What with my brain mostly stuck in Monsieur Scattlocke because of Camp NaNo I was happily surprised when I finished the 1,500 words just before eleven in the morning. Rather nice.
And we've finally gotten up to the gypsies! YAY! Gypsy Boy is finally here. Except you don't know who he is. (If you guess, please tell me, I want to know all your theories)
Option three won, and (no surprise if you know me very much) it was also my favourite. When I wrote it, I didn't even have to think, it just came out as the natural response.
So here ye go. Generally Gypsies. I took a while naming it. Jas the Gypsy was the original idea, but I wasn't sure if it counted as proper alliteration, so I ended up with Generally Gypsies. It doesn't make much sense but...it's a name, so it'll do.
“I’m not that ugly am I?” The smilingly offended words brushed aside the horror.
I jerked up to a sitting position, panting and shivering. Eumin looked down at me from where he leant against a wooden tent post.
“Wha— oh.” I swallowed, rubbing my forehead with the heel of my hand. “Sorry, it was just…bad dream.”
Eumin pushed himself forward, making the brightly coloured tent fabric sway. “You feeling alright?” he asked, a slight frown touching his features.
“Yeah, I’m all good,” I said. Already the dream seemed to be fading. A cool breeze swept through the open tent flap, making the fabric billow and flutter. “Where are we?”
“This,” Eumin gestured around, “Is the gypsy camp. The man who rescued you, Hans Țigan, happens to be an acquaintance of ours and he invited us to accompany them back. We were happy to oblige.”
“Oy Eumin!” Leonora yelled from somewhere outside. “You’ve gotta come see this.”
Eumin glanced at me and shrugged, offering his hand to help me up. My head whirled at first but I held onto his arm for balance.
“Ready to meet the gypsies?” he asked.
I drew in a deep breath. “Ready.”
I stopped as soon as I stepped out of the tent, dazed by the buzz of activity. Bright tents dotted the area, the colours flashing contrast against the brown dirt. Copper skinned men and boys worked, cutting wood, sharpening weapons, and women sat in groups in front of their tents, laughing brightly as they stitched and mended. Children dashed around in wild games of chase.
“Woah,” I breathed, unable to think of anything else.
Not far off the land dropped into sea, blue-green waves crashing against sand, spraying white droplets into the air.
“It’s like that the first time,” Eumin agreed. “And every time after that.”
Leonora was playing with a gypsy toddler, subjecting to have her hair be used as horse reins. She looked up as we approached. “Hey, Louise,” she grinned. “Feeling better now?”
I nodded, smiling at the little girl. She hid behind Leonora’s hair.
“This is Daneela.” Leonora swept the toddler into a hug. “She apparently has taken a liking to my hair. Nothing personal of course,” she added, poking the girl playfully.
Daneela giggled, tugging on Leonora’s hair. “Go horsie,” she laughed.
“Neigh,” Leonora said, and snorted loudly.
“Daneela!” A tall woman was standing by a tent not far away. “Nap time now.”
The girl collapsed on the ground in a sobbing heap. “Don’t want to,” she bawled.
“Aw, come on,” Leonora picked her up and deposited her into her mother’s arms. “I’ll still be here when you get up again.”
“Horsie still be here?” Daneela’s lip quivered uncertainly.
“Yup, Horsie still be here.” Leonora waved to the toddler and returned to us.
“I see the sleeper has awoken,” a familiar sounding voice said from a few paces behind.
I turned to see Hans Țigan, the leader of the gypsies.
“Morning Hans,” Leonora said. “Nice place you’ve got here this time.”
He bowed slightly. “Thank you, we hope to stay here for quite a while,” he glanced around. “It is quite the ideal spot.” Then he clapped his hands together, “But I must introduce you. The midday meal is being prepared, and I’m sure you will all enjoy that.”
Turning around, Hans shouted something in a different language. One of the gypsy boys who’d been charging around the camp, giving piggy-back rides to a shrieking little girl skidded to a stop. Setting his rider on the ground he dashed toward us.
Within moments a small crowd was gathered.
I glanced toward Leonora. “Who are all these people?”
“This is the family circle. Aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, cousins twice removed, and all that kind of thing,” she whispered back.
“Louise, please meet my wife, Jaelle Țigan,” Hans beckoned to a tall, smiling woman.
In a very short time, my mind was whirling from all the names and how they were related to who. I knew I'd never be able to remember them all.
“How come at least half of them have the same last name?” I whispered to Leonora.
