private NOT ANOTHER MOMENT ˚。 °. leaving


see you soon . ↳7.7.2022
Jun 7, 2022
It’s quiet. Terribly quiet. The perpetual bustle of camp has slowed to a melancholy lull. Few remained in wake of the war Briar has called. The sun climbed higher and higher into the sky, and still, not a single soul has returned. The kittypets had not surrendered, she’s sure of it now.

The queen worries at her lip, bitten and bruised. Her form is statuesque, tucked within a corner of camp. She busies herself with idle musings. Mismatched paws kneading the muddy ground. Eyes flickering to and fro. Her head would jerk occasionally, if there was just a little too much noise. A sound just a bit too loud in contrast to the silent camp. There’s little she can handle. Morning dew sliding across idle leaves, maybe. The sounds she knows her own paws make. Anything louder is cause for alarm.

It’s deserted. Even Crow had gone, pulled into the heat of the battle. She shudders.

They would win. Surely. They’d return home no later than moonhigh, gleams of triumph clear in their eyes. Even if they returned with scars and dull pelts, they would be victorious.

But she thinks of Flicker, returning home with nasty wounds slashed through her thin pelt. The fresh scars others returned with. No matter how often she heard of their soft-bellies, the images stayed fresh in her mind. A flash of fear, a choked breath in the morning air. Frightening. A faint rustle has her head snapping toward the forest. The muscles in her neck pull taut, aching with the sudden, sharp movement. There isn’t anything there. Nothing, but she trembles anyways. Clenches her jaw with claws unsheathed, grinding into the dirt.

She can’t do this.

"Kits–" she swallows, scrambles to her paws in a hurry. Any resting kits would be nudged awake, any others would have their attention drawn by her frightened call. She inhales. The queen heaves in place, counting all six. She counts and counts, as if a son or daughter could disappear between blinks.

What a face she’s wearing, she realizes. Another breath. One, two–. Her lips press into a thin line.

"We’re leaving," she decides then and there. And her heart flutters, with hope, with fear. The little ones are quickly nudged out of the den. Her paws deftly carry her further. Towards the camp’s entrance– camp’s exit. Her breaths come out ragged, a rushed explanation dies on her tongue, unsure. Not another day, not another breath could be spent within this place.

[ @FOXY @FROGGY @Rocky @ivy @DIZZY. @TOMATO ]
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╰☆☆ Sleep has not come easily for Foxy, elusive almost as it had been for her mother. Chin on paws, a black and a white, and wide, glowing eyes searching the darkness of the camp for movement. Hoping against all odds that Briar would return, that Cicada would, that Leaping Toad and Frog's Ribbit would, Salamander, Moth, Hound. All of the cats she's come to know in her young life, the cats she's come to regard as almost family, have gone to war, and not knowing entirely what that entails has kept her sleepless.

Azalea, Toad and Frog are fighting in the battle--it frightens her terribly. They're barely older than she is. She looks at her siblings, their pelts brushing, breath soft, and her heart seizes. She does not want them to get hurt. She does not want them to die.

She's startled out of her anxious thoughts by Dewdrop's firm declaration, the shake she gives herself once she rises to her paws. "We're leaving." Her face is set, mouth a determined flat line. Her usual weathered, soft expression has been replaced entirely by a surge of resolution.

Foxy lifts herself to her paws, shaking. "Are we... we're not coming back?" She asks, casting a weary glance about the camp they've called home. She thinks of the cats she won't see again, the cats that may be hurt right now in the fight. She'll never know if they're okay. "But... where are we going?" She searches her mother's face for answers, hoping against hope that there are answers, even when she sees nothing.

i've been patient and steadfast and steady

The taut air of anticipation had been swept away with the disappearing battle troupe. All of the fretting, preparation and anger were a whispered memory on the wind. Rocky had been unable to sleep, lying passively in a bundle of his sibling. Hooded, narrow slate blue eyes patrolled camp, hesitating on the shadowy forms of those who stayed behind. Mama seemed shaken, her erratic shifting and restless keeping him on edge.

The familiar silhouettes that blended into the every day of his life were out there, fighting. That reality was hard to accept. He imagined their colourful pelts soaked with crimson, their claws turned to cat instead of prey. Not for the first time he wished he was bigger, older. Perhaps then he could be there to protect them.

Dewdrop's curt statement drew out a concerned lash of his muted grey tail. Unsure of the right questions to ask at such a sudden announcement, he paused and gazed at his siblings. At Foxy's queries, the tension in his spine softened- she always knew what to ask Mama. The implication that they were leaving, leaving the marshes, misted his mind with possibilities. Would they ever come back? Was it safer? The warmth of his sibling's pelts beside him overwhelmed Rocky and so he heaved himself up. The prospect of being outside camp during the conflict disturbed him, but he trusted Mama.

