When the fire elementals of Aeros are first brought into the world, an earthly flame is lit in a glass bowl on the beaches of their homeland. Shaped into being by the youngest priest of the order, the glass bowl becomes the vessel in which a new elemental will arise. Over nine nights, the young priest blows into existence a perfect bowl with its own fire breath. Decorated with the images of an unique story, each glass bowl represents the history, the aspirations, hopes, and dreams of the collective of elementals. The elders then gather to whisper the blessings of the ancestors, and from the ashes of those who came before, the runes that call forth life are drawn into the sands.
The magic that flows forth from the communion of the fire elementals is one sung through song. The occasion is reported to sound ethereal and otherworldly to the human ear, echoing for hundreds of miles, but, sadly, ever since the Great Flood, the number of fire elementals have dwindled so much that the song can only be faintly heard to those close by. Once begun, the song must be finished till the break of dawn or legends say that all will fall apart.
In the song of the fire elementals, the music is able to mould the fire into a distinct being filled with the combined emotions and character of its singers. As the music rises, so does the flame. As it bellows deeply, so does the flame bend softly in response. As the notes become light, so does the flame become joyful. As the notes becomes dark, so does the flame become weaker. Each member sings in its own unique voice and history. Often times, as one member sings the stories of the losses of the people, another may be singing the dreams of a better future. While the flames are drawn distinctly with the piercing calls of anguish, it is also melded into unity with the solemn harmonies of hope.
From this music, the flame grows and morphs. All throughout the night, the infant is sung to until it begins to grow so hot that the glass it encases begins to melt. In order to be born, the flame needs to channel its energy into melting down its protective shell and pushing outward into the cold air. It was this particular night that the birthing process was difficult as storm clouds grew near. The elementals grew unsettled and their music became shakier as they realized they chose the worst possible night to bring a member into life. The elders had made a mistake in their predictions of the sky.
The presence of fear spread immediately. The melody, losing its luster, grew darker and more discordant. The flame reacted instantly and started to recede, crumbling in on itself. The ritual can only happen once every century, and it seemed like this was a disaster. The elders cursed themselves with deep booms of grief. This was the end for their people, they sang. The adults pushed in response with rolling waves of despair, their anguish making the flame turbulent and chaotic. It was only the youngest priest who kept on singing with brilliant force. As a single voice among the darkness, it sang higher and higher, breaching the center core of light, and reaching towards heights that it never reached before.
The others watched as this young voice sang with the passion and hope of its own short life, against all the pain it was witnessing among its people. It heralded the deepest convictions and sang with redoubled effort as the storm clouds came nearer. Against the background of thunder, it spun the magic of the flame into existence against the pain. At first, it was just one voice fighting against the darkness, but as its voice grew more bold, the others saw its resolution, heard its call for something greater, something better, and they started to harmonize with its own daring heart.
The elders, having almost given up, saw this change spreading, and each felt a deep stir inside. With each voice joining in, their sorrows began to lift. Could this be the realization of their oldest prophecy? Their voices began to shift, blossoming into anticipation and determination. The Aeros will not die here, no. Here, they will make their final stand. With nothing left to lose, the group soared upwards with the melody of everlasting strength.
Just as the first drops of rain began to fall, the glass shattered and from the middle came into the world the Phoenix. Singing with heavenly beauty, it flew upwards and ignited the skies, pushing the clouds back in an explosion of flames, just as the first rays of the sun peaked over the horizon. The elementals watched in awe as the Phoenix wove together hallowed laments with unbridled joy, announcing to the world the miracle of its own birth.
The Aeros would be saved—nay—reborn. As the Phoenix circled around the beach, it shed its tail feathers and everywhere it landed, a new flame elemental would arise. On that day, a hundred new elementals would arise from the ashes of its feathers. The elders and the adults stood paralyzed by the beauty of the miracle it was witnessing. It felt like each moment was an eternity realizing itself in front of them. A hundred elementals in a day rather than an eon.
When the Phoenix finally gave up all but one of its feathers, it bellowed one last chord of harmony and burst into flames, dissipating into the dawn. The single last feather floated down to earth and landed onto the sand before the youngest priest. The song was finished, and when the stun of silence was finally over, the Elders knew they had much work to do to teach the many new members of their group the ways of the fire elementals. As they shepherded the new members in renewed hope towards their home at the base of the volcano, the young priest stayed behind. Facing the sun, the young priest held the feather in prayer and with sadness said goodbye.
When the adults asked where the youngest priest went after the song, the elders knew. They found the feather on the beach, and carrying it carefully, they placed it on the top of the volcano, where it blew up into the sky to never be seen again. On certain nights, however, the new children of the Aeros will hum a tune in unison, and the new legends say the priest could be spotted at the top of the volcano singing in ever-loving response.