Continuing Tales

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 34 of 42

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Most Prized Possession

Meanwhile, as the white barn owl was on one mission, a much smaller, rather ordinary black bird was making a journey of its own.

The small bird flitted chaotically over the treetops, a clear sign that it was in great haste. It circled widely, just barely spying the ancient crumbling ruins through the boughs of the dense trees of the forest.

It darted down through the giant trees to land on the weather worn flat stones that made up the circular floor of the ruins. The bird hopped a few times causing a flurry of black feathers and fabric, before a tall figure stood where the bird had just been.

The figure was not a human, but a full-grown Fae male. He was taller than most of his kind, and was of a strong athletic build seldom seen in his race. His chest and shoulders were broad making him a much more brawny specimen than the average Fae.

His shaggy reddish blonde hair was mussed, slightly dampened with sweat as he tried to catch his breath. He slowly turned about, narrowing his feral green eyes. They were almost cat-like in their intensity as they darted about. He was clearly scanning his surroundings for movement.

Though he was not unpleasant to look at, his features gave his appearance a type of no nonsense look. The large Fae made for an intimidating sight, especially considering the jagged scar that tore up his right cheek.

His clothes were simple and nondescript, yet the fit was impeccable. Black breeches, with worn brown boots of soft leather. He was dressed in a simple green tunic covered by a leather jerkin.

He surveyed the ruins with a cautious lingering gaze. Once this place had been a circular open structure, with a high stone ceiling supported by six thick stone columns. It had been a sacred place, unsurpassed in its ability to channel magic, a place where the powerful once came to cast their enchantments and charms.

But now it lay in ruin. Crumbling and wholly forgotten.

What was once the great stone ceiling was now empty air, the only covering now was the limbs of the encroaching trees. Large pieces of stone, once part of the roof, littered the flagstone floor. The great columns were now nothing more than worn stone obelisks, some less than half their original height in their state of decay. Any ornate carvings they once possessed, had been lost over the passage of time.

Much of the floor was covered in moss. Weeds poked up through the cracks and dense black vines engulfed what was left of the colonnades. The place had a secretive quality, as it was heavily shaded by the dense canopy of branches overhead, which effectively filtered out the sunlight.

The light of the sunset still managed to penetrate the ruins, falling in diagonal rays, seeming surreal in its whiteness. The streams of light made visible all the dust motes and the feathery seedpods that floated so gracefully in the air, purified by the bright light. All these qualities gave the ruins an eerie ambiance of quietude.

The perfect setting for privacy.

Though his eyes did not detect any movement in the shade of the ruins, he knew he was being watched.

A silky voice came from behind, a wholly soothing, pious manner of whisper, "Mordred. I have been eagerly awaiting your return. Why have you kept me waiting so long?"

The brawny Fae breathed easier upon recognizing the voice. He turned swiftly, his businesslike eyes now settling on the hooded figure that leaned casually against the stone pillar, draped in shadow.

"Nyx. I'm relieved to see you."

The figure straightened and ventured closer. As he came forward into the light, Mordred could make out his pale face and silvery eyes adorned with dark brows and lashes even with the cover of the hood. His pale lips formed a solemn smile. It was a melancholy grin, but beautiful at the same time. Even the vertical scar that marred his upper lip couldn't eradicate the sad beauty of the expression.

The saintly voice that answered was little more than a whisper, "As am I brother. Soon enough you will be through with your errand, and then you can return home. Now...what news from the Goblin City?"

Mordred swiftly replied, "Things are progressing even better than we expected. There is much to tell..."

Nyx's smile was mild and gentle, "By all means, tell not keep me in suspense."

With a tone of satisfaction Mordred replied, "The bloodwraith has been found. It attacked Jareth's alicorn, and there were many witnesses, the Goblin King himself among them."

Nyx hissed his approval with the grace of a serpent, "Excellent..."

Mordred continued, "It gets better. The Goblin King's pretty little mortal happened to be riding the Alicorn at the time."

His silver eyes widened under the cowl, but Mordred quickly supplied, "It didn't kill her of course, Jareth reached her in time and dealt with the creature, but there is no question now..."

Nyx excitedly interjected, "Jareth suspects..."

Mordred nodded, finishing the thought, "Aye, he suspects that a bloodwraith took down the other alicorn. Now he has no reason to suspect the Horde."

A slow deliberate grin formed on Nyx's face, contorting his usual serene grin into a truly sinister expression as he nodded his approval, "Excellent Mordred, What else have you found out?"

Mordred was quick to go on, "So many have thought the Goblin King infallible, but you were quite right, he does have a that we might easily exploit. It seems he has a soft spot for this girl, Sarah, the human. He saved her from the bloodwraith, and was quite furious at his minions for not protecting her. His wrath was quite severe, it seems the bloodwraith will be executed."

