Chapter 1: How It Happened...
The year was 1460. The year of our Lord.
Paris was void of a police force and crime and illegal immigrants ran rampant in its streets. In an attempt to counteract this and maintain order, the king appointed officers from his own guard to go on patrols. Even volunteers consisting of willing citizens of France participated in trying to hold back the evil and keep their town under God's light. It didn't matter to them that these...gypsies, these beggars and thieves, were sick, homeless, or disabled. The so-called poor were seen as liars putting on an act to snatch away the hard earn money from the citizens. And so, this act became a threat to society.
King Louis XI, in an effort to keep this trickery from occurring, ordered the immediate deportation of any person who attempted to enter his kingdom's borders without the proper papers. And to enforce this rule, he appointed an ecclesiastical judge to rule over and keep his city safe. The judge's power and sway over the monarchy quickly began to grow as he showed what was dubbed as "exceptional dedication" to his king's wishes. His service was revered...and feared. His shadow hung over the city at night with a weight so great, not one gypsy did not carry his unwavering glare upon their shoulders.
He vowed to smite them. All of them. To cleanse the world of vice and sin. Corruption. His name...?
Judge Claude Frollo.
He would personally lead ambushes throughout the city at night, searching for the thieves and illegals that would creep in on the river Seine. His favorite words seemed to be, "Arrest them." A wicked grin upon his face, his gaunt cheeks hollowing in the flickering light of the torches that revealed his prey...he hunted men like a cat hunts rats.
It was a snowy night when it happened. Just another patrol. The Minister sat upon his ink-colored horse, contemplating the gypsies whereabouts as it snorted and pawed at the ground impatiently, the breath of its nose like puffs of smoke twirling and vanishing into the night. Whatever was going on in the Romani people's homeland, he did not know. All he knew is that it seemed like they were coming straight from the ground like weeds, sprouting quickly and choking the life out of the flowers beside them. And every time he managed to pluck one, two more would take its place. Hydra...
His thoughts slowly drifted off as he looked around before sneering to himself. Fools. Where was his guard? They should have met him here ten minutes ago-
A blood-curdling scream cut off his thoughts from somewhere in the distance, chilling him down to the bone more than the snow could ever do. Shaking off the fear, he tugged on the reins of his horse and urged him on towards the source of the horrible cries which were fading quickly. Soon, he didn't hear a thing but the sound of hooves, and he wondered if perhaps he had gone the wrong way. That is until he caught sight of something glinting in an alleyway he passed and forced his horse to a stop. Narrowing his eyes as it was hard to see with only the light of the moon, he slipped off his horse and walked toward the glint. His foot hit a metal object that clattered away and his eyes trained upon it. A helmet...?
The armor piece's rolling was quick to cease it's movement, slowing to a stop against something soft... The judge's eyes widened when they realized what they were seeing, and he muttered an aghast curse under his breath.
Here laid the bodies of his patrol, or at least- what was left of them. The man closest to the judge had an arm missing, and everything past his torso was gone, a rat already feasting upon his flesh. His sword lay useless to the side. Another lay face down- though can you really say that if he was missing his face? Because he was. His whole head, in fact, was gone. His third guard, Anthony wasn't it? ...it seemed he had dragged his legless body to a pile of boxes and sat himself up there. Perhaps he had believed he would live...
The Minister was trembling despite having seen worst displays done to the criminals he had locked up in the past years, and he grasped his rosary tight around his fingers, pressing the crucifix to his lips. "Dear God..." he whispered to himself, silently praying for these innocent souls. Who could have done this? Certainly no man, or at least not one man. So what beast?
A chilling, low laugh echoed about the alley from somewhere in the dark. The judge's eyes darted to the place he heard it and he unsheathed his sword, pertaining a defensive stance. "Who is there?!" he called out in an unshaken tone, not one to run away from a fight.
He didn't have to wait long to find out who was the source of the sound as a man slowly prowled out of the shadows. His hair was matted and long, a dark black like the pointed beard that sat upon his chin. His head was held up by a thick neck- the beast was strong... His nose was hooked, not unlike the Minister's, and bushy, sharp brows sat over wild eyes, narrowed and focused upon his prey. His ears glinted with many rings and hoops, and so did his teeth. Upon closer inspection, they glinted because of what appeared to be...blood. Blood that spattered his caramel skin and dripped down his mouth and off- ...fangs?
