God Help the Outcasts Summary: Assigned to feared Judge Claude Frollo following an atonement for stealing, Madellaine de Barreau unexpectedly meets the judge's ward, the infamous bell ringer of Notre Dame, and quickly forms a forbidden attachment to the man, with one minor caveat: she is already engaged to Phoebus de Chateaupers. A sort of re-telling of the first Disney Movie, with hints of the German musical here and there.
A/N: Oh, yeah, and one more thing! Most of the characters, save for Madellaine, is based on the German rendition of the musical, 'Der Glockner von Notre Dame', with David Jakobs and Felix Martin in the roles of our beloved bell ringer and Judge Claude Frollo. I might be biased because my family is German and where we're from, but I have a huge soft spot for both actors, so they're who I imagine in the respective roles, and actually had the pleasure of seeing their performance live, and what a treat that was. It's definitely left an impact on my ND stories lol.
Also in this version, (or any of my other versions on here for that matter!) Quasi isn't deaf and is capable of normal speech. Jakobs has that soft, tenor-like natural quality to his voice that I think is just perfect for the lonely bell ringer, so he's who I envision when I write for him in all of my ND Stories! And easy on the eyes too, so that helps. I might* have a minor crush on the man. Sorry, but I'm not sorry! :D
Hope you enjoy it! This is different from my other stories on here and follows more closely to the tone of the Disney movies, given it's a re-telling of sorts. Also, disclaimer, I don't own any of the characters, except for a few original minors that make appearances.
Schedule wise, I hope to post for this story probably once or twice a week, going forward, though I don't have a specific posting schedule or set days.
Anyway, hope you enjoy :D
CHAPTER ONE: Her New Master
JUDGE Claude Frollo eyed the strange blonde lass who had been assigned to him as his own personal hearth keep, a decision that he did not condone, though even he could not deny this little delicate slip of a thing might prove useful, for this was an act of atonement for stealing from her previous master, a nobleman here in Paris, a Duke, albeit a lowly one in terms of rank, the Judge knew, and, not wanting to face the gallows, had accepted a lifetime of servitude as opposed to the alternative. He resisted the urge to sneer, though the corners of his mouth twitched upwards in a vile smirk.
The blizzard raging war on the city of Paris removed the illusion of his eyes. With sight, the Judge knew he was not alone.
But as the white flakes whirled around him where he stood at the front steps of the Palace of Justice, he felt as alone as he would be in the bleakness of space and cold, so damned bloody cold.
Winter's here, he thought bitterly, grinding his teeth in anger. He reached out with a gloved hand to guide his way, but it was swallowed by the blizzard before it had even gone a few inches. To save his eyesight from the blinding white light, he had to narrow them until they were almost shut as he steered his powerful black Friesian steed, Snowball, forward.
The beast's ears pricked up as he moved swiftly, powering limbs tearing through the blizzard, though it was obvious that it was a struggle for the stallion to do so. His knuckles bone-white beneath the warmth and safety of his gloves, as Frollo clenched them against the bone-jarring wind.
By God's good graces, why him?!
One accursed wretch in his life was not enough, now he must be saddled with two? Was God really this cruel to him as to saddle him with yet another life that he must now be responsible for? Apparently so.
He ground his teeth, wrath consuming his moralities. The Judge huffed in frustration, his breath escaping his lips as a puff of cold vapor in front of him, a hand raised to his eyes to shield his vision from the blinding whiteness. "There you are," he murmured, practically growling it through gritted teeth.
This She-Stranger, this strange material of beauty that was Madellaine Renee de Barreau of the province of Saint Paul de Vence really was a pretty little thing, even Claude had to admit it to himself and he shivered in his spot where he stood.
There was nothing friendly about the snow that currently fell from the blackened skies above. It fell thick enough to blind any traveler by foot or by horseback. The gale whipped each flake, so pretty on its own, into a projectile that hurts unguarded skin such as hers.
The little blonde lass was not much younger than his own accursed adopted wretch of a boy, currently hidden away in the bell towers of Notre Dame de Paris, for the young child's own good, for the boy's visage would only succeed in frightening her.
