By Ishmael

"I really wish you wouldn't go," Lilith said.

"Now Lilith, you know I have to," Morrigan said as she looked in the
mirror and watched her costume adjust itself to the curves of her body.
"I'm the head of the Aensland clan and with that title comes a great
number of responsibilities. Among those is that I'm the guardian of

"Jedah's the guardian of Makai," Lilith muttered. The smaller succubus
grabbed a pillow from the bed she was sitting on and hugged it to herself.

"Jedah is many things to many people but mostly he's absent from his
duties," Morrigan replied. "What good is a would-be messiah who only comes
around every few centuries? I, on the other hand, am here to serve Makai's
every beck and call. Besides," Morrigan added, "Jedah always dresses in
such a glum manner. I'm a much lovelier looking figurehead. So which do
you think looks better Lilith? Blonde or red or maybe something like a
strawberry blonde?" Morrigan's hair rippled with energy as it changed
colors at her whim. "A dark blue or black would fit the mission but that
makes me look too somber," she said as her hair shimmered until it was as
dark as the decorative bat wings that poked out of her hair, "so perhaps I
should go with my natural green, even if that seems like such a lazy
choice. Don't you agree?"

Ignoring Morrigan's question, Lilith rolled over until she was lying on
top of the pillow. "You shouldn't have to do this. Aren't there other
warriors in the Aensland clan who can go out and fight for you?"

Morrigan stopped her preening and looked at Lilith. "Are you worried about
me?" Morrigan sat down on the bed when Lilith didn't immediately respond.
"Lilith, darling, I'm only going off to deal with some hunter who has
entered the realm, it won't take but a minute," Morrigan gently tugged at
Lilith's shoulder, pulling the younger version of herself to a sitting
position. Morrigan cradled Lilith's head with one hand while she gently
brushed stray strands of hair away from the girl's face. "I'm not like
Jedah or our father, I'm not going to abandon you. Remember that." Lilith
started to speak but Morrigan pressed her finger against the girl's mouth.
"Shhh. You're me, remember? I know what's going on in that little head of
yours," Morrigan said as she ran the tip of her finger along the edge of
Lilith's lips. "The two of us will go out and have some fun after I'm
done, but for now you should quit worrying and rest."

Morrigan pulled Lilith close, until their bodies were pressed together,
and kissed her. The two succubae held each other, their arms and mouths
intertwined, until the young girl vanished, the barely stable energy that
formed Lilith pulled into the woman it originally was a part of. Morrigan
gasped and waited for a moment as her body once again adjusted to the
influx of power from Lilith. Flicking her hand through her hair, which
caused it to revert to its original green color, Morrigan smiled and said,
"Right, now to deal with that hunter."

Even after all these years Morrigan still enjoyed the sensation of flight.
Morrigan closed her eyes and felt the cool night air of Makai wash over
her as she glided through the air. Not only did she never tire of flying,
it was one of the few times when she could be alone. As a succubus, a
being that lived on intense feelings, the emotions and desires of people
in both Makai and Earth flowed through her in a constant stream. Only when
she was high in the air could she get a temporary reprieve from her sixth
sense. With Lilith asleep in her subconscious and the politics of dealing
with the Aensland clan left behind Morrigan was by herself. For a time she
was no longer trying to separate herself from her father's legacy or to
care for Lilith's fragile psyche, instead she simply was. Relaxing her
body Morrigan allowed herself to be pulled along towards the energy that
the hunter was projecting.

Feeling herself floating towards the ground, Morrigan brought herself back
to the situation at hand. A small, childish looking girl dressed in a red
shawl was prancing out of a thick grove of trees. While the girl looked
harmless the path she was on crossed over a bridge that was home to a
massive troll that would ordinarily never let a morsel like the girl
through unscathed. Gliding out of the air until she was a few inches off
the ground, Morrigan floated towards the girl.

"Unless I'm mistaken you've been quite the troublemaker recently,"
Morrigan said. Even though the girl looked harmless Morrigan knew
appearances could be deceiving, especially in Makai. Most monster hunters
who were foolish enough to venture into Makai were quickly overwhelmed and
killed by the multitude of creatures that called the dark realm home. That
a hunter could survive so long that she drew the attention of the Aensland
house was a testament to her skill.

