Continuing Tales

A Necessary Deception

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 24 of 28

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A Necessary Deception

The sound of someone pounding loudly on her bedroom door jolted Breena awake. Jumping out of bed, she quickly slipped on her robe and opened the door to find Sarah waiting there. Breena took in Sarah's exuberant smile before finding herself caught in a tight hug.

"I'm sorry to wake you," Sarah exclaimed as she released her friend, "but I waited as long as I could. You've got to help me, I don't even know where to start."

"What is it?" Breena asked, surprised by Sarah's early morning exhilaration.

"Oh, Breena, I'm getting married," Sarah said happily. "Jareth asked me last night and I said yes."

Breena broke into a wide grin and threw her arms around Sarah. "Oh, I'm so happy for you both. That's absolutely wonderful," Breena laughed. "I know you must be thrilled. Have you set a date?"

"Jareth wants to get married as soon as possible." Sarah chuckled. "With me being pregnant and everything that's happened, I agree."

Sarah picked up a tiny crystal suspended from a silver chain around her neck and proudly held it out toward Breena. "Look what he gave me as an engagement present. Isn't it beautiful? It even shows me my dreams."

"It's very lovely," Breena said as she admired the pendant.

"Isn't it? Oh, I have to give Jareth a gift, too. I don't have the slightest idea of what to get him." Sarah's forehead creased as she looked at Breena. "What do you give a king for an engagement present?"

Breena reached out and affectionately patted Sarah's stomach. "I would think you've already given him the perfect gift."

"I don't think a baby is supposed to be an engagement present," Sarah said wryly. "I'll just have to think of something." She gestured toward Breena's robe. "Hurry up and get dressed. Meet me in the library; I'll have your breakfast brought there. We've got a wedding to plan."

Sarah gave a wide smile before impulsively hugging Breena again. She then turned and practically skipped away down the hallway, leaving Breena still standing there somewhat stunned from the whirlwind announcement.

"A wedding to plan," Breena murmured to herself. Her eyes widened as another thought occurred to her. "A royal wedding to plan."

With that, she hurried to get dressed. There was far too much to do to tarry.


As Sarah left Breena's room, a sudden thought occurred to her. Maybe she already had something to give Jareth as an engagement present. She went to her room to look for it and had only just entered when someone knocked.

She opened the door to find a red-eyed Twylla with a sobbing Paslia grasped firmly by the arm.

"What's wrong?" Sarah asked in concern.

"She's done something terrible," Twylla said bluntly. "But I'm hoping that you can keep the King from killing her. She's a fool but she's not mean-spirited. She only did it to feed her children."

"Did what?" Sarah asked, gesturing for them to come inside.

"I didn't know," Paslia cried, "I didn't tell him nothing but what the servants were saying. Where's the harm in that?"

"Calm down and tell me what's going on," Sarah said, bewildered.

"Is it true that Lord Marcan tried to kill the King?" Twylla asked, peering intently up at Sarah.

Uneasily, Sarah nodded and grew more bewildered as Twylla's expression grew grim and Paslia began to wail louder.

"Lord Marcan gave this stupid twit money for gossip about the King and about you," Twylla said, giving Paslia a shake. "When she heard that Lord Marcan had tried to murder the King, she came and told me what she'd done."

"I didn't know he was going to try and hurt the King," Paslia sniffled. "I would never have ever done it if I had known."

Stunned, Sarah sank down onto the chair. "You were spying on us?"

Paslia hiccuped, "I wasn't spying. I never went out of my way to find out things. He only wanted to know what the servants said about His Majesty. And then when you came, he wanted to know what they said about you."

"How long have you been doing this?" Sarah asked.

"Two or three years," Paslia said, sniffling. "Since my good-for-nothing husband ran off and left me to raise my babies alone. I just couldn't let my children starve. I started taking in piecework just to make ends meet but it didn't bring in enough money. But a woman like you wouldn't understand what it is to be a mother and to worry about her children."

Sarah's hand strayed toward her abdomen. "Actually, I understand it better than you might think."

