Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 30 of 40

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Delphina brushed out her long dark hair as she sat at the vanity in the room that Jareth had provided for her. The Goblin King's castle was still every inch as she remembered it. The only thing that had changed was its King. She still blamed herself for what was happening to Jareth. What if things didn't work out for him? She shook her head pushing the thoughts away. Best not to think like that. She was nearly finished with her task when there was an urgent knock at the door.

"Who's calling?" she asked. She put her brush down on the dark oak wood. There was no answer and she rose and moved to the doorway. Opening the door she gasped when she saw Jareth standing there. If she thought that he looked retched before, it was nothing to how he appeared now. "Dear grace, Jareth, what happened?" Delphina could see that he was fighting to keep himself in control. Trying to maintain his Kingly behavior and desperately wanting to break down at the same time.

"I've done a foolish thing." He admitted.

Delphina glanced around the hall to find it empty. "Come inside and talk with me. What have you done?"

Jareth paced the moment that he stepped into the room. He purposely avoided sitting even when Delphina asked him to sit three times. He finally stopped his pacing and looked at her. "I pushed her too far."

Delphina moved to him, reaching out to touch him and he jerked away from her. She frowned. "Pushed her too far in what way? I don't understand."

Jareth ran one gloved hand through his blond hair in desperation. "I didn't even realize what I was doing."

Delphina tilted her head. She had a feeling she knew where this was going. "Though you like to play the seducer , it doesn't seem like your style. Surely that can not be what you are referring to?" Jareth didn't know anything about true seduction. He had never bonded.

"No, I didn't seduce her, though she thought that I was trying to."

"Oh dear."

"Oh Delphi." Jareth's eyes fell upon Delphina and she was surprised at how much pain shone back at her. "She had just admitted to me that Dartaynian had attempted to..rape her."

Delphina's eyes widened. "Are you serious? He attempted to rape her?"

Jareth nodded miserably. "Yes. He tried to rape her and when she struggled and defied him, he beat her."

"Goodness no! And to think that he actually expected me to love him in return all those centuries ago! How can anyone love a tyrant like that?! He's grown worse over the centuries!" Jareth only nodded. "What happened after she told you? I hope that your temper didn't explode. I'd like to think that you're been able to control it now."

"I didn't lose my temper. I tried to comfort her and.. went a little too far. She misunderstood my intentions and claimed that I was no different than Dartaynian." He lowered his head and Delphina had never seen him look so dejected. She felt her heart clench in her chest. He had not even looked this bad centuries ago when the curse had been placed on him. "She wants to return home tomorrow."

"Oh Jareth."

"I don't know what to do.." He admitted softly.

Delphina raised a hand and gently stroked his cheek. Jareth looked into her eyes as she touched his face. She was surprised to see tears glistening in his mismatched orbs.

"Should I send her home or should I try to explain to her how I feel?" Jareth asked.

Delphina sighed and continued to run her fingers along his smooth pale skin. "If you tell her how you feel, you might be setting yourself up for more heartbreak."

"What's a little more?" He asked bitterly. "How much worse can things get? The way that she acted, she never wants to see me again. I feel as if someone is trying to rip my heart from my chest."

"She's angry and upset, Jareth and can you blame her? Dartaynian claimed he cared for her and then tried to rape her. She trusted him and he threw that trust away as if it meant nothing to him. She's most likely shaken, confused and afraid that he tried to force himself upon her. What do you think went through her mind when you 'went too far'?"

"I frightened her.she.. She thought that I might have been attempting the same thing that Dartaynian had and that was not my intention, I would never."

"I know that you wouldn't and you know that you wouldn't. The truth is that Sarah doesn't. She was upset and frightened and you surely frightened her more. And she doesn't understand things, does she? She doesn't know about the curse."

Jareth shook his head. "I wanted it that way. I don't want her to pity me and feel things for me that she didn't feel in the first place."

"Keeping things from her, is not a good idea."

Jareth snorted. "I know that. If I had told her about Dartaynian and the courtship, perhaps things would not have gone as they had."

Delphina removed her hand from Jareth face and gazed at him in a serious manner. "You have two choices, Jareth. You can either send her home and deal with the loss that way or you can attempt to make things better between you both. Be honest with her and hope that things will work out between you and the future. Either way there will be pain and heartache. It's inevitable with this. situation. " She still felt like this was all her fault. How could she ever make things right? "Could you deal with letting her go, never see her again with the knowledge that you didn't attempt to make things right between you?"

