In the Cathedral of Notre Dame daylight fell through the mosaic windows, creating colorful patterns on the floors. The Cathedral was beautifully lit by wax candles, put there by people who had come to pray for their loved ones. Benches were placed in the center of the cathedral, and here the people of Paris came to kneel before the Holy Virgin and send her their most heartfelt prayers.
A slender woman walked up the aisle. Her raven curls, her emerald eyes and her bronzed skin made her different from the winter-pale Parisians. Her colors and the way she dressed showed she belonged to the gypsy people who had recently come to Paris. The woman looked at the people kneeling in prayer, a look of pity and sadness in her eyes. Would there be someone listening to them, or did He turn a blind eye to the people's needs? Slowly she made her way all the way to the statue of the Holy Virgin. She stood and watched it for a while, noticing how exotic it seemed compared to the other statues. Reaching out a slender hand, she touched the cold surface of the statue, singing softly a heartfelt prayer.
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2014 0:59:37 GMT -5 by Esmeralda
Just outside the cathedral of Notre Dame was a small shop, it's windows dark and floorboards quiet. It had a wonderful view of the front of the cathedral, just the way the occupant liked it. Peering through the window were two sharp eyes, yellow with a small hint of green in the irises. They blinked every once and a while, disappearing briefly when a person happened by, only to return to their staring-contest with the great stone building.
Kovu rested on the floor of the old shop, the hiding place of the gypsies while in Paris. He could hear the tiny patter of his son's feet as he explored the shop, the ten-year old a master of stealth. Elietta was gone to her job, working in a pub on the other side of town. For now, the lion was on baby-sitting duty, both of his wife and youngest son.
Esmeralda had insisted upon visiting the cathedral, despite the danger of the daylight hours. Kovu, the ever protective husband, had made no complaints, yet knew that he would have to keep her safe from the gaze of Frollo and his goons. He could not deny her a trip to this sacred place, but he knew better than to let her go alone.
There was a smash behind him and the lion whipped around with razor speed. Haidar stood in the corner, his hand half-reached to the shelf, broken shards of pottery at his feet. "Sorry Father," he whispered, his face frozen in fear. "I didn't mean to . . ."
"You must stay quiet, son," growled Kovu. "I don't want anyone to know we are here. We can't let the Judge find this place or he will be one step closer to the Court of Miracles."
Haidar plopped down onto the ground, crossing his arms in a huff. Kovu knew that his son tired of his stake-out missions, but Esmeralda was taking too great a risk coming to Notre Dame in the middle of the day. Knowing the wily mind of Frollo, Kovu could not take the risk of leaving her without a fighting force.
Not far from the empty shack where Kovu kept watch was another person peering from the shadows. The young girl looked around at the curious shops and people, timid yet intrigued by their appearance. She wore a cloak over her shoulders, protecting her from the cold and the prying eyes of the strangers. Her clothes were plain yet still more cultural than those she saw the local women wearing. Glancing down, she knew her Water Tribe clothing would be instantly noticed as odd.
Taking a deep breath, the girl darted out of the shadows and rushed across the road. There was a large building there, covering the entire block. Surely there was something important there! Tugging at the large doors, she slipped inside and pressed her back against the wood. She squeaked as it slammed shut, the echo rolling along the long passageway. Glancing around, Katara slipped her hood off of her head and took a tiny step forward. There was no going back now.
Esmeralda stood in front of the statue of the Holy Virgin as she sent her heartfelt prayer. Just like the other times she had been here, she asked for nothing for her own sake. She had everything a woman could wish for in life: a loving and protective husband and two adorable children she loved more than life itself. Now she was here to pray for the child she carried under her heart. She hoped it would be born well and alive.
Hearing the feet of soldiers marching in the streets outside, she knew it was a risk for her to come here. She knew that Judge Claude Frollo was still searching for her - but she also knew that her beloved husband - her Kovu - would never let anyone catch her. She also knew that her sweet little Haidar was safe with Daddy. Elietta worked in a pub, but there were gypsy musicians also at the pub and they would protect her in case of trouble.
"Dear heavenly Virgin, hear my prayer," she whispered. "You were also a mother once. Protect the child I carry under my heart and let it be born safe and sound. Send us your blessings, sweet Mother."
Finishing her prayer, she made a cross sign across her chest and lit a wax candle in fond memories of her lost loved ones, among them the woman that once had raised her as her daughter. As she turned to leave the Cathedral she spotted a young girl with long hair, looking just as exotic as herself. Walking down the aisle she greeted the girl with a friendly smile.
"Welcome to Paris and Notre Dame, young friend," she greeted. "You seem lost. Is there something I can do for you?" Looking around to see if there were any guards nearby she lowered her voice to a whisper, so only the girl could hear her. "My name is Esmeralda. I am a gypsy and should not be here now. You can come with me if you like, but we need to leave quickly - before the Judge finds out I am here."
Going further into the building, step by timid step, Katara heard a soft voice nearby. Glancing around a pillar, she saw a raven-haired woman speaking to a tall statue. She was holding her hands close to her body, very demure in her speech and her eyes spoke of kindness. The girl listened to her prayer, a protection wish for her unborn child. The waterbender closed her eyes and bowed her head, her fingers caressing the blue choker around her neck.
Suddenly the voice turned to her and she gasped in surprise. "Oh, I am sorry," she said swiftly. "I didn't mean to disturb you." Pausing, she removed her hand from her necklace. "I could not help but overhear that you are expecting a child. Congratulations! Does your husband know?"
Katara smiled slightly when the girl welcomed her to a place called Paris. "I am lost, it is true," she admitted, a worry now appearing in her eyes. "I was travelling with my friends on the ocean when we came across a terrible storm. I must have been knocked unconscious in the wave as I woke up near this city. I have never see anything like this before."
She listened as the woman introduced herself as a gypsy named Esmeralda. "I am Katara of the Water Tribe," she replied. "Is there a reason you cannot come here? I have noticed there are few people that look like us . . ."
Before she could ask who this Judge was, she heard the doors slam open and the pounding of many feet. A tall, slender man entered in front of a group of soldiers, his grey eyes searching with razor precision. He was dressed from head to toe in black robes, a tri-cornered hat set on his aged head. His spider like hands were folded before him, a perfect sign of unwavering power.
During her prayer, Esmeralda felt someone looking at her. There was nothing threatening about the presence, so she finished her prayer without feeling alarmes. As she ended her prayer and turned around, she smiled to the young girl as she heard a small gasp of surprise.
"Oh you did not disturb me, child," she replied. "I had finished my prayers anyway, and it remains to be seen if they will be answered." A warm smile of motherly pride appeared on her face as Katara congratulated her with the child. "Thank you. It is my third child. I also have a 14 year old daughter and a 10 year old son. My daughter works in an inn not far away from here." She nodded as Katara asked if her husband knew about the baby. "Yes, I informed him when I suspected I was pregnant again. He looks forward to the new child. We only hope it will be born safe and sound - not an easy thing to ask for in times like these."
The gypsy listened as Katara spoke of travelling on the ocean. The river Seine streamed through Paris, but it ended in the ocean Katara might have sailed on. She had seen this ocean as she traveled Europe with her gypsy friends and her beloved family. "Yes, there are many terrible storms in that area," she nodded. "Many ships have sunk there as they crashed against the shore. You did not see your friends when you woke up? I can see you are alone now." She looked around when Katara spoke of not having seen anything like this before. "The place where we are now is called the Notre Dame Cathedral," she said. "The people working on the exterior wishes for it to be the most beautiful Cathedral in France. This is where the Parisians come to pray and sacrifice to the Holy Virgin and our saints."
The girl introduced herself as Katara of the Water Tribe. Esmeralda had never heard of a Water Tribe before, but she had yet to see all of the world. "What is a Water Tribe?" she asked interested. "And where is your homeland? I can see you are not from here." When Katara asked why she could not come here, she looked around watchfully to see if there were any signs of the city guards. "The Parisian society do not like people who look different than themselves," she explained. "The reason there are few people that look like us is that Judge Frollo and the city guards arrest them as soon as they show up. The ones unlucky to be arrested, are never seen again, and the rest of us try to stay out of sight for the guards."
