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 Post subject: The Port Bristol Corsairs
 Post Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:41 pm 
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Damion Longstride walked down the deck from the ship and onto the bustling docks of Marienburg, his legs grateful for the steady purchase of dry land. Four days at sea had played havoc with his constitution, the problem made worse by the autumn squalls and their temperamental effect on the surging waters of the Sea of Chaos. He looked around at the swell of humanity surrounding him. There seemed to be denizens from all over the known world. Hard-bitten Reiklanders, regal Bretonnians, swarthy fast-talking merchants from Tilea and Estalia, burly Kislev trappers and fierce Norsca sailors, gaudily dressed Elves from Ulthuan, and Dwarf traders from Barak Varr. Damion recognized men from as far as Araby, and those of an even duskier color, rumored to be from much further south. It was a far cry from the vacant, windswept hills of Albion, from whence he sailed.

"You Longstride?"

Damion looked around for the voice calling his name, his shoulder-length black hair cascading down his shoulders. It took a second for him to realize the voice was coming from below his field of view. He looked down to see a portly Halfling in shabby clothes. Sparse patches of red hair sprouted haphazardly from his mostly bald head, and a pipe hung crookedly from his mouth. He looked up at Damion with an air of indifference.

"I am, and you are?" He replied, trying to convey his most warm smile.

"Thought so," the Halfling deadpanned, turning his back on him and walking away. "Follow," he said, sounding as if he didn't really care whether or not Damion complied.

After a moment's hesitation, Damion rushed forward to keep up. Despite the short man's stature he moved surprisingly quick. "Might I have the pleasure of your name," Damion asked again.

"Bodo," replied the Halfling. "Bodo Grimble, Assistant to Coach Naylor."

The name nearly stopped Damion in his tracks. Argus 'Tiny' Naylor was a Blood Bowl legend. After a distinguished career as a Blitzer for the Middenheim Marauders, Naylor made his true mark in the coaching ranks, coaching the Oldheim Ogres to a Blood Bowl Championship in 2475 and a Chaos Cup finals appearance in 2486. He was hired away by the wealthy Dragon Princes, but the haughty High Elves refused to listen to him and he negotiated out of his contract for a less lucrative but more amenable position with the up-and-coming Port Bristol Corsairs. Damion had been toiling away in a lower Albion league, where he had had some success, leading the league in rushing paces and touchdowns. Interest from a larger club was only a matter of time, but when he had heard the Corsairs had purchased his contract to play on their reserve squad, he was especially excited. Spending time learning the game under Coach Naylor could make him a truly outstanding player and who knew, after a season or two, he might get to wear the ocean blue kit of the Corsairs.

Bodo interrupted his reverie by tossing a large, bound sheaf of papers into his chest. "Playbook," he grunted. "Memorize it. You're starting tomorrow."

Damon gaped in disbelief. "Starting? Really? Well this is--" Damion couldn't finish his sentence. A smile beamed across his face. To be playing alongside the team's veteran star Rex Wyngarde and the dazzling speedster Mason 'The Jet' Ryan. This was truly a dream come true.

"Ryan's dead," said Bodo, somehow reading his mind. "Orc crushed his windpipe. Max Zoros delayed in Altdorf. Reserve blitzer hurt. That's why you're starting."

"Oh," replied Damion, suddenly a lot less thrilled. He hadn't known about Ryan's death or the Corsairs hiring Zoros, a well-regarded blitzer with something of a mean streak, but news traveled slow in Albion. Last Damion had heard, he had latched on with the Bright Crusaders, but there were rumors that he didn't fit in with such a pious team.

The rest of the walk to the stadium, Bodo said nothing while Damion tried to avoid running into people and objects while his nose was buried in the playbook. It wasn't long before they reached Marienburg Stadium, where the Seaside Open was taking place. Bodo led him past the security guards inside. The stadium was empty of fans, as it was an off day between games, reserved for practice and healing up from the previous contests.

"You're late," Bodo grumbled. "Missed practice."

"I told the Captain to go faster," Damion deadpanned. He had already made up his mind that he didn't like the surly, little Halfling. They walked below into the locker room, where they were greeted by a large, dark-skinned man with a shaven head, sitting on a bench where he had just finished wrapping his ankle. He was so dark, Damion thought, that he had to hail from the Southlands. The man got up gingerly from his position, placing a crutch underneath his arm.

