Arianne paced the large study, tears in her brown eyes and pain still smarting her backside. The young girl, only eight years old, had been spanked by her tutor, a nun of the church, for crude language. After that, the nun left to fetch her father and inform him of what she had done. Arianne stopped pacing, and gulped; her father would have a conniption. What she had done was trivial in her mind, but to Claude Frollo, every detail would be laced with sin. She sighed and sat roughly on the floor, wrinkling her uncomfortable white dress. .
All she did was curse, and she was in this mess. She touched her silver cross necklace nervously in wait of the return of her tutor, who would surely be in the company of her father. When the door finally opened, she looked up at the face of Frollo, who looked back at her with a less than pleased expression on his stony face. She looked away, and fidgeted with the hem of her dress. He stepped in, his hands clasped behind his back and his dress robes brushing the floor as he walked. The tutor waited outside. Frollo shook his head at Arianne.
"Stand up, girl. Young ladies do not seat themselves on dirtied floors, nor do they sit in such an improper manner." he said calmly, but with an edge of coldness. Arianne sighed and stood, then brushed herself off. After that, she clasped her hands together and stared down at the floor. Don't speak unless spoken to; that was one of the top rules Frollo enforced on her, and she knew not to defy it under any means.
Frollo walked over to the large desk and looked over what Arianne had been working on earlier. He touched the small, leather-bound bible that was opened to the story of Noah's Ark, and finally spoke.
"Now, what is it that you did to upset the tutor so much, child?" he asked. Arianne shuffled her feet and cleared her throat.
"I...I said the 'D' word, father." she said meekly. Frollo arched his brow.
"What caused that to occur?" he asked.
"Well, we were reading Noah's Ark, and, I-I said it."
"For what reasons?"
"I was really surprised that God would do something like flood the world, and it just..." she waved her hands childishly. "It just slipped out. I'm sorry, father." She gripped her dress when she was done and awaited his response, hoping he wouldn't see past the lie. She wasn't surprised by the story. She was bored with it, and when she found that there was another two hours of reading, the word 'damn' slipped exasperatedly from her mouth. Frollo studied her for a moment before speaking.
"It is a sin for a child to curse. Did you know that? God does not look favorably upon little ones who commit these acts." he walked slowly towards Arianne, and she couldn't help but tremble. The tutor's beating were nothing compared to his 'cleansings'. The image of a whip flashed in her mind, and she slammed her eyes shut. Since she expected pain, she was shocked that he only rested his hand on her silver hair. "But, we must remember that the Lord God is merciful, and loving; just as I am. It was a slip of the tongue, and you have confessed. You are forgiven." he said. Arianne smiled up at him.
"Thank you, father. You are merciful." she said quietly. She would have hugged him, but knew not to. Their relationship was little more than master and servant, and that was all. Frollo nodded his head at her words, and patted her once on the head before walking to the door.
"Remember though, Arianne; should something like this happen once again, you will not be forgiven so easily." he said calmly, gave her one look of warning, and left. The tutor walked in and closed the door behind her. Arianne sighed, feeling a terrible weight leave her shoulders. She ws thankful that her father had an ounce of mercy in his body.
"Back to the lesson, young lady." the nun said, and pointed to the desk. Arianne huffed, but complied.
'Damned bible study...' she thought bitterly as she sat down to continue her reading.
Hours later, Arianne sat in the dining room at one end of the large dining table. A silver plate of seasoned meat, salad, and buttered bread was placed in front of her with a silver cup of water. Before she ate, she looked at the other end of the table, where her father was usually seated. The chair was empty, and there was no food present. She looked questioningly up at her caretaker, Cilia.
"The Judge is visiting la Notre Dame at the moment. He brought a basket of food with him, so don't worry." the old woman said kindly.
"He's gone to visit that kid, hasn't he?" Arianne asked. She had heard rumor that her father was caring for another child, who remained hidden in the cathedral, away from the eyes of the public. Apparently he was ugly, or something like that. "He's paying more attention to that kid than me lately, not that that's saying much..." she muttered. Cilia tsked.
