So, for those of you living under rocks, or that quite possibly just don’t care about things like this, the awesome sci-fi/fantasy site Suvudu has recently finished a ‘Villains Only’ Cage Match, and the winner of all the villains was The Mountain That Rides – yes, another G.R.R.M. creation who has no logical reason to be able to beat people like The Reaper, but pulled through by sheer fanboyism. Well, Suvudu has decided that The Mountain will now go up against the last Cage Match Winner, Rand al’Thor. If you don’t know who that is, I doubt you’re reading this blog.
Rand is essentially a demi-god. He is the most powerful channeler to have lived in over three thousand years, he has the memories of a past life of another extremely powerful channeler, and has at his disposal Callandor – a sa’angrael so powerful he is scared to use it. True, Callandor has some flaws, but even without that, in the latest book, Towers of Midnight, he was able to wipe out an army of hundreds of thousands of Trollocs, fades, and Draghkar in a matter of hours. Plus, as any who have read the latest book know, it is a defendable position that he is no longer insane – he was apparently cleansed during his tenure on Dragonmount. Which means it is unlikely he would have any problems against regular, non-channeling villains.
Meet The Mountain that Rides. Sure, he has no fear, but he is basically just a large brute who beats opponents to death, usually right after (or before) he rapes them. This match is literally the equivalent of Goku being challenged by some thug on the street who picked a few pockets in his day, and now consider himself the King of Thieves.
Anyway, Suvudu offered to take submissions for write-ups of how we (the fans) expect the battle to go. I did not know about this submission thing until it was too late to send in – the submission deadline was December 10 – but I figured I would put ‘pen to paper’ and tell my version of the story.
A few quick notes – I have taken some liberties with both the voice of Clegane, and the plot currently going on in the Wheel of Time. I also inserted into the story the assumption that Rand knew why he had to fight Clegane, but not how he had attained the information. Please forgive me these things.
Well, that went better than expected, Rand thought to himself, looking out over the Fields of Merrilor at the massive army that now followed Mat, and the Aes Sedai who – though grumbling about it, he was sure – were preparing to go to war for the first time in a very long time. He knew he should be focusing on the Black Tower right now, knowing that they would be a knife twisted deep in his back if he ignored them before heading to Shayol Ghul, but he also knew – or felt sure about, anyway – that someone else was about to settle that issue once and for all. He still felt guilty that he had let things get that far, but knew that those whom he had put his trust in would see things settled with Taim. And maybe, just maybe, Taim would even make it out alive, and come looking for vengeance on the Dragon Reborn. Rand’s fists clenched as he thought of that hateful man, but he quickly calmed himself, preparing for his journey.
He looked around to make sure no one else could see where he was going – Min was speaking with Elayne – how could I have not known she was pregnant!? – and Egwene was tending to Aes Sedai concerns. Perrin and Mat were discussing something with Bashere, and the Wise Ones were with the clan chiefs, preparing for battle. Aviendha was still somewhere far south and east, somewhere in the Waste, but he felt concern from her, concern like he had never felt. He wanted to go to her, but he had one last thing to do. Ducking inside his pavilion tent, he quickly wove a Gateway, and stepped through. He threw a weave atop it to hide it from site, should anyone step into the tent.
His boots touched on a rocky path, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. He did not know where he was, only that it had been promised by those who he could not ignore that he would be here at this time. Before him stood a towering brute of a man, impossibly large, holding a massive sword in one hand and a thick shield in another. The man appeared to be waiting for him, but Rand did not know him except by name, and could not see his face behind the helmet the man wore.
The two stood facing each other for a long moment, and then the man apart from Rand spoke.
“So you are the one I’m supposed to defeat? I have been sent against a priest? A gimp prophet?”
Rand smiled and looked down at his brown robes, realizing he did look very dissimilar from most warriors, though beneath his robe, Justice was sheathed – hopefully he would not lose this blade, as he felt sure it would be needed when he finally met the Daughter of the Nine Moons again. He had not brought Callandor – he still feared its power, and had also known he would not be allowed to bring any women to link with him here.
“Who do I speak to, friend?” Rand called to the hulking man, measuring the distance between the two of them. “And why do you think you must defeat me?” Rand knew who this was, but thought it would be best to appear courteous at their first meeting. He seized the Source, just to make sure it was still available here, and was filled with the chilling cold of the One Power, surging through him like a tempest.
The man growled and ripped off his helmet, revealing a horribly scarred and gruesome face. “I am the one sent to defeat you! I know you have powerful sorceries, but I have already beaten Death himself, and have no fear of you.”
Rand scowled – this was already going in a way he had hoped to avoid. This man, Gregor Clegane, known by some as The Mountain That Rides, was supposed to be an unstoppable killing machine in this strange world, and one who felt no shame at his immoral deeds.