She froze as she heard the pounding of many feet outside the Cathedral. Grabbing Katara, she quickly dragged her with her into the darker parts of the Cathedral, making sure they both were hidden in the shadows. She was not sure if Judge Frollo had seen them, but she hoped they could get out of here alive. "That is the Judge," she whispered to Katara. "That is the man who spends his life arresting people like us. He calls us vermin, street rabble and outcasts."
Not very far away from the Cathedral, young Elietta was busy in her first job - serving food and wine to the customers of the inn. The customers here were mainly ordinary people, and none of them seemed to have any troubles being served by a gypsy girl. Even if Elietta looked human, she had also inherited traits from her lion father Kovu. Her eyes were green, almost cat-like, and she had a very sharp hearing. Being a Daddy's girl, she had spent much of her childhood crawling around her father, and he had trained her to sneak around like a lion would do when hunting. Elietta knew how to sneak when she needed, and thus she had no problems showing up for work in spite of the city guards. Being 14 years old, she was not a stranger to pull a prank on the city guards either, if they hindered her from getting back home. So far they had not caught her.
She was carrying a tray of food towards a table when she overheard a conversation between the two men at the table. They spoke of Judge Claude Frollo. Elietta sharpened her ears and pretended being busy placing their bowls of food before them while eavesdropping to the conversation. "It is true my friend," the first man said. "The Judge returned to the City this morning. I was surprised to see him myself. I thought he had gone to his Summer house." The other man shook his head as he opened the purse to give their young waitress her tip money. "Then he must have been called here by business," he said. "I spoke to one of the City guards around 10 minutes ago, and he said they had been ordered to Notre Dame..."
Elietta's eyes widened in terror. Notre Dame? Now? The Judge couldn't go to Notre Dame - then he would find Mother! Snagging her tip money, she made a polite curtsey to the customer before she rushed out of the room and into the streets. According to the customer, he had spoken to the City guard 10 minutes ago. It could still be time... Her heart was pounding in her chest as she ran, her long hair waving around her head. Without hesitation she ran into the dark shop where she knew her father and brother would be waiting for Mother to return from her prayers.
"Daddy, help!" she called out, struggling to catch her breath. "I overheard a conversation at work. Judge Frollo has returned to town, and the City Guards have been ordered to enter Notre Dame! They may be there already!"
Katara was glad that she had not disturbed the woman in her prayers, knowing that such things were a personal matter deserving of respect. She was happy to speak with the woman, who seemed very kind for someone so young. The girl's eyes widened as the woman explained her family, her two elder children and the unborn child she was carrying. "They must be a handful," she giggled. "My brother and I had to take care of the village kids during the war and they were always mischievous. I cannot wait to have children of my own, though."
The waterbender was glad to know that the ocean was not far away. Perhaps her brother and Aang were still there, searching for her. "They were no where to be seen," she confessed, now a worry coming into her voice. "I must find them as soon as I can. I am worried that they may be hurt or worst."
Looking at the interior of the building again, Katara listened as the woman explained it's purpose. "So it is a temple?" she wondered. "We have nothing so large back home. Unless you count the Air Temples, but those have not been seen for a hundred years. They are high on the tops of mountains, reachable only by flying. My friend Aang was born at the Southern Temple."
When asked about her homeland, the girl fell quiet. She was unsure if she should share her powers in this strange land, knowing that few would understand it. Yet, the woman had opened up to her, so she should do the same by courtesy. "The Water Tribes live on the poles of the Earth, North and South. I am from the Southern Tribe, where I lived with my brother and GranGran for many years. We live in the ice and snow, yet it is very comfortable. We honor the Moon and Ocean spirits, Lai and Tui, as they gave our people our livelihood."
As the woman explained about the Judge, Katara shook her head. "We have people like that back home as well, from the Fire Nation. The Air Nomads were killed because of them, their entire culture destroyed because they were looking for someone. Only my friend Aang survived . . ."
Distracted by the new arrivals, Katara gasped as Esmeralda drug her away into the shadows. "Is there no other way out?" she whispered. "The door is blocked!"
Post by Judge Claude Frollo on Nov 16, 2014 11:07:27 GMT -5
The noble judge marched down the main corridor of the cathedral, his fingers laced together in absolute surety of his divine purpose. "Search all the cloisters and corridors," he told the Captain. "I know they are here, I can smell their infernal stench."
Passing a side chamber, the old man stopped and closed his eyes, a scent coming to his long nose. It was familiar, sweet and intoxicating. As the scent was processed by his brain, he opened his eyes in a deadly flash. She was here! The devil witch who had cursed him with an aching heart and other unnatural feelings.
"Ahh, so you thought it wise to return," he called out loudly, a wide grin on his face. "You should have known that I would find you one day, demon. Show yourself now and perhaps I will be less harsh on you. I would hate to let harm befall that horrid family of yours. The daughter would be a fine servant in my house while the boy would be lovely practice for my guards in combat. As for that filthy husband of yours, well, a nice rug before my hearth would not be so bad!"
Kovu was ready to move his lookout spot, sensing the restlessness of his son, when he heard running feet on the road outside. Lowering into a crouch, he barred his teeth, ready to strike. A familiar scent came to him and he spotted bouncing raven hair out of the window. "Esme?" he wondered, straightening up.
As Eiletta burst through the door, the lion knew something was wrong. His eyes grew wild as the girl explained Frollo's whereabouts.
"Take Haidar back to the Court of Miracles," he ordered. "I need to go to your mother."
"But Dad . . ."whined the boy.
Kovu gave a this-conversation-is-done growl and looked back at his two children. "Do as I say, Haidar," he snapped. "There is no time for arguments. You mother needs my help. Go now!"
As the two children vanished into the dark, the lion slipped out of the shop. He knew a secret way into the cathedral, one that Esme had shown him if he should ever need to enter during the daytime. I only hope I am not too late! he feared.
Esmeralda smiled proudly when she thought of Kovu and her children. It was true that her children were quite a handful - especially Elietta who was Daddy's girl and insisted on only taking orders from him. Esmeralda was glad that Kovu had always been there for her, helping her to raise their children. Haidar was easier to raise, Esmeralda thought. He wasn't unwillling to listen to his mother or do as she asked him. "My children can be quite rambunctious," she admitted. "But they have kind hearts in spite of all their pranks, and they would never hurt someone they loved on purpose. I am quite certain you will have children of your own one day too. Your father must be busy fending off suitors already. My eldest daughter Elietta is only 14 years old, and already the boys have started noticing her. My husband keeps watch over her to protect her purity until her wedding day."
A glimpse of worry appeared in her eyes when she learned that Katara's brother and friend were nowhere to be seen after their ship crashed in the storm. Normally this was not a good sign, but the gypsy didn't express her concern. It had happened before that people had survived after their ships sank, and she hoped the best for the two young men. "Traveling to the nearest ocean is a journey that takes three or four hours by horse and wagon," she said. "If we are lucky we might find a small fisherboat that could bring us there, but the currents of the sea can be quite dangerous this time of year. If you wish, you can come with me, and we'll hear among my people if anyone there can bring you to where you last saw your brother and your friend."
When Katara asked if this building was a temple, Esmeralda nodded with a smile. "Yes, a kind of temple," she explained. "A place for worship of the God you believe in - a place to send your prayers and hope that someone might hear them and respond to them." She listened with interest as Katara spoke of something she called the Air Temples, her eyes widening when Katara said the only way to reach them was to fly. "I assume there are not many visitors to those Temples?" she asked. "I don't know many persons who can fly. Elietta tried to fly once, after her grandfather had called her his little angel, but luckily my husband managed to prevent the disaster from happening. The crazy girl - all the pranks she can come up with... I would love to see the Southern Temple of your homeland one day. Perhaps I can talk my husband and my children into traveling there? I could use a family vacation..."
When Katara spoke of the Water Tribe, Esmeralda listened with interest. The girl spoke of a land of ice and snow, and the gypsy thought it sounded cold, but Katara claimed it was very comfortable. She had never heard of the Moon and Oceanspirits Lai and Tui before, but they sounded like very interesting spirits. "They seem like friendly spirits," she smiled and nodded. "I have a friend who also believes in Spirits. Her name is Pocahontas and she belongs to the Powathan tribe of the New World. She is very kind. My children love her and call her auntie. I think you would have liked her."
