The time has come once again for Fantasy Football! Like, legit fantasy football, with elves and dwarves and a particularly nasty dragon, all courtesy of the imagination of Revis and myself. Not sure what I’m talking about? Part 1 is here.
Let’s see, some quick math, at around 1,500 words per post and 14 posts (so far), that’s just shy of 20,000 fantastically footbally words already! That’s a lot. And we aren’t done yet. Dive on in to the next installment. And the leave us a note to let us know what you think should happen next.
Plex had missed the play, his attention fully on watching the fate of Foyarlen instead, but not wanting to see Lavandinarial lick her lips he forced himself to focus on the game again. The opposing team, somewhat surprising, set up for a point after kick rather than go for two points. Plex figured since it was a two possession game they likely wanted to go for the sure thing rather than risk being even more points behind.
The kick was good and the teams shuffled around for the kick-off. His players seemed somewhat subdued. Some of them had seen what happened to Foyarlen and they had spread the word in furtive whispers. Plex saw heads casting glances towards the dragon as helmets were dragged on and they jogged onto the field.
Plex didn’t know what the elf’s problem had been and why he started to act so aggressive but he was angrier with the dragon. This was her show, of course, her game to play as she pleased but the fact that the beast could pick them off as she pleased at any time suddenly made the threat of them all getting eaten if they lost less important. The threat was already there, win or lose.
Giliana stretched on the opposite sideline. He smiled, a sad sort of twist of his lips, as he realized why she had shown no hesitation earlier in the game. She had always been smarter than him. She had already realized the danger. And now that Plex knew it too, he felt his stomach drop when he remembered the play he had purposefully botched. If Lavalandrial had suspected anything she could have killed him then. Knowing the whims of the dragon, the beast might have chosen to accuse the whole team of cheating and award the other team victory, dooming Plex and all his teammates to a grisly fate.
He couldn’t help the shiver that ran up his spine. He wanted to look over at the dragon and see where her focus was but he kept his eyes on the game.
Their back-up running back was doing a fine job of returning the kick. Less straight forward than the injured minotaur, the back-up was strategically hiding behind larger blockers and then darting forward in spurts to pick up yards. He was then finally tackled right around the halfway line.
Plex took a steadying breath and sprinted onto the field. He looked to Coach Sprout for the play but the gnome did not immediately relay it. The gnome was conferring with one of the other coaches and Plex was worried that they were going to run out of time. But then the time glass reached its end and the honor guard announced the end of the third quarter.
While the teams changed sides of the field, Plex ran over to Coach Sprout. “What’s the problem?”
“We are drawing up a trick play.”
Plex wanted to ask if that was wise. They still had the lead. They had control of the ball. They could do run plays to waste time and see out the game for a victory. It seemed like a mistake to take a risk. But then he thought about Foyarlen and he kept his tongue in check.
The Honor Guard whistled, signaling the start of the final quarter. Coach Sprout and his fellow coaches were still talking animatedly about the play they were trying to create. From the looks of it, not all of the other coaches agreed with what Sprout was trying to do. They were smart enough not to make a scene of it, though. Seeing another member of their team, coach or player, get eaten by Lavalandinarial would be catastrophic for their morale.
“Coach,” Plex urged. “I need a play. If I don’t run one soon, we’ll get a penalty.”
“Run a toss play to the far side of the field with Meel,” a frustrated Sprout replied. “When the play is over, come back over here and we’ll have the next one ready.”
Plex darted back out to the field and got his team lined up into their correct positions. They barely got the ball hiked before time ran out. He turned to his left and tossed the ball behind him to Meel, their backup running back. The orc caught it and pivoted to rush straight ahead instead of towards the sideline like the play called for. Plex’s initial reaction was one of irritation at not following the play, but then he saw why the orc had done it.
Gilania had read the play perfectly and had blocked off Meel’s path to the outside. The orc was not as big as Glavven and wasn’t able to bowl his way over defenders like the minotaur. He was more agile, and he used that agility to try to make defenders miss when they went to tackle him. Meel cut completely back to the right and avoided a troll who was bearing down on him. A dwarf caught up with him, but not before Meel had turned what would have been a two yard loss into a three yard gain.
Plex ran over to the sideline and listened as Coach Sprout explained the play. The gnome seemed excited about it, but he wasn’t so sure. It wasn’t that different from plays they already had. Still, he wasn’t going to argue with his coach anymore. The consequences of such an action loomed large in the back of his mind, which was precisely what the dragon wanted. After hearing the full explanation, he ran back out to the field and told the rest of his team their assignments.
Meel lined up in the quarterback position while Plex was out at wide receiver. Right before the ball was hiked, he ran towards the orc. By the time Meel received the ball, Plex was almost right next to him. The orc handed the ball to him and Plex shifted his vision upfield. As he feared, the defense didn’t fall for the deception. His receivers were still covered. He had enough confidence in his arm that he knew he could fit a throw into one of them, but he saw a much safer option.
Because the defense had stayed with the receivers, he had room in front of him to run the ball. He would at least make it to the first down marker before he would encounter the first defensive player. Plex tucked the ball and ran forward.
He passed the first down marker before he realized that the defense had basically stopped to watch him run. He’d gained another five yards before some of them woke up enough to charge toward him. Plex began to angle his run towards the sideline, hoping he could step out of bounds before getting tackled.
Meel suddenly appeared ahead of him and blocked off a defensive player that gotten in a good position to take Plex down. The elf side-stepped a lunging orc, spun around a dwarf, and then tip-toed along the sideline, barely staying in bounds. But, there was nothing but open space ahead of him. The only thing he had to worry about was another elf catching up to him. None of the other players would be fast enough.
He glanced over his shoulder and saw two players trying to gain on him. Their long, graceful strides meant they had to be elves. Plex wondered if one of them was his sister. He didn’t think she’d be on the field when he’d started the play but maybe she had been. It didn’t matter either way, neither of the players would be able to get to him before he crossed into the end zone.
He ducked his head down and churned his legs even faster. The feel of the air pushing against him was exhilarating. But then his trailing foot caught on something as it tried to come forward. It felt like a root, which he knew was impossible. He tried to maintain his balance and he staggered a bit but then it was like the ground had been pulled from beneath his feet and there was nothing to get purchase on. He was falling.
His momentum sent him sprawling and tumbling head over heels. At some point the ball popped loose but he knew that didn’t matter because he had been officially down the first time he hit the ground. He came to a rest around the ten yard line and just lay there for a few seconds taking stock of the various aches and pains that called out for his attention.
One of his teammates offered him a hand up and he took it. Everything was eerily quiet, like the sound had been sucked out of the stadium, and he walked in a daze towards the rest of his team to set up the next play but then someone took him by the arm and escorted him off the field. He was confused but went without argument.
Coach Sprout was in his face the next moment and was saying something but Plex couldn’t get ahold of the words. It was like the coach was speaking a language he had learned long ago but no longer remembered. Plex shook his head trying to clear the cobwebs but that didn’t help. Coach looked mad. He could tell that much.
Plex took a seat and stared out at the field. Something odd was going on. A play was happening but that couldn’t be because he wasn’t out there with his teammates. He stood up to run back onto the field but someone pushed him back down. He shook his head again and again that did nothing to help.
Looking up, Plex saw that the crowd appeared to be celebrating something. He shifted his eyes towards the end zone but before he could figure out what had happened he locked gazes with the dragon. It felt like his innards dropped to the field and were set ablaze. Lavalandinarial’s eyes burned.