The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour/Story

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The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Opening

The cheers of the crowd reach Aoidos backstage. Performing here at Auguste Festival with his fellow bandmates—Vyrn, Rackam, and Baal—is a dream come true, but he can't shake a feeling of dread. Even so, he takes the stage for the greatest—and final—show of the Doss.

Aoidos: So here we are, gazing out on a sea of revelers. It's everything I've been waiting for.
Aoidos: Auguste Festival is home to the skydom's musical monsters, and now it's our time to take the stage.
Rackam: Phew, this ain't like playin' in a smoky dive, I'll give ya that.
Aoidos: The guy next to me is Vermillios. His capable helmsman hands translate surprisingly well to the strings of a bass guitar.
Vyrn: Holy smokes! How many people do you think are out there?
Aoidos: That's Dandelios. He's a beast of a drummer talent-wise, and he naturally looks the part; no costume needed.
Baal: Hm. All the more reason we mustn't falter in front of this crowd.
Aoidos: Shados. One of the best rhythm guitarists I've been lucky enough to have backing me up.
Aoidos: Fear not, my fine fellows. All eyes will be trained on me anyway, so there's no reason for any of you to be nervous.
Aoidos: Last but not least is me, Aoidos—a man born with talent and looks that make the gods green with envy. They can't help but screw with me.
Aoidos: So as the lead guitarist and vocalist, why shouldn't I be the de facto leader of the Doss?
Vyrn: Uh, you sure you're up for this? I mean, you've been through a lot lately...
Aoidos: A silly question, Dandelios. I've got a historic performance to put on, though it's more or less a done deal.
Aoidos: And then after all is sung and done, what'll be will be.
Rackam: Fine, but don't push it, all right? Can't have you faintin' on us again.
Aoidos: I got it.
Aoidos: ...
Aoidos: Can't remember the last time I was nervous. The lack of practice and stress are taking their toll.
Aoidos: But I've still got confidence aplenty. My dream of playing at Auguste Festival comes true today; the Doss is going to go down in history.
Festival Rep.: Okay, guys! The stage is yours!
Aoidos: Let's rock 'n' roll.
Aoidos: The screams of the fans fade in an instant. A dazzling clear blue sky hangs above me, reflecting how I feel inside.
Aoidos: Such perfect weather. Perhaps the gods that curse me with their incessant jealousy have no choice but to begrudgingly grant me their blessings.
Aoidos: This may very well be the last gig the Doss ever plays.
Aoidos: Everyone present is a witness to history—to the birth of a legend.
Aoidos: Aaaaah!
Aoidos: It all makes sense to me now. Those jealous gods? Their pettiness was meant to prep me for this one shining moment.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 1: Heavens on Fire - Episode 1

Aoidos's manager brings news that Aoidos has been invited to perform at Auguste Festival. The musician is confident he can write a new song in time, but he falls into a slump from the pressure of playing at such a monumental event.

Aoidos: Ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself. It all started with a fateful letter.
Aoidos: My manager is trying to get a hold of me?
Rackam: Yep. Says he needs to see you ASAP.
Rackam hands him a high-priority message sent via the Knickknack Shack.
Aoidos: Hm... A letter with the word "urgent" and nothing else. That doesn't sound like something he'd do.
Manager: Hey, Aoidos. It's been a while since you left to form a band and find that sound you're looking for. How's that going by the way?
Aoidos: Things are looking up, as you can see. So what did you call me here for? Surely not to ask me how I'm doing.
Manager: Right you are. I've been holding on to this letter for you.
Aoidos: Hm...
Aoidos breaks the seal on the envelope with some trepidation, unsure of how important it could really be.
Aoidos: Do my eyes deceive me? An official invitation to perform at Auguste Festival?
Manager: Congratulations. Your dream event is calling. And even though only your name's on it, the invite extends to any band members you want to bring.
Manager: So. You gonna take the gig?
Aoidos: You bet I am. There's no way I'm missing this.
Manager: Heh. Figured as much, but it's my job to ask.
Vyrn: Er, is there even a reason to have second thoughts? It's basically another concert, isn't it?
Manager: It's not just any concert. The performance reviews from this festival will make or break a musician's career.
Aoidos: Good reviews buy you fame. Bad ones seal your fate. A band lives or dies by the will of the audience.
Vyrn: Gee, when you guys put it that way, are you sure performin' at this thing is a good idea?
Aoidos: The festival shouts my name. It's saying, "I need you, Aoidos." So I will oblige.
Aoidos: After I pen my newest hit song, the Doss will be forever cemented in festival lore! Long live the Doss!
Aoidos: The Doss is doomed...
Manager: That's a pretty grim assessment for writer's block. It's not like you at all.
Aoidos: Nrgh! My point exactly! I don't know what's wrong with me!
Aoidos: It's like I can't feel the pathos in any of the notes I jot down! The sound I want won't come to me! Where did all my talent go!
Rackam: Hey, get a grip, will you? The festival isn't that far off, and we really need to buckle down and practice in the time we have left.
Vyrn: Are you too hyped up because of how huge this festival is, Aoidos?
Aoidos: Hyped up? Hyped up, you say? No, no, the gods are pulling a trick on me!
Aoidos: Curse their jealousy—they've locked up my talent and thrown away the key! Ah, why was I blessed with this sin?
Baal: All that noise is blocking you from hearing the melody floating in your head.
Baal: There's a saying among mortal musicians: "They can boo me all they want, but if I play it my way, I'll have no regrets."
Baal: Now concentrate, Aoidos.
Aoidos: You're right. I'm going outside for some fresh air first. I'll get back to composing in a bit.
The frustrated musician exits the room with his hands on his head.
Manager: That's one heck of a slump.
Vyrn: Hard to imagine someone with so much rocker energy takin' it that hard.
Rackam: Is that what you call an artist's temperament?
Rackam and the others think back to when they first met Aoidos.
Rackam: I mean, we got recruited into his band before we could even get a word in.
Baal: He's always had a confident strut about him, yet composing this new song is filling him with doubt. What's changed?
Manager: I think Dandelios nailed it on the head about him being too excited.
Manager: Aoidos has been trying to play at Auguste Festival for as long as I can remember.
Baal: So the type of venue itself is affecting his personality?
Rackam: I get where he's comin' from though. We're talkin' huge crowds at this thing. 'Course he'd be jittery.
Aoidos's Voice: What am I supposed to do!
Aoidos's Voice: Aaaaah!
Woman's Voice: Eeek!
Rackam: Which makes him act out like that.
Baal: Interesting. Then I'm curious to see what kind of music rises from his discord.
Vyrn: Speakin' of makin' music, why can't we save time and play songs we already know?
Manager: Auguste Festival is the premier live event that only invites the skydom's top bands.
Manager: Playing songs the crowd wants to hear used to be good enough.
Manager: But when you hit them with the unexpected, that really gets them on your side. Pretty soon every band was debuting new tunes in order to grab the number one spot.
Vyrn: I guess that's why he's been lookin' forward to this event for a whole year.
Manager: Nah, much longer than that. Basically ever since he heard about the festival. I know he wants to leave nothing on the table, but...
Festival management has set up lodging for all performers at an upscale inn. With the concert looming on the calendar, the bands prep for their performances.
Gran is the Main Character

Lyria: Hey, guys! (Captain) and I whipped up some snacks for you!
Lyria: Huh? Where's Aoidos?
Djeeta is the Main Character

Lyria: Hey, guys! (Captain) and I whipped up some snacks for you!
Lyria: Huh? Where's Aoidos?
Rackam: He's having trouble comin' up with a hot new jam, so he's outside somewhere tryin' to walk it off.
Lyria: Oh no... I wonder what's holding him back?
Baal: He's probably having trouble narrowing down a theme and figuring out who his target audience is.
Baal: His fans won't be the only ones in attendance.
Baal: He could put on his usual act to perfection, but that doesn't mean new listeners will be won over.
Baal: Therein lies his dilemma. A song with broad appeal takes time to write.
Vyrn: Even for him? I see him hummin' and strummin' on his guitar all the time. That's enough for him to crank out a tune in a few days, tops.
Manager: It helps to have some knowledge of music theory when writing music. He probably had some training before he lost his memory.
Manager: As long as he has a solid vision, it simply becomes a matter of putting all the pieces together.
Lyria: I see...
Lyria: Um, what do you mean by putting the pieces together?
Baal: Arranging chords and melodies in such a way that sounds pleasing to the ear.
Baal: Allow me to demonstrate. Lyria, can you hum a measure for me? Anything will do.
Lyria: Huh? R-right now? Okay...
Lyria: Hm-hmm, hmm-hm-hm...
Like that?
Baal: Vermillios, bassline please.
Rackam: What? Yeah, sure...
Rackam: How's that?
Baal: Perfect. Just put those notes on paper and turn them into chords—
Aoidos: Vermillios. What in the world was that?
Rackam: Er, nothing really! Just a little ditty to go with Lyria's humming.
Aoidos: What!
Lyria: Ahaha... Your face is kinda scary right now, Aoidos...
Aoidos: Can I hear it?
Lyria: Huh?
Aoidos: Please, can I hear what you were humming?
Lyria: O-okay...
Lyria: Hm-hmm, hmm-hm-hm...
Aoidos: Where did you hear that song?
Lyria: I'm not sure. It popped into my head one day.
Aoidos: I can feel the pathos. I'm getting a premonition—no! The blossoming of conviction! That melody has the it factor!
Aoidos: Manager! Get this girl an outfit! In the meantime I've got a song to write!
Manager: Oh! The one you'll debut at the festival?
Aoidos: No, not yet. First I want to prove whether the gods have truly caged my talent.
Aoidos: I'm showcasing this song in a mini gig with Snowdos as the vocalist. Take care of the preparations, Manager.
Rackam: Uh... Can somebody tell me what just happened?
Manager: Seems that ab-lib of yours pulled him out of his funk. He's going to turn it into an arrangement for a street performance.
Lyria: Um... When he said Snowdos is the vocalist...
Manager: I'm almost certain he means you, Lyria.
Lyria: Huh?
Lyria: No way!

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 1: Heavens on Fire - Episode 2

Aoidos happens to catch Lyria humming a tune and turns it into a full arrangement for Lyria to sing. After a short practice session, Lyria dons a new custom-made outfit, and the band heads into town to perform for the public.

Lyria: D-do I really have to sing in public?
Rackam: Better start psyching yourself up now. I don't think you're gonna change Aoidos's mind.
Manager: Maybe it's just me, but I think the pressure is starting to get to him.
Manager: Something may have caused him to lose his memories, but it couldn't take away his love of music.
Lyria: It's not like I don't want to help, but...
Vyrn: Hey, everyone gets nervous at first. But then the music starts flowin' and the song's over before you know it.
Lyria: I wonder what kind of song it'll be... I'm sort of excited but scared at the same time.
Manager: Judging from his mood, I doubt it'll take him long to finish.
Baal: I can already hear harmonies flowing from his room, which leads me to believe he'll be done by tomorrow.
Lyria: And as soon as the song is done, it's straight to the gig...
Lyria: Sigh... I'm going to have butterflies all day.
(Captain) and the others do their best to encourage the reluctant singer. They have less free time than they expected.
Aoidos: Another song for the ages. Heh, this might be my fastest time yet.
Manager: It hasn't even been half a day since you started... Are you sure you're done?
Aoidos: Yes. Nothing like composing to clear the mind for more composing. How's Snowdos's costume coming along?
Manager: I gave the tailors the patterns. They assured me they'd have it done by midday.
Aoidos: Okay! Then let's kill time with rehearsal! You're good to go, right, Snowdos?
Lyria: Erm, um... Yes!
Aoidos: Vermillios, Dandelios, and Shados. These are your parts. Just read the notes and follow my lead.
Rackam: Wait! We don't even get a chance to practice on our own?
Aoidos: I've written it in such a way that you'll memorize it while sight-reading. They're all phrases you've played before.
Vyrn: Now that I look at the music, yeah, it's not too bad. Still, aren't you takin' things a bit too fast?
Aoidos: Speed is of the essence, my friend, because my genius is a spark of light that can't be contained!
Baal: That man just can't sit still, can he?
Manager: He definitely wears his emotions on his sleeve. Sorry, but do me a favor and humor him.
Lyria: Ooh... My hands are shaking... But I'll do my best!
The band and their newest member, Snowdos, begin practicing for their street gig.
Lyria: Lah-lah-laaah.
Aoidos: Hm. Snowdos sings more of a "laaaah" as opposed to "aaaaah!"
Aoidos: Hand me your parts, guys. I need to make a few modifications.
Rackam: Are you serious? It's finally sticking in my brain, and now you're changing it?
Aoidos: Listen, Vermillios. Snowdos is the voice of this piece, and we can't destroy the world if she can't bring the song to life.
Rackam: Whatever, man. So what'd you change? This part and this part...
Manager: Pardon the interruption. I've got Snowdos's costume with me.
Lyria: Wow!
Aoidos: Great. Why don't you go try it on?
Lyria: Okay!
Lyria: Heehee. I could get used to this.
Vyrn: Woo, lookin' sharp!
Rackam: Haha, imagine the look on Katalina's face if she saw you in that getup.
Lyria: What do you think, (Captain)?
  1. You're ready to destroy the world.
  2. You're ready to save the world.

Choose: You're ready to destroy the world.
Lyria: Come on. I'd never do something like that.
Aoidos: That's a world-class review you received, Snowdos. Hang it up with pride.
Aoidos: Your voice and beauty are second only to my own. Congratulations on making the cut as our guest member.

Choose: You're ready to save the world.
Aoidos: Objection!
Lyria: Eep! Please don't glare at us like that, Aoidos!
Aoidos: Hm...
Aoidos: I seek to destroy the world; she desires to save it. Perhaps an unexpected synergy is born—or rather, a false dichotomy?
Aoidos: This rival of the Doss is brimming with reverberating pathos.
Continue 1
Lyria: Heehee. I feel a little more relaxed thanks to (Captain).
Manager: With her excellent singing and the band's powerful instrumentals, I'd say this group is going places.
Aoidos: There's nothing to it. When you've got as much confidence as I do, any changes I make to the score plays to everyone's strengths.
Aoidos: All right, people. The festival is almost here. If I wanna kick my pathos into overdrive, I've got to get this mini gig on the road!
When Lyria woke up that day, she had no idea she'd be on her way to becoming a lead singer, albeit not entirely by her own choice.
Lyria: Right! I'm going to sing my heart out! Make sure to sit up front, (Captain)!
But with a new look and new outfit, she's determined to meet that challenge like a diva.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 1: Heavens on Fire - Episode 3

The band puts on a street performance with Lyria as the star. Her singing resonates with the audience—all except for two individuals who watch the group with hate-filled eyes.

