Warcraft Fan Fiction ❯ Turning Red ❯ Rebirth ( Chapter 2 )
After two days, she wakes.
Phoenix is lying in her bed at the inn. It is dark; a cool breeze wafts from the open window opposite her to caress her face.
This small space adjacent to the inn keeper’s room contains nothing more than the essentials: a bed, a window, some books, a small pile of clothes.
It’s more of a large cupboard space than a room. But for Phoenix, it’s home.
The elf child slowly brings her right hand to touch her head and feels an immense wave of heaviness. The pain from the huge lump at the front of her skull is numb and constant, and her neck aches.
She looks to the cool night sky and feels the faint but ever-present warmth and energy from the Sunwell - a fount of magical power north of where she lives. She closes her eyes and focuses on it, as it soothes her injuries and soaks into the core of her being, her little mind, her soul.
High elves have grown accustomed to the Sunwell’s gift, with the magical properties helping to sustain their lives to hundreds or even thousands of years. As a young elven child, Phoenix is still learning about the Sunwell and its power. From her experiences so far, including the trips to the well itself with her mother, she enjoys its radiance but doesn’t fully understand it - though she already takes it for granted.
Phoenix suddenly thinks of the elf in black, and a wave of fear washes over her, making the head injury seem mild. She cries. She realises she has no idea whether her mother is alive or not, and this frightens her further. More tears fall.
Before she can shout for help, the door opens and a wrinkly, green head peers around at Phoenix, about halfway up the side of the door.
Chrim, the goblin innkeep, sighs. He potters over to Phoenix and does his best to console the elf child.
“There there, you’re okay now,” he croaks, while awkwardly patting her shoulder. This does absolutely nothing to stop the crying, but he continues anyway before taking a quick inspection of her head. He realises the patting is futile and begins to dress a new bandage instead.
“Your mum is in her room,” Chrim says. “She’s been worried sick. We all have.”
“Is she okay?” Phoenix manages to ask, a squeak amongst sobs.
Chrim ponders this, and half-nods, before scratching the few remaining wiry grey hairs on his head. “Yes. You can see her for yourself,” he says. “It’s rest day, the inn closed hours ago. Can you stand?”
Phoenix attempts to do so, while trying not to think about being unconscious for so long, her bare feet feeling the cold tiled floor and pushing the rest of her body up. She feels disoriented but repositions her footing and, after standing for five or six seconds, looks back to Chrim. He smiles an ugly goblin smile that means well, but the yellow crooked teeth are as reassuring as the pathetic patting. However, it’s a successful distraction, and Phoenix stops crying.
The goblin carefully applies the bandage to her head. He then leads her slowly through his study, past mountains of paperwork, books and bags of silver and copper coins, to the second floor balcony. The old green goblin and ginger elf child walk arm-in-arm, the same height as one another despite their difference in age. It makes for a rather peculiar sight.
Upon reaching Amelia’s door, Chrim knocks and announces: “You have a little visitor.”
A muffled gasp comes from the other side of the door before the words: “Come in! Is -”
Phoenix opens the door, her face flustered with dried tears, and stares up at her mother with expectancy.
She is wearing a white blouse and khaki skirt, with knee-high leather boots complementing her stunning figure. Deep brown curled hair falls to her waist. She stands with splendour, masking her narcissism, her face glowing in the flickering light from a nearby desk candle. An enormous bruise surrounding her left eye belies her beauty as she smiles.
Amelia hurries towards her child and scoops her up in her arms, squeezing her tightly and peppering her with kisses. Phoenix reacts with a quivering bottom lip and fights back more tears. Moments like this with her mother are rare; she doesn’t want their hug to end.
Phoenix opens her eyes to see her mother’s books, four-poster bed, chests, wardrobes and trinkets are right where they belong. Some vials and plant leaves are strewn across a desk nearby.
“Are you okay, Phoe?” Amelia asks, her hands scanning the bandage wrapped around her daughter’s head.
Phoenix manages a nod and asks: “Mummy, did the bad man do that to your eye?”
“Oh what, this? This is nothing!” Amelia shrugs it off and laughs at her child’s concern, as if it is somehow silly and unwarranted. “He didn’t hurt me. I fell over, that’s all.”
“What happened to the bad man? Who is he?” Phoenix asks innocently.
Amelia sets her daughter down and kneels to her level. “After you distracted him, Solari used a spell to stop his friends, and as some dwarves helped too. But he was too quick and got away… do not worry about him. He’s nobody and won’t bother us again.
