Page 3 of 3

PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:16 am
by Veldgouwen
"In the blue corner, the man of the hour who earned his spot in this confrontation by a direct knock-out of the Devontian Dominator... Hannes Schaepdryver!"

Sheepishly, Hannes looked at his gloves. How... Had it come to this? As if someone had taped four packs of beans to his hands, he felt like dropping them but such was hardly possible as the people around him shoved Hannes to a shady ring. In particular, everything was shady about the location from the misplaced neon lights and the scantily clad ladies to the big guys flapping rolls of cash to him as if nothing motivated him like the sound of paper money against fake golden rings.

By some natural reflex, he felt like raising his arms once he clumsily made it through the ropes but the pure weight of it made them fall back again. Or were it the animalistic sounds from the crowd, who reacted to him like a pack of wolves to a forgotten zebra? Still trying to get the perpetual booing out of his head, the same voice from heaven returned.

"And in the red corner, we've got... The Sledgehammer! The man who single-handedly finished off the much-feared Bonesea Bouncer! Piet... Dreamkiller... Masschelin!"

Piet always had been an impressive figure, the kind of guy for whom you paid a new beer if you accidentally collided in the pub. But now, it was a giant who was spat out by the masses - hordes of people that went bonkers as he banged his sidepost with a theatrical gesture. With two, three steps, it seemed as if he had crossed the area. Even if pointing is technically difficult with those gloves, Piet managed to put half a limb in his direction and say something in between his teeth which terrifyingly resembled:

"I'm going to fuck you up."

It was bizarre that only now it became clear to Hannes where he was. He shouldn't... Fight... Jezus Christ, it wasn't as if he was nimble but Piet adds another twenty pounds to the scales and has similar forearms to the guy who stands outside a back-alley club. All he then could remember was the metallic sound of a gong, a fist that came towards him like a snowplough - slowly but unescapable.

There was a obtuse sound of body hitting the floor - his own, in hindsight - and then...

"One, two, three, four, five, ..."

"... five, four, three, two, water incoming, Sheepy!"
"It's rather sleepy," someone yelled.

Just before being drenched, it came to Hannes how childlike the high voice of Jim Decubber was, quiet resembling to his behavior every once and a while. Two accomplices, probably including his best pall Mike Mortelmans, made it impossible to escape the shower and Hannes tried not to pay attention to the temperature of it.

"Get your ass up, Schaepdryver, your beauty nap is over. Last training in five!"

Trying to find a clean shirt and his recollection, Hannes saw the fist coming back at him, time and time again. What a ridiculous dream. He and Piet weren't BFFs, as his little niece would call it, but two professional colleagues and that they both had a solid claim for the starting position on the next game didn't change a thing about this.

With the game being up tomorrow, Valkeniers kept it fairly light with some core stability, free-kick forms and an enjoyable variant on a regular game. The pitch was split in five zones in which you would have to act two against two - the main one in the middle with Piet and Jim facing Hannes and Wim Vreysen. The reason to pair them was quite predictable as the gaffer wanted to keep up the clean sheet series with a center-forward who acted as the first defender, especially against a team like Savalen that had scored so easily in the two opening fixtures. Initially, it was kept fairly light but as Hannes' position wasn't the only one at stake, the tension rose, as did the pace. Halfway in, a fine cross from Van Baekel reached the defensive zone from Hannes but just as he wanted to head it out of danger, a bulldozer swept him over and made the nets tremble in the process. As he lay down, trying to assure nothing was hit, the broad grin of Piet leaned over him.

"I'm going to fuck you up, Sheepy."

For f's sake... Where was Decubber with his pint of water when you needed him?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 6:20 am
by Schottia

Part Four

Handon, Present day
Karen ducked her head low as the barman opened the floor hatch and invited her to descend. She initially made the mistake of moving down the stairs like a flight of steps, when going backwards like a ladder was retrospectively the best option. Clumsily, she half stumbled as her feet unexpectedly found cellar floor. The barman followed just behind her, obviously far more used to the awkward surroundings. He pulled a cord on the ceiling and a strip light came on above their heads.

'Is this what you are looking for?' He said, waving his hand around the cramped cellar filled with beer kegs, pipes, boxes of old glassware, and fresh beer mats still in their plastic wrappings. It was hard to get much of an idea of the size, such was array of things crammed into ever corner. As Karen squinted under the flickering fluorescent light, the phrase: Out of sight, out of mind - came into her head. It had been a cold December morning, the pavements still icy, as she had walked gingerly down Auk Street, but somehow this room was even colder.

'I think so.' She answered trying to work out the exact size, which was possibly four meters by three, but she wasn't good with those kinds of calculations. 'Is their another room adjoining?' She asked, rubbing her hands together under a plume of frozen breath.

'Oh, eh, yeah.' The barman, who was possible in his early forties, said quickly. It was still half an hour before the pub opened and he was clearly enjoying the interaction with the opposite sex. 'Just up at the top here, it's where we store the paper towels and stuff.'

The pub owner, whether it was this guy or someone else, was clearly unorganised. Karen could have never worked in a place where you had to clamber over boxes to carry out your daily tasks. She kept her eye on the medieval stone walls, trying to imagine how it would have looked in Margaret Davis' day, obviously minus the strip lighting. It must have been dark, and cold. The stone was almost an earthy sort of grey, and it had a kind of sandstone, porous quality, which seemed like it was holding water even if it wasn't. The floor, by contrast, was a dusty concrete grey, and it seemed as though at one point someone had just poured an entire mixer's worth over it and left it to level out and set.

'So you say there was a witch lived down here.' Said the barman, sounding curious, but there was a tinge of nerves as he spoke.

'As legend has it,' Karen answered shortly, as she continued to the far end of the room. 'Never heard of Margaret Davis?'

'Aye, I think I've heard the name before.' The barman answered thoughtfully, as he followed her to the other end of the room. 'Maybe it's one of these things ye need to be a tourist to learn about though. Know what I mean? They'm silly ghost tours and all that.'

'Mhm.' Karen answered as she came to the door and pulled it open, searching with her hands for a light switch, which turned out to be on her left. This second room felt airless and she could see why, when the door leading out into the street had been bricked up. That would have obviously been another entrance back in Davis' time. She was like a dog on the scent now, as she pulled her phone from her pocket and activated the torch function, looking closely at the walls and floor, trying to imagine how much might have changed. In this room there was no rough concrete flooring, instead there were smooth flagstones, more worn in some areas. Karen ran her fingers along them, thinking once more about Davis, her girls, and the life they must have led.

'So it's a bit creepy like.' The barman seemed keen that no silence should be allowed to develop. 'You know, like those daft horror movies.' He laughed nervously, 'I don't know how I feel about some old woman sitting down here with her cauldron and black cat, while I'm workin up there like.'

Karen shook her head as she proceeded to the back wall. This room was in fact about 25% smaller than the previous one, as it needed to fit into the architecture of the building's foundations. 'She obviously wasn't a witch.' Karen said impatiently. 'Is there another room at the far end of this one?'

'Eh, aye. But there's no a light in that yin.' The barman answered concerned that they were heading towards an unlit room moments after being told it had been the site of a witches coven. 'I know there's no such thing as ghosts and that, I'm just saying.' He rubbed the back of his neck nervously, but Karen took no notice.

Even the door was smaller this time, as Karen ran her hands over the old metal latch. She examined it under the light of her phone, not seventeenth century, but certainly old. 'What was this place before it was a pub?' She called back, realising that she didn't know the guy's name. Perhaps he mentioned it at introductions, but she'd forgotten. The door wasn't closed tight, but it was stuck fast, as if it didn't have the right ground clearance to get over the floor. Karen grabbed the edge of the door with both hands, squeezing her fingers into the gap. With three or four hard tugs, she eventually prised it open with an explosion of dust, cobwebs, and a rush of stale air.

'I dunno,' answered the barman eventually. He had been too busy secretly hoping that she wouldn't manage to get the door open. 'It's been a pub for years... Fifty, sixty years anyway... Maybe more.' There was now an impatience to his voice, as he realised he had gotten more than he had bargained for when he agreed to show her the cellar.

Karan had to lower her head a little to enter the third room. She shone her torch in front of her, revealing boxes of old Midwinter decorations, heavy with layers of dust. There were old milk crates containing bottles of beer that had to be decades past their sell-by date, and other old items of furniture, which couldn't be identified.

'Fuck...' The Barman stuck his head tentatively through the door. 'I've never been in here before. Some of this crap must be ancient.' He kept both feet firmly on the other side of the door, ready to make a swift exit. 'Do you think these beers belonged to the witches?'

Karen shot him a look that told him how stupid a question that was. 'This must have been the room where the girls slept.' She said half to her self, as she walked to the other end of the room, prodding boxes with her toe to move them out of the way. Again this room was a little smaller than the one that proceeded it, and would have fit neatly inside.

'Girls, how many of then were there?' The barman took a step back, resisting the temptation to run, as he looked over his shoulder nervously. 'Look, listen, eh... Karen. I'm going to need to open the bar soon, eh? So, like, do you need much longer?'

'And Davis' room must have been here...' She ignored him, moving an old iron singer pub table, to reveal a plywood board screwed to the wall.

'Whey's that like?' She continued to ignore the barman's outbursts. 'The witch? The main yin? The main yin, you mean? The Leader?'

'I'll need to get a crowbar or something.' Karen mused, as she tried to get her fingers under the plywood, but to no avail.

'Fuck this man, I'm out of here.' The Barman said, as he turned and ran like a scolded cat. Karen was glad to see the back of him, but there was no use, she couldn't get into Davis' room without tools. She was going to need to come back later, if the barman would let her back in.

SBCNEWS Online...
Football special - Independents Cup

Schottia 2-1 Greater Vakolicci Haven @ The Gun Wharf, Tane, Portsea
Line-up: McNott, Watt, Doig (M.Ünterhausen), Souter, Paul, Cummings (Conjure), McDonald, Coultan, Rudden, Killanen (Rexmont), McCormack
Goals: Rudden, McCormack

Next up for Schottia at The Gun Warf were Greater Vakolicci Haven, a side they had never previously faced at senior level. Lionel Mah's players needed to avoid a heavy defeat in order to guarantee progression, however they were going to have to do it without two key players. Having picked up a knock in training, Johannas Ünterhausen started on the bench, meaning that there would be a first senior start for Port Sebastian star, Vera Cummings. On top of this, after Corrine Martel-Burns received a straight red for a two footed challenge in the match with Revolutionary Nordskania, she was forced to watch the game from the stands. Centralis Heart's John McCormack came in to replace the St Johns teenager.

Despite their relative prominence, the Havenic side have never made much of an impact on the in Multiverse football, and as a result we actually know very little about them. That said, in a closely contested first half, Schottia were pushed hard as neither side managed to break the deadlock.

After a relatively limp performance against Revolutionary Nordskania in the previous match, Quebecois manager Mah, said he was looking for big improvements from his side. However, with only a scuffed Eoin Killanen shot to show for the opening forty-five, there was little to get excited about. At the other end, Jeremy McNott was called into action to punch a deflected effort out for a corner; and the Havenic side were unlucky to be denied a penalty, after a tug of the shirt from Jenny McDonald. It wasn't the Schottia we had been used to seeing during the Cup of Harmony, and was far more reminiscing of the side that failed to make the last World Cup. The Schottic fans who made the long journey must have been left wondering what had happened to the side that beat Drawkland 4-0.

