Just a little teaser video for our fans! Keep those cauldrons heated!
Just a little teaser video for our fans! Keep those cauldrons heated!
Far away, in the Reiksland, lies the small halfling village of Whiskashire. Known for its overweight population, it’s famous bakeries – and huge wheat imports!
Their mayor, Nobo Fatgirdle, had called in the whole town for an extraordinary meeting.
“My dear Boofers and Baffers, Goldshams and …”, the mayor began. It was a holy tradition to greet every family by name. No one remembered where the tradition hailed from. But that just made it more venerable.
Most of the halflings took the chance to get to the snacks table. At last the mayor got to the point:
“We finally managed to find out who cursed our wheat field! Our hour of revenge is close!”, Nobo said, “Revenge for almost eighty years of over-priced imports!”
“It was some Dark Elf or other, right?”, Fumbo Doodlefoot said, “There is a lot of the bunch and I’d say none of them are the social type. Also, they live a whole continent away. How do we get our revenge, exactly?”
The mayor nodded.
“I have called in this meeting for that very reason. To figure out our best course of action!”, he said, “But first, let me show you the enemy we are facing!”
He unrolled a drawing and showed it to the community.
“Well, it has pointy ears… And… a bathrobe?”, Dugo Baffers remarked.
“This of course is an approximation, drawn by my nephew.”, the mayor said. “This particular Dark Elf wizard is named Suriel. And I couldn’t pronounce his last name for all the tarts in Whiskashire!”
“A wizard…”, Fumbo said.
“He is an Archmage of the Dark Circle my sources tell me. They are supposed to be amongst the most powerful of wizards in the whole of Naggaroth. Ancient and cruel beings without hearts, morals or appreciation for the culinary arts. As we can see ourselves every day walking past what was once the source of our pride – and more importantly our breads, tarts and pralinées! The question remains: How do we punish that vile man?”
There was some mumbled discussion.
“We could kidnap his wife and make her work in the mill!”, Jogo Bumblebore said.
“No, he only has an ex-wife. And by what I heard he’d actually enjoy that.”, the mayor said.
“Perhaps he has a magic ring that turns one invisible and we could hack it off his finger and throw it into an oven!”, Ladmilla Sorefeet proposed.
“Stop reading cheap romance novels, Ladmilla. This is serious business. We owe it to our ancestors!”
“Can’t we simply have him killed?”
“If we hired an assassin and he failed and was captured, he would almost certainly talk. This Suriel is an obscure figure I’ve been told, but I have heard stories of what this Dark Circle in general does to those who threaten them. Lets just say it is not pleasant, takes years and ends in a horrible death.”
The halflings looked crestfallen.
“But: There is one thing my sources tell me this wretched man enjoys above all other things. One thing he probably cherishes very much. One thing as important to him, as was our wheat field to us.”
“Is it a magic ring?”, Ladmilla asked hopefully.
“No. No, it is his Blood Bowl team! I propose we take his pride away from him! I propose: We beat them at Blood Bowl!”
All looked at the mayor as if he had lost his mind.
“Blood Bowl? But none of us even know the rules! Nevermind how to play!”
“I’ve heard there aren’t that many rules.”, the mayor said, “And as for: How to play. Well, he left us with a pretty good pitch after all! We’ll learn how to play.”
“But Dark Elves are pretty… big…”
“And somewhat stronger than us…”
The mayor raised his hands to stop the protests.
“We are not the only ones these Dark Elves hurt when they raided our lands. Let me introduce you to some friends. Outside.”
*A few weeks later at the Naggarond Blood Bowl stadium*
“So tell us again about Halflings.”, Hersiel said.
“Well,… They are about the seize of the pygmies from Lustria. Only they are dumb, fat, lazy and lacking any form of higher culture.”, Suriel said.
“Are they strong, like the dwarves?”, Aridael asked.
“No. They are pretty weak. You’ll see.”
They entered through the side entrance of the stadium. Flags of the opposing teams were everywhere. The bloody dagger of the Sexy Shitkickers – a tribute to Khaine, Suriel had agreed to as part of a sponsoring contract.
Suriel stopped in his tracks and had a closer look at the enemy’s banner.
“I remember that flag… from somewhere…”, he said.
“Indeed you do!”, a small, but hateful voice said.
“Oh, it’s you. The guys with the wheat fields, right?”, Suriel said.
“YOU ruined the pride of Whiskashire! And for that we will DESTROY you!”, Nobo shouted.
