Shakhan is furious. For years he was one of Gaedren's most prized fighters earning a bloody reputation in Korvosa's underground as one of the toughest, most singularly driven competitors. Not a slave to Gaedren's whims - Shakhan was the genuine article, a powerful veteran of the illegal cage matches.
It all fell apart a little more than two years ago, at the eve of Shakhan's retirement from the sport. Shakhan, following up on a long line of successive victories in a sport notorious for its unpredictability, was facing down his final opponent in a fight that drew the highest stakes the docks had seen in nearly two decades.
Shakhan lost the fight spectacularly. His limbs leaden, his vision blurred, he did little more than stand there while he was pummeled for minutes on end - transfixed by a poisoned drink Gaedren had offered him before the match, "for good luck".
Luck did indeed find him, unexpectedly, as he was left for dead in the gutters. He survived the poison, he survived his crushed skull, only Shakhan - the cage fighter - died that night.
But Shakhan, the man, survived. His injuries were grave indeed; his fractured skull left him addled - certainly not a simpleton, but his mind retained little of the sharp keenness it exhibited in his prime. His body suffered significantly as well, leaving little of his fighting ability intact.
He nurtured himself back to health over the course of two years; surviving in a dark subsistence in the slums of Korvosa. Where Gaedren had taken everything from him, the city provided shelter and scraps to eat. And time to rehabilitate.
Now, a good two years later, Shakhan emerges from Korvosa's backalleys. A shadow of his former self - but a shadow driven to reclaim his former glory and a shadow that will wreak vengeance upon one Gaedren Lamm.