As Katara spoke of someone she called the Fire Nation, Esmeralda listened with an expression of sadness in her eyes. She thought the Fire Nation behaved like the City guards here in Paris. "Just like Judge Frollo and his goons," she responded. "The City guards burned down all of Paris just because they searched for me. Judge Frollo is a very dirty old man with a lust for innocent young women - you should beware of him so he doesn't press you into doing things you are too young and innocent for... I worry for the day he finds out that my daughter is old enough to marry. I pity the noble Air Nomads, but I am glad your friend Aang survived..."
Hidden in the shadows, Esmeralda watched as the doors sprung open and the Judge with goons entered the Cathedrals. Hearing Katara's question she glanced around in the room. "There might be one way," she whispered. "I was once a refugee here, and my friend Quasimodo showed me some secret entrances that might be useful to us..."
As the old senile pig noble judge marched down the main corridor, Esmeralda followed his every move with watchful eyes in the shadows. She knew why he was here, she knew what he wanted, what he had wanted since he first saw her. But she was determined not to give him what he wished for - not without a fight. She was a married woman now, and only Kovu was allowed to touch her. Besides, if she allowed herself to be caught, she feared for the child she carried under her heart.
She cursed silently as the old man stopped outside the side chamber where she and Katara were hiding in the shadows. Why did she have to put on her perfume today? But she knew the answer - she wanted to look - and smell - her best for her beloved husband. Was it her fault that a dirty old man also found her perfume attractive?
She did not respond as he called out loudly. She saw the wide grin on his face and knew what he was thinking. Even if she had come out like he said, her family would still be in trouble. He would use her to torment them - and she could not let that happen.
The thought of sweet little Elietta as the servant's judge brought a mischievous grin to the gypsy's face. She wondered if the Judge would be so eager to make Elietta his servant if he had known her infamous cooking skills - or rather, the lack of them. After 14 years of life, young Elietta was still the worst cook ever in the Court of Miracles. In the Kovuralda household it was Esmeralda who did all the cooking, for the safety of her family.
A fierce growl built up inside her when the judge spoke of using her son, her beloved little Haidar, as practice for his guards. She would never let that happen. Once she saw Kovu again she had to speak to him about never letting the boy go out without anyone to guard him. He was not to be kidnapped by Frollo's goons - not if she could prevent it.
The gypsy cringed as the judge threatened to use her beloved Kovu as a rug before his hearth. If anyone even touched her beloved Kovu she would... she would.... well, she would think of something - anything that would turn the Judge's life into a living hell.
Only a few steps to the secret entrance, Esmeralda stood and thought of her choices. If she stayed and allowed the Judge to catch her, she had no guarantee that her unborn child would survive - and her family would suffer as they were forced to watch as she was tortured. If she ran, the judge would search all of Paris, and her family would still not be safe. No matter what she chose, there was no easy way out of this. The gypsy closed her eyes and pictured Kovu's face.
Where are you, my love? she thought as she thought of him. I am in trouble, and I can't get out of this without your help... Please, my love. Hurry - before he finds me here...
Elietta was relieved to see her father again. Like always when she saw him she wrapped her arms around him, burying her face in his mane to show her love for him and kissed him lovingly on the snout when she had caught her breath and stood up again. This greeting ritual had been a part of her way to greet her father ever since she was a baby. As a baby she had also played hide and seek with him, burying herself in his mane and thinking he wouldn't see where she was hiding. Now that she was a teenager she knew he probably had fun when he saw the giggling bulk in his mane and pretended to look other places first.... But his sweet and playful nature was only one of many reasons she loved him and was proud to be his daughter.
She looked at him with regret as she had to bring him the bad news about Frollo's whereabouts. She hated to cause her father to worry - he had never been anything but sweet and gentle to her, and she knew her childhood had been much happier than most girls because of him. Not many people dared to challenge a lion father, so she had been safe as a child in spite of her gypsy background.
"I am sorry to bring you such bad news, Daddy," she said in an apologetic tone and nodded as he ordered her to bring Haidar back to the Court of Miracles. "Yes, Daddy, at once," she said, reaching out a hand to take Haidar's hand in hers. She knew that her mother was expecting another child and that she had to be brought home at once for the safety of the baby. Lord knew what the crazy judge could do with Mother if they were left alone for too long...
She gave Haidar's hand a reassuring squeeze as she started leading him away, feeling pity with him as she heard him whine. "Come Haidar," she said gently. "If you hurry and come with me home, I promise to not make pancakes for you tonight. I have a surprise for you, but I won't tell you before we are home..."
She held his hand safely tucked in hers as she led him towards the street leading to the Court of Miracles. All the time she kept an eye out for eventual City Guards. It was important that the guards did not see her or her brother, and even more important that they weren't caught. She was not so worried for herself - she was a strong girl and resiliant as few, perhaps because she used to taste whatever she tried to cook in the kitchen when she did feeble attempts to improve her cooking skills. But she constantly worried for Haidar, the sweet little boy she loved as if he was her own child - even if he was only her baby brother.
"Mother will be alright," she assured him, knowing that Haidar was a Mommy's boy. "Father went to see her, and he is fully capable of protecting her, so don't you worry. Everything will be fine..."
At least I hope so, she thought as she continued walking, but she did not voice her concern out loud. Little Haidar had to be protected - at all costs.
When Esmeralda mentioned her father, teasing her about fending off suitors, the girl bowed her head. "My father has been away at war since I was a little girl," she answered. "I haven't heard from him since he left. I don't know if he is even alive."
The girl's hope rose when she learned that the ocean was not far. She gasped in appreciation, nodding vigorously. "Oh yes, yes please," she cried. "That would mean every thing to me. Thank you so much!"
Katara could tell that Esmeralda was interested in the Air Temples. "Oh, they use gliders to fly," she explained. "It is a trait only know to the Air Nomads and Aang is the last of their kind." She giggled when the gypsy explained about her daughter's attempt to fly. "I know that Aang would love to show he his skills. He likes to perform for others."
It pleased the girl that Esmeralda wanted to visit her homeland, but it also brought into perspective that she didn't know the way home. Was it still out there, just beyond the ocean? Would she be able to reach it at all? "First we must find a way back," she reminded the woman, "but I know my people would welcome you with open arms."
Katara thought about her encounter with the spirits at the North Pole. "They live on earth as two koi fish, swimming in the sacred pools in the Northern Tribe. I was honored enough to see them in real life. Sadly, the joy was short as the city was soon under siege. The princess sacrificed herself to protect the spirits, an act which broke my brother's heart."
The more she learned of the Judge Frollo, the more worried Katara became. She knew that she would be an easy target once she returned to the city streets. Glancing at Esmeralda's clothing, she was aware that her blue gown would be very suspicious. The only solution she could think of is to go with the gypsy and collect more information. The slamming of the front door jarred her out of her own dilemma and brought her back to the current situation, how they were trapped inside the cathedral.
Katara watched Esmeralda's face as Frollo called out. His threats on her family made her cringe, balling her fists in rage. It chilled her that he wanted to skin the woman's husband, using him as a rug before his fireplace. Not even the Fire Lord was that twisted!
"We cannot linger here," she whispered to Esmeralda. "I will distract him while you make a run for it. I'll follow if I can."
Before the woman could stop her, the girl darted out of shadows and ran towards the guards. Using her momentum, she knocked the nearest man off his feet, the crash echoing in the long halls. Frollo looked at new face with vague interest, his mind trying to fit this girl in with the rest of his hit list.
"She is not coming out to see you," declared Katara, standing tall. "She is returning to her family and will not be bothered by you anymore."
The guard stumbled to his feet, growling as he straightened his hat. "What do you think you are doing, you little brat?" he cursed. "You dare to speak against the honorable Judge Claude Frollo! You will pay for this insolence."
Katara smiled softly. "There is no way that I am apologizing to a sour old man like you! I am ready . . . if you're man enough to fight me!"
Esmeralda's eyes were filled with pity when Katara told that her father had been away at war since she was a little girl. She wondered how many men had left their families behind for the same reason, maybe never seeing their families again. "I am sorry to hear that," she said softly. "I hope that your father is alive and that he will return to his family one day. I have seen so many families torn apart because of war and the foolish pride of Kings."
She smiled and patted Katara friendly on the arm when Katara agreed to let her help her reach the ocean. "Then come with me," she said softly. "You are more safe with me and my people than on your own. Paris is a dangerous town at the moment. Frollo's guards are everywhere, looking frantically for someone to torment. I'll make sure you will be escorted safely to the ocean, even if it means I have to bring you myself."
