Warcraft Fan Fiction ❯ Turning Red ❯ War ( Chapter 18 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]

Seven and Phoenix carefully make their way back through the streets of Silvermoon to the relative safety of the small garden where they were dropped off earlier.

Hace is sitting on the earthy ground, his back to the wagon, asleep. His snoring is loud and buzzes through the air like a saw, his straw hat on the floor beside him.

Phoenix, no longer bothered about offending the stubborn man and in no mood for wasting time, leans over him and slaps him around the face a little harder than necessary. She smells the stench of beer on his course face, rough with stubble, as it grimaces and groans.

“Enjoy your drinking and whoring did you? Well, time to get us out of here now,” she commands with a quiet yet forceful voice, feeling more confident and in control following the fight. Seven dumps the sack of mana crystals into the wagon and looks on apprehensively. The thought of taking goods, fighting off assailants and being a wanted woman in the city makes Phoenix feel a little giddy with delight. And she doesn’t want this driver to ruin things.

Hace, moving like a sloth and slurring like he’s drunk a tavern full of ale, has other ideas. He turns his head towards Phoenix’s face but fails to focus on her eyes, instead looking up at the clouds. 

“Oh there you are Marina, my beautiful Marina…” Hace sings.

He’s stone drunk. 

“Now listen here,” Phoenix says, suddenly grabbing his collar and pulling him tightly towards her, “I’m not your Marina, and I don’t care if you’re too sozzled to look straight. You could have a damn plague and I wouldn’t care, there’s no way I’m staying here all day. You’re going to sober up and drive us out of the city. You hear me?”

Hace thinks about this for a moment, a contorted smirk spreading wide across his face. He begins to titter in a silly, high-pitched noise.

Phoenix stamps the heel of her leather boot at the point between the bottom of Hace’s left shin and his foot. He reacts faster than a sloth this time, crying out and leaning towards the ground. 

Seven intervenes, moving between the pair of them and gently guiding Phoenix away from the elf. He glances down at the sorry sight of this drunken fool, who is beginning to laugh again, and looks at Phoenix with uncertainty, in search of answers. 

“We could get him a remedy to sober him up?” Seven suggests unconvincingly. 

Phoenix begins unfastening her red tunic. 

“Get in the wagon, Seven,” she states. “I’m not mucking about wasting time with this idiot any further.” 

Seven sighs. There is no room for negotiation. He clambers into the wagon and sits up, watching Phoenix with curiosity.

With her back facing the orc, Phoenix removes her tunic and throws it towards Seven, revealing her still-developing teenage body, smooth peach-coloured skin and bra underneath. He looks away, shyly. 

Phoenix removes her gloves next, kicks off her boots and begins to forcefully pull off Hace’s shirt.

“Oh! Marina,” he enthuses, leaning up towards Phoenix. She pushes her tight-laden foot into his shoulder, forcing him back to the ground as she wraps his alcohol-soaked shirt around her body, turning her nose up. Next, she pulls Hace’s trousers off and places her own legs into the brown, baggy garments, tightening her belt around them. She removes the sceptre and throws it onto the back of the wagon.

“You’re not...” Seven starts. 

“I am,” Phoenix cuts him off, pulling her red face mask off and throwing it at him. “We’re finishing the job. You can be a good little beauty and hold Hace’s hand.”

She smiles at him with cutting sarcasm as she picks up the straw hat from the floor.

“Okay, beast,” he replies. “You know how to ride with one of those things?” he asks, pointing at the Hawkstrider attached to the front of the cart.

“I’ve been in enough of these carts to know,” she says, placing the hat on her head, which is far too large for her frame. “The innkeep used to drive me around in one when I was a little girl. He let me take the reins once or twice.” 

Seven pauses. Then speaks from the back of the cart: “Are those clothes… comfortable?”

“Yes. I mean no, they aren’t. Go on, laugh it up while you can.”

