Continuing Tales

A Necessary Deception

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 21 of 28

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A Necessary Deception

Sarah and Breena returned to the garden after lunch and both were surprised to see Brennan arrive.

"There you are, Sarah. I've been looking for you. Lady Breena, how nice to see you again," Brennan bowed.

"Lord Brennan," she said with a curtsy.

"Sarah, I have an appointment tonight, but I can spare an hour away from the garrison. Would you care to have your fencing lesson at this time?" Brennan asked.

Sarah hesitated, "Ethain's assisting Jareth with the hearing of grievances. I hate to leave Breena alone."

Breena shook her head, "Please, don't concern yourself with me. Go ahead if you like, I'll go to the library and read. I really don't mind."

"If you're sure," Sarah asked. "I would like to continue my lessons."

"I'm positive," Breena smiled. "Go along, I'll be fine."

"Thank you so much." Sarah turned to Brennan. "I'll go change and meet you in the sparring room."

Sarah ran upstairs and changed into her whites as quickly as possible and dashed back downstairs where Brennan was waiting for her.

"We're going to work on the attack again. You're improving, but I know that you can do better," Brennan said as he held out an epee to her.

"Before we get started, there's something I should tell you," Sarah took the proffered sword from Brennan's hand. "Ethain and Breena already know and I thought that you should know, too. Jareth and I going to have a baby."

Brennan's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Well, that explains a great deal. I've been wondering about the tension. I thought it was simply because..." He hesitated, "Well, never mind." He suddenly broke into a wide grin and he gestured toward her stomach. "So, there's a baby in there? Right now?" He sounded somewhat incredulous.

Sarah laughed softly. "Yes, right now. And that's where they usually are before they're born."

"Then I'm going to be an uncle," Brennan proclaimed with a pleased expression.

"Are you and Jareth related?" Sarah was puzzled.

"Not that I'm aware," he grinned. "But I shall be Uncle Brennan nonetheless."

Touched, she smiled and said softly, "I'd like that."

Brennan reached for her epee. "Well, that means no more lessons for you, young lady."

Sarah snatched it away from him. "Why not? I'm pregnant, not incapacitated."

He looked at her doubtfully. "We can't do anything that would endanger your health."

"And we won't," Sarah said firmly. "A little exercise will be good for me."

"All right," he said slowly. "But if Jareth gets angry over this, I'm going to say it's all your fault and that you forced me into it."

Sarah laughed.

"Well, then," Brennan continued, "I suppose it's never too early to begin learning; let's teach the little one a thing or two."

Sarah nodded and pulled on her protective mask.

Brennan was suddenly all business. "Your attack hasn't become second nature yet. You're still thinking about it too much. You must stop thinking, Sarah, and act. Now, let us begin."


After dinner, Ethain and Breena excused themselves and took a walk through the gardens.

"Is she willing to talk to him?" Ethain asked Breena.

"Yes," Breena said, "Sarah told me that she and His Majesty have agreed to spend the evening in the library and discuss some of the ramifications of this.situation. Sarah called it "a meeting on neutral ground." She seems to think that she can convince him to allow her to move out of the castle, but I'm afraid His Majesty will never agree to that prospect."

"No, I don't believe he will allow that to happen," Ethain said with a sigh.

"Do you think that you're right in your suspicions about Lord Carden?" Breena said hopefully.

"I'm not certain, but I don't want to tell Sarah or His Majesty until Brennan and I have learned something substantial," Ethain said. "So, perhaps you would be willing to assist me in a bit of subterfuge?"

Breena looked surprised. "You want me to lie?"

Ethain shook his head, "I simply want you to remain here in the garden until I return for you. We've come out here together, we are courting..."

"And everyone will leave us alone, so no one will know that you're gone," Breena said, understanding.

He smiled, "Exactly."

"I'll do it on one condition." Breena regarded him seriously.

Ethain raised an eyebrow. "And that is?"

"You must repay me with an actual walk alone through the gardens at a later date." Her solemn look was marred by the hint of mischief in her eyes. "A walk in which we do not discuss Sarah or His Majesty or Brennan or anyone else."

Ethain stopped walking and pulled her into his arms. Leaning down, he whispered against her ear, "Be honest, during this walk alone, do you even want to talk?"

"Yes," Breena whispered in reply. "But not much."

He kissed her lightly and laughed, "I'll look forward to it." Reluctantly, he released her. "But now I must go. Brennan will be waiting. I'll return as soon as I am able."