"This the fresh meat, Bodo?" The man smiled warmly at both of them, extending his hand to Damion. "Okoye," he said. "Okoye Bamasi. Your lucky day, rookie. If I don't get a little too close to Gundar in practice, you'd be watching me from the stands tomorrow instead of the other way around. Try not to look too good out there," he said with a wink. "I'll take him from here, Bodo, show him around, introduce him to the rest of the team."

The Halfling grumbled and wandered off. "Ignore him," said Okoye. "The personality of a cave troll, but he's reliable as the sun coming up. Somehow, everything gets done with Bodo around."

They headed into the locker room, and Okoye called ahead. "J.F.!" A thin, pencil-moustached man turned his head. "Bonjour, Okoye! Zis is the new guy, eh?" He bounced to his feet and sharply extended his hand. "Jean-Francois Lafitte, *STAR* lineman for ze Corsairs. How do you do?" He punctuated the handshake with a sharp bow.

"Star, he says," smirked Okoye. "J.F. hasn't been here much longer than you."

"Nice to meet you," said Damion, shaking his hand. "You're from Bretonnia, I take it?"

"Bretonnia?" Lafitte practically spat out the words. "Zose people stink of mustard. I am from Luval, Monsieur, over in ze New World."

"My apologies," said Damion. "I've never heard of Luval."

"Most people haven't," said Okoye. "They're a colony that was settled by Bretonnians over a century ago. J.F. here is one of the few to make it out of the hinterlands back to the Auld World."

"Where I hope to teach you filthy swine ze PROPER way to play Blood Bowl!" Damion couldn't tell whether he was joking or not.

"We eagerly await your lessons, J.F.," Okoye laughed, leading Damion away. "Over here is Guiseppe Verte, the team's kicker... well, he's learning the position, anyway." The diminutive Tilean smiled and waved back. "And over here are the Krumm Brothers, Eomar and Otto." The two burly Reiklanders looked up and half-nodded, but didn't smile. Damion was well aware of the Krumms and their reputation for bringing pain on the pitch. "Hmmm," Okoye wondered allowed. "I don't see Gerhardt around. He must be in with the coach." Damion knew he was referring to Gerhardt Reinhelm, the hard-nosed lineman who had served with the Corsairs longer than any other player, and captain of the team.

"Well, HELLO. Okoye, please introduce me to this handsome specimen." Damion turned around to see the lithe, athletic figure of the Corsairs star catcher, the beautiful Francesca De La Riva. She had graced as many pin-up calendars and tabloid columns throughout the Auld World as she had highlight reels for her play on the pitch. A former Estalian Contessa, she had grown bored with a life of nobility and took to the gridiron for more exciting pursuits.

"Damion Longstride," said Damion, taking her hand. "A pleasure, Miss De La Riva. I'm a great admirer."

"Now there's a charmer," Amos Hart, the team's other flamboyant Catcher, piped up. "Stands to reason, though. Longstride, eh? I can recognize a fellow from the Isle." He walked over and shook Damion's hand. "From Manchester myself, can't place you, though."

"Newkirk," said Damion, returning the handshake. "I was born in Albion, but I grew up in Wolfenburg."

"That explains it. Smart folks, yours," winked Amos. "Gotcher out early. Oi! Stig, come meet your new Blitzer!"

Stig Jarlsson, the team's Thrower from Norsca, looked up from his place on the bench. A metal patch stood where his right eye used to be, and a long scar trailed down his left cheek. The rest of his face exhibited the harsh features of his warrior people. "Nice to meet you, kid," he grimaced. "Just watch my blind side and try not to get killed out there."

"Nice guy," said Damion. "Why isn't he playing for a Norse team?"

"They just don't appreciate a good Thrower the way we do," cackled Amos. "Half of 'em don't even carry one any more. He's alright. Blitzer mentality, but he can deliver the ball in a pinch. The Contessa and I sure appreciate it, don't we, darlin'?"

"Of course," she smiled, still hungrily eyeing Damion. The way she looked at him made him feel a bit nervous.

"Hey kid," a voice bellowed from the back of the locker room, "get over here!"

It was the unmistakable voice of the team's gregarious star Blitzer, Rex Wyngarde. He was up in years, with a little grey edging at the temples of his handsome, rough-hewn face, but Damion could see that the man was a physical specimen, and judging from his play, still a terror on the Blood Bowl pitch.

