Friday, 27 July 2012

The Pink Horrors 2 - 1 The Lashor Devastation

The mist which clung to the ground covered Coach Lysenko  like a cold and wet blanket.  Though he woke to find his head resting upon a pillow of goat dung, it was the swift kick in the stomach from the hoof of ‘the Murdered Maid’ which he found to be the least welcome part of what had become his daily routine.

After the Pink Horrors’ defeat to the Twisted Sisters, the dungeons of the Pink Pyre Stadium had been deemed too ‘extravagant’ for Coach Lysenko, so the last six days and nights had been wallowed away in the goat pen, which – if he were to be honest – made it very difficult to coach Blood Bowl.  In fact, from his wood-fenced prison amongst the squalor of the breeding-goats (or ‘four-legs’ as the man-goats called them), it wasn’t actually possible to see the pitch.  ‘Did he catch it?’ the coach would call over the fence.  ‘No?  Okay, I think next time he should try to catch it...’

‘The Murdered Maid’ -  as Lysenko understood its name to be translated - lifted the coach from the boggy filth by the scruff of the neck and grunted in his face.

‘...Today... Fight day.  You give us... win?’

Coach Lysenko nodded his head, as best he could under the circumstances.

The man-goat glared, tightening his grip.  He sneered and then effortlessly threw the frail human back down into the filth.

The coach looked up at the beast which towered above him, framed by the iron-grey sky, and asked:

‘So who are we playing?’

Disdainfully, the man-goat gestured with a nod of his head, ‘Them next-door...’

The Lashor Devestation Dome was literally next-door - approximately fifty paces (as the goat trots) from the Pink Pyre Stadium; but dragged by a chain tied around the ankles, the journey seemed much further.  The game was going to be a sell-out, if all of the queuing hooves that the Horrors’ coach saw as he bumped along the stony dirt were anything to go by.

The noise inside the stadium was agony to human ears, a cacophony of brays and roars which shook the very ground itself.  Every now and then, the air was pierced by an unearthly squeal as warring fans successfully managed to geld their rivals using nothing but teeth and determination, while the stadium chef’s assistant rushed from stand to stand, collecting the dropped treasures for his testicle pies.

Animosity between the Devastation and the Horrors was running high, fuelled by a long and bloody dispute which began with one team or the other (nobody could exactly remember) accusing their neighbour of shamelessly pilfering their colour scheme.  As a result , the stadium today was a violent wash of pink, with both teams steadfastly refusing to don their ‘away’ kit.

The referee examined the sky, checked the position of the pale sun, and blew his whistle.

A bladder filled with air was kicked down the pitch.  It landed.  Bounced.  Lay forgotten.

A score of hooves gouged the field as the two sides thundered towards each other, fists clenched and teeth bared.

The pink pounding had begun...

‘The Grinning Butcher’ opened up the scoring for the Horrors by smashing Dark Horn to a bloody pulp, though it wasn’t long before the Lashor Devastation equalised with a vengeance, when Marius went toe-to-toe with ‘the Grinning Butcher’ and (with a vicious elbow) put him out of the game, to the crowd’s delight.
Scrugg-Ruff, ‘the Weeping Widow’ put the Horrors back ahead again before the end of the first half when he ferociously impaled the Devastation’s warrior Marius with a horn to the groin.

‘He back next game,’ Scrugg-Ruff laughed, ‘but he no pleasure breeding-goats tonight!’

The crowd-pleaser of the match though was no doubt the second-half incident involving the now-lauded Scrugg-Ruff and his opposite number, Vilehoof.  After various comments and insults were exchanged between the two about their respective nanny’s, the fans watched in awe as the two man-goats powered down the pitch towards each other, butting heads so hard that their horns splintered.  Both players collapsed beside each other, the sound of the crowd’s roars echoing in their ringing ears as everything went black...

In the end, the Pink Horrors claimed the victory, winning by three casualties to two.

Elsewhere on the pitch, the Horrors also scored two ‘touchdowns’, while the Devastation only scored one.

