Fantasy Football Part 2

Here is the second installment of Revis and I back to our old tricks, blog hopping a story for your enjoyment, amusement, what have you.  The first part can be found here.

…..

Each of the initial teams – dwarves, elves, ogres, orcs, gnomes, goblins, trolls, and minotaurs – were broken apart based on position.  Then each position was lined up based on starting place within the team.  Then each player and coach was told to select a piece of paper out of an enchanted goblet that contained their new team assignments.

The field descended into chaos.  The coaches tried to bark out orders to regain some control but the players didn’t know who they should be listening to: their old coaches or the new ones they were being assigned.  Small skirmishes broke out here and there as the different races passed each other.  Near the fifty yard line a contingent of gnomes had to be rescued by Lavalandinarial’s Honor Guard from a troll who hadn’t seen them as it trudged away from its old team.

Plex pulled his assignment out of the goblet and turned towards the far end line where his new team was congregating.  As his eyes swept the field he caught sight of the dragon.  The beast watched with rapt attention.  Lavalandinarial’s expression could only be described as hungry and the elf wouldn’t have been surprised to see the dragon lick its lips.  Plex shuddered.

“Who’d you get?”

Plex turned back to his sister and answered, “The Axes.  You?”

“Whipstaffs,” Gilania answered.  Then she added, “These team names aren’t very original.”

Plex sighed.  “Maybe we can change them.”

“Doubt it.”

“Yeah.  I doubt it, too.  Well, good luck.”

He hugged his sister and then began to carefully pick his way across the field.  Contingents of the Honor Guard were roving around keeping the peace as best they could before converging on trouble spots before any of the players or coaches could be too badly hurt.  His graceful movements made it more a mild nuisance than a chore to keep himself apart from the frays.

As he walked, his thoughts drifted to his Queen.  She had implored him personally to take up the challenge and join the elven team.  He had wanted no part of this silly game before her request.  He wondered how she would take the news that the teams had been split up.  He wondered if it was too late for him to quit.

“Probably,” he muttered.

He came to a stop underneath the strangely curved poles that jutted out of the ground at the edge of the field.  They were important for point after attempts and field goals, both ways for a team to gain some need points in smaller increments.  They weren’t all that important to Plex, though.  As a quarterback he might be required to hold the football for the kicker making those attempts but the uprights certainly weren’t anywhere near his top priority.

An ogre settled into place on Plex’s right and a dwarf stood on his left.  A moment later a gnome called out for attention.  Plex, with his enhanced elven hearing, heard the diminutive yell but it seemed like few of his new teammates had because they continued to grumble and chat amongst themselves.  After a second failed attempt to get the team’s attention, Plex whistled loudly and then pointed towards the gnome as all eyes turned towards him.

“Thank you,” the gnome started.  “I’m your new head coach.  You can call me Coach Sprout.  And to answer your first question, no, I had no idea that we would be splitting up teams today.  And to answer your second question, no, I don’t know what that means for the promised cache of treasures.  Perhaps the winning team will get to split it amongst themselves.”

One of Plex’s teammates snorted. He, along with most of his team, turned to the source of the interruption. It was a minotaur. The beast was easily the biggest player, of any race, on the team, and he was using his size the intimidate the small coach. “The day I take orders from an insignificant speck like you is the day that Lavalandinarial’s breath runs cold,” he announced.

The gnomes were the most diminutive of the eight races. Because of that, the other races generally looked upon them with disdain. Few gnomes made names for themselves and even fewer still rose high enough to win Lavalandinarial’s attention. Only a handful of gnomes proved themselves worthy of serving on the dragon’s Honor Guard, easily having the fewest number of representatives.

Plex had been isolated from the other races for most of his life, so he didn’t know much about them other than what the elders taught him when he was younger. He knew that the ogres, goblins, trolls, and orcs generally had a foul disposition and temperament. He knew that the minotaurs considered themselves to be superior to everyone, save the dragon. The dwarves were a hard working group that had a very tight knit community. Of the gnomes, he knew even less. Like the other races, the elves paid almost no attention to the little people.