Paslia began crying loudly again, her words almost unintelligible through her sobs. "And now the King will kill me for certain and my babies will be orphans."

"The King won't kill you," Sarah said firmly. 'I hope,' she thought to herself. "I'll talk to him and see what I can work out."

Paslia looked up at Sarah, a glimmer of hope beginning to shine in her eyes.

Twylla yanked Paslia's arm and said, "We'll be in the kitchen waiting." She opened the door and shoved Paslia outside. Twylla turned back to Sarah. "Paslia's not a bad girl at heart. She sews like a dream but she's not too bright. She's my nephew's daughter and I hope you can convince the King to show her some mercy."

"I'll do what I can," Sarah said softly.

As the goblin women left, Sarah decided that she would make a detour to the library to let Breena know she would be a little late.

Then she would go to talk to Jareth.


When Jareth arrived at his office, he told Ethain of his betrothal to Sarah.

"Congratulations," Ethain said, smiling widely. "I hope you have every happiness."

"Thank you," Jareth said, matching his smile. "I would like you to send for a goldsmith. It is customary for human brides to be given a marriage ring. I want to commission such a thing for Sarah."

Ethain nodded, "I'll see to it. If you don't mind my asking, what does a human marriage ring look like?"

"I'm not entirely certain," Jareth admitted and then gestured toward the family pendant he wore around his neck. "However, I want Sarah's ring to have the same design as the circular inset on my medallion. It is the heart of my family crest. It will be a blending of our traditions." He fixed Ethain with a mock glare, "But the design is to be a secret. I don't want Sarah knowing before the ceremony."

"I'm sure that she will be very pleased. And I will not say a word," Ethain promised. "There is a smith in the Elven kingdom that my mother claims is the best craftsman in the Underground. I will send a messenger for him right away."

Before Ethain could leave the room, a courier arrived carrying a missive from the High King.

Jareth opened the message and read it. His eyebrows lifted in surprise and, as he read it over a second time, he grimaced.

"Is something wrong?" Ethain asked.

"Have you ever dined with a troll?" Jareth asked in return.

Ethain raised an eyebrow. "A troll? No, I've never had that experience."

"Would you like to?" Jareth asked with a wry smile.

"Not particularly. What does a message from the High King have to do with dining with a troll?" Ethain asked.

"Apparently, the trolls wish to open diplomatic relations with the Seelie Court," Jareth explained. "My father has requested that I begin the negotiations. The trolls are sending their High Prince as ambassador."

"And as the High Prince of the Sidhe, you will represent the Seelie Court," Ethain nodded his understanding. "I am surprised that the trolls would contact your father. They are Unseelie. The Unseelie revel in all the things that we abhor--maliciousness, chaos and disorder."

"It seems that not all factions of the troll kingdom wish to remain outside the Seelie Court, or at least not according to their prince," Jareth said, indicating the message. "I will be dining with him tomorrow night."

"He's coming here?" Ethain asked in surprise.

"No," Jareth said firmly. "While I'm certain that my parents would prefer that we dine here, I do not want anyone connected with the Unseelie Court in close proximity to Sarah."

"A far as I am aware, trolls have never been a part of the Host," Ethain said. "Only certain of the Fae."

"That doesn't matter, I prefer to be cautious. The Wild Hunt still takes place and they still prey upon humans," Jareth said with distaste.

A soft knock on the door drew their attention and Sarah stuck her head into the room.

"Um, Jareth, do you have time to talk to me right now?" she asked.

"Of course," he said, rising with a smile. His smile dimmed slightly as he took a close look at her expression.

"I'll take care of that other matter now, Your Majesty" Ethain said with a slight bow. As he left the room, he stopped at Sarah's side and took her hand. "Jareth has told me your wonderful news. I'm certain you will be very happy."

"Thank you, Ethain. I left Breena in the library making lists of all the things we have to do to get ready for the wedding," Sarah smiled and shook her head. "She already had five or six pages filled out and was showing no signs of stopping."

Ethain laughed. "I'll help in any way that I can. Now, I shall leave you two alone." He softly closed the door behind him as he left.

"What's happened?" Jareth asked.

