The Deck, the Fire, the Art – a story of the Aunt Family for my summer Giraffe Call

Written to kelkyag‘s prompt(s) here to my Summer Giraffe Call.


Okay, this story references or is after several stories, so here goes:

This is where the divination deck originally showed up – 1st story in the whole series.
This story and then this one introduce Adam.

Wild Card comes immediately before the one below.

This is the Finish-It Bingo referencing Wild Card.

Kathleen remembered.

She did not, often, these days. In her more cognizant moments, she thought she might prefer it that way. There was so much to remember, after all, and, like holding a lighter and forgetting what you meant to set the flame to, a half of a memory could be dangerous.

Tonight she remembered. Her niece — her sister’s granddaughter, and that sort of thing was what you never forgot, because the family lines tied everything together — had turned over an ancient card in a game that was supposed to be innocent, and everything had come flashing back.

Adam, her cousin Adam, and the other one… what was his name? She remembered the wounded look in his eyes, the way he held himself as if expecting a fight. She couldn’t remember the name he had worn. But he and Adam had sat under the tutelage of aunts and grandmothers, just like — and yet completely different from — the way Kathleen and Ruan, and, much later, Rosaria, had all done.

She remembered Adam and the other one telling a story. Their eyes, she seemed to recall now, were on Ruan. There was fire in their voices, and their fingers moved across the page, brush and pencil telling as much of a story as the words.

“And he looked so fun,” Adam admitted, while the other one sketched. “He looked like a clown, or some sort of joker. Not the make-up, just the smile. I saw… I saw her looking at him.” He faltered, and picked up the paint brush.

The other one cleared his throat and let Adam take over the drawing. No, not a drawing, a card. They had been making a divination deck under Elenora’s guidance, and they’d grabbed one of the blanks to make their story. “It wasn’t that she looked at him. There’s lots of looking, at a carnival like that. She went to him.” He swallowed. Kathleen remembered the look of calculated risk in his expression. He needed to tell something. He just wasn’t sure it was a good idea. “And I saw it, all the times it had come before.”

Lightning flashed, and Kathleen was back in the present, staring at her niece. Her niece, the Aunt. She cleared her throat. “We’re going to be seeing him again,” she whispered. “I hope we’re ready this time.”

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0 thoughts on “The Deck, the Fire, the Art – a story of the Aunt Family for my summer Giraffe Call

  1. O_o Yeah, this is definitely threatening to run long. (I’m not sure I’d call that a “finish it” so much as a “continue it”.) I’d forgotten Adam’s name — thank you for the back-reference links! And I initially thought the unnamed boy was Willard, but I don’t think that works with the age differential with Rosaria? Maybe? <wants that family tree with dates> And there’s history of teaching the boys in the family to use their spark, just … supervised. Moar plz!

        • oops, sorry. It’s the thing I’ve been using to make the family tree. I’ll post an image later tonight.

          • No apology called for! Just noting that it’d be unwise for me to look at it to inform an answer until I’ve done some electronic housekeeping that I’ve been stalling on. 🙂

          • (click to embiggen) This is where I am so far, as well as a handful of notes. No ages yet, except Aunt Kath-something.

          • That’s a lot of people! And not all the branches, even. O_o What do “verified” and “unverified” mean? IIRC there’s an Aunt Mary as well as an Aunt Sarah named in the very-long-ago. I’m not sure if they’re before or after the folks from the settling-down-and-building-the-current-house story. Are you giving people ages as of some particular story? Given that you write across a lot of time periods, years (even if they’re relative to a family event rather than our-history years) might be easier. But with Asta in WWII historical years might make sense…

          • Verified means I’ve found that name in that relationship in this current perusal of the stories. I think I should probably go with birth/death years and assume that the story naming Aunt Katherine’s age happens in 2015.

          • That I can recall at the moment, Asta’s military service is the story event most firmly tied to real-world event, so if that works with Kathleen being 103 in 2015, woot! And not once so far has a teenager had to be pried away from their cellphone. Shocking. 🙂

          • Hrm. Given the wish machine, tech/magic combos might not be inherently problematic in this ‘verse the way they are in some. Not that that one was unproblematic, but I don’t think it was the tech/magic combo that made it so. So what form of help would you like with the aunt family tree?

          • So! I think the first step is determining as many ages as we can, and from them birth dates. That will let us know who is possible and who needs to be moved because they’re older than their parents, etc.

          • Okay! Saying 2015 Eva is in her early 30’s… 32. B. 1983. Asta died in… 2013? Beryl’s older sibs are still in high school; that makes her 14 at the oldest, b.2001. Stone is 16, Chalce 18 – b 1999, 1997. Amy is… younger. 10? 8 and an oops baby? If Haddy has an 18 yo, she is at least 36, say 37. b. 1978 (she’s my husband’s age). That leaves the question of how old is Fallon (and her kids), and did she or Haddy get panic-married first, and how old is Owen, whose daughter is so much younger.

          • Asta joined the WAAC in 1942 Say she was 20 at the time. That would make her born 1922 – and 97 when she died. The Grannies had to be very annoyed. (at which point (1942) “Suzanne is already on her second child” and Ardelia or Ardella was already married. This is one stretched-out generation).

