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Author Topic: Dignity  (Read 437 times)

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Offline Mariano Fernandez

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« on: February 08, 2020, 04:36:24 PM »
It seemed that Logan Traeger was going through a crisis - a crisis that could very well make or break him. Whatever his fate in Southside, it was in 4CW that Mariano would face him once more. He was no stranger to what his opponent was going through - but he had his own troubles to deal with. Retrograde first, and the opponent that cost him victory against the champion. And for Loganís claims of ďhumble kingdomĒ, it didnít go unnoticed for the Pride Champion that, humble or no, a kingdom was still that, and it was to be preserved and defended. However large his empathy, it would not get in the way of what needed to be done.

That was, after all, how a king should act.

ďCatacombs are no place for kings, Logan, nor for you.Ē

Thus he begins, surrounded by the marble tombs and statues of the various kings and queens of France, located in the majestic Basilica of Saint-Denis. The dim light of the early morning that filtered through the arched windows of the cathedral gave the tombs the desired effect of immortal nobility - of kings of yore resting in the glory of final peace.

ďWhen we faced each other the first time, Logan, I spoke to you about hope. I spoke to you about how it was the essential thing we need to hang on to, that which can never, not under any god damned circumstances, be lost. You were then the latest number one contender to Laughlin, you STILL had the opportunity to take him down at the Warzone.

But when I see the Logan Traeger that stands before me now, I see a guy that seems to have lost hope. And because I WAS there more than once, I know all too well what it feels like. And that is why I know we CANíT stay there forever, and why the man that Iím facing this week needs to get his god damned shit together.

Because does not become the top of the mountain in Southside, the man who BEAT every god damned record over there, and the man that went no less than TWICE at the 4CW Championship, to wallow in his misery because here you have had a less than stellar period. You want to hear about stagnation? You want to hear about self-image dying? I HAVE been through that exact same shit, mang! Letís not talk about the time those supposed to be my friends shat one me on a daily basis. Letís not talk about how hard it was to revert a losing record like you had in the entirety of 2018, because well, thatís two, three years ago I mentioned. Even NOW with all accomplishments you mention, you think it even matters? Even NOW the same people that say no continue to say it for the mere fact that they HATE my guts no matter what I do or how many examples I set in the god damned ring, mang!Ē

Mariano stares unflinchingly at the camera, his face as hard and unyielding as the faces of the effigies in the graves. Not with pent-up anger just waiting to be released, not with scorn or contempt, but with the solemnity of a noble lord addressing his people.

Dignity incarnate.

ďTHATís the kind of shit I have to deal with, and Iíve accepted my god damned fate. Thatís why I remain humble and modest. Thatís why I donít rub my shit over other peopleís faces unless they NEED to be reminded of who it is they want to fuck with, because thereís a god damned EXAMPLE to set, and itís part of my legacy to this company and elsewhere in the god damned world, more than any records or titles or achievements.

Itís a legacy of DIGNITY, Logan. Thatís what you SHOULD be fighting for. Your wife and your daughter and the people that you hold your smile for - THEY are the people that believe it, more than you do yourself. So donít ask me that shit about going back with your head hanged in shame. God DAMNED if I donít know what that is. God DAMNED if I didnít endure it since before you had your first match in Southside. God DAMNED if I didnít lose to the Butcher too, mang, before I beat him, and then to Anastasia Hayden the fucking first time, both of them twice in a row.

Even now that Beau Von Braun decided to get in the god damned way, it makes my fucking blood boil, mang. It grieves me to no end that an undeserving parasite who can only play shadow to whoever else is big at the time and is nothing but a stain on this god damned company was the one to get the better of me last week, and I donít give a shit if there is nothing to be ashamed of - because for me, there is. For nothing angers me more than seeing justice denied, and when that happens, I make a point never to fucking rest until I finally see it done.

Because I have my god damned dignity, Logan, and I value it above anything else in this world.Ē

The Pride Champion clenches his fist, as his last words echo among the royal tombs around him in the otherwise silent cathedral.

ďBut you donít see me lamenting, mang. You donít see me bury myself in the lowest, darkest gutters I can find. You didnít see me do it when Cartier took the Pride Title from me, OR when Bexs beat me after that. And now that we started a new year in the Corners Four, youíre NOT going to see me do it even after a loss that SHOULDNíT have god damned happened.

Instead, you have me preparing for the next match. Instead, you have me looking ahead as I did after Fright Night. Bit by bit. Match after match. Waiting for the time for just retribution, but meanwhile doing my god damned hardest to get through every hurdle. Thatís where you stand right now, Logan. That should be your motivation - the fact that I BEAT you at the greatest you have so far been. And now that we face again, and you come off a string of hard losses, you want ME to tell you how dangerous YOU should be?

You shouldnít NEED me to, Logan. Itís on YOU to god damned show it, to me and to the very people you care for, and to the rest of the roster and the people watching this show. Itís on YOU to come to this match for that breath that allows you the next. Itís on YOU to find a god damned meaning to this persistence that you seem so very close to abandon. Itís on your god damned head to fight for your own dignity, the way I have done and continue to do up to this point. For the god damned right to continue building and expanding that kingdom you WANT, as the people that lie around me have throughout this countryís history.

Because here we come to the other thing Iím fighting for, mang.Ē

The Pride Champion clenches his fist, as his last words echo among the royal tombs around him in the otherwise silent cathedral. Humble his kingdom might be, but he had built it in blood, sweat, effort and tears. It was his. And he would not lose it again.

