Praying mantises are efficient predators. Relying on the element of surprise, they ambush their prey, snagging them with their raptorial forelegs. The orchid mantis takes this one step further where they mimic orchid flowers in order to lure pollinating bugs to them. Beautiful and deadly, that is Lady Vendetta.
Our first meeting took place in the dead of night on a small bridge. That night, the locusts spirits of the land came to me, chattering about the arrival of a mysterious visitor. The excited voices of the horde filled my room but the words of the Swarm Leader cut through them. She told me that she had arranged a meeting for me with this visitor and that she would lead me to them. No additional details were given but the Swarm Leader was one of my trusted allies and I was bored, so I followed her into the darkness.
The locusts weren’t the only spirits who were excited over the arrival of this mysterious visitor. I could feel the energy of the insect spirits of the land dancing in the air. They were joyous, they were nervous, some were empowered, some were frightened. I couldn’t see any besides the locusts who guided me for they were too scared to come out. Not scared of me, but scared of whatever entity waited in the shadows for me.
When I saw her on that bridge, I was scared too. Her energy was so powerful, so vibrant, it threatened to overwhelm me as I got closer. By the time I reached the beginning of the bridge, the locust spirits had bailed on me, succumbing to the same anxiety that the other insect spirits felt. I had to face this entity on my own.
She was a mantis, an eight-nine foot tall mantis. However, her appearance kept shifting between different species and some instinct in me told me to look away. In my peripheral, her form settled on that of an orchid mantis. Her energy radiated out like that of a god. I was speechless but she didn’t seem interested in pleasantries.
She explained who she was- Lady Vendetta, a venerable goddess. Then she let me ask questions, though not for long as she wanted to get right down to business. A human servant is what she wanted. I said “Hell no,” and left. The locusts were practically berating me for skipping the opportunity to work with someone as great as Lady Vendetta but I simply told them that I ain’t about to be anybody’s dog, no matter how “great” they are.
She must not be used to people saying “No” to her for she came to me the next day with the offer again, this time emphasizing how much of an honor it is to be considered for this position. “No,” I told her, “but I’d be willing to work with you as equals.” She recoiled at this idea, maligning me for my hubris. I simply explained how my relationships with my gods were based on mutual respect, not servitude. At this she paused and let me continue to speak about the way I interact with the Kemetic gods. By the end of the conversation she said that she would like to discuss this further but the bite in her voice made me think that she wasn’t too thrilled at what she was hearing. She directed me to speak with her again, the same time and place that we met for the first time and left.
When I made it back home I was “greeted” by a toddler-sized orchid praying mantis spirit. He was an emissary of Lady V’s, sent here to make sure that I make it to our meeting and that I wasn’t up to any funny business. Really all he did was go on and on about how V won’t accept my offer and the different ways that she knows to kill a man. Funny to think about how he’s now one of my best allies.
However, he did succeed in making me nervous for that meeting but I wasn’t looking forward to any consequences that would come if I skipped out on it. So I threw up some magical protections and stuffed banishment tools in my pockets while the emissary wasn’t looking before heading out.
I was ready for a fight but Lady V was ready for friendship. She told me that she was interested in working with me as I had described and was eager to get started. Needless to say, I was suspicious at this sudden change of heart. She noticed this and gave me her explanation for why she shifted positions. I was wary but I’ll have to admit that the thought of working with a praying mantis demon goddess was just a little enticing. I decided to work with her and see how it goes.
We are partners, we help each other out and we spend time with each other. But our relationship hasn’t been all peaches and cream. Don’t get me wrong, she can be very caring and motherly, but she’s also no-bullshit. She ain’t afraid to kick my ass where I need to go even if she’s gotta drag me kicking and screaming. I’ve learned a lot of lessons from her, about spirit work and about life, and I’m grateful for all that she’s done for me. I can’t wait to see where my future goes with her 🙂