Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 36 of 40

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Sarah stood in front of the large mirror and smoothed out the front of her dark green dress. It was beautiful and it made her look like a queen. Her eyes traveled up the length of the mirror to look at her hair. She had spent hours trying to get it perfect. If she was going to be among the Fae, she wanted to look like them, yet she couldn't view herself that way. She knew she would always feel like the ugly duckling in their presence.

Someone appeared in the mirror and she saw that Jareth had come to stand behind her. He gave her a sad smile as he approached her and placed a soft kiss on the side of her neck. Sarah closed her eyes and let her head fall back to rest on his shoulder. He placed two more soft kisses on her skin and then spoke.

"You look so beautiful." he whispered.

She lifted her head and gave him a lazy smile as she gazed at their reflections in the mirror. Jareth always made her feel so good about herself. How could she ever have been angry or upset with him in the past?

She continued to gaze at their reflections, noticing that they both seemed nervous. Sarah also felt scared. For Jareth and for herself.She also felt angry. She wanted to see Dartaynian be punished for what he had done to her. He had made her feel frightened and lowly. He had hurt her physically and emotional and she wanted to see him pay.

Jareth was fumbling with something behind her that she couldn't see. Finally, he lifted his head and gazed into her eyes by looking at them in the mirror. "There is something I would like to give to you before we go." He lifted a necklace for her to see.

Sarah gasped when she saw it. Small pieces of jade, nearly the same color as her dress, were set in shiny decorated silver and hung on a fine silver chain. "Oh, Jareth."

"I want you to have this" he told her softly and began to put it on her.

Sarah turned to face him. "Jareth, I couldn't." She protested.

"Please, Sarah."

There was a strange pleading look in his mismatched eyes and Sarah nodded to him. He honestly wanted her to have this.

Jareth gently turned her to face the mirror as he put the necklace on her and fastened the clasp. "This belonged to my mother. My father gave it to her years ago as a token of his..feelings. I hope that you will wear this, Sarah, and that you will think of me when you do so." I hope that you will look at it and never forget me.

"Of course I'll think of you when I wear it. But Jareth, are you sure? This was your mother's. It's not something that should be given away lightly."

"I do not give it away lightly, Sarah." He wanted to tell her more, but he couldn't or he would trap himself even further.

Sarah nodded, realizing that Jareth was being serious. The sight of the necklace sparkling around her neck warmed her heart. She turned to face him and kissed him gently on the cheek. "Thank you."

Jareth nodded and his eyes locked with Sarah's. They watched each other closely and then Jareth, unable to resist, leaned in and pressed his lips to Sarah's.

Sarah closed her eyes and pressed back firmly against Jareth's mouth. She felt his hands rest on her waist and he pulled her closer to him. Her fingers tangled in his hair as she returned his kisses.

Someone cleared their throat and Jareth and Sarah broke their kiss. They both turned to face Delphina, who they had forgotten was in the room. Delphina gave them a sad, knowing expression. "We should leave," she said simply. Delphina felt terrible for having to break their embrace, but found it necessary before things got out of hand. She knew what Jareth had done by giving Sarah his mother's necklace. He had "crowned" her as his queen. The queen of his heart, because that was all she might ever be.

Sarah realized as she stared at the dark haired Fae, that Delphina was nervous and worried about court as well. Delphina had, in a way, helped the court create Jareth's curse and Sarah knew that Delphina still blamed herself for it. Sarah had no doubt that Delphina would blame herself for the outcome of today's trial for years to come, if not for the rest of her immortal life.

"Have Lee, Loryian and Hoggle been found yet?" Jareth asked. He had slipped on his Goblin King mask, cold, arrogant, aloof. He was all business now.

Delphina shook her head. "I'm afraid not."

Jareth shook his head angrily. He and Sarah had been horrified to learn that Lee, Loryian and Hoggle had gone missing. He feared that Dartaynian may have kidnapped them so they could not testify. There was no time to look for them now. Court would be starting soon.

