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Initiate Auramancy by Devon Kubacki Featured Image

Initiate Auramancy – a LitRPG Adventure

Introduction to Initiate Auramancy

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Initiate Auramancy, a LitRPG Adventure by Devon Kubacki Book cover
Initial Version of the Book Cover. Subject to Change.

Published chapters may be modified at any point up until the story is published as a book for Purchase.

Initiate Auramancy is a novel I have been working on sporadically for a few years now on and off. It follows the story of Eithan Rogers, a young man who finds himself the target of assassins after his mentor does something unforgivable. This story is being published here as a web novel to light a fire under my behind to actually get around to finishing the book. When the book is considered complete, I will publish it on Amazon, and remove the later chapters. I will leave the first few as an incentive to read further, similar to how authors on Royal Road do things.

I’m open to feedback, which you can do in the comments or by messaging me through the means on the contact page.

World Guide

  • The world that Initiate Auramancy takes place in is not Earth. The planet is called Gaun.
    • Some things from our world appear here, such as specific religions, or certain technologies, but they may differ from our world in several ways.
    • I chose to do this to make the world feel more familiar, and to make it more relatable.
  • There is magic in this world, but it is not potent. It is called Aura Manipulation.
    • The common people are superstitious about Auramancers. Many opinions exist about them, but not all of them are good.
  • A very small number of people in this world have the ability to shift to a different dimension, allowing them to travel moderate distances nearly instantly. They are known as Shifters.
    • Limitations:
      • A Shifter is also an Auramancer.
      • Not all Auramancers are Shifters.
        • Shifters are extremely rare.
      • The person shifting must be able to see the location they wish to shift to.
      • A person can’t shift if their mass exceeds a threshold significantly higher than their own body mass.
        • This means people can’t teleport large quantities of goods around the world – the logistics system still requires that the goods be transported using traditional means.
        • The distance people can travel via shifting is limited to a few miles.
        • A person can only shift themself without help from a ritual.
        • Shifters are limited to a few shifts per day.
          • This can be increased with training to an extent.
        • Shifting weakens the potency of aura manipulation.
        • Some Exceptions:
          • Using Aura Manipulation via a ritual can amplify the distance a person can shift, and add other effects to the shifting.
          • Rituals also allow shifting to specific individuals with distinct auras.
            • They can only shift to another auramancer whose aura is recorded in a resonance crystal (Destroyed on use)
            • The existence of resonance crystals is not common knowledge
          • During moments of extreme stress. a person can perform a blind shift, overcoming the distance limit and requirement to see, but not the mass limit.
            • This cannot occur at will.
            • A blind shift has a random destination.
            • A blind shift will prevent normal shifting for a few days.
            • A blind shift completely disables aura manipulation for a few days.

LitRPG Elements

Auramancer System

The Auramancer system is inspired in part by Path of Exile, in that it uses a massive skill tree, levels, and other aspects to signal progression. There is no level cap, and the passive tree expands over time.

Passive Nodes come in three flavors –

  • Core Nodes
    • Foundational aura enhancement nodes
  • Nexus Nodes
    • Advanced Aura-based Skills
  • Chaos Nodes
    • Fundamentally alters certain aspects of auras

Core Node breakdown

Core nodes grant minor improvements to an auramancer’s aura quality, density, or intensity. These core nodes are essential, as they compound over time to massive potential in the future, and enhance the effect of Nexus nodes and Chaos nodes.

  • Aura Quality improvements increase the rate of sigil charge, as well as boost the effect of the sigil. It also expands the safe zone of aura channeling, allowing higher levels of aura use without risking damage.
  • Aura Density improvements increase personal defense to aura-based attacks, as well as boosting the rate of a sigil charge to a lesser degree than Aura Quality. Allocating this node without sufficient Aura Quality will result in damage to the circulatory system. (This may change in the future, haven’t decided how this node works fully yet)
  • Aura Intensity increases the offensive aspects of aura power and boosts the effect of the sigil to a lesser degree than Aura Quality. It is considered a shortcut to power, as allocating an intensity node puts excessive strain on the circulatory system.

Nexus Node breakdown

Nexus Nodes are aura-based skills that allow certain actions that are not possible until allocated. They are defining features of an individual Auramancer, and they are what most people see as magic in this world. It is the aura manifesting in a unique way.

