Chapter 1: To The Court of Miracles
Stealing, cheating, and lying. The life of gypsies suited Andrzej and Drina. They had left the Court of Miracles to seek their fortunes in the streets of France, promised sanctuary whenever they returned by the King of Truands, Molish. But times had been harsh. Judge Frollo's rule over the people had never affected them this hard before.
Drina absentmindedly fingered the homemade necklace, the map to the Court of Miracles. Her other hand rested calmly on her largely pregnant belly. She had been arguing with her husband for days about returning to the Court but he remained as stubborn as ever.
Andrzej was determined to survive on his own, relaying on his own cunning to keep them out of the clutches of the soldiers. But as his wife came nearer to her due date he couldn't help but worry how they would feed the extra mouth. He was Andrzej Faltoli and he would never admit defeat until he was hanging limp from the gallows.
"Papa!" Andrzej's head turned automatically as his daughter called his name. She bound up to him, her hair swinging behind her, and a proud smile on her face. "Look what I got!" She held out her hands, palms up, and showed him two small coins.
"Ma chérie!" Andrzej scooped up his daughter, his little Nadya, in his arms and spun her around once, loving the sound of her sweet giggles. "You did very well mon amour!" She giggled once more and buried her face in his shoulder as he held her close. "Where is your brother, ma chérie? Surely he wouldn't be far behind?"
She pointed a tiny finger in the direction she had come and a second later her identical brother, Emilian, appeared. He was racing up the alleyway, but his expression couldn't have been more different from his smiling sister's.
"Papa!" His voice was quivering and he grabbed onto his fathers shirt. "They're coming!"
At once the atmosphere changed. Andrzej place his daughter on the ground and grabbed both of their hands.
"Hurry!" He pulled them along, glancing behind him every few feet. He could hear the sounds of the soldiers marching along after them. Notre Dame grew as they approached it and Andrzej pulled open the heavy wooden doors, hurrying his children in first. "Sanctuary." He whispered softy, gently taking his children's hands once more. He pulled them along the stone halls until his anxiety had died down. Nadya and Emilian pulled him toward there favourite pew in the great church.
Andrzej watched them sadly as they settled down next to each other, Emilian holding Nadya's hand and excitedly whispering in her ear. His heart twinged painfully as he realized all the time his children had spent in the sanctuary since their birth eight years ago. When Drina had died birthing twins, Andrzej had panicked, unsure how to support his two new, motherless children. But the church had given them a home and a sanctuary.
He watched Nadya giggle sweetly, and Emilian's entrancing smile. Nadya was small for her age, Emilian was the larger of the two, and he would grow into a good sized man. Both twins shared Drina's dark, good looks, even at such an early age. Andrzej knew that he would die to protect his children and realized that he couldn't keep them running forever. He pulled out a small woven necklace from around his neck and held it in his hand for a moment, tracing the familiar pattern with his eyes.
Both his children looked up as he approached Nadya's dark eyes wide. He smiled at her and handed Emilian the tiny map.
"If anything should happen to me, I want both of you to follow this map to the Court of Miracles. Remember, when you hold this woven band, you hold the city in your hand."
"Yes, papa," They both replied at once, still staring at their new toy.
"Wear it around your neck, Mon amours and be safe." Emilian looked into his fathers eyes quickly, wisdom beyond his years briefly flashed through his eyes and he nodded. He took the necklace and placed it kindly around his sister's neck. She smiled at her brother and lovingly took his hand, rejoicing in the comfort of a loving father and brother.
Nadya glanced quickly around the corner, her back pushed up against a stone wall, as the soldiers marched past. She caught a glance of her father being dragged along by heavy iron chains. A single tear spilt from her eye as he passed, his head held high and proud, even as he marched to his death.
Suddenly, she felt someone take a tight hold on her arm. Without thinking she slid her small dagger out of the folds of her dress and had it at the throat of her attacker.
"Nadya!" Surprised, Nadya removed the dagger from her brother's throat and hid it once again.
"Don't scare me like that!" She said her voice low. She took her brothers hand and in an urgent voice said, "How did they get papa?"
Emilian was panicking just as much as she was, but he'd always been able to hide his emotions better. At the mention of their father, he stuck his head quickly around the corner but all the soldiers had gone and the street was eerily silent.
"I don't know! One moment he is right beside me, the next there are soldiers everywhere. I've been looking everywhere for you! We have to save him!" Though he whispered all this to her his voice was quick with adrenaline and excitement.
They had been on this earth for eleven years. Though they were both more cunning and witty then normal children. This came from a life of living on the streets and stealing or cheating to make your way through a single day.
Even though Nadya could see no possible way out for her beloved father she knew they would have to try. Silently, the gypsy children crept around the corner and followed the trail the soldiers had left behind. Hoping against hope that it would not take them to the one place they knew it must. Their hopes were in vain. As they approached the swelling crowds around the gallows they crept into the shadows so that their gypsy styled clothing would not be noticed.
Emotion overwhelmed Nadya as she saw her father step firmly up the steps to the long hanging noose. She admired his bravery as he stood before it. A tall, white, dark-haired soldier attached the rope around his neck. He said something they couldn't hear and then laughed loudly. She saw her fathers face take on a hardened look, but before she could think too much into it the soldier had pulled a lever and the floor under her father gave way.
Unable to watch, Nadya buried her face in Emilians chest. He wrapped his arms around her but remained staring as their fathers limp body hung from the scaffold. His young face, still boyishly round, was hardened and cold, exactly like their fathers had been, his eyes burned with hatred.
"Come on Emilian, we have to move." Nadya pulled her brother away into the safety of the dark alleys; away from the slowly dispensing crowd. As she walked she pulled out, with trembling fingers, the woven band her father had given them. Unable to go any farther, she sank down onto the rough stone ground and Emilian sat next to her.
Silently she handed him the map. His breathing was shallow but when he took it from her his hand was steady. He stared at it for a long time; neither of them talking. Everything that had just happened was flashing before Nadyas mind and she knew it was clouding her brother's mind as well.
As the sky darkened Emilian stood and pulled his sister up with him. His face was set and determined and he held the map tightly in one hand. His other hand he held out to his sister. Without hesitating she took it and together they hurried off into the darkness, towards the Court of Miracles.
A/N:This is just the first chapter so stick with me. I promise Clopin will enter soon. I just wanted to get a little background on the twins in. Please review! Let me know what you think!