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We find ourselves in an odd room, though any studious SIN Wrestling viewer will know where we are immediately. The room is dark, though it does possess an odd glow, a soft purple light that emanates from nowhere and everywhere, bathing the room with some illumination. The soft purple light shows us a desk and chair, both made of solid oak, stained cherry. The light shows us an odd collection of items, a broken vending machine, a display case full of title belts an trophies, an advanced, yet broken, wheelchair. Other things.

We are within the study of Jean-Paul Lacklan.

The madman in black sits within the chair, presently lounging back against it. He is dressed as we are always accustomed to, wrapped in his long black robe, the cowl of the hood pulled down low to cover most of his masked face. There is an oddity about him, though, other than the ever-present aura of madness that surrounds him: He is smoking a cigar. Those that watched the previous Lacklan promo have already seen this sight, but for most this is a first. He smokes the cigar, a vintage Romeo y Juillietta, the smoke rising lazily into the air, creating a cloud above his head. After many moments of silence, moments that might even make the most stalwart Lacklan fan change the channel, he removes the cigar from his masked face and speaks.

"It is amazing how much damage one man can do."

Lacklan's baritone voice fills the small room, bits of smoke billowing from his masked mouth.

"Certainly, when your mind is set to it, you can do much. And when God Himself instructs you? Only the imagination creates a limit."

Lacklan slowly stands, the chair creaking a bit. He makes his way over to the vending machine, his gloved hand softly touching, almost caressing, the broken glass.

"Her name was Arianna. This glass? Where I drove her head. It was a pretty head, too. She was beautiful. And I love her, for a time. And yet...this is where her head went. Can you imagine the scene? Backstage at a wrestling event. If memory serves me correctly, I wasn't even supposed to be there. So draft silliness. Yet I was. She had just finished a match, a victory I believe, her boyfriend waiting in their dressing room. She never saw me coming, never heard me. I drove my forearm into the back of her head, stunning her. And then?"

Lacklan takes a drag of the cigar.

"I drove her head through it. Blood...everywhere. Her screams...heavenly. Had you defeated me when you had the chance, had you reigned supreme those years ago, she never would have had to deal with the pain. I never would have stolen her away, into the night, to be shackled to a wall in my manor. She never would have been forced to face her own betrothed. She never would have, of all things, been forced to marry me on a live broadcast."

Lacklan looks into the camera, his gray eyes shining.

"However, my dear Casanova, I cannot expect you to care much for a woman you have never seen. But I can expect you to care for this."

Lacklan's long and slow strides bring him over to an odd stone tablet. Lacklan's voice comes again after a smoky drag.

"You have spent your entire career idolizing a few men. The first...the greatest...was Creature. As such, you should understand the significance of this."

Lacklan picks up the tablet, showing an inscription to the camera.

"In Loving Memory, Always."

Lacklan takes a drag of the cigar.

"This is the memorial that was at the gravesite of Kim. You remember Kim, of course. Creature's wife. Killed by the forces of a madman, madder than even Creature or myself. While there is nothing you could have done to save her, she is a perfect representation of Brandy."

Lacklan takes a drag.

"Leading into our famed Flaming Tower of Hell match...a great match that, oddly enough, included a signature Casanova maneuver...there were...complications...between Creature and I. We battled, as can be expected. And somehow, his poor mate, Brandy, ended up between us. As I sprayed Creature with my mist...she was there. She was not a wrestler, not a warrior, and she caught my mist in the eye."

Lacklan takes a drag.

"She was blinded. She still is. She shall...never...be able to see again. She shall never be able to see a sunrise, a rose, a pretty meadow. Nothing...ever again. You could have stopped that, Casanova. You could have stopped that mist. You could have stopped..."

Lacklan pauses here. Using the gloved hand not holding the cigar, he pulls back his hood, showing the bald and scarred head, the horrendous skull.

"You could have stopped this."

Lacklan uses that free hand to lightly touch the top of his head.

"That same mist...he was ready for me. In response...flames from his mouth. Flames down the line of mist. Flames engulfing my head."

Lacklan suddenly slams down the tablet upon the table, his hands gripping the side of the table, his mask into the camera.

"YOU COULD HAVE STOPPED THIS, CASANOVA!"

Lacklan's voice is pure rage, the volume a guttural scream.

"YOU COULD HAVE STOPPED THE FLAMES!"

Lacklan sweeps his hands across the desk, knocking the table to the floor, where it breaks into several pieces. Lacklan slams his hands down upon the table, a grunt coming deep from his chest. He whips his head around, his gaze finding the camera again.

"But...no...you were not strong enough to stop me! You were not strong enough to defeat me! You couldn't stop me from my path, you couldn't stop me from the destruction I would cause. You could have saved Arianna. You could have saved Brandy. Damn it, Casanova, you could have saved me. Damn you, Casanova! DAMN YOU!"

Lacklan walks around the desk, back to the chair. You can see the tension and anger visibly leave Lacklan's body, his calm and reserve restored, as he sits down. He takes a drag from the cigar. When he speaks, his voice is back to the calm of before.

