They made the trip back to the gathering spot together in high spirits. Mike, Butch and Sarah were proclaimed ready to solo and the elders agreed since they came into camp with a full assortment of winter clothing and gear and because they had two months of training. They had done a lot of work and really felt prepared about the coming winter. It had been time well spent and it had been fun as well.
Tara's newbie was also ready to solo and one more Tobal didn't recognize.
Nikki had a newbie ready to be initiated along with Char's newbie and two others.
But Char's newbie wasn't ready to solo yet. He spoke with Char briefly after leaving the others at the Circle of Elders.
"Hi Char", he grinned. "Who is your new friend"?
She grinned back and blushed a bit. "Hi Tobal, this is Rory. He's a newbie that I've been working with this past month. He's pretty sharp too"
Tobal noticed Rory's eyes light up at the compliment. He grinned and shook his hand. "You watch that she doesn't feed you too much now. Char is the best cook out here". Then he turned back to Char.
"I've been looking for Wayne, have you seen him",he asked. The grim look in her eyes and flash of anger told him he had just made a mistake.
"He's out there somewhere being a jerk", she snapped. "I finally told him to just stay away from me. He is so jealous about Rory here. I'm afraid he is going to start a fight with him and that is so very stupid. Other couples don't' have this problem do they"? She asked.
"I wouldn't know about that", Tobal said. "What I've heard in general is most people try not to get into serious relationships with each other until they are at least Journeymen. Then they can at least live together and keep working toward citizenship".
"That was our mistake", she sighed. "We should have waited till we each trained our newbies but it's so hard now since we have become so used to each other. I did talk to him though and we are both going to work on training newbies so we can move on to the Journeyman level at least".
"That sounds like a really good plan", Tobal said. He gave Char a hug and kiss nodding to Rory. "I'll see you both around later".
He watched as Kevin, Zee, Nikki and Ox each got chevrons. That made one for Kevin, Two for Zee and one for Nikki. For the Ox it was six and he would finally get his initiation to Journeyman. He was happy about it since he had been almost two years as an Apprentice.
Kevin and Zee were standing together chatting as he walked over to congratulate them on their chevrons.
"Hey did you two finally decide to partner up for the winter?", he asked curiously.
Kevin had his arm around Zee's shoulder and gave it a squeeze. She gave Kevin a quick kiss and smiled at Tobal. "It's kind of complicated", she said. "We both want to train one more newbie before Yule and then partner up for the rest of the winter. Winters get pretty long and partnering up for three months sounds a lot better to both of us then partnering up for five if you know what we are talking about."
Kevin laughed, "Yeah, we'd still like to be friends next spring so we are taking this kind of slow."
"Hey that's great!", Tobal grinned and gave them both a big hug. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
They chatted a bit longer and watched Nick and Tara kissing.
"You think they will be friends next spring?" Tobal asked jokingly.
"Who knows", Kevin replied. "I wouldn't talk if I were you though. You need a little romance in your life so you are not so sour all the time. There are lots of girls around here that would be interested in partnering up for the winter with you."