#WildernessSabbatical

Roleplay Roleplay by KURTIS RAY
On Fri, Jan05, 2018 12:49am America/Phoenix
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#WildernessSabbatical
(The night sky comes into view, revealing an impossible number of stars. The occasional satellite can be seen on a breakneck journey across the sky, but other than the stars and the moon the sky is clear. The camera pans down to reveal a dock at a lakeside. An old fishing boat is moored at the end on a barely visible rope, and the only light comes from a roaring fire set up at a makeshift campsite. Somewhere off-screen, a subtle, even 'thuk' repeats every few seconds, being the only noise to interrupt the pristine evening. After a moment the clopping noise stops and Kurtis Ray appears from off-screen with an armload of firewood.)

KURTIS: Beautiful night, isn't it? It's been a while since I was out here last, but it's pretty much the same as I remember. I mean, there are new houses on the other shore, but this side is pretty much the same as it's always been.

(Kurtis chuckles, tossing a log on the fire and settling down on an overturned milk crate that looks like it's intended to be a makeshift seat.)

KURTIS: I used to come out here a lot, actually. Back when I played football my dad used to bring me out here before championship games because he said communing with nature was good for your soul. And I dunno if there was something to it or what, but it seemed like whenever he brought me out here, whenever the game came along my head was clearer and I played better. Maybe it's not about me winning football games anymore, but with Holiday Hell coming up, I felt like I could use some of that wilderness sabbatical juju to get me refocused and clear my head. So here I am.

(Kurtis hums to himself, picking up another piece of wood. He produces a pocket knife, beginning to shave long strips off the bit of log absently along to the tune.)

KURTIS: I don't think it would be a surprise to any of you that I'm apprehensive going into this match. Yeah I've faced off against matches like this before. Hall of Pain for the title, when I faced off with Rex, David Gideon Smith, and Syndicate in the inferno asylum. World Series, in the World Series match. Even recently when I challenged in the race for the case finals. I'm no stranger to big, important matches. This one's special, though. Not because we're looking at Hell in a Cell, that's just another match. This time it's because there are three men in this match that I want to destroy. It's kind of funny, in a weird, unfunny kind of way.

(Kurtis continues to shave long strips off the wood, watching the knife glint in the firelight.)

KURTIS: We all have rituals we do before our matches. Darkness apparently does some kind of voodoo witchcraft Saturnalia hokey pokey and uses that to put up a shied. Syndicate either releases a Leon Jones interview or goes to the arena we're due to blow the roof off of and talks about sports and how he's just as good as Michael Jordan because he's the WWX Undisputed champion. Rayne talks about how thirsty he is and how he deserves this opportunity more than other people because he wants it more. And me.... Well, I whittle. I think about what's really stressing me out, and I carve it. And the past couple of weeks, there are three guys who have been stressing me out.

(Kurtis puts aside the piece of wood he's been carving at, and picks up a so-far unseen duffel bag that is sitting by his feet. From withing he produces three carved figures, somewhat rough but obviously intended to be reliefs of Syndicate, Darkness, and Rayne. He sets each of them on the edge of the metal collar around the fire so the flickering light illuminates them.)

KURTIS: Weird, right? I profess to dislike these guys and I'm carrying around statues of them in my gym bag. Pretty crazy right? These aren't even the first ones I've done, but these ones were made for something important we'll get to shortly.

(Kurtis picks up the figurine of Darkness and turns it in his hands.)

KURTIS: This one came out pretty well, considering. I've had limited contact with the legend, see. Other than him hitting me with Darkness Falls and us getting into a couple dust-ups in the intervening weeks, our paths have been rather separate. But I got something stuck in my craw when it comes to old Darkness. Back before I split, Darkness was the person who I lost the Crusade Cup to. I was on a path to become the WWX Champion and the Crusade Cup champion. Number One contender to my own title. Unfortunately I lost my focus, I let something else distract me, and Darkness capitalized and he got the opportunity that would have been mine if not for my own shortcoming. Darkness, you said you were going to stop me and I would be forced to deal with the end of the train ride. I respect your point of view and I welcome you to do your best, but I gotta tell you, man. You are the person in this match I most need to defeat. It's not about a vendetta or about bragging rights. It's about me proving to me that I am the man I say I am. I have nothing to prove to you. I know I'm better than you are, just like I knew it the last time. I am hands-down the toughest competitor you will face in the ring. You don't get to stop the Hype Train; I am the only one who decides when the train ride is over. 

(Kurtis grins, setting the figurine back down.)

