somewhere along the way / joining, accident

╰☆☆ Blaise had--rashly--made a decision, and now he's wondering if he has a brain made of leaves and dead fluff. His paws ache from the circles he's done around what seems to him the same four pine trees. Everything looks and smells so similar to him, and he's frustrated with himself. Little Wolf had met him in a clearing, where the ground becomes soft... and here he is under a canopy of fir trees!

Blaise exhales. It's dark. There's a full, glowing moon, giving life to the shadows that shift around him. He isn't afraid, necessarily, but there's a wariness to him that only grows as he continues to walk. There are leaves and tiny, claw-sized twigs caught in his luscious cream coat. Worst of all, his belly grumbles. He thinks longingly of the bowl filled with kibble he's left home.

Home. Not anymore. Blaise has wanted things to change for a while now. Since he met Little Wolf, since he got a taste of the forest and all it has to offer. He's realized what he's missed out on in his life, what more is out there. His housefolk are his family, and he loves them--he will never forget their kindness and generosity. But they cannot give him a family. They cannot give him a community.

He's a fool, he thinks. He exhales slowly and breathes deep. Something stirs behind him in the brush and all four of his paws leave the earth. "Who's there?" He calls out, trying to make his voice sound bigger and braver than it is. He winces as he puts weight on one of his paws--it seems he's pulled something in it or sprained it when he landed.

Little Wolf had warned him that some cats were not fond of kittypets. Had he wandered into some ambush, some hungry cannibalistic beasts who wish to sharpen their fangs on house pet bones? He shudders, tries to scent the air, but there's too much going on. He's lost, utterly lost, and the wariness from before begins to curdle and thicken into fear.

TL;DR -- idiot means to join the marsh group but gets lost and sprains his paw

tagging @TUGGER and @NACHO since they asked but feel free to post before them! also gonna tag @RAIN since it's a joining thread <3

Rain was well aware of the tales told about the cats who resided in the wilds, free of twoleg control. When he has been younger he had listened to these tales excitedly, horrified of the atrocities committed by the disgusting cats of the forest! But now, now that he was actually here, he knew better. It was not all black and white. Kittypets were just as capable of committing acts of great violence, of evil and malice, just as much as the cats of the marsh were. And he knew not all cats within that group were bloodthirsty, not all of them wanted to rip the fur off him and skin him alive. But most of them do he reminds himself. He cannot allow himself to slip, not even for a moment.

The canopy of trees above Rain is thick, though it’s beauty is not lost on him. The way the sun shines through the leaves, dapples the ground in its shade, moving, changing, whenever a breeze comes by. It’s enough to make him choose this life over and over again. He lets out a sigh, lost in thoughts of his old life, what it had been like to hear the stories about the wild cats and how he had never imagined that he himself would become one.

So lost he is in his own head that he does not smell the tom before parting the grass and nearly colliding with him. ”Whoops!” he exclaims after stopping himself from abruptly crashing into the cream colored cat. ”I better watch where I’m going before I end up trampling someone like a badger!” he speaks with a huff, embarrassed at his own clumsiness and really hoping that this cat was friendly. One look at the brown piece of leather around his neck told Rain he is or was a kittypet and inwardly he lets out a sigh of relief. Unless he missed something, he was certain the cats in the Marsh would not be quick to let one of their group members keep such a trinket. ”Are you uh- are you lost? he asks, eyes taking in the cream colored cat that now stood before him. It would not be the first time a kittypet had stumbled accidentally into their territory, no intent on joining, just exploring and couldn’t find their way home.