Rocky took uneven steps out of the nest, the thorny wall of the nursery a hazy umbrella of barbed shadows above them. "If you say s'Mama." His tired voice was quiet, trying not to interrupt the two mollies with his affirmation.
[ CW: Death ]

An ear flickers, quiet acknowledgment of her daughter’s question. She grows tense. Dewdrop’s face contorts in slight discomfort. "No, we’re not returning," she replies, voice strained. She glances behind her, carefully regarding all of her kits in tow. Whatever you say, Rocky muses, and she can’t help but frown.

It’d be for the better. Another group, or all on their own, either would be better than the war being raged within those walls. She glances to Foxy, looks away. "Someplace better."

It’s vague, and she knows it. She doesn’t have the answer her daughter wants, but she’ll understand with time. Won’t she?

Marshland eventually fades behind her and gives way to the unclaimed land ahead. It’s unfamiliar, but not entirely strange. The familiar gloom of the marsh seems to linger though. Just a bit further, a little further—

A new scent hits her.

Dewdrop stills. She motions to her kits to do the same with a wave of her tail. The queen holds her breath. She is no warrior. Soft and sheltered for the most of her life, her senses are dulled. The smells of the forest muddle together for her. Her ears flatten against her skull.

She nudges the nearest kit towards a bush, hissing lowly under her breath. "All of you, hide— just for a moment, okay? I’ll… be right back." The scent is growing closer. The queen steps forward, away from her kits. Her ears stand alert. They twitch at the slightest noise. There’s a crease of her brow, the tilt of her head.

Suddenly, something springs through the undergrowth, fur warm colors of black and orange, white fur clawing at their underbelly. Foxy’s namesake, leering at Dewdrop with something gleaming familiar in its eye. They were in it’s territory, she realizes. Dewdrop sucks in a breath. And then, she bolts. Her paws take her as fast as they could carry her to veer away from the creature, away from her kits. It easily follows behind, tracks her every move. She’s not a warrior. Her turns aren’t sharp enough, she isn’t fast enough. Each breath feels punched out of her throat, and it’s still not enough. Not enough, not enough—

She’s going to die, she realizes.

No, the thought is fleeting. She would not die. For her kits, she couldn’t. She could not die.

She spins, whips around to face the creature with furious eyes. It barrels toward her, jaws parted as spittle flies from its wretched mouth. Dewdrop launches herself at it, her claws outstretched to rip out its eyes, deep gold and abyss-black pupils. Her chest swells, do or die. She’s enveloped in a swiftness never-before possessed—

Jaws snap at her in mid-air.

She wails, a mourning cry.

It hurts, teeth clamped around her. They hurt. The sudden weight as she’s crashed to the ground. The feeling of gnarled fangs sinking into her again. Bile rises in throat. It feels bitter, strange. Her claws are unsheathed, and dully, she tries again, wants to swipe at its eye. Her body will not listen to her. She’s tired.

Dewdrop’s vaguely aware of her eyes rolling within her skull. No, she doesnt dare seek out her kits. She would not put them in any danger. She would not offer any hints to the beast.

Instead, she shuts her eyes.

[ See you soon ]
*:・゚✧*:・゚✧ Foxy hadn't been afraid until her mother's fear scent began to pour out of her like blood. Dewdrop had stiffened, ears pricked and body tense, before telling them all to huddle together into the nearest bush. She'd watched their mother go then, staring hard until the last of her pale patched pelt had disappeared from sight.

The last time she'd see her mother alive, she'd been afraid.

What seemed like hours must have passed. Foxy is beginning to feel cramped--at five moons, she's almost as big as she'll ever be, and the way she's been huddled against her siblings, her limbs have begun to house a dull ache. She makes the decision: it's time to see where Dewdrop had gone. Foxy is no tracker, but she knows her mother's scent, and she'll be able to figure it out as long as the others stay where they're supposed to.

"Don't go until I come back, or until Dewdrop does," she orders her younger brothers and sisters, giving them a wary look that she hopes communicates the seriousness of the situation. She does not want to frighten them further, but they must understand how dangerous it is right now to leave the bush.

She pulls slowly from the others, scraps of leaf and twig caught in her plush calico fur. She gives herself a brisk shake and tastes the air. Almost immediately, she blanches. Her scent glands capture something fouler than anything she's smelled before. Foul--and scary.

