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Accordia: Jenny Redtooth
Sluagh Rock
Jenny Jenny Redtooth
Oh so holy
Born on Christmas night

Jenny Jenny Redtooth
Oh so lonely
Parents died of fright

So eat your greens and bow your head
Else she'll appear beside your bed

Jenny Jenny Redtooth
Oh so hungry
Come to take a bite

There truly was a Jenny Redtooth - she was not some phantasm summoned up by the collective childhood unconscious, used to spread terror on the playground. And while the details of her horror and plight changed across ages and cultures, most children's chants retained some kernels of true.

Jane was born on a holy night. Perhaps it was Christmas to some, but of course not for all, and certainly not for Jane. It was a wicked birth, one that left her father a widower. The tales all tell it differently, that Jane was ripped from her dead mother's womb, that Jane's mother bled in the birthing of her, or that she died of horror upon looking at the child she had bore. Jane had jet black hair, piercing blue eyes and a harsh, hungry scream that would not be placated.

Tortured by his wife's death, her father placed her in the arms of a wet nurse who soon took ill with blood fever, as did the next and the next. Still Jane cried out in the dead of night, hungry for something more than the milk of a dead mother. Her teeth grew in quickly and sharply, and soon her father could find no woman willing to bare herself to the child. He took to feeding her himself by hand, cutting up small pieces from his own meals. She nipped and bit at his fingers, drawing blood often.

Somehow, Jane's father met his end too, and there the stories diverge again. Regardless of how, Jane was sent to live amidst the sisters of the nunnery.

Jane was a frightful child, always crying for her hunger and her lost father. The beatings helped some to quiet her, but many a night they found her foraging through the kitchen, searching for something to quell her cravings. Then, one night, a sister found her feasting upon a raw joint left out, the blood smeared across her face. Taken to the abbess in a panic, she was beaten fiercely and left to weep on the floor. Knowing now the curse upon their charge, the sisters strove for her redemption.

Jane learned how to beg God for forgiveness before she learned how to pour tea. They whipped into her a fear of Hell and of her own demonic nature. They denied her all but the thinnest gruels, and knelt with her in prayer nightly until her knees bled. She was forbidden from the leisurely studies afforded the other children, such as music, instead forced to learn all the holy text by rote and repeat on command.

Jane knew nothing else, and fought the glowing hunger inside her. As she grew, her hair stayed black and her eyes piercing blue and her teeth sharp. But she kept her gaze downwards among her elders, and hid her teeth behind silent lips. Though she was a model child and the sisters eventually could find no fault in her conduct, they feared her still. And so the whipped her and beat her and demanded passage after passage of dogmatic repetition. Jane accepted it at her due.

She could not wholly control her nature though, and the stories all relate their own differing gruesome details. Some claim the sound of dying cats could be heard in the night, while white polished bones were found in corners and alleys the next day. Others tell of the kitchen staff, who at each accidental slice of a finger would find her suddenly there, watching with a disturbing intensity. There are the tales that go as far as murmurs of missing infants and children who did not heed the laws of the nunnery.

The sisters are inevitably their own downfall, either through their arrogance or their ignorance. The abbess is seen in a compromising situation with a gentleman of the state. A particular bitter nun beats Jane until her own hands bleed, filling Jane's nose with the scent of sweet blood. Something upsets the delicate balance set in Jane's life, and she brings havoc to the site of her years of torment, usually with the chilling finale of picking her newly red-stained tooth with the finger bone of the Mother Superior.

Though still a child herself, the stories say Jane departed for some haunted region; a dark forest, a deadly mountain pass or shoreline cave on the shoals are often favorites. She serves to both terrorize the children who misbehave and explain the deaths of so many travelers along those dangerous and distant paths.

In truth, these paths are all reflections of the one road that Jane took, leading her to the Gate of the Blackbird, one of the three times three time three gates of the Accordant Palace of Ix. She collapsed at the Blackbird Gate, and was taken silently within by Essences of Lessity, those lifeless and mercurial servants of Ix's right hand. She was laid in a coffin of silver and jet, kept deep in the dark of the Morganite's Crypt. When she awoke, still weak from her time in the sunlit worlds of mortals, she was fed raw meat and blossomer's honey.

Never was Jane brought before Ix to plead her case, nor did Lessity ever approach her regarding her stay. She spent dark days in the Crypt, recovering a sense of self, but even as she felt that it was right and proper that she dwell in Accordia (a place familiar without ever knowing it), she did not know what she was. The few Otherkin she met in the Crypt could offer little advice – the pedigrees and stories of each Otherkind being too unique to ever reconcile with each other.

Eventually she took to wandering the palace grand, encountering angels and oracles and forgotten queens. Some took kindly to her and others ignored her, but none made judgment as to whether she was good or evil. The kitchen staff was mostly Essences of another resident, and had no qualms when she asked for fresher meat, rarer meat. The long years with the sisters still kept her from full indulgence, but she allowed herself enough to develop her palate. That was went she took to hunting for herself, along the treacherous paths of the worlds that mortals claim are haunted but truly only lead to Accordia. And it was that way she stayed in the minds of humankind for long centuries, Jenny Redtooth with the black hair, piercing blue eyes and cruel teeth.

She was not sought out by the vengeful on behalf of those who may have died for her teeth, nor did she have supplicants seeking her dark wisdom. No whispers threaded through the lands of mortals that Jenny Redtooth lay in Accordia for all who sought her, and so she was peripheral to all the Accordant tales. In her years at the palace, there was one altercation involving the death of a beloved disciple to Presdatina, and the unfortunate business with the March King, but such were not truly her stories.

When the Star-in-Chains began to sing in lands far distance from the palace gates, Jane now Jenny Redtooth felt it tremble deep inside her, deeper even than her hungers. Without a word or a care, she left the ranks of Accordia's 1,001 residents to seek out the Star-in-Chains and to join a greater story. But children continue to sing of her, fearing her face in the dark of their bedside.

So do your chores and be polite
Or else she'll come for you this night

Jenny Jenny Redtooth
Oh so hungry
Come to take a bite

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It's been a while since I've been writing, and I'm not even fully sure what Accordia IS yet. But I think this marks a nice step in both expressing Accordia, and getting my writing muscles some exercise.

And it is beautiful. Star-in-Chains by itself sets my imagination off and running. :)

Also, you're totally correct. It was Jenny that I'd been thinking of, although I hadn't realized the depths of her troubles -- I'd not known she'd been in a convent. Truly a horror!

Thank you so much for 'reminding' me of Jenny! It was a thought that sparked an immediate story.

And Star-in-Chains is one of those forces that might even rival Ix, so there are no Accordant Tales to tell there. Others must pick up that mantle.

"getting my writing muscles some exercise."

Which is why I love it

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