The Hateful Eight
Situated in the lands of Stirland in the Empire north of the city of Averheim along the river Aver sat one of the marvels of the Old World , the MML Headquarters. A sprawling metropolis of restaurants and fairground rides crowded round the high walled epicentre of the MML itself . Gleaming towers of Dwarven marble reaching to the heavens , hung with hundreds of banners of the teams who call the MML home.
Sir Andy Von Cook stood at the great golden entrance gates, his armour polished to a mirror shine, his pet squirrel Mr Jingles perched on his shoulder he stood like a beacon of knightly virtue . The invitation sent by commissioner Preach had stated the coaches may bring a small entourage to Season XIII’s Playoff inauguration and Sir Leopold Longstrider and Sir Gilhart Godcannon had accompanied their lord in a display of strength and unity along with a dozen other squirrels with them .
” Hehe so youz made it den squirrel boy?” came a familiar shrill voice. The goblin whom had delivered the invitation to Sir Andy was stood in waiting by the gate along with his lumbering Black Orc companion , arms folded once again as immobile as a statue.
” Indeed we have snotling cur ” was Sir Andy’s sharp reply . ” Now prey take thee to thy master.”
” Oooooo touchy ain’t we ?! Cum’on den tin manz follow uz ”
The Bretonnian’s trailed their peculiar guides , the goblin sitting atop his partners shoulders , a constant stream of endless babble spewing from his lips. As they travelled up the main causeway to the MML main building they passed groups of Blood Bowl fans of every race imaginable, many wearing different MML merchandise from caps and jerseys to big foam hands in the shape of a bar of pink Soap.
Numerous attractions and establishments lined the street on either side, Jofro’s Adventuring Emporium, Berzo’s Bait Bucket , First Four Best Four Waffle House , Greased up Deaf Pies and The Four Horsemen Coach rentals to name but a few.
Soon the buildings thinned out and a great field opened out, lush green grass immaculately kept made all who gaze upon it long to throw themselves down and roll around upon it. A large club house was all that stood in the field save for a pair of Blood Bowl posts just behind it on a small pitch . As the group began walking past Sir Andy read the sign at the Clubs entrance
” The Trophy Case?”
” Yeh dats da MML trophie case ” spoke the goblin ” Wot didz yah fink da place would look like? All da “Retired” teamz endz upz ‘ere” A bony green finger pointing at the figures in and around the club. On closer inspection Sir Andy could see many famous players from across the MML enjoying lounging in the sun, drinking cocktails by the bar, screaming and shouting at a large Cabal Vision Ball showing a match, he even spotted Gorbag Marlarr running a yoga class !
“Dis huge bunch ov gitz ar waaaayyyyyy past their best now.” giggled the goblin ” Not one ov these old farts could……………”
From out of nowhere the green guide was struck down from his Orc mount and hit the floor like sack of brinks . The loud wet crunch from an object had smashed a huge hole in the side of his head causing his tiny brain to dribble out of his shattered skull all over the road.
The Squirrel players went on alert and prepared themselves for another attack. A head sized rock rolled to a stop at Sir Andy’s feet , half of it covered in goblin brains but a word written on the side in elvish was still visible.
A great cheer erupted from the Trophy Case and a group of elves were high fiving each other and jeering at the dead goblin. The Black Orc suddenly burst into a wild rage , screaming at the loss of his little comrade he charged at the elves, who were considerably quicker, skipped away goading the black orc on all the while laughing their heads off.
” What shall we do now my lord ?” inquired Sir Godcannon .
Sir Andy simply shrugged ” F’orc the filthy nave tis nay our concern. Let us make haste to the meeting before any more Rocks rain down upon us .”
A short walk later the Knights and their squirrel companions reached the gargantuan doors of the MML main building . Two Dark Elf Executioners framed either side of the doors, their man sized great swords held out in front of them, as the Squirrels approached both Executioners lifted their blades to block entry to the halls.
Up spoke the squirrel lord. ” Thy name is Sir Andy Von Cook , lord of the Order of the Holy Squirrel and thou hath been summoned by thy master Sir Preach. Stand aside. ”
The Executioner guard eyed the Bretonnians silently, then after a few moments lowered their great swords allowing them passage . The group entered the building and were greeted by a grand entrance hallway with pristine black marble floor and pillars stretching down the long corridor. Walls of deep mahogany were hung with fine tapestries and oil paintings .
” This is all very posh “ stated Leopold as they made their way down the corridor to the hall of champions at the far end .
“ Maybe if we win the MML championship we may make the Andydome as grand as this my lord ?” asked Gilhart .
” If you lads win the MML Championship I’ll buy you a frigging castle made of gold and studded with diamonds.” joked Sir Andy.
