Written for Smitty: "Now...*cracks knuckles* Payback time: Sand, Mazikeen and Soap-on-a-Rope"

Mazikeen: War Leader of the Lilim in Exile; companion (boy, is that an oversimplification) of Lucifer Morningstar. She's the lady with half her face covered by a mask and the hard-to-decipher speech in the Sandman graphic novels; her features are "fixed" early in the Lucifer series and Mazikeen would very much like to kill the one who did it as she now sees her (rather beautiful) face as hideously scarred.

Beatrice: Former waitress at Lucifer's nightclub, Lux. She's in love with Mazikeen, who takes her off to, well, sort of be her sex slave after first using her as a sacrifice to save Lucifer (Lucifer 42-44).

Sand: Once sidekick to the first Sandman, the guy from the Golden Age JSA, now all grown up and a former chairman of the current JSA. [Whole bio (which ain't much) here.] Short version: Sand has within him a part of the soul of Dream of the Endless, which tends to manifest itself as precognitive dreams. He's a silicon-based life form, which means he can turn any part of himself into sand as well as pass through any object with silicon in it (which is almost anything) and do stuff like turn himself into a localized sandstorm. He's MIA now - presumed killed in JSA #50, he's actually sort of discorporated - his sandstorm blew up on him, basically.

Soap-on-a-rope: Exactly what it sounds like. Present here because I challenged Smitty a long time ago with the odd combination of Wonder Woman, John Constantine, and a bucket of ice. And Smitty's been plotting vengeance ever since.

The plot/plan: One of those pipe-dream fics of mine is to make a better use of Sand than Geoff Johns (writer of JSA) ever did. Sand's got awesome powers and is closer to Batman's league as a detective than anyone else in the JSA. And there's that whole tie to the Endless - Sand has a part of Dream's soul and it was never explored. With his corporeal self not doing much until Johns brings him back (which could be never), he might as well go work for Daniel. [He has also spent some time quite insane (and thus as one of Delerium's subjects) and there are cases for him and some of the other Endless.]

Mazikeen closed her eyes, sight unnecessary here and now, her other senses sated and yet still grasping for more.

The ever-present smell of war, the sea of blood and shit and sweat and steel and the sulphurous tang of the breath of Hell, the wave of herbed oil wafting up from the bath, the pungent weight of wet earth after a heavy rain, the gauzy cling of the smoke of the smithy's fire, the cloying and cultivated perfume of the soap that hung from its hook on the wall near her head.

In the distance, she could hear her soldiers still drilling, the clank and clang of metal upon metal, the duller thud of club meeting bone, the occasional wet sound of sword through flesh and its accompanying cry of pain, the growled barks of her never-praising, rarely pleased lieutenants as they prepared for the battle that would come. It always did. The call to violence and disorder was in their blood, singing irresistable songs of vengeance ever since Lilith had first stepped away from Eden.

Closer in was the gentle sound of lapping water, slapping rhythmically against the side of the sunken tub in time to Beatrice's motions, the bath not yet full enough to cause it to splash over the sides and onto the cool tile floor.

Poor, besotted Beatrice. Less than a lover, more than a pet. Not strong enough to fight with the Lilim, yet strong enough to offer herself in sacrifice for the one who had from Mazikeen what she herself never could. Beatrice, who could not quite believe who she had fallen in with, who had given up everything and everyone to be exactly where she was: on her hands and knees between Mazikeen's thighs, hands slicked with oil and water roaming up her belly to knead her breasts and twist her nipples, tongue flicking *hard* against that spot where it would do the most good.

Mazikeen's thoughts warm along with her body, the haze of lust coursing through her like the adrenalin before a fight; there is no shame in knowing them as two of a kind. The power of passion and warfare, of conquering lover or opponent, victory on either battlefield as its own reward. She is a warrior and a good one. She reaches for Beatrice's head, fingers threading through short, wet hair as she pulls her closer, wanting to feel more, the itch of anticipation beginning at her center and fanning out in trails of need.

Lust tastes coppery like blood, bright and hot and alive. The Lilim are creatures of passion, wise in their knowledge that lust is driven by an impetus that can be corraled but not controlled. Lilith did not bow and buckle and for that her children are stronger than those of Eve. For that, they are called upon to do battle on fields of which the Children of Eve cannot even comprehend.

A war is coming, peeking over the horizon like a reluctant dawn. A war that the Children of Eve cannot prevent and cannot win and yet must win because the stakes go beyond their tiny lives and smaller existences.

The Lilim, through Mazikeen, are being entreated to help. The messenger came to her last night in a dream. One of the Dream King's minion, a son of Eve with the blessings of the Endless. He wore their marks as scars upon his body and his soul, his demeanor an admixture of innocence and wisdom covered over by determination that spelled out his inexperience in a way his actions and words did not. A hero from a different battlefield, pressed into service much greater than he had known and just at the cusp of recognizing it.

They spoke of futures possible and not, of theoretical bargains that could be struck but would not be, at least not by them. He was only a servant of the Lord Shaper and emissary of the Endless and she wanted to present Morningstar with the opportunity to counter-offer.

He had arrived in a swirl of sand, a storm solidifying into the shape of an arms-bearing man, comely with his golden hair and blue eyes; he departed in similar fashion, with his last words falling from lips that could no longer pass as human. Not of the stable of Dream's nightmare creations, he could be an extraordinary soldier for the Endless.

But the war, while imminent, was still far away and the fire in Mazikeen's blood had a much more immediate cause. She opens her eyes and looks down to watch but then closes them again as the wave crests and her fingers tighten and she growls out a cry that makes Beatrice shudder in pain. She quickly lets go of Beatrice's hair and caresses her cheeks, pulling the young woman up for a hard kiss that tastes of herself and of Beatrice and of victory.


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