Private: Ria Lockhart
November 7th. Three days after ReVival 18. Three days after extensive surgery to fix her face. Three days that Ria Lockhart had been in recovery. Three days was enough. The morning of November 7th, Ria demanded to be released from hospital care. The doctor did his best to dissuade her from leaving, knowing full well she needed more time to recover. Yet, her mind was made up. The sterile environment, the loneliness, the pain… It was too much to handle.
Ria opened the door to her Vegas apartment, slightly wobbling as she squatted down to pick up a package. She gingerly closed the door behind her. An oversized hoodie concealed her frame, but more importantly, concealed her face. She wearily tossed her keys into a small table near the door after locking it. Package underneath her right arm, Ria trudged to her bedroom. Lockhart carefully shifted the package to both hands before gently placing it onto her dresser. The delicacy with which she handled the box made it seem as if there was something precious inside, some worthwhile treasure contained within.
Head down, Ria placed her hands on top of the waist high dresser, leaning on it. A moment after, she raised her right hand to the hood she was hiding under. Her hand grabbed the top of the hood, hesitating. With a shaky sigh, Ria slowly pulled it down. It wasn’t much of a grand reveal. Instead, it was more akin to pulling the curtain from a promised monstrosity at an old time carnival. She lifted her head and looked into the mirror.
Both eyes still showed signs of blackening. Ria’s left eye remained mostly swollen shut, thanks to the puffiness of her left cheek. Her nose was still heavily bandaged. Her lips were unnaturally large, frayed and cracked from the headbutt she had received from Sage Pontiff. She didn’t look like herself. It felt like staring into a fun house mirror with how distorted her face was. She could no longer hold herself together. Tears streamed down her face, like creeks flowing to the path of least resistance. The streams became rivers in short order, as Ria collapsed into her folded forearms and wailed away.
It wasn’t just her appearance. She felt alone, betrayed. In the days she was confined in the hospital, she received one text message. No visitors. No phone calls. Nary any kind of interaction from those that she cared for. Ria knew she was being selfish. It wasn’t a feeling she could push away. When one of her friends wound up in the hospital, she made it a priority to visit, even if just for a few minutes. She received no such thing. It was a heartbreaking moment for her, justified or not.
In the time since she had left the hospital, Ria’s phone had blown up. Missed call from Tom. Missed call from Timo. Missed call from Jared. Unread text from Jared. Unread text from Lindsay. Unread text from Anna. Nate Colton, Coral Avalon, Sid Phillips, Justine Calvin, a number of people had reached out to her since departing against medical advice. In Ria’s mind, it was too little, too late. The opportunity had passed and she would have to heal in her own way.
Minutes passed before her anguished crying finally slowed. Lockhart dejectedly pushed herself up from the wardrobe, breathing finally beginning to steady. Her right sleeve dried her eyes, her left sleeve wiped her running nose. Her focus fell to the box she had so cautiously put down before. Ria meticulously opened the box, as if what was inside was of the utmost fragility. She reached inside, slowly retrieving its contents.
What she produced was a high quality black leather mask. On the front was an intricate ivy design, pink in color. The face covering was oddly shaped, able to cover all but the area of the right eye. A thick elastic strap was secured to each side. With trembling hands, Ria raised the mask up. She gazed at the back for a beat before lowering her head and slipped the strap behind her head. Lockhart carefully adjusted the mask into place, doing her best to find the most comfortable fit.
Once she finally did, Ria slowly raised her head, right eye closed. Seconds later, her eye opened like the sun rising over the horizon. It widened at the sight she saw in the mirror attached to the dresser. Something clicked. This… This was right. Her pain, her sorrow, all insecurities were hidden. Her right eye narrowed, the steel blue iris colder than the artic. Her posture straightened. The previous sadness evaporated. In its place, intimidation took hold. No more pain for Ria. She would be the one handing it out. Changes were on the horizon. There was work to be done.
