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.”

A Taste Of Prophecy…

Here’s a little taste of my current WIP Prophecy!

He’d never seen her touch a sword. In all of these practice sessions she seemed to live for, she not once reached for a blade — or weapon of any kind now that he thought about it. Not that she needed one, her entire body — lent added strength from her half-vampyre heritage — was an effective weapon on its own. He still sported the array of colorful bruises where her iron-like hand had struck days ago. But still, he mused, tapping a sun-bronzed finger to his lips thoughtfully. Still

It wasn’t as though she didn’t know how to wield one. Her every move, so graceful, so controlled and powerful, belied the swordswoman inside. So why pretend otherwise? Was this what she was hiding from, or perhaps at least part of it?

With his heart thrumming inside his chest he watched Kalisada, bored with her opponent, wrestle the large man to the ground, pinning him easily. A proud smile stretched across her beautiful mouth as the sun glinted off her pale, rosy face. She stood, holding out one hand to the man dusting dirt and grass off his face and clothes, and her laugh poured out, bright and happy the way it did only when she forgot herself. Seeing her this way, he hesitated, but curiosity clawed and itched beneath his skin

“Who’s next?” Kali demanded, still playful, still bright.

Mordred moved before he could stop himself. “I am,” he called, making his way through the throng of people gathered outside the practice pitch. Some snickered as he passed, others watched with frank admiration, but he had eyes for no one but her. The sun struck her dark brown hair, throwing a halo of golden light around her and he couldn’t help but find it odd to see his Silver Girl cast in gold. The yellow warmth was harsh, making the fading sunlight garish in her moonlit presence. Humor and recklessness brightened the iridescent flecks of green in her amber eyes as she appraised him with a good-natured smirk.

“Are you sure?” Kali grinned, nodding at his shoulder where his loose blue tunic hid the mosaic of bluish-black marks. “Can you handle it?” she teased.

He grinned, despite the cackling around him and shrugged. “We’ll see.” The buzz around them doubled as men began placing their bets, and was loud enough to drown out the warning ringing inside Mordred’s mind. The heat of the sun-warmed leather-covered hilt felt right in his hand as he plucked it from a stack near the gate ans tossed it high to Kalisada.

“But this time we do it my way,” he grinned, waiting for her to reach out and snatch up the sword before it hit the ground. She didn’t.

The sword fell heavy in the grass by her feet and for a moment he couldn’t take his eyes off it. An icy silence filled the air, stilling the moment until he lifted his gaze. She stood frozen, panting, her eyes wide and panicked as she stared at the blade. She blanched a sickening shade beneath her already pale skin and for a moment he feared she’d be sick where she stood. But when she finally looked up, a thin veneer of control settled over her features and only a slight shaking of her fingers betrayed her as she calmly brushed past him without a word and made for her grandparents’ home. Mordred turned, his eyes following her, as did everyone else, locked in a stunned silence until a roar split the air behind them.

“You filthy son of a whore!” Treyen bellowed, his face dark and contorted with hate as he all but flew to the practice pitch. A few brave men stepped in the vampyre path to slow their prince’s progress but he barreled through them, careless of their pleas to wait, to hear, to think before he did something unforgivable. Only the swift arrival of the king’s guard halted Treyen a few feet from Mordred’s stunned self. The prince strained to get past, but the guards held firm. “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE DONE!”

“I…I’m sorry, I just…” Mordred fumbled, guilt plowed into him, souring his stomach and nearly knocked him to his knees. What had he done?! The realization nearly choked him: the ease between then, their friendship, that strange warmth…it was ruined, just as he ruined everything. The world tilted sickening.

“Why are you still here?!” Treyen spat, no longer fighting for freedom, but dangerously still. “Why are you still here?!”

Image From Google.

Image From Google.

A Taste Of Prophecy…

Here’s a little taste of my current WIP Prophecy!

He’d never seen her touch a sword. In all of these practice sessions she seemed to live for, she not once reached for a blade — or weapon of any kind now that he thought about it. Not that she needed one, her entire body — lent added strength from her half-vampyre heritage — was an effective weapon on its own. He still sported the array of colorful bruises where her iron-like hand had struck days ago. But still, he mused, tapping a sun-bronzed finger to his lips thoughtfully. Still

It wasn’t as though she didn’t know how to wield one. Her every move, so graceful, so controlled and powerful, belied the swordswoman inside. So why pretend otherwise? Was this what she was hiding from, or perhaps at least part of it?

With his heart thrumming inside his chest he watched Kalisada, bored with her opponent, wrestle the large man to the ground, pinning him easily. A proud smile stretched across her beautiful mouth as the sun glinted off her pale, rosy face. She stood, holding out one hand to the man dusting dirt and grass off his face and clothes, and her laugh poured out, bright and happy the way it did only when she forgot herself. Seeing her this way, he hesitated, but curiosity clawed and itched beneath his skin

“Who’s next?” Kali demanded, still playful, still bright.

Mordred moved before he could stop himself. “I am,” he called, making his way through the throng of people gathered outside the practice pitch. Some snickered as he passed, others watched with frank admiration, but he had eyes for no one but her. The sun struck her dark brown hair, throwing a halo of golden light around her and he couldn’t help but find it odd to see his Silver Girl cast in gold. The yellow warmth was harsh, making the fading sunlight garish in her moonlit presence. Humor and recklessness brightened the iridescent flecks of green in her amber eyes as she appraised him with a good-natured smirk.

“Are you sure?” Kali grinned, nodding at his shoulder where his loose blue tunic hid the mosaic of bluish-black marks. “Can you handle it?” she teased.

He grinned, despite the cackling around him and shrugged. “We’ll see.” The buzz around them doubled as men began placing their bets, and was loud enough to drown out the warning ringing inside Mordred’s mind. The heat of the sun-warmed leather-covered hilt felt right in his hand as he plucked it from a stack near the gate ans tossed it high to Kalisada.

“But this time we do it my way,” he grinned, waiting for her to reach out and snatch up the sword before it hit the ground. She didn’t.

The sword fell heavy in the grass by her feet and for a moment he couldn’t take his eyes off it. An icy silence filled the air, stilling the moment until he lifted his gaze. She stood frozen, panting, her eyes wide and panicked as she stared at the blade. She blanched a sickening shade beneath her already pale skin and for a moment he feared she’d be sick where she stood. But when she finally looked up, a thin veneer of control settled over her features and only a slight shaking of her fingers betrayed her as she calmly brushed past him without a word and made for her grandparents’ home. Mordred turned, his eyes following her, as did everyone else, locked in a stunned silence until a roar split the air behind them.

“You filthy son of a whore!” Treyen bellowed, his face dark and contorted with hate as he all but flew to the practice pitch. A few brave men stepped in the vampyre path to slow their prince’s progress but he barreled through them, careless of their pleas to wait, to hear, to think before he did something unforgivable. Only the swift arrival of the king’s guard halted Treyen a few feet from Mordred’s stunned self. The prince strained to get past, but the guards held firm. “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE DONE!”

“I…I’m sorry, I just…” Mordred fumbled, guilt plowed into him, souring his stomach and nearly knocked him to his knees. What had he done?! The realization nearly choked him: the ease between then, their friendship, that strange warmth…it was ruined, just as he ruined everything. The world tilted sickening.

“Why are you still here?!” Treyen spat, no longer fighting for freedom, but dangerously still. “Why are you still here?!”

Image From Google.

Image From Google.