His eyes finally land on the cats paws and open wide at the site, it looked swollen and banged up, and he held it up as if it were his most prized possession, tucked close to him and not touching the ground at all ”stars above, what happened to your paw? Are you alright?
he asks, suddenly worried, paranoid. What if it had been the marsh cats that had done this? Would they really stoop so low as attacking random kittypets who meant that no harm, cats outside of his group who had no intention of ‘stealing’ prey from them? He did not doubt it. ​
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Like most kittypets, both former and current, Haku had heard tales of wild cats who lived feral lives and cared not for their kind. He had learned in his less-than-intentional escape from his former life that such a belief was not the truth- but, the gossipers needed something to pass along, therefore he was sure this rumour had not lost any traction. Unlike Rain, he had sensed the other upon his approach- and that nagging side of his brain that often whined tried to persuade him to avoid the confrontation, to take no steps to close the distance between himself and the stranger.

He knew he had to be better- he wanted to be better. So forward did he go.

Behind his leader he would eventually draw, snow-splashed maw shut tight, a tautness upon his expression. Cornflower eyes obsessed for a moment, critical, the way that the other was holding their paw- off the ground, odd. He frowned- though Rain's words captured his thoughts more perfectly that he could imagine, so he settled for now to just assure the stranger. "We're not gonna hurt you." He had seemed startled when he had called out before- and though Haku's tone was hilariously flat, at least he was trying.

Though unable to remember the short moment in time in which he too could've been considered a kittypet, Squall is no stranger to the stories that are told about those who don't live within the confines of a twoleg nest. Almost every so-called kittypet that stepped foot into his father's group had at least one tale to tell about wildcats upon arrival, so the silver tabby was aware of the fears harbored by such cats.

He hadn't thought of the life he lives to be similar to those tales. Not until recently, at least.

And with the growing cause for such tales to be shared, Squall can't help the surprise he feels as he stands beside his father, staring at a flame pointed tom. His father will take him in, if he wants to join, just as he's taken in many others. He doesn't mind that, of course, as his father had taken him in as well, but word of yet another kittypet joining their group will certainly get to the marsh cats on the other side of the forest.

If they haven't already been made aware of the tom's presence, that is. The tom is injured, and Squall knows the marsh cats have been hanging about recently. They could've gotten to him, tried to attack him.

He nods in agreement at Haku's words, and Deer's following behind. Yes, unlike those who live in that swamp, they wouldn't hurt a kittypet.

"No one did that to you, right?" he asks, tilting his head towards the kittypet's injured paw.
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Tugger hated to let Rain out of his sight, especially with Briar's dogs becoming more and more aggressive with their prey-stealing and trespassing, and now was no exception. Tugger followed behind his leader like a shadow, a protective lion of a shadow cast by Rain's legacy and strength. The ginger king bowed only to this long-haired moon-pelted tom, even if his sharp tongue didn't always spare him.

Tugger personally believed that Rain wandering around was a stupid move and he had grumbled as such behind the silvery tom before a familiar smell reached his peachy nose. A kittypet scent... What - ?

The ginger king pushes to the front of the growing throng of pine cats - Squall and that... weird... she-cat among them to find...

"Blaise." Tugger blinks in surprise as the kittypet's name rolls off the tip of his tongue. "You're a long way from your garden, pet." It is said like an insult, but quiet concern colors his dark gaze. Why was he all the way out here?
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╰☆☆ Blaise nearly separates his flesh from his fur when a silver tabby stumbles into him from the shadows cast by the trees. Wide blue eyes meet pale yellow in what seems like moments slowed into an hour. He swallows, realizing he's face to face with a tomcat he's never seen before.

"Are you lost?" The silver tom does not raise the fur along his back. His tone is neutral, curious, just as Little Wolf's had been. The other tom's eyes sink to Blaise's paw, which he holds tenderly, close to his chest.

The flame point opens his mouth to answer, but not before the rest of the silver tabby's companions flood the clearing. The black and white tom assures Blaise they are not going to harm him, while the graceful cream tabby she-cat asks for his name.

"I-- I guess I am lost," he admits. He can feel himself relaxing somewhat, as each cat who appears testifies they won't attack him. "The paw... I think I just landed on it funny. You all startled me a bit," he says, laughing nervously.

