Hal'gretz sits at a table of fused organic material, on a bench of fused organic material, gazing out at a sheet of freshly smoothed ice on the edge of the mountainside. He has a hot cup of lichen soup that he guzzles from on occasion.
Departing fresh out of the dirigible is Hal'odan, the fellow usually carting a welder's torch and steamdrill now holding a freshly carved pockknocker stick in one hand and a pair of professionally made bladeloshes in his other. He also appears to have brought his own pock, which is tucked nicely into his hugger. Noticing Hal'gretz, the Halaghi grins quickly and rushes through the distance.
Hal'beron steps out of the dirigible, chattering with Hal'gill. Their grey eyes scan the surroundings and notice Hal'gretz and Hal'odan near the table. He raises his stubby nose and looks over at his brother, both of them kitted out in well-crafted Pockknockery gear. With a jab of his elbow into his brother's armored side, Hal'gill laughs abruptly and starts trudging off towards the two strangers, an eager grin on his face. "Hurry your ass up, Ron," he calls back to his brother.
Hal'gretz peers out from the puffy fringe of his turb as he sets the steaming cup of lichen soup down on the table. He then stands, rubs his ample belly with a gloved hand, and then shouts raspily, "Do my eyes deceive me, or are there some worthless piles of goat droppings who think they might be pockknockery players?"
Narrowing his large grey eyes at Hal'gretz, Hal'beron nods towards Hal'gill and speeds up his walk, "I'll be fast enough in the tryouts, you can be sure of that, Gill!" He hears Gretz's speech as they reach the table and frowns, shouting up to him, "We /are/ pockknockery players, runs in the family, that does!"
"There's no thinking about it," Hal'gill states in firm agreement, stopping in front of the table to peer at Hal'gretz with a mix of curiosity and amusement. "What you got here in front of you, me and my brother, is what's going to win you this championship. That's just what it is."
"I like to play pockknockery after we level the mountain out for laying pipes. Nice, smooth ice," Hal'odan admits rather amatuerishly as he looks at Hal'gretz, lifting his bladeloshes, and pointing to them. "I made these," he proudly declares.
Hal'gretz arches his bushy brows at the brothers, then snatches the loshes from Hal'odan long enough to peruse the stitching of the seams, the sharpness of the blades and the security of their seal to the soles of the loshes. He grunts, shrugs, hands them back. "If you fall on your seatfiller, it won't be because these bladeloshes are made poorly." He jerks a thumb toward the table with the benches on either side of it next to the flat field of ice. "Plant yourselves for a bit."
Hal'beron steps over to the benches, his pockknocker in his hand and plops himself onto it, "You might know our daddy too, used to play for Lo Halagh, he does! Hal'boren, BESTest pockcatcher around!" he comments as he settles onto the bench.
Hal'gill looks to the benches and moves after Hal'beron, dropping himself down next to him. He looks between Hal'gretz and Hal'odan, grinning lightly and, thankfully enough, staying quiet for the moment.
One of Hal'inaran's brows arches as she manages to catch the last of Hal'beron's statement while alighting from the dirigible. She tugs down on the lower edge of her ponch and reaches up to confirm that her turb is secured tightly before marching toward the gathered males. "Pockknockery?" is her only question as her gaze drifts toward Hal'gretz.
Hal'odan smiles broadly, immediately rushing to the bench and sitting down. While there, he sets his pockknocker down and begins changing his loshes for his bladeloshes.
Hal'gretz turns his gaze toward Hal'beron. He grunts. "Boren? Yeah. I knew him. Not half bad, considering how many times he took a pock in the noggin." Then he peers dubiously at Hal'inaran. "You play?"
Hal'beron nods at Gretz, correcting him with a shrug, "It's tactics, taking pocks by the noggin is. Oh well, there's only us now, but Goats, we'd do him proud! You are training us?" he eyes Gretz' paunchy belly surreptiously.
Hal'gill's silence was short lived, apparently. "Pops always said it's one fourth equipment and three fourths player! But that one fourth better be the best it can." He looks at Ron, and, seemingly for no reason, gives him a shove, seeing if he can't send him off the bench, before looking back to Gretz expectantly.
"I do no such thing," Hal'inaran replies quickly and with a snort. "I'm a woundfixer and bonesetter, and came to see if you'd be wanting one of 'em around. My uncle was a pockwatcher, you see," she continues with a lift her chin and a sidelong glance to the three Halaghi on the bench. "And I know full'n well it's tough; worse than bein' knocked to your benchrester."
