Cage Match 2013 Round 1: Mombi vs. Grendel


The Contestants


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Click to view original image source

L. Frank Baum’s “OZ” series
Age: Elderly, but perhaps immortal
Race: Human (Wicked Witch)
Weapons / Artifacts: Powerful witch magic
Shape-shifting, curses

Beowulf saga, author unknown
Age: Inapplicable
Race: A monster of sorts
Weapons / Artifacts: Horrendous claws and teeth
Hero-chomping bite

The Breakdown


  • Cunning

  • Impossibly strong and hungry

  • Water melts witches like Mombi

  • Not too bright

How we think the fight will go

Gather around this fire
Kennel-stick burning gold-bright
Maker of crackling music
Warmer of souls
Hearth’s sun.Come to me and hear my story
A tale of wit and magic and blood
Of demon and witch
Troll and terror
Grendel and Mombi.

Grendel the strong
Fierce of claw and fang
For blood unquenchable thirst
Bone-gnasher, flesh-render
Devourer of men

Mombi the cunning
Sword-sharp tongue
Reader of runes
Caster of bones
Stranger to this land
Wanderer from Oz.
Jarl and thrall alike
Shut away in their long house
Fearful of the coming night
Shunned by the gods
They listen.

Hunters, farmers
Nobleman and slaves
Snatched by grasping claws
Consumed in darkness
Yet its hunger never abates.

Sharp sword and axes battle-tested
Against the beast know no victory
Blades find no purchase
Against the demon’s hide
The only blood is our own.

It comes by night
Strikes by cover of darkness
Entire villages emptied
Sacrificed to its hunger
Yet it still feeds.

No king’s army
No soothsayer’s omens
Or wizard’s curse
Brings relief
From night’s horror.

On a cold winter morn
Comes a knock at the gate
Strange woman, cunning wife
She is odd of appearance
But wise in the old ways.

Mombi of Oz
The wanderer witch
Cloaked and hooded
Staff in hand
A smile crooked and strange.

I hear tale of a troll, an ancient evil
A demon
That hunts your men
As man hunts boar
Grendel is its name.

Frightful but desperate
King Hrothgar grants an audience
Witches and monsters
Demons and soothsayers
One evil may yet defeat another.

Mombi of Oz
A land neither north nor south
East nor west
Unknown to our maps
I give you my ear.

Mombi cackles
Grendel sharp of teeth
Hungers for the flesh of your men
Knows he not that I hunger for
His soul.

Hrothgar pales
Like snow
At such witchery
Yet questions it not
What good would it do him?

I give you leave, Mombi
To search this land
Scry as you like
Find Grendel and if you may
Destroy him.

Mombi delights
For monster souls are
The most powerful of magics
Beyond little dogs, Munchkins and
Tin men alike.

Look she does
Once and twice again
Deeply in her crystal ball
She sees the beast
Wandering the moors.

Heels clicking broom bristling
Mombi flies to the monster
Her lips smacking and tongue snaking
Already she is “Mombi the Monster-Slayer”
In her own mind.

Grendel the man-killer
Gives this old woman
A jaundiced glance
Hunger rises
Despite the whiff of magic.

Elder thing, monster-kin
Shadow from the past
Creature of the Adversary
I challenge you to a fight
Screams Mombi.

Grendel rises from animal-haunches
Looming over the little witch
Claws like daggers and teeth like swords
Hair wild and thick like a wolf
Eyes like lanterns.

Mombi lets fall from ancient lips
Rune-words, god-letters, Odin’s tears
A music ancient and wise and forgotten
Magic fills the frigid air
And she shifts shapes.

Where one troll was
Now there are two
And Grendel faces Grendel
A mirror reflection
Of wrath.

Confused and hungry
The beast swipes at its twin
Countered instantly
It backs away
How to kill one’s self?

Mombi smiles at Grendel’s confusion.
Opens a bag
Of endless space
And no bottom
Gaping and empty.

The wise old witch
Stuffs Grendel into the sack
One loping limb after another
Pushed deeply the emptiness

While great of brawn
The beast was slight of brain
And no match
For a witch
Of Oz.

Hrothgar and his men rejoice
There is no Grendel
No claw in the night
No horror under the moon
But what to tell Beowulf?

Predicted Winner: Mombi


Check out the 2013 Bracket

Check all previous Cage Match 2013 posts

Mombi is a character from L. Frank Baum’s “OZ” series; Grendel is a character from Beowulf saga.

Mombi image courtesy of Jen Broomall. Grendel image courtesy of John Howe.

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!”