SF & Fantasy

Cage Match 2012: Round 4: Moiraine Damodred versus Kelsier

The Contestants


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Moiraine Damodred
Aes Sedai of The Blue Ajah
Age: 44
Race: Human (Aes Sedai)
Weapons / Artifacts: The One Power – Sai Dar; Angreal to boost her power

The Survivor
Age: 38
Race: Mistborn
Weapons / Artifacts: Metal vials; glass and obsidian daggers
Ironpulling and Steelpushing

The Breakdown


  • Strong in the One Power—a veritable demigod amongst men
  • Battle-tested veteran
  • A woman (and therefore underestimated, because let’s face it: SF/F women often get a bum rap)

  • Master of Allomancy
  • Super-tough: Survived the Pits of Hathsin
  • Cunning and charming—a deadly combo

  • Obsessive about her life’s mission, to the point that she’s willing to risk unraveling the fabric of space-time to achieve it.

  • Stubborn, reckless, and impulsive (you know, a guy)

  • Tarzan
    Del Rey editor Frank is crying right now
  • The Dagda Mor
    One Power trumps the Staff of Power
  • Jardir
    He lost to the very Core of his being

How we think the fight will go

How Brandon Sanderson, creator of Kelsier and coauthor of the final three Wheel of Time books, thinks the match will go:


Kelsier flipped a coin off the side of the White Tower. He sat at its apex–upon the ledge that rimmed the tower’s top–with one of his legs hanging out over the side.

He watched the coin sparkle as it fell. The wind up this high smelled fresh. Sharp.

“So,” Moiraine said, approaching the ledge, “here you are. Sitting there seems foolhardy.”

“I like heights.”

“I could shove you off with a weave of Air,” Moiraine said. “Send you tumbling toward the ground.”

“Which is precisely why I dropped a coin,” Kelsier said, throwing another for good measure. “To be honest, though, I’m not particularly interested in fighting you.”

“I don’t believe we were given a choice.”

“We could always stage a revolt,” Kelsier said. “Hunt down the people who did this to us. I have it on good authority that they’re all just a bunch of scribes.”

“No good,” Moiraine said. “I tried to find them through the Portal Stones already. But, if you do not wish to fight, we could always settle this by using plausibility as a measure. As I understand it, you’re actually dead.”

“Spoilers,” Kelsier said.

“We’ll put a warning at the top,” Moiraine replied, settling down on the ledge, sparing not a glance for the plunge. “And don’t change the topic. I believe that I would win, as you’re actually a corpse.”

“You’re dead too,” Kelsier said.

“I got better.”

“You did?” Kelsier said, surprised.

“Book Thirteen.”

“Damn. I got stuck in Book Ten.”

“It’s not as bad as people say,” Moiraine replied. “Mat’s sections are wonderful.”

“Well,” Kelsier said, “I don’t think it matters if you came back. We could just say this is me from the middle of the first Mistborn book. Besides, I think I eventually got better myself.”

“Doesn’t count. You became a disembodied voice that may or may not have actually been speaking into the mind of a young boy who was probably insane.”

“Yes,” Kelsier said, “but my series has a long way to go yet. Who knows what could happen? I’ve heard that some very remarkable things can happen with spikes . . .”

Moiraine sighed. “Well, if you will not accept that argument, then it will have to come to down to a fight. I do not enter a contest except to win.” Though her calm features betrayed no emotions, her eyes shone with a quiet intensity. A mountain would budge from its place before this woman abandoned her goals.

“I like you,” Kelsier said, smiling. “You’ve got something of the psychopath to you.”

“Prepare yourself,” Moiraine said.

Kelsier held up a finger. “One problem. I believe that there are these little things called the Three Oaths, and–as it turns out–I’m not a Darkfriend.”

“Oh, please,” Moiraine said. “Obviously the Oaths aren’t in force. How could I have gotten this far otherwise?”

“No idea,” Kelsier said. “In this match, however, I’m certain that the one writing it won’t let you violate your innate principles. Therefore, I doubt you can hurt me.”

“I’ll tie you in weaves of Air.”

“That won’t count as a victory,” Kelsier said. “Cage match, to the death, blah blah.”

“I’m certain they’ll make an exception.”

“I’ll file an appeal,” Kelsier said.

“You can’t–”

“You’ll find I’m good at doing the impossible,” Kelsier said. “It’s one of my specialties.”

“Too bad staying alive isn’t another of them.”


“Does that word even make sense in-world?”

“Damned if I know,” Kelsier said. “We got away with ‘hat trick,’ didn’t we? Anyway, if you tie me in air, I vow to stall. For as long as I can, as loudly as I can.”

Moiraine shrugged. “Why should I care?”

“Because you have something better to be doing.”

“And you don’t?”

“Please,” Kelsier said. “I already saved the world. It only took me one book, I’ll add.”

“That’s funny, because from what I’ve heard, you left that ‘saved’ world in a fairly awful state. Your friends ended up doing all the work in the next few books; the only thing you did was provide a convenient skeleton.”

“Details.” Kelsier said. “The point here is that I can afford to lounge about, but you can’t. If you win this match, you’ll have to go on fighting in this thing for weeks longer. All of that will distract you from your purpose. And, to remind you, the longer I drag this conversation out, the longer a certain person isn’t working on the conclusion of your story.”

“Oh please,” Moiraine said. “The guy writes thousand-page books in his sleep every night. It won’t take him long to write this.”

“Be that as it may,” Kelsier replied, “I think you underestimate my ability to make a complete nuisance of myself. I promise you, I can draw this out. Hell, I’ll bet I could turn this conversation of ours into at least a novella. Maybe a six-part epic.”

Moiraine folded her arms, glaring at him.

