How we think the fight will go
Inigo Montoya studied his opponent with a degree of incredulity. For one thing, it was a woman in white Grecian robes, seemingly unarmed and unaware of his presence. And to complicate matters, she was openly weeping, her body doubled over by racking sobs.“What misery! Oh what pain! Cursed sons, and a hateful mother! Death take you all, you and your father,” she wailed to herself.
Inigo didn’t want to bother her while she was in such a state, but he was truly in quite the hurry. He cleared his throat; he then tried standing uncomfortably close. Neither worked.
“Hello there,” Inigo said, when he could truly wait no more. “I don’t suppose you could speed the grieving process up?”
The woman looked up, her dark eyes sparking. “If you want to speed things up so much, you could hand me a tissue or find some other helpful thing to do.”
“I could do that,” Inigo agreed. “But I don’t think you would accept my help, since I’m only waiting here so I can kill you.”
The woman’s expression changed from annoyance to sudden interest. Inigo felt her eyes settle on his scars: two parallel lines running down the length of his face, from forehead to chin.
“Who gave you those?” she asked.
Inigo grew solemn. “A six-fingered man. I am on a quest to find him. You haven’t happened upon any have you?”
“Pah! I’ve had enough of men and their quests,” the woman sneered.
“But this one is different!” Inigo protested. “This man murdered my father.”
“Ah, so it is for vengeance is it?” The woman’s face broke into a knowing smile, giving her a vulture-like quality. “I, too, know a thing or two about vengeance.”
It was then that Inigo noticed the woman’s hands were splattered with blood. He grew wary; perhaps he had underestimated this woman. She stood up, her head tilted up in a proud manner. “I am Medea, and I am a woman of some knowledge, versed in many unsavory arts.”
Inigo felt a tinge of admiration, for she did look majestic and powerful in her own way. “You seem a decent dame. I hate to kill you.”
Medea gave a slightest of nods. “You seem a decent fellow. I hate to die.”
“How shall we do this then? Do you fence?” Inigo drew out his sword with his left hand, and did what he always did before a duel, touching the side of the blade to his face two times along his scars.
“I do not plan to fight at all, actually.” Medea’s voice took on a honeyed tone. “I wish to concede, and offer a gift as a show of good faith.”
From her long robes she withdrew two objects: One was a folded dress of fine pale gold gossamer, shining like diamonds. Resting atop the dress was an equally brilliant gold crown, encrusted with precious jewels.
“The crown is worth an unspeakable fortune. It will take your breath away, trust me,” she whispered.
Inigo was instantly mesmerized. The gleam from the objects seemed to burn onto his retinas, making him squint. Never had he seen anything so beautiful. A strong urge to place the crown upon his own head steadily overcame him. He felt his hand drop his sword and reach out seemingly of its own accord toward the beguiling golden diadem.
Medea held out the crown carefully, as Inigo stepped closer. His head pounded as he fell into a daze. But then, from the back of his mind, a mental alarm sounded. Inigo latched onto the feeling, forcing his eyes clear. He saw then that the golden crown was covered with a dusty translucent substance, barely perceptible.
Iocane powder. The deadliest poison known to man.
Inigo jerked his hand away just as his fingertips were about to touch the gold.
In that instant, Medea dropped the dress and crown. Pulling a slim dagger from behind her, she lunged for Inigo’s heart.
Inigo’s instincts kicked in, and he dodged out of her trajectory. Medea stumbled forward, as he quickly retrieved his sword from the ground.
“Works on princesses, but not on Spaniards, I suppose.” Medea muttered, whipping around to face Inigo again.
The two began circling one another, as they each sized up their opponent.
“Your way is poison,” Inigo said. “But in this arena you are no match. You lack discipline.”
“I’ve killed my own sons; don’t talk to me about discipline.”
Medea ran at him with another attempt, knife wildly slashing. Inigo began an Agrippa defense, deflecting each frenzied blow. He slowly backed away as Medea continued her sloppy assault. Inigo stifled a yawn.
Finally, Medea, breathing heavily, began to slow in her movements. ‘My turn,’ Inigo thought. Utilizing the principles of Capo Ferro and employing a modified version of the Thibault, Inigo advanced. His blade moved like liquid steel. A simple flick later and Medea was handily disarmed.
Inigo raised his sword to Medea’s throat. She glared at him defiantly.
“Do it quickly,” Medea said. “Let nobody think me insignificant or weak. I am no meek martyr.”
Inigo tried to muster the determination to go through with the final blow. But doubt stayed his hand. “May my hands fall from my wrists before I kill a lady. However, since I can’t have you following me either…”
He clubbed Medea’s head twice with the butt of his sword. Medea collapsed in a heap. Sheathing his sword, Inigo raced into the night.
Predicted Winner: Inigo Montoya
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON WEDNESDAY, March 6th, 2013, AT 5 PM, EST
Inigo Montoya is a character from William Goldman’s The Princess Bride; Medea is a character from Euripedes’ Medea.
Inigo Montoya image courtesy of MGM. Medea image courtesy of Frederick Sandys.
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!”