The Gypsies and The Other Realm-Chapter 8
Love and Marriage
When Viktoria woke the next morning, Valentino, was gone. She reached for her,” putsi”, it was in a wooden box on the shelf above her bunk, with her jewelry. She put the little leather bag, that hung by a cord around her neck, along with her other adornment. She hadn’t been wearing her,” putsi”, recently. Today she felt that she needed it, as it carried the talisman empowered for, ”good luck”, and the amulets that had been empowered for protection, and handed down to her by her mother. It was an heirloom, handed down from generation to generation, through her Romani family of fortune tellers. Some of the objects in her, “putsi”, would be passed on to, Mariska, at market, before she began her first ,”fortune teller- reading”, to one of the,”goujos”,a non gypsy client.
Gypsies did not read fortunes to one another as, they lived at one with nature, and they believed in things of the occult. They had well-tuned in, psychic abilities, and divination powers, and they could read their own futures if they wanted to. Most gypsies did not believe in futures anyway, their belief was, to live for the day. Fortune telling and divination was entertainment for profit , to make money from the,”goujos”.
Soon, Valentino, would be announcing, Brutus’s intended, and Mariska's, intended, for marriage. Viktoria did not even know if, Valentino, had even arranged a marriage for Mariska. Most girls, Mariska's, age were already married, but Valentino, wanted a handsome price for her, because of her Romani, Princess, bloodline.
Tonight, at campfire, Raj’s family planned on announcing, his intended bride. Viktoria, was pretty sure it was, Violet.
Brutus, was promised since childhood to a girl from another tribe, named Szofi, whom he has never met. Valentino, and an old friend, that was also a business partner arranged the marriage several years ago. They would all be meeting her in a few days to welcome her to the family and introduce her to the tribe rituals. They would be married at, Szofi’s home in West Yorkshire, England. So with all of these, wedding plans, on her mind, Viktoria, had just about forgotten, about last nights, terrors.
Bavaro’s daughters Rosalie and Lilith, Violet, and some other children, came barging through the backdoor, not expecting to see, Viktoria, still inside. She had slept in, later than usual. She let them, wake up her children, she told them all to be careful, going to the lake to bathe this morning, as she slipped by them, and out the back door of the caravan, to help the other women with breakfast. She had already missed morning prayers.
The girls were buzzing with excitement, sharing what they had heard about the pack of wolves and the dragon saving the whole camp last night. Selena, was snuggled in her basket with Jupiter, sleeping, when she heard all the commotion, she listened to what they were talking about for a few seconds, before smiling and drifting back into sleep.
The day was uneventful, as everyone in camp pitched in to get the venison and other game smoked, cooked and packed, so the tribe could resume their journey, tomorrow
When nightfall came the gypsy tribe, had built a big bonfire, to feast on some of the game. Frigarui, Romanian, kabobs were put together to roast over the bonfire. They consisted of venison meat, and assorted vegetables on sticks. Sarmale, was prepared also, rabbit meat minced and mixed with feta cheese, onion, sirop from the berries, and then savory spices were added, before rolling the mixture in grape leaves to be smoked over the fire on metal racks. The ostropel, method was used for cooking the pheasant, first frying the birds, and then adding, water, vinegar, tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes cooked in a covered pot. The quail and dove, were prepared as a mosaic snitel, they were stuffed with mushrooms and cas cheese and then spiced before being wrapped in cabbage and smoked alongside the sarmale.
Earlier in the day a group of boys, and girls had gone down to the lake to fish and pick berries. When they returned, they added a nice bounty, to the menu and the women set out using the berries to make prajitur, assorted fruit pastries for breakfast and dessert. The fish were used in Ghiveci cu peste, a fish stew with vegetables. Mariska, and Violet made a large cauldron of ceai, a gypsy recipe of black tea with goats milk, honey and other spices. Some of the women and children would drink, socata, a non-alcoholic beverage made from fermented elderflower, stored in clay jugs. The men opened clay jugs of alcoholic beverages such as, Zmeurata, a raspberry liqueur, Visinata, a sour cherry liquore, Vodca distilled using potato and cereal grains, and Romanian, Bere, brewed by steeping common cereal grains in water and fermenting, The result is a sweet liquid with yeast, and many of the men were well on their way to a drunken night of feasting and fun!
Brutus, and his friends had been sent into the forest, armed with weapons to collect more wood for the bonfire, they wanted to keep the fire flaming the whole night through to ward off predators and avoid unwelcome visitors tonight. Mariska and Violet were invited along to help. The boys began teasing Brutus, about his upcoming marriage. Valentino, had told them he was making a formal announcement this evening. Valentino, had also told them after, Brutus married, he would reveal, Mariska's, intended groom.
This information took, Mariska, completely by surprise, she did not know how she felt about being married off. Being married, quite frankly, had not even crossed her mind. She knew she was of age to marry now. It was a gypsy custom to be betrothed at a very young age, sometimes at birth. Many of her friends in the tribe had married at the age of twelve or thirteen.
What if, Valentino, chose a groom for her from another tribe? She would be mortified leaving her family and friends, unlike Brutus, whose bride would leave her tribe to come and live with them, she and Livia would be the only ones having to leave.
Stefan, quietly studied her reaction, to the information, she had just acquired. She looked like a lost fawn, her eyes were wide with innocence and bewilderment. He wondered what was going on in that pretty little head of hers. He knew who her betrothed was…it was him.
Stefan’s father, Andre, had made a bid on her for him, when Mariska, was born. Valentino, and Andre had been lifelong friends, and it seemed the right thing to do. Over the years, Valentino, had saved a handsome dowry for her, and Andre had paid the price agreed upon for Stefan, in a gentleman’s agreement. Andre, had told Stefan, at a very young age about, Mariska, being his intended wife. Stefan was a rather shy boy, and had observed, Mariska, blossom into a beautiful young woman since childhood. To him, she was the girl of every man’s dreams and did not know how she would react to him, when she found out that he would be her husband.
