At the Sound of the Bell…
The Holy Ground Highlander Forum Midweek Challenge
Archivist’s Note: The stories and vignettes offered here from various Rysher Forumlanders have not been edited or changed other than having a spell-check performed and being reformatted for this website.
LAST MID-WEEK CHALLENGE BEFORE THE MOVIE
Posted by Leah CWPack on Wednesday, 9 August 2000, at 1:10 p.m., in response to Time to ride the wave of excitement..., posted by SBO, agreeing!! on Wednesday, 9 August 2000, at 1:05 p.m.
Because of the acceleration of the Forum in advance of the Movie, and because everyone's attention is pretty much elsewhere, I will be suspending the MWC until after things appear to settle down again (whenever that may be).
In the meantime, here is the challenge for those of you who care to participate!
1) You must involve one or more of our favorite Immortals or Kimmies.
2) It must have something to do with a wrestling match.
It can be as long or short as you like. *DING!* There's the bell...good luck!
My attempt at the MWC...
Posted by ShelBel on Wednesday, 9 August 2000, at 2:38 p.m.
Short, but I could just see these two regressing back to childhood name-calling....
Duncan glanced sourly at Connor, who was doing his best to ignore his younger clansman. “I can’t believe I let you drag me here,” the dark Scot sulked, sinking into the poorly padded seat.
Connor grinned and popped another kernel of heavily-coated-with-something-that-was-definitely-NOT-butter popcorn into his mouth and munched gleefully. “Lighten up, Duncan. I haven’t been to a good wrestling match since… Well, a long time.”
Duncan sniggered. “There is no such thing and you know it.”
“Besides, it isn’t the wrestling; that’s all rigged. It’s all the back stabbing, double crossing, and lying that’s interesting.” He dropped the bucket of popcorn into Duncan’s lap. “Here. Have some.”
“Ugh.” Duncan pushed the bucket away, frowning at the greasy residue it left on his fingers. Unobtrusively, he wiped them on the corner of Connor’s coat. “That stuff’ll kill you.”
“No it won’t, and I saw that.”
“This.” Connor held up the grease-smeared lapel. “You going to pay for the dry-cleaning?”
“Sure, fine, whatever.”
The crowd around them leaped to it’s feet and voiced a deafening roar; Duncan winced and tried to disappear into the depths of his coat while Connor jumped up and peered excitedly at the ring. Music began to play, something loud and very techno-ish. Duncan decided he hated it immediately, but Connor seemed to grow more excited by the moment.
“It’s Sting!” the elder immortal informed Duncan, who really couldn’t care less. Regardless, Connor urged him to his feet. Duncan was wondering why he was looking at the rafters and not the stage when the lights went out.
The buzz that assailed him took him by surprise. His fingers dug into Connor’s wrist.
A single spotlight picked out a lone form, dressed completely in formfitting black leather and white and black face paint, perched on a hefty steel beam directly above them. Connor’s face was turned up, mouth curling into a knowing smirk.
“I’ll be damned.”
The figure rappelled into the crowd amid thunderous screaming and paused briefly in the aisle, finding Connor and Duncan with a slightly amused expression. The three immortals stood immobile among the commotion, brown, blue, and hazel eyes unblinking. Then the wrestler- Sting- smiled knowingly, saluted the two Scots, and made his way through the crowd to the ring.
Connor’s gaze followed him until he parted the ropes and slid into the ring with long-practiced ease. Then, shaking his head, he allowed himself to laugh that staccato laugh Duncan had heard innumerable times.
“Heh heh heh. Now I’ve seen everything.” He placed the half-eaten bucket of popcorn on the seat and picked up his jacket. “Come on, Duncan.”
“We’re leaving? Now?” Duncan stared at his clansman in disbelief, motioning toward the ring. “They’re just starting!”
Connor glanced up at the ring. The match had indeed just begun. He shrugged. “Like I said, now I’ve seen everything. Besides,” he smirked teasingly at Duncan, “you didn’t want to be here in the first place.”
