Fantasy Football Part 33

Hey everyone! Hope everything is going well in your neck of the woods. Wait… do woods have necks? If so, what are they for? Are there heads of the woods? Arms? Legs?

Weird…. anyway, here’s more story.

“The dragon is coming?” Plex asked. “Now?”

“There are two people here who have resisted her dominating will,” the elf woman replied. “Do you really think she would let that stand?”

Plex cursed, but couldn’t refute her logic. Lavalandinarial kept people in line through fear and mind magic. If there were people that were resisting both of those things, she needed to take them out before they could rally others. He was a threat to her, and he knew what the dragon did to threats.
Suddenly, he felt very tired. Plex was having trouble remembering the last time he had been asleep. This day seemed to go on forever. A lot had happened to him in that short amount of time, as well. Given all that he had been through, it was tempting to lay down and rest.

He would never do that, though. If he laid down, he would die. His family would die. His friends would die. His kinsmen would die. And the dragon would win. That was something he couldn’t allow. She would have to kill him before he’d admit defeat at her hands. If he didn’t do something quick, that’s exactly what would happen too.

By this time, Gilania’s team had managed to kill most of the Honor Guards who were harassing them, though it had cost them dearly. Only about a dozen of them were left. To his relief, he saw that his sister was one of them. She was injured, though. Her right eye was covered in a bandage. Plex started to get up to check on her. Gilania waved him off.
“It’s above my eye, not in it,” she yelled.

Plex was going to ignore her and rush over there anyway, but the look she shot his direction told him that he’d receive a fist for his trouble if did.
He looked around at the rest of the scene. A few of her teammates held the remaining three Honor Guards at sword point while the rest fought over what to do with them. Most of them were calling for their heads while the others tried to hold them off. Plex lowered his gaze to the elf woman he had just help free from the dragon’s dominance. What if those three were just like her?

“There are others like you, right?” he asked her. “People forced into doing the dragon’s bidding through magic?”

“If I had to guess,” she answered, “I’d say it’s about half. Half of them join up because they agree with what the dragon is doing, and the other half are those who the dragon wants for their skills, but who won’t fight for her willingly.”

“Do you know which are which?”
She thought about it for a moment before nodding. “Out of the ones who were here with me? Yes. I know which ones joined willingly or not.”
Plex pointed to where the three were trying to back away from the closing mob. “Are any of them under her spell?”

It took a moment for her eyes to focus, but she eventually said, “Yes. One of them is under her spell,” and then she passed out.

“Great timing,” Plex grumbled. Then he yelled where the three guards were surrounded, “One of them can be turned to our cause, the other two need to be killed. We don’t have time right now to figure it out. The beast is coming here, now.”

Roars of outrage and fear rumbled among the remaining teammates. Plex knew how they felt. Every second they wasted she was drawing nearer and if they were still in this open field she could just breathe fire down upon them and they would be destroyed without a fight.

Remembering the fight that had been going on beyond the facility, Plex whistled to his queen again. This time his message was more urgent, retreat now, retreat for your lives. He had to hope she got it and fled without questioning or she had fled before when she had warned that it was a trap. He didn’t have time to go and check on her and the warriors she had brought. They were on their own.
Plex hefted the elf he had been fighting off the ground, her head lulled to her shoulder, until she was positioned mostly securely across his shoulders. She weighed more than he’d expected, probably mostly the armor she wore, but he could carry her for a time.

He moved towards the surrounded guards, unsure of how to proceed. He didn’t want to kill them all but he wasn’t sure how to find out who could be saved. He didn’t have time to talk one of them down as he had the guard he now carried.

Before he could reach them, however, her weight was lifted from his shoulders. Startled, he turned to see that Baclem, the troll, his former teammate, his new friend, had easily taken her from him and slung her across his own shoulders. Plex thanked Baclem with a nod and then turned back to the problem at hand.
It was too late. He couldn’t hear her coming but he could feel it. Something about the air changed. It suddenly seemed darker.

