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|“||The feeling I get when I see an opponent who helplessly struggles like a prey caught on a spider-web… That is a great feeling! Especially the ones who try desperately and realize they are absolutely doomed. Those are so deliciously rare. Once you taste that joy, other methods of killing seem pointless.||„|
Kill-Vearn, the Reaper, is an extremely powerful and gleefully sadistic Monster Clown-like Death God, who serves as a major villain in the Dragon Quest spin-off manga Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai. He is introduced as the personal executioner and one of the three highest-ranked servants of Vearn, but he is ultimately revealed to really serve his major rival Velzar, planning to execute his goal in his stead.
|“||It'd be pretty sad if a Reaper was killed. Of course I am alive.||„|
|~ Kill Vearn boasting after surviving Baran's attack.|
Kill-Vearn looks like a mix between a demonic reaper and a court jester, wearing a perpetually smiling mask. (In fact, he owns a large choice of masks, each one reflecting a specific state of mind, with the ever-smiling one being his favorite.)
He is always seconded by a jinkster (a cyclopean, demonic imp wizard) called Piroro, who usually stands on his shoulder. Far from impressive, playful and goofy, Piroro starkly contrasts with the tall and threatening Kill-Vearn. Nevertheless, they are very close, chastising or playfully teasing one another, cheering and all in all acting like a creepy clown duo.
It is revealed at the very end of the story that what was always thought to be Kill-Vearn is merely a mechanical puppet, powered by magma from the demonic Underworld running inside it like blood in a normal body; while Piroro is the true Reaper, who is hiding in plain sight as the goofy sidekick whom none ever labelled as a threat.
Indeed, in spite of his incredible power, his short stature hinders him in his life-reaping role, so he built a decoy more suited for battles and executions, to use his power at its maximum through it.
Kill-Vearn channels his power into the puppet and remotely controls it. He talks through it like a ventriloquist and sees through its eyes, even when in a separate dimension. He can repair it at leisure with a magical powder, no matter how much damage it takes.
The only way to fully destroy the puppet is to shatter its head, but this would set off the Black Core hidden within: a demonic explosive as destructive as a nuclear bomb. This would obviously doom any who would dare try and everything in their vicinity.
|“||In terms of cruelty, you must be the number one in The Underworld.||„|
|~ Vearn to Kill-Vearn.|
At first glance, Kill-Vearn appears playful and carefree, joking no matter the situation and poking fun of allies and enemies alike, with an exception for his superiors, though his jokes towards his enemies are much more sinister. He speaks with laid-back, faked politeness and tends to jokingly downplay his importance, while at the same time making clear that he means serious business.
But he is first and foremost a ruthless and relentless murderer, as well as an awful sadist, whose cruelty unsettles up Vearn himself. He lives and breathes to kill, stopping at nothing to take down his designated prey. Much worse, what really makes his day is watching his prey struggle in vain to escape, revelling in their despair and breaking their spirit. As such, he based his fighting style on traps; not out of cowardice but given he finds battles and direct kills dull and boring.
Kill-Vearn is very sarcastic and condescending, taunting and belittling his prey mercilessly as they struggle, only finishing them off at the last second. The more his prey escapes him the more furious he gets, growing hell-bent to get their head. Heaven helps anyone towards whom he holds a serious grudge. He would disobey Velzar and Vearn themselves to get his revenge.
Kill-Vearn is a bit of a wild card. While always faithful to Velzar, he is far too much involved in (and enthusiastic about) Vearn's goal to erase the surface of the world – which his liege covets for himself – for just a mere mole. Vearn, who is always cautious with his enemies, trusts him enough to fight by his side. Also, Kill-Vearn helps on more than one occasion to protect the secret of Vearn's immortality, and earnestly befriended its guardian Myst-Vearn instead of using it against them, (though he is bound to have told Velzar).
He states to owe a debt to Vearn but denies duty to protect him. He enforces Vearn's goal as long as it serves his liege's interest (and his amusement), and shares their goal of a lifeless Surface. He desires the chaos and strife that both would cause, and is implied to enforce the one who can make it happen.
Powers and Abilities
Kill-Vearn is extremely powerful, being stated to be equal to Hadlar and Baran themselves at their mightiest, if not higher. As Piroro, he displays impressive mastery of magic, casting the highest-level fire, ice and healing spells, among others. And it is fair to assume that his mastery of magic is way over what he lets appear, given that he downplays his abilities as part of his disguise.
