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 Answering The Call

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Faulerro

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PostSubject: Answering The Call   Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:41 pm

In my blog, I made mention of a meeting. I never elaborated on its details outside of notes I made later that day. Today, I tried to bring some sense to them by writing a report of the meeting in question. I don’t think I was able to work out anything concrete and I’m still pretty baffled, but nonetheless, this is the result.



Tuesday, 8th March 2011.



I don’t believe in any of that supernatural stuff. I stopped doing so around the time I found out that Father Christmas was just my parents hoisting a bag of presents around in the dark. It quickly dawned on me that the existence of ghosts, deities, magic and the rest just didn’t jive with the world as I saw it, and I kept that mindset.

People are free to think whatever they want about the true nature of reality, and I won’t judge them, but I need evidence before I’m expected to buy into something. Call me a sceptic, an atheist; whatever. It’s just how my mind works.

”Attaboy. You should be proud of your views.”

...Of course, this hasn’t prevented me from holding regular conversations with an invisible friend.

To be precise, Worldbelonger is me. I’m very much aware of this fact. For as long as I can remember, whenever my situation was at its direst or if I was just plain lonely, I’d rely on this aspect of my personality – this avatar of my true self – to help me through. He was a source of confidence and a connection to the whole other level that existed deep within me.

I suppose this means I can’t criticize Orland for talking to his mask, now that I’ve called Worldbelonger back into my life.

As I make my way across the rocky environment of this beach, a bit isolated due to its somewhat hazardous nature, he’s now decided to dictate the chat himself. That is to say, ever since I summoned him that day on Barton field, he’s been around pretty much constantly.

I hoist myself along the hard rocks, thankfully not slipping as I had the last time I visited this place; seems as though my physical training has really paid off. I suppose I could try to switch Worldbelonger off at any time – he is governed by my own mind after all – but anybody who’s tried toying with their subconscious and putting thoughts to the side would know how ineffectual that would be.

Despite how relentless he’s been the past week, I suppose it hasn’t been so bad. I’ve redoubled my preparation due to his encouragement, and he helped me through that nerve-wracking press conference I held with Rob. Actually, Worldbelonger might have been a little cheeky on that occasion; I’m almost certain it was he that told the reporters that I would beat David Shand. Not that I mind horribly - it was the right thing to say in hindsight.

The end of said conference is the reason I find myself climbing about this jumbled array of sharp rocks today. When the light left the ballroom, I was confronted by the darkness, and in that darkness I heard a voice calling me. It took me some time to realize it, but it was there.

”It’s quite alright, you hear my voice all the time now. What’s the harm in one more?”

Later on, I’d realised the more harrowing truth - it was demanding my presence.

I don’t know who killed the lights (perhaps he had somebody pull the plug on the power supply), or how he delivered his words to me. Maybe he was there and used the veil of darkness to get in and out without notice – but his message was received. I recognized the style, after all, along with that voice of his. There was something else, though...

Now as I’ve already established, I tend not to believe in any superstitious or otherworldly fare. It honestly doesn’t click in my mind. That day, however, I have to admit I felt chills because... I could swear I felt his presence the moment it happened. Rob did too. Even the crowd were a little uneasy.

Whatever the case, I’ve reached my destination now. I had been looking, though I did not exactly know the reason, for a place where no other people could easily interrupt my solitude. I had chosen a section of a Babbacombe beach that seemed to fill that description for me. It was still too cold a day in March for people to want to swarm the beaches, and this area was far off the beaten path; mostly because of how a simple slip on these rocks could result in skinned knees at the very least.

I think Worldbelonger might have urged me here though, since it’s a nostalgic location for me – I’d done a lot of thinking here over the years.

Unsurprisingly, the person isn’t here. Perhaps I was swayed by the unusual vibe I got, but I almost bought into the idea that he’d show up. Oh well, that only makes sense. I’d partly come here to do some more thinking anyway.

So I do just that. I take a seat on a particularly uncomfortable rock that is large enough to support me, and I think. Or I think in the way that I tend to do when nobody is around; I talk to Worldbelonger.

“Looks like I got caught up in the fantasy there, eh?”

”Wouldn’t be the first time, mate.”

“Might as well work a few things out while we’re here, don’t you think?”

”Naturally I do.”

I chuckle, “So My-Ron and David weren’t too pleased with my friend, eh?”

”I suppose that’s what happens when he slanders a guy on record.”

“Yeah, true,” I shrug, “Isn’t that what pro wrestling is all about, though? Talking crap about your opponent and all?”

”Some would say so. But take a look at you.”

“Ah yes,” I reply sheepishly, “I was practically the head of the David Shand fanclub.”

