“THE ABYSS I”
Static covers the screen as a Play ► symbol appears in the bottom right-hand corner.
A cloaked figure walks across the barren landscape aided by a cane, illuminated only by the flicker of flames that light the realm behind them. They move slowly as though their entire body hurts, writhing in pain at every step. Finally, they collapse to their knees, huffing, and puffing, as though those few steps have drained them of all their energy.
“Not now… I’m so close.”
The voice that echoes from their mouth is familiar… yet vacant, as though it was devoid of all life, of all spirit. They bring their hand into the light, the scene focusing in on it. Their skin is greyed and cracked, a piece of their finger crumbling to dust, revealing an inside that is hollow, lifeless. The figure fights to their feet, struggling to stand.
“Only a little further now. I can make it. I have to make it.”
With great difficulty they walk once more, moving at a snail’s pace deeper into the Underworld. The scene moves overhead, showing his path. In the distance at the edge of this plain lies a stone path where the underworld seems to end.
And only darkness remains.
A slap connects to the cheek of Tomasso Vitale whose eyes slowly lull open. His vision is groggy, but the sudden appearance of Vengeance in front of him is enough to stir him quickly.
“Wuh-… what is going on, V?!”
A gloved hand presses over the mouth of Vitale who begins to realize that he’s tied up. His arms dangle from above him as the sound of clattering chains echo. Vengeance looks into his eyes before squeezing his face harder. He slowly releases the face of Tommy threatening him if he spoke up again.
“You drugged me two weeks ago and asked the right questions. I told you nothing but the truth as I was compelled to. I don’t kill my marks. I mark them as a warning for others, but I never put the bullet in them. That’s not me, kid. That’s your people.”
“Get the fuck out. Why would we kill our own?”
Vengeance doesn’t respond. Instead he takes a few steps back and props himself up on a chair.
“I don’t know. Frankly, I don’t really give a shit. I gave them a chance at life, but it’s not my fault their life expectancy hasn’t been long after meeting me.”
Vengeance reaches down and picks up the coat of Tommy before pulling out his pack of smokes.
“These will kill you, y’know?”
V smirks, but Vitale has had enough.
“What the fuck is this, V? How did you know about my daughter? Did… did Franky tell you about her?”
The defeat in his voice is disheartening even to the point that Vengeance shakes his head. He looks at the jacket for a second.
“You really should change jackets more often.”
Vengeance reaches underneath the collar and removes a small device almost invisible to the naked eye. He throws the jacket aside and steps across to show him. Vitale gulps.
“Do you know what this is? This is a tracking device that I’ve used to watch you. It’s how I saw you at the funeral, and it’s how I found out where La Cosa Nostra is headquartered. It’s all thanks to you, Tommy.”
Vengeance crushes the device in his hand before dropping the remnants. He turns away from Vitale and moves towards his torture wall as a snap is heard of a box opening.
“Don’t use that name, Tommy. You don’t know Jake Jones, and you’re not going to know Jake Jones. Tonight, I didn’t bring you here to really answer my questions. Tonight I brought you here to answer your own. Now, I’m going to allow you one question that I will answer truthfully. So chose wisely.”
A moment passes as the panicked voice of Vitale is heard scrambling.
The blade that has been used so many other times to mark his victims is brandished in the dim lighting of the room as Vengeance steps towards him with a smirk.
“Because when men choose wrong and turn down the path of corruption, it’s up to men like me to show them the error of their ways.”
Vengeance presses the blade’s tip against the exposed chest of Vitale who winces as blood trickles out.
“I hope you realize that there is always another path, Tommy.”
The next sound is the scream of the La Cosa Nostra member.
The bloody red V is shown across his chest before Vitale passes out. Vengeance cleans off his blade before putting it right back into the box with a snapping sound. He turns to Vitale with a smirk.
“Now to get you home.”
LUTHER CREED VS. REDMOND QUINN
A line was crossed, and now, two friends come to blows. Who is going to come out on top here tonight?
The match is on and both men walk around the ring wearily, neither seemingly trying to make the first move. Quinn slowly moves closer and puts up a hand for a test of strength! Cree reaches up AND LASHES OUT WITH A SUCKER PUNCH TO QUINN! Redmond is rocked by the blow and stumbles forward INTO A CUTTER!
Creed shakes his head as he rolls Quinn over for an early cover!
ON- NO! Not even a one count on the pin! Creed gets up and makes some distance, allowing Quinn to get to his feet and allowing him to come at him!
Quinn closes some distance between the two and goes on the offensive by pulling Creed into him! He seems to be holding back though as Creed easily gets free with a knee to the gut! He throws Quinn back with a shove and a harsh backfist!
“You gotta make a choice, Quinn! Cross the line or don’t!” ROUNDHOUSE KICK! QUINN JUST DROPPED CREED TO THE GROUND! He drops down and places Redmond IN THE FINAL ASSIGNMENT! CATTLE MUTILATION! The modified chicken wing has Creed howling in pain as he tries to fight against Quinn’s grasp!
The rebel tries to fight to his feet but the strength of the hold keeps him on his stomach! He slowly forces his legs beneath him, getting both soles on the mat and slowly working free!
HE FLIPS QUINN FACE FIRST INTO THE MAT! MODIFIED KILLSWITCH!
Redmond’s face collides with the canvas and Creed is quick to his feet! He peels Quinn off of the mat and flings him into the ropes, catching him on the return with a massive lariat that turns him inside out! He forces him up again for another Irish Whip!
SILENCE EQUALS VIOLENCE! SLEEPER SLAM FROM LUTHER CREED!
Creed doesn’t go for the pin, standing up and practically begging for Quinn to get up for him! “Cross the line, Quinn! You gotta make a choice and cross that line!” Luther lets Redmond get up before placing a boot to his chest that keeps him grounded! Another! Then another!
HE’S STOMPING A MUDHOLE IN QUINN! Each boot sends The Tutor back to the mat with greater and greater force until he’s practically balled up in the center of the ring! Luther reaches down to grab at him TO FIND QUINN WAS PLAYING POSSUM! HE ARM DRAGS LUTHER DOWN!
Creed bounces off of the mat but Quinn keeps his arm close as he cinches in an armbar! Creed’s arms look like they can’t take much more abuse after the earlier cattle mutilation! He’s got his hand high in the air! WILL HE TAP!? HE HAS TO TAP!
HE GRABS THE ROPES! Quinn is forced to let go but as soon as Luther is to his feet Quinn catches him with a massive Tiger suplex that shakes the ring! He bridges!
THREE- NO! KICK OUT! LUTHER CREED KICKED OUT AT THE VERY LAST MOMENT!
are up to their feet and circling the other, neither one wanting to make the first move WHEN QUINN LEAPS WITH A DROPKICK! As fast as Creed is dropped does he get back up, narrowly avoiding a second dropkick and hitting a harsh headbutt as Quinn gets to his feet!