Lyria: ...
Lyria sucks in deep breaths as she looks at the throng of shoppers passing by the band's setup.
Members of the Doss stand on a street corner, fidgeting nervously with their instruments.
Vyrn: Are you gonna be okay?
Lyria: Ahaha... I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to say to these people...
Aoidos: Heh. It's simple. All you have to do is speak from the heart.
Lyria: Um... I don't know...
Aoidos: Hmph.
Aoidos gently strums his guitar, ad-libbing a melody that complements Lyria's vibe.
Curious Crowd: ...
Sensing that the band is about to do something, some pedestrians finally take an interest and gather around.
Aoidos: Heh. That got their attention. Go on and introduce yourself, Snowdos.
Aoidos: It doesn't have to be perfect. Don't take failure personally; that's what the Snowdos persona is for.
Aoidos: Now let it rip.
Lyria: ...!
Lyria: H-hello, everyone! My name is Lyria! No, wait. I meant Snowdos!
Lyria forces herself to speak, perhaps buoyed by Aoidos's guitar riffs.
Lyria: Um, Aoidos heard me humming, a-and then he invited me into his band, a-and now I'm here!
Curious Crowd: ...
Lyria's shaky delivery seems to cast doubt on their audience.
Lyria: Um, erm...
An unperturbed Aoidos keeps the music going, oblivious to Lyria's floundering.
Lyria: I'd like to sing for all of you today! I hope everyone enjoys it!
Aoidos: Rock on, Snowdos.
With that small utterance from his upturned lips, the beat shifts up-tempo, and his guitar roars to life.
Lyria: Got a map and some hope, plus a doubt or two.
Lyria: There's no room left in my bag.
My pockets are empty.
Lyria: The perfect place to stow my excitement.
Lyria: Standing on tippy toes, looking up at the blue sky.
Lyria: The sunshine dries my tears.
Waiting for a miracle.
Lyria: One to make all my wishes come true—
Curious Crowd: Yeaaah!
Lyria belts out the lyrics, showing she's got the chops to carry a tune.
Aoidos: (She has a great voice. If it were me, how would I sing it?)
A moment of worry causes a lapse in his concentration. Aoidos pulls it back, realizing he might be overpowering Lyria's vocals.
Aoidos: ...!
The guitarist is playing harder than usual. He tries to focus on not drowning out the singer.
Gran is the Main Character

Lyria: A blank white page stares at me, I wonder what I should put on it?
Lyria: But then a twinkle catches my eye, oh wow, it's a magic journal!
Lyria: Someday our memories will cross, high up in the skies above.
Lyria: Flipping to the last page, every word written
Lyria: Is my dream that will never fade—
Djeeta is the Main Character

Lyria: A blank white page stares at me, I wonder what I should put on it?
Lyria: But then a twinkle catches my eye, oh wow, it's a magic journal!
Lyria: Someday our memories will cross, high up in the skies above.
Lyria: Flipping to the last page, every word written
Lyria: Is my dream that will never fade—
Lyria's soothing voice leaves a positive impression on the onlookers—the same type of music lovers the band can expect at the festival. Not everyone is impressed, however.
???: ...
???: ...
Two young men among the cheering crowd study the band closely.
Small-Framed Man: I can't listen to any more of this.
Bandaged Man: I don't know. Bathing in this agony isn't so bad.
Small-Framed Man: No! We shouldn't be the ones to suffer!
Small-Framed Man: I'd do something right now if I were serious... But we'd better leave and save it for another time.
Bandaged Man: Too bad. I wanted to feel a little more pain.
The two men leave before the last note is played.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 1: Heavens on Fire - Episode 4

The performance has a few detractors, but is otherwise a big hit. Lyria's heartfelt singing reignites Aoidos's creative fire, or so it would seem; his writer's block still remains. His manager believes the continuing slump has to do with a band called Vicious Three appearing on the festival set list.

Lyria: Huff... Phew... Thanks for listening, everyone!
Lyria bows at the end and is treated to wild applause.
The band's passionate performance succeeds in drawing a good-sized crowd.
They pack up their gear and squeeze through the people to get back to the inn.
Lyria: Whew, still trying to catch my breath. How did it sound, (Captain)?
  1. It was wonderful.
  2. I don't need to say anything.

Choose: It was wonderful.
Lyria: ...!
Lyria: That's great. It almost brings a tear to my eye to hear you say that, haha.

Choose: I don't need to say anything.
Lyria: What! You have to! I gave it my all, you know!
Aoidos: Heh. (Captain) doesn't need to speak when accolades are raining down around us.
Aoidos gestures toward the people who had listened to them.
Continue 1
Man 1: Dude, that was a sweet performance!
Man 2: I'll say. It takes guts to show off your band out here, knowing the greats will be arriving for the festival.
Lyria: Hehe...
Lyria blushes at the praise.
Woman 1: That girl was a little unsteady at first, but once she started singing, you could tell she has a great voice.
Small-Framed Man: Sounds like a gimmick to me. They're using her youth and innocence to play up her inexperience.
Lyria: ...
Aoidos: Don't listen to that person, Snowdos. Embrace the compliments you deserve.
Bandaged Man: Eh, the singer's fine, and the two guitarists were pretty good, but what's up with that rhythm section?
Rackam: ...
Vyrn: ...
Manager: Aoidos is right. It's important to separate positive and negative feedback.
Manager: If you weren't good, no one would've stopped to listen or clapped.
Aoidos: Was there silence when the music stopped? No. So I declare we march back to the inn with our heads held high.
Vyrn: You seem more... cheerful than before, Aoidos.
Aoidos: Oh? But I'm always bright and beautiful.
Manager: Is it because you've found what you've been looking for?
Aoidos: Yeah.
Aoidos: The initial impulse. That feeling when you're left with nothing but your music and guitar; that's the pathos I'm looking for.
Aoidos: Snowdos. Watching you sing today helped me remember that. I owe you a great deal of thanks.
Lyria: Oh, I don't think I did anything like that. Just happy to help. Do you think you can write that new song now?
Aoidos: Heh. When the gods throw you into the gauntlet, your only option is to overcome it.
Aoidos: My genius shall dance across a blank score. Ah, I can't wait. Even the road back to the inn feels like it stretches for an eternity.
Aoidos: "Take back your initial impulse on the festival stage and let it scream." That's what the premonition has foretold.
Aoidos: I'm back, baby. My mind is clear. Get ready, festival, because this next song is going to flip your world upside down!
Aoidos suddenly takes off in high spirits.
Manager: Thanks a lot for everything. I guess it's safe to say he's got his confidence back.
Baal: What a handful. I hope his creation is worth the work we put in today.
Manager: Well, you won't have to wait long, seeing how he ran off like that.
Lyria is pleased by the comments she received for her singing. As for the other members...
Rackam: ...
Vyrn: ...
Vyrn and Rackam appear less enthusiastic.
Baal: The real event is fast approaching. We should treat each practice from now on as dress rehearsal. Rackam. Vyrn. Shall we go?
Rackam: Hm? What'd you say? Oh, practice. Yeah, yeah, I've got this. My schedule's free since ship maintenance wrapped up.
Vyrn: I'm good to go too! I'm ready to knock it outta the park!
Baal: ...?
Lyria: Is something wrong, you two?
Rackam: Nah, it's all good. Don't worry about it, 'kay?
Rackam: Gotta hand it to you, Lyria. They loved you out there.
Vyrn: Yeah. People realized you weren't a pro, but they didn't seem to mind.
Lyria: Heehee. Aw, you guys are too much.
Manager: Haha, say what you will, Snowdos. Truth is you're the one who reignited Aoidos's spark.
Manager: Heck, he'll probably be done composing by the time we get back.
(Captain) and the others laugh as they return to the inn, satisfied that everything seems to be back on track.
Aoidos: Aaaaah!
Baal: What a mighty scream. It seems the anguish in your voice has amplified.
Aoidos: How did I already lose my touch! It's as if pathos has leaked out of a gaping hole in my heart...
Aoidos: Could this be a trap within a trap set by the jealous gods? How many layers must I peel back to reclaim my talent!
Aoidos: Aaaaah!
Baal: This is obviously not his normal behavior. What's causing him to act this way?
Manager: ...
Baal: Do you know something we don't?
Manager: You're not the only band playing at the festival that's staying at this inn, remember?
Baal: I'm aware of that. The sounds of their practice sessions are a constant din in these halls.
Manager: I think one of those bands is getting to him. I noticed it when he heard a certain bassline as we passed by one of the practice rooms.
Aoidos: ...
Manager: Aoidos?
Manager: It only lasted for a second, but he jolted to a stop, kind of like how a stretched spring snaps back. The more I think about, the more I'm convinced it's a sign.
Rackam: Because of someone playin' a bass guitar?
Manager: Yes. When I saw the festival lineup that just got released, it finally clicked.
Manager: One of the bands is Vicious Three.
All Three: ...!
Baal: I've never heard of them. Who are they?
Rackam: That name came up before when we got into a scuffle. That's really all I know though.
Manager: The people in that band are the keys to unlocking Aoidos's past: a past I'm convinced he should leave buried.
(Captain) and company's anxiety worsens when they hear this news. How will Aoidos's fate coincide with the upcoming concert?
Will his dream of performing at Auguste Festival succeed or fail?

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 2: Bloody Garden - Episode 1

Vicious Three is a band known for its violent shows and cult following. When the crew first met Aoidos, they heard someone call him a member of Vicious Three. They also recall Aoidos butchering a monster with a sword and not acting like himself. The manager fears Aoidos's past is catching up to him.

A few days go by.
Aoidos: Aaaaah!
Rackam: Ugh, he's still screamin' his head off.
Lyria: Writing that song isn't going too well, is it?
Vyrn: Hey, Manager. Tell me again what this is all about.
Manager: I think his ailing condition is tied to his past and his amnesia.
Rackam: There was this one time when pirates boarded our airship. They took one look at Aoidos and yelled, "Vicious Three!"
Pirate: W-wait! You're one of the Vicious Three!
Aoidos: What?
Pirate: Time to bust out the big guns, or we're all dead meat!
Vyrn: That pirate's reaction was definitely weird. I couldn't figure out what he was so afraid of.
Vyrn: Then when we met up later with Aoidos...
Aoidos: Bleh-heh-heh...
Vyrn: Hey... Seriously, what are you doing? That thing—is it a monster?
Rackam: Butcherin' a monster like that... You're taking this whole bad boy image thing too far!
Vyrn: He was carvin' up a monster without remorse. His eyes were... I couldn't believe it was him.
Manager: Aoidos transforms into a different person when he holds a sword.
Manager: Such repulsive behavior probably stems from the time before he lost his memory.
Rackam: Me and the manager used intermediaries to investigate this town for any clues about Vicious Three.
Rackam: That band is shady as hell, and their performances reeked of blood, but it was popular with the underground.
Rackam: They were a perpetual three-man band who worshipped the spectacle. Dark gigs, some called 'em. A lot of messed up stuff went down at those things.
Curious Crowd: Vi-cious! Vi-cious! Vi-cious!
Guitarist: Hehe... You weren't blowing smoke about your popularity.
Bassist: Everyone's excited for the new guy, that's why.
Drummer: Yep. They've been screaming for a replacement. What happens next will be the stuff of legends.
Guitarist: Hahaha. What an honor. Never heard of a band sight-reading live before.
Bassist: We're all about the spectacle. Anything goes. This piece was written yesterday.
Guitarist: Writing it in your own blood, huh... Now you've got my blood flowing.
Bassist: Heh, save it for the finale, will ya?
Drummer: It's time. Let's get this party started.
Bassist: Did I say you could interrupt me, you pig?
Drummer: Oink, oink. My bad.
Bassist: Graaaaah!
Rackam: Their music and lyrics assault the ears. It's relentless, especially to first-timers.
Bassist: Hunting down strays, hurling sticks and stones.
This town, a curse decays, all because of the mastermind, the mastermind.
Bassist: Hunting down strays, hurling sticks and stones.
This town, a curse decays, all because of the mastermind, the mastermind.
Bassist: Screams incite, condemn to silence.
Who's next to bear the curse? Step up! Step up! Step up!
Bassist: Screams incite, condemn to silence.
Who's next to bear the curse? Step up! Step up! Step up!
Curious Crowd: Vi-cious! Vi-cious! Vi-cious!
Rackam: The fans are delirious with anticipation. It's the finale they've come to see.
Guitarist: Huh? Hey, I'm missing a page.
Bassist: Nah, the two of us are supposed to have one more. You don't need it.
Drummer: Yep. Your contract is over.
Guitarist: Hold up. What's written on the last page?
Bassist: It says, "Execute the guitarist."
Guitarist: Wha—
Curious Crowd: Yeaaaah!
Bassist: The score is a musician's gospel. Sorry, but rules are rules.
Drummer: Why can't you ever write "stab the drummer" or something?
Bassist: Not gonna happen. But I'll make it up to you at the after-party. You'll get your reward and then some.
Drummer: Ooh!
Guitarist: ...
Rackam: They're a perpetual three-man band because the guitarist always gets offed at the end in a shower of blood and has to be replaced.
Vyrn: Those dudes are seriously messed up in the head. Shouldn't they be wanted or something?
Manager: They pick up guitarists who already have bounties on their heads, so technically they haven't committed any crimes...
Baal: And you claim Aoidos supposedly played the guitar in this band?
Rackam: There's always a possibility. He could've been their first guitarist, then had a falling out. That's how their freakshow could've started.
Rackam: Whatever the case may be, bumpin' into each other is no coincidence. And at this important festival no less.
Baal: ...
Aoidos: Aaaaah!
Baal: First his inability to compose, and now this. The headaches are stacking up.
Vyrn: At this rate I don't think we can take the stage—
Aoidos: ...
Rackam: You ain't lookin' so good. How's the song comin'?
Aoidos: Never mind that. Let's practice.
Rackam: Huh?
Aoidos: The way to get the initial impulse back is to play existing songs and claim its pathos!
Rackam: Whatever you say. Practice it is. I'll go book us a room.
Aoidos: Pathos... Initial impulse... What am I missing? The sound? The right lyrics? Ungh... What is wrong with me!
Rackam: A gig that ends by dropping a curtain of blood, huh...
Rackam: I'm lookin' at Aoidos right now, and I just can't picture him bein' a part of that. His past must be ridiculous.
Manager: He's told me before that the sound he seeks lies in his lost memories.
Manager: Let's assume he used to be part of Vicious Three.
Manager: Something tells me he's not going to like doing what it takes to get those memories back.
Rackam: Yeah. If only gearin' up for the festival was the least of his worries.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 2: Bloody Garden - Episode 2

Rackam and Vyrn work on fingerings and rudiments, but the criticisms aimed at them during the street performance stick in their heads. They push on with practice in an effort to shake off the negativity.

