Revis and I are back, once again, with more fantasy football action… and now with actual game play. Soooo, we’ve been writing for weeks and just now getting to the good part… Yep, sounds like football to me. What? What? You don’t agree? Tell me about it in the comments.
Confused? This link right HERE will take you back to the very first Fantasy Football post.
A deathly silence fell upon the arena. Even the spectators in the stands were too stunned and scared to mumble and grumble their displeasure with the dragon’s announcement. They had come to see a game, mock battle that it may be, not a slaughter. Would they have to watch as Lavalandinarial ate the team that lost by the most points? The thought made more than one spectator blanch. That might be their child, their sibling, their cousin, their friend.
Plex glanced towards his sister. Even at that distance and with her face mostly covered by a helmet, he could see that she had gone even paler than normal. He clenched his fists and jaw as he looked back to the dragon.
The beast, its wicked eyes gleaming, surveyed the field and the stands, daring any of them to speak against his proclamation. None did, of course. None wanted to become a pre-game snack for the massive creature.
Turning back towards his sister, Plex hoped to catch her eye and let her know that he would do whatever he could make the game close. He couldn’t let her team win. He just couldn’t. He knew that about himself. He needed to win but he wouldn’t let it be a demolition. He wouldn’t sentence his sister to death.
As that thought went through his head, his hands clenched tighter and he heard a pop in his jaw from grinding his teeth too hard. This was unacceptable. There had to be something that could be done. If all the teams refused to play, the dragon would change its mind. It couldn’t kill them all at once. But it could kill most of them before it flew away.
The people in the stands wouldn’t be armed. They weren’t organized for an attack. The beast could easily roast them and use its magic to ensorcell them before they could come up with some sort of plan. Lavalandinarial had been smart to keep that rule change to itself until this late stage. It denied them all an opportunity to do anything about it.
A group of the dragon’s honor guard, dressed in black and white striped garb, stepped onto the field. One of them whistled for attention and called the captains out. It was time to get started. Coach Sprout motioned for Plex to take the honor and he jogged onto the field to see what happened next.
For those in the stands who didn’t know what was happening or couldn’t see, the dragon narrated, “We will now do something called a coin toss to determine how the game will start. The team that wins the toss chooses which team will receive the opening kickoff. The team that loses the toss gets to decide which side of the field they want to start on. From what I’ve been able to scry, it is mostly ceremonial but we will proceed anyway.”
One of the honor guard took a large gold coin out of his pocket and held it up for Plex and the captain from the other team. One side had the head of Lavalandinarial on it. The other had the very stadium they were playing in. Both sides were magically enhanced to show movement. The head of the dragon twisted around and its eyes darted around. The banners representing the eight teams waved and the roaring sconces flickered on the stadium side.
“Which side do you think the coin will land on?”
The other team’s captain, a very beefy ogre, appeared to be confused by the question. “The stadium?” it finally said when it saw the troll Honor Guard becoming impatient.
Had the stakes not been so big, Plex would’ve found the ogre’s confusion funny. As it stood, he was doing his best to keep his mind on what was happening in front of him and not allow it to wander. If it wandered, it could negatively affect his play. That was something he couldn’t allow. If he was going to survive this, and keep his sister safe at the same time, he needed to be playing at his absolute best.
His eyes flicked to the spinning coin that was falling to the ground. The coin hit, bounced up, and fell back down. When it came to a rest, it was the arena that faced up. The rotund ogre grinned stupidly, happy that it had won the toss, but still not knowing what that meant. Plex thought the troll was going to smack the ogre. In fact, the trolls arm twitched in what Plex was sure would be a backhand strike, but it held it in check.
“Do you want your team to kick the ball first, or receive it?” the troll angrily demanded.
“We want ball,” the ogre said, taking a defensive step back.
Turning to Plex, the troll asked, “What end zone do you want to go towards?”
