It's open mic night, and all eyes are fixed in the stage where a bookish young woman with an ukulele is finishing up her set.
WOMAN: "Aaaaaaaand THAT'S why you never take a looooooooad in the mouth!!"
After one last strum of her instrument, the crowd rises to its feet and the woman obliges with a bow. Also applauding is the Emcee, who steps to the microphone as the woman leaves the stage.
EMCEE: "That was Maude Moonflower with Red Bumpy Things: Why You Don't Take a Load in the Mouth."
A second round of applause ensues. The MC nods his head with approval.
EMCEE: "And now, the poetry stylings of Shawn HART!!"
There applause continues as the Master of Ceremonies steps away from the microphone and the house band (a jazz quartet) begins to play a slow, hypnotic tune. Just then, the PHENOM of TEAM, Shawn Jessica Hart, PhD., steps to the mic with a candle in his hands.
The band continues to accompany Hart.
SJH: "You KNOW Violence Jack--
I think you're both HACKS--
YOU stole my HEART and my CAT!"
Dramatic pause. The band is silent for a beat, then jumps right back into the music with full force!
SJH: "Heh, he rocks out with his c(FCC)ck out in ACW and PRIME...
But when you get right down to it, he's just a biiiiiiiiiiig waste of tiiiiiiiiiiiiiime!"
Hart chuckles to himself. Just then, the pace of the music picks up.
SJH: "His heart is BURNING--
The RASH is returning--
HE must have HOOKED UP with MAUDE!"
CUT TO: Maude Moonflower, red-faced and cowering in the corner. Once again, the band goes silent.
SJH: "Yo Jane. Get me off this crazy thing.... called TEAM..."
The band resumes playing, very slowly this time as SJH brings the candle to his lips.... and blows it out upon the music's completion. The coffee house is instantly abuzz once again!
SJH: "Thank you very MUCH!"
The Emcee steps back into the scene.
EMCEE: "Shawn Hart everybody!!"
The applause continues. SJH shakes his hips like Elvis for good measure.
SJH: "That one was for you Whore ASS!! The PHENOM has left the building!"
(SCENE: Blackness becomes static. As an image begins to materialize, the words PREVIOUSLY RECORDED APRIL 18, 2009 appear as a watermark in the lower right corner of the footage, remaining for the duration.
An agonized scream slices the air, mirthful laughter echoing down the dank corridors of whatever dim and hellish labyrinth holds the tortured crier. Chains rattle against cobbled stone, oblong shadows wavering about torch-lit chambers. The video feed is black-and-white, grainy in the lines of old film stock of 20th century cinema's golden age. This particular style has become the mark of the agents of the diabolical Sect of Black Wisdom in recent times as they've beset both the wrestling business and the seedier elements of the underworld with their unholy designs, delivering their many video messages using this very inventoried stock.
Soft steps resound as a figure descends down winding stairs, torch burning in hand. Clad in drab robes he appears nondescript, but Horace Tully's countenance is stern, wearing a hungry gaze befitting a serial killer preparing to carve his victim into ribbons. For the top lieutenant of the Sect of Black Wisdom, it's a comparison that could be chillingly close to truth.)
Tully: It appears vermin like you needs shocked back into recalling who I am. So I've been instructed to bring you here, to the heart of where it all begins for those who would call the likes of Azathoth and Tsathoggua their liege-lords. In this stronghold beneath the mountains of Vermont, weakness and mortality are purged from initiates, and their grand journey into eternal servitude begins.
(SCENE: Another shriek rends the dungeon as the flame of Tully's torch quivers amidst a drafty breeze. He shows neither pleasure nor revulsion as the Sect's subterranean hell is flooded with the terrified, anguished peals of would-be disciples while the cult's 'cleansers' go about their violent work behind closed doors. Unintelligible syllables, the alien gospel of the Sect's depraved gods, rise to drown out the sorrowful shrieks of those entering the faith's swelling ranks. He begins to stride down the torch-lit hall, others of his ilk stepping to the side and lowering their heads in reverence as he walks past, his passing serenaded by the roar of the instructors as they impart their mad doctrine on the suffering.)
