The Treasure of the Black Veils
Nearly 50 years ago, there arose in the fen country a bandit group known as the Band of the Black Veils. They were so named for their habit of hiding their faces behind black cloth coverings. Their leader was a mysterious woman of human height but uncertain heritage. She had a cunning mind and great charisma. Her black veil hid most of her face, showing only her eyes, which glittered with cold fire like two diamonds. Rumors about the Black Veils’ leader abounded: “She is a Medusa,” said some. “She is a half-fiend,” said others. “She is a half-fiend Medusa,” said still others. In fact, she was a human named Mollie McTynker, a local girl who simply used the veil to disguise herself. Even while leading the band, she lived in the town of Fiore, appearing as nothing but a pretty lass with many suitors. While in her everyday guise Mollie learned much of use to her as a bandit leader, such as which merchants were shipping what goods, and where, and when the law was hunting the bandits.
The Band of the Black Veils grew bolder with every success until at last its members were able to sack and usurp the Ramshorn Abbey, a prosperous enclave of cloistered holy folk living on land reclaimed from the fen. The Band of the Black Veils attacked the abbey, drove out the residents, and took over. The bandits broke up the system of dikes and ditches that had drained the fen and held back its waters, and soon the abbey stood on an island, a formidable fortress. Mollie McTynker moved to the island, but by that time she had recruited many of her own relations in town to act as her spies. The band became more wealthy and powerful than ever.
The band’s power was not destined to last, however. The bandits made many enemies when they sacked the abbey, and soon word of their depredations reached the ears of the mighty. Barely six months after the fall of the Ramshorn Abbey, a royal army routed the bandits. Mollie McTynker was killed along with most of her lieutenants. Only a handful of bandits escaped into the fens. In Fiore and the surrounding towns, Molly’s ring of informants was rooted out. Most of the band’s spoils were recovered, but rumors of hidden treasure quickly surfaced.
Today, the citizens of Fiore say the spirit of Mollie McTynker still haunts the ruins of the abbey church, and that on moonlit nights one can see her diamond-bright eyes gazing upon the spot where her treasure lies.