kitchen_maid: (*Ambergeldar)
Amy ([personal profile] kitchen_maid) wrote2012-08-11 08:34 pm

Backfield in Motion

It's a lovely day for a football game in Ambergeldar.

Of course, while the game is called football, it bears only a marginal relationship to the American sport by the same name that Parker Lee once explained to His Majesty with the pieces of a chess set and some improvised diagrams.

(For that matter, it doesn't look much like the Canadian or Australian versions, either. Or the sport most of the rest of the world calls football and the Americans insist on calling soccer. No one has gotten around to inventing any of those yet.)

Amy has been meaning to bring Parker to a game for ages, but it the timing has never quite worked out. So Amy was delighted to run into Parker at Milliways earlier, and cheerfully invited her and her friends for this afternoon's match.

"We're up there," Amy says to Scorpius, pointing to the Royal Box. It's a fabulous view of the field, as it sits atop the central tower that stands in the middle of the field, and which the players navigate around the structure as the game progresses. The box is covered, but open on all sides, and while there are chairs, they aren't often used -- there's a lot of drifting from edge to edge to follow the game.

Scorpius eyes it with a grin. "Oh, nice!" It reminds him a bit of the Ministry's Box at the World Cup with the best views. A spot he's never sat, but has always been curious about.

Princess Susan leads the way across the bridge over the moat that surrounds the field. (One of Perry's many innovations -- and the game is played in any weather that doesn't involve lightning or the moat's being iced over.) She has ribbony pompoms in one hand (one for each team as the Royal Family is not supposed to Take Sides) and Parker by the other hand.

There are great cheers as the Royal Family as their guests cross the field to the central tower. The field is far from level -- there are places it has been carefully build up or dug out a bit. Each team's home field has its own topography, and it's very much a home team advantage.

Parker, as the person credited with introducing the sport of football to Ambergeldar, is given the honor by His Majesty the King of signaling the start of the game. Wearing a bemused grin and following Perry's instructions, she stands at the edge of the Royal Box with her back to the field, and throws the ball over her shoulder to the waiting players below.

The players kick, throw, or carry the ball toward their goal. And while that is for the most part the ends of the field, "You will want to keep an eye out, especially near the edges of the box," Amy says to Scorpius who is eagerly checking out the field and its unique topography. "It's called a Regal if they can get the ball into the Royal Box, and it's worth ten points. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen."

The excessive celebration penalty has not yet reached Ambergeldan football, and celebrations after a goal can last for several minutes, involve the entire team, their cheerleaders, and the occasional participation of the assembled crowd. The visiting Newmere Knights are known for the minuet they perform with their cheerleaders after every touchdown.

They're in the middle of one such celebratory turn around the endzone, and the crowd is being quite vocal in their amusement and support, when it suddenly becomes apparent that enthusiasm and high spirits are not the only things rocking the stadium.

X goes stiff partway through the game, the fine line of a frown drawn between her brows. Something is not right. Whether it's a distant sound, a faint hint of flickering movement far in the distance, or a hint of vibration she can feel through her boots -- maybe later she'll be able to separate out the input. But in the meantime, she's opening her mouth to say something about the incoming trouble just as she realizes it's already too late.

"Papa, everything's moving," Merry says, tugging on his father's hand. Susan drops her pompoms and buries her face in her mother's skirts, twisting her hands into the fabric.

Perry looks out over the field, and back toward the palace, and off to the Forest. He announces, in his most Kingly of Algernon voices, "Stop the game."

"Is everyone all right?" Perry asks, once the world does not seem to be shaking beneath their feet. "Amethyst?"

"We're fine," Amy says. "Aren't we, Susan?" Susan nods.

"No one is hurt," X says quickly, nostrils flaring as she scents the air to be 100% sure. "Up here. I do not know about on the ground."

Bruce had sized up the tower when they first climbed it. His first thought as the earthquake struck was that this was not a safe place for children to be.

"We should get down to the ground," he says. "Right now. There might be another one, and it could be worse."

"I have to agree," Parker says. "We should get into an open area." Spend your college years in southern California, and it's amazing how much earthquake safety becomes second nature.

Perry picks Merry up as Amy gets Susan to let go of her skirts and takes her hand instead. Amy and Susan in the lead, the group makes its way back down to the playing field.

The crowd around them is still working out what happened, the earliest stages of shock and confusion. They're also incredibly loud -- Merry clamps his hands over his ears the moment Perry sets him down. The guards who were stationed just inside the door to the tower have moved to try to protect the Royal Family, but it's obvious they're both not sure what they're protecting them from, and that they're going to be of limited use against this large a crowd.

And Norman, the Royal Dragon of Ambergeldar, who is excellent at crowd control, is off visiting his mother this week.

"Parker, would you mind?" Amy asks, transferring Susan's hand from her own to Parker's, and then stepping over to speak to her husband.

"What do you need me to do, Algernon?"

"Can you handle things here, Amethyst?" Perry asks, as they both look around the stadium. There are a lot of literally and figuratively shaken people in the stands around them. "I need to get back to the palace."

He needs to go be the King.

"Of course, Algernon," Amy says. "If you'll check on the twins."

Perry squeezes her hand for just a second. "First thing."

"I'll be happy to assist Her Majesty," says Sir Allyn, who has made his way over to the group. The knight had taught Perry in his squire days and now serves as the coach of the Amber Dragons.

"Thank you, Sir Allyn," Perry says. He beckons his secretary and the head of the palace guard over, and the three of them set off for the bridge over the moat. "I want riders going out immediately, on all roads. We need to know how how much damage has been done where. And . . . "

Amy watches them for a second, and then turns to Parker and X. "Would the two of you and your friends mind looking after the children for a bit?"

"Yes," X says, in response to Amy's question. "You do not have to worry."

"Thank you." Amy leans down for a moment, to address the prince and princess. "Merry, Susan, I need the two of you to help me with something. Will you take my friends and show them around the gardens, please? Keep them company until I get back?"

They nod. "Yes, Mama."

"Thank you, dears." Amy hugs each of them briefly, and then nods to X and Parker.

She moves off a moment later toward the edges of the field, with Sir Allyn beside her and two guards bringing up the rear, calling "Would everyone please remain calm?" in a loud and rather Queenly voice.

Scorpius looks down to find a very wide-eyed future King of Ambergeldar staring up at him. Merry is supposed to ask him to come to the gardens, but . . . well . . . everything was moving and Mama and Daddy have left and this is all rather a lot to have to deal with, even for a Prince, especially one who is feeling decidedly sniffly at this moment.

From his never-ending pockets, Scorpius pulls out a -- Well. A copy of Quidditch Quarterly. (It has moving pictures at the very least? No? Right -- ) He transfigures it into a small brown mice to distract Merry. (A pet mouse, not a nasty disease-carrying one! Right. Maybe he should have gone with a toy mouse, but -- ) "Do you want to hold her, Merry? Maybe we could find her something to eat?"

Merry nods, and reaches out to take the little mouse. "We could probably find something in the garden." Mice must like things in gardens, mustn't they?

Susan takes X's hand. "We're supposed to show you the gardens," she says. "They're very pretty. You'll like them."

X leans down out to scoop her up and remove her from the field. "My legs are longer," she explains, very carefully. "We can move faster this way. So your parents will not worry as much."

"All right," Susan agrees.

X looks over the top of Susan's head to Bruce. Neither of them says a word, but a moment later, the group is moving, with Bruce in the lead and X (and Susan) bringing up the rear as they head to the garden.