"Good luck," Breena said.

Ethain lifted her hand to his lips and vanished from sight.

With a sigh, Breena pulled a book from the pocket of her dress and settled onto a bench under the torches to read.


Ethain concentrated on his friend and transported himself to Brennan's side. He found him leaning against a large oak tree outside a small estate.

"No one has left or gone inside since I arrived," Brennan nodded toward the house.

Ethain smiled grimly, "Shall we get this over with?"

Brennan made courtly gesture. "After you, Your Grace," he grinned.

Ethain rang the bell and in a moment, a servant answered.

"We wish to speak to Lord Carden," Ethain said pleasantly.

After giving their names and titles, they were ushered through a tiny entrance hall and into a small study.

The servant asked them to wait while he fetched his master.

When the door opened again, a tall dark-haired young man entered the room.

"Good evening, gentlemen, how may I assist you?"

Ethain made the introductions and after the social niceties were observed, said, "We would like to talk with you."

"I was just about to go out," Carden said. "But I can spare a few minutes."

"Don't worry," Brennan winked. "We won't keep you from the gaming establishments for long."

Carden looked taken aback but chose to ignore the comment and said, "Please sit down. Is this concerning an illness?"

Ethain sat in a leather armchair across from Carden, but Brennan shook his head and remained standing.

"We have questions regarding a patient," Ethain said softly.

"A patient?" Carden looked at them in confusion.

"We are here on behalf of the King of the Goblins. I believe you met him recently," Ethain said.

Carden's smile wavered, "Yes, I've had the pleasure of meeting His Majesty."

Brennan smirked, "I'm sure Jareth was less than pleased to meet you." Lord Carden frowned and Brennan looked at him, the sudden picture of innocence, "Considering the circumstances, I mean."

"Circumstances?" Carden asked.

"As His Majesty's Aide, I am aware of the situation with Lady Vivienne," Ethain said soothingly.

Carden shot a questioning glance at Brennan.

"Oh, don't mind me. Speak freely," Brennan grinned and waved a hand carelessly in the air. "I'm only the King's garrison commander. You now how soldiers are, too slow-witted to comprehend anything other than torture and mayhem." He gave Ethain a quizzical look, "Why did you ask me to come along on this visit again?"

Carden blinked at the implication.

"How long have you been attending Lady Vivienne?" Ethain said gently.

"S...several months," Lord Carden stammered.

Brennan had begun prowling about the room, picking up and examining various trinkets. He was careful to keep to the edge of Carden's peripheral vision, forcing the man to turn in his chair to watch him.

"Whatever was wrong with Vivienne that required a healer in the first place? I'd always been under the impression that the woman had the constitution of a ox," Brennan said.

"I don't intend to discuss my treatment of Lady Vivienne with strangers," Carden said sharply.

Ethain's expression cooled and he raised an eyebrow.

Carden's false bravado deflated instantly. "Forgive me, gentlemen, but surely you understand. I'm certain you wouldn't want me discussing your medical history with others."

"How very ethical of you," Brennan drawled and Carden pivoted to look at him with narrowed eyes.

"Have you met Lord Marcan?" Brennan asked suddenly.

"What?" Carden was confused at the change in subject.

"Lady Vivienne's half brother. Have you met him?" Ethain picked up the question.

"Yes, we've met," Carden said, beginning to sound irritated. "Why do you ask?"

Brennan shrugged and grinned, "Just curious."

"I will admit that I was quite surprised to learn that Lady Vivienne would seek out a Fae healer. The Elves are generally considered the most adept at the art of healing," Ethain said, drawing Carden's attention back to him.

"Yes, well, while it's true that Elves have a natural capacity for healing, not all of the Fae are comfortable with having someone outside their own kind treat them," Carden said defensively.

"And people think that racism is restricted to the Aboveworld," Brennan muttered to Ethain derisively.

"Is it difficult to diagnose a pregnancy?" Ethain asked.

"Not particularly, however, you must learn to look for the child's aura," Carden frowned. "I would like to know exactly why are you here. If His Majesty has additional questions, then surely..."

Ethain cut him off, "His Majesty is an extremely busy man. I wish to make certain that Lady Vivienne receives the best of care. She does, after all, carry his heir."

"Or so you say," Brennan muttered.

"And exactly what is that supposed to mean?" Lord Carden asked quickly.

"You enjoy gambling, don't you?" Brennan said, pausing for a moment to examine a large piece of jade used as a paperweight.

