It was time. Everyone was ready, the plan was set. King, Shocker, and Death were ready with their [Snipe shot] skills. I dropped my arm, and their arrows flew towards the eyes of the giant. The tanks charged straight in, the mages and healers spread out. It should have been the perfect opening salvo. Except for that saying about plans not surviving first contact with the enemy.
With a leisurely gesture, the giant waved a hand and blocked all three arrows. “[Chain lightning].” As it rose from the chair, it caught the majority of the raid with its first spell. “Idiots. Did you think your voices wouldn’t carry down the tunnel?” It followed up the lightning blast with a flying chair, smashing into and killing Lucy and Spicemix. “Time for some dwarf football!” It cried in glee, drawing a foot back like it was going to kick a field goal with GoldGuard.
“AAAAAAAHHHH! YOU LITTLE BASTARD!” The giant cried in agony after Gold’s brilliant move. Though he only came up to the giant’s knee, a quick sidestep allowed him to use his bash skill against the little toe of the giant. That got us enough time to get in place and start the assault, though the force did send Gold flying back a few feet. “[Static field].” Bad news for the melee, as they would take electrical retribution damage from any attack.
We ended up with a slightly different attack than planned. The four tanks took cardinal directions around the boss, keeping him in a circle filled out with the melee dps. The boss had enough room to take a step and cross the circle, but by the time he was ready for a second step they were able to close ranks enough to keep him hemmed in.
“I can’t use my slowing spells on him.” Ice Queen had snuck next to me. “He manipulates the ice after it has been there for a second, creating armor for himself.”
“Crap. Do what you can, keeping everyone buffed. If you can, channel mana to whoever needs it.” While Ice Queen stepped away, I took a look at our situation. We were slowly taking down the health, thanks to Blackthumb’s multitude of poisons we were able to limit the regeneration. I was worried, as we were only doing about a percent damage per minute. With an hour and a half battle, there was far too much time for tricks.
Coating my blades with a bleeding poison, I got ready to enter the fray. “[Blink][Laceration].” I timed my assault for when he bent over to punch a tank, appearing on his shoulders and plunging both daggers into the sides of his neck. I gave them a savage jerk upward, hoping that I was in an artery, before leaping off and backing away. “Damn, missed.” I muttered at the lack of blood spray. I dropped back beyond the circle of melee, and switched over to throwing knives. “At least he has large kidneys to target.”
“[Lightning bolt].” Just as expected, he targeted the healers. The bodyguard skill was thwarting his plans, allowing the guardians to intercept a blow for their charges. I was unlucky though, as my throwing daggers didn’t have a long enough blade to do bonus damage by striking a kidney.
“Oh this is gonna hurt.” I muttered to myself as I switched weapons. Instead of daggers, I had a claw on my left hand and a katar on my right. Taking a running leap, I buried my claw in the shoulder to hold myself to the boss, taking a strong shock in the process. “[Triple strike].” I gritted out through clenched teeth, punching the giant three times in the kidney with my katar. As he arched his back in agony, I tried to get out before static field could proc again, but didn’t quite make it.
“Sneaky bastard.” He growled out, spinning and kicking me as I was frozen with a half second paralysis. I managed to cross my arms for a bit of defense, but still lost half my health with one blow. “[Fireball].” The spell exploded at my feet right as I landed, leaving me no way to escape.
“AAAAAAAAAHHHH!” I was confused. Instead of a killing follow up attack, the boss was howling in agony. Then I realized that Lady Fisticuffs had finally managed to land a blow to his crotch. The raid sort of froze for half a second to see what happened, as seeing a giant bent over in pain with a spear in his crotch wasn’t a normal occurrence. “Don’t rub it, don’t rub it, that never helps with the pain.” He growled out, before grabbing the spear and dislodging it. Fast as could be, he gave the spear a tug to the side, and when Fisticuffs was thrown off balance grabbed her around the chest. “Just be glad I can’t poke you with my spear.” He snarled. “[Crushing grip].”
“Aaaaaah!” Fisticuffs cried out in pain, as we heard bones creaking under the pressure.
