Morgead Blackthorn is a lamia vampire and a major character in the book Huntress. He is introduced as a member of Jezebel Redfern's lamia gang, and is named as second-in-command in the book. Morgead is later discovered to additionally be her soulmate.
Morgead is depicted as having black hair that is always in his face, and "gem-green" eyes. According to Jez, when asleep, he looks "younger and more vulnerable". Like all lamia, he is very handsome, "sleek" and "sinewy", shown wearing "jeans, high boots, and a leather jacket."
Jez herself describes Morgead as "...her worst enemy. He was conceited, hot-headed, stubborn, and power-hungry--and it didn't help that he was always saying she was those things, too." Morgead is often moody, sarcastic and un-trusting. However, when Jez returns to acquire the Wild Power from him, Morgead reacts with both joy at seeing her again, and anger at her actions. His rage at Jez's abandonment of their gang is perhaps partly due to the fact that his mother abandoned him for a vampire from Europe when he was barely old enough to care for himself.
Morgead is also shown to have some sense of morality. Despite his hatred for humans, he is strongly against the needless suffering of innocents, such as Iona Skelton, and the victims of Steven Vizner in Jez and Morgead's Night Out.
Despite his ambitious, ruthless and stubborn nature, and being known for frequently being in an "Extremely Excited State", Morgead has demonstrated a very sharp intellect, as well as a more icy and calculated mental state, which causes his eyes to change to "glacier green"; it is by far the most dangerous state for his opponents.
Morgead and Jez have a complicated relationship; the pair met when they were children and instantly became best friends. Gradually, however, their friendship morphed into a kind of rivalry, and eventually, they grew to somewhat hate each other. Pierce, a member of their gang, describes their actions as "...so married"—much to the two's outrage. A few times, the two have nearly killed one another. However, Morgead deeply loves his soulmate, devastated at the thought of her harmed or killed, and is willing to fight to the death for her, despite not being above fighting her himself.
Morgead is the only child of unnamed parents. As a child, Morgead had been repeatedly neglected, his mother often leaving him for days at a time to go out on dates with other vampires. As such, he would "go play alone in the darkness, amusing himself". It was on one of his nighttime excursions that he met Jez Redfern, who alleviated his loneliness; the pair would often afterwards play together happily. Jez herself recalls the pleasant times: the two playing, Morgead helping pick splinters out of her knees, and how he had been fascinated by the concept of ice cream when she shared some with him.
Some years later, Morgead's mother finally abandoned her son altogether, leaving him on his own. He trained himself to survive and become stronger, but always noted "a sullen expression when he looked in the mirror". He was envious of humans, despite their mortality, because humans seemed to have everything Morgead never did: "family, security, food every night". He also resented the Night World elders, who did nothing to help him, feeling the young vampire was not their problem.
Ultimately, Morgead decided to form his own gang as a kind of surrogate family; naturally he approached Jez first with the idea, and the two joined forces to achieve this goal, writing the rules of the gang and serving as its co-founders and alternating leaders.
Jez and Morgead's Night OutEdit
The gang, noted for hunting humans they feel should be exterminated, has targeted a human serial killer, Steven G. Vizner, as their latest victim. Jez, currently second-in-command of the gang, is reasonably disgusted by the macabre trophy collection, as is Morgead, who emerges from a back room, looking strained and claiming the room he had come from was "worse". He reveals that the killer would also tape his handiwork, and watched "as much as [he] could stand"; even he is sympathetic to the victims, despite their being human. Jez and Morgead briefly butt heads over using member Thistle as a lure for the murderer at his workplace as they normally do, as Morgead is truly sickened by this man, but Thistle shows no qualms about the role of bait, allowing Jez to get her way and see if Vizner falls for it.
They arrive at the station at 1:30 and, after locking the door, allow Thistle inside; the young vampire pretends to be a lost child who was separated from her family to attract Vizner's attention. Taking the opportunity, when Thistle begins crying and crumples to the floor, Vizner picks the small girl up, brings her to his car and locks her in the trunk. However, he is then ambushed by the gang, who appear out of the darkness; Morgead telling them to flash their fangs. Terrified, Vizner faints, after which the gang brings him to the nearby Muir Woods.
