The Protection of the Phoenix

“You can stop your quivering. I am not here to harm you.”

Curled up at the epicenter of the blast, she was surrounded by the ruins of what, mere moments ago, had been her quiet childhood home. Cozy chairs, soft velvet cushions, delicate lace tapestries; all smoldered and shredded. A decade and a half of childhood memories erased in an instant – seared by violent, violet flame.

“Girl, I am not here to harm you. I am here to help. Come with me.”

His black cloak slipped aside as he outstretched his hand. She felt his attempt at comfort but, just seconds prior, she had witnessed what that hand could do. She had watched torrents of arcane power surge from it and disintegrate her mysterious, would-be murderers.

She struggled to draw a short breath of stark air. Silently she pondered her situation. Why was a baker’s daughter worth ambushing? Why was a baker’s daughter worth saving?

“You are more important than you know. I have little in the way of answers to your, I’m sure, many questions. But I can take you to someone who knows better than I.”

He outstretched his offered palm a little further.

Her vacant gaze fixed on his phoenix brooch, shimmering gold and purple in the light of the ebbing destruction. Its wings proudly pointed to the charred ceiling. Its crystal eye glimmered. She could have sworn it winked.