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The Shadow

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  1. You never stood a chance. Was that true? Even though the swordsman's words had been lost to Shadow, in his final moments, he had wondered that himself. After all of the promises, the planning, the pain, had he still lacked the power to trounce Orgoth and his army? What remained of Shadows' own soldiers toppled like toys, knocked down by enemies far too big for them to handle. Shadow and his playthings, cast aside for the next best thing. One more floor, one more boss, a cycle in the seemingly insurmountable quest for freedom. The mortal-turned-god, who had dreamed of conquering it all, ha
  2. Exhaustion. That was what this was, wasn’t it? What else could it be? The way that Shadow’s breaths came more rapidly, each a bit shallower than the last. The erratic beat of his heart, sputtering and belching like an old truck’s backfire. Not to mention the fact that his minions, crafted so lovingly out of the darkness, no longer obeyed him. Shadow paused to glance down at his hands, confusion drifting across an expression formed of fog. Such weakness was so pathetic, so inexcusable, so human. “Shadow!” came Orgoth’s call a second time, startling the boss from his momentary hesitat
  3. The Player in orange spoke, lips forming words that barely rose above the din. Only when the Shadow focused entirely on Macradon was he able to discern the words being said. Granted, they made no sense. “What is wrong with you?” the boss spat back, annoyance steadily rising like a tide. These were not the typical taunts, or rallying cries, or dramatic soliloquies; the speech pattern was so irregular. Was he having a seizure? The way his body moved, and his head bopped, certainly spoke to that outcome. Well, if the Player were to fall over dead from natural causes, that would make his job easie
  4. Snarling, Shadow swatted at the golden eagle, sending the bird spiraling backward as he spat, "Ridiculous." The creature's talons had dug into his face, and while its damage paled in comparison to the many deadly weapons, it was still so incredibly annoying. Agitated, the spectre straightened, squaring his shoulders and rolling his neck in preparation for Orgoth's next attack. Then, in the corner of his vision, he caught the arc of a katana as it sliced through a Bloodlust Shackle. "No!" Shadow hissed, whipping to face the blonde swordsman. Those bonds had been his ace in the hole, but they wo
  5. Despite the dire situation, Orgoth found himself emitting a low chuckle. The sound, like the rumble of distant thunder, preceded his response to the samurai. "I do appreciate that, friend." Shifting to Ariel, his gruff voice softened the tiniest bit. "When we defeat the Shadow," Orgoth assured her, "all debts shall be paid in full." "When you defeat me?" The boss, who had focused his attention on the shackled players, now turned back to his oldest enemy. "You're getting cocky in your old age, cow. Maybe I need to kill a few of your friends, and knock you down a notch or two." The Shadow r
  6. Shadow was having a blast, listening to all the bluster and banter. They thought they had him all figured out. Just more useless Shadowlings, right? Why would anyone bother with them at all. They weren't really any kind of meaningful threat, right? RIGHT?! The villain's hollow laughter reverberated around the chamber, making it impossible to determine whether its source was the lanky humanoid figure at its center or the substance of the outer walls itself. Shadow knew. It was both. He was everywhere now, and these fools thought that wailing away on the tiniest part of him would make a
  7. With a small groan, Orgoth heaved himself back into a standing position. His mind remained as sharp as ever, and that had allowed him to hack at the tendrils holding him. Unfortunately, the surprised trip around the room had battered his still-healing body. Rolling his shoulders, he turned his attention back to the battle, and found himself stunned by what he saw there. Combatants soared like multi-colored birds of prey, a rainbow of destruction with the Shadow at its center. Amid the various emotions roiling within the minotaur, a new sense of pride rose to the surface. While he could not pre
  8. The last remaining shadowlings crashed harmlessly into the field of blades and other weaponry wielded by the gathered host of champions, and were snuffed out like any other nightmare at the waking moment. Orgoth struck his iron axes resoundingly several more times before standing in the ruined and largely vacant chamber. There was nothing left around them, save a few jagged bits of rock, the ring of stone columns near its centre, a badly broken floor and the hovering crown of lights above. Even the outer walls were gone, having been swallowed by the flood of liquid bad sloshing vertically a
  9. ♪ ♪ [Resurgence of the Light] ♪ ♪ Darkness faltered as the ranks of Shadowlings broke, felled by spear, axe, blade and perseverance. Only a handful remained, rallying up against the thick, black, soup-like substance gathering at the light’s edge. Undulating as it spread, like sinister, gravity-defying and malevolent molasses, the liquid layer quickly consumed the inner walls and ceiling entirely. It had already taken everything that once lay beyond, including their friends and loved ones. All could all sense it seething with Shadow’s will. An endless sea of forgotten faces pressed a
  10. The shadowlings had never been exceptionally powerful. On the contrary, they were quite “squishy” when compared to past enemies faced on the Frontlines; one might stumble upon a more frightening foe while wandering a beginner-level floor. No, the shadowlings’ strength had always been in their numbers. The Shadow had managed to construct them with very little thought or effort, and a mere wave of his hand. But now? Exposed by the sacrificed light sources, the players made quick work of the spectres. Beneath sharp blades, powerful blows, and well-placed strikes, the mobs simply disintegrated.
  11. Round Seventeen There were those in the Town of Beginnings who had never left. They had never ventured outside the walls, nor had they climbed the teleport platform. While it may seem crazy, remaining in one place for so many years, they preferred it to the risk of death. They had, perhaps foolishly, believed that they might seek eternal safety within the safe zone. As such, they had never expected that their first foe might be a black ooze, rising from the floor itself, and pooling beneath their feet. On the fourth floor, great chunks of the glaciers had calved away, toppling into t
  12. Round Sixteen It would not be long now. Somehow, that understanding was shared among the survivors. In what felt like seconds, the sea of shadows had consumed the entire meadow, and ninety percent of those who had gathered there. Of the handful who remained, only a couple were NPCs, their eyes wide, their lack of understanding clear on their faces. When had they stopped computing what was truly happening? Had they ever fully understood, or had they simply run due to some programmed flee function? Truth be told, the mingled shock and confusion also lingered on the faces of most player
  13. Most of those present sprang into action, while the balance stared vacantly upon pulsing and thriving illumination. Weariness was setting in, even as the gathered host fought on, culling the field of its dwindling, nightmarish remnants. High above, gathered lights infused with hopes and dreams continued to rise and spread, forcing the ink of night to retreat and seep back beyond the walls. The nascent star settled overhead, banishing darkness' broken siege to expose the ruined edges of the chamber once more. Shadow's tide was receding, and his rage was palpable in the air. Rabid minio
  14. Round Fifteen Around him, the gathered players and NPCs shifted. For the slightest, most hopeful moment, Benovault thought that he had finally reached them. Perhaps they were gathering their things, and once more trudging forward, even begrudgingly. Instead, when he turned to address them once more, he came face to face with the angriest woman he had ever seen. No, anger was hardly the word for it. To call the expression she wore anger might be to call the Pacific Ocean a puddle. It did nothing to capture the magnitude, nor the depth, of the fury rolling off of her in waves. Benovault tho
  15. It all happened in wonderfully smooth sequence. Players produced more glowstones, distributing them to allies without missing a beat. Then their new handlers hurled the stones downward, not unlike children tossing bang-snaps against the hard pavement. Of course, these doled out far more devastating consequences. First, the brunette shattered his stone, the second of the evening, with a cool, collected calm. It was only during the next stone's sacrifice, this one by the party's sturdy tank, that the Shadow took notice. Despite his slight translucency, the horror that crossed his features was un
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