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.

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Harry Potter MASH

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Google. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Alright my lovelies, time for a blast from the past with one of my all-time favorite games…MASH! That’s right, the future-predicting phenomenon that has foretold the numerous men I am going to marry…you know, one day (though as of now I have currently married none of them, but I live for hope lol), as well as the awesome exotic locales I’m going to call home (again, nothing to show for all this oracular knowledge but I have faith) and pretty much everything in-between. I don’t know if you guys played this in school but this was the one that has stuck with me over the years and I have taught it to not only my younger brother but pretty much every younger cousin of mine as well as any friend I’ve ever had. So I figure it’s time that I bring that wonderful, suspenseful, and miraculous game to you my lovelies! Now the rules may vary depending on who you’re with, their playing preferences, and just how evil and vindictive they want to be that day, but I’m going to keep it simple. Each category gets three slots to be filled in with answers of your choice and we’ll work from there.

Now as great as this game is normally, my brother and I amped it up a notch (due to sheer boredom) and now we’ve created our own themed versions, including The Lord of the Rings/Hobbit, The Tudors, Star Wars, X-Men, Disney, Pretty Much Anything We Want At The Moment, and of course, Harry Potter! And tonight my lovelies, I’m thinking what better than the great Mr. Potter himself?! So let’s begin shall we…

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Right off the bat (though you’ll see it lower on the list here, but I’m changing a few things to make it easier for us to play), choose Up or Down and pick a number between 1 and 20. That number is your Tally number. Now I choose Up and my Tally is 18, so I’m going to start from the lowest option and count up, repeating the tiers until I hit 18. Whatever option I’m on when I hit 18, that’s my future! (These are just my answers so make sure you right down your own as we go along!)

Harry Potter MASH

M = Malfoy Manor

A = Azkaban

S = Shrieking Shack

H = Hogwarts

Future Spouse:

  1. Sirius
  2. Harry
  3. Lupin

Wizarding Profession:

  1. Daily Prophet Journalist
  2. Magihistorian (I don’t know if this is real, but I’m going for it lol!)
  3. Hogwart’s Librarian

Mode of Transportation:

  1. Norwegian Ridgeback
  2. Disapparation
  3. Firebolt Broomstick

Color:

  1. Gold
  2. Bottle Green
  3. Purple

Magical Creature:

  1. Snowy Owl
  2. Gem Turtle (I know it was just a small reference, but I’ve wanted one since!)
  3. Fang

Nemesis:

  1. Umbridge
  2. Voldemort
  3. Bellatrix

Ally:

  1. Hermione
  2. Kingsley Shaklebolt
  3. Dobby

House:

  1. Slytherin
  2. Gryffindor
  3. Hufflepuff

Family:

  1. Weasley
  2. Potter
  3. Lovegood
  1. Magical Blood  or
  2. Muggle
  1. Wealthy or
  2. Poor

Up or Down

Tally: My tally is 18

Alright my lovelies, let’s count it up…I’ve got all my first option choices! That’s right, I’m going to marry Sirius, work as a Daily Prophet Journalist, have a gold Norwegian Ridgeback for transportation and a snowy owl for a pet. My nemesis will be Umbridge herself, and my ally will be Hermione and I will be a Slytherin Weasley!!! (No hate for the Slytherin’s please, it’s where I was sorted into on Pottermore and after the initial devastation/self-doubt/what kind of person am I really DAY or so it took to recover from the shock, I slowly became proud of my Hogwarts house!) And I’m of magical descent and wealthy to boot! Whoot Whoot!!! And yet with all that apparent wealth, I find myself living in the Shrieking Shack of all places. Well you win some, you lose some 😀

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Image From Facebook. All Rights Belong To Artist.

Make sure to comment below and tell me what you’re future looks like my lovelies! I cant wait to see what the future holds for you all! 😀

And a big thank you to J.K. Rowling for writing such a perfect, epic story and for introducing us to all these unforgettable characters, places, and ideas! You’ve truly changed my life. Thank you 😀

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…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Kiss

A kiss to me is the connection of two souls:

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And the bonding of two separate entity’s into one glorious being for all too brief a time:

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A kiss can be as innocent as a tender rose:

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As mysterious as a flash of light:

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And a shining moment amid the darkness of life:

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A kiss can also be magical, with unpredictable consequences, leaving us happier than we ever believed we could be:

Image From GoogleAll Rights Belong To The Artists

Image From Google
All Rights Belong To The Artists

But above all, a kiss is a memory that we keep with us for life; it’s something to look back on and remember fondly…sometimes with a chuckle or two:

Image From GoogleAll Rights Belong To The Artists

Image From Google
All Rights Belong To The Artists

 

Remembering Scotland

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, where to begin…

Image From Google

Image From Google

Once upon a time…my family traveled the vast southern states, going were we could and where we were wanted – be it Highland Games or just simple re-enactments. I delight in seeing all the lovely new places, taking in the sights, breathing in the smells, learning the secrets, but in my heart, every new place was always deemed “Scotland”, it was always home. During the week I was a normal girl living a normal life in the modern world (we weren’t crazies who shunned technology or anything I assure you!), but on the weekends I was more often than not, transported to a world that most think was lost long ago. I wore beautiful costumes that were handmade by my grandparents using only materials that were present in the time we were representing. I had an entire outfit: a soft white blouse, a long fluid forest-green skirt and matching vest, leather hair adornments, a creamy-colored bead necklace, and simple little slipper/shoe things, all of which was made to allow for me to continue to wear it as I grew over the years. I spent my weekends happily running through enormous green fields lined with white traveling tents, winding my way through labyrinthine corridors of once-grand forts, and learning the tricks of the secret pathways and tunnels underneath them – where most weren’t allowed to venture.

Everywhere I looked were men in their colorful, distinctive kilts wearing the traditional animal skin sporrans around their waist and half-concealed sgian-dubh (small knives) tucked discreetly, but noticeably, in their knee-length socks. They looked so menacing or jolly (depending on what they were doing I suppose) as they prowled around the grounds, doing whatever it was the men did, from sword-fighting to leather-working to wood carving. My grandfather was one of the jolly ones, he was a walking-stick carver – among myriad other things – and he crafted some of the most intricate, beautiful walking-sticks that have ever been crafted by human hands (in my humble, completely unbiased opinion). He was an amazing man, it was because of him that we all fell in love with our Scottish culture. He loved to teach and pass on his knowledge  and it is only now that I realize how much more I could have learned from him if I had only spent more time listening and less time thinking I had all the answers…

Meanwhile, the women gossiped good-naturedly as they went about their own work, clothed in beautiful gem-colored skirts or gowns with coronets of fresh flowers or skillfully worked precious metal crowning their brows. A stripe of plaid was usually draped over their shoulders, or around their waists, telling the world what family claimed them, whose ancient blood ran through their veins. I wanted to be one of these women when I grew up, wanted to be admitted into their world as an equal, though I was loved by them all anyway and thought of them all as family. They spoke warmly and laughed prettily as they cared for their makeshift homes and watched over the children as we ran wild through a secret world we knew to be our own.

This world we visited was magical, it was beautiful, and above all it felt wrapped in a sense of warmth and safety. It was here that I learned to ask questions, listen carefully (when I had the patience to), and learn about the wondrous things around me. Here I laughed freely and knew  all of nature rejoiced in my good humor. And it was here where I was given my first taste of independence, I was permitted to ramble anywhere my heart took me, so long as one of my cousins went with me (at least when I was younger anyway). For an eight year old, this independence, this trust, was empowering and it emboldened me to know that I was free to conduct myself as I chose. I ran, played, laughed, danced with abandon, and sought knowledge from those who knew more than I did. I dressed the part, acted the part, and was the part. I was a young girl excited and enthralled by the beauty and the secret magic of the world around me. And as I grew, I became a young woman who still felt the thrill of power and joy knowing that there was a world out there where I could be free, where I felt powerful, special, and welcome.

To say I miss that time of my youth would be a gross understatement, but I know that none of what I experienced then has been lost, it’s everywhere I am and in everything that I do especially when I write. When I want to describe a world long ago and a place lost to time, I just close my eyes and remember my youth. I know what it feels like to slip into a beautiful dress and put flowers in my hair, excited at the prospect of going to a festival; the smell of the air tinged with ash and smoke, and the way fire dances in people’s eyes. I understand the feel of muscles straining when pulling back the string of a bow, or lifting a sword, heaving an ax  or whittling wood into something usable because there was a time when I did those things myself. I remember the feeling of family, of safety, trust, and of freedom, but perhaps most importantly, I know the feeling of magic and of having the entire natural world listen when I laugh, because laughter is a sacred thing. I hold these precious memories close to my heart and let them live again when I write. And through this writing, I have discovered a new place to call home, to be everything that “Scotland” was for me in my youth. And again I feel safe, protected, powerful, and loved. I close my eyes and I am free…I am home.