QUINN FORCES A LOCK UP! He seems to get the upper hand AND NAILS A HARSH EUROPEAN UPPERCUT! HE PULLS HIM IN FOR THE CLASS DISMISSED! PUMPHANDLE FLATLINER! He Covers!
Redmond Quinn is triumphant! He overcame his tag team partner and scored a big win here tonight!
Luther sits on one of the benches in the locker room, cooling down from his aggressive fight. Lost in thought, he doesn’t notice the shape of a person walk into the room as well, before he speaks up.
“Mind if I have a seat?”
He turns, finding Redmond standing next to him. Luther cracks a smile at his friend, and simply
“The seat’s all yours my friend.”
Redmond sits down, wincing slightly as the pain from the match just minutes before radiates out. The two sit there in silence for a minute, letting the humdrum background noises take over before Redmond speaks.
“You asked me before to make a choice. To choose a side of the line that only I could make. And I gave it thought. I tried to figure out if I could undo things that couldn’t be changed. That maybe there had been a way to undo the death I had caused.”
He sighs, looking down to his hands.
“But there’s no changing death. It’s just a part of life. So I choose to never do it again. I can’t kill another man again. I’ve been through too much, the cost too high. Each person that dies directly because of me haunts me. I can’t do it again.”
Instead of the aggression that Redmond expects however, he gets a hand on the shoulder. He turns to Luther, who simply gives a small smile. He speaks calmly, and clearly.
“I know. I figured as much from what I know of you. We’re two sides of the same coin, a pair and a team together, but fundamentally different. If you aren’t a cold blooded killer, that’s absolutely great. I may be a leader of change out there, but if I don’t care for those who got my back? What’s the point.”
The two stand up, and embrace in a hug for a minute. Breaking free of each other, Luther speaks again, but with more brevity in his voice.
“Don’t worry about it Redmond. If the times come down, you won’t have to kill again. I’ll have your back man.”
Redmond laughs, possibly for the first time since Chain Reaction.
“You promise man?”
Luther laughs as well, grasping Redmond’s shoulder.
“As long as I live, I got your back. Brothers to the end.”
An Unknown Place.
Wilderness. A place that is usually desolate and quiet appears somewhat brimming with action. Rain appears, running and stumbling in a panic as if scrambling for his life. He finds an opening in a cliff-face, a ravine where a creek-bed flows and scrambles in the gap. Sheer cliff walls tower above him. Following him, walking at a menacingly slow and methodical pace is none other than Scarecrow.
All that stands between the monster and his target? Gameboy and D’Von Chambers.
“Scarecrow. Stop.” Chambers calls out to him, but the Crow presses on. “This is not what we signed up for.”
The Hayman simply pushes past without word. Gameboy grabs his monstrous partner by the shoulder and is tossed with unworldly strength into one of the cliff walls. Chambers too is hurled in the opposite direction for good measure. However, Scarecrow stops in his tracks as a smile forms on Rain’s face.
Scarecrow cranes his head. Rain’s grin grows.
“Legend tells of the King of Ephyra, punished in the underworld by being forced to roll a great boulder up a hill only for it to fall back down again. Repeating this laborious task over and over for eternity. Much like you, Scarecrow. The Kersh family, now this… Over and over for eternity.”
A rumbling is heard from above. A smattering of rocks fall into the ravine. From above, Isaac Danvers and King Arthur both stand, on opposite cliffs. It is Danvers who continues the tale.
“How many times would Sisyphus have simply wished that boulder to roll over him and put him out of his misery?”
King Arthur calls…
“Fare the well, Scarecrow. Where thine eyes doth go…”
A loud rumbling is heard, shaking the ground like an earthquake. Large boulders, some as large as cars, tumble from the clifftops into the ravine. Rain has taken the distraction as his cue to disappear, but Scarecrow has nowhere to go. He does not move, he does not flinch. He is simply buried under tonnes upon tonnes of rock. Only when the avalanche of boulders subside do the trio show their faces again. All three now standing beside the Scarecrow buried under a mountain of rock. Rain laughs and pats his partners on the shoulder.
“He should have seen that coming.”
A groggy Chambers and Gameboy wearily approach the scene, but a glare from Danvers keeps them at bay.
“And then there were only two.”
TOMASSO VITALE VS. VENGEANCE
Vitale, Vengeance. Two men at odds enter the ring tonight, but only one will leave victorious.
The match is on and both men are wanting to go on the offensive! They clash in the middle of the ring, both men trading a series of blows, neither gaining an inch until Vitale ducks a haymaker! A strong body blow makes Vengeance stumble forward and Tommy capitalizes with a Russian Legsweep that downs Vengeance!
HE ROLLS WITH IT! HE LOCKS IN THE CROSSFACE! Vengeance is in pain as Vitale wrenches back with all of his might!
The mobster looks like he may have an early win! Wait! Vengeance is slowly moving his body around! He has his feet on the mat!
SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE! PACKAGE POWERBOMB FROM THE DODGE CITY DESTROYER! Vitale is forced to let go but Vengeance hangs on! ANOTHER PACKAGE POWERBOMB! ANOTHER! A TRIFECTA OF SUSPICIOUS PACKAGES PRACTICALLY IMPLANT VITALE INTO THE MAT!
The Mobster is left gasping for air and Vengeance covers him!
Vengeance looks to the referee who has stopped counting only for him to point at Vitale’s foot on the ropes! Vengeance can’t believe it and he drags Tomasso away from the ropes for another pin attempt BUT VITALE ROLLS HIM INTO A SMALL PACKAGE!
Tomasso couldn’t cheese out a victory from Vengeance and he rolls away to make some space as his opponent gets to his feet! Vengeance gets to his feet AND TOMMY SPRINGS UP! SUPERKICK! THE KICK UP! Vengeance bounces off the ropes and into a massive belly-to-belly from Vitale! Vengeance is left reeling and Tomasso uses this as a chance to get his bearings back! He rolls out of the ring to get a breather before getting onto the apron and slowly climbing the rope! Vengeance slowly gets to his feet
AND DUCKS A FLYING CLOTHESLINE BY VITALE! IT HITS THE REFEREE! THE REF IS OUT COLD!
Vitale rolls almost seamlessly out of the ring with a cocky smirk! He was aiming for the referee! Vengeance goes to chase him to the outside and Tomasso runs around the ring, grabbing a steel chair from beneath! Vengeance rounds a corner AND GETS A FACE FULL OF COLD STEEL! The chair is stained with the blood of Vengeance’s new crimson mask! The Dodge City Destroyer is looking worse for wear as Vitale lays into him with a flurry of chair shots! Once he’s satisfied he slides the chair and Vengeance back into the ring!
