There are moments in time that flash by quickly, and there are those that drag on forever…but every once in a while, a moment can do both.
Such is the situation Xander Azula finds himself in as he crashes through the window of the guardhouse, immediately knocked unconscious from the impact. We can faintly hear the commotion of medical personnel tending to Darin Zion, but our attention is focused on Vagn Dahl hoisting the Head Disciple upon his shoulder, rushing away from the guardhouse without a trace.
Moments later, we find ourselves at the makeshift port used by the Eternal Circle to arrive at the island, where Mysti and the rest of the followers await, their heads lowered in shame after the humiliation they’ve suffered tonight.
Not a word is spoken as Dahl boards the ship, followed closely by Mysti and the others as Dahl sets the seemingly lifeless body of Azula down on a bed in the lower deck. The ship sets sail with an atmosphere of uncertainty, and yet…there is still hope.
What happened in Alcatraz was a travesty, but not a complete loss to the cause.
We saw something up on that guard tower, something that fills our hearts with joy even as Brother Azula lies upon this bed immobile.
We saw the presence of our goddess.
For a fleeting moment, she revealed herself to us.
And now, we can press on.
We know that we have not toiled in vain, for Eris has made herself known in full to us.
Her wisdom has been shared in mere writings and speculation before, but now?
Now we can see.
We see what she has prepared us for, the finish line of our marathon is within sight.
It’s been two days since Rumble at the Rock, and we shall have our revenge.
Xander would want us to keep pushing forward, so we push forward.
Darin Zion will not be allowed to get away with this injustice.
We will have our way yet.
Praise Eris, praise Discordia.
Long Beach, CA
Just as quickly as Mysti can finish scribbling in her journal, there is a loud murmur from outside. She sets her pen down, checking on her beloved Xander still motionless on the bed before stepping outside. There she sees a few of her brethren gathered around, their eyes focused on the sky above them…and as she looks up, she sees dark clouds rolling in from the horizon.
The clouds swirl around, encircling what appears to be a bright light peeking through. The light gets bigger, until it envelops those watching from below, nearly blinding them. The brethren look at each other, unsure what has taken place until we hear a voice from behind Mysti.
Mysti turns her attention to the voice, emanating from just outside her quarters. A fellow believer is amazed by what he sees, as Xander slowly steps out from his resting place of the past couple days, a smile slowly growing on his face as he sees the phenomenon going on.
“She is risen.”
The statement barely escapes his lips as the man who spotted him helps Xander make his way toward the gathered crowd. He embraces Mysti and others, before pointing to the light in the sky.
“She is risen!”
Xander gives a shout of joy, as the light soon takes a new form…a portal, much like we’d seen in Alcatraz. Only here, a strong wind blows through the compound, leaving the group struggling to stay on their feet…all except Xander, who grins with his arms stretched out in anticipation.
“Yes…I can see it now, goddess! I see what must be done!”
Another light appears, this time cracking through the portal in the sky…and with another flash of bright light, the sky returns to normal. The brethren have fallen to the ground, slowly getting back to their feet as they turn their attention to Xander, whose eyes glow a mysterious yellow hue before returning to their normal state. Xander takes a deep breath in, exhaling with a grin on his face.
“The path is clear, brothers and sisters. We begin a new chapter here and now.”
The brethren look around in astonishment before nodding in agreement, recognizing that their Head Disciple has been given new birth and a new focus.
And not a moment too soon, huh Scotty?
What? Did ya think that Darin Zion knocking me off a guard tower would keep me out of action for several months, the way he was incapaciated after his own ordeal?
Not when my goddess has made it clear what I fit into her grand plan.
I promised the coming of Eris at Rumble at the Rock, and it seems that I have delivered.
She may not have received her vessel, but she made her presence known to me that fateful day.
And now, with her hand guiding my every move, I am ready to press on with the task of bringing about chaos…just as I promised when I first stepped into HOW.
Darin’s rescue of Meredith still worked out in my favor.
I realize that might be difficult for someone like you to understand, Scott, so let me dumb it down for you…I did not need to win that match to succeed in my task.
I’ll bet you wish you could say the same, huh?
Mr. “Death By Zamboni” couldn’t quite fulfill his desire inside the prison yard. Sure, he took QT Reese and Doozer out, but what did you really get for all that trouble?
Failed to capture the HOTV title, failed to be more than a blip on the ol’ radar yet again.
Failure is something you’ve gotten quite accustomed to lately, hasn’t it?
Running around tooting your own horn about a victory you didn’t actually achieve, and it cost you something far greater in the end…your pride.
Not me, though…mine is fully intact.
And really, isn’t that what this is all about now?
A word that’s been bandied about the past few days, but one that never loses its meaning.
You know what they say, Scotty…pride comes before the fall.
And you just keep pummeling down, down, down from the pedestal you’ve put yourself on.
You’re a Hall of Famer, Scotty…but I wouldn’t know that looking at your record this past year. Or last year. Or the year before that.
People can try to make a mockery out of me if they want, but I know what I’m capable of…and with the power of my goddess flowing through me, I will take what’s mine.
And right now? What’s mine is another notch up in the rankings. I see you trying to tower over me from two spots up…and I will drag you down to hell.
I will present you, O gluttony, as a sacrifice worthy of my goddess.
She will steal away your pride.
She will feast upon your greed.
She will satiate your lust, and destroy your sloth.
I will watch in envy, and then you will face my wrath.
Praise Eris, Praise Discordia.