Continuing Tales

Return to the Labyrinth

A Labyrinth Story
by ArtemisFallen

Part 5 of 24

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Leverage: A Christmas Tale

Sarah opened her eyes. She lay upon the stone floor of Jareth's castle. She sat up, confused. She was certain that Hoggle had told her the castle had been burned down.

"Hello?" She called out, her voice echoing throughout the empty chamber. As her voice fell away, a heavy silence enveloped the room. Sarah shivered, she'd never felt so completely and utterly alone. Unsure of what to do, she stood and began walking towards the heavy doors of the throne room. As she stepped down, she was reminded of her wound and braced herself for the seething pain that was sure to follow. However, the pain never came.

"What?" Sarah asked herself, crouching and gingerly prodding at her leg with her was no discomfort caused by the gentle touch. She lifted her pant leg to reveal her smooth, uninjured calf. Her brow furrowed as she rubbed the skin of her leg.

"What's going on?" She wondered aloud, her gaze setting upon the double doors. She sighed. "Guess there's only one way to find out," she said to herself, standing up and pulling the immense doors open with no small amount of effort.

She stepped out into the corridor and looked down each hallway, unsure of which way to go.


The hair on the back of Sarah's neck stood on end as the ghostly whisper tickled in her ear. Sarah flinched as she felt a presence slide over her. She was surprised, but somehow not completely unnerved by the unseen presence as it felt warm and distinctly familiar. Her attention was inexplicably drawn down the right corridor. Like the Labyrinth, the hallways and corridors of Jareth's castle were foreign to her and Sarah was uncertain of which path to take. In the end, she was led only by a slight sense of urgency that seemed to grow each time she turned down a certain path. The feeling became stronger, urging to move faster until she was nearly running down the long hallways.

Sarah stopped abruptly as she came to a stairwell that twisted and ascended higher than her eyes could see.

"Sarah…" the ethereal voice entreated again, only stronger.

Sarah's skipped a beat as she recognized the voice. "Jareth?" She whispered. "Jareth! Is that you?" She called out desperately. "Where are you?"

The ghostly presence seemed to glide over Sarah again, willing her up the stairwell. Without hesitation, Sarah bounded up the stairs, taking two at a time.

"I'm coming!' Sarah shouted, her footfalls echoing sharply against the stone wall. A doorway loomed in sight and with renewed resolve, Sarah ran for it.

As she shot through the door, she screamed as the ground fell out from under her. Sarah clawed the air wildly, making a grab for the ledge that fell further away from her. She landed hard on her side and shoulder, the air rushing painfully out of her lungs. She groaned in pain, pulling her legs up to her chest in the fetal position as she sucked in air through clenched teeth.

"Sarah," the voice called out again. "Help me."

Sarah winced, pulling in a sharp breath as she struggled to sit up. The voice that called out to her was Jareth's, but it was different. It was very weak and suffering. He needed help fast. Sarah willed herself to her feet, holding her ribs as she stood.

"Where are you?" She called out again weakly, searching the room in which she had fallen into. Sarah gazed in amazement as she realized she was in the stair room where she had begun to make her final stand against Jareth.

"The Escher Room," she mumbled to herself, feeling as if she'd been thrown back in time. It looked exactly how she remembered it. "It's about time something looked familiar," she griped to herself, walking cautiously through another doorway before walking down the twisted stairs. Sarah continued through the maze of stairs and dimensions, growling in frustration each time she ended up higher than she meant to be even though she was going down the stairs instead of up.

"Help me help you!" Sarah cried out in exasperation as she came to a ledge with no stairs at the highest level of the room. As if in answer to her plea, the ethereal body passed over her again and drew Sarah closer to the side of the ledge. Sarah crouched on her hands and knees, warily peering over the edge of the path. A reflection of her own face greeted her. Sarah gasped in surprise as she scrutinized the reflection. It appeared almost as if she were gazing down into a wishing well. Sarah reached for her reflection, her hand passing through it as it rippled and distorted from the intrusion. Sarah withdrew her hand and her reflection once again became solid, peering back up at her with confusion.

"It's not water," Sarah muttered, watching her lips move. Suddenly, her reflection turned from her and she could see her own reflection peering down over the ledge and into the wishing well. After a moment, her reflection stood and stepped off the ledge.

"No!" Sarah cried, innately reaching for herself. The well rippled again and returned to normal, her shocked and frightened face once again peering back at her.

"Sarah…" Jareth's voice called through the portal, this time much louder. Sarah bit her lip. She knew what she had to do, but could not shake the sense of dread that rose steadily within her.

Sarah stood, clenching her fists together rapidly. "It's just like a leap of faith," she assured herself with her eyes closed. "Just a leap of faith." Sarah took in a deep controlled breath and let it out slowly as she stepped over the edge and into her rippling reflection.

