“Nothing escapes this mace,” was what Nenshe heard, time and again, when he inquired to the whereabouts of the bandit Bexcol and his henchmen. The man was notorious, apparently, though Nenshe couldn’t have been bothered to remember the man’s name before now. It seemed to him that even the villagers were more afraid of the bandit’s weapon than the man himself. Nenshe’s interests mostly lay in guarding sheep and earning his keep, and this was the first time he’d really been called upon to do anything else.

“Guarding sheep and earning my keep,” he repeated to himself. “Guard the sheep and earn my keep.” He saw this task as nothing more than an extension of his normal duties — he was protecting the sheep from future attacks by tracking down these bandits now. He wondered why no one else had thought of it before. Why pay off the bandits when one could simply kill the bandits and keep the tribute that would be paid them? There would be more for everyone that way, and no one would have to fear.

“An obstacle is an obstacle,” he reminded himself. Like a wolf, or a storm, or a river crossing. “You deal with any obstacle the same way: immediate, deliberate action.” As a matter of fact, Nenshe saw little difference between a challenge and its given solution. “They’re just two sides of the same,” he paused, searching his thoughts, “two-sided thing.” He thought a little longer. “Two ends of the same goat.” He didn’t care much for goats, but the expression worked, so he let it pass.