A smile lit up her face when she heard of gliders, a spark of interest in her eyes. "Gliders?" she asked. "Oh, how exciting! I wonder how it would feel to fly. I would love it, and probably my daughter too - but I don't know about my husband and my son. It would be nice meeting your friend Aang one day and watch him perform. Perhaps we find him and your brother waiting for you near the ocean?"
The gypsy nodded as Katara spoke of finding a way back to her homeland. "I know I will like your people," she said softly. "Not everyone are welcoming to us gypsies. I hope they are not afraid of lions?" Hearing how odd the question sounded, she felt obliged to continue. "You see, my husband is a lion, but he is the most kind and gentle soul I have ever met."
Esmeralda listened with interest as Katara spoke of the spirits at the North Pole. She was sad to hear how the princess had sacrificed herself to protect the spirits when the city was under siege. "Even if I admire her noble intentions I can understand why your brother was heartbroken," she said softly. "He must have loved her dearly."
Noticing how Katara's blue gown seemed clearly different from the clothes of the Parisians, Esmeralda whispered to her new friend. "When we come home, I will lend you some of my daughter's robes so you won't look too different from the others in town. It will help us go to the ocean unnoticed - I hope."
Esmeralda was shocked when Katara suggested she made a run for it while the younger girl distracted Frollo. "No, wait," she whispered in an attempt to hold the girl back. "That man is dangerous. If he catches you Lord knows what he'll do to you. Many of my people have succumbed to his torture already."
The gypsy's eyes widened in shock when she saw young Katara darting out of the Shadows and towards the guards. She was deeply worried that they might hurt or kill the girl, but she could not do anything to stop her at the moment. Moving silently towards the hidden entrance she once had showed Kovu, she opened the door and hoped her husband would soon arrive. At the same time she kept a watchful eye on the situation between Katara and Judge Frollo - ready to intervene if the girl should need help.
Last Edit: Nov 19, 2014 10:46:46 GMT -5 by Esmeralda
Katara smiled softly when Esmeralda spoke of her father. "It has been so long since anyone has heard from him," she confessed. "Since he is the leader of our tribe, he is always in danger. I just hope to see him again, to tell him about all that has happened."
The girl knew that she would be safer with the gypsies than she would be in this strange city alone. She nodded when Esmeralda offered to lead her back home, helping her to find her friends. "I will have to find a way to repay you. You need only ask."
Katara smiled when she thought of Aang and what it was like to fly. "I was brave to try it once," she explained. "It is terrifying and exciting all at the same time. I knew I would be safe because Aang was there." Thinking of her friends waiting for her at the ocean, the girl nodded. "I hope so too."
When Esmeralda asked if they were afraid of lions, Katara gave her a puzzled look. "I have never heard of a lion before," she said. "What are they like? I am glad to hear that your lion friend is the nice kind."
Thinking back to their time in the North Pole, Katara knew that her brother had a special connection with Princess Yue. "I don't know if it was love," she answered with a blush. "They were very close though." It was hard for her to think of a tough topic like love, especially where her brother was concerned!
Esmeralda's offer to dress Katara in gypsy clothes made the girl feel more secure. "I don't know how I would look in gypsy clothes," she muttered. "It will be so strange to leave my traditional clothing behind."
Determined to help the gypsy woman, Katara smiled mischievously when Esmeralda warned her of Frollo, trying to stop her from leaving the shadows. "I'm not as helpless as I look," she laughed. "Don't worry about me."
Facing the judge and his men with pure courage, Katara could see the soldiers waiting for orders. The old man in the tri-corner hat glowered at Katara, his lips so thin that they almost disappeared. "Take this insolent child into custody!" he cried, pointing a bony finger at the girl, his black robe puffing out in his anger. "I want this cathedral scoured until that gypsy witch is in my grasp!"
"You will not touch her!" shouted Katara, bending her knees and reaching to her right side. In the blink of an eye, the stopper of her water pouch was removed and she pulled a long string of water from the sack. Without a pause, she bent the water towards the men, freezing their feet to the stone floor. The men shouted in confusion, some loosing their forward momentum and dropping to their knees, further trapping themselves in the pool of ice.
"Witchcraft!" yelled Frollo, instantly stepping back. "Shoot her! Take her down!"
A moment later several bolts were loosed from crossbows, aimed straight at the waterbender. With a smirk, Katara brought up a water shield, freezing the arrows inches from her face. Glancing behind her, she saw Esmeralda's stunned face and jerked her head towards the door. She hoped to give the gypsy as much of a head start as she could. If she could, she would follow on her own.
Esmeralda smiled and nodded when Katara spoke of her father. Her own adopted father Clopin was the leader of the gypsies here in Paris. In this city they were all in danger, strangers as they were. Thus the gypsy knew what Katara spoke about, and knew the fear she must have felt on behalf of her father. "I hope for your sake that you will see your father again soon," she said softly. "Don't lose hope before you really know what happened to him. There might still be a chance he is alive."
The gypsy shook her head when Katara spoke of repaying her. "You don't have to," she replied softly. "To see you safely reunited with your friends and family will be payment enough. Paris is becoming too unhealthy for my family anyway, so a change of air for a while will feel good..."
She listened with interest when Katara explained how it felt to fly. It sounded exciting and intimidating at the same time. Elietta would probably throw herself right into it, fearless as she was. Esmeralda was more careful, since she knew the risk - but at the same time she would enjoy the experience if she knew it was safe. "Your friend Aang seem like a nice young man," she smiled. "I hope to meet both him and your brother when we reach the ocean. And if they are not there waiting for us, we will have to search for them."
When Katara asked what lions were like, Esmeralda tilted her head and thought for a while. "I would describe them as rather big cats," she said. "Sharp claws and teeth hidden in a cloud of fluff. You'll see for yourself when you meet my husband. He looks intimidating, but he is the sweetest male I have ever known."
By the mentioning of the Princess from Katara's tribe, Esmeralda noticed how the girl blushed as she spoke of the feelings between the Princess and her brother. Perhaps she had never been in love before? She was still so young. "Ah, it always feels excruciating to lose someone close to you," she said and nodded. "Like losing a part of your soul."
The gypsy smiled when she heard Katara speaking of not knowing how she would look in gypsy clothes. "Ah, you will find out soon, my friend," she replied. "My daughter has traditional gypsy clothes, but she also have the kind of clothes regular Parisians wear. It is to arrive at her work at the inn safely now that the guards are searching for gypsies everywhere."
If she had been been worried for Katara when she left the shadows, she was flabbergasted by the sight of the young girl as she used water as a weapon to stop Judge Frollo and his goons. She giggled as she saw how enrage the judge became, but at the same time she was worried for her new friend as he ordered his guards to arrest the girl. It looked like Katara was able to keep them back for a while though. Esmeralda turned her head to look at Katara, signalizing with her eyes that she would wait for her just around the corner. Then, to not put Katara and herself into further danger, she ran quickly towards the door and the hidden entrance. If Katara should not be able to follow her, Esmeralda would gather help in the Court of Miracles and return to help her friend.
Last Edit: Nov 20, 2014 2:21:32 GMT -5 by Esmeralda
Katara nodded slowly when the gypsy spoke of seeing her father again, her hand going up to her necklace. What would he be like? What would she be like? The war had changed a lot and feared that it was not all for the better. "My father is a brave man," she said. "Too proud and foolish, in fact. If he is to die it would be for his men, in a land far away from home."
The girl was surprised by the gypsy's generosity. To give so much for so little . . . they would fit in well with her people. "I know you will love my land," she said excitedly. "We have four nations and they are all so different. I think you would like the Kyoshi Warriors the best. They are a group of female fighters and they use fans as their weapons. They also dance beautifully!"
"My only hope is that they are alright," Katara repeated, thinking again of her lost companions. "Aang is very important to -- to my world because he is the last of his nation. It has been prophesied that he will save the world. My brother is the next to rule the Southern Tribe . . . if my father does not return."
The waterbender listened as Esmeralda explained what lions were. "He sounds a lot like a polar bear-dog," she commented. "We have a sky bison that takes us on our journeys. I am certain that your husband is no where near as large as Appa though," she added with a giggle.
Katara thought it was clever the way Esmeralda's daughter dressed in disguise to go to work. "And what about you?" she asked. "Wouldn't it be wise to do the same when you come to places like this? You would blend right in, even if you are much kinder than the other people I have met."
