How we think the fight will go
The wizened mage slowly threaded his way through a gallery of stone statues, occasionally tapping one or another with his staff to ensure that they were indeed inanimate. Each was a portrait of agony and surprise: Warriors frozen in terror, weapons in hand. All were incredibly lifelike in detail.
Gandalf reached out a hand and stroked the cheek of one stony figure. An elf, apparently, petrified with bow in hand. A gnawing sense of familiarity settled in his stomach. Where did he know that face? His mind was perhaps too clouded by the fine Hobbit pipeweed he puffed out of a long, clay pipe. He put it out and then moved on, pushing further into the ancient stone chamber.
An ancient evil lurked here, of that, he was certain, but what manner of villain might it be? This desolate lair carried not the stench of Sauron’s ilk, nor of some aberrant foe from times even further past. This was something different; something alien to even his great wisdom. This was a horror beyond his reckoning, and an event like this was very rare, indeed. Part of him was excited by the possibility of a new class of foe. Much of the world had grown uncomfortably familiar during his service to the light. Danger would be welcomed, if it was a danger hence unknown.
Somewhere Gandalf heard a rustle, like dry scales on cold marble. He raised an eyebrow, and brushed his free hand against the hilt of his mighty blade, Glamdring. Whispering quietly the words of an ancient spell, the tip of his staff began to glow. He pushed it forward, probing the darkness. He caught glimpses of some furtive shape lurking just beyond the light. He had an impression of something almost human, but not quite. There was an aura of tragedy here … that and inexpressible hostility.
“Come forth into the light,” said Gandalf. “I mean you no harm, friend. Perhaps I might yet address what evil has come to you.”
A wet hiss was the only answer he received.
Gandalf unsheathed Glamdring. If he must fight, then fight he will.
All around him he heard the slithering noises, echoing throughout the chamber. Here to the left, and then to the right. He pushed forward, lighting his way with his staff. Occasionally, he would come face to face with one of the petrified stone figures, their faces gruesomely lit by the glow of his staff. Frightening, but harmless.
He came to the edge of a shallow stream, a subterranean waterway shimmering under the light. He stepped into it and began to walk across. The current moved swiftly, but rarely rose above his knees. He saw the barest outlines of the bank on the other side and made haste, eager to escape the cold of the stream.
It was then that he saw the horrific being who called the caverns its home. It was crouching on the far bank. He could not see its face, but it appeared to have the body of a comely woman. The creature’s hair — if a monstrosity like this might be called hair — writhed and wriggled. The mage looked upon in disgust, recognizing in horror that the woman’s locks were in actuality vipers. This was the thing that had bested all of those warriors. This creature had turned them to stone.
It had not noticed him yet, and with any luck, it wouldn’t.
Placing his staff into the crook of his arm, Gandalf reached into the water and grabbed a rock. Returning to his full height, he tossed it past the creature, further down the stream. It turned its head and began to creep in that direction, leaving its back to the wizard. Gandalf rushed forward with his blade held aloft, moving faster than his apparent years should have allowed.
He quickly closed the distance between himself and the wretched creature, and with a single swing of his sword he removed its head from its body. The head tumbled a few feet and landed in the stream. The creature’s body collapsed. Everything was still.
Magic is all well and good, thought the wizard, but sometimes a simple trick and a good sword arm is enough to do the job. He relit his pipe and after a long puff, turned in the direction of the cave’s entrance.
Predicted Winner: Gandalf
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON Friday, March 29th, 2013, AT 5 PM, EST
Gandalf is a character from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien; Medusa is a character from Greek Mythology.
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!”