The Horrors filed down the slick, mossy, stone steps which led into the crypt, each of them nervously looking back over their shoulders as they left the moonlight behind them and descended into darkness...
The team’s caravan of lurid chariots had ground to a halt outside the rusted gates of the graveyard and it was the Blushing Doxy who was the first to ask what everyone else was thinking:
‘Um... Are you sure this is the right place?’
The Nav-Mancer looked up from his scrolls and potions and fixed his eyeless sockets upon her.
‘You have weached your deathstination,’ he lisped.
‘It’s just that –‘ she began to protest.
The Nav-Mancer’s cave-like eyes erupted a gout of blue flame, and lightning crackled between the matted strands of his greasy beard.
‘YOU HAVE WEACHED YOUR DEATHSTINATION,’ he bellowed and everyone had seemed to agree that this signalled a fairly definite end to the discussion.
Coach Lysenko leapt down from the lead chariot, gesturing towards the crazed wizard with the flaming eyes. ‘We’d better put him out of sight, someone’s liable to nick him if we leave him on display...’
The Blushing Doxy nodded and threw a blanket over him.
They passed through the crumbling iron gates and headed up the stony path, lined on either side by its ancient gravestones and broken monuments.
‘Not much of a stadium...’ spat the Spry Butcher, looking around.
But beneath their feet, there was a sight to be beheld indeed!
The tomb door rumbled shut behind them, drowning them in the silent and seemingly endless dark of the crypt. But as they descended deeper and deeper and their eyes became more accustomed to the blackness, a faint orange glow could be seen in the bowels of the earth, down to which this endless staircase seemed to lead them.
Voices too drifted up from the deep now, thundering chants growing louder and closer until the roar was deafening and the blaze of flaming braziers burned their eyes. The stair ended and the damp, glistening stone tunnel opened out onto a vast cavern, a hundred feet tall, carved out to form the most beautiful Blood Bowl arena that the team had ever seen.
Vast chiselled tapestries spanned the walls, images of Death in all its guises throughout the history of the Old World; swathes of humans, falling at His feet, their faces bulbous with the Pox; elves and dwarfs cleaved asunder by their own petty wars; rat-men, silently squealing as their kin devoured them alive... Every inch of wall not decorated so was hung with bloodied cadavers, their faces locked in wails of despair. And all the while, as the Horrors gazed about them in wonder and admiration, the crowd of un-dead, living-dead, re-animated-dead, nearly dead and simply... well, dead, groaned in excitement and anticipation.
The Grenzstadt Gravediggers stood waiting...
It was the Pink Horrors who had won the toss and they elected to receive the kick-off, hoping that they might gain some advantage by keeping the ball from their undead opponents long enough for bits to begin dropping off the zombies. When the Gravediggers lined up their defence though, the Pink Ones realized from the sight of not one but two eight-foot tall mummies on the front line that the zombies would be the least of their worries.
Using the relative slowness of the Gravediggers to their advantage, the Horrors grabbed the ball as soon as they could and caged their way towards their opponent’s line. The huddle of goats had an advantage in that it would take the undead players some time to reach them, by which time they could hopefully break through the shambling horde and make a mad dash for the endzone.
As the zombies and wights slowly approached, all of the real action (as far as the fans were concerned) took place on the centre line as Chaos warriors and mummies spent the first half smashing each other into oblivion, a tactic which ended badly for the Spry Butcher, who spent the second half of the match nursing a sprained skull...
The tide of violence had started to turn against the Horrors by the middle of the half, having two man-goats out cold as well as an injured Chaos warrior, and so the Horrors decided it was high time they made their run for it. The Drowned Lover burst from the cage and the zombie in front of him could do nothing as he pushed it to the ground, tearing his way down the pitch. It was a comfortable touchdown for him, knowing that there was not a player on the undead team who could match his speed.
The second half started in much the same way as the first, though both teams by this time were down one player. The mummies and the Chaos warriors pummelled away at each other as the Gravediggers’ gouls took the ball at the kick-off and steeled themselves ready for their attempt to equalise. It was a fine start to their offence as their mummies and wights managed to floor a swathe of man-goats, leaving a gaping hole in the Pink Ones’ defensive line.
The undead wight, Silver, was left with the perfect opportunity to equalise as the ball was thrown to him. He caught it skilfully and made a break for the endzone. In a bizarre mirror of the previous half, he had managed to position himself so that none of the Horrors would be able to reach him in time to stop him scoring without anything less than an elvish display of agility. Sadly for the Gravediggers, with a cry of ‘Hi-ho Silver!!’ the wight succumbed to a fit of blood-lust and instead ran straight for a crowd of man-goats, intending to do some damage.
The tide sadly turned with his crazed foolhardiness and suddenly the Gravediggers found themselves without a man left standing apart from the ball-carrier. The Drowned Lover soon convinced him with a hefty smack in the face that he should have a little sit down and so, to a chorus of groans from the festering Grenzstadt fans, the man-goat soon to be nicknamed ‘the Cloven Elf’, danced home to yet another touchdown.
The final whistle blew and the Horrors were elated with their victory against a fine opponent, though they were not so happy when they reached their chariots only to see their Nav-Mancer disappearing over the horizon, carried on the shoulders of a crowd of hoodie-wearing gouls...