The Three Realms The Three Realms (Book 3: The First Strike)

3 Realms 3-20

Sanduay was one of, if not THE biggest broomstick sport in all the Realms. Named after the Battle of Sanduay in the War of the Depths, there were 10 players on a Sanduay team trying to defend their tower from the opposing team’s attacks. Three players, called Head-ons would try and turn the enemy team’s tower completely from green, to blue, to yellow, to pink, to orange, to purple, to red. If the tower is completely red from roof to base, the game is over, and the tower’s team loses. While the three Head-ons tried to keep the opposing team behind, two other players, the Overheads, would hold position high above the roof and pick off anyone who manages to circumvent the three below. The remaining five players, Guardians, would try and keep their tower as non-red as possible. They can only go up one color, so if the opposing team turns one section to two colors down, the five players couldn’t go back up two colors. On top of that, once a section of the tower is red, the Guardians can’t make it go up one color, they have to leave it alone and that particular Guardian is benched. Each of the remaining five players focused on one section of the tower. Two players, the Roof Guardians, would monitor a half of the tower’s roof while the remaining three, the Tower Guardians, each focused on a third of the tower from where the roof sits to the base. Each player’s position was named after one of the 10 warriors that defended and repaired the tower to secure victory. The three Head-ons were Sedomar, Kanomar, and Rodomar; the two Overheads were Terralem and Asolem; the two Roof Guardians were Lansel and Roofel; and the three Tower Guardians were Aludax, Lenezax, and Handomax. When she was a Realmfleet Cadet, Arsha was Captain of the Realmfleet Sanduay Team, usually taking up the Kanomar position, and received quite a number of trophies for her victories. She DID lose, yes, but she lost graciously and still loves the sport! Because of her love for her home, her favorite team was the Largandra Leopards. Though, they weren’t going to be playing in the Under-union Festival, her second favorite, the Falgreth Furies, were. She, Malnar, and Gorfanth were given the opportunity to meet them one night and were pleasantly surprised that they weren’t conceited at all. “I tell you, I’m honored to meet you,” chuckled Arsha.

“I’m honored that you follow us,” returned the Team Captain, a male Troll named Anshuu. “I’m surprised you follow an Under-realm team.”

“Helps me to understand people outside of the Mid-realm better. If I’m going to be a Queen, I need to know how my allies’ subjects think.”

“No better way to do that than Sanduay! How long can you stay?”

“Our entire evening is free, why?”

“Because we want you to watch our practice.” Arsha checked with Malnar and Gorfanth who nodded eagerly.

“Captain Anshuu, we’d be honored!”

“Perfect! We just need to wait for our coach and…” A female Troll then came up to them. She was the team’s coach.

“Sorry, boys and girls,” she grumbled, “you guys are grounded.”

“Grounded?!” protested Anshuu. “Why?!”

“We need to let a broomstick band fly overhead,” explained the coach.

“Did the report say who they were?”

“No, only that it was the only band scheduled to pass overhead. Once they’re gone, you guys can practice.”

“Oh, perfect!” grunted one of the Guardians, a Female Troll named Beshee. “Is it just me or does something ALWAYS happen whenever we practice outside of our home field?!”

“Well, I guess we’ll have to wait,” muttered Anshuu. That was when a noise like something flying could be heard. The noise grew louder as the source got closer. “That must be them,” mused Anshuu.

“Sounds kind of small,” observed Gorfanth. “Must be a Realmfleet band.” The broomstick flyers then went over the stadium. They were a band of five and dressed all in white. “…Or…not,” mumbled Gorfanth. “Who were they?”

“I don’t know,” muttered the coach. “My glasses are still being fixed and I hate wearing contacts.”

“They looked to be about Arsha’s height,” muttered Beshee, “but I think they were wearing masks.”

“Weird,” grunted the coach before she took a briefcase of training drones. “Well, they’re gone, so you guys can practice.”

“Very peculiar,” muttered Arsha as she, Gorfanth, and Malnar went to the stands. “Very, VERY peculiar.”

