HWE Ho-O Picture

Name: Ho-O

Alias: Fenghuang, Chinese Phoenix, 'Heeeey Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeeeah~'

Alignment: Chaotic Good (Chaotic FABULOUS~)

Rank: 1-6 Kaiju

Race: Yokai, Holy Bird

Size: *note, Ho-O's can change their size to various extremes in order to not impact their environment and eat their favorite foods which would be troublesome at their true size. Ho-O are generally born at a third of their average top size.*

Height - 50 in - 50 meters and possibly larger

Length - 9 ft - 90 meters long and possibly longer

Weight - 13 lbs - 13,000 tons and possibly more

Powers:

Absolute Tranquility - The presence of a Ho-O is synonymous with 'peace on earth' in that all living things are compelled into a state of ease and blissful quiet. From the largest predator to the tiniest insect, all grow quiet and humble when a Ho-O touches down or flies overhead. Even Yokai become passive and peaceful when in the presence of a Ho-O. This also extends to the weather which causes the wind to stop and dust to settle.

King of Birds - All avian life forms (that aren't kaiju) and indeed all normal birds in the animal kingdom feel a kinship with a Ho-O and will obey them without question. Flocks of every bird imaginable form a vanguard around Ho-Os and serve as both a herald of its approach and a parameter to inform the Ho-Oh of anything coming towards it. The term 'king' is unisex as Ho-O in this day and age have a strong female majority. Still preferred to be called king as this denotes their respective rank in the hierarchy of avian life forms. Yokai birds likewise acknowledge a Ho-O as their rightful ruler

Radiant Rainbow - Ho-O's naturally produce a perpetual aura of radiant energy that illuminates everything around it. There is no darkness that a Ho-O cannot illuminate and dispel. Undead Yokai and the like outright flee in terror before a Ho-O as their presence alone is enough to exorcise them utterly. Their touch can heal and sooth even mortal injuries and can bring someone back from the brink of death so long as they are only recently dead and the body in relatively intact.

Celestial Rebirth - Ho-O have such a strength of spirit that they do not 'die' when they are killed. Ho-O instead become pure energy and reignite back into existence. They cannot do this consecutively too many times however as it takes a toll on them. Five times, one for each Chinese Element is their limit. It also takes them longer and longer each time they reincarnate (hour-day-week-month-year). A new year rejuvenates them back to a full five times if they had reincarnated within the previous year.

Master of Elements - Ho-Oh have power over all five Chinese elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Their tail feathers also come in colors that represent these elements: green, red, black, yellow and blue respectively. They can produce nearly all manner of natural phenomena that involve these elements except storms, rain and lightning which are the domain of dragons. In particular they are very skilled with fire and can conjure massive blazing holocausts if they so chose. Wood spontaneous grows into forests, earth gives way to landslides, metal purifies or rusts into dust and floods and sudden geysers and hot springs are all possible for a Ho-Oh to create. Naturally Ho-Oh have little to fear from these same elements as well.

Bringer of Prosperity - Like many Holy creatures, Ho-Oh bring great luck, fortune and general increase of quality of life to any land they grace with their presence. The sight of a Ho-Oh is a good indication that the region will soon enter a new Golden Age or has the potential to do so.

Imperial Bond - Ho-Oh and Tatsu (Ryu, Dragon, Lung, etc) share a unique alliance that borders on and often times includes marriage. If a Ho-Oh is genuinely threatened or calls for aid, a Dragon will answer. The same is also true if a Dragon is harmed or threatened, in which case a Ho-Oh will arrive. Often one of each is present for any given case.

Size Manipulation & Shapeshifting - Having such a wide control over matter and nature, Ho-Oh can freely alter their size from that their titanic full presence to something as small as a pheasant and back again. They do so in order to feed and to roost with as minimal an impact as possible and generally reserve their full majesty for when it is required or when they are in flight. They can take human form if they wish but have not had reason to do so for centuries. Like the creature itself, Ho-Oh disguised as humans appear incredibly beautiful in a classic and feminine sense. Women that look like regal queens or princesses and men that are gorgeous enough to pass as women. Rarely Ho-Oh choose to be reincarnated on the Material Plane as a human in order to learn and empathize with human and mortal condition, taking up their previous existence when their mortal life has ended. Generally young Ho-Oh do this with older ones doing so as penance for some oversight (the ten suns incident) or to engineer some important task among mortals.

Weaknesses:

Select Diet - Ho-Oh eat with absolute exclusivity bamboo seeds. Everything else either makes them sick or gives no nutrimental value.

Paulowina Trees - Ho-Oh require these trees to roost and nest. They refuse to do so in any other type of tree. This is both for spiritual reasons and to leave as little of an environmental impact as possible.

Six Equals True Death - If a Ho-Oh has to reincarnate a sixth time, it's spirit finally breaks and it becomes simple but still very loaded Hito-Dama.