“Dodgeball time!” He cried out gleefully, turning to point at Jess. Just before he threw Fisticuffs, he changed targets. Instead of Citadel intercepting a throw against Jess, GotYerBack was trying to block a thrown body with his greatsword and protect NotABandaid. “Burn them all to ash, and consume the ash in your ever hungry flames. [Pyroclasm]!”
“[Drainspell]!” Cinderfy frantically cast his spell at the same time the giant started chanting his, trying to weaken it as much as possible. Instead of a massive explosion that would have taken out all three people, only Fisticuffs and GotYerBack were killed in the swirl of flames that appeared.
“Annoying gnats.” The boss growled at the melee that kept attacking his legs. “Back off. [Earth stomp].” The force knocked back everyone, and allowed for a circle of stone shards to surround him.
“That’s not gonna save you. [Stone manipulation: Stone grasp].” Holding a hand up, Brock clenched his fist and changed the spell the boss had just cast. Instead of spears facing out, they molded into two stone hands grasping his ankles.
“Annoying mages! Y’all need to just. . . chill.” He hesitated for a second on the last word, and I knew something bad was about to happen. “Bone chilling cold awaits all who dare to trespass in the land of the ice and mists. Planar descent, [Niflheim]!” A blast of magic energy extended outward, and our cave was replaced with a wide open space filled with fog. Cold. So damn cold! Within seconds, the two summons Lucy had that fought against frostbite had frozen and shattered.
A portion of the dungeon has been replaced with the realm of Niflheim. Woe to those who failed to prepare for the extreme cold.
Cold resist > 50%: -5% attack speed
50% > cold resist > 25%: -10% attack speed, 50 frostbite damage every 10 seconds
25% > cold resist > 0%: -15% attack speed, 75 frostbite damage every 10 seconds
0% > cold resist: -25% attack speed, 100 frostbite damage every 10 seconds, 25% chance to freeze every 30 seconds
All fire spells cost 50% more mana and are 25% less effective
All ice spells cost 50% less mana and are 50% more effective
“[Mist stalker].” I watched as the boss turned white, and disappeared into the mists leaving two empty stone hands behind.
“Everyone partner up! Cinder, see if you and the sages can burn through this mist. Someone hit him with a hunter’s mark or locating skill!” I ordered, straining my senses to the max to try and find out where the boss went. It was almost unfair that something that large could move about so silently. Four jets of flame shot into the air, clearing a bit of mist but not really doing an efficient job.
“Pelor, your children cry for your aid. Let your blessed light drive back the concealing mists, that we may see the way. [Guiding radiance]!” I looked over to see Diver praying on his knees. As he finished the prayer, a growing orb of light shot to about 20 feet in the air and started driving back the mists. The view wasn’t pretty.
With nearly a minute to make mayhem, the boss had done his best. Bandaid was dead, her body lying next to Fisticuffs and GotYerBack. Three of the melee group were silenced and had broken bones, limiting their movement.
“I’m gonna pop some heads, only got 20 gold in my pocket!” The boss was singing as he held Cinderfy in his grip, arms pinned to his sides. “[Crushing grip].”
“Gaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!” Cinder screamed, but it was cut short as the boss flicked him in the face hard enough to break his neck. Casually tossing aside the body, he looked around. “Who turned on the lights?”
“[Cage of light].”
“[Marked for death].”
Grandelf and Brosef both attacked almost immediately, while I went ahead and placed a mark to limit his stealth abilities. “Healers, get everyone back up while the cage holds, melee surround the boss and keep him contained.” Lucy called out. “Ice Queen, see if you can deal more damage with a boosted element.” While the raid got prepped, I noticed the boss sitting down to meditate.
“Blackthumb, see if you can set up a few manaburn potions. Changing the plane really took it out of the boss.” I spoke quietly. He wordlessly handed me a few vials of a purple liquid. “Thanks.” I said, coating my daggers in the new poison. I didn’t think the boss would be kind enough to let me strike his kidney again. “[Keen edge][Crippling blow].” Darting in, I tried to rip through the giant’s Achilles tendon. Though I managed to cause some damage, the damn thing was far too thick to cut with a single dagger slice. Using blink to get myself out of danger, I barely avoided his stomp that was going to flatten me.
