Wind rustled through the leaves of the trees but it was unusually calm in the clearing. She glanced up at the sky, to see the dark clouds gathering. It’s almost time, she thought with a smile.

With great care she lowered herself to the ground to kneel in front of a large white stone. Her bones ached as she moved. Her wrinkled hands went to her hair, unclasping the clip holding it up. Long silvery curls tumbled over her shoulders and down her back.

The grey remnants of the small fire she had set a light that morning was piled in the middle of the stone in front of her. Dipping two of her fingers into the ashes she winced as it scalded her skin, even though they were in fact cold. Before she could lose her nerve she gathered as much of the ashes as she could in her hands, raised them above her head and dusted herself with the grey powder.

As the ashes fell on her, a scream caught in her throat and her pale blue eyes widened. The pain was intense, each moment felt like an eternity. As her body burned, her eyes drained of colour, becoming white like pearls.

Finally the clouds overheard burst open. The rain was beautiful, cooling the scorching pain. It soothed her, making the transformation bearable. Waiting for the rain, was a trick she had discovered many centuries ago, though members of her clan found it distasteful. The burning was meant to be their payment and they saw this as cheating. But she didn’t care; she knew that she wouldn’t make it through the change without this slight reprieve.

Slowly the searing pain subsided and she eagerly grabbed the silver handled mirror that also sat on the white stone. She smiled with satisfaction at her reflection. She no longer looked like a feeble old woman. Her curls were now blonde, that clung to her face after being dampened by the rain. Her skin was wrinkle free, porcelain white with a healthy pink glow in her cheeks. Her eyes were green this time; changes like that happened sometimes after a regeneration. She thought she looked about eighteen and her body no longer ached. There definitely are perks to being born into the Phoenix Clan, she thought as she set about cleaning up the clearing.

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