The town of Stenton was a fairly small one, nestled between two valleys and in the shadow of the Sundoran mountain range. The surrounding gently rolling hills were blanketed in a patchwork of downy green, golden wheat, and fluffy white cotton. Further beyond the hills, and the valley walls, thick deciduous forests rose and continued on until the blue-green mountains began to rise far above the horizon. It was a picturesque area, a quiet town with hard-working farmers, and a sunny day. Gerard couldn't ask for more. The town market was a small one, with a dozen or so booths arranged in a circle on the edge of town. One woman sold bread and sheeps cheese, another man sold wool in various processed forms, and another woman sold chickens, to name a few of the wares offered. Gerard had settled his cart outside the circle of booths, close enough to be noticed but not close enough to intrude. He was well aware that people were not always friendly to new folk wandering through, and some were especially judgmental of gypsies. 'Thieving scoundrels!' was a favorite curse of old men as they passed his booth. Gerard didn't care; he was used to it. People were entitled to opinions, even negative ones. His booth was composed of a table with a red and blue shawl draped over it for decoration. A black silk bag of knuckle bones sat on the table, and a deck of finely drawn cards sat opposite it on the table. Several quartz rocks decorating the table as well; a rose quartz, glimmering in soft pink, a smoky quartz (Gerard's favorite), with it's grey and white gradations, and a clear white quartz chunk the size of his fist. He was fond of collecting the mineral whenever he came across it, and had several lesser specimens in a box inside his cart. Behind his little booth was the small covered cart that served as Gerard's home. Inside it was a space big enough to sleep on, and room to store his few worldly possessions. It was light enough for the plump gray donkey, Marie, to pull along a road, as long as Gerard wasn't actually inside the cart when she was tugging. The donkey was standing next to the cart with her head hanging low and her eyes half closed with sleep. Now and then she snorted or flickered her tufted tail. "I know, it's a slow day. Think of it as relaxing," Gerard told her, turning in his chair to pat the donkey's velvet nose. She snorted into his hand, and he chuckled, wiping his hand off on his brown wool pants. He turned forward to look past his booth at the dozen or so people conducting their business and errands in the market. Gerard had a welcoming face. His brown hair was shoulder length, and in classic fashion, he had a few braids in it ending in beads. You didn't look like a mystic gypsy without braids and beads! His face was clean shaven and he had sleepy gray eyes. His eyes were the kind of gray you saw on a quiet, early foggy morning. His mouth was full and usually set in a faint, dreamy smile. His nose was straight and his dark brows gently arched over his eyes. He wore a cerulean blue tunic embroidered in red that day, and brown wool pants. He enjoyed the fact that his tunic matched the shawl on his table. He rolled his shoulders and stretched, yawning faintly. It was nearly noon and he had been sitting there all morning without a single customer. He didn't mind too terribly much. Telling fortunes and reading palms didn't exactly make him a whole lot of money. In fact, he made enough to buy some grain and the occasional chicken, but that was all he really needed. Though, sometimes he wished for company that talked with him. Marie just snorted at him when he spoke to her. "Fortunes! Get your fortunes! Down on your luck miss? I can tell you how to turn that around," he offered with a charming grin as an older woman passed his booth. He had a white grin and straight teeth. The woman frowned at him and waved a hand. He shrugged and relaxed in his chair. "What about you sir? You've got strong hands, let me read them and let you know what they have in store," he added to another fellow who had just finished buying eggs. The man glared at him and then barked a laugh as he strode away. Gerard lifted his white quartz and looked into it, turning it over in his hands. His eyes went distant, the fog clouding over his mind, and he sat there a while letting his brain wander. He heard a hacking cough and his eyes sharpened, the fog receding. His gray eyes became sharp as steel. He looked up to see a man and woman bartering for wool string. The man was middle-aged, with a fit body, but salt and pepper hair. Gerard frowned, eyes un-focusing for a moment and looking past the man, before he cleared his throat and set the quartz back on the table. "You sir! With the tan tunic!" he called, in a perfect, salesman-like tone. The man turned with raised brows to look at him. "You look like you want a card reading. Come on over!" Gerard waved a hand to his booth and offered another white smile. "Not today, ain't got the coin to waste on you," the man said, as cordially as one could with a comment like that. "Nonsense! Card reading on the house, it will brighten you and the Mrs.' day!" Gerard insisted. "No, thank you," the man replied, looking back to the wool. His wife muttered something to him and Gerard frowned for a moment before his face brightened with a fresh attempt. "Just five minutes of your time," Gerard insisted, in a nearly sing-song, taunting voice. "If it sounds absolutely absurd, I could even pay you for your time!" He laughed and the man huffed, turning heel and heading over to his booth. The man didn't look like he wanted a card reading. "Listen, I've had a long morning and ain't got time to bother with no gypsy magic," the man snapped, stopping on the other side of the booth and pointing at Gerard. Gerard's eyes watched the finger tip waver in front of his face, his eyes focused on the point, like a hawk on a rabbit. "So you just leave me and my-" the man cut off, wheezing in a breath and letting out another hacking cough onto his hand. Gerard stood quickly and reached out to touch the man's shoulder. "You alright? Take it easy, I did not mean to upset you," Gerard said, sounding distracted as he watched the man cough. He squeezed the man's shoulder comfortingly, and then shivered, goosebumps breaking out over his olive skin. The man abruptly stopped coughing and Gerard felt the hairs on his arms stand on end. He removed his hand and sat back into his chair heavily. "Just take it easy," he said breathily, and the man had a confused expression on his face as he looked around. "Yeah..yeah, sorry," the man muttered, rubbing his chest and then heading back to his wife, who had her hands on her hips and was clearly not impressed. Gerard drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly, smiling dreamily as he reached back to pat Marie. This time, she nuzzled his hand. Nope. Gerard couldn't ask for much more for a job.