Damion headed over, eager to meet one of his idles. Rex took Damion's hand in his massive grip and shook it vigorously, before wrapping an arm around him and leading him away. "Ignore Frankie. She loves all the attention, but she's more bark than bite. Glad to have you on the Corsairs, kid."

"Happy to be here, Mr. Wyngarde," replied Damion.

"Only my ex-wife's lawyers calls me Mr. Wyngarde, kid. Call me Rex." He paused and looked a little reflective. "A damned shame about Mason, he was a good guy, great player." He nodded sadly. "But that's how it goes. One day, we all wind up playing for the Reaper. Just keep your head on a swivel out there, and you'll do fine. Now that you've met the rest of the team..."

"Er... I haven't met everyone yet, Rex." He motioned to the mammoth, yellow-skinned Ogre sitting alone in the corner.

"Oh," said Rex. "Gundar... he ain't really the sociable type, kid. You'd best steer clear of him."

"If that isn't the truth," said Okoye, motioning to his broken foot. "Only the Coach and Gerhardt are allowed to get anywhere near him off the pitch. Give that one a wide berth."

Damion didn't have to be told twice. He couldn't take his eyes off the behemoth, huddled in the corner, his red, bloodshot eyes refusing to betray whatever murderous thoughts ran through his mind.


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 Post subject: Re: The Port Bristol Corsairs
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:52 pm 
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"You worthless sacks of garbage!" Coach Naylor looked over his team with disgust. "I could do just as well with a bunch of Halflings!"

Several eyes turned to Bodo in the corner of the room, but if he took any insult at the coach's remarks, he didn't show it. In any case, it was hard to imagine that a Halfling team would have performed any worse than the Corsairs, who were trailing the Green Glades, the Wood Elf team the Corsairs were matched up against, 2-0 at halftime.

The had started well enough. Guiseppe, the team's kicker, more by designation than any particular talent for the position, booted the ball short, but Rex blocked one of the opposing linemen down, opening a hole to the ball. Amos Hart managed to reach it before any of the Elves did, but he didn't hold on to it for long, as their star Wardancer, Ethilien, separated him from it quickly. One of the Glades' Catchers, Thanwin, deftly snatched the ball up from between two Corsairs and sped down the sideline. Damion knocked a lineelf to the ground on the line with the help of Eomar, and looked back to see Stig and Francesca, who were playing deep, close in on the ball carrier, and for a moment it looked like he would have nowhere to go, but Thanwin gracefully avoided Stig's block and dodged past Francesca, racing into the end zone to score. Damion could see the profound look of embarrassment on Francesca's face, but from his vantage point, the Elf had made a terrific play to get past her and Stig.

The Corsairs' ensuing drive didn't start much better. As the team lined up to receive the kickoff, a loud explosion reverberated through the stadium, emanating from somewhere in the stands. When everyone, including Damion, turned to look toward the source of the noise, Gundar, the team's Ogre, suddenly dropped to the pitch at the center of the team's line. The Corsairs quickly gathered around him and gasped in horror. A round object, about the size of a fist, had clearly punched not only through the Ogre's helmet, but his sizeable skull as well, where blood and other bits were pouring out. His eyes stared up vacantly at all of them, the unmistakeable look of the dead.

The Corsairs stood in horrified silence, oblivious to the commotion in the stands. The fans were milling about somewhere near the upper deck, and then Damion could see them start to pass something... no, two somethings... no, three now, down the rows of stands. When the objects finally reached the field, Damian saw what they were. A small body wearing a Glades jersey was the first to hit the turf in front of the Corsairs dughout. The head of a Goblin, which was clearly previously attached to the body, came next. And finally a blunderbuss rifle fell next to the decapitated Goblin. While the fans appreciated violence on the pitch, and any players that went into the stands was fair game, they didn't appreciate fans taking it on themselves to assassinate players. There would be no game to watch if everyone did that!

Gerhardt's commanding voice quickly snapped the team out of its stunned reverie. "Pick him up! We need to get him to the Doc, quick!" Before Damion could even wonder what a doctor could do for him, everyone jumped to attention, gathering the Ogre up by his massive limbs and lifted him like they were pallbearers. As they were hustling to haul Gundar's lifeless body off the pitch, Damion looked back at the Glades team, many of whom were smirking.

