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Grim Wolf
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So, here's the problem.

Michael Crowe is speaking his language. Michael Crowe is offering himself up as the hero to his villain. And that is a powerful narrative, no two ways about it. He's right: it does have a strong pull to it, a McClane/Gruber vibe. The confident, unshakeable villain, and the brash, trash-talking hero. And given how timeless Alan Rickman's performance is, how pervasive an icon Bruce Willis became, that narrative has tremendous appeal.

There's just one problem. Well, two, if Alex is being honest.

The first is this: Alex isn't Gruber, and Crowe isn't McClane. Alexand David Tarquin may not know this fact, but Alex has to. Everything he does has to be grounded in reality, while giving Alexander David Tarquin the tools he needs to look far grander than he really is. The odds that one of them makes it to the finale are already low enough: the odds that both of them will are minuscule. Alexander David Tarquin cannot acknowledge this reality, but Alex has to. Alex has to know that if he lets an enemy walk away now, he may lose--not just the game, but also the character he's trying to cling to, the glory and admiration he can't stand to lose.

The second: Crowe had punched him in the face. Crowe had already ruined the illusion, by striking at Alex when his guard was down.

The narrative isn't simple anymore. We live in a world so saturated with storytelling devices that even the most plebian member of your audience is going to expect the common cliches. Die Hard is a product of its time. It is an iconic product, on par with other classics, but its devices have been borrowed and innovated on countless times. If he intends to build on the narrative, if he intends to make it something worth watching, he has to be very careful about how he acts. And about the reasons he gives.

"I see," Alex said. "I suppose my only question is: which of us is Max, and which is Toecutter? Which is Deckard, and which is Roy? Which of us do you think is the hero, Crowe?"

The blood was running down his face. There was a gun in Jeremy's hand.

"We're not leaving," Alex said to Jeremy, carefully sheathing his giant sword. "This is our place, and we have work to do. But Mike can go if he likes. I'd like to know how long he keeps his illusion of heroes and villains." Alex extended a hand, and saw the moment's hesitation in the other's face. Then a return to McClane brashness, reaching out to take the hand.

Alex struck then, before his frayed nerves could get the better of him. He twisted the arm, hooked his leg beneath Crowe's so the other man pitched to the ground, catching himself on splayed fingers. And Alex was rising again with the machete in hand, the machete was swinging again, Rea was falling in front of his eyes again, but this time it was deliberate, this time he knew exactly what he was doing, and his nerves were singing and his stomach quivering but he trusted in the body he'd spent so long training, the hand-eye coordination he'd developed working backstage and shadowboxing.

The machete snicked neatly through the pinky of the hand that had struck Alex. Crowe gasped, stared down at his hand in disbelief, then moved for his axe. Alex's foot was already on the handle: he stood above him, the machete wet with Crowe's blood and pointed towards his throat.

"You can go," Alex said. "And when they ask you what happened to your hand, tell them you dared strike Alexander David Tarquin when he had laid down his arms. Tell them it was your punishment for weakness and cowardice. Tell them I wanted to make it clear just how unfit you were."

Alex lifted his foot and his blade, and turned away from Crowe. He stared straight ahead with his best attempt at regal imperiousness, trying to hide the tears in his eyes, the bile in his throat.
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V6 Players

Tara Behzad: "They don't get to decide how I die."

Lizzie Luz: "I don't want to go."

Alex Tarquin: "No more masks."

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This World Belongs to the Mad · Solitary Confinement