III. " THROUGH DARK EMERGES LIGHT " Oct 9, 2016 7:52:33 GMT -6
Post by | ✖ | KEELAN on Oct 9, 2016 7:52:33 GMT -6
A few days had passed since the fifty-first edition of Breakthrough went off the air. For some Visionaries, that particular night had ended in a triumphant victory while the rest of the bunch found themselves being spoon-fed a bitter defeat. The wrestling business, much like any other competitive sport, held within it the nature that, in most cases, there must be a winner and a loser. The reality of such nature was becoming more and more clear to Keelan Lightwood, who now belonged in the category of Visionaries that were coldly swept under the rug in defeat at Breakthrough #51.
Even though it was only the Monday following Breakthrough #51, Keelan's week had commenced just as miserably as the previous one had ended. He continuously failed to wrap his head around the fact that his efforts were not recognized as being enough to hand Elskerinne her first loss since returning from her short hiatus. It was far from easy for Keelan to comprehend that in only his second match he had failed to keep his record void of any blemishes. And that one blemish that now plagued the Visionaries of Wrestling history books forced his win/loss record to be even at one to one.
As often was the case, Keelan's bearded visage failed to give any hints of human emotion as he was sitting on top of a small cliff that had been formed on the coast of a lake. The cold eyes that Keelan possessed scanned the partially cloudy sky, unknown thoughts coursing through his labyrinth-like mind. Even though he wasn't involved in a visible outburst of emotions, it wasn't hard to tell that inside, he was still feeling the effects of his most recent disappointment. Immersed in his own thoughts, not even the frequent, cool breezes of wind hindered his concentration, neither did the large rock that had started to feel cold underneath his bottom. Internally unhinged, Keelan thought to himself, reflecting on what he had experienced just three days prior.❝ How did I allow this? How did I allow Elskerinne, of all people, to defeat me in my second match? I had every intention of extending my winning streak and remaining undefeated. I was supposed to break Elskerinne but instead, she broke me. ❞
His thoughts paused, allowing Keelan a moment to target his gaze on the lake below, then exhaling loudly.❝ I left the arena embarrassed, dismembered even. I was thoroughly prepared to take her on, knowing what I was getting myself into. How could things take such an unexpected turn? Why was that turn taken for the worse? Where did I go wrong? ❞
There was something that possessed Keelan to repeat the last sentence again, this time out loud.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ Where did I go wrong? Where did I go wrong? WHERE DID I GO WRONG, DAMMIT?! ❞
Visibly upset and frustrated, Keelan lowered his head, allowing his face to sink deep into the warm palms of his hands──an act that was succeeded by some heavy breathing. This continued until the voice of Reginald clung to his ears from a distance, causing his breath to stabilize itself.
| ✖ |─REGINALD LIGHTWOOD❝ You can't win them all, you know? ❞
Even though he never cared to admit it to himself, Keelan knew his father's words were based entirely on facts. Unfortunately, however, they failed to provide any kind of consolation in this situation.
Upon hearing his father speak, Keelan slowly removed his hands from his face and emptied his lungs from any air, creating a small gust. Reginald walked towards his aggravated son, closing the distance between them. He stopped a few feet from Keelan and stood there like a statue.
| ✖ |─REGINALD LIGHTWOOD❝ Do you want to talk about what went down on Friday? ❞
Keelan scoffed somewhat angrily, responding sharply.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ Why would I want to talk about that? It was a nightmare, a failure. ❞
| ✖ |─REGINALD LIGHTWOOD❝ I understand that. But maybe having a good talk with your father will scare off your internal demons? You can't keep quiet about it forever and you know that. ❞
The painfully obvious fact that rolled off Reginald's sharp tongue caused Keelan to feel more uneasy. The anguish Keelan felt visibly troubled Reginald but he let his son take his time with the response. It turned out to be a surprisingly calm one.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ What would a simple conversation accomplish? It can't turn back the clock and erase the mistakes I made at Breakthrough #51. ❞
| ✖ |─REGINALD LIGHTWOOD❝ Maybe not, but what you need right now is a way to deal with all of this. I know you're shaken──maybe you even should be──but it was just one loss. Put it behind you. ❞
There it was again: loss. That one word had been the defining trait of every day since Friday and Keelan couldn't stand hearing it.
