They moved through a world of endless mist, and the mist moved around them in turn. It cradled them like a mother guarding an errant child—or a cyst forming defensively around an intruding splinter.
The vardos of Clan Hanza, late of Barovia, originally of gods-alone-knew-where, appeared single-file from the sea of white. Gypsies, they were called by some; Vistani by others, who pretended to know them. They trod the Mists via paths invisible to other mortals, heard the deep secrets of the world whispered on the winds, and Saw truths to which others re-mained blind.
Today they followed a road—if road it could be called—well known to them. Each of their great wagons swayed, the wheels running across divots and potholes unseen in the heavy fog. The bright paints that rendered each wagon dis-tinct from the next were muted, as though viewed through cataracts. The creaking of the wheels and the jingle of the harness bells were muffled, barely audible from one vardo to the next. Even the scent of the horses seemed to waft from afar, as if carried by some distant wind, rather than from the animals a mere few feet away.
The horses shivered, and not just from the clinging cold and damp. They wore blinders so they might not realize that they moved through the proverbial kingdom of the blind. Be-fore each team of two walked a young Vistani girl, one hand on her horses' halters to guide them. Blouses and skirts of white blended perfectly with the surrounding haze. The girls went barefoot, that they might feel the path beneath them, and many walked with eyes firmly shut. It made no real differ-ence in the Mists, and besides, these were Vistani. The Hanza always traveled thus, and they needed no eyes to See.