As Kill-Vearn, he only displays the most basic spells, enabling him to fly, to teleport and similar things, but has proven able to infuse cards with his magic to create fearsome artifacts and "Kill-Traps" that he can trigger at will.
The only trap displayed conjures the hottest flames from The Underworld into a blazing inferno that only someone who matches his power can keep at bay; except that the trap lasts as long as it takes to destroy its victim, while a normal spellcaster gets quickly exhausted. And he states that all his traps are equally fearsome in their own right.
He can also appear and disappear at will, as if he came in and out nearby walls; he has access to other dimensional planes; and his mere grasp is enough to melt powerful, metallic weapons into a puddle.
Kill-Vearn is immensely strong, fast and spry, and a deadly fighter, who wields a scythe or much less often a rapier. He greatly favours his scythe, especially to hold his foes in place with the blade around their neck and to finish off his prey, resorting to using his rapier in serious battles. While very few warriors can match him, he is disadvantaged facing one, as he was never interested to train to the fullest extent of his abilities in the first place. He compensates his flaw with his traps and special weaponry.
First, he owns a deck of razor-sharp cards, each linked to one of his traps, with he can use as throwing blades, or even use to make predictions, or. Also, his scythe is in fact a flute which he uses to play music. By spinning it, he creates ultrasounds affecting his victims' brain. First, they hallucinate, seeing mirages and losing their perception of distances, then they can no longer move a muscle and he finishes them off.
He also hides thirteen blades in his headgear which turn invisible when he let them out. He uses them to surround his victim and hinder their every move, resulting in one of his deadliest tricks: "Phantom Razor".
Finally, the hottest magma from the demonic Underworld runs in his veins. Its acidic properties corrode every weapon that wound him, and he uses it for his most devastating attack "Burning Cremation": He tears a limb of and sets the magma inside ablaze to create a gigantic fireball, that cannot be dodged and blocked and can reduce anything to ashes.
How long Kill-Vearn has dwelled in the Underworld is unknown, but he is implied to have existed for many millennia, if not since the Dawn of Times. Also, his role as Reaper is never exactly defined, but he appears be more of a harbinger of Death than a personification.
With the Dark King Vearn and the Abyss Dragon King Velzar, fighting for dominion over the demonic Underworld, Kill-Vearn sided with the latter and became his right-hand-man. At some point Velzar sent him to Vearn as a servant and a "truce gift". Naturally, his real mission was to murder Vearn should the opportunity arise, hence his codename.
Vearn instantly figured this out and named him his personal executioner, in order to always have him away while still keeping him useful. Eventually though, he earned Vearn's trust to the point of being revealed the secret between his immortality. (Probably to show him that any attempt on his life would be useless.)
Since then, he served both Dark Lords at the same time, all the more faithfully that their goals (and his own) were similar. As centuries went by, he built himself a frightening reputation among the darklings (demons).
Battle of the Dragon Knights
Kill-Vearn first appears after the Dark Army failed to kill their sworn enemies, the disciples of the Great Hero Avan, in spite of a full-scale ambush on Valge Island. He taunts Hadlar, the second-in-command of the Dark Army, for his lack of result.
Then following Vearn's orders, he displaces their headquarters, the Sovereign Rock Castle, as Crocodine and Hyunckel, two of Hadlar's captains who defected to the heroes' side, know of its location. Kill-Vearn notices Hadlar's suspicious insistence to keep Baran, the Captain of the Dragon Division, away from Dai, the main hero. He borrows a few dragons from Baran and sends them to attack the town where Dai and his friends are searching for weapons.
Kill-Vearn reports to the Dark Army that the young hero is a Dragon Knight and the son of Baran... a secret that Hadlar was keeping for himself out of fear for his rank, much to Vearn's displeasure. Later, Vearn and his generals watch the reunion between Baran and Dai, with Kill-Vearn gleefully commenting.
Having seen Dai fight, Kill-Vearn reports to the Dark Army that the young hero is a Dragon Knight and the son of Baran... a secret that Hadlar was keeping for himself out of fear for his rank, much to Vearn's displeasure. Later, Vearn and his commanders watch the reunion between Baran and Dai, with Kill-Vearn gleefully commenting.
Battle in the Field of Death
The Reaper is next seen after Dai destroys the Sovereign Rock Castle, with which Myst-Vearn was attacking a summit between the world's monarchs. Furious at the disciples of Avan for having seen a glimpse of his face, he prepares to annihilate them with the power he is keeping secret, until Kill-Vearn of all people stops him.
He reminds Myst-Vearn that should he use this power without being allowed to, he might be forced to kill him no matter their friendship; and they take their leave.