Plex closed his eyes for a moment and felt which way the wind was blowing. It was better to play with the wind at your back, he reminded himself. If you played into the wind, you couldn’t throw or kick the ball as far. “That one,” he said as he pointed to the end zone behind him.
The two captains were then forced into shaking each other’s hands by the Honor Guard before being allowed to go back to their sideline. Coach Sprout didn’t bother to give a rousing speech before the game started. He just ordered the kickoff team onto the field. Plex watched as his team’s orc kicker booted the ball down the field. This attempt was a lot better than the first couple of kicks he had seen the orc make. This kick had the ball go all the way into the end zone.
An elf caught the ball for the other team and began running up the field with it. Plex was surprised that the elf didn’t kneel down and take a touchback, where the ball would be automatically be placed on the 25 yard line. He hoped his team would make the elf’s decision to run the ball out be a mistake. It looked like his hope would come true when the elf ran into the first of Plex’s teammates at the 12 yard line.
Plex’s dwarven teammate had the elf in his sight and moved in for a vicious hit. The elf juked to his left, leaving the dwarf hugging air before falling face first into the turf. A minotaur had the next chance for a tackle, but he also missed. The elf cut to the right to avoid another tackle and before Plex knew what was happening, the elf had passed every member of his team. Plex could only watch helplessly as the elf crossed the goal line for a touchdown.
A tentative applause developed into a roar from the stadium as they realized that something good had happened on the field. Plex looked around the stands. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for but he felt like he needed to see something. His eyes caught on a small group of dwarves that were still seated on the stone benches, arms across their chests. While the rest of the gathered throng cheered the touchdown, these dwarves were not moved by what they had seen. Either they had a relative on Plex’s team or they found the whole thing ridiculous. Plex made a note to check on them again throughout the game.
Lavalandinarial spoke over the roar of the crowd, “Congratulations on scoring the first touchdown. I’m very pleased with that.”
The dragon’s voice seemed to have a calming effect on the crowd and everyone settled down. The other team sent their kicking team on for a point after attempt. Their kicker sent it wide left. It wasn’t due to anything other than the kicker sending it that way.
The dragon seemed to huff in amusement at the mistake and a small tendril of smoke rose from its left nostril. Plex couldn’t seem to move his focus away from the mighty beast and time slipped as the teams swapped out and their opponents sent their weak kick-off tumbling end over end just beyond the thirty yard line.
Their minotaur running back, rushing forward from the goal line where’d he been waiting, picked up the ball and pushed forward. The minotaur brushed off two attempted tackles by an ogre and an orc before finally being tackled by a lunging troll. The impact of the two of them crashing into the turf finally brought Plex out of his distracted reverie.
The return had been a good one and the ball was now at their opponents’ 30 yard line, well within field goal range. Plex was happy about that. They were only two field goals away from tying up the game if it came to that but he was confident he’d be able to get a touchdown shortly. He had never failed to get one in practice. This should be no different.
With a shake of his head, Plex put on his helmet and started to run out onto the field. Coach Sprout called out, “Look to me for which play to run.” Plex nodded in understanding and joined his huddled offensive. Their coach mouthed the play, Plex relayed that to his teammates and they broke to form their attacking line.
Everything faded away. His sister. The dragon. The crowd. Plex’s vision narrowed to focus on the center, the line moving into position around him and the eyes of the defensive line that flicked back and forth trying to read the play that was about to be run against them.
When his team was set, Plex yelled, “Hike!” The ball was in his hands. He rolled backwards to give himself some space. He faked a throw downfield and then handed off the ball to his runningback. The minotaur quickly made it back to the line of scrimmage and then pushed forward, shrugging off one tackle after another until only a troll stood between him and the goalline.
The minotaur stiffed armed the troll just as the defender lunged forward, the effect sent the minotaur hurtling over the top of the troll and into the end zone for a touchdown. Plex lifted his hands in triumph. The minotaur hurled the ball at the ground where it popped with a hissing snap that was lost beneath the appreciative roar of the crowd.