QSFer M.D. Grimm has a new MM fantasy book out:
Morgorth is considered a villain by his own people and known as the Dark Mage of the North. But now all he feels is light and love as he pursues a budding relationship with Aishe, a dialen of the Ravena tribe. Morgorth hardly believes his good fortune. He has allowed Aishe into his home, into his bed, into his heart. He laughs more, smiles more, and feels happier than he ever has before.
He should have known such bliss never lasts.
The Council of Mages, the ruling body over all mages on Karshian, knows he has Rambujek, a major stone of power—a stone won from an evil sorcerer. They also know his destiny—to become the Destroyer. Fearful, they send two emissaries to take the stone from Morgorth, using whatever means necessary. This includes tricks, threats to those under his protection, and the threat of war. A war Morgorth knows he would never survive.
Conflict soon arises between him and Aishe. Their tenuous relationship is put into jeopardy, their very beliefs about themselves and their love is put into question. Morgorth doubts if he should keep Aishe in his life. He doesn’t know if he can protect Aishe from his enemies. Or from the monster he might become.
I heard a noise above me. Before I could even snap my face up to take a look, a shower of freezing snow dumped on me. Heavy and wet, it plastered my hair, froze my eyelashes, snuck under my coat and jacket, sending painful trails of ice down my skin. I stilled, becoming like a statue. My mouth opened in complete shock. The cold settled on me, making me shiver, and my poor coat threatened to drag me to the ground.
Then I heard it. Laughter. Full-bellied, rollicking, insane laughter.
My fingers clenched into fists as the blue flames grew larger, unaffected by the snow. I slowly tilted my head back and saw Aishe. He was crouching on a large tree branch, his eyes bright with pleasure. His entire body was shaking with his guffaw, and he seemed to be clinging to the branch to keep himself from falling off. Even the tree was shaking.
Pissed, humiliated, and damn it, feeling my lips twitch, I said a word, and my magick flowed through my limbs. It warmed me inside and then evaporated the wet and chill on the outside. In another heartbeat, I was bone dry, my hair no longer sticking to my head. Feeling like payback was in order, I stared at Aishe another moment before shooting my hand up. A bunch of snow from the ground came with it. The wall of snow hurtled through the air, but Aishe had anticipated it. He leapt off the branch, and the snow slammed into the truck of the tree. The tree, not appreciative, swung a branch at me.
I jumped back and swung to face Aishe—just in time to get a face full of snow. I sputtered and gasped, the snow biting into my flesh, my eyes, my lips. I slapped it away with my hand just as Aishe pulled back his arm to send another one flying. I flung up a shield. The snowball, larger than the last one, smacked against the invisible shield I formed into a half dome in front of me.
Aishe was still laughing, provoking me. “Come on, Morgorth! You can do better than that! Come on! Show me what the Dark Mage of the East can do.”
My eyes narrowed. I dropped my shield. With another word spoken in my head, my magick flowed out of me. Extreme focus and skill was needed when activating magick without saying the word aloud. There were times in great stress I couldn’t do it. Or there were times I was too lazy to focus that hard. But it was a skill every mage needed to learn. It kept the opponent on his or her toes.
Right now, Aishe was an opponent.
I lifted my hands, and all the snow within ten feet of us rose with them. I slowly brought my hands together. The snow, as if it were tethered to the movement of my hands, floated over and began to form a very large ball. Aishe’s laughter finally died. I glanced at him to see his eyes widen. He took a cautionary step back, and I slowly smiled. He looked at my face, and he shook his head slowly in denial.
The snowball I was forming kept growing bigger. I didn’t pack it too tight. I didn’t want to hurt Aishe, I didn’t need to harm him to complete my payback. Before long, I had a snowball floating in front of me the size of a trul. Truls were big, hulking, seven to eight foot tall predators. While they weren’t the tallest predators on Karishian, they certainly made up for it with their girth and strength.
Aishe took another step back. My smile widened. “You asked for it,” I said pleasantly.
Then I threw the snowball at him.
He was quick, I’ll give him that. And he was agile, limber, light on his feet. But that didn’t matter. I’d used a single hair of his I’d found on my coat and mixed it with the snow. In doing so, I created a link between him and the snowball. It would follow him no matter where he went. I ran after both mate and snow. I would not miss seeing the snow clobber him for the world.
I really shouldn’t be surprised he would throw snow at me. Since Kayl died, since Aishe came to my home, I’d seen an entirely new Aishe. Or, perhaps I was seeing the real Aishe. A playful one who liked games. He’d actually convinced me to play hide-and-seek in Geheimnis. I cheated of course, using a tracking spell to find him. But he’d become wise to my tactics and kept moving, making me essentially chase him all through my home. I had many trap doors, secret passages, trick doors and walls, which came standard with a fortress of Geheimnis’ size and mystique.
I quickly learned how little I knew of “play.” Harmless, affectionate play. I still wasn’t sure whether I liked it or not.
I swung around a particularly thick tree just in time to see Aishe turn around and face his payback. He stood still as the large snowball smashed into him. The force slammed him to the ground and buried him under the cold, wet mess.
I laughed. His cringe before the collision had been priceless. He’d closed his eyes, hunched his shoulders, and turned his head away. I had to bend over and grip my knees, I was laughing so hard. Tears welled in my eyes, and my stomach hurt. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever laughed so hard.
Gasping for breath, I finally managed to stand up and walk over to help Aishe out. I heard crunching and saw movement in the mound, and knew Aishe was trying to dig himself out. I pushed some snow away, and then Aishe’s hand shot out. I gripped it and pulled. He stumbled out, shivering, his teeth chattering.
“G-g-g-good one,” he said. He wrapped his arms around himself and looked so pitiful, I felt sort of bad.
I sighed. “You idiot.” I wrapped my arms around him and murmured a word of magick. I not only dried his clothes and hair, just as I had done for myself, but I also warmed the air with my magick. We were in a small pocket of warmth, Aishe clinging to me hard. He sighed, and I knew it was with relief.
M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!).
After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier.
Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.