“Who are you?” the Fairy Queen asked pointedly.
“See, my point exactly. I am Xiuhcoatl. You’ll most probably have never heard of me because my people, the Aztecs, have long died out. But I lived on because my likeness was carved in stone and my story was inscribed on crumbling walls and when the people of the future found them and retold them, I was reborn. Sometimes I feel I cling on to life by the skin of my non-existent teeth just because there are people who curate stories, who study cultures and who determine that whatever happens, these things must be remembered. Some were not so fortunate. I have lost many colleagues to the void.”
“Do you believe me now, O Queen?” Baba Yaga turned to the Fairy Queen.
The Queen sighed, slumping tiredly on her throne. “I must believe you, mustn’t I? But tell me then, how will these two… girls change anything in the world?”
Darrick gripped his daughters’ hands tightly.
“Give them the freedom of these lands. Give them the right of entrance, the right to be entranced at every step of the way. Let their imaginations run wild. Let them learn of us - all of us - and tell of us to their friends. Let them speak of us at every opportunity, write of us in every story, until our stories are told all around the world. Will you do that, Jane and Mary?”
“Of course we will!” Mary said eagerly.
Jane looked instead to her mother. “My friends say that when we tell these tales we tell lies of ourselves. That we make ourselves - our human selves - small and weak, as if we must always look to something magical to save us. They say that we can save ourselves without the need of magic. The real world is all that we need.”
Ivy smiled. “What do you think?”
She thought for a while, biting on her lower lip. “I think that stories help us remember the important things in life. And maybe we don’t need magical beings to save us, but hearing what they’ve done may stir up courage in us to act like them and be our own magic.”
Xiuhcoatl slithered up to her. “And what would you tell them about me?”
Jane shrugged. “I suppose I would need to find out more about you to tell them anything.”
“You could make me a wise and courageous snake who saved your life.”
“But that would be a lie.”
“Aren’t all stories lies?”
Jane shook her head. “No. Stories are the truth dressed up in other clothes.”
Baba Yaga smiled. “But there are always two sides to a story.”
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In Aztec religion, Xiuhcoatl [ʃiʍˈkoːaːt͡ɬ] was a mythological serpent, it was regarded as the spirit form of Xiuhtecuhtli, the Aztec fire deity, and was also an atlatl wielded by Huitzilopochtli. Xiuhcoatl is a Classical Nahuatl word that literally translates as "turquoise serpent"; it also carries the symbolic and descriptive meaning, "fire serpent".
Xiuhcoatl was a common subject of Aztec art, including illustrations in Aztec codices and its use as a back ornament on representations of both Xiuhtecuhtlu and Huitzilopochtli. Xiuhcoatl is interpreted as the embodiment of the dry season and was the weapon of the sun.The royal diadem (or xiuhuitzolli, "pointed turquoise thing") of the Aztec emperors apparently represented the tail of the Xiuhcoatl, the fire serpent.