Several days passed, uneventful, but still trying in their nature. Rifa watched Otro, for 6 days and 5 nights. He only ate sparingly after the sun had gone down, but never slept. He sat in quiet reflection, nearly motionless, and at the modern equivalent of midnight on the night before he would return, he began chewing on mushrooms, and took out the mammoth totem inspired by the events that ultimately resulted in his current predicament. He began to feel drawn into the eyes of the totem, as reality warped and twisted around him.
The combination of sleep-deprived delirium and psilocybes was a potent combination, but it's exactly what Hassa had advised Otro to do should he require such a quest.
As Otro saw it, he was lifted into the very heavens and landed on an alien, yet familiar lush landscape. His leg was not hindered, and he could move freely without the use of his spear. He took in the surroundings, but suddenly noticed a presence behind him;
It's good to see you again, Leftie.
You've come quite far. Why do you doubt your position? You have your own apprentice, and your handiwork has inspired thousands of stoneworkers.
There seems to be no end to our running, Master. Our foe is so mighty, all the gods can do is slow them down to let us get just a bit further away. I would offer the Thunderbolt to them if I felt it would justify the lives already lost, but it doesn't.
The man in charge of the gumbo stand, from the festival. Do you remember him?
Yes, Master. Wait, is he...?
Nago. He directs the army you've been running from as though he himself is a god. The Lost Boys fall on his every whim, sometimes literally falling - dead. But you must bear in mind that Nago is the one who actually wants the Thunderbolt. The Lost Boys simply want to be regarded as men according to their people's rules.
...That may explain Sul's disillusionment with his people, and his regression into the same type of society he fled. Master, now that you've told me, what is it I can do?
I can't tell you that. However, I'm not the last to speak with you here. Tell my granddaughter goodbye for me...and goodbye to you, Leftie.
Hassa seemed to evaporate into the air around Otro, when a blinding flash
suddenly appeared and subsided where Hassa had stood. This thing, whatever it was, didn't have a form conducive to being accurately described.
I see my gift has served you well. Grunde and I have kept a close watch on you - your fate is already sealed. Though we're so far apart, we still work towards a common goal. We're made of the same stuff, after all.
My people say you're mad with grief, Mighty Clundir.
What you describe as madness is merely a group of processes attaining balance on your world. The rains fall and nourish the plains and forests, as well as the creatures within them. The fire falling from the sky, the storms, the cool breeze you feel - these are the only way I can be a part of your and Grunde's life. Certainly things are destroyed, torn down...but life resumes and thrives in its wake. If you've ever seen any of Grunde's mountains spit fire, surely you know of the damage it can cause. But have you ever stayed to see the plants flourish in the black soil it releases? It's a cycle designed to benefit new growth and sustenance of existing life.
Your people, they seem to "thrive" in moderation. Your enemies, they seek drastic expansion and control. Thousands of generations after you, they will control this world - But not before you win this war and survive. Sul, the Lost Boy, is a new type of man. His kind will flourish and aid in uniting the blood of all people on the surface of Grunde.
How can I do this?
Why would the Lost Boys prevent you from bringing the Thunderbolt to Nago? You will be watched; there are eyes everywhere. However, they're smart enough to let you do the work.
This is where you remember what your Master has said - Nago is a man who presents himself as more than a man. His charisma and status aid in the illusion. However, he can be stopped. Just like any other man can be "stopped." Strip a man of what power he has, and those who follow him will take care of the rest. You can figure that part out yourself - there's an aspect of free will that's impinged upon if I tell you how to think. What I've already revealed were simple connections of things you already know.
Interesting, O Clundir.
Otro suddenly felt a quaking sensation, as if someone had a hold of him and was trying to wake him up.
Ah...it seems someone cares very deeply for you. I'll send you back to her. Mind my words, Fire Beard.
As had actually happened, Otro passed out and Rifa rushed to his aid. His breathing was slow and regular, and he had an audible heartbeat, but he was impossible to rouse, at all. She tried desperately for hours, attempting to wake up the last person she ever wanted to lose.
Otro came to lying supine, and when he opened his eyes, he found them locked with Rifa's.
I'm sorry, I know you said you had to go alone. But your leg - you can't fight things off like you used to, and the Lost Boys are everywhere.
When I saw you pass out, I thought that was it! It's nearly dawn, I've been trying to get you to open your eyes since you dropped the totem. Otro, if you didn't come back...
Tears? No, Otro had never seen the mighty Rifa cry. Not even before that fateful hunt. It wasn't a common sadness in her eyes. Otro began to understand why she had followed him in the first place.
I didn't mean to worry you, Rifa, though I recall hearing stories of other shamans never returning from their visions...Hassa wanted me to say, "goodbye." We can go back, now. I'll tell you what I've seen...
As Otro and Rifa took the day-long journey back to the amassed camp of all of the plains tribes, Otro went into detail on what had been shown to him on his quest.
When they both returned to the many tribes present, Otro revealed his plan.
I expect it's something to do with cheap rolex watches enlarging his penis while he makes $400,000 an hour working from home.