Fantasy Football Part 29

Hey everyone! Need an escape from the real world for a little while? I know I do. If so, feel free to read the next part of this story, written by Matticus and myself. It won’t magically make everything all better, but it will hopefully take your mind off of things for a few minutes.

After the squad of Honor Guards passed them, Plex was once again led through a series of alleyways and corridors. He didn’t even try to pay attention to where they were or where they were going. It didn’t matter at that point. They’d get him to where he needed to go.

His mind was focused on other things at that moment. He was going over everything that happened in the past couple of days, replaying the events and searching for something he may have missed. While his body was just going through the motions, Plex tried to take everything he remembered, everything he had learned, from that time to try to figure out what was going to happen next. There was just one problem with that, and it was a big one.

Nobody could predict what Lavalandinarial would do next.

The dragon was erratic. Quite often, her actions made no sense to anyone other than her. Trying to guess what Lavalandinarial would do next was a fool’s errand. Still, it was something that Plex thought needed to be done. If they waited until the dragon did something, then reacted to it, they would be starting from behind the entire time. They couldn’t afford to do that. No, they needed to take their best guess on what they thought Lavalandinarial was going to do and base their plan of attack on that. It may come back to bite them in the end, but it was better than waiting for the dragon to kill more innocent people.

The sound of heavy footsteps beside him pulled Plex out of his thoughts. Baclem, the troll, was plodding along to his right. “What happened?” Plex asked in hushed tones.

“The Honor Guards showed up and said there was a criminal on our team who was poisoning the minds of the rest of us.”

Guilt tore through Plex’s stomach. “Me?”

Baclem shook his head. “No. It was Coach Sprout.”

“Coach Sprout?”

“The Honor Guards slapped him in irons and started leading him away. A few of our teammates shouted at them that they were being unfair and the leader of the Honor Guards ordered the rest of them to kill us all and burn the facilities down.”

Plex was confused. Why was the dragon going after Sprout when he was the one she was angry with? Was this some ploy to use guilt against him? Did the dragon think he would rush off blindly to rescue the gnome? While he would feel incredibly guilty if something happened to Sprout, he wasn’t going to throw himself in the dragon’s mouth in order to save him. Not only had he only known his coach for a few days, there were only a few people who he was willing to give his life for, no matter how long he had known them. He was having trouble coming up with anyone other than the elven queen and his sister, Gilania.

“Gilania,” he whispered harshly, remembering that he was supposed to meet up with her and her team. Finally taking the time to look around and see where he was, Plex saw that he was heading away from her team’s facilities.

Vinyard was still leading them through the twists and turns. Plex sprinted to the front so he was right behind the gnome and when there was a moment, pausing to catch their breaths, Plex asked, “I need to get back to my sister’s training facility.”

Vinyard shook his head vigorously, “No, it’s too risky.”

Plex objected, “We can’t just brush her off. If we miss this opportunity, she and the teammates she’s talked into meeting us will be harder to convince to trust us. Showing up exhausted and injured from our recent fight might go a long way to convince them to join us now before the dragon can turn on them.”

“Or it will scare them into submission and they will capture you and hand you over to Lavalandinarial and that will be the end of you.”

“This is important,” Plex pressed.

Without answering, Vinyard motioned for everyone to follow him again and sprinted off on another series of turns up and down the darkened alleys of the city. Plex held his anger in check. He understood that Vinyard was doing what the gnome needed to do to ensure the survival of the rest of the team. Plus, he still had time to make it back to his sister’s training field before she’d give up on him showing up. He could wait a bit longer and see if Vinyard could be convinced before he turned around and did what he wanted to do anyway.

The next time they stopped to ensure that everyone was still together, Plex found Vinyard studying him intently. The elf simply raised his eyebrows. The gnome continued to look for a moment longer and then turned away, seeming to study the darkness they were going to run into next. Then the gnome turned back to Plex and said, “You might be right. It could very well be foolish to miss this chance to bring your sister and some of her teammates over.”

