The malefey glared at each other for an intense moment and Ayla could not keep from backing away fearfully, but a crooked grin then turned the corner of Bryth’s mouth and his manner relaxed.
“If you want something to do tonight, join me.” Perplexed, Gairynzvl did not answer.
“Several Guards who are off duty, as well as a few Healers who are no longer needed this eventide, will be playing Vladokhyssum.” Again, Gairynzvl did not respond, though his expression wavered from aggression to uncertain curiosity.
“Ever play?” Bryth inquired ingenuously, but when Gairynzvl immediately glared at him with resentment he stepped back, raising his hands in a gesture of self accusation
“Forgive me. Now who is the fool?” Revealing in this innocuous manner that he comprehended Gairynzvl’s gift of telepathy; he shook his head at his blunder and tried again.
“One of my teammates was injured when last we played and cannot compete tonight. You would make a formidable replacement and I suspect you would enjoy the game. Immensely.” He chose his words with cunning and was not disappointed with the reaction they produced.
“Vladokhyssum?” Bryth nodded at his repetition, but it was Ayla who answered.
“It is also known as CruciaFynnowyn.” Gairynzvl turned to look down at her with disbelief.
“Kill the Fey?” The incredulity of his tone made the tall Guard laugh devilishly.
“No one has ever actually been killed. That would make continued play problematic. It would be a bit difficult finding replacements.” His mirth was infectious. Relaxing his guarded stance at last, Gairynzvl laughed as well, the charming sound causing Ayla to gaze up at him with open affection.
“The rules are simple; competition is challenging, escaping unscathed is difficult, but it beats doing nothing.” Again, his description was artfully delivered and he could plainly see Gairynzvl’s interest was piqued.
“There are four teams, each consisting of four players and one replacement. Play begins on the ground, but once the ball is in motion, no part of your body is allowed to touch the ground. The object is to score goals by getting the ball through the central goal ring by any means possible.”
“Any means?” Gairynzvl clarified and Bryth nodded.
“You can throw it, kick it, drop it, pass it to a closer teammate, and if you can manage it, you can fly through the ring carrying it, though I would not advise that particular maneuver until you have had a great deal of practice.” Looking up at the goal ring, he illustrated how dangerous this might be by taking to wing in order to show him just how small the ring was in comparison to the breadth and scope of the playing field. Alighting once again, he then continued.
“Play continues unbroken until either someone scores or the ball hits the ground. Each player of one team must score once in order to gain victory, which sounds simple enough until you understand that while you are carrying the ball, twelve other players will be doing everything in their power to keep you from scoring and the only defense you have is your three teammates.” With this explanation the true challenge of the game became clearer, as did the game’s less than official name; yet, regardless of the hazards involved, Gairynzvl could not hold back a brazen smile. Bryth nodded at his obvious appreciation of the games inherent peril and continued.
“There are, of course, a few simple rules designed for protection. You cannot intentionally knock your opponent over the head; you cannot kick him, bite him, or tear his feathers out.” He paused, nodding while waiting for Gairynzvl’s reaction to these straightforward rules, but his reaction was to wait as well, clearly supposing there were additional rules yet to come, yet when Bryth did not continue, he could not contain a skeptical chuckle.
“Is that all? Those are the rules?” Bryth nodded with a smile of wry delight.
“If you intentionally break one of these rules, or if you touch the ground during play, you are sent into exile.” He turned with this pronouncement and pointed at a small, bare patch of ground at the far side of the arena.
“Your penalty is to sit out two plays, which can sometimes mean two points, and that will make enemies of your teammates faster than scoring will make rivals of your opponents.” The ferocity of the game was becoming very clear; still, the appeal of the contest was irresistible….
A Description of the sporting event I created to give the Fey of the Light something to do. Learn more about Dark Fey The Reviled at its dedicated website
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