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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 is an extremely powerful and gleefully sadistic Monster Clown-like Death God, who serves as a major antagonist 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, the primary antagonist, but it is ultimately revealed that in fact, he serves his rival Velther.
|“||The God of Death being killed? Don't make me laugh. Of course I am alive.||„|
|~ Kill Vearn after surviving Baran's attack.|
Also, his role as the God of Death is never clearly defined but he seems to be more of a harbinger than a personification. He is always seen with his assistant Piroro, a dwarfish, cyclopean, demon wizard standing on his shoulder.
With his far from impressive looks and goofy demeanor, Piroro offers a stark contrast with the tall and threatening Kill-Vearn. Despite this, the two are very close, always being seen chastising one another, cracking jokes, cheering and all in all acting like a creepy clown duo.
A clown-like aspect furthered by Kill-Vearn's own appearance: a mix between a demonic reaper and a court jester, wearing a perpetually smiling mask. (In fact, Kill-Vearn owns a large choice of masks, each one reflecting a specific state of mind, with the ever-smiling one being his favorite.)
In fact, it is revealed at the very end of the story that what was always thought to be Kill-Vearn is nothing but a robotic puppet, powered by magma from makai that runs inside it like blood within a real body; while Piroro is the real God of Death, hiding in plain sight as the goofy sidekick whom nobody ever labelled as a threat.
Indeed, in spite of his immense magical power, his short stature hinders him in his role as the God of Death, so he built the fake one 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 is able to talk through it like a ventriloquist and to see through the puppet's eyes, even when in a different dimensional plane. He also can repair it at will with a magical powder, no matter how much damages it takes. The only way to fully destroy the puppet would be to shatter its head, but this would detonate the Black Core hidden inside it. (A demonic explosive as destructive as a modern atomic bomb.)
When Vearn, the Great Demon King, and Velther, the Dark Dragon King, fought for dominion over Makai, he sided with the latter and became his right-hand-man. However, at some point in the past, Velther sent him to serve Vearn as a "truce gift". Naturally, this was not the case and Kill-Vearn's real mission was to kill Vearn with his Black Core should an opportunity arise, hence his codename.
Vearn instantly figured this out and named him his personal executioner, so as to always have him away while 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 Vearn's servants and the demon kind in general.
|“||I cannot surpass you. In terms of cruelty, you must be the number one in Makai.||„|
|~ Vearn to Kill-Vearn.|
But he is first and foremost a ruthless and relentless murderer, as well as a vicious sadist, whose cruelty unsettles Vearn himself. He lives and breathes to kill, stopping at nothing to take down a prey whom he set his sight on. Even worse, killing people interests him much less than watching his prey struggle in vain to escape. As such, he based his entire 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 towards his preys, whom he taunts mercilessly as they struggle and only finish off at the very last second. The more a prey escapes him the more it infuriates him, and he would eventually become hell-bent to get its head. Heaven helps anyone towards whom he holds a serious grudge. He would disobey Velther and Vearn themselves to get his revenge.
Kill-Vearn is a bit of a wild card. While always being faithful towards Velther, he is far too much involved in (and enthusiastic about) Vearn's goal to obliterate the surface of the world, which his lord covets for himself, to be labelled as 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 genuinely befriended its guardian Myst-Vearn instead of using it against them. (Though he is bound to have told Velther.)
He states that he owes Vearn a debt but that he has no duty to protect him against the heroes, and that Vearn's downfall would mean a defeat for every demon in Makai. It is implied that he enforces Vearn's goal as long as it served his lord's interest (and his own amusement), for they could use his plan to wipe out life on Earth like they want. Yet, he might have fully switched allegiance if Vearn were to win his wager with Velther, or switched sides between which one amused him the most at the time.
Powers and Abilities
Kill-Vearn is extremely powerful, being stated to be at least as strong as Hadlar and Baran themselves in their most powerful forms. As Piroro, he displays impressive mastery of magic, being able to cast the highest-level fire, ice and recovery spells, among others. And it is fair to assume that his mastery of magic is far over what he lets appear, given that he always downplays his abilities as part of his disguise. As Kill-Vearn, he only displays the most "basic" spells, to fly or teleport and similar things, but has proven able to concentrate his magic to create fearsome artifacts and "Kill-Traps" that he can trigger at will.
The only trap displayed conjures the hottest flames from Makai 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 is also able to 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 uses either his scythe or a rapier in battle. He prefers using his scythe, especially to hold his foes in place with the blade around their neck and to finish his preys off, resorting to using his rapier in serious battles. Although there are very few warriors able to match his level, he is at a disadvantage when he faces one, since he was never interested to train to the fullest extent of his abilities in the first place. He compensates this flaw with his traps and special weaponry.
First of all, he owns a deck of bewitched cards, each linked to one of his traps, which he can also use to make predictions, or use as throwing blades. Also, his scythe is in fact a flute shaped as a scythe which he uses to play music. By spinning it, he creates ultrasounds that affect his victims' brain. First, the victims hallucinate, seeing mirages and badly evaluating distances, then they get paralyzed and he finishes them.