"It's Paslia," Sarah said. "She's the seamstress. I need to tell you what she's done. But before you say anything, please hear me out."

"All right," Jareth said cautiously, gesturing for her to continue.

Sarah explained Paslia's arrangement with Marcan and Jareth's expression grew cold. She looked at him and shook her head.

"Remember, let me finish," Sarah said.

"What more is there to say?" Jareth's tone was frigid. "The woman's spying nearly had us both killed."

"I had the same initial reaction," Sarah hastily said. "But she wasn't spying. She had no idea of what Marcan was planning. As soon as she found out what had happened, she confessed everything. She never sought out information for Marcan, she only told him gossip that was common knowledge in the castle. Realistically, how long would it have been before his servants heard that same gossip anyway? We both know that rumors spread like wildfire."

Jareth arched an eyebrow.

"Besides, I can't condemn her for what she did," Sarah said quietly. "If it were our child that was going hungry, I can't honestly say that I wouldn't have done the same thing."

"But there must be a consequence for her actions," Jareth said firmly. "Her thoughtlessness almost had a fatal result."

"She expects to be punished," Sarah told him. "I'm just reminding you to consider the extenuating circumstances before you pass judgment."

He gave a small nod.

"Have the girl brought to me," he said, taking his seat.

"I'll go and get her," Sarah said. She stopped at the door on her way out and looked back at him. "Thank you."

He smiled faintly. "Don't thank me. I will consider her circumstances before assessing her punishment. That is the only assurance that I will give you."


When Sarah returned with Paslia, Ethain opened the door for them and gestured for Paslia to enter. When Sarah began to go in, Ethain shook his head.

"Only the girl," he said quietly.

Sarah nodded and quickly looked past Ethain, catching a glimpse of Jareth. He stood before his desk with his hands clasped behind his back, head tilted slightly and a vaguely menacing sneer on his lips.

Sarah gave the young goblin woman's shoulder a reassuring squeeze but Paslia was quivering in terror as the door closed behind her leaving Sarah on the other side. Her courage completely failed at the sight of the King. She burst into tears and flung herself to her knees, cringing at Jareth's feet.

"Forgive me... Didn't know... Wouldn't... Never again... Oh, my babies..." Paslia wailed incoherently.

Jareth merely stood, unmoved and unmoving, until her tears ran their course and trailed off into hiccups. Finally, when she was completely silent, he spoke.

"Do you require a complete listing of your failings or are you quite aware of them?" he said coldly.

"I... I know I made a terrible mistake," Paslia whimpered.

"A mistake?" Jareth snapped. "It was much more than just a mistake."

In a fluid movement, Jareth crouched and caught Paslia's chin between his gloved fingers and his eyes bored into hers.

"Your lack of forethought almost cost me my life. It almost cost Sarah her life. These are not easy things to forgive."

The goblin bowed her head as he released her. He rose easily and contemplated her for a long moment.

"What do you suppose would be a suitable punishment for almost costing your King his life?"

Paslia began crying again but said nothing.

"Well?" Jareth's eyes narrowed. "I am waiting for a reply."

"I... I don't know, Your Majesty," she sobbed. "I only did it to feed my children..."

"Ah, your children," Jareth said thoughtfully. "Your children are already severely hindered by having an absent father and a fool for a mother. It would be unfortunate to inflict a punishment upon you that would make them orphans."

Jareth looked at the weeping servant; her head still bowed in supplication. He remembered Sarah's earlier words, "If it were our child that was going hungry..." and sighed to himself.

"I have decided to be extraordinarily merciful to you, Paslia. As money was the crux of this matter, so shall money be your punishment. Sarah and I are to wed and she will require proper wedding attire. I will provide you with whatever materials you may need but you will sew this gown at no cost to either Sarah or myself."

Paslia stole a grateful glance up at the King and nodded vigorously.

"Obviously, in order to continue to provide for your children whilst making this dress, you will be required to perform your regular duties as a seamstress. The lack of compensation for your hard work and the sleep that you will most assuredly lose may help you to remember where your loyalties lie."