Raj, would be discovered tonight, as his father, Nickolaus, would be announcing his upcoming marriage to, Violet. Violet, did not know this. Nickolaus, had bid on her and won her dowry for Raj, a few years ago. Raj, had asked him to do so, as he was already in love with her, and confident that she would grow to love him too.
Violet, tried to comfort, Mariska, when she heard that an announcement would be made, about her intended, by telling her what an exciting adventure it would be to get married and have a life of her own, and maybe have a few children. Unfortunately, Mariska, was not excited about this whole marriage thing, like, Violet. She always had thought that, Violet, was a little boy crazy and well she just wasn’t too sure about boys at all. She had been good at keeping her distance from any entanglements with boys, while Violet, was quite flirtatious and high spirited, Mariska, was more grounded, and earthly.
Selena, landed on Mariska’s shoulder and whispered in her ear, not to be afraid of dragons, as Jupiter was the dragon last night. Now, Mariska, knew what Jupiter’s special powers were. Jupiter was the protector. Selena, flew away, winking and throwing out kisses to Mariska and Violet, as she and Jupiter disappeared into the woods.
Stefan, asked Mariska, ”what was that”? Mariska, did not know, Stefan, had been watching her. She shrugged her shoulders, and acted very casual, like she didn’t know what he was talking about. He was sure he had just seen a miniscule humanoid with wings, riding a pony that had wings fly up to her and, land on her shoulder. The pair had a colourful, aura, and Mariska, smiled when they landed on her, and continued to smile, as she watched them fly away. Stefan, realized that, Mariska, had secrets, majickal, secrets, that might be tied to the happenings in camp he had heard about last night. Stefan already knew she was a spiritualist, fortune teller, and was in training to become a healer. She had always been bright, a bit secretive and now to him, she was a mystery.
When the group returned to camp, it was alive with, music, gaiety, and feasting. Valentino, caught Brutus’s attention and asked him to please join him, for the official wedding announcement, and a toast to his future.
After the announcement was made that Brutus would be taking a bride in a few days, Nickolaus, joined them, and invited Raj to stand with them, Nickolaus then announced that, Violet, would be, Raj’s, intended bride and they would be married, when they arrived at market, in, Sheffield.
Violet, was so excited, and astonished, she ran up to, Nickolaus, and gave him a big hug, and kissed Raj, on the cheek. Then,Violet, ran to her parents, hugged and thanked them, and then ran over to, Mariska, and hugged her, she was ecstatic, about the union.
Surprisingly, Andre did not make an announcement for Stefan, and he was older than both Raj and Brutus. Perhaps he did not want to be engaged to be married, she thought. Victor, Valentino’s younger brother, was in his early thirties and still had not taken a wife.
Bavaro, came up to stand with the families as, everyone was toasting, clapping, cheering and congratulating the intended grooms and bride. Valentino, rose his hand, in the air, to quiet the tribe, as the tribe's, spiritual leader led a woman past the Gypsy King.
The woman stopped in front of, Valentino, to curtsy. Then, Oberon, took her hand and they walked together hand in hand and stopped at the edge of a dark, grassy area. The woman, was dressed in a colourful, gypsy dancer's skirt sewn together with many silk scarves and the bodice scarves were wrapped around her chest, and tied at the back of her neck, the front of the bodice was embroidered with sequins and gems. The entire outfit was trimmed in gold thread. She wore wide engraved gold arm and ankle bands and sandals on her feet. She had her family putsi, and other gold and bead ornaments hanging from her neck, and thin bead and gold bracelets on her wrists. Her head was covered by a opaque silk scarf.
Bavaro, had chosen tonight for Oberon, to marry, his intended bride. Today, would have been, Bavaro’s, late wife, Shaylees' birthday.
Viktoria, and Trish, Violet’s mom had been secretly taking turns preparing, Blossom, Oberon’s bride to be, and planning a wedding, all day in between cooking chores. The two had been betrothed since birth. Blossom’s mother had died during childbirth, and her father had been killed in a hunting accident, she was an orphan, the tribe had adopted.
The women had quickly turned a nearby area of grass into an enchanting, oasis. When all the candles were lit, a traditional gypsy family wedding, arch made from entwined branches was decorated with vines and fresh spring flowers and was set up at the back of the grass area and a path of flower petals led up to the arch. Bunches of spring flowers were placed in clay bowls alongside the path of flower petals, and candles, were lit and had been placed in between the bowls.
The incense was lit, and the elders, stood in front of the couple and each did his cleansing rituals with the incense, on both the bride and the groom, at the place where the flower petal path began, before they entered, the holy place of matrimony under the arch.
The tribe quietly and somberly gathered around the flower petal path. The musicians played a light and airy gypsy wedding song, as one of the elders, led the couple down the flower petal path to the decorated arch way. The elder turned to face them, spoke a few holy words to them, they exchanged gifts, and he asked them to take their vows, and then Oberon, lifted the veil from his brides face and kissed her.
The tribe, cheered,whistled and clapped for the newlyweds, escorting them, singing dancing and drinking, to their own vardo, Valentino, Victor and Bavaro, had built for them. The tribe tossed flower petals at them to bring them good fortune and when the newlyweds had been released into seclusion to copulate their marriage, the tribe went back to the bonfire and continued, feasting, dancing and drinking until, the wee hours of the morning.
Selena, and Jupiter had studied the gypsies rituals, and wedding practices, from afar, and witnessed the dancing, drinking and feasting throughout the rest of the night. They kept a low profile, as too many humans were discovering their presence in the camp. she thought it all quite entertaining and joyful.