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The kelda is the official leader of the pictsies, a wise woman who runs the whole clan—which is made up of her sons. When Tiffany goes to see her, she immediately realizes that this is someone she should respect:
Her eyes were closed as Tiffany slid in, but they flicked open the moment she'd stopped pulling herself forward. They were the sharpest eyes she'd ever seen, much sharper even than Miss Tick. (7.6)
The kelda is extremely wise and knows what is best for her clan. She picks Tiffany to be their leader, even though that may not seem like the obvious choice—but in the end everything works out, so she obviously chose well.