Just what was going through Coyote's head the day Ysngrin snapped?
This story is told from Coyote's point of view, vaguely alludes to events in Chapter 39 of Gunnerkrigg Court, and could be spoiler if you squint. It is also speculative on those events somewhat. The menacing vagueness cometh.
There are definite spoilers for earlier chapters, so be safe, if you are not completely caught up (to 39), go back now! You have been warned!
Here we go!
The wonderful and amazing Coyote loves nothing more than to hear good stories, mostly the ones about himself. But today is a special day, my guest: Today Lord Coyote wishes to tell you a story, about the lovely daughter of Surma, the Fire Head Girl!
It is true, such a story is so dull and dreary compared to the ones about me. After all, she did not ever get stuck full of Porcupine Woman's quills, and she never took the sun or moon- though she has marked it, and sent rabbits running to me- and she never turned an eye into the star we all love. But enough about myself; I promised a tale and so it shall be told!
Antimony Carver (as Fire-Head girl is called at the Court- such a dull place, all is set and never moves, stones that are not my teeth make its walls, and its inhabitants, silly things, try to make themselves into gods like myself! Ha ha ha ha yip yii yip awooo… Oh ho, I'm carried away), her mother is Surma and her mother is dead. You see, the girl took her mother's fire and so dear Surma died, like her mother and her grandmother and her great-grandmother all the way back to the first mating between a human and a fire elemental. Oh, what a night that must have been! HAHAHAHAHA.
It is so funny she is named Antimony, and let me tell you why. She is born of fire, she is part fire, and she is named for something which lives to prevent fire's spread! It is true, it also makes lovely things for the Court and the humans to use- none as handsome as Coyote, of course- and a face like hers is practically a clay mask anyways! But she isn't stupid like Ysengrin. She is stupid in a different way- she forgets what is and is not. She acts as though she is a Stibnite spike, forgetting that her name is Not Alone. Antimony is always found with others, less brittle and less lovely. She forgets her duty is the Court and her pleasure is the Woods. I am the Woods! She forgets stupid Ysengrin has a temper.
She forgets even this: I am not a bone-scattering desert dog, I am not dishonest… I am too honest, ha! I have even told her my Great Secret. Oh how she laughed! But she forgets that I am Coyote, and what is Coyote but a laugh?
Antimony stops fire's spread, but the girl is part fire. Such a contradiction! A wonder she doesn't vanish! She forgets, my pretty Fire Head Girl, there are many ways to burn. A friend's rage, a (not yet, maybe never) broken promise, a heart loyal to two flags, an ill-timed laugh- all burn as hot and deep as fire. And just as flames may gnaw at my bones, the trees, a flame that throws itself against the rocks of the earth (my beautiful teeth!) will find itself extinguished.
But the wondrous Coyote, loved by all, has let Fire Head Girl go to finish her story. He has some bones to mend, and- perish the thought! - A half-told tale of Coyote is worse than no tales at all.