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The following article/section is from the Storm Runner continuity under Rick Riordan Presents and not the Riordanverse canon.

Bird, whose real name is Jun'ajpu' ("HOON-ah-POOH") is one of the hero twins from Mayan mythology who, along with his brother Jordan, defeated Ah-Puch (supposedly).

History

Younger Years

Jun'ajpu and his twin, Xb'alamkej , were the sons of Jun Jun’ajpu’, god of maize, and Ixkik’, goddess of the blood moon. His father and uncle were the original hero twins, whereas the next generation was born after Ixkik’ went to Jun Jun’ajpu’'s mother after passing her trials. Jun'ajpu and Xb'alamkej were not treated well by their grandmother, Xumucane, and half-brothers as they even tried to have them killed. The twins spent most their younger days hunting for their older half-brothers, but the twins had them killed by tricking them into going up a tree saying there were birds in it then making the tree grow really large. They turned into monkeys when they came down, Xumucane laughed at them so much they ran away in shame.

Sometime after that, the twins used their special powers or abilities to expedite their chores for Xumucane. They tricked her into thinking they worked all day (but they really relaxed) by covering themselves in dust and wood. But the next day, the animals of the forest undid all their work. So they tried to catch or scare them when they came back but all they could get was a rat, so the twins singed his tail over a fire as revenge, although they also got the tails of a rabbit and deer that ran away; this resulted in the future generations of rabbits and deer having short tails. The rat, however, revealed an important piece of information while bartering for mercy: the gaming equipment of their father and uncle was hidden by Xumucane in her grief, for it was playing ball that was directly responsible for the deaths of her sons. The twins decided to get the equipment back, so they snuck the rat into their home during dinner and had Xumucane cook a meal of hot chili sauce. They demanded water for their meal and Xumucane went to retrieve it, but the jar containing the water had been sabotaged with a hole and she was unable to return with it. When Ixkik’ left to find out why Xumucane had not come back and the pair were alone in the house, they sent the rat up into the roof to gnaw apart the ropes that held the hidden equipment and were able to retrieve the equipment their father and uncle had used to play ball. It had long been a favorite past-time for their father, and soon would become a favored activity for them as well.

The games of Xib’alb’a

However, when they played ball in the court where the original twins played, they disturbed the Lords of Xib’alb’a, the Mayan Underworld, with their noise. They decided to summon Xb'alamkej and Jun'ajpu to play ball in their court. When their father had answered the summons, he and his brother were met with a number of challenges along the way which served to confuse and embarrass them before their arrival. Xumucane didn't want Xb'alamkej and Jun'ajpu to suffer the same fate, so she sent a falcon with a snake inside with a toad inside with a louse inside that had a message for the twins, but even though they received the message, the twins went to Xib’alb’a anyway.

The younger twins would not fall victim to the same tricks as their father and uncle, so they sent a mosquito ahead of them to bite the Lords and uncover which were real and which were simply mannequins as well as uncovering their identities. When they arrived at Xib’alb’a, they were easily able to identify which were the real lords and address them by name. They also turned down the Lords' invitation to sit on a bench for visitors, due to their correctly identifying the bench as a heated stone for cooking. Frustrated by the twins' ability to see through their traps, they sent the boys away to the Dark House, the first of the fatal houses in Xib’alb’a. The first generation had suffered embarrassing defeats in each of the tests, but the second generation demonstrated their prowess once again by surviving the night in the pitch black house without using up their torch. Dismayed, the lords bypassed the remaining tests and invited the boys directly to the game. The twins knew that the lords used a special ball that had a blade with which to kill them, so Jun'ajpu stopped the ball with a racquet and spied the blades. Complaining that they had been summoned only to be killed, the twins threatened to leave the game, so the Lords of Xibalba allowed the boys to use their own rubber ball as a compromise and the game ensued. In the end, the twins allowed the Lords of Xib’alb’a to win the game, but this was again a part of their ruse.

They were then sent to the Rattle House, full of bone-chilling cold and rattling hail, and passed that test as well. The twins played a rematch ball game and lost by intent again and were then sent to Jaguar House, the third test which they defeated as well. In turn, Xb'alamkej and Jun'ajpu lost their ballgames on purpose so that they'd sent to and defeat the remaining tests. The Lords were dismayed at the twins' successes, but then the twins were placed in Bat House; although they hid inside their blowguns from the deadly bats, Jun'ajpu peeked out to see if daylight had come and was decapitated by Camazotz, the bat god. There was much joy in Xib’alb’a, but Xb'alamkej summoned the beasts of the field and fashioned a replacement head for his brother. Though his original head was used as the ball for the next game, the twins were able to secretively substitute a squash or gourd for the ball, retrieving Jun'ajpu’s real head and resulting in an embarrassing defeat for the Lords of Xib’alb’a. Then came the Razor House, the fifth deadly test that was filled with knives which moved of their own accord. The twins, however, spoke to the knives and convinced them to stop, thereby ruining the test. They also sent leafcutter ants to retrieve petals from the gardens of Xib’alb’a, a reward to be offered to the Lords for their victory. The Lords had intentionally chosen a reward they thought impossible, for the flowers were well guarded, but the guards did not take notice of the ants and were killed for their inability to guard the flowers. After that they passed the final test, Hot House, filled with fires and heat.

