By Elizabeth "Archangel Beth" McCoy
Okay, Free Lilim are theoretically free, right? They aren't Servitors of Freedom -- Lilith has no Servitors. Lilith doesn't give a damn about what they do with their time (when they're not under Geas to her, at least). They aren't assigned to go do stuff that promotes the Word of Freedom.
So why does Lilith care what happens to her Daughters? She's a Demon Princess, why should she care about anything but herself? Can't be maternal instincts...
It's not, necessarily. Thing is, Lilith *does* have Servitors: her daughters. Her Free Daughters owe her 9 favors, of about a week in duration each (or up to 3 years, if combined!). They *are* her Servitors -- they're just on vacation most of the time. If she wants something done, she calls up people who owe her, and her Daughters mostly owe her.
They also get her Rites -- and Rites, one presumes, forward the power of the Superior's Word even as they give a little Essence to the one doing it. Sort of a reward mechanism. Every one of her Daughters who uses those *is* forwarding the Word of Freedom. It's just more subtle than, say, a Servitor of Death killing someone.
And the description of Lilim says that they're created in Lilith's own image. They want freedom, same as her. They're *programmed* to forward the Word of Freedom in little ways, from day one of their existance! And she doesn't even have to give them orders! Indeed, *can't* give them orders, if she's to remain true to her Word. (Geasa are the price of existance. If a Daughter didn't want to pay the Geasa, she could tell Lilith to take the Forces back. No Such Thing As A Free Lunch, and all that.)
So, no matter what everyone *says*, Lilim are Lilith's Servitors in all but name. They just get a lot of free time.
And they're not just her Servitors, they're *merchandise* too! She trades their services around, and they're loyal little servants (unlike a Servitor of Vapula on loan to Kronos, say).
Now, what Demon Prince lived long enough to tell the tale if they let a bunch of mere demons (or even mere Word-bound, or even other Princes...) push around their Servitors? Lilith's no wimp -- wimp Princes don't last long. Just ask Sloth about it...
And if the merchandise is damaged or destroyed, Lilith loses out. Bad, very bad. Weakens her position, takes from her power.
Each Lilim who owes Geasa to Lilith is a resource -- sometimes, she doesn't even have to call in a Geas. She just calls them up, and asks, "Would you do me a favor for a few Songs?" It doesn't take much for Lilith to teach a Song, presumably, but a mere Lilim has to get a Superior to do it. She'll have to pay anyway... Might as well bargain with Mom a little.
And if a free Daughter needs something, who's she gonna call? Asmodeus? Nope, it's "Hey, Mom, I really need a [relic/Song/ couple of Calabim bodyguards/30 tons of cheese puffs]! Can we make a deal?" (Why do you think *all* Lilim can call her?)
So, why *would* Lilith let anyone push around her Servitors freely? Some of the time, she thinks the Lilim should be handling it -- the girl got into a situation, she should be getting herself out of it. No free lunches here! Of course, she can *ask* for help... For a price, Lilith might bestir herself (if she's not otherwise busy).
Sometimes she doesn't even know it's happening -- she's not Asmodeus to keep track of everything her Daughters do, when they're not actually serving her.
Sometimes she's busy elsewhere, or the politics are such that she can't make any moves. (Harassment of Bright Lilim probably comes under the "it's safe because of politics," 99.9999999% of the time.)
Sometimes it's just not important enough to her that one (or fifth) time.
But she *can't* just do nothing when things go beyond the pale. One good Example can keep the abuses down to a minimum (sort of like spam -- toast AGIS/Cyberpromo, for instance, and the rest can be dealt with *so* much easier...).
Of course, any intervention from Lilith will have a price for the Lilim in question. Even if it doesn't come with a Geas attached, a girl knows that repayment must be made, unless she *wants* to get no help the next time... And in dubious cases, whether or not Lilith intervenes will probably depend heavily on how valuable the Lilim is to *her*! (Mechanic-happy GMs might want to total up the number of Forces of the Lilim, the levels of Geas upon her, and figure out how useful she is...)
A Lilim who owes Lilith very little is probably less likely to get any help from Mom. One who owes a *lot* is more valuable. Lilith doesn't like to see her Geasa exploded -- "She had 5 years of Geasa on her, and *you* killed her! Okay, you break the Geasa, you *bought* the Geasa...."
A mere demon getting egregious will probably just get splatted and his hide tacked to the front of the Shal-Mari Lilim Sorority or whatever.
A Word-bound would probably get a selection of Guidos showing up to explain that "Mom wants ya t' play nice wit' her goils."
A Demon Prince... Is trickier. If Lilith wanted to go Kamakazi, she could probably take one out -- pull out all the stops, call in all the Geasa. The most likely result would be that she'd be weakened enough to be an easy target for anyone who wanted to get their own private source of Lilim... (Or vice versa -- the Prince who won would be targeted by others...) The chances of an all out war, especially against one of the Greater Powers of Hell, are slim. But a paranoid Prince wouldn't discount the possibility -- if provoked, people can do strange things. Best not to walk around with Lilim-skin boots, leading a pretty selection of them around in chains and lending them to Shedim as play-toys. At least, don't let Lilith know about it, if you do.
And there are things short of all-out war that can be done -- Lilim, by their nature, collect favors from all *sorts* of people. If you care to spend the time and favors, the Daughters (not just the Free ones either, but any who owe Geasa...) are a network of spies and saboteurs. When a Hell-Tether suddenly loses electricity, water, and has graffiti sprayed all over it -- all without disturbance in the Symphony, even -- a Prince might think twice about that Lilim footstool-slave.
It's not that Lilith can throw her weight around, so much as she can make displeasing her not worth the effort. Her girls are Hellborn, and perfectly selfish. Does Asmodeus *really* want to have fifty of his best agents scrutinized by the IRS, just to bring down one Free Daughter who's decided to start herding sheep in the wilderness instead of tempting mortals for a while? She's not hurting anyone (this is also the point...), but she's not helping, either. It's not worth the flack until she can be proven to have gone Renegade -- and then, well, she made her own choice and will have to take the consequences...
For the most part, a Bound Lilim (one who's pledged herself into the Service of another Prince -- or an Archangel...) has made her choice, and Lilith isn't going to get involved. Sell yourself into slavery, and you get what you asked for, right? If you want out of the relationship, well, you'll have to do what's necessary, right? Maybe you can buy Lilith's help, maybe not...
But there are some tricks that Lilith doesn't like, even on the seriously rare Brights (they're merchandise and Servitors too, if they owe her anything). Dissonance-blackmail [such as in Nana's "It's Not My Fault" adventure seed] is one -- it can be used against *any* Lilim, not just, say, a Bright. Let that one go by, and next thing you know, Azzie's people are doing it to any Daughter they just want to harass.
Hitting Tempters with conflicting Geasa is another problem that can escalate if not nipped in the bud -- if it's an accident, that's different, but if it's deliberate...
Gotta put a stop to Lilim abuse, before everyone starts doing it, testing, pushing, seeing if Lilith's lost power, seeing if she's weak. Seeing what they can get away with.
It's in Lilith's best interestes to make sure they know what they can get away with doing to her Daughters and her: Not Much.
And that is why Lilith gets involved when people abuse her Daughters, and why Princes don't discount her displeasure. She's not running the place, any more than any of *them* are -- but she's a Princess, and she's got the power to hold that status. Maybe she won't meddle in the affairs of one Lilim, but do you feel lucky?
But Lilim are not running the show, either...
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Elizabeth McCoy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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