Description: The small town of Pueblo Thunderfoot opens its arms to all of its new visitors with a feast before the Flight of the Soaring Spirit begins. As the hungry travellers dig into a homecooked meal, they are welcomed by the town's mayor, Fausto Mendoza, as well as the unnaturally calm shaman Little Eagle and BFW's head honcho, Vernon Cross, while a rivalry begins to form among some of the competitors.
After a rough ride through the Mexican desert, Pueblo Thunderfoot is a welcome sight with its rustic adobe houses painted with bright colored doors, and large banners of marked with a mix of traditional Thunderfoot and Mexican artwork flying against the incredible beauty of the setting sun. Painted in lovely reds, the town looks almost like something out of a movie.
What would normally seem to be a quaint, peaceful town is roaring with the bubbling, infections chaos of a festival. A wide smile is painted across every one of the locals' faces, and greetings pour out to every visitor who paces them by on the way toward the town center. The sound of tribal drums lays a steady undertone to the ruckus that can be felt even when its drowned out; a steady tone that encourages quick foot steps to hurry toward the excitement.
Stepping into the town square, there is no denying that this is truly a party: the locals are dressed in a mix of colorful outfits, with a heavy focus on native dress that would feel almost stereotypical. Laid out before all of the visitors is a series of long tables, overloaded with homecooked food, the smell of which begs at the nose and the tastebuds.
Finally a voice breaks out from up on the balcony of the town hall, a voice that seems to carry over the noise effortlessly. "WELCOME, KIND VISITORS, TO PUEBLO THUNDERFOOT!" The owner of the voice is an older Mexican man dressed in a well-tailored suit, and his eyes sparkles with excitement. "I am Mayor Fausto Mendoza. As our thanks for your kindness, please feast until your bellies are full, for starting tomorrow, we will bring you even greater thrills!"
Along with the festive atmosphere and the cheer of the locals at such an outpouring of visitors, a stage looms on the north side of the town square. While the coloration tries to match the flavor of the village, the professional looking metallic structure, and edgy-looking metallic logo looming at the top of the backdrop mark it clearly as an outsider's work.
Of course, that IS to be expected. After all, Brute Force Wrestling is one of the partners in this charity event, it shoudln't be a surprise that they'd have a presence here at all. The stage looks set up for some kind of public address, a banner blaring "BFW Presents: FLIGHT OF THE SOARING SPIRIT!" strung at the top of the backdrop. And on the stage itself, directing traffic to the production crew putting the finishing touches on it? None other than one Vernon Cross, the man behind it all. Seems like he's here to oversee things personally, no doubt being the one to take the podium himself once the time comes.
Though when Mendoza speaks from the Town Hall balcony, even the head of the BFW himself has to turn, appplauding the Mayor's statement, smirking a bit.
Sven... was not pretending right now.
The titanic swede had a lot of reasons to pretend. He was a belt holder, a champion. He was the Warwolf. Even though he barely had a fan base, even though he barely had a presence, he had one. He had just enough to be seen as the dude who wore a wolf belt. He had all the reason to show up in the village as the dreaded Warwolf.
But he had better things to do than put on a show.
The blond-haired wrestler slides out of the back of the beaten up pickup truck, heaving a green seabag over his shoulder. The dust kicks up as he stomps down with his big boots. His face grim under his blonde mustache and beard, the medallions around his neck rattle as he slams his palm against the side of the truck. The pickup truck roars back towards town, as the wrestler looks towards town the full of its hospitality open to him. His own cargo pants and shirtless nature was quite plain in the face of all the color of a Mexican village, with the exception of the western rookie belt hanging around his waist. But Sven doesn't say a word. He just walks forward, face glowering, nostrils flaring as he takes in the smells. He had two things he wanted right now.
As a great many visitors takes the invitation to enjoy some traditional, homecooked food at the lines of tables, the mayor is content to stand back and give them time to fill up their plates. Meat, corn, cheese, chicken, beans, as far as the eye can see, with pitchers of water and beer set down in easy position to help sate the desert thirst that must surely have built up on the ride in.