"I think it's noble that he has taken the child in." she said.
"He didn't take him in, he stuck him in Notre Dame. Notre Dame took him in."
"He teaches and clothes the child. I find that noble, Arianne."
"The kid is only three! What is there to teach right now, besides colors and shapes?"
"Says the girl who learned to read when she was only four." Cilia said. Arianne frowned, and crossed her arms.
"You're supposed to be on my side, Cilia." she pouted.
"I would be, but you're only jealous that your father is setting his attentions on a child that is not yourself. You must learn to grow used to it, dear." Cilia said. Arianne would have argued, but decided to drop it.
"Yeah...whatever..." she said instead.
"Perhaps you may be able to meet this child in the future, miss. That would be nice, right?"
"I guess so." Arianne began to eat, thinking mostly about how special this other child had to be to have her father's attention and teachings.
'He must be pretty interesting...' she thought, and and finally placed her mind on other things.
...TWO YEARS LATER...
"Father, why does he stay in the bell tower?" Arianne asked. She was now ten years old, some inches taller, and her silver hair reached just past her shoulders. She was tall for a child, and was shorter than just a few of the children that she was permitted to play with, which was only a select few that her father allowed to be near her.
"Because he is a monster, cursed by the devil for his heathen mother's damnable acts. His ugliness is a crime that the public would neither forgive or take pity on. I keep him here, safe from the jeering eyes of this cruel society." Frollo said. Arianne nodded.
'You just don't want to be seen with him...' she thought as they finally reached the door that lead to the bell room. Frollo opened it, and ushered her inside.
"Quasimodo, I have come, and have brought a guest." he said. Arianne heard a shuffling from behind one of the many beams in the area. Frollo and her walked up some stairs to a second floor of the room, where there was a spacious area littered with cloth and some broken toys. "Quasimodo, come out." Frollo said reassuredly, though Arianne didn't believe it. "She is my daughter, a friend. She is pure. Nothing like the evil members of society." Arianne shook her head just a fraction; what poison was her father feeding this boy's mind to keep him from going outside...
"F-friend?" said a young voice. Arianne looked immediately upward to where the voice came from. She saw the silhouette of a boy slouched over, sitting on one of the rails.
"Yes, Quasimodo, now come down at once." Frollo said gently, but with a hint of agitation. The silhouette immediately made their way down, climbing and jumping as they went, remaining in the shadows. Arianne was surprised that a five-year-old was such an acrobat...
When he finally reached the floor, the boy stayed slouched over as he walked forward and into the light. Arianne gasped slightly, and forced herself to keep a calm face. He couldn't help the slouch; he was hunched over. His face was disfigured, and wiry red hair grew just past his eyes. He walked with a limp, and often resorted to using his large arms to keep himself balanced. A worried expression was on his young face, and Arianne noticed. She cleared her throat and walked forward.
"H-hullo, Quasimodo. My name is Arianne." she said. Quasimodo looked her over suspiciously, and she smiled at his awkwardness towards her. "It's nice to meet you." she said, and held out her hand to shake his. He walked forward, took her hand and kissed the top of it. She drew back, and he did the same.
"I-I'm sorry! I didn't mean to." Quasimodo said, and shielded himself from her. Arianne frowned, wondering haw he was punished when he did things 'he didn't mean to'.
"No, silly, you just shake my hand." she said, and walked over to him. She took his hand, and brought it up and down continuously. Quasimodo watched the act in confusion, and Arianne laughed at his expression.
"It's how normal people say 'nice to meet you' with their hands, you see?" she said. Quasimodo slowly nodded, and a small smile lit up his face and he shook her hand so vigorously she was nearly brought into the air. When she pulled back, she was still smiling, even though her hand hurt just a little.
"N-nice to meet you, Arianne." Quasimodo said. Frollo coughed behind them, and the hunchback child snapped to attention. Arianne raised a brow at the action, but said nothing.