“I can offer you sanctuary if you come with me. My forces ride towards a battle that will determine the fate of my world. We need all the help we can get. I would be willing to…” Rand cut off as he saw the Mountain was laughing.
“You will give me Sanctuary?” the man spit incredulously. “I fear no one here – those who come before me, whether they be made of metal, whether they be immortal undead, or whether they be gods themselves . . . they die. I have defeated the most powerful being in all creation, why should I fear you?” Clegane lowered his helmet over his head again. “You speak trickeries and nonsense.”
The Mountain That Rides began striding forward, cautiously. Rand tried one last time to reason.
“Your fighting skill is legendary, Clegane! Your prowess would do our people well. Your sins can be forgotten – you can start anew with us. There is evil in our world that makes yours look insignificant – surely you wish for a chance to do what is right?”
Clegane ignored Rand, closing the distance – he was less than twenty paces away when he charged.
Rand sighed and, just as the Mountain was about to reach him, wove a Gateway beneath the man’s feet. The huge knight stumbled for a moment, then tumbled headfirst through the Gateway, appearing a hundred feet back up the path, and falling on his face.
Rand smiled and said, “I offer one last time. Call it a treaty – a truce between us, even if temporary. Let us hold off our battle until my work is done.”
Clegane growled and rushed forward, twirling his sword, and almost dancing with anger – Rand could see the man had strength and skill with the blade, but it was odd seeing the difference in this sword master and those Rand had himself confronted.
As the Mountain approached, he slowed cautiously, seeming concerned that Rand had not yet made a move. Rand held his arms wide. He felt the One Power, a torrent of fire and ice, and let it fill him to the brink. He knew Clegane could not see any indication of his power, and felt pity for the small man, but time was running out.
“Will you yield to me and allow this nonsense to end, so that we may both continue with whatever tasks we have?” Rand asked, allowing his voice to take on the quality it once had always taken when he was in the Void – cold and distant.
“Yield? Yield!?” the man roared, and charged, setting his point straight towards Rand’s heart.
Rand released the energy within him in two weaves. A massive thunderclap was heard as the ground beneath Clegane roared upwards and threw the man into the air, head over heels. At the same time, bright light – searing and white – appeared all around, blinding his opponent. It was not his most impressive demonstration, but it would work. He casually caught Clegane before the man hit the ground, wrapped him in flows of Air, and spread his limbs apart as though the man were being put to question.
Rand approached, his smile gone. He drew Justice with his good hand and without slowing, put the point to Clegane’s neck. He made sure to put a little pressure on the blade. Weaving flows of Fire and Air, the air around the Mountain heated up, causing sweat to immediately start pouring from the man’s pores, and weaving flows of Earth made the ground beneath them tremble. Finally, with just a trickle of Air, he threw Clegane’s helmet off the man’s head. There was no fear in the man’s eyes, just rage and anger, and Rand knew this could not be won in any other way.
He spoke softly, almost a whisper. “I fight for the salvation of all the people on my world, good and evil alike.” His voice rose slightly, and he allowed the Air to pick up in a frenzy, whipping his clothes about. “Your evil is foul, and you deserve death a hundred times over, yet I was willing to spare your life for a greater good.” The wind was torrential now, and thunderclouds appeared overhead out of nowhere, lightning flashing within. “I have been told to be here to settle a trial – a Trial of Might – a flaming tournament, while in my world, the creation of all evil such as yours is ready to break free and crush me and my friends.” Air, Fire, and Spirit caused Justice to glow and heat up. Clegane began to look concerned, but it was too late. “I have wasted my time – I was told this could only end with one of our deaths, and by dint of prophecy, I should have known there would be no way around it. Should you be reborn one day, I hope your spirit is cleansed.”
Rand released all the energy that was left within him into a single focused weave. It was the most complex weave he had ever woven, all five Powers forming a white sphere which surrounded Clegane. The sphere disappeared, taking Clegane with it, and the air rushed to fill the void he had made. Rand thought he may have seen contentment in the man’s eyes before he had erased him from existence, but knew better than to hope for good in someone so foul. He knew that he had done something impossible – he had ripped the man’s soul from this existence – from all existences – and hoped it was for the best. But he could not imagine ever having this man born again in any world, to wreak the havoc in another life that he had already done.
Rand looked around at the rocky road – he had allowed the storm to settle, and patches of sunlight shone through – and looked down at the helmet which Clegane had been wearing. Picking it up, and channeling Air and Water to clean the filthy thing, he tucked it under his arm, turned around, and strode back through the Gateway. There was still work to be done.
There it is. I know I’m not a fantastic writer, but I think that’s a pretty accurate representation of how the battle would go down. Don’t forget to vote!
Rand al’Thor is a character from the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson; Ser Gregor Clegane (The Mountain That Rides) is a character from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin.