Continuing Tales

Of Cupid and Psyche

A Labyrinth Story
by Chibi-no-oneesan

Part 3 of 16

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Why weren't they gone yet?

Jareth sat in the formal drawing room with his mother and her companions, sipping tea he didn't want while they nibbled upon food and chittered and chattered about things he didn't give a flying fig about. Several times his mother had dropped not particularly subtle hints that he should take one of these lovely ladies to his bed as a thank you for their company.

As if he had any intention of letting one of these creatures setting foot within his room. He didn't bother telling these fools what he'd done to the last woman who had tried to get into his bed, much less the queen's suites.

It had been near a year ago and he'd come back from a long flight, watching Sarah dance with her brother in that park she favored, his heart cleansed of the presence of so much of the taint the others in the Underground brought into his home. He'd opened his door and immediately his teeth were put on edge. His room reeked of female musk, and he found the woman lounging upon his bed in what he knew she must think to be an alluring manner.

He'd strode towards her and she gave him a look of veiled invitation and he'd snapped. He'd gripped her arm, feeling his magic already fighting against his tight control as he drug her from the bed, using that surplus of power to heave her out of his doorway with as much speed as he could. The sheets upon his bed followed, and the large mattress followed that, hitting her and pinning her screaming form against the wall.

"Jareth, I must be on my way tonight."

His mother's voice drew his attention back and he fitted the woman with a piercing gaze. "I see." Mentally, he did a happy dance, since his mother's oppressive, pushy atmosphere had been causing upset among his goblins and that was nothing compared to what it was doing to him. Lately, whenever the woman arrived, he wanted to go into hiding. Or give up his kingship. Really anything would do.

"Would you mind entertaining Alura and Elvina for a few days-"

"I most certainly would." He said, his voice turning cool. "I have a kingdom to run, and I was to inform you this eve that I must go back to my duties. Being a royal doesn't mean simply sitting upon a throne and looking good." He saw hurt on his mother's face and felt the faintest twinge of guilt.

"That's a pity. I suppose they will have to come with me, then." She looked away from him, her back straight, that pride which would likely be the downfall of this family showing with her every mood.

"I do hope you have an easy journey." He said softly, hoping to mollify her without being forced to have the chittering twit and the fearful young woman in his castle longer.

The woman turned towards him and gave a small, faint smile, resting her hand upon his own. "Well, you heard the king, ladies. We must go oversee preparations for our departure." She stood, dusting off her skirts. The younger ladies left, Alura flouncing out in a sulky manner, Elvina looking markedly relieved. Morgaine, however, turned towards him, her expression bright with concern. "Why must you be so stubborn, son? You're still in your prime and yet you're so alone. You push every one away, hide every night in that room. That wretched girl that hurt you is not coming back. The sooner you accept that-"

He lifted a hand for silence. "Mother, I will not marry someone who is merely looking to improve her title. Elvina was terrified of being in the same room as I, and Alura is so wrapped up in herself she cannot tell I wanted to choke her every time she spoke. You keep bringing me these women, always extremes. Terrified of me or so foolish they can't be afraid. There is a middle ground, I've met those with it before."

"Like who, son? This Sarah who rejected you soundly in favor of a child?"

He flinched at the reminder. "Sarah...was still a child herself." He looked up at the woman. "I've seen her grow into a lovely young woman, mature, caring, and so selfless. You cannot understand, mother. You and father cared for each other, but I don't think you have felt what I believe I am feeling. My soul calls for her."

"And yet she does not answer!"

He stood, pacing towards the window. "You should go prepare to leave, mother." He said, keeping his voice calm, despite the raging emotions within him. There was a long moment of silence, and then he heard footfalls leading her towards the exit.

"Think about what I said, Jareth. You could waste away before that girl ever came back. I...just want to see you happy."

There was the sound of the door shut, and Jareth promptly put a muffling spell on the room and then let his rage go, the temper shattering crockery, sending priceless vases slamming against walls, lightening crackling along the curtains, walls, floor. Books tore themselves off of shelves, creating a chaotic ballet of violence around him.

