You know that feeling when you try to step up the last step on the stairs, except you’re already at the top, and for a split second it seems like you’ve just stepped off the edge of a precipice, until your foot finally thuds down extra hard onto the landing? Imagine living in that split second every moment of your life. One of two things would happen: You’d either become a follower of The Way of Mrs. Cosmopolite, accepting that life is entirely unpredictable and there was no point in looking for order; or you’d go screaming into madness.
Or just maybe, you might try to balance on the knife edge between the two. One hand wide open like a child’s for any and all possibilities; the other gauntleted in mail and magic and clenched around a dark star of fire and chaos. Maybe, you’d become Xeno.
Really, he would have been more surprised if something hadn’t happened after leaving the prince’s presence. As he was daydreaming about attaching an enormous pair of raven’s wings to his pointy hat, and subsequently sweeping down from the steppes with his band of implacable mounted warriors upon an unsuspecting populace; and further distracted by wondering if maybe somewhere in the couloir du temps he’d accidentally gotten daydreams intended for a mighty barbarian plains warrior, who himself was at this very moment wondering why he was in an alchemist’s shop fondling an alembic, Xeno didn’t really notice why a hole punched through what was seeming like the increasingly fragile surface of Lungfish Isle should choose that moment to open up underneath them all, but he certainly didn’t consider it...unexpected.
He landed alive and covered in chickens and, crashing through a glass pyramid notwithstanding, as that was pretty high on the happy end of the scale of positive outcomes to being dropped into some Abyssal region, he came up feeling positive about life.
“That looks like a friendly enough fellow,” he thought, as the slobbering demon approached him. “Hi!”
It didn’t take too much being punted around like a recalcitrant chicken to turn the switch in Xeno’s head to “overload,” and while he was taken down hard, he came up swinging, with a distressingly cold spear of some sort welded into his hands. “Ah well,” he thought. “The true artist creates with with the medium to hand.”
“Listen, punk,” he snarled. “I’ve shat out, killen, eaten again and shat out again bigger demons than you before breakfast. Bring it.” After divers alarums, Xeno found himself with a vulnerable-looking demon on the ground before him; a rising chicken population and nowhere to go but up. “Insert spear A into heart B,” he thought. “What could go wrong?” But just in case, he reached out with his chagnomic powers, drawing on his own cold darkness, channelling it into the spear thing for a decisively killing blow, preferably a spectacular one, too.
You know that feeling when you try to step up the last step on the stairs...? Sometimes, you think you’re about to fall; sometimes you realize what happened; and sometimes, well, sometimes you just know you’ve been turned into an undead hellchicken.
“Crap,” said Xeno, who did so, liberally, and went to look for something to eat. “Ooh! Demon entrails! Nummy.”