The Banshee's Revenge - By Victoria Richards Page 0,1

did. She has incredible strength."

"But how is that possible?"

"Ah, now that is the puzzle, isn't it?" Morrigan sat on the marble bench next to the pond. "What are your thoughts on it, Azreal?"

"I understand why she is half banshee and half human. She died for an instant, and her wizard husband saved her, though it cost him his life. Coming back from death is what caused the banshee part of her to surface and her husband's act of love also endowed her with extra magical powers." Azreal twisted her hands again. "If she had just stayed dead, she would have completed the assignment that is part of her family's legacy. She would have become a full banshee whose job it is to reap the souls of her kinsman when their time comes. But as a half banshee, she's in between worlds."

"All that you say is true, but it doesn't explain how this woman could take on one of the Deaths and absorb its essence. Reapers aren't able to do that," Morrigan pointed out. "There is something more with this woman, something more that gives her extra power."

"That's unheard of!"

"It is an oddity."

"There are whispers, my lady," Azreal said, bowing her head, "that perhaps the woman is as strong as you. Members of the family of Deaths are worried that they will be taken over just as the Irish Death was."

"I am a goddess!" Morrigan's eyes narrowed. "Jacqueline Huston is still a bug under my thumb, and the Deaths have nothing to fear. I will address this problem."

"As you say," Azreal nodded. "My loyalty to you shall not waver."

The hand maiden fell silent and Morrigan turned her attention back to the pond.

A familiar face surfaced in the water. She couldn't hold back a small snort of disgust at seeing it. Gwydion. The oldest and cruelest of the wizards, his heart was full of rage, darkness, and…to her surprise, something new. Fear. For the first time in his long life, Gwydion was afraid of something.

Good. It's about time!

Curious, Morrigan watched the image in the pond change, revealing another wizard. He was much younger than Gwydion, but there was strength and resolve in his face which made the goddess's heart beat faster. She leaned closer to see his features, pleased at how handsome he was and struck by a certain familiarity. Once upon a time this man would have tempted her to bestow a kiss on him, but she sensed his heart belonged to another.

The half banshee.

The wizard's love for Jacqueline emanated from the pond and with it came the hint of old magic.

"Ah," Morrigan breathed softly, her heart tripping with excitement. "I remember now. I bestowed the kiss of the goddess on your line long ago, wizard."

The image changed again.

"There you are my little banshee," Morrigan whispered as Jacqueline's face came into view. "Let's see where your extra powers come from."

The goddess placed her delicate finger on the image in the water and closed her eyes. She listened to the hum of energy filling her mind with Jacqueline's secrets.

"That explains it." Morrigan's blue eyes snapped open in surprise. "Now I understand Nature's plan."

"Plan?" Azreal asked.

"This is truly an anomaly that has never occurred. It's extraordinary actually."

"What do you mean? You've dealt with a half banshee before. Why is this one different? And why are the souls of some humans not dying?"

"Because she isn't collecting them. They have no place to go but back into the body. But there is more to it, more to her powers…" Morrigan trailed off, knowing Azreal sometimes talked a little too freely. It wouldn't do for the other Reapers to know what was going on just yet. They might take action before she was ready for them to. Not to mention that another problem had just been revealed to Morrigan, one that definitely was for no one's eyes but her own. "Azreal, I will be traveling to the human realm. Please let the others know that I am awake and taking control of the situation."

Azreal scurried out of the room, leaving the goddess to her thoughts.

"A most interesting problem," Morrigan murmured to herself. "I only hope this banshee's lover can save her."

She ran a hand across the image of Jacqueline's face in the pond.

"Because prophecy or not, I would hate to kill you."

Morrigan glanced over her shoulder, making sure Azreal was still out of sight. Then she turned her attention back to the scrying pond.

"Show me him," she said, the coldness in her voice a reflection of