Continuing Tales

Return to the Labyrinth

A Labyrinth Story
by ArtemisFallen

Part 17 of 24

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Leverage: A Christmas Tale

Sarah's heart thundered in her chest as she gazed at her mother's face. Her breath hitched in her throat, coming out in short, rapid pants.

"It-it can't be," Sarah whimpered, staring unconvinced at the image of her mother. Her legs trembled weakly and she nearly collapsed to her knees.

"It's not real," Sarah whispered, her voice pinched with disbelief.

But it was real. Everything she had seen in the mirrors had actually happened. The mirrors acted as portals to the past, showing Sarah everything she had experienced in the Labyrinth. The other mirrors had shown Sarah her memories. This one was doing the same. However, this memory had been lost to time and long forgotten. Until now.

Sarah reached out a trembling hand to the mirror as she coaxed her stiff and numb legs to comply with her demands to move forward. She shuffled in a daze into the portal, nearly falling through it. She was met again by the now familiar swirl of kaleidoscope colors before emerging on the other side of the mirror. She stood next to her young self who continued to play obliviously on the floor with a hand carved doll.

"Give me my child!" Linda demanded shrilly, causing Sarah to jump slightly. She turned to watch Jareth's reaction.

The Goblin King sat on his throne, lightly tapping his riding crop against his boot, a smug and cruel smile cresting over his lips. "Your child? No, not entirely. She belongs here. She's part of this world, not yours. This is her true home."

"Like hell it is!" Linda spat vehemently.

"The babe belongs here with me," Jareth chattered idly examining his gloves, having become bored of his riding crop. He appeared completely carefree and unabashed by Sarah's furious mother. "She has the power of the Fae."

"She's mine, damnit, not yours!" Linda shouted. "Give her back now!"

Jareth scoffed haughtily and rolled his eyes. "Well, I can tell there's no reasoning with you. Why do I even bother?" He sighed in exasperation. "All you need to know is that she came with me of her own free will."

"You stole her!" Linda raged. She looked around in disgust at the goblins which hid about the throne room, snickering and whispering amongst themselves as they watched the altercation.

"Stole is such a harsh word," Jareth muttered, producing a crystal ball and languidly rolling it from the back of his hand to his fingertips. "Fine, what must I give you for her? Surely there's something you want."

"How dare you?" Linda hissed. "What kind of monster are you?"

Jareth leaned forward menacingly, his eyes flashing fiercely. "The kind you don't want to get involved with. Now, what shall I grant you? What dreams do you want fulfilled? All you have to do is tell me what you wish for and I can give it to you."

"I want my daughter," Linda retorted through clenched teeth. "Give her back to me."

Jareth's jaw flexed and Sarah could see a flash of anger ripple through him. His eyes darkened. "That's not how this works."

Linda ignored the ominous Goblin King and turned her attention to Sarah's young self. "Come to me, Moppet. Come to mommy," Linda entreated, reaching out a hand to her young daughter.

Sarah watched with great interest. She'd forgotten her mother used to call her Moppet when she was younger.

Sarah's younger self looked over at her mother inquisitively before discarding the makeshift doll and teetering unsteadily to her feet. She had only taken a step towards her mother when Jareth reached down, gently resting his gloved hand on Sarah's shoulder.

"You do realize that you can't keep me from her," he threatened smugly.

"Don't you touch her!" Linda shouted, her voice trembling with anger and desperation.

Jareth snickered, looking fondly down at Sarah. "The Keepers wouldn't let their kind slip away so easily. They left markers, breadcrumbs, if you will, in order for their descendants to find a way back to this world. When I uncovered this place, I discovered their plight and their forgotten power." Jareth trailed a gloved finger down Sarah's chubby cheek. She stared up at him with wide eyed wonder. He smiled warmly down at her. "This babe holds their magic in her blood. She belongs to the Labyrinth as much as it belongs to her."

"No. You can't have her!" Linda shouted. "I'm her mother and I won't allow it!"

