How we think the fight will go
Pete: Good morning, ladies and Gentlebeings, and welcome back to the stage of history here on Calaque Station at the Fulcrum of All Realities!
Pete’: Hail Zorbu. Pete: Hail Zorbu indeed, Pete Prime, Hail Zorbu indeed. It’s a wonderful day here in the Arena and boy do we have a show in mind for you folks at home today. The stands are full and the Arena grounds lush and verdant, a perfect battlefield for this morning’s contestants. I’m your host, Original Pete—
Pete’: And I’m Pete Prime, a quantum duplicate of Host Pete formed when Junior Hyperman drop-kicked the omniverse two Galactic Crises ago.
Pete: Come on, Pete, we don’t need to trouble the folks at home with continuity.
Pete’: That’s right Pete-o, they’re not here for us, they’re here for some good ooooold-fashioned bloodshed. And what a show they have in store today, such a matchup of equals and opposites as we haven’t seen since Alexander v. Xeres, Duryodhana / Bhima 2012, or last year’s Stark-on-Stark TraumaDome Special!
Pete: And here’s our first contestant now, entering by transmat beam in the southwest corner—governess, schoolteacher, and all-around badass, SHE’s filled the shoes of her Grandfather Death half-a-dozen times, saved the universe on her days off, killed Auditors—
Pete’: Oh, Pete, I hate those guys!
Pete: We all do, Pete, we all do. As I was saying, she has killed Auditors with chocolate and monsters with a fireplace poker, let’s hear it for the woman on the pale horse, Suuuuuusan Stooooooo-Helit!
Pre-recorded Crowd Noise: *goes wild*
Pete’: Susan looks confused. She doesn’t seem to notice the cheers, Pete-o.
Pete: Of course not, Pete Prime! If these two fundamentally good-hearted individuals realized they were being manipulated by Lord Zorbu-
Pete’: Hail Zorbu.
Pete: Hail Zorbu indeed, Hail Zorbu indeed— if they realized they were being manipulated to fight for our amusement, they’d no doubt refuse to cooperate!
Pete’: That’s do-gooders for you, Pete.
Pete: So we’ve taken the mild liberty of transporting them both to this arena, which thanks to DeathSpencery Multiphasic Technology’s patented Multiphasers we’ve filled with flora and fauna from their respective home planes, thereby keeping either party from realizing they’ve been transferred to ours! Susan thinks she’s here to confront Yet Another Threat to Omniversal Stability, and our other challenger—
Pete’: And here she is now, Pete-o, transmatting into the northeast corner, astride her noble if somewhat stout stallion Talat, wielding Gonturon, the Blue Sword, she’s a goddess in her own right, she’s been a long time climbing, a long time falling, and a long time in our hearts, it’s AERIN-SOL OF DAMAR!
Pre-recorded Crowd Noise: *goes wild again*
Pete: Aerin looks angry—she’s been told she’s here to stop a magical threat to her kingdom, and as far as she can tell she’s arrived at this valley after a long ride through the northern mountains. There’s no way she could have felt the transmat beam, right, Pete?
Pete’: No way at all, Pete-o, no way at all. Aerin draws her sword, which takes fire in the sunlight. Riding with her knees, she guides Talat around the edge of the arena—
Pete: Of course neither of them can see the walls, thanks again to DeathSpencery’s patented Multiphasers—
Pete’: Certainly not, Petey-o. Susan, meanwhile, has spurred her skeletal horse Binky toward the clearing in the arena’s center. Binky, being a horse in the same way the Ship of Theseus is a ship, isn’t so much walking on the ground as rising into the air—giving Susan an overview of the battlefield.
Pete: And I do believe, Pete, that we have a mic nearby. Let’s see what they have to say.
Susan: I understand this may seem strange, given the skeleton horse, the sword, and all, but I’d really prefer it if we could talk things over like sensible— *SLAM*
Pete’: Did you see that, Pete-o? While Susan was talking, Aerin climbed a nearby tree, leapt out, and tackled her off the horse.
Pete: That’s a great deal less time falling than Aerin’s used to, Pete! Binky’s sprinting down to save Susan, but—oh, Talat seems to have grabbed Binky’s reins in his teeth! The two horses are pawing at one another—
Pete’: And our combatants land—with Susan on top! They’re stunned—Susan rolls away, draws her sword while Aerin’s recovering, but she doesn’t press her advantage.
Pete: Good guys, Pete Prime, I’m telling you—
Susan: Something about all this doesn’t add up. The light in this place is too fast.
Pete: Any idea what she’s talking about, Pete?
Pete’: No idea whatsoever, Pete-o. Let’s consult the supercomputer!
Pete: Meanwhile, Aerin’s sword Gonturan lights up with blue flame. Aerin leaps forward, Susan’s blade sweeps out to intercept—
Pete’: And *blocks* the Blue Sword, rather than shearing through!
Aerin: What do you mean, odd?
Susan: That’s never happened before.
Swords: Clang, inquisitively.
Aerin: What usually happens?
Swords: Clang, yes, and once more, for emphasis, CLANG.
Susan: Usually this one just goes through things.
Aerin: Mine’s a mind of her own.
Susan: This one goes through things with minds, too.