"So this is the famous Judge "Claws of Steel"," the beast purred, his voice reverberating throughout the narrow space, rumbling in the Minister's own chest like the steady beat of a drum. He cocked his head curiously. "I didn't expect someone so old." Each word was caressed with mockery, and soon, a feral grin grew upon his face. "Your blood must taste like dust!"
The judge's heart was beating wildly against his ribcage as the animal continued to prowl closer. It was like it was toying with him. It was the cat. HE was the rat. "They say you are no ordinary man..." it's tongue flickered out and swiped up the remaining blood on its chin revealing to the Minister that yes- it had fangs. "No...they have a special name for you..."
"A monster!" the judge finally found his words, his tongue no longer sitting like lead, heavy and useless.
Another chuckle left the creature. "Took the words right out of my mouth," he smirked, and Minister Frollo regained a defensive stance, raising his sword in preparation.
"Go back to Hell, demon!" he denounced the animal, sneering back at him to mask his fear. Without giving it a moment to react, he brought down the sharpened metal upon the creature's arm making a clean and, normally, effective slice. It did succeed in cutting him, but he did not even flinch. It only chuckled at his efforts.
"You are pretty quick for an old man!" he praised him before looking to his wounded arm curiously. He then chuckled incredulously as he watched his blood drip down his arm. "Hah...I can't remember the last time I bled."
Frollo stood watching this in awe. This beast...it was strong... He shook his head. No. God was on his side. He would prevail! "The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing!" he growled and made a lunge at the animal. It was quick to dodge before it looked back to him, sneering in mockery.
"Your God is weak!"
Using the anger that this blasphemer inspired in the Minister, he continued to recite comforting verses as he made another attack. "He makes me lie down in green pastures..." he panted with every lunge and every miss. "He leads me beside quiet wat-"
"Enough!" With an easy swipe of a clawed hand, the monster had raked its talons across Claude's chest. The minister flew into the air with the blow, unable to scream from the air knocked out of his lungs and landing harshly upon the ground with a grunt. The taste of blood was immediate, and his lungs were aflame as he coughed it up. The creature looked down at him, barely having broken a sweat, his fingers stained with Frollo's blood. He hummed. "He will not help you now, Judge..." he mocked.
But Frollo would not give up so easily. He was the double-edged sword of God on Earth. He was put here to smite the wicked. And with God on his side, he would surely succeed! Slowly, and still coughing, the Minister began to sit up. "H...He refreshes my soul..." he continued where he left off, believing that the words would bring him strength.
The animal scoffed. "You will not have time to finish your prayer, human."
Frollo continued, deaf to the mockery. "He guides me along right paths..."
"You're starting to irritate me..."
"For His name's sake..."
"Don't ignore me!"
"Even though I walk-"
With another fierce blow straight under the chin, Claude was once more sent flying backward, this time landing upon his stomach where he sputtered, gasping for air. The sound of footsteps echoed in his ear, slowly getting closer. He let out a groan. "You filthy piece of meat," it sneered.
But once more, he was defiant. It took every breath in him, but he only continued his verses. "E-even though I walk...through the d-darkest valley...ugh..." The creature grasped the judge's hair in a firm hold and wrenched his head backward.
"Look at me!" it hissed, glaring down at him. The Minister did not obey, wracked with pain as he clenched his eyes shut, but the monster continued. "Do you really believe that your God will help you?" Its lips drew back in a disgusted snarl. "You're no better than me!"
His eyes opened and met the creature's. "I will fear no evil..." he whispered. His words no longer hindered the creature's actions, his clawed fingers digging into Claude's scalp and shoulder and twisting his neck so that Frollo was vulnerable to his fangs.
"Send my regards to your God!" it cackled before sinking its teeth into the Minister's neck.
Claude cried out and struggled in its hold before he finished his verse with a shout, "Because He is with me!" The creature suddenly let out a choked sound of its own and released him, though it could not leave his side. The Judge had managed to plunge his poniard deep into the monster's neck. "Damn you!" he cursed and barely gave the creature a moment to question before he had effectively sliced its head off. "There is no place for your soul in this world...filthy demon," he spat as the head and it's body fell lifeless to the ground.
