Genres: fantasy, romance | Pairings: male-male | Tropes: anti-hero, damaged hero | Tags: mage, warrior, other world, magic, fated love, battle | Books must be read in order!
Warnings: abusive childhood, violence, torture (sometimes off page, sometimes not), trauma
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.
Enter the world of “The Stones of Power.”
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?
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.
Every story has more than one point of view.
As the mate to the Dark Mage Morgorth, Aishe has learned a lot about magick, love, and himself. He tries to find a home with Morgorth, to be accepted into his world; to survive in a world full of magick, treachery and deception. But all the while he struggles to keep a secret about his past and their intertwined destinies. Despite all the obstacles thrown at both of them, Aishe is determined to stay by Morgorth’s side, no matter what the future brings – even if that future turns dark with death should Morgorth embrace his grim destiny.
But when Morgorth leaves with his mentor to collect another stone of power, Aishe is left behind. It is then that a surprise attack comes and Aishe, determined to protect and defend his new home, decides to take the invaders on by himself. It might prove to be too much for him to handle… especially when he learns the one who leads the invaders is a mage.
The third book in the “Stones of Power” series allows us a glimpse inside the mind of Lord Morgorth’s better half, a dialen named Aishe: his motivations, his personal sorrows, and his struggle to find a place to call home.
Time travel. For mages, it violates their number one rule: what the Mother has written, let no one unwrite. The Mother writes the destinies of the creatures on the world of Karishian. If her writings were undone, it is feared that Creation itself could be undone. The Dark Mage Morgorth takes this rule to heart, but there are others who do not.
Morgorth is about to claim a stone of power when it is stolen from him by a female mage he hasn't seen in decades. As they struggle for the stone, she activates it, and Morgorth is unwillingly plunged into another time and another place. It isn't long before he realizes what time he's found himself in and there are a few familiar faces.
Most notable is a much younger version of Aishe. His mate.
Living with a tribe who will be massacred, caring for a young lad who will become his mate, and fighting a battle against a mage who can travel from past to future at a whim; Morgorth's life has never been easy but now he must contend with the will of the Mother. Unable to change the future and the tragedies of Aishe's life, he must decide what his role in his mate's past will be, and ask himself one vital question: how does one defeat time?
Those words often invoke a sense of love and comfort. But for the dark mage Morgorth, they mean hate and pain. As the seventh son of a seventh son, many believe Morgorth’s destiny is to become the Destroyer. His father embraced such a future and trained Morgorth through torture and fear to become his weapon. Morgorth managed to escape his father’s cruelty, but not the nightmares that still haunt him. For many years he’s lived with the stain of his father’s savagery, but now he must confront his nightmares head-on.
His father has found a stone of power.
Morgorth must return to his land of birth, to the memories he’s tried his entire life to suppress. Aishe is determined to help Morgorth defeat his inner demons, but he knows he might not be enough to save Morgorth from embracing his darkness. They know it will be a fight to the death and know Morgorth won’t be the same if he survives. With Aishe by his side, Morgorth hunts for his father, and finds answers to questions he never dared to ask—and must live with the truths they reveal.
Lord Morgorth is haunted by dreams of his father. Although Morgorth killed him, his father's presence and brutality won't completely die. But now he has more to worry about—in the form of the Council of Mages' inquiry into the duel between Morgorth and an elder of the council. Morgorth expects sabotage and prepares accordingly. He fears for Aishe's life, knowing that the best way to sabotage the inquiry is to eliminate the witnesses. He sets into motion a desperate plan that, though it will protect Aishe, could put a strain on their relationship not easily removed.
Yet the true danger lurks unseen, and it will take all of Morgorth's skill, strength, and devotion to Aishe, to save his mate from the hold of a foe Morgorth has yet to tangle with: a dream demon. Now Morgorth must throw aside caution, restraint, and fear if he is to save the one most dear to him. He must call upon the power of the one thing he hates more than even his father: a stone of power.
But even if he manages to save Aishe, his mate's experiences in Dreamworld—at the mercy of the dream demon—have changed him forever and could shatter their bond irrevocably.
A bond they thought couldn’t be broken...
Lord Morgorth, Dark Mage of the North, has never felt so far away from his precious mate as he does now. Still reeling from the events of a month before, Aishe struggles to come to grips with what the dream demon did to him while pretending to be Morgorth. For his part, Morgorth is haunted by the chilling vision the Mother sent him while he traversed Dreamworld—a vision where he kills the one most precious to him. Due to that knowledge, he knows he must choose his magick or his mate.
A choice with devastating consequences...
When Morgorth goes missing, Aishe must search for him, frightened that he has lost his mage forever. In his heart he knows they were meant for each other and refuses to allow his own horrid memories to tear them apart. But when he finds Morgorth he is stunned to realize that Morgorth doesn’t remember him. In fact, in Morgorth’s mind, he is a young lad named Lazur.
Sometimes the most well-known truth is the greatest lie...
For his entire life, Morgorth always knew his destiny was to become the Destroyer of his home world. His birthright as the third seventh son of a seventh son guaranteed such an outcome. Everyone told him so—except his mentor, Master Ulezander. Morgorth will learn that his mentor has been keeping the greatest secret of all: his true destiny.
