A lot of slayers have told me how lucky I am to have found out so early. It has its advantages but the problem is that a five year old slayer is still a five year old. I remember very little of what I was taught then. Several things had to be explained to me again later – a few of them more than once.
There is one thing though that I remember as clearly as if it were yesterday; meeting the Mistress. Now, understand, not all slayers ever meet her. Some, oddly enough, don’t want to and others just don’t ever get the chance. Nyota had traveled around the world just for the opportunity and as it turned out, I was lucky enough to live just a little more than a hundred miles from her home.
Mama says she came a few days later. Nyota had called her from our house and told her about me. She told Nyota to stay with us and that she’d come to our house. I’m kinda glad I was only five – I’d have died if I’d realized then what an honor that was.
It was mid-morning and Nyota and I were waiting in the parlor. Mama made us – Nyota was almost as antsy as I was. We both jumped when the knock came at the door. Daddy answered it – it was pure torture having to wait for him to bring her in. Then suddenly, there she was. I ran to her as if she were my best friend. She scooped me up and smiled at me. I was the happiest I’d ever been – up until then, I mean.
I know that makes no sense to those who aren’t slayers. Being a slayer means we have a lot of power and to control that power we have a lot of instinctive talents, like being able to recognize a creature even in human form or being able to sense them even when we can’t see them.
Right now, white – that’s the good guys, I guess you’d say – has a female head. She has a lot of different names and titles, almost one from each culture. The one she prefers is ‘true born daughter of the night’ but the one most of us use is ‘mistress of the night’ although some use ‘mistress of the hunt’ instead. Anyway, just as it’s instinctive for us to react certain ways to creatures, we also have instinctive reactions to her. Those of us who are white usually crave her presence when we get close enough to her. Some of us will crave it enough to travel to meet her, like Nyota did. Some find that scary and actually avoid her – which still sounds weird to me but I know a couple slayers like that so I know its true. All of us respect her – it’s kinda like her birthright.
Slayers can obey her commands almost as instinctively as creatures do but with a big difference: slayers don’t have to obey her – creatures do. When she’s around we become even more powerful than we are normally. Maybe that’s part of the instinctive attraction. Whatever it is, most of us would chose to meet her over our favorite rock star. It’s a really big deal for us.
Here I was, in her arms and I haven’t even emerged yet! I have to admit, that does make me one incredibly lucky slayer. And I can still remember everything so clearly. She introduced herself to my family and to Nyota then sat down with me on the couch. Mama went to get tea for everyone and the Mistress turned to talk to Nyota. She bounced me on her knee while chatting with Nyota. It was funny – Nyota is so elegant and poised but she was blathering like a school girl. I learned much later that that’s kinda normal on a first meeting – the Mistress didn’t seem to mind at all.
Everyone asks what she looked like. She’s about average height with brown hair and hazel eyes. To us, she’s gorgeous, but most other people describe her as pretty enough but kinda average. She had her hair up in a pony tail and was wearing a nice blouse to go with her jeans. She had on riding boots and smelled like she’d been horseback riding that morning – in other words. wonderful.
Once Mama got back and settled, the conversation turned to me. The Mistress still had me in her lap and she tousled my hair as she spoke, "No, she hasn’t emerged, I’m sure of that. The wolf probably just got close enough to sense her. Nyota and I will make sure there aren’t any more around this evening but I honestly don’t think there are."
"So, will other… wolves.. sense her?" Mama asked tentatively. From Mama’s point of view the whole thing was surreal so it was taking her some time and effort to come to grips with it.
If the Mistress noticed, she didn’t let it show, "No, at this stage a creature would have to get very close to realize she is a slayer. There’s a pack in new Orleans and that one was probably from it. I think it was just happenstance but I will make sure."
"What do we need… I mean, to raise her… I mean, what will she need?" Daddy stammered as he sometimes does when he’s anxious.
She smiled, "You won’t have to worry about that. She won’t emerge for another ten years or so. There’s no special training or education that she needs that can’t wait until then. She’ll likely have questions much earlier than a normal slayer…" The Mistress turned to Nyota, "I know it’s inconvenient but I think you would be the best choice for her guide…"
Nyota smiled back, "I am honored."
The Mistress nodded and turned back to my parents, "Nyota will stay in touch and be able to answer Crystal’s questions as they arise. You’re more than welcome to call me but my schedule tends to be insane so it could be a long while before I respond."
"We appreciate that." Mama said in a strange tone of voice. I had looked up at the mention of my name. Now I looked around at Mama. She didn’t seem happy. I remember wondering why. "The way Nyota was talking we thought you were a queen or something… no offense."
"None taken. No, I’m not a queen or anything like that. Forget the titles and nonsense – I just have an important if weird job to do, that’s all. Your little one here will probably never react so strongly to me again; most slayers don’t after meeting me the first time. They can’t help that – it’s part of the price they pay for possessing so much power."
Daddy fumbled with his pipe, "What about the other night? Will things like tha start to happen and how do we protect her if they do?"
The mistress shook her head, "Creatures won’t be attracted to her until just before she emerges and by then she will be more than able to protect herself. Slayers have a sixth sense about where they need to be and when they need to be there. They don’t usually realize it but they will often arrange schedules or travel or whatnot so that they end up where they need to be when a creature appears. It’s not coincidental that Nyota was here to deal with that wolf. If they’re needed, a slayer will usually show up."
Daddy made a funny noise, "I’ve never even heard of all this and these people are just going to show up as needed when no one has ever seen them before."
The Mistress smiled, "You have met slayers before. They’re far more common than you think. Crystal and Nyota are probably the only true slayers you’ve seen but there are other slayers and you’ve most certainly seen them before."
"Then she is a true slayer, Mistress?" Nyota asked.
"Most definitely. And from what you told me, I strongly suspect she’s a sword singer. That is probably how she knew about the broken spear."
"Gunda." I told her.
"Hmm?" she looked at me.
"His name is Gunda." I informed her. "He got hurt but Nyota promised to get him fixed."
She nodded as she hugged me, "I’m sure she will, very soon." She turned to my parents, "Oh yeah, she’s a sword singer, without a doubt…"
Mama looked crestfallen, "And I tried so hard to keep her from playing with knives…"