Continuing Tales

Dark Labyrinth

A Labyrinth Story
by Helen Fayle

Part 6 of 12

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Dark Labyrinth

Iorweth had found a large mirror in one of the tower rooms of the castle – a surprisingly useful device that was conveniently focussed on the Silverpool estate. With Calion standing behind him, he'd been watching the scene by the lake.

'I think it's past time,' he said coldly, passing a hand over the image to dissolve it, 'for the former Goblin King to have his feathers ruffled a little.'

Calion licked his lips in anticipation. 'What do you suggest?'

Iorweth's answering smile was as cold as his voice. 'The girl. She could be a weak link. Try to drive a wedge between them. It shouldn't be too difficult – she seems very young. And very inexperienced. It shouldn't be beyond you to find a lever of some sort to turn her against him.'

Calion bowed and began to walk towards the door.

'Oh and Calion?'

'My Lord?'

'Try to find out what those goblins are up to in the city. They're being far too quiet for my liking.'


'Can he do this?' Devin asked, staring down at the valley. Jareth nodded.

'Given enough time. It's what he did to his own realm.'

'You might want to rethink your strategy,' Devin told him bluntly. Jareth's grip on Sarah's hand tightened involuntarily.

'I can't. I have to let him extend his control as much as possible before I face him. It's the only way to weaken him.'

'But there are people down there!' Sarah turned to him. 'You can't just leave them!' Hoggle and Ludo for two, she thought sadly.

'Iorweth is only interested in the Labyrinth itself, for now. If I faced him now, while he's still at full strength, I'd lose.' He stared past her at the writhing miasma that covered the Labyrinth. 'Once he's over extended, he's vulnerable. It's the only chance I'll get.'

'Why is he doing this?' Sarah asked.

'Boredom, maybe.' Jareth told her. 'Iorweth is one of the Old Ones – none of us are quite sure how old. They tend to have different values to the rest of us.'

'Understatement of the century,' Devin remarked to no one in particular. Jareth ignored him.

'He didn't exactly take time to explain his masterplan to me, but I'm his chosen target. He's remaking the Labyrinth to turn it into a 'suitable' challenge for me. The rest is incidental.'

'That's -' Sarah found herself at a loss for word. So much destruction, for a game…

'I know.' Jareth said quietly. 'Although you might want to keep in mind that if it's a crime, it's one we're all guilty of.' She looked at him sharply. His mismatched eyes regarded her evenly. She had a feeling she understood all too well what he meant.

'The Labyrinth?' Remembering her own struggle almost three years before

'The difference being, even at your worst, you've never used it to kill,' Devin snapped. 'Nothing excuses this.' He turned to face Sarah 'Time to go.'

No gestures, no fireworks. They were simply back in Devin's sitting room, as if nothing had happened. Sarah opened her eyes, and stared at the two men. 'Well?'

Devin fixed his gaze on Jareth. 'How many ever completed the Labyrinth?'

Jareth shrugged. 'In my time - just Sarah. Before that, I don't know. The Goblins aren't overly fond of keeping records.' The corners of his mouth twitched. 'Eating them is more their style.'

'Why,' Sarah asked, ignoring his quip, 'would these dreams have anything to do with me solving the Labyrinth?'

'I don't know, but it's my best guess that it has something to do with this. No-one's quite sure what that place is,' Devin told her in his soft voice. 'The construction's older than even the Goblin City. It has -'

'A mind of it's own on occasion,' said Jareth dryly. 'Although not literally. Wild magic isn't my area.' He shrugged. 'I never claimed to be omnipotent.'

Devin and Sarah exchanged glances.


Outside the window, a tawny coloured wolf watched and listened, unseen.


Despite feeling as if they'd only been gone for a few minutes, dusk had fallen outside. Sarah, needing to clear her head, made her excuses and decided to take a walk in the gardens. If nothing else, it gave her time to think.

The night air was cool - refreshing after the heat of the day. Flickering blue fire torches lit the path, casting an otherworldly glow over the flowerbeds. Night blooming flowers abounded, filling the air with a heady scent that was almost intoxicating.

She was so wrapped up in enjoying the night, she didn't hear the footsteps behind her. A hand dropped onto her shoulder.

