(Drumming heavy metal riffs blast over a canvas of black. The orange flicker of firelight flashes across the giant trunks of ancient trees deep within a wooded area. Flames dance briefly from the bottom of frame. Growling lyrics begin...)
"The site of the lost horizons...
"The minions seek to resurrect...
(A plume of flame and ash briefly rises, kicking smoke into the sky.)
"The graves hold arcane mysteries...
"Various swamps hide terrible...
(As the camera pans down, we find a small number of hooded figures gathered around a flaming pit of coals, standing in silent observation.)
"The circle of redeemers...
"The pact is made with human...
(Two of the figures drag rakes across the coals, kicking up more flames and ash into the air.)
"UNDER STORM FILLED SKIES...
"BEHEMOTH OF THE SEA AWAKES - A-RRRIIIIISSSSEEE!!!"
(They spread the burning embers around the pit evenly, causing the top layer to cool into a smoldering black blanket. As this happens, another figure emerges from the black night beyond the circle, minus the hooded robe. Zoom in on a pair of bare feet stepping up to the edge of the pit with fearless conviction.)
"TREMBLE AT THE HORROR IN WHICH IT WRITHES!
"ONCE THEY BEHOLD AND UNEARTH THE TITANS MIGHT!
"FAITHFUL SERVANTS PAY ITS GHASTLY PRICE!
"SLITHERING, BLASPHEMOUS CURSE UPON ALL LLLLIIIIIFFFEEEE!!!"
(The camera pans up, revealing the glowing firelit face of "THE UNDYING" ROCKO DAYMON, intense eyes bearing down on the fire below. The heavy metal song enters its chorus.)
"DEATH IS THIS COMMUNION!!
"NOW YOU REALIZE...
"DEATH IS THIS COMMUNION!!!"
("Death Is This Communion" by High On Fire fades out. The camera pulls back as he nods to the faceless robed figures. They promptly walk out of the frame, leaving the legend, the myth, the MAN himself standing alone in the presence of their burning creation. He's wearing his typical attire - jeans and a band t-shirt, with the only exception being that he's without any foot protection.)
Fire holds an interesting dichotomy within our species. In one hand, fire it's a provider... of warmth, energy and protection. When finally controlled by our ancestors, it proved to be a pivotal resource in the development of the human race.
However, fire can also be perceived as the of source great destruction - swift and remorseless. Essential as it is, it sears flesh. As a result, though we benefit from it, a great deal of people have come to fear fire.
(Crossing his arms over his chest, he looks across the pit directly to the camera. The heat from the embers below him cause his form to shimmer slightly.)
In the TEAM Invitational Tournament, the flames will meet, both representing opposing forces.
I am the flame of life.
I am here to provide for this sport and everybody associated with it. I am here to serve as this industry's undying spirit... to uphold the principles of honor and virtue, and respect the competition of this sport.
(He holds his hands out to the glowing cinders mere inches from his bare toes.)
Horace Tully... you are the flame of death.
Like my last opponent, you are not here for the glory or the challenge... you're only here to DESTROY this sport from within.
I've seen the video from weeks ago... and, as unusual as you are, I'm honestly not impressed. Your filibustering about old gods and sadistic torture... it's nothing but fire and brimstone, Tully.
(Again, he motions to the pit.)
Rocko Daymon FIRE AND BRIMSTONE.
A sad attempt to evoke FEAR into the fragile hearts of the weak and the stupid... by drawing illusions out of nothing.
That's how you work, right? Because you're sadistic and fanatical, the typical stooge in tights would be afraid of you. FEAR is your weapon of choice, and thus far, it's brought you to the second round of the tournament.
You're the only person left in this tournament with a seeded rank below the number four... and that alone proves how effective fear can be.
But right now, you're going to learn two things about me that might not coincide with your gameplan, Tully.
First... I'm NOT bent by fear or intimidation.
See this pit of FIRE? Watch this...
(Without hesitation, he STEPS FORWARD onto the hot coals... and continues walking, eyes not even leaving the camera. In a brief matter of seconds, he crosses over the burning fire pit, showing know signs of pain, coming to a stop on the grass just now before the camera. The glowing embers, now know longer putting light to his face, burn behind him casting an orange aura around his silhouetted shape.)
...what really is there in you for me to be AFRAID of, Tully?
Loss... Pain... DEATH...?
(He shakes his head with apathy.)
I don't live my life threatened by such things. They are forces bound even to this very industry, which I myself am a part of. I know about fear... which is why I have surpassed it.
That leads us to the second thing you're going to learn about me...
(He gestures back to the fire pit.)
What you just witnessed was no miracle or act of magic... just a simple combination of a little skill, the laws of physics, and mind over matter. It was effortless, and painless.
The fire, as it turns out, wasn't so threatening after all.
Now, Tully, you've happened to stray into the path I happen to walk... just another firepit, seething and sizzling and blowing a lot of hot air... but completely harmless in my attempt to walk over it.
I already know that if you choose to say anything this week, it's bound to be just more petty fire and brimstone... but for now, maybe I'll humor you...
Let's just say there are "Old Gods" out there... sleeping away in forgotten tombs, waiting to awaken and arise and destroy the world... and countless devoted cultists worship them in grisly ways under the veil of secrecy...
(He takes a step forward. Moonlight washes over him, illuminating his intense gaze in pale light.)
...none of that proves to me that you're in any way a better professional wrestler myself.
I could care less about what you do in your free time; I'm a multi-time World Heavyweight Champion that's toured the world over, and when we meet, I'm going to fight you like one.
Old Gods and Apocalypse be damned, I'm going to beat the hell out of you in that ring, Tully. I'm going to pin you, putting out the destructive power you've brought to this tournament, and send you packing. I'm going to make your sadistic basement buddies not even want to associate with you when they realize you represent them.
And them I'm going to walk off like it never even happened.
One flame burns on, intent and devoted to its purpose. The other flame... dies a slow death.
(Rocko Daymon walks out of the frame as the fire pit that was behind him even now slowly begins to smolder out. The chorus to "Death Is This Communion" plays again as the camera fades to black.)
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