Warcraft Fan Fiction ❯ Turning Red ❯ From the ashes ( Chapter 34 )
Phoenix returns to the cave, carrying Alexandra’s body with her.
Her mother and Falkor are sitting by a fire in the centre of the cave. They look up as she enters and Amelia’s first emotion is one of grief.
Amelia looks battered by emotions as she tries to take stock of the situation. She looks at Phoenix again, who is wearing a golden brooch and has her sister’s blade by her side.
Amelia smiles through the tears.
Phoenix knows running through the specifics of what happened is not necessary. But she accepts she must do one more thing - her mother deserves it.
“I tried, mother, but she wouldn’t listen…” she starts. “Why don’t we say goodbye to her, properly?”
“Together,” Amelia adds, nodding.
The trio return to the pyre at the Tranquil Shore. All that’s left of her old friends at this point are ashes and embers.
She asks her mother to gather the ashes as she’s not sure she could do it herself.
Amelia obliges, placing them into a large, curved sea shell, which holds them well. Phoenix and Falkor sit together on the sand, in solemn thought.
Once they are cleared, Phoenix gently rests her half-sister atop the pyre, and the three of them gather wood once more to relight it.
As darkness turns to light, as night turns to day, as the grey clouds shift and the sun beams across the horizon, a new chapter dawns in the story of their lives. They sit together, in relative silence, as Phoenix contemplates the past and worries about the future.
Phoenix speaks for a moment, telling her mother and Falkor about the ship and her plans to sail to Stranglethorn - without them.
He holds his hands out to her, implying another attempted healing session and Phoenix shakes her head.
“Sorry, little one,” she says. “I changed my mind. I need to accept who I am. My mind is a hazard, but it’s mine to deal with. It’s also a strength. I need to be aware of that and take care of it myself.”
He nods in understanding. Amelia starts to protest, but seems to change her mind and stops abruptly. Phoenix hugs both of them, with love, real love, and is genuinely sad to be leaving them. But she knows what she must do.
Phoenix leaves her mother with a generous stash of gold, taken from Trixie’s coffers, more than enough to rent an inn room for a few months or so while she finds her feet. Phoenix encourages her mother to lead a life without prostitution, without drugs. Amelia agrees to try her best, to take care of Falkor with a clear mind.
Phoenix assures them she will stay in touch, to send them a letter soon with an address they can use to reach her should they need.
“I promise I will return,” Phoenix says, hugging her mother one last time.
Amelia runs her hand through Phoenix’s ginger hair and brushes her cheek, before kissing her gently on the forehead.
“You better,” she says.
Falkor makes a sad yet buoyant noise and hugs Phoenix. She embraces him and strokes his head.
“Take care of yourselves.”
And with that, she leaves.
She is glad to be rid of Silvermoon, to be away from her own kind. When she thinks of other high elves, she thinks of Alexandra, of Thirteen, of her mother - and father. Of arrogance, of betrayal, of lies and addiction. It is the start of a series of events that would see her grow to deeply resent her own kind.
It’s true that Trixie and the crew kept things from her as well, but they also gave her belief, hope, friendship. If her father hadn’t gone missing, she’s almost certain they would have reunited sooner and would have given her the truth. At least that’s what she tells herself.
Back in Silvermoon, a royal guard is putting up a wanted poster on the wall of an inn. It is that of an angry-looking young elf, quickly sketched, with the following words stamped above and below the image:
Wanted: Dead or alive
Phoenix Dreamfoil, female, teen
Extremely dangerous and unstable outlaw
Wanted for murder, theft, arson, fraud, assault and battery. 100g reward
In all the death and misadventure, Phoenix had almost entirely forgotten she was a wanted woman. Something she will be painfully reminded of in the years to come.
Following the deaths of the Steelfeathers and most of Trixie’s crew, the door is open for other opportunists and criminals to fill the gap they left in their wake. New gangs and peddlers rise up to secure their share of the black markets and Silvermoon’s underbelly, though over the coming months, tales of a young woman in red would sow fear amongst thieves and other criminals.
Unbeknownst to her, Phoenix would become somewhat of an urban legend in Silvermoon, that should any criminals commit acts of evil that upset the elf in red, then they would risk unleashing her fury - and their deaths. There’s a sweet irony of a wanted fugitive unknowingly keeping other criminals in line.
Phoenix returns to her Fate and makes preparations to depart for Stranglethorn. Later that evening, as her curiosity gets the better of her, she goes below deck alone and unlocks the door marked with a black inverted triangle. It is a small store room and, at first, she feels disappointment wash over her. It appears devoid of anything relevant to her.
Then, after lighting a candle and rummaging through odds and ends, she finds a large box with a slip of paper wedged inside, spilling out. ‘Phoenix’ is written on the paper, in Trixie’s hand. This must be what Django mentioned.
