Dignity of the Fans
by Alan Mittag
Grandiose Majesty and its resident team, Dignity, will be hosting the SupeR Streetfighter ElveS, and the members of Dignity were excited to show off their stadium to the thousands of Elven fans that were already waiting in line.
While most of Dignity’s linemen were running a light version of block and dodge training, Tactician and Stalwart were escorting 12 young High Elves that showed enough potential to take the empty slot left over after Magic’s recent death. I was lucky enough to accompany them.
Tactician still had a bad limp from the hit he took in the same game that claimed Magic’s life, but he never once complained about it while marching the young elves to the visitor half of the field. “As you all know, we have a vacant spot on the line that we have been filling with a journeyman for the past few weeks. Dignity should make enough from tonight’s gate to fill that slot, and we want to immediately start training whatever lucky Elf is chosen; hopefully, one of you.”
The young elves could barely control their excitement.
Stalwart said, “We are looking for the strongest, the toughest, and the most agile.”
“And the bravest,” Tactician said. “After tonight’s match we begin preparing for the New Orcland Grunts. That will be a tough first game for whomever we choose. Expect to be hit, and expect to be hit hard.”
Right on cue, both of the Dignity Blitzers started walking towards them. Tenacity was not his usual self after the bad hit he suffered against The Grandiose Gladiators. He would not be playing tonight. But thanks to the quick thinking of the Dignity apothecary, he will be back to full strength for the Grunts game. Physique, as full of hot air as ever, actually took a slower pace to keep in step with Tenacity.
The young Elves burst their excitement bubbles. One of them screamed, “It’s Physique! It’s Physique!”
Stalwart blew his whistle and the young elves silenced.
Tactician pointed at the one that screamed, “I’m sorry lad, learn to control that excitement and maybe we can use you next time.”
Tears filled his eyes, but the young Elf nodded his head, turned on his heel, and walked away with the sunken pride that only a High Elf can produce.
For the next two hours, Physique beat the crap out of those eleven Elves, all the while laughing and taunting them, telling them how unworthy they were to be a part of Dignity. Stalwart, Tenacity, Tactician, and I watched, and I took that opportunity to question Tactician, a level 1 linemen with an injury, about his future with Dignity.
Tactician said, “Coach Sestonn and I think I might be more effective as an offensive coordinator than actually on the field, and that change may be happening as soon as we hire one of these youths. But don’t get me wrong, we are thankful that the injury happened to me and not to one of Dignity’s elite. It would have been impossible to replace one of them, forcing them to stay on the field for an indefinite amount of time.”
“So Dignity is considering using one of these youths to replace you, and keep with the journeyman for the time being?”
“Considering it, yes.”
After watching the slaughter and hearing the third bone crack under Phsycique’s force, Tactician stood up and joined the bruised and beaten young elves, “Ok guys, that’s enough bashing.” He made a few marks in a pocket notebook. “You, you, you, and … you.”
Those four elves looked up in horror. Their hopes and dreams on the edge.
“Are you ready to try some catching drills?” Their wounds melted away. The four of them bounced up on their feet. “Stalwart will throw you guys a few balls.” Then he looked at the other seven, two with broken arms, one hobbling on a broken leg, and one with eyes so glazed over that I doubted he could see anything. “The rest of you, thanks for coming. Dignity appreciates your time.”
The other seven elves shambled off the field, some in tears, but all in pain.
Stalwart left to throw a few balls to the youths, Physique left the field entirely, and Tactician rejoined us to watch if any of the possible recruits had a knack for catching.
“Catching?” Tenacity said.
“Coach Sestonn is looking for a lineman. With 70% of tonight’s fans being Dignity fans, the gate guarantees enough to hire a lineman. But with a win and the sale of a few shirts and caps, there is a about an 83% chance that we can afford a second catcher. Something we drastically need, especially against a violent team like the New Orcland Grunts.”
To me, all four elves seemed good at catching, despite their injuries. But Tactician continued jotting down his notes. After an hour of catch drills, he invited two of them to the locker room, and let the other two meander out of the stadium.
Both surviving elves were too drained and beaten to show much excitement, but they sure did radiate relief.
We all started walking towards the locker room together when I noticed what was happening on the other half of the field. Eleven straw target dummies were set up, staggered in a classic Dark Elf formation. Each was in Dark Elf armor and wearing the colors of the SupeR Streeetfighter ElveS. Royalty and four other High Elves were in the stands, throwing rocks at the dummies. “What’s going on over there?”
Tenacity answered, “That’s Therranduil’s doing. He gets bored sometimes.” Even Tenacity voice sounded weak. They poor guy should have been in bed, resting.
Tactician gave me the real answer. “70% of the fans tonight are going to be Dignity fans. That’s a high Fan Advantage. Royalty wants to make sure they are properly trained, just in case the opportunity arises to remove a Streetfighter with a rock.”
My jaw went slack. He was training the fans to kill the opposing team with rocks! Where was the Dignity in that?