The Tale of The Order of the Holy Squirrel part 1
Bumping down the old dirt road on a cart that was more suited to carrying plague ridden corpses than passengers and pulled by a donkey who looked and sounded like it had contracted some form of vile disease judging by the look and smell of the beast, Marcus Leightdorf gazed up at the crisp blue sky , glad that the rolling clouds of black that hung in the air like a smothering shroud had finally passed now that they had cleared the Grey Mountains and had arrived in the land of Bretonnia.
Bretonnia was a peculiar oddity to Marcus , High Lords to lesser Nobles all driven by the same desire to become great knights of renound , the peasantry who due to a large amount of inbreeding in Marcus’ eyes tended the fields , cooked the food , built the castles and towns, which left a lot to be desired in the build quality of many a knightly hall or in the case of the monstrosity now begging to appear on the horizon , their Blood Bowl stadiums .
The Order of the Holy Squirrel , that was the reason Marcus had been sent by Spike Magazine to journey from his office in Reikland in the Empire, through the Reikwald Forest, Axe Bite Pass through the Grey Mountains to the realm of Parravon, home of the Squirrels . A fresh face in the world of the Mead & Mayhem League, they’ve built a sizeable fan base within it’s hallowed ranks and a rookie season in the Challenge League most teams would dream of , just narrowly missing out on a Playoff spot for the Pro League.
Within minutes of entering the high walled town of Parravon, Holy Squirrel banners and flags could be seen dotting many a town house and shop window, lining the rough cobbled streets all the way to the Squirrels Stadium , The Andydome . How a team could have such a name for a stadium was beyond Marcus’ logic for rational thinking people but the name derived from the Squirrels owner and head coach Sir Andy Von Cook.
The stadium itself was a mish-mash of stone, wood and still living trees, a rather ramshackle structure for such a lofty people as the Bretonnians but thats peasant labour for you. An aroma of sweet honey blossom and chestnuts hung in the air which struck Marcus as rather odd owning to the large amount of horse and pegasus stables lining the roads to the town. As Marcus dismounted the cart and started up the cobbled slope to the stadium two squirrels dart through his legs chasing one another up the side of the stadium , only then did Marcus notice the truth behind the name of the team.
Crowding the stadium walls, in every nook, cranny , banner pole, on every tree branch , sat , ran and climbed a horde of squirrels. Everywhere around the stadium the little creatures were going about their daily business without a care in the world, Marcus not quite believing he’d failed to notice them or in fact hear them when approaching the grounds .
Then in a clash of wood slapping upon stone the stadium doors flung open and out strode a man dressed in the finery of polished full plate armour wearing the colours of the Order of the Holy Squirrel, a proud face which showed the ravages of battle from on and off the pitch, a knightly helmet held in the crook of his left arm and held upon the right dressed in a tiny tabard of the same design, a red squirrel.
Sir Andy Von Cook, owner and coach of the Squirrels strides down to Marcus, a big warm smile splitting his face like a child who got his first league official ball for Hexenstag. “Welcome my dear lad, you must be Marcus Leightdolf from Spike Magazine” coming out in a great fancy boom clearly in an attempt to appear noble and high born when secretly Marcus had information retaining to the origins of Sir Cook.
” Yeah that’s me ” replies Marcus. ” Well welcome indeed, please my lad follow me inside, there is much your readers must wish to know about the Order if you’ve travelled all this way to hear tales of our great feats this season” the little squirrel darting up the knights arm to his shoulder just in time for him to slap his hand and forearm across Marcus’ back knocking the air from his lungs and leading him up through the stadium doors into the interior of the Andydome .
The aroma of honey blossom and chestnuts was far greater inside the stadium and if Marcus thought there were a lot of squirrels on the outside of the stadium he was mistaken for there were squirrels beyond counting on the inside. On floors, the walls, the seats in the stands, they were everywhere ! “How ” thought Marcus , ” How does a team play in a stadium with this many rodents in it?” This last thought he chose to say out loud which earned him a hard clout round the back of the head from his host. ” Speak ill of my peoples joy again and you’ll be returning to Reikland less of a man after i feed your nuts to our squirrels” in a voice of barely contained thunder. ” I will not tolerate anyone insulting our reason for us existing”
This choice of words did spark some curiosity in Marcus who was still trying to get his eyes to focus properly after receiving a steal gauntlet to the back of the head. ” What do you mean by them being your reason for existing ?” he inquires. “Sir ” replies Sir Andy . “You what ? ” questions Marcus . “Sir, lad . I’m a knight and would be spoken to in the proper manner.”
“Oh great ” thinks Marcus. ” I’ve been here three minutes and i’ve been slapped, whacked, spoken down to by this strutting nonce and I’m sure these aren’t little brown ‘stones’ I’m stepping on everywhere.”
“Come with me lad to my office and we can discuss our story” Sir Andy leads the way across the second level stands passing the players of the Order of the Holy Squirrel practicing on the field. The sun shining down warmly on the grounds, small specks of light danced around in the light breeze in sparkling flakes of gold and green, small trees popping out of corners of the wood work and stone and what appeared to be a Treeman growing in the far corner of the opposite stand, with the sweet aroma of the place gave the scene a magical feel, along with the hundreds of squirrels skipping about the stands Marcus could see the enchantment fans saw in this place and the team.
Marcus noticed Sir Lez Dance, captain of the Squirrels running an attacking play with his team mates throwing a quick pass to Sir Leopold Longstrider who’s path was being cleared by the power house Sir Barry Bossanova . Just before Sir Andy lead Marcus through the door to his office Marcus spotted another player whom he’d never seen before, another hulking man the size of a Black Orc dressed in the armour of a Blocker. Had the Squirrels already acquired a new star signing for the next season ?
Upon entering Sir Andy Von Cook’s office Marcus was greeted by more of the shining specks of colour floating in the light of the one large window looking out upon the town of Parravon , stone walls covered in numerous team jerseys, helmets and other trinkets from other teams in the CPR & DND East division mounted on the walls. A beer stein from Praag no5, skink skin from InGen , a magically sealed display case containing a rotting zombies jersey from the Weeping Widowmakers, along with many others. A flag stone floor with a great minotaur skin along with a huge oak desk and a tall Ogre leather chair sat on top dominated the entire room. Even a few more squirrels were in here, right at home sitting where they pleased.
“Please take a seat lad ” offers the Squirrels coach placing his helmet and squirrel companion on the desk whilst pointing to the small beastman skin stool in front of his desk. Marcus knowing from years of visiting different teams stadiums that all coaches like to feel dominant in their office, seating visitors and staff on tiny chairs to intimidate them . Marcus perches on the stool and takes his note book out of his pack along with his dwarven made squig ink quill. “So Sir Andy Von Cook, my first question is what is it with all these squirrels? Where did they come from? Why does your team and the towns folk value them so much?” asks Marcus.
“Well” says Sir Andy flopping into his high back chair in his heavy armour, sending sparkling specks and squirrels scattering.” I do believe that’s three questions but to answer them……. I will have to start from the beginning”