In the second half Schottia improved somewhat, with the midfield pushing further and further up the park. In the end it was thanks to a breakaway from Killanen, opening up space down the right, which created the vital goal. The 30-year-old showed a fantastic turn of pace in getting to the by-line, before whipping the ball back across goal for the onrushing attack. McCormack failed to make contact as he lunged in, but Chloe Rudden, arriving at the back post, was on hand to apply the finish.

Rather than opening the floodgates, the Sabrefell Athletic winger's goal seemed to bring out a response in the Havenic side. Having lost their first two games, the prospect of leaving with nothing on the board was obviously weighing heaving on their minds - and what's more, with Schottia not at their best, the team sensed blood in the water. With ten minutes left to play, they got the goal they needed, as the Schottian's switched off at the back once again. Caught napping, the Auks looked utterly dejected, facing the prospect of a second poor result on the bounce, in what had turned out to be a frustrating trip to Portsea.

A share of the points was enough for Schottia, and as they approached the ninety-minute mark, it looked like they had settled for just that. However, substitute Evelyn Conjure provided some much needed energy, coming on to replace Cummings in the closing stages. The versatile Coast player showed one Havenic midfielder a clean pair of heels before playing the ball through to McCormack to give Schottia the win in the dying stages. The striker did exactly what he was there to do, taking one of the few chances that came his way, to ensure that Schottia qualified in second.

With six points from three matches, Schottia were safely through to the last sixteen, where they will now face former Baptism of Firs winners Amazonesta. On paper the Tyranian nation will no doubt go in as favourites, but given the way they have been playing, it could be tight. Lionel Mah will obviously have Martel-Burns back for the trip to Bonfire Hill, and based on this performance, that injection of energy can't come quickly enough.

Independents Cup: R16

PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:02 am
by Bonesea
Independents Cup, Group A Matchday 3

Bonesea 3-2 Averyickan CityHT: 1-1
@ St. Leah’s Ground, Spittalsea, Bonesea

Scorers: Wickett (29’ 68’) Skewes, A (55’)
Peters (2’) Leonus (71’)

Attendance: 21,400

Player		Rating					Match Stats	BSE-AVE
Dunbar [7.0] Possession (%) 60/40
Cottle [5.6]YY Shots 16-13
Shanty [5.7]YY On target 7-5
Skewes A [7.8] (goal 55’) Pass Compl (%) 76-64
Witt [7.2]YY RR78’ Corners 3-2
Jones R [5.3]RR78’ Fouls 17-9
Acosta [5.7] Yellow cards 5-1
Jones I [8.3] Red cards 2-0
Gulbrandsen [7.3]
Wickett [9.5]* (PoM) (goals 29’ 68’)
Turk [8.7]
Injuries Severity
Tannager [7.3] sub: Gulbrandson 30’ Jones L 3 games
Jones L [ - ] + sub: Jones I 78’
Smith N [ - ]YY sub: Jones L 90+5’

Expected line-up vs. Abanhfleft (Argånger 127 formation):
Dunbar; Cottle; Skewes A, Ortiz; Jones N, Tannager, Acosta, Jones I, Grayse-Lennox, Wickett, Turk.

The Sailors finished with nine men on the pitch but still managed to hang on for the win in a feisty affair at St. Leah’s, where the crowd was a record for a Bonesea home game thanks to the attendance of Mr. & Mrs. Scapegoat of Liarby, who obviously felt the all-or-nothing game was important enough to take up their ticket allocation on a windy night in Spittalsea. They are not ones for the big city all things considered, finding it rough and ill-mannered at the best of times, and they will not have been disarmed of their opinion after this rumbustious affair in which two players were sent off, five booked, and three will be suspended for the next game in the round of sixteen, successfully reached with a narrow victory over the Averies. It did not look too healthy early on – last time out, the Sailors lost a man to sickness in the first five minutes; this time, they conceded a goal. There was a universal groan around the new stadium as Richard Peters netted and Mr. Lenny Scapegoat was heard to cry ‘get the tibias into them, for fibula’s sake!’ before being soundly scolded by Mrs. Scapegoat for his public display of impropriety. But he could hardly be blamed for thinking the worst – the Sailors have not been on form since their glorious win in the Cup of Harmony. But in a man of the match performance, Conchobar ‘The Conch’ Wickett turned it around for Bonesea, to put them clear out in front with two goals and an assist. Equalising on the half hour, he capped a rising momentum from the Sailors with the goal. Urged on by Coach Pythagoras Jones and the ever-animated Des Jeruselem, the Sailors did get the tibias into them, setting up a rough and tough encounter in which tempers frayed on both sides. The teams went in level at the half but the momentum was surely with the Bonesmen.

There could have been no calming words in the dressing room at half time as the Sailors came out quite as tempestuous as the way they went into the break, pulling and pushing and kicking and shoving all the way. Intimidating their plucky opponents into submission, they found the Averies to be of a far meeker order than Velgouwen in the last game. The Conch battered the defence like a bucket of white fish down on the dock at Wharfside for much of the half, setting up Ansell Skewes – not one to pull a punch himself – to put Bonesea out in front, and then hitting a third with around twenty minutes to go to give the home crowd something to cheer about. But the hard wrestling of the home side was beginning to irritate the referee for some inexplicable reason, and after endless warnings he sent off Jay Witt for a second bookable offence and then immediately turned a straight red on Reskadinnick Jones for ‘afters’. Coach Pythagoras had to reshuffle the pack a little to see out the game, though not without some scares as Avery Leonus pulled a goal back to put all the pressure on the home side for the closing quarter hour. With a bit of wrestle and a lot of wrangle the Sailors kept the bruised Averies out to secure a place in the last sixteen, although they will be without key players including Wanger Shanty, booked for the second time in three games and facing a ban as a consequence, along with Jay & Reskadinnick.

Quote of The Day
[On being asked about squad indiscipline and suspensions]

Des Jeruselem said
Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.

[On being asked about preparations for the round of sixteen]

Des Jeruselem said
We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.

Round of Sixteen
Abanhfleft vs. Bonesea
@ St. Leah’s Ground, Spittalsea, Bonesea

Bonesea: Argånger 127 Formation
Dunbar; Cottle; Skewes A, Ortiz; Jones N, Tannager, Acosta, Jones I, Grayse-Lennox, Wickett, Turk.

Coach Pythagoras has to juggle the pack again after the disciplinary problems of the last game, with Wanger Shanty and Jay Witt suspended for one game each, and Reskadinnick Jones out for three following his straight red. The good news is Nobb Jones returns from his viral problems and Skua Ortiz is back following his minor injury, so they form natural replacements while ZC Tannager is ready and waiting to step into Reskadinnick’s shoes as ever. Beyond that the coach swaps out Teppo Gulbrandsen for Ursell Grayse-Lennox, but opts not to change keepers despite Duald Dunbar’s troubles between the sticks. Since the retirement of Zipper Smith no one keeper has looked entirely a safe pair of hands, and as yet the coach has not been ready to blood Donkey Ray Harton for his international debut – so Duald needs to get his shizzle together and sort out his inconsistencies.

BoneBet: Abanhfleft are a decent bet any day of the week, and the Sailors are looking well under par; the Flefties to prevail – 3/1

PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 7:13 am
by Abanhfleft
The Pridnestrovian Invasion of Nordskania, Part Thirteen

Fiergrad, Nordskanian Democratic People’s Republic
Pridnestrovian-occupied territory

Things could always be going better for the Pridnestrovian invaders of Nordskania, that was for sure, and yet as things stood, they were doing quite well for themselves. The so-called “Soviet Republic of Nordskania,” established by the Marshal of the Nordskanian People’s Army, Pavel Andriychuk, was fast collapsing due to fighting on numerous fronts against Pridnestrovia, the loyalists of the old Nordskanian Democratic People’s Republic, and the anarchists from the northern part of the country, the so-called “Community of Revolutionary Nordskania.” The Nordskanian People’s Army simply didn’t have the manpower to fight on all three fronts at the same time, and despite the other sides’ best efforts to keep Nordskanian territory away from the hands of the Pridnestrovians, it was still the invaders which were able to take full advantage of the collapse of the so-called “Soviet Republic of Nordskania” because the Pridnestrovian Army was keeping the loyalists cooped up in Ryakova and the anarchists were too busy reinforcing their new Mountain Pact ally, the fascist so-called “State of Nordskania,” to make bigger plays for southern territory.

But, as always, it was not smooth sailing for the Pridnestrovians. During mopping-up operations in the area around the town of Fiergrad, which had been abandoned by the Nordskanian People’s Army due to their rapidly depleting manpower, advance elements of the Antakya OMON battalion came under fire from unknown sources and unknown enemies from within the town. It was much the same story for the Topraisar OMON battalion during their own operation to clear up the nearby town of Duradino. It was the Topraisar OMON who were able to give the Pridnestrovians their first clues as to the identity of this new enemy: Topraisar was part of the Ixanian Socialist State and was home to a large population of Romanian ethnicity, and it was these Romanian troops who reported to their Pridnestrovian commanders that the enemy holed up in Duradino and by extension Fiergrad were Romanian speakers.

It took some analysis from historians and the Foreign Ministry before the Pridnestrovians were made aware of the existence of the Vestanian people right in the middle of the ongoing conflict between Pridnestrovia and the numerous breakaway Nordskanian states. The Vestanians had remained quiet for a long time, popping up only occasionally to assist the northern anarchists in their fight against the old communist south, but now that chaos looked certain to engulf the region, they had decided that it was time for them to get their own country. And unfortunately for both the Vestanians and the Pridnestrovians, the Vestanians’ new country had been established in Fiergrad and Duradino.

Preliminary scouting reports from recently arrived Spetsnaz and GRU units had reported that the Vestanians had an estimated regiment’s worth of men protecting both Fiergrad and Duradino with plans to spread even further in the surrounding towns where there were reportedly large populations of Vestanians. As the Pridnestrovian invasion absorbed this new information, two options became available to them: they could either eliminate the Vestanians and continue with their offensive against Puloko, or they could somehow get the Vestanians on their side and give them a new ally in this war.

Colonel General Vsevolod Pankavuranov had ordered both Fiergrad and Duradino surrounded while the Politburo decided upon a course of action with regards to the Vestanians. Striking up an alliance with the Vestanians had been Pankavuranov’s idea, which he hoped to make in response to the new Mountain Pact between the Empire of Anglatia, their anarchist and fascist puppets in so-called “Revolutionary Nordskania” and “State of Nordskania” respectively, and the vastly-weakened Nordskanian Democratic People’s Republic of Vasily Zharkov, who had been forced to give up socialism in exchange for Anglatian support. Pridnestrovia also had secret agreements with a number of nations, but they really didn’t want to use that card unless it was absolutely necessary. For now, an ally right in the middle of the warzone would have to be enough for them.

Finally, the Politburo made their decision: Pridnestrovia would attempt, as much as possible, to bring the Vestanians into the Pridnestrovian fold and to keep them away from the hands of the Mountain Pact. The reasons for that were both strategic and tactical: Fiergrad, the Vestanian state’s capital, was located just beyond the mountains surrounding the so-called “State of Nordskania,” and if the Pridnestrovians got the Vestanians to their side, the Vestanians would provide a buffer against the fascists and their northern anarchist allies. As for the tactical reasons, the Vestanians had been carrying out guerrilla attacks of their own against the People’s Army and therefore had experience in disrupting this particular enemy.

