Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

As your very own proud Irish lass, I’m wishing you all a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day my lovelies!!!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To The Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To The Artist.

And just for fun, here’s some of my favorite Ireland themed posts from the Moonstonemaiden vault:

Daydreaming of Ireland…And Warmer Weather!

Brighid: The White Maiden

Sea Salt

The Adventures of Ratha James: Part Four

Advertisements

Prayers For Florida State

 

FSU

I woke to horrible news this morning my lovelies, a gunman opened fire in Strozier Library at FSU early this morning, injuring three students and frightening countless others. A gunman on my beloved campus, a place I hold so dearly in my heart and so prominently in my memories, a place I felt so safe once I allowed myself to. A gunman…it’s every student’s nightmare.

When I was at Florida State I remember hearing about other campuses coming under attack, there were quite a few and every time such news broke it sent fear galloping up my spine. I’d always pray that such a thing never happened at FSU, that we would be safe, but I worried. So I studied each room I was in to find multiple exits should something happen and I need to flee, it was a safety game, something I picked up from my father who was an former Marine and Police Officer. He taught me self defense and boxing, the art of intellectual arguing, and thankfully, how to find the exit and as many as I could for as many different situations I could think of. Call it paranoia, call it preparedness, but I played the Safety Game and thanked all that was holy that I never had to make use of those exits.

But still even after all of that, it just doesn’t make sense to me, it doesn’t seem right or real. Florida State was my home for my college years, I lived on campus in a dorm very near the library and practically lived in the library itself as an English Major and a History Minor. I always joked about setting up a cot in the Annex, and if you didn’t know where I was, just go search the top two floors of Strozier and you’d be sure to find me. I knew every nook and cranny of the upper levels, delving into books, studying quietly, or just wandering around. I met friends in the lobby, wrote papers, learned that my favorite coffee is a Iced Café Mocha with real milk from the Starbucks in the first floor, flirted, stressed, laughed, ate, and experienced so much life there in that beautiful library. It was the center of my beautiful home.

FSU

It’s been years now but FSU is still my home in my heart and it terrifies me that this has happened to a place I love so very much, to people trying to better their lives as they search for themselves and their place in the world. I feel so violated…so angry, and so very very scared. My home has come under attack and I wonder if it will ever be the same, if those students, both injured and unharmed, will ever be the same. How many of them will have nightmares about this for the next few days, months, or years? How many of them will be too afraid to go out and have fun exploring our campus? How many of them will think of the library with terror instead of the love I felt for it? The security for FSU is already amazing, we are one of the safest schools and that’s one of the reasons I chose FSU over UF when my acceptance letters arrived. But what new measures will be put into place now? How will we ensure this never happens again but still allow for the openness of our grounds? I don’t know. How can we fix this…can it ever truly be fixed? I just don’t know.

But what I do know is this: my heart goes out to my fellow Seminoles, I send you all my love and my prayers. I know how strong you are and I know you will ensure that life goes on at Florida State. You will not let fear take our home away from you. So be strong my Noles, hold your heads up with pride and know that YOU are amazing people and the world loves you and we are here for you. But above all: be safe my FSU lovelies and remember: WE ARE THE GARNET AND GOLD NATION!!!

 

I’m Going On An Adventure!

…Or rather I went on an adventure but either way there’s adventure afoot my lovelies! This past weekend my bestie and I had a Bestie Weekend (a clever and original title of course, lol) and we spent our time racing from one place to the other, having fun, meeting new and old friends, eating out,  and generally ignoring real life for a day or two which is always lovely. I think I took literally hundreds of pictures — refreshing my collection for future weekly photo challenges — and I figured I’d go ahead and post a few now just because I feel like it 😀

So…we began our whirlwind wonderings of St. Augustine at the beach, because I mean where else would you go when you’re waiting for a taco party to begin?!

WP_20141024_008

WP_20141024_028

And then skipping forward a few days we hit Downtown for some awesome Barbeque Chicken pizza at Al’s:

WP_20141026_012

10736003_10202599484774081_607518442_n

Before spending a few hours meandering aimlessly down winding St. George Street and the sprawling green of the Fort!

10744498_10202599483654053_154086014_n

WP_20141026_028

WP_20141026_042

WP_20141026_040

WP_20141026_069

WP_20141026_059

WP_20141026_131

WP_20141026_121

WP_20141026_100

And finally:

The British are coming, the British are coming!!!

