Continuing Tales

A Necessary Deception

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 22 of 28

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A Necessary Deception

After Marcan had managed to calm Lord Carden somewhat, he sent the anxious healer on his way with the admonition to remain silent and with assurances that everything would be settled soon. Marcan gave a regretful glance at his now congealed breakfast and went in search of Vivienne.

He found that she not yet risen and he instructed the maid to wake her immediately. When he was given permission to enter, he found Vivienne sitting up in bed, blinking at him grumpily.

"What is so important that I must wake up at this dreadful hour?" she complained.

Quickly, he told her of Carden's visit, and of Ethain and Brennan's suspicions.

Her expression became anxious. "What are we to do?"

"You must send a note to Jareth. Tell him that you're ill and that you need to see him immediately. Say that you've sent for the healer because you fear there is something wrong with the baby. Jareth's sense of duty will bring him to your side, if nothing else."

She looked at Marcan, confused. "Why do you want him here?"

"I... Because we need a distraction. I need Jareth out of the castle and some assurance of his whereabouts before I can carry out the next part of the plan."

"You said that it wouldn't be possible to get to the girl there."

"You fail to understand that if events continue as they are, we may both end up on trial for treason. Therefore, it is time to make things possible," Marcan snapped.

"Treason? Surely not." Vivienne looked confounded. "We've not betrayed the kingdom."

Marcan sighed impatiently. "The king and the kingdom are the same in the eyes of the court. They will not look favorably upon a woman scheming to become High Queen by deceit. Now get dressed and send the message. Wait for Jareth in your sitting room, and try to look suitably pale."

"What about the healer?" she asked.

"Don't worry, I'll take care of him." Marcan said.


Ethain went looking for Breena. He'd missed her at breakfast and he hoped to spend a few minutes with her before his duties required his undivided attention. He found Breena and Sarah in the hallway just outside the sparring room. Sarah was dressed in her whites, but it was the sight of Breena dressed in Sarah's Aboveworld clothes that caused his jaw to drop. She wore a t-shirt and pair of jeans rolled up at the cuffs to prevent the petite woman from tripping.

"Good morning," Breena said cheerfully. "Isn't it wonderful?" She jubilantly kicked one leg up in the air and smiled at him widely. "I can move in whatever manner I please without worrying about being immodest. I feel And Sarah's going to begin teaching me to fence."

Ethain was stunned. It was quite all right for Sarah to wear those outlandish clothes, but they seemed so out of place on Breena. And as for teaching her to fence, why would she even wish to learn? She had no need to fence. It was his place to protect her from harm. These issues were things they would need to discuss when they were in private.

He struggled to keep his reaction neutral. "I didn't realize that you wished to learn to fence."

"I didn't either," Breena smiled. "But after Sarah had her lesson yesterday, I began to wonder what it would be like. So, Sarah has agreed to give me a lesson so that I may begin to learn."

"And the clothing?" Ethain's smile was strained.

"She doesn't have a set of whites yet," Sarah explained. "Since we won't be doing any actual sparring, these clothes should be okay."

A faint crease had appeared between Breena's eyes as she looked at Ethain carefully. "Is everything all right?" she asked.

"Fine," he said quickly. "It's just fine. I really must be going. His Majesty will begin wondering where I've gone." Ethain bowed briefly to them and without another word, turned and fled.

Breena shook her head. "Well, I had hoped for a better reaction."

"Women's liberation finally comes to the Underground," Sarah smiled ruefully. "If it's anything like the Aboveworld, it will be a traumatic experience for everyone involved."


Vivienne quickly dressed and wrote out the note that Marcan dictated to her. She sent it off by courier and briefly wondered what Marcan intended to do to the girl. A flare of loathing ran through her. That awful mortal girl was the cause of all of this. If Sarah hadn't come back to the Underground, none of this would be happening.

Vivienne sank down on a sofa that faced the open door to the sitting room and waited nervously for Jareth. As the minutes stretched out, she looked around the room, determined to find something to calm her racing mind.

If Jareth found out that she was lying... She had heard rumors... No, she wouldn't think of that. She really needed to reprimand the servants, she noted. They weren't cleaning the fireplace adequately. She could see faint streaks of ash on the hearthstone. Jareth could be so unpredictable when angry and there were those stories... She shook her head and forced herself to glance around. One of a pair of silver candleholders was missing from the mantelpiece. Had a servant misplaced it? Or worse, stolen it? Jareth couldn't find out the truth. There were accounts of how truly dangerous he was.


