Once Upon a Time Moments: Season Four

Alright my lovelies, it’s time to delve back into one of my all-time favorite shows: Once Upon a Time!!! I’ve been trying to keep up with season five online (which is a bit of a nightmare really, I’m not used to dealing with commercials and weeklong breaks!) but I’m still reeling from all the shocks and surprises of season four and believe me, there were many! So let’s get to it!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Moonstonemaiden’s Favorite OUAT Season Four Moments:

1) When Snow lost her cool! – Or as I like to call it, the epic “Buy a flashlight!” moment, this is hands down the funniest moment in all of season four! It’s too much, really, just watch and see for yourselves:

2) When Hook had a cellphone – A 2oo year old pirate with a modern technical device…um yeah, let the hilarity ensue! The fact that Hook eventually broke down and revealed his complete cluelessness to Elsa had me laughing up a storm. But you know, kudos for trying Killian!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

3) When Elsa trusted Emma – Yay for this epic friendship! Emma seriously needs someone her age with powers that she can relate to and although I love her bestie-ship with Regina, it’s really Elsa who understands Emma’s fear concerning her magic. And when Elsa braves the danger and takes Emma’s hand I just adore her! Here’s hoping we get more of Arendelle royalty in upcoming seasons!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

4) The Spell of Shattered Sight – Not only was it gut-wrenching to see all my favorite couples and friends separate out of fear of harming those they loved most,  but it was also unexpectedly hilarious. I wasn’t sure whether to be teary with all the goodbyes (Hook/Emma and Robin/Regina anyone!) or to laugh my butt off when Snow and Charming started bickering over how to swaddle a baby and if the stroller was really under warranty! But perhaps the best bit was Snow and Regina’s all-out battle in the police station and their subsequent laugh-fest once the spell wore off and they realized what was happening!

5) When Emma Loved Ingrid -I thought the whole backstory of Emma and Ingrid was incredibly moving. It’s so nice to know that Emma had at least one loving family situation in her youth, and even though Ingrid was flawed, you could see the love between them. I think they would have made a wonderful family if things had turned out differently, and it makes me wonder how different their lives might have been.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

6) When Anna spoke her vows – I loved Anna in this show, she was just so outrageously adorable, but when she said her vows to Kristoff as they came closer and closer to drowning, I almost lost it. To see her actually lose hope was shocking and so very moving, and yes I am actually tearing up as I type this! If nothing else, this proved just how much she truly loved Kristoff — who, I must add, I ADORED in this show!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

7) When the Snow Queen sacrificed herself – Ingrid was one of those characters I didn’t care for a first and then ended up loving, so when she gave her life so that the town could live, it broke my heart! She just wanted the love of her family and forgiveness and really who doesn’t want these two things?! Between the music in the background and the little montage of her joining her sisters as children again, as though given a second chance, I was basically a weepy mess on the end of the couch.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

8) When Hook tried to warn Emma – For the love of all that is magical Rumple, WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH YOU?! Stealing Hook’s heart and using him to help with nefarious deeds is not cool! But when Hook grabbed Emma’s hand and tried to communicate via their love I just about melted!

9) When Belle banished Rumple – What the Hell Rumple?!!! Sorry, but basically this wasn’t the best season for Rumbelle lovers considering Rumple had a backwards slide into darkness, but when Belle forced him to the town-line and then OUT of Storybrooke, I FREAKED!!! What was happening?! Rumple had been doing so well and then wham, out of the blue his darker tendencies creep back out and now he’s gone?! AGHHHHHH!!!No one messes with my Rumbelle!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

10) When the heroes faced their inner-darkness – One thing I did enjoy (as painful as it was) was all the moments when the Heroes finally battled their own inner-evils. Belle was the first, revealing that she’d selfishly not helped Anna in time, then Charming and Snow revealed the horrible truth of what they did to ensure that Emma was born good. Emma mourned the loss of a long-ago friend she’d pushed aside, and even Regina (now firmly a hero in my book) flirted with the idea of returning to her dark ways. I think it’s important to show that these great icons faltered along the way, they aren’t just 100% good all the time. They make horrible, life-altering mistakes, but they do their best to pick themselves up and make the world a better place.

11) When Ursula sang – Considering Ursula is my favorite Disney Villain(ess) ever, I was ecstatic to see her brought to the show for more than that one episode in season three (when Regina pretended to be her). Ursula’s backstory is another example of the writers of the show playing around with the fairy tales origin stories and creating something new but yet recognizable! I love that Ursula was basically Ariel (or a pre-Ariel) and that she and Hook had a semi-sweet history together.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

You know… before Hook stole her singing voice (to get back at her human-hating and blackmailing dad) and pissed her the HELL off!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

12) When Zelena revealed herself – Marian’s not real!!! I’ve never been so happy to see the end of a OUAT character lol!I mean, not that I’m not sad that Zelena killed the real Marian and took her place and all, but as a Outlaw Queen fan, let me just say: thank goodness Zelena’s back! I was starting to freak out there that another one of my couples was going to be cruelly split apart, so as much as I wanted to kick Zelena’s butt for interfering , I was also so happy to see her and not Marian!

13) When Maleficent met her daughter – I was so happy to see Maleficent back this season in all her stylish glory, but witnessing her emotional journey to be reunited with her daughter (Emma’s pushed away friend) Lily (who was inadvertently lost after Snow and Charming cursed her with all of Emma’s darkness) was one of my favorite parts of this season. I love the two of them together, how Maleficent was the perfect person to love Lily, even despite her darkness, and I look forward to seeing more of them as Maleficent teaches her daughter all about being a “scary dragon bitch”.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

14) When Regina fought for happiness – Considering the devastation Regina can unleash when her happiness is taken from her (the entirety of seasons one and two anyone?), I was so thrilled to see her stand up and fight for her right to be happy. She doesn’t give up, or turn dark, or curse anyone, but finally takes matter into her own hands the right way! Go Regina!!!

