private our hearts will move with the tide | mud

Jun 8, 2022
( ⚘ ) A fine drizzle hung in the air, the lazy wind setting it in swirling layers across the sky. The wet atmosphere did little to dry Reed's river-soaked, walnut flecked pelt. Swimming across the tumultuous river had been trickier than normal, the previous night's downpour making its currents bold and keen. Lessons from Mahi-Mahi had been pressed to the forefront of their panicked mind, memories of his calm tone soothing stiff limbs. They had become more comfortable in the water over the moons, but after the storm their nerves were as delicate as dried leaves.

Muddy tracks laced the ground, evidence of other cats. It was as Reed had suspected, the sounds of turmoil and confrontation belonged to the foreign groups deeper in the forest. Ears peaked, sharp against their lithe silhouette, the young cat plunged on further. They had been curious, enough to go out alone, to see what had been going on. Now it was a quiet, early grey morning. Reed hoped the conditions would discourage any wanderers. If these mystery cats were the type to draw blood on sight as they suspected, avoiding them would be best.

Soon the tall, grasping boughs of several oak trees were visible through the watery haze. Their green leaves bobbed, weighed down in the rain. In the slow gusts of wind, droplets slid to the earth in an uneven cacophony. One smashed across the investigator's slim shoulder, another across their blinking sage eyes. The worsening weather made Reed uneasy.

Narrow snout high in search of any lingering scents, their white-tipped tail hung to the foliage. Though dampened, Reed picked up two groups scents in the clearing. One was sharper, fresh and clung to the top of the palette. The other held a musty, leafy quality. Both were odd. Flicking their nervous gaze through the strengthening curtains of rain, the cedar-coated cat continued to explore.

@MUD <3

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The sight of a loner was rare these days. Most stayed out of the area for fear of getting mixed up in the tensions between the two feuding colonies. So when Mud crossed paths with the unfamiliar scent, he thought it best to check it out (nervously). Hesitant paws drew him through the mud and closer to Fourtrees, amber eyes blinking away the misty rain that settled on him. "Hello?" He called, a rather nonthreatening presence despite his hulking size. There was just a boyish charm about the tom that made it difficult to appear scary. "You'll have to come out...I can't see a thing in this fog!" One of the reasons he hated rain in Greenleaf.
( ⚘ ) Reed almost jumped out of their pelt. Ears, tail, paws and all. Panicked claws scrabbled at the wet earth, spinning in a not-so-quiet frenzy as they tried to make out the speaker. Looming out of the mists was a bulky, mahogany tom. Newts- what did these savages eat? They couldn't believe their misfortune, caught out by such an imposing figure. His tone, a contradiction in its warmth and sincerity was a dull thud against the fright drowning them. Stiff limbs wedged their way forward, ears askew in an embarrassing display.

"You- you won't attack me will you?" their quivering voice drifted between them, muffled by rain and wind-tossed branches above. Why would you even ask that, don't give them ideas! Reed's thoughts frothed like whirlpools, uncontrolled until they hit the overwhelming waterfall- that this was real. They hoped those flyaway theories of this mystery cat's gentle nature held merit. Before anything could be proven, any and all escape routes were a lunge away.


In response to his beckoning, a figure floated forward, materializing in the rain. A murky-coated cat who looked half-terrified out of their own fur! "Attack? Come on, I'm not that hungry that I'd hunt a cat! Ha!" He responded back with an amused yet confused grin. "Who're ya? I've never seen you around here." He blinked expectantly at them, curiosity itching at his gaze. Before the other cat could respond, however, it was as if he'd realized he'd been rude. With a quick mew, the chocolate tom swiftly added in, "I'm Mud! It's great to meet you."
( ⚘ ) The tom was laughing at them. The noise wasn't threatening per se, regardless Reed still took a tentative step back. He seemed friendly. What if it's a trick? Oh, but what if it isn't... In their indecision they weren't sure which was more daunting.

"MY NAME IS-!" The flustered cat snatched their words back in; the air gulped down in a sharp gasp. Being so on edge had apparently stripped them of their vocal awareness. Almost compulsively Reed swabbed a sodden paw across their whiskers in a hasty, ineffective act of cleanliness. "Take a breath and the time to groom yourself. You'll find the words to say" was the matra their mother would repeat whenever they stumbled in their speech. She'd always pause to allow the then kit to complete the instruction. Now they were forced to carry it out alone, in a motion so practised it wasn't even acknowledged.