Rackam: Eighth note, quarter note, quarter note... Wait, that's a rest. Man, this is harder than I thought.
Rackam is in the practice room early and is already playing before anyone else has shown up.
Rackam: Gah! I need to get this down!
Rackam wills his fingers across the strings, aiming for a perfect run. He slowly gets the hang of it.
Rackam: ...
Bandaged Man: What's up with that rhythm section?
Rackam: Tch!
The stinging criticism he heard after the street gig suddenly invades his head.
That brief spell of negativity is enough to shake his confidence, causing him to tense up on the strings.
Vyrn: Oh, hey, Rackam. Got started without us, huh?
Rackam: Yeah. I don't wanna make a fool outta myself in front of thousands of people.
Vyrn: Hehe, check out Mr. Motivated. What happened to grumblin' about bein' in the band?
Rackam: Heh, not sure I'd go that far.
Rackam looks down at his hands.
Vyrn: At least you've built calluses by now, right?
Rackam: Yep. Doesn't hurt to press down on the strings compared to when I first started.
Vyrn: Well, that means you've been stickin' with it. That's my take anyway.
Rackam: I'm just doin' what I can to make our festival debut a success.
Rackam: Aoidos has basically lost everything, but he's still got his music. Can't say no to a guy who's down on his luck.
Rackam: And that means ironing out my shortcomings.
Vyrn: Shortcomings, huh...
Bandaged Man: What's up with that rhythm section?
Woman 2: I know, right? That bass guy can't get away with playing like a beginner at his age. Let the blue-haired girl take over, and I can't tell the difference.
Man 3: She covers for the drummer's clashing style pretty well, but...
Bandaged Man: Bet you anything it's a gimmick. That drummer reeks of being a mascot. You call it style; I call it selling out.
Rackam: ...
Vyrn: ...
The critiques from the street performance are still fresh in their minds.
Rackam: Bah! This ain't the time to space out. We've got a band to anchor!
Vyrn: Yeah! The rhythm section is the heartbeat of any band!
Rackam and Vyrn brush off their doubts and fill the practice room with song.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 2: Bloody Garden - Episode 3

During group rehearsal, Aoidos forces Rackam to play the same phrase repeatedly in order to draw out a vital component for the new song. Misinterpreting Aoidos's actions, a discouraged Rackam wonders if he should quit the band; Vyrn also expresses his own feelings about leaving. Before Aoidos can reassure his two bandmates, he's briefly overcome by a hallucination of his past. When he snaps back to reality, both members have left the practice room.

Aoidos: Let's take that phrase one more time.
Rackam: Huh? S-sure...
After their group practice, the band members are now working on their parts individually with Aoidos keeping a sharp eye on each one's progress.
Rackam: ...!
Aoidos: Dah, dah, da-daaah...
Aoidos, eyes closed, waves his finger in time with Rackam's bassline.
Aoidos: Stop there. Go back and do it again.
Rackam: Er, was it that bad?
Baal: He's following the music as written, Aoidos.
Aoidos: I'm looking for pathos.
Aoidos: Vermillios is going to keep playing until that dormant pathos awakens. Got it? Again.
Rackam: You're the boss...
Rackam starts to strum.
Rackam: ...!
Aoidos: Again.
Rackam: ...
Aoidos: Again.
As Aoidos listens attentively to Rackam's notes, the composer feels something in his chest tighten.
Rackam: ...!
Aoidos: ...
Aoidos: (Almost...)
Aoidos: (His sound is still finding its footing...)
Aoidos: (Is it the rhythm, or is it the melody that's off? For one bar it works but derails on the next...)
Aoidos: Once more.
Rackam: Yeah.
Rackam: ...
Aoidos: Try it again from the top. You need more practice, Vermillios!
Woman 2: That bass guy... A beginner at his age...
Rackam: Nrrgh!
Tedium from repeating the same phrase over and over invites other thoughts into Rackam's head.
Aoidos: Dah, dah, da-daaah...
However, Aoidos is too engrossed in capturing the essence of his new song to notice the changes in Rackam's attitude.
Aoidos: (Hammer it hard... Now drop down to largo... Keep those notes crisp...)
Aoidos: (There we go! It's coming into focus!)
The image in his head gradually takes shape until the bass suddenly cuts out.
Aoidos: ...?
Why did you stop, Vermillios?
Rackam: Hey, um... I know how much this festival means to you and everything. The song has to go off without a hitch.
Rackam: My crappy playing isn't gonna cut it. I'm like a thousand hours worth of practice time behind where I need to be.
Aoidos: What are you trying to say?
Rackam: Look, I wouldn't be makin' this suggestion if I didn't have to, but...
Rackam: Have you thought about findin' a different bass player?
Aoidos: I don't understand. Why are you bringing this up?
Rackam: It's like the manager said: the crowd is king.
Rackam: I think you're better off pickin' up someone without two left hands instead of waitin' for me to get good.
Rackam: I know you've got a good eye for talent. All this repetition is your way of weeding me out, right?
Aoidos: Wait, Vermillios, that's—
Vyrn: Hey, can I say something too? I've been thinkin' about something lately.
Vyrn: Some people have called me a distraction, 'cause I'm a dragon and stuff, and I don't want that.
Aoidos: I can't believe I'm hearing this from you too, Dandelios!
Aoidos: First of all, I—
Aoidos: I simply haven't found my pathos yet! It has nothing to do with me being disappointed with you guys in any way!
Aoidos: ...?
Where am I?
Aoidos finds himself shouting into empty space.
???: Ben... min... are you ou... your mind?
???: Who said you could define who I am? Crawl back...
Aoidos: ...
???: Doesn't need...
Aoidos: Where have I seen—
Aoidos: ...!
Aoidos: Vermillios! Dandelios! Where are you guys!
Baal: They both asked for some time to think and left.
Aoidos: Urgh!
Aoidos: ...
Whatever that vision he saw was, it seems to have robbed him of the chance to set the record straight with his bandmates. He clutches his head in silence.
Baal: What's the status of our rehearsals?
Aoidos: They asked for some time, didn't they? We're going on indefinite hiatus.
Aoidos: Vermillios is our bassist. Dandelios is our drummer. I'm not making any personnel changes.
Baal: Why didn't you stop them from leaving if you feel so strongly?
Aoidos: Good question. No one understands the real me. Not even myself...
Aoidos slumps into a chair and sighs softly.
The practice room remains silent, waiting for the next band to breathe life back into it.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 2: Bloody Garden - Episode 4

Aoidos's deteriorating condition from inter-band turmoil prompts the manager to suggest withdrawing from the festival. Aoidos won't allow it; without his memories, the music that somehow remained with him is his only identity. In his mind, he might as well be dead if he can't play at the festival.

Aoidos: ...
Pages of empty staff lines stay untouched on the desk in front of Aoidos.
Aoidos: (What did I see?)
Aoidos: (Why didn't I stop them?)
Rackam: I know you've got a good eye for talent. All this repetition is your way of weeding me out, right?
Aoidos: That's not why!
He slams his fist down on the table, as if placing the blame on the blank score.
Aoidos: They've got it wrong!
Manager: Everything all right, Aoidos?
Aoidos: Answer: I'm always at the top of my game. Or at least... I'm supposed to be.
Manager: Nah, you are the best. But it's got to be exhausting maintaining that top spot.
Aoidos: ...
Manager: Would you like to extend the hiatus?
Aoidos: How many times must I remind you that we can't take more time off than we can afford?
Aoidos: Or maybe...
Aoidos turns toward his manager in midsentence.
Aoidos: Or maybe you're implying we should pull out from the show?
Manager: That option's on the table, Aoidos.
Aoidos: Unbelievable. Don't even think about it!
Aoidos: I've been doing gigs to share my genius with the whole world, just like my gut tells me to!
Aoidos: I've got looks and talent. The missing piece is my lost memory, and I'm going to keep singing to get it back!
Aoidos: My instincts say I need this festival. The final piece has to be there somewhere.
Aoidos: There's a mystery that's been left inside me, and music is the key to unraveling it.
Manager: You might be happier not completing that puzzle. Just saying.
Aoidos: Why? In case my memory is laden with more traps set by the gods?
Aoidos: Once the pieces fall into my hands, I'll see right through their antics.
Manager: I guess there's no changing your mind about the festival.
Aoidos: Not a chance.
Aoidos: Not when the festival is right in front of my eyes. I can't turn my back on a gig.
Aoidos: The day I quit music is the day the Doss disbands.
Manager: All right then. I'll see what I can do to help.
The manager accepts Aoidos's decision, but his frown suggests he's not entirely convinced. They are soon interrupted by a knock at the door.
Baal: Are we still on hiatus today?
Aoidos: Yeah. Until Vermillios and Dandelios are done clearing their heads.
Baal: I see. Another band reached out to me for my services. I'll be with them during the hiatus.
Manager: What! You got poached by some other group?
Baal: The support role will always be my go-to position. I mentioned from the start I had no intention of becoming a permanent member.
Baal: I'm still interested in the music other mortals are capable of making. It'll only be for the duration of this break.
Aoidos: Sounds terrible to me... Well, so long as the Doss takes highest priority, then it's fine.
Aoidos: (The pieces I've gathered are scattering to the wind.)
Aoidos: (It's almost as if the gods are trying to keep me away from the festival.)
Aoidos: If there's one constant in the universe, it's their jealousy.
Time continues to tick away toward the big day.
The pen tip hovering over the blank score has long gone dry.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 3: Legendary Warriors - Episode 1

With every member dealing with their own problems, practice goes on hiatus. In the meantime Baal fills in for another band whose guitarist is sick, but he doesn't seem enthused to be there.

Lyria: It feels too quiet around here, (Captain).
The sounds of practicing bands can be heard throughout the inn except for one: the Doss.
The Doss has been on hiatus for a couple of days now, and none of the members have made an attempt to get back together.
Lyria: I haven't heard Aoidos's usual screams either. I wonder what happened to him...
The cracks in the band stemming from Aoidos's slump have gradually widened into fissures.
Aoidos: (I should've made more of an effort to be accommodating.)
Aoidos: (I probably got way too caught up in pushing them to be the best.)
Aoidos's pen tip rests on the paper, an ink blot staining the page and growing in size.
Rackam: ...
Meanwhile Rackam stares at the bass guitar propped up against the wall in a corner of his room.
Rackam: Say, you got a will of your own in there? Like the same way the Grandcypher does?
His question goes unanswered.
Rackam: Sucks not bein' able to handle you like a pro. Don't lie; you'd be much happier in someone else's hands.
Vyrn: As if I'm some drum-bashing mascot. Psh, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
Vyrn stares sullenly into a mirror, arms folded across his chest.
Vyrn: Raaawr! I ain't no mascot!
Vyrn: Shoot, wish I could tell that guy off like that. But all I can do is play the drums.
Vyrn: Hey, guess what! That guy left his drum set behind! He said we could have it!
Aoidos: That's nice of him, but what are we supposed to do with it now?
Vyrn: Well, we can't just throw it away. Let's take it to the airship. Ba-dum-bum!
Aoidos: Hey, what was that?
Rackam: Hold it, Vyrn. How did you do that just now?
Vyrn: Huh? I just used my tail. Why?
Aoidos: How could I have overlooked this? A drum part no skydweller can handle?
Vyrn: This whole festival business has been nothing but craziness, and it's not even here yet.
Baal: ...
Elsewhere, Baal's guitar playing captivates an audience outside.
Vocalist: Oh my gosh! It only took you one reading of the music to follow us perfectly!
Small-Framed Man: I saw him playing on the street a few days ago and figured he had the right stuff.
Vocalist: Thanks for finding him! Our regular guitarist caught a cold and has been staying in bed to recover in time for the festival.
Small-Framed Man: All I did was make introductions. Anyway, be seeing ya.
The young man leaves, his voice devoid of emotion.
Baal: Hm...
Vocalist: Haha, methinks you're a little unsatisfied with this arrangement.
Baal: Oh, don't get me wrong. It's a beautiful composition. But... Hm...
Drummer: ...
Baal rubs his chin as he observes the figure slip into the crowd. He doesn't notice the brawny drummer looking his way.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 3: Legendary Warriors - Episode 2

The drummer of Baal's temporary band speaks with the primal. Having once played with Aoidos, he suggests that Baal's lack of interest in playing for them is due to the band not stacking up to the Doss. Meanwhile, Vyrn and Rackam consider quitting, but as they look at their instruments, they realize they can't give up after coming this far.

Drummer: Yo, Baal. Got a sec?
Baal: Yes?
Drummer: The instant you started rocking out, I just had this feeling.
Drummer: Are you playing with Aoidos by any chance?
Baal: Yes. Is it that obvious?
Drummer: Ah, see, I did a stint with him as his drummer under the name Gigantios a while back. Barely lasted a few days.
Baal: The drummer who came before Vyrn? I've heard about you.
Drummer: What the? He's got that lizard on the set now?
Drummer: Bwahaha! That Aoidos, man... He's got creativity like no one else!
Gigantios eventually stops his hearty laughter.
Drummer: Hey, man, aren't you bored here?
Baal: While this group doesn't necessarily suit my fancy, I reserve judgment on whether it's boring.
Drummer: After playing for that guy, the bar here is so low it practically touches the ground. But at least I'm not asked to sacrifice my back for the gig.
Baal: Is that so? A low bar is one way to put it...
Vyrn: Hey, (Captain). Hey, Lyria. Is it time to eat or somethin'?
Lyria: Yes, we came to get everyone. Um... How's the new song going?
Vyrn: Got a hunch we're not all on the same page. I was even thinkin' about turning in my drum sticks.
But despite Vyrn's reservations, he still shows concern for the band's future.
Vyrn: You know what though? If people hadn't said that stuff about me, I'd be practicin' right now.
As they walk down the inn's corridor, the three think back to the street gig from a few days ago.
Then something catches their ears.
Lyria: Hm? That sounds familiar...
Vyrn: I think it's comin' from Rackam's room.
Vyrn: Look at you go, Rackam. Decided to pick up the bass after all.
Rackam: Uwagh! Don't you people know how to knock!
(Captain) and the others apologize for making Rackam leap out of his skin before pressing him about the bass.
Rackam: Eh, had a lot of time on my hands with practice canceled and stuff. Didn't even realize I'd picked it up.
Rackam: It's weird. When my fingers are dancin' over the strings, stuff like age or whatever doesn't matter anymore.
Lyria: Hm...
Lyria: Isn't that kind of what Aoidos was saying?
Vyrn: Which was?
Lyria: "Embrace the compliments you deserve." In other words, don't get hung up on the negative stuff.
Lyria: Don't you remember all the nice things people were saying?
Vyrn: Yeah, there was a lot of that, actually.
Rackam: Damn, I fell into the trap of only listening to criticism.
Lyria: You both want to play in the festival, am I right?
Rackam: I ain't a fan of not pullin' my weight, but I can't stand quitting either.
Vyrn: Same here. I should've just told off the guys makin' those comments right then and there!
Vyrn and Rackam realize they wouldn't want all the practice they've put in so far to end up being in vain.
To quit right before the concert of a lifetime is not a step either is willing to take.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 3: Legendary Warriors - Episode 3

While Rackam, Vyrn, and Baal are deciding to return to the band, Aoidos is taking a walk to clear his head. As if things couldn't get any worse for the musician, two suspicious masked individuals appear before him.

