Many thanks to @patchickjr for inspiring me to obsess over player names. I had planned to post this in the annual draft prediction thread, even though I’m breaking the rules and including too many players, but @patchick said that she will delete extraneous posts that aren’t actual predictions, so I started a new thread, instead. This is my 7,000th post; I figured I would celebrate in style. Points to anyone who can identify all the players named below. Hint: I reference exactly double the allotted amount of names in the prediction thread. This isn’t about draft accuracy — it’s about art. (Okay, art is an overstatement. This is pretty terrible, but I shoehorned in all my favorite names.) --- I long for the weather to turn again. Nothing would please me more than the warm haze of tranquill redwine-summers. Instead, I’m shivering around the embers of a small fire, waiting for winter’s bony fingers to relinquish their hold on spring, trying to remember the songs of my fathers. Why was I exiled to this time and place, cursed to oversee gladiator fights in this metal blade of a coliseum? No matter. As I have every year in the weeks leading up to Beltane, I will sing again a song of Freedom — akin to maudlin ballads, perhaps, but vital for my survival. I must send a message back through the ages. They will see the names. I know they’re watching. Always watching. My brothers in the Thornhill will hear the mellifluous sound of my song, my only hope for safety. I only pray the wrong ears and eyes are deaf and blind to my labor. Perhaps the jazz of this age will distract them with its vigor. Mine is a subtler song, for I must remain hidden until the time of my exile is at an end. I both hope for and fear that end, for the time is fast approaching when we’ll be warring on the holy field. The Omen comes. Will we be ready? I dare not say. Our hope is in the elders, sequestered in their war room, but their collective wisdom has failed us before. Polite to question? Perhaps not. My primary cause must take precedence, but in these trying times I am tempted to turn to my savage roots for secondary help. As our foes have learned, I become whatever creature is necessary. Fox — beware my cunning Bee — beware my sting Wren — beware my song Squirrel — well, that one is not mine, but I love him anyway. Trysten will appreciate my work, even if no one else does. He must help bring peace; if he can unite the tribes, joining Hill to Rivers, then the land may be at rest once again. Perhaps then we can go back to a time when we tilled the earth and earned our keep. A harsher time, but truer, nobler. I laugh bitterly. I can’t believe that I miss being a farmer. I do, though. I miss my old pet, Humphrey, a little goat with six rings in his ears. We were much tanner when we were farmers, toiling under sunfire skies. Nothing like these modern fools, hunched around their glowing screens. I wonder, sometimes, if drew a sample of their blood . . . no, I must resist the urge. Already the masses think my master is some lord of the dark arts. I will not add vampire to their arsenal of pejoratives. That assumes, of course, that the truth ever got out. They know nothing about me. I am only a silent scout. At last the day draws nigh. By next sundown, the chaos will begin. I must hurry if I wish to complete my work in time. My message must make it back through the ages. My wife, Isabella, will know what to do when the watchers bring her word. She will rally the family. The kin of my boy — ah, they have miles yet to go before the morrow. Will they be enough for the war to come? Perhaps; perhaps not. I will ask for a prince (a prophet, in truth), a knight, and another wise one. My little fire dies out. I do not rekindle it; if I cannot endure a little cold, then I cannot survive the war to come. Still, a dozen reinforcements may not be enough. My message may not be in time. The words may be lost to the ages. I will not slack, however. I will run the course; I will do my job. For those who remain, for those who hear my song, for those who desire victory, I raise my voice to join their battle cry of defiance. What will we give? Everything We Got.