Cage Match 2017: Sci-Fi vs Fantasy

Round 2

Randall Flagg vs Devi

 

Randall Flagg

The Gunslinger

Devi

The Name of the Wind

Randall Flagg

The Gunslinger
  • Age: Unknown
  • Species: Human(ish)
  • Weapons: Sorcery, boundless malicious intent
  • Special Attack: Being someone you never expected

Advantages

  • Can (and often does) appear as many different people
  • Possesses a variety of magical powers
  • Is unimaginably devious

Disadvantages

  • Extreme arrogance
Cover art for the book The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Gunslinger

By Stephen King

Devi

The Name of the Wind
  • Age: Mid-20s
  • Species: Human
  • Weapons: A strong alar, the courage of her convictions
  • Special Attack: Sympathy: the ability to hold a belief so strongly that it affects reality

Advantages

  • Has a strong aptitude for both Alchemy and Sympathy
  • Has a vast reservoir of arcane magical knowledge
  • Is clever, business-like, and talented

Disadvantages

  • Her fondness for Kvothe
  • Physical combat is not her strong suit
Cover art for the book The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind

By Patrick Rothfuss
See Less
 
 

Match Prediction

By Keith Rice

The air was a little chilly, but there was nothing wrong with that. The denim jacket he wore was warm, after all, and the spot he was thinking of was only a little farther up the way and off in a clearing. At least it was quiet: just the faint whispering of the occasional wind gust and the steady click of his boots on asphalt. The girl, she wasn’t here yet. He’d know when she was; after all, he’d orchestrated events to bring her to this spot – nice and quiet, secluded. She was next on his list, sure. But they needed to chat a little first. He had a few ideas for this one. It was always fun to mix things up a little and that last round did a get a little messier than he typically liked – it was fun, though, and let’s face it, Flagg liked having fun.

The trees on either side of the broken and desolate stretch of road grew thicker, stretching closer to the sickle sliver of moon hanging above. Those trees, perhaps older than he, mingled with that paltry and shy moonlight and cast their shadows along his path. Curiously, he himself didn’t leave a shadow. Never had much use for one. You needed light to create shadow. Randall Flagg and light hadn’t been on speaking terms in quite a few years. Lifetimes, some might say.

So on he walked, treading across the cracked asphalt and over those tendril-shaped shadows and finally toward a small break in the trees just ahead. There was a clearing just beyond. It was a fine spot and a good place to wait. He shouldered his old rucksack a little closer and started through that gap in the trees that looked for all the world like a yawning maw. All the better to eat you with, my dear. He smiled that wolfish smile and a crow sounded its last mournful call before falling to the ground as Flagg stepped into the darkness.

Devi shivered against the cold and was thankful for the light crimson cloak she was wearing. The ground beneath her was paved, but cracked and uneven beneath her feet. There was a dull throb just behind her eyes and although she could not recall why, she felt a bit disoriented. It was as if she’d just appeared on this quiet road, springing from the ether or perhaps the trees that lined either side. There was a memory, but it was faint. She recalled sand and uneven footing, immense power and then… darkness. Wet, cold darkness. She shivered again, grasping at the fleeting memory hoping to catch more before it was gone. Regardless, she was in this place now – whatever this place was – and it wouldn’t do to stand here freezing, seeking recollections that may never come. She took a deep breath and it was then that she saw it just in the distance. There was a faint light winking from within the darkness of the trees. It was a warm glow, one that she recognized. A fire. And fires meant warmth, which was all the impetus she needed to get moving.

The wind picked up as she moved closer to that winking flame, buffeting her on either side as she pulled the cloak in tighter. She could see the opening in the trees, trees that seemed to close in around her the further she moved along this forsaken road. It was mere steps away now, but as she moved closer a tingle of unease began to arise. There was a nagging thought slowly forming in the back of her mind. A warning, perhaps? She couldn’t say. It was likely nothing, just a childish unease in the darkness of unknown surroundings. There was a fire and that meant a fellow traveler and most likely an opportunity to rest and collect her thoughts as she waited for the straining light of morning. She made it to the opening and stepped through. The dead crow went unnoticed beneath her feet.

Flagg was humming and tending the small fire as she entered the clearing, a song with a melody she did not recognize on his lips. “Baby, can you dig your man? He’s a righteous man.” The humming continued. A twig crunched beneath her soft boots and the man turned – at least she thought he turned. One moment he was turned away and the next he was facing her with a not altogether unpleasant grin tugging at his lips. That sliver of unease called to her again, but still quietly. “Well, what do you think? Can you dig your man? Is he a righteous man?” He smiled now.

