QSFer M.D. Grimm has a new MM fantasy book out:
Lord Morgorth is a dark mage on the planet Karishian. He’s considered a villain by his peers and relishes the title, having embraced the role early in his life. However, not all of his actions are necessarily villainous.
Despite owning several of the Stones of Power—gemstones infused with powerful magick—he doesn’t use them, preferring to keep them hidden away and out of destructive, power-hungry hands. He hates them more than anything. So when a sorcerer gets a hold of a major stone, Morgorth has no choice but to go after him. But, to his irritation, he is not alone. Aishe is a dialen whose tribe was massacred by the sorcerer, and is now on a mission of vengeance. The attraction is instant between them, but Morgorth keeps his distance. Because of a traumatic childhood and a deadly destiny, he has no desire for emotional complications. But Aishe’s very presence challenges Morgorth’s resolve.
Not only does Morgorth admire Aishe’s strength and intelligence, but he begins to see Aishe as a friend. As their hunt continues and their time together lengthens, their bond deepens, as does Morgorth’s fear. If he becomes the monster that destiny claims he will be, will he hurt Aishe? Will he harm the one person who sees right through him? Who accepts him wholeheartedly? Determined to not let that happen, Morgorth keeps Aishe at a distance. But when Aishe is kidnapped by the sorcerer, what will Morgorth do to get him back?
The Stones of Power #1
Heads appeared first, ten of them, all horned, with bulbous black eyes and sharp yellow teeth. The arms were next, four of them, the hands viciously clawed. The thick body appeared after that and the feet, two of them, last. As the monstrous thing heaved itself out of the gap, the ground closed, sealing the rift that had been created between the surface world and Underworld—the toxic realm filled with vicious, insanity-inducing creatures that devoured all they saw.
The stench emanating from the revenai was gag-worthy, and the poisonous drool dripping from its many mouths made the vegetation it touched wither and die. The body was black and red, striped like a tiger, and the spikes along its back quivered, ready to shoot out and pump venom into its victims. I was staring at an underworld demon, a nasty one that had no business existing on the surface world.
They could only be summoned, and I’ll give you one guess as to who had summoned it.
The revenai fixed its hundred eyes on me, and I gulped, wishing my mentor was here, or at least Enfernlo. I’ve never fought a demon before, and I honestly didn’t know where to begin. Their hides were tough, almost magick-proof, and they had excellent range with their poisonous spit and their venomous spikes.
It lunged at me, and one of its heads spat drool at me. I flung myself to the side and rolled, trying to kick-start my brain and body into battle mode. I had wished for something to unleash my pent-up frustration on… I really should be more careful what I wished for.
The revenai turned toward me, and an arrow flew through the air. It stuck in one of its eyes. The revenai roared, and swung its four arms toward Aishe. But the dialen was quicker and dodged out of the way, another arrow already singing through the air and puncturing another eye.
“Get up, Morgorth!” Aishe roared. “I can’t do this alone!”
I shook myself and prepared to unleash everything I had at the monster. I sucked in a breath and ran forward as the revenai tore at the arrows, its other hands tearing at the trees, sending them crashing around us. I weaved around them, flinging some out of my way with force, and others I sent right at the revenai’s feet. I had to find a weakness; every monster or creature had one. For payshthas like Enfernlo, it was the soft flesh of their stomach; the rest of their bodies were scaled. For truls it was their armpits because, again, the flesh was soft, and if punctured at the right angle, a blade could stab their heart.
The monster had to have one as well.
Their eyes were a good start, and I gave Aishe points for that. Thick blood dripped from its two ruined eyes, and I shot a lance of fire at one of its heads. It jerked back and drool flew everywhere, eating through everything it touched like acid. I snarled and aimed for the eyes as well but those arms were a problem. It swung its claws at me. I jumped then ducked before one hit me, sending me straight into a tree. I slammed hard, the air knocked out of me. But I managed to duck as it came back and attempted to rip my head off. I rolled away and gasped for breath, flinging up a protective shield as a fist came down. I slammed to the ground under the sheer strength and felt my bones creak, threatening to snap.
Someone roared, and the weight lifted. As the stars before my eyes faded, I looked over to see Aishe straddling the revenai’s wrist. He was stabbing it with a short sword and causing black, viscous blood to gush. I sucked in air and struggled to my feet just as Aishe leapt off the revenai. Another hand came to grab him. He ducked away and rolled. I kept on the opposite side of him, trying to divide the demon’s attention. Five heads were enough to deal with.
Aishe and I couldn’t keep this up, and I tore through my brain, trying to find a way that would end this conflict as fast and as bloodlessly as possible. But before I found a satisfying idea, the demon got a hold of Aishe. And proceeded to squeeze the life from his body. Fury—so intense I wondered why I didn’t explode—whirled through me as I created a blade of pure force. I flung it at the demon’s arm, cutting it cleanly in half. The monster bellowed and Aishe fell. More blood gushed.
Aishe didn’t move.
“Hey! Demon shit!” My magick amplified my voice. It turned to me, the lust for death in its eyes. “Follow me, if you have the guts!”
I ran deeper into the forest, hearing the lumbering beast close behind me. Fury gave me power and focus, and I used it. I was gasping for breath, my muscles burning, when I emerged at the river where only minutes before I’d seen Aishe naked. I ran along the bank, the revenai appearing seconds later. It came after me awkwardly, ripping up trees as it went. I swung around and churned the water, lifting it into the air. I flung it at the charging revenai. I continued to lash the monster with water, and it swung its hands around uselessly, becoming more enraged. When I’d soaked the demon sufficiently, I took a deep breath and blew it out, causing the water to freeze.
The revenai’s thrashing ceased, and the drool froze on its lips. I knew it wouldn’t hold, but maybe it would contain the thing long enough for me to find out what to do with it—and to find out if Aishe was even still alive. I ran around the large, frozen demon and nearly collided with the dialen as he emerged, whole, from the trashed forest.
I skidded to a halt, and my heart drummed in my chest, relief making me dizzy.
“Thank the Mother!” Before I could think better of it, I flung my arms around the dialen and hugged him hard. It lasted for about a second before I jerked back as if electrocuted. I grimaced, and Aishe looked shocked.
I took several steps back. “Sorry, I… You all right?”
He nodded, but I noticed he had his arm wrapped around his waist. “Nothing broken, I think. You?”
I shook my head. Aishe looked over my shoulder, and he smiled, big and wide. “Well look there, a revenai glacier.”
I chuckled and turned back, admiring my work. “Yeah, for as long as it lasts. Now, where to put him?”
“I think he’d like a volcano,” Aishe said, his smile dark.
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.