Druscilla White and the Next Crusade.

By: Druscilla White

Writing Prompt: Yes

Date: 19th Nov 2021

🐺🐺Parental Discretion is Advised.🐺🐺
🐺🐺Caution!🐺🐺
The following scenes will make use of foul language, rape, gore, sex, drugs, rock and roll, and other adult themes.
If any of this disturbs you or causes you to feel scared, awkward, sad or triggered;
🐺🐺Do Not Continue Further.🐺🐺
The writer reserves the right to utilize the aforementioned techniques to further a storyline.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, business, events and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
💋You Have Been Warned.💋

The Tara Fenix Charity Cruise; A Night To Remember…
That went out with a “Bang“!

Prophet, we are in the water. Over the hidden earpiece, I heard the confirmation. This was what I had to do; to keep my family safe, to bring my daughter home, to end this fucking nightmare once and for all. I hope they understood…

I had come off a string of wins. Hell, I won a title the night before! And today? Today, I won a tag match with my sister. I was on a high! But, unfortunately, it was short lived. While Tara and I had been going over the passenger list… A few names stuck out to me. Code names. Ones I knew from years ago. Ones I created for Gotti and his men myself.

Tara and I were quick. A plan was drawn up, with almost no wiggle room. One false move.. And someone died… Possibly the wrong person. The plan was in motion, and this had literally become a game of life and death.

My family was in the kill zone, and I would be damned if I was going to let one of them get hurt.

Robi and I continued our talk after we’d won our match, and I was about to nail her about her sudden marriage but everything ended when that first shot rang out…

A part of Me ended when that first shot rang out…

That first shot stunned me, I hadn’t fully expected him to pull the trigger. Apparently, I meant less to him than I had originally assumed. I was shocked. My breath caught in my lungs. It was like fire, slicing through flesh. The pain radiated through my chest and down my left arm. Blood spurted everywhere! I growled, but for some reason my body wasn’t listening to me. I wanted to stand, but my legs wouldn’t move. I NEEDED to stand. I wanted to reach into my cut and grab my…

”You’re ok… You’re going to be ok.. It wasn’t… Cill…C’mon Cilla!” Diesel repeated, as if doing so would change any outcome. He struggled to quell the bleeding before finally, a lightbulb flipped on. My blood had exploded all over him, and myself. We were bathed in it. Even Robi was painted red.

As he yanked his shirt and cut off, I hissed when he pressed the black shirt to my wound, the bullet hurt like Hell, but this was all part of the plan. Now I am committed to this. There was no going back.

Blue Diver, confirm shot… The chatter in my ear continued, Robi had moved to her protective stance. My body still didn’t want to move, but when the hammer was pulled back a second time… Click… Click… Get The Fuck Up Dru NOW! I forced myself upwards. As the diver below confirmed the shot, I had taken round two to the chest. I had shoved Robi down, I’m sorry…, out of the line of fire and I took the second round to the chest. The look of absolute horror mixed with anger spread across her blood-covered face in a split second. I’m so sorry… The second shot spun me around, I staggered to turn back but as I saw her reach for her gun, I slipped and fell over the railing. I cried out, in pain, as I dangled there by my right hand. I heard their screams. I heard their cries. I heard the BAM BAM that followed as Robi put two in the man who, presumably, had just killed me. I held on, as best I could. I needed to know he was gone. I needed to know…

”DRU!” ”PREZ!” ”CILLA!” ”KACHANIE!”

I heard them call for me. I heard them scamper to where I was hanging on. I looked up at them, blood pouring from my left shoulder, staining the side of the cruise ship and dripping down into the crystal waters below. I held on as long as I could, but then I heard the command to drop.. and I did.

Diesel’s cries and Mama’s scream pierced my heart like two bullets…

I let go…

Breathe…

Prophet has fallen, Blue Diver confirm! Blue Diver do you have her? Confirm!…. I just let go of all of it as I fell from the cruise ship, slipping out of my beloved Wolves cut and plummeting to the deep blue waters below.

I hit the water like a bag of bricks; while it hurt like Hell, I’d have to say the two bullet holes hurt worse.

Breathe…

I gasped for air as I briefly broke the foamy, harsh surface of the ocean, only long enough to see Mama and Henry looking over the railing, screaming for me. Reaching for me, in vain.

I let go.

I stopped treading water and let myself sink.

Down…

Down…

Down…

Blue Diver do you have her? Blue Diver, this is Eagle; Do You Have Her!? The silence was deafening; like the thrumming of the cruise ship’s motor and the harsh crash of the waves overhead…

I’ll never forgive myself for this, but to keep my family safe this was my only choice… Right? I thought to myself as the divers grabbed me and shoved a rebreather at me.

This is Blue Diver, confirmed, we have the Prophet…

As I slipped deeper beneath the choppy waters, taking the rebreather from the divers, I looked up, through the ripples of water and blood. My family was up there. I could feel their grief, the shock that warped through the whole ship. Even below the waves, and the blast of the ship’s horn, I could hear Mama’s wails…

I’m sorry…

It was poetic, really. As I presumably sank beneath the crushing, dark waters, I died as I had lived. Protecting my family. I died keeping secrets that needed to die with me.

A stim pack was jammed into the two bullet wounds, to stem the bleeding until we met up with our ship but they hurt like hell! The divers were quick. I owed Tara for this. Once she returned home, she’d have the confirmation she needed. And the thank you payment. This had been a last minute set up, but when I needed her, Tara was there. Some may think me paranoid, but after this event, they wouldn’t. But, my mind wandered as we swam beneath the waters…

What have I done? Would they ever forgive me? Was this over? Would they finally be safe?

Would she finally be safe?

For now, I had to push all those thoughts to the back of my mind; I had work to do once we hit land, once Rori touched down. I could only heal myself so much, I needed another experienced hand in the craft. One I could trust.

As the week passed, and Rori worked her magic, my body felt better. But my mind was still reeling from the whole ordeal. My nightmares are worse now. My Bareknuckle belt slung over my shoulder. The flash of the gun barrel, the searing pain of the first shot… The clap of the second shot. I always woke up covered in sweat, terrified, grasping for something. Perhaps, someone?