“For the one of you that is working for the beast against your own will, know this: you can break free. I have won out against her magic once. So has this elf my friend now carries. If we can do it, so can you. Fight her and then come find us.”

Then with a frowning look to the sky, Plex said, “Knock them all unconscious and let’s get out of here.”

Three sickening thuds were followed by the sound of three bodes falling to the soft turf almost as one. Plex didn’t look. He didn’t want to know if they’d been hit to hard to survive. He needed to ensure these players, these newfound warriors, survived first and foremost. He wasn’t sure if he could lead them to safety but he was going to try.

“Follow me,” he said simply and then he turned to leave back the way he’d come.

Gilania called, “This way is faster.”

When he turned back, she was pointing towards a door on the far side of the practice field. Shrugging, he motioned for her to lead on.
She walked with a confidence that amazed him. He knew that she had spent little time in the city before coming here to play football, yet she was navigating the streets as if she had lived in it her entire life. Plex might’ve said something to her about it, but he was busy keeping an eye out for Honor Guards. Besides, he didn’t want to break her concentration. If she started paying attention to him, she might accidentally take a wrong turn and get them cornered.

Plodding up next to him, Baclem said something that the majority of the others were probably thinking, “We’d move a lot quicker if we didn’t have to drag our enemies along with us.”

“Not all of them are our enemies,” he responded. After explaining what the dragon had done to some of them as fast as he could, he added, “I don’t know about you, but I know I wouldn’t want to be killed for something that was beyond my control.”

The troll was silent for a moment. “You said she remembers killing her beloved, right? If I had to live with that memory, I’d see death as a blessing.”

As much as he wanted to, Plex couldn’t refute that logic. “Living with the memory of something like that would be hard. It’d be damn near impossible. Still, I’d want to take down the person who gave me that memory before I left this world.”

Their conversation was cut short by a whistle from his sister. Plex ran forward to Gilania’s position. Standing in front of her was an old dwarf. She seemed unsure of what to do, though she had a sword brandished in front of her. “Hold,” Plex cried to her. “I know this dwarf. He’s here to help.”

Frukeld nodded his thanks to Plex. “It seems that everyone in your family is skilled,” Frukeld said as a greeting.

“Only because you’ve never met our younger brother,” they replied in unison, drawing a chuckle from the old dwarf.

“Be that as it may,” Frukeld commented, “now is not the time for this discussion. In fact, time is something we’re out of right now.”

“What do you mean?” Gilania asked.

“Lavalandinarial will be here any moment.”

Plex opened his mouth to argue, then closed it right back up. He could feel the dragon drawing near them. The awe that her presence generated was building up in his stomach. She wasn’t there yet, but she was close.

“You fool,” Gilania spat at the dwarf. “If the dragon is almost here, why would you stop us? We could’ve escaped.”

“No,” Frukeld answered calmly. “She would have easily caught up with you and you would have died.” The corners of the old dwarf’s lips curled up into a smile. “Besides, we’ve got a surprise waiting right here for the big bitch.”

Just then, Plex’s stomach twisted up in knots. He knew what that meant before he looked up and saw her.

Lavalandinarial was here.

Fantasy Football Part 32

Be sure to check out the latest installment of the Fantasy Football series over at the Matticus Kingdom.

The Matticus Kingdom

And we’re back! Did you miss us? Of course you did. That was a silly question. Nothing silly about this story anymore. The battle has begun…

…..

Plex whistled to his Queen, a signal that meant it was a trap and retreat should be strongly considered, not caring that the momentary lapse in his concentration on the battle would give his opponent an opening to exploit.  He had to save her and as many of his people as possible.  As he whistled, he wondered if Vinyard had known and if that was why the gnome hadn’t wanted him to come.  But surely if Vinyard had known then he would have tried harder to talk Plex out of coming to save his sister?  

