Phoenixes

“My city was broken, and great evil surrounded me. I thought hope a bitter memory before I looked up at a sky wreathed in flame.

“The air rippled with the cry of something that made me feel small and powerless. Like a newborn babe. Then, I saw it. The bird of legend. I know not why it came to our aid, but am ever grateful for it. Those who I thought unstoppable are now nothing more than ash.” – The Diary of Geffal

And, so we come to yet another noble creature. We’ve dealt with some horrors, so perhaps it’s just as well I include those the good needn’t fear.

For the phoenix, little is known. Even less than usual. In fact, nobody is entirely sure if there are more than one of the creature. It may be that it is altogether unique.

There have been a few accounts from those who reportedly witnessed the death of a phoenix, but as this is shortly followed by that same phoenix being reborn from the ashes of its old body, it isn’t exactly easy to tell how many there are.

For the purposes of this entry, I will refer to them as being more than one, but just remember that it is unknown.

Phoenixes rarely appear, and when they do, they are often very peaceful. Even among the noble creatures we’ve discussed thus far, such as gryphons and sphinxes with their code, none are as gentle as the phoenix.

Or, at least that’s what the accounts I’ve dug up suggest. I’ve never had the honor of seeing one in person. Few people do, though many search their whole lives.

So, really everything in this entry could be total rubbish. But, it’s the best I can do.

There are no reports of phoenixes being violent to any but the most despicable of creatures or people. But, should they choose to attack… there is little anyone can do to stop them.

Their mastery of fire is supreme. It is said even dragons must respect the flames of a phoenix. There are also reports of demons pouring through a portal at various times only to be utterly wiped out by a phoenix.

Ash and smoke will be all that is left of those who oppose a phoenix.

I think it goes without saying not to provoke it should you be fortunate enough to stumble upon this majestic creature.

Phoenixes are not invulnerable though, and there are many accounts of them being slain. Only to then be reborn and resume the fight. Once reborn it takes just a single day for a phoenix to return to its original size. And, even in its smallest and most vulnerable state, it is immensely powerful and dangerous.

As to what a phoenix looks like, the accounts differ. In many, however, the phoenix a bird of pure fire, but others say they have feathers of brilliant colors. All those accounts which involve a phoenix fighting invariably speak of it as being fire embodied.

Its power over fire is definitely more magical in nature than that of a dragon’s. A phoenix can breathe fire, but it’s been said that they can set the entire sky alight. That torches and braziers turn into massive fonts of living flame and leap to obey them. And, that even hellfire answers the call of a phoenix.

Because of this, some believe that phoenixes have ties to the hells, but such a thing is utterly preposterous. Demons don’t go out of their way to exterminate evildoers. Nor do they do what else a phoenix is famous for.

The gift of a new life.

Indeed, phoenixes are apparently capable of allowing another creature to be reborn the way they are themselves. Fire leaps over the one who receives the gift and renders them to ash in moments. Leaving an infant among the ash.

This may sound horrifying, but those who have received such a gift say that it was painless and that all their ailments were stripped clean. From then on, they grew anew but retained all their memories. All their experience. All their skills. They also aged and died without a phoenix around to renew the gift.

Many search for the phoenix for this reason, but the creatures are almost impossible to find.

Some say that this is because they do not live on our plane of existence, but rather choose to visit when they feel like it. I’d say that the sheer size and power of these creatures lends credence to this theory if only because a giant flaming bird should be rather obvious.

Although, phoenixes have also been described as being only twice as large as an eagle. Not nearly as big as a roc.

So, they may simply reside in a forest or a mountaintop somewhere, secluded and away from prying eyes.

Either way, their size is a matter of debate. Some believe there are different varieties with some being smaller than others.

As in the account I quoted earlier, phoenixes occasionally get involved in the affairs of others, but it is a rare thing indeed. And, when they do get involved, it’s when great evil has been or is being committed. They don’t seem to care beyond that. Perhaps it’s a case of neither side being worthy of being saved or deserving of being slain?

There are places that worship phoenixes, but the gods seem to tolerate it. Something they don’t usually do. It’s best to be careful though as some cults spring up claiming to worship the fire bird, but many of them are dark, twisted things. And, those the gods do not tolerate.

And, should the gods ignore it, a phoenix may not.

There was a report of a cult leader to the south-east who would say that the phoenix would appear to tell them if anything he said was false. He encouraged his followers to engage in practices I shall not name here and was well known for kidnapping young girls for his own entertainment…

But, during one of his sermons, he once again invited the phoenix to strike him down should he speak falsely. Needless to say, a phoenix seemed to have heard him, and it didn’t like what he’d done. It ate him the way an eagle eats a rabbit.

Then, it incinerated everything he’d built, including his followers, and melted down his possessions which were then handed out to the victims before the phoenix moved on again.

And, ironically enough a monastery was built on that site. Now, devoted warrior monks live there. They took it upon themselves to act as phoenixes do. They spend each day training their minds and their bodies and only leave the monastery to deal with great evils.

These men and women don’t get involved in political disputes though. Instead, they hunt down cults that engage in dark practices as well as anything demonic.

It may sound strange for such a small group to go after demons given my earlier description of a very minor demon, but these phoenix monks are beyond mortal men.

Some believe that when the phoenix visited, it bestowed great power on those who became the first monks. But, others think they achieve it through discipline, practice, and study.

The monks are well known for their skill with fire and healing magic as well as incredible martial prowess. They are fearsome warriors, and many a dark cult has been eradicated by a single warrior.

Many find it strange that these monks could be so terrifying and possess such strength. Especially as they cannot call on the power of their god the way a priest might. But, I think not. Phoenixes are powerful creatures, it’s only logical that those who follow them would focus on becoming strong themselves.

One needn’t fear these men and women though as they are well known for adhering to strict rules and regulations. They police their order and root out corruption wherever it rears its ugly head.

Were you a rogue warrior, or the leader of a cult you would have much to fear. But, they concern themselves with little else. Oh, if you’re a demonologist you may wish to avoid them at all costs though.

- Nicholas Wolfram, Professor of Monsterology at Lestria University


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