How far we have come...
Claude Frollo, the Minister of Justice, read the pager's message again: "You promised you'd be here."
Well, I did promise, and I've always kept my word...After all, it's the right thing to do, and I would love to see her again...
Claude removed his hat, sat at his desk, then scanned the piles of correspondence
to be answered, the documents to be signed, the warrants to be issued.
He sighed and pushed the papers from his sight. No, he thought, this is
more important; after all, he had promised Danisha he'd do this -- He'd
promised her entire family.
There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that will stop me from attending this most important occasion.
Minister Frollo unlocked the deep drawer in which contained the memories
of his 14th lady. And there were so many years' worth of memories! He removed
each and every item, then began to examine each piece, one by one. Here's
her 'photograph', a lovely woman...So beautiful and full of life.
Claude studied the photographic image of the woman who came to him so many years ago. She was well past forty now, although the years had yet to show on her face. Her large brown eyes were still young and fine, the honeyed caramel skin unlined, the full dark-cherry lips ready to part with a winning smile. She had gained a few pounds since...
But she told me that was normal...However, those few extra inches do look rather appealing...
Claude Frollo smiled as he continued to study the photograph, his eyes
taking in every detail. Her simple black dress skimmed her plump feminine
curves. The oversized gold bead necklace highlighted her coloring. Her
hair was upswept in a stylish twist, exposing the massive gold earrings
that swung from her lobes.
Claude allowed a flood of memories to engulf him, memories of that first encounter and of the many adventures that followed. She was different. A woman of the late 20th Century no less. How overwhelmed, how thoroughly thunderstruck he was when he learned about her, and of her time. He even had the rare pleasure to travel to her time.
The things I've seen and learned...
Claude's thoughts turned to Fern Grigsby, the woman who had the distinction
of being one of Frollo's most unusual spies. She was from the future as
well, as were the brilliant inventors of the time traveler: Jacqueline
Darcey-Terrell and her husband Antoine.
What wonders these two have wrought! Traveling through time and space...Jacqueline wanted to research her family tree...She found her African and her French ancestors...So did Danisha...
His Grace arose from his desk and walked to the window facing the street.
Not too many people out this late afternoon, but then again, it's the weather
-- so inhospitable. Indeed the weather had turned ugly almost immediately
after Claude returned to his own time. The snow and cold had been unbearable
and His Grace was looking forward to a pleasant evening with his 14th lady
and her family...and with someone else.
He sighed again as he returned to his desk, and began to leaf through a family photo album -- a gift from Danisha's father, Professor Joseph Wood. "Just a token of our appreciation," Joe told Claude one bright day last summer when he presented the album to Judge Frollo.
It was the annual Wood family reunion and Nisha's parents wanted to do something special for Claude. Even though he and Nisha weren't married, Joe and Geraldine still considered Claude Frollo part of the family, especially since...
Yes, especially since...It was a wonderful day...
A broad smile spread over His Honor's face as he scanned this photographic journal. No other person from his time had laid eyes upon this album, not even Jehan or Quasimodo. This is mine, and mine alone...Besides, what possible explanation could I offer if ANYONE from my time ever saw this?
Claude Frollo enjoyed a quiet chuckle then pored over the pictures. There's Jacqueline and Antoine with their little family...Twin boys at that! And there's Kyle and Michelle...She is presently expecting...Ah, and there are Nisha's sisters, Vernice and Cherie...Vernice has three children: Annie, Dante, and...Now his given name is "Amari"-- an African name, but his mother nicknamed him 'Tubber'...A very bright boy at that! Look at this charming image of Annie. She is eleven now, such a naturally loving and selfless child...
Claude's eyes dropped to the portrait of an elderly woman surrounded
by loving family and friends. And Claude Frollo himself had the pleasure
to attend this special occasion. This one was taken nearly six years
ago, right before she...
The woman was Perle Darcey, Jacqueline's great-aunt. She had celebrated her 100th birthday and the party given by her family was one of the most talked about social events in the community. Perle Darcey had the distinction of being the family historian.
It was from Mlle. Perle, as Claude addressed her, that His Grace learned of the Darceys French ancestors. What Claude found so earth-shattering was that one of Jacqueline's French ancestors was none other than his good friend Andre D'Arcy. How amazing! How utterly amazing that I learned of the connection between myself and my 20th Century friends.
Andre never learned of this; well, none of the family learned of this, except for Solange, Andre's niece. She had promised Claude and Danisha that she would never tell a soul about His Grace's futuristic friends. Andre d'Arcy went to his grave never knowing that 'young Jacqueline' was his American descendant.
A tear welled in Claude's eye, but did not fall, as he recalled the
deaths of two very special people. For a few weeks after that party, Andre
d'Arcy and Perle Darcey, two people separated by time and space, passed
away within seconds of each other.
Claude Frollo received the news of Andre's passing two weeks after he had received a similar message from Danisha. Andre d'Arcy passed from life while en route to Paris from Venice; he had suffered a massive heart attack from which he never recovered.
Perle Darcey died in her sleep, a peaceful death without pain or suffering. When her nephew, Ronald Darcey, found her the next morning, the book she was reading was still clutched in her hand and the radio was still emitting her favorite gospel music.
"It's as if she was determined to go home to her Creator while doing the things she loved," was how part of Danisha's message read.
