The End Draws Near

As Coach Caven watched from the sidelines, Rotnail moved ever closer to the goalline and a second, game clinching, touchdown for the Wrecking Kru. It had been a grueling match. The Snitchburgh PieRats had given a spirited fight, but injuries and Orc strength had proven too much for them. A final, desperate attempted blitz by the PieRats remaining stormvermin ended in failure, allowing Rotnail a clear path to victory. As the Orc Thrower crossed the goalline, Kru fans erupted in adulation and began singing the team song, The Orc Marches On. Gutrad, Morgoth and Takru swarmed Rotnail, hoisting him on their shoulders and carried him towards the Kru sideline. The mob of players headed toward the team locker room, carrying Caven with them. Celebration that was unknown last season, was unleashed in the private locker room. The Kru was on the cusp of a return to the playoffs. With a favorable result next week, or an improbable loss by Hopless Necromantics this week, and the Kru would be back. His new job, and apparently new mission, loomed just around the corner.

“Congratulations, Coach.” said a woman standing just behind him. Caven whipped around, and found himself staring into the face of the most attractive, most formidable and most dangerous woman he had ever met.  “Thank you, Ms. Kerensky. It was a tough match, but the boys pulled through.” She nodded, seeming to think for a moment. “Yes, they seemed to have pulled through a lot this season. That speaks volumes about your coaching ability. My associates are quite ready to hit the field under your direction. What is your plan for that happening?” Caven took a step forward, towards her, and whispered “You shouldn’t mention that among this crowd! These Orcs are very…sensitive about their impending retirement. They don’t like it, don’t want it, and don’t understand why they have to stop playing together. And, quite frankly, neither do I. Can you enlighten me a little more about that?”

Kerensky laughed, almost defiantly, and stared daggers at Caven. “I am not afraid of your Orcs. I am very capable, as are my associates, of protecting ourselves. As I told you, we need your help procuring the relic I showed you in the picture. Getting it will save the human race. You will gain immortality as the one that helped get it.”  Picture? Is that what the lifelike drawing was called? He remembered all too well the image, and knew exactly what it was, and how difficult it was to get it. But how could getting it save the human race? “I’m not sure I understand how obtaining that item will save humanity.” Caven stated.  Kerensky thought for a moment, before continuing.  “You will understand in due time. That information is very sensitive, and on a need-to-know basis. Right now, you don’t need to know. All you need to do, is coach my associates on the blood bowl pitch.  What is left to do before that happens?”

“We have one more game scheduled. We could already clinch a playoff spot before then, if certain things happen in other games. If we defeat Aztec Gold next week, we punch our ticket to the playoffs. We are looking at a maximum of three weeks after that, if the Kru make the Final. It could be as short as one week, if the Kru lose the first round. Once playoffs are over, the Kru retires, and I take the helm of your team. We begin working immediately. Your team will be entered into the MML Challenge League, where you will play for an opportunity to make those playoffs. You gain the final, you also gain entry into the MML Pro League, which will open all those doors you seem to require. A simple plan, but a difficult path. You will suffer injuries, possibly death, on this journey. Are you sure you and your associates are up for it?”

This time, Kerensky laughed out loud, with contempt in her voice.  “You do not know us, or where we came from. None of you do. We have spent our lives knowing that the next moment could be our last. I told you, we are experts at many forms of warfare. Blood Bowl almost seems like a game compared to what we have seen and done. We will be prepared, and we will accomplish our mission, or die trying. We just need you to coach us and help us get there.”

Caven nodded, almost fearing what the woman’s past was like. Everything in her posture, eyes and attitude told him that she was telling him the truth. What was he getting himself into?  “Ok. I’ve already agreed to coach your team. When do I meet your associates? Or, more accurately, my next team?”  Kerensky shook her head. “Not until you are through with Wrecking Kru. We are still making preparations. Once you officially become coach of our team, you will meet them. Until then, we will be observing you and the Kru, hoping for the best.  Good luck with your playoff drive. We will need you at your best to help us achieve our goal.”  With that, Kerensky walked out the door, disappearing into the throng of fans waiting outside to greet their heroes.

“Boss, who was that woman?” Gutrad asked from just inside the doorway.  Caven sighed, then turned to the star blitzer.  “That, Gutrad my friend, was the woman who is probably going to be the end of me.”  Gutrad chuckled, slapping Caven on the back.  “Well, boss, better at the hands of a woman than the feet of a minotaur, right?”  And Gutrad turned up another can of Bloodweiser, downing it in seconds, joining his teammates in celebration.  Caven could only smile, and wonder about his ever-changing future…

 

To be continued…

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