He kept his temper restrained to that room, not lashing out at his subjects, or the foolish woman who had said such things to him. As if he did not know she wished he would settle with one of these little witches of the Underground who were more interested in his title than him. She wanted for him to take a wife of her ilk and start popping out little brats immediately.

Once upon a time there had been no one he was closer to than his mother, however, after the death of his father, she'd turned bitter and angry, taking on this 'mommy knows best' attitude that made him long to throttle her. It had come as a relief being so far away. Until six years ago when she'd showed up to comfort him after Sarah ran the Labyrinth. After that she'd come with increasing frequency until she was visiting nearly every month now.

Slowly, the rage died, leaving in it's place that loneliness he'd always felt when he wasn't in the above, watching over his precious Sarah. He hated that his mother's words struck so close to his heart wounds from that evening. It was always a deep fear that she would never again let him be a part of her life. He clung desperately to the hope that one day she might.

With an exhausted sigh, he scrubbed his face, falling back into his chair. He stretched out his legs, staring up at the ceiling. He felt raw, scrubbed out. He called in a crystal, preparing to look down upon Sarah's lovely face when he heard the doors to the castle slam open.

Wondering what manner of havoc was about to present itself upon his doorstep, he headed towards the door. Before he could touch it, it slammed open, a familiar dwarf storming in. "I don't care who he's entertaining!" His gardener snarled, not seeing him until he slammed into the legs of the Goblin King.

Jareth's brow jumped up his brow and he waved the goblin that was trailing behind him, looking petulant away. "Hogspill, what a surprise. To what do I owe the...pleasure."

"It's Hoggle, you no good, dirty, cheating rat!" The dwarf fumed. He lifted his hands, shoving the Goblin King with an exceptional amount of force. The movement caused the king a great deal of surprise. Hoggle was, by nature, a cowardly creature, however he was prone to moments of intense bravery. Now must be one of those moments. "What 'ave ya done ta Sarah?"

Concern shot straight to his heart, however he maintained a cool front before the dwarf. Of course it would involve the girl. She was the only one who could make half the creatures in his Labyrinth, himself included, lose their heads. "What are you talking about?" He asked, his voice edging towards disdain and mocking.

Hoggle shoved him again, managing to knock him into a chair. "You just couldn't stand that she beat you, so what? You send a curse after the poor girl! You know she was just trying to get her brother back, to right that wrong she done, but you just couldn't stand it!" Hoggle gripped the front of his vest and gave him a hard shake. "What 'ave ya done?"

Curse? Jareth stood abruptly, resulting in the detaching of the dwarf from the front of his vest. "Hoggle, what the devil are you talking about? What curse?"

Hoggle examined him closely for a long moment. "I'm no fool, Jareth. You know well enough that I knows one when I see one. I just saw her two days ago and she was fine, but now her eyes 'ave gone all milky white and she can scarce remember who I am, much less my name!" He started pacing. "If it was just some trauma, she wouldn't even remember about the mirror. Seemed that she was trying to hold onto her memories like someone trying to hold water in a leaky bucket."

Jareth frowned deeply, troubled by this information. "I have not set any curse upon Sarah Williams," he promised quietly. "I would never have done such a thing to her. As you said...she was simply attempting to right a wrong..."

Hoggle didn't look convinced. "Then who would have cursed that girl? You're the only one I know that had any reason to hold a grudge!"

Jareth sighed, massaging the back of his neck. "I may resent her for what she did, however trust in that I could never harm her. She declared I have no power over her. Even if I wished to cause her harm, which I never have, I could not."

Hoggle's lip stiffened, a sure sign that the dwarf was restraining emotions. "What can I do for the little lady, then?" His voice sounded so hopeless. "She likely wont remember me if I go back and try to help her, now."

Jareth set his jaw, staring out the window, watching his mother's belongings get loaded into a waiting carriage. "At the moment, I've no idea." He said quietly. "I'll contact Morphia and see if she may not be able to do something." He shook his head, gesturing vaguely.

