March 9, 2011: Corvis Rebaine vs… Severus Snape!

And so it begins.

As I mentioned elsewhere, Suvudu (the Random House blog) is doing their latest cage match, pitting characters from fantasy and sci-fi against one another until only one is left standing. This year, Corvis Rebaine (of The Conqueror’s Shadow and The Warlord’s Legacy) is in the running. And his first opponent is Hogwarts’ own master of potions and the Dark Arts. (You guys get to vote and make the final determination; link below.)

The good folks at Random House asked me to write up my own version of how I think the match would go. So, without further ado…

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Eyes ever alert behind his helm of bone and iron, one hand resting with forced nonchalance upon the blade at his belt, Corvis Rebaine crept through darkened halls as silently as his armor would allow. The scuff of metal on wood echoed in whispers all around him, until at last he halted before a single heavy door.

“Are you sure this is the right place?” he asked, his tone so soft that his words weren’t even a breath on the air.

Beneath his breastplate, a dangling pendant flickered crimson. /What kind of question is that?/ It was an arrogant, mocking voice, a voice that existed only in Corvis’s head—the voice of the demon prince, Khanda. /Have I ever steered you wrong, Old Boy?/

Corvis snorted. “Just today, or in the past week?” He began to shove at the thick wooden portal before him. “This doesn’t look like an arena,” he added as the door swung open to reveal a chamber of old, dusty shelves and scattered chairs. “Place looks more like a school.”

/And how would you know what a school looks like, you ignorant—/

“Come no further.” Across the chamber, a sickly pale face limned in darkness oozed from the shifting shadows. His voice conveyed a superciliousness scarcely less than Khanda’s own.

“Snape?” Corvis breathed.

/Snape./

“You’re not wanted here, brigand,” Snape continued. In one hand he clutched an ebon wand, in the other a ceramic vial. He looked Corvis up and down, dismissing the steel-and-bone armor with a single arched eyebrow. “Not that I can imagine anywhere you would be wanted. Whoever dresses you appears to have the aesthetics of a drunken undertaker.”

/Oh, I like him! Maybe I should consider changing sides./

“He’d never put up with you, Khanda,” Corvis said.

/Probably true. You mortals are so sensitive…/

“I won’t intrude long.” The warlord spoke aloud this time, directing his comments not at Khanda, but at the wizard across the chamber. “I just need to…”

An abruptly raised hand, a clenched fist—and at that unspoken signal, Khanda’s power flared. Torrents of balefire, ripped from the bowels of Hell, roared from Corvis’s gauntlets. Tables disintegrated, cobwebs flashed and were gone; the scent of scorched and burning things was enough to sear the lungs. Yet in the center of it all, Severus Snape stood unharmed, his black robes unruffled. Corvis, his jaw growing slack, allowed the flames to fade.

“You, for all your power, are just a channel. A dabbler in the dark arts,” Snape sneered. “While I am a master of them.”

Steel rasped on leather as Corvis drew Sunder from the belt at his side. The heavy axe glinted in the flickering light; the runes across its blade flowed and twitched like dying beetles.

But scarcely had he lifted the blade, taken only a single step, when Snape raised the wand at his side. “Expelliarmus!” A scarlet light, nearly as bloody as Khanda’s glow, flashed through the chamber, and Corvis found his fist empty, Sunder embedded in the wall behind him.

No time to retrieve it, not now. Corvis dashed along the walls, dropping and rolling as bolt after bolt of arcane energies flashed from the sorcerer’s wand. He felt himself rocked by a pair of near-misses, saw bits of furniture that had survived the deluge of hellfire now bursting into splinters beneath Snape’s attack. The wizard was actually hovering a foot or two off the floor, effortlessly defying the earth’s pull.

Briefly concealed by a shattered table, Corvis muttered his own incantations, one of the lesser magics for which he didn’t require Khanda’s aid. The air before him shimmered, and a second Corvis Rebaine slowly rose up from cover to face the black-clad sorcerer.

Snape’s sneer became, if anything, even more pronounced. “Do you honestly think I don’t know a cheap, amateur illusion when I see one?” Already he was scouring the rest of the room, looking for his hidden foe.

