K23 Side Story

K23 Side Story: Thrown To Glory

In about a minute, Sabarwen was going to be thrown hundreds of feet, and she had to calm her mind despite being extremely uncomfortable. The Deltan elf stood at the start of a 90′ long runway beyond which lay an expansive pool of red goo that would break her fall. Behind her, an ogre named Gorog the Mighty was talking to his troll trainer as he wiped powder onto his massive paws.

The glaring overhead lights of the gargantuan Cloudplex burned into Sabarwen’s purple skin, causing her white leotard to become drenched in sweat. Her silver hair, tied in a bun, was itching. The roar of the 300,000-spectator crowd deafened her. Camera pods buzzed around her, sending her image to the large view screens set up in the arena as well as to millions of home viewers around the world. A small army of officials milled around the track ready to make sure everything was within the rules.

She ignored it all. She needed to center herself. She had reached the highest point an implement could achieve in elf throwing, Terrall’s most popular sport. Sabarwen was about to be thrown by the gold medal favorite in the Ogre Male’s Deltan Elf Female Throwing Finals at the 10017 Hominia Athletics Large Hominid Games, beating out dozens of others via random selection.

Elf throwing’s origins were controversial. Elves, particularly light skinned Teolian elves from the totalitarian city-state of Teolos, claimed the sports originated in ancient times when ogres killed virgins by flinging them off cliffs. The official history maintained by the Elf Throwing League, the sport’s main governing body, and Hominia Athletics, the megacorp that owned and ran the New Delta Athletics Complex where the Cloudplex was located, was much more benign.

According to them, the sport originated around 9975, when a Deltan elf and her ogre lover were frolicking on a beach next to the Uthiric Ocean not far from New Delta. The ogre playfully threw his lover into the ocean. She enjoyed it and asked to go again. Other ogres, trolls and elves watching wanted to join in the fun. Soon the fun turned into serious competition, with male ogres and their boxy green-skinned counterparts seeing how far they could launch elves of both genders and variety.

The Elf Throwing League was established in 9980 with the first official event held in the Cloudplex the following year. The sport quickly became the city’s most popular athletic pastime. Watching elves, especially Teolian elves, being launched never got old. This version was supported by the fact that the original Deltan elf in the story was alive and president of the Elf Throwing League.

The Hominia Athletics Games were the largest sport event in the world, the only sport event Hominia Athletics ran themselves. There were four specific competitions which rotated annually on a four-year cycle: Small Hominid, where gnomes, dwarves and goblins competed; Medium Hominid, where elves, humans and orcs competed; Large Hominid, where ogres and trolls competed; and Non-Hominid, where Uthirans, avians, komodo, brac’tai and others competed.

While the Non-Hominid Games were the largest because of the sheer number of events, the Large Hominid Games were the most popular because ogres and trolls were simply the most fun to watch. The Large Hominid Games always had the largest viewership and the most sponsorship money. In addition to elf throwing, the Games also featured other popular sports such as cage brawling, goblin catching, gnome punting and the always hilarious large hominid gymnastics.

Sabarwen wasn’t concerned with that. All she was thinking about was that if she messed up here, she’d be reduced to a training implement. She would spend the rest of her career being thrown by amateurs who could injure or kill her.

A human official on the side blew his whistle, signaling the throw to commence. The roaring of the crowd grew even louder.

Sabarwen relaxed her limbs as Gorog thumped over, the floor shaking with every step. He towered over her 5’5″ petite frame.

“Ya ready?” He asked.

Sabarwen nodded. “Yes.”

Saberwen didn’t know Gorog. Implements were barred for mingling to prevent cheating. She knew he threw extremely stiff, making landings painful, but that was why he was one of the best.

Another whistle was blown, and the crowd quieted.

Sabarwen turned around. Gorog wrapped his hands completely around her mid-section. Gorog lifted her up and placed her waist on her his shoulders. Sabarwen went rigid, body in a straight line at a 45-degree angle. Her head was parallel to the tips of his long pitted tusks, eight feet off the floor.

Gorog stared down the runway and Sabarwen’s mind went blank as time slowed. Each step shook her, but she stayed perfectly still. Halfway down, Gorog was now in a full sprint, his hot breath shooting past her ears.

The throw happened in a snap, Gorog’s arm shooting forward like a piston and releasing her at the end of the runway.

The world was silent except for her heart beat. The cavernous Cloudplex was a blur.

Then she hit the goo, pain shooting from her fingertips to her toes as the goo repelled her into the air. The world and the crowd rushed back as she went limp and fell into the red. The goo cradled her aching body. A light on the side of pool adjacent to the point her finger tips first hit lit up.

The crowd went wild, rattling the entire stadium. She looked up at the scoreboard. Gorog had thrown her five hundred ninety-two feet and seven inches, a new world record by six inches!

Sabarwen sobbed as she looked back at Gorog, now a tiny figure, embracing his trainer in celebration. While Sabarwen couldn’t attend the medal ceremony and would probably never see Gorog again, her name would still go into the record texts next to his for all time.

It was a common refrain among elf throwing critics that the sport was degrading and insulting to elves. But what they never understood was that the elves’ performance was as critical as the ogres and trolls that threw them. If Sabarwen’s posture wasn’t completely straight and rigid, if she had choked and went limp too soon, Gorog wouldn’t be receiving the gold medal.

For one brief moment, two complete strangers became one to produce something legendary. He had thrown her into glory.

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