"Why, hello there. I'm B.B Hood and it's riddle time!" the girl squealed.
"Are you up for it? I hope you can do better than that stinky troll did,"
B.B. Hood said as she used her foot to playfully nudge the small terrier
that accompanied her. The girl stank of burnt flesh and gunpowder.

"I have to answer your riddle?"

"That's right."

Morrigan smiled. Asking riddles was an old, queer custom in Makai.
Treasures could be won or horrible death could be meted out depending on
the answer to a question. It seemed this odd little hunter was somehow
connected to Makai since she was playing by the rules of the realm.
Morrigan also suspected the hunter was also a bit mad, since her behavior
was unlike anything she had seen in either Makai or the Earthrealm.

"Very well, what is your puzzle?" Morrigan figured she had nothing to
lose. If she answered the riddle she might possibly drive the hunter away.
If not, the worst that would happen is that there would be a fight, which
is what Morrigan had expected in the first place.

B.B. Hood ran her hand over the front of her shawl and coughed to clear
her throat. Looking straight at Morrigan with her large blue eyes she
asked, "What is your story?"

It was a trick question. How does one explain everything about your self
in a succinct answer? There wasn't even the slight charge in the air that
accompanied a charmed spell. It was silly question and nothing more.
Nevertheless, Morrigan felt she should try to answer on the off chance it
would be enough to drive the hunter away.

"I am a succubus, what children see in the shadows of their room at night
and what adults see in the dreams they refuse to admit they need. I am
Morrigan Aensland, only daughter of the late Berial Aensland and the ruler
of Makai." Morrigan's unconsciously flexed out her wings, drawing herself
up to her full dark splendor.

"Is that your answer? Then here's your prize!" the girl barked, a quick
snarl of anger crossing her unnaturally cheerful face. A missile flew out
of a hidden compartment in the basket she was carrying.

Morrigan's wings enveloped her. The missile exploded spectacularly but
harmlessly against her leathery shield. Morrigan grinned and decided that
while the young hunter may have some interesting tricks if this was the
extent of her power she wouldn't be able to best a professional warrior
like herself. Even her riddle was sub par.

As soon as the missile had exploded B.B. Hood came charging, swinging her
basket over her head. Thinking she could defeat this girl at her leisure,
Morrigan casually raised up one arm in defense with the wing on that side
of her body following suit. The small wicker basket tore through
Morrigan's wing and slammed into Morrigan's shoulder. Wincing with pain,
Morrigan staggered and barely caught herself as her feet dropped to the
ground. The bats that formed Morrigan's wings -and were so closely
associated with the succubus that they were practically an extension of
her- fluttered in the air, direction-less and lost without Morrigan to
guide them. As Morrigan teetered on her feet B.B. Hood slapped her in the
face, sending the succubus spinning to the ground. Although her shoulder
ached so much she could barely move it and her head was ringing from being
hit by the hunter's small hand, Morrigan pulled herself to her feet.

"Are you going to attack me?" B.B. Hood asked. The hunter stood with one
hand on her hip while the other casually swung her basket. Oblivious to
the battle going on around him, B.B. Hood's dog jumped and chased after
Morrigan's bats as they hovered in the air. "Thing is, I don't think you
have the strength for it."

At B.B. Hood's suggestion all the vitality in Morrigan's body seemed to
drain away. She had been preparing to throw a powerful spell of energy,
but now she was so weak her knees were buckling from the exertion of

"What... what have you-"

B.B. Hood shoved Morrigan, causing the succubus to fall heavily to the
ground. Before she could recover B.B. Hood stepped on her hand causing
Morrigan to shriek in pain. Morrigan tried to pull her hand free but she
couldn't budge the hunter's petite foot.

"Here I thought someone who claimed to be the 'ruler of Makai' would be a
bit brighter, but I guess you would have to be as clueless as everyone
else around here if you were going to be in charge of this mess," B.B.
Hood said. The hunter had a look of childish delight on her face, as if
she had just been given a wonderful present or was particularly enjoying
pulling the wings off a fly. "So tell me, what's your story?"