'A beautiful night.' The speaker was a stranger. Tall, fair-haired – broad featured, but with a sharp chiselled elegance in the bone structure. Handsome, in a cold sort of way. But there was something in his eyes that made her nervous. A cold appraisal that made her feel as if she'd rather be a hundred miles away from him.

'Yes,' Sarah replied, a little uncertainly. 'I - I didn't know Devin had any other guests.'

She backed away from him, as casually as she could. The night seemed colder, darker all of a sudden.

His arm moved to block her way. 'Not so fast. I don't think they'll miss you for a while.' His gaze raked her from head to toe, and a sick feeling of cold fear washed over her.

'Please, just let me pass.' Dare she call out?

He grabbed her by the arm, pulling her closer. 'Why so nervous?' His other hand tilted her chin upwards. 'My, Jareth does have exquisite taste. You really are quite lovely.'

'Let go of me!' Sarah struggled, but found his grip impossible to break. He laughed - a cruel, hard sound.

'A week in Jareth's company and still so timid? Really, he is losing his touch.' His grip tightened. 'Still such an innocent. Tell me, do you really think your beauty will be enough to hold him to your side once he's taken his pleasure?' A sharp nail traced the line of her cheekbone. 'I wonder how he'd feel about soiled goods?'

She flushed. The stranger laughed again, and leant closer to her, ignoring her struggles.

As his face came closer to hers, Sarah managed to bring her free hand up, and raked his cheek with her nails, drawing blood. With an angry growl, he backhanded her, almost forcing her off her feet, but still holding her arm tightly, so that as she spun around, her shoulder was cruelly twisted. A cry of pain escaped her.

'Calion.' Jareth's voice sent a shiver of relief through Sarah. He was standing in the light from one of the torches, the blue light giving his features an even more ethereal cast than normal. Her captor pulled her in front of him, his hand moving to her throat.

'Jareth' Calion sneered. 'What a pleasant surprise.' Sarah watched as Jareth walked further into the light, coming towards them. Calion's grip tightened on her throat. His nails were as sharp as a cat's claws. One dug into the soft flesh of her neck, and she flinched, feeling blood trickle down her throat from the scratch. 'No further. I could kill the girl before you could even blink.' His fingers squeezed and Sarah found herself gasping for air.

Jareth fiddled with a glove, straightening it. 'So you could.' How can he be so calm? 'Make your mind up, Calion. If I don't care for the girl, your threat is meaningless.' He sighed theatrically. 'But then, you never were very bright, were you…' Sarah didn't even see him move, just the flash of crystal in the light, and a cry from Calion. The hand ripped free of her throat and she stumbled forward, to be fielded by Jareth. Calion staggered backwards, and she saw the hilt of a knife embedded in his shoulder.

'Touch her again Calion, I won't be so generous.' Jareth's voice was cold, and staring up at him, Sarah drew back. There was murder in his eyes.

Calion pulled the knife from his shoulder, throwing it to the ground. Then, with no warning, in his place a large light coloured wolf stood, growling - and sprang straight for them. Too quickly for Jareth to push Sarah out of the way. Sharp teeth raked her arm as she raised it her to fend the beast off. They fell, the wolf snapping and snarling on top of them, hot breath near her cheek. Sarah's other hand groped on the ground, feeling for a stone or anything to hand. Jareth, caught behind her, had been unable to get free in time. The wolf had him by the arm.

Her hand closed on something cold, and she brought it up and down, slashing the creature across the muzzle. It let go of Jareth's arm and bounded away into the night, yelping.

Her legs turning to rubber, she sank to the ground, Jareth kneeling beside her, while she tried to stop shaking. He held her in silence for a moment, then his hands touched her neck. 'Let me see.' She let him tip her head back, fingers gently touching the scratches Calion had left. Wordlessly, she placed her head on his shoulder and hugged him, just needing to feel safe.

Her arm feeling as though it was on fire, she dropped the stone from suddenly nerveless fingers. His arm tightened around her, stilling her trembling, neither of them saying a word.

'I thought you were trying to kill him,' she said eventually, her face still on his shoulder.

