Description: Maru has been catnapped! Who's going to save her!? The EE GM team of course! As regular players, how will they fight to save her? Their kill commands won't work here...


Additional Information:

Hello all, MeruMeru here. Here is my sample short story for you. If you want to write about a boss battle as well for your submission, please feel free! Keep in mind that your submission can be about anything within EE-doesn't have to be a boss battle.

This idea has been running around in my head, so I wanted to write it down either way...

And yes, I did make a joke about the 'inner divine,' haha. Also, can you catch the other joke wrap I used? ;3

EE GM's and items referenced/skills used: (Not all of their items, nor all of their skills were referenced.)

-[GM]Exia(Templar) [Halo, Lightning Halo] / [Protective Shield, Lightning Wave, Light Shield, Judgement Impact]

-[GM]Obspho(Samurai) [Wings of Eternal Light] / [Purgatory, Asura Slash]

-[GM]aiMBackwards(Mage) [Wings of Eternal Light] / [Hell Fire, Fireball, Fusion Reaction]]

-[GM]Nyago(Ranger) [Baret] / [Meteor Shower]

-[GM]Pizza(Cleric) [Butterfly Wings] / [Purifying Wind, Light's Sanction, Hard Truth, Divine Light]

And raaaaage, I hate that Fanfiction won't let you put in proper indentation...


Biggest song inspirations:

Two Steps From Hell: United We Stand, Divided We Fall
Two Steps From Hell: Strength of a Thousand Men
Two Steps From Hell: Archangel

Enjoy, and good luck with your entries!


Fight for Maru!

"It's too quiet," came the tiny, shivering voice of a zumi. She pattered along behind her four companions, chattering her teeth with her arms folded across her chest. "And cold…"

"Maybe if you'd grown a bit more and had some meat on you, you wouldn't be so cold," one of her companions, a golden samurai, gave her a teasing sideways grin from up ahead. The rodent puffed her reddening cheeks in response.

"That's not funny, Obs!"

Chuckles came from the rest of the crew. Black bats clinging to stalactites overhead oscillated in unison, beady eyes warily watching the travelers as they neared the next turn of the glacial cave. The slight jabber from the beasts attracted the attention of the group's leader: a tall, light-haired templar with an acute gaze of carmine. He halted to study them for a moment, the rest of the group following suit to chase his stare.

"What is it, Exia?" the samurai spoke again, shifting his weight and placing a hand upon the hilt of the katana hitched at his hip.

The company's cleric, an olive-haired man with wings not unlike that of a brush-foot butterfly, tilted his head and commented, "They're in the light!"

"Exactly, Pizza," Exia responded, turning his eyes to their path onward with a cautious glance, "The further we head that way, the darker it's going to get. That's where these little guys should be, but they chose to perch in a lighter portion of the cave, and that's why they're so restless." The babble overhead rose in volume with each passing second, and the templar moved one hand to his belt, unclipping from it a small, oval-shaped chakram adorned with lightning symbols. "The monster we're looking for must be up ahead. Stay on your guard."

"That's where we'll find Maru!" the zumi exclaimed, holding a paw in front of her face. She clenched it with a determined look and extended her tiny arm forward. Small bits of fire magic swirled around her claws, and with a stomp of her foot, a pint-sized teakwood staff materialized in a burst of flames before her. With a single motion, she clutched it in her fist and proceeded to sprint down the path to darkness.

"Mia, wait!" Exia sighed and bolted after her, followed closely by the rest. Before too long, the pathway was enveloped by the shadows as they went, and the only light to guide them was the dimly glowing halo suspended atop Exia's head. In a few moment's time, the group closed in on their runaway, whom had halted.

"The way…opens up here," Mia quietly squeaked as they stopped beside her, "I feel it…I can hear it breathing."

"Mia, Obspho, a little assistance with light? We may as well find it before it finds us," came the voice of the company's ranger, Nyago. He briskly adjusted the sapphire-hued baret atop his head and reached for the bow at his back, notching three arrows and pointing them towards the unknown, closing one eye in concentration. As soon as he could see, he was going to shoot.

