AS 104 - Gold Rush: Garth Black versus Theron Daggershield
Submissions for this match should be submitted before Tuesday the 1st of March at 23:59 EST
Reinstate The Fox!
Theron's Merry Band Of Misfits
Scene fades in to a Temple of Mystra. It is built in a building that used to be an item shop, it still resembles the item shop in structure. Next to that is a two story expansion, which is under construction. Theron Daggershield and his girlfriend Kirilah the Paladin of Mystra walk onscreen. They are in casual attire. Theron has a shirt feauturing images of 8 bit enemies from the first Super Stereo Brothers video game, Kirilah has a magenta shirt with an image of Princess Esmerelda from the Myth Of Esmerelda games on it. They are standing next to a door leading into the auditorium where a worship service will be held. Theron wouldn't be a member of a Temple of Mystra that makes him dress up. He hates that stuff. They walk past a billboard with holy symbols of Mystra and a flyer. Angle zooms in on the flyer. It reads "World Magic Conference 2016" in huge letters. Underneath that is a second line of text in smaller font that reads "Come worship Mystra with us and change the world!". Angle zooms back out again to show Theron and Kirilah after about three seconds. Kirilah stops to look at the flyer.
Kirilah: Look! It is almost time for this year's World Magic Conference! I cannot WAIT!
She has a look of extreme excitement and claps her hands. Theron walks over next to her, but he does not share her excitement.
Theron: Yeah.... I'm not really in the mood though. I think I might skip the conference this year. It's not like I'm speaking like I was last year.
Kirilah: Oh, do not be silly. You should go. We can talk more about it at Magic Group this week after your match.
At that moment a Dwarven Cleric Of Mystra walks over to the heroic couple. He taps Kirilah on the back. They both turn around to see who it was. It is Mark Flight, one of the Clerics on staff at the Temple who is also one of Theron's disciplers.
Kirilah: Mark Flight!
Mark Flight: Hey! Glad to see you both back at the temple again. Excited about World Magic 2016 coming up this semester?
Theron: Kirilah is. Can't say the same for myself if I am to be fully honest, Mark Flight.
Mark Flight: You wanna stop by my office and chat about it?
Theron: Actually we were about to go grab seats before the worship starts. Maybe next-
Kirilah: No, you two should catch up. This would be good for you, Theron. Besides, you promised. I shall see you later after the worship service.
She goes inside the temple worship auditorium. Mark Flight leans up against the billboard while Theron looks over in Kirilah's direction making sure she got inside safely. He looks back over at his former discipleship mentor, making eye contact.
Mark Flight: So.... You good to talk for a bit?
The Warblade nods his head.
Scene fades out to black with a mosaic animation.
An inspirational instrumental begins playing, and it remains on repeat through the following scenes.
The scene fades in to a view of Mark Flight's office in the Temple of Mystra. Various flyers for temple events line the walls. Most are for Mystrian mission trips, and one resembles the World Magic flyer that Theron and Kirilah were looking at earlier. Mark Flight is behind his desk looking at his computer, his right hand on the computer mouse. Theron is on a black leather couch checking emails on his iTome. A few seconds pass before Mark Flight turns his recliner to face Theron instead of the computer he was viewing.
Mark Flight: So what's been going on?
Theron puts his iTome into Sleep Mode and looks up.
Theron: I suppose you saw the matches I had with Davkas Diamonddeath. Both times at Empire Rally 7 and at Day Of Lavos, I gave every last ounce of effort that I had.... but.... I failed....
Mark Flight: Yeah.... I did see your matches with Davkas. What's Mystra been telling you about it though? Are you spending time reading scripture every day?
Theron: No. I have not opened my Tome of Mystra in weeks. I've been too overwhelmed and stressed. If I'm supposed to be Mystra's Chosen Champion in the World Gladiatorial Combat Federation, why wouldn't she help me vanquish the biggest monster there? I let my fans down not once, but twice! I felt like a failure.
Mark Flight folds his hands and rests them on his desk. He closes his eyes, shakes his head for a moment, then looks at Theron again.
Mark Flight: Theron, you are NOT a failure. That is a LIE from Shar! Why would you believe such a thing about yourself after all this time?
Theron: The hero is supposed to win in the end. Good ALWAYS triumphs over evil. I thought when Mystra picked me to be the light the fans needed to escape the darkness, that she would protect me. It took allowing some chaos and darkness to enter the picture, in the form of The Draconic Liches, for me to win again. I thought being the light was enough, but according to Tiberius Scorch there's so much more to it than that.
The Warblade sighs. Mark Flight scratches his beard for a moment, then folds his arms and rests them on the desk again.
Mark Flight: Look.... Here's the deal, bro.... Our Mother of Magic works in mysterious ways, right?
