This post is part of the series Unlife
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April 1st, Temple of the Maker
Some things in life you never get used to. Turns out, the same applies in death …
It felt like a lifetime ago …
Gradually, Git’s memories and sense of self had begun to return. He remembered his bargain with the Wight, Blavod the Black, he remembered his execution at the feet of his erstwhile attendant, Gerhart Steelcaps (Or Foulin’ Gerhart as he preferred). He remembered waking several weeks later with an agonising pain where his hand once was … it had been replaced with an imposing prosthetic made of black iron with runes carved in it. He remembered Blavod explaining the terms of their new arrangement …
‘The Maker has decreed that you shall lead us to success on the Blood Bowl turf – it presents an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate your worth, to add to our ranks – and most importantly, the trophy is a relic which The Maker believes to be of significant import … failure and refusal are not options you have … ‘
Git remembered the chill emanating from this intimidating, yet somehow graceful creature, clad head to toe in black platemail, save for the faceplate. Git looked into the creature’s eyes, all inky blackness without so much as a flicker of humanity, and yet, he began to chuckle, much to the newly reanimated coach’s surprise…
‘That hand you have there, that’s the Maker’s gift … the Hand of Glory. With it, you can dominate the minds of lesser undead, such as zombies and skeletons. Wights such as myself respect the power of such an artifact, and Mummies are forced to obey the magics sealed within … all we need is to round up some of the Geists loitering in these grounds, we can promise them a regular source of nourishment, as well as a degree of respect normally denied their kind … in return, you are to teach us the intricacies of this game of ‘Blood Bowl’ – we have a … basic understanding, but the Maker will be satisfied with nothing less than total victory. Do you understand?’
Git nodded. The reanimation process had stripped him of many of the emotions he would expect to be feeling … He held no fear, or shock, or sense of surprise. Just an inexorable drive to proceed down the new path laid before him.
April 8th, The Abattoir
Git surveyed the team assembled before him. They lacked the obvious agility and quickness of his former Skaven outfit, but they made up for it with inhuman strength and resilience, the likes of which Git hadn’t seen before … perhaps they could succeed?
Mesekhtet III & Akhenaten the Great towering above all, utterly silent, clad in foetid bandages. What manner of dark magic that had given them their size and strength, Git was unsure, and he felt grateful for the protection afforded him by the Hand of Glory …
Blavod & what he assumed to be a former comrade in life named Conrad. Conrad was the complete opposite of Blavod – where Blavod was at least capable of imitating human mirth, Conrad felt no such desire. Freakishly strong and deceptively quick, Conrad seemed made for this game.
Blavod had made good on his promise to round up some of the local geist population – four stood before Git with collars that read with the names ‘Ratcollector’, ‘Detritus’, ‘Marrowbone’ & ‘Wormravager’. Ratcollector in particular was showing promise, extremely nimble with a startling knack for seeing threats before they came to pass … he’d also fashioned what appeared to be gloves out of what Git assumed to be some form of flesh … in any event, the ball appeared to just stick in his hands – a very useful skill!
Finally, the shambling zombies, and the ever cajoling Gerhart Steelcaps.
Blavod had entered the team (Named Dead Metal) into the prestigious Mead & Mayhem Challenge league, a requirement before the main prize could be competed for, and their first opponents would be a colourful Chaos Dwarf outfit, hailing from the Zigga Zigg Ahhhrena and led by a pair of flamboyant Centaurs by names of Madonnatron & Shaniqua Bot ….
April 13th, Temple of the Maker
It was hard to disagree with the Maker’s assessment. Coach Mercy Flush had employed a particularly proficient wizard to assist with the game, and Git had underestimated just how vulnerable his players would be to the flames …
‘You will have one chance at redemption. Fail again, do not return. Begone!
Git nodded subserviently, and left the throne room. He resolved to not fail again, and began to formulate plans to defeat his next three opponents – The skeletal army of Harryhausens, led by a rival necromancer known only as Hairy Warthog, the Darkmoon Blades, a canny veteran team of dark elves led by the impish Leathyndra, and finally the Bell Keepers, a zealous band of knights & yeoman coached by the stoic Galfon …
Git had previously faced these coaches on the turf in another life, and knew what to expect. He also knew there would be no margin for further error or misjudgment ….
May 5th, The Abattoir
Standing underneath the night sky, Git observed the practice session on the turf. The past three 3 weeks had gone almost to plan, barring Detritus’ self inflicted death against the Darkmoon Blades. Dead Metal had been utterly ruthless and efficient, scoring seven touchdowns and conceding none, whilst brutalising the opposition in a manner Git had never experienced in his tenure coaching the Royal Rat Authority! For a fleeting moment, he considered the fate of his former charges – he had spent a lot of time with them, and even formed something of a bond, but he’d always known the arrangement was temporary, as opposed to the more … permanent circumstances he now found himself in. He wondered how he’d feel about facing his former Skaven paymasters on the field, and then looking over at Akhenaten the Great, came to the swift conclusion that he’d approach the task with the same level of methodical brutality as any other team… A chilling hand on Git’s shoulder snapped him out of his reverie. Git knew it could only be Blavod, the one member of this team he’d struck up a kinship with that he hadn’t expected, and sure enough, the familiar rasping rattle of Blavod’s voice began –
‘Coach, the name of this next opponent concerns me – The Order of the Holy Squirrel. They come to the Abattoir, this is true, but if they are truly blessed … this could be problematic for the weaker among us.’
Git remembered these ‘squirrels’ from his previous life – they had become known across the land for their seemingly impossible exploits, snatching wins and draws from the jaws of almost certain defeat … could they truly be blessed?
To be continued …
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