Fade in to snow falling. Despite only being early October, the scenery resembles deepest winter with over a foot of snow on the ground, weighing heavy on the trees’ branches and obscuring everything under a heavy blanket of white. Myfanwy is leaning against the bay window looking outside, looking glum. As Alastair’s voice calls out, she does not even bother turning her head.
Alastair McLean: Och lassie, wa sae sad?
As the bulky Scot sits down next to her, the Welsh redhead’s emerald eyes shift from the outside to him, her head resting against the cold glass.
Myfanwy verch Owain: I don’t know. Well, I surely did not expect that at this time of year.
She motions towards the swirling flakes. Alastair follows her motion and chuckles.
Alastair: Hehe, och aye, I've bin haur fur a few years noo an' Ah am still nae used tae this. I've seen snow ev'ry month ay th' year but July. Ah miss mah cold an' soggy autumns…
He sighs and Myfanwy can’t help but giggle.
Myfanwy: You’re an odd duck.
Alastair looks at her with a smile.
Alastair: Aw, thenk ye. Nicest thin' I've heard in a while. But i've got tae gang, hae tae check on Lachlan, he hasnae bin feelin' well.
As he hurries off, Myfanwy looks at him with utter bewilderment.
Myfanwy has finally torn herself away from the wintery landscape of Calgary and is roaming through the Manor. The sounds of someone chopping something draws her towards the kitchen. As she looks in, The Shadow is chopping up an onion, two roasted chickens sitting on a separate cutting board to the side.
Myfanwy: Shouldn’t you be preparing for your match with Silas?
He gives a start as she speaks, the knife flying from his grip and landing tip down in the cutting board. He puts both hands on the counter and takes a breath.
The Shadow: You are getting worse than Ataxia, girl! Sneaking up like that…
Myfanwy smiles as she comes closer, sniffing as she goes.
Myfanwy: I’m not sure, if that is a compliment or an insult… But this is smelling great already, what is it?
Turning around The Shadow points at the stove, where a very big pot is steaming.
The Shadow: So far chicken broth.
Myfanwy: For soup?
The Shadow: Close, chicken stew. I figured it’d be nice for the weather we’re having right now, warms you up nicely.
Putting on an apron, Myfanwy walks up to him, clicks her heels together and salutes.
Myfanwy: Reporting to service, chef!
The Shadow laughs and points at a pile of potatoes on the island.
The Shadow: If you could peel and dice them, would be much appreciated.
After wrangling up her mane into a ponytail and giving her hands a good scrub, she goes to attack the tubers with a smile on her face.
Myfanwy: So your match with Silas...?
The Shadow: Yes?
Myfanwy: You seem quite nonchalant about it.
The Shadow: It may seem so, but it is nothing but. You see, Silas is an anomaly even within the crazy world that is wrestling. He is the odd man out wherever he goes and it might very well be exactly what he is looking for, you know?
Myfanwy: But aren't you an odd man out as well?
The Shadow chuckles.
The Shadow: Yes, in a way, but at the same time no.
Myfanwy: Why are you so much on him?
The Shadow: You see, he has a history here, when he at first went to attack the establishment and wanted to break down the veterans that, in his eyes, were holding back the younger talent by clinging to their spots. He assembled the Coalition with Autumn Raven and the Lost Boys, but it never felt like they were a real coalition, but seemed more like a support act for him to be able to put himself into the best position to advance.
Myfanwy: OK...? So he tried to use them just as stepping stones to get him where he wanted to get himself instead of the whole group?
The Shadow is now separating the roasted chickens from the bones.
The Shadow: Basically yes. It always was more important for him to stand in the foreground and be the fulcrum for the whole group, taking credit for things that would have happened anyways, like Autumn Raven getting a main event match with MJ Flair or the Lost Boys getting a title shot as well.
Myfanwy: But he has accused you of trying to make things all about you...?
The Shadow: Yes, see the disconnect here? I prefer to be in the shadows, not in the spotlight, but that doesn't matter to him anyways.
Myfanwy: You did show up at the iron man match though.
He sets the chicken aside in a large bowl and consults an old recipe book, then proceeds to pull some ingredients from the cupboards, flour, eggs, milk.
The Shadow: Yes, but that did not have anything to do with him or MJ or the title. That was all...Loki.
He pauses, his gaze drifting off into vacancy for a moment.
Myfanwy: She bugs you, doesn't she?
He gives a start as he snaps out of his thoughts.