Dressed in a simple floor-length, ivory chemise and dark green overdress with a simple hooded brown cloak overtop that, it was a miracle of God the girl didn't freeze. His new petite hearth keep was blonde from root to tip, born to bring more golden sunshine into the wretched cesspool that was the city of Paris, the only cause for its uncleanliness was the illegal entrance of the Romani people into his precious city.
It showed too. It showed in those soulful blue eyes, as bright as any glacier and yet so very warm. The young blonde woman's hair, cut short, as short as a boy's, her bangs falling in wisps and stray strands to just above her delicately shaped eyebrows, and it was not that bland color that was a shade nicer than the white of old age, but rather, it was streaked with warm reddish hues and butterscotch.
It gave his new hearth keep some warmth, complementing her pale face rather than making the girl look washed out. The twenty-one-year-old woman from the small village of Saint Paul de Vence was practically a goddess of the sun, even in winter, a siren leading everyone to sudden happiness. The beauty with the forever young ocean blue eyes that were quite lovely.
Though just the sight of the blonde's delicate features and good physique was not enough to quell the sleeplessness from his person. Judge Claude Frollo himself was sleepless, as was evident by the crumpled edges near his glistening, steely gray orbs, and the much darker shades of circles beneath them. His lean face, hard from his pale skin to the two-day stubble currently gracing his jawline, and his thick tuft of still quite luscious gray hair speckled with dappling's of white throughout, met hers with critical interest.
Judge Claude Frollo bit the inside wall of his cheek and furrowed his graying brows into a frown, knowing full well what this blonde little dove saw as she openly gawked.
The Judge and Minister of Justice was fitter looking than the girl expected. His face told of a lean body beneath his set of woolen, thick, heavy black robes, and his expression was serious, but not necessarily unkind, per se. He had a sort of salt and pepper look to his still quite luscious head of hair, against still youthful, pale skin.
The young blonde, Madellaine de Barreau, drew in a frigid breath of cold air that pained her lungs and sent her ribcages spiraling for relief as she momentarily lost herself in the Judge's eyes. Her new master. They glistened brilliantly, cold, and metallic, rivaling the most excellently polished suit of knight's armor. The sclerae that surrounded them were pristine, untouched by red. They were pure. Cold. Beautiful.
Frollo had heard many stories of this spritely little blonde, passed from one lord to the next. How she was, once upon a time, engaged to a promising young knight from her own village back home in Saint Paul de Vence, though the child was cast aside by the man when he had fallen in love with another woman of pure noble blood.
It was rumored that the wench had conspired to poison the man when she learned of his betrayal of her affections, said to have transformed into a demon and run, leaving the other woman to bear the inquest and judgment of the crime of his death.
The blonde woman standing in front of him with a look of pure rancor intermingled with asunder on her pale, petite features was rumored to be but a witch. The lass had become a girl of many stories throughout Paris if you were to believe the tales, but stories were for the gullible, simple-minded peasant folk, and the Judge considered himself beneath them all and was not about to digest stupid, peasant lies.
Madellaine de Barreau was, even the Judge had to confess it to himself, such a sweet delectable sight. In the crisp chilly air, these damned winds of winter, he could practically feel the young blonde's warmth pulsate, which immediately soothed his ire.
Among the bleak, Gothic walls of the Palace of Justice, she looked like summer, she was a ray of sunshine. For a woman in her early twenties, the child's blue eyes were quite inquisitive, bright, glistening, her pale skin cut from the finest of pearls. Her chest was an enjoyable convex, her slender, petite figure eye-catching.
The Judge pursed his thin lips into a rigid line, not quite a frown as he found his younger self nursing a strange, foreign desire for this budding blonde French Rose. Which was, of course, impossible, considering his vows as a clergyman, and this budding rose was now rumored to be wed to his very own Captain of the Guard.
