"That's why Ellen thought it might be a good idea for me to just hang around with you guys getting up wood the rest of the month", Tobal finished.
"It's also why I didn't want to say much of anything while Dirk was there."
"I understand, now", Rafe said. "Does Ellen know about the things you found?"
Tobal flushed , "She doesn't know about the wand yet. But she does know about everything else. I wanted a chance to examine it myself before I let anyone else see it."
"Well, let's just keep this to ourselves for a bit". Rafe suggested. "Ellen all ready knows enough to make her more alert about things. Let's see if she found anything out first before we tell her any more. She could get into trouble over this and we don't want that to happen."
Tobal agreed and they turned the conversation to other topics. "I heard you got lucky with your third chevron?"
Rafe snorted and began telling the story. They talked long into the night. Tobal never did get a chance to talk with Ellen and she wasn't around the gathering spot the next morning when he tried looking for her.
He looked around for the girls but they had left already. Judging from their tracks in the snow they were about three hours ahead of him. He didn't really care since he had a lot on his mind and wondered what Ellen wanted to talk to him about.
Tobal made the long trek toward sanctuary. The trail up the cliff was a problem since it was snow covered and so narrow. He cleaned the narrow ledge before crossing it and needed to make several trips because he couldn't pull his small sled over it either. At the top of the cliff the terrain looked much different than it had two months before when he had last made the trip. It was also much more dangerous.
Brown shrubs with falling leaves and dried grass showed in open areas and there was drifted snow in others. The wind had a bite to it and he was glad for the warm fur parka, trousers, and snow boots. Even though they were bulky and cumbersome, they were warm. As long as he didn't work up a sweat he would be fine and the open spaces free of snow made the going much easier than if he had to use snow shoes.
He took his time and enjoyed the solitude and the movement. It took four days to reach sanctuary but he was in high spirits when he got there. He had let the girls go on ahead of him and wasn't really expecting anyone to be at sanctuary itself. He was prepared for a long wait. Snow was falling and the sun had already set although it was still light enough to see. Stepping through the door he stomped his boots and kicked them against the wall to knock the snow off. He proceeded taking off his furs because it was warm inside and the heat was uncomfortable. Then he waited for his eyes to adjust to the dim light. After his eyes adjusted he saw a small dark figure huddled on one of the cots in the other room.
Moving into the dimly lit room he saw someone that reminded him of Rafe clutching a dark fur blanket or robe around small shoulders and watching with big dark eyes.