He watched her dance from the shadows of the day, leaning casually against the outside wall of a building. He watched her body moving in perfect grace to the music played by her fellow gypsy companions. Her hips swaying, her thick, raven hair flowing around her with every movement. She wore typical gypsy clothes; colourful and unusual. A long, purple skirt with a deeper purple, coin decorated sash tied around her waist. Her shoulders were bare, the puffy, white top she wore was belted by a patterned corset. Her curly hair was tied back from her face in a pink ribbon, trailing down to her right shoulder. She wore a gold hoop earring in one ear, her wrists and ankles adorned by simple, gold bracelets. Her skin was a sun-kissed dark brown, contrasting beautifully against the startling green of her eyes. She was overall beautiful, enchanting the people of the city. The occasional person would stop on their way past her to admire, some even dropping a coin or two into the hat on the street before her, showing their appreciation. Every time this happened she would thank them with a playful smile and wink.

Yes, she will be perfect He thought to himself as he watched her.

Suddenly, the small crowd gathered around to watch her were broken up; loud shouts could be heard as two guards of the city ushed them away. She turned to her companions, signalling them to run, she grabbed the hat of money and moved to follow them but the guards cornered her. Her deep green eyes glared at the both of them, he perfect lips slipping into a sneer of disgust, clutching her hat of coins to her chest.

"Hand over the money, Gypsy" one spat at her.

Facilier smirked, surprised as the girl punch the guard square in the face. She kicked the other where a man should never be kicked and tried to run away, but the other grabbed her. He spat out blood from his mouth. "That's it! Gypsy filth like you should be taken to the palace of justice!" he snarled at her.

She struggled against him, "Let go of me you bastard!" she hissed at him. He slapped her and gripped her arm tighter, while the other who was somewhat recovered took the money from her.

"Now, now gentlemen, what is all this commotion about?"

Esmeralda looked up from her struggle to see a tall, skinny man standing before them. He wore rich clothes; a suit of deep purple, underneath he wore a lighter purple top that cut off above his belly-button showing off his skinny form. He wore a necklace adorned with two fangs around his neck and a top-hat on his head that was decorated with a skull and cross bone and purple feather. His skin was dark, his eyes were black as night, a thin moustache lined his upper lip. He stood casually, as if completely oblivious to the struggle. He held a sceptre-like walking stick in one hand.

"Lord Facilier!" both guards saluted to the stranger, Esmeralda simply stared. Lord Facilier? She had never heard of him before but from the respect he had received from the two guards harassing her and his wealthy appearance she knew he was an important figure. That couldn't be good.

The stranger took off his top hat and nodded to the guards. His dark eyes fell to her, he leaned down on his stick so his face was level with hers and spoke low "and who might you be, my dear?" his voice was smooth and hypnotic. She gazed into his eyes, their depths entrancing her.

She was jolted into reality however by the rough grip of the guards on her arms tightening.

"This heathen Gypsy is to be taken to the Palace of Justice" one announced.

The Lord chuckled, "may I ask with what charges?" his eyes left hers as he straightened, his hands resting on the top of his cane, his hat balanced on top of his hands.

"Stealing!" snarled the other guard, shaking hat of coins pointedly.

"I see. And did either of you witness this crime?" Lord Facilier challenged. Esmeralda frowned at him confused...was he...defending her?

The guards stuttered helplessly, "well...uh...no...But-"

"-and has anyone else reported this crime?" the Lord continued.

"Well...no, but-"

"- and do you find her guilty of any other crimes?"

The guards thought for a moment, "assaulting royal guards" one proclaimed, pointing to his burst lip that was bleeding steadily.

"I saw the events and it was merely self-defence. This child has committed no crime to see her fit for imprisonment. Now kindly let her go, gentlemen." The Lord said, his words flowing gracefully, his tone dangerous, daring them to defy him.

Esmeralda sighed relieved as the rough hands on her released. The guards bowed at him then left grudgingly.

She bent down to pick up a few coins that had spilled from the hat but a dark hand snaked out and picked them up quickly. She looked up at the Lord; he smiled down at her, his dark eyes boring into hers. She felt a jolt in her stomach as she straightened; he was very tall. She looked up at him, clutching her hat tightly in her hands, holding it to her chest.

"Do you have a name, my dear?" he asked, holding out his hand, offering her the coins. She held out the hat, he tipped them into it.

"Esmeralda" she told him.

Facilier almost moaned at the sound of her voice. It was a nice change from the annoying shrill voices of the common woman. Her's was smooth, deep and velvety. And her name was perfect for her.

"Esmeralda meaning emerald? The colour of your eyes, yes it is a good fit for you. Unusual and beautiful like its bearer."

She smiled at him, "wow that was kind of impressive...how did you know my name's meaning?"

He chuckled, "i am a master of Voodoo; reading cards, casting spells, reading signs..."

"But...those are Gypsy practices. You're not a gypsy."

He leaned close to her, "how do you know I'm not?"

"But the guards...they...don't treat you like a gypsy."

"That is because I'm not one."

"But...but you just said you were"

"No, you said I was, I simply didn't deny it."

Her eyes narrowed at him, her temper rising slightly.

"Why don't you come to my shop? I could show you my work." He suggested.

Esmeralda looked at him, "...no thank you, i should get back to my people." She moved to leave, turning to him once more, "Thank you...for...saving me. I appreciate it." She turned and started to leave.

"Stop." The words held power, a deep, dark power that caused the gypsy to stop in her tracks.

"Turn around, my dear" she did so, her eyes wide as the rest of her body was completely out of her control. She looked at him. He stood with one hand outstretched towards her, his eyes seemed darker than ever.

"Now is that any way to treat a Lord?" he asked, his voice soft but dangerous.

All she could do was stare at him in shock, there was no one around to see this, she was completely at his mercy. He smiled at her, slow and dark. He blinked and Esmeralda felt her power of her body come back to her. She gasped for breath, his eyes were on her, watching her carefully.

"How...how did you...do that?" she asked between pants.

"Come with me and i can show you." And with that he turned and moved into the shadows, walking swiftly and gracefully.

Esmeralda glanced around her, she moved to run in the opposite direction...but her curiosity got the best of her. How could she ignore this man? His power was unlike any other. She wanted to know him, she wanted to learn from him.

So she followed him, into the shadows.