The samurai and tiny mage nodded in unison, bringing their hands together in front of their bodies. Light magic sparked from the both of them, and in a flash of holy energy, tentacle-like wings aglow of soft brilliance undulated slowly at their backs, sending dancing shadows to the walls nearby.

It didn't work; the range of sight was a few feet more at best. The darkness seemed so overbearing and ravenous that it appeared to feed upon the flecks of light on the heavy ice as they watched, consuming it bit by bit. Soon, it would seem the group would be engrossed in an even heavier blackness. A slight breeze found its way to them, chillier than before. After it came another, slightly harsher blast, laced with a considerable malicious presence. The zumi flinched, wide-eyed, peering into the darkness. She took a single step back.

"Something's happening!"

"Brace yourselves!" Exia's voice was drowned by an abrupt deafening roar of wind that blotted out both light and sound, thunderous in the confines of the reverberating walls of the ice cave. The templar reached out to wrap one arm around the zumi as he was forced to his knees, using the other arm to hold on to a ragged stalagmite as they both ducked their heads to the floor. The others did the same. Nyago yelled into the howling blast, managing to send off his arrows before he too, was brought to the ground. Two of the arrows instantaneously broke apart in the gale, but one managed to whisk into the darkness, the cloudy green glow of the poison shaft disappearing into nothingness.

As the distinct whir of the arrow died, as did everything else. The wind became choked then altogether ceased, and an uneasy quiescence fell over the room. Shadows cast by the light magic once again littered the area around the group, offering minimal sight.

"It's…over?" The rodent nuzzled away from Exia's grasp and shook out bits of ice and rock from her fur, peering around them.

"Whatever it was didn't want us to leave, I'm thinking." Pizza responded, tipping his head towards the direction in which they came. In place of the path, there was now a strong, incredibly thick wall of ice and rock inhibiting passage. He made a low sound of thought in his throat and directed his attention back into the darkness. "Try a fireball. Haven't tried that yet! Never know!"

"That's probably not the best idea…" the little mage responded, clutching on to her staff for leverage as she stood.

"It's the only idea we have right now, and we're obviously not backing out of anything at this point," Obspho replied, standing. He unsheathed his katana and readied himself, pointing the blade at the invisible threat. Nyago followed suit and notched another arrow. The mouse's gaze drooped to the floor, and she habitually nibbled on her lip before nodding.

"All right, here goes…!" Mia closed her eyes and held the staff before her, shivering in both anxiety and excitement. 'Maru…'

The tip of the staff kindled with fire magic, and she held the shaft skyward and began to wave it in quick circles. The flame pulsated and grew, crackling with the fury of a miniature sun. Without warning, she thrust the fireball into the darkness, the ball of energy buzzing towards the ceiling with astonishing speed. It exploded, showering the room in bright embers that seemed to die early, falling victim to the hungry shadows. There was, however, an obscure shape laying in the center of the room, on an elevated platform of sorts…

"Maru?!" the mage called out, stumbling forward, only to be stopped by the blunt edge of Obspho's blade.

"No."

As the embers cascaded around the form, the fiend they were coming to face finally came to light. Its body was thick, coated in strong zaffre scales that heaved with each breath. Its underbelly was layered with tough leathery skin, and muscled legs affixed with salient-clawed feet were folded beneath it. A great barbed tail snaked its way off the platform, swinging to and fro, breaking apart pieces of stalagmites on the floor below effortlessly as it went. Mounted upon broad shoulders was a long neck of taut skin and jagged spikes. The beast rose, extending its short, tattered wings. A low rumbling growl sounded, and it turned its armored head and bore a piercing maya gaze into the group, parting its jaws slightly to flash the gleaming fangs within. Lodged in one bitter eye was Nyago's poison arrow.

Torreyace, the beast of the ice abyss.

Before the group could react, the dragon threw back its head and roared. Shards of emerald magic surrounded its body and coiled into tiny rune symbols that rippled and shot upward, swirling and coming together to form a bright ball of sealing magic that hung close to the ceiling as it rotated. The darkness in the room altogether fled, the steady light from the runes dancing on the layers of ice crystals that made up the cavern walls.

The room was quite vast; the field was flat ice, save the platform in the center, with minimal stalagmites. The center white stone dais on which the dragon was perched was sloped in the front, painted runes of silver depicting its throne in large letters. The team took in the sight and once again focused in on the dragon, readying themselves for the inevitable battle.