Nyx narrowed his eyes thoughtfully and gestured for him to elaborate.

"I overheard some of the King's subjects. It seems your prediction was correct. Jareth has bedded the girl, and his minions suspect that he is quite taken with her. I found a perch high in the castle and I saw the girl for myself. She was speaking to a dwarf, the very one who helped her solve the labyrinth. I overheard much of their conversation, and a real gem of information reached my ears."

Nyx inclined his head, obviously very interested in what his confidante had to say, "Go on..."

With an air of complacent finality he supplied, "She is in love with Jareth. It seems they've come to some understanding. If Jareth cares for her as much as she and his subjects believes he does, it seems we have a real opportunity here."

Nyx nodded, "Yes, we could exploit this weakness..."

Mordred seemed full of glee as he suggested, "Perhaps we could lure the girl from the castle my Lord...if we captured her, Jareth would surely come..."

Nyx held up his hands and gently calmed him, "That is a possibility, however there might be a simpler alternative...if all you say is true."

Mordred nodded, "I have told you all as I have heard it, though there is one other scrap of information I overheard."

"And what is that?"

"Sarah is acting as the Goblin King's scribe."

Nyx was quiet for a moment, before his brilliant silver eyes flashed with mirth. "You have uncovered much my brother. Your knack for gathering intelligence is a great asset to the Horde. Your service has proven invaluable. I assure you, you will be well rewarded when the Horde rises to power once again."

Mordred bowed his head reverently and replied, "It is my honor to serve a leader so great as you my brother...but please there must be more I can contribute. What other service might I give to the Horde, my brethren?"

Nyx gestured for him to rise as he finished, "The time may soon come when we may have to fight to defend the ways of the shadow, and when that time comes we will draw swords together and take what is ours...but for now, there is no other task more suited for you than that which I have already appointed you."

Pensively, he continued, "Yes, you may best serve your brothers by returning to the Goblin City and being our eyes and ears. The knowledge you have brought is useful, however my mind tells me there is more to be uncovered. Go now, and if any more news regarding the Goblin King or his precious human touches your ears inform me at once."

Mordred bowed, his garments already taking on a black feathery sheen as he began to transform, "As you wish my brother."

Nyx bowed in return before black fabric and feathers filled his sight. In a matter of moments the small black bird that was Mordred, his most faithful servant, took off in the direction of the Goblin Kingdom.

Later that night in the Goblin Castle...

Sarah woke with a start as the heavy oak door groaned on its hinges. She blinked her eyes and groggily looked up to see a small goblin tip-toeing in. How long had she been sleeping in here?

She looked over at the large open window to see that the sky had grown black and the large full moon was rising, like a giant luminous white orb in the inky black sky. Rubbing the sleep from her eyes she turned back to the goblin. It wore an oversized stained apron and huge gloves that went as high as its scrawny elbows. A dollop of suds was slowly fading atop its sopping wet, stringy hair.

The small goblin narrowed its yellow eyes at her in disdain, placing one hand on it's hip as it opened it's beaklike mouth, "I thought you'd still be in here." Its gaze then left her and settled on the small pile of dishes on the edge of the desk.

Sarah inhaled sharply trying to shake off the haze of sleep. Straightening in the chair she closed the book she had fallen asleep on as things suddenly became clear. She must have been dozing for hours, and this was one of the goblins on scullery duty, come to take away her dinner tray.

The goblin motioned crudely to the dirty dishes and squawked, "You finished with those girly?"

Sarah nodded. The goblin grabbed the bowl on top, eyeing it suspiciously as he added, "Don't want to lick it clean then?"

Sarah tried not to look too disgusted as she replied, " go ahead." The goblin muttered, "Don't mind if I do..." before he stuck out his obscenely long green tongue and licked the remains from her soup bowl.

She tried not to outwardly appear repulsed by the action, but she'd never grown used to some of the goblins more abhorrent habits, this one in particular. Quickly she added, "Um...yeah, you can just take those...I'm done with them thanks."

The Goblin promptly collected the stack and started for the door grumbling as he went. Just as he reached the door Sarah piped up, "Um...excuse me, but do you know if the King has returned?"

The Goblin tuned around peering over her teacup as he answered, "Yup, he jus' got back. In his throne room, he is..."

Sarah nodded quickly, "Thanks...Oh wait! Please leave the door open..." The goblin tottered off down the hallway calling over his shoulder, "Whatever you say girly." Sarah rushed from the room, careful to avoid tripping over the guard who sat napping on the floor.

Jareth sat alone in the semi-darkened room. Slouched upon his throne, his long legs stretched out before him, his upper body tilted to one side, his slender fingertips resting delicately against his temple.