Rackam: It's scary how well the bass guitar fits my style.
Rackam: Looks unremarkable at first, but a song just ain't a song without it.
Rackam: Stick it front and center, or leave it behind the scenes to hold the fort. Sounds like a helmsman if I do say so myself.
Vyrn: When Aoidos was all, like, "only Vyrn can play drums like that," I was pretty proud of myself.
Vyrn: He's waiting for me to double-kick it up a notch, so I'm all in it for him.
Lyria: Heehee...
Rackam and Vyrn's new determination brings a smile to Lyria's face.
Lyria: I love it when people find something worth doing.
Lyria: So count me as a fan!
Lyria: I'll be seeing you guys at the festival, right?
Rackam: Mm-hm. We should've known better than to get discouraged.
Vyrn: Can't stop what people say, so no use freakin' out over it.
Baal: Does that mean the hiatus is coming to an end?
Rackam: Oh? Done with your side gig?
Baal: I realized this is where I belong. Being with a different band rubbed me the wrong way.
Vyrn: Cool. Then let's go find Aoidos, and tell him practice is back on.
Rackam: We should probably have an apology ready too. His crankiness levels have gotta be through the roof.
Lyria: Haha. Good luck, everyone!
Manager: Looking for Aoidos? He went outside to grab some air.
Manager: He said he'd be back soon, but it's been a while since he left...
Aoidos: Silence fills my heart...
Musicians: ...
Aoidos: Noise fills the town...
Aoidos walks through the streets while staring up into the sky.
His ears are following a trail laid by unknown musicians.
Masked Pair: ...
Aoidos: ...!
Bringing his eyes back down, he sees two masked figures standing in front of him.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 3: Legendary Warriors - Episode 4

Although Aoidos claims to have never seen the two individuals before, distressing flashbacks prove otherwise. As soon as the masked individuals place a sword in Aoidos's hand, his violent tendencies return, to the delight of the mysterious pair. Aoidos engages them in battle.

Aoidos: It's you two!
Masked Pair: ...
Aoidos: Ngh!
Aoidos grabs at his head, images flooding his mind.
Masked Man 1: Recognize us?
Masked Man 2: Please say you do.
Aoidos: I've never seen you before in my life! But I know that's not true either!
Curious Crowd: Vi-cious! Vi-cious! Vi-cious!
Masked Man 1: Then allow us to jog your memory.
Aoidos: ...!
Masked Man 2: Forgot how to use this too?
The two men instantly flank Aoidos without a sound and shove something cold into his hand.
Aoidos: A sword?
Masked Man 1: That's right.
Masked Man 2: Nice and sharp. Try it on me.
Aoidos: ...!
The large man pins Aoidos's free hand behind his back.
Aoidos looks at the sword, and his eyes roll back.
Masked Man 1: Ugh...
Masked Man 2: Nnh!
Aoidos disappears from sight as both men tumble backward.
Aoidos: Aaah... Aaaah...
Aoidos: Aah?
Blank eyes stare at the blade in his right hand.
Aoidos: Kahaha...
A disturbing laugh croaks out of his throat, and he lowers the sword almost leisurely.
Aoidos: Aaah...
Masked Man 1: ...!
Then, without warning, Aoidos is behind one of his assailants, his blade just a hair too slow to decapitate the man.
Masked Man 1: Did you see that!
Masked Man 2: Yeah. Only Benjamin could move like that!
Masked Man 1: Hehe... Inexcusable. That's a big no-no until you get all your memories back.
Masked Man 1: The guitarist of Vicious Three should know better than that!
Masked Man 2: Uh-huh. We don't want no shell of a leader!
Masked Man 2: C'mon! Cut me!
Aoidos: Aaah?
One of the men spreads his arms in offering. Aoidos stares vacantly at his defenseless opponent, then swings down judgment.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 4: Deathwing - Episode 1

During Aoidos's clash with the pair, he sees a memory of a man and woman at wit's end over a mute child, and this pushes him further over the edge, to the pair's pleasure. However, Aoidos is able to snap out of his delirium, causing the two unknown assailants to leave so they can come up with a new plan to draw out Aoidos's true nature.

Benjamin's Mom: Benjamin, honey? Do you want to make a wish?
Benjamin's Dad: It can be anything. Go on.
Benjamin: ...
Benjamin's Mom: What are we going to do with that boy? Kids his age should be talking by now...
Benjamin's Dad: Be patient, dear. It'll happen when he's ready.
Benjamin's Mom: Don't tell me it doesn't bother you. Like the day he was born? Every baby cries, but he didn't let out a peep.
Benjamin's Mom: That midwife was right, you know. It's a curse—
Benjamin's Dad: Hush!
Benjamin: ...
Aoidos: Ngh...
Aoidos: Graaaaah!
Valentin: Yesss! Those eyes... That voice!
Valentin: Slice me! Abuse me! Come back to us, Benjamin!
Aoidos: Kahaha...
Valentin: Take my life away from meee!
Aoidos: Aah?
Aoidos obliges and thrusts the sword into the man's chest.
Valentin: Augh!
Aoidos: Kahaha...
Justin: Well, that's odd.
Valentin: I know! Benjamin was way crueler than this! Stab deeper! Drive that blade!
Aoidos: Aaah... Aaah?
Justin: Huh... Slapping a cheap trinket into his hand isn't going to free the beast.
Valentin: Let's not be hasty! This really hurts, I swear! Just stab me a little deeper, Benjamin!
Aoidos: ...!
Somehow the man's voice brings Aoidos back to his senses. He's horrified to see his hand wrapped around the hilt of a sword protruding from the stranger's torso.
Valentin: What's wrong? Don't stop now!
Aoidos: What... the heck... am I doing?
Valentin: C'mon, Benjamin!
Aoidos: Huh?
Justin: Forget it, Valentin. It's over.
The non-injured man's voice drips with disdain as he eyes Aoidos.
Aoidos: What did I just see?
Justin: How am I supposed to know what goes on inside that skull of yours?
Justin: Did you get a peek of the past? A glimpse of the real you, with all the hate and resentment it entails? Music is simply a means of expressing yourself.
Aoidos: ...
Justin: That's it for today, Valentin. We're out of here. Time to come up with a different plan.
Valentin: What a letdown. Here's hoping you cut my life short next time, Benjamin.
Valentin: That sword of yours leaves a lasting... impression on me.
Aoidos: ...
Still unable to move, Aoidos can only watch as the two men walk away.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 4: Deathwing - Episode 2

When Aoidos returns to the inn, Vyrn and Rackam reaffirm their commitment to the band, but a shell-shocked Aoidos is in his own world, secretly wondering how to kill his bandmates. He later feels guilty for having such dark thoughts, which is exacerbated by his manager's suspicions, and passes out from strain.

Rackam: Have you two made up your minds?
Vyrn: Yep. No better way to prove naysayers wrong than by bringin' down the house.
Baal: It's uncouth to pit musical fortitude against each other, but truthfully speaking, I find other bands to be lacking.
Baal: I will return to the Doss.
Manager: I'm sorry, guys. Can't thank you enough for taking Aoidos's antics in stride.
Rackam: It's not like I've been the most enthusiastic member of the band, but I've come this far, so why not see it through?
Manager: You have my deepest gratitude.
Rackam: Aren't you takin' this appreciation thing a li'l too far?
The manager's eyes are closed as he gives his thanks.
The others are weirded out by his behavior, but continue to wait in silence for Aoidos's return.
Aoidos: ...
Vyrn: There you are! Where've you been?
Baal: How long do you wish to drag on this hiatus? The festival is around the corner.
Aoidos: ...
Rackam: Hey... Sorry 'bout earlier. You know, that talk about stayin' or leavin'?
Rackam: I gave it some thought, and quitting halfway through just ain't my style. Plus, I wanna jam at the festival.
Aoidos: (These guys... How do I do it...)
Rackam: So I guess what I'm sayin' is, there's no problem with us comin' back, right?
Aoidos: !
Aoidos: Heh. I take it you've overcome the inadequacies that you felt stunted your resolve?
Rackam: Well... Something like that. We can still make up for it.
Aoidos: Good enough. Are you ready to play the greatest song ever written?
Vyrn: Psh, you've got a drummer who can flam, diddle, and roll like no skydweller ever could.
Baal: My spirit is always in motion, but what about you? Show me that pathos.
Aoidos: All right. It's our duty to guide fans up the stairway to heaven. Time to get composing.
Rackam: Wait, quick note. Take your time on this, wouldja? You look like you're about to collapse.
Aoidos: What?
Vyrn: We're all worried about you.
Baal: As long as the song is finished by the day before the festival, I can play it. You can leave my part last if it'll help.
Aoidos: Hah. Who do you take me for? At worst you'll be dealing with the composing speeds of regular Aoidos. I'll have this done in no time.
Vyrn: Now there's the Aoidos we know and love.
Aoidos: Aoidos is Aoidos, and that's never going to change.
Manager: ...
The musician returns to his room and sets to composing anew.
Aoidos: What am I missing? Tempo changes? Compositional balance?
Aoidos: Ngh!
Manager: Aoidos, you were acting strangely when you came back earlier.
Aoidos: Huh?
Manager: Did something happen to you earlier?
Aoidos: It's nothing.
Manager: What were you thinking about when you saw the others again?
Aoidos: ...!
Aoidos: I thought they might provide me with inspiration for the song. That's all.
Rackam: I gave it some thought, and quitting halfway through just ain't my style. Plus, I wanna jam at the festival.
Aoidos: (These guys... How do I do it...)
Aoidos: (How do I kill them?)
Aoidos: Aoidos... is Aoidos...
Aoidos: Always at the top of my game...
Aoidos: Nothing else—
Aoidos: ...
Manager: Aoidos!
Manager: Aoidos! Stay with me!
Aoidos: ...

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 4: Deathwing - Episode 3

Aoidos is recovering in his room, but he's no longer speaking, and his bandmates think the recent band troubles are to blame for his change in behavior. His manager offers a different opinion, revealing himself to be Aoidos's adopted brother, and claiming that the true cause is rooted in the musician's past.

Aoidos: ...
Lyria: Would you like some water, Aoidos?
Aoidos: ...
Lyria: Hello in there? Aoidos?
Aoidos: ...
Vyrn: How did this happen? He was super gung ho the last time we saw him.
Baal: He's gone quiet. His resonance no longer rings; it's as if he's a completely different person.
Rackam: Did all our fussin' push him over the edge?
Manager: It could be...
Manager: Although I think the real cause has to do with Benji's past.
Aoidos: ...!
Rackam: Who's Benji?
Aoidos: ...!
Hearing that name triggers a violent reaction in Aoidos. He claws at his head, screaming repeatedly before losing consciousness.
Vyrn: Hey! Aoidos!
Manager: I knew it. His memories are coming back. Thankfully he hasn't remembered who I am yet.
Manager: Come with me. I'll tell you what I know somewhere else.
After making sure Aoidos is safe in his room, the others wait for the manager to explain.
Manager: I heard Aoidos got into a fight with two people in town. They called him Benjamin.
Manager: Assuming those two know about Aoidos's past, they must be the other members of Vicious Three.
Rackam: So why did they attack him?
Manager: I'm still trying to figure that out, but I'm pretty sure it has to do with the Benjamin-side of Aoidos.
Manager: You saw how he's suffering. The Aoidos we know wants to erase those memories.
Rackam: Why do you keep talkin' about Aoidos like he's someone else? Do you actually know about his past?
Manager: Yes, but not everything. For starters, his real name is Benjamin.
Manager: I've never told anyone this, but I'm actually Benji's... Ahem, Benjamin's brother.
Surprised Three: What!
Vyrn: Seriously?
Manager: Not by blood of course. I was an orphan until one day his family adopted me.
Young Manager: ...
Benjamin's Mom: Hi there. What's your name?
Young Manager: James.
Benjamin's Dad: Okay. Why don't we call you Jim? Say, Jim, would you like to come live with us?
Young Manager: Can I?
Benjamin's Dad: You betcha. It's your choice. We've been looking for a kid around your age.
Manager: Considering how old I was at the time, I thought it was next to impossible for any family to want to adopt me.
Manager: But Benji's family took me in.
Benjamin's Mom: We have a son who's about your age. His name is Benji.
Benjamin's Dad: I hope the two of you can find something in common and become good friends.
Young Manager: Okay.
Benjamin's Dad: All right, Jim. Meet your new brother, Benji.
Little Benjamin: ...
Young Manager: Hello, Benji. I'm James.
Little Benjamin: ...
Young Manager: ...
Benjamin's Dad: Hahaha. Aw, he's just a little shy. He'll warm up to you eventually. I'm sure of it.
Benjamin's Mom: Mm-hm. Eventually...
Little Benjamin: ...
Young Manager: ...
Manager: And that's how we first met.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 4: Deathwing - Episode 4

The manager's real name is Jim. Aoidos never spoke as a child, so his worried parents adopted Jim in hopes that Aoidos would open up to him. Instead of getting better, Aoidos was caught killing mice for fun, leading to both him and Jim leaving home. After ten years without contact, Jim stumbles across Aoidos, who has lost his memory.