Once enough time has passed that the immediate hunger can at least be partially tamed, Mayor Mendoza's voice once more clears through all of the rumbling noise of hundreds of mouths. "It is my honor to introduce all of you to the young woman whose plea has helped bring all of you generous guests to our humble village. It is with the friendship of the Thunderfoot Tribe that Pueblo Thunderfoot has managed to enjoy our place here in this beautiful place. I present to you Little Eagle, the shaman of the Thunderfoot Tribe!"
The locals seem to be the first to whoop and cheer at the introduction, sounding off with such excitement that most of the visitors to the town are caught up in the excitement as a young Native American woman steps forward next to the mayor. Dressed in a leather vest and jeans with a feather poking out from the back of her headband, she looks every bit the part of a tribal girl.
"My name is Little Eagle, and I speak to you all for the spirits that call this land home," Little Eagle's words are loud, but lack the natural charisma of Mendoza's speech. It would be easy to guess she's not entirely comfortable speaking to so many strangers at once. "The violence that cruel men have unleashed on this land has brought great turmoil, destroyed precious and holy land, and filled the spirits with unease." She pauses, leaving a heavy weight above the town square.
"My people are few, time has been unkind to the Thunderfoot Tribe, but all of you come with such generosity to aid us in our rituals. With your help, our ancestors shall be put at ease." She manages a faint smile as she looks over the assembled crowd. "A bond shall be forged here... while the blood of the Thunderfoot grows thin, the spirit of my people shall grow strong again in all of our souls."
Sven Maesters was listening.
Certainly, he tucks in on a table, and as the food from the locals are brought before him, the grim-faced Swede drops down his bag to the ground. Immediately, he takes upon a plate of steaming taquitos. Shoveling them up, it seemed that the Swede had only one thing on his mind. But he was watching, and listening. The Mayor's words were coming to him, understood in only dim flickers. The young woman is eyed by the wrestler, juices dribbling down his beard. He was thirsty, and soon a local provides him with a pitcher of beer. As it is poured into a clay cup, he quickly lifts it, guzzling it down before slamming it down. Violence of the land. Aiding in rituals. Was this the way of the Warwolf? OR was this just another job. There were many things that Sven was willing to give now.
Words were reserved for the ring.
As Little Eagle speaks, the BFW crew continues to work on their own stage. Mr. Cross himself skips overseeing the finishing touches, of course, so he can get closer to the crowd as the Thunderfoot tribe member joins Mendoza on his balcony. Listening to the speech, he makes a nice show of watching and listening...after all, if anything else, this is a PR event for him: he HAS to look sincere and like he's paying attention, right? Of course, contracted photographers make sure to capture the speech and Cross's put-upon attentiveness.
Of course, as Little Eagle continues to speak, he's drawn back toward the stage by a production agent, informing him of the stage's completion. Nodding, he looks back to the balcony, making sure to shake a few hands here and there of locals looking to thank him for his help on bringing attention to the town and the Thunderfoot's plight.
But once Little Eagle is finished? It's his turn. Stepping up to the stage, there's the feedback of a podium mic as it goes live, followed by festive sounding Mariachi music apparently playing him in. Smoothing out his suit, and his tribal-patterned tie (for solidarity!), he steps up to the podium with the clearing of his throat.
"...Ladies and Gentlemen, natives and visitors, warriors and spectators! I welcome you to Pueblo Thunderfoot as well! My name is Vernon Cross, and I am the president of the hottest name in the wrestling industry, and proud sponsor, Brute Force Wrestling! And I am happy to announce the opening of the Flight of the Soaring Spirit!"
