THUNDER IN OUR HEARTS — 'battle training'

Jun 7, 2022
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Brown-furred twins sit crouched in the foliage, a set of blue eyes and a set of green staring out at the cats lounging nearby.

“Okay, Ribbit,” the eldest, Leaping Toad, whispers to the younger. “When I say go, we’ll run out. I’ll take the left side, you take the right side.”

Battle training, Leaping Toad called it- an effort to evade the trouble the duo usually got into. Their parents couldn’t be mad at them if they were training to fight, right? Surely it was important now more than ever for them to learn how to properly pounce after other cats! Especially with that group of kittypets disrupting everything! Leaping Toad was always the one to come up with these ideas, of pouncing at other group members, of camouflage practice, of going off to hunt. He was glad to have his brother by his side, always following him into his games - it made them twice as fun!

“Ready?” he asks Frog’s Ribbit, hardly waiting for his brother’s confirmation before starting the game, “Go!” The eldest leaps out of the bush the two marked as their camp, racing left, straight towards the nearest cat. He leaps up, making the attempt to pounce at them.

“Gotcha!” he shouts.
 
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A green-hued gaze watches as his blue-eyed counterpart rushes out of the bush, before brown paws lead him out of the bush too, heading towards the right of the older cats taking advantage of the sun beams ahead of them.

It was always like this - his brother would make up a game, and he would follow him. Leaping Toad always made the best games, even if they almost always got the two into trouble - whether that be for running off, getting lost, disrupting the older cats, and so on. It was an endless cycle of troublemaking with the duo, and Frog's Ribbit wouldn't have it any other way.

Leaping Toad had told him that this was 'battle training,' reminding him of the group of kittypets that had been causing trouble with their own group as of late. He said it was important for them to learn how to pounce, and if Leaping Toad said it was important, then it must be important. He wouldn't want to be caught in the midst of battle without knowing how to pounce at his enemies, after all.

Frog's Ribbit sees his brother leap into the air out of the corner of his eye, and finds himself following suit, pouncing after the nearest of those on his side. "Yeah! Got you!"
 
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He's dragged himself away from his mother's side, though aimless off-white paws have led him to the edges of their group's camp. He's lost in thought, black tail dragging in the mud behind him. He's heard whispers lately--from his mother and the other queens, of course, as those are who he keeps company with mostly--about trouble brewing. He's noticed fewer and fewer frogs and lizards making their way into camp; his mother's catches are measly, and she's taken to bringing Ash with her on excursions so he can begin to fend for himself.

I've still only managed a frog, he thinks miserably. His belly rumbles at the thought of the meat and the slimy flesh. And Mother told me she can't feed me forever. She's right. The other cats my age can hunt better than me.

He sighs. If Briar decides she wants to take the pine forest back from the kittypets, well... what will happen? Will he have to fight, too? The idea makes him queasy.

He barely has time to react when a furry brown body slams into his flank with a battle cry of "Gotcha!" Ash is bowled over almost effortlessly, and he finds himself face first in the semisolid muddy earth. On the other side of him, the offender's brother cries, "Yeah! Got you!"

Ash groans and lifts his head up. Troublemakers. There's a chalky, gritty taste in his mouth from the mud he's managed to scrape up after his fall. He spits it out and gives a half-hearted glare to Frog's Ribbit and Leaping Toad. "Wh-what was that for?" His voice sounds pitiful, even to him, and he shuts up. He doesn't know the twins well, but if they detect weakness, they might start picking on him in earnest. He doesn't want to deal with it today.
 
❝  A whuff of breath peels shadow from shadow– Hound steps from the foliage like he'd been made of it, green eyes then the pale underside of his body following the sound. It's laughter, though the tom's decidedly bad at it. Too many quiet moments out on a lone hunt mean he's lost all manner of speech. It'd been tempting to draw closer to the water that calls him, but the further he strayed from what he knew, the less of himself Hound could remember. These little things, their troubles, the spark of life within all of them. Even those shy ones who needed a bit'f nourishment. He steps a little closer nudging Ash with a paw. He'd hardly been a troublesome kit himself, too intent on surviving in a world that felt against him. Still, he knew.

"Get them back," the tabby intones lightly, "did no one teach you t' play?"

  • n/a
  •  
  • ──── complete information can be found here.
    ──── hound. trans male, he/him pronouns only.
    ──── approximately 30 moons old, or 2.5 years.
    ──── bisexual with firm male preference; single.

    ──── a chocolate tabby with ( stylized ) low white and intense lime eyes.
    ──── lean and lanky,  with whiplike musculature and a long, quick stride.
    ──── hound's notable features include his impressive height (fifteen inches at the shoulder), the long scar across the left side of his face from nose to jaw, his very deep, dense fur, and the confident manner with which he conducts himself.
 


ivory paws would glide effortlessly across the damp grounds of the camp as they carried the elegant figure of gecko over towards the small commotion coming from far corners of the area and it wasn't hard to put together what had occurred here when aqua eyes fell upon the sight of her two sons currently on top of another child who looked quite pitiful shoved into the dirt like that. well, they'd have to learn eventually how to keep their guard up around those two troublemakers.

