This week is another Pocket Watch Blog Hop! We’re focusing again on characters. Yay! Keep reading, as the links to the rest of the hop are below. Don’t miss it!
The only individual character ready for an introduction among my works-in-progress, was Pony. And she was featured in the first blog hop, which can be found here. Because of this, I’ve decided to meld this hop with another subject I had plans for.
This series will introduce a mythical creature, being, or talent/ability that shows up in my novels. The first half of this post will describe and/or discuss the subject as our universe sees it. The second half goes into detail about how I shake it up to incorporate it into my storytelling and make it my own. So let’s begin!
A murder of crows. A parliament of owls. A charm of hummingbirds.
Or, more familiarly, a brood of hens or a gaggle of geese. Some birds may have more than one term for their grouping. Geese may be a skein (typically in flight), a wedge (again, in flight), or a gaggle/flock (on land).
Birds aren’t the only ones to fall into groups. Dogs or wolves are packs. Dolphins have pods. But more about that another time.
The word phoenix can be singular and plural. An alternative plural form is phoenixes. I use the former–the first spelling. Both terms are correct and how a person uses it is their choice.
Phoenix have been around for centuries. There are origin stories from Russia (Zhar-Ptitsa), China (Fenhuang – Fen once being the male, Huang being the female), Japan (Hou-Ou or Ho-Oo – again male/female), Egypt/Greece (Bennu), and Arabia.
In general, they’ve been described looking like eagles, peacocks, or herons, sometimes with flaming plumage in reds and golds. Many stories (if not most of the ones I’ve ever come across) always speak of a single, lone phoenix. The only one of its kind.
Every 500 years, (or 1,000 or 1,461) give or take according to that specific legend, it builds a funeral pyre of woods and spices. This pyre can be lit by the sun, or by the bird itself. Fanning the flames with its wings, it is then consumed. In some stories, it sings as it perishes. It emerges from the ashes, reborn as a worm (chick) or an egg, and begins the cycle all over again. In other tales, the new phoenix will carry its predecessor’s ashes to the temple of the sun god.
The three major characteristics of a firebird is its ability to produce flame and resurrect, thus representing immortality. Healing has also been noted, and ties into its life and death cycle.
What Makes Them Unique In My Universe:
I think I’ve borrowed a bit from every mythology, and added my own ideas. One of those twists is that there is a whole lot of them!
Because of their vast numbers, a while back I decided to group my phoenix into forges. It took a bit of work to come up with that, as I was fixating on volcano terminology, but nothing seemed to mesh nicely. While doing more research, hunting, and reviewing word-play through a number of thesauruses, I came across forge. It was an instant winner.
Forges are man-made. It brings thoughts of not just of fire and creation, but of civilization and growth. Progress. A community. And a social interaction that fit well into my world.
My phoenix are a sentient, celestial race, revered as gods and demi-gods. So that means there is more than one at a time. They are divided into family groups per species, with the patriarch considered a god.
The reigning phoenix gods are addressed by the honorific, Archibennu. Archi from Greek meaning first, or earliest, and bennu, being what the ancient Egyptians called the phoenix.
How does one become the god of their species when the patriarch reaches the end of his life cycle? The celestial nature released upon the predecessor’s death automatically latches onto the youngest of their male offspring.
Are there female phoenix you ask? Yes and no.
With a bit of practice, phoenix are able to shapeshift themselves into human husks. And when in human form, they are able to procreate with humans. Or giants, or elves, etc. Both sexes can be born from these unions, though only the male will be a true phoenix (bird). From these mixed unions, sometimes the offspring will form within an egg that must later hatch, sometimes it will be a live birth. Generally, females do not possess any celestial abilities, or an avian form, but there has been the very, very rare occasion.
Going back to species. I have several so far. White is the weakest and considered freakish and unnatural due to their origin story. Red is the largest clan, and most well-known; they can be quite pompous. Yellow are the most cautious; perhaps it has something to do with their link to White. Or perhaps not. Green are thinkers, and the most curious. Black is the most powerful, with their awesome dark fire, yet they are few and not often found. After Black, Blue wields the hottest flame and they are the most called upon when celestial muscle is required.
Orange and Purple have been mysterious and still won’t talk to me after all these years. I have something going with the infrared and ultraviolet spectrums, as well as frequency, but that’s been in the works for a while. And with the way things often work out for me, I suspect Orange and Purple are related to it. More recently, there may be plans for Silver, and Brown.
As for body style, most of the clans resemble Secretary birds, with the exception of the Greens, who resemble roosters because of their shorter legs. While in their avian form, (Greens included) they can reach up to twice the height/size of the average human.
Whereas earth-based mythologies have phoenix collecting spices for regeneration, I’ve tweaked that so much further. The subject is touched upon in book 1 of The Phoenix Embryo. But I can’t give away all their mysteries in a blog post. There are even more phoenix secrets I can’t go into detail without spoilers. So I’ll be delightfully cruel and say you’ll just have to read the series to find out.
Pocket Watch Blog Hop
Kate Whitaker discusses Rick, and the tropes of his creation. Meet this demon hunter from the urban fantasy series Monsters of Pittsburgh.
Tasha O’Connor introduces us to La Shaliyah, a woman who moves between worlds with ease and guides the lost.
Amelia Bishop settles us into a interview with the witch Vincenzo, and the sexy fae Salil, from her gay paranormal romance novel, Water Witch.
Sarah Kay Moll pens a short piece about the crime boss Jude’s first kill. Goosebumps are forming!
Hector Kopczynski brings us a secret agent in the decline of his career. Gray is a man who knows far too much and he’s determined to dodge that retirement bullet.