The crickets were chirping and the frogs were calling. The sound of the small wooden shelter, anchored to the shore by a worn out rope, was steady and somewhat comforting. The green light glowing from inside was far less comforting, and coupled with the steady cackling laughter it was downright terrifying.
However, the man who slowly walked toward the boat house was not easy frightened. He was Rainor, and he was on the hunt. As he approached the door he heard a voice from inside say, “Come in!”
Rainor, the powerful mage, was only to happy to oblige the swamp witch. He opened the door and walked in, without fear or hesitation.
“I saw dat you was a-coming,” a small dark-skinned woman stated without turning around to give any regard for the man. Her dark eyes were focused on the green flame.
“Good,” Rainor answered, “Then this should go smoothly.” As he spoke, he looked around the shack. There were herbs and cattails, as well as skulls from many animals and even some from humanoids. Then his eyes settled on several small dolls. Rainor was curious about the dolls, for they exuded a strange magical appeal. The mage made his way over to the dolls as the witch continued to look into the flame of her green-flaming candle.
Rainor scanned the dolls, and was amazed. They were very detailed, and he even recognized one of the dolls as Jericho, the king of Shadowmire. The city of the therians was not far from the witches hideout, so it was not surprising that she, too, knew of the lion king. Then, his heart went into his throat as he quickly grabbed a doll that was an exact replica of Rainor himself, dressed in the same clothing that he wore at that exact moment.
“How did you?”
“I saw dat you was a-coming,” the witch repeated. This time she turned, and looked at Rainor. She was not unattractive, or at least, there was a time when she may have had a chance to be pretty. However, those days were many years and many baths behind her. Her teeth were rotten, and she was caked in swamp mud. Still, when Rainor looked upon her, he wanted her. Something stirred inside him as her chest heaved in heavy breaths.
She was casting spells on him, he realized. Rainor exploded in anger, furious with himself for underestimating the wicked swamp hag. He kicked her in the stomach and doubled her over. Then he grabbed her by the hair and threw her into the corner.
The witch laughed in the mage’s face. She repeated the same words over and over, “I saw dat you was a-coming.”
Rainor held his doll over the green flame, “You think it is funny? I will burn this place into the swamp.” The green light seemed to have no effect on the doll at first, but suddenly it burst into bright green flames. Rainor fell to the floor of the shack, barely able to breathe. Pain shot through his entire body; it was as if every inch of his skin was being stung by a wasp.
The witch’s laughter continued as Rainor writhed in pain. He felt the wood from the floor on his cheek and watched the burning doll. The Doll. The mage mustered his strength and lunged for the doll, which was on fire but did not seem to be consumed by the flames. Rainor snatched the doll and smothered it under his body. The pain lessened but he was far from being alright. He was still dying.
The witch stopped her laughing and started some incantation which Rainor had no intention of staying around for. With one magic word, the mage teleported back to the safety of his study. All he wanted to do was sleep, but he knew that to give in to that urge was to accept death. Rainor would never so readily give himself over to that fate.
He found potions of healing and one that stopped that effects of almost every poison. Rainor quickly popped the corks, and poured the liquid down his throat. Then he passed out.
Rainor woke three days later; his head foggy and his body weak. Where am I? What happened? He wondered. He saw the answer as he looked on the ground and noticed a small doll that looked just like him.