"my boys seem to already be shaping up to be excellent little fighters." a purr would vibrate within her chest in pride, ears giving a subtle twitch as she slowed her pace to a halt by the others.


 

The victim of his battle training is Ash, a tom only a couple moons older than him. His pounce is a success, gray and white fur stumble forward into muddy terrain. Mud splashes around his own paws as Leaping Toad sticks his landing, feeling satisfied over the completion of his game’s mission. He watches as his brother follows suit moments later, hitting Ash from the opposite side, leaving him in the mud yet again.

Ash’s reaction is… odd. Not the reaction he hoped for - he would much rather have Ash fight back, he thinks - but still a reaction, nonetheless.

“It’s battle training!” he tells the slightly older feline, excitement in his voice covering the slight disappointment over the tom’s reaction. “Join us! We gotta learn so we can fight the kittypets!” Light brown paws splash at the mud around him, attempting to fling it towards gray and white fur.

He hears a voice, and realizes they’ve got an audience. Leaping Toad puffs out his chest at his mother’s words, before nodding in response to Hound’s. “See! He thinks you should join us, too!”
 
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Frog’s Ribbit doesn’t mean to land on the same cat as Leaping Toad does, but it happens anyway. However, his landing isn’t as graceful as his brother’s, dark brown fur tumbling off of the poor cat who had to deal with them, landing on his back in the mud. He looks up to see who they caught, ears flattening against his head at the sight of Ash. He looked upset. Sad, even.

This was supposed to be fun! Leaping Toad’s games are fun- Ash should be having fun too! Ribbit sits up, shaking the mud out of his pelt.

“Are you okay?” he asks, a concerned look in his eyes. His focus on being concerned doesn’t last too long, though, because Leaping Toad invites Ash to join in with them. He gives an excited hop, liking the idea of having someone else to join in on their missions.

“Yeah! Battle training! We’re going to be the best fighters!” he tells the tom. “You can be one too, if you want!” He hopes jumping on him after Leaping Toad didn’t hurt Ash too much, so that he could join them- training was important for everyone, after all!
 
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It's the strange, hushed laughter that comes from behind him that causes Ash's fur to stand on end. It's Hound, an older tom he actually likes. The tabby extends a paw to poke at him, and though his voice is light, Ash shrinks from his words as though it were a rebuke.

"Did no one teach you t' play?" Ash looks at Hound miserably, wanting to tell him no. No, no one has taught him to play. He was raised alone, has never strayed from his mother long enough to do anything but be made fun of and get picked on. Play? Is that what Leaping Toad and Frog's Ribbit are doing right now? How did he not know?

The pale queen who joins them next only causes Ash's flesh to burn beneath his fur. His shame causes his ears to lower. She's only praising her kits, and he has no reason to feel resentful... but he knows he's an embarrassment. What kind of eight moon old cat gets shamed by a few kits?

Neither of the twins seem to know what to do after Ash responds to them. Leaping Toad declares, after a heartbeat, that they are battle training. He playfully flicks water into Ash's face, and he blinks it away, letting it stream down his cheeks like brown tears.

Frog's Ribbit seems a bit more hesitant. The two of them even invite Ash to join them in their battle training. Ash wonders... are even the kits privy to the talk about what's going on with those cats in the pine forest?

He frowns, but it's less hurt and more pensive now. Fight kittypets, they say. Be the best fighters. "Do... do you think we should be fighting them?" He looks uncomfortably at the twins, before redirecting his shy yellow gaze to Hound and Gecko. He can imagine the claws digging into his flesh, bringing out clumps of fur. He shudders. "Maybe we can work on something else instead. We can talk to them, maybe?" He gives a hopeful look to the young toms.
 
Pride swelled in her chest as she watched the twins execute a flawless performance of their teamwork. A rarity for the she-cat, the dark clouds disappeared from her face as a bright smile flashed a toothy grin.

"They grow so fast." Salamander commented to Gecko as tender eyes continued to watch her nephews. Unfortunately, they had set their sights on the skittish Ash. Normally, she'd step in but.. It was impossible to reprimand them. The nephews had effectively wrapped their doting aunt around their paws.

The dark storm cloud returned to veil her expression as Leaping Toad commented on why they were suddenly interested in battle training. "Whether in battle against other cats or predators," Salamander began, eyeing Ash with a soft understanding, "You should all learn how to properly defend yourselves from danger." A grim awareness made her realize the necessity of this impromptu lesson. Hopefully, she prayed, they wouldn't have to see the ugly truths of fighting.

"Attack me." she commanded the three younger cars. Noticing the graveness in her voice, though, she quickly added a playful comment, "Those who manage to land a clean hit, without being thwarted by me, will be rewarded."