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mgetty (15134)
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2024-02-10 18:30:23
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2024-03-27 02:03:30
9 votes, rating 6
Green Dukes Fight Back to 1-1 Draw in Costly Game Vs. Navy

Green Dukes Fight Back to 1-1 Draw in Costly Game Vs. Navy

The Duqueswood University Green Dukes turned what looked to be a disastrous loss into a tie with an unlikely late TD vs. the Navy Midskletonmen. The potentially season-saving tie, however, came with costly losses, as the elves suffered 4 casualties and 2 deaths in the game, including the brutal murder of junior line-elf Zephira Gettleaf (double major: Oakish and women’s & arbor studies), a player many have described as the “root and sap” of the squad. Navy got its lone TD from sophomore anointed thrower Kriss Proctor, and Duqueswood got the equalizer on a daring endzone-to-endzone run by freshman wardancer Dethwyntyr Whitebranch (undeclared) on a play the Duqueswood faithful have already dubbed “The Long and Winding Root.”

Whitebranch scores the tying TD with seconds left on the clock to secure the draw

“I’ve learned this is the kind of effort you need when you’re building a solid wood elf program,” said Duqueswood Coach Gerric Smithson after the game. “If you can lose more than half of your team, suffer two deaths, and still get a tie, you have to call that a good day. And no, that has nothing to do with the fact that my wife’s garden has gotten some added fertilizer now. How dare you even suggest that. But, yeah, maybe it’s a bonus.”

Coach Smithson’s wife’s well-fed, prize-winning garden has clearly grown even more since last game

Navy opened the scoring much in the same way most teams have done against Duqueswood this season. Proctor secured the ball quickly, caged up, and slowly progressed up field, eating plenty of the first half clock. The Green Dukes broke through the blocking late in the drive and got a blitz on Proctor near the southern sideline.

But after junior line-elf Foren Longweed (mystical fauna studies) dangerously ran along the sideline to get a shot at Proctor, the sturdy anointed thrower stiff-armed him, and Midskeleton senior lineman Elfy Bones lowered his shoulder and rammed into Longweed’s back. Bones’ shoulder spike skewered Longweed through his spine, erupting up out of his chest in a fountain of blood. As Longweed slumped to the sidelines dead, Proctor shuffled away and crossed the goal line to put Navy up 1-0.

Proctor scores to give Navy a 1-0 first-half lead

“It’s tragic to lose Foren that way, and I must hold myself to blame,” said Whitebranch. “Before the game he was telling me how much he loved playing against tomb king teams because their players are always smiling and they are such jolly fellows. I didn’t have the heart to tell him they only appear to smile because they have no flesh to cover their teeth, and they are far from jolly, but rather murderous cursed cadavers who crave only blood and death. Now I wish I had revealed that truth to him earlier.”

Having lost four players by the end of the first half, Duqueswood started the second half in dire straits, down 1-0 with only 7 elves on the field. So Coach Smithson drew up a highly unconventional play, sending junior treeman Oakward Weatherborn (communications) back into position to receive the kick-off. As most of the Navy fans in the stands pointed and laughed at the prospect of a treeman catching the ball much less crossing the line of scrimmage by the end of the week, Smithson merely grinned and rubbed his palms together.

“It’s a play we’ve worked on in practice a lot,” he explained. “We call it the ‘Tree-ka-poo Dakka.’ It’s all about amplifying your strengths. Our strength as a team, I’ve found, is running away from the opposition terrified and screaming for our lives, and this is a play that really leverages that strength.”

As the kick landed among Weatherborn’s roots, Whitebranch ran back, scooped up the ball, and hid behind his treeman. Meanwhile, all of his elven teammates dodged away from the line of scrimmage and ran back toward their own goal line. Peeking periodically between Weatherborn’s branches, Whitebranch then began slowly retreating while taunting the Midskeleton men with gibes like, ‘Doth thou even drink milk? Your bones are gray an brittle’ and ‘Come and get me death breath.”

Whitebranch peeks out from behind Weatherborn to taunt the approaching Midskeletonmen before prudently backing farther away from them

The Midskeletonmen plodded forward slowly, bony arms outstretched, and the elves continued to retreat avoiding any blocks. Midway through the half, Whitebranch stood on his own goal line alternately peeking out from either side of Weatherborn, who had remarkably refrained from taking root in the pitch.

“That’s the farthest from the line of scrimmage Oakward has ever been in a game,” said Coach Smithson. “Except for that first time two seasons ago when he came streaking out onto the field. So, yeah, I was worried about what he might do. But I’m proud of how far he’s come these three seasons. He’s learned a lot about this game, and he’s learned a lot about wearing clothes.”

