"If you awake to a knife at your throat, if monsters dig their claws into you, if death comes knocking at your door, call out my name. Adeptus Xiao. I will be here when you call."
have you ever seen a character that makes you want to bash your head
into a wall so hard that your skull splits open? that's how i felt
about xiao when i first finished the liyue archon quest.
i like xiao, and not a normal amount. i pulled him on feb 2, 2021 and got his c1 on jan 5, 2022. i plan to c6 him when i can, even better if i can r5 his jade wing spear too! he has such a genuinely fun playstyle, i honestly think i'll always be a xiao main forever. other character have come and gone, for example diluc (i got into genshin for him) but now he's just a character that i like a normal amount. this goes for a lot of other characters too!
i'll always like xiao, i love his personality and lore and his interactions with others as well as his character development. his character design is wonderful too, it's amazing how much love was put into him (and deservedly so) and it shows! he's just..such a soulful character and i love him so much.
i really really hate how (english/western) fandom / casual players mischaracterize xiao as some brooding emo guy..it's a poor generalization of his character. while his english voice actor is incredibly talented, i do wish that more people would give his chinese or even japanese and korean voiceovers a chance. i say this as someone that can't play mainline quests without english voices and subtitles by the way!
so, however you got here to my xiao shrine, whether you know about xiao / genshin impact or not, i hope you leave my page with a little more knowledge on one of my favorite characters.
A yaksha adeptus who defends Liyue. Also heralded as the "Conqueror of Demons" and "Vigilant Yaksha.
By honoring his oath as a yaksha, one hopes that our fellow adeptus has now finally gained some respite from the grievances that have burdened him all these millennia.
The people of Liyue Harbor greatly revere the mighty and illuminated adepti who dwell in Jueyun Karst. During the festival seasons, they will offer up incense and pray to the adepti for their protection. But none pray to Xiao. For Xiao is no lucky star that promises fame and fortune — he is a demon-hunting Yaksha. After the lantern lights of Liyue have faded, the thankless battle to protect the city goes on unseen. It is an endless battle, and there can be no victor. Still, none of this fazes Xiao, for as the Vigilant Yaksha, he must protect Liyue to honor his contract. This is simply the way it is.
Xiao may have the appearance of a young man, but his true age is something over two thousand years.
Fortunately, people do not tend to underestimate him on the basis of his appearance — one only needs to spend a short time with Xiao to clarify that he is not someone to be trifled with.
Xiao is a man of few words. He is highly dangerous, and has the most piercing gaze you've ever seen.
He enjoys a formidable reputation and high level of seniority among the adepti, but is relatively unknown in the mortal realm.
This is inevitable. Xiao is not one of those popular deities to whom people pray for wealth and protection, nor is he a mystical sage of Jueyun Karst to whom pilgrims flock in search of divine wisdom.
No... If any mortal witnesses Xiao unleashing his true power, it is certain to be under the direst of circumstances — and they will be extremely lucky if they survive the ordeal.
This is not because Xiao seeks to harm people. Rather, since Xiao wages a constant war against dark forces powerful enough to devour Liyue in its entirety, any bystanders who witness him in the heat of battle are likely to end up as collateral damage.
Not that this is a secret worth going around silencing witnesses for.
What exactly is Xiao wrestling with?
The tactful answer would be old grudges, unfulfilled dreams, the lamentations of the vanquished...
The unmitigated truth is that Xiao fights against the remnants of the defeated gods from the Archon War, which took place prior to the rise of The Seven.
Morax defeated those gods and buried their remains beneath the rocks of the earth.
However, gods are immortal. Their consciousness may diminish, but their power and hatred will always remain and spread like poison, relentlessly stirring up chaos for the world and its inhabitants.
Liyue's rulers, who are aware of the truth regarding Xiao, refer to him in his millennia-long experience as the "Bane of All Evil."
The war he fights can never be won, and will never come to an end.
It is also an invisible war that no one will ever witness or thank him for.
Xiao is not this yaksha's true name, but a name given to him in the interests of his own protection.
Back in a younger, more naive time, a god had gotten a hold of Xiao's weakness and forced him to serve as their bloodhound, in which capacity he was forced to perform cruel and violent acts.
Many died at his hand, many hopes were crushed, and he was even forced into devouring his victims' dreams. As much as it pained him to do this, he was helpless to resist.
Finally, on the battlefield of the Archon War, Morax, the Geo Archon, had a fateful encounter with the yaksha's master.
The current state of the world has already revealed the results of that battle.
Rex Lapis liberated the yaksha and gave him the name "Xiao."
"In the fables of another land, the name Xiao is that of a spirit who encountered great suffering and hardship. He endured much suffering, as you have. Use this name from now on."
