Jack-o-lantern & Masked

Every so often a fuss is made about folk dolls, those odd little half-living homunculi; beings of distilled purpose and steady decay, straw and sticks and hollow gourds.

People rediscover them, and wonder why they're not in wider use.

Listen for a moment and I'll tell you 🧵

No self-respecting witch would let herself be seen to use one instead of a proper doll, and it's easy to suppose that that's the reason. It's a class signifier, right? A power thing.

Why would you use a folk doll when you could have a proper one of flesh, porcelain, or cloth?

And then there's the decay. Folk dolls have such a limited lifespan; depending on weather, some will hardly last through a week without careful repairs or adjustments.

But you can just as easily make a folk doll out of something that will last longer.

And if it's not either of those, then it must be their intelligence. They're just dull compared to proper dolls, hardly able to wrap their little heads around more than a handful of distinct tasks. Perhaps that's sometimes enough, but why waste energy on something like that?

It's not really any of those, though.

Sure, they're all factors! They're all reasons (though the first doesn't stop witches from regularly making folk dolls for their own use, and the last isn't an issue when all you want them to do is beg for mercy).

It's really the problem of light.

See, a folk doll is made with so much emptiness inside them. Not void, not Emptiness, but just ... spaces where nothing has been put yet. Where a proper doll would fill itself with Stillness, a folk doll doesn't have anything.

So things get in.

All sorts of things.

But especially light.

And really, little witchlings, you've never known fear until you've seen a flock of folk dolls marching upon your home, their hollow heads blazing with holy light and their voices raised in righteous anger.