Legends

Coyotl

  • June 7, 2016

Coyotl (KI-yah-tull) is one of the Long Face Folk, and appears in several of the Bird Folk Legends.He is a Formwalker who moves between the forms of Coyote/Dog and of Walking Folk. He is one half of the Dual Faces responsible for the sense of balance in the Inbound Lands.

As one of the Long Face Folk:

Coyotl is originally a desert nomad believed to have guided the Fox Folk into the sands. Popular legends contradict themselves as to the exact journey, however: one story describes Coyotl as returning to his nomadic state after the Fox Folk settled in The Fingers; another has a frustrated Coyotl as abandoning the Fox Folk at the first habitable oasis; in another, Coyotl was forced to leave The Fingers as the Fox Folk took umbrage at his less-than-ascetic approach to life. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

During the events of Corvus Carves the River, Coyotl was the guardian of the Nest Citadel; however, he was persuaded to reenter into nomad status by the Bird Folk, and currently serves as messenger, advocate, and companion to Corvus. However, it is not uncommon to find him among the Bird Folk, whether in caravan or at the Nest Citadel.

Among the Bird Folk, Coyotl shares a special status. It’s true that the Bird Folk view Coyotl as a troublemaker, prone to tricks, jokes, and quickly-passing flights of fanciful passion, but despite his troublemaking tendencies (or perhaps because of it), they also acknowledge that Coyotl’s skill lies in smoothing things over and restoring the peace after yet another of his poorly-thought-out adventures. Still, they also recognize that when dealing with Coyotl, one doesn’t exactly come out ahead, and they view him as leveler of fields, an element of chance that belongs to no one side, and a conversation starter. As a being who epitomizes the Chaos he is in charge of, Coyotl is both a mediator and an unknown element.

Coyotl is the counterpart to Corvus, though the exact nature of their relationship is unclear: Corvus and Coyotl may be lovers, partners, or perhaps even related in some way. They are cooperatively known as the Dual Faces.

Common associations:

In depictions, Coyotl is understood to regard the viewer with amusement, passing rumor and confusion. He is sometimes called The Distracted Face.

Images of Coyotl (in his Skinwalker / Walking Folk form) are identified by these key features:

  • Dark hair, often streaked with reds and browns
  • blue or silver eyes
  • male formed

Images of Coyotl (in his Formwalker / Dog Walker form) are identified by these key features:

  • white fur
  • It is said that Coyotl’s fur was originally black, but his travels in the desert sun have bleached the color from his canine forms.

In formal depictions, it’s only considered polite to include all faces of a Formwalker, though honestly there are a number of oft-used shorthand symbols most bird folk recognize as alluding to Coyotl. The image of Coyotl is associated with (and can be identified in shorthand by) the following symbolism:

  • The Opened Sun, or the symbol of the noon sun
  • The direction South, and the concept of “Downriver”
    • The color White
    • Light / Day
    • Because of Coyotl’s unique status as guardian-in-absence, the direction of South is seen as equally belonging to Bird Folk
      • The symbol of the Unopened Egg is understood to be almost exclusively a Bird Folk symbol, and falls under the “generousity” of Coyotl only by proxy
  • The Ground, and its associated shorthands
  • The Key of Coyotl: because of his unique status that separates him from the traditional symbols of the South, in addition to his status as something of an outsider, Coyotl has his own unique symbol that he brings with him. It represents:
    • The removal of boundaries
    • The crossing of thresholds and entering anew
    • Independence and self-empowerment
    • A certain reckless courage
  • Feathers
    • a journey spreading its wings, soaring, and leaving its mark behind
    • the dry and dusty tradewinds that cross the long plains and seas of the South
    • the Bird Folk, who are Coyotl’s charges
    • Coyotl’s own wanderlust and his role as the Beginner of Journeys
    • nomadic, adventurous, vulnerable, celestial, and expansion
  • The Even, or even numbers
    • the concept of fairness
    • Even numbers are seen as “located” below the World Line in Bird Folk mathematical notation
  • A sense of Chaos
    • the restoration of peace and equal nature
    • the element of chance
    • Coyotl as a leveler of fields: he is both mediator and an unknown element
  • Looking to the Right
  • Looking Up
  • The Ranger Responsibility/Role: Follower of Coyotl, also known as “Seekers”
    • mapmaking
    • peacemaking
    • storymaking

There are several secondary associations that are commonly known to fall under the domain of Coyotl:

  • Coyotl is connected to the complicated notion of “West” as one half of the World Line, and thus with its related symbols
  • Coyotl is often connected to the color Orange, through his associations with the West
  • The general landscape of the Desert, as they are the territory in which Coyotl roams. This also includes specific ranger regions:
    • The Canyon or Cleft, specifically the ranger station located at The Sentinels
    • The Desert itself, specifically the ranger station and post office located at Powell Station
    • The Trade Caravan Routes, specifically the ranger station at The Dust Galleon
    • Coyotl is also loosely associated with The Nest Citadel, and the corresponding Ranger Station One.
Artifacts:

Coyotl can be found depicted in the following Outbound Artifacts:

  • The Duality Dollar (scrip)
  • The Department of Travel Landmark (located in Nashville, TN)

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