A special envoy had been sent out to negotiate with the Vestanians on behalf of Pridnestrovia: none other than the Minister of Foreign Affairs himself, Vladimir Nikolayevich Ofinovic. Despite his Serbian ethnicity, Ofinovic was actually a Jew, and while he wasn’t as devout as other Jews would have liked, he was the shrewd negotiator which other peoples tended to view the Jews as. As Foreign Minister of Pridnestrovia, he had been responsible for the secret pacts between his country and Abanhfleft and Abanhfleft’s associated states. Today, he had been tasked by his president to negotiate a new alliance between Pridnestrovia and the Vestanian people.

Ofinovic’s flight from Pridnestrovia to Nordskania was a top-secret mission. Due to heightened security concerns, the pilots of the plane which would take Ofinovic to the warzone, and the squadron from which the pilots and the plane would be drawn, were not informed of their duty until just a few hours before departure to minimize the chances of sabotage or enemy interception. The flight itself from Pridnestrovia to Nordskania was uneventful, and because the Serpukhov-6 airstrip where the plane landed was far removed from any frontline activity, Ofinovic was able to make it to the area safely. Now, surrounded by army units, Ofinovic was taken from Serpukhov-6 to Fiergrad, where the Vestanians had established the capital of their new state.

During the drive from the Pridnestrovian headquarters to Fiergrad, Ofinovic was shown the battlefields on which Pridnestrovian soldiers fought against their anarchist, fascist, and imperialist enemies. In the mountains around Sopova, Ofinovic was treated to the sight of artillery raining down death on their enemy on the other side of the ridges. With the Pridnestrovian Army shifting its focus from the fascists and their anarchist and Anglatian allies to the disintegrating Nordskanian People’s Army’s state, the Army was more than content to keep the fascists boxed in the mountains. Ofinovic’s convoy also passed by the spot where an Anglatian division had been air-dropped by VTOL aircraft; at least, that was where they were supposed to land before they had been intercepted by the Pridnestrovian Air Force. Still, more Anglatians made it than were killed in the crashes or in the subsequent firefights between them and the Army and OMON units assigned in the area, but once they had made it to Sopova and the Red Strip (arrogantly renamed “Orelgrad” by Darya Zharkov of so-called “State of Nordskania”) they were effectively trapped and out of the fight for the time being.

Then Ofinovic finally arrived in Fiergrad, and there the Foreign Minister was met by Colonel General Pankavuranov and his second-in-command, Major General Yaroslav Yevin. Ofinovic, having been a lieutenant colonel in the army before he joined the diplomatic corps, so he still saluted the two generals out of habit even though he was a civilian now and not expected to do so. “Welcome to Nordskania, Comrade Foreign Minister,” Pankavuranov said once he and Yevin had saluted the foreign minister. “Is it what you expected, Minister?”

“What I can say for certain is that, uh, Nordskania is quite the, uh, unique place, Comrade General,” Ofinovic replied. Outside of formal statements and official meetings between his own staff and the Politburo, Ofinovic had a stammer which often made conversations with him hard to follow. Once he was in his element of reporting, announcing, and negotiating, his stammer magically vanished, but during private conversations, it always returned with a vengeance. “So, the, uh, Vestanians, they’re, uh, here, are they?”

“Yes, Comrade Minister, they are,” Yevin replied for Pankavuranov.

“What have you, uh, been doing with them?”

“We’ve kept them on their toes for the moment,” Pankavuranov said. “We’ve surrounded the town and the other town occupied by the Vestanians, Duradino, on my orders. After the initial skirmishes between them and our OMON units, I’ve withdrawn our soldiers from the towns and ordered them to encircle. Right now, the Vestanians are not sure about what we want to do with them, and we keep them guessing by launching flares over their positions. But now that you’re here, Comrade Minister, I’m guessing that the Politburo has decided to accept my suggestion.”

“Indeed, that is the, uh, case, Comrade General,” Ofinovic said. “Comrade President Stepanenko has, uh, decided that, uh, coming into this war without, uh, allies has been a, uh, mistake on his part, and he, uh, is now ready to, uh, rectify that mistake by, uh, getting the Vestanians into an, uh, alliance with, uh, us.”

“Just give us the word, Comrade Minister, and we shall begin the negotiations,” Yevin said confidently.

“Yes, yes, let’s, uh, go ahead,” Ofinovic said with an impatient wave of his hand.

“You heard the Minister,” Yevin said to the surrounding troops. “Let’s get this show on the road!” Then, back to Ofinovic, he said, “I hope you don’t mind some extra protection from the Spetsnaz. You never know what to expect from these people, after all.”

“Whatever will get us moving once again,” Ofinovic said. The thought of finally getting something done was starting to remove his stammer already.

“This is Major Kutuzov, Comrade Minister,” Yevin said, bringing up a middle-aged man with graying hair and in a green Afghanka in front of the foreign minister. “He is the commander of the nearest available Spetsnaz team and will be leading your Spetsnaz protection detail.”

“How do you do, Comrade Major?” Ofinovic asked as Kutuzov saluted him.

“Very well, Comrade Minister,” Major Mikhail Yevgeniyevich Kutuzov replied. “We’ll be keeping close to you, Minister, while you negotiate with the Vestanians. Don’t be surprised by how we are going to get the Vestanians to talk to us first, though; it’s all part of the plan, Comrade Minister.”

Looking up, Ofinovic saw that two soldiers were waving what appeared to be white flags. A third soldier was holding up a megaphone to his mouth and speaking something which the foreign minister couldn’t really understand. “He’s speaking Romanian, Comrade Minister,” Kutuzov said in reply to Ofinovic’s unasked question. “Since the Vestanians appear to be similar ethnically and linguistically to our own Romanian folk, we’ve decided to initiate contact with them through the Romanian language.”

“Yes, that seems to be the intelligent way to start the discussion,” Ofinovic muttered. Soon, the Pridnestrovian delegation, as Ofinovic was beginning to think of his motley collection of diplomats and soldiers, was advancing through the deserted streets of Fiergrad with two soldiers waving white flags at the head of the delegation. The white flags in this instance were not the sign of surrender that they usually were; instead, the Pridnestrovians had brought out the white flags to show to the Vestanians that they meant no harm. Of course, if the Pridnestrovians were attacked in any way by the Vestanians then that was the end of any negotiations, and the Vestanian people would feel the vengeful wrath of the Pridnestrovian Armed Forces.

Finally, the column stopped in front of the town’s city hall, where the Vestanian leadership appeared to have holed up during the Pridnestrovian encirclement of their territory. The soldiers with the white flags were still holding them up high even as the Vestanian guards surrounding the city hall were pointing their own weapons at the Pridnestrovians. The Pridnestrovian interpreter, a Spetsnaz senior praporshchik, spoke some lines of Romanians which, while not making the Vestanians lower their weapons, had made them a little less tense, or at least that was how Ofinovic saw the situation unfolding.

Eventually, the Vestanians finally lowered their weapons, and the praporshchik who had been handling the talking waved the Pridnestrovians onwards; they had been given permission to talk with the Vestanian leadership. Despite that, the Vestanians still eyed the Pridnestrovians warily, especially the Spetsnaz troopers, who were dressed differently from the rest of the regular soldiers. Finally, Ofinovic was inside the city hall, and a nervous-looking Vestanian led him and the rest of the diplomats and the Spetsnaz towards a large conference room. Inside the conference room were members of the so-called Vestanian Protection Forces, the military arm of the new Vestanian state. Three people were seated on the table in the conference room, and the Vestanian soldiers were standing behind them.

The person at the head of the table stood up as Ofinovic and his diplomats and Spetsnaz protection detail entered the room. “I am Ioan Diaconu,” the man said. “I am the Prime Minister of Vestania. This is Chief Lucius Covaci, commander of the Vestanian Protection Forces, and this is Stefania Izbasa, the Vestanian Minister of Affairs. And you are…?”

“I am Vladimir Nikolayevich Ofinovic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of the United Socialist States of Pridnestrovia,” Ofinovic replied. “And I am here to offer you a unique opportunity: we offer to you an alliance and a loyal friend. In exchange, we are willing to help you fight to create your own homeland in this dangerous land we once called Nordskania.”

“And I suppose this alliance comes with a few conditions, am I right?” Covaci piped up before either Diaconu or Izbasa could speak. Of course, Covaci spoke in Romanian, which Ofinovic knew but didn’t really understand. “In exchange for supporting us, you would really like it if we decided to create our own socialist government, is that correct? Well, in that case, you can forget about any alliance between the two of us. Our people fought alongside the North to get out of the shadow of communism brought upon us by your country’s old friend Vasily Zharkov. We’re not going to fight to let our own homeland be corrupted by socialism and communism. We’d rather take our chances with the Mountain Pact, thank you very much.”

“Ah, but are you sure that the Mountain Pact will really give so much as a single damn about you and your homeland?” Ofinovic asked once Covaci’s words had been translated to him by the praporshchik interpreter. “Take a look at the people whom Colden has included in his Mountain Pact. They include his puppets from the north, the anarchists with which you and your people so proudly fought alongside against Zharkov. We have Zharkov himself joining the alliance, although he now has to give up any pretense to being a socialist dictator because he knows that he needs Anglatia’s support to regain even the semblance of a foothold in his old country. And then we have Zharkov’s daughter, Darya, with whom Comrade Colden is quite smitten, according to the latest gossip from the KGB, who has her own little chunk of Nordskania. Take a good look at the members of the Mountain Pact, gentlemen and lady. Do any of them particularly care if someone like you wanted to join them?”

“We fought alongside the North!” Covaci pressed. “Surely they will remember a debt such as that!”

“Oh, I’m sure that you Vestanians remember, but do the anarchists?” This time none of the Vestanians had an easy answer. “Besides, the Mountain Pact is an ideological alliance. We have the imperialist Anglatians. We have the anarchist northerners, so-called ‘Revolutionary Nordskania’. We have the fascists of so-called ‘State of Nordskania’. And the former Nordskanian Democratic People’s Republic… let’s just say that the only reason they’re in the Mountain Pact is because Comrade Zharkov is desperate to get some of his old power back, and Comrade Colden is more than willing to put up with him because Colden knows Zharkov. He doesn’t know us Pridnestrovians.”

“That still hasn’t answered Lucius’ question of whether you will demand that we have a socialist government,” Diaconu said in halting Russian.

“My Vestanian comrades, we are living in a new world now,” Ofinovic said, raising his arms theatrically. “The era of socialist nations supporting other socialist nations is long gone. We no longer care about the way which you decide to run things when you’ve finally got your own country set up. Now, we could hardly care if you decide to be democratic, socialist, fascist, or even anarchist. What matters to us now is that you are willing to become friends with us. Right now, Pridnestrovia is in search of a friend in Nordskania. We have done such a good job of eliminating the competition that some of the factions who could have been our friends ended up getting crushed under our heel. But we do know how to appreciate good friendship. Join the side of the Pridnestrovians and I can assure you all that you will get your own nation when this conflict is over. Will you get a similar assurance from the Mountain Pact? Their focus is reuniting Nordskania under whichever banner Colden decides he likes best at the end of the day, and you Vestanians will not get a say in whether you will get your own state out of the mess that they will inevitably create afterwards. We are only here to restore order to Nordskania, and if you decide to come to our side, you will be able to celebrate your own homeland. Now, are you ready to make your choice?”

PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:38 pm
by Prusy Krolewskie

Prusy Krolewskie made it to the round of 16!

Prusy Krolewskie has qualified for the round of 16, thanks to a 4–1 win against Nordernius, followed with a 5-2 loss against Abanhfleft and a 2–0 loss against Kaboomlandia. The Reprezentacja Pruski will have a chance to get beat by the highest ranked team, Barunia in Effersøe, St. Bernadine, Taxhavn. Let's go with some quick predictions.

