The Path of the Wild
At the end of the Age of Dragons, the region known as the Northern Wilds became a deadly realm for those who were trapped within its borders. The land itself seemed to turn against those who broke the laws of the Crone, and none seemed to be able to predict when her wrath would turn against them. The tribal shamans petitioned the spirits of nature to come to the aid of the people, and through the art of possession, the spirits granted a new path of survival. This knowledge spread quickly, from Aregon down to Drachen, legends of the shape shifters began to be whispered in taverns and markets. In the distant south, the demon Ravana stirred, unleashing her rukshasa to claim the Greenheart for her own. The people there were hunted, enslaved, and eaten. They petitioned the spirits for survival, and the spirits responded, telling them of the pacts made to the far north. The tribes quickly accepted these pacts, and the Path of the Wild spread even further.
A Shape Shifter chooses an apprentice, looking for someone healthy and cunning. Once chosen, the Shape Shifter brings them out into the heart of the woods, sending them off to survive from three to seven days on their own. While the apprentice struggles to find food and shelter, while avoiding the threats that exist within such places as the Northern Wilds and the Greenheart, the Shape Shifter studies them from afar, ensuring the apprentice does not face any dangers beyond simple survival. The Shape Shifter calls upon the spirits of the region, showing them the apprentice, discussing with them about the various strengths and flaws of the apprentice and how they may fare as a Shape Shifter. At the end of the period, if one of the spirits seems interested, the mentor performs a ritual, sending the spirit to the apprentice. The spirit binds themself permanently to the apprentice, who experiences their awakening. The spirit and the student cease to exist at this time, becoming an amalgam within the body of the new Shape Shifter.
From this time forward, the mentor teaches their student how to adapt and survive. The student must learn how to think outside the box, to find alternate solutions to problems which would normally seem straightforward. When presented with two choices, the Shape Shifter thinks of a third. When presented a problem with no solution, the Shape Shifter makes a solution. The dangers of the Wilds have created this path for survival, and the Shape Shifter learns that one needs to evolve quickly, or face extinction.
Shape Shifters do not cast spells.
Titles: Shape Shifter, Summoner, Wild Mage