Rumours have spread amongst Adventurers about strange happenings in the leadup to the Spring Equinox holiday. As the sun sets over Aincrad Island each day, people have been catching glimpses of an armored figure. Hard to focus on or describe details, this figure seems strange, otherworldy, only able to be seen at a distance, unable to be approached, seemingly headed towards the same distant location on the island. Some believe it to be a special event and so plan to gather at the location on the holiday itself.
A boss fight for the Spring Equinox holiday. Though timebubbled to be taking place on the holiday due to my RL schedule making me only available to GM on certain days. All are welcome!
For the past week, Adventurers on Aincrad Island have been catching glimpses of a strange figure in the distance. It always appears in the late afternoon, shortly before the sun sets on the horizon. Seeing this armored figure out the corner of their eye, when they try to focus on it it's hard to see details. Trying to get closer will lead it to seemingly vanish, passing behind objects and never coming out the other side. The figure is always walking in the same direction, depending on where on the island it was spotted. When asked about it, the Landers claim not to have seen anything. Nor do they remember any such similar happenings in the past.
Keen minded Adventurers have been able to collate the sightings and triangulate a destination point: The northern tip of the main island. Given the consistent time of the sightings, as well as the approaching equinox, it has been presumed that it is an upcoming yearly event.
This brings us to the late afternoon on the aforementioned day of the equinox, at the north tip of Aincrad Island. Apart from plains, beach and water, the only thing of note here is a small cliff overlooking the sea. Atop which is what looks like a small grave site. A monument to some fallen hero.
As Adventurers gather, at first there appears to be nothing. But as the sun grows closer to the horizon, a ghostly figure fades into existence standing in front of the grave. The more time that passes, the more detail begins to show on the figure. He's wearing armor akin to a samurai, with the long, slightly curved blade of a large katana to go with it held upright against the ground in front of him. His eyes appear to be closed. Any attempts to interact with him draw no response, whether it's talking to him or trying to attack him, strikes just passing through harmlessly.
The sun continues to drop in the sky. It's getting close to the horizon when the fallen hero suddenly perks up. Opening his eyes, he raises his head to gaze straight ahead of him. Opening his mouth, his voice rings with an ethereal echo, "My time has passed. A life of battle, dedicated to the protection of the weak from man and monster alike. But on this day of remembrance, I beg of you..."
The fallen hero lifts his sword, sliding it in to rest at his waist as he moves into a deep bow, "Current heroes of this world. Lend me your strength and grant me the honour of one more fight."
She also attempted to get the attention of the armored figure when they got closer, but nothing. "I wonder if he's even alive..." She wouldn't believe in ghosts normally, but this is a video game, the rules are not the same.
She was standing a few steps away when he finally 'came to life', and tilts her head, listening to him "What fight are we talking about here? Against us, or something else?" She ponders, waiting for the next part.
Kaydon hasn't seen this event before, but it seems like the kinda thing they would do. Some build up to a boss fight, and then demanding the players face him in honorable combat.
He pulls his blade off his back, and then puts the tip against the ground, bowing his head to the samurai, "It would be my honor to face you in combat. Then maybe you can rest."
But you don't work in a hospital for several years without knowing a thing or two about ghosts. Too many people end up dying in the wards to not have rumors abound of disembodied spirits haunting the halls. As a doctor, you end up dealing with the occasional creepy shadow slipping down the corridor or darkening the doorframe of the recently deceased. It's all but certainly a mere trick of the light, and yet...
For those who believe, those ghosts are all too real...!
Prophylaxis has chased this particular ghost story out of a sense of nostalgia and personal curiosity. It's been too long since those halcyon days when he, the class prefect, would end up getting swept along with some of the local rascals to discover the Seven Secrets of the School...!
But that was then and this is now.
"Oho...! It's one of /those/ spirits...!" The good doctor smiles a wicked smile and rubs contemplatively at his chin. "The ancient warrior, risen from the grave to enjoy one last battle...! Very well! I will grant you this honor!"