Revolutionary Nordskania vs. Space : Easy win for Revolutionary Nordskania, which we have no idea who they are but they must be good.

Veldgouwen vs. Savalen : Veldgouwen will upset the higher ranked Savalen.

Garifunya vs. Kalumba : Tight win for the experienced Garifunya.

Abanhfleft vs. Bonesea : An interesting matchup, the 2nd vs the 3rd ranked teams, and we expect a win for the Fleftics.

Flardania vs. Drawkland : Drawkland will give it all but Flardania will come away with the win.

Barunia vs. Prusy Krolewskie : An easy win for Barunia, we have no chance.

Kamboomlandia vs. Averyickan City : Kamboomlandia is going to destroy Averyickan City, it will be a nuclear disaster.

Amazonesta vs. Schottia : The higher ranked Schottia is going to win this matchup.

Let's continue with the next round:

Revolutionary Nordskania vs Veldgouwen : With a tie after the extra time, Revolutionary Nordskania is going to win it in penalty shots.

Garifunya vs Abanhfleft : We can't bet against Abanhfleft, so they are going to win.

Flardania vs Barunia : A close win for the weird Kitsunes.

Kaboomlandia vs Schottia : Kaboomlandia will collapse and Schottia will come away with the win.

Semi finals

Revolutionary Nordskania vs Abanhfleft : Abanhfleft is going to win in extra time

Flardania vs Schottia : Two teams who deserves to win the 1st Independents Cup, but Schottia is going to win the semi final.

3rd place

Revolutionary Nordskania vs Flardania : Flardania will win this close game.


Abanhfleft vs Schottia : Your first Independents Cup champion will be Schottia with a win in penalty shots.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:56 pm
by Flardania
Seong Mi-Soo

If the crowd in Skibereen was electric the previous match then this match the fans were nuclear. The Kitsunes entered the tournaments with their names discussed as potential favorites and they played like favorites in the group stages. As the fans cheered and roared during the final whistle Seong Mi-Soo simple chuckled and walked away into the tunnel. Oh how much she missed playing on the pitch but the team needed her more on the sideline. "This should've been Hikaru's moment" she thought as she banged the side of the wall. Hikaru Kyosuke the was the man who brought the team to this point but after choking away many a easy games a few cup qualifiers back he resigned to the chagrin of the nation. She retired so she could lead the team and carry on Kyosuke legacy of some manager from a nation worse than Kirishima or with a drastically different style. However while she took the job she felt she was in a different universe than those that no so long ago were her teammates. Nevertheless she had to admit unlike Kyosuke she was here to do more than just have fun, she was deadest on making sure Kyosuke's legacy get rewarded with silverware.

-Later at the Hotel-

"Taxhavn huh" she muttered to herself as she took a bite of a fruit. Her hotel room was a mess the bed was already a warzone, erasing all of the hard work of housekeeping. She had crumpled paper all over the floor and she had a drawing board with notes about their next opponent. Drawkland. A very offensive team which meant counter attacking is important to victory. On paper it would seem like an easy win but this was the knockout rounds. One small misstep and they would be set home forgotten by history.

Sure history only remembers the winners and not the losers but at least history records and give out medals to second and third. On paper the path to possibly winning the entire thing seems feasible and at least a bronze nearly surefire but there was an issue. Should Kirishima handle it's business with Drawkland, the Kitsunes would have to face Barunia most likely in the Quarterfinals. While her mind was racing at a 100 kilometers per hour her thoughts were interrupted by a ferocious growl from her belly. "I guess an apple is not enough of a meal." Mi-Soo thought before her face dropped as she looked at the time to see it was 1 AM. "Yep dinner service is definitely done." she also thought

Sighing Mi-Soo put something presentable (different sweats) on mostly to avoid comments such as did you not change out of your attire? and other similar stuff. She then grabbed a notebook and pen. Just because she was looking for food did not mean her determination to go far in this tournament was going the wane at all.

Round of 16 Results

PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 3:20 pm
by Bonesea

Round of 16 Results
Bonesea result kindly scorinated by Qasden

R1Revolutionary Nordskania 4-2 Space @ 31-Park, Kirkevic, Vættr

R2Veldgouwen 4-0 Savalen @ The Boldpark, Spittalsea, Bonesea

R3Garifunya 1-0 Kalumba @ Stadion Vikinki, Spýta, Vættr

R4Abanhfleft 2-2 Bonesea (3-2 AET) @ St. Leah's, Spittalsea, Bonesea*

R5Flardania 1-0 Drawkland @ Den Brygge, Hammershavn, St. Bernadine, Taxhavn

R6Barunia 3-2 Prusy Krolewskie @ Stadion Taxhavn, Effersøe, St. Bernadine, Taxhavn

R7Kamboomlandia 2-0 Averyickan City @ St. Tara Field, Hill o’ Tara, Scéalta Grinn

R8Amazonesta 1-2 Schottia @ Bonfire Hill, Leix, Scéalta Grinn

Quarterfinal Draw
for Thursday 29 December

Q1Revolutionary Nordskania vs. Veldgouwen @ Stadion Vikinki, Spýta, Vættr
Q2Garifunya vs. Abanhfleft @ St. Leah's, Spittalsea, Bonesea
Q3Flardania vs. Barunia @ Stadion Taxhavn, Effersøe, St. Bernadine, Taxhavn
Q4Kamboomlandia vs. Schottia @ St. Tara Field, Hill o’ Tara, Scéalta Grinn

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:36 am
by Schottia

Part Five

La Gorla, Present Day.
Jago Avelione was a man of few words: He was a man of action. A doer rather than a thinker. A pragmatist. And above all, a grafter. He subscribed to the notion that the men of mountains were tough, and that they had the blood of stone trolls pulsating through their bodies. He was a man of strength, of integrity, and of honour. Family meant the world to him, whether it was Arlane and the kids, or his brother Gaston, he would have done anything for them.

Perhaps that was why he was a one-club man, and had been at La Gorlions since he signed for them aged twelve. The club was renowned for its family atmosphere, and many of the coaches had been there for decades. That, and the loyal support, who were almost entirely drawn form a ten kilometre radius around the stadium, had help to nurture countless lost souls into well rounded seasoned pros. For him, it was perhaps his upbringing, being separated from his mother and baby sister at a young age that meant he had latched onto the nearest thing resembling a family that he could find.

He had been old enough to understand what was happening, but too young to understand why. Why he had to leave his home. Why Gaston could come with him but Camille couldn't. Of course now he had the benefit of a different viewpoint, an adult perspective, and he could piece things together that he couldn't have back then. Camille had been young enough to go up for adoption, most couples were looking for babies, but fewer were looking for malnourished kids like Gaston with behavioural difficulties. In hindsight, at least the brothers were kept together. In some ways Jago took over as the parent that day, and he had been looking after his brother ever since.

Jago was currently sat behind the manager’s desk at Danu Parc. It was barely past noon, but it seemed the December sun was already setting behind the mountains, such was the gloom. A few stray rays of light penetrated through the vertical office blinds illumination a pile of letters sat in front of him. He flipped his laptop open, and while he waited for it to start up, he began by opening the first letter.

Jago had a problem. Well, he had many problems if truth were told - but right now, he had an immediate problem. How was he going to improve the side without a single penny? It had always been the same story: From player, to club captain, to player-coach, and now manager. Penniless La Gorlions, fighting tooth and nail to hang onto the league leaders' shit tails.

He had been up and down the list of free agents, which is PA had put together for him. However, a couple of wet-behind-the-ears Semars, or Sunrisian ex street footballers weren't necessarily going to yield the immediate results that he needed. But what was the alternative? Should he take a bit of a risk on a 33-year-old Brenecian who had been keeping the bench warm in the A-League? He shouldn't scoff at the footballing homeless too loudly though, it had been through this route that Jade Irwin had come to the club, the single greatest player he had ever taken the field with. Sadly however, these individuals came along only too rarely. At present, he was locked in negotiations with Port Sebastian about the prospect of bringing Andrya Novkovic in on loan, a young Anglatian who had been fairly impressive for Porty in the handful of appearances she had made last season. He would need to bring in more that that, but right now, that was all he had. Most of the supporters he spoke too, and even many of the journalists, didn't understand just how hard it was. The transfer window wasn't like cherry picking; it was hours and hours with a calculator, reading tedious scout reports, and negotiation with the club's finance department. There was also a domino effect, when one team would make a signing, and it would then free up another player, which would then send clubs into a scramble to make sure they weren't left out. At the moment, that keystone was Natalie Adams at Mucusia, with Handon United almost certain to spend big to bring her to the capital. After that went through, Mucusia would have money to burn, and they had already sounded out Jago's player, Mako Sekine, as a replacement. How much they were willing to play would reflect in whom he was able to bring in.

Jago had a lot of responsibility, but he was paid handsomely for it. He was also used to it, used to being the one left to pick up the pieces, to keep the Avelione ship on the straight and narrow. In foster care from the age of five, and now looking after his alcoholic younger brother, they were all things he had learned to take in his stride. He had always been the leader, the patriarch of nothing. The Avelione name meant little, when he didn't even know where or from whom it came. This was why he had pledged to do better with his kids, this was partly why he stayed in football, to give them the best possible chance. When he watched his son, Jack, playing with the under-twelves, he saw so much of Gaston and he in him. In terms of appearance, the things he did on the ball, it was like watching himself as a child. But he knew that his upbringing couldn't have been more different, he was going to know his family, he came home to two loving parents every evening, and he was going to have all the support he needed.

It was at moments like these that Jago wondered about his sister, where she was, what she was doing. Did she know she was an aunt? He had once tried to look the name up in the phone book, but of course it had come back blank, and he had felt silly for trying. The name Camille Avelione was confined to history.

Handon, Present day
'All I'm saying is the layout isn't accurate.' Karen said, stood in her long black gown, which was taking a bit of getting used to. Susie had been slightly smaller than her, and it felt like her ribs were being constricted. 'I've been down there to see it for myself, and it's four small rooms, not one big one.'

'Fower?' Dougie McCann answered, in his strong north Handon accent. The Ghastly Tours handyman was stood with Karen in the middle of the Margaret Davis set, tool belt round his waist, and his hands planted firmly on his hips. 'Well naebody telt me that it was meant tae be fower rooms. Arrdly said it was just tae be yin big yin...' If you ever needed something done - that went for at work, or in your own home - Dougie would do it for you. He might grumble about it, but he would do it. How he'd gotten the job, Karen hand know idea, because he just seemed to walk around in a constant state of confusion. He was a very good joiner, that wasn't the problem, the issue was that he had no idea about history, and no interest. You could have told him literally anything, and he would have believed you, rolling his eyes and shaking his head before getting to it.

'I know he didn't tell you. He doesn't tell anyone anything.' Karen undid one of the buttons on the back of her dress, so she could get enough breath in her lungs for longer rants. She really needed to get this dress handed into the costume girls; if it were any tighter her ribcage would implode. 'I'm telling you, that it's wrong. Look I've done a wee diagram.' She said holding a folded piece of paper towards Dougie.

'So what, each of these is one separate chamber?' Dougie stabbed at the scrappy drawing with a heavily callused index finger.

'They have, like, these arched ceilings, and they get smaller going down to the back bedroom. Look... if I'm going to be working on this set for the next... God-knows how many years, then I think it should be right.' She ran a finger between her neck and her collar, realising that she was getting warm. 'What is it Arrdly says, historical integrity, and all that?'

