Then the drums began and members began to dance deosil around the circle. Tobal joined reluctantly at first and then with growing passion. They danced slowly and then more wildly as the energy level rose. The drums beat more rapidly and the dancers became crazed throwing off robes and dancing naked in the fire light. They leapt and sang in ecstasy moving around the fire alone and as partners, loosing themselves to the beat and rhythm of the drums. Tobal gave himself to the pounding rhythm and to the Lord and Lady. He was dancing for them.
The drums beat faster and faster until the dancers were sweat streaked but showing no sign of stopping. A sudden signal from the High Priestess brought complete and abrupt silence to the entire circle as everyone turned and looked at her. The tension and energy in the circle was overpowering.
"Lord and Lady", she shouted, "We ask you to send your blessings and our blessings out to those in special need this night. We especially ask you to bless and assist those that are about to solo. Be with them and guide their steps so they may return successfully to us in a month's time. So mote it be!"
"So mote it be", the entire circle replied and Tobal felt such a wave of energy and love wash over him that he was swept out of his body and up once more into the arms of the Lady, this time as a baby. She gazed lovingly into his eyes as his consciousness faded away.
Tobal woke as someone helped him back to the edge of the circle where his robe was laying. The circle felt empty, the energy was gone although he still felt it inside himself. That wasn't the end though because Nikki's initiation began. Again he experienced the build up of energy, only this time it was directed at Nikki. Again in his minds eye he saw the Lord and Lady taking their place above the central fire.
Later there were people standing in relaxed bunches around fires drinking and eating. Instinctively he knew the circle had done some powerful magick that night and that his solo would be blessed.
This was quite different from the wild party he had experienced last month. There was a feeling of joy, friendship and goodwill as people joked and talked with each other helping themselves to enormous quantities of food and drink. They gradually moved into small groups to quietly sit together and talk far into the night. He made a special point of welcoming Nikki into the clan.
He spent time chatting with Zee and noticed Angel was back from sanctuary. She was limping slightly but otherwise seemed to be doing well. He met another Apprentice named Tara. He had noticed her dancing and made a special point to meet her. Wayne and Char were both there laughing at some of the stories Rafe was telling. It was a good party and he felt warm and happy when he finally made his way to bed.
Tobal's solo wasn't the way he envisioned it. He left circle on the 2nd morning when everyone else was leaving. He had decided to explore some country that he hadn't visited before and wanted to find a place with adequate water.