  • Ex. Martial Aura Manifestation – Manifest a weapon of martial origin with a high-intensity aura. Dramatically enhance the aura intensity and quality of the weapon to the limit. WARNING – Aura Intensity manifested beyond safe levels, damage may occur.

Skill system

Reading Guide

  • Internal Dialogue appears in Italics and is surrounded by square brackets
    • [I am Internal Dialogue of the Character being focused on.]
  • All locations are Bold-Italics
    • ex. The Kingdom of Parena‘s Capital city is called Norvanhal
  • Currency System:
    • Staril – The main currency, worth 100 Aurums
      • Starils come in coin and note formats
    • Aurum – A subdivided currency of a Staril
      • Aurums are coins with a 100-pointed star printed on their face. Each Star spoke denotes its value.
        • A 50 Aurum value coin has 50% of the star embossed, and is the largest variant, both physically and in value. It is made of brass, and is called a Auri.
        • A 25 Aurum value coin has 1/4th of the star embossed and is plated, called a Dari
        • A 10 Aurum value coin has 1/10th of the star embossed, called a Avum
        • A 5 Aurum value coin has 5 spokes embossed on the star, and called a Kivum
        • A one Aurum value coin has a single spoke embossed on the star, and is simply “Aurum”


“Excuse me, Damien, I’m ready to pay for my food,” I loudly said to my waiter at the inn, hoping to be heard over the chorus of people conversing amongst themselves.

He looked ragged and tired – it was very busy in the Ganabarrow Inn because of the hurricane. People were seeking shelter, waiting out the storm. As a result, it was positively bursting at the seams. The waiter came over to my table, pulled out my tab, and read the total to me. “You had the venison steak and fries, with a soda, so your total is thirteen Starils and forty-nine Aurums. Would you like a box for your leftovers, sir?”

I handed him the money, which he counted, nodded, then placed in his apron pocket, and looked at me expectantly for an answer.

“No thanks, it would be no good by the time I get to where I need to go – just the receipt, please,” I replied.

“Of course, sir, here you are.”

I took the receipt and put it in my coat’s inner pocket, and braced myself for the terrible weather outside. I silently cursed Nathan for making me come to the capital in this weather, with him saying, ‘It was incredibly important for my training’.

[Hogwash, if you ask me. Yet, here I am.]

After ensuring I was all zipped up in my shoddy leather raincoat and my pants were neatly tucked over my socks, I grabbed my travel lantern, lit it, and began walking to the door.

“You’re going out in the storm?” The waiter asked, his hazel eyes widening slightly as he saw I was getting ready to leave in the middle of the hurricane. I nodded my head and slumped my shoulders a little bit involuntarily.

“I’m afraid so. Important business, and all that. You know how it is.” I said with a defeated exasperation.

“Yeah, that I do. Be safe, Eithan, and thanks for your business! We hope you come again!” He replied, and he hurried along to the next customer beckoning him over.

[I’ll try. That steak was delicious.] I thought to myself and pushed open the door, which was rather difficult with the rain swelling the wood and wind bracing it against the doorframe. I walked out into the storm’s full force and began jogging down the soggy trail of the Ganabarrow Route towards Norvanhal, the Capital of the Kingdom of Parena. Being poor, I wasn’t able to enjoy the luxury of driving a steam-powered carriage, so jogging it was.

Ten minutes later, I was well and truly drenched, and I cursed at my misfortune for having to go to the capital now of all times. There was nobody around on the road as far as I could see, and why would there be?

Suddenly, a bright flash of lightning exploded in the sky overhead, striking a nearby tree and a deafening crack of thunder followed mere seconds later. A large branch, now severed from the trunk, fell to the ground with a damp pl-unk. Another moment later, the channels carved by the lightning in the trunk of the spruce tree began softly glowing, the natural light sigil having been carved into the wood by the forces of nature.

‘Sigilis Luminaris,’ Nathan’s voice said, a memory risen unbidden from the sight. ‘The first sigil man became aware of. A tree, scarred by a bolt of lightning, glowed, standing out in a dense forest in the darkest of nights. It was this tree that set men on the path to harness the true potential of Auramancy.’ One of his first lectures about the origin of carved livewood sigils.

Snapping back to reality, the shock and awe of the moment faded. I shook my head. [That was way too close.] I thought and began looking for more shelter. I let out a slew of expletives targeting Nathan for putting me in this position. What good is Auramancy if I get killed by a bolt of lightning, or impaled by a wind-borne projectile?

