One of the wilder dancers was Zee. She beckoned him to join in the dance and on impulse he threw his robe to the ground and leapt into the circle of cavorting bodies, giving himself away to the driving rythm. The energy in the circle was intense and the drummers never seemed to tire or stop.
Later during a break she was leaning on him with her arm around his shoulder and he felt her breast against him. She told him she was sitting out the winter and wondering if he would like to partner up with her. He was flattered and she was an inviting partner. Regretfully he squeezed one of her cheeks.
"I'm sorry Zee, I'm going to be training newbies all winter. Otherwise I would, really."
"Fine then", she pouted and abruptly turned back to the dance.
Kevin had been watching and came over casually asking how things were going.
"She's really something, isn't she?", Kevin watched her retreating rear move in time to the drums as her braided raven hair flew about like a whip.
"I think she's looking for a winter partner", Tobal volunteered.
Kevin shot a quick look at him, "Are you interested?"
"No, I'm training newbies this winter."
"That's really hard they say", Kevin glanced once more at Zee. "I'm not even thinking about it myself. I might have to go over and introduce myself."
Kevin chuckled and drained his mug of beer. He set it down beside his robe and disappeared into the dance working his way over to Zee and cavorting his lanky muscular body in front of her.
Tired of the dance Tobal donned his robe and headed to the keg for another refill of beer. He noticed Melanie and Becca sitting off to the side. Neither of them had joined in the dance or partied much. It seemed they prefered each other's company to that of the group. As he approached Melanie looked up.
"Hey Tobal, is it alright if Becca goes with us. We can all travel together and get to know each other better."
He muttered something about it being alright with him and made an excuse to go look for Nikki and ask how things were going with her newbie. There was a lot of tension between him and Becca and he didn't know how to make things better, hell, he didn't know if he wanted to make things better. He was irritated at how close Melanie had gotten with her though. It looked like they were best friends or something.
Tobal avoided Ox who was drunk ,belligerent and telling stories about training his last newbie. Ox was complaining how no one could get newbies any more because some people were taking them all and not training them properly. Everyone knew that newbies needed more than a month to train before they could solo. He didn't think the elders should have let Nick solo and he was letting everyone in camp know about it too.
The next day it was more fun travelling with the two girls than alone Tobal reflected. Even if they did tease him a lot. They seemed to have boundless energy and a sense of fun that made the trip go by quickly. He found himself laughing with them in spite of his normal taciturn self. They were both surprised when he told his first joke and pinched each other to see if they were awake or not.
Winter was going to hit the mountains and it was a pleasant surprise to find eight newbies at sanctuary. This was the last chance to get training in good weather before the winter months hit.
Most Apprentices didn't like training during the winter because it was hard enough to survive alone without trying to teach someone else He figured that was why both Tara and Zee had asked him about partnering up for the winter. He was even considering asking Melanie if she wanted to partner up with him for a month or two. The timing just never seemed right.
Two other Apprentices were already there. They had missed circle to get newbies and it was just dumb luck there were enough newbies to go around.