That wasn’t exactly permission but Plex understood that if he let the gnome continue talking it was likely that Vinyard was getting there all the same.

“I think it is foolish. Perhaps what I think is irrelevant. We each have our part to play and you were picked to be a leader. I should trust that. Go then. Go and meet with your sister. I think it will end poorly for you and I am not often wrong about such things. I’m very good at calculating odds, which is why I made such a good kicker. I could run the calculations to make the kick precisely as needed.

“And now my math says you are going to get captured. Luckily, you’ve seen too little of our operations to do much more harm than losing you as a potential leader. So, yes, go on if it is my permission you are waiting for. I wish you good luck and I doubt I’ll see you again.”

Plex nodded in sort of thank you and then turned down the next alley, keeping to the shadows and doing his best in the darkness to pick up on another landmark he recognized. Shortly enough he found one and then changed his course to head back to Giliana.

He did his best to keep the smile off his face as he heard Baclem trying to keep up with him. It was humorous listening to the troll trying to move silently behind him. Also, he had to admit, it made him feel a swelling of pride that Baclem thought so much of him that he’d blindly follow Plex into possible danger without being asked, without asking if he could. Maybe it was things like this which had the dwarf, Frukeld, to deem him an important leader to his rebellion.

The duo made their way back to the practice facility of Gilania’s team. On more than one occasion, they had to stop and duck deep into the shadows to avoid Honor Guard patrols. The presence of Lavalandinarial’s guards became more frequent the longer they were out. Plex swore. They had to have found the guards that he and Baclem had helped kill. Moving through these patrols, especially with a stealth challenged troll was possible, but it wouldn’t be easy.

While they were hiding from one such patrol, Plex whispered some tips on how to move silently to Baclem. It wasn’t likely to sink in with words alone, but he hoped that hearing the words, and also seeing Plex putting them in action, would speed up the learning process. From everything he’d ever heard, or read, trolls weren’t the brightest or most graceful of the races. He hoped that Baclem proved those generalizations untrue.

Once the patrol passed by, Plex looked up at the sky. It was much later than he hoped it would be. Because of all the hiding they were having to do, it was taking them much too long to get to their destination. He hated being late for anything. Being late for this was driving him crazy. It was too important. They had to pick up the pace.

Plex hurried forward, barely making more noise than he had before. Baclem did his best, but it sounded like he was bumping into everything along the way. He winced every time the troll did it, waiting for Honor Guards to rain down on them at any moment. But, they never did. With each passing sound that Baclem made, a feeling of unease built up in his stomach. This wasn’t right.

The Honor Guards were made up of some of the best from all the races. Any one of them should have heard the troll coming from blocks away. Yet somehow, with all of the patrols that were out, they hadn’t done that. Why wouldn’t they….

Realization hit him like a kick to the face.

He told Baclem to stay behind while he scouted ahead. Once he was sure the troll would comply, he rushed forward as quietly as he could. It was only five blocks from where he left Baclem to the training facility. Once he was a block away, he began seeing them. Dozens of Honor Guards surrounded the facility. They wanted to not only get him, but to get Gilania’s team as well.

Plex let out the whistle he used to warn his sister of trouble. As soon as he did, the elven Honor Guards called the others to attention. He watched as they began moving forward towards the practice facility with their swords drawn, ready to kill everyone inside.

Fantasy Football Part 28

Ready for the next chapter in Fantasy Football? You know you are! Head on over to the Kingdom to check it out!

The Matticus Kingdom

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? …

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Fantasy Football Part 27

Hey everyone! Hope you’re all doing well in these crazy times. Want something to break up the monotony of quarantine life? How about a new chapter of the blog hopping story by Matticus and I?

An image of a spear piercing his chest flashed through Plex’s mind. There was no way he could dodge both attacks. He was reasonably sure he could avoid the spear of one of the two Honor Guards, but not both. That didn’t mean he wasn’t going to try. If he was going to die at the hands of Lavalandinarial’s people, he was determined to make them work for it.