Torreyace had the same idea. The mighty dragon raised itself on its hind legs, only to bring its body immediately back down again, thrusting its front claws into the dais and roaring at its challengers in utter outrage. The beast's tail swung back and forth, stirring up the ice behind it and reaping at the ground. A mysterious wind blew the particles around its body, the magic exuding from the dragon itself collecting and hardening the particles into baleful darts of ice. With a mighty swing of its tail, Torreyace pivoted and sent the gale of ice and wind at the team. Exia's response was immediate.

"Not good!" he yelled, throwing himself in front of the rest of the group, "Behind me! Now!" They obeyed, and the templar reached behind him to unhitch his shield, tossing the previously-held chakram into the air before him. The item spun and reacted, enlarging to nearly twice its original size, discharging flecks of electrical energy as it adjusted. It swung around his body and realigned itself, steadying its position at his back. The lightning markings adorned on the ring sprung to life, jutting out from the surface slightly and rotating to their own rhythm.

"Protective Shield!" He threw his silver shield before him and knelt, smashing the sturdy base into the ice. The intricate labyrinth design on its surface glowed with a blessed light that projected outwards into a semi-circle of defense, enveloping the team with the blessings of aegis. The wind all at once smashed into the barrier, spears of ice testing the templar's endurance with amaranthine waves that came heavier as the seconds passed. The earth beneath them began to shake, and Pizza called out against the roaring wind, struggling to see through the barrage.

"He's not done! Look!"

It wasn't exactly a sight they wished to behold. The dragon's maw was agape in a chilling howl, the ground before it violently rending and ejecting forth an erratic mass line of barbed ice pillars in their general direction -meanwhile the wind barrage was still rushing strong, and their templar's stamina was depleting fast.

"I'll get rid of it!" the tiny zumi shouted, raising her staff, "Everyone in the air!" The barrier was giving away, bits of ice breaching the weak points and pelting them.

"I don't… have the strength…" came Exia's labored reply. He leaned heavily on his shield, straining his will to keep the light magic strong.

"Silly Exia, you forget I have wings!" The team's cleric knelt down beside his team mate and reached under one of his arms, wrapping his own around the man's waist. "Hold on! Ready guys?" The rain of icicles was growing stronger, bit by bit breaking down the barrier to near nothing, and ever closer the pillars of ice came.

"Slightly awkward, but yes. Let's go!" came Obspho's reply. He had an embarrassed Nyago held under the arms from behind, ready to lift into the air at command.

"I'm releasing! Go!" Behind them, the zumi had wasted absolutely no time in preparing. Around her, undulating waves of fire magic pulsed and spit, growing ever more substantial with each swell. The effort of keeping it restrained was apparent in her shaking form as she attempted to hold her staff stable in front of her.

The effect was better than she anticipated. Pizza and Obspho pushed off the ground with their wingless companions, cracking through the last remnants of the shield and shooting through the barrage of icicles, while Mia simultaneously released her blaze.

"Hell Fire!" The wall of flames erupted and rampaged in all directions, melting both the icicle barrage and the threat of the ice pillars in one fell wave, barreling on to challenge the dragon itself. The beast moved to swing its tail in defense as the influx climbed the dais, demolishing the weakened flames with a single armored swish. The dragon seemed slightly disoriented at its quick turn however, stumbling to regain its former posture.

"Now is the time to fight back!" Nyago wrestled free of the samurai's grip and landed, immediately restringing his arrow and firing a shot at the ice beast's throat. It bounced harmlessly off, hitting the ice with a disappointing plop. The ranger growled in frustration and tried another arrow that yielded the same result.

"Let's try this, then!" Behind the ranger, Obspho readied his sword once more and assumed a typical Jodan stance, sinking down and tightening his gaze to scope for possible vulnerabilities. His blade took on a deleterious, jagged purple glow that enveloped the shaft and flicked from the tip in warning. The samurai then bolted at the dragon, dragging the katana low behind him, the glow growing ever more furious as he gained speed. He made a turn to aim at the dragon's side and threw his arms upward, slicing through the ice as the blade followed the motion. "Purgatory!"