So Claude Frollo grieved a bit for two people who were very much a part of his life. But the grief didn't last long for a few days after Andre's and Mlle. Perle's passing, Claude Frollo experienced one of the most magnificent events of his life. How incredible! My beloved...
"Your Grace!" Claude's recollection was rudely disturbed by the shrill sound of a young servant's voice. The young man hesitantly entered the room; his voice trailed off just short of the doorway. Claude shot this inexperienced boy a look that could corrode steel bars.
Clearly enraged that his privacy had been interrupted, Claude Frollo
barked at the young man, "How dare you enter without knocking! And
how many times do I have to tell you NOT to shout 'Your Grace' at the top
of your lungs?"
Claude Frollo rolled his eyes heavenward and muttered, "Why?" as the boy began to speak. The poor kid's voice quaked and quivered with sheer nervousness.
"A woman stopped by and asked to give you this message."
"A woman?", replied His Grace. He wondered if...
The boy continued, "Sir, Madame Fern said that she was presently busy,
but she would meet with you out in the stables..." Claude cut the boy short,
demanded that the note be handed over, then dismissed the servant without
All alone in his study, Claude opened the plain white paper then smiled as his eyes scanned each and every word. It was a note from Fern Grigsby, the woman who had forever changed his life.
Hey Claude!Fern...Such a wonderful woman...I am forever grateful to her...
I'm out at my Paris house and wondered if you'd like a ride to the 21st. I know you have the new super-charged time traveler, but since our destination's the same, we can keep each other company. Oh yeah, I got a message from Danisha. She sends her apologies for not being here but we both know she has her hands full. Why don't you rest up and I'll be there in a couple of hours. One more thing -- Dress warmly. If you think the weather's bad here, wait till you get to Indy in the 21st! See you in a little while.
Yes, Claude indeed needed his rest but he insisted on sifting through
more than ten years' worth of memories. He began leafing through Danisha's
journals which chronicled their many adventures.
There was that first encounter; then there was the conspiracy against him, and Danisha was there to save his life. Then there was the near breakup of a unique relationship. A man from Nisha's past had reentered her life and made her days difficult in the extreme. That man, Brandon Bell, had threatened Danisha so much that she felt compelled to keep silent about many things -- Things that Claude would've understood.
But Nisha kept everything bottled up inside her, so much that she neglected her very well being. As a result, she suffered a miscarriage and nearly bled to death. Our child, Nisha...
Shortly afterwards, Nisha was at Death's door again. Only this time,
Claude was there to save her life. The Minister of Justice, a man
of the 15th Century, donated his own blood to save his 14th lady's life.
"My blood continues to flow through her veins. As she once said to me, 'Love makes one do these things'," he muttered to himself as he read through her journals.
Claude Frollo smiled again as he scanned the pages that chronicled that
madcap adventure of Fern's brother, Daniel Ignatius McMullen.
"What is his nickname? 'Iggy'. I've never addressed him, or any of Nisha's friends by their sobriquets. Daniel was instrumental in preserving history, as I was instrumental in preserving his history."
Indeed, Minister Frollo was the key in altering Iggy's life. The overgrown flower child was still very much the 'old hippie'. yet marriage and family life had somewhat mellowed him. Iggy and his wife Cissy had made it their mission in life to travel throughout history, observe red letter events in the making, and reporting their findings to 20th, then 21st, Century schoolchildren.
Of course, Iggy and Cissy's presence in Claude Frollo's life was a godsend in that this remarkable couple had not only saved the lives of His Grace and Danisha, but also helped to preserve past events. "Or else," reasoned Fern, "none of us would be here right now." And Fern was right.
As Claude continued to scan the pages of Nisha's journal, he couldn't
help but think how HE had helped preserve history.
The things I've seen...The people I've met...I've witnessed the march of history, and both Nisha and I nearly lost our lives...Jehan! It was all his fault! If it wasn't for his stupid carelessness, his dissipated lifestyle, his utter lack of selflessness....
Claude Frollo slammed the book shut, walked over to the small table, and poured a cup of wine. He grimaced as he sipped the dark red liquid. But the hardened expression wasn't from the wine's slightly acrid flavor -- It was from the knowledge that his own brother's sloppiness had plunged Claude and Nisha into a dangerous journey through the annuls of history.
Four eras to be exact, and each had it's own historical importance. How, Claude Frollo thought, could his young, irresponsible brother have been so stupid, so thoughtless?!
Minister Frollo's mind raced back to that day -- slightly more than
two weeks ago this very day -- when he received a rather distressing call
from Jacqueline. Of course, Nisha had insisted that personally accompanying
His Grace on this journey would be helpful. She was quite the persuasive
"Claude, I've seldom helped you with official business; however, just this once, you'll need my help -- Heck, you'll need help from ALL of us." By 'all of us', she meant Daniel, Cissy, Jacqueline, Antoine, and Fern, as well as herself.
And all of the near tragedies of the past few days could have been avoided if Jehan had been more careful. After all, I would have had that man arrested and executed by now, and not have spent several days chasing him through time!
Claude Frollo, wine cup in hand, sat at his desk once again and began to read Danisha's words. It's amazing how she kept this current, even when she...How awful it was to witness my beloved in bondage! The pain and humiliation she endured all because of that brother of mine...
Claude Frollo learned much from his adventures through time. He
learned a great deal about Danisha, and of himself...
A flashback...Claude and Nisha receive "souped-up" time travelers...A holiday gala marred by disturbing news...
Go to Book One:Part Two!
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