”You know, perhaps Rob should’ve spent more time building up his foe, as to make himself look better.”

“I suppose. But I enjoyed the verbal assassination. It was a nice rebuttal to My-Ron’s seemingly endless stream of masturbatory vignettes.”

”Not much of a rebuttal considering his handling of the facts, or mishandling as the case turned out to be.”

“Hrm. True,” I cup a hand around my chin in a ponderous gesture, “Now you mention it, when I looked back at the footage I could see he was being pretty careless.”

”Rob is your friend, but it might help to look at things objectively with him. On the day of your meeting, he looked perfectly unmotivated in regards to the match. Sure, you got him to let loose with taunts directed at My-Ron, but it didn’t seem right, did it?”

I hesitate, “I... yeah. Truth be told, I wasn’t a hundred percent sold on his reasons for coming back. It sort of seemed like an ego thing to me. It’s as though he wants to just prove himself better than everyone else at the show...”

”You included.”

I sigh, “Well I’m fine with him doing that, ‘cause I’m not exactly a huge fan of my own wrestling ability.”

”Can’t imagine why.”

“As much My-Ron’s attitude and nonsense gets up my nose though,” I continue on regardless, “I... no, I don’t think it’s fair at all how Rob tried to portray him. You know, I think he’s planning on stubbing out My-Ron’s flame just to feed his own need for recognition.”

”And though you’re after recognition yourself, you wouldn’t dare defame David, would you?”

I shake my head, “Like I said at the conference, that wouldn’t be very smart. If I did what Rob was doing, I’d just look like trash if I lost. Besides, everything I said about Shand at the event I meant.

”I wonder how much truth Rob Arnold is letting the world in on? How much he’s letting you in on?”

“No idea,” I sigh again, wearier this time, “Oh, Rob. What have you done?”

”Remarkable how much progress can be made when you simply talk things through, isn’t it?”

“Too true, Worldbelonger old pal,” my head tips back as I lean against the surface of the rock, “I can see what David meant now. Perhaps I was blinded by actually seeing a friend who hasn’t abandoned me, but I got strung along by Rob’s ego trip. Guilty by association, I suppose.”

”You should be mindful of whom you are seen with.”

That voice wasn’t Worldbelonger’s.

It was deep, powerful, and for a moment it seemed like I heard it not with my ears, but my mind. Perhaps the experience might have unsettled someone else a bit more, but I am somewhat used to voices in my head.

My eyes dart up from my position on the rock to see him standing above me, perched upon a higher formation. I jump involuntarily and scramble to my feet with all the grace of an upturned tortoise.

I can feel it again, that... aura, I suppose that’s the only way I can refer to it. For the briefest of moments, I almost see it. How he achieved this state I don’t know, whether it can be explained with science or not, but I’m left astounded.

“Alright, I’m officially hallucinating,” I mumble to myself. Chances are I am. I haven’t been my sanest as of late.

“If that is what you believe, then certainly, Chio, this is a mere illusion. Perhaps I am a figment of your imagination,” he admits, “But if such is the case, perhaps you should ask yourself as to what purpose you have conjured my image forth in your thoughts.”

The tall beast that glares down at me is a man, though not what you might expect of one. His eyes appear to burn like a blue flame. I wonder if for a moment those are some fancy contact lenses, but it’s really hard to tell.

Whatever the case, those eyes stare down at me with absolutely zero emotion. Yet the man's lips curl slightly in an almost feral smile.

Strange as it may sound, it looks to me as though his skin is blue. Perhaps it’s the lighting, but he practically looks like a demonic smurf right now. Then again, it’s likely my eyes are playing tricks on me.

I feel a strong sense of déjà vu; not necessarily of the press conference, but of when I saw David in person last. There is a similar sensation from being near this man, but there’s a raw, distinct edge to it. Shand’s aura always felt refined and concentrated, but his by comparison is free and uninhibited.

...I silently curse myself for actually treating auras like they are an accepted norm, and just assure myself that my nerves are clouding my mind.

“I didn’t think you’d come, Derek,” I finally force the words out, “I could have chosen anywhere as our meeting point.”

The Lone Wolf, Derek Verona. That’s what they called him. I can scarcely believe it’s him, for how long he’s been gone.

“I have long ago forfeited any right to that name. It was never my true name. Nor, as it turns out, was Verona. Also, I assure you, you were not at all difficult to locate. You have not yet acquired the skill of masking the output of your energy.”

Uh, sure thing, I think to myself, Sounds like somebody’s been watching too much Dragonball Z.

“Then what should I call you?” I ask, somewhat confused.