“The least you can do is take the popcorn.” Duncan grinned mischievously and Connor snatched the bucket from him with a mock snarl.
MWC - The Match of the Millennium
Posted by lynnann - a mind that's mush on Thursday, 10 August 2000, at 4:09 p.m.
The Match of the Millennium
The room was stifling. The noise was the usual for the place. Sometimes you could hardly hear yourself think. But Methos could, this time. He always did when he shouted at himself. **You damn fool! You would think you would know better than to get sucked into something like this. For pity’s sake, you’re five thousand years old! At least with something sharp, you might have stood a chance, but NO! You had to open your big, dumb, stupid mouth, and now you’re gonna pay, and it’s gonna be big time. Best two out of three, and you’re already down one.** He called himself a fool in a dozen languages, half of them dead ones, and glared at his opponent, silently calling him various names as well.
Both participants took hold in preparation for what might be the deciding match. They both nodded toward the referee, signaling their readiness.
“Get set! GO!”
The ancient Immortal’s struggle was brief, futile actually. He twisted and turned as best he could, but it was soon over.
Duncan MacLeod sat back in his chair and grinned at the referee. “The next two rounds are on the loser here, Joe. Make sure he pays.”
Joe Dawson signaled the bartender for another round at the small table.
Methos growled at MacLeod. “That’s the last time I let you talk me into thumb wrestling, MacLeod.”
“You were the one that challenged me to a contest, I only chose the format.”
“You usually choose darts!”
“Didn’t feel like it tonight, Pierson.”
“It’s… it’s like cheating, with those hands of yours.”
“Yeah,” MacLeod’s grin spread even broader as he spread his hands out on the table before him. “Next time, be careful who you challenge for drinks.”
“Cash,” Dawson said when the drinks were placed on the table, his grin as wide as MacLeod’s, “on the barrel head. But if you’re strapped, we still take plastic.”
“Oh, all right,” Methos grumbled, reaching for his wallet.
thanks for reading :o)
MWC: "The Lesson"
Posted by Celedon on Thursday, 10 August 2000, at 9:27 p.m.
A light breeze belied the hot sun that beat down on the two men below its’ rays. Both men were shirtless and their bodies glistened with beads of sweat as it trickled downwards over the hills and valleys of their lean and finely chiseled bodies. The sun had made hair mistily cling to heated foreheads while fat globules of sweat hung onto differing shade of hair; one man’s coal black, the other man’s a lighter brown, before dropping towards the ground only to splat silently among the tall grass.
“’Tis a hot day, Connor. How soon do we leave here?” the dark haired man asked of the other. A muscled arm mopped at his brow. He cupped both of his hands and pushed back the hair from his face while his eyes took in the lush green surroundings and the rapidly running byrne that roared in front of them merrily onto the sea.
Deep gray blue eyes scanned the horizon, then cast a quick glance in the direction of his inquisitor. A slight nod of his head, acknowledged the statement. “Aye, ‘tis hot enough.” Like a cat he stretched out his arms in front of him, fingers interlaced, palms outward, then reached over to the black scabbard laying out on the grass beside him, within an easy arm’s reach. He withdrew the blade, studying it with great intensity, shutting out everything else that surrounded him as he made note of the small imperfections and nicks in the blade.
The dark haired man reached out to touch the blade with reverence but found the blade moved away from his reach; he withdrew his hand. He settled himself on the cool grass as did his companion. He waited for a moment before saying, “Tell me about him and it, would you, Connor?”
A faint smile caught at the other man’s lips and slowly broadened as warmth glowed in his eyes at the memory. He slowly whispered, “Rameriz.” He looked directly at his companion. “He was a liar and a haggis, one that I learned from and one that I hated for what he taught me.” He looked away far into the distance. “I miss that Spanish pea#####.”