Young Manager: So what kinda stuff are you into, Benji?
Little Benjamin: ...
Young Manager: Okay... How about stuff you're not into?
Little Benjamin: ...
Young Manager: ...
Manager: Benji was a real quiet guy, and by quiet I mean he never spoke at all.
Young Manager: Yo, dinner's ready, Benji. You coming?
Little Benjamin: ...
Young Manager: Mom made roast chicken tonight. Smells good.
Little Benjamin: ...
Manager: It's not that he wasn't listening, or that he couldn't understand what was being said. He just wouldn't open his mouth to speak.
Benjamin's Mom: Benji? Are you getting along with Jim?
Little Benjamin: ...
Benjamin's Dad: Aren't you happy to have such a kind big brother?
Little Benjamin: ...
Young Manager: ...
Manager: It didn't take a genius to figure out why they adopted me. I was brought in to make Benji talk.
Manager: Mom and Dad had exhausted every avenue they had until stumbling across me.
Manager: Surely Benji would talk if he had a friend to open up to... But to our parents' disappointment, his mouth stayed shut.
Manager: It went on like this for several years. No matter what we did or said, nothing changed.
Benjamin's Mom: ...
Benjamin's Dad: ...
Little Benjamin: ...
Manager: Actually, things did change. We all eventually stopped talking.
Muffled Sound: Squeak!
Manager: Then one day I heard animal noises coming from Benji's room.
Young Manager: The heck are you doing!
Young Manager: Y-you trapped all these mice... just to kill them?
Little Benjamin: ...
Mouse: Squeak!
Young Manager: Stop it!
Little Benjamin: ...
Mouse: Squeak!
Young Manager: I said stop!
Manager: That was the first I'd ever struck someone.
Manager: It wouldn't be the last.
Young Manager: Are you at it again?
Manager: Every day another punch. I thought I could slap some sense into Benji before Mom and Dad found out.
Little Benjamin: ...
Young Manager: What's so darn funny!
Benjamin's Dad: What's all the racket, you two?
Manager: In the end, my violent outbursts and the pile of dead mice were discovered.
Manager: When I woke up in the morning from that night I wish I could forget, Benji was nowhere to be found. I was no longer welcome at home either, so I skipped town.
Manager: That was about a decade ago. Made my living as a merchant and figured I'd never see him again.
Aoidos: ...
Manager: Benji?
Manager: Benji had grown up, but I knew that face anywhere. The only difference was...
Aoidos: Aaaaah!
Manager: ...!
Manager: In the ten years we'd been apart, Benji had lost his memories and become someone else. I couldn't leave him like that.
Aoidos: My manager?
Manager: Sure. All great musicians need a manager.
Aoidos: Wrong.
Manager: I'm sorry?
Aoidos: I'm not a great musician.
Aoidos: I'm the best of the best.
Manager: Cough. My mistake. Let me rephrase my proposition: even the best of the best musicians need a manager, am I right?
Aoidos: Fine by me. I hope you'll spare no effort in helping me bring heaven to the masses.
Manager: I have no idea what happened to Benji in those ten years since he left home.
Manager: But in my opinion, I think he's happier not remembering his childhood and living as Aoidos.
The Four: ...
The guitarist's unimaginable past leaves everyone speechless.
It reminds them of the time they found Aoidos cutting up a monster with a sword and not acting like himself.
That manifestation of his psyche is surely related to his childhood.
Rackam: In any case, we can forget about holding practice. Best give him some space.
Baal: The timing of the festival is of some concern. Are you suggesting we withdraw?
Rackam: C'mon, you know he can't go out there like that.
Vyrn: It probably wouldn't be too much of a problem if he could accept his past.
Manager: At the very least, I think we should distance him from anything related to his past. That includes me and Vicious Three.
Lyria: That doesn't seem fair after you two have become such good friends...
Manager: I'd rather not see him suffer even more.
Everyone decides to keep their distance from Aoidos's room.
Suddenly, they hear a rush of footsteps echoing down a hallway, getting louder and louder.
Reporter 1: Make way please!
Reporter 2: Aoidos's room is over there!
Rackam: H-hey! What do you people want with him!
Reporter 1: What a scoop! All members of the Doss are here too!
Rackam: Hold on! Now's not a good time!
Reporter 2: That excuse won't fly! Let us through!
The band members fail to stop the flood of reporters from crashing through the door of Aoidos's room.
Reporter 1: Aoidos! Give us a juicy quote to print!
Aoidos: ...!
Reporter 2: Something to set the festival on fire!
Rackam: That's enough! I said now's not the time!
Reporter 1: But now's the only time to get answers!
Reporter 2: What are your thoughts on the announcement of the band battle between the Doss and Vicious Three?
Reporter 1: Not to mention the big shocking announcement to be revealed at the finale! Can we get a hint as to what it might be?
Rackam: Huh? A battle of the bands?
Vyrn: Who said anything about a shocking announcement? 'Cause we sure didn't!
Aoidos: ...
A haggard Aoidos stares off into space. It seems that unknown forces are conspiring to keep him from getting any rest.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 5: Judgment Night - Episode 1

Reporters barge into Aoidos's room, hounding the haggard man about the sudden announcement of a band battle between the Doss and Vicious Three. The confused band members go to the festival's management office to have a meeting with Vicious Three.

Vyrn: Wha... What the heck is this!
The town is blanketed in posters, which the Doss missed while staying inside the inn.
Thrash of the Titans! The Doss vs. Vicious Three!
Who will survive this epic battle? Heaven or hell?
And stick around for the most shocking announcement in festival history!
Lyria: Mr. Manager? What is all this?
Manager: Your guess is as good as mine. Aoidos had nothing to do with this either.
Baal: Logically speaking, Vicious Three likely set this up without our knowledge.
Rackam: What do those clowns think they're doin', spreadin' this garbage around?
Rackam is ready to charge into town to tear down every single one of the hundreds of leaflets.
Prima Dosser 1: Oh. My. Gosh! It's the Doss!
Dosshead 1: Dude! I'm, like, your biggest fan! Promise me you guys'll rub victory in Vicious Three's face!
Vyrn: Erm, we appreciate the support, bud, but—
Vicious Army 1: Oh, we're looking forward to it all right. Looking forward to seeing Vicious stomp your guts.
Vicious Army 1: Aw, what? Gonna act tough, then run home to your mommy?
Dosshead 1: The Doss never backs down, bro. They're always flying high. You scrubs'll find yourselves floating in heaven.
Vicious Army 1: Kahaha! Sure, man. Can't wait to see this "heaven" of yours.
Prima Dosser 1: Grrr! That joker pisses me off!
Dosshead 1: Those punks are always spewing crap like, "The Doss are scared! Oooh, the Doss are gonna run away!" Buncha trolls!
Prima Dosser 1: But we believe in you! So shove a healthy dose of heaven down their throats for us!
Dossheads: Go Doss!
The Three: ...
Baal: So much for withdrawing from the festival. Another preemptive strike by Vicious Three?
Rackam: Probably. I highly doubt the festival planners would blindside us like this. It's gotta be them.
Vyrn: They're causin' all kinds of confusion for everyone. Makes you feel sorry for the fans on both sides.
Manager: Who knows how long it'll take for Aoidos to recover from shock. We need to send out a statement quashing this misinformation—
Festival Rep.: Excuse me. I'm with the festival's management office. Can I have a moment with your band?
Manager: Perfect timing! Something has to be done about the lies written on those posters.
Festival Rep.: That surprise announcement is inconvenient for us as well. I was hoping you all could come in for a three-way discussion to get to the bottom of this.
Vyrn: You mean us, the festival people... and Vicious Three?
Festival Rep.: Yes. Two of their members are already at our office.
Baal: I don't think it's a good idea for Aoidos to face them given his current condition.
Rackam: Yeah, but we gotta shut those clowns up now, or it'll look like we're chickening out. Can't show weakness when the spotlights are on us.
Vyrn: Either we back down and take a hit to our rep, or go on stage in less than perfect shape. Both choices stink.
Rackam: Yep. Lose the fans and we're toast.
Baal: No one to hear how far Aoidos's music can go.
Vyrn: Somehow we have to get 'em to talk without gettin' Aoidos caught in their scheme.
The Doss is caught off guard at being forced to participate in a battle of the bands.
The festival representative brings them to the office where they can get some answers from Vicious Three.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 5: Judgment Night - Episode 2

At the management office, two members of Vicious Three explain they announced the band battle as a publicity stunt, preventing the Doss from backing out of the festival. The Doss figure out these two are actually fakes—the real Vicious Three members are targeting Aoidos who's back at the inn, alone.

Justin: I'm Justin, vocalist and bass player for Vicious Three.
Valentin: Valentin's the name. I'm on drums.
Rackam: Doss. Right then. You two wanna tell us what this band battle is all about?
Justin: Surprise!
Valentin: Impromptu gigs and ad-libbing. That's the Vicious Three way.
Vyrn: Guess that gives you the right to do whatever without tellin' anyone, huh? Well, I don't think so!
Justin: What, no kudos?
Valentin: Yeah, come on. We gave the fans, both yours and ours, something to finally get pumped up about.
Baal: What you did isn't ad-libbing. It's behaving with reckless abandon.
Justin: What would you know?
Valentin: Man, amateurs wouldn't understand. We're geniuses. We'll start writing a new song the day before the festival and be done by lunch.
Manager: ...
Manager: You're bluffing.
Justin: What'd you just say?
Valentin: That sounded like an insult, buster.
Manager: The way I see it, you two are the ones insulting Vicious Three.
Manager: You think ad-libbing everything makes a gig worth listening to? Give me a break.
Vyrn: Wait, did I miss something?
Baal: Ah, so that's it.
Baal: These two are frauds.
Justin: ...!
Baal: Rackam.
Rackam: On it.
Rackam holds up the hands of the two masked men.
Rackam: Great skin, guys. So soft and smooth considering the instruments you play.
Justin: ...!
Vyrn: Imposters!
Baal: The way these pretenders spoke demonstrated a shallow understanding of what bands go through.
Baal: I've never heard Vicious Three play before, but as struggling musicians, they should understand the grind.
Rackam: Spill it. Why'd you call us out here?
The two fakes hang their heads in quiet shame. The Doss draws in closer.
Justin: I don't know nothin', man. We're just doing what Vicious told us to.
Valentin: After the band battle announcement goes out, we're supposed to lure out the Doss.
Rackam: Damn it... We played right into their hands. Back to the inn!
Vyrn: Oh no! You mean Vicious Three was after Aoidos the whole time?
Rackam: Bingo. C'mon!
Aoidos: ...
Aoidos stares into the clouds, sighing to himself.
Aoidos: No matter where I look, it's not there...
Aoidos: Where are you, my pathos?
Mouse: Squeak!
Aoidos: Ungh!
Young Manager: Stop it!
Aoidos: Get out of my head!
The song! Focus on writing the song!
Aoidos shakes his head wildly in a vain attempt to rid himself of the distorted memories.
Benjamin's Mom: That midwife was right, you know. It's a curse—
Aoidos: Get a grip, Aoidos! Quit thinking weird thoughts!
But the harder he tries not to remember, the more he ends up thinking about it.
Aoidos: First thing a song needs... are lyrics... or should it be the hook?
Aoidos: Why can't I figure this out! Am I so bereft of ideas that I'd even sink to embracing the gods?
Small-Framed Man: Hello, Aoidos.
Aoidos: ...
Aoidos, who is in no mood for pleasantries, eyes the two smiling men coming his way with suspicion.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 5: Judgment Night - Episode 3

Two young men confront Aoidos, introducing themselves as Justin and Valentin of Vicious Three. Justin unsheathes a sword from Aoidos's guitar, which triggers Aoidos's transformation into Benjamin, the person he used to be before losing his memories.

Justin: Can we talk?
Aoidos: ...
Aoidos: Heh.
Aoidos fumbles his words, but he recovers quickly enough to play it cool, flashing a smile.
Aoidos: Doss fans, huh? What's a guy gotta do to get some fresh air in peace?
Justin: Nope. We're not Doss fans.
Valentin: Forget the Doss. Forget Aoidos. We're fans of you.
Aoidos: I don't understand...
Justin: Whoops, almost forgot to give you your guitar.
The young man hands Aoidos his beloved axe.
Justin: Take it.
Aoidos: ...?
How did you get this?
Aoidos remains frozen while gripping his guitar tightly. He's not sure what to make of this situation.
Justin: Now there's a poster-worthy pose. No doubt he'd look even cooler while actually playing the thing.
Valentin: Hold on, something's still missing. Guitars aren't only for making music, you know.
Aoidos: Wha...
Justin: Fine. Guess I'll have to show you then.
The young man grabs the head of Aoidos's guitar and gives it a sharp twist.
They hear a distinct click, and he pulls a thin sword from the guitar's neck.
Aoidos: ...!
Justin: Mind cogs still stuck? Geez, you're a real pain in the ass.
Valentin: A quick stabbing should get his brain going again. Go for it.
Justin: Keep your snout out of this, pig.
Valentin: Gwah...
Aoidos: What the!
Justin: Want it deeper?
Valentin: Yes! And twist it!
Justin: You disgust me.
Valentin: Ergh... Gaaah!
Blood sprays onto the sword as it digs into the bandaged man's abdomen.
Justin: Don't you dare enjoy this. Ugh, vile.
Valentin: I'm sorry! I'm sorry!
Looking back at Aoidos, the tormentor kicks the wounded man to the ground.
Justin: Just like old times, right?
Aoidos: You guys are...
Aoidos: Justin... Valentin...
Justin: Ding-ding-ding. If you get down on all fours and beg, I might give you a treat.
Justin: Ah, but before we move on, here's your sword back.
The young man extracts the blade from the fallen man's stomach. Aoidos takes it absentmindedly, staring at the reddened tip.
Aoidos: ...!
The rapidly cooling blood runs down the blade and past the hilt, dripping onto Aoidos's hand. It feels strangely familiar.
Aoidos: Ah... Aaah!
Justin: Hehe. Free your mind! Release the real you!
What you are about to watch contains language and themes that may not be suitable for all viewers.
All names and events have been captured faithfully for the purpose of preserving a historical record.
Minors should be accompanied by guardians with strong moral compasses.
Viewer discretion is strongly advised.
Crowd: Vi-cious! Vi-cious! Vi-cious!
Aoidos: Vicious Three—as far as chronicling the importance of sky concerts is concerned, it would be derelict not to mention this name.
Crowd: Vi-cious! Vi-cious! Vi-cious!
Bandit 1: Who the hell are those twerps?
Bandit 2: Could be those mercs we heard were out to get us. We all geared up for a fight?
A gang of rabble-rousing bandits has been terrorizing the area.
Yet three young men show no fear in front of the boorish troublemakers.
Justin: This weather bites. Not a cloud to be seen.
Valentin: Mm-hm. It's way too bright to play our gig.
Benjamin: Aah? Think, dipwads. Kill the mood. Kill the weather. Then I'll do things...
Benjamin: Just the way I like it.
Aoidos: Benjamin. Guitarist, singer, and leader of Vicious Three.
Justin: Great speech. Too bad I've heard it a million times before.
Aoidos: Justin. The band's attack dog, bassist, and natural-born sadist.
Valentin: Guh!
Valentin: Your stabs are like pinpricks! Really give it to me!
Aoidos: Valentin. The shield, a.k.a. sandbag. A thumping good drummer, but even better masochist who'd rather take a good thumping.
Bandit 1: I surrender! Please don't kill me!
Benjamin: Sure thing.
Benjamin: I'm going to chop your head off, and if you're still alive, I'll let you go.
Bandit 2: Noooo!
Benjamin: Kahaha...
Benjamin: Kahaha...
Justin: The stage is set just how you like it, Benjamin. Gig's all yours.
Benjamin: Aah?
Benjamin: Graaaah!
Crowd: Yeaaaah!
Aoidos: These three men were the ultimate evil.
Vicious Three: Hunting down strays, hurling sticks and stones.
Vicious Three: This town, a curse decays, all because of the mastermind, the mastermind.
Vicious Three: Screams incite, condemn to silence.
Vicious Three: Who's next to bear the curse? Step up! Step up! Step up!
Crowd: Yeaaaah!
Aoidos: And they were the best at what they did.
Aoidos: One can instantly tell if Vicious is live in battle simply by looking up into the sky.
Aoidos: Dark, red clouds coagulate from evaporating mists of liquid life.
Aoidos: Then soon falls the rain of blood.
Benjamin: The perfect weather for a perfect show. If the mood isn't ripe for a gig, I'll nurture it myself.
Crowd: Vi-cious! Vi-cious! Vi-cious!
Aoidos: Vicious birthed a dark genre of brutality that drove the underground crazy, but their meteoric rise was short-lived.
Aoidos: As the old adage goes: the higher one climbs, the harder one falls.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 5: Judgment Night - Episode 4

As the leader of Vicious Three, Benjamin had wanted to perform a ballad, but Justin saw this as a betrayal of Vicious's hardcore principles, so he stabbed Benjamin in the back. The lost memories induced by the stabbing have now returned to Aoidos, but before he can get revenge, Justin accuses Aoidos of betraying Vicious fans. Justin offers Aoidos a possible solution; Aoidos decides to follow the two men without a word.

