YA Fantasy Showdown

Because Sherwood's is so clever with her stats, I left all of her details exactly as is.

Alanna vs. Meliara - Sherwood Smith Edition!

Meliara Astiar
Countess of Tlanth; queen of Remalna
Age: 20-something
Race: Human
Weapons / Artifacts: Wits and incidentals
Special Attack: Sneaky and imaginative sabotage

Mel’s Advantages

    * Stubborn
    * Very stubborn
    * Has an instinct for sabotage and guerilla hit-and-run

Mel’s Disadvantages

    * Small, scrawny, tends to overthink so never mastered weaponry, has a terrible temper
Alanna of Trebond
Knight’s Champion, Lioness, Chosen of the Mother
Age: 20-something     
Race: Human
Weapons / Artifacts: Magic, bare fists, swords, knives, bows, staff–whatever comes to hand
Special Attack: You name it, she can do it

Alanna’s Advantages

    * Awesome Fighter
    * Awesome Mage
    * Awesome everything

Alanna’s Disadvantages

    * Prefers the truth to social expectation, and has a sense of honor

How I think the Fight Will Go

It will begin with Mel up in the gallery, looking down into the yard where the fights will be held, and she sees a red-haired woman warming up. She’s graceful, she’s powerful, she’s fast.

Mel groans.

At her right, her friend Oria says, “At least it will be over fast.”

At her left, Vidanric says, “She did say you have your pick of weapons.”

Mel gives him the hairy eyeball. “She’s expert at them all.”

From behind, Branaric observes, “Only time we were ever any good was against ol’ Debegri.”

“She’s not Debegri.” Mel watches Alanna leap over her first warm-up partner’s sword, kick the blade out of the hand of a second sparring partner, and use her hands to knock a third into the first. “She’s soooo not Debegri.”

“Yes, she expects a duel by the rules,” Vidanric points out. “Look, she’s got a sense of honor--she could have finished off One and Three there.”

“We didn’t know any rules when we fended off Debegri,” Oria says.

Branaric chuckles.

Mel turns around to glare at her brother, but sees that he is not laughing at her. His gaze is distant, his mind reliving memories . . .

“Oh.” Mel strokes her chin. “You think?” She turns to the other two.

Vidanric spreads his hands. “Your duel, your call.”

Oria grins. “Let me help.”


When the bell rings, each contestant enters the ring, a table of her chosen weapons behind her, or on her person.  Mel tries not to look at the wide range of steel or wood on the table behind Alanna. She gulps.

Alanna pauses, hands on hips, to survey this puny duelist before her. Violet eyes narrow with sympathetic humor when she sees nothing but a short sword in Mel’s right hand, her left in the pocket of her sturdy tunic. Alanna points with her chin behind Mel, at the table with nothing on it but a couple of bowls, and two big fat pies. “Got your lunch there? Expecting this to go on a while?”

Mel shrugs and grins.

The bell rings, and Alanna drops her long sword onto her table and picks up a shorter one. Two swings, without much effort. Mel blocks the blows, but staggers back after each. Then Alanna comes in low to disarm, and Mel’s left hand snakes out, releasing a powder into the air.

Alanna’s swing takes her into the powder, which smells sharp. She snorts before it can make her sneeze, as the powder settles on her skin. Mel has skipped out of the way; as Alanna steps in for another swing, she is aware of the powder, which seems to grit at her cuffs and neck, a gritty feeling that swiftly turns to an itch.

She is distracted; makes a swipe at her neck; where she scratches, the itch promptly worsens. She ignores it, swinging harder; she wants this over so she can dunk herself in the water barrel.

Mel meets another blow with a weak block, and skips out of the way, then swoops down on her weapons table, scooping something in her hand and flinging it. This time the powder is red--pepper! Alanna holds her breath as she lunges to get out of the pepper cloud, which sends her off-balance. Mel drops her sword, picks up both pastries, and slings one at Alanna’s face, and the other just behind her heels.

Alanna ducks the first pie, steps back--and slides in banana-cream moosh. She does a perfect parabola.


Mel picks up the pieces of the second pie, and applies them to Alanna’s surprised face, blinding her long enough for Mel to drop on Alanna’s neck, doing her best to pin her down. Alanna cannot get purchase in the slime to throw Mel off for the length of the count, and the bell rings.

As the Knights of Tortall boo Mel loudly, Mel crouches down beside Alanna. “You did say any weapon.”

“So I did,” Alanna says, laughing. “And there is a first time for everything. This was my first duel to the pie.”