her, one paw raised to bring it down upon her nose and if successful would bound away with a low crouch to the ground, "Your leader is nothing but a pathetic kitten!"

Moth doesn't give him the dignity of a reply, he does not deserve that from her. She simply snarls back in his face. Her assault is wearing at him, she can tell. Can hear it in his breaths. A moment longer, and perhaps he would be forced to relent. She tried to redouble her efforts, and for a moment it seems to work.

He pulled up off of her and she followed, eagerly. Seeking to escape his death grip. Only to gasp as he slammed back down on her. Her head spun and she saw stars.

There was a sharp pain in her belly.

She tried to catch her breath and coughed. Once more she bared her teeth, weakly. Tried to spit in his eyes again. The fluid that left her mouth was red. Dully, she realized that might be a bad sign. Her head was spinning, and she couldn't seem to figure out a way to escape. Much less muster the will to attempt to do so. Her struggles slowed, ceased.

Flicker. Where was Flicker? She recalled being worried about her. Her gaze wandered away from the stranger standing atop her, eyelids fluttering. Eventually, they landed upon a familiar tortoiseshell pelt. There she was. Thank goodness.

Everything was alright, then. She could close her eyes for a moment. All of a sudden she had become so tired.

For the last time, Moth's eyes drifted closed.

// dead to @ONCE.

╰☆☆ For a moment, Flicker is staring into deep and angry green eyes. Claws dig into her shoulders. Weight pins her to the dust, and she can feel the pine needles sticking to her back. Her writhing is fruitless. She knows she's made a mistake, but--

But it's nothing, not anymore. There's a flash of gray and white, and Moth has driven the strange black and white tom away from her. Flicker exhales with exaggeration, but only momentarily. As soon as she can, she scrabbles to her paws. She's sore, disoriented, but flame-colored eyes search the scene.

She sees them, a gray and white femme beneath the black and white brute. She's fighting him, but he's raised a claw to her belly, and Flicker--

Her eyes are dimming. Her eyes are dazed, and they stop their glow, their light--

Flicker stumbles in the dust, her lips pulled back in a desperate snarl. "Moth?!" Tears prick at her eyes; they feel like claws from within; the wounds left shed like flowers of blood.

She stumbles towards the gray she-cat, puts her nose in the fur stained with blood. The smell is like the earth beneath her. Like the twigs above her. Like nothing. Like earth.

Because there is nothing to Moth now. She is gone.

Flicker opens her maw in a silent scream, but nothing follows. No. I told you I'd protect you!"

She's looking at nothing, though. Her blood is streaming through Flicker's claws.

The tortoiseshell raises incredulous eyes to the black and white tom who has killed her. She chokes on whatever words she wants to say, but manages, "M-Moth..."

Her words strangle into a wordless cry as she charges Onceler. Her claws aim for the tom's shoulders to pin him down. If successful, she will not hesitate to sink her teeth into his throat.

[ attacking @ONCE. for a killing blow ]
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