"You," he called to a nearby goblin. The creature quickly scurried before the King. "I want the search to continue for my missing guests. They are to be brought to the Seelie Court, if found. Is that understood?"

The goblin nodded and quickly took off, summoning more goblins to join in on the search.

Jareth caught Sarah's worried gaze. He stepped closer to her and took her hand into his, giving it a light squeeze. "We'll find them."

Sarah bit her lip and nodded. She feared for her friends and she feared what would happen in court without them to help clear Jareth's name.

"Are you ready, Sarah?" Jareth asked softly.

Sarah swallowed and forced herself to gain some control. She couldn't afford to lose it today. Appearing as calm and cool as Jareth, she nodded.

Jareth turned to Delphina and to Galyon who now stood beside the dark haired Fae woman. They both nodded to him.

Moments later, 4 figures disappeared from the castle beyond the goblin city.

* * *

Sarah gazed around in awe at where they had materialized. They had appeared in a city, one unlike any she had ever seen before. There were large skillfully crafted buildings adorned with statues. Gardens filled with flowers and shrubs were everywhere and trees so large they had to be hundreds if not thousands of years old grew all along the streets and buildings. The city was full of activity. Fae rushed back and forth, talking, laughing, whispering. Sarah stepped a little closer to Jareth when she saw the way a few were staring at her, Jareth, Delphina and Galyon.

"Pay no mind to them, Sarah." Jareth told her, head held high, his voice calm and cool. "They're merely curious. They know of the trial today."

Sarah nodded but she didn't feel too reassured.

"Well, well, well, what have we heya? This surely cannot be King Jareth who has come to Ameron."

Sarah watched in surprise as Jareth shook hands with a dark haired Fae male. "Jasper, it's been a long time." Jareth greeted him. His voice held some warmth in it.

"Too long. What brings you to Ameron? I know it ain't exactly your style."

"Isn't that the truth?" Jareth told the man.

"Lady Delphina, always a pleasure." The man gave a slight bow and kissed Delphina's hand.

Delphina smiled. "Charming as always, Jasper."

"Galyon." Jasper nodded to the healer. Galyon bowed his head forward at the man.

"Jasper, I would like you to meet Lady Sarah." Jareth smiled warmly as he gestured to Sarah who was beginning to feel out of place amongst all these Fae.

"Lady Sarah, it's an honor." Jasper bowed and gently kissed her hand. Jasper looked from Jareth to Sarah and back to Jareth again. He didn't miss the look in Jareth's eyes as the Goblin King stared at the woman beside him. This woman meant something to Jareth, that much was clear. Surely this woman could not be the one who had finally melted the ice around the Goblin King's heart?

Sarah decided that she liked this man. He seemed rather warm and friendly and he seemed to know Jareth and Delphina. He looked different compared to the other Fae, with his short dark hair, his heavier body type and his scars and imperfections. In a strange way, he seemed less threatening.

"So, what brings you to Ameron?" Jasper asked again.

"Unpleasant business, I'm afraid." Jareth told him.

"Oh, that doesn't sound good."

"Dealings with the Seelie Court rarely are." Jareth said bitterly.

"Oh toadstools, not the Seelie Court again." Jasper glanced at Delphina. "No offense intended, of course." He told her.

"None taken." Delphina replied.

"I've been summoned to court. Have you not heard?" Jareth was sure that the rumors about Sarah must have reached the great city. Delphina had heard them; surely Jasper had heard them as well. And usually everyone knew about an upcoming court session.

"I've been out doin' some travelin'. Just got back today. Haven't heard much of anything from anyone. I was wondering what all the commotion was about, 'round the court." Jasper leaned in closer to the group and hushed his voice. "Someone wrongfully charge you for something? Cuz if they did, I'll gladly help ya bust their head open."