"With this group, Nara, I'm sure it'll be needed!" Hal'odan calls to the female Halaghi, waving to her and apparently knowing her, grin on his face after he's fully outfitted.
Hal'gretz nods. He takes another sip from his lichen soup, smacks his lips, then burps and scowls at Hal'inaran. "Woundfixer, eh? Well, let's get these boys banging elbows and noggins and see what you can do." He glowers in the direction of Hal'odan. "Go around, introduce yourselves and tell us what position you got in mind."
"I do enjoy stopping pocks," Hal'odan blurts out to Hal'gretz, blinking at the older Halaghi as he studies him more fully.
"Beron, that's my name, though friends call me Ron. Pockknocker, that's my favourite!" he raises his hand clutched around an imagined pockknocker and pretends he's letting fly a pock. He smiles towards Hal'inaran with admiration, "Our mom was a woundfixer too, and great one at that!"
"I'll be your knocker too!" Hal'Gill happily spouts out, grinning widely. He lifts up his stick to give it an enthused wave in the air before looking to the healer and waving. "And call me Gill," the younger brother adds, almost as an afterthought. He seems way too excited about the entire affair.
Hal'inaran's lips turn in an amused grin as she fixes Hal'odan with a knowing look before letting her attention wander to the others as they introduce themselves. "Hal'inaran," she says lastly and with a note of pride. "Woundfixer, though if you'll be wanting another player--" she continues, though pausing hesitantly and pursing her lips, "I was a good 'chaser in my younger days."
Hal'gretz crosses his arms, pondering with a grimace on his face. "A pair of overinflated knockers," he observes toward the brothers, and then his gaze shifts to Hal'odan, "and a pair of legs that damned well better stay together so nothing gets between 'em." His eyes then fix on Hal'inaran. "A woundfixer." He grunts. "Not much, but it's a start." He points at Gill. "You take the knocker position first." He points at Beron. "Watcher, for now." He smirks, then glowers at Hal'odan. "Put yourself in front of the catchery."
Hal'gretz jerks a thumb at the ice as he stares at Hal'inaran. "Play chaser. Don't fall on your face. I need *you* healthy."
Leaning towards Gill, Beron smiles and reaches over to clasps his brother's hand, "Show him how humble we'd been, Gill?" He stands up and slings the Pockknocker onto his back, his grey eyes appraising the other players.
As Hal'gretz mentions him, Hal'odan grins widely and gets to his feet...only to realize that there are, in fact, sharp blades at the bottom of his loshes. Without even a second, the facture falls backward, luckily a soft landing as most of his body lands in the snow off the ice. Grumbling, the Halaghi pulls himself steadily to his feet, this time acknowledging the blades, and moving off easily torward the catchery.
Hal'gill jumps up from the bench and, with a large grin to Beron, turns to get on and skate to the center of the ice. "I'll show em," he responds before turning to look to Hal'odan. "Nothing personal, right? But I gotta knock it right past you!"
Hal'inaran flares her nostrils and she looks as if about to say something to Hal'gretz before she is distracted by Hal'odan's tumble. "Save it for the game, Dan," she calls out teasingly before glancing back to the obvious leader. "I didn't bring my bladeloshes. I wasn't expecting to be on the ice."
"No bladeloshes?!" Hal'gretz grumbles and stomps back toward the bench, where a goathide knapsack sits. He rummages through it, finds a mismatched pair of somewhat dulled bladeloshes, then hands the shoes to the woundfixer. "Might be a little big for you. Be sure to tighten the lashers so the loshes don't go flying. Need anything else, dear?" he snarls. "Pockknocker? Shield for yer gut? Noggin bowl?"
"We're supposed to bring noggin bowls and gutshields?" Hal'odan asks with a touch of worry in his voice to Hal'gretz after he's stationed himself infront of the catchery.
Hal'beron skates out onto the ice between his brother and Dan, he raises his brows at the catcher, muttering somehting under his breath, as he grins to Gill while starting his warm-up.
Hal'gill laughs as he begins to skate around in circles, banging the blade of his pockknocker against the ice. "I can't shoot on you if you aren't wearing nothing on your gut!" He calls to Dan, looking at him and grinning. "I'm not trying to kill you!"
"Yes, /dear/," Hal'inaran says to Hal'gretz in a rather sugary sweet voice, obviously ready to deal with his more than brusque manner. Perhaps it is her confidence in the fact that she is the only healer about, or perhaps she's just ready to be daring. "I thought I'd be on my 'rester waitin' for one of 'em to knock out another's tritiongnashers, not sliding around with 'em."