With a firm grip on the sword he took off the guard he had killed, Plex whipped the weapon out in front of his chest while taking a step back. The step wouldn’t take him out of their range, but it might buy him just enough time to block an attack. Both guards, elf and dwarf, launched their spears at him. He put the sword in line to parry one of them and turned so that he gave them as little area of his body to hit as possible. Plex braced for impact, but before one came, a large blur passed in front of his eyes. A grunt came from the blur, followed by a crashing to the ground.

When the blur became visible, Plex almost dropped to the ground next to it. It was Glavven. The large minotaur had taken both of the spears meant for him. One protruded from Glavven’s shoulder and the other was sticking out of the minotaur’s hip. Plex fought the urge to check on his savior, but he knew that two opponents were still out there. If he didn’t give them his full attention, he would be their next kill.

Their spears spent, the two Honor Guards moved to draw their swords. Plex rushed forward and plunged his blade through the elf’s throat before the guard could unsheath his weapon. He felt a momentary pang of guilt over killing another of his kind, but he brushed it aside just as quickly as it came. Anyone who chose to side with the dragon was his enemy, no matter which race they were.

Plex yanked on the hilt of his sword, but it didn’t come all the way out. His eyes moved over to the dwarf, who had his sword raised and it was just beginning its downward swing. One more tug, fueled by desperation, got his weapon free. Plex tried to leap backwards, out of the way of the attack, but he wasn’t quick enough. The dwarf’s blade dug into his left arm just above his elbow. He howled in pain as he struck out at his opponent.

Despite the pain taking away his focus, his instincts put his sword right where it needed to be. It hit the dwarf lengthways across the bridge of his nose, taking out both of the dwarf’s eyes in the process. Plex kicked his injured opponent backwards, causing a new wave of pain as the dwarf’s sword pulled out of his wound. He pushed aside the agony long enough to deliver a killing blow to the dwarf. With that taken care of, he looked around to see how the rest of the fight was playing out.

The dark street was littered with bodies. Most of those on the ground appeared to be wearing honor guard uniforms but, sadly, not all. One or two of his teammates lay dead. A fury rose within Plex and he looked for another guard to unleash it upon. The minions of the beast would suffer for the hurt they had caused in her name.
Plex took a step forward, intent up on helping one of his teammates just a short distance away, and nearly tripped over Glavven. The minotaur grunted as Plex’s foot struck him and the elf did a half stuttering jump to stop himself from causing further harm and to keep to his feet. Then Plex dropped down next to Glavven to see how he could help.

The two spears were still jutting from where they had struck him. Plex could see that Glavven was still conscious, his eyes burned with anger and his snout was clamped shut tightly. Trying to keep from crying out in pain, Plex assumed.

“Thank you, my friend,” Plex muttered. He wasn’t sure if the minotaur considered him a friend, wasn’t even sure if it was within their nature to have friends even within their own race, let alone with elves. But, the Glavven had saved his life and so Plex would consider him as such and be forever in his debt.

He began to check the wound sites to see if he could remove the spears without causing further damage and then noticed the large amount of blood seeping from the wound in his own arm. He studied it for a second, slightly confused, and then abruptly fell into a sitting position while his vision began to sink.

“I’m going into shock,” he said aloud and then sort of chuckled that he would waste breath saying something like that. Almost absentmindedly, Plex used his opposite hand to begin applying pressure to his wound. He needed to stop the blood loss before he blacked out.

“It’s okay,” a voice said calmly next to him.

Plex looked up to see one of the team’s healers and immediately said, “See to Glavven first.”

The healer smiled comfortingly and took Plex’s arm within his hands. Plex tried to withdraw his arm, to insist they heal the minotaur first but found he didn’t have the strength. The healer held him firmly.

“Help Glavven,” Plex managed, though his words tasted funny in his mouth and seemed to stick to his tongue. He shook his head trying to clear them and tried again but could only manage, “Glavven” before his mouth refused to work at all.