Jareth looked over the mountain of paperwork stacked on his desk and began moving reports aside in search of his daily schedule. It wasn't like Ethain to be late. Lady Breena's presence in the castle was beneficial in some respects, Jareth thought, but quite detrimental in others.

At a knock on the door, he called out, "Come in."

A goblin servant hurried in. "This just arrived for you, Your Majesty."

Taking the paper, Jareth dismissed the servant. Reading the message, he frowned. Vivienne must believe something was terribly wrong if she was summoning him. He refused to even consider the possibility that Vivienne would miscarry. While it was true that he hadn't wanted this baby, she still carried his child and the baby's welfare must be of foremost importance. If it would calm Vivienne to have him with her, then he would go.

Quickly, he wrote out a note to Ethain explaining the situation and warning him not to tell Sarah. She had been through enough emotional turmoil during the past few days and learning that he was with Vivienne would only upset her. He would tell Sarah of his visit when he returned.

The irony of being forced to deceive one pregnant woman about his visit to another wasn't lost on him. With a heavy sigh, he vanished from his office and reappeared in the foyer of Vivienne's estate. He smiled grimly at the frantic reaction of her servants.


Vivienne stiffened slightly as she heard the commotion caused by the servants rushing about in the foyer. She heard a crisp voice ask for her and she took in a shuddering breath. Anxiously, she rose and faced the open door.

Jareth was here.

He strode into the room shaking his head. He looked at Vivienne in concern and said, "You're trembling. Should you be standing, Vivienne? Has the healer arrived?"

As Jareth approached her, a movement behind him caught Vivienne's eye and, surprised, she saw Marcan silently step from behind the sitting room door. 'Why had he been hiding there?' she wondered. 'Why wasn't he at the castle going after the girl?'

A push of Marcan's hand sent the door swinging quietly closed. As she watched in growing disbelief, he raised a heavy silver candleholder high. Before she could make a sound, Marcan quickly moved forward and slammed the candleholder against the back of Jareth's head.

Jareth staggered forward and dropped heavily to his knees. He swayed there, eyes unfocused for a long moment before his eyes fluttered closed and he fell unconscious to the floor. As he lay still and silent, blood quickly began pooling on the floor beneath his head.

"What do you think you're doing?" Vivienne shrieked, aghast. "That's Jareth."

"I know exactly who it is," Marcan said, casually glancing down at the fallen Goblin King. "Lower your voice, the servants will hear. I thought he was never going to arrive, I was becoming quite bored."

"But... You said you were going after the girl." Vivienne was stunned; none of this made any sense to her.

"No, that was your assumption. I only said I needed Jareth out of the castle and knowledge of his whereabouts." Marcan took in Vivienne's expression and said, "If it is of any consolation to you, I'll be going for mortal soon enough."

Vivienne looked down at Jareth in horror. "This wasn't part of the plan," she whispered, appalled.

Marcan regarded her coldly. "Perhaps this wasn't your plan, my dear. But it's always been mine."

"Have you gone insane?" she wailed.

Marcan threw the candleholder down and stepped over Jareth. In a few swift paces, he was in front of Vivienne. A smile tugged at his mouth and, before she realized what he was going to do, he slapped her hard across the face.

Vivienne's head snapped back and she cried out in pain. She stumbled backwards several steps, her hand reaching out blindly for support and knocking into a small table. It fell over with a crash and she tripped, falling at her half-brother's feet.

Marcan's eyes gleamed with satisfaction. "You stupid bitch, did you really think I was doing all this for you? Why would I want to make you the High Queen when I can become High King?"

Vivienne cupped her hand over her bruised cheek. She stared incredulously at the blood seeping from the wound in Jareth's head and then scowled up at Marcan. For the first time, she noticed the sword he wore at his side. Glancing from it to Marcan's face, she asked hesitantly, "What do you intend to do?"

"I'm going to kill Jareth, of course. And his mortal." He reached down and dragged Vivienne to her feet by her upper arms. Shaking her viciously, he said, "And you're going to keep your mouth shut unless you want to join them. Just remember that we're in this together."

"I never agreed to this. I never agreed to harm Jareth," she spat out.

Marcan laughed. "Of course, you did. What did you think you were doing when you agreed to trick him into marrying you? Did you believe he'd be grateful?"

She shook her head. "That's not the same thing and you know it."

