Today I’m thrilled to celebrate the release of Storm Constantine’s latest Wraeththu Mythos novel with a guest post by her! The books in the original Wraeththu trilogy are among my favorite books of all time due to the beautiful writing, memorable characters, and the thoughtful examination of a world in which humanity was being replaced by a new androgynous people. While I haven’t yet gotten caught up on all these books, what I’ve read of the Wraeththu Histories are also excellent, and I was delighted to discover the Wraeththu Mythos stories about new characters: The Hienama, Student of Kyme, and now, The Moonshawl. The Moonshawl is out in paperback today, and it is simultaneously being released for the Kindle with a special promotional offer.
My new novel, ‘The Moonshawl’ is a stand alone story, written within the Wraeththu mythos. I wrote it with the intention that readers shouldn’t have to read all previous Wraeththu novels to enjoy and understand it, or any of the short stories. As long as the basic premise of the world is grasped, that’s enough.
Basic premise: Humanity have wantonly destroyed much of their planet and copious amounts of each other. On the brink of their utter demise, the first Wraeththu appear, initially regarded as street gang nuisances, later revealed to be the heralds of a new, androgynous race to replace humanity. But as Wraeththu originally derived from humanity, via a process called inception, they still carry within them the legacies of their ancestors. They must strive to overcome their failings and avoid making the same mistakes humanity made and also not pass on these outmoded traits to their offspring, the pureborns.
The beginning of Wraeththu was certainly no utopia. Hara – as Wraeththu are called – spawned into a ravaged world, where cities were falling to ruin, and human conflict added to the destruction, where voracious pandemics devoured populations. Even the earth seemed to be retching to rid herself of human bugs, through the natural catastrophes of eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis. Wraeththu emerged wild and crazy from this mess, in many ways superior physically and mentally to humanity, but in others prone to the same weaknesses. Among some tribes, their gifts were squandered in a lust for power and conquest. Humans had to be incepted young in order to survive althaia – the change to har – and many of these feral young creatures cared little for their environment or others. At first. Only a few were enlightened enough to grasp their own potential – and that of all other hara – and these were the individuals who gravitated together to form the Gelaming tribe, still regarded a century after Wraeththu’s arrival as the most pioneering and knowledgeable of all.
I didn’t have to look far to find inspirations for the Wraeththu stories. All around us we can see the rank stupidity of humans, in the destruction of the environment, insatiable hunger to consume, whatever the cost, inconceivable cruelty and brutality to others, and mindless conflicts that should surely never have survived longer than the playground. The antics of humanity, in fact, often resemble those of an immense pack of mean and greedy children let loose to do as they please. I’m not sure whether the situation is worse now than it was when I first began writing about the Wraeththu way back in the 80s. We have mass communication now, and the world is never offline, so information is gouting out at us all the time. Events are not so easily suppressed and hidden. Perhaps too I’m a more politically aware person than I was when I began writing these stories. But whatever the case, what I see about me now is the seed of the world from which Wraeththu arose. I try not to think about that too much, as the implications are terrifying. We were supposed to have some kind of Age of Aquarius weren’t we? – when humanity suddenly became enlightened and an era of peace would dawn. The opposite seems to have occurred. While there are, of course, angels among the beasts within the human race, with the majority of us being at worst ‘fairly harmless’, there is this rancid core, perhaps comprising only a minority, but a powerful one.
When I began writing in the world of Wraeththu, I was thinking, ‘let’s start again.’ Not with some mild, mealy-mouthed do-gooders, or some insipid, easily-attained Utopia, but with a burst of ungoverned potential. Wraeththu could have gone either way – that of the brutal tribes and a reversion to an extremely primitive civilization, or that of the Gelaming, where the gifts of enhanced faculties and bodies were appreciated and used to try and build a better world. In ‘The Moonshawl’ common sense has mostly become prevalent in the Wraeththu world, but there are still pockets of dark, and perhaps always will be.
‘The Moonshawl’ is primarily a ghost story, a mystery, but it is also about consequences and learning. One of Wraeththu’s greatest gifts is that of longevity, because they will live long enough to look back upon the landscape of their own past, learn from it, and then still have the vigour and energy to use that knowledge and experience to advance their world. Perhaps that is humanity’s most tragic failing; we don’t live long enough to become truly wise.
About The Moonshawl
Ysbryd Drwg… the bad ghost
Ysobi har Jesith embarks upon a job far from home, where his history isn’t known – a welcome freedom. Hired by Wyva, the phylarch of the Wyvachi tribe, Ysobi goes to Gwyllion to create a spiritual system based upon local folklore, but he soon discovers some of that folklore is out of bounds, taboo…
Secrets lurk in the soil of Gwyllion, and the old house Meadow Mynd, home of the Wyvachi leaders. The house and the land are haunted. The fields are soaked in blood and echo with the cries of those who were slaughtered there, almost a century ago. In Gwyllion, the past doesn’t go away, and the hara who live there cling to it, remembering still their human ancestors. Tribal families maintain ancient enmities, inspired by a horrific murder in the past.
Old hatreds and a thirst for vengeance have been awoken by the approaching feybraiha – coming of age – of Wvya’s son, Myvyen. If the harling is to survive, Ysobi must help him confront the past, lay the ghosts to rest and scour the tainted soil of malice. But the ysbryd drwg is strong, built of a century of resentment and evil thoughts. Is it too powerful, even for a scholarly hienama with Ysobi’s experience and skill?
The Moonshawl, an artefact of protection, was once fashioned to keep Wyvachi heirs from harm, but the threads are old and worn, the magic fading, and its sacred sites – which might empower it once more – are prohibited. Only by understanding what the shawl symbolises and how it once controlled the ysbryd drwg can Ysobi even attempt to prevent the terrible tragedy that looms to engulf the Wyvachi tribe.
‘The Moonshawl’ is a standalone story, set in the world of Storm Constantine’s ground-breaking, science fantasy Wraeththu mythos.