They then proceed taking turns feeding on Vizner; Jez and Morgead share a turn, platonically exploring each other's outer mental layers in the process, which Jez enjoys. However, afterwards, the gang cannot decide how to dispose of their target. Morgead and the others opt for submitting Vizner to days of torture for all he had done to other human beings, but Jez adamantly disagrees, instead suggesting a quick death. Despite being outvoted, Morgead is furious and tries to convince Jez otherwise, as he is actually hurt by her dissent. However, Jez stands by her convictions.
When Morgead still refuses to listen to her, Jez challenges him for the leadership of the gang, shocking everyone. Morgead accepts the challenge, allowing Jez to set the method and location.
At first, Jez distracts and punches Morgead, who refuses to move even after start time is called by another member, Raven, and is felled by the blow, but another stipulation is added to determine leadership: one of them has to bite the other to decide who is the new leader. Neither wanting the others to see that happen in full view, Jez and Morgead take off into the forest and fight, yet the two are evenly matched. Morgead then suggests that they decisively end the battle using only a telepathic Power attack. Jez agrees, and the two stand face-to-face, palms together.
However, upon contact, the Soulmate Principle activates, though neither Jez nor Morgead know this is the cause at the time. Morgead views Jez as beautiful, noting her hair, features and particularly her silvery-blue eyes, which he compares to having the moon right near you. His assessment angers him though, as he should be focused on fighting Jez instead of admiring her. However, upon meeting those eyes, Morgead recalls seeing a performance at Berkeley College of Romeo and Juliet; he specifically remembers the line "Palm to palm is holy palmer's kiss", leading Morgead to muse that in a way, he and Jez are "kissing". He recalls being deeply touched by the play, stating that, unique for him, the story "sang".
Jez unleashes Power at Morgead while his guard is dropped twice, although she partially holds back because of their bond. Even so, Morgead is felled by the blasts. The agony changes his mental diversion into something else; he mistakenly believed that Vizner was trying to kill them but, crippled by the Power blast, Morgead was too blind and weak to know where to direct his own assault. That changes when something touched his arm, allowing Morgead to throw a mental hit at whoever had touched him, which turned out to be Jez unfortunately. Upon realizing he had actually killed her, Morgead, who could not facing living without Jez, did something innovative as there was no other way to get help: he utilized his own life energy, which all lamia recycled repeatedly when halting their aging process, and channelled it into Jez to resuscitate her. Despite the process causing his body more and more pain, Morgead refused to give up until Jez was restored, believing that he deserved the pain for killing her. He additionally used mouth-to-mouth on Jez as she began to come back.
Jez awakens to Morgead calling her; crying, he tells her the truth about what happened to her. However, Jez remains puzzled at his grief and, in spite of her inward desire to comfort him, verbally berates Morgead instead, insisting she would have left him for dead if it were the other way around. Morgead recovers and takes the opportunity to remind Jez, whom he now has pinned to the ground, Raven's stiuplation for leadership. To stop him from biting her, Jez creates a mental poison dart with Power and fires it at Morgead, even after he relents and releases her. The blow, to Jez's shock, begins killing him, making her believe something was seriously wrong, as the dart was diverted at the last moment, barely grazing the former leader. To find the source of the problem, Jez mentally explores Morgead's mind, which informs her of his thoughts both prior and during their fight, as well as its immediate aftermath.
With her revelations, Jez is stunned and sorrowful at Morgead's sacrifice for her. She stumbles upon an idea, due to a memory of her Uncle Bracken, and decides to try giving Morgead some of her blood to help restore his health. Using mental prompting, she aligns her throat with Morgead's mouth and encourages him to bite down, which he does instantively upon hearing a childhood song from Jez to teach young vampires to feed.
Here she is able to unlock a memory Morgead had originally closed off; in the back room, Morgead had come across a scalp, from which hung bright red hair. The hair had reminded him of Jez, and Morgead had had a disturbing vision of Jez as a helpless girl being attacked by humans like Vizner. The idea incites deadly rage in Morgead, although he knows Jez as far from helpless. He had removed the scalp, thinking that the place should be destroyed, and that Jez would likely understand his ire and agree.