The referee is slowly beginning to stir and Vitale takes the opportunity to get ready for one more chair shot! He readies up as Vengeance slowly rises up-
BIG BOOT BY VENGEANCE! BIG BOOT SENDS THE CHAIR STRAIGHT INTO VITALE’S FACE!
The mobster is sent reeling into the turnbuckle and Vengeance angrily pushes his advantage! KNIFE EDGE CHOPS TO THE CORNER TRAPPED VITALE! SHOTGUN BLAST! The chops pepper Tommy’s chest like buckshot, each powerful blow practically heard throughout the entire Taproom! The assault ends as the referee slowly gets back to his feet and Vengeance peels Vitale out of the corner!
Both men look worse for wear but Vengeance seems determined to finish this! He whips Vitale across the ring and catches him with a massive ax-handle that drops him to the ground! He lands a few harsh stomps to the head of Vitale before peeling him up once more- HEADBUTT! Vitale rocks Vengeance and nails a hard haymaker to daze him before whipping him off of the ropes! Vengeance comes back-
WITH A CLAYMORE KICK- NO! VITALE CATCHES IT! HEAVY CLIP! LUNGBLOWER POWERBOMB TO VENGEANCE!
Tomasso rolls Vengeance over and throws an arm over his chest!
Tomasso Vitale has put down Vengeance after what has been a hellacious match!
“THE SHOW THAT NEVER STOPS”
The Tap Room lights dim.
A single microphone, silver and shiny, manifests in the center of the ring.
Directly in front of a gentleman wearing a suave jacket, with an undeniable twinkle in his eye.
The lights turn up. Upbeat, jazzy music starts playing.
The gentleman smiles and announces, “Welcome everyone to the greatest game show on earth! It’s The Show That Never Stops, and where the prizes never end!”
His smile is joyous, warm, and delightful. But between that grin and his twinkling eye, there is something more sinister and sharp to him.
Like a buzzsaw.
The music cuts.
“I’m your host, Monty Straight! Our first ever contestant is a man of sinister evil, a man who loves to murder like a mother loves her children!”
Monty chuckles at his one-liner.
“Please welcome to the stage, The Butcher!”
The jazzy music picks back up and The Butcher steps out onto the entrance ramp. He steps aggressively towards the ring, onto the entrance ramp, between the ropes and into the squared circle.
The music cuts.
“Welcome, Butcher!” Monty Straight says, patting the killer on the back with a welcoming smile. “Are you ready to play?”
“Yeah,” The Butcher says. “I’m ready.”
“Very well,” replies Straight.
In the center of the ring, two doors appear.
One is marked Door #1…
The other, Door #2.
“Now as you know Butcher, Behind Door #1 is everything you’ve always known you’ve wanted. Opening this door will allow you to kill anyone you desire without ever being caught… Eternally. You can chop them up into a million pieces, cover them in your DNA and send them straight to the FBI. It doesn’t matter, you will never, ever, be caught. You will never, ever be prosecuted.”
The Butcher makes a beeline to Door #1.
“Wait! Wait, my impatient contestant. Because Behind Door #2 is an even more enticing offer. Behind Door #2 awaits your most deepest desire. Not even you are aware of this desire, Butcher. But with my infinite knowledge and limitless reach I have accessed the greatest temptation of your heart. Choose Door #2, Butcher, and you will obtain that temptation, and it is a temptation that only I, Monty Straight, can offer you.”
There is that buzzsaw sharp look on Straight’s visage again.
“It’s your choice,” he says.
The Butcher spends a moment weighing his options. Hesitantly, he grasps the handle to Door #1. He quickly removes his hand, swings open Door #2, and steps through the door.
The Butcher disappears.
Door #2 slams shut.
The Tap Room gasps.
Monty smiles. “What do you think, folks? Shall we see what was behind Door #2?”
The Tap Room roars with approval.
Door #2 swings open.
The beheaded corpse of The Butcher falls through the doorway and lands on the mat!
Monty Straight grins. “See folks. My contestant had killed across decades and continents, and had become already a legend of a kind. The only thing my contestant desired more than the ability to always maintain his legacy was to cease existing himself.”
Straight winks. “And I, in my unlimited reach, could offer that to him.”
That twinkle in Straight’s eye returns. “I gave him the choice, and he made it! The Butcher chose his ultimate prize, and The Show That Never Stops has never-ending prizes.”
The lights begin to dim as the upbeat, jazzy music picks up again. “Join me folks, as The Show That Never Stops continues here in OSW! Where every contender is a contestant…”
The lights go out.
“And every contestant makes a choice.”
The music stops.
The lights come on.
The ring is empty.
Later tonight, Zander Zane fights for the opportunity of a life time in the Main Event. But right now, he’s backstage with Xochipilli. The God has some words of encouragement for him before the bell sounds tonight.
“We made people believe in you, Zander. We took your music and used it to force them to listen to what we had to say. Tonight, you have to perform a ballad inside that ring. You have to be the musician we know you can be.”
Zane nods. “Don’t worry, as long as we’re in this together, nothing can stop us.”
The Rocker flashes him a wink and exits the locker room.
Xochipilli meanwhile takes a seat, contemplating the bigger picture. If they want to end this war, they’ll need the World Championship and that means beating the undefeated Edward Newton.
That’s when the door opens.
“You,” he says with horror. “You’re not it.”
We cut away just as his bellowing screams echo throughout the Tap Room. The noise is such that Zander Zane comes barrelling back down the hall, bursting through the door.
Only it’s too late.
Xochipilli is dead.
His soul removed from his vessel.
And the killer?
Zane angrily grimaces, realizing that if he wants to win tonight, he’s going to have to do it alone.
The God Killer strikes again.
REDWING & DARKWISH VS. JIGSAW
TWO V ONE MATCH
A very tense Redwing is stood in the middle of the ring. Darkwish is nowhere to be found.
The Caped Crusader goes down, a vicious blow to the back of his head. As he comes to his knees, his assailant is obvious.
The masked monster stomps down on Redwing’s fingers before toe kicking him right in the cowl. He lords over the fallen hero with a guttural growl in his throat.
“Missed me?” He taunts.
“You’re looking lonely, Redwing.” Jigsaw’s distorted voice taunts again. “Can’t find the kid?”
The Red Knight rises to his feet, holding Jigsaw’s leg. He sweeps the masked man down to the ground, but Jigsaw anticipated the move, quickly locking the leg into a modified crab. He roars as he cinches it in before he releases it. The Caped Crusader rolls over, surprised at the hold being released. Jigsaw grabs him by the cowl, lifting him up.
Dazed and confused, Redwing goes to the corner to regroup as Jigsaw continues his advance.
