Prologue: The Bells of Eglise Soleil
The sun shone brightly in the sky, its brilliant white light contrasting with the blue of the sky. Down below, beneath the puffy white clouds, sat an island. Upon that island was a city. At its center was a majestic castle made of white stone with large towers reaching towards the sky. The other noticeable building sat not far away. It was a huge building, also made of white stone, with two equal sized towers along with a multitude of beautiful architectural designs. A multitude of statues were carved into its sides and its windows were fitted with beautiful stained glass. The deep ringing of bells could be heard echoing from its towers. Just passed that sound though could be heard another, that of a man singing.
"Morning in Corna, the city awakes to the bells of Eglise Soleil," he sang as he descended the steps leading up to the building's massive wooden door. He was a handsome man in his early thirties, with black hair and goatee, brown eyes and a dark complexion. He wore a jester's costume, with a patch work design of multiple colors, complete with a large hat and a mask as well as a single gold earring hanging from his ear.
"The fisherman fishes, the bakerman bakes to the bells of Eglise Soleil," he continued, indicating the people as they made their way through the large courtyard in front of the building.
"To the big bells as loud as the thunder," he sang as the bells echoed above, "to the little bells soft as a sigh. And some say the soul of the city's the toll of the bells, the bells of Eglise Soleil."
He quickly ducked into a large, colorfully decorated wagon. Opening a large window on the side, he looked out as a group of children gathered before him.
"Listen," he said, holding his hand up to his ear, referring to the still ringing bells, "They're beautiful, no? So many colors of sound, so many changing moods. Of course, you know, they do not ring all by themselves."
"They don't?" he asked in a cartoonish voice as he pulled out a hand puppet made to look like a caricature of himself.
"No, you silly boy," he said to the puppet, before he looked up at the towers, "Up there, high, high in the dark bell tower lives the mysterious bell ringer. Who is this creature?"
"Who?" echoed the puppet.
"What is he?" the man continued.
"What?" the puppet parroted.
"How did he come to be there?" the man questioned.
"How?" the puppet repeated.
"Hush!" the man said as he quickly hit the puppet on the head with a small stick, causing it to groan in pain while earning a laugh from the children, "Clopin will tell you. It is not a simple tale, and does not just involve the bell ringer. No, it involves a thief and a dancer. A knight and his steed. A princess and a witch. But most of all, it involves a man and a monster."
"High up above is where our story begins, upon the rays of the golden sun. Long, long ago, to the land far below, fell a drop of the radiant sun. From the light of drop, a flower did crop, the shone as bright as the sun."
A tiny speck of light fell through the clouds, before splashing against the ground on a rock outcropping near the sea. From the spot, a bright golden flower grew, shinning within the dark of the night.
"The flower did possess a great blessing. It could heal both the sick and the harmed. Not to the poor nor the rich, but in the hands of a witch did fall the flower, the flower of the sun."
An old women, wearing a black robe over a red dress stumbled upon the flower, an eerie green lantern illuminating her path through the dark. A look of amazement filled her eyes as she reached for the glowing flower.
"Time kept on flowing as a kingdom began growing, beneath the rays of the sun. The queen was with child, but a sickness quite wild, threatened the life before it begun. The king feared for his wife and his child, he knew something had to be done. So he sent every man, every float, every knight, every boat, to find the flower, the flower of the sun."
A large fleet of boats sailed from the kingdom, taking a multitude of people to search for the magic flower and save the queen's life. Soldiers dressed in red and gold led the people, hoping for a miracle.
"Now the witch kept on living, her life kept refilling, by the light of the holy sun. Greedy and vain, the old woman took pain, to hide this great gift from the sun. But one night she failed in her task, and by two knights the flower was found. In hopes it would fix her, they made a healing elixir, from the flower, the flower of the sun."
The shining golden liquid was fed to the queen by the king as she lay in bed, her brow slick with sweat and her belly heavy with child.
"A princess was born, and her head was adorn, with hair like the rays of the sun. Then up sky, a lantern did fly, as a thanks to the gift of the sun. But the witch would not be forsaken, and into the castle she sneaked. To steal from her crib, the baby that hid, the power, the power of the sun."
The witch snuck through the king and queen's bed chamber, moving silently up to the princess's crib. Reciting her magic incantation, the child's hair began to glow. Smiling with delight, she took out a pair of scissors, the witch lopped off a piece of the girl's hair. But to her horror, it turned brown in her hand and it lost its power. She slowly to took the baby before turning back to the balcony from which she entered. Just as she reached it though, the baby let out a cry, waking her parents. The king and queen watched helplessly as the witch glared at them before disappearing over the balcony.
"The search was begun as the alarm bells were rung, from the towers of Eglise Soleil. Four frightened travelers slid slightly towards the docks near Eglise Soleil."
A ferryman waited nervously for the travelers as they approached. Their group consisted of two men and a woman, their way of dress clearly marking them as foreigners to the alerted kingdom. The woman carried a swaddled child in her arms, which cried loudly.
"Shut it up, will you!" one of the men whispered harshly.
"We'll be spotted!" the second added, "They're coming down on foreigners. Damn whoever stole that child!"
"Hush little one," the mother cooed nervously as they reached the docks.
"Four gilders for safe passage out of Corna!" the ferryman demanded as he held out his hand. Suddenly, an arrow shot out of the darkness, piercing his oar as a group of archers stepped into view. At the same time, a group of spearmen surrounded the travelers, pointing their weapons at them.
