The Gypsy Deal
The Gypsy Deal
This story, like several others, is one of the proposed ideas of our writing group that was turned down. Unlike the others, this one won’t likely be made into a story itself because of Bela’s limited rendering ability, particularly with medieval settings. So this story was written to be posted on the site without any illustrations. This won’t be counted as one of the stories to be voted for making into a premium comic.
A glossary is found at the bottom to explain the meaning of the Romani words in this story.
Annamarie hurried through the woods as fast as she could. She knew it was only a matter of time before her father went hunting for her or send out the hounds for her. She just hoped she’ll be able to get far away enough in time. She was also worried that she could get lost, that she ends up wandering around in the woods until she was nothing but skin and bones to covered by the autumn leaves.
But then Annamarie sees a light ahead, some kind of campfire. She pushes through the underbrush more earnestly. Eventually, she came out into a clearing. With a sigh of relief, she saw it was the gypsy camp. Their colorful wagons were parked as the gypsies sat around the campfire. One of them was playing a fiddle while the others clapped along. Another was singing in that strange language they were so proud of.
Annamarie hesitated on the edge of the campsite, but eventually she walked forward into the firelight. The gypsies soon spotted her and stopped their playing. It was very unusual to see a rakli here at night. Especially a young girl who looked not quite thirteen with light brown hair, curious blue-green eyes, and with so many leaves on her hair and small rips in her dress that she could only have come through the woods instead of taking one of the paths.
“What brings you here, chey?” asked one of the gypsies.
“I’d like to speak with your matriarch,” said Annamarie.
“Our matriarch does not usually receive visitors so late,” said the gypsy.
“Please, it is very, very important,” said Annamarie earnestly.
The gypsies gave each other confused look but they decided to indulge the girl. They took her to the largest, most comfortable-looking wagon. One of the men knocked on the door. When a woman’s voice called out, the man responded in more of the Romani language. Eventually, the woman’s voice said something and the man said, “She will see you now.” He opened the door and helped Annamarie climb inside.
The inside of the wagon was well-padded, with many cushions. Drapes and beads hung from the ceiling. A small round table was in the middle of the wagon. Seated at the opposite side of it was the matriarch. She was not nearly as old as Annamarie was expecting. She looked to be no older than her mother. She still had a lot of beauty, even if her hair had grey streaks and wrinkles surrounded her eyes.
“Come, child, sit where I can see you,” said the gypsy woman. Annamarie approached the woman more closely. The gypsy looked her up and down and said, “You have an aura of dread and sorrow. Why have you come for my help in the middle of the night?”
Annamarie gulped before she said, “My name is Annamarie, I’m the daughter of Farmer Malcom. I don’t suppose you-”
The gypsy woman held up one finger and Annamarie stopped talking. “Malcom, I have heard of that name in town. He is…unfriendly to strangers, yes?”
“Yes, and he can be even less friendly to those he knows,” said Annamarie.
“Your trouble is with him. Tell me about it,” said the matriarch.
Annamarie sat down on one of the cushions and said, “Well, my father does not like many things, but he hates women most of all. Sometimes, I hear him say that this world would be better off with no women at all. The only thing a woman should do it produce more sons.”
“Something that his wife knows, I bet,” said the matriarch.
“Yes. My mother gave him several boys, all strong lads like him,” said Annamarie, “But when she had me…”
“He beat her?” asked the matriarch coldly.
“No. In fact, he never touched her again. He barely says anything to her. And he tries to avoid looking at me as much as he could,” said Annamarie, “But I know he wants to be rid of me as soon as possible.”
“He intends to marry you off and send you away?” asked the matriarch.
“He said he won’t spend a coin on my dowry. He plans to send me to a nunnery,” said Annamarie.
“And you’re eager to escape this fate,” said the matriarch.
“Yes,” said Annamarie.
“Have you come to ask me to put an amriya on your father?” asked the matriarch.
“No, no, it wouldn’t change anything,” said Annamarie.
“True, your father has enough of a curse of his own. His own daughter running away and his sons more interested in other men than wives,” said the matriarch. Annamarie stared at the gypsy with shock. The gypsy only laughed and said, “That gadjo raised them to see all women as worthless. How else were they going to turn out?”
“Does my father…” started Annamarie.
“No, he’s like other men, as much as he denies it. But when he finds out what seeds he has planted, I expect the shame would be the death of him,” said the matriarch, “But you’re not here because of that. You wish to run away and join the gypsies?”
“I wish I could, but he’s bound to search your wagons before you leave town,” said Annamarie.
“So what were you planning?” asked the matriarch.
“Well, I’ve heard from the townspeople that you can do magic,” said Annamarie.
