Death Knight Love Story (DKLS) is a tale of passion forged in the darkest, most dreadful place possible. It's a tale of two people born with a searing flame who find each other, lose each other, and end up facing each other in battle, loving each other still.
Based in Azeroth, the setting of World of Warcraft, DKLS tells the tale of a Death Knight, Miria, the redeemed servant of the Lich King, and Sir Zelieck, first of the Horsemen of Naxxaramas.
It tells how Miria went from being at the Lich King's right hand to battling to save the North from his armies, and how Sir Zelieck fought the Lich King to his last breath, defied him even in death - and yet still ended up his servant, ruling his floating city of the damned.
From the gladiatorial pits of Acherus to the terrible, soaring towers of Icecrown Citadel, this is the World of Warcraft reimagined. A world of darkness, violence, heroism, revenge, and above all, passion.
As they face each other across the battlefield, will Miria and Zelieck's passion be able to survive the cold grasp of the Lich King?
Death Knight Love Story's creator Hugh Hancock was inspired by a wide range of films and TV series. The sweeping fantasy vision of the film was inspired by Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, whilst the dark soundtrack reflects Akira Kurosawa's Ran. And Hugh admits that there may be more than a little of both Buffy and Katniss Everdeen in Miria!
Hugh's core inspiration, though, was Baz Luhrmann's masterpiece Moulin Rouge. You shouldn't expect pop melodies or singing elephants in DKLS, though - as Hugh says, "What inspired me about Moulin Rouge was the fact that it was about love as something in itself - not a synonym for virtue, but as a pure, burning, sometimes destructive force."
Be warned: below this line lie spoilers for the entirety of Part 1 of DKLS!
Don't read unless you are sure!
Death Knight Love Story opens in Wintergarde Keep, the Alliance's most northerly fortification still standing. Guards rush to the walls and prepare to fight a hopeless fight as the terrible floating city of the damned, Naxxaramas, closes on them - but their captain tells them not to lose hope. He is working with heroes of the Alliance, and they will bring Naxxaramas down.
Meanwhile, inside Naxxaramas, those heroes have just been discovered by the Four Horsemen who command Naxxaramas' military forces - all of them but one. As Sir Zelieck, First of the Horsemen, hopelessly attempts to persuade the heroes to retreat rather than be slaughtered, Miria kills a guard and drops into the command chamber, ready to finish the fight. But she is stopped in her tracks by the sudden realisation that her lost love, Zelieck, commands the fortress. Zelieck attempts to persuade her to flee, but both of them know that they cannot escape their fates. They draw their swords and move to attack...
And we flash back six years, to the final, doomed charge of Sir Zelieck against the Lich King. He faces Miria there too, but this time they are on opposing sides. Miria and the Lich King slaughter Zelieck's troops, and Lady Blaumeaux stabs Zelieck himself, leaving him for dead in the ice.
Six months later, the Lich King's power calls across the ice, and the dead of that battle rise - Zelieck amongst them. They are herded into the Lich King's stronghold, and forced to fight in a gladiatorial arena.
Zelieck defeats his savage opponent, but refuses to kill him when the Lich King orders it - impressing Miria with his willpower. Arthas orders Blaumeaux to finish Zelieck instead, but Zelieck's power is more than a match for her, and he defeats her easily before challenging the Lich King himself to a duel.
Arthas finds this very amusing - and invokes the power of the magic that raised Zelieck, forcing him to stagger toward the unconscious prisoner with a knife, a puppet of Arthas's will. However, before Arthas can force Zelieck to kill the helpless man, Miria intervenes and kills Zelieck's opponent herself. She claims that she was tired of Zelieck's weakness, but it's clear that there is another motive at work...
Later, in the Death Knights' training grounds, following Miria's brutal defeat of another Death Knight, Zelieck challenges her to a duel - believing she killed his opponent from cold-blooded malice. He goads her into accepting, and they fight for a night and a day. Miria eventually overcomes Zelieck, but as she prepares to deliver the killing blow she hesitates, then refuses. Zelieck takes the opportunity and overpowers her in turn, intending to kill her - but Miria reveals the true reason she killed Zelieck's opponent: to prevent the Lich King from breaking Zelieck by forcing him to kill. Exhausted, their passions spark, and they kiss on the cold duelling ground.
Arthas trusts both of them as his warriors, sending them on missions of destruction, whilst they continue their illicit tryst. But unknown to them, Lady Blaumeaux has spied on them, and as Part 1 ends, she informs the Lich King of their romance; news that causes him to fly into a rage...