To repay his debt of gratitude to the Geo Archon, Xiao shouldered the burden of protecting Liyue in the millennia that followed.
His past of service under the evil god had rid Xiao of his innocence and gentleness. All that remained within him was the means to kill and the weight of his sins.
The only way he could be of service to mortals was in doing battle.
But what could people do for him in return?
No ordinary person would ever stop to ask such a question. The sight of Xiao, even far off in the distance, was intimidating enough to send people instantly running for their lives.
That said... if ever someone did want to show some appreciation for Xiao, there is perhaps one thing they could try.
There is a certain secret agent of the Qixing who is tasked with supporting Xiao in subduing demons. That secret agent runs a front organization called the Wangshu Inn.
Occasionally, Xiao stops by the inn for a bowl of Almond Tofu, and if you could see the look on his face when he eats it... there's no mistaking it — he clearly loves the stuff.
Nonetheless, it is not the sweet taste that Xiao hankers after. It's the texture he finds irresistible — apparently, it's very similar to that of the dreams he used to devour.
What exactly is Xiao wrestling with?
To those in Liyue's corridors of power, Xiao's battle is against the evil manifestations produced by the remnants of defeated gods.
However, if you asked Xiao the same question, he may well give you an entirely different answer.
Xiao was once enslaved by an evil god and suffered immensely under his rule until finally regaining his freedom at Rex Lapis' hand.
Xiao's powers were highly regarded by the adepti and he seemed to vanquish all manner of evil demons with consummate ease.
But the evil gods also held immense power, and their lust for revenge ran deeper than mere mortals could ever contemplate. Xiao relentlessly slaughtered the endless, impure manifestations of their vengeful souls, but in doing so, he caused them to fracture. Eventually, these fragments of their hatred were able to taint Xiao's own soul.
The only way to eradicate such hatred is to accept the karmic debt it brings. The magnitude of the bad karma Xiao has accumulated over the years is enough to consume flesh, bone, and soul alike.
And yet, Xiao does not feel any hatred. Having lived for over two thousand years, no single karmic debt constitutes anything more than a fleeting memory.
No grudge can last a thousand years, nor is any debt so great that it cannot be paid off in this time.
Xiao has spent many long years alone.
But his battles have never been in vain.
Because ultimately, the one with whom Xiao wrestles is himself.
What does Xiao fight against?
The Traveler understands very well that Xiao fights against the darkness that threatens Liyue. He fights to defend Liyue.
But who will defend him?
There was once when most of Xiao's strength was spent fighting from dusk till dawn, with him emerging victorious by a mere hair.
The reeds in the fields had been sliced to ribbons in the fierce fighting. Plucking his spear from where it had been planted in the ground, Xiao began the trek home.
Well, one says "home" — yet, where did Xiao have to return to? He was merely leaving the battlefield.
Long exhausted, Xiao felt the divine hatred that tainted his body take effect.
Limitless hate flooded his senses, and he fell to the ground in agony.
But it was also at that moment that the pain vanished without warning.
This was not by Xiao's own strength, for he had been rescued by the sound of a flute.
The clear, lovely sound of the flute came over the mountains and rivers, carried on the wind to where he lay.
And clear it continued to ring till the first light of dawn brought with it the startled flight of distant birds.
It protected Xiao, massaging his wild senses, and giving him a moment's peace.
Who was playing this music? Xiao was curious but did not pursue the matter. For he already had something approaching an answer.
The last person who could help him was one of The Seven themselves. So this person, too, must be—
A scholar of the Sumeru Akademiya once did folklore studies in Liyue, the result of which was a book called "Tour of the Land of Liyue," with separate editions being available in Sumeru and Liyue.
"Hidden Diamond and Cloudy Moon: Wonders and Folklores of Liyue" is the version available in Liyue, and has had many mystical and magical portions removed.
The "Ode to Windborne Wraith" is one of the mystical chapters that remain recorded within the complete version at the Akademiya.
The document mentions that though the yaksha were mighty and upright among the adepti, they were bound by their own karma to suffer great horrors and tribulations. As such, they wandered the land in a state of unending suffering.
The chapter lists many methods of comforting the yaksha, such as food offerings, holy chants, and the like. These would appease the yaksha and help them to continue defending the peace.
As noble warriors among adepti, the yaksha would often descend upon the battlefield in person. However, as conflicts grew over the millennia, they have almost been wiped out. Today, large statues of the yaksha subduing demons remain within Liyue's borders, but they have had their features destroyed.
By the by, the language used in that text was so meandering, and its contents so dense, that it sold far fewer copies than the Teyvat Travel Guide and the international cultural summaries written by El Musk.
All adepti are known as the "mighty and illuminated" adepti, and this "illumination" refers to the light of a third "eye" that they possess: a Vision.
