Link to previous chapter.
By all standards Krike Beastmaster was an exceptional rat man. As a true alpha warrior, he had risen to lead an elite unit of storm vermin in Clan Rictus’ recent wars with a contingent of chaos dwarves that were tunnelling too close to Crookback Mountain. On top of that he had recently captained Doomclaw’s premier blood bowl outfit the Roughnecks.
Even so, his father Scratch Beastmaster failed to be impressed by Krike and his many accomplishments. Hailing from a blood line of beast masters, who tame the monstrous rat ogres and other warped monsters of the mines, not much could get the old rat excited but similar exploits.
This was a very unfortunate state of affairs, especially for coach Robowhale. Being Krike’s prisoner (formally strategic adviser and assistant coach) Robowhale was submitted to rigorous training when he was not languishing in his cell. One trick had Robowhale attempt to catch knives thrown at him, while another had him fight skaven gladiator style. All this in the vain hope of Beastmaster to impress his dad and showcase his animal handling skills.
As the season progressed these rituals became more and more violent as the team were racking up wins and Beastmaster failed to get the recognition and love he desired, and Robowhale knew it was a question of time before he himself would slip and get maimed or killed. He had to act before it was too late!
During preparations to the playoff game vs. Golden Discipline, he therefore made sure to (unusually) spend some time with a particular group of line rats. Line rats come and go and usually have quite short lifespans, so Robowhale hadn’t bothered to learn their names or even speak to them previously.
The Roughnecks has a particular play in their playbook where a storm vermin blitzes a gap in the opponents defence along the side line to create room the the gutter runners. It is a somewhat risky play as it can leave the blitzer exposed on the side line. Therefore a couple of line rats are usually instructed to screen off the storm vermin from the counter-attacking defenders.
Knowing this Robowhale the line rats to charge ahead and claim their own scalps, not coming to the aid of Beastmaster convincing them that he would be strong enough to handle himself.
On the eve of the game, tens of thousands of skaven and norse warriors were assembled at the Mines of Doomclaw to engage in glorious violence and some of them would also get to watch the MML CL playoff game. This time Beastmaster had not even let Robowhale out of his cell for the game, so he was lying uncomfortably in this cell listening to the roars and screams from the crowd (and players) echoing through the corridors in the mine.
Suddenly the crowd let out a collective howl of anguish and terror so loud and ferocious that Robowhale’s blood froze. He knew instantly that his plan had worked and that Beastmaster would not terrorize him again. Energized he rose to a crouching position and leaned against the cell door. Let me out he thought. The Roughnecks has a semi-final game coming up and I need to prepare MY team!