"I'm afraid you have no choice," Jareth taunted, still staring down at Sarah's younger self. "She's here now and she won't leave. She wants to be here."

"No! She wants to be with me!" Linda challenged, gesticulating wildly with her hands. "You think because you rule over these foul creatures you can control me or my daughter? You're wrong! You have no power over me! You have no power over her!"

Jareth's smile fell from his face and he stood up quickly, his eyes flashing in alarm as he gazed at Sarah's mother. Sarah was shocked to discover the Goblin King appeared staggered by the remark.

"Those words," Sarah murmured to herself. "Oh, God."

Linda smiled triumphantly. "The only one who holds any power over her is me. I am her mother. She will do as I say and if I want to leave, she wants to leave. She won't stay here with you. She's coming with me and that's final. This is a fight you can't win." Linda's eyes narrowed at Sarah. "Come here, Moppet."

Sarah's younger self began to compliantly teeter over to her mother when Jareth swooped in front of her quickly, desperately brandishing a crystal.

"If you will not stay with me, then let me give you a gift," he whispered to her. The crystal shown brightly and Sarah watched as her toddler self reached for it. The crystal rippled and turned into a red book, which Sarah grasped tightly in her small hands.

Sarah covered her mouth in shock as she recognized the book. Jareth looked warmly at the young Sarah, placing a soft kiss on her forehead. "Remember, you are the babe with the power."

"Leave her alone!" Linda shouted. "What did you just do?"

Jareth stood, resting his hand once again on Sarah's small shoulder. He gave her mother a sly smile. "I just gave her the power that will awaken the Fae within her. Regardless of your interference, she will know the truth and where she belongs." He inclined his head to the book. "It will be written on those pages. She will seek us out in any way she can." An arrogant cruelty shadowed his handsome face. "She will find her way back to this place one day."

"No, I won't allow it!" Linda snapped. "I'll make sure of it!"

Jareth played with another crystal that magically appeared with the twist of his wrist, sliding it over his fingers and hands with hypnotic ease. "You're mortal. When you leave this place you will think of this as nothing more than a dream. But the truth will remain for little Moppet here. It will be written from her perspective. You have no control over that."

Linda scoffed. "That's what you think. She's a child. She'll know the story I tell her. She'll believe my words.

Jareth's haunting smile did not wane. "Regardless of your efforts, she will unconsciously search for this world her whole life until she finds it again." He snapped the crystal quickly between his fingers and it disappeared. He looked down once more at Sarah before releasing her shoulder. "She belongs here, after all."

Linda glared at Jareth, reaching out her arms to Sarah as she teetered on small, unsteady legs to her mother. Linda gathered Sarah up in her arms and held her defensively, throwing a nasty look to the Goblin King.

"One day I will have the power to keep her here," Jareth vowed softly. "The babe will be mine."

Linda ignored him, turning her back brisking on Jareth and walking away. A few goblin stranglers shrieked in dismay as Sarah's mother nearly trampled them in her haste to leave.

Sarah began walking after her mother, passing the Goblin King who stood with an air of haughtiness she'd never seen anyone possess. She caught up to her mother, who was clutching her younger self as tightly as she could..

"Mommy?" Sarah's young voice drifted out between the crook of Linda's neck.

"Yes, Moppet?" Linda replied, her voice cracking as she strove against the torrent of emotions that must have been flooding through her.

"Am I dreaming?" Young Sarah asked.

Linda sniffled and nodded. "Yes, and now it's time to go back to sleep."

Sarah watched as her younger self fidgeted in her mother's arms, pulling the book up and practically shoving it in her mother's face. "Read to me!"

Linda drew back from the book, a chalky expression of alarm and dismay frozen on her face. "No, Moppet. Not right now."

"Please!" Young Sarah whined, waving the book frantically.

Linda sighed lightly, shifting her insistent child in her arms and taking the book. She opened it and Sarah leaned in to see the words of the story begin to form on the pages of the book. However, it was not the story she'd known as a child.