By this time, he has recovered from Jez's blood (due to its unique ability to carry oxygen thanks to her mixed genetics), but finds the taste "delicious", even getting akin to drunk on it, and is initially unwilling to let go of her. Morgead has no memory of the fight or even the reason for it, feeling highly effervescent from Jez's blood and commenting on her eyes, which disturbs Jez, despite her true innate joy at the compliment. He briefly kisses her, but stumbles and starts to recall the night's events, albeit vaguely. Jez admits defeat and the two start back for the gang. However, coming to the area in which they fought, despite biting her, Morgead revises his earlier outburst of Power as cheating and, on those grounds, hands over gang leadership to Jez.
A year later, while participating in a hunt in Muir woods, Morgead, now second-in-command, is irritated with Jez "showing off" for the rival human gang they intend to kill. He knocks her out of the path of a stray bullet, insisting they give chase as, despite Jez giving the human gang three minutes to flee, they are instead using weaponry provided to attack her and her allies. Jez kicks him off of her, then proceeds to go after the leader.
When Jez uncovers a repressed memory of her parents' deaths, she sends out a mental emergency call for the gang to stop. She knows only Morgead has the power to respond; he asks what has happened, but Jez only replies that the woods are no longer safe, fearful of him seeing more of her mind.
Learning that her mother was in fact human, Jez, whom believed Morgead would kill her once he knew, abandons the gang and goes to live with her human family, although she notes that the idea of leaving Morgead pains her greatly. The following year, she learns from Hugh Davis, a fellow Circle Daybreak operative she has fallen in love with, that she must reunite with her old gang, as Morgead has claimed to have found the first of the four Wild Powers, and will exchange that person for a seat on the Night World Council.
Reunion with JezEdit
Seeking to acquire the Wild Power and remove them from his control, Jez returns to San Francisco and breaks into Morgead's penthouse apartment, which she and the rest of the gang had also once shared. She notes his "good" looks as he sleeps, and reluctantly remembers their shared memories of their childhood together. However, Jez pushes the memories aside and awakens Morgead, holding a snakewood fighting stick ready in the event he attacks her. However, upon awakening and seeing Jez, Morgead's face expresses both "pain and happiness", shocked initially by her return. This soon resolves into anger at not knowing where she had gone, especially as Jez will not tell him; he explains how everyone had been worried about her and thought her dead.
She challenges him for leadership of the gang, which he accepts, choosing his own oak fighting stick, mentioning that since her leaving, he has become stronger thanks to the impending millennium. The two fight, trading blows and insults with equal measure. However, when she traps him, her close proximity startles Morgead, who then accuses her of trying to"play on people's feelings": trying to seduce him into giving up, although Jez fails to understand his implication.
True to his word about being stronger, upon cornering him, Morgead unleashes a Power blast at her (stated to seem "faintly green" in color) which allows him to free himself and continue attacking, wounding the girl. Fortunately, Jez tricks him into believing he has seriously hurt her arm; Morgead is fooled by the act and she is able to disarm and pin him down, insisting he yield or she will break his wrist. However, infuriated, he is resistant to her demand, and continues to hit her with Power.
Exhausted with pain, the two finally stop, angrily sniping at each other for not following through with their threats of inflicting more agony on one another. He is genuinely surprised that she had not broken his wrist as she intended, and offers to teach her to use the Power as he can, believing her to be strong enough to do so. After studying her and noting how she has changed, Morgead agrees to give up leadership to her, and offers her his throat to be bitten (as per the rules of the gang). However, Jez insists that he bite her instead, which despite misgivings Morgead proceeds to do.
Drinking her blood activates the soulmate bond but Morgead is upset that Jez, to hide her half-human heritage, keeps parts of her soul hidden from him. He instantly realizes she is his soulmate, despite her denials, and is eager to merge with her, seeking to comfort Jez's fears. He admits that he "enjoy[s]" Jez, and she is able to see memories of the two of them, with her being an ever-present aspect, in addition to memories of his lonely past as a child. To stop herself from giving in to the bond, Jez presents an image into Morgead's mind of her leaving, which triggers his own enraged memories of the gang searching for her. His volcanic fury over her abandoning him as his mother had severs their bond; the two return to the conscious world, angry and upset.
