The boys were gathered around their troop leader.
They weren’t technically supposed to be here. With only one adult, this was definitely against the requirements for a troop outing. But the leader had convinced them it would be fine, and they, of course, trusted him.
The girls in the troop weren’t invited. They hadn’t been told, again at the instructions of the leader.
The boys weren’t sure what special training they would be receiving on this camping trip. Only that they would, “Learn the true secrets of scouting,” as the leader said. They were now stripped to their underwear, wondering why they had started the fire mid-day.
The leader picked up his red paint, and began anointing them. Each boy received a different symbol on his forehead, and the same symbol on his stomach. The leader then sent them to stand around the fire.
Finally, all were painted, and all were in the circle. The leader completed the circle, with a simple “1” on his head and chest. They all raised their hands, and the fire grew. As the chanting began, the animals in the woods quieted, then started running for their lives.