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X-treme Wrestling Federation » Pay Per View Boards » March Madness VI 2024 RP Boards
Sowing Thoughts
Author Message
Ned Kaye Offline
per cogitabat, per facis
TITLE - Tag Champion



XWF FanBase:
The IWC

(gets varying reactions in the arenas, but will be worshiped like a god and defended until the end by internet fans; literally has thousands of online dorks logging on to complain anytime they lose a match or don't get pushed right)


#1
03-23-2024, 10:57 PM

OOC: Finishing formatting.


Sowing Thoughts



The chaotic sounds of The Notorious Gym carried through the brownstone that hosted it. For almost as long as Ned had been in the XWF, it stood, taking all comers. Offering to those with a little time and a meager expense a chance to improve themselves. A chance to grow. The rhythmic drones of treadmills with the clanking metal of various weights giving the entire establishment a beautiful melody. It was one Ned often adored basking in, gazing upon the opportunity he had fought to give to others.

The sounds were muffled behind the door of Ned’s office.

He leaned against his desk, eyes intent on the disparate bits of information spread out before him. A mobile whiteboard stared back at him, its glossy surface so covered with scraps of paper and photographs, that it nearly couldn’t reflect the dim light shining towards it. He had placed every single one over the course of a few weeks, the paper soft on his hands attempting to nick his skin on its edges.The slight roughness of the string, its soft splinters prodding his fingertips as he taped the bits of information that seemed to align. Soft residue of weak glue from strips of tape collecting on his fingers.

The murders in New York that Crucible had been keeping an eye on had risen to twelve, each victim carrying an association with some aspect of NYC’s criminal element, but lacking any grand coherency. A youth center, a wannabe heir to a crime lord, and the looming question of a possible hitman. And all of it seemed to orbit around one suspect: the father of Ned’s very own tag-team partner. A cyclone of circumstance singling out one target. The circle was almost too perfect, a conclusion so clean that it begged to be manufactured. But Isaiah, now rechristened Prince Adeyemi, was Ned’s ally. More than that, his friend.

Could he risk being right?

And that was without dwelling on his sponsor, Amelia, whose avoidance of him had grown from suspicious to downright concerning. He trusted both of them and promised to uphold it, but now lives were in the balance. Who was paying the cost of that trust? What was his responsibility to them?

He exhaled, forcing the thoughts to the side as he attempted to find a connecting factor to all of it.

An overlooked piece?

His gaze settled on an empty space, in-between the clippings and photographs, seeing only his reflection.

The door to his office swung open, one of the gym’s employees with a concerned expression bursting in.

“What’s wrong?” Ned asked, her growing dread readily apparent. She stepped towards him, handing him a piece of paper, its plasticy texture feeling smooth to the touch, edges jagged against his palms.

“This just got dropped off today,” she answered, motioning downwards for Ned to read its header. It didn’t take long for Ned to understand her dismay. Another reflection.

Legal notice.

---------------------

‘Here at Maxwell Mansion & Associates, we want to give you the legal recourse you deserve! Your company’s name not being given the respect it deserves? We got ya! Pesky whistleblowers trying to weasel past an NDA? NBD! Disputes with renters? Get their money and get em’ out! That’s the guarantee only true masters of the law like us can offer! Remember, if I can’t give you the max mansion, then my name’s not Max Mansion!”

Ned’s suit clung to his body, trying to ignore the tacky commercial being played in the otherwise standard looking legal office. Sterile, with a lifeless blue tint in the tile and wooden tables the color of cheap milk chocolate. Eight floors up on a high rise, the office’s windows overlooked the city just enough so the smaller buildings concealed the people below while giving an excellent view of the skyscrapers surrounding it. He inhaled, still feeling the tight grip of fabric around his throat, deciding to loosen the top two buttons.

“I don’t think  I’ve met anyone else so melodramatic about being well-dressed,” Theo Pryce stated, having walked into the office, taking a seat next to Ned. The commercial continued to blare at the two, but company made the barrage of pandering to power more tolerable..

“So,” Pryce’s demeanor shifted from his effortless confidence as he asked the question Ned had struggled to articulate, “why did you ask me here?”