"What I know is that if I am caught, I will be only too happy to explain how you were my eager co-conspirator."

"No one would believe you," Vivienne choked out.

"Of course they would, people are always so eager to believe the worst in others." Marcan smirked and pushed her away from him. "Now, I need to take him to the salt caverns and then fetch the mortal."

"What? Why take him there?"

"Because that's the only place in the Underground that will block his magic," Marcan grinned at her.

"It will block your own as well, or hadn't you considered that?" she jeered.

"That's of no consequence, he'll be shackled," Marcan said simply.

He turned back to Jareth and crouched beside him. Marcan looked him over quickly and then glanced back to Vivienne. "Come here," he said. "Jareth is the only one I've known who's able to transport two adults without aid. I'll need your assistance in transporting him."

She shook her head and began to back away.

"Vivienne," Marcan's voice dropped dangerously, "I'm quite serious about implicating you. Now, be a good little girl and when I'm High King, I'll make you a duchess and you may have any suitor you wish." He glanced down at Jareth and bared his teeth in a semblance of a smile. "Just not this one."

Slowly, Vivienne walked to Marcan's side and knelt down. Marcan placed one hand on Jareth's arm and held out his other hand to her. She looked at it for a long moment before finally placing her hand in his.


In the time of the Old Ones, the salt caverns had been used as a place of torture and torment for any creature of magic foolish enough to commit a crime that was punishable by death or hapless enough to be on the wrong side of a power struggle. In more recent centuries, the Seelie Court had abandoned the practice of using the salt caverns as barbaric.

However, curious Fae children still went to the caverns from time to time even though prohibited to do so by their parents. Salt is a natural barrier against magic, and in that desolate place an injury could quickly lead to death since no magic was possible there. But the breathless excitement of that forbidden risk was too great to stop more adventuresome children from investigating the caverns.

Marcan, as well as Jareth, had gone exploring there in his youth.

The moment Marcan entered the salt caverns, he felt his magic drain away, leaving him feeling detestably weak. Torches still lined the makeshift passages and as Marcan pulled the unconscious king deeper into the caverns, he was forced to stop every few yards and light the next torch so that he could see the way ahead. This, coupled with dragging Jareth into the caverns, took much longer than he had anticipated.

However, they finally arrived at the smaller chamber for which he was searching. The shackles mounted into the walls and the faded brown stains that lingered even after millennia were mute testament to the agonies that had once held sway in this place.

Panting slightly, Marcan pulled Jareth across the room and into a sitting position. Using a lower set of shackles, he chained Jareth's wrists to the wall. Smiling, Marcan looked at his cousin, still slumped over unconscious.

"Wake up," Marcan commanded and he slapped Jareth's face until the king gave a groan and jerked his head away from Marcan. Dazed, Jareth slowly opened his eyes and focused on Marcan with difficulty.

"That's better," Marcan said with satisfaction. "How am I to torture you if you're not awake to enjoy it?"

Jareth's eyes cleared and as he straightened up to look at his cousin, pain exploded through his head, throbbing in time with his heartbeat. He tried to move again but a wave of nausea washed over him. He had never felt so weak, except when he was a child and had... He suddenly looked around in comprehension.

Marcan laughed. "Yes, I thought you might recognize this place."

Forcing himself not to react, Jareth glanced over and saw the shackles around his wrists. A slow movement of his arms confirmed that he was chained tightly to the wall, arms spread out to his side.

"I will admit that I've always been disappointed that they forged the shackles from silver," Marcan said. "I assume it was because iron would have harmed the interrogators as well as the prisoners." He gave a disappointed shrug, "One can't have everything."

"What is the meaning of this?" Jareth demanded. His voice wasn't as strong as he would have liked, but it wasn't as weak as he feared.

"The meaning? I would have thought that was very clear. The throne, my dear cousin. With you out of the way, I shall be next in line to become High King."

While Marcan was talking, Jareth was glancing around the room.

Annoyed, Marcan asked, "You might at least pay attention. Whatever are you looking for?"

"What have you done with Vivienne?" Jareth demanded.

"Ah, poor deluded Vivienne. Oh, she's quite all right. I'm sure she's pouting because she's discovered that she won't be High Queen, but I've done nothing to her. Well, nothing permanent."

"She'll go for help," Jareth said quietly.

Marcan burst out laughing. "Vivienne? You mean the woman who wanted me to eliminate Sarah because she didn't want to compete for your affections? The same woman who pretended to be pregnant in order to trick you into marrying her? While she never realized that you were my primary target, I don't think you should rely on Vivienne for help."

