How we think the fight will go
The sandstorm began to abate, but Jardir found himself wandering alone in an unfamiliar section of desert. Unlike the pale yellow sand of his home, the ground here had a reddish tint to it, as if blood had stained the entire planet. Off in the distance he saw an outcropping of rock that would afford him a chance to scout his location and get out of the sun. He shouldered the Spear of Kaji and marched on.
Lady Jessica watched the figure approach from the south, wary of this unfamiliar stranger. The man was tall and lean, carrying a spear—of all things—his body wrapped in loose white and gray cloaks. How he had made it so far into the wastes of Arrakis without a stillsuit was baffling. With his approach, she withdrew into the Fremen-made tunnels of the outcropping. Stealth, she decided, would be her best ally.
About one hundred paces from the outcropping Jardir first heard the monster approach. A low groan began behind him, growing steadily louder. Glancing over his shoulder, Jardir was shocked to see the sand move as if something stirred beneath its grains. Not desiring to find out what kind of demon could tunnel below the earth like that, Jardir began to run, barely making it to the solid rock of the outcropping before a gigantic worm breached, spraying sand and spice into the air as it arced and re-submerged beneath the grains.
“What the devil?” Jardir breathed, heavily. “What kind of alagai swims in the sand?” Propping himself up on his spear, he retreated into the caverns. Once inside, he noticed how cool it was. And still. Somewhere around him he heard the sound of water dripping and he decided that discovering the source should be his next task. He set about exploring the caverns, holding his spear waist-high and taking care to make his steps as silent as possible.
Somewhere behind him a pebble skipped across the ground, the sound echoing off the walls. Someone was here with him, and they were trying to sneak up from behind…
Lady Jessica crept around the large boulder between her and the unknown man, cursing her errant footfall that dislodged the pebble. If the intruder had heard the small stone, he gave no indication, still walking slightly hunched over with his spear extended. Quickly the man moved into a small passageway beyond a large boulder. Jessica hurried to keep up, lasgun armed and ready.
She rounded a boulder as the shaft of the spear swung at her face. Instinctively she squeezed the trigger of the small firearm, but missed as the spear caught her in the temple. Stumbling backward, the lasgun fell from her hand.
Jardir stood over the Bene Gesserit, spear point inches from her throat.
“Speak,” he roared, “what insolence is this? From a woman, no less!”
Her response came in the form of a blindingly fast attack, slapping away the spear and moving in close for a short-range attack. Jessica struck hard and fast, catching the Southerner in the eye with a short jab, and then three quick shots to his ribs. It appeared, to the man, that she had teleported from the ground to mere inches away.
Rolling backward Jardir assumed a defensive stance, using his spear to keep the woman at bay. It was only now that he had a chance to inspect her: she was beautiful, but a kind of terrible beauty borne of this hellish place, her eyes a shocking shade of blue. Each of her movements was matched by his defensive posture, keeping the vicious spear pointed directly at her chest. With short, powerful jabs he struck out at the woman, who dodged each lunge with ease, phasing left and right as the spear passed harmlessly through the space she had previously occupied. Given the confined environment of the cave and his opponent’s preternatural speed the warrior decided it was time to switch up his tactics.
“It seems you have some fighting skill,” Jardir said, with a hint of begrudging admiration. “It has been a long time since I’ve met a worthy woman fighter. Not since Leesha! Let us see how you fare against the ultimate martial art: Sharusak!” With that Jardir dropped the Spear of Kaji to the ground and assumed his favored sharukin—a warrior pose—ready to go hand-to-hand with this mysterious woman.
Lady Jessica finally spoke, “You are no match for the Weirding Way of the Bene Gesserit, stranger. You will face death and your water will be reclaimed!” She lunged, faster than any desert snake, striking Jardir square in the nose, snapping his head back. Enraged, Jardir began with a series of frenetic kicks and punches, all aimed at the woman’s chest and stomach. Few hit.
Realizing that he could not match her speed, Jardir swung one leg backward, leaving him open to a high kick from the Reverend Mother. Seeing the opening, Jessica swung her leg high, in an attempt to break the man’s ribs. Such a strike would most definitely stun the man enough that she could unsheathe the Crysknife and slit his throat…
He caught the kick against his side and smiled; his trap had worked. With her leg held tightly against his ribs, the warrior dropped to the ground and kicked the back of Jessica’s other knee, sending her forward into the cave floor with a sickening splat. In a single fluid motion, he swung his body on top of hers, grabbing the Crysknife from her belt with one hand and closing his other arm under her chin, pinning her to the ground.
“Your speed is truly impressive,” he said through clenched teeth, “and you fought well.” With that, he ran the serrated blade of the Crysknife across her throat, spilling her blood over the cave floor.
Standing, Jardir wiped the blade on his sleeve, slid it into his belt, and retrieved the Spear of Kaji. Pausing a moment before continuing on, he bowed his head slightly, “Rest, warrior woman. May your spirit find peace.”
With that he continued on, worrying about the sun quickly disappearing beyond the horizon. Considering the toughness of the people of this place, he did not look forward to meeting their demons…
Predicted Winner: Jardir
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON THURSDAY, MARCH 8th, 2012, AT 5 PM, EST
Lady Jessica image courtesy of Ace Books. Jardir image courtesy of Larry Rostant and Del Rey 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!”