Clearing his throat, he continued. “Ramirez was old when I met him—or rather when he met me. H e taught me how to survive and how to win and he was one of the best there had ever been, as far as I know. At least, “ he chuckled, “so far.”
“And?” the dark man prompted.
“And he taught me one thing that is very important to survive as an immortal, one lesson that I will never forget.” Connor eyed his companion then stood up, motioning him to stand also. “Duncan, come at me, like you were going to attack me.”
Duncan’s face grew quizzical but he placed his strong hands around Connor’s upper arms, trying to get the upper hand but his teacher resisted any move he made and counteracted any sudden change in tactics. Round and round in circles they grappled with one another, unmindful of the relentless sun, both pairs of eyes locked onto one another’s. The air rang with the muffled grunts and groans from the effort and the strain each, their muscles bulging throughout their torsos from the wrestling they were participating in. Neither one was willing to let the other get the upper hand; their natures were too competitive to allow it to happen to themselves.
Finally after what seemed to be an eternity, Connor unexpectedly fell backwards deliberately, pulling Duncan down with him towards the ground. As Duncan was falling, he planted one foot in his midsection and lunged it upwards and back throwing Duncan behind him to land with a solid thunk on the ground. It made the ground shake when he hit shortly after Connor himself hit the ground knocking the wind out of him momentarily.
Both lay dazed and gasping for breath but it was Connor who rose first from where he lay, shaking his head to clear the haze he felt from the impact. He made his way over to where his kinsman and student lay still and extended a hand. “Ramirez’s lesson to me was simple: balance. You’ll have to learn to use it to your advantage in all the things you do in your life from now on. Use this lesson well, my friend and remember it.”
Duncan reached up and grasped Connor’s outstretched hand, pulling himself upright and nodded. “Aye, balance. ‘Tis a good thing to know, I think. I’ll try to practice on it.”
Connor threw an arm over Duncan’s shoulder and guided him towards the horses. “You know, I saw a tavern near here some time ago, I wonder if it’s still open?”
Duncan thought for a moment, then replied, “Who’s paying?”
A burst of laughter in the way only Connor could laugh met the question. “Why, YOU are!”
Posted by vixen69 on Thursday, 10 August 2000, at 9:41 p.m.
Methos flicked the buttons on the remote control with an attitude of dissatisfaction, until arriving at the improbable--a wrestling match. Duncan, who was in the midst of arranging himself inside of his black leather 3/4 length coat, paused, taking note of his friend's viewing choice, and Joe, having been absorbed in private conversation with himself as to how he would record the night's conversation is such a way as to dutifully capture his assignment--and yet give away none of the very essence that was the friendship he had found himself having with these two Immortals...these two stared at Methos-- who in turn, stared at the flickering screen.
"Wouldn't you know," he said, at length--"the man's a heel--even the baby faces in this sport are heels, in this day and age."
Duncan took a long look at his friend, wondering what he was saying--and then it dawned on him--he was speaking carny lingo--in this case--the wrestling vernacular. He paused, and chose his words carefully.
"Yeah, yeah," Methos answered, distractedly. "The good guy--the baby face--Nick Foley--I...uh, he isn't Cactus Jack at present--he's a baby face...but he has definite traits that would have made him a heel...in a certain day and age...his gimmick is..."
"You watch wrestling," Dawson commented, leaving not one bit of the scenario unobserved. "Who'd have thought, the world's oldest man..."
"It's violent, but then, it's not pankration," Methos commented, absorbed. "Take a look at this guy--he's huge. No normal sized guy could participate in the profession, unless he had one hell of a gimmick, these days."
"Sure," Duncan said, warming to the subject. "Something to draw the crowd." He remembered the days when he and Amanda were part of a circus, and knew the routine. "Call up the rubes."
"These fellows these days...where's the drama? Where's the costumes? They have the size, yes, the drive, yes, but do they have..." and, noticing that the match was over, with a sudden atomic drop from the huge fellow in black tights, although, by now...no one called it an atomic drop--his eyes misted, and he took no note of the screen's fade to black and white.
