Lord Phoenix
King of Birds; Skyfire; Undying Flame; Wings of the Sun

Symbol: An avian figure made of fire, its wings outstretched
Home Plane: Elyssium (where it connects to the Elemental Plane of Fire)
Alignment: Neutral Good
Cleric Alignments: Any Good, Neutral
Portfolio: Useful fire; rebirth; flying creatures; the sun; freedom
Worshipers: Good-aligned flying creatures; nomads who follow the sun; those who use fire for good
Domains: Air, Fire, Glory, Good, Healing (Resurrection), Liberation (Freedom), Sun
Favored Weapon: Longspear or Longbow (cleric chooses one)

Physical Description:
Some have seen the rare bird of fire, the phoenix. This strange and mystical creature is much revered for its great wisdom, its great beauty, and especially for its great power to heal. A phoenix's power to heal is so great that, even if it is killed, it can bring itself back from death in an explosion of holy flame. The great Lord Phoenix is larger and mightier than any other phoenix, for he is their archetype, the progenitor of phoenixkind, and their king (or queen, as the case may be, since Phoenix is able to become female, and in this way is quite literally the sole parent of all lesser phoenixes), as well as the king of all birdkind everywhere. Crowned with a great plumed crest of burning feathers, Lord Phoenix appears as a vast and magnificent bird with feathers of living flame, which he can choose to burn at whatever temperature he desires, from as hot as a sun, to so cold that it burns.

Description of Nature, Personality, and Dogma:
The Undying Flame, Lord Phoenix is an embodiment of the fire of hope and freedom and joy and wisdom that burns inside all strong-hearted people. He is unbounded courage even in the face of unbeatable odds, and the limitless renewal that lifts those who seem beaten up once again at the dawn of each day to set forth and try again. The sun itself is a manifestation of Lord Phoenix's power, acting as an intermediary and messenger between mortals and the Light. Some might even call Phoenix the high priest of the Light, and this description is not inaccurate.

Before anything else, Lord Phoenix teaches his followers to wait and to watch, gaining some distance from events so that they can see them more clearly. In this way, his followers are able to best assess situations before they act, making those actions have the best and most far-reaching possible effect for the greater good of all. Life is precious but fragile, and though Phoenix may have the power to be reborn endlessly, not all mortals are so blessed, and so Phoenix also teaches his followers to be very careful in dealing out death, and to avoid it when possible, though Lord Phoenix is not a pacifist by any means (some of his followers are, however). Of paramount importance to Lord Phoenix's followers is the constant seeking for opportunities to do good and to improve the world around them, waiting and watching with great care for those precious times of service, when they might make their mark in history for the good of others.

Clergy, Places of Worship, Important Rituals, and Servitor Races:
The clergy of Lord Phoenix are chosen when they gaze up at the sun. Usually this choosing takes place the first time a being looks at the sun, normally very soon after birth, though there are recorded cases of Phoenix choosing adults at any time of life, though always in those moments when they dare to look up at the sun. When Lord Phoenix sees that someone has a potential destiny to serve good, and that the powers that Lord Phoenix can offer will be of use in fulfilling that destiny, he will mark the potential future cleric, leaving a part of the acolyte's body turned one of the colors of flame, from bright yellow or orange, to vivid red, to ash grey, to charcoal black. This mark may appear as a random splotchy birth mark, or it might take on a clear pattern. When the acolyte comes of age, they are drawn towards the sun, feeling whisperings on the wind until they look upward, and stare into the face of Phoenix, the Wings of the Sun. This period of visions can last for hours, with the acolyte staring up at the sun the entire time, eyes miraculously unharmed by such exposure. At the end of this very personal time spent communing directly with Lord Phoenix (an experience that no cleric of Phoenix discusses freely, as it is as sacred as it is personal), the acolyte becomes a full-fledged cleric, is able to use clerical magic, and is recognized on sight by other clerics of Phoenix.

The clergy of Lord Phoenix do not have ranks, per se, and each is considered an equal. Nevertheless, they do recognize that some of their number are more powerful than others, while some are more charismatic and able to deal with people. Those who demonstrate such skills with people generally become the keepers of local shrines and temples devoted to Phoenix. These temples are very open-air in nature, and many can only be accessed from the air, especially among flying peoples. High cliffs and mesas are the typical locations for these temples, places elevated above the din and hubbub of daily life, and close to the sun and the open sky.