With three hulking tomb guardians bearing down on him and Whitebranch, Weatherborn tied up two, who slowly toppled him, but the third, sophomore Matthew Pritchett XIV, got a clean shot on Whitebranch. As Pritchett swung his massive bony fist toward Whitebranch’s head, the wardancer was able to dodge back and absorb most of the blow with his shoulder. Unfortunately, Pritchett now had him pinned behind the goal line and looked ready to toss him into the crowd like a souvenir jerkin.

Whitebranch struggled to resist the blitzing tomb guardian while two Duqueswood catchers streaked up the northern sideline, drawing nearly all of the remaining Navy Defenders. The only Midskeletonman on the southern half of the field was Elfy Bones, who was stunned when freshman line-elf Lyric Birdsong (history of dirt), lowered his shoulder into Bones’ jawbone, KO-ing himself in the process.

Eyeing the clear path now open along the southern sideline, Whitebranch spun away from Pritchett and streaked toward Navy territory. After stumbling over his own feet and losing the ball, Whitebranch gave two Navy anointed blitzers time to catch up. He sprang back to his feet, knocked one a way with a leaping kick, snatched the ball up from the pitch and charged across midfield with only green grass in front of him. Aided by two catchers marking the chasing Navy players, Whitebranch scored the equalizer with only seconds left on the clock.

“That’s elf ball for you,” said Coach Smithson. “You can’t kill what you can’t catch.”

With no time left for Navy to mount a winning touchdown drive, the six remaining Green Dukes on the field for the ensuing kickoff celebrated, skipping about and turning cartwheels, which made at least one of them far too easy to catch. Freshman tomb guardian Pierce Banbury III, knowing the win was beyond reach, set his sights on revenge and stomped forward toward Gettleaf, who was busy performing a back handspring along the line of scrimmage.

When she landed on her feet and waved to the crowd smiling, Bandbury spread his arms wide and slammed his two bony fists into either side of her head. Her skull exploded in a spray of blood, teeth, and brain matter. As her lifeless body fell to the pitch, a low moaning wail rose into the sky. Weatherborn had seen the act of cruel and senseless violence, and he was mad with grief.

Weatherborn wails in grief and horror at the sight of Gettleaf’s brutal death

The Midskeltonmen quickly took advantage of the distraction, surrounding the treeman, pulling his unrooted trunk to the ground and stomping on his bark. As the final whistle sounded, the crack of breaking wood rang out, and all fell silent as Navy earned their fourth casualty on the day.

The postgame press conference was filled with mixed emotions. The tie preserved the Green Dukes’ chances of earning a bowl game appearance, but Gettleaf’s death cast a somber mood, like a death shroud, over the locker room. After Coach Smithson addressed the scribes, an injured Weatherborn, his bark draped in bandages, limped up to the podium.

“Me want say few word,” he said. “Zephira Gettleaf was elf who fight for treepeople. She was strong as bark, and sweet as sap. Me not be same without her. But me always remember her as my hero. And because me and other treepeople have name her official treeperson, she is not just my hero—she is my … tree-ro.”

Music began to play as Whitebranch and other members of the Duqueswood a capella group, the Ear Sharps, gathered behind him. Rather than singing, however, they were holding strange and magical instruments that crackled with bolts of lightning and played sounds unlike any heard before. (Later they would report that the sounds and the melody of the song were crafted by the legendary elven minstrel mages, Bryn Elfno and Dyvyd Boughy.)

Then, to the horror of all present, Weatherborn began to sing. Many of the scribes, of course, tried to flee, as the songs of tree people have been known to last for weeks and sound about as musical as a piano dropped from a great height onto your head. But Coach Smithson, stood before the door with his hand on a thick wooden cudgel hanging from his belt.

“Come on folks,” he said. “He’s going through something here. It would mean a lot if you could hear him out.”

Click on the image above for a magecast of "Treeroes," Weatherborn’s tribute to Gettleaf

And so it was, we remained and listened to Weatherborn sing. This scribe has seen and heard many a wonder in his time, but if you’d told me I would ever be moved to weep by the song of a treeman, I would have called you mad. Now, as I pen this report through the blur of my tears, ’tis I who must be the madman.

Up next, the Green Dukes will face the UBC Chunderbeards, with a chance to earn the program’s first bowl appearance with a win. They will do so, however, without the services of the injured Weatherborn and a roster reduced to only 6 players. It will take a lot more than a stirring song for Duqueswood to shock the realm and earn a trip to the postseason.
Rate this entry
Posted by spelledaren on 2024-03-27 20:56:06
I am awestruck, even when expecting greatness.

Rated 10/6.
Posted by BeanBelly on 2024-03-27 21:02:37
Beautiful - and goodness me there’s even a music video! Bravo
Posted by gettym on 2024-03-28 12:55:43
Thanks! Sadly, these brutal player deaths seem to raise the level of the write-ups.