'I was. I missed.' He helped her to her feet. Still shaken, she clung to him. His hand stroked her cheek, then tipped her chin up and kissed her - lightly at first, then deepening it, his hands moving to her waist, pulling her closer. When he finally pulled back, his eyes were fixed on hers.

Calion's mocking voice… 'After he's taken his pleasure…'

He must have seen the question in her eyes. 'If that was all I wanted from you, don't you think I could have taken it by now?' he asked. How long had he listened before challenging Calion?

Devin and three of his servants came running up before she could reply. 'Jareth?' Concern, deepening to worry as he saw the two of them, both bloodied.

'Calion. He headed for the gate.'

A dark hawk took to the sky, spiralling upwards in the fading moonlight.

Jareth helped Sarah to her feet, steadying her with his uninjured arm. 'Check the rest of the grounds,' he ordered the servants. 'See that there are no other intruders.'

He led an unprotesting Sarah back to the house.


Devin flew towards the gates, cursing as he did. Taking his hawk form had been an instinct - and a mistake. In the dark, his sight was limited, even with his magic enhancing it. At times like these, he almost wished he'd been born Fae.


However, his ears were sharp. Hovering over the avenue that led from the house to the gates, he listened intently for his prey. Calion, injured, would probably not attempt to transport himself to the Labyrinth until he'd shifted back to his natural form.

The wolf had run this way, but not as fast as the hawk could fly. Devin waited.

A rustling in the bushes, a pained yelp, alerted the dark hawk to his quarry's arrival. The wolf was limping badly. Devin would have been wearing a smile of grim satisfaction in human form at the thought. The hawk merely hovered on silent wings.

The soft movement of air marked the change, a delicate flutter that heralded the shift from beast to man. And as the bloodied form of Calion stepped out of the trees, Devin struck. Diving straight at the Sidhe, wings, claws and beak battering Calion in a frenzied attack. To distract him long enough perhaps to be able to stop him from translocating…

Calion fought back, one hand grasping an outstretched wing, tearing the flight feathers. In response, Devin's beak stabbed forwards, raking Calion's cheek from temple to jaw. Part way, something soft gave way. Calion pulled back with a cry of pain and outrage. Devin, momentarily losing his control, struggled to stay in the air. In that instant, Calion was gone.

The hawk fluttered to the ground, and Devin returned to his natural form, dishevelled and bruised where the Calion's blows had landed. He sank down to sit cross-legged on the path, brushed a tangled lock of dark hair out of his mouth and stared after the departed Wolf-lord.

'Oh, bugger,' he said quietly.


'Did you have to bait him like that?' Sarah asked, perched on the edge of the large four poster bed that occupied the room Jareth had taken. 'Ow!' She winced as he washed the scratches on her arm. One of them had gone quite deep.

'Hold still. And no, it probably wasn't the best move I could have made.' He finished cleaning the wounds, and bandaged the arm.

Now that the immediate threat had faded, Sarah's reaction was more of anger than anything else. At herself for letting it get to her. At Calion's casual cruelty to Didymus and herself.

Had she thought Jareth cruel, once?

Yes, but his cruelties stemmed from a lack of care for the object of them, she reasoned with a dawning clarity - not because he enjoyed inflicting them.

Anger at the world for turning everything upside down until she had to accept and adapt or cave in under the weight of events, feelings, danger.

Strangely, not at the wild haired man who knelt in front of her, stripped to the waist with a bloodstained bandage around his own arm. Despite the fact that his arrogant challenge might have got them both killed tonight.

Because, so far, in all that had happened in the past week, he was the only safe haven she'd found. And despite everything, she'd come to realise that she could get to like the man behind the Goblin King…

He pulled her shirtsleeve back down over her arm. And at the touch of his hands on her skin, she was suddenly, acutely aware that she was sitting on his bed – and that her heart seemed to be beating about twice as fast as it should. To cover her sudden confusion, she took a deep breath and ran a hand through her long hair - wind tangled by now. Her fingers caught in a knot, and his hand reached up, smoothing her hair. In its wake, her hair untangled - and fluffed into curls: soft, silky and scented faintly of roses.

'I usually brush it straight,' she said. A vain attempt to regain her composure. He simply smiled.