Phoebus de Chateaupers. At the thought of the handsome soldier in his mid-thirties, new to Paris just back from the front, the Judge firmly believed his new captain of the cathedral guard to be completely and utterly undeserving of this strange beauty. The Judge furrowed his graying brows into a frown and puzzled over his new little hearth keep, the daughter of deceased former warlord Lucien Barreau, as he watched her slowly be escorted nearer to the Judge, one of his men holding her arm.
There was a rather strange tinge of melancholia on her face as she approached with Lieutenant Frederic de Marten, Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers's second-in-command, that vicious broken bastard, a slippery eel more trouble than he was worth.
The Judge blinked and forced his attentions to return to that of the young blonde, having a feeling that he would know firsthand for himself soon enough which rumors of his new hearth keep were true and which were falsehoods of peasant lies. He did not avert his gaze nor look away from Madellaine de Barreau, and as his piercing steely gaze remained fixed on the youthful blonde, a tense exhale emanated beside him. The judge frowned and cocked his head to the side to regard the Captain.
The gilded, golden-haired self-proclaimed Sun God's head was bowed. He was in despair. Perhaps even angry of this little arrangement, which puzzled Frollo greatly.
Captain Phoebus had no reason to be unsupportive of this endeavor, as all parties mutually benefited. Claude himself had been in dire need of a new hearth keep, the last one had been unfortunately caught with the miller's son without Claude's express permission to see him, and as a result, the Judge had both parties hanged for their insolence. The captain would gain a pretty wife, and Barreau would keep her life.
Though Claude could sense, it was not enough for Phoebus, though he did not particularly know, nor did he care, about what it was that his captain wished out of his life. He sensed the man himself would never truly be happy apart from drinking himself into a stupor in the taverns after nightfall and bedding those whores in the brothel. Judge Frollo's pursed lips tightened even more as he thought of those harlots.
Women of ill repute with no morals, no sense of right or wrong in this life. They were dirty, those harlots and heathen witches, set upon this earth like a plague to mankind, meant to tempt away the righteous like himself from the path of Heaven.
Their ways were filthy and wanton, whiny, without morals. The soldiers who frequented the brothels and various bordellos within Paris's limits picked the girls for their painted lips and rogue-tinted cheeks, feeling drawn to their long legs and other attributes. Frollo frowned, biting down on the wall of his cheek as he thought of them.
They made him lustful and unchaste, something he despised about himself. How did that phrase go?
The one that he quoted in his mind often as a mantra whenever their wicked ways clouded his mind with unholy thoughts? "The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire." A fitting end for a demonic witch, of which all women were. The Judge was still pondering this thought as he clasped in his hands in front of his midriff, having neither the propensity nor the grace to smile at the youthful blonde.
His gray eyes, dull and somber on this frigid January morning, searched the little Barreau girl. Despite his trepidation and uncertainty at being held responsible for yet another charge in his stead, Judge Frollo heard himself intake a sharp breath of air to welcome the girl to the Palace of Justice, and he extended an arm by the wait for greeting.
"My dear child," he went on in a voice that he hoped sounded welcoming and kind enough. "Welcome. I hope that your journey here to Paris was a pleasant one. If you will follow me, your quarters have been prepared for you. I trust that while you are here with me, you will be comfortable in my…employment as my new hearth keep, and you will behave, dear. I don't think that I need to repeat myself, do I? Please do not make me say it a second time, my child. I really hate saying things a second time."
The Judge almost flinched at how crude, rough, and coarse his voice sounded. His frown deepened as he watched Madellaine de Barreau shy away from his towering, somewhat imposing form in hesitation, the girl's cobalt blue eyes looking to anywhere else but at her new master in a sense of panicked urgency, playing with her pinkish-tipped fingers to keep them warm, as she had no gloves to guard against the cold chill.
Claude was not even aware that he'd drawn in-breath and held it, waiting with bated breath, watching as the young blonde slowly lifted her chin and regarded him.
The girl looked at him with what he could only perceive as a poisonous venom in those brilliantly cold icy-blue eyes of hers, labeling him. Though, in fairness, why wouldn't she? He was, by rights, someone that she could not fully trust just yet. Claude had the power to end her life with just one snap of his fingers. All it would take was one slip up on her end, and it would be back to the gallows with her.