Jareth shook his head and Sarah tried to stifle a laugh. This man was definitely unlike the other Fae. "I appreciate the offer of help," Jareth told Jasper. "But I'd prefer to take care of this myself. Justice will be served."

Jasper nodded and extended a hand to Jareth. "If you need me, let me know."

Jareth shook Jasper's hand. "Thank you, old friend."

Jasper bowed. "Ladies." And then he was gone.

As soon as he was far enough away, Sarah asked, "Who was that?"

Despite the depressing situation Jareth found himself in, he let down his guard and chuckled. "That was Jasper. A very old friend that I have not seen in centuries."

"He's a bit of a ruffian." Delphina added, " but he is a good man. His heart is usually in the right place, it's just his methods that make him seem a bit.unruly."

"Unruly is hardly the correct word for him. With his wild life style, it's amazing that he hasn't gotten himself killed. It still astounds me that you all managed to become friends." Galyon added.

Jareth's smile faded from his face as he gazed at a while marble building that stood before them. "I guess we should get this farce over with." He was suddenly back in Goblin King mode.

Delphina suddenly seemed sullen, but she pushed it away as she turned to face the mortal woman. "Sarah, are you clear on everything that will happen today? Of what you will be required to do and how you must act?"

Sarah nodded. "I believe so. I'm an adult, I can handle this."

"You will be tested today. We all will. We must keep hope in the belief that justice will be served. I must go now. The council of court members will be gathering to review the charges. Galyon will accompany you to the courtroom. I wish you both the best of luck. I." She looked unsure of herself. "I will do all I can to help." Delphina had tears in her eyes as she started to move away.

Jareth caught her wrist and stopped her from leaving. He stepped close to her and whispered, "Delphi, I don't blame you for any of this. Do not blame yourself. Promise me that you won't, no matter what happens."

A tear escaped and trailed down her cheek as Delphina glanced at Jareth. His words and his expression were sincere. "I can't promise you that, Jareth, because I already blame myself." She twisted from his hold on her and escaped to be swallowed up by the gathering crowd.

* * *

Sarah forced herself to remain calm even though inside her nerves were a tangled mess. She felt Jareth's hand rest on the flat of her back as he guided her through the hallways. She looked at him and watched his expression as he glanced down at her. There was no sadness, no hopelessness, no fear in his mismatched gaze. He looked to be completely in control. Sarah was unsure whether this was a good thing or not. She wondered how long he would be able to hold this control.

People watched as they walked past and even a few came forth to wish Jareth luck in the upcoming session. This surprised Jareth a great deal. He had not been to Ameron or to court in hundreds of years. After his curse and the way he isolated himself in his land, he assumed that he was forgotten and no longer liked. Apparently this was not the case.

They walked for what felt like days to Sarah and finally Jareth stopped before large oak double doors decorated with gold carvings. Jareth gazed at Sarah who gave him a small smile and squeezed the hand that she held in her own. She stood tall and looked so strong and mature. Was this really the young girl who had complained that things were not fair so long ago? She had grown into such a fine woman. One he feared he would never get to claim for his own. One that he would never have the chance to take into his bed and bond with. One who might never be able to rule by his side. He glanced at the healer behind them to take his mind off the sudden hopelessness and then looked ahead of him.

Jareth took one step toward the courtroom, releasing Sarah's hand and in that time transformed himself into the cold arrogant Goblin King that most knew him as. It was time to get this over with once and for all.

A man in a long dark green robe with gold trim bowed before Jareth and then announced him, as well as Sarah, to the courtroom. Galyon was not announced and was left standing at the door. He would later join them when he was needed.

Sarah's eyes scanned the large white room as she clung to Jareth's arm. There were several hundred people in here. It was obvious who the Seelie Court members were. Not only were they dressed in white robes with gold trim; they were seated together in one large part of the room. All were gathered close in a small circle around a center where a large desk was placed along with 3 podiums with bench seats. Sarah noticed Delphina seated among the court. The audience, as Sarah thought of them, with the way they gawked and whispered as she and Jareth moved past, sat above the court. The room was like a giant indoor amphitheatre. All could see and hear from any distance.

