How we think the fight will go
How Brent Weeks, creator of Kylar Stern, thinks the match will go:
“Hail, Gimli, son of Glóin, son through ages past of Durin Longbeard and the deathless Durins. Nice axe.” The young man delivered the words respectfully, but there was a hint of a smile on his lips. They both ignored the screaming crowds ringing the arena, hungry for blood.
“And what’s your name, boy? Or is that it? I saw in the lists you were, um, listed as ‘Wetboy’. Is that supposed to inspire fear, or laughter?” Gimli asked. He rolled his shoulders and hefted an axe nearly as long as he was tall.
Kylar nodded his head, accepting the insult. He was wearing mottled gray trousers and tunic, with a black weapons harness bristling with knives, throwing spikes, and pouches, but he made no move to draw any weapon. “Truth is, I’m Nameless. Child of the streets, orphan, you know.”
“Ah, secretly a king, though, aren’t you?” Gimli said.
“Ah, be honest. I know a cliché when I see one. Hooded man, shadowy cloak. Go on.” The dwarf’s voice was deep as a mountain lake, and rich as Moria.
“Because you served with a scruffy, hooded stranger in a shadowy cloak who was secretly a king, now we all are?” Kylar asked.
“Arrr!” Gimli charged, axe upraised.
“I see I’m fighting a battle of wits against an unarmed man. Pity.” He rolled his eyes.
But the dwarf was quicker than he expected. Gimli leapt, his battle axe swinging with incredible speed.
Kylar began to get into a fighting stance too late. His eyes widened–
The crowd roared as the axe sliced through him from neck to nuts, shearing him neatly in half. Kylar fell apart, shimmering and dissipating in the air as the illusion crumpled. Gimli fell too, as his full fast swing met no resistance and he had to stop it lest he cut off his own foot. He tumbled headlong.
Kylar appeared to one side and the crowd roared again. With a flourish, Kylar bowed to them, accepting the cheers as his due. Then he turned to the dwarf, who already had his axe back in his hands and was standing up, his nose dribbling a crimson stain into his long beard. “You present me with a dilemma, Gimli son of Glóin.”
“And what’s that, you shifty coward?”
“You’re not a murderer,” Kylar said. He folded his arms, again looking completely unconcerned about the prospect of being attacked. He had the lean build of an acrobat, and next to the thickness of the dwarf, he looked almost frail.
Gimli’s eyes narrowed. “What’s that got to do with anything?”
“You’re not guilty. I can’t kill you. I mean, I can, of course. It would be simple. You breathe so loud I could shoot you blindfolded. But that’s not how I work.”
“Too much talk. You might as well be an elf.” Gimli attacked once more, slashing furiously.
Kylar dodged back. “Ah, that’s what I was seeing in your eyes. Not murder, but a little elf envy. You want to be an elf!”
“I do not!” Gimli had turned a most unbecoming shade of purple.
“You do! You wish you were Legolas, don’t you?”
“That’s what I saw! You’re a liar! And not just about that. Truth is, you weren’t even close in the orc killing contest at Helm’s Deep, were you? You were soundly thrashed by an elf!”
“Arr!” Gimli swept forward, the axe carving a path like a scythe, forcing Kylar back and back toward the wall.
“But then, why should I be surprised?” Kylar asked. He dodged again, like a matador, but this time swept the dwarf’s feet out from under him as he charged past. “The truth is, you’re not a badass dwarven warrior; you’re the comic relief!”
“That’s only in the movie!” Gimli picked himself up from the sand, picked up the big axe, then, disgusted, threw it down and drew his throwing axes.
“The throwing axes were only in the movie, too,” Kylar said. “But then, what should I expect of a dwarf who’s less of a man than an elf? Wait–” he squinted at his stocky foe. “Are you wearing makeup?”
“Ishkhaqwi ai durugnul!” Gimli shouted. He flung the axes, one after the other. Kylar ducked and they shot sparks as they clanged off the wall.
“I am not!”
“I see you cuddled up there with Galadriel’s hair. Go on, admit it, you’re an elf trapped in a dwarf’s body. Elf lover! Hahaha!”
“I hate elves!” he shouted, spittle flying through his beard.
“Every last one?”
“Every last one! Now fight–”
“Even Galadriel?” Kylar asked.
“I spit on Galadriel! To hell with that blond strumpet and to hell with… you…” he trailed off. Swallowed.
Kylar relaxed. “Ah. That oughta do.”
Gimli looked stricken. “What have I done?” He looked up at the stands, suddenly afraid, looking for elves. “I didn’t mean it! You tricked me!”
“You said you weren’t going to kill me!” Gimli said. His head was jerking from side to side, looking for some hidden sniper. There were elves in the stands, and not a one looked pleased.
Kylar cleared his throat. “I said I wasn’t going to kill you.”
Gimli stopped. He peered up at the sky, shading his eyes against the sun. “Is that…?”
Kylar looked and saw a tiny black dot in the sky, getting rapidly larger.
Gimli looked torn between charging Kylar, and running for dear life. He chose to run, kicking up arena sand with every short step, heading toward the great gates. He dodged left, dodged right.
The elven arrow caught him square in the middle of his back. He sprawled and lay flat. He extended a hand holding three golden strands, coughed blood, and expired.
Kylar stooped and took the golden strands, wrapping them between his two forefingers. “Sad. The Gimli from the books never would have fallen for that.” Kylar strode out of the stadium, calmly flossing his teeth.
Predicted Winner: Kylar Stern
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON THURSDAY, MARCH 8th, 2012, AT 5 PM, EST
Gimli is a character from The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien; Kylar Stern is a character from the Night Angel series by Brent Weeks
Gimli image courtesy of Del Rey Books. Kylar Stern image courtesy of Orbit Books
Cage Match fans: We are looking forward to hearing your responses! If possible, please abstain from including potential spoilers about the books in your comments (and if you need spoilers to make your case, start your comments with: “SPOILER ALERT!”