"Now, a match from the Golden era of wrestling--the Nature Boy Buddy Rogers against--The Masked Death," the tinny voice from the TV. explained, and Dawson, with a flick of the remote, turned up the sound. Both he and Duncan saw the thin-legged-figure in white tights and death-mask entering the ring, and thought they saw a definite similarity between that--and their ancient friend.
"Take a look at that normal-sized guy," Dawson commented, not without irony. "I wonder if he can even compete..."
"He has a lot of experience...and some interesting moves..." Methos began, and then realized they were on to him. He stared, helplessly.
"Methos..." Duncan began, disapprovingly.
"I can't imagine an Immortal so hard up for cash he has to reduce himself to this..." Dawson added, shaking his head.
"I wasn't hard up--as you put it--for cash. I enjoyed it--it was good clean fun. No one was hurt. Things were different back then...the whole bloody sport--was different."
"You didn't do it for money--and you had no other reason?" Duncan inquired, fascinated.
"No--I didn't do it for money--I didn't do it for a reason--I did it...because I liked it... was good at it. I didn't pin a hundred--I pinned a thousand--maybe even ten thousand..." Methos explained.
"That still doesn't explain my main question," Duncan interjected.
"Why white tights? With those skinny legs?"
"MacLeod," Methos grated, and relaxed as Joe changed the channel. "I have been many things," he explained. "Let me tell you about Gorgeous George...he wasn't that Gorgeous...."
"I just can't see Methos donning a mask and brutalizing people..." Dawson began, but Duncan shook his head.
"To tell the truth I can...so--a story about Gorgeous George?" Duncan asked, with a touch of amusement. The old man may have skeletons in his closet--but some wore tights.
"Yeah--Brooklyn...1954...I was the heel--I was *always* the heel, MacLeod---"
And here my muses gave up--hoped you liked it, though.
MWC Wrestling match:
Posted on 10/11/2000 at 11:50:03 PM by Robin
Ray walked through the front door and closed it behind him. The shopping bag in his arm contained milk, ice cream, carrots and beer. The last item was for Cassandra, since Kevin's Quickening she had an urge for the stuff.
He was hard pressed not to laugh at the faces she made while drinking it.
He went to the kitchen and started putting things away.
"Ray?" Cassandra called from the living room.
"Yes." he smiled pulling a bottle of beer.
He walked into the living room, "Is this what you want?” holding out the beer.
"No, but I'll take it." she sighed and made a face as she twisted off the cap.
Ray laughed and laughed harder as he looked at the TV, "First beer, now wrestling."
"Yes." she looked disgusted. "Damn Methos anyway."
NOTE: This takes place after my story in which Methos is killed by Kevin and Cassandra kills Kevin. Leah asked if Cassandra had any problem integrating Methos. Here's part of the answer.
“Sparring Match” by Ghost Cat
The stranger was small, but he made a big impression; a low murmur followed in his wake as he stalked into the dojo. The owner sensed the difference in the room immediately. Looking up, he noticed the compact, stocky frame; muscles built more by hard work than by workouts. Age was hard to determine, but there was something about the man that suggested long experience, not all of it pleasant. He moved with a wary confidence, as though he were scouting the place. The man resembled a seasoned Immortal in all ways but one: MacLeod couldn’t *feel* him at all.
“I’m lookin’ for the owner o’ the place.” There was a bit of a growl in his voice, as though he didn’t use it often. Mac gave the man a long appraising look—noting the rough features; the gravity-defying hair, formed by either too much mousse or not enough combing; the cigar that hung there as if he’d been born with it.
He stepped forward; “You’ve found him.”
MacLeod received a measuring look of his own; “You sure don’t look much like a DeSalvo.”
“I’m Duncan MacLeod. I promised I’d keep the original name when I bought the place.” It was still hard for him to think that Charlie was gone; he hoped the stranger didn’t see the tiny twinge of guilt.
