Files from the Stone Society: Succubi

From the writings of Victoria Stone, noted Vampirologist (date unknown):

“The  Succubus as we know her is a recent development.  Though the term has  existed in folklore since before the 15th century, modern historians now  suspect that the legend began as a mythologized interpretation of  straightforward vampiric activity which conflated the occult with sexual  promiscuity.  However, others believe that the Succubus was in fact a  distinct class of vampire (possibly innovated by a matriarch known as  Meridiana, a benefactor of Pope Sylvester II).  If so, it is reasonable  to assume that the original breed is extinct, their remnants either  hunted into oblivion or voluntarily drifting into space, as ancient  Strigoi were prone to do before the blood of Khazandra enabled them to  mitigate the malaise of ages through the power of sleep.  This theory  suggests that the current generation of Succubi are not an unprecedented  mutation, but rather the result of latent supernatural genes becoming  triggered by magic, reviving a withered branch of the vampire family  tree.  In any case, the beginnings of the contemporary Succubus are,  like many modern monsters, found in the Land of Miscellanea,  Pennsylvania.

“The vampiress Michelle is a noteworthy fixture of  the Pointed House.  A local administrator, close confidante of Khazandra  of the Eastern Lake, and a founding member of the residential vampire  community, she is distinguished not only by her accomplishments but by  her unique origins.  For it is told that in the time before the dragons,  before the Wooden Castle was even a castle, Lady Michelle was a mortal  male who, for reasons which are unclear, pursued the supernatural (which  was, as we know, far rarer and less amenable to human contact in those  days).  During the ascension of Khazandra he became a vampire and  attacked the Tartan Wizard (again, for reasons which are unclear).  He  was overwhelmed by magic and transformed in a manner which suited the  legendarily lascivious magician’s proclivities.

“The years that  followed required adaptation and discipline.  Though unhappy with her  forced transition, she ultimately saw fit to identify as a woman and  renamed herself Michelle.  She became one of the first students of  Rebecca Lochtern’s incipient moral reeducation program, now a core facet  of standard vampiric adjustment therapy.  But Michelle’s orientation  was complicated by changes to her undead condition which surpassed the  more obvious consequences of her visible transformation.

“Her  body temperature had risen.  She felt frail, significantly weaker than  the average vampire (though still stronger than the average human), but  also more acutely aware of physical stimulus.  Her skin was sensitive to  an erogenous degree.  Her libido was abnormally active.  Even her hair  was oddly voluptuous, and attempts at barbering caused it to grow back  more fully and stubbornly than before.  But the most remarkable trait of  her altered biology was only revealed when she begat her own progeny.

“The  changing of humans into monsters has always been strictly regulated  under Khazandra’s law, and the identities of those involved are closely  guarded whenever discretion is desirable.  But we now gather that  roughly twenty years after Michelle’s conversion she resumed contact  with a former acquaintance who expressed interest in becoming a vampire  (possibly after being seduced by Michelle, who must by then have felt  the ingrained urge to tempt mortal prey that would become a trademark of  the Succubus).  Whatever the reason, Michelle petitioned Khazandra for  approval and proceeded to grant the man’s request.

“But the man  did not remain a man.  A metamorphosis took place within Michelle’s  penetralia.  Her scion was entirely reconfigured and disgorged with a  woman’s body, with each of Michelle’s biological peculiarities.  It  became clear that a new (or resurgent) species of vampire had come into  being, one which may induct either men or women into its ranks, but  always converting the former into the latter.

“Still, while this  aspect of the condition is noteworthy, it is also easily overstated.   Rumors that all Succubi are transexual are false (or quickly became  false as new Succubi were made by Lady Dame, Michelle’s first and only  offspring).  Though exact statistics are currently impossible to attain,  it is estimated that only a small percentage of their population has  experienced this transition, and it is rare for Succubi to be sought out  for such a purpose.  Certainly, most people who desire to change their  body’s gender in this day and age would simply hire wizards to perform  surgical sorcery rather than submit themselves to the unpredictable  nature of the Succubus transformation (and the rigorous coursework  currently in place to test prospective vampires).

“Unlike the  Strigoi, whose outward appearance is mostly unchanged during the  transition from mortal to immortal, there is always a pronounced  physical alteration during the incubation of a Succubus.  Even those who  were originally biologically female experience extensive adjustments  which enhance secondary sexual characteristics and eliminate any blemish  which may interfere with conventional notions of beauty, presumably  informed by subconscious standards gleaned from the psyche of either the  ‘mother’ or the ‘daughter’.

“If the former takes precedence over  the latter it may contribute to the general fact that domestic ties  amongst the Succubi are comparably stronger than in other vampire  ‘families’.  Since their inception their population has grown into a  small but cohesive clan with their own standards and practices.  They  are generally governed by Lady Dame, who leads the clique in civil  matters and is often mistaken for their Eldest by outside observers and  younger Succubi, a misconception which she tacitly encourages.  They are  visually distinguished by their noticeably conservative mode of dress.   Some have said that the archaic clothing is meant to defy preconceived  notions regarding the wanton reputation of their namesake, while others  claim that they merely enjoy the ’schoolmarm motif’ for its distinctive  communal aesthetic.  Still others admit that their concealing gowns are  worn to facilitate a more refined method of titillation.