Not before drawing blood to defend it, even if Logan Traegerís had to be the first to drop.

ďHumble kingdom or no, Logan, Iíve only reconquered it, and Iím not god damned ready to lose it again. We stand in the final threshold before Retrograde, and Iím preparing for war. For the Pride Title that I hold and need to defend once more, whose value I have to raise again after Cartier neglected it in the time between Fright Night and now, and for retribution to Beau Von Braun for stealing my chance to obtain justice.

And humble kingdom or no, I canít afford, at the verge of being besieged, to have it crumbling because of you. Desperate you might be, self-hating, with a ravenous hunger for victory or validation, that gasp of air that allows you to climb the filth you wallow in - but I, Logan, do not fight only for my own dignity anymore.

I fight not just for my own survival, but for a god damned PURPOSE, Logan, a purpose you very desperately want at this point. A purpose to finally BE the guy that beats the best in the world and does so for justice. A purpose to BE the guy that brings value to the titles he holds and doesnít merely collect them. A purpose, Logan, much like you had in Southside, at the very best of your power. In comparison to that, mere survival isnít going to cut it. Taking hammers to things that break easy isnít going to make me flinch, mang - as it didnít do Dakota Smith the first time we faced. Because no one, Logan - not even Anastasia Hayden herself - will deny that Iím made of harder stuff - and thatís why I keep coming the FUCK back.

Because THATís how much I value myself - thatís how I care about my dignity, and the one of the companies that I work under and the titles I may hold.Ē

This time, Marianoís face shows a severe, almost admonishing look, and there is the steely glint in his eyes that signals the veracity - and the weight - of his words.

ďAnd thatís why I donít want to face a Logan Traeger that spits self-pity in my face, mang. At THIS point in time, with Retrograde around the corner, I have more pressing concerns, more important things to deal with, than nursing the mind of a guy that had what it took to go against the best, even if he didnít get it done. I donít want to face a guy who KNOWS he can be more but canít find it in his heart to find the will and the way to do so.

Because as always, thatís why this match was MADE, mang. Didnít I say it last time? This match is about making a comeback once more. Itís about making a point for both of us, and to see who gets to do it first - but you lost sight of that, mang, because youíd rather hang on to your self-loathing than do something to get rid of it. And under these circumstances, I could very well say this match is a waste of my time, but the person whose time is wasted the most is YOURS.

I donít want to face a Logan Traeger that speaks to me of being backed into a corner, I want a guy that does what I DO. I once said, long ago, that when up against the wall and with no possibility of escape, a beastís natural response is to fucking KILL you. What do you THINK is going to happen when I have the dignity of a kingdom to protect!?Ē

Mariano halts abruptly, not wishing his voice to disturb the deadís rest. But as he resumes his speech, itís still hard to keep it from shouting to the silence of the Saint-Denis abbey.

ďFaced with that, Logan, you want to talk about your own hindrances? About validation, lack of motivation - you want the world to PITY you? Where is your pride, mang? Where is YOUR god damned dignity? WHERE is that instinct that only those looking at their impending death in the face can awaken? When I was in my third loss in a row in November, I got up that god damned scaffold and threw Madman Szalinski to his doom. When I went against Cartier at Winter Wasteland I was determined to get the title I hold back by ANY means god damned necessary. When I go against Beau Von Braun at Retrograde Iím going to make him pay DEARLY for costing me the chance at Anastasia Hayden.

And coming off the first loss of 2020 and the BIG one it was, Iím THAT much willing to stall your redemption, Logan. Take it as it is, one more loss against someone who was seen as the favorite. You have a bigger advantage - I have already beaten you once. Use it as god damned fuel, the fire that feeds your need for redemption, for vindication, for when the third time comes, Logan.

Because thatís what Iím going to do when my own time arrives - and arrive, chico, it will. And THAT is the lesson that awaits you at Milwaukee, Logan. To fight for your kingdom, humble or no. To fight for your dignity and the people that believe in you. To go home with your head held high and not hanging like youíve lost your purpose. And most importantly, Logan, to know HOW a king should be remembered upon death - forever remembered and transcending the world, his face carved in marble just like that of these tombs. Enshrined forever in history and having contributed to their kingdom - humble or no.Ē

DA #TROLL GUY opens his arms, signifying simplicity. That was what it was all about, and ever had been - oneís fate always being oneís own, never directed by anyone else.

ďYou said this yourself, Logan - this HAS to be the point where it all gives, and itís going to be in the form of your second loss against me. It will not be painless - it never is with these things. But itíll be worth it. It will be a limit break, and, if you are strong, it will be a new beginning, a solid foundation. Because JUST maybe, you will have a reason to go home with your head held high, for you will have lost to the Triple Crown, twice Pride Champion, and the guy that beat those you couldnít - Champion Laughlin and Hall of Famer Dakota.

That same guy that was once in your place and carved a kingdom, however humble, out of pure will to fight. That same guy that used his loss against the 4CW Champion to fuel the will to fight for his kingdom, and to preserve it, at any and all cost. The guy that taught you, in the end, the meaning of dignity - and where a true king, humble or no, should dwell.Ē

Mariano waves his arm around the cathedral, gazing at the graves of the illustrious monarchs of France.

ďAs for getting back the dignity you deserve, Logan? Itís very simple.Ē

The Pride Champion makes a swift and final point at the camera, giving his opponent the thing he needed the most - the truth.

The only truth that ever matters.

ďThatís up to you.Ē

Fade to black.

- Special thanks to Kestrel for the avatar and signature