“Hey doll, come look at this, I think I found-” The witch rounded the corner to find an unexpected sight: his doll sitting in the middle of the burial chamber, arms outstretched into the light now beaming down through the broken roof. “…Doll?”

The doll turned to look at him, an unusual light now behind its hollow eyes. Its stare lingered, even as the witch felt his wards begin to be tested. Pinpricks, at first, but rapidly increasing in intensity.

“What era is this?” The doll’s voice now sounded forced, hollow.

“Doll? What’s going on?” The witch held up a conduit, unsure but aware enough to be prepared. “I know you’re still there.”

“The doll’s mind is oddly… sturdy.” The doll stood, stepping to inspect the witch closer. “I expected it to crumble much quicker.”

The witch took a sharp breath, sparks beginning to flicker in his free hand. “I don’t know who you are, or what you did to be able to pull this off, but I want you out of my doll’s body, now.”

“A novice ordering a Matriarch like myself around, times really have changed.” The doll reached out, a stray finger brushing against the witch’s face. “I’ll be out of this body soon enough, witchling. Yours isn’t much better of a vessel, but at least it can channel.”

The witch grabbed the doll’s arm suddenly, the lingering sparks turning to a full surge as he poured his strength into it. The arm exploded into a cloud of porcelain shrapnel and dust, even as the possessed-doll wiped around with its other arm, knocking his conduit free.

It lunged forward, remaining hand pushing his face against the floor as the once-mysterious runes on it began to awaken with new magicks.

“You’re a fucking idiot, coming unprepared,” the doll gloated. “Exploring graves like this by yourself? With a service doll?”

“What did you think would happen, witchling? My soul is ten thousand years old and even at a fraction of its power it outshines anything you could produce in a lifetime. Could you not read the warnings the hunters placed? Tell me, was it arrogance or ignorance?”

The witch choked under the pressure, desperately grasping for his conduit as he felt his body losing control of itself. He let out a final breath, turning his head as much as he could to look at the possessed frame above him. “Losing… a bet.”

“…A bet?” The doll’s face turned to confusion, then pain as the original occupant of its body began to struggle. That moment of weakness was quickly seized upon by a shadow that had appeared behind it, an arm suddenly gripping it with immense force. Its body went flying away, the runes beginning to dim as it took notice of the new comer: a succubus, adorned in vibrant silks and bearing impossibly long claws.

“…A demon?” It asked, shock and fear now bleeding through its face.

The succubus didn’t respond, dashing forward and cutting the doll’s limbs off in quick, clean motions. It wasted no time in pinning the now-immobile frame to the wall, ripping a piece of silk from its dress and gagging the extremely enraged possessed thing. With a sigh, it turned to the witch, claws retracting and offering a hand. He begrudgingly took it, coughing up blood as the two of them looked at the squirming thing, muffled curses and hexes sputtering out from it.

“I think you should stop playing dumb,” the succubus commented coyly. “Just blast the thing’s arms first thing.”

“The soul’s connection isn’t complete until they start the resurrection process.” He blinked soot out of his eyes, bending over to collect his doll’s limbs.-

“-If you try to snag them before it’s started, they’ll just slip away and possess the next fool who comes by.”

“Such a brave little witch you are. I did save you this time, though, so you owe me my payment.”

“When I’m done draining the magicks here, her soul’s all yours.”

“A pleasure being your bodyguard as always dear. Do I get a tip for good service?”

The witch sighed, raising his conduit and beginning his long work.






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