who lurks shadows
Jul 30, 2022
☠️ He regrets not roaming further for a home. The word regret would never slip her willful tongue—no, it was all forward, purposeful, part of the ever-elusive grand plan—but the bitterness chafes like an abscess under every swamped step, every breath of prey-scent snatched by spores and moss and omnipresent damp.

And in the next step, he regrets nothing, stubborn dog she was to carve a name in lands antithetical to sand-worn bones. Besides, she was, well, alive. He fed. He slept. He trudged under both sun and moon and no talons nor stroke threatened him (well, yet—no wariness relented). She caught enough to get any fangs off her ass for now. Not without a few tricks, of course—she loved some good old gut-jumbling to 'plumpen' up a kill.

This, however—this giddying sliver of white winking under rustled soil and reed—needed no tricks.

"Aw, yes-s—" eggs! Of ambiguous size, between lizards' and snakes', or perhaps of some strange shade-lurker she had yet to see. Didn't care one bit—what mattered was no ma slithering around. Lucky her. In a heartbeat, he's lapping scraps of red and pink and slime and shell from purr-rattled gums, the crunch and gulp having gone down in a lunge of pure instinct., she'd usually wolf down as much of the nest as she could, well-fed for a while, but she hadn't caught anything else this day. He could bring these back for the ShadowClan tax... if he figured out how. In her mouth—they'd break. Nestled in her nape—they'd fall. His gleeful face scrunches to squinty thought as he circles his loot, stumped, then snarled in silent curses. Hello again, regret.
A strange soul, this one, nosing about in the wilderness. The purpose of such a thing? Well, he couldn't even begin to guess. Her gaze doesn't seem to track movement across the muddy ground, nor the prey that skitter amongst the few sparse treetops dotted within the swamp. No, instead he seems keen to pick between fronds and gnarled roots, dull eyes seem to shine with somethin' excited-like as she tears into the strange thing. The tom behind her can't help but feel... unnerved.

There's still some left, somethin' strange the newcomer seems to take a liking to. It leaves them scrutinizing whatever they'd just stuffed their face with in rapt contemplation. Frog's Croak shifts his paws in the mud, grimaces at the dust-flecked feline with an odd-set jaw. "The hell did you just eat?" he grumbles, blunt. "N' why're you pacin' around it like it owes ya' somethin'?"
Sage appeared as Frog's Croak spoke, also curious about what the other cat had just eaten. She hung back behind the warrior for a few moments, and then crept forward and craned her slender neck to peer over Burrow's shoulder. She was circling a nest of eggs, looking frustrated. Was he trying to eat them? Sage had never thought of eating eggs before, but she supposed it could be done.

"What's the matter?" Sage asked.
"Eggs!" Pitch cries, joyous over knowing the answer. He prances closer, his plumed tail sweeping out in a grand gesture as he whirls around, pointing towards the nest. The rosette tabby isn't a stranger to eating eggs; with scarce prey, sometimes he must consume things that others would find undesirable. The raw instinct to survive... Although, he does not think that eggs taste all too bad. Much better than crowfood and carrion, anyhow. "Can I take some to my little siblings? Oh, you know what, I will!" Pitch's tail sways as he begins to gather up some of the eggs, stuffing as many as he could into his mouth, uncaring whether Burrow would mind or not. The delicate shells begin to crack between his teeth, but he doesn't seem to care about that, either. He must teach his little siblings about eggs as a food source! Even if some of them are diluted with his own saliva... What's the difference between slimy spit and slimy amphibians?
"Wait!" Sage blurted, shoving herself between Pitch and the rest of the eggs as the ones in his teeth began to break. "I-if you carry them like that, th-they'll crack!" She glanced around the marshland, searching for another way to carry Burrow's prize.

"We should figure out another way to carry them." Sage's stammering stopped as her anxieties began to quell, but the seal point and white molly still shuffled her paws and swiveled her ears nervously. "Maybe we could wrap them up somehow?"
☠️ Damned stench of this scent-snuffing pus-wound of earth—stranger paw-steps prick a startled hiss from him, the grating grumble drawing it out to a scoff. What did she eat? What, this old mongrel'd never seen eggs? Some little molly sidles up behind—tossing out more questions, as if what was going on wasn't clear enough—and he grimaces like he'd seen a toad snogging a fox.

A begrudging explanation of her obvious conundrum's on the tip of her tongue when—on top of the conundrum, and the questioning, and this slime-ridden, wit-sucking, mud-drenched hellhole—the third stooge swoops in to start snatching her lootbreaking it!—and she erupts into a howling thrash of hackles and claws.

"Hey, hey, hey, hey-hey—quit it, spitbrain! I'll shred you!" Crooked fangs strike and scrape together with every bark, eyes savage as flecked spit streaking maw-scars, making it clear he was as sincere as any cat can be. Had the little one not stumbled in, he'd be the one shoving, and with skin caught in his claws—instead, he lurches to roll the rest of his loot deeper down its burrow, perched snarling between his loot and the offender.

"...somethin' sturdy... some big frond or, ah, whatever," is all she has to grunt at the idea of wrapping up her loot. She's still struck stiff as a stump—save for flanks tugged by the wild whip of her tail, and rage spiking out fur and slit pupils like bark dried and wind-torn to dangling spines.
"Whuff?" Is the brilliant response which stumbles around his stolen quarry. Little shards of eggshell splutter onto the ground and, if unlucky enough, onto anyone in front of him. A tick of his tail tip, and then...

Dreadful howls. Pitch jerks at the sudden cacophony which assaults his senses, scoffing at this hellian who spits and hisses at him. Pitch's eyes roll, as if he is dealing with a kit in the midst of a tantrum. She'll shred him? Oh, contraire! Violence is the first refuge of the incompetent. He smirks, his chin tilting in an obnoxiously arrogant way. "Oh'ey, youf can haf 'em back." There is a glimmer of mischief in his eyes, foreboding quiet that warns of an approaching storm...

It's petty, but the rosette tabby harks and aims a glob of spittle and crushed egg at Burrow. Saliva drips down his chin, which he oh-so delicately dabs at with a paw. "My condolences, sweetheart. The wind seems to have carried it farther than I'd expected!" He grins, unaware that there is eggshell stuck between his teeth.

Burrow suggests a big frond to carry the rest of the unmaimed eggs, his fur amess in a hilarious display of aggression. What, did she think that she could attack him? How cute. Pitch's mother would have his head mounted atop the camp's entrance as a delicate warning.
"Hm. I'll retrieve a suitable frond." Pitch pauses for a luxurious stretch, his tail curling over his arched spine and his eyes squinted in bliss. "Aaand, as contribution, you shall award me no less than half of your treasure!" The rosette tabby sing-songs and straightens himself, shaking out dark spikes of fur. His eyelashes flutter, his head tilting to rest against a raised shoulder. Then, without waiting for an answer, he pirouettes on his heels and prances off to find a frond. The answer is obvious, to him.

It doesn't take him long to return with one of a decent size, blinking at Burrow with a smirk that the frond hardly conceals.
He can only observe the actions that follow with a crease in his brow and lips pulled taut in a frown. He fails to see why anyone would make such a fuss of bringing such vile slime back to camp. Marsh cats have adapted to plenty, the strange skin of toads ripped open by pointed teeth is something he's long since gotten used to. But this? He hardly thinks Briarstar would praise such a thing as a welcome food source. "Can't say I hold any hope for yer generation," his comment comes out, flat. Whoever it was directed towards was for them to figure out.