Justin: Awesome set today, Benjamin.
Benjamin: Aah?
Justin: What, not up to snuff for the king? I was about to reward you and everything.
Benjamin: I don't give a damn about that.
Valentin: Justin doesn't know when to quit, but that's fine by me.
Benjamin: Wrong. The bounty from those bandits was pitiful. Gig ticket sales? Trash. Even the ***s in the mosh pit gave me nothing.
Benjamin: Gigs get boring when perfection becomes the norm. Where's the next level?
Benjamin: That same ordinary perfection over and over and over... How can people be satisfied with that?
Justin: Because pigs never tire of eating pig slop. Feeble minds can't imagine anything else they'd want. Allow me to demonstrate on Valentin.
Justin picks up a rock and hurls it as hard as he can, striking Valentin square in the nose.
Valentin: Agh!
Justin repeats this twice more with pinpoint accuracy.
Valentin: Ugh! Gah!
Justin: See that? It's the same reaction every single time. So who cares as long as you can make them squeal?
Benjamin: Hm...
Benjamin: Crawl, Valentin.
Valentin: Okay.
Benjamin: Here's how I see it...
Benjamin continues to talk as he presses down on Valentin's head with his foot.
Benjamin: I like the idea... of hurting them... right up to the cusp... of death...
Valentin: Ngggh! Rgggh!
Benjamin: But a good meal needs a palate cleanser between dishes.
Valentin: Heh... Hehe...
Benjamin: That way you get the full kick of flavor when landing a blow to someone's head.
Valentin: Aaugh!
Justin: What's your point?
Benjamin: We're going to play different bits that ramp up during our intro.
Benjamin: First a thunder clap. Then a power guitar riff with blast beats phasing in. Grindcore is the sound we want.
Justin: Feels unnecessary. The ***** demand your brand of violent thrash, so I say give it to them.
Benjamin: No. The middle act is the palate cleanser. Maybe a piano or string ballad. Naturally it'll still bear my distinctive sound.
Justin: ...!
Valentin: Um, I think I get it? After we let 'em come down gently, we give them a hard kick in the ***.
Benjamin: Your brain still works. Here's a reward for your troubles.
Valentin: Guh! I'm sorry!
Justin: A ballad? Are you out of your ******* mind, Benjamin?
Benjamin: And just what is the baseline of sanity, Justin? We're doing a ballad.
Justin: Don't play dumb with me! You're watering down your signature violence with garbage that doesn't matter!
Benjamin: Aah? Who said you could define who I am? Crawl back into your hole, gutter trash.
Justin: Need I remind you you're the one who fished me out of the garbage? Were you lying to me back then? Why are you changing course all of a sudden?
Justin: What happened to your ****s, man! Did they rot and fall off!
Valentin: Calm down, Justin. If you need to hit something, hit me.
Benjamin: Swallow your word vomit, or I'll kill you.
Justin: ...!
Benjamin: I'll give you the score tomorrow. Read it and play. You can throw up afterward.
Benjamin issues his ultimatum and walks off.
Justin: Don't you...
Justin: Don't you dare throw me away!
Benjamin: Aah?
Benjamin: Gaah!
Benjamin staggers forward in pain from the stab wound inflicted on his back.
He tumbles into an underground river that flows deeper into the cave.
Valentin: Justin! Why'd you stab Benjamin instead of me!
Justin: Piano? Ballads? Vicious Three doesn't need that.
Justin: If that's what Benjamin wants, then we don't need him either!
Aoidos: Oh, that's right. Now I remember what you did to me.
Valentin: He's got that murderous glint in his eye... just like before!
Justin: Welcome home, Benjamin.
Aoidos: Good to be back. Time to die.
Justin: We happen to be short a guitarist. Mind filling in for us?
Aoidos: Guess we all have our own problems. I predict a bassist is about to bite the dust.
Justin blocks Aoidos's swift strike and smiles.
Justin: A bassist, huh? Sounds like someone's angling to leave the Doss and come back to Vicious Three.
Aoidos: ...!
Aoidos: Ugh! Nnh!
Valentin: His pain's flaring up again... Why won't you share some of it with me, Benjamin!
Aoidos: I've made up my mind... to perform at the festival... with the Doss... and that's that.
The rocker answers through gritted teeth as his mind wavers between Benjamin's and Aoidos's memories.
Aoidos: I can't betray the fans!
Justin: How noble of you. But what about Vicious Three fans? Will you betray them?
Aoidos: ...
Justin: Decisions, decisions. But I think I might have a compromise.
Justin: Why don't we let the fans decide?
Aoidos: ...?
Justin: How you perform at the festival will reveal who you truly are.
Justin: I'll explain later. In the meantime, come with us.
Aoidos: ...
Aoidos decides to follow the two men, leaving (Captain) and the others behind and disappearing without a trace.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 6: Unfinished Melody - Episode 1

The Doss is forced to practice without Aoidos, who mails them sheet music in batches from an unknown location. To make matters worse, they're scheduled to open the festival, which starts at noon tomorrow.

Manager: ...
The manager and (Captain) watch quietly as Vyrn, Rackam, and Baal practice.
Mail Carrier 1: Excuse me, sir. Delivery.
Manager: Hm? Don't get up, (Captain). I'll take care of this.
Mail Carrier 1: This sealed envelope is for you.
Manager: Thanks. I think I already know what you're going to say, but in regards to where Aoidos is sending these from...
Mail Carrier 1: Yeah, sorry. I'm afraid I can't divulge personal information.
Rackam: Wait, is that how this section goes? Say, Baal, Mr. Manager. This sound right to you?
Baal: Yes. You're playing the notes as written.
Manager: It fits Aoidos's style, I can tell you that much.
Mail Carrier 1: Um, if you'll sign here, I'll be on my way...
Vyrn: What about my part? Am I playing it right?
Baal: I think you're rushing a little. Feel the rhythm in your head. One, two, three, four.
Vyrn: Drat, had a feelin' I was speedin' up. Steady, Vyrn. One, two, three, four...
Manager: The tempo for this one is different from songs you've played before. It's not easy to pick up right off the bat.
Mail Carrier 1: Sir? If you could sign here for me please...
Manager: Oh, sorry. Let me double-check the contents real quick.
Practice is slow going for the Doss without Aoidos present.
Lyria: I didn't think it would be this hard without Aoidos here.
Rackam: Yep. I dare anyone else to try interpreting his brand-spankin' new tune without asking the man himself.
Vyrn: It's bad enough we don't know where he is, but mailing us the music bit by bit doesn't help either.
Baal: Be that as it may, we received the full score yesterday. Cease grumbling and practice.
Baal: I see the continuity in the score. There shouldn't be any obstacles to our rehearsal.
Vyrn: If you say so, O great Baal.
Baal: As musicians, you are the ones breathing life into the music. Take my words to heart. Don't let the composer dictate how much you can do.
Rackam: It's weird, but I think I can actually sense Aoidos's conviction through his notes.
Vyrn: Yeah. Feels wrong not bein' able to ask the actual composer about his vision, but we gotta do what we gotta do.
Lyria: I wonder if Aoidos will come back before the festival starts.
Rackam: At least we don't have to worry about him being a no-show on the day of. I hope.
The band members bury their worries and return to practice, believing in Aoidos to make his return.
Manager: Guys... We got a stack of papers from Aoidos.
Mail Carrier 1: Sign please...
Rackam: Whoa... Look how thick that envelope is. Could it be the score?
Vyrn: Uh, I thought we already have the score though? Maybe it's festival info, like schedules and stuff.
Rackam: Oh yeah. They haven't told us who's goin' when yet.
Manager: Let me read the note he attached first.
Aoidos: To the Doss:
The perfect song is a step away from perfection. Can't wait to see you on the stage.
Rackam: He wouldn't...
They quickly share a few glances between each other before opening the large, sealed envelope.
Rackam: I knew it. It's another score.
Vyrn: Wait, but it looks exactly the same as the one we have. What does he want us to do with it?
Baal: Although the overall song remains the same, he's fine-tuned various parts throughout the sheets.
Rackam: He's still makin' changes this late in the game? Great. What stuff did he tweak?
Manager: I guess he was in a rush because I don't see any special markings to highlight his changes.
Rackam: Lyria, (Captain). Sorry to bug you guys, but could ya bring us some scratch paper?
Lyria: Sure!
Lyria and (Captain) turn to go, but another visitor arrives before they can leave.
Mail Carrier 2: Good afternoon. The sender asks that you confirm the contents of delivery upon receipt.
Lyria: Hm, it's from the festival representative. It says... "The band lineup has been finalized."
All Three: ...!
Lyria: "Your band, the Doss, has shown it has the chops to put on a great show."
Lyria: "We invite you up-and-comers to kick off the festival at noon tomorrow. Please be ready to go." That's it.
Rackam: ...
Vyrn: ...
Baal: ...
Rackam: Say, do you mind forwarding this to Aoidos for us?
Mail Carrier 1: Sure, no problem. I'll get right on it as soon as I get a signature for the earlier delivery, so...
Rackam: We're out of time, and Aoidos is MIA. We really goin' out on stage like this?
Mail Carrier 1: I should just forge a signature...
With the festival less than one day away and everything still up in the air, everyone is filled with more than simply stage fright.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 6: Unfinished Melody - Episode 2

It's the day of the festival, and with Aoidos still absent and the crowd getting antsy, the Doss decides to perform an opening act with Lyria in order to buy time. Lyria performs well despite her inexperience, but the Doss knows she's at her limit.

Opening day of the festival arrives at long last.
Countless revelers from all over the skydom mill around the specially constructed stage.
Attendees wearing unusual clothing appear to have even traversed skydoms to grace the festival with their presence.
Everyone is ready to get a taste of what the Doss has to offer thanks to positive word of mouth.
A buzz of excitement and anticipation permeates the entire venue.
Vyrn: Things are gettin' pretty crazy out there. It's like the entire skydom's here to see this.
Rackam: Any word on Aoidos?
Manager: ...
The manager shakes his head—Aoidos has yet to return.
Rackam: Hm, you did forward the schedule to Aoidos, right, Mr. Postman?
Mail Carrier 1: Of course I did. I remember because he didn't sign for it either. So if you could do me a favor and—
Manager: I'm sorry, Vermillios. I sent festival management a request to change your time slot, but they said it's too late.
Lyria: What are we going to do without the singer?
Manager: I really can't imagine him shirking his responsibilities.
Manager: Management is of the same mind and has promised to delay the start of the festival for as long as they can. Problem is...
Crowd: Doss! Doss! Doss! Doss!
Vyrn: We're gonna lose that energy if we drag this out.
Lyria: ...
Baal: I can already hear the voltage in their voices beginning to ebb. Perhaps there is one thing we can do.
Manager: You mean go out there and stall for time without the lead guitar and vocalist? Sounds pretty risky...
Lyria: Um, is there anything I can do to help?
Baal: Why, I thought you'd never ask.
Baal walks over to another band backstage.
Baal: Gigantios. I'd like to borrow one of your guitars.
Gigantios: What? Um, sure, I guess...
Baal: Lyria, get changed.
Lyria: Are you sure? I can sing, but...
Baal: Snowdos is going to play the opening act. Here's your guitar.
Lyria: Huh? B-but I don't know how to play the guitar!
Baal: Leave that to me. Let's go.
Baal gives Lyria a gentle nudge in the back, then heads for the stage.
Rackam: Wait, Baal!
Vyrn: Too late now! He's already on stage. We gotta go out there too!
Lyria: E-excuse me! Does anyone know where the changing room is!
Lyria: ...
Standing in the spotlight in front of the raucous crowd isn't Aoidos, headliner of the Doss, but an unknown girl.
Cheers turn to confused murmurs at this unexpected change in program.
Lyria: H-hello, everyone!
Crowd: ...
Lyria: I'm Ly—er, Snowdos, and I'm going to play a song for you before Aoidos does.
Crowd: ...
Lyria: I hope you like it!
Lyria grips her axe and lets it rip.
Crowd: ...!
Aoidos's familiar chords blast over the audience.
Baal: ...!
Lyria's fingers move in sync with Baal's by tapping into the primal beast's power.
Crowd: Ooooh!
She's obviously no Aoidos, but the sound she offers isn't far off.
The crowd claps along with the band.
Lyria stares out into the sea of happy faces with her own bright smile.
Lyria: Ouch!
But she suddenly winces in pain.
Rackam: (Crap! Did she cut her finger?)
Baal: (My skills are flowing into her, but it's still her own fingers running along the strings. One song is probably the most she can endure without callouses.)
Vyrn: (Then let's not push it! We gotta find another way to buy time!)
Lyria: (I'm okay! I can still do this!)
Lyria pushes through the pain and continues to sing, so as not to let the smiles of the music lovers go to waste.
Crowd: Yeaaah! Doss! Doss! Doss! Doss!
Somehow they make it through the song, and the island itself seems to shake from the screams of encore.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 6: Unfinished Melody - Episode 3

Aoidos arrives in the nick of time, but surprises the Doss by saying he'll also play for Vicious Three afterward. Aoidos feels he has a responsibility to play for fans of both bands, even if this is part of Justin's scheme.

