War Games III
The world was filled with the sound of rushing water, distant and fuzzy as Max’s blue eye slowly opened to dimly lit concrete floor. The moment this eye took in the light of his surroundings a sharp pain flooded his head and ran down his spine causing the Lord of Kaelsalvania to wince noticeably, his metal teeth gnashing together as a low grunt grumbled past his lips. Lifting his head he could feel the dried blood from his forehead pulling the skin as it attempted to stay connected with its scabby counterpart pooled around Max’s head.
The sound of Sub-Marquis Bentley Tennyson Farthington-Primrose’s voice was like a dagger to the side of Max’s head pushing straight into his brain. Grimacing Max pushed himself up onto his knees while he gingerly touched the busted part of his forehead where Sutler had smashed the HOW World Title.
“Yes, alive.. And..” Max managed to grunt as he tried to feel around his skull to get a better idea of how injured he might be. “..wasting precious time. I told you to remain in the Broom Closet..”
The words left Max’s throat sounding like ice and fire at the same time. The sound of broken bells and cloth shuffling in the corner was audible as the diminutive form of the Herald slinks forward with an accusing finger raised.
“And you also told me we were going to the Ren Faire the day I went missing but that clearly wasn’t on the docket!” Bentley cut through the silence between them. “And you.. YOU were the one that trusted that old far, Googley Moogly, and you’re the one who adopted Sulter Reynolds-Kael then alienated him causing him to become a vengeance pervert!”
The HOW World Champion winced under the blistering shrieks of the Herald, his eye closing as he pushed himself across the cold concrete floor toward a nearby wall where he nursed his injury.
“Okay.. okay.. Fair point.” Max said in a dismissive manner. “But regardless of why we are both here, we need to find a way out.. And as quickly as possible. War Games is coming soon and I can’t afford these silly little-”
“Stop it!” the Herald snapped loudly, his small frame scrambling forward as he stared down at the wounded eye of Max. “Just stop it! Okay, War Games is coming, sure, but right now you and I are stuck in a dungeon reenactment without food, water or any kind of entertainment to keep us from having to focus on our own sad lives! So unless you have a solution to any of those problems I suggest you stop caring about War Games until, you know.. War Games is something we can actually be concerned with!”
The Prime Minister of Kaelsalvania stared up at the Herald with his pale blue eye for a moment, a look of dejection on his face as he let the surprisingly wise words of the Herald sink in before he had a moment of brilliance. He snapped his finger and reached into his pocket where he retrieved something.
“Actually we’re not completely devoid of technology. I do have this..” Max said as he held his phone out toward the Herald. “Here, take it, help find some way out of here with it while I take a second look at this door.”
Like a starved rat being handed a chunk of cheese the Herald’s eyes widened at the sight of a mobile phone, his greedy hands snatching up the small piece of technology. His eyes filled with the soft glow of Max’s cellphone display as his fingers tapped rapidly over the screen surface all the while Max dragged himself up to his feet and hobbled toward the door to the room.
The Herald’s eyes brightened up with a soft blue glow as he opened twitter for the first time in.. well, the Herald’s grasp of time was tenuous but too him it had been a very long time. He quickly began scrolling through his back log of posts as his mind ate up all the gossip and drama he had missed out on. Meanwhle Max’s fingers worked over the hinges and edges of the door, his mind trying to cut through the fog that the belt shot and subsequent collapse to the floor had raised.
“Holy cow Max, CWF closed!” The Herald exclaimed loudly as his jaw dropped. Max paused for a moment as he turned toward Bentley with an equally surprised look. The Heralds surprise quickly faded, however, as he continued to read. “Oh.. never mind, they reopened.”
Max tried to raise his eyebrow but it just caused a flare of pain to spread over his brow. Shaking it off he turned back toward the door where he continued to search for a weakness.
“That was fast. For a half-second I considered just making sure Dan Ryan won the War Games match with the hope HOW would close up but it’d probably just end up reopening again just as quickly.. Ptth. You know when I KILL something, it stays dead. That’s quality killing, Herald Bentley, a real X-factor.”
The Herald let out a little giggle in the corner though Max wasn’t entirely sure Bentley actually understood the joke. Examining the hinges a little more closely Max tried to determine just how deep the bolts pushed down into the thick old oak boards that the door was fixed into.
“So why did the Great Googley Moogly team of with Sutler then?” the Herald mused as he continued to go over the latest bit of gossip spread over the twitterverse. “You think he is working with Michael Best?”