I knelt on the floor in front of a large bowl of cream, freshly churned that day. After lowering my head until my chin touched my chest, I lifted my sigil-covered hands palms up. The summoning sigils had been made with black ink, standing out starkly against my pale skin. I closed my eyes, and since I’d memorized the ancient words to chant, I repeated them now. They slipped out, winding around my tongue and charging the air. The familiar burn of my magick flowed out of my core and through my veins, lighting up my insides. I never paused in the recitation, not even when I breathed. If I did, it would be considered rude, and the creatures of the summoning might decide I wasn’t worth their attention.
My magick, infused with the ancient words, pulsed in the room before sinking below the floorboards, into the ground, deeper into toxic Underworld.
I vaguely noted the heavy breathing of my brother, Olyvre, while Lyli, his daughter, made little squeaky noises of excitement. Of Aishe, there was nothing. Not surprising. He didn’t make many sounds these days—either with words or simple footsteps. He seemed to have withdrawn from existing.
Feeling my focus waver, I snapped back and infused the words with more magick, hardening my resolve. The krattyie would protect my brother and Lyli if I did this right. They might have been demons of Underworld but they were the benevolent kind. If treated with respect and given lots of cream, they would protect a home, property, and all those who lived and worked there. As a result, my brother and his daughter would be safe as would those who worked for Olyvre on his acres of farmland. It was one of the main reasons he’d agreed to the summoning. He would never seek protection for himself, but for those he loved? He would do anything.
When my magick and words touched something, I kept the touch persuasive and coaxing—a humble request, nota demand. One never demanded anything from the beings of Underworld, not unless one was certain they were stronger than the creatures. Sure, I might have been stronger than the krattyie but I wanted their trust, and I needed them to accept Olyvre as their patron if this was going to work. I couldn’t watch my brother all the time, and after the events of the inquiry several weeks before, I could not deny that everyone I loved desperately needed protection.
I opened my eyes when I sensed otherin Olyvre’s house. Lyli giggled and something tittered faintly back. Krattyie adored children, and Lyli was the sort to walk up to a strange animal and try to pet it.
I peered around the room, still chanting, still pulsing with magick. Shadows flickered at the corner of my eyes, sneaking around the furniture, soft sniggers accompanying the movements.
Then I said the final line of the chant. A question.
Will you accept?
The answer was a playful flick to my hair…a gesture Aishe used to do. Shoving aside the longing for his touch, I hardened my focus once more and nodded.
I stopped chanting and pulled the magick back into my core. The pulsing in the room faded with it, although the krattyie stayed. I stood, wincing at my stiff legs. How long had I knelt there? Didn’t matter.
“Follow my lead,” I said, my voice hoarse.
“Lyli.” Olyvre held out his hand and Lyli took it dutifully.
I bowed with my right foot forward, toes pointed. I tucked my left arm behind my back while extending my right, palm up in both offering and gratitude. The others followed my actions, and when I considered the bowl of cream in front of me, I noticed flickering shadows crowding around it. I counted five. A good number. They might be small but they were fierce and their loyalty was absolute. They would guard this house and its occupants forever as long as they received the respect they deserved and as much cream as they could guzzle.
When the cream was gone we all straightened.
I smiled at Olyvre and nodded. “Just follow the instructions I gave you and you’ll be fine.”
Lyli dashed over to where one of the shadows wavered and giggled as it danced away. It laughed with her. She chased the krattyie and they howled like loons. Olyvre watched with a soft, indulgent smile.
We’d stayed with Olyvre last night, and I’d hoped the change in scenery would open Aishe up. Lighten the tension that stiffened his body. So far it wasn’t working. I focused on him now, allowing myself to really look at him. He still appeared pensive, troubled, distant.
So very distant.
Lyli’s antics didn’t even produce a smile, although his eyes did soften and warm. That was something. We’d been doing relatively well for a week or two after the entire inquiry and dream demon debacle. Then he’d started to close up. Shut me out. And I didn’t know what in the Mother’s name to do or say to open him again. I was flailing in the dark without a light to guide me. Aishe was my light and he was dim and indistinct now.
“I hope you can stay.” Olyvre picked up the empty bowl and regarded both of us. “I know summoning the krattyie was your reason for coming but… stay, at least for another day. I know Lyli would like you to. So would I.”
I tried to meet Aishe’s eyes but he wouldn’t allow it. I swallowed the frustration that was becoming all too familiar, and the darker sensation of impending doom. “Sure. We can do that. Nothing presses us to leave.”
“Perfect.” He smiled and touched my arm lightly. “I have to get supper ready. Why don’t you—?”
“It’s cloudy, Daddy!” Lyli said and ran over. “I want to watch the cloud creatures.”
“Why don’t you take your uncle with you?”
Panic tightened my gut as I threw Olyvre a glare. “I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
“Please?” Lyli grabbed my hand, hanging onto it with all her weight.
I staggered at the attack before gazing down into big brown eyes that reminded me of Grekel’s pups. Wichtln puppies were as cute and adorable as the adults were fierce and bloodthirsty. Despite Olyvre’s fair looks, Lyli was darker of skin and hair and eyes. Either from her mother—who was deceased—or from the other side of Olyvre’s blood. He was fair like our mother, but our father and the rest of our brothers were dark.
Aishe watched us, silent. He wasn’t going to save me. Why did I think he would? He hadn’t spoken much to me in weeks.
“I don’t even know what we’ll be doing.”
“Watching cloud creatures!” Lyli said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
I pleaded with Olyvre with my eyes. “Why are you doing this to me?”
He grinned, eyes sparkling. “You need it.”
“Come on!” Lyli was stronger than she appeared, and with a determined tug had me stumbling out the front door.
About the author:
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.