"Dewdrop?" She pads through the undergrowth, paws sinking into soft mud. Her voice is high-pitched with her renewed fear. The scent is overpowering, but there's the familiar base beneath, that creamy-warm scent Dewdrop has always carried. Foxy ignores the metallic tang that lies beneath, all the way up until she discovers the pile of pale tortoiseshell fur.

She gives a short, gasping cry and breaks into a clumsy gait. Her mother is still, and there are bloody marks where she's been ravaged by something. Not a cat. Whatever monster carried that awful stench had bitten through her, left her cold and covered in blood and swamp mud.

"Dewdrop, get up," she murmurs, and her voice tightens into near-hysteria. "Please? I--I can't take care of them anymore. They miss you. They want you back. I want you back. We need you to take us out of here, okay? Remember? You said we were leaving..."

She chokes, and her vision becomes cloudy with unshed tears. Dewdrop does not respond. Her body feels cool under Foxy's nose. The fur parts stiffly beneath her breath. "Dewdrop, please," she says, voice caught in a strangled hold.

Moments pass. Seconds. She does not waken. Does not move. Foxy's body shakes violently with her fear, with her grief. "Mother!" She collapses against her, lost.
He'd worried about his mother since she'd asked him, fretful, what he thought of Briar's colony. Tension palpable in stiff muscles and taut frowns, never easing; instead it only coiled itself around her tighter, it seems. Her face grew wearier with each passing second. Froggy wanted to help, but he didn't know how.

The war is what breaks her.

Froggy is nudged awake, and through his bleariness, he can see that she's worsened overnight. Her lips, worried with to the point the skin has been breached by teeth, pulled into a thin line. Her eyes dart over her children, her flanks heaving. This jars him awake. He opens his mouth to ask her what's wrong, when he's suddenly ushered from the den.

We're leaving, she says. Froggy's brows knit together. "Leaving?" But she's already at the exit, and the tortie point has to scramble after her before he's left behind. Foxy asks the questions that gnaw at him before he could get the chance. We're not coming back? No, his mother declares. They would never return. Froggy glances over his shoulder at the camp behind them, his tail tip twitching with unease. He thinks about all of the cats he'd never see again, the cats who could be dying in this stupid war.

He didn't even get to say goodbye.

Where are we going?

Someplace better, his mother says. The answer is too vague, too unsatisfactory. Froggy huffs. "But where?"

He's left unanswered.

The marshland soon fades into something different, something that Froggy has never seen before. He would've been intrigued, desperate to explore this new land, on any other day. But the anxiety that clenches him does not allow for it today.

A scent hits him, completely unfamiliar. Froggy's nose wrinkles, the reek stinging his eyes. His mother stops, motioning with her tail for the rest of them to do the same. The fur along the back of his neck prickles. He doesn't like this smell. It brings with it a sense of foreboding. He's about to ask his mother what it is when she nudges him into a nearby bush, hissing under her breath for them to hide. The scent of fear is one that he knows; he's smelled it before on kits who were scared of the dark or frightened by booming thunder overhead during a storm. Froggy has always brushed them off as being silly. The dark nor thunder could hurt them.

But this time, he is afraid that something might hurt them.

Dewdrop reassures them that she'll be right back. Froggy wants to beg her not to go, but she's already disappearing into the undergrowth.

Seconds turn into minutes. Breathing becomes harder with each heartbeat that his mother does not return. Finally, Foxy breaks the eerie silence. She orders them to stay put until she or Dewdrop comes back. Froggy glares at her, bristling. She's my mom, too. He should come. He needs to come, to put his mind at ease that his mother is okay. He'll help Foxy find their mother. Two noses are better than one, surely.

Yet despite his resolve, his pawsteps are tentative as he trails after his older sister. His fur stands on end, spooking at every little noise. The shadows seem to watch him as he tiptoes through the undergrowth.

The foul stench is strong, overpowering his senses, but underneath he could still pick up faint traces of his mom... and something else. He knows this smell, too. It's the same coppery scent that accompanies the wounded. Blood. His stomach twists.

Foxy cries out, and before Froggy sees the body of his mom, he instinctually knows. The tom kit stumbles after his older sister, wide blue eyes staring at what's left of Dewdrop. Her tortoiseshell fur is caked with blood. Whatever had been the source of that foul stench had torn her apart without mercy.