Nothing except trees, puddles, the soggy path, and me.

Suddenly, I heard a voice.

“Eithan Rogers.”

A gruff male voice suddenly spoke my name sounding as though it were mere inches away from my right ear. It was partially muted by the torrent of rain and whips of wind that played a chaotic symphony upon the dark and muddy trail I was traveling on. Still, the unmistakable tone of hatred and malice positively oozed with each word spoken.

Fear, unlike anything I’d ever experienced, far eclipsing the bout I felt with the thunderstruck tree, gripped my soul’s essence in that moment. Adrenaline began coursing through my veins, inciting my heart to beat wildly as my survival instincts spun into overdrive. My breathing quickened, and I felt jittery like I had drank too much coffee. That’s when time appeared to slow to a crawl, with individual raindrops looking as though they fell at a snail’s pace, the light of my lantern reflecting off each individual drop.

Another memory surfaced, Nathan speaking a warning, ‘In times of stress, the flow of aura through our veins is unstoppered, and our true power is at hand. But this state is also dangerous. Should you experience such a situation, try and calm your mind, else you risk everything.’

The details of the environment suddenly snapped into focus with the onset of this hyper-alert state. I saw a hungry frog stationed on a lotus flower lilypad in a nearby pond to my left as it launched its whip-like tongue skyward, on a direct collision course toward an unsuspecting dragonfly.

Behind that, the great pine forest danced to the whims of the wind, swaying dangerously to and fro. One particularly ancient tree finally succumbed to the wind, and its bough split, beginning a rapid descent to the ground. A heartbeat later, a squelching thump announced its fate, and I felt the dull vibration of its demise at the base of my feet, the echo of which cascaded as a wave of pressure across the drenched earth.

Looking down, the muddy path bore traces of steam-engine carriages, their tire tracks flooded by the torrential downpour. Flashes of lightning strobed, their forked paths reflecting off the puddles and wet gravel that spattered the road. The blasts of thunder exploded with their arrival, their rumbles temporarily overpowering the sound of the rain and rustling branches in the wind. My eyes arced to greet the skies and their symphony of light and sound, though I immediately regretted it as pinpricks of high-velocity water crashed into them. Each impact felt like a tiny spear jabbing my sensitive sclera and iris.

I averted my eyes from the painful onslaught of water spears to face the source of the man’s voice, a process that felt agonizingly slow in my hyper-vigilant condition. A short distance away, my understanding of reality was turned on its head as I witnessed something seemingly impossible. An empty spot in the air began to warp and twist, like a veil that bent light around itself in mind-bending ways. It rapidly grew into a bubble the size of a man, though each second passed agonizingly slow. 

Accompanying the phenomenon was a low thrumming sound that commanded silence to the tempest above, as it droned a low oscillating harmonic tone. The rain falling around the area seemed to bend away from the spatial bubble like a glass lens, as my mind decided to call it. The moment the sphere reached the muddy ground, the drenched earth simply vaporized in a puff of blackened steam on contact, like when cold water is poured on a hot frying pan. 

Worst of all, a sickening odor of charring flesh that overpowered the scent of damp vegetation appeared alongside the phenomenon. The taste of burnt air permeated my mouth, and I experienced a sort of sensory overload as my brain tried to process everything going on as though my life depended on it. And I was pretty sure it did. My heart thrummed violently in my chest, and I started feeling super itchy as every hair on my body stood on end. I felt sick to my stomach from –

An overwhelming sense of primal danger suddenly screamed in my mind to get away, that this spectacle was certain death. Before I could react though, all hell broke loose.

At that point, a silhouette of an armored man took shape within the crystal-like sphere, positioned as though poised for battle. As soon as he appeared, the spatial sphere suddenly rapidly expanded, and cracks formed around it with alarming speed. A mere fraction of a second later, the strange bubble shattered completely in a violent explosion, creating a wave of pressure that knocked me off my feet and onto the muddied ground on my back. I had dropped my lantern to the mired surface with a dull plopping noise. Time seemed to return to normal at this point, likely due to the trauma to my head as pain radiated from my ears and the bridge of my nose.

