|“||Yeah, but I'm tired, you know? Multiple lifetimes-tired. You realize that in over 100 years on this planet, I've never had even one day off. I just want a day without vampires. One free day where I can feel the sun on my face, eat a cheeseburger, watch the ocean. Enjoy a few simple pleasures, for once. And then go to sleep.||”|
— Rayna about herself in Somebody That I Used to Know
Rayna Cruz was a recurring character and the primary antagonist in the seventh season of The Vampire Diaries. She was a Shamanic Huntress hailing around the 19th Century, the daughter of Vicente Cruz, who was a member of the Brotherhood of the Five, and was a fierce vampire huntress whose sole purpose was to eradicate and incarcerate Vampires within the Phoenix Stone.
After being forced to kill her father by Julian, she became enhanced by a tribe of shamans to get vengeance on Julian, his Heretic family, and all vampires. Her main target was Stefan Salvatore who was stabbed by her when she attempted to kill Damon. The wound from her sword marked him allowing her to find Stefan anywhere and compelling her to kill him. She was willing to kill anyone of any species who dared to stand in her way. She also bore a striking resemblance to the late Elena Gilbert although she does not seem to be of any relation to Elena or any of her Doppelgängers. Rayna first appeared in a flashforward featured in Day One of Twenty-Two Thousand, Give or Take and made her first modern day appearance in Postcards from the Edge.
Rayna was born to a man named Vicente and an unknown mother in New Orleans, but at some point relocated with her father to St. Malo, Louisiana. Her father was one of the Brotherhood of the Five. As he traced his tattoo for her to see, Rayna asked why she could not see the Mark, and when she would get hers, showing she admired her father and wanted to be a vampire hunter like him. Eventually, she convinced her father to train her as a vampire hunter, and Vicente gave her a short sword that would eventually be turned into the Phoenix Sword.
Saint Malo, Louisiana, 1857
When she was older, while training with her father and finally besting him in a moment in their sparring, Julian attacked the settlement they lived in. Her father tried to save the villagers, however, he lost against the old vampire. Rayna interrupted Julian before he could kill her father and told him her father was one of the Five, hoping the revelation would persuade the surprised Julian to spare Vicente in fear of being afflicted with the Hunter's Curse. Julian, realizing that if he spared Vicente that the hunter would never stop trying to kill him, found a loophole to his conundrum. Instead of killing her father, and receiving the Hunter's Curse, Julian compelled Rayna to kill him. Forced to execute her father, Rayna told her father she couldn't stop, and he told his daughter he knew she couldn't, not to blame herself for it was Julian's fault, and to remember what he taught her to carry on his legacy while he would always be with her. Rayna then stabbed her father with the sword he gave her years earlier.
In order to get revenge, Rayna teamed up with a group of Native American shamans who gave her a tea of protection, shielding Rayna from any magic used to harm her, then sacrificed themselves and cast a spell on Rayna, endowing her with powerful abilities that would allow her to kill vampires, such as increased strength to rival ancient vampires, slower aging, the urge to kill vampires, the ability to find any vampire she stabbed with her Phoenix Sword, and granting her multiple lives which allows her to come back from the dead. She was also bestowed with the Phoenix Sword, the sword her father gave her as a girl, which the shamans enchanted for her, turning the stone in the hilt into the Phoenix Stone. This granted Rayna with two powerful and mystical artifacts that when combined together can entrap any vampire's soul within the stone where they are forced to endure a personal hell for all eternity, and allows her to find any vampire she marked with her sword.
For a decade Rayna chased a vicious serial killer vampire named Ambrose within and outside of Memphis. During this time things got personal between them with Ambrose framing Rayna for many of his violent massacres. He even went as far as to turn her boyfriend into a vampire, which led to her having to stake him. She eventually was able to catch and kill Ambrose and achieve her revenge.
At some point in the mid-late 19th Century, she began to hunt the Heretics along with Julian and Lily Salvatore. She pursued them across Europe for decades and at some point, branding Beau with an "X" shaped scar and killing Julian, imprisoning his soul within the Phoenix Stone.
At some point before The Originals fled New Orleans, Rayna returned to her birthplace. Once back, she wreaked havoc on the vampire community for years earning a fearsome reputation that even made Klaus himself fearful, as she killed many of his vampire friends and allies. She also came across The Strix at some point because Aya knew her.
