“Do you know this Tristane?” Martine asked, ignoring the fact that she’d been eavesdropping.
“Not off hand,” Kang replied. “But I never really pay much attention to people unless they are a threat or prey. I’ll know him soon though.”
Adrielle downed the rest of her mead and put down her tankard, looking incredulously between her companions. “What? Who? I’m obviously missing something here.”
”Owydon told me he thinks Tristane was to blame for my arrest. I think we should go have a talk with the man.”
“I suppose, if you can find his gladiator, he’d know where to find Tristane,” said Martine.
Kang snorted. ”Fergus? Sounds like fun.”
“This sounds like a wrong that needs be righted,” said the Nord. Then her eyes widened in excitement. “Oh, if we prove your innocence does that mean the SpecGold will have to free you from your contract? Or … is the goal more revenge?”
“I don’t mind being Legion now,” said Kang. “And really I don’t care enough about what happened to want revenge. But I don’t appreciate being controlled. And Tristane will find that out.”
“I would hate to be him right about now,” said Adrielle.
Martine opened her mouth to say something, but closed it as Kang stood up and bellowed to the room, “Hey! Where would I go to find this … Fergus!”
After a babble of conflicting answers, someone meekly suggested, “The Arena?” At that the Orsimer looked at his companions and headed out of the tavern.
Adrielle put her hand to her mouth and muttered to Martine, “Well that’s one way to do it.” Martine gathered her effects and followed Kang out the door. Adrielle got up swiftly, dropping a couple septims on the table, before trailing her companions outside.
A number of gladiator regulars were in the training yard running drills, sparring, and exercising. Martine looked them over like she was at the window of a butcher’s shop. Kang sized up the yard to see who the alpha was. Adrielle leaned sideways toward him and whispered out of the side of her mouth, “So which one is it?”
Kang pointed to a man in flashy imperial armor, replete with crested helm. “That one … the one that smells awful.” The indicated gladiator looked pretty smug, lounging and barking criticism masked as suggestions to some others as they train.
“Thankfully I can’t smell him,” said the Nord.
Martine nodded. “Neither can- Oh, no. Yes, I can.”
Kang crossed the yard and strode up to Fergus. Adrielle bowed up to her full height, pushed her chest out, and marched behind her friend. Martine brought up the rear, trying to focus.
“Fergus. I hear you rule the Arena now. I’m happy for you. I had my way with her and was done with her anyhow.” Adrielle glanced down at the Orsimer, surprised at his words.
Fergus looked up at Kang dubiously, with one eyebrow cocked. “And you are?”
“The person you were lucky enough not to have to face to sit in that cushy seat.”
“Uh-huh.” Some of the other gladiators nearby seemed to recognize Kang and either tensed up or started paying very close attention. The shift in the wind did not escape Martine’s attention.
“I’m looking for a man named Tristane,” continued Kang. “How about you tell me how to locate him. Let’s call it cooperation between warriors.”
“How about you piss off,” said Fergus.
“Ooh,” said Martine. Adrielle frowned.
“I only ask nicely once,” said Kang. “What’ll it be.”
Fergus considered the Orsimer with a bored expression. “I’m thinking Cyrodiilic may not be your first language, so I’ll speak more slowly. Piss. Off.”
Kang pounced. A little surprised, Fergus tried to roll out of the way and trip the Orsimer up in the same move, but only managed to wind up Off Balance.
“Crap,” said Adrielle, turning toward Martine. “Run interference,” she said, nodding toward the crowd of gladiators.
Martine turned to face the other gladiators. “This is between them,” she said. “Let them have their … their tussle.” All of the gathered warriors seemed content to watch the fight play out.
Kang turned and threw a punch at Fergus. The man’s eyes widened in rage as he got his feet beneath him, pulling a nearby practice sword and striking for Kang’s head. The Orsimer stepped inside his opponent’s reach and caught Fergus’ sword arm in one hand. Kang snapped his head forward, but the Imperial pulled back and retreated a few steps away. Then he lunged forward, feinting high before sweeping his sword at Kang’s legs.
Kang fell On His Ass hard and his expression showed his surprise. “Stay down, Orc,” hissed Fergus.
“Crap,” Adrielle said again. Both she and Martine had stopped watching the other gladiators, eyes fixed on the conflict.
Kang roared with rage and lunged from the ground with a clawed hand. Fergus’ eyes widened at the ferocity and speed of Kang’s attack, before the Orsimer’s claws raked across his forehead. Blinded By Blood, the Imperial held one hand over his eyes and lashed out wildly with the practice sword.
Kang rushed forward in a powerful shoulder tackle, slamming into Fergus and knocking him to the ground. In his frustration at being Sprawled Out, the Imperial threw his sword at Kang, but the Orsimer sidestepped the projectile with ease.
“Daaaamn!” said Martine.
Kang advanced, applying fist to torso. Fergus winced at his Bruised Ribs and put a hand up. “Enough!” he shouted, conceding. “I don’t have time for this. If you have a problem with Tristane, take it up with him. He owns the Copious Coinpurse.” A few of the other gladiators exchanged looks. Some shuffled off toward the Arena proper, and others went back to whatever they were doing before the fight.
Kang nodded. “I’ll be seeing you, Champion.” He turned and walked over to his companions.
“Nice work,” said Martine.
“Thanks for watching my back there,” he said.
“I was afraid we were going to have to pull you off of him,” said Adrielle. “Murder wouldn’t go over very well probably, but well done otherwise.”
“I wanted to kill him,” said Kang. “Owydon taught be how to hold back, because it’s frowned upon to kill in the Arena without the approval of the crowd.”
“I did not know that,” said Martine.
“So where is the Copious Coinpurse?”
“Oh, this way!” said Adrielle, leading her companions away from the Arena and back toward the Market District.
“May as well get on with it, sure,” said Martine, trailing the Nord.
As they neared their destination, Kang talked strategy. “So normally I would do to Tristane what I just did to that pussy. I was right about that, by the way. But I don’t think that will actually prove anything. Any ideas?”
Martine looked over the building, scowling. “I don’t know that a confession would do much good; it’d still be his word against yours.”
“I’m not trying to settle this with any authority other than myself. I just want to know for sure that he did it.”
The Breton looked skeptical. “And if he says that he did? You’d be satisfied with that?”
“Are we expecting anything other than a ‘yeah that was me, please don’t kill me’?” asked Adrielle. “If we get that, then what?”
“I’m sure I could scare him enough to admit to every murder in the last 2 years,” said Kang. “But I can’t stand people pulling my strings. And if he didn’t do it, then my strings are being pulled by someone else. Would people keep any kind of evidence of something like what happened to me?”
“A man like this probably writes down every septim he makes, so yeah, maybe,” said Martine, continuing to case the joint.
“That’s good, Martine. We could look for something like that.”
“But what do we do with that new information?” Adrielle persisted.
“My instinct is always to remove the threat from reality,” said Kang. “But there are other options.”
“At the very least we should probably turn him in, once again, murder wouldn’t serve us very well,” said the Nord.
“Turning him in wouldn’t serve us very well either.”
“It may not serve us, but it would serve society and the greater good.”
“I bet I can get in after dark,” said Martine. “Or, if somebody wants to run interference, I could poke around right now.”
Kang grinned. “I knew you were a good person to have around.”