The elite Phoenix Riders of the Arcadian military have been a feared power in the sky since long before airships were even invented.
Phoenixes are the largest species of bird on Lyra and hold near-mythic status for their magical abilities on the battlefield. Extremely rare, most phoenixes can be found in what is now the nation of Arcadia.
Lumivores whose diet mainly consists of magical fruits, fish, and insects (known as sprites), phoenixes have evolved into powerful masters of Color Magic. Each individual phoenix is connected to a specific shade of color magic. Female phoenixes do produce eggs, but only one at a time, and only a few times in a lifetime. These rare eggs are such a potent source of magic that they are classified as a magical weapon by the Mainland Alliance, and are immensely valuable.
Once hatched, a phoenix can cyclically regenerate when its body becomes old by bursting into flames and rising from the ashes as a newborn chick. While this regeneration makes phoenixes “immortal,” if they are killed by another creature, such as a dragon, or die in battle, they die forever.
During each life cycle, a phoenix will “grow” two pure Lumite gems on their body: a Heart Gem and a Crown Gem. Known as Phoenix Stones, these gems are considered as precious and powerful as Starfalls. Before the art of Starfall prediction was mastered, and the immense Lumite deposits on the Skylands were discovered, Phoenix Stones were a main source of Akari power and played deciding factors in both the War of Colors and the Great War.
Even more than the Phoenix Stones, it’s the phoenix’s ability as a battle mount that is most valuable to the people of Lyra. Not only are they capable of incredibly fast flight, they can carry great weight over long distances, and their song is said to increase courage within the pure and good, while striking fear into the hearts of evil. A phoenix will only carry riders they feel are worthy. It is in Arcadia alone that phoenix riding has been mastered and their elite Phoenix Riders unit has been a feared power in the sky since long before airships were even invented. Membership in this unit is considered a great honor and is passed down within a family, via Phoenix Stone possession, from generation to generation. Due to their renowned service to the Empire, the phoenix has become the symbol of the Arcadian Empire and its great houses, and the Emperor himself, are all descendants of phoenix riders of note.