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Inordinary Date – a Patreon Story

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“I know,” Jake admitted, “a cemetery isn’t really the ordinary sort of place to take a girl on a date. But I figured, you’re not an ordinary sort of girl, and, really, I’m not really all that normal myself, so why would we go on an ordinary date?  Besides,” he added, with amused candor, “there’s nothing good at the movie theatre, my friends can be a pain and they tend to eat at the diner nights like this, and if I’m going to go for moonlight and stars, the park’s more likely to have kids smoking weed and the cops like to check out the playground.”

Beryl grinned at him and made sure he saw it.  “That sounds like very good logic.  What would you have done, though, if I was the sort to get creeped out by cemeteries?”

“Apologize profusely for misjudging you and take you out for ice cream?  And then maybe down to the creek.  It’s pretty this time of year, too.” Continue reading

Own the Fate

After Fated, for my Fourth Finish It Bingo Card.

At the third adoption agency, Karen acknowledged that her family and the power were definitely getting in her way. Before she called the fourth – they lived near a big enough city, but there was still a limit – she visited her Aunt Becka.

She brought Aunt Becka’s favorite sweet rolls and a fresh box of her favorite tea.

And while they ate rolls and gossiped about the family, she swirled her mug and studied the leaves at the bottom.

Everyone had always told her she had no skill for it, no art. She looked at the leaves and saw a cradle.

“Here, dear.” Aunt Becka reached for the mug, and pulled her fingers back when sparks lit up between them.
“Oh!” She chuckled, sounding more pleased than the old woman had sounded in some time. “So you’ve decided to own it, have you?”

Karen thought about her answer for a moment. You had to be careful; words you said around family had a habit of coming back to bite you a decade later. “I think it’s decided to own me. But that being so, well.
I’m not going to be jerked around by it.”

“Good for you, girl. Good for you. Now, as for that pesky problem you’re having with the family, here, I can show you how to get around it. I do wish you’d come to me quite some time earlier, but they have their ideas, don’t they, and they push them and push them.” She pulled out a small silk bag full of bones and tossed them across the table. “So. You’ve been pushed a bit. Here, there, your mother’s the worst but there’s three other aunts involved and, bless her soul, your great-grandmother. Want to learn how to teach them to mind their own business?”

Karen sighed. “I’m no good at magic. I never have been.”

“Well.” Aunt Becka raised her eyebrows. “And who told you that, mmm?”

“My mother, my grandmother, and Aunt Zelda, Aunt Laurel…”

“Mmm-hrrm. And exactly what do they have to gain by you being good at magic? I know you never wanted this, Karen. I know, sweet child, that you dodged the least quickly. But I’m not dead yet. I have…” She tossed the bones again and contemplated that. “Something like three years, three weeks, and three days left, although that could be Fate messing with me, what with the threes. Anyway. There’s time and enough for us to get you ready.”

“But…” Karen put her face in her hands. “It will let me have a child?”

“It will let you adopt a child. Clever, that. Nobody’s really gone that way again, although there was one, now who was it…”

Aunt Becka liked to play at being senile. Her hair was all grey and wispy and her eyes were often clouded over, her face more wrinkle than skin, but when she looked up at Karen, remembering something in the far past, there was no doubt that she was still all there. “[-]. Now she was a fun one, if her diaries and her sisters’ diaries are to be believed. When her sister passed, she took in all her sisters’ children. And the husband. Now didn’t the grannies fret about that one!”

Karen couldn’t help but smile at her Aunt’s expression. And at the thought of making the grannies fret, if she was being honest. “So it can be done.”

“It can. But first, child, you are going to have to learn. We’re going to start with something simple, the cards. This set is a pretty gentle one.” The box was hand-made and the cards were clearly hand-painted. The family didn’t even play bridge with store-bought cards, much less do divination.

Karen slid the cards out of the box carefully and ran her fingers over the top card, a portrait of a woman who might have been an Aunt, a long time ago. She had that look.

“Now. You’ve done these before, right?”

“Just for play, with practice cards.”

“Then clear your mind, shuffle the deck, and think about – let’s say think about four years from now.”

She’d said she’d be dead in a little over three years. Karen closed her eyes and shuffled, thinking of The Near Future. She focused on amorphous time-coming-up and thought about the way the trees changed in the summer.

The cards seemed to spark under her fingers. She laid out a simple spread in a hurry, because it felt like her hands were on fire, and set the deck to the side. When she opened her eyes, Aunt Becka was staring at the cards.

The spread was sloppy, but that was secondary. The card in the center was a supernova. The card didn’t even exist, as far as Karen knew.

And Death and Luck flanked it, and below it was Growth.