”Hey, Dru… Shhh, you’re ok…” Rori, ever the calm one, did what she could to ease me from the night terror. But tonight, it was worse. Tonight, tonight I spent it in fear.

I had gotten lucky. I paid medical staff from California to fucking Bucharest to keep something from my medical records, and Diesel’s. Hell, I paid off the medical staff in Fight Tower to keep them quiet. We both had an oddity about us. We were twins with Situs Inversus. Meaning, all of our organs were flipped. Our hearts weren’t on the left side, but the right.

I was good with secrets. Very good.

Now, Diesel would see why I paid off who I did. It saved my ass, literally. All Gotti hit was flesh and bone. No heart. They weren’t kill shots; but his crew would think they were. I knew his crew would rush off the traitor; but I hadn’t expected it to be Roscoe… I also knew this would draw out Priscilla’s captors. Allowing the Wolves to get to her, and get her to a safe place.

But, I also knew, this would tip Robi over the edge… A dangerous place for her to be teetering… I needed to send her a message. ”Rori… Get this to Magda… “ I scribbled two words on a small piece of paper and folded it up. ”She’ll find Robi… Robi will know what this means.” Rori took the small scrap of paper and opened it, reading the two words. Loup Garou. She looked at me and smirked. She nodded and left our little house. Russia, this time of year, was cold. Snow covered. I bundled up in my fur-lined coat and flung the hood over my head. I stepped outside as she hopped in the Jeep with Vitali. An old friend of mine. Rori would be well on her way home by the time Robi had received the note. I just hope it got to her in time…

Robi had been sighted in Italy. She’d been spotted in old Ukraine. She was coming here. Like me, she was hunting. And in her wake, bodies had begun to pile up. Associates of Gotti. Friends of Roscoe. Our informants were rightly scared, but those she trusted were left alive. Valkyrie was drenched in the blood of those who’d wronged her family. Her Pack. Drenched in the blood of those who had harmed me.

One thing Robi didn’t know I knew was, I knew how deeply she loved me. Because I loved her just as deeply. We were always in one anothers’ heads. Didn’t matter how far apart we were, I knew what she was thinking. When she moved, I moved. She kept my temper tamped down; and I kept her rage reined in. She was the Ying to my Yang. Over the years, our level of kinship had been misconstrued as a sexual thing. We just laughed. Sure, we both enjoyed one another’s company, but never in a sexual way. She was happily married, and I was content with my coven and my pack. I really didn’t need much more than that, to be honest – I didn’t feel I deserved much more than that. Not with how I had lived my life.

Yeah, I was a very sexual being but I also knew how to keep it at bay. Unfortunately for me, when I loved someone, I loved them on such a deep level; it was borderline insane. I had a few flings in my teens and early twenties but I decided long ago I wasn’t the marrying kind. I never saw myself as worthy of that. I had been broken before, lost in the sea of memories, haunted by the traumas of my past. Now though, I wasn’t sure of much other than what I was doing right now. Hunting. Roscoe dug his grave, and I was going to burn him in it. That motherfucker took everything from me.

My family. My loved ones. My club. My wrestling career. My businesses. The person I loved. My home. Roscoe would rot in the bowels of Hell once I was done with him here. If it meant I went down with him; so be it. I wanted to make sure the fucking cunt was dead and gone.

But, then I wonder, can you really go home, after something like this, and return to someone you love, like nothing happened? That was something I would find out, if I went home. Would Mario understand, would he still want to be with me… or had I burned that bridge so terribly… I feared he’d hate me. If he did, it would break my heart, but this was my fault. I hurt him. I hurt them all…

Even in the cold, snow piling along the sides of the buildings, my mind wandered to many places, but home was the forefront. Where I’m sure an Indian Summer was keeping Baton Rouge sweltering. Where it kept New York on watch for last ditch storms. I winced as I touched the healing bullet wounds. The Diva tattooed across my “heart” was now deformed. A funny thing. As she survived, in some state, I had too. But the wounds would be a constant reminder of the absolute betrayal I had suffered. I would never forgive myself for not seeing it. For not seeing Roscoe’s infidelity to our Pack. I lost sight of things when I went for the Bareknuckle belt.

That was on me. No one else.

But, I had wanted that damned belt so badly, I dreamt of it. It was as if it were made for me. For someone who was so deep into the Fight; they saw nothing else. Someone willing to break their own bones to win. And that someone was me. Every single time I walked into that arena; I walked in knowing I was going to leave with cuts and bruises and the possibility of broken bones. And I loved every fucking second of it. This is who I was. A fighter. But, in finally focusing on what I wanted, I let a person slink into my life, and my Pack’s life, that was trying every day, to end me. And he finally did. In doing what he did, and what had to happen on that boat, it gave me ample time to think about things. About who I was, and what made me the way I am now.

And it boiled down to one thing. A fucking story I was read when I was a child. Yet another way my maternal captor used to torture me. The memory of that story was a confusing one. Love. Hate. Sadness. Happiness. But, wasn’t that the basis for all things? All things in life were a mixture of good and bad; in the same mass? My mother nailed that. Anything that woman ever gave me was always tainted with the worry of “what would daddy think or say…?” Sometimes, I thought she set me up for his abuse.

But… Without that trauma, without that dramatic background, I wouldn’t be who I was. Who I am now. If I’d had it easy growing up, I wouldn’t have moved to New York. I wouldn’t have been on Gotti’s radar, and in his perverted mind. …Right?

”I was told a story once, when I was a kid. It was all about this beautiful princess who was locked in a tower with a dragon by her evil stepmother. And it ended with a handsome prince slaying the dragon and saving the beautiful princess.” I sucked in a breath; I wasn’t talking to anyone, really, except the darkness around me. The snow-covered trees and the horses out in the pasture. The house was quiet. Magda and Nikolai had gone to town earlier this morning. Leaving me and Vitali behind; but soon after, Vitali had left to check on the new recruits on the property.