15) The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – This was a cute throwback to one of Disney’s most well known films, and it was nice seeing it make it’s mark in Once Upon a Time’s history. And the sorcerer himself has me wondering…

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

16) When August returned – YES!!! How I’ve missed my favorite motorcycle riding puppet-man! There for a time I was rooting for him and Emma in season one, but now I think they are simply the best besties ever (other than my own bestie that is)! August is just so good for Emma, he’s pretty much perfect friend material and I love that their bond had Hook worried (although needlessly). But now that he’s returned he needs to stay put! But then, Pinocchio is not one to be tamed and tethered!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

17) When Disney was an Author – Not only did August deliver one of the best OUAT speeches ever, but he also revealed that Disney himself was an Author back in the day! How awesome is that?! Please excuse me as I sit here and SQUEE!!!

18) When Henry went into the book – It’s about time Henry got to have an adventure and be the hero! He demonstrated just how great he would be to have around in the Enchanted Forest and finally got to join his family inside a fairy tale book (albeit a dark one)!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

19) When Hook was a sweet coward – He may be the cutest, sweetest, most romantic, goat’s-milk drinking coward ever and I just adored him and his flirtatious interactions with Emma! When she was teaching him how to sword-fight I nearly swooned, but when he died to protect her and Henry I about lost it. I know it was all in an alternate universe, but watching Hook die was heart wrenching!

20) When Emma said “I love you” – Emma’s fear was palpable when she desperately searched for Killian after returning to Storybrooke, and their reunion one of their sweetest moments ever, but it was when she finally admitted that she loved him that had me keeling over from all the feels. It took three seasons and three alternate Hooks before she could say it, but she said it! No take backs!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

21) When Emma became the Dark One – Thanks to spoilers on Facebook (grrr) I knew this was coming, but watching it happen nearly ripped my heart out. But as sad as it was, I love that Emma did it to save Regina and that Regina can finally see just how much she means to Emma. And considering Emma’s darkness had been stripped away before birth, I think this will be an interesting thing for the Savior of Storybrooke to deal with. But oh, the heartache of her being ripped from her family and Hook!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

22) The progression of Captain Swan – In one word: perfection. The show really gave Hook and Emma the time to forge something real after that epic season three finale kiss and I couldn’t be more appreciative! It wasn’t all roses and sunshine for Captain Swan, but they push forward TOGETHER and I just LOVE them like crazy!!! From date nights:

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

To epic reunion hugs, they are simple the best!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

23) Henry and his ever-growing family – With two kickass  stepdad-figures like Hook and Robin Hood, and two powerful mothers like Regina and Emma, plus the epicness of his father Bae, grandparents including Snow White, Charming, Rumple, and Belle (she’s his step-grandmother and I totally count this!), a possible step-brother (little Roland), and a brand-new uncle (baby Neal), Henry is surrounded by a loving, complicated, all-encompassing family and I LOVE IT!!! He’s has gone from the little unloved boy (well, he felt unloved anyway) to a teenager surrounded by people who love him more than anything and it just makes my heart so happy! This is the dream people!!!

And there you have it my lovelies, my favorite moments from season four! What were your favorite moments, did I miss any on this list? Do you have a favorite OUAT couple or bestie-ship? Let me know!

And don’t forget to check out my favorite moments from season one, two and three!

Advertisements

The Water Maiden: A Realm of Light Short Story

The closest to restless spirits my Realm of Light  novels (Believe, Prophecy, Ashes, and others) get…

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Water Maiden

She had lurked in the rolling, pounding depths for nearly a thousand years, a presence under the undulating surface with no true form beyond a vague sense of being. Lolling and drifting, she spread like a drop of ink, but never left the waters surrounding the ruins of what had been a mighty castle, the home of the ancient gift-bearer kings. Her memory, still perfect after all this time, recalled those days when the iolite-laced walls were tall, unscarred, and whole and when torches blazed with life and light. She had been born here, in that time once upon a time and had spent her life among the people who had lived within the stone walls. She’d walked the derelict stone corridors, smelled the fresh sweetness of the night-blooming flowers in the gardens, sat on a throne in the great hall, and slept in a lonely tower. That tower with secret winding steps…

She had lived here, loved here, hated here, and died here.

And now she waited, as she had waited for a millennia. All but one had passed beyond her senses, vague as they were beneath the icy waters. When she first woke to this existence all those years ago, it was with no knowledge of what she waited for, merely the awareness that she must wait. It did not take long for understanding to come. At first she felt them almost unceasingly. For centuries the consciousness of what she’d set into motion filled her until the flood slowed into a trickle, then a slow, steady drip. Friends, enemies, strangers, she felt them all and knew she would continue here until all those alive when she last drew breath were gone from the Realm of Light. The passing centuries gave her time to think, to reflect, to know. Her new life was no punishment, but a chance to heal, not just her own Spirit but countless others. And so she waited as the waves washed her Spirit clean of hate. They broke over her, broke within her, shattering and reforming her with each new tide. There was pain but she welcomed it. Centuries more passed with endless tides until only one remained. Only one. Just one.

Until now.

He was here, on the beach beneath the ruins. She sensed it. She sensed him.