Letting that announcement hang for dramatic effect, the smirking 'president' continues on, with his company's theme playing for a little before fading to a low din behind him. "In honor of the Thunderfoot, BFW is proud to hold a tournament, in hopes of finding a wrestler, a fighter, a WARRIOR!...." He clenches his fist at the last few words, getting more and more animated as he speaks. "...that best embodies the warrior spirit of the Thunderfoot! The warrior whose spirit can appeaase the will of the fallen ancestors of this land, of this great tribe. Not only will the proceeds go to benefit the Thunderfoot as they try to rebuild from the spates of violence they've suffered, but a special prize awaits the winner:" He waits, looking around, trying to see who of the tournament signees are actually here, falling on Sven in specific for now. "A guaranteed contract offer to join Brute Force Wrestling, and hold the inaugural Brutal Division Champion! Of course, our scouts and our trainers will be on the look out for those with fight in them that embody both the spirit of the Thunderfoot AND BFW."
His arms spread outward as the music volume rises again. "So welcome, to the Flight of the Soaring Spirit, and let the games....BEGIN!!"
Minal "Mint" Panesh really didn't mind the drive in. Sure, it was bumpy, but she's used to riding in terrible vehicles. Sure, it was a long haul, but she's toured in Afghanistan, which is boring as far as the eye can see. The drive in had a lot more local color.
So, the dark-skinned Indian is generally in a good mood when the bus had dropped her off. And she'd been milling about, noshing on food here and there, generally sampling as much of the local cuisine as she could with reckless abandon. You wouldn't think a 4'9" woman would be able to eat as much as she does, really.
She gives Sven a wild-eyed stare for a moment. But just a moment! The Marine is wearing flesh-toned prosthetic hands for the event, and her attire is about as drab as a Marine can muster: an olive drab tank top and tan camo pants. She raises her beer mug to Little Eagle as she speaks, silently expressing her approval so as not to be -too- disruptive.
Disruptive behavior is reserved for the ring.
Mint squints her eyes back at the BFW president as he takes the stage. Apparently, she's okay with reneging on the promise she'd just made to herself, as she mumbles to the closest person nearby -- who happens to be the Warwolf himself -- "... who does this guy think he is? A contract? Like, more work? I guess they were too cheap for a cash payout..."
Momentarily oblivious, she quaffs a sip of her beer. "Ah, this stuff's great!"
At every beat that seems appropriate, the cheers and applause seems to begin with the locals in a manner that either shows a great deal of over-excitement for the proceedings, or to a more cynical mind, a practiced level of interest designed to encourage the assembled mass of visitors into participating. Certainly it would be difficultto avoid cheering when your kind hosts are so thrilled by the events, but it's most likely that such a small town is overwhelmed by all of the tourism flowing in.
For her part, Little Eagle provides a portion of the polite applause (next to the unbelievably enthusiastic Mendoza), just long enough for the crowd to settle down, before she walks back into the town hall just as one of the uniformed Mexican National Guard officers steps out to have a quick word with the Mayor. Whatever it is, it's not enough to dim the smile on his face, even if an eagle eyed observer might notice a brief flash of annoyance in his eyes.
Whatever that was about, it's all done, with the officer ducking back off the balcony, by the time Little Eagle emerges from the arched entryway to the town hall and begins to look across the crowd with the intense silence of a hunter stalking prey, her eyes lingering in particular on some of the more well-dressed figures, many likely politicians of philanthropists trying to get good publicity by being here, but most importantly on the competitors in the crowd.
Sven Maesters doesn't show he notices the Indian sitting down.
It was rude. Naturally it was rude. But the fact of the matter was that Sven didn't care about the pint-sized woman. She wasn't even Sven's type. No, the Swede was much more interested in the home cooking of traditional Mexican dishes than anything else. Slurping down the food, he is snapping up food with both hands, taking a pause only for beer. He didn't want women right now. Especially little women. And yet, as the tired rival begins to complain, he slows his feasting to a crawl. Disgusted, he throws a soggy taco into his plate. With the announcements of the BFW now coming in full force, the Swede was growing irate by all these words. He just wanted to eat with serene and friendly locals. Finally, the Swede blurts out.
"You is stop complaining."