Sarah felt herself falling through the universe, the moon and stars racing past her at wondrous speeds. She was surrounded by darkness and stardust, but despite the rapid descent, Sarah felt safe, shielded by some unseen force of magic that protected her as she fell. As she thought this, light suddenly erupted through the veil of stars and darkness revealing that she was encased in a bubble that lowered her gently down. It alighted on the ground and broke into a shimmering rainbow of colors and sparkles around Sarah. She stood in awe of her magical ride and wondered how it was at all possible. Sarah gazed around herself and noticed that she was in ruins much like the ones she'd seen in the Labyrinth with Hoggle. Except these ruins were suspended on a floating desert island in the middle of space and time. Sarah's mind couldn't even begin to comprehend the wonders she saw. Distantly, they reminded her of the last time she saw Jareth. As she turned to scan the ruins, she saw what she could only describe to herself as a portal. It was framed between two pristine ivory pillars. The air between the portals was dark, swirling and crackling with life. It reminded Sarah of an oncoming thunderstorm.

Determined to find out what lie beyond the thundercloud, Sarah approached the portal. Hesitantly, she placed her hand through the cloud and retracted it. She gazed at her hand expectantly. It was perfectly fine and completely intact. Warily, Sarah stepped through the portal and out into a grand, elegant throne room. Sarah's mouth dropped open in awe as the room sparkled with gold and jeweled adorned walls and pillars. Sarah looked down to see she was standing atop an immense set of granite stairs. Beautiful gold and deep blue veins ran strikingly within the stones depth. The thundercloud portal continued to twist and turn soundlessly behind her. Sarah gazed down the path of granite stone steps to a great throne that sat in the middle of the room. It looked as if it had been carved for the gods themselves. It was as black as the midnight sky, carved from beautiful volcanic glass, reflecting everything and nothing at the same time. Thick, plush cushions of deep purple with gold embroidery and tassels adorned the throne. In that moment, Sarah realized that this was Jareth's real throne room, buried deep within the catacombs underneath the Labyrinth. The castle in the Goblin City was merely a decoy.

Sarah's eyes cast about the room in awe and wonder until they landed on a small figure knelt in front of the throne. Sarah's breath caught in her throat as she recognized him almost instantly. She'd done it. She had finally found the Goblin King.

He knelt on his knees, his hands bound behind his back by heavy silver chain. His head was bowed in defeat and exhaustion.

"Jareth!" Sarah breathed, flying down the stairs recklessly to him. She dropped to her own knees as she approached him, cradling his face in her hands gently. "Wake up!" She panted. "Look at me. Look at me!"

The goblin king's eyes remained closed. His face was slack and dark ominous circles colored the skin under his eyes. His flesh next to her hands was pale and cold. Sarah saw that he was thinner than before and his open shirt revealed twisted and raised purple scars from lashes he'd taken. She hugged him tightly, stifling a sob that racked through her body. She saw his hands, withered and bruised from the shackles. She pulled away, grasping his face once again as she ran her fingers over his cheeks and forehead, brushing his hair aside.

"Come on, Jareth," she urged, tears spilling down her cheeks. "Open your eyes. Please look at me. Please."

Jareth stirred under her touch, slightly raising his face to hers and opening his eyes. His fantastically multi-colored eyes gleamed with confusion as he stared into her face.

"It can't be," he whispered weakly. "I've grown mad."

"No!" Sarah assured, stroking his cheek. "It's me. It's Sarah. I've come back."

"Never," Jareth said. "She'd never come back to me."

"But I did!" Sarah soothed. "I'm here. Can't you see? I've come back to you."

"You ensnared my heart," Jareth muttered. "And left me broken."

"Jareth," Sarah said, her heart breaking for the tortured king. "I'm sorry. I'm here. I want to make you whole again."

"Tricks," Jareth said, shaking his head and pulling away. "Deceit and lies." He scoffed lightly. "How you turn my world..."

Sarah leaned into the goblin king as he rambled, her lips delicately brushing over his. He gasped against the touch of her mouth against his, pulling back slightly and hesitating before returning her kiss fiercely. His mouth melded against hers, desperate and hungry for her affection. She pressed her body into his, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and neck deepening the kiss. He sucked mercilessly on her tongue and bottom lip as their breaths quickened with the rising of their passion. Jareth moaned emphatically against her mouth, yearning for more.

Sarah finally broke the kiss, gasping. Her lips and tongue tingling from the savage and passionate kiss Jareth had given her.

Jareth gazed at her with an extraordinarily predatory stare, his lips parted as he panted from the exertion of the kiss as well.

"It is you," he whispered, as if trying to convince himself of her presence despite the kiss. "It seems my dying wish has been granted." A bittersweet, wicked smile formed on his mouth, his face and eyes shining with incandescent pleasure.

"You're not going anywhere," Sarah argued. "Not if I have anything to say about it." She returned his mischievous smile, her forefinger brushing lightly over his lips. He kissed her finger as it trailed his skin. He was even more beautiful than she remembered despite the hardships he'd endured.

"I am so sorry," Sarah said wholeheartedly. "I never should've left. I didn't know what you were offering me." The tears of her regret began to fall from her eyes. "I was too young to understand."

