On the other side of The Great Savanna, Frode’s head twisted, and his eyes whirled, doing their best to avoid focusing on any of the lights in his mind. He inhaled his final dose of Tuki Tuka powder and in the same moment, noticed a shift in mood from the lights. He pushed his will into them, filtering out the good and locking on the bad. The Lich King’s mana wasn’t always easy to find, but Frode had become attuned to it. Now it was just as easy to destroy as it was to locate.
With the spiritual equivalent of a black hole, Frode snuffed out the evil mana lingering in the newest two prisoners. The exertion of so much of his will left him lightheaded and with tingles just below his fur. He pressed on.
“I know there are more of you in here,” Frode whispered. His head was calm and aware of all. Split into two; his faithful body stood guard of any physical threat and everything that wasn’t his body guarded against the ethereal.
A physical threat came first. It crashed into the black and mana filled world of his Shaman’s Chant and tackled objects that he couldn’t see, objects without any mana. Frode smiled at the opportunity. He would finally get to train on the real thing.
Frode gently pushed a portion of will into his body. It accepted it and began to react to the situation around it. Its first assessment was that the threat was not an Abomminar, nor was it James. It was also destroying the Chieftain’s Hut. Frode left his sentinel to deal with the threat, eager to see its performance and returned to hunting the Lich King’s touch. The red strings of his mana always seemed to hide where you wouldn’t think to look. They became thinner and thinner as they aged. Frode had to sacrifice massive amounts of will to find the smaller strands inside the previous round of human rescues. Luckily, that wasn’t the case with the newest two. Confident that he eradicated the Lich King’s presence, Frode turned his will to his apprentices. The mana hidden inside them came to life. Frode pulled it towards him as the Chieftain’s hut crumbled.
“Focus,” he commanded, “do not break the connection or return to your body.”
The mana inside the apprentices grew brighter. A wooden log detached from the ceiling at one end and swung downward. Frode’s body cast a spell, and the log crashed into an invisible dome. It brightened for a moment as light cascaded from the impact, only to disappear again.
Frode smiled at the reaction time of his body. He had finally learned the right amount of willpower to allocate to the physical world to remain safe. His apprentices were not as skilled, but it was the perfect time for them to learn.
“Listen! Focus on keeping your body separate. Do not get tired. And do not get distracted. If your body gets hit, do not run to save it. Stay here at all costs. Is that understood?” The mana that made up his apprentices flickered to a higher intensity and back again. Then Frode made his move. He cast his will outward like angry hands and latched onto each of his apprentices. They all sat cross-legged at the back of the Chieftain’s hut as Frode’s body battled the threat. They jumped as his will connected to them, grabbed them by the metaphysical collar, and yanked them from the physical world; severing their final ties. Such methods were not passed down by generation after generation of Shamans, but his situation called for extreme measures.
As expected, some of his apprentices didn’t have a high enough mastery of any sort and snapped back into their bodies. They took a look at the monstrosity that was battling the Advisor and ran out of a newly made hole in the wall.
Three apprentices remained. Frode's most recent rescues were still present. He knew the water mage, Jess, was going to make it but did not expect her companion to as well. The third apprentice was a complete surprise and gave Frode more questions than he already had. The third prisoner was the one that spent the most time in the dungeon out of them all. Frode didn’t let the confusion show on his face though. Instead, he pulled his three apprentices into a ghostly huddle. They stopped looking around in wonder and did their best to focus on their teacher.
“Look down. See that light swirling around inside you? That is your mana. You can move it with your will. Gather some of it up and send it to your body. Now.”
Frode watched as the mana inside his unlikely follower immediately left and flowed into a body. Two other lights began to jerk and tremble, moments before crashing into their vessels.
When his three apprentices finished animating their bodies, Frode turned his attention back to his own. It was busy protecting the apprentices in the physical world. From his dual perspectives, Frode could see his young shamans experimenting with the amount of will required for various actions.
Then something else struck his dome spell so violently that it illuminated the darkness of the ethereal plane. Normal light wouldn’t make it there, but when his spell turned physical force into light, it produced mana as waste.
Waste that could be seen in the spirit world, he thought. Then he got an idea and spent his last bit of his will. As he felt it leave his body, he whispered, take it. Then he fell from the spirit world and collapsed into his aging body.
Still blinded, Frode reached out with his mana and immediately recognized a signature. It carried the same dull pattern as Patrick. Frode was sure it was his because it was the smallest mana signature he had ever seen, including Dreng’s.
Legendary Intelligence Enhancement - Your intelligence is increased by 60 for 10 minutes.