“Face it,” Kelsier said. “If you want Randal–or whatever is name is–to get on with that saving the world business, you’re just going to have to forfeit. You don’t have time for this, woman. You’ve got a schedule to keep.”

She considered it. The breeze rustled his mistcloak.

“That smirk of yours is insufferable,” she finally said.

“Thank you. I practiced extensively.” He held out a hand. “Do we have a deal? You return to the Last Battle, and I spend my postmortem retirement filling people with lots of holes–preferably of the type that bleed vigorously.”

“Fine,” Moiraine said, slipping down off the wall and walking away. “I never had an interest in this in the first place.”

“Wait,” Kelsier said, hopping off the wall and grabbing Moiraine by the arm. “We forgot something.”

“And what, precisely, is that?”

“Fanservice,” Kelsier said, then dipped her low and leaned in for a kiss.

He froze halfway through the move.

“Unfortunately for you,” Moiraine said, slipping out of his grip and leaving him wrapped in weaves of Air, “I am taken. I have tied off the weaves; they should unravel in . . . oh, one week’s time.” She glanced at the sky. “Looks like rain.”

She slipped away down the steps into the White Tower.

Well, Kelsier thought, smiling as a drop of rain hit his cheek, I suppose that could have gone worse than it did.

Predicted Winner: Kelsier


Check out the previous match from the Miskatonic University Field House bracket!

Check out the next match!

Check out the Bracket

Moiraine Damodred is a character from the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan; Kelsier is a character from the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson

Moiraine image courtesy of Jason Chan and Tor Books. Kelsier image courtesy of Ben McSweeney

Don’t forget–we’re always looking for fans’ depictions of these characters. Check out the details here

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!”


112 Responses to “Cage Match 2012: Round 4: Moiraine Damodred versus Kelsier”

  1. dry009 says:

    Yeah… we probably should have voted for Kelsier just so we could see Rake v. Atium madness. Kelsier probably was the only character in the bracket who would have had an amazing fight against Rake.

  2. Chris says:

    For as long as the aitum lasted. But he would never be able to land a blow against Rake, the guy is just insane.

  3. Chandran says:

    For those of you arguing that atium would let you avoid attacks with the one power…. How would it allow you to dodge something like compulsion? Or a weave that draws all the heat out of a general area?
    Or heck, just look at this scenario. Moiraine creates a cage of air so wide that it has no effect on Kelsier (or anything else). Atium gives a few seconds warning, but once the cage is already there, all Moiraine needs to do is constrict it, and Kelsier has no way to get out. Atium does have it’s limits, and in the end the One Power is just so much more versatile. And heck, all moiraine has to do is weave a shield of air around her and Kelsier can’t touch her.

  4. Carcionios says:

    it’s true that Atium is of limited use but to claim that Atium is Kelsier’s only trick is the equivilent of saying that Moiraine is incapable of channeling unless she is using balefire. No one metal would win the fight for Kelsier but consider this. Soothing Moiraine so she does not feel in danger prevents her from using the one power as a weapon. pushing and pulling could rob most of her metal angreals if she had them on her. Plus Kelsier is an assassin first and foremost so unless he bungled badly he would hit Moiraine before she could raise a shield. Aes Sedai can be taken by surprise otherwise the Seanchan would never get anywhere. Plus Petwer gives Kelsier the edge in any prolonged fight as Channeling is very draining. That said Moiraine has a lot more power at her disposal so in an open fight she would win every time. In this battle it comes down to where they are and how prepared they are which ultimately means; who do you like more? For me it was too close to call so I followed Brandon Sanderson and went for Kelsier

  5. JTP says:

    I would have liked to have seen the interaction of Atium and balefire. Can you see the future of something that occurs before you use it?

  6. Ryan says:

    An air shield by Moiraine to protect herself only works if she doesn’t do it before she gets rid of all her metal. Kelsier could pull a gold coin off her being and push and pull it to his desire. It would conveniently stay in her “protective” little air shield. Likewise, even if he is wrapped in air doesn’t mean he can’t manipulate that same gold coin.

    Being a Sanderson fan (I started WOT because he was finishing it, and I have completely enjoyed it), I really would have liked to see a battle. I enjoyed this write-up, but a full on battle would have been so much more exciting. But being busy like he is, I understand.

    Also, he basically said on twitter/facebook that he was going to flip a coin, and then write something up that would make it seem logical. It would be hard to decide which one to kill if you’re responsible for both of them.

  7. Jade says:

    Disappointed that Kelsier did not win. That is all.

  8. Jayelle says:

    okay, this match did it. I’m officially going to read this two series when I next have the time to. Seeing an author write up a match for two of his own (well, I know Moraine isn’t exactly Sanderson’s) is simply hilarious

  9. Lita says:

    That was a fun read – And we all know Moraine would win – No one but perhaps Thom is as good at the great game as Moraine. Kelsier just played at it for a very short time before dying. Mind you, if he spent a couple lifetimes learning in the white tower, that might be different!

  10. freaker says:


    Yeah, it is disappointing. But like I said, *clears throat* next years cage match? Marsh? Survivor’s own big brother?

  11. boralai says:

    That was amazing! Thank you Mr. Sanderson from the write up. It’s always nice to get a little taste of Kelsier, his dialogue is always awesome. That little hint at the beginning there has me both intrigued and hopeful. Surprised more people aren’t commenting on it.

  12. braendyn says:

    Not to be a critic (which inevitably leads to being just that) But, C’mon. Really? Really?

    Being ironically self referencial is one thing but…I sought this out because I thought it’d be good and we’d see a real stack up of Allomancy vs. Saidar. Could have been cool.

    Also, why all the self generated ego stroking? I like Sanderson’s works very much and what he’s doing in WoT is laudible but not a patch on the original.

    This was cute. Which is what something is called when it fails to be art.

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