'I like it better this way.' His fingers closed in the mass of her hair, and he drew her towards him. Unresisting, she leant into the kiss, returning it. Her hands drifted almost without her conscious volition to rest on his back, then to move over the silky smooth skin, coming to rest at his waist.

He finally broke the kiss, and pulled back from her slightly, his face again wearing a guarded expression. His eyes searched hers, and for a moment, she caught a glimpse through the mask to the depths of emotion in his. Desire; a stubborn pride that would refuse to admit to any weakness, and, paradoxically, that vulnerability she that she hadn't expected.

'Why do you persist in turning my world upside down?' he whispered.

Memory… 'I have turned the world upside down and I have done it all for you…' 'I move the stars for no-one…' She'd been so set on her goal, she'd not understood the words at the time.

Had she ever questioned them? Yes. It had taken her too long to see. The answer had been in front of her all along. Had been there almost three years ago, if she'd only allowed herself to see it.

The dreams… Telling her what she should have known. Toby giggling in his arms, completely unharmed. His hand offered - not proffering dreams this time, but himself.

As he had been all along. Only her own pride had blinded her to the truth. We're well matched, she'd told him earlier. All too true.

'What do you think you do to mine?' she asked. And she leant forward, her hair falling to mingle with his, dark on light, and kissed him. It was all the reply he needed.

Jumbled impressions… his hands deftly unfastening the ties of her shirt, hands brushing her skin, her breasts; so delicate, yet so deliberate. Lips tracing the line of her neck, the hollow of her throat, brushing lower: the shirt discarded, her body pressed tightly against his, the warmth of his skin against hers broken by the cold metal of the crescent shaped amulet he always wore.

Her hands ran over his back, the soft skin of his chest, revelling in the play of lithe muscle under the skin. A brief moment of uncertainty when he finally lay her back on the bed, and she realised that they were both naked.

'Cheat,' she whispered, in jest, hoping the pale blue light in the room would hide her sudden blush. Am I really doing this…?

'But of course,' he'd replied, his hands tracing the lines of her thighs, moving inwards and upwards, so gently, yet insistent. The slow, deep-seated ache inside threatened to overwhelm her as he moved; an exquisite longing, so intense. Uncertainty faded; she yielded to desire.

One moment, feeling him so hard against her, when her resolve weakened, the slight frission of fear, soothed away by his mouth on hers again, his tongue finding hers: a murmur of reassurance.

She cried out softly as he entered, but the slight pain was forgotten almost as soon as it was felt. He was moving, in time to her heartbeat, so surely. Hesitantly, but with a greater assurance as the last of her inhibitions dropped away, she responded. On the rising tide of desire, she rose to meet him, pulling him closer, deeper, never wanting the moment to end, but, oh, she couldn't take any more… She was vaguely aware that she'd called out his name, as her back arched, her hands buried in his soft hair… and then the falling away, a slow descent, spiralling back. Mismatched eyes staring into hers, a hand drawn lightly across her cheek, down her throat, her name whispered softly, held safe in strong, slender arms.


Calion arrived in the throne room of the Goblin Castle, and collapsed in the circular pit that took up the centre of the room. His left hand was clasped over the ruin of his left eye, blood seeping between his fingers. One of the hobgoblins moved to help him, but he motioned it away angrily, watching its blurred form move back to its post. Caught between shock and fury, he was in no mood to deal with the creatures. He staggered to his feet, flinching as the wound in his shoulder reopened. His shirt glistened with warm blood, the black fabric taking on an iridescent sheen as it absorbed the sticky ichor.

His other eye still showed only blurred images, but enough to be able to lurch unsteadily from the throne room to the quarters he'd taken nearby.

Which was where Iorweth found him almost an hour later.

He pulled his second's hand away, grimacing in distaste at the ruin underneath. The bleeding had stopped - but even with the Sidhe's natural healing abilities, the face was a wreck. Calion's left eye was gone, leaving a torn socket, and the other side of his face had been gashed twice - once with minor scratches, the second, and deeper, overlaid that with a single deep gash that had laid the cheek open to the bone.

Well it would save Iorweth the task of punishing him further for the night's work. Calion stared up at his lord through his remaining and badly bloodshot eye.