“Well.” Aunt Becka coughed. “The cards like you. That’s going to make everything a little more interesting. Tell me, who exactly said you had no power?”

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Patreon: Pot, Luck and a May-Flower repost



For those keeping track at home: This is before almost everything in Eva’s timeline except the first few stories (the garage sale, etc.).

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Eva stared at her kitchen.

It was her kitchen now.

That was the first thing.
Available for all Patrons!


Originally posted Sep. 22, 2014
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Eight p.m. on a Tuesday was not when Semele expected a knock on her door, but she opened it anyway. “Jarah, I thought we agreed…. What?”

“One hundred eight white roses, delivery for Semele cy’Sakamoto.”
read on…

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Patreon: A Trunk Story and Others

Today’s Trunk Story was actually published! In the February 2012 issue of EMG-Zine, no longer publishing.
It follows the further adventures of Ruan.

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There were many things Ruan loved about having an antiquities dealer and amateur museum curator as a beau: his lovely wit, his beautiful eyes, his way around an aetheric detector. But the thing which she loved the most was his wonderful habit of bring her home toys, gadgets, and devices.

Regarding this particular gadget – perhaps “contraption” was a better word – however, Ruan wasn’t certain if she should be happy, or if disgruntlement was more called for. “What, pray tell, is it?”

Free for $3-and-up Patrons!



Originally posted on March 19, 2011.
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She opened her eyes to the world around her, her memories already fading.

She’d shared some of them with her parents-to-be beforehand, but there was a bit of a language barrier, an image barrier. They could understand, through careful, patient relaying of images, that this was not her first life.

Read On!


Originally posted on Dec. 19, 2011
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“Are you sure you’ll stay, then?”

Shea hadn’t been looking for the underground facility – hadn’t been looking, at least, for this specific, deep-cavern-system underground facility, with its refugee population hidden there since the Catastrophe. But, having found it, and, more importantly, having found them, Shea couldn’t leave without doing something.

Read On!

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Patreon: The Aunt Family

Originally posted February 15, 2012: more about the cat that would become Radar later.

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Zenobia didn’t give the cat a name, but she did leave a bowl of cream out for him every morning, and a bit of her dinner meat every evening.

Her Aunt Beulah had left her the cat, along with the property and the title, when she vanished into the mist one late-November evening. He was, at that point, already an elderly cat, if family memory held, but, in this case, family memory, generally a very reliable thing, seemed to falter.

read on!


Oh, dear.” Asta patted her nephew’s shoulder gingerly. “Not again?”

Will sighed and looked out the window. “Again. I managed to cover it up, the way you showed me…”

“But if this keeps happening, eventually the grandmothers and the mothers and the fussbudgets down at church are going to figure it out, no matter how small-minded they are,” Asta finished with a sigh. “And then they’re going to give you Willard’s choice.”

Read On!



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For this repost story, something from 2011 that starts Radar’s story as well as the saga of Beryl’s relationship with her young man.

“But Mom…”

“Don’t argue. You know it’s your Aunt Beatrix’s turn to host Thanksgiving, and you know we can’t very well not show up only on her years.”

“But Moooom,” Beryl’s younger sister Amy picked up the complaint, “it smells funny there.”

“It’s the cats,” their older sister Chalcedony added. “Mom, come on. Someone needs to tell Beatrix that her house smells like cat pee.”

Read On!

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Inconvenient Magic – a story for Patreon

I have discovered that Asta might be my favorite Aunt. The more I write about her and her “placeholder” status, the more I like her. 

This takes place maybe 5 years before Evangaline becomes Aunt, so in the 2000’s.   We have not met Will before. 

“Oh, dear.”  Asta patted her nephew’s shoulder gingerly.  “Not again?”

Will sighed and looked out the window. “Again.  I managed to cover it up, the way you showed me…”

“But if this keeps happening, eventually the grandmothers and the mothers and the fussbudgets down at church are going to figure it out, no matter how small-minded they are,” Asta finished with a sigh.  “And then they’re going to give you Willard’s choice.” Continue reading

In the Spirit of 5-Minute Maps – two images of the Aunt Family neighborhood


Click to embiggen.

I do not know WHOSE house the unlabeled red outline in the top image is, but it’s family.
The words on the lower image are “Aunt House,” “Church,” and “Diner,” from left to right, bottom to top.

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Answers from Grandpa Joseph – a continuation of the Stone story

This comes after King(maker) Cake, King for a Day, After the Kinging, Stone: Aftermath, and Stone: After some Aftermath
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Beryl and Stone both had a hand on the necklace that was their ancestor (or at least distant relative; neither had bothered to look up where he stood on the family tree, in part because that would require talking to the relatives who kept the family tree, and that might lead to some awkward explanations nobody wanted to get into).

