MD 129 - Theron Daggershield versus Austin Reynolds
RP deadline is Monday the 25th of April at 23:59.
Reinstate The Fox!
The countryside is a nice place. The kind of place a man should feel happy. The air is warm and refreshing, the sun is bright and relaxing. It’s exactly where you would want to chill out with family.
Austin: “Dom, what are you doing to me man.”
We see Austin sitting underneath the tree of a large tree at the top of a hill. It’s clear on first viewing that this is not the man we remember. The clean cut look of The Ratings Winner is gone, he has extensive, untidy hair and an unkempt beard. His lean figure now replaced by a rounded, chubbier frame.
Austin: “I’ve missed you mate. It’s been too damn long.”
Austin can barely get his words out as it is clear he is struggling with his emotions.
Austin: “It’s not been the same without you busting my balls.”
He takes a second to calm down, taking as many deep breaths as he can muster.
Austin: “Things changed.”
A tear escapes down his cheek as the task of getting the words out proves troublesome.
Austin: “You know, when we left. It was supposed to be for the best. We tried everything but that didn’t work. Nothing worked. Now I’ve been given a second chance, a shot making it right for you, for her….them…”
He wipes his cheek.
Austin: “My neck’s better and this is the best I’ve felt in years. All thanks to Him. You know I can’t quite believe it. The thing is Dom, I’m gonna be doing stuff, stuff that you wouldn’t have been happy with. Stuff that the Austin Reynolds of five or six years ago would have hated but that guy... he died with you.”
Austin struggles to push him up to a somewhat vertical base and he puts his hand out to pat something which we can see is a small marble headstone.
Austin: “I owe Him Dom. I owe Him big. It wasn’t just the surgery, I’ve been able to help Hayley, the kids. They’ve got more from me in the six months than in three years before that. If I can keep that up, doing what He wants, it makes it all worthwhile.”
He pats the marble before walking away.
Austin: “See you soon bud.”
Austin trudges off slowly down the hill. He pulls his mobile out of his trouser pocket and turns it on. As he reaches his truck, an answer message comes through.
Leon: “Austin it’s Leon! Look I’ve been trying to get hold of you since Gold Rush. Glad you’re back man, just want to grab a few words an-”
Austin deletes the message without hearing any more. He throws the phone onto the passenger seat and starts the engine. But it stalls. He starts it again, floors the accelerator and the truck splutters into nothing. Austin seethes, silently cursing the rust-bucket that he has to drive. He picks up his phone and calls a recovery service. A few moments later, Austin goes to put his phone back on the seat but he hesitates before beginning to call back Leon. The Ratings Winner would have been unflappable in this situation but right here, right now Austin feels anything but and his fingers tremble with every touch.
Leon: “Austin, great to hear from you buddy!”
Austin: “Not in the mood Leon.”
The enthusiasm of the veteran interview jolts Austin somewhat but he stonewalls his old friend. For the sake of an exclusive Leon dismisses the temptation of reminding Austin that he called him.
Leon: “Err, sure. Well how’s things?”
Austin: “You’ve got questions, I’m bored. Let’s go.”
Leon: “OK…I’ve got to ask you about what you did at Gold Rush. It looked like you were going to help M but you destroyed him. You and Abel. You and Steven Holmes. The obvious question is why.”
At the mere mention of the name, Austin feels the pressure of an omnipotent force filling him with dread that crashes down the back of his neck. Austin hesitates just for a second.
Austin: “Let’s get straight to the point. I came back because I could. I left on my back, under a cloud. It took me way too long to get back but I’m here now and I’m doing it for me.”
Leon keenly observes the absence of the missing name in that retort.
Leon: “Are you associated with Holmes and Abel? What does that mean?”
Austin: “It means nothing because it’s nobody else’s business.”
Austin snaps back but Leon picks up on the fact that he is so deliberately ignorant to the main crux of the conversation.
Leon: “So is he paying you or does he have something on you. I mean it’s Steven Holmes. If you with him then he’s got to be getting the best part of that deal. So what’s in it for me?”
Austin: “That’s not important. What matters is if he wants me to come in, drop a moron like M on his head, then I’ll do it. If he wants me to keep Project Abel moving forward and in in one piece then so be it. If I am here then He allows me to support my family. If I am doing what he wants then that doesn’t change. Why do I care about anything else? This is just what M got, a lesson in humility, to see who really would stand by him. We saw at Gold Rush that there was nothing. We’ve raised the question and WZCW either doesn’t have the answer or doesn’t like it.”
