A Dance with the Devil

The room had a small table on the corner with an empty pitcher of water and a platter with some leftover fruit. It even had a large window with a breathtaking view of the horizon nearing the dusk; but to call it “The Meditation Chamber” was just a euphemism for a fancy cell. Caddhil had been brought here straight after his short sojourn at the infirmary, which he knew all too well. He’d needed to be in intense treatment after every single match, unlike his brother Camdhil who was clumsier but sturdier. Still, both had suffered injuries during the match against The Bangle Pharaohs. He knew that Coach Hawca had had it enough with his constant aches and his brother’s underperformance. Furthermore, the Druchii Witch Llallana had been whispering thoughts of sacrifice in the Coach’s ear; one of them was not meant to see another sunset. His thoughts were interrupted when a tall hooded figure entered the room with a fresh pitcher and a full platter.

  • Greetings, Caddhil. It’s good to see you’re awake and well after such a violent game. Those Bangle Pharaohs are certainly a bunch of vicious brutes. Everyone could see that the only strategy of the Mad Coach Gio Hacekas was just trying to bruise the Cardelf Devils during the first half of the match. It almost seemed as if his Pharaohs were not interested in the ball at all. They just spent their defensive drive chasing down you and your teammates with the foulest of intentions. But after five turns, their efforts were futile. The Devils proved superior in every aspect from the very start of the match, making it clear that the Pharaohs are nothing but overweight buffoons. I’m even convinced that the Devils could have scored that touchdown on turn eight if they had really wanted to.

 

  • You seem to have a vast knowledge of the game for an orderly; but you are wrong. The Bangle Pharaohs were worthy opponents. Coach Hawca had instructed us not to score before the very last turn of our drive. He didn’t want to give the Pharaohs the slightest chance to equalize… and he wanted it to be a statement of how we had been able to dance around them. The truth is every movement of that ballet was like stepping on thin ice; we feared for our lives all the time. The Pharaohs did everything right, they threatened the ball, they clogged our advance, they pressured the score… they danced at our pace and were even close to scoring on the three turns they had left at the end of that half. Is that what you came here to hear, Gio Hacekas? Your silly disguise cannot fool my heightened senses.

 

With complete calmness, the tall man poured water into a glass, handed it out to the Dark Elf and took a bite out of a green apple from the platter. He didn’t bother to remove the hood and that’s when Caddhil realized that it wasn’t meant to conceal his identity from him but from the guards at the door. He also came to the conclusion that this man was evidently deranged; coming here could cost him his life out of pure vanity. Nonetheless, he couldn’t avoid feeling a sort of twisted admiration for him. After all, that Crazy Coach had often declared that his team was on a mission from god; some merit is due to a man devout to a cause. Moreover, it was plain to see that, even if erratic and unconventional, his game plan had been rock solid and almost earned him the draw if the Pharaohs could have managed to remove a few more of his teammates from the pitch. But only him and his brother Camdhill failed to withstand their assault. They had been the weak link.

  • Now don’t be ridiculous, Caddhil. Of course I appreciate that someone gives the Pharaohs the recognition they deserve. It’s a bit ironic that it comes from an adversary that just defeated them… but maybe that makes it that much more transcendent. You see, the Pharaohs were somewhat unfocused during the match; I found out later that they had received a prior visit while I was away solving some administrative ordeals. There’s only one thing that can upset them like that and only one man who knows the truth about that matter. If I came here to talk to you, it’s because someone stole the Pharaohs’ Sacred Bangle and now victory and the chance to retrieve it could be stolen from my grasp. I came here to steal something from that Devilish Coach Hawca, whom henceforth and forever shall be considered the Archnemesis of the Pharaohs.

 

  • You’re a fool, Gio Hacekas. I can’t believe I felt any sympathy for you just a moment ago. You’re nothing but a selfish and greedy man. Now I just pity you. And if it is that golden Bangle you’re really after, you’re in for a deception. I saw it long ago, Coach Hawca had it. I’m not sure if he still does. He was supposed to present it as a gift to the High Preacher who is also the League’s Commissioner. You came here for nothing. In fact, you will find nothing but your well-deserved end today. As soon as I tell the guards that you are here, our priestesses Lady Luck and Llallana will surely know how to make a proper sacrifice out of you. They will be delighted to make you suffer in the most perverse and unimaginable ways. You will regret ever coming here, you will regret ever being born, you will…

 

In that fleeting moment, just as the poison in the glass of water he had drunk started to burn through his veins, Caddhil had a flash of revelation. What the Mad Coach Gio Hacekas had come here to steal was the Cardelf Devil’s sacrifice to the God of Murder. It had been a long time since the last sacrifice and Khaine would be displeased. His wrath could greatly affect the performance of the team on the upcoming games. As he felt his heart bursting into flames, the last thing he saw was the pernicious smile of a man under a hood. He now realized that he had been dancing with the Devil.

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