"What does that have to do with anything?" Small beads of perspiration suddenly broke out on Carden's forehead.

"You seem terribly pale, Lord Carden," Ethain said solicitously. "Is there something wrong?"

"No, nothing is wrong. I simply fail to understand the relevance of the question," Carden pulled a handkerchief from his pocket. He swallowed hard and pressed the cloth quickly against his forehead. "My personal matters have nothing to do with Lady Vivienne."

"Oh, really?" Brennan said sharply. "You paid off quite a large gambling debt on the same evening that His Majesty was informed of Lady Vivienne's pregnancy."

"That is none of your business," Carden's head swiveled between the two men. "But, if you must know, Lady Vivienne was extremely pleased to learn of her condition and was quite generous."

Ethain said dryly, "It was a rather large sum. She must have been ecstatic."

"And just what are you insinuating?" Carden asked with an offended expression.

While Carden's attention was focused on Ethain, Brennan moved silently to Carden's side. He smiled to himself when he saw that the young healer's hands were shaking.

"I think you know," Brennan said forcefully.

Carden jumped at finding Brennan so close. "I don't understand what you mean," he said hotly.

"Perhaps you made a mistake," Ethain suggested. "A misdiagnosis. These things do happen."

"I think it would be best if you gentleman were to leave," Carden said, rising and slipping quickly away from Brennan. He threw open the door to the study and glared at them.

Ethain rose with a shrug. "As you wish."

Ethain gestured toward Brennan and they walked toward the door.

As he passed Carden, Ethain paused and said softly, "Understand this clearly, this isn't going to go away." He locked eyes with the healer. "And if the Goblin King becomes involved in asking these questions, you will wish that you had never been born."

As soon as the outer door closed behind them, Brennan said, "He's lying through his teeth."

"I agree, but we have no proof," Ethain replied. "We cannot go to His Majesty without it."

"Why don't we simply grab Vivienne and drag her before Dorenil," Brennan asked. "He'll take one look at her and that will settle the matter."

Ethain shook his head. "There is still a slight chance that we are wrong. All we would succeed in doing is humiliating a pregnant woman, disgracing His Majesty and having ourselves brought up on charges of kidnapping. I've suggested a possible way out for our trembling Lord Carden. Let's see if he's willing to take it."

"He's weak-willed. One more visit and he'll break," Brennan said thoughtfully. "Tomorrow night?"

Ethain nodded. "And if Carden still doesn't admit the truth, then we'll make arrangements for Vivienne to accidentally encounter Dorenil."


Jareth and Sarah had agreed that their discussion should be as calm and composed as possible. "Calm and composed" only lasted about ninety seconds as they both struggled to keep their emotions under control.

"Why can't the royalty get a dissolution of marriage? It would be much simpler. You could marry her, the child will be legitimate and then you could end the marriage," Sarah asked.

"A change in leadership is traumatic for a kingdom. That is why divorce is not allowed for the rulers of the Underground. The people must know that their king and queen are a constant, not something that changes periodically."

"Then I want to move out of the castle. I don't need or want anything large, just a small house for the me and the baby."

"Absolutely not, I forbid it," Jareth said flatly.

"You forbid it?" Sarah's eyes narrowed but she tried to keep her voice even.

"When you wished yourself away to me, you became my subject. I love you, Sarah, but I am still your King." Jareth, too, was making an effort to remain unruffled.

"You haven't even thought about it," Sarah said, exasperation bleeding into her voice.

"I don't need to think about it. There is no reason for you to live away from the castle," he arched an eyebrow.

"No reason? I'll be living here with your wife. I think that's plenty of reason," she snapped.

Jareth's expression softened. "In name only, Sarah. In my heart, you are already my wife."

At that, she ducked her head as tears formed in her eyes, but she quickly blinked them away. "I don't want our child being made to feel second best. And that's what would happen here. Vivienne would make certain of it. There has to be someplace that the baby and I could live. I wouldn't expect you to pay for it. I can get a job of some kind. I'll just need to borrow some money to buy the house until I can pay you back."

Jareth shook his head. "There is a myriad of reasons why that would not be practical. But those questions pale in comparison to the danger that you and our child could be in while away from the castle."

"Would we really be in danger? You've already told me that people will just pretend we don't exist."

"The Fae, like mortals, love their children. Even those children that cannot officially be acknowledged. Anyone who wanted control over me would merely have to kidnap my child. Do you want to take that risk? I don't."