"I don't like you, Jareth, you know that." Hoggle's voice was restrained. "But I'd rather Sarah were with you. At least then I'd know the little lady was safe."

Jareth closed his eyes and sighed, turning back towards the dwarf. "There are rules for bringing mortals into the Underground, Hoggle." He saw surprise written upon his face upon speaking the appropriate name. "What do you propose I do? If her memories are slipping away as you say, how would I, someone she knows not, convince the girl to give up the life she has above and bring her hear?"

"I don't know." The dwarf admitted.

Jareth nodded. "For now, I would have you glean whatever information you might be able about who might have cursed her. Not many in the Underground have the ability to curse those in the above, and almost always someone must traverse the veil between here and the mortal realm. Find out who has made such a trip recently and bring me this information."

"What will you do?"

Jareth sighed heavily. "I will search for a loophole so that I might bring the lady here for temporary protection." He waved a hand. "Go, you have your mission. Enlist the assistance of your brethren if you need to. I will do what must be done regarding Sarah." He watched the dwarf nod shortly before he ambled away as swiftly as his short legs could carry him.

He would never tell the dwarf, but he could think of one person who may wish to cause Sarah great harm. It was someone the girl had never even met, would never know the reason behind the animosity.

However, Jareth wanted his theory confirmed before the Goblin King went off on the woman. This was sorely against the rules. Not even he, the one who had suffered most from the girl's careless words, had the right to seek retribution for the loss. It was a game. Doing this was rather like throwing a temper tantrum because one didn't succeed.

He'd outgrown temper tantrums years ago.

Although it was in blatant disregard for the rules binding the Goblin King, despite knowing where the curse had likely originated from, Jareth closed his eyes and decided that he would bide his time and wait.

First and most importantly, however, he had to find out how to get Sarah out of the Above and into the relative safety of his castle without horribly breaking one of the rules regarding bringing a mortal into the Underground. Swiftly, his feet carried him to his study and he locked the door behind himself. For awhile at least, he would be sequestered from the world.

Jareth leaned quietly against the door and prayed that Sarah would be okay for awhile.


Mordred was not a bad person. He, like many of his kind, was proud, selfish, and a bit arrogant, but unfortunately that had been bred into him. He was also a good father, a loving husband, and a overall kind sort of person.

It was misfortune of a great sort that put him in the debt of a Lady Morgaine, his aunt on his mother's side. He'd never truly liked the woman. She came across as the jealous sort, who would sooner slay a rival than fight fairly. Yet here he was, forced into the servitude of that woman, for fear she would take out her vengeance on one who barely had the strength to get through their daily lives.

It had been more than fifty years ago that his wife had taken ill with a severe case of consumption. While his kind was made seemingly immortal since they had fled the above and the persecution they faced, it was still possible, even easy, for them to come down with a human illness and perish. He was a well paid wizard, respected, and spent near all of his funds seeking a healer who could still the progress of the illness.

However, as time passed, it became obvious that there was no one.

She had consented to take visitors, had smiled and said it would be nice to see the family once more. Jareth had come from across the realm, knelt at her bedside and whispered something in her ear which had made her smile and spent several hours sitting and speaking to her in soft tones, going silent when she spoke so she wouldn't have to raise her voice.

Others in the family had come, often too rowdy to stay for long. Finally, as Mordred became aware that he would likely watch the sun set on his lovely wife's life, Morgaine appeared. She entered dressed in colors of blue and white and stopped before him instead of her.

"I can save her." The woman said coldly. "However, a price must be paid, by either her or you."

"What do you want, I will do anything!" He'd entreated.

There was pleasure upon her face. "Your services. Nothing more." She walked towards the woman, pulled out a small glowing vial and placed it against the woman's lips. No one dared ask what the concoction was and Mordred could see that his wife was as desperate for a bit more time on this plane as he was for her to have it.

Once administered, the woman left, giving him a long look.

The next day, his beloved wife was better, was up and walking around, laughing with their children. Within a month, she was pregnant again, as her desire to participate in those activities renewed.

