Since Tobal was not familiar with winter weather his goal was to simply head to his base camp as quickly as possible where he knew it was safe and there was extra food. He didn't even bother setting snares or looking for food other than what they stumbled across accidently. They relied exclusively on the food reserves he had brought with him and the frozen food cubes taken from sanctuary.
Firewood was the biggest trouble and they found themselves breaking dead branches off trees and placing them on the sled as they traveled through the day. In this way they had much of their wood when it was time to set up camp in the evening. Camping was greatly simplified and they simply dug trenches into the deep snow drifts in a "v" shape and covered the roof area with branches and the blanket material. The snow drifts made excellent insulation from the wind. Each leg of the trench was a sleeping area and at the place where the trenches joined they built a small fire using the firewood they had gathered during the day. They also used this fire to melt water and refill their canteens.
They made their way back to Tobal's base camp by the evening of the fourth day. Tobal had expected it to take five days and was amazed when Crow actually found it. The kid really knew his way around the wilderness.
It felt good to be in a permanent shelter again that was actually warm. It seemed a luxury to heat water for a much needed sponge bath and change of clothes. The next few days were spent just getting things around the camp into good repair and hauling in firewood for the coming week.
Crow was very curious about the tools Tobal had made and spoke of things he had seen his grandfather make. Crow was a quiet boy that didn't talk much, but once you got him going he could tell stories for hours. His parents had died while he was young and he didn't know much about them. He had been raised by his grandfather in the mountains and taught the old ways. His grandfather was a powerful shaman and healer others came to see when they were injured or seeking his wisdom. Crow hadn't really wanted to come here but his grandfather had insisted.
"Why?", Tobal asked with curiousity.
"He wants me to become a citizen of Heliopolis", Crow said. "It is also time for me to solo. In my village we can solo at fourteen. It is when we are considered adults."
"Wait a minute!, I'm getting confused. Are you telling me you are already able to solo?"
"My Grandfather says I am."
"Why don't you solo in your own village?"
"To become a citizen I need to solo here and have training with you."
"But you said you were already trained", Tobal said in a perplexed tone.
"There are some things only the son of Ron and Rachal Kane can teach me. That is what my Grandfather told me. He said you are my next teacher, that is why I am here. Perhaps things like the map reading", he suggested helpfully.
Tobal was getting baffled and somewhat alarmed at the repeated mention of his parents. He had no clue what he was supposed to be teaching Crow if he already knew enough to solo.
"Where is your pack and equipment then if you are ready to solo?", He asked. "You didn't have any gear when I saw you at sanctuary?"
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