Jareth froze in surprise for a moment at Marcan's words and then he schooled his features into an expressionless mask. While Marcan spoke, Jareth slowly moved his arms again, testing the chains that bound him.

"Aren't you the least bit curious as to why I've decided to do this now?" Marcan prodded.

Jareth merely arched an eyebrow and appeared bored.

Marcan grinned. "Feign disinterest if you like, but I've discovered your secret. You're in love with your mortal pet. Not just lust, but actual love. The great and feared Goblin King has allowed a woman to rule his heart. And not just any woman, but an insignificant human at that. Tsk, tsk, how the mighty have fallen." Marcan's tone was mocking.

"I began to suspect as much after your elaborate display at the challenge," he continued. "But it was your reaction to my visit with the girl that convinced me completely. I'd expected anger from you, but not that level of fury. That was when I decided that a bit of torment before killing you would be quite enjoyable. Vivienne was so determined to be High Queen and it was very easy to convince her to pretend to be pregnant. If it hadn't been for your friends snooping about, I might even have let you marry her."

At that, Jareth's eyes flickered and Marcan crouched down to look carefully at Jareth's face.

"Tell me, cousin," Marcan's voice lowered to a confiding tone, "how much pain did it give you to know that you would be unable to marry the woman you love? Was it as exquisite as I had hoped? When you told poor little Sarah that you were to marry another woman, did she cry?"

The raw hatred that momentarily shone from Jareth's eyes caused Marcan to laugh with delight.

"It seems I've finally struck a nerve." Marcan rose and looked down at Jareth. "I suppose I should be grateful to Sarah. The only thing that was preventing me from killing you was the question of how to explain your disappearance. Now, she will be the reason you disappear. You're so obviously addled with love for the girl that you've run away with her rather than be forced to marry Vivienne."

Jareth gave a derisive snort.

"Ah, people will believe it," Marcan said with a smile. "They always enjoy a good scandal. A few words about your behavior at the challenge to this one, and a comment about your behavior toward me to that one, and by the time I'm finished, everyone will swear that they suspected it all along. So, I'm off to fetch pretty Sarah. We certainly wouldn't want her to miss all the fun, now would we?"

"You're wrong," Jareth's voice was calm when he spoke. "I care nothing for the mortal, she's meaningless. No one will believe that I would abandon my kingdom for a woman."

Marcan smirked. "Well, we shall see, won't we? I think you're lying about the girl. I believe the worst thing that I could possibly do to you is to force you to watch Sarah die. And that's exactly what I intend to do. Then, cousin, it shall be your turn."


After Marcan had used her additional power to transport Jareth, Vivienne still knelt on the floor and stared numbly at the bloodstained carpet. Her sense of time was disoriented and she wasn't certain if she had knelt there for seconds or for days.

Finally, she rose shakily and caught a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror over the fireplace. Her hair had come loose from the pins and was hanging half-tumbled down her back. The livid bruise on her cheek stood in stark contrast to her translucent skin.

But it was her eyes that held her transfixed. The bloodshot and terrified eyes of a victim stared back at her. Slowly, her gaze hardened. She was no one's victim. Marcan should have remembered that fact before he played her for a fool.

With a sneer on her lips, Vivienne lifted her head high and vanished from the room.


Sarah and Breena were in the middle of Breena's first fencing lesson when a disturbance in the hallway, punctuated by a woman's shrill voice, drew their attention. They glanced at each other in confusion and swords still in hand, walked to the doorway to look outside.

Vivienne was running down the hallway, a motley assortment of servants scurrying along behind her. She saw Sarah and Breena and rushed to them.

"Where's Ethain?" she cried breathlessly.

Sarah took in her tousled appearance and the bruise that darkened her cheek.

"What's happened to you, Vivienne? Are you all right?" Sarah asked. She didn't like the woman, but it looked as if she'd been beaten.

"I must find Ethain. It's Marcan; he's lost his mind. He's attacked Jareth and taken him to the salt caverns. I think he means to kill Jareth," Vivienne's voice cracked on the last few words.

Icy fear washed over Sarah. Why wasn't Jareth in his office? What was going on?

"Breena, get Ethain and Brennan," Sarah said sharply. "Tell them what's happened."

Breena nodded and quickly vanished from view.

Sarah rounded on Vivienne. "Can you send me there?"

