A Dance of Ice and Fire- Chapter 2
Author's Note: I'm on a roll here guys! Two chapters in three days! *Patting myself on the back* Well- anyway, our dear Esme has chosen Frollo…You all know what this will lead to, right? Angst, angst, and more angst. Don't worry, dear viewers, romance will come sooner, rather than later to our protagonists. Please review? ;)
I, the great Judge Claude Frollo, could hardly believe my ears. I stared at Esmeralda incredulously, a smirk slowly forming on my thin lips. A smirk that said I am victorius. Indeed, I did feel victorious. I had won! The gypsy had recanted and chose me! I reveled in my conquering emotion at that moment: Lust- I let it wash over me in waves of pure, unrestrained pleasure, and I dared to full-on smile at the crowd. Of course, in all probability, I appeared more menacing than self-satisfied to the onlookers; after all, fear is more powerful than love.
"The gypsy Esmeralda has recanted her crimes of witchcraft!" I shouted, raising my arms heavenward. A select few of the Parisian citizens in the crowd who were expecting a bloodbath worth watching- much like sharks- groaned in disappointment. They started to stride out of the square, as fast of those leaching louts had come. Gypsies galore looked dumbstruck, as only heathens can, surprised at Esmeralda's decision, ostensibly; my faithful guards continued to, well, guard them.
"Regarding the fate of the gypsies and the ex-captain Phoebus, you can bring them to the square tomorrow for their executions"-
Parallel to what happened in the Good Book which I so revere, peace was short-lived. Esmeralda's relieved look at escaping her demise changed instantaneously changed. As if insulting me in front of my people wasn't enough, that devilish gypsy harlot was now scowling at me. "No." she said calmly, venomously, emerald eyes boring into my soul like knives. "I have said yes to you, Frollo. You have won." Her voice was reluctant. "But this doesn't mean you can still imprison my people like criminals. Let them go and I… I will be truly yours." She looked away, humiliated at what she had compelled herself to say. God, she is beautiful. The caged gypsies gasped in dissent and tried to protest. The crowd descended into another upheaval. I felt duty-bound to end this commotion before answering the gypsy's ludicrous request.
"Quiet them, soldiers!" The guards complied, giving me an interval in which to voice my opinion, which is of the utmost importance with these misguided heathens.
"My dear Esmeralda," I purred, stroking her face delicately with the hand that wasn't holding the torch. She ferociously tried to bite my hand, and would've succeeded if it was not for my agile reflexes. "As appealing as the latter part of your proposition sounds… But I digress. I cannot let your people go. They are guilty of crimes of which the punishment is either prison or death. Therefore, the gypsies cannot and will not be released until they pay their dues, serve their time, or die in the process. I am a judge, after all. Justice is justice."
"You know what? You know what, Claude Frollo? Fuck you. Fuck you, you self-righteous bastard. I'll give you a stipulation now: let my people go and I will be yours; refuse to do so and… I'd rather burn. Burn me if you dare, if you do not let them go- all of them- burn me."
At that moment, my poorly-concealed temper was bubbling dangerously over the rim of the proverbial pot. The onlookers who were about to exit the square ran even faster, feeling and wanting to escape the high tension flowing in the late night air between me and the gypsy. I held the torch of fire fast in my hand, even still, so Esmeralda could not try anything dangerous. That witch, that Jezebel…that temptress looked at me with a permeable fire within her eyes- the fire that fueled my lust. Just looking at her in her prisoner's garb, (which was very thin) the slight curve of her breasts, her hips, and the silky raven hair upon her head, coupled with her gemstone eyes aroused in me sinful thoughts.
How could this happen? I'd gone from anger to lust in mere seconds. I felt debilitated, weak, this had to be remedied. I put on a mask of pure hatred and turned towards the remaining mob- The sky is completely moonless, so I am unquestionably looking downright monstrous against the fire.
"Crowd! Do you see the sheer audacity of the gypsy in front of me? The dauntlessness that might've sealed the wax on her death certificate? If I were another man, she would be dead! If I were another man, she would be nothing but ashes now, riding on the wind! I gave her an ultimatum! I gave her choices! And she still dares to insult me in front of you!" I raved and screamed, waving the fire.
Damsel in distress? I think not. I am positively not about to allow Judge Claude Frollo to intimidate me with fire. Am I afraid? Yes. Will I act afraid in front of him? No. Frollo seemed to be getting more and more furious by the second. His sharp-lined, pale face was turning a hideous shade of beet red; a strand of silver hair fell in front of his left eye and he pawed it out of the way to clear the way for more rage. I could see beads of sweat glistening on his forehead. The smell of smoke from his torch stung my eyes and left me coughing loudly.
"I am generous to this woman, and all she does is sully my endeavors, which I will not stand for!" he turned around rapidly, and to everyone's astonishment, doused the torch in a nearby bucket of water. "No. I will not burn this gypsy tonight. Nor will I burn any of her fellow gypsies either." Frollo must have heard my gasp of surprise, for he twisted in my direction. "Don't feel so relieved, gypsy- I wouldn't if I were you- because any step you take out of line will mean all of their deaths."
"Take the heathens back to prison, soldiers, now! Citizens, exit the platform and return to your houses immediately!"
I was afraid Frollo had forgotten me, and quite honestly, the ropes binding me to my pyre needed to be removed a long time ago. My extremities were almost completely numb and my lungs were choked with smoke. Only when the group was completely gone did Frollo turn to me. By now, the early morning was here with its light indigo sky and buzzing insects and I could see how exhausted he really looked. There were dark purple bruise-like shadows underneath his eyes and his whole frame drooped with somnolence. I was certain I looked no better. He simply stared at me for a short bout of time, as if searching my soul. It was piercing look which shook my very bones with its steely, obsidian intensity. He then drew a concealed stiletto out of his sleeve and cut my rope bindings. The early-morning light illuminated the veins in his alabaster skin, causing me to remember how frozen my own tanned appendages were. I aggressively rubbed feeling back into my arms and legs that existed visibly from my thin linen prisoner's shift- I almost collapsed at how horribly acute the pain was. I glanced at him in a silent gesture of hesitant thanks.
"I take it you're tired." It was not a question.
I nodded grimly, lips set in a thin line, avoiding his penetrating contemplation of my countenance; I was not eager to start my new life as Frollo's companion, and I was trying to adjourn our leaving as long as viable. "I am."
An awaiting horse-drawn, armored carriage was at the corner of the street when Frollo firmly pressed his thin hand into my back and slowly led me off the platform. I walked uneasily, warily- leaning some of my weight into Frollo's side. Perhaps he had held my hand too tight or for too long when he assisted me into the carriage, or sat too close across from me on the plush black velvet cushions- but I was much too tired to care or notice the signs that something was amiss in the judge. His movements were erratic as he shut the heavy curtains against the dawn light.
My senses were inane and dull and I was dozing off slowly, trying to keep my eyes open was a hard task.
The slow rocking movements of the carriage eventually lulled me into a dreamless sleep not unlike that of death.