“You should have let the kid kill me.” He roars, slamming his fist into Redwing’s gut. “You make a mistake with me, and it’s going to cost lives.”
His lip snarling, Redwing watches as Jigsaw rushes in, but the Caped Crusader leaps over him and rolls to his feet. Redwing charges towards Jigsaw before clotheslining him right over the top rope and to the floor below! Jigsaw staggers to his feet against the barricade as Redwing climbs out onto the apron. He leaps off with a double axe handle that floors Jigsaw. Redwing lifts his foe up before whipping him into the steel post. Jigsaw stays there for a moment as Redwing takes a step back.
“What did you do with Darkwish?” Redwing cries out.
YAKUZA KICK! But Jigsaw has the wherewithal to move out of the way as Redwing’s boot hits the steel post with a thud. He staggers back clutching at his foot which now appears to be injured somewhat. Jigsaw sees this and nails a chop block! Redwing falls to the floor clutching at his ankle! Jigsaw scampers away from him and slides into the ring before turning to Redwing on the outside.
“He had a lot of heart, but I put the real terror in him.” Jigsaw begins. “If you’re quick enough, there may be something left.”
BY THE THROAT! REDWING LEAPS UP TO THE APRON GRABBING JIGSAW BY THE THROAT!
Keeping his hold, Redwing leaps into the ring. Jigsaw tries to break contact, but doubles over long enough for Redwing to nail a big axe kick! Jigsaw is flattened as Redwing quickly lifts him up by the collar.
“Where. Is. He?” Redwing asks, his tone steel.
“You know where he is.” Jigsaw laughs in his face. “I burned the whole place down. The whole fucking house.”
Redwing releases Jigsaw with a sneer on his face. Realization infiltrates his cowl, and a momentary glimpse of fear passes as well. He quickly lifts Jigsaw to his feet.
DOUBLE UNDERHOOK DDT! RETURN TO ARKHAM!
Jigsaw is still laughing as Redwing makes the cover.
Redwing wins the match, but Jigsaw is left cackling as the Caped Crusader rushes from the ring without another thought to his opponent.
What the hell did Jigsaw do?
“THE ZANDER ZANE EXPERIENCE”
Zander Zane steps onto his tour bus, a cellphone to his ear.
“Get out here quickly,” Zane screams. “We have a god damn problem, Mysterion!”
Zander Zane snaps his head over to the couch.
Zander storms over to the OSW World Champion and grabs him by the throat.
“Did you do it!?”
“It depends,” Newton manages to say through grit teeth as Zander chokes him.
Zander punches Newton with his free hand. “Did you kill Xochipilli!?”
Newton’s eyes widen with surprise. “No,” he squeaks out.
Zane lets Newton go.
“Well someone did.”
Newton adjusts his coat. “Do have a seat, Mr. Zane. The Zander Zane Experience is about to begin.”
Zane lifts an eyebrow. “Uh, ex-fucking-cuse me, dickface! I decide when the Experience begins and when it ends.”
The door swings open and Nightstick steps in. “What’s going on? Why did you–”
Nightstick sees Newton sitting down.
“Oh, you orchestrated this.”
Newton shrugs, “Don’t I always, Master Nightstick?”
As Zane paces around the tour bus floor, utterly distraught, Nightstick demands, “What is this about, now?”
Newton clears his throat. “It appears that Master Mysterion has wisely gone rogue.”
Zane turns to Newton. “What makes you say that?”
Nightstick interjects, “And why would we ever believe you?”
“Gentlemen,” Newton stands and steps towards the door. “Master Mysterion approached me. He told me his plan. And make no mistake, it did not bother me one bit, this plan of his. It made sense given his interests, and further, his interests were aligned with my own.”
Edward smiles. Both men’s attention focused squarely on him. “Indeed, not long after your little stunt with Miami’s Finest, Master Mysterion came to see that his interests were our interests.”
“What’s the plan then?” Nightstick asks.
“I would never tell,” Newton smiles. He opens the bus door.
“I only called you here to tell you that I won.”
Newton steps off of the bus, sealing the door shut behind him.
An awkward moment of silence follows.
Finally, Zander breaks the silence. “What the fuck was that all about?”
“I don’t know” Nightstick replies. “Let’s just get out of here. Something tells me he wasn’t lying.”
Nightstick moves to open the door. He pulls and pushes.
The door doesn’t open.
“Your door is jammed.”
Zander and Nightstick look at each other. Worry spreads across their faces.
“Are you sure?” Zane asks.
Nightstick nods. “Try the emergency exit.”
Zane moves to the emergency exit.
It won’t budge either.
They look at each other again.
Outside of the bus, Edward Newton sprints down the street. From his pocket, he retrieves a walkie talkie.
“Do it. I’m clear.”
Newtons feet pound the pavement as he sprints down the road.
The Zander Zane Experience tour bus explodes.
Newton turns and looks as he runs.
The tour bus is a blazing inferno.
He grins as he turns the corner, stopping and catching his breath.
“Good form, Master Mysterion.”
Mysterion stands before Newton, a wry smile across his face.
“And then there were two,” Mysterion says.
Both men exchange a grin and a nod as they head back towards the Tap Room.
Meanwhile, the tour bus burns.
Zander Zane and Nightstick never made it off the bus.
An Unknown Place.
The wilderness. A ravine. Deserted, save for a mountain of boulders that seem to have fallen from the clifftops above. As crows begin to settle on the new landscape, suddenly the rocks begin to move and shake.
A hand shoots out from within the immense pile of boulders, throwing smaller rocks out of the way in its search for freedom. A second hand soon follows. Clawing at boulders and tossing them aside, before long enough have been moved to free a dusty and battered figure. He pushes himself free of the avalanche and begins to dust himself down.
“They will never learn, these mortals. For where their eyes don’t go…”
SPERO & BERENGAR VS. FOREVER & MANSON
TAG TEAM MATCH
The Shadow Force is here tonight, but will they be able to take out two former #1 Contenders in David Manson and Eli Forever?
The bell sounds as Berengar steps into the ring and beats his chest. Eli Forever slowly enters the ring, but David Manson pushes him away with a grin. The two meet in the center of the ring where Berengar just looks down at Manson with a sneer. Berengar grabs Manson before nailing him with a headbutt! Manson doesn’t even flinch as he just grins up at The Void Knight.
HEADBUTT from Manson!
Berengar actually staggers back a step or two before catching a kick to the midsection from Manson. The Nightmare follows up by locking the two arms of Berengar above him and falling back for a double underhook DDT! Manson quickly rolls over and rakes his eyes as the referee can’t see it! Manson hits the ropes and leaps up before dropping down with a running senton. He grabs the arm of Berengar and drags him to the corner.
Eli Forever steps into the ring as he brushes past David. He grabs the legs of Berengar and wrenches them behind his back. Forever hooks the legs with his own before bending backwards into a crab!