The Judge stood there panting and wounded, but alive. He felt something trickling down his nose and lifted his hand to wipe it away, grimacing as he tasted the creature's blood in his mouth, quite different from his own. Good Lord...he'd need some damn Holy Water to get this taste out of his mouth... A twinge in the muscle that connected his neck to his shoulder alerted himself to a wound there. Had it...bitten him? Yes...yes it had, the animal. But before he could dote on this long, the bite mark began to throb and he grunted, grasping at the wound as the pain only grew with each pang. Eventually, he fell to his knees. Was it poison? Like some kind of snake bite? Impossible, that creature-
I-it's too much...
The pain was suddenly excruciating. He cried out in agony, his screams startling vultures that had gathered nearby to indulge on the remains of the corpses around him. He lifted his hands and face skyward, crying out to the Lord as his skin felt as it was being burned by the flames of Hell itself. Familiar verses began to echo in his head. He shall wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or crying or pain.
A way out...
"My Lord!" he wailed as his body burned with the venom coursing inside him. "Why put me to the test?! I only live to serve You!!!" He stumbled to his feet, his horse long gone after being frighted by the sounds of the fight, and his eyes landed on the Seine. Relief-
"Just take me at once!" With a few quick stumbles, he had run onto the bridge and jumped.
His body was soon enveloped in the cooling water, and he closed his eyes as he allowed himself to sink deeper and deeper. "My feet are deep in the soft earth, where there is no support..." he thought to himself as he prayed for darkness to overtake him. "I have come into deep waters..." Each verse was a question. "The waves are flowing over me..." Each verse was a prayer for the end. "I am tired of my crying... My throat is burning..."
"My eyes are wasted with waiting for my God..."
Chapter 2: The Consequences
When the Minister awoke, his immediate thought was that he was dead, for all he could see was white. But as his senses slowly brought him to, he began to feel the prickle of something cold constantly hitting his skin. His mind soon registered for him that it was snow, falling in soft clumps onto his now bare chest which still sported the slash the beast had marred him with. But what was the most curious thing of all was that the marks had already faded to dull, scar tissue. He blinked in wonder at the weather and shifted, trembling as he moved and felt the slosh of freezing water and cold, algae covered sand slip over his back.
Lacking the strength to sit up, he slowly turned onto his stomach and grasp at a clump of grass on the nearby shore with a grunt in hopes of pulling himself out of his watery grave. Which brought him to a pressing question: Why wasn't he dead? As he managed to claw his way out of the Seine, his strength began to return to him, and he got to his knees, looking to his hands in wonder. His nails were sharpened in a claw-like fashion, the cuts and scrapes he had procured what must have been but a few hours ago completely gone. As he caught his breath from exerting his slowly returning strength, he could not say the exertion was due to pain, merely fatigue. For truly, he did not feel on the verge of death. He felt alive. Almost as if he had been...born again.
As he struggled to his feet, he noticed that the sky was beginning to lighten. He must get back to the palace soon, or people would start to worry. It was only as he stood that he realized his crusader uniform was gone and he only stood in his hose. Was it odd that he found that the strangest thing out of everything so far? With a huff, he shook his head at the idea of the waking people of Paris seeing one of their holy men in his skivvies, and he started jogging quickly to the palace. Luckily, it wasn't too far and he felt no one had seen them. If they had, they hadn't questioned him.
Once inside, he pulled on a comfortable and casual robe, feeling much better as the velvet brushed against his cold skin. He ran a hand through his silver hair and let out a relieved sigh, closing his eyes to settle himself for a moment. The snow had ceased its fall by now, and the ground had been too warm for it to stick. The clouds were slowly parting behind Notre Dame as a flock of some unknown birds made there way through the warming air. It was a familiar sight, but Claude could not quiet his thoughts.
How did he survive his wounds? Where had they gone? And even if he had survived them, what about the freezing waters of the river? Surely he should, at the very least, have a cold? Sighing, he placed his hands on the stone banister of his balcony and closed his eyes in reverence. "Forgive me, Lord..." he rumbled softly. "I should not have questioned your actions...I doubted you for I was weak. And yet you still remain generous to me...and have spared my life..."
He let out another soft breath before the sick stench of burning wafted into his nose. Something was sizzling, and the recognition of this was soon followed by a sharp pain on his hand. His eyes shot open and his hand, having been just approached by a beam of sunlight suddenly revealed from behind Notre Dame, was bubbling and burning away like sticky resin cast into a fire. A cry of pain left him and he quickly retracted the wounded limb, looking at in utter shock. What had just happened? Did the sun burn him??