My eyes refused to focus, and my vision swam as though I were submerged underwater, my surroundings distorting in unnatural ways. I grunted, and my ears rang a high-pitched tone, the ambient sounds of the hurricane’s whips of rain strangely muffled as I lay in the mud dazed. I tenderly caressed my head as a splitting headache took hold, and gently caressed my temples, before feeling something dripping from my nose. I subconsciously wiped at it and stared at the crimson color of blood on my hands being washed away by the downpour. My ears itched, and I gingerly touched them, only to be greeted by even more blood.

[Not Good,] I thought to myself.

In my muddled state, I remembered the shape of the man I saw in the bubble, and looked over to see him in the flesh standing there. I stared at the man dumbly, or rather, the parts of him I could see, who appeared where the spatial sphere exploded. He was covered in armor marked with the royal crest and wore a sneer of rage.

That wasn’t the only strange thing my overworked wrinkle blob noted as another spike of pain radiated through my skull. His arm was veritably blinding. It looked like a whip made of pure silver light, with a tinge of red where the light met his arm. The tip curved in an arc and hummed in a low-pitched menacing harmonic tone, similar to a Buddhist hymn. The whip appeared to be the source of the burning smell, and my brain reasoned that the red tinge was his blood being boiled into it.

Yet another memory came unbidden, ‘Aura Intensity nodes are a shortcut to power. But they have a dangerous drawback. Unprepared, your body will be unable to withstand the power, and will slowly break down. It is important to find balance to attain true power. Aura Quality nodes are the key.’

[Shut up, Memory Nathan.] I thought and focused on the obviously dangerous man in front of me as best I could.

As the rain fell, it immediately vaporized whenever it came into contact with the light-whip thing the man wielded. Whatever it was, it was extremely dangerous.

[Best not get hit by that, yeah?]

[Good plan, dazed me.]

In the next moment, he spoke aloud, but I couldn’t clearly distinguish what he was saying by the sound alone between the hurricane and my ears ringing.

[Probably because my eardrums were ruptured with that explosion,] I guessed. So I read his lips as best I could.

“For the high crime of aiding the traitorous scum in regicide, king-slayer Nathan Fletcher, who murdered my lord and friend, you are hereby sentenced to death, to be carried out immediately.”

At first, my addled brain had a twisted thought. [Oh good. Nathan killed the king.]

[Wait…Nathan killed the king?! W-Why? How??!]

The man raised his hand menacingly, and a burst of lightning cracked the sky behind him, the blast of thunder following it heralded the danger I was in. My gaze shifted towards the Sigilis Luminaris tree off to the left, then back to the intense whip-like aura that emanated from the man’s hand.

[Aw, I’m screwed, aren’t I?]

“I-” I began to say, but I was cut off the second I opened my mouth.

In the next moment, his hand shot outward at an unnatural speed, grasping my wet moppy brown hair in his normal-looking hand and effortlessly lifted me up off the ground. I cried out in pain as I hung there suspended by my hair, then he then yanked hard downwards, burying my face into the mud. He then kicked me in the ribs, eliciting a pained gurgling grunt. I clenched my teeth in pain, and grasped the area with my arms, trying to protect against further blows by rolling on my side into the fetal position.

That’s when he then cracked the menacing whip’s tip into my calf. Pain, unlike anything I had experienced before, blossomed where the vicious implement impacted my body, and it gained a sanguine haze as my leather pants, flesh, and blood evaporated on contact.

That was the last thing I saw as he once again slammed his foot into my ribs hard enough to launch me off the ground with a crack. My body landed in the waterlogged soil, face first. In my fading consciousness, I felt the sole of the executioner’s boot as he pushed the back of my head down, burying it several inches into the mud, preventing me from breathing.

[I…can’t…breathe,] I realized as I stifled a mouthful of mud into my lungs.

Fruitlessly gasping for air, pain radiating all over, I choked on the musty soil as the pressure of his boot pushed my head ever deeper. My consciousness slipped further and further as my lungs both burned with the foul mixture and cooling from the chilled mire, finding no purchase of air. The cool embrace of the muddy ground wicked my body heat away, and the sound of the downpouring rain was slowly shifting further away.

In those final moments, I barely heard him say, “Good riddance.” before darkness began to take me to my everlasting sleep.

[I don’t want to die!] My mind screamed in protest. 

