Xeden is a confused soul with a twisted dichotomy. He once strived and yearned to be- as he put it- "someone others want to aspire to be or aspire to be better than". Doing either became more likely the more you know of him, and his challenging personality. As hardworking a hero as any you could have found within Paragon City and always one to find the best option possible in any situation. Unfortunately his noted history with personal loss has rendered him a "realist".
He sees himself, however, as expendable. In truth Xeden is a top-class hero, but a horrible person. In his efforts to protect the ones he loves he has made deals with devils, both proverbial and literal, and bloodied his hands beyond redemption (at least in his own heart and mind) with his actions. Despite knowing his errors and hoping that one day he can be better than the mistakes he made, he knows that if needed he will make those mistakes as often as he needs to if it makes the difference.
Christian James was fathered by a virtuous woman and the murderous man she tried to rehabilitate. At one year old, Elena James knew her dream was not to be, Christian James was left in the protective care of the Paragon Police Department, and Michael James was a man on the lamb after committing one more murder that left his son without parents any longer. But to young Christian, the police officers he now lived with both in and out of the precincts were his family. Not long after he was up and walking, he was helping deliver evidence and letters and memos around the bullpens. At the age of 15 his mutant abilities to absorb and disperse kinetic energy manifested, resulting in a tragic accident that left three of his “fellow officers" hospitalized and a cafeteria table in splinters. Chris was left with no choice but to wear bulky gauntlets which helped contain the energy from spewing forth randomly.
At age 18, he deployed into the city as a full-fledged hero. His first day: the Rikti invasion of Paragon. Chris, now codenamed “Edenfire” was patrolling Brickstown when the first dropships arrived, and helped to lead the inmates of the Ziggursky prison in a rally to push the invaders out of the area. Successfully they worked to hold back the threat, as temporary and short-lived as it was. It was at this time that Chris first came to believe that, given the time and reason, any form of peace was possible. Even that between those labeled as "heroes" and "villains".
A year after that he met his father again, now returned to his codename of “Bludgeon”, near his old family’s home in Siren’s Call. After a knockdown/drag-out fight that left the apartment in shambles, Chris’ cracked gauntlets shattered, expelling enough energy to nearly kill Bludgeon, and might even have had not been for the small black jewel that fell from Bludgeon’s grasp. This was the Tribuo Animus, an Orenbegan artifact which pulled Chris’ soul from his body and left him comatose for a time.
The Chaser Knights
Nursed back to health by Azuria, Edenfire now sported a much more uncaring attitude and struck out on his own and adopted a new name after decidedly choosing he was now “ex-Eden”. Despondent and confused, he traveled across the city as a monster hunter before heading east. Chris found a newfound empathy for the zone of “Dark” Astoria and its tragic history. While walking the cemetery one evening he was ambushed by the monster Adamastor and nearly killed as the creature threw his body into a ravine. Cut open and empty of one himself, the terrified and tortured souls used his unique state to plead for sanctuary and he gave it that they might both escape Astoria alive. En route back to Paragon Chris was found and aided by a clan of knights, known as the Chasers, who fended off the hounding Pantheon and taught him to control his mutant powers without the gauntlets. Over time, Chris stayed with them and learned their ways and was even gifted a set of armor for himself modeled after their styles which he keeps to this day.
But this newfound sense of belonging was cut down as the Pantheon regrouped their masses, Adamastor included, and laid siege to the Chaser Knight camps. After a grueling and protracted set of battles the knights fell to the superior numbers of the Banished Pantheon and mighty Lord Norxethan ordered Chris to escape back to Paragon to ensure their legacies survived. He did so after saving and befriending two young knights, Aryn Fal and Lin Adence, whom he set up with new homes in Paragon.
Near this time, Xeden became a wanderer with no place to call home despite his ties with the PPD. Luck brought him to fall in with a group of wayward heroes and superpowered metas who banded together in an abandoned warehouse, led by a man named Erik Jameson. It was here that Chris would become close friends with a number of their members, meet a woman named Jordan Murphy whom he would fall in love with, and come to find out he had a half-sister named Lia MacKay. With their help he was reunited with his soul, later inking runes into his arms which acted as magic wards to keep it inside of his body after the others from Astoria were sent onwards to their afterlife.
The Refuge & the Initiative
As Erik left the city on business, he placed Xeden in temporary charge on account of his experience in the field despite being outranked by a half-dozen other members. During this time the Warehouse and its member base found itself embroiled in a conflict which left many of their number wounded, hospitalized, and terrified of the enemy supergroup which hounded it. And though Xeden knew he was outmatched physically, he managed to outwit the villains into a stalemate. His comm was never turned off and he was never far from those he now watched over. He rarely slept so that he could ensure those he watched were safe. When Erik returned and was made aware of the events that took place in his absence he made it clear that it was not Chris' actions which kept their friends and family safe, but Erik's decision to place Chris in charge. Angered that his actions were looked upon as so little, Lia and Jordan left the warehouse with the intent to create their own group and place Chris as the leader.
