The Gypsies of Arland are the storytellers and mobile mystics that tie the world together with their caravans.
Part circus, part band of thieves, a Gypsy caravan is sometimes a welcomed sight for a small town and sometimes it's the worst thing to ever happen to them.
With a mix of Barrel Wagons and carts, they move from region to region to buy and sell their wares, learn of the world and sing their songs.
When discussing the concept of the gypsy we need to address the question of their constant mobility. Why do gypsies refuse to settle? Why do they continually pick up and move from place to place when they could easily find some frontier lands and settle?
The issue goes back to the connection between the Gypsy families and the Witch Clans. During the first Witch War, the witches were hunted by the wizards for dominance of the world of the arcane (there were many other reasons, but that's one of the simplest ways of describing the conflict).
Witch Clans were commonly found within a given region in the lands of Arland. They were like many other families, settling in a few valleys as the local healer and expert on supernatural or arcane matters. In this time, wizards were few and mostly found within the cities. Witches settled exclusively within the more rural areas. As the Witch War started, wizards and their soldiers left the cities and would hunt down the witches for their 'perversion' of arcane power. As their connection to the Arcane Source was different from the Wizards it gave them abilities not easily understood by their urban cousins. When the Wizards and their guards came to a settlement looking for Witches, commoners soon discovered that if they wished to keep their lives, their homes and their families - they had to betray the witches who had protected them for generations.
One by one, the Witches were picked out of the hills and burned to prevent their perversion of arcane magic. Those who were not burned managed to escape onto the spice roads that were well-traveled by the Gypsy families. As the Gypsies knew roads and routes that even the Wizards were unfamiliar with, the Witches who were able to become adopted by them were safe. Originally traders of spices and other commodities from region to region, the Gypsies earned their curse when the leaders of the Seven Families gathered together and decided to hand over the witches within their caravans to the wizards in exchange for a land of their home.
Five of the Seven families agreed to hand over their witches for the bounty. Those who had been with them were put in chains and reduced to nothing but ash and screams. The remaining two families who refused to attend the conclave witnessed the betrayal of their cousins and took their adopted daughters (for at the time, only women were blessed with the powers of a witch) into the most remote of lands. Before they left, however, the remaining witches affixed a curse on every gypsy within the valley they were camping in and every descendant of their lines. None of them could remain in the same place for longer than three nights. As they betrayed the witches for land, they would sacrifice their land for eternity.
Four of the families discovered the curse and fled in fear of the witch's wrath. One family remained in the valley and refused to leave. They did not believe that the remaining witches had enough power to curse them all. By the fourth morning, the other families had moved on and were safe. That night, the fifth family suffered the 'Curse of the Land'. The grass would be as razors to them, cutting through their boots and their horse's hooves. No wood would burn for them and as the night continued, each of the cursed family became rooted to the spot; their own toes sinking into the ground like a willow.
Once the dawn came, the valley was filled with trees twisted with pain and fear; trees of no seed. The fifth family was condemned to be rooted to the spot as trees.
The remaining four families searched the world for a counter-curse or some magic to lift the curse of the witches but none could be found. This partially explains why the Gypsies are so well-versed in supernatural lore; for at least three generations they searched under every rock for a cure. When nothing of the earth could be found to break the curse, they turned to a cure from the gods. None of the gods would hear their prayers; none except one. Lesha, the Wither, promised the Gypsies that they could stop traveling from Snow-Fall to Snow-Burn. For so long as the lands were caught in the frozen grip of death, she would protect them from the Witches' curse. It is for this reason, the Gypsy caravans will return to remote areas in the world to winter. Each winter, the Gypsy families must renew their bargain with Lesha to receive her protection.
The remaining two families, those who were not cursed, had no need to seek such protection or to continue to move about. Rumor has it that these families settled the city of Bell Common and earned the protection of the Shi' Alure, the queen of Masks.