He stared at the beam coming through the open door before cautiously, he put his hand back under it. The reaction was instant, and once more, he pulled away from the harmful light in astonishment. A cold pit formed in his stomach, and he quickly closed the doors, drawing the curtains. "No..." he thought. "The Lord spared me, but merely to punish me for my doubt. He is generous, but He also brings justice."
He looked down to his hand as he heard the sizzling stop and noticed the skin slowly mending itself before his very eyes. "What...?" he whispered and wiggled his fingers in intrigue. "The...the light of the Lord harms me...but the darkness heals? But...why?" he questioned, brows drawn taut in confusion. "Why would the Lord want me in darkness? Is there something He wishes to show me?" His breathing picked up as everything he was discovering began to overwhelm him with more and more queries.
His eyes locked onto the large, mahogany cross that hung over his fireplace, and he raised his hands desperately to it. "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth!" Hearing nothing, he fell to his knees before the cross, his expression inciting mercy. "Please! Answer me!" he cried. "Please, my Lord! Has it not been said that we are the Light of the world? The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day! So why, Lord?! Why does the darkness seem so bright? Why am I unable to revel in your light?!"
The silence was deafening to him. He could not understand why his Lord did not comfort him, why He shrouded him in this perpetual darkness when His scripture said otherwise. Claude's form slumped, his hands uselessly falling to his sides. What did Lord want him to see? What did He want him to understand?
He sat for a moment, the darkness washing over him like languid hands, rushing up behind his neck, over his chest, in his hair... Perhaps...this was God's plan? He furrowed his brows in thought and saw no reason why it wouldn't be. Everything happened for a reason, no? A sigh left him and he looked dully across the room. "If...this is your will, my Lord..." he looked up. "I will embrace the darkness." His eyes then brightened. "Yes...yes I could use it to my advantage. To sink to the level of those truly immersed in the dark and use it as an instrument of justice. To reach the filthy who do not live under Thy light!"
The judge was grasping for straws. But in the blindness of his own suffering, he conjured up the idea that this curse was a gift. He would be like a wolf in sheep's clothing and smite every blemished lamb that marred the Earth with its presence. For weeks after, the judge was relentless. More fierce and restless than before, he was feeling stronger...faster... His vision was better than a cat's in the dark, his hearing like that of a trained bat. The hunts for the gypsies became easier. So easy...it was fun.
But though he enjoyed the chase, the adrenaline pumping through his veins as he caught more gypsies in a week than he had in the last month, there was something...wrong. Something evil growing inside him that was getting harder and harder to ignore. His hands would tremble and he would clinch the hilt of his sword as a means of comfort. He pretended he wasn't afraid. But he only pretended.
A bountiful buffet sat before him on his long, nicely varnished table. There were bread and butter, grapes and wine, crackers dribbled with jelly. All before him with his nice silverware and lovely china. And yet it had been, what? Two weeks since he had last eaten? Maybe more? Oh, it didn't matter. The gnawing in his stomach made him feel as if it had been years. The hunger was getting to him. He couldn't think straight. But everything tasted wrong, inedible.
Shaking this thought off, he forced himself to stab a grape and bring it to his lips. He was trembling, his face beading with sweat as his body remembered what happened the last time he tried to feed himself. But all he had to do was swallow, right? He needed his strength to return! He forced the grape into his mouth and gulped it down, ignoring the ashen taste. But within the span of only a few seconds, he was retching it right back up, a strange, black fluid choking his lungs. He sputtered, standing up and covering his mouth as he placed a hand against the wall to steady himself. The hunger had grown worse. He needed something, ANYthing, or surely he would die!
But what could he eat...?
"Stay where you are! You are under arrest!"
The frightened gypsies stood in a huddle having just stepped off a small raft from the Seine. Illegally. One held onto his raft, another man, with a long and thick mustache, clung to his wife who clutched a bundle in her arms. But when he saw that it was Judge Claude Frollo arresting them from atop his dark horse, he let out a cry of fear. His wife, terrified by her strong husband's own fear, quickly turned and fled into a nearby alley as she held on tightly to what lay in her arms. Her husband shouted encouraging words after her as the poor woman dodged a guard's gloved hand, infuriating the judge.