This man has, by his own volition, taken away any semblance of freedom from her, and she was his now as his own personal hearth keep doing with whatever he liked.
Claude half expected that Madellaine de Barreau would grow fangs in her incisors and dig them onto his neck, by the look of dagger eyes she meant to kill him with. He frowned, feeling his slightly cracked and chapped lips part open to speaking. Though he did not get a chance as suddenly, the young blonde's face changed, as if by a spell, and she offered him a surprisingly white and dazzling, charming smile.
Gathering fistfuls of her dress in both hands, the petite blonde reached out to her skirt and hastily bent her right knee and dipped her head in acknowledgment.
She curtsied. "Master Frollo. Milord, it is truly an honor to be here, in…" she paused, craning her neck upward and swallowing as she briefly looked upon the towering structure of the Palace of Justice's bleak and imposing walls, and gulped again. "The—the Palace of Justice, and I will not fail you, milord, I can promise you that, milord, for I do not deserve your unfailing kindness nor a second chance, but you have gifted me even that, Your Grace," she continued lamely, though as she straightened her posture and did not avert her gaze from that of Frollo's. Not once.
Claude couldn't help but smile. Her simple, appreciative gesture of his act of kindness at sparing her life lifted his mood, and Claude loosened his curled fist, no longer feeling the sweat trapped beneath his palms, and he himself let out a somewhat crooked smile as he brought the girl's knuckles to his lips for a gentle, chaste kiss that sent a shiver down her spine. A gentle cough to his immediate left broke the silence between the master and his servant and he methodically swiveled his head to the left.
He stepped aside to make way for Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers. "Might I introduce to you your affianced, milady Barreau, Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers."
Judge Frollo resisted the difficult and almost urge to roll his eyes as the gilded, golden-haired man stepped forward. He half expected his captain of the cathedral guard would take the youthful little spritely blonde by the face and kiss her, having noted by now his newest captain's seemingly unquenchable thirst and an insatiable appetite for women with good figures and pretty faces.
Though with this beauty, the Barreau girl was far more desirable than the lowborn whores that he rendezvoused within the brothels and bordellos, so there was no reason for him to keep his hands to himself, and yet, Phoebus made no move at all.
Intrigued, Claude slowly swiveled his head to the right and regarded his captain in silence. There was a strange revolt in Phoebus de Chateauper's face.
Odd. The Judge pursed his lips into a thin, rigid line and scowled. The man's face was pale, and the Judge knew it had nothing to do with the biting, stinging cold of the frigid icy blizzard currently waging its war on the entire city of Paris right now.
Phoebus's lips were agape as if devoid of speech, also a rarity for the boisterous captain of the guard, who was never at a loss for something to say, be that a poor quip or a solid piece of tactful advice regarding the art of war against the Romani people.
The darkened hazel of the man's kind brown eyes suddenly looked extinguished and suddenly drained, turning them into umber puddles that resembled that of the mud of barren earth which no words or painting could ever adequately describe, Claude thought.
Intrigued, he folded his arms against his chest. Was Captain Phoebus's taste in women truly this bizarre, that he would disapprove of her likeness? Claude continued to silently ruminate over this sudden countenance in his captain of the cathedral guard, looking at Phoebus with his eyes briefly in a quandary.
For a moment, he was reminded of his previous captain of the guard, who had been taken to the dungeons of the very same building the three now stood in front of, and flayed, whipped until there was practically no skin left of the captain's old bones. Now, Phoebus was reminding Claude of that man, for his eyes were hysterical, almost. Afraid. He might even go so far as to call Captain de Chateaupers as haunted.
It took a slight nudge to the ribcage and a shove forward from the Judge to remind Captain Phoebus of his supposed act as a knight and gentleman to his intended. And Phoebus seemed to get the point, for he coughed once to clear the lump forming in his throat and straightened his posture, his blue cathedral guard cloak billowing behind him as a sudden gust of wind pinked their cheeks and kissed their hair.