One thing he did know, however, was that while the elves discounted the gnomes’ physical prowess, they did respect their mental acuity. The elves considered the gnomes to be the smartest of the races. Perhaps having one as a coach won’t be so bad after all, Plex thought. Of course, if the minotaur was successful in his coup, he’d never have the chance to find out.

“Why don’t you…”

Before he had a chance to finish telling the minotaur to back off, one of the Honor Guard blew into a whistle. Everyone in the vicinity stopped. Then, the ground shook. After that, the entire arena went quiet. Plex looked back and saw the dragon staring straight at his group. “Well,” Lavalandinarial purred, “it appears we have someone who doesn’t like their team assignment. Who is it?” All of the bluster had fled from the minotaur as it meekly raised its hand. The dragon asked, “What seems to be the problem here?”

“The problem,” the minotaur choked out, trying to regain his composure, “is that I am one of the most decorated warriors among the minotaur and that gnome doesn’t deserve to be in my presence, let alone be my coach.”

“If that’s the way you feel, you’re free to leave the arena.”

The minotaur smirked at the gnome and walked out of the crowd toward the exit. As soon as he was away from the rest of his team, the dragon roared to life. In a display of speed that shouldn’t be possible for something so big, Lavalandinarial swooped off her perch, picked the minotaur up, put it in her mouth, swallowed, and then landed back where she started. The entire arena was stunned. Finally, a voice from the other side of the arena spoke up.

“But you said he could leave the arena!”

All eyes turned to the coach of Gilania’s team, a minotaur. The dragon replied to him smoothly, “And he will leave the arena. Just not until I do.” Lavalandinarial paused. “Is there anyone else who has a problem with their team?” Hundreds of heads shook in unison. “Good. Now, the minotaurs will need to supply a player to replace the one who quit. Coaches, the teams are yours now.”

Couch Sprout looked distraught but before Plex could think of something encouraging to say the gnome said, “Well that was unfortunate.  We had scouted that minotaur as likely the best running back in the whole league.  His size and speed would have made him nearly impossible to take down once he got going.  In practice his own teammates had difficulty stopping him.  And I doubt they will send anyone nearly as good to replace him.  Their best options are likely already on other teams.”

Plex found his voice, “Well, their best at other positions perhaps but since they only had to fill a few running back spots, perhaps they will send us someone nearly as good.”

“That is a good observation.  Plex, right?”

The elf was confused.  “How do you know my name?”

“We scouted all the teams.  You are quite a good quarterback but I have a few things that I think will help you improve.  We’ll get to that, though, in our first practice.  Now, if you’ll let me, I’ll continue with my introduction?”

The gnome looked around the gathered team and when none of them seemed interested in speaking up he continued, “As I was saying, I’m your new head coach and you can call me Coach Sprout.  I have no idea what this new format will mean for the promised prize but I will pass that along as soon as I do know.  I expect each of you to be ready for twice a day practices starting tomorrow.  And then each position will also have scheduled time with their specific coaches – offensive line, defensive line, and special teams – every day too.

“I know that may sound like a lot but we have analytics that show the repetitions will improve all of your accuracy and stamina.  Now that we need to figure out how we can all best work together, I think it is even of more importance that we get as much time in as we can.

“Any questions so far?”

None seemed interested in saying anything yet.  Plex wondered if the dragon was still on their minds or if they really didn’t have anything to ask or add to the conversations.  Either way, it was likely for the best that they held their tongues for the time being.  As the gnome had said, if he had scouting reports on all the teams, Coach Sprout likely already knew more about each player than they knew about the coach, and that was information that could be used not only to lift a player to a higher level but also to get them benched or kicked off the team altogether.  Being fired by a gnome was a humiliation that few would like to feel firsthand.