Flight from Decadence - Ho-Oh heavily dislike lands ravaged by war, unrest and destruction. They will not grace such locations with a single appearance. Even lands that are somewhat neutral or are considered 'normal' by today's standards make Ho-Oh uneasy with their underlying corruption and exploitation of nature, natural resources and human resources. Many times Yatagarasu are sent as heralds or warnings by Ho-Oh to pave the way for them. Though, one time this 'paving of the way' resulted in 'scorched earth' and much tragedy. Ever since Ho-Oh have taken a humble 'second most' holiest creature in Asia. The first being the Quillin. Dragons are considered affectionate equals. As is the 'Hoshoku-no-Okami'.

Enlightened and Pure - Those that have reached Enlightenment and are pure of heart have no need to fear a Ho-Oh and Ho-Oh gladly receive the company of such people. The powers of a Ho-Oh either wash over harmlessly or seem to part before such people.

----

Day 30: Holy Beasts: Kings of Birds and Beasts

The mists cleared and what remained was somewhat softer chill as the sun (or what amounted to it in the Den) had an usually bright cast. As Ruki began her familiar walk up the trail that lead to Kaitheros's lair, she noted that there was a lot of ambient movement in the forests. Many of the smaller animals were beginning to move further north toward the base of the mountain. Large flocks of birds were also beginning to move. Ruki expected yearly migrations but there was something about this one that seemed...off. There were a lot more of them at once and it was almost like they were fleeing something...

Ruki had checked the numbers herself, there shouldn't be that many animals moving that quickly in that great of numbers. Surely Thero-Kun would know what it was about. When Kaitheros was approached with the subject he was mildly surprised.

"That many? One would think they'd head south instead." Kaitheros muttered.

"The predators aren't following them just yet so it's probably not that serious. I am a little concerned that they'd all move at once like that. Are we do for more severe weather soon Thero-Kun?"

"Hard to say. Weather in the Den somewhat replicates the atmospheric changes outside but it accommodates the Den's more 'unique' species. Back when the world was quite a bit warmer. I haven't detected any sudden geological changes yet. "

"So do we just poke around until the problem presents itself? It would probably reveal itself in no time." Ruki suggested.

"So eager to get out of training my little Miko." Kaitheros teased. "And I haven't even gotten to the three greatest Yokai you would have the fortune to encounter...or The Three Great Clans so to speak."

"Like the Dragons right?" Ruki asked while getting comfortable in her study.

"Yes, much of what we have discussed of the Dragons already has quite a lot to do with the other two and especially the one I will discuss first. Out of the three, the 'second' most holy of them is the Ho-O."

"Oh, you mean the Phoenixes from earlier."

"The very same. Also called Fenghuang, Ho-Oh are the King of Birds...or 'Queen' since for quite some time the Ho-O have had a strong female majority."

"Why's that?"

"Well, before the Three Great Clans came together as allies, the Ho-O had more in common with modern birds in that they were more sexually dimorphic. The males were called Feng and the females Huang. The species name is thus a combination of the two. 'Ho-O' is a similar translation. Around the time of the Yellow Emperor, the Ho-O and Dragons made stronger bonds and alliances to one another. To the point where marriages between the two are common and the imperial line reflects this alliance. A Ho-O will come to the aid of a Dragon and a Dragon will likewise come to the aid of a Ho-O. So that if one is in peril, often one of each will appear to show the aggressor the full extent of their error."

"That's pretty neat! Though I guess the idea of giant fiery birds marrying long flying bearded reptiles is just more Yokai wackiness I should expect."

"Yes it's not a union that was expected but one that is certainly respected now. In either case, Ho-O have a certain affinity for all forms of avian life. Flocks of birds of all kinds, even Yokai, will gather before a Ho-O should one appear. This influence even extends to many small animals native to the area the Ho-O appears."

"Thero-Kun, why would a bunch of animals gather around giant bird that is on FIRE?" She asked seriously.

"Oh...you thought...HAHAHAHA!" Kaitheros howled.

"I'm serious! If Yatagarasu work for these things then it must be like a miniature super nova arriving on the planet!"

Kaitheros gradually pulled himself together.

"Ruki, the Ho-O is NOT like the Arabic Phoenix. That creature is...something else. Similar but something else Ruki. The Ho-O can reach sizes that rival and exceed my own and it does have incredible power that could technically terra form an entire region if allowed to. The thing is that Ho-O are perhaps one of the most compassionate and benevolent creatures to ever grace the Toho Plane."

"Not convinced." Ruki stated flatly. Kaitheros seemed almost depressed at the impression Ruki had of one of the most genuinely good Yokai to ever exist.

"Well for starters, the Ho-O is more of a radiant creature than a fiery one. It resembles an elegant mix of crane, pheasant, rooster and peacock that glows with every color of the light spectrum. It is positive energy personified. It's tail has a feather the color of each Chinese element. Wood, metal, water, earth, and fire represented as green, yellow, blue, black and red respectively. The Ho-O has great influence over all of these elements and can produce effects that would dumbfound the greatest of magi."

"So like tidal waves, earthquakes, fire storms, etc?"

"Yes, fire is of course their most skillful manipulation. Storms and like are more the domain of their allies the Dragons who manage the rains and the entire water cycle for the most part. A major element of the Ho-O is that they are among the Yokai that can freely alter their size."

"They get BIGGER?"