At last, she and the water breathed with a releasing sigh. A ripple stirred across the frothy surface as she drifted upwards, gathering into a solid form that coalesced in the breaking of a white-capped wave. Suddenly she was, again for the first time in an age.

He watched the crashing waves, watched the violet-blue water crash down upon itself and turn white. He saw the water gather and fall and the woman form from the sparkling droplets. The fire of her hair caught the scant sunlight and shone, as vibrant as he remembered. It framed her ivory face beckoningly, and for that moment he believed she could truly be a sea siren, a being born of the depths and wilds of the water. By all the Spirits she was just as achingly lovely as ever, so beautiful, pain lanced across his chest, leaving him breathless. Her full wine-colored lips pursed in thought and her golden eyes bore into him as only hers could, leaving him feeling foolishly young – a sensation he had neither felt nor remembered in nearly a lifetime.

For moments they did nothing but stare, lost in thoughts and memories at the sight of each other. Years, centuries, a lifetime faded until they were once again the two people from a story lost to time.

Unused to speech, she fought to remember how to form the words that she must. With slow deliberateness, she opened her lips and thrilled at her voice – a strange tinny thing she no longer recognized above the waves. “Hello little boy,” she said with only a hint of mockery. Kindness, familiarity, and a deep respect echoed in her words. He grinned nervously and ran an elegant hand through his short dark hair. There was still something within her, even now, that left him with that embarrassing sense of immaturity. No one but she had ever made him feel that way, and now nearly a thousand years later he slipped back into the awkwardness of youth.

She smiled seeing his sudden uncertainty and knew she was a bit naughty to tease him so. The boyish vampyre she had known was no longer, this man before her was a hero, a legend in his own right. Even she had heard whispers of his greatness on the depths of the darkness. She had seen the possibility of such a man shining in the boy’s eyes all those years ago and now felt a strange pride in knowing he had become the man she thought he could be.

“I knew it would be you,” her voice carried across the water effortlessly to where he stood on the shore. The air was still and cool against her exposed flesh, but she did not shiver in her thin silk gown. The surging water kept her warm, tugging and pulling at her waist before rising again to brush the underside of her breasts. The tide was slow, hypnotic. “I knew.”

He nodded, not bothering to ask how, there was no point. He had known she was here, not at first, but over the centuries he felt her, heard tales of a water maiden, and knew she waited.

“I’m sorry to have kept you,” he replied, not sorry to have lived his life but that hers had not been. That she had been kept from him for all this time, even after all they had suffered before those last dark days. The injustice of it flashed like a fire beneath his pale skin. Had they not suffered enough in life? Was this really…

“Yes,” she nodded peacefully, knowing well where his thoughts were. “This was necessary.”

A stubborn gleam filled his onyx eyes as his sensuous mouth turned downwards. “But…”

“Nothing. What’s done is done my friend, and for a greater purpose than we may ever understand.” Spoken aloud, the truth of it all reverberated deep in their bones. The last of whatever kept her tied to the sea faded, releasing her to take one small step towards land, towards the fallen castle, towards him. One step, then another, and another until breathless and invigorated she stood in the shallows with only wavelets lapping at her toes. She hesitated then, frightened now that freedom was so close. What if she had it wrong? What if it was taken from her now when she wanted it most?

The man who had been the greatest vampyre king noted her sudden fear and held out a strong hand for her. The foolish youth was gone, he was once again the man he had been for centuries now. The man who never forgot the suffering and strength of this woman he had so missed.

She took his hand with a determined grin, exhilarated at his strength as well as her own as she stepped onto the sandy shore, walking a few steps until she was sure she was free. Joy, elation, excitement, and a small taste of sadness at leaving her home nearly overwhelmed her, crashing over her head like a breaking wave. He squeezed her hand questioningly and realizing she held her breath, she let it go, opening her eyes. Her lips curled into an adventurous, triumphant smile that was mirrored on his own up-turned lips.

“Are you ready My Lady?” he asked, feeling now an insistent tug on the edge of his consciousness. It urged him onward, their time was almost at an end. He did not want to forget her, but perhaps oblivion would right the wrongs of all those years ago. Perhaps they would all do better, be happier, this time. He certainly hoped so, for their sake if no other.

She felt the same tug, the same hint that time was finally coming to an end on this life. What would the next one bring for them all, all the players in the game that was her old life? “Yes,” she said slowly, turning towards the sun. Whether it was rising or falling, she struck out to meet it and he fell into step beside her. “Yes, I’m ready.”

They walked in silence for a time, the tug growing more persistent with every step, until he spoke one last time. “Did you ever see him?”

“No,” she whispered, picturing his face as she remembered it, knowing this was the last time Elesain would remembered Fallon. Their story was finally over, no one would remember him again as she did now. No one would remember her. With a sigh, she met Treyuston’s gaze as they continued walking, hand in hand.

“But I will.”

*This is set in the same land as my first novel Believe and is a short companion story to a future novel I haven’t written yet. I don’t normally jump ahead to future books (usually, though I have done so a bit with Ashes), but this was playing continuously in my head and I wanted to get it down before it disappeared! Hopefully it’s not too confusing, though I know you have no idea who these people are or what happened to them. Suffice it to say the title of the novel this goes with is Wrath, and that should give you some insight 😀

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Fourteen

If you need a refresher course on the Ratha James series here on Moonstonemaiden, go ahead and click here to catch up on all the piratical adventures of this amazing woman and her steadfast friends!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Fourteen

“You told him what?” Ratha’s voice was low and dangerous as she growled through tightly clenched teeth, the muscles of her jaw tense and rigid as steel. Her fingers dug into the dark-stained wood of her chair like talons as fury flushed the sun-darkened skin beneath her emerald gown.