Each day, the worshipers of Lord Phoenix rise before dawn to gaze out at the horizon, there to wait for the first rosy fingers of light to spread over the land. At the end of the day, these same worshipers then gaze out at the opposite horizon, watching the last rays of the sun fade in glorious color from view. Whole communities sometimes take part in these rituals, and those who take part are expected to keep prayers to Phoenix in their hearts as they watch the sun rise and set.

Lord Phoenix is always accompanied by a host of lesser birds, granted protection from fire through proximity to the king of birds so that they can endure his flaming presence. He is also attended by a small band of truly immortal phoenixes, each continually brought back from annihilation by Lord Phoenix's divine power, who frequently serve as his messengers and agents on the mortal plane.

History and Relations:
A dear friend of Nimbus, it was Nimbus who got the attention of Phoenix during the war against the Fallen Ones, and it was she who drew Lord Phoenix into the conflict. It was not, however, Nimbus who elevated Phoenix to godhood, but rather the Light, who recruited Phoenix as a messenger and go-between. During the course of the battle, Phoenix was slain many times, but each time returned from his own ashes to continue the fight, a power which he also shared with many others to bring even several dead gods back from their doom, along with his healing powers, aiding Nimbus herself in such efforts.

Before that time, Lord Phoenix was one of the mightiest rulers of good on the elemental plane of Fire, and a strong ally with the djinn. This close relationship has continued, as Lord Phoenix is still friends with Jinn and the djinn, and is happy to come to Jinn's aid in times of need. Lord Phoenix is also on good terms with Tumulus, who enjoys basking in the warmth that Phoenix provides, as well as Leviathan, who is also known to be one of Lord Phoenix's lovers. Chekari, the Thunderbird, is a rival of Phoenix, and there are many tales told of the competitions between the two, most of them fables akin to the ages-old story of the tortoise and the hare, with Chekari serving the role of the physically-strong but overly-hasty antagonist, and Lord Phoenix as the careful and wise protagonist. Sin Eater is regularly pestered by Phoenix, who likes to spend time around the dour goddess, sitting on her head or back or shoulder and talking pleasantly, while Sin Eater gives curt, grumpy responses. In truth, Sin Eater actually appreciates these talks, and the presence of Lord Phoenix for that matter, but would never admit this to anyone.

Favored Offerings and Justifications for Direct Intervention:
Though a good-aligned deity, Phoenix is also a god of fire, and of all manner of birds. Thus, Lord Phoenix favors offerings that are appropriate for birds, such as quantities of grain, and slain animals. These offerings are placed on altars of Lord Phoenix and then burned to ashes, to that their essences can go to Phoenix himself, though his clerics tending his temples are allowed by tradition to select a few choice parts of any sacrifice to feed themselves. He also appreciates offerings of fragrant incense, slowly burned, and his temples regularly are filled with trails of smoke and a thick and mingled scent from these offerings.

Lord Phoenix is well-acquainted with the lives of mortals, as might be expected from a deity that appears much like a high-flying avian. At the same time, as might also be expected, Phoenix is largely above common mortal problems, not becoming involved in ordinary events. What attracts Lord Phoenix's attention are events that require truly heroic actions in order to succeed. Enslaved and virtuous people seeking freedom; enclaves of birdfolk in dire peril from various sources; peaceful people being assaulted and their lands and lives taken by an aggressor nation, the violent death of a great and well-loved hero; all of these and similar events attract Lord Phoenix, and are enough to bring him down from his endless flight above all of creation, coming swift as lightning to the rescue. Phoenix's aid generally comes in the form of fire, though whether this fire will heal or harm depends on the need of those who caught Lord Phoenix's attention. Fleeing innocents who just need a few minutes of distraction to make good their escape might find the way behind them suddenly burst into flames, blocking off their pursuers. A desperate messenger, braving all to get a plea for help past enemy lines might find the rays of the sun shining so brightly into the eyes of all pursuers or archers that the flight becomes assured. A fallen hero, taken while still needed, destiny unfulfilled, will suddenly burst into fire, and then rise from the ashes that remain, fully healed and ready to stride the earth once more to drive back the forces of darkness. It must be noted that only very rarely does Phoenix cause any direct harm with these flames, not even when those they are used against are truly vile in nature, for Lord Phoenix is opposed to the use of fire for the sake of wanton destruction.