Corvis—the real Corvis, who had hidden inside his own false image, anticipating that Snape would recognize and dismiss it—surged forward and leapt. Snape cried out in shock as the heavily armored form hurtled into him, dragging them both back down to earth.

Even as they struck the floor, both driven to their knees at the impact, Corvis lashed out, his fist augmented by Khanda’s own unholy energies. Snape screamed a second time as the wand snapped in two, flew from an equally broken hand. Again Khanda’s hellfire roared up from the earth around them, but this time the edges of Snape’s robes, and the tips of his hair, began to smolder.

Despite his growing agony, however, his eyes when he glared up into the face of his attacker were clear.

/Corvis!/ But even Khanda’s warning came an instant too late.

Sectumsempra!

Corvis had rolled partly clear before Snape’s magic manifested. Still it was his turn to cry out in torment as wounds opened across his body, the sorcerer’s spell bypassing the armor to slash directly at the flesh.

Both men rose unsteadily to their feet; the one seared, the other dripping blood from the gaps in his armor. Corvis raised a hand behind him in an unspoken summons, and the demon-forged axe jerked itself from the wall, flying to his side. He raised the weapon high and struck. Snape raised his own hand, clutching nothing but the ceramic vial, in a parry.

Sunder shattered the vessel, but the instant the potion within touched Snape’s skin, the arm hardened beyond even Sunder’s ability to slice. For an instant they stood, locked together, blade against open palm, silhouetted against the balefire crackling around them.

And then Corvis, in a single awkward, twitching move, drove the thumb of his free hand into Snape’s eye, even as he brought his armored knee up in the wizard’s groin.

No scream, this time, but a high-pitched wheeze of expelled breath before the black-robed figure collapsed once more. Corvis took a deep breath to steady himself, then a second—and then Sunder rose and fell one more time, biting through flesh, through bone, and deep into the floor beneath.

/So would this be what people are talking about,/ Khanda asked gleefully, /when they refer to a ‘wild Snape hunt’?/

Corvis could respond only with an agonized groan as he slowly dragged himself to the far door, and out once more into the darkened halls.

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Want to see how the folks at Suvudu think the match would go? Click here to see their version!

And once you’re done reading either, or both, please cast your vote at the above link, to determine who actually gets to go on to round two. Corvis and I both appreciate your support. Well, I appreciate it; Corvis insists on it. 😈

Eyes ever alert behind his helm of bone and iron, one hand resting with forced nonchalance upon the blade at his belt, Corvis Rebaine crept through darkened halls as silently as his armor would allow. The scuff of metal on wood echoed in whispers all around him, until at last he halted before a single heavy door.

“Are you sure this is the right place?” he asked, his tone so soft that his words weren’t even a breath on the air.

Beneath his breastplate, a dangling pendant flickered crimson. /What kind of question is that?/ It was an arrogant, mocking voice, a voice that existed only in Corvis’s head—the voice of the demon prince, Khanda. /Have I ever steered you wrong, Old Boy?/

Corvis snorted. “Just today, or in the past week?” He began to shove at the thick wooden portal before him. “This doesn’t look like an arena,” he added as the door swung open to reveal a chamber of old, dusty shelves and scattered chairs. “Place looks more like a school.”

/And how would you know what a school looks like, you ignorant—/

“Come no further.” Across the chamber, a sickly pale face limned in darkness oozed from the shifting shadows. His voice conveyed a superciliousness scarcely less than Khanda’s own.

“Snape?” Corvis breathed.

/Snape./

“You’re not wanted here, brigand,” Snape continued. In one hand he clutched an ebon wand, in the other a ceramic vial. He looked Corvis up and down, dismissing the steel-and-bone armor with a single arched eyebrow. “Not that I can imagine anywhere you would be wanted. Whoever dresses you appears to have the aesthetics of a drunken undertaker.”

/Oh, I like him! Maybe I should consider changing sides./

“He’d never put up with you, Khanda,” Corvis said.