“DEEES-TROOOY!”, Calessandra screamed in agreement and let her whip crack.
“You and what army?”, Hersiel asked, “You better go home, little man, before you end up in a cauldron!”
“OH! How you will suffer!”, the halfling said, “Your arrogance will make your downfall all the sweeter!”
“I don’t understand all the agitation about a stupid wheat field. But if you have come here to get a beating, you can have one!”, Suriel said.
“Eh, boss?”, Fizarain said, “I just had a look at the stadium. There’s some… Irregularities here. They… They have planted a forest on the Line of Scrimmage!”
“Wow!”, Thanos interrupted him, “That’s Zara the Slayer over there! I’m such a huge fan! Do you mind if I quickly greet her and get an autogram?”
“You’ll see more of her, than you’d like to!”, the halfling said, “We’ve hired her for the game. And… those aren’t trees either!”
“I have a bad feeling about this, master!”, Gnirzno said.
The game was over – but most of the team were on stretchers at the sideline or resting, cooling their bruises with ice cubes.
“Whew, that was quite some fight, I’d say.”, Hersiel said. The cheerleaders were massaging his shoulders.
“Let’s face it. They gave us a beating…”, Farazain said, “Pretty nifty one, too.”
“Well…”, Suriel said, “It’s a draw. So I suspect we’ll see them again.”
“Great! So GREAT!”, Thanos said from where he lay. He was admiring his dagger, which was still covered in blood.
“What’s the matter?”, Hersiel asked.
“So much better than an autogram! Now I have a dagger with Zara’s blood on it! What a trophy!”, Thanos explained.
“Let’s get back to the tower. A draw against halflings. We’ll be the laughing stock of the league! This is not over!”, the Great Archmage said. Then he helped load the unconscious onto the wagons.
The Great Archmage Suriel looked at the Skaven with some sympathy. He liked the little fellow.
Mainly due to the fact that his frequent visits involved huge piles of gold and gemstones the Skaven diggers found on their travels.
They were in Suriel’s bachelor dungeon, the archmage seated in a cozy lounger, the Skaven on top of a huge delivery box and a pile of old cushions.
Gnirzno hovered next to them and translated.
“Naofeep says he is hoping for political asylum in Naggaroth with his team. But there are some problems.”, Gnirzno said.
“I would imagine there are. For once he doesn’t look much like a dark elf. And then we aren’t exactly known as the most welcoming of nations.”, Suriel said.
“Well, he has … it’s hard to translate… Literally he is saying he ‘smeared the cheese on the right doorsteps.'”
“I take it he bribed his way into our High King Malekith’s warm and understanding heart.”, Suriel said.
“Yes, something like that. But the bureaucracy still doesn’t let him stay here without a proper job and home. So he asks, if he and his team could stay for a while. They’d pay rent of course.”, Gnirzno said.
Suriel thought about it.
“Tell him not close to the tower. But they can settle next to Shirin’s old village. That’s still part of my lands.”
Gnirzno translated and Naofeep hopped up and down a few times in excitement and relief.
“He says he also needs to prove he is working. But the only things he and his team really know to do is play Blood Bowl. So perhaps he could play our team one more time, with some of the officials watching?”
“I don’t know, Naofeep. I don’t have endless supplies of bedsheets for your big one. And he always takes it very serious… Why do you want to leave Skavenblight anyway? I thought you were quite respected there?”
Gnirzno translated. The ratman answered excitedly, counting with his fingers and toes and Suriel could see he was pleading now. Tears were running down his face.
“He says he has twelve wives…”, Gnirzno said, “And divorces in Skavenblight are usually handled by… Clan Eshin.”
Suriel nodded solemnly. He stood up and padded Naofeep’s back.
“Prepare the team, Gnirzno. Prepare the team.”
The game was over and once again the Sexy Shitkickers had won, though the Little Rats became more challenging every time.
But for a change there was no one-sided victory party. The Rat Ogre and Calessandra were dancing and howling together.
The smell of imported Lizard Burgers and grilled cheese filled the air, while Gnirzno was very busy translating.
Hersiel and the blockers of the Skaven team were playfully wrestling.
And from the balcony Suriel and Naofeep were watching the proceedings, enjoying a bottle of wine.
“So you are… I mean…”, Suriel started.
“I’m currently working for an escort service, yes.”, the young dark elf woman said.
Gnirzno looked confused.
