Monday, March 31, 2014

Mirrors Lie

Rachel's Chatterbox subject for this month is mirrors.

I found this quote some time ago and pinned it, thinking it would fit in a story sometime.  Flipping through Pinterest the other day I came across it again.  And then it inspired the Chatterbox scene for this month.

   If you want to know who you truly are, go look in a mirror.
    That is what my art tutor, Lady Polydamna, told me one day when I was fourteen and complained that I did not know who I truly was.  At the time I felt like two different people.
    Now, it’s even more confusing, for now my mirror shows me three different people.
    First, it shows me the person I have been for much of my life.  Lady Seren of Cambria and Corbenic, daughter of a knight, adopted daughter of the Anax and Anessa of Corbenic.  Schooled alongside elves by the tutors of Corbenic.  Trained in weaponry, fighting and horsemanship by the Lord Marshal and the acting Brynhildr of the Valkyrs.  More elven than human in behavior.
    The second picture it reveals is the person I became when the truth about my heritage was revealed.  Princess Seren of Cambria, second in line to the throne, loyal supporter of her brother the Prince.  With him, rebuilder of the Kingdom of Cambria.  Politician, gracious hostess, advisor.
    The third reflection is the person I am most often during these troubled days.  Brynhildr Seren, captain of the renowned valkyrs, the best fighters in the Three Kingdoms.  Calm leader, strategist, ally of the Three Princes.
    Which one is truly me, I wonder?  All of them?  
    In a way, yes.  I am all three of those faces, sometimes one at a time, and sometimes all three at once.
    And in another way, I am none of those three people.  All I wished for was to be an ordinary valkyr, riding and fighting side by side with the other valkyrs.  I did not ask to be one of the leaders of the war.  I did not wish to be one of those who daily makes decisions that will inevitably end in more deaths.  More bodies upon a battlefield.  More men and women who will not live a full life.
    The mirror reflects a calm, person who is in control of herself and her people.  It does not show the heart-ripping pain that tears through me every time another person under my command meets death.  It does not show the woman that simply wants this all to end.  The person who wishes more than anything she could go back to being just the adopted daughter of the Anax and Anessa.  It does not show the tears I wish I could shed in the dark of night. 
    It does not show the girl that still hides below the surface of a woman.
    I think Lady Polydamna had it wrong.  Mirrors lie, for they do not show the person deep down inside beneath the face.

To learn more about the Chatterbox event, go HERE.

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, March 21, 2014

Snippets of Story: March 2014

Behold... snippets from what I wrote during the month of February.  Snippets of Story is hosted by Katie at Whisperings of the Pen.  Go HERE to join in this month's link-up.

    “For the crimes of murder, treason against the Crown, rebellion against the Crown, kidnapping and holding of innocent persons, and embezzlement of public funds, Itimburi Vypoor is hereby sentenced to life in prison.”
    Itimburi was led away by his escort, but not before Johari had seen a dark, malevolent look directed at her mother.
Pearl of Loyalty (working title)

    “You’ve never been in love, Jori.  Don’t you think your view might change if and when you do fall in love?” Jaris leaned back in his chair.
    “Not really,” she shook her head.  “Love is loyalty, Jaris.  If someone is not loyal to you, how can they say they love you?  And if they don’t love you or display loyalty to you, then how can you trust them?  And if you can’t trust them, then how can you love them?  It doesn’t make sense.”
    “Search me,” he shrugged.  “Like I said, I’ve never been in love either.”
Pearl of Loyalty (working title)

    “How did you come by this?”
    “You gave it to me.  The last day you sat with me before I left the court.  I’ve kept it always, to remember you by; the lonely girl who made time to sit with me and read to me and beguile my weary hours of wounded confinement.  I have never forgotten that.  Besides, you are the only person I’ve ever heard use the word ‘aubergine’.”
Ebony and Aubergine

    “It will not be difficult to continue our already wifty facade.” Iskandar said, looking out over the window.
    “Ayi, that is the easy part,” Faris said.  “It is still in fashion, though not as popular as we could wish.”
    “We’ll change that,” Iskandar winked at his friend.
Ebony and Aubergine

    “Well, it seems I must now regard you as a rival,” Faris eyed Aqil warily.
    “No, it is not that way.  I am no rival to you, Faris.”
    “I see,” the young man raised his eyebrows, clearly even more curious about their relationship.
    “Who is this Bahadur?” Hasan asked, “Her lover?”
    “Brother,” Aqil and Faris said at the same time.
Ebony and Aubergine

    “Ayi, I won’t injure my own chances with her either,” Shahnaz said.
    “Then it falls to me,” Aqil, heretofore silent, said.
    “You know her?” Hasan exclaimed in surprise.  Aqil was the most recent addition to their group.  He had become a close friend of Iskandar’s overseas and now was visiting him in Cathenir for a long spell.
    The others waited, eyeing Aqil with interest.
    “Oh, yes.  I met her years ago in Manchongtar, during one of her visits to the court there.  It’s been two or three years since I saw her, but I hear of her often through my contacts at the court.”
    “Do you think she’ll remember you, my dear fellow?” Faris raised his eyebrows skeptically.  “That woman has had more men at her feet than actual royalty have.”
    Aqil tilted his head, a quiet smile on his lips, “Not much longer and we’ll know.”
    Shahnaz, Hasan and Faris exchanged glances and hidden grins that plainly said, “She won’t remember him.”
Ebony and Aubergine