It was six months after that night that Morgaine first came to request his services. She appeared with a crystal in her palm, her face lit with fury. "You will give this to Lady Gloriana of the court of Nirgen." She said evenly. "The crystal must touch her bare skin.

He did as he was told. A month later he received an invitation to the funeral of Lady Gloriana and he realized that crystal must have contained some form of curse. He was in tears when he arrived at Morgaine's step. "How could you? I am not a hired killer! How could you knowingly use me to..."

Morgaine turned towards him, her eyes cool. "You said anything, Mordred. And do stop being such a baby." Those eyes turned dark with humor. "Do you wish to sever our contract? There too is a price for that. Your wife's life was the gift. I can take it back."

He, naturally, fled the woman. He returned to his wifes side and wept for the lives he was going to be told to take.

There had been many. Some courtiers, some commoners, some lovers who had spurned her. He suspected some where even rivals. He'd learned to turn off his heart, to pretend that he couldn't feel the taint spreading over his soul. It was a switch. At home, he was the happy father, but when Morgaine called him through a mirror and passed him a crystal, he turned off all of his feelings, trying to forget that he was not a killer by nature.

This mission in particular had left a bad taste in his mouth from the start. He didn't ask questions, he dared not. When she'd pushed in only days ago, he'd felt that twinge of rebellious irritation. However, she'd provided little in the way of information, and as he'd said, there were many with the name Sarah and brown hair in the Above.

However, when he'd stood in that park, juggling those crystals, he'd felt a gaze upon him and felt a strange pain wash over him. He'd looked up, finding a girl with brown hair and sparkling green eyes watching those crystals move over his hands. Tears were trickling down her face. As the crowd had begun to disperse, she'd wiped her cheeks and begun digging through her purse, presumably for some money.

They had shared few words, but upon learning her name was Sarah, his heart twisted painfully. This girl was sweet, pure, innocent. Why in the heavens would Morgaine wish to curse her? His hurry to leave, to pretend he hadn't had caused him to fumble that one damn crystal and it had rolled towards her over the grass. He could to little but watch as she lifted it with her bare hand and offer it to him.

Now, he sat at his wife's feet, his arms tightly around her waist as he sobbed into her knees. Maybe some would call him weak for exhibiting such emotions, much less in front of a woman, but this was the one person he trusted with his life. Her hands lightly caressed his pale hair as she whispered words in an ancient tongue to him, words of comfort, words of peace. His wife had little magical gift, but she could weave solace from words rarely spoken any longer.

To him, he always teased that this was her magic. It was like casting a simple spell, she'd speak words, and calm would travel from her into him. It was something he'd always loved about her.

"You've been troubled." She said softly, stroking his hair gently. Her voice floated down to his ears and he sighed, resting his cheek upon her thigh. "It has been a very long time since I have seen you happy, darling."

He wanted to tell her, however, he was not allowed. Morgaine had implied several times that if he told anyone the truth of their dealings, she would sever the thread of his beloveds life. "Would that I could tell you, darling-"

There was a pounding at the door and their oldest child, Ethan, rushed to open it. Mordred lifted his head, wiping his face and putting a glamor over his features to hide his show of emotion. He found himself faced with a dwarf, a fox-goblin, and a large troll in his doorway. The dwarf stepped forward.

"Mordred. Lady Ailith."

His brow shot up. He knew this creature. It was Jareth's gardener at the Castle Beyond the Goblin City. "Hoggle?"

A short nod. "Sorry about the hour, but this couldn't wait." The creature moved towards him, his face grim. "You been Above quite a bit lately, boy."

Dread settled into the pit of his stomach. He glanced towards his wife and knew she sensed his unease. Gently he squeezed her hand. "Darling, could you take the children elsewhere?" She nodded, eyes bright with concern. He watched as she ushered the children out the door leading to the kitchen, likely to enlist their assistance in preparing dinner. Once she was gone, he sagged into the chair she'd sat upon. "Yes, I've been Above. I just returned this evening."

Hoggle frowned deeply. "I know, and that's why I'm here. Late yesterday a girl in the Above received a curse. A girl by the name of Sarah."