“You mean you are kind of a bodyguard?”, he asked.
“She is not working in that kind of escort service, Gnirzno…”, Suriel said.
“No. Bodyguards put armor on before a job. I take mine off, little demon.”, Nedeira said. She smiled.
“It says here in your application you want to replace Shirin. She was about the third fiercest woman I’ve known in my whole life…”, Suriel said, “You seem a little… Mild-mannered in comparison.”
Nedeira nodded and stood up. She took the whip from her belt.
“Alright, I’m not proud of this.”, she said, “But I always give my best in any job. You see, some customers want the real.. kinky… stuff…”
She slashed at one of the straw training puppets. Her eyes began to gleam, as arms and head fell off.
Her voice now was a dangerous, hateful whisper, slowly building up force.
“Is that what you want? Do you like it, heh? Do you NEED IT?”
“Wow…”, Gnirzno mumbled, as Nedeira continued to rip the puppet apart.
“I’LL ANNIHILATE YOU!”
“I think we’ve found ourselves a new Witch Elf.”, Suriel said. They went outside. They didn’t dare to interrupt.
“So, what did you do before you decided to be a Blood Bowl player?”, Suriel asked.
“Don’t be shy… We have all kinds in our team already. Insane, army deserters, bored nobles… We have them all…”, Gnirzno added.
Firazain listened calmly.
“Well… I wanted to be a school teacher originally, but my father insisted I’d be a Blood Bowl player. So… I’ve always been a Blood Bowl player.”, he said.
Suriel and Gnirzno looked at each other.
“So… You mean you are… a professional player?”, Suriel asked.
“I’m alright I guess. Yes. I played for the Kal Karond Cold Fists before.”, Firazain said.
“That’s a First League team. We just made it to Second from amateur league. Why’d you want to switch?”, Gnirzno asked.
“We got a new addition in our team. Great player. But… He made this vow he’d never take his armor off.”
Suriel went green, just remembering. Even Gnirzno gulped.
“So, I thought: ‘The Sexy Shitkickers are kind of a rural team.’ Fresh air… You know?”, Firazain said.
“You have our deepest sympathies. I’ll send the transfer request to the Cold Fists immediately. Welcome aboard!”
The great Archmage Suriel rubbed his pained back. They had finally arrived at the Lustrian Poko-Moko Stadium.
“Days of travel on horseback just for a Blood Bowl match.”, Suriel cursed, “Unbelievable!”
Gnirzno – hovering next to the wizard – sighed.
“Well, if a certain archmage would have used a teleportation spell…”
“And ruin myself? Those spells are expensive! Spell ingredients don’t grow on trees!”
“Some do!”, Gnirzno remarked.
“You know exactly what I mean!”
The stadium was one of rare beauty. It was widely known that Lizardmen had invented Blood Bowl ages ago and they took great pride in it. A clearing had been made in the midst of the jungle but the surrounding huge mammoth trees had tree houses attached – which made up the cheaper seatings.
The core stadium was made of hardened wood and had several entrances divided up by race.
“Look, coach… They let children watch Blood Bowl around here?”, Hersiel said, pointing at a group just entering the stadium.
“Those are pygmies.”, Gnirzno said, “They are actually great hunters of the Lustrian forests.”
“They don’t look that great to me…”, Hersiel said.
“That’s called evolution. They are so small because it makes them look less appetizing. You see, the Lizards eat the humans. The humans eat the lizards. And both are eaten by giant predatory cats. This whole jungle is a big buffet.”
“EVO-LUUU-TION!”, Callessandra shouted happily, spittle flying everywhere.
She let her whip crack over the pygmies heads.
“Wow! They sell lizard burgers over there! Lets have some before the game!”, Thereas shouted.
“I think the spirit of the jungle is rubbing off on our team already.”, Gnirzno said, turning his head back to Suriel.
“I’ll get me one of those burgers!”, the great Archmage said.
“That was one hell of a match!”, Hersiel said, panting, “How is Lelion?”
“Well, he would have had a fair chance, if the bloody referee had stopped that Lizard from chewing him up faster. We’ll have to collect the rest of him when the stadium is cleared.”, Suriel said, “Then prepare him… for the garden.”
All nodded solemnly. Calessandra more to herself.
“He was one hell of a Blitzer… Good chap. What about Thanos and Shirin?”
“Thanos will be fine. I think its hard for anyone to hit anything not already hurting him. Shirin… Well… she has a broken collar-bone, bad one. I’m afraid her Blood Bowl days are over.”
