(( OOC Note: This story is the work of Ferenold. ))
Dawn of the Quel'dorei is a traditional tale of the Quel'dorei which recounts the birth of their race in a metaphorical sense. It consists of heavy use of symbolism, and is one of the first tales to feature the phoenix as the 'savior' of the quel'dorei.
In some lonely exterior of the forest, sitting atop a solitary bough was a phoenix, all swept up in its cascades of red and yellow. Its eyes so cunning, yet not devious; its poise so strong, yet not violent; and its majesty such a gleaming splendor, yet none that bore so much beauty as to mock the very sun. Thus, its qualities all seemed designed to impart a certain unique perfection unto it, synonymous with the iridescent burning globe's very own mien.
The phoenix then, bore a certain degree of paradox within its very nature. For here was a creature, so sculpted as to resemble an immortal symbol, yet one that dwelled upon the edge of these dim woods, freed from the necessity of living sustenance but still bound to the earth. And so too, the bird was aflame in its crimson glory, which despite the august beating of its wings that drove peoples to great wonder ,often caught the very woods in their fires.
There was a time when the Phoenix was young, and the world itself was young, that it flew across the dawn and down to the Tirisfal Woods with the intention of bringing its celestial face to the woods, only to find that it left desolation in its wake. The youthful flame had not changed or infused the forest with any newfound beauty, but rather the fires slew what fleeting life the forest possessed.
The phoenix grew sorrowful, and it learned that though the forest regrew it never may enter it. It also sought to wither away its own life many times, believing that it may be rebirthed in the heavens, but continually the phoenix rose again on the mortal plane. It believed itself to bear a curse then, and the creature that once flapped its heaven-soaked wings triumphantly seemed to decay as it sat outside the glade with no visitors or solace.
And that brings us to the Phoenix to-day, who sat upon the Golden Bough, once the sturdiest of Oak branches. Rather than being burned by the phoenix, it gradually accepted its celestial offerings, gleaming more brightly than the withered phoenix that sat upon it. The phoenix looked in the distance as he always did, noticing something peculiar for once! There in the distance was a great mass of peoples that slept in the day-time, but awoke and strode about in the night.
The Phoenix noticed something peculiar about these people, that they had moon-colored lips and each night sought to ascend their gaze to the heavens, but those who did achieved terrible burns upon their faces, for they were not meant to be peoples of the sun. The phoenix looked at them with great pity, but he also found a people that were as pitiful as he! A paradox of the world, and one destined to live in conflict.
He saw that at many times, the priests of these people trying in vain to look upwards, only to be lulled to sleep by the moon’s gentle song. The Phoenix resolved to help these peoples, and so on one of those nights when the Priests gathered together to look up at the sun, the Phoenix descended from the bow, and flew over to a tremendous boulder near the assorted people.
When the moon began to lull the creatures off to sleep as it always did, the Phoenix reared its head and let loose a deafening screech. But so gentle and so serene a hymn was the song of the sinister moon, that not even the indignant screams of the sun could wake the moon’s slaves from their sleep. Even so, the sun burned brightly, and its screech brought indignant nightmares to many of the Quel’dorei, as they became fully aware to the moon’s plot.
The phoenix then, carried the word of the moon’s plans. Many of the dreaming beings did not believe of the visions they saw in their sleep, and that was most certainly the work of that lunar terror. But there was a small child that had accompanied the priests, his name being Theolas. Theolas decided that he would find the phoenix that had warned him, and so when he awoke he left the settlement to search for the Phoenix.
He found the Phoenix sitting atop the golden-bough as it always did. The phoenix was so pleased at the sight of his guest that flames erupted from his visage brilliantly, blinding the boy. But still he felt the Phoenix’s warmth washing over him delicately, and he ambled further towards the Phoenix, who now hung his head in remorse for what had occurred.
“You still approach even after harming you! O child, what do you seek?”
“I seek you, Phoenix, though now I lost my sight, I may still feel your embrace! I have seen you in my dreams.”
“In your dreams? O lonely child, have you grown mad? Not even the Highest of your people saw me, a mere child may not have!