CONFESSION AT THE ALTAR!
Berengar’s voice yells out in pain before he begins pulling himself to the ropes. Forever is digging his fingers into the mat trying to prevent this. The Void Knight continues dragging himself to the ropes before finally reaching out and grabbing them! The referee begins counting down Forever, but he releases the hold at four and a half. Berengar is slow to his feet as he’s using the ropes. Forever tries to charge him, but the referee holds him back. Finally, Berengar gets to his feet and bangs his chest. Forever charges!
Berengar just nailed Forever with a full-impact spear! Both men hit the floor like a ton of bricks before Berengar slowly begins crawling towards his corner. He inches and inches towards Spero before leaping!
But Forever hooks his leg to stop him from reaching Spero. Forever grabs both legs of Berengar, but Berengar kicks him away! He rolls back onto his belly and leaps!
The Blue Lantern of Hope is the legal man!
Spero springs from the top rope and nails a springboard hurricanrana as Forever is sent across the ring. Forever staggers back to his feet only to catch a flurry of kicks to the side before Spero leaps up and connects with an enzuigiri! Forever staggers towards his corner. His lips curl in anger before Manson slaps him on the shoulder.
David Manson steps into the ring and rushes right at Spero who ducks underneath him. Manson hits the ropes and charges back with a clothesline, but Spero dropkicks his knees out from underneath him. Manson staggers to his feet as two feet hook around his head and yank him backwards for an inverted Frankensteiner!
Spero leaps into a cover!
TH-BROKEN UP! Eli Forever breaks it up.
Spero kips up to his feet before nailing a superkick to Forever knocking him out of the ring. Spero hits the ropes seeing Forever roll out onto his feet. He rushes towards the other side, but Forever catches Spero at the ropes with a huge book shot!
BY THE BOOK!
Spero falls back into the ring as Forever turns. BIG BOOT FROM BERENGAR!
Berengar looks up to see Spero laid out. He tries to slide into the ring, but he’s blindsided by two people! The blood-stained followers of David Manson slam into Berengar and begin brutalizing him on the outside of the ring. The referee is too distracted with what’s going on inside the ring to see it!
David Manson lifts up Spero and hits the running double underhook piledriver spiking Spero’s helmet into the mat!
Manson covers Spero!
Eli Forever slides into the ring holding his jaw as David Manson rises to his feet.
“THE GREEN GLOW”
With the match having drawn to a conclusion, Eli Forever and David Manson are now together in the ring with poor Spero.
He kneels before them, looking at the canvas.
Manson heads to the corner, demanding something from one of his followers. They reach into their pocket, pulling out a blade. David walks over to Eli, placing the blade in his hand with a wry smile on his face.
“Finish it,” he demands. “Kill this mother fucker or else.”
Forever looks astonished by the demand. “Excuse me?”
“You heard me Eli. You started this little problem and now, you’re going to finish it. I want you to rip his head from his tiny little blue body.”
Eli grimaces at him, stepping forward. He clutches at Spero’s mask and wrenches his head back, putting the knife to his throat.
“Let the red river flow, man,” Manson growls.
He’s about to cut when a Green light suddenly blinds him. The glow is not only intense, but brings with it a rumbling that increases in strength until finally, the green is gone.
And in its place, something else.
A being dressed in black with tints of green, a colour we’ve suspiciously seen lurking all month around Spero.
Eli and David look at each other, bemused.
Suddenly, a green burst of energy knocks both men off their feet and scrambling to regain their footing. The man runs towards them with a giant SPEAR, coloured in a phenomenal green hue that takes them both back to the canvas.
He gets back up, approaching Spero and reaching out a hand.
“My name is Intrepid, guardian of the Green Ring. Come with me if you want to live,” he remarks courageously.
Spero takes his hand.
And they vanish into a green puff of smoke.
“BY A THREAD”
After their match and agreement earlier tonight, Redmond Quinn cuts a much happier figure backstage as he searches the halls for Luther Creed, ready to exit the arena and head back to the compound.
Brothers in arms.
As he walked towards the exit, he saw a crowd gathered in a circle, blocking his path. Bemused, he approached, immediately being grabbed by the arm and dragged uncomfortably away.
“What on earth are you doing, young lady?” He abruptly complained, snatching his arm away. “It’s rude to-“
“Redmond,” she said softly, looking deep into his eyes as she interrupts him. “You shouldn’t see this.”
He frowned quizzically. “See what?”
She was blocking his path. He placed his hands on his hips and shook his head.
“Look miss, I need to leave immediately, so if you don’t mind?”
Careful not to be rude, he passes by her and begins filtering through the crowd. As he does, each one stops to turn at him, their faces covered in shock and disgust. Some have tears in their eyes, some look absolutely distraught, but no-one says a word.
He finally reaches the front of the crowd and stops dead in his tracks.
His face loses all colour.
Because led there on the floor, a rope tightened around his neck, is none other than Luther Creed.
His bulging empty eyes display pure terror as Redmond gazes into them, his mouth agape in shock.
He knows no other emotion but to rush forward screaming. The onlookers act quickly, reaching out to grab him.
“Luther?” He screams passionately. “LUTHER!?”
But there’s no reply.
The young miss from before approaches through the crowd, her head lowered in shame.
“We found him hanging from the rafters,” she says solemnly. “He was dead when we arrived.”
Quinn shakes his head, tears streaming down his face.
“N-no,” he groans.
His guttural bellowing can be heard throughout the arena as he yells with desperation.
CHAMBERS, GAMEBOY & SCARECROW VS. HOUNDS & RAIN
A great evil came back from the shadows one month ago at the bequest of Yahweh himself. Can the others who follow God work together with the Hayman or will those who seek to destroy Scarecrow gain some measure of revenge?
The bell sounds as all the competitors are ready to go…save one. Scarecrow is nowhere to be seen as Gameboy and Chambers look confused for a moment, trying to stall for time but Danvers reaches over the ropes, pulling Gameboy into the ring. Danvers pummels Gameboy down with lefts and rights before tossing him into the ropes.
AND NEARLY KICKING HIS HEAD OFF WITH A HUGE BIG BOOT ON THE REBOUND!
Gameboy stumbles up to his feet, as he’s grabbed by the throat by Danvers who tosses him into the corner head first. Gameboy slams into the steel, shaking out the cobwebs just fast enough to roll out of the way of a clothesline attempt. Danvers just stops himself from running into the turnbuckles, turning around.
LEVEL ONE! The Superkick hits flush but it doesn’t take the Plague Doctor down, staggering him back into his own corner as Rain tags himself in. Gameboy rushes forward, trying for another Superkick but Rain ducks under, cracking the back of Player One’s skull with a stiff enziguri before trying for a Russian Legsweep. Gameboy slips out, delivering a stiff kick to the back of Rain that sends him staggering into Yahweh’s corner before a hard running dropkick sends Rain crashing to the mat.
