Private: Jacob Mephisto
October 21, 2022
The Patriarch raises his head defiantly, blood freely flowing from his nose. The crimson lifeblood also flows from a fresh wound somewhere on his head. As Mephisto looks up, he sees The Anglo Luchador raising the steel chair once more.
Then comes the familiar scent of stale cigarette smoke.
His left eye twitches once, but he doesn’t move. Instead he locks eyes with the reigning Intense Champion before spraying a glob of blood from his nose at his attacker’s feet.
He hears her, but doesn’t move. He watches the chair come down, knowing that sweet darkness is to follow. He smiles as everything goes black.
SHOOT Project: ELITE
October 7, 2013
He hears the air go out of the crowd as he utterly obliterates Maya Nakashima with an electric chair drop. Things are going well for the future Patriarch. He’s part of the final three, down from what began as an eight person elimination match for the World Heavyweight Championship… The Primus.
Loco Martinez is struggling for air somewhere in a corner. The man who will be known as the All-Father years from now gets to his feet, stalking his prey. He rushes forward, looking for his patented shining axe kick.
The crowd roars. Maya catches his leg. The submission is hooked in. Jacob Mephisto taps out. Just like that… he’s eliminated.
He begins to roll out of the ring. That’s when he sees her sitting in the front row. Her pale, gray eyes are mirrors of his own. Kara Mephisto. She’s not a shade, not yet. This is the real deal, live in the flesh. She smirks at him, shaking her head.
For the first time since he was a child, Jacob’s left eye twitches. Just once.
Then something snaps inside.
He doesn’t remember doing any of what comes next. He won’t remember it for all his remaining years. But, he’ll always know it happened because it’s been memorialized in brilliant streaming HD (you can find the match on the ACE Network to see for yourself).
He mows down a recovering Maya Nakashima. He turns his ire towards a rejuvenated Loco Martinez and levels him too. It takes a contingent of SHOOT Project Soldiers to chase the future Lord of the Coyotes from his rampage.
Maya Nakashima would go on to become the SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion in a moment that is enshrined in SHOOT Project lore.
Jacob Mephisto would simply go on.
October 1, 2015
“You’re pathetic, you know that, right?”
Kara Mephisto stands in the doorframe of a room in various states of dishevelment. She lights a cigarette and takes a short drag, quickly breathing out the blue-gray smoke.
“You’ve been holed up here all this time and for what? Jesus Christ, Jake, I thought you might be here biding your time. Maybe licking your wounds and planning to go back and make someone’s life absolute hell. Instead, you’re just… just fucking wallowing? What the shit, man?”
She kicks an empty bottle, probably bourbon by the shape of it, as added emphasis to her words.
The man sitting on a cluttered couch with his elbows on his knees will go on to once again become one of the most feared warriors in his profession. He will become the Father of the Family. But, right now? That future is unrecognizable.
Jacob Mephisto looks up at his sister, eyes glassy, nothing behind them but contempt and self loathing. He doesn’t say anything for a long moment. When he speaks, his voice cracks.
“For what? To what end? So, maybe I go back, sure. Maybe I even make someone’s life hell. For what? Is that all I am anymore? Am I some pesky recurring villain to be put out in front of the heroes as fodder? No. Thank. You.”
Kara takes a long drag of her cigarette, rolling her eyes.
“Give me a break. So you got beat. So fucking what? Maya Nakashima has your number. Tough shit. You didn’t get to break little Maya. Boo goddamn hoo. Quit wallowing here and do something.”
Mephisto the Broken sighs heavily.
“You don’t get it, do you? This isn’t just about Maya. This is about what I am. This is about the legacy I’m leaving behind. I don’t have anything beyond this sport. Don’t you understand that? This is everything that I am! I would rather fade out than be made the fool time and time again, Kara.”
There’s a crash behind Mephisto where an empty bottle shatters, thrown by the elder twin.
“You are the goddamned longest reigning Sin City Champion in SHOOT Project history. You are the first man to ever submit Sammy Rochester. You are one of only two men to win the Sin City Championship Series. And, you beat the other one. What happened to ‘Mr. Sin City?’ What happened to the man who broke Donovan King to earn his shot? What the fuck happened to my brother?”
His eye twitches. Just once.
Kara snubs her smoke out beneath her heel.
“Maybe you need to get the fuck out of Nazareth again, Jake. This place has nothing for you anymore. Go back to Vegas. That’s where you belong. That’s where your legacy is. You’re not a fool. You’re a nightmare. They all know it.”
The future Patriarch looks at his sister with clear eyes for the first time in months.
“Maybe you’re right. Maybe I need to find the answer out there. Something’s been missing, Kara. It’s like there’s a hole inside of me and I can’t fill it. It’s like this… this kind of hunger that I can’t figure out. I thought the answer would be here. But, you’re right. It’s not. It’s never been here. Let’s go to Vegas.”
The Mojave Desert, Red Rock Canyon
October 31, 2015
“Why’d you bring me all the way out here? This isn’t exactly Vegas.”
