Barrett found riding across nearly featureless plains rather boring. “Is it going to be like this the whole way?”
Master Hykel answered, “Not the whole way. Just for a while. We are in Tornado Plains after all.”
“Are they really common enough here to be worthy of that name?”
“Common?” Master Hykel raised an eyebrow, “Look over there.”
“Umm… am I looking at the featureless plains or… the clouds?”
“The clouds. Or rather, the tornado. The Tornado.” The second time Master Hykel put more emphasis on his words. “It moves around, but it’s always here somewhere. We’ll try to keep it just on the horizon so we know where it is but don’t get too close.”
“How does that work? Shouldn’t it die out?”
“Rumors say that there was a powerful wizard who set it up. Or maybe a group of them. Or maybe it was a giant roc or dragon…” Master Hykel shook his head, “It’s not clear. It’s been there at least a hundred years, and it’s definitely fueled by magic. Nobody’s just sure exactly how, because if they get close enough to find out…” Master Hykel made a sucking noise, “Shwoop. Right into the tornado. There’s usually enough debris and such to grind people to a paste pretty quickly. Even if not, I hear it’s hard to concentrate on magic while being tossed around in a tornado.”
Barrett nodded, then turned his head quickly as he saw something go flying by and over their heads. “Was that a boulder?” Barrett turned toward the tornado that just looked like clouds on the horizon, “Tossed from over there?”
Master Hykel nodded, “It’s very powerful. Chances of anything hitting anyone at this distance are exceedingly low. It’s worse as you get closer, but despite all the risks it’s a popular place for air wizards to train.”
Alnherr nodded, “All good training involved balancing the risks. Too little risk, and you probable experience slow growth. Too much… and you’re dead, or close enough. Of course, the rewards have to be worth the risks as well.” He sighed, “That’s why pure body temperers are so rare. Even at my peak, I wasn’t that much stronger than those at the same tier… and it was quite difficult. I’d like to think I was fairly skilled, as well. Yet, there are only a few obscure situations where my abilities are exceptionally useful, and the could otherwise be replicated through easier means.”
“Except in antimagic or energy suppression fields,” Master Hykel commented.
“Oh yeah, and there are so many of those around.” Alnherr rolled his eyes, “But I hear places like that are more common in other lands.”
“So…” Barrett asked, “What are some of the situations your abilities excel at?”
“Usually situations that it would be best to avoid to begin with. Still, I’ve made some good use of my abilities. Especially against lightning mages. They like to shock you, then laugh as you muscles spasm or your heart stops or your brain fries. Not so much when you restart your heart and grab them by the throat. Well, even against ones who aren’t sadistic it helps control your body where you otherwise can’t. Ice mages also get quite confused when you move muscles that are mostly frozen.” Alnherr rubbed his left bicep, “It took some fancy medicine to recover after that one. In general, moving in ways people don’t expect is useful, or striking with all of your force behind your hand- not just leaning your weight into your blow but actually having all of your force there. People never expect you to knock them into the ground and then flip over your own weapon.”
“Wow, sounds like you’ve been in a lot of exciting situations.”
Alnherr grinned his toothless grin, “Well, thanks for humoring an old man… but I know there are many people who have done more than me.”
“Oh, hey, um… do you want some tooth regrowth medicine?” Barrett couldn’t help but ask. Most people would rather have teeth than not.
“I sure wouldn’t mind, but don’t you need it yourself?”
“I don’t. They grow back on their own.”
“Even your teeth?” Alnherr asked in surprise, then mumbled, “No, that would make sense wouldn’t it. Did you really grow back an arm?”
Barrett patted his arm, “Good as new. Or rather, it was new, so I had to train it again…”
“Wouldn’t that be nice… I couldn’t even dream of affording the kind of medicines that would grow back an arm.”
Master Hykel nodded, “Even the Immortal Berserker Sect, who employs alchemists and has a network of information in that subject can’t necessarily get any of that. At least, not in a short amount of time… And after an injury is too old medicine becomes less effective. In comparison, medicine that recovers scars and seriously damaged tissue isn’t nearly as hard to get as actually regrowing something.”
“But teeth?” Alnherr raised an eyebrow.
Master Hykel laughed, “As Barrett has noted in the past… teeth already grow back once. People just learned to stimulate the body to do it again with special medicines.”
“Hmm…” Alnherr narrowed his eyes, “Actually, you know what? Keep your medicine. I appreciate the thought but… I’m an old man. Going without teeth for a while longer won’t hurt me. Who knows, maybe I’ll grow them back on my own?” He shrugged, “It might be impossible, but then again, most people think half the things we do are impossible. Maybe I just took earlier body temperer’s statements as true too easily. And… if they don’t grow back, it’s not like I will be worse off.”
“Hmm.” Barrett didn’t know exactly what to say, “I can’t say it will be easy to get into the mindset of ‘it’s impossible but I’ll do it anyway’.” He continued walking in silence for a few moments, glancing over at the clouds that signalled a tornado beneath them. He ran his tongue across his teeth. “Hey, would it help seeing teeth grow back?”
“It might!” Alnherr grinned back at Barrett.
Barrett immediately reached into his mouth and pulled out a canine with a sharp tug. “I’ll have you look at it as it grows back. Should take a week or two.” Barrett spit out a little bit of blood. “I can also describe how it feels, if that would help.”
“Haha!” Alnherr laughed jovially, then looked over at Master Hykel, “You picked a good one! I like this kid.” Then he turned toward Barrett, “I appreciate the help… and the accidental inspiration. Maybe I can get it to work… if I do, I’ll be famous! Among a very small group of people who care.”