The bonds of marriage, the bonds of friendship, and the bonds of war. We form all sorts of bonds throughout our lives, but which is truly the strongest? Some say the bonds of love are the strongest, others would argue that the bond of a true friendship are the toughest to break, and other still would argue the bonds of war are the strongest of them all.
A video plays showing the aftermath of what looks like a massive medieval war, a somber melody plays as we move around the battlefield, some of the fallen bodies are shown up close. Alexis Makarios, Squid-Man, Jennifer and Madison Carpenter, Shawn Young, Cleo Phillips. The bodies of all the opponents that have so far fallen to The Exiled Prince since his arrival in Apex.
He stands proudly amidst the bodies, as the cameras catch him and the music slowly dies down. Alexander has proven quickly that he is going to be a force in PWS for the years to come. He surveys the scene of his destruction, then his eyes shift to the hills beyond. These bodies were only the beginning, and there was still much left to conquer.
He walks, and as he does he speaks. The tone in his voice full of hate and bitterness. This isn’t a game to him. The tag team championships are within his grasp and with all the momentum on his side, a victory is very much a real possibility for the Horseman of Conquest.
“So, as expected, the poison of The Commonwealth proved ineffective. It really was their own undoing. Why use what’s already failed before? Phillips and Young will always fall short against myself and my brothers in war. Sending them was a foolish mistake. On the other hand, our poison of choice..a..homebrewed one if you will, proved effective. Everyone thinks The Commonwealth is so infallible, but Sanders and Dionysus proved that even the mighty fall.”
He continues in stride, past the fallen bodies of his former opponents, arrogantly kicking Squid-Mans body in the head as he passes it.
“We can’t forget the other factor in this upcoming battle. They are the ones who actually have the championships and have gone rather unnoticed by both myself and my brothers and The Commonwealth. While we were busying poisoning one another, The Russows stood in their ivory towers watching their competition try and dismantle each other. I see the game you’re playing here. Everyone knows who holds the keys to the kingdom around here as it were. I’m not surprised they used their power and influence to walk such a route. It’s smart really. Let the other two teams destroy each other, and you pick up the spoils. A timeless strategy, but one that’s become predictable.”
He looks down at the body of Jennifer Carpenter Lopez, a scowl grows across his face.
“It’s laughable this one gets a world championship opportunity when Sykes and myself conquered her, and destroyed her sister to earn our championship opportunity. But that’s a different fight for a different day. Right now is about Tyson and myself taking home more gold to ANTITHESIS. The Commonwealth returned because they felt the tag division was stagnant, and figured it would be an easy route to gold for them. What they didn’t count on was us. They learned the hard way from Sanders and Dio that it won’t be as easy as they thought. I know Dickie is a world champion and has proven himself in various companies. A champion of some other empire. That’s all well and great Dickie, but this is Apex and whatever you have accomplished somewhere else isn’t important in this kingdom. I’ll tell you what, Sykes and myself will take those tag team championships and you can run away again, run away back you your paltry little empire and rule it as you see fit.”
Alexander continues his walk, confidence swelling in his words and his stride.
“And what of you Aiden? Are you pleased with just being the sidekick? Because that’s what you are. Dickie is Batman, you’re Robin. He’s Harry, You’re Ron. He’s Frodo, you’re Sam...although in that instance..you’d probably be Frodo because Dickie is totally going to have to carry you to the finish line.”
He grins, a little bit of mind games never hurt anybody.
“We all know who Dickie Watson is without Aiden Reynolds, the champion of an empire. But..who is Aiden Reynolds without Dickie Watson? That’s right. A nobody. We’ll send Dickie back to his paltry empire, but your new wife is going to have her husband return from war in a bodybag. You are the weak link of The Commonwealth, and a team is only as strong as its weakest link. Do you think Dickie can manage the strength to carry you up that mountain? Or will Sykes and myself conquer and destroy? Because with us...there is no weak link.”
He continues his stride in silence, for the next few seconds, allowing the awkwardness of silence to sit in just enough before continuing.
“Speaking of weak links, which Russow would that be? If you ask me. I mean clearly Jack is the golden boy right? And Levi seems to be pretty high on the pecking order, but what of poor Daniel? I don’t know the family dynamics but my guess is a few others might be inline to inherit the keys to the Russow Kingdom before ol’ Danny Boy. It’s okay. I’m the bastard of my family too, Daniel. I allow it to fuel me so I can prove that Alexander deserves to rule the Lyons Den and casting me away was their biggest mistake. Maybe one day you can take the golden boy spot that shines upon Jack Russow. However in the meantime, we’ll be taking those tag championships from you and your wife, then you can go back to whatever drama is going on at the Russow household this week.”
The wind blows past time, it’s howling the only real audible sound other than the grimy voice of Alexander Lyons.