/Probably true. You mortals are so sensitive…/

“I won’t intrude long.” The warlord spoke aloud this time, directing his comments not at Khanda, but at the wizard across the chamber. “I just need to…”

An abruptly raised hand, a clenched fist—and at that unspoken signal, Khanda’s power flared. Torrents of balefire, ripped from the bowels of Hell, roared from Corvis’s gauntlets. Tables disintegrated, cobwebs flashed and were gone; the scent of scorched and burning things was enough to sear the lungs. Yet in the center of it all, Severus Snape stood unharmed, his black robes unruffled. Corvis, his jaw growing slack, allowed the flames to fade.

“You, for all your power, are just a channel. A dabbler in the dark arts,” Snape sneered. “While I am a master of them.”

Steel rasped on leather as Corvis drew Sunder from the belt at his side. The heavy axe glinted in the flickering light; the runes across its blade flowed and twitched like dying beetles.

But scarcely had he lifted the blade, taken only a single step, when Snape raised the wand at his side. “Expelliarmus!” A scarlet light, nearly as bloody as Khanda’s glow, flashed through the chamber, and Corvis found his fist empty, Sunder embedded in the wall behind him.

No time to retrieve it, not now. Corvis dashed along the walls, dropping and rolling as bolt after bolt of arcane energies flashed from the sorcerer’s wand. He felt himself rocked by a pair of near-misses, saw bits of furniture that had survived the deluge of hellfire now bursting into splinters beneath Snape’s attack. The wizard was actually hovering a foot or two off the floor, effortlessly defying the earth’s pull.

Briefly concealed by a shattered table, Corvis muttered his own incantations, one of the lesser magics for which he didn’t require Khanda’s aid. The air before him shimmered, and a second Corvis Rebaine slowly rose up from cover to face the black-clad sorcerer.

Snape’s sneer became, if anything, even more pronounced. “Do you honestly think I don’t know a cheap, amateur illusion when I see one?” Already he was scouring the rest of the room, looking for his hidden foe.

Corvis—the real Corvis, who had hidden inside his own false image, anticipating that Snape would recognize and dismiss it—surged forward and leapt. Snape cried out in shock as the heavily armored form hurtled into him, dragging them both back down to earth.

Even as they struck the floor, both driven to their knees at the impact, Corvis lashed out, his fist augmented by Khanda’s own unholy energies. Snape screamed a second time as the wand snapped in two, flew from an equally broken hand. Again Khanda’s hellfire roared up from the earth around them, but this time the edges of Snape’s robes, and the tips of his hair, began to smolder.

Despite his growing agony, however, his eyes when he glared up into the face of his attacker were clear.

/Corvis!/ But even Khanda’s warning came an instant too late.

Sectumsempra!

Corvis had rolled partly clear before Snape’s magic manifested. Still it was his turn to cry out in torment as wounds opened across his body, the sorcerer’s spell bypassing the armor to slash directly at the flesh.

Both men rose unsteadily to their feet; the one seared, the other dripping blood from the gaps in his armor. Corvis raised a hand behind him in an unspoken summons, and the demon-forged axe jerked itself from the wall, flying to his side. He raised the weapon high and struck. Snape raised his own hand, clutching nothing but the ceramic vial, in a parry.

Sunder shattered the vessel, but the instant the potion within touched Snape’s skin, the arm hardened beyond even Sunder’s ability to slice. For an instant they stood, locked together, blade against open palm, silhouetted against the balefire crackling around them.

And then Corvis, in a single awkward, twitching move, drove the thumb of his free hand into Snape’s eye, even as he brought his armored knee up in the wizard’s groin.

No scream, this time, but a high-pitched wheeze of expelled breath before the black-robed figure collapsed once more. Corvis took a deep breath to steady himself, then a second—and then Sunder rose and fell one more time, biting through flesh, through bone, and deep into the floor beneath.

/So would this be what people are talking about,/ Khanda asked gleefully, /when they refer to a ‘wild Snape hunt’?/

Corvis could respond only with an agonized groan as he slowly dragged himself to the far door, and out once more into the darkened halls.