FOOTSBALL: ORKS vs DWAGONS & PIXIES
Is true story.
The day was bright and crisp, with just enough chill to make the fans wear cloaks and the players comfy. There was a sense of expectation and wonder in the air as the time drew closer for the beginning of the event everyone had been waiting for: the first ever Orks vs Dwagons & Pixies Footsball game.
If one were to look into the bleachers you would have seen a diverse and enthusiastic crowd. Although there were probably less than 400 people present their forms were as varied as their costume. There were of course the high elven, accompanied by faerie, centaur, dwarves, drow, the occasional hobbit, dragons, humans, and of course the Ork fans.
On the field there were only four races: Orks, Dwagons, Pixies and the Dwarven referees. The surprising difference in size between the players would bring a chuckle. The Orks averaged from 6 to 9 feet tall, ranging from a low of around 250 lbs to the well over 600 lbs of the Ork Big Boss. Their jerseys differed as much as the size of the Orks, representing several Ork Clans. Red, green, yellow, blue... what they lacked in harmony they made up for in flash. For Orks, they were uncharacteristically devoid of spikes and blades. It's not that they didn't show up with such sticking out all over; it's simply that the referees immediately declared lethal armor unnecessary and illegal for a game of Footsball and being Dwarven, set to work making the Ork uniforms significantly less dangerous (accompanied by much groaning and complaining by the Orks).
On the other side stood their opponents. The Pixies topped out at 30 lbs if they were wearing steel armor. Which they were of course; one does not play Footsball against Orks and come totally unprepared. The Pixies' main defense though was not their magically-hardened armor, but the hardened determination and attitude that is a hallmark of their species.
The Dwagons needed no such armor. Averaging 80 lbs they were like walking sacks of stone with diamond-hard scales. It was well known that Dwagons are nearly impervious physically, are well aware of that fact and therefore fearless.
The Dwagons were sitting near the scrimmage line munching cookies, which came as a surprise to no one. The Pixies were chewing on flower petals to increase their strength for the game that was about to begin. The Orks were busy bashing one another soundly about the head and arms in preparation for what was to come.
What was to come, in the minds of the Orks, was Dwagons and Pixies being kicked unceremoniously to the sidelines while the Orks made goal after goal. That was the plan.
THE GAME BEGINS
There was a sudden roar in the stands as the announcer declared the game had officially started. The referee called the players to the line of scrimmage and asked the Orks to call the toss. A rather large Ork stepped forward, shouted "TAILS!" and ignoring both referee and coin, picked up a Dwagon and threw it up in the air. A gleeful cry of "Wheeeeeeeee!" carried across the field. The Dwagon landed on its head and stayed there upside down, blinking, waiting for the official call.
"TAILS!" The referee called out, much to the groaning of the crowd. The Orks had the first ball.
The opposing teams lined up on the scrimmage, the Orks hunched in proper offensive formation (since they had no concept nor perceived need of defense). The Pixies were equally determined and in formation, facing their huge opponents with the stubbornness known of their kind. The Dwagons were sitting around at random points, some looking at the flowers the Pixies had left and finishing off the last of their cookies, wondering what was going to happen next.
The ball was snapped... and so were both Pixies and Dwagons. As would be expected the Orks plowed through their ranks like buffalo through bunny rabbits. The Pixies disappeared in a cloud of dust and Dwagons went flying in several directions. Groans of surprise and concern rose from the crowd. Dwarves cried out in anger, cursing the fact that they weren't guarding the line. The expressions on the face of the elven typically did not change, although one of them did let out a slight gasp at the apparent carnage.
A horn blew as the Orks made a touchdown, obviously the first of several to come. Of no surprise to anyone, no Orks were back on the scrimmage line; all of them had run forward at once and were now at the goal post dancing in celebration of their expected first goal. They'd mowed over the entire line of Pixies and Dwagons as if they were dandelions. The devastation behind them was ghastly to see. Pixies lay crumpled, faces in the dirt and hineys in the air. Dwagons were scattered like bowling pins in all variety of positions. In the stands grown women fainted and strong men wept.
A whistle was blown as referees, healers and wizards rushed onto the field to see if any of the non-Ork team could be saved. But before they could reach the players the Pixies climbed to their feet and dusted themselves off, followed by the Dwagons righting themselves and shaking their little heads to clear the grass out of their ear fins.