The energy erupted from the blade's edge with all the vehemence of a seething spirit, spears of caliginous shadow blasting one after the other straightaway at its foe. The attack connected. The lances of malignant energy clawed their way up the dragon's hind leg, and left naught but a scratch against the tough hide. A single blue scale fell to the white stone.

"Nice one, mighty samurai!" Pizza called, touching down to the ice softly with Exia in tow, "You got one scale! Time to rip off the other six-thousand!" A chuckle bubbled in his throat in response to the cross glare thrown his way, but it was short lived. "Uh-oh! Watch it!"

"What?" came the response, and the samurai averted his eyes back to the dragon. Torreyace loosed a snarl, obviously unhappy with the loss of its ravishing scale, and was already moving to attempt a bite. Even if the warrior tried to take to the air, he'd never make it. Luckily, he had a cleric on his side to act at a second's notice.

"Purifying wind!"

Licks of chartreuse wind roiled around Obspho's feet and soared in both intensity and altitude instantly, the sacrosanct tornado connecting with the bottom of the dragon's jaw and sending it backwards. The mighty beast stumbled and fell awkwardly to one side, sliding down the surface of the dais to meet the ice below.

"And that's how the dragon falls," the cleric sang, rubbing his hands together as the rest of the group groaned. Obspho took back to the air, making his way to them and grounding once again near Exia. The templar answered the unvoiced question, rising to his feet with a grunt.

"I'm okay. Nice move, Pizza." He took the shield again to his arm, eyes never straying from the beast. "It's not done, though."

"We need to find something that works better against it. Blades and arrows aren't going to work obviously," Nyago suggested with a sigh, lightly planting the tip of his bow into the ice and leaning upon it.

"That scale…" Mia pointed a claw at the fallen scale on the stone dais, the gaze of her team mates following the mention, "It's…moving."

The scale was indeed slowly rocking back and forth of its own accord. It began to break apart, splitting into five smaller pieces against the white stone. Each piece began to bubble and distort, growing larger by the second into something unknown.

There was an infuriated growl from Torreyace at the foot of the dais. The dragon was standing now, head high, its muzzle pulled into a scowl to expose fangs. It loosed a roar unlike any previously heard; it was higher pitched, though ever thunderous - almost like a beckon for help. The monster took a single step towards the group, its icy breath coming in short, angry puffs from a heaving chest.

"Fire," Mia said quietly, "I have an idea, but you have to cover me."

"No problem," came Exia's response, followed by similar echoes from the rest of the group.

"Let's just hope it works." She took a deep breath and held her staff abreast, shutting her eyes in concentration.

An odd, crackling moan dragged the group's attention back to the dais. The scales were still morphing-and into what exactly was now becoming clear. The scales began to take on distinct shapes. The morphing masses elongated considerably, and from them stemmed several extremities. The company watched in alarm as the process completed, and before them stood five hatchling threats.

Tarragons. All five of the newly born beasts jumped from the dais, slowly stalking their paths to the prey.

"Well, not exactly what I had in mind," Pizza remarked, removing the silver maces latched to his garb and standing at the ready.

"More fun. Maybe I'll actually be able to kill these," Nyago answered with a grin, docking three arrows.

"We'll see. We have to give Mia time, so we don't have too much of a choice," Exia finished. He glanced back at his comrade. The zumi was rigid in concentration, glowing with an outlandish ruby energy that wrapped around her entire frame. A small layer of fire circled her feet. "I have faith in her. Let's not let her down." His carmine eyes traced the new threats as they came.

Despite being hatchlings, the bodies of the tarragon were surprisingly spruce and muscular. Along the tops of their heads and down the spine was a line of jagged cerulean spikes, not unlike their parent, though their tails were shorter and barbless. A long, angled jaw set with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth met with a short neck that fell to a taut, muscular chest of tanned skin. Their legs were sturdy and long, affixed with flat feet and blunt claws. It was apparent that these creatures were made for quick jumping, and ripping at their prey.

Their wild pearl eyes flashed, and the entire batch of hatchlings began to run.

"Pizza, stay with Mia. Let's go guys!" Exia ran to the meet the threats, Obspho and Nyago gladly joining in. The samurai ran with him while Nyago knelt and aimed his arrows skyward.

