I really need to sleep
If I don’t get some rest, I’ll never heal these wounds
I wrap my blanket about my swollen knees and cover my ears, trying to block out the cacophony.
Ahh. This blanket. It was a gift from Betty. Way back when in MML S27. She gave it to me after the first game. I run my fingers over the purple fabric. The material is so soft. It must have been a fine garment once upon a time. Now it’s tattered and grimy, but you can still make out the Denver Dynamos logo, embroidered across it. Our first official win. And the start of this horrific, ongoing nightmare.
Oh Nuffle, please deliver me…
There follows the inevitable crash, as Chris no doubt lands a pile driver on one of his team mates. I can hear a guttural sort of wailing, but I can’t tell if it’s pain or laughter. Maybe both. I’d better wait this one out. It’s not a good time to come out of the cupboard. I lay my aching head down upon the mushroom caps now sprouting in the cupboard corner, hoping the small comfort will be worth the inevitable infection. Oh Nuffle, when will this season end? I have to plan my escape. I don’t think I can last another game.
My injuries are fairly severe this time. One knee is so swollen i can’t put any weight on it. My left eye is sealed shut with bruising. A gash across my chest has been weeping something sticky, since Chris sent me flying across the pub to collide with the corner of the bar.
Things had been going pretty well actually. The Rorcs were on such a high after killing and maiming their way through so many pro teams that they had pretty much forgotten all about me. And to be fair it really was their insistence on violence that had clinched the win against the factor 50 vampires, the high Elves and even the legendary Los Pumas, human former champions. I can’t say my tactics had very much to do with it. They filled the opponents caz boxes and Simon walked in the inevitable score.
Even when we lost against the Broken Things lizardmen team, I managed to escape a beating. My thanks to the Clone of Dino Xitkin for taking the beating for me. Chris and the boys were so happy to have killed him they barely noticed that we lost the match.
But last game was different. The Rorcs’ lust for violence was not satiated in the game against the Doompeak Bulls, and the blame for our loss was laid firmly upon my shoulders, having set them up incorrectly against the one turn touchdown. Even Simon put the boot in! I know! The elfswodge! Always more concerned about the ball game than the violence. He said his glorious solo run was wasted by my incompetence… although that’s not how he put it. “Ya dun swudged me wudgenupping runnup n score wiv ya duggerupin stodge fudger…” or some such nodge. Anyway, my kneecap certainly understood the sentiment of his Orcidas boot.
This is their new thing. It’s pretty hilarious really. On the one hand it’s like a bunch of human toddlers, obsessing over a new number that they’ve just learned. Until you remember that that number is how many opposition players the Rorcs have killed so far this season.
I hear a thumping, footsteps pounding down the corridor towards me. Brace yourself Hedo’. It might be him. It’s definitely a black orc, from the weight of each step… the cupboard door swings open…
Phew. It’s Sid. Nice guy Sid. I’m OK.
“Hi Sid… whooooa…”
“Cummon yoo. Weez celebraytin”
He reaches out his massive hand and pulls me to my feet by my head. He’s been a fair amount rougher with me since he picked up the block skill. Not quite the nice guy of old. Pretty hard to stay nice in this atmosphere, I guess.
“I don’t think I can stand, Sid. “
He grunts and slings me over his shoulder and stumps back towards the bar.
“What are we celebrating, anyway?”
We reach the bar and Sid plonks me down behind a wooden makeshift table, beside Chaz, who is slurping fungicol from his helmet. I look around the pub and see that all the Rorcs are doing the same. Any cups or glasses have long since been smashed. The place is an absolute state. I’m amazed it’s still standing. In the centre of the room, the mound of Earth that was the original table has been piled high with smashed furniture and trophies taken from defeated teams… helmets, flags, tabards, armour… even the shattered remains of a wagon that some of the Factor50 thralls had arrived to the game in. Abstractly I notice that the table where I’m sat is one of its wheels…
And atop this mound, his head almost touching the ceiling above, arms outstretched like a bloated green juzziz, gnashing his metal enhanced jaws. Him. The bully. Chrysolite Chris.
“I IZZ DA BIGGEST! DA BADDEST!! DA MOST VIOLENT BROOT OV DA LEEEG!!”
“Raaaarrrgggghhhh” comes a cry in response. Though not from all assembled I should add. At least I can see “Psycho” Sapphire Sam hopping enthusiastically from one foot to the other. Eyes wild. Slapping his hands together. Craig joining in beside him. “ROOOOOOORRR” comes a thunderous sound from the doorway, Rorc Steady, our troll, being too big to fit inside.
“ITZ OFFISHULL. I IZZ DA NUMBAH WUN. AND I AZZ TAKIN YU BOYZ TA DA PLAYOFFS!!”