*Note: Click here to see a list of the 2013 Scottish Highland Games, it lists the dates and locations (though I advise checking to make sure the info is accurate!) I hope you guys check one out and let me know what you think!

Downton Abbey, Les Miserables, And Happy Memories

Hello my lovelies, I hope you’re all having a wonderful Tuesday. Today’s been peaceful and quiet but I’m looking forward to tomorrow when my bestie and I high-tail it over to the store so I can grab the third season of my new favorite TV show Downton Abbey on DVD. Oh I sense another Downton marathon coming my way this weekend! *Happy sigh* I was going to be the good girl and wait until the entire season had played out on PBS before buying it but my mom said she couldn’t wait until March to see all that was going on this season. She has no patience for things like this, and in all honesty I don’t either. I’d rather watch something when I want to then have to worry about remembering to sit down at a specific time each week. But anyway, now I don’t have to feel guilty zooming through the entire season in two days nor do I have to suffer through the next month waiting to see how things turn out! 😀

Image From Google

Image From Google

This past weekend was filled with packing for me for our upcoming move. I don’t know about you guys but I absolutely loathe packing, it takes forever and I’m just not good at it. I’m more of a un-packer and a room decorator. I like to tinker and spend time putting things in their place and making a room look pretty and inviting but I have no skill in consolidating a lifetime’s worth of items into cardboard boxes. I’m a bit of a pack-rat and that comes back to bite me in the rear when it comes time to move. Though there are a few perks of sorting through all my old stuff. Every now and then I come across things that are so jam-packed with memories I can’t help but sit back and bask in the remembering. Sunday I found such a keepsake, a book my mother gave me when she told me I would soon have a little brother.

This book helped me learn how to be a big sister!

It’s cute as all get out and it means the world to me. It’s about a little girl who takes care of her doll, Baby Dear, alongside her mother who is caring for the girl’s new baby sister. All in all it glorifies the awesomeness of being a big sister and I know it made me feel very helpful and even more excited than I already was when my little brother arrived. It’s a book I will treasure my whole life and finding it once again just made me smile and remember how thankful I am to be a big sister.

Isn’t it adorable!

And speaking of memories, I forgot to tell you guy’s about seeing Les Miserables! The bestie, Mom, and I went three weeks ago and finally saw it and it was AWESOME! I was surprised my Mom agreed to go and was excited as she was considering her reluctance to watch new musicals since the whole RENT debacle. But I pestered her about it long enough and as soon as she saw the first preview she started to get excited, and by the time we went to the theaters, all three of us were chomping at the bit to see the glory that is Les Mis. And it didn’t disappoint…much. The first hour was amazing, it made all of us weep (loudly) and that’s saying something because for years I was convinced by best friend was part cyborg or something because she NEVER cries at anything. I find it unnatural, but then I cry at the drop of a hat, so I guess we make a good contrast.

Image From Google

Image From Google

So there the three of us were near sobbing at the woes of gentle Fantine and finding ourselves surprised by Russell Crowe’s excellent portrayal of Javert (I wasn’t sure he could pull it off but he did!) when I started to notice something was amuck. I won’t give away any spoilers just in case y’all have yet to see it, but to suffice it to say, if you’re a fan of Eponine (she’s my favorite Les Mis character)…prepare yourself. Not that Samantha Barks does a bad portrayal or anything, she doesn’t; she’s actually my favorite Eponine ever and starred in the wonderful 25th Anniversary Concert Edition, which I highly recommend you guys watch. But the writers did some creative work on the younger cast that my bestie and I did not appreciate and this included some changes to Eponine’s story. And I’m sorry movie-makers, but the songs go in a specific order for a reason, when you mix them up it loses some of the effect. But other than that, the movie was fantastic. I can’t wait to buy it when it comes out, but I will still love the concert version for showing what I think is the better story…in a sense.

Image From Google

Image From Google

So what about y’all are there any TV shows you’re in love with at the moment, maybe Downton Abbey? What about precious keepsakes, are there things that bring back happy memories? And what about Les Miserables, did you guys like it; what was your favorite song and who’s your favorite character? (On My Own & Eponine!)