The Shadow: Loki? Yes. I mean, she is obviously part of the whole plot around Mia's disappearance, but something is off about her.
Myfanwy: That nutbar has a lot of things that are off about her.
The Shadow smiles as he looks at her.
The Shadow: Yes, but what I mean is that something feels familiar, more familiar than it should, but I just can't put my finger on it.
Myfanwy: Had you ever met her before?
Using measuring spoons he now is putting together the single ingredients and begins to stir them, the mixture soon taking on the look of a dough of some sorts.
The Shadow: No, that's the thing, I had not even known of her or the whole Hostility thing before Milenko showed up. And that is what has been nagging.
Myfanwy: And she seems to be singling out the Forsaken and for some reason you amidst them.
The Shadow: Yes. At first I thought that this was just someone she picked on random, but now that we know that she is involved with Milenko and Mia, this is more than just coincidence.
Myfanwy: Do you think she will try to interfere in your match at Hellbound?
The Shadow: Why do you think I went for a Hell in a Cell...?
Myfanwy: Good point. By thow much does this distract you from Silas?
By now he is rolling out the dough, cutting it into squares.
The Shadow: Well, I'd be lying, if I said that it is not in the back of my mind, but no. This has been going on for a long time and look at him. He has the gall to claim that I am trying to make everything about me, when he is the one that went out of his way to attack me more than once, when he has been the one pushing himself into the picture and give interview after interview, so that he could spew forth his drivel. When it was him who went too far and put Tara through a table...
Myfanwy: Yeah, what was that about?
The Shadow: I'm not sure I guess frustration and the Passenger trying to come through, I don't know, but whatever it was, it was wrong and did it ever make Mia mad... And now he is trying to make up for it.
Myfanwy: Yes, I saw, he is creepy.
The Shadow: Haha, yes, he is, but he is what he is. In the end he is just trying to deflect the attention from himself by complaining about me. Pot calling the kettle black and stuff.
Myfanwy: Speaking of pot, I'm done.
The Shadow: OK, dump them into the broth, please, and then we'll have some time until they're done.
As she drops the potatoes into the pot she speaks over her shoulder.
Myfanwy: Didn't Silas just get out of the hospital?
The Shadow: Yep, and he might hope that I'm going to think that he is not 100% and will let down my guard even just by a bit. But no such luck. I am not going to Detroit to take anything lightly. Silas will go down.
Myfanwy turns towards him with a slightly wary look on her face.
Myfanwy: I have not seen you like this yet.
The Shadow: I'm sorry, I did not mean to scare you.
Myfanwy: It's ok, it just shows me how invested you are in this.
The Shadow: Yes, it has been a tense year and he stands against so many things I stand for...
Myfanwy: And I admire that.
The Shadow: That he stands against--
Myfanwy: No, silly, that you stand up for your beliefs, for integrity and, just, the right thing...
The Shadow smiles at her and worthlessly mouths "Thank you" before the scene fades to black.
The twilight of dusk is starting to make the grey gloom of the early winter outbreak even moodier. The Shadow is sitting next to the bay window, watching the snowflakes fall, now far bigger and heavier. In the background some slow, melancholic music can be heard. From the off Myfanwy comes into view, taking a seat next to him on the bench next to the window.
Myfanwy: What are you thinking about?
The Shadow sighs.
The Shadow: Everything and nothing. Walcott and Dolgo have found quite a few files that show how the doctors have used patients for their trials without knowing. Trying new drugs without really knowing how people would react to them, but while it is good to know now, it does not give the relief I had hoped it would.
Myfanwy: I am sorry to hear…
He gives her a faint smile.
The Shadow: It’s not your fault, don’t screw up that pretty face of yours in a frown. It doesn’t suit you.
She can’t help but chuckle.
Myfanwy: Why thank you. At first you compare me to Ataxia and now this, I always thought I looked cute when I frowned.
Now it is his turn to laugh.
The Shadow: What can I say? I have a way around women…
Both share a laugh and Myfanwy scooches closer. She leans against his shoulder.
Myfanwy: You know, I’ve never had something like this.
The Shadow: Like what?
Myfanwy: This. I was not like the other girls. I didn’t care for the dolls and the tea parties and all that. I learned to shoot the bow and ride and all that and I honestly think that boys were afraid of me. When they would go to parties I’d go out with my bow and shoot at anything, targets, trees, I’d go up into the hills and just be in nature, I never cared for the partying and gossip and all that.
The Shadow: Nothing wrong with that.
