As Tobal neared the gathering spot he saw others heading toward the circle and when they waved he felt like he was indeed coming home. Nobody else whistled as they approached the camp and they laughed at him. He asked why and was told there were no guards except on the trail that led from sanctuary. Newbies were only to come into camp from that path. After they had joined the clan there was no need for a guard. It was just part of the initiaton. Tobal felt silly and wonder why Rafe never told him that part of it. He remembered Rafe laughing at him the last time they had come to circle when he had been constantly whistling. It was so like Rafe to let him figure things out for himself.
He was in high spirits as he helped set up the structures and gather firewood for the bonfire. He was enjoying being treated as an equal and kept busy throughout the day. He was feeling good when his friends showed up congratulating him on his solo.
He talked with Nikki, she had completed her training with Zee and the Elders approved her for soloing this month. She was excited about it. Tobal made sure to give her a kiss for good luck. Nikki was a stocky well built brunette with an infectious sense of humour and an impulsiveness that got her into trouble at times but she always managed to get out of it just as quickly.
"Hey, don't I get one too?", Zee asked pouting and tossing her braided raven hair back over her shoulder.
Tobal moved over and gave her a big hug and a kiss. "How have you been?", He teased.
"I've been doing quite well thank you", she laughed. "I'm heading out for sanctuary in the morning. You want to come along? It's always more fun traveling together than alone." She smiled.
"That sounds like a good idea", he said. "How early are you planning to start out?"
"The sooner the better", she replied. "How about sunrise?"
"I'll see if I can get up that early", he griped and they both smiled.
He walked over and found out Kevin was going to try for a newbie and hoped there would be enough newbies for everyone. They congratulated each other on their solo's and told stories about how it had went. Kevin was pretty excited.
When Rafe showed up it was kind of odd because he was alone and didn't have anyone with him. After a warm hug, Rafe told him that he had been going around visiting people and taking it easy. He would be getting his sixth chevron at the awards and his initiation as Journeyman in two weeks. He was a bit nervous but excited at the same time.
Later at afternoon assembly introductions were made for Tobal, Kevin and the four other newly soloed Apprentices. They were brought out in front of the circle to the sound of cheering, good natured applause and joking.
The next to be brought forward was Rafe. Rafe and another boy who had been Kevin's teacher were both eligible for the Journeyman degree. They were called to the front as the sixth chevron was sewn onto their sleeves amidst joking and laughter. The Journeyman degree initiation was going to be on the new moon in two weeks.