"I don't understand. What do you-" Morrigan stopped as B.B. Hood pressed
down a bit more with her foot.

"What are you? What's your story?" B.B. Hood stamped down on Morrigan's
hand one last time for emphasis. Morrigan pulled her hand away and cradled
it against her chest. "Don't any of you understand? You're all fake! Makai
is a shadow of Earth; it's the dumping ground for the world's collective
subconscious. This realm gets its power from the dreams and imagination of
the regular world. The only reason you exist is because, without realizing
it, people create and sustain you."

"Thing is," B.B. Hood continued, "I'm having none of that. I figured out I
could destroy Makai when I realized that I didn't have to believe in it.
If the minds of those living on Earth could create Makai, then someone
from Earth could un-create it."

"It looks like you don't believe me but I don't think you have anything to
say about it," Morrigan tried to speak but found she had been struck mute.
"See? You claimed to be the queen of Makai and a creature of the night but
that's only because that's what others say you are. You're a collection of
ideas people have of you, but instead of the real you that should be
inside all that you're hollow. Instead of being a real, living thing all
you are is a made-up story. You're imaginary and now you're dead."

Was everything she knew a lie? Was she nothing more than a collection of
impressions? Morrigan refused to believe it, but it didn't change the hold
the hunter had on her. Even if the girl was using some sort of subtle
spell instead of unrelenting logic on her the effect was the same; she was
going to be destroyed if she didn't act soon. Lilith, who was normally
silent when joined with Morrigan, was screaming frantically inside her

B.B. Hood pulled a hunting knife out of her basket and advanced on
Morrigan. Focusing on Lilith's voice, Morrigan found the strength to sit
up and grabbed B.B. Hood's arm with the hand that hadn't been crushed.
Although her shoulder burned with the exertion Morrigan was able to hold
the hunter's knife at bay. A look of surprise and annoyance crossed B.B.
Hood's face as she tried to pry Morrigan's fingers away.

"Let go of me. Stop moving would you?" B.B. Hood grumbled. "How come
you're still able to fight me?"

Morrigan was unable to hear the hunter's complaints over the cries of
Lilith. Ignoring the pain, Morrigan laid her other hand on B.B. Hood's
chest. Morrigan's bats -which could take on any form her will demanded-
flowed up her arm like quicksilver, formed a hard, pointed edge, and slid
between the hunter's ribs.

B.B. Hood lurched back from Morrigan, pulling herself off Morrigan's
spear. The hunter held her hand over her wound and watched with a look of
odd fascination as blood gurgled out in a constant rhythm.

"I can't die. I don't believe it. I can't die..." Repeating this mantra
over and over again the hunter staggered away from Morrigan and back down
the path she had come on, leaving a trail of blood behind her. The dog
that accompanied B.B. Hood stopped to lap up a small pool of blood and
then followed it's mistress back into the dark woods they had emerged

Morrigan slumped to the ground, barely managing to support herself with
her hands. In a shimmer of light Lilith separated from Morrigan.

"Morrigan!" Lilith cried. "What can I do?" Lilith began to reach for
Morrigan's shoulder and hand but was afraid to touch her injuries. "Should
I kill that hunter?" Lilith asked, pointing down the path the hunter had
staggered away on. "I can kill her for you, just watch!"

"Shhh..." Morrigan said, as she pulled the smaller succubus to her and
wiped at Lilith's tears with her good hand. "If that hunter somehow does
survive we can defeat her anytime we want now that we know her secret. For
now, however, I think we both need to rest."

The two succubae sat on the dirt road, with Lilith trying to tend
Morrigan's injuries while Morrigan did her best to assure her counterpart
that she was going to be fine and to stop Lilith's nearly hysterical
crying. Morrigan didn't know what sort of bewitchment B.B. Hood had used
on her. Perhaps the hunter was right and Morrigan and all the creatures in
Makai were figments of someone's imagination. Lilith's belief and love for
Morrigan, however, was so strong and so complete that it could seemingly
counteract any spell or possibly even the nature of the world around them.
Morrigan could not fully explain why and how she existed, but she was real
in Lilith's eyes and for now that was enough.