10542914_10202599483374046_912786282_n

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Four

Image From Google.

Image From Google.

The Adventures of Ratha James Part Four

The crew of the Raven’s Wing was completely comprised of women; no man was allowed to set foot aboard her, not even to keep her from sinking. Most of the women were runaways, orphans, poor, but some were ladies of English society who had given up their fine titles and jewels because of abuse or mistreatment at the hands of their fathers, husbands, brothers or others. All those who boarded the Raven’s Wing, boarded as equals; there was no discrimination of rank allowed other than that of Ratha’s officers. Traveling home was a cause of joy but it was also dangerous, should the women fall foul of their old tormentors or the crown. “Be safe, all of you. Should you need me or become separated and cannot return, give the signal and I will come.” The women nodded solemnly at her, they knew she would find them, return any one of them that was stolen from her. It had happened before, they all prayed it never happened again. “The rest of you, let’s move. St. Clare, if you would be so kind to lead the way.”

 

Amalee had only been in this chamber once but still, everything was as she remembered it: the massive, white bed, the cream colored desk and chair, the scarlet drapes, framing the view of the sea, of the ship that was now hers. It had not been hers the last time she was in this chamber, not yet anyway. It had been night then, pitch black outside, with no moon to shine down on the two runaways as they raced to their friend to beg her to join them, to leave this awful place. They had run to her for help, they had run for their lives and now six years later Ratha was back inside the chamber that St. Clare had led her to that night. She wondered if Maddie was feeling the same in her chambers next door, did she feel this confliction of joy and sadness, of hope and hopelessness, of love and fear.

They were eighteen when their fathers sent them to England to be wed. It was a heady journey across the channel, filled with anxious joy and nervous excitement. When finally, they arrived the three dressed in their finest and fixed one another’s hair as best as they could before stepping onto the dock where their future husbands waited. They had known Eric St. Clare their whole lives and had known since early childhood that he was intended for Joona. In their youth they had had even nick-named her St. Clare, a name Eric found amusing and when he met them on the dock, he embraced all three of them like sisters. But though he loved them, he had eyes only for Joona, who sparkled in a fine, pale lavender that accented her fiery red hair and softened her watchful green eyes.

Madeline’s intended was a southern gentleman who made his fortune in tea leaves, which he imported from India and China. Lord Robert Gamsley was a fair-haired grey-eyed man with an unsettling smile and a slick countenance. Maddie had dressed in her nicest blue silk and a halo had shown around her golden head as she stepped forward to greet the man who would give her his name but would take much more from her. He kissed her hand and drew her away with sweet promises of the years to come.

But it was Amalee’s husband who drew every female eye; he was breath-taking in a way that left women shaking. With his dark chestnut hair slicked back framing his strong, marble chiseled face, dark arrogant eyes and a cruel, perfect lip, Lord Derek Richards was a lion amid lambs. And what’s more, he knew it. Derek had shown like a godling in his austere blacks when Amalee approached, a hesitant smile twitching on her nervous lips. Instantly she knew he approved of her golden dress that highlighted the gold flecks in her eyes and hair and curved dangerously low over her high, full breasts. The cut of the dress had not been to Amalee’s taste but her new husband had commissioned the gown and so she tried to wear it proudly.

 

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Sea Salt

Hello my lovelies, since I wrote about the importance of fairy tales earlier this week, I figured I’d post what I have so far of a Selkie fairy tale that I’m writing. It’s rough and no where near completion, but I love the images in it anyway. I hope you like it!

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google.
All Rights Belong To Artist.

SEA SALT

Salt was everywhere; it swirled up from the deep, grey water beneath the boat and clung heavy to the mist that swayed to the hypnotic rhythm of the choppy sea. Coarse and pungent, it ate away at the aging metal that barely kept the craft afloat and roughened the skin and the hearts of the men who busied themselves around the deck. Abril Ansley had never seen so much salt and endless grey in her entire life. The ocean that stretched between the Orkney Islands and the long-awaited Ireland was a vast canvas of swirling grey and white, matching her melancholy perfectly. She sat quiet and ignored on the back deck of the small fishing vessel whose captain had reluctantly allowed her to travel with them, provided she stay out of the crew’s way and not cause any trouble amongst the men. Little to fear there.

