The Florenwoodiad, Being the Epic Tale of the Florenwood Elk Riders’ Winning of the Great Brawl Tournament, Here Told in Four Parts
Part the First: Of the Origins of Football in the Florenwood
Fig 1. Ancient sylvan bas relief depicting the elven King Flindol inventing football as his queen asks him to perform several weekend woodland chores
In the elder days of the Florenwood, the great elven King Flindol, who was called Eardril by the northern elves, and Jeff by the southern elves, and Sail-ears by all behind his back because he was blessed with ears twice the size of most elven kind, encountered a great trouble and quandary. At the end of each week’s duties, his queen, Myldryl (who had other names as well, but maybe we’ll just stick to one name for everyone from now on to prevent confusion) would come to him in her glory and beseech him to perform many lesser tasks.
Flindol sought some excuse to convince her he was too busy even at this the terminus of the week to remove the leaf waste from their woodland palace, clean the uppermost branches in their trees, and comb the forest grasses to all lean in the same direction. And so he invented football, a game of sport that would command his attention and the attention of other elf folk on the weekends so that he would not have to perform these extra duties.
And so Flindol watched football, and did naught else when the week was ended, and Flindol was well-pleased. Myldril was less well-pleased, and she invented a new art called passive-aggressive queries, a tool she would wield to interrupt Flindol’s enjoyment of the football to ask him such questions as “Does my new crown make my ears look too pointy?” At any answer Flindol gave, she would then sigh and often roll her eyes so that the king could never quite feel at ease, even while watching the football.
Part the Second: Of the Florenwood Elk Riders’ Early Days
Fig. 2: Ancient sylvan bas relief depicting Flindol’s prayer to Nuffle.
As the years passed, King Flindol grew tired of watching his elven lords compete only against themselves. And soon tidings came to his great ears that other kingdoms in the realm also played a sport much like his football. Though some threw not the ball but the players, and some used war machines and exploding devices, and some progressed up the field in one solid mass of blockers, he judged that there was enough in common that his players could compete with these.
And so he decreed that the Florenwood should now have only one football team. That football team, he announced to his court, would contest and contend with others throughout the realm to bring glory to the kingdom and make the weekend football watching all the more distracting.
Named after the ancient warriors of the Florenwood who rode to war against the dark forces of Magdorath in the Age of Shadows, the Florenwood Elk Riders
did little to honor this great history in their earliest games. Of their first eight contests, they only proved victorious in one, and that was against a team of ogres
more interested in murdering elves, inspecting the contents of their noses, and drooling than in picking up the ball.
And so Flindol was wont to raise his voice in great lamentation over the team’s misfortunes, and though his weekends were choreless, they were but a misery. So the great king at that time sought out a master of lore, a wizard named Migdorythin, who told him how he could change the fortune of his team.
Though several of Flindol’s council urged him to be wary of this wizard (whose name suspiciously sounded a whole lot like the name of the ancient shadow himself, Magdorath), Flindol paid them no heed, and took to heart the wizard’s council, which was spoken as this rhyming couplet:
Your team few wins shall earn in your life
Until you watch them along with your wife
King Flindol then asked the wizard how he could ever interest Myldryl in this sport, for she cared little and less for it and only came to the stadium to ask him such questions as what was he thinking, and did he believe her younger sister’s silver hair to gleam more than hers in the sunlight? And so Migdorythin taught Flindol of Nuffle, football’s great ancient god, and Flindol prayed to this darkest of dark lords to find some way to interest Myldryl in the great and wondrous sport.
Little is known of the shadowy rituals Flindol conducted deep in the forest to seek the great Nuffle’s favor, but in the days after his prayers, there came tidings of someone new planning to visit the Elk Rider’s football contests. A famed elven songstress, Tyloren Swyftyl, who was now rumored to be in courtship with the Elk Riders’ wardancer, Gandryl Windripple, planned to attend the next game, which would be the opening round of the fateful Brawl XXXIV Tournament.
At these tidings, Queen Myldryl announced that she and all her handmaidens would attend this game, and Flindol’s heart was gladdened, for he knew not the fullness of the plans of Migdorythin, nor the darkness that festered deep in the heart of Nuffle ...
Fig. 3: Ancient sylvan bas relief depicting Tyloren Swyftyl cheering on the Elk Riders during the Brawl XXXIV Tournament. (Depictions such as this proved later to be the source of great controversy, as certain portions of the elven population bemoaned that Swyftyl was being depicted too often in her attendance of the games. And even as the queen and her handmaidens cheered at such depictions, King Flindol was heard to ask, “Would it not be better to focus more on the game, and is it not also possible that this courtship between the two is naught but a farce to get more elves to listen to Swyftyl’s songs?”)
Will Swyftyl’s presence help the Elk Riders prove victorious in the tournament?
What doom will Flindol’s bargain with Nuffle one day bring?
What is the truth behind the legendary “Immaculate Song-ception,” which occurred in the tournament’s second round?
Find out all and more in the coming days, in the next and final installment of Florenwoodiad, which will relate part the third and part the fourth of this epic tale