Probably the most powerful element in existence. Known to both destroy and embody a sense of rebirth. A mythical bird lost in a sea of flame, only to be reignited, reborn, and rekindled with new life. It's a cycle that generates so many feelings, thoughts of what is to come, refocused from the bitter past. In this instance fire is a tool used to make what was old new again. To rise up from the ashes of the old and broken, in a new and improved upon state.
That's the outcome though. It paints a pretty picture of the future, of the things that are to come. Everybody and everything is happy, brand new, the scars of yesterday erased like they were never acquired...
But the ol' jester knows. The jester sees all. No one really pays attention to the funny ones who are only called upon when a good laugh is required. Loki sees all though. From the shadows... Loki watches. Loki sees all the scars deep down, hidden away from the prying eyes with a skin of new and flashy bells and whistles.
Tweet tweet mother truckers. Ring-a-ding-ding.
The jester sees what that fire did to you. She sees all your scars. Your secrets that you thought were locked away, never to be seen or heard from again. Those poor, poor secrets...
Car horns blare outside, the oddly satisfying sound of traffic in the rain is something that brought a smile to James Milenko's face. The quiet coffee shop he found in Louisville was just what the doctor ordered on a dreary day. Hot bean water, flavored with vanilla, and....
Spilled all over James Milenko's favorite blazer. He looks up incredulously at the young man, maybe seven years old that ran by without a care in the world, knocking James' freshly made bean water askew in the worst possible way. The rage rises, the face gets red and James is about to let the parent that allowed their kid to run recklessly into a stranger know exactly what he thought about the death penalty for juniors when a light grasp touches his arm, almost as if pulling him away from the brink of anger.
James waves off the bewildered parent and the shocked kid who looks like he's seen a ghost. If one were to ask James Milenko? Hostility was a ghost. A very angry and very dangerous one, but then again he supposed that's what he was there for. CWF wants an exclusive with the one and only James Milenko who ended a hiatus longer than the length of his considerable... Arm, to help bring the end to a federation that did the same to him all those years earlier.
The email from the "powers that be" was vague, only giving the address and time to meet a "designated representative from the CWF press corps." This was only to be expected and in all honesty, if James was anywhere near the dirty old man he is portrayed to be, and being completely honest; he was looking forward to getting a closer look at Tara Robinson. The quick glances he has been able to steal so far has only cemented the idea of an incredibly attractive reporter type just looking to get through the day without being put through a table. Hell even the Ubetcha broad, Jace Valentine's personal take home project, wouldn't be terrible on the eyes. So imagine the look of vile disgust on James Milenko's face when he turns around to come face to face with none other than...
The two make awkward eye contact as Marcus tries to awkwardly hand James a fresh cup of bean water. James accepts the cup almost absentmindedly, still staring at the CWF backstage interviewer who is completely overlooked on most occasions. Sensing that he wasn’t who James was expecting, Marcus awkwardly rubs his head and motions toward one of several open tables in the middle of the tiny coffee house. Milenko steps out of the way and allows Marcus to lead the way to the seats and sits down opposite the reporter, who takes out a notebook and recorder, hitting the record button and setting it on the table. Milenko rolls his eyes and crosses his legs impatiently huffing slightly. His face turns red partly from embarrassment and partly from anger as “I Think We’re Alone Now” performed by The Birthday Massacre starts to play softly over the speakers. At least he has coffee now.
Marcus Maximus: Sorry, I guess I’m not who you were expecting?
James looks at him crossly and takes another sip of coffee before replying.
James Milenko: You could say that. You could even say that I was expecting someone prettier. Not a reject bouncer from a gay club. “Contractually mandated” nonsense though, I get it. Ataxia is threatened by me and wants to make my life more difficult, whatever. I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t do the same thing. Now I’m sure that you’re excited for the first of what I’m sure will be several, “exclusive interviews” with James Milenko. Feel honored, for the first time in your life I’m sure, coming in first is actually a good thing.