Pro looks at the others meaningfully, nods, and then says: "Alright one of you tank this guy, I'm about as squishy as a softboiled egg."
If you answered yes to one of these, or likely all of these, then you know exactly why Shiruba is here.
This wasn't the only ominous vision she's dealt with today, but this one is the more immeadiate of matters to investigate. She will worry about the spooky premonitions and callings coming from the creepy misty gemstone afterwards.
Right now here we are, at this mysterious grave at a far point of the land, and the evening start to set in. Shiruba had been prowling around the spot, trying to see if the grave was some manner of secret entrance or something, only to scrabble back with a start when the figure finally started to come into ... focus for lack of better words.
The wolfgirl does recover quickly, ears tilting forward to listen to the spectral knight's comments. "With a history like that, it sounds like he wants his last act to ensure the world is well looked after in his absence beyond it." She pulls her bow at and readies it, runes carved into the arms glimmering faintly... and then steps a bit closer to and slightly behind Kaydon. She knows her place is not on the front line of a fight for the most part. Then jabs a thumb at the armored gnoll as she responds to Prophy. "That's what he's for, Doc."
Look, let's be honest, mysterious ghostly figure rumors sounded like a seasonal event to Dare, and that makes it worth checking out. Whether his skills would be of any use? No matter, he just wanted to see what was going on. He's been hanging around the area for a while, thoroughly enjoying the atmosphere and mood-building as the specter took form. And now that it apparently wants them to challenge it, he nods thoughtfully.
"I think you're right," he agrees with Shiruba's comment. "Like a test of worthiness."
He unslings his bow from over his shoulder and also takes up position on the back line. "We'll be honored to take up the challenge!"
Rumors of mysterious happenings interest Mizuki -- the things that are possible yet out of the ordinary may hint at the true nature of this world, and if the playerbase can put enough hints together they may just find a way out...
So here she is. It's been a long journey from town, but she probably met up with others along the way, given the number of people this event has attracted. She's wearing her midnight-purple ninja gi with long red scarf. When there's nothing at first beyond the grave, she finds somewhere to curl up for a nap...
...Only to be awakened by people reacting to the appearance of the ghost. And his request. "Well..." she scratches her muzzle. "As fellow 'warriors', how can we refuse a request like that?"
She draws a dagger. "I don't suppose you'd be willing to answer some questions in return? What's being a ghost like, and why did you become a ghost anyway instead of dying the same way other Landers do?" She gestures at him with the dagger. "I'll fight you even if you don't answer, I'm just curious." She smiles. "Guess it's part of being a cat!" She taps her finger against her chin. "And in this particular instance, the /entire/ adage may well apply, come to think of it... So answers might be good to know."
He'd come to check up on the strange rumours perhaps something was going on related to things the old Knight was seeking. There was only one way to find out.
It does not take long before the warrior appears. Silver Knights helmet gems almost seem to glow bright red for a moment as he looks the Samurai over.
"If that is your wish I shall honour this request."
The samurai simply provides a bowed nod in confirmation to the others as they correctly interpret his request to fight them. His request accepted, the fallen hero stands straight once more, "Thank you." As Mizuki asks him a bunch of questions, the samurai doesn't seem to notice. And certainly doesn't provide answers. Perhaps he just doesn't have the answers she seeks. If he really is a ghost, who's to say that he's actually all there? He may simply be an echo of the past, limited in his awareness of the present. Or maybe it's just a limitation in the quest pathing. Who knows?
"Prepare yourselves." The fallen hero draws his ghostly sword from its sheathe. Gripping the weapon expertly in his hands, he raises it into position. But he turns his head to look towards the setting sun, "We have from the moment the blazing sun touches the horizon, to when it disappears beneath the edge of the world."
The fallen hero looks back towards the group of Adventurers, asking them with a challenge, "Two hundred and forty seconds. Do you have the strength to defeat me in that time?"
The sun touches the horizon, its shining light flaring up as it does so. But it's not bright as the light seems to sink into the samurai. His body quickly changes, taking physical form as he absorbs that flare.
