Ten years ago saw a stirring in the heavens. Pockets of the world saw veritable chaos as even the laws of nature appeared to shift and rebel, dark forces swirling across the dominion of humanity as madness surged, riots erupted, and unnatural things were sighted across the globe. Abominations invoked from ageless slumber crawled and slithered for the first time in eons, some even erupting from the earth in conflict-stricken regions of the Middle and Far East to the horror of the already war-ravaged and weary. Events now buried as much as possible from public mind and memory, redacted in files and erased from databases by the magic of bleeding edge cybersecurity. This was the time of the GTT7 tournament and the ultimate ambitions of Bruce ‘Violence Jack’ Shanahan violently coming to pass.
I still recall my first meeting with the dark priest. I recall the air being charged by his presence, the uncanny dominance filled the room like static. I was mesmerized as were we all...
I apologize. Memories often take hold rather strongly. Of course, friends, we are here to discuss your new world savior. You are probably asking yourselves exactly why does Bruce Shanahan feature so heavily in this tale? Quite simply, his divine ambitions were the first step into soon bringing CWF to its knees. While Shanahan’s ambitions failed in the end, the energy that ebbed and flowed during those tumultuous weeks were a song to many. This was an unearthly keening filling a void in the hearts of the troubled, the deranged, the future damned. And it was this arcane symphony that would embolden a young man in Hungary, bring unease to a countryside, and see those of the Old World vigil again locking their doors at night and uttering dread-stricken prayers in broad daylight.
A subtle darkness began creeping across eastern and central Europe about five years ago, stirring unrest largely in small towns and hamlets. At first there were minor disruptions and superstitious foils. Palpable unease in the air, chills creeping down the spine without cause, shadows moving indifferent to light. And then it grew bolder. Ineffable presence granted conscious intention, as a lowly messenger like me can best distinguish. In time perhaps I’ll show you the wonders which unfolded in its wake.
Granted, dear listener, the war had been lost. The so-called ‘Shanahan Scare’ was over. But just as Allied victory couldn’t prevent Europe’s great cities from being shelled into vast ruins seventy-five years ago, there remained displacements and fractures across the planet where the veil had been sundered. Parts of the world still trembled at things they couldn’t see but knew still walked. The genie was out of the bottle with no intention of returning to its prison.
I assume you know where this is going and I won’t belittle your intelligence. The herald of this renewed power was Padraig Marko, known largely under his present moniker of Julian Bathory. The young man felt guided to embrace a calling and followed the proverbial beacon to the west. Dreams, visions and acts of some divine hand took him on a pilgrimage of which he had no idea the end and yet he trusted providence. That providence would provide him destiny, and bring the wayfaring Hungarian outsider to the doorstep of one Bruce Shanahan, and the Sect of Black Wisdom.
The details from here are murky. Little is known except that the aging mastermind took the European vagabond under his tutelage, as he had in the past with would-be successors Horace Tully and Ethan Knight. It wasn’t uncommon to spot flares of spontaneous energy in areas of the organization’s Wyatt Manor stronghold, or hear disembodied whispers suggesting horrific deeds through the yawning vestibules and corridors. There were even suicides among the most unclean and traitors abruptly outed through what naive eyes would judge as sheer coincidence. Check back, friend, and over time I’ll open the archives to what glories transpired in these unhallowed halls. Until then, let us skip ahead to the pressing concerns of today.
Bathory was officially named the patriarch of the brotherhood just over a year ago. His mentor remains but the rule of law is directed by Julian Bathory, an upstart chosen by fate and coined as The New World Savior by the sage at his side.
This is the new Sect of Black Wisdom as reinforced by Julian Bathory. A beast built for a modern world, a new age juggernaut rife with infernal power set to rekindle the worldwide tempest that touched it a decade past. Even now believers are plumbing the fertile recruiting grounds of social media and its disillusioned generation of truth-seekers. Yes, these people know the conspiracies out there and they’re victimized by them every day. They want to fight back and they want the means and the strength to carry out their revolution. Even if it means embracing an even darker conspiracy to acquire what they believe they are owed. And if it means establishing a metaphorical Hell on Earth to claim that prize, so shall it come to pass. The believers are here. They are legion. Most importantly, they understand one immutable truth.
Mortality may be fleeting, but the Old Ones are forever.
- Elijah Grimm
Scribe/Recorder/Historian, Sect of Black Wisdom, Cell A-4 (Godslayer)
Technique. Julian is well-schooled in his brand of execution and maintaining peak form is vital to the Hungarian's training routine.
Counter game. This manifests best in the late-stage when using his quickness and anticipation to catch his foes in his Chaos Reigns hold.
Strategy and tactics. He plans before bouts with a 30+ year veteran that has seen everything and knows how best to approach every style and behavior. Whether Bathory can adapt on the fly when fatigue sets in, however, is a work-in-progress for the arrogant novice.
Youthful inexperience. While he may be coached and directed by a wily veteran, Bathory is still maturing and prone to rookie mistakes. Frustration in grueling matches may manifest negatively in his game as energy seeps away and tunnel-vision could threaten to expose him.
Attrition. His training is built around short- to standard-level matches. A drawn-out fight will see his focus dwindle and errors pile up if his mentor can't keep his eyes up through consistent instruction. Julian has spent the last few years decimating lower rung opponents and reaping praise; the arrogance of his past momentum may be a detriment when stepping up to a higher level.
Confidence. The pendulum swings drastically for Julian at this juncture in his young career as the stresses associated with shouldering his position weigh on him. Losing his debut bout to Johnny Olympus proved an ego-crushing blow and a violent wake-up call. Until he finds a rhythm and settles into his role, the Hungarian is prone to reflection and worry that could harm him going forward.