“Succubi  are highly disciplined, but also every bit as lascivious as the legends  suggest.  They pride themselves not only on their decorum but on their  carnal gifts, potent enough to rival the bawdy Vorpal Pook.  But while  the Sharp-Toothed Rabbits tend to celebrate their sexuality with wild  abandon, the Succubi eschew such displays to instead embody the  sensuality of withholding gratification.  Their power lies in a talent  for dominating their prey with unspoken promises delivered through a  thousand subtle signals, patient strategies which come naturally to  their specialized instincts.  While blood remains a staple of their  diet, it is the psychic connection formed through the obsession of their  victims that truly invigorates these vampires, rather than the actual  act of sex.  In fact it is quite rare for anyone (besides other Succubi)  to successfully achieve intercourse with a Succubus, though the journey  is always a harrowing erotic adventure.

“Naturally, this is not  to say that all Succubi are evil, any more than all monsters or humans  are evil.  They are often straightforward in stating their intentions  when approaching a person of interest, although they do make an art out  of omitting certain details, and their talent for inducing curiosity  borders on the hypnotic.  But such effort is not always required, as  they fill a niche which other people are anxious to take advantage of  (though Succubi commonly state that they gain greater pleasure from  exercising their talents on those who do not seek them out).  They are  the ultimate dominatrixes, and many of their former victims have  expressed gratitude for their experiences in spite of the ordeal.   Others, naturally, do not.

“Michelle, for her part, prefers not  to take an active role in their society.  She has declined to comment on  her status as the progenitor of a new race of vampire, and rarely shows  pride in her accomplishment.  The dispassionate and collected demeanor  of the Succubus is an affectation which they initially adopted in  imitation of their aloof founder, who demonstrates no amusement with the  games her daughters play with mortals.  But the masters and mistresses  of each brand of vampire are classically expected to be the pinnacle of  their breed, and the Succubi who acknowledge her as their true Eldest  whisper amongst themselves that their mater’s humorless poise is merely  part of a grand maneuver spanning years, a sustained performance  designed to seduce Khazandra herself.

“Or perhaps Michelle is  simply repulsed by her legacy.  While the opportunity to study the  primogenitor of a burgeoning strain has rarely presented itself, some  vampirologists have speculated that when a new species of vampire is  created their development is influenced by traces of dishonor which echo  from their point of origin, making them a lasting punishment in the  eyes of their maker.

“Do the Succubi offend Michelle?  Do they  remind her of old sins? It may very well be that she is disgusted with  what she has made, a lineage which thrives on manipulation.  Research  into this rare example of the first vampire of a kind will continue, but  as is often the case, the truth is shrouded by the privacy so jealously  guarded by politicians, celebrities, and monsters of all persuasions.

“Incidentally,  the question of whether or not it is possible to create a masculine  equivalent of the Succubus, an ‘Incubus’, is an intriguing but currently  entirely hypothetical avenue of discussion.  Khazandra herself has  expressly forbidden any such experimentation, even going so far as to  decree that the term is never to be uttered in her presence.”


Note:  Oh, man.  This started as a writeup for a sketch of Michelle (formerly Mike),  and it just kept growing into a  big old chunk of world building!  I  didn’t even originally plan for her to be a Succubus, it was just a  passing thought that made more and more sense.  I ditched the sketch and  drew a portrait and then drew some more and thought some more and wrote  some more and the whole deal snowballed into a bestiary.  This might  become a new thing, these files from the Stone Society, painting a  picture of the age that Zebra Girl grew into.  I think there’ll be more!

Though  I’m feeling a little cautious about posting this, since my handling of  Mike/Michelle’s condition has been a bit of a sensitive subject for some  people.  So let me just assure everyone that none of this is meant to  be an indictment or commentary on the transexual condition.  Michelle’s  choices and feelings are not intended to be emblematic in any negative  fashion.  In the future world glimpsed in Zebra Girl’s final pages there  are many resources which allow people to pursue their needs in matters  of physical identity, and their choices are widely accepted.  It’s a  world I’d like to live in.  Which, I guess, is why I’ve been building  it.

In addition to the lore, this was a great opportunity for me  to practice using those Prismacolor pens.  I’ve been relying more on  traditional crosshatching since the comic ended, but I don’t want to  stop using the grey tones.  Just wish the damn things weren’t so  expensive!  But it’s good to know I’ve still got the touch.

And  this really was fun.  I never expected to get so deep with a writeup of  Michelle’s condition!  Wish I’d had this done in time for Valentine’s  Day.  But there was always more to do!  I kept coming up with stuff to  add.  I’ve been giving them names… can you guess who’s who?  There’s  Lady Rose, Lady Dame, Lady Lock and Lady Key….

Of course, I’m  still trying to keep my eye on making my Omnibus, but it’s impossible to  resist the muse when it hits (and it tends to sucker punch).  It’s part  of being an artist, and I could say that just drawing and writing has  provided a lot of needed distraction!  On that note, I’d like to thank  all of you who offered kind words regarding the recent trials I  mentioned earlier.  I’m alright, my Mom and Dad are both strong, capable  people, and I think we’re getting through all of these ailments very  well.  I’m proud of them both, and I’m glad that we have the support of  people like you, in whatever form it takes.  I’m glad to know you!

-Joe

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