Dignity on the Road
by Alan Mittag
The sun beat down on me. It was hot. The cart bounced with every speck of gravel in the road. And the roof was not the most comfortable place to enjoy the ride. In fact, if Physique had not tied me down to it, the constant jostling would have thrown me off for sure.
We were on our way to Valhalla to meet the Champions of Valhalla for their second match of Season 4. Five wheeled carriages carried the team to Valhalla, and I was atop the lead carriage. When the group stopped to make camp the night before, I awaited my release so that I could get in an interview. Elf after elf took a look at me and chose to leave me there, tied under the sunset. About an hour later, one of them returned to cut me down.
Tenacity was the biggest elf I have ever seen in person, with arms as thick as most orcs.
“You are going to have to stand up for yourself,” he said as he helped me down. “Or Simenion will never stop tormenting you.”
“Simenion?” I said.
“Physique. He insists on torturing the weak.”
I was weak. I didn’t have any argument against that. At least, none that I could give to a blood bowl blitzer. Instead, I told him the same I have been telling myself. “He was rough with me the first day I met him.” I motioned to the top of the wagon. “But compared to that, this is just playing around. I’m OK with it.”
“I’m not,” Tenacity said. “General Sestonn is making him the public face of Dignity. Perhaps he should dig deeper and find some.”
“He just plays rough,” I said, rubbing the rope burns on my arms. “If that’s the cost of being Dignity’s personal journalist….”
“Archivist,” Tenacity corrected.
“If that’s the cost of being your archivist, I can pay it.”
“Fine,” the big elf said. “But if you ever feel your life is threatened, come tell me and I will put a stop to all of this nonsense.”
I looked up at him. He was serious. He met my eyes, nodded his head, and slapped me on the shoulder.
He turned around to leave but I tried to stop him. “Do you mind if I ask you a few questions? For the fans?”
Tenacity stopped and turned back to me. “Three questions.”
Three. Just three. I guess that was my mistake for using the word few. I had a dozen questions that the fans wanted answered.
I cleared my thoughts, chose my first question, and said. “Have you ever faced a Norse team before?”
“No.” Tenacity said. I waited for an explanation, but none came out. I guess I was going to have to word my questions a little better.
“How do you expect this match with the Champions of Valhalla to go?”
“If we all follow the General’s direction, I expect a victory with maybe a light casualty or two. But if some of us get out of control and start thinking as an individual instead of as a team, then the Norse may deal out some severe punishment. I expect Sim… “Physique” to be a high value target. So if our line falls apart, or if he finds himself leaping into a ring of the enemy, there is a good chance that he is one of the casualties. From what I understand, Norse teams are not above fouling as a tactic.”
“Speaking of tactics, has Coach Sestonn mentioned anything he is planning for this match?”
“Yes.” Tenacity said. Then he turned away and started walking back to the others.
“Wait! Can you please tell the fans anything about Sestonn’s strategy or tactics?”
Tenacity didn’t turn back. But he did lift his arm, three fingers pointing up to the sky. I had already used my allotment of questions. “Crap.”