Kara Mephisto leans against the red rocks of the canyon’s namesake, a cigarette hanging from her lips. The dark sunglasses she wears hides any emotion she may be feeling, but her tone suggests boredom.
Jacob Mephisto sits cross-legged on the ground. He looks haggard, tired, and a little worse for wear. Still, he wears the ghost of a grin on his face.
“Oh, but it is. Don’t you see? This is the true face of it. All the lights and the flashy exterior? It’s all a facade. This… this is the real face of this town. It’s barren… desolate… but not without its own natural beauty.”
Kara takes a long, thoughtful drag before exhaling smoke into the air.
“So what? You’re telling me you found yourself? You’re ready to go back to work? What?”
Mephisto shakes his head. His smile faltering.
“Not quite, dear sister. You know, family is a funny thing, isn’t it?”
He cocks his head to the side. Kara lowers her shades, looking at her brother quizzically.
“Not our family. Ours has always been shit.”
Mephisto nods slowly.
“True. Very true. Well, except for us. We’ve always been close, right?”
There’s something new in his tone. Kara can’t place what it is. It’s something… dark. Mephisto stands and moves toward his sister, his shadow looming large behind her.
“What’s going on, Jake?”
“Family, Kara. Family is all we have. And Family is forever.”
I’ve got to tell you, I’m conflicted, Mr. Ray. I really don’t know how to feel about this one.
See, you and I both know Lindsay Troy put you in front of me as a punishment. She doesn’t much care who wins or loses. Ms. Troy knows someone’s going to get hurt.
I don’t take kindly to being used like this.
But, on the other hand? I get to stand across from The Bayou Butcher.
Like it or not, Paxton, you’re one of the hottest tickets in town now after what you did. People want to see you, even if it is just to see you get hurt.
It’s all so… exciting, right?
I could give you the usual spiel. I could talk about change and how after we meet you’ll never be the same. But, those words would just be hollow. They wouldn’t mean anything to you.
So, I’m going to be real with you, just this once. You’ve earned it.
I’m hungry, Paxton. Starving, even. You see, I’m not looking to change you. I’m not looking to fundamentally warp your whole world.
No, Mr. Ray, you are a meal to me. You’re a full three course dinner being served up to me on a platter.
But, that’s the problem. That’s why I’m not excited.
I don’t want a meal. I don’t want something prepared and laid out for me.
I want to hunt. I want… I want to butcher the Butcher.
Well, I don’t care much about Jonathan Rhine, or any of his compatriots. I’m not the hero ready to strike down the dastardly villain.
But, Rhine was practically family to you, Paxton.
Family is supposed to be forever.
You violated that principle.
So now? Now I’m going to do something no one else is capable of doing in PRIME.
I’m going to forgive you.
And I’m going to do it the only way I know how.
The fire crackles against the night as Jacob Mephisto stares into the flames. Noticeably absent from his side are the Montgomery Twins. As a matter of fact, he’s alone. There are no members of The Family present. There are no Coyotes.
It’s just him. Well, sort of. He’s never alone, really.
The scent of a fresh cigarette drifts to his nostrils and she materializes across the fire. Kara Mephisto.
“This is personal for you, isn’t it, Jake?”
He doesn’t answer. He doesn’t have to. She’s a part of him now forever. His eye twitches. Just once.
“Is Jacob Mephisto going soft? Did Paxton Ray trigger you, Jake?”
No response. He stokes the fire with a stick, moving it around needlessly. His pale, gray eyes reflect the firelight.
“If you let what he did affect you, he’s going to eat you alive.”
He quirks an eyebrow at her choice of words. Finally, he takes a deep breath.
“It’s not Paxton Ray, Kara. I don’t care about him. He’s just another victim. This is about The Family.”
Kara takes a long drag from her cigarette.
“What about it?”
“Do you think they’ll stick around if I go the way of Rhine?”
She laughs. Kara Mephisto tosses her head back and lets out an ear piercing cackle that carries on the wind.
It’s all the answer he needs.
“But, you’ll be here. Always.”
The laughter fades and Kara’s eyes narrow.
“Yeah. You saw to that.”
“Yeah. I did.”
Let’s not get too sentimental, Paxton.
Your forgiveness comes with a price.
See, I told you, Mr. Ray, I’m hungry… starving.
Month after month, PRIME feeds me competition. They feed me Multitudes. They serve me heroes. Sometimes they even sprinkle in the bad guys too.
It’s all bland.
And then… then there’s you.
Pure Louisiana flavor.
You’re a special kind of soul, Paxton.
See, I know you on a level so primal, no one else could possibly understand. I know the stain that coats your soul. It carries a certain scent. It’s positively…
So, Bayou Butcher, I’m not going to try to change you.
I’m going to fucking tear you apart.
Not because I hate what you’ve done.
Not because I hate you.
Not because I want to punish you, or see justice served.
But, because I forgive you.
Let me give you my forgiveness.
Come home, Paxton.