Dougie laughed through his teeth. 'Aye, he certainly says a lot.' It was always a good way to get Dougie on side, just throwing in a couple of digs at their boss. The handyman liked people who were down to earth, straightforward, and indubitably a lot like him. Karen always found herself putting on her own accent a bit thicker when she was in his company, as if trying to find a common language. 'So he's alright with you doin this I take it?' Dougie shook his head, looking down at the sketch. 'Cause I'm no' wanting to build all this just tae find oot, that I've got to take the bloody thing doon again...?'

'He said to make it my own.' Karen told a half lie. 'Besides, I think anything which actually improves the tour is going to be alright by him. This section hasn't had a revamp in years.' Occasionally some sections of the tour came and went, in an attempt to freshen things up, bring back old visitors who maybe thought they'd seen it all. However, the Margaret Davis scene had been more or less unchanged since the place was set up. It was the one story that most people knew, and it would have been weird not to feature it in some way. Karen felt that getting the stage right was going to be key to capturing the feel of 17th century Handon. To really transport people back there, she was going to have to replicate the cramped dark spaces, the blackened walls, and the smell in the back of your throat. All this had been evident on her visit to the cellars the other day; the low ceilings, the way that the place felt almost forgotten. She somehow wanted the visitors to experience the same feeling she'd had as she delved deeper and deeper.

'Right, well.' With a sharp intake of breath, Dougie stuffed the sketch inside his back pocket. 'I'll see what I can dae. It'll likely no be the'day, but maybe Wednesday.' The man seemed resigned to his fate.

Karen was happy with her morning's work, so far so good. She had been a little worried that he would have asked more questions, but it seemed like he was actually just going to do it. Next up was costumes, then a trip back into the city to take another look at that cellar - if she hadn't completely terrified the barman on her last visit...

'Oh, and by the way..?' Karen added finally, just as Dougie turned to head off. 'Do you own a crowbar?'

SBCNEWS Online...
Football special - Independents Cup

Schottia 2-1 Amazonesta @ Bonfire Hill, Leix, Scéalta Grinn
Line-up: McNott, Watt, Doig (M.Killanen), Souter, Ma.Ünterhausen, Conjure, McDonald, Coultan, Rudden (Bia), Killanen, Martel-Burns (McCormack)
Goals: Martel-Burns, Killanen

A northern, island backwater, of just over half a million people... Scéalta Grinn must have had a familiar feel for Schottia's players as they made the trip across The Boreal Islands to take on Amazonesta. The Auks' form so far in the Independents Cup had been mixed to say the least, so there have been few in the travelling support relishing the prospect of facing the BoF 61 champions. Having sealed qualification with a 5-2 win over Space, while Schottia could only manage a narrow 2-1 win over GVH, Orlando Juarez's players represented a real threat.

Corrine "CMB" Martel-Burns was back for this one, having missed out on the Havenic game while suspended, and the 19-year-old livewire was a welcome addition in attack. However, while Johannas Ünterhasen was deemed match fit, he had to settle for a place on the bench, with the on form Evelyn Conjure thrown in at the deep end alongside captain, Jenny McDonald. While there was disappointment for one Ünterhausen, there was a special moment for another, with younger brother Mark in for a first cap. The FC Jansberg centre-back was preferred to Falourr's Stephen Paul, who had been suffering from cramp, and wasn't risked.

After tired looking displays in their last two matches, Schottia were much better in the opening forty-five at the quaintly named, Bonfire Hill. Blue Coast girl, Evelyn Conjure, was doing exactly what had been asked of her, getting in the faces of Nuno and Leal in the Amazonesta midfield, and trying to find the important out-ball. Also, following her enforced rest, Martel-Burns was back looking sharp and causing problems for central defenders Braga and Cardoso.

Despite having the lion's share of possession, and more clear-cut chances, Schottia were unable to make anything stick in the first half. Martel-Burns nodded a Chloe Rudden cross just wide on the fifteen minute mark; and Jenny McDonald really should have done better with her right footed effort from the edge of the box. Schottia's best chance, however, fell to Mâ Âlâmëómë attacker Eoin Killanen, who was desperately unlucky not to find the back of the net. Meanwhile, the defensive pairing of Souter and Ünterhausen, looked prety calm and composed at the back in their first match together.

Schottia finally managed to break the deadlock shortly after the restart, with Martel-Burn converting her second of the tournament. McDonald, showing some of the footwork that earned her a move to the top league in the world, did well to shake clear of the opposition, before playing in the teenager. The former Kirk Preston United striker was ruthless as ever as she smashed the ball past the keeper, only to receive a yellow card for the celebration that followed.

Schottia had to wait for their second, which didn't come until the 75th minute. Kim Coultan, who had been having a quiet tournament only by her own high standards, did brilliantly well to break out of the midfield after a neat turn. The Crawford City star had options left and right, in the end deciding to roll the ball across to Killanen, who looked composed as he slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

A late goal from Omar Falcone did throw a spanner in the works for Schottia somewhat, denying the defence what would have been a well-deserved clean sheet. On paper it might have looked like a narrow victory - and in many ways it was - but all the same, it will probably go down as one of Schottia's better performances here in the Boreal Isles, as Lionel Mah continues to fine-tune the side. Next up for the Auks is a trip to Hill o’ Tara to take on Kamboomlandia, a side who have actually surprised a few people over the last eighteen month, with some decent results. It's hard to see this being anything other than another tight one, with the Phoenix standing between Schottia and a place in the semis.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:08 pm
by Revolutionary Nordskania
Indigo Wave

Chapter Four: Consripted

The Sopovan Front was quickly becoming the key battleground in the Anglatian-Pridnestrovian war, which seemed to come out of nowhere despite burning as brightly as any other war in its intensity. Those mountains to the south of the city were a natural wall that allowed the outnumbered armies behind it to continue holding their enemies just out of reach, and the battle that went on in the skies above the city would decide who would have the upper hand in supplying their forces and reinforcing them.

Sopova was also the home of the sole military base that was being inhabited by the Imperial forces in Nordskania, meaning that any displaced refugees from the combat who wanted a chance to go to camps in Imperial lands would have to pass through Sopova first. The base was no refugee camp, but the planes that transported the displaced Nordskanians were using the base’s airstrip.

Because the conflict had caused damage to so many of the minor towns and smaller villages that stood in between Pridnestrovia and the Mountain Pact, there were more displaced citizens than that base could hold, even temporarily. There were other camps for refugees, too. One in Maslev that was meant for its inhabitants to remain in long term. There was another one in Turbayov that was there to give the refugees a place to live until they boarded ships towards Imperial held lands, mainly Jugoskania and Valeria.

The other largest camp was in the town of Shirokoye, to the south of the Sopovan mountains. That was the place where the Pridnestrovians were basing their attacks out of, and it was also the only camp in the country that was operated by Pridnestrovia and that was accepting refugees that wanted to defect to that country. The Shirokoye Refugee Camp wasn’t in a safe location either, but it was the only location that was suitable for one right now in the Pridnestrovian held territory, and so it would have to do for now.

Out of the people headed there, the majority of them were mainly looking to get out of the fighting instead of seriously defecting. The majority of the populace didn’t appreciate being invaded by a foreign army that caused more destruction than the war between the North and the communists ever did to the southern parts of the country, and if they were going to have to live under a socialist system, most of them would prefer to be ruled by the other Nordskanians from the Soviet Republic and not by a foreign power, one that previously had no influence in the region. Despite this, that camp was the only one in the south that wasn’t full, and so there were still plenty of groups of displaced citizens flocking towards it from areas near Puloko and Ryakova.

One of those families that were heading there was the Krylenko family. Domen Krylenko was something of an oil lord from Masloka who had married his wife, semi-popular actress Mateja Litovchenko, two years before the initial revolution kicked off and turned Masloka into one of the major battle zones. Domen already had two children from another woman, seventeen year old twins Sasa and Artem, and so the family of four ended up fleeing to Sopova and staying there while chaos unfolded northwards. When the conflict heated up there, they were planning to leave again, but found that the Sopovan camp was full at the moment and decided to go to Shirokoye instead, along with hundreds of others that week who were making the same choice and traveling together.

At least, they were traveling together down one of the side roads that led towards and through the mountains, until they were stopped by a squad of Imperial soldiers clad in black and holding the standard loadout of assault rifles. They told the entire crowd to stop, and started looking around like they were looking for someone in specific. The leader had a patch identifying him as Riley Stokes, a Captain. The main one going through the crowd, a woman, had a name patch that identified her as Jane Grubisic. She didn’t have to look long to find what she was looking for. “Got em! You said we’re looking for a full family. Well, here’s two parents and two kids, both teenage. This has to be what command wanted.”

“What’s this all about?” asked Domen, looking over Jane and the other soldiers that surrounded the group. “If you’re looking for someone who isn’t supposed to be here, it’s not us. We’re all-”

Jane cut him off, putting up a hand to tell him to stop talking. “We’re looking for a family to offer a deal to, courtesy of the Emperor. We’re sending some refugees over to Pridnestrovia with the goal of helping us gather intelligence and set up a cell there. Our bosses want at least one family from this camp to go. If you decide to do it, you’ll get payment for it in addition to Imperial citizenship when this is all over. Whatever you do, you have to choose fast. We’re not supposed to hold the crowd up for long.”

“We were headed there anyway, so we’ll do it. I suppose you recognized that we look Maslokan, and decided that we must be loyalists to the North. Well, you’d be right,” said Domen. “We’re happy to help the war effort, but I have one question. What exactly will we be doing to gather intelligence?”

“We’ll explain on the way,” Jane said, leading the family away from the main group and towards the group of soldiers. “Nothing too hard will be asked of you, but you’ll be one of the first ones to help us establish a foothold in enemy territory. Like I said, you’ll also be rewarded for your service.”

“Jane! Hurry up!” shouted Riley. “We’re supposed to take them to get the right papers and then get them back to the others as fast as possible. There’s no time to waste, we’ll explain on the road.”

“Right. We’re also keeping this a secret, if you couldn’t tell,” said Jane. “We’ll get you to the base, forge up some papers that will send you directly to Pridnestrovia with a very short waiting time, and then we’ll contact you with more information when you get there. Or rather, Imperial Intelligence will. We’re just the ones that were sent to find you… Welcome to the mission. I believe the official name would be Operation Azure Mamba.”

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:17 pm
by Garifunya
De Frederykvil Dagblad
Letters to the Editor

Women Still Not Equal In Garifunya

There are many people who would say that men and women are equal in Garifunya. They point to the oppression of women under "Baas" Gillaat, the fact that women can now hold any job a man can, and that reforms around marital rape and property ownership have brought women up to the level of men according to the law. But women and women's issues have been largely ignored under the current government. The economic stimulus and government jobs package has employed more men than women, at a ratio of 2 to 1. Women are paid, on average, 0.58 giyldaars for every one giyldaar a man makes, which is wage discrimination. The constitution guarantees equal treatment of all citizens, but companies are still allowed to get away with this. Women represent only 1 out of every 10 landowners, even though women make up 4 of every 10 workers in the agricultural sector. More women than men are employed in minimum wage positions; the current minimum wage of 18 giyldaars an hour is simply too low. The government must focus more on economic fairness; sensible economic reforms such as raising the minimum wage, democratising land ownership, banning wage discrimination, and employing more women in the government jobs program could help alleviate some of these issues.