Myfanwy: Here, I feel like I belong, you don’t treat me like I’m made out of porcelain and you don’t take it wrong that I can beat you at things.
The Shadow: Well, we’re not like the others either. I guess that they don’t call us Forsaken for no reason.
Myfanwy: I thought you came up with that name.
The Shadow: Well, yes, but-- still. You, you know what I mean.
Myfanwy: I do. You know what?
The Shadow: Hm?
Myfanwy: I could get used to this.
He puts his arm around her shoulder.
The Shadow: Me, too…
Myfanwy: Where’s Alistair?
The Shadow: Why?
Myfanwy: Normally he would come crashing through the window or break a vase or something right now.
The Shadow chuckles.
The Shadow: I have no idea, I'll have to talk to him about this, he's losing his touch…
Myfanwy: Don't you dare!
Myfanwy giggles and rests her head on his shoulder as the picture fades out.
The picture is black. The sound of thunder and crows can be heard, then a long elegiac voice of Wardruna's "Helvegen" (Norwegian for "The Way to Hel") sets in. Slowly the blackness fades in to the close-up of the flame of a torch. As it slowly zooms out it becomes apparent that it is set on top of a ring post, casting its flickering light on the fence wire of a Hell in a Cell structure. Zooming out further, a hooded figure with a tall staff, its head ornately carved into the head of an owl, stands in its centre, with more hooded figures around the ring, all of them holding staffs with their tops fashioned into a torch. The mat of the ring is full of runes inscribed onto the canvas. The music has risen to a choir, which continues to play in the background, supported by percussion.
The Shadow: Some people have called me evil before, in league with sinister forces. While it is true that blinded by grief I struck an unholy deal in the past, it is just what it is, the past. Yet at the same time I stand in an unforgiving steel structure, for a special match called Hell in a Cell. How ironic, isn’t it? And what makes it even more both ironic and fitting, it is for a PPV named Hellbound. Well, might just as well go all the way, right?
Some may wonder why I asked for the match to happen in this.
He raises his hand and makes a sweeping gesture at the cell.
The Shadow: But it is easy really, I want to be alone in the ring with my opponent, without any interference by Loki, Milenko, Devereaux, Allen, the Glass Ceiling, Autumn or whoever else seems to have my name on their list for various reasons. I guess I can take that as a compliment of some sorts. But all of you, you are in the future (or past), none of you matter once we roll into Detroit, Motor City, for there is only one person that will be in this very ring with me - Silas Artoria.
I must commend you, you really have managed to turn your fate around somewhat, winning back to back matches against Autumn Raven and even scoring the upset victory against MJ Flair. And even though you did once more not manage to lay your hands on the title, or any title in CWF for that matter, you did well against MJ, very well actually, not trying to drag things out to delay what most people would have called the inevitable. A valiant effort and one that should give you plenty of momentum to build on.
But then again, it landed you in the hospital with a mysterious ailment that befell you after the match. Was it your arm? Your head? Maybe the Passenger threw up inside you? Who knows. And also who knows what state you will be in come Hellbound? But do not worry, I will not treat this match any lighter under the prospect of you not being at least 100%, it is Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword, if you are not at full strength, may the Lord have mercy on your sorry soul, I will not do you a favour and make the mistake of underestimating you.
He sits down, gazing up at the cell’s walls, the flickering light of the torches barely reaching his face.
The Shadow: Now you complained that I have been talking about the same kind of things about you week in, week out, but look at yourself and at your history in CWF, there is only so much that you have managed to show, until very recently you have been the walking impersonation of the wrestling version of Groundhog Day, the same approach, the same M.O., the same outcome. How can one deviate from this when talking about you? If you feel bored by it, well, the feeling is mutual if you looked around the arenas we travelled through, the crowds were hoping to finally see some spark, something new, something exciting other than big words with little substance to back them up.
You promised the Passenger so many times and yet he did not show up. Got delayed in traffic maybe? Scheduling conflict? But when he did, suddenly there was this spark, this extra thing you’ve been lacking. People actually started to take note of your character, you began to write an actual story instead of just being a post scriptum whenever the show would roll in and back out of town. I know that you did not like me calling you out on several occasions on the hypocrisy in your words, the betrayal in your actions when you had the Harbingers and Coalition going. You did not like it when I pointed out all the flaws in your plans and execution, even though they all did come true in the end, didn’t they?
I know that it is not easy to swallow people pointing out flaws, deservedly or not, but doesn’t it sting even harder, when you know that they actually are true? That they hit the mark more than you allow yourself to admit?
