Warcraft Fan Fiction ❯ Turning Red ❯ Thirteen ( Chapter 23 )
The crew, shaken by their encounter with the Bloodsail Buccaneers, are in need of rest and recuperation.
Falkor, in particular, is exhausted. The boy elf drinks almost two flasks of water following his heroics, plus some fruit and bread, before falling straight back asleep. He looks like he’s aged a year. Trixie tucks him in and kisses his forehead, before leaving him with several mana crystals for him to draw from.
Communication is awkward between crew members, but as usual, it is Trixie who steps forward to lighten the mood - and fix the problem. She praises the courage and performance of her crew in a dangerous situation, pride beaming from every pore on her little green face.
“Come on, we’ll all feel better after filling our bellies with a drink and some food!” she smiles. “The beef and beer here are incredible.”
As the crew walk up deck to follow her, Phoenix stays behind for a moment with Seven, who of course, is unable to show his face outside. The same goes for Django, whose kind has a bad history with the humans. He is lying in his hammock in the room next to Phoenix and Seven, facing up at the ceiling, having snorted a line of white powder to help him feel good after such an intense, frightening experience.
Phoenix and Seven stand awkwardly next to one another outside the sleeping quarters for a moment, Phoenix eventually leaning in slightly towards him. She raises her arms and the pair embrace. Phoenix turns her head and rests it on his chest, closing her eyes, as he closes his. She can hear the strong pulse of his heartbeat and is so glad to hear it, keeping him alive and well, after their ordeal.
Their brush with death had reminded them of their feelings for one another, and neither wanted another moment like it, though knew it was probably likely.
After a minute or so, Phoenix utters the words, quietly: “Nice shot…”
“Nice firing,” he responds.
“It was all me, to be fair…” Phoenix jokes.
Seven lets out a muffled laugh, the deepness of it vibrating through his chest and the side of Phoenix’s face, who is still hugging him tight, her head leaning on his chest.
“Admit it,” she jokes, pulling away from him to face him, eye to eye. “You were shitting yourself.”
Seven screws his face up, wounded. “I was not!” he responds. “I was ready to fight.”
Phoenix laughs. “I saw your face when the ship was about to smash into ours.”
“And I saw yours - you were the one shitting yourself!” Seven chuckles.
Phoenix smirks, trying to throw another jab back at him. “What about your face before the cannon fired.”
She thinks back. It was a face that was determined, not scared. Phoenix was the one that was terrified. She realises her teasing has no truth to it and changes the tone of the conversation.
“You were scared of what they might do to me,” Phoenix says seriously.
Seven looks away bashfully. Phoenix loves him for it. How can a ‘monster’ so big and strong be so sensitive and shy?
He says, quietly, facing the door next to him: “And what is wrong with that?”
“Nothing,” she whispers.
The air between them grows a little awkward so Phoenix reverts to banter once again, slapping his arm like a good friend.
“I’ll bring you something tasty back,” she says. “What would you like?”
Seven turns to her and grins. “Now you’re talking my language. Bring me anything - something meaty perhaps - just make sure there’s lots of it.”
“I’ll bring so much you won’t be able to move,” she smiles.
As Phoenix begins walking upstairs to the top deck, she stops for a moment. She wants to turn around, to make him promise he would never do anything irrational to protect her in the future. She realises that wouldn’t be fair - and changes her mind. As Seven turns his head to see why her footsteps stopped, she begins walking again, out of sight.
The ship is anchored and the crew are waiting for Phoenix when she reaches the top deck. Trixie is sitting on a bollard, facing the city, her back to the ship. She doesn’t look impressed by the sight of Stormwind. Phoenix thinks it’s probably because she’s not a fan of humans. But the harbour is safe - guards patrol the area, keeping an eye on the docked ships and looking out for any trouble. Trade is important to humans and the king, Llane Wrynn, protects his kingdom with a fierce devotion.
Stormwind is a striking city. Its beauty is different to that of Silvermoon, the elegance and splendour of the elves’ city traded for a more simple, stocky type of grandeur here. Stormwind Keep rises above the harbour in the distance, its castle walls and spires looking down on the rest of the city. Trade is bustling around them, stalls and taverns, inns and shops and markets are busy and the cobbled, stony streets are smart and clean and inviting. Its future is prosperous, but there is an anxious uncertainty in the air, no thanks to the orcs raiding the lands outside the city.
Some of the elven troops that Phoenix spotted when escaping Silvermoon for the second time can be seen around the keep, along with a few dwarves here and there, mingling with the humans.
The crew heads into the nearest tavern, grabbing some drinks and food. They bring a feast back for Seven and Django.
For the rest of the day, Trixie and most of her companions spend their time on the boat and in the tavern, eating, drinking, napping, gambling and talking through their brush with death. Harris, meanwhile, spends half the day properly repairing and replacing part of the sail that was damaged in their fracas with the Bloodsail Buccaneers.
