A Team with Brains: Meet "Brains" Mortigan
At the end of Altador Cup IV, a shocking event occurred within Team Haunted Woods that led to a series of changes. Autrey Fulse, the ghost with talent, though not thought highly of by some, packed it in and left the team.
His decision was settled upon after seeing Dasher Soley celebrating with the rest of the Krawk Island team, hoisting the Cup and singing their many songs of victory. Feeling disgruntled, unpopular, and tired of jeering from fans, he cleared out his locker after his final game, without saying a word to anyone, leaving a note saying that come what may, he would not return, whether for practice, or for future cups.
Krell Vitor noticed the absence of Autrey shortly afterward, read his note, accepted his departure, and took his many concerns to the Altador Cup commitee. The commitee listened to Krell's concerns, then, after a brief recess, told Krell that they would find him another team member to replace the departed Autrey Fulse.
A few weeks later, Krell, Zo Junior, Fanetti, and Wan Dirx got the news from the commitee that they finally had a new team-mate, who seemed promising. The spooky team went to their training area to meet their newest team member and begin practicing for AC V.
"So, what do you think "Brains" Mortigan will be like?" Fanetti asked his captain as they went onto the field for a practice session. Krell merely shrugged.
"I never heard of him," Krell admitted as they approached the field. "Well, I do recall the name, but I never actually met him in person. Oh, that must be him over there. He must be a smart guy, from his name. Most likely he got it from the way he uses strategy, or something. Well, in any case, we'll soon find out what he's like."
Zo Junior, who was the first to spy their new team-mate from the distance, took a look and groaned aloud. "Uh, Krell, I don't think his name has to do with how smart he is," Zo said with a weak smile. "Take a look at that!" The team looked at "that," and stopped in their tracks. Ahead of them was "Brains" Mortigan, their new team-mate, who came lumbering forward to meet them.
"Hiiii, I'm Braaains," he said, extending a hand to Krell. Krell took it carefully, his eyes widened in surprise as he stared at the zombie Usul who stood before him. So, after all their speculation, it turned out that "Brains" Mortigan was not the athletic genius that they'd expected him to be.
Swallowing his disappointment, Krell showed Brains where he should stand, and then he pulled out a Yooyu. The Yooyu squeaked in alarm when it saw the lumbering zombie coming toward it, and rolled into a ball just in time. Brains picked up the Yooyu, moaning as he did, and ran toward the opposite side of the field. He dropped the Yooyu a couple times along the way, looking a bit puzzled, but with shouts of encouragement from Zo and Wan, he managed to complete his task.
It was the longest day of practice for the spooky team. When it was over, everyone was very tired, except for Brains. Krell gazed at him with doubtful eyes. Could this unintelligent zombie really benefit the rest of the team? Krell doubted it, but said not a word. Instead, he kept himself busy with getting his team to practice hard. Every day was a challenge. Brains lacked intelligence, but he had determination to do well, and Krell decided to build upon that, so his new team-mate would do much better on the field, once AC V began.
Krell's doubts returned once AC V was underway. Everything seemed to start off disastrously. Brains ran after the other players, passed out pieces of treasure maps, wore a blank expression on his face, and spooked the poor Yooyus, yet, despite his limitations, he managed to perform very well on the field. Krell gave many interviews after the games, and managed to dodge the numerous questions about whether or not Brains Mortigan was a true asset to his team. It seemed to be that way, at least in the beginning. However, after a while, the zombie adjusted to the crowds, and the rest of the teams adjusted to his presence.
How did Brains himself take the situation, and deal with the many fans who were wary of him? He merely did what he did best. He moaned his way down the field whenever he had a Yooyu, and when he did not, he chased after everyone else. "Braaaaaiins!" was his favourite expression, on and off the field. The other teams, though very doubtful of the skills of this unusual zombie Usul, eventually came to admire him for his tenacity, along with his determination to give out his best at all times.
AC V ended with Team Haunted Woods taking 12th place, as everyone knows, and returning home to the usual boos and howls of the Haunted Woods, though not all of these came from disgruntled fans. Despite their worst ranking to date, Brains Mortigan had proven himself to be a rather popular team member, and popular with the fans as well.
"You did pretty good out there, man," Wan Dirx said in the locker room at the end of AC V. "I had my doubts, but you proved me wrong. See you at practice!" He waved and departed with Fanetti. Zo Junior was waiting for Brains, as they were leaving together as well, allowing Krell to finish up captain duties before leaving, himself.
Krell called Brains over to him. "I was really impressed, Brains. You're not too bad, after all. I'll see you tomorrow, ok? Don't be late, pal!" He grinned at his new team-mate, who grinned back and waved at his captain.
"Seeeeee you laaater, Krellll!" Brains replied, and departed with Zo. Zo chatted with Brains as they headed for home. Brains didn't say very much, but he gave occasional groans, to which Zo simply grinned at, and continued talking.
The spooky team continued to practice, and they met their occasional fan here and there, and counted down the days until AC VI began. In between practices, Brains took the time to send letters to Derlyn Fonnet, Team Kreludor's captain. Derlyn was surprised to discover that the zombie could write.
He had approached her after the awards ceremony, and noticed the silver medal around her neck. "Ooooh, shinyyyy!" he'd exclaimed, and Derlyn had smiled at him very sweetly. "Can we wriiiite?" he'd asked her, and though greatly surprised, Derlyn nodded, and found her new penpal to be much smarter than she'd ever thought possible. Even more, she truly enjoyed reading his letters.
"It rained today," one letter stated, "and it was hard to play on the practice field. Krell is a good captain, though. He made us practice in any case. Wan thought we'd go home, but not so! I think Krell Vitor is a good captain for many reasons."
At last, it was finally time for AC VI. How good it was to be a full team again! In the locker room, all was well. Team Haunted Woods was the only team who came from a land that had no true ruler, so there was no royal dignitary to encourage them, or praise them, or even appear and sit in the Royal box on their behalf. Team Haunted Woods simply relied on the cheers from the crowd to encourage them, or boost their morale. But thanks to "Brains" Mortigan, the tide seemed to be turning once again. Could they walk away in triumph with the Cup once again? Time would tell.
Search the Neopian Times
The day was drawing to a close. The Neopian Pharmacy had seen few customers that day and for Nurse Sini, that was good news.