Nick was the only one of five new initiates ready to solo and that made quite a stir within the clan. Tobal was proving himself to be quite a trainer following in the footsteps of Rafe and even doing a little better as long as his students were trained properly and he knew they were. The elders were inclined to agree and allowed Nick his solo after questioning him at length about what he had learned. The weather was getting colder and they were getting more careful.
Nikki, Kevin and Zee were each spending another month training their newbies even though they would be initiated tonight.
The elders called Melanie and Becca to the front of the circle for completing their solos. Then it was his turn. He had his 1st chevron sewn on his shoulder and it felt very good indeed.
"Hey Melanie! Wait up!", he hurried to catch up as they headed to get robes. "How was your solo?"
"Oh, I found the perfect place and it's not that far from yours", she said excitedly. "It's east of yours on the other side of the stream that feeds into the lake. I've already started building my base camp. You need to stop by and see it some time."
"I will", he promised. "Is it easy to find?"
"Give me your map and I'll mark it for you", she held out her hand for his map.
"I don't have it with me", he said. "It's in my pack."
"Well, let's get it then", she said and they wandered over to his pack. He handed her his map and a pencil. She put a quick mark on the map and he looked. It was about ten miles east of his own camp and in some even rougher territory.
"I know this is going to be hard to find", he told her. "You might have to show me how to get there the first time."
She smiled quite pleased and replied. "Sure, I'll take you out there anytime. I really want to train one newbie before winter sets in though. I'm leaving very soon."
"Well, good luck and take care of yourself", he gave her a hug and a kiss. "I miss you a lot more than I'm going to miss Nick. Say, I'm going to sanctuary after circle. If you want to we can go together."
She laughed and waved as she turned around. "Let me think on it. I was going to leave before circle. I'll get back to you."
With that she wandered over to the food table and he went back to where the robes were being given out and changed into his. Angel was handing out the robes this month. Most clan members wore tunics during the day but were required to wear robes during ritual. Everyone was responsible for their own robe and was expected to turn it back in by noon of the next day.
"I see you've got four chevrons now", he kidded her. "Your leg must be getting a lot better."
She laughed, "I beat up one of your friends to get it."
"Really", he said suddenly interested. "Who'd you fight?"
"Oh, it was just Rafe", she said. "But he really is getting better. I used to feel so sorry for him getting picked on all the time and then it was my turn and I thought "why not." It was a tough fight though. He almost beat me." She grinned, "Don't tell him that though. That's just between you and me ok?"