Lyria: Huff... huff... We did it... Hehe...
Vyrn: Lyria... Your voice...
Lyria: Oops. I think I sang a little too hard. But I can still sing another song if you need me to.
Baal: We'll handle the music; you address the crowd. Buy some time and hopefully give your throat a rest.
Lyria: Okay...
Lyria: Hello again. Snowdos here.
A ripple of applause greets the sweat-covered Lyria.
Lyria: It must have been a real surprise to see me singing instead of Aoidos, right?
Rackam: ...
Rackam lays down a smooth bassline to give Lyria much-needed support.
Lyria: Heehee, to tell you the truth, I was just as surprised as all of you were. I couldn't stop shaking...
Lyria: But the warm welcome I received on stage really got to me—
Lyria: Cough... S-sorry about that. Before I stepped out here, if someone had told me I'd be standing in front of so many smiling faces, I wouldn't have believed it.
Lyria: You've made me the happiest singer at this festival. Thank you so much.
Vyrn: (Not good. She's runnin' out of stuff to say. Where the heck is Aoidos!)
Lyria: ...
Lyria: Sometimes we find the most wonderful things in the most unexpected places. It hasn't always been easy, but I'm glad I went on this journey.
Lyria: ...
Lyria finishes her speech, and the crowd bursts into another wave of applause.
Rackam: (Baal. Think her throat can go another round?)
Baal: (Judging from that cough earlier, I doubt she'll make it to the end.)
Rackam: (So do we risk Lyria blowing out her voice, or...)
Baal: (Tell the audience Aoidos isn't here and leave the stage?)
The band only has until the applause dies down to make their next crucial decision.
Soon the clapping fades away. Everyone in the crowd waits with bated breath for the next tune to drop.
Vyrn: (What do we do!)
A blanket of silence threatens to smother those flames of anticipation.
Every passing second spent coming up with a plan is a knock against the band's prestige, but they're out of ideas.
???: It's a cruel world out there.
Crowd: Oooh!
???: One day I became lost within a labyrinth of twisting streets and alleyways. Sure, I had a map with me, but it was completely useless.
???: Was the map lying to my face? Or did the town simply despise me so? Oh, the incomprehensible isolation I felt.
???: Then a sagely woman walked up to me and revealed the unsettling truth.
Aoidos: She said, "That map's for the next town over."
Crowd: Woooo! Doss! Doss! Doss! Doss!
Rackam: There you are—
With all eyes on Aoidos, the bombastic musician places a finger on his lips to shush them all.
Aoidos: The time to ascend into heaven is at hand.
Aoidos: But to do so now would deprive my audience of the best experience they deserve. I'd like to ask everyone for just a little more patience.
Aoidos retreats backstage to the hum of the crowd, and the other band members race after him.
Lyria: Aoidos...
Aoidos: Your voice took one for the band. This medicine drop should soothe that sore throat.
Aoidos: Now it's time for the real deal. Let's get our game faces on.
Vyrn: Hold it, mister! Not before you tell us where you've been when we needed you!
Justin: Don't worry. He's been with us this whole time.
Baal: I recognize you two from the day we put on that street performance.
Valentin: Yep. I'm Valentin, and this here's Justin. We're Vicious Three.
Rackam: Uh-huh. Sorry if we seem less than thrilled to get chummy with the guys who kidnapped our leader and tried to sabotage us.
Valentin: What we did wasn't sabotage, but feel free to insult me some more if you like.
Justin: We had to take action in order to give the audience the best festival ever. The road to gratification starts with the Doss and ends with Vicious Three.
Rackam: What are you not tellin' us!
Justin: After he sings for the Doss, he's going to take the stage with us. That's what we've been rehearsing for.
Aoidos: ...
Vyrn: What're you talkin' about?
Justin: His memories have returned. Aoidos and Benjamin, wrapped together in a neat little package.
Justin: Both have the responsibility to play for their respective bands and to decide which group they belong to once and for all.
Manager: Why did it have to come to this? He was better off not knowing his past!
Justin: It's not your place to define who he is. Only the individual has the right to choose who they are. Wouldn't you agree?
Aoidos: Yeah... Who I am is my choice to make.
Aoidos: That's why I have to play my heart out on the stage. We can talk afterward.
Justin: Hehe...
Justin's mouth curls into a repulsive smile. Aoidos takes a sidelong glance back, then walks toward the stage.
Aoidos: We shouldn't keep our fans waiting any longer. Right?
Rackam: Yeah, yeah, I know. Come on, Vyrn. Baal.
Aoidos: Oh, one more thing before we go.
Aoidos: You put on a superb opening act, Snowdos. Hm, correction—it was the perfect overture for our festival debut.
Lyria: It was nothing! Good luck, everyone!
And so the quartet finally steps out from the green room.
Justin: I'm eager to hear your decision once this is all over, Benjamin.
Justin: Whichever course you choose, their lives are already forfeit. Hehehe...

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Chapter 6: Unfinished Melody - Episode 4

The Doss members put their all into the performance, but an illusion of Benjamin manifests to spoil everything. Aoidos is ready to face his past, because nothing's going to stop him from putting on the show of a lifetime.

Rackam: Phew, this ain't like playing in a smoky dive, I'll give ya that.
Vyrn: Holy smokes! How many people do you think are out there?
Baal: Hm. All the more reason we mustn't falter in front of this crowd.
Aoidos: Fear not, my fine fellows. It's only natural that all eyes will be trained on me, so there's no reason for any of you to be nervous.
Vyrn: Uh, you sure you're up for this? I mean, you've been through a lot lately...
Aoidos: A silly question, Dandelios. I've got a historic performance to put on, though it's more or less a done deal.
Aoidos: And then after all is sung and done, what'll be will be.
Rackam: Fine, but don't push it, all right? Can't have you faintin' on us again.
Aoidos: I got it.
Aoidos: Once this gig wraps up, even I have no idea which part of me will take hold as my true nature.
Aoidos: Long lost memories, resurrected in a flash from the grave, eat away at my core.
Aoidos: This may very well be the last gig the Doss ever plays.
Aoidos: Everyone present is a witness to history—to the birth of a legend.
One by one the band members cross the stage to take their places.
Aoidos: Thanks for your patience. It's time to introduce this island to a slice of heaven.
Aoidos: Okay, rockers! Are you ready to destroy the world with me? 'Cause this is Judgment Night!
Aoidos: Final night! Staring at a scarlet rose.
Aoidos: Judgment time! You gotta kill or be killed.
Aoidos: Terror in the eyes: the sign of prey.
Aoidos: Bones on bones! Treasure from the sky.
Aoidos: A sepia world! Judge me and hold me.
Aoidos: Aaaaah!
To the casual observer, Aoidos is giving his usual monster performance.
But his bandmates sense a change in his demeanor.
Baal: (His fingerings are somewhat muddled.)
Vyrn: (He's sweatin' buckets...)
Rackam: (What did those punks do to him?)
Aoidos: (Ngh!)
Mouse: Squeak!
Aoidos: (Not again! Get it together, damn it!)
Benjamin's Mom: That midwife was right, you know. It's a curse—
Aoidos: (No! Focus on the music...)
Young Manager: The heck are you doing!
Aoidos: (I...)
???: Kahaha...
Aoidos: (A hallucination... My past self is trying to usurp my way of life.)
Benjamin: That's only half correct. I'm just here to rightfully pick up where I left off.
Justin: So who are you? Aoidos or Benjamin?
Valentin: Who are you loyal to, the Doss or Vicious Three?
Benjamin: Show them your true self. Remember all the rats and criminals you've slaughtered—the corpses you've butchered during those past gigs of mayhem.
Aoidos: ...
Delusions of the past are dragging Aoidos's consciousness farther and farther away.
Then, before it's too late, a life preserver is tossed around him in the form of a mighty bassline.
Aoidos: ...!
Rackam: Nnh!
Rackam's ad-libbing pulls the lead singer back before he reaches the point of no return.
Aoidos: (Yeah...)
Aoidos: (This isn't about Aoidos or Benjamin. In this moment, in front of all these people, it's all about this gig!)
Aoidos: (My only concern is putting on a show for the ages!)
Aoidos: Okay! Any survivors ready to destroy the world twice? Enter the Bloody Garden!
Aoidos: Blue blood drained, I close my eyes.
Aoidos: Too tired to sigh, I strain to listen.
Aoidos: But even your smile is silent.
Benjamin: Grrgh!
Aoidos: Pierced by icy winds, my punishment.
Aoidos: Waking in the sun, my only crime.
Aoidos: Bloody Garden!
Benjamin: Graaaaah!
Aoidos: Aaaaah!

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Ending

With the illusion of Benjamin defeated, Aoidos remembers one final missing memory from his youth. A mysterious man gave him his guitar, telling him to express himself through music rather than killing rats and thugs. Having regained his initial impulse, Aoidos sings the ballad he'd wanted to sing with Vicious Three. Afterward he shocks fans and band members alike by announcing the merging of the Doss and Vicious Three, but the show must go on.

Benjamin Illusion: ...
Aoidos: Huff... Huff...
Rackam: Now that's what I call extreme...
Vyrn: Nice job hangin' in there, Aoidos!
Baal: His breath is ragged, but he should be fine.
Valentin: Justin...
Justin: Yeah. Looks like he got his memories straightened out. Hell, this actually works out better, I think.
Justin: Here you go, Aoidos. Our song for today.
Rackam: Hey, whoa! We still got the stage!
Aoidos: No, it's fine. They're next after all.
Aoidos: ...!
Vyrn: A-Aoidos? You okay?
Aoidos's body stiffens upon reading the music Justin handed him.
Valentin: It's a masterpiece. Right, Benjamin?
Aoidos: Ah.
With this abrupt shift in attitude, Aoidos grabs the head of his guitar, twists it, and slowly unsheathes a sword.
A single line is scrawled on the first page of the score, written in blood.
Execute the Doss members. All of them.
Justin: The score is a musician's gospel. You have to carry out their death sentences.
Aoidos: Kahaha...
Valentin: Benjamin'll come back to us once he cuts off the last head!
Valentin: Then he'll cut me! Now do it!
Justin: The most shocking announcement in festival history is about to be made! Everyone will see what kind of person the Doss's leader really is!
Justin: Start the execution! Show us all why you picked up the guitar in the first place!
Aoidos: ...!
Aoidos: My reason for playing the guitar...
Man: Hey, you sure it's okay for me to be with you?
Little Benjamin: ...
Man: Hehe... You got a real pretty face. Almost mistook you for a girl.
Little Benjamin: ...
Man: Uaaaagh!
Little Benjamin: ...
Aoidos: I stopped killing mice after I left home. Instead I hunted people who wouldn't be missed.
Man: Gurgle...
Little Benjamin: ...
Aoidos: But killing them didn't quite cut it either. I don't know why I felt that way, but I did.
Aoidos: A dying man's wails are strangely similar to a rodent's; neither was what I was looking for. I can't even begin to count how often I was disappointed.
Aoidos: Then I met him.
Little Benjamin: ...
Nameless Strummer: Found what you're lookin' for yet, kid?
Little Benjamin: ...
Nameless Strummer: Those ears of yours are doin' double time, strainin' to hear... something. Well, that's how it looks to me, anyway.
Little Benjamin: ...
Aoidos: He was right; I was. The shrieks of mice exterminated at the hands of adults constantly rang in my ears.
Nameless Strummer: Maybe I can help you out.
Aoidos: He pulled out a curious instrument.
Nameless Strummer: Is this what you're lookin' for?
Aoidos: He gave the strings a sweep, and I shook my head.
Nameless Strummer: What about this?
Aoidos: He adjusted some pegs and strummed. I shook my head again.
Nameless Strummer: And this one?
Little Benjamin: ...!
Nameless Strummer: Oh ho, struck a chord, huh? Heh, you got talent, kid. Why don't you try playing for a bit?
Little Benjamin: ...
Aoidos: I didn't know the first thing about playing an instrument. All it did was whine in my hands. And yet—
Little Benjamin: Ah... Ah...
Nameless Strummer: If the words won't come, then let this baby find the right sound for you. It's a helluva lot easier than murdering degenerates.
Aoidos: My mother's words stuck with me, about how I didn't cry when I was born. I pictured the look of aversion on the midwife's face.
Aoidos: Torment persisted inside me, emotions that words could never do justice. And unless I found a way to properly express myself, those words would remain locked up forever.
Little Benjamin: ...!
Aoidos: Animals scream. People scream. The similarities were striking. That being the case, how could I find the sound I was looking for?
Nameless Strummer: It's called a guitar. G-u-i-t-a-r. Take it.
Nameless Strummer: Play while following your heart, and you'll produce a sound worth listening to. I don't know what you're bottlin' up in there—fear, sadness, emptiness?
Little Benjamin: Aah!
Nameless Strummer: But you let that axe do the singing. Ask for its help. The guitar is your front man.
Little Benjamin: Aaaaah!
Aoidos: My first cry of life finally escaped my lungs after ten long years.
Benjamin: Now wasn't that a nice trip down memory lane, Aoidos?
Aoidos: Yeah. Everything becomes clear when I hold the guitar. There are a surprising number of people like me out there, and they cry out for the darkness.
Moshers: Vi-cious! Vi-cious! Vi-cious!
Benjamin: Those people found a man destined to become a monster. They hoped he would destroy the cruel cage known as "normalcy." They hoped he would roar with intensity.
Justin: Don't you dare throw me away!
Benjamin: That one also fled the cage and was obsessed with the need for chaotic concerts. He was gripped by fear—fear that I sought a purer sound.
Aoidos: So he thought if you climbed back into the cage, then all would be lost. Just like how Doss fans would go psycho if I were to leave the group.
Benjamin: Ah. The pain of loss. That's why Justin killed me. Like you said, he lost his mind.
Benjamin: Time to choose. Is it going to be the Doss or Vicious Three?
Aoidos: I...
Aoidos: ...
Hands are clapping in sync, begging for an encore.
The crowd knows they're witnessing a show they're unlikely to ever see again.
Aoidos: ...
The rocker stands stock-still, soaking in the audience's accolades.
Rackam: Aoidos!
Justin: Benjamin!
Aoidos: It's a cruel world out there.
Rackam, Justin: ...!
Aoidos: The gods are so demanding. "This is what you should be," they say. Bury your ideals at a depth no one can fathom.
Aoidos: Who you want to be versus who you ought to be—that indecision seals my five senses.
Aoidos: I was brushing my teeth over the communal sink one morning, and I noticed the toothpaste tasted different.
Aoidos: The familiar tang of strawberry had a tinge of mint mixed in for some inexplicable reason.
Aoidos: Then Vermillios came up to me and said, "Hey. That's my toothbrush."
Aoidos: In that moment, the toothbrush was mine as much as it was Vermillios's.
Aoidos: Nothing changes the fact that it was still a toothbrush. But the question is... what did the toothbrush that I'd used all along think of this?
Aoidos: Okay. Let me show you the same aftermath of destruction that I see.
The mood is markedly different from before. Aoidos stands in silence.
A clear, tranquil melody plays. The sorrowful ballad he couldn't finish is finally complete.
Justin: ...
Aoidos: It's cold. It's dark. Winds are howling all around me.
And I feel the sting, stabbing through my wings I thought were free.
Aoidos: My voice can't speak. The words refuse to come.
Still can't seem to let it go.
Aoidos: I'm stuck. No retreat. Icy hands hold me back.
My path was clear, but now I've lost all track.
Aoidos: This town, it cries, with voices alive and dead.
"I'll find you," is what I said.
Aoidos: Oh my melodies, contradiction mars these wings of reason.
Aoidos: Oh my love, if you're going to fall apart.
Aoidos: But still I swear to someday feel that warmth.
Aoidos: In my head that's what I keep telling myself.
Aoidos: Unfinished thoughts on the verge of collapsing.
Aoidos: Let those hopes be found in these words.
Aoidos: Unfinished courage eyes a journey on the horizon.
Aoidos: This is what I try to be... On my own.
Crowd: ...
It's a song that cuts through sadness, as if offering light amid hopeless darkness.
It seizes a listener's ear and etches itself into their heart.
Aoidos: Oh my love, stow away those shoes of glass, so we can...
Aoidos: Oh my love, take to the endless skies.
Aoidos: Listen for the bell, that sound will tell us where we need to...
Aoidos: Leave a bouquet for our long-awaited farewell.
Aoidos: Oh my love, until this planted wish becomes...
Aoidos: Oh my love, ripe with fruit to bear.
Aoidos: As this heart lays clear, with nothing left to hide.
Aoidos: Won't you let me spin a tale for tomorrow?
Aoidos: Unfinished promise, this solemn vow I swear to...
Aoidos: Leave on the grave when it's time to say goodbye.
Aoidos: Unfinished journey, I'll challenge with conviction.
Aoidos: Let me show you who I am... On my own.
Aoidos: ...
Scattered applause quickly swells into a deluge that engulfs the stage.
Justin: ...
The audience is too busy clapping for Aoidos to notice Justin sink to his knees.
Their applause speaks volumes—a ringing endorsement of who they feel represents the best Aoidos.
Although nothing is said by the audience, the verdict is in.
Aoidos: Benjamin is dead.
Justin: So that's the choice you... no, he's made. The song I never wanted to hear came straight from his own mouth, loud and clear...
Aoidos: Heh...
Aoidos breaks the silence.
Aoidos: Graaaaah!
Crowd: ...!
The applause stops instantaneously, like a record player needle skipping off of a record.
Justin: What?
Aoidos: If Benjamin is dead, then so is Aoidos.
Aoidos: Naturally that means both the Doss and Vicious Three are dead!
Aoidos: Today they shake hands, reborn as the Doss Second Season. Say hello to the DossSS!
Everyone in the crowd begins talking at once.
Tourist 1: So that's their shocking announcement...
Tourist 2: Two titanic bands combining into a super group!
Justin, Valentin: ...
Rackam, Vyrn, Baal: ...
While the crowd takes the news with unbridled excitement, on the stage, the five band members are caught completely off guard.
Rackam: You can't... You can't just spring this on us out of nowhere, man!
Vyrn: Makin' an announcement like that was pretty irresponsible if you ask me!
Aoidos: Whether people throw up the horns for the Doss or Vicious Three, they're still my fans.
Aoidos: They want me. Praise me. Give me thumbs up. I'm needed. How can they live without me? I can't abandon them now.
Aoidos: The gods forced me to choose between the Doss and Vicious Three.
Aoidos: I couldn't. So I abandoned both in order to keep both.
Justin: ...
Aoidos: Are you going to reject me again? Or will you give me a chance?
Justin: Even if I have to listen to you sing things I don't want to hear?
Aoidos: Trust me. There'll be songs for you too.
Justin: If I don't like them, I'll backstab you again.
Valentin: Ooh, stab me too while you're at it, Justin.
By some strange coincidence, the skies darken as storm clouds gather overhead, accompanied by a low rumble of thunder.
Aoidos: Heh... The weather's perfect.
Aoidos: Okay! Our first song as the DossSS is a Vicious Three classic! It's called Grudge of the Scapedog!
Aoidos: Hunting down strays, hurling sticks and stones.
Aoidos: This town, a curse decays, all because of the mastermind, the mastermind.
Aoidos: Screams incite, condemn to silence.
Aoidos: Who's next to bear the curse? Step up! Step up! Step up!
Vicious Army: Vi-cious! Vi-cious! Vi-cious!
Doss Fans: ...
Perhaps the lyrics aren't all doom and gloom. So the Doss fans begin to think.
If they hadn't known Aoidos from his days as the face of the Doss, they probably would've tuned out after hearing the first few bars.
Benjamin's music speaks to the alienated, while Aoidos's music brings people together.
Baal: Heh. I'd like to see where this goes.
The band members feel their hearts pounding. They sense something big is in store for the future.
And that something just might be found within the shared conviction held by Benjamin and Aoidos.
Manager: Amazing work out there, Aoidos. Today's performance was unexpected to say the least.
Aoidos: Oh? Everything went according to plan. I can't help it if certain expectations were set too low.
Manager: Hah, let me rephrase what I said. Today went off without a hitch. You're number one in the skies.
Mail Carrier 1: I'm really sorry to interrupt, but can I please get your signature?
Aoidos: I'm afraid that's impossible. This slip of paper is far too small.
Aoidos: Please go find an autograph board large enough to accommodate the signatures of all six members of the DossSS.
Mail Carrier 1: Erm, that's not what I... Someone... Anyone... Just sign for the mail...
The End

