Joan smirked and issued a little giggle from the back of her throat as she tinkered with my spell pouch. I wasn’t exactly sure what she was up to, but it was probably something that’d cost me a pretty penny. I had a lot of valuable things in there.

I craned my neck and tried to look over her shoulder, but the woman was enormous. My short legs didn’t help matters.

“What are you doing?”

She paused for a moment, looking over her shoulder. Her clothing was worn and faded; I could see her mottled grey skin.


“… excuse me?”

Her voice was guttered, rough and scratchy. It was difficult to understand her even after all the years I’d been with her. Joan had always been a curious friend of mine. The soul of a little girl trapped in the rotting body of an Orc. I wasn’t entirely certain if that was literal or not.

“Fleesh. Soffft. Ike ah lamm.”

Oh. Fleece.

“It’s the second pouch on the left. That’s the hand that looks like an L, dear. It has a picture of a star on it.”

She squealed, spooking a couple of crows that had perched above us in the dense forest. I guess she found it.

They settled back down a couple of heartbeats later. They always seemed to follow her. Were they just hungry, or did she have some connection to them that I wasn’t aware of? She always avoided the question.

“Come on, you’re going to break something..”

I implored to her while edging closer. She caught me in the corner of her eye like a tigress. One of her tree trunk arms lashed out and held me at bay.


Her pudgy fingers were stained with red clay.

“Nnuuuut yit!”

I backed off, not about ready to cause the 600 pound little girl to have a temper tantrum. She frantically went back to whatever she was doing.


“There’s a pin in the sewing pouch. It’s the one with the picture of a pin… on it.”

She giggled manically.

I could have sworn I heard a mewling noise, an injured animal or something.

“Joan, you’re not doing anything bad, are you?”

I edge closer again. I taught her not to “play” so rough with animals a long time ago. It was an undead habit. I wasn’t about to allow a relapse.


She looked over her shoulder at me again, her tennis ball sized eye was frantic and dilated.

It’s difficult to look menacing when you’re 45 pounds, dressed in a woman’s sorcerery robe. But I tried, stamping my feet and edging into her “threat” zone.

“Joan Ellis Mitchell. Show me what you’re doing. Right. Now.”

Something made a soft noise in front of her. Like a sheep.


She spun around, nearly losing her balance. Her hands were stained red with clay and grime. She had cut her palm.

In her hands she held an expertly crafted sheep figurine. She had never shown any interest in art before. The fleece pattern was expertly etched into the clay.

It remained perfectly still until I drew closer to admire her handiwork. The tiny figurine shook its head and nudged toward me on its little legs. It issued a small plead for food.

Looking at her in amazement she simply grinned back with broken teeth.

“Hiz ‘am iz Goleb.”


“Nooooooo! Gol-EB!”

I offered an uneasy smile as she gently placed him in a small sunny spot to dry. The animated sheep shook its head and settled on a warm rock. It grazed on grass that didn’t exist.

“Goleb it is then, sweetheart.”


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