“Oh, there’s a wolf in you, child.” The fae giggled. “Take care it doesn’t eat you whole.”

Life was never quite the same from that day on for you. A promising witchling, sought by Matriarchs around the world, soon to be looked over by every passing witch. You’d find yourself pledged to the service of a Matriarch of no renown, a woman of quaint, ineffectual research, with few dolls to her name and no siblings to keep you company. A lonely childhood, but better than the alternative, as you’d come to find out. You were always hidden when guests came by, be they Inquisitors or fellow Sisters. Your Mother told you it was necessary, to keep you safe, but it was obviously she only did it out of some vague sense of obligation. Perhaps she wanted to study your corpse, one day.

When you were nine, you learned what the fae meant, what the true meaning of your first real memory was. Under the radiant magicks of a full moon, you felt a calling to something else entirely; a calling to escape your home, to run free, to taste blood for the first time. The morning after, your Mother found you outside her door, gashes down your side from losing an unknown fight. She never said anything about it, bathing and clothing you with quiet and absent soothing words, but she made it quite clear after that it wouldn’t happen again.

Your room gained new wards and new barricades, to enclose you each month. You never remembered what happened; in time, you woke in your bed, same as ever, as though nothing had happened in the first place. Eventually, as you continued to grow older, you asked a house doll one night what was going on with you. As with all the creations of your Mother, it was slow, indirect, pondering, but it gave you some knowledge. Your blood was mixed with that of a wolf’s. Perhaps the one that borne you was cursed, perhaps they had themself been the product of such a union. Regardless, no matter how potent your magicks would become in age and skill, they would always be tainted with lycanism. You could never become a great witch.

Such a thing made little sense to you; all magicks had their place in the world, after all, what was different about that of a wolf? It was the product of an ancient feud, the doll offered as a solution. The first wolf, killed by the first mother. An eternal rivalry. Or perhaps it was merely that wolvish magic was particularly strange, particularly uncontrollable. Either way, you’d never be admitted to the company of your distant Sisters, not so long as the magicks in your blood yearned for theirs. A particular lust that’d never be sated.

When you came of age and passed your trials, when you were supposed to join the ranks of your Sisters out in the wider world, you were given a final insult; for the first time you went before the coven your Mother belonged to, other skeptical researchers among them. They did little to hide their disgust, the fear of what lay sleeping under your skin. They denied you your ascension, not even allowing you to leave to begin your own practice. You would remain in the keep of your Mother, an assistant to her research for the rest of your life.

As you sat in the garden house, the light of a not-yet-full moon making your skin light with electricity, thinking about the looks on their faces… a gardening doll brushed against you, offering a quiet apology as it went back to its work. You watched it clip plants, pruning away the start of weeds, trimming back at diseased leaves… you stood, approaching it and holding out your hand to it. It looked confused for a moment, taking the hand slowly and asking what was wrong. You held its gaze for a time, feeling your magicks begin to light, feeling them hunger for the tethers holding the doll together. You seized them, contorting and leashing them, until finally… you severed the doll’s tethers, but in the instant its core began to fall, it was caught, retethered by your own. It collapsed, writhing as its form underwent the change, your Matriarch’s magicks being driven out and replaced with your own.

When it stood, again, it had taken on a new form; a smiling lycan doll, accursed magicks radiating off it in a haze.

“Are we going to make a pack, Miss?” It asked softly, examining itself.

You nodded, holding out your hand again to help it back to its feet.

The doll giggled.






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