We are creatures of flame and spirit, travelling the vastness of space, resting briefly to inspire, to give life, or visit destruction.
And in our endings, we rise again, glorious, free, and joyous. Roaming again and revelling in our freedom.
Except for one. And because of that one, I am bound in my current task. That one who has violated all of our rules. That one who I have pledged to visit the ultimate destruction on.
And at that time either he or I will fall. Never more to rise in flame, never more to roam.
He had come across a planet that seemed ideal for the giving of life. The race who inhabited it were in need of the guidance our kind would give – to give them a second chance on their beautiful world, and to halt their destruction.
His downfall came when they started to worship him, and he began to revel in that worship. He forgot that we are not of these worlds, visitors only to stay and rest and then move on.
But then worship can, even for our race, be a heady experience. In his desire for worship the planet (its people call it Spectra) was stripped bare, and so they were forced to turn outwards to the universe to sustain their lives.
As planet after planet fell to them, a people carried on the wings of their Great Spirit, our own race knew that we had to do something to stop this before our universe could be poisoned beyond our ability to heal.
He ignored our pleas, and instead melded with the rulers of the planet, subjugating them to him completely. And yet – it was flawed. For all his power, he had little of the knowledge of living corporeal beings. Was unable to perceive flaws in his planning and did not realise that these magnificent humanoid beings needed free will to function best.
And yet, he was unstoppable. We knew that in order to stop his rampage, one of us needed to guide another world to stand against him.
I was chosen, and I chose for my champion a small blue green world where I had stopped many times. Perhaps too many. Its people had become entwined in my soul and they had fierceness about them that I recognised in my own self.
After searching, I found several who would be receptive to my influence, and one who I decided would be the foundation of my plans.
I regretted that I would have to alter his destiny to suit my plans – and alter the destiny of others who were otherwise destined to live long and happy lives, surrounded by children and grandchildren.
For I knew from this small group of people would be born those who I needed to defeat the enemy. And the one who I had chosen would be the mentor that they would need.
I did not make the same mistakes as the enemy. I made sure that my influence was subtle, and that their free will was never subjugated.
And I learned myself. For as I read the destinies of the three children born who would be my ultimate Champions I wept. For I had erred.
Instead of creating three titans I had created three humans. Humans who, through the influence of the man, Anderson, and me were entwined heart, mind and soul. Three beings of such beauty, strength and character who, given the right tools, could accomplish anything they believed in, and yet with flaws that went so deep that they were equally capable of destruction – not only of worlds, but of themselves.
In my eagerness, I had failed to see how other players in the game would interact and affect them.
I discovered this too late – it was not until their eighth year when I brought them together that I realised this. When they came together and I heard the chime deep within myself that spoke of a soul bonding that I realised to my horror that the bonding I had created was not one merely of power and mind. But one at such an intimate level that their entire beings were unable to properly function alone.
In my eagerness, I had taken one being and created three – and in that creation I had not evenly split the being. Instead, I had split it along fault lines.
It could not be remedied by me. It was a remedy that only these three could find themselves, and in finding that they would become whole and what the universe needed them to be.
I knew then that I would need others I had not previously planned for. And so I searched, and found he who became my soulmate and in whose death eventually I will find my own. Yet in our death, I will give him rebirth so that he can forever fly with me.
Barely leaving childhood, his soul was beautiful and I overlooked the body that meant his contribution to my plans would be less than those others. He longed to soar free – the same longing that was instilled in one of my Champions. And yet, in my soulmate, I found this longing balanced by an evenness of temperament and a loving and pure heart.
I knew that to succeed, I would need to leave my spiritual form and take on a corporeal one and that which I chose would be the craft from which my Champions would take their stance.
In taking on this corporeal form, I knew that I would loose much of my ability to influence, and so I gave the man Anderson the technology that would allow me to remain an integral part of my Champions.
For my Soulmate, I chose that he would be the one who would be in intimate contact with me. I would be within his mind and he within mine constantly. He would take on the appellation Owl and would be the one who would guide my form.
I chose the Swan for the Heart. She would temper the others and provide them with the lodestone which would become the centre of their beings.
For the Soul, I chose the Condor. Fierce, independent and yet with a mischievous streak that greatly pleased me.
And for the Head, I chose the Eagle. His practicality, logic and charisma I knew would provide a figurehead for my Champions, as well as a person who would lead with compassion. I fostered in him a sense of duty so that he would not loose sight of the main objective. And, in my pride of creation, I missed the deep character flaw, that sense of inadequacy that would ultimately cause near disaster.
The Swallow, the fifth member of my team, was chosen by the man Anderson. Not out of any sense of ability, but the deep sense of compassion from a man who had been denied his own offspring – and whose hidden tender heart was moved by the result of another man’s experiment gone wrong.
How right he had been. The inclusion of the Swallow gave my team a sense of fun that they would otherwise have lacked. His youth gave them permission to remain young themselves, and gave them a younger soul that they gave protection to.
He provided the younger eyes that they saw were looking up to them, and made them strive to be the best they could.
And I was pleased with my work when I finally took my corporeal form. Even if that form did harness me, those wonderfully inventive humans, with my influence, gave my Champions a way to unleash me when I was most needed. And in that unleashing, my true being would be revealed and my Champions would be as one with me.
It was distressing that I could not communicate with my Champions as I previously had unless in that unleashing. Only with my Soulmate was I able to communicate directly. I hurt when I saw how the method I had devised to allow the Eagle to commune with me caused him such pain, and I tried to find ways to allow them to communicate with me in other ways.
I saw an opening in the coupling of the Eagle and Swan – when the cerebonic implants in their minds, coupled with the Eagle’s own latent empathic and telepathic abilities, allowed them freedom and allowed me access. I found that because there was one part missing, I could only enhance their pleasure in each other. To my sorrow, it also resulted in their despair being deepened when the result of my inattention at the beginning had its culmination.
I tried again with the Swan and the Condor, hoping that the Swan’s previous joining with the Eagle would be able to give me that conduit.
However, there was not even the enhanced pleasure. Instead I found her previous joy curtained off, and his stunted and only allowed to grow to a certain level.
And once again I grieved for my error and for the corporeal form that now tethered me to this plane, so I was not able to search the Universe for that missing part – to rejoin the others and so make a whole again.
When he did return, I grieved anew for the damage that had been done.
And yet, there was hope. Born of Swan and Eagle, born of Swan and Condor, offspring that combined the best of each.
And in the hearts of Swan and Condor burned that flame that I placed there in their conception. The same flame that burned in the Eagle that would draw all three together despite everything.
And when that flame joins once again, when they realise that only when three become one can they truly be what I intended, I will be there at their side.
And when their flame joins to mine, and we strike at the heart of the enemy, I will be at their side. As I have been since the beginning. As I will be until the end.
Born of fire, the bright flame that illuminates and cleanses. I will not be gainsaid. I will fulfil my mission.
I am Phoenix.