Sarah looked stricken and shook her head. "No, I don't. But I also don't want to deal with Vivienne. I don't want our child dealing with her."

"I'll have an entire wing of the castle prepared for Vivienne's use. That should placate her. I would like you to move into the room adjacent to my quarters. It is much larger than your current room and will accommodate both you and the baby. I've assured Vivienne that, as a courtesy, I would keep my relationship with you discreet. While I can go to your room without being seen by the servants, you cannot. Having you closer would be the most sensible solution to lessen the speculation."

Sarah rolled her eyes. "Having me closer to you won't cut down on the gossip, not the way the people around here spread rumors. And even if it did, while that might solve one problem, it won't fix the rest. Somehow I doubt that Vivienne will accept the "out of sight, out of mind" principal when it comes to me. This whole thing is just an explosion waiting to happen."

"Perhaps, but your leaving the castle is not an option," Jareth was adamant. "However, I will have a house built for you on the castle grounds, if that will please you."

"You don't seem to understand. This isn't about pleasing me. All that's left now is trying to find something that I think I can live with." She shook her head with a sigh and stood. "We're really not getting anywhere. We can talk about this again tomorrow. I'm going to bed."

Sarah started to walk away when she heard him say with quiet intensity, "What do you want from me?"

At his words, her tenuous control snapped and she turned to face him.

"It doesn't matter what I want from you. You're marrying her, Jareth. Not me," she said angrily. "I know that you'll sacrifice anything for your sense of honor. And part of me admires that, I truly do. But the rest of me just hurts like hell knowing that it includes sacrificing me. That's what I can't get over."

"It doesn't include you," he stood, his emotions rising to meet hers and his eyes suddenly ablaze. "Vivienne was right, there are others who would want you, who would marry you. But I refuse to let you go, to allow you to try to find some happiness with another man. You think that's honor?" He spat the last word as if it were an epithet.

He reached out and seized her by the arms. "The frightening thing is that I don't care. All I know is that if I lost you I think I would come flying apart. But if you tell me that you no longer love me, Sarah, I'll try to let you go." He leaned down and kissed her neck, his mouth hot against her skin. "Tell me that you no longer love me." One hand tangled in her hair and tilted her head back and he kissed the tender spot under her ear. "Tell me that you no longer want me."

Tears filled her eyes and slipped silently down her cheeks as she shook her head. "I... I can't say that," she whispered. "You know it isn't true."

"Then stay with me. Stay with me in this impossible situation. Don't leave," his voice broke slightly.

Her arms went around him and held him tightly. "Oh, Jareth, just because I don't want to live here with Vivienne doesn't mean I want to leave you. As badly as this has hurt, as much as I don't understand, I don't want to leave you."

His lips moved to hers. "I miss you," he murmured. He kissed her softly and then again more passionately as she began to respond.

Sarah felt the world spin slightly and when Jareth broke the kiss, she found that they were in his chambers. He didn't say a word; he simply took her hands in his and drew her toward the bed.

And she followed.


Marcan was eating breakfast when a servant announced Lord Carden's arrival. Before Marcan could reply, the disheveled young man burst into the dining room.

"I must speak with you at once," he said, out of breath. "I've been up all night because of this."

Marcan continued buttering his toast. "Unless you want to speak to me in front of a servant, I would suggest that you wait until he departs."

Carden looked around the room quickly and noticed the servant who had announced him lingering at the door.

"Leave us," Marcan commanded and the servant quickly left the room and closed the door. "Now, what did you want to speak to me about?"

"There were people at my home asking questions," Carden began, his voice rising.

"Lower your voice," Marcan said disdainfully. "Just because a servant has left the room doesn't mean he isn't listening at the door. Now, calm down and tell me what happened."

Quickly, Carden recited the events of the previous night.

"Ethain and Brennan," Marcan mused. "Well, I suppose it was too much to hope that Vivienne's pregnancy would be accepted at face value." He sliced the top from a soft-boiled egg.

"You act as if this doesn't surprise you, as if you expected this." Carden was horrified.

Marcan shrugged. "It was always a possibility."

"A possibility you didn't bother to tell me about." Carden ran a shaking hand through his hair. "I was insane to go along with this. If the Goblin King learns the truth, my life won't be worth living."

Marcan eyes grew cold. "It's far too late for second thoughts. To use an analogy that you will understand, the die has been cast. And you would do well to remember that should my cousin learn the truth, it's very possible he will ensure that you don't have a life left at all."

A Necessary Deception

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 21 of 28

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