11 votes, rating 6
The large auditorium at the Pool is filled to the brim. With expectant journalists, avid fans, financial backers and normal Carroburghers. And with the St. Agnes College Saints on their gallery space up on the left side. All present and accounted for. Rumours have been going all over town the last days. Spreading excitement and dread in equal amounts. That the franchise is broke, and will fold. Or move to Tilea. Or become a Patriots farmer team. That Inga is pregnant and will announce her retirement from Blood Bowl. Which in turn has spawned numerous suggestions as to who could be the father. That a necromancer has offered to take over the franchise and literally make the old stars come back. That all the dead blitzers is just a Cabalvision conspiracy, and that they are really healthy but spending their time on an Estalian beach. Ready to come back whenever Cabalvision thinks that a new marketing fad will be needed.
Suddenly, the doors beside the podium opens. Every single one of the 1000 people present stops their prattling. In complete silence, a weary Inga marches in. Proudly wearing her Crimson and Bright Green uniform, albeit with a black band of mourning on the upper arm. Fans hardly dares to breathe. Is it because of Turbin, or because this is the end…? Right behind her follows an older, lanky man in the same uniform; Cody Latimer, the only remaining player beside Inga from season 3. As Inga reaches the podium and turns towards the audience to speak, she hesitates. Cody leans towards her and speaks into her ear. She nods, and clears her throat. Not a sound can be heard.
“Dear fans, players, management, journalists, friends and burghers of Carroburg.” Inga’s voice is clear and resonant, and does not at all display the weariness her posture and appearance belies. Maybe there is hope? “We have all taken part in, and thus shared the grief over the loss of all four of our blitzers. It is said that it is in trying times you will learn who your friends are, and not in good times. If this is true, I have discovered that I and the team have a lot of good friends.” Nervous laughter.
Inga takes on a more serious tone. “It has also been said that the franchise is gone. That it died with Janine and Stefan and Orlando and Robert. That there is no will left to fight. That we were fleeing before the might of the White Wolves some weeks ago.” She hesitates, but then adds, “and that part is actually true. Our fighting spirit was broken that day. ” The audience sighs. A couple of people starts silently crying.
She speaks a bit louder. “Yes! Our fighting spirit was broken, but it did not stay broken. Let there be no mistake; the men and women of the Crimson Cascade will go on fighting. There will be new matches, new stars, new chances for enjoyment. There will also be new deaths, new sorrows and new losses, for that is the nature of this sport. But there will be no final break No folding and moving of the franchise! In short, there will be NO GIVING UP!”
The audience goes bananas. Screams and shouts, cheers and whistles. Journalists, even those visiting from other towns, laughs and slaps each others backs like old chums. The Saints players are standing on their chairs, clapping and stamping their feet. Among them a voice can be heard. “Go on, Inga!” Inga’s kid sister and fellow Blood Bowl quarterback Renate uses her match voice to cheer on her sibling. She’s graduated from the Saints, and is now a draftee in draft 8, but watches the press conference with her former companions.
Inga has to scream now. “One more thing, please!” the audience slowly falls silent again. “We will not give up. No. NEVER! You have my word on that! But neither will we hide the brutal truth from all of you who love the team and the franchise. The franchise is shocked to the core. The loss of four very experienced blitzers would have gutted any team. On top of that, we have just made trade agreements to sell out, so Cat will be going to Thunder. And Sofia to Praag, Derek to Broekwater and Darian back to Remas. And maybe TJ and Anders as well. Thus, the rest of the season will likely be me, Cody here and a bunch of rookies. We will be lucky to get another point. Damn, we will be lucky to survive! And even though we expect great things from the restructuring and the draft, it will take at least one more season before we can ever be a team to make an impression. So I say this from the deep of my heart to all of you. We will fight. We will fight as hard as we can. But we will need you all to stand by us. For make no mistake, for this franchise, and for everyone who loves us; Winter is coming!”
The shouts start again. The whistles and stamping of feet also. Some journalists try to ask questions, but their voices drown in the general noise. Inga smiles softly, then turns and walks back out. Her shoulders straighter, her body more composed. It takes almost half an hour before the audience starts to drift out of the auditorium. By then, Inga has reappeared four times.