KURTIS: I believe I said before I'd be the light to banish the darkness. This time I think I'll settle for being the guy that whoops your ass and costs you your chance at getting back 'what is rightfully yours.'

(Kurtis reaches over to tip the Darkness figurine into the fire. After a moment the elaborate statue starts to backen and burn, and Kurtis picks up the Rayne figurine.)

KURTIS: Then there's Rayne. The Silent Assassin. The guy that I guess I'm supposed to be friends with? We're the upstarts, the ones who messed up a perfectly good match. Rayne is a good wrestler and if you give him an opportunity to surprise you then he is a legitimate threat. The problem is, Rayne, is that as soon as people know they need to take you seriously, that threat disappears. I've heard your promos. I've seen your ring work. I've been beaten on by you in and out of the ring and I can tell you categorically that you aren't on the same level as the other people in this ring. You squeak by if someone slips up, but you're not the sort of person who can carry a match. You're not the sort of person who can dig deeper and deeper and deeper until you think that even getting back up is going to make you pass out. You're like Syndicate, but without the talent. You think you deserve something because you want it, but you're not good enough to take it, especially in a ring with all of the talent you're stepping into in a few days.

(Once again, Kurtis sets down the Rayne figurine.)

KURTIS: Maybe you'll create an opportunity. Maybe you'll take Darkness or Syndicate or even me out of the match. But I doubt it. You're not the guy that walks away with the title. Maybe someday, but not now.

(Kurtis tips the Rayne figure into the fire and after a moment it is burning just like the Darkness figurine. Kurtis' hand falls on the Syndicate figurine and he admires it for a moment.)

KURTIS: Tonight we were treated to the six hundred and eighty-third Leon Jones interview with Syndicate. And there were a lot of things Syndicate talked abut. He talked about his past. He talked about Darkness. He talked about Rayne. He talked about me. And just like every other time, in the end he talked about the same stuff he always does. He talked about how  he was going to persevere because that's what he does And it's when he says things like that I almost forget that I'm supposed to dislike the guy. But then the moment passes and i remember all of the other stupid things he's said. Back when he said he was the god of wrestling, back when he hung out with the Big Time Agency. Back when he called me washed up, broken, and old soak, and so-on. You see, Syndicate, I've got nothing left to prove to you. I've proven I'm the toughest competitor you've been in the ring with. I've proven that I can beat you. I've proven I can beat you clean, and yet you still cling to this sliver of hope. It's admirable, really. Even when you know in your heart of hearts that I'm the one person in that ring that will keep going until there's none of me left, none of you left, till nobody in that ring can walk away and I'll still keep coming until I break you, even then you cling to your sliver of hope.

(Kurtis chuckles, turning the figure in his hands.)

KURTIS: You know after I left, I found myself tuning in a few times and I found myself cheering for you. It's because you have this spirit that manages to shine through no matter what. It irritates me when you're my opponent, but it's also inspiring in a sense. As the Hype Train, as your opponent, I want to take that spirit and crush it. I want to take away your title and I want to laugh while you weep in the corner a sputtering, broken mess, forced to come to terms with the fact that you're STILL not enough to beat me. But as a wrestling fan, I want to see that spirit shine through. You understand my dilemma. when it comes to Holiday Hell, the man that'll be in that ring is the one that intends to destroy you, and I guarantee I'm going to be the one to leave with your title. I'll steal your hope and all that will be left.... is ashes.

(Kurtis sets the Syndicate figure down and tips it into the fire. It doesn't start to burn right away, but after a moment it starts to blacken and burn like the others. Kurtis watches the fire burn for a minute, finally letting out a helf breath. Finally he produces a fourth figure, one that looks like him.)

KURTIS: Now I symbolically let go of me previous shortcomings against you all. All the losses, all the anger, all the ill will. None of that defines me, nor should it define us. I'm walking into this match free of my baggage and ready to destroy all of you. When Holiday Hell is in the books, three men will know they weren't enough, and the Hype Train's momentum will continue unbidden. None of =our junk matters, none of the ill will or taunting. I want the title. This is about the title. This is about Kurtis Ray and his road to the WWX Championship. That is a road that will end at Holiday Hell when I walk out WWX Championship. Holiday Hell is the dawning of the next chapter in my Second Coming, and none of you are prepared to stop it.

(Kurtis tosses the figurine of himself in the fire, watching contently as the fire flickers, then starts to burn brighter.)

KURTIS: All aboard.

(The camera pans back up to the stars as the sound of the fire burning continues, accompanied by tuneless humming from Kurtis, and then the scene cuts to black.)

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