"You incompetent buffoon! Out of the way! I will do it myself!" he snapped at the guard and urged his horse into a swift gallop after the fleeing figure. It didn't take long to catch up to her. With every inhale, it was like he could smell her fear. Taste it. Pursuing her was exhilarating! Intoxicating... A voice began whispering in his head. He had to catch her. Catch her of his own accord, with his own hands- and something very good would happen.
What it was? He didn't know, nor did he very much care. All he knew is that he wanted it. And he would get it by whatever means necessary...
A loud, exhilarated laugh left him, his horse's hoove's right on her heels. "Keep running, woman!" he mocked as he envisioned her sentence from not only sneaking into his city but fleeing from him as well with her stolen goods. "Thus saith the Lord! Keep ye judgment, and do justice! For my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed!"
The woman continued to pump her legs as fast as they would allow her, murmuring soft, incomprehensible words between each haggard breath as if speaking to someone. There came the end of a road and a railing that separated the raised land from the cobblestoned streets of the square below. Nimbly, she managed to hop the fence, stopping the Minister in his tracks as he watched after her, panting with crazed adrenaline. "She is fast..." he smirked while she started towards the tall towers of Notre Dame. "But if she thinks she can get away from me..." His tongue swiped over a sharp pair of fangs.
"She is very...wrong..."
The church was in view. Safety was near! "Sanctuary! Please give us Sanctuary!" the gypsy woman cried as she raced for the steps. The horse's hooves pounded in her ears getting closer and closer. But it soon ran passed her, it's rider having vanished and that fact stopping her in her tracks. Where had he gone?? Impossible! He was nowhere to be-
"I've caught you Jezebel...~" purred the judge's voice, the gypsy whirling around to face him in shock. "Don't store up treasures for yourselves treasures on Earth where thieves break in and steal," he grinned ferally as he reached for the bundle in her arms, his fangs in clear view. She screamed.
His clawed hand clamped onto the bundle and pulled, but the woman resisted, crying out in protest. "Give me that, you damned vixen!!" he snarled.
"Noooo! Help! Vampire!!!" she shouted to anyone who may hear.
"QUIET!" With a swift motion of the back of his hand, he had struck her across the face and to the ground. He'd only meant to get the bundle from her. That must be what the voice as speaking of, correct? Yet when she hit the ground, her cries ceased and the judge still felt no different. She was dead. Frowning at this outcome, he looked to his prize and peeled back the soft cloth to reveal and innocent looking, tear-ridden eye. His own eyes widened in shock. "A baby??" Yet when he removed the blanket completely, he found the child to be grotesquely malformed, and he reeled back in disgust. "A monster!" he hissed in mimic of the woman's previous cry, and frantically looked around for a way of disposing of this foul creature. His eyes landed on the well. "Perfect-" he huffed and made his way over to the pit where he held the child high by the cloth of its wrappings.
"For justice! Thou shalt be brought to Hell, to the depths of the pit- demon!"
"Stop!" cried a voice from the steps of the cathedral, and Frollo quickly looked to see the angered gaze of the Archdeacon as he approached him and the woman whose blood now began pooling around her head on the stones. "What have you done?! After you dared strike down one, you would dare strike down another as if its life were worth less than your own?"
"I did not mean to harm her as I did," Frollo spat back, still holding the child precariously over the well. "I was only doing my job. You cannot guilt me," he sneered before pausing as he inhaled something. Something strong. "Wh- what is that smell???" he thought as his eyes began to scour his surroundings wildly, his heart picking up its pace. "Where is it coming from-?" his eyes landed on the woman and he inhaled again. It was...her. There was something he needed from her. His stomach was eating itself as he watched her blood flow into the mortar filled cracks of the steps. What was it?? He couldn't move!
"You boast of evil, Minister," the archdeacon continued, and Frollo grimaced. "You call yourself a hero? You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than truth!" Was that old idiot still talking?? "You can try to use your silver tongue to trick me and lead your minions to do your horrid biddings, but you can never run from the eyes of God, Frollo! Remember Jonah!" Oh, would he just shut-
Wait...maybe he was right. This craving...the gnawing, the aching... He desired something from her that was ghastly, though he knew not what. This was a punishment! Punishment for taking her life when he knew he could have chosen a different way of handling her! His sins were corrupting him. His eyes glanced to the baby whom he had slowly lowered to his side. He was becoming no different from this demon in rags.
"To redeem your soul before the eyes of God, you will care for that child as if it were your own," the Archdeacon continued, cradling the woman's head in his arms and staining his robes crimson.