“Yes, I am a chovexani, though it’s not something I talk about much,” said the matriarch.
“Well, if you have some sort of charm or spell that will keep him from recognizing me, I would be able to escape with your clan,” said Annamarie, “I don’t have much to pay you with, but I’ll do anything you as me to.”
The matriarch looked at Annamarie with deep though. Eventually, she said, “Tis a cruel thing for a father to deny his daughter a darro, but I can think of another way you can repay me.”
“What is it?” asked Annamarie.
“My son is a grown man now, but he’s still a shav and needs a bride. However, all the other women in our clan and nearby clans are already taken. But if you agree to become my son’s romni, you may stay with our clan,” said the matriarch.
“But, I’m too young to be a wife. And I’m so…pale,” said Annamarie, lifting up her hands to show how much they contrasted with the gypsy’s brown skin.
The matriarch laughed and said, “You think I would give my son a child bride? Let alone one who is rakli. As I told you, I am a chovexani and I know many drabas to change your appearance. Even to change your age and give you romipen.”
“You can change ages?” asked Annamarie in surprise, “Is that why you look so-”
The gypsy laughed again and said, “No, just some herbal remedies to take the edge off of old age. But for you, I can make a draba that will give you both womanhood and the blood of a Roma.” She held out a hand that had many rings on the fingers and said, “Do we have a deal?”
Annamarie hesitated for a bit. She was wanting to change her appearance, but this seems rather drastic. She had been intending to travel for the gypsies until she beyond her father’s reach, not expecting to join their clan. But then again, the reason she didn’t want to go to a nunnery was because she wanted a family of her own. And the gypsies might live a hard life sometimes, but they seemed to have a strong sense of family. And Annamarie admitted she envied the beauty of the gypsy women a bit. She took the matriarch’s hand and said, “It’s a deal.”
The gypsy grinned and said, “Then let’s get started.” With that, she cleared away her table, cushions, and carpet until the bare floor of the wagon was revealed. She went to a small cabinet and took out a small pot and paintbrush. Chanting in a mysterious language, she started painting a small portion of her floor, eventually painting out a five-pointed star with several runes near it. “Now, chey, you will stand right here,” she said, pointing at the center of the star. Annamarie carefully stepped into the star, trying not to smudge the paint.
As soon as Annamarie had a solid footing, the matriarch started singing. The paint immediately started glowing pink. Then it dissolved into tiny pieces of light which started to flow upwards. Annamarie gasped as the light flowed over feet. She could feel them changing, becoming larger. But her shoes did not burst open. She looked down to see why not, but her dress was in the way. But the pieces of light moved up her legs and saw what was happening. Her dress was changing style and color as the light moved over it. She could also feel herself growing taller as the light went up her legs, making them grow longer. Her dress was become looser, allowing more freedom as it became a bright sapphire blue.
When the light reached Annamarie’s hips, she let out a gasp. She could feel the changes more intensely. She could feel her rear growing larger, her hips widening. But more importantly, she could feel her womb growing. When it got to her waist, Annamarie felt unusually breezy. Looking down, she saw that her dress had cut off at the waist, leaving a long, flowing skirt. As the light was going up her stomach, it was leaving it scandalously bare. For the first time, she could see her new skin. Her pale skin was being replaced by the light brown of the Roma. Her stomach was also becoming attractively taut as her waist sank in.
It was at that point that the light came to her hands. Annamarie held them to watch them in wonder. She could see her fingers growing longer, daintier, her fingernails growing out. She was also intrigued to watched the darkening of her skin. The light continued up her arms, her sleeves disappearing to show more bare, brown skin. But her arms weren’t completely unadorned. Several bangles were appearing on her wrists that made a musical jingle when they moved.
Then the light went to her chest and Annamarie let out a louder gasp as the most intense of sensations yet happened. She could feel her nipples expanding before pushing out. Her chest quickly grew a large pair of mounds that pulled her new blouse tight. Her blouse would have been considered shockingly scandalous in the village. It was leaving a good amount of her stomach bare and its neckline was plunging low enough for her new cleavage to be seen. Not to mention it was so tight, that the outline of her new large breasts could be seen clearly. But it was not uncomfortable, being made of a light material.
Finally, the light went up her neck. Annamarie wished she could watch her face change. She could feel the changes in her throat that must be related to her new voice. She could feel her cheekbones rising, her lips plumping, her nose changing, erasing every bit of the farmer’s daughter she used to be. She could feel a tingle in her hair as it changed from light brown to raven black.
Finally, the light faded and the matriarch gave a cackle of delight. “That worked better than I expected,” she said.
