MD 151 - Harald Var Krigare vs Logan McAllister (EOL)
RP deadline is Wednesday May 23 at 11:59pm PST
Extensions available upon request
Rather than finding himself in London in preparation for Harald's new business pursuit with the enigmatic Imogen Marceau, Jacob Westwood instead found himself back at his home away from home in Gothenburg, summoned by Harald via phone call to get there as soon as he could.
He found himself in Harald's family home, passing through the rich tapestry of Swedish history adorning the warm gold walls, a heavy, strenuous rasping to be heard throughout the house. Concerned, Jacob hastened his stride into the bleak, pale conservatory, to find Harald on his knees, bent down towards the floor, sorrow encompassing his face.
Harald didn't hear Jacob at first. He was too absorbed with what lay before him.
Harald: There we are, baby girl. It's alright, it's all alright...
Jacob: Harald, are you alright?
As Jacob approached closer, he saw exactly why Harald had called him. Before him lay a once-beautiful border collie, now lying defeated and spent on the frigid tile, her limbs splayed out across it. She barely noticed both Harald and Jacob as every breath indicated a struggle, every new moment a battle for survival. She couldn't hang on forever.
Harald heard Jacob's question and sighed deeply, remaining fixated on his pet before him. As he reached out to stroke the dog's neck, Harald explained the situation to Jacob.
Harald: The worst part isn't even the passing itself. If anything, it's a relief, the release of tension, the release of suffering, and the call that it's all over, that there's nowhere else but forward to move.
Harald had now moved onto rubbing her head, as Jacob carefully stepped around to analyse the situation, kneeling alongside Harald. The dog looked up momentarily and met eyes with Jacob, a dejected and empty gaze being all she could offer, before staring bleakly into the distance once more.
Harald: No, the worst part is the bureaucracy of death. The waiting for the inevitable. There's a certain optimism that gnaws away at you, that hopes that you can wake up in the morning and hope for a miracle, hope she can return to her youth, her prime, and for this to just be a temporary setback, but the cold hard reality tells you it's borrowed time, and the sharks are drawing closer in for the kill.
It was Harald's turn to face Jacob, a hopeless frown domineering his face, his eyes shrunk from the efforts he had gone to to stop the tears from falling.
Harald: Anna's dead, Jacob. She's gone...
Jacob: But she's still breathing...
Harald: She is. But when every breath is labour, and when every solitary movement is pain, you have to question whether or not she's even alive in the first place. She mustered everything she could, in one last effort to make it to the garden, but it wasn't enough.
He turned his attention back to Anna and massaged her back legs, completely stationary and motionless as Harald tried to offer his best friend some kind of reprieve.
Harald: Her legs just...gave way. She's a living corpse. And you can't explain it away. You can't fight it away. You can't do anything. She's killing time until her very own death. And I have to hurt her, one last time, to achieve something, anything but her prolonged misery.
With that, Harald gently lowered his head onto her side, turning away from Jacob to hide the heartbreak in his face.
Jacob: I'm so sorry...about all of this.
Harald: You've nothing to apologise for, Jacob. I was the one who didn't spend the time with my baby girl in her final days, and for what? A failed pursuit at glory, a vain effort to win the Elite Openweight championship that ended in one lapse of concentration. A shallow attempt to secure my own legacy at the expense of others, and I end up as nothing but fuel for Randy Studd's ever growing vanity. But that's what I deserve of course, for ignoring the things that are more important.
Jacob shook his head defiantly, upset himself over Harald's choice of words.
Harald: What do you mean no?
Jacob stood up, for once dwarfing Harald, as he offered Harald some much-needed advice.
Jacob: I mean everything you said there is wrong. You couldn't have known that she was going to get as sick as she has and you most definitely don't deserve this, nobody does. You were ROBBED by Randy Studd at the last moment from guaranteeing a win in that league. And you can still qualify through the Meltdown League to Kingdom Come, you're against Logan McAllister, who has lost to both Tiger and Studd already.
Harald: I'm sorry, but I can't do it. I just...can't.
Jacob: Are you worried about Tiger losing?
Harald: Far from it, Tiger is going from strength to strength and I have zero doubt he can beat Studd. I just can't...I'm not up to it myself. Logan McAllister is a man that despite his well-publicised personal life taking a downward turn, despite his guarantee to not win the league, keeps on marching despite it all. And yet here I am, immobilised after losing one match, and losing my dog, when Logan doesn't let the losses he suffers slow him down.
Jacob: And that's exactly while you'll win, Harald. Logan is complacent, not letting his losses change his strategy. He's not slowing down because he's completely stagnant, complacent in his attitude. You on the other hand, may have lost more than your match, but think about what you have to gain. The chance to fight at Kingdom Come for the Elite Openweight Championship. The chance to bring joy to your countrymen. Your chance to really create something new in WZCW. For the fact is, we need you.
Jacob reached into his pocket and pulled out a piece of folded paper and handed it to Harald.
Jacob: The Krigare Empire.
Harald unfolded the paper to reveal an amateur, yet highly vibrant and colourful crayon drawing of himself in his wrestling gear, standing in front of a Swedish flag, a banner behind him saying 'RELEESE THE KRACKEN!'. In the bottom right corner, the words By Jimmy, aged 8, from Belfast were written in bright green.
Harald stared at the picture for a few seconds, mesmerised by the myriad of emotions that crawled through his skin. But soon, the impending feelings of grief overwhelmed him, as he exhaled heavily once more and dropped the picture to the ground, returning his attention to his waning dog.
Harald: I'll think about it...for you...for everybody. Right now, I'd like to be alone with Anna for her last moments. The vet is on her way.
Jacob grasped Harald on the shoulder and lent down to give Anna a stroke on the head. Her tongue partially stuck out, a ghostly white as Jacob himself tried not to cry at his final sight of the animal. He then left Harald alone once more, as he lent forward to kiss his beloved on the head.
Harald: It'll be all over shortly. We'll sort this all out, and you'll never have to worry again. I love you beyond words, and I always will.
It had been a week since Anna's passing, as Harald sat in his modest brown armchair, gazing into the burning fireplace. In one colossal hand, he clutched onto a plane ticket, whilst the other cradled a photo of Anna, framed perfectly. Harald kissed the picture and placed it gently on the table to the left of him, before reaching into his pocket and pulling out the picture Jacob had given him the day Anna died. He gave himself time to study it once more, his heart now at peace, as he smiled, the passion Harald had for expanding the Krigare Empire now reborn.
As he put the drawing back in his pocket, he turned his attention to the plane ticket and chuckled to himself.
Harald: I hear the British want a little payback for the Boston Tea Party.
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