He is met with silence at first, as Theron does not answer out loud. Mentally he knows this was a rhetorical question. Theron reluctantly voices an answer a few seconds later.
Mark Flight: Bro.... it's not always going to make sense. You won't always be able to win every battle. That's just part of life. You weren't made for this world. It's a sinful place, and sometimes evil wins. Mystra knows this, and I feel like she wants you to know just how proud of you she is. I'm proud of you too. I mean, look at you, bro! You have changed SO MUCH since that day Kirilah brought you in for counseling with me after you first chose to accept Mystra as your deity. Remember that day?
A look of optimism is now seen on Theron's face, as he recalls that fateful day.
Theron: Yeah, I do actually! It was right after I failed to defeat Marrmell at Burnup 100. You became my first Mystrian Discipler.
Mark Flight: That's RIGHT! And what did I tell you that day?
Theron laughs awkwardly, remembering the conversation and replaying it in his mind.
Theron: That all I have to do is trust in Mystra, and she will lead me in the right direction....
Theron sees a big smile on his discipler's face. Mark Flight blinks a few times, but keeps smiling and does not say anything. Theron voices his thoughts.
Theron: And.... This is the part where you're gonna say that I need to follow that exact same piece of advice now even though I may feel like I do not know where to go.... That I need to place my trust in Mystra fully so she can guide me to my destiny.
Mark Flight: There we go! I heard you got added to the Treasure Hunt tournament. Mystra has graced you with another chance. You're facing that Garr Fahl guy in your first round encounter, right? The one you made tap out in your last match?
Theron: Yep! Same guy.
Mark leans back in his chair a little bit.
Mark Flight: What do you know about your opponent?
The Warblade thinks to himself for a moment. He had not had much interaction with Garr Fahl before the 6 man tag team match on Elevation 103.
Theron: Garr Fahl is someone who had to rely on attacking me from behind to try to get his point across. I am a man of honor. Had the roles been reversed, I would NOT have bull rushed Garr. I would have offered a sign of respect by acknowleding him as the winner. Garr showed me no respect on Elevation 103. When I enter that ring, it's about being the better man. Between Garr Fahl and myself.... I am the better man. Both on the battlefield and as a human being. I am going to teach Garr a lesson about what happens when you do not show respect for other gladiators! I am going to eliminate him from the Treasure Hunt tournament when I defeat him at Elevation 104.
Mark Flight: What's your vision behind that? Has Mystra given you any wisdom on how she would have you go about winning this match?
Theron gets up out of the leather couch, feeling more motivated and determined than ever.
Theron: Yeah, she has, actually. Mystra told me that the lack of diplomacy Garr has is what will cause his luck to run out. He doesn't respect his fellow gladiators. He doesn't respect the Queen of Elevation in her decision making. I do. My desire is to take back the World Gladiatorial Heavyweight Championship and I'll do whatever it takes to get there. I'm going to unleash my Ultimate Weapon on Garr once more. Garr does not have a Fortitude Save high enough to withstand that maneuver. Garr rolled a 1 when he found out that he would be facing ME instead of Beardacus.
Mark Flight nods in agreement. Theron gets up to exit the room, but is asked a question before he is able to get to the door.
Mark Flight: So, are you coming to the World Magic Conference then?
Theron: I'll think about it.
Mark Flight: Proud of you man! See you at the conference!
The warblade exits the room, as the inspirational instrumental keeps playing. Kirilah is in the hallway waiting for him sitting at one of the five metal chairs by the receptionist desk. Kellia the Elven Summoner is sitting next to Kirilah. Kellia has a green dress on. People are making their way out of the auditorium, now that the worship service is over.
Kirilah: There you are. Keifasar already left with the others. They went to go reserve copies of the remake of "The Myth Of Esmerelda: Dusk Damsel". Keifasar said he would get a copy reserved for you as well, Theron. Do not forget we have a leaders meeting tonight at our section leaders' home to plan out the next month's worth of Magic Group events.
Kellia: What is "Magic Group"?
Kirilah looks over at Kellia and sighs, visibly frustrated by that question.
Kirilah: I shall explain that to you later.
She turns to face Theron.
Kirilah: How did your talk with Mark Flight go?
Theron: Fine. Still dunno if I'm going to World Magic, but I feel confident I will get my title back. Mystra still favors me given that I got added to the Treasure Hunt tournament. Whether it be Kaitlyn Onyx, Graven Darksbane, Dybbuk, humbleBEE, or any of the other competitors who remain.... I'm ready for this gauntlet. One battle after another, leading up to the final battle, where I'd once more battle for the World Gladiatorial Heavyweight Championship. It all starts at Elevation 104 when I defeat Garr Fahl!