"If I go to her, she will send me away. She told me that I disgust her. I will not go anywhere near her." Jareth said firmly.

Delphina shook her head. Jareth was on the verge of losing everything and he was still as stubborn as he had been as a child. Something had to be done.

* * *

The wall loomed above them and spread left and right as far as the eye could see. Loryian grunted as he moved his hands over the solid stone walls of the Labyinth. "I have no idea how we are going to get inside. There's no bloody door!" He glanced at Lee who sat wrapped within his cape on the dark bay stallion.

"Well don't look at me for that. The only person who knows how to get through this thing is missing, remember?" She looked around. There had to be a way in. She reined the stallion to the right and trotted him along the wall looking for any sign of an entrance. She was ready to turn back when she saw smoke rising from a section of the Labyrinth's walls. She nudged the stallion forward.

"Lory, come take a look at this."

Loryian jogged along the wall to her side. "What is it?" He asked out of breath. "I see nothing but more wall."

"Look closer."

Loryian squinted his eyes and they widened in surprise. "Well I'll be a pixie's uncle."

Lee laughed out loud. "A pixie's uncle?" She giggled. "You say some weird things."

He grinned at her, "Oh and I suppose that it would be better if I said, 'wicked cool' or 'awwsomed'."

Lee laughed. "That's awesome. And yes it would be better if you said something along those lines."

Loryian peered back at his discovery. "Lee, look at this. This is wicked cool and awwsome."

That earned Loryian a good amount more laughing from Lee. She was laughing so hard that she was nearly crying.

"Did I say it wrong, or something?" He asked feigning offence.

", it's just the accent that you have. It sounds so funny. Maybe you should stick to your pixie's uncle routine."

"I dare say, I think that you are making fun of me." he teased.

"I'm laughing with you Lory, not at you."

"Truly? Then how can that be if I am not laughing?" His tone was serious and Lee immediately stopped laughing. Loryian's lips twitched and then he began to laugh. "I was only jesting."

"You're a pain in the ass." She laughed, nodding a finger at him. He was teasing her!

"But I'm a very handsome pain in the ass." Before she could comment to this he reached up and kissed her gently on the lips.

Lee froze and for a moment she didn't know what to do. Why did she feel so strange and so shy so suddenly? Before she knew what she was doing, she was returning Loryian's kiss. She'd been kissed many times in her life, but not like this. Loryian was so gentle, and he let her make the decisions, let her choose the pace.

"Is this how ya act while yer friend is hurt?" The voice shattered the moment Lee and Loryian shared and they turned to see who had spoken to them. Hoggle stepped forth from their discovery. The house that was built into the wall, making it nearly invisible. "What kind of a friend are you! Some concern you have! She's been hurt real bad! Did you even know that? Or were you too busy kissing this character to know!?"

Lee frowned. She had never see Hoggle so upset or angry before. "Hoggle.." She started, but Loryian jumped in.

"It's rather rude and unjustified of you to make accusations against this woman. She is the one who saved Sarah from Dartaynian and assisted in her friend's escape. You should learn the facts before you make accusations."

"Loryian, you don't have to do this." She wasn't used to someone trying to stick up for her. The only one that usually stuck up for her, was herself.

"Yes I do. His actions were not honorable toward you. Apologize to the lady." Loryian demanded.

Lee shook her head. She suddenly felt very guilty for teasing Loryian and allowing him to kiss her. All this honorable crap was making her feel uncomfortable. They still didn't know where Sarah was. "Hoggle have you seen Sarah? We were looking for her."

"I found her over two hours ago."

Relief lit up Lee's blue eyes. "Can we see her?"

"She ain't here. The King took her to the castle."

"How was she fairing? We had not been able to look at her injuries." Loryian inquired.

"She was unconscious when I found her and unconscious when he took her." Hoggle said angrily.

Lee couldn't understand Hoggle's anger, but realized if he had found her unconscious he was probably trying to hide his pain at such a discovery. She had to remember Hoggle was Sarah's friend as well..

"Oh god, what did Jareth do? He must have flipped out." Lee asked suddenly. She felt worry fill her entire body.

"I didn't see his reaction, he just took her."

"Hoggle, can you help us get to the castle?" Loryian asked.

The dwarf grumbled something about sleep and how much he hated the passageways. Taking a lantern from his house he pointed to a solid looking wall. "Follows me and stay close behind. This place ain't safe at night."

Loryian and Lee glanced at each other and without a word followed Hoggle.

