Warcraft Fan Fiction ❯ Turning Red ❯ Time ( Chapter 21 )
“The phoenix must burn to emerge.”
“Fire in the heart sends smoke into the head.”
Over the coming year, Phoenix grows ever closer to Trixie and her crew. Bonds are deepened, friendships blossomed and skills sharpened.
In particular, Seven and Phoenix become a formidable force, led by the direction of Trixie, the astute and opportunistic leader of her crew. This unlikely duo makes for an extremely efficient pairing built not on method or organisation or even natural togetherness, but on solid layers of trust. Phoenix’s impulsive, emotional and at times reckless demeanor - a far cry from her shy, anxious former self - somehow meshes brilliantly with Seven’s cautious, honest and level-headed approach.
So close they grow, they teeter on the edge of love. Neither one really knows what to do next, how to express their fondness for the other, nor are they truly brave enough to strike an interracial relationship that could jeopardize the crew’s mission, their friendship, or raise unecessary eyebrows. They are both still young, innocent and while not entirely naive, have not courted before. They are incredulous, almost blind to their closeness.
Django carries on teaching Phoenix about the ways of his culture, of the loa, including Bwonsamdi, the loa of death, of charms and fate and being streetwise. Henry, Harris, Falkor and Thirteen continue to show loyalty to Trixie, though the latter grows increasingly frustrated with his position and wants to see the world, despite the many bountiful and successful missions the crew complete around Silvermoon.
Trixie stays true to her word and, with her leads and the work of her crew, they successfully locate a couple of the Steelfeathers’ bloodthistle farms. On both occasions, Phoenix forms a small scouting party in the early hours of the morning and takes pleasure in being the one to set alight the farms herself, using her recently-gained knowledge of munitions from the dwarves to light sticks of dynamite and make a few explosive cocktails to boot.
This of course infuriates the shady Steelfeathers, who do not meet the crew’s demands to hand Phoenix’s mother over. The events of the last few months wreck any truce Trixie once had with the Steelfeathers and an inevitable gang war erupts, consisting mainly of small skirmishes.
In the face of danger, the crew also embark on a number of adventures together, stockpiling coin, trading smuggled goods and dicing with death. Heists, bounty hunts and other missions are carried out, including the aforementioned sabotage of a couple of Steelfeather operations, much to their anger and increasing resentment towards Trixie’s crew.
Phoenix relishes these adventures which only adds to her infamy. The crew take on a few newcomers, none of which really cut it, but a few lasting acquaintances are made which help the group here and there. They even bring on board some hired muscle from Sunsail Anchorage - some bovine-like Tauren from across the sea - but a search amounts to nothing and they eventually seek work elsewhere. Phoenix writes to Solari a couple of times from Sunsail Anchorage, but with no new leads and his job at the inn to think of, he is unable to properly assist her.
Trixie occasionally sends some of the crew away on the ship with the goblins, to trade and smuggle goods and complete other simple errands she asks of them. Sometimes she joins them, leaving the goblins to look after the hideout in her absence. Phoenix grows to love the little ship and quickly learns the basics of tending to it, aided by the experienced deckhands of Django, the dwarves and Trixie.
However, the little green goblin grows increasingly restless and impatient as time ticks by. There is still no word from her captain, yet still she remains at the edge of Silvermoon, unquestionably loyal and expectant to the end. She has long begun to fear the worst, but with no solid leads to go on, searching for her captain and his ship, the Fortune, would surely lead to madness, or death. She has the safety of her crew to consider too. At first she takes each day as it comes, keeping the business and the safety of her crew her top priorities, but after a few months she seriously considers seeking his whereabouts.
The dwarves and goblins expand the hideout by the waters edge at Tranquil Shore, digging down deeper and adding a few more rooms to stockpile growing treasures and cargo. A hidden winch and lift is added to the entrance to allow them to transport and hide more goods, with the upper floor of the hut converted to a makeshift lift that is only used in the middle of the night.
Phoenix, despite getting one up on the Steelfeathers, despite Trixie’s intelligence and despite bringing on board some hired muscle, comes no closer to finding her mother. The places where she manages to track Steelfeather thugs are usually temporary bases - and their gang, like Trixie’s crew, cover their tracks well. After some time, all word of the gang in black Phoenix once feared starts to dissipate. Leads die and any sign of the Steelfeathers’ black market, drug trade or other criminal activities dries up. A different group rises up to take their place in and around Silvermoon and Trixie keeps her distance from them.
Near the human kingdom of Stormwind, far, far south of Silvermoon, the orcs continue their advance, securing human settlements like Westfall in a bid to finally invade and claim Stormwind for themselves.
The year flashes by in the blink of an eye.
Phoenix, now 17, once willing to drop everything to find her mother, starts to accept the worst - that the Steelfeathers have moved away and taken her with them, or that she is dead, perhaps long so. The sadness and pain of being torn apart from her mother swells, but the distractions of the crew help her cope.
The missions she completes take her mind off the larger situation, the cocktail of adrenaline, alcohol and accomplishment placating her mind and numbing her rage, for the most part. While she still has a few incidents here and there, with increased combat skills and the crew around her, she feels more in control of her mind. Seven, in particular, helps her remain calm, focused and keeps her anger in check. But it always threatens to erupt at any given moment.
With each day that passes, it becomes harder for Phoenix to even think about leaving the crew behind and embark on a wild goose chase to find her mother, especially as there are no leads to go on. Or so she thinks.