“Another loss. At this rate it’s a damn miracle they haven’t dropped me like a bad habit.”
It’s been precisely one day since Xander Azula faced–and lost to–Eli Dresden at Refueled 80, and the Head Disciple of Chaos is in a suitably bad mood as he makes his way to a locale we are unfamiliar with. This cavernous structure, set somewhere out in what appears to be a desert, is definitely not the compound back in Long Beach that Xander calls home, nor are most of his Eternal Circle followers present…but we do see Mysti and Vagn Dahl nearby, confirming that Xander has not gone crazy and started talking to himself.
He steps onto a platform embedded into the cavern floor, staying extra aware of his surroundings as he approaches a very peculiar sight indeed…a portal, devoid of light but somehow shimmering along the edges as it gradually grows in size. The oddity forces Xander to pivot from his previous conversation immediately, fascinated by what he sees in front of him.
“Well, this is new. When did this come about?”
Mysti reads from a computer tablet, her confused look matched equally by the tone in her voice as she speaks.
“Says here the first sighting was a few days ago, but it was like a speck of light then. It was brought to our attention because of what happened in Alcatraz. Does this mean…”
Xander can’t help but nod with a smirk, as he looks at the portal increasing ever so slightly.
“If it’s anything like Alcatraz, we may finally have the gateway we need.”
Xander’s gaze stays on the portal, almost enamored by the anomaly when he sees Vagn from the corner of his eye. The big man picks up a rock from the group, standing next to Xander on the edge of the platform before tossing the rock into the portal, where it simply…vanishes. Xander’s concentration is broken by this, a shocked look before glaring at his general.
“What the hell was that about!?”
Dahl raises his hands with a smirk of his own, letting a rare chuckle escape his mouth.
“Hey, I got curious. What do you think is on the other side?”
Xander looks back to the portal, his eyes fixated on whatever possibly could reside within the void.
“Hopefully, we’ll find out soon enough.”
With that, we finally see a few of the brethren enter the cavern, each carrying various audio and video equipment. Xander directs traffic as they begin setting up cameras, and we can see that a full monitoring system is slowly but surely being implemented as Xander rests a hand on the shoulder of a fellow believer.
“I’m gonna need you to keep a close eye on this. If anything comes up, let me know.”
The man nods in response, a silent acknowledgement of just how important this moment is as Xander and his inner circle make their exit.
There’s a change in the air, I can just feel it in my heart…in my soul.
You’d think that I would be angry after losing to Eli Dresden…and to be fair, you would be right.
But angry isn’t quite the word for the mood I’m in.
Yeah, let’s go with that.
Disappointed that yet again, I can’t seem to focus enough to secure a critical victory, to really drive home that I am a force to be reckoned with.
I crawled out of my rut with that win over Cancer Jiles, but fell right back in.
I guess what’s being said about the former World Champion is true, and he’s become nothing more than a mere speed bump on a far larger road.
A road not built on simply climbing up the ranks and becoming champion.
A road that leads to using any and all opportunities to fulfill the mission of my goddess.
Pure, unadulterated chaos…perfect for a Lethal Lottery.
The luck of the draw could put me in contention for any of the championships HOW has, or at bare minimum a chance to earn a future title shot.
I’d say those are pretty good odds.
You can tell that Christmas is nearly upon us, because I am being absolutely spoiled for options.
Let’s spin that proverbial wheel, let’s make that hypothetical deal.
Let’s assume for a second that I get thrown into a battle royal, the “least” of these opportunities.
Plenty of chances to enact a measure of revenge on those who have tried to make me out like a fool over the past few months.
When the dust settles, they’ll be the fools.
And I will earn my rightful shot at whatever title I so desire.
Imagine the possibilities.
Imagine taking on a man who’s swept the entire HOTv division off their feet.
A madman claiming to bring chaos wherever he goes, leaving me no choice but to pull the rug out from under him.
There can only be one harbinger of Chaos, and you’re looking at him.
Just picture in your mind the absolute war that you and I could engage in, Jeffery.
Back in Alcatraz, we had two very different paths. Yours found you tearing through seven other competitors in the prison yard, while I had the displeasure of falling from the guard tower thanks to that insufferable Darin Zion.
But now, there’s a chance that our paths can finally cross at Refueled 82. A slim chance, like a roll of the dice…but a chance all the same.
I’ve seen my fair share of brutal battles, and I am ready to match that level of violence you’ve brought in your short tenure here in HOW.