The man in the dark green robes lead Jareth and Sarah into the center of the circle. Sarah forced herself to ignore the snide remarks as she walked past the audience and focused on staying calm and collected. She walked tall and sure of herself as she passed the members of the court. They made no comments and only watched as she walked by them. These people were hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. She refused to act like a child among them. They would expect that of her and she wouldn't give them the benefit of the doubt.

The man who escorted them stopped beside one of the podiums and gestured for Jareth to take a seat on the bench behind it. Sarah started to follow Jareth until she heard the man call out to her.

"No, my Lady. We have a place set for you. If you would kindly follow me."

Jareth stood and spoke up immediately. His voice lacked warmth. "Is there any particular reason why Lady Sarah will not be seated beside me? We did arrive together."

"The High Prefect has requested that she have her own place, Your Majesty. Because she has not come with Lord Dartaynian, who she is courting, and because she does not belong to you, the High Prefect thought it best that she sit alone. She will be defending her own position. So, with all due respect, Your Majesty, while you arrived together, you will not be testifying together."

Jareth frowned, but sat as he watched the man lead Sarah away from him. She took her place at the center podium. Between Jareth and where Dartaynian would sit and directly in front of the High Prefect. Jareth would not be able to put his plan into effect as he had hoped and worry settled over him.

Moments later, Dartaynian was escorted into the courtroom by the same man. Dartaynian was dressed in all his finery. It drove some of the women in the crowd crazy and they tossed flowers to him and made comments to him. Some others in the higher seats booed Dartaynian's entrance and cursed his luck and his land.

Sarah folded her arms over her chest and looked away from Dartaynian as he was led to his podium. She had seen his entrance and how he had sucked up all the attention that he could. He was flamboyant and the women seemed to love him, but if only they knew that he was really like. Then they would not be so quick to throw themselves at him.

Sarah gave a strong outward appearance, but inside she was shaking like a leaf. She feared and hated Dartaynian and what he had attempted to do to her only 3 nights ago was still fresh in her mind. She was angry that he had hurt her and had nearly raped her. And she was afraid because she had not been able to stop him.

There was the sound of a horn and Sarah was pulled from her thoughts. She stood immediately, along with everyone else in the room. She had been prepared for this part of the court session.

The horn continued to sound in the distance and everyone watched as a small procession of Fae in pure white robes, carrying white banners attached to gold metal poles escorted a man into the courtroom. Members of the crowd and the court bowed and fell to one knee as the procession passed them.

Sarah forced herself to stand still and not be childish and move to get a better look. She would see the procession for herself as they walked into the circle. She would kneel when they passed her. She glanced at Jareth without moving her head and noticed that he was at full attention, his face expressionless. Things had truly begun.

The procession drew nearer and Sarah could now see the man who walked in the center. He was very tall, with hair so blond that it was nearly white. It was long and pulled back neatly into a ponytail. Around the top of his head was a gold band that curled into a design across his forehead. His robes were all white and the back of them trailed behind him like the train of a wedding gown.

Sarah had been informed about this man. He was the High Prefect, the one who reigned over the court like a judge. The Seelie Court was similar to court back home and, at the same time, very different. While the court gathered the information and made comments and requests and their own decision of guilt or innocence, this man made the final decision. It was said that he was more knowledgeable than all of the Seelie Court members put together. He was thousands of years old and his word was law. His actions could be questioned, but only by other Seelie Court members and in extreme cases he could be overthrown from his position if the entire court voted it to be so. Delphina had told Sarah that the current High Prefect was known as Amerious, for whom Ameron was named after. He often ruled harshly and placed full belief in the laws of the Underground and that they should never be broken. He had never been overthrown and his actions had only been questioned once in 2,000 years. That one time had been by Delphina.


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 36 of 40

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