"Here goes!" He pulled back and held it, gathering his concentration. The oak wood bow in his grasp began to burn with a lustrous forest green magic, the arrows glistening with energy. "Meteor Shower!" He released them, the three bolts whizzing towards the ceiling of the cave. As if pulled by an abstruse force, the arrow tips deviated, quickly curving and hastening towards the targets, gaining a considerable amount of speed on the descent. Four of the tarragon managed to narrowly escape the ruthless bolts, though one was unluckily caught and fastened to the ice by its tail and front foot. It yowled in pain. The other beasts snarled and started for the ranger.

Exia was one step ahead of them. He watched as Obpsho moved in to finish off the handicapped tarragon, and ran to push himself in between the ranger and beasts. He sprinted and jumped, raising his hands high above his head and clasping them together. From his fists shone a brilliant holy magic that loosed outward in a bright burst, then fused together to form a prodigious flat-headed instrument of the divine. He grasped it and brought his arms down to smash the earth between the spawns and Nyago. The instrument exploded into a thunderous wave of blessed energy on impact, crashing over the beasts and forcing them to the ground. "Lightning Wave!"

Between the combination of the templar's knockdown and an apt Asura Slash followed by a second Meteor Shower from the samurai and ranger respectively, three more tarragon were down. Only one remained.

Their biggest threat wasn't quite the tarragon at this point however - it was the angry roaring ice dragon that was currently bounding in their direction. The outline of its body gleamed with an otherworldly crimson, its good eye wide and ferocious. Mia opened one eye and peered at the rampaging dragon with much apprehension. The zumi was now encompassed in a controlled globule of roiling fire. Auburn-hued runes swirled around the flames, bringing the spell closer to completion slowly with each new letter completed.

"I'm not…ready!"

Without warning, using the distraction to its advantage, the tarragon leaped at Mia. She screeched from within the flames.

"Light's Sanction!" A sharp, luminous lance of light slammed into the side of the tarragon, sending it sprawling to the ground and yelping in pain. The cleric sent another lance just to keep it down for good measure, and threw a glance to Exia. "We have to stop the dragon!"

As if, by some humor the dragon understood, it halted completely. The ominous glow about its body had grown ever more furious, and its eyes were overtaken by a heavy red. The beast's jaw was set in a shaking snarl.

"Get ready!" Exia replied, holding up his shield.

Pizza crossed his maces in front of his chest and closed his eyes, focusing his will on the inner divine. The maces shown with a light blue brilliance, and as he pointed them at the templar, his eyes reopened and he uttered a spell of blessing's Hard Truth. The light jumped from his weapons to envelop the templar, granting him additional strength. His comrade shot a look of gratitude.

"Hopefully Mia's attack weakens it so that the rest of us can finish it off, but for now, defense is our only option!" The dragon reared up on its hind legs as Exia spoke, a dark demonic energy swirling around its feet and climbing up its body. The templar placed his free hand atop his shield and held it steadily in front of him. "So stay behind me for now!"

They all braced themselves as Torreyace's front legs came crashing back down, the magic around its body bursting forth in a rush of red as the feet connected, splitting the ice as it spilled over the ravished area. Exia faced the onrush with determination, focusing all of his strength into the shield. "Light Shield!" The familiar light of aegis crept over the surface and projected forth, forming a large square blockade of transparent reflective energy to protect them.

Torreyace's power smashed full-force into the barricade, reflecting off and spraying in either direction to the sides. With the strength given to him by the cleric, Exia didn't flinch much at the pressure.

"Mia!" he called from behind his shield, digging his back leg into the ice for leverage.

"I'm just about ready!" she answered, then frantically squeaked. "Watch out, the tarragon!"

Exia had no time to react. The previously fallen tarragon had jumped up and once again used the situation and confusion to its advantage, sneaking up on the party and sinking its fangs into the templar's left side. He yelled in pain as the creature set its jaw -and it only got worse.

Torreyace approached even closer as the energy from its last attack near burnt out and roared, smashing its armored head into the barrier with all the force of a raging storm, pushing with its legs.