Tully: I have a history lesson for you, Shawn, so open your ears and receive your education like I pray you did before you began your failure of a wrestling career. Now...Wyatt Manor was named for the Wyatt family of the mid 19th century. Reclusive and introverted, they were a clan whom commanded respect for their wealth and fear for their malign, shady dealings. Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, and as the young of the village were being drafted for the first World War, the townspeople of nearby Brayston discovered, to their horror, that their neighbors had long engaged in the practices of cannibalism and witchcraft. Some had long suspected their monstrous kinsfolk but had feared reprisal had they voiced their suspicions, especially had they been wrong. But most, while long concluding the Wyatt family as being vindictive and manipulative, thought them incapable of such atrocities. They doomed their friends, colleagues, and even their own families, because they dismissed the family's capacity to hurt and bring evil to their quaint, picturesque hamlet.
I tell you this because to forget history is to be doomed to repeat it. The people of Brayston ignored the Wyatts', and while considering them disreputable and unworthy of trust, unwittingly allowed them to entrap and kill their own neighbors in the pursuit of ascendancy. A community culled by its own ignorance. It is now we, ordained of the Old Ones, who have come to call Wyatt Manor home, and it's from atop these primal and cursed hills that we wage our war on the deceivers of man and those who may undermine our attempts to enlighten humanity.
The Sect of Black Wisdom has become a name synonymous with power. And after the havoc I wreak in this competition, another lone entity will become synonymous with pain. And that entity will be that of the right-hand of our glorious mastermind Father Shanahan, bringer of TEAM-wide veritable genocide in the form of Horace Tully. I haven't come to game with comically deficient heretics like you, Hart. I'm on safari for the most elite of prey, and to destroy you is only phase one in the plan. Your blood will be the bait I need to lure my quarry into the open, and punch a bullet straight into their impure and downtrodden hearts.
(SCENE: Tully pauses in his walk, grasping the bronze handle of the closest door and opening it to reveal a CIA wet dream: manacles, whips, and an assortment of ornate blades are among the instruments lining the walls and shelves of the infernal chamber where old bloodstains still speak volumes of past 'students' worldly defilement as determined by their new fraternity.)
Tully: I'd hoped to reserve you a chamber, boy, so I could impart the wisdom of the cosmos upon you personally. But I've come to realize you're both far too stupid and defiant to waste my efforts. So I've opted to douse the altar in your remains instead, and use them to entice more alluring prey, and conquer the champions this tournament boasts of hosting this year.
(SCENE: This door he closes, marching down the hall further and rounding a corner, more of his Sect brethren uttering greetings in their hideous secretive language and parting like the Red Sea as their Moses directs his attention down the hall.)
Tully: It was written that my placement in the finals of the past GTT tournament would secure respect for the apostles of the Old Ones, and the mere mention of my name would strike fear in the psyches of my enemies. Mongrels like you fail to get the message, and to spell it in even simpler terms is futile for a cretin like you. I'm not here to conjure up witty catchphrases or impress quirky nicknames on myself; I win, and I crush those that would bear resistance against we who bestow truth upon the world, just as I did in the Primetime Central realm in my mentor's stead and continue to do in ACW. You have offended me, insect. You have offended me by your naivety, your snide attempts at humor, and the simple fact that you've been chosen to defeat me by the rest of your debauched ilk. You've been condemned by a council of two: yourself, and whoever chose the hierarchy of the TEAM competition. Just as the masters I serve, I am a creature of vengeance, and it shall be terrible to behold.
(SCENE: A sob echoes in the room beyond. Slowly pushing open the door with a steady creak, a chained and shirtless form jerks painfully on the floor, flesh of his back shredded and mired with dried blood, his strained pleas for mercy falling on the deaf ears of a devoted madman come to administer his lessons. The other smiles devilishly, shrugging off his robe as his fingers close around the medallion swinging from a chain around his neck.)
Tully: I am Horace Tully. And I am your annihilation. Hiss your prayers, snake, but do so in the light. The dark is my domain, and it's within its embrace that I'll steal you away to an eternity of everlasting death. Pleasant dreams.
(SCENE: The door slams emphatically and the feed abruptly cuts to blackness, silence.)
Shawn Jessica Hart, PhD. and his training partner, masked luchador El Segundo, are rolling about the ring in Hart's gym. The two appear to be going over some things in preparation for the Phenom's upcoming bouts in the TEAM Invitational Tournament, EPW's Wrestleverse III, A1E, and the grand return of the Legacy of Champions.
As Hart cinches in on a Gory Special, El Segundo begins to wince.
EL SEGUNDO: "AAHHH! Bien-bien-bien-bien-bien-bien-bien-bien!!"
SJH releases the hold and both men find their way to a corner.
SJH: "Pretty good, right?"
El Segundo clenches his waist in pain.
EL SEGUNDO: "I think 'joo broke my cockles, amigo."
SJH: "Not your COCKLES!"