As hinted before, Felansi dancing is what we call Flamenco dancing. The Feisty Felansi Forsorna Family, or 4 F’s, is a massive family of Felansi dancers that adopted a nomadic lifestyle to entertain people across the Realms. Founded by Succubi and Incubi, the family has taken in humanoids all across the Realms and use their own natural age-stopping magic to keep their family members young-looking. Everyone, great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, and children, all contribute to this family of entertainers. Originally, they were just dancers, but as the family evolved, they added new entertainment options to their repertoire. Now, with Felansi dancing still the main event, their acts include singing, comedy sketches, fashion designing, and modeling. They are divided into 10 groups in the colors of the Divine Ones, the Perky Pinks, the Ravishing Reds, the Opulent Oranges, the Yummy Yellows, the Grand Greens, the Beautiful Blues, the Plentiful Purples, the Bountiful Blacks, the Gracious Greys, and the Wonderous Whites. Yunfeen, a Succubus in a purple dress named Termaf, and a Zephyr in a blue dress named Tufarmem looked over their script for their comedy sketch. “All right,” declared Termaf, “we’ve got everything up to the climax, let’s rehearse that.” Termaf and Yunfeen turned their backs to Tufarmem, then Tufarmem fed them a line.

“Why, you cowards!” she called. “You’re afraid to say ‘Alanshi Falls!’”

“ALANSHI FALLS!” repeated Termaf and Yunfeen with a crazed expression on their faces.

“You stay away from me!” yelped Tufarmem.

“Slowly I turned!” continued Termaf and Yunfeen as they slowly turned and approached her, their expressions still crazed. “And step by step, smarg by smarg, I…!” The sound of flyers then interrupted them. The three women then threw their scripts down in frustration.

“Come on! Just once!” wailed Termaf. “Just! Friggin! Once!”

“The minute we get to that ‘smarg by smarg’ line, something always happens!” complained Yunfeen. They heard a scratching on the door. “Must be Beruka,” mused Yunfeen. She opened the door to let in her Cerberus, Beruka. All three of his tails were level and the expression on all three of his faces was sour.

“Can you keep the noise down? I’m trying to sleep!” complained Beruka from his left-most head.

“That’s not us, I assure you,” replied Tufarmem. She grabbed a telescope and looked out the window, extending it and looking into it to see the broom rider band that flew over the Sanduay field. “Dear lord, that kind of racket from five broom riders?”

“Broom riders? At this time of night?” asked Yunfeen. She then got a look.

“Let me see,” urged Termaf. She looked through the telescope and found the broom riders. “Now that’s the weirdest broom rider band I’ve EVER seen.”

“Well, they’re gone now,” mused Tufarmem. “Maybe we can practice some more.”

“Let’s do it tomorrow,” suggested Yunfeen. “I need to ask Malnar about it. Maybe she would know.”

“You don’t know either?” asked Yunfeen the next morning as she and Beruka spoke to Malnar.

“No, I don’t,” confirmed Malnar. “Mama didn’t know anything about it either.”

“Now that IS peculiar,” muttered Beruka.

“Did you see what they looked like?” asked Malnar.

“My vision’s worse than yours, Malnar,” remarked Beruka. “They looked splotchy to me.”

“I didn’t see their faces only because they had a mask that hid their features,” muttered Yunfeen.

“Did anyone else in your family see it aside from you three?” asked Malnar.

“No, they said that our ships’ sensors didn’t detect them last night,” answered Yunfeen. “You know, now that I think about it, I’m surprised the Furies were allowed to practice last night.”

“The upcoming game’s a pretty important one,” reminded Malnar, “and it could last into the night. …You know, that just made me realize that the band last night must have had a higher priority.”

“An unaffiliated broom rider band?” asked Beruka. “I’d say that’s not possible, but your story says otherwise.”

“Somehow, I feel like shenanigans are about to happen this week,” grumbled Malnar.

“You’re absolutely sure you can’t tell me what your mother said yesterday?” Elmar asked Calandra that day.

“Sorry, but what Mother told me and Orbak is classified Code Black,” answered Calandra.

“So, you’re all sworn to secrecy.”

“’Fraid so.”

“That complicates things.”

“Sorry, but it is what it is.”

“Why would your mother want to stage a secret operation during the Under-union festival?”

“Well, she thinks this operation will help the Realms.” Calandra looked out the window. “Her heart’s in the right place, you know. She DOES care for the kingdom. She’s kind, good-hearted…”

“Stupid.” While Elmar said it under his breath, Calandra heard that and shot him a Look!

“She is not!” Elmar figured that it would be illogical to hide his real feelings now.

“She certainly is! She’s an ox who can’t put together 2 and 2 if you spelled out the instructions!”

“Now, that’s enough!” Calandra jabbed her finger into his chest. “Need I remind you that she’s gonna be your mother-in-law?! …Speaking of which, I’ve got wedding dresses to try out. I’ll see you in the morning and you WON’T be talking about my mother like that again!” She then stormed off.

“…Well, I’m hardly wrong,” muttered Elmar.

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