"I need to speak with the archdeacon. Until I am ready for your lesson, show my daughter around this area." Frollo said, and went back to the stairs. Quasimodo nodded and took Arianne's hand back in his and he lead her to the outside. Arianne gasped at the view, and the height.
"Tant de beaute, so amazing..." she muttered.
"Yeah, a-and these are my friends." Quasimodo said and pointed to three gargoyles, a tall one, a short and fat one, and an old looking one that was covered in birds. Arianne forced a smile on her face, secretly pitying the kid for not having any real friends. But, he was so young, and for now imaginary friends were almost expected.
"Ah, I see. They look kind, Quasi." she said. He nodded, grinning.
"They are, they are. They're always there when I need them. My best friends." he said. Arianne nodded, and pointed to herself.
"Well, can I be your friend to?" she asked. Quasi hesitated, then looked to one of the gargoyles, the old, bird covered one, as if seeking advice. Arianne, for just an instant, thought she saw the gargoyle's head move just a fraction, and she rubbed her eyes, figuring she must be tired. Gargoyles don't move. That was preposterous.
"Yes, you can. They trust you, and they have excellent judgment." Quasi said finally. Arianne smiled at the gargoyles.
"Well then, I thank them for their kind judgment." she said, and gave a small curtsy to them.
"You're really nice, Arianne, nothing like how Frollo described other people."
"You'd be surprised at how much my father hasn't taught you about people, Quasi."
"You mean they're worse than he says?" he asked fearfully. Arianne shook her head sadly.
"No, just the opposite really..."
"Really?" Quasi asked.
"Well, yeah." Arianne hopped up on the stone railing and looked over at the small ants that were the citizens of Paris. "There is cruelty, like father says, but there is also kindness and compassion."
"Wow." Quasi said, and sat down a few feet from her. "Well that's normal people at least. Not the Gypsies. I know they're evil, terrible creatures. That's true right?" Quasi said. Arianne sighed inwardly at how ignorant her father made this boy. She also remembered her father saying the same exact words to her. 'Sickening vermin that prey on the innocent and bathe in sin'. That was what he said, and at first she believed it. But, as years progressed, she grew to know better than to listen to her father's insults towards them. The worst crime she ever saw a Gypsy commit was when a child stole a but of bread from the baker and run off.
A poor, hungry child stealing crumbs.
"Nope, Quasi. I swear, when you're finally able to go outside, I'm going to show you what life is really like. It's nothing like those horror stories father fills your head with."
"Oh..." Quasi said.
"Arianne, you are requested in the cathedral for confession. Quasimodo, it is time for your lesson." Said a voice behind them. The children turned to see Frollo looking calmly at them both, and Arianne gulped, hoping he hadn't heard what she said.
"Yes, father." she said, and hopped down from her seat and headed to the stairs. She waved to Quasi before descending them. "Until next time, Quasi." she called, and he said goodbye back before she was gone.
Back at home, Arianne sat near the fireplace and read a thick chapter book, slowly dozing off as the words began to lose sense. Slowly, she began to close her eyes.
"Arianne." Came her father's voice. Her eyes snapped open and she looked around in surprise. She saw her father, and the fire in the fireplace lit up his features oddly, making him look slightly disturbing.
"Yes, father?" she asked tiredly.
"Best you should retire for the night. Good night." he said. Arianne nodded and stood up and began to make her way to her room. "One more thing, child." Frollo said. Arianne stopped and looked back at him.
"Yes, father?" she asked, gripping her book.
"You'll not be seeing the hunchback any longer." he said. Arianne wanted to protest; she liked Quasimodo. But, she kept quiet, fearing the consequences for questioning her father.
"Yes, father." she said. Frollo looked amusedly from her saddened face to the book in her hands.
"A rather large book, my dear. Hopefully you aren't filling your head with horror stories. I wouldn't want you to lose sleep over such trivial things..." he said, and Arianne began to shake as she left for her room.
Author's Note: Please tell me what you think. :D