”Now, I spent years believing this story. Hoping one day, my prince would come. But, as I got older, and shit just got worse for me, I realized it was a lie. A blatant lie. No one was going to save me. No one fucking cared about my existence. I was expendable. I was a nuisance. I was unwanted.” I lit a cigarette, looking out my window. The snow had deepened. Magda had not returned yet, from heading to town, but that wasn’t what I was waiting for. “I was worthless. A feeling I have felt most of my damned life, with few exceptions.”

”When I was first raped; it clicked. I had to fight for myself. No one was going to fight for me. No one was going to slay a dragon and take me to some white castle and no one, No One lives Happily Ever After.” I ran my fingers through my hair, the once bright silver locks had dulled since I “died”. I took a drag from my cigarette and sighed softly, exhaling the smoke slowly. I was different now. Much different. I spoke with less kindness. I moved with more predatory movements. I stood my ground with more desire. But the rage bubbling inside me was worse, as a result. I wasn’t able to control it anymore. Something… Someone yanked the plug and now, I was in unadulterated fury.

Calm on the outside; fucking destruction on the inside.

”Yeah, I hear you. “You’re so cynical Dru.” And I may be, but I’m also a realist. In this day and age? Chivalry is dead. My Pack are the last of a dying breed of men; they treat their women like Shieldmaidens. Their equals. Sure, some call them their Queens; but we’re all on the same level.” I continued to talk to no one, I was tired of staying in my own head. I was angry. I was on a path to ultimate death, a collision course. I wasn’t joking in how I was going to deal with Roscoe… He’d suffer before I put a bullet in his skull…

I snuffed my cigarette after taking the final, heavy drag and exhaled slowly. My room was stocked with supplies. Guns. Knives. Grenades. Molotov’s. Maps. Patrol patterns. Combination codes. Keys. Electrical. C-4. Then came my table… Pliers. Scissors. Scalpels. Needlenose Pliers. Hammers, of all sizes. A few nail files. Some roofing nails. Vices. A melon-baller with it’s edges sharpened. Duct tape. Syringes. Vials of tetrodotoxin were hidden in the mini-fridge. Boxes labeled “SALINE”. — Needless to say, I was ready, and I really wasn’t planning on going back to New York…

”But, when it counted; I had no one. I had myself. I saved myself. I made sure I survived whatever torture that fat fuck could dole out, just so I could watch him die later. I’ve grown to hate those bullshit stories. They teach little girls to rely on a man for everything when all little girls should be taught from birth to rely on themselves. To fight their own battles. To figure out their own ideas and dreams. The most dangerous creature, after all, is a woman who can think for herself.” My burner cell chirped in my pocket. I looked down as I grabbed it and sighed again, slipping into my thick, heavy coat. I turned from the window and walked across the wooden floors of the house until I exited the kitchen’s back door.

Another sighting of Robi, closer to where we were, had come in. As well as the video feed I had requested. I stepped into our tech shed and sat down at my table. Flipped the laptop lid up and clicked the link. Lighting a pot-laced cigarette, taking a deep drag. This was going to kill me…

Breathe…

There it was. There they were. My family and friends. Gathering for my funeral. My breath caught in my throat, they were all there. Diesel. Cela. The Norway Wolves. The Baton Rouge Wolves. The Salem, OR Wolves. The Dragons. The Shieldmaidens. Even my Fight family. But, what almost stopped my heart were the six carrying my coffin.

Diesel.
Mario.
Memphis.
Henry.
Dane.
Vincent.

My poor boys… I touched the laptop screen and tears spilled from my eyes. As the camera zoomed in on each man, I choked back a few sobs. They all looked so sad, so lost. Even fucking Vincent! Turns out, the man did have other emotions! Who knew?

Vhodka, with her parents, wept solemnly for her friend. And in turn, I cried, because I caused this hurt. I did this to my loved ones. I am the reason they are crying today. I would never forgive myself for this.

”Oh, my friends…” I whispered into the howling winds blowing outside the shed. ”I am so sorry…” The video feed continued, as Mama wailed, and clung to my casket. I muffled my sobs with my fur-lined gloved fist, not wanting to alert anyone around me. I wasn’t supposed to be watching this. This wasn’t meant for my eyes. But, I had to know. I had to know they were all ok. Vitali should have known better than to leave his laptop behind.

I heard their speeches. Their eulogies. And with each one.. My heart broke a little more. ”What can I say about my friend Dru…?” Vhodka stopped for but the briefest of seconds, then smiled that kooky smile of hers; “Her body was like a calzone made of microwaved pink velvet, just waiting to be stuffed with ricotta cheese…” You could feel the crowd cringe, but in all honesty, it made me smile through the tears. I expected nothing less from my beloved Vhodka. She had a unique way with words; one I had never come across before. A disgusting but intriguing way with words.

”My sister.. She was one of the wild ones; she burned her candle at both ends and…” Poor Diesel, his voice broke and Cela wrapped her arms around him. Fuck, I am the reason this group of people is hurting! ”Dru was someone anyone could call their friend. It didn’t matter if she just met you, or had known you for years. She welcomed me into her family the day she met me. The day Diesel met me.” Cela looked down to her wedding ring, the one I secretly helped Diesel pick out. ”How many of you call her friend?” The whole group muttered an agreement, looking to one another. ”In a way, that makes us all family. That was how Dru was. She didn’t just call you friend, she called you family.” How this woman managed to stay as strong as she did, I’ll never know. In our Pack, Cela and I were the stoic ones. The rocks. We never broke. Never crumbled. But at this moment, I was crumbling for her. For them. For all of them.

Henry stood up and moved to the head of my casket. He touched it softly, clearing his throat. ”Pip… Druscilla, she was someone who made an impact on the world. On everyone’s world. Especially my own…” Mama wept, being comforted by Vhodka’s mother. Henry looked around at each face in the cemetery. ”We all have our own stories, either with Dru or about Dru.” He smiled, softly. His brow furrowed, my breath caught again. Fuck, this was painful! ”When she was a baby, the only one who could get her to sleep at night.. Was me.” He chuckled softly, almost sadly. ”I’d take her out under the stars, and tell her stories.” He cleared his throat. ”Probably ones I should not have told an infant… But, nonetheless, those stories helped her sail off to sleep… But, soon after, I wasn’t there for her.”