"To the entrance, yes, but..." Vivienne stammered. "I'm not certain that I should. Marcan has a sword and..."

Sarah's eyes went cold and she raised her own sword to Vivienne's heart. "I don't give a damn if you are pregnant. If you don't send me there and Jareth dies, I swear to God that I'll kill you."

Vivienne hesitated and Sarah shouted, "Do it!"

Vivienne closed her eyes in concentration and murmured a spell. Sarah suddenly felt the whirling sensation of being transported. She gripped the hilt of the sword firmly and forced herself to keep her eyes open.


Sarah found herself standing at the entrance to a large cave. As she went inside, she saw that the main room of the cavern split off into several different passages but only one had torches lit further down its length.

Her heart pounding in fright, she struggled against her instinct to charge blindly forward, forcing herself to move cautiously. She stayed close to the walls, listening carefully. She winced as she accidentally scuffed her feet, the sound magnified by the acoustics of the long passage.

As she crept deeper into the cavern, she glanced down as she stepped under one of the torches and saw what appeared to be drag marks along the passage floor. 'Oh, dear god,' she thought. 'Please let Jareth be alive.'

The soft sound of footsteps approaching alerted her to Marcan's presence before she actually saw him. Her initial impulse was to confront him immediately, but what if Jareth was badly hurt? What if he was dying at this very moment? She couldn't afford to waste time dealing with Marcan until she knew for sure. She would find Marcan later, after she had gotten Jareth out of this horrible place.

Hurriedly, she stepped back into a shadowy area between torches and pressed her back against a shallow hollow in the wall. Her whites blended in well with the salt crystals that constructed the cavern. Holding her breath, Sarah watched as Marcan strode purposefully past her. He never even glanced in her direction. She waited until his footsteps had faded before moving deeper into the cavern.

She began walking more rapidly, when suddenly she tripped over an uneven patch in the passageway and went flying. She refused to relinquish the sword but her left hand instinctively went out in an attempt to break her fall. Sarah hit the ground hard, scraping the skin from her palm and wrist. She bit back a cry as the salt that coated the floor burned into her wounds.

Picking herself up, she listened but heard nothing. Breathing a sigh of relief, she continued down the passage until she reached the last torch. A few feet further down, torchlight emanated from a small antechamber to her right. She crept forward and saw Jareth, sitting on the floor, chained to the wall behind him. He was struggling against the shackles that bound his wrists tightly against the wall. She almost cried out at the sight of the blood that matted his hair and caked the side of his face. But at least he was alive.

"Oh, thank god," she breathed as she rushed forward.

His head jerked up. "Sarah, how..." he stopped abruptly. Now wasn't the time for conversation.

"Where's the key?" she asked frantically.

"There is no key. There are pins through the shackles," Jareth said urgently. "You must remove the pins."

She dropped to her knees beside him and laid the sword on the ground in front of her. She began pulling at the pins, but they were wedged tight. "They won't move. I'll find something to knock them out with."

"No, Sarah, there's no time. Just get out of here. Marcan could be back at any moment and he means to kill you," Jareth said harshly.

"I'm not leaving you here," she hissed. "Our baby is going to have a father and a mother."

"Our baby?" Marcan's amused voice sliced the air. "You mean this one really is pregnant? How wonderful."

Jareth looked up and saw Marcan walking into the chamber. Sarah glared over her shoulder at the dark-haired man, but her fingers never stopped trying to work the pins from the shackles.

"I'm so glad that I decided to investigate that noise I heard a few moments ago. It wouldn't have done to allow Jareth to escape. And now I've found you." Marcan sighed regretfully, "Since you're here, I assume that Vivienne was unable to keep her mouth shut."

"She came to us for help. Ethain and Brennan will be here any minute," Sarah said. She almost screamed in frustration as the pins holding the shackles refused to budge.

Marcan shook his head and met Jareth's eyes. "Ah, well. It was a nice try on my part, don't you think?" He tilted his head to indicate Sarah. "Is she far enough along to know if she carries your son or your daughter? I do so hope it's a boy." He smiled grimly. "While I know that you will never allow me to walk out of here alive, I will at least have the satisfaction of taking Sarah and your son with me."

Behind her, Sarah recognized the soft sound of a sword being pulled from a leather scabbard. 'He's going to kill me and my baby,' she thought. 'He's going to kill my child.' Suddenly, Brennan's words reverberated in her mind. "You must stop thinking, Sarah, and act."