He doesn’t laugh, but she bets he’s probably holding it in. She could hear the humour in his voice when he asked her the question. It’s true, the clothes are far too big for her. But in the dimness of the dawn light, with the hat covering her face, she’ll get away with it, surely. Plus, Seven is too big - and too green - to take Hace’s place as the driver. 

Phoenix lifts Hace, with effort, onto the back of the wagon. 

As she lays him down, he tries to kiss her. Phoenix carefully jabs him in the nose and Hace lets out a whimpering yelp as he lies back.

Seven pulls the canvas sheet over Hace and himself, as well as the bag of crystals and the sceptre. He turns to Hace like an unwilling lover and gently pats him on the head.

“Have a little rest, sir,” he half-whispers, half-growls at Hace rather persuasively, ruffling the elf’s hair. 

Hace snuggles up to him and closes his eyes, smiling contently but at the same time wincing in mild pain and moving his fingers to his nose. 

Phoenix puts her boots back on and takes a deep breath. She jumps into the seat at the front of the wagon and takes the reins. The Hawkstrider looks around at her menacingly and chirps a questioning chirp. 

“Move,” Phoenix commands, pulling at the reins. The hawkstrider turns its head forward again. It moves.

It takes what seems like an agonisingly long moment before the wagon begins trundling forwards, but once it gets going, the momentum builds and the cart moves at a slow and steady pace.

Despite the weight of Seven and the tools in the back, the hawkstrider pulls the wagon with relative ease, and to Phoenix’s relief, responds to her controls well. She steers the wagon calmly through the streets of Silvermoon towards the Inner Elfgate and, once reaching the Bazaar’s market plaza, joins a handful of other traders making their way out of the city in their own wagons.

Following this route once again reminds her of the day her life changed forever. She pictures herself sprinting through the streets in a frenzy and imagines several guards keeping pursuit close behind. Just thinking about it again makes her feel out of breath and queasy. A knot of dread rises in the pit of her stomach. She swallows and tries to brush it aside, forcing herself to focus on staying calm and just steering them out of the city. Phoenix thinks to herself: ‘You are one lucky girl you made it out that morning.’

They trot past the golden statue of Dath’Remar Sunstrider and this time Phoenix does not worry about her future as she looks at the determined expression sculpted into the statue’s face. Her life now may be filled with danger but it is infinitely more interesting than what it was before. She just prays her mother is safe.

When they reach the open, grassy clearing leading up to the elfgate, Phoenix’s heart gets caught in her throat. As she spots the sight in front of her, she gasps and almost pulls the reins to a shuddering stop. 

There are a few hundred elven troops lined up in strict formation, preparing to leave the city. Some are adorned in stunning silver armour and armed with long ornate shields and double-bladed swords, while others carry bows and arrows. Among the warriors and rangers, there are also battle mages and wielders of the holy light: healers to keep the troops going. Some of the magic-users are firing up small spells, drawing energy from the Sunwell for practice. They light up the sky and make crackling sounds like fireworks. 

The troops at the front are climbing onto large wagons and are beginning to leave the city. One general by the open elfgate door is barking orders at the troops, organising them into efficient regimented formations.

‘What on Azeroth is happening?’ Phoenix wonders. ‘Could we be assisting the humans with their monster problem?’

Lost in thought, Phoenix almost crashes into the trading wagon in front of her, which has stopped some 100 metres from the elfgate doors. She tugs on the reins sharply and turns, her hawkstrider shrieking as it narrowly avoids stumbling into the cart in front. 

“Stop moving!” a general shouts at the top of her sharply-pitched voice. Fuming, she glares at Phoenix’s wagon and approaches it casually. “Traders may leave after the troops, once the signal has been given! How many more times must I say it?”

Phoenix shrinks back into her seat and hides her face under the large straw hat, tipping it down over her forehead. She can feel the stare of the general but does not make eye contact. Instead she looks down at the floor and hopes she can move again quickly. Her hawkstrider ruffles its feathers and kicks its talons into the ground in frustration. 

“Do you understand the rules?” the general asks Phoenix, her voice condescending - and much closer now. 

