Fantasy Football Part 30

Back again with more. More fantasy? More football? Well, no, not really. More awesome writing from Revis and your favorite jester? Absolutely. Enjoy!

….

There were too many to attack outright, it would be suicide.  While his sister was one of the shortlist of people he would give up his life to save, it didn’t make sense to rush the guards without knowing if it would in fact save Gilania.  

Plex swore again.  He needed to think fast.  He needed to do something more than sit there and watch his sister’s team get captured or slaughtered.  

It didn’t make sense.  Her team had won.  Lavalandinarial would want them to play in the next round of her games.  Something else was going on here.  It couldn’t be that the honor guard was going to take them all into custody.  Perhaps they were just there to intimidate, to ferret out the few bad apples they suspected and scare the rest back into obedience.  

And to set a trap for me, Plex realized.  If I go dashing in guards will come out of hiding from behind me and grab me before I can do anything.  

Now that he’d had the thought, Plex could hear and smell the guards in hiding that he should have noticed before.  They were very well concealed but he could her them shuffling in place and smell the sweat on their brows.  Plex moved further into the shadow he was crouched in just as the first of the swordsmen reached the entrance to the practice field.

There was nothing Plex could do but watch as the guards began their task of searching the field and the facility and turning everything inside out.  He needed to get out of there.  Vinyard had been right.  But he wasn’t sure he could leave without being spotted.  Plex needed the hidden guards to make the first move.  

He fervently hoped that Baclem wouldn’t hear the commotion and come bumbling in.  If they moved to intercept the troll, Plex would have to intercede.  Baclem was there to help.  It wasn’t help that Plex had asked for but that didn’t matter.  Often that was the kind of help that needed to be honored the most.  So far, though, Baclem had either learned to be much quieter or had listened and was staying where Plex had left him.

A small gust of breeze suddenly shifted through the alley and the smell of the guards became much stronger.  They’d snuck up behind him.  Plex rolled backwards, towards the source of the smell, hoping to catch them off-guard, and swung out with his sword at the same time.

A spear smashed into the ground where h’d been crouched and his sword sliced the arm off of the elf who had wielded the spear, even as Plex collided with the guard.  Then all became a jumbled mess of flailing limbs and screaming for a moment.  Plex tried to silence the injuried elf as quickly as possible but it took longer than he would have liked before he could steady himself and plunge his sword through the wounded guardsman’s neck, cutting the cry instantly.

Back on his feet again, Plex could hear steps running towards him from the direction of Gilania’s training facility.  The rest of the guards were coming.  He needed to flee or he would surely be captured and taken before the dragon.  Sprinting back towards where he’d left Baclem, he came up short, as two more guards stepped in front of him. One was an orc, the other an ogre. Individually, he had no doubt that he could best either of them quickly. Together, he might triumph, but not quickly enough to avoid the rest of the guards coming his way.

Before Plex could make a move against either of them, the orc went flying away. Baclem turned and grabbed onto the ogre’s sword before it had a chance to bring the weapon against him. Plex leapt forward to help the troll out. While the two larger creatures wrestled over the ogre’s sword, Plex shoved his blade up underneath the ogre’s armpit, where the armor didn’t cover. The ogre howled in pain and dropped to the ground. 

Baclem moved in to finish it off, but Plex grabbed his wrist and shouted, “No time!”

Plex hated having to do it but he ran away from Gilania and her team. There were a lot of Lavalandinarial’s guards around. Too many for him to get to the practice facility. At least, not from the direction that he was going at the moment. He was going to have to circle the area and see if he could find an opening. 

After a few twists and turns, Baclem began to realize what they were doing. “It’s too dangerous,” the troll whispered. “We stay, we die.”

“Damn it, man,” Plex whispered back harshly. “My sister is in there! I can’t just leave her to the dragon’s minions. I have to help.”

“Us being killed is helpful to her?”

Plex resisted the urge to punch the troll. He knew Baclem was right. If they stayed and tried to find a way into the practice facility, they would almost certainly be captured or killed. But, he also knew that if he ran away and left Gilania to her fate, he’d never be able to live with himself. He’d spend the rest of his days wallowing in guilt and shame. When your race lives for hundreds of years, that’s a daunting penance to look forward to. 

He also bit back the scathing retort that almost flew from his lips. Instead, he said, “I appreciate everything that you’ve done for me, Baclem, but I can’t run away from my sister when she needs me. If you don’t want to do this, you’re free to leave now. I need to do this, though.”