"And you shall pay for your failures, Casanova. You shall pay for that which you could not do. You shall pay for every moment you let me reign, for every tear I have forced people to shed. I shall pay in blood, Casanova. Pay in pain and anguish."

Lacklan pauses.

"You shall pay for what you allowed me to do."

Lacklan takes a drag.


* * * * * * * * * * *

"Rectum? I damn near killed 'em!"

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!"

Everyone around the table laughs at the joke told by Tragik. However, it is not the hearty laugh of a well-told joke. It is not the timid laugh of those forced to act well in front of a superior, either. No, it is a drunken laugh, a laugh that issues forth at even the slightest humor.

Sitting around the table at the Second Level of the 'End are Tragik, Elaine, and two others whom seem familiar, but we cannot quite place. And they are drunk. Very drunk. Tragik has a small glass in his hand, the brown goodness of scotch with ice. Elaine has a curved glass of red wine. The other two both have very large glasses of dark beer. And all are swaying as they laugh, all teetering on the brink of falling out of their chairs.

"Oh...oh God..." says Tragik, wiping away tears. After a few moments, the laughter dies from them all, an awkward and deep silence settling between the four. All of them take drinks from their respective glasses, all silent. Eventually, Elaine breaks it.

"So...went well?"

Tragik's gaze finds its way into the murky depths of his glass.

"As well as torching a couple dozen Goths can go." He takes a gulp of his drink. "We did our jobs. We kept them in. We covered the place in gasoline. Then Lord Lacklan set it ablaze."

All are silent, all with their eyes in their drinks.

"You only did what you had to do."

"I know, Elaine. But that doesn't make it any easier, ya know?"

"Yeah...I know..."

Silence descends again. One of the two unnamed men speaks up.

"At least it is over with, M'Hael. At least-"

"Apparently not, Sebastian," interrupts the other, motioning with his head to the side. Sebastian looks over and sees three very out of place people in the 'End. Policemen.

"Well shit," slurs Tragik. He downs the last of his drink, slamming the glass down. "This oughta be fun."

Before long, the three policemen find their way up into the Second Level. One of them, a thin and tall man, pulls out a pad of paper. Another, one quite large, does the same, as the third, the lone woman, opens a manila envelope. She walks up to the seated foursome, looking at Tragik.

"Are you Dexter Love..."

"Aye," he begins to respond, but she keeps going.

"...Alias, 'Tragik,' alias 'The Greatest Journalist of All Time,' alias 'The Sexiest Man Alive,' alias..."

Tragik nods...drunkenly...at each name, a small smile coming to him as she names off some of the more...inventive...names. Eventually she stops, after which Tragik stands up...slowly...giving his head a little shake.

"That's me, sweet-thing. What can I do for you?"

"We," says one of the male policemen, the larger one, coming over. "We are investigating arson a few blocks from here. We received a tip that some people here might be involved."

"Well that's just silly. I mean...really...do we look like the kind of people who would be involved in anything untoward?"

The policemen look at the foursome. Four Goths, all under the influence, sitting at a bar in a notorious Goth club in a normally quiet Maine. The cops all look at each other. A small smile comes to the thin and tall man's face."

"Naw, we're just messing with you."

Tragik spikes an eyebrow, his three companions all having confused faces.

"Some whackjob called in about Jean-Paul Lacklan's latest promo and thought it had something to do with that burnt building a few blocks away. The chief wanted someone to check it out, and we all volunteered, because we're all Lacklan fans."

Tragik barks a laugh.

"Lord Lacklan has fans? Since when?"

The female cop laughs at this.

"Oh, you're even more funny in person than you are on the screen!"

"Yeah, we love your 'adventures' with your little 'strikeforce'!"

The large cop claps Tragik on the shoulder, almost making him fall over.

"Give Lacklan our best! We hope he beats up that faggy 'vampire.' We're all heading to a buddies house to watch the PPV. Man, I sure wish they had a television show that wasn't just on the internet."

The three cops all give their goodbyes to the foursome, all in jovial moods. After they are long gone, Tragik sits down, his face still screwed with confusion. Elaine puts her hand atop his, giving it a reassuring shake.

"I'll get you another drink."


* * * * * * * * * *

"What of the rest of you?"

Lacklan is still seated at his chair, the hood still pulled away to reveal his gruesome head, though he is relaxed against the back again. He takes a drag from the cigar.

"What of the rest of SIN Wrestling's...talent."

Lacklan offers a small smirk with the last word, though it melts away a moment later.

"I fully understand how it works it. I understand that...yes...while we may wrestle at carnivals and atop bridges, our Pay Per View events are legitimate, held in venues of repute. Yet all that time away from the notice of the world...all of these promotion videos going to waste. It is a pity. Yet, I understand that, while our fanbase for these viral submissions may be small, they are watched. Watched by all of you. Watched by all of you...talent."

Lacklan pauses, leaning forward, his mask taking up most of the camera.

"Are you watching? Are you listening? I hope so. For I shall take this time to address certain...issues...as I see them."

Lacklan takes a puff of his cigar.