“Someone with an axe is gonna need to take out that tendon.” I called out, checking everyone. We had used all our resurrections without scrolls for the next ten minutes, and had burned three of our four greater healings. “Fight smart everyone. We can’t afford any deaths for a while.”
“Got a second?” I turned to see Fisticuffs standing next to me, eyes on the boss. “Need a new plan for me. I got a warning about purposely targeting his crotch. Accidental blows are allowed, but the devs warned me against purposeful targeting. They also explained it took me so long because they have a gentle aim assist. It slightly deflects blows, but can be overcome with repeated targeting.”
“Damn. Ok, I guess you should try and target organs then. Do you still have bleeding poison? Great. Liver, spleen and kidneys if his back is turned. He’s got thicker muscle walls than a human, so it’s going to have to be a piercing strike to really get in there and get it.”
“Thanks Whiskers. I won’t let you down.” Charging back in, she wasted no time.
Looking at the battle, we were in a very bad spot. Losing ten percent attack speed didn’t seem like it would be that much, but it really adds up. Add on to the loss of fire attacks from Cinderfy, and things weren’t looking good. The boss was happily launching ice attacks, cloaking itself in a small blizzard to slow our melee even further. As of right now, we had only taken out a quarter of its life.
“[Blink][Assassinate].” I teleported to behind the boss’ head, hoping to sever a portion of its spine.
Damnit, he must have been waiting. The back of his neck was covered in a thick layer of ice, preventing me from targeting it. I kicked off his shoulders, putting distance between us. I dropped back to by King, hoping for some inspiration from him.
“Got any ideas?”
“Poisons are working the best, he seems to have fairly even magical resistances with the exception of ice. I’ve switched to magic arrows and piercing attacks.”
“Fine. See if you can think of something, I’m going to be hitting and retreating.” This was the most annoying type of fighting. I couldn’t get many critical hits with only his legs exposed, and he seemed to be able to sense where my blink would come out.
Ten agonizing minutes later, and I was getting frustrated. I could tell everyone else was as well, and we really needed a change of plans. The boss was sitting at almost two thirds health, calmly taking our attacks and letting his area attacks wear down our main damage dealers. They had fallen into a grinding melee pattern, dropping back every so often to deal with all the frostbite damage his storm was doing.
“We have a plan, but need you.” I turned to see Cinderfy standing next to me. “You can use shadow mana, right?”
“Yeah, what you got?”
“Just come on.” Dragging me away, we headed to the cluster of mages. “He can use shadow. Grandelf, your show.”
“Right, can I assume you are willing to sign off on a drastic new plan?” He asked, looking right at me.
“Massive damage, but our mana will be sealed for at least a minute and a half. We need six people.”
“Do it. No offense, but mages aren’t doing the strongest attack at the moment.”
“Yeah. Well, this will change things. All I need you to do is stand at the point of a hexagon and channel shadow mana into the formation in a controlled manner. The other mages will help balance it, while I go ahead and shape the spell.”
“Just what spell do you have that needs six different mages?” I asked, worried.
“It’ll take too long to explain. Basically we are combining the six major elements into a massive attack. You are shadow, Brosef is light, Peppermint is air, Cinderfy is fire, Brock is earth and I am water. It’ll take 30 seconds to charge, but there isn’t a chant for you.”
“Alright, let me know when to begin.” I said, as everyone got into position. I was closest to the boss. Going counterclockwise was Cinderfy, Peppermint, Brosef, Brock, and finally Grandelf.
“Go.” We all started channeling mana, and I found it to be similar to channeling it to another person. All I had to concentrate on was keeping the flow even with everyone else’s, though they ended up matching my small fluctuations just to keep things smooth.
“The six manas, paired with their opposites. Balance your powers, and unleash untold destruction. [Hyperbeam]!”
