Alnherr fit in well at the Immortal Berserker Sect. They had been looking for a pure body temperer to learn from for some time, but all of the competent ones were both rare and secretive. The Immortal Berserker Sect wasn’t the type to force people to teach them what they wanted, so Alnherr’s help was greatly appreciated.
Pure body tempering techniques were often inferior to techniques using energy- if Barrett had learned how, he could have destroyed the poison in his body with properly applied berserk energy. Even so, energy wasn’t the best at any sort of creative process, and berserk energy even less so. It was also possible to run out or find oneself in an area where use of cultivated energy would be inadvisable.
Quick intake and digestion of food was not a critical skill, but useful. Fine control of the body could provide a necessary edge in battle. However, the thing the Immortal Berserker Sect was most interested in was healing. Alnherr hadn’t shown that it could recover anything that wouldn’t heal naturally, but Barrett had already succeeded at applying more healing to a single area. That was especially useful at lower tiers- though it could be applied at higher tiers as well.
Master Hykel, as the one to bring him in, was responsible for learning how he could help them. That involved a lot of figuring out what each of the two could do. Alnherr had many questions to ask about the Immortal Berserker Style- and while the details of it were secret, it wasn’t a terribly deep secret. Alnherr was a guest master, so it wasn’t a problem for him to learn about it. Alnherr had rather nice guest chambers, and Master Hykel was there to discuss with him, “So…” Alnherr asked, “You destroy critical components for healing, and if they recover… you heal faster.” He stroked his chin, “It’s both physical and a bit metaphysical, since each part of the body recovers from injury under its own power. Is it physical enough to benefit from increased healing speed? If so, your training could be many times faster.”
Master Hykel shrugged, “We’ll have to test that. However, there’s a limit to how much that can help. For example, even if pure body techniques can be used to heal faster… how much faster? How much of our healing does it actually use? It’s certainly not a trivial amount.” Master Hykel cleared his throat, “That said, even two or three times faster would certainly speed up our training. That’s just not the only factor involved. We still have to train our energy, both in quantity and control. Otherwise, we can’t even achieve a proper destruction… and then we can’t recover from one.”
Alnherr shook his head, “You certainly have a strange style. Even though pure body tempering carries with it some risks, proper precautions diminish those. Yet, you start off with… a random chance to die?”
Master Hykel shrugged, “More or less. Perhaps there are factors we haven’t figured out yet, but it does not appear to be that way. However, after that our fates our in our own hands.” Master Hykel held up a clenched a fist, “Seizing strength always comes with some sort of risk.”
Alnherr nodded, “That’s true. Besides, pure body temperers have more than our share of risks… even if and problems only come about because of a lapse of control or understanding. We walk a hard road… but the benefits we get just don’t match.” Alnherr grinned toothlessly, “But we do it anyway, knowing we achieved what we did with our own strength.” Then Alnherr sighed, “If only I had achieved more.”
“You could still become stronger,” Master Hykel consoled.
“I appreciate the sentiment, but I’m old already. That’s the bane of pure body temperers, even more so than any others. It wouldn’t have been impossible if I hadn’t spent years languishing in a dungeon… but trying to reach the next step at this point would break me.” Alnherr shrugged, “Not that I’ve given up on training… but I’m not going to get any younger.” He tapped his chin, “Not without a moment of inspiration, at least. You wouldn’t believe how much effort it is to try to be younger. It’s nothing like fiddling around with your hands or your heart or anything like that. I barely even know where to start.”
“So you’re… trying to train… youth?”
Alnherr shrugged, “On and off, since you rescued me. It might be impossible, but perhaps I can do the impossible. Soon enough we’ll find out! I am having a bit more progress in other areas, however. Besides that, teaching takes up the rest of my time.”
Alnherr was teaching several members of the Immortal Berserker Sect, besides Barrett. It wasn’t available to everyone, and of course all of those participating were notified of the risks- but the Immortal Berserker Sect already took risks. The particular individuals who were being trained were a few of the more talented youngsters, as well as Master Hykel.
Master Hykel was the only master in the sect undergoing the pure body tempering, just because it might carry some unforeseen risks. Even if Alnherr meant no harm and had no problems himself, it could have some poor interactions with berserk energy. It was better not to risk more masters, and a few years later wouldn’t be too late for others to start if it was working well. Then again, perhaps it wouldn’t be of enough use to justify the time and effort spent. Master Hykel didn’t mind finding out, and it gave him something else in common with his personal disciple.
“So…” Alnherr asked, “How did you find Barrett anyway? It doesn’t seem like his type would be very common. With the… true immortal bodies and such.”
“They aren’t. At least… finding out about them isn’t very common. Maybe there are large numbers of them that have no way to find out- but it doesn’t seem like it. I read about true immortal bodies as I was training here… then when I became a master I decided I wanted to train one.” Master Hykel crossed his arms, “And then I spent ten years waiting for him in a stupid tiny country.”
“I feel like you skipped over something there.”
“Well, I got the idea in my head so strongly… but I really had no way to find one. So I enlisted the help of a seer, and in exchange for a favor she told me where I could find him. She just didn’t say it would take ten whole years.” Master Hykel smiled, “Barrett was worth it though. I couldn’t have asked for better. I mean, I asked for someone with a true immortal body, and forgot to ask for someone who would be a good student, but I got that so…” Master Hykel shrugged. “I wonder if she knew it would take ten years…”