The lone doll was ushered into an inner chamber, heavy doors slamming shut behind it as it walked the length of the courtroom with an inhuman grace. To its sides, dozens of priestesses and attendants murmured at its presence, but its focus was singular. On a radiant throne directly ahead of it, a titanic figure sat, draped in a staggering amount of silks and jewels. The figure sat up in her seat as the doll approached, the diminutive thing giving a deep curtsy as it waited for permission to speak.

“So, the ever illusive witch of this land sends one of his playthings out to greet me?” The figure’s voice dripped with annoyance. “Should I send you back in pieces, to send an appropriate message? Or hold onto you, for my own purposes?”

“This one’s soul is tied to its Miss, madam. It is claimed.” The doll spoke barely above a whisper, still holding its bow. “He may communicate through it, and he will ensure the safety of its core. He wishes to convey his apologies for the indirect appearance, however.”

“Does your witchling of a master know who has come into his lands? Perhaps he’s just ignorant, or perhaps he’s actively mocking me.”

“This one’s ๐˜”๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ด means no offense, but is indeed aware of madam’s proclivities. He felt it best to remain distant as a consequence.”

“Hmm.” The figure laughed, the many priestesses around murmuring amongst themselves at how their patron might take this. “Maybe he isn’t a complete fool, then. Still, you ought to convey to your… miss… that his loyalty is now owed to me. This is my domain by birthright.”

“Miss does not wish to insinuate madam’s divinity isn’t recognized, but his loyalty and deference is to the Sisterhood, to the children of Eve, and to the mother of Semjaza. His domain, and all its inhabitants, are under his protection.”

“Does your witch intend to fight my followers, then?” The goddess sat forward in her throne, studying the doll closely as a shadow came across the room. “To fight ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ? He understands that my influence is far greater than his, but he seeks to make demands nonetheless?”

“Miss wishes to come to a mutual understanding. Madam can agree to coexist peacefully, to not use her influence on humans, and her followers can participate freely in Miss’s domain. If madam cannot do this, then Miss will deny her the source of new followers.”

“…Deny me new followers? How would he do that? With convincing lectures?”

“Miss is a skilled dollmaker, one of the greatest.” It was now the doll’s turn to draw a shadow behind it. “Dolls are immune to madam’s influence. “If madam cannot coexist peacefully, Miss will deny her any more potential stock.”

The goddess and her court sat in silence for a moment, taking in what this doll had just threatened. Finally, she blinked, a look of confusion on her face.

“That’s a bluff.” She stood, the room shaking slightly as she did. “Your witch doesn’t have it in him to do it. No witch could steal the freedom of so many without repercussions.”

“If it’s what it means to deny madam’s influence, Miss will do whatever it takes.” The doll finally stood from its bow, turning away from the throne and beginning to walk away. “Consider his offer, madam.”

There was a moment of quiet, uncertainty, as the doll made its way to the threshold. Just as it stepped beyond it, a shout of rage echoed past it, the doll’s frame shattered apart as a crack of lightning tore it apart, leaving nothing but scorched shards… and a small crystal that quickly blinked out of existence.






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