“Am I really a gypsy now?” asked Annamarie before gasping. Her voice was so different, deeper, melodic, and with a lilting accent.
“Yes, yes, I shall show you,” said the matriarch as she got out a mirror and held it up. Annamarie was astonished. Her reflection was that of a gypsy woman, one much more beautiful than she expected. The curves of her body was plain to see under her tight white blouse and her flowing blue skirt. She also had more jewelry than expected, with a necklace that dipped into her cleavage and a pair of hoop earrings. The magic had also given her makeup that accentuated her new features even more. She felt her black hair, so long and silky. “Your own father won’t recognize you,” said the matriarch.
“That was the point, wasn’t it?” asked Annamarie with a grin, “I don’t look anything like little Annamarie now.”
“And a change of name will complete your change of identity,” said the gypsy.
Annamarie pursed her lips. A different name would suit her now. She looked at her reflection and could see that despite all the changes to her, her eyes were still the same blue-green as before. “How about Aquamarine?” she asked.
“A beautiful name for a beautiful woman,” said the matriarch, “Now it is time for your side of the bargain. Are you ready to meet my son?”
Aquamarine’s heart skipped a beat at that. She had almost forgotten the price she was going to pay. Was she really going to be the wife of a man she never met? But at the same time, her womanhood was yearning for companionship, for completion. “I think I’m as ready as ever,” she said.
“Very good,” said the matriarch. She walked over to a window, opened it, and called, “Stevo, could you come here please?”
“Yes, Dya,” called a man’s voice. A few seconds later, the door to the wagon opened and a handsome young Romani man stepped in. “What is it, Dya?” he asked before staring in astonishment at Aquamarine.
“Stevo, this is Aquamarine. She is willing to be your romni. She is good quality, yes?” said the matriarch.
“Mother, where did you-” started Stevo.
“That is for your bride to tell you in her own time,” said the matriarch. She turned to Aquamarine and said, “So, you think you can marry my son?”
Aquamarine’s heart was thudding hard as soon as she saw Stevo. She had never felt this kind of attraction towards anyone before. “If he will be good to me,” said Aquamarine.
“Of course he will,” said the matriarch, “No dori of mine will be mistreated in my clan.”
“I don’t know how to thank you,” said Aquamarine.
“Just give me plenty of grandchildren,” said the matriarch.
Soon after, there was a big abiay celebrating the matriarch’s new dori. There were some questions about where this beautiful young woman came from, but those who knew about the matriarch’s magic realized it was one of her drabas.at work. The fact that the little girl who went to her wagon was never seen leaving made them all the more certain.
Aquamarine considered herself the happiest woman in the country. Not only was she free of her woman-hating father, but she has a gorgeous new body, a new home and family, and a husband who promised her devotion and support. And as the night of their wedding proved, a fantastic lover as well.
But as was the way of the Roma, they needed to move on. But before they could leave the town, they were stopped along the way. Aquamarine recognized her former father. He seemed even more hard-faced than she had noticed as a child. But then again, he was convinced the gypsies had stolen his property and was determined to find it.
This was hardly the first time that the gypsies have been accused of theft, and certainly not the last. But they allowed Farmer Malcom to look through their wagons. Aquamarine watched as he combed the wagons from top to bottom. He wasn’t even bothering to look in the crannies for his ‘property’, just for any place where a child could conceivably hide. Aquamarine felt a bit of smoldering resentment as he still claimed to be looking for his ‘property’. Did he really hate her enough he didn’t even see her as a daughter?
Frustrated, Malcom finally snapped at the gypsies about where they hid ‘the girl’. The nerve of that old woman-hater! He didn’t even bother to say Annamarie’s name, not that it was hers anymore. But as far as the gypsies he asked were concerned, they had no idea where ‘the girl’ was.
Eventually, Malcom questioned Aquamarine herself. His arrogant face glared into hers as he asked, “Are you hiding the girl?” He failed to even notice that the gypsy woman’s eyes matched his daughter’s. But then, when has he ever paid any attention to her at all.
“The only children we have here are our own,” said Aquamarine, “You’re searching here in vain.” She kept the smugness from her tone so as to not provoke her former father. He gave a scoff of disgust before moving on. Aquamarine smirked at his back. The old fool couldn’t recognize her even when he was looking right at her. Her new life was secured.
Soon enough, the gypsy clan was on its way, Farmer Malcom coming up empty-handed. Aquamarine smiled to herself as she left her old life behind her. A new life awaited her among the Romani, along with a new husband and eventually plenty of children.
Abiav: Marriage, wedding; also festivity or party
Darro: Dowry, bride-price
Gadjo: Non-Gypsy man
Rakli: Non-Roma girl
Shav: Unmarried gypsy male