Joona met her friend’s ire unflinchingly, her mouth pursing into a long, thin line. Her green eyes narrowed, flickering with the heat of her own stubborn anger. “And just what else was I to tell him Amalee James? After he recognized you as a woman clothed as a man. An exquisite woman no less. It’s not as though I could pass you off as an ailing spinster aunt from Kerry! Your ship bears the name of my father’s, so family you must be and a cousin you are.” Joona’s tone grew sharper with every word. She would not be chastised in her own house for something out of her hands and Amalee needed to remember she was not the captain of St. Clare Manor. She held her friend’s fuming eye long enough for the lesson to sink in before allowing herself a small smile. “An eccentric cousin no doubt. Though no less loved for all your wearing of trousers.”

Amalee did not speak, but Joona felt the force of her anger diminish ever so slightly. It was enough for the moment. “He is joining us for dinner this evening, which is why a proper gown was needed. There is much he and Eric must discuss and as his ship has suffered so much damage, a fine dinner and a bevy of pretty faces is the least we can offer him.”

“Oh to be sure,” Ratha spat, accenting her displeasure with a sharp flick of her wrist. “Considering I am a husband-hunter after all.”

“Why else would you be here?” Joona challenged. “Use that mind of yours Captain please. I’ve no plans to sell you off to the highest bidder at the end of the evening, but as far as this man and his crew are concerned, you and Madeline are my cousins, and you are looking for good marriages. And as I highly doubt that this man will be pledging either of you his troth by evening’s end, all I require of you is a few hours of polite conversation and the lure of your own natural charm.”

“We need this man,” she said frankly, her features softening as she turned to look at her husband. “We need his ship. This isn’t what I wanted for your first night home. I have no wish to argue with either of you. I’ve missed you dreadfully. But this is as it must be. Just be the kind, engaging woman you are Amalee, just for tonight. He’s been at sea for months, just give him a pretty face to dream about and a smile or two. Please.”

“Of course Joona,” Madeline nodded, leaning forward to pat her friend’s hand reassuringly, her air contemplative but resolute. She shot Amalee a look of warning, plea, and reproach. “What you ask is easily done.”

Feeling a slight wave of shame lapping at her stomach, Ratha glowered at her two best friends — Eric as well for good measure — but kept any further grumblings to herself. She did not like surprises, not anymore, and for good reason.

But Joona was right, a story was needed and this was the simplest. So, she would stick to it, for the evening at least, and keep herself and her crew safe while these strangers encroached on St. Clare land. But she would watch this other captain, whoever he was, and if it was more than just a pretty face he was after, she would be happy to give him the sharp end of her blade for his troubles.

“Fine. Let’s not keep him waiting then,” Ratha said at last, reaching for her glass and downing the last of the port in one swift gulp. “My natural charm is unnaturally short-lived.”

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Thirteen

If you need a refresher course on the Ratha James series here on Moonstonemaiden, go ahead and click here to catch up on all the piratical adventures of this amazing woman and her steadfast friends!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Thirteen

The sun was setting in a blaze of citrine and ruby light into the churning cobalt sea beyond the massive diamond-paned windows when Ratha finally stepped into the glorious St. Clare library. Maddie, Joona, and an unusually weary-looking Eric sat near the warmth and light of a crackling fireplace on the far side of the room, soft conversation enveloping them with the love of longstanding friendship. Each looked up when the door opened, their words halting as Ratha strode towards them, a scowl tugging her lips downward and darkening her bright eyes. Eric St. Clare rose from his seat and moved to meet her with a warm smile, pulling her to him in a brotherly hug that squeezed what little breath she had left from her lungs. Even after all this time, he worried for her safety and to see her and Madeline alive again and home brought him such fierce joy. When he finally released her it was only to lead her to an overlarge chair beside Maddie and to fetch her a glass of port.

Doing her best not to wheeze, Ratha sank into the chair with relief, breathing in as deeply as she could manage in her borrowed gown. She accepted the port with a small smile and took a deep drink, letting the liquid burn it’s way down her throat to her belly, warming her from the inside out. In brilliant contrast to the jagged fire inside her, the crystal goblet was cool and perfectly smooth in her rough, weathered hands. She bit back a rye smile at the sight of her scarred hands holding something so perfect and fragile before setting the goblet down with a decisive clink. Looking back at those before her, she leveled a pointed glare at the red-haired woman sitting before her, her brows arching questioningly.

“Well Joona St. Clare,” she huffed, gesturing down to the emerald gown in disgust. “Why am I in this monstrosity?”

“I think you look lovely Amalee,” Maddie offered with a grin, running an appreciative hand over her own rose pink gown with unabashed pleasure. The sea had yet to take Madeline’s enjoyment of beautiful things and Ratha doubted it ever could. Madeline was born to see beauty in a cruel, sparkling world.

“That’s not the point,” Ratha said with a wave of her hand and a ghost of a smile at her friend’s deserved happiness. But her eyes never left Joona’s. Some new secret lurked beneath their sharp green surface, churning in the depths where love and intellect normally resided. Ratha’s heart beat a little faster. “What is it Joona, what haven’t you told us?”

“There’s a merchant ship moored in our shipyard,” Joona admitted, her mouth a slight grimace. “You’ll have seen it no doubt as you came into port.”