He laughed at himself.  Vinyard had told him this would likely turn out poorly.  Plex realized that Vinyard let him come because the gnome knew there was nothing…

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Fantasy Football Part 31

Here it is everyone! The next installment of Matticus and I’s story, Fantasy Football is out. We hope you’re all as excited to read it as we were to write it. So, without further ado…

They waited until they no longer heard any more Honor Guards walking around. There may have been some more sneaking about, but they didn’t have time for caution. Plex had to get into the practice facility to find his sister. Without another thought, he nimbly dropped down from the roof he was hiding on and took off running.

He made it a few blocks before he heard the first call of alarm. Turning to look behind him, he saw that Baclem was still with him. Beyond Baclem, a few of the dragon’s people were on their tails. Not many, just yet, but he knew more were coming. Plex just hoped that he didn’t find the way completely blocked when he got there. If there was even the tiniest of openings, he had a chance.

His lungs burned from exertion. His legs started feeling weak. It had been a very long day and he didn’t have much energy left. Plex knew he couldn’t stop. Stopping meant his death, and his sister’s, at Lavalandinarial’s hands. That wasn’t an option. He began pulling from reserves that he didn’t know he had. As far as he was concerned, nothing was going to get in his way.

But then he came within sight of the facility, and he saw the number of guards between them and the entrance. His heart dropped. There were dozens. He had no chance of getting past all of them. Not with only him and Baclem. It was impossible.

Still, he kept going.

Baclem shouted for him to stop. Plex never slowed. He raised his sword out in front of him like it was a jouster’s lance, screamed at the top of his lungs, and awaited the impact he’d get from running into the closest Honor Guard, an orc. Ten paces separated him and the orc. Then five. Plex positioned his blade for a killing strike.

Suddenly, the orc vanished. When he came upon where the orc was, he tripped.
Plex landed hard on the ground. What little breath he had was knocked from his chest. The sword fell from his hand and rattled across the cobblestones away from him. He crawled forward trying to reach it. A glance back showed him what he had tripped over. It was the orc, who lay dead with an arrow sticking out of its eye. His gaze went to Baclem, who was looking at the rooftops behind them.
The entire area around him erupted into screams and shouted orders. A hailstorm of arrows rained down among the Honor Guard. Two other guards fell down beside him. Plex rolled out of the way of the falling bodies and focused his vision on the rooftops where Baclem had been looking. His heart, which had dropped moments ago, was lifted back up.
The elven queen, along with a handful of her best archers, stood there loosing arrows among the Honor Guard. She saw him looking at her and she smiled. “Go get them,” she cried out to him.

Plex scrambled to his feet and ran into the opening his queen just made for him. He scooped up the sword he’d dropped and then left the chaos behind him as he entered the dark hallways of the training facility.
All chance for a quiet start to their revolution had just vanished, in a hail of arrows. Plex didn’t know how his Queen had gotten word of the situation or if her saving him was in the best interest of that revolution but he was thankful for the chance to find out. He needed to find his sister and save her and as much of her team as he could first. Then he’d deal with the fall out.

It would be great, he knew that. Lavalandindarial would be furious. Her wrath would be swift and far reaching. A thought caught in his mind and nearly made him stumble. His life had just been saved, true, but the cost would be the death of countless others.

Plex clenched his fists, steadied his feet, and carried on. “I’ll make it worthwhile.”

The sound of thundering feet made Plex glance behind him. He knew what he’d see but he still smiled when he saw Baclem struggling to catch up.
Plex slowed enough to let the troll get beside him and then together they raced through the hallways of the facility, checking behind open and closed doors alike, looking for any sign of Gilania’s team. There was none, though. Every room and hallways was empty.

Finally, they came upon the doorway that led to the practice field. Plex’s elven hearing picked up the sound of whispers and the slight movement that came with shifting weights from one foot to the other. There was a lot of too. He guessed, before opening the door, that everyone had been rounded up and moved out to the field.