"There is nothing to redeem! If she were innocent, why did she run??" he challenged, finding it hard to focus on his words as his eyes refocused on the lifeless body before him. "I do not have a duty to this- thing. Besides! I have no room for it. I have dedicated my life to my sacred duty!"
"You will take care of that child, Frollo. If you care for your immortal soul..." the old man persisted. His immortal... Claude was becoming dizzy, and the child wouldn't stop wailing. Good God, he just needed it all to stop. Closing his eyes, he forced himself to let go of his ego.
"Fine-" he bit out.
The Archdeacon nodded solemnly and stood, cradling the woman in his arms. Frollo's eyes trained on her hungrily, barely daring to breathe. "Now come. I am waiting for you inside..." The old man then turned with the body, taking her with him, and his body cried out to him in anguish at the site. It confused him, but he barely had time to think as he fell to his knees, his muscles contracting and releasing, reeling from the stench that was overwhelming him.
"Finally-!" he breathed as his eyes scoured the blood upon the floor. "I thought he'd never go away..." Truly, Frollo had no idea what was coming over him. But part of him knew that whatever he was about to do would never be forgiven by the Archdeacon, and possibly...God Himself. "Argh- this is humiliating!" he growled as he tried to force himself to his feet, but his body fought him all the way. His hand fell down to keep him from falling over completely, panting heavily as he gripped the still crying child in his other arm. He couldn't control himself! "Have mercy, my Lord!" he whispered before he closed his eyes and tried to regain his thoughts. "Stay calm...think...breathe..." he thought, his head hanging over the stinking fluid. He took in a long breath, and his mouth instantly salivated. Without another moment's hesitation, his tongue came out and raked across the blood-soaked stairs.
He let out an ecstatic moan and let himself indulge as he hungrily lapped at the pool of blood, eyes wild and frenzied. "I can't stop- ohhhh yes! It's divine!" he groaned in his mind as he felt his strength beginning to return. His veiny hands were rejuvenated, strong and powerful once more, his pallid face not as much so- Finally, some relief!
He didn't stop until every last drop had been consumed, and he sat there on his hands and knees, panting and sweating like a horse. His actions then slowly began to sink in. Wha...what had he done?? Did he just...he licked blood?? From a dirty gypsy?!
Once more, the Minister could not bear to face his actions as his own, as something sinful and evil. So quickly, his mind latched onto the thought of the demon spawn's mother. That was it! It was her! She had cursed him as she had fled! Bewitched him so that he would be like some animal driven by bloodlust! But now? She was dead. "You can't harm me anymore, Jezebel!" he shouted in his false victory. "Burn in Hell! My Lord has saved me once more!!"
With all his exclamations, the baby began to cry again, and he quickly looked to it in fear. "Hey! Hush! No! Be quiet!" he whispered to it desperately as he berated himself on the inside. Damnit all, he had forgotten about the little demon. He needed to get rid of it. It couldn't come to live in the palace! He'd be humiliated. But if he tried to kill the baby, he'd have to convince the people that its mother was a witch. He'd have to tell them what he had done, what he thought she made him do...
His eyes looked to Notre Dame desperately, and he sighed. It would have to live here. He was sure he could convince the Archdeacon since it seemed he had such a fondness for keeping things alive. As he brought the child into the Cathedral, he kept repeating to himself that what had happened was over. She had cursed him, he had done the deed, but now he was alright and she would curse him no more. And yet, the voice always kept coming back, niggling in the darkest depths of his mind. Didn't you find what you wanted? Didn't I tell you it was going to be good? Minister...
You've always had a taste for BLOOD.
Chapter 3: The Discovery and the Acceptance
The judge had eventually convinced the Archdeacon that the child could not live in the Palace of Justice. That is if that thing really even was a child. They had both settled upon the agreement that it would live in the bell tower as a means of keeping it hidden from prying, jeering eyes. Of course, Frollo would tutor him in return for the hospitality the church was providing. He would be his teacher...his master.
Though he felt that perhaps the creature may prove to have some...use...later on, he couldn't help but feel as though the Archdeacon enjoyed humiliating him. "The Minister already has all of Paris to look after," he had told him. "What's one more baby?" The comment had earned a mocking remark and Frollo had returned to the Palace in a foul mood. Now, he wandered down the vast halls of his extensive library in search of an answer to his newly arisen problems. Some solace in knowledge.
