How we think the fight will go
She had no choice—she needed to use her atium.
The match had started as it usually did for her—a Push off a coin on the ground, a spread-shot of coins at her opponent, a glimpse with Iron to see if the man had any metal on him (he didn’t)—but his reactions were so different than any of her other foes. For one thing, Quick Ben didn’t even pretend to be nervous.
For another thing, he didn’t stay on the ground.
“Neat little trick, girl,” Quick Ben called out. He floated amongst the currents of air above the stadium, curious as to what she would do next. He didn’t fear that she could hit him with her coins, but he also didn’t think she’d just lay down and take it, either. Normally he wouldn’t have let himself get in this situation, but it was pretty hard to set up a trick before the match started.
The world went black.
The coin slammed into Quick Ben’s shoulder, the pain of it excruciating.
It wasn’t exactly clear how she had penetrated the darkness of Rashan, but he wasn’t one to dwell on it too long, either. He watched as she threw down another coin and came hurtling towards him.
This time it was Quick Ben’s turn to smile.
Vin pulled out one of her knives, hoping to draw the obsidian blade against Quick Ben’s mahogany throat. But as she flew towards the mage—Tin piercing the darkness, a spray of coins shooting out from her hands—she suddenly found herself falling, as if her Push had been cut off…
The ground below Vin shifted as Quick Ben used the Warden Tennes to cause the earth to thrust violently upward…disrupting the coin that Vin was using as her anchor. At the same time, the High Mage caught a few more coins to his body, and he too began falling.
…Vin reached into her pouch and dropped another coin, Pushing as hard as she could away from the undulating ground. She looked towards where Quick Ben had been, but didn’t see him. The Tin still burning, though, she heard a THUMP, and realized the mage was back on the ground. Glancing at the place she had heard the sound, she saw he was definitely injured. She threw another coin down and leapt, hoping she could jump behind him while he got his bearings.
He more than got his bearings…
He healed himself.
Still concealed in darkness, he silently ascended back into the air, and did something Vin had done once.
He brought back the dead.
As she landed, the atium shadows startled her, as Quick Ben was nowhere close. She didn’t hesitate, though, and dropping yet another coin, she flew to a different part of the stadium, twisting around to see something she would never have expected.
Jon Snow, Zed, and Logan Ninefingers (no Eric Northman though, with no actual corpse to speak of after his beheading)…very much real.
Even as he animated the dead, Quick Ben realized that the help he had called on might not actually have been the best call. Even as they moved to strike Vin, two of them—Snow and Ninefingers—were flying through the air at him. In the case of Snow, it was the armor Vin was using to fling the warrior at Quick Ben. With Logen, it was the knives strapped all over his body.
The two of them crashed into Ben, and once again he was falling.
Her atium ran out.
No matter. She knew he wasn’t out of commission, but she also knew he was in dire straits. So Vin burned Pewter and ran to where Quick Ben was going to land, easily outpacing the undead wizard behind her.
Another coin dropped—she was running low—and she flew into the air, a knife in her hand again.
No matter what she thought of his condition, she wasn’t stupid enough to run right into the arms of Quick Ben.
Instead, she leapt right into them.
The illusion was so real—and the bodies of Jon and Logen were definitely real, and so it was quite a shock when Quick Ben’s long fingers wrapped around her arm and, with the other hand, deftly plucked the coin pouch from her belt and the second knife from her sleeve.
Vin burned duralumin, flaring her Pewter and breaking free of Quick Ben’s grip. She sliced out with her knife, and even the tiny amount of pressure—now backed with duralumin-enhanced pewter—created a deep gash in Quick Ben’s chest. He cried out in pain, but didn’t fall. Rather, he flew away from Vin.
Who realized he had been pulling her away from the coin she had Pushed off of.
The ground waved and rolled, jutted up and gaped open. The amount of metal on the floor seemed to increase, too, and when she burned Iron, the blue lines seemed a blaze of color—a solid wall instead of individual strands. As she reached out to Pull something, anything, she could use to Push off of and halt her fall, she too often Pulled on nothing.
Nothing but illusions.
She finally pulled a coin to her, but even as it flew up to reach her, the ground shot up to meet her.
Quick Ben floated down to the ground, landing softly next to the battered body of Vin. It would take him a while to heal, but at least he could heal.
Vin wasn’t so lucky.
That wasn’t to say she wasn’t trying, though. She was lying on her back, and somehow moving her arm, trying to take something out of her cloak.
He kicked her in the side, and when she flinched, he reached down into her cloak, finding vials full of metal flakes floating in liquid.
“None of that, little girl,” he said grimly. He shook his head. Normally this was someone else’s task.
But he wasn’t squeamish. And as he plunged Vin’s own knife into her chest, he only paused a moment to consider the lives he had taken in this tournament…
“Damn!” he said, cutting off Hood’s Path before the three corpses made his victory bittersweet.
He smiled, and looked back down at Vin.
“You were good, girl.
“Just not quick enough.”
Predicted Winner: Quick Ben
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON MONDAY, APRIL 11th, 2011, AT 12 PM, ET
Vin image courtesy of Chris McGrath. Quick Ben image courtesy of Michael Komarck