Kellia responds in Elven.
Kellia: Snart kommer du att vara världsmästare igen. (Soon you will be World Champion again.)
Theron: Naturligtvis. (Of course.)
Kirilah gets up out of her chair and kisses Theron.
Kirilah: Good luck, and be careful.
Theron looks at her and laughs as the instrumental stops playing.
Theron: No.... Actually, Garr is the one who needs to be careful. I'm going to make him regret his dishonorable conduct by beating some sense into him with a Critical Hit, then locking in the Ultimate Weapon until he submits to my spiritual authority.
He embraces Kirilah and they hug. Fade to black.
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A darkened hotel room at 5am, Garth Black sits alone on a chair opposite a mirror. The lights are on, but sufficiently dim that the hypnotic flickering of a neon sign outside the window is dominating the ambiance. It is clear from the 70s decor and the stained carpet that this is not the Waldorf Astoria. This isn't even a Travelodge. This is the kind of hotel that you usually only see on television accompanying the words 'body found in pool, foul play suspected'. There are no dead bodies here tonight, but there is a carcass. The carcass of a career of a man who is at his limit. Black turns on the light above the mirror and we can see the tired face of a man deep in thought but shallow in feeling. Down, but not out. Not yet.
Black is running his fingers through his hair, lifting and extending every strand outwards before allowing it to fall back to his face. As he does so, his eyes are drawn to the reflection of his hair, no longer as thick and silky as it once was, but thinner and wirier. As time has added volume to his torso it appears to have taken it from his hair. Lights out. As darkness descends on the room and the neon pulse returns, Black moves to stand up from his seat, but his hesitant silhouette, periodically bathed in neon glow, betrays the fact he never does get up. Instead, he rifles through a draw. Lights on. Black has extended his hair with the fingers of his left hand once more, but now he holds a pair of scissors in his hand.
Black: It's been 241,490 minutes since I told the world about the truth of the inner mechanisms of the WZCW, and yet out of all of those hundreds of thousands minutes not a single one of them contained an iota of change in this company. I've been preaching to the choir. Only it's not the right choir, it's a choir singing from a hymn sheet that has been photocopied and whitewashed a thousand times. Like I said, nothing has changed. The same people get ahead, the same people are featured every week and as soon as anyone has the audacity to speak up about it, they are hung out to dry. Privately scorned, publicly humiliated.
I promised the world that I would win the world title by the end of 2015, and I would apologise for failing to do so, if I'd have had even the slightest chance of doing so. I won at Kingdom Come, against one of the chosen ones, so presumably that would move me higher up the card than my opponent at the subsequent show. Of course it didn't, he was in the co-main event, I was in a match for the title nobody wants.
Black continues to run his fingers through his hair, occasionally twisting a curl around his finger, allowing it to spring back into place. His contemplation continues, but yet his eyes seem transfixed upon the reflection of his hair. He has made a decision, it will just take some time to put it into place.
Black: But now, a mere six years after debuting in this company I finally have a chance to get to my goal on nothing but the merits of my own abilities. This opportunity is a rare one and one I have to take. Obstacles will be placed in the path of the winner, it goes without saying. After all, the embarrassment Dorian Slaughter caused last year as yet another champion they artificially elevated walked out on them will mean that the company will want a tested and tried hand to win this tournament. Change is not good.
But nobody will face the adversity that I will. Both of these previous points have been made pretty clear. Never in the history of wrestling has such an obvious swindle taken place. First, they give me a big name to face, but when it becomes clear that I can beat them, they swap him out for a bigger one. Theron Daggershield was the most recent WZCW champion. He is my opponent in this tournament designed to bring fresh talent to the top. What kind of logic is that? The kind designed to keep me down.
Although Black's words reveal his clear exasperation with the state of affairs, his delivery suggests otherwise. The acidity of their content is neutralised by the tired emotionless face. Black opens the scissors and places their jaw over the lock of hair that he has extended outwards, but he doesn't pull the trigger just yet.
Black: You know, a lot of people ask me why I've turned on the fans. I haven't. I have the same opinion of them I always have done, but I think they are unhappy with hearing a few home truths about their sport. You see, wrestling is fantasy escapism for the majority of our audience. Maybe even for the majority of our wrestlers, but for those of us at the coal face, the struggle is very real.
And yet, some of my colleagues see fit to ignore this and stay embroiled in the dream. There is no worse culprit of this than Theron Daggershield. Last week I was chastised by the fans for trying to wake Daggershield up from the dream. See Daggershield needs to realise that this isn't a dream, it's a nightmare. Whenever the surreal became the real, my mother used to say to me 'pinch yourself to check you're not dreaming'. Well it seems Daggershield has lost the ability to use his opposable thumbs, so I had to do the pinching for him. It doesn't appear to have woken him up.
