They didn't believe in prophecies. Hardly anyone did in the New Kingdom side of Cirulae. Most of the gypsies that passed through were from the Old Kingdom, trained in magick and divination. They cornered any person and insisted to read their cards or look at their palms. Out of pity, a customer would give in, and end up paying for things they didn't believe.
Such a thing happened to a dear couple, just married and about to have their first child. They owned a home in the New Kingdom, and happened to be walking a path near their home. It was a path many gypsies walked, attempting to sell their prophecies. The couple was unaware of the use of the path, and unwillingly walked near a gypsy campsite. One of the oldest women with a strong accent stopped the couple.
"Please—let me see the child's future," she had said, smiling warmly with a very worn deck of cards in her hand. The mother-to-be looked at her husband questioningly, and he shrugged slightly.
"All right, why not?" the mother said. The old woman smiled warmly and led them towards her camp, sitting the two of them down before a table. She shuffled her cards, carefully placing them in a precise way that the mother didn't understand. She turned them face-up, her old face gradually darkening at the images on the cards. When all the cards were turned, she stared at them, shaking her head, and gathered them up again.
"I will do again," she said to the couple, smiling. She asked the mother to take two cards, then the father. She took the cards, placing them face down with the rest. Again, she turned them, and looked at the images, her face paling.
"The child . . ." she began, but had to stop. There were many ways in which to tell a customer the bad news . . . but this was the hardest yet.
"What? What about it?" the mother asked, a hand to her belly.
"This was Seen long, long ago," the old woman said, shaking her head. She put a trembling hand to her temple. "Your child . . . will be Death."
Enraged, the husband gathered up his wife and pulled her away from the campsite, vowing he would kill the old woman if she even mentioned being paid. He chose to completely ignore the woman's comments, assuring his wife that it was absolute nonsense. They were only stories from the Old Kingdom, not to be taken seriously.
And it wasn't taken seriously. The beaming couple had their baby, a girl that they named Arielle. And she was nothing short of perfect. Fair skin like her mother, lovely black hair like her father, hazel eyes from them both. She was a lovely daughter, sweet and quiet. The prophecy had been long forgotten.
The new family's day of happiness were suddenly gone one bright afternoon in a park. Arielle plucked flowers from the ground, taking them to her mother and father. Dark clouds loomed close, but no one took notice of them. Arielle picked a particularly large flower and rushed to her father on unsteady feet. She was only just two. She presented the flower to him, and he smiled, taking it and tucking it in his coat pocket.
"That's beautiful, Arielle. Come, give your father a kiss."
Arielle giggled shyly and braced her small hands on his broad shoulders. She pecked his lips briefly, sending her into a fit of laughter. She whirled around to see her mother, her beautiful smile. And she watched as her mother's smile faded, and her eyes widened. Arielle turned to where she stared, seeing her father had fallen. His eyes stared unblinking at the sky as he lay on his back, his chest neither rising or falling.
Arielle stared as her mother screamed, desperately trying to make her husband wake. But he never would. Arielle didn't understand what was going on, only watching in confusion as other people in the park gathered to see what had happened. Someone was told to call a doctor. Others helped to lift the dead man from the ground and carry him away, his hysterical wife crying and screaming.
Arielle stood where she was long after everyone had gone. She was alone in the park, confused as to where her mother was, and why her father had been like he was. The dark clouds had loomed closer and now covered the sky. Arielle's bright eyes were filled with tears as rain began to fall. She tottered over to a large bush on the edge of the forest and sat beneath it, trying to stay dry. Rain and tears soaked her cheeks as the storm worsened, and she buried her head in her arms, afraid.
She didn't hear anyone coming, but looked up when she felt a large hand on her shoulder. It was a man she didn't know, kneeling before her in a long black cloak, the hood over his head. Arielle recoiled at his appearance, the skin fair like hers, black hair slicked back, and icy blue eyes. The man held out a gloved hand towards her.
"Come, child." His voice was softer and kinder than his appearance. Arielle stared at his outstretched hand, then at the empty park behind him. Perhaps he could bring her to her mother and father . . . maybe he knew where they were.
Arielle put her small hand in the man's large one, letting him pull her from beneath the bush, dirty and cold. In one smooth move, he lifted her from the ground, shielding her with his cloak. Arielle closed her eyes against the storm, putting her small arms around the man's neck, hiding her face.
Few saw the stranger take the little girl, but all knew he was from the Old Kingdom.