YA Fantasy Showdown

Photo courtesy of New Line Cinema


Lives longer than most men
King of Gondor
A Ranger, knows the world
Skilled in sword-fight and archery
Experience in war and hand-to-hand combat
Good tactician


Way too noble for his own good
A desire to protect those weaker than him
Photo courtesy Marilee Heyer


First female Knight
Skilled fighter and mage
Strong desire to prove herself
Knight of the Realm and King's Champion


Unsure of herself, especially romantically
Tends to solve problems by punching things

How we think the fight might go...

Alanna and Aragorn faced each other across the arena.

"Finally, someone else with a sword," Alanna said under her breath.

Aragorn adjusted his grip on the sword. "I don't want to fight a maiden."

"Think I won't be good enough?" Alanna didn't bother hiding her smirk. She'd had men underestimate her before--and they had all paid dearly for it.

Aragorn binked, surprised. He knew maidens could fight.

Neither had lowered their blades. Neither would.

Alanna struck first. Aragorn blocked her blow--his arms didn't shake, his legs didn't slide backwards, and other than the veins popping on his arms, he gave no indication that it required any effort for him to hold Alanna's sword back.

Alanna gritted her teeth. She'd faced enemies stronger than her. But sword-fighting didn't just require strength. There was a reason why her sword was called "Lightning." Lightning is quick and strikes unexpectedly. She would have to do that, too. That was something she learned from George, not Jonathan.

Meanwhile, Aragorn had moved from blocking to attacking. He didn't hold back--and Alanna had to grin despite the fact that she found herself dodging his blows. She had to respect a man who was obviously treating her as he would any enemy.

Aragorn crashed his blade down against Alanna's with such force that Alanna's wrists trembled. She couldn't match his sheer strength, and her sword trembled, then slipped. Aragorn's blade bit into her shoulder, and blood erupted, spilling over her chest and down her arm.

It was a bad wound, one that might be enough to kill her. Her arm tingled, an odd sensation mixing with the warmth of her own blood. Her fingers felt numb. Her sword tumbled from her grasp. She wouldn't be able to use it, not against Aragorn.

Aragorn's jaw clenched and unclenched, clenched and unclenched. This girl, with her fighter's spirit, and the fire in her eyes, and the courage to face him--she reminded him of Eowyn, a shield maiden worthy of any battle. He did not want to bring down such a one as she. Alanna was backing away slowly. Blood trailed along beside her, a red line through the dust. Her sword looked abandoned and weak without her behind it.

"I did not think you would run, shield maiden," Aragorn said softly. He did not relish what must be done.

"I'm not running," Alanna huffed. Her good hand slid behind her back. She fingered the throwing daggers she kept hidden there. It would take more than one to take out this Aragorn, she could tell that. But with fifteen meters between them, she could get in at least three daggers before his long sword came back in range.

She grinned. At least three.

Predicted winner: Alanna

Alanna is from Tamora Pierce's The Song of the Lioness quartet and Aragorn is from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
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