"Ye--yes, Your Majesty," Paslia breathed. "Thank--thank you, Your Majesty."

Jareth waved her away dismissively, and the seamstress climbed shakily to her feet and curtsied. As she backed away from the King to where Ethain was opening the door, Jareth called out to her softly.

"And remember, Paslia, should even one stitch be out of place on that gown, I will consider it a personal insult and we will revisit the matter of your punishment. You will find that I am merciful only once."

"It--it will be perfect, Your Majesty. I promise," she gulped. "It will be the most beautiful wedding gown ever made."


After leaving Paslia with Jareth, Sarah returned to her room to look for the item she wanted to give Jareth as a wedding gift. She opened the armoire where some of the items that Ethain had brought from her Aboveworld closet were stored. After moving several pairs of shoes, she found the box that she sought.

She opened it and carefully removed the layers of tissue paper. 'There it is,' she thought. She could use the tissue paper to wrap the present and she might have some extra ribbon around here somewhere. But first, there was one slight modification that needed to be made before it would be ready to give to Jareth.


While Ethain was having lunch with Breena, Jareth was finishing reviewing the last of the reports. He was thinking that he might finish in time to dine with Sarah when his office door slowly opened a bit and she peeked into the room.

He smiled when he saw her. "I was just about to look for you. Have you had lunch?"

Sarah entered, carefully holding one hand behind her back. "No, not yet."

He stood and walked around to her. When she shifted to keep her hand hidden, his eyes narrowed suspiciously.

"What are you hiding?"

She drew herself up and held it out to him with a flourish. Laughter in her eyes, she gave her best imitation of his clipped accent.

"I've brought you a gift. But this is not a gift for an ordinary king who takes care of a bunch of paperwork."

Jareth quickly suppressed a smile and he arched an eyebrow.

"Do you want it?" Sarah smirked.

Jareth looked at the present and began to reach out his hand.

"Then forget the paperwork." Sarah couldn't keep the mirth from her voice any longer.

Jareth laughed and grasped her by the waist. "Perhaps it isn't the gift that I want."

She smiled, "You already have me." She held the gift up again. "This is your engagement present. I didn't have any money, so I couldn't buy you a gift. I just hope you like this."

Jareth took the present from her hand. "If you wanted money, you needed only to ask," he said, curiously examining the package. It was wrapped in layers of thin white paper and tied with blue bow what he suspected was originally a hair ribbon. He glanced up at her. "I would have given you whatever amount you needed."

"But I would be buying you a present with your money," she said, shaking her head.

"When we are wed, what I have will be yours and what you have will be mine," he said with a smile.

"We're not married yet and it wouldn't be right to come to you and ask for money to spend on your gift," she said firmly. "Well, go ahead and open it."

Jareth untied the ribbon and removed the paper covering the package, uncovering a familiar book. The battered red cover bore the gilded title, "The Labyrinth."

He looked at Sarah in surprise.

"You kept this?" Jareth asked, oddly touched that she had kept the book all these years.

"Yes," she smiled. "I never let anybody else read it, though. I may have thought it was all a dream but I guess I was never certain enough about that to trust it to anybody else. I kept it in a box in my closet and when Ethain brought my things here, he brought it, too. Open it," Sarah said, "and look at the last page."

Jareth carefully opened the book and turned to the final page. There, in Sarah's handwriting was an addendum to the story he had created for her all those years ago.


But what Sarah didn't realize was that the Goblin King was actually a good man who was only doing what was necessary to save the Underground. She and Toby had never been in any real danger and he had never intended to harm them.

Nine years later, fate brought Sarah and Jareth together again. Seeing him through older and wiser eyes, she fell in love with him. To her complete surprise, he fell in love with her in return and they were married. Jareth and Sarah settled down to raise a family.

And they all lived happily ever after.

The End

Jareth smiled as he read the words she had written. He leaned over and gave her a soft kiss and said, "But this isn't the end, Sarah, I promise. This is only the beginning."


After lunch, Sarah and Breena returned to the library to continue working on the wedding plans.

