Creation of Earth as told by Rosa Romanoff, Elder of the Romany Conclave
The old woman sat by the fire. The Romany circled her. She looked up, the aged wrinkles in her face looked deeper as the light cast an eerie amber glow on her pale skin. As she spoke the missing teeth in the front of her mouth seemed like cavernous shadows and her cracked rasping voice echoed around the bonfire.
“A great ocean called Apa Sâmbetei housed God and the Devil. The Devil not an equal, no children he was the servant of God, and was meant to do the bidding of the higher power and watch over those that were being created. Animal, beast, insect and all forms of life to come.”
She paused, a shaking hand lifting the cup to her lips. She drank deep of the homemade brew called Loki by her band.
Smacking dry lips together she exhaled and “hmmed” in delight as the fiery liquid warmed aged bones.
"Nefartatul is the Devils name and even though a servant, he was also the brother of God. Foolish, impetuous and trickster. Never malicious though in the beginning, he was a child, an imp of a boy that sought great joy in fooling people and playing games on his older brother" As she spoke her gestures seemed to enhance the story. Young ones leaned forward eager to hear more of the wise Gypsy, mother of their leader and keeper of the legends. She would soon pass on her title to her student, but for now, it was still her that wove the tales of their past and of those that lived in Shadow.
“God sent Nefartatul to bring a handful of clay from the bottom of Apa Sâmbetei. God told him, once it was on the surface he was to bring it forth into the daylight in his name, failure to do so would hold dire consequences. The ocean is dark and holds the shadows and souls of those that live there.” The old woman’s stare moved over them all, seeing how eager they were to hear the rest of the story.
“Nefartatul set forth but he attempted to bring the clay to the surface in his name. I Nefartatul, command you to come forth in my name, that I shall hold dominion over the clay of the earth, not god! How foolish of him, the little imp, for the clay would not come forth, try as he might, but the shadows cast upon the surface seemed to seep forth and flow over the tide. Nefartatul finally in exasperation called out God’s name and the clay came forth in the name of God and grew into the earth.” Rosa took another drink of the Loki and licked her lips, smacking them together again and letting forth a small burp and a crooked grin, leaning forward her voice raised as she spoke on.
“And what did the imp do? Why he, as God laid down to rest, he tried and tried to push God off the earth, in all directions he tried, forming a cross as he did so. Unable to he screeched in frustration and God woke. He shook his head at Nefartatul and said, You have tried to forsake me and all I have done for you, you think I did not see what you tried, but I did, go now, live amongst the shadows that you have created and I will bring forth the light and we will see in the end who will win” She chuckled at the gasps and wide eyes that greeted her.
“Thus, the shadows that seek the shade and dark places away from the sun, for God is searching for Nefartatul and his children. Those that live there, the beasts, the misshapen goblins that steal children and terrifying creatures that snatch the foolhardy. Why even the beasts that howl at the moon and Nefartatul’s favored children, the Stragoi, for they carry his mark of shunning the light. Beware my family, for they are here and everywhere, lurking in the shadows, THERE! BEHIND YOU!" She yelled out suddenly pointing into the dark edges of the camp. Everyone turned and some scrambled from the stumps and seats they sat on reaching for pistols and knives. Only to hear Rosa laughing lightly as she lifted the cup once more and drained the Loki from the bottom.
“Good story, but is it a story?” she looked at them all as they settled, some laughing others offering a nervous glance into the shadows. Their leader stood there by the Vardo, arms crossed, thumb and index finger rubbing the cross Rosa had gifted on their initiation.
“Rosa, you tease them. Off to bed, the lot of you.” But those Romany eyes never left the shadows.
The Romany Conclave is steeped in tradition. Holding to their stories and legends. Their traditions have changed little over the centuries. They have always been suspicious of the Royal family, but also shunned by most of those that live in Speria due to this distrust.
“Nothing comes without a price from the mountain.” They can often be heard saying, “One day that price will have to be paid, we warn you, the shadows are deep there in the halls of Damnelor!”
Their suspicions had never been founded, and the town has profited greatly from the Duke and his family. Now that the veil has been lifted on other beings, well the Romany campfire stories are not bringing back into light the possibility of the werebeasts and the vampires. The Romany stay outside the great walls, ever looking up at the Castle that looms over Nox Atra, always watching. They have spies all over the land, after all, it is said, “If you need something you can’t get, the Romany have their ways.” The Romany trade inside and outside the region. They are known to be able to sell what cannot be sold and buy what cannot be bought. The Romany women and men are excellent palm readers and petty thieves, suspected of sorcery. because to cross a Romany tends to bring bad luck. Their talents for charms and potions is widespread and even those of Speria can sometimes be seen purchasing items in the alleys of Speria from the Romany.
Vlad Dracul warned his family to avoid them. Often stating that they were ventriloquists and wizards and that they were in league with the devil. and sought to expose them. As the fog was lifted that had been cast so many years ago the Romany, often the object of much discrimination have found that they are far more accepted than those of the "Sharp ears and ruddy skins" watching the people not only treat these oddities even harsher than they were but often removing parts to sell through them, on the black market. They are still suspicious of those things that lurk int he night and the full moon, but they are quite happy not being the focus of the prejudices of Speria anymore and often turn a blind eye, or harbor those that are persecuted.
They are skilled dancers, artisans, and adept at charm and ward magics, and fortune tellers. They can spin a tale with only a sentence given and the Sect has close ties with them due to the talents of their seers. As with all those, the Romany trust none, seeking for their own profits, in the end, they are neither good or bad, but they live by loose morals and even more questionable ethics. Yet, all still deal with them because they are as tight-lipped as one can be. Gypsies are noted in Constantinople history as bear keepers, snake charmers, fortune tellers, and sellers of magic amulets to ward off the evil eye.
Their camp is warm and inviting, seeking to stay within their beliefs, they reside in Vardos and tents. They often have company from the fishing village below them. Guests are often treated to good local cuisine and vibrant stories. They supply honey to the town and surrounding area and a special brew called loki. Strong grain alcohol mixed with other things and fermented, it can knock the hardiest person on their ass after a few cups. The recipe is a secret, and none have been able to pry it from the Romany. The Romany are human, for all intents and purposes but, there is a story that even though they wear human skin, some of them, their eyes catch the firelight in such a way, as to make one wonder if there is a bit more to these secretive people.
Lead - Samael Swordthain
Second - Irina Dragos (Tart Vyper)