“Promise me, Phoenix - you must never do something like that ever again. You could have been seriously hurt. And you know you’re not to be in the main room at night.”
Phoenix replies: “But you were hurt and I was scared. What if that happens to you again?”
“Then... the inn will hire more guards,” Amelia responds, with a reassuring smile.
They both know it’s a lie, what with the inn being a relatively humble establishment and Chrim just about keeping the place afloat, but Phoenix hugs her mother anyway and whispers her own lie back: “I promise.”
Amelia smiles and asks: “How do you feel? Like your normal self?”
“Yes,” Phoenix replies. And she does, for the most part, though her head still throbs mildly. Her mother doesn’t seem convinced.
A few hours later, as Phoenix tries to sleep, she shudders at the thought of the elf in black returning. The fear consumes her; she ends up tip-toeing into her mother’s room and snuggling up beside her sleeping parent in bed.
Her eventual sleep is fraught with nightmares of magic and death.
Amelia takes a few days off to comfort her daughter as they both recover. Phoenix thinks it might be the best few days of her life, spending all that time with her mother, talking and playing together.
But as the weeks pass, Chrim and Amelia soon resort to how they were before the attack.
Chrim throws himself into his books, the running of the inn and acquiring new business. He was never good with children, and rarely has any meaningful interaction with Phoenix.
Amelia works to earn coin and spends little time with her daughter, telling her the bruise has made her poorer. She rejects her child’s innate want for comfort, repeating the old line: “It’s not that I don’t love you, Phoenix, but mummy can’t spend time with you while she’s working.”
After the attack, Phoenix gets scared of the slightest things; loud noises or sudden movements startle her more than ever before. She rarely speaks unless she’s spoken to, and even then it’s one-word replies or quiet, shrill responses, unless she’s talking to her mother.
The occasional bar fight terrifies her; she seldom sleeps well and is plagued by night terrors. She has a recurring dream of a faceless man dressed in black chasing her and her mum through deserted streets of Silvermoon City. Her demeanor seemingly shifts from bright, warm and engaging, to quiet, nervous and anxious.
Almost every evening she struggles to sleep, and creeps to the second-floor balcony as usual to watch out for her mother, hoping that the elf in black will never return. But in the process she sees her mother kissing different people every other night, and taking them to her room. This bewildering activity pains the young elf, though she’s unsure why.
Only her mum can sate her fear and anxiety, and time with her is limited, so Phoenix caves inside herself as she grows, bottling her thoughts and emotions deep within. To a stranger, it would appear Amelia loves her daughter, but she gives her little attention and their relationship is not as strong as it could be.
The other subject of concern for Phoenix is the fact she has never known her father. When asking her mother about the topic, she gets no real answers.
“You don’t have a father,” Amelia would say.
The words would often swim around her head, painfully, like a recurring headache.
Amelia keeps her daughter sheltered at home instead of sending her to school, and teaches her the basics of reading, writing and history when she can. Phoenix also helps in the inn’s kitchen, washing dishes and running errands for the cleaning staff and head chef, a stout and blunt human, who insists she works in silence unless spoken to. He is a direct and threatening man, and runs his kitchen almost through fear, keeping his staff on their toes and working hard.
He scares Phoenix, which makes her rushed and clumsy. Sometimes the other serving children and dish washers berate Phoenix, mocking her quietness and blaming her for other people’s mistakes, getting her into trouble.
On top of it all, she struggles to make a connection with magic. While she is able to feel the warmth of the sunwell, it is passive - she is unable to summon the powers of even the most basic levels of magic at her will. Because of this, she receives further ridicule from other children.
While Amelia does not show her daughter much affection, she keeps a close, guarded eye on her. On the rare occasion they travel outside the inn, on trips to the Sunwell or Eversong Forest, the surrounding area magically blanketed in eternal springtime, Phoenix tenses up and worries about the world outside more than her difficulties indoors.
She avoids eye contact and interaction with other elven children, some of which bully her for being looked after by a whore, for not knowing her father, for her odd, quiet demeanor - and they know she will not fight back. Phoenix becomes ever more insular as she desperately seeks her mother’s attention.
As the months go by, this unfulfilled love, this natural desire for her parent’s attention, combined with Phoenix’s curiosity of her father’s identity and lack of friends her age, results in a troubled, quiet child.
But Phoenix loves her mother dearly and carries on through the pain, worry and uncertainty.
Ten years pass.