Linda skimmed the words on the pages, her mouth turning down into an unhappy frown. "Okay," Linda murmured. "Once upon a time, there was a girl who lived in a great kingdom and she was loved by-"

"Goblin King!" Young Sarah squealed in delight.

"No!" Linda barked unhappily, startling both Sarah's younger self and her at the same time. Linda threw a worried glance over her shoulder to Jareth who had retreated to his throne, impatiently tapping his riding crop against his boot once more. He smirked at Linda's struggles.

"No," Linda soothed more gently, turning her attention back to her child "No, not by the Goblin King. She was loved dearly by the people of her kingdom. This made her strong willed and powerful."

Sarah watched in awe as the words on the pages of the book fell away, twisted and rearranged, creating the story she had known her whole life.

"Everything was perfect until one day a horrible man came to the girl's kingdom, stealing her child," Linda continued hastily. "Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, the girl fought her way to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that was stolen." Sarah watched as the words began to form the familiar story and Linda beamed down at the pages happily.

"She confronted the Goblin King, demanding that he return the child. And because her will was as strong as his and her kingdom just as great, he could not deny the girl. She said the words which rendered him helpless against her," Linda continued hurriedly.

"What words?" Young Sarah asked enthralled.

"Remember these words, Moppet," Linda whispered fervently. "No matter what, remember these words. The girl told the Goblin King 'you have no power over me.'"

"What happens next?" Young Sarah asked, wide eyed and excited.

Linda cuddled Sarah against her, looking down at the book. The girl rescued the child and they both went home where they lived happily ever after."

"Again!" Sarah clapped happily. "Again!"

"Not right now, Moppet," Linda soothed, embracing Sarah tightly. "Go to sleep now, okay?"

The child Sarah nodded, cuddling into her mother's shoulder and thrusting a pudgy thumb into her mouth before slowly closing her eyes. With one last glance over her shoulder, Linda hoisted her child up more comfortably in her arms and strode out of the castle.

Sarah watched her mother leave, her mind still reeling from the events she had just witness. She turned to look to the Goblin King and yelped in surprise to find him right behind her. He stood tall and beautiful as ever, his cold eyes staring right through her as his gaze followed her mother. Sarah appraised him closely. He appeared annoyed, but not overly upset over losing Sarah as a young child. He leisurely rolled a crystal over his hand and fingers.

"You think think you've won," Jareth mused lightly. "But once the door is open, it cannot be closed." He stopped rolling the crystal and looked deeply into it. "She will step through it again." Sarah leaned in to see if she could watch what Jareth saw in the crystal ball. Upon doing so, Sarah also noticed that Jareth was not wearing his pendant.

This must've happened before he got his pendant, Sarah thought to herself. Surely if he'd had it, he would've fought harder to keep me here, right?

"Or were you just so arrogant that you thought there was no way you could lose me?" Sarah asked Jareth, knowing he would never answer her. "You were so sure you could find me again."

Sarah scoffed. Clearly, Jareth had sorely underestimated the influence a mother has over her child.

"So, I was the babe with the power," Sarah murmured, shaking her head as she began to understand the bedeviling puzzle that had taunted her since she had come back to the Labyrinth. "It was always me."

The memory ended abruptly while Sarah stood in a stupor of discovery, barely able to acknowledge the presence of the darkness which surrounded her. She waited patiently for the memory to begin again, keenly observing every detail to make sure sure hadn't missed anything in her initial shock. After the third time, Sarah stepped out of the portal, her mind racing with countless questions. She tenaciously ignored them, pulling her backpack off her shoulder and sliding down the wall across from the mirrors. She unzipped her bag and reached in for the little red book. She held it reverently, her fingers sliding over the worn cover. She opened it tentatively, skimming the newly written lines of her adventure.

So, that's what Titania meant by the story had already been played out, Sarah thought, shaking her head slowly as comprehension began to quell the whirlwind of questions inside her mind. Because it had happened before, but to my mother. She was the one who had fought her way through the Goblin City to find the child that had been stolen. I was the stolen child. Jareth gave me a book which wrote itself based on my experiences in the Labyrinth, but my mother told me a different version so I'd forget.