Ned glanced towards the window, in the direction of where his gym would be seen if not for the massive towers cascaded before it.

“The company I leased the building for The Notorious Gym from is trying to end my lease suddenly,” Ned answered solemnly.

Theo shrugged, sympathetic, but visibly unaffected by the news, “Doesn’t that place take up a good chunk of your salary, barely managing to break even?”

“That’s not-”

“And it collects dust like a motherfucker.”

“Again-”

“If I remember correctly, you’ve had to shut it down temporarily a few times, too.”

Theo!” Ned’s voice raised as his body lurched forward in his seat, “I’m not arguing that it hasn’t been a sacrifice or tough to keep up with, but it’s a place I helped build along with so many friends and allies! Plus, I take the hit financially so that people can afford to actually go to the gym. I don’t care about the money! I do it to help people and that’s being endangered. Doesn’t that matter to you?”

Theo’s expression made his answer apparent.

Ned sighed, chuckling as he realized how ill-fated his appeal was, “You know, sometimes you almost seem like a human being.”[/color][/font]

“Oh, Ned,” Theo lightly gripped onto his coat, “I’m almost hurt.”

Lifting his body up, Ned turned to Theo, searching for an alternative manner to express the importance at play.

“It matters to me.”

Theo’s pupils scanned over Ned, emoting more than the rest of his face. They were from separate worlds, irreconcilable ones to most. Yet, Theo had some sort of appreciation for Ned. Kaye didn’t dare refer to it as a fondness, but it was a form of loyalty and respect. He hid much in that suit, still, he seemed to understand.

“My, my, my,” A man wearing a brightly colored tan suit stepped into the waiting area to greet Ned and Theo, his faux-smile matching the one on the television behind him, “Maxwell Mansion at your service gentlemen! It’s always lovely to bear witness to some punctuality.”

He stuck out his mitt for a handshake, starting with Theo and, in lieu of the former’s refusal, opted for a short one from Ned.

“Right this way,” Maxwell pointed them towards his office proper, his smirk faltering slightly as Ned hesitated.

“One question real quick.”

“Yes?”

“Why are you showing a commercial of yourself in your own office?” Ned asked, his tone making the inquiry come off more blunt.

“Well, you see-,” Max gestured with his hands, clearly stalling for an answer, “consider it an additional layer of customer confidence! That’s the kind of man I strive to be!”

“Clearly,” Theo added.

The desk of Maxwell Mansion had been hastily cleared off, much of the debris that had presumably occupied the top having been shoveled into a bin to the side. The carpet looked rough to the touch, like an old arcade flooring that had become stiff and faded with time. It graveled beneath the wheels of the rolling chairs, a primordial gurgle from below, gasping for death. The sound was drowned out by the gentle rattle of ice cubes tumbling into a glass, a bitter, brief cackle soothed by the flowing amber that followed them.

“Whiskey?” Max asked, sliding the drink in front of Ned. Kaye’s eyes never bothered to even glance downward.

“No,” Ned answered sternly. Theo’s hand intercepted the glass, keeping a firm grip on it.

“He’s a recovering alcoholic,” Theo added before Max finished prepping another glass, opting to keep it.

“Oh, my mistake,” Maxwell placed a hand on his chest as he apologized, his face contorting in exaggerated regret, “how long have you been sober?”

“One year,” Kaye answered, his voice cold enough without the ice.

“Ah,” Max’s eyebrows danced, taking an exaggerated sip, slurping the liquor from its prison. Pryce took a drink, ensuring it was far more courteous to the ears.

“Let’s get down to brass tacks,” Mansion rubbed his hands together, before intertwining his fingers at the interdigits, “the lessor is dissatisfied and feels that you have sufficiently broken the terms of your lease. Now, in lieu of implementing a hefty fine, my client feels a far more amicable solution-”

“Hold up,” Theo raised a palm, ceasing the spiel before it could go any further, why do you think Ned violated the lease? That’s a bold conclusion to come to out of the blue.”

“Oh, not out of the blue, not at all,” the words dripped from Maxwell’s lips like fermented honey, “see, your friend here had a very public breakdown a while back. Becoming a drunken supervillain then becoming a faceless imitator. Shame for him, he couldn’t imitate someone following the terms of his contract, tsk, tsk. He left the operation of his “gym” to his brother and a childhood friend when the lessor fully expected him to be involved in the upkeep and not to effectively sublet.”