Beginning once more in a much quieter, slower manner the feline piped "My name is Reed. I come from..." The information petered out in mistrust, though their poorly concealed glance in the direction of the river highlighted the answer. "Are you- one of them?" The only explanation for the cryptic query was a jerk of the head behind Mud, deeper in the forest.

/sorry this post kicked my ass for some reason. i love mud sm though ough

"Reed!" He exclaimed, straightening himself with a friendly twitch of his ears. "Great to meet ya!" The cat's nervous tendencies were, for the most part, floating right over the aloof tom's head. Social cues weren't exactly his thing. Mud followed the cat's eyes towards the river, blinking before realization hit. He looked back towards Reed, eyes alight with excitement. "I was born by the river, too! Many moons ago, though."

The cat was then asking if he was one of them, and for a moment he couldn't tell what they meant. "One of...the cats in the pine forest?" He finally asked with a tilt of his head. "Yeah, my brother and I have lived there for a few seasons now. Before that, we were alone." His voice notably lowered in pitch, but there wasn't much of a solemn tone to it. He didn't remember much of his parents, anyway. He didn't have much to mourn. Whenever he thought of his parents...he just thought of his brother.

( ⚘ )Reed was concerned with the level of relaxation Mud's carefree attitude swept them up in. The feline had assumed the cats of the forest would be feral, territorial and cruel. But here one was, displaying a level of warmth and openness they couldn't have even begun to anticipate.

At the mention of the tom's past, Reed's nose bobbed. Born by the river? It seemed to be the unexpected gathering place of many cats from all over."Why did you leave? The river, that is." A wayward droplet slipped from a branch above, hitting their perked ears. Briefly irritated and interrupted, they shook out their soaked pelt. " I- yeah I live there with the others. Wasn't born there though" Still stilted in rhythm, they allowed their words to pass between the two of them.

Reed cautiously padded over, spying a slight hollow in the jutting rock in the centre of the clearing, relatively dry in it's angle away from the rain. They wedged themselves in the damper segment, long body sat in a tight bundle to remain warm. A begrudgingly trusting blink encouraged Mud to take the other spot out of the chilling rainfall.

Mud hadn't really realized the cat was padding away. He just followed subconsciously, chattering back, "Well, we sorta went wherever we could find food, y'know? When Rain's group moved to the forest, they took us in. Safety in numbers, and all that. I do miss the river, though. The pine forest is different. Smells different!" He paused before the jutting boulder, blinking for a moment at Reed before he understood what they were trying to convey. "Oh! Yeah, thanks," He trilled with a grin before scurrying inside. A quick shiver rain down his spine as warm air touched his chilled pelt. "Brr! Y'know, I like water but rain is something else! So uh, where were you born then if not by the river?" He asked, tilting his head at his newfound friend.
( ⚘ ) You smell different. The thought was snuffed out before it left their tongue, awareness distinguishing the comment. It had been noticeable from the offset, the tannin scent of pine on Mud's damp pelt. From what Reed understood though, pointing out another cat's smell was impolite.

Their focus on the pinecat's words made them squint, a habit born of the want to hear every word. He liked the water? It seemed most cats around them did. It took a moment of them watching the clearing to collect their thoughts. Growing, turbid pools made swathes of the clearing floor waver and wobble in the downpour. "Don't you find it scary, the water? Like it could wash you away at any moment..." Reed shuddered good-naturedly.

Then that focus finally caught up, Mud's question clicking into comprehension. "Oh, uhm. Where was I born- I-" Their triangular head bucked back, recoiling from the topic. Speechless unease slid dejectedly into a weary frown as Reed's skull thudded painfully against the stone above them.

Rutilated golden eyes, kind and patient captured their gaze. They couldn't do it anymore- this was too much. Thin nose wrinkled, they broke the eye contact. Talk of their family pressed a weight upon them, it felt like river water around their neck. "I think I should go. You-you've been weirdly nice. Normally I don't-" A shy sigh cut off the sentence. Long limbs unfurled from the hollow, stretching out their cold frame. Another quick brush of their whiskers and they were up.

"Thanks for not attacking me." Reed's voice held a quiet, sad smile. Part of them wished to stay, to keep talking. New company was difficult for the river dweller, and Mud made conversation flow easily. Like Mahi. But they could feel it bubbling up their throat, the overwhelming need to be alone, to stop talking. Maybe they'd meet again someday? Reed bowed their chin briskly before beginning their muddy trek back.

/I think? maybe this is a good point to wrap it up. sorry it was a so out of the blue. they definitely need to hang out properly in river <3