::Very good. Now. Where to start?::

“What happens when you go against the will of the family?” Stone was whispering. His door was half-open, half-closed, because he and Beryl both thought this was more than a little weird and wanted to be able to shout for help if they had to.

::And it’s a good question, even if it’s an awkward question. So. Who’s the will of the family?::

Neither of them answered. In their heads, the necklace chuckled.

::Ah. I see you’ve both learned to spot an obvious trap before it bites you. You’re right, of course. It’s not the Aunt, it’s not the grandmothers, it’s not the young mothers and it’s certainly not the husbands and sons. But yet… it is.::

Stone looked at Beryl; she looked back and shrugged.

::Aw, you’ve learned too well. How am I supposed to have fun?:: the necklace sulked. ::All right, all right. The family will, like the family power, is a gestalt thing. But the will, unlike the power, is mob rule. It moves this way and that way all over the place, depending on the climate. So the problem is: what the family will is can change from day to day, much less from year to year. Like young Stone here.::

“Excuse me?” There were too many things that could mean, and Stone didn’t like most of them.

::The family was fine ignoring you, weren’t they? Nobody was going to be stupid enough to train you. Nobody was going to give you any more power – or, should I say, give you access to your own power. Given time, the family gestalt would soak up most of it, leaving you with enough to light a fire without a match or know when it was going to rain, probably. Petty stuff, the stuff any street-corner magician can do. That’s what the family does, you know. It collects power that’s not being used.::

“Wait, what?” Beryl stared at the necklace as if she could see if it was lying or not. Stone felt an urge to do the same.

“Say that again.”

::The family gestalt. What did you think the power the Aunt held was?::

“It’s our birthright…” Beryl said slowly. “The strength of the family. The power of the lineage.”

::Exactly. The strength of the family. The power of the lineage. It’s a lot more powerful now than it has been in the past. That’s part of the reason – though I bet from what I hear in your voices that most people don’t know this – that they can afford to have so many non-Aunts wandering around doing magic. You. Rosa. I bet everyone does a little more than their ancestors did.::

“Because…” Stone frowned. “We have more power?”

“Because we have more family!” Beryl sat up straighter and grinned, and then just as immediately deflated. “Wait. Wait, though. The family splits. It gets too big, and then it splits.”

::That’s the other sort of power, though. That’s the fact that a mob too big is too hard to steer. Well, and it might burst a weaker Aunt, let’s be honest. That’s a bad thing, someone who can’t hold the power.::

“…but the family splits,” Beryl repeated plaintively, “so how are we more powerful now than we have been?”

::Two reasons. Maybe three. Let’s see if you can figure them out.::

“You sound like Mrs. Tyler,” Stone complained half-heartedly. “Okay, so. Big families. There’s four of us, most of our cousins have two or three in the family, and it spreads like that. So even with splitting, you get bigger families.”

::That’s one.:: It sounded like the necklace approved. Stone still wasn’t sure how he felt about that.

“Oh! Oh, we suck in other powers. I mean, that sounds violent but-” Beryl ducked her head. Stone was pretty sure she was thinking about their dad.

::That is right, yes. What about your Jake? Does he have power?::

“Still figuring that out,” she muttered. “He doesn’t run away screaming, at least.”

::Even if you don’t want to be the Aunt, you might think about what bringing a powered person into the family will do,:: the necklace murmured. ::Think long and hard, dear.::

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Worldbuilding Month Day 8: Tell Me a Story

March is Worldbuilding Month! Leave me a question about any of my worlds, and I will do my best to answer it!
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This eighth one is from [personal profile] sauergeek: You have storytellers in at least three universes: Autumn in Stranded, Tanakae in Calepurn, and Rosaria in Aunt Family. Am I missing others? How do their styles overlap, and how do they differ? What are their goals in storytelling? (Lotsa questions!)

Ooh! I probably do have other storytellers, because I like the trope of the storyteller. I like telling stories within the confines of the story, for one – some day I hope to do an at-least-triple-nested story, like Arabian Nights. Maybe for Camp Nano in July~

Autumn tells stories for two reasons: One, because she is a small-change artist, and engaging your audience by telling stories is a very good way to get their attention and interest them in buying. As a Neil Gaiman story I just read says, people don’t buy the art, they buy the story. (Paraphrase). Two, because she is a dancer on the strands of life, and she has found that sometimes a story is the best way to engage someone, to get them to heal their own strand damage, to create their own connections.