As the young mage Popp is rushing after them, they lure him to the wasteland known as the Field of Death where Kill-Vearn prepares to dispose of him. He paralyzes Popp with his flute's ultrasounds, but Dai intervenes just as the Reaper is about to kill his prey. Right after, Hadlar appears, now being a tremendously powerful Superior Being, who defeats Dai and casts him into the ocean. Kill-Vearn then attempts to settle with score with Popp, who only owes his life to Crocodine’s rescue.
After Vearn confirms Hadlar as the Supreme Commander of the Dark Army, he tasks Kill-Vearn to get rid of Baran, who defected after his defeat. He manages to find the Dragon Knight and explains him the true extent of Vearn's ambition, accidentally cementing Baran's resolve. Since his flute's ultrasounds are useless against a Dragon Knight, Kill-Vearn attempts a direct attack but is quickly slashed in two.
However, Piroro restores his body and he departs, knowing that Baran’s blade lost most of its cutting due to his corrosive magma blood. He lets Hadlar fight Dai and Baran, so as to avoid being near the upcoming explosion of the Black Core Vearn secretly placed in Hadlar. He later witnesses the heroes’ crushing defeat at the hand of Vearn, before holding Hadlar’s Orichalcos Guard in place with Myst-Vearn as their liege is rebelling against Vearn.
After the disciples of Avan storm the Vearn Palace and Dai defeats Hadlar for good, Kill-Vearn activates one of his traps, locking Dai and Popp in a blazing inferno. Popp is holding the hellfire at bay, but it cannot be extinguished, while his stamina is dropping quickly. Kill-Vearn attempts to finish off an exhausted Dai but Avan, whom everyone believed to have died at the beginning of the story, arrives right on time to dispel the "Kill Trap" with a magic-cancelling feather and save his disciples, slashing Kill-Vearn and breaking his mask.
Enraged, Kill-Vearn retreats and swears revenge, adorning a new "angry" mask. He later traps Avan in another dimensional plane to challenge him in a one-on-one duel, under the watch of a robotic Judge, programmed to serve as a referee in duels like this. Avan chastises the hypocrisy of challenging someone to a duel after dragging them in a dimension they can only escape by winning, but gets ready to put an end to Kill-Vearn, nonetheless.
With the former hero rivalling the Reaper's might and surpassing his fighting skills, he quickly gains the upper hand. He soundly beats up Kill-Vearn, who has no other choice than to trap him with "Phantom Razor" without his knowledge. He then reveals that he programmed the Judge to blow itself up while holding Avan, since "an agreement with the referee is one of the oldest traps in existence". As Avan is clinging to his boots, he callously cuts off his hand before returning to the real world.
However, it turns out that Avan filled his glove with magic sand, expecting the wretched Reaper to "sever" his hand and playing along. The powder acts as a beacon, enabling Avan to teleport close to his enemy with a tracking spell. Avan resumes the duel with renewed resolve, and for the first time in his long existence, Kill-Vearn experiences fear. He severs his left arm to cast "Burning Cremation", but Avan survives thanks to Hadlar's ashes imbued with his Dark Fire Aura, which covered him and shielded him, having already saved him from the Judge's explosion.
Avan grievously wounds the Reaper, who is set ablaze by the magma in his veins ignited by his wounds, only to spare him following Piroro's pleas. Desperate and enraged, Kill-Vearn uses "Phantom Razor" with a second set of blades regenerated by Piroro, but Avan saw it coming, and set a blade he kept from the previous one as a trap of his own.
As the Reaper rushes for the kill, he gets beheaded by his own blade and finally collapse. Avan departs without sparing him a glance, coldly stating that no immortal can survive with a severed head.
After the battle
However, Kill-Vearn mysteriously survives and plays dead, only resurfacing after Vearn's death.
"Piroro" reveals his true identity and allegiances, as well as the true nature of the Kill-Vearn puppet, before activating the Black Core in its head. The resulting blast would detonate one of the six bigger ones placed by Vearn, which had been deactivated by the heroes, and kill everyone in the surface in an apocalyptic heat wave.
However, Avan suppresses his magic power with a bewitched feather, enabling the grappler lady Maam to kill him once and for all, reducing him to dust. (Maam kills him in quite a karmic way, using a life-infusing attack that kills by over healing.)
Dai is forced to sacrifice himself to carry the puppet in space, where the explosion would not harm anyone. (He disappears for a while but survives, with everyone on earth awaiting his return.)