Walking down the streets of Philadelphia, you can run into your fair share of problems. Of course, when you are a six foot four mountain of a man, that doesn’t usually present itself as a problem. When you take into account that he is accompanied by a man with a burlap sack on his head, the odds of people fucking with you lowers itself even more significantly. That’s where we are at.
Walking down the streets, the pair passes some well known areas. A montage is shown of the two walking past Tony Luke’s, The Rocky Statue and the corner of Swanson and Ritner. They end up outside of a small, run down looking church. The white paint on the outside is chipped and dirtied. The red door entering the building is in roughly about the same condition. The stained glass windows are also dirty and faded. The sign outside of the building seems to be the only thing in good condition.
The illuminated sign reads:
St. Michael’s Catholic Church
10 AM Morning Mass
12 PM Confession
7:30 PM Alcoholics Anonymous in the basement
Ataxia looks over at Dorian.
Dorian smiles at Ataxia.
“Why do I get the feeling this is going to be… interesting?”
“Because it will be.”
Ataxia literally skips up to the door, with Dorian walking behind him. The two men walk in, making their way down the stairs to the basement. As the two men walk into the room, a hush falls over the crowd.
“I know! It’s an Armani! It’s even custom tailored on the rump!”
Dorian takes a seat and Ataxia sits down next to him. One of the men stands up, a middle aged man with dark hair that is using a comb over to try hiding the fact that he is balding.
“Good Evening. This is the regular meeting of the West Philadelphia group of Alcoholics Anonymous. My name is Buddy and I am an alcoholic and your Secretary. Let us open the meeting with a moment of silence followed by the Serenity Prayer”
Everyone lowers their heads’, with the exception of Ataxia who is looking around getting a feel for the room. The group then begins the Serenity Prayer.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
Buddy continues by asking one of the members to read “How it Works” and “The 12 Promises”. After going through the motions, the man once again stands up.
“Do we have any new members here tonight? Anyone who would like to introduce themselves, please do so using your first name only. We don’t want to embarrass you, just get to know you.”
There is silence, everyone in the room is looking directly at Dorian and, even more so, Ataxia. Dorian reluctantly stands up.
“Yeah… um… my name is Dorian and I am a recovering alcoholic.”
The group all answer at once. “Hi, Dorian.”
“Sheep.” Ataxia says under his breath.
“Thank you, Dorian. And you, are, um… sir… could you take off your mask… hood… um, whatever it is… and, um… introduce yourself?”
“No frand, that’s a third base thing and me and my girlfriend are only on first.”
“I feel that it would be in the spirit of the meeting if you would.”
Ataxia pops his knuckles and points behind him to the sign.
“Sorry, frand. The sign says ‘anonymous’, does it not?”
“He’s with me, for moral support. I recently fell off the wagon and I needed a friend to support me.”
“We’re not here for conflict. We’re here to help. Now, is there anyone who would like to share?”
“I guess I’ll share.” Dorian hesitates for a moment. “Do you all stand or anything like that. I haven’t done this whole meeting thing before.”
“No, you’re fine.”
“Well, I just got out of the clink, went in for drunk and disorderly. The kicker is that it was the first time I’d picked up a drink in about a year, at least on my own.”
Dorian looks to Ataxia who is probably looking around innocently under the hood.
“Long story short, I found out my kid’s step-douche decided it would be a good idea to put his hands around my daughter’s throat. I lost it. Shit went sideways, man. Beat the shit out of the dude. Cops came before I could finish the job. The judge went easy on me. Had to do about three weeks in, but I got full custody of my daughter. Silver lining, I guess.”
“I’m sorry to hear you had to go through that.”
“Don’t be. Shit happens. See, before all this went down, I found me a job. I’m pretty good at it, too. It helps that I get to beat people up for a living. When I got back to work, the boss man put me in a real nice spot, too. So, I’m getting by. Bashing skulls is a nice substitution for drinking. It’s a different kind of rush.”