Facing down Frollo, Katara glanced behind her to see if Esmeralda was safe. She saw the girl duck out of a side passage and knew it was time to go. With a push of her hands, the ice wall charged forward. The guards shouted in terror, many closing their eyes or muttering a final prayer. As the water touched their skin, it melted and doused them in ice cold liquid. The three bolts that had been trapped in the ice stabbed the ground inches from Frollo's feet. Katara giggled to herself as she darted out the door, the rage on the old man's thin face worth all the danger she had put herself in.
The lion paced around at the exit to the cathedral, his ears strained for the smallest sound of footsteps. He knew that he could trust Elietta's words, but was he too lat? The lion gathered his thoughts, knowing that haste would only make the situation worse. The minutes crawled by and he became enraged. Finally deciding that he had to act, the lion faced the door and began to move towards it. Just then, Esmeralda darted out and nearly knocked him over.
Kovu then launched a flurry of questions at the gyspy woman. "Are you alright? Was Frollo there? Did he hurt you? How is the baby? Do we need to run?" The interrogation lasted as long as the lion had breath, checking her for wounds and beaming with happiness that she was back in his sights.
Before their happy reunion had begun, Kovu's keen ears picked up the sound of running feet behind the door. Instantly sweeping in front of his wife, the lion went into a crouch, teeth bared and claws ready. The door burst open and there was a squeak of surprise. A young girl in a blue dress leapt back and went into a crouch of her own. In her hands an orb of water floated, bewildering and frightening the lion.
Esmeralda smiled as she heard Katara speaking of her father as a brave man - too proud and foolish. He sounded like the man Esmeralda had called father all her life, in spite that she was not of his blood. Esmeralda had never known her real parents, as she was found on the steps of Notre Dame when she was only an infant. Clopin had instantly taken her under his wings and raised her as his own child. "It is a pity your father is not here," she smiled. "I think my father Clopin would have liked him. My father too can be too proud and foolish at times."
The gypsy listened with interest as Katara spoke of her land, the four nations and the Kyoshi Warriors. The fact that they were female fighters and used fans as their weapons caught her interest, and her smile widened when Katara spoke of how beautiful they danced. "I work as a dancer myself," she smiled. "And my little Djali helps me gather the money I earn from my dancing. It would be interesting to meet the female warriors and perform with them one day."
She listened seriously when Katara spoke of her lost companions. She noticed a pause in Katara's words when she spoke of who Aang was important to, and a sparkle lit in her eyes. Perhaps there was a love interest here? If there was, the girl was still not aware of it. Esmeralda said nothing, wishing the girl to know herself when the time was right. She was still so young. "I hope we will be able to find both your brother and your father, child," Esmeralda said softly. "Nobody should have to be torn away from their families."
She listened eagerly as Katara spoke of the polar bear-dogs in her homeland, and something she called a sky bison. Esmeralda had never seen a sky bison before, but she smiled when Katara spoke of her Kovu not being as large as Appa. "I have never had the honor to meet your Appa, so I can't say," she smiled. "But don't let my Kovu hear you think other animals larger than him. It would hurt his manly pride, I think. Men are strange like that. They want to look big in the eyes of their families, possibly to protect them better. But I love my Kovu just the way he is."
When Esmeralda heard Katara's question abot dressing in disguise she shook her head. "My years as a dancer has made me quite famous here in Paris," she said. "Even if I did dress up as you suggest, someone would see through my disguise and recognize me. I feel more comfortable wearing my traditional robes. Perhaps it is also a little feminine vanity for my part - I want my husband to look at me and love what he sees. And I also want my children to recognize me when I come home."
As she ran out of the side passage, she heard sploshing of water behind her, then male voices screaming in terror. She hoped that Katara was not hurt, promising herself to wait for the girl outside Notre Dame and return to save her if anything went wrong. At the exit she was relieved to find her beloved husband waiting for her, and she knelt down to give him hugs and kisses as she replied to all his questions.
"I am alright, my love, and so is our baby. Frollo was there, and even if he wished to hurt me he never got the chance. You see, I met another girl in the Cathedral today. Her name is Katara, and she is alone. We must help her find her brother and her friend who was on a ship that crashed against the shore near the ocean. She saved me from Frollo when he tried to catch me, and now we must help her in return. She has nowhere to stay, so I told her she could stay with us..."
Hearing the running feet behind her she smiled, knowing that Katara had escaped from Frollo's goons. There was only one pair of running feet, and Frollo never attacked alone. Her eyes widened in mild wonder as she saw Kovu and Katara both spooked by each other's appearance, and decided to step between them.
"There is no reason to fight," she said softly, turning to her husband. "Kovu, this is Katara, the girl from the Cathedral that I told you about." Turning to Katara, she petted Kovu's fur lovingly. "Katara, my friend, this is my husband Kovu, the lion I told you of when we met, the only male I have ever loved and the father of my children."
Katara's eyes brightened as they spoke of her homeland, all the familiar sights and sounds dancing in her head. "My brother is friends with the leader of the Kyoshi Warriors," she explained. "Her name is Suki and I know she would love to meet you."
The girl giggled as Esmeralda cautioned her not to mention Appa to her husband. "Appa is as tall as this room and sweet as can be," she explained. "I fear he would slobber your husband to death before a fight could break out."
Esmeralda's logic for not wearing a disguise made sense and the girl smiled. "You are brave to take the risks that you do. I am sure your family is proud of you for that."
Kovu nuzzled the gypsy girl as she replied to his questions, enough to show his joy but not enough to knock her over. He listened as she explained what had happened and what Esmeralda promised to do for the girl. "We must first get you home," said the lion. "This is not a safe place to be and I do not want to risk our child's health on your stress. Come on, the children are waiting at home."
As Esmeralda stepped between the frightened pair, Kovu straightened up and pulled his claws in. Katara also stood up and looked the lion over. This confused Kovu and he shifted on his paws. Before he could ask what she was staring at, the girl smiled and nodded her head. "Yes," she said, "definitely not a match for Appa."
Watching how Katara's eyes brightened as they spoke of the girl's homeland, Esmeralda realized the girl must miss her homeland. She hoped she would be able to help her to find her way home, and hopefully see her reunited with her beloved family. It would also be fun to meet Katara's friends and aquaintances. "I think I would love to meet your friends," the gypsy said softly. "I am quite certain that I would love to meet Madame Suki also. And I also have a feeling that you would get along with my daughter Elietta."
The gypsy's eyes widened when Katara spoke of Appa, explaining how tall he was. She laughed as Katara spoke of Appa slobbering her husband to death, thinking the giant pet sounded adorable in spite of his size. "I hope I will get a chance to introduce him to Djali," she smiled. "He is home now, looking after my son Haidar, but I think our pets would play well together."
She smiled warmly as Katara spoke of her family being proud of her. "Well, at times they seem more worried," she admitted. "I am a very free woman, and at times I speak my mind without thinking of the consequences. Luckily I have a strong and brave husband to protect me from harm."
Nuzzling against her beloved husband, she enjoyed the feel of his mane against her skin as she spoke with him. She knew he was right when he spoke of getting her home and away from this unsafe place, knowing that it wouldn't take long before Frollo's goons would search for them. "You are right my love," she replied softly. "We have to protect our little ones from harm for as long as we can. No need to risk the baby's life."
The gypsy smiled secretly as she heard Katara's comment about Kovu not being a match for Appa, wondering how her husband would react if he got to meet the pet Katara had told her of. She chuckled with laughter all the way home, and as they entered The Court of Miracles, she heard a high-pitched squeal of joy as the children discovered that their parents were home.
"DADDY!!!" Elietta squealed, throwing herself into Daddy's arms and burying his face in his mane. It didn't matter that she had spoken to him only a few minutes earlier - she was still Daddy's little girl and always thrilled to see her father again.
Esmeralda looked around for her son. "Where is mommy's little angel?" she called out like she always did when she came home. "We have a visitor. Don't you want to come and say hi?"
By the word "visitor" Elietta stuck her head out of her father's mane. Covered in lion fur, she sent Katara a sheepish smile. "Oh, hi," she said shyly.