The healer, still smiling, said, “You are very noble but you have lost far too much blood. While in considerable pain, no doubt, Glavven’s wounds are not mortal. Your wound is. Relax and let me work. It will be easier on both of us.”

While not familiar with this healer, Plex was familiar with the process. He forced his body to relax. It was hard. He could still hear the sounds of battle nearby, his vision continued to narrow until he could only see through tiny pinpricks of a tunnel, and a sudden dizziness gripped him. He pushed that all aside as best he could and focused on his breathing.
The next thing he knew, the wound in his arm raged as if were on fire. It was enough to make him cry out a series of elven curses. He felt himself slipping towards unconsciousness. Plex knew that he couldn’t let that happen. Deep inside, he harvested every bit of willpower to keep from fading away into the blackness that was threatening him.

To his relief, the pain didn’t last very long. It was soon replaced by a tingling sensation like when his arm fell asleep. Plex wanted to open his eyes to see what the wound looked like now, but he knew he needed to keep them closed. If the cut was still bleeding, seeing it may make him lose his resolve. It was imperative to keep his focus until the healing process was completed.

“Wake up,” a gruff voice said.
Plex nearly jumped. He must have dozed off. It probably wasn’t the first time someone had done that while being healed. Once the tingling wore off, all that was left was a warmth that spread throughout his entire body. It was very relaxing after the pain wore off.

His eyes opened expecting to see Glavven match the gruff voice. He was surprised to see a different teammate standing over him. It was the troll, Baclem, his wide receiver. While it wasn’t who he was expecting, it was still good to see a familiar face. If it was someone he didn’t know, that likely would have meant that they had lost the fight.

“How long was I out?” Plex asked the troll.

“Long enough for more guards to be closing in on this position,” Baclem answered matter of factly. “We’ve got to get going.”

The troll pointed off to his right. He turned and saw Vinyard directing the rest of his teammates down an alley. Just then, the sounds of metal clanking reached his ears. People wearing armor would be there soon. He briefly wondered how the troll knew that before he could hear them. Did trolls possess better hearing than elves? Or did Vinyard tell them?

It would have to remain a mystery for the time being. Plex pushed himself up off the ground. The wound on his arm was sore, but it was no longer bleeding and the cut had healed shut. Still, it protested a little when he used it to get up. He moved it around as he ran to where the gnome was standing. It was good enough that he’d be able to use it if they needed to fight again.

With that in mind, he scooped up a sword right before he reached Vinyard. He was going to ask the gnome a question, but it got cut off before the words left his lips. “No time,” Vinyard said, shaking his head. “Just follow the rest of them.”

Plex did as instructed and ran along with the rest of the group. He caught up with them quickly. When he did, he noticed that there was something wrong. “Wait,” he said out loud. “Where’s Glavven?”

“He didn’t make it,” Baclem, who was running beside him, replied.

“What?” Plex asked in defeat, almost coming to a complete stop.

Baclem grabbed Plex’s wrist and began pulling him along. “Glavven had a wound on his back that the healers missed on their first inspection. It was pretty bad. That wound is probably why he jumped in front of those spears for you.” The troll paused, but Plex wasn’t sure if it was for dramatic effect or if he was out of breath. “I’m sorry,” Baclem continued, “but Glavven died before the healers were done with you.”

Fantasy Football Part 22 — The Matticus Kingdom

Wow. I didn’t realize how far behind I was in reblogging these things. I only thought I had one or two. Here’s another one I forgot to put up when it was published.