“Great.  Since there are no questions, I think it is important that we all get some much needed rest before our training begins tomorrow in earnest.  I’ve taken the liberty of requisitioning an encampment for us just a short distance from the stadium.  Let’s all jog there now.  I’ll lead the way, so the pace won’t be that great.  We’ll take turns leading the way back and forth.  And don’t worry about any personal items that were left at your previous training facilities.  I’ll make sure those are all transferred over immediately.”

With that, the gnome turned and headed towards the nearest exit at what must have been a sprint for him but was little more than a slow jog for Plex.  The elf expected some of his teammates to grumble but the run over to their new homes was quiet.  Looking around at his team while they jogged, Plex thought that the mixing of the races would definitely make the games more interesting than they would have been otherwise.  Perhaps the dragon knew what he was doing.

Fantasy Football Part 1

Revis and I are up to our old/new tricks. Go check it out and then watch this space for the next segment.

33 Grams of Blog

Hey everyone! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (yet still kinda close), Matticus and I did a story called Revis and Matticus Save the Kingdom. We both wrote on each part and then rotated on whose blog the next part would be published on. Well, we’re doing a new one. This is just the first part of our new blog hopping story. The next part will be published over at The Matticus Kingdom

We hope you’ll enjoy it.

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The ball felt good leaving his hand. He watched as it flew through the air in a nice, tight spiral. Accuracy was the only question now. It was aimed correctly, but did he judge the distance correctly?

His receiver’s hands wrapped around the ball mid-flight. It was placed perfectly. Two feet touched down, in bounds, as the receiver fell out of the back of the…

View original post 1,753 more words

an origin story

While discussing dragons, Trent told me to write him a fantasy… and this is where my mind went.  If I weren’t already in the midst of several other projects I would say that this could be the start of a larger story, but, alas, I am already in the midst of several other stories that I need to finish, including my new weekly story being published on Thursdays.  But, perhaps, I will come back to this one day and see what happens…  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this read.  It is a bit longer than my normal flash fiction pieces, but, origin stories always tend to be a bit long.

…..

The gods crowded around their masterpiece, elbowing each other and shuffling to get a better view, caught up in awe at the world they had created from specks of blood and dust among the void of chaos.  It was perfect.  It was flawed.  It was beautiful, despite its ugliness.

A general hush fell upon the gathered throng as the god of light broke away to address them.  “We need a champion for our world.  A guardian.  Something from which legends shall one day emerge.  Who here will bestow it with a gift?”

They all would, and the god of light knew this, but he still made eye contact with each of them.  Intensely penetrating eyes ensured they all knew their place and their purpose.  Only the god of balance, commonly referred to as the historian, and the god of darkness, equals in stature and power to the god of light, did not cower under the stare.

One by one the lesser gods strode forward and gave of themselves to help build the protector of their new world.  The god of fire chipped a spark to give it a burning soul to be called upon when needed.  The god of nature wrapped the spark in form and shape taken from all corners so it could dwell anywhere it chose.  The god of wind gave it flight so it could travel the world as it pleased.  The god of earth gave it scales harder than the stones of the world so it would be hard to kill.  The god of the sea gave it a long tail as a rudder to steer it in trouble times.

Days passed and the creature’s presence and power grew as the minor gods gave their gifts, and then those gods in the next echelon gave theirs as well, until only the most powerful three remained.  Again, the god of light strode forward and the crowd immediately hushed.  “I give our guardian long life.  It will not be truly immortal, but shall count years as the other creatures of the world count days.  It will gain wisdom through its long life to understand that the repercussions of the actions it takes with its considerable power can ripple through time to impact multiple generations.  This will ensure that it thinks carefully before acting and uses its knowledge and power wisely.”

After an initial rumbling of shock that the god of light would grant any of their creatures something akin to godhood, a murmur of approval spread among the gathered gods.  It was actually a burden of responsibility the god of light had bestowed, rather than a gift of long life.  Their whisperings were quickly silenced, as the god of darkness stepped into the clearly next to the god of light.

