by Robin Burns
What is the connection between the evil princess and the gypsy girl?
|The Gypsy and the Princess
Half of the troop stood outside of the tent, anxiously trying to peer in. Inside was the man who had wisely led the band for years, a healer, and the girl. She had been unconscious for at least a week now, but she was to wake soon. And all were worried about what she would say once she opened her eyes.
The healer was chanting over her in the old language. While the girl was only ten and she had a bloody bandage wrapped around her head, she was striking. Thick, dark, wildly curly hair fanned away from her blanched face, although a few strands were stuck to her high cheekbones and straight jaw. Her features were delicate yet proud, even in stillness. But her face was too pale from blood loss and her cheeks red with fever, so it was no wonder that the white haired leader nervously paced the tent.
The healer tied a piece of red ribbon on her finger and spoke in cant, placing his hands on her forehead. Just when the pacing man thought that it would be no use and that the girl would never wake up, her eyes reeled behind her lids and her back arched as if she were in great pain. She screeched the kind of anguished yell that makes the hairs on the back on one’s neck stand at attention.
When it was finally over, the healer took the ribbon off of her, moved her hair away from her face, and made ready to leave the tent. “She will awake in exactly one minute. I sincerely hope that her fall has knocked some decency into her.”
Shandor, the Elder, sat on a stool next to the girl. Anxiously, he ran through the events that had led up to her lying on the cot in his head, thinking of what all to tell her. She needn’t know everything.
His fretting soon turned to oddly panicked relief when the girl opened her eyes, revealing beautiful hazel eyes flecked with gold. Grinning widely, Shandor embraced the girl. “My daughter.”
The girl’s voice was small as she stiffened and drew away from the hug. “Daughter? I do not know you.”
Shandor’s face crumpled at this news. “Do you remember anything?”
She was silent for a long time, her nose crinkled in a desperate attempt to remember. Finally, her answer came. She wrapped her arms around herself and shivered in what could only be described as terror. “No. I know nothing of myself, my family, or what happened to me. Who am I?” Tears shone in those incredible eyes.
This was more than Shandor could have hoped for. They could start anew; they could begin to weave a new story from a blank cloth. And this time, the story would be happy. “You are my daughter, Jaelle. A dancer, singer, peddler, and reader of fortunes. I am the Elder of this troop.”
“Troop? What are we a troop of?”
The old man grinned slightly, showing several decades’ worth of laugh lines etched in his darkly tanned face, obscuring his darkened eyes. “We are a band of Romani people. Some would call us gypsies.”
I will add chapters as I write them