“While my brother Michael did hire Great Googley Moogly for me back in OCW I doubt the two are still speaking with each other. First, Michael fled for China over two weeks ago with some fairly serious concerns about his shoulder. In fact I doubt he even really has much vested interest into what I am up to right at this moment so.. I think we can rule Michael out as one of the influences behind this.” Max mutterer as he ran this thin, spindly fingers over the edges of the door. “And Sutler isn’t as motivated to carry out something like this on his own. He doesn’t have the resources to go calling in managers and setting up dungeons like this. No, there is something here I haven’t seen yet..”
“Maybe it was Eric Dane or someone else from the Best Alliance hoping that you won’t make it to War Games?” Bentley chimed in once again as stared at the War Games listings for potential suspects. Max furrowed his brow in thought as he considered the options of his various opponents and even a few team mates who would want him out of it.
“I suspect that most of the Best Alliance want to actually pin me in the ring or get me to submit. I mean, they all seem pretty hard about the prospect of getting some kind of win in the ring, grade A over achievers. Having me locked up outside of the match without the title would just.. Take away any legitimacy from them if they managed to win.” the HOW Champion contemplated out loud as he stepped away from the door deciding the hinges would be too difficult to bite through with his metal teeth. “As for my own team.. Well.. I mean I could definitely see how trapping me away might be useful. If you feel confident you can take the whole of the Best Alliance down one member it certainly would improve your chances of getting the World Title.. But then again that really sounds more like something I would do so.. I mean I doubt its anyone on my side if it wasn’t me.”
It was then that there was soft click from the door followed by barked orders demanding that the Herald and Max Kael move to the far end of the cell. The two did, Max limping slightly as he did so, both men staring at the door as it opened. In strode a confident Sutler Kael, a wide grin stretched over his face as he looked over the two men huddled against the far wall. Over his shoulder sat the HOW World Title, the blood having dried into a dull brown making the golden title look rusted, old and dirty.
“So how does it feel, Max? To be scared of whoever is coming through that door at any random time they please?” Sutler said with a hint of resentful glee. Max offered a nonplus shrug of his shoulders.
“Happens to me more often than you’d expect so I think I’ve grown kinda numb to it to be honest.” Max said, his blue eye looking from side to side with a shifty expression while one of his hands gently clasped the side of his face that had been damaged by the title.
“Whatever! It doesn’t matter anyway.. Do you know why I have you locked up down here with your little Herald and your World Title slung over my shoulder?” Sutler said with renewed purpose.
“We were actually just trying to figure out who would have put you up to that, Sulter!” The Herald chimed in thinking himself helpful.
“Shut up! You haven’t been around long enough.. You don’t know what this man has done, what he is willing to do to get a win!” Sutler screamed at the Herald, his pale face flushing red with color. “I didn’t need any help to do this, I didn’t need any encouragement. I’ve been planning this for years.. I’ve been planning this since you abandoned me in South Korea three years ago so you could live your little wrestling fantasy up in North Korea..”
“Well if it makes you feel better North Korea was far, far from a great wrestling experience, okay?” Max said through clenched teeth, rising to his full height as he stared down at Sutler with a piercing blue eye.
“Yeah? How do you think it was for me, a fifteen year old boy who was abandoned in a foriegn country with no family, no money and no way home? Huh? I lived off the street until I could find the American Embassy and then I had to wait for them to confirm who I was, confirm that I wasn’t some kind of spy while my ex patriot adopted father was up in North Korea beating up labour camp slaves. It was a fucking hell, Max, a fucking living Hell! Because of you..”
Sutler’s voice darkened as he stepped toward Max, the two men staring intensely at each other. The Herald shrank a little more into the darkness eager to escape the tension that crackled through the air between them. Max’s stance softened a little as Sutler’s words appeared to sink in.
“And then I get back stateside and start living down at Five Time Academy with Uncle Mike who, surprise, surprise, is too busy to ever actually train me. So instead I learn to work with the trainers and the other guys down at Five Time and you know what happened? I started to feel like I fit in. I started to understand why someone might dedicate their lives to the craft of wrestling, to the ART of wrestling. I start to get good. I have a natural talent, they say, I have an inborn gift, the only thing my real father ever gave me. And just went everything seems to be coming together..”
Sutler shakes his head slowly, his fingers wrapping around the HOW Title over his shoulder as he glares up at his father.