EL SEGUNDO: "I may.......... NEVER be the same again!"
The Phenom chuckles. Meanwhile, the masked luchador attempts to stretch out the affected area with some pelvic thrusts.
SJH: "I think you'll be alright, brah... Horace Tully, on the other hand-"
EL SEGUNDO: "Si mon. I saw his last interview. He's giving 'joo.... NO RESPETO!"
SJH: "I know, right?"
EL SEGUNDO: "He......... talks down to 'joo like un cabron despreciable."
SJH: "Yeah, I got it."
EL SEGUNDO: "I think he questions 'joor very manhood."
EL SEGUNDO: "To him............'joo are lower than perros. You're the vermin mosquito that feeds en los perros, and infests them with...... the DISEASES!!"
SJH: "ALRIGHT! But that's why I'm here, training in the ring, with one of the finest athletic specimens ever produced by Mother Mexico!"
QUICK CUT TO: A close-up of Segundo poking and prodding at his own belly fat.
SJH: "Because despite what WHORE-ASS might think, I'm a student of the game, schooled in the styles of the Orient, the Aboriginal warriors of the Australian bush, and most important of all, the LUCHA LIBRE!"
EL SEGUNDO: "Yes..................... YES!"
SJH: "He mocks my career, says he's gonna give ME a history lesson, when the steak n' eggs of the situation is that HE'S the one that has proven himself PAINFULLY ignorant as relates to his opponent and his place in the wrestling business!"
EL SEGUNDO: "He's a total.... DOUCHE!"
SJH: "Seriously, GTT? How many years has it been since they've even done that thing? Meanwhile I have a FINAL FOUR finish in this very tournament! A tournament in which the selection committee, having analyzed and researched all of its fighters, saw fit to rank me ABOVE him. Yet I'm the insect? I'M the one that isn't getting the message?! I've probably won more titles than this overhyped, overrated JACKHOLE has won matches!"
EL SEGUNDO: "We must............CHECK the record books!"
SJH: "We must, because THAT'S what counts - what happens between the ropes. I mean, Homeboy's got a nice line of bullsh(FCC)t, I'll give him that - but in the end, these yarns about the murdering at Wyatt Manor are about as relevant to professional wrestling as he is. Which, contrary to popular belief, ain't much at all!"
EL SEGUNDO: "We've........... GOT to show this pendejo just who's the boss in this house! Who's the Angela and........ WHO'S the TONY DANZA!"
The Prime Minister of Gettin' Sinister shakes his head disgustedly.
SJH: "F that noise, that dude is MONA! A whiney old b(FCC)tch that needs to be put out to pasture!"
EL SEGUNDO: "And then we will... MAKE OUT WITH HIM!!"
SJH is instantly dumbfounded.
SJH: "Say wha?"
EL SEGUNDO: "'Joo know..... to......... TEACH him a lesson!"
EL SEGUNDO: "This SILLY MARIPOSA will...................... NEVER know what hit him!"
SJH: "Yes, well... perhaps you should leave the teaching of lessons to me. I wouldn't want to do anything..... uncouth."
EL SEGUNDO: "You're a man of honor, muchacho!"
SJH: "I am - and BEING a man of honor, bound by a sterling code of conduct passed down by my forefathers to be true to myself AND my word, I declare.... on THIS DAY, that Horace Tully is about to go down like a Tijuana hooker!"
EL SEGUNDO: "Wet... and SLOPPY!"
SJH: "Call it an outrage, call it a MOCKERY, call it old world myth getting B(FCC)TCH-SLAPPED by new school SCIENCE if ya want. What would you call it, El Segundo?"
EL SEGUNDO: "The TRUTH!"
SJH: "You bet your ass, brother! And just like the epic beat-down this ACW wash-out is gonna receive when we enter that ring, sometimes.... the TRUTH HURTS!"
EL SEGUNDO: "EXACTAMUNDO! And then I make out with him!! Right?!"
SJH: "W-whatever you want, bro."
EL SEGUNDO: "This....... LITTLE PICHI - won't even be able to look himself in the mirror after this.
SJH looks El Segundo up and down.
SJH: "I'll agree with you there, pal!"
El Segundo begins rubbing his hands together in a manner most disturbing. Hart rolls his eyes, then assumes his grappling stance.
SJH: "But let's get back to it - I'm gonna WORK this joker!"
EL SEGUNDO: "No problemo! I'll tone it down TEN NOTCHES to........ EMULATE his lameness!"
SJH: "Not even you can pull that one off. But enough with the talk, let's GET IT ON!!"
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