Grandmaster Hykel was sitting, ready to take instruction from Barrett, when he asked, “Has Master Alnherr tried this technique?”
Barrett shook his head, “I offered to him first… but upon me assuring him it was possible he said ‘Wait, don’t tell me, I’ll figure it out.’ Which is why he’s disappeared somewhere for the past few days, probably.”
Teran nodded, “It’s not that I don’t trust your efforts, but I was interested in the most experienced people trying things first. Though I suppose I’m the third most experienced Pure Body Temperer we know, after you.”
“Right,” Barrett nodded. “This might take a while… we can do it bit by bit. Each body part needs to be changed… starting at the smallest parts. You should have plenty of practice by the time we reach more critical areas.” Now all Barrett had to do was explain exactly how to do something he did inside his own body with words. In other words, a nearly impossible task.
Barrett’s body was catching up to itself. To where he used to be, and where his soul currently was. If he hadn’t gotten experience with soul interactions, it was likely his soul would have started to decay towards his body’s level… but then again, he wouldn’t have needed the experience if nothing had happened. Regardless, he was able to keep his soul more or less at the strength it was when it returned to his body, and its overall health was better- souls weren’t meant to live in another’s body for years, even when they were being taken care of. Obviously, soulbBinders didn’t want the souls to decay, but that didn’t mean they had positive feelings towards them as more than just tools.
It took Barrett some time to determine what his new experiences could do for him. He couldn’t become a soul binder- only observing grandmaster level activity while he had no basis for it wasn’t particularly helpful. However, he could use that experience with talismans protecting the soul, since he was more aware of what was dangerous. Specifically, he could likely make it much less appealing for anyone to try to steal a soul. He was still limited by his magical power… but if he took a week to empower a single talisman, it could stand up to masters for some time at the very least.
Then there was his body. He’d had some knowledge of the connection between body and soul before, and even some ways to attack souls… and he could definitely improve on that, once his body caught back up. As for using such attacks against ‘normal’ people? Difficult or impossible. The most he could do without actually piercing deep into their body- in which case they would probably already be dead- would be a concussive impact on their soul, maybe throwing them off briefly. Then again, the physical impact would do just as well. That ability would still only remain potent against beings mostly made of soul or those who projected their soul outward… like Soul Binders. Barrett was definitely eager to increase his effectiveness against them. He was cautious enough to know that seeking out more conflict soon would be foolish- they’d already risked so much and come out very lucky. However, the Convocation of Souls certainly hadn’t seen the last of him. Maybe after some other issues were resolved.
Barrett’s students had been without a teacher for too long. Master Hykel could have instructed them somewhat, but not only did he have less experience with Pure Body Tempering… he had been furiously cultivating. Barrett had left behind as much information as he could to guide them, but general guidance wasn’t as good as personal instruction when specific problems came up. It wasn’t bad for students to puzzle through things on their own sometime, but having someone around to tell them if that was what they should do or steer them away from risky paths was something else.
At least Master Alnherr had returned to stay at the Immortal Berserker Sect- and while he was locked up trying to figure out how to have a True Immortal Body now that it had been confirmed by Barrett it could be done… he would eventually be able to teach as well. Barrett also wanted to exchange thoughts with him on various aspects.
All of his students were valuable parts of the Immortal Berserker Sect, but Barrett couldn’t help but want more. None of them were masters yet… partly because time just hadn’t allowed for it. It would be four more years before the forerunners like Rolph to have a chance. The Immortal Berserker Sect had poured many resources into Barrett- and though he’d provided some things for them as well, the best contribution he could make would be a handful of masters… or more. There was nothing wrong with more. However, even if the death rates were lower than the berserk energy side of things… it wasn’t as if they all survived forever either. Some died from failures in training- especially while he was gone- and missions could be lethal as well. Barrett had been lucky to keep most of his favored students so far… and he wanted to keep it that way. For that, he had to be better himself.
For his own training, Barrett had to make some decisions. His taspum armor and spear had been given to Kail, but he still had his stone pits. At least, some of them. Like his own body, they had regressed during the time he was dead… or rather it might be more correct to say ‘as part of his own body’. They were very useful, so of course he would be retraining them as well as adding new ones… but there was the question of his weapons and armor. He couldn’t just pick up any weapon and armor and expect it to work with Pure Body Tempering. Maybe he could make it work, but swinging around a weapon that wasn’t part of him… was almost a complete waste of the materials. Even if he had adamantine, it would be a disappointment if he couldn’t support it.
Grandmaster Quidel hadn’t had any materials that were of much use to him- he hadn’t been extremely reliant on equipment. Not that he didn’t have anything good as a grandmaster- though a good portion of the wealth he’d had on him went to paying for Crenthor’s services. For equipment, he’d had some poisons, daggers, enchanted gambeson… all useful things for others. The daggers were enchanted, but the base metals weren’t anything special. Thus, Barrett’s thoughts of trying to turn them into living metal were immediately disappointed.
However, there was one option. Kail had been looking into living metal. As a resident of the Southern Metal Sea, once the idea had been put into his head he just couldn’t drop it. Kaylani was very interested in it as well. With the power of their clans growing, they gained more influence and contacts and thus more information flowed to them. A rumor had flowed into Kail’s ears, and a couple months after he returned- and was likely scolded for his recklessness- he sent a letter to Barrett. Upon reading it, Barrett found the potential location for living metal to be far too obvious… but also, it wasn’t as if it was something that could be stumbled upon that easily either. It wasn’t a guarantee, but the information was reliable enough… and thus, Barrett was going to make a trip out to visit. Not immediately, however. Such an excursion took time to plan… and Barrett didn’t want to go out before he’d at least returned to master tier. Perhaps in a year or two. Kail would be doing some more verification anyway… and narrowing down locations, perhaps.