Warcraft Fan Fiction ❯ Turning Red ❯ Web ( Chapter 26 )
Back in the Steelfeathers’ hidden prison, the two guards each bring a chair into the room. One, a relatively slim elf in his thirties with messy ginger hair, places his chair in between Phoenix and Amelia’s cells. The other, a middle-aged bald elf with a large frame and muscles almost matching Seven’s, sits opposite the orc’s cell.
The first says to his friend: “Look Dirk, I’ve got a mother and her daughter both wanting a piece of me!”
The bald-headed elf laughs and glances at Seven, saying: “Why do I always attract the weird ones?”
The pair laugh. Phoenix crouches on the hard, scratchy stone floor and leans up against the bars, with her back to the guard. She curls up into a ball, bringing her knees up, leaning her head in between them and wrapping her arms around them. A wave of tiredness and hunger rushes over her. Her left knee aches with pain.
The first guard, the slim one, unlocks Amelia’s door and unties her from the stool. Her wrists crack as she stretches them and she gasps with pain. The guard lingers, watching her uncomfortably.
“The boss’s daughter wants you to wear that robe again, but if I had it my way you’d be without your clothes. Tell you what, I’ll come in here later, you make me feel good and I’ll bring you some food.”
He winks at her leeringly. Phoenix frowns as she hears his words, glancing around to look at him. He has a baton and a sword in his belt. Amelia just ignores him and his eye contact, and pulls the robe over her body before inspecting her wounds. She cries out as the robe touches her burn marks.
“Can you bring me some water and bloodthistle please, Arun?” she asks the guard through the bars. “I need to look my prettiest. I am in pain.”
He looks at her doubtfully and almost caringly for a moment, nods and exits the room, leaving her cell door open.
Amelia looks across at Phoenix, who senses this and turns her neck to face her mother properly in a more calm situation for the first time in years. Amelia smiles genuinely at her daughter. A pained expression flashes across Phoenix’s face, before a thin, forced smile spreads from her lips. Deep down she is stinging from the admission that she is a mistake - and responsible for this entire situation.
“Don’t worry Phoe,” Amelia says, as if reading her mind.
“No talking to each other!” the bald guard shouts loudly in the small space, his deep voice booming. He swings a metal baton into some nearby prison bars, making a deafening noise ring out inside the small prison. Phoenix cringes. She blinks and lies down, staring at the ceiling. She realises her mother has no idea about her training or current situation, and decides there’s no reason to mention it. Her mother would only end up asking questions, with the guards taking any answers to Alexandra or her father Norros. Plus, she is tired and feels helpless to do anything but sleep.
The ginger guard walks back into the room, with a bowl of water and a bloodthistle leaf. He pushes them through the small gap under the bars of Amelia’s prison cell.
“Thank you,” she says to the guard, before applying water to her burn wounds and crying out in pain as she does so.
She rolls up the bloodthistle leaf and lights it using the candle behind her. As she smokes it, that horrible stench Phoenix hates fills the air, and it reminds her of all the times her mother would do so when she was younger. Right now she understands Amelia is smoking it to help with the pain, but she still despises it nonetheless.
The ginger guard sits on his chair and properly notices Phoenix - who is facing up with her eyes almost shut - for the first time. His eyes scan her body, her legs, her small breasts and long fiery hair, ogling her.
He turns to his friend and clicks his fingers at him to grab his attention.
“Oi, Dirk, what say you?” the ginger elf speaks, before nodding his head down at Phoenix’s direction, making lurid gestures. “Reckon she’s better than her mum?”
The bald man sniggers.
“Alexandra said not to harm them unless they broke the rules,” he says.
“Yeah, so?” the ginger elf, Arun, replies. “Who says it’ll harm her?”
“I do,” Dirk responds, smirking. “I don’t do any of that gentle shit. I give ‘em what they deserve.”
The pair laugh wickedly.
