The message was sent loud and clear. “I am still here,” it read, and at the centre of that message was the man who penned it, Silas Artoria. He knew he had to do something while Evolution was in Toronto, despite his desire to take some time to reevaluate his status and breathe, but Shadow had sent taunt after taunt after taunt that couldn't be ignored forever. The tag match at Summer Games wasn’t enough, not personal enough for him as other factors were at play there. He had to send a receipt one-to-one, and in the middle of the stage, he gave Shadow a taste of what was to come.
One knee was enough to get some of his groove back. He had entered a period of self loathing and sheer denial and pessimism, all thanks to Amber Ryan. He had not won a since match since, losing tag matches and qualifying matches, with the closet he could get to exiting the spiral being his two matches against Ataxia. Something was wrong, and he had to ditch baggage.
Step one, eliminate Autumn Raven out of the picture. Partially successful. She is no longer affiliated with him, but it had come at a cost of pure safety. There’s a giant target on his back, and Autumn is not one to allow grudges to fade away. It’s a strength at times, but it was becoming more of an annoyance each passing day. One day she is wailing all hell upon him, the next she is an unwilling participant whose motives cost victory. Ultimate elimination will come in time.
Step two, embrace what is within. Evolution and the CWF was getting in the way of that. Took too much time away, too busy to properly converse with his lifelong Passenger. The time after Summer Games provided such time, and finally it was becoming much more...liberative. It didn’t feel like a struggle to let the Passenger have some sort of influence, unlike his previous cage match. Now the transition was comfortable. It felt almost...euphoric, relaxing, engaging even.
Finally! Enjoyment returned to the jaded veins of Silas Artoria, and with that came a drive. One to repaint his mark upon the industry.
Which lead to step three, retaliate.
A quick attack, a hard knee to the Shadow, and his presence within the CWF has returned; the Passenger made himself known. They were not one man, but a unit within a singular machine. Two entities with a fiery passion towards a singular goal, and no obstacle would be hardened enough to withstand the onslaught they would bring. The druid went down, followed by the Shadow, and he was finally back on the cards.
He marches through the concourse of the Air Canada Centre, with the mark of the Passenger still present, and flanked by bewildered CWF staff members trying to figure out what on earth Silas was doing when he booked the time off. He had already ruined Autumn's chances of ascending out of the winless darkness, and now he has ruined the post-match presence of the Shadow. Why?
He didn't care why. He knew, but it was a matter he was taking on in a phase of reverie.
A CWF official ran towards him.
CWF OFFICIAL: What the hell are you doing here!?
Silas paid him no attention.
SILAS ARTORIA: Thought I would say hi.
CWF OFFICIAL: "Say hi"? You've interfered with our broadcast!
SILAS ARTORIA: You guys were in the neighbourhood. It would've been rude not to at least pop by for a brief chat. How are you? Feeling well? How are the kids? Are they still fighting?
He turns to the official, still walking in the same direction. He points towards himself.
SILAS ARTORIA: How do I look? Fabulous? Fantastic? Dashing?
His outfit hadn't changed.
CWF OFFICIAL: You look like--
Silas turns back.
SILAS ARTORIA: I know, right? You know, the whole "compete every week" schedule you guys set upon me really hampered my style, so I thought I would dig into the compound and see what I was missing. Turned out that what I was missing was inside me all along! Imagination, taste, faith, creativity! Imagine it!
CWF OFFICIAL: This about your 'Passenger'?
SILAS ARTORIA: Nothing to do with them! Just a personal reflection within the walls of my home. You should try it sometime--ahh! Wait! You don't have a storied family history that spans pre-colonial times with a compound dripping in history! How silly of me to think that your family had more prestige than a doormat!
CWF OFFICIAL: Mr Artoria, that's completely unnecessary--
SILAS ARTORIA: You know what you should do? Expand your horizons. Try new things! Food, drinks, and music!
He glances the official, whom was clearly puzzled, an emotion that didn't register with Silas.
SILAS ARTORIA: There was something I found within my home, my vast home filled with glorious treasures that are worth five times more your salary! I found an old music library containing some stuff I brought from Japan. There's a song called 'Flyers', wild song! Wondrous, colourful, and cares less about it's gordyness than your dad does about you.
CWF OFFICIAL: Mr Artoria, my dad is de--
SILAS ARTORIA: It even has one of the best worst videos of all time, and it was even used in a dark fictional show which became more known for it's highly misleading introduction. Love it! Absolutely love it! Could listen to it all day!
CWF OFFICIAL: MR ARTORIA!
