He tried joking and asking about their month but nothing worked. He was actually relieved when Nikki came over to join them. If Nikki noticed that anything was wrong she didn't mention it and soon all three girls were laughing and telling stories between initiations.
They were however, very curious and envious of his new decorative clothing. He told them Crow had taught him. He opened his fur coat and showed the beautiful beadwork and porcupine needles stitched carefully and decoratively on the comfortable buckskin clothing he was wearing.
"How does Crow know these things?", Becca asked curiously. "I thought you were supposed to be training him. Not he training you?"
The girls laughed and Tobal blushed. "I just got lucky", he said. "Tobal grew up in a village about two hundred miles west of here." He instantly wished he hadn't said anything about the village.
"You mean the rogue village?", Nikki asked.
"You really need to talk with Crow about that", he said. "I'd really like to stay and chat", he said. "But I've got to talk with Rafe and Ellen right now."
"You are always talking with Rafe or Ellen", Nikki pouted. "You spend more time talking with them then you do with us. What's that about anyway? Are you too good for us?"
That last comment had a little bite to it and Melanie and Becca looked at each other. Tobal didn't like to leave things that way. It just didn't seem right. He sighed.
"It's about increased rogue activity", he said. "I'll tell you about it later if you are really interested."
"You promise?", Melanie asked suddenly suspicious. "There's something going on that you are not telling us. You can't lie worth a damn Tobal. No one is in danger are they?"
"We don't really know", he pleaded. "I've got to go. I'll talk later ok?"
Then he stood up and left before they stopped him or asked if they could come with. He went around to the other side of the fire circle and waited, painfully aware that Nikki, Melanie, and Becca were not leaving the fire circle either. They were going to watch the meeting from across the fire.
Rafe was the first to join and then Crow. Ellen came last. She had changed out of her robe into furs. She smiled at Tobal.
"I almost took you up on that offer", she said shivering. "I was freezing on one side and roasting on the other side all night. You were right. I should have worn my furs. I didn't really need the robe."
She looked at the others, "Are we ready?"
Tobal cleared his throat hesitantly, "We might have a problem."
All three turned to look at him expectantly.
"Becca, Melanie and Nikki are on to us. They know something is up and want to know about it. They are sitting across the fire from us now."
Crow, Ellen and Rafe turned and looked across the fire and the three girls smiled and waved at them.
Ellen sighed, "I still don't think we should tell any more people than we need to about this. This could be very dangerous and I don't even want you talking to any of the other medics about it.