Gameboy tags in Chambers, who lifts Rain up high as Gameboy gets up onto the top rope. CROSSBODY SUPLEX! Rain crashes to the mat as Chambers drops down for the cover.
Rain just gets the shoulder up!
Chambers pulls Rain up to his feet, but the Ghostwalker begins to fight back, peppering Chambers with lefts and rights before rushing to the ropes, bouncing off right into a massive Lariat that turns the smaller man inside out from the sheer force. Dvon smiles as he powers Rain up onto his shoulders before rushing forward.
PSALM 32! Chambers nearly drove Rain through the mat with that massive Powerslam as he drops down for the cover.
BEFORE HE’S SUDDENLY PULLED OUT OF THE RING TO THE FLOOR!
Arthur and Danvers begin pounding down on the preacher who tries to fight back but a stiff knee sandwich from the the Hounds take all the fight out of Chambers who finds himself lifted up into the air through the combined might of the duo.
BEFORE BEING POWERBOMBED THROUGH A NEARBY TABLE! Chambers head bounced off the unprotected concrete floor, he may well be injured let alone knocked out cold.
And with Chambers out cold and Scarecrow awol, poor Player One is all by himself against three hungry wolves. He gulps visibly before rushing into the ring, running forward as he takes Rain by surprise with a massive hurricarana that dumps him on the back of his head. Gameboy looks to end this quickly as he rushes to the ropes, bouncing off.
THE RE…LARIATO! Arthur delivers a stiff clothesline that drops Gameboy in mid-stride as Player One collapses to the mat. Danvers rolls into the ring as both Hounds lift Gameboy up, holding him as Rain rears back.
ACID RAIN…HITS DANVERS! Gameboy just slips out as the caustic black mist sprays onto Danvers, his mask protecting him from the worst but he still goes down in pain. Rain rushes forward right into a massive Superkick that drops him like a shot as Player One turns around
Gameboy’s heart is massive but that knee may well have knocked out the rest of the fight in him. Arthur drops down for the cover as the referee begins to count.
….THE LIGHTS GO OUT!
A flutter is heard throughout the arena as a slow menacing voice fills the air.
I told you…you can’t kill me!
The lights go back on as Scarecrow is in the ring. He pulls Arthur off Gameboy with one hand, tossing him over the ropes with ease as Rain staggers to his feet right into a gloved hand across his throat. Danvers staggers to his feet, blinking away the mist as he rushes Crow, running right into a gloved hand around the throat of his own.
DOUBLE BYE BYE BIRDIE!
A pissed off Scarecrow is a terrifying sight indeed as he pulls Danvers up to his feet, who drills Crow low which drops the Hayman for a moment, allowing Gameboy to leap off his back with a massive Springboard Tornado DDT! Gameboy leaps to his feet as he ducks under a wild kick by Rain before nailing him with a stunner.
Gameboy leaps up in celebration before dropping to his knees in pain, his headset visibly glitching up as a loud sequence of beeps fill the air. Arthur rolls into the ring as Scarecrow grabs him,
BYE BYE BIRDIE! ARTHUR POPS UP TO HIS FEET! HE NO SOLD IT!
Furious Scarecrow tries for another but Arthur pushes Crow away, rushing forward with a lethal KING’S CROSSING! A loud crack fills the arena as Arthur just knocked out Crow with one knee! Arthur goes to cover but can’t even drop down before he’s rolled up from behind by a half blind Player One.
Gameboy rolls out of the ring, still barely able to see as bodies litter the ring but tonight, the forces of Yahweh got the victory.
“…IN THE FAMILY”
Time seems slowed down as Redwing steers the Redcycle down a neighborhood street. How fast he’s had to travel to get here from the Tap Room is anyone’s guess but he’s left no second unused as he careens his vehicle into a haphazard parking job on a familiar street in front of a familiar house, barely missing the fire engine parked in a similarly haphazard way.
Or it would be familiar if it wasn’t a raging inferno.
The Kirby house is nothing more than a mass of smoke and flame as Redwing approaches it with a gaping mouth. Firefighters are hard at work, trying to extinguish the fire, but it seems like they’re only feeding a devilish monster. The first responders present come up to Redwing, giving data as they do.
“Thank God you’re here, Redwing!”
“This sumbitch won’t go out. This is real pro shit, right here.”
“Neighbor’s say the house has been empty for some time, so who knows what caused this.”
But Redwing ignores all of it, walking straight up to the front door, where something has caught his eye. He moves to a sprint as he slides into a kneel at the front door. He grabs at something, pulling a charred mass out of the fire. The EMT’s swarm over to him.
“Holy shit.” One comments. “There was someone in there!”
Indeed he’s right. The charred mass appears to be a man, bound to a chair. The bonds are slightly loosened, indicating the man struggled to get to the door.
“A thief?” An EMT responds.
Redwing lowers his head.
He reaches out to touch what appears to be a charred hand, but it turns to ash as his glove wraps around it. All he’s left with is a metal gauntlet.
Redwing seems overtaken with emotion as he realizes the charred form is…
…was his protege. Darkwish is dead.
Jigsaw killed him.
And he’s killed every ounce of who Redwing was before.
All that’s left is the Red Knight.
Backstage, Gameboy is seemingly confused. He stands a work bench, using tools to fiddle with the screws on his helmet. After what he saw happen earlier tonight, he’s determined to know what’s going on.
Suddenly, an electric shock surprises him.
And something appears in the air.
01001000 01000001 01000011 01001011 01000101 01000100
H A C K E D
He swipes at it, but nothing happens.
Furious, he turns the power of his visor off, powering it down completely.
“It can’t be?” He says with confusion, now beginning to pace and back forward. “How can someone hack me?”
Just then, Berengar walks into the room, still a little dazed from earlier tonight.
“Have you seen Spero?” The Knight says whilst searching the room for him. “He’s vanished into thin air.”
Gameboy shakes his head.
“He was about to be killed by Eli Forever when this Green glow appeared, rendering them useless. There was nothing I could do. It took him.”
That surprises Gameboy. “That’s coincidental timing because someone hacked my cheat codes and gave one to King Arthur during my match.”
“That’s not good,” Berengar retorts. “Do you think the two are linked?”
The Kid nods. “They have to be. This green glow shows up, takes Spero and my codes are hacked? That’s not coincidence. We have to find him.”
Berengar nods in agreement.
SOLVEIG VS. NIGHTSTICK VS. MYSTERION VS. ZANE
SPECIAL GUEST REFEREE: EDWARD NEWTON
After the heinous tour bus bombing by Mysterion and Edward Newton, those two stand alone in the ring, albeit for Troy Solveig, who knows he will have to keep an eye on each man if he hopes to pick up a victory.