 

How many parts should a fantasy football story have? Trick question! As many as possible, of course. And here we are with another installment. ….. “Why aren’t you at the game?” Plex realized it was a ridiculous question to ask, given the circumstances, but he couldn’t top himself from blurting it out. “Nobody ever pays […]

via Fantasy Football Part 22 — The Matticus Kingdom

Fantasy Football Part 24 — The Matticus Kingdom

Oops. Here’s a chapter I forgot to reblog when the original post came out. Obviously, it’s not my fault. Now I just have to figure out whose fault it is…

 

Here we go again. Another piece of this fantasy football story… Getting more into the fantasy and less of the football, but so it goes. Enjoy! ….. The crate smashed into the guard’s head. The gnome hadn’t even managed to get his hands up to try and reduce the impact of the blow. Crate […]

via Fantasy Football Part 24 — The Matticus Kingdom

Fantasy Football Part 26 — The Matticus Kingdom

I’m a little behind on my reblogging. Here’s the newest chapter of the story that Matticus and I have been writing for our blogs.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost written final fantasy… A lot. So it goes. But here we are, back again with another bit of this story. Read on and enjoy! ….. Without another word Plex and Vinyard sprinted towards their facility. The smell of the smoke grew stronger the closer they got […]

via Fantasy Football Part 26 — The Matticus Kingdom

Fantasy Football Part 25

“Just a couple more drills and then we’re done,” Plex heard a coach yell. “I know you’re all tired, but we need to be ready in case our next game ends up coming sooner than we expected.”

Plex and Vinyard followed the sound of the voice until they came upon the field. The two of them ducked down behind stacks of equipment while Plex looked around for his sister. It took him a few moments, but he eventually saw her on the other side of the field. He cursed under his breath. While it wouldn’t be impossible to move over to where she was without being seen, it was pretty close. There weren’t many places to take cover. Plus, there was always a chance that one of her teammates would inadvertently see him without even trying.

After taking a deep breath in, Plex let out a series of whistles. To members of the other races, it would sound like nothing more than a bird singing. To another elf, however, it was a series of signals. The particular cadence he used was one that was known only to the two of them. They had come up with it as children as a way of warning each other when they were about to get in trouble with their parents.

A few of the other elves on her team looked around when they heard it, but they quickly went back to what they were doing. Gilania had no reaction to his whistles. She hadn’t heard him. He was too far away and there was too much noise going on around her for Gilania to pick it up. Plex shook his head in frustration. How was he going to get her attention now?

He felt a poking at his side and found Vinyard next to him with a handful of small pebbles. Before he could ask what he was supposed to do with them, the gnome made a throwing motion. Plex looked at him in disbelief. The pebbles had almost no weight to them, so they probably wouldn’t fly all the way to where Gilania was. Even if they did, he wasn’t likely to be accurate with his throw because of how far he had to throw it. Any time you put extra strength into a throw, you sacrificed accuracy for it.

Plex was going to try to explain all of that to the gnome, but shook his head instead. He didn’t have a better idea. It was at least worth a try. At worst, he’d end up hitting one of her teammates by accident, but he was confident that he could hide before the teammate went looking for who had thrown the pebble. After shrugging his shoulders, Plex took a step out of concealment and let heave.

As he was afraid of, the pebble went nowhere near where he was aiming. Luckily, it landed on a part of the field not being used at the moment. Or, at least, he thought it did. Elves generally had better vision than the other races and even Plex had a hard time following the small pebble in the night sky. There were magic lights surrounding the field, but they mostly focused on the players and the ball. Anything other than that was spotty, at best.

Undeterred, Plex let fly again, this time adjusting his aim after what he’d seen on his first throw. The stone sailed true and pinged off the shoulder pad of his sister. He saw her flinch but otherwise ignore the tiny missile. She didn’t stop what she was doing. She didn’t look around. If she hadn’t flinched, Plex would have thought she didn’t even feel it.
Frustrated Plex ducked back behind concealment with Vinyard. He couldn’t stand out in the open and continue to pelt her with rocks. She was obviously too focused at the moment to be distracted.

Vinyard whispered harshly, “You give up too easily.”

“A lost cause is a lost cause and it is better to quit early than waste time,” Plex responded in his own harsh whisper. Then an idea occurred to him and he said, “Let’s find a better place to hide. We can single her out later after practice.”

Vinyard frowned and showed no sign that he was willing to following Plex’s lead. Then his head turned as the play on the field stopped for a second. Plex turned as well a moment later when his sister’s voice carried over to where they were hiding.

