The disk soared up, just beyond her reaching glove and Irenas reached past her with his long arms, snatched it and came down. Rather than take advantage of his eight-stride safety, he snapped the shot to Mirenen, their second enforcer who bore down on Amitza.
He didn’t hesitate, thinking he’d be able to roll right over her, not seeing her grin behind her helmet bars. She ghosted sideways and somehow, as he roared past her, he tripped over… something… and she had possession. His chin hit the steel with a crack but the whistle was silent.
So strange to hear the cheering in high women's voices. There were far more women in the seats than usual.
Amitza passed to Elsha, Elsha to Eforasa, Eforasa to Borasa, Borasa to Elsha just as Trenas launched out of the penalty cage and Irenas soared up, out of the bowl and settled on their bench so they could not be whistled out for too many men in the bowl. Trenas soared down toward Elsha who crossed her feet and zipped up the opposite wall, with him on her heels.
Borasa set up and Elsha, on the bottom of her arc, turned, skating backwards. He nearly checked but she actually smiled sweetly and thrust the faib disk into his reaching gauntlets, just in time for Borasa, falling off the wall like a lightning bolt, knock him sideways hard enough to send them both pinwheeling over the floor.
Knuckles out boys. Knuckles out. The whole hall was full of the chorus of approval, the check song, the women’s descant almost drowning out the main melody. Men’s voices whistled disapproval, and even went so far as to lose decorum and shout. Meet my razor fan, boys.
Whistle and the disk was scooped up and returned to centre. We do not expect to win. Holding them. Keeping them from just skating away from us is the victory. They have years of training. Zero/zero with goals open is the victory.
Borasa bounced up, skating over to second defense’s slot, while Trenas, on hands and knees, coughed. It took him a moment to climb to his feet. He shook his head skating to his slot opposite Elsha. No emotion on his face. She let herself catch the tiny signs of approval from Jorasa, the only one on their bench. Coach smiled at them.
Next play the disk got away from them and Trenas hit Amitza but only glancing, and when she went down her one skate accidentally hit him just over the knee, inside. He still managed to pass to Buren who soared up and shot. Tesha, in her goal sweep, knocked it clear with her blocking pad, tipping it off the thinnest hair of pad, off the end. Hold them at zero my sisters.
Eforasa scooped the errant disk and broke away toward the Duli defensemen. She went up left, then back to the right, Elsha zipped past her, behind, crossing her pattern and quietly grabbed the disk handed off, leaving Mirenen, and Kamen chasing the wrong player.
She dug hard and went up and just as she turned in the air, the disk sliding out of her hand for her shot, Trenas hit her, from below and the world wheeled. Steel, tuck head, fringe of singing, yelling faces, steel, wham, elbow, ow.
“WHISTLE!” Coach was shouting at the referee but the red shirt was ignoring him. “WHISTLE, WHISTLE WHISTLE…” The chant was taken up by others who had seen that the disk had been clear of her hand. No whistle and the redshirt scooped the disk to centre. Elsha, having been hit, faced the Trenas, as checker.
He had a bloody tooth as he grinned at her and she shook out both arms, showing him that he hadn’t hurt her. “Set, Ser and Sera,” the redshirt said.
Up the second time and this time she threw her body up hard as all her unseemly emotion drove and her fingers brushed it first, knocking it clear of his grab. Knuckles out.
Eforasa was on it like stink on a skunk, tucked hard and swooped up, arcing down toward the defensemen. Elsha saw the pass coming back to her and Trenas intercepted, tucking the disk under his arm, meaning to keep it, setting up to bull his way all the way down the steel. He dodged a check by Borasa and she saw her chance. Touch my razor fan.
She spun low as she came down the wall, an extended foot sweep. It was slow and he jumped over it but as she spun, her hair somehow came loose and in her arc whipped out and wound around his knee, pulling him right off his feet as she came upright on her skates.
Whistle. “Sorry! Accident, Referee!” She held up the two broken ties that had secured her hair under the helmet. The redshirt repeated the whistle and gestured her off for a thirty klicks, and the crowd, men included flapped their lips at the referee. Accidental hair trips were allowed in the High League and Solas League both. Coach was nodding approval.
Time was suspended as they lifted Trenas out of the bowl by net, both teams sitting on their benches, breathing hard. Coach thumped his comb on his palm at her and she grinned.
She hid that grin in behind her lips as she soared up to sit in her penalty cage. For thirty klicks… she cast her gaze at the time-keeper. The second set was almost over. Zero to Zero, goals both opened… one injury… she tested her elbow with the fingertips of her other hand. Sore. Not broken. Thirty klicks would let her re-tie her hair. She’d lost a few hairs ripping the ties but it was worth it.
Jorasa, next to the penalty bars, gently thumped the side of the stall, approving, passing on the team’s approval. Knuckles out, boys. Knuckles out. Touch my razor fan.
“Teams come. Teams come now!” The redshirt called them in. Borasha facing Mirenen. They went up, Borasa made the catch, took her eight strides, poised to pass and the game whistle sounded. Victory. The crowd went wild, screaming, jumping, even waving gloves in the air. Gloves... as many as a ten hit the steel bowl from fans in the seats.
Touch our razor fans.