“Yes,” Amalee nodded, thinking back to the ship bearing the garish orange and silver flags with entwined songbirds that had given her pause before she had arrived. A matching grimace turned her mouth downward as well, settling into port with strange ships and crews so close by was never something she enjoyed, but the bulk of the St. Clare’s fortune was made on the seas and ships came and went through their shipyard far too often for it to frighten her away. The vessels never stayed long, and the crews were kept bust unloading a foreign cargo or loading a new one bound for some exotic destination before settling sail on the next earliest tide. Her women had strict orders to stay well clear of the St. Clare shipyard and the men who worked them and the sailors who passed through them. Their names and faces did not need to become known. But her women knew this well and St. Clare had never before felt the need to draw her aside just to mention a ship. Her stomach tightened into a thick fist. “Is it dangerous?”

“No,” Joona said slowly. “But there was a storm at sea some weeks ago and the vessel was badly damaged, the hull breached and a mast snapped in two. The repairs will take some days and in that time the crew will work and sleep aboard their own ship. They will not be a danger to you and yours so long as your women remain out of their way and in their sight. But unfortunately…”

“But unfortunately what?” Ratha demanded, her heart beating so fiercely that sure it would explode out of the confines of her blasted gown at any moment.

“Unfortunately, you have already been noticed. Or rather your beauty has. It seems the Captain was quite intrigued with a certain person, and asked Eric just who the exquisite brunette was wearing men’s trousers and boots as though she was born in them.”

Ratha’s face paled. How on earth did a sailor recognize her as a woman from such a distance, especially with her long hair — her most telling feature — tied up and out of her face?! “What did you tell them?”

Joona held her friend’s gaze, the very air tense with unspoken possibilities before her lips curved upward. “That you were my cousin of course. Fresh from Ireland with a few companions and on the hunt for an English husband to rival my own.”

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Twelve

If you need a refresher course on the Ratha James series here on Moonstonemaiden, go ahead and click here to catch up on all the piratical adventures of this amazing woman and her steadfast friends!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Twelve

A sudden deafening knock shattered Ratha’s morbid recollections and she found herself standing before a large gilt-framed looking-glass, one hand raised to touch the burnished skin beneath her eyes. For a moment the ghost of a lingering bruise darkened her sun-kissed skin before fading back into haunted memory. She shuddered, her stomach roiling sickeningly as the briefest flicker of remembered terror touched her very soul. Ratha purposefully turned away from the mirror, squelching the fear before it took root. It was this place, the past would give her no peace here. She would never feel safe on English soil, no matter how many years since her escape. Perhaps it was a mistake to come back after all.

“Amalee Ratha James!” Madeline called irately from the other side of the bedroom door. “I know you can hear me in there! St. Clare needs to speak with us before dinner so hurry and finish dressing and meet us in the library. Joona’s laid out something for you to wear on the chair near the fire, which I’d wager you haven’t even noticed,” Maddie huffed the last to herself, but Amalee heard her through the door clear enough. “If you need help with the lacing, there’s maid here in the hall.”

Lacing? Ratha flinched, her horror renewing as she turned to investigate the clothes Maddie had rightfully guessed she had not yet noticed, preoccupied as she was with the unnerving eclipse of past and present she always felt in this house. She strode towards the crackling fireplace with misapprehension heavy in her heart before stumbling to a halt with a insuppressibly hiss of displeasure. A sturdy wooden chair stood at the ready, swathed in a vision of frothy, endless emerald silk — the color so deep and vivid the gown nearly burned with a life all its own. Like drops of glistening dew, emeralds and fiery diamonds rained over the bodice and the delicate, gossamer lace net covering the full, wide skirts. The gems sparkled wildly in the dancing firelight, but the corners of Ratha’s mouth turned down in a hearty scowl.

What in the blazing Hell was St. Clare up to?!

*****

Grumbling more than a baited bear, Ratha precariously descended the wide, marble staircase in her borrowed finery, on route to the magnificent St. Clare library. With its dark paneled elegance and diamond-paned floor to ceiling windows overlooking the ever-surging sea below, the library was by far her favorite room in this opulent home. Yet even now, the thought of all those lovely leader-bound books could not rid her of the irritation of drowning in St. Clare’s accursed gown. She pulled at the confines of the gem-encrusted bodice as gently but forcibly as she could as she fought to straighten her shoulders and get in a decent breath of air. The damn gown was pinching her mercilessly and she nearly tripped over the billowing yards of skirts. Again. She yearned desperately for the simple freedom of her fitted leather trousers and the bliss of airy linen shirts. With a misstep of her borrowed heeled shoes, she toppled sideways, righting herself at the last moment, swearing eloquently like the sailor she truly was. And boots. She desperately missed her boots.

After six years at sea, Ratha had lost all appreciation for and what little understanding she had of, the beautiful gowns worn by her sex. With her father’s wealth in relative tatters her whole childhood, she’d grown up in plain, simple gowns and serviceable boots, and after she left home for England, Derek certainly never liked her so fully clothed as all this… So she had been quite happy to trade dresses for trousers and confinement for freedom and in the years since, the occasions she’s had since to wear such frippery were few and each heartily despised.

But it was more than the mere fact that clothing was uncomfortable, it was dangerous. The gown was heavy and far too long should she need to run, and she could barely breathe in such a tight bodice — though she congratulated herself on her own firm refusal to wear the whale-bone corset Joona provided — and more importantly, there was no place to conceal her weapons in a garment such as this. She felt the loss of her array of array of hidden blades usually latched to wrist, thigh, ankle, and stomach, as well as the elegant promise of her rapier on her hips, and the blunt surety of the pair of pistols strapped to her belt. Were it not Joona’s own gown, Ratha would have cut slits into the skirts and other strategic places to hide her smaller weapons before emerging from her room, but as the dress belonged to her friend, she resisted the temptation. In the end, Ratha was forced to comfort herself with the knowledge that she was not completely defenseless. The smallest of her knives rested securely between her breasts and the pins securing her dark chestnut hair were sharp enough to inflict damage, were she inclined to, as well as the small pistol strapped to her right calf, and the longer sheathed knife on her left.

