Pheobus was suddenly knocked off his horse, nearly getting struck by Dracon. As his enemy turned his steed to get back at the Captain, Pheobus rolled over and recovered his sword. He was dislodged again when Dracon sliced down at him. He ducked. In order for Dracon to face him, Pheobus sliced at the black horse’s leg, having it rear back. Dracon was thrown right off his mount. Once he hit the ground he broke into a vicious charge at the bewildered soldier.
During a split moment, Pheobus made a stab at Dracon, slicing his left leg. Giving a roar of agony, Dracon spun around to catch Pheobus by surprise. When the exhausted Captain of the guard thought he had Dracon cornered, he found a blade dug through his right side. Dracon drew an awful grin as he pulled his sword out. Pheobus fell to the grass in genuine pain. The French men were devastatingly outnumbered by the pirates and many, like their Captain, had fallen. As the Spanish brigands ran them out and took every spare weapons they could find, Dracon stepped above Pheobus, whose sight was beginning to blacken.
"Pity. Such a pity that Paris was lost because of a insufferable cur of a captain fell so easily." Dracon taunted, raising his blade for a certain execution.
Despite his hurts, Pheobus gave a sharp kick to knock off his captor’s focus and slid beneath him just as Dracon slammed his weapon down. All he struck was dirt.
"A cur, huh?" the bold Captain scoffed. "Sure."
Dracon roared at his men and those about took out their arrows and aimed at the last man standing. Pheobus cursed silently and dropped his sword in surrender.
"Give up now and we might let you live.” hissed the long, ratted haired rogue from behind.
"HOLD! HOLD! HOLD VAST!" cried the guards in a frenzy as dozens of them tried with all of their might to keep the great wood gates from giving way from the pounding force behind them.
Unfortunately, the brutes rammed through with their beams, stolen from the burnt farms. The gate finally gave away. Paris had fallen.
Notre Dame seemed peaceful amidst all the pain and misery that had just passed the walls. From way at the top of his tower, the Bell ringer could hear the enraged battle cries of the fearless soldiers trying to defend Paris. He hastily went and looked over the town only to find it in flames at the gates.
Gasping in horror, Quasimodo dashed back into the loft.
His charge was unsure of what was happening, but she hid back under that table. She could hear the danger as well. When those cries got louder, she gasped and ducked further underneath. Quasimodo went to her, but she refused to emerge. When he knelt right in front of her, she gazed up at him. His eyes were just full of anxiety and reached a gentle hand to her to hold her hand. Quasi took notice as soon as she began to rub at her dressed cut, painfully.
"Is…is it hurting you?" his voice lulled her out of her worrying thoughts. "L-Let me see it." he calmed as he gently coaxed her out from her hiding.
When ever he was next to her, she knew danger would never come near. Her mysterious rescuer seemed like the nurturing father she never had, by the way he managed to wrap her cut with a clean spare without causing a twinge of discomfort. As soon as he finished, the stinging ceased. She couldn’t help but allow her tears of pain to pour. She was searching high for someone this loving and kind.
Quasimodo grew scared for her and gently wiped her cheek. “Please…” he had begun to beg. “Don’t - don’t…don’t weep, please…”
She fought hard to stop, but he sweetly hugged her and rubbed her back. Soon, she found that her throat was dry and her stomach was empty and uncomfortable.
"It’s - it’s all right." he told her, seeing that she was hungry. He took her hand and guided her back to the lounge and tucked her in. "Stay right here… I will - I will bring you something warm." he said, softly. "Do…stay here."
She nodded, yet she truly didn’t want him to leave her even for a second. Quasimodo was very uncomfortable with her shivering like this. But he draped the blanket over her before stepping away for a moment. She sat right back up and startled a bit when the wood floor creaked. Woozy, she laid herself down again and her eyes drifted closed for just a second. It seemed instant when she opened them again to find him returning.
Quasimodo knelt down beside her again, this time he had a wooden bowl of broth in his right hand. Quite famished, she sat up. He smiled warmly at her as he patiently took the ancient spoon, mixing the broth. She recalled having a hard time speaking to him. It was soon after he replaced her bandage after her cut had begun to hurt. She wanted to know his name…to thank him properly. No one was ever so kind to her. But he seemed to understand her want to speak. Taking notice, he lowered the bowl for a moment. She swallowed hard, getting embarrassed. His face became concerned for a moment before turning warm again.
"I am…Quasimodo." he whispered to her, gesturing lightly to himself.
Her hazel eyes seemed to light up.
"Hmm…." she struggled at first, fighting against the impulse to hold back. "…Quasi…. Quasimodo…." she sighed, relieved that she finally said something for once.
He smiled deeply, loving that voice saying his name. After running away from Dracon finally, she never trusted many people, even those who had did their best to help her. But he though, he was different from the others. He came to her right when she needed him. But would he choose to remain with her? Would he run away in fear like the others?