Phoenix lifts the box - which is ordinary and unassuming - and the paper falls to the floor. She sets the box on a nearby shelf and opens it, slowly.
Something glints in the candlelight as she opens it. She looks inside and there are two objects facing one another, a decoration of gold, red and white. It’s not until she lifts one out does she see it’s a beautiful set of shoulderguards.
The guards are perfectly symmetrical. Each one is a piece of plate armour carefully shaped into the face of a bird. A phoenix.
The shoulderguards are deep red, with a gold trim, and the eyes of each phoenix appear to be diamonds. They are utterly beautiful.
Though Phoenix does not visibly react to what she holds in her hands, she is enamoured by them. Her eyes drink in their splendour as she turns them over and examines them closely. When light hits them, they do not glint brightly like a well-polished shield; they shimmer dimly like a forest fire burning in the distance. They almost feel warm to touch, as if they have been somehow infused with the heat of whatever forge they were crafted in, though Phoenix expects it’s probably just because this room is stuffy and sickly warm.
She loves them. They are easily the most expensive items she owns and the most wonderful gift she has received. Though they are heavier than she would like, and a little large, she’s sure she’ll grow into them. And of course, the deep, warm, shimmering red complements her fiery nature.
She wears them instantly, with pride, with optimism. She is just sad she cannot thank whoever gave them to her. As she’s about to close the box, she realises there’s something else inside. A note. It reads:
This is the gift I mentioned for Phoenix. Made fresh from the fires of Ironforge. I want you to look after this until I return so I can present it to her in person. Maybe find a nicer box too.
Train her hard, treat her well.
So few words, Phoenix thinks to herself, but there’s so much more beyond the writing. She folds the note and adds it to her stash of other letters.
Phoenix walks to the upper deck of the ship. As she emerges from below, the goblins above deck look at her and the shoulderguards with wonder, though they do not show it.
The gold on her shoulderguards and Trixie’s brooch have changed her appearance greatly, giving her an air of importance. They blend strangely with her slightly tatty-looking red outfit and bandit mask. Like Trixie, the mix of normal and expensive-looking clothing is somewhat jarring. The twin rapiers add an element of danger, a rawness and volatility.
“Let’s depart,” she says, her ginger hair flowing in the sea breeze.
It’s only two words, but the tone of her voice and her manner speak to the crew in other ways. Her orders are not barked or brash, they are encouraging, warm, accepting of the crew, implying they are all together as one, not just individuals hired to do a job or follow a leader, even though they barely know each other. Still, they are orders nonetheless, and the goblins follow.
At that moment, they seem to take to her instantly. Perhaps she reminds them of Trixie, or of her father. While she can never replace them, she is still in charge. All the same, while she is her own person, in a way those departed live on through her now.
Trixie’s cunning, Django’s courage, what she has learnt from them, she will keep with her always. The dwarves’ spirit. Seven’s strength. Even Alexandra’s hate and Thirteen’s deception have left a mark on her. Of those still alive, the wisdom Falkor has shown her and, for all her flaws, her mother’s empathy and love (and a little of her selfishness too). Chrim and Solari seem like distant relatives or forgotten friends now, but she will keep them with her too. She wonders if Chrim had a worthy funeral and if she will ever see Solari again.
As the ship sails away from Sunsail Anchorage, a magpie lands on the railings, as if to say goodbye. Phoenix tries to ignore it. She takes the urn, the ashes of her friends and scatters them to the sea. They are gone, yet they will always be a part of her. She misses them dearly. The lone magpie watches her, twitching its head.
Phoenix Bloodheart leans over the railings and looks out to the night sky as the ship passes through a thick mist. She grabs Django’s old lucky coin in her pocket and thinks of her father, and also of Thirteen. She shivers.
Shrouded in darkness, cloaked by the mist and enveloped by the Sunwell, for a moment Phoenix feels just as she was down the alley a few years earlier. Empty. Light. Delirious. While she feels like nothing, she is many things. A rogue, a fugitive, a lone wolf perhaps, without its pack but still hungry for the hunt.
The magpie caws and flies back to land, joining a flock of five others. The goblins no longer notice Phoenix. She is inconspicuous, out of their eye line, a part of the ship. To anyone sailing past, they would not see her.
As she sails into the sinking night, she feels like nothing from nowhere, no one at all. Like a ghost, or a bright, fleeting star burning out earlier than anticipated, its chemicals struggling to accept their near destruction.
But like a phoenix, she will rise again.
“Always remember that our people are not defined by tragedy, but by our ability to overcome it. From the ashes of the past, we carry the flame of hope into the future.”
“Like a phoenix ignition
Like a crematorium
Like the swelling volition
From the barrel of a gun
From the ashes and the ambers
Like a rocket I'll ascend
Like a cry gone up for a fallen friend...
A new renaissance
A new fire each day”