After briefly visiting her chambers to freshen up after her nap, Sarah had crept quietly down the stone staircase to quietly gaze upon the sight that awaited her. Either he was unaware of her presence or he was simply ignoring it.

She kept her back to the wall as she was now inside the room. It took a few moments for her eyes to adjust, but soon they had grown accustomed to the dim lighting. Her eyes wandered over the immense hall.

Jareth was alone. Not a single goblin was to be found.

The only sound was the nearly undetectable hiss of fire, which burned and flickered on the wall sconces. The only other source of light was the pale patch of moonlight on the flagstone floor before the throne created by the diagonal streams of moonlight that fell from the high narrow window.

Again she gazed upon the Goblin King. His eyes were closed and his expression suggested that he was either deep in thought or was warding off a terrible headache. She wondered what heavy thoughts currently plagued his mind. Troubled or not, he was still pleasing to look at.

The soft light illuminated his face, making his fine hair look soft and white, and his fair skin seemed flawless and luminous. Her eyes dropped to peruse the rest of him. He wore the gothic style leather breastplate over a midnight blue tunic. The heavy metal amulet hung in its rightful place over his breastplate. Royal goblin armor. His breeches were black, and his high black boots and black leather gauntlets completed the outfit.

Dressed in such sinister formalwear, yet his manner was so carelessly aloof. Still, for all his darkness there was something beautiful and light about him. For a moment she treasured the sight of him, secretly drinking in his beauty and letting it stir her.

Jareth. Her very own wicked angel.

Tentatively she approached him, allowing the heels of her boots to sound on the flagstone floor, so as not to startle him.

He shifted in his throne, so he was leaning back rather than slouching to the side, and his eyes opened and slid over to where she stood waiting.

She tilted her head to one side, as if considering his melancholy expression before she spoke in that kind lilting voice of hers, "Is everything alright Jareth?"

For a moment he simply stared at her, as if suddenly just noticing her presence. His eyes swept over her, carefully taking in each detail. She had changed her clothing. She had on a white peasant blouse, which dipped low in the front and fell so enticingly off her shoulders. Her hair was down, her dark locks spilled freely about her shoulders, in sharp contrast against her fair skin. Instead of her riding breeches, she wore one of the long red skirts he had provided her with. Her waist was made smaller by the leather waist cincher, beautifully enhancing the curve of her hips. It seemed the high heeled black boots, laced up to her knee perfectly accented the brazenness of her fierce green eyes.

She seemed strangely powerful standing there like that, with one hand resting impatiently on her hip. She was not unlike some legendary figure, with the moonlight streaming over her shoulder and her feet braced shoulders width apart. She was only missing a sword at her side and a fancy hat, and she might have been a striking pirate, or some dashing heroic swordswoman. Suddenly he remembered she was more than that, she was the champion of his labyrinth...and the only woman who had managed to steal his heart.

His voice finally cut through the dark and it was startlingly confident, "I assure you, everything's fine."

His reply was full of cold satisfaction, and for a moment his expression was haughty and smug. In fact, the statement was nearly sinister...and sounded somewhat final. She was alarmed by the realization. Something was wrong here.

Her eyes grew huge as she carefully ventured, "Jareth...What have you done?"

He seemed to ponder his hands as he adjusted his leather glove and replied, "Nothing...except now you needn't worry your pretty head over a certain bloodwraith anymore." His eyes locked with hers as he added in a murmur, "Or any other bloodwraiths for that matter."

"Why? What did you do?"

"I've spent the last several hours searching my kingdom, and there are no signs that any other bloodwraiths have been about, and as for the one trapped in the oubliette...well, you need not worry about running into that creature ever again."

Her eyes widened as she gasped, "Is...Is it dead?"


She took a deep breath and ventured, "...but how?"

His eyes met hers as he coldly replied, "I killed it."

She swallowed and disbelievingly demanded, "...But...I thought it was to be...tried and sentenced first?"

Jareth shrugged, "It would have been, for it's crime against the unicorn, but the moment it moved to strike my mount..." His eyes swept over her, " property...and you, it's fate was sealed."

Her mouth hung open as his words sunk in, but no words came.

Once again his eyes held hers and he finished, "No one, and nothing tries to take what is rightfully mine."

Not knowing what to say, Sarah stared hard at the floor. When she finally looked up at him, she found that his expression was grave.

There was no remorse in his tone as he went on, "I put an end to it..." He snapped his fingers and ominously added, "...Just like that. That thing would have killed you Sarah, and if it ever were to escape it would try again. It kills indiscriminately. I saw it up close. I spoke with it. It was thoroughly crazed, and bloodthirsty. Having a thing like that locked up and's a recipe for disaster."

She looked away and he found her expression unreadable. He couldn't tell if she disappointed or relieved.

Gently he went on, "Sarah..."

His voice was softer now and she closed her eyes against the sound.