Ah-Puch

Ah-Puch, the god that Bird and Jordan were said to have defeated.

They sought to destroy them in revenge, so they constructed a large oven for their deaths. They allowed themselves to be burned, but having seen through their ruse, they were regenerated when thrown into a river. Not being recognized, the boys were allowed to remain in Xib’alb’a. Tales of their initial transformation from catfish spread and their dances entertained the people of Xib’alb’a. They performed a number of miracles like setting fire to homes then bringing them back whole from the ashes and sacrificing one another and rising from the dead. When the Lords of Xib’alb’a heard the tale, they summoned the pair to their court to entertain them, demanding to see such miracles in action. The boys answered the summons but their identities remained secret, claiming to be orphans and vagabonds. They went through their gamut of miracles, slaying a dog and bringing it back from the dead, causing the Lords' house to burn around them while the inhabitants were unharmed, and then bringing the house back from the ashes. In a climactic performance, Xb'alamkej cut Jun'ajpu apart and offered him as a sacrifice, only to have the older brother rise once again from the dead.

Enthralled by the performance, Ah-Puch, the highest of Xib’alb’a's lords, demanded that the miracle be performed upon them. The twins obliged by killing and offering the lower lords as a sacrifice, but did not bring them back from the dead. The twins then shocked the Lords of Xib’alb’a by revealing their true identities as the sons of Jun Jun’ajpu’ whom they had slain years ago along with their uncle. Xib’alb’a confessed to the crimes in despair and begged for mercy. As a result, the realm was no longer to be a place of greatness, and they would no longer receive offerings from the people who walked on the Earth above, as all of Xibalba had effectively been defeated.

Defeating Seven Macaw

At some point of time, Hurakan tasked Xb'alamkej and Jun'ajpu to stop the evil Seven Macaw, or Vucub Caquix. the vain god who built up a following of worshipers. First, they tried to shoot his jaw with a blowgun while he was eating his meal, but Seven Macaw was only wounded and Jun'ajpu’s arm was torn off. Then, they decided to invoke a pair of gods disguised as grandparents to negotiate with Seven Macaw for Jun'ajpu’s arm back. The "grandparents" said they were a poor family taking care of their orphaned grandchildren. Since they claimed they were doctors and dentists, Seven Macaw requested that his teeth be fixed (due to the first attempt) and his eyes cured. So the "grandparents" replaced his false teeth made of jewels with white corn and plucked the ornaments he had about his eyes, leaving the god destitute of his former greatness. Having fallen, Seven Macaw died presumably of shame and his wife, Chimalmat, died right around the same time. The Kʼicheʼ believed that the names of him and his wife refer to the Big and Little Dipper constellations respectively.[1]

However, Seven Macaw's sons, the giant Sipakna ("see-pahk-NAH") and earthquake god Kab'raqan, inherited a large part of their father's arrogance, as they claimed to be the creators and destroyers of mountains, respectively. Sipakna was destroyed when the twins lured him with a fake crab then dropped a mountain on him. The twins then told Kab'raqan about a growing mountain and he demanded that the twins show it to him so he can bring it down. Along the way, the twins shot many birds and used them to play along Kab'raqan's hunger. But one bird he ate contained plaster and gypsum, which was poison to the gods. Upon being weakened, the boys bound and buried him in a hole in the Earth.[2]

Later Life

It is said that Xb'alamkej and Jun'ajpu went to the ball court to retrieve the remains of their father. After finishing that, they kept climbing from Xib’alb’a and into the sky where they were said to have turned into the sun and moon.

The twins led people believe that they actually defeated Ah-Puch, but they actually defeated only a couple of his weak underlords.[3] Jun'ajpu' changed his name to Bird in order to fit in when he and Jordan (Xb'alamkej) came to the United States of America.

Storm Runner Trilogy

The Storm Runner

His brother takes Zane Obispo, Brooks, and Hondo Obispo to him to ask how they defeated Ah-Puch. Brooks gave him some gold for his birthday but he puts it aside saying it was last year's theme. Bird asked what his friends, so they could return, wanted since they weren't here for the party despite Jordan's protest. Hondo says he doesn't think they actually defeated Ah-Puch which makes Bird mad, Hondo was playing with the twins ego. Bird says that they had raw power and legitimate magic, Hondo proposes a challenge, but before he could clarify a tall applicant walked into the tent. He wore a grasshopper mask covering his scarred face and he traded his daughter's extreme beauty away so he can get a job to pay for her piano lessons hoping she'd become a famous player. Brooks didn't like this at all and Hondo got furious, when the man leaves Bird tells Zane people willingly give their magic. But Zane thought they were pure evil as they didn't use anything like a handshake or contract. But he still offers to play them in a game to prove that they weren't pathetic humans. Bird greedily eyes the Jaguar Jade, calling it ancient magic that can be infused with the desire of the giver, but only if they can beat them in a game. They decided to flip a coin, an obsidian stone with symbols of death and jaguar on it. Against Brooks wishes, Zane went along with it, he chose death as he thought most people would pick jaguar. However, the twins knew about this so they had the death side heavier, [4] Bird didn't wait for the result and even outright admitted that they tricked Zane.

