This place is beautiful.
So much history in these sands, only to be uncovered by man and his fascination with story. From ancient kings and queens, to more modern, yet still ancient libraries set to the flame as Europe and a dying Republic reached into Africa. This kingdom was truly inspiring.
The video opened up with typical, yet still fixatingly beautiful imagery of the Temple at Karnak. Giant columns of sandstone erected skyward. And carved upon the stone were ornate pictures and even more ornate language. With time, wind and sand, the landmark eroded.
“You complain that I still haven’t made it clear who I am?”
Jumpcut from one landmark to another, this the more iconic scene of the three massive blocks of stone sitting in a line, nearly perfect pyramids, again, extending to the heavens. The mind boggling mass of these structures still send scientists in seven different directions on construction theories. Each one jutted out higher than the one before it.
Ancient dick measuring contest?
“Ms. Baker, you correctly point out that I have competed with various names, and faces. I was on the first Victory, not that this is much victory. And then I miraculously, or not, returned a year later under a white cloth we called Sanctus.”
The camera pans back, pulling in to frame the bright, late afternoon sun. The Pyramids throw shadows upon the sand that all point to their protector. the Sphynx. The mythical beast of a lion’s body and a man’s mind, truly frightening. What’s left of him sits proudly, his face pitted with three hundred year old bullet marks. His nose, no one knows.
“I have already admitted to my inclusion to that little rouse and have attested my disgust for the concept. Did you not hear my confession? I was not some great hero for the Faithful to pile their worries upon as I valiantly disposed of the people they chose to not cheer for. What I meant to be a blank canvas to project themselves unto was, in fact, a tool to try to claw deeper into their pocket books.”
The frame moves closer, looking up now at the missing chin beard and nose. It is striking in size, like most of what the tourists care about in Egypt.
“I have found it a learned wisdom; that money is a miserable thing to fight for. Look only to procession of dead kings and their modern day counterparts, paraded through cities with empty hands held outside their coffins. When they died, they took none of that wealth with them.”
Once again, it’s time to jumpcut to the next location for the b-role. From the great majesty of massive stone crypts to the Valley of the Kings. Its most stark reality is how simplistic it is in comparison to earlier kingships. Not mountains constructed by men in honour of his fallen godking, the dug-in recesses that made the tombs of these kings and queens were a little more humble. But in the same vein, the vanity of ancient leaders was discovered alongside a boy-king and the only tomb not ransacked by ‘vandals’ in later periods. A cache of gold enough to send the most pragmatic man into a ‘shiny coma’.
“And whether or not I fight under that cloth shouldn’t be what concerns you, Ms. Baker. I would have thought you hungry enough to receive victory to see beyond such silly theatrics. Less still any name they announce me as. Still, if I must teach you, then so be it. Monday night, know firstly that I should be addressed as your adversary. And secondly, this most assuredly will be a fight.”
Away from the typical tourist sites, we cut to the fourth floor balcony overlooking the Cairo city center. On said balcony is Sarina Baker’s adversary, Quinlan. To combat the aired heat of Egypt, he wears an unbuttoned, white oxford with baggy, silver shorts. He offers a short smile to the camera and points down to the streets, directing our camera.
“Here is where the beauty of this country resides. Here is where the beauty of every town we drag our circus to resides. If you are so intent on discerning my motivations, look no further than the people the continue to inspire me. I ask you, does this place look familiar to you?”
Along the square, traffic passes through the massive metropolis. A few shoppes offer their wares to the pedestrians. The buildings that adorn the streets are all colourful and leaned to the peaceful scene.
“It looks so serene now, even I find it hard to believe that this was the setting of the Arab Spring some four years past. My heart beat hopes to match the courage of the people that stand up against tyranny. And no, please do not be so confused as to jump to any opinion of me; being so arrogant as to compare what we do to how these people fought for the rights of themselves and their country mates.
“It is just an example of what inspires. Hmm…”
Our camera traces back up from the streets to the speaker and his chin firmly buried in his hand. Quinlan has shut his eyes, but looks more tense than most any other thing.
“Something you said, you had me thinking. It was nothing original, mind you, but maybe hearing it for the ten thousandth time had it sink in. I was Sanctus, and I had promise and praise. And I tossed away all of it. And you still believe that this is a man to trifle with?”
Releasing his hand and returning it to his side, his face leers directly to camera. Slowly, his eyelids lift to unveil those faintly blue eyes.
“I will own up to every transgression, and every sin. I must admit to the history everyone seems so adamant that a man must have. Though I will not let you think that my future is predicated upon my past, or that you have it in you to break my heart and make me submit.
“You have voiced something toward the struggles you have faced, but don’t understand why you struggle. It frustrates me, so I do not know how you sleep, that you are not being able to put a finger on what it is you struggle for, my dear. Until you do, you do not even deserve to think you should win.”
Letting that last line out, coldly and softly, Quinlan has turned his back from the camera is looking off the hotel balcony back to the foot traffic and motor traffic below. His grip on the rail tightens as his chest heaves up and down, taking long drawn breaths.
“Honesty, Ms. Baker is essential to tranquility, a tranquility I some day hope to find. And if you want an honest account of the man that stands as your adversary in that great Covered Hall, here goes. I fight because it is what I am best at. I fight because I love this sport and I am a fan lucky enough to compete on the other side of the rail. I fight… because the Faithful chanting gives me this incomparable high.”
The camera moves further forward to swing around to get the profile image of Quinlan and the messy mane blowing with the breeze.
“If what I do inside of that squared circle somehow gives hope to the people that give me their strength, it’s an awesome thing. If our clash is the thing that finally gets it to click for you, I’ll be happy for you. But the same as you should know me as an adversary, I will see you as an enemy to overcome. Treated with measures of respect, but an enemy still.”
The camera needs to zoom out quickly as Quinlan side steps to now face the camera full. Gone is the harshness with which he has been spewing for the last thirty seconds. In its place is a warm smile, almost confident, if he would let himself ever be.
“I am Mitchell Quinlan, the unwanted child of Bell City, but have found a way to travel this world doing what I do best: fighting. An admitted audio junky, I hope the people of Cairo see fit to give me their energy as together we make something... holy. As much as you want to paint me as a man at a crossroads, I have never had much option other than straight ahead. Monday night, Wrestleshow, we’ll make history in a country famous for its antiquity.
“Monday night comes ‘round, and I will happily shut up and fight.”