Warcraft Fan Fiction ❯ Turning Red ❯ Chance ( Chapter 1 )
“Scars are just a treasure map for pain you've buried too deep to remember.”
“For a star to be born, there is one thing that must happen: a gaseous nebula must collapse. So collapse. Crumble. This is not your destruction. This is your birth.”
Phoenix Dreamfoil is where she shouldn’t be yet again, having snuck out of bed in the middle of the night for the umpteenth occasion this year.
The five-year-old is sitting on the second-floor balcony of Silvermoon City Inn located in Quel’Thalas. This region is home to the high elves - who are also known as the Quel’Dorei - and lies north of the Eastern Kingdoms.
Young Phoenix is watching the inngoers below laughing, drinking and gambling their night away.
Her blue eyes beam with childish wonder as she kneels and looks between the railings down on the only world she knows. The smells of roasted boar, beer, sweat and bloodthistle smoke rise from the inn floor and fill her nostrils.
The tiny elf’s face is like a podgy ball of dough, with a petite nose, a lumpy chin and pale, pinkish skin that contrasts with her fiery, messy ginger hair. Freckles dance across her cheekbones.
As she turns her head left and right, not knowing what to look at first, her hair follows. It comes to a sudden stop as she stares at someone below, and a lock of hair falls to rest humorously between her eyes, making her look like a tiny ghoul with a long hairy nose. She’s too engrossed in the hubbub below to brush it behind one of her pointy ears.
Her attention is drawn to an elf with silver hair dressed in all-black leather, sitting at the dice table. He has just raised his glass to celebrate a win, his other hand scooping gold from the table top as other men and elves watch on, some with jealousy.
Phoenix frowns. She recognises this elf. And she knows she doesn’t like him.
At another nearby table, a group of short yet stoutly dwarves are laughing loudly and hysterically. One occasionally slams his flagon down on the wood, sending beer splashing onto those around him. In one corner of the room, on a slightly raised stage, an elegant-looking female elf with a long decorative gown is playing a harp gracefully and effortlessly.
In the other, darker corner near the entrance, a couple of female elf courtesans are in conversation with one another, while flaunting their looks and catching the attention of a human man by the bar, who stares back at them. They are wearing revealing ornate dresses, with long satin gloves and tights. Their figure is human-like, yet ever so shorter and skinnier than the man across the room.
Phoenix smiles when she sees one of the female elves, her mother Amelia Dreamfoil, then frowns when she notices the man from the bar walking towards them. She doesn’t like her mum pretending to befriend other people for gold.
Her eyes wander again, this time spotting a goblin behind the bar, flipping bottles and pouring drinks with many years of experience. Phoenix finds it funny how a creature shorter than a dwarf can even exist, not to mention one with such a big, ugly nose.
All the music, laughter and colours below whirl around the elf’s little mind like a kaleidoscope.
Then, all of a sudden, there’s a flash of movement by the dice table. Two elves are struggling with one another, and the elf in black pushes another backwards, knocking him over the table. Glasses smash as dice tumble onto the floor, and the inn quietens as everyone looks to the source of the commotion.
The fallen elf stands and shouts at the male in black, while pointing: “You’re a cheat! And a thug!”
Other elves around the table stand. The Quel’Dorei in black, a tall and looming figure, smiles slowly, sips the last of his drink and places it calmly on the table, taking his time, knowing well that all eyes are on him.
After a pause, he raises his arms and says: “I won fair and square.”
“This die is weighted, you liar!” the other retorts.
The angry elf throws the die at the elf in black. It bounces off his chest to the floor. Two other elves move towards the agitated elf in retaliation, their hands moving for their weapons, but the figure in black raises his right hand and they halt.
Back on the balcony, young Phoenix’s mouth is slightly agape now as she looks down in curiosity. Her face and blue nightgown are encased in shadow, with moonlight pouring in from a nearby window. The inn’s fire below occasionally sends streaks of light up to flicker and dance with her silhouette.
The old goblin barkeep moves towards the table and politely asks all of the elves to leave, nodding over to the inn’s bouncer, a short, black, bald-headed and muscular elf called Solari, who nods back, with one hand on his sheathed sword. He suppresses a sigh and looks at the barkeep with disappointment, his body language implying it’s not the first time he’s had to kick them out.
The elf that lost the dice game is first to respond, hurrying past all a fluster and storming across the inn to leave, slamming the door behind him. The rest by the dice table turn to leave too, including the figure in black and his accomplices. Other guests start to talk normally amongst themselves again. The inn returns to calm.
Phoenix’s eyes are still focused on the elf in black as he approaches the inn door. Her gaze turns to horror as she watches him stop and look towards her mother, with contempt and intent.
The elf in black casually approaches her mother with a drunken glare, ignoring the bouncer’s verbal reminder to leave, and pulls her arm towards him. She recoils and mouths a response, but it can’t be heard over the noise of the inn. It seems no one else notices except the bouncer and Phoenix, and her heart thuds faster in her chest.
All of a sudden the elf in black strikes Phoenix’s mother in anger with his fist, knocking her onto the floor as she shrieks and curls up in pain.
The bouncer, Solari, rushes towards him, but one of the troublemaker’s friends raises his hand, placing an invisible magical barrier in front of the bouncer, who responds with his own spell. The two elves are locked in thought, their magic pushing against one another as a struggle ensues.
Silence falls across the inn again momentarily, followed by gasps and quiet mumbling as a crowd of people rush past to leave. The man by the elven courtesans slowly steps towards the elf in black and his two aides, mindful of the fierce magic at play.
“Stupid wench,” the figure in black says as he kicks Phoenix’s mother in the side.
Phoenix feels like she’s been winded herself as she watches on, with pain and helplessness welling up inside of her.
“Step away from her!” the human shouts and leaps to Amelia’s defense, throwing a punch at the elf in black, who expertly dodges the blow. The human leaps into the fray, knocking the magic user over almost by accident - and a fight erupts.
Phoenix looks around the room and waits for others to help apprehend the troublemakers, but finds only worried looks and eyes staring at the floor. A couple of dwarves stand, but they are slow to react and she doesn’t notice them; she only sees her mum writhing in pain, the outnumbered human and bouncer losing the fight, and panics.
She also sees her chance.
Half wanting to cry and half wanting the mean elves to disappear, Phoenix dashes towards the stairs as instinct takes over and the want to protect her mother overwhelms her. She moves faster than she expects, almost running straight into the wall at the top of the stairs. She pushes away, regains her balance and her bare feet patter loudly down the cold, concrete stairs, her ginger hair tumbling after her.
The child turns towards the inn’s entrance and runs at full speed, looking up briefly to notice that two elves and Solari are left standing, while the troublemaking elves have their backs to her. One is casting a spell with his staff and the man in black is moving his hand into an inner pocket. She can’t see Solari from this angle but hears him conjuring magic. Despite the danger, she tries her luck.
Phoenix runs towards the elf in black and jumps onto his back, clawing at his chest and biting his neck.
The adult instinctively swivels from the pain, grabs Phoenix by the head without looking at who she is and smashes her into a nearby table, head-first.
There is a bright flash - then the world goes black. This little girl will never be the same.