The Union of Linemen
The show opens on a nice study. Rows of books line the background, and two overstuffed armchairs sit across from each other, with an ornate wooden table between them. A couple glasses and a pitcher of what appears to be water sit on the table. The chair to the right is occupied by a thin human. His hair is in that stage of too short to be considered long, and too long to be called anything but scraggy. He needs a haircut, for sure. Dressed in a simple clothes and a tan brown coat that matches his hair, leg crossed, and thumbing through a notebook.
He looks up at the Crystal Camera Ball, right into your eyes and says, “Ahh, you’re here. Thank you for coming. I am Alan. Maybe you have read some of the stories I have written during my time with the MML. From my first stories with The Cold Hard Truth and the saurus that tormented me, to my time as the official Team Archivist with Dignity, the one season that I covered The Seven Deadly Sins and What Chainsaw?, and now I am back to being the team Archivist for Dignity.
But today, I’m not here to talk to you about Dignity. Or at least, not about just Dignity, but about a problem that has been affecting the MML as a whole, especially the so called Agility Teams. I’m here to talk to you about the dastardly use of journeymen to soak up the most dangerous positions on the blood bowl pitch. Every week, linemen and journeymen take career ending injuries or worse to do their job, and they get little to no support or thanks from any of the teams they commit to.
Elven Linemen, both signed and journeymen, are coming from across the MML to stand tall and proud against the ruthlessness of their coaches, ready to fight the system. But no one stands stronger than Celedor (Sell-uh-dor) Rololoth, founder of the Union of Linemen.”
A bruised and beaten high elf enters from the left and takes a seat across from Alan. He has a black eye, several facial scars, and a slight limp favoring his left leg. He settles into the overstuffed chair and throws his silver hair over his shoulder.
“Celedor Rololoth,” Alan said, “Thank you so much for joining us this afternoon.”
“Please, call me Rolo.”
“Alright Rolo.” Alan thumbs through his notebook. “So you have been a part of Dignity since the end of last season. How many Dignity games have you played now?”
“Four, Alan. Just Four.”
“And how has your experience with Dignity been so far?”
“There has been a lot of ups and downs, that’s for sure, Alan. That first game, I was hired as a journeyman and I really wanted to show my stuff. You know, to make a name for myself. Dignity had a few open positions, and I was really hoping I could impress Coach Sestonn. Which I guess I did. I failed a block, my opponent and I both went down, but he didn’t get back up. I find out later that he died. I wasn’t trying to kill him. But Coach Sestonn was impressed, and I was the very first journeyman Dignity signed into a permanent position. I was thrilled. Cloud Nine. When Coach Sestonn needed more journeymen for the last match of the season, I suggested my little brother.” Rolo looked down at the floor. “He didn’t survive that game.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that,” Alan said. “But Dignity funerals are always grand, spectacular events. So at least he was honored the way he deserved to be.”
Rolo shook his head, “No. Dignity refused to pay the funeral costs for a journeyman, even though he was my brother. I was able to scrape up the money, thank God. But Alan, do you know how many Dignity players showed up to my brother’s funeral?”
“Well, I imagine at least Royalty and Eccentric did. Maybe a few others.”
Rolo shook his head again. “Fortress did. Just fortress. Just the other lineman. The rest of the team pay so little attention to us that I don’t think they even noticed that my brother died in that match.”
“That’s not the worst part,” Rolo said, “The very next day, the entire team showed up to welcome Count Ridiculous, Dignity’s trade for the new season. Every single one of them. Even the High Mage twins from the stadium’s magic shoppe!”
“Oh wow.” Alan said. “That must have stung.”
“I hate to say it,” Rolo said, “but from what I see across the league, it’s completely normal. Especially on elven teams. The coaches and the positional players see us as lesser beings. They think its our job to go up against monsters that we have no way to beat, just to slow those monsters down so that they don’t get to the -real- players.”
“I have seen that across the league myself,” Alan said.
“Do you know what happened when my brother died on the field? What happened with the apothecary?”
Alan shook his head. “No, what happened?”
“The Apothecary Lithe grabbed his equipment but Coach Sestonn stopped him. HE STOPPED HIM. Sestonn told the apothecary, and I quote, ‘Sit your ass back down.'”
Alan shook his head and let out a deep sigh. “I believe it. Coach Sestonn can be very harsh with his journeymen.”
“My brother was laying on the field, dying, and the one person who could have saved him wasn’t allowed to. And do you know who the apothecary was able to work on later in that match?”
Alan shook his head again.
“That’s right! No one! No one else got hurt, and my brother died for nothing.”
“I hate to say it Rolo, but that’s common practice. Not just for Dignity, but for every elf team in the league. They save the apothecary for the players that they see as the most important.”
“And that’s what we want to stop, Alan. The Union of Linemen is here now, and we aren’t going to put with this predacious lack of care for the linemen and journeymen that support the MML teams. We demand the proper use of apothecaries for both signed linemen -and- journeymen. We demand that teams fund emergency room treatment and hospital stays, as well as funerals for journeymen that suffer an injury while competing. If they are playing for a team, they are part of that team. And we demand that the MML and its teams start up a journeyman injury and death insurance, to pay the families of fallen journeymen the very same as it does for its other players.”
“Wow, that could really change the way Blood Bowl operates.”
“And we should, Alan. Right now, Blood Bowl is broken. It’s unfair, and we are not going to stop until these rules are implemented. If nothing comes about, we will be looking to inspire an entire leaguewide journeyman strike. It’s time for a change. It’s time for a better MML.”
“It is,” Alan said. “It really is.”
Both men stood up and shook hands. Then Rolo exited to the left and Alan returned to his seat. The camera zoomed in on him.
“It -is- time to make a change. If you stand for change, for what’s right, then stand with us. Sign your name and become part of the Union of Linemen. Together, we can improve the lives of linemen everywhere and make Blood Bowl the great sport that we all want it to be.”
The screen fades to black. Then bright white letters appear, SIGN YOUR NAME BELOW TO STAND AS A MEMBER OF THE UNION OF LINEMEN.