The men aboard the Fey Daughter were good natured enough, friendly even after seeing that she would cause no trouble, but Abril was not in the mood to be surrounded by a group of gossipy, superstitious old men. She kept to herself, preferring to sit alone in her little spot, staring at the horizon and occasionally drifting a hand in the frozen water. The crew thought her odd, touched by the faeries, or so she had overheard once or twice, but she never corrected them. It hurt too much to think of explaining the truth; besides, they would laugh at her if they thought she was moping after some boy back in Orkney. He was just a boy, she reminded herself, a boy who lied. The truth, however sugar-coated, was still a bitter draft to swallow.

Icy wind whipped long strands of salt-encrusted hair into Abril’s damp face, smudging the tears she didn’t know had fallen down her stinging cheeks. Wiping a pale hand over her dark eyes, she cleared her throat and sat up straighter; there was no use looking back, not when Ireland loomed so close in her future. Beautiful, sacred Ireland, the home of her mother’s people; she was coming home to a place she had only ever dreamt of.

“Beggin’ your pardon Miss Abril, but we’ll be putting into port today; sometime round five I’d say, yeh might want to be gettin’ your things together.”

“Thank you Captain.”

Abril smiled up at the weather-beaten face of a rather handsome, albeit graying, man in his late forties. Gruff and tired, Captain Liam O’Conner loomed over her, tall, dark and solid; a man forged from the rigors of living a life on the sea. He had little time to waste worrying over a small thing of a lass, but something in her weary frame touched his heart. Perhaps it was her eyes, so open and brave, with the smoke of pain shifting beneath the surface. Someone had used her ill, he’d bet his cap on it but he would never ask; she didn’t seem like the talkative type and he wasn’t one to pry into business not his own.

He stood silent for a moment, expecting her to up and go below to pack what little she had brought but when she didn’t he sighed and bent down to cup her tender face with one large callused hand. “Buck-up chick, there’s no better place for healin’ that the soil of Erin, she’ll put yeh back to rights before yeh know it.”

Abril smiled wide and beautiful, easing into the mask of happiness that comforted those who were unnerved by her somber reserve. “I’m sure it will, thank you. I’ll go and pack now if you please.”

Liam stepped back to let the girl pass, not fooled by her beguiling smile for a moment but content to let her alone, “There’s a lass. Another two hours and we’ll be home.”

