"Consider yourself lucky to have your initiation during Osteria because it will give the added power of spring."
"Anyway", Rafe continued. "We are going to the gathering spot for the celebration and for your initiation into the clan. That way you'll get to meet everybody. The gathering place is about 30 miles north of here."
"Your official initiation into our clan as a brother". It is when you will be introduced and welcomed to the other members of our clan."
"Forget it for now. We've got to get moving." Rafe pulled out his map and laid it flat on the ground. He showed Tobal.
"You remember last night? You said we were right here", He made a little mark on the map with his pencil. "Oh, by the way, don't forget to make marks on these maps. Mark all of the places you want to remember." Then he pointed to a spot on the map Tobal recognized as the campsite. Tobal nodded.
"OK", said Rafe, "We spin the map around so it's facing north just like before", he spun the map around. "Have the string straight north like we did before. 30 miles is how far on the map?"
Tobal looked at the gridlines and did a quick calculation. "30 miles will put us right about here". He pointed to a spot on the map about 3 inches north of their campsite. He noticed there was an "x" marked on Rafe's map at that spot.
"That's right", Rafe chuckled. "What can you tell me about getting there?"
"What do you mean?", Tobal asked.
"Look at the map", Do we go in a straight line or what? Describe the terrain we need to cross."
Tobal looked more closely at the map and noticed something strange. "What's this", he asked suddenly.
Rafe looked smug. "What are you talking about?"
"Well", Tobal continued, "the lines get real close together and then there is just one thick dark line. It must be a cliff or ravine. Do we have to climb down a cliff?"
"That's right", Rafe grinned again. "We can't go in a straight line to the gathering place. We can almost go in a straight line until we get to the cliff but then we need to find a way down into the valley from above. Fortunately I know the way down. It's not too far out of our way and for all practical purposes, we will just head straight north today."
"Now", Rafe said, "take all the knots out of your cord. You will be tying new knots today."
"New knots?", Tobal said blankly.
"That's right, we don't keep knots in the cord forever. We're already where we wanted to be. The cord is a tool to get you where you want to be, not to tell you where you've been."
"Oh", Tobal said sheepishly.
"30 miles is how many knots in the cord?"
"60 knots", said Tobal.
"Right and we've got a day and a half to do it". Rafe got up. "Let's get going."
Three times Tobal saw deer in the distance. They were still herded and eating the brouse on the smaller pine trees and scraping for fodder underneath the snow. They looked thin but Rafe told him they would start gaining weight soon when the last of the snow left.
As they snow shoed north toward the gathering place Rafe dug around in the snow and pointed out different plants.