There is an air of achievement and celebration during Ouroboros’ journey back to the Epicentre. A victory (albeit a dirty one) over the former World Champion is nothing to scoff at and is an incredibly advantageous step forward for Ouroboros’ nefarious ambitions with the Championship Wrestling Federation. It’s enough for even the Monstrous Moonchild to crack something akin to a smile. Though the guy still very much retained his aura of malevolence. He could be the fluffiest and brightest Carebear and still come off as menacing. It’s like a superpower.
Notably there is one individual not partaking in the revels, the Australian member of the villainous stable, formerly known as Dean Coulter and of the Lost Boys, now known simply as Judas, the Hound of Ouroboros. One part because he at least recognised the undeserving win for what it is, and the other because he had nothing to do with the defining moment in the match. In fact, rather embarrassingly he had been out of the fight, a crumpled mess on the outside of the ring while outside interference did the job for him. No, in his eyes there was little cause for congratulations and celebration. Perhaps remnants of his former pride still linger…
“Aren’t you Aussies well renowned for your partying ways?” sneers Choronzon, looming over the sullen Judas with a satisfied glower painted quite distinctly on his face. The Disciple makes no effort to hide his displeasure at Judas’ presence within the group on a regular basis.
“We’re also known for our fondness of a good blue…” Judas replies standing to come face-to-face with the leader of the Chosen. “Which would you prefer?” They stand nose-to-nose, breath wafting the other in the face, ready and waiting for the other to make the first move.
“Come now brothers. We are done with fighting for the moment.” A brawl is only barely avoided by the timely intervention of the Prophetess, Cassandra. If perpetual, overwhelming menace is Elisha’ super power, then impeccable timing is Cassandra’s, she always seems to find Judas when he is at his weakest.
“The fight is never over sister, existence is conflict.” Choronzon replies, though his eyes never shift from Judas, making a non-verbal guarantee to the Aussie Battler that things between them were not over.
“I apologise for Choronzon. He has always been an…impassioned individual, and has an unwavering faith in the Moonchild’s Will. He would not allow that to be threatened in any way, or by anyone.”
“Such a loyal lapdog. Perhaps he should be known as the Hound.”
“We all have our positions, our place within the Movement is deliberate, chosen by the Moonchild. He has his place. And you have yours.”
“Do I? I seemed as valuable as a sack of goon the other night.”
“You are unhappy with our result?”
“I mean sure, we won, I guess. I’m mostly just cracking the shits cause of how we went about it. I don’t think it’s a victory that’s going straight to the pool room or worth a shoey. That’s all.”
“Abiding by a code of morals, or the rules of mere men, proves too costly a restriction when locked in mortal combat. There is too much in the balance for us to be preoccupied with such discursive and disadvantageous shackles.”
“That is all well and good, but where was I in the end-game of the match? I had nothing to do with the outcome.”
“So in truth your disappointment is focused inwardly, solely on yourself and your own performance?”
“We are a unit Judas, brothers and sisters, united toward a common cause. There is no individual. Any victory is a victory for Ouroboros. And this is indeed a profound victory, one that we should ALL be acknowledging in revelry. To do otherwise could be seen as a grave insult…”
“Fair dinkum…Fine, I’ll be there shortly.”
“I am pleased to hear it…for the Moonchild rewards success. Irrespective of ‘personal performance’.”
Upon arriving back at Ouroboros’ base of operations in the heart of Makhnovia, Judas is presented with his promised reward, and it is much greater than he is expecting. Elisha leads him into a different wing of the Epicentre building and presented with new living quarters, these far more luxurious and welcoming than his previous utilitarian room. It could put the most expensive suites to shame. Judas is taken aback and left speechless.
“The world will come to realise, as you have now, that I am kind.” He exclaims. “You helped achieve something great at Evolution and now, as a vetted member of my movement, you will be regarded and treated as such.”
Not by Choronzon Judas thinks to himself, amidst the persistent thoughts of not deserving, nor truly wanting, such treatment and concessions.
“Yet you are not appreciative?”
“Nah, yea, I am…but…well I’d happily trade it back for my old room in return for a favour.”
Elisha pauses, eyeing his Hound for a moment. In that awkward silence Judas prepares for the punishment for overstepping.
“And what would you Will that possibly equates to such…gifts…”
“I’d…I’d like to see her again…”
Another tense and awkward pause.