“What are names to a wolf? Is it really so important for you to know who I am? You might not really like the answer, you know.”

“Er, alright, fair enough,” I reply, letting that slide. There’s something I can’t quite place about this man and it unsettles me, so I think I’d best comply for my own safety. Even if he is just a man, he’s always been a dangerous one and I daren’t imagine what he might do if I were to upset him.

Still, if he is no longer the man I had known as Derek Verona, who is he?

Hrm. Up until the press conference, the existence of Derek Verona didn’t really concern me. Why am I suddenly so curious as to the details of what happened to Verona after the Trinity of Iron match? I become conscious again of the fact that I am not alone in my head. Worldbelonger is also there, still, and... he seems to be listening intently.

It’s just then that my face reddens. Regardless of what’s going on with the man in front of me, he witnessed me talking to Worldbelonger just now, or to myself as any sane passerby would think.

The man - who I'll continue to call Verona, for lack of a more accurate name - laughs.

“I would not feel so awkward, were I you,” he assures me, as if already aware of my concern, and hops down from the rock, “I used to talk to a wolf all the time.”

I remember that. I remember a lot of what he did in the CWA. Anybody who had the remotest interest in the company knew about him. Once upon a time, he was the Lone Wolf Derek Vicious. Eventually he dropped his father’s gimmick namesake and took the surname of his family (a family rumoured to be incredibly ancient, but that’s a story for another time). That surname was Verona. Whatever name he used, he was the definitive superstar in that group. Working his way to the top of the CWA by sheer will and dedication despite all the odds, nobody was quite as respected there as he had been.

Then David Shand had appeared there. The men were so different, and yet so alike. Shand, born into wealth (though he struggled to keep it) in London, and Verona brought up modestly in the streets of Chicago, but they both adored the business and gave every fibre of their being to be the best at it. They attained overwhelming popularity (not to mention notoriety) for their relentless, balls-to-the-wall drive. It was inevitable that these two incredible, hard-working individuals would face off sooner or later. When they did, it was the stuff of legends.

It was against Verona - as a culmination for their competitive and personal feud – that Shand innovated and debuted the Trinity of Iron.

Now I am scheduled to face off against David in that very match. Perhaps it shouldn’t be such a surprise that Verona has reappeared now.

Gathering up myself, I square my shoulders. After all, this man hasn't yet shot laser beams out of his creepy eyes to immolate me, or fried me with Dark Side Lightning, so chances are he came here to talk, not to fight.

“So you wanted to see me,” I state matter-of-factly, already having more than a bit of an idea why he is here but hoping to hear his reasons directly from him. Some small bit of emotion creeps back into his features. And that emotion is clearly amusement, to judge by the smirk on his unsettling face.

“I should think that much would be obvious,” he responds, pacing around the rocky ground somewhat, “We have never been in allegiance, have we, Chio?”

“Not as such, no,” I confirm, remembering our time in opposing stables within the CWA.

“Yet I greet you in physical form today,” he goes on, and he’s already lost me. Is he actually trying to suggest that he has a form that isn't physical? Still, I’ll let him claim all he wants; I was talking to myself when he arrived.

“The world hasn’t seen me in the flesh for some time,” Verona continues, “I rarely spoke a word even when I was present. I would speak with you directly today, however. And you must know that what I tell you is truth.”

He turns and his incandescent blue eyes lock onto me.

“You cannot beat David Shand, let alone in that particular battle. You have bitten off more than you can chew, perhaps...”

I feel myself bristle at that claim. My voice rises involuntarily.

“E-excuse me?”

“There is no need to be offended. I am simply informing you of the facts. You cannot hope to win.”

As much as he tells me not to, I can’t help but feel slighted. I may not have attained the legendary status he did, but damn it, I am Chio Reto. Just who does he think he is?

”What does that fruitloop know? You can and will beat Shand.”

Worldbelonger jumps in again. The thought that is his speech is a beacon of light in the darkness. The doubt slinks cravenly away from that thought, and my mind snaps sharply back into focus. Indeed. I will beat Shand. I don't know how, but I will. I am certain of it.

Then I realise I vocalised that thought. Verona takes notice of it.

“Ah. I was wondering how long it would be before you broke your silence, Worldbelonger,” says Verona, and my eyes widen at his mention of that name, “However, you are not needed right now. Go away for a while. I might let you come back after I depart. If you're a good little Daemon. Run along now.”

”What is this guy talking about? He can’t possibly...”, Worldbelonger begins to say, but he never finishes. The sense of his presence is suddenly gone from me. For the first time ever, he just simply isn't here, within my being. The sense of vacancy left behind in his absence feels terrible. Something like a black hole within my consciousness. I do not like this feeling at all, and despite myself, I cannot help but feel some measure of fear towards this man.

