Anarchistic Knights-a serialadventure Chapter 9A-Apprentice by Joe Bandel

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"Hey, get up! Get up!"

Someone was pushing and shaking Tobal. Groggily he raised his head. It was Rafe shaking him and grinning mischieviously. "Hey, c'mon. We've got a lot to do today. You going to sleep all morning?"

Tobal groaned and put his hands to his head. He had a splitting headache and a nasty hangover feeling in his gut. Must have had too much of the mead and home brewed beer last night he thought morosely. He rolled over and tried going back to sleep but Rafe was shaking him again cheerfully.

"C'mon, I'm not kidding. It's a busy day. Let's go get some breakfast."

Tobal sat up and looked around realizing he had been sleeping in one of the teepees he had seen yesterday. He didn't have any idea how he had gotten there. There were empty blankets where other people must have slept but they were all gone. He was the only one left.

Sitting up he looked bleary eyed at Rafe. "What are we doing today?" He tried valiantly to ignore the throbbing in his head and the churning in his gut.

Rafe gave him another light hearted, good natured poke with an elbow. "How does it feel to be a witch?" He asked cheerfully. "Perhaps I should say an Apprentice witch." He chuckled.

An Apprentice witch?" Tobal mumbled. "I didn't know I was going to become an apprentice witch! What the hell are you talking about anyway?"

Rafe hunkered down on his haunches, "I keep forgetting your parents are dead", he said. "I can't believe all of this is completely new to you. Most of us have grown up within the system and understand it."

"Well I don't", grumped Tobal. "Maybe you can fill me in on what I'm getting myself into here."

"There are three separate degrees in our system", Rafe told him. "These three degrees correspond to the three degrees of the ancient mystery schools, the three degrees of ancient Freemasonry and the three degrees of witchcraft. We simply call it the three degrees of the Craft."

"The first degree of Apprentice is concerned with learning the basic survival skills that will keep you alive in the woods during all seasons of the year. We are given gray tunics and trousers...by the way", he grinned. "How do you like your new trousers?"

Tobal flushed and grinned back, "They are pretty nice actually. It was getting kind of drafty after they shortened my robe."

Rafe snickered, "Well anyway, the color gray symbolizes the degree we are in. The second degree is black. You probably noticed your guards last night were wearing black?"

Tobal grinned, he was starting to feel much better. "They were pretty rough too, but my guide was nice looking, that dark haired girl?"

Rafe ignored him, "That's part of the Journeyman degree. The Journeyman degree is where you learn self-defense among other things. " Rafe looked at him quizzically, "Do you remember how you have to train six other people to solo before you can enter the Journeyman degree?"

"Yeah."

"Well, to complete the Journeyman degree you need to beat six other people in hand to hand combat. That doesn't mean how many times you get beat yourself", he grinned ruefully.

He looked a little worried and Tobal couldn't help but think Rafe was a bit anxious about becoming a Journeyman.

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