An average salon. The beauty parlor wasn’t particularly busy at the moment, maybe one or two customers in the facility. The receptionist, a woman in her mid thirties, played on her phone. Her makeup and nails were immaculate. Her blonde hair was cut in a stylish bob. She may have looked a step below classy, but she certainly did put effort into her appearance. The bell situated on the salon entrance jingled, signaling the arrival of a customer. The woman dutifully put her phone down and focused ahead.
“Hi there! How can… we help…” The woman trailed off. Standing in front of her was the imposing visage of the masked Ria Lockhart. Black leather pants, a tight black tank top showing off the majority of her tattoos, black boots… If it weren’t for her pink hair, it would almost seem that color was actively retreating from Ria. The wrestler slowly strode up to the desk the receptionist was stationed behind.
“I want a cut and dye.” Ria bluntly said. The woman gawked at her. Whether it was due to disgust or fear was not readily apparent. Ria cleared her throat in an agitated manner, snapping the clerk back to reality.
“Oh! Um, yeah, sure…” She replied, unease in her voice. Ria crossed her arms on her chest and waited impatiently. When a stylist became available, the receptionist was all too happy to wave Ria that way and out of her presence. The woman shuddered as Lockhart walked past, as if a cold breeze followed the masked woman.
“Hi! I’m Joanie!” A woman in her mid twenties greeted Ria. Her long hair was asymmetrically cut and a cavalcade of shades fought for space on her scalp. Depending on your perspective, this woman was either fashion forward or completely mental. Lockhart didn’t bother responding to the stylist’s pleasantries, roughly plopping down into the barber’s chair. Time was precious to her, it seemed.
“Dye it black.” Ria grumbled. “Undercut, parted to the left.”
“Um…” Joanie looked Ria over, darting to a few different angles. “I’m not gonna be able to do anything with that mask on, sweetie!”
A guttural growl escaped Ria’s throat. Her right hand shot up to the mask while her left hand fiercely pushed the strap of it forward. “There. Go.”
The stylist shook her head, a sigh of displeasure finding its way into the open. She began her work. Hair fluttered to the floor, cut and shaved. When the shearing was finished, pitch black dye was applied to what remained. An hour passed. Tufts of Ria’s old pink hair littered the floor. Those were all that remained of her previous identity, soon to be swept up and discarded into the trash.
“Well… Go ahead and take a look.” Joanie said, obvious stress in her voice. Ria slipped the strap back into place before staring ahead at the mirror. Left and right, she moved her head, pausing each time to get a good look. Seemingly satisfied with the job done, Ria slowly rose up from the chair.
“You can go up front to pay…” The hair artist’s voice trailed off as Ria dismissively walked away from her. Lockhart approached the front desk once more, where the receptionist quickly put her phone down again to get to work. Despite the salon’s quaint appearance, a fancy register sat on the desk in front of the receptionist. The woman tapped away at a touch screen. Click click click, Ria waited.
“Okay! Your total today is $80.87!” The clerk informed Ria. The wrestler pulled a credit card out of her skin tight pants pocket and put it in a reader attached to the machine. “At the end, you’ll be asked to tip. No pressure, give whatever you think is fair!”
Ria tapped away at the touchscreen. Seconds later, she pulled her card out. She was out the door as the receptionist attempted to thank her. There was a common in the salon as Ria stalked down the street. She didn’t bother looking back. She knew what it was; excitement. Despite the minor unpleasantness she and Joanie had shared, Ria had just left the woman what was most likely the largest tip she had ever received. As Ria walked down the street, the tiniest scrap of pink hair clung to her boot…
ReVival 20. The match between Dusk and Nova was just getting underway. No disrespect meant to either man, but Ria had no interest in sticking around to watch. She had come with one goal in mind; break Sage Pontiff. That mission was unsuccessful. Yes, damage had been done. Blood had been spilt. It wasn’t enough for her.
