It was a beautiful morning in Alicante. The Demon Towers were glowing faintly in the dawn, and the town was bustling. In the city square, there was someone singing.
"In Alicante, the city awakes
To the bells of Notre Dame.
The fisherman fishes, the baker man bakes
To the bells of Notre Dame.
From the big bells as loud as the thunder,
To the little bells soft as a psalm.
And some say the soul of the city's the toll of
The bells of Notre Dame."
The one singing was a young man, around nineteen, who was obviously a Downworlder. He had dark hair spiked up and glittered. He seemed to have Asian heritage, and his eyes were gold-green and had vertical slits for pupils, like cat's eyes. Young Shadowhunter children were gathered around him.
"Listen, they're beautiful, no? So many colors of sound, so many changing moods." He had gotten up and walked among the children, stopping in front of a little boy sitting in an older teen's lap. The younger boy had dark hair, gray eyes, and glasses, and the older one had black hair, blue eyes, and pale skin.
The Downworlder knelt down, speaking directly to the boy. "You know, they don't ring by themselves."
"They don't?" The child asked.
"No, silly boy." The Downworlder pointed towards the cathedral, and all the children looked. "Up there, high, high in the dark bell tower, lives the mysterious bell ringer. Who is this creature?"
"Who?" The boy asked.
"What is he?"
"How did he come to be there?"
"Hush." The Downworlder said.
"Ohhh…" The child whimpered. The dark-haired teenager seemed amused by the conversation.
"Be quiet, and Magnus will tell you. It is a tale… It is a tale of a man and a monster."
It was a cold dark night. Snow covered the banks of the river as a boat rowed by, occupied by a Downworlder and three Shadowhunters. In a female Shadowhunter's arms, was a bundle of blankets holding a baby, who was crying.
"Dark was the night when our tale was begun
On the docks near Notre Dame."
The Downworlder, a man with light brown hair, blue eyes, and glasses, turned to his wife. "Quiet him, will you?"
"We'll be spotted!" A Shadowhunter, a man with blond hair and blue eyes hissed.
The woman, a Shadowhunter with red hair and green eyes, held her child tightly. "Hush, little one." She soothed.
"Four frightened fugitives slid silently under
The docks near Notre Dame."
They docked and exited. "Thank you, Hodge. How could we repay you?" The woman asked.
"Just be careful." Hodge said just as an arrow flew and nearly hit him.
"But a trap had been laid for the fugitives,
And they gazed up in fear and alarm
At a figure whose clutches
Were iron as much as the bells…"
A figure rode in on a black horse. The Downworlder gasped. "Sebastian Morgenstern."
"The bells of Notre Dame."
Sebastian Morgenstern had very pale blond hair, light skin, and very dark eyes. He stared down at the intruders. The Downworlder moved and gripped the Shadowhunter woman, trying to protect her, until guards pulled him away. She gasped, holding her child closer to her chest.
"Judge Morgenstern longed to purge the world of vice and sin.
And he saw corruption everywhere except within."
They put iron shackles over the men's wrists and started leading them away. "Bring the Downworlder and his associates to the Palace of Justice." Sebastian sneered.
A guard grabbed the woman's arm. "You there! What are you hiding?"
"Stolen goods, no doubt." Sebastian said. "Take them from her."
The woman gasped for breath as she ran, holding her bundle protectively as Sebastian gave chase. She ran up a set of stairs, momentarily losing him. She kept running, praying silently to be saved. She jumped over a railing, losing Sebastian again, and ran up the steps to the cathedral, moving to bang on the doors.
"Sanctuary!" She yelled. "Please give us sanctuary!" She heard hoof falls and turned to see Sebastian again. She moved to run, but Sebastian caught up and grabbed the bundle she had been carrying. She fought with him over it, but Sebastian kicked her down right under his horse as it set its hooves down, hard.
The bundle began to cry, and Sebastian looked down at it. "A baby?" He pulled back some of the cloth, and soon saw the sharp fangs in its mouth. "A monster!" He looked around frantically, and saw the well. He went over to it, and prepared to drop the child in.
"'Stop!' cried the Archdeacon."
"This is an unholy demon," Sebastian said. "I'm sending it back to hell where it belongs."
The Archdeacon, an older man who had a striking resemblance to Sebastian, looked at him sadly, then at the woman dead on the steps.
"See there the innocent blood you have spilt
On the steps of Notre Dame."
"I am guiltless, father. She ran, I pursued."
"Now you would add this child's blood to your guilt
On the steps of Notre Dame."
"My conscience is clear!" Sebastian declared.
"You can lie to yourself and your minions.
You can claim that you haven't a qualm.
But you never can run from
Nor hide what you've done from the eyes…
The very eyes of Notre Dame."
Sebastian suddenly gulped, feeling uneasy.
"And for one time in his life of power and control
Sebastian felt a twinge of fear for his immortal soul."
"What must I do?" Sebastian asked his father.
Valentine was now holding the body of the dead Shadowhunter in his arms. "Care for the child and raise it as your own." He ordered.
"What? Father, I'm fifteen! I'm to be saddled with this Downworld—" Suddenly, he got an idea. "Very well. But let him live with you in your church."
"Live here?" Valentine asked. "Where?"
"Anywhere." Sebastian said.
"Just so he's kept locked away where no one else can see."
"The bell tower, perhaps." Sebastian suggested. "And who knows? Our Lord works in mysterious ways."
"Even this foul creature may yet prove one day to be…
Of use to me."
Magnus looked around at the faces of the children, completely drawn in to his story. He grinned and continued. "And Sebastian took the child to the bell tower, where eventually he would ring the bells. And so he gave the child the name Simon, which means, 'It is heard.'"
"Now here is a riddle to guess if you can
Sing the bells of Notre Dame,
Who is the monster, and who is the man?
Sing the bells, bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells of Notre Dame!"
Destiny: And this is my first ever published Mortal Instruments work. I had wanted to do a take on The Hunchback of Notre Dame for a while, and this fandom is the one that made it work best. And yes, the four fugitives in the flashback are Hodge, Stephen, Luke, and Jocelyn. And yes, there will be some changes to the story. And as for Valentine's casting... he fit it best. And I thought that the relation between Valentine and Sebastian would be interesting. But I digress. I'd really love to hear what you guys have to say. Bye!