Shaniqua trotted under the light-weight tree with springy-green leaves and looked up. "I bet those could make a good nest liner.." She dug her claws into it and shook, bringing leaves down that she picked up in her mouth.
"Shanaynay!" A fox around Shaniqua's age came trotting after her.
"Monique!" The little silver fox mumbled around the leaves.
"Let me help you with that." She picked some leaves up in her jaws, too.
"Hey don't forget me!" A male fox around Shaniqua and Monique's age raced down towards them.
"Samuel!" They both mumbled around the leaves.
"Oh boy, are these to line nests? Let me help you!" He gathered some of the leaves in his own jaws.
The foxes brought the leaves back to their camp and used them to line their nests, along with some bird feathers.
"Hey, look, it's Shanaynay!" Katie teased.
"Only my friends and family can call me 'Shanaynay'" Shaniqua said, neatly wrapping her tail over her paws.
"Whatever. Not like it matters. My nest still has doo-dads than yours." She moved out of the way and showed the other fox kittens her nest, which was lined with silver hook-shaped things that were pointy and had flashy charms on them. Some were silver, like Shaniqua, and others were rusty.
"Fallon says that those are dangerous and you shouldn't use them in your nest." Monique pointed out.
"Fallon says alot of things," Katie insisted. "Rules were meant to be broken."
The other fox kits exchanged a few glances, and then continued to line their nests.
"Your nests will never be as good as mine!" Katie called out to them. "It's better than all three of your's put together and-" Katie stopped as the shadow of Fallon appeared over her.
"What's this about pointy things (from the river) being linned in nests?" She prodded.
Katie hung her head. "I'll get rid of them at once, Fallon." She backed away.
"Hello, Shaniqua and friends." Fallon approached the fox kits."How has your day been?"
"Fun and sunny." Shaniqua replied.
Fallon flicked her tail. "That's good. I hope your parents are doing well."
Shaniqua had become more independant by her age. She slept in her own nest , but her mother still took care of her and raised her.
"Mother is fine." Shaniqua told her.
"Hmm.." Fallon said. Noticing how she did not mention her father. "Well then, enjoy the rest of your day."
She turned to walk up a "staircase" of flat but sturdy rocks jutting out of the side of a slope-hill, and at the top a proper nest was made inside of a nook in an old tree.
"I've always wondered how the earth would make such stairs." Shaniqua wondered out loud.
"Maybe the flat-snouts built it before the Tribe of Many Seasons found this land." Monique suggested.
"Or maybe an ancient fox created it with his brotheren." Samuel also suggested.
The ancient foxes were the gods of the Tribes, they were large, massive foxes that used to roam the forest in distant times.
"Well, I guess we'll never know." Shaniqua shrugged. And for a while, she never thought about it again.