This is a multi-part series exposing the truth behind the attempt on the life of Claude Frollo. Not familiar with certain characters or situations? Please read Back to the Frollo---It's a good place to start. Or, email FSM #14, I'll give you the lowdown!
We -- Claude and I --- immediately returned to 1487 Paris, but not before I sent Jehan an urgent message:
Jehan...we're returning tonight...PLEASE do this for us...search Jule's quarters...look for a .357 magnum, nickel-plated...has initials 'R.D.' engraved on handle...you've seen these before...Kyle showed you one at that gun show...PLEASE! PLEASE! If you find it, please put it in a safe place...Claude and I should be there shortly...
We slipped back into town virtually unnoticed. Claude suggested we stay at Fern's house, even though I thought it was a bad idea. What if our friends in the neighborhood spot him? Then what? It really didn't matter now. It was late, and I was exhausted, not just from the trip through time, but I worried myself weary, knowing that Jules de Chateaupers was out in the streets, carrying a deadly weapon.
"Get some rest, darling", said Claude as he kissed me good-night.
"We should hopefully hear from Jehan." Then he smiled, and reasuredly
put his arm around me. "Danisha...love. Don't worry! I'm sure Jehan
has found Jules by now. And, we finally have some good news. The King believes
us, and my name may be cleared soon. Darling..."
And with that, he kissed me, held me close throughout the night, and reassured me that things will be all right.
It was still very early---not yet dawn---when Claude awakened me. "Darling,
Jehan is here. I have to leave you for a while."
I stirred, then forced myself awake. I wanted to be as coherent as possible. Claude then told me that he and Jehan had been summoned to the Royal Palace. It seemed the King wanted to meet with Claude, Jehan, the d'Arcys, and several others regarding the Great Frollo Switch.
"I shan't be too long, my love", Claude said as he kissed me. "Promise me you will sleep longer; you know how cranky you get when you've not enough rest." I couldn't help from laughing at this comment. I returned his kiss, walked him to the door, then watched him, with his brother, quickly and quietly make their way up the street. I went back to bed, but I couldn't go back to sleep. I lied there, in my bed, my hand stroking and caressing the now-vacant spot next to me. I began having this uneasy feeling that something was about to go terribly wrong.
Jehan and Claude Frollo, sitting side-by-side in a cramped carriage, began to converse as they journeyed towards the Royal Palace.
"Jehan, as soon as this is over, I need to go to Notre Dame--I have to see Quasimodo. Danisha was right--I have to set things right by him", said Claude.
Jehan Frollo, his face a curious mixture of delighted relief and frustration,
responded to his brother, "Pardon my honesty, dear Claude, but you're
not exactly the Archdeacon's favorite person. And exactly what would
you say to Quasimodo? Claude, you simply can't move on with your life as
though nothing has happened! It would be too much of a shock for everyone."
Claude grew impatient, for he was more than "anxious to expose Jean-Michel du Champs for the monster he is! Then I'll deal with his bastard son, and those conspiring gypsy devils..."
Jehan blurted out, to the shock of Claude, "Jean-Michel is dead! For I saw him fall from Notre Dame, in an attempt on the lives of Quasimodo and that gypsy girl! Ask any Parisian! They were all there! Ask Celie! We both witnessed the entire tragedy before I returned her to the chateau. Ask Andre and Hubert d'Arcy, who, incidentally, went to great lengths to convince the King of the truth!"
Claude Frollo reeled, totally stunned by this news. He then asked his brother, "Jehan, any word on Malus? I mean, has he left town, is he still in hiding? Now, that his father is gone..."
Jehan Frollo, in a flat, sorrowful voice, replied, "My dear Claude,
that's something else you should know. I didn't want to go into detail
until now, but..."
He fell silent. Claude Frollo, impatiently awaiting news on Jean-Michel du Champs' bastard son, spat out his words, "Jehan, whatever you have to say---Come out with it!"
Jehan then recounted what happened the night after Jean-Michel's death,
and Claude's escape. He told how Malus had broken into the d'Arcy home,
stolen items, only to be caught by Andre d'Arcy and his niece, Solange.
And how Malus was killed --- bashed in the head by his own brother, even
though Jules had no idea...it was so dark.
"Malus is dead?!", Claude exclaimed in shock. "Jules...killed his own brother...I knew it would come to this, eventually. I always knew, deep in my heart, that Malus would meet a violent end ", Claude added bitterly.
Then Claude remembered something even more urgent as he asked his brother, "Oh yes, that weapon---Did you find it?" Jehan wearily replied, "No. I found nothing. I searched Jules' quarters, the barn, the stables. Nothing that remotely resembles a firearm."
Now Claude Frollo was truly worried. But the real, possible targets of Jules' rage are dead...who could he possibly go after?
Claude then snapped his fingers. "The Court of Miracles! After all, those gypsies conspirators are the only pieces left to this puzzle." Jehan Frollo, his face showing marked concern, said, "But Claude, even after twenty years of diligent searching, you've never found the Court of Miracles. Jean-Michel did that in one night --- for reasons of his own. But if Jules is seeking revenge...Wait! He doesn't know the whole, horrid story surrouding Malus' paternity, about Jean-Michel's involvement with Adele...Perhaps, Jules has left the country."
Claude Frollo, his fingers drumming the edge of the carriage seat, pondered a bit, then said, "Hmm...You are correct. Neither Jules nor Renee know the entire truth. But we cannot ignore the fact that a troubled boy, brandishing a destructive weapon, is loose--somewhere. Why, there is no telling of the damage he could inflict."
