26. Morpheus vs Choronzon
The final fight of our journey is not a traditional matter of fisticuffs or energy blasts, but rather a battle of wits, between Morpheus and the demon Choronzon.
Morpheus was captured for a number of years, so during this time, he lost his totems of power - a pouch of sand, a helm and a ruby.
He needed to get these items back, but since he was imprisoned for so long, he was too weak to just TAKE them, so when he encountered the demon who had the helm, he had to instead challenge him to a game of wits.
Each person would think of something and the other would name something more powerful until one could no longer name something more powerful than the other.
Here, then, is Neil Gaiman’s brilliant piece of writing showing Morpheus defeating Choronzon (Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg do a fine job on the art, too).
Choronzon: I am a dire wolf, prey-stalking, lethal prowler.
Morpheus: I am a hunter, horse-mounted, wolf-stabbing.
Choronzon: I am a horsefly, horse-stinging, hunter-throwing.
Morpheus: I am a spider, fly-consuming, eight legged.
Choronzon: I am a snake, spider-devouring, poison-toothed.
Morpheus: I am an ox, snake-crushing, heavy footed.
Choronzon: I am an anthrax, butcher, bacterium, warm-life destroying.
Morpheus: I am a world, space-floating, life nurturing.
Choronzon: I am a nova, all-exploding… planet-cremating.
Morpheus: I am the Universe — all things encompassing, all life embracing.
Choronzon: I am Anti-Life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds… of everything. Sss. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?
Morpheus: I am hope.