Plex put his hand on the door, motioned for Baclem to be ready for a fight, and then whistled for his sister. He no longer doubted that she’d be able to hear him. She had heard him before. She would hear him now, especially since she’d be listening for the call. Then Plex took three deep, calming breaths, looked again to Baclem to make sure the troll was ready and shoved the door open.
He moved to the side of the door after pushing it and was rewarded for his caution as three arrows screamed through the space he’d have been in if he’d followed the flow of the door. He hoped that the equipment he’d hidden behind was still where it had been and then rolled through the doorway, his eyes sweeping the field as he did so.

The team was there, surrounded by a handful of guards. There were far fewer of them then had been outside and none of them had been armed with bows. Lavalandinarial’s Honor Guards must have thought they’d capture any attempted rescuers outside before they could get this far.

That was good.

A moment later, Plex was safely behind the stacked equipment that was where he’d remembered it being. That was also good. A glance back to the door showed that Baclem hadn’t followed. Plex wasn’t sure if that was good or bad but decided the troll had proved himself self-sufficient already this evening more than once.

Calling over his shoulder to the team on the field, Plex said, “Fight! Fight for your lives. They are planning on taking you before the dragon and if they do that you will all surely die.”

Without waiting for any kind of response, Plex hurled himself out from behind his momentary protection. His sword was raised and he was screaming a war cry. He met the first Honor Guard head on. Their blades locked. Plex stepped back and launched into a combination stroke that started off coming in from the side, then changing to go down at the knees.

The troll he was fighting was good. A lot better than the Honor Guards they’d come across so far. It blocked the side swipe and backed up in time to dodge the attack aimed at its knees. Plex came on in a fury, going into attack after attack, hoping to overwhelm the troll with his speed. At first, it didn’t look like it would work. The troll kept pace with him. Then, to Plex’s great relief, he managed to sneak his blade through the troll’s defenses to cut a line across the left side of its face. As it reacted to the cut, Plex finished it off by neatly cutting through the front half of its throat.

He turned around and found a second Honor Guard waiting for him. This time, it was a fellow elf. Plex inwardly cursed. It was highly unlikely that the tactics he used against the troll would work against an elf. The other elf was probably just as quick as Plex was. While he made a few rudimentary attacks to gauge his opponent, he tried to think of a way to end this fight quickly. “You don’t have to fight me,” he said, hoping to reason with the elf.

“The dragon commands,” a distinctly female voice hissed, “so it shall be done.”

Plex found himself caught off guard by the femininity in the angry voice. He didn’t know why. There were females of every race in Lavalandinarial’s Honor Guard. He was also well aware that females could be just as deadly in combat as males, if not more. Why did this shake him so? Maybe he just thought that he would never hear a female elf so vehemently defending the dragon. No matter the reason, he needed to get his head back into the fight. She had used his hesitation to draw blood with a small cut on his shoulder.

This is why I prefer my bow, he thought to himself as he got back into the proper defensive position. “Why should we listen to the dragon?” Plex asked. “All she does is create pain and suffering.”

“Strength should be followed and she is the strongest.”

Plex sidestepped another attack, but made no move to attack her in response. “Crazy shouldn’t be followed, and she is the craziest.”

“Lavalandinarial’s will must be followed.”

“Even if it means killing your own kind? Your friends? Your family?”

The angry facade slipped for a moment and Plex knew he’d hit upon something. “She’s already made you do it, hasn’t she?” he deduced. “She made you kill someone you love. Who was it? A parent? A sibling?”

“It doesn’t matter now,” she said in a tone that was as angry as it was sad. “You can’t win here. You’re not facing her raw recruits anymore. You’re facing her seasoned veterans. She’s accomplished her goal.”
Before he could ask what that meant, the sounds of fighting from outside the facility became louder than those inside the facility. He knew what the female elf was talking about now. Lavalandinarial had used her worst fighters to give him and the rest of the rebels the confidence to come out of the shadows. She had baited them.
And Plex had put a lot of people in danger because he fell for it.

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