Eugenia the Bog Hag heard the players squabbling long before she reached the door to the Wyrmwood clubhouse's main hall -- a half-hearted, weary-sounding brawl, fueled more by hopelessness than anger. She'd predicted as much. What with the team's failure to even tie any of the games it played last season, coupled with the collapse of the Big Crunch itself, the players' morale would have been at an all-time low even without the death of the legendary Gruechitter the Foul. Or the legendary Zeem Warpfire's resignation from the team in order to pursue a career as a freebooter. Or the treachery of Spider Swindlegrin. Her knobby fingers curled up at the thought of it, even as she reached for the twisted iron handle of the wooden clubhouse door, her black talons digging into her green palms in reflexive rage. It wasn't so much that he'd faked his own death -- and he'd done that remarkably well, she had to admit. It seemed that he was smarter than she had given him credit. No, it was that he'd had the gall to steal her vial of hagpox, right out of her own office! The former she could have forgiven with a sound thrashing and prompt reinstatement onto the team roster; the latter was an outrage! When she got her claws on that runty little git of a goblin... "Eh, Sis?" interrupted Gretchen from behind. "We doin' this, or wot?" Eugenia composed herself and glanced back at her sisters. Gretchen's piggish scowl of dull impatience contrasted with Aneira's cocked head and tight-lipped, almost girlish smile. The two sisters usually used glamers of one sort or another in the clubhouse, but had chosen to wear their true forms for this momentous occasion. Bringing up the rear was Gretchen's ogre, Groxx, hefting a very special cask of toadbrew. "Of course we're doing it!" she hissed under her breath. "Now shush, Sister, or ye'll tip our hand!" "Jus' sick o' waitin', is all," muttered Gretchen as she sank her fangs into the haunch of roast venison she carried. "It's been a long time comin', this 'as. Been pushin' fer it fer seasons, Oi 'ave." The obese hag spoke gutterally through mouthfuls of her snack, drops of greasy deer fat spattering out of her mouth. "Well, hush a bit more, Sister," whispered Aneira, fixing her inscrutable white-eyed gaze onto her much larger sibling. "Let Eugenia do the talking for now." Eugenia sighed. For once, wild-as-the-winds Aneira was talking sense. Thank the Dark One for small favors. She turned and opened the door. "Dearies!" she exclaimed, immediately putting a stop to the fracas. Blightfang and Vourk froze and dropped Grovel, who they had been stretching by the wrists and ankles, and Frang Toebiter stopped gnawing on Ferelan Foulfang's tail. Gorbo, who Garble had apparently let out, spat Churr out of his mouth and retreated back to his cage with a whimper. Snatcher, Wheezy, Bogger, and Wink pulled away from Skek Skulktunnels, who they had been beating on the flagstones, and the beleaguered skaven rose to a crouch and slinked over to his fellows, never once taking the beady black eyes of either of his heads off of the hag sisters. "What's the cause of all this mayhem, eh?" she asked with mock sweetness. "My sisters and I could hear you lads fighting from my office!" It was Bogger who answered, of course -- he was her favorite, after all, and feared her the least. "We're outta toadbrew," he said. "Well is that all, Dearies?" asked the Bog Hag with a look of chilling sympathy. "What a fine coincidence! We've brought you all a whole cask!" She motioned for Groxx to come forward, and the stoic ogre did as instructed, leaving the cask on the table before shuffling back behind his mistress. "Ah, ah, ah!" she cautioned, wagging a talon at the first of the players to reach the cask. "No drinks until I've given my announcement! This toadbrew is for celebration!" "Celebration?" asked Snatcher in puzzlement, scratching his head. "Wot fer? Der Big Crunch be dead an' done, aye?" Vourk's tail whipped from side to side as the other skaven twitched their whiskers quizically. "This be only-last batch of toadbrew, yes-yes?" "Such good questions!" laughed Eugenia, clapping her spidery hands together in delight. "And the answers are even better." She savored the moment, enjoying the look of bewilderment on each player's face. No doubt they had assumed that they'd be asked to clear out of the clubhouse in short order, and forced -- or allowed -- to return to whatever pathetic little lives they'd had before joining the team. And they might have been right, if she hadn't found Swindlegrin. Even after she'd managed to decipher Garble's rambling half-words, Spider had been infuriatingly difficult to track down. Perhaps the goblin freak had mutated again and grown a bigger brain to match his hand. She'd never managed to actually catch him, and once he'd figured out that she was on to him he had used intermediaries -- goblin fans of his who never seemed to know his exact location, as she'd learned through torturing three of them to death -- to broker a deal with her for the return of her precious hagpox. He'd demanded an exorbitant amount of money -- almost enough to found his own team -- which in the end she'd been forced to clean out the team treasury to pay. It was that or bargain with Festus the Leech Lord again -- and even the hag sisters preferred not to have to deal with him. And he'd never slipped up! Never made that fatal mistake of accidentally revealing his true location or allowing her or her sisters to sniff him out! She ground her crooked fangs momentarily as she thought of it. She wanted to wring the goblin's scrawny little neck then and there... But that would come later. No one hid from Eugenia forever. She would sniff him out eventually. And for now, there was business to attend to. She snapped out of her vengeful reverie, once again seeing the motley crew of expectant players from throughout the underworld. "There is another league, Dearies," she crooned. A grumbling murmur crept through the assembled players. "Big Crunch Two-Next?" chittered Ferelan incredulously. "They not allow-take transfer-teams; we already ask-check!" "Right you are, Dearie -- but you're forgetting that old Eugenia has a few tricks up her sleeve!" The players listened with interest at her words, sparks of hope and greed lighting in their widening eyes. They almost seemed to forget about the cask of toadbrew on the table. "We've just signed on with the Big Crunch Two, Dearies -- and we're bound for far-off Cathay! Now, drink up in celebration!" A raucous cheer rose up from the throats of the assembled goblins and skaven, as former combatants clapped each other on the backs with scabby hands and ragged claws. They turned as one to the cask of toadbrew, tapping it with haste. Eugenia and her sisters grinned unsettlingly as the players raised their glasses to their mouths. The cask would be drained within an hour -- but the hagpox would take at least a day to incubate. And then they'd see what sort of team they'd be bringing to the Big Crunch Two.