Silas stops, frowns a little, and turns very slowly towards the official. Said official looks at Silas in the eyes, then his mouth, now absent of the uncanny smile he possessed mere seconds before, and slightly steps back, uncomfortable with the now more recognizable Canadian. They approach the official, eyes fixated on the man below his pay grade but more corporative power.
Silas takes a deep breath, looks at the official dead in the eyes, then says...
SILAS ARTORIA: You more of a Hall and Oates guy?
The official places both his hands over his face in embarrassment.
CWF OFFICIAL: Jesus Christ.
SILAS ARTORIA: Ahh! A CHIC guy! Understandable.
CWF OFFICIAL: Mr Artoria can we please get back on the subject?
SILAS ARTORIA: Of my revamped stance? Music collection? My compound? I could mention the many bathrooms if that's your measurement of wealth.
CWF OFFICIAL: Silas...
The official takes a deep breath, completely giving up on trying to get to them.
CWF OFFICIAL: ...let's....just....we'll.....
He throws his hands in the air.
CWF OFFICIAL: Screw it! Let's talk next week!
SILAS ARTORIA: Awesome! Who do I have?
CWF OFFICIAL: Autumn Raven in a First Blood match.
Silas pauses, looks at the official, then drops his hands. His smile is completely wiped off the face of the earth, yet didn't enter the realm of bitterness or hatred. Rather, it entered the realm of bemusement.
SILAS ARTORIA: Really?
CWF OFFICIAL: Yes.
SILAS ARTORIA: First Blood match?
CWF OFFICIAL: Yes.
SILAS ARTORIA: Against Autumm?
CWF OFFICIAL: Yes.
SILAS ARTORIA: Any chance of it changing?
CWF OFFICIAL: No.
Silas turns back forward and continues walking.
SILAS ARTORIA: OK then. See you next week!
CWF OFFICIAL: Wh--wait, what!? Is that it?
SILAS ARTORIA: Yup.
CWF OFFICIAL: Just....calm acceptance?
Silas turns back around but continues to walk backwards. He's smiling again.
SILAS ARTORIA: I've already exhaled my aggression. Why should I continue unnecessarily? Just a waste of time and energy.
Back to the front and at the door. He waves as he yells across the concourse; the words echoing throughout the concrete section of the arena.
SILAS ARTORIA: I'll see you next week! Have a good night!
The doors opened to the force of Silas' hands, and slammed shut behind him, leaving a confused and baffled official behind. He was still looking at the shut doors as another official calmly walks behind him and taps his shoulder. They didn't respond, and simply muttered:
CWF OFFICIAL: I need a beer.
The camera flickers on, and an out-of-focus view of Silas' palm covers the camera. The aristocrat is clearly handling the machine broadcasting him, judging from the faint background tilting left and right continuously. He stops, the camera is now level, and he looks into the lens. He taps the glass three times, each one emitting a deep impact sound, and the Canadian smiles at his completed work. He's ready to address the world.
He turns towards the comfortable arm chair behind him, with a glass of orange liquid waiting for him, and a fireplace already prepared and lit to illuminate him. The environment was high class and likely expensive, with bookcases, plants, a mantle clock, and red curtains all surrounding the now seated Silas, all faintly glowing from the light the fireplace produced.
His fingers tap both arms of the chair, then grabs the glass. He looks at it, swirls it around, smiles, then looks at the camera.
SILAS ARTORIA: Orange juice, good source of vitamin C.
He raises the glass to the camera.
SILAS ARTORIA: To me, and my return.
He drinks the whole glass in one, taking about fifteen seconds before finishing. He looks at the glass, and smiles once again.
SILAS ARTORIA: Delicious, but enough about me.
He places the glass on the table before focusing his attention back to the camera. He clasps his hands and relaxes against the back of the chair.
SILAS ARTORIA: Let's talk Evolution, or more specifically, my recent involvement.
His hands released, levelling the palms in parallel to his chin, and his voice took a slight sarcastic tone.
SILAS ARTORIA: I have to first apologise to the Shadow over my brazen and sudden attack. I don't know what came over me that would have me mindlessly and recklessly beat up Shadow. I don't know what I could do to ensure it won't ever happen again, honest!
He delves into thought.
SILAS ARTORIA: I mean, I could make sure that any inkling of my being might not show up to CWF therefore eliminating any possibility of conflict, but I'd be just sitting around doing nothing!
He looks back at the camera, with the same smile.
SILAS ARTORIA: And where's the fun in that?
He gestures the background.
SILAS ARTORIA: Yes, I do have a wondrous collection including artefacts, books, music, and artwork, but I've been here for decades, enough for the shine to wear off.
He leans forward, towards the camera.
SILAS ARTORIA: Plus, CWF is just too much fun and I know a lot of you love seeing me receive black eyes and several cuts to the body. In fact, it's what's going to happen next time. At least...
