She set his bowl down and kissed him. "It won't do any good. We'll just tell stories then."
"What kind of stories", he undid some of the buttons on her parka and reached inside. She gasped in pleasue and their embrace was much longer than the last one. No thought of continuing the conversation. They were lost in the moment and in each other.
"Hey, some of us are trying to eat around here." Nikki and Melanie had brought their own bowls of stew to eat by the fire.
"Becca, are you saving any for us?" Nikki quipped.
Becca just nuzzled closer, "No, you've got to get your own."
Together all four cleaned the dishes and moved toward the circle where the initiations were about to begin. It was cold and they took up positions next to a wind break that shielded one of the signal fires. As long as they stayed out of the wind it was alright.
Misty was HighPriestess that night and both she and the High Priest wore furs. The circle seemed much smaller than usual. There was a strong wind with drifting snow even in the sheltered valley and no one seemed anxious to dance around the fire clothed or not. Tobal felt sorry for the new initiates that had to stand blind folded in such a wind with shortened tunics even if they were right next to the bon fire. To his relief they were wrapped in blankets to prevent over exposure to the bitter cold. In all things safety was the over riding concern of the medics and Masters. Living in harsh conditions made one strong, being foolish killed you.
They watched together as Nikki's, Melanie's, and Becca's newbies were initiated. Afterward Tobal was introduced to Cheryl, Loki, and Bran, the new initiates.
"If you are not careful we will catch up to you", Melanie warned. "Cheryl, Loki and Bran make three newbies apiece for each of us. You have only trained one more than us."
"I know", Tobal frowned. "Why rub it in?"
The girls laughed and hugged him. "We're just teasing. Don't be so serious all the time."
Tobal had gotten his fourth chevron that morning and was eager to get training. He already felt it had been a major mistake on his part to sit out the last month. The boredom and solitude had almost driven him crazy. He had tried working on the meditations and exercises Crow had taught him but it had been hard to focus and concentrate. Much of the time his thoughts had kept going back to Becca and their growing involvement with each other. Somehow it seemed to push everything else away. He didn't know what had happened to his self discipline.
Immediately after circle things were moved inside one of the permanent shelters and continued out of the bad weather. This had happened a few other times during heavy rain but was unusual. Clansmen believed in having circle outside rain or shine, hell or high water. They spent so much time in the elements it didn't bother them much and they were dressed for it.
They found a warm corner and started to gather. By the time Ellen got there ten people were sitting around waiting to hear what she had learned.