It is true. He really is the baddest, most violent brute in our pool. Although probably not the league. We got the stats in after the last match.
Nuffle’s balls! We made the playoffs!?! How can it be possible?
WUN… TOO… FREE… FORR… FIY KILLZ WE GETS! Lookatda list”
Chris swings a massive finger to indicate a scrawled list, daubed on the wall in red. I can just make it the name Dino, but the rest is an illegible nonsense.
“Angaround! Bring me dat nodge!”
Angaround Ammerfist shuffles over with a bottle of Fungicol. Chris grabs it from him, knocks him back to the ground with a thump, then bites the glass from the top of the bottle, emptying it down his neck, glass fragments and all. “
“I IZZ DA BOSSSS!!!”
He looks down at Angaround, sprawled on the ground beneath him.
A rumbling begins to swell his chest.
Oh crap, here comes the pile on…
“OI CHRIS! I az addinuff! Yu aynt no boss N Yu iz gonna stop beetin on uzz”
“”Ooo sedd dat?”
Simon steps forward.
“Yeah! Yuzz nut da ownly wun doin the smushin!”
This time it’s Elvis who steps towards the mound.
“YUGH YUGH YUGH YUGH. YA FINKS YA KAN CHULLENGE ME ELVIS, WIV YA MIYTEE TICKULL? YUGH YUGH YUGH”
Chris pulls back a fist and takes aim at Emerald Elvis’ head.
A spiked ball flies from the corner of the room, and I spot Rorcsin laughing. It collides with Chris’ head and he loses balance.
The ball enters a spin, deflected towards Elvis, who quite unexpectedly leaps and catches it (AG4). Chris lunges at him again but he’s already dodged away.
“ELVIS!! YU IZZA KILLA LIKE ME. NOT AN ELFSWODGIN BALL PLAYA LIKE SIMON!!”
Elvis tosses the ball towards Simon who neatly snatches it up from the ground (sure hands). Chris swings round and lumbers down off the mound towards Simon but Simon effortlessly steps out the way (dodge+sidestep) and Chris trips on a piece of wagon, falling to the ground like a downed treeman. Meanwhile, Elvis has clambered onto the mound…
“DATZ RITE! I IZZ ELVIS! DA NEW BOSSSS OV DA RO…”
Elvis is shoved forwards
“HUSTLIN’ HUSTLIN’ -Orick Ross iz HUSTLIN’”
Damn I hate that bloody rap. Also, pretty obnoxious for the new signing to think he can take charge isn’t it?
“NO WAY!” Shouts Simon, and dives towards him, somehow sidestepping the oncoming Elvis…
I can hear Chaz and Sid cackling with glee either side of me. They get up from the table, just as Elvis slams into it.
A searing pain in my chin as the edge of the wagon wheel connects with my head… knocking it back…
I fall to the floor, the wheel landing flat on top of me, and look up to see Simon now standing atop the mound.
“SIMON IZZ DA NEW BOSS! DA ONLY TOUCHDARN SCORER ON DA TEAM!!! AN SEKKON BESS SCORER IN DA…”
From out of a hazy cloud of smoke that had been gathering in the other side of the room lumbers Terry Da Topaz Toker, barrelling into Simon, knocking him from the mound… He may have caught Simon unawares but surely Terry doesn’t reckon himself…
“ITZ MY TURN, YU SWODGERS!”
But that’s all he has time to say, as Simon trips over the wagon wheel and crashes into the cracked plaster wall.
There follows a moment of almost pure silence. Then a strange creaking, followed by a ripping sound. Then a thunderous, deafening roar as the back wall begins to buckle and collapses, bringing down the roof!
The last thing I see is an almost comedic, dumb look on Terry’s face as he looks up at the cracks racing across the ceiling an inch above his head.
Then everything goes white in a cloud of plaster.
Did I lose consciousness?
I’m not sure.
I seem to be alright. I think the wagon wheel must have shielded me from the building’s collapse.
I crawl out from under it and observe the desolation.
The bodies of the Rorcs lie half buried in the rubble. Their green skins painted white by the plaster. Some of them stir. Some lie still. Nobody seems fully concious.
In the centre of what was the pub bar room, but now resembles a the crater of a mortar attack, stands Chris’ mound.
What the hell, I think. I drag myself out from under the wheel, push myself up on all fours and crawl towards it, clambering up to the top and onto the rubble strewn back of a snoring Terry. I struggle to my feet.
“Look who’s boss now bitches! I IZZ HE… *ahem* I AM HEDONIHILIST! The biggest, the baddest, THE BOSS OF ALL YOU RORCS!”
See you in the playoffs.