He will return to his world of nonsense this week and regale us with a series of tales that nobody can ever get their head around as he tries to make sense of a wrestling world that is ultimately even more surreal than the one inside his head. You see, Daggershield uses an awful lot of words to say absolutely nothing week in and week out, and usually wins wars of words by attrition, boring the listeners into submission. Fortunately, I am a man of few words, and even more fortunately actions speak louder than words, so hopefully I can show Daggershield the light.
You see, Daggershield seems to think that life is a game of dice and that our fortunes and fates are just chance. But, the thing is with dice is someone has to throw them, and in WZCW the people throwing those dice have an agenda and the dice are weighted. You see Dagger was their chosen man for a bit, but he never quite fitted in. He was a rectangle peg for a square hole. Adequate but never perfect. So they let him roll the big numbers. As soon as Zeus and the other insiders came back though, Dagger was back to rolling the middling numbers. Coincidence? Fate? Destiny? Or pre-determinism? I think we know the answer.
Don't get me wrong, I have no sympathy for the man. A man with his head in the clouds deserves to have his parachute chords severed.
Snip. Black takes a lock of his own hair and continues to cut. Each cut seems to be cathartic as he allows the hair to fall on to the dressing table, a morsel of emotion returning to his face with each further trim. What was once a stoic face of stone is breaking not into a smile as such, but into something.
Black: Whatever. Daggershield is another blockade, but I'm still accelerating. It's been six years in purgatory for me to get an attempt at a chance at a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship but in order to get there I have to be my best. It's why this hair has to go. I have to cut away the sweat sodden, blood bathed tendrils that hang from my head like anchors dragging me down, descending into the my own sordid past.
Yes, the company has tried to keep me down, yes I have been left for dead, but the enemy within is still present. The cleansing process of the WZCW can only start with that of my own. I've had one hundred fresh starts, but yet I never seem to fully break free. As I look in the mirror now, I see a changed man, a man that is ready to take the weighted dice and start chiseling out more dots on the side so that no matter which side the WZCW forces the dice to land on, I will still come on top.
He has finished cutting his hair and he begins to tidy the remains with a razor. his face is now positively determined. Optimistic if still a little bitter, like sugar on a grapefruit. He turns the mirrored light out and the room is once again filled with the mesmeric neon beacon. On. Off. On. Off. He takes a deep breath and clears his thoughts. A wave of relief hits him before he takes a sip from a hotel glass of water beside him. His face turns from sweet yet bitter to sour as he swallows the putrid water, but he regains his composure and new found optimism as he returns the glass.
Black: Every revolution has to start somewhere, so why not here? Dingy, dank and dark. I'd call it infested with vermin, but even the rats have long checked out. But as the cleansing process begins and I vow to return integrity to the WZCW title picture, I know I've got a battle on my hands. Mr. Banks doesn't care if I'm here in places like this for the rest of my life. The trouble is despite my grievances I'm am loyal to a fault. Like I said, I don't care whether the fans like me or not, but I do care about this industry and my ability to express myself with creative fluency, so despite being treated like a dog and paid like a Victorian mill worker, I will be here every week.
That's not true for your esteemed world champion nor half the people in this tournament. I've already discussed the convenience of my original opponent's disappearance to be replaced with a more favourable candidate, but if I am wrong and it is a coincidence that snake eyes have been rolled for me yet again, then its yet another person leaving this company in the lurch whilst the loyal footsoldier is trampled on yet again.
I am a simple man, and I am an angry man, but simplicity and anger have lead me to this state of lucid enlightenment. I am the best wrestler in this company. I am the most loyal wrestler in this company. I am the most honest wrestler in this company. I am the most intelligent wrestler in this company. I will win this tournament and I will restore integrity to the title. This is a wrestling company and our champion shouldn't be a mystic or a doctor or a fantasist or bipolar or a pirate they should be a wrestler and I am a wrestler. The best wrestler.
The cleansing process started tonight, there's still a long way to go. But finally I have a chance to make it to the top. It's a narrow chance, a thin silver lining of opportunity on a cloud of chaos and thunder, but I am going to weather the storm and Daggershield is just the first rain drop.
Garth Black finishes talking and takes a moment to pause and stand and walk away. The chair where he stood is still being periodically illuminated and darkened by the neon flash outside, but now a feint orange glow gradually appears on the chair as dawn breaks outside the window. The sunlight grows in intensity, battling with the neon for dominance of the room. Suddenly, the sun is fully risen above the rooftops of the neighbouring buildings and its rays flood the room in a rush of gold. It was morning.
WrestleZone Tournament, 2015
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