Baclem shook his head. “I don’t know how your race got so high in the dragon’s hierarchy when you make such dumb decisions.”

“I wish you luck, Baclem.”

“I didn’t say I was leaving. I’m still going with you. That doesn’t make it less of a stupid decision. It just means I’m dumb too.”

Plex smiled. He wasn’t sure what he had ever done to deserve this loyalty, but he vowed right then to make sure that he earned the honor Baclem was giving him. With a clap on the troll’s shoulder, he said, “At least we’re stupid together. Now, let’s find a way into the facility.”

Sprinting through the streets, Plex kept his speed in check to ensure that Baclem would be able to keep up with him.  The elf was pleasantly surprised that the troll wasn’t slowing them down all that much but still mortified by the sounds that emanated from Baclem.  The troll heaved in heavy, rasping breaths, and his feet thundered on the ground.  They were going to have a hard time losing their pursuers if they couldn’t get some distance from them but the sound of pursuit never seemed to grow any further off.

It made sense, of course.  Lavalandinarial’s guards would be fit enough to trail them for days on end.  While they were weighed down by their armor, some of them would be as fleet-footed as Plex himself.  If he could go his top speed, he might be able to lose them.  With his speed checked, however, Plex realized that they were never going to be able to slip away simply by hoofing it.

Plex wracked his brain for a solution, something the guards wouldn’t be expecting, something that would let them slip away while still staying close enough to the facility so he could get in and find his sister or rescue her should she and her team be taken captive by the guards  like his own team had been.  Nothing came to him immediately.  A hint of panic crept up the back of his spine. 

They couldn’t run forever.  His sister didn’t have forever, anyway.  The guards had already begun to enter the training facility.  Even though it felt forever ago, Plex knew that not that much time had yet elapsed.  Still, the longer it took him to come up with something the more likely it seemed this fool’s errand would end in capture or death.

An image of the alleyway his team had briefly hidden in while being led away from danger by Vinyard flashed in Plex’s mind.  While that particular hiding spot had been magically enhanced, Plex was sure of that, the idea of hiding to let their pursuers pass them was a good one.  It was risky, yes.  If they were discovered they would have to fight against extreme odds.  However, if they weren’t discovered it would buy them some time to scope out the facility without as many guards standing in their way.

Plex changed direction, needing it to seem like he and Baclem were trying to leave the area rather than circle the facility.  He wanted the pursuers to think they had decided to flee.  Then his eyes began to sweep left to right.  He was looking for guards still, yes.  He was also looking for an opportunity to hide.  

An open door, an expecially dark alleyway, a roof they could climb onto quickly.  They passed each of this in quick succession and each may have worked but they were still too close to the facility.  The timing wasn’t right yet.

They went another two blocks and then Plex saw another low roof they could easily scramble onto.  He nudged Baclem and indicated the troll should follow his lead and then, with a tall leap, Plex grabbed the edge of the roof and pulled himself up.  A second later Baclem was beside him.  They moved backwards out of sight, and waited.

The sound of their pursuers got louder and louder.  Plex hoped that they hadn’t been seen and that they hadn’t made so much noise scrambling up that whoever was within the building came out to see what was going on.  Then again, the guards were making so much noise on their own, whoever was inside might stay inside just to not have to deal with them.  One way or another, Plex and Baclem would know soon enough.

 

On being seven

Dear Little Prince,

What a ride?  What a journey?  What an adventure?

Yes, yes, they aren’t always good adventures… that’s not the point and I think you are now aware enough and old enough to begin to understand that.  We adventure in this kingdom.  Sometimes those adventures are fun.  Sometimes those adventures are work.  Always, always, we do it together and see our way through.  That’s at the core of being part of this family.

First grade and a pandemic.  A growing little brother that adores you and tortures you in equal measure.  Star Wars, Harry Potter (again), bike rides, hikes, math worksheets, and the never ending stream of questions.  They whys, the whats the hows, the whens.  Never ending.  Your curiosity is as fierce as it has ever been, as fierce as your confidence and stubbornness.  It is these qualities that will have you rise up to rule the world one day.  I joke but I’m serious at the same time.

You’re still a weed, getting taller and faster and stronger and learning all the time, sponging in the obscure facts from the history of the world audiobooks you listen to on repeat.  You still struggle with some lessons and most of those are the ones we all struggle with: patience, impulse control, patience, empathy and patience.  Don’t worry overly much about that, though.  In time, you’ll learn these lessons as well as any of the rest of us have.

