Ecology of the Banshee
Category: World Building and Concept Design
Also known as the Bean-Nighe, the Lady Fairy, or the Little-Washer-by-the-Ford
The Lady Fairy lusts. This we know. Lust comes in many forms. It comes in the form of the young man who has seen a naked woman in full form for the first time. It comes in the heat of battle, causing a warrior to slice deep and draw blood from the body of the enemy, relishing in its splatter. It even comes from the simple desire to own something – like an antique silver vase, or an heirloom quill pen with a diamond nib. The lust is there in all of us. But in her, it is something primal, something elemental.
We don’t have the definitive answers as to why she screams. The loss, the pain, the terror, the rage, or the search for revenge… All of these seem just as likely as the next. We just know that she is full of lust, and we are pretty sure the screaming is but a byproduct of the lust.
Her scream comes from a place deep inside, from beyond her heart, beyond her gut, beyond her bowels – it comes from the core of her existence. Her purpose is to scream, the piercing wail echoing her hunger in its intensity. Her purpose is to expose her carnal hunger, which she brandishes as both a weapon and a confession of her insatiable appetite. Her purpose is to gorge on her appetite, for though she can never be satisfied, she can bare her envy to the world in the futile hope that her cravings and lusts can be quenched. And her purpose is to quench, but not her own lust, and not her own longings – it is her’s to quench life.
Those who have heard her screams know what they mean – an explanation is not needed, nor is it given. Those who hear the keen sound have its meaning imprinted on their very soul – they may never know why, but they know what the sound means. It means their death, their life extinguished. It will happen by midnight the next night, and with no reasons given, their life will be ended. They say their goodbyes, often with and to tear-filled eyes, they make their arrangements, and they wait for the lady. They (usually) do not blame her, for she is but a harbinger, but that does not mean they do not fear her coming.
She will come with the night, floating along the wind, visible only as her visage passes from one moonbeam to another. Her clothes will be simple and scarce, revealing her scars and her nakedness. Pale skin and white robes both glow faintly, and a faintly-billowing fog follows her, like a luminous cloud of death. Her hair is always red, and always flowing behind her as though being blown by the wind, no matter the weather. Her elfin ears and almond-shaped eyes betray her heritage, though her family and species would no longer claim her as part of their own. She passed beyond the veil long ago, and just like the moonlight she rides upon, she fades – her translucency is as much a part of her as her scream and her lust.
She will knock thrice on the window of the one to die, saying no words and begging no entry, simply beckoning behind her. She will then vanish like a wisp of cloud, and then, the one will die.
Were you to somehow follow the lady to find out wear she resides, you would find a small hollow of trees next to a river, bent and bowed in such as way as to create a cave out of the limbs and leaves. The trees would be unnaturally twisted, and would block all light. Within, you would see only the faintest of lights, a luminescence which seems to come from nowhere and everywhere. There, in this hole, the lady would be. She would be washing a tiny infant’s outfit in a small pooling of river water. Though the clothes would not be soiled, the water would be bloody. Beside her would be a small cradle of ancient, blackened wood. The insides would be empty. She would have no other possessions other than possibly a silver-rimmed mirror and matching comb. She would not see you, for when she is not filled with the lust, she only sees the bloody water, reflecting a twisted and grotesque visage of a piteously crying mother, holding a dead baby to her breast.