Hal'gretz grunts at Hal'inaran, but his eyes widen a little. He shrugs, then grabs a couple more items from the bag and hands them to her: armor and a pockknocker. "Don't fall over the cliff." He nods, then gazes out at Hal'odan. He sees the players getting into position. "You people *do* know the rules, right? This ain't remediamary pockknockery. I ain't here to teach you. I'm here to guide you. If you don't know the rules, if you don't have the skills, I'm sendin' ya back home, maybe with a few gnashers missing."
Hal'odan grumbles, calling back, "I don't need it! Up on the cliffs, we don't play with anything but a angled goat horn and a frozen trition slab!"
Hal'beron blinks towards Hal'odan, as he skates towards him, "Ya, Dan, that's your name right? Gill there wants to be able to score some gutcrackers and he'd have nothing to hit the pocks on if you don't wear those." he skates back towards the center, muttering about goat horns and trition slabs.
"Don't gotta worry about your knocker and watcher here, coach," Gill calls to Hal'gretz from the ice. "We know it and we're ready." He stops his skating to slide to a halt again, beginning to wait for a pock and the go-ahead. He grins at his brother for a moment again.
Hal'inaran accepts the offered gear with a gracious smile before retiring to the bench to replace her everyday loshes with the mismatched blades before strapping on her gear. At Hal'odan's words she blanches visibly and shakes her head with a sigh that might say "my work's cut out for me". Once finished equipping, she rises from the bench and tromps her way out onto the ice to glide about a few times to warm up.
Hal'gretz cups his hands around his mouth and shouts to Hal'gill: "With or without belly armor, Hal'odan is a fair target for gutcracking. The watcher can make the call." He smiles grimly, then claps his hands together. "Show me what you can do."
"You try that, and I'll beat you over the head so hard with my pockknocker that you won't be able to tell a goat from a dirigible!" threatens Hal'odan, scowl on his face as he shakes his pockknocker at the two.
Hal'beron halts his glide in the middle of the players and looks around to see where everyone is. He reaches into his Goat Leggers and picks up a pock and tosses it onto the ice towards the center, backing away swiftly on his Bladeloshes.
Hal'gill doesn't waste much time as the pock hits the ice, sweeping in to snatch it up and bear directly down towards Hal'odan. He doesn't give much notice to Nara as she skates a bit to the side of him. His grin almost pasted on, he glaces down to the pock before firing off a shot.
Whatever the pock is shot off to, Hal'odan stares at it widely. Tentatively, he reaches out a hand, only to miss it by a long shot as the pock flies past and into the cathery.
"Pock in the Catchery!" Beron shouts as he skates along with the offensive team He then leans into the catchery to pick up the pock then skates back towards the center, "That's 1 point!" He waits for everyone to get back into position.
Hal'gretz watches the shot slip past Hal'odan and into the catchery. "Nice shot!" he shouts to Hal'gill. "Maybe if the stopper's awake next go-round, he'll put a little more oomph! into his effort!" He glowers at the stopper. "Reset and take another shot, Gill."
Gill's grin doesn't fade as he skates a wide circle to return to the center, Nara moving similarly to return to her position. As the Hal'gill reaches the center, he turns about, waiting for another pock.
"Oxidision!" Hal'odan growls out as defense for his even more pathetic pockknockery defense.
Hal'beron grins towards his brother, giving him a thumbs-up. He throws the pock into the air idly as he waits. When everyone is in position, he throws the pock back into play, backskating a little before catching up with the next rush.
Hal'gretz paces along the edge of the ice, scowling and grumbling.
Hal'gill pushes forward to scoop the puck up again, skating at less of a direct angle this time. He seems to remember that there is a chaser on the ice, and, as an effort to maybe create some teamwork, or just to make himself look more attractive to Hal'gretz, passes it over to her. Nara recieves the pass, skating up further, before sending it back to Gill. The younger brother screeches to a half as he winds up his pockknocker to strike the pock as it slides by at the catchery.
Apparently, Hal'odan isn't without fight, as this side, he easily slides by and deflects the pock with a steady smack from his pockknocker, sending it off in another direction along the ice.
"Nice save!" Beron shouts towards Dan, raising his eyes towards the catcher with a touch of respect as he skates along with the players, making sure no fouls are been committed. The pock is still in play.
Hal'gretz stops, nodding appreciatively at the work of the stopper. "Good save!" he calls. "Gill, take the watcher spot. Let Beron take your place as knocker this time."
Hal'gill waves at Dan in recognition of his save, and he grins to Gretz at his call. He skates over to scoop up the pock with his hand before moving to the center of the ice, waiting for Beron to return to begin again.
