The Welcome Wagon

ONCE UPON A TIME there was a strong ghoul who had made quite a reputation for himself on a respected Farm team coached by a respected coach. The ghoul was exceptionally strong, and he was a skilled blocker with sure hands. In 18 Farm matches, he had: thrown 3 completed passes; rushed for 784 yards; scored 10 touchdowns; and inflicted 3 injuries, 1 knockout, and 1 casualty. He was the first player signed to the Moon Gods, and he was their team captain.

So imagine his surprise when he learned that he had been traded. He had tried to argue with Coach Berzo. He had even refused to go, but eventually the coach insisted that the “Gruntosaurus debt had to be paid” and gave Phobos the option to do things the easy way or the hard way. When he chose the hard way, he expected the coach to call security, but it took the coach all of about a couple of minutes to singlehandedly overpower him, tie him up, throw a burlap sack over his head, and carry him out of the office over the coach’s shoulder. The blasted humie was minotaur-strong.

By the time the sack came off, Phobos had been dumped in the middle of a small clearing in a creepy forest. A full moon was out. Two monstrous werewolves were in tow behind the stocky human that Coach Berzo was greeting with a hearty clap on the shoulder. Was that…Coach Serious Jest?

Coach Berzo turned his attention back to Phobos. “If you had just trusted me, I would have told you that you were getting promoted to the Pros.”

“Trusted you?!” replied Phobos incredulously. “You’re sending me to my death!”

“To your death, or to glory?” rang out another voice from behind Coach Jest. It was the man with the chainsaw for a hand, the Hopeless Necromantics’ necromancer.

Phobos was careful not to antagonize him. “Look, I know who you are, and I respect you, but you know as well as I do ghouls don’t live long playing for the Romantics. Can’t Get Loose, Groundhog Day, Knocked Up, The Big Sick…there’s history there.”

“Tell me more about this history.” Now another figure had stepped from the shadows. He pulled back his hood to reveal a face that hadn’t been seen in the Blood Bowl world since the MML Pro Season 9 playoffs. See

Phobos gasped, “Papi.” Chasing Papi was the Romantics’ first team captain, he had held the MML rushing record for 3 seasons, and he was revered in the ghoul and the Necromantic communities as one of the very best to ever do it. Phobos managed to regain his composure enough to quip, “You blokes really brought a proper welcome wagon.”

“I’m here because it’s that important,” continued Papi in serious tone, ignoring the attempt at humor. “We’re offering you a chance to be a part of a small and extremely prestigious brotherhood. Yes, those 4 honorable ghouls you mentioned made the ultimate sacrifice. The other 4 of us have suffered injuries that will plague us until the end of our days, even though we have all been out of the game for some time now.” Phobos couldn’t help but look down at Papi’s uneven collar bone, which had never properly healed after that Season 9 Playoff mirror match against The Midnight Howlers (The Howlers went on to win the MML Championship that season). Papi’s voice cut through his gaze: “You probably won’t make true retirement with the Romantics. You may not even end your career with your life. But if you play with your heart, if you lay it all on the line, your legacy will be…immortal.”

“Forget it,” growled one of the wolves. “He’s scared.” Phobos immediately recognized him as Glumtusk Whitefur. He had cut his teeth in the MML on Coach Hez’s Necro Farm-Ya before signing with the Romantics in Season 16 and growing to be one of their most trusted leaders. He had little patience for weakness.

Phobos barked back, “I’m not scared.”  Addressing them all, he continued, “And I gratefully accept your offer.”

“You’re right,” he said to Papi. “It is a great honor. I will make you proud.”

Turning to his former coach, Phobos said, “So I guess this is farewell. Thank you for your leadership and your mentorship. But who will replace me with the Moon Gods?”

“Not to worry,” replied Berzo as he knocked aside Phobos’s outstretched hand and gave him a hearty hug, “your little brother signed to the team earlier today.”

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