Hersiel had tears in his eyes.
“Sorry, I didn’t know she…”, Suriel began.
“This…”, Hersiel said, “This must be the greatest day of my life!”
All looked at him.
“We won against Lizards! In this great stadium! We ate their cousins! And I’m free again!”
He went off to the dressing room, grabbing the cheerleaders as he passed them.
The great archmage Suriel and Gnirzno both cocked their ears, trying to understand the dwarf that had arrived about two hours ago. Since then they had made very little progress.
“So, could you tell me who you are again?”, Suriel asked.
He knew Gnirzno supposedly spoke over six hundred languages, but he seemed to understand bits and pieces only just like his master.
“Och aye. Ah am th’ officially appointed inspectur ay yer team.”, the dwarf said.
“Ah hae bin send by th’ reiks commission fur bluid bowl games tae make sure thaur will be nae cheatin’ ur dopin’. In yer gam against th’ Sloffies.”
“I… Wait here!”, Suriel said.
He hurried up the stairs to his library and started to rummage through his scrolls. Finally he found what he was looking for and returned to his guest and the increasingly frustrated Gnirzno.
“It is pure raither simple, auld loon. Ah jist need yer whole team tae piss intae wee vials…”, the dwarf just said.
Suriel started to read the scroll. It was actually quite a simple spell he had always felt unworthy to master. But luckily he had quite a few copies in store, acquired from a fellow student at university who had really been into languages.
Suriel himself usually found it rather refreshing not to be burdened by the misconceptions of foreigners.
For sure it wasn’t his fault he belonged to an enlightened culture!
“Ye see, th’ wee jimmies cam haur as part ay an exchange project an’ nae a body wants them hurt, reit?”
The spell taking effect, Suriel nodded in agreement.
“Yes, I heard about that project. Unfortunately I cannot allow you to take … samples?”
“That’s a sham… wa nae? Some statute ay yer weird religion?”, the dwarf asked.
“Yes… Lord Khaine forbids us to… draw blank the dagger in front of foreigners, so to speak.”
He smiled apologetically.
“But I assure you, this will be a friendly match, if ever there was one.”
“Weel, naethin’ mair fur me tae dae haur ‘en. but nae drugs!”, the dwarf said.
“No drugs…”, Suriel said.
They watched the dwarf walk back to his liveried coach.
“Gnirzno, if you’d be so kind… Please let the team know I want these fools destroyed on the pitch!”
Gnirzo levitated away, a small evil smile on his face.
Suriel had almost reached the stairs to his bachelor’s dungeon, when he heard the cheers. He smiled.
The match was over and the team was jubilating.
“Happy, coach?”, Hersiel asked.
“Yes. I think you taught them an important lesson in fair play…”
“Some lectures in life ur painful… aw wisdom comes at a price.”, Gnirzno said.
Suriel chuckled and they left the stadium.
Suriel and Gnirzno had their breakfast at a table next to their Blood Bowl training field.
Suriel looked up from his newest issue of “Mages of Fortune” from time to time to watch the players. Gnirzno didn’t much like his master’s new habits and consumed his selection of bird souls in silence studying the landscape. How he missed the endless Warp! His current master was by far the weirdest client he had ever dealt with and Gnirzno had served a secretly-male princess of the Reiksland and several Estalian politicians.
His train of thoughts was suddenly broken by a small group of wagons closing in on the road – or rather overgrown dirt path – that lead to Suriel’s tower. An almost invisible offshot from the main road connecting Naggarond with the other cities of the Witch King’s cold realm. What was that drawing the wagons? No horse… it was walking on two feet. A cold one? But the giant lizards usually weren’t… Furry?
“Oh no… Master… It’s them again…”
He turned around and found Suriel still studying his magazine oblivious to his shouting. Mentally rolling his non-existant eyes the demonic familiar hovered over the breakfast table and removed the waxen ear plugs. He had forgotten his master liked to watch the players hard at work, but didn’t much enjoy the noise.
“What is it Gnirzno?”, Suriel snapped.
“It’s the rats again, master… Look…”, Gnirzno said, pointing at the little Skaven caravan.
“Protect the cheese!”, Suriel yelled. The players looked over from the pitch. Also noticing the Skaven, they joined Suriel and Gnirzno.
The Skaven stopped their wagons in a respectful distance and their leader went to meet Suriel, squeaking happily.
