Dragon Time and Other Stories - Ruth Nestvold
Those things which are precious are saved only by sacrifice. - David Kenyon Webster (US Army Officer and Writer)

from the creative mind of Nebula Awards nominee Ruth Nestvold comes a collection of four notable stories of fantasy and magic:
* Dragon Time - stricken with grief over the death of his Queen, the dragon King has accidentally stopped time. Katja must attempt to fix time even if it is forbidden for a woman to do so.
* Wooing Ai Kyarem - summoned by her lord Kubai Kuyuk, Ai Kyarem must go to the city of Pakum and prove to him that not even his loyal adviser Nika of the Harding can best her in a wrestling match in order to win her hand in marriage
* To Act the Witch - pleading for her husband's recovery, the Queen's Alchemist Janna Childe seeks the help of actress and witch Brilliana Crowley. Brilliana must stop whoever is responsible for attempting to put an end to the Age of Magic.
* Princes and Priscilla - to save the kingdom from falling into the hands of King Rupert's cousin Denny, fairy godmother Fanny stages a trial for the hand of her godchild Princess Priscilla.
after reading a couple of pages of the first story, i felt that i had to slow down because i knew that i discovered another master wordsmith. more than three hours later, i was not proven wrong in savoring this well-written collection.
i love the old-world feel of the settings of the stories and how mundane everything appeared to be despite the fantasy and magical elements in each tale.
what connects all four are the presence of strong female characters who face their respective predicaments and triumph over them. moreover, each one had to sacrifice someone or something for the greater good without losing her dignity and integrity in the process.
i thoroughly enjoyed escaping into Ms. Nestvold's world and i highly recommend this anthology to fans of fantasy and magic who wish to make that journey as well.