Keelan thoroughly examined the details on the rock that he sat on, then turning his head away from his father. Not in disrespect, but because he couldn't bear to look Reginald in the eyes. Silently, Keelan muttered a barely audible response.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ Easy for you to say. You are not the one lacing up his boots. ❞
Bewildered by his son's reply, Reginald retorted almost immediately, inadvertently raising his voice in doing so.
| ✖ |─REGINALD LIGHTWOOD❝ Easy? Do you really think it's easy for me to see my son get embarrassed in front of the eyes of the entire world? I have a pride to maintain, too! ❞
Upon finishing his proclamation, the elder Lightwood quickly realized that he had set up his bristles──something that was not very common of him. Because Keelan's face was still turned away, Reginald was not able to see his reaction and honestly? He preferred it that way. Having collected himself, Reginald looked at his son with apologetic eyes and begged for his forgiveness.
| ✖ |─REGINALD LIGHTWOOD❝ I'm sorry, son. I didn't mean to yell at you or indicate that you're an embarrassment. ❞
Finally turning his attention properly to his father, Keelan's face remained expressionless. A soft tone in his voice, he offered a reassuring reply.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ No hard feelings. I deserved that. ❞
A brief pause ensued. It was soon cut off by Reginald.
| ✖ |─REGINALD LIGHTWOOD❝ Come on, Keelan, let's look at things in a realistic light. Everybody loses matches. Champions lose. Rookies lose. Veterans lose. Even those that are thought of as unstoppable forces go down in defeat sometimes. Regardless of which category one fits into, a loss will always be inevitable. ❞
Keelan forced air to exit his lungs again, indicating in a somewhat indirect manner that he had no choice but to agree with his father.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ I know, I know. I just didn't expect to suffer a loss so early into my career. ❞
Reginald nodded along as Keelan spoke, a contemplative countenance having crept up on the aged skin of his face.
| ✖ |─REGINALD LIGHTWOOD❝ Neither did I. It was like a lightning strike coming down from a clear sky but you need to accept that it happened. Don't cling to the past. Let go of it and look forward into the future. ❞
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ But how? How does one get back on track after all of the momentum has been killed? Tell me! ❞
Keelan's tone raised as he said the last two words, the frustration within him having reached another boiling point. Reginald appeared a lot less than happy to see the torment his son had cast upon himself but his hands were tied. All he could do was to assure Keelan that the taste of defeat was not as bitter as the taste of victory was sweet.
| ✖ |─REGINALD LIGHTWOOD❝ I don't know. I can't give you the keys to the kingdom. All I know is that you're not doing yourself any favors by reminiscing Friday night and torturing yourself just for one mishap. It is time for you to rise above your nightmares. Or are you going to do what Casanova English did and simply tuck your tail between your legs and quit? ❞
That slightly provocative statement managed to elicit a reaction from Keelan. He quickly stood up and looked square into his father's merciless eyes. A sadistic smile slowly grew on Keelan's face as he let his thoughts out, sounding determined.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ No, I am not going to quit. I'm going to end people. ❞
As the younger Lightwood brushed past his father, a smile similar to that of Keelan was present on Reginald's features as well. Delighted to know his pep talk had the strength to defeat the pathetic thoughts that had imprisoned his son for almost three days, Reginald turned around and followed Keelan to wherever he was going, excited to once again scheme evil schemes with his own flesh and blood.
Around half a month later, the process of soul searching was complete. Digging deeper and deeper into his own dark self, Keelan had been able to confirm to himself that he was not one to be defined by one defeat, no matter how much time he had spent seeing himself as nothing more than a failure. The undying desire to succeed and advance in his career was by no means gone, yet a completely new chapter in his book of absolute destruction had commenced. And written before anything else in said chapter were the premature dismemberments of three individuals──two of them men, one of them a woman...
Now, with only a few days to go until Armed and Dangerous, Keelan had agreed that he would test the power of nature yet again──a decision that had presented few difficulties. The night had fallen and the usual nightly chirping echoed throughout the otherwise silent and dark forest. In an open area right in the middle of the forest, located there for camping purposes, a seemingly revitalized Keelan sat on a small bench that made his body features look like those of a giant's. A campfire stood right in front of him, acting as the sole source of light in the location. Slightly further from Keelan and the fire, a camera was placed to record everything for everybody's viewing pleasure.
