The Locket: A Tale of Jannee the Rogue of Dark Ages

Exerpt from Home of the Tuatha, Library of Loures.
The Beansidhe

Also known as the Banshee, the Beansidhe (translated as "Woman Faery"), of
which there is only one, is well known throughout northern Temuair for her
tormented cries. It is said that her scream foretells the final death of an
Aisling or mundane. She has been sighted as a woman veiled in black, who
treads on bare feet through the river woods north of Riona's Inn. Her
element is unknown, and she is a shy and otherwise silent woman.
Part 1
Jannee slipped down the back alley behind Riona's Inn, her foot steps would
have been missed by even the sharpest of ears, even if the Inn didn't back
onto the river. As it was the sound of rushing water completely drowned out
any hint of sound from her careful footsteps. Mileth is about the safest
place in all of Temuair to be, if you're an Aisling, but she was taking no
chances. Tucked into her knapsack was a small fortune in gems. She had a
collection of rubies, coral and beryl gems, all unpolished and rough. She
was on her way to Piet to use the polishing facilities there.
As she crossed the Mileth River Jannee heard an awful wailing. The sound
echoed up her spine and she felt her blood turn cold. It sounded like
someone in pain, but the cry was not quite human. She pulled her dagger from
her boot and proceeded cautiously across the bridge.
Fear crippled her every step and by the time she crossed she could barely
stand, never mind walk. As she stood watching the lights from the Inn
reflecting from the flowing water of the river she could swear that the
lights were swirling and moving together. As she watched in horror she
started to see a face form in the air before her, it was the face of a young
"Please! Do not flee from my presence Aisling. I will not harm thee." She
spoke in the ancient tongue.
"Wha...what do you want of me?" Jannee was too frightened to run anyway, but
she was also curious.
"I require your aid Dreamer, for a task only an Aisling can perform." The
creature floated closer and took the form of a woman before the terrified
rogue. Jannee watched it happen and knew right away that the spirit was once
of the fae.
"I am the Beansidhe young one, I wail and haunt these waters because I
search for a precious thing taken from me."
Jannee had heard tales of this creature. The story of the Beansidhe was told
to her when she was a child. One night she had broken several dishes, right
in front of her mother, and was sent to her room. Her mother came to her
later that evening and told her of a creature that haunts the Mileth River
who has the power to frighten bad people to death. Sometimes Jannee's mother
would try to scare her daughter by saying, "Be good now, or the Banshee come
for you." Banshee is the modern term for the Beansidhe. Jannee had not
actually believed that such a creature existed, and yet now here it was, a
monster from her childhood nightmares. It took a great deal of courage for
her to push down the rising tide of fear and answer the spirit.
"Tell me about it," said Jannee. "Perhaps I can help." The spirit seemed to
visibly relax. Jannee was a little less frightened now, but it could have
been her curiosity that settled her nerves. She was now interested in what
the spirit had to say and less interested in running away. The Banshee
"Three hundred years ago I was of flesh and blood, like yourself. I danced
in the Enchanted Garden at midnight and played with the sprites as they
swooped to a fro. My love was Bregar. He was wonderful to me. In his arms I
felt loved and protected, he told me all the things a girl wants to hear and
I loved him with all my heart. We exchanged our eternal vows in Lovers
Glade, it was the happiest day of my life, and truly there were none happier
until I bore a daughter by him. We named our child Umbrae and she was the
light of my life.
Our new life seemed to have all of the elements I wanted, a loving husband,
and a beautiful daughter. I was so happy. For Umbrae's first birthday I had
the Faerie Priests bless a locket for her. For the inside the locket I had
painted a small portrait of myself holding Umbrae. I asked Bregar to pose as
well for the painting, but he would not. After the locket was blessed the
priest told me that it would protect Umbrae's spirit forever and help me to
find her should she become lost.
'Keep it with her always,' he said.
It was then that I noticed a change in Bregar. He did not return my embrace
with the same feeling. I felt that we were drifting apart and it made no
sense to me. I thought the birth of Umbrae would bring us closer, that our
daughter would seal our love together in an unbreakable bond. But that was
not so. Bregar had no love for his daughter and seemed to be angry and even
jealous of her. When I confronted him he said to me, 'I just want it to be
like it was between you and me.' He would say no more about it no matter how
much I pressed him, so I did not speak of it again.
