Heirlooms and Old Lace

For KC_OBrien‘s prompt.

I don’t have demons in any of my settings, so this is misc-verse

When Evangaline’s Aunt died, it fell to her to clean out the old house where her Aunt had lived and, before her Aunt Asta, her Aunt’s Aunt Ruan (family history stopped there, but Evangaline felt as if, if she tracked it back far enough, there would be an unbroken line of Aunts back into pre-history). As a childless Aunt herself, she accepted that the house would now become hers, but not that she needed to keep the piles of accumulated auntieness that filled it.

Tables were put out on the lawn, yard sales and freesales advertised, and Eva took two bright, sunny weekends to pull out of every nook and cranny, every eave and basement cabinet, every shelf and wardrobe, every piece of her ancestral Aunts’ lives.

Some she kept – the kitchen table was her self-imposed space limiter for knick-nacks, the living room itself for furniture (except for the bedrooms. The bedroom furniture she could keep for now; there were seven bedrooms in the old place, some barely bigger than a closet. For an unmarried aunt, it seemed excessive). The rest, despite family uproar (“If you think we should keep it, you’re welcome to come buy it at a family discount.”) went away.

Alone in a much-emptied house, Evangaline drank her tea and studied what remained. Four tea pots and one kettle (she’d gotten rid of seven pots!), one wide, shallow scrying bowl. Three little muslin dolls she’d been afraid to throw out – those would go back in their silk wrappings in their oak casket, and hope that Aunt Ruan or her Aunt had just liked dolly-making. One blue glass rose, and a beautiful matching vase. Three sets of tarot cards.

She’d sent the other six tarot sets to the sale, but these three had felt different to her fingers, tingled wrong, especially the oldest set, the one that was clearly hand-painted, in its oak box.

She’d finished her tea and her take-out pizza, so now was as good a time as any to figure out what it was about them, why these cards in particular had called her. She tipped the case out onto the table, letting the cards fall where they may.

The first thing she noticed was that this was not, exactly, a Tarot, or if it was, it was an interpretation she had never seen before. The second was that the tingling sensation was getting worse. The third was that the cards were moving on their own.

The woman on the card at the front – a blue-skinned woman, tall, dressed in medieval clothing and standing on the edge of a precipice – winked deliberately at Evangaline. Her card was labeled “The Fall,” and it looked like a long one.

As she winked, her card moved to cross another one – a deep, red-lit cave, with two eyes glowing out from its depths. “The Beast,” its caption proclaimed.

Evangaline’s hands hovered over the cards, loathe to touch them but drawn to see what the rest of them were. She reached for another one, just a tiny corner of lush greenness showing under the Beast.

“No, no,” the blue woman tut-tutted. “No, child, one reading at a time.” The cards burst into flames at “time,” the whole table of family heirlooms lighting on fire. “One at a time,” the voice repeated, as Evangaline jumped back from the heat.

The flames died down and vanished, the cards tucked back into their case. On the table, one teapot – that nearest the cards – was covered in soot. Nothing else was harmed.

Carefully, very carefully, she closed the card case and put it in a drawer. Her Aunts’ relics were going to require some careful handling.

This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/151952.html. You can comment here or there.

37 thoughts on “Heirlooms and Old Lace

        • I confess, I don’t know the standard Tarot at ALL, so I tend to make up my own. (waiting for someone who knows tarot to tell me what the Fall crossing the Beast and obscuring the (something? Primeval? Jungle?) means.)

          • I pulled my deck that’s been at the back of the cupboard for years out. I can make substitution suggestions for two of the cards (purely for purposes of interpretation) but I couldn’t tell you What It All Means.

              • The Beast might equate to the Devil. The jungley/primeval card could be a version of the World… No suggestions about The Fall. Absolutely no ideas on interpretation.

                  • I’ve been told that a deck should be attuned to the reader. As it’s your interpretation of a deck inside your head using your ideas for cards – what do you think it means? 🙂

                    • I’m pretty sure The Fall is about change, major change. The Beast is about the demons we all struggle with. The Primeval is about getting back to one’s roots. So, pantsing it, “There’s going to be a major upheaval in your life, in which you will struggle with your inner demons, and, for a while, forget what’s at your core.”

                    • The Fall would definitely be the Tower, then, and the Devil as the Beast works very well. (I was also previously thinking the fall could be the Nine of Swords, as in suicide, but major change is definitely the Tower. Or Death, but Death is more about gradual, natural change.)

                    • It’s still spelled Tarot 😛 But making stuff up is fine, it just gives the impression that it’s not a standard deck–there are certainly plenty of oracle decks and others that don’t use the standard Tarot card names and meanings out there.

                    • I suppose you could make an argument for it… The High Priestess’s scrolls, in the traditional Rider-Waite deck, appears to read “TARO”…

                    • Quite possible. I was trying to write a character called Eddie once, and I kept typing Edie by mistake. (I should never have called him Eddie since that confused my readers too…)

                    • Yay for Timora! I also realized recently that I have one main character named Taia and one named Tay (pronounced differently, though), but I haven’t mixed them up yet… And here I thought I was doing well with those names, because they don’t start with a C or K like so many of my other names do.

                    • I’m trying not to do that with new series, but I have Paz and Vas (Who I keep thinking is vos but pronounce vaz in my head).

  1. I am tempted to send this deck over to ‘s Monster House, to see what they’d do with it, but I suspect they already have plenty going on. I hope Evangaline didn’t miss anything else *interesting* when she picked things out for the yard sale.

  2. i like this one a lot =D only because of the Aunts/Family bits, it vaguely reminds me of The Enchantment Emporium [sequel coming out soon, wheeee] by Tanya Huff…which i highly recommend btw…

  3. Oh my. I’d like that house, I think. I do enjoy that type of setting – someone inheriting mystical stuff. I’d like more of this.

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