"Exia!" both Obspho and Nyago called, and in a matter of seconds, the tarragon had several arrows planted in its hide and was blasted away by a well-aimed Purgatory. It hit the iced wall and fell over, lifeless.

"Don't…worry," the templar panted, "Mia, we need to hit this thing now! I can't hold it back for much longer!" The dragon released the pressure and reared back, ready to strike again. Obspho growled and raised his sword to eye level.

"Pizza, bless me!"

Once his body was enveloped in the gentle blue light of blessing, he ran from behind the barrier and jumped at the dragon, swinging the blade at the beast's face. It connected, ripping at the injured eye tissue. The dragon growled in pain and snapped at the warrior, grabbing hold of the katana and flinging him to the ground. It then backed up several steps, shaking its bloodied face. Obspho managed to stumble to his feet, vision partially blurred from the impact, and another screech from Mia alerted him.

"The tail! Obspho, the tail!"

It was too late.

Torreyace bayed in umbrage and pivoted, smashing its tail into the samurai and sending him into the iced wall. He was rendered instantly unconscious and slid to the ground, slumping to one side.

"That's…it!" the tiny zumi screamed, "I'm ready! Let's finish this! Pizza, when I cast…" she started, the seething bubble of fire around her raising her skyward, "heal Obs!" The cleric nodded in confirmation and watched as the templar's barrier crumbled.

"I have enough in me for one more attack," Exia breathed, holding his injured side.

"Let's do this," Nyago agreed, pointing his loaded bow at the ice beast.

"I'll help out!" Pizza chimed in, raising his maces. Between the two weapons a small ball of Divine Light materialized, and he tossed it into the air. It flashed and burst, sending crackling shards of healing magic over his two teammates. Exia released his pained side.

"That helps for now, thanks!"

"Here goes!" came the call from the zumi overhead. The runes around her bubble pulsed and sank into the flames, provoking an instant reaction within. The magic ball blew open, the flames spewing several feet in each direction. Mia pointed her staff forward and the flames ceased, reforming and enveloping the shaft. She then held it above her head once more and yelled with all of her might at the dragon, throwing her arm forward to point the flaming teakwood at the beast.

"FUSION REACTION!"

The flames all at once exploded, shooting from the tip of the staff, expulsing all of the zumi's malice in one burning line. The attack connected, engulfing the dragon's entire body instantaneously with the fire. Torreyace's pain-filled howl filled the cavern and it stumbled and thrashed wildly.

"Now's your chance! Finish this!" Mia called to her teammates, and they wasted no time.

Nyago let loose another powerful poison arrow, striking the dragon in the throat.

"It broke the skin!" he said triumphantly.

"Keep firing!" Exia dropped his shield and began to sprint at the dragon, divine energy swirling around his body. More arrows whizzed past him, piercing the dragon at different vital points. The mighty beast fell, holding itself up on one leg. The fire magic was relentless and continued ever burning.

"Spirits of the divine, heed my call!" Exia yelled, eyeing the dragon's head. Torreyace moaned once more in pain as it continued to burn, and fell fully to the ice, its head smashing against the surface. Around the templar, six puffs of light appeared and shaped into the figures of holy swords, blades grazing the ice as he ran. He jumped and raised his arms as if holding a blade and, following his motion, so too did the swords raise their tips skyward. In a flare of blazing light, Exia brought his arms down as he landed atop the dragon's head, the blades ending the mighty Torreyace's rampage, once and for all. "Judgement Impact!"

He pushed himself back off, landing on the ice next to Nyago. The dragon lie unmoving on the ice, the flames finally ceasing.

"It's over," Exia sighed.

"Yeah."

"Obspho!" Mia called, landing on the ice and scrambling to where Pizza knelt with their fallen comrade. The templar and ranger ran to join them.

"Is he all right?" Exia asked the cleric.

"Eh," came a grumbled reply from under the helmet of the samurai. "Didn't hurt too bad."

"Obs!" The tiny mouse threw herself into his lap and hugged him.

"Ow."

"You know, maybe if you hadn't grown so tall and had a little less meat on you, you would have been able to dodge!" She puffed up her cheeks. The rest of them laughed.

"You're…hilarious, Mia. Now let's get Maru out of that seal."

"Let's! Can you get up?"

"…No."