“What? Noo–” The sounds of distant rain, thunder, wind, the man’s voice vanished, and the world went white. The aura within me had reached a crechendo, instantly activating several natural sigils in my body without my input simultaneously, and everything shifted. Trails of odd light crawled in from the corners of my vision to wrap me in its embrace, and I found myself free of my assailant’s grasp.

I retched, expelling the foul blockage within my airways, and superheated air replaced it, scorching my throat as my lungs bellowed a raspy wheeze for dear life. I let out a shout of pain from the leg wound inflicted by the aura whip, and went into a coughing fit.

Once again, a brief flash of memory, ‘In times of stress, the flow of aura through our veins is unstoppered, and our true power is at hand...’

I tried to open my eyes but found I was blinded by excessive brightness, and then vertigo from the experience crashed into me in the next moment. I promptly closed my eyes and focused on my breathing to get it under control, letting my eyelids slowly acclimate my eyes to the new environment.

[I’m alive! I’m okay. I’m not dead. I’m Safe.] I thought in my head, repeatedly reveling in the safety from the traumatic situation I was just in.

Each breath taken was excruciating, meaning I might have a punctured lung. That certainly wasn’t ideal. As if to answer my observation, I coughed up some blood.

[Hopefully, that is just from some internal bruising or something. But gods be damned, I’m Alive!]

My heart rate was beginning to return to normal, and with it, the flow of aura slowed. With the last dredges of adrenaline consumed, the pain intensified. I shouted in agony as the waves came and went. As it too slowly reached a manageable level, I started looking around.

Overhead, the sun was torturously radiating, greedily wicking the moisture of the muddy soil away that caked my entire body. The ground was dry as a bone, though my hands still sank into its depths. The warm granules helped reduce the cramped feeling from the biting cold of the muddy mixture, and warmth slowly returned. I gingerly flexed my fingers in the sand, squinted my partially adjusted eyes open, and began looking around trying to get my bearings.

[Now…for the next order of business… where the hell am I?] I wondered between waves of pain as I took in my surroundings, still heaving for breath between coughs.

All around me was a glistening sea of sand. Like, full-on Sand Dunes hundreds of feet high. I was situated in the valley of several peaks, their towering height preventing me from seeing very far.

[Where even is a great sea of sand on Gaun? Not even the Celestial Globe at The Grand Bazaar of Norvanhal depicted anything like this. An undiscovered Island, maybe?] There really was nothing but sand dunes as far as the eye could see.

[Hell, the fact that it’s mid-day tells me that wherever I am, It must be on the other side of the world, considering it was nearing ten bells when I was traveling on The Ganabarrow Route with the hurricane overhead.] Then, all of a sudden, I made a startling realization. I must have shifted further than any other person in recorded history. Was this what Nathan meant by our true power?

In disbelief, I stared down at the expelled pile of rapidly drying dark muck that stood in stark contrast to the yellow-white sand below before attempting to stand. My legs wobbled in defiance and found no purchase in the loose ground. The searing pain of that light whip burn on my calf reminded me I should probably not. I compromised by falling onto my rear with a squish and returned to focusing on my breathing. Each live-giving breath was a painful burning sensation where the man kicked. I sat dumbfounded in the baking hot sun, then caught a whiff of urine and something even less glamorous – apparently, I had soiled myself in fear.


Then, I slightly panicked, and tapped my now mostly dry jacket pocket, afraid I lost the bronze pocket watch in the scuffle. Its bulbous shape greeted me and I sighed in relief, pulling it from the pocket. The glass dome was cracked, probably from when the man kicked me, but it still worked. The light tick-tock of mechanical gearing signaled it had survived with only the damaged glass. The time still read 10 bells, confirming I didn’t shift through time or something. At least, I hoped so.

I rapidly blinked my eyes, trying to completely adjust to the light intensity. Then, I flopped onto my back, staring into the azure sky, tears beginning to form at the corners of my eyes. I let out a stressed sigh and dragged myself onto my knees, and slowly started crawling away from the foul-smelling refuse. Which isn’t easy when, you know, your whole body hurts like you just finished a boxing match with a Talsin Ravager and you don’t have anything solid to grasp.

As my surroundings came into focus, I noted two things. First, I was definitely no longer on The Ganabarrow Route. Second, I have absolutely no idea where I am.