Black-clad as usual, The Black Dawn Killer began to address his current status and state of mind in a soft and calm tone. He concentrated on staring at the fire and provided no warning prior to his starting.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ The sixteenth of September was the worst, most miserable day in my life. I am sure that by now everyone is a little more than aware of the reason why. I failed in my mission to drag the entertainer of the people, Elskerinne, to hell with me. I failed to inflict on her the pain I wanted to inflict on her and the darkness that entered the arena with me became but a large burst of light, all for the joy of the people. I was devastated. Physically tired, mentally annihilated. For weeks, I was tortured because I didn't know what my future held in store for me. I feared it wouldn't be anything I wanted it to be and that fear tore into my flesh, attempting to render me immobile. And it succeeded. ❞
He paused briefly, slightly scared at what he had just admitted.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ For a couple of weeks, I found no joy in this thing we call life. Every waking second felt like nothing short of pure misery. But as I searched for a trace of light within myself, I came to an eye-opening realization. I finally saw the error of my ways and I realized my approach had been flawed. I made the rookie mistake of getting overconfident in my abilities and it caused me to take a pinfall loss because I was too blind to see it before. And I needed that. I needed to have my shoulders down for a count of three and I needed to hear Elskerinne announced as the winner of the match. It wasn't until recently that I understood I had to take one step back in order to take two steps forward. And who knows, maybe I will personally thank Lady E for giving me that kick in my ass. ❞
Keelan's last statement was recited with a mixture of seriousness and sarcasm in his voice. He turned his cold, blue eyes away from the campfire and cast them upon the camera for the very first time, directly addressing his opponents at Armed and Dangerous.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ It wasn't long after Breakthrough fifty-one that I found out I would be competing in my first pay-per-view match. I took notice of the fact that the one blemish on my record brought me back to square one, it being the reason why the management didn't consider me good enough to compete on the main card. And I accept that as punishment for the sin I committed against Elskerinne. It is highly likely that the three of you are inclined to believe that it is easy to strike down and keep down an already broken man such a myself. But I suggest you not to give into such a desire for I am now reborn. I possess a new mindset, one that I believe is going to carry me further than I even imagined. I'm going into this fatal four way match with slight caution, not because I care about your well-beings but because I'm a man who learns from his mistakes. That is why I will not any of you lightly or dismiss you as pushovers. I ought to give you a warning, however. I'm unsure if this has dawned on any of you but I'm responsible for the death of a wrestling career. The boy who said career belonged to was Leo Dempsey and the match in which he lost it was a fatal four way. Ironic, isn't it? My hunger is far from satisfied and I'm every bit as sadistic and vile as I have always presented myself to be. And that brings me to someone else who claims to spill blood. ❞
Yet another brief pause took place, during which Keelan stared at the camera even more evilly.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ Dazi, we meet in the ring again; and in the same match type, no less. You and I have some history here already, I'm sure you remember. When I introduced my face to your Twitter timeline shortly after Breakthrough fifty, we ended up having a lengthy war of words in which you claimed to show the entire world what you're made of. Not even a week later, we were at it again, this time in a shorter yet no less intense battle. I challenged you to break away from the mold that defines the majority of female wrestlers today and you responded positively, excitedly. I encouraged you to take the first step towards becoming a woman of your own, for which I received the thanks I felt I deserved. When we stare at each other from across the ring at Breakthrough fifty-three, you get to show me the progress you have made. You showed potential when you put on a promising display of the talent you said you have against Erin Gordon two weeks ago. Still, you need to be aware that Erin Gordon is not Keelan Lightwood. Erin Gordon did not defeat you like Keelan Lightwood did. ❞