Women also face unique challenges that are more than economic. Sexual harassment legislation is needed at the national level to protect women working under chauvinistic bosses and in hostile work environments. Contraception is still not widely available and it is beyond the means of most women to purchase it, nor is it covered in any health scheme, public or private. Pregnant women who are working do not have the ability to take time off to bear their child; they are fired instead. Women who have children do not receive a child benefit or tax incentive, making it difficult for them to support their family, especially if they have been fired from their job. Abortion still remains ungoverned by law, and many areas have nowhere for a woman to get an abortion, so they turn to unsafe practices, often based in local superstitions. The government could show that it supports women by taking action on all of these issues. In fact, there is a bill to legalise and regulate abortion that is before both houses of Parliament right now. I urge all of my fellow MPs to support the bill and all citizens of Garifunya to contact their representatives and offer their support for it as well. Immanuel Prins' government must take steps to support and protect women; if it will not, we must elect a new government that will recognise that women's rights are human rights.

Hanneke Hulter

The writer is a member of the House of Freeholders for Bright Future. The length limit was waived to permit a fuller response.

The giyldaar equals about $0.11, so 18 giyldaars/hour is about $2.00 an hour.

Quarter-Final Results

PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:28 pm
by Bonesea

Quarterfinal Results

Q1Revolutionary Nordskania 2-3 Veldgouwen @ Stadion Vikinki, Spýta, Vættr

Q2Garifunya 3-3 Abanhfleft (3-3 AET) (2-3 pen.) @ St. Leah's, Spittalsea, Bonesea

Q3Flardania 2-5 Barunia @ Stadion Taxhavn, Effersøe, St. Bernadine, Taxhavn

Q4Kamboomlandia 0-1 Schottia @ St. Tara Field, Hill o’ Tara, Scéalta Grinn

Semi-final Draw
for Saturday 31 December

S1Veldgouwen vs. Abanhfleft @ St. Leah’s, Spittalsea, Bonesea
S2Barunia vs. Schottia @ Stadion Vikinki, Spýta, Vættr

Note: As stated in the OP, cut-off on Saturday will be at the earlier time of 17:00-18:00 UTC to allow for New Year's Eve revelry.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:30 am
by Schottia

Part Six

Handon, 1652.
As Margaret Davis led the girls through Kings Square, Cathlín tried hard not to look at the scaffolding erected on the mound behind them. A rope hung ominously, swaying back and forth in the cold December breeze, waiting for it's unlucky recipient. It was daunting reminder of the times they lived in - both of the brutal Eastern Osorian Regime, and how it was to live in a world where death lurked round every corner.

It could be hard to negotiate the streets of Handon at the best of times, and carrying a heavy basket of freezing cold washing made it all the more awkward. The crowded and unwashed streets were not the kind of place you wanted to walk without watching your step. It was small consolation, but at least the subzero temperatures meant that the majority of the faeces was now frozen solid.

Cathlín's fingers with nithered with the cold; almost like hooks as the clutched at the damp wicker of the basket. The other girls were taller than her, and their arms could span the load slightly better. Their legs were also longer meaning than they didn't have break into a skip to catch up with Davis. It was a one mile walk from the washhouse to the customers' homes. In the summer with the early morning breeze in their hair, it wasn't unpleasant as they passed by the meadows on the edge of the city, but in the winter months it was a trek you just had to get through. They were at the worst part now, the long road which snaked up from the Kings Square to the Harbour Hill. It took big strides for an adult, let alone someone of Cathlín's stature, trying not to lose your footing on one of the frozen rivers of piss.

Everywhere they went they were eyed with suspicion. Very few people - let alone young homeless women - had the luxury of going to school in Schottia in Cathlín's day; so the fact that this unmarried woman was educating undesirables in the heart of the city was something of a peculiarity. Cathlín hadn't quite got used to the feeling of being watched, and her eyes always fell nervously to the floor.

Catching her footing on a loose coble stone she fell hard, her hands stung from the incident, as the contents of her basket spilt out in front of her. There was a low rumble of laughter from the other side of the road, as some men in long coats watched her frantically stuffing the wet clothing back inside her basket. If people wanted clean clothes, then they should walk to the bloody washhouse themselves: She thought to herself, as she desperately hoped none of the them had gotten dirty.

'Come, Miss Cathlín.' Davis said, casting the men a sceptical look as she loomed over her. 'Be quick now, we cannot have people waiting.'

Handon, Present day.
The washing machine was a proper piece of shit. Karen had never thought it possible to feel such utter hatred and contempt for a non-living object. Unfortunately however, it was the only one she had, and the only one she was likely to own in the near future. She had sometimes wondered whether it would be better just to give up on it, and start washing her clothes in the bath, by hand. But Karen was a lazy, lazy woman and even a partially working machine was less work than no machine at all. Every time she used it, one of four things could happen:

1) It completed the full cycle, and washed the clothes, even if the spin cycle was a little inefficient and they came out dripping wet. This was considered a successful wash.

2) It completed the cycle, however at the end, the door wouldn't unlock. In this instance the only way to get it to open was to turn it off, start the entire thing again, and hope for the best.

3) The machine started like normal, but something went wrong with the pump, and no water entered the system. When this happened, Karen had to wait for forty-five minute while the bone-dry clothes were spun around, before trying again.

4) The machine soaked the clothes, but then seemingly thought it was finished, and unlocked itself. This left Karen with a pile of wet clothes which were still dirty, and she had no choice but to try again.

This laundry lottery was seriously stressing her out.

Karen sat on a small footstool, staring menacingly at the round glass door, willing it to turn. For the first five minutes it merely made a series of grunting sounds, so there was no way of telling what it was going to do. She reached down for the cup of tea, which sat at her feet and took a sip, before returning her gaze to the book that sat open on her lap. She had been to the big bookshop down at the shorefront, and taken out all the books she could find, on about Davis, and Schottia at that time. Slowly but surely she was beginning to piece things together, although it was taking up far more time than she intended. When she was a young girl, she couldn't have imagined that this would be how she spent her Sunday mornings: Sitting on a footstool, wrapped in a woolly hat and jumper, reading a book on 1600's fashion, while watching a washing cycle. However, there were lots of things she imagined would have worked out differently, what she did alone, in her unheated flat, were the least of her worries.

SBCNEWS Online...
Football special - Independents Cup

Schottia 1-0 Kaboomlandia @ St. Tara Field, Hill o’ Tara, Scéalta Grinn
Line-up: McNott, Watt, Doig, Souter, Paul, Conjure (J.Ünterhausen), McDonald, Coultan, Rudden, Killanen (McCormack), Martel-Burns (Me.Ünterhausen)
Goals: McDonald

Lionel Mah was on a roll! A gentle roll to be fair - perhaps more of a trundle - but Schottia are moving nonetheless. It's kind of weird to think that they've now made back to back semis at major tournaments, and the Quebecois manager, who was on the verge of being sacked after the World Cup-Qualifiers, seems to have ambled his way into the nation's heats with a string of decent performances. There was never any doubt the 51-year-old was an exceptionally talented boss, but football is a about results, and he and his team finally seem to be putting theses together consistently.

Schottia would have been buoyed going into this match, following what was a strong performance against Amazonesta, and that was just as well given that Kaboomlandia no longer seem to be pushovers. Some people might be surprised to hear this, but the Phoenix are actually ranked higher than sides such as: Starblaydia, Ethane, and The Sarian. That said, Schottia were at full strength for this one, with Stephen Paul returning to the back four at the expense of Mark Ünterhausen, and Evelyn Conjure retaining her place in the centre of midfield.

Thankfully, Kaboomlandia seem to have abandoned the 1-8-1 formation, opting now instead for an inverse of the Schottic one - However in attitude they are far more defensive. Schottia used their attacking impetus early on to try and expose any cracks in the armour, but despite their best efforts, it was to no avail. Eoin Killanen a good chance, but he lingered too long on the ball when he should have pulled the trigger - and Corinne Martel-Burns found herself with only the keeper to beat as the half drew to a close, but she was unable to enough behind her shot to trouble Duncan McEachern.

Mike Phillips' side had chances of their own, the most notable falling to Rene Allard, however the towering striker's looping header landed safely on the top of the net.

As the second half wore on, it became more and more apparent that if Schottia were going to win this in normal time, it was going to take something special, as the Kaboomlandian defence were doing a good job of frustrating their higher ranked opponents. On this occasion Schottia had substitute Steven Rexmont to thank, with the 22-year-old's physical presence representing a whole other proposition for the Kaboomlandian defence in place of the somewhat lightweight Chloe Rudden. The Port Sebastian winger made it to the by-line; exploiting his opponents' rather unorthodox formation, playing the ball into the box. Martel-Burns jumped with big defender, Bill Young, but unsurprisingly was outmuscled. The ball, however, broke to Kim Coultan who was arriving in the box, giving her just enough time to look up and see what options were available. The Crawford City midfielder then cleverly rolled the ball into the path team captain Jenny McDonald, who buried it in the bottom corner.

It certainly wasn't their best game ever, but it was another result, as the Mah-Trundle continues to gather momentum. Granted, these haven't been the hardest of games for the Auks, but they still needed to win them, and there was ample room for slippage against the likes of Amazonesta, Kaboomlandia, and Drawkland. Banana skins safely negotiated, next up for Schottia are sporting powerhouse, Barunia, who despite a disappointing World Cup finals, are still the highest ranked side in this tournament, and one of the few with real pedigree.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:30 am
by Barunia
"On this Federation Day, we celebrate what it means to be Barunian. 500 years ago, Spaniards first came to this country, and today we still honour their ancient traditions as part of our culture. This year, thousands of Barunians will celebrate in new ways, as they add their own cultural traditions to ours. These diverse cultures only enrich and strengthen Barunia, as we explore new ideas and identities.
It is easy, in this age of terrorism, to fear what we do not know. I want to remind all Barunians of the values of friendship and compassion that has made this country what it is today: we must not let fear destroy everything we have worked so hard to build.

I want to praise the work of our police services, who do such a good job of keeping us safe. These men and women work tirelessly for the good of the community, and their diligence and dedication is to be commended. I urge all Barunians to support their police: we all have a part to play in protecting our communities.

Many new Barunians will become citizens today, and I'd like to thank you for choosing to become part of the fabric of this great nation. I wish you and all Barunians good health and fortune for the holidays, and have a happy and blessed Christmas."

For some reason, Taylor Blakefield had always liked listening to the Prime Minister's speech on Federation Day. They were usually short, an address to the nation on current issues and usually a cause the government were looking at promoting in the new year. They gave a reassurance, however small, that the government knew what was going down in the country. That part about people living in fear; that ran true with Blakefield. In recent months, he'd seen the rise of the right-wing in the country, as a backlash against open immigration policies. For the first time in his life, Blakefield had copped racism for his black skin. Not just from the stands during games: that was almost par for the course once the fans got drunk. But on the streets it was a different matter. It seemed these days he was either being asked for an autograph, or being called names. In these trying times, it was good to know that the government were at least taking notice. What they could do about it was a more difficult question.

Adam Johnson hadn't watched the Prime Minister's speech. The Sun's interim coach had been too busy partying with his team, or as he liked to think of it, team-building. It had been a good time, but now it back to business. They Suns had torn apart Flardania after a slow start, with Hannah Miller scoring 2 goals. Johnson was definitely keeping her the starting XI. Marsh was slowing down, getting old, while Miller was going from strength to strength. They'd need that strength in the semi-final.

