Both Ellen and Tobal decided it would be a good idea for him to stay close to the gathering spot and around other people in case he had been specifically targeted by the rogues. So he spent most of the month helping Dirk and Rafe working up wood for circle. They were trying to get wood ahead so there would be an ample supply during a snowstorm or blizzard. There was already over one foot of snow and travel was getting difficult.
With Tobal's help Rafe and Dirk got a lot of wood brought into camp. Rafe was becoming more confident and sure of himself. He was also growing taller and filling out. The constant back breaking work of chopping wood with stone axes seemed to be putting muscle on him too. The Chevrons on his sleeve proclaimed he had won three fights and he was learning how to take care of himself.
Tobal wore the jet and amber necklace around his neck and kept the ceremonial dagger in the sheath strapped to his ankle. Each day he took them out and looked at them. They were the only things he had that came from his parents. He wanted to go back to the cave but knew it was more dangerous than ever. He put the two plastic hospital bracelets in his medicine bag and carried it on a leather thong around his neck.
It was the wand that he didn't know what to do with. It was about a foot long and one inch in diameter. He had examined it more completely and still didn't know much about it. There were five buttons on the thing. He had tried the first and second buttons in the cave. Out doors they worked much the same. The first button made the wand act as a light. When he activated the second button it melted a circle of snow about fifteen feet in front of where he was pointing. It seemed to have a range of about fifteen feet and the heat kept increasing as long as he held the button down.
The third button caused a blade of light to extend out of the wand about two inches. This was some type of laser used for cutting. He tried it on a few rocks and cut deeply into them without melting the rock. The fourth button acted as a sighting device shining a point of red light on anything it was pointed at without apparent harm to the object. The fifth button however, would flash a pulse of light burning a hole through whatever it hit. The fifth button could only be pushed at the same time the fourth one was pushed and needed to be re-pushed for each new pulse of light.
It apparently acted as some type of safety device limiting the damage that could be done with the wand. He tried it once killing a deer at twice normal bow range. The deer dropped without a sound. Close examination showed a hole that went completely through the deer.
As he butchered the deer and brought it back into camp he reflected on the nature of the wand itself. It was obviously a tool or a weapon using pulsed energy of some type he had never heard about. That meant it was probably part of some secret military technology his parents had been involved in. In any case it was extremely dangerous and even more dangerous to be caught with . On the other hand he didn't want to loose it or have it stolen. He guessed he might have to talk with Ellen about it sometime. In the meantime he made a sheath for it on his other ankle and kept it on his person.