I know I’m too hard on you sometimes and I hope you can forgive me.  I see this greatness in you and I want to get every bit of it to come out and shine.  So about that patience?  Yes, I know, it is one of my faults as well.  As I said, we all struggle with it at times.  You’ll get there.  I know you will.

You’ll get there flying on your bike and running up those trails.  You’ll get there with your lego learned engineering and artistic skills that already outstrip my own.  You’ll get there with your passion and confidence.  And then you will shine, shine, shine till I go blind from the burning brilliance and my refusal to look away, out of pride and love and my own stubbornness.

You keep being you.  Trust in that.  You’ll see.  You will move mountains, as they say.

Love you kiddo,

Daddy

Matticus

The Jester

On being three

I’m a little behind on these posts. Life in the kingdom, as everywhere, has been strange of late and the change to my routines in that strangeness took away my normal wiring time. Plus I forgot.  It happens, you know. Then I was reminded and here we are.

…..

Dear Littler Prince,

So this is three?  Wild and amazing and cranky and empathetic and constantly surprising.  The current state of affairs has certainly thrown what little routine you’d grown used to out the window and you just shrugged your shoulders and carried on.  Part of that is having your brother around, of course, but most of that is just who you are.  You take things in stride, come what may.  That doesn’t factor in when you are tired or hungry.  Then the raging tantrums shake the walls and rattle the windows.  That’s all part of it.  Normal.  Expected.  And perfectly fine.

Your laugh, wild like your hair and your exuberance, is perfectly fine as well.  It also shakes the walls and rattles the windows and reverberates with a joy that is nothing short of infectious.  It fills this house and bursts free at the seams.  I hope you laugh that way forever.  I hope your world continues to be so full of things to laugh at.

You took to your scooter the way your older brother took to his bike.  You zoom and swerve and fall and pick yourself back up and zoom off again.  Faster and more fearless with each passing day.  It too is a joy to behold.

Then the tantrums come and you curl your fists up and your eyes well with tears and you scream and scream and scream.  Those will pass, of course.  They always do.  In the moment and in general.  Though, perhaps I’ll miss the times when the solution to those is a hug and a cuddle, or a silly face made in passing, or any of the other little things that can often cheer you up that you will one day outgrow.  The transition will be slow but it has already begun.

I will miss those days more than you… and this isn’t about me, so I’ll move along.

What this all comes down to is you are learning (exponentially), you are growing (like a weed), you are silly (perhaps like a certain Jester), you are crazy (like all of us here) and, to overuse the word, a joy.  It’s as simple as that.

And long may that continue.

Love you kiddo,

Daddy

Matticus

The Jester

Fantasy Football Part 28

Seems like maybe we are getting back  into a routine for writing. Maybe the world around us is starting to return to some semblance of normal? We shall see. In the meantime, read and enjoy if you would.

…..

While they ran, the gnome Vinyard, somehow leading the charge despite his small size, a barrage of thoughts assaulted Plex.  He cursed the healer for not working on Glavven first.  He cursed himself for not being faster, being more aware, so he could have avoided the thrown spears on his own.  He cursed the dragon again and again for her part in all of this, in all these years of needless slaughter and bloodshed, in her name, or her honor.  Curse her honor.  Curse the day she was born.

Then his thoughts would circle back to what Baclem had just told him: Glavven was dead.  Dead?  How could that be?  Dead?  It was impossible.  Dead?  The minotaur hadn’t seem that injured.  Glavven was the strongest person on the team.  He could not be slayed so easily.  There must have been a mistake.  Dead?  It was all his fault.  Plex had failed him, failed his team.

No.  No he hadn’t.  This was all the dragon’s doing.  Glavven was dead, despite how unreal that sounded and felt, because the beast meddled in their lives for fun.  She played with them and tossed them away as she saw fit.  She was the monster behind every bad thing that had befallen the races since she seized control.

How had the healers failed to notice Glavven’s more serious wound?  They were supposed to be best among each of the races.  The dragon had demanded the best.  Nothing else would do for her new sport.  How could they have failed to save the minotaur?  It didn’t make sense.  None of it made sense.

Round and round his thoughts me.  Never sticking to any one thought or longer than it took his feet to fall and lift from the pavement as they made their flight through the deserted streets and alleys.