“So, do you think that you’ll be okay? I mean, do you have someone you can call if you get the urge to drink?”
“I’ve got three frands that I can…”
“Excuse me? Frands?”
“It’s an inside thing, man. You don’t need to get it. So, yeah, I got three frands that I can call if need be.”
“That’s good to know. Thank you for sharing, Dorian.”
The rest of the meeting goes on, nothing of great importance happens. As the meeting finishes up, Dorian and Ataxia slip out to avoid having to exchange pleasantries with people.
“I want to say thanks, you know, for being here.”
“Of course frand. Whatever you need, I, and the others, will be here to assist you. I do hope tonight helped you. They seemed like a nice bunch of folks...next time we’ll bring cookies!”
The scene cuts away with people on the street trying to get the hell out of the way of the two men as they walk out of view.
The scene returns to a black and white shot of on old, abandoned house. The wallpaper is faded, and in some places ripped, revealing the brick behind hit. Spider webs hang in the corners of the rooms, bookshelves, and whatever else it can cling to. There is a fireplace, a pile of ashes and a half burnt log sitting in the middle of it. The camera work is shaky at best, as the camera crew carefully makes its way into the house. The camera points to the floor and you can see debris everywhere. A loud bang is heard off to the side, and the cameraman whips around to his left, revealing a hallway. The hallway is darkened by their shadow as they begin to make their way down the hallway. At the end of the hallway is a door, also in a state of decay. On the door, are several blood colored handprints on the door, surrounding the words “Para Bellum”.
The door creaks as it opens, leading to a set of concrete stairs. A loud shriek cuts through the air, causing the cameraman to jump. As he slowly, carefully turns at the bottom of the stairs, there are several doorways, none of which have doors on them. The crew scuttles about the basement, trying to make their way to wherever it was they were instructed to go. There are several windows, but no light comes through as dirt has blackened them out due to the passage of time.
“Hello? Is anyone down here?” the cameraman calls out, only to be answered by an echo of his own voice.
As they continue wandering around, you can see more blood stains on the wall, wooden slats running across behind the wall where they have disintegrated from their original state. The camera crew comes up to another set of stairs.
“Listen, man. I’m getting out of here. I don’t get paid enough for this bullshit.”
The picture follows as the cameraman climbs up the stairs as fast as he can. As he climbs, there are even more bloody hand prints.
“Are you here? Anyone?”
“Help me.” a young voice cries from below.
“Downstairs! They’re downstairs!” the cameraman turns and heads back down, rushing as fast as he can go. Finally, standing in the middle of a hallway, stands Chloe Hawkhurst. Her long, dark brown hair is hanging in front of her face, her head lowered; giving her eyes and smiles a sinister look.
“Si vis pacem, para bellum”
Chloe begins giggling and laughing as the cameraman can only stand there befuddled. After a few moments, Chloe abruptly stops and stares coldly at the cameraman.
“Come in. Come in. Just be prepared for what you are about to see.”
And just like that, Chloe runs down the hallway and disappears into a room at the end.
“This is just freakin’ creepy.” the cameraman quips as he follows down the hall, treading far more carefully than Hawkhurst the younger did. As the camera turns the corner, the entire screen jumps and the cameraman lets out a “Holy shit.” The body of Dorian Hawkhurst hangs from the ceiling. He is hung with a noose, hands cuffed together, and head bowed. It is a hauntingly familiar image, harkening back to this past Evolution.
“Elisha, you did a bad, bad thing. You made the Forsaken mad. Not only that, but you made a lot of other people mad, too. Be careful what you wish for, Master of Oreos. You just might get it.”
At that moment, it appears that the body of Dorian Hawkhurst begins catching fire. However, unlike Evolution, Dorian does not immolate, his body sits there, still, until the fire dies out. He opens his eyes, even as he hangs with a noose around his neck.
“Hello, beautiful.” Dorian begins chuckling to himself. “I’m talking to you, Elisha. How you doing over there, sweet cheeks?” Dorian pauses as though Elisha is actually there to answer him. “I’m gonna drop some knowledge on you.”
