✵ ღ ☾ IT TOOK ME BY SURPRISE - Alabaster paws thundered against the ground as the lanky tabby pounced. Claws sheathed, of course, but there was force behind her two forepaws, her muscular frame typically concealed by a feather-down coat now gleaming under silver fur.
Her attack was deliberate with a twisted sense of delicacy as she tackled her opponent, squishing them against the ground with a triumphant grunt.
❝ Say it! ❞ She huffed, her hard earned victory practically radiating off of her.
“ Ugh, fine! You win, Lakepaw! “
Her peer, equally exhausted finally gave in to their defeat, thumping their head to rest in the dirt with a roll of their eyes.
With a nod of approval the blue tinged apprentice finally let up and hopped off of her peer. It felt exhilarating to be on the path to becoming her old self- the before self.
There was only a small group of on-lookers now, but nonetheless Lakepaw’s sights instantly turned to them. ❝ Anyone else want a go? ❞ She prompted with a whisk of her tail and a lop-sided grin.
❝ Speech. ❞
Darkpaw had watched from the sidelines, cheering on Lakepaw and her friends as they tussled. In the chocolate-furred apprentice's eyes, they were simply playing, not training. Just like how he and his siblings used to play-wrestle each other!

Lakepaw pins another, and Darkpaw trills, "Yay, Lakepaw!" His paws thump against the ground in applause. The crowd around him has dwindled, but he doesn't take notice. He's too entranced by the play-fight.

When Lakepaw swings her head towards him and inquires if anyone else wants a go, Darkpaw springs to his paws. "Oh, I wanna go!" He beams, his tail curling. "I'll play with you!" Already, he's padding out into the arena, eyes glimmering. This will be so fun!

Lilybloom had watched with interest as Lakepaw had sparred with another apprentice. She was a good fighter Lilybloom had to admit. This was only a friendly spar but she could only imagine what the silver she-cat might be like in a real fight. When Lakepaw pins her opponent, she turns to the gathered crowd and invites them to have a go. Lilybloom considers it for a moment but before she can even give an answer her brother jumps in, excited to have a go.

"Be mindful of what you're doing, Darkpaw," Lilybloom advises from the sidelines. "And have fun!" Then she glances over at Lakepaw and says, "Don't be too rough with him, okay? Oh, and when you're finished I want the next turn."

"Don't kill each other!~" comes Coasts ever present trill, tail thumping against the ground in amusement. Fighting was not her thing personally, but watching others fight and spar? She loved to watch, everyone had a different style, some more fluid, some rigid, some relying on brute strength and others on speed. Lakepaw seemed to have a stylistic approach to it, but she did note the strength she used, oh, mighty kitty. She loved the 'sleek but could kick you in to next week' kind of cats, they were always so cool.

Darkpaw and Lilybloom offer to fight and in the back of her mind she wonders how they would fight. Oh, shes thinking too much in to this, but it was so exciting. "Good luck to all contestants, may the sun light your path and be forever in your favor." excitement slips through as her tail begins to hump again, oh, this was so exhilarating!

He appeared as his namesake, formless and silent and just barely visible as a shadow among other larger shadows. He did that often, really, his very existence was an endlessly ringing alarm in the ears of those he ventured across. From that first day alone in the harsh burning towers of steel and stone he knew he'd destroy everything he touched and he did so with a finesse and grace you'd not imagine from one so young. He was sullied, inside he was a hollowed out chasm of black bile and burnt lungs, the metaphorical smoke he exuded from mouth and nostrils had caked the inside of his body with rot.

He was going to die, but he knew that. Everyone died, everyone outlived their bodies in time, but he wasn't the type to lay down and take it and he looked as much. Each scar distinctly carved like initials in a tree ringed with a heart.

Quite unlike the other predominantly black cat present, he was born to fight. His form is carefully molded for combat, built and powerful and what he lacked in speed he made up for in sheer brute force. Smokethroat, if his battered pelt was anything to go by, had lived and breathed countless fights thus far in his life and came from each all the more wiser. He liked to think he was good at it.

"Claws sheathed." Is all he would say, coming to a stop alongside Coast and taking a seat nearby, less to engage and more to observe. Lakepaw was Houndsnarl's apprentice was she? She was already a scrappy thing before being assigned him, he'd hone her skills well the dark tom imagined. Darkpaw was newness, fresh, untrained and unsharpened; this might be a good learning experience for the young tom.

A S H P A W.

Ashpaw would watch from a little further away, close enough to see and catch bits of conversation, but not likely to be noticed by anyone participating.

She's crouched in the entrance to the medicine den, tucked into the corner so she doesn't block the path. Her little ginger face peeks around the den wall, green eyes wide and shining.

Darkpaw volunteers, and Ashpaw squeaks in excitement as her friend offers to spar with Lakepaw!

"Go, Darkpaw," she whispers as the other kitten steps forward, tail lashing excitedly behind her-- it's quiet and fox-lengths too far to be heard, but it's there all the same. "You can do it! You're gonna win!"

—— " i found gold in the wreckage "