The yarn poppet (or just poppet) is an object infused with enough magic to give it life and movement. They can be created by almost any species if infused with enough energy.
Voodoo dolls and some totems are varieties of poppets, which is a general term for any item shaped to resemble a living creature that is infused with life or power. (Other objects are more specific, and generally serve a specific purpose, such as a magic mirror). Poppets are most often formed accidentally, but if created intentionally they are saturated in the emotions of their creator, and will follow their will until either the goal was completed or they run out of energy. Their activities are often blamed on ghosts or brownies, depending on the actions.
One more famous case is that of the ivory statue of Galatea, which was loved enough by its creator that it came to life as what appeared to be a pale human woman, who then married her creator Pygmalion.
Traits and Behavior
Poppets are created when enough energy is absorbed by a physical object with recognizable features. The most common forms of them cannot truly move on their own, but can influence those around them to do small things and potentially move the poppet themselves. Humans being influenced by a poppet will rarely notice, as the actions will feel absent minded and vanish from the conscious mind shortly afterward. Poppets capable of movement are generally clumsy unless they are particularly powerful, and will avoid moving if they can be seen. Being known to be alive can destroy the magic that hold the poppet together. To be created, it must be believed that it is possible, but being known to have become alive will unravel the magic. Extremely powerful poppets can survive this, but afterwards are generally no longer truly a poppet, having transformed during the process to something else.
Accidental or incidental poppets are most commonly formed from childhood toys. The energy that forms them can be from almost anything, including childhood affection and the belief that they are in fact real. Given enough time, they will gain some awareness and are capable of reflecting that energy back out, increasing the bond with the child. With awareness comes intelligence, and lastly movement, and they will primarily be protective of their child. A toy poppet will provide good dreams and comfort to a child. If the child begins to lose affection for the toy, such as by growing too old to play with it, the poppet’s awareness will fade away. Other forms exist, but are rarer as a major part of the process is the belief that the object has some kind of power already; the belief is a necessary component.
Poppets can also be formed intentionally, by focusing one emotion or even magical energy into the item over time. Kitchen or cottage witches are an example of these, and are seen as good luck charms. These types of poppets rarely gain full sentience, but will focus good luck and calm feelings towards the kitchen or home they were made for. Naming them, and speaking to them as a member of the house will increase their power, as will good thoughts and energy in the area they are meant to protect. A protective poppet treated well over enough time will become something similar to a brownie, and assist in small household tasks. They may clean up messes they find, chase off pests or find lost items and place them where they can be found. Intentional poppets are more focused and will have more specific effects on their surroundings, while unintentional poppets will take some time to settle into one type of energy. Powerful intentional poppets can be given very specific roles, but they are difficult to create and more difficult to contain.
A poppet can feasibly be made from anything, but are most common in hand made items, and are particularly prevalent in sewn products or items made from fibers. This is because the material absorbs some of the energy taken to create it as the maker works. The more time and energy are poured into the item, the more likely it can become a poppet. Some items have become poppets purely through the creation process, the most famous case being of the statue that became Galatea in Greek legend.
Poppets are able to think and cause small events through luck or emotion long before they can move. Poppets are usually formed with positive emotions, and will serve as a feedback loop for them and increase the good fortune and good moods of those that interact with it. Poppets formed from negative emotions will do the same on the opposite side of the spectrum, causing bad luck and making those around it angrier or fearful. These are far more likely to have been created intentionally and given to someone else, but there have been cases where some items, often porcelain dolls, are infused with enough fear that they become something similar to a poltergeist. They are not intentionally malicious, usually, they are simply created to complete a task. Powerful poppets that have gained some conscious thought may intentionally target some people over others, but they are generally simply reacting to the level of emotion the person already had.
Poppets can be gifted just after their initial creation if that was the original intention, but if they were created accidentally or by someone who intended to keep them, they will return to their home endlessly, and cannot be removed without being destroyed. This is true regardless of if the poppet has gained the ability to move on its own yet or not, as they will be drawn back to their initial energy source.
Poppets can be changed from one energy source to another given enough time; a negative doll may become a positive luck charm given enough love and affection (often from a child). A cottage witch can, alternatively, become a bad luck poppet if enough negativity is around them. Generally either case is rare, as the belief that formed the poppet is often tied to what it was created to do originally, and the magic is more likely to unravel given opposing energy. A powerful poppet may intentionally try to cause this if they have gained awareness, by performing good deeds to increase good moods or by causing bad luck to do the opposite. Their motives may vary, but it is usually tied to their original creator in some way. A poppet may try to increase negativity if their creator has fallen to a darker place over time, or they may try to make good energy for the same reasons.
Unless the poppet has reached full sentience and is becoming a new creature of some kind, they are difficult to tell from a standard doll or statue. You will feel an immediate change in mood after interacting with one, but the emotions are difficult to tell apart from normal reactions. The easiest way to tell one from another is to remove it from the home and wait to confirm if it has returned. This is not a guarantee however, primarily because a smarter poppet may try to hide to avoid being removed again. They will consistently try to be where their energy source is; a child’s toy will seem to constantly show up in their backpack, a cottage witch will not leave the kitchen. A bad luck poppet will either be in the heart of the home, or follow one particular person endlessly.
Physically, the poppet’s eyes (if they have them) will appear to follow a person around the room. If they are physically harmed the damage will often disappear the next time the poppet is viewed, but this will vary depending on the poppets strength and how the damage was treated by the person that inflicted the damage. A toy or doll that is repaired will keep the new stitches or patches as these also hold some emotional energy, a shattered statue will retain the cracks even if they are glued back together. Any attempt to intentionally damage the poppet will be fixed almost immediately without a sign. Weak poppets may take more time to reform, and may vanish for a time to avoid further damages while they self-repair. Once fixed, they will reappear as normal.
A poppet deprived of energy will fade, but can easily be revived if given any energy, as the building blocks to create a poppet are still present. Locking one away will limit the amount of energy they can absorb, but the mere fact that they were locked up will provide a small amount of fear that can keep them sustained. This is one way to convert a positive poppet to a negative one. Sealing a poppet in something more substantial, such as a blessed container, can limit their power further, but they will still gain enough to survive. When the container is opened, whatever emotion fueled locking the poppet up in the first place will provide further energy, as it will linger on the outside of the container.
As stated, they cannot be physically harmed, and the action of harming it will often provide fear as an energy source. The only true way to permanently destroy a poppet is to completely deprive it of any energy, which is done by forgetting it. Put it on a shelf or in storage, not in a locked container, and wait. Given enough time, it will fade to nothing.