"...I had to do it. It would have been sentenced to a swift execution anyway. I cannot describe to you the extent of its misery...I do not doubt that it suffered greatly."

He stared at the floor for a moment before he added, "That's why they kill you know, they cannot stand the thirst...they spend their pitiful existence craving the blood, twisted and wracked with pain as they thirst for it."

He sighed, sounding rather tired, "...And when they do get it, there is only little relief. The feeling is short lived and when it wears off they suffer even more. It is a vicious cycle for them...and they are incapable of ending it."

He paused for a moment before his eyes once again locked with hers, "I put it out of its misery...I had to. It was quick and painless."

There was no malice in his tone, and she didn't doubt that he was telling her the truth. Though her encounter with the creature had been brief, there was no doubt in her mind that the thing would have killed her if Jareth hadn't intervened.

What he said made sense. The wraith had seemed crazed, as though it were starving. She couldn't help but feel slightly guilty, though she knew it wasn't her fault that the thing had attacked. Perhaps he was right, maybe the creature was better off dead. Either way there was no denying that she was more than a little relieved that it was gone.

She hadn't been able to shake the thought that if she had been able to escape an oubliette, perhaps the bloodwraith may have also found a way out. Thanks to Jareth, she wouldn't have to lose any sleep over that thought.

Her eyes met his and she nodded as she softly admitted, "I understand."

She wanted to ask him how he had done it. Did he use magic? But at the same time, she didn't really want to know. In fact she didn't want to talk about monsters at all.

She tilted her head thoughtfully as her eyes settled on him, they were wide and full of concern, "Are...Are you alright?"

For a moment he simply looked at her, he was obviously taken aback by her sudden concern.

Sarah glanced down before her eyes flicked up to meet his. Gently she explained, "I thought you might be seemed troubled when I first came in here."

He arched one fine brow and remarked, "My, my Sarah, is that concern I detect?"

She crossed her arms impatiently and replied, "Perhaps...does that surprise you?"

"As a matter of fact it does."


He regarded her for a moment before he answered, "Until last night you haven't been very agreeable, in fact I'd go so far as to say until recently you harbored a fair amount of contempt towards me. So you can imagine why your concern would seem surprising when all this time you've been at odds with me."

Sarah nodded suddenly finding her shoes interesting, "Fair enough..." She glanced up at him, "...but things have changed."

"Really?" He was obviously intrigued.

She sauntered closer, a slow mysterious smile began playing over her lips. Her voice was husky and seductive, barely above a whisper, "Oh yes, I think now you'll find me much more agreeable."

The sound of her voice sent chills down his spine.

She approached his throne and knelt down on one knee before him, all the while keeping her eyes fixed on him. Her smoky voice was a seduction in itself as she went on, "In fact, your majesty, I intend to show you just how amenable I can be."

Slowly she lowered herself, the palms of her hands flat on the flagstone floor. She glanced up at him for a split second, from the top of her eyes, before she closed them and lowered her face, pressing her lips against his booted foot.

He watched in silent awe as she reverently kissed his boot, bowing more humbly than any subject of his ever had. He was reminded of the first time she did this, just after she had taken the place of her beloved friend. There was a world of difference between then and now. Then he hadn't given her much choice, he'd practically made her do it, but not this time. Now she was kissing his boots of her own volition...willingly prostrating herself before him.

Her hands slid over the dusty stone floor to grasp his other ankle. Her liquid green eyes darted up to meet his, glassy with emotion as she breathed, "You saved my life..."

The sight of her, and the sound of her throaty voice took his breath away. She pressed her lips now to the top of his other boot, her eyes tightly closed as she firmly kissed the leather.

The scent of leather filled her nose smelling much like his black leather gloves, a scent she uniquely associated with him, a smell that excited her.

All day while she was alone, her thoughts kept drifting back to the intoxicating kisses and the intimate moments they had shared the night before, making the hours feel like an eternity. In the quiet of the library his admission of love had replayed over and over in her head. All day she longed to see him, and feel his mouth on hers. Now, here in the throne room, in the quiet of the evening she had found him alone. She was not about to let such an opportunity slip by.

Deliberately she ran her hands up his legs and over his knees, finally sliding up his thighs. The soft fabric of his breeches was a fine contrast to the hard muscle of his thigh beneath. Her heart began to race in anticipation of what she was about to do. She felt and heard his sharp intake of air just as her smoldering gaze met his.

Already moved by her display of submission and devotion, he hadn't anticipated her swift and passionate seduction. He hadn't been prepared, and she had taken him by surprise. His desire for her was already surging within him at dangerous levels, and his failure to quell his need left him playing right into her hands. As her slender hands slid possessively over his thighs it became clear. He didn't give a damn. If Sarah wanted to take advantage of him...then he'd let her.

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 34 of 42

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