In the world of A Drop of Venom, the floating mountains hover high above, casting their heavenly shadow upon the kingdom below. Once believed to be the home to an ancient race, these mountains now house the greatest temple in the realm. The floating temple is unreachable except by flight on the backs of the mayura—giant fire-breathing peacocks—and, by decree of the King, only carefully selected patrons are allowed to visit. On these holy grounds, a group of celestial maidens—known as the apsara—tend to the sacred temple and all those who are granted access. Among these priestesses is a snake in celestial clothing: a quiet refugee and a survivor of the Fire Wars who hides in plain sight waiting for the time when her sisters come for her. While the horrors of war are but haunting nightmares, she knows war is far from over.
Introducing Manisha. The youngest of three sisters, the future queen of serpents, and a nagin with venom for blood. Today, Manisha will play a little game we call “10 Things I’d Never do as a Temple Priestess.” The rules are simple: list ten things you would never do as a temple priestess.
Manisha: We’re not allowed to play games at the temple, as they’re frowned upon, and proper girls are always busy working. But . . . perhaps I’m not as proper as they’d like me to be, so here are my top ten:
• The mayura are the only way on and off the floating mountains, and I would never steal one to escape…they’re quite temperamental. Which brings me to . . .
• I would never attempt to flee the floating mountains . . . without a mayura rider.
• I would never gaze into the eyes of a boy . . . except the one.
• I would never reveal my heritage . . . even to the boy who loves me.
• I would never scale the walls of the temple . . . and be seen.
• I would never wear my family’s bangle . . . outside of my room.
• I would never approach the holiest of places . . . unless the shadow door calls my name.
• I would never practice with weapons . . . if others are around.
• I would never cross the second-in-command . . . without bracing for punishment.
• I would never plot revenge against the King should he visit . . . at least, not aloud.
Want to learn more about Manisha? A Drop of Venom hits stores 1/16!