Turning towards Mint, the Swede's thick accent rolls out of his mouth. Glaring at the plucky woman, he snaps up his mug, and thristily takes a chug from the cup. Pulling it away, he swallows hard, before staring up at the banner. "Tears are bad appetizers, and worse chasers for beer." The Swede's growls build into a rumble as he casts his gaze up at the BFW crew. Gazing towards Mr. Cross, his lips turn up into a snarl. He didn't know why, but as Mr. Cross fixes his gaze on him, he just felt like he had to say something. Pounding his clay mug down on the table, the contents splash out as the mighty Nord roars back at the Emcee. "You can have your games and shove it!"
"It's time for beer first!"
Something is beginning to stir among the competitors, it would seem. Of course, wrestlers tend to be a rowdy bunch even compared to normal fighters, something about the extreme personalities (even when they are merely a layer being put up for the crowd) leads them to bouts of dramatics. The crowds often care less if you're polite than if you're interesting to watch.
Little Eagle moves through the crowds effortlessly. There is something about her that makes her seem to fade into the background when she isn't trying to pull in attention, despite the fact that certainly moments ago there were any number of big names hoping to get a picture with one of the "Last of the Thunderfoot" for a bit of good press.
The silent path carries her over to the rising ruckus between Sven and Mint where the moment she speaks it's as if she stepped out of a dense fog. "The spirits speak in you... the soul of a warrior, the ancient Coyote whispers his blessings upon the Warwolf. Your eagerness will be a great asset." The way that Little Eagle speaks, it's metered, calm, and steady. Perhaps unnerving, perhaps giving an impression that the words she says aren't just opinion, but truth.
"As for money... there are greater rewards for a warrior in this fight than mere physical rewards, Ms. Panesh. Perhaps the spirits will choose to speak with you in ways that steel cannot," the tribal woman says as her attention turns toward the smaller woman.
As he steps down, to the tune of the company theme, Cross looked down across the crowd. His eyes focused on Sven, one of the more...standout figures in this crowd right now. Watching his bluster, he couldn't help but roll his eyes a little. He could do more right now, remembering the Warwolf from his exhibition with him...but right now, he has more important things to do. Like mingle with the other town heads as he tries to make his way toward the TOwn Hall as well. After all, he still has his meeting wtih Mendoza before this night is done.
The pint-sized pugilist shrugs helplessly in response to the Swede, at a momentary loss for words. Tears? Where the heck did tears figure into this? Minal's a MARINE, and MARINES are TUFF. Marines don't cry!
"Then try not to cry when your hopes and dreams get crushed! There, problem solved..." she retorts, downing another large chug of beer. Yes, she can handle it -- it's an acquired skill!
She looks up at the podium again, scanning the crowd. She'd lost sight of that Little Eagle person, wondering idly where she'd gotten off to. She looks for... quite a few minutes, -totally- tuning out of anything Mr BFW President might have to say, all thoughts of prize reward going poof. There's food on the table, and there's a beer in her hand, so what's the big deal?
Still, her mouth catches up after a moment. "Hey, Borewolf, where'd that Little Ea--"
Mint sits bolt upright, as a voice is heard behind her. Is that... Mint looks behind her to realize that Little Eagle has silently made her way here. And she's talking. Gulp. She looks pretty for the Little Eagle, smiling charmingly with a bit of an alcohol-fueled blush crossing her cheeks. Or maybe that's not -just- alcohol.
"Uh... w-well, yeah, I'm hoping so! Spirits are cool!"
She pales somewhat. Speaking never -was- her strong point.
"Th-thanks for the food! It's delicious! Though did you have anything spicier?"
Judging from her plate, she's... already tried most of the spicy entrees.
Sven was getting riled up.
"Eh!?" He starts, glaring across at Mr. Cross as he begins to throw on his swagger. Teeth baring, he even begins to stand up as Mint talks back. Borewolf? Drinking in front of him? The wrestler's naked chest begins to tighten as the Swede begins to go into a rage.
It takes the young Native American woman to calm him down.