The semi-final. Johnson reflected on that. Had he shaken off the quarterfinal curse that had plagued all other Barunian coaches? Perhaps, and he hoped against hope, he might just become the first Barunian coach to win something. That would be an outstanding achievement in his first tournament. While Johnson had been surprised to get the job, he was warming to it. He'd decided that he'd like to stay.
He was just waiting on the results of the tournament to write a letter to the BFA, applying for the job permanently.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:42 am
by Abanhfleft
Happy New Year from the Philippines, brothers and sisters in NS!
Lex Talionis, Part Twenty-three

Somewhere in Pridnestrovian-occupied territory
Nordskanian Democratic People's Republic

Audra Jaakola could not sleep.

This time, she was sure that it was because of the adrenaline flowing in her veins. Yes, she had been captured by the Pridnestrovians in her bid to get back to Anglatia and work on her own plan, but they also seemed to be willing to let her escape, or at least they seemed to be willing to turn a blind eye on her and give her a chance to slip away. The Pridnestrovians had actually treated her well; they gave her some water and coffee and even allowed her to eat dinner in the shack which was basically their cell for her. Two guards had been posted to guard her, and as luck would have it, the two Naval Infantry sent to guard her were none other than Britt and Erin's doppelgangers, Sergeant Aselmis and Praporshchik Zherbina. Audra had tried to strike up a conversation with the two, trying to get to know them, but they had remained resolutely silent. The only time that they talked to her was when they gave her food and drinks and told her to sleep when it was ten in the evening.

Audra had laid down on the makeshift cot in the corner of the shack as commanded, but her mind was far too flooded with adrenaline to even think about falling asleep. Besides, she was also waiting for three in the morning to come because, if her own doppelganger Captain Maslennikova was to be believed, then three in the morning she would get her chance to escape. The lone wall-clock in the shack showed that it was already 2:45 AM. Surely Audra couldn't have been awake for that long already. She must have fallen asleep for a few minutes or so a few times for time to travel as fast as that. Still, there were now only fifteen minutes left before Audra could finally get on the right track back to Anglatia and to her own date with destiny.

"Hey, Sergeant!" Zherbina suddenly called out, nearly jerking Audra out of her cot in surprise. She had gotten so used to the silence that to hear her guards speaking again was a very big surprise for her. "Do you want to go eat something?" Zherbina asked.

"Oh, thank god you asked me that, Praporshchik," Aselmis replied. "I was just about to ask you the same thing. But who's going to get our food? Someone has to guard the prisoner, after all."

"I'll get the food, Sergeant," Zherbina said. "You stay here and watch the prisoner."

"Yes, Comrade Praporshchik." Footsteps told Audra that Zherbina had stood up to get their food, and then just a minute or two after leaving, she was back, and soon they were eating out of the cans from which their rations came. Audra's dinner had been served in such a can, and she remembered its contents particularly well: rice mixed with chopped ham, peas, corn, and carrots, all mashed up to form some kind of food-like paste. Audra did not like that particular concoction, but judging by the sounds the Pridnestrovians made while eating their rations, either they liked that mix or they were eating something tastier and more edible.

"So, Praporshchik, how goes the war for us now?" Aselmis asked through a mouthful of rations.

"We've apparently made some new friends, Sergeant," Zherbina replied. "After Comrade Zharkov decided to join forces with Comrade Colden and his puppets to form the Mountain, Comrade President Stepanenko has decided that it was time that we made some friends of our own. The Vestanians have been carving out their own homeland from territory formerly occupied by Andriychuk and his People's Army when we came upon them, and now we've given them our guarantee that we will support and recognize them and let them have their own homeland once we have finally restored order to Nordskania. The Vestanian Protection Forces have been assimilated into the Army for the meanwhile, and they're already helping out the ground forces as we push Andriychuk further and further into Puloko."

"Seriously, though, how overextended must the People's Army be right now?" Aselmis asked. "They're fighting actively on three fronts against us, Zharkov's loyalists, and the northern anarchists. We're fighting on three fronts as well, but we're currently focused on rolling back the People's Army to their last remaining city while we keep Ryakova and Sopova besieged and surrounded. However, once we capture Puloko and make it the new headquarters of the invasion, then I'm sure that we're finally going to make our move on those two. Once we take them out, we might even go up north to destroy the anarchists once and for all. We're going to be knocking on the doors of the emperor's puppets soon, no doubt about that."

"Just the puppets, Sergeant?" Zherbina asked. "You don't want to take the fighting straight to Comrade Colden's doorstep?"

"Of course I do, Praporshchik; it's just that I know that that's going to be a very costly thing for both sides, which is why our leaders will never attempt it in the first place," Aselmis replied. "Let's face it, Antonina Semyonovna, a Pridnestrovian invasion of Anglatia would be suicide, plain and simple. Anglatia is roughly equal to Abanhfleft in terms of manpower, technology, and all the other things that make a military invasion successful. If we tried to invade Anglatia, it would mean the end of both Pridnestrovia and Anglatia."

"I suppose you have a point, Petra Denisovna," Zherbina conceded. "Better to fight a proxy war on some distant and godforsaken island rather than duke it out on your own motherland. Still, the Vestanians have been allowed to participate in the Puloko offensive? The captain's not going to like that, because there goes any chance of us getting out of this shit assignment and finally going into a combat situation."

"I know, right? This has to be the worst assignment ever! We're fucking doing a job that should be OMON's in the first place! We're Naval Infantry, for God's sake! We should be on every frontline of every Pridnestrovian conflict there ever will be! We shouldn't be stuck here in this goddamned backwater, guarding this road which no one probably even remembers just because we're the daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and cousins of the apparatchik!"

"Da, da, even having a prisoner to guard gets boring pretty soon," Zherbina agreed, and then she yawned. "I think it's time for us to get some sleep, Sergeant. The prisoner must be sound asleep by now. There's no chance of her escaping tonight."

"I'm with you, Praporshchik," Aselmis said, and then their footsteps trailed off towards the shack which served as their barracks. Audra didn't dare glance at the door of the shack until she could no longer hear footsteps. Finally, once the whole place went silent once again, Audra got up from the cot and looked at the clock. 3:02 AM. It was time for her to get away.

Audra walked slowly to the open doorway and slipped out into the darkness. The tiny Pridnestrovian checkpoint-slash-camp was absolutely deserted. Lights shone down from hastily erected posts on the road between the shacks, but there was not a living soul to be seen aside from Audra. Even the threatening barrels of the automatic cannon on both BTR-80s flanking the road looked strangely peaceful now that no people were standing behind them, ready to pull the trigger. Audra made to slip away by way of going behind the shack which had been her cell, but then she remembered one thing: her pistol. She remembered Captain Maslennikova hiding Audra's pistol in the file cabinet in the corner of the shack which served as her office when she was awake, and Audra remembered Maslennikova saying that the shacks were unguarded except for the barracks.

Audra slowly made her way across the road and into the office shack, as she began calling it now. Like Maslennikova said, the door was unlocked, and so was the file cabinet. She reached for the topmost drawer and, after some rooting around, found her pistol. She checked the chamber to see if it was still loaded (it was), and then she tucked it into the waistband of her pants. Audra then, as quietly as she could, closed the file cabinet and tried to leave everything exactly as she had found it. Then, when everything was back in its proper place, she got out of the shack and disappeared into the cold and misty Nordskanian night.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:03 am
by Veldgouwen
The gaffer had admitted a drink and when Decubber hurled across the room that he ’couldn’t stand on just one leg, sir’, there had been no comment either. And after all, why not? Admittedly, the Barons had managed to find a hole in the carefully waved web of our core trio Oberink, Deferme and Wittouck, but with a brace from yours truly, Veldgouwen had overcome the odds and carved a path into the semi-finals. Right now, they found themselves in more than excellent company, battling it out for the medals against three sides who were in the build-up towards an estimated World Cup qualification. It was a stellar performance larded with the scalps of Bonesea and Devonta dangling by the belt. It was a dream coming true.

But two had become three, subsequently four, after some joking five and honestly, Piet couldn’t remember when it had become seventeen, but it was exactly that last cocktail which kept on running circles in his stomach which fell like a washing machine. That the contents were being twirled around continuously was bad enough in itself but every once and a while, the direction seemed to change upward. The consequences of the last one, Piet tried to warn former himself who had written history with the invention of the ‘gin-gini with one less i’. It did came with ice cubes so that was ‘soda enough’. Sod off.

As usual, Valkeniers had wrapped an explanation about a light training with a focus on some tactical basis in a paper of harsh running exercises. No wonder that the coach wanted everyone at his sharpest as Abanhfleft might officially have staged their second string, but featured a few guys like Dagen and Zima who seemed too big for a role in the shadows – either proverbially or literally. It would be a matter of exploiting their leaky defence where the individual talents were far too often left on their own by the remainder of the squad. Quick movement, infiltration, in short, the kind of game that could see Boudewijn Snoeks reappear on the right wing.

Eager to showcase the coach that such a move would benefit the squad, ‘BS’ decides to overdo it all. BS? Yeah, that’s the kind of nickname you get if your initials match every story of yours, which generally starts with ’you’ll never believe what happened to me’ and ends up with… Well… No one believing what happened to him. He hardly lost his happy-go-lucky attitude when he got dropped from the team but by now, it has gotten through his thick skull that talent alone might leave you empty-handed.

As in, when the manager looks, he does his double best to compensate for the remainder of the time.

It makes him a fairly annoying partner to be coupled with in most exercises, especially the ones that involve some sprinting. They take turns, BS with the pace of a gazelle that just discovered a band of lions in its vicinity, Piet with enough enthusiasm to hide the combination of not-feeling-like-it and not-feeling-well. In between, they also take turns as the tall striker focusses on shutting his piehole to keep that sour taste from crawling any further than his mouth whilst Snoeks continuously opens his to cheer him on in a game no one else is interested in winning.

So Piet runs. And gasps for breath. And runs. And gasps…

And suddenly, he looks like a unicorn in a manga series. A very, very twisted manga series as the rainbow coming out of his mouth combines the shades of tequila sunrise and blueberry vodka, spattering on his chest as Piet struggles to stay up. Immediately, the training seems to drop dead and a small semi-circle around him forms. Only one man breaks the formation, one whose face has such a degree of disgust that it could go on to become a doctor in Oxbridge.

“Piet, get yourself cleaned up,” he whispers just loud enough for all in the semi-circle to hear, “and Hannes… You’ll join the starters team preparation. You start.”

Let me join my upcoming opponent in wishing you all the best wishes!

Semi-Final Results

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:06 am
by Bonesea

S1Veldgouwen 2-2 Abanhfleft (4-2 AET)@ St. Leah’s, Spittalsea, Bonesea
S2Barunia 0-1 Schottia @ Stadion Vikinki, Spýta, Vættr

Third-Place Play-off
Abanhfleft vs. Barunia
@ St. Tara Field, Hill o’ Tara, Scéalta Grinn

Veldgouwen vs. Schottia
@ Stadion Taxhavn, Effersøe, St. Bernadine, Taxhavn

Matches to be played at the usual time, 21:00-22:00 UTC, Monday 2 January 2017.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 7:26 am
by Schottia

Part Seven

Handon, Present Day.
'So, I suppose it's probably just so as I can convince myself that I'm actually an actor.' Said Karen, looking mournfully out the front window of the Harpooner, as the landlord, Stan, placed the ordered drinks in front of her. The snow was now falling thick and fast, akin to the white noise on an old tv set. Down here, near the harbour, there was never much danger of the snow taking hold, but she knew that he walk home would be like skating over slush. She was too cheap to buy herself a proper pair of winter boots, so her battered old canvas trainers were forced to endure all weathers. Her current pair were approaching a near record, twelve month in service. They were perhaps a victim of their own success, given that their dark brown suede material seemed to be fairly resistant to scuffs. The only way these guys were heading for the big shoe shop in the sky, was if they actually sprung a leak.

