Six dark hooded figures stepped forth from the circle and stood in menacing silence as the High Priest and High Priestessalong with the two guards moved away. His guide took his torch and left him alone within the circle. Tobal stood silently in confusion.
"To continue in this degree you must defeat six members of this degree in combat and you have agreed to do this. Let the fight begin!"
Gradually Tobal realized he was expected to fight all six of the figures that stood silently around him. He pulled himself into a fighting stance and began circling defensively. None of the cloaked figures moved. He circled closer toward one of the figures in a threatening manner and tried a feint with his right. The figure still didn't move. Encouraged Tobal struck the figure lightly on the shoulder and was suddenly doubled up in pain as he received a savage punch in the belly that knocked him to the floor of the cave fighting waves of nausea.
He struggled to his feet and gazed silently at the six unmoving figures. He didn't know what to do. It looked as though he was in for a beating and there was no way around it. Moving toward a second figure he took a savage thrust at it only to find his fist parried as something hard slammed into the side of his head and he saw stars. Picking himself off the ground once more he felt blind rage begin to build inside him and he rushed and grappled with a third hoping to push him over only to find to his horror that the figure was solid as stone and embraced him solidly in a crushing bear hug that hurt his ribs before throwing him to the floor with such violence that the wind was knocked out of him.
Tobal had never been much of a fighter and having the wind knocked out of him totally took the rest of any fight out of him that might have been there and he refused to get up sobbing in frustration.
"He refuses to fight! He refuses to fight!," a voice cried out from the edge of the circle.
"Yes, he refuses to fight! Came a murmur from the other hooded figures and the entire circle began moving silently widdershins. After one complete circle the drums began to pound and echo eeriely within the cave as the black cloaked figures started coming in nearer and nearer. At times a dancing figure would strike Tobal a light but stinging blow on the head or body. He couldn't see any of the faces and recognized none of the dancers. The energy within the circle all felt wrong and it was building. He felt fear and panic begin to grip him at the base of his tail bone and start it's slow climb up his spine. Then he felt his own energy slip and begin to turn in this counter clockwise direction. What were they doing to him? He could feel the energy grow and grow and it felt strange and dark. Not bad or evil but dangerous and menacing.
The High Priest then placed his hands on Tobal's head, his voice echoing wierdly within the chamber.
In the name of the Lord and Lady I draw the dark energy of the earth up into your physical body and up into your soul that you might become master of yourself and Journeyman."
Tobal felt a weird tingling and warmth as a glowing yellow green energy pooled around his feet and gradually moved upward into his spine filling his body and finally leaving out the top of his head going up into the spiritual light.