somewhere beyond the sea & . hatching eggs

− ♱ ABOUT : it had been a bountiful day. his fishing trip with foxpaw had gone exactly as planned — and while they were coming back soaked whisker to tail in fresh river spray, his heart was alight. in their laws were plump salmon, caught there the waters bubbles the bottom of the falls. he’s laughing as he’s walking, flesh - pink scales glinting against the ivory of his teeth. he’d been telling stories of his youth, his time in hare whiskers group — more specifically, he and hound’s adventures to the river. far before riverclan, before starclan, “ — if he knew i’d told you that, he’d have my tail as a trophy! “ the man caws, laughter boisterous in his accented vocals, a smile curving the edges of his maw that can be seen around his freshkill. a snowy paw slaps the ground, snickering heavily in the back of his throat enough to come to a stop, dropping the salmon to the dewy grass underfoot to collect himself. it’s in those moments, the tears of laughter subsiding in frigid hues, that he sees it — a wicker thing, padded with long grass and twig. a nest. atop it were three eggs.

one was moving.

foxpaw, come look at this. “ the man breaths suddenly, leaning his sloped muzzle forward to peer into the splintering nest, that single egg wobbling with movement from inside. it’s cracking shell was greyed - orange, a sign of its age and subsequent nearness to true life. slowly, cicadastar settles, casting his gaze towards the calico at his side, warm despite their icy depths. he beckons her forward with a paw, but raises a tail to keep her from reaching to touch before she came too far, “ leave them. we’ve plenty of prey.” he instructs, settling his bicolored haunches upon the river damp soil, giving her room to peer into the shaking nest herself. the egg continues to move, a piece of broken shell beginning to try and part from the rest. cicadastar watches for a moment, expression wondrous — until he looks back towards his apprentice, voice soft, “ always give life room to grow. we do not own this forest, we simply belong to it. never take more than you need.

  • tagging @Foxpaw but anyone is welcome to post!
  • CICADASTAR ; he / him. roughly thirty seven months old, riverclan leader
    − handsome, lanky black smoke tortie chimera with curly fur and icy blue eyes
    − gay. speaks with a thick german accent, former marsh cat, penned by antlers

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Foxpaw's heart feels as though it's shed its paralyzed chambers; her body feels as though blood has begun to flow through it again, chase away any lingering numbness. Her paws smell like salmon, her teeth pierce the savory skin and scales of a fat salmon, and her body and mind are tired but satisfied.

She'd gone with Cicadastar to the river, as he'd directed, and although she'd been almost stricken with terror to be alone with him as her one-on-one teacher, things had gone fine. She had discovered that despite Cicadastar's sometimes imposing expressions, the striking figure he casts on the River Rock before the Clan, he is a real cat. A tomcat she'd known as a kit in the marshes, but one that she's only just re-discovering.

Foxpaw's whiskers, fishy and salty with the river, tremble with amusement at Cicadastar's story. He and Houndsnarl. She feels almost at home picturing the two, any of them from her life before but ... somehow more settled. Grown. Swimming and fishing and living among others. There's a comfort to it she hadn't anticipated finding.

Houndsnarl is Lakepaw's mentor, though, and there's always that questionable, begrudging wince when she remembers that. Surely he isn't like Lakepaw...

She perks up when Cicadastar stops her, asks her to come see something. She puts the fish down and pads closer to her impossibly tall mentor, eyes round and shining as they light upon a little nest, a single hatching egg in its midst.

"Oh," she whispers, somewhat in awe. "It's-- it's hatching!"

He knows this, and he stays her with a wispy tail, telling her to leave it, they've plenty of prey. Foxpaw turns puzzled amber eyes on him. "But why, Cicadastar?" A genuine question, but one he answers almost immediately: "Always give life room to grow. We do not own this forest, we simply belong to it. Never take more than you need."

Her mouth closes, and she gives him a grave nod. Oh, the profundity of that phrase - never take more than you need. Why does it ring so true to her, true in areas of her life that she can't yet unravel, can't interpret?