He closed his eyes, lowering his head. "So you know."

"Why her? Of all the people in the Above, why our Sarah?!"

"Our...?" Mordred lifted his face, staring at the dwarf. "How do you..."

"She's the champion of the Labyrinth! In eleven hours she beat the thing! I've never seen that wretch Jareth give so much attention to a single runner!"

Suddenly, everything hit Mordred like load of bricks. "Oh, merciful darkness, what have I done..." He whispered. He suddenly understood why the woman wanted to curse the mortal girl. "It was an accident. I was going to abandon this endeavor she sent me on, I'd hoped that she would just let it go. I was juggling in the park, contemplating giving up in general and there was a girl who was watching me and crying. I spoke to her and learned her name to be Sarah. She was the one I was supposed to give the crystal to...and I started rushing to get away, and dropped the damn thing. She picked it up and gave it back."

Hoggle frowned deeply. "Who is she?"

"I can't say!" He cried in upset. "If I tell you..." His eyes darted towards the door his wife had left through. "My wife depends on my silence. Please do not force me to tell you. If you will look for someone riddled with jealousy and hate you'll find her regardless."

The dwarf nodded, his face upset. "Very well. Jareth will be here to speak to you as well, no doubt soon. I suggest you tell him what is going on. He might be able to help."

Mordred watched them leave, miserable. Why did this have to come back to the one cousin that he actually cared about?


Father. Mother. Step-father. Step-mother. Brother. Sister. Names that went with faces she could not remember. Titles which at this point held little meaning. Words which should offer comfort offered none; hands which should be familiar were not.

It was like a living nightmare.

Two days ago, she'd been moved from one building to another. The bed which was now called hers was uncomfortable, plastic, with metal bars on either side. They'd called this place a hospital. She didn't know why she was in a hospital. She didn't know much beyond her name. They said she'd gone mysteriously blind, had been losing her memories for days before they moved her. They said they moved her to help her.

Now, however, her days were filled with pain. The 'doctors' ran experiments on her mind and body, again and again finding nothing wrong and moving on to other tests. The only time she felt a measure of peace was when the little boy who came to visit took her out to walk in the hospital garden. He would help her sit beneath a large tree, sit upon her lap and then begin to tell her stories.

Some struck a chord within herself, telling her they were more than mere stories. They caused a sharp pain in her heart which often made her cry. When asked why, she always answered the same: "I don't remember," which often made her cry harder.

Sometimes, when she slept, she dreamed of running down a tunnel with a leathery hand in her grip, the clash of machinery coming up behind her. Others were dangling by a tree limb over something that smelled above and beyond the definition of 'foul'. The ones which came most often however, were of her dancing in an extravagant gown, in the arms of a man who stirred strange feelings in her heart.

The dreams where she danced always caused her to wake in tears.

Each night a different dream, which faded as she woke, disappearing into nothing more than mist.

Today they had again run that horrid battery of tests, and afterwards, the boy she was repeatedly told was her brother took her hand and led her out to the gardens. They walked in silence for a long time before the boy started speaking, with a wisdom that was far beyond his seven years. "I had a dream last night. A man spoke to me. He said...he knew what had to be done to bring you into his protection." His hand touched her face gently and she knew he was looking at her.

She remained silent, uncertain what to say.

He was silent as well, but she could feel the weight of his gaze before his arms went around her neck and she felt his damp face press into her shoulder. "I wish you to be taken under the protection of the Goblin King." He whispered softly.


There was a sound like thunder overhead. Toby hugged his sister tightly even as he felt her disappearing. Tears continued to roll down his face. Within moments, she had vanished, leaving him standing there alone. He reached up, scrubbing the tears from his eyes as his lips firmed in a thin line. "You'd better take care of her." He threatened softly.

He stood there for a few more moments before heading back into the hospital, ignoring the queries about where Sarah was. He simply buried his face into his father's shoulder and cried silent tears.

Of Cupid and Psyche

A Labyrinth Story
by Chibi-no-oneesan

Part 3 of 16

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