Jareth struggled against the chains that bound him, wanting to reach for Sarah, wanting to touch her, needing to touch her

"I must touch you," Jareth growled, struggling vainly against the restraints he'd fought against so many times before.

"Please, don't hurt yourself!" Sarah gasped, holding his arms at his side. Jareth sighed, resigning himself. He pressed his forehead heavily against hers.

"Dear Sarah, I'm fading," he confessed.

"What do you mean?" Sarah asked, fear spiking through her voice.

Jareth gazed at her, exhausted by the encounter. Her eyes pleaded with him and he saw in the depths of them the love he'd so ardently struggled for all those years ago. Only now, it was too late.

"There's such a sad love, deep in your eyes," he whispered. It was the song he'd sang to her at the masquerade ball. How he'd wished and longed for those words to be true. Now, after all this time, they finally were.

"What?" Sarah asked, concerned. Jareth slumped against her, his strength rapidly waning. "Jareth! What can I do? How do I save you?" Sarah cried.

"Your magic," Jareth whispered. "It sustains me."

Sarah shook her head. "I have no magic. Only the magic you granted me."

Jareth chuckled, barely on the edge of consciousness. "Sweet, Sarah, how can you not know?"

"Know what?" Sarah asked.

Jareth's lips ran across her cheek, tangible and sweet. She longed for another kiss from his wonderful mouth.

"My precious thing," he muttered almost incoherently. "I am too weak to keep this magic."

"What are you talking about?" Sarah asked, dismayed.

"I...I can't live within you…" He gasped as his lips trailed to hers, caressing her in a featherlight kiss. "Live without your sunlight. Love without your heartbeat."

"Oh, Jareth," Sarah uttered, her heart withering in contempt at her adolescent foolishness. She could almost feel him dying. She kissed him back sweetly and he smiled against her touch.

"Oh, I do believe in you," Jareth mumbled. He closed his eyes, swaying on his knees. "Find my pendant. It is the key," he said distantly. His head lulled and then dropped to his chest and he was deathly quiet. It appeared as if he were in a deep sleep.

"Your pendant? The key to what? Jareth!" Sarah cried out in panic, cradling his face again. Jareth remained still, the only indication of life was the steady rise and fall of his chest. Sarah collapsed against him, holding him tightly, unsure of how to proceed. Her world was falling down around her.

"So," came a distant, slithering voice. "You're the one. The mortal girl who has come to save her precious Goblin King."

Shocked by the presence of another, Sarah jumped up and turned to face the voice. A figure with indiscernible features stood at the top of the stairs, cloaked by the darkness of the portal.

"Who are you?" Sarah demanded angrily.

"I am the rightful ruler of the Labyrinth," the slithery voice answered. "I am the Gorgon Queen."

"Euryale," Sarah spat. She pointed to Jareth. "I demand that you release him at once!"

The sound that filled the air sent a chill down Sarah's spine. The Gorgon Queen laughed wickedly at Sarah's ultimatum. Only, it wasn't a normal laugh. It reminded Sarah of a pit of angry snakes hissing and slithering. It was something very frightening and very deadly.

"You dare to command me?" Euryale derided. She descended the stairs and Sarah felt her resolve falter as her eyes strayed across the frightful creature that appeared before her. Euryale was much too tall and slender, her body curving as it would if she were truly a snake. Her face was that of a human female, but elongated. Her mouth pulled into a perpetual sneer, revealing rows of large, sharp teeth. Her jaw was adorned with two large, yellow tusks which jutted sharply past her chin. Her green skin shown with scales as they reflected the light and her black, stringy hair actually writhed with live snakes. Sarah gawked at the unholy monster.

"Sarah," Euryale hissed. Sarah shuddered, hating the sound of her name from such a vile creature. "Return to your world," Euryale taunted. "There's nothing left for you here. The Labyrinth belongs to me."

Sarah took a step forward, begrudgingly leaving Jareth behind her. "The Labyrinth doesn't belong to you. It's in a state entropy. It's dying. You're a fool to think you can control it. You have no power here."

Euryale stepped even closer Sarah. "And you do, little mortal? You're no match for me."

Sarah stared down Euryale, refusing to give any ground. "I have defeated this Labyrinth before and I will again." Sarah glared at the unholy creature. "Just as I will defeat you."

Euryale struck fast, coming up to Sarah. Before Sarah could react, Euryale's clawed hand grasped Sarah's throat tightly. Sarah thrashed against Euryale, but the creature didn't seem phased by her struggles. Euryale stared at Sarah with the mesmerizing golden depths of her slit snake eyes.

"We shall see…" Euryale hissed, her forked tongue darting out and sliding slowly up Sarah's cheek.

Sarah fought the urge with every fiber of her being only to fail as the venomous tongue cut deep into her skin. She began to scream.

Return to the Labyrinth

A Labyrinth Story
by ArtemisFallen

Part 5 of 24

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