Depthless midnight eyes gazed upon the spinning orb, and a sinister smile spread across pale lips.  “I give the gift of magic.”

Shouts of shock and alarm spread across the void and those gods who would not have their powers threatened by any mortal creature surged forward to demand the god of darkness recant its gift.  However, the god of balance stepped into the clearing with hand raised, and while the discord did not die away, the stirrings ceased.

“Much has been said today.  Much has been gifted to this creature, this guardian of our world, our beloved jewel.  Immortality and magic are indeed marvelous and dangerous gifts to bestow upon any creature who would walk the realms beyond our void, but none of you need worry about abuse of that power, the balance shall be kept.  Legends shall be spoken of this beast, this flying monster of fiery breath and razor claws, this gentle protector of glade and mountain, this mighty sorcerer and hoarder.  Its stories shall be passed among the roots of the trees of the world, from shore to shore among the waves, and tossed along the peaks while carried by the gusts that live at the high points of the world.  Yes, as long as other mortal creatures walk the world, these stories shall be passed through the years with them, but that is the only place this creature shall ever exist, for it will never walk the world.  My gift is to make it a legend.”

Bedlam ensued as the void filled with enraged battle.  The lesser gods were incensed that they had given so much of themselves to something that would never live.  The two other major gods smiled coyly at the wisdom of the decision before entering the fray for posturing purposes only.  The god of balance took the attacks in stride, knowing balance would prevail in the end, as was its job, as was inevitable.  Eventually the gods grew tired of fighting and slipped away to their hidden places among the remaining debris in the void, and the world was left spinning, beautiful and flawed, with only the god of balance watching over it.

One day, a hunter, having climbed a mountain in search of the goats that dwelt among the rocks near the peaks, sought shelter in a cave from a storm that had threatened to toss him to his death.  There, huddled, shivering, and frightened, the hunter saw drawings carved in the walls.  The drawings told the story of a magnificent beast, wonderful and terrifying at the same time.  When the storm passed the hunter returned to the village and spread the stories from neighbor to neighbor.

When asked what the beast that could summon fire from its belly and fly like a bird was called, the hunter didn’t know, but a whispered voice gave the answer, and the hunter responded immediately, “dragon.”

The gift finally complete, the god of balance joined the other gods in hiding, waiting, and watching.  The god chuckled to itself, wondering at the vastness of what had just been set in motion, and wondering which other gods would still be watching when the eventuality came to pass.  For, the god of darkness had bestowed the beast with magic, all of the magic, and therefore, if enough people upon the world began to believe in the legend of the dragon, the magic could and would feed off that energy and the dragon would rise from their dreams to fly in the skies over their hovels.

The dragon would rule the world for a time, when that happened, but balance would reign in the end, for with the rise of the dragon would also come the rise of the dragon hunters.

knowledge is everything

“If I wanted to make myself known to the world again, I wouldn’t need your help.  I could jump from these cliffs and scour the countryside below in flames and death.  I could demand homage again.  I could see the leaders of you mortals bend their knees to me and pay for the privilege of their lives.  I would rise from the ashes of their mythical stories and earn their fear and respect again.  I don’t need you to do any of that, witch.”

That it had responded with words rather than a snap of its jaws meant that the sorceress had succeeded in her plan, and they both knew it.  It was still a dangerous situation, though, and she needed to continue to play the role she had set out upon to placate its pride and ensure her survival.

“Of course, of course,” she started, bowing in deference to the beast’s awesome power and abilities, “you don’t need me.  You don’t need the help of anyone or anything.  We have already established that there is nothing I can provide that you can’t do for yourself.”

The dragon rose its massive head away from the magician to peer down upon her intently, and, as an afterthought, removed its claw from where it had been crushing into her magical defenses.  It had already sensed what she was going to say next and approved, but needed to hear her say it all the same.  “Go on.”

