Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 39 of 40

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"What is the meaning of this? Is this some kind of a prank?" The High Prefect roared. His youngest daughter, Talia was standing timidly in front of him. She had been introduced as a witness to Dartaynian's unfaithfulness to Lady Sarah.

Talia lowered her head. She was trembling and she knew her father would be furious, but at least here in front of the court he might be lenient with his punishments and more in control of his temper. "This is no prank, father. Lord Dartaynian was unfaithful to Lady Sarah."

The High Prefect calmed himself. The young man had said that Talia was a witness, he had not said anything about her being a victim. He may have overreacted. "And you saw this?"

"Yes, Father."

The High Prefect sighed and sank back into his chair. Talia had been a witness, nothing more. "Do tell us."

Dartaynian had to figure out a way to keep her from testifying, but he could think of nothing. He gazed around the room and his eyes fell on Lady Sarah.

"Father, Lord Dartaynian coerced me into sleeping with him. I did not know that he was courting Lady Sarah. He did not provide me with that information." Tears streamed down Talia's face.

The High Prefect was seething. "He coerced you? How?"

"He invited me for a drink and before I knew it, he had taken me to his bed and it just happened."

"It just happened." The Prefect echoed. "How does something like that just happen?"

"I'm sorry, father."

"So, is this why you have been missing the past several weeks?" Talia nodded slowly. "Did you have any idea how worried your mother and I were? Our youngest child gone for days?"

Talia's eyes filled with tears. Lee moved closer to Loryian. The young Fae had done an honorable thing by agreeing to admit that she had been with Dartaynian. Loryian put his arm around Lee. The two could only watch.

"I had to do it, father. If I came home and told you, you would have cast me from the house in your anger. I did not wish to make you angry because of my mistakes."

"Well, it's a little late for that, Talia. You should have thought of that before you slipped between the sheets." The Prefect ran a hand through his hair and for the first time, the court saw him with his guard down. It proved, though while knowledgeable, that he was a man and a father who had similar concerns as everyone else. "Well, this certainly changes things here today." He gazed at Jareth and then Sarah.

"There is more, father." Talia's voice was shaking. Loryian stepped forth and put a hand on her shoulder. She smiled at him.

"More? How could there possibly be any more?"

"I have just discovered that I am.." She swallowed, "with child."

The Prefect's eyes widened. He stood and practically roared, "Arrest that man!" He yelled out and pointed at Dartaynian.

Dartaynian took his cue and he lunged for Sarah, a knife in his hand and he positioned it over her throat. Sarah cried out as she felt the steel blade move against her skin. Jareth panicked, things had just started moving his way by some miracle. He couldn't lose Sarah now, he couldn't.

The guards drew their swords and circled Dartaynian.

"Move any closer and I will kill her!" He cried out. He tightened his grip on Sarah.

Jareth started shaking visibly. He was hanging onto his control by a thread.

Lee tried to move toward Sarah but Loryian held her back. "You'll only make matters worse or get her killed!" he told her.

There was a terrible cry of pain and the knife fell to the floor, clattering. Sarah was flung to the ground and Jareth cried out. He rushed to her as the guards moved to hold Dartaynian.

"Sarah?" He moved to touch her, but she rose to her feet with her own power. And there was not a mark on her throat from the blade.

She spun to face Dartaynian who wasn't giving the guards much of a fight. Sarah smiled as she watched him whimper and hold himself. He would be too sore to sleep with anyone for quite some time. Jareth laughed when he realized what Sarah had done.

The High Prefect forced himself to let the situation with his daughter lie for the moment. "Restrain that man." He ordered. "Lady Sarah, since Lord Dartaynian was the one who asked you to court him and he has been found guilty of being unfaithful, you may leave him if you so desire."

Sarah nodded. "I don't want anything to do with him."

"Then you are free. You may also request that he be executed since it is apparent that he was unfaithful and you were not. This is your privilege "

Sarah stepped forward and moved toward the High Prefect. "I don't want him to die."

"What?" Lee asked. "Is she crazy?"

Loryian squeezed Lee's arm. "Let her speak."

"I request that the court decide his punishment. One that will be everlasting, so that he may remember what he has done to all of us." Sarah's eyes fell upon Talia before she returned her gaze to the High Prefect. He had not missed the display.

"You wish to see him suffer?" The Prefect asked.

"Yes." Sarah said firmly.

The High Prefect grinned. "Very well. My fellow members of the court, gather and discuss the punishment."

"I have one, Your grace." Delphina's voice boomed loud and clear across the room.

"Discuss it with your peers, Lady Delphina. This shall be a joint decision."

There was chatter amongst the crowd and the court. A few moments later a decision was reached. Delphina presented the idea to the High Prefect in private and he then addressed the courtroom.

"It has been decided by all court members that Dartaynian be cursed for his actions."

"What?" Dartaynian called out. "Just kill me and be done with it."

"That would be far too easy. Lord Dartaynian, from this day forth, you will be cursed for your crimes."

"What crimes!"

"You were unfaithful to your Lady, you attempted to kill her and you coerced my daughter into your bed while in courtship with Lady Sarah! Let it be known that your foul ways have come to haunt you. Every time someone looks at you, they will see you for what you really are."