The small man chewed a bit more on his cigar; a puff of smoke joined his next words: “Well that’s right nice of you, Scotty.”
Duncan closed his eyes for a moment as he rubbed his temples, feeling the start of a headache that had nothing to do with Immortals. He muttered, half to himself: “Don’t call me that.”
The stranger made almost a full circuit of the room before he spoke again; “Man down at the bar said I could get a good workout here; somethin’… personal.”
Duncan’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Which bar?” he asked, cautiously.
“Joe’s” he spat out the single word as if he resented stating the obvious. Almost an afterthought, he added: “Name’s Logan.”
Dawson sent him? MacLeod looked at the man in an entirely new light. “Logan…?”
The man’s lips twitched in what might have been a smile, “Just Logan. People don’t need more’n that to remember me.”
Joe’s good judgement or not, Mac wasn’t sure if he liked this guy. “If you want to work with me, Logan; first off you’re going to have to get rid of that”; he pointed to the cigar. “We respect our bodies here, we don’t pollute them.”
Another maybe-smile and a cloud of blue smoke: “You wanna make me, Scotty?” The room grew silent as everyone stopped to see what would happen. All the regulars had seen Mac give lessons in manners; a few had been on the receiving end themselves. It was always entertaining; at least for those not directly involved.
Duncan grabbed the man one-handed, tossing him in the direction of the nearest practice mat—at least that was his intention. The man was heavier than he looked… a lot heavier; he hadn’t budged an inch. The touch of a sneer was in no way lessened by the fact that he had to look up. “I hope that weren’t the best you got, Pretty Boy.”
Logan took the last stub of his cigar and dropped it; Duncan cringed as he ground it into the hardwood floor. “I’ll come back later, when we can talk. Private-like.” He turned on his heel and stalked out. One by one, reluctantly, patrons returned to their previous activities.
It was a couple of hours before MacLeod could make a phone call from his office. Enough time for his curiosity to outpace his temper, but not by much. He still barely kept himself civil with the bartender who answered at Joe’s. Unconsciously, he imitated the stranger’s words; “I want to talk to the owner.” A pause, then “Just say it’s Mac… Oh, he’ll know who it is…” Finally he heard muffled background noise as the phone was passed over.
“Who’s this guy Logan who came here this morning? He disrupted one of my classes; said that you sent him.”
“What, no ‘Hi Joe, how’s business?’ “
Duncan hissed an impatient breath, “No games Dawson; I’ve duelled against men with better personality than this guy. You sending me your problems now, or do you just think I’m bored?”
Joe was quick to reassure. “Logan’s no trouble; he’s a friend of a friend. He’s worked with Xavier before…”
“Xavier?” Duncan’s voice never rose; the tone was deceptively calm. But to someone who knew the man’s every move and breath he sounded ready to come straight through the phone.
Joe back-pedalled swiftly. “Charles Xavier. You know, the man who runs that big private school?” He could almost hear Mac’s cautious nod. “Like I said, Logan’s OK. He’s just a little… different.”
“Different—That’s all you can say about a man who creeps me out? Is there anything else you can tell me?”
“Just two things. He never does anything halfway; and he’s not nearly as mean as he wants people to think.”
“I said I’d be back.” Duncan was reluctantly impressed; he hadn’t even heard the little man enter the room, let alone slip in right next to him. Centuries of experience suppressed the startle that would have satisfied Logan immensely.
Time had not changed his first impressions; “What do you want?”
“Just lookin’ for a sparring partner; someone who won’t hold back on me. It’s real simple, no questions asked; we have some fun, sweat a little, then go our separate ways.”
Duncan nodded, secretly eager to make up for that Pretty Boy comment earlier. “I could give you armed combat,” he gestured to the racks of practice weapons, “or unarmed,” a nod toward the mat.
