They tracked the mythical bird across the land – hunter, soldier, dog and horse – to this forest, to nest made on hulking rock in midst of dell.
Upon ingress into twilit glade, the bird spread mighty wings, let forth a deafening screech which tore through the air, causing horses and dogs alike to bolt in terror while blood drained from men’s faces, sense and courage gone from their heads.
Spark ignited in the belly of the bird which burst forth to consume its body, erupting to engulf grass and tree and shrub and cloth and hair and flesh with wild abandon. Skin of men melted from bones, lock and mane lit as flaming torches, their screams carried up in the air in fiery dance with spark and hot ash.
Long after immolation laid waste to fool and beast and grove – amidst smouldering ruin – sound of cracking egg broke deathly silence; new life arose with dawn of new day.