His voice cracked, just like Diesel’s and my heart skipped a beat. I cried. I literally cried. ”Every sad story she could tell… I wasn’t there to help her or to stop the hurt…” And neither was I… I wanted so badly now to call Henry, tell him I was ok, and that I loved him and Mama… But, I couldn’t. “My girl, my poor girl, whom you all loved too, is in this damned place because she cared so deeply for all of us. We all shared in her life, and now we share in her death… We each have a story that defines us… Whether it’s one with a loved one, a friend, or even a story we were told as children….” I wiped my eyes, my mascara running down my face. How could these people ever forgive what I had done?

But that’s when the camera caught Mario.

Poor Mario, his face almost opened old wounds. He was so sad, so broken. He had to know that I loved him, I had never said it, but he had to know. I wanted so badly to grab him and be held…

I was sure if I was ever able to return to my home, I wouldn’t exactly be welcomed with open arms. Most likely, I’d face a lot of anger and hate. Probably some cold shoulders. And, depending on how it came about, a good sock to the jaw. Most likely from Robi.

Fuck that, I can guarantee she’ll deck me. I’d have done it if she’d pulled this. I did this out of love though, but that’s something I don’t think any will understand. Hell, sometimes I don’t even understand it. I could have told them. I could have warned them. But I didn’t. Why? Ego? No. Shame? No. Fear? No… Well, somewhat. I didn’t fear death or anything like that, but I was scared of my loved ones being hurt. Being used to get to me, like Priscilla had been used. Her trauma was my fault.

This whole ordeal was my fault. I entrusted someone to clean up a mess I should have. That won’t happen again. Roscoe would be force fed a bullet by my hand, before this is over. That was a promise.

As the video feed ended, I closed the lid and sat there in silence for a moment. I had a lot to think about. Should I make contact? Should I just stop? Should I find Roscoe, and could I end his life? Should I…?

What about going home? Would they let me come home? Should I even try to go home? What about Fight? Would they let me come back after this? Would Miss F or Xavier allow me to return, as the champion now? Or had I pissed my whole life, my whole career, my whole family down the drain?

Family.
Wolves.
Wrestling.
Friends.
DruBrew.
Krew Towers.

All or nothing. I couldn’t let one domino fall, or I’d lose everything. But how could I go back? Could everyone forgive and forget? No matter how I tried to justify the actions I’ve used these past weeks… It always came back to that. I had to at least try. Right?

My head was a confounding mess, and I didn’t see that changing for the foreseeable future. There were too many pieces to this puzzle to bring together. And one major piece was burning her way through Russia as I sat here thinking.

He was in Moscow. I was in Nizhny Novgorod. Roughly six hours away; but the time was a safety. I couldn’t leap into this without a strong plan. I needed to make sure he wasn’t running. I had to make sure I knew the routines around his compound. I needed to make sure Robi found me first. Right?

One misstep and this whole thing went up in smoke.

We had to do this together. I owed her that. Fuck, I owed her a lot more than that, like a good sock to the jaw. I wouldn’t complain if she chose to stab me, I certainly deserved it.

I had put her through hell. Literal hell. As far as she knew, she had watched her best friend and sister die.

And yet… I had to go…

The World Keeps Turning…

From where I sat on horseback, in the market, I could see everything. The merchants. The guards. Children playing with the animals. Mothers buying from the vendors. Vitali and Nikolai gathered our groceries for the next few days, while Nikolai kept an eye on me. I had received word, she was safe. Cela and Diesel had Priscilla. Safely. And they had been staying at my apartment with her. While that was a huge load off my mind, I knew the trouble was just beginning for her.

That poor girl must have had so many questions… So many Cela and Diesel couldn’t answer, and I’m sure quite a few they wouldn’t answer. I don’t blame them. Hell, I didn’t want to have to answer them, but honestly, that was the least I could do for Priscilla. After all these years; explain to her why I did what I did. Why I left her with who I thought would keep her safe.

I fucked up. I admitted that. And I was so very sorry for it. But, before Gotti returned; I had dealt with that bitch. Royal was never heard from or seen ever again after I came home to New York. Hell, I was so good at my job, my club had no idea Royal had vanished. I left nothing to chance with her. She let my daughter suffer at the hands of a fucking madman for years before even coming to me.

She let the motherfucker rape my daughter AND NEVER TOLD ME!

Priscilla’s trauma was on me. It was my fault.

But what struck a chord in my heart was when I saw her. My breath caught in my chest. Her walk was unmistakable. She carried herself with such strength, she could never be lost in a crowd. Atleast, I couldn’t lose her. I knew this woman on a much deeper level than most. She had taken shivs for me in prison, and I took a bullet for her weeks before. The bond Robi and I had was unbreakable. Almost freakishly.

I fought the urge to call out to her. I fought down the yearn to run to her and wrap her in a hug. I had to fight it. I took a ragged breath and urged my horse up a small incline. I watched her. I could almost hear what she was planning. Robi had begun to turn…

I tore off, pushing Ivan at full gallop, heading back to the farm. I had to go. I couldn’t be here right now. I couldn’t risk the plan. Nikolai nudged Vitali and followed. Vitali continued getting our supplies, while Nikolai shadowed me on horseback. I was teary-eyed, vision half blurred. I couldn’t let her see me. Not yet. We both still had too much to do. I knew Robi needed to focus. I knew she had a match coming up. And, we both walked the same path when it came to Roscoe. When the time came, I’d show myself to her. This was not that time. Soon…

But, for now, I needed to stay dead. Stay buried. I needed to stay “the ghost” in order to get the information I needed. My ability to stay in the shadows and be the chameleon when I needed to blend in was crucial to this endeavor.