Austin’s pulse is racing. He feels like a man on the edge. Even Leon seems reluctant to ask his next question straight away, having got an answer that was so vastly different to what he had expected.
Leon: “I’ve got to say, this is not like the Austin Reynolds of a few years ago.”
Austin: “It’s funny you say that Leon. Since I’ve been given this amazing opportunity to come back, I’ve looked at WZCW over the last few years. I hate what it’s has become. It’s devolved into a cesspit. I could try to poke my head out of the depths, to fight a good fight but why bother. These people don’t deserve a hero and good things keep on happening to bad people. You look at Ty Burna, Constanti…”
There’s a hesitation as Austin is interrupted by….something.
Voice: “Now, now Austin dear boy. Let’s not start directing insults at the great John Constantine. He’s a good friend of ours and after all this is your first official day back.”
That unmistakable voice, the smarmy, aristocratic accent that could rile up an arena full of thousands with a single sentence had now entered the exchange. Those few simple words had enough power to rein Austin back from saying anything further.
Austin: “I’m going to be booed, I’m going to be hated but I’m doing what I need to do in a company that forgot about me. There’s one thing that hasn’t changed since I had my first match here – you will talk about Austin Reynolds.”
Austin throws his phone across to the passenger door but there is no bang. There is no noise of any sort.
Austin’s imagination of how the conversation with Leon could go runs rampant but once Holmes entered his mind, he couldn’t shake it off. He feels no hatred for Holmes, but there was an underlying current of tension and something else that Austin couldn’t identify. That there is this mysterious element at play only serves to put make him feel more uneasy than he would have liked. His flow of thoughts is interrupted by the horn of a limousine that pulls up behind him and parks in front of Austin’s old truck.
Austin inhales deeply in a vain attempt to suck in some composure as he gets out of the truck and heads towards the limo. Any relief at no longer being alone with his thoughts is only tempered by what he expects to lie ahead and they combine to leave him with a nervous emptiness that swallows him as he presses his hand to the door. He pulls the handle and steps into the darkness of the leather-lined interior. As he shuffles in his seat, the glare of Steven Holmes meets Austin before the millionaire megalomaniac forces out a twisted, slimy grin. This is no voice that haunts his consciousness, this is the actual physical entity in all its’ regal glory.
Holmes: “I trust you are well Austin.”
Austin shrugs and lets a barely audible sound that has as much energy behind it. Holmes continues regardless, perfectly aware of Austin’s ignorance.
Holmes: “Gold Rush was an unqualified success and I would like to thank you for your part in playing the lambs in the audience like a perfectly tuned string quartet. Your appearance was the perfect coup de grace.”
Steven tips his head as an acknowledgement that Austin feels uncomfortable.
Holmes: “Tell me Austin. How are the ladies in your life?”
Austin looks up and any resistance that he may have is broken by the reference to his wife and children.
Austin: “They’re…erm…fine. I’ve got time with the kids after the show next week.”
Holmes: “Oh I’m sure a brilliant day will be had by all. Now before you can enter the sugar-coated land of sweet dreams with your princesses, I’ll need you to step into the ring though I’m sure it’ll be a momentary blip before your wonderful weekend.”
Filled with unbridled sarcasm, Holmes’ words are met with silence & an empty glare but he continues again.
Holmes: “And we have facilitated a deliciously simple mission. Your first opponent will be Theron Daggershield!”
The simple emptiness of Austin’s retort is enough to stun Holmes for a second as he hadn’t foreseen the small act of defiance but then he coils up, shuffles himself forward and points accusingly.
Holmes: “Don’t be such an insolent twit Reynolds! You know who Daggershield is and you know what he is capable of. This man has main evented Kingdom Come and is one of the most celebrated stars that WZCW has created.”
Holmes’ ebony cane is now stuck firmly in Austin’s ribs. He looks down at it before moving up again to meet Holmes’ own glare, which has become venomous while praising Theron’s achievements.
Holmes: “But Austin, I want you to break him. He’s on a downward spiral. This is easy pickings for a man such as yourself and I-.”
Austin: “Don’t do this Steven.”
Austin interrupts The Elite which enrages him further initially but Holmes keenly observes something in the body language of his newest recruit; a keen and focussed edge, motivation. As an excessively intelligent gentleman, Holmes recognises that this trait is exactly what made Austin stand out in WZCW. It’s crucial to his plan and cannot ignore the need to nurture and then abuse from this much changed WZCW superstar. He knows that it is a time for the lesser-taken route of discretion and it is enough to prevent him from smacking Austin around the head with his cane.
