Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 31 of 40

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Sarah bit her lower lip and raised her hand to knock against the old oak door. She hesitated and, dropping her hand back to her side, quickly glanced around. No one was in the hallway, no one had seen her approach the door. She could turn back right now and wait just a little longer before confronting him.

'You're stronger than that Sarah Williams. Since when did you back down from anything?' A voice told her. "More like when didn't I back down from everything?" She said bitterly to herself. It was becoming harder and harder to put up the front. She had been breaking down more and more and that truly disturbed her. When she was younger, she had been so strong and not much frightened her. Yet the years had not been kind to her and she found herself backing down more and more. Proof of that was right here. She was standing in front of the door to Jareth's study, actually shaking. Thoughts of fleeing still swam through her mind.

Part of why she didn't want to see Jareth was her fear of hurting him. What could she say to him without hurting him any further? Because of his actions when he was younger they would both suffer, though he would suffer a much worse fate. She had always loved power, and had always sought to be in control of it. Yet now she hated it. She didn't want to be the one to hurt Jareth, but there seemed to be no way around it. She was not free to choose him. In this world, she belonged to the man she hated more than anything. Dartaynian.

With a defiant toss of her hair, she made her decision. She didn't want to be a coward any longer. Delphina had told her that she shouldn't fear Jareth and she realized that she didn't fear Jareth, she had only feared his actions. They had been too similar to what had happened with Dartaynian. While it would be difficult to discuss certain things with Jareth, she couldn't avoid him forever. They needed to talk and eventually she needed to figure out what she felt for him. Was he a friend, a little more than a friend, or did she love him?

She raised her hand once again and knocked this time. She was met with silence. She knocked again two more times and nothing happened. Worry began to fill her. He had seemed so hurt by her words earlier. What if he had hurt himself or worse?

She knocked again a few times more. "Jareth? Jareth, if you're in there, please answer me." Silence. She slumped against the door. What if he didn't want to see her? Delphina said that he wouldn't go to her and perhaps he wouldn't allow her to come to him either. She stood outside the door for a few more moments and heard no movement within. Perhaps Jareth wasn't even in his study.

He wasn't in his room, because that was where she had just come from. If he wasn't in his study, perhaps he was in his throne room. She rushed off down the hall, ignoring the pain that was beginning to reclaim her body.

Other than a few sleeping goblins.the throne room was deserted. She tried the library, the dining room, the kitchen. All were empty.

She started checking random rooms. She found messy broom closets, hidden passages that twisted to dead ends, but no Jareth.

She was tired, exhausted from struggling with Dartaynian earlier that night and she suddenly wasn't even sure if she was up to this. Delphina's story kept going through her head. The power she held was too much for her to bear at this point. She and Jareth were upset with each other and angry or misguided words would certainly not help the situation.

Her eyes filled with tears and the strength she forced herself to feel was deflating rapidly. There was one door left at the end of the hallway. One that she had not tried yet. She decided that this would be the last door she tried tonight. She was too tired, too stressed and her injuries were nagging her. The last door and then she was going to her own room to try and sleep.

She reached for the strangely carved golden doorknob. It turned easily and, with a deep breath, she swung the door open. She gasped as she saw familiar stone stairs that twisted and turned reaching to places that normal stairs could never reach.

Sarah stepped carefully into the room, her eyes scanning everything. It was exactly as she remembered it and, for a moment, she felt as if she were 15 again. It was just like the Escher print she had hanging on her wall as a teenager.

A wind picked up from out of nowhere and the door slammed shut behind her. Sarah tried the handle and cried out when she found it locked. This was not a place where she wanted to spend the night. Without the light of day shinning through the windows, this room was frightening. The moon cast eerie shadows. Anything could lurking there. She desperately tried the door handle again. Locked. What if no one knew that she was here?

She took a deep breath and leaned against the door. She would not cry. She glanced around the room and let her eyes grow accustomed to the darkness. The room was much quieter than it had been last time. There was no gurgling baby, no song, no sound of feet treading over stone as she fought to reach her brother. No, there was deathly silence. She shivered.

Her eyes scanned the room again and they widened as she gasped. For there, standing on the very ledge that she had jumped from 9 years earlier to save her brother, was the Goblin King.

* * *

"Hoggle, how much further do we have to go?" Lee asked him as she tried to pull her dress away from a touchy thorn bush. They had been walking for what felt like hours.

"Here, allow me." Loryian saw her struggling. She was tangling herself further instead of freeing herself. With skilled hands, he freed her dress. Lee smiled her thanks.

"Well if you would stop getting' tangled, we'd get to the castle a lot faster." The dwarf grumbled.

"Hey, now you just wait a minute, if I didn't have to wear this stupid dress, I wouldn't be getting caught! And just what the hell is your problem, hmm? You were fine at the ball and now you've got a major attitude."

Hoggle turned his back on her and kept walking. Lee, on the other hand, stopped dead in her tracks.

"I'm not taking another step until you tell me what's wrong."

"You'll be spending the rest of your night in the Labyrinth then." Hoggle continued to walk.

"Hoggle!" The way that she called out his name reminded him of times past.

'Hoggle! You cheat! You nasty little cheat!'

With a heaving sigh, he turned to face Lee. The redhead was standing with her hands on her hips. Her hair had fallen out of the style she had worn to the ball, her dress was tattered and torn at the bottom and, although she appeared strong on the outside, Hoggle could see that she was tired and worried.

"Why do you have such a sudden attitude?" She asked softly. "I thought that you were my friend." She added.

Hoggle sighed. That did him in every time. "I ams ye friend."

"Then tell me what's bothering my friend."

"We'll talk as we walk," Hoggle told her eyeing Loryian. He didn't even know if the young man could be trusted. What if he was a spy for Dartaynian or something? Yet Loryian was standing beside Lee, gently running his hands along her arm to calm her. Would a spy go so far?

"I don't like it," Hoggle started and began to walk. He held the lantern in front of him as they climbed through more thorn bushes.

"Don't like what, Hoggle?" Lee asked as Loryian helped her through the next passageway.

"His sudden attachment to 'er. All the time he spends with 'er. The way he wisked 'er away tonight. Didn't even send me a message to tell me how she was."

Lee stopped walking and watched as Hoggle continued to lead the way. "You're jealous," she stated incredulously.

"I ain't jealous!" Hoggle told her angrily.

Touchy. Lee glanced at Loryian. She'd hit a nerve. "Why don't you like it that Jareth spends so much time with Sarah?"

"I wanted to warn her about him. But it's too late now." Hoggle was still walking.

"Warn her about what?"

"His predicament. I seen the pendant glowing around his neck. He's pulled her in with him, the rat has!"

Lee rushed forward and stepped in front of Hoggle, kneeling down in front of him. "Now you just wait one minute. What are you talking about?"

"The curse, you fool!" Hoggle threw his hands up into the air, clearly frustrated by her lack of knowledge.

Lee glanced up at Loryian. "You mean the curse that was put on him when he was younger?" She asked the dwarf.

"That's the only curse put on him."

"And what does this curse do?"

"Don't ya know anything?" Hoggle asked her angrily. "The King can only love one woman. It's been said that the pendant 'round his neck would glow when his heart had chosen his queen!"

Lee smirked. "Hoggle, I already know that Jareth loves Sarah. I think everyone knows that."

Hoggle's eyes widened. "Has he gone and told her? Has he said the words?"

Lee shook her head. "No, as far as I know he hasn't told her. I know about the courtship rule. Sarah is trapped by Dartaynian's side until he releases her. I told Jareth to wait. Maybe Dartaynian will let her go, especially after what has happened and then Jareth could ask her out."

"It don't work that way, at least not for the King!"

Lee frowned. "Well, why not?"

"Because of the curse!" Hoggle was turning bright red with anger.

"Hey, don't start blowing your top because I don't know how things work around here. I'm from aboveground, remember?"

Hoggle took a deep breath. He was tired, cranky and his concern for Sarah was all mixing and causing him to react harshly. "I don't even knows if it's true, but the stories have been told for generations within the Labyrinth." He said in a calmer voice.

"What stories?" Lee asked.

"Stories of the King. When he was younger, he had a curse placed on him. It made him grow cold and hard and mean. He wouldn't choose a Queen for fear that she would destroy him."

"In what way?"

"I've been told that the curse only allows the King to love one woman. If she was free and admitted that she felt the same, they'd bond and she would become his Queen. But if he chose someone who didn't love him, she would hurt him. He'd never find his Queen. Tales say he would go mad with grief. Jealousy and bitterness would control him when he spied on her, watched her fall in love with another. The Goblin Kingdom and the Labyrinth would fall into ruin, just like the King."

Lee's mouth dropped.

"I've been told the story since I was knee high to a mushroom. Tales told that the King's pendant would glow when he found the woman his heart had chosen. And I seen that pendant always glowing when he was around Sarah."

"It's true. It does always glow when Sarah's around. I didn't really take much notice of it until now."

"Then he's trapped her with him. Given her the power to destroy him and the kingdom, or the power to make everything strong again. But Sarah ain't free. She's courting Dartaynian. If The King tells her he loves her, it's all over, no matter what she tells him."

"This is horrible. What are we going to do?"

"There is not much we can do." Loryian spoke for the first time in several minutes. "Dartaynian will take them to court. He's devious enough to demand such an action."

"And what do you know of Dartaynian? You're probably ones of his henchmen!" Hoggle told the dark haired man.

Loryian shook his head. "I assure you, I hate him as much as you both do and even more so now that he tried to hurt Sarah and King Jareth."

"Who are you?" Hoggle demanded. "What were you doing at the ball?"

"I am who I said. My name is Loryian. I was at the ball because my father deals with Dartaynian on a regular basis. We know that he is a shady character and do not like him, but we trade for much needed supplies that are not available in our land."

"And just who is your father?" Hoggle demanded further.

"My father is Lord Tilan of Brookhaven."

"Lies!" Hoggle spat. "Tilan's son is named Broton."

"Tilan has more than one son."

"Impossible! Everyone knew that his wife had trouble conceiving. It was a miracle in and of itself that Broton was born! You're a lying Fae!"

Loryian shook his head. "I never claimed to be Fae."

Lee pulled away from him, suddenly suspicious. "But you said that Fae are long lived. You said that you were about 300 years old!"

Loryian chuckled warmly. "Fae are long lived and I am just over 300 years old, but I am not Fae. I'm human, just as you are, Lee."

"You're lying to me! Humans can't live to be 300 hundred years old!" Lee cried out.

"Not in the world above, but here, surrounded by magic, we live well past our normal life expectancy. Not as long lived as the Fae, but pretty close."

"Tilan's wife still lives, so he wouldn't have taken a mortal partner." Hoggle said in deep thought.

"No, my father never took a mortal partner. I am not related to him by blood. I'm his adopted son." Loryian smiled warmly. "Though King Jareth does not remember who I am now that I've grown, weren't either of you curious to know why I would ally myself with the Goblin King and his companions?" He watched Lee and Hoggle's surprised expressions.

" were." Lee stammered, understanding.

Loryian nodded and smiled at her warmly. "Yes.I was wished away to the Goblin King as an infant over 300 years ago."

* * *

He was glaring down at her; dressed completely in black, she had nearly missed him with the shadows playing on the wall just a ways behind him. Sarah took a deep shuddering breath. This didn't look good.

She stepped forward slowly and, taking her eyes off him, looked around to figure out a way to get up to him. She really didn't want to run up and down stairs again. She stopped and glanced up at him. His expression had not changed. She had expected to find him wallowing in misery but she was clearly wrong. The man who stood above her was not the Jareth she knew, but the Goblin King she had known as a teenager.

They looked at each other for a long time before words were spoken.

"Why have you come here?" his voice boomed and echoed off the walls. His tone was cold, bitter, angry.

Sarah searched for her voice and was determined not to look like a frightened child. She was 24 years old, she could face this, she could face him.

"I've come to talk." She told him in a steady voice.

"Talk? It's too late for that. Your time has expired." He moved away from the ledge, disappearing from her view. She searched for him, but he had disappeared into the shadows. A hand grabbed her shoulder and she jumped, spinning around. Jareth stood there, his face full of anger. He reached out a hand and Sarah glanced at it curiously. Seconds later a crystal sphere materialized at his fingertips.

"You wanted to go home, then go."

Sarah pulled back. "What about Lee?" There was a flicker in Jareth's expression and then his sturdy mask was back in place. "She will return along with you. Take the crystal and go." He ordered.

Sarah's brows lowered over her eyes. "What if I don't want to go?"

"You've worn out your welcome. Take it and leave. Do not try to summon me again. I will not answer."

"You wouldn't send me away."

"Don't try my patience, Sarah. I've let you and your troublesome friend have your vacation. It's over, go home."

Sarah glared at him, ready to toss back harsh words but something attracted her attention. A soft glow on the dark fabric of Jareth's clothes. The pendant.

Jareth didn't allow her to see it, but his heart sank as she reached forward toward the crystal. She would take it and leave him. It would be much more difficult to get over her this time around, if he ever got over her at all..

Sarah reached forward but her hand moved past the crystal and Jareth watched curiously. Sarah stepped closer, her expression very intense. She took the leather tie of his pendant in her hands and Jareth tried to pull away. What was she doing?

As she slowly ran her hands down the leather cord, she glanced up at Jareth. "I know what you feel, Jareth." There was no anger in her tone.

Jareth made another attempt to pull away but she held onto the cord with all the strength she could muster. "You know absolutely nothing!" He spat at her. He watched her expression turn from anger to sadness. Her hands slid closer to the warmth of the pendant. Jareth panicked. "Sarah.." Her heart was beating fiercely in her chest. Slowly, she traced one finger over the metal pendant. The warmth should have burned her hand but instead emotions shot through her.

"Sarah." Jareth tried again. He watched her eyes close and her head tip back as the emotions and feelings reached every part of her body.

She clutched the entire pendant in her hand and gasped at the sheer magnitude of the feelings she felt enter her. Delphina had not told how strongly he would love her. She quickly dropped the pendant, overwhelmed by what Jareth felt for her. She had to reach for the wall to balance herself. Her hand was tingling with the warmth of the pendant and her body shuddered as the feelings and emotions swelled and mixed with her own.

Jareth watched her curiously, the mask of coldness gone from his face. "Sarah, why did you do that?" The anger was still in his voice.

Gathering her strength Sarah glanced up at him. "You can't hide from me anymore, Jareth. I know everything."

"I told you not to touch the pendant!" He growled. He had not understood the full meaning of her words.

Sarah reached for him and he pulled away. "Do you enjoy hurting me? Do you?" He asked her bitterly. His words were in anger but his eyes told of something different. He couldn't hold the façade much longer.

Sarah tenderly stroked his cheek with the back of her fingers. Jareth fought to pull away and barely managed to do so. Sarah regarded him sadly. She could see the fear, the pain in his eyes. "Why didn't you tell me about the curse?" She asked softly.

The crystal fell to the ground and shattered.

"What? How did you.? Delphina!" he growled.

"Don't be angry with her, Jareth." "I didn't want you to know! She knew that!" "Why didn't you want me to know? Didn't you realize that if I wasn't told that I could have done so much damage?" She had wanted to admit that she felt something for him earlier.gosh, had it been that same night? So much had happened.

Jareth turned away from her. "It matters little," he let out bitterly.

Sarah sighed. She knew their anger was not meant toward each other, but toward the predicament they found themselves in. One that Dartaynian had skillfully helped to create.

"Why have you kept so much from me, Jareth? You didn't tell me about what Dartaynian was really like, you didn't tell me about the courtship and you didn't tell me about the curse. If you cared for me, why weren't you honest with me?" Her hazel eyes held such sadness.

Jareth turned slowly to gaze at her and all traces of his anger were gone. He gazed at her long and hard before slowly admitting, "I didn't want to hurt you."

Sarah gently touched his cheek again and Jareth closed his eyes. "Sometimes we hurt the ones for. We don't mean to, but it's inevitable."

Jareth opened his eyes and stared at her. "I feared that you would leave me.I feared that I would frighten you when you had learned of my past, of the curse."

Sarah ran her fingers through his hair, moving closer to him. "Do I look afraid to you?"

He shook his head.

"But." She shushed him with a finger to his lips.

"You didn't want me to leave, yet you were prepared to send me home?" She glanced down at the crystal that had shattered into millions of tiny pieces at their feet. She watched as his brows drew together in confusion. He didn't know what to do. He loved her and wanted her to stay with him, but he was afraid of the future. She removed her finger from his lips.

"Sarah..I." "I'm not going anywhere." She whispered. She reached up and pressed her lips to his and he responded instantly. He felt himself on the edge and knew he should pull away from her. They both were on dangerous ground, but her soft kisses were making him weak in the knees. Words or no words, if she left, he knew the results would be the same. He was already trapped. He loved her with his entire being and that wasn't going to change.

Sarah pulled her mouth away from his before things got out of hand and buried her face into Jareth's neck and his hair. She clutched his midnight black shirt into her hands and pushed her body against his. His pendant burned against her as his arms wrapped around her, pulling her close. There was no fear that he would try something with her, this time she found warmth and comfort in his arms.

"There has to be a way." She whispered into his neck. She felt his grip on her tighten. Her own actions had alerted her to her feelings. She could not admit it aloud to him, and maybe she never would be able to. But she realized that she loved him almost, if not as, strongly as he loved her..


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 31 of 40

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