“Home.”

~~~~~

“Is your stuff ready for port? We’ll be docking within the next twenty minutes or so, depending on the tide.”

Abril nodded, shivering despite the added warmth of the extra sweater she’d thrown on before leaving her cabin for the last time. “Packed and ready.”

They stood in silence for a minute or two, each breathing in the tangy ocean air before Abril continued, “I think a week at sea is exactly what I needed. I wanted to thank you again Captain…for taking me along. I appreciate it more than you know…”

Liam shuffled, uncomfortable with the polite thanks, “Aye, that’s enough of that talk lass. For all that you’re a quiet thing, you’ve been good company for a group of salty old men. We’ll not be forgettin’ yeh. Now if this damnable fog would just life you’d be able to see the shore, but as that’s unlikely now I’d advise yeh goin’ and sitting in your spot and keepin’ a close eye on the water. The seals should be about here somewhere.”

A real smile lighted across Abril face like the sun glimmering upon the morning water, “Seals? Really?!”

“Aye, seals are protected in Ireland, sacred some calls ‘em but the little lechers are always tearing up my nets! But they’re always here and about this time of the year so you’re sure to see one sooner or later. Steady there Ronald! What are you two doing…?”

With the Captain’s attention occupied elsewhere Abril drifted down to the lower deck and peered over the edge of the boat expectantly. The water was close enough that she could easily dunk her arm under the surface up to her elbow, but there was no sign of any of the Captain’s seals. She sighed; I wish I could see one, just one. An idea suddenly gripped her as her mother’s favorite phrase echoed in the recesses of her mind: `you cannot receive without first giving’! Abril ripped the thin silver chain that lay warm around her neck and held it up to inspect. The single pink pearl that Jack had given her months before dangled precariously in the middle of the silver ropes. What could it hurt to try, she was Irish after all, maybe they would hear her? Spirits of the water please, I wish to see a seal. Take this gift as my payment to you, pressing the pearl to her lips one last time Abril flung the necklace as far away from the boat as she could manage. A small splashy plop was her only satisfaction, it landed somewhere out in the swirling mist; the bitter part of her mind wanted to watch it sink down into the inky blackness.

With a renewed fervor, Abril leaned again over the ledge; the wet wood bit into her soft hands, leaving behind tiny flecks of green wood buried into her palms. Minutes passed but still there was nothing but the continuous rippling of waves lapping against the hull; “Damn it.” Defeated, Abril plunked her head down on the warped wood and wrapped her arms out in front of her with her fingers splaying atop the water. Planting her legs firmly on the deck she moved to lie on her stomach across the ledge.

Autumn Leaves: You Can’t ‘Autumn Into Winter’

Hello my lovelies! Much to my delight the Daily Prompt today is Fall themed: Changing colors, dropping temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes: do these mainstays of Fall fill your heart with warmth — or with dread? And y’all know how much I love Autumn so I knew immediately I had the perfect post already written back when my blog was still new! I hope you enjoy walking down memory lane with me for a bit and I also hope you feel inspired to run out and get the biggest caramel apple you can find — you know, in honor of Autumn, not because they’re so freaking good and all 😉

Pumkpin Patch Photo Found On Facebook

Pumpkin Patch Photo Found On Facebook

I don’t know where I encountered the saying “Spring into Summer and Fall into Winter”, but it crossed my mind yesterday when I was pondering my next blog topic and I couldn’t help but smile knowing that we have now entered my favorite time of year: fall! (Or autumn, as I like to call it, but you can’t ‘Autumn into Winter’, so at least sayings wise I’m stuck with fall.) There isn’t much of an autumn where I live, but I enjoy it in theory as well as the one or two weeks of weather-appropriateness that I am given. There isn’t even a change of color here until winter hits and suddenly all the foliage that isn’t evergreen suddenly drops its leaves and turns a stark ugly brown for the next two to three months. The only visible autumn-related color change is in the stores; suddenly everything is a riot of pumpkin orange, butternut squash yellow, apple red, and chocolate-brown.  I love it! It probably helps that orange is one of my three favorite colors, but still, there is something so evocative in these warm, end of the year hues! It’s like nature’s last burst of bliss before the sleeping months begin, one last chance to show the world whatever beauty you possess before it forgets about you again. Autumn makes me think of home and family, of peanut-butter fudge and pecan-covered caramel apples, of walking downtown in the city I’ve lived in almost all of my life and of horse-drawn carriages, of the sudden burst of a still-warm breeze and the thrill of being cool for the first time in almost a year. Autumn is a time for remembering, for coming home and feeling safe.

(Oh, and if you know where that saying came from, let me know in the comments!)

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/autumn-leaves/

Remembering Scotland

The bestie and I went to an awesome Celtic festival yesterday (and met Captain Jack Sparrow, which I’ll post about tomorrow most likely!) and it made me think of this post! Happy Monday my lovelies 😀

moonstonemaiden

Hello my lovelies, I’m in the mood to reminisce and since I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I used to be a Scottish history reenactor when I was younger, (ages 8-14 I think) I thought I’d give you all a glimpse into that magical world where I spent my youth. The early exposure to history left me with a lasting love of times gone by and wonderful memories of that magical time in my life. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane, but more importantly I hope it inspires you to take a closer look at the living history that’s all around you! (Note: There won’t be any pictures other than the tartan below because I want you guys to imagine the beauty and magic for yourselves, but  here is a lovely Loreena McKennitt song to listen to while you read to help set the mood!)

Let’s see…

View original post 1,038 more words

A Wizard Is Never Late

Image From Facebook

Sometimes there is nothing more inspiring than spending a day in another’s world. As a writer, I appreciate the beauty of a well-crafted world and I always enjoy visiting the greats! The family and I are having an Extended Edition Lord Of The Rings day today (which we do often), so for the next 12-13 hours my home will be in Middle-Earth in the company of Gandalf, Aragorn, Arwen, Gimli, Merry, Pippin, Frodo, and Sam.
These are some of my favorite people to visit as they never fail to inspire and I always leave them filled with hope and the desire for grand adventures!
What about you my lovelies, do you enjoy the Lord of the Rings? Do you have a favorite character or sceen? What are your favorite worlds to visit? Let me know!