The Banshee's Revenge - By Victoria Richards


The Celtic goddess Morrigan had never understood human behavior.

In truth, she'd never really tried. After all, she wasn't the one who created them. She'd been perfectly content all those thousands of years ago with things being the way they were--simple, uncomplicated, and human free.

But her wishes and desires were ignored, and when the gods and goddesses had argued over which sections of the world they wanted for themselves, she'd picked the one with the least amount of creatures on it.

It didn't stay that way for long.

Ireland and the surrounding areas had flourished.

There were times when Morrigan felt a deep love for those in her care, times when she'd made short appearances on the mortal plain just to allow them the pleasure of seeing her, or to sort out some trifling problem they had. It had thrilled her when people referred to her as Morrigan, The Goddess of War and Strife. Occasionally, she'd even found one or two of the male warriors attractive enough to bestow her kiss on.

But as times changed and people evolved, she made less frequent trips to the mortal world. It wasn't worth the hassle, and they were always so keen to fight or bicker or blow each other up. Only in cases of great hardship did Morrigan interfere.

Mostly, the goddess slept and listened to the murmurings of the world below her.

Until now.

Something had changed in the small kingdom that was hers to watch over. The whispers of those in her dimension who acted as her servants--Reapers, elves, fae, and the mighty family members of Death clouded her dreams, causing her to toss and turn. Two names were being chattered about constantly: Toby Williams and Jacqueline Huston. Word of their exploits as a wizard and half banshee rolled through her slumber, and she processed them, understanding that the wizards were about to wage a war against the woman who appeared to have more power than any of them.

Yes, it was disturbing, but not worth waking up over.

Then the whispers in her dreams had become louder, and the cries of outrage from the Reapers echoed in the dark corridors of her palace leading to her bed chamber. The problems being caused by this half banshee were growing and throwing the balance of life and death out of balance. Jacqueline Huston was out of control and had killed one of the members of the family of Death.

Unfortunately, this particular Death was one of Morrigan's charges.

A second problem arose, striking a fretting chord with the Reapers. A few humans whose time on Earth was at an end were not dying. The moment of expiration would occur, but their life essence languished inside the mortal shell, not providing them the peaceful release of death. In human terms, these pitiful creatures that could not die were nothing more than zombies.

What did it all mean?

The answers were unclear but everyone seemed to think the new problem was somehow related to Jacqueline Huston, too. And where was their goddess, their beloved Morrigan?

It fell to Azreal, her fairy hand maiden, to awaken Morrigan from her four hundred year sleep.

"Something is wrong, my lady." Azreal twisted her hands together, nervous about waking the goddess whom she both feared and revered. "You must attend to the needs of your domain."

"I know, Azreal. Rest your mind," Morrigan said, arising from her bed. Her waist length brown hair swung loose and free, and she pushed a strand of it back as she addressed the timid hand maiden. "I would have woken soon anyway. Frantic voices keep disturbing my sleep."

Azreal bowed her head as Morrigan glided past. The goddess's dressing gown was a fine, silver material that fit her like a second skin, showing off her slim figure. The dress caught the light of the sun as Morrigan pushed open the doors leading out to her courtyard. She ignored the beauty of the garden and headed straight for the small scrying pond in the courtyard's center.

"Reveal," she whispered, looking into the still water.

Immediately, the pond bubbled and images flickered on its surface. She observed them a moment, a slight frown on her pale face.

"I thought I'd taken care of this half-banshee thing four hundred years ago." Morrigan stood and paced, her hair swirling about her. "But I suppose nature always finds a way to provide us with some new form of chaotic entertainment."

"Is it true? What the others are saying?" Azreal dared a quick look at the goddess. "Did this woman really steal the essence of one of the Deaths?"

"Indeed she