The flame of a pheonix burns things back together. It burns things into health. It burns wood into trees, sickness into health, and metal into magic. If you light a funeral pyre with a pheonix's flame, it will even burn death into life.
This story is from the ancient days. Before all things had been created, before all things had taken their places, before the people built cities and organized their affairs. Across the land there was only death and those that feed on death. The people huddled under unrotting logs, fought with jackals for scraps of unrotting carcasses, and those that spent the night away from the warmth and light of a bonfire were never seen again.
One youth declared that the world could be better, and so he would make it better. The people had heard talk like this before, and knew that it always ended grand promises and a brave soul wandering away from the fire, never to be seen again. So they discouraged him, telling him about all the others who had failed, and when they saw he was determined to go, they wished him well, although in their hearts they knew they would never see him again.
The youth wandered the lands for an uncounted period of time, stealing meat from jackals and sleeping in what shelter he could find. He found only mud, carcasses, and maggots. Nothing that could make a change or give him hope.
Eventually he resolved to climb to the peak of a mountain and see what he could see. Clambering upwards, he began to hear the sound of laughter. When he reached the top, he saw a great bird made of blue flame, laughing at the state of the world from above. The youth picked up a branch and held it aloft, lighting it from the bird's belly as it passed. He then began to descend from the mountain, to bring back to the people this new thing he had found.
As he descended, he noticed that the branch was becoming heavier. When he looked at it, he was astonished. Out of the bottom of the branch were growing pale white roots, seeking the earth. Out of the top of the branch were growing bright green branches, seeking the sun. The branch burned, but as it burned it grew.
The branch grew so heavy that he could not carry it. He planted it in the mud, where it grew faster and faster. The fire spread from the growing tree to the branches, logs, and stumps that littered the earth. As it burned them, they sprouted green branches of their own. The fire spread from wood to flesh, burning the carcasses that had lain in the mud for longer than memory, and as they burned they began to stand and run. The fire grew into a wildfire that covered all land, and it burned all day and night.
Next morning, the sun rose over a grand forest, through which wandered now-living wildlife. It was the most beautiful thing the youth had ever seen, but as he stared he realized he could no longer spot see any of the landmarks he knew. He was never able to find his way back to his people.