Phoenix’s heartbeat kicks up a notch. Fuck the rules, she thinks to herself but keeps her mouth firmly shut. She nods once, twice, without looking up, as if the possibility of making eye contact will somehow get her arrested on the spot. She thinks she can hear Hace half-yawning and half-groaning in the back of the cart and winces under her hat. But the noise of the troops and all the wagons trundling along drowns it out - and the general moves on.

Phoenix watches as the troops slowly move out of the city and into the woods of Eversong Forest. She has the feeling something big is happening, but is also aware that it’s just a small portion of the high elf army that are marching out. Perhaps some Amani trolls have been brave and the elves are sending out a party to shut them down? But she feels that helping the humans is a more feasible explanation, given what Seven told her about his kind’s invasion of Azeroth.

Eventually, Phoenix steers the wagon through the elfgate with all the other traders and into the safety of Eversong Forest. The troops are far ahead and out of sight at this point; Phoenix passes the river where she cleaned her bloodied hands that fateful morning. 

She quickly realises she has no idea where she’s going from here and pulls the wagon into a secluded area shrouded by trees, not far from the river. She pauses for a moment to check for any passers by, hops out of the seat and down to the ground.

“Coast’s clear, Seven,” she says, before hearing some muffled movement towards the back of the wagon in response.

Seven sits up, on alert. 

“What happened back there?!” he asks. 

“Troops. A good few hundred of them marching out of Silvermoon City. We had to wait for them to leave before we could.”

He looks concerned.

Phoenix starts: “Listen, I -”

“Why don’t…” Seven utters at the same time. He looks up at her and looks like he wants to laugh at her oversized clothes. “...we get some rest?”

She nods: “You took the words out of my mouth. I don’t know where I’m going from here, we’ll need the fool to drive us back when he wakes up. Nothing more we can do til he’s awake.”

“Agreed,” Seven replies. “Plus, we need not worry about us being spotted with such a convincing disguise.”

She detects a note of sarcasm carving through the end of his sentence.

“Shut up and get your beauty sleep,” Phoenix says dismissively. 

Seven laughs: “Yes, boss. I mean, beast.”

Phoenix glares at him, unimpressed, but admires the orc’s sense of humour. 

The orc laughs and lays back down; Phoenix returns to the driver’s seat and loosens the reins. She whistles quietly, grabbing the hawkstrider’s attention. 

“Have a rest, go to sleep,” Phoenix says.

The bird looks at her inquisitively, and upon feeling the reins go loose, bends its legs and curls up in a sleeping position. 

Phoenix lies back, her feet just about hanging over the side of the wagon. She can hear Hace snoring loudly in the back and the trickle of water from the nearby river. She stays awake, staring up at the trees and the dawn sky above for about an hour, keeping watch, before finally surrendering to sleep. Her dreams are scattered and wild but she does not remember them. 




Around noon, Phoenix and Seven awaken to the sound of retching. Hace has clambered out of the wagon and is puking his guts up onto the grass. 

Phoenix thinks about laying into the idiot with a string of insults, thinks better of it, then settles on something a little less insulting.

“So nice of you to join us again in the land of the living,” she says, with mock interest, still lying down and looking up at the bright sky.

“Fuck off,” Hace replies, groggily. 

“Gladly,” she retorts. “Take us close to the West Sanctum and we’ll be out of your hair. And away from your silly straw hat.”

She tosses it in his direction and Hace, keeling over, realises he is half-naked. He pats himself down feeling for his clothes in a panic. Seven chuckles at this.

He asks: “Where are my clothes? Where are we?”

“I’m wearing them, as you couldn’t be relied upon to do your job, so I took matters into my own hands.”

Phoenix jumps out of the wagon and gathers her clothes from the back, explaining to Hace where they are and changing back into her own outfit. Looking embarrassed, Hace takes them to West Sanctum without saying a word. Phoenix sits up in the back of the wagon this time, feeling confident enough not to hide, and taking the time to eat some rations. Seven, meanwhile, remains low, the cover concealing his orcish features and unusually large frame.