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➵ Clearsight's own charge is younger than Cicadastar's, still so much left to learn; they'd spent a morning by the river, too, mostly spotting fish and treading water. So when he and @GILLPAW stumble upon the other pair, they've no catch of their own caught in their jaws, but their soaked pelts still signify a day spent hard at work.

"Oh! It's—it's hatching!"

The blue tabby will pause as he catches wind of the little calico, signaling Gillpaw to follow as they change course to meet the other two. "Let's go say hello," he suggests, hoping the boy will like the idea. Making his way from a nearby patch of reeds, he finds them crouched in front of a little bird's nest.

Foxpaw's words click into place, and sunlight eyes widen as he realizes the scene they've arrived upon.

"Look," Clearsight murmurs, ducking his head so the little black-and-white tom can hear if he's followed. "Can you see what they've found?"

He catches the tail end of the pair's conversation, Foxpaw's "but why?" and Cicadastar's "always give life room to grow" carried on the wind. Clearsight pads closer, pawsteps soft, because he thinks Gillpaw will like this and because he wants to see himself—

And there, sure enough, a telltale wobble and the tiny crack of a shell.


Not wanting to break this precious quiet, Clearsight will attempt to brush shoulders with Cicadastar in friendly greeting, before pulling back to watch the little bird fight its way into the world.

& we've all got battle scars ✗

There is something about wandering that puts his mind at ease. Walking aimlessly, allowing himself to think and feel, but not to worry; it’s a simple way for Clayfur to find calm. His mind doesn’t quiet—no, it would be an apocalyptic day when such a mind as his was finally silent—but the weight that sits heavy in his chest begins to lift the more he walks.

The brown and white tabby’s attention is captured by the murmuring of voices nearby, throwing his mind out of its order and scattering thoughts back into disarray. So much for that walk, he thinks, shaking his head. But when he spots Foxpaw, he can’t help but smile. With her are her mentor, Clearsight, and Gill. They all seem to be looking at something, observing. He watches the other toms and their apprentices, feeling only slightly envious. They seem to have such great bonds with one another, bonds he wishes he knew the feeling of. He shakes it off quickly, though, plastering an expression of more curious neutrality onto his face.

He hangs back a bit from the others, but tips his head comically to the side all the same, hazel eyes trained on the egg as it cracks. "I wonder how they do it. How they break the shell when they’re so little," he muses, voice low.

Gillpaw's pelt is soaked from a day in the river, a day already full of learning and training. He's tired from such a day, but, the black and white tom knows it's a good sort of tired.

His day of learning doesn't seem to be over, however, shadowy ears twitching at the excited voices nearby. Foxpaw. Gillpaw looks up at Clearsight with curious eyes. Just what was she so excited about?

Luckily, his mentor urges him forward and leads him towards Foxpaw and Cicadastar. The young apprentice tries to see what they're looking at but has to step closer to do so - and, there!

"It's... It's an egg!" he announces to Clearsight, though matches the hushed tones of those around him. His mother once told him about eggs, told him they were different than rocks, to not touch them, though she didn't explain further. The egg's shell moves and the black and white tom hops back in surprise.

"I-it's breaking!" Concerned eyes look up at his mentor. Was it supposed to break like that?
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Hes just passing by when he hears the commotion. He finds himself debating, whether or not to approach, but his curiosity gets the best of him and hes padding over with widened mismatched eyes, ears swiveling forwards. Before him is two pairs of mentors and their apprentices, and then Clayfur, whom he moves to stand somewhat besides. He does not want to interrupt the others from their work.

"Maybe they're just, really strong..?" he replies back with a slightly humorous puff, swishing his tail back and forth as he stands on the tips of his paws to get a better look. Ohh, he's never quite seen baby birds, only the large ones that flew over him (he was scared of those, to be honest). Earlier Cicada had murmured something about not taking more than what you need and he finds a large smile plastered across his face. It finds its place in his heart, something he decides he'd keep close as advice.