Olga could sense her daughter’s fear and squeezed the little girl’s hand. “Don’t worry, they won’t take you away. We’re here to see someone. When were finished we will go home, you and I, I promise. The child looked up at her mother and nodded her head. There was little else she could do. As always, she put her trust in her mother and began to observe her surroundings more carefully.
There were eight wagons in the camp. They were painted in various colors of red, blue, yellow and green, some bright, others faded with the passing seasons. Natasha could see women washing clothes in a small stream. Children were playing and laughing, oblivious to their surroundings. To them this place wasn’t much different than the last place they camped, nor were the people. Russia, Poland, Austria, it made no difference to them. Trees were trees and land was land, regardless of who it was ruled by. It was all the same as far as they were concerned. Around the necks of the young girls and women, they wore highly polished crosses of gold and copper not mention the occasional silver, all with detailed and intricate work that showed extreme craftsmanship. When Natasha and her mother entered the camp all talking ceased and all eyes turned upon them. It was an uncomfortable situation, to be in such a strange place so far from home and Natasha wanted very much to go home.
A heavy set man with thinning hair and a dark drooping moustache walked up to them. He scratched himself. His white shirt showed stains from labor done thus far. He looked at Olga and her daughter with suspicion and spat unto the ground. He stopped before them and sniffed, looking them up and down as well as around. When he spoke, his voice was harsh and demanding.
“What do you want?” asked the man in a surly manner.
“I wish to speak to Madame Vadoma,” said Olga confidently.
The man shook his head, “There is no such person here by that name, you must leave,” he said attempting to guide them away.
“But she is here, I know she is here,” Olga insisted, “I wish to see her.”
“There is no Madame Vadoma here. Now, I must insist you leave, you must leave” said the man. Others began to move closer to Natasha and her mother. Natasha was frightened before, now she was very frightened.
“Where is Mala?” asked Olga calmly. The advancing group stopped and looked at each other. This was unusual, how or why would this woman with a painfully thin child, know Mala?
A pretty girl with dark hair and olive skin stepped from behind a tree. She wore a clean white blouse and long red skirt. Olga judged her to be in her mid twenties, the right age.
“I am Mala,” “said the girl.
Olga looked at her. “You are the daughter of Lyuba, who is the daughter of Donka and her mother is Vadoma.”
The girl called Mala thought for a moment and then nodded her head. “If you know such things, then I believe you must indeed have business with Madame Vadoma. Come, I will take you to her.”
The heavyset man stepped forward, arm outstretched hand out, palm up. “No Mala, this cannot be permitted, I will not allow it!”
Mala turned her head sharply. “I do not take orders from you Durriken. Vadoma will not be pleased if this woman is to see her and you do not allow it.”
The one called Durriken thought for a moment. “What is your name?” he asked in a short manner. “Olga Novitch and this is my daughter Natahsa.” The young girl bowed at the mention of her name.
“Very well, Mala will take you to see Madame Vadoma and if she does not wish to see you, then you must leave immediately,” said Durriken, as if to back up the words three men stepped forward.