Although Morgead furiously tells her to get out after this incident, Jez lures him in with a proposition of increasing the gang's power and prestige. It takes seconds for Morgead to conclude that Jez returned on orders from (he believes) Hunter Redfern, who he feels wants the Wild Power to restore the prestige of the Redfern family. Seizing the opportunity, Jez goes along with his assessment, and convinces her second-in-command to "join" her.
He reluctantly agrees once he thinks Hunter will eliminate the Council. Morgead then shows her a video tape documenting the reputed Wild Power putting out a burning building using the blue fire. He correctly deduces that the Wild Powers would have been appearing at this time, and that the girl in the video, Iona, being in extreme desperation, likely activated it to preserve her life when caught in the fire. He is highly indignant over a human being a potential Wild Power, feeling, as vermin, they are unworthy of having such power.
He attempts to apologize to Jez, touching her forearm and reviving their bond minutely, but at that moment the rest of the gang arrives. Hearing of Jez's return and proposition, they joyfully embrace her, then ride out to collect the human girl; one member, Val, tells her that Morgead had them scour the city to find her when Jez first vanished. Morgead also intends to test Iona to be sure of her power once they have acquired her.
When they observe the projects Iona live in, Jez expresses sympathy for her surroundings. Although the rest of the gang are unmoved, Morgead comes to Jez's defense. She also notes that Morgead had not yet figured out the part of the prophecy about "the year of the Blind Maiden's vision". Thistle emerges with Iona, whom Jez grabs, the gang following back to Morgead's home. However, when it comes time to test her, Morgead appears to be "tired", in spite of successfully carrying off the child.
Morgead requests that Iona demonstrate her power, insisting that she need not be harmed. When she states that he may be "crazy", Morgead brings her to a secluded section of the rooftop and the gang lights a fire; they insist Iona put it out with her abilities. When Pierce expresses "concern" about the fire attracting others, Morgead tells him to shut up.
When Jez insists they stop and put the fire out, Morgead protests, insisting Iona needs to be terrified enough to use the blue fire, but Jez points out that the child is already greatly terrified. However, as he is about to stop, Thistle kicks flaming debris at Iona, setting the girl on fire. Morgead "drags" Thistle backwards to halt her kicking, but Iona jumps off the roof to escape the fire. To Morgead's horror, Jez jumps after her, prompting Morgead to leap off after her. He lands on the sidewalk below near Jez and Iona, scared for her.
On Jez's request, he erased Iona's memories of the ordeal, admitting he was wrong about her being a Wild Power. When the red-haired leader mentions feeling hurt, Morgead grows concerned, probing her for injury, apologizing and healing her face with Power where the fire had scorched her.
Truth and CaptureEdit
The soulmate bond is revived, and the two kiss. However, they are disrupted by the gang, who are concerned over whether they survived the fall. Morgead is irritated, insisting on killing Val for the interruption. The gang descends to find the two embracing. However, when Thistle defends her actions at kicking fiery objects at Iona, Morgead furiously turns on the smaller vampire, calling her "a sixteen-year-old Shirley Temple-wannabe". Jez breaks them apart, and insists that Iona be brought home. Morgead also unravels the line about the Blind Maiden's vision, stating that the Wild Powers must then be seventeen years old and presently in the city. The pair of them return Iona to her mother and aunt; Morgead expresses regret that after they drop her off, Jez will return home rather than go back to his home.
When Hugh, Jez and Jez's cousin Claire are captured after blue fire stops a BART training nearly killing the two girls, Morgead is also taken captive, knocked out and placed in the same van with the others. While being transported to an undisclosed location, Jez awakens him. He tells her that he had been jumped with a wooden object as he left the penthouse. The two search the van for a way out, but come up empty; when questioned about his knowledge of the train accident, Morgead reacts with anger, insisting he would never harm Jez, as well as admitting he is low on Power if they have to fight whoever had abducted them.