“You’re tired, broken, one eyes asshole shows back up. You ruin Five Time Academy, you use me and the other trainees as punching bags sucking all the love and purpose out of my life. We’re just a new collection of pawns for you to use in your sick little High Octane games to get you what you want while the rest of us get to live in fresh new hells that pop up in the shadows you cast, Max. Well.. that finally stops now and it’s going to be stopped by me.”
Max’s features softened as he watched the young man pace back and forth, his eyes full of hate and resentment. It was hard for Max not to see Shane Reynolds there, behind those eyes, his final vengeance working its way like poison through Max’s adopted son.
“So I decided to put all my skills and all those hard learned lessons you taught me to work. Physically beating you is pointless.. You don’t care about it at the end of the day, you don’t worry about the physical strain placed on you. You don’t care about anyone but yourself.. There is just one thing you care about, one thing that ANY Kael gives a fuck about. Legacy..”
Sutler’s smile grew as Max’s scowl rose to meet it.
“What are you talking about, Sutler?..what have you done..”
“It’s not what I’ve done, father mine, it’s what I am going to do. See, you’ll be locked up in here until after War Games is completed. You’ll be trapped down in this little room and I will be long gone with the HOW World Title around my waist. When Lee discovered you bailed on War Games and took the HOW World TItle with you he’ll have you struck from the PPV, he’ll have your name erased from any recent media. Mike, resentful of his selfish, flaking brother will turn his back on you and the eMpire will become more of a two man magic act between the two guys who are actually best friends, Mike Best and Cecilworth Farthington. People will begin to forget all about the loser Max Kael who ran away..”
Max’s face melted into a snarl as his fists fell to his side, the knuckles turning white as his metal teeth gnashed and grated against each other. Sutler stopped once again and stepped forward, his face mere inches away from Max’s bloodied visage.
“..but that’s not all. See once all that is done I’ve accepted a new position. Ever since Great Scott decided he wasn’t a jobber anymore and defeated Scott Stevens in OCW the Council of Jobbers has needed a new council member. I can’t think of a better revenge than to take the Kael name and make it the MOST famous name to ever grace the title of Jobber. I’ll spend more time on the canvas than Van Gogh. I’ll lose to the worst of the worst, in spectacular fashion. I’ll make it my fucking quest to have 5 star matches that I never, ever win. When people need that win but they don’t want to put in the effort to look good?.. They’ll call on me to come.. Do a Kael. And nobody will remember you.. No one will remember the Hall of Famer, the Prime Minister of nobody-gives-a-fuck.. I’m going to kill the very concept of you, Dad.”
The words cut through Max as his blue eye lifted and stared off into the darkness, his brow heavy as he took in what Sutler had said. Leaning against the wall Max slowly allowed his gnarled body to slowly slump to the floor, dejected and defeated as Sulter smiled down at him. The young man was victorious, he knew he had won and he drank in seeing Max at his feet.
“With the Great Googley Moogly’s help I’ll make sure that the name of Max Kael vanishes.. And maybe High Octane Wrestling stays alive for a couple more years under the new faces of greatness. MJF.. Eric Dane.. Lindsay Troy.. High Flyer.. Dan Ryan. The whole of the Best Alliance will wash away all the old guard.. And guys like Darin Zion and Scott Stevens will once again be free to make HOW.. oh just as great as you know they can make it. And there isn’t anything. ANYTHING.. You can do about it. Heh-heh..he-”
The high pitch scream of defiance erupted from behind Sutler as dirty, half ripped cape was pulled over his head, his surprised visage vanishing beneath the cloak. The wild eyes and manic face of the Herald replaced Sutler’s head as the cape was wrapped tightly around his neck. With unknown reserves of strength the Herald pulled back on Sutler as Max launched up off the ground sending a stiff punch to his antagonist’s unprotected gut.
Reynolds-Kael let out a muffled gasp as the air was driven out of his lungs before falling to the floor where he was dragged to the doorway by the Herald. Max scurried across the floor and just as Sutler’s wrapped head was near the door frame he violently kicked it shut!
Whatever struggling Sutler might have put up ended immediately, his body going limp as the door slowly creaked back open. The Herald stared down at his long tarnished half-cape, his eyes half mad, half sad at the loss of his newest, greatest wardrobe item. Max cradled part of his face and joined the Herald at his side staring down at the motionless figure on the ground, small red stains starting to form where the door had contacted Sutler’s head. Both men stared in silence at might possibly be a dead body, their rapid breathing slowing down into shallow panting.
