Head tilted as she crouched on the high-up branch that had become her vantage point, Kestrel watched her young granddaughter wrestle with a series of rawhide strips, willow branches, and a small pile of stones. She had been watching for some time now in an attempt to divine the purpose of the game, but had to admit defeat as Willow inexplicably bit down on one of the very slim branches, and gnawed for the span of a few heartbeats before sitting back with a self-satisfied smirk on her small, freckled face. Kestrel frowned in confusion and leaned further out over the glen below for a better view. She felt her foot slip and, biting back an annoyed murmur at her absent clumsiness, the Elder drew her toes back to better balance her weight. Her talent would save her from any fall but it would also alert the cub below to her presence.
For some strange reason, she wanted to avoid that event at all costs.
The thought made her pause and she settled herself once more on the branch with firm, customary ease as she devoted some attention to it. It was unusual to keep herself distant from family, after all. She knew she did not linger for safety reasons; she had spotted Bowflight's wolf-friend, Cloudbreak, in the distance, discreet behind some bushes, and knew her son could not possibly be much further away from the playing cub. Bowflight made an excellent father and she felt pride at his attention and devotion to his little family. Kestrel liked to think she could already see her son's keen eye in her granddaughter the same way others likened the cub's developing chestnut hair to Kestrel's own long braid.
She shook her head slightly to clear such parallels from her mind. As she peered down through the leaves at Willow, now bustling about and carefully piling the branches together, Kestrel smiled again. The small redhead practically vibrated with determination and the twigs grew to a respectable wall before she sat down with a whoomph and picked up one of the rawhide strips. Perhaps it really was as simple as this - she wanted to enjoy the innocent play of a precious cub on a lovely mid-turn twilight. The charm of the scene and the relative quiet of her rambunctious granddaughter alone warranted the attention, too. She watched, amused, as Willow set about weaving the strips through the twigs with chubby fingers still testing coordination.
As the wall grew before her eyes, Kestrel wondered at the cub's ingenuity just as much as she pondered the reason for it. With no support, the awkward lashing of slim branches toppled flat to the ground and Willow stomped a foot with a nearly audible huff before bending to tug it upwards once more. This time, she began to wedge the stones at the base for support and Kestrel caught herself nodding with approval. The girl-cub, young as she was, possessed good sense. She would grow up strong and clever.
Clever, yes, but where would her talents lie? Would she have her grandmother's gift or her mother's sweet singing voice? Who would take her for her Long Walk when the time came? Kestrel knew that, in her heart of hearts, she would like the honor. If not, though, there were many other elves in the tribe who would take care of her precious granddaughter. Others could teach her all sorts of secrets and lead her on the proper paths. She peered down again at the cub and almost laughed. Secrets, indeed. Surely, Willow would find many out herself if this little project of hers was an indication.
As Willow continued to work, Kestrel lowered herself to sit on the branch, making herself comfortable for a long vigil. Now that she had started the investigation, she felt determined to see it through to the end. After all... How else would she discover the secret of Willow's industry?