Sarah closed the book, rubbing the depressed lettering with her thumb thoughtfully. If her mother had wanted her to forget, then why did she let her keep the book? Her mother had never shown any admonishment towards the story. In fact, Sarah always thought her mother loved the story.

"Of course," Sarah muttered, understanding almost immediately. Jareth had told Sarah's mother that because she was mortal, she would think the whole ordeal was a dream. Therefore, the contents of the book would not bother Sarah's mother as she would have thought she'd been dreaming about the story in the first place.

"Okay, that mystery's solved," Sarah sighed. She tapped the spine of the book against her palm. "So, how did he find me in the first place?"

Sarah recalled how Jareth said that the Keepers had left breadcrumbs, a trail for their kind to find their way back to Underground. Perhaps Jareth had somehow found a way to reverse the trail and followed it to Sarah.

But that still doesn't answer how he got into my world, the voice inside her head contested. I had to summon him with the right words last time. It doesn't make sense.

Sarah straightened as it all suddenly became clear to her. The book she was holding fell from her hands and hollowly thudded on the ground.

"There are no right words," Sarah whispered, dumbstruck.

As she said it, she knew it to be true. There never were any magic words. There never was a magic spell to banish the child.

Jareth's voice resounded in her ears with a note of finality to a revelation that had come far too late. Once the door is opened, it cannot be closed.

Jareth may have shown her the door, but she had opened it. She had done it all. She had been the one to pull Jareth from Underground all those years ago when she had flippantly wished Toby away. Jareth must've felt Sarah's power and mistaken it for Toby's since she had been so close to her brother. That was why he took the child. The undeniable truth was that due to his arrogance, Jareth had lost Sarah years ago, forcing him to find an alternative source of power in order to control the Labyrinth. Once he had the power of his pendant fused with his own magic, he no longer needed Sarah. Even if he had continued to search for her, Jareth would've been searching for a child, not a teenage girl. Given the longevity and near immortality of the Fae species, he wouldn't have had any concept of human growth and aging. Simply put, when Jareth came to take Toby, he didn't know who Sarah was. Her mother had never said her name. It wasn't until she'd unknowingly exhibited her powers while traipsing through the Labyrinth did he discover that she was indeed the babe with the power he had lost all those years ago.

Sarah's heart sank and she slid her knees to her chest, hugging herself tightly. After all this time, she finally had the answers she had so desperately sought. She finally knew everything.

"All he ever wanted was my power," she whispered remorsefully. "That was his plan from the beginning." A bitter tear slid down her cheek. "But then he fell in love with me and damned us both."

The realization was overwhelming and the heartache it brought with it was nearly unbearable. She wondered about the depths and sincerity of his love for her. Obviously it had been enough to fracture his magic, but was that love still as ardent as it had been before he was captured and tortured by Euryale?


A wave of guilt rolled over Sarah. The Gorgon Queen was a villain who was only made a villain due to unfortunate circumstance. She had been nothing more than a means to an end for Jareth; merely a way to fix his broken magic.

"So, does that make Jareth the villain?" Sarah asked herself morosely.

It doesn't make him good, the nagging voice in her head answered.

So, where does that leave me? Sarah wondered.

She closed her eyes and sighed. A lot had happened in a short amount of time and she was still racing to catch up with everything, including herself.

"It doesn't change anything," Sarah muttered. She felt calmer hearing the sound of her own voice cut through the deafening silence of the grand hall. "Euryale had a choice. She could've been the better person and just left. Or she could've just taken her revenge on Jareth and left it at that. Instead she went further and tried to destroy the Labyrinth and all its inhabitants. And now she's hellbent on destroying me because she blames me for the pain Jareth caused her."

It became painfully clear to Sarah in that moment that Euryale would never stop. It would never be enough for her to simply destroy the Labyrinth and kill the Goblin King. That would not satiate her hunger for revenge. Euryale wanted Sarah. She was the prize. No matter what fallacies Euryale had spun, her ultimate goal was Sarah and Sarah knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was nothing she could do to stop Euryale from hunting her down.

