UnDuplicated Magic Vardo Excerpt Continued…
"That's different," Jason insisted.
“No, it is not. Our wagons are home to us. They provide comfort and more.” She shrugged. She wasn’t going to justify the Vardo wagon. She knew it was a cliché and didn’t care. It was warm and colorful inside and it was home, no matter where she wandered. She had added custom panels that could be flipped, making it appear plan and unremarkable on the outside so no one would bother to look, to see what secrets it held.
She had spells and protections woven into the wood, into the very fabric of the sheets and blankets, the curtains.
No one could harm her in this space. And if she hid within its walls, it would be very difficult to find her if she didn’t want to be found.
This was her home. Or one of them. She wasn’t going to tell him that she had identical caravans stashed all around the world. She traveled so much it was hard to have a home base and a long time ago she realized she would need to take home with her. She had six identical Vardo wagons built. Then she moved one on to each continent, spreading them throughout the world. If she was going to be somewhere more than a week, she had the one located closest to her moved so that she could use it as a hideaway during her assignment.
All six wagons had become important methods of hiding in plain sight, in being safe. The protections kept her hidden from both human and paranormal senses.
All six wagons were the same basic plan and all of them were furnished the same and decorated identically in lush decadence. When the space was this small it was easy to use the best fabrics, the softest mattress, and incredible finishes. It would be difficult to afford those touches of gold, and the glitter of gems in a larger space. And they matched because she wanted the caravans to be home. If they were all decorated differently, they would feel different. She wanted them to be the same.
“What does Romanichal mean?”
She shrugged, “It basically means a person of Rom decent who lives in England. Some will use Rom or Roma as an ethnic name, as in the Romani. But there are others like the Sinti that live in Western Europe, or the Romanichal in the UK, who don’t use Romani as a term for the entire ethnic group. To them, the Sinti are different than the Romanichal, who are different from a Russian Roma. We often don’t speak the same language. Many of our people choose the language of the country they live in and drop the old language, trying to fit in.”
“So what are you?” he asked.
Gypsy laughed. “I’m a Russian Romanichal Sinti. Which means I have lived in all the places and speak most of the languages, including bits and pieces of the old one and several of the Romani dialects that evolved in specific countries of the world. The “Romany tongue” or řomani čhib isn’t really just one language it is both the same and different in each area of the world.”
Jason was silent for a minute. “So, when you said you spoke Romany as one of the seven languages, you basically could have added a half dozen more to the list?”
She nodded. Answering questions while fixating on his mouth wasn’t easy. But somehow, she managed it. She just couldn’t take her eyes off his lips. What in the hell was wrong with her? She was acting completely out of character.
“Mind blowing. Here is an easier subject. “Where did you get such a modern looking Vardo? It’s on a trailer and looks like a cross between the traditional wagon and a motorhome.”
“The tiny house movement that started over a century ago made these very popular again. The Vardo style has been around for a while and every two or three decades there is a resurgence in popularity. So, it’s not just me. This caravan closely follows what was known as the Reading wagon. The first one was created in 1870 and epitomized the golden age of Romani horse travel. You know it is a Reading because of the straight sides that slope outwards towards the eaves. Even though there are several styles of Traveller wagons, the Reading is the most popular. Historically the Reading wagon was ten feet long and had a porch on both the front and back. My tiny home is fifteen feet, with an additional three feet for the front porch and two feet for the porch in back. My Vardo wagon sits on a trailer base and since I want to take my house with me wherever I go, I need to be able to pull it down the highway without a special permit. So my Vardo RV is less than 13.5-feet tall, 8.5-feet wide, and is about 20-feet long. This way I can pull it with a truck and not a semi.”
“What else is the same?” he prompted.
Gypsy looked at her house and frowned. She stepped away from him a few paces and the urge to reach out and touch his body diminished. She needed to get a grip. She was acting like a besotted lover, enthralled with her man. That attitude was not like her. “The Reading traditionally had skylights raised above the roof, mine are level but they are there. It was common to have quarter-inch thick beveled mirrors on either side of the bed space. I don’t have those, but I have a couple stained glass mirrors in the appropriate places.” She grinned wickedly. “Vardo Wagons were lavishly decorated. I aced that. Oh. A lot of the times the only seating was a bench or locker type seat built into the caravan. I don’t have that. I went for overstuffed chairs instead. I never have more than one person in the caravan with me anyway. If that ever happened, I would make them sit outside.” She looked at him and smirked.
He waived her on.
She frowned, thinking. “Oh. Traditionally the side and back windows were shuttered. The shutters don’t work well when the trailer is being towed, so I don’t have those. Typically, the body of the Vardo Wagon was tongue-and-groove matchboard. I have a much lighter, modern alternative that is pretty much indestructible and is extremely weather tight. I can take my Vardo wagon anywhere, no matter how stormy or cold. Or hot for that matter. I’ve spent a lot of time in the desert.”
She shifted and looked at him. He was gazing at the wagon with a sort of awe. He really was interested. So, she could give him more. “Many Traveller wagons were painted in a deep burgundy red, with highlights of yellow and green. The more elaborately decorated the better, as the carved lion heads and gargoyles would be painted in gold or dusted in gold leaf to reflect the wealth of the owners. I like the teal and orange. But I have a way to tone things down a bit when I stay in a picky RV park or I want a low profile. Even the toned-down version has a little teal color in the trim, and if you look in the corner of the front porch, you’ll see a gold gargoyle.”
If Gypsy hadn’t pointed Fred out to him, he wouldn’t have seen the little gargoyle. Many of the features of her wagon had been hidden with magic. “When I want to, I can take the teal and orange panels down, along with many of the flourishes like Fred, and make my Vardo very plain. With the plain side facing out the panels line the walls, ceiling, and floor of both porches. I can look plain on the outside, but inside the wagon you will see the more traditional or what I call modern-traditional Romani décor. I had a Romani cabinet maker do most of the inside work to fit around the modern conveniences like my wood stove and sink.”
No matter where she roamed, Gypsy always had a piece of her heritage. A home that would protect her and at the same time comfort her with familiar objects and traditions. And unlike a traditional Vargo her wagon had solar panels and a multifuel stove. She also had holding tanks for clean water storage with rain capture on the roof—and black and gray water storage for the tiny toilet and shower hidden inside behind the front door. She could live off-grid for months and sometimes she preferred that simple life. After long stints of being undercover, she wanted to set up camp in a place where she wouldn’t run into another person. After a few weeks of solitude, she could recharge and return to fight another day.