To Jez's horror, Morgead additionally reveals himself to not have been as deceived as she had thought; he recognizes Hugh as a Circle Daybreak member, and suspects that Jez has been "using" him and concealing a possible Wild Power from him. He reveals that he has been using the soulmate principle to learn about Jez, knowing she has been hiding things from him, and gaining insight about her and her activities since the year she'd left the gang. Once he pieces it together, however, Morgead is shocked that she is a Daybreaker as well, angry and upset as he believes the Night World will destroy mankind, and that now he has to protect her from it. He admits though that he doesn't care about being used, and that she continues denying their bond, so long as she came back to him.
When told that Jez is in fact half-human, Morgead reacts with deep shock, believing it to be impossible, although she affirms what she is; she notes with bitterness that he looks like he's "about to be sick". He then realizes that this is why, the day before, she wouldn't drink his blood. However, their conversation is cut short when the van stops. Jez requests from Morgead only that they work together to fight off their captors and allow her to get Claire to safety.
All four are dragged from the van and led into a deserted house at the edge of town, then tied up. When Lily Redfern, who had taken them, reveals that her associate had been their gang member Pierce, Morgead reacts with rage and tries to attack, despite his bonds, threatening to kill the other lamia, but is kicked in the face by one of Lily's men. However, this does not stop Morgead from continuing to furiously snarl at Pierce, especially with the latter comments that Jez, being a hybrid, "should have been drowned at birth".
After Jez is beaten for information about the Wild Power, Morgead tries to cover and tells Lily he himself is the Wild Power, in essence sacrificing himself so the others can go free. Despite Jez pointing out the consequence of being found out, he tells her he doesn't care if he can't be with her. To be sure, on Pierce's suggestion, Lily orders Jez to be staked through the heart, despite Morgead's outraged horror and pleading with Lily to let her go. When Jez remains adamantly silent, Lily also orders Morgead staked; as he is placed beside Jez, he whispers to her that he loves her.
Fortunately, before he is harmed, Jez discovers that she herself is the Wild Power, and with the flowing of her blood from being staked, she unleashes the blue fire, which obliterates the house, Lily, Pierce, and all within, save herself, Morgead, Hugh and Claire. However, due to the stake, Jez begins to slowly die. Weeping, Morgead attempts to bring her back; Claire shouts at him when he yells for Jez not to go. Screaming for her to come back and insisting her human blood will not allow wood to poison her, he again uses the soulmate bond, the silver cord, to drag Jez's soul back to him, succeeding as she is restored to life. Kissing her, he calls her a "stupid human" as he declares his love for her, to which she responds that she told him never to call her by her full name, Jezebel, before passing out.
Jez, Morgead, Hugh and Claire are brought to a Circle Daybreak safe house, where witches heal Jez of her injuries and pamper her. After a sponge bath, Morgead is allowed to visit her, bringing her chocolates. He has attempted to convince the remaining members of their gang to also join Circle Daybreak, although he admits only Raven has expressed interest, while the rest are being "stubborn". He brings Jez news of the gang, as well as Claire, Hugh and Iona, who are all safe. Eyeing the chocolate, Morgead gives it to Jez, teasingly saying that it's the only reason she likes seeing him. The two banter for a few moments before kissing, basking in their connection.
Not all lamia are Redferns, but Morgead demonstrates that all vampires (at least male vampires) share a proclivity toward competition and arrogance. Morgead's protectiveness of Jez, however, does not stem from arrogance. His is the love of a soulmate.
- Although Morgead's given name is not traditional by lamia standards, his surname is taken from a berry bush, also known as Sloe, noted for its namesake sharp thorns, tart berries and dark coloring.
- Morgead's mother is stated to have run away with another man. On the Redfern and Harman family tree posted on L. J. Smith's Official Website a woman named Elodie Blackthorn is married to Alder Redfern and is the mother of Rowan, Ash, Kestrel, and Jade Redfern. She could possibly be a relative of Morgead (although theoretically she cannot be his mother, as two of the Redfern siblings, Rowan and Ash, are older than him, meaning Elodie had already been married to Alder when Morgead was born. This is further supported by his mother's serial dating).
- Like James Rasmussen, he knew his soulmate since childhood.
- It is feasible that the video tape Morgead had of the Wild Power was handed over to Grandma Harman, as she has it with her when she meets with her grand-niece, Iliana Dominick.