The end of my life came when I entered Umbrae's room one morning to find
that she was gone. I was overwrought with grief, but Bregar organized a
search party and they went to look for our daughter. Days passed and no
trace was found. Eventually Bregar returned to me and announced that he
could not find our daughter and that the search was ended. I collapsed on my
bed and did not move or speak for a fortnight. Bregar came to me a few times
but I did not respond to him.
When I came out of my catatonia I saw Bregar bending over me. He had an odd
expression on his face, but that was not the first thing that I noticed. I
saw the locket dangling from his neck. I reached for it but he quickly
pulled away.
'What! Have you found our daughter?' I screamed.
'No dearest,' he said. 'Umbrae will never be found.'
'But, how do you know...' and then I came to realize something. In that
moment I knew that Bregar had done the unthinkable, that he had killed our
sweet little Umbrae.
'How could you!' I screamed. 'How could you!'
I could not be quieted. The more Bregar tried the louder I screamed.
Eventually he struck me. I ran away from him and made it as far as the river
before he caught up with me. He grabbed me around the throat and choked me.
I could not cry out but I continued to struggle against his grip. After a
few minutes of struggle he forced my head under the water." The Banshee
"I died right here Aisling," she said sadly. "I died never knowing what
happened to my daughter. So now I search for her, and wail, but without the
locket I cannot find her. This is my fate."
The Banshee fell silent and stared at the riverbank. No words were spoken
for several minutes before Jannee summoned up sufficient courage to break
the silence.
"I'll find the locket for you lady," Jannee said proudly. "I'll find it and
bring it back to you." The spirit smiled at the young rogue, but said
"You've suffered terribly in life, and I could not live with myself if I let
you continue to suffer...but where do I begin?"
The spirit looked at Jannee again, but this time the rogue was not
frightened. "Thank you," she said softly. "To begin your quest seek out
Devlin, the priestess. She might know what happened to Bregar and the
As the spirit slowly faded away she said, "When you have found the locket
return to this spot and throw it in the river. I will receive it, and you
will receive my eternal thanks." Then she was gone.
Part 2
Jannee was still hyperventilating when Sinthy found her; the young rogue was
lost in thought, or perhaps still in shock, but in either case it took
Sinthy several minutes of shaking and yelling to get any response out of
"Jannee! Wake up!"
"Huh? What...oh...hi Sinthy," She finally said.
"Hi? Do you realize how long I've been here trying to awaken you? What
Jannee had to think for a moment before she remembered the story of Umbrae
and the locket.
"Sinthy, do you know the legend of the Banshee?"
"Only that she haunts this area of the river and that her appearance heralds
one's death. Is that what happened? You saw the Banshee?"
"Yes...and she told me her story. It was so sad."
"Hummm...but how are you?"
"I'm," Jannee stood up and walked back and forth to clear her
head. "I think I'm ready now."
"Ready? For what?"
Jannee related the Banshee's sad story. Sinthy listened quietly, only
nodding at appropriate moments, until Jannee had finished.
"So you believe her?"
"Yes, I do. But I must find out what happened to Bregar after he murdered
her. It is the only way to release her from her torment."
Sinthy thought for a moment and finally said, "I'll help you," then hugged
her friend. "So our first stop is Devlin's shop. As the spirit said, she may
know Bregar's fate."
After a quick trip to Cassidy the higgler's shop, where Jannee stored her
raw gemstones, they made their way to the home of Devlin, the priestess. The
two rogues experienced the familiar tingle as they opened the door to the
mystic's small shop. Devlin smiled at them as they entered, but didn't stop
blowing bubbles. She really seemed to be enjoying the gum she was chewing.
"What can I do for you ladies?" Devlin smiled warmly.
Jannee looked solemnly at her and said, "Do you know anything about the
Banshee of Mileth River?" Devlin stopped blowing bubbles and looked intently
at Jannee. Sinthy thought she saw something move, just out of the corner of
her eye. It seemed to her as if a small bird had flown behind a support
beam. She dismissed it and listened to the fae priestess.
"So she spoke to you," It was a rhetorical question since Devlin kept
talking, "I wondered when this day would come. Do either of you know her
real name?" The rogues shook their heads in unison.