“I adopted that boy almost ten years ago. I drove him to this.. To ruining my War Games chances..He nearly ruined my HOW career.. He had plans of ruining all my friendships and ultimately my entire legacy. That’s a level of resentment I.. I really kind of respect… but now look at him. I.. I really need to stop fucking up peoples lives..”
Max said as he shrank down to his knees, one of his hands hovering the crimson cloth covering up what was likely Sutler’s now ruined face. A pang of regret threatened to grow in his chest as the HOW Hall of Famer wrestled with the guilt he was working so hard to repress. The Herald let a hand rest on Max’s shoulder in a reassuring manner.
“…well at least you managed to stop him with plenty of time to study for War Games… “
“.. yeah.. I guess…”
The two men continued to stare in darkness before the Herald leaned close to Max. The HOW World Champion reached down and pulled the Championship title from the motionless body of Sutler Kael. He eyed it for a moment before resting it over his shoulder, his face turning toward the Herald who was still looking down at the man he may or may not have helped murder. Max’s expression softened slightly and while he might not ever get over his cape envy he did feel a sudden appreciation for his Herald and his dedication to the cause.
He smiled. Not an awful, twisted, I maybe just murdered someone smile.. A genuine, friendly smile, or at least as friendly as a man with sharp rows of teeth could look when he smiled.
“…Wanna go to the Ren Faire now?”
“Ooooooh Miss I am SO SOOORRAY! Normally these things, they work out, ya know? But.. in this case, maybe we underestimated the target and Over Estimated the talent on hand, baby.”
The southern warmth of the Great Googley Moogly’s voice echoed in the large warehouse he stood in, today wearing a silver and black suit with matching sunglasses and turban. To his side was a svelte looking woman in a sharp black dressed and white top, a large white hat that hid her face in shadows.
“I’ve made the mistake of underestimating Maximillian Kael and his ilk. I believe I even expressed this concern to you and your associates.” A stern, cold voice called out from beneath the hat. The Googley One pulled a handkerchief from his pocket dabbing the beads of sweat that started to accumulate on his forehead.
“I know, Mame, I know.. But I promise you, baby, I promise you that when you call upon the Council of Jobbers again.. We’ll won’t fail you. Next time we’ll put the full weight of our power behind a job and not just.. You know.. A young buck trying to climb up on a big bull, you feel me?” The older wizard of wrestling said doing his very best to appease the chilly looking woman who stood beside him.
“Don’t call me Baby, Mr. Moogly, Elenore Kael is my name. Besides the mission was partially successful. Max wasn’t able to focus as much on War Games, he isn’t sure who he can trust and now he knows someone is out to get him. With any hope he won’t walk out of War Games with any titles.. ” She said in a terse, annoyed tone, turning her head to look down at the squat man to her side. The light managed to find some purchase beneath her hat as burnt, scarred skin was just barely visible though still much of what remained hidden beneath her mask was obscured.
“Uh.. yes.. I soooopooose if you look at it like that things mighta worked out better for us…” The Great Googley Moogly managed to choke out as he dabbed his forehead once again with his hand kerchief.
Thankfully the awkwardness was cut short as a large crate was wheeled in front of the two of them. Within it the bruised face of Sutler Kael was visible though a small glass window, his body housed in some kind of life support system. Elenore lifted a thin hand with ruby red nail polish on the end of each taloned finger, gently touching the glass above Sulter’s ruined continence.
“..poor Sutler. Will he be ok?” For the first time Elenore’s tone seemed to warm, a sense of actual concern for the young man she had helped to raise.
“Oh he’ll be fine I suspect, Ba..er.. Ms. Kael. At least he should be ready for the next time the Council is asked to carry out another mission for you after your very sizable donation to our organisation.” Googley said as he peered down at Sutler with a discerning gaze.
“Plan A didn’t work out as well as I would have hoped but.. I’ve known Max my entire life. The first plan was never designed with full success in mind.” Her tone became chilly again as he withdrew her hand, two cold, dead eyes staring out from the shadows of her hat. “Plan B is already in motion. Prepare your top men, Mr. Googley Moogly.. Rumble at the Rock is approaching regardless of HOW Maximillian Kael does at War Games… our plans are always in motion..”
Googley nods as the two begin to walk away from the crate containing Sutler. As they slowly move away we seen that they are surrounded by massive stakes of crates that look similar to Sutler’s own, rows and rows, hundreds, possibly even thousands..
“Top men Ms. Kael?”
– The End