La Esmeralda slept soundly with Djali at her side even through the noise of the crowd that was growing outside of the Cathedral. Djali grew restless with the approaching crowd and began bleating piteously. She steadily awakened and rushed to her window to see what the noise was.
She saw the small fires of the black mass below and heard the unintelligible screaming. She had heard stories of the creatures of the night and believed that Hell had opened before her. She grew frightened and as a child will do, she ran and hid in a corner of her room. She held her goat against her with one arm and clutched her tiny shoe with the other.
She trembled from fear and uncertainty of what would happen to her. She prayed for mercy from God and the Holy Mother for someone, anyone, to rescue her and save her from the mouth of Hell.
Out of her sadness, she heard footsteps near her. She covered her eyes and hid under her blanket, fearing that the priest would come for her and throw her into the fires of Hell beneath her.
Out of her terror, she heard a familiar voice. "Don't be afraid, I came for you!"
She recognized the voice as that of Pierre Gringoire, the foolish poet and her sham of a husband. She uncovered herself and saw the bright smiling face. Next to him stood a dark mass that was cloaked from head to toe in black. Its hands were covered.
Djali wrestled itself from her grasp and rubbed itself on Gringoire's knees. He scratched the goat's head and cooed at it. She looked once more at the dark figure and asked "Who is this with you?"
"One of my friends. We will rescue you from here, but you must come now. You are in grave danger and so is Djali! They wait outside and beg for your death. They want to hang you." Her gently took her hand and pleaded "Please, come now! We will take you away from here to safety!"
She took his hand, still staring at the black figure, and decided to come with him. Perhaps she would see her love Phoebus and he would rescue her! She allowed herself to be led away and let Gringoire hold Djali.
They escaped the cathedral and made their way to a hidden boat on the Seine. Gringoire carefully placed Djali in the boat and helped Esmeralda in second. He exclaimed in joy "We are safe now, but we must get away. We know a place where you will be safe. You have to trust us."
Esmeralda continued to watch the black shape and noticed it watching her. She ignored the ramblings of Gringoire and looked ahead. She heard the stranger sigh and trembled at the sound. It was familiar, but she couldn't place the sound.
Ahead, she saw a crowd howling for her death surrounding the cathedral and swarming through the streets. "Death to the sorceress! Let the witch burn!"
She hid her head in her hands and began to cry.
Gringoire looked the weeping girl and the goat he held in his arms. His bravery that he felt earlier had left him. How could he leave this poor goat to die? It would be a waste. A horrible waste. His companion could save the girl. After all, who better to save her?
"I cannot save you both!" he exclaimed.
He lept from the boat and shoved her hands off him as he clung to her goat and disappeared into the streets. Esmeralda cried out and tried to leap after him. She stood knee deep in the Seine as she begged for him to come back.
She stood silent as he disappeared into the night, leaving her alone with the black shadow. It reached out for her and she felt a cold hand on her shoulder. It trailed its fingers down her arm as if it was caressing her and held onto her hand with a gentle yet strong grasp. The shadow led her out of the water and towards the Place de Greve.
She felt drained as she allowed herself to be led by the figure. She felt as though she was being led to her fate by some mysterious angel of death. She felt all resistance leave her as she was led to the gallows. The figure left her at the foot of it and lowered his cowl.
She cried in fear "Oh! The priest! I knew that it was you again!"
The spectral figure of Dom Claude Frollo stood before her. His pale skin appeared ghostly in the moonlight. His blue eyes burned into her as if they were fire. She trembled under his gaze and clutched the gallows to her as if it was her savior.
"Listen to me!" his spectral form thundered. "This is the Greve and the final point. Destiny brings us to each other. Tonight, I decide to your life as you will decide to my soul. We are alone here and do not try to cry for your pathetic Captain. Even now, he cries for your death. His bride cries louder. If you speak that name, I will do something terrible."
His voice grew softer and lower as he reached out his hand to brush her hair back from her face. She recoiled from his touch and turned away.
"Do not turn from me. You must listen to me! There is a letter from Parliament that gives you back to the hangman. I have rescued you from their hands. If we don't hurry, they will have you!"
The cries of the crowd grew louder "Death to the sorceress! Death to the witch! Let her burn!"
"They come for you. Know that I love you and have prepared a place for you if you will have me. You will be safe. Come with me my dear. The time is now!"
He raised his hand and pointed above her, "The gallows or me!"
Esmeralda clutched the wood of the Greve, looking like the Holy Mother at the foot of the cross. Her long hair covered her and the foot of the Greve in a mantle of black. Her gown was pure white except for the darkened area from where she stood in the water. She met his fiery gaze and said "It scares me less than you do!"
"If the stones could speak, they would say that a broken man stands here" His voice lowered again, becoming softer and gentler.
"I love you. My heart burns for you both day and night. I suffer too much my child and burn at the thought of the horror that I bring you. I would fall at your knees and worship you. No, not even your knees, but the ground near you. I would tear my own heart out if you would tell me but one kind word! Could a gentle heart as compassionate as yours not see the love I have for you? You are too pure and good to hate anyone. But no, you hate me". He wept into his hands as she watched him in horror. "I have sacrificed it all for you. I watched everything I love dashed to the ground because of you. I have chosen to love a woman and sacrificed my brother for you".
She watched as his movements grew erratic and braced herself for what she knew would come. His madness was growing and she trembled in fear. He took one of her hands into his iron grasp and kissed the palm. She tried to pull away from him as his lips burned into her hand.
"Give me but a kind word and I will save you. There lies beneath us a bottomless abyss where I will follow you for all eternity".
She could not bring herself to say any word to him. She silently held on to the Greve. She thought about his words. Not even death would stop him. There was no running from him this time. No hero to save her. She remembered the possessive look that Phoebus gave his bride. He would not save her. No one would. He wuld follow her wherever she went.
He pulled her to him with an inhuman strength and laughed in pure madness. "I will have you. If not me as your slave, you will have me as your master. I have made a place for us where I will drag you. You will follow me and be mine, or you will die. Don't you see my beauty? Belong the priest, belong to the sinner. Tonight! Kiss me my sweet girl! The grave or my bed".
He held her to him and placed a trail of kisses down her neck. She struggled against him, but her strength was no match for his. She felt a lewd hand trail down her neck to reach beneath her gown. His cold hand caressed one of her breasts and he moaned into her hair. "I will save you".
She tried to scream, but the priest covered her mouth with his hand. "You will not be theirs again. You are mine. The grave will not have you today".
He jerked her head back to his and placed a burning kiss on her lips. She tried to scream once more, but he only deepened the kiss. All of her strength left her and she fainted at the taste of his mouth.
He scooped her into his arms and covered her body with his cowl, hiding her within the mass of black. They disappeared into the night together.