Reluctant to take such a position and seeing his previous tenure as a failure to lead, Chris initially refused until Lia and Jordan, now his girlfriend, revealed to him that nearly two-thirds of the warehouse had left with them, looking toward him as their new leader.
The Midnight Refuge was born.
As the new group was largely the membership of the old, very few of them were in a position to maintain peace and safety among them. To this end, Chris took the few with the experience enough to defend their new home and christened them his "knights", in honor of his fallen comrades. They served well and Chris came to see them all as his greatest comrades, but in the face of looming threats such as the Praetorians he knew they needed more. Splitting the Refuge into two wings, offensive and defensive, the Lightning Strike Initiative was created to act as the heroes Xeden knew were needed in a time of coming war. Journeying into the world with guns blazing, LSI mounted support and numbers which effectively turned the tide against their personal enemies with the Refuge and assisted other groups in Paragon with larger threats, including the Empire of Atlantis and Global Defense Force. Their actions served to make them infamous among their fellow heroes and fought on the frontlines against the Praetorian army, as well as carrying out insurgencies against the Rikti and Banished Pantheon.
The return of Bludgeon and mounting enemy numbers in the face of their new-found public face wore on Xeden however. Following the arrival of his two children, Faith and Jeremy, with his now-wife Jordan, Chris began to see that he was becoming a general to his friends and family but they were not his soldiers. he put his tactical mind to use solving problems in less-than-heroic ways. In order to keep his people safe against the actions of their enemies, Chris assembled a third group which few more than the members of it would know of: the Ebon Knights; covert operative Sideways, marksman Bankshot, and mercenary twins Siren and Siryn. Wielding this red right hand, Xeden began operations to assassinate high-priority enemy targets, as well as many other clandestine activities, given kill orders by Xeden himself in order to weaken opposition. The position of leader and act of being surrounded by so many loved ones forced Chris into a position where he could not bear to lose anyone, and he crossed the line.
But the Atlanteans had found an enemy of their own with the demonic, otherworldly Hyori- a beast from the Shadow Shard which had been accidently brought back to Primal Earth, trapped in a bow. Possessing the young Atlantean girl Coraluna, the king Leviathas and his queen Neredia did their best to keep the girl safe as the monster took control. Intervening just in time, Xeden managed to persuade the Hyori into taking himself as a vessel in her place, citing his more matured mutant powers, position of leadership, and precarious soul as greater selling points. The fiend agreed, but found out too late that Chris’ will was more indomitable than it had assumed, that that the wards he had inked into his skin months before kept the Hyori from escaping him. It almost consumed him, had not been for the forces of Atlantis rallying to lend support and an endearing hug from the child it had attempted to take, Coraluna. Chris accepted it as his burden to bear at the expense of his own mental wellbeing to keep others safe. His actions, he would later be told, made him a legend in Atlantis and a statue of his likeness was erected in the great city- the first of any who hailed from the land above.
But these heroic times did not forever last. Despite the Initiative helping to lead the charge against Cole’s Praetorian forces, a number of those in the Refuge were not so keen to fight on the frontlines as Chris and the Initiative did and they began to turn away from him, citing his time away fighting as an absence of leadership on a personal level. Some said he abandoned them. Some said he had gone too far from being the man he used to be. Others found new leaders to follow. But others openly protested against him in attempts to sway the popular vote as Jordan and Lia had done for him. When these tactics failed, rumors and hate-speak began, slandering Chris in desperate attempts at self-adulation. Anything from letting his friends become injured that he might show up as the hero to unspeakable gossip that he abused his wife.
Angry and feeling betrayed by the people he bled and fought for so long to protect, Chris began to waver. The Hyori slowly found a hold to grasp on to and Chris pushed away from his friends. He continued to lead until after Praetoria had been waylaid and then, with no war to fight, he silently dismantled LSI and the Refuge, heartbroken. Xeden worked as a free-agent in Paragon, silently manipulating things in the Rogue Isles through the Ebon Knights and his favored proxy, Sideways.
The Axiom Guard
The rumors coming from Ouroborus and the Menders that the ever-mysterious “Coming Storm” was fast-approaching sent Xeden into protective-mode though, and he expanded again; this time he approached Vanguard, proposing a worldwide union of Heroes and Villains, inspired by the first outing as a hero in Brickstown he was involved in years before, united under one flag when the world as a whole was threatened: the Axiom Guard. To fight together when separate they would surely fall.
Sanctioned through the United Nations, Xeden was charged with assembling the Axiom Guard and it worked to unite odd pairings, to a degree. As offers of aide began to flood in, Xeden was shocked to notice that all of them had come from mercenary and villain groups. The heroes of Paragon were nowhere to be seen.
In fear that the group would be utilized for worse than it was incepted for, the UN pulled the plug on the project and Xeden- disappointed as his dream fell apart due to the lack of assistance from the fellow heroes he fought for so long beside- withdrew.