Claude furrowed his graying brows into a frown as he watched Captain Phoebus move forward in two, quick swift strides, closing off the gap of space between himself and the fair-skinned, fair-haired Madellaine Renee de Barreau, who stared.
He released his left hand from the glove that protected it from the biting icy winds and outstretched his arm towards Madellaine de Barreau, and Claude could not help but notice the faintest tinge of a renewed sense of vigor and livelihood that went back into his captain's face at the smooth touch of her delicate palm against his own.
"It is an honor to meet you, milady Barreau," Captain Phoebus murmured in a low voice that was meant to be seductive, in a steady voice heard against the wind. His lips met the back of her hand, and Claude was somewhat pleased to see his new hearth keep was not at all wiled nor swayed by the golden-haired man's charms.
The Judge watched with no small semblance of amusement in his glistening steely gray eyes as the youthful blonde fought back the urge to scrunch her nose in disgust and pull back her hand, gingerly rubbing it with her other hand, and frowning. Childish. Claude Frollo found himself scoffing as he promptly turned away, clasping his hands in front of his midriff, and leaving the two of them to their devices.
Captain Phoebus, in the short two to three weeks of knowing his newest captain of the cathedral guard, just back from frontlines of another of France's wars, had quickly proved to Claude that he was a childish man, thinking the gilded golden-haired man's ways of so-called redemption weren't all that favorable, to begin with, really.
In Claude's mind, Captain Phoebus was not deserving of such a prize as his little wife, though the decision was ultimately not up to the Minister and Judge.
The best that he could do was make sure that, despite the terms and conditions of their arrangement, that his newest hearth keep would be treated as well as possible. A notion that was truly rather awkward, if he were being honest with himself, considering that this girl was little more than a petty-born thief, daughter of Lucien Barreau or otherwise.
Would this be a kind of atonement to his guilt for the murder of her father, though the dagger drove through Lucien's heart was not by his own hand? But by the hand of Phoebus himself, upon Frollo's command, given the old warlord had, two years ago, spoken out against King Louis the Prudent for the last time, and such defiance could not be allowed to go unpunished, and he had set Lucien up as an example of what happens when you defy His Grace their King and his ways. Claude could not help but to wonder if the girl had only accepted Phoebus's proposal of marriage as a sort of vengeance to avenge her fallen family, what little of it was left.
The least that he supposed he could do for the only daughter of Lucien Barreau was ensure that she was comfortable before handing her off to be wed to him.
Claude paused, glancing over his shoulder one last time, his hand hovering outstretched on the handle of the Palace of Justice, though his gaze was not fixated on that of the blonde-haired young lass and the equally blond captain of the cathedral guard. No. The bells of the illustrious, gothic cathedral, Notre Dame de Paris, Paris's own Lady of Peace, rang in a peal. Normally, this would signal evening Mass.
But the hour was nearing nine o'clock and the tolling that rang through the town square was somewhat melodic as the various melodies of the changing bells of Notre Dame slowly but surely did their part in sending the city of Paris and her people to sleep, and Claude glanced up with a furtive, somewhat guilty look on his features.
His gaze flitted back to that of his brand new hearth keep, thinking that it was for the girl's own good that she stays away from the upper levels of Notre Dame at all costs. Claude's mind could only conjure what stories she must have heard of his ward. Only a small select few of them were true. The boy was an accursed wretch, sent to torment him, his failure at saving his younger brother, Jehan's body and soul.
The boy's parents were weak, wicked, and caring for the wretch was his penance, his cross to bear, for failing to save Jehan, and the least he could do for his new hearth keep was ensure that she never came into direct contact with the boy, lest she be otherwise scarred.
And that, thief or not, he could not allow.
The boy, his adopted ward, the monster was beyond all hope of redemption, hence why he was kept locked away in the towers of Notre Dame, never to see the light of the sun, for the shadows was were a creature like him belonged, and the least he could do for his new hearth keep was ensure that she never came into direct contact with the boy, lest she is otherwise scarred for life the first time she laid eyes on the boy.
