The doll was perfect. Roughly a foot tall, it was the image of a young man with yellow curls and deep blue eyes. He wore a fine suit of clothes in the style of another time, a time before the Witches and the endless war and suffering they brought to Morden. He was a prince of Valkenholm or Steppengrad in miniature; perfect in every detail from the mirror polish on his boots to the small rapier the size of a hatpin he wore on his belt. Esteban was immediately taken with the little prince, sitting there among other, lesser treasures in a trinket shop. The old man picked up the doll and weighed it thoughtfully in his hand. The detail in its face and clothing was so fine that it almost seemed alive. He purchased the doll, for a pittance he thought, as a gift for his granddaughter and took it home with him.
The Crone is the first Witch, Mistress of the Grand Coven, and oldest among her sisters. Legends say that at the dawn of time, she was the first mortal woman to take on the mantle of the Immortal Witch. If this is true, she is the mold from which all other Witches are struck. It was the Crone who brought such disparate and stong-willed individuals as the Djinn and the Morrigan and the witch now known as Baba Yaga together to form the Grand Coven. It was she who laid the plans for the invasion of Morden. Through the sheer force of her will, she directed the advance of the squabbling, largely incompatible Witch Armies.
In the land of Hebron, legends tell of a powerful being made of clay that protects the people in their hour of need. Details vary by the telling, but most agree that the creature was formed from dust and clay by a powerful priest and given life through magic words carved on its body or by a magic formula written on parchment and placed in the creature's mouth. In some of these stories, the creature is little more than a mindless automaton; a powerful construct that possesses personal initiative and follows orders to the letter. In other stories, the creature is deadly and cunning; a monster requiring constant supervision and a danger to both its creator's enemies and the creator himself. These Golems, as they were called, existed in one form or another throughout Hebron's antiquity, being at once metaphor for man's hubris and a representation of man's power and his wish to protect hearth and home. When the Crone and her armies boiled out of the Mountains and entered Hebron, at their head strode massive, hand-built horrors. Automata of bone and clay, of iron and straw and pallid flesh, these horrific creatures cut a swath through Hebron's defenders. Those few who survived called the monsters Golems and fled before them, their ancient stories come to life at long last.