M.D. Grimm has a new MM fantasy book out, Stones of Power book 9 – Jade: First and Last.
Morgorth and Aishe must contend with a deadly threat that could spell disaster for their world.
Payshthas were the first of the Mother’s intelligent children. It is rare for true friendship to form between them and another species—which makes Morgorth’s bond with Enfernlo unique. And it is due to their friendship that Morgorth doesn’t hesitate to answer Enfernlo’s plea for help.
A thief has stolen something vital from Enfernlo’s colony—a stone of power.
Their hunt for the stone leads them to a war torn kingdom, and Aishe can hardly stomach what he sees. The devastation urges him to assist however he can, no matter the risk. Meanwhile, Morgorth is faced with reminders of the monster he used to be, and contemplates how far he’s come, and yet how far he still has to go. And when his estranged mentor joins them on their search, Morgorth is forced to confront his resentment and sense of betrayal, and use Master Ulezander as a tool to save the payshthas.
Forced into a deadly quest where trust is in short supply, and faced with challengers for the stone, Morgorth must put his faith in those he loves and in himself… and become a champion not just of the Mother but for Karishian itself.
Warnings: magic violence, dragon violence, war-torn country
About the Series:
Lord Morgorth is a dark mage on the planet Karishian. His peers consider him a villain, but there is more to him than they choose to understand. Cursed by a dark destiny and tormented by painful memories of the past, Morgorth struggles to find his place in the world. Far from innocent, Morgorth has teetered between embracing his destiny and fighting against it his entire life. A decision that is made easier when Aishe comes into his life.
Aishe is a creature of the forest, a warrior and healer. He has the moral compass that Morgorth needs, and Morgorth gives Aishe the companionship he craves. Together, they forge ahead, weathering the storms and fighting the enemies fate puts into their paths.
However, their greatest enemy is not a living being, but gemstones infused with deadly power. They are addictive, seductive, and completely treacherous. Morgorth hates them and is determined to find and imprison all of them. But he soon realizes they are keys to a greater power. He learns his destiny is not all he thought it was. And an even greater enemy stirs in the darkness.
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Morgorth snarled a word, and his magick speed shot him like an arrow into the tunnels. I followed in his wake, focusing on the eight gVattaren who were running away. The hard sand didn’t hinder us, and I caught up with their shorter strides. I shot two in the neck before those remaining reeled around and attacked. They cursed and squealed as their blades blinded me when the sun broke the horizon. I dropped my bow and grabbed my short sword.
With my own snarl, I barreled into them. My blade sang as I swung at their arms and heads while also dodging and swerving as they tried to stick me with their knives. The six surrounded me, and while a few broke through my defenses and slashed at my legs, their blades glanced off my armored clothing. It didn’t take long for the gVattaren to realize they couldn’t puncture through the cloth to my flesh.
One sneaky fellow sliced the back of my uncovered hand while another threw a blade at my face. I ducked and hissed at the sting on my hand. I cut off their arm while slashing at the one who’d flung the knife.
“What do you hope to accomplish?” I asked, spitting mad. “Do you not see the payshtha over there? He can burn you to a crisp in an instant!”
“Then why hasn’t he?” one of them said, voice raspy and filled with dark amusement.
I turned to the mocker and found an opening to kick them in the head. They dropped like a stone and the other five hissed and snarled.
“I’m not done having fun yet,” I said.
I trusted Morgorth to recover whatever they’d thrown into the tunnel as I gradually moved them farther away from the Jesllan. The small group was vicious and quick, fueled by rage. I would have been bleeding from many shallow wounds if Morgorth hadn’t enchanted my clothing. But then they surged toward me all at once, and one leapt upon my back, trying to stab my face. I gripped their wrist and twisted sharply. With a snap and a scream, they fell off me, dropping the blade. Unfortunately, with their other hand, the stabber grabbed my wrist and used their weight to force me to drop my sword arm. Then they clung and bit my hand, turning the previous slice into torn and mangled flesh that gushed blood.
I screamed, unable to shake them off.
I dropped my sword.
Seizing the opportunity, the other four attempted to saw their way through my clothing. They clung like leeches, and their combined weight made it hard for me to move.
“Get off me!” I punched at their heads with my free hand and struggled to keep my face beyond their reach.
“Close your eyes!” Enfernlo bellowed.
I snapped them shut an instant before hot air slammed into my back and engulfed me. The gVattaren shrieked in agony as the five spasmed against me. Then all the weight vanished, and it was silent except for the roar of the wind. Then that, too, dissipated.
I swayed and fell to one knee, panting. When I opened my eyes, I grimaced. The streaks of ash against the crystallized sand told me it hadn’t been hot wind, but payshtha fire. He’d disintegrated the gVattaren, just as I’d warned them he’d do.
Payshthas, like mages, could control their fire and who it harmed. To some extent, at least. But while mages needed to retain the connection to their fire, payshthas could direct it even when the bond was severed.
I tucked my mangled hand to my chest and grabbed my sword with the other. It was no worse for the wear, much to my relief. I turned and jolted. Enfernlo stood just behind, towering over me, his teeth bared, his eyes glimmering dark with rage. His wings were unfurled to their full span, and his posture reminded me of a striking snake or diving bird.
I was grateful my bowels didn’t betray me.
I turned and Morgorth engulfed me in his arms.
“Careful,” I said, grunting.
He jerked back and swept his gaze over me before focusing on my hand. His mouth twisted and his magick flared. “I’m sorry. Right after I retrieved that bomb they threw in, another group leapt out of the sand and attacked.”
I cupped his cheek with my good hand and met his gaze. “I’m all right.”
“Show me your hand,” Enfernlo said.
He no longer looked about to attack, and I breathed easier as I held out my hand. A gentle stream of fire blew out of his mouth and landed on my wound. It seeped into the torn flesh, glowed yellow, and then vanished. The pain stopped, my hand as good as new.
“Thank you.” I touched his snout.
Then I turned to Morgorth and cupped his cheek again. “And thank you for the clothes.”
He grunted. He covered my hand on his cheek and kissed my palm.
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.
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