Perhaps it was foolish to worry so in the home of her trusted friends, but Ratha James was an outlaw in this land, and Amalee Richards an escaped prisoner. Should she be taken as either it would surely mean her death. These gowns were lush, extravagant creations of exquisite, otherworldly beautiful art, but there was no damned, beautiful dress worth her life.

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Eleven

If you need a refresher course on the Ratha James series here on Moonstonemaiden, go ahead and click here to catch up on all the piratical adventures of this amazing woman and her steadfast friends!

Image From Google.

Image From Google. All Right’s Belong To Artist.

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Eleven

Suddenly Amalee was exhausted. The turmoil, fear, and abuse of the past months bore down on her all at once and she sunk leadenly into the plush cobalt armchair, closing her heavy, dark eyes.

“We had heard about Maddie,” Joona admitted hesitantly after a few silent minutes. The shock of the evening left her voice thready and strained and even with the light of a cheery fire haloing her, there were dark circles beneath St. Clare’s eyes that had not there a few hours before. “Months ago. You and I knew, after the horror of that sickness, that her chances of bearing children were slim, and it has long been my fear that it indeed left her barren. But I so hoped…she’s so healthy now, I thought maybe in time, her body would continue to heal. No one deserves a child more than she, and she’s always wanted a babe so desperately…” Joona stopped, unable to say more until the clenching sob in her constricting throat subsided. “I knew she would take the news badly so I wrote to her, inviting her to stay awhile here with us. I thought the sight and smell of the sea might restore her. Maddie so loves the sea.”

“Eric and I even called on their home in London when the letters went unanswered but Robert dismissed us at the door without so much as inviting us in to speak of her. He said Maddie was indisposed, desolate, and wished to be left to herself for a time. He looked so wretched, I felt so poorly for them. I wanted to see her, but how could I know he was keeping her from us? What if, in her grief, she truly did not wish to see me? To intrude at such a time, I feared losing her, especially after you… I thought…”

“You thought I abandoned you,” Amalee breathed, her voice barely a whisper. There was so much pain, and she was so weary, but she mustn’t sleep, not yet. It was not safe.

“I’m so sorry, please forgive me! Joona cried, unable to hold back her tears any longer. After fearing for her friends for months and now seeing her fears confirmed she was close to breaking. “I should have known that you would…that you would never…But I missed you and you never wrote me and I did not know what to think! I worried of course, but also feared you no longer desired my friendship now that we were here on English soil, where you have risen so high. But this,” she said, touching the blackish bruise on Amalee’s cheek with soft, careful fingers. “I could never have imagined this.”

“Of course not you foolish thing, there was no way for you to know,” Amalee reminded her weeping friend affectionately, but sternly. “This is not your fault Joona. Nor is it Eric’s. I saw the blame in his eyes before and I see it in yours now and I forbid it. You found your happiness together as man and wife and I refuse to let anyone cause you to regret it.”

“We were going to find you,” Joona confessed, dropping her face into her slender hands and taking a shuddering breath. “After a few months with no word, we knew something must be done. Eric was gong to leave right away but I…” she laid a land on her swollen stomach as a new wave of silent tears slipped down her cheeks. “I discovered I was with child. For months I was horridly sick and I was so frightened, for the baby, for myself. I wanted Eric with me and he stayed. But now, I wish I had left him go. He would have found you. He would have never given up.”

Amalee took her friend’s hand, feeling the chill of the pale skin, and squeezed it tightly. “You needed him here Joona. Eric’s place is here.”

“But if I had been as brave as you,” Joona whispered, her sharp green eyes taking in every bruise, both faded and fresh, on her friend’s beautiful face. “Perhaps he’d have found you before…”

Amalee shook her heavy head minutely, bringing Joona’s words to a halt. “He hit me the first day we stepped off the ship,” she said quietly, her voice touched with sadness, regret, and anger at the madness of it all, at being delivered into the hands of a monster. “Before the carriage left the dock. You couldn’t have stopped him Joona. No one could have.”

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Nine

*St. Clare Manor* Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artists.

*St. Clare Manor*
Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artists.

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Nine

The room fell silent for a moment as each woman struggled with her own heartbreak. Seeing Joona’s swollen stomach unleashed a torrent of fresh hatred in Amalee’s heart for the monster she had wed. If not for Derek’s brutal lusts, she too would be carrying her first child by now. He had stolen much from her in the months since their wedding, but sitting in this quiet from with her friends so near, Amalee felt the depth of the injustice anew. But as powerful as her hate was, it was tinged with a strange sort of relief as well. With no child, there was nothing linking her to Derek but a name, unpleasant perhaps but remedied easily enough with a lie. Perhaps it was best the only thing she took from her marriage was herself. Thinking back to the wrenching fear and perils of just the last few days of flight, she blanched whiter than snow. Escaping with a child, even one unborn would have been nearly impossible, she may not have made it — though she would have perished trying, to save the child if not herself.

With a war of emotions blazing across her face, she looked up to find Joona’s sharp green gaze upon her, taking in her tattered, dirt-streaked appearance with a calm that only St. Clare possessed among them. Amalee flushed a heated scarlet to be seen in such a disgraceful manner in her friend’s elegant home, but there was no judgment in Joona’s gaze, only love, and a readiness to do what must be done. It was when her eyes moved to Maddie that Amalee saw them widen with suppressed tears.

