As we entered many of the citizens where setting up their fires for supper. We were greeted by a rather grim greeting part of three bulky men, with many piercing and markings on their face. They looked us over with a grimace before demanding to see my pack. I handed it over cautiously, watching them closely without appearing to. After looking through the meager contents they handed it back.
“Names?” The one who was doing all the talking demanded. “I am Blue the storyteller and this is my wife Lolita.” I said.
The two men behind him murmured something excitedly to each other. The leader seemed to soften up.
“We are lucky tonight.” He opened his arms. “Welcome to our village storyteller!” He wrapped his arms around me and Electron squeezing us in tight hug. I had to repress my instincts that would’ve knocked the man from me.
“Thank you, thank you.” I managed instead returning the hug.
Electron nodded in agreement giving a closed mouth smile as the man released us.
“My name is Bo and these are my sons Ferka and Luca.” He added. “I suppose you’ll be heading to Romania as well.” Bo led us forward into the settlement.
“As well as who? What is taking place in Romania?” I asked casually.
“We have another group of storytellers here tonight, they are players. They told me they are heading to Romania of the Festival of Fools. Whoever, performs the best will be picked to perform in the palace for the Mid-Winter Feast.”
“I did not know this.” I tossed Electron a quick glance. “I was simply looking for shelter for my wife.”
Bo nodded understandingly.
“Oh honey, that would be perfect for you.” Electron said in her best impression of a peasant, it was passable. “You should go.”
“I can’t, what about you?” I asked.
Electron dismissed that with a wave of her hand. “You worry too much.”
“We were just getting ready for supper, you may join us before you perform, and you can go after the players.”
Lady Electron tossed me a worried look.
"You have to perform?" She whispered when Bo and his sons starting talking amongst themselves, settling where the newcomers would sleep.
"It is a boarder." I explained.
"I know, but you're a hunter! You will do terribly." She hissed urgently.
"You are very supportive." I noted facetiously.
"I like the term realistic." Electron cooed, wrapping her arm around mine, wearing a charming smile.
"This way." Bo said leading us through to the center of the camp where the rest of the small village was sitting around a large fire cooking their meal. Hovering outside of the close group was a small band of players readying their small stage which was also the back of their rickety pony drawn wagon.
Two men were on the stage fixing their masks to their faces. One was playing a heavily made-up woman and the over was playing a bearded man. A couple of youths gathered by the wagon pulling on crudely made animal masks.
I scoffed silently at the abysmal craftsmanship of the masks.
"Here." Bo showed us to our seats and his wife who he introduced as Leema served us a bowl of thick soup that was more of a spicy mush than soup. Bo and his wife sat down next to us speaking in the language of the Gypsies.
Lady Electron nibbled politely at the food but I knew her well enough to tell when she was truly enjoying something. We sat in silent a little longer before the leader of the players stepped forward braking into the circle.
“I’m Geraldo and this is my merry band of players and tonight we shall entertain you with the most joyous comedies.” Geraldo gave a frivolous bow, making many flourishes with his hands and fingers. It irked me slightly but Electron giggled into her hand. Geraldo remained in his bow for sometime before raising slowly, surveying everyone with his gray eyes. When he reached the half way point in his bow he sprang up right with surprising speed. His eyes seemed to focus on everyone yet no one at all. He spoke in a voice that was different from the one he’d just used. This new voice was enchanting, inviting, laughing and amused.
“Imagine,” He began this eye brows working with his words. “Two lovers prefect in every way, they have the blessings of the gods and they are rich royals. They’re union would bring about the peace of two hemispheres.”
Will this wasn’t going to be very interesting now.
“Now listen to a secret that will tear this prefect couple apart…” He fell down on to one knee and bowed his head withdrawing from our attention as to men dressed as women entered on either side of the campfire.
“I don’t love him.” Confessed the lady dressed as princess, I assumed she was part of the couple.
“I love him!” Cried the remaining lady clutching a broom and dressed as a lowly servant.
The two women went on to confess their respective love and hatred for the same man. And so commenced a comedic love story in which love was truly, to a point of ridicule, blind! It ended with a set of two happy lovers. And all too soon the players bowed, collecting their applause. They took off their mask and received their food and it was my turn. The smile the play had brought to Electrons lips vanished to a look of concern.