Cage Match 2011: Perrin Aybara versus Paul Atreides


The Contestants


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Paul Atreides.jpg

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Perrin Aybara
Age: 20s
Race: Human
Weapons / Artifacts: Power-forged hammer
Battle Rage; can summon wolves

Paul Atreides
Paul Muad’Dib
Age: Early-30s
Race: Human
Weapons / Artifacts: Benne Gesserit Training

The Breakdown


  • Supernaturally keen senses
  • Telepathic link to wolves
  • He’s T’avaren – probability and chance bend to his needs

    • More-or-less a God
    • Prescience
    • Inhuman agility, strength and speed

    • Unseemly codependent relationship with his wife
    • Pacifist at heart

    • Melancholy and Self-defeating
    • Reliance on Spice


    How we think the fight will go

    Perrin stood sweating and exhausted in the wind-swept expanse of craggy barren land surveying his foe, pondering the unnerving effect the man’s blue-on-blue eyes had on him. Much the same impression his shining golden eyes must have had on many a stranger—from the look and smell of them. This wiry, black-haired man’s scent was almost as unsettling as the eyes. Stone cold determination. Not a hint of anything else, except for that pervasive pungent cinnamon. He must have been bathing in the stuff.

    Paul Atreides in turn leveled a calm but perplexed stare at the golden-eyed hulk. This primitive wild man had somehow managed to dodge or deflect several killing blows that should have landed squarely. Additionally, it seemed to Muad’Dib that this shaggy troglodyte somehow distorted space-time, rendering Paul’s prescient mind’s eye useless. Any attempts to wade into the sea of temporal probability threatened to drown his mind in a churning, choppy, probabilistic tsunami. He normally saw densely tangled timeline branches radiating from him in all directions in undulating waves full of futuristic flotsam. With pathways easily picked out, analyzed, and traversed. But since sighting this stranger, the probability waves thickened and multiplied almost to the point of suffocation. And the simple act of choosing a strand sucked him dizzyingly deeper into what must be false futures with infinite variations of the same end—Paul’s death at the stranger’s hands.

    Atreides pushed the thoughts aside roughly once again, and resolved to continue to probe the other man with more attacks until he could get a better baseline reading the old-fashioned way.

    Perrin noticed from the start that the stoic stranger used a method of fighting with hands and feet, very similar to the Aiel— fluidly leaping, gliding, spinning about from one move to the next with grace enough to make a dancer look like a drunken slattern. Perrin reminded himself: This dancer could kill with an impossibly accurate kick to the head. Focus!

    As if on cue, Muad’Dib charged Perrin once more, cutting hard to the right at the last second and forcing Perrin to adjust his stance. Paul vaulted into a spinning head-high kick before Perrin could bring his hammer around. Perrin ducked and jabbed his great hammer, spear-like, at Paul’s sternum. Paul landed in time to catch the hammer head and absorb most of the blow as he pushed off the thrust, using the force to carry him back a safe distance.

    Then he felt the searing pain.

    Muad’Dib brought his trembling hands up to inspect the puckered pink and red welts on his palms where his hands had made contact with the strange hammer. He gave but a moment’s pause to ponder the technology this apparently not-so-primitive man wielded. Then he ran through the old Bene Gesserit exercises, afterthoughts now, to slow his heart rate, calm himself, and shunt the scorching pain to the recesses of his mind. Alright—hands off the hammer.

    With his opponent’s reach advantage and ability to somehow disrupt Paul’s prescience this contest would be decided by control of the fighting distance. The Voice would be a distinct advantage… if he ever got a baseline reading from the wild man.

    It was almost like trying to read an animal, which even to his beyond-Ben-Gesserit mind were inscrutable. Or, more aptly, it was like reading a madman—whose expression, thoughts, and very being fluctuated with little rhyme or reason. But Paul had long since learned that in any closed system—which ultimately all men were, even this golden-eyed oddity—patterns could be gleaned from apparent chaos. All it took was time and data.

    As Paul lowered his hands, Perrin charged forward to press the advantage. Atreides dodged a flurry of slashes from the beast of a man strong enough to wield the hammer the way a normal man might use a two-handed broadsword. He dodged a backhand slash, whipping his head back at the last second to give the false impression that the blow had very nearly landed. Then he waited for the upswing he knew was coming, and at its apex would give him the moment he needed to…there! Paul sidestepped and Perrin overextended his upward slash. He lunged in behind Perrin, in anticipation of an elbow, which came screaming toward Paul’s nose faster than he would have thought possible. No matter, he was ready for it. He twisted away and grabbed Perrin’s descending arm—one hand just below the huge bicep and the other securely under the armpit, using the larger man’s own momentum—and a prodigy’s innate understanding of leverage—to whip him around violently, sending Perrin flying head over heels. Perrin landed hard on his right shoulder and rolled gracelessly in a sliding heap, face down, some ten feet distant.

    As Perrin slid to a stop, Paul took two quick bounding steps, and launched himself into the air with an arc and trajectory that would bring his falling knee down squarely on the back of the incapacitated man’s skull.

    His right knee landed with a muffled thump and an explosion of dirt and sand. Perrin rolled out of the way at the last second and jumped to his feet on unsteady legs. Paul wondered How? He must have heard me. This one has very keen senses…and instincts.

    Perrin stood panting, hammer still miraculously in his left hand, right arm dangling from what felt like a dislocated shoulder. His concentration appeared fixed firmly on Paul, but to Muad’Dib’s Bene Gesserit-trained eyes and Mentat mind, the minute changes that signaled an inward, almost meditative shift in concentration was an alarming clarion call. In the middle of this heated battle, which the bearded man must have known he had no chance of winning, the large man’s pulse had slowed, his eyes unfocused just the merest fraction, and his tension ebbed a hair’s width. All signs pointing to a marshalling of strength. He’s either got another trick up his tattered sleeves, or he’s signaling reinforcements. Either way, it’s time to move! Paul thought.

    Paul took in a deep slow breath, and barked “Drop your hammer!”

    Perrin was torn from his thoughts, and before he knew what was happening, he felt his hand spasm open of its own volition. The hammer thumped heavily to the ground. Perrin’s stunned half-second pause was more than enough time for Paul to cover the distance at full speed, leading with a fist to Perrin’s throat, followed by two shots to his left kidney and an upper-cut that was somehow blocked. Paul’s ferocious front kick to Perrin’s left knee made contact though, separating bone from ligaments and cartilage with a tearing pop and enough force to send Perrin down like a large hairy sack of oats.

    As he fell, a poison-tipped knife bloomed from Perrin’s chest, just above the heart. Poison-tipped just in case fate saw fit to twist the laws of probability in the large man’s favor—such as not planting the blade in Perrin’s heart. Paul couldn’t remember the last time he’d missed a target with any weapon by such a wide margin. No matter. Paul could see the poison was taking its effect on his opponent quickly, wracking the man with violent convulsions that made his veins stand out thickly as his face turned purple. The Kweisats Haderarch turned and strode away as the large young man’s eyes dimmed from burnished gold to dull yellow, and he died with a quiet sigh.

    Muad’Dib sensed invisible tension dissipating as space-time was loosed from the dead man’s grip to right itself.

    Predicted Winner: Paul Atreides


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    Perrin Aybarra is a character from the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson; Paul Atreides is a character from the Dune series by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin Anderson

    Perrin image courtesy of John Seamas Gallagher. Paul Atreides image courtesy of Universal Pictures.

    Ndi Sampson contributed to this Cage Match