Beneath a leaf covered sky, in a dimension where magic is the source of motion, in a cold land beset by freezing winds, in a sheltered little valley, known only to those who dwelt within it. In this place, a man was feeling quite unsettled about one of his goats.
He was himself a minotaur, a bull headed, bull legged man descended from a slave-race created by magicians. They tend to be twice as large as the more evenly sized human races. His fur was a plain brown, skin was pale and everything he wore was of un-dyed goathair. From his leg warmers, to his leggings, to his tunic to his hooded cloak.
He nervously fiddled with one of his horns as he watched the current source of his troubles.
All the goats were white as snow, and near impossible to find if they got into the snows. In the distant rock and sparse grasses, a grey cat the length of a human, lazed about. It belonged to the man. The cat’s job wasn’t to herd the goats. The job of the cat was to catch any goat fool enough to try running away. The man, the goatherd’s job was to herd the goats and make sure the cat didn’t try anything funny.
It stood out from among the herd. A venerable creature, long of beard and fetlock, with swirling hair and cunning of eye to boot. Too cunning, the goatherd thought. As with most goats it had those strange eyes that goats do, though this one had blue irises.
The goatherd stared into these eyes, and the goat stared back, slowly chewing who-knows-what.
“That goat, Lad. That goat, I’m sure its gone magic” He said to his sole companion.
Apart from the goats and the cat, the goatherd had someone with him. A young calf, blond of hair stubs of horns barely grown. The village fool. An orphan who did not work, did not have parents, did not steal, and yet still lived, year after year. Perhaps not quite as fool as he seemed.
“Magic? You seen magic Yordule?” the fool asked.
Yordule the goatherd did not remove his eyes from the suspect goat.
“Aye, saw it rising from the forest. Saw a spirit once too, and even a lady witch passing by in her cauldron. You heed me young Fool, magic’s not for the likes of us! It’s bad wind if that goat’s gone magic!” Yordule extorted.
Perhaps the lad had once a name given to him by ailing loving mother and kindly father eaten by beasts, but everyone in the village just called him Fool.
“How much does a magic goat sell for?” Fool asked, stroking his chin.
Yordule almost hit Fool, but the goatherd was more even-tempered a man than many in the village.
“Get such thoughts from your head Fool! You’d have to keep the goat first and who knows what bewitchments he’d do to you! You could end up a carrot for his belly!”
Fool crept up to the goat and tentatively rubbed the back of the billy. The goats never caused much issue for Fool, after all, he did sometimes give them queer tubers he dug out from the forest. Having given the monarch his placating back rub, Fool checked the whole of the goat, even lifting the floppy ears.
“Jus’ looks like a regular healthy goat to me Yordule” he complained.
“Ah, what do you know about goats or magic, gwan get! Before the goat turns you into a toad!” Yordule shouted.
A part of Fool’s survival was that he had a keen sense of when to get lost, and so he frolicked away.
Yordule continued his vigil of the goat.
Yet, as Ollan the Sunfruit and Vlahros the Divine Realm drew farther away, nothing happened, and Yordule led the goats back to their pen-pit. As he tossed the last goat in, he stared once more at the goat.
“I’m onto you” he muttered, before clomping away.
He forgot his troubles for a while, listening to the elders telling tales, eating stew and drinking beer. When he returned to his home, he settled down quickly enough… yet…
He could not sleep.
He was worried.
He was worried about the goat.
He tossed and turned for hours in the night, finding no peace he threw on a tunic and his cloak and went to the goat pit.
There he saw…
It was standing on its hind legs, it wore its shadow like a cloak! The other goats were bowing down to it!
“I knew it, I knew you went magic! I’ll not let you have my herd!”
Yordule stuck his fingers in his mouth and blew a sharp whistle.
“Mogris!EVERYONE GET OVER HERE! ALARM ALARM!” he roared at the top of his lungs.
The goat was startled, but I laid its cloak down and gathered its subjects upon it, following that, it rose into the air. Yordule began to pick stones up off the ground, throwing them at the goats to knock them off the cloak. Other villagers came out and those who did not flee did the same. A few grabbed whatever pole-like object they could find and helped out.
Still, it seemed the goat would escape into the air with the greater body of the herd, but a triumphant yowl sounded from the darkness!
It was the goatherd’s cat, Mogris! It leapt from a rooftop and crashed into the goat! The cloak of shadow slipped and the other goats began to rain from the skies! There was chaos and bedlam as people tried to catch the goats as they fell, or stop goats from running after they fell.
Mogris and the magic goat struggled mightily, but unfortunately for the goat, it had not gained lethal magicks, and shortly its life was ended by Mogris. The cat began to eat the magic goat there and then. With the other goats caught, the villagers stared at the cat.
“What’ll we do, won’t the cat go magic too?”
Mogris, not at all wanting to give up his lazy lifestyle in the village, turned over and exposed his belly to the crowd and pitifully meowed. Thus then the villagers were charmed into keeping Mogris.
Yordule always made sure to check where the cat was before going to sleep however.