“…Sophia Coulter is no longer of any significance to you. You have ensured her the most comfortable and sophisticated treatment and care the modern world has to offer. You should be satisfied with that. But beyond that she should be as a distant memory to you, clinging to the past as you do will bring only danger upon her and yourself. Remember that.”
Judas takes a mkment to weigh his options and their consequences. He errs on the side of acquiessence.
“…Yes…of course. I wasn’t being dinky-di with you, just forget I said anything. Consider it a…a moment of weakness and nothing more.”
“Very well. And do not worry. You will overcome such weakness in time. We will ensure as such. You are now one of us. Enjoy everything that honour now bestows upon you.”
What is not lost on Judas is the price of these rewards and gifts and the undisputable fact that is falling further and further into the pocket of Elisha and Ouroboros. If there was discernible way out before, there certainly didn’t seem to be any avenue of exit now. Elisha gives Judas one final look, implying that maybe, just maybe he knows what thoughts are travelling through the Hound’s head, then with his usual token evil smirk the Moonchild leaves Judas to acclimate to his new lodgings and rest up in preparation for his next challenge…A match against a former stablemate, Autumn Raven.
Ouroboros, and by extension, the Institute are accused of a great many thing, but sparing any expense on their trusted members is not one of them. Despite himself Judas actually finds comfort and enjoyment out of the sophisticated luxuries within his new room. Time passes and the date of the next Evolution show draws nearer. Judas practically forces himself to focus on putting together something akin to a promo for his match against Autumn Ravem, though truth be told he recognises he is just generally lacking in energy and inspiration.
“I should be thankful to Rish for this upcoming match. After dealing with the likes of MJ and Dane, I could do with the time off and am actually looking forward to my little vacation. It’s almost surreal. It seems a life time ago since I found myself standing upon the same battle-lines with the Coalition. The misguided fool that I was, thinking that we could ever have worked as a cohesive unit, let alone achieve anything.
But the difference between you and I, Autumn, is that I realised the mistake. I learnt from it and moved on, while you seem content in your subservient position as puppet to the foolish, would-be King that is Silas Artoria. Perhaps you felt safe in his embrace, his offers of intimate empathy and are blind to the truth of the man. He will hold you down, afraid the rest of the wrestling world will leave him far behind and clings to those actually above him in the hope he can ride their coat-tails. You can’t amount to a blip on anyone’s radar while you continue on your current path. You’re not even unique. You call yourself the ‘Beautiful Psychopath’ but with a bloke like Ataxia and a sheila like Mia Rayne, how can you continue to hold to that cliché adage?
“I’ll gain no satisfaction out of beating you. I won’t enjoy it any second of it. And you can rest easy in the fact there is some safety in that. You’re not a threat and therefore not worth any more attention than simple professional obligation. I can’t even proclaim this as a precursor to Golden Intentions cause not even I know what’s bloody planned for one of the biggest pay-perv0ews this company has ever seen. Just know this…Chaos obfuscates Chaos…And Silas…if by some miracle you decide to care about another person enough to get yourself involved, then I hold no blame, guilt or responsibility over the actions of Ourboros and your fates.”
There is a purposeful knocking on a door off-screen, drawing Judas’ attention away for a moment.
“Boring conversation anyway…” He mutters to himself and moves towards the door, thinking at first it to be another visit from Cassandra. Realising as his hand falls on the handle that the knock lacked the Prophetess’ usual enigmatic whimsy. Instead Judas is unpleasantly surprised to see the Disciple, Choronzon standing on the other side of the doorway.
“Strewth. That time is it?” Choronzon responds with a solemn and determined nod. “Righto…”
So nonplussed and unsurprised by this visit that Judas doesn’t even respond with his usual resigned sigh, he just bids Choronzon to lead the way.
It seems Judas is going to get a warm up before Evolution after all…
Bloody: Used for emphasis
Fair Dinkum: Emphasises or questions legitimacy (Depends on context)
Battler: Hard working middle class Australian citizen
Sack of Goon/Goon Sack: Cheap and nasty wine contained in a silver bag inside a box. VERY tacky.
Strewth: Exclamation of surprise
Straight to the pool room: Something of worth (think a trophy in the pool room)
Shoey: Drinking alcohol from a shoe, often used as a celebration for a win