Suriel looked at Gnirzno who began to translate.
“He says his team had some victories in the Naggaroth League and he wants to thank you for teaching them the way Dark Elves play.”
The Skaven clapped into his hands a few times, chirping something at his waiting team. The Rat Ogre stepped to one of the wagons and removed a large chest from it. As he carried it over to them, Suriel noticed for the first time that rats had quite an expressive mimic. Or at least this Rat Ogre’s body language radiated extreme unhappiness.
The Skaven leader opened the chest – it was full of gold coins.
“He says this is for the sandwiches, the lecture – and he hopes we’ll allow him to use the tunnel they have dug for their return to Skavenblight.”, Gnirzno translated.
“Oh… It has been a true pleasure… They are most welcome to get lo.. ehm… to use their tunnel.”, Suriel said.
He looked at the Rat Ogre again whose eyes were now filled with tears, his shoulders slumped.
“What’s with the big guy?”, Suriel asked.
The Skaven lifted his hands to the sky in a gesture of helplessness and set on to a long explanation.
“He says the Rat Ogre has succumbed to depression after our … farmboys… beat them. He has tried everything to cheer him up but nothing seems to work.”
“Farmboys? What farmboys?”, Hersiel asked, his eyes narrowing to dangerous slits.
“What’s wrong with farmers?”, Shirin fell in.
The rest of the team mumbled between themselves. Only Callessandra smiled happily, looking at the rat ogre, her head slightly cocked to one side with just a little spittle in the corner of her mouth.
“Saaad Rat… Big saaad rat…”, she whispered.
Finally averting his eyes from the gleaming treasure chest Suriel noticed the growing tension. He sighed inwardly. Why could there never be a perfect moment of happiness? Or were they just so short one couldn’t measure them?
He cleared his throat and told the Skaven leader: “Perhaps it would help if I give him a chance to play the fa… the Sexy Shitkickers again?”
Gnirzno translated. The Skaven leader jumped up and down enthusiastically. He said something to the Rat Ogre who answered in the same squeaky voice with just a dozen octaves difference.
“He said he will give his best and tear our whole team to shreds…”, Gnirzno said.
“Wonderful…”, Suriel said, “Well, prepare the pitch then… Let’s get this over with!”
“We gave them an even worse bashing than last time!”, Hersiel said, dragging the cheerleaders into his arms, “Damn, I feel like…”
Shirin’s eyes started to glow like two gleaming coals, promising a bonfire .
“I feel like quiet meditation. Yes. A proper way to celebrate such a victory.”
“SAAAD RAT!”, Callessandra shouted, giggling madly.
“Four touchdowns… With only one counter! Damn, that was… Great! Shame about Kyris though.”, Kreos said.
“Ah, well. He is still knocked out. Doesn’t feel it yet. Lets prepare a good steamy blood bath! First in gets to pick the soap!”
Suriel and Gnirzno lead the beaten Skaven team down the stairs into his bachelor dungeon. He had provided some old bed sheets as hankies for the Rat Ogre. The great beast was sobbing so loudly the walls were shaking.
He opened the massive metal trapdoor he’d had build over the gaping entrance to the Skaven’s tunnel.
“Well, I guess it is time to say good-bye my friend. Listen, next time you come by… Feel free to pay us a visit!”, the archmage said.
The Skaven leader answered, nodding, then added something.
“He says, yes, he happily will. He also said our farmboys should play the big games.”
“I guess they’ll head our way soon enough…”
It was deep in the night and the Great Archmage Suriel, Gnirzno and most of the players stood assembled around the barn, where they stored their training equipment.
The terrifying screams of pain from the inside sounded like a demon of Khorne was having an extra harsh workout with a victim. “I think…”, Suriel said, pointing at the door, “Someone ought to do something about this…”
The players kept their gaze fixed on the barn door in silence.
“Eh, sure, master. I could… Scout the area?”, Gnirzno suggested.
“I’ll help you!”, Merwe offered, “Could be dangerous… elsewhere…”
Suriel grabbed the two before they could leave.
“Alright, I got it. I’ll go myself. But you stand guard here! That goes for the rest of you, too! Cowards…”
The wizard slowly approached the barn door. The team watched.
Suriel took a deep breath to steady his nerves – and pushed the heavy barn door open.
There was a black mass in one of the haystacks, wiggling tentacles in all directions.
The amorphous thing was screaming and shouting at the same time. Suriel prepared to cast a spell – one that would allow him a quick retreat.
