Disclaimer: Fawkes and all things recognized from the Harry Potterverse are owned by J.K Rowling and subsequent parties.
The Lament of Infinite Things
The circle of the return to birth can only remain open, but this is a chance, a sign of life, and a wound. -Jacques Derrida
For most living things, life is a straight line. It has a beginning and an end, two fixed points, and in between, a measure set in time. Birth and death are certainties that these quickened beings, who, made of limited stuff, will come to know, one life, one chance, one seed with which to sow. Some however, do not find themselves confined by finite means, for they are given a span of different things. Things that do not find a place to cease, things that do not know the frailty of decrease.
Sometimes, rarely, life allows itself to curve the lines, to form them into circles, unyielding in their bend. Fawkes is such a creature with no beginning and no end. For he is a phoenix, a life that finds its elemental spark where dying embers do embark to halt the haughty eyes of death when they fail to breathe that final breath. He knows he is a circle. He can feel it in the marrow of his bones, in each pinion of his wings, and every crystal note issued by his voice, from his throat. The liquid of his veins, in a sudden flicker, is consumed, and his heart becomes a furnace, fragrant and perfumed by the smoking of his pyre, a living, breathing, beating fire. Thus, in a flash he is engulfed and feels himself within the flame and almost that same instant that it came he feels that he is not within, but is! A cry escapes his flagrant tongue, a funeral dirge for him is sung by his own mouth as ashes fall, a sooty mound of fire's mimicked snow. White and grey and smouldering he lays, yet as the last flake of cinder falls, he hears the call to grow, to rise, and so he is reborn and leaves the weeper's call to mourn for other days.
Each life is one of thousands he has lived, a birth, a death, an endless hoop. They spiral out from him in constant loop, like ripples in a pond, each circle growing outward in a loose concentric bond. His eyes are new again as he surveys this world, so old, but still so fresh, and he knows the hands that scoop him up to brush the clinging powder from his flesh. The soft murmurings of words from that familiar voice makes him squawk, a clear and lucid tone, which he sings to bond them bone to bone. Then, he sees the eyes, blue, fathomless, and deep, twinkling as if within them eternity has seeped. Fawkes can feel his heart as it blooms within his chest, loosened like an undone spring…and though he knows that circles are not wrought from mortal men, when he thinks of Albus, he thinks of 'father' and of 'friend.'
Together, they'd spent many days as sunrise turned to night, when inky shadows swallowed up the world and distant fires pricked through heaven's veil to offer light. Sometimes his Albus would tell him things, myths and legends of the past, of mortal men and daring deeds, of gods who sat in castles in the clouds. He learned of Heracles and Zeus, Hades and the fates, of Daedalus and Icarus and of men's flying dreams…and Fawkes, he knew that he was born with better wings. And every time, the night would fade as dawn would sweep away its haze and sun would take moon's place…a burning circle, just like him, forever in its space.
He would come when Albus called for him. A coo, a nuzzle from his beak, and thus a touch would trace along his head, and gentle words of need were begged. A task of daring deed for him was set and he did stretch his wings and fly. He thought himself as Helios as he raced across the sky, as Marathon with messages for distant lands, as Heracles who sealed the Hydra's fate. For Fawkes had charged the Basilisk and plucked the eyes from out its head, and sang a battle cry as the creature hissed and bled. And he had carried sword and healing tears to a boy he knew as friend. Not all gods and heroes walked on human legs, he'd show. Once he even swallowed death without command, for he did love his Albus so.
And what is death to him? A circle has neither a beginning nor an end.
…But lines, he knew, did end; as they were wont to do. His Albus, father, was a line, for circles, they were few.
He, Fawkes, saw the broken wing, blackened and abused and knew that soon the twinkling eyes would close. Another line would lay his Albus low and send him to the grave, which circles did not know…but sometimes craved. His Albus spoke to him and told him not to sing his sad lament; that mercy often came in forms we would not expect. He said that death was not the end for him, but Fawkes could feel the sadness blooming in his chest, invading spaces where love was meant to rest. So father told him not to swallow death, this time, when it came, and not to hold against his killer any sin or blame.
And so it was that death was swift when it did come to call from the sparking of a wand and the length of a tower wall.
If only he could be as Icarus, for Daedalus was gone…now wings of wax would serve him well and let him fall to earth to find an end. Now that life was dross without his Albus, father, friend. He let his song ring out in mourning and in loss, a cry that weakened hearts once bold causing them to weep. So to the sun he flew, that burning circle in the sky, and how he wished to be consumed, to burn to ash, to die; he could feel it as he flew, a shining radiance within, spreading out into his marrow and to his skin. He felt the fire as it burned and longed for his defeat. A flicker, a flame, a sudden burst…infinite, sublime…
He was still a circle…
…but he wished he were a line.
This story was written in response to the Triwriter Challenge in theHPFF ChallengeForum on this site. Many thanks to Corinne Marie for providing beta services...and to my friend Tis for all the help along the way.
Reviews are, as always,highly appreciated and appreciatively answered. Cheers!