An anthology of stories where those worthy to inherit a hero's soul are slowly eroded away and absorbed by him that takes place over decades.
Opens with the story of a little boy to a single mother that knows little about what it truly means to be a hero vessel and closes with the recurring character, a priest from the Hero's order, being forced to use his own daughter to call forth the hero since times are very desperate. First story ends with the Hero revealing to the priest that he's just been pretending for the mother that the boy is managing to hold off personality erosion and that he was completely absorbed by the third day.
>The amount of time it takes to erode the host completely depends on the host. Older and fulfilled souls have longer staying power and the max is said to be years but truth is months at best.
>The hero's soul gradually grows stronger with each possession and is likelier to override the host faster as time goes on.
>Sometimes a hero's life is cut short because he's needed elsewhere.
>The order is later almost wiped out near the end and the priest is one of the handful of survivors who'd still know the ritual.
>Invasion on multiple fronts, vessels are sacrificed on the fly
>Attempts to recreate the hero's powers
>A time where demons summon him for their side
>Hero shirking duties to fulfill host final wish
Final story has the priest's daughter saving everyone and the hero trying to pretend to be the girl but the priest orders him not to and that she'll be the last body the hero will ever take. Hero later thanks him for the relief and the opportunity to fight all out. At the very end before the hero splits the continent in two by supernuking an abyss-tier border between the demons and the humans, the priest requests that he get to say goodbye to his daughter and the hero pretends to be her for a day to console him for sacrificing her for everyone else.
One of the stories that I'd actually consider writing up. There's just so, so, so much tearjerking material available with this pitch and that doesn't include the idea I later came up with for the hero's origin and how exactly I intended for the finale to play out. I'm almost salivating at how painful the scenario I cooked up is and I distinctly remember taking inspiration from Mizukami Satoshi on how to build up to that pay-off. Still, I'd at least 3 more story ideas before I actually would write it up but eh, I'm sure I can come up with those if I tried.