The Legend (The Legacies Series Book 1)

By: Sheritta Bitikofer


Because the Romani are a somewhat secretive and obscure people group, some things in the story may not be accurate to their current culture. However, what elements are mentioned have been verified through multiple sources (interviews, historical accounts, and reference websites) about the Romani people. Opinions of the characters in this book do not reflect my own opinions of the Romani, nor are they necssarily the accepted views of the people in contemporary times.

However, there have been multiple laws enacted in British history that persecuted the Romani. This book takes place during one period when Queen Mary put the Egyptian Laws into place. They stated that any gypsy (Romani) individual found on English soil would be executed and anyone associated with them would suffer the same fate. Put into law in January of 1555, it had a profound affect on the Romani population in England at the time. Our characters find themselves in such times.

Terms to Know

Loup-garou – The French translation of “Wolf Man”.

Gypsy – A derogatory term for the Romani people, derived from their supposed origins in Egypt. The Romani are divided by sub-tribes and are call themselves by different nationalities. For example, the English Romani call themselves Romanichal. French Romani are called Manush in France. In Germany, they call themselves the Sinti. In most of Eastern Europe, they consider themselves Roma. In Spain, Finland, Iberia and Wales, they are known as the Kale. The people in Ireland that are similar in culture to the Romani, but not considered part of the Romani nation are called The Travelers. Romani are a nomadic people and originate from India.

Vitsa – A clan of Romani, composed of a few families traveling together.

Kris – A Romani court that assembles the elders of a vitsa or family to pass judgement on a Romani who breaks their code of ethics or purity.

Marime – To the Romani, this is a two-fold term. One is an act or taboo that would make one impure or unclean. The second is the state of social banishment that is imposed on a Romani that has committed a crime in their group.

Gadje – Any non-Romani. Males are called “Gajo” or “Gadjo” and females “Gaje” or “Gadji”. The dialect and spelling changes between different sub-tribes of the Romani.

Galbi – a gold coin used for decoration in Romani women’s clothing to show off their wealth.

Tuppence – Two pennies.

Crown – Worth five shillings, which is sixty pennies. This was the most common coin in circulation and was issued in either silver or gold.

Mysgather – A tax collector

Constable – An appointed official who executes law and order within a town. His responsibilities include upholding the law of the country, arresting criminals, and imprisoning them.

Warder – Prison guard.

Bawdyhouse – A whore house

Wood Reeve – A man paid to patrol the forests for beggars and criminals.

Watchers – A team of men posted outside the city walls to watch for danger so as to alert the constable of the city.

Chapter 1

The forest north of Wye was anything but quiet that night. He hadn’t known a moment of pure silence since his childhood years. From where he squatted under a sheltering oak, he could hear them all carry on around him as if nothing were wrong; as if an abomination like him never existed in their world.

The laughter of the townspeople in Wye was a haunting reminder of everything he could never have. It was the first day of August, marking the beginning of the harvest. He could imagine them all feasting on the fruit of their labors and celebrating in the Gule of August. If he breathed in deeply enough, he could smell the freshly baked loaves of bread from the dinner tables of the families in Wye and the surrounding farmlands. There was a time when he would have partaken in such festivities, but that time had long past; and now his tongue may never know the rich enjoyment that a slice of bread and butter could bring to a tired and miserable creature.

Some distance away, separate from the celebration, he could hear a lone traveler snoring in his bed sack. He could hear the soft popping of the embers from a dying campfire and the savory smells of a beefy stew. His stomach rumbled, reminding him that he still had not eaten that evening. As wonderfully as the traveler’s stew smelled, it was what he needed.

An owl called into the darkness, asking the unanswered question of his life. Who… Who… Who are you?

He could not answer. For years, he had wandered in the proverbial darkness, lost in his own confusion of what life could afford for a lonely and cursed man like himself. All he knew was that life had little meaning anymore. The child who sat at the table with his family had a future. The traveler had a plan, somewhere to go and maybe someone’s arms to run to, but the man who crouched under the swaying leaves of the oak tree had nothing.

The sound he had been waiting for finally graced his ears. It was the frantic rustling of an animal in the deep brush of the forest. He sniffed, breathing in its fear. He took off, weaving through the tall elms and oaks whose branches shaded him from the moonlight.

When he found the fawn caught in a hunter’s trap, he ducked into the bushes so as not to alert his presence too soon. It tugged and twisted, but the noose-like knot around its ankle would not loosen for anything, not even its desperate attempts at escape. The grass and leaves around it had been scattered in its hasty efforts to regain its freedom.