"Her name is...was Undriel and her story is well know among the Faerie. It
is a sad sad tale." Jannee and Sinthy both nodded.
"Since she has spoken to you I suppose you both know at least part of the
"Yes," said Jannee, "she told me about her marriage to Bregar and the birth
of their daughter, her disappearance and the circumstances of her...that is
Undriel's death. I do not know what became of Bregar." Jannee noticed Devlin
wince twice, each time after the utterance of the name Bregar.
"We, the Fae, do not speak His name anymore. He is referred to as Cradhsé,
or the Accursed One, and I can tell you his fate.
After he slew the innocent Undriel Cradhsé fled to the East Woodlands and
hid himself in Lover's Glade. The presence of such a malevolent entity in
the Glade quickly attracted the attention of the gods themselves and Glioca
sent a minion to expel the beast. When the minion found Cradhsé she could
not believe her eyes. She could not believe that this beast was once Fae. It
hurt her even to look upon such a creature and called upon the wisdom of
Glioca to assign a fit punishment for him.
Glioca came to the Glade and gazed upon the beast. He hid his face from her
and silently wept as she delivered his sentence.
'You, recently of the Fae, have committed a great wrong. It is something so
horrible that the mere thought of it is enough to freeze the blood of the
innocent. I cannot imagine that there is a punishment severe enough to atone
for your actions but your resemblance to such noble creatures as the Fae is
in itself an abomination. Therefore, from this moment on you are not Fae and
will not resemble them.'
As she spoke Cradhsé began to change, his body twisted, and hair grew on him
that more closely resembled fur. As he lay trembling on the ground his
features became clear. He resembled a very large Hobgoblin. Cradhsé looked
at his hands, then down at his new form, and he screamed. It was a most
unpleasant and blood curdling sound.
After a minute Cradhsé picked himself up and galloped away into the woods."
The priestess fell silent then and bowed her head. Only looking up when
Jannee spoke to her, in a very low tone, almost a whisper.
"How do you know about the creature's howl Lady?"
"Because young one...I was the minion that Glioca sent to deal with the
creature." She looked down again and said sadly, "It is an experience I
would just as soon forget...but I can not."
There was a respectful silence from the two rogues, and then Jannee asked,
"Lady, can you tell me where Cradhsé fled?"
The Priestess shook her head sadly, "I do not know Aisling, and it is a
question only a god may answer." She bowed her head for a few seconds and
then looked up suddenly. She had an odd smile on her lips as she rummaged
through a collection of things on the shelf behind her.
"Ah, this is it." She handed Jannee a small, carved statue of a woman. "It
is an effigy of Glioca," She explained. "Offer it as sacrifice to The Altar
and maybe Glioca will take pity and help you in your quest."
"Thank you lady," said Jannee.
"Help her if you can young one. She has suffered a long time."
Nothing else was said as the rogues left the shop. Jannee and Sinthy
traveled in silence to the Altar of Mileth. Nothing was said as Jannee
pulled the idol out of her travel-bag and tossed it into the offering basin.
It disappeared. The rogues knew it had been accepted. They waited a few
moments to see what would happen. How strange, thought Jannee, I'm standing
before Glioca...where's Sinthy?
"Your friend is where you left her Aisling. You seek Cradhsé, I will show
you where to find it, and then the rest is up to you."
Jannee did not say a word as the goddess whisked her away on a flight over
Temuair. She could see all of the buildings in the town of Mileth get
smaller and smaller as they flew ever farther out over the forest. As Jannee
looked down she could see all manner of horrid creatures wandering the
woodlands, and hunting parties of other Aislings. Finally, the goddess set
them down outside of an old wooden building. Inside the rogue heard snoring.
Glioca entered the building and Jannee followed her. Inside they found a
truly ugly creature, asleep on a bed of furs. Jannee could see the locket
attached to a gold chain fastened around the creature's neck. Jannee turned
to Glioca and nodded. The goddess said nothing, she merely nodded in return,
and then all went black.
Sinthy was standing over her when Jannee woke up.
"I know where to find the locket Sinthy. Cradhsé still has it on a chain he
wears around his neck."
"Kept as a memory of his former life I suppose," said Sinthy coldly.
"Bitter-sweet memory...the locket reminds him of Undriel...what he did to
her...and their child."