James hides his smug smile behind another sip of coffee. The look of befuddlement on Marcus’ face was enough to last Milenko through what he was sure was going to be an annoying interview. At least the coffee was somewhat good. He sighs as he drifts off to his happy place, only half paying attention to what Marcus is saying…
Are you still paying attention Zach? I hope so because you’re going to be tested and I honestly don’t believe you have what it takes to pass. You don’t know what terrors you have brought down upon yourself and your so called “friends.” I was content to watch from afar, enjoying the fact that in only a few short weeks, my presence has caused more of a splash than you almost dying in the hospital ever did. What exactly have you done that was noteworthy Zach, hmmm?
You are nothing more than a footnote at the bottom of the tyrannical reign of a short lived group of cookies. Slotted next to, “slightly more dangerous than a mosquito and more annoying than the common house fly.” Congrats on that one. In case you are too busy flying high in the clouds, that was sarcasm. There is nothing noteworthy about you except some flashy moves that look really cool if you do them super fast and bright a bright color contrasted with black. You’re definitely noticeable Zach. Like a flashing traffic light, I see you and could care less about your existence.
I take it back. What I just said was rude and completely uncalled for. I should never have compared you to Zach traffic light. I apologize for hurting your feelings. I digress though.
Everyone seems to lose sight of one very important thing when it comes to fire, Zach. Do you know what that is? Based on what I’ve personally seen throughout my time on this plane of existence, people such as yourself are obsessed with how the fire started and what happens when the smoke clears and you notice a small pile of ash, slowly rising up and becoming… Whatever it is that rises from a pile of ashes. A shining beacon of, “Look at what happens when you get the shit kicked out of you! If you believe hard enough, you can become almost god-like!”
It’s that cycle I told you about earlier, were you paying attention? No one really pays attention to the process though. What happens between the before and the after? This is where I come in Zach.
Loki Synn is the thing nightmares are made of. Loki Synn is the harbinger of doom for so many FECKING people and you running down to “save your friends…” Oh wait, sorry… “FRANDS” was certainly heroic and I’ll admit to you, that you caught me off guard. You sir, have just joined in on a most dangerous game and I truly believe that you underestimate the stakes.
You put yourself on my radar, forcefully I might add. For this injustice, I’m not going to stop until I leave you twitching on the ground in a pool of your own blood, wondering where you went wrong, and wondering if you really choose the right person to try and stand up against. How’s that for an impact?
That was a rhetorical question Zach. I don’t expect you to know anything about making an impact.
James Milenko slowly blinks as Marcus finishes the… However long it was discussion about his history in the field of the CWF press corps and what he felt he was worthy enough to interview James Milenko. He has to give the kid props, despite his outward, not pretty appearance, and the fact that he isn’t a hot chick, Marcus wasn’t that terrible of an interviewer. Maybe he was growing on James. Maybe
Marcus Maximus: Now that I’ve introduced myself, I have to say, James Milenko, it is an absolute HONOR to meet you. What you’ve done for the wrestling business is underappreciated in most circles and I remember Hostility going down after the CWF invaded. On behalf of everyone here, I apologize, humbly for past transactions. I know that it doesn’t do a lot, but I hope that it will be a start.
James looks flabbergasted and hides his speechlessness behind another empty sip of bean water. The cup had been empty since about halfway through Marcus’ “brief” introduction. It had so far gone unnoticed.
James Milenko: I'm uhm... I'm sorry. I wasn't expecting, uhhh... I was expecting... Hmmm...
He scratches his chin thoughtfully and snaps his fingers with sudden inspiration.
James Milenko: I was expecting someone prettier!
He yells it like it's supposed to be an obvious statement. Marcus looks taken aback but let's it slide. It IS James Milenko after all. Still he has to hide his hurt and smile as James looks like he just answered the Final Jeopardy question correctly.
Marcus Maximus: Er, right, sorry for that. Anyways, I guess you're wondering why you were brought out here?
James doesn't give the man a chance to elaborate and halts any further inquisitions from Marcus with his own voice.