Throughout The Vampire Diaries Series
Throughout The Originals Series
In A Streetcar Named Desire, Stefan purposefully removes the magical paste patch Freya used to stop Rayna from sensing him, so that she can hopefully charge through The Strix's legions of ancient vampires in an attempt to reach him as a distraction tactic for Stefan, Hayley, and Marcel to rescue Elijah and Klaus. Rayna arrives at the gates of the compound and quickly dispatches the guards allowing her to enter the building. She is quickly confronted by Aya and her backup of vampires and begins to battle them. Rayna does battle with them and is able to wound and kill an unknown number of them before being killed. She possibly killed all present but Aya, as Aya, who's shoulder was stabbed by the Phoenix Sword, making Aya a future target for Rayna, dragged in Rayna Cruz's corpse alone. Hayley, however, staked Aya in the heart as revenge for Jackson's murder.
|“||You two watch and learn. The key is to treat them like a wild animal. Respecting the danger but recognizing that they are beneath you, and that they serve a purpose.||”|
Rayna is ruthless and unstoppable. She also seems to have a pathological hatred of vampires. Stefan Salvatore, who she is increasingly obsessed with destroying, has become her number one priority in hunting due to his constant success in eluding her, so much so that all other vampires don't even matter to her. This is revealed to be because the shamans who made her, also gave her a relentless supernatural urge to hunt down and kill vampires that have been marked by her mystical sword, any other vampires that dare to cross her path, and any people (regardless of the species) who dare to involve themselves with vampires she hunts, much like the hunter's instinct present in members of the Brotherhood of the Five. This seems to make her mentally unstable as she gets old, as she accidentally murdered a supermarket cashier, mistaking her for a vampire. She felt compelled to kill her due to the hunter's instinct she was spelled with. She is also skilled at manipulating people as she comes across as a senile old woman to Mary Louise, Nora and Bonnie. Only after the two Heretics leave, does she reveal her true nature to Bonnie and attempts to strangle her to get Bonnie to free her, showing annoyance for Bonnie associating with vampires. She is also very stoic and taciturn as she doesn't display much emotion and rarely speaks.
Though it should be noted that Rayna does not appear to hate all vampires, just ones that are like the one who ruined her life, as she mentions briefly that she had a vampire lover once. But also believes that vampire-human relationships do not work out in the long run, as she ended up staking him in the heart for unknown reasons. So she apparently is very capable of looking past her own hated of vampires and capable of feeling about them in a positive way on occasion.
In the flash forwards, Rayna still appears to be obsessed with hunting Stefan. Even if she has to take someone he cares for hostage to lure him to her. She even successfully captures and holds Damon hostage, as he tried to get there and stop her before Stefan wandered into her trap. Once Stefan was captured she admitted she was exhausted chasing him, and gloated over her victory. But when she approached for the kill Rayna admitted she was reluctant to go through with it. Once again showing that she does not view all vampires in the same light, openly admitting that she does not actually want to kill Stefan even after all the trouble she had to go through of hunting and catching him. Saying instead that she knows that he does not deserve that mark he has and is even willing to transfer it to a more deserving vampire.
As a young woman, Rayna has long black/dark brown hair and dark brown eyes. According to Damon, she bears a resemblance to Elena Gilbert and her three doppelgangers. She also seems to have a very dark exterior and wears a dark leather jacket in a flashforward of Postcards from the Edge.
As an old woman, Rayna had medium length gray hair and wore a mental patient's attire.
Powers and Abilities
- Enhanced Strength: According to Nora, shamans endowed Rayna with enhanced strength that greatly increases every time she resurrects. This is proven due to the thousands of vampires she has defeated and sealed in the stone. Her strength seems to be able to match that of even the most ancient vampires in the world as she was able to fight and slaughter many Strix members and even frighten Klaus himself. Her strength also doesn't falter with old age, even as an old woman, she is able to restrain Bonnie with one hand while attempting to strangle her. After her resurrection she proceeded to hit the glass cell she was in to no effect, leaving her hand bloodied. However, she broke free moments later, bursting from the cell, leaving it obliterated in the wake of her escape. She is shown to be strong enough to toss Damon through the air with just one hand in a seated position, immediately after being resuscitated. Each life Rayna loses makes her stronger and was able to easily overpower a vampire with one hand when she was down to her last life.
- Enhanced Reflexes: Rayna is able to react to vampires even while they are using their superior speed, enough so that she is capable of catching them unaware. She was able to wipe out numerous members of the Strix, even catching two of them off guard and immediately killing them. She was also able to shoot several of Julian's vampires, killing them without them even being able to react.