No. It was for her own good. Claude could not help but wonder how much, if anything, the girl had heard of his adopted ward, and if she believed some of the more outlandish tales of the demon boy.
Claude snorted, hoping that, for Barreau's sake, she did, immersing on Lieutenant Frederic's words as the younger man moved to stand beside the Judge. He could only hope that this spritely little blonde with the elfin like features did not possess an insatiable curiosity that would cause her to want to venture to the upper levels of Notre Dame, and he froze, biting the wall of his cheek.
His Majesty was keeping a closer eye on him these days, for reasons that were unknown to the Judge, though considering King Louis the Prudent was somewhat of a personal friend to Claude, he did not much too much stock or faith into the rumors of the king's current displeasure.
There was now a more problematic conflict of his upcoming visit in another two days. The girl was going to have to come with him, this much he knew, for given her past a former thief, he was not entirely sure she could be left unattended, but there was no way in God's blessed earth that he could allow this girl, this woman, upstairs.
There was no way around it. He was going to have to forbid this celestial-like creature from daring to set one foot on the stairwell that led to the bell towers, or so help her, he would flay her alive the minute the two of them returned to the Palace of Justice. One glance at Captain Phoebus's second-in-command was more than enough as he eyed the petite little blonde lass and his captain, his face an alloy of want and restraint, a potent mix that, if not handled with the utmost care, was sure to result in disaster. Even in the blizzard, her white face was pale against the dull, her comely figure eye-catching.
The splendidness of this young beauty was undeserving of the mess Captain Phoebus had made of his life, preferring to drown himself in drink and women.
"Your bride is so lovely, Captain. A pretty little dove indeed…" Frederic spoke up, watching her with inquisitive eyes as the young blonde offered a curtsy and mumbled something about begging leave as the journey from Saint Paul de Vence to Paris, France was a tiring one, and she begged of her betrothed to allow her rest, which Phoebus granted, as he moved to stand beside Captain Phoebus, unaware that the Judge lingered in darkness by the front steps to the entrance of the desolate Palace of Justice.
Judge Frollo craned his neck to better witness his captain's morose expression, feeling no shame whatsoever in eavesdropping on the pair of soldiers in this manner. Again, there was the strange tinge of melancholia in Phoebus's voice as he spoke. It was obscure, almost unheard of, the Judge thought, for his new captain of the cathedral guard to display such a disdain, a murkiness for his new pretty little bride.
This was…new. New indeed. Very, very new, to see Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers speak and look this way, especially towards that of a young blonde woman.
Claude frowned, almost thinking that he would have described his new captain of the cathedral guard as glum. Perhaps even…sad.
He waited, watching, listening, as he heard Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers break the stony silence between the two men, unaware they were being watched in a slow, tense exhale through his flaring nostrils. The Judge watched, stepping back into the shadows, and watching as the Captain and his second-in-command passed by, finally intent on seeking shelter from the bitter cold blizzard that seemed relentless and showed no signs of stopping soon.
With any luck, this storm would spell an end to the annual peasant festival, the Feast of Fools, though he sincerely doubted it. Come hell or high water, the simple folk would have their bloody festival, and he, a public official, expected to attend it every year without fail. He scowled, listening to Captain Phoebus as the two men entered. "…Do I even deserve her, Frederic?" he asked, to which Claude only had one thought in mind.
No, Captain, the Judge thought through gritted teeth. You do not.
Just as he was about to turn on the heel of his boot to leave and head inside as well, the bells tolled one final time, emanating their luscious sound through the square of Notre Dame as it sent the city to sleep, and the Judge cast one final, cautious and apprehensive look towards the twin bell towers of Notre Dame de Paris. One thing he knew for certain, aside from the fact that as long as Madellaine Renee Barreau remained in his employment, that she would be treated well under his tutelage, provided she behaved, was this. It was the least that he could do for her.
That this girl, his new little hearth keep, and his ward, would never meet.