His strength returned in his arm more and more as they ran, the continuing effects of whatever the healer had done for him, but Plex was still certain he would have stumbled and fallen more than once if not for the steadying hand of Baclem.  First a minotaur and then a troll, Plex was racking up quite the debt list to races elves usually had little to nothing to do with.  

He wondered if football had somehow made him soft, despite the workouts and conditioning, the instincts and reactions that mattered most had failed him when called upon.  Or, perhaps the odds were just insurmountable against them?  Lavalandinarial and her honor guard were too strongly entrenched to be overthrown.

Plex shook the thought away.  It was defeatist and unproductive.  It was exactly what the dragon wanted him, and everyone else, to think.  

They slowed and stopped.  Vinyard motioned for them to gather together and be quiet.

“We are nearly there but you must be as quiet as possible and follow my lead.”

Baclem’s grip tightened on Plex.  He tried to let the troll know that he was okay now and no longer needed assistance but they were moving again before Plex could get his message across.

They stepped out of the shadowy alleyway and into a lit square.  The sudden glaring contrast hurt Plex’s eyes and he shielded them with his free hand.  Before he could see clearly, a shout of alarm went up from behind their group.

It was more Honor Guards. Somehow, they had found them. Then again, Plex cursed, they were the best from each of the races, so he shouldn’t have been surprised that they caught up to them. That didn’t mean he had to like it, though. It also meant that they were going to have to resort to drastic measures to lose the pursuit. 

Plex pulled himself free from Baclem’s grip. Any trace of his injury, or the subsequent healing, was gone. He had replaced it with rage. Rage at Glavven’s death. Rage at the state of his world. Rage at Lavalandinarial and her dominance over everything. Rage at the amount of senseless death he had seen at the hands of the dragon. 

He started running back towards the shouted alarm. The weight of a sword held down his right hand and he couldn’t remember how it got there. Did he pick it up before he began running away? He shook that thought from his head. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Baclem running beside him, his own sword in his hand. It seemed that the troll was intending to help him with his attack on the Honor Guard. 

Behind him, he heard Vinyard hollering for him to stop. He knew that Vinyard and his people thought that he was important to the mission, but at that moment, he didn’t care. Not only did he feel like he needed to get revenge for Glavven’s death, but there were others who needed to be saved. Plex wasn’t going to let anyone else fall to the dragon’s whims. Not if he could help it.

He finally came upon someone being accosted by the Honor Guard. An older dwarf, who he remembered as one of the defensive coaches, was surrounded by two of his kinsmen bearing the colors of the dragon. Plex immediately set upon the dwarf closest to him. Baclem circled around towards the other.

Plex knew that the Honor Guard couldn’t have heard him approach over the commotion going on around them, so it must’ve been the dwarf’s warrior instincts that warned him that he was coming. It didn’t matter. Plex’s superior speed, coupled with his unbridled rage, allowed him to deliver a killing blow to the Honor Guard before the dwarf could put up his defenses. Hot blood shot out of the dwarf’s throat as the blade dug all the way through his neck.

Baclem wasn’t as lucky. Because he was going after an opponent who was further away, the Honor Guard that he was fighting had more time to react. The troll moved in and swung his sword from the side. After disengaging from the dwarven coach, the Honor Guard put his sword in line to block. The dwarf then stepped to the side and let the troll’s weapon go past unobstructed. Now off balance, Baclem left himself exposed to attack.

Plex shouted a warning and moved to help but he knew he was going to be too late.  The honor guard spun his blade with precision and skill, flowing into the space left open by Baclem’s unobstructed swing.  The strike surely would have delivered a mortal blow if the coach the Honor Guard had been accosting hadn’t stuck a foot out and tripped him.  The blade slashed harmlessly and the troll brought his outstretched elbow up into a crouching blow with the guards chin.

The guard’s head whipped back and his weapon dropped from nerveless fingers.  Rather than deliver the killing blow himself though he was in a good position to do so, Plex grabbed the dwarven coaches shoulder and shouted, “Let’s go.” 

Baclem had followed the elbow with a smooth attack of his own, bring his hands together overhead on the hilt of his sword and sweeping the blow down straight onto the guard’s head.  Plex had already turned and began to run back to the rest of the team, pulling the coach with him, when he heard the crunch of metal on metal and then sickening thud of the blade embedding in the guard’s skull.

