“The basement” turns out to be in the next tavern over, instead of underneath the reputable Legerdemain Lounge. The human bouncer at the entrance lets Keelath in almost immediately, though he gives Mirium a longer, incredulous stare, as the petite blood elf walks past, literally under his chin. The height difference between the two sin’dorei is made ever more apparent as Keelath ducks his six feet under the archway and down the stairs, Mirium hurrying to keep up with him. Once inside the gladiator’s arena, the death knight stops, nostrils flaring as he takes in the old scents of blood and pain.
The fighting arena is relatively empty at this time of day, and a scrawny servant is at work mopping the fighting floor. Mirium doesn’t hide a grimace of disgust as they pick their way over to a high elf who looks more official than the other hangers-on standing here and there in the shadows. The man picks his teeth with the long nail on the pinky of his left hand, and then smiles at them slyly, the ritzy dark makeup under his eyes crinkling slightly with the expression.
“Can I help you?” He eyes Keelath in his dinner jacket, and Mirium in her dress-like formal robes. “Perhaps you want to place a bet? Order a wine?” he goes on, obviously believing them aristocratic visitors instead of combatants.
“No. I am here to fight,” says Keelath.
The high elf looks surprised, but he quickly hides it under another grin and waves over a book-keeper. He goes down the list of competitors registered for the day, tut-tutting and tapping the long nail against the side of his jewel-pierced nose.
“Put him up against Stinky and the Bean,” he suggests to the book-keeper. “Finesse vs. brutality. A fine contrast, wouldn’t you say?”
“I think he might be surprised which one of you ends up the brutal one,” Mirium mutters to Keelath. Keelath grimaces. Mirium then touches his arm. “…I’ll get your fighting gear, sweetheart.” She stands on her tip-toes to kiss his cheek, then takes off at a quick clip, the trailing end of her robes clenched tight in one fist as she jumps over some questionable smears on the floor.
For himself, Keelath walks back over to Malcotin. “We’re scheduled for within the hour,” he informs the other undead. “Now, how does this contraption of yours work?”
|Trailing behind them discretely, Malcotin smiles as the petite Sindorei struggles to keep up with her husband. He himself towers over both of them in his worgen form. Hunched over to keep from banging his head on rafters, he resists the temptation to go down on all fours and race past them.|
The Arena is nearly empty and Malcotin nods, “Good, its early yet and a bit quiet. You only need to face one or two challengers to bring your bloodlust forward. I will warn you, this might look very painful, Mirium, but it is not that bad. It’s more mental than physical.”
He lets the two Sindorei speak privately as he goes to speak to the ring manager and let him know what he is looking for. “Greetings good fellow. I will need your cooperation, as this is a treatment session. Your fighter needs to be aware I am working on controlling this death knights basic urges. He will be disabled at times, and it is then I need your fighter to step back, and allow Keelath to recover. This will not be a fight to the death, and he will be wise not to try and take advantage of the situation. Understood?” He fixes the ring manager with a meaningful glare.
“You cannot be serious! My fighters will not throw a fight, no matter what! They fight for glory, not to give special attention to sick fighters.” The Ring master is furious. “The fights will take place as they usually do, the one who falls is considered a loser. Now get out of my sight!”
Malcotin growls in return. “You might as well arrange for the coffin now then. If Keelath is unchecked, he will not stop until your fighter is dead. But if that is your position, then so be it. I will place a bet on Keelath and laugh when he wins.”
The Ring manager frowns. “You will not interfere? People come to see blood shed, not thrown fights. Tell your blood knight friend he will be unchecked, or the fight will be canceled.”
Shrugging at the stupidity of the Silver Covenant elf, Malcotin growls and goes back to Keelath. “I can only offer you a bit of advice. Do not hold back. Show them what you are capable of. Then maybe he will offer a different fighter, who is willing to cooperate. If this does not work, then we shall have to make other arrangements.”
|Keelath listens quietly to the argument between Malcotin and the ringmaster. He doesn’t let his thoughts show on his face, beyond a slight curling of the lip at the mentions of fight-fixing.|
When Mirium returns, she helps him strap into his plate armor. His large axe he sets to the side, until the ringmaster gives them a disdainful look and motions Keelath to pick it up again.
“Either this opponent has warding magic, or no one gives a felbat about who lives down here,” mutters Keelath.
|“Couldn’t both be true?” Mirium remarks.|
|Keelath just grunts in return, his expression hidden as he slides his full-faced helm down over his head.|
When he’s ready, Keelath steps into the ring. The ringmaster gives him a once-over, with enough appreciation in his glance that Mirium mutters something uncomplimentary to herself.
The gate on the other side of the ring then swings open, and two combatants step in: a human with a spell-staff and a hulking ogron. The human is typical enough for a Dalaran wizard, with a sharp black beard and robes cut short and up the sides to allow him better movement in combat. His bald, red-brown head vaguely reminds Keelath of a kidney bean, which the death knight supposes is where the man got the name “Bean” from. The ogron, clearly “Stinky”, looks like a cross between a jagged obsidian rock elemental and a Mag’har orc, with hefty golden bracers clasped around its wrists, each emblazoned with markings that match the cut of the gem capping the wizard’s staff.
“Good luck!” Mirium calls out.