Now standing before the group as a normal man, the fallen hero speaks in a normal voice, "Let us begin." The name 'Fallen Hero' appears above his head, along with a HP bar as he waits for the Adventurers to make the first move.
--- 240 seconds remain ---
"But hey, you do mew! Don't let meow get in the way of your felines."
"I'll stand behind the gnoll, then. This sounds like an excellent plan--" The Fallen Hero makes his declaration. The time limit is 240 seconds. Fine. That works out. "Okay," Prophylaxis declares as his HP bar fills...
...And hucks a fireball right at the spectral ancient from behind a (sacrificial body) appropriately geared tank.
He quickly sheathes the blade and swaps for his smaller one handed blade, pulling his round shield with the other hand, "Alright. Lets do this." The fight begins and he rushes forward, trying to ram into the warrior with the shield and get his attention focused on Kaydon and his blocking tool. He just hopes he doesn't get smacked around too bad because of drawing the attention.
Bringing a hand in front of her, with two extending fingers pointing upward before her lips, even while holding her sword, she seems to chant something rapidly "Let's see if that armor can withstand this, SHOCK!" While it's not the most powerful attack, it should have some penetrative strength against such an armor. A bolt of lighting strikes down.
Mizuki shrugs and rolls her eyes a little when the question is ignored. And then slumps with ears splayed as Prophy takes her joke too seriously. "It was a joke. I've always been curious." Then she rolls her eyes at the 'you do mew' line, and straightens up, seeming to have the same idea as him -- open up with a big ranged attack BEFORE the melee attackers close! She quickly breathes in and spews a plume of fire breath at the ghost!
Boy, it'll be embarassing if fire doesn't work on ghosts...
That bit of strategy aside Shiruba pulls an arrow taunt in her bow, brow furrowing in concetration. Shiruba is counting on the fact that her archery is magically ebued to keep her shots from just phasing right through a ghost. She takes aim and fires what seems to be a pretty standard archery shot.
Until the arrow glows as it whizzes through the air and splits, and there's two of the pointed projectiles hurtling at the ghost knight instead of one!
Tongue sticking out slightly, he takes advantage of the free first shot to take careful aim, and lets fly a single, gleaming silvery bolt that seems to home in on the narrow aperture with uncanny precision!
The battle quickly begins with Prophylaxis making the opening move. As the fireball is launched his way, the Fallen Hero suddenly springs into action, he charges forward, swinging his blade quickly. It slices through that fireball, causing it to disperse harmlessly. Briefly removing a hand from the blade, the samurai reaches to his waist and pulls out a throwing blade. A quick flick of the wrist sends it slicing through the air towards Propylaxis.
But the distraction of the fireball gives Silver Knight an opening to attack. The blade slices through the form of the Fallen Hero, leaving a red mark behind. The HP bar drops slightly. But the samurai acts quickly, spinning around and unleashing a counterstrike with his blade against Silver Knight.
Kaydon is next up, charging the samurai with his shield. The shield strikes the Fallen Hero, dropping the HP bar more. But he deftly uses the impact to spin him around, quickly unleashing a slash towards the tank's side where he is a little more open.
The bolt of lightning unleashed by Reika strikes the Fallen Hero with a flash. More of his HP is gone, but strangely enough his sword is now sparking, lightning dancing across its surface. The Fallen Hero raises the weapon and spins. The lightning jumps off the blade at the peak of the swing, launching off it as a crescent of sparking wrath straight towards Reika.
Mizuki's flames engulf the ghost made flesh, quickly lowering his HP a fair bit. But there's a sudden burst of movement out of the flames, the Fallen Hero quickly closing the distance to Mizuki before unleashing a solid uppercut from his blade at her.
The Fallen Hero then stumbles for a moment, three arrows striking him in different points as the archers take advantage of his distributed attention. He quickly reaches up, pulling the arrows out of him, small marks of red left behind. Throwing the arrows to the ground, he raises a foot into the air. Then slams it down. The ground beneath Dareshetani and Shiruba rumbles, before several earthy spikes burst out of the ground in their direction, threatening to pierce them.
