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With My Dying Breath, I Summon You

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"Dark Dragon! With my dying breath...I summon you... Arise, Dark Dragon!"
Darksol, Shining Force

It's been a long, hard journey. Our heroes have fought through hordes of monsters and mooks. They've finally reached the enemy fortress, and it's time to take out the Big Bad before he can release the Sealed Evil in a Can! But wait, what's this? As they strike him down, with his dying breath he manages to finish the incantation! Watch out heroes, the Sealed Evil lives again!

This trope thrives in stories where the entire plot has revolved around reviving some ancient evil, and the summoner is at the very end of the journey. This summoner dies, but shouts the trope name (or something similar to it), and the Ancient Evil springs to life so the heroes can crush it forever. It's often used as a ticket to a great climactic Final Boss, when a development team wants to avoid Dragon Their Feet; not much tension in dealing with the summoner after defeating its mighty summoned creature. This also avoids a very anticlimactic conclusion; how wimpy the ending would be if the heroes reached the end after hearing so much about the Sealed Evil, fought the summoner, and never fought the real villain!

This can often be a sub-trope of Dying Curse, and/or Taking You with Me.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the original Dragon Ball, right as King Piccolo is fatally punched through by Goku, he spits out an egg that would become the Big Bad of the next (and, in the anime, final) arc: Majunior, better known as Piccolo.
  • In the Doma arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, by the time they get to Dartz, he needs to sacrifice just one more strong soul in order to awaken the Great Leviathan. Originally his plan was to use the Pharaoh's soul, but after they defeat him, he offers his own soul up to do the job.
    Fan Works 
  • Fallout vs. Skyrim has both games' protagonists beat the crap out of each other, the Dragonborn managing three Last Words before dying: the True Name of a dragon who owes him a favor.
    Dragonborn: "Oh... dah viing."
  • Inverted in Hellsister Trilogy: During "The Apokolips Agenda" story arc, the demon Trigon turns all heroes into stone. Before becoming fully petrified, though, Kid Eternity, whose power allows him to resurrect a deceased person briefly by saying their name, summons Jim Corrigan, who transforms into The SpectreThe DCU's embodiment of God's wrath — and obliterates Trigon.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Hellboy (2004), Rasputin summons the Ogdru Jahad this way — if it wasn't a case of Ogdru Jahad simply being released by Rasputin's death, in which case Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • Khan did this in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan before activating the Genesis device. It's not technically a summoning, but it follows pretty much the same form.
  • In Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGo Five vs. Gingaman, Darkness King Gill drains people's blood to bring a borderline invincible Kaiju known as the Infernal Dark Beast/Dark Behemoth to life. When he is mortally struck by Matoi/GoRed and his plan is briefly stopped Gill stabs himself and throws his bloodied sword at the altar he was employing, using his own blood as the final sacrifice to complete the ritual and summon the Dark Beast exploding afterwards.

  • A dwarf, betrayed, abandoned, and left to die does this in Thud! and writes a mine sign that will invoke the Summoning Dark, a "quasidemonic thing of pure vengeance". This is in fact stated to be the only way to summon it, it's not enough to simply draw the sign, you have to want it with your very last breath. Fortunately for Sam Vimes, he harbors an even more powerful entity than the Summoning Dark whose job is to keep all of Sam's darker tendencies locked away.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • A strange sort of inversion in Exalted: when the ancient Exalted slew some of the Cosmic Horror beings known as the Primordials, they invoked the Great Curse with their dying breaths.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and particularly in the RPG Dark Heresy, this is an omnipresent danger when trying to stop cults from summoning a demon. Especially when that cult is dedicated to Khorne, where spilling the cultists' blood is equally pleasing and empowering to Khorne as them spilling yours. "Khorne does not care from whence the blood flows, only that it flows."