“Hand t’ hand works just fine, Scotty.” Duncan noted his opponent had enough respect to return the formal bow; after that his mind focused solely on the moment.
Duncan fought with an unconscious grace, letting his body move for him while he concentrated on his opponent’s next action. Logan was all power, relying on the anything that works strategy of a born street fighter. He should have been outclassed in seconds but somehow Duncan couldn’t get passed him. After he got past that odd size/weight problem, Mac tossed him a couple of times; the man shook it off easily and each time was on his feet in seconds. Duncan’s every strike was like hitting a steel bar, while the other man could hit like a sledgehammer.
He grunted as he felt ribs breaking: make that a jackhammer. If this is what Logan called having a little fun, he sure didn’t want to see this man fight in earnest. There was no way he could stop now, if they slowed down long enough for the stranger to notice the healing— for an instant Duncan wondered if an Immortal could learn to hide his true nature; and in that crucial instant he was distracted. He heard an attack coming from behind; felt a sudden crushing pain in his spine; then, for a moment, he didn’t feel anything at all…
Old Joe hadn’t been kidding about this man, this MacLeod: he could take almost anything and gave as good as he got. The stubborn Scotsman just wouldn’t back down, though he was obviously hurting badly. His conscience told him he had an unfair advantage; but the longer he fought, the more his wild side took over. Unthinking, he aimed a bone-crushing blow at the man’s spine; watched in horror as MacLeod crumpled like a doll.
“Ah, hell” he whispered helplessly, “I broke him.” He rushed forward, carefully turning the bigger man onto his back. As he leaned close to check for a pulse, Logan heard a sharp sound like the gasp of a drowning man; adrenaline took over. A hand fisted, the claws slid out for battle—
Duncan had long since lost count of his deaths, but he still hated coming back: the peculiar pain of the death wound reversing itself, that instant of disorientation. This time, his first awareness was of a sound, half-metallic, half-organic. He had to suppress a wave of nausea as he opened his eyes; no matter how often you’ve seen a keen blade cut into flesh, the idea of something coming out of a body was something else entirely. He froze as he watched three blades quivering dangerously close to his neck. A harsh voice cut through the silence; "What are you? Even for a Mutie dead’s dead.” The words shocked him back to reality; he’d heard rumours…
“I never said I was a mutant,” he paused; now he had even more reason to be nervous. So, Mr. Logan’s a little bit different; Dawson was developing a real sick sense of humour. “The Wolverine: a small but dangerous animal. I should have guessed.”
“Smart man; maybe a little too smart. Now talk.” Logan could smell the fear-sweat pouring off the man, and another scent, like steel and old blood.
MacLeod let out a slow, calming breath; to his credit, his voice didn’t quaver. “First maybe you could get rid of those, before someone twitches and things get real messy around here.” He watched with peculiar fascination as claws retreated back into flesh. An empty, and undamaged, hand offered to bring him to his feet.
There’s nothing like old Scotch to ease the birth of a new friendship. Soon the pair moved up to the loft to talk; or, in this case, not talk. Two loners with secrets to hide could keep a silence for quite a while, but finally one succumbed to curiosity. Logan was as blunt and unsubtle as ever; “Any more o’ your kind out there?”
Duncan just smiled, “Now, now, you were the one who said no questions.”
“So I did.” A long silence, then “I’m betting though there’s a reason you can fight like that.”
“That’s a pretty safe bet; what about you?”
The ghost of a smile; “I’ve seen some fighting in my day.” Logan has been growing restless, either that or he feared turning sentimental. Putting down his drink, he rose from the low couch. He covered half the distance to the elevator before making one last comment, “Same time next week, Scotty?”
MacLeod sputtered in absolute amazement, “Are you crazy? In case you forgot, I just died!”
The mutant simply gave a shrug and a feral grin as he pulled down the cage-like gate. At the last moment he heard a defiant “Two weeks and I’ll be ready for you!” The sound of old machinery masked his low chuckle.