-- 180 seconds remain --
Perhaps he shouldn't be distracted. Prophylaxis makes a sour face when the Samurai man CUTS RIGHT THROUGH HIS FIREBALL like it wasn't even there. And then he has the gall to throw a throwing knife right past Prophylaxis' helpful makeshift tank and into his upper arm! The doctor winces and leaves the projectile where it lands, weaving his sorcery into the ground under the samurai warrior's feet...
...To slam a stone pillar right into his jaw from below...!
A bit of blinding may help here, her next attack charging a ball of darkness in her hand, she she lobs right at the feet of the warrior, so it explodes into a black bubble around him, to damage and blind him. "DARK BALL!"
"Oh, I didn't actually." Know that Prophy was bad at that. Mizuki makes conversation and, as she sees the charging samurai, draws a second dagger and moves to catch an overhead slash with her weapons... but instead, he swings for the uppercut! "Ow!" She's sent stumbling back with a glowing red gash nearly bisecting her body vertically.
She needs to put the mysterious samurai on the defensive! Just as he lands, she opens her mouth and ROARS! It's not a damaging attack, but maybe it'll distract him enough that someone else's attack can catch him off-guard...
She's quick to roll back onto her feet though, bow still in hand, eyes narrowed in determination. "If this guy wants to see what we can do, then I'll show why I'm called the Howling Storm!" She pulls a sparkling arrow from her quiver, little blue and yellow arcs crackling along the length as she notches it and draws back. Takes aim and fire.
The arrow itself likely doesn't penetrate whatever ghostly armor the specter samurai has, but that's not the point. Not when the magic held within it lets off a chain of short but sharp and staggering bursts of lightning when it impacts.
"Come on big guy, eyes on me!" He calls out, trying to taunt the boss into attacking him and keeping focus away from the others, as he moves back in and swings his shield in a wide arc, slamming it into the boss' side in order to draw even more of his enmity and keep him locked down.
So far there haven't been any mechanics he's needed to dodge, so he's sticking to a standard fight plan for the moment. He doubts he'll be lucky enough for it to stay that way the whole time.
Swiftly nocking another arrow, he doesn't hesitate to return fire, chanting what sounds like a short litany of rap lyrics to infuse bardic magic into the projectile.
"Poison! Spyderman and Freeze in full effect, uh-huh--"
It's all he could think of. It seems to work though. The arrow flashes with a greenish hue and makes a hissing noise as it streaks low over the ground, targeted at the samurai's lower legs like a snake striking from the grass.
"I am Silver Knight of Mac Annu."
A quarter of the sun is now below the horizon as the battle continues to play out. The Fallen Hero is moving quite fast and expertly for a dead guy. If he was anything like this during his life, it's understandable why he was considered a hero.
As the ground beneath him rumbles, the Fallen Hero is able to anticipate the attack, bringing his blade around. The stone pillar strikes not his jaw, but the flat of his blade, reinforced by his own strength. It doesn't do much to his HP, but does launch him into the air.
This presents a good opportunity for others to attack. And they do just that. Reika's Dark Ball explodes around him. The blind seems to take effect as the Fallen Hero closes his eyes. And yet, he doesn't seem any more inconvenienced by this. Mizuki's roar reaches him, even in the air. And Shiruba's arrows does much the same, striking the samurai in the shoulder.
The Fallen Hero finally begins to fall out of the air. But as he does so he flips around to face downwards, sword swept out to his side. As if propelled by a sudden burst of wind, he rockets downwards to a point amidst Prophylaxis, Reika, Mizuki and Shiruba. Just as he reaches the ground, he swings his blade. It strikes the earth, unleashing a large blast that cracks the ground and causes an uproar of rock and stone across a wide area, catching all four in the blast radius if they aren't careful.