Oh Maddie…my poor Maddie.

Cursing herself as a fool for thinking only of her own woes, she turned and felt her heart splinter at the sight of such longing and grief as was etched into Maddie’s lovely face.  If ever a woman deserved a child to love and raise in happiness, it was Madeline…fate had been cruel indeed to take this possibility from her.

As one, Amalee and Joona silently rose and went and knelt by their friend, wrapping her into a tight embrace that spoke of more love than words could ever hope to.  For several long minutes the three women held one another safe, Joona with the fierceness of a fledgling mother, Madeline with the tender hope of an innocent soul, and Amalee with the raw determination of a survivor.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Are you new to the Ratha James story or just feel like you need a refresher to catch back up, just click here and read to your heart’s content my lovelies 😀

The Water Maiden

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google.
All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Water Maiden

She had lurked in the rolling, pounding depths for nearly a thousand years, a presence under the undulating surface with no true form beyond a vague sense of being. Lolling and drifting, she spread like a drop of ink, but never left the waters surrounding the ruins of what had been a mighty castle, the home of the ancient gift-bearer kings. Her memory, still perfect after all this time, recalled those days when the iolite-laced walls were tall, unscarred, and whole and when torches blazed with life and light. She had been born here, in that time once upon a time and had spent her life among the people who had lived within the stone walls. She’d walked the derelict stone corridors, smelled the fresh sweetness of the night-blooming flowers in the gardens, sat on a throne in the great hall, and slept in a lonely tower. That tower with secret winding steps…

She had lived here, loved here, hated here, and died here.

And now she waited, as she had waited for a millennia. All but one had passed beyond her senses, vague as they were beneath the icy waters. When she first woke to this existence all those years ago, it was with no knowledge of what she waited for, merely the awareness that she must wait. It did not take long for understanding to come. At first she felt them almost unceasingly. For centuries the consciousness of what she’d set into motion filled her until the flood slowed into a trickle, then a slow, steady drip. Friends, enemies, strangers, she felt them all and knew she would continue here until all those alive when she last drew breath were gone from the Realm of Light. The passing centuries gave her time to think, to reflect, to know. Her new life was no punishment, but a chance to heal, not just her own Spirit but countless others. And so she waited as the waves washed her Spirit clean of hate. They broke over her, broke within her, shattering and reforming her with each new tide. There was pain but she welcomed it. Centuries more passed with endless tides until only one remained. Only one. Just one.

Until now.

He was here, on the beach beneath the ruins. She sensed it. She sensed him.

At last, she and the water breathed with a releasing sigh. A ripple stirred across the frothy surface as she drifted upwards, gathering into a solid form that coalesced in the breaking of a white-capped wave. Suddenly she was, again for the first time in an age.

He watched the crashing waves, watched the violet-blue water crash down upon itself and turn white. He saw the water gather and fall and the woman form from the sparkling droplets. The fire of her hair caught the scant sunlight and shone, as vibrant as he remembered. It framed her ivory face beckoningly, and for that moment he believed she could truly be a sea siren, a being born of the depths and wilds of the water. By all the Spirits she was just as achingly lovely as ever, so beautiful, pain lanced across his chest, leaving him breathless. Her full wine-colored lips pursed in thought and her golden eyes bore into him as only hers could, leaving him feeling foolishly young – a sensation he had neither felt nor remembered in nearly a lifetime.

For moments they did nothing but stare, lost in thoughts and memories at the sight of each other. Years, centuries, a lifetime faded until they were once again the two people from a story lost to time.

Unused to speech, she fought to remember how to form the words that she must. With slow deliberateness, she opened her lips and thrilled at her voice – a strange tinny thing she no longer recognized above the waves. “Hello little boy,” she said with only a hint of mockery. Kindness, familiarity, and a deep respect echoed in her words. He grinned nervously and ran an elegant hand through his short dark hair. There was still something within her, even now, that left him with that embarrassing sense of immaturity. No one but she had ever made him feel that way, and now nearly a thousand years later he slipped back into the awkwardness of youth.

She smiled seeing his sudden uncertainty and knew she was a bit naughty to tease him so. The boyish vampyre she had known was no longer, this man before her was a hero, a legend in his own right. Even she had heard whispers of his greatness on the depths of the darkness. She had seen the possibility of such a man shining in the boy’s eyes all those years ago and now felt a strange pride in knowing he had become the man she thought he could be.

“I knew it would be you,” her voice carried across the water effortlessly to where he stood on the shore. The air was still and cool against her exposed flesh, but she did not shiver in her thin silk gown. The surging water kept her warm, tugging and pulling at her waist before rising again to brush the underside of her breasts. The tide was slow, hypnotic. “I knew.”

He nodded, not bothering to ask how, there was no point. He had known she was here, not at first, but over the centuries he felt her, heard tales of a water maiden, and knew she waited.

“I’m sorry to have kept you,” he replied, not sorry to have lived his life but that hers had not been. That she had been kept from him for all this time, even after all they had suffered before those last dark days. The injustice of it flashed like a fire beneath his pale skin. Had they not suffered enough in life? Was this really…

“Yes,” she nodded peacefully, knowing well where his thoughts were. “This was necessary.”