Hal'beron unslings his Pockknocker and skates back to the center of the ice field, his grey eyes now on intent on the Catchery. He beams a smile towards Nara as he waits, holding his pockknocker in two hands, waiting for the Pock to come back in play.
Hal'odan slides back to his post, steady on his bladeloshes as he holds the pockknocker in both his hands, eyes narrowed as he prepares.
Everyone ready to begin again, Hal'gill holds the pock up for Beron to see it, waving it around teasingly for a moment before dropping it to the ice and backing off.
Hal'gretz narrows his eyes, watching the play unfold from the sidelines.
Hal'beron does not start moving immediately, and lets Nara skate forth to bring the pock closer to the catchery. His bladeloshes banking to the other side, he then skates forward for Nara to send the pock to him. She fires off a shot towards him, which he neatly deflects onto the ground and swings his pockknocker to shoot it off towards the catchery.
This time, although Hal'odan actually tries, the pock easily gets past him through the to the catchery. He grumbles, shaking his head as he rounds on the ice to return and stop at the net. "Need more practice," he mutters.
"That's one in the catchery!" Gill announces, returning to center ice and grabbing another pock. "Back to positions." He grins at his brother and smacks his knocker against the ice in congratulations.
Hal'gretz nods, crossing his arms. "One more shot on goal, Beron, and then you goat huggers can hit the resters for now." He shakes a finger at Hal'odan. "Look sharp!"
Hal'beron watches the pock enter the catchery, he nods towards Dan in a friendly manner, "We'd help with that, no worries, Dan!" and he skates back to the center and lifts his knocker to eye-level at Gill, returning the grin.
"I haven't played in months! I'll get better, you'll see!" Hal'odan retorts, grumbling as he takes his stance once more, tapping his pockknocker twice on the ice.
"One more then!" Gill shouts out happily, obviously enjoying himself immensely. He drops the pock down to the ice in front of Beron and moves back to watch the play.
Hal'beron lightly taps the pock for it to move ahead of him as he starts skating, Nara and Beron on the two sides of the field, exchanging control of the Pock as they approaches the catchery. Beron finally calls, "Now!" and Nara skillfully returns the pock to him and he swings his pockknocker to intercept the trajectory of the pock, swinging it towards the catchery.
Sadly, Hal'odan's non-professional blocking skills fail him once again as the pock slips by and into the catchery, despite a strong attempt. Hal'odan sighs and skates off torward the bench.
"Nice effort, great shot!" Gill calls, turning himself to skate off to the side with his brother and nara, moving to take a seat on the bench again.
Hal'beron skates towards the bench beside Gill and sits down onto it, waving towards Dan to sit down beside them, a little perspiration shows on his forehead despite the chilly weather.
Hal'gretz frowns as he watches the pock slip past Hal'odan again. He taps his losh in the snow on the edge of the ice, then wanders over to the table. He sighs. "Well. You know the basics." He nods to Gill and Beron. "Two of you certainly have the moves." He then glances toward Dan. "Son, you're going to need some *serious* training and a strict diet. Also, no women. I don't want you making shots on goal with your little knocker unless you've stopped six shots in a row against these guys."
Of course, Hal'odan frowns even more at this. "Well, the diet...I'll just have to stop eating trition and glacial water and start eating trition and glacial water. But women, come on, coach! No use giving up training for training."
Hal'gill breaks out into raucous laughter at the last bit of Gretz' comment, elbowing his brother sharply in the side. He reaches up and pulls off his nogginbowl and faceblocker, resting them on his lap.
Hal'gretz knits his brow. "And no goats *either*. I've known players who tried that loophole before. Sick. Bent. And not at all sanitified. So, you just mind the coach. No women. No goats. I don't even want you waxing the little knocker with a fist. And I'll know, Hal'odan." He leans closer, eyes narrowing as he rasps: "I'll *know*." He then draws back and says, "Good start, but we need more than this for a team and we need to be *much* better to beat the Goatnatchers. I'll rent us some time at the main ice floor at Halagh in a few days." His attention drifts back to Hal'odan. "Six shots on goal, Hal'odan, and you can go poke your knocker in a hopper hole for all I care. But not till then." He coughs, then waves dismissively. "Off you go."
"Green lichen tea!" Gill spouts out, standing up with his brother as they're all dismissed. "I'm telling you, drink yourself full of it before you go to sleep the night before, and it will tighten your shot right up." He gives a hearty shove to his brother as they wander off into the caverns.
After changing his bladeloshes, Hal'odan grumbles and collects his equipment, wandering off to the dirigible.