Slowly, the crew’s spirits lift. In particular, Thirteen seems a different person. The pale, skinny elf, usually quiet and moody, seems to have been awakened somehow by the encounter with the pirates. He gets talking to a couple of humans at the bar and is soon laughing and joking with them for most of the evening as if nothing has happened. Phoenix still can’t figure him out. Despite his jubilance, the atmosphere in the human city is not calm. There is uncertainty, quiet and a tinge of fear in the air.
From the conversations she overhears in the tavern, skirmishes between the humans and the orcs have been bloody and testing for both sides, but it is the humans who have lost ground. The orcs have taken areas like Westfall, south of Stormwind, and look to take Redridge Mountains. People are worried about an all-out attack and what may come of their city.
The next morning, as the crew prepare to depart and head back towards Silvermoon, Thirteen makes a request.
“Trixie, do you have a moment, alone?” he asks the goblin, her face a ball of surprise. The elf barely talks, let alone asks questions, so she knows it must be important.
“Of course,” she smiles, leading him downstairs. “Let’s talk.”
They enter the room with the desk and pictures of ships on the wall and Trixie takes a seat behind the desk, prompting Thirteen to sit opposite. He does so.
“Thank you for being a good captain, for teaching me...” he starts trailing off, but Trixie already knows where this is going.
“You want to stay here in Stormwind, don’t ya?” she asks.
He smiles at her and nods. Trixie thinks it’s the first time she’s seen him smile at her with genuine happiness.
“Ya know the crew is already small and tight. Finding people I can trust is hard,” she says. “And you are contracted for another half a year…”
“I’m happy to pay off the remainder - and help you find someone,” he cuts in.
Trixie leans back and crosses her feet, her boots resting on the edge of the desk as she contemplates Thirteen’s offer. The elf is difficult to get along with, that’s true, but he is reliable - and dangerous with a knife. She will miss him, but considers his bad seasickness and the general spirit of the crew and makes her decision.
“Ya know we won’t be able to come and save your ass if Seven’s old friends invade?” she adds, slicing the conversation into a tangent. “We don’t take any sides but our own.”
Thirteen stares at her for a moment. “I know,” he says reluctantly, like a child might reply to a nagging parent.
“Okay, on one condition - I want you to find two people to replace you,” she says. “One that’s an all-rounder, good with the ship, one that’s skilled with the blade, like you. Dwarves or elves if you can, goblins are okay, humans only if they’re exceptional - and cheap. You know Django’s feelings towards them - and mine.”
“Deal,” he says instantly, reaching out his hand. She takes it in hers and shakes, nodding once.
“It was a pleasure having you with us, even if it was brief,” Trixie says.
Thirteen says nothing. The air is a little awkward between them. The goblin stands.
“When you’ve found them, send a letter to my mailbox at Sunsail Anchorage with their names and details and your new address. I’ll consider and write you back, we can then arrange a ship to bring them to Silvermoon,” she adds.
“Yes, yes,” Thirteen says impatiently, counting out some gold and placing it on the table. Trixie opens a drawer and pulls out the crew log and contracts, skimming down the list to Thirteen’s name. She takes a quill and dips it in ink, crossing out his name and signature, and writing her own signature next to it.
As she looks up to say goodbye to him, he’s already turned to leave the room. Trixie is left with the brief sight of his back as he leaves, his blunt and rather rude behaviour annoying her slightly.
On the upper deck, Thirteen makes an awkward departure from the rest of the crew. He doesn’t even say goodbye to Seven, Django and Falkor, who are in the mess room eating breakfast.
“See you,” he says to the dwarves and Phoenix, quickly.
“Where are you going?” Henry asks, as he saunters past them, turning around briefly.
“Don’t know exactly where I’ll end up just yet, but I am staying here in Stormwind,” Thirteen responds, bluntly.
Henry goes to say something else, but hesitates and ends up nodding at the young elf.
Phoenix, confused, doesn’t get a chance to think about what to say to Thirteen. When she does think of something, he’s already off the boat and among the harbour crowds.
“I’ve never understood him,” she says, turning to Henry.
“Aye,” Henry responds. “He was always pretty ru-”
Harris cuts him off, blurting out melodically and dancing a little jig: “Thirteeeen.”
The peculiar dwarf twitches, adding: “Unlucky for some. Some, lucky for none.”
Henry sighs. Phoenix wonders if Thirteen heard the dwarf’s comments.
“Lass, some people cannot be figured out,” Henry continues, watching Thirteen disappear into the crowds. “It’s hard enough figuring oneself out, let alone worrying about others.”
Phoenix did not worry, but perhaps she should have. It would not be the last she saw of him.