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Major Story Arcs

In Life

Aunt Ettie's eyes
Aunt Ettie's eyes

Ettie is the older sister to Martin Bernbaum. She is known for her sky-blue eyes, the color of which are shared by Martin's daughter, Sunflower, and Sunflower's son, Moonshadow. There is a streak of madness in the family and it is believed that anyone with those eyes has the madness.

Ettie, also known as Mad Aunt Ettie by Moonshadow, certainly fulfills the family prophecy. Often playing a flute like the pipes of Pan on a trail of divine madness, she leaves her husband and three children (having already put them through a discomfiting home life) to join a French traveling theater group. Her husband divorces her. Within two years she ends up living alone in a pile of rubbish and shortly dies in an insane asylum in Paris. She is found with her flute in her mouth.

Her brother and family all see her life as a cautionary tale to avoid the trap of Romanticism and hedonism.

As a Spirit

Ettie often appears in the young Sunflower's dreams as a kind of banshee, screaming for the return of her eyes, and Moon sometimes sees her as well. It is unknown whether Ettie is actually a ghost, or just a vision or hallucination in the minds of her beholders. Ettie's insanity became an extra warning to both Sunflower and Moon to watch out for their melodramatic leanings. Unlike Sunflower and Moon, however, who were merely Romantics who tended to give in to their passions, Aunt Ettie was actually full-on bonkers.

Both Sunflower and Moonshadow inherit her flute in turn, seeing it as almost magical, and use it as an outlet for their meandering minds and feelings.

Taking a hallucinatory trip with Moonshadow
Taking a hallucinatory trip with Moonshadow

She first appears to Moon when he is bereft of friends and on the run. She posits that it's better to be insane, and ignore reality, than to dream of a better life. He eventually rejects her advice.

She appears again when he is stuck in Pobidiah Unkshuss's jail, having seemingly bottomed out, along with the ghosts of Sunflower and Moonshadow the Elder. Once again she urges him to see the world as an insane asylum, and to embrace madness, but Moon rejects her and the other two spirits, finally coming to stand on his own.

Moon continues to use her flute, however, up through his Awakening.

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