A/N: This is a story – written between 1995 and 2004 - that used to be on an old geocities site that became defunct several years ago – I rediscovered it, did some minimal editing, and decided to re-post it onto .

Black Ellen

Sentinel / World of Darkness crossover

Smoothing out the non-existent wrinkles in her long cotton multi-colored skirt, Black Ellen watched the small group of listeners with a sharp gaze. She nodded to herself, approving of the rapt attention they attended to her. Most listeners believed her stories to be darane swatura, stories told for fun. But her stories, if listened with the right ear, would help prepare those chosen few for the tribulations that would be coming soon. This was the fourth kumpaniyi she'd been to in the past two weeks, and her draba told her that it was important that she stop here. So, never one to dismiss where her magic led her, she settled down to tell her tales and allow them to fall upon fertile minds.

Her gaze drifted over the seated crowd and settled on a young man who perched precariously on the wooden fence that encompassed the small trailer park. The young Gaje had wandered over when she began her tale, impressing her as he seated himself silently, remaining unobtrusive. Curiosity, humor, intelligence and an odd flash of something else were apparent in his deep blue eyes. He studied Black Ellen herself and the group with an intensity that both fascinated her and made her slightly uneasy.

No one paid him any mind – an oddity in of itself, the young man's good looks should have garnered some attention from the females in the group – and she didn't want to disrupt the flow of her teaching by asking him to leave. In mid-sentence, she smoothly switched into Romany, smiling gently at a few of the younger Gypsies who were obviously having some difficulties translating. Wondering if the change in language would dissuade the Gaje, she glanced over. Her eyes widened only slightly as she fought to hide her surprise. The young man had his head tilted to one side, and a small smile flitted about his lips. No confusion marred his intense gaze as he nodded ever so slightly to her.

'He speaks Romany?' Surreptitiously, she studied him as he studied her. 'The hair and eyes are evidence that he is not full Rom. I wonder what the state of his romipen is? Who is this one?' There was no way to currently satisfy her curiosity about the young man, so she settled back against the trunk of the tree she rested under, curled her bare feet beneath her, and continued the story, drawing her listeners ever deeper.

Time passed. Suddenly, Black Ellen said, "Prala," trying to determine who was really paying attention and who was merely pretending. She couldn't stand it when someone ignored her when she was telling stories. This irrationality of hers was her one main flaw.

The crowd responded with, "Pena." All, she noted, save the youth on the fence.

Affronted and insulted, she intended to stop the story and leave this kumpania as unworthy. She shifted, her jewelry chiming softly; ready to rise and seek another group when she took a closer look at the young man who had insulted her.

Dark blue eyes were darkened nearly to black. The pupils were wide, nearly engulfing the irises. His face was pale and blank as he seemed to look right through her and she could swear that he was barely breathing. In a flash of insight, Black Ellen realized what was happening. This young man was exhibiting signs of dukkerin, the Sight. Her story had placed him into a trance-state, one that he could very well lose himself entirely in if she didn't help him return by completing the tale.

Taking a deep breath, the pause nearly indiscernible to the others, she continued. Her gaze rarely left the immobile figure that sat as if part of the wood. Again, none of her listeners seemed to notice that she had gone from speaking to the entire group, to focusing upon the one individual. She breathed a silent sigh of relief as awareness once more flooded those blue orbs.

Her story came to a close and the young man bestirred himself. He shook his head, as if trying to clear it, brown curls partially obscuring his face. Leaping softly from the fence to stand alongside the road once more, he regarded her steadily. Amusement, wisdom and an ancient knowledge shown through his eyes at her, and she felt a jolt as two old souls recognized and acknowledged one another.

The moment passed. One hand over his heart, he bowed. Not a mocking bow that some of today's youths tried to pass off as respect, but a sincere bow of thanks that took her age and position into consideration. She nodded regally back and watched the young man slip away, cloaked by the darkness.

She rose to her own feet, amused herself that none of the others had even noticed the vyusher filidh – the wolf shaman – who had been in their midst. As she took one last look down the road after the departed man's direction, her nearly uncontrollable desire to be at this kumpania at this particular time became clear. She sent a benediction along his way, for she recognized that his path would not be an easy one. "Good luck to you, tern'o vyusher. We shall all do that which we are meant to do."

She slung her bag over she shoulder, and ignoring the kumpania's enticements of broth and sweetmeats, she made her own way into the night.

End.

Translations – (all translations have come down to me second hand – word of mouth – so if I have inadvertently used a word wrong, I give my most humble apologies.)

Darane swatura = stories told for fun.

Draba = magic

Kumpania / kumpaniyi = A company of Rom that travel together.

Gaje = a non-Gypsy

Romipen = Gypsyness – the state of being a Gypsy. (Can be lost through pollution.)

Prala = brother

Pena = sister

Dukkerin = the Sight

Vyusher = wolf

Filidh = shaman

Tern'o = young

Copyright 10-5-00 – Maven Alysse

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