James Milenko: Marcus! Marcus! M'dear boy! Of course NOT! I am probably the most talked about man in all of CWF right about now. Eighteen year old champ? Who is that? A stable that holds most of the titles minus one? Thanks for keeping them warm for us boys. No, I'm not wondering anything. Right now I'm flying higher than any kite that you've ever gotten stuck in a tree Charlie Brown, and I don't expect you to understand that.
Marcus looks crestfallen but seems to beat it in a second of calling upon his intestinal fortitude. James however, doesn't let the man get a word in.
James Milenko: Last week I went out and I explained what I was doing in the CWF after all these years. Last week The Shadow decided to try and call me out. NO ONE calls out James Milenko and that groupie wannabe is going to learn that the hard way!
Marcus shakes his head electing to stay quiet. His views on James Milenko may have just shifted slightly.
James Milenko: CWF took something very near and dear to me Marcus, do you know what it's like to have something that you nurtured, you raised from a little fledgling chick, into a proud and mighty beast, injected with a vile poison, and left to rot? Do you? Let me tell you Marcus, it doesn't feel very good. It was like the Rishel's ripped my heart out and stomped on it, grinding it into the ground, and humping it into submission over and over again. It was absolutely horrendous Marcus, terrible.
I can see those wheels turning in your head Marcus, I know you can feel some of my pain. Thank you for your sympathies. Rest easy though, you'll be happy to know that I'm not shy when I'm telling people my revenge plots. I'm not the average, run of the mill bad man. I'm likeable, loveable, and simply adorable! Chicks dig me Marcus, you could take some pointers.
So far, everything I have promised to bring to the CWF has come true. Do you really have to ask me any more questions in terms of what my intents here are? I quite literally have nothing and no one to worry about.
Marcus Maximus: But what makes you so confidant that Loki Synn won't turn on you?
For a brief moment James looks startled by the question, almost taken aback. He gathers his thoughts, chewing on each word thoughtfully before leaning in close to Marcus, beckoning him closer as if he is going to tell him a secret. Marcus leans in. James leans in a little more, Marcus mimics until their faces are inches apart. With the speed of a liger, James Milenko reaches his hand back and in one fluid motion delivers a smack across the face of Marcus Maximus that could be heard three states over! The coffee shop goes silent, all eyes on the reporter trying to get the biggest scoop of his career at CWF and Milenko whose eyes are wide, spittle at the corners of his mouth, his arm still held in place at the follow through. He clears his throat and adjusts his blazer before sitting back in his seat. His voice is quiet and steady, with a deadly edge.
James Milenko: No one questions me. Loki is under my thumb and is nothing more than a pawn in MY game. Nothing more than that. What she doesn’t know is that I am the one that holds all the cards. She can do whatever she wants because right now? It’s working in my favor. I have no reason to NOT trust Loki, ya’ know what I’m saying? If that reason ever does creep up though… Rest assured I won’t hesitate to flip the killswitch.
James Milenko doesn’t really register the look of shock and disbelief on Marcus’ face as he gets up and with a huff, shoves his hands in his pockets, wrestles out his phone, answers it, and motions to Marcus that he's be only a second as he exits the door and disappears out of sight. Marcus couldn’t be happier, he had a feeling the interview was going to go south and he’s had exes slap harder than that before. Now it just gave him an excuse to get himself a nice blended drink and maybe a bagel to go with it to enjoy. The thought brings a smile to his face as he gazes listly up into the air, imagining the lightly toasted and buttered bagel, oozing with cream cheese.
That is until a figure appears from nowhere wearing a hoodie with a hood covering her upper face. They grab Marcus by the nose and as they sit down, forcefully pull Marcus’ gaze down with them so that he can see the figure encased in an oversized hoodie, facial features indistinguishable from the depth of the hood. The figure sits and watches as Marcus puzzles all of this out in his head when he brings his focus back onto the figure before him, now holding a joker from a deck of cards, but instead the traditional joker emblem is scribbled out and covered by a jester emblem. It dances back and forth in the figure’s hand, Marcus focusing now on the card as it hops back and forth in front of him until…
Marcus Maximus: Loki?!