A moment later Baclem was once again at his side.  Some of Plex’s rage had cooled but it wasn’t gone completely and when another shout of alarm rose behind him, he was tempted to turn and face whoever was there.  He felt as though he could and would stand against the dragon herself in that moment.  But, enough of his anger had been unleashed that he could let logic carry the moment.

Vinyard was still waiting for them as they returned to where they had been.  The gnome wore a look of frustrated annoyance and as Plex passed, Vinyard seethed, “You need to stop running off.”

Plex wasn’t sure why they thought he was such a big deal.  They could find others to lead if he should fall.  They could find other entries into the teams.  He was not indispensable.  But, he kept his retort from reaching his lips.  While he was replaceable, they had also pinned a lot of their hopes and plans on him and had set those in motion.  It would be hard to change things now that the play had already started.  Besides, now that he was really allowing himself to feel the anger he had been harboring for the beast and her minions, Plex was beginning to think he was going to like leading the line against her, calling the plays, running the offense.  

He’d been picked to be a quarterback just because he could throw the ball.  He was a leader whether he liked to admit it or not.  That Baclem would follow him towards the sound of fighting was proof enough of that.

Somehow Vinyard had gotten ahead of them again and was ushering the team into a dark alley.  The heavy booted footsteps of men at arms rang out behind them.  Plex felt like they were too close to lose and they would have to stand and fight again but once he entered the alley the sound of their approach disappeared entirely.  

Vinyard stood at the cusp of the alley, just inside the shadows of the surrounding.  He wore a mischievous smile and when Plex caught his eyes, the gnome just held a finger over his lips to indicate silence was still needed.  A moment later a troop of Honor Guard, fully armed and armored, passed the alley without even a sideways glance.  There is magic at play here, Plex thought.

Fantasy Football Part 20

And, after a slight delay of game, we’re back. Read on to see what happens next with our favorite elven quarterback and the rest of his team.

…..

The roar of the crowed was being slowly replaced by a confused hush as a rush of whispers sped around the stadium.  It seemed to Plex that the switch the Honor Guard had made at the behest of the dragon had not gone unnoticed and word was spreading that the dragon was interfering with the game.

Plex scanned the crowd and found the pocket of dwarves he had noticed at the beginning of the game, the ones who hadn’t be cheering, who hadn’t looked like they were interested in the game at all.  He finally spotted them and they were huddled together in a spirited conversation with much gesturing and pointing amongst themselves. The elf wondered what they were up to but couldn’t imagine they would do anything now in the final seconds of the game.

Lavalandinarial shifted her weight on her stage.  The platform creaked and all eyes moved to rest with the beast.  She had once again adopted an expression of indifference but Plex was certain that was far from the truth.  The dragon very much cared.  

She let out a sigh and a puff of smoke billowed from her mouth.  The crowd quieted and shifted uneasily in their seats. A small smile, barely discernible, twisted the dragon’s lips.  At first Plex had assumed she would be upset that her interference hadn’t gone unnoticed but now he realized that she was still enjoying this spectacle.  

The whole thing, the teams, the game, the crowd, all of it was for her amusement and her amusement alone.  

Plex’s anger reached a new level.  

Needing to do something to calm down he turned his attention back to the field where the healer was still working with the dwarf who had been robbed of the ball and then punched twice by the Honor Guard.  The dwarf shouldn’t have been that injured but his face was white as if he were in a great deal of pain and on the verge of going into shock.

“It isn’t pain,” Plex muttered.

“No,” Coach Sprout said, suddenly at Plex’s side.  “It’s fear. He doesn’t need to worry, though. She won’t need to eat him to keep him quiet.  She obviously doesn’t care who knows she is cheating.”

Some of Plex’s rage had been tempered by Sprout’s arrival at his elbow startling him.  He could still feel it burning slow and low in his gut. It wasn’t just the charade of it, the destruction of the game and the waste of time and lives it had already cost.  The anger was churning hotter and hotter because there was nothing he could do about any of it.

Looking briefly down to his coach and then back to the field, where the healer was finally getting the dwarf to his feet and the Honor Guard was signaling for the teams to take their places to resume play, Plex asked, “What do we do now?”

Sprout didn’t answer and, surprised, Plex looked back to his Coach.  The gnome had always had an answer before. Plex couldn’t believe that Sprout wouldn’t have some sort of plan. “Well, Coach?” he prompted the still silent gnome.

With a sigh, Coach Sprout looked up at Plex with defeat on his face. “Now, we try our best, despite knowing that it might all be for nothing if the dragon decides she wants the other team to win.”