Newton, as special guest referee, sends a nod the timekeeper’s way.
DING! DING! Troy Solveig immediately charges at Mysterion! But Edward Newton JUMPS in the way! Solveig has to stop his momentum to avoid hitting Newton! Mysterion takes the advantage!
THE PUNCH OF DOOM! THE PUNCH OF DOOM ALREADY!
Solveig hits the mat and Mysterion makes the pin!
QUICK COUNT FROM NEWTON!!
Troy Solveig literally gets his shoulder up just in time! Newton and Mysterion almost stole it! Mysterion reaches his feet just before Solveig. He springboards off the middle rope! Tornado DDT! Solveig is once again wiped out. Mysterion starts laying the boots to Troy!
“What are you doing!?!” Newton yells. “Pin him!”
Mysterion sneers at Newton and makes the pin!
Yet another quick count from Newton!
TH– Solveig kicks out!
Troy roars with frustration! Enough of this already!
SOLVEIG GRABS NEWTON BY THE THROAT!!
Troy stands to his feet, his massive paw choking the life out of the Riddler! But Mysterion dropkicks Solveig in the back of his left knee! Troy drops to a knee!
THE PUNCH OF DOOM– NO! SOLVEIG GRABS MYSTERION!
And a big pump handle fallaway slam from Solveig! Troy finally starts to obtain some momentum!
The Tap Room suddenly erupts!
ZANDER ZANE AND NIGHTSTICK COME RUNNING DOWN THE ENTRANCE RAMP WITH SEVEN OF MIAMI’S FINEST FOLLOW BEHIND THEM!
Edward Newton’s eyes are as WIDE as they can possibly be! Zane and Nightstick slide under the bottom rope! Mysterion stands up just in time to be clotheslined over the top rope by Nightstick! Edward Newton tries to escape the ring…
…but the police physically prevent Newton from leaving through the ropes, forcing him with their arms to stay in the ring! Newton tries to claw his way through the policemen, but its no use! Newton finds himself back on the wrong side of the ropes.
NIGHTSTICK CUFFS NEWTON’S WRIST TO THE TOP ROPE!
Nightstick smiles at his clever move. He ushers Miami PD back up the ramp with his hands.
“We’ll take it from here, boys.”
The police head back up the ramp.
Edward Newton turns to Nightstick.
He does not beg. He accepts his fate.
Nightstick and Zane begin STOMPING a mudhole into Newton! Boot after boot after boot finds Newton’s body! Every merciless stomp seems to cave Newton inward! Suddenly, Troy Solveig steps in between Newton and Zane, pushing them aside.
Newton looks at Solveig. Solveig looks back at Newton.
Solveig grins. “I freed them.”
Newton’s face expresses rage once again.
Solveig, in a rare moment of amusement, winks at Newton.
Mysterion finds his way back into the ring just as Solveig, Nightstick, and Zane find their corners.
The Tap Room roars with applause now that the match has become the proper main event!
Zane locks up with Solveig! Zane expertly transitions The Brute Trickster into a side headlock! He wrenches Solveig’s head! Solveig backs into the ropes and shoves Zane away! Zane bounces off the ropes and returns!
EXCESSIVE FORCE TO ZANE FROM OUT OF NOWHERE BY NIGHTSTICK!
Zane drops from the billy club shot to the head! Nightstick turns but not in time to see the villainous Mysterion, who takes the opportunity!
THE PUNCH OF DOOM FROM MYSTERION TO NIGHTSTICK!
VALKYRIE BY SOLVEIG TO MYSTERION IN RESPONSE!
Troy, the only man left standing, points at Newton. He covers Mysterion! Newton can barely reach the canvas with his free hand, still cuffed at the wrist to that top rope!
Oh come on, Newton!
KICKOUT by Mysterion!
Troy stands up furiously. He looks at Newton, eyes narrowing!
LOW BLOW from Zane! Zane uppercuts Troy straight in his godly jewels, and he drops to the ground.
LOW BLOW from Nightstick to Zane! But Zane doesn’t budge. Nightstick is taken aback!
Zane quips, “Balls of steel, dude.”
Dropkick from Zane to Nightstick! Mysterion charges Zane but runs right into a drop toe hold! Zander moves and stands over Mysterion’s head!
ZANE TEABAGS MYSTERION!!!
Mysterion stands up right away, furiously would be a severe understatement. Teabagging it seems remains an ever powerful indignity. Mysterion shoves Zane! Zane with a back thrust kick to Mysterion! Followed by a knife edged chop to the Villain’s chest! A ROUNDHOUSE KICK for good measure sends Mysterion to the mat.
“That’s for my tour bus you fuckin’ bitch!” Zander Fuckin’ Zane leaps to the turnbuckle!
SMOKE ON THE WATER!!
Zander makes the cover!
KICKOUT! YET ANOTHER SLOW COUNT!
Zane reaches his feet just in time to meet a kick to the gut from Nightstick!
911!! THE POWERBOMB!!
Nightstick starts to make the cover, but he is spun around by Solveig! Troy kicks the former Officer in the gut! He drapes Nightstick’s arm over his neck!.
HAMMER OF THE GODS!!
Troy stands to his feet after planting Nightstick.
“Count fairly!” Solveig screams at the Riddler. “Count fairly, or after this bout I cash in!”
Newton snarls. He knows he is in no position to be able to defend a cash in tonight.
Solveig makes the late cover on Nightstick!
Mysterion with a STANDING SHOOTING STAR PRESS breaks up the pin attempt in the nick of time, keeping the match going and causing some fair damage to Troy in the process. Zane stumbles to his feet and Mysterion Irish whips him into the corner! Mysterion charges him! A MONKEY FLIP sends the Rock God hurling across the ring! Troy helps Nightstick up to his feet, preparing him for another move. DOUBLE BULLDOG from Mysterion to Solveig and Nightstick! The Villain has taken complete control of this match. He speeds to the nearest turnbuckle and leaps to the top rope! Mysterion leaps!
NO!! ZANE lifts his knees up! Mysterion falls into a heap onto the canvas! Zander makes the cover on Mysterion!
Nightstick has lifted Zane off of Mysterion, breaking the pin fall attempt. Nightstick spins Zane towards him!
Nightstick stumbles away, blinded by whiskey. Troy comes up behind Zane and drops him with a Russian Leg Sweep! Troy reaches his feet! TILT-A-WHIRL DDT from Mysterion! Mysterion stands up himself and runs right into Nightstick!
ODE TO BOSSMAN!
Zane stands up!
MIC DROP ON NIGHTSTICK!
Troy reaches his feet!
NORTHERN LIGHTS ON ZANE!
