The other two laughed and Tobal turned away with a dark shadow on his face. He couldn't tell them the entire story or it would be all over camp and Ellen would have his head. It was better just to leave things the way they were for now. Misty was again High Priestess and did a nice job. Ellen was there and said she needed to talk with him later after circle. Angel was also helping out in the circle. There was a new High Priest too but Tobal didn't remember his name.
Dirk was there along with Rafe on wood patrol keeping the fires going. There were several Journeymen Tobal recognized and many more he didn't. This was the largest circle he had ever been too. Ox had even shown up for the party strutting three chevons on his black tunic.
It was the end of the harvest cycle and the last time many of them would see each other until next spring so they were determined to have a good time. After the initiations the party really began. At drum circle the drumming and dancing went long into the night as people laughed leaping among the flames individually and together.
The festivities lasted three days with the last two days reminding Tobal of a flea market and county fair. People brought items to sell or trade, especially beautiful hand crafted garments and tools. The most interesting were winter garments that made Tobal's efforts seem crude in comparision. He examined them carefully and took mental notes so he could duplicate the work later. He did the same with other tools and items that caught his interest.
This was the time clan members would show off their creativity and individual tallents. There was music , hand made stringed instruments and wooden flutes. There were of course the drums that beat out a steady rhythm deep into the night for all the dancers.
The second day was reserved for games and competitions. He was not surprised when Melanie won a knife throwing contest but he gaped in envy at the prize. It was a hand forged axe one of the third degree members had somehow created. With an axe like that work would go much more quickly than with stone axes and knives. It would help not only with firewood but also in the creation of bigger and more permanent shelters like log cabins.
It was also on the second day when female clan members got their annual birth control shot to prevent pregnancies. There were lots of sexual jokes going round the camp and open invitations. Tobal wondered more about this and asked one of the medics. The medic told him the city felt it was too dangerous to have children or raise children under these harsh survival conditions. People were free to have children once they became citizens but not before.
This was a rule that was strictly enforced and medics would fly their air sleds out to those females that had not attended this gathering. If they refused the shot, they were disqualified. This did happen, the medic told him. There were always 2nd degree couples content living as they were and wanting to raise families out here in the wilderness.