Austin: “Theron may be struggling right now but he has been at the peak of this company and achieved almost everything in the time that I have been gone. That’s damn impressive especially as he is so incredibly disconnected with the real world. That no-one has been able to bring him down to earth is a nice trait to have. I’m jealous actually. I’ve experienced that feeling of sheer elation and then met the harshness of reality. It hurts, it hurts a lot.”
Austin seems to be trailing off into his own world with this train of thought.
Austin: “But what’s worse is when you constantly gets stomped down and everyone kicks you when you’re down. All the hope that drains away, it just leaves you with nothing. I’ve come back and I’ve got nothing to go for….It can get worse.”
Holmes: “You will make it worse Austin. Or things will get worse for you…”
The darkness swallows Austin and the words linger painfully as Holmes vanishes from his sight.
When Austin comes to, the limo seat opposite him is empty. It’s dark outside and the vehicle has come to a stop. He recognises the quiet street and the apartment block. Having spent most of the day feeling suffocated, the fresh air and quiet breeze is relaxing but most calming of all is the darkness. Austin walks up to his first floor apartment and falls onto the sofa.
Austin: “No, that’s not going to happen.”
He sits up after a few seconds and feels something awkward in his jacket pocket. He pulls a small card emblazoned with the Holmes family crest. It reads: We’ll talk again shortly.
Austin discards it as quickly as he reads it before reaching for the bottle of bourbon on the table in front of him. Having swiftly relieved the bottle of a large swathe of alcohol, he is interrupted by his own morbid curiosity. He spies a letter in front of the door.
When he picks it up and turns it around, he curses loudly and slams his fist into the wall.
You should have stayed on the sofa Austin. You should have ignored the letter. You knew that you would recognise the postmark.
Scene opens up to a view of Theron Daggershield in a media store looking at aisles of music. He is dressed in blue jeans and a "Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess" shirt. As he looks at the albums of music on the aisles a female voice can be heard. It is the voice of Tiffany Wyatt, his girlfriend. You may know her as Kirilah, but this is the real girl, the handler behind the Paladin of Mystra.
Tiffany: (Voice-over) It has been over a week since the Gold Rush event where Theron and Luke Manson won a tag team match against Diabolos and Noah Ryder. It has been difficult to see Shawn struggle, ever since the Lethal Lottery. All has been downhill for him from that moment on and I have tried to remain supportive. The struggle is real and I want to see him overcome this, emerging as a better wrestler than ever before. I would not be a good girlfriend if I allowed this to continue any longer.
Theron picks up a used copy of "Over The Hills and Far Away" by Nightwish and looks at it with a smile. Tiffany's voice is heard again.
Tiffany: (Voice-over) Shawn came to me asking me to become his onscreen manager in WZCW or the World Gladiatorial Combat Federation, as he calls it, on a more permanent basis. Not even a day had passed with me being in that role when I received a letter from a man in WZCW Talent Relations asking for my assistance in bringing out more of the man behind The Warblade. They wanted me to introduce the world to Shawn Daggers. I had not broken this news to Shawn yet. The first task would be simple. A new entrance theme. Whether he would accept the idea of other changes would remain to be seen.
Theron turns the Nightwish album over and looks at the artwork on both sides. The angle zooms out and we see Tiffany sitting in a chair by the aisle Theron is walking down. She has a similar outfit to Theron's on, only her shirt depicts Princess Zelda instead of Link. Theron turns to face her, while still holding the Nightwish album.
Theron: Kirilah! How about this one?
Tiffany: Not bad, but what if you picked a band who you have not had an entrance theme with before? After all, are you not trying out something new?
Theron: I guess that makes sense. I just want to make sure it's a song that I like, and one that is performed by a bardic group that I like.
At that moment a young brown haired male Associate of the store appearing to be around 20 years old, walks into the aisle.
Associate: Can I help you find something today?
Theron: Actually.... Yeah! I'm here to pick a new entrance theme.
Associate: No way!!!! Theron Daggershield!! I'm a big fan of yours! Awesome match at the Gold Rush pre-show, by the way. It would be an honor to help you pick a new entrance theme. What kind of music are you looking at?
Theron: Bards who perform similarly to this group would be a great place to start.
He holds up the Nightwish album to show to the associate.
Associate: Ah! Symphonic metal! I've got just the thing, follow me!
The associate leads Theron further down the aisle. Tiffany pulls out her iPhone and looks at the email sent to her by the federation officials. Angle zooms in on the email as viewed on the iPhone.