But then moonlight fell into the room and his elven eyes adjusted.
“What did you think? You could have me once and then throw me away? Do I look like a whore?”
On the floor, a rather half-naked young woman was sitting on an equally half-naked captain of the Sexy Shitkickers.
She gave Hersiel another punch into the face.
“I’m sorry, Shirin…”, Hersiel cried in terror, “I thought you were your sister!”
“You slept with my sister?”, she hissed.
“Only once! I think!”
She let out a high-pitched scream and began to claw at Hersiel’s face who vainly tried to defend himself.
Hersiel saw Suriel in the doorway.
“Help me boss, please! She’s crazy! Please!”
Suriel sighed, raised his hands and muttered some magic words.
The darkness in the room began to gather under his command, forming around the woman like a giant black snake and pinning her arms to her body.She still tried to bite Hersiel, but it seemed he was out of immediate danger of death now.
“Nice spell, master…”, Gnirzno said. He had snuck in behind Suriel, as had Kallistine.
“You can do magic? I always thought your title was more… ceremonial…”, the Amazon co-trainer said.
Suriel ignored them.
“Can someone please get her off me?”, Hersiel cried.
“You there, girl… Shirin is your name? Let him go now. I think you clearly made your point.”, Suriel said.
She stopped tearing at Hersiel’s ear and turned around to face the archmage.
“He lied to me! He said he loved me!”, she said. There was blood around her mouth.
“They always say that, before they throw us away…”, Kallistine remarked.
“That is not constructive right now!”, Suriel said.
He turned back to the girl.
“I don’t know much about love. But I do know about revenge… If you kill him here and now, how is he to truly suffer?”
“Oh, he will suffer…. Believe me!”
“For a few moments. A few hours… But… I can give you a chance to watch him suffer and make him suffer every day…”, Suriel said.
“How?”, the girl asked. She slowly rose, her arms still pinned by the chains of darkness.
“Did you ever play Blood Bowl? I think you have some talent.”
“You want me to play for the Sexy Shitkickers?”, she said in disbelief, “But… I’m just a farm girl.”
“A farm girl that made a mess of Hersiel… Think about it, Shirin. I’ll have a contract waiting if you want it.”
He helped Hersiel up, who could hardly stand.
“You had it coming…”, Kallistine said, “As if all those cheerleaders weren’t enough bed stuffing.”
“You slept with the cheerleaders!”, Shirin said, her eyes sparkling with renewed anger. With an enormous effort of will she burst the dark chains that held her.
“But… Well… I…”, Hersiel stammered.
Suriel pushed him towards the barn door.
“RUN, YOU FOOL…”
“Under no circumstances!Forget it!”, Suriel said.
Chancellor Kerzain of the Dark Circle had arrived six hours ago and since then, their debate had been going back and forth.
“Look, Suriel. I know it is a lot to ask…”,he said.
“Leading a peace delegation with the High Elves is more than to ask a lot! Don’t you remember they started the war? They kicked us out of our ancient homelands for some trifle religious disagreements! Also I heard they eat garlic all the time!”
The chancellor frowned. He had once trained this mage centuries ago and he knew how stubborn he was.
“You weren’t so eager to show your patriotism in the last wars we fought… Now we present you with an opportunity…”
“Me not a patriot? I was head wizard of the raiding party that razed the halfling villages of Whiskashire! Many a mighty spell did I cast in that bitter engagement!”
“You cursed a wheat field, Suriel. A wheat field…”
“In my masters defense, nothing did ever grow on that field again!”, Gnirzo said.
The two wizards looked up.
Gnirzno had watched the whole exchange hovering above them and pretending to clean a chandelier.
“See!”, Suriel said.
“Nevertheless, you will go. Or the consequences will be dire!”, Kerzain said.
“I’m an archmage of the Dark Circle. You cannot just throw me out, nor can you order me around, Kerzain. And you know it!”
“Oh…”, Kerzain held up his hands,”I know. I know… But I’ve done a little research into your record before I came here. It turns out a certain archmage of the Dark Circle never fully repaid his student loan. It’s a hefty sum, especially with interest over all those years. But I might just forget about it if said archmage was… reasonable…”
The two diplomatic parties met on the Isle of Wraiths – which was named after its Norse inhabitants typical pale skin, not for any spooking undead.
Suriel had arrived by ship. He was leaning heavily on a large staff of black oak. He noticed that his High Elven counterpart didn’t look much healthier than he felt.