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Radio Way Flyer - Episode 1

Can you hear the sweet sound of my voice, (Captain)? Listen to it and imagine me in all my glory, so perfect that even the gods are jealous. But let's not think about them. Right now, it's just you and me... Allow the music of our miraculous overture to fill your senses as you lean in closer to the speaking tube...

Aoidos: Testing, testing.
Aoidos: Mic check: one, two, one, two.
Rackam: C'mon, Aoidos!
Rackam: Open the door!
Aoidos: Ahem. This is Aoidos in the booth.
Aoidos: Esteemed ladies and gentlemen of the Grandcypher—it's my pleasure to grace your ears with the sound of my voice.
Rackam: The speaking tube is not a toy! It's supposed to be used in emergencies! Eugen, get me the key to this door!
Rackam: Son of a... He jammed something against the knob!
Aoidos: Hehe. There, that should dampen undesirable noise. Now it's just you, me, and our fireside chat, dear listener.
Rackam: Open up!
Aoidos: The reason I'm coming to you live is to give the newborn DossSS a platform to take our first steps.
Aoidos: I call this experimental segment Radio Way Flyer. Can you already hear the pathos?
Rackam: Haha! The door budged!
Aoidos: Nnh!
Aoidos: My time is... winding down, but... keep an ear out... for future broadcasts...
Rackam: Grrrgh!
Rackam: Seriously, don't mess with the equipment without asking.
Aoidos: ...
Rackam: Enough is enough. I'm turning this off—
Aoidos: Guess who stepped into the booth, everyone? It's my co-host, Vermillios. Why don't you give the nice crew a shout-out?
Rackam: Huh? No, I came to take you off the air!
Aoidos: At least give them a sound bite. Are you trying to tank our reputation?
Rackam: I can't believe this...
Rackam: Uh, sorry for the ruckus, guys. I'll wrap this up quickly.
Aoidos: Okay. That's a good stopping point for today.
Aoidos: We'll be back with a live gig coming soon. This has been Aoidos along with... ?
Rackam: Wha? Oh. And me, Vermillios.
Aoidos: Thanks for listening and until next time—same tube, same DossSS, signing off.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Radio Way Flyer - Episode 2

Ah, yes—the time has come again. My voice is bound to you just as you, too, are tied to it, never to be separated. This speaking tube from which the melody of my voice emanates shall pass judgment on us. A world of decadence, colored by the rose petals dancing around us... It is Judgment Night.

Vyrn: Hey, where'd Aoidos go?
Rackam: Said he forgot somethin' and went to get it.
Rackam: Hm?
Rackam: Whoa, whaddya think you're doin', Aoidos! You can't lug that stuff in here!
Vyrn: Ouch, my ears! Crammin' a drum set in this room is like fallin' into a closet full of pots and pans!
Aoidos: Heh, as a man who finds skydoms confining, you don't have to tell me twice. Now let's begin.
Rackam: Wait, you haven't told us what we're—
Aoidos & Rackam: The DossSS presents: Radio Way Flyer!
Vyrn: What's the point of stuffin' us in here?
Aoidos: People begged to hear my voice, so I'm granting their wish with Radio Way Flyer.
Rackam: If it's your voice they want, why drag me and Vyrn into this?
Aoidos: Heh. Every respectable steak dinner needs garnish.
Vyrn: Who're you callin' garnish! I ain't no plate of carrots and onions!
Aoidos: Of course not. You're the dessert, Dandelios.
Aoidos: I'm the meat, Vermillios is the salad, and you're the crisp apple for that little hint of tart.
Vyrn: That's such a weird thing to say... I mean, at least I'm an apple and not parsley, but still...
Aoidos: Our three-course sound will be a miraculous feast for the ears. Wouldn't you agree, Vermillios?
Rackam: Eh, sure. I'm the salad. Nothing fancy but always there. Sounds about right to me.
Aoidos: All right, DossSS fans. Get ready to bang your heads to this special live gig.
Aoidos: Are you ready to destroy the world with me? Here comes Judgment Night!
Aoidos: Thanks for listening and until next time—same tube, same DossSS, signing off.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Radio Way Flyer - Episode 3

This aria my voice sings renders me a sinful man, for you cannot help but be tied to it, unable to escape its allure. You come to the speaking tube, yearning to hear its echo even after it has faded into the night, awaiting the moment of rapture that carries you into an eternity, trapped within a garden stained with crimson petals... A Bloody Garden.

Aoidos, Rackam, Vyrn: The DossSS presents: Radio Way Flyer!
Baal: And where exactly are we flying to?
Aoidos: Our destination is beyond even my wildest imagination. Today's guest is Shados.
Baal: I fail to see the reason behind using the speaking tube to reach the crew. There's so much open space on the deck going to waste.
Aoidos: Alas, my luscious looks would distract too much from the music.
Aoidos: Therefore the next evolutionary step for the DossSS is a heaven without our presence.
Baal: I don't understand. You are the trigger that sends listeners to heaven. How will you do so by being absent?
Rackam: He says one way is to broadcast the music to a whole buncha places using things like transceivers.
Aoidos: There's also a certain crew member who uses lithomancy.
Vyrn: It's s'posed to be a technique that lets you store voices in gems or somethin'. If we used it on our songs—
Aoidos: My voice will resonate from jewels of equal beauty, so that even when I leave this world behind, my mark will be left on the skies for all eternity!
Aoidos: How scandalous!
Baal: Hmph... Intriguing. I take it this series of shows is dress rehearsal for when you can no longer physically take the stage?
Aoidos: There's no such thing as rehearsal. As long as someone is listening, everything we do is the real deal. Banter is all part of the show.
Aoidos: Heh, I sense their ears twitching with anticipation. Enough talk. The crew wants to hear the tunes!
Aoidos: Okay! Are you ready to destroy the world with me? This is Bloody Garden!
Aoidos: Thanks for listening and until next time—same tube, same DossSS, signing off.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Radio Way Flyer - Episode 4

'Tis nothing but the sound of celestial trumpets, announcing the arrival of an apocalypse. The riff of the guitar tears the skies apart as the bass scorches the oceans dry. The drums beat, shattering the land to the sound of her voice that is as clear as the blue skies. It is her melody that will bring the end closer...

Lyria: Hm... Where did Rackam, Vyrn, and Aoidos say they were again?
Lyria: Was it this room?
Aoidos, Rackam, Vyrn: The DossSS presents: Radio Way Flyer!
Lyria: Huh? Wh-what is all this?
Rackam: Hm? Haven't you heard the weird skits blarin' out the speaking tubes lately?
Lyria: Uh-huh, and I was looking forward to hearing today's show...
Vyrn: We thought it'd be groovy to have you on as a guest, so that's why we called you here...
Lyria: R-really? I had no idea!
Aoidos: Why didn't you fill her in when you invited her, Dandelios?
Vyrn: That's because I coulda sworn you were gonna explain everything to her.
Rackam: In other words, you jumped the gun, Aoidos.
Aoidos: Is that right? Hm...
Lyria: Um... I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be doing...
Vyrn: ...
Rackam: ...
Aoidos: Yeaaah! Are you ready to destroy the world with me? Here comes Magic Journal featuring Snowdos!
Lyria: Huh? Wha? A-am I singing?
Rackam: Darn it, Aoidos, we're not ready yet!
Vyrn: I'm still tightening the drum heads!
Aoidos: Thanks for listening and until next time—same tube, same DossSS, signing off.
Vyrn: Whew... Sorry, Lyria.
Lyria: Ehehe... That wasn't what I expected, but I had fun.

The Doss! End of the Line Farewell Tour - Radio Way Flyer - Episode 5

We are branded by our pasts as our old selves send off the new, their eyes gleaming with emotion. Is it hate, or is it faith? Turning back, I can only look at it from the present—at what was once me. From here, we have only to step forward into our future as we sing not our goodbyes, but an Unfinished Melody.

Justin: It's cramped in here.
Valentin: I can't move my limbs, but I'm not complaining... Hehe.
Rackam: Hey, Valentin, you mind scooching over there some more?
Valentin: Only if you're nasty.
Justin: Move your ass.
Valentin: Hehe... Thanks.
Rackam & Vyrn: ...
Baal: It's time.
Aoidos: All right. Flipping the switch.
Aoidos, Rackam, Vyrn: The DossSS presents: Radio Way Flyer!
Baal: The DossSS presents: Radio Way Flyer.
Aoidos: All members of the DossSS are in the studio today. Give a warm welcome to our two guests.
Justin: Justin. Bass player. Ex-Vicious Three.
Valentin: Same. I'm Valentin, the drummer.
Justin: Your face is disturbingly close. Put your unwashed mug away for me.
Valentin: Hehe... Just chop my head off. Problem solved.
Vyrn: Look, there's six of us crammed in here, so deal with it.
Justin: I can cut it down to five if you let me dispose of the trash.
Valentin: Yes! I'm a sack of trash! Toss me into the fire!
Rackam: Chill, chill, chill! Put the sword away! And you! Valentin! Wipe the grin off your face!
Baal: Are you able to filter out this white noise and find that sound you want, Aoidos?
Aoidos: Like I've told you before, even I can't predict our destination. Fate and talent guide the way.
Aoidos: I have an announcement to make now that all members are present. Today will unfortunately be the final airing of Radio Way Flyer.
Vyrn: Job requests have been tricklin' in again since the festival ended. Still, it's hard to say goodbye to the show.
Rackam: Day one of the show was crazy, but it didn't take long for me to fall into a rhythm. You've got a way of roping people in, Aoidos.
Baal: Delivering sound to an audience without being physically present is a novel concept. I have a feeling it will do wonders for music.
Justin: It might've been easier with less people in the previous days, but you can't seriously be thinking about playing in this coffin, can you?
Valentin: Being bound and restrained sounds like my kind of gig.
Aoidos: Yes, we're going to play. A series finale requires a proper send-off.
Aoidos: Let me show you the aftermath of destruction. This is Unfinished Melody.
Aoidos: I'd like to thank our loyal listeners. So until the next time we meet—same tube, same DossSS, signing off.


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