It was with a huge sigh of relief that Coach Lysenko was dragged away from the pitch, while Coach Rid was left on the sideline, wondering what went wrong as he picked testicle pie out of his teeth...

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Pink Horrors 0 - 3 The Twisted Sisters

Like most base animals, the Pink Horrors were often made nervous by sudden changes to their habitat, and the appearance of the towering stage and speaker stacks at the north end of the Pink Pyre Stadium set the beastmen’s hearts pounding.

Perhaps more off-putting was the distinct lack of cheering, stomping and clapping from the crowd as the home team  roared from the tunnel at the start of the match.  In fact, to their dismay, the Pink Ones were met with absolute silence as they took to the pitch.  They brayed fiercely, then mournfully to the crowd, but all eyes were on the stage...

Most of the beastmen fell to the ground and even the massive forms of the iron-clad warriors were forced to shield their eyes as the stage suddenly burst bright with the shattering light of a thousand dancing flames.  The wailing of slaves and the unmistakable scent of burning flesh filled the air as the Twisted Sisters leapt onto the stage, shrieking laughter at their blazing prisoners.

The crowd jumped to their feet, almost buckling the wooden bleachers of the Pink Pyre, the force of their cheers ringing for miles around.

The Starchild held the mic close, a crooked smile ghosting his lips as his eyes surveyed the adoring crowd.  With barely an ounce of effort, his voice powered through the speakers by a crashing wave of audiomancy, he intoned:

‘Do.  You.  Love.  Us?’

The crowd cried out their affirmation, weeping adoring tears of pure rapture.  A swathe of them burst forth onto the pitch, rushing the foot of the stage.  Some were beaten back by the force of the flames, but most were able to gladly throw themselves upon the raging conflagration, jumping –oblivious - in excitement, reaching to touch the form of the Starchild even as their muscles shrank and cracked.

The Starchild laughed gleefully as he dropped his trousers and urinated on his burning fans.  The rest of the crowd cried out their joy all the loader and even the beastman Ug-Gruff-Gaw, ‘the Darkling Heart’ brayed his approval.

The rest of the Horrors glared in silence as the ‘Darkling Heart’ punched the air, overjoyed.  When he eventually noticed their disdain, he shrugged.

‘Their live album... really good,’ he explained and grudgingly fell silent.

The Starchild took up the mic once more.

‘Let’s.  Play.  Blood Bowl!’

And with that, the Twisted Sisters stormed the pitch, the referee blew his whistle, and the dooming of the Pink Horrors began...

Both teams lost time as fans rioted to get autographs from the Starchild, but once the pitch was cleared, it was a cagey start to the beastmen’s game, having received the ball but not quite daring to pick it up in case of catastrophe.  Their uncertainty as to what this strange, round piece of inflated skin was led to the Starchild rushing forth and scoring an early touchdown – pushing the Horrors onto the back-hoof.

The children of the Dark Gods now had it all to do – at best hoping to equalise before the half-time whistle.  But as they became bogged down in surrounding elves, they were forced to fall back upon their favoured tactic of hitting problems until they were solved.  Sadly though, the audacious sacrifice of the Twisted Sisters at the outset seemed to have secured the favour of the gods.

Each time the elves were beaten to the floor, they merely jumped back to their feet, unscathed, much to the annoyance of Head Coach Lysenko.  In the end, the Horrors were unable to punch their way through the Dark Elf lines and, predictably, the Sisters scored their second touchdown at the beginning of the second half.

Hopes of a win were quickly fading for the Horrors and they moved from a scoring stance to one of damage control, knowing that under the circumstances, a two-nil defeat would perhaps be better than they deserved.
Typically, as the ‘Weeping Widow’ awkwardly scooped up the ball from the pitch, he was swamped by the elves and forced to lob the ball down the field and hope for the best.  Equally typically, Mendaitha, plucked the ball out of the air with magnificent grace.  In a bizarre twist though, the gods’ interest waned - perhaps becoming more excited by the sight of Khorne’s Killers butchering what was left of the Slaves to Pleasure – and the Sisters were unable to immediately capitalise on their good fortune.

