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July 21 , 2007



Gefnen – troll-herald and hound for Koschey the Deathless – hunts life across the moors of the far north.

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Not deer, not pheasant, not meat for the table. His master eats choicer fruits When the piercing scent of youth tingles his senses, Gefnen focuses his chase. The prey – a boy – lacks guardians strong enough to best a troll. Swift triumph awaits.


But other seekers tilt the chances of this game. Spirit of storm, poignant memories of a sea-prince, and something more ancient than memory or the wind shape the looming tumult.


Gefnen hunts victory, but a darker victory hunts him.





“...almost “Tolkienesque”...the stories feel like they’re happening on the Earth we know, but long before our recorded history... [Star-drake] has a deep sense of importance to it, of destiny...written very much in a storyteller’s fashion, you can imagine it being told around a campfire in the snows of the North, but it has a satisfying sort of weight... All in all, these are wonderful stories... Ney-Grimm’s unique blend of Nordic fantasy and fairy tale mentality is a refreshing take on the genre.” – James J. Parsons, Speaking to the Eyes





On horseback, Gefnen inhaled, long and lingeringly. He could smell them – his prey – somewhere ahead, warm and live and vibrant.


My lord Koschey will be pleased with this catch.


Pure and piercing amongst the scents of the elders came the perfume of the young one. Gefnen would secure him first, then the others as chance permitted. But Koschey's deathless essence would expand threefold on the boy's vitality alone.


Gefnen glanced at the star patterns in the black sky.


Moonrise would come before he reached the travelers' camp, but no matter. His troll blood gave him an advantage in the dimness of starshine, mapping his surroundings by smell alone, while his human foes blundered in the dark. But they were little better under lunar light. And they would not be expecting him.


He felt his lips stretch in a not-smile, their dry surfaces cracking at the center points, oozing fluid. His sweeping tongue caught the droplets before they stained his chin. Slightly salt, strongly metallic.


He frowned.





J.M. Ney-Grimm lives with her husband and children in Virginia, just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She's learning about permaculture gardening and debunking popular myths about food. The rest of the time she reads Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, and Lois McMaster Bujold, plays boardgames like Settlers of Catan, rears her twins, and writes stories set in her troll-infested North-lands.

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