"I know what I have to do. I have to get to her first. I'm going to stop her," Sarah vowed. "I'm going to save the Labyrinth and I'm going to save Jareth." She stood up, her resolve rising with her courage. "It's time to end this once and for all."

A guttural growl cut through the air and Sarah's newfound courage leapt out of her and crashed through the wall. She stumbled backwards, tripping over her backpack and landing hard on her backside and elbows. She scuttled away from the rumbling, her wide, terror stricken eyes avidly scanning the hallway for the creature that approached her.

They found me! Her mind screamed. How did they find me so fast?

Sarah scrambled for the backpack, yanking the Firey hand out and striking it on the wall. She stood, holding the flaming hand out in front of her defensively. She backed up to the last mirror, preparing to call for the helping hands. Her mind quickly stitched together an escape plan. She hoped that the creature would dive for her and get caught in the memory while the hands yanked her down and out of harm's way.

"Come on!" Sarah shouted, steeling herself for an attack as a giant figure began to loom into view. "Come and get me!"

"Hm? Hello?" A gravelly voice called out curiously.

Sarah froze, blinking with immense surprise at the voice that stirred something in the deepest depths of her memory.

"Hello?" She echoed back. She squinted as the lumbering beast advanced down the hallway and slowly became illuminated by the glow of the Firey hand. His orange fur was matted and dirty, but he was still unmistakable to Sarah ever after all the years. She dropped the Firey hand to the ground and placed her own hand to her mouth to stifle the whimper that escaped her throat.

"It can't be! L-Ludo?" Sarah's cried out hoarsely.

"Hmm?" Ludo hummed, looking down the hallway at Sarah curiously. "Yes, Ludo."

Sarah tremored, her knees becoming weak as the tears began to spill freely down her cheeks in torrents. He was alive. She'd thought him to be dead, but here he was in front of her and he was the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen.

"Oh, Ludo," she sobbed happily. "You're here!

Ludo nodded awkwardly, unsure of how to handle Sarah's display. "Uh, yes."

"Don't you recognize me?" Sarah laughed, reaching for the beast.

Ludo stared at her and shook his head slowly, retracting from her outstretched hand.

"Ludo, it's okay," she sniffled. "It's me! It's Sarah!"

"Sarah?" Ludo mumbled, looking skeptically at her as she reached for him again. Sarah nodded vigorously, wiping the tears that spilled unyieldingly from her eyes.

Ludo appraised her a moment longer before his large mouth lifted into a gummy smile and his eyes shown brightly. "Sarah!"

He lurched forward, his arms struck out in front of him like in an old Frankenstein movie. "Sarah, friend!" He crowed happily.

"Ludo," Sarah sobbed, colliding with him and burying her tear stained face in his fur. His arms encircled around her, picking her up in a crushing embrace. He almost seemed to purr with delight.

"Sarah back!" Ludo panted happily.

Sarah chuckled through her tears and sniffed. "Yes, I'm back. I came back, Ludo."

"Ludo miss Sarah," the giant beast sighed, pressing his head down on top of hers as he continued to rock and hug her.

"I missed you, too, big guy," Sarah murmured, affectionately stroking the fur of his arms. "Everyone thought you were dead."

Ludo hummed sympathetically, mimicking Sarah's movements and sliding his large hand reassuringly up and down her back.

"What happened to you?" Sarah asked, finally pulling away from Ludo. "How did you end up down here?"

Ludo shook his head, as if trying to knock the memories loose. "Hm, battle. Bad. Ludo call rocks. Rocks help."

Sarah nodded, waiting patiently for Ludo to continue.

"Ground collapse. Ludo fall," he made a falling motion with his hands. "Ludo wander. Ludo lost."

"You couldn't find your way out?" Sarah asked bewildered.

Ludo shook his head morosely.

Sarah reached for his hand. "You mean you've been down here this whole time?"

Ludo bobbed his head emphatically. "Ludo lost. Ludo hungry!"

