Image courtesy of Temeraire.org
Image courtesy of Michael Komarck
Click here to see what author Naomi Novik thinks will happen
How we think the fight will go
The crowds are quiet when the knight and the dragon enter the ring, whether because of the early hour or the gravity of the situation, it would be hard to say. Temeraire insisted that they begin at dawn, and Jaime, having no love for rising early but neither any desire to prolong the matter, agreed.
He has come in light armor, studded along the left side with throwing daggers–the best he can do for ranged combat without a bow. The crowd adores him. When he strides into the center of the arena, a murmur ripples through the stands, like a woman’s sigh. He expects this will be a challenging match; Temeraire has defeated two powerful sorcerers so far. Jaime eyes the dragon from across the field, a black, gleaming mountain. The Kingslayer thinks of his previous opponent and shudders.
The buzzer has yet to sound, but Temeraire seems to be preparing something–Is that allowed? Jaime wonders. The sunrise glints off of an iron kettle, as a large bowl is poured for the dragon, and a tray prepared with… a teapot?
The tray with the steaming cup is carried across to him by one of the men. Jaime eyes it and doesn’t drink. Do they take him for a fool?
After a moment, the dragon–speaks. It has startlingly crisp diction. “Only I thought,” the dragon says, with a doubtful air, “that it would be more civilized if we drank tea together, first?” He pauses, seemingly uncomfortable now. “I thought, you know, from one warrior to another…”
Jaime doesn’t move. The silence stretches awkwardly. Temeraire lets out a long sigh. “Very well, then,” he says, and just as the buzzer resounds over the field, the dragon unfolds his wings and rises up over Jaime.
But Jaime is already running, trying to circle around the dragon to get the rising sun at his back. He feels air rush past him as the low-flying beast swipes at him with a claw and drops to the ground, rolling under the bite he knew was coming–the claw was a feint. The beast would have made an excellent swordsman, he thinks, and flings one of his daggers up into the dragon’s mouth as he finishes his roll. He is gratified to hear an anguished roar behind him and jumps up, grateful for the thousandth time that he listened to his brother’s advice to forego the plate armor. He draws his sword as he stands, feeling the heat of dawn on his back.
Temeraire has retreated to the other side of the field. There are no rocks for him to throw, Jaime notes, nor trees for him to uproot. Bias on the part of the tournament managers? He waits to see what the dragon will do. He knows about the divine wind; he has a plan.
Sure enough, the dragon is hovering in midair, seemingly filling his lungs to bursting, and Jaime strikes, running toward the behemoth to slice open his inflated belly. His way is clear. He smiles, already feeling the warm glow of the crowd’s adulation–
And then the sword strikes something hard amongst the scales, rebounding with all the force of Jaime’s initial blow, knocking him back. There is an enormous and sudden weight on him: Temeraire has put his hind leg down over his body.
“Of course, a member of His Majesty’s Aerial Corps always keeps his tack in good order,” Temeraire says. Jaime has just enough time to see the dark chain links protecting the dragon’s belly like a coat of mail before the dragon crushes away his life.
Predicted Winner: Temeraire
( Temeraire is a character from Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series; Jaime Lannister is a character from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.)