“Probably a long flight on back of a dragon… Hopefully lots of turbulences…”, he whispered to Gnirzno, who smirked.
They had brought the Sexy Shitkickers with them. Kallistine had insisted that the players could use some fresh sea air, especially the wounded.
“Let us get this over with…”, Suriel said and led his small party to meet with the High Elves.
The two chief diplomats mustered each other with mutual hatred.
After a while the high elf cleared his throat.
“You have the honor of meeting with Jamtron Isundreadel, of the House of Isundreadel, special envoy of her royal highness, the Dragon Princess, fifty-sixth of the Knights of the Golden Flower and Royal Diplomat extraordinaire of the Glorious Kingdom of Ulthuan.”
“Suriel N’badnerezel, Archmage of the Dark Circle and innocent victim in this diplomatic charade…”, he answered.
The high elf raised a brow.
“N’badnerezel you say? What a coincidence. I think there is someone working my garden, originally went by that family name. Although now they call themselves simply Rezel. For political reasons, you see.”
Suriel forced himself to laugh.
“Surely you are mistaken. My family has always been one of noble heritage, even in those vile lands of censorship you call a home.”
“My dear Suriel, it was not my intent to lower your esteemed family’s status. There is no need nor room for that, as your traitorous family’s deeds and those of your countrymen have shown centuries ago…”
The bystanders watched as the introductions went on.
“Did he just hit him with the staff?”, Hersiel whispered,”I don’t know much about diplomacy, but it seems to be more fun than I was told!”
“Ten gold says our boss kicks that peacock’s royal buttocks!”, Kyris said.
They quickly shook hands on the bet.
(half an hour later)
“MY ABATTOIR HAS SEEN MORE NOBLE BLOOD THAN YOUR WHOLE FAMILY, HIGH ELF!”
“COME HERE AND I’LL DRAW YOU SOME NEW DARK CIRCLES AROUND YOUR EYES, PEASANT!!”
Both were held back by their respective guards, but were struggling fiercely.
“Gentlemen…”, Gnirzno said, “This truly is amusing, but not productive! Please… Come to your senses!”
“The abomination speaks truly. It would be beneath my station to duel with that wretch!”, Jamtron said.
“This so-called knight is not worth the spell ingredients…”,Suriel conceded, “But we must settle this. It is a matter of personal honor!”
“Boss, say a word and we throw them back into the sea!”, Hersiel offered.
He had gotten bored and was training throws with his team mates.
“Are those… Blood Bowl players?”, Jamtron asked.
“The Sexy Shitkickers… My own team.”, Suriel said.
“Sexy…Shitkickers? Ah, well… As it is my own entourage hails from the junior division of the High League of Ulthuan. So… Perhaps there is a way to handle this honorably.”
Suriel looked at his team. They were three players short, but surely some of the sailors that had brought him here would be eager to join as temporary replacements.
“Agreed.”, he said, “Let us prepare a stadium.”
“And lets charge the locals for entry fees…”, Jamtron added, “After all, it will be a match of elvish skill as they have never seen and we would not want them to feel ashamed.”
Suriel looked at Jamtron with a sudden hint of sympathy.
Jamtron shrugged. “At home, I’m also treasurer of the thirty-four districts of the Rose.”
“WE WON!”, Hersiel shouted.
The Norse that had been able to afford the entry fee applauded. The High Elves looked a bit crest-fallen, but it had been a close call.
“We’ll meet again, Dark Elf scum!”, their captain said.
“Looking forward to it…”, Hersiel said. He looked around for Suriel and saw the archmage was deep in discussion with Jamtron.
“A century you say? Well, that basically makes you – per iure geronticratae – de facto owner of said land and thus their property taxable by coin, craft or military service.”, Jamtron finished.
“Fantastic! I didn’t know that! And if I buy twenty horses…”
“You can deduct that as an expense on military constables from the royal tax, as long as each horse is ridden a distance of at least three miles per day.”
“That is amazing! I could combine it with a riding school and profit twofold!”
Jamtron nodded. Both looked up. Their teams were looking at them expectantly.
“Very well played!”, Suriel managed, “It is through your glory on the pitch, that we came to a peaceful conclusion here.”
“The swine fouled me!”, Roshiel cried.
“Yes. We’ll agree to your offer of an armistice for a year. But next time we meet…”, said Jamtron, “Beware. For my team will be prepared.”