"I would like to offer you luck in your match, Mr. Carson. Casanova drew similarities between the two of us, and I will agree with him on some points. You and I, Mr. Carson, have similar views. You understand that women, as a breed, are inferior. You understand that they are below us, that their purpose in life is to support us, to stand behind us. To serve us, to be subservient. We agree on these points, certainly. A large part of my career has been spent fighting women, hurting them, ruining them. They do not belong in the ring. They do not belong at our sides. They do not deserve to look us in the eye. Thus, I wish you luck in your match. I wish you luck against Stevie Swing, the most potent of them all. Defeat her...and that other piece of trash in the ring."

Lacklan pauses and leans back in his chair.

"Ah...yes...that piece of trash. I offer you two things, Mr. York. First, congratulations."

Lacklan claps his gloved hands together a few times, slowly, mockingly.

"Congratulations, Mr. York. You have achieved greatness! YOU! Are the face of this pathetic federation. YOU! Are the cream of this filth. Congratulations upon your mastery of mediocrity."

Lacklan leans forward again.

"The second thing I off you, Mr. York, is condolences. You...shall...not...walk away from Five Years Gone as champion. You...shall...not...find victory this week. Stevie Swing, the Sword of God? The Creep? You will fall, Mr. York. You will fail. And I, as many others shall, will enjoy your fall."

Lacklan leans back and takes a drag of his cigar. A look of intensity suddenly comes into his eyes.

"I still wish to feel your...fire...Morgana. Be...mindful...of that."

Lacklan takes a drag.

"As for you...Roxy..."

A sickening smile creeps from behind the mask.

"Are you ready to be in the ring with me, again? Are you ready to face your fears? Or...worse...better...your desires? Come, Mr. Erikson. Come to me."

He takes a drag from the cigar.


* * * * * * * * * *

The world is full of stories, full of events which, though separate, head to the same place, the same time. And in the end, disaster looms.

+ In an underground facility, a luscious woman in green sees a woman in red from a distance. Her eyes wide, she runs, knowing that her mission must now be completely, knowing that this information must be carried away, or all hope is lost for her Lord.

+ On an uncharted island in the Atlantic, natives are hard at work carving a figure out of a mountain.

+ In a psychiatrists office, a poor woman seeks help. It seems that, no matter how hard she tries, she cannot be...satisfied...unless she finds herself in shackles.

+ In a room in a mansion, bound to a chair, a nice girl weeps and prays for salvation.

Stories that spell the end for a madman in black.


* * * * * * * * * *

"Casanova."

Lacklan allows his voice to fill the room, the name to settle. He takes a drag from the cigar, slowly letting the smoke issue from his mouth.

"You are out of time, Casanova. And you have had so much of it. So much time! Six...years. Six years to become a man. Six years to become the best there has ever been. Six years to be more than I ever hoped you could be."

Lacklan pauses.

"Six years to hear of my successes. Six years to dream that you could be me, that you could be Creature. Six years."

Lacklan pauses, taking a drag from the almost-depleted cigar.

"And what have you done? Honestly, man, what have you done? You have become a hall of famer! You have wrestled amazing stars! You have become a 3-time world champion!"

Lacklan pauses, leaning forward, bringing his masked face flush with the camera.

"Of SIN...Wrestling."

A short pause.

"While I was battling Creature for the Ultimate World Championship in a cage of flame, you were fighting rabble in front of a carnival. While I was breaking Stevie Swing's neck...and while he was breaking my face...you were winning accolades in restaurants. While the Musketeers were changing the sport of wrestling...you were here, becoming a record-breaking champion."

A smirk sneaks from behind Lacklan's mask.

"'Champion.' '3-Time Champion.' Of what, Casanova? A champion of rabble? A champion of children? You! You, who are so strong. You, who are so agile. You...who can never be truly defeated. This is your great aspiration? This?!"

Lacklan leans back in the chair again, taking a drag of the cigar.

"You do not even possess illusions of grandeur. Simple men with such delusions at least imagine themselves the best. They imagine themselves the champion of the world, the greatest of all time. You, however? You have strived to be the best of the worst. Not to rise above the filth, but to wallow in it, to have them truly believe that they are your peers. These...plebeians...within SIN Wrestling..."

Lacklan shakes his head.

"And in your time here, these six years since we parted ways initially...they seem to have dulled your senses and memory, as well as your aspirations and desires. The way you speak, Casanova, the way you act...you would have thought that it was you who won our second encounter. Or that it never even occurred! Yet...it...was...I...who was victorious. It...was...I...who had their hand raised last year, my friend. Or do you not remember? Do you not remember when we fought, when we battled? When I served unto you your Final Rite?"

Lacklan pauses.

"You can claim whatever you wish, dear Casanova. You can claim the world, for all it will do for you. Come, Casanova. Come with your Fang. Come with your abilities. Come with your...'championships.' You will need every thing you possess."

Lacklan finishes the last of his cigar, the red embers graying out.

"And in the end, it will not be enough. In the end, there is no Voice. There is no salvation. Nothing but the Hammer. Nothing left for you but to feel the Hammer fall."

Lacklan leans forward.

"In the end...my dear Casanova? You will understand...in the very core of your being...that you are nothing but the buzzing of flies to me."

Lacklan stands and slowly walks away.

Fade to black.