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Fury of the Sun (Etain Desert)

Legends of the creatures
By: Blkk1 (2009 Legend Contest Winner)

Long ago, when these lands were young, and the Stream was still pushing its way through the world, there lived a young, daring female hawk by the name of Houka. In the vast desert is where she made her home, where prey was always scarce and only the fittest and the most skilled survived. Houka was both, and she loved and thrived in her dry arid home, where the birds of prey roamed and the sun ruled over all.
      Time passed in the desert, and seasons with it, bringing the mating season and the promise of a future for Houka and her kind. Houka became infatuated with a handsome, strong young male by the name of Kaijin, who in time became her mate, for she herself was among the strongest and most beautiful females in the entire desert. Then, the time came for her to build her first nest in preparation for her egg laying, and the beginning of her new life as a mother. But tragedy struck and Kaijin was struck dead by a wildcat while searching for prey to feed his mate, and material to build their nest.
      Houka was overcome with grief, but she knew that she couldn’t fall victim to it, for if she did not manage to feed herself and build a nest all her own, her un-laid eggs, her dead mate's only legacy, would not survive. Determinedly, she finished the nest that she and her mate had started, but the effort left her weak and hungry. With the added weight of the forming eggs in her belly, she was no longer as fit, and her skills became dulled, so preying on rodents, that were few and far between, would be difficult and nearly impossible in her condition.
      Still, Houka set out, desperate for a way to feed herself, scouring the desert for any source of life or vitality. It was then that she came across the MagiStream that was still young in the desert. Day by day, the stream pushed further across the barren landscape, fascinating all its inhabitants with tiny eggs, creatures not known of, nor understand. No creature dared feed or drink from what the stream offered, for the sun, ruler of the desert and all those in it, had declared the water sacred. Houka was desperate though, and the eggs floating helplessly in the stream promised too easy a meal to pass up. So without hesitation, she swooped down, plucked one of the tiny eggs from the water and perched in a tree to devour it.
      Now the sun, who saw all in the domain that he ruled from his perch in the sky above, turned and spoke angrily to Houka, “Houka, why have you disobeyed my decree and taken eggs from the stream which I have declared sacred”?
      Houka trembled before the sun and bowed her head, “Forgive me your highness, for my mate has died and I sought only to feed myself, so that I may have the strength to bear my eggs soon.”
      The sun was displeased, but showed mercy to Houka, “You are forgiven this time, but be sure to heed my decree from hence forth."
      Houka nodded eagerly and thanked the sun for his understanding, before flying back to her nest, her belly filled and her mind clearer for the time being. Her eggs grey closer to the time for laying though, and in time the young hawk grew hungry again and more unfit to feed herself. She could think of nothing else but the stream that provided easy food, and although she dared not disobey the sun again, she knew that just one more meal would hold her over until she was fit and skilled once more. She made up her mind that she would visit the stream to feed, but not during the day. She would travel by night instead, when the sun's mate, the moon, took his watch in the sky. There was one night a month, when the moon seemed to abandon her post, leaving the desert in complete darkness; this would be the night she would visit the stream.
      Houka flew swiftly when the time came, plucked another egg from the stream, and ate it quickly, thinking that the sun would be none the wiser of her deed. Though unknown to her, the moon had seen it all. The clouds covered her from view once a month, but that did not cover her view of the desert. She was always watching, and when she saw what Houka had done, she was appalled and hurried quickly to tell the sun.
      The next day, the sun sought out Houka. He was furious and the whole desert could feel the heat of his anger beating down on them. “Houka!” he called, “I showed you mercy, and you repay me by ignoring my word again? Did you think you could hide what you did from me?”
      Houka's eyes widened and she shook uncontrollably, “P-please, I beg you your highness, this was the last time, I was thinking only of my eggs..."
      “And what of my eggs?” the sun demanded, “the ones under my care that you keep eating from the Stream? What makes them any less special than your own?”
      Houka tried to come up with an answer, but no words came to her in the face of the sun's fury, and when she provided no answer, the sun struck her down in a pillar of fire. The young hawk screeched and fell to the ground in a mass of burning feathers, and she crawled desperately towards the MagiStream, the only water nearby and her only hope for salvation from the sun's flames. But the sun's fire was everlasting, and even as she submerged herself in the stream, Houka continued to burn.
      Her cries were drowned out as she sank to the bottom of the Magistream, but the fire that consumed her still continued to burn, and slowly brightly colored eggs that were engulfed in flame floated to the surface of the Stream. “I have spared your eggs, Houka,” the sun called, “for I cannot blame you for doing all in your power to ensure their well-being, but they will forever be contained to the Stream, as payment for the eggs you have taken from me”.
      Houka’s ashes are to this very day scattered throughout the Magistream, and her descendants are the phoenix eggs plucked from its waters, birds that will forever be blessed with the swiftness and grace of the hawk, yet cursed by the fury of the suns everlasting fire.
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