Jannee described to her friend the location of Cradhsé's Lair. Sinthy
listened carefully and when her friend finished she nodded, signaling her
"I know that spot in the woodlands. We shouldn't have too much trouble
finding that cabin. Do you want to go tonight?"
"Yes. I want to finish this Sinthy. I wouldn't be able to sleep anyway."
Sinthy merely nodded to her friend and then they set off together for the
East Woodlands.
Part 3
The crackle of leaves underfoot caused Jannee to breakout in a cold sweat.
Quiet you fool, she thought, he's almost there. The goblin soldier came
closer and closer to the bushes where Jannee and Sinthy were hiding. The two
rogues were waiting until the right moment, but the suspense was
nerve-racking. Then they both heard it go off.
"Arrrgh!" the goblin cried out as he stepped on the carefully laid trap. He
stumbled to the ground in front of the two rogues who then dispatched him
with two well-aimed blows from their daggers. After dragging the corpse into
their hiding place, and relieving it of two bags of coins, the young women
padded off further into the forest.
After roughly an hour of travel they came upon the object of their search.
It was the cabin that Jannee saw in her vision. They both moved to a tall
patch of growth near the entrance. Then Jannee put her ear to the door.
"I hear him...he's still snoring." She whispered.
Sinthy smiled, "Humm...yes, I heard him from down the trail."
The situation was far too dangerous for either of them to even think of
laughing at Sinthy's clumsy joke. Jannee merely gave her friend a sideways
grin and tried the door. It wasn't locked. Inside was a large room with a
pit in the center for a fire, a hole in the ceiling allowed smoke to escape.
The moon was still high in the sky and bright, the light streaming in
through the chimney allowed the rogues to see their quarry. Stealth was
unnecessary, as Sinthy pointed out, since the monster was snoring loud
enough to awaken the dead.
"He must be deaf," whispered Sinthy.
"It just makes our task easier," Jannee pointed to the pendant dangling from
the creature's throat. "Let's just get it and leave...I don't like this
The creature was huge, and his stench almost unbearable. It's like a
combination of cow dung, urine and stale beer, thought Jannee as she held
her nose and examined the chain. One part of its length was wedged into a
fold in the monster's enormous neck. Jannee dared not try to slip it over
his head. Instead she found the clasp and unhooked it, then carefully
slipped the locket off of the chain. She stepped away from the creature and
started breathing again.
A mile or so down the path the two rogues heard a cry that would be etched
into their collective consciousnesses forever. Cradhsé awoke to find his
locket, his most prized possession was gone. Jannee and Sinthy picked up
their pace until they were well away from Cradhsé's Lair.
It was almost morning when the pair sighted Riona's Inn. Without stopping to
chit chat, which surprised many of their friends gathered outside the Inn
they made their way around back and across the bridge. Once on the opposite
bank they made their way to the river's edge and Jannee opened her travel
bag. She carefully extracted a small object, which no one standing on the
path above her could see. Sinthy backed away a few paces and stood
apparently watching the river and waiting for something to happen. Those
gathered on the trail above did the same.
As she threw the locket into the river Jannee could feel a burst of energy
extending from her fingertips out to the small object. No one standing on
the bank could see this mystical link between Jannee and the locket but her
and Sinthy. They watched in amazement as it sailed into the middle of the
river. The on-lookers could only see the locket disappearing into the water,
but the two rogues saw a lot more.
Just before the locket would have hit the water a hand broke the surface and
caught it. The hand continued its accent as well as the arm, shoulder, head
and the rest, until the figure of a person floated in the air above the
water. Undriel said not a word to the two speechless women as she floated
above the river, and then she looked up. Jannee saw a cloud drift down
toward her, and as it got closer to Undriel it took on the form of a small
child. When it had fully formed out of the mist the child began to run
toward her mother.
"Mommy!" she cried as she fell into the arms of the floating spirit.
"Yes baby," said Undriel, "everything is all right now."
As the spirits, mother and daughter, faded from view only Jannee and her
friend could hear Undriel's words of thanks.
>From the top of the bank the gathering crowd only saw Jannee throw something
into the middle of the river. Almost immediately she and Sinthy were
surrounded by a shimmering luminescence that seemed almost as bright as the
rising sun. No one heard anything except Jannee's quiet sobs and Sinthy
utter the words, "You're welcome."