* * *

The patterns on the ceiling didn't change no matter how much she stared at them. She lay on her bed, one arm above her head, the other resting by her side. She had stopped crying long ago, but the cry had not done anything except make her feel worse. Her side was hurting her and she felt miserable.

She had been a fool to trust Jareth. Thinking about him made her heart ache. He had seemed as if he had cared for her, but he had tried to seduce her. He was like any other man. She felt stupid for allowing herself to feel anything for him. She should have just taken her own advice and remained alone. Only in solitude would she find a way to escape from being hurt.

A knock at the door startled her and thinking it was Jareth she cried out, "Go away! I don't ever want to see you again!"

The door creaked open without her permission. "That would be difficult as we have never seen each other once, never mind again."

Sarah sat up and was surprised to see a woman enter the room. She looked familiar and Sarah realized that the woman had entered the room with that short older man, the healer, much earlier. "Who are you?" Sarah demanded harshly.

"Just a friend." The woman smiled. She was beautiful. Tall and thin with amazing blue green eyes and long dark hair. Sarah couldn't find a single flaw.

"A friend of Jareth's perhaps, but no friend of mine." Why did this woman's presence suddenly make her uneasy, almost jealous?

Delphina frowned at the bitterness in the mortal's voice. "There is no point in dancing around why I am here."

"Well good, I'll cut right the chase too. You can tell your *friend* Jareth that I don't ever want to see him again."

"Sarah, permit me to tell you a tale. All you have to do is listen and if this tale does not effect you in anyway, you have to merely say so and I will leave you be."

"Why should I listen to you? You'll just try to convince me that I should talk to Jareth and I don't ever want to talk to him again."

"I'm not going to *make* you do anything." She told Sarah with more anger than she had meant to release. Calming, she continued. " It's even your choice if you want to listen to this tale. If you want me to leave, I will. Simple as that."

Sarah started to open her mouth to tell her to get the hell out, but she was very curious about this tale. "You're going to tell me a tale in the middle of the night?"

"If you would listen to it, yes."

"Well , fine tell me what is so damn important." Sarah snapped.

The woman waved her hand and created a chair that she then sat in. "What I am about to tell you, is a tale that many think they know. But of course they only know fragments and rumors. They do not know the full truth. You see, there was once a fae prince who was very curious about the mortal world. This interest is all well and good and is expected of the young, but his interest went beyond most others. You see, here we have strict rules about venturing to the mortal realm. Very few of us are allowed to go. Only those who are summoned directly may go, or those who enforce the law and must uphold it."

"But why?" Sarah interrupted.

"Why can't we go above?" Sarah nodded. "Because mortals are dangerous. They use iron which is vulnerable to us, and should they learn how use our magic they could do great damage to the ways of the universe. This prince was warned to let his curiosities go, but he did not. At night when others were sleeping he used a spell from an ancient book to hide the use of his magic and to venture above ground. He met a girl there and formed a friendship with her. He spilled his entire life to her. Who he was, where he was from. He broke the rules of his people and could have caused irreparable damage in the course of a few hours. But this wasn't the only time he visited the girl. He went often and did so until he was caught."

"What happened then?" Sarah found herself getting interested.

"As was custom, he was sentenced to death."

"Death? How horrible! But he was a child, he didn't know any better!" Sarah cried out.

"Yes, a child of 50 years old, an adolescent by our standards. One on the verge of adulthood, yet not quite there."

"Did they.kill him?" Sarah almost didn't want to know the answer. Why did this woman have to tell her such a depressing tale anyway?

The woman shook her head. "No, he was saved by a friend who at the young age of 70 had just taken her rightful place among the other members of the Seelie Court."

"How was he saved by this friend?"

"This friend reminded the court that the prince was needed. This prince was destined to be King and a very important King, even though that was not agreed by all. One day he would take his father's place and he would give many fae a child that they could never have produced on their own. Our kind have difficulty reproducing, it is the way of our people to balance out the fact that we are so long lived. Yet this King could give others the form of unwanted mortal babes."

Sarah gasped. "You're talking about Jareth! He's the prince!"

Delphina nodded. "Yes."

"But doesn't he turn the children into goblins?" She realized that since she had been here, she had not really thought about what it was that Jareth actually did. Sometimes she forgot that he was the Goblin King and he was capable of taking children.

"That would be a waste with so many fae couples wishing for children. To lose the Goblin Prince was to forever change the way our society ran. The woman tried to make the court see this. For there had always been a Goblin King or Prince. The king at the time had one heir and one only, Jareth. So to let him die would be to let The Goblin Kingdom die, to risk happiness to others in the underground with the gift of a child. You see, the Goblin Kingdom passes from King to King through bloodlines only and the King at the time would want to step down eventually or he could have died, leaving no King if Jareth was killed."

