How we think the fight will go
With long, catlike strides, Tarzan stalked a circle around the supremely calm little woman. Though the giant man was a menacing sight, he gave his diminutive opponent a wide berth as he made his slow circuit around her. His unclad iron muscles were like compressed springs and he never took his eyes from that inscrutable face—a lovely face, with wise eyes peering piercingly from a maiden’s smooth young visage. She was content to turn slowly, keeping him in sight, patiently waiting. For what, Tarzan, Lord Greystoke knew not. Aside from her eerie calm and penetrating eyes, the situation felt completely wrong. The wind somehow wasn’t carrying her scent to him properly, and the prickling in the nape of his neck demanded caution. The ape-man was wont to trust preternatural instincts which had carried him through his 20 years of naked savagery in the unforgiving jungles of West Africa. So he strode on… cautiously.
Tarzan turned his final step into a crouch, then an explosive sideways lunge. Retracing his steps, he dashed back into Moiraine’s blind spot. He picked out one of a bundle of spears from his left hand and hurled it mightily at her. She was still turning, skirts whipping and twirling violently as he launched the missile. Before her turn was complete, a sonorous clang filled the air—the sound of metal hitting bronze—then the spear exploded into a shower of wooden splinters and steel shards. Tarzan slid to a halt with a stunned expression on his face. Surprise was quickly replaced with a thrill as he realized he was facing some sort of sorcery. His lips curled into a smile as he stared his almost inevitable death in the face in the form of this petite girl who was suddenly far less boring than he’d initially imagined.
Moiraine’s mind was reeling at the giant man’s inhuman speed and agility. One moment he’d been standing in front of her and a second later he was somehow behind her. The small shield of air she’d erected upon first sighting the ape-man’s weapons had just saved her life. Thank the Light!
Her thanks were short-lived.
He shot toward her like a bolt of tan lightning, then dropped into a diving roll as three fireballs sailed harmlessly above, where a moment ago his head, chest, and gut had been. He straightened out of the roll into an impossibly high flip in the opposite direction and felt an eerily thick gust of wind brush his shoulder as he sailed into the air. He ignored the narrowly avoided sorcery and fired down two spears at the young witch at the height of his jump. The spears, aimed right between her eyes, shattered once again in a cloud of splinters. Tarzan dropped to the earth softly and hit the ground running, easily disappearing from the sorceress’s sight, obscured by the cloud of disintegrating spears.
Her heart pounding, Moiraine turned quickly but calmly around, carefully scanning the clearing for her aggressor. She turned just in time to see a lasso streak toward her in a high arch from behind a small boulder. The lasso snagged the invisible column of hardened air surrounding her, not touching her at all. She then felt a monstrous tug at her weave. Reflexively she reached for flows of air and fire and touched the simple weave to the crude lasso, which burst into white hot ash that was carried away on the breeze.
Tarzan chuckled as he looked down at his burned hands. He then stood up from his crouch behind the boulder. Her heaving little bosom did not go unnoticed by Tarzan’s keen eyes. She’s tiring! The fireballs she fired as soon as he stood up were smaller than the others, too. He side-stepped them easily and once again was on the move. If he could only keep her working long enough, he could definitely exhaust her before moving in to finish her.
He redoubled his efforts, darting and zigzagging around the clearing in a feverish blur – bouncing, rolling, and flipping around like a massive tan chimp, taut muscles glistening in the sun, narrowly avoiding fireballs, dodging flows of air almost as if he could see them, and leaping away an instant before the earth would open up and threaten to swallow him in a gaping fissure.
For what felt like an eternity to Moiraine, the battle continued thus. Until, anticipating his movements, Moiraine finally managed to snag a single arm with an expansive blanket of air. The ape-man’s face immediately contorted into a rictus snarl as he thrashed violently to try to free himself. Then, as suddenly as it started, the thrashing stopped, and he cocked his head back, opened wide his mouth, and issued a monstrous cry that carried for miles in every direction. It was a savage roar so terrifying Moiraine doubted her senses. She refused to believe that sound had come from a human throat. Could he be a Dreadlord? Or Light save me, Forsaken? What manner of dark friend is he?! No, he can’t be a darkfriend, I would have felt it…
The naked man exploited Moiraine’s brief lapse in concentration to wrench himself free of the invisible bonds with a Herculean effort. The weave collapsed, snapping back into Moiraine violently. Mild surprise bloomed into shock as she goggled at him, her eyes wide and jaw agape. Five men together would be hard pressed to extricate themselves from such a weave!
The man was incredible. He had to be at least three times stronger than Lan, with animal instincts on par with Perrin’s, and inhuman speed and grace to make a Myrrdraal look like a portly ham-fisted slattern with two left feet, as Mat would say. And though Tarzan showed no signs of tiring, keeping the shield of air up while simultaneously attacking was sapping her own strength quickly. She girded herself, reaching deeper into her concealed angreal and pulling enough fire, air, and earth, to weave them just so to bring forth a towering wall of roaring flames five spans high and ten spans wide. She pushed it as fast as she could manage toward her startled opponent. As she expected, the heat and flames forced him back hastily. He managed to take two steps back before he was swallowed bodily by the earth. The wall of flames winked out as Moiraine dropped the weave. She took several deep breaths as she stood, regarding the large young man who was now buried neck deep in the earth. On unsteady legs she warily approached the brute. He looked up, regarding her with a strange mixture of respect and resigned amusement as she contemplated what to do with him…
Special thanks to Ndi Sampson, who contributed to this write-up
Predicted Winner: Moiraine
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON THURSDAY, MARCH 8th, 2012, AT 5 PM, EST
Moiraine image courtesy of Jason Chan and Tor Books. Tarzan image courtesy of Modern Library
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!”