Dorian’s face contorts as he uses all of his strength, breaking the chain between his handcuffs. Hands now free, he removes the noose from around his neck and jumps down from the apparatus that was holding him in the air.
“That was a cute little stunt you pulled at Evolution with them little dollies hanging in the air. But as I just proved, silly little tricks don’t mean a damned thing. You can destroy all the Forsaken dolls you want, little man. The thing you really should have learned at Evolution is that unlike your dolls…”
“The Forsaken hit back.”
“Don’t you know it?” Dorian smiles from ear to ear. “Now, onto more better, more important people.”
“Caledonia, you are a fine role model for young women. I appreciate that. Now, I know you got this whole non-aggression peace treaty thing going on with Shadow. That’s a big reason why I chose to come after you. If Shadow respects you that much, then I could only do the same. Right now, you are the queen. You sit on the top of the mountain looking down at the rest of us, and I don’t mean that in the cond...Jesus, what’s the word? I mean you are just higher on the food chain. You don’t think any less of us. I ain’t even sayin’ that you feel that way.”
“But that’s what being World Champ says. It says you are the best.”
“I was talking to Mia, and she said something that hit home for me. It goes something along the lines of ‘I've always been of the opinion to work with people I know can beat me. It's the only way to truly test where my weaknesses are and where my skills are.’ This is what this is for me. This is a test. This is my chance to prove to myself that belong.”
“Now, just because I respect you does not mean that I am going to go easy on you. No, no, no, my dear, in fact, it means that I am going to come at you full bore. Just as I was going to do had the Smokin’ Asses decided that they didn’t want to play with me. As far as I’m concerned, those two can go play with themselves.”
Chloe giggles and Dorian glares at her with a smile on his face.
“You know what I mean. As I said, I am coming at you full speed ahead, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to put those horse blinders on, either. I know that it would be a feather in Ouroboros’ collective caps to take either one of us out. If it comes down to the two of us against those vultures, I will have your back. But, know this, you would be wise not to turn your back to me under any other circumstance.”
“I repeated this last week, Caledonia. I am going to repeat it once again. ‘Don’t lose who you are.’ This is who I am. I am a man who will stop at nothing to get what I want. If this was some crap I was spewing because I wanted it for myself, it would mean nothing, Men who do things for selfish reasons are short sighted. When a man swears an oath to do whatever it takes, when he swears to do it not for himself, but for another… that man is far more dangerous. When a man is does not care for himself, or his own well being, that is dangerous. When that very same man is willing to fall upon the sword for those he loves… THAT… my dear, is the most dangerous man at all.”
Dorian begins pacing back and forth behind Chloe, who is bouncing her head back and forth in time with her father’s pacing.
“This is a test. This is merely one battle in what I predict will become a long string of them. Caledonia, I cannot stress enough that this is strictly business. I want to be the best and to do so, I have to face the best.”
“What this will do is prepare me for what is ahead. Si vis pacem, para bellum. That is Latin for ‘If you want peace, prepare for war.” And that is what Ourobors is calling for. Elisha, stop sending pawns like Autumn Raven after me. J. Rish has put a queen against me. What have you got? Zilch, zero, nada, nothing. We will stand against you, Elisha. And when I say “we”, I don’t mean just the Forsaken.”
“Elisha, I want you to watch what happens when Caledonia and I are in the ring together. I want you to see what happens when you wrestle with your heart and soul. Then, I want you to realize exactly how much trouble you are in. You want this? Come and get it.”
Dorian stops pacing, and turns towards the camera, giving it an intense stare.
“You want to start a war? That’s fine.”
“We’ll finish it.”
Suddenly, there is a scream and a loud thud as the camera falls to the ground, landing on its side. Chloe gets on all fours and crawls towards the camera. She growls like a feral animal before the camera goes flying into the wall, causing the picture to turn to static.