The dream…is over.
And now, reality sets in.
More specifically, reality is beginning to fracture.
Splintering apart like a log at the mercy of the ax.
If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to fall short of the goal, to trip up so close to the finish line…that’s about it.
It’s like the whole world is falling apart at the seams.
Or, in my case, the multiverse.
The disappointment is insufferable.
I now have to pull myself up by my bootstraps, and keep marching on.
No glory awaits me…just remorse.
Regret for the mistakes I’ve made in the past…and for the things I didn’t do.
Unfortunately, I don’t have time to sit around and mope.
No time to cry over the loss.
There is far too much work that needs to be done.
Too much to clean up.
Back into the void I go.
Moments after the much-needed chat between himself and Darin Zion, Xander finds himself hurtling through the portal for his next mission through the Multiverse.
The time spent hopping between worlds and dimensions has slowly but surely changed his outlook on things, as one would expect when presented with events that differ drastically from everything you’ve ever known.
Eventually, the Head Disciple touches down in a peculiar looking place. A world enveloped in black, white, and shades of gray…an effect that quickly takes a hold of Xander, removing all sense of hue from his appearance. Xander shakes his head at this, when suddenly we hear him speaking…without moving his lips.
It was then that I realized the predicament I was in. I had just traveled across the Multiverse into what appears to be an old-timey film and…wait a minute, am I doing a narration bit?
His eyes widen in surprise at the revelation, and manages to utter his response verbally.
“It’s even worse, I’m stuck in a noir story.”
With that, some slow jazz can be heard in the background as we look on at a dingy, run-down alleyway where screams can be heard from the distance, presumably from a crime in progress. Xander just shakes his head as he walks away from the alley, heading down the street as his mind goes back to narration mode.
So here I was, wandering in some forsaken land of black and white, realizing that any minute now I could come across a variant of someone I know. Could I bump into another Axel the Shark? Could I be confronted by a somehow less annoying Darin Zion? Maybe even a Mike Best that’s actually…nice?
“Nah, no such thing.”
Xander chuckles at this as he approaches an office. He makes note of the sign imprinted on the window, which draws a laugh from the Head Disciple as he reads it:
ALEX KAHRS, LOAN SHARK
Xander shakes his head at the seemingly unintentional sight gag before continuing his walk down the road. Suddenly, he notices a young, scraggly looking boy seated on the front steps of a building. He holds out a tin can, and we can hear a slight jingle from coins already occupying the space inside. The boy speaks with a hushed, wavering tone, his eyes looking dreadful.
“Please sir, spare a quarter for ol’ Kenny Freeman?”
Xander just scoffs at this, shaking his head with disgust.
Look at this freeloader. Why can’t he just go find a job? I’m sure there’s a paper route he’s primed and ready to run somewhere in town.
“I don’t even know who you are, kid.”
The boy hangs his head in shame as Xander walks on, none too amused by the interaction. He finally reaches some semblance of a destination, as he approaches the front door of a nightclub where the business inside is absolutely booming.
Xander nods with yet another chuckle.
No surprise there, really. Seems to me there’s a place like this all throughout the Multiverse. If there’s any place where I can get some answers on this world, this is it.
“Love to see it.”
He takes a step inside, and immediately finds himself overwhelmed by what he sees inside.
Look at this debauchery. All this drinking, all this gambling. Is that Bobby Dean rolling dice on the floor? Never mind, he’s eating bundt cake with his bare hands. Because of course. It’s enough to make a man sick. Enough of that, though, let’s go find someone that knows what’s going on around here.
Xander continues his journey into the darker corners of the establishment, desperately seeking any sort of sign when suddenly, a gold portal cracks open from down the hallway…and in steps Aeon Khronos. Aeon looks around, noticing the party scene taking place with a furrowed brow as he glares at the Head Disciple.
“Having fun, are we? I thought you were here on a mission.”
“I am! In case you haven’t noticed, this world’s even weirder than some of the others.”
Aeon scoffs at this, rolling his eyes.
“That’s all well and good, but you’ve been gone for nearly a week! There’s something going on with Zion, and I got asked to drag you back so you can deal with this Strong Godsmack fella.”
“Whatever. It’s time to head home, Xander.”
A shame, really. I was just getting to understand this world better, to truly understand…
“Are…are you narrating?”
“You hear it too!?”
“Yeah, you’re right…that IS weird.”
With that, the pair quickly make their exit through the portal. As it closes up, we see a hulking figure lean back in its bar stool, looking down the hallway with a toothy grin.
Long Beach, CA
We find Xander in his living quarters, staring at a mirror. Propped up next to it is a framed picture of Xander’s upcoming opponent, STRONK Godson. Xander appears to be deep in thought, carefully choosing his words as he finally begins to speak.
“Here we see a man with a promising start to his HOW career, a man who strikes fear and intimidation into the souls of his opponents, a man who took Jeffrey James Roberts to his limit with the HOTv Championship on the line.”
Xander smirks as he shifts his focus to the framed picture.
“We also have Stronk Godson.”
Xander turns his attention toward us, that smirk still clear as day as he continues.
“It does not surprise me that as a Son of GOD leaves, a Godson arrives to take his place. In this multiverse of madness, such events are no mere coincidence…and that makes me very eager for this upcoming bout.”
Xander steps away from the mirror, giving us a glimpse at a notebook with various scribbles on the page such as “GODSON = SON OF GOD?” and “WHAT EVEN IS A STRONK?” as Xander speaks once again.
“And even with the very real possibility of everything we know crumbling around us, I remain hopeful in my mission. You see, Stronk, my goddess has demanded that I bring this multiverse out of the chaos it is in purely because it is not hers. She refuses to accept things that so much as appear to be out of sorts with what she wants.”
We hear a loud boom from outside the quarters, distracting Xander for just a moment as the Head Disciple ponders what the noise could be. Eventually, he chooses to dismiss it as he continues on.
“I find your history very fascinating, Mr. Godson. A man of your size and stature could be doing anything he wants in this world, and yet somehow…you’ve ended up here. Welcome to the insanity, I’ll be your tour guide as we gear up for this curious match at Refueled 91. You find yourself looking to bounce back from a loss against the HOTv Champion, and I am hoping to find some stability after my dreams of tag team gold were squashed.”
Xander takes a couple steps back toward the mirror, grabbing a hold of the framed picture of his opponent. He studies it carefully, considering the man shown before he speaks again.
“We’re two men on the rebound, but this is no singles night at the karaoke bar. Normally this is where I’d extend an invitation to join the Eternal Circle–and believe you me, there is always room in the Eternal Circle–but I know that you are at the mercy of your handler, Mr. Greene, and I doubt very much that ol’ Shelley wants anything to do with the likes of us.”
He lets out a heavy sigh, setting the picture face down before turning back to us and speaking once more.
“Which is a shame, really…because anyone not with us is against us, and that spells disaster for Shelley Greene’s precious meal ticket to the big time. Welcome, once again, to High Octane Wrestling…it’s just a shame your aspirations will go up in smoke. I will not let you steam roll over me, Mr. Godson…you have the full might of my goddess coming at you this Sunday. Because my goddess is ready to see the mighty fallen at her feet…and what my goddess wants, my goddess gets. Praise Eris, praise Discordia.”
With that, Xander makes his exit as we fade to black.