Following his actions with the Ebons and the crumble of the Axiom Guard, Christian James disappeared from public view, exiling himself from Paragon City and taking up residence on a houseboat adrift near Port Oakes, feeling betrayed by the heroes he once fought beside. The only evidence of his departure, a note left behind;
I made my deals with devils- many of them. I died for my duty- twice now. I've lead when others wouldn't or couldn't- thrice over. And now even though more and more of you seem to be on the same page as to what needs to happen next, so very few of you are understanding enough to see it through, and those of you who are come from places I look at and can't help but wonder what form of legacy I am now forging.
Would Norxethan be proud? Would my lineage disown me?
I'm sorry. But anymore, I can't fight for this city. Or this world, or certainly her people. I'll fight because it means my loved ones live another generation. I have grown far too weary of giving all I can, and watching time and again as those I called allies or friends turn their backs on me without warning or just cause. I did nothing to you. Any of you.
And yet even now I know I would keep you all from burning in the embers.
Call me a liar.
I'm not as bad as you all want to think I am.
In the time after, the name Xeden became a short-lived tabloid headline; "Where Has Xeden Gone?" "Xeden Presumed Dead" "Christian James, Sighted in Warburg", etc.. But as the world moved on, new heroes would emerge to fill his void. Presumed dead, Christian spent the interceding years of 2012 through 2019 silently living in the Rogue Isles. Driven slowly mad by the Hyori's influence, his obsession over his own failings, and his deeply-rooted sense of betrayal by the heroes of Paragon City, he kept his head hung low until he became little more than a vagabond- wandering the alleys and backstreets of the Etoile Isles.
Whispers and rumors that the missing hero was seen in the Isles were met with no resolution. Like some Sasquatch of Sharkhead, Christian would vanish for months or longer, sightings and rumors falling silent before the next would crop up and meet a similar fate. A specter of a dead heroic legacy.
Now and more recently, whispers rise again of a disheveled redhead matching Xeden's description. No sign of mutant ability, no trademark knight armor. Just a sad old man, full of resentment.
Phase 1: "1182 Names" [] - Within; A good man who made all the worst decisions for the best reasons. A tale of a legend who gave his all to a world who turned on him. A story of a hero riddled with demons. A warrior striving to bring happiness, torn asunder and weighed with sorrow.
Phase 2: "1182 Reasons" [] - Within; the damage done by an ancient evil, waves beaten against the stone that is or was a good man. A demon who won by letting good atrophy.
Phase 3: "1182 Bad Dreams" [] - Within; after the dust settles, an old forgotten hero must live with the catastrophes he has created. An attempt to live with the blood that cannot be washed from his hands. A fear of becoming too normal again. An effort to come out from the shell he's encased himself within... while attempting to ensure it doesn't happen again.
- Given his Irish heritage, when upset, his voice will give hints of an Irish accent.
- Christian is a Transformers fan. So much so, he will work lines from any incarnation of the comic, cartoon, or movie into everyday conversation just for his own amusement.
- Chris' favorite meal is a dish called Poppy-Seed Chicken. He is also a fan of Velveeta Shells and Cheese, and raspberry chocolate chip ice cream.
- Christian is well-known for his unique and abstract armor designs, all of which handcrafted and designed in his freetime, with the sole exception of his infamous Chaser Armor, which was partially constructed by older armor parts, and partially hand-forged by one of the only surviving Chaser Knights, Aryn Fal, only days prior to the fall of the clan.
- Chris owns numerous pieces of property across Paragon, including a freighter adrift in Talos Bay he used to make his home on before linking up with his recently-affiliated supergroups, the lands on which the LSI HQ and Midnight Refuge stand, and an apartment in King's Row he hasn't made use of in years.
- Prior to Sunset, Xeden was one of the higher-decorated Heroes in the City, with a count of almost 1350 badges, medals and accolades.
- Given his penchant for self-relfection, he has at least one spot in nearly every city in Paragon where he can go to for solitude and quiet.
- While Xeden continually displays degrees of respect to numerous people, there is only one man he has ever saluted while wearing his Chaser Knight armor. In fact, he specifically changed into the armor to salute him. That man is the singularity now known as Horus, AKA Ra, leader of the Forevermen Coalition, the first group that Chris joined.
- In one of the traits most people hate about him, Chris hates losing his temper or composure in front of people. Instead of letting his emotions run rampant, he will simply turn and walk away from a conversation or conflict abruptly in order to cool off.
- Chris (barely) knows how to to play an acoustic guitar. Mostly he just knows a few notes he can piece together into the simplest of tunes.
- A fan of movie scores and soundtracks, Chris' music collection is vast. He maintains an entire playlist of instrumental and orchestral themes and songs to play for just about any given situation.
- Chris' favorite bands are Poets Of The Fall, old Finger Eleven, City and Colour and Penny & Sparrow.
- Christian suffers from a number of mental maladies including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following his role in the Praetorian War, emotional repression due to the choices he's made hiding his actions from friends and family for so long out of fear of rejection, and depression spurned by his inability to see the Axiom Guard to fruition.