“But I have!” Replied the child, and he went on. “I have seen myself wearing a wreath of yellow flowers, and I have seen you in the dawn! O phoenix, please, I have seen you!”
“O, you have!” The Phoenix acknowledged. “But what do you wish, child? Your people will not listen to me, the moon has brought them all to sleep.”
“They have, yes, but not I! Oh Phoenix, what may we do? The sun is so great, yet it despises us, it burns us, and thus we may turn only to the moon! And the moon despises us more, for it lulls us off to sleep!”
The Phoenix rose its breast, and spoke loudly. “No, child, the moon has brought a curse to your people, the sun reaches its rays downwards but it may not touch you! You’ve all been cursed to be slaves, mere slaves to the moon!”
At this proclamation the child’s legs stumbled upon themselves, as he fell back to the dirt. Wide-eyed and solemn-faced, he stared up to the Phoenix. “O, what shall we do, Phoenix? How may we survive now? How may break this terrible bond?”
The Phoenix shook his ashen head. “O child, I know not, for you are not as the bough I sit upon.”
“The bough! O phoenix, what do you speak of now? The bow may gleam as brightly as you, yet may you bestow the same blessing to me?”
“Not unless you wish to burn away, as the woods behind me did! No, no, the woods were not golden as the bough, but blackened by my light.”
“And as the woods, our people will not be goldened and bless’d, but blackened and lessed?”
“Aye, child, now shall you leave me to my misery?”
The child nodded, the image of the phoenix following him as he departed. That night, when darkness overtook the world, and the menacing moon loomed above the Phoenix as a monstrous birth, the Phoenix tilted his head downwards. There the Phoenix wept, and upon seeing the Phoenix weep, the oak, which had once despised the phoenix, extended its leafy branches about the Phoenix.
“Cry not Phoenix, for we have forgiven you.”
But the Phoenix continued to weep, for now he remembered more clearly how his wings devoured the oak. So the birch tree extended its twisting wood to the Phoenix.
“Cry not Phoenix, for we have forgiven you.”
But the Phoenix continued to weep, for now he saw more clearly how his breast had brought the Birch tree into its violent death. So the reeds wrapped about the Phoenix in its verdant caress.
“Cry not Phoenix, for we have forgiven you.”
But the Phoenix weeped the most loudly he had yet, for he remembered how his blaze had laid death to all the bless-ed shrubs and bushes, remembering how they wailed at his touch. A great pool of effervescent yellow tears had now dripped from the eyes of the Phoenix, which began to gather and refracted the moonlight that landed upon it. All the trees and shrubs about the Phoenix wept themselves after seeing the golden tears, their own azure brilliance supplementing the waters. And holding the passion of the Phoenix and the touch of life, they would be called the Flames of Life.
When the Phoenix awoke, he found the pool beneath him, and the boy came ambling over to the pool innocently. “O phoenix! This is such a sorrowful yet lovely sight! What have you wrought?”
“I know not, except these are my tears, and that I have shed them last night for our peoples.”
The boy seemed compelled to the heights of his curiosity by the sight, and he ran forth to the pool in foolhardy ambivalence for all things except what he saw before him! As his bare feet were wetted, a spark fled from the boy, and Elune cowered as the boy’s feet, once lit by some sleeping light, momentarily lost all light. At this time the boy too looked about, seemed drained of his life, and despaired. “What have you done, Phoenix?”
But then the boys withering feet began to grow once more, at a newfound pace, and now bearing a pale complexion that shone as the Phoenix did. Then the light spread all about the boy, the waters boiling and the sun spreading its kiss across the boy’s musculature until he emerged from the pool with azure eyes and a Phoenix’s heart.
“O, what bless-edness! I can look upon the sun now, Phoenix! Look at how it makes the moon tremble and how its spectre clouds out all the other stars. O greatness, I may aspire to you now!”
The Phoenix’s body ignited once more, yet now instead of burning the boy its flames fed him.
“I shall take these waters Phoenix, I shall take your gift, and I shall lay them at the feet of my people, and we shall no longer be bound to that Tyrannous moon.”
The Phoenix had since departed, its remaining life fleeing into the waters as to grant them enough substance for the entirety of the child’s brethren.