"HOOOO! AGAIN!!!" a Dwagon cried out, followed by a collective sigh of relief from the crowd. The Pixies faced their audience and raised their fists in an unexpected show of defiance to the Orks. The crowd erupted in a roar, cheering and applauding as people jumped to their feet. The Pixies, protected by both armor and magic, were not going to be defeated so easily. As for the Dwagons... well, they thought getting stomped by Orks was just part of the fun.
EDUCATING THE TEAM
It suddenly occurred to the referees that apparently the Dwagons had no idea what was going on. They called a time out, called the team to the sidelines... and carefully explained to the Dwagons the purpose and goal of Footsball. The Dwagons listened, their whirling eyes growing brighter as they were informed this was a game and the object of that game was to keep the Orks from running over the Pixies. Their eyes grew a little brighter still when they heard they could make points by helping the pixies get the little ball between the big posts and the end of the field... and their eyes positively glowed when they were told that if they won the game there would be cookies!
The Dwagons quickly huddled together, their muted whispers in the oddling Dwagon language carrying across the field. One of the Dwagons went to speak to the Pixies... pointing to the bright-pink armored helmets they wore. With a flash of magic several extra helmets appeared, and soon all the Dwagons were proudly sporting their new "hats". The audience cheered in appreciation. The game was ON.
The referees called for a possible field goal and the two teams lined up. Someone should have seen coming what happened next, but sadly no one did, not even the refs. A large Ork picked up a Dwagon, held it out and drop-kicked it heavily toward the goal post.
"Wheeeeeee..." the Dwagon echoed across the field, followed by a collective moan from the crowd as it passed through the goal posts. The Orks in the stands jumped to their feet and stomped appreciatively as the refs declared success of the field goal. The score was 2 to 0, favor of the Orks, one point for the touchdown, one point for the kick.
There was a bit of confusion as the remaining Dwagons rushed to the Orks, all begging to be punted through the field goal. The referees restored order, explaining to the Dwagons they'd have to wait their turns for later in the game. The second scrimmage was about to begin.
THE BALL IS SNAPPED
The teams lined up facing one another, this time a slightly different scene. The Orks didn't even bother to get in their defensive positions; they stood fully erect (or as erect as an Ork can get), prepared to stomp the first Pixie or Dwagon that dared to cross the line of scrimmage. The Pixies were on full offense, their eyes glowing bright pink, violet and lime green as they prepared to defend their quarterback (it didn't help that the quarterback was only 3 feet tall, could barely hold the ball, and could not see over the heads of the Orks at all). The Dwagons this time were fully focused on the game, knowing there were cookies involved. They were on all fours, wings and tails in the air, ready to meet the "big ol' Orks" in sportish battle.
The call went out, the ball was snapped, and the quarterback somehow managed to catch the ball. The Orks chuckled deeply at the pixie quarterback's "cuteness" before taking their first step in her direction. They knew this would not last long and fully expected to take the ball and make their own touchdown before the play was over.
They never saw what hit them.
We have mentioned that Dwagons are about 80 lbs of solid mass, and nearly invulnerable. Unfortunately for the Orks they forgot both that fact... and the fact that Dwagons can jump. Six Orks were immediately and painfully disabled as they were suddenly sacked by some unexpectedly forceful collisions to their mid-sections, knocking the air completely out of them. At the same time the Orks that had managed to cross the line of scrimmage suddenly found themselves lying flat on their backs as Pixies... who by the way do have wings... launched from their defensive positions and hit the Orks full on smack helmet to helmet. The repeated clang of metal against metal rang out across the field as magically-enhanced Pixie helmets met hardened Ork battle helms. Some Orks went down immediately while others spent a while walking around in odd little circles.
One Dwagon managed to run between the legs of a defending Ork, all four legs pumping as fast as they could possibly go. By the time the Orks realized what was going on the Dwagon was two yards away from the goal line and was standing there waiting. The quarterback Pixie now finding a gaping hole in the defensive lines of the Orks, took her opportunity. A large crack of force-magic was heard across the field and the ball launched faster and harder than anyone would expect from a Pixie. It soared in a perfect spiral toward the Dwagon and hit the creature square-on, tumbling it backward head-over heels. When the Dwagon stopped tumbling and stood on its feet... the ball was held snugly in its mouth.