Quasimodo took a spoonful of broth and lightly blew on it before helping her to drink it. Oh…it felt like a dream to eat something so warm and delicious. From her mouth, the broth deeply warmed up her throat and her stomach which had remained empty for so long. He fell quiet again, just like she and continued to feed her the broth gently and gradually. As soon as she was finished, he set the bowl down and took notice that she was starting to cry again.
"No…" she heard him whisper, stroking her cheek to wipe the tear away. Immediately, she went and hugged him again. "Don’t you cry…. Please…." he calmed as wrapped his arms about her, trying to figure out what had happened to her. Not a moment later, he heard her say something incoherent as she calmed down.
"What did you say?" he asked, looking into her eyes, worried.
"uh…" she croaked. "Aur – ror…rora…" her voice shook, wiping her eyes as she gazed up at the Hunchback.
His face softened. “Aurora?” he lightly asked and she nodded. He then smiled before falling into thought. His expression changed to worry again before gazing at her again. There was word of the missing heir and he had never heard of the story until late the year before. Aurora Marie was the stolen infant’s name. He wondered deeply for a moment. She gazed down again fearing that he was angry, but she felt him lift her head up to look at him. He seemed to be softly studying her for a moment. She needed a name other than Aurora… Something that was simple to remember and fitting as well.
"Rose…" he mumbled out at first before full deciding. "…Rose…" he smiled, caring at her.
Just then, there was another battle cry and it startled her, but Quasimodo kept her drooping gaze on him.
"As long as you’re with me, danger will never come to you." he told her, gently wiping the tears from her cheeks.
Rose really wished to tell him of the terrible dangers he had put himself in, but the words just wouldn’t escape. He could see that raging fear in her eyes and gazes out to the blood red sky, thinking of a way to escape if the brigands made it to the church. Time was short.
Most of the homes were destroyed and the folk had in their minds to flee away from invaders, but a group of determined gypsies had something else in mind, thanks to the ever clever Clopin. With a handy dagger in hand, he stayed hidden in the alley nearest to a couple of rogues, who have just looted gold from the shops surrounding.
"Senor Dracon has requested to search the cathedral!" hollered a third, leveling his cutlass at his colleagues throats. "Git in step, ye curs!"
"Halt it, we’ll git on it!" snarled the second bilge rat, whacking the blade away from him.
"Make quick b’fore the French git hasty!"
"Agh! Enough of yer bile! We’re on top o’ it!"
"If that girl be found dead, he shall have our heads on a silver platter! Get a move on, NOW!
Clopin heard it all, clear and easy. They have come for the heir. She was in Paris. A young child about five or six, yet, there were many young ladies of that age. Keeping himself hidden from the raiders, Clopin took out the dagger and peered out just a little in order to calculate his aim. Underneath the sill of a window hung a wood beam that was the main piece of the streets’ water gutter and, fortunately, it was coming loose after all the rain. A single line kept the thing hanging. If that line was cut, the beam might swing toward the heads of the rogues. After a moment of thought, Clopin threw that dagger at the line and cut the rope. To their horror, the thin wooden beam came swinging at them like a bat, striking them both senseless. Clopin, then, rushed out just in time to dash into the demolished bakery.
"Merde!" he panted before almost being jumped by another one of his friends. Esmeralda.
"Clopin! Oh, thank the Lord, it’s only you!" she gasped, just as surprised as he was.
"Esmeralda…damn it! I almost struck you! What are you doing here?”
"They’re going to raid the cathedral! We’ve got to warn Quasimodo!"
"I’ve already been enlightened on that fact. Though, I doubt that he doesn’t know what’s going on."
"Please, Clopin! Quasi’s done so much for our sake. Just let me get to the church doors…"
"All right, all right, all right…let’s see. I’ll head them off enough for you to get inside, eh? It’s not like we have time!" he muttered, sarcastically.
"I won’t be long. We’ll meet you at the Western border."
Unfortunately, a few brigands had already made it to the church court. The elderly Archdeacon weakly scrambled toward the east towers steps to warn the Bell ringer.
"Quasimodo!" he weakly rasped when the breathless hunchback nearly ambushed him simply out of fear. At first he hadn’t a clue who was running up his tower steps.
"Son, listen! They’re just beyond the church gates! We must leave! Hurry now!"
Quasimodo was in the midst of panic.
"Come with me!" he worriedly motioned the old man to get inside before shutting and locking the door. Lastly, he moved an ancient gargoyle in front of it.
"How, exactly, are we…?" stuttered the uncertain priest.
"I - I have no idea." Quasi nervously whispered as the Archdeacon followed him up to the lofts.
