How we think the fight will go
It’s a hard thing, knowing you’re going to die.
It’s even harder when you’ve always thought of yourself as invincible.
Unease was not a feeling Ser Gregor Clegane was used to. Besides being one of the most powerful—and feared—knights in the Seven Kingdoms, he has hardened his soul on the field of battle. His sword had tasted blood more times than he could count. He had taken wounds, and had in turn delivered death.
He had murdered, raped, and stolen.
He was an unstoppable force.
He was The Mountain That Rides.
But now, for the first time, something was threatening to bring the Mountain crashing down.
Gregor was no fool—he had studied what he could of the Reaper. What he learned did him little good.
The Night’s Watch had sent reports of strange monsters lurking beyond the Wall, far to the North, but this was something different—a being entirely from the realms of hell itself.
A creature of darkness, whose remorseless drive and unmerciful hunger eclipsed his own.
The Reaper, it was said, couldn’t be killed.
And that’s what had Gregor astride his horse—a massive charger whose temperament and strength nearly matched that of its rider—angry at his own trepidation.
The stadium they were in was large—a grand open space encircled by stone walls and a multitude of roaring spectators. They ringed the entirety of the battleground, and Gregor couldn’t help but think they were like a living noose about his neck, the arena a grandiose simulacrum of gallows.
Across the way, the Reaper stood, clawing at whatever invisible force was keeping the two from charging each other. Gregor probably hated that as much as anything—the fact that they were being made to wait until some fool released them to fight to the death.
His horse pawed at the earth, ready to bring Gregor to meet his fate.
Finally, a single trumpet sounded, and whatever power had kept the two opponents in check released them. Immediately the Reaper advanced, its long strides making it appear as if the demon was floating across the ground. At the same moment, Gregor dug his spurs into his horse’s sides and the stallion charged. The knight didn’t bother with a salute—the thing wouldn’t acknowledge such a courtesy, and Gregor couldn’t stomach such hypocrisy. Instead, he simply set his lance as the horse thundered across the ground. No matter how strong the demon was, it wasn’t going to be so effective with a few yards of wood and steel through its sternum.
That was his hope, at least.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Reaper didn’t even try to side-step the knight’s attack. And so, with a sickening crunch, the Mountain impaled the horrible creature, lifting the demon off its feet.
Instead of letting go of the lance, though, the knight rode on, struggling a bit with the weight as he lowered the angle of the lance until the tip was aimed towards the dirt. With all the momentum of an armored warrior atop a warhorse, Gregor drove the lance into the ground, several feet of the weapon digging in, pinning the demon.
It also jerked Gregor out of his saddle, sending him flying. He crashed with tremendous force into the dirt, stopping just inches from the far wall.
For a while, nothing happened, both opponents immobile. The crowd looked on with bated breath, only to gasp as the Reaper began writhing about, a horrible sound emitting from its fang-filled mouth. It was possibly this sound which jerked Gregor out of his stupor, because his prone body began to stir as well and—ever so slowly—the knight dragged himself to his feet.
Looking back, he saw the demon was making a pretty good attempt to basically climb up the lance like it was a taut rope, the sound of the wood scraping against its innards coupling with the ringing in his ears to almost make the knight lose the contents of his stomach.
But he knew he couldn’t let the creature free itself—that his only chance was to take it out now. So, in a rambling shuffle, he approached the demon, his fearsome two-handed sword drawn.
The Reaper was about two feet from the end when it felt the knight’s sword bite deep into its shoulder. It wasn’t so much the wound that bothered it, but the force behind the blow, because the Mountain’s attack was enough to make the demon lose its grip and slide back down the shaft of the lance.
Gregor wasted no time. As the demon slashed with its claws and tried once again to climb up the lance, the knight hacked with his sword, using all his might to dismember the loathsome creature. Brutally—methodically—the attack came, blow after awesome blow raining down upon the demon.
And yet, for all his might, the Reaper still worked to free itself.
Amazingly, the knight’s strength never seemed to waiver. He knew this was perhaps the act of a desperate man, but desperation and determination are never far apart, and so he continued his onslaught, keeping the demon on its back, thick wood growing from its belly like the trunk of a tree rising from a grave.
As the sword struck the Reaper once again, the crowd could see the demon change its tactics. It stopped trying to climb the lance, and instead just grabbed the thick shaft with both hands. It wasn’t quite apparent what it was doing, as the angles of its arms betrayed no hints. But the sound was unmistakable.
Gregor would have thought it impossible for anything to be able to snap the lance in half—especially with the lack of leverage the Reaper had.
What he didn’t count on, though, was that the Reaper didn’t need leverage for what it was doing: crushing the lance in its powerful hands.
When the handle of the lance fell to the ground, the knight renewed his attacks with even greater fervor, but with nothing keeping it pinned to the ground anymore, the Reaper rather easily stood up. The sword bashed into its head, and it fell down.
Simply to stand up again.
The next blow attempted to do the same thing, but it never landed. Instead, the Reaper caught the sword in its clawed hand, and with a strength that was still surprising to the Mountain, wrenched the blade from the knight.
Gregor didn’t hesitate. Throwing himself upon the creature, he tackled it to the ground, and with an animal-like ferocity, began tearing into the hole created by his lance. His ministrations, though, were as effective as the original wound itself. And even as he tried to tear the Reaper apart with his bare hands, the demon was tearing at the leather straps on the knight’s armor.
It was only a matter of time.
The crowd was silent, knowing what the inevitable outcome was going to be. It was because of this quiet that they heard something that might have otherwise been washed away by the roaring of more blood-thirsty spectators.
A low whimper.
The Reaper’s claws tore through a strap, and a chunk of armor fell off. A chunk of flesh soon followed.
It was soon over. Through it all, amazingly, the Mountain never said another word. For once in his miserable life, he held a shred of dignity, even as he was shredded apart.
Predicted Winner: The Reaper
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 29, AT 3 PM, ET
Ser Gregor Clegane (The Mountain That Rides) is a character from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin; The Reaper is a character from the Shannara series by Terry Brooks.
Mountain That Rides image courtesy of Michael Komarck. Reaper image courtesy of layoutsparks.com.