I don’t know if it’s the power of suggestion or the effect this guy’s having on my mental state, but somehow he’s silenced my inner voice.

“Relax. If I were here to take your soul, you would already be mine,” he tells me, even though the thought of souls hadn’t even popped into my head, “You couldn't hope to stop me. A billion such as your Daemon Worldbelonger could not prevail against me. I contend with Gods. The pathetic aberrations of Man cause Me no concern.”

“I... okay, look,” I try to reason with him, “Can we speak within the realm of reality here for a moment? All of this is going directly over my head.”

He lets loose a blood-curdling chuckle, “All you need know is because of what the man known as Shand did to me, I was able to meet my Destiny and overcome it.”

Shand is mentioned again. Whatever he’s talking about, it’s obvious he’s more concerned with David than he is me.

“In fact,” Verona goes on, “I owe him thanks for that. Perhaps I will reward him when he comes to me. A creature as exquisite as David Shand is not fit for labouring in the Pit. I shall make him my General.”

All this inane talk is a bit much for me. I feel like I could have a more grounded conversation with Suzanne Rickley at this point.

“All of that... stuff... aside,” I try to sift through the seemingly crazed words of this man to unravel the sense underneath, “This meeting. It’s entirely about David Shand, isn’t it.”

He laughs, but there is no humour in it.

“Naturally. Did you really think I have appeared for your sake? I will admit, you might make an interesting addition to my Empire, but your conscience is a liability. You'd be devoured by your enemy within the span of a heartbeat,” he says, and I scratch my head confusedly in response, “No, Chio Reto. My thought runs differently. You are far more useful to me as you are, and even more so as you will be.”

I am completely mystified as to what he could possibly mean by that (although this is hardly my first time being mystified today). I had thought that he was involving himself on account of David Shand. I did not expect myself to have any part in his design, whatever it is.

“Now that we are not burdened by eavesdroppers,” Verona says, “Down to business, as the saying goes. It is true that I defeated David Shand, but it almost killed me. I am telling you now that you are currently no match for David Shand, and fighting him on his terms is suicide. You are marching to your own demise.”

Oh, well that’s nice. This guy is a real charmer.

“He nearly ended my life that night. Another faced him under the same terms. A man confident and skilled, but he also was no match for him. I believe he too was changed afterwards, though not in such a profound way. Do you really think you have any hope whatsoever of defeating the mighty David Shand?”

He’s talking about Steve Awesome, the only other man to fight David in Trinity of Iron. Steve has always been one hell of a fighter, but he was unable to overcome the Reaper that night.

“You, Reto, are weak,” he tells me plainly, “You have not reached the pinnacle, and you won’t in the Trinity of Iron. Not against him. He’s far too great a mountain to climb.”

“With all due respect, I...”

“Unless!” he exclaims, cutting me off, “Unless you do as I tell you. If victory is what you seek, only I can tell you how to attain it.”

I go silent, allowing him to go on.

“Very good, Chio. Listening is very, very productive. That's a good fellow,” he begins, amused, “This is what you must do...”

I can’t reveal what Verona is saying to me. I can barely grasp it all. His words spill out as threads that weave an intricate tapestry of profound, complex and disturbing schemes. What world must this man be a part of to conceive such inhuman ideas? What horrors has he bore witness to since he disappeared from the eyes of the public?

One theme that I can make out is the utter ruin of David Shand. What Verona plots in that warped mind of his is far beyond simple victory. He speaks of taking the Soul Reaper apart, piece by piece. It fills me with disgust.

Then I’m reminded of the lengths Derek went to in his war with Shand. Every battle for the Lone Wolf had been a thorough one – he had aimed to spread the flaming torch of his fury into the very life of those who dare challenge him - until nothing remains.

This is not what I want. I am not like that. I have a sense of decency.

“No, Derek,” I tell him forcibly, using that name again, “I don’t do things that way.”

The expression on his face does not change one bit. It's still that amused smirk.

“But you yearn for victory, do you not?”

“That’s not victory. That’s needless destruction. Why would I do that to another man?”

“Because that is what must be done to defeat David Shand. Nothing else can neutralize his will,” he glares at me with narrowed eyes now, “When we fight, we must eliminate the competition. Utterly eliminate them, Reto. Mercy is the baring of the back for the thrust of the knife.”

“Do you even understand why I’m having this match, Derek?” I hold fast, “I don’t hate David Shand. He’s been my friend for a long, long time. I want to face him on the biggest stage that I can for the purpose of proving myself.”

