|The Myth of the Phoenix|
Sometimes called Bennu by the Trolls, Phoenix is the Erathian name given to a mythological bird offered in sacrifice to Rama, God of the Sun in ancient Jadame. This bird was similar to an eagle, and possessed a resplendent golden and red plumage, that made it look like wrapped up in flames. In some versions, the Phoenix was also shown in flames rather than feathers. According to the Elves, the bird lived in Ironsand, near a cool well. It was a gentle creature that crushed nothing it alighted on and ate only pearl and incense. Every morning at dawn, the sun god would stop his chariot to listen to the bird sing a beautiful song while it bathed in the well.
The Phoenix could live for 500 years. When it felt it was
getting old, it would build its own mortuary pyre of aromatic wood,
cinnamon, spikenard, and myrrh in the sacred tree. Then the Sun
next reached its apex, the heat of its rays set the nest on fire and
the Phoenix was consumed until ashes, while it breathed out its last
breath amidst odours. On the third day, a little wyrm would spring
forth from the ashes and, with the heat of the Sun, was transformed
into a new Phoenix. When it had grown up, it embalmed the ashes
of its predecessor in an egg of myrrh and flew with it to the Temple
of the Sun, where the egg was deposited on the altar of the sun god.
To the Necromancers, the Phoenix symbolized immortality, resurrection and life after death. In Alvarian mythology, however, it offered another description. Under the name of Fang it's shown to us as a bird of shining colours, much like a pheasant. In remote times, the Fang frequented the gardens and palaces of righteous emperors. In Ravenshore, it was usually depicted as a heron with its long straight back and head adorned at the back with two erect feathers, but in Troll literature it was identified as a peacock or an eagle.
"I am Bennu, the soul of Rama, and the guide of the gods in the Turrell; let it be so done unto me that I may enter like a hawk, and that I may come forth like Bennu, the Morning Star."
"There is a bird that lays no eggs and has no young. It was here
when the world began and is still living today, in a hidden, faraway
desert spot. It is the phoenix, the bird of fire.
Almost five hundred years passed. The Phoenix was still alive, but
it had grown old. It was often tired, and it had lost much of its
strength. It couldn't soar so high in the sky, nor fly as fast or as
far as when it was young. "I don't want to live like this," thought the
Phoenix. "I want to be young and strong."
When at last the bird came to the place that had once been its home,
it landed on a tall palm tree growing near a circle of stones. Right at
the top of the tree, the Phoenix built a nest with the cinnamon bark
and lined it with the fragrant leaves. Then the Phoenix flew off and
collected some sharp-scented gum called myrrh, which it had seen
oozing out of a nearby tree. The Phoenix made an egg from the myrrh
and carried the egg back to the nest.
Suddenly there was a flash of light, flames leapt out of the nest,
and the Phoenix became a big round blaze of fire. After a while the
flames died down. The tree was not burnt, nor was the nest. But the
Phoenix was gone. In the nest was a heap of silver-grey ash. The ash
began to tremble and slowly heave itself upward. From under the ash
there rose up a young Phoenix. It was small and looked sort of
crumpled, but it stretched its neck and lifted its wings and flapped
them. Moment by moment it grew, until it was the same size as the old
Phoenix. It looked around, found the egg made of myrrh, and hollowed
it out. Then it placed the ashes inside and finally closed up the egg.
"Now," said the Phoenix, "I must fly on alone." And while the other birds watched, it flew off toward the faraway desert. The Phoenix lives there still. But every five hundred years, when it begins to feel weak and old, it flies west to the same circle of stones. There it builds a fragrant nest on top of a palm tree, and there the sun once again burns it to ashes. But each time, the Phoenix rises up from those ashes, fresh and new and young again."