Tanakae tells stories because it’s her career. She started out doing her world’s version of rap battles, and evolved from there into high art – think like Shakespeare having a patron. She likes political satire best, because if you put something into a catchy phrase, it makes people – if not think, let’s be honest – at least remember the phrase. She’s her time’s equivalent of a Facebook meme on a bad day, and on a good day she’s Mark Twain. She likes the way words flow together, and making them fit properly is like a really good puzzle for her.

(Okay, I probably write a lot of storytellers too because I am, by chosen trade, a storyteller.)

Rosaria tells stories because it’s how she sees the future, the past, and the present – it’s a type of divination. It’s also how she engages her family – some too young to be interested in the truth behind the stories, some too involved in their own world, their own lives. It also gives her a chance to talk to her grandchildren and grand-nieces and -nephews and keep an eye on them.

In terms of style, Tanakae’s style is far more elaborate and ornate than either of the others. Tanakae is much more interested in the wordcraft and in showing off her skills. Rosaria’s stories are the most likely to sound like fairy tales, where Autumn’s are the closest to “no shit, there I was…”

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Stone: After some Aftermath

This comes after King(maker) Cake, King for a Day, After the Kinging, and Stone: Aftermath
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“Stay here.” Beryl had the bossiness of the family down to an art form, especially the way she seemed to have convinced herself that she wasn’t actually bossy. Stone would’ve been impressed, if she wasn’t his sister. His little sister.

“It’s my room.”

“Yep. Stay there anyway.”

“Not going anywhere.”

Their parents had dealt with having four children in an imbalance of genders in a three-bedroom house by splitting both kids’ bedrooms in half, so Stone’s room wasn’t exactly spacious, but it was his, and he guarded it as jealously as a king would his castle. Beryl – who wanted the same respect, and got it from him, at least – knocked and waited in the open doorway.

“Come in.”

“Radar’s off being – well, being a tomcat, I imagine – but here’s Joseph.” She said it with frankness that probably got her in trouble with people in school.

Speaking of being fiercely overprotective, Stone knew exactly what he’d do to anyone who said anything unkind about his sister in his hearing. He’d only had to do it once for Chalce, and if he was lucky, she’d never find out.

He looked down at the necklace. It sparkled in his hand, blue gems in an antique setting.

“Well?” Beryl looked nervous, he thought. “Are you waiting for an engraved invitation?”

Stone sighed. At least his friends – unlike Chalce’s – were unlikely to barge in unannounced.

He put the necklace on and closed the clasp. It made the hair on the back of his neck stand up and his fingers twitch, but Aunt Rosaria had suggested he talk to the thing, and he was fairly certain she wasn’t trying to trap him or hurt him.

::The thing. Seriously.:: The voice sounded as if it were right next to his ear, like an old and amused grandfather who knew a few things. ::My name is Joseph, and I’m your great-great-something grandfather. And you, then, are Beryl’s brother Stone. The one with the spark.::

Stone cleared his throat, and then didn’t say anything out loud. Aunt Rosaria suggested I speak with you. He formed the thoughts carefully in his mind.

::Rosa! She wore me once – as a necklace, young man, and nothing more. I’m older than that generation, you know. I’ve been around for a while. Far longer than I was planning on sticking around, i can tell you that.::

Stone coughed out a laugh. “The family has a habit of doing that to you.” So what if Beryl was still in the room? It wasn’t like she didn’t talk to her necklace too.

::But hrrmm… Why would she want me to talk with you, and vice versa? Let me see, let me see… It seemed to be humming in Stone’s mind. It? He. ::Well, I supose there are several reasons. One is that someone needs to give you the talk about what happens when a mare and a stallion-::

“Had that one, thanks!” Stone yelped. Beryl giggled, and he glared at her. “What?”

“That’s the face I think I made when Joseph offered to explain to me where foals came from.”

“Yeah.” He looked away. His little sister… no. He sent the mental version of a glare at the necklace – at the personality in his mind, at least. Nobody as old as Joseph should be talking to Beryl about any of that.

::I meant no disrespect, I assure you. She is a powerful woman, and it will behoove her to know exactly how powerful she can be. But let me see – no, if not that talk, then I imagine you must have power. And since the family deals so very well with power in men, you’re going to need some help::

“Aunt Rosaria’s gonna teach me,” he muttered.

::Well, and hasn’t life gone in changed since I was en-stoned? Ha, a stone grandfather for a boy named Stone. We’ll suit, my boy, we’ll suit well. And now, hrrm. I imagine the lesson is “What happens to people who go against the will of the family?” and, just to be fair – which I’m going to note I wouldn’t always be – exactly what counted as going against the will in this case. Now, I know this sounds creepy, but if you can get your sister over here, we can explain this to both of you at once.::

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