Marching up to the doors of the Hall of Champions Sir Andy placed his hands upon the heavy wooden oak, angry voices could be heard from the other side. Mr Jingles , Sir Andy’s squirrel companion gave a little squeak and placed a reassuring hand on his masters cheek . Sucking in a deep breath the Squirrel coach heaved the doors open , pulled back his shoulders , puffed up his chest and strode into the room.
” You dare speak to me like that you grotty little goblin lover ?!” bellowed coach Jhall of the Gingerbread Boys. ” I’ll shove my foot so far up your backside you’ll be coughing up shoe laces ! ” stabbing a finger across the large oval table that dominated the centre of the room. The Gingerbread Boys coach wore an elaborately colourful suit of orange and cream silk with white ruffled collar and cuffs, a matching beret with flamboyant peacock feathers sprouting from the top.
On the table in front of him was a huge selection of biscuits and empty tea cups , and along with the mountains of treats was Bye Baby Bunt Cake, the Ogre either though pure laziness or just because he was unable to stand sat next to his coach, his massive bulk spilling over his chair . The tubby Ogre was so big flab spilled out from under his jersey top like a blubber hill, his mouth too full of biscuits to fully understand what he was yelling about and accompanying them was Rub a Dub Doughnut , the human blitzer was so strong people say he mixes gravel in with his cookie mix .
The grand central table had exquisite skink leather chairs that circled the table, one every 6 feet and at the head of the table was a lectern baring the MML insignia . The walls once again were covered the great paintings but these were of every MML Champion starting on the left with Coach Joker the Fourth of the Frozen Thrones the season one champion all the way through to coach Gerdleah of the Ubersreik Flamers winners of season twelve .
The target of coach Jhall’s unfretted rage was coach Evuccifer of the Earthshacker Cannons. The Chaos Dwarf boss stood with his chin barely a hairs breath above the great table edge, a tall hat of gold and black steel sat on his brow , images of demons and gods were masterfully carved into all sides of the helm which were mirrored on Jhall’s equally elaborately grim armour . His beard all though mostly hidden from view due to the table was braided with tokens and charms of death and pestilence.
Next to the Chaos Dwarf coach and just as angry was the Earthshakers star blocker Thabak Stonetoe brandishing his deadly claws and swearing dwarf curses and just behind him standing on all fours and stomping his hoofs was Leodippos Bulltank, who was SO angry the Bull Centaur had defecated all over the floor in his rage.
Coach Evuccifer jabbed a chubby sausage finger back at his playoff rival ” Bring it on biscuit boy ” jeered the dwarf ” I’ll crush you so hard they’ll be nothing left but itty bitty crumbs !”
Along with the two coaches in the mist of their fight lounged coach Triperis, the Norse captain laid back in his chair feet resting on the table seemingly enjoying the squabble taking place in front of him. Wearing the common hot pants of his people Triperis’ sun baked skin was a tapestry of Nordic tattoos of great sea beasts and symbols, a large fur belonging to a beast of the northern wastes was draped across his broad shoulders. An ornate shisha rested on the table, a cloud that smelled of exotic spices hung like a cloud above him and his two accompanying Golden Discipline players.
Cherep the mad Berserker rocked from side to side cracking his knuckles trying to contain his immeasurable fury from spilling over his consciousness and attacking everyone in the room. On the other end of the spectrum was Thorrbiorn , the Norse thrower stood arms folded chuckling away at the scene before him .
Too the right side of the room sat directly under the paintings of season twelve’s MML champion Gerdleah was the Skaven himself . The Ubersreik Flamers coach had changed a lot since he first arrived in the MML, his two MML championships had granted him much favour from the Horned Rat and a change had fallen over him.
His fur once a redish brown and started coming out in grey and two horns had sprung out from his brow, a clear sign of favour in his race. As well as the new mutation Gerdleah had enhanced himself further with the finest bionics clan Skryre could muster . Half his brain pan had been removed and a steel plate dotted with wires and lights heightened his intelligence and wit to supernatural heights .
The most striking thing was the large wire running from the back of Gerd’s skull and around the back of his chair to a large iron box that was covered in pipes, dials and skaven runes that hurt the eyes if you stared at them too long and the pungent tang of warpstone hung over the machine . The device was called the Ark , none could begin to imagine how the machine worked or the arcane magic that ran it but it was said it was a communicator, a tool used for speaking directly to Nuffle .
The foul Skaven chittered quietly to himself or perhaps maybe to Nuffle but none except those close to the ratman would ever truly know, and none ever would if the The Big Cheese had anything to say about it. The giant Rat Ogre hung over it’s master like a shroud brandishing his teeth and growly menacingly at any who dared look their way.
There was one fellow coach Sir Andy was glad to see, directly opposite the door just next to the lectern sat Teddytom coach of Undead But Worse.
The Khemri Lord was resplendent in his gold armour , Images of scarabs and ancient Gods covered every inch and upon his head was a golden helm, a great fountain of red hair flowed down from the top like a great mane. His skin was a deep tan from spending his day under the unforgiving Khemri sun.