“And of course we have Audrey. Where once again the sidekick factor comes into play because much like his family, Daniel plays second fiddle to his wife. Gonna be forced to sleep on the couch after you lose those championships I imagine. Got a good deal didn’t you Audrey? Picking the simplest Russow, and marrying into success? Now you get to go out there and play tough girl. You know, The Commonwealth has been right about one thing. The tag division is very stagnant. The Russows rule over a kiddie pool of tag teams. The division needs some life injected into it, but it’s going to be ANTITHESIS that gives it the life is desperately needs. The division is changing, and Sykes and myself have no problem leaving The Russows or any other team in the dust.”
Between some pausing breaths, he continues.
“With The Commonwealth, you risk having a team who might run away again. With The Russows it’s the same boring status quo. We are winning those tag titles for the greater good because we are saviors of PWS. Jonathan Sanders will be mopping the floor with that hatchet faced Mike Hawk, and ANTITHESIS will leave The Windy City with even more gold. Remember, You were warned. Now the full power of ANTITHESIS has arrived and if you haven’t been watching close enough then you better take a second look because we are going to conquer and destroy everything in our path. Those who don’t take us seriously will get it the worst. All I can say is, you better come VERY prepared.”
The camera shifts to a closeup, of Alexanders face, scowling and ugly.
“HEAR ME ROAR.”
The camera rests on his face for a moment, before fading to black.
A training school based in North Carolina sets the scene, some talents are running the ropes in a ring, others use barbell, treadmills or just doing an exercise routine on their portable mats. Alexander with a scowl on his face, looks up at two pictures hanging on some sort of wall of fame, they sit at the top. A young woman and a young man.
“If I had been allowed to train here, you two would never be the top students. Where are you two now? Ran off to have families of your own, allowing a new era to arise. Now we deal with names like Dickie Watson, or Cleo Phillips instead. All thanks to the two of you. Maybe I should be thanking you, you two are the only ones who really continued on doing this after my uncles company fell. I know you ran into Kortare a few years back, but you two are the ones who really did something in this business.”
He shifts focus slightly to the male.
“You think you’re so great because now you get to train here, with MY family. Because my stupid ass uncle took you under his wing like his own child. Because you helped create Cleo Phillips into the champion she is now? Because you helped guide my cousins for the past three years till their company fell to ruin? Understand this, try as you might you will never control me. I shape my own destiny, and I can do it without you or the rest of my family.”
He’s interrupted, a voice. One of a teenage girl.
“Hey, you aren’t supposed to be here. You better leave before my dad gets here.” the voice squeaks.
Alexander spins around to be met with a young teenage girl, wearing a t-shirt that says The Dragons Daughter.
“...Oh, I won’t be long dear. You….you’re the Kaiser girl yeah?”
She nods, still clearly upset that Alex is here.
“...Yeah, and my dad is going to be back soon. He just had to take a call from my mom because my brother got in trouble at school again, and when he does..”
This time she’s interrupted, by an adult male voice.
“Erin, it’s okay. Go find something to do.”
The girl nods, and walks off camera. The man turns back to meet Alex’s eyes.
“Alex, what do you want? Why are you here?” he asks.
“I have every right to be here as you Keevee. MY family owns this school, not yours. Speaking of which, is MY father around?” Alex spits back.
“No, if you must know one of your younger sisters caught Covid, and so he’s dealing with that.” replied Lyons Den head trainer Keevee Kaiser.
“Figures.” Alex grunted.
“So what is it then? I see you brought the PWS cameras, is there something you wanted?” Kaiser repeated
“Just wanted to see what the big deal was. I was never invited here, so I got curious. I mean part of it should really belong to me. Now looking at it, It’s not all that impressive.” Alex smirked.
“Is that it, did you just come to throw around insults? Look Alex. I don’t know the story with you and your father, and all that. It’s none of my business. If it were up to me, I’d invite you to be part of The Lyons Den, but I’m just the head trainer. I don’t own the place. Don’t you have a huge match to worry about instead of bothering our students?” Kaiser spoke more authoritatively.
Alex laughed, ”Worry? Oh I’m not worried about the match. We have that under control. ANTITHESIS will be taking the tag team championships and I will prove that this place made a big mistake excluding me. I get it, you don’t want me here. I’ll take my leave now. I just hope you all pay attention to the talent you tried to throw away.”
Alex turns and starts to leave, but when Kaiser has his back turned. Alex attacks with a low blow from behind and quickly locks in the Gordian Knot. In moments, a group of students manage to pull Alex off, having to drag him out the door as the PWS cameraman is forced to catch up just as the door is slammed, leaving them outside.
“They’ll be sorry. I belong here dammit. They can’t duck me forever.” Alex says, before spitting on the ground. “C’mon camera monkey, we have a plane to catch.”
Alex walks off camera, and we get a shot of the concrete below before the camera shuts off.