"They are already quite large. When they are born they are already a solid fraction of their maximum size. What makes Ho-O unique in this regard is that they can shrink themselves to the size of the average pheasant. This is quite important as if they weren't able to do this, they would not be able to even feed themselves properly."

"Wait...if they have to be really small to eat...then what they eat has to be tiny as well. That sounds silly for a creature that reaches so vast a size. That would be like telling a Sauropod to eat only individual grains of rice or something."

"You'll understand why in a moment. Ho-O feed exclusively on bamboo seeds."

"That's it? Really?"

"Well, they also subsist on the positive emotions of humans and other sentient beings. Much like a self sustaining emotional feedback loop. But yes the only physical thing Ho-O ingest are bamboo seeds. You can imagine how trying eat such things at their full size would be difficult."

"Couldn't they just make a huge popcorn bowl of them?"

"...I would imagine that large gatherings of Ho-O might include such wonders but Ho-O actually are strongly against causing undo impact and damage to lands they grace with their presence. They take such small sizes to avoid causing the sort of conflict that a bird of their size would cause."

"Yeah, nothing like minding your own business when suddenly a small hill of bird poop suddenly pins you to the floor."

"You know that pterosaur didn't mean anything by that. And that you'd accuse a Ho-O of doing something similar, so scandalous." Kaitheros mused in mock horror.

"No. Talking. About. That. EVER." Ruki replied. "Besides, I imagine it would be hard to find anything but a mountain side to roost on if it were really that big."

"Funny you mention that because Ho-O roost only in paulownia trees. They will roost in nothing else, even when they come to the Material Plane."

"Not only do they have a favorite food but a favorite tree. It is a pretty tree though...so I guess it makes sense."

"It's also an extremely useful tree that among other uses is planted when a baby girl is born and upon her getting married it is made into a dresser for her. There are many associations with the tree that makes it the primary roost of Ho-O. For one its branches are widely spaced and allow light to filter down below. A radiant creature like a Ho-O thus enjoys the tree for allowing it to share its light with all those who gather beneath it."

"Always thinking of others...they sound like nice enough creatures. Though something that seems to be made of rainbows has to have an ulterior motive. I mean, it's a Yokai."

"Ho-O go to great pains to establish themselves as a force of peace and prosperity, of life and growth. Their very presence induces a state of supernatural tranquility on those around them. It's hard to describe to those who have never felt it but to be in a Ho-O's presence is to be utterly at ease. The very air around you settles and grows still. The world becomes calm and silent, and there is a calm that you will remember for the rest of your days. It is a true blessing."

"And it doesn't abuse this 'peace field' for some other purpose?"

"Ho-O are creatures deeply connected to the ebb and flow of the world. The times they use their presence offensively is to stop further conflict and the depredations of creatures that would leave the world tainted and befouled with their existence. The undead in particular are utterly exorcised by a Ho-O as one can't have unfinished business or a powerful grudge if a creature that negates those things appears before you."

"So they can do what the Yatagarasu can do but in a more peaceful way."

"They can do it in a more overt way if they were so inclined but Ho-O try to avoid conflict whenever possible and the conflicts they do get involved in they aim to stop as quickly as possible. Their touch can heal mortal injuries and even spare mortals from death should they reach them within a day."

"Ho-O really are such fantastic creatures? But they seem...kinda timid." Ruki admitted.

"If the Ho-O have a major fault it is that they ARE rather timid. Like Hakutaku they refuse to enter lands that are rife with corruption, war and death. It pains them too much. The empathy pains involved in doing so are great. That is why Yatagarasu are called upon to make way for Ho-O."

"So Ho-O would be push-over's physically right?"

"You'd be surprised what Ho-O can accomplish if the need is dire enough. Anything capable of slaying a Ho-O would soon find the task rather difficult. Ho-O do not die when they are killed."

"...That sounds really silly Thero-Kun. What kind of riddle is that?"

"One that most Yokai can't solve Ruki. You see, a Ho-O is full of so much positive energy that in order to truly destroy a Phoenix you must be slain six times. They can reincarnate five times, one for each element. It takes them longer and longer each time with an hour becomes a day, a day becomes a week, and so on. Upon the turning of the new year their power is restored entirely so you would have to seek the admittedly epic task of slaying a Ho-O six times before the year is over. Their spirit is finally broken and they regress to a Hitodama, granted one of great power."

"That you know that means that it must have happened before."

"Sadly yes, there was a time when things that could slay a Ho-O repeatedly ran rampant and unchecked in our world. Tragic and nasty business that. The death of a Ho-O is a special kind of tragedy Ruki, pray you don't see it in your life time." Kaitheros grumbled.

"If I encounter a Ho-O...would I have anything to worry about?"

"Best case scenario, nothing at all. Such a meeting would likely be intentional and with the best purpose in mind. Ho-O have a long history of trying to prod humanity towards a prosperous path. At one time they were considered the holiest of creatures by humanity. However, the Rising of Ten Suns showed that even the Ho-O can error and ever since they have humbly kept second place in terms of holiness."

"What became the most holy creature?...wait I think I know that one!"

"The last of the Three Great Clans...though your definition of holy might vary when taking their character into account. I speak of the Quilin."

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