It was time for Crow's initiation in late November and Tobal was thinking about it as they snow shoed their way to the gathering spot. Perhaps he had been initiated and soloed at his own village he mused thoughtfully, not that it mattered. Gaining citizenship meant going through sanctuary and no other way. As they trekked to circle Tobal explained about joining the clan and being initiated into the circle. Crow still wasn't certain he wanted to become part of the "evil" ones clan.
"There is no 'evil' in the clan or the circle", Tobal kept telling him. "The Lord and Lady appear during the rituals and ceremonies so it can't be bad. Everyone at the gathering place is young and could not have been part of what killed your parents. Many of them were not even been born yet."
Crow remained suspicious and untrusting. In the end it was the mention of the Lord and Lady being present during the initiations that convinced Crow to finally go through with it and join the group.
"If they are not there, I will not go through with it", he said simply.
Tobal shrugged, there was not much more to say on the matter.
Tobal filled Crow in on what to expect during his entry into the clan itself. He didn't want a repeat of what happened with Melanie and he didn't know the true extent of Crow's abilities yet. He only knew that Crow was better than he was in survival and he suspected Crow knew quite a bit about taking care of himself self defense wise. He had a feeling that small or not, Crow was not going to be in the Journeyman degree over a year. His hard time was going to be training six newbies to solo simply because it would take up so much time and be boring to him.
They had to snowshoe avoiding areas of possible snow slides and avalanches. Winter travel was certainly different than what he had become accustomed to and carried its own unique dangers. Again more than once Crow showed him dangerous areas and explained how to avoid them in the future. Tobal felt grateful, but he also felt like the student and not the teacher.
It felt good to be going back to circle and he was looking forward to spending time with his friends. After leaving Crow with the guards he made his way into the gathering spot looking for people he knew and chatting with them. The first thing he headed for was the Circle of Elders to see what was happening that month. He saw Ellen there and waved at her. She smiled and waved back. He knew he would have to talk with her later that evening.
At circle Zee's newbie, Kevin's newbie, and Wayne's newbie and two others were at last allowed to solo after a grueling examination by the elders. All of their winter clothing was examined and they needed to have snowshoes, a sled and a two weeks supply of jerky they had made themselves. For the first time they were asked about what they planned to do during their solo month. They were told medics would be checking on them and if they needed help they could signal the medics. One last final warning about frostbite and the elders were done.
Char's newbie, Rory had soloed and she received her first chevron.