Monday Movie: The Pirate Movie

Hello my lovelies, welcome to my first ever movie recommendation/review post thingy! I plan on writing a new movie post every other Monday, so be prepared to talk scenes, lines, random memories and whatever else we can think of, lol! So here we go, I’m pumped, I’m excited, I’m…exhausted, I got up early to write this post and now my brain is somewhat foggy. 😀

For my first movie recommendation I was torn on what movie to actually start off with, I wanted something that would give you the right impression of who I am really, but then I wondered what the “right” impression was? Did I want something deep and meaningful to demonstrate how mature and intelligent I am, something snarky that would prove I’m above pop culture (which I hate to say, I’m not), or something dramatic and lovey-dovey since I’m a self-proclaimed romantic? There are so many options out there and so many conflicting sides of my personality that in all honesty I wasn’t sure what to go with. And I’m not going to lie, I wanted a great movie that would you know… spark conversation and make people think well of me. But the truth is, I’m goofy as hell most of the time, though most people wouldn’t know it considering I’m also serious and quite proud unfortunately and that pride tends to negate the goofy when I’m around people I’m not fully comfortable with – which is most people lol. So in honor of that side of me that doesn’t get seen as often as it should, I chose one of my old favorites, and it’s about as wacky as they come: The Pirate Movie!

Image From Google

Image From Google

Yes that’s the title, don’t worry, it confuses everyone whenever I mention it and then everyone starts trying to guess what pirate movie I’m trying to think of, but I assure you, it’s called The Pirate Movie. A classic 80’s play off of The Pirates of Penzance, starring Kristy McNichol and Christopher Atkins, The Pirate Movie is part musical, part dream, and 100 percent comedy fun! Filled with snarky lines (“Well run. For God’s sake run!”), laughable and adorable characters, and over the top sexual innuendos (that I didn’t fully understand when I was younger, and I have a horrible feeling I still don’t fully understand), this movie has it all…or does if you’re in the right mood. Note: if you’re in the mood for something meaningful or dramatic I advise skipping this one until you’re ready to laugh your ass off at one of the stupidest, funniest things you’ll ever watch.

From the Pirate King’s bedazzled codpiece and his near constant sexual word-play, to Frederic’s adorable inexperience with woman and all-encompassing belief in honor, to Mabel’s sharp wit and hilarious comebacks, and a rather questionable Major-General, the characters in The Pirate Movie are wonderfully over the top. And for those who can’t handle a movie unless there’s something to sing along to, have no fear, there are five or six delightful songs that will have you singing to yourself for days (I know because I watched this again last Friday and I’m still humming some of the songs this morning, lol). And I imagine some of you are waiting for me to go ahead and tell you what it’s about, but I figured The Pirates of Penzance bit already gave it away earlier (did your elementary/middle school not make you see the play as a child?). But if you still need me to sum it up, here you go: awkward girl meets handsome boy (dressed a pirate, it’s his job), boy invites girl and her sisters on a boating trip, sisters are b*tches, girl refuses to be left behind after said sister’s interfere, girl pursues boy and her sisters into a storm, nearly drowns and washes up on a beach where she then proceeds to dream her life in Pirates of Penzance fashion. Hmm, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do that, I’m not the best at summarizing lol.

Image From Google

Image From Google

This movie holds a special place in my heart. My dad and I watched it together when I was home one day during high school (I wasn’t skipping, I assure you) and since we’re pretty much the same type of person when it comes to comedies (we’re the type who laugh REALLY LOUDLY, and who will start laughing randomly at something we found funny ten minutes before because we thought of it again and it’s still funny), we both laughed like crazy and it was a great afternoon. It sounds silly, but I just associate this movie with a happy memory, so to me, this movie is priceless.

So all in all, I adore this movie. It’s cute, it’s hilarious, and it has fun songs…what else could you ask for? I mean really, the Pirate King has a sparkly crotch the entire movie, IF nothing else, THAT is sufficiently hilarious! (I tried to find a photo of this but unfortunately, I can’t. Instead I offer you this video, enjoy!) Have you guy’s seen this awesome movie, and if so what did you think? I think it’s one of those that you either really love or really hate, so which was it for you? Any favorite lines or scenes? (My favorite bit is where she is in the suit of armor but I can’t find the clip on youtube, lol.)