But do adepti receive their Visions as a form of acknowledgment from Celestia, like humans do?
Xiao no longer remembers the moment he received his Vision. To humans, this would be an unforgettable event. But for him, this was just the beginning of his endless battle.
The thing that Xiao truly cannot forget is something different.
There are a great many human festivals, and few remember the stories behind them.
The greater part of these days coincide with occasions where man-eating monsters were defeated by the adepti host. People imitated their deeds and staged exorcism rituals to remember their ancient heroism, with these practices eventually evolving into celebratory festivals.
The hatred and residual might of many of the gods defeated by Morax throughout Liyue will sometimes erupt with abnormal force amid their half-awake, half-dreaming state. Among them, the eruption that takes place during the Lantern Rite is the most extreme in scale.
Xiao has his mission to perform the time-honored "Nuo Dance of Evil Conquering," and so he fights night and day during the Lantern Rite. Thus, he has come to hate it.
Now, Xiao did not consider battle dangerous. It was due to his hard work that Liyue was kept safe. People lit their lanterns, and the blessed lights shone across the night sky and the nearshore.
At that moment, another special feeling blossomed in Xiao's heart. Loneliness? Peace? Or was it his fears for the future? The young-seeming adeptus searched his heart, only to find no answers.
Xiao is an illuminated beast who has lived for over two thousand years. In his youth, he was enslaved by an ancient god who learned his weakness and forced to perform cruel, violent acts on the god's behalf, including devouring the dreams of his victims. The god's bloodthirsty path came to an end at Morax's hand during the Archon War; Xiao was freed and Morax bestowed him with the name "Xiao" for his own protection. Xiao became deeply loyal to the Geo God as a result, a trait that continues to the present day.
When Morax rallied the yakshas to help him suppress the lingering hatred and grudges of fallen gods, Xiao was among those who responded. Xiao, under the name Alatus, was one of the five foremost Yakshas alongside Bonanus, Bosacius, Indarias, and Menogias. He also fought alongside many other junior yakshas such as Pervases.
However, over the ages, the yakshas' task wore away their numbers: Not only did they have to fight against the lingering power of ancient gods, the hatred that they had to suppress tainted their own souls and mired them in karmic debt, which incurred enormous physical and psychological pain. Between battle casualties, madness, and desertion, the number of yakshas eventually dwindled to Bosacius and Xiao. Bosacius, too, eventually disappeared and left his belongings behind in Minlin, leaving Xiao as the last Yaksha Guardian. Xiao nearly succumbed to his karmic debt himself at one point, but was saved by the music Venti played during one of the Anemo Archon's visits to Liyue.
While Xiao's callous exterior can make him appear intimidating, much of his outward personality stems from his reservations about the violent deeds he has performed and the loss of his allies over the course of the years. Deep down, Xiao is a gentle soul who is curious about humanity, but is hesitant to show that side of himself due to his past experiences and his karma-ridden constitution.
Due to the nature of his work, Xiao typically avoids humans. Not only does he think his bloody past makes him incapable of fitting in, human souls are less robust than adepti's and his karmic debt taints his surroundings. As a result, few people even in Liyue know much about him or his role in protecting Liyue. Those who do know, as well as other adepti, call him the Conqueror of Demons (Chinese: 降魔大圣 Xiángmó Dàshèng, "Great Sage who Subdues Demons") out of respect.
The Liyue Qixing built the Wangshu Inn at Dihua Marsh, run by their agents Verr Goldet and Huai'an, to give Xiao a place to stay and rest as he carries out his duty. He appears to get along relatively well with the two agents: He entrusted Dusky Ming to them, while they cover for his unintended destructive tendencies and express their concern for him during Lantern Rite.
In the Traveler's presence, Xiao is more willing to indulge his curiosity about humanity, even if their ways perplex him, and offers to visit Liyue Harbor with the Traveler for the purposes of bonding and learning. With Liyue's citizens beginning to self-govern and other adepti withdrawing their presence, Xiao continues defending Liyue and also makes more attempts to understand the people.
"Hiding? I'm hiding nothing. I just won't speak of desire to others. Do mortals not have a rule about spoken wishes never coming true? Hm? What do you mean that's not the same?"