I was headed back to the farm. Magda’s farm. However, this farm was a multipurpose one. Bought and paid for by Robi herself and signed into Magda’s name as a cover. It wasn’t really a “farm” per se… You see, to those of us “in the life”, we knew what this place was, but anyone else saw the cattle farm facade. Never the truth. The Black Hand and The All-Seeing Eye used this farm as a training facility. One of seven such facilities located all over Europe. Those select few who graduated, could use this as a safe house when needed or a supply cache, but those who failed… Well, let’s simply say the Hogs were well fed…

I tied Ivan up outside and slipped into the house silently. I threw my coat at the coatrack, yanked my gloves off and the mask I wore, swearing in Russian. I should have hollered at her… Revealed myself to her. I should have…

Little did I know, that one decision set in motion a turn of events I did NOT see coming.

I didn’t know it yet, but, the road to “the end” had now veered dangerously off course. Madga, Vitali and Nikolai were avid fans when it came to my wrestling career and Robi’s. Posters hung all over the walls in the main house. Photos from our matches. Hell, they had Robi’s merch! I hadn’t designed any, or I’m sure that would be plastered everywhere. But, what they did have was a six foot tall cut-out of me, standing with my championship belt held high over my head. My victory was theirs, too. Robi’s Ascension title victories were theirs, as well. We all cheered when she won that belt. I always cheered for her. Even when I was her manager, well, especially when I was her manager. Without her, I might not have even tried to step into the ring again. Without Robi pushing me, I never would have fulfilled that promise to Danny… This farm, this farm is where we all became a family. This acreage kept churning out more like me and Robi every few years. It kept the wheels of the world turning. The wet-work cogs molded and thrown into the gears of whatever industry needed a good sprucing. Graduates of these facilities kept you safe. We kept the evil at bay. Without groups like The Black Hand or The All-Seeing Eye, the world would be overrun with terrorists, dictators, genocide-fueled hate wars and crooked politicians. Just like when Robi graduated. Just like when I did. All roads began here. Apropos that mine should end here. I heard hoofbeats crunching the snow outside, and for a moment I broke from my thoughts. I turned to the door, as it opened and Viktor popped his head in. His horse blustered as he crossed the threshold into the house, covered in snow and small sprinkles of rain.

Viktor stepped into the house, kicking snow off his boots before proceeding to catch my attention. ”Miss Dru?” His accent was unmistakable. Belarussian. Like Mama. I set my gloves down on the table and walked to him. He held out a small envelope. As I reached for it, he nodded his head and dashed back outside. I heard his horse chuff and bluster as he galloped off.

Odd. The weather began to change, storm clouds rolled in. Thunder began to rumble around us, I felt an eerie chill in the winds. As lightning struck the trees in the field by the back door; I felt a charge climb through my body. I somehow knew what was happening; what needed to be done. I could hear a laugh on the horizon as rain started to pour. I knew that laugh… The snow would freeze tonight, and become dangerous to travel on since the rain was here. I’d say this alone was a sign of something on the horizon… I flipped the envelope over and noted the stamp. The raven’s head was one I knew well. Rori was reaching out. Why? What could be going on? I broke the wax seal and slid the letter out. The print was short. To the point.

Get home now. Henry to fight Austin. – Rori

My eyes went wide. Henry… was going to fight Austin? He’d kill him… ”Fuck…”

Lightning crashed again, this time closer to the house. The hairs on my neck stood up; it felt like I was being summoned. As if I were being pulled. I knew they needed me back home. But, it was as if someone was calling to me… Regardless, I couldn’t let Henry do this, I had to get back to New York! This was MY fight…

Now, I was fucking furious!

 

Henry’s Side of The Story.
Shoot first, Or…
(POV shift.)

Mama’s wail of unmitigated pain was pendulous in the air, as if it swayed to and fro, a mournful reminder that time was fleeting. Diesel and Robi were covered in Dru’s blood. I grabbed my wife and held her tightly, tears falling from my own eyes. Cela pulled Dru’s cut from the guardrail and held it to her, not caring her president’s blood was staining her white shirt.

Everything echoed.

Everything moved as if in slow motion.

That whole day haunted me.

That day lurked in the forefront of my mind, no matter what I had been doing. Druscilla, my little Anastasia… She was gone. She slipped through my fingers, and it was a crushing realization. Nat and I, we lost the little girl we both dreamed of. Nat had spent the last few weeks mourning, moping. She hadn’t left Dru’s apartment in days. I, on the other hand, couldn’t stay there. Every single thing reminded me of her. Looking at my granddaughter now… She looked so much like her mother, it tore at my heart.

The streets of New York reminded me of her. Her tenacious spirit. Her vivacious zeal for life. Her deadly loyalty. The busy, cluttered, loud streets in this town seemed to howl for her. We all did. Cela. Diesel. Nat. Even Priscilla. We all cried out for her.

You see, Dru was the sun in everyone’s life. She was the warmth, the “light at the end of the tunnel”, she was whatever anyone needed her to be. Even me. I stopped living when I left Nat and the babies. I was hollow. Incomplete.

Walking back into their lives, I felt myself grow whole. Dru did that. She had this weird way about her, she could heal any wound, whether it was real or ethereal. Now, my girl would never admit it, but she was pure magic. Absolute light. Even with what she had been through, this girl was sunshine and rainbows.

She walked a dark path, kept to the shadows, but that light radiated from her skin, her eyes. When anyone looked at her, whatever darkness was around them faded away.

I lost that light. I let that light fall to the depths. I should have done more. I should have fought harder. I should have leapt into the waters and dove down until I couldn’t breathe anymore. I should have jumped over the railing and tried until the depths crushed me. But, I didn’t. I clung to Nat and cried.

We both cried. We both screamed.

I should have done more…

We were so proud of her, she and Robi had won their charity match. The night before, Dru had won her match for Fight. I was ecstatic for her. She had come so far! She won a title fight! I wanted so badly to grab her and wrap her in a hug! But, I let my little girl slip through my fingers…

I let the world lose its light.

I had spent days in Dru’s gym. Walking around, ironically talking to her. My girl was magic. She could hear me, and I’m sure in her own way, she answered me.