'My lord - '

'Spare me the details,' Iorweth spat. 'You're lucky I don't throw you back to them to finish the job.' He stared down at Calion, mouth twitching in distaste. 'You fool. I send you out to do a simple task - and instead you drive the girl straight into his bed.' His anger briefly caused him to draw upon his power, red hair whipped around his face in the magewind conjured. With an effort, he forced himself to let it go. Instead, he dropped to one knee, and grabbed Calion by the hair, jerking his face back. 'Which of them marked you?'

'All of them,' Calion gasped, biting back a scream as Iorweth's grip tightened. The other lord released him with a cold laugh.

'All of them? Marked by three?' His gaze sobered. 'That's not an omen I like.' He stood up, wiping his hands, a sneer on his face. 'Thanks to your bumbling, my plans will have to change. Keep yourself out of my sight until you are fit for service. I suggest you take out your frustrations on the goblins for a few days. If you think you can handle them?'

He walked for the door, turning when about to leave. 'Maybe I should send them next time - even those pathetic little creatures seem to have more talent for mischief than you.'

Calion stared after his master, a look of pure hatred on his ruined face. 'I don't care what your plans are,' he whispered hoarsely. 'The moment I get my hands on them, they're all dead.'

Especially, he thought, the girl and the Dreamweaver.


Sarah was standing in the throne room of the Goblin castle again. This time, it was empty except for a tall red-haired man sprawled in Jareth's circular throne.

'So good of you to drop in,' he said. There wasn't a shred of warmth in his voice. 'Oh - before you ask, this isn't one of your cosy little visions. This time.' He smiled coldly, 'I'm afraid this is very real. In a manner of speaking.'

'You're Iorweth.' Pale green eyes held hers. Only for a moment.

'Lord Iorweth to you, girl. Not all of us are as tolerant of informality as that ridiculous fop you seem to be so fond of.'

'Lord Iorweth.' Sarah loaded the words with as much scorn as she could. A dangerous glare passed over his face. 'You're in his throne.' There was a part of her that was screaming at her for taking such a chance. Oh well, caution had never been one of her strong points.

'I'm exactly where I choose to be, child. Which is more than I can say for your lover.' At her start, he laughed. 'Oh yes, I know.'

'My name,' she said, with as much confidence as she could muster, 'is Sarah.'

He leaned forwards in the throne, chin resting on a balled fist. 'So what? Really. Do you think to stare me down with childish stories and a bold gaze? You think because you won a small victory against that tired delinquent you can be a match for me?'

'I think, that if you were so confident of taking him, you wouldn't be playing stupid games - or trying this.'

Be careful, Sarah… Devin's voice.

'You know nothing,' Iorweth snapped. Sarah shrugged as nonchalantly as she could.

'Maybe not. But I've seen enough performances to know when I'm being spun a line. You're not much of an actor.' She held her head proudly.

Iorweth sneered. 'So brave… do you really think when the time comes he'll be able to protect you? Or even care to?'

'It doesn't matter,' Sarah said. 'You think he can, and will. Otherwise, why go through this charade?'

He clapped his hands in mock applause. 'You really are more than you seem, aren't you? I wonder what role you have in all of this.' He stood up in a fluid motion, and walked over to her, studying her the whole time. 'But you still have no power.' A hand reached out and tilted her chin. Sarah flinched but held her ground. 'Bah.' He let her go. 'You're nothing but a minor irritant. I might let Calion have you as a titbit once Jareth's in my hands. Maybe we'll even let him watch - '

Sarah slapped him across the face. Recoiling from the blow, he turned back to face her rubbing his cheek. 'I'll remember that, little girl. For now, take Jareth a message for me: when he least expects it, I'll move. Tell him, I know he plans to wait. Tell him, that no matter what his resolve, he will come to me when I decide. Not before. Not after. Tell him that, child.'

Sarah… Devin's soft tones. Think of the falling walls

Sarah stood in front of Iorweth on the cracked flagstones of the place in which she'd faced Jareth. Once again, the crystal moon hung full in the sky. Devin stood at her side.

'Dreamweaver.' Iorweth inclined his head slightly.

'My lord.' Devin's response held a carefully judged air of mockery. 'You should know better than to play in my territory. Especially with one who is dwelling under my roof.'

'Just you, Dreamweaver - not your mentor? I'm surprised.'