"But a trap had been laid for the travelers! And they gazed up in fear and alarm, at a figure whose clutches were iron as much as the bells, the bells of Eglise Soleil."
Another figure moved out of the shadows towards the travelers. The figure was a man somewhere in his thirties. He was skinny with a large number of wrinkles covering his skin. He had dark, sunken eyes, and a prominent nose. He wore a long black and purple cloak along and a large, black and purple hat with a long red sash coming from it. He wore a few extravagant rings on his wrinkled fingers, which clutched the reins of the black horse he sat on.
"Judge Claude Frollo," one of the men whispered in fear.
"Judge Claude Frollo longed to purge the world of vice and sin. And he saw corruption everywhere except within."
"Bring these filthy foreigners to the Palace of Justice," Frollo ordered. The men were quickly shackled and lead away. One of the soldiers noticed the woman trying to hide her swaddled baby.
"You there!" he shouted, "What are you hiding!"
"The princess!" Frollo exclaimed, hearing the cries "Take the baby from her!"
The woman however managed to slip past the guard, taking off down the street away from the soldiers. Frollo growled as he turned his horse and gave chased. The woman quickly ran through the alleyways of the city, taking sharp turns and leaping over barriers to avoid Frollo and his horse. She came to the courtyard of Eglise Soleil and raced up its steps before she began to pound on its doors.
"Sanctuary!" she cried, "Please give us sanctuary!"
Seeing Frollo riding across the courtyard towards her, she turned and ran from the doors. Frollo caught up with her, grabbing the baby's swaddling clothes. As the mother tried to pull him away, Frollo kicked her hard in the face, sending her falling to the ground and splitting her head open on the cathedral's stone steps.
"Hello princess," he said with a grin as he looked at the baby in his arms, before it was replaced by a look of shock and revulsion, "A monster!"
Looking around in a panic, he saw a well in the courtyard. An idea formed in his head as he led his horse over to it. Slowly, he lifted the baby above the well, preparing to drop it in.
"'Stop!' cried the archpriest."
Turning, Frollo saw a short old man rushing out of the cathedral. He was dressed in simple brown robes with gold lining while a golden amulet shaped like the sun hanging from his neck. He had short brown hair sticking out from under the hood of his robe while his brown eyes glared at Frollo.
"This is an unholy demon!" Frollo exclaimed, "I'm sending it back to the underworld where it belongs!"
"See there the innocent blood you have spilt on the steps of Eglise Soleil," he bemoaned as he took the woman into his arms.
"I am guiltless," Frollo replied, "She ran, I pursued."
"Now you would add this child's blood to your guilt on the steps of Eglise Soleil," the priest accused, glaring at Frollo.
"My conscious is clear!" Frollo insited.
"You can lie to yourself and your minions! You can claim that you haven't a qualm! But you can never run from, nor hide what you've done from the eyes, the very eyes of Eglise Soleil!" the priest shouted as he pointed at the cathedral.
Looking up, Frollo observed the many statues carved into the walls. He couldn't help but feel they were looking at him. Judging him. Accusing him.
"And for one time in his life of power and control. Frollo felt a twinge of fear for his immortal soul."
"What must I do?" Frollo asked.
"Care for a child," the priest replied simply, lifting the mother's body into his arms as he stood up, "Raise it as your own."
"What! I'm to be saddled with this misshaped…" Frollo paused as he looked at the child in his arms, "Very well, but let him live with you in your church."
"Live here?" the priest asked, "Where?"
"Anywhere, just so long as he's locked away where no one else can see," Frollo answered, his eyes raising to the cathedral's towers, "The bell towers perhaps? And who knows, even this foul creature may one day prove to be of use to me."
"And Frollo gave the child a cruel name," Clopin stated as he continued the story, playing it out with puppets of each of the characters "A name that means half formed. Quasimodo. Meanwhile, the kingdom searched for the lost princess, but the witch, named Mother Gothel, had hid her away in a tower deep within the forest. There, Gothel raised the child as her own, naming her Rapunzel. Gothel found she could not cut Rapunzel's hair, or she would lose the flower's power forever. So she was determined to keep the child hidden, but the walls of the tower could not hide everything. Each year, on her birthday, the king and queen released thousands of lanterns into the sky, in hopes that one day, their lost princess would return."
"Now here is a riddle, to guess if you can, sing the bells of Eglise Soleil. Who is the monster and who is the man? Sing the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, BELLS OF EGLISE SOLEEEEEEIL!"
A/N: So this was wickedly fun to write. I have to say, music isn't my usual forte, but I did my best to keep it all in tune with the Bells of Notre Dame, so I hope you can read the new lyrics to the tune in your head. I also obviously changed things around, mostly to fit a story where Christianity doesn't really play a part. For those wondering, Eglise Soleil means "Church Sun" in French (horrible grammar, I know). Fit better since Notre Dame is referring to a person in Christian history. This all kind of goes with the idea the kingdom worships the sun, which fits the Tangled's setting. Also, before anyone asks again, Flynn will be in this story. I just decided Clopin was the better narrator. I mean come on, have you heard him sing Bells of Notre Dame? Amazing. Well I hope you guys liked this prologue and it gets you excited for what's to come. Please Review! Later True Believers!