The built-up tension in my body suddenly collapsed, as though the puppeteer suddenly cut the strings, and powerful emotions threatened to overwhelm me. Fear-induced tears welled up, and I began to sob like a child.

“What did I do to deserve that?” I asked in a whispered voice to nobody in particular. I was upset that someone was after my life. And how the hell did they find me?

I cried for a while, and then anger set in.

“I didn’t ask for this.” I suddenly cried between sobs. “All I wanted was to live my life as a gods-be-damned carpenter and provide for my family. I never asked for these powers or that worm Nathan to be my mentor.” I shouted to the heavens, my frustrations finally boiling over.

“Sentenced to die?” I asked incredulously. “Screw you! I didn’t do anything. What gives you the right to pass judgment on an innocent man? And You Nathan? Killed the king?! What the fuck man, who does that?” I was fuming. His act of violence came back to me, and I had no part in it.

“What gives you the right to not even listen to my side of the story?” I helplessly exclaimed to the terrifying mental-image of my would-be executioner.

I thought about how the man materialized in front of me with that spatial bubble, a power of Auramancy far above what I thought possible, and shuddered in fear, still full-on ugly crying. I wiped my nose with my sand-coated hands, a byproduct of having a wet body in a dry environment, and noted the blood and snot mix that joined it. That concussive blast did some damage. No wonder I was feeling dizzy and lightheaded, despite having mostly caught my breath. Shifting such a large distance likely had something to do with that, too, but who’s keeping track of all the reasons I could be dizzy? Not this guy.

“The king of Parena is dead. He’s dead, and they want me dead for what Nathan did.” It was a statement. A herald that things will never be the same from here on out. The man who came after me bore the crest of the Kingdom of Parena, and that likely meant I was a wanted man.

[I hope they don’t go after Alice… or dad.] I thought as I started thinking of the last few months and calming down.

After a few minutes of crying, there was a tap on my shoulder. I whirled around, Adrenaline bursting once again through my veins. Aura flared again, this time I was ready to use it. I would not be taken by surprise this time. I let out a guttural roar, tore my wood carving knife from my belt, and pinned the person onto the ground. I held the blade firm at the throat of the individual, blood beading where the knife parted the skin of the person who had dared to somehow sneak up on me with nothing to hide behind for several miles except sand dunes.

That’s when I saw the unbridled fear in his icy blue eyes.

“E-easy fella…” the unfamiliar young man pleaded in an unfamiliar accent. “I-I-I mean you no harm,” he said, his hands raised to reinforce his words.

My eyes quickly examined the maniacal shoulder-tapper for the royal crest, which naturally, wasn’t there. Instead, the man, no, boy had a very tan skin tone, as though baked by the sun above. He wore a garment of sand-stained clothing that loosely wrapped his skin, and a wrap of cloth donned his head. His face was hair-free aside from his eyebrows, which were a dark brown. He looked no older than sixteen.

“What do you want from me?” I replied in a harsh tone, then promptly sniffled from my running nose. 

“N-nothing, sir, I merely heard shouts of pain, and crying, and I-I wanted to see if you were okay.” He then began to mutter something very quietly, “He just appears out of nowhere, wet and muddy as a pig, when we’ve been dealing with a massive drought for months, and he asks me that!?”

[He doesn’t realize that I can hear him.] A side effect of aura rampaging through your veins is your senses are sharpened.

I pressed the blade a hair’s width closer to his throat, splitting the skin further, and blood started rolling down his bronzed throat as a scare tactic. His eyes widened, and I started to say, “I don’t want any trouble either, but I don’t take kindly to people sneaking up on me and tapping me on the sh-”

The boy suddenly shouted, “NOW!

Surprised, I quickly turned my head away from the boy to look around. I hadn’t realized there could be more people. Before I could see my assailant, I was promptly clocked in the head with something hard, and down I went, out cold.

My last thought before darkness took me was, [I can’t. I’m done with today.]

In the darkness, a haze began to gather, and the familiar shape of the Sigilis Luminaris tree slid into focus. Then the prompts appeared in the experience log.

{Congratulations, Eithan Rogers. You survived the assassination attempt from the Kingdom of Parena! +1000 EXP.}

{You’ve leveled up! Allocate points on the Tree of Terminus?}

(YES) – (NO)

I selected No, I needed real rest. And it’s not like I can force myself awake after being clocked in the head. The vision of the tree faded to black, and dreams took me.

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