4: Reddit Rotters VS Nautical Imperatives
There is a stench in the air, and for once its source is not Bumford, the dwarven coach of Nautical Imperatives.
The elfs all sit in their dressing room with an assortment of delicate handkerchiefs pressed to their faces. Gags and coughs splutter from those unfortunate enough to have to remove their kerchiefs to drink or talk. One elf, To The Brig!, is desperately trying to drown the smell out with perfume, but it isn’t helping.
Bumford enters the room, totally unphased by the miasma filling it. “Mornin’ wusses!” he beams, clipboard in one hand, package in the other, bottle under one arm. He looks around the room.
“Oh come on, it’s not that bad. It’s just a bit of a whiff is all. Come on, I have a present for ya.”
The idea of a gift from the coach strikes the team as an instant threat. Nevertheless, they crowd in as best they can. Bumford puts down the bottle and board, considers, picks up the bottle again and pops the cork. A small purple cloud giggles from the bottle before he takes a swig. He sets the bottle down again.
“What was that?” pipes Nicholas Clearbone, the most recent in a line of mercenaries somehow finding their way to the team.
“Another gift, lad, but for the opposition. More on that later.” Bumford smirks.
“Anyway, this is what I wanted t’show ya.”
He snaps the lid of the box and whips out the contents. An enormous, ludicrously proportioned codpiece crackles with eldritch energy.
“A… codpiece?” asks Board!.
“A magic codpiece. For you, in fact milad, well volunteered!” Bumford thrusts the frankly pornographic affectation at Board!, much to the amusement of the other elfs. Their laughs turn to gags as they unwittingly inhale more of the putrid air.
“Anyway, Nurgle’s lads today. They’re a cakewalk, slow as pudding, nimble as a worm. Speaking of which, watch out for the worms. And tentacles. Oh, and I wouldn’t touch them if I were you, just to be safe. Ok, off you go!”
As the elfs file out, Bumford staggers over to the other side of the stadium, just outside the Reddit Rotters own dressing room. Bottle in hand, he knocks once and walks in. The milk-curdling, hair-curling wall of stench that meets him doesn’t appear to affect him in the slightest.
“Right then,” shouts Bumford. Eyes, many, many eyes, turn towards him. “Who’s the toughest son-of-an-elf that thinks they can outdrink me then, eh?” He shuts the door behind him.
A few minutes later, the Nurgle team slide and shamble from their dressing room. Some of the largest humans the elfs have ever seen stand at the forefront, armoured to the teeth. Behind them, an indescribable monstrosity gurgles forwards. Grasping tentacles, all manner of appendages, teeth, eyes, all flail around it.
Gulps of fear from the elfs.
The referee, in some form of crude gas mask, blows the whistle. The ball is kicked by Steady! and promptly flies off the pitch. The ref hands the ball to the largest of the warriors, a brute named Angas.
“How on earth are we supposed to get the ball from that… thing!?” cries an elf.
Meanwhile, Bumford is walking back to the stands near his team, a slightly more uncontrolled swagger than normal. He flumps on a bench. Somewhere on the other side of the pitch, a veteran Pestigor is still recovering.
A furious half of the game sees elf after elf throw themselves at Angas, but it’s not until Belay! practically hurls himself at Angas back, forcing him into a scrum of elfs, that four elfs can all jump on him at once. Miraculously, one knocks the ball free, and Stow Mainsails!grabs it and flees backwards. As elfs begin to free themselves (apart from the elfs wrapped in tentacles who stay very firmly where they are), Stow looks for a target to pass too. He finds it hard to concentrate with the moist, necrotic air, so in stead elects to sprint up the pitch. He manages to score just before the Ref blows his whistle for half time.
As the elfs enter their changing room a decrepit old woman is shuffling away. Her eye catches the accessory ofBelay!, and the woman hobbles over to Bumford, whispering something in his ear. He nods solemnly.
“What did you do?” asks Hard to Larboard! once the team are alone again with their coach. “That… beast, whatever it was, spent the first half being sick in the corner!”
“Rule number one – doesn’t matter who you are, whether yer a zombified creature of darkness and plague or not, never try to outdrink a dwarf” Bumford laughs. “Rule number two – Witches make good allys if you need a favour. Oh, which reminds me, Board!, after the game there’s a lady I need to introduce you to. You’ll be spending the night with her as a, ahem, favour to me. Don’t worry, she’s very friendly. You’re not allergic to warts, are you?”
Belay doesn’t hear him. He sits in silence. The only sound he makes is the odd fizz or crackle from the anti-chastity belt he’s wearing.
“And,” Bumford brings his voice to a whisper, “bring the codpiece.”
The second half happens much like the first. The elfs are trying desparately to avoid as much tentacle and pestilence as they can, but a now enraged pestigor charges elf after elf with renewed vigour. A lucky thrust fromBelay! sees the codpiece pierce the Pestigor right through face, but cries of triumph from the elf are soon changed to horror as the hole fills once again with rotten flesh, the creature unphased by the murderous injury.
As the game draws to a close, Hard to Larboard! snatches the ball again and sprints for the end zone, barely making it, the sound of tentacles whipping the air behind him. The game ends 2-0.
“Job’s a good’un lads! Well played today!” says Bumford. Elfs are sitting in various states of horror. Some are covered in slime. Others have sucker-shaped bruises. Some look as if they’ve not slept in weeks.
The old woman quietly walks into the room, takes an unresisting Belay! by the hand, and walks out again.
“I’d say we’re doing pretty well this season!” Bumford flips through his clipboard again. “Lets see, who’re we facing next…”
He squints. Then he grunts, and spits.
“Pff, waste of time. Stupid matchup.”
“What is it coach?” floats a plaintive voice, followed by a cough and dry heave.
“‘Welfare’? That’s a stupid name. A stupid name for a stupid team. Bloody useless. Suddenly it’s all ‘oh no, let’s actually pass the ball, let’s not try to kill everyone that moves, la de da la da lo, ooh look at my lovely hair.’ Game’s gone to the dogs.”
Expectant looks greet his tantrum. He sighs and looks at the team.
He says: “Do you know what a ‘Wardancer’ is?”