What followed was a catalogue of fumbles, trips, slips, drops and knock-outs, leaving both coaches wondering what their teams were doing, but – inevitably – the Horrors were unable to stop the elves scoring one last crowning touchdown.

It was then left to the Violated Virgin to restore at least some honour to the Horrors by smashing the teeth out of Snidjer’s head and forcing him to miss the next game.

In the end though, as the final whistle blew and the Twisted Sisters took to the stage to sate the crowd with a medley of their greatest hits (The Dark Gods Gave Rock and Roll to You, We Built This City on Broken Bones and Clanrat Out of Hell...), the Horrors slipped quietly off the pitch, only able to cling to the consolation that though the elves may have scored lots of those touchdown thingies, the immoral victory was theirs – winning one-nil on injuries caused.

In the dugout, Head Coach Lysenko was observed pinching and stroking the skin on his face sadly, as though one day soon, he would miss it...

Sunday, 15 July 2012

The Pink Horrors Pt.1: The Thing in the Skin-Tent

The entrails bubbled and spat as they slopped onto the fire, sending up a squealing hiss of blood-steam which made my stomach clench.  It was perversely comforting, the feel of my gorge rising, despite everything I’d seen both on and off the Blood Bowl field.  Yes, I was certainly no stranger to the sight of red stuff, grey stuff, oozing black stuff... But still, it made me want to vomit every time I saw it and that made me glad.  I was still human, at least.

The same could not be said for the thing which sat hunched before the fire, or at least that was my assumption.  I had never seen its face, shrouded as it was in stinking, heavy robes from head to toe, but its grunting voice bore the same guttural rasp as the brutal man-goats who had imprisoned me in ‘gainful employment’.  The only ever glimpses of the creature beneath were the brief flashes of clawed fingers as they threw bloodied offerings into the dazzling blue flames, sickening gifts to the foulest of gods.

The stench of the tent was almost overwhelming, a heady mix of putrid meats and mouldering animal hair, acrid smoke and burned flesh, all trapped within walls of skin which, I had been assured, had been hewn from the screaming forms of the more disappointing of the Pink Horrors’ previous Head Coaches.
I slumped to the ground, awaiting the words of ‘He’.  I had been summoned, and I knew that it was my life to disobey.

The impenetrable blackness beneath the hood surveyed the dancing flames and the only sounds in the tent were the crackle of burning wood and the sizzling of bodily fats.  It seemed like half an age of the world before a yellow-brown claw flashed from beneath the robes, swiping at the fire.

‘It... It say you... bad omen,’ He struggled to form the words, like his tongue was unsuited to the intricacies of human language.  ‘It say... you bring shame...’

He looked me in the eye, so far as I could tell and I couldn’t help but shiver.

‘...It say I should geld your billy-plums and feed them to the minotaur.’

‘But we don’t have a --’  I ventured.


‘I might not.  Last team I coached, won the league.’


‘But that was you!’

He fell silent and I edged back slightly.  I was still bloodied and purple from the last time I had disagreed with ‘He’.

I watched him, the breath caught in my throat.  Waiting.

When it came, the low, moaning bray which thundered from beneath those filthy robes shook the very skin-walls of the tent and, if only for a moment, dampened the fire itself.  In those few moments of flickering darkness, I allowed myself a nervous half-smile.  I think He was laughing.

The sound stopped abruptly, my smile faded.  A claw stretched up from beneath the robes and my gaze followed it up to the roof of the tent.

‘You... see this?’

I watched as the thick smoke from the fire rose up through the rent in the ceiling, spreading in the night air to blot out the foreign stars.  Ragged flaps of sewn skin - human, elf, perhaps even orc - shivered around the edges of what I could only describe as -

‘A smoke hole.  It’s a smoke hole,’ I said.

‘No.’  The claw slowly dropped and stretched out over the flames, immersed in them but untouched by them, until it rested but a hair’s-width from my broken nose.  ‘It is your hole.’

‘My...?’  But I knew exactly what He meant.

‘Tomorrow you play elves – You want keep skin, you not lose...’

I sighed.

It was going to be another one of those seasons...