The child stumbled over the raised tree root and fell flat on her face.
She knew crying wouldn't bring anyone to her, so she sat back up, and grabbed the same root that had just tripped her, and tried to stand up. For a one year old, standing up was still an achievement.
Wiping her hands on her tiny frock, she started walking again, her steps clumsy. She saw a log and her eyes brightened. For her innocent mind, climbing over it seemed like a fun game.
It also proved to be quite difficult, as she kept falling back on her behind. However, she was nothing if not determined.
The seventh time, she managed to climb halfway over the log, she saw a man staring at her.
Crouched on his knees, he studied her with barely concealed fascination. The child stared back, and the fell back on the other side.
The adult stood over the log and looked down at her.
She held out her hands, demanding to be picked up. All of a sudden, she had realized that she was tired. She didn't want to walk any more.
He studied her outstretched hands and wondered what he should do.
A human child in this part of the woods was not a common sight. Fire held no interest in humans, but this tiny one, he found quite entertaining. Her dark hair was matted with dirt, and underneath all the grime on her face, her skin was quite fair. Her brown eyes were big, and drooping right now.
Did she require rest?
He could always leave her here. Let the predators do with her what they would.
But she promised entertainment, and a break from his routine life. He reached down to pick her up and she settled in his arms, quite comfortably, her head finding a sport on his chest.
It surprised him to see that even in the presence of one of the strongest predators in this region, she had no qualms about falling asleep. Did human offspring have no sense?
Maybe he should take her home.
He wondered what Spring would make of her.
His sister was always the most cheerful one of them. But then again, her nature was directly linked to her gifts.
He carried the sleeping child home, and behind him the dead log that had hampered the child, burst into flames.