In World History, the Aunt Family ‘verse parallels our own. The magic that exists here is mostly personal magic – it can change a single person’s timeline, or a single family’s, but rarely the world’s.
(Yes, I know that there are ways that A can change B, but this is not so much an AU as it is a world in which personal problems sometimes have unusual solutions).
The Aunt Family themselves… their history is lost in myth and fuzzy retellings, and every branch of the family tells it a little bit differently. What we know is that, at some point, the strong personalities in a long-ago family decided that their thin but interesting powers could best be handled — and family feuds avoided — if they kept the power in the hands of a single childless woman.
And as the family grew, so did the power.
Many centuries ago — nearly a millennium — portals opened between an untouched planet and several other worlds, and a few people came through, a farmer and his family.
You said that already, Lyn.
That farmer’s settlement became the basis of the capital town. He brought through others from his home village — which was in chaos at the time — and, when the portal opened somewhere else, brought through those people, too.
Other portals formed their own settlements. Over time and trade and more than a few battles, over quests by Key-bearers from other worlds and mighty adventures, the settlements on these islands/small continents settled into a few nations.
The nation our story is set in became a monarchy with a very strong bureaucracy . Which was fine for quite a while.
And then the Crown Prince vanished.
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1337879.html. You can comment here or there.
More of a vignette than a true story, a bit involving two pure-bred Ellehemaei some time not too long before The War. Verena has appeared recently in “…There is a Military Group in the Area. …”
“I’m sorry, Tancred, but our family is depleted and this was the deal we could make.”
Tancred‘s mother didn’t look all that sorry. If anything, she looked pleased.
That was like her, though. She’d solved two problems with one stone.
Originally posted during the run of Addergoole: The Original Series, so sometime between 2009 & 2012.
It rained at Martin’s funeral; Meckil made sure of it.
She wasn’t allowed at the funeral; ancient ancestral promises banned her from hallowed ground across the continent. So she stood outside, under the branches of the linden tree that had Named her, dressed in mourning as befit a widow, heedless of the scandal, and watched, working the Words of the rainfall into Martin’s eulogy.
After Beryl and one Specific Boy, which is after B is for Beryl and her Boys.
“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?
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1326455.html. You can comment here or there.
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?”
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1323390.html. You can comment here or there.
Eva stared at her kitchen.
It was her kitchen now.
That was the first thing.
Available for all Patrons!
Originally posted Sep. 22, 2014
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.”
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1318358.html. You can comment here or there.
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.
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?”
Originally posted on March 19, 2011.
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.
Originally posted on Dec. 19, 2011
“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.
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1315844.html. You can comment here or there.
Originally posted February 15, 2012: more about the cat that would become Radar later.
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.
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.”
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.
“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.”
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1313157.html. You can comment here or there.
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.
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1294878.html. You can comment here or there.
This comes after King(maker) Cake, King for a Day, After the Kinging, Stone: Aftermath, and Stone: After some Aftermath
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.::
This entry was originally posted at http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/1289780.html. You can comment here or there.