“I need a break coach. I’m going to go stretch and I’ll be right back.”

The sound of jogging feet drew nearer and then Giliana was on top of them. She couldn’t miss them and yet she acted as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Then she dropped to the ground and began to stretch. In little more than a whisper she said, “I heard your whistle. There was no need to throw rocks at me. You are a fool for interrupting our practice. What in the world are you doing here?”

“We need to talk,” Plex responded.

“Then talk. You’ve got two minutes while I stretch. At most.”

Not wanting to waste the time she had bought them, he said, “We need your help. A revolution is coming, an uprising against the dragon, and we need the best warriors on our side to overthrow the beast. Vinyard,” Plex indicated the gnome at his side,” and I need an audience with anyone on your team you think might want to join our fight.”

“We won,” Giliana said flatly. Plex could tell that she was masking the emotions she was really feeling. He could pick up the subtle difference only because they were siblings. “Why would we want to jeapordize that? Why would anyone on this team want to risk what they have already achieved.”

“For those on the other teams who won’t win. For their families. For their people. For all the people who are forced to live under her rule. For the possibility that we can regain our own destinies and no longer suffer her whims. For all these things and more specifically for you because I know you want to help.”

She never looked to Plex while he spoke and once he was done, she stood up and said, “You assume too much.” Then she took two steps away before stopping and turning around again, twisting at her wasit to bend down to have her right hand touch the ground in front of her left foot. “Still…,” she started before going silent again. Plex could tell she was deep in thought.

Gilania’s voice softened, “Did you really think that I wouldn’t notice you doing badly on purpose during the game?”

“I didn’t care if you noticed,” Plex responded honestly. “I was just hoping that the dragon didn’t notice.”

“Why would you do something as stupid as that?”

“At the time, it didn’t seem that stupid. I thought that we were going to keep running up the score and I couldn’t do that. I had to make sure that the game was close. I couldn’t put you in harm’s way.”

Gilania scoffed. “By putting yourself in harm’s way?”

“You’re my sister,” Plex said. “There’s no harm I wouldn’t risk to keep you safe.”

A small smile worked its way onto her face as she shifted stretching positions once again. “You know, it makes me want to punch you when you get all mushy like that.” She paused before adding, “I can’t promise you anything, but I’ll try to get some of my teammates over here later, when the moon reaches its zenith. Now, get out of here before you get spotted.”

Plex had more to say, but his sister began walking away before he could speak. He thought about trying to stop her, but he felt a tugging at his arm. Looking back, he saw Vinyard motioning for them to leave. Once they were safely back out on the street, he asked the gnome, “What? Why did we have to leave?”

“You mean besides the obvious answer of us lessening the chances of being spotted?” Vinyard responded sarcastically. “We need to get back to our facility and make sure we’re seen when we do. If most of our team sees us in the facility, they won’t be able to tell the Honor Guard that we weren’t around all night.”

“But won’t they be mad at me for leaving before the game was over? There’s probably more than one of them who will blame my absence for the loss.”

The sarcasm immediately left Vinyard’s voice. “That’s a good point. A lot of those players were looking to use that game to improve their standing, not only in the eyes of the dragon, but also their own race. Maybe you shouldn’t be seen there.” After a brief pause, the gnome continued, “But I have to be seen. I have too much to do before my involvement becomes known.”

“Like what?”

Vinyard ignored him. The gnome had a strange look on his face. The words to ask what was wrong didn’t even make it to his lips when Vinyard asked a question of his own. “Do you smell that?”

“What?”

“Sniff the air!”

The force behind the diminutive gnome’s command startled him for a moment, but Plex did as he was told. At first, he didn’t detect anything out of the ordinary. The only thing that was slightly odd was that the was a stronger than normal smell of…

“Smoke!”

Plex looked into the air to see if he could determine where it was coming from. It was hard to tell in the darkness, but it appeared to be coming from their practice facility.