Jareth began straining desperately against the bonds that held him and she heard him shout at Marcan, "No!"

Her hand shot out to grip the hilt of the sword lying in front of her.

And, for Sarah, time slowed to a crawl.

While she felt as if she was moving in slow motion, her other senses seemed to become hyper alert. She could hear the scrape of Marcan's boots on the salt floor as he walked toward her. She smelled the copper tang of Jareth's blood hanging in the air and she heard each sharp breath that Jareth took. In the distance, she could hear the faint sound of running footsteps.

Sarah began twisting her body around even as she pushed off with her left hand and leg. She came up from the floor in an explosive movement, years of training straightening her right arm into the classic fencer's position as she lunged.

The tip of her epee entered Marcan's chest with sickening ease. The horrifying scrape of steel against bone shivered down to her hand as her blade slid between his ribs.

Marcan's eyes widened and Sarah wrenched her sword free and waited, poised to strike again if necessary. He stumbled back, dropping the sword he held and looking down at his chest in surprise.

Marcan swayed unsteadily on his feet and looked at her, a bewildered expression creeping into his eyes. He lightly touched the wound in his chest and then collapsed, falling gracelessly to the floor. Marcan gave a sigh and his eyes closed as Ethain and Brennan raced into the chamber, swords at the ready.

Sarah stood staring down at Marcan. She suddenly began to tremble.

"I... I had to," she whispered, never taking her eyes from Marcan. "He was going to kill Jareth. He was going to kill me."

Ethain moved quickly to Jareth's side and began freeing the king.

Brennan went to Sarah and gently took the sword from her shaking hand. He touched her chin and tilted her head away from the sight of the man lying on the floor. He waited until she met his eyes.

"You did only what had to be done," he said firmly. "Never forget that."

She nodded and turned toward Jareth. Ethain had removed the shackles and was pulling Jareth to his feet. Jareth quickly went to Sarah and wrapped her tightly in his arms. She rested her head on his chest and listened to the reassuring sound of his heart beating.

"I was so afraid," she whispered. "I was afraid I'd lose you. I love you so much. And he hurt you. What if he'd killed you?" At that, she began to cry, deep sobs wracking her body.

"Shhh," he replied softly, kissing the top of her head. "It's all right. It is over now. Let's leave this place."

Jareth began leading Sarah out of the chamber. Her face was pressed into his shoulder; her arms still locked about his waist. He paused at the doorway and said quietly, "I would like one of you to remove..."

"Yes, Your Majesty," Ethain said quickly.

Ethain walked to Brennan's side and glanced at Marcan. He frowned and looked closer. After a moment, he caught Brennan's eye and then glanced back at Marcan. The garrison commander followed his gaze and arched an eyebrow. He glanced back at Ethain, read the question in his friend's eyes and gave an almost imperceptible nod.

Brennan gestured toward Jareth and Sarah. "You go back with them, Ethain, I'll take care of this."

The two friends regarded each other steadily and Brennan handed Sarah's sword to Ethain.

"I won't need it," Brennan said softly.

Ethain nodded sharply and turned to follow Jareth and Sarah from the room.

When their footsteps had faded away completely, Brennan crouched down and watched with detached curiosity as Marcan's chest barely moved. He coldly slapped Marcan's face until the wounded man opened his eyes and coughed weakly. Blood appeared on Marcan's lips.

"Hit a lung, didn't she," Brennan observed clinically. "You might survive this, if you were taken to the healer immediately."

Marcan focused on Brennan's expressionless face. "But that's not going to happen, is it?" His breathing was rapidly becoming more labored.

"No," Brennan's voice was flat. "I swore an oath to protect the King of the Goblins and his issue. You tried to kill both today."

Marcan smiled faintly. "And I would have succeeded if Jareth's bitch hadn't been so fast. Your doing, I presume?"

Brennan nodded slowly. "She learned well."

"Get it over with then," Marcan whispered. "Chatting with you is tiresome."

Brennan reached down and pulled a knife from a sheath hidden in his boot. In one swift movement, he slipped the blade through Marcan's ribs to reach the heart. A twist of his wrist and it was done. Marcan shuddered once and his eyes grew dull.

Brennan pulled the knife free, wiped the blade clean on the dead man's sleeve and placed it back in its sheath. He stood and without a backward glance walked toward the cavern entrance.

He'd go to the garrison and bring a few men back to remove the body.

A Necessary Deception

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 22 of 28

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