'Come on big guy, eyes on me!' Standing within the crater he had just created, the Fallen Hero turns his head towards Kaydon. Yet his eyes remain closed. As Kaydon charges and swings with his shield, the Fallen Hero suddenly swings his blade to meet it. There's a blast of air as the weapon and shield meet. But it looks like shield wins over sword as the Fallen Hero stumbles backwards from the blow, more of his HP dropping. But with a quick shift of his foot, he stablizes himself before launching towards Kaydon. He unleashes a quick series of blows to try and overwhelm the shield-wielder's form and land a strike on him.
Whether he lands a blow or not, the Fallen Hero doesn't stop his assault against Kaydon. It's only once Dareshetani's arrow comes streaking in to strike him in the leg that the samurai backs off. His movements begin to slow just a little as the poison and slow begin to take effect.
The Fallen Hero is then forced to raise his guard as Silver Knight comes rushing in with a rapid series of strikes. The two clash sword against sword several times as the samurai defends. Some of Silver Knight's strikes get through to lower his HP. And at one point the two clash in a struggle, the Fallen Hero responding, "I am... I am..." There seems to be some confusion in his expression. Perhaps he has forgotten his name?
The Fallen Hero suddenly jumps away, his hand reaching for a pouch. There is a sudden puff of smoke, briefly hiding him from view. And out of the smoke, a flurry of a half dozen throwing knives launch themselves in Dareshetani and Silver Knight's direction.
-- 120 seconds remain --
Lightning seemed to have some effect, she still has another move up her sleeve. Slashing the air with both hands, each slice seems to make lightning bolts shoot down right at the armored hero. Not just one, but multiple, a flurry of bolts crashing down for several seconds "THUNDER FURY!"
It's on this quick analysis that Shiruba doesn't make the mistake of guessing his 'Not Fly, JUMP GOOD' maneuver is some manner of Air based attack. So as he dives down the wolfgirl growls and brings her own attunement with the land into play, heaving up a portion of rock under her own feet to launch herself into the air and away from the epicenter of his impact. "CLIFF JUMPER!" This time she doesn't crash into the Fallen Hero's stone protrusions but lands on top of them, leaping from one to the other with her burst of momentum the same as one would jump between mountain ledges.
The wildside parkour allows her to use the Fallen Hero's attack to her own advantage to an extent and run closer to his landing point, while at the same time firing off two powerful shots with her bow from two different moving angles to make them harder to predict and defend against.
Shards of razor-sharp earth surge up at him. The healer is caught seemingly off-guard, stumbling back as they tear into his robes... And dissolve against a hastily-erected personal energy shield. "Too close for my liking," he mutters to himself. But at least he's still alive. The ghost... Is having a crisis of identity. That, Pro thinks to himself, must be extremely difficult. "If you don't remember your name..."
His staff slams into the ground. A wave of bitter cold washes outward, chilling flesh and bone and ectoplasm alike to dangerously low temperatures. Little crystals of diamond dust float in the wake of the frigid wave. "...Then perhaps someone else would...? Surely, a warrior like yourself must have gone down in the history books."
Pro looks to Mizuki then and frowns. Damn, he had to give away his SOCIAL AWKWARDNESS just then, didn't he!? "Oh," he says, nodding. "Well. Excuse meow. Myai mewstake."
His grip on the bow falters briefly, then tightens again as he grits his teeth and draws another arrow, focusing through the pain.
"Shot through the heart, and you're to blame--"
The arrow streaks directly toward the middle of the smoke cloud at first, but then as it disperses and the ghost warrior's actual position is revealed, the arrow curves unerringly toward him, as if magically guided because it is.
Mizuki sees THAT coming, and wants to be nowhere near the ghost when he lands! She does the stance and move to activate Stone Catapult but stumbles as her foot slides over a particularly loose bit of dirt, botching the spell! There's a look of shock on her face as the ghost hits the ground and she's pummeled by rocks shooting up from the ground all around her, gritting her teeth for the admittedly dulled pain. "Rrrrgh..."
