The Nature Of Things
A Slayer is a weapon. A sharp blade to slide into the
enemy, to spill the blood from one and then move onto
the next. To pierce dead hearts with stakes and to
throw the correct magical dagger with the necessary
level of accuracy.
A gun is useless if without bullets.
Without ammunition, there is at first deterrence, but
once the secret is out - and secrets always find ways
to spread, it's in their nature - all you have is cold
metal, empty form.
One girl in all the world. One. One weapon, one
But not one saviour, and certainly not one defence.
There are the others; the ones without the strength or
the speed, who bring death in other, less polite ways.
They are as old as the Slayers. Older.
(form - legato)
When the first girl to have the powers stood up on the
beach and drove a branch through the chest of one of
the demons she was not alone. The medicine-woman, who
knew from her mother and from her mother before her
how to mix the potions and recite the words, was
there. She stood on the dunes and watched as something
new was born, as a human fought back in single combat
with the beasts.
She had brought this girl into being.
She had sat in front of the flames, eyes wide,
chanting past the hours, over and over. Reciting and
calling and pleading till her throat was rough and
threatened to close up with each repitition. This was
the spell her grandmother had tried, the one that had
never worked for anyone. For as long as the
tribe-memory had existed, the words had never been
enough. The stars were never right, or the sun was
unhappy or the moon just wasn't paying attention -
always some excuse for the failure everyone knew to be
But she had tried, going into the trance for hours,
calling out to anything that was willing to listen.
She had run the knife along her arm, the edge drawing
her blood into the fire, merging the two elements like
sand and water. Making something new.
She watched. She watched the dark places as she had
been taught to, she watched the tribe as they slept,
to keep them safe from the things that stalked them in
the night. She watched and she waited for the one with
the stronger blood to arrive.
She watched the girl on the beach, racing along the
sand with a speed her kind should never have had.
There was no pride from watching this incarnation of
the magic, because she knew that soon the girl would
die, and she would have to make another.
But before the girl was taken others would not be. A
sacrifice to the dark ones, something for them to hunt
instead of the children.
And when the girl was tired and the monster was dead
she walked down from the dunes towards the shore,
where the girl lay in shallow water, crying.
And she knelt next to her creation, wiped the
saltwater from wide eyes with sandy fingers. She ran
careful hands over the muscles that had formed under
dark skin and saw that it was good. Better than any of
the humans, as good as any of the beasts. A hybrid,
though the word did not yet exist and it wasn't really
true. There would be a price for this later, but for
now the tribe had the weapon that it needed. They
could be safe.
The girl was restless, young. She wanted to run and
swim and mate and hunt. The woman watched her as she
ran along the beach, faster each morning, and wondered
how long this new creature would survive.
The demons learned to fear this strange new human, the
female who took their hearts with her fingers, tearing
them from empty chests. They called her the Slayer, a
myth as old as they were.
And watch out for that one, the one who watches. She
brought the girl here, she made her to fight us. She
The woman taught the girl where to aim the stakes, how
to throw the spears. Taught her how to race faster
than a lion and pull it down, holding its mane as it
struggled against the riverwater that filled its
lungs. The woman told her about the dark places, how
to tell what demons came from where, how to destroy
But the girl could never learn these last things. And
with this the woman realised that the girl could never
fight alone. This was part of the sacrifice. So the
woman stood and watched as the girl ran and jumped and
fought. She watched the monsters, calling to the air
and the stars to bring her magics. She was the arm
that threw the spear. She was the one the demons
called the Watcher.
She chose from the tribe a servant, because her own
daughter was yet too young to learn about the dark
places, not yet touched by the protective blood. So
she went among the people and she asked the gods to
find the one she needed. They gave her an orphan-boy,
showed her that he had skill in the wrong sort of
body. This was fixable, said the air, and showed her
So when the moon was fat and round she took him onto
the dunes and cut his hand, rubbing her blood into
his. She made him whole, let him see the darkness. And
then she sat him down by the fire and taught him how
to call the spirits, named the demons for him.
She had two now, the dagger and the cauldron. She
taught one to kill and one to watch, each to protect
the other. When her own child was old enough to learn
she sent the cauldron off into the desert to help the
other tribes. Their strength lay in their numbers,
using words to keep out the darkness. They could
defend even if they could not attack, the knowledge
that they used to guide the Slayer could be used to
guard those that the girl could not reach.
She was watching when her creation was destroyed.
The girl was slower now, too assured of victory. Her
throat was taken by a demon as the sun appeared on the
horizon, death arriving with the dawn.
The woman took the empty Slayer and burned her, using
the ashes to call a new spirit forward. There would be
another, and another after her. All of them the girl
who had fought on the beach and fallen into the waves.
Each one formed from the ashes of the one before, each
Slayer an aspect of the first.
And the woman would watch over each of them, because
her blood ran in them all.