He was almost there. It was almost time. And he was ready… It had been a good life, but it had also been long and hard and he was very tired.
The phoenix, resplendent in reds and oranges, stretched his wings out to their full length one last time. He turned his beak first one way and then the other, taking in the full expanse of his wing span. There had been a time when his fiery colors could sprout fear in even the sturdiest warrior, but over time his hues had faded, muddled, blurred. But, that was to be expected. He’d gone through this process many times before.
Raising his beak to the heavens he opened his maw wide and gave voice to his final shriek, his last act in his current life. His piercing voice echoed down the valley, deer paused in their foraging, lesser birds went silent, the few humans few called the valley home looked to the sky and trembled. He couldn’t see any of these things, but he knew them to be true regardless.
With a brilliant burst of light that originated from his breast and spread outward with a ferocity and quickness no eye could catch, the phoenix burst into flame. Every inch of him was consumed in the inferno. As the last bit of his physical essence crumbled into ash there was a mighty flash that emanated down the valley just as his voice had seconds before.
The magic had happened again, as expected.
His tiny beak poked out of the pile of ash, and he flexed his wings clumsily. His feet teetered forward and he stumbled free of what remained of his prior life. He was young again. He was new again. His colors were vibrant again and soon he would grow and take flight and be the fearsome king of the sky again.