He's laid down smoke? How about "No!" she commands sternly, then holds out her arms in a casting gesture. "Purebreezesweepasideobstaclestovictory! AERO!" she hurriedly casts the incant, strong wings suddenly picking up around her and sweeping towards the samurai to blow away his smokescreen and knock his ranged attacks off-course!
He'll launch a savage combo of attacks with his blade trying to force the Fallen Hero back and maybe even open him up for his allies to get his of their own in.
Once the blow passes, he returns the favor, leaping to the air in order to strike with his blade, again using both hands to bring the weapon to bear with his full power. They have to end this fight soon, or else they're going to run out of time, and Kaydon does not want to lose this fight!
Half the sun has dipped beneath the horizon. The sky is alight with an orange glow from the fading light.
The smoke passes, revealing the Fallen Hero once more. Reika's blindness, not that it appeared to do much, wears off and the samurai opens his eyes. He admits to the others, "You have strength, that much is true. But our time is running out. Do not hold back!"
Reika acts first this round, summoning several strikes of lightning. This time the Fallen Hero seems prepared though, quickly jumping from one foot to the next, moving out of the way of each strike just a moment before it lands. Of note, he doesn't not send a counter attack her way.
Shiruba rushes from piece of broken earth to piece. She launches off a pair of shots. The Fallen Hero swings his katana, the blade deflecting one off to land harmlessly in the ground. But the other gets through the defense, striking him. This time he does not pull it out, instead maintaining his focus on defense against the rest of the Adventurers.
The area begins to get colder. And not because of the setting sun. Prophylaxis's spell begins to slowly freeze the area, the Fallen Hero included. His HP is slowly dropping at a constant rate as he stands his ground amidst that growing frost. His response to the doctor is, "Perhaps so... Though I remember not who would know of me. Much of my life is out of my reach, as if a quickly forgotten dream. My end comes... I expect not to see this world again, but for this last fight."
Dareshetani unleashes that seeking arrow, the samurai jumping away several times to try and avoid it. His evasive maneuvers are only partially effective though, the arrow striking him in the chest. But at least it avoids his heart. Though it makes one wonder if it would have matter, given his questionable state of deadness.
Mizuki unleashes the winds against the Fallen Hero. He counters that by shifting his foot back, sweeping his blade down to his side. There's a quick, strong flash as he swings, a roar accompanying it. The two winds collide, briefly stiring up dust and frost, before finally canceling each other out.
Silver Knight and Kaydon rush in to engage in melee again. Silver Knight is first, unleashing a series of blows against the samurai. Like with the others, he focuses on defense. The first few are parried, but Silver Knight manages to get a strike through the Fallen Hero's guard. It cuts into him, while also creating an opening for Kaydon. Kaydon's blade comes streaking down towards the Fallen Hero. He raises his katana to meet it and the two clash. The samurai is forced to one knee, Kaydon's blade edging ever closer to him as he overpowers the slowing hero's strength. Kaydon's weapon starts to cut into the samurai's shoulder, draining more of his HP bar.
But finally the samurai acts, shifting his blade to one side and his body to the other, causing Kaydon's own weapon to slide off. The Fallen Hero jumps away to gain some distance from the group, then turns his head to the almost vanished sun, "The day ends and the night comes. Equal in their splendor." The samurai slowly moves to sheathe his sword. Is he admitting defeat?
Just as the last of his katana enters its sheathe, he quickly pushes it in. A loud clang echoes, visibly pulsing outwards from the samurai. It washes over all of the Adventurers, who suddenly find themselves unable to move. The paralysis debuff icon in the view indicates why. As they struggle against the debuff, the Fallen Hero lowers his stance, hand still tightly holding the hilt of his blade. The look in his eyes is fierce, suggesting something dangerous is coming. He speaks, "Brace yourselves."
Just as the short term paralysis is about to wear off, The Fallen Hero pushes forward off the ground, pulling his blade free from its sheathe at the same moment. For a single instance, there are eight of him. The original, as well as seven clones, one standing beside each of the Adventurers. The clones follow the movement of the original, swinging their blades in one quick, devastating strike that will be a serious blow if Adventurers don't manage to prepare a defense in what little time they have between the end of the paralysis and the strike connecting.