It’s the same violence I can set aside for John Sektor, a man who seems complacent in his status as LSD Champion since winning it off Teddy Palmer.
You’ve had your own battles to face, most notably Clay Byrd, but now?
Now you set your sights on possibly defending it against a literal redneck from Bumfuck, Missouri…and that just won’t do, Johnny.
You’ve settled, and that is something I won’t stand for.
Not when I’ve had to sit on the sidelines this month, watching as seemingly everyone and their mother gets set to head to ICONIC with some lofty plans.
Chaos comes in a variety of forms, including ruining those very plans.
And if that’s the kind of plan you have in mind, it is critical that I play the role of spoiler.
Cause if I get the luck of the draw against you, I will do everything in my power to shut down your little power trip, once and for all. And then, you and Bill Dickinson can have your petty squabble without the LSD Championship being involved.
It’ll serve you right for letting your ego get the better of you.
Of course, simply mentioning the word “ego” gives me an excuse to look at the last of the championship trifecta.
Mr. Ego himself.
The only man who’s ever beaten me in HOFC competition.
The man sitting pretty at the top of the mountain in HOW, with little in the way of challenges waiting for him.
Mike “Best of the Best of the” Best, sir.
I’m no fool, Mike. I know damn well that the luck of the draw in the Lethal Lottery is probably the only way I’m getting a shot at that World Championship…and equally important, a chance to get my hands on you once more.
The two times we’ve faced off, I came in feeling a little too cocky for my own good.
I can own up to that. I can admit to my mistakes.
I can also say with confidence that I’ve been preparing for one last go-around since.
I’ve been waiting an awful long time for this, Mike.
I’ve watched you play around with these silly Gentlemen’s Games all month, relying on the friendship you have with Cecilworth Farthington to get out of facing the likes of Clay Byrd.
I also saw the look in his eyes last week, Mike. I know you did, too.
There’s gonna come a breaking point, sooner or later…and when it comes, I’m gonna be laughing from the sidelines.
Because whatever happens at ICONIC between you and your pal, it won’t be for the World title.
Not if I have anything to say about it.
Should luck be in my favor at Refueled 82, the crowd in Manchester will bear witness to the Son of GOD taking a fall from grace…and it’ll be at the hand of the man he shrugged off as meaningless.
If I can’t knock you out inside your precious gilded cage, I’ll just have to beat you the old-fashioned way.
Pinfall or submission, the choice is mine…and the failure is yours.
I will finally take my rightful place, whether as champion or someone ready for a shot at the gold.
And then, the final mission can begin.
The proud will become humble, and the humble will be exalted.
The path has been laid out, and the Head Disciple will bring about the chaos he has promised from the beginning.
Not some false proclamation by a lunatic, but the real deal.
Not some delusion of grandeur, but an ascension worthy of celebration.
Man makes plans, and my goddess laughs.
So go ahead and make plans, HOW, and we will break them.
Praise Eris, praise Discordia.
Long Beach, CA
“That’s all well and good, but what if it doesn’t work out?”
Inside the Head Disciple’s living quarters, his beloved Mysti cannot help but plant seeds of doubt. After all, it is one thing to make promises…it is another entirely to keep them. Xander takes a moment to ponder the question, nodding as he realizes the gravity of the situation.
“Well, my love…if this doesn’t work, it’ll be a long winter for the Eternal Circle.”
Xander rises from the chair he’s been sitting in, approaching his beloved as he rests a hand on her shoulder.
“Still, I have to maintain hope. Eris would want nothing less than my absolute full effort.”
Xander’s focus is taken away as his cell phone rings. He answers it, receiving word from one of his brethren.
“Brother Azula, something’s happened. You’re gonna wanna take a look at this.”
Xander’s eyes light up, a big smile on his face as he sets the call to video to view what his associate is referring to. The portal can be seen off in the distance, of such considerable size now that it’s clear that something–or rather, someone–can be seen flying out, landing with a thud on the ramp.
“What the hell…?”
Xander’s face exudes both curiosity and confusion at the sight of a man with immaculate mutton chops rising to his feet, wiping the dirt off his plaid sweater vest. He looks around in utter amazement at where he’s landed, scratching his head as he tries to make sense of it all.
“Man, I’m a long way from Cleveland…”
The man keeps walking, looking for an exit from the dark and shadowy cavern as we fade to black.