A mummified maiden lounged across his lap, her head resting upon Teddy’s chest , one arm wrapped tightly about him whilst the other gripped his chest like a lover who feared if they let go they’d never get to hold him again. Standing just to Teddy’s right was Undead But Worse’s star player Sobhis Takhra, Sir Andy had never seen the Thro Ra in person before and rumours of his race before he joined the undead was a subject of great discussion at the MML. Though he was no taller than the average man Sobhis’ rib cage was slender and legs longer. Wide slanted eye sockets with high cheek bones confirmed to the Squirrels coach Sobhis Takhra was indeed an elf in his past life , hence his uncharacteristic ability to actually pick up and throw a ball !
Teddytom looked over from the squabbling coaches to the door and acknowledged the Squirrels coach with a friendly nod . Sir Andy turned to Leopold and Gilhart ” Come my brothers , let us take a seat .”
The Holy Squirrels made their way around the great table past the still arguing coach Jhall and the Gingerbread Boys. Bye Baby Bunt Cake had now managed to stand but the chair he was sitting on now had been consumed by his giant posterior and the Bretonnians had to take care as not to be struck by the four chair legs sticking out of the Ogre’s backside .
Only once past did Sir Andy notice the other coach who was also in the room. Hidden from view by the Gingerbread Boys but plain as day now , if he’d have spotted them first Sir Andy would have opted to go round the room the other direction.
Coach More Shots of the dreaded Bill COWher Power Hour slumped in his chair, he wore a finely tailored suit of black Araby cotton, cufflinks of diamond studded gold glistened in the light and a tie of blood red with skulls marked out with silver thread hung round his neck. Shot’s left elbow resting on the table with his chin rested upon his hand , his right fingers drumming away on the table was clearly bored with waiting for the meeting to start and the fixtures to be announced .
Several jugs of beer had been consumed and discarded in front of him and he quickly snatched up the remaining one and downed it in one gulp and barked the at the serving goblins for another before launching it full pelt at Evuccifer , a manic laugh bursting from his lips as the glass jug smashed of the Chaos Dwarfs pointy hat.
” YOU FILTHY CHAOS WASTE SCUM !” screamed the Earthshacker boss
” Put a sock in it Shorty , You’re putting me off my drink !” chuckled Shots.
Looming up behind him though was what caused the Squirrel coach such unease , Jack Daniel’s and Irish Carbomb both stood immobile as statues , arms folded across chests , death seamed to hang over them , a void of utter misery and oblivion clung to their being. Not a sound emanated from them which made them even more unnerving.
Only when the Squirrels made to pass did both Chaos Warriors turn their heads in their direction , they still didn’t make a sound but their eyes burned with a inferno that blazed eternal hatred. Only Sir Gilhart matched the death stare and walked up to Carbomb .
“Got a problem Chaos dog ?” he asked , tone as cold as ice
“ Oh I wouldn’t do that pretty boy. Unless you want your soul torn from your arsehole ?” came More Shot’s making a start on his new drink.
” Nay come brother, tis not worth it” advised leopold taking his fellow player by the shoulder . Sir Gilhart spat on the floor by Carbombs feet and walked away, the Chaos Warrior didn’t make a sound . He just stared .
” Quite the little pantomime we have isn’t it ? ” joked TeddyTom as they approached. ” It warms my heart to see you here my friend and that you made good on your promise” the Khemri coach motioned for Sir Andy to sit next to him .
” Well a promise is a promise good sir ” he smiled back ” Have we missed much?”
” No just the Supernatural Born Killers to arrive and we’re all here . Jhall and Evuccifer have been at it for a while now and the rest of us have kept to ourselves .”
And as if by mentioning their name coach Snakeyes kicked open the doors and swaggered into the room “Well well well, looks like we’ve been missing out on all the fun ! ” he announced hands on hips .
Snakeyes had a wild look about him , what was surely to be expected when dabbling with the undead . Thick sorcererous robes billowed about him on an arcane wind which seemed to come from nowhere. His face carried a wicked rictus grin which was framed with long dark hair that blew about him. Books of Necromancy and undeath hung about his belt and a tall ebony staff was held in his right hand with skulls and charms dangling from the top like a grim wind chime. In his left hand a leash and on the other end stalked Jack The Ripper Russell, a growl like granite bubbling up from the Werewolfs throat.
” You’re late ” came a stern voice from high up on the lectern. Commissioner Preach stood tall and proud at the stand looking down at the eight coaches below him.
” A Necromancer is never late bossman…….” started Snakeyes making his way to the first available chair next to Gerdleah and taking a seat. ” He arrives precisely when he means to ” he stated .
Preach cleared his throat “I’d like to thank you all for coming and congratulate you all on qualifying for season XIII’s playoffs “
The sound of trumpets tooted from a goblin band in the corner
” The First round fixtures are as follows “
” Now let’s all get drunk and play ping-pong ! ”