Mysterion has climbed to the top rope!
FLYING HEADSCISSORS TO SOLVEIG!
Mysterion crawls over to make the cover on Troy near the turnbuckles. Zander Zane has climbed to the top rope himself!
WORLD TOUR TO MYSTERION!
ALL FOUR CONTENDERS ARE LAID OUT!!
All four of these great contenders, who laid it all on the line, lay on their backs struggling to breathe as The Tap Room urges them on. Nightstick is the first to his feet. He grabs the fallen Mysterion and brings him to his feet, but the crafty Mysterion ducks underneath a heavy fist from Nightstick. Mysterion rebounds off the ropes! But Troy Solveig leaps up!!
VALKYRIE TO MYSTERION!
AND HARD JUSTICE FROM NIGHTSTICK TO TROY SOLVEIG IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWS!!
Nightstick doesn’t even have time to fall for the pin, because Zander Zane is on him like white on rice!!
MIC DROP!! MIC DROP ON NIGHTSTICK!!
ZANE MAKES THE COVER!!
Zander Zane has done it!
Mysterion broke it up with nary a split second left to do so! The Villain finds himself spun around, looking Troy Solveig right in the eye! KICK TO THE GUT!
HAMMER OF THE GODS TO MYSTERION!!
Troy reaches his feet quickly, and sends a boot to Zane’s midsection!!
HAMMER OF THE GODS TO ZANE AS WELL!!
TROY SOLVEIG MAKES THE PIN ON ZANDER!!
Troy Solveig can hardly believe it!! He has won the bout!!
NO HE HASN’T!! Newton points to the bottom rope, where Zane’s ankle rests. The three count now rendered null, Solveig turns his attention to Mysterion.
EXCESSIVE FORCE!!! NIGHTSTICK’S NAMESAKE WEAPON NAILS SOLVEIG IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD!!
NEWTON PRETENDS HE DOESN’T SEE IT!!
NIGHTSTICK WITH THE COVER!!!
This match is over! Nightstick has beaten the odds and won an absolute barn burner of a bout!
Nightstick raises his arm in victory. After a moment, he digs into his pocket and produces a key. He frees Newton’s wrist from the top rope.
The two men have a stare down for the ages. At Shattered Dreams, Nightstick and his brand of justice will take his shot at the unjust World Champion, Edward Newton.
“THE RED RIVER”
Some Time Later
At a place in the river where many bodies of water come together to flow into one another, there stands a shack.
And once again, Eli Forever has come seeking answers. Clutched in his hand is the piece of paper he retrieved at Chain Reaction. No longer a broken boy, the confident Heir Eternal stands before the man, but the man is no longer shrouded in shadow.
Amusement is written on a very worn face.
“Were you expecting someone else, man?”
The man leans forward, nodding to Eli.
“I know you thought I was Jack, but that was always your problem, Creed.”
Eli flinches at his past name.
“You always looked to what you thought you knew, never looked at what I was actually trying to tell you.”
“Then who the hell are you?” Forever spits. “And why did you help me?”
The man grins.
“I’m the god of the River, kid.” He reveals. “Oceanus. See, the other gods decided they were better than everyone else, so I decided to tell them to fuck off and leave. I’ve wandered the Earth for eons now, dedicating my life to raising man up to be the gods they were meant to be. Man worshiping man is the ultimate ‘fuck you’ to those pricks.”
He nods at Eli with a tense grin.
“Men like you. I find special individuals, people who’ve felt that there’s something more. And I nudge them on the right path. Just like you, they spit in the gods faces.”
Oceanus’s face instantly turns angry.
“But now you’re back, bringing danger to my front door. You don’t know what’s out there, kid, hunting for gods. You know what you need to do to get your mom back. Don’t count on me to turn the River red, you’re going to have to do it yourself.”
Forever crumples up the paper, to which Oceanus only nods.
“Unfortunately for you, it’s too late. Sorry, kid.”
Eli raises an eyebrow, and opens his mouth to respond, but quickly shuts it.
There’s a knife against his throat.
“THE ABYSS II”
The sound of crawling grabs our attention. A wooden staff clattering on the ground, our eyes are drawn to the cloaked figure, now nearly prone as they crawl along the stone path we saw before. The realm around him is now nearly pitch black, the fires of the Underworld seemingly unable to even reach this far.
“Curse this body! It’s weak. It’s… powerless.”
They lurch forward, the staff falling from their hands, tipping over the edge of the pathway and spiralling to the depths below. With shaky breaths the figure finally drags their corpse-like frame to the ledge, getting to their knees, pieces of skin flaking off and turning to dust. As they overlook the edge, they throw their cloak off. And despite the growing darkness, we can see their face.
His body is decayed. His chest has a gaping hole in it, an empty space where his heart once was. One eye gone, teeth missing, and a hole in his throat from Solveig’s killing blow. He was truly a shell of his former self.
“A vessel without grace. An angel without a purpose. My body is hollow… but I can be healed. The Abyss holds the key. Secrets lost, souls left to rot. I know not what lies below.”
As he speaks, he allows himself to fall from the ledge! He plummets into the darkness, his voice echoing out as he falls.
“But soon I will join it.”
He plunges into the Abyss, lost in the darkness below.
We neither see nor hear a thing in the murky blackness that surrounds us. And then…
As though in a vacuum, the darkness around us seems to move inwards to one point. A single conduit absorbing the Abyss itself, removing darkness and allowing the faint flames of the Underworld above it to shed light. Laying in a heap below is Shadow. As the Abyss seems to fill his body, a radiating darkness glints in his throat, taking hold where his grace once sat. His body repairs itself, and along with it, tattoos as black as night cover his skin. He slowly begins to stand, looking around himself, the bodies of many creatures accompanying him at the bottom of the Abyss.
“Poor souls, all forgotten by your creators, left to rot in the depths below. You deserve better than to be lost to time. You deserve a purpose. Fear not, for the Abyss has shown me the way.”
His eyes glint in the wisps of light above, an obsidian gaze replacing his once blue eyes. He walks towards Cerberus, placing a hand to the dead beast’s chest and plunging it inwards! What he pulls out, glinting red, is the beast’s very soul. Without a word, Shadow closes his fist around it, absorbing it into his body, a new tattoo appearing across his arm.
“Dear Kerberos, show yourself.”
On command, a group of Hellhounds rise from the murky ground, blackened flames left in their wake as they stare at Shadow, remaining docile. One of them finally walks forward, speaking to Shadow with a gravelly tone.
“What is your name, and what do you wish of us?”
Shadow smirks, looking upwards.
“I am Nocturne. And I am your savior. Bring me to the gates, I have a score to settle.”
Without another word the hounds turn to shadowy flame, encompassing Nocturne, the group disappearing, leaving only the Abyss to keep us company.