She cracked a smile. “The word Țigan means gypsy in an ancient gypsy language, so basically they’re saying he’s Hans Gypsy, she’s Jaelle Gypsy, and all that,” Leonora explained. “Some of them aren’t descended exactly from the same gypsy clan so they have different surnames. Some were more original with their names.”
“Gypsies are very into family history,” I remarked, turning back to the gypsy leader.
“And these are my sons, Altin Țigan and Jas Țigan,” Hans gestured at two bronzed boys in turn.
The taller of the two, Altin, raised his chin haughtily, cold eyes meeting mine. Jas on the other hand looked at the ground awkwardly, prodding a large beetle on the ground with his bare toe. He combed his hair flat with his fingers, still panting slightly from his mad piggy-back rides.
“Uh, hi,” I said, feeling just as awkward as the gypsy boy looked.
Altin gave me a contemptuous look but Jas still didn’t meet my eyes.
Hans cleared his throat. “Is the midday meal prepared?” he asked Jaelle.
She nodded and replied in the Gypsy language, before hurrying away through the tents. “Allow me to show you to the dinning tent,” Hans said.
I leant my back against the rough bark of the tree, watching the activities of the camp with drowsy eyes.
“They’re nice people,” Leonora murmured from beside me.
I nodded. “Rather,” I thought for a moment before adding, “Mostly.”
Leonora snorted. “There’s always the occasional sulky one.”
Sighing heavily, I voiced the thoughts that were troubling me. “When we do find Marius, how am I meant to stop him?”
“To be entirely honest, I don’t really know,” Leonora said. “But there’s got to be some way, and I think you’re the only one who has a chance to do it.”
“Maybe…” I squinted across the distant sea, “Maybe I shouldn’t have come.” I tried to keep my voice steady. “I just can’t stop thinking about everyone back home worrying, and how hopeless everything is.”
“Just between us,” Leonora said in a conspiratorial whisper. “One of the reasons your noble father gave me for wanting you to stay is that they’d have to postpone the engagement.” She tapped her nose knowingly.
“The WHAT?!” I jerked upright from my slumped position, swivelling to stare at her.
“Oh, didn’t you know?” Leonora grinned innocently. “I believe your father has found the perfect old lord to marry you off to. Probably a nice fat one who wouldn’t stand for adventures. Couldn’t have you going wild. After all, you are getting a bit old and all that.”
“Sure! And isn’t that the proper marryin’ age?” Leonora arched her eyebrows with a daintily proper expression. “Not like me – I’m positively ancient in that respect. Imagine getting to be twenty and still not married! Disgraceful.”
I gaped at her.
Her face remained serious for a full ten seconds and then the laugh won and bubbled over, spilling loudly into the air. “Oh my, your face…” she choked. “You should’ve seen it…” She doubled over laughing and accidentally smashed her noses into her knee
“You were joking then?” I gasped in relief.
She grimaced, rubbing her nose. “Well, not downright. Your dear dad does happen to have a duke all set up – dowry and everything.”
I blinked. “Oh.”
“Yes, ‘oh’ is about the right word for it,” she agreed, scratching her ear. “I rather thought you’d be pleased to delay things a little.”
“Oh,” I managed again.
“You already said that,” Leonora remarked dryly.
“That one, at least, is original,” she interrupted with the perfectly straight face that meant she was laughing her head off on the inside. “Besides, it’s not hopeless,” she looked at me earnestly. “Never think something is hopeless, Louise. If you give up before you even start trying, it’s just wasted everything.”
I slumped back again, watching as Jas hopped around with two young boys hanging off his arms and one wrapped around his leg. Her words kept spinning around my mind.
“Well,” Leonora clapped her hand onto my shoulder. “I’m off Eumin hunting. See you.” Her footsteps crunched away over the dusty ground.
The afternoon passed quickly as I sat, deep in thought. There had to be some way to stop him. Sunset found me still sitting, oblivious to the world. As the shadows grew longer and deeper I suddenly remembered my dream.
The voice of Dark seemed to echo through me, and I struggled to my feet. Sweat sprung out on my palms.
It is I. He who lives in Darkness.
A rustle sounded behind me, the low hiss of a breath. A figure appeared in the dim light.
1. “Jas!” I exclaimed, falling back in surprise. Relief flooding through me.
2. “Louise,” a whispering voice spoke. “I would speak with you.”
3. “Long time no see,” Marius said calmly.
You almost got a doubly long part this time, but halfway through writing I realised that it was plenty long enough for two parts, so I cut it short and it was still a normal lengthed part.
Thanks all for reading, you are all such brilliant peoples, I wouldn't do this without you. :)