The horn blew, the crowd roared and people jumped to their feet, realizing the Pixies had scored their first touchdown.
CHALLENGING THE PLAY
Suddenly a whistle sounded, a flag was thrown and referees gathered at the scrimmage line. The crowd grew silent, wondering what was being discussed. The refs were visibly animated, apparently talking at once about something that seemed very important. After a couple of minutes they started nodding, grew silent, and one of the refs turned and walked over to the stands.
"PIXIE FORCE MAGIC IS ALLOWED DUE TO THEIR DIMINISHED SIZE. DEFENSIVE SHIELDING MAGIC ALSO ALLOWED. FLYING FOR WINGED CREATURES IS PERMITTED SO LONG AS IT DOES NOT EXCEED 6 FEET ABOVE THE GROUND. ALL OTHER MAGIC IS PROHIBITED DURING THIS GAME. TOUCHDOWN IS GOOD!"
The crowd erupted in a cacophony of cheers, dragon roars and riverdancing as a changeling shifted his form to show the new score of 2-1. The celebrative sounds quickly quieted however as the two teams, now mutually respectful, gathered on the scrimmage line for the attempted field goal. The Orks were now aware and much more mindful that their opponents were not going to be easy pushovers. Three of the Orks were sporting bandages. All of the Orks had bruises. One had to be magically healed from a cracked rib caused by sudden Dwagon impact. The Orks were now convinced their opponents had some degree of skill and power... and had no intention of repeating the mistakes of the last play.
As they gathered on the line of scrimmage, one of the Orks stated, "You Dwagons and Pixies not too bad." This was met with agreeing grunts from the Ork side, and an appreciative wink from one of the Pixies. The Orks huddled down in proper positions, for if there is one thing Orks appreciate, it's a skilled opponent. "This game might be fun after all," the Ork Captain said to the others.
A Dwagon started counting: "Minety ates. Twenty free. Elebenty... HIKES!" The ball was snapped, set, and a Pixie hit the ball with all the force magic she could muster. The Orks, far better prepared this time, hit the Dwagon and Pixie defensive line with energetic caution. Some Orks went down, some Dwagons and Pixies went down, a couple of Orks got through. One Ork dove toward the ball... but failed to remember that force magic is nothing to be trifled with. The ball pinged off his helmet with a sharp THWACK and the Ork dropped, stunned. Unfortunately he pinned the kicking Pixie as he fell so she didn't get to see her first field goal of the game. The ball caromed off the Ork's helmet and flipped end over end, high above the heads of the Ork team.. and through the goalposts.
The horn sounded, the crowd jumped to its feet, the Ork fans moaned and groaned. The changeling shifted and revealed the new score: TIE, 2-2!
THE GAME PLAYS OUT
The next three hours were an exhibit of one of the best Footsball games in the history of Elf Clan. Not since the Raglan Shire soccer game had there been more excitement, better plays or better players than those evident at that game. The entire contest became a trade-off of the Orks scoring, followed by the Dwagons and Pixies scoring. At times the defense held and no score was made during the four downs, but then the other team would hold their line as well.
Never had two teams been so equally matched. Never had two sides been so determined to do their best in a game. When the final score was announced no one was surprised: 14 to 14, even tie. The refs assembled and discussed the matter, turned to the crowd and announced:
"AS AGREED BY THE PEACE ACCORD BETWEEN THE ELVEN AND THE ORKS, IN ALL TIES, ORKS WIN!"
The Ork fans erupted in loud cheers, their victory roar of WAAAAAGHH heard from both field and audience. The fans of the Dwagons and Pixies were understandably disappointed but nevertheless applauded and clapped the Ork fans on their backs in an attitude of sportsmanship.
While both teams had played with equal skill, the decision of the refs was fair and predictable. The concept was well-known and ancient: "Orks win." No one expected anything different. Regardless of the final score it was widely understood that the Orks would claim they played a better game and considered themselves the winners anyway. That's just how it is with Orks. Elves have long known: peaceful and happy Orks are greatly preferable to a number on a scoreboard.
The players down on the field amicably shook hands, claws and paws. Despite the Orks "winning" the game, the Pixies had earned reputation as valiant players-- and the Dwagons were still rewarded with abundant cookies, as is only proper.