He flicks back the hood of his robe and the same runes that can be seen on the mat surrounding him have been painted all over his face.
The Shadow: Look at me! I have been the target of the same old attacks ever since I came to CWF. I am evil. I am dabbling with forces beyond my ken. I don’t know what I am doing or saying. I am weak for standing in the shadows. I am nothing without the help of the Forsaken. I say the same things over and over again. Go back through the last months and look for yourself. Did some of these comments sting? They sure did. Did I let them affect me? No. I stand above them, I know who I am, what I am capable of doing. I know my flaws and my mistakes, but you know, there is a saying. “You are allowed to make mistakes, as long as you only make them once.” It is not about not making mistakes, Silas, it is about learning from them and making sure that they don’t repeat themselves.
This is where you’ve been going wrong for such a long time. The definition of insanity. Try the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different outcome. We’ve met in the ring many times, always with the same outcome, Passenger or not actually. You tried to talk yourself up in that Fatal Fourway, that it was not you who lost, but me. Good for you. Hand yourself the straw to grasp, the glimmer of hope that you are better than me, stronger than me, cleverer than me. Bring it with you to cling on for dear life.
We went through so many so many triple threats and tag teams and backstage attacks and altercations, even though for some reason the aggression always seems to be coming from you, but let’s not split hairs. Now it will be you and me. Just you and me. Oh, you must be pumped to finally be able to let all of this pent up aggression and frustration out and unleash it all on the one person that has been a thorn in your side for so long - me.
Some people may have wondered why I’ve been on you so much, you probably have as well. Envy? Nah, there was not much to be envied, to say the truth. As our resident “psychotic aristocrat”, you are a walking anachronism and remnant of a relevance long faded into the dust of time. You are a “hereditary peer”--
He marks the quotation marks with his fingers.
The Shadow: I am not sure, if it is something that you would think we should be envious about? Or grovel in the dust beneath your feet for you are nobility, while we are mere peasants, nothing more than low footfolk that are barely worthy your attention? I know that you have been trying very hard to dispel your reputation by hanging off Tara at any possible occasion, trying to make yourself look as a friendly, amicable, even enjoyable character to be around, but it might be just me, even though I doubt that, but all that comes across to us are varying levels of creepiness, reminding more of a stalker than one of someone trying to make amends for past wrongs.
And interestingly enough your Passenger, or Bloodletter, or maybe it is Henry? Whoever it is that has set up shop in some dark recesses of your mind, and apparently has a really bad case of acne, if we can go by that odd rash that seems to be coming through whenever he or she or it manages to come out, has been oddly quiet the last few weeks. Has he willingly accepted the backseat again or is he just waiting to break through once more, for another blaze of glory? We will see, but I will be ready.
I know that one tool that Henry is employing is fear. Trying to strike fear into the opponents by the intensity, the ruthlessness, the red eyes, the acne, but you see, Silas, it only is an efficient tool, if the other side plays into it. I have been afraid of neither you nor Henry and that will not change. I have seen far worse than anything you could unleash upon me and I am still here, standing tall and able to tell the tale.
He gets back up as he says this.
The Shadow: While nobody really knows much about your past and what you may or may not have had to go through, I know that I have no reason to be afraid of any of you, for fear breeds a loss in rationality, clouds your judgement and thus diminishes your efficiency in the ring. But what are you going to do? Are you going to bring Henry or are you going bring Silas? You managed to overpower Autumn, fought bravely twice against MJ, once cheating for the win and once narrowly losing.
You will feel emboldened by the last few matches, no doubt, when you step into that ring and the bell rings, you will feel as if you are at the top of the world, finally going against me, able to shut me up once and for all. But then...you feel the spider bite. Just a little prick on your skin. You brush it off, it cannot hurt you, the Aristocrat has dealt with other opponents, bigger opponents, stronger opponents. Yet then, slowly you feel the venom spread, nothing more than some light discomfort, but by the time you realize it, the darkness has reached your core, has leached into every recess of your brain, plunging every synapsis into the descending twilight.
The camera has zoomed in onto The Shadow’s face.
The Shadow: Silas, you think you have the world in your hand now, finally having shed the shackles of perpetually losing, standing strong against the World champion, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. But what you really see is the light of the oncoming train and once we meet, you can kiss your soul goodbye, because I am the darkness, I will be the end and this...will be your burial...
Suddenly the picture goes black.