Sarah pursed her lips, feeling horrible for her friend. "Oh!" She gasped suddenly. "Wait! I have some food!"

She quickly bounced over to her backpack and opened a side compartment to reveal the bundle of food Sir Didymus had given her. She reminisced about her meal in the clearing with Hoggle and Sir Didymus. It felt like it had happened years ago. She turned and handed the bundle to Ludo. "Here you go, big guy."

Ludo panted excitedly, gently taking the bundle from Sarah. "Hmm, thanks!"

Sarah smiled as she watched him tug impatiently at the string and tip the bundle voraciously into his mouth. Ludo made muffled sounds of appreciation as he ate. Stray nuts and berries tumbled from his mouth, snagging in his fur as he chewed. Sarah chuckled and Ludo gave her a wide smile before tilting the bundle to his mouth once again.

"Feel better?" Sarah asked as Ludo finished the bag. Ludo nodded vigorously, picking the escaped nuts and berries from his fur and popping them into his mouth.

"Better," he mumbled as he searched for more remnants throughout his fur.

"Good," Sarah chuckled, bending down and gathering up the Firey hand and book to place back in her bag. As she tucked them away, she spied the chest again. She pulled it out slowly, opening it and gazing down once again at Jareth's pendant. She touched the smooth medallion, invigorated by the shock of magic it sent through her.

"Pretty," Ludo commented as he looked over her shoulder, licking his fingers noisily.

"Yes," Sarah agreed. "It belongs to the Goblin King. We must return it to him." Sarah picked up the pendant, running her thumb over the symbol. The pendant almost seemed to speak to her. It entreated her to wear it, promising her great and powerful magic.

Sarah gripped the pendant in her hand, clutching it to her chest.

"Sarah, okay?" Ludo asked.

Sarah sat for a moment, the pendant pressed against her palm which she still held to her chest.

"Yes, I think I will be okay now, Ludo." She looked over her shoulder and threw a smile at the big creature. He smiled back, bits of nuts and berries stuck in his teeth. "After all, we found each other."

Ludo panted happily again, shuffling a little as if in an excited dance. Sarah placed the chest back in her backpack and zipped it closed. She stood, swinging the bag over her shoulder.

"What say you, big guy? Are you ready to get out of this place?"

Ludo nodded vigorously. Sarah offered him her hand. "Then let's get out of here."

Ludo took Sarah's hand eagerly. She led him down the hallway from where she had entered and was unsurprised to see the cramped tunnel had turned into a wide passageway large to accommodate Ludo. Sarah allowed her mind to wander as her feet instinctively knew the way out.

She thought back on all the things she'd learned since coming to the Labyrinth. Her adventures had made her doubt a great many things including herself and who she was. It had made her question the love of the beautiful, yet deceptive Goblin King. It had even caused her to question her own sanity. Her newfound knowledge that she had been to the Labyrinth before and in the grasp of the Goblin King distressed her. It appeared that at one time she had simply been a means to gain more control over the Labyrinth. It seemed he only wanted her power and that is why he took Toby from her. He felt her power on him and thought that he could use the boy's power on the Labyrinth. That is until he discovered that Sarah was actually the one with the power.

Though this was all speculation, Sarah was certain she was right. However, as there are two sides to every coin, so there are two sides to every story. She vowed to let Jareth tell his side of the story once she liberated him from Euryale's grasp. However, despite her resolute promise to be fair and give Jareth a chance to explain himself and his position, Sarah couldn't deny the evidence she'd discovered had swayed her opinion drastically. No matter how hard she tried to deny it, her love for him had wavered and distrust began to blossom in the back of her mind. Although she truly believed that Jareth did at one time love her, she found it difficult to believe that the love he had for her still remained after everything that had happened.

Despite her best attempts to remain positive, Sarah's thoughts and feelings for Jareth were now stained by doubt.

Return to the Labyrinth

A Labyrinth Story
by ArtemisFallen

Part 17 of 24

<< Previous     Home     Next >>