When the Empress of the Phoenix Court, matriarchal ruler of the Alliance Planets, gave birth to her first daughter, the royal midwives took blood samples from the blood-covered newborn and ran routine tests. The princess was healthy, immensely so – and she carried the gene that would turn human to phoenix. The midwives brought the good news to the resting Empress who, tired after an exhausting labor, simply nodded and drowsed, the little princess in the crook of her right arm.
The gene carried the phoenix flame, the vital spark triggering the fantastic transformation from human to a mythological bird created from fire. No one knew how the gene came about, only that it was passed down from mother to daughter, from a matrilineal bloodline stretching way back to Old Terra. What people knew was that certain women could shape-shift into glorious birds of light and energy, and the gene could jump generations.
Stories and myths grew around this genetic gift, an almost magical aura surrounding the Phoenix Court which, in itself, was purely Imperial and political in nature, run by women and female relatives. These lordly women sent their starships across the galaxies, founding and strengthening the Alliance Planets, a conglomeration of planets and colonies formed after the Dispersal from Old Terra, with inter-marriages and pacts. As they spread their influence like large cosmic wings, so did the myths and legends of phoenixes.
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