The Web: Duel - Norman vs. Bilbringhi

by Matthew Harding

written 08/13/95

Welcome to the Arena, Strange World fans! This is Steve Stimson, your announcer for the first duel of this Strange World season. The duel is between two newcomers: Bilbringhi the Mage, hailing from the Red tunnel, and Norman, hailing from Strange World Yellow. Neither have fought in the Arena before, and so the audience will be able to differentiate between them, a short description of each is in order: Bilbringhi is a Mesmer, a race which is almost physically identical to humans, but with fair skin, blue eyes, and hair that is either blue, white, brown, or white. Some Mesmer have two or three colors in their hair, while most only have one. Bilbringhi has blue and white locks of hair, is about six feet tall, and looks like he is in his late thirties or early forties. He resembles the stereotypical wizard in many ways: he has long, flowing hair and wears a robe which conceals most of his body. He does not appear to be physically strong, and carries a quarterstaff. Norman, on the other hand, is every bit a warrior. He is over seven feet tall, and weighs close to 600 lbs. His age is unknown, but he appears quite young, with his clear, blue eyes and fiery red hair. His principle weapon seems to be his massive broadsword. He is human.

Now that we've met our two combatants, let's go now to the Arena, and watch the duel unfold. Norman enters the Arena in the Northwest tower of the ruined city, and sits for a moment, apparently getting his bearings. Bilbringhi is unseen. Almost immediately, water begins to emerge from the rocky rimwall, beginning to fill the Arena. Norman stands still for a moment longer, then suddenly, without warning or preamble, he pulls out a dagger and hurls it upward at an amazing velocity. It reaches the top of the Arena in less than two seconds, but when it is nearing the top of the Arena, it is deflected off to one side. The blade encounters something, and there is a hideous screech from the top of the Arena, but nothing can be seen at the top of the Arena save the dagger, which is slowly falling back to the ground. Norman throws another dagger, with even more force in a slightly different location. This time, the dagger is hardly deflected at all, and it buries itself into something invisible. There is another screech, much weaker this time, and blood begins forming in the air where the dagger is. Slowly, the dagger and it's invisible victim spiral to the ground where they remain motionless. The water level of the Arena, by this time, has risen to about one and a half feet above the ground, and Norman's daggers are submerged. Norman pauses for a moment, and then turns slowly toward the lagoon. He runs toward the edge of the tower, drawing his mighty broadsword, and launches himself at an exceptional speed toward the lagoon. He lands with his sword outstretched, and crashes headlong into the lagoon. He encounters something in the lagoon, obivously, as his dive is interrupted and his body and sword are deflected off to one side. He stands up, and brings his sword to bear against the middle of the lagoon, slashing with enormous strength. It again impacts on something, and he lifts his sword again for another blow when he stops, looks down at something, and drives his sword into the lagoon at his feet. He pulls his sword up and as the water falls off, one can barely make out the outline of a small object which has been pierced through the middle by Norman's sword. Norman, confident that the creature is dead, removes it from his sword and throws it into the water beside him. He looks back down at the middle of the lagoon, raises his sword, and then pauses. Whatever he was attacking seems to be gone. Suddenly, out of the water around him, a massive humanoid figure appears. Norman swings his sword mightily, cutting deeply into the beast. The beast flies backwards, and lands in the water, which is about two feet deep now and no longer rising. Upon contact with the water, the beast's wound heals, and he stands up, unscathed. He charges at Norman, swinging a massive fist at Norman's head. Norman, with astounding speed and agility, ducks, and runs the beast through with his sword. Norman then flings a small vial at the beast and suddenly it turns into a.... a CHICKEN? Yes, folks, it seems as though Norman has turned the beast into a chicken. Norman then dispenses with the chicken by decapitating it. The headless corpse runs around for a bit, and then falls, lifeless into the standing water. As Norman looks around for more foes, a massive wall of water forms from around him and starts rushing towards him. From the other side, one can see a massive gust of wind forming, also converging upon Norman. Norman starts to run, but is then stopped. He seems unable to move. He struggles to move, and manages to curl into a ball, braced for the impact. The two elements crash together, with Norman at the middle, with amazing force. When the water dies down, one can see Norman's battered, bloody body laying in the lagoon. He struggles to get up... wait, there appears to be some action on the Elemental plane. We'll go there to see the action!

It seems as though Bilbringhi has fled to the Elemental plane. He is surrounded by Fire and Earth Elementals, who are looking down at him with anger and hatred. One of the Earth Elementals rasps, "How dare you intrude on our demesne, Element-rapist? You may have power over us in your plane, but you are in our plane, now, where we control things. You magic means nothing here, Mesmer! You may have convinced some of our brothers to do your bidding, but you have no such power over the powerful Earth Elementals!"

"Or the cunning and powerful Fire Elementals," breathes a vaguely humanoid mass of fire.

Bilbringhi, amazed at this turn of events, starts to speak, but is suddenly set upon by the entire hoard of Elementals. They seem quite angry, tearing into him and relieving him that an arm? Let's go back to the Prime Material Plane- there's nothing that our audience would care to watch here.

Upon returning to the Prime Material Plane, one can see Norman's mangled body standing up, weakly swinging his sword at unseen foes. New wounds appear on his body at all sides, and he is cut to pieces, as if by invisible talons. He falls- the scoreboard says he is dead, but it is of no consequence, for we had hardly returned from the Elemental plane when the scoreboard indicated that was dead. Norman, while technically the winner, will not be walking out of the Arena after this fight. As the Arena medics come in, let us look over the duel:

Winner: Norman, with 0 kills. (Although Norman *did* kill several creatures, he did not kill Bilbringhi, nor did he cause his death, and therefore gets credit for zero kills)
Loser: Bilbringhi, with 1 kill.
Norman : 3 points.
Bilbringhi : 2 points.

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