"You will have to decide on a menu for the wedding feast," Breena murmured, never looking up from the papers in front of her. "It is traditional and since it is the King who is being married, the guests will expect something very lavish, I'm afraid."

When she received no reply, she glanced over at Sarah and smiled as she saw that her friend was staring dreamily off into space. Breena looked at the pieces of paper scattered over the library table, each one containing either a list of supplies to purchase, of things to do, or questions that needed to be answered.

"Sarah," Breena chided gently, "are you listening?"

Sarah started and looked back at Breena. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

Breena laughed. "You've been gathering wool, I see. Dreaming of the future, perhaps?" she teased.

"I was just thinking how strange it all is," Sarah said.

Breena looked at her questioningly.

"When I was here before, I would have laughed if you'd told me that I would be sitting here one day planning my wedding to the Goblin King," Sarah said. "It's funny how life turns out sometimes."

"Life can certainly take an interesting turn," Breena smiled at her. "However, we are almost to the point that we cannot go any further without knowing the answers to these questions." She picked up a sheet of paper and waved it gently at Sarah. "If nothing else, we must know how large a wedding we're actually dealing with, Sarah. How many guests does His Majesty intend upon inviting?"

Sarah sighed. "I have no idea and I told him that I would let him get back to work without any more interruptions." She reluctantly took the paper from Breena. "But I guess there will be one more, huh?"


After escorting Breena to the library, Ethain hurried back to Jareth's office. He wanted to warn Jareth that Breena and Sarah were already deep in the throes of wedding preparations and they had every intention of involving the King in their decision making. As he swiftly entered the room, he gave the door a push, failing to notice that it didn't close completely.

"If I were you, Jareth, I would leave this castle as fast as I possibly could," Ethain said with a slight smile.

"Why would I do such a thing?" Jareth asked, puzzled.

"Breena and Sarah seem to be going into some wedding preparation delirium. It was all that Breena could talk about during lunch. She kept asking me your preferences in colors and food. If you don't leave, I'm afraid you'll find yourself being called upon to select flower arrangements and candelabras."

Jareth laughed. "Surely they won't need me for those decisions."

"I don't know," Ethain said, "Breena was making lists all through lunch."

Ethain broke off his words as he noticed the scuffed red volume resting on the King's desk. He looked at it curiously and, after a moment, he recognized it.

"It's that book. The one you gave Sarah so long ago," Ethain exclaimed. He gestured toward it, "May I?"

Jareth nodded and Ethain picked it up, leafing through it with a smile.

"It's astonishing, isn't it? You used this very book to convince a young girl that she must save her brother from you when your plan all along was to use her to save an entire world. And now she carries your child and you are to marry her."

"It isn't quite the outcome that I had originally anticipated," Jareth smiled.

Ethain paused at the back page, reading the words that Sarah had written there. His forehead creased and he looked at Jareth thoughtfully.

"You and I have been friends for almost as long as I can remember," Ethain said softly. "You are my sovereign and I respect you. Nothing will change that fact."

Ethain paused and looked into Jareth's eyes. "But there is something that I must ask. Do you truly love Sarah?"

Jareth never hesitated. "Yes, I truly love her," he said, meeting Ethain's gaze evenly.

Ethain nodded slowly.

"I thought so. When Sarah first returned to the Underground, I thought it was merely a remnant of that original spell. But as I saw the way you looked at her, the way you treated her, I began to believe it was more. However, as your friend, I feel obliged to ask if you are certain that your emotions are not simply the result of magic?" Ethain asked carefully.

"Very certain." Jareth said firmly. "It may have begun as merely a spell but it turned into so much more." His face became impassive. "Now that you know the truth, do you think less of me? Am I now suddenly too weak to be capable of ruling a kingdom?"

Ethain met Jareth's eyes and shook his head. "I'm not one of those who believe that love is a weakness. Mortals rejoice in it, as well they should. I've always thought it sheer arrogance that we believe ourselves to be somehow above it."

"Your opinion is not shared by the majority of our kind." Jareth relaxed slightly. "It is unfortunate but it is the way of our world."