          • Because they didn’t like Asta, or some other reason? Eva’s the Aunt after Asta. If Eva is actually 22 in the story where Robbie guesses her age, that’s a pretty huge gap between her and her aunt in a family where women often marry and/or have children young … though some of them also have kids over a long stretch. Suzanne could be much older than Asta — as currently shown, different parents, more skew. Ardella doesn’t have to be much older than Asta (she’s shown as an older sibling currently) to be a quite reasonable age to be married in ~WWII, but then Eva’s Ardella’s second child … so how long did she wait to have kids, or how wide is the spread between them? Wait, if Asta was born in 1922 and died at 97, she died in 2019? Is her age at death specified in a story?

          • Because they didn’t like Asta. I think Robbie is off by a bit in her age; I picture her having a professional career and I don’t see that at 22. wait, I can’t math. Asta dies in ~2013 or ~2014. Her age at death is never specified

          • Hrm. Putting the stories in order might be useful, at least the modern ones that involve the teenagers. Eva’s age is speculative in the story with Robbie, but Robbie’s is pretty solidly fixed, and the teens with opinions on him are probably within a few years of his age and … still in high school? The yard sale / repainting story sequence is presumably fairly shortly but not instantly after Asta dies and Eva becomes the Aunt — she has to’ve had time to’ve sorted through at least the un-hidden things to pick out what goes into the sale. Robbie’s story is probably later? I was going to say de-catting Beatrix’s house could be earlier, but dating Jake and is time-tied to that, as is having Jacob-the-necklace from the yardsale to argue with Radar about it … Anne-Marie being born isn’t too long after Eva becomes Aunt, but probably after the yard sale stuff settles out, and … maybe settling in as Aunt takes years? And there’s at least one earlier story with Janelle. (Owen, being male, may’ve gotten married far later than his sisters. Also there’s that mention of at least one earlier woman he dated being scared off by the family.) The seasonal and holiday stories may pin down some timing, too. Rosaria bringing Eva to see Willard is presumably a good bit later than Rosaria bringing Eva the additional notebooks (in the yard sale sequence). … right, pulling random things from memory is probably not helping. I need to actually pull up stories and try to order them and wave ideas about time ranges at them.

          • Okay. Here’s the list, let’s see what I can do Heirlooms and Old Lace Trash and Treasures Welcome to the Family – I’d say within a year of her becoming Aunt Accepting the Welcome Visiting Aunt Eva – This comes before Locked Chest, probably in the first couple months. In the Attic An Argument of Magic – at least 4 months after she became Aunt, probably closer to a year Family and Cocoa – Eva and Beryl – I think this actually comes after the uncle stuff Visiting an Uncle – this set is after An Argument of Magic Genre Visit Family Uncle Still in the Family The Powers That Be Unexpected Guest – Well, this shoots me in the foot a bit with its connection to the baby above. But, like you said…. So no more than 3-4 months after Welcome In the Cards Older Witches (Eva & Robbie) How the Family Does Things Midnight, Summer Solstice – her first solstice as Aunt Chocolate Fudge for the Holidays – any time at all You’d Better Watch Out – maybe second year? She’s being tested. Happy Inter-Universal Women’s (Week): Eva and the Tarot – early on Wild Card – latest to date Beryl-with-Eva Warm Visions and Warm Family – after the uncle stories, probably Beryl: Difficult Relations Charming ^^ very early on What to do about Auntie X Cleaning House Kitten Switchen Kitten Negotiations (did not xpost) Boy Trouble [Donor Perk] ^^^ Urg. Well, this has to be not too long on, but I guess that makes it before Eva’s first thanksgiving as Aunt Kitten Troubles Auntie Kitty ^^ several months after the earlier story Courting Sister Help B is for Beryl and her Boys ^^ –> before Kitten troubles A Locked Chest is Locked for a Reason Even a Locked Chest Must Be Unlocked ^^ As soon after the Aunties as possible (the Grannies Story:) Cats and Grandmas Cat’s in the… Attic Family Secrets & Cat Secrets The Cat’s Paw ^^ After everything else.

          • I need to reread all the things … which I’m not going to get started on until at best late this evening. How would you feel about a google doc or something that multiple people could annotate and rearrange? I think Wild Card can be safely be shoved after all the “newbie Eva” stories. Possibly all the stories with Lam-the-kitten can be, too? Also the halloween story and the holiday fudge story, yes … A bit of timing I’d want to look at carefully would be Stone’s arc vs. Eva visiting Willard, as it feels like the outcome of the latter (… which I don’t know yet, but maybe you do?) should have consequences for her relationship with the former, and the other teenage boy who’s in on the magic lessons …

          • A google doc would be a brilliant idea! (I clicked on almost every story and read the first couple lines) Hrrrm, yes. Stone vs. Willard. I think it goes Early Stone.. (Kingmaker)… Hero Cycle… More Stone

          • I suggest that you create the document, so that it belongs to you. (Transfering ownership of google docs is not something I’ve figured out.) I would probably make it a spreadsheet with columns for years & real events (WW2), family events, stories, and notes to start with. I’m not sure what you’d find most friendly to work with, though.

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