I actually wrote the original story for "The Chalice" back in 2006 to coincide with the World Cup. I was living in Korea at the time and busy working on a novel called "Throne of Ice". Sir Duras Stonehammer and many of the other characters within "The Chalice" also appear in "Throne of Ice".
It just so happened that as I was looking through some old notes I stumbled upon some of my folders from university that must have got lumped in with them. One of the modules was on sport history, or the origins of football to be specific.
I love football. Even today, with the eye-watering contracts that players get, you can still see the expression of tribalism, identity, and devotion on a scale that rivals major religions. Football stadiums are the cathedrals of the people. We congregate on Saturday and Sunday to 'worship' our teams. If you've ever been to a football match, especially a derby, then you'll know firsthand how electric the atmosphere can be. Today, there may only be 22 players on the pitch, but they remain our 'armies' upon the 'field of battle'.
The idea of combining a fantasy setting with elements of football in its earliest form along with a nod to modern football culture was interesting to me. I suppose it's a variation of Fantasy Football.