'I see.' Was all the man answered, as he removed the cap from a bottle and placed it down in front of her. 'I always thought you had something to do with Women's football, or that.' He added, before totalling up the price. 'six eighty-two please.'

'Football,' Karen corrected him, but she doubted he would have picked up on it. 'And yeah, I do that a couple of nights a week, and a bit at the weekend. I'm a coach with one of the youth teams.' Probably just so she could convince herself that she was a footballer also. 'I'll need to see how much longer though, how much longer I'm still there, I mean.'

'Alright?' Stan answered quizzically, accepting her money.

'Since the league is being disbanded, it is all still up in the air, as to where we will be playing, and in what capacity.' She wasn't sure why she was even telling him this, he was a barman, not a therapist. Maybe it would have been a blessing in disguise if she were moved on; she could get a bit more of her life back, maybe take it as a sign that it was time to do something different. She always knew it wouldn't be permanent, after Schottia did away with gender separation in football. With female players in other nations breaking the glass ceiling, it was apparent that women could play football just as well as their male counterparts. The Women's Super-League had been kept in place for ten years to help with the transition, but now the semi-pro clubs were faced with a dilemma: Try to join the Schottic football pyramid, disband, or wait for news of another armature league which had been spoken about for a while, but very little had been done about it.

Karen nodded her thanks, and trooped back over to where the other coaches were sat. Tuesday night was always drinks night after training, and she felt a deep inner shame whenever she realised just how much she looked forward to it. It was sometimes like her life revolved around alcohol. Her pathetic social life had boiled down to one night a week at the pub. It was just a lack of friends really, an absence of people to go out with. She wasn't going to go out by herself, and her colleagues at ghastly tours, never really went out after work.

Even before she got to the table, she knew the coaches would still be talking about next season, and whether they'd be in a job or not. It was pretty much the sole topic of conversation. The parents of their players were on at them constantly as well, wondering whether or not they should try to get their daughters into other clubs. The worst thing was, Karen couldn't say. She was still waiting for the director to make a final decision. She could understand the difficulty; it was a huge decision for him, and one that would affect a lot of people. It wasn't so much for the volunteers like her, it was more the people actually employed by the club, such as the cleaners, the secretaries, and the girls in the senior team, not all of them would find new clubs so easily.

For the past week or so, every time she was faced with a conundrum like this, Karen would ask herself what Margaret Davis would do. Utterly pointless in this situation, but as she continued to delve into her world, she felt like she knew the woman better and better. Davis was by all accounts steadfast, and took things head on. She would have undoubtedly told them to stick it out, to put the bit between their teeth and go for it. The only problem was, in this situation, that could have meant anything.

SBCNEWS Online...
Football special - Independents Cup

Schottia 1-0 Barunia @ Stadion Vikinki, Spýta, Vættr
Line-up: McNott, McCallum, Doig, Souter, Paul, Conjure (J.Ünterhausen), McDonald, Coultan (Cummings), Rexmont, Killanen, Martel-Burns (Me.Ünterhausen)
Goals: Martel-Burns

Schottia made it back-to-back major tournament finals yesterday, with a 1-0 win over Barunia in the inaugural Independents Cup. The win will probably have to go down as the Auks' best ever result, beating a side like the Suns in such a high profile match. For a team who have always struggled in the big matches, fans will be hopeful that this win could signal something of a turn in direction. Schottia's reward is a place in the grand final with the tournament’s surprise package, Veldgouwen, who will have raised a few eyebrows with their extra time win over the Abanhfleft. Whatever happens in Taxhavn tonight, the win over Barunia will be seen as further evidence of the side's revival under the current management team.

Schottia lined with, in their familiar 4-5-1 formation, however Lionel Mah was forced into a double chance. With vice-captain Larry Watt suspended, AC Holmenkollen star Juniper McCallum was thrown in at the deep-end at right back. And with Chloe Rudden struggling in the closing stages of the Kaboomlandia match, Mah decided not to risk her, with Seteven Rexmont coming in to take her place on the left-wing.

Part of Schottia's success over the past fortnight has been built on their ability to keep things tight at the back. The days for the attackers rampaging forward seem to be over, with the manager demanding far more in terms of closing things down in the centre of the park. Therefore, it wasn't exactly surprising that Schottia started off the match looking to keep things tight. Jenny McDonald and Evelyn Conjure once more put in workwoman like shifts, trying to help stifle the likes of Hannah Miller in the Suns attack.

As we saw in the Cup of Harmony, Schottia can cause problems going forward too, and they were able to hold their own against what was obviously a more accomplished side. Eoin Killanen has shown his versatility throughout the tournament, playing on the right, to allow Kim Coultan to play in her preferred position through the middle - and once again, this combination worked for the Auks. Killanen went close with low drive in towards Paul Bainbridge' near post, and again tested the keeper with a left footed strike from just inside the area.

It would be Coultan, however, who created the game's only goal; once again displaying her passing prowess. After McDonald made an important interception, she was able to keep her composure, finding Coultan in space just inside the Barunia half. The Crawford City attacker then played the ball into the feet of teen striker Corinne Martel-Burns, who still had a lot to do, but was able to out muscle her opponent before smashing the ball home from just outside the box.

There was more work still to do, but Schottia managed to hold on for a chance to exorcise the ghosts from Harbour Hill last winter, and pick up their first piece of senior silverware. Schottia will inevitable line up as favourites against Veldgouwen, which will likely add a little more pressure. Not used to having anything to do during the summers between World Cups, lifting the Independents Cup would likely be a big boost to the side, as they look to return to the world stage. The Auks may be about to embark on the long and weary road to either San Jose Guayabal or Quebec, but getting a result in Taxhavn will be all that is on Lionel Mah and his players minds tonight.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:03 pm
by Veldgouwen
”Three minutes, guys.”

Without much further ado, the assistant referee left the dressing room with the door wide open. Although, officially, nothing but the concrete hallway was behind the marvelously styled door there was a lot more over there.

For some, it was a chance to break through the ranks and assure their spot in the line-up with the qualifications around the corner. For others, it might be a chance to punch the tickets for an international contract. Even if Veldgouwer football had hit professionalism, the wages were far below the pay scales so familiar abroad. A few guys just hoped to head home with glory, knowing that scooping the first trophy of the national team would make them eternal hometown heroes.

Guido Becu belonged to neither category, in fact. All he knew was that it was a quirk of faith that he had to turn out for what was the most crucial fixture in national history. The always so balanced Gert Stalhof had gotten a second yellow when he protested the late Fleftic equalizer, Liesmonts struggled with injury and having a second striker would overturn the tactical scheme that worked so well lately. Although he had fourteen caps on his list, he knew in advance it would be a special game. Especially as it was his last one.

Sorry for the very short RP - time was ticking so happy to get it in at 20h.
Best of luck for Schottia - would be a very deserving winner.

Final fixtures cut-off

PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:50 pm
by Bonesea


Third-Place Play-off

Abanhfleft 2-1 Barunia

@ St. Tara Field, Hill o’ Tara, Scéalta Grinn

Veldgouwen 1-4 Schottia

@ Stadion Taxhavn, Effersøe, St. Bernadine, Taxhavn

PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:04 am
by Schottia

SBCNEWS Online...
Football special - Independents Cup

Schottia 4-1 Veldgouwen @ Stadion Taxhavn, Effersøe, St. Bernadine, Taxhavn
Line-up: McNott, Watt, Doig, Souter, Paul, Conjure, McDonald, Coultan (Bia), Rudden, Killanen (Crillin), Martel-Burns (McCormack)
Goals: Martel-Burns (2), Killanen, Bia

The Schottia team have seen a bit of everything on their tour of the Boreal Islands, in what has been an interesting introduction to yet another unexplored corner of the Multiverse. They didn't always play the best football, but they dug deep and got the results they needed. From the dizzying heights of their 4-0 win over Drawkland, and the semi-final victory over Barunia - to the disappointment of the 2-0 defeat to Revolutionary Nordskania - this new, somehow steelier Schottia, managed to hold things together to claim their first ever senior trophy. It might not be the World Cup, or even the Cup of Harmony, but it is a cup nonetheless, finally giving the cleaner something polish other than the cabinet itself.

Lionel Mah will take a lot of the credit for the turn around, as will the board for sticking with him after a troubled WC76 campaign. The Quebecois inherited a team utterly bereft of confidence, seemingly unable to recover from their failures under the previous manager. It is then, perhaps, all the more impressive that the 51-year-old has conducted such a transformation with essentially the same set of players. Haemorrhaging goals, unable to raise their game in the big matches, Schottia seemed desperate to remain a mid-ranked side for the foreseeable future, with sporadic World Cup finals appearances all they could look forward to. However, Mah has transformed them from an average team, into a team of winners. For the first time Schottia have a manager who is not just content to make up the numbers, they have someone who will settle for nothing other that championships.

Their opponents, Veldgouwen, are no bad side, as their victory over Abanhfleft and their appearance in the last-16 of the Cup of Harmony clearly show. However, with a smattering of top-class players from foreign leagues, Schottia went into the match as clear favourites. With that tag clearly came extra pressure - and for a side that have historically melted like a chocolate tuile under a heat lamp at the first sign of pressure - this presented problems.

Lionel Mah would have been delighted to have both Larry Watt and Chloe Rudden back for the final, their return meaning that he could go with a more of less full strength line up. And indeed it was the pace of Sabrefell Athletic winger, Rudden, which perhaps caused Veldgouwen the most problems early on.

After an initial settling in period, where they struggled to make to make anything stick, Schottia quickly got on the offensive as they looked to get their noses in front. Rudden, clearly none the worse for her knock against Kaboomlandia, managed to give Derk Breydels the slip before flashing a shot across goal on seven minutes. It was close to 1-0, but the travelling Schottia fans wouldn't have to wait much longer for the breakthrough. As Veldgouwen pushed forward on the attack, Schottia were able to spring the counter, with Jenny McDonald surging forward into the space created. The Coret Hawks star had Eoin Killanen to the right of her and Corrine Martel-Burns to her left, but somewhat strangely decided to go for goal. The shot bounced awkwardly for keeper, Simon Oberink, meaning he was forced to push the ball clear. His clearance inevitably landed at the feet of Martel-Burns, who found herself with a virtually open goals to make it 1-0.

If there had been a degree of good fortune in the first goal, Schottia's second and third were much better worked. The second, a great solo effort from Killanen, left the keeper helpless, as the Mâ Âlâmëómë riffled his shot in from the edge of the area, in a textbook Killanen finish. Schottia then put themselves in the driver's seat with a Martel-Burns free kick, which took a tiny deflection off the wall en route to the top left corner.

Schottia were given a much stiffer test in the second half, when Piet Masschelin headed in from close range, in what was a much better forty-five minutes from Veldgouwen. However, as the nation from Nederland pushed forward in search of the comeback, Schottia struck the decisive blow. On for Matel-Burns, Centralis Heart's John McCormack did brilliantly well to find himself through on goal, and arguably even better to look up and catch the run of fellow substitute Joey Bia, who finished things off with his first of the tournament

Schottia can now go into the World Cup qualifiers full of confidence, after what will have also been seen as a useful exercise. Players such as Mark and Melanie Ünterhausen have come in and proved their worth, while most notably, Evelyn Conjure has made a big impact playing alongside Jenny McDonald in midfield. In what has been a massive year for the 21-year-old, who also played in the Champions' Cup with Blue Coast, she has also presented herself a viable option for Mah in the upcoming campaign.