Anger began building up in Plex once again. He watched as his defense did their best to stop the offense of the other team. While he couldn’t be sure, he thought he saw a couple of instances where magic had moved a ball out of a defender’s reach or into an offensive player’s hands. Each time he saw it, he became more and more angry.

The whistle blew as the other team called their final time out. Plex looked up and saw that there was only time for one more play. Gilania’s team sent out their kicker to attempt a mid-range field goal. If it was good, the game would go into overtime and only the dragon knew what would happen if the game made it to overtime. Without realizing it, Plex found himself running out onto the field to try to block the kick. He heard Coach Sprout yelling at him to get back to the sideline, but he ignored it. Finally, the gnome called for another player to run off.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his teammate exit the field just as the other team got set up for the try. Plex kept going over everything that had happened in the game up until this point and felt his face turn red in anger. He focused all of his energy on that rage. It built up inside of him until he felt like he was going to burst. 

A primal scream erupted from his throat as the ball was snapped back to the holder. Plex took two steps forward and jumped over both his teammates and those trying to block them. He couldn’t remember ever jumping that high before, but didn’t take the time to dwell on it. All he could focus on was using his rage to block the kick. Just as the kicker’s foot touched the ball, Plex felt something trying to touch his mind. It was the same sensation he had felt earlier in the game, right before the dragon had used its magic to mess with his head. “Not this time,” he roared as he flooded his thoughts with his anger.

Somehow, some way, it worked. His rage had allowed him to fight through the mental intrusion. Whatever magic the dragon was using still hurt him, but it wasn’t debilitating like it had been last time. Plex leapt again. The ball hit his swinging arms and went flying back the way it had come from. It landed on the ground ten yards behind the kicker and rolled towards the sideline. Before anyone from either team could get to it, the ball rolled out of bounds.

Stunned silence filled the stadium. All eyes slowly made their way up to the dragon’s platform, where a low growl was beginning to form.

The honor guard blew their whistles and then huddled together in deep discussion.  Plex trotted to the sideline with the rest of his teammates, away their decision. Almost absentmindedly, one of the honor guard threw a flag without care of where it landed.  

Plex’s head throbbed in time to the blood flowing through his veins.  Pulse, pulse, pulsing with his still boiling anger. The momentary outlet of athleticism had done little to assuage his rage.  The dawning realization that his attempt to stand up to the dragon’s interference would not be allowed to stand made him even angrier.

His teeth ground together.  His fists clenched. The muscles in his lengths twisted tightened until he lost feeling in his feet.  His vision shrunk to where he could only see the huddled honor guard circled by a blurry red.  

The head of the honor guard walked over to Coach Sprout and told the gnome something.  The coach nodded his head once and then started calling out instructions. There was a ringing in his ears that kept Plex from hearing what was being said so he trotted over to stand next to the Sprout.  Before he’d made it to the gnome, Plex noticed that his sister’s team was setting up to retake the kick, and a few yards closer at that.

Before Plex could ask what happened, his coach said, “We were called for a penalty.  Too many players on the field or something like that. Also, it has been suggested that I bench you for the remainder of the game for insubordination.  Given the alternative to benching, I feel like we have little choice. I’m not going to leave you out here, though. You are too exposed. Head back to our camp.”

Plex opened his mouth to protest but all his anger left him and he felt suddenly deflated.  The game was out of his hands. The game always had been. His own indifference, how he had felt before his queen asked him to join the elven team, returned and, with a shrug of his shoulders, he turned his back on the field and walked away.

He heard murmurs running around the stands and wondered how much of it was directed at him.  He wanted to look back to see if Lavalandinarial was watching him but didn’t want to give the beast the satisfaction of seeing his face in defeat, in retreat.  So, Plex kept his head down and left the stadium.

He hadn’t gone very far when the stadium erupted in a new wave of cheers.  He assumed that his sister’s team had converted the field goal to tie-up the game.  A part of him hoped they would go on to win. His refusal to be ruled by the dragon had likely sealed his death anyway.  It would be better if his sister won and then could live on.

Lost in these dark thoughs, Plex nearly missed his whispered name.  Whipping his head to the side he saw a dwarf motioning to him from a dark alleyway behind the business that had sprung up around the stadium.  The elf didn’t hesitate. He wanted to know what the dwarves were up to. And, if he was powerless on the field, perhaps he could find his power again off of it.  He quickly stepped into the shadows to join the dwarf.