A visible smirk overtook Keelan's features briefly, before it changed into a more serious look.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ Even though I did emerge victorious against you at Breakthrough fifty, a single regret filled my twisted mind as soon as the first of our Twitter altercations commenced. That regret is that I didn't pin you or make you submit, Dazi. I have carried that thought with me ever since and while you get the chance to exact revenge on me for having left the arena victorious, I will be presented with the opportunity to fill the void that the regret has put in me. I want to beat you, Dazi. I need to beat you. I applaud your victory over Erin Gordon and I want you to enjoy it as much as you possibly can. With all the momentum you have gained from said victory, you would be safe against anyone else but it just so happens that we are fated to collide again. I have no doubt that we will throw punches at each other to see which of us is truly the better wrestler. I already know the answer but I'm not going to spoil it right now. Instead, I choose to wait until Armed and Dangerous. I couldn't think of a better place to show to you how lightning strikes twice and how history is doomed to repeat itself. Even then, I want to you come at me fully prepared because only then can I prove to you that no matter how sharp your nails and teeth are, you will fail in your attempt to compensate for your shortcomings in Baltimore. ❞
Stopping, Keelan took his eyes off of the camera for the first time in a while. He slowly leaned forward, his elbows resting on his thighs and all ten of his fingers intertwined. With malicious intent, he brought his glare up to the camera again.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ Marcus Reeves, a relatively new signing but not an entirely unknown name elsewhere. You know...I admire you, Marcus. I admire your courage and your guts. It takes a lot of both to be forty-eight years old and still compete against the superstars of today. But while a part of me is amazed to find out such a fact about you, there is a part of me that considers your behavior unacceptable and disrespectful. Have you ever stopped to consider that thought? Has it ever dawned on you that maybe it's time to hang up those boots of yours? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that you have fully devoted yourself to this business; and I respect that. But here's the thing. At forty-eight, you might as well be considered a relic in our industry. I'm bound to believe that you don't possess the same kind of stamina you had twenty years ago. I imagine you being sloppy, slow──an obstacle, to put it frankly. You're hindering your own growth by continuing your wrestling career and you will inevitably be lapped by the younger ones. I know that what you are looking for is one more run. You want to experience the extraordinary feeling of starting from the bottom and going all the way to the very top. You want that one more Championship run, you want to break records and you want to inspire people with your story. But the devious pattern that tends to repeat itself with the likes of you is that your kind gets greedy. You will always want something more when you should be retired and spending time with your family, letting the future of wrestling fall into the caring hands of the stars of the present. When you step into the ring with me, Marcus, understand that I will not allow you that one more run that you crave so much, not on my watch. I will give you one thing, however, and that is the death of your illustrious career. It's gone on for long enough, nearly ten years longer than I've even lived, but now it's time to put the dog out of its misery. ❞
Determination was evident in Keelan's voice as he spoke, pausing shortly afterwards so he could focus on his third and final opponent.
| ✖ |─KEELAN LIGHTWOOD❝ Phinehas Crowe, you are the x-factor in this match, the black horse. You have shrouded yourself in mystery and so far, nobody has been able to figure out what appear to be your unpredictable antics. With the whole world, I watched as the video of you playing in the arcade faded in at Breakthrough fifty-two. That footage would lead many people to believe that you are some sort of a nerd and rest assured that not many of those people are able to think of you as a serious threat in the world of professional wrestling. But I challenge that conception. I have created a theory according to which the video game-playing geek as you presented yourself as is nothing but a facade, a fake conception of your true self. You attempt to throw people off their game with that facade and then you strike them down when they least expect it. There is no doubt in my mind that you are indeed a smart man, Crowe, and only a smart man would be able to craft such an interesting strategy──that is, if it ends up being one. Regardless, I will approach you with caution because I cannot afford to make the same mistake twice. I want you to know, Phinehas, that if you have concealed yourself underneath a fake identity, it won't have an effect on me when we meet in the ring. But if all you really are is a geek, then I will tell you the same thing I told Leo Dempsey a month ago: you don't have a future in wrestling. Don't take this the wrongway, though, I'm not underestimating you. Your physical appearance inevitably creates certain prejudices that are merely laughed at in our sport but I know better than to judge a book by its cover. Despite your reddish hair and your boyish appearance, I believe you just might be a force to be reckoned with. But Phinehas, just remember who you will be dealing with. I'm not a villain in those video games you play, I am something much more. I'm a highly sadistic man and I'm not afraid to make the first time you step into a Visionaries of Wrestling ring your last. In fact, I would take great pleasure in doing so. ❞
Suddenly, the burning campfire is extinguished and darkness devours the entire view. This, in turn, forces the end of the video feed.