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Doria Romanov Asks for Help
Doria Romanov opened the door to her tent, and I walked in. She had an excited expression on her face. “He’s alive!” she declared. 

I sat down in one of the comfortable red chairs. “Who’s alive?” I asked. 

Doria gave a radiant smile, as beautiful as the dawn. “Bryce Barington is alive - my husband. I thought I was a widow, but he lives! Ah, I am so happy!” 

I swallowed hard. I must admit that ever since I had met the lovely Doria, I had developed some … feelings … for her, and while I was glad to see her so happy, the thought of her husband returning was not that thrilling to me. 

“Aye I remember you mentioned you had a husband. How do you know he is alive, after all this time?” 

“Since I am a psychic and medium, I tried many times to contact him, living or dead. But each time I have tried all I saw was black … nothing. But recently I tried again, and felt a very faint impression … a slight contact with his essence. He is alive in a body! I know not where he is, but find him I shall. Hast thou seen him?” 

“Umm, how would I recognize Bryce? Is he a gypsy like you?” 

“Ah, nay, he is not a gypsy at all. He is a handsome young man with fair skin and golden hair. If fact, my parents were outraged that I married a non-gypsy. ‘Tis against our tribal customs for a gypsy to marry an outsider, a “foreigner”. When I was but a young lass, a little less than 16 years of age, my parents decided ‘twas time for them to think of their daughter’s future, and for them to arrange for me to wed. ‘Tis the gypsy custom for girls to marry early, and for their parents to arrange the match. My parents examined all the eligible young men. They decided that Blamio, the son of the gypsy blacksmith, was the perfect husband for me. After they negotiated a brideprice, they announced that I would wed Blamio shortly after my 16th birthday. I did not like Blamio that much, but I agreed to marry him, if that was their will.” 

“So, why didn’t you marry this Blamio?” 

“When I met Bryce that changed. Ah, I still can remember the first day I met Bryce. One day I was practicing my magic in the forest south of Minoc when a young man riding a bay mare approached me. When I saw this strong and radiant youth, the sunlight glinting on his golden hair, I though I was seeing a young god! He was the handsomest man I had e’er seen. He told me his name was Bryce Barington and that he was training in combat skills in Vesper. He said his dream was to become a fighter, perhaps even a knight some day.” 

Doria blushed. “I was a maiden still, and shy with men, but despite my shyness, I felt strangely attracted to Bryce, and he was attracted to me. We met secretly every day in the woods south of Minoc, and soon fell deeply in love.” 

“I approached my parents and asked if they would speak with Bryce, and give us permission to wed. They were outraged and refused to even see Bryce, saying that if I married a ‘foreigner’ instead of Blamio, I would no longer be their daughter. Then I went to the council of elders of the tribe, begging them for permission to marry Bryce, but they would not allow a pure gypsy maiden to be sullied by the polluting touch of a ‘foreigner’. The council told me if I married Bryce, they would cast me from the tribe. Bryce ran into similar problems with his own parents. The Baringtons were a socially prominent family who considered gypsies to be lowly tramps and thieves, and a gypsy maiden unworthy to marry their son. They told him they shuddered at the thought that one day they might have grandchildren with gypsy blood.” 

“We were so much in love and, though the world was against us, we were the world to each other. We decided to elope. In the dark of night, I gathered my belongings and tying them into a large shawl, crept out of the gypsy camp and ran to our trysting place to meet Bryce. He swept me up to ride pillion behind him on his bay mare, and we set off for Trinsic, where we were married in a quick civil ceremony.” 

“Being trained as a warrior-at-arms, Bryce made his living as a mercenary.” 

We lived happily until he disappeared.” 

“Where was he last seen?” I asked. 

“He had taken a job guarding a merchant caravan going to Cove. They were attacked by undead, and he disappeared. I was told he was probably dead. I mourned. After a year of mourning, I decided to make a fresh start, and moved to Skara Brae, where I live now.” Doria gestured to the tent around us. “But I just found out he’s alive! I shall not rest until I find him.” 

She turned her lovely dark eyes on me. “And sir, thou canst help me, if thou wilt. Pray tell the readers of thy newspaper to come to my tent in Skara Brae, located just north of the Bank. I have weekly meetings at 7PM (Pacific Time) o’ the clock every Tuesday. I invite folks to come and help. They may have seen Bryce, or if they have seen him not, mayhap they can follow up certain clues about where he might be now. Tell them I need their help. Wilt thou do this?” 

“Aye, certainly, I’ll tell them. And now I regret I must take my leave, Doria, for I have another appointment shortly. Farewell, fair lady.” I bowed, kissed her hand, and made my way to her tent door. “I wish you luck in finding your husband,” I lied. 

-- Stav Korwell 

Published: April 2000
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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