Theo snorted slightly, amused by the attempts of this bargain bin ambulance chaser, “that’s a hell of a leap to make. And you’re hoping a court would back you up based on that logic?”

Mansion raised up his hands, attempting to look oblivious, “who knows, Mr Pryce? Who knows what they’ll think if they find out your buddy had been using it like a home for going on five years now?”

Maxwell’s attention shifted to Kaye, the beginnings of a true smile forming on his lips, “what do you think? You gonna deny that’s what you were up to?”

“I-” Ned couldn’t get the words out fully before Theo stopped him.

“You don’t have to answer that,” He anchored his elbows on the desk, resting his chin across his knuckles, peering through the man with the insight a thousand company meetings affords you, “Alright, Mansion, what’s your angle?”

Incredulously, Mansion’s demeanor once again shifted to blissful innocence, “I don’t have an angle, but hypothetically speaking, perhaps Ned’s little attempt at charity doesn’t provide much in the way of income for my client and they’re looking to something more… profitable.”

“Like what?” Ned’s stomach twisted before the answer even came, Mansion flipping out the lights and using a small remote to project an image on the blinds behind him, somewhat faint given the time of day. Still, the gaudy green logo of a mountain was clear to see.

“Behold, a lovely proposition to take this musty old beat up establishment and add it to the prestigious Everest’s Peak Spa & Workout franchise! Where once, you have a couple dozen penniless nobodies prancing about this relic, now you can inspire some real money to have a real good time relaxing in the exotic Blandiarium Imitation Mud that they assure me they procured legally!”

“You’re going to take the Notorious Gym and turn it into a spa?” Ned asked, his voice flat.

“Well, not me personally, but they-”

“They’re going to take a place that gives real people access to a gym and turn it into a spa.”

“Uh- y-yes-” Max tried to regain control, but the revelation had brought certain consequences and he would have to accept them.

“They’re going to take my gym and turn it into some overpriced, wasteful, mass market money trap?” Ned’s ire for the concept was quiet, but burnt as intensely. An invisible flame on the track.

“...& Workout,” Mansion added sheepishly.

“Why?” The word was as jagged as his reaction to the plan.

Maxwell fingers danced, typing the air, “It’s the way things are going, Mr. Kaye. See, stories like yours are inspiring in that “look at this little dog that managed to walk home on three legs” sort of way. But that only takes you so far! Sure, you’ll get one big newsday, but the big money gets what it wants! They’re born into it. The world bends to their will and we move to let them have their way and get some scraps for good behavior. They get to be the name plastered on the signs and you get…”

Mansion shrugged, shoving an agreement towards Ned, “...this.”

Ned scanned over the offer. In order to avoid a fine, all it would take was the equipment already in the gym. It wasn’t like he was going to be able to keep it anyway, but it was an extra layer of domination. A twist of the knife for the sake of making the wound larger.

Theo stood, tapping on Ned’s shoulder as he gestured towards the lobby once more, “Excuse us, Max, we’re going to have a conversation.”

“Oh, absolutely! Talk it over as much as you need to!” Maxwell smiled, winking at Ned as he stepped out of the office, adding one final statement, one that sent chills down his spine, “It’s nice to have that big money on your side, huh?”

Theo’s eyes rolled as soon as they were out of the sight of Max Mansion, wiping the hand that had touched the same glass against his shirt, “Alright, first things first, we’re going to get you a proper lawyer. If they had a problem with you not being there over a year ago, then they had ample time to terminate the lease sooner-”

Ned’s thoughts lingered on the final comment, his skin feeling grimy.

“They want to shove their weight around, but if it goes to trial, the odds of them being able to force a fine on you is absurd. Worst case, we get them to pay for a new gym, maybe twice the size. Might take a while, but I’ve stomped worse than Maxwell Mansion and some spa company-”

“Theo,” Ned cut him off, “it’s also because I lived there. I did.”

“Those specifics aren’t important,” Pryce attempted to reassure,Ned’s voice raising in disbelief at the notion.

“Of course it is! You want me to lie to get one over on them?”