Jehan then asked Claude, "Should we tell Nisha about all this...I mean, about Malus and Jean-Michel being dead and all?"
Claude Frollo sadly shook his head, saying, "No, Jehan. She has
enough on her mind as it is." He then took a deep breath and said,
"I think it's best we don't tell her; I don't ever want her upset,
and this news could very well push her over the edge."
Claude peered out as the carriage stopped in front of the Royal Palace. He and Jehan cautiously made their way up the many steps. Suddenly, Claude said to Jehan, "After our interview with His Majesty, we are going to find the Court of Miracles. And I know just the person who can help me. After all, he's been there before."
Jules de Chateaupers huddled against the early morning chill, clutching
a curious woven band he snatched off his brother's body. Glad I took
this before they took Malus' body away. I think it belonged to one
of those gypsies he used to run around with. I wonder, though, if it has
anything to do with a gypsy street gang...perhaps a secret symbol of sorts...maybe...of
course not...it can't be!
Jules snuggled against the headstones marking the graves of his parents.
He held up the curious little item, studied it, then began to cry. I'm
sorry Mama...I'm sorry Papa...but I have to find out why Malus turned out
so badly...you were always good to me and Renee...we're fine now...have
a new home and family...but I need to do this...please...forgive me...it's
the only way I know to set things right...THAT'S IT!
Jules examined further the gypsy talisman, turning it over and over, when it finally dawned on him that this was a map! It could only be just that...a map to some gypsy hideout...'cause here's Notre Dame...that's the cross...and this blue yarn...that has to be the river...and these other bands are the streets...so...if this is the cathedral...and this is the street I traveled to get here...Hmm...Let's see...that would put me...
"HERE!", exclaimed Jules out loud. "I'm here!",
he said, pointing to the symbol on the band. "Because there's the
crypt, and that symbol matches the one on the band!" At once, Jules
entered the crypt. Hmm...someone's opened this...someone's been here
before...must've been those gypsies. Now to find their hideout...
Jules slowly descended the steps leading to the old catacombs. Taking a lighted torch, Jules slogged his way through fetid waters, his nostrils stung by the stench of rotting sewage. I don't care if it smells bad...this place is creepy enough...all these skeletons...Have to push on..find Malus' gypsy...what did Mlle. Nisha call them? 'Homies' and 'roadies'? She always had something funny to say...I liked her...wonder if I'll ever see her again...Never mind...got to push on...
Jules continued his journey, not knowing that, from a safe distance, someone was closely following him.
My pager awakened me with a loud, steady beep. Is that Claude? What time is it? My watch...nearly ten?! Did I sleep that long? My baby's got a message for me...
My darling Nisha...This conference is taking longer than I'd expected...We are at the Royal Palace with the d'Arcys, and key government officials..They believe us! Be a good girl...stay home...Jules may be loose on the streets...Oh yes...Quasimodo knows...he is here...expect him and Jehan later this afternoon...they are going to the Court of Miracles...hopefully Jules may not have gone there. His Majesty has all details of my 'return' mapped out...Oh yes...I just heard this from Andre...Solange is missing...perhaps in Paris...not sure...It's why I need you to stay at home...in case she turns up...dearest Nisha...you will do this for me? I love you so...I'll stay in touch...All my love, Claude.
Oh Claude! Hopefully things can finally get back to normal.
Wonder how Quasi took the news? No word on Esmeralda or Phoebus...must've
slipped out of town and got married..Claude said Phoebus had a crush on
Oh God...Solange is...missing? How? Wonder if Malus, or that son-of-a-***** Jean-Michel got to her...Not Solange!..she's so sweet...I really like her...and her husband...hmm..what's his name? Terry..Tyler...THIERRY!...that's it! ...
This whole nightmare keeps getting worse and worse...wonder how Renee is holding up...
And where's Jules in all this? I swear if that kid has that gun...he better not plan on using it!
Jules finally reached a series of tunnels. Glad I'm out of that stinking hell-hole...It's fairly dark in these tunnels...Wonder if I'm in the right place... have to be 'cause that what this band shows...What is that? A bit of light coming from down that way...let's see what it is...I think that's it! The Court of Miracles I've heard so much about! Now I can face those gypsy thugs who lead my brother astray...
Jules held his torch high as he neared the end of the tunnel. Just a few more yards and...
Suddenly, he felt hands grab him. Instantly, Jules was blindfolded, his hands bound behind him. A rough-edged voice then addressed him.
"Jules de Chateaupers! How very clever of you to find our little hideaway! Clopin will be mighty pleased--He will especially want to talk to you!"
Jules felt himself being led to what he hoped was the Court of Miracles. All he heard was uproarious laughter and sarcastic remarks as several gypsy men forcibly hurled Jules to the floor. Every muscle in his body cried out; his cries of pain went unheeded.
"What do we do with him, Clopin?", asked a feminine voice.
The self-proclaimed King of the Gypsies, Clopin, strolled over to Jules semi-conscious body. He nudged Jules with his foot , and said, "My dear, young Jules is about to learn the truth--And I mean the whole truth: His mother, Jean-Michel du Champs, and his brother."
Clopin then asked some of his men if they've "seen that miserable product of Jean-Michel's loins".
Jules, partially regaining consciousness, overheard Clopin and responded, "My brother...Malus...is dead. I've killed him."
GO TO PART 12!
(c)Copyright FrolloFreak FSM#14, 1998