”Pip.. I’m so sorry, I .. I failed you.” I sighed, leaning over the ropes of her ring. ”I wasn’t there when you needed me…” My face fell into my hands as I cried. I was not ashamed of my emotions, as most men, because having Dru in my life taught me to accept them. She wasn’t afraid, so why should I be? She walked where angels flew. ”I’m so sorry…”

A hand touched my shoulder. I looked up with a gasp, but no one was there. I could feel her. I could hear her voice, and while I was deeply saddened she wasn’t there, I knew in my heart, she was. ”Pip…” I whispered, touching the place where I could feel the hand on my shoulder. It felt warm; Dru warm. ”Please forgive me, Pip… I should have been there.”

The winds picked up, blowing one of the gym’s windows open. I could hear the whisper in the breeze; ”No, Dad… I should be here.” I gasped again, in all my years, I had never heard a voice in the wind. Honestly though, I should have expected it. Like I said, Dru was magic. I felt her hand touch mine. I wept. An old man, crying, for a loss he’d experienced. A grown man, sobbing for a daughter. I was a sight to behold.

”Damn you Roscoe…” I whispered, but that’s when it hit me. What I needed to do. Someone had to defend her memory. Her honor. Her title. And that mantle fell to me. How I could try for forgiveness, was to fight in her name.

Days continued to pass, and I spent more and more time in Dru’s personal gym. Boxing. Training. But, the roles were reversed; I heard her voice coaching me on. Her voice taunting me. I was covered in sweat, panting hard from hitting that heavy bag, and for a brief second, from the corner of my eye, I saw her. Standing in the doorway. I turned, gasped, but the illusion was shattered when Nat spoke.

”Papa!” She scolded me! ”Why you down here? Eh? Kachanie no like!” She rushed to me, wiping the sweat from my brow. I smiled a goofy smile. Without taking my boxing glove off, I hauled Nat closer to me and kissed her. She protested, swatting me. ”Ah!” She laughed, softly. Her beige blouse was damp now, from my own sweat, but she stood there not caring. Silent. Looking around us.

She sighed, gently, weeping softly. ”Kachanie.. I… “ She sat on the floor, my poor girl’s eyes still radiating such sadness. I couldn’t save Nat from this feeling, just like I couldn’t save Dru from those bullets. I couldn’t protect my girls. I yanked the wrapping of the gloves off with my teeth and slid my hand from one as I knelt down beside her. I loved this woman with all that I was. This woman, not only had she given me the greatest gift when she said yes to marrying me, but she gave the world Diesel and Druscilla. Our Vitali and our beloved Anastasia. But, I took with me the weight of the world. I blamed myself for losing Dru. I took a deep breath, I kissed Nat on the forehead and offered her a smile. ”I’m down here, Nat.. Because I’m going to fight this week.” She looked up, shocked, but before she could speak, I put a taped finger to her lips.

”I’m fighting for her, Nat.” My own hazel eyes were broken, sad, full of blame. ”Someone is challenging her for her title. I owe it to her, to you, to defend our girl. She took on the world when she fought for that belt, and I am going to see her keep it. At least for now.” I lowered my head, fighting the tears falling from my eyes. I missed my girl so badly, I felt as if I were torn to pieces. Without Dru, I felt incomplete again. I know Nat did too, she gave birth to her after all.. But as her father, I felt absolutely useless. I nodded to the two men hanging around the back of the gym. Waved them over.

”Pick up that camera of yours, kid, let’s do what she did best.” I cleared my throat. I had never cut a video before, let alone one where I was supposed to degrade an opponent. As the boy started filming, I was a little awkward. “Look, kid…. Austin… You think just because you won the bid, that you deserve this?” Nat stepped up into the ring with me, I smirked. ”Sure. I’ve seen you fight. You’re a scrapper kid, but you don’t deserve this belt.” I tossed my glove down, ripping the wrapping on the other one. ”No one does, except Dru. You know that, and everyone else should, too.” I cleared my throat. I felt weird, how did she do this every week?

”You call yourself “the Phoenix” but, have you really crashed and burned? I heard about that accident you had a year or so ago. Sure, that could be considered a crash, but you didn’t burn. You didn’t die.” I leaned against the turnbuckle, taking a drink from the water bottle Nat handed me. I was still very much covered in sweat, but this was serious. I was determined. I wasn’t going to let someone take my girl’s belt. Not without a knock-down, drag-out fight. “Do you know who I am, kid?” I smirked. ”I’m Henry James, Jr. I’m an adventurer. A retired professor. A Father. I’m a retriever of important artifacts. I have fought bigger, harder, more dangerous men, kid. I have been stabbed. I have been strangled, and damn near choked out. I have been poisoned. I have been shot. Have you?”

”It’s not the years, kid, it’s the mileage. Yeah, my odometer has turned over once or twice, but that isn’t a reason to count me out. I’ll be damned if I let you walk into this ring and leave with that belt.” I nodded to the camera, I still felt weird. Very, very awkward. But, I just went with it.

”I watched you fight Dru. You’re quick. Agile. But, you get caught up in your own head. In your own “glory.” This ain’t about glory, kid, it ain’t about respect, it’s about a belt. A title. It’s about proving where you stand is where you fucking belong.” I had a little growl in my voice now, as if Dru were saying this. Maybe she was here. Maybe she was in the room with us. Maybe…

”You can’t just walk in here and take this. Dru died before she had the chance to defend her title. You’re not worthy of this belt, kid, you don’t have the balls she did.” I raised a brow, grabbing a towel and wiping my face. “No one does. No one will, ever again. But, we’ll do this dance for her. Maybe you’ll win, maybe you won’t. All I can say is, kid, I won’t go down without a fight, and to honor my kid, I’ll make sure this is a fucking mainevent in this biz. Will you?”

”Who’s going to shoot first, kid? Me…. Or….” I paused for effect, but really, I looked at Nat. She was sad, but she was also very proud. Nat and I had been through a lot this past year, but we had each other. We embraced one another tightly and right as I was going to say something, we heard something that derailed my thought train… Looking up, we heard the door creak open. She wiped the tears from my eyes and I tried to focus on who just walked in.