"So they let Jareth live?"

"Yes, as you've seen for yourself, he is alive. But the continuation of his life came with a heavy price."

Sarah frowned. "What do you mean?"

"The woman who thought she had saved him from death, assumed in her naiveté that the prince would get away with what he had done and that things would go on as normal, but this was not the case. Fae are very long lived. Our life time can last centuries, even millennia. Often at times we will lose a partner, a lover. Many remarry, some do not. But they have a choice with whatever they want. The court would not let the crimes go away unpunished and although they would jeopardize the way things would run in the future, they did not care. A hasty decision was made by the other members of the court that the Goblin Prince should be cursed."



Sarah drew her knees to her chin and shivered. "What kind of a curse?"

"I shall tell you. Companionship is one of the most important things to a Fae. We are a very loving people, and we take great care in choosing a suitable partner. Though there are always exceptions. The Goblin Prince was always friendly, and he was so with everyone. He was very well liked because he was kind and no one denied that he would make a wonderful King. Many envied him. The court wanted him to never forget what he had done. He had violated the rules and he should never be allowed to forget that, no matter how well liked he was. So they placed a curse on him and robbed him of certain freedoms."

Sarah frowned.

"He would be allowed to love only *one* woman for the rest of his life. His heart would choose a woman and he would love her and want to bond with her and he would not be able to do this with any other." It doesn't sound so terrible until you learn other things. If this woman denied him, he would still love her. She would hurt him with her denial, but he would still love her unconditionally. Over time he would slowly begin to lose his sanity as he gazed upon her and realized he could never be with her. Even if she changed her mind and realized that she loved him, the curse would prevent them from being together. On the other side of this all, if she loved him and admitted it freely while she was free herself, he would bond with her and ultimately marry her, finding himself a queen."

Sarah gazed at the woman intently, begging with her eyes for the story to continue. "If this woman loved him and he loved her while she was involved with another, that would be breaking law. For no Fae, man or woman shall love another's partner. If this happened and she was involved elsewhere, no matter if she admitted that she loved the Goblin Prince or not, the result would be the same. Ruination and utter despair, joined with insanity, grief, jealousy and terrible loss. He would always try to find a way to get back to her, begging, pleading, needing her to be complete and never knowing that completion."

Sarah let out a shuddering breath. Her mind was reeling with this information. The woman was looking at her intently.

"You have been given power ,Sarah, though you may not even realize it. You have a power in your hands that no other has. A power to do much good and love, or terrible harm and pain."

Jumbled phrases from the past entered Sarah's mind. 'The King of the Goblins had fallen in love with the girl and he had given her certain powers.' 'Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave.' 'Everything you have wanted I have done. Isn't that generous?'

"Oh god.." Sarah didn't know how to react to what this woman was telling her. Fear, confusion, pain, anger, love filled her simultaneously. She shook her head. " can't be.."

"What can't be?" Delphina asked quietly.

"It can't be me!" Sarah cried out in disbelief. Jareth had kissed her, but it had been only a kiss right? He couldn't possibly..

"And why can't it?"

"Oh my god, he's chosen me hasn't he?" Pain and joy filled Sarah's heart at the realization. Jareth loved her, he hadn't tried to seduce her! He had been trying to soothe her. Oh god, and she had sent him away!

"Yes, are the *one* and the only *one*, that Jareth will ever love." Delphina spelled it out clearly for her.

Sarah couldn't take it any longer and she started to cry all over again. "But why? Why did he chose me, and why didn't he tell me?"

'To admit something like that to you would be to give in to the curse. If Jareth tells you that he loves you, the curse will control him. He will have no further say in anything after that moment. Only you will be able to make decisions for him."

'I will be your slave.'

Sarah hit the mattress of Jareth's bed angrily with her fist. 'Why did he do this to me!? Why did he chose me? I don't want this kind of power!" Sarah didn't care that she sounded like a child. She broke down in a fit of tears.

"But he's given it to you, Sarah, whether you like it or not. He can't control whom his heart chooses to love."

"Why didn't he tell me about the curse?" She sobbed. "Why did he keep me in the dark?"

"He didn't keep you in the dark. Not if you knew what to look for. Surely you saw his pendant glowing."

"Yes, I've seen it. But I don't know what it means."

"Have you noticed *when* it glows?"

"It always glows. Every time I was with him it would glow."

"Yes and do you know why that is?"

Sarah shook her head.

"The Seelie Court placed a spell on Jareth's pendant so that he could not hide his feelings. When his heart chose a woman, he would not be able to hide those feelings from anyone, including her. Every time he thinks of you or is with you, the pendant glows."

"Damn it! Why didn't Jareth tell me any of this?! Why didn't he tell me about this curse!?"

"I can only surmise. I'm sure that he doesn't want you to make decisions based on your pity or guilt if you don't love him. And I'm sure fear has a part in this. I'm sure that he fears the future and he fears what will happen to you if you are forced to make a decision."

Sarah trembled. She wiped at her eyes, having come to a horrible realization. "It doesn't matter what I feel for Jareth, does it? Either way I will be the one to destroy him."

"If you honestly love him, and we all wish for a miracle, there still could be a chance for this all to work out."

Sarah collapsed onto the bed feeling even worse than she had before. "It all seems so hopeless."

"I know it does."

"I was so cruel to him.I told him that he disgusted me. I sent him away.He must hate me now." She let out as tears fell from her eyes..

Delphina sat beside Sarah and stroked her hair like she would a child. "He would never hate you, he cares for you to much to allow that. And he did not mean to hurt you. He only wanted to help you heal."

"He probably never wants to see me again and I can't say that I blame him.I must have hurt him so badly. I told him that he was no different than Dartaynian. I am cruel."

"Not cruel, just confused and angry for good reasons. You had something horrible happen to you, but it's time to heal and move on." Delphina gazed at Sarah sadly. "Jareth will not come to you, Sarah. If you have any desire to make this right, it is up to you. The longer you delay, the worse this will become. He will begin to think you loathe him and the curse would not have effected him, but his own heart would have. "

Delphina looked into Sarah's eyes. "I have never met you before this moment, but I see that you feel something for him. You want to, if not already, love Jareth in return."

"But the curse, the court, Dartaynian."

"Forget them for now. You and Jareth need to heal if you are going to face the Seelie Court, if you have any desire to attempt this and be with him. If you are going to try and win a true place by his side, you must make amends with him first. The other things will be dealt with later. Heal first, and with a wish for a miracle perhaps you and Jareth will be together if you are meant to be."

"But I don't want to hurt him, I don't want to see him suffer. Maybe if I just left it would be easier on us both."

"That is a cowards way out and the results will be the same regardless. Despite not having said the words that will bind him to you, Jareth's love for you is so great, that curse or no curse the outcome would be the same for him. Either way, he would lose you and suffer." Delphina's face filled with compassion. "I know this is a terrible situation to be in. I do not envy your position, nor Jareth's and I fear this is all my fault."

"Your fault?" Sarah gave a look of confusion.

"You did claim that I was a friend of Jareth's and that is very true. He is a dear and old friend of mine." Sarah suddenly understood. She was the friend from the Seelie Court.

"You.?" Sarah's brow furrowed.

"My name is Delphina and I was the young woman who fought for Jareth's life."

Sarah sighed deeply. This was all so overwhelming. To know that she had such power and that she could do so much destruction with that power. Yet at the same time her hands were tied. Her lack of knowledge and her agreement to court Dartaynian could destroy Jareth, regardless of what she felt.

"I.I don't even know what to to react, what to feel, to say.." Sarah let out softly.

Delphina suddenly pulled Sarah into a protective embrace. "I am sorry that this is so difficult and painful for you. For both of you."

" I want to see Jareth and apologize to him for this horrible misunderstanding, but I'm afraid that I'll say or do the wrong thing. I'm so afraid that I will hurt him."

Delphina pulled back to gaze into Sarah's eyes. She was such a strong mortal. She could see why Jareth loved her. Perhaps she should not have told her about the curse and Jareth's past, but what's done is done.

"Don't be afraid of him, Sarah. He thinks that you fear him for what he's done. Your fear of him might hurt him far more than this curse. He will blame himself for everything and this is not his fault even though you may wish to blame it on him. No one can help whom they fall in love with."

Wasn't that the truth. Sarah lowered her head. Tears still streamed down her face. Delphina pulled Sarah to her and Sarah didn't protest as she rested her cheek against the Fae woman's shoulder. Delphina almost felt like a mother to her. A mother she had not had since she was 10 years old.

"I know what needs to be done." Sarah said softly after a few moments of silence. "I have to talk to Jareth. I need to make things right between us."


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 30 of 40

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