“I could travel before you and spread the word of your greatness, not so the towns can prepare to fend you off, that would be impossible anyway, but so they can prepare to honor you and treat you with the respect you deserve.  And, even for a creature as close to true immortality as you there are always risks in this world, I would act as your first line of defense: taking any initial strikes the foolish might take against you so you can see them in the shadows and dark corners where they hide and strike them down before they even have the opportunity to try and harm you.”

“And if I were tempted to let the world know of my presence again, to remind them that I am no myth, and you were to travel as my emissary and, unnecessary, guard, what exactly is it you would ask in payment?  I know you wish for the deaths of those who have attacked you recently.  I can see that hate and desire in your eyes, but I sense you want the pleasure of those kills for yourself.  So, what then do you actually want from me?”

“I want to know what you know.  I want to know the ancient magics that have been forgotten over the years just as you were forgotten.  I want to know how to harness the fire burning in my soul as you do.”  The sorceress paused, having nearly said that she wanted to know everything it would teach her, to calm her excitement and keep her composure.  “I want to know as much as you are willing to teach me.”

The left side of the beast’s snout rose in a toothy grin.

nearly lost in awe

“You have power that comes so close to being unlimited, it might as well be.  You have a cave full of ancient treasure and amazing magical artifacts.  You have a source of water.  You have no problem obtaining the sustenance to survive when required.  You have your preferred isolation, hidden here as you are in these spiny treacherous mountains.  It would appear that there is nothing you lack and nothing you ever go wanting for.”  The sorceress couldn’t help the small twitch of a smile that tugged at the corners of her lips, even as she felt the fury of the dragon’s patience growing thin. “These are all known, yes, witch.  There is no wisdom in speaking the obvious to me.  Get to your proposal quickly, or I’ll test my teeth against your magic again.  We both know how that will end.” Its voice left her trembling but she held her ground against the wash of heat pouring off the beast’s scales and she kept her gaze steady into the swirling orange and purple pools of its eyes.  A tendril of smoke rose in a spiral from the dragon’s right nostril.  The sorceress, from the periphery of her magically altered eyesight, saw it as a smudge of darkness against the otherwise radiant snout.  It seemed wrong to her that the smoke should mar the beauty of the creature in front of her, and she finally looked beyond the danger and noticed its brilliant aesthetics. The dragon, however, quickly pulled her out of her revere, snatching her in a giant claw that would have crushed her instantly if not for her magical shields.  Even with the protective barrier she could feel the pressure closing in around her.  It imploded towards her in short bursts of inches as layers gave way to the beast’s sheer strength. “I’m sorry for momentarily letting my awe get the better of me, dragon.  Though, that does tie-in nicely to my proposal, if you’ll hear it.” The pressure didn’t decrease, but it didn’t increase either, and while the dragon spoke no wards of ascent, she knew that was the sign that it was still willing to hear her out.  She had deduced, based on her previous interaction with the creature, that it was arrogant, supremely confident in its superiority, and a key part of arrogance is vanity. “The world has forgotten about you.  Children no longer tremble at the mention of your name.  Towns no longer pay you homage.  You are considered a myth, a superstition, a conjured apparition used by the elders to keep their youth in line and since distorted by the passage of long years and forgetful minds.  Perhaps that has suited you so you could enjoy some semblance of peace here in your cave, but now that you are forgotten, it means you are no longer respected.” The dragon’s eyes narrowed to razor sharp slits and it snaked its snout so it was level with the sorceress.  Burning rage sizzled from its hide and singed the magician despite the remaining layers of protective spells she had woven around her.  She nearly faltered and dropped her gaze, she nearly stepped backwards into certain death, but she found the same strength of resolve burning in her core that had seen her survive her tormentors through the long years of school and she stood her ground. “What exactly are you saying, witch?” She had no recourse to keep from cringing against his thunderous voice.