Frode inhaled sharply at the sudden boost of intellect then opened his palms to the Earth. A seed, just below the surface, cracked and sprouted. A green leaf exploded from the ground and reached for the sun. Its stalk grew thicker as it did higher, constantly twisting and growing, twisting and growing. Finally, it stopped and hardened. Frode plucked it from the ground.
Congratulations! You have received Harmonized Savanna Cane.
The Advisor gripped his staff and gave a test thwack, just before the Golem broke through the dome. As his spell crumbled, Frode could feel mana and willpower funneled into him. It wasn’t enough of either to allow him to visit the spirit world and check on how it was happening, but it was enough to know that it was happening. Frode spun his staff overhead and slammed into the ground from which it came. The blunt weapon would be no good against rock, but it was good for one other thing. The Savanna accepted Frode's offering, and the staff ripped into the ground and traveled just under the surface until it reached the Golem. Vines exploded from the ground. They wrapped around the animated stone, bringing Patrick down.
“Are you in there?” Frode asked, stepping closer to the prone Golem and looking into it’s orange eyes.
“Advisor,” Jess’s voice rang from a distance, “We watched you from the spirit world. How did you do that?”
Frode had a sneaking suspicious of what she was talking about, but couldn’t be sure. When he sent a portion of his willpower to take the mana from the dome spell, he wasn’t sure what would happen, but something must have. He was only ever taught how to manipulate the physical world with mana. Manipulating ethereal things, including mana, with his willpower was utterly new. He felt like he was on the verge of something great. Right now though, he didn’t have time to investigate. Elder humans, Oana villagers, Noma, and Salmaana, were all gathering around the wreckage of the Chieftain’s hut.
Patrick noticed the crowd as well. His gentle eyes grew panicked as everyone looked at him. Some let out terrible screams, but the silent ones were the worse. They just stared in quiet disgust. Patrick felt his Warhammer grow heavy and his body almost slid closer to it. The reactions from his fellow humans were beginning to weight on him. It was clear he wasn’t recognized, for how could they remember him? He himself only had the faintest of memories of who he used to be.
Frode slumped in the Chieftain's chair. Wooden planks lay in heaps and piles all around. Many thoughts bounced around in his mind, now that it was so clear. The effects of the Tuki Tuka powder were no longer necessary, as he was finally strong enough to enter the spirit realm without it. Admittedly, he suspected he had been strong enough to do so for a long time now, and he just didn’t know how. Now that he was familiar with the feeling though, it was more than comfortable enough to transition, even while dragging his apprentices along with him.
And I didn’t even go mad, Frode thought.
Jess, Trevor, and Frode’s third apprentice, Kenji, who must have come from a different clan than the other humans, had left not too long ago, tasked with the critical mission of tracking the Golem. Frode was reasonably sure that Patrick was somewhere inside of that stone body, even if his human body was completely gone. The apprentices themselves didn’t know Patrick that well, but we're excited to leave the Chieftain’s hut after all their time in recovery and secret training. Frode was careful about letting them loose for many reasons, the most important being that he was pushing them very hard. They were hurtling down the path of the Shaman much faster than those that came before them and therefore, learning skills much quicker than they could master them. Frode was worried that they would cause destruction or harm themselves with their growing power, but circumstances allowed for the risk. Besides, he couldn’t babysit them forever. Patrick ran away, and there was no one left in the village to give chase. The three apprentices were the only option, other than the strange green creature and its skeletal companion, who seemed more concerned about spending her time somewhere below the Cabin on the Cliff.
“Only one thing left to do,” Frode said as he stood from the chair that no longer held a glow. “Keep training.”
He would get stronger. He had to, especially if he wanted to see the prophecy himself. And according to his interface, he wasn’t that far off from being able.
Frode – Level 89 High Shaman Advisor
Constitution, Level 58 – Controls how much health you have and the rate at which you regain health.
Strength, Level 32 – Affects your ability to use weapons, lift objects, and your size.
Endurance, Level 20 - Controls how much energy you have and the rate your endurance regains.
Agility, Level 10 - Controls your movement abilities in battle, dodge, critical strikes, and unarmed combat damage and your ability to resist character controlling abilities.
Will, Level 83 – Affects your ability to tap into health, endurance, mana reserves, and determines how long you can stay in the spirit world and what you can manipulate once inside.
Intelligence, Level 35 – Controls the data you can gather from your interface, the world, and how much mana you have.
Wisdom, Level 32 – Controls the rate at which you gain all types of experience, your crafting speed, and more.
2 statistic points ready to distribute.
With a grunt, Frode allocated his free stat points to will, bringing it up to 85.
“Just one more level. Then I will be strong enough to see the truth,” he told himself. Then he held an open palm to the ground and activated his Grow Staff ability. The earth exploded, and a large vine grew. Frode snatched it as it hardened into a dense wood and set off for the training area.