A fourth cat appears, silver and white, and asks pointedly if someone had done something to him to hurt his paw. Blaise shakes his head. "No, I... I haven't met any hostile cats here at all," he says.

The fifth cat to arrive is one he recognizes. The fiery-pelted Persian who Blaise had startled off of a fence post pads behind the others, brown eyes scanning him critically. Best in show he was not--not today, with the leaves caught in his fur and the sprained paw. "You're a long way from your garden, pet."

Blaise's smile turns sheepish. "I know," he says. "Actually, I came here to join a group of cats. You all must be the ones I've heard so much about." He almost exhales audibly in relief. Little Wolf is not among them, he noted, but perhaps she is back at whatever nest they call home. "That is, if... if that's okay."

Somehow, he senses the first silver tabby he'd encountered is a leader of sorts. He swings his broad head to look at him and waits to see what his answer will be.


"Of course it's okay!" Ember insisted, not so much as considering that she should check with her leader. What little she had overhead had already gotten her excited at the prospect of a new friend, and in a moment she had raced to his side to greet him. "My name's Ember nice ta meetcha! And welcome!" she greeted in a flurry of words, touching her tail to the new member's side affectionately.

The molly practically bounced on her paws as she looked over Blaise. "Ooo, you're gonna love it here, I just know it!" she insisted, shooting him a brilliant grin. Her gaze wandered to the ginger Persian nearby, before leaning over to her new friend to whisper to him. "Don't mind Tugger, he's a big softie."
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( ) "Yeah! He just looks like he's permanently scowling because he ran into a fence one too many times!" The lighthearted voice of Honeybee chimes in after Ember's reassurance that Tugger isn't all thorns; which is true! Inside of Tugger is a rose, one just has to dig deep, deep to find it.


It might be a bit wilted, too, but it's still a rose!

"We don't talk about his face, though. He's kinda insecure about it." Honeybee adds, clearly talking about it despite saying otherwise. Their voice lowers to a whisper on the last sentence, although it's still said loud enough for anyone to hear. Whether that was accidental or not is anyone's guess.

Their gaze drops to the paw that the kittpypet favors. He says that he landed on it funny, and without skipping a beat, Honeybee blurts, "did it make you laugh?" Their expression is deadpan, the only giveaway that they're joking is a twitch of their whiskers.

The kittypet guy goes on to explain how he's here to join, and Honeybee drops the serious facade to crack a smile. "Yeah, yeah! Most of us don't bite!" He doesn't elaborate on the most of us part. He, too, doesn't seem to consider that Rain should be the only one with a say in whether or not the kittypet guy joins. But surely Rain wouldn't turn him away? If he let Tugger join, he'd let anyone join!

╰☆☆ Blaise is startled to find two more felines joining the group, both peculiar but friendly in their own ways. One is another flame point, though she is smaller, with a short pelt. She greets him and says he's welcome, tells him her name is Ember. With a start, Blaise realizes how rude he is. He's forgotten his manners, though he supposes Tugger had somewhat introduced him to the others by proxy.

He blinks as Ember touches her tail to his flank, and his trepidation turns into warmth. He smiles at the femme and greets her. "Nice to meet you too, Ember. I'm Blaise. Never expected everyone to be so nice out here." He lowers his head a bit, hoping he didn't offend the other cats. "Er... the she-cat I came to meet said some members of her group don't take kindly to... house cats," he explains, briefly forgetting the word the ferals use to describe cats who live with housefolk.

The other cat is a tom, one who arrives just to insult the flat-faced Tugger. Blaise's smile widens despite himself. He likes Tugger, but he can admit the red tom is a bit grumpy. And the muzzle is odd, no matter how many times he sees it.

The new tom asks Blaise if the paw made him laugh. The flame point looks at him, puzzled. "Well... no, it hurt," he says. Then he realizes. He'd said he'd landed on it funny. Blaise laughs, but his only response to the tom's claim that 'most of them didn't bite' is to flick his golden ears. He looks back to the silver tabby, wondering if he'll be granted acceptance.