Dartaynian listened and feigned being bored. This didn't sound so harsh. It wasn't until a light surrounded him and pain tore through Dartaynian that he realized something was very wrong. But the pain faded and rather quickly. The crowd was gasping at him and pointing. He grimaced at them. They were glaring at him and some of them seemed frightened.

"Let him go." The guards released Dartaynian and he immediately sought out Lady Lyllan. She moved swiftly away from him.

"My dear, it shall be just you and I now. I'm free from the mortal."

"You're free from me as well. I doubt any one will take to your bed unless they were blind." Lady Lyllan left her seat and scurried away.

Dartaynian seemed puzzled. He shrugged and on the way out attempted to pick up a few more women. They rushed away from him. He continued out the door, head held high, and it wasn't until he passed a mirror that he understood things.

"!.it can't be.What have they done to me?"

Staring back at him was not the face of a handsome Fae male, but the ugly, hairy face of a swine. He shattered the mirror and tore off through the building.

Lee, Loryian and Hoggle shared a laugh.

Sarah suddenly felt jittery. She was free from Dartaynian. Free.

The High Prefect addressed the trio. "You have done a great thing for this world and for me by bringing my daughter here. You shall be rewarded greatly."

"This court session is hereby dismissed." The High Prefect called. "Everyone is free to go." The High Prefect stepped down from his podium and gestured for his daughter to follow him. She did so at a very slow pace.

The guards formed a circle around the perimeter of the interior circle of the courtroom. Everyone was anxious to greet King Jareth, as well as the ones who had found a way to do some damage to Lord Dartaynian. The guards pushed the crowd back and allowed the small group a bit of privacy.

Sarah rushed to Lee, Loryian and Hoggle and hugged them all. She hugged Lee tightly. "Thank you so much." She told her friend.

"Don't thank me, thank Loryian. He was the one who thought of going home and talking with his servants. They always talk to Dartaynian's servants and for once the juicy gossip held some truth."

"You did help. Don't be giving me all the credit." Loryian told Lee with a bright smile. Sarah didn't miss all the smiling between them. She had a feeling that they had spoken and that things had turned out just fine.

Sarah finally turned to see Jareth; her heart was racing in her chest. He was standing still, his mismatched eyes burning into hers the moment their eyes met. His pendant was glowing fiercely, the light pulsing in rhythm to the beat of his heart. She walked toward him slowly. Jareth lowered his head and closed his eyes.

"You're free now, Sarah. I will understand if you wish to return home after all that has happened." His voice was soft and he couldn't keep the pain out of it.

Sarah's fingers reached for his chin and she lifted his face up so that she could look into it. Jareth opened his eyes and stared into hers.

"As I told you at your castle, I'm not going anywhere, Jareth." She placed a soft kiss on his lips. "I love you."

The moment the words were spoken, the walls around Jareth crumbled and disappeared as if they had never been there to begin with. The anxious feelings were gone and he was left with a mind hazy with love and desire.

Sarah frowned as Jareth wavered uneasily on his legs. "Jareth?"

"It's been broken. Not only lifted, but broken. You destroyed the curse, Sarah."

Jareth didn't give her time to respond as he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her passionately. Between them the pendant glowed brightly, the warmth touching them for the last time as the glow faded forever.

Lee and Loryian smiled as they watched the two kiss and then break apart to hold each other tightly. "Well, it looks like a happy ending for them." Loryian announced.

"Not an ending, a beginning. This is a whole new beginning for them." Lee said. She looked up at him and smiled.

"And a whole new beginning for us too." He told her. "I intend to ask the court permission to travel aboveground with you. If you would have me."

"You want to go to my world?" Her eyes widened at such a request.

"Only if you will be my guide and my companion." He told her with a smile.

Lee reached up and pressed her lips to Loryian's. She didn't have to fear losing him when she went home. He was going to live with her in her own world. Loryian's hands sought her hair as he pulled her toward him.

"Ugh." The grunt made Lee giggle and she left Loryian's arms to reach down and hug Hoggle. The dwarf protested as she moved to place a kiss on her cheek. "No! No! One trip to the Bog of Eternal Stench was enough for me!" He cried out. Lee laughed.

Away from prying eyes, the High Prefect and his daughter spoke. Talia lowered her head, tears streaming down her face and she was shocked as her father took her into his arms and held her against him. There would be much healing to do, but forgiveness was the first step.

Jareth finally released his hold on Sarah and they both walked toward Lee, Loryian and Hoggle. Jareth hugged Lee unexpectedly and then stepping back beside Sarah, extended his hand to Loryian. "You have given Sarah and myself a gift I never thought possible."

"It was the least I could do Your Majesty, after all you have done for me." Loryian told him.

Jareth looked slightly confused.

"You don't remember me, do you? I didn't think that you would. It's been a long time and I've grown quite a bit since I last saw you. I'm Loryian of Brookhaven, Your Majesty. The adopted son of Tilan and Jesseen of Brookhaven."

Jareth grinned. This man was human and he was one of the babes he had adopted out. "I remember you. Your parents were always very proud of you and they will be even more so when I personally tell them what you have done for me."

Loryian bowed. "It was my pleasure, Your Majesty."

"Jareth. My friends will all call me by my name and not my title." Jareth extended his hand again.

Loryian shook it. "As you wish, Jareth."

Jareth smiled and put his arm around Sarah. "Let's go home."


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 39 of 40

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