Starting the Quest
- The phoenix.
- The phoenix is an ancient creature - older than either of us can comprehend.
- It is a large, powerful avian creature, surrounded by flames and covered in a fiery plumage, It also has strong magical abilities.
- Every five hundred years, as it reaches the limits of its lifespan, it returns to its roost to complete a ritual and be reborn.
- You see, while not truly immortal, the phoenix can be reborn any number of times, so long as it completes its rebirth ritual.
- But thanks to its wounds, the phoenix could soon be gone from this world forever.
- The ritual.
- The ritual is not that complicated, really: it just requires certain ingredients and a set of dexterous hands.
- In order to be reborn, the phoenix must be burnt alive on a funeral pyre woven from the wood of five particular trees.
- You must weave a basket from the fletched twigs of cinnamon, sassafras, ailanthus, cedar and mastic trees.
- This basket must be placed on the base of the pyre in the phoenix's roost, and then it must be lit.
- Usually, you would also need to best the phoenix in combat to weaken it, so that it can succumb to the flames.
- This time, however, the phoenix is already weak and dying.
- The phoenix will enter the pyre and be burnt to ashes. From these ashes, it will be reborn - young and strong again.
- Oh, I see. I ned to search the four corners of the world for give trees. Well, I suppose I'd best get packing.
- While I understand your concern, that won't be a problem at all.
- How so?
- As I have said, the phoenix is an ancient creature with some limited power over life and death.
- The trees you require are growing inside this very lair, and have been for millenia! The phoenix revives them from their own ashes each time they die.
- That's amazing. What a foresighted creature the phoenix is!
- Each tree is on a separate level of the lair. You must collect the twigs before moving on. It's pointless to continue on to a deeper level without having the twigs from all the levels before it.
- Only fresh twigs will suffice for the ritual. If you leave the lair at any time, you will have to go through and collect fresh twigs from every tree.
- There are some other items required for the ritual that you cannot get from inside the lair.
- Oh? What would those be then?
- Tools. Secateurs, to prune the trees and gather the twigs, a knife to fletch them and a tinderbox to light the pyre.
- Given the circumstances, I'd be happy to give you the necessary tools for free. I brought a set to complete the ritual myself, but...I'm too old.
- The phoenix's lair is a lava-filled cave, guarded by its thralls.
- You see, the phoenix has power over life and death that is not limited to itself. It has the ability to resurrect lesser creatures.
- These revived creatures now roam the phoenix's lair, guarding it from interlopers during the phoenix's long absences.
- They usually attack anyone who enters, weeding out the weaklings to ensure only the worthy reach the phoenix in its roost, deep inside the lair.
- I have had a peek inside, however, and the creatures seem unusually passive at the moment.
- Standing out here, I occasionally hear them cry out, as if in pain.
Please, help the phoenix. Such a wondrous creature should not be taken from this world in this way.
- I saw everything that happened through a small vent in the roof of the phoenix's roost! You have succeeded!
- Yes, I have!
- The phoenix is saved and you, are a hero of nature! As an added bonus, I got to see it. My 50 years of waiting were not in vain after all!
- Yes, I'm glad you watched all my hard work from a comfortable vantage point outside of the lair.
- Come, now. It wasn't like that. I'm a frail old man! What possible good could I have done?
- I suppose you're right.
- Besides, the most important point is that the phoenix is saved!
- Oh, that reminds me - she also said to thank you for the shrine, and she asks when you plan to return her trinkets.
- She...she knew about me?
- I should have known. Had I not been welcome in the lair, I would have ended up like the rest of them. I was a fool to think it was my skill that kept me alive.
- Anyway, I wouldn't expect you to help me for mere thanks. Here is your reward!