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Quest II: A straight example of this trope. The last two bosses are fought in succession, starting with the evil priest Hargon, and his patron deity of destruction, Malroth, summoned just after Hargon falls.
  • Kingdom of Loathing: The final boss of the Nemesis quest chain involves your Nemesis falling into a volcano's caldera, invoking the name of the Demon Lord of Revenge right before they perish, and coming back in a demonically-empowered form.
  • Terraria: The Lunatic Cultist summons the four Celestial Towers when defeated.
  • Shining Force 1 revolves around the story of Darksol, an evil sorcerer, trying to revive Dark Dragon to take over the world. The heroes fight him in Dark Dragon's lair, and as he's about to die, Darksol shouts the trope namer and Dark Dragon is brought to life as the Final Boss.
  • The King of Fighters '97. The plot revolves around three young adults trying to revive Orochi of Japanese folklore since their leader was defeated in the last game (KOF '96). After you defeat the 3 characters, it is discovered that one of the characters is in fact the vessel that Orochi is being summoned through and with their final strength, the remaining two give their energy and their lives to the character so that he transforms. Thus the final boss battle begins.
  • In Ninja Gaiden 2 for the NES, the resurrected Jaquio is defeated and killed before he can activate the altar and open the gateway to the World of Chaos. But then his blood drips on the altar anyway, activating it. Cue the Final Boss.
  • In Silent Hill 3, in the final confrontation against Claudia Wolf, Claudia takes the fetus that Heather rejected... and eats it herself, killing her in the process, but summoning the demon god for the final battle.
  • In Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, if following the Light Side, Jaden has to fight against Tavion, the leader of the Disciples of Ragnos who are trying to resurrect the old Sith Lord. When she loses to Jaden, she leaps on top of the statue of Ragnos, thrusts in his reviving scepter, and then gives up her body so he can possess it and get revenge.
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games, at the end of a linked game, you fight Koume and Kotake and defeat them before they can sacrifice Zelda to revive Ganon. Battered to the point of breaking and backed into a corner, they proceed to sacrifice themselves instead, and Ganon comes back without his mind.
    • Something similar happens in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword; the final confrontation with Ghirahim takes place as he's performing a ritual to free Demise from his imprisonment. Ghirahim continues his ritual during the battle and finishes it just before Link can deal the finishing blow. In a twist on this trope, Ghirahim doesn't die as a direct result of his fight with Link, and in fact lives long enough to see Demise restored to his full glory. However, when Demise wakes up, his first course of action is to forcibly transform Ghirahim into his true form — an Evil Counterpart to the Master Sword. Ghirahim expresses no sentience after this happens, and the transformation seems to be quite painful, but Ghirahim is so egregiously loyal to Demise that he doesn't mind.
  • Barlowe does this to revive Dracula in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.
  • At the conclusion of Final Fantasy IV, a dying Zemus vows to keep fighting. That vow causes his hatred to become the final boss, Zeromus.
  • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade has Nergal summon a dragon as he dies.
  • Golden Sun: At the end of the first game, the party fights Saturos and Menardi. On defeat, they fuse into a giant dragon, but this still isn't enough to win.
  • Dehuai of the original Shadow Hearts lets off one of these to summon the fury of the earth incarnate. The miserable old jerk was trying to complete his ritual for years, but when you finally finish him off, he realizes that he has nothing left to lose and sacrifices his own life-force to complete it. Made an Anti-Climax when it turns out the ritual was too costly for even that to set it off... until Bacon shows up and decides to give it one last push. With what comes forth, you can see why the figurative engine stalled.
  • Skyblazer: Sky successfully defeats Ashura and rescues the sorceress, but Ashura sacrifices the last of his strength to summon his master, Raglan, Lord of Darkness.
  • While it doesn't deal with Sealed Evil in a Can, the League of Legends teaser for Kalista, titled The Pledge, depicts her being summoned in this manner.
  • In Quest for Glory V, Minos pulls this with the Dragon of Doom.
  • In Grim Dawn, Bloodsworn Cultists of high caliber have a slight chance of summoning a Voidfiend or even an Hellion upon dying. The boss of Arc 3, Karroz, will summon the elder Chthonian Thal'nosh the Unraveler from his corpse when killed.
  • In the World of Warcraft tutorial level Exile's Reach, a tribe of ogres are stealing souls and life energy of their victims for a ritual to reanimate the corpse of a dragon to use as a tool of conquest. When the players fight the leader of the ogres in the end dungeon, the ogre will use his own soul as the final sacrifice to awaken the undead dragon and sic her on his killers.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV, the Griffin's attack on Baelsar's Wall is revealed to be a large Batman Gambit to have as many people who followed him as possible to die in grief and despair. Using the aether of their dying souls and their last pleas for salvation and vengeance, the Griffin kills himself while using the eyes of Nidhogg to complete his ritual and summon a primal of tremendous power. Papalymo is able to seal the primal for a time, but it would eventually free itself and serve as the final boss of the Stormblood expansion.
  • Exit Fate: During the investigation of the Fading Memory ruins, Daniel and co. are constantly attacked by a summoner that calls forth monsters to deal with them, with the running theme they're all stronger palette swaps of previous bosses. At the very end, the summoner sacrifices himself to call one last creature that acts as the actual boss of the dungeon.
  • Get in the Car, Loser!: The Cult Sargeant goes down in one hit, only to resurrect the final boss by sacrificing his mangled body.

    Web Original 

Alternative Title(s): With My Dying Breath I Summon Thee