How we think the fight will go
The wolves had come streaming onto the battleground from all directions, amassing in numbers akin to the legion Perrin summoned at Dumai’s Well. Except this time he had issued no such call. His brethren had come of their own volition, apparently sensing the same dark ocean of raw power that made his hackles rise as soon as he’d stepped onto the battle field, and they came in a frothing frenzy, ready to fight…and die.
And die they did—scores at a time—torn to shreds as the ground erupted beneath them or the air exploded in a sudden towering inferno or the earth fell away into cavernous holes.
Perrin’s mind reeled at the nightmarish scene as he blinked away burning tears and continued to chase frantically after the five men at the center of the carnage, trying desperately to land a single solid blow with his hammer.
The five identical figures—tall, ebony-skinned, and slender—laid about the sea of wolves methodically, with quick, deliberate action and gruesome precision. These male channelers (What else could they be?) were somehow able to leap about from one place in the battle-field to another without a gateway. Wherever they pointed wolves died. All the while snapping jaws, lunging bodies, and even the swinging hammer met only air— flying right through the onyx men as if they were shades.
At the onset Perrin got the impression he was being toyed with. These dark-skinned Dreadlords, or whatever they were, had spared him intentionally, seemingly allowing an oasis of calm in his general vicinity amidst the otherwise unbridled slaughter. Now surrounded by piles of dead and dying wolves—the muggy air thick with the stink of burnt fur and flesh threatening to gag him—he was certain they were toying with him. The panic-stricken thought enraged him, and the blood of Manetheren boiled in his veins as he redoubled his efforts in a berserker rage.
All to no avail. Quick Ben, having assessed the situation, had seen all he needed to see. The mage reached a bit deeper into one of his open Warrens, drawing a small stream of power to cloak Perrin in one of his illusions. In the crush of harried fighting and slaughter the plan worked perfectly. The wolves, thinking a sixth enemy had suddenly materialized, turned on Perrin with ferocious abandon.
And in seconds it was over. Quick dropped the shroud from what was left of Perrin’s mangled figure, and the forest was soon filled with the heart-wrenching, forlorn howling of dozens of wolves.
Quick Ben surveyed the garish scene from his perch, comfortably ensconced in the dense branches of a giant redwood a quarter mile away. His look of stony concentration melted into disgust as he contemplated the fortunes that had sent a—a glorified blacksmith and a pack of wolves?—against a High Mage with access to twelve Warrens!
His contemplation was interrupted as he caught sight of a large bearish figure detaching itself from distant shadows to stalk into the aftermath, creeping up on the baying wolves.
Quick Ben straightened with a curse. “Hood’s Breath! I told that fool to wait and watch until I emerged!”
Hastily the mage dropped from his roost, weaving easily through the gaps in the branches as he floated down. Once clear of the boughs he allowed gravity to take him, his cloak whipping and cracking in the oncoming rush of wind. Ten armspans from the ground, he slowed his descent and dropped lightly to the forest floor.
“No doubt that sadistic Kalam is upset that he had no part in the battle.” Quick Ben sighed as he trudged through the woods to make sure his old friend wasn’t biting off more than he could chew.
Predicted Winner: Quick Ben
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON SUNDAY, APRIL 3rd, 2011, AT 5 PM, ET
Quick Ben image courtesy of Michael Komarck. Perrin image courtesy of John Seamas Gallagher.
Ndi Sampson contributed to this Cage Match