Nikki, Melanie and Becca each had their fourth newbies to solo. But Tobal made heads turn as he proclaimed Llana ready for both initiation and to solo. She was questioned at length by the elders and then approved to solo.There was a bit of grumbling but Tobal didn't care. Llana was his last newbie and next month he would be initiated as a Journeyman. He was happy and that was it. Tyrone had soloed and he received his fifth chevron.
Green grass was starting to show in places and the melting snow made tiny rivulets of water running down toward the lower foothills. The weather was beautiful and it was warm in the afternoon.
Tobal watched as Angel acted as High Priestess. Tobal was surprised to see Dirk in red robes training as High Priest for the circle. It felt good and comfortable to see people he knew and trusted advancing into these positions.
He found Tyrone and asked him about his solo. Tyrone laughed and said it had gone well except for the wolves howling everytime he played the fiddle. He had gotten lonesome for company though and was looking forward to training a newbie of his own.
The big news at camp was that Sarah, Anne, Derdre, Seth and Crow had all returned from the village and been waiting at sanctuary for newbies. Since they had been waiting for two weeks it was unlikely there would be enough newbies to go around. Several members had gone to sanctuary only to find a large line of people waiting for newbies. Zee was pissed, Kevin was pissed, Mike and Butch were pissed, Tara and Nick were pissed, Wayne and his student were pissed, Char and her student were pissed. They had all been hoping for newbies. Now Becca, Melanie and Nikki were going to be looking for newbies too!
Zee and Kevin, had decided to stay at sanctuary with Crow and his group. The others had come to circle steaming mad and needing to vent. They were glad the kids had come back from the village but it struck them wrong that Crow and the others could spend a cozy winter in the village and then just waltz back here and get newbies in the spring. Tobal's sympathies were with Crow and his friends. They had been at sanctuary when the newbies were and that was what mattered. He had camped out more than once waiting for newbies.
He hardly saw Becca at all. She was there to proclaim her newbie ready to solo and then came up and kissed him.
"I'm going to sanctuary", she said simply. "If I leave right now I can be in line ahead of these others."
He pulled her into his arms and held her against him. "I'm sorry it has to be this way. You've only got two more newbies to train. Then we can be together all we want."
Her green eyes flashed as she smiled at him. "I'm going to hold you to that. You better really mean it."
"I mean it", he whispered. "Now you'd better go so you'll beat Nikki and Melanie. You know they will be right on your tail."
Becca laughed, "We're all going together. If we need to we will draw straws to see who goes first."
He gave her a final hug and kiss and then watched as she headed toward where Nikki and Melanie were waiting for her at the edge of the gathering spot.