Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

#WorkInProgress #Wednesday! :-)

Hey Everyone!! :-)

It's Wednesday again, so time for another peek at what I'm working on. :-)  Today, I thought I'd share with you a glimpse at part of the world where Petri lives.

The hives were something of a curiosity. Those that had been abandoned were often used as tourist attractions by enterprising underworlders to entertain adventurous Upworld citizens who enjoyed the strange and macabre. But all sane individuals avoided hives that were active until the houses could organize a hive-burning.

The Janus wasps, also known as JWs, were a doomsday cult. The adherents of the cult were required to separate themselves from any non-believing family members and dedicate themselves to Janus. They marked themselves with unfashionably conservative grooming and clothing, but sometimes they still managed to blend into crowds long enough to ensnare the unwary.

The beliefs of the cult centered around Janus, the two-faced god of beginnings and endings, who they believed was on the cusp of bringing an end to human suffering and lifting his wasps up to paradise. But, in order to motivate their God to action, the JWs believed they needed to convince him that the world was sufficiently bad to require a new beginning. In order to prove that there was too much pain in the world for the faithful to endure, they placed human sacrifices on the altar of Janus and cut out their still-beating hearts. They hoped that the pain of their victims would attract the God's attention. Some of those who were sacrificed were volunteers from among the faithful, but many were people who blundered into the clutches of the cult.

The houses were pretty ruthless in their suppression of the wasps because their indiscriminate selection of victims was bad for business. But, somehow, they never quite managed to eradicate the cult entirely. Petri believed that might have something to do with the fact that JWs were happy to take commissions for who they should sacrifice, and, as paid assassins went, they were relatively inexpensive. Something the houses were not above taking advantage of when it suited their purposes. However, the containment efforts by the houses did force cult members to be somewhat circumspect in their activities.

Normally, once a hive became large enough to be noticed, the houses would organize a hive-burning. The purpose of these was to kill the cult members without damaging the structure that housed the hive or the furnishings within. The more authentic a hive was, the more the rubes would pay to tour it. Therefore, the "burning" of a hive was figurative.

House enforcers and, sometimes, freelance mercenaries were sent into the hive to kill or capture all the members of the cult. This was always done with as much secrecy as the houses could manage because the JWs had the tendency to set off explosives if given the opportunity. Even when the burning party was successful in preventing the wasps from obliterating their hive, they still defended themselves ferociously.

Any victims who had yet to be murdered would be sacrificed by the high priest on-the-spot, and the rest of the JWs would fight to their dying breath to protect the ritual from the burning party. Once all of the sacrifices were complete, the remaining wasps would commit suicide. There were rumors that the JWs even practiced for such eventualities, running drills among themselves on a regular basis.

Wasps who the burning party managed to take alive, and bodies that weren't too old or damaged, were generally turned over to the grinders for processing. However, occasionally, the houses would take a particularly attractive or distinctive individual to be used for other purposes. No one who had ever been a JW, or at least none who had ever been identified as a JW, would ever be allowed to assimilate back into society. They were considered too dangerous.

The Janus wasps only existed in Under City. The surveillance in Upworld was sufficient to detect any hint of the cult before they could establish themselves, and the Upworld government was much more thorough in their suppression of the wasps. However, occasionally, an Upworld citizen would be seduced into joining the cult. If they weren't killed in the raid, and if they didn't commit suicide, the houses would turn them over to the Upworld government to be dealt with. In such rare cases, unless the person's family was extraordinarily influential, they were just disposed of quietly.

Wow, sounds pretty extreme, doesn't it?  It's a good thing Petri is fast and clever.  I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to finding out how she deals with dangers like this.   Thanks for stopping by today, and don't forget to drop by tomorrow for the latest in Mistral Dawn's Musings! :-)


  1. I read this wonderful book myself and it was very fasinating..a must read