“Well, you could just watch and guard the door, make sure she doesn’t do anything stupid,” Arun says.
Phoenix, about to drift off to sleep, gets a surge of fear and adrenaline as she catches the gist of the conversation.
Dirk considers his friend’s offer.
“Can do,” he responds, his deep voice almost a growl. “It’ll cost you five gold though.”
“You wanker,” Arun says.
“That I am,” Dirk says.
“Three gold,” Arun offers.
“Four,” Dirk counters.
“Done. Let’s wait til she’s asleep then we’ll do it while she’s weak. Grab the table and let’s play some cards in the meantime.”
Dirk pulls a small table from outside Seven’s cell towards the middle of the room, and takes a pack of old cards from his pocket. Arun takes four gold coins and places them on the table for Dirk to collect.
“Boys,” Amelia starts. “Please, use me. Do not touch her, she is young and inexperienced.”
“Shut up, whore” Arun says. “We’ll do what we want, and you will watch and enjoy it. Plus, we’re getting bored of you.”
Phoenix cannot sleep after what she has heard. She feels a mixture of terror and rage coiling within her. She begins tapping her finger almost inaudibly against one of the bars in her cell.
There is a pause. Phoenix repeats the tapping again. This time Arun hears her. He smashes his baton against the bars, nearly hitting her finger, which no doubt would have broken had it connected.
“Cut that fucking tapping,” he says.
She finishes her tapping for a few more seconds and he stands, looking down at her.
“What are you, dumb?” he says.
“Sorry, involuntary spasms. I do it when I’m scared,” Phoenix responds. “Did your boss’s little spawn not tell you I’m mucked up in the head?”
“She did actually,” Arun responds. “Anyway, no more talking.”
He sits down and plays cards with the other guard. Phoenix closes her eyes but does not allow herself to fall asleep. As she hears the cards folding and coins hitting the table over the next few hours, she goes over every possibility in her mind of Arun entering her cell and what she can do to escape. Phoenix thinks of the different possible outcomes and whittles down to the few that are most likely to be successful.
She’s not too concerned about dealing with the skinny elf, it’s his partner that will cause problems. The room is small and Phoenix will stand no chance against a huge thug like him in close quarters. She will have to injure Arun as quickly as possible. She weighs up two possibilities in her mind, one she’s confident of pulling off but a slower action, leaving her open to attack from Dirk. The other, she has not practiced on a live target before, but tries to replay Django’s lesson over and over in her head. She closes her eyes and allows her breathing to enter a slow sleep-like rhythm, tossing between the two options in her mind. She decides to make the call in the heat of the moment.
After a few hours of gambling, Dirk says: “Right, I’m knackered. Hurry up and do what you want with her, then I’m gonna sleep. You can take the first watch when you’re done.”
Arun stands up and quickly unlocks Phoenix’s cell door. Phoenix, facing the wall, pretending to be asleep and feeling exhausted, feels a shot of adrenaline course through her veins. It is happening fast and she will need to act decisively.
Arun steps into the cell and leaves the door open. Dirk stands beside it, leaving Seven unattended.
Arun unfastens his belt and unzips his trousers, before leaning down over Phoenix. He begins unfastening her belt. Phoenix pretends to wake up and feigns dread. She goes limp, allowing him to exert his dominance over her. She moves her arms to embrace him but he slaps them away.
“Don’t fucking move,” he says, pulling her trousers down.
Phoenix’s eyes flash towards her mother. She’s asleep.
“Please,” Phoenix adds, moving her arms wide, gently.
As Arun positions himself over her, Phoenix’s arms slowly embrace him again, and this time he allows it. He moves his head closer to hers, preparing to kiss her. Phoenix allows him to come close, wrapping her hands gently around his head. She kisses him and strokes her right hand across his face, down to his chin, while her left hand touches the top of his head. As he moves to enter her, Phoenix shoves her right palm hard into his chin and twists the back of his head towards his right shoulder, breaking his neck and killing him instantly. Django would be proud.