Natalia and I gasped loudly…

”You….!”
”You….!”

The camera spun around, but before it caught the person; it went black.

 

The Prophet Falls; The Dragon Rises.

A soft laugh echoed in the nothing. The bleak surroundings worried the camera crew. Their fear mounting. I could smell their fear… They had been summoned here. I had summoned them. But, who was I? I took a step from the wall as the light switch was finally found. And flicked. ”BOO!”

Their gasps made me smile. I leaned against the desk in front of me, the crew whispering behind the scene. “Yes, fuckmuppets, you aren’t seeing a ghost. Or some George Spielberg CG trickery. It’s me. It’s The Bitch.” I lit a cigarette, taking a drag. I pulled the strap of my tank top and bra strap down slightly. Two, almost healed, bullet wounds were visible. ”You. Can’t. Kill. The. Devil.” I cackled, kicking the desk out of my way as I closed the distance between myself and the camera crew. ”You wanted me dead, didn’t you people? Especially you, Austin. I mean, you heard I died, and then threw a temper tantrum. Like a child.” My grin was borderline insane; sadistic. ”You thought I didn’t know? I have spies everywhere, Austin. I heard when you put a bid in on my belt, then cried that no one respected you. Bitched that everyone counted you out. “Waaa I’m Austin Ramsay and I can’t do anything. Waaaa. Everyone overlooks me. Poor me!” Suck it up, Austin. No one has the perfect existence. I fucking sure don’t!” I cackled! “Fucksake, I fucking DIED recently! You haven’t seen an ounce of what I’ve done in my life or what I’ve survived. So don’t go crying that no one respects you; respect is earned. Don’t get that twisted. My Dad certainly doesn’t respect you, you haven’t earned it.” The crew were quivering in front of me, wide-eyed as I continued to tear down Austin. I was on a rampage. I was fueled with anger. Hatred. Bloodlust.

”You smiled when they announced my demise, right Lauren?” I snarled, the raw hate flickering in my eyes. “You have always tried to claim my friendship as if it were some sort of badge of honor. Like a bottom feeder. It might be flattering if it wasn’t such a desperate ploy for attention.” I sneered, taking another drag of that cigarette.

”I saw the montage video Fight showed afterwards. I heard the speech Mama and Diesel gave. Yeah. It hurt. Broke my heart. Even you, Miss F, your words were a shocking kindness I never expected. But, that was then. This is now. This is me. This is what everyone wanted me to be!” I pushed the camera man against the back wall, growling. ”From the ashes of my past, I have grown stronger. From the bloody carnage that was left behind on that fucking cruise ship; I am standing here. I’m no Valkyrie. I’m no Phoenix. I’m not a fallen angel. I am far, far worse…”

I snarled, canting my head to one side, watching the cameraman shiver, watching the sweat that had pooled on his forehead begin to drip down his face. I smirked. ”I am Skoll; I am the fucking wolf that chased the Godsdamned Sun!” I yelled, making the men jump, startled. A bead of sweat had begun its descent down his nose and hung on the tip. I cackled! I had so much to say, so much venom to inject into the entirety of Fight. I snarled!

”They tried to clip my wings. They tried to keep me in a cage. They tried to beat me until I crumbled. But what they didn’t realize… I. Do. Not. Stay. Down. I will always keep fighting. I will always break the chains that bind me. I will never allow myself to be a shattered husk.”

I smirked, pulling my cut from the darkness behind me. My president’s patch still bore one of the bullet holes, and was stained red. Diesel refused to let Cela fix it. The second hole perfectly centered between the top hole and the NYC patch. Gotti would have ended my life had he known the truth. But I was wiley. I loved the long game. I played to win. I was trained in this shit. I slid my arms into it and pulled the cut on. As if I wore a crown, my cut was the pinnacle of who I had to be. Who I was meant to be.

”I have shuffled off my mortal coil; I have ripped the very flesh from my own bones. I have walked amongst the corpses of my fallen enemies and I have sat upon a throne of their skulls. I have wrought vengeance over those who tried to cripple me. I have spat my own blood in the eyes of Satan himself, and I watched him fall. Not by my hand, but by the hand of someone I took a bullet for. I have stumbled. I have died. But I have risen. I am Death. I am Life. I am Hela, Goddess of the Underworld. Kneel before me and pray I forgive your sins…” I stood in front of the camera; the OCCHI system had finally picked up the feed and was broadcasting this all over Fight Tower. I grinned. From the bright fluorescent lighting, my skin looked even more pale, as if I were actually dead. In a sense, I had died on that boat that day. A part of me did not survive. ”The Prophet had to die, you see, in order for me to rise. I am Drakon, the great dragon! I am the Bareknuckle Champion. I proved that at Ascension, and I Will keep my title. I am the embodiment of Death herself. I am your worst fucking nightmare, Austin!” A pair of hands came from the shadows behind me, laying the belt across my shoulder. Whose hands? All in due time… The belt. It still had Sarah’s blood on it. It still had my own blood on it. I held it. I smirked, shaking my head a bit.

”Did you really think I’d let my father step in the ring to defend My title? Not a chance.” I cackled, shaking my head. I sneered. ”This isn’t my father’s fight. It’s mine.”

”Austin, we’ve danced in the ring together several times. I’ve gotten the upper hand a few times, but it seems I never could quite beat you, but that was then. This is a new chapter in my story, and it will fucking say I retained my title. No little bitchboy actor is going to take it from me. Aren’t I supposed to say it’s nothing personal? Fuck it.”

”You have challenged several people to fight, lately, are you trying to prove something? Seriously. How many of those Austins in your head are telling you that you’re a failure? Hm? Why are you listening to them… When you should be listening to the people around you. Actual people. Physical, flesh and blood people. Not those voices, if they even exist. I mean, you have used the “mentally unstable” ploy before in order to cheat on someone you loved… Oh… Am I being too personal?” I mock cringed, shrugging and flipping the bird as I smiled, bearing those fangs. Another cackle rumbled forth as I moved slowly; closer to the cameraman in front of me. Like the predator I was and Austin was my prey.

