Later, she would read that this was the central quality of a monster but for now, she was caught totally unaware. The beast in front of her opened its huge maw and inundated her with a hot blast of sulfur tinged breath. With her feet frozen to the rocky floor of the cave, she knew she was in mortal danger.
Thankfully the self-preservation gene inherited from her mother, chief slayer in her village, came to the forefront and prodded her reluctant feet into motion. Backing slowly out of the cave, never breaking eye contact with the monster’s single eye, she was able to gain the entrance of the cave.
Back in the safety of their hut, she began poring over the ancient scroll her mother provided. Never had she imagined such a magical document existed and she was so thankful her mother had finally deemed her ready to join the Guild of Slayers. Now all the secrets would be revealed and her days of gathering berries and hunting herbs with the other women were over. She was ready for adventure!
When Kayla informed her betrothed, Usul, of her upcoming initiation into the Guild his face lit up, he lifted his arms to the heavens and let out a long whoop, unexpected in a man of such sobriety.
“At last, you will begin your journey to greatness, destined to become our fiercest Slayer. I am afraid for your life with the danger you will face, but it is time, my little warrior, for you to fulfill the prophecy of our people”
The days flew by filled with studying the scrolls and learning the weapons for battle with the monsters. While they possessed great powers and represented a constant menace to her people she was heartened to learn of the one central weakness that the monsters all share. She had often wondered how her mother and other Guildsmen were able to face these creatures and come out victorious most of the time. It seemed an impossible task.
The puppy yelped when she stepped on its paw as he danced around her feet on the way to the waterfall. She knelt on the ground beside her best friend and massaged the paw, throwing in a quick belly rub as well. “Greta, I told you to stay home, but I’m glad that you’re coming with me anyway. Spending the night at the waterfall for my ritual cleansing before the ceremony tomorrow is making me nervous.”
It was a long walk to the sacred place and Kayla ended up carrying Greta for the last mile, the puppy becoming exhausted and sleepy. Finally, they reached the pathway that led up the side of the mountain to the cave located behind the waterfall. The sun glistened off the mist from the cascading water and the large circular pool at the bottom looked most inviting after their journey. First, though there was the climb to make up to the cave before a swim in the pool could be enjoyed. The path was steep and rocky and with Greta in her arms and the pack on her back, the climb was arduous.
She sat on the blanket she’d brought and munched on an apple while rubbing Greta’s ears. The scene was beautiful with the sun slowly sinking in the distance. Her hair was still damp from the swim and it was time to get a fire started before she caught a chill. Suddenly Greta lept to her feet, the hair standing up on her neck and a low puppy growl emanating from her throat.
The temperature dropped and her heart began racing as she heard a shuffling and snorting behind her. No, not here in the sacred cave! It couldn’t be, it wasn’t possible!
She rose carefully and turned to face the one-eyed beast lumbering toward her still down on its four clawed feet. She knew she had one chance to slay the beast and reached carefully into the pocket of her tunic. Clutching the Slayer Stone in her hand she drew back and aimed both the Stone and incantation at the hideous eye.