Smokey Jo “The Firestarter”
Although her given name is Josephine, Smokey Jo has not been called that since she was a child. A small brown gnome of a woman barely four feet tall, she is heavy set but light on her feet, with mischievous eyes that shine like black buttons. Coppery skinned with a little of the Lowland look to her, she has wild curly dark hair. No one knows where Smokey Jo came from, but the most popular tale is that she was a foundling left on Aubergine’s stoop by traveling gypsies long ago. This was common in the day, as little people were thought to bring good fortune to their benefactors.
Since she arrived at the Potluck, Smokey Jo has been Aubergine’s constant companion. As a child she was a known pyromaniac who could not keep her hands off the tinderbox and delighted in playing in the coal bin. Once, quite by accident, she lit her hair on fire and ended up singeing her brows and ever after was called Smokey Jo.
Nowadays, Smokey’s whimsical wry expressions are accentuated by wrinkles. Unlike the other girls who became part of the circle of twelve more than twenty years ago, Smokey Jo was not chosen so much as already a fixture at Potluck Yarn. Able to read her mistress’s moods, she is loyal to Aubergine alone, which made the other girls wary. Smokey can be gleeful and as impetuous as a child which often gets her into trouble, as she is middle aged. Although she tries to avoid danger, it seems to find her nonetheless.
As the second of the twelve, Smokey wards the dye shed and she alone is entrusted with the great pot. When the twelve were still twelve, she lit the fire to keep the dye pot bubbling all day. At night the circle knitting witches would convent around the pot for a magical ceremony called a Simmer. For years now, Smokey Jo has been trying to convince Aubergine to summon the twelve once more, even though they both know not everyone will come.
Smokey has no need of the magical lore of the crystals, for as a gypsy gnome, she has innate mystical power. The scent of wood smoke follows her everywhere and sometimes she seems to disappear in a curlicue of smoke or wisp of fog, only to reappear in the back alley behind the dye shed.