”You talk-a big game, Austin, but when it comes down to it, are you willing to risk having another full facial reconstruction surgery.. Cuz, I won’t let you leave that arena with that “camera ready” punim. I do have a few grudges with you to settle. Ready to pay that account up? For the time I have known you, your mouth wrote checks your ass couldn’t cash.”

”I mean, come on, Austin. You were disqualified! Facing off against Chris fucking Page!” I cackled, I was spitting venom everywhere; angry with the entire world. And unfortunately, Austin was my only focus currently. He had pulled my focus away from Roscoe; for the time being, and for that he would suffer the wrath of the Great Drakon. “Dane Preston kicked your ass. Graham Clauson beat you senseless. Is this all you’ve got? You let Clauson jump you and bop you bloody? Bravo, Austin.” I gave the sarcastic slow clap, cigarette tucked between my lips. “You really are a star… More deserving of a fall than anyone. Down the stairs. Head First. Into the concrete.” I grinned. “Come on, bring the blowhard “No more Mister #NiceAustin” to the fight. But don’t you dare underestimate me. I have been through shit that would make you literally piss yourself and make you hide under your Godsdamned bed. I’m not the Dru you used to know. And I’m certainly not the one you supposedly loved like family. Times change, fuck that, Death changes a person. Now, you’re stepping into My territory, Austin. You watch what I did to Sarah? I told you Ascension would be one for the Hall of Fame. She was crunchy by the time they carried her out of this arena, Austin. She’ll be sucking meals through a tube for months.” I purred softly, a delicious memory that I relived fairly often. That woman was scum, and she crossed a line no one had ever dared cross before… and it cost her severely. ”I’d hate to see Toddy rush to the hospital and see you, breathing through tubes and drinking your meals; well, again I mean. Step in the arena with me, and that’s your future. Hope, for your sake, you have amazing insurance. Facial reconstructions aren’t cheap. I’m sure you know that, but ask around, if you’ve forgotten. Some of our Fight fam have had a few.”

I yanked the camera man away from the wall, viciously, and flung him to the ground below me. I was angry, I was full of fucking rage, my words dripped with the acid of a thousand hate-filled scorpions. I had been ripped from the peace I so desperately sought – Who was I kidding? I had no peace…-, to come back here and defend what was rightfully mine, from someone I thought was my friend. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. Right now, in this fucking moment, I didn’t give a fuck who was friend and who was foe.

I loved being home.

I hated being home.

I was so absolutely, consumingly roiled; I wanted nothing more than to let loose a rampage of epic proportions. Laying waste to anyone and everyone who stepped in my path. Even if that person were a friend…

Malachi, the unseen hands behind me, winced for the poor man as he stepped from the shadows, to stand with me, his Wolves president. I placed a heeled boot in the center of his chest, growling again. A deeper growl. A warning sound. ”Fight NYC… You all have been put on notice. I have fought and clawed for every single thing in my life. And I have died fucking fighting to protect everyone I love. I will fucking roll over you like a deadly storm; gathering strength with each victim that falls to me. I will defend my title and have any challenger spitting their teeth into their fucking broken and bloody hands. Remember Austin, I Will have you spitting your teeth. It’s nothing personal, just protecting what’s rightfully mine. This is my fucking title. My blood. My sweat. My tears. I will have you counting your fucking lucky stars, should I Let you walk out of that ring. We’ve fought before, yeah, but this time is different. Why? I know who I am supposed to be now. And guess what?” I leaned closer to the camera’s lens. My voice was soft. Haunting. Barely a whisper. Fear-inducing. I stroked the title belt over my shoulder, smirking. I snuffed my cigarette on the wall, beside the camera man’s face. The soft sizzle brought a smile to the hate in my eyes.

”New York is my home. This is My title. My Wolves home. Fight! NYC is my home. I will slaughter any one who tries to derail my home, fuck with my Wolves or Fight! NYC. I will bathe in the blood of whoever tries to take my title from my bloodied, broken hands. No More Ms. Nicebitch. You will all feel the shift in the winds; the chill that runs down your spine, the emptiness of loss. You will look up at me from that flat of your fucking back, in a pool of your own blood, and you will see the truth. I have found where I belong, I have grown into the bitch you see right now, and I am not going anywhere. This is MY territory. And I will defend it with absolute bloodlust.”

The Scene Faded to Black!

But, there was static and the video cut to black; a low growl overtook the snow. An image of a Wolf flashed across the screen, followed by a black dragon and then the Wolves of Odinn sigil. As the images flickered, Dru’s face came into the shot. Covered in blood; her eyes looked crazed, almost as if she were pure chaos.

”You summoned forth Hell. You pulled from the pits of hate and rage; a creature far beyond your level of comprehension. You have seen a Raven. You have seen a Valkyrie in your ranks. However… You have no idea what you’ve done…” I grinned, side-eyeing the poor schmuck I summoned to record this. I flashed my fangs, and relished in the smell of fear he exuded.

”You have called forth Drakon; the Great Dragon… and I have come to devour your souls! I will lay waste to whomever you cast in my path!” I snarled, grabbing the man’s shirt collar and yanking him closer to me. My pale flesh had been covered in blood, a handprint bloodied across my face. Whose blood was it? What poor victim had I killed this time? “Remember when my body count rises and the bones of your loved ones are crushed beneath me; You are the ones who called me. You are the ones who opened the door for a massacre.” I grabbed the camera man once more, hauling him off the ground. I growled low. ”A new kind of Hell has been unleashed. Fury has boiled over, and you will reap the consequences.” I smirked, my fangs glimmering in the light. The cameraman whimpered, struggling to put his feet on the ground but instead I threw him back, hard, against the metal table. His grunt made me smile.

”I will only warn you one time. When you see me enter that ring…”

I leaned down, looking directly into the lens.

”….. Run …..”

I cackled, the shadows seemed to bend and mold to my body, I winked as everything went dark. Leaving behind that looming sense of fear… What had they done… And who was this video for?

 

FIN