Phoenix feels relief and satisfaction from the surprisingly quiet cracking noise but it evaporates instantaneously as Arun’s body slumps over her, his weight stifling her and hurting her injured left knee. She shifts him off as quick as possible to the right.
It happens so fast, so quietly, that Dirk almost doesn’t realise what is going on until he hears a screeching noise from Seven’s cell, distracting him. He turns to the orc’s cell. Phoenix hears the bars being bent.
“Hey!” Dirk shouts, smashing his baton into the bars and Seven’s fingers, waking Amelia. Phoenix, rising from her cell and quickly pulling up her trousers, positions herself behind Dirk. She hoists herself up into the air using her left hand to grab Amelia’s bars and her right hand to grab a bar from her own cell, before drop-kicking into Dirk’s back with her right leg. The bald elf thunders into the wall, head-first. Dazed, he turns and charges into Phoenix, slamming her into the door.
Seven uses all his might to try and bend the prison bars, shaking with strength as they squeak and move slightly.
Dirk towers over Phoenix, punching once into her stomach, before attempting to swing a harder punch in the same spot. She rolls to one side and Dirk strikes the floor, causing his knuckles to bleed. Phoenix rises fast, but Dirk has already turned around and grabbed her around the waist.
“Get off her!” Amelia cries. “Phoe, be careful! Stop it, stop it!”
Phoenix twists but he tightens his grip on her, repositioning himself so they are both facing the door. He begins to constrict her, his huge arms crushing her abdomen, stopping her from breathing. In the struggle, she tenses up and attempts to shake him off but it’s no use. He tightens further, and Phoenix feels like her ribs are about to break.
A large green fist grabs the Steelfeather’s bald head and smashes it violently into the prison bars on his left. Dirk loosens his grip on Phoenix, who slumps over to catch her breath, and tries to turn around to fight the orc, but Seven’s rage erupts as he slams Dirk’s skull back into the prison bars, again and again. There is a loud crack and Dirk goes limp, slumping to the floor, his head a mushy mess that reminds Phoenix of Chrim’s face. She shivers as she catches her breath, pain throbbing throughout her body.
Seven bends down and takes the cell keys from Dirk’s body, as well as the sword and baton. He holds out his hand to Phoenix, who takes it and is hoisted up on her feet by her trusted friend.
“You okay, beast?” Seven asks.
“I need a moment,” she says, shaking and waiting for the tearing pain to pass. “You?”
“I’ve been better. The fall wasn’t too bad for me. But I am tired. And I smell of shit.”
Phoenix smiles through the pain and moves to Arun’s body, taking his baton and sword. As she’s doing that, Seven unlocks Amelia’s cell and asks: “Do you know where we are? Where did they take our weapons?”
She gives him a confused, fearful look and takes a step back, into the wall.
“I am your daughter’s friend, I go by the name of Seven,” he adds, holding out his hand, realising they haven’t met.
Phoenix steps around him and says: “Mother, we don’t have time for this, we need to leave, fast. Our friends are in danger.”
“Okay Phoe-” she starts, looking anxiously at the orc.
Amelia seems stunned by what is happening. She is still half-asleep, and having smoked some bloodthistle, also looks stoned. Her eyes are bloodshot and she seems to be in a state of shock and confusion.
Phoenix suddenly flings her arms around her mother, who winces from her burn wounds.
“Oh, sorry,” Phoenix starts.
“No, come here,” Amelia responds, holding her daughter’s face in her hands and kissing her emotionally on the cheek, twice.
Despite the urgency of the situation, Phoenix feels a sudden impulse to hug her mother tightly again. After all this time, she is alive, and they are together at last. Phoenix feels shame for believing she may have been dead. Now she fears for the rest of the crew’s lives instead.
Amelia turns to Seven. “Thank you for helping us,” she says.