As she speaks to him, his expression softens into a grimace. The woman, unlike the others, seemed to put the wrestler at greater ease. As she speaks of the spirit of the Coyote, blessing the Warwolf, the wrestler can't help but grip the medallions and talismans around his neck. Steadily, he eases back down, looking around for anybody having the nerve to stare at him. As Cross looks again, Sven suddenly snarls his teeth, and slams his fists on the table.
"All this coyote stuff is loads of horse hockey!"
The foods trays spill, and drinks splash out. And yet, the wrestler doesn't seem to care. Lashing his hands out, he growls at the Marine sitting near him. "You are Indian. What is she talking about Coyote? Wolves are not coyotes! This is bullshit!" The wrestler stuffs a taco in his face, and reaches to grab his mug of beer. Bringing it to his lips, he tries to drink it... but finds its contents all splashed out. Slamming it down, he grabs the nearest mug of beer as an alternative...
The mug of beer before Mint.
As Mint speaks, Little Eagle is incredibly attentive, as every word and action is completely absorbed by the young Shaman. Perhaps if she seemed willing to smile it would be more natural, but the calm about her feels more like being out on the ocean in a sailboat, unable to see land in any direction while the winds are still. There is no purchase to be grasped, not even Sven's angry words seem to get to her.
"The women who cooked our food were worried that visitors might be overwhelmed by spices, I apologize if the food is not exciting enough for you. I'm sure we could get your some hotter sauces if that would make you happy." Finally she offers a smile, the rare relief of an island on the horizon.
As for Sven's anger. "Coyote is more than just the spirit of an animal. Coyote is the trickster, he refuses to accept a boring simple world. To be watched by Coyote is more than just to touch the animal spirit within yourself, it is to receive a blessing."
Sven is getting riled up? Well, that's his problem! Mint just smiiiiiles, pleased to be getting under someone else's skin. It's fun to be the one -creating- problems, instead of always being the hyper-sensitive one!
But when he starts to shake the food table, Mint reaches out for her beer, steadying it. Stupid foreigners. Never mind that, here, she -is- one. YAY JINGOISM
"... Dude, don't diss your hosts," she comments, as the Swede's rage subsides and she once again has a place to set her drink. "... ... Yeah, I'm Indian, but what's..." Blink. "Ahahaha, you're such a tool! She's talking about animal spirits! It's more than your puny brain can grasp, ahahaha! Think outside the box here! Ahahaha!"
She starts to turn back to Little Eagle, swallowing her laughter down as the quiet...quiet woman starts to tell her what's up with the food. "... I just wanna eat what you eat, youz don't gotta go to no trouble for my sake..." she replies, chastened somewhat by the woman's calm words. And actually a little spooked by the smile.
"See?" she comments, as Sven gets an explanation. She leans one elbow on the table, reaching back for her beer... and finding that it was in Sven's hand now. Her eyes widen in irritation: Dammit!
"You are insulting me!?"
Those are the words that Sven ultimately settle on. Not the Indian trying to explain culture. Not the smile. No, nothing else is what the Swede recognizes. As he takes the beer, as downs it, he grips the mug as he stands up fully now. Towering over Mint, his eyes go wide in rage as the insult grazes him. "You make fun of my intelligence?!"
And with that, Sven hurls the mug away.
The cup shatters against an adobe, the merriment of the crowd coming to a silence for a moment. The towering Swede turns around, lifting up his bag. "I am done with party! I am done with Indians! And I am done with coyote! I will wrestle tomorrow. But you little girl!" He hefts the bag over his shoulder, thrusting a finger at him as he backs away. "You little woman are going to get smashed in the ring. I am done with fun." Turning towards the houses, with no idea where he would stay, how he would stay, or whether he just got himself a pile of hay in the stables, he just storms off.
"Tomorrow the only feast."
"Will be pain!"
As Sven explodes, and the square is left in awkward silence, pierced only but uncomfortable whispering in some isolated spots, Little Eagle has still managed to remain at perfect ease. Perhaps she really does have some connection with the spirits as a shaman that allows her to be unaffected by such worldly concerns.