Katara laughed a little when Esmeralda said that she was an independant woman, a trait which caused her family a lot of worry. "I know my GranGran worries about us all the time," she said. "Sokka, that's my brother, and I used to get into all kinds of mischief after my father left. She was worried when we left home but she knew it was for a good reason."
As the trio walked back to the Court of Miracles, Katara wondered at the relationship between the two. Kovu caught her glances and grinned. "It is normal to be confused," he chuckled. "Most people have never seen a lion wandering the streets of Paris before . . ."
"I am just surprised that you are only a lion," put in Katara. "In my world we have armadillo-lions, but no . . . just lions. How did you get here?"
Kovu chuckled again, glancing up at the gypsy woman. "Ah, that is a story worth telling. Why don't you explain it, my love? It was your charm that trapped me here after all."
Reaching the underground lair of the gypsies, Katara was amazed at the color and life that greeted them. Banners flew from the ceiling, making the already large room seem taller. Little caravans dotted the courtyard, each decorated to the owners taste. Music and good smells filled the air.
Katara smiled as two young children rushed towards them. The girl leapt upon the lion's back without a hint of fear. Kovu laughed and licked her face. It was in this moment that Katara understood what Esmeralda said about her husband being the kindest man in the world.
At the call of his mother, Haidar bounced out of the cottage, beaming from ear to ear. "I am so glad that you are home!" he cried. "Eiletta was being so bossy and I didn't know how much more I could take!!"
Esmeralda listened with a smile when Katara explained how she and her brother Sokka got into all kinds of mischief after their father left. Being the mother of two children and with a third child on the way she recognized this scenery well and she (secretly) sympathized with Gran-Gran. "It was kind of Gran-Gran to look after you when your father left," she said softly. "I hope Gran-Gran soon will see you again. I am sure she misses you dearly. How did you come to drift so far away from home?"
Her eyes widened when Katara spoke of armadillo-lions from her own world. "Armadillo-lions?" she asked and looked at Katara. "I've never seen anything like that before. Do they look like my beloved Kovu?"
She smiled softly as Kovu asked her to tell Katara the story of their love, and she snuggled him lovingly before turning to Katara. "Well, it started some years ago,..." she started, then started telling the long story of how she and Kovu met, their first date, how he had protected her from Frollo and from other dangers, and at last how she and Kovu married. "We have been through so much, but everything we went through brought us closer together," she said with a smile. "Nobody else knows me as well as Kovu does, and he is the only man in the world for me. After marrying, we had two wonderful children, Elietta and Haidar, and soon we will have our third child too."
When their story was told, the group had reached the court of Miracles, and the gypsy smiled as she saw the banners flew from the ceiling. She nodded and smiled to everyone who greeted them, feeling quite at home in her father's kingdom.
Elietta beamed with joy by the sight of her father and wrapped her arms around him, laughing happily when he licked her face. "I love you, daddy," she squealed excitedly. "I have missed you so much!" Sticking her hand in her pocket she pulled out a bag of golden coins, offering them to Kovu. "Look, Daddy, I got my pay today. I want you to take care of it so I too can contribute to our family's keeping. The innkeeper is very happy with my work and wants to speak to you about a contract for me. He doesn't seem to mind that you are a lion either. He is very nice, and so is his wife."
Noticing the new girl, she stood up and took Katara's hand in a greeting. "You must be new here," she smiled. "I am Elietta, and the sweet boy buried in my mother's hug is my brother Haidar."
Esmeralda had her arms wrapped around Haidar as she held him in a loving hug, kissing the top of his head and listening to him as he complained about his sister. "Awwww, is your sister mean to you again?" she said softly. "What did she do this time? She didn't threaten to cook for you, did she?"
Elietta grinned sheepishly and tried to hide in her father's mane when she heard her mother's words. Oooooops....
The lion listened with surprise as Katara explained about armadillo-lions. He had never heard of such a thing before and was curious to know what it was about. "Well, they are about his size," she said, "With plates on their back like tough skin. When they get frightened, they just curl up in a big ball to hid. Not very useful for such a large animal, I suppose, but it is a neat trick!"
Kovu shook his head. "I'll stick to what I know, thanks."
As Esmeralda explained how the two of them had met, Kovu thought back to that first time. He had never met any one like the gypsy and knew he never would again. When she spoke of their dating, the lion chuckled. He remembered all the suffering he had put himself through to keep her, even going so far as to turn into a human part-time with the help of the Wizard Merlin. Then there was the strange relationship with Quasi, strained by the interest in Esmeralda, and the constant battles with Clayton and Frollo.
"It is a lovely story," said Katara. "I hope to have such a story when I am ready to marry."
Kovu laughed when Eietta proclaimed how much she had missed him. "I have only been gone an hour," he reminded her. "Hardly worth the heartache." But deep inside, the lion knew that each step out that hidden door could very well be his last.
Seeing the money in his daughter's hand, the lion beamed at her with pride. "Lions do not have money pockets, my child," he said with a chuckle. "Perhaps your mother would be better suited to keep it." He was glad that the inn owners had taken such a shine to Eietta's work, but the request to meet with him was a red flag. "Are you sure they can be trusted?" he asked. "Even if they do not have ill intentions, it does not mean that someone else would not. I will have to send someone with me for guard."
"I can go," jumped in Katara, holding her hand up feebly. "You saw how I defended your wife and I am much less of an . . . attraction on the streets as you are. Perhaps I can go as her elder sister, if a family member must vouch for her?"
Katara bowed in the traditional manner to Elietta, her left hand flat against the balled fist of her right. She then turned to the younger brother, now fighting to get out of Esmeralda's loving embrace. He was tall for his age, yet still had the baby-faced innocence of a child. His golden hair fell to his shoulders and brilliant green eyes shone from his face.
"No, thank goodness," the boy answered, finally getting the leverage he needed to pull away from Esmeralda. "But she was being so bossy! She . . ." The boy stopped as he saw Katara and he blushed fiercely.
Kovu looked up at his wife with a cocked eyebrow, knowing she knew their son's tendencies better than he did. Katara simply waved and said a meek "hi".
Esmeralda listened with interest as Katara spoke about the armadillo-lions, smiling by the thought of her brave, beloved Kovu curling up in a big ball to hide in fear. She knew he was fearless when it came to defending his wife and his children, and she loved him for his courage. She petted his mane lovingly as he declared he preferred to stick to what he knew.
"The lions in your homeland sound adorable," she smiled. "My beloved Kovu, however, would never hide in fear by sign of danger. His teeth and claws are ready to protect his family from any danger that might occur." Wrapping her hands gently around Kovu's face, she placed a long loving kiss on his snout. "And I love him for the way he looks after his family."
As she re-told the story of their love to Katara, she could see the memories flashing through her mind like a movie. Their romantic dinner under the blue night sky with stars and the moon burning above. The smell of the spaghetti from the Italian restaurant, and the two singing chefs playing their instruments as Kovu pushed a meatball over to her side of the plate with his snout. It was really a bella notte....
She woke up from her lovely memories by Katara's voice when she said she hoped to have such a story when she was ready to marry. "I hope you will, my friend," Esmeralda smiled friendly. "And I hope you will be able to marry the man of your dreams. May he be happy to bring you happiness and peace in your lives together."
Elietta put on a suffering face expression when Kovu said he had been gone only for an hour. It would have been more successful if her eyes weren't sparkling with suppressed mirth. "But one hour is so loooooooooooong," she complained and nestled into his mane again. "I want to be with my Daddy forever!"
A twinkle lit in her eyes when Daddy Kovu said that lions did not have money pockets. She was a lousy cook, but few in the Court of Miracles could match her skills with needle and thread. Now that she had reached her early teens she had become more aware of how she dressed, wanting to look like a proper lady.
"That is a pity if you think of it," she said with a smile. "I mean, who would dare to steal from a lion? I can make a money pocket for you to carry around your neck if you like, then you can keep valuables safe for us all. We don't need to make the pocket visible either - we can tuck it away in your mane when we don't use it. What do you think, Daddy?"
She handed the bag of coins over to her mother, glad to contribute to the family fund. She loved her work, but even more she loved the faces of her parents when she brought home her paycheck and leaving it to them. They were loving and kind, and they deserved the money she could save up.
Esmeralda smiled and patted her daughter's hair gently. "Thank you, my daughter," she said softly. "You are of big help for us with your income. Let us know if there is anything you need, right?"