“I’m not advising perjury, just… portray the truth favorably.”

A laugh forced its way out of Ned, slightly chewing on his lower lip in frustration afterwards, “That sure sounds like a fancy way of lying.”

Theo’s patience dropped, just shy of shattering entirely, “You made such a big deal of how important this is for you, you request I be here, I give you my time and now you’ve got problems? Ned, it’s transparent that they’re breaking the rules in this instance.”

“So, I get to bend them? I just decide something doesn’t apply to me?”

“I’m so sorry. I forgot your integrity is so sacred that sacrificing a hint of it for a good endeavor just once is too much.”

“It’s never just once,” Ned replied sternly.

Growing silent, Pryce turned to the window, glancing upwards at the offices he typically found himself in.

“If I don’t always keep my word, then it never means anything. This is a case where some money hops in and starts throwing its weight around. I can choose to keep that cycle or buck it.”

“At a cost, Ned,” Theo added, doing his best to remain sympathetic, “ultimately, it’s your decision. I can’t make you choose, but I’m on your side here. They want to push around my talent and I’m willing to show them where that gets them.”

Theo turned around. Ned had made his choice before a word had left Theo’s lips.



The Notorious Gym had a neon sign, one lovingly commissioned by Ned’s childhood friend, Ethan Davis.

It had one.

The sign, clumsily removed, had fallen, bursting against the ground in a mangle of glass and metal. Ned could see it from his new apartment, the cramped interior furnished with a few of his things with a perfect view of the destruction of that once sacred little brownstone. They hadn’t waited to clean the rubble of The Notorious Gym’s sign before placing the new Everest’s Peak one outside, content to let the remnants remain the shadow above.

Ned didn’t watch the scene for long.

Shutting the blinds, he shifted his body back to go grab the last bit of furniture from his apartment. He shoved the question of why this happened as far down as it would go, trying to suppress it until the air stopped bubbling up. Sometimes, greed is the only explanation. Sometimes, that’s all it has to be.

He began rolling in the whiteboard, adorned with its clues and pictures and string and tape. It jutted, getting stuck on something else as he tried to fit it through the doorway, failing with each attempt.





Ned stands atop the building that once housed his gym, looking over at the horizon. A somber atmosphere hangs in the hair, but the Universal Championship glitters in the dim light as well as the bright.

“Surroundings.”

“They define us as much as we define them. What we cultivate. And as soon as I laid eyes on Sebastian Everett-Bryce, I had him pegged. He wants to be incredibly complex and interesting, but just like every rich guy wrestler, he’s a pair of designer shoes thinking he’s work boots. A bad guy? No, but he doesn't have to be a bad guy to be bad for this title. His view of what this championship means is warped. And it's warped because of what he wants his surroundings to be.”

“Seb acts like he’s fine taking the avarice his father crafted his family’s legacy around and burning it until the ashes turn pale, but he doesn’t throw away the fancy suits, he doesn’t hesitate setting up elaborate business meetings and shifting into the skin that’s defined him and his name for ages, and he sure as hell is fine keeping the presentation even when he appears in wrestling promotions. He wears rebellion like an edgy teen buying pre-cut jeans. See, Seb, you aren’t mad that your father gave you a silver spoon, you’re disappointed it didn’t have your first name embossed on it. It’s that ego that pushed you into Pantheon and it’s what has brought you here to the XWF. When your friends came in and challenged for the Tag Team Titles, I called their entire schtick immediately because I have seen a million people like you, competitors who see gold and nothing else. Here’s a pop quiz for you Seb, can you name any Universal Champions? Have you even bothered to learn the history of what you wish to earn here? You walked into this company to become a triple champion. I became a wrestler to be the XWF Universal Champion.”

“Let me give you some of those names you didn’t bother to learn: ALIAS, Raion Kido, Bobby Bourbon, Robert Main, Gator, Theo Pryce, Mark Flynn, and Isaiah King. They count on me, Seb, whether they know it or not. Everything I do represents the title they fought, bled, and sacrificed for! When I step in the ring, regardless of if I speak or wrestle, the world gazes upon me and judgment accompanies the spotlight. That’s what this gig is. That’s the responsibility. Not what any one person sees of me, but what I bestow upon this.”