Frustration radiated off the woman. She had her hands on him. Ria had that kimura locked in tight. A few more seconds and she may have been able to snap his arm in brutal fashion. Instead, she had fought with security every bit as much as she had Sage. It wasn’t even an adequate release of anger because it was an interruption. The job was unfinished. She made her way towards the exit.
“Ria Lockhart! We need to talk ”
She stopped, a groan of fury crawling out of her throat. She whipped around, her posture saying one thing: make this quick. Standing a few feet from her was one sharply dressed Killian Sirrajin. The look on his face suggested he was all business.
“What?” Ria spat out bluntly. Killian took a few steps forward, but seemed to know better than to get in grabbing distance.
“I talked with some of the other staff a few moments ago.” Killian started. “Care to explain why you didn’t bother telling Lindsay you planned to be here tonight? Or Wade? Or Dam? Or me? Frankly, I don’t care who you bothered to tell as long as someone knew!”
“Kinda negates the point of a surprise attack if everyone and their fucking mother knows you’re gonna be there.” Ria rudely retorted. She briskly turned and started walking away.
“Hey!” Killian steps forward, lightly grabbing her by the arm. Ria turned her head. If looks could kill, Killian would be dead, cremated, the ashes burned again and buried ten feet deep. Sirrajin released her arm, removing his red Oakleys. While the look on his face was stern, it was clear he only wanted a conversation.
“Look… I’m not trying to fight you.” Killian explained in a measured tone. “But you brawled with staff, destroyed a set the prop department put a lot of work into at the last minute and potentially put Sage on the shelf with your actions.”
“So?” Another blunt response from Lockhart. Killian grumbled while rubbing the bridge of his nose. Nobody said dealing with talent, especially ones bent on revenge, would be easy.
“We have to fine you.” Killian said, the words sounding like fact rather than opinion. Ria shrugged nonchalantly.
“Go ahead, I don’t give a shit. You assholes have my bank information.” Ria callously replied. Sirrajin crossed his arms on his chest and took a long look at Lockhart.
“You know Lindsay doesn’t mind wrestlers taking matters into their own hands. If anything, she encourages it.” Killian said. “This was a bit too far. This back and forth between you and Pontiff has to stop. Someone’s going to end up losing their career. What’s it gonna take?”
“Colossus. Put his ass in the ring with me.” Ria said without hesitation. Killian’s hands move to his hips. His stance is one that reeks of skepticism.
“I don’t think anyone would have a problem with that… Assuming you’re medically cleared, of course.” Killian reasoned. “I can run it by Lindsay and if the doctor can-”
Killian doesn’t have time to finish his thought before an irate Lockhart is in his face!
“I WANT PONTIFF!” Ria screamed, practically animalistic in tone. Killian glared down at the shorter Lockhart.
“I can only promise to try.” Killian coldly stated. “You know how serious that injury was and still can be. I doubt Pontiff is going to take it easy on you. If you’re out long term…”
Killian trailed off. There was a twinge of concern, caution exhibited towards Lockhart didn’t seem to have any sort of effect on her disposition.
“I don’t fucking care!” Ria harshly answered. “If he wants to take me out, he can. He’s gonna have to work for it and I’ll sure as hell do my best to take him with me!”
“So that’s what you want?” Sirrajin questioned. “You’ll sacrifice your health, your career, just to make sure you cause suffering for this guy? Is it really worth it?”
Ria tilted her head while looking at Killian. Her eye narrowed and she leaned towards him.
“I will!” Ria growled. “It is worth it. This piece of shit wants this. He either wants me to embrace him or destroy him. There was never a choice.”
Killian can only shrug in response.
“Like I said, I’ll see what I can do.” He began to walk away, but stopped in his tracks. “Oh, by the way… That fine will be out of your account before the end of the night. Take care, Lockhart.”