The figure claps briefly but quickly raises its finger up to its lips, telling Marcus to shut up and lean in close. He does so and with the speed of a locomotive, the figure slaps the same spot James Milenko just got done with! Marcus falls off of his chair sideways and once again the other patrons stare at the spectacle. The hooded figure sits calmly, sipping from a cup like nothing happened, leaving a teal and purple lip stain on the rim. Marcus clamors back onto his chair.
Marcus Maximus: Sorry! Sorry. I uh. I slipped. Yeah. Everyone here should try the bagels. To. Die. For!
No one cared. They had all already gone back to whatever it was the two other people inside a quiet coffee shop in Kentucky of all places were doing before Marcus showed up. Her voice is just as quiet as Milenko’s was, but more deadly.
Loki Synn: It seems you now know about something that I would very much like to know about Marcus. How talkative are you feeling right now?
Marcus looks up at the figure sitting across from him, her lips are the only things showing, the rest of her features shrouded. A smirk etches itself across her face as Marcus rubs feeling back into his face. He stays silent though which only causes Loki’s smile to falter slightly.
Loki Synn: Marcus, you obviously know who I am and what I’m capable of. I’ll make what Silas did to Tara look like child’s play if I don’t get what I want. I know James told you something about me and I want to know what that something is.
Her words cut through him like acid would through metal. Considering his options, telling Loki about something that James Milenko briefly made mention of seemed like a small price to pay to keep his own butt safe. Slowly, he begins to tell Loki about his conversation with James Milenko.
Do you see what you’ve gotten yourself into yet Zach? This isn’t your triumphant return to the stage. This isn’t you rising from the ashes to become something better and greater than before. The part that people seem to forget about the fire resurrection motif is that for every life that fire improves upon…
It takes so much more. It’s the process. People forget about the process Zach. While you’re wrapped up in your cocoon of improvement, watching the flames swirl around you as they revitalize you and make you stronger; there’s more going on outside. You might see the pretty swirls of the flames but have you ever stopped to consider what those flames are doing to the rest of the people who you didn’t take with you? They burn. They burn and they yell out in pain, and they don’t get a chance to come back because you’re being selfish and are too busy on your own plan of self improvement to save them. You then come back, “better than before and ready to face all comers, starting with the evil and vile Loki Synn!”
That ash that you’re crawling out of? It’s all the remains of everything you left behind. Everyone. Fire isn’t selective Zach. It changes everyone and the people that can’t withstand the change? They burn. How many people did you turn your back on and watch as they burn in the fires of your change? Can you count them? Did you look at them with that look of steely determination you’re known for and promise them that you would dispel any and all evil in the world in their name?
Do you see the irony? Or is that coincidence? I always get those two confused. Either way I find it hilarious that you think that I’M the evil one when YOU are the one that is basking in the light of their own comeback while not once checking on the people you claim to love. Come Evolution, you will learn all about flames and their amazing power to not only resurrect, but to also obliterate. I’m forced to wonder what your question would have been should you win against me. The odds are not in your favor Zach and I’m afraid that the world may never find out. At Evolution, you will find out how big of a mistake that you made when you tried to return at my expense. The worst thing that you did was delay me a couple weeks from going after the group you claim to be a member of; even though most people when asked didn’t even realize that you have any connection to The Forsaken in the first place.
Yet I’m cast as the delusional one. There is bias in this system I tell you!
I suppose Zach that there isn’t much more to be said on this tired subject. You see? I’m already bored just trying to get through this. The best part about our match is going to be watching you scream in agony as I blister your flesh against the wall of flame YOU asked to be ignited around us. The only thing that could possibly come close to outdoing that feeling is ending you, Zach. I will not only leave you lying in the ring, but I will also ensure that your spirit and psyche are left destroyed and irreparable.
I’m looking forward to it. I love watching things around me burn. Tell me Zach, how are you going to fare when YOUR world goes up in flames? I’ll see you at Evolution Sweet Cheeks.