Elietta smiled and buried her face in Daddy's fur. "As a matter of fact, there is something I need, but it has nothing to do with money," she said, waiting until she had the full attention of her parents. "Lately Tulio has been standing outside my window, strumming his guitar and singing serenades all night. I find it annoying - since it wakes me up from my sleep, and you know I go to work early every morning. Could you please find a way to make him stop?"
Esmeralda looked over at her husband and gave him a loving wink. "I am certain your father would love to help you out," she said softly, knowing how protective her husband was when it came to his children. "And I don't think that Tulio boy will dare to bother you again when your father is done with him..."
By the question of if Elietta's boss and his wife could be trusted, the girl looked around to see if anyone could hear them. Then she leaned towards her father and lowered her voice to a whisper. "They are hiding runaway gypsies in the wine-cellar, Daddy," she whispered. "I have met them myself when I went to the wine cellar to fetch more wine for the guests. They are very brave to take such chances. I think we can trust them."
Esmeralda smiled when Katara jumped into the conversation, suggesting she could pretend to be Elietta's elder sister and meet the innkeeper and his wife. "I think that would be a good idea," she smiled. "Thank you, Katara. You can share room with Elietta for as long as you stay with us, and I am certain Elietta can find some clothes for you to borrow before you go to the meeting. If anyone asks, Kovu and I will say you are our eldest daughter when you are here. It is safer for you and will arise less questions than if you say you are alone. Parisians are not used to women travelling by themselves, and they are often met by distrust. I learned that the hard way before I married Kovu."
Elietta noticed the way Katara bowed to her, and she tried to greet Katara the same way. "It will be fun to share room with you!" she beamed, instantly taking a liking to the girl. "I'll show you all my dresses, and I'll let you choose which ones you want to borrow. I do all the needlework in the household. Mother is a dancer, and she doesn't have time to sew or knit between her performances. But she prepares the best meals you will ever know..."
A tiny grey goat came boucing across the floor and nudged his tiny head lovingly against Haidar's legs, almost toppling over from pure affection. He wagged his tail and beamed up at his young master, clearly wanting attention.
Elietta raised an eyebrow when her brother accused her of being bossy, then leaning towards Daddy to give him an explanation without embarrassing her baby brother in front of the guest. "My bossy behavior as he calls it, was that I demanded he washed his hands before you and Mother came home to make dinner," she whispered. "Haidar claims he doesn't need to wash his hands and that his hands are clean. Do they look clean to you, Daddy?"
Noticing her brother's reaction to the sight of Katara, she snuck up behind him, unable to resist whispering a comment in his ear. But even if she teased him now and then there was no malice in her eyes when she looked at him - only sisterly love. "Perhaps you should have washed your hands after all, right little brother?"
As they walked back to the Court of Miracles, Katara thought back to the fortune teller from Makapu. Glancing at Esmeralda, she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "I did have my fortune read once," she said with an embarrassed chuckle. "She told me that my future husband would be a very powerful bender, like me. She didn't say much more than that . . ."
Kovu, used to Elietta's exaggerated sense of time, knew when to humor his daughter. He simply chuckled as she said that an hour was soooooo long. Her offer to make a money pouch for him made him smile, so much that he didn't remind her that he would have a hard time reaching it when it was around his neck. "That would be lovely, sweetie," he told her.
Hearing of the problems that Tulio had been giving their daughter, Kovu knew exactly the way to deal with him. Esmeralda knew his thoughts as well, alluding to the fact that the boy would never want to talk to Eiletta again. "I won't cause any harm to the boy," he said with a shrug. "I cannot account for the state of his trousers when I am done, however."
Katara giggled at this, knowing that the lion had a wonderful sense of humor. This got the attention of the younger boy, who began watching Katara with great interest. When Eiletta whispered in his ear, Katara saw the boy's face go beet-red and he shoved his sister away, saying something harshly in French (or what she assumed was French). Kovu growled sternly and the two children immediately separated, fear in both their eyes.
"That is enough, both of you," he snapped. "Eiletta, see our new friend to your room and help her change. As for you, son," he added as the girls hurried away, "you better mind your sister and your tongue. Wash up if you want to impress our guest."
Haidar bolted away to the washing station as quickly as he could, leaving his parents alone in the courtyard. "Ah, so it begins," sighed the lion. "Another bite of love from the Parisian sky. It will be a miracle if he is not serenading Katara by sundown!"
Esmeralda smiled when Katara spoke of having her fortune read once. She had never heard of benders before, but she had seen a little of what Katara was able to do in Notre Dame. The gypsy was quite certain that there must be other people out there with powers similar to Katara's. " I hope you will meet your powerful bender one day," she smiled. "As for the rest of the future, some times it is more exciting to not know what the fates have in store for you, don't you think?"
Elietta loved her father for his gentle support. He never said a word when she experimented with her sewing skills. She suspected that he would even have tasted her cooking if Mother did not come to his rescue every time Elietta tried to experiment in the kitchen. She had tried testing her cooking skills on her brother instead, but was grounded when Mother found out the reason why little Haidar fell ill half an hour before the Church mass began. So she stopped offering to help with the cooking, to Esmeralda's immense relief.
Tilting her head, she measured her father before realizing he would have a hard time reaching the money pouch when it was around his neck. "I'm sorry Daddy, I didn't think of how hard it would be for you to reach a pouch hanging around your neck," she said and kissed him lovingly. "I want you to be able to go shopping with us. How will you carry a money bag if I make it for you? I can attach leather straps to make it easier for you if you like. Just tell me what will be best for you, and I can do the needed adjustments."
Elietta giggled as Daddy spoke of taking care of the problems with Tulio. She knew she always could count on Daddy's support when she got into troubles. Perhaps this was one of many reasons why she loved him so much. Elietta had never really grown from being Daddy's little girl. She suspected she would always be Daddy's girl, even when she was grown and had a family of her own. But that was a future far away. Elietta was happy to work at the inn, and live with her parents and with Haidar. "I knew you would help me, Daddy," she said and kissed his snout. "I always feel safe when Daddy is around. Tulio really should know better than to chase after the daughter of a lion... Can I watch from the window when you chase him off? Please, Daddy?"
The girl giggled as she noticed the intense stares Haidar showed their new guest. It was true Katara was a sweet girl, but she thought perhaps her brother had his very first puppy crush now. He had never stared at girls that way before, and she found him rather cute when he blushed. She turned her attention away from her blushing brother as Daddy spoke, asking her to show Katara to their room and help her change.
"At once, Daddy," she smiled and kissed her father's mane before gently taking Katara's arm. "Follow me please, I hope my room will be to your liking. For as long as you are here, it will be your room too, and everything in it will be at your disposal."
She led Katara into a feminine room with bright colors and simple, yet beautiful details. Everything here was kept neat and clean. The bed was soft and warm, and broad enough for two. There was a table at the window, with three chairs, in case Elietta got visit from friends. In the corner there was a cupboard with clothes, and in front of this cupboard a screen to change clothes behind. A fireplace at oneof the walls made certain the room stayed warm on cold days. A home-made carpet on the floor made the impression of a warm and cozy room.
"Welcome to my humble abodes," she smiled and bowed to Katara. "Perhaps not as fancy as the bedroom of a princess would be, but it's home. You are welcome to stay for as long as you wish. I work at the inn not far away from here, but I live with Mother and Father to keep the costs down. Thus I can give all of my salary to them on payday. Mother looks after us all, making sure we all have what we need of food, clothes and other goods."
As Haidar bolted towards the washing station, Esmeralda looked over at Kovu with a puzzled, partially amused expression in her eyes. "Love so soon?" she asked with wonder. "But he is so young! I can't believe my little boy has grown up already!" She snickered when Kovu spoke of their son serenading Katara by sundown. "I'll make certain to place a lute where he can find it so he has something to play on..."
Little Djali looked up at his young Master with big eyes as he darted off - even without saying hi to him. There was a wondering expression in the goat's big, round eyes. Haidar had NEVER ran away without petting him before. What had he done wrong? The goat bounced after Haidar as he rushed to the washing station, rubbing his head lovingly against the boy's legs and nibbled on his pants legs.
"Baaaaaaaaaaaah!" the goat said, waving his tiny tail in joy over seeing his young Master.
Kovu watched with a hidden smile as Eiletta discovered the flaw in her sewing project. The girl's frantic questions made him smile and he nuzzled her arm for comfort. "I am sure your mother can help you work it out," he told her.