Ned taps his finger on the faceplate of the Universal Title Belt.

“You tapped out to Mark and then immediately started talking about how you couldn’t be seen by me like that. Your suit got torn and you had to focus on mending the seam for the eyes of another. What about you, Seb? You didn’t seem so concerned that you lost as much as you were that I would know. You wanna know a secret, Seb? All of those names I mentioned aren’t the ones judging me everytime I defend this title. I am. I do it for me. The power you give me over you is the power I exert over myself. I stand up and set an example not because it’s just the right thing to do, but because I want to do the right thing. I saw that vain side of you coming the second I heard the chorus to Fame. Carefully keeping up the image- the brand. A suit with nothing underneath but a dress shirt. You ask why you weren’t named Lawrence or Wilfred. Here’s a better question: would you squander those names, too? You hopped into the XWF to try and pick up a fancy line to put under a name you’re not even sure you want. You’re not trying to compete, you’re trying to fill a hole.”

“The sad thing is that I don’t dislike you. Hell, what’s there to dislike? That’s the problem with being empty, Seb. You’ve sanded down so much of yourself to the point that the most polarizing thing about you is your hairstyle. People feel strongly about me, Seb. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I say what I see. You’re the kind of man who has to file a report to express an emotion. You sleepwalk through every sentence, thinking you’re adding emphasis instead of just being a tool with extra steps. You’re a company calendar. Theo Pryce minus the personality. See, Theo’s not someone anyone would call perfect, but he loves this company for what it is. You’d turn this place into a spa! A place to trim your nails! That’s your surroundings! A lavish, empty facade! I went through Hell and back to get this belt and prove myself worth being this company’s champion! To make this a place where anyone can come and improve alongside others! Do you know how many nights I spent striving to be here? The XWF gave me hope when the world seemed hopeless. It taught me that there could be a place where despite everything else, some kid from Brooklyn could prove he belonged. I made a home here and to watch you act like you’re owed one when you’ve been handed opportunity after opportunity makes my stomach churn.”

“So, we’re not going to just have a match. We’re going to have an Ultimate X match. A showcase of nearly every aspect of this sport I love and this place I call home, draped underneath the letter that encapsulates this place best. At March Madness, I’m going to prove to you what this company means. What your 200 dollar haircut can’t honor. In your own eyes, you’re a man who burns legacies. I’m a man who builds them. And when I’ve climbed across the ropes dangling above us and I’ve secured the Universal Title in my hands, the lights will surround us and you will be standing in a shadow you can’t comprehend. A legacy you can’t burn down.”

“I call myself the soul of the XWF because I am its unbridled spirit. Out there, in business rooms and offices, you have my number, but in here I am unstoppable. I was forged here, gave my all for here, and I will stand tall no matter what, adding chapter after chapter to the story of this place. Because I owe the XWF everything, so I give it everything. But you’ve barely given it an ounce of yourself and now you want to stand atop it. To gaze down from its peak and call it your own. But glory’s grasp over your gaze is what keeps it from your grip. You are fighting for a title. I am fighting for a principle and I don’t treat my principles lightly. So, at March Madness, when the bell rings, you will not only gaze up at the Universal Championship. You will gaze up at the man who exemplifies what it means to hold it.”

“Welcome to the XWF, Everett-Bryce. You’ve got a long way to go.”

"You can't run from yourself."
[Image: riNkNZw.png]
XWF
Wins | Losses | Draws
52 | 37 | 4


Indie Darling Eternal

#33 on The XWF Top 50(2021)
1x Tag Team Champion[with Isaiah King](Current)
2x [Image: CbviDqC.png] (Former)
1x X-Treme Champion(Former)
The Final Supercontinental Champion
1x Television Champion(Former)
Star of the Month - April 2019 | March 2021 | December 2022
RP of the Month - March 2021 (Void of the Mind)
Winner - Leap Of Faith Rafter Match 2019
1x 24/7 Briefcase Holder
Winner - War Games 2023(With Mark Flynn, Isaiah King, & Crash Rodriguez as G00D-B01)


All Time Career(Interfed)
Wins | Losses | Draws
52 | 38 | 4
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