A stubborn gleam filled his onyx eyes as his sensuous mouth turned downwards. “But…”

“Nothing. What’s done is done my friend, and for a greater purpose than we may ever understand.” Spoken aloud, the truth of it all reverberated deep in their bones. The last of whatever kept her tied to the sea faded, releasing her to take one small step towards land, towards the fallen castle, towards him. One step, then another, and another until breathless and invigorated she stood in the shallows with only wavelets lapping at her toes. She hesitated then, frightened now that freedom was so close. What if she had it wrong? What if it was taken from her now when she wanted it most?

The man who had been the greatest vampyre king noted her sudden fear and held out a strong hand for her. The foolish youth was gone, he was once again the man he had been for centuries now. The man who never forgot the suffering and strength of this woman he had so missed.

She took his hand with a determined grin, exhilarated at his strength as well as her own as she stepped onto the sandy shore, walking a few steps until she was sure she was free. Joy, elation, excitement, and a small taste of sadness at leaving her home nearly overwhelmed her, crashing over her head like a breaking wave. He squeezed her hand questioningly and realizing she held her breath, she let it go, opening her eyes. Her lips curled into an adventurous, triumphant smile that was mirrored on his own up-turned lips.

“Are you ready My Lady?” he asked, feeling now an insistent tug on the edge of his consciousness. It urged him onward, their time was almost at an end. He did not want to forget her, but perhaps oblivion would right the wrongs of all those years ago. Perhaps they would all do better, be happier, this time. He certainly hoped so, for their sake if no other.

She felt the same tug, the same hint that time was finally coming to an end on this life. What would the next one bring for them all, all the players in the game that was her old life? “Yes,” she said slowly, turning towards the sun. Whether it was rising or falling, she struck out to meet it and he fell into step beside her. “Yes, I’m ready.”

They walked in silence for a time, the tug growing more persistent with every step, until he spoke one last time. “Did you ever see him?”

“No,” she whispered, picturing his face as she remembered it, knowing this was the last time Elesain would remembered Fallon. Their story was finally over, no one would remember him again as she did now. No one would remember her. With a sigh, Elesain met Treyuston’s gaze as they continued walking, hand in hand.

“But I will.”

 

*This is set in the same land as my first novel Believe and is a short companion story to a future novel I haven’t written yet. I don’t normally jump ahead to future books (usually, though I have done so a bit with Ashes), but this was playing continuously in my head and I wanted to get it down before it disappeared! Hopefully it’s not too confusing, though I know you have no idea who these people are or what happened to them. Suffice it to say the title of the novel this goes with is Wrath, and that should give you some insight 😀

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Eight

Image From Google.

Image From Google.

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Eight

It was that day that two of the Irish brides escaped their husbands and fled to the only place they could think of: St. Clare manor. Each had been there a handful of times in their youth and knew that it was close to the sea, some miles from London. Convinced that their third friend must have been treated as badly as they, Maddie and Amalee forced themselves to keep going when their tired bodies wanted to stop, to rest. It took two days to reach the manor, and each girl knew the horror that could be inflicted in just two days, and prayed that they were not too late. It was to their great surprise when, in the pitch blackness they found their way to the manor door and discovered that the lady of the house was in and doing well. Being filthy and strangers, the friends were left to wait outside until Joona came to the door to inspect the two travelers who pleaded an audience with her.

Upon discovering her friends, Joona threw wide the door and pulled them into a private sitting room where Amalee and Madeline rushed to tell their stories and to plead for their friend to join them in escaping their English husbands. It was not until Amalee had finished outlining her idea of stealing inside a ship dressed as men that she noticed her friend’s swelling stomach and the smooth paleness of Joona’s face, unmarred by bruises or hidden beneath powder. She reached a hesitant hand out to settle atop the firm swell and was surprised to feel the strong kick of a baby settling inside its mother.

“You have done what we could not,” she whispered reverently, thinking that she too should be this swollen and would be if not for Derek’s temper.

 

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Seven

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Seven

When a breathless, ragged Amalee had arrived on Maddie’s doorstep she was nearly dismissed without seeing her friend, but luckily Madeline had heard her friend’s voice and had flung herself down the staircase to the foyer. The doorman was dismissed and both women stared at each other silently, taking in the other’s bruised face and wasted form. Neither girl moved, far too close to tears to risk movement. Amalee was the first to recover. “We have to leave.”

Embarrassment clouded Madeline’s beautiful face, “I am not fit to leave this house, I am disgraced beyond forgiveness or repair.” Her voice broke with tears and Amalee strode to her friend and threw her stinging arms around Maddie’s shoulders.

“No,” she whispered fiercely. “It is not us, but them. We have to leave Maddie, now before we are discovered. We’ll find St. Clare and run, they’ll never find us! We’ll go back to Ireland, or the America’s, somewhere where they can’t find us amid the hordes.”

“I’m watched constantly Amalee. I am not to leave without my lord’s permission and he is gone to call upon a friend but I expect them back in an hour at the most. An hour, that’s not long at all. We could never be clear of him in an hour. If I left now, one of the servants would alert him within minutes.”

“Then we’ll only have minutes. Would you rather stay here and be battered or at least try. You have to try Maddie, I can’t do this without you, I could never leave you here. Please, come with me, please, let us leave.”

Madeline stared at her friend’s battered face, whatever horrors, she had faced paled in comparison to Amalee’s and yet Amalee still chose to fight back. How could she let her friend down when her own spirit longed to be free of the pain that had been inflicted upon her by her husband? “Go now,” she said severely, as if dismissing someone beneath her station. Amalee frowned but Maddie lowered her voice so that only her friend could hear, “I will meet you at the corner in five minutes but first I have to do something.”

“You promise?” Amalee urged.

“I promise.”