Devin's laugh, although hard, was warmer than Iorweth's. He placed a hand reassuringly on Sarah's arm. 'Dreams are my realm, and that means this is between you, me and Sarah.'

'You walk a fine line, Devin. Mortal born you may be, but you chose your path. You walk as one of us - which means you pay the price for interference in our affairs. This was between myself and Jareth.'

'And you brought in Calion. Which means I can even up the score a little.' Devin grinned. 'Care to try another one?'

'What is it like to walk eternity without her, Devin?' The Fae-lord smiled grimly. 'How does immortality taste without the one you chose it to be beside?'

Sarah saw Devin's colour fade, and wondered. She reached out a hand. 'He's just trying to hurt you, the way he did me,' she whispered.

Devin's shoulders braced; 'I know,' he whispered back, and he turned to face Iorweth.

'At least I won her heart, Iorweth.'

It was the red-haired Fae's time to pale. And from the sudden look of surprise on Devin's face, he hadn't expected the barb to hit home so accurately. He was quick to take the opportunity offered by Iorweth's distraction. Taking Sarah's hand, he pulled them both from the scene.

They were standing in a meadow very similar to the one near the lake at Silverpool. In fact, Sarah realised, looking around - it was the same. Only the season was different - autumn - and there was a delicate wooden bridge running from the shore to the island. She turned to stare at Devin.

'What is going on?'

'Iorweth is worried by you. I think he made a big mistake tonight in forcing you into the Dreamworld. I'd love to know what he used. Jareth must have left some trinkets lying around. Careless.' He smiled at her. 'But by doing that, he stepped into my realm. Fortunately for all of us. He's worried by what you may mean, and that makes me think for the first time since this happened that there's hope.'

Sarah stared at him in dawning horror. 'You think Jareth can't win?'

'Not if he faces Iorweth alone.' He took Sarah's hands in his. 'He can't face Iorweth alone and win, but he'll try.'

'What does that have to do with me?' she asked.

Devin's gaze was as cool and as remote as Jareth's could be. 'Whatever you want.' He stared deeply into her eyes. 'What is Jareth to you, Sarah?'

She turned away, suddenly confused. His hand reached out and brushed hers. When she raised her eyes to meet his again, they were searching, but understanding.

'Time to go,' he said softly. 'We'll talk tomorrow.'

The lakeside receded into blackness.

She awoke with a start, and lay there for a moment in the darkness, trying to slow her thudding heartbeat. The unfamiliar feel of a body against hers took a few moments to sink in, before she relaxed.


She was lying with her head on his shoulder, her free hand resting on his chest. Soft, fine fair hair tickled her nose as she moved, trying not to disturb him – before realising that he wasn't asleep.

'Another dream?' he asked. In the darkness, she couldn't see his face, but his voice was gentle. She nodded, and he held her closer, one hand moving first to brush her hair from her face, then to cup her chin and draw her closer, his lips finding hers in the darkness.

'Sometimes it all seems like a dream,' she said softly. He paused, looking down at her, although his face was just a pale blur in the faint light.

'Am I a dream?' he asked, and she heard the mischievous edge creep into his voice as he spoke. 'If so you have an interesting imagination.' His lips brushed the hollow of her throat and then the side of her neck. 'Not to mention a somewhat active one…' Then he nipped her earlobe.

'Ow!' she reached over and grabbed a pillow from behind him, thumping him with it while he collapsed laughing. Suddenly realising the incongruity of the situation, she found herself doing the same.

'Well I think we established you're not dreaming,' he said eventually, pulling her closer again, once she'd stifled her giggles. At some point he'd caused the lights to rekindle, and the flickering pale flames highlighted them both. Did he have to be so beautiful? Even in the pale light, shorn of any Glamour, naked, no make up or any enhancement, he was extraordinary.

Devin's soft voice… 'What is he to you…?'

'Sarah?' Jareth asked. She moved into his embrace, kissing him, feeling him respond to her touch. When he would have held back, as if still careful of hurting her, she drew him closer; 'I won't break,' she whispered, surprised at her daring, but not regretting it as he met her ardour with his own.

Dark Labyrinth

A Labyrinth Story
by Helen Fayle

Part 6 of 12

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