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Morte (モルテ, Morute?) is a major antagonist in the Aincrad Arc. He is one of the 10,000 players who were trapped in Sword Art Online and one of the 1,000 beta testers for the game, where he was a member of a player killer group that later became Laughing Coffin. During the early stages of the death game, Morte assisted the group in their numerous plots to incite conflict among the Clearers, in order to provoke murder among players. Morte also personally engaged in multiple attempts to kill a fellow beta tester named Kirito.
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Morte was a thin man wore a dark gray scale mail that was not metallic but had close-fitting scales that clung to his torso and gleamed wetly. He also wore gloves and boots of the same material and had a chain mail coif dangling from his head to his shoulders. The border of the metal hood was torn and ragged, with tendrils of chain that hung down like locks of hair. Morte had two weapon sets: his main set consisted of a round shield and a one-handed axe, named Harsh Hatchet; his second set consisted of an Anneal Blade.
Superficially, Morte is a cheery though curt man who liked frequently joking. However, he is actually a manipulative and deceptive person, who would help two opposing sides and spread misinformation to get them to conflict with each other, such as how he did with the Aincrad Liberation Squad and Dragon Knights Brigade on the 3rd Floor, or indirectly threaten and trick people into playing into his hands, such as tricking Kirito into duelling him in an attempt to abuse the duel system to kill him without being regarded as an orange player. Even in battle, Morte uses a variety of tricks to get the advantage over his opponent.
Kirito first saw Morte on December 15, 2022 when the latter was guiding Kibaou's party through the Queen Spider's Nest in search of an item needed for the guild creation quest, while Kirito's party was hiding from them with the help of Kizmel's cape. However, the group encountered Nephila Regina and had to retreat to the entrance.
Later that day, Kirito saw Morte helping Lind's party with the first quest for the Elf War campaign. Morte informed the group that the elf they side with would eliminate the other elf once their party's hit points reached the yellow zone, thus the party focused on defence as they sided with the forest elf. After the forest elf defeated the dark elf in a suicide attack, the party proceeded to the Forest Elf Base at the north side of the forest.
Several days later, on December 19, Morte waited near the Forest Elf Camp using his Hiding skill, expecting that Kirito would come there. As Morte was discovered, he threatened Kirito into dueling him in half-finish mode to not disrupt his quest. Just before the timer reached zero, signalling the beginning of the duel, Morte began by assaulting with «Sonic Leap». As his surprise attack failed, Morte kicked up a wave of water to cover him as he changed his loadout with «Quick Change», and counterattacked Kirito, who had been deceived into charging at Morte.
Having his hit points reduced to just slightly above the halfway mark with Morte's «Double Cleave», Kirito realised that Morte might have intentionally controlled his damage in an attempt to kill him without becoming an orange player by abusing the dueling system. With this in mind, Kirito used a surprise attack with «Senda» to disarm Morte of his shield and used «Sharp Nail» to even the difference in their hit points. Morte was about to launch another attack, but suddenly stopped. Claiming that he was out of time, Morte collected his gear and departed, with their duel ending in a draw.
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Canon of the Golden Rule
In the evening on January 1, 2023, based on his beta test knowledge that the Curse of Stachion quest featured a compulsory player abduction event that would leave players temporarily paralysed, Morte monitored the secret home of a non-player character (NPC) named Pythagrus in Suribus on the 6th Floor from a nearby inn, anticipating that Kirito's party would come there to complete the quest. After Pythagrus's student, an NPC named Cylon, abducted a paralysed Asuna and Kirito from the house with the help of a servant of his and loaded them onto a carriage to return to the town of Stachion for the next part of the quest, Morte ambushed the carriage with his partner once it was a reasonable distance away from the town. Engaging Cylon in battle while his partner occupied the attention of the servant, Morte used a Sword Skill to disarm the NPC, before killing him with his axe.
Ordering his associate to lead Cylon's guard deeper into the forest to not disturb him, Morte approached the still-paralysed Asuna and Kirito. Just as he was about to kill Kirito, however, a Namnepenth's Poison Jar dropped by Cylon was toppled by Asuna and Kirito, enveloping the area in green, paralysing smoke and thus forcing Morte to retreat. When Kirito's paralysis expired seconds later, Morte charged at him through the smoke just as he attempted to retrieve his sword from a crouched position. Although his attack failed, Morte avoided a counterattack by throwing a poisoned pick, granting him an opportunity to withdraw from the poisonous smoke cloud. As he looked for an opportunity to launch another attack, Morte was joined by his associate, seemingly giving them the numerical advantage, as Asuna had not yet left the smoke.
Noticing Kirito's hesitation at that moment, Morte assaulted him with his axe, while his partner attempted to support him with his dagger. However, Morte's partner suffered a surprise attack from Asuna, who had been hiding in the smoke with a gas mask, just as he was charging at Kirito, forcing Morte to continue his fight against Kirito alone. As the player killer aggressively assaulted Kirito, hoping to force him to block or lose his balance to create an opening that would allow him to stab his target with a poisoned pick, he was eventually tricked with a feint, which allowed his opponent to close the distance between them enough to block Morte's axe by the handle. During this opening, Morte's left arm was severed below the elbow by Kirito's Sword Skill, preventing the player killer from using his poisoned picks any longer.
When Morte attempted to gain distance from Kirito, he was forced to defend against Kirito's «Rage Spike» charge attack. Abandoning the idea of a counterattack, Morte attempted to block Kirito's thrust with his axe's handle; however, due to Kirito's sword slightly changing its trajectory just before striking the hatchet, Morte failed to block the attack, allowing it to pierce through his chest at the level of the heart and resulting in both a true critical hit and a weak-point critical hit. Frozen in shock by the unexpected outcome of the clash, both Morte and Kirito continued observing as Morte's hit points rapidly decreased into the red zone.
As Morte's hit points decreased to a fifth of its maximum value, the player killer was rescued by his partner, who leapt at Kirito with his dagger, forcing him to remove the sword from Morte's chest. After the associate threw his dagger at Kirito to save Morte, a smoke bomb released by the man created a curtain of smoke that allowed the two player killers to escape. Just as Asuna and Kirito attempted to have Muriqui Snatchers in the area steal the axe and throwing pick that Morte had dropped during the battle, the player killer was able to retrieve his hatchet by using the Quick Change mod of his One-Handed Sword skill; however, he was unable to retrieve his throwing pick in time.
Sword Art Online
|«Anneal Blade»||One-Handed Sword||Secondary weapon.|
|«Harsh Hatchet»||One-Handed Axe||Main weapon.|
Upgraded to +6 (6H).
|Unnamed rounded shield||Shield|
|«Spine of Shmargor»||Throwing Pick||Acquired by assisting the Fallen Elves.|