Ethain nodded slowly but then quickly grinned and indicated the faded red book still in his hand. "But it is ironic, isn't it? You are about to marry and it all began because of this book and a few careless words spoken by a mortal girl. It isn't every human who could accomplish what she did. Sarah turned your own magic against you."

Jareth smiled faintly and quoted, "But what no one knew was that the King of the Goblins had fallen in love with the girl and had given her certain powers."

"You already had given her certain powers," Ethain pointed out. "She just wasn't aware of it."

Jareth nodded. "Yes, as soon as she spoke my title, the spell I had cast took effect."

"You unwittingly gave her the power to enchant you," Ethain's voice took on a teasing quality.

"Her addition to the tale was unexpected. I didn't expect that she would embellish the story but Sarah's imagination has always been so strong. She was only supposed to call out to me so that I might take the child. I never thought that she would compel me to love her. I certainly hadn't planned on being caught up in my own spell."

They both heard a gasp and turned towards the partially open door.

Sarah stood there, her eyes huge and her face pale. She was staring at Jareth and the piece of paper she held in her hand slipped through her fingers and slowly fluttered to the floor.

"Sarah?" Jareth asked. As he took in her stunned expression, icy fear began to rise. What had she heard?

In a whirling instant, Sarah felt as if she were in the past, her memory suddenly crystal clear. She remembered standing on that plateau facing Jareth as the clock moved relentlessly closer to the thirteenth hour.

"For my will is as strong as yours. And my--"

"Stop! Wait! Look, Sarah. Look what I'm offering you. Your dreams."

"And my kingdom as great."

"I ask for so little. Just let me rule you and you can have everything that you want."

"Kingdom as great... Damn. I can never remember that line."

"Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave."

Horror filled her eyes.

"A few careless words spoken by a mortal girl," Sarah repeated slowly. "I said exactly what you wanted me to say. 'For my will is as strong as yours and my kingdom as great.' I said it and you still offered."

Sarah fought the inappropriate urge to laugh. "I called you after nine years because I wanted to apologize for forcing you to love me. But when you said that you had orchestrated the entire thing, I thought that meant I was wrong, that you had been in control. But you weren't in control, were you?" She began to shake her head. "I was right all along. I made you love me. What you feel for me isn't real. None of this is real," she whispered. "It's just a spell, an illusion."

Her eyes turned toward Ethain and her voice was suddenly harsh. "The Fae don't feel love the way humans do, isn't that right?"

Ethain quickly said, "You didn't hear the entire..."

Jareth's voice overlapped Ethain's. "Sarah, this isn't what you think..."

She ignored Ethain completely and cut Jareth off with a sharp gesture. "When I was here before, did I make you love me?"

"It isn't as simple as that," Jareth said quietly.

"Yes, it is. It's exactly as simple as that," she bit out through clenched teeth. "When I was here before, did I make you love me?"

"Yes, but only..." Jareth began walking toward her.

"No!" Pain washed through her voice and she backed away, holding a trembling hand out to ward him off. "Stay away from me. You don't really love me." Tears slipped down her cheeks. "I knew it was too good to be true. Why would you ever love someone like me?"

"Sarah, please, you mustn't get so upset. It isn't good for you or the baby," Jareth said softly.

"Oh, no." Her eyes widened in anguish and her hand covered her abdomen. For just a moment, she'd forgotten. "Oh, god, no."

"You have to listen to me," Jareth demanded. "I do love you."

Sarah looked drained and she spoke in a broken whisper. "You think you do. But you don't. Not really. It's just a trick."

Sarah went cold. She remembered what she'd told him once before. "But if you don't really love me, I'll have to leave you. So if it isn't true--don't ever tell me."

"I know how I feel, Sarah," Jareth insisted.

"You know how you feel?" She locked eyes with him and her mouth curved into a bitter sneer. "How do you know? Have you ever been in love before? Do you know what love really feels like?"

For a split second there was a flicker of uncertainty in his eyes and that was all it took to break Sarah's last bit of self-control.

She knew what she had to do. She had to leave and she had to leave now.

Sarah turned and ran.

A Necessary Deception

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 24 of 28

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