But the party is still a mess, and so finally Little Eagle speaks up again. "To the warrior, life is not easy. Already I can feel that the unease of the spirits is affecting those who have agreed to help quiet them. Do not be afraid, the drive and passion that grows within our champions is good. Enjoy your feast, rest well from difficult travels, tomorrow we will see the ceremonies begin."
As the speech ends, it's clear that there are those still uncertain of how to react, but the locals are quick to smile, a laugh here and there as they seem intent on reigniting the festive spirit. People are moved as a group, when all are uncertain, there is nothing to be done, but when placed in uncomfortable situations, they leap for any opportunity offered to lead them back to pleasantness.
With her speech completed, and the square returned to normal, Little Eagle turns back to Mint. "For tonight, don't be worried about my people being burdened. It is a great gift to us to have so many come to our aid in a time of great need. Tomorrow if you wish to eat with us instead of the food cooked for the guests, we would welcome you to the table."
Mint smiles cheerfully as Sven completely loses it! "Nope! It's not an insult, it's the highest compliment I can give you! I take -excellent- care of my tools." From a top-rank combat mechanic, that might be high praise, if it weren't SO VERY OBVIOUSLY an insult.
But she doesn't have long to keep rubbing that in, as Sven tosses her mug of beer away. Big deal! She tries really hard to look serious.
For about a second. Mint is pure pluck, and now dosed up with plenty more liquid courage, she really has no cares left to give. She busts out into another fit of laughter, at least having the decorum to cover her mouth. Wouldn't want to be -too- rude to her hostess here...
Though it's really hard -not- to laugh at Little Eagle maintaining a calm expression, even when there is plenty of awkward laughter to go around. Mint stomps on her toes, forcing a calm front as she nods slowly back to Little Eagle. "I think I'd like that very much, thank you!" She bows her head, and clasps her hands before her. It seems like the most respectful gesture she can make right now, considering!
"I'm glad that you feel welcomes, Ms Panesh," Little Eagle offers in return. "As isolated as we are out here, we are left with only ourselves and the spirits to commune with. To be able to offer this hospitality to those from all across the world, especially those so generous as to put their fighting prowess forward, is wonderful."
Little Eagle looks around at the surrounds for a moment before tilting her head up and closing her eyes. "Out here, even with all this new noise, the spirits are quite close if you can let your own spirit free. You've seen turmoil, suffered pain, perhaps speaking with the spirits will provide answers to questions you didn't know you were asking."
Seeming utterly at peace, a perfect calm spot in all the chaos of the festival, it must be difficult to deny Little Eagle's words. There is something she clearly connects with that is beyond the physical.
"Answers to questions I didn't know... " The hint of a smirk appears across her face for a moment, but then Mint holds up one pseudo-flesh-colored finger, pressing her lips tightly together. A bit tipsy? A bit tipsy. "Y'know? That is a solid idea!" Mint's words are honest, she really -does- want to experience these things, but something else seems to be taking priority. "... I will -totally- take you up on that. Thank you..."
But then a second finger joins the first. "But right now? I need to head to the little girls' room." She flashes an awkward, toothy smile. "It was a super-nice pleasure meeting you, Miss Little Eagle! A lot better than that... that other guy!"
It's clear which of the two speakers' names she was paying attention to more.
Mint bows again, politely excusing herself before slipping through the crowd...
The night goes on.
Some of the new visitors in town are exhausted from their trip out to the remote town, weighed down with a homecooked meal and are helped to their lodgings for the night. For some they are offered space in a local's home, others have arranged for motor homes or trailers that have been brought out, and for those more interested in the experience of the Mexican desert, there are tents and sleeping bags. Given the size of the town, it must be that BFW pulled a lot of strings to help get everything sorted out, because not even the rowdiest of visitors is left without a roof over their head.
Tomorrow it all begins.
Log created on 20:33:20 06/19/2015 by Noembelu, and last modified on 01:23:41 06/20/2015.