At the strong doors of Notre Dame, a barrel of cannon powder sat unmoved and seemed in fact harmless before an inflamed arrow struck the middle. In an instant, the barrel blew into oblivion, transforming the great door into splinters and fire.
On the opposite side of the church, Esmeralda ran as quickly as possible before hearing the terrible explosion.
Quasimodo and the Archdeacon felt and heard it and the bold Hunchback went to the lounge to retrieve something. To the elder’s surprise, Quasi had a frozen child in his arms when he returned.
"Quasimodo, dear boy." the Priest shook his head in disbelief. "How, on Earth…?"
"I… I rescued her… last night." Quasimodo explained, nervously. "But…but now I… I believe she is more than just an orphan…"
"What are you saying, son?"
"I don’t know!" Quasimodo frightfully dropped the subject. Time was getting short and fast. "Hurry!" he pressed.
Now that everything took a turn for the worst, it wasn’t exactly that difficult to leave all of his memories behind. But it hurt deeply to leave so suddenly. The eastern tower door began to get beaten, while Esmeralda made it into her friend’s tower. But there was no one.
"No… no…" she nearly wept out of fear and anger. "Quasimodo… my friend. Where are you?" she searched around the tower. "Quasimodo! You answer me right now!" she cried, determined to find him.
Fortunately, he did hear her. “Esmeralda?” Quasimodo gasped.
Rose clutched to him when they heard the east door get broken through. When Quasi gave her to the panicked Priest, she did not approve.
The pirates had broken in and Esmeralda somehow managed to scale all the way up the bell tower. Suddenly, three of them dashed up into the loft and spotted the addled gypsy woman.
"Ah, ha! Well! Look here, lads…fresh meat."
Esmeralda’s once frightened mask shifted into one of pure rage. “Oh, no…no you don’t!”
She grabbed whatever was closest to her and blocked the path of his cutlass with an iron rod. She then tried to kick the brute in the stomach. The other cornered her and put his sword to her throat.
"A feisty one. You’ll be the treat fer us later on…"
Esmeralda’s eyes lit up like fire before an enraged, usually gentle tone came to them.
All three men received a fatal welcome of being ambushed by a powerful force. The legendary bell ringer put himself in front of Esmeralda, keeping her as far away from those beasts as possible.
"Quasi-" she gasped
"Run!" was all Quasimodo said, keeping his sharpened eyes on the invaders. "Go, now!" he ordered firmly.
This was something she never wanted to do, which was to leave the closest friend she had to fight alone with three pirates.
"Not likely." she whispered behind his back as she took out a spare dagger out from her skirt.
Quasi didn’t want to hear that. To have her in danger was something he never wanted to experience again and yet, life was cruel.
"What do we have here now, well, well… One of God’s hideous mistakes?" snapped the proud leader of these two lustful men.
He stepped toward Quasimodo to intimidate him, but he fearlessly stood his ground. Keeping a strong arm before Esmeralda, the brute strength he possessed began to unfold.
"You have done a terrible deed…" Quasimodo began to say as he and the gypsy defensively backed away. " …b-breaking the sanctity of the church. You are not welcome here!" the angered bell ringer then snarled.
"We would," the rogue sighed, getting cutlass to fatally dispatch the Hunchback. "Yet we’re here to gain some profit. Put down your defenses and we might…let you live." he snickered while the other two prepared to be rid of the protective bell ringer.
"Perhaps, it’ll best this city if we rid them of the blemishes of society?" said the third man, chuckling dryly.
His mere strength wasn’t going to be enough.
Esmeralda had another idea. Much to Quasi’s surprise, she threw that dagger at the armed leader and ran. Thinking fast, Quasimodo hoisted up and threw one of the spare statues at the three and followed suit. Two of them had broken their ribs, but that didn’t stop them from taking chase. “I’ll end that bastard. Get up, you rats!”
That occupied them for a short while and Quasimodo and Esmeralda found themselves trapped by the height of the cathedral.
There was only one way. Down below the Archdeacon fled with Rose in hand, fleeing safely to one of the inns that happened to be intact for the present.
All there was to do was to climb down.
Without word or hint, Quasi picked Esmeralda up in one arm and jumped over the parapet. He quickly hid with her near one of the pillars to fool the adversary as he searched the viaduct.
Esmeralda held tight around her friend’s crooked back as he peered out for a second. He and the gypsy held their breaths when the brigand came just above them. Angry at the fact that he lost them, he took out his sword and mercilessly beheaded one of the gargoyles nearest to him. The crumbling stones rained on Quasimodo and Esmeralda. But they remained still and quiet as the brute went away. They began to breathe once again.
"Oh, Quasimodo…I…I nearly thought I was too late." she shook and clung close to him. He tried to calm his restless heart.
"I thought they hurt you." he kindly stroked her soft hand.
She held his hand back. After a spare moment of trying to recover from shock, Quasimodo very carefully began to great climb downward.