During the game, Bird offers a ball of daggers instead of the really heavy one, Zane declined. He lets Zane score so he will be scorched by the hoop which suddenly caught fire; however, he is unfazed much to his surprise. Moments later, Muwan and Ah-Puch arrive, Bird is utterly surprised that Zane actually made a deal with the god of death and got a tracking device tattoo on his arm. He tries to revive his brother after Jordan drank the hot chocolate spiked with Mr. Ortiz's La Muerte pepper but had no success. They two are taken away by the Yant'o Triad with Ah-Puch.

After the gods learn that Bird and his brother lied about defeating Ah-Puch, they were punished.

The Fire Keeper

After spending months in a blood cage plotting against Zane, they are freed by an unknown accomplice and track him down to Isla Holbox. They deduce that he is not the only godborn and find and abduct ten others to fight the gods.

He stops his brother from strangling Zane Obispo and convinces him to let the son of Hurakan live for the time being. They explain how they found him and the other gods and he keeps Jordan from telling him to much. Zane hints that they know their plan, worrying them until he mentions Mexica ghosts. They burst out laughing and say the son of Hurakan will join them for the sake of Brooks and Hondo. They take Zane to the facility where Brooks and Hondo are held and whenever he touches the bars, toxic gas is released into their cages. They tel Zane they want to kill him as revenge and leave for Hurakan’s execution.

Zane realized that they actually plan to raise the Mexica Gods, who died after the fall of the Mexica Empire. They were going sacrifice Hurakan to raise Tlaltecuhtli then use the godborns to power her up before they raise the others. He and Jordan arrive at the execution wearing red robes and jaguar masks, he watches as his brother beheads Hurakan. Soon Brooks swoops in and snatches their masks. They are hidden in mist by their mother and turn into bat creatures, this power was given by Camazotz, to kill Zane. He knocks him of the pyramid but is saved by Brooks. Before the fighting can continue, he and Jordan flee.

Appearance

Bird is described as having massive muscles, a chiseled face, defiant eyes, and broad shoulders. He wears a dark suit, has dark eyes, and a tan complexion like his brother.

During the ball game, Bird suited up in black jerseys and shorts.

Personality

While he is arrogant and narcissistic, Bird is shown to be the calmer of the twins. He and his brother are shown to be unsympathetic to those who come to them for help, as they enjoy trading away people's talents for others. However despite their uncaring nature, the twins generally care for one another.

Abilities

  • Mystiokinesis: Being the son of Ixkik’, he has power create small worlds and illusions.
  • Shapeshifting: After allying themselves with Camazotz, he and his brother can transform into bat-like creatures.

Trivia

  • His original Mayan name, Jun'ajpu', means "One-Blowgunner."
  • In the original story, Bird played a more dominant role in the upper world rather than Xib’alb’a.
  • Bird's name is a reference to the famous basketball player, Larry Bird.

References

  1. https://www.wilderutopia.com/traditions/myth/popol-vuh-the-ancient-maya-dawn-of-life-and-overcoming-the-forces-of-awe/
  2. Maya Hero Twins
  3. The Storm Runner, Ch. 27
  4. https://www.readriordan.com/2019/06/01/our-favorite-coins-for-flip-a-coin-day/
Storm Runner series
Books: The Storm Runner | The Fire Keeper | The Shadow Crosser
Main Characters: Zane Obispo | Brooks | Rosie | Hondo Obispo | Ah-Puch | Hurakan | Ren Santiago | Jordan | Bird
Secondary Characters: Mrs. Obispo | Antonia Caballero | Ixtab | Muwan | Quinn | Antonio Marcel De la Vega | Jazz
Minor Characters: Mr. Ortiz | Pacific | Saqik’oxol | Abuelo Santiago | Clementino | Itzel | Fausto | Red Queen | Gee | Serena | Louie | Marco
Mayan Gods: K’ukumatz | Ixkik’ | Bakab | Yant'o Triad | Nakon | Ixkakaw | Ixchel | Itzamna | Alom | Camazotz | Chaac
Mexica Gods: Tlaltecuhtli
Creatures: Demon Runner | Nawal | Alux | Demon | Giant | Hellhound | Mud Person | Ahuizotl
Related Content: Jennifer Cervantes | Rick Riordan Presents
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