He slowed in a specific aisle and came to a stop in front of one book, decorated with fleur-de-lys upon the leather binding and an ornate cross on the cover. This was what he had been looking for. A book of curses. He had studied it as a child, interested in what he may learn but not entirely believing every scenario that had been presented to him. And yet he did not remember ever running into one that involved licking blood off the ground like some animal. Now, as he sat in his tall-backed chair, he stared at the book with a scowl. He hadn't planned to open the book again, and yet he didn't know what else to do. He was certain that that witch had cursed him. He knew the curse would be broken if he killed her- that he succeeded in. But the identity of the curse still bothered him.
Tossing down his chaperone upon the desk, he let out a sigh and rubbed his eyes tiredly in preparation. It would be fine. He was merely searching for some answers. Opening the book, he began to flip through the pages slowly until a passage caught his eye;
"Cain was cursed by God for the murder of his brother Abel. The Angels of the Creator saw fit to punish him so that he might be redeemed. From that moment forward, Cain found himself condemned to a life of loneliness and eternal life, fearing light, away from the society of mortals..." "Let's just get right to the point," he huffed and skimmed down to the bottom with his finger, his eyes following. "Lâmia: Species natum morsus communtationibus de creatione creator sanguine suo. A species that is born being created from bites and exchanges blood with his own creator..." Frollo's eyes narrowed as he focused more now, bending down to see the words better in the candelabra's faint light.
"Survives by feeding on the vital essence of innocent victims, drinking human blood. As the first murderer, he has no regrets. He must continue murdering to stay alive, away from the divine light. Once cursed, there is no cure. The only escape...is death."
"This is the curse of the vampire."
Frollo sat back, placing his chin in a hand as he stared at his sentence that laid upon those damned pages, his nails tapping against the table rhythmically. This couldn't be. That woman. She had done nothing wrong. But he had still been afflicted for it all made sense. He couldn't touch the sunlight, he could not eat, and that unholy thirst for blood still consumed him!
Suddenly, it clicked. It was that bite from the creature who pursued him so many nights ago! His fist came down upon the table, shaking the candles and extinguishing them quickly. He should have known! That foul beast had made him vile in the eyes of God. HE had cursed him! But why had his Lord allowed it? He had dedicated his life to the ministry! He had remained as straight and as faithful as one of the columns in the cathedral!
"Damn gypsy from Hell!" he shouted in anger and stood quickly, going back to the shelves and beginning to pull out more books in desperation. There must be a cure hidden within one of these pages! He would not let his life of dedication be ruined by some infidel scum! He would not be defeated by a worm! And yet, despite his curses to the dead gypsy, despite his determination, each book said the same thing.
"Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened it's mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand." Frollo's hands came up to clutch his head in despair. He was doomed...
Slowly, Frollo sank to the ground after stumbling into a corner of the room, curling up against the cool stones, his eyes wide as his thoughts tormented him. He begged with the Lord to save him, to uphold his cause for surely He had seen the wrong done to him. He felt himself on the urge of weeping as he silently began to barrage God with questions. Why did the way of the wicked always prosper? Why did the faithless live at ease? Why did He allow such oppression from his enemies? How could he be an instrument of justice now? How could he protect the people of Paris? How would he protect the innocent from /himself/?!
Why had He forgotten him...?
A cry of despair left Claude and he closed his eyes, curling up further and covering his face. "I'm doomed!" he thought. "I will never be able to see the gates of Heaven!" He sneered to himself angrily. "A life of dedication. In pro of thy righteousness. Your word ALWAYS clear to me. Yet you allow me this curse!" he shouted, looking up to the ceiling. "You say that blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be fed with abundance- yet all I am fed with is blood!!!"
Claude slumped once more, closing his eyes again as he wept quietly. Then suddenly, a soft voice began speaking familiar verses in his head.
"I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword..."
Something clicked in his mind and his eyes shot open, peeking between the fingers of his hand. Of course! He lowered his hand and looked up as he slowly accepted his newfound comfort. "It was right before me all along..." he whispered before he got to his feet. "I understand everything now. If that is Your will? Then so be it!" His hands came over the Holy Bible and he clasped it tight against his chest, closing his eyes reverently. The Lord causes the sun to rise on the good and the evil. He sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. But the righteous belonged to Him. So he would take the unrighteous into his own hands for trial. For if the soul was in the blood...
He would purify their souls...