“Your friend?” he asks, “Do you really believe that David Shand will give you victory? Do you think that he will simply step aside and allow you to seize the glory? No, Chio. I assure you, he will not. He will crush you, as he has crushed all who have stood against him. David Shand has no friends. You will lose if you are burdened by sentimentality.”

“I want victory. But not at that cost. I will fight him, but destroying him will do nothing for me. I want to face him in that ring and I need him to be that David Shand. If he’s anything less than the best it will not help me, even in victory. I have every intention of winning by any means possible that the rules David set allow, but I will not do what you’re demanding of me.”

“Then you will lose.”

“No, I won’t. I know better. You let something slip earlier. Perhaps you didn't intend for me to see it, but I did. I will win. And we both know it.”

Derek responds with an amused, knowing chuckle. “Oh? And just how certain are you of that which I intended?”

Then it all starts to make sense to me...

“This was a test. Wasn't it?” I whisper, now mentally berating myself for losing my temper. He knew all along that I would not do those things to David Shand. He knew, and he had placed me on the spot, where I had to acknowledge the path that I would choose. I had thought perhaps he still had an axe to grind against David Shand. But this wasn't about David Shand. It was about... me. Is that why he had sent Worldbelonger away, however he managed that?

“I am far beyond grudges at this point, Reto,” he informs me, “Your battle does not interest me. At all. But David Shand always did. And you also.”

I tilt my head to the side in confusion, “I did?”

“Certainly. I am always watching. No matter where. No matter when. There is no escape from my eternal gaze,” He says, and that aforementioned aura seems to emanate more furiously now, “No escape whatsoever. I see all, and there are none in this World that can forever defy me. I am the destiny of all things.”

“I...” I’m speechless. Ordinarily I’d be able to summon the words, but the combined assault of Derek’s confounding speech and that uncomfortable sensation from just being around him renders me incapable of managing a sentence for a full minute.

“What’s happened to you anyway, Derek?” I finally force out, “I mean, really?”

“You do not need to know that yet, Chio. The time is not yet optimum. But what is important for you to know is that you were never intended to be inspired to fight David Shand. There are grave consequences for this thread of history you have wrought, and you are walking into a battle that you cannot in your present condition hope to win. That is not to say that you cannot attain that level, Chio, but you are not there yet. At all. There is a small possibility you can seize victory, while still keeping your integrity intact, but you will not find the answers where you think you will. It's not about training. It's not about courage. It's not about pride. It's not about determination... It's about you. You know David Shand very well, and that is to your credit, but to beat David Shand, you have to know yourself as well. Know yourself, Chio.”

Those eyes fall onto me one more time.

“And know that only fools trust in luck.”

I drop my head down, trying to take this all in. This meeting has left me with all manner of questions; some I think may be unanswerable. I do have one that I wish to ask of him. I lift my head back up and start to ask...

“What about...”

But before I can even finish those words, Derek is already gone. Along with him, that incredible presence. I...don't really know what to make of all that. There's just so much to process.

But I do know that Worldbelonger is back with me, and that vast emptiness in my core is no longer empty. And I start wondering if it was all a dream. It couldn't have been real, could it?

What did he mean, it's about me? What did he mean, I have to know myself? I mean, I know myself just fine, don't I? What about me? Something I do? Something I think? Something I don't do...?

It’s all a big jumble. I’ll work this out another time. Very few thoughts in my mind are certain, but one is unshakeable: I need to get ready. It’s time to intensify my training.

I make my way back across the rocks, on my way back home. As I do so, Worldbelonger chimes in.

”That guy was a jerk. Why should you even listen to him?”

“I don’t know; I can’t make head nor tail of it,” I tell him as I find my way back, “But something tells me it was important.”

It had to be. He’s the Lone Wolf. However you feel about him, no matter how strange the things he may say, there’s no denying his underlying wisdom. I will come to a conclusion - an answer - to his words in time.

Keep on watching, Derek. Soon enough, I’ll show you my answer. You’ll see it in that ring.
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Faulerro

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PostSubject: Re: Answering The Call   Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:41 pm

OOC: Co-writing credit to Derek, as you can probably tell. Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Answering The Call   Tue Mar 22, 2011 8:09 pm

ooc: Very interesting!! I have to admit. Even my eyes widened with surprise as I continued to read that.
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PostSubject: Re: Answering The Call   Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:28 am

ooc: Wow..... I really wasn't expecting that! Absolutely brilliant stuff once again.

This is absolutely why I wanted to work with Chris when it came to this show. he just "gets it". Its been an absolute pelasure and honour.

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PostSubject: Re: Answering The Call   Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:45 am

..............

CWA cuts to commercials

Another cracking RP. Props to LW too
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