"No, no, no-" his wail is strangled, his vision misting over with tears. Froggy rushes over to his mom, collapsing next to her body with another wail. His shaking paws brush against her fur, only to recoil at the chill. He lets out a choked gasp. "No- This isn't happening- You can't be-"

He couldn't breathe. He's gasping for air between the sobs. His paws have taken up kneading her still body, trying to bring warmth back to her. "Please- Come back- Please..." His entire body is trembling now.

His efforts to bring her back are futile. Froggy buries his nose into her cold fur, his tears collecting on her unmoving flanks as he sobs. His lungs burn, but he doesn't care.

He just wants his mom back.

they were leaving, but where to? and why was their mom so adamant aboutit? dizzy twitched his nose in confusion, before following his siblings, his brain firing off rapidly with all the different possibilities of why this was happening. suddenly, they all slow, and dizzy is confused again. it isn't until the assault of blood hits their nose that he gets nauseous. he didn't wanna listen to foxy. he had to see what was wrong. what if something happened? it doesn't take more convincing than that, before they run off in the direction, choking back any feelings. the sadness in the air was overwhelming. copper filled the air, and the only scent that was stronger was the blossoming, and flowery, scent of death. no. this couldn't be happening, right? ha! this was just some cruel prank! but it wasn't funny! it wasn't funny! why wasn't she getting up! and stars, how much blood did she have!?

"mama you have to get up! all that blood is supposed to be inside- and and this isn't a funny prank, okay? it's not funny! it's not funny!"

he croaks out, slowly pressing his paws to her damp fur, whimpering. he couldn't cry. he... he had to be strong. everyone else was already broken. he couldn't break too. shaking his head vigorously, a gentle and neutral smile pressed on his face.

"okay... okay mama. i... i think i understand... you have to rest now... it's okay. i'll take care of them."

he swallowed back his tears, roughly licking her head. he needed to at least clean her up... she couldn't go on into the after life dirty like this.

"don't you worry, mama. i'll get you cleaned up so you can rest easy. and... everyone will be okay."

no matter how crushed he felt, he had to be the bigger cat now. he had to do this for his siblings. even for foxy who was older. he was going to make his personal mission to keep his siblings happy and safe, even if it killed him like it killed his mama.

i've been patient and steadfast and steady

The damp grass swallowed up each of Rocky's laboured steps eagerly, granting him a soaked pelt and cold paws. Determined, he kept pace with his family. His wandering gaze absorbed the landscape as they trailblazed through it, though his attention would always return to his mother. The slight hunch of her shoulders and pricked ears stressed the discomfort she felt and the tom couldn't help but mirror her.

When Mama froze, the fright on her face cut through him. The acrid, potent scent of danger cloaked the foliage around them. Oppressive, a warning. Even as she ushered them to stay put, Rocky was trying to follow. However his siblings stayed, and she was right. She always was. He knew Mama would come back.

The minutes raked his impatience to the barest tethers of restraint. When Foxy initiated the search he all but bolted from his hiding spot. Like his brothers and sisters, her dissuasion to stay behind fell on deaf ears. Brush and boulders slipped by in a blur. All the while he kept a lookout, watching, waiting, for his mother to emerge from the greenery.

Rounding a fur-flecked bramble bush revealed the fate of their family.

A frost rippled across his silver pelt, chill seeping malignantly into every pore. It set every hair aloft in a barbed blanket of terror. The limp, blood-soaked body of Mama before him hollowed his lungs and weighed down his sore paws. The sensation of pebbles being knocked forcefully into his head made him wobble, mind a dense pool of seething rapids. No. It couldn't be. Mama-

Rocky's siblings approached in turn, each touching her and letting out a mourning he refused to accept. Froggy and Foxy's wailing buzzed in his flattened ears, a corrosive frequency that roiled dully on the horizon of his awareness. No. Still, his limbs felt heavy, his mind light. He sensed that if he were to take a step he would sift into blades of grass. But Dizzy's grooming unlocked his joints. Yes, they needed to do something. Get Mama to camp. He could do it. He had to.

In an act that was almost patient, Rocky stood behind his brother. The instant Dizzy paused, he brushed past him and in a shuddering motion touched his nose to her nape. Cold on cold. There was blood on him, slick beneath his forepaws. No. Delicately hooking his teeth into her scruff, as Mama had done to him so many times before, the young tom began to try to drag her back the way they had come.

For a moment nothing happened, his small frame unable to move the unyielding weight of her body. Then there was shift- a sickening shift that wrenched Mama an inch out of the mud she lay in. Wet eyes twisted shut in misery. A mewling cry deepened into a snarl of absolute frustration and denial. He would bring her home. Desperate, wild eyes pleaded with his siblings. She wasn't- he didn't know what he'd do without her.