“I’m… I’m sorry. What?” Devi stood tensed. The question and this man’s apparent speed had surprised her.

He laughed, a small chuckle against the crackling notes of the fire, “Nothing. It’s nothing, young lady. You just caught me singing – a tad embarrassing, I have to say. That’s a tune from a guy I once knew – or maybe haven’t known yet. Times tends to get a little jumbled, you see. Anyway, his name was Larry, I think. But, that’s neither here nor there. You look cold and I just happen to have a fire. Can I offer you a little warmth?”

Devi forced a smile in return, “I didn’t intend to startle you. I just saw the fire and well, it’s… yes I would like to sit, Mr…?”

He squatted near the fire at the farthest point away from her, as if he could see that she needed some space. “Oh, I’ve been called a few things. Nights like this, I prefer Flagg. Randall Flagg. Or R.F. if you’d prefer. What shall I call you?” With that Flagg winked.

The throb in her head came again and with it that low warning, but she was cold and that fire felt so warm. “Devi. You may call me Devi, Mr. Flagg.” She eased onto a log situated just across the way from Flagg. His face seemed to shimmer above the flames and smoke.

“I was just passing through and came by this spot. Seemed a good as place as any to spend the night. Wouldn’t you say?” He pushed the coals in the fire before reaching for the rucksack on his left.

“The ground is level and away from the road, you could certainly do worse.” Devi loosened her red cloak as the heat from the fire began to work its way through her tired limbs.

Flagg smiled again and pulled a flask from the sack, he tipped it back and drank. “Sounds like you’ve done your share of hard traveling. Here, have a nip of this. Grandma’s best. Apple brandy, sure to warm your bones and make you feel dandy.”

She hesitated.

“Oh, go on now. It’s cold and I just had a bit myself. It won’t do anything more than heat you up on its way down.” He gestured again with the flask. She took it and drank — truth be told, she was thirsty. Quite thirsty. The liquid was cool and sweet, and sure enough, its subtle warmth seemed to spread through her as she sipped.

“Attagirl. Take another, there’s plenty.” There was something new in his voice now. It surrounded her with its honeyed tone and that note of command. Before she realized she was tipping the flask back yet again. The smoke from the flames wafted toward her and its odd but pleasant scent filled her nostrils. Those flames were peculiar colors – yellow and pink, crimson and blue – a rainbow against the stifling darkness (had it been this dark when she sat down?) of this place.

“The smoke…” her words felt thick in her mouth and that throb in her head continued, “…smells funny.”

“Shh. That’s nothing to worry about. Just some herbs I added to the flames, those pretty flames. Breathe deep and watch those flames dance.” The command in his voice was unmistakable now. Her limbs felt heavy, her gaze was hazy. She breathed in deeply and Flagg smiled. It was a wolfish smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes, and he had so many teeth. Far too many teeth. Words drifted into her thoughts (the better to eat you with, my dear). She could hear his laughter all around her. The smoke was so thick. She could see Flagg again reaching into the knapsack and taking something in hand – an orb, a glass orb of bright pink.

Now he was beside her and singing low again: “Baby, can you dig your man? I’m a righteous man.” Flagg cackled, a sound very much like breaking glass. He reached toward her and for just a moment she saw that his palms were smooth and unlined. Flagg caressed her cheek. “What do you say? Am I righteous man?”

Devi tried to speak, but the words would not come. They were caught in the sudden whirlwind of her jumbled thoughts. She tried again to move, but couldn’t. The fear was deep within her now mingling with that smoke, the dancing flames, and the heat of that sweet drink.

Flagg, smiling now wider than ever – those words pierced her thoughts again in a tumbling rush (allthebettertoeatyouwithmydear) – and held the orb up in front of her. It was beautiful, a deep and flashing pink. “Some call it a bend, some call it a grapefruit. Take a look, Devi, and tell ol’ R.F. what you see…”

Predicted Winner: Randall Flagg

Tally of Votes Cast:

Randall Flagg:

46.5%
Voted

Devi:

53.5%
Voted
 
A photo of Keith Rice

Keith Rice

Keith Rice is a West Virginia native and a freelance writer residing in Philadelphia with his lovely, if oft exasperated wife and three cats. Keith fosters an enthusiastic appreciation for beer and scotch, collects comics, and most importantly is an avid reader and movie lover. Oh, he’s a pretty big fan of sci-fi and fantasy as well. Drop him a line @Keith_Rice1.