Do not attempt to eat these buggers. You might think, “Oh, pre-roasted chicken!” but, let me tell you, it is a bad idea. That’s all I have to say.
These firebirds are the messengers and agents of the Pyre, prominently displayed on the breastplates and crests of the Pyrewardens and ever so often spotted winging through the air around the Pyre itself. Phoenixes are ordinarily of animal temperament, despite their exotic composition, but the Pyre’s birds are something else entirely. (For one thing, they are kept to a reasonable size by their yearly rebirth; these phoenixes are only about the size of an eagle.) They do not speak, but are capable of making themselves understood to any being that they choose. The Wardens learn Phoenixtongue as part of their awakening, and as such can understand the birds in any circumstance.
Harming a phoenix is not precisely prohibited by the Warden’s Codes, but acting in offensive capacity towards them (beyond self-defense or attempting to protect one’s belongings from the flaming birds’ nests) tends to bring down retribution from the Pyre himself. Most citizens believe the presence of a phoenix in their home or establishment is an unmistakable boon and a good omen, regardless of the scorch marks it may or may not leave on the masonry.
On Pyre’s Eve every year, massive numbers of the birds flock to the city, emerging from their nests and hiding places to flock and soar through the air around the vast Pyre, choosing mates and ritually immolating themselves in dramatic midair explosions. On Pyresday it is considered a wonderful omen if a phoenix’s pinion has alighted somewhere on or near a home or business, and the best of all possible signs if a downy newborn phoenix has taken up a roost somewhere nearby. The feathers are kept as good luck charms and can be given to the Pyre in lieu of other sacrifices or as a simple expression of thanks. Those that give the feathers back to the Pyre may find themselves assisted by firebirds in times of great need. Do note that it is considered to be in very poor taste (and rather lacking in utility) to make demands of the Pyre in such a way, insofar as it tends to ignore such requests as it does all other forms of prayer.