Wolfram Library Special Archive: The Slayers

Constanza DeMitri
Born: 1487 CE
Called: 1501 CE
Died: 1506 CE
Area of Activity: Italy

The daughter of mildly but not ostentatiously wealthy merchants, Constanza came into her own at the tender age of 14, and was duly removed by the Council and placed in the care of none other than Leonardo da Vinci, joining him in the city of Florence and in his occasional travels beyond - circumstances which were far from coincidental. The two soon discovered that they were kindred souls, and Constanza even began working alongside Leonardo in his workshop, giving rise to subtle and typically discounted - yet all too true - rumors that he had a girl disguised as a boy for an apprentice. The two eventually grew so close that, when the time of Constanza's Cruciamentum came, he could not bear to push forward with the trial, and attempted to flee with her on the eve of her eighteenth birthday. Though they managed to evade the Council's agents for some time, they were eventually apprehended; Constanza faced and met her death, while Leonardo was summarily dismissed.

Mary Henrietta Holmes
Born: 1861 CE
Called: 1875 CE
Died: 1891 CE
Area of Activity: Edinburgh, Scotland

Born to minor and thoroughly impoverished British nobles living just south of the Scottish border, Mary Holmes was identified as a potential Slayer at the age of six, at which time a generous stipend from the Watchers Council convinced her parents to give her unto their care. After a fairly cold and loveless childhood filled with intense training, Mary was called as the one Slayer at the age of fourteen, and immediately assigned as the charge of one Dr. Joseph Bell, an instructor at the University of Edinburgh possessed of great analytical and deductive skills -- in fact, the very man who would later be cited by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself as one of the principal inspirations for the famed fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Dr. Bell took a somewhat warmer approach toward Mary; though stern and disciplined, he did care for her, and took her under his wing in many respects. From the day they met, he began to teach her to note and extrapolate from the finest details, and under his tutelage, the young girl demonstrated a keen intellect. Barely a year into her career as a Slayer, at the age of fifteen, she found herself assisting him in the education of young Watchers who sought to learn his methods. The Council was uneasy with Mary's exercise of her intellect, to say the least, but Dr. Bell held a good deal of influence and she performed her duties with distinction, so no concrete objections could be raised.

Passing her Cruciamentum with flying colors, Mary went on to become one of the longest-lived Slayers in history, very nearly reaching her thirtieth birthday. Not long before the occasion, however, she identified and set out in pursuit of an individual who appeared to be bringing order to the demon population and the human underworld of Edinburgh, striking against innocent citizens and engaging in gross acts of extortion, violence, and thievery. In the company of Joseph Bell's old student and her good friend, Arthur Conan Doyle, she raced the fiend to Reichenbach Falls, where she was separated from her companion and ultimately slain. The fate -- and the identity -- of her foe remain a mystery to this day, though some Watchers have argued that she faced a real-life Moriarty that morning at Reichenbach, and Conan Doyle's story of his detective's fall gives the truest version of events they're ever likely to see. Those Watchers with an appreciation of Sherlockiana even go on to suggest that Sherlock Holmes' triumphant return and the stories that followed were based upon the Slayer that followed, Violet Lucille Harker, who was Conan Doyle's own charge; and that this explains why the fictional Holmes was never quite the same man. Of course, there are such differences between the careers of Mary Holmes and Violet Harker and the work of Sherlock Holmes, a work that bears no resemblance at all to the duties of the Slayer, that most receive such theories with nothing but contempt and ready dismissal.