    “Think about it,” she said.  “Most people only quote the ‘Et tu Brute’ part, and leave out the three words that follow it, ‘Then fall Caesar.’  That was the moment he gave up.  Not only do those words speak of the betrayal of a friend, they also speak of the despair that then resulted.”
    “My friend has joined them, what is there for me to live for,” Rajan said quietly, his eyes lit with the thoughts her words had sparked.
    “Precisely,” she replied.
To See The Stars

Miss Melody Muffin

Friday, March 14, 2014

Poem of the Week ~ March 14: Stars

Sara Teasdale

Alone in the night
On a dark hill

With pines around me
Spicy and still,

And a heaven full of stars
Over my head,
White and topaz
And misty red;

Myriads with beating
Hearts of fire
That aeons
Cannot vex or tire;

Up the dome of heaven
Like a great hill,
I watch them marching
Stately and still,

And I know that I
Am honored to be
Of so much majesty.

Miss Melody Muffin

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Mothers and Squidmothers

NOTE:  I could have sworn I published this!  I can't think what on earth happened that I didn't... maybe I pushed the save button and thought I clicked publish???  I have no idea...  Anyway, here it is!

Back at the beginning of October, my friend Anne-girl finished a book by the delightful title of Queen Mother.  I have not read it yet, but I do know, from reading some of Anne's other writing, that it will be a good read.  What is unusual and even more exciting, is that she has made it free to the public to read.  To find out more about it, or to read it, go HERE.  I am eagerly looking forward to reading it as soon as I can.

As part of the release of her book, Anne created the following tag about mothers.  I will be answering it with Quara.

The Royal Family of Esidaraq are orphans.  Their parents were killed six years before the first book begins.  That leaves the eldest brother and sister, now the High King and High Queen, in the place of parents to their younger siblings.  They do the best they can, but one person who is the best mother figure to them is the Archduchess Madelia.  She is the widow of an excellent knight, who was killed protecting his King and Queen.

On to the tag:
1. What do you think she would think of the statement used as the title for this post?
(The title of Anne's post was: Well, a mother.. a real mother, is the most wonderful person in the world.)
She would agree with it wholeheartedly.  Her own mother was the most influential person in her life.  It is her hope that she is as influential in her children's lives.

2. How many children does she have? What are their names? Ages?
She has one son, ten-year-old Luke, usually called Duke Luke because he is the now the Duke since his father's death.  He is the best friend of Princess Elsheba and is also her usual partner in crime.  Madelia is also a surrogate mother to the fourteen children in the Royal Family and she is the Mother of Pages, which means she is in charge of all the pages in the palace.  So, in a way, she has about 30 children.

3. Could you say she "plays favorites"with her children? If she only has one what is her favorite thing about her child?
She does not play favorites.  All of her 'children' are praised, scolded, punished or rewarded as they deserve.

Her favorite thing about Luke is that he really does have a big heart, though he is stubborn, wild, and most days it seems as though he will never learn any common sense.

4. Would she adopt a child in need if she could?
In a heartbeat! She has already adopted the Royal Family and the dozen-plus pages under her charge.

5. What does she consider her greatest accomplishment?
Helping the Royal Family through the very rough first year after their parents death. 

6. If she could change one thing about the world what would it be?
She would remove some of the responsibility from the Royal Family, so they didn't have quite so much pressure and stress on them at such a young age.

7. What was her favorite activity as a child?
Crocheting.  She would do it by the hour, and often invented her own patterns.

8. Give this mother a theme song { cannot be "your mother and mine"}
One Heartbeat at a Time by Steven Curtis Chapman.

9. If she could go one place where would she go?
Well, she has visited most of the world of Quara, when she was lady in waiting to the current Royal Family's mother.  But, if she could pick one place to live, she would choose a certain valley in the region of Keluskdra, Esidaraq.  It is known for the climate being particularly conducive to flower gardens and as a result it's informal nickname is Valley of Flowers.  (It's proper name... well, I'm still working on that.  It's gone through about three so far.)  From most of the valley, you can see the sea not too far away.  It is quite simply, as close to paradise on earth that anyone in Esidaraq can imagine.

10. Is there anything more important to her than being a mother?
No.  She considers it the most important job on the earth.

Oh, and the word Squidmother in the title?  That is a teaser.  Someday I may explain it on my blog, and then again, I might just leave it for you to find out when you read the book.  (Whenever I finally finish it.) :D

Miss Melody Muffin

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A New Venture

Like many girls, I loved playing with paper dolls when I was little.  It was so much fun to act out elaborate story lines and games.  The best part was drawing and coloring the dresses to go with our games.  I remember how sometimes it used to take us so long to set up whatever elaborate game we were in the middle of that we would only get in about ten minutes of play before we had to put them away again.

I have not played with paper dolls for more years than I can remember, but I have not lost the love of drawing and coloring dresses.  I have younger siblings who do still play with paper dolls and I have occasionally drawn dresses for them.

All of that is the background to an announcement I have for you.  Two of my sisters and I are launching a site with free printable paper dolls and outfits.  It's something we've discussed for years.  We love drawing these, and we wanted to share that love.  My sister Billie draws the dolls and both sisters will probably wind up doing more of the dress drawing than I will, but it will be a fun way to put down on paper so many of the costumes I have swimming around in my head.

You can find the new site HERE, and follow us on Pinterest HERE.

Miss Melody Muffin