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mgetty (15134)
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2024-02-10 18:30:23
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2024-02-10 18:30:23
3 votes, rating 6

Here follows the conclusion of the "Florenwoodiad, Being the Epic Tale of the Florenwood Elk Riders’ Winning of the Great Brawl Tournament." Those who have yet to read the first installment (parts the first and the second), can find it in the realm’s archives.

Part the Third: Of the Brawl Tournament’s Opening Rounds

Round One

Fig. 4: Ancient sylvan bas relief depicting Gandryl Windripple running through a would-be goblin tackler for a touchdown

The first round of the tournament showed well the power of Nuffle, as the Elk Riders bested an unlucky goblin team, the Lowdown Dirty Flyers, 6-0. Whether it was Swyftyl’s presence or Nuffle’s blessing, something clearly had changed among the Elk Riders. They were suddenly filled with both might and skill, injuring and knocking out all but four goblins by half time, and racing about the field scoring touchdowns as swiftly as the wind scatters leaves on an autumn day.

Round Two

The second round of the tournament pitted the Elk Riders against another goblin team, the Mongrel Horde Green Tide. But if King Flindol and his team thought this round would go as easily as the first, they were sorely mistaken. With famed goblin star player Fungus the Loon in the employ of the Green Tide, many Elk Rider’s were smote by the loon’s hefty ball and chain, and by the end of the first half only three of elven kind were left standing.

Yet Gandryl Windripple, inspired by the shouts of encouragement from his beloved in the stands, managed to duck Fungus’s steel ball near the end of the half and strike the goblin ball carrier, Camile Poscidion. Camile then fell upon her face with such force that she maimed herself with the chainsaw she was oddly carrying in her other hand. And with that, the bloody ball tumbled uselessly to the grass as the half ended.

If that feat were not proof enough of Nuffle’s favor, then the second half made clear that something magical, the result no doubt of some dark bargain, was truly at work here. As the Elk Rider’s thrower, Gyrwin Windhand faded back to pass, the Green Tide broke through his line of blockers, and two goblin linemen attacked him. The fell beastlings bit and clawed at his legs, and the thrower looked sure to go down, but then Swyftyl cast her voice high on the wind and began to sing.

Her song sang of things that were, and things that are, and things that yet will be. And somehow her song mingled all three until what happened on the field was now itself her song. And her song became a song of strength, and so that strength flowed into Windhand, and he had the might to resist the goblins and throw the ball up field to Elk Rider catcher Zerlyn Flerlyn, leading to the winning touchdown in a play known ever after in elven lore as the “Immaculate Song-ception.”

Fig 5: Ancient sylvan bas relief depicting the “Immaculate Song-ception”

Part the Fourth: Of Round Three and Flindol’s Doom

For the third and final round, the Elk Riders faced the Drakenhof Dragon, a seasoned and hearty necromantic horror team with a pair of violent and athletic werewolves and a ghoul runner with hands as sure and strong as the roots of a mighty oak. Blessed by Nuffle and stirred by Swyftyl’s cheering and singing, the Elk Riders managed to hold their foes scoreless on their first half drive. Dragon werewolf Layla Durkan mysteriously tripped at the goal line at the close of the half just as Swyftyl began singing one of her lesser known songs, “Say Don’t Go (for It).”

And so it was, midway through the second half, Elk Rider thrower Windhand had advanced the ball just past midfield, and the winning touchdown and the glory of a tournament won looked to be nigh at hand. But the cruel werewolf Durkan swept down from the north of the field with the swiftness of a cold winter wind, and Windhand looked doomed to fall to her claws, and her frenzied gnashing of teeth.

It was at that time that a great consternation overtook the Elk Riders’ sidelines. As King Flindol cried out that Windhand should dodge the werewolf, another voice urged Trindly Treefriend, a lowly lineman on the team, to block the moon-cursed beast so that Windhand could break free along the southern sideline.

Now it must be said that during the previous games, Queen Myldryl, had grown much in her love for the sport, though she had at first only come to witness the glory and songs of Tyloren Swyftyl. And in that time, the queen had also learned much and more about football so that her command of its lore and tactics was as strong as any man’s, even her king.

So it was that the voice that urged Treefriend to block was Queen Myldryl’s, and it was the more confident and kingly of the two. To King Flindol’s great surprise, the Elk Riders heeded the queen’s council. Treefriend lowered his shoulder into the werewolf’s stomach, and Windhand escaped to the southern sideline. With his path newly cleared, Windhand scored the winning touchdown, and the Elk Riders, their fans, Swyftyl, the queen, and her handmaidens rushed the field in glory and gladness.

Fig 6: Ancient sylvan bas relief depicting Treefriend’s block, as directed by Queen Myldryl

This, it is told, is how the Elk Riders won the Brawl XXXIV Tournament, and in aftertimes it was sung thus by that team and its fans:

We bested the goblins so foul and so green
We scored more TDs than the wood had yet seen
The song of fair Swyftyl gave Windhand the might
To weather the beastling’s most furious fight
And when the wolf charged our thrower so dear
A new voice rang out for all elves to hear
The king urged a dodge, the queen shouted block
The team heeded the queen to the king’s mighty shock
When the winning touchdown we therewith were blessed,
Minds were new changed on who loved the sport best.
With the win comes now fame, and the championship ring
For the queen knows the game better than her king.

Of Flindol’s Doom

Soon after the winning of the Brawl, King Flindol’s joy turned to ash in his hands. For all the kingdom knew and spoke freely of how the queen was now more learned about football than he. He realized then the darkness of his desires, that he truly never loved the sport but used it only as a way to avoid, and feel superior to, his loving wife.

And so it was that the king’s dark bargain with Nuffle and his council with the cunning wizard Migdorythin brought about Flindol’s doom. This, it is known, also gave succor to Magdorath who would be reborn in the coming days in the Florewood. But more is told of that in other tales.

For this tale, it is enough to tell that in his shame and new weariness with the sport he “invented,” King Flindol refrained now from watching football, while Queen Myldryl watched many and more games and went on to become the Elk Rider’s coach.

Now at the end of his weekly duties, Flindol retreated to caring for vast swaths of grass within the Florenwood, painstakingly combing them to all bend in the same direction. And when he was wont to encounter any elf lords, he spoke to them long and heartily about his care for his lawns, and his devices and stratagems for making the grasses uniform and tidy.

So it was as the years tarried on, elven lords avoided King Flindol, and he puttered much and more about the woodland grasses. In after days, Flindol’s doom was finally complete as he became but a dark and twisted form haunting the grasslands of the Florenwood, shaking his fist at younger elf folk and shouting at them, “get off my lawn!”

Fig 6: Ancient sylvan bas relief depicting Treefriend’s block, as directed by Queen Myldryl


Of the Tears of Cragoran Windfoot

This is all that is told of the Brawl tournament in this tale, but those steeped in the lore of the full realm of Scalacorn, will want to know of Cragoran Windfoot and the tears he shed at the end of the second game in the tournament. Cragoran’s younger brother, Angorn, was the renowned wardancer for the Duqueswood Green Dukes, who play in the western lands of the realm in the NCBB. As the Elk Riders were playing in the second round, news that Angorn was killed in a match by a dwarven troll slayer reached Cragoran.

With a heavy heart, Cragoran finished the game, and his blocks against the goblins were all the more fierce for his grief. Yet after the final whistle, he could no longer hold back his anguish. Cragoran fell upon his face and wept. It is said by some that as his tears and the goblin blood mingled and seeped into the soil, something foul and wicked there grew. What it was is yet to be seen, but there are some that claim that even today this beast born of grief and violence slouches on its way toward the Duqueswood.
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