When they arrive near the hideout, but not too close as to break any cover, Phoenix says to him: “You know, Trixie will not be happy with your little boo-boo back there, nor will she expect you to receive the full amount for that reason. I could choose to withhold that information from her, of course...” 

She holds out the palm of her hand towards him, and he swears under his breath, reaching into his pocket to give Phoenix two gold coins. Phoenix raises her fingers up and down, with her palm still stretched out, asking for more.

“Get the fuck outta here,” Hace says, and Seven does his best at sneaking off the wagon before it rides away from them.

Seven - his green skin almost entirely concealed under his grey hood, clothes, gloves and bandit mask - smiles at Phoenix and places his arm on her shoulder as they walk back to the hideout. 

“You did good, beast,” he says. “We got the crystals back, the sceptre, plus a whole bunch of other goodies and gold. Just a shame we left some dead bodies, and left without a reason for the guy’s motives.”

“Yes,” Phoenix responds, smiling underneath her bandit mask. “A real shame.”

The pair make it back to the hideout in good time. Before going down the ladder, Phoenix takes the dagger from her tunic.

“Oh,” she says, passing him the weapon. “This thing isn’t for me.” 

Seven raises one brow. “Could still come in handy?” 

Phoenix shakes her head, smiling. “I guess I’m just a sword gal.”

“Fair enough,” he says, taking the dagger. “But as you’re a beast, shouldn’t you be using your teeth instead of a dagger or sword, anyway?”

“Just get your fat green arse down the ladder,” Phoenix retorts, rolling her eyes. He grins at the fact he made her bite and she decides she quite enjoys lumping friendly little insults his way anyway.

When they get down into the safety of the hideout, the rest of the crew are in good spirits. They are singing a sea shanty together, swaying together and drinking wine and grog.

Trixie turns her head towards Phoenix and Seven as they step down the ladder and continues singing, raising her drink in their direction and chugging it down. She merrily slams it down onto the table and turns to them both.

Phoenix makes herself appear to be happy. She buries the thought of another secret being held from her beneath the surface - for now. She doesn’t want to create another scene, and decides to wait until she is alone with Trixie before pressing her.

“Well would you look at that, our valiant heroes are here!” Trixie cries. “And just in time to join us in song!”

The rest of the group cheer, as Seven waves away the suggestion of him joining in. They are all smiles, and Phoenix smiles at the upbeat goblin too. She forces herself to be pulled into the hubbub by the little green arm around her waist, even though their argument from the other day is fresh on her mind.

‘We haven’t even told her how the mission went, yet she is acting like we have succeeded,’ Phoenix thinks to herself. ‘Is it blind faith - or am I simply blind to her motives? Or perhaps we are both wearing masks.’

Phoenix knows this song. She joins in with the chorus reluctantly; Seven collapses onto his bed and heaves the sack from his shoulder onto the floor. Falkor is dancing on the table.


Oh I, oh I, can’t be apart

The sea, it has my heart

Oh I, oh I, submit to thee

I give my heart to the sea


After singing another verse and chorus, loud and proud, the two dwarves begin to bang their fists on the table, making a drum beat. But it is not loud - more a gentle rhythmic tap that quietens the crew’s vocals to a soothing melody. The song slows and continues to quieten, though its meaning grows, and by the end of there seems to be genuine harmony and togetherness within the ranks. 

Django, Henry, Harris, Trixie and Phoenix - even Thirteen - exchange pleasantries, patting one another on the back and chinking their drinks together. The dwarves start singing another song, prompting Django to join in.

“What’s the good news, then?” Phoenix asks Trixie over the noise.

“The repairs on our ship are complete!” Trixie cackles ecstatically. 

“Your ship?” Phoenix asks. She had almost forgotten all about it, since Trixie first mentioned it during their initial meeting. “Where is it, anyway?”

Trixie takes another drink and just smiles back at Phoenix, her tipsy visible eye offering mischief in the elf’s direction. 

“Well?” Phoenix smiles back.

“That depends on how well your mission went,” Trixie states, her eyebrows rising in challenge. 