Back in the seat, comfortably.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...one of us is going to get some sort of cut. About time, isn't it? Silas Artoria vs Autumn Raven, former stable-mates, former tag-team title contenders. Once side by side, fighting for the common goal, now at each others throats. Finally it comes to a head! A pure blood feud! The student vs the tutor. Or, more accurately, the carrier vs the baggage.
He crosses his legs and rests one elbow on the arm of the chair, placing his head upon said arm's hand.
SILAS ARTORIA: I've been thinking about this recently, after I got the news that Autumn Raven was going to be my next opponent, and after some time, I couldn't think of a victory she claimed that didn't have some sort of assistance. She won tag matches with me, she won one with the now absent Mia Rayne, yet when it comes to one on one encounters, when was the last time she won? When was the last time she, alone, had her arm raised by the person officiating the match, to declare her victorious?
He strokes the stubble with his thumb and index finger, whilst contorting his face to give off the impression that he is thinking.
SILAS ARTORIA: There was that one on one in Korea that she lost...there was the qualifier she lost...in fact, has she won a match on her own this year? Has she won one during my time in the CWF? I came here in the beginning of November, and she was my first pay-per-view opponent. If I recall correctly, I...no!
His smile grew wider.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...we, demolished her. She had put up a meek fight, and we left her in the middle of table debris, battered and defeated. If that was the result of our last encounter face-to-face, then what chance does she have against even a faction of a percent against me? I've taken on monsters and champions while she's been shrivelling up in the lower-card like an unwanted raison. It's why she attached herself to me and the entity formerly known as the Lost Boys. It's how she got in the spotlight! It's because I offered her a hand and she instead took it as crutch.
He sat up.
SILAS ARTORIA: She does try, I'll give her that. Like the time she built the pyramid of chairs in our match in Tokyo, only to dive into said structure and nearly cost the match. You want to know who saved that match from ending on a whimper, and whom took the killing bullet?
His smile starts to waver, and his thumb points to himself.
SILAS ARTORIA: Me! All me, and only me! I dragged you out of that pile of chairs that weighed so heavily upon you, and delayed the end by cracking one of them in half by slamming it at a referee. He suffered a concussion, all because of your lack of forward thinking. Your relevancy was saved because of ME--
He halts himself, before he mutters:
SILAS ARTORIA: Nope, no no no.
Closed eyes. Deep breath. One, two, three, four. Exhale. One, two, three, four. Pause. He reopens his eyes, faces the camera, then smiles.
SILAS ARTORIA: Apologies. Nearly derailed my address.
He coughs lightly.
SILAS ARTORIA: So...a First Blood match. Never had one personally, though I have bled like a stuffed pig before and it's not exactly...pleasant. Makes you very dizzy, in fact.
He points to the camera.
SILAS ARTORIA: So I have one final statement to Autumn, before I make a very simple request to the referee of our match.
He leans forward.
SILAS ARTORIA: I am going to ensure that you are left in a pool of your own blood, one of my making. Your going to experience the dizziness and nausea that comes with the effects of blood loss. I'll bring a knife to ensure it if it means we have to take it to the extreme, and I hope you have no plans to hold back.
His smile grew more sinister, and his voice grew darker.
SILAS ARTORIA: We live and die by inflicting devastation upon our opponents, and you're next on the chopping block. We are going to have a lot of fun with you, Autumn, and there won't be a countout, there won't be a disqualification, and there won't be a time limit that'll save you from the inevitable. We're going to dissect you piece by piece to the point that we can serve you in a butchers shop, which leads to my final statement.
He quickly leans back, twitches his head slightly, and his smile returns of a more relaxed state. His breathing noticeably calmed, as did his voice.
SILAS ARTORIA: To whom is officiating this match, please understand that as an athlete for the CWF, we sustain cuts and bruises all the time. Our legs, arms, especially backs, they bleed all the time, and if we are really following First Blood rules, it would end in about five minutes or even within the first few moves, depending on what we go for. Please, don't stop the match over a minor cut or a broken nose, or a cut lip for that matter.
He holds his index finger up.
SILAS ARTORIA: Only declare a winner after a true, undeniable, unmistakable gusher can be seen. If you can see red from the rafters and from the far side of the arena; if we bleed waterfalls, that is a true winner of a First Blood match.
His sincere smile grows.
SILAS ARTORIA: So let's raise a glass.
His hand picks up the glass, and he quickly inspects it.
SILAS ARTORIA: Gah, drank all the orange. Ahh well.
He looks back at the camera, and raises the empty glass.
SILAS ARTORIA: To WrestleFest, and to next weeks Evolution.
His smile grew even more, as he held the glass up high.