Seven grunts, dragging Dirk’s dead body into the orc’s cell and letting his head fall onto some of the shit that was originally thrown at Seven.
“I just backed up Phoenix, her actions got us out of here,” Seven says. “Your daughter is a fearsome warrior.”
Amelia blinks. Phoenix feels like blushing.
“We still have to get out of here . Where are we exactly?” Seven asks, turning his head towards the women.
“In the passageways underneath the house they sprung the trap on you,” Amelia responds. “There will likely be two more of them up there and one patrolling the corridor outside this door.”
“Why don’t we wear the guards’ clothes?” Seven suggests.
“And what do we say when they ask why we’re escorting the prisoner out?” Phoenix interjects. “Especially with our voices? And your fat ass.”
Seven raises an eyebrow.
“No, fuck it,” Phoenix adds, “we fight our way out.”
“Language, young lady,” Amelia states.
“You can tell me off later,” Phoenix says, taking the sword from her belt and swinging it gently through the air, feeling its weight.
Heavier than my usual, she thinks to herself, but it’ll have to do. The thought reminds Phoenix of her narrow rapier, Heart, and their other provisions. Amelia looks at Phoenix worriedly.
“Do you know where our stuff might be, mum, like Seven asked? Where they took our weapons?” Phoenix asks.
“I’m not sure, but this is a small hideout, they can’t be far,” Amelia answers. “Please be careful. I would rather die than bear being taken from you again.”
Phoenix nods, trying not to get emotional. “Stay between Seven and I,” she says. “I’ll lead, Seven will follow close behind us.”
She leans up against the door and listens. Phoenix can’t hear a thing. She twists the handle and opens the door gradually, before peering down a narrow, dark corridor. Phoenix checks to the right and sees another empty hallway, leading to a door. She sneaks down here, leading the others and opens the door at the end. It creaks open to a guard sitting on a chair reading an adult magazine. There are goods and boxes stacked around the small room. Phoenix notices their weapons and bags of provisions in the corner.
Phoenix quickly presses her sword to the guard’s heart and he instinctively raises his arms in the air, shocked and scared.
“Make a noise and it will be your last,” she says, as Seven rummages around the room, gathering all their things. He also takes a few extras for good measure, including provisions such as skins of water and bread. Amelia also takes a white woollen shawl from a wardrobe and wraps it around her. When they’re finished, Phoenix demands the keys to the room and locks the guard inside.
The trio make their way up the stairs down the other end of the corridor, and Phoenix and Seven run ahead, catching two gang members sitting at a table off-guard. They make light work of them, killing them both, before making their way outside with Amelia alongside them.
Alexandra is nowhere to be seen. Neither is the person who gave Phoenix and Seven a ride here in their wagon. Luckily, there are a few hawkstriders outside the house, their Steelfeather owners either dead or locked inside. Seven takes one of the hawkstriders, while Phoenix rides the other, with her mother sitting behind her, dazed and stoned. Before setting off, in the early light of the morning, the trio take a moment to have a large drink of water and some bread. They set off and make haste, riding through Eversong Forest without rest.
Phoenix feels generally okay, buoyed by adrenaline. The pain in her knee, knuckles, head and back has faded somewhat, but her ribs ache with searing pain. And she knows that her lack of sleep could cause her to make mistakes, or worse yet, see red. She thinks about the latter and decides that although her bloodlust could turn the tide of a battle, being out of control in this situation - if what Alexandra says is true - could be fatal. Seven is in better shape, while Amelia is in desperate need of rest and to tend her wounds. But that can wait.
Phoenix rushes through the forest and Seven does his best to keep up with her.
Back at the Tranquil Shore, Norros and his gang approach the shack leading to Trixie’s hideout. He sends an accomplice to scout ahead and enter the shack, easily slitting Emile’s throat in his sleep, murdering him instantly and almost silently. Trixie and her crew, sleeping soundly below, hear nothing.
Phoenix’s fortune teller was correct: Death is coming.