While Grandelf was chanting, our preparations weren’t unknown. I could feel a massive magical pressure building behind me, and the boss turned with wide eyes when he saw whatever was forming behind me.
“Lose all sense of direction, for none exist. Lose yourself and all your dreams. Give all to the gap between dimensions. Planar descent, [Ginnungagap].”
Several things happened simultaneously. A blackness spread out from the boss, moving over everyone and seeming to drain off the colors of everything. We all seemed, faded. From above me, a kaliedescope of color shot forward, only to shatter into glittering motes of light.
“No way! It destroyed a hyperbeam?” I heard from behind me, but I was more concerned about other things.
“[Glacial spear]!” Ice Queen’s spell never even formed. Once again Lucy’s summoned creatures let out an agonized wail as they disappeared.
You find yourselves in the gap between dimensions, the Ginnungagap! Here there are no directions, and dark things forgotten by time lurk. You should swiftly return to the planes to which humanoids belong.
Magical mayhem: External magical effects are negated.
Magical drain: Mana regeneration is reduced by 75%
That wasn’t the most important part. The boss wasn’t regenerating health! “Everyone, pile on the physical damage! Magic abilities are useless, but the boss’ regeneration is down!” It took a half second for everything to register, before the melee attacked with a massive battle cry.
Without the power of his regeneration, our attacks were doing a lot more damage. The added on poisons still worked, and his lifebar was falling rapidly. Within five minutes, we had dealt nearly 40% damage! The boss was also limited in counter attacking, limited to physical assault that were easy to see coming. As the battle neared the ten-minute mark, I started getting antsy. “Fisticuffs! We need a powerful attack before it switches planes on us again! Use one of your daily skills!”
“Right. Blackthumb, give me some of that Death’s Knell you’ve been hoarding!” He tossed her a vial, grumbling about it while Dave and GoldGuard made a wall to prevent him from ruining her plan. “Now let me show you the best way to use this stuff.” She said, swapping out spears. This one was rather simple. It was the color of dried blood, and the long head had seven barbs on each side of the blade. She coated it liberally with the poison, and took up a stance facing the boss.
“Alright boys, let ‘im through.” She called, and the two tanks let the boss through. Bracing herself, I saw the telltale glow of mana as it enhanced her muscles. “My blade thirsts, for that sweetest of treats. Come, let him feast upon thy heart’s blood. Strike fast, strike true. Drink till you are sated, then drink some more. Drink until you are carved out of my dead enemy’s flesh. [Gae Bolg]!” Glowing brightly with red and yellow, shards of earth flew away from her feet as she launcher herself in an impossibly fast attack. In the instant she moved, her spear buried itself into the boss’ chest, staggering him. Fisticuffs let go of her weapon, and backed away as he frantically tried to pull it out. The initial strike easily took out ten percent of his life, while the rest was rapidly draining away to the poison that she had applied. Within seconds, the boss died and we were returned to the cave it originally fought us in.
“Holy shit! That’s an awesome spear!” Someone shouted, as Fisticuffs started cutting it out of the monster’s chest with a knife.
“What the?” She shouted, as a magical force tore her spear out and flung her and it away from the boss. The force solidified into an egg with flaming wings inside it, and my eyes widened in horror.
“Is, is that a phoenix egg?” Dave asked, backing away from the heat being thrown off. Before anyone could respond, there came the piercing cry of an angry raptor from within the egg, before it exploded in shards of magical flames. The flaming wings retreated to reveal the enraged boss standing there, opening and closing his hands.
“Impressive spear. How are you going to win when you can’t use that skill for another day?” He asked, smiling. Even though it only had half health, and was showing no regeneration, I could tell the raid was devastated. “Now, who ordered seconds?” He asked with a manic grin, settling into a battle stance.
Bio: I'm a chemist that gave writing a try, and loved the results. Everything is mostly for fun right now, though I might try and get some things published eventually. Certain traits of my daughter have made it into bits of my stories, and she sometimes keeps me company when we both have trouble sleeping.