The Everlasting Gift

 Hello there! *Waves nervously*.  My name is Kaelynn, or Kae for short (not to be confused with the druid Kae from the Dreambound Druid). You can normally find me rambling over at ShadesOfKae. I’ve never written a guest post before, but I was very excited to take part in this year’s Blog Azeroth Secret Santa. I’ve spent a bit of time perusing Tarinae’s blog to get some idea of what she might want for Christmas. I can guarantee that I will not be able to provide any useful Holy Paladin advice. My current main is a Resto/Elemental Shaman, and my paladin is still level 52 (and hasn’t healed since Mauradon broke her heart).

I thought about writing a post about shields… because that is one thing that healadin’s and resto shaman have in common. Those darn offhand things never seem to ever drop – I know that healadins share my pain there. Then I realized that would likely be a post full of QQing. It’s the holidays, and not time for QQing. It’s time for giving, cheer, and fun. Many bloggers write Secret Santa posts in the style of the blogger they are gifting it to, or come up with something humorous. I’ve never been particularly great at being funny – be glad I spared you that.

Then I saw the phoenix at the bottom of Tarinae’s about page, and it suddenly clicked. It’s obvious that we share an obsession with phoenixes. I’ve never really discussed my love for them on my own blog, but previously to WOW the phoenix was very tied up with my online identity.

The Origins of the Phoenix

The phoenix or firebird has long been a popular mythological figure. Many cultures cherished a bird-like figure that was identified with the sun, such as the Chinese Fenghuang or the Persion Simurgh. The phoenix as we know it today is thought to be a beautiful bird that bursts into flames and rises from its own ashes. There have been many variations on this myth, with Greek, Roman, Christian, and even Egyptian and Hindu sources. The word “phoenix” derives from the Greek word for the color crimson.

The phoenix has long been romanticized by artists and authors, such as the beautiful and haunting musical composition by Igor Stravinsky named “The Firebird”. Even Shakespeare referenced the phoenix.

The Phoenix in Popular Culture

Jumping forward a bit in time from Shakespeare, we can see the phoenix all around us in the modern world. From Harry Potter’s phoenix, which heals wounds with its tears, to the X-men’s Jean Gray, to Final Fantasy’s resurrecting Phoenix Down, we are obviously still fascinated with the myth.

It’s easy to see why so many have fallen in love with the concept of the phoenix. It represents immortality, life after death, and starting anew. It is a symbol of hope, of persevering in the face of adversity, of rebuilding. The phoenix is the cycle of life, the beginning and the end. It’s also an insanely beautiful creature – usually depicted with a long flowing tail and wings tipped with fire, and imbued with an incredible grace.

I don’t know exactly what the phoenix means to Tarinae, but I know that it has helped me through some hard times. When all hope seems lost, and the phoenix approaches death, it burst into flames and starts over. It helps me to think of this symbol, to know that I can start over and rebuild even when it seems so impossible.

The Phoenix in WOW

I could only find a few tidbits about the lore of the phoenix in WOW. Kael’thas Sunstrider has a “pet” phoenix named Al’ar (“the phoenix god”), whom he apparently summoned from its home in the Elemental Plane. The phoenix is the most powerful spell that a blood mage (such as Kael’thas) can cast. The phoenix also serves as a symbol of the blood elf race, which rose from the ashes of the high elves.

A phoenix can be captured by players via the mini-pet Phoenix Hatchling, which drops from Kael’thas in Magister’s Terrace, after you defeat him and a fearsome phoenix (son or daughter of Al’ar). Of course this was merely a setback. You fight A’lar as the first boss in the Eye of Tempest Keep, and can receive a very rare drop from Kael’thas which is the Ashes of Al’ar, a phoenix mount.  Sidenote: I’m sure you’ve probably heard that the first ever phoenix mount in-game was given to a young man named Ezra Chatterton, after visiting Blizzard’s offices as his wish from Make-A-Wish foundation. I think that is such a beautiful gesture on Blizzard’s part, giving an item which symbolizes hope and rebirth to a dying man.

Although I have farmed Magister’s Terrace frequently, I have never seen a drop of the lovely phoenix hatchling. It is a bit of a sore spot for me – I would give up all my epic loots for that hatchling. That hatchling is my white whale, my unicorn.

As of Cataclysm, Blizzard introduced two new phoenixes that you can acquire. The Reins of the Dark Phoenix are obtainable by completing the Guild Glory of the Cataclysm Raider achievement, and the Dark Phoenix Hatchling is rewarded from the guild achievement United Nations. These are essentially recolored models of the previous phoenix mount and hatchling.

I am curious about the lore of a dark phoenix. Is Blizzard implying that Deathwing’s rupture of the elemental plane has somehow corrupted even the phoenix? Perhaps he has experimented with their eggs, like he did with the Nether dragons? Or perhaps Blizzard just thought that a Dark Phoenix would be “cool”. Whatever the case, I’m thrilled to have a sure-fire way to capture one of the gorgeous creatures for myself.

A phoenix also appears when fighting High Prophet Barim in the Cataclysm 5-man, the Lost CIty of the Tol’vir.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope that you all enjoy the holiday festivities, whether in-game or out. Thank you for reading my Secret Santa Gift to Tarinae (I’m sure you’ve noticed that brevity is not my forte, and I appreciate you sticking around)! May the new year bring you a fresh start, rising from the ashes of 2010.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Everlasting Gift

  1. The origin of the Dark Pheonix is easy! It’s likely the same bloody answer Blizz gives for everything else… The Twisting Nether. >_<

    On the other hand, The first phoenix in game was tied to the Blood Elves… there are bright red and yellow dragonhawks, and there are purple and blue dragonhawks… maybe there's a connection there?

  2. Pingback: Holiday Ramblings

  3. Wonderful Secret Santa post, Kae! I think it was the absolute PERFECT one for Tarinae! I, personally, know her love of the phoenix and I’m sure she was just absolutely tickled when you wrote this for her. Very well done!

    Happy New Year!

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