He comes through Heliopolis and everyone is talking about the phoenix, mostly he thinks because it’s a town full of temples and there’s not much to talk about except religion. Phoenix this, phoenix that, immortal bird with a blue beak and a thing for dramatic gestures, ha. He keeps his eyes open whenever he’s in the neighborhood, and figures he sees it maybe a handful of times over the next few centuries, or at least something that might be it, about the size of a hawk, always in the distance, always flying.

He tries following it, once. They walk through the high, dry mountains for days, neither of them stopping for as much as a drink of water, but he loses it in a sandstorm coming down again and writes it off. Probably that was it; he’s pretty sure about that one.

He sets out for the south pole, seeing as how he’s never been there, and puts it out of his mind. He’s honestly forgotten the next time he comes back through, a lot of miles and a brand new calendar since he saw the Nile, but there it is, almost waiting for him, miles up on an updraft. He wipes a dry face and waves at it.

It maybe dips its wings in recognition, one damned immortal to another.