A simple scene fades into view, a man dressed smartly in black trappings standing in front of an equally dark backdrop. Vincenzo Savonarola replete with confidence per his first round Ultratitle victory, stands in a spotlight smirking. His well-appointed attire drapes crisply across his aged but vigorous frame. A man of fine things, his raven suit is neatly tailored, his leather shoes are buffed to a shine, a crimson necktie lays knotted about his neck running perfectly atop his shirt buttons. With silvering hair combed back and steely eyes peering out at the viewership he speaks.
“Consider this a proposal,” croaks a rasping voice.
“To all that would use this tournament to scavenge for glory,fame and riches...”
“To those who delude themselves with fantasies of victory…”
“To those that would dare oppose me in the ring…”
“To one Alexander Hayes…”
“This is an offer, the likes of which cannot be refused. An unwritten contract brokered by yours truly with your best interests at heart. An agreement sealed with a silent forfeit or foolishly broken with the penalty of blood and suffering. The choice is simple and conveniently yours.”
Savonarola’s hands accentuate his eloquent words, like aconductor before a symphony of rhetoric.
“Abandon your hopes in this tournament, leave Ultratitle to one deserving, to one worthy of the prize. Lay down before me as I stride to the pinnacle of this contest lest you be trampled in my waste-laying march. In return, you keep your livelihood. For a battle with me is unlike any other.”
“Cast away those lies you speak to yourselves. Deny these illusions you have created. This tournament is not for the reclamation of past triumphs. It is not for the proving of one’s mettle. It is not to showcase the best nor the brightest. For I alone am the former and the latter without need for praise.”
“Whomever of you has ears ought to hear what I say. Take heed, swallow your pride. Let this one man Italian battalion pass you by and live to wage your own wars. This is not where you make your stand but where I begin my ascent. Ready yourselves, make your choices swiftly and wisely.”
“Keep these things well in mind. Consider all that you hold dear. Weigh the risk…”
Vincenzo holds out his right hand, formed into a claw shape fixed about an invisible skull of some would be opponent. His jaw shifts as he speaks, his eyes stareat his phantom victim.
“…of a crushing defeat. Jethro Hayes now understands the repercussions for challenging the Godfather. Alexander Hayes stands poised at the precarious edge of humiliating defeat. Spare yourself the fate of so many before you.”
“Do not delay. Make haste and make way. Defeat is the only option, choose it wisely.”
The Godfather’s rattling voice falls away. He bows his head, his brow obscuring those grey eyes from view. The scene fades from to black.
Night has firmly fallen over a palatial estate with itstrimmed hedgse and swaying aged trees casting their dusky shadows before themoonlight. Perfectly manicured lawnsstretch out far and around the great home; any imperfections in the cut grassare hidden by night’s lens. Sculpted stone and smooth glass rises above the grounds. Out of the many rooms and halls one is filled with dull lamplight and therein, at the center of house, dwells Vincenzo Savonaorla.
Surrounded by luxuries inspired by old world wealth he walks about. Bare feet waltz along fine woven rugs. Leather-bound tomes and other favorite writings sit upon hand carved bookshelves; poetry, philosophy,theology, medicine, classics and a few noteworthy contemporaries. A better-rounded personal library one will be hard pressed to find. There are assorted bits of art. Small statues, most ofwhich depict saints, watch their owner as he goes about his business. Upon his great and comfortable bed is an open suitcase with various cosmetics and apparel laid about it.
A night robe hangs to his ankles, dangling like cool silk. In one hand a small cigar smolders, drawing wispy lines through the air. From closet to bed he repeatedly travels. While packing the man thinks, preparing for yet another exhibition of his in-ring prowess. For this match to come is just that, a demonstration. The Godfather is an example of a man not to trifle with. Not in the wrestling worldor any other realm.
“Toiletries, suits hung, shoes, undergarments, i.d. …” Vincenzo mutters in a quiet rasp before taking a drag of his cigar. He begins to organize his traveling necessities within the baggage. Everything to its correct and proper place, one last survey before it is closed and sealed with a zip and lock.
Vincenzo lugs the suitcase from his bed and places near hischamber door. With that cigar betwixt his lips he rummages through the closet, straining to reach the top shelf from which he obtains another smaller bag. He casts it upon the four-poster open and ready. In this bag shall be packed the trappings of a professional wrestler.
“So much effort, such a chore to travel, “thinks Vincenzo, “Allfor one match with only one possible outcome. There is no disputing that.”
Black, shining boots are the first to go in. Their purpose is to aid Savonarola’s march into battle, to do his instant bidding, to stamp out any and all opposition. They are the base of this statuesque form of a man. By them he is allowed to stand proud, firmly rooted and strong.
“Alexander Hayes, who is he? A name, nothing of consequence, irrelevant…”
Dark trunks monogramed with the simple letters in blood red,“VS”. With them, black elbow and kneepads. These are the cushions between the Godfather’s foes and the harsh reality of his brutality. In truth there is little to shield Hayes or any other opponent from the punishment to be inflicted. The pads are a formality, a flimsy buffer that only takes the edge off the pain.
“I had hoped from some pride, some passion from this Hayes, unlike the one before.”
A flowing black ring robe, trimmed with flashing silver sequins along the lapels and around the cuffs. A symbol of status, a compliment to the impressive man that is Vincenzo Savonarola. Greasy hands reach forth, straining to touch the hem of his garments as if he were a prophet or a king.
“I did not want a sparring match. I wanted a native’s heart and drive; a challenge to my abilities.”
He zips this piece of luggage closed and locks it. He taps ashes into a crystal tray near his bedside and indulges in another puff of smooth smoke. As he exhales, Vincenzo looks about his room blankly still in thought.
“All I get is a stamp on my passport to round three.”
He picks up his wrestling-gear-laden bag and drops it nextto the other.
“Well, at least it’ll be a nice day trip…”
The lights click out and the scene fades. Vincenzo Savonarola advances to the third round.
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