Tiffany: (Voice-over) This is going to be more difficult than I thought initially. I love Shawn too much to allow him to lose any more momentum. There are many layers to him that are still unknown, even to me. I did not know where to start. He was quick to agree that he needed a new entrance song at least.... Maybe he will be open to other changes or to finally sharing more about his past with me?
At that moment Theron and the Associate walk back over in Tiffany's direction. Theron has half a dozen albums in a stack that he is holding now.
Theron: Any others you can think of?
Associate: Nope, that should cover it. You've got Nightwish, Epica, Rhapsody, Kamelot, Hammerfall, and XANDRIA. You may even wanna try something like Dragonforce or symphonic remixes of video game tracks too.
Theron: Thanks dude, these bardic groups all sound great. I'm sure my next entrance theme is on one of these albums. Nothing makes a bigger impact than a cool new entrance theme!
Associate: Well, I will be ready to ring you up over at the register when you're ready. Hope to see you win again on Meltdown and I look forward to seeing what song you picked!
The associate walks offscreen. Theron goes over to Tiffany, to show her the stack of albums.
Theron: I found what I'm looking for. I need to listen to all these so I can pick a song in time for my match on Burnup 129. Are you ready to head back to the airship?
Scene fades out to black.
Scene fades back in to Theron and Tiffany sitting in the driver's and front passenger's seat respectively of Theron's red 2009 Camaro, parked in the parking lot of the store. The stack of CD's from the media store are seen as well, in a pile on Tiffany's lap.
Theron: I won't be plagued any longer by the bad luck that was brought upon me from using "Just Close Your Eyes" as an entrance theme.
Tiffany: I do not think that song had anything to do with your losses....
Theron: I never won any battles when I had it as my theme, only a couple of tag team matches. That song was bad luck and it's GOT to go.
Neither of them speak for a few seconds.
Theron: I've made up my mind after having listened to a number of tracks by each bardic group that the guy in the store recommended. I want to use "Mother of Light" by Epica as my new entrance theme. What do you think, Kirilah? Do you like it?
Tiffany: I will support just about any choice you make, this is your career. If that is the one you picked, I will inform Yainbow Raz from Talent Relations.
Theron: Yainbow? Who names their kid that? Sounds like some druid or something. Anyway.... I want to change my song for a more symbolic reason as well. I'm entering into a new season of life and feel like Mystra is leading me into something different. Just think of how great it will be for the fans when they get to see the start of something new, and the choice of a new song represents that.
Tiffany puts the albums away into a plastic bag by her feet and then looks at Theron. He is staring out into space.
Tiffany: You will not be the only one in the match at Meltdown 129 seeking to make a big impression. Your opponent is Austin Reynolds, he surely will be looking to use a victory in y'all's match to prove a point. What is on your mind about him?
The Warblade looks over at her before speaking, a look of seriousness and confidence is seen on his face.
Theron: What's on my mind about Augustus Redlands? The whole world saw it, Kirilah. Everyone saw the brutal attack on N the Nice Necromancer by Kain Nectarslice. And what does Augustus do? He joins forces with Kain and Sealamin Glimmergaunt! Augustus will pay for what he did. If he thinks he's going to make an impression when he gets in the ring with Theron Daggershield, then he failed to roll high enough on his Wisdom Check.
Tiffany: Stay focused out there. Winning this match is very important if you want to turn things around. It could propel you back in the right direction.
Theron: Augustus has an alliance with Sealamin Glimmergaunt and Kain Nectarslice. Any ally of those two villains is just as dangerous as they are. I have faced both Sealamin and Kain before, so I know their influence on Augustus in his battle tactics is something to watch out for.... but I won't let that stop me, Kirilah!
He cracks his knuckles.
Theron: Heroes do not run away from the monsters, they take up the sword and they FIGHT. I can win this match whether Sealamin and Kain show up to help Augustus or not.
The scene freeze-frames here. Tiffany's thoughts are heard.
Tiffany: (Voice-over) And this is the world I live in. It is not just a character he portrays. Shawn IS Theron. Now that I will be accompanying him to shows more often, I hope I can help get Shawn to show us a little more of his actual self. For now, smaller changes such as new entrance music will have to suffice. Bigger changes and getting him to open up about his past further will have to wait for another day. Defeating Austin Reynolds is the first step in Shawn's road back to the top of the card. I believe in him. And I know he believes in himself.
The screen un-freezes.
Theron: May the way of the Warblade lead to the light!
He turns on the ignition as the scene fades out to black.
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