Bean Sidhe

A bean sídhe (translates to 'woman of the mounds', pl. mná sídhe, also banshee(s)) is a type of fae. They are all female, and are omens of death and misfortune.


Physiology

Mná sídhe are approximately the same shape and height as human women - including rounded ears (pointed ears are a mark of impure blood somewhere in their family line) - but unlike the aes sídhe, mná sídhe sometimes resemble elderly women, often ugly or hag-like. They are pale women, with blonde or gray hair. Usually they wear gray, though occasionally they can be seen in white, green, or red - but always with a gray cloak.

Like all fae, mná sídhe are deathly allergic to iron. Iron reacts strongly with the magic that is an integral part of their anatomy, and causes a violent allergic reaction in the form of a burn. This starts out resembling a rapid and intense sunburn, but prolonged contact with iron can cause any fae's flesh to blacken and die. Mná sídhe are capable of dwelling in cities, but are uncomfortable in cars, planes, elevators - basically any metal box.

Other than that, mná sídhe are as immortal as any true fae - they will not die of natural causes. They reach physical maturity after a period of about six centuries, though socially they aren't considered mature until after their first millennium. From then on a bean sídhe ages rapidly (for a fae), at about half the rate of a human. A bean sídhe can only have one child in her lifetime, if any - if the child is a girl, she too is a bean sídhe. Sons are aes sídhe, depending on the species of the father.

Mná sídhe are omnivores, but can also feed on fear, pain, and grief. They do have a typical fae fondness for sweets, however.


Magical Characteristics

All fae are capable of glamour - an elaborate illusion that will fool all five senses (at least for a mortal) - and mná sídhe are no exception. Their illusions are limited to their own person, however - though they can make themselves appear invisible to human eyes, they cannot create a full-blown illusory house. By the same token, mná sídhe are capable of seeing through most glamour. Their own glamour can be defeated in the usual ways: even if they can fool another fae's eyes, it is nearly impossible for them to fool another fae's sense of touch. Even mortals can see through glamour, if they have a special ointment rubbed on their eyelids, have pure iron touching their skin, or turn their clothes inside out.

Like all fae, mná sídhe are incredibly attuned with nature - they can move through the woods without cracking a single twig or disturbing a single leaf. A bean sídhe is especially attuned to death - all mná sídhe have foresight, and know when a person is about to die. They are well known for their powerful keening for the dead - and in fact, those who are dying can often see through the glamour of a bean sídhe.

No fae can tell an outright lie. They can bend the truth, and they can talk in circles around the truth, but if they actually SAY the sky is red, it had better be red, or they're considered an oathbreaker and their magic (if not their life) is forfeit. On that note, all fae can sense magic in their vicinity, usually by feeling or seeing it.


Society and Habitat

Mná sídhe are solitary fairies, mostly because they give pretty much everyone the willies. They are considered to be Unseelie fae, and are welcome at that Court, but tend to live in clans of females on the outskirts of society, and only stay at Court if they have business there. Noble mná sídhe sometimes work as advisers or seers - lower class mná sídhe are washerwomen, and can be seen washing the bloodstained clothes of those about to die in battle.