The Fight That Never Happened, by Charles Matthias

Story name: The Fight That Never Happened
Author: Charles Matthias
Publication date: December 1, 1997 (on TSA-List)

Date: Spring 706 CR, 3 weeks before Easter
Location: Metamor Keep, Writer's Guild Hall

Summary

Michael and Matthias cross paths again, just as Matthias is leaving for a Writer's Guild meeting. He invites Michael to come along.

As they walk to a low building on the west side of the keep, Matthias explains that he is giving a presentation on stories told nonchronologically. Michael asks about how long Matthias has been writing. Matthias admits he only started after arriving, even though he has always had a way with words. He gets visibly uncomfortable talking about his past, however.

Matthias takes Michael around to the back entrance, as he has a certain authority over the other two headmasters that he has fortunately never had to use. He shows Michael around the Guild Hall, and takes him to the main hall, which is already filled with Guild members.

Matthias introduces Michael to The Reverend Doctor Johann Nathaniel Melchior Channing Friedrich Hernandez Sebastien Wells (de LaFontaine), known simply as Dr. Channing. They chat, but Michael is uncomfortable with all the stares he is getting. He sits in Phil's seat, as he is absent, while Matthias and Dr. Channing lead the meeting, reciting stories and discussing business for Thomas.

Michael is bored until a kangaroo morph named Habakkuk stands up and challenges the other members for a fight. Matthias explains that this challenge happens twice a year to boost the students' spirits, but he forgot it was today. Nahum, a fox morph, accepts Habakkuk's challenge. Michael notices Matthias is deliberately ignoring the fight, only looking up once Michael tells him that Habakkuk has won. Habakkuk then invites Matthias for a fight, prodding even when Matthias refuses. Matthias finally slams his fist into the table, cracking it in two, and shouts at him to find someone else.

As Habakkuk accepts a wolf's challenge, Channing whispers to Matthias why he wouldn't just let himself get beaten up to save face. Matthias says he is a pacifist, to which Channing replies "Yes, you are now." Matthias snarls at the goose what he means by that, who calmly asks if he should tell the carpenter to fix his table. Matthias tells him to drop the subject, and Dr. Channing apologizes. Michael wonders what Matthias is hiding, but turns his attention back to the fight.

Characters

Main Characters:

  • Michael: A newcomer to the Keep. His sense of smell has improved since he was last seen.
  • Matthias: A headmaster of the Writer's Guild. He is revealed to be an ardent pacifist, who is nonetheless powerful enough to break furniture.

Supporting:

  • Dr. Channing: A headmaster of the Writer's Guild. He is a goose morph, tall but slender, and Michael estimates he weighs no more than 200 pounds. Although he has an office in the guild house, he spends most of his time in his tower. He seems to have some awareness of Matthias's past.
  • Zhypar Habakkuk: A member of the Writer's Guild, a kangaroo morph. He is a very good fighter, having won the Writer's Guild fight twice before. He has been writing a story for the past three years, one that Matthias wants him to write.
  • Nahum: A member of the Writer's Guild. He is a red-tailed fox morph who is almost as good as Habakkuk at fighting.

Mentioned:

  • Copernicus: The court lizard who welcomed Michael to the Keep.
  • Pascal: The Keep alchemist who intrigues Michael.
  • Phil: A headmaster of the Writer's Guild. He is on patrol duty, and does not attend the meeting.

Points of Interest

  • The Writer's Guild meets weekly, meaning that this story takes place a week after Writer's Guild.
  • The Ivy Causeway makes its first appearance here. It connects Matthias's room in the Keep with the Writer's Guild Hall, the Deaf Mule, and Kimberly's room.
  • The Writer's Guild Hall is a short but ornate building, with four pug-nosed dog-faced statues at each corner, a marble balustrade along the roof, and an emblem above the front door of a quill pen and inkwell carved out of wood over silver. It used to be a garrison, until another garrison was built after the Battle. Matthias renovated the old garrison after he moved to the Keep. There are still old rust stains on a floor from a rusting suit of armor.
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