- Immunity to Magic: Through the power of the Shamans, direct offensive magic does not work on her. This is proven to be true after Bonnie tries to use telekinesis on her when the latter attempts to kill her, but to no avail. This Immunity also seemed to be a work of the Tea of Protection. However, this immunity did not prevent Nora and Bonnie from using a locator spell to find her nor did it hinder a Shaman from transferring her life and abilities to Bonnie. In addition, Rayna could not track Stefan when his scar was blocked by the disruption spell placed on St. James Infirmary.
- Poisonous Blood: As revealed by the Armory during their experiments on Mary Louise, Rayna's blood is poisonous to witches, even those that are immortal such as a vampire-witch hybrid. Pills made from it can block a witch's power and if taken daily for a period of time, the pills will eventually kill the witch in question. This fatal effect on witches probably comes from Rayna's immunity to witchcraft.
- Marking: Through the Phoenix Sword, Rayna can mark her victims by stabbing them.
- Tracking: She can sense and track down vampires who have been marked by the Phoenix Sword.
- Link to Victims: Rayna can concentrate her connection with anyone who has been marked with the phoenix sword. This allows her to see their every move, and feel their every emotion. Once she is down to her last life, anyone still marked by her will die when she dies.
- Self-Resurrection: Rayna has the ability to continually resurrect from the dead, similar to users of the Gilbert Ring, a total of eight times. Moments after her death, her body spontaneously self-combusts only to reborn from the ashes to the age when the Shamans originally blessed her, akin to a phoenix rising from the ashes. This is achieve through the self-sacrifice of the Eight Shamans who gave their lives to her with their bodies preserved and each of her deaths would cause one of them to decay.
- Longevity: Rayna ages, just like an ordinary human, but at a slower rate and therefore has an extended lifespan.
- Herbs: Certain herbs, when applied as a paste on the scars, can mask the signal that allows a Supernatural Huntress to find their marked victims.
- Hunter Instinct: Rayna appears to suffer from the same supernatural urge to kill vampires as the Brotherhood of the Five. The more vampires she kills, the more stronger the urge becomes. This urge is purely instinctual and seems to worsen with age and begin to affect the mind. As the desire to kill vampires has had a huge impact on Rayna's mental stability in which she accidentally mistaken a supermarket cashier for a vampire, who she staked, leading to her being confined into a secure psychiatric hospital as an old woman.
- Eighth Life: She only has eight lives, and would die permanently if she dies eight times.
- Mortality: Despite her enhanced physical attributes, Rayna is still human and shares many of the same weaknesses as a non-supernatural being (e.g. age, decapitation, disease, heart-failure, suffocation, etc.) only to be reborn later.
- Link to the Everlastings: Should all of the bodies of the Eight Everlastings be destroyed, the spell that keeps her as a Supernatural Huntress would unravel and she would revert to as they were before.
- Victim Connection: Rayna is connected to the ones she killed using the Phoenix Stone Sword and sometimes she is hunted by them, their minds. Now that the spirits are free is a big weaknesses.
- The Phoenix Stone Sword: Rayna once wielded the Phoenix Sword that was custom made just for her, supposedly by shamans that allowed her to trap the soul of any vampire she killed within the Phoenix Stone where they are forced to endure a personal hell of a past memory. The stone acts similar to the Hunter's Curse in which escapees are haunted by horrifying hallucinations from their personal hell, where they do the most despicable things in order to free themselves from the stone's influence without being fully aware of their own actions. Rayna's spirit is connected to the Sword and its stone. While in physical contact with the sword, she can sense any vampire that was marked by the sword and track them down to where ever they may hide as she can sense their location. As she draws closer to that vampire, old scarred wounds from that sword will open back up as the marked vampire's healing powers are dampened by the power of Rayna when in contact with the sword.
- Rayna and Vicente (Father and Daughter/Close relationship/Former Allies)
- Rayna and the Heretics (Enemies)
- Rayna and Julian (Enemies)
- Rayna and Stefan (Enemies)
- Matt and Rayna (Allies/Enemies)
- Rayna and The Strix (Enemies)
- Rayna and Damon (Enemies/Allies)
- Rayna is either a Bulgarian form of "Regina" meaning "queen" in Latin or a feminine form of "Rayno" meaning "happy, willing" in Slavic.
- Cruz is a surname of Iberian origin that was first found in Castile, Spain. In Spanish and Portuguese, it means "cross".