With that said, Killian abruptly took his leave, placing his shades back on his face as he did.
When I was a child, I was scared of monsters. I’d have horror movies on TV I wasn’t supposed to be watching. Later, I’d go to bed. I’d look out into the darkness, petrified of what might be hiding out there. As I grew older, I found myself gravitating towards these monsters. I even tried to model myself after such monsters in the guise of my psyche known as Ria Nightshade. Yet, no matter how much I tried to embrace that darkness, I could never fully cross into it. Too many people cared, too much kindness was shown. I was soft, but I was happy. I didn’t want to sacrifice that happiness.
I’ve felt it in the pit of my stomach… A bubbling, frothing rage. I’ve done my best to suppress it. I may get bitchy at times, but what I feel deep down is so far beyond that… I want to be kind. I find happiness in the happiness of others. Yet, there haven’t been many sunny days lately. Clouds have moved in and the skies are growing dark. Those I call my friends aren’t smiling much anymore. There’s very little happiness in PRIME right now. Until recently, I would have wanted to be a beacon of brightness, the rainbow after the storm has passed. I’ve been fighting, containing this scorching anger… I’m done holding it back.
My friends abandoned me. My body betrayed me. My mind had grown weak. I thought I had grown, progressed. I’ve gotten very good at lying to myself over the years. I was no better than I had been before. I was no better than when I was Nightshade. What’s the point of being a light in the darkness if that light barely shines? Sometimes, to fight darkness… You have to embrace it yourself while not letting it swallow you whole. The attack at ReVival 20 was an example. There won’t be a light to signal my arrival, to serve as a warning. Instead, there will only be uncertainty, a restless mind, fear of what may be lurking in the shadows.
Sage Pontiff… There’s a level of complication when it comes to my feelings on you. I owe you thanks, in a way. I can’t speak to this third eye enlightenment bullshit you’re obsessed with, but you’ve helped to open the two I do have. I can see the truth, but it’s not the truth you’d hoped I would see. I know I’m alone now, that I can’t rely on others. I know that you’re dangerous. Maybe you thought the combination of those two would lead me to your side, to drink in the depravity from your hand? I have other plans.
I will not drink with you. Instead, I will drain you. I’ll leave you dying, thirst unfulfilled. You will be a dehydrated, withered corpse and it will be because of me. You’ve made a grave error in your machinations. It’s one that you could have easily avoided, one that you made so early on that will impact your career and potentially your life. It’s such a simple one too. What is your error? What simple mistake did you make?
You fucked with the wrong person.
According to you, Sage, you could see the fire inside me. You wanted to harness that fire, to set it free. You wanted that fire to warm yourself, while scorching anything else that was in your way. You didn’t count on how wild this fire is. You can’t harness it. It will not warm you. It will engulf you! This blue flame burns hotter than anything you’ve experienced before. It burns hotter than what you yourself can withstand. This fire burns so hot, that there will be nothing left of you, Sage. No water, no extinguisher, nothing can kill this flame that you’ve released. You can only accept the punishment that comes with such a careless action.
You need to understand something, Pontiff. I didn’t want this match with you so I could get a victory. Moral garbage like that means little to me at this point. No, what I want is to hurt you. The truth is there’s no limit to that either. No amount of blood, no number of broken bones and torn tendons will be enough. My goal is your eradication. I don’t want to see your face ever again! Not in PRIME, not on PWA, not on some shit yoga video. I want to beat you so savagely, you limp back to Joshua Tree and NEVER show your face again!
This is your end, Sage. You might believe it to be just another chapter in your ongoing story, but you’d be mistaken. This is not an epic, it’s a novella. You might be the writer, but I’m the editor. There will be no extension for you, no extra words. I’ve made the call on how this story finishes. You have no power to change it, no input that will be considered. My decision is final, absolute. Love it or hate it, it doesn’t matter. I’ll give you a spoiler for how this ends:
I was your doomsday all along.