Reathe traces the scar over his face, a soft scowl crossing his lips as his fingers across into his vision. He stops, pulls his hand away to stare at the scars - sharp, thin lines cutting circles around each from tip to knuckle, like rings burned into his skin forever. The backs of his hands were ravaged, but the scars on his wrists were nearly invisible. He can nearly hear the man's voice in his ear, feel fingers curling around his wrist.
"I want to give you something to remember me by, Reathe. A piece of me to carry with you always."
The pain almost comes back, and he flexes his hand to dispel the feeling, looking out into the snows near the Tournament grounds. Velan was supposed to be here by now - they were to spar one last time, for old times sake, before Velan was assigned to a suicide mission out in Deepholm.
A shriek above his head breaks his focus, and Reathe dives out of the way as his friend - comrade, lieutenant - landed in a cloud of snow where he had stood moments before. He slips off the azure drake, patting its flank to send it off, and Reathe smiles to himself - some things never change, and Velan is one of them. Taut, greenish skin, riddled with scars and splits as if he were made of ripped paper. The runebladed greataxe, armor lined with fur and caked with blood older than his younger counterpart.
"So its true," Velan says, his voice the crackle of parchment balled into the hands. "You're alive now."
Reathe nods, wiping snow from his face. "A lucky break, to be sure."
"Just like always," Velan smiles, pulling the axe from his back. "Drakeson doesn't like it? He runs from it."
A scowl crosses the soldier's face. "I didn't call you here for insults."
"You called me here as a friend, sure. You're the insult, Drakeson. You couldn't bear your suffering, and you're too blind to realize you're rubbing it in my face with every pathetic little heartbeat."
Reathe laughs, shaking his head. "I see what you're doing. See you're as patient as ever. Lets go."
The Deathknight has no biting comments for that - instead, he is a blur of prenatural frost, Reathe lifting his shield to deflect the axe that would surely cleave his skull open. He curses under the force of the blow - staggers, even - twisting around to strike back. The blade whistles by hardly a centimetre from Velan's face. Another strike - each one avoided, parried, a near miss, until Reathe found himself staggering back on the defensive, sweat dripping down his face.
"Maybe if you still had that eye, Drakeson, this wouldn't be so easy." Cold blue eyes laugh at him, the glittering of a runebladed axe bright amongst slowly drifting snow.
Reathe snarls, suddenly wild. This is how Velan fights, and Reathe should know it, all insults and needling remarks to force his opponent to lose their cool. But his sparring partner knows him too well, knows all the things that make his vision go red, and neatly sidesteps a wild blow to slam the haft of his greataxe into Reathe's stomach. The soldier would never have been staggered before - instead, he reels, sputtering as bile rises from his throat, and drops to his knees to vomit. He hardly starts to rise, and another brutal blow cracks across his jaw, sending him spinning to his back, sword dropped from briefly lifeless fingers.
"You're done." Velan says, sneering through rotted teeth. The other man had been Reathe's most trusted friend in Northrend, but now that he was alive, the deathknight showed nothing of that connection - only contempt.
Reathe drags himself to his feet. He can taste blood and vomit, pain lancing through his core and pounding with his pulse through his temples - but he does not respond, nor relent. He lunges at Velan's turned back, and the dead knight barely has time to turn before one heavily plated fist cracks across his jaw. He twists around, smashing the shield still strapped to his arm across his face, watches him stagger, and takes a solid blow to the gut in response.
He uses the reeling sickness to his advantage this time, and the last of the bile that pours from his lips is spat in the other man's eyes. A knife is drawn from his belt, and he uses the extra weight to lend credence to his next blow, sending Velan to his knees. He strikes him again and again, until thick, black blood pours from the other man's nostrils, his arms up in a futile attempt to slow the beating.
Reathe stops, planting a foot in the Knight's chest, and shoves him onto his back. breathless, covered in his own blood and vomit. He slips his plated foot up, presses hard on Velan's throat. "Never -... give in," he whispers. "Never stop fighting. You should know by now - ... that I do not surrender easily."
He turns, listening to the scrape of plate against ice as Velan rises. "Drakeson," he says. He can hear the blood bubbling in his dead throat.
"Remember, I don't need both eyes to kill you. Good luck in Deepholm."