Sadie Birnbaum/Sarah Houdini
Born: 1899 CE
Called: 1912 CE
Died: 1918 CE
Area of Activity: Various (touring with Harry Houdini)

An orphan child first called at the age of 12, Sadie Birnbaum had the good fortune to be taken in by the young Watcher and skilled illusionist and escape artist known to the world as Harry Houdini - and he and his wife were ultimately so taken with the girl that they secretly, and perhaps more in word than in law, adopted her, even changing her name to Sarah and introducing her as their daughter to truly close friends who could be trusted to respect their privacy. Beneath Houdini's tutelage, Sarah became an escape artist nearly as skilled as her famous adopted father, her natural talents even enabling her to surpass him under the proper circumstances. Her learned skills served her well when the time came for her Cruciamentum - but tragically, in the year that followed, her young life was cut short when she and Houdini went up against the infamous Drusilla and Spike, who were at that time posing as a medium and her companion. Fortunately, she was only killed, not turned, but the incident would lead to Houdini's estrangement and ultimate resignation from the Council, as well as several decidedly bitter and still secret exchanges with his mentor as a Watcher, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Rachel O'Connor
Born: 1917 CE
Called: 1933 CE
Died: 1937 CE
Area of Activity: New York City, New York

Orphaned only a few years before she was called, Rachel O'Connor became uniquely focused on the care and protection of her two younger siblings, Liam and Kathleen. When her abilities did make themselves manifest, she used them exclusively toward that end, simply not knowing any better - and then, one day, her brother and sister were accosted by a vampire in a dark alley, and the Slayer came into her own. A chance encounter with Lawrence Granger-Smith, the Watcher sent to find her, followed shortly after that, and Rachel was given a whole new purpose. Even so, she never forgot her original destiny, and all but blackmailed her Watcher into moving Liam and Kathleen in with his family in Boston and ensuring their care and education. As the years progressed and World War II loomed, Rachel grew somewhat more independent from her Watcher and became involved in covert operations connected with the threat of the Third Reich. It was during these years that she finally met her end, but her legacy lives on: Liam and Kathleen both survived to adulthood, and Liam went on to marry and father three daughters, including Maeve O'Connor. Thus, though they were sadly never able to meet, Rachel is a great aunt to Taryn Maddock and her siblings. (Rachael was originally inspired by Tales of the Slayers: Broken Bottle of Djinn, but has been somewhat altered and expanded to better fit into the Greyverse and the Maddock family history, particularly in light of my personal aversion to reusing even the most common of prominent characters' surnames out of sheer coincidence. -A.)

Melody Cameron Bannister
Born: 1969 CE
Called: 1988 CE
Died: 1992 CE
Area of Activity: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Melody Bannister was called to her destiny at an unusually late point in her life, just as she was about to begin her studies at the University of Philadelphia. Her Watcher, Nigel Hampton Pierce, was less than a decade her senior, only recently assigned to field duty and never intended to act as a Slayer's Watcher. His assignment was to seek out the new Potential Slayer located by the Council's intelligence network and train her as best he could, this despite the fact that an eighteen-year-old was unlikely to have the power of the Slayer bestowed upon her - in fact, the low likelihood of that event was probably precisely why such a young, brash Watcher with so little field experience was given her case. But shortly after he arrived in Pennsylvania, the improbable happened: the night before he located and met with Melody, the previous Slayer died, and his charge was called to take her place. Thrust into a role he was never supposed to fill, Nigel trained her as best he could, and in truth, did an admirable job. Melody Bannister soon became a truly gifted Slayer, bringing down threat after threat and managing to survive to see her graduation. Early on in their careers, they even exceeded the bounds of duty in taking in an apparent orphan child they found while hunting a nest of vampires, raising her as though she were their own daughter. And there lay one of the problems: as the Council discovered in Melody's senior year, the Watcher and Slayer fell in love, beginning a relationship by the time her junior year began and moving inexorably toward a lifelong bond. Nigel was permitted to continue acting as her Watcher until after her graduation, only because the Council wished to exercise great care in choosing his replacement, but it was made clear that he would be sacked shortly thereafter. He was indeed, but Melody never received another Watcher - on the night after her graduation, she and Nigel went to confront the vampire Rannoch, who was attempting a dangerous magical ritual, and she and Rannoch both vanished into unknown dimensions after inflicting mortal wounds upon one another. The Slayer assuredly died in that moment, for her successor was called that very night. In her wake, Melody left a broken and grieving Watcher and lover, as well as a badly embittered sister, one Harmony Bannister, later to become Dr. Harmony Bannister.