Sheelba of the Eyeless Face
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Sheelba of the Eyeless Face is a fictional character in Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories. The patron warlock of the Gray Mouser, Sheelba is so named due to his dark-hooded face. Along with Fafhrd's patron warlock, Ningauble of the Seven Eyes, Sheelba often sends his hapless minion on ludicrous missions such as to recover the mask of Death himself. In contrast to Ningauble's love of often pointless storytelling, Sheelba is taciturn, choosing his words as if they were valuables to be disbursed parsimoniously. Sheelba's sigil is an empty oval (presumably signifying an empty hooded face).
Sheelba's gender is ambiguous: Harry Fischer, who first conceived of the character, claimed Sheelba was female, while to Fischer's surprise Leiber referred to Sheelba as male beginning in The Swords of Lankhmar. Friend Frederick MacKnight, who introduced Leiber and Fischer and was involved in the earliest days of the characters, called Sheelba "she-he (or it)". Fischer may have created Sheelba as a tribute to his wife Martha.
Sheelba's house is a small hut which strides about the swamps not far from Lankhmar on five posts which bend and scuttle not unlike the legs of a great crab or spider. Sheelba's hut is similar in description to the Russian legend of the witch Baba Yaga, which is referenced in other Leiber works such as The Wanderer, where Baba Yaga is the name of a lunar lander.
- Fritz Leiber, "The Price of Pain-Ease" in Ill Met in Lankhmar, White Wolf Publishing, 1995, ISBN 1-56504-926-8, p. 312
- MacKnight, Frederick (October 1979). "The Formative Years of 'Fafhrd' and 'The Mouser'". The Dragon. TSR Periodicals (30): 17.
- Fritz Leiber, "The Circle Curse" in Ill Met in Lankhmar, White Wolf Publishing, 1995, ISBN 1-56504-926-8, p. 162–164
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