“You might as well promote me to first mate right now,” Phoenix responds, taking the sceptre from her belt and waving it around Trixie’s face like it’s a wand.

Trixie nods slowly, a grin spreading across her cheeky face. She turns and walks towards the far corner of the room away from the table and the music, her scarlet cloak and black hair following her. 

“Seven,” she calls, without turning her head towards him. “Bring the goods, will ya?”

The orc rises to his feet and carries the sack of mana crystals and gold with him. He takes a seat on a large crate in the corner: Phoenix sits next to him, her legs not quite reaching the floor like his are. Trixie pulls up a chair, turns it around and sits on it back-to-front facing her comrades, her arms hunching over its back.

The goblin nods at Seven. He opens the bag, revealing most of the crystals that were sold to the elf in Silvermoon, plus a few ornaments, gemstones and some gold pieces. Phoenix doesn’t mention the extra coins she pocketed for herself, or the ones she blackmailed from Hace.

Trixie takes one of the ornaments. It’s a beautifully sculpted marble statuette of a magister. She feels its weight in her hands and nods in appreciation at the pair, proudly.

“Any incidents involving the red mist?” Trixie asks.

“None,” Seven answers happily. “Little red held her own. A little attitude here and there, but no trouble at the apartment. Though... we were ambushed by some Steelfeathers, who tried to take Phoenix. Said she’s their property now, like her mother. But they were swiftly dealt with.”

Trixie frowns, thinking about the situation.

“Did you leave behind any evidence?” she asks.

Seven shakes his head. “Only what we stole. And one of the Steelfeathers… got away.”

Trixie waves dismissively at this, as if they needn’t worry about the gang.

“Uh…” Phoenix starts.

Trixie turns to her, raising one eyebrow, her visible eye squinting at her.

“I left him a message,” Phoenix continues.

“You did what?” Seven cries.

“I scratched the word ‘naughty’ into his writing desk.”

Trixie stares at Phoenix for a few moments, then erupts into laughter. Seven breathes a sigh of relief as the goblin continues her whooping. She pinches Phoenix’s cheek endearingly, who smiles embarrassingly and chuckles quietly. 

“I love ya, redhead,” Trixie adds, her laughter eventually calming. She takes a pouch of gold from her back pocket and passes a heavy handful of coins to Phoenix, before doing the same to Seven. 

The orc grins. “See, I told you beast, the boss always pays well - we can trust her.” He turns back to the goblin: “Thank you, Trix.”

She raises her head and closes her eyes for a moment in acceptance of his thanks. Phoenix says nothing, shoving the gold coins in her own pocket.

“And finally, what about the reason for our customer’s sudden silence?” Trixie asks the pair.

Seven looks awkwardly at Phoenix and back at Trixie. “We, uh, didn’t find that I’m afraid boss,” he says. “We had to get out quick, the guy returned once already and I took the initiative to get us out safely.”

There’s a flash of disappointment in Trixie’s eyes that would be missed by the sharpest of surveyors. She responds: “That’s okay, the most important thing is -”

A crumpled note appears on Trixie’s head. 

“We did find it, actually,” Phoenix says, quietly, moving her hand away from the goblin’s head. Seven looks at her half-frowning, half in surprise. She withheld the note until now not as a bargaining chip with Seven, but just to be stubborn. To show him that she can do the job, her way.

Trixie, puzzled, takes the note and begins to read it, learning about this other trader who is attempting to undercut her and take her smuggled goods off the market, while painting her as a villain and untrustworthy dealer.

The note is signed off with the letter Z.

Trixie’s delight turns to aggravation. 

“That mother fucker,” she says, standing, but still barely half the size of her sitting compatriots. 

“What is it?” Seven asks. 

“They’ve placed protection over our customer. And are likely doing the same to others.”

This time the question comes from Phoenix: “Who?” 

“Who do you think?” Trixie replies. She holds the letter up and turns it at a right angle, the Z becoming an N. 

“Norros and his band of sodding Steelfeathers.”