The Prelude to the Battle of Marathon

When the Battle of Marathon begins, there is only one victor. And three teams hope it will be them.”

The "Battle of Marathon" as depicted by Betawolfs!

Somewhere, the Marble League Gods, in their infinite wisdom, angled two of the strongest competitors against each other in a battle of Marathon racing to the title. One team, the winner of the first Marbula One racing championship; a team named Savage, not for their attitude but for their no quarter given, take no prisoners style of competition would find their way back into gold contention. The other team, a member of the Fruit Circuits, came out with their strongest year ever to slip and stumble their way back into contention for silver, but with their eyes set on the prize against their greatest rival.

Kinnowin wipes his brow with a towel, his marble visage laced with sweat.

“We’ve fought so hard from the outset. We set our sights on the Maniacs, tough sunnuvaguns they are. We really thought this would come down to the battle between mint and citrus, but now…”

His voice trails off in the distance, hanging in the air, heavy, as if the previous matchup would have been a different, more favorable existence.

“…now the Savage Speeders are back in contention and I’m just frustrated with myself. We got too comfortable with a lead and back and forth swaps. Innit just the darndest thing.”

The rest of the O’rangers were wordlessly training. Orangin is running, his strong suit as seen in the M1 games. Clementin is lifting with Mandarin and Tangerin watching closely, spotting, watching his form.

“If I’m bein’ honest,” Kinnowin said throwing the towel on the treadmill. “and I ain’t known for lyin’, we keep trying to beat them every single year, and every single year they take everything from us, everything we’ve worked for. I’ve taken the perspective of not bein’ particularly fond of ‘em. Them guys are nice and all, but at the end of the day, they’re a rival.”

“Now I’m gonna have to ask ya to leave Valencia, we’ve got work to do. Thanks for stopping by.”

No doubt the ancient historian Herodotus would watch closely as the armies prepared for their battle.

In this case, I am sitting in the lobby of the hotel waiting for the Savage Speeders coach to come down, no doubt a far cry from the ancients. My head is scrambling for all the details of the previous events, and how we came to remove the Maniacs from the top three and replaced their threat with the Speeders.

“Valencia?” Quickly asks as I vaguely stare off into space. “The team is ready for you in the conference room. We’ve got about ten minutes before we’re gonna go put some road work in on the town and get our daily miles in.”

I walk down the hallway of the lavish Polaria Plaza, located seconds away from city hall. The Speeders are all sitting in leather back chairs, glowering at the door. They are hyper focused, a school of sharks that can smell blood in the water.

“Put this in bold, Valencia, we will not let this be a repeat performance of 2017. We will never live that down, but right now, we’ve got a chance to even the score,” Speedy says sipping his water. The others don’t break gaze from me. “We do not bend, we do not break. When the speed gets faster, we get savage.”

The heartbreaking revenge tour that every Savage Speeders fan has hoped for is finally here, three years apart from the last incident, and they can taste it. The shimmer of gold has not eluded them recently with a championship win in Marbula 1’s inaugural season.

“It was good, but we all knew what the score was. Every single O’rangers fan out there, counting us out calling us cheaters, when we all know what we did and how we do it every single year. We’re consistent. O’rangers wanna talk about how consistency wins races? Show ‘em our record. Show them how we do this every year. We’ve never failed to qualify, never failed to show up on race day or game day. We are the elite of the elite. And one year we slipped and got too comfortable and we got taken over. That won’t happen again. In marathon, we’re not the ones that have to overcome the odds. We’re in the lead. Let them mull that over,” Speedy says before turning to face his other teammates. They don’t look at him, as if they can already feel the medal around their necks. “Anyone else want to say anything?”

“Let them talk,” Rapidly says with a smirk. “When we show up on marathon day, we’ll know what’s up.”

Somewhere, another team was plotting to sweep the crown from underneath the two teams, a team that is as consistently good as both of them, that has been written off. The Midnight Wisps ask me to meet when the time is about right, right before their late night workout sessions.

 

The moon shines brightly on the backdrop of a nearby creek as Wispy walks in the deep woods of Polaria.

“This is where I come to get away from all the noise. I get out here so I can really find my center,” Wispy says rolling through the creek. “Those boys definitely have heat. Which is all good by me, hopefully we can become a two time champion of the Marble League while the bird are off squabbling about second and third place.”

Wispy stops and looks into the creek water with the ripples, wide like hula hoops, roll out.

“It’s a shame, isn’t it? Those two teams, always at each other’s throats. I’ve seen them in private, and maybe you have too, but they’re not so bad when the cameras aren’t on. They actually quite like each other. I can’t wait for things to go back to that.”

The 2018 winners of the Marble League, the Wisps look to steal their second championship away from every-year contenders, Speeders, O’rangers in marathon. It would be fitting – one of the best tracks in Marbula 1 was the Wisp’s track, Midnight Bay, which featured a night time setting and tunnel, ended up being a fan favorite.

“Just like the Bay, we’re innovators of the sport. We’re out here having a good time, trying to earn some hardware, but if it doesn’t come, it’s not our day. We go back to the drawing board. We collaborate, love one another, and try to make it work through the tough days.”

Wispy looks up at a tree as a bat flies by. A chime is heard in the distance. It’s midnight.

“Y’know what they say…a broken clock is right twice a day. Our clock isn’t broken, and on marathon day, we hope that the time comes up midnight,” Wispy says. “Gonna go meet up with the team. We’ve got sprints in the woods to run.”

With that Wispy was off.

A meme courtesy of Mellacus.

Which of these titans of the sport will be victorious? Who will come up with their dreams fulfilled again and who will fall just short of the barrier of ultimate victory?

 

When the Battle of Marathon begins, there is only one victor. And three teams hope it will be them.

 

See you for the finale.

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