When the match resumed, the Corsairs had clearly been rattled by the turn of events. Eomar slipped and fell attempting a block on the line of scrimmage, allowing several of the Glades to come pouring through. Stig avoided the initial rush with Damion running interference for him, and positioned himself behind his blockers, but the Elves swarmed quickly and the cage fell apart. Damion was in the thick of it and took one Elf down, only to get blindsided by another. Stig saw an opening, but tripped up trying to extricate himself from the crowd and lost the ball, which bounced around the turf with both teams scrambling for it for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, one of the Elf Linemen was able to scoop it up and hand off to another, who raced into the end zone to put the Glades up 2-0.

After Naylor finished screaming at the team, he went over the strategy at the second half. In favor for the Corsairs was that they were receiving the second half kickoff, and the Glades were down two players. Gerhardt had driven through the Glades' Thrower, sending him to the pitch screaming, while Lafitte had delivered a boot to a downed Elf Lineman. As the team prepared to take the pitch, a rumble erupted from the back of the locker room. As everyone turned to see what the noise was, Gundar stomped out. Aside from the large bandage draped across his skull, he looked none the worse for wear.

"Gundar!" Everyone screamed at once, excited to see the Ogre on his feet, and rushed towards him before they reconsidered the practicality of getting too close to an angry Ogre. Gundar flinched at all the sudden attention and his eyes narrowed momentarily. The assassination attempt had made him angry, and right then he didn't look as though he was would put much effort into distinguishing friend from foe.

A meaty hand reached up and yanked the Ogre's nose ring down, as Gerhardt pulled the Ogre's head to his eye level. "Elves," he said to the Ogre. "Kill the Elves."

"Kill... Elves." Gundar repeated, his voice sounding like gravel breaking. "KILL... ELVES!" With an inhuman howl, Gundar stormed out of the locker room, the team whooping and hollering behind him. At that moment, Darion thought, he definitely wouldn't have wanted to be a member of the Green Glades.

A steady rain had settled on the pitch as the Corsairs set up for the second half. Stig went back to retrieve the ball, with Damion escorting him once again as Francesca and Amos ran downfield. Amos was quickly knocked to the ground by one of the team's Wardancers, who glared over him with a cruel smirk on her face. As he spat out blood and teeth, he looked up at her and said something. Damion couldn't hear what it was from where he was, but whatever Amos said had the desired effect, as the Wardancer's smirk disappeared into an angry scowl and she attempted to attack him while he was still down. The ref blew his whistle and promptly ejected her from the game.

Damion charged ahead of the Corsairs milling around the ball, towards Ethilien, the Glades' star (and only remaining) Wardancer, who was readying herself for the block. At the moment before impact, Damion shifted his weight and shoved her instead of throwing his body at her. The shove set her off balance just enough that she couldn't do anything to avoid Otto Krumm's armored elbow as it slammed into her chest, sending her down with a splash to the wet turf. Ethilien's fall was enough to distract one of her teammates, who didn't notice Gundar's fist slam into him like a boulder until it was too late. The stretcher bearers waited on the periphery to cart the broken elf back to the sidelines. He wouldn't be coming back in this particular game.

Francesca waved for the ball downfield. Ethilien sprang quickly to her feet and ran to cover her, but a diving Eomar pushed the Wardancer away long enough for Stig to step out of the pocket and launch a perfect spiral through the greying clouds into the waiting receiver's arms. She sauntered into the end zone and the Glades' lead was quickly halved.

With three injuries and another player ejected thanks to Amos's barbed tongue, the Glades were down to seven players for the next drive, and the Corsairs could smell blood. There wasn't enough time to win the game outright, but a draw now seemed very much in the realm of possibility. Guiseppe's kick wobbled unsteadily in the wind, falling right behind the Elven line where Ethilien picked it up. The Corsairs quickly pushed the Elven line back and Ethilien fell over trying to break through, leading to another scrum for the ball. Gundar waded in, sending another Elf to the infirmary with a backhand. The Corsairs blocked aside the opposition, Amos snagged the ball off the turf and headed for the end zone. Rex took down the last lineelf in his way and Amos scored just as time ran out.

Although the team came back to get a result, Coach Naylor obviously wasn't happy, and continued to rail at the team for a solid thirty minutes afterwards. The team was clearly used to this, everyone sitting around with blank expressions on their face. After the coach had exhausted all of his words and left for his office, Damion felt a hand slap him on the shoulder pad.

"Good game, rook." It was the normally stoic Otto Krumm. "Nice job out there." Despite the fact that they didn't win, Damion couldn't help but smile.


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 Post subject: Re: The Port Bristol Corsairs
 Post Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:42 pm 
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Great read mate
:)

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