-- 60 seconds remain --
"Well, if you see /another/ world, tell them we said hi!" Mizuki shouts back as her spell... is countered by a swing of the sword?! "Oh, COME ON!" Not that it's really any more powerful than her own ability to use ninpo...
And then they're all frozen in place. AoE paralysis? That IS nuts! Mizuki struggles uselessly against the paralysis. "Ugh! It's /limit/ break, not /liminal/ break! Come on!" Anger and indignation start to fade to fear, though. She may respawn but she's not exactly looking forward to death!
Fortunately, the paralysis wears off before the mysterious ghostly samurai can do... that. Mizuki ninpos up some frost armor... but unfortunately, the clone's relentless attacks break through it! At least the armor eats enough of the damage to save her from outright death... But things are getting dire!
And the sun has almost set.
Mizuki drops her weapons and goes after the samurai clone bare-handed. Trying to grab him, blocking a slash with her arm and taking the hit if she has to to get close. Once she IS close? She tries to latch onto him with her claws, not let go, and breathe out a torrent of flame right in his face with her remaining MP!
The Hero sheathes his sword. A high-pitched tone resonates through the twilight chill, and Prophylaxis finds his breath catching in his throat because--
Because he can't move. Paralysis. Damnit, they're all wide open! The swordsman wastes no time, for he has no time to waste. In an instant, a single spirit becomes eight phantasms, each wielding a far-too-real blade. Prophylaxis sees the deadly edge approach at the speed of thought, racing the timer of his paralysis as it ticks... slowly... down...
The world immediately around the doctor suddenly *explodes* with flame. The reason is obvious: a point blank fireball aimed directly at his own feet. The backdraft carries him away from the phantom swordsman at a speed even greater than the Hero's final fatal stroke. Prophylaxis roars so that his voice can pierce the ringing in his own ears and slams his staff into the earth, "THORN BIND HOSTAGE!"
Immediately, vines lash out not only at *his* phantom swordsman, but each and every one of the other seven assailing his compatriots. Should the vines connect, they constrict and coil, inhibiting movement and...
Should the others manage to counter-attack, those brambles would *burst* into inverted stars of dark energy, amplifying any damage that happens to connect.
"I may not be able to heal a ghost," Prophylaxis declares, "But I can at least mend the tattered pages of history! I will endeavor to find your name, spirit! And if I can't then I'll just have to give you a new one!"
And that's when the paralysis hits. It's a small blessing that she had not actually drawn back on the arrow just yet so she doesn't lose her grip and accidentally fire on someone else with a stray shot when her arms briefly lose their strength. The Fallen Hero makes his cryptic yet artful remarks, and despite being a samurai pulls some wonky Shadow Clone Ninjitsu to be able to strike at everyone at once.
The status effect wears off with just split-seconds to react. Fortunately the winds are just as swift and Shiruba draws on her attunements to whip up a quick rush of air around herself. Not enough to get up a full barrier though and while it buffets the blade it can't entirely deflect the blow, and Shiruba is knocked sprawling backwards, the surge of swirling air the only thing that keeps her from falling over completely with the red DAMAGE gash across her form.
"Well that escalated abruptly." Even Shiruba is having trouble telling which is the real samurai from the flurry of movements, but she does her best to aim and fire one of her explosive arrows. If nothing else it keeps the pressure on the Fallen Hero with a lot of stimulus to respond to, and might give someone else an opening to finish the job.
It's a team effort! Glory for all or glory for none! It's part of why she prefers these events over the PvP ones.
The setting sun, at least, provides a suitably dramatic backdrop as the hyena hunter plants himself and readies a final volley, firing three arrows in swift succession, taking no real time to aim, just going for rapidfire power to finish off the foe. "Good fight, old man! I hope we've given you a worthy sendoff."
Once more the rapid heavy attacks are launched, but will it be enough?