Pete’: They’re circling one another, Pete-o.
Susan: Look. You seem like a perfectly reasonable young woman. No doubt we can talk this through like civilized—
Death of Rats: SQUEAK!
Pete: Pete-o, I can’t believe what I’m seeing here! There’s a small, let’s zoom in on that, yes, a small robed figure latched onto Aerin-Sol’s ankle. It’s climbing her leg. Aerin raises her sword, but now a black bird is dive-bombing the Damarian dragonslayer’s face.
Raven: No, you don’t get it, that means listen!
Pete’: Aerin thrusts the raven away with one hand. She charges blindly forward. Susan’s blade comes around; Gonturan blocks again—
Swords: ENTHUSIASTIC CLANG!
Pete: If I didn’t know any better, Pete, I’d say those two were enjoying this! The force of Aerin’s blow knocks Susan back, but Aerin’s off-balance too, toppling through underbrush. She recovers fast, but by the time finds her feet, the Death of Rats stands in front of her, holding — Wait, that’s not a weapon—
Pete’: Those look like leaves, Pete-o, I’m not sure what that could possibly mean.
Death of Rats: SQUEAK. SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAKSKEEEEK SQUEAK!
Pete: And Death of Rats is miming *eating* the leaves.
Pete’: I don’t know how he expects that to make any difference, given his lack of a digestive system or even an esophagus, Pete-o!
Pete: But Aerin-sol looks like she’s adding two and two to get five. And now she—she’s taken the leaves *from* the Death of Rats, has put one in her mouth, and is chewing—
Pete’: Her eyes have started to glow, Pete-o. And if we’ve learned one thing in all our years of fight-announcing, it’s that glowing eyes don’t often bode well for the other side.
Pete: Aerin strides forward, into the clearing.
Susan: GO AWAY.
Pete’: She’s done it! She’s used the voice, Pete-o! That’s the Voice!
Pete: Oh my God, I’m sorry ladies and gentlebeings, we’re turning off the microphones, they’re being overwhelmed by high-frequency magical interference on the arena grounds. Terribly sorry for that, I hope you’re all still sane out there.
Pete-o: We still have visual, though, and what a visual! The Dragonslayer of Damar and the Granddaughter of Death are staring off, talking with one another—space distorts around them, the light turns—
Supercomputer: Results available!
Pete: Not now, supercomputer. Aerin’s pointing at—something in the illusory sky. It looks as if she’s pointing at the stands, but of course that’s impossible.
Pete’: That’s right, Pete-o, it’s utterly impossible thanks to the intensity of the Mutliphasic Shield. And yet Susan seems to be looking straight toward us!
Pete: The conflict between Susan’s and Aerin’s wills has kicked up an enormous cloud of dust, full of strange colors and chanting in alien languages, as if time itself bends beneath the awesome might of these two champions, Pete Prime.
Pete’: And as the tension builds, Pete-o, I’ve just read our Supercomputer results—it turns out intense magical fields like the ones in place on Susan’s home plane slow the speed of light considerably. She must have noticed the slowdown!
Pete: Is that even possible, Pete?
Pete’: She’s Death’s granddaughter, Pete-o, lots of things are possible. Now, the dust cloud’s settling. One woman stands in the clearing. Holding a blue sword. And it’s—
Pete: It’s Aerin-sol, Pete!
Pete’: Right you are, Pete. Aerin and Talat stand in the center of the clearing. Even Binky is nowhere to be seen.
Pete: What a shame to have dust obscure the kill shot!
Pete’: Ah. Pete-o.
Pete: But nonetheless, whether Susan Sto-Helit died or fled, she’s no longer present on the arena grounds—
Pete’: Pete-o, I really think you should turn around.
Pete: Just a second, Pete. So—what’s that? Aerin’s facing the booth—she’s waving? At us?
Pete: Either way, folks, it looks like we have a-
Susan: HELLO, GENTLEMEN.
Pete: Wait a second. That voice isn’t coming from the speaker.
Pete’: Tried to tell you, Pete-o.
Sword: *ominous glimmer*
Susan: YOU’RE GOING TO SEND US BOTH HOME. NOW.
Pete: You’re, ah, um, you’re certainly free to go, but I’m afraid your, ah, exit from the tournament field, by the rules, qualifies as a technical knockout for Aerin, so she’s—
Transmat Beam: *hum*
Aerin: Wait, wha-
Susan: TELL ME WHERE SHE WENT.
Sword: *more glimmering, still ominous*
Pete’: Next round of the tournament, I’m afraid.
*Jangling of stirrups and clatter of bone and hooves as someone mounts a horse without skin or mane.*
Susan: THEN I’LL GO AFTER HER.
*There comes a sound that is not a sound*
Pete, weakly: You heard it here first, folks. From Calaque Station at the Fulcrum of all Realities, Aerin-sol wins by technical knockout.
Pete’: Join us next week, by which point we hope Pete will have found a clean pair of pants.
Pete: Shut up, Pete Prime.
Pete’: Hail Zorbu.
Pete: Hail Zorbu indeed, Pete Prime. Hail Zorbu indeed.
Predicted Winner: Aerin
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON Thursday, March 12, 2015, AT 11:59 PM, EST
Cage Match fans: We’re 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!”)