YA Fantasy Showdown

Photo courtesy of Firebird


Pig-headed, bold, and stubborn
Can use a sword, learning magic
Connection to magical creatures of the land
Becomes Queen


Uncomfortable around others
Can be deceived by flower-carrying smooth talkers
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

Perhaps the best and oddest battle in the tournament, written by Sherwood Smith herself.

How we think the fight might go...

Meliara faced a young man in a helmet and armor. "We're supposed to duel," she said.

The young man nodded.

"I've not actually had much occasion to duel," Mel said. "Actually, I think it might be better if Vidanric..."

The young man raised his sword. He seemed ready to duel, even if Mel wasn't.  "At the very least, they could have let me change out of my court clothes," she said, looking down at the dress she word. A court fan was strapped to the belt around her waist, and her slippers would be downright useless in battle. She slipped the off, pushed up her sleeves, and raised her sword.

The first blow of swords was enough to let Mel know her opponent was good. The second nearly knocked her down.

Mel gritted her teeth. She'd not been trained by the best fighter in the kingdom--and her husband, no less, Vidanric--to go down this easily.

The knight came at Mel from the side; Mel swept her leg under the knight's feet and knocked him to the ground. The knight's helmet rolled off...revealing a woman underneath.

"You're a girl?" Mel asked, shocked.

"The first female knight for a hundred years," Alanna said, jumping up. "And better than you." She struck with all her force, knocking Mel's sword from her grasp.

Mel backed away, carefully, racking her mind for an escape. She tripped over her dress hem and sprawled on the ground.

Alanna smiled, creeping forward. She raised her sword over her head, prepared to deliver the blow that would end Meliara.

Mel's hand slipped to her side, fingers brushing the fan attached at her side. As Alanna's sword crashed down, Mel whipped open the fan. The sword pierced through the thin silk material, but Mel snapped the fan closed with both hands, twisting the blade from Alanna's grip. Mel rolled away, jerking the blade with her, and jumped up, Alanna's sword in her hand.

Predicted winner: Meliara

Alanna is from Tamora Pierce's The Song of the Lioness quartet and Meliara is from Sherwood Smith's Crown Duel
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