He's trying to free himself, and when the paralysis wears off, he quickly ditches his shield and sword, and swaps weapons. He brings the massive two hander to bear, and uses it to deflect the blow from the hero.
Since he's already got his weapon out, he doesn't hesitate, rushing back in again, and slashing heavily with the weapon as he rushes past, trying to use the same kind of move he's seen in dozens of movies before. This always finishes off opponents in those!
"If you're not going to live longer than the sunset, the least we can do is the send off you desire." Charging up her swords with wind magic, she lets a rain of strikes fall on the Samurai, sword slices coming from every direction, with her moving like a dancer. It's elegant, although it might not be as effective as she would hope.
The clones don't appear to be quite as durable as the original was. Especially as they are all suddenly constricted by shining thorns of light. AoE thorn bind. Helpful!
One clone takes a spout of flames right to the face thanks to Mizuki, the fire burning it away before causing it to explode into particles of light. Another takes several arrows from Dareshetani, each one piercing a thorn in a flash of light. It too quickly explodes.
Shiruba unleashes an arrow against a few of the samurai, sending them flying in the blast. Silver Knight takes advantage, closing in on one he believes to be the original, the two clashing against each other in a flurry of blows. But Silver Knight overwhelms his target, getting a stab in through the chest. But this one explodes too, indicating it to be a clone.
Kaydon goes flying past another samurai, his large blade slicing through it completely. It explodes. As does the one that becomes the target of Reika, whose blade dance puts several streaks of red into a clone and its thorns before it explodes in the resulting flash of light.
That just leaves one more samurai. And looking upon him, it seems that the damage to his clones has translated to him, his HP bar empty.
The sun sets completely.
-- 0 seconds remain --
The Fallen Hero's blade falls to the ground, but makes no sound as it does so, fading away into nothing before it can hit. The hero himself drops to his knees, defeated. His form is beginning to fade away, but the expression on his face is one of gratitude. He looks up at each of the Adventurers, his voice ethereal once more as he says, "Thank you, heroes. I could have wished for nothing more." He closes his eyes, "My battle is now over. At my end, I pass my prayers onto you for those battles you still must face."
The Fallen Hero raises his hand, a light forming in front of each of the Adventurers. It forms into a small piece of leather. A kozane, or scale, which make up samurai armor. Engraved into it is a sakura blossom.
Finally the Fallen Hero fades completely.
Everyone receives a window, reporting their XP and money gains, along with one item: Fallen Hero's Prayer. Appraising it will reveal it to be relatively worthless. Simply a token of the event's completion with the flavor text: 'A battle prayer from an honored samurai, presented to those who successfully defeat the Fallen Hero during the Spring Equinox event.'
Mizuki burns her clone away! "Ha!"
And it seems the others were similarly successful. She watches somewhat... detachedly as the Fallen Hero speaks his last and fades away.
She didn't know him. He may not even have been a person, so she doesn't really feel much sadness.
Her ears rotate around to listen to the reactions of the others, though...
She turns toward the others with a smile "Good job every one. How about some food at the Crescent Burgers to celebrate? I dunno about you, but I'm getting hungry."
She rises, watching the final fading of the Fallen Hero, and takes the glimmering light in her hand. Looks at the object that forms from it. It makes her smile as she turns it over to see the etching on the other side.
It may have no monetary value or anything. But to a pursuer of story and lore, the simple memento of such a finely crafted event means so much more.
There's something in his inventory, and all signs point to the battle having been won.
"...I still can't believe he didn't have a name," the doctor says with a quiet huff. "There's got to be someone, somewhere that knows something about him. Or maybe this is just... one of those quests? Maybe they didn't finish writing it. Or..."
That man's strength was unusual- if he *was* a Lander, then that means he was probably on par with one of the heroes, at least. Then, if that's the case, was he like that one woman with the fans, during the last Wave...?
"I am glad you were able to get your wish, you fought very well."
He notes and he will watch as the Fallen Hero fades away... pausing at the portion of Samurai armour he will pick it up and carefully secure it