The girl's eagerness to watch as Kovu chased away Tulio made the lion laugh out loud. "If that will make you happy, child," he replied. "I fear that Tulio is in for a rude awakening tonight if he comes. Perhaps you should chase him off yourself?"
Following Elietta into the house, Katara let loose a tiny smile. Haidar seemed like a sweet boy and it was a shame that Kovu was now reprimanding him. She wondered what he had said to make the lion so made, yet she knew it was not the time to ask. Entering the girl's room, she was greeted by a sense of safety and warmth. "This is perfect!" she answered. "Much better than the inns we have been sleeping in lately." She paused when Eiletta said that it was not fancy enough for a princess, looking at the girl with worry. "Why would you think that?" she asked. "My father is the tribal leader, yes, but our tribe is very small. Hardly worth calling a village, really. I am not any different than you are."
Wanting to brighten the mood, she glanced over at the closet where Elietta kept her clothes. "Well, what should I wear?" she asked with a small giggle. It was rare for her to have a female friend to play dress-up with.
Outside, the lion was listening to his wife's concerns about Haidar. "He is not a cub anymore, Esme," he said softly. "I cannot say if it is really love, but it is something. He has your blood afterall, so he must be susceptible to good charm and great looks. I don't think that Katara would hurt him, do you?"
When she mentioned leaving him with a lute to play, the lion nudged her playfully in the side. "That worry was over quickly," he teased. "We better see about dinner and the cleaning."
Elietta smiled when Daddy said that Mother could help her making her sewing project worked. "We'll think of something Daddy," she promised. "It would be nice for you to be able to carry money around when you're out and about and perhaps wants to surprise Mommy, right?" Leaning closer to her father she whispered in his ear and winked. "Especially since it soon will be her birthday, no?"
The girl laughed when she thought of how scared Tulio would be tonight when Daddy chased him away from under Elietta's balcony. "Oh, he will come, Daddy," she replied. "He has come every night for the last three months - so I don't see why this night should be any different." She shuddered when Daddy asked if she should chase him off. "Daddy, don't you remember what happened - or almost happened - the last time I tried to chase him off?" she asked. "He ran for a few meters, then turned around and grabbed me, pressed me against the wall and kissed me forcefully. And I don't dare to think of what else he would have done if Haidar had not ran off to fetch you!"
Elietta smiled when she showed Katara her room, glad that her guest seemed to like it here. She blushed when she was asked why she would think her room was not fit for a princess. "Oh, we had a party in the Court of Miracles once," she said. I was around 5 years old at the time, and eager to show my room to the guests. One of the girls looked over my room and scrounged her nose up in disgust, saying HER room was MUCH nicer than mine. You're the first female guest I have had here since then, if we do not count Mother. My only male guests are Daddy, Haidar and grandpa Clopin."
Her smile widened when Katara glanced towards her closet, and she opened both the doors and stepped aside so Katara could look at all the dresses hanging there. I keep the accessoires in that closet," she informed, pointing over to the closet next to the wardrobe. "Feel free to try out any of my dresses. Perhaps you'll find one you feel comfortable in. We'll pick accessories when you have found a dress you will wear. I can help you with the hair also if you like, so you can blend in with the Parisian girls..."
Esmeralda smiled when Kovu reminded her that Haidar was not a cub anymore. "Our little boy is growing up too fast," she complained and snuggled into his fur for comfort. "I fear to wake up one day and find out that he doesn't love his Mommy anymore." She smiled when he spoke of Haidar being susceptible to good charm and great looks, shaking her head when he asked if she thought Katara would hurt him. "She doesn't seem like the kind of girl who would play with anyone's feelings," she said softly. "She seems like a sweet and thoughtful girl, brave and loyal to her friends. That is my first impression of her anyway."
She laughed as Kovu teased her about getting over her worries for Haidar quickly. "Well, our sweet boy rarely gives Mommy much to worry about," she said softly. "He is such a sweet boy." Opening a chest, she found a lute and strummed it to check that it sounded good, before placing it in the area where the family used to eat their dinner. She hoped that Haidar would find it there and snag it for eventual serenades for future girlfriends.
"How about me going to the kitchen and prepare the dinner, and you going to check if Haidar remembers to scrub behind his ears?" she suggested gently. "I'll make us a nice dinner, and you will smell when it's ready."
Placing a loving kiss on her husband's snout she went to the kitchen and started preparing dinner for the family and the new guest. Tonight they would have traditional gypsy food, and it didn't take long before the lovely smell of food spread through the kitchen.
The lion listened as Elietta whispered his ear about uses for the money satchel. His eyes widened for a moment at the mention of Esmeralda's birthday, glancing towards the gypsy woman with a sheepish smile. "Ah, yes, that would be a good use for it," he muttered.
Kovu scowled when Elietta mentioned the last time she had chased off Tulio. Katara looked shocked and stepped forward. "Well, he doesn't sound like a kind boy after all," she declared. "Perhaps I can help with this troublemaker? Hanging frozen from a wall for a day or two might changed his mind."
Hearing the hurtful remarks about her room, Katara smiled and sat down on the bed. "Well, if you want my opinion, I think your room is lovely. I have seen the royal rooms in the Earth Kingdom and I will say that yours is so much better. She was probably just jealous of how much nice stuff you have!"
Glancing at the clothes, Katara began to pick pieces out that she liked. Once she had laid them on the bed, she took of her blue dress, her white wrappings hiding her blossoming body. As she picked up the first piece, the top, she paused when she heard Elietta talk of accessories. She touched the blue choker at her throat and closed her eyes. "Everything but this," she explained. "It was my mother's."
Kovu smiled to himself as Esmeralda "mourned" the loss of their little boy's innocence. "You know that he will never stop loving you," he told the woman, "no more than Elietta will stop doating on me! You will grow tired of his attention before he ever tires of you."
Entering the house, Kovu noticed how Esmeralda strategically left the lute out for anyone to use. Rolling his eyes, he smiled about how Esmeralda was worried for the boy's innocence, yet encouraged him in his love pursuits. If it was Elietta with the puppy crush, well, Kovu was sure the doors would be bolted and concealed with all manner of furniture.
Being sent away on washing duty, Kovu snuck past Elietta's room towards the wash basin. He could hear the girls giggling with laughter and was glad his eldest daughter had found a worthy friend. Reaching his son's room, he heard humming, one of the silly songs that Grampa Clopin had created for his show. Haidar was standing before his mirror, shirtless and making poses in front of his reflection. Kovu could hardly contain the laughter as his son flexed his muscles and made ridiculous facial expressions.
If only his mother could see this! he thought, slipping away before his snickering became too much.
Returning to the kitchen with laughter still in his eyes, he smelt the wonderful aroma of his wife's cooking. Soon after, Elietta's door opened and Katara joined them. "May I help with anything?" she asked softly. "My brother says I am a decent cook and he is the king of eaters in our tribe."
Gilraen: Hi Jack. Tossing in a random post when there is something to post back to. But I am afraid the fortress is falling.
Aug 31, 2015 3:07:54 GMT -5
Bélethorn Creuss: Dear Members. Due to lack of activity we, the remaining admins and members of Freedom, have decided to move to a new board. The new board can be found here: freedomunleashed.proboards.com/
Sept 3, 2015 13:23:55 GMT -5
englishive: plz unban me my name is Toniix_PvP i will not grief again primise
Jun 24, 2016 10:31:00 GMT -5
englishive: plz i will not! im not gonna play other server cuz i love that server
Jun 24, 2016 10:31:41 GMT -5
englishive: plzz unban me now im soo sad i cant play any server i want to play this server
Jun 27, 2016 0:26:17 GMT -5
englishive: plz plz plz essam ur awesome! but unban me its the time to unban me! BCUZ I LIVEE IN PH !!!! SO ITS MONDAY HERE!
Jun 27, 2016 0:28:57 GMT -5
englishive: hi thx for unban plz make me a admin! i will not grief again! THX!
Jun 27, 2016 23:19:14 GMT -5
englishive: plz make me admin! my name is toniix_PVP in minecraft freedom! so im decided to make me admin!
Jun 27, 2016 23:22:21 GMT -5
englishive: hi im crazynippi make me admin im applying for telnet admin! PLZ!
Jun 30, 2016 0:25:06 GMT -5