OH BOY TIME FOR SOME FUN STUFF!!!!!!!!!! (pim from smiling friends voice) I LOVE HEADCANONS CHARLIE!!!!!!!!! anyways, one of my main headcanons is that xiao is autistic, he's my 'tbh' and his fluoride stare is actually an autism stare. i also think that if cotton candy existed in teyvat he's LOVE it. do adepti get cavities? i sure hope not. i also imagine him to be a bit tanned due to being outside a lot (he literally sleeps on a roof) as well as having a few battle scars that have since healed. i also think he doesn't sleep not because he's unable to but instead he has such vivid and haunting nightmares he'd rather stay awake than sleep or nap. i also think his curiousity of humanity brings him into funny situations. no i wont elaborate. i also think he'd be a good listener. if he's a good teacher then i think it's fair to say he'd be good at listening to people. as for music i think he'd enjoy r&b, soul, classical and jazz. i think if he played an instrument then he'd probably play violin or piano. i also think when he's flustered it's like seething quietly, and when he's upset or mad he isolates himself! i think in a sort of modern au he'd wear dark, loose clothing. maybe techwear? i'm not too familiar on the fashion type niche stuff.. i'll add more as i think of more, so that's all for now!
" Xiao's outfit. Classical battle-wear fit for a thousand years of evil-conquering."
Xiao has dark medium-length hair with teal undertones, which is
swept back in front of his ears. He has two longer locks that frame
his face. He has pale skin and golden irises with avian pupils, and
dons red eyeshadow similarly to Zhongli and Cloud Retainer. Xiao
also has a purple diamond marking on his forehead, and a green
tattoo around his right arm.
Xiao wears a white sleeveless shirt with subtle cloud patterns. It has a high black collar with golden accents, with its left side extending further to cover his shoulder. He wears baggy dark purple pants, and wears dark purple boots overtop. Xiao has black and dark turquoise gloves with gold decals and a necklace. Around his left arm, Xiao wears a white and gold sleeve with a red lining. He notably carries an Anemo vision on his left glove and is usually seen carrying his Yaksha mask on the back of his right hip.
Remember how I mentioned how Xiao's design has a bunch of love put into it? I wasn't lying. In fact, they put so much effort into it they had to show off in a developer insight article! The article also drops a few lore facts but it mostly focuses on his design and the process of creating the Xiao we see now! You can read the whole thing here but for now I'll be showing off my favorite parts from it!
this is the first initial draft of xiaos design! i am a huge fan of the red design, and i honestly hope that one day we get something similar as a character outfit for him..he looks so charming hahaha. i just wanna comment on tthe fact that i think it's cute okay..id be happy with either version of xiao i like him that much because im so normal.
here's another look at his design, the little notes here were really interesting to me, here's a quote:
"Xiao is an adeptus who protects Liyue, and in the course of his long battle against the remnants of defeated gods all over Liyue, he has become poisoned by their nefarious energy. Based on this background, Xiao's upper body uses white and green, which represent the adepti and correlate to his Anemo Vision. For his lower body, we used darker colors to represent the dark, malevolent power that exists inside him. Based on these same principles, we gave him dark hair with highlights, and also created some interplay between light and dark in his attack animations. The darkness represents the destructive power of fierce battle, while the fragments and orbs of light that he gives off come from the fact that he is an adeptus."
that's so soulful. it's also a nice touch..idk i just think it's so cool ok? okay. before i get into more rambling on his design, here are a few more pictures from the article that i found neat and interesting (:
okay. hi again. onto his attack animations. they incorporated so many elements into it and it's so so interesting to read. seriously, if you haven't read the full article already i really insist that you sit down and give it a read! it's just..such a good read. anyways it's so cute that they tried to incorporate his personality into his animations. here's another quote from the article.
According to Xiao's profile, his deepest, most hidden element is gentleness. When all identities and labels are cast aside, Xiao has a gentle side, shown in his curiosity towards phenomena in the human world, but he is very reticent to show this side of himself to others. This aspect was very difficult to capture in his animations, so in the end we created an idle animation that tells a short story: a spark of light that seems to be alive draws near; Xiao stretches out his hand to try to make contact with it, but because of his karma-ravaged constitution, he succeeds only in causing the spirit to fly away. He knew this would be the inevitable conclusion, but feels dejected all the same. It took this kind of conflict between complex emotions to convey this character's richness and breathe life into his soul.
THAT'S SO SOULFUL. IT'S SO WONDERFUL AND IT MAKES HIM SO ENDEARING.. like what do you mean he's so curious about the human world but is reluctant due to the karma he carries im so aGFJHGFE498TBDSGJBD sorry i walked into an electric fence while typing that anyways yeah. i really like his design a lot. im so normal.
SPOILER WARNING FOR QUESTS, TRAILERS, AND POSSIBLY MORE! here's a bunch of pictures and gifs of xiao that i like! please tell me if any of these images break..if the images are clickable, they'll lead you to the original post where i found them or to where the image is hosted!
more will be added in time.
Days, Hours, Minutes, and Seconds
Here's a video of me pulling Xiao on Febuary 2nd, 2021 at 6:20PM (PST). I didn't record his weapon pulls, but I got it about a day later when pulling for his weapon to spite my friends (: