Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 34 of 40

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Jareth reached for the handle to Sarah's door and stopped as it turned and the door opened. Galyon carefully stepped out. The older Fae looked exhausted.

"How is she?" Jareth inquired.

"I've managed to heal the remaining damage to her lungs and all of her bruises have faded away. She will feel a dull pain at her side, that which may grow sharp at times when she grows anxious or excited. It will pass and there is nothing to worry about."

Jareth nodded and lowered his head. "Galyon, I could never repay you for all you have done for Sarah."

"Nonsense, there will be no repaying me for doing my job."

"But you've exhausted yourself."

"I will be fine. Once I have slept, I will return to full strength. She is a very stubborn, but strong woman, that mortal of yours is." There was genuine sympathy in Galyon's gray eyes. "I hope that fate is on your side."

"Thank you."

"Now, I'd like to rest. Please let Sarah do the same. I'd like her to sleep through the rest of the night, into the late morning if possible. Court is going to be stressful for her."

Jareth nodded and Galyon walked away. Jareth watched him walk down the hallway before he disappeared into thin air and reappeared in Sarah's room.

* * *

Lee cautiously approached Loryian and Hoggle. After talking with Sarah for a bit longer than she had meant, she went searching for the two. She had not been able to find them anywhere. They had shown for dinner. Everyone had except for Jareth. Lee had a feeling that he was with Sarah. Galyon had gone to bed after dinner and Delphina had done the same. She was left alone with Loryian and Hoggle. Now was the time to make a few plans.

"Hey, you two." She greeted with a small smile.

"How is the lil' missy?" Hoggle asked. None of them had talked at dinner.

Lee's smile broadened. Hoggle was always so concerned about Sarah. He was a good friend to her. "She was resting when I left her." "You should have let her sleep. She went through a lot last night." Loryian's voice held a twinge of coldness to it.

Lee didn't answer him.

Hoggle stepped forward, sensing the tension, and gently took Lee's hands into his own. "And how are you doing?"

"I've been better," she told him. "Hoggle, I need your help." She risked a glance at Loryian. "I need help from both of you." She noticed that Loryian suddenly seemed very interested.

"Go on." Loryian told her.

"I want to help Sarah and Jareth." "We all want that." Loryian told her.

"And there must be a way to get them together. But Sarah needs to be free from Dartaynian first. I'm willing to bet there is a way, other than mutual agreement, that would free her." Lee told them.

"Only two things beside mutual agreement can break a courtship." Loryian said. He stepped closer to Lee and Hoggle, arms crossed over his chest.

"A ruling by the court is one of 'em." Hoggle added.

'Yes. If the Seelie court felt it was right to break the courtship they would do so." "Perhaps we can convince them it should be broken. After all, Dartaynian was not truthful to Sarah AND he beat her and tried to rape her. Surely that counts for something." Lee reminded them.

"As horrid as that all is, it's happened before. And besides, we don't have enough time to approach the court with a request for a courtship break." Lee frowned. One choice down, one to go. "So that leaves only one other possible hope."

"Yes, and Dartaynian would not be so careless to slip up. It's obvious to us all now that his courtship to Sarah was planned to hurt King Jareth. He wouldn't be foolish enough to deviate from his plan." "But there is something that he could have done to allow Sarah to break free?" Lee asked.

"Yes, of course. He was the one who asked Sarah's permission to court her. Should he be unfaithful to her, the courtship would be re-evaluated. If Sarah decided she wished for her freedom, the court would grant it."

"That's it! He's a slime ball as it is, the way he was flirting with women at the ball. And Hoggle said it's not unknown for him to take mistresses."

Loryian frowned. "Finding a witness would not be so easy, IF there is one. Sarah has only been here for a month or so. Dartaynian has probably curbed himself. We don't have the time to search for a witness. Court is in two days."

"If there is a witness, we are going to find one. If Dartaynian has been cheating on Sarah behind her back, then the court should learn about that."

"Lee, even if we find a witness, would they agree to testify? Most Fae do not dabble with a promiscuous lifestyle. If brought before the court, they would give the appearance that they had lived such a life. It would undoubtedly ruin their image."

"Yeah, well, what about Dartaynian?!" she fired back. "Doesn't he lead a promiscuous lifestyle by taking mistresses?"

"Dartaynian hides it well. Only a few of us know of his inability to take one partner. It's rumored that he can't bond, that he's different than the rest of his. He lusts. Most of us do not. We can appear seductive and will use it to distract, but it isn't our true nature. We take one partner and, once we have bonded with them, we stay with them until we die or our partner dies."

Lee winced as Loryian kept associating himself with the Fae. She was never going to gather the courage to tell him what she felt or what she feared.

"What's all this about bonding? What is that?" She managed to ask.

"It's a joining of mind, body and spirit. It happens only once in a Fae's lifetime. It is the gateway to a life of love, honesty, greatness between two that are meant to be."

"So, it's sex." Lee said bluntly. "What's the big deal about that?" She had begun to learn that sex didn't mean everything.

Loryian shook his head. "It is much more than that. While physical intimacy is part of it, that's not all that is important. The joining of mind and spirit, although temporary, are just as important." 'Ok.So, Dartaynian can't do this whole bonding thing?" She couldn't believe that she was asking about this. Fae sex education.for dummies.

"It's rumored that he can't. For the bonding to take place, both partners must be in love with each other. If one loves and the other does not and they attempt to join, the bonding will not take place. One partner may become bitter. It's expected when you find out the one you love more than anything does not love you in return. Dartaynian has either never loved, or a time when he did love, someone else did not love him in return."

"That sucks."

Loryian made a face at the expression. He wasn't overly familiar with it.

"I mean, that's terrible." Lee told him.

"It is terrible, but it's known to happen. Over time, they move on and learn they can love without fear of being hurt. Dartaynian is thought to be different. He's believed to be incapable of love and bonding. He has shown no desire to do either. He has grown too accustomed to physical intimacy and pleasure, which are hollow without love."

Lee let out a shuddering breath. This conversation was hitting too close to home. Learning that the Fae thought that sex was hollow, she could just imagine how Loryian would view her past. "We-we should stop talking and start searching." She stuttered.

"And where would we start?" Hoggle injected. He had been so quiet that Lee had nearly forgotten about him.

Lee gave a blank look. She was pretty much worthless in this matter. She knew nothing about the Underground.

"I think I have an idea." Loryian spoke up. "Let's go." "Shouldn't we tell someone where we are going? Sarah and Jareth might get worried." She didn't like the idea of sneaking around.

"In this instance, it would be far better to leave without their knowledge. King Jareth doesn't like meddling and I don't wish to give false hope to Sarah if nothing becomes of this. This search may be in vain. It's for the best that we don't tell them." Loryian told her.

Lee looked to Hoggle, who nodded to her. "Oh, all right. Just let me change first." She still had her dress from the ball on. She'd be damned if she was going to go traveling in this stupid thing. She wanted her jeans and her sneakers.

"Be quick about it. I will ready the horses that we borrowed from Dartaynian," Loryian said and, turning, he was gone.

"I'll help him." Hoggle told her.

Lee watched the two walk away down the hall. Closing her eyes, she clasped her hands together at her chest. "I know that I've never prayed to you before, but please God, let this all work out."

* * *

The room was dark as he entered it. The candles had burned so low that they barely gave off any light. Jareth approached the bed slowly and gazed down at the sleeping woman.

Sarah was lying on her back, her head turned to one side. Her dark hair cascaded around her face on the pillow. She was so beautiful.

As if feeling his presence in the room, Sarah turned to her side. But she did not awaken. Some of her hair had fallen over her cheek and Jareth carefully brushed it away with his gloved fingers. He created a chair with his magic and he sat beside her. He watched as she slept, her chest rising and falling with each breath, her lips parted slightly. How had he managed to fall so deeply in love with her? She was just a silly mortal child. But no, she was no longer that. She was a beautiful woman whom he had shared a remarkable friendship with. He had learned who she had become and he had grown to love her.

He let out a shuddering breath. He loved her and he was going to lose her. He cursed his foolishness during his time as a youth. If he had never gone aboveground and met with that girl, he could be with Sarah right now. Yet, if he had never gone, perhaps he would never have met Sarah. He might never have had the chance to fall in love with her.

"Oh, Sarah.What will happen?" He whispered. He dreaded what was to come in the days that followed.

He leaned back in his chair and prepared for a long night. He didn't have much time left with her. He would not sleep tonight. He would stay beside her, watch her, and protect her while he still had the chance to.


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 34 of 40

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