How we think the fight will go
In the bosom of one of those spacious coves that indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarrytown.The dominant spirit, however, that haunts this enchanted region, and seems to be commander-in-chief of all the powers of the air, is the apparition of a figure on horseback, without a head. It is said by some to be the ghost of a Hessian trooper, whose head had been carried away by a cannonball, in some nameless battle during the Revolutionary War, and who is ever and anon seen by the country folk hurrying along in the gloom of night, as if on the wings of the wind.
And so it was until the dragon, Smaug, arrived. With wing and claw, with flame and tooth he terrorized the lower Hudson River Valley, reducing Tarrytown to ash and filling the graveyard of the Old Dutch Church with many an innocent life. Having eradicated the human population, Smaug retired to one of the largest peaks in the region, choosing the mountain known as Storm King as his new home, and plundered valuables of the humans to make his nest.
But one night, as the moon ascended and a vile, southerly wind kicked up, Smaug woke to the sound of horse hooves on the mountain path.
“Who is there,” grumbled Smaug, smoke beginning to curl from his nostril. “Another Baggins or somesuch nonsense? If you have come for my gold you will only find death.”
In response, a lone rider walked his horse up the path, stopping to pose menacingly on a large boulder. The steed was black, as were the rider’s garments and cloak. In fact, the figure looked much more like a shadow than a man, save for a carved pumpkin with candle-lit eyes that glared at Smaug from the crook of the rider’s arm. It was then that Smaug realized the rider had no head.
“I would have mistook you for one of Sauron’s lieutenants, but even the Ringwraiths have more sense than to challenge me!” With that the dragon opened his gaping maw and spewed flame along the mountain path, bathing the oak and maple trees in orange fire. There was not a single person who could stand such a blast and live.
But the Headless Horseman was no living person.
As the dragonflame died down, Smaug’s expression of victory changed to one of confusion as the figure remained unscathed. The horseman raised an arm and pointed ominously at the dragon. Seemingly called by the ghost himself, a great gust of wind struck the dragon in the face. The figure’s horse whinnied and reared up on its hind legs, giving the dragon a moment’s pause.
This enemy was clearly not afraid. Smaug would have to make him so.
In one fluid motion the dragon launched himself into the air as the Horseman turned his beast and began galloping down the rocky trail. Smaug climbed and circled the mountain once before tucking his wings back into a dive, zeroing in on the Horseman’s position. Faster and faster, closer and closer the dragon flew, easily matching the speed of horse and rider. Soon he was right behind the Horseman, whose arm was upraised.
Just as Smaug was about to clamp onto the steed’s back haunches, the Horseman brought his arm down forcefully as a tremendous gust of air smacked into the airborne dragon. Not expecting such a change in the wind, Smaug’s wings buckled and the dragon banked sharply to the left – directly into the gigantic boulders that make up Storm King’s peak. With a sickening crunch the dragon’s neck crumpled into the ancient stone and his form went limp.
The spectral rider slowed his steed down to a stop and turned to face his fallen foe. The jack-o-lantern in his arm now sported a menacing smile: The Headless Horseman was master here.
Smaug is one tough foe, but the Headless Horseman is spectral and controls the wind. Physical attacks are useless against the Horseman, but Smaug’s downfall comes from overconfidence in the air.
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON WEDNESDAY, March 6th, 2013, AT 5 PM, EST
Cage Match fans: We are looking forward to hearing your responses! If possible, please abstain from including potential spoilers about the books in your comments (and if you need spoilers to make your case, start your comments with: “SPOILER ALERT!”