He also hides thirteen blades in his head-ornament, which turn invisible whenever he lets them out. He uses them to surround his victim and prevent their every move, resulting in one of his deadliest tricks: "Phantom Razor."
Finally, the hottest magma from Makai runs into 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 off and uses the magma inside to turn it into a gigantic fireball that cannot be blocked and can reduce anything to ashes.
Battle of the Dragon Knights
Kill-Vearn appears for the first time after the Demon Army failed to kill their sworn enemies, the disciples of the great hero Avan, in spite of a full-scale ambush. He taunts Hadlar, second-in-command of the Demon Army, for his lack of result. Then, following Vearn's orders, he moves their headquarters of the Ki Gan Joh (Fortress of the Demon Rock) away; since Crocodine and Hyunckel, two of Hadlar's captains who defected to the heroes' side, know its location.
Kill-Vearn notices Hadlar's suspicious insistence to keep Baran, Captain of the Dragon Division, away from Dai, the main protagonist. He borrows a few dragons from Baran and sends them to attack the town where Dai and his friends are searching for weapons.
After Dai defeats the dragons, causing the citizens to fear him for his abnormal might, the God of Death reveals himself and taunts him; stating that even though he is risking his life for their sake, mankind is more likely to shun Dai for his difference than to be grateful.
Having seen Dai fight, Kill-Vearn reports to the Demon Army that the young hero is without a doubt 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. Vearn and his generals then watch the reunion between Baran and Dai, with Kill-Vearn gleefully commenting.
Battle in the Field of Death
The God of Death is next seen after the destruction of the Ki Gan Joh, with which Myst-Vearn was attacking a summit between the world's royalties. Furious at the disciples of Avan for having seen a glimpse of his true face, he prepares to annihilate them with his the power he is keeping, until Kill-Vearn of all people stops him. He reminds Myst-Vearn that should he use this power without permission, he might have to kill him no matter their friendship; and they take their leave.
As the mage Pop is rushing after them, they lure him to the desolated Field of Death where Kill-Vearn prepares to dispose of him. Kill-Vearn uses his flute's ultrasounds to paralyze Pop, but Dai intervenes just as he is about to finish him off. Just then, Hadlar appears, having been turned into a tremendously powerful Hyper Demon, and manages to defeat Dai, casting him into the ocean. Kill-Vearn then attempts to settle with score with Pop, who only owes his life to Crocodine's rescue.
After Vearn confirms Hadlar as the second-in-command of the Demon Army, he tasks Kill-Vearn to get rid of Baran, who defected after his defeat. He manages to find the Dragon Knight and explains to him the true extent of Vearn's ambition, accidentaly cementing Baran's resolve. Since his flute's ultrasounds would not work on him, 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 acidic magma blood. He lets Hadlar fight Dai and Baran, so as to avoid being near the upcoming explosion of Hadlar's Black Core. He later witnesses the protagonists' crushing defeat at the hand of Vearn. He then holds the Shinei Kidan in place with Myst-Vearn during Hadlar's rebellion.
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 Pop in a blazing inferno. 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" and save his disciples, defeating the God of Death and breaking his mask.
Enraged, Kill-Vearn retreats and adorns a new "angry" mask, swearing revenge. He later traps Avan in another dimensional plane to challenge him in a one-on-one duel; under the watch of a robotic Judge, programed to serve as a referee in duels like this. Avan remarks that challenging someone to a duel after dragging them in a dimension they can only escape by winning is quite hypocritical, and engages the fight.
Since the former hero rivals the God of Death's power and surpasses his fighting skills, he quickly gains the upper hand, until Kill-Vearn traps him with "Phantom Razor". He then reveals that he programed the Judge to self-destruct while holding Avan, since "an agreement with the referee is one of the oldest traps in existence," and returns to the real world.
However, Avan manages to escape with a special spell to track down his foe and resumes the fight. Kill-Vearn severs his left arm to cast "Burning Cremation", but Avan survives thanks to Hadlar's ashes which covered his body and shielded him and grievously wounds the God of Death, whose body is set ablaze, only to spare him upon Piroro's pleas.
Kill-Vearn then attempts to use "Phantom Razor" with a new set of blades but Avan, who saw this coming, set one of the blades of the previous one as a trap of his own, which decapitates him the God of Death as he rushes to attack, seemingly killing him.
After the battle
However, Kill-Vearn survives and plays dead, only resurfacing after Vearn's final defeat. He reveals his true identity and allegiances and activates the Black Core within the puppet's head; in order to detonate one of the six bigger ones set by Vearn and deactivated by the protagonists and kill everyone in the surface with the resulting heatwave.
However, Avan cuts out his magic power with a special artifact and the grappler lady Marm kills him once and for all. (In a rather karmic way, since she uses a life-infusing attack that kills by overhealing.) Dai then sacrifices himself to cast 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.)