Continuing Tales

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 17 of 24

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The Debt

Dream becomes reality....

Thunder echoed in the sky above, and dark clouds let their rain fall without mercy. Sarah huddled in a ball in the saddle trying to keep warm. Staying dry was no longer a concern, she was soaked to the bone. Jareth didn't fair much better. His long blond hair was matted to his face and his cape stuck to him like a second skin. They had been riding for hours when the storm suddenly broke and it gave no sign of ever letting up.

Jareth finally pulled his white horse to a stop by a large tree and jumped down from the saddle. He moved to the packhorse and began to undo the packs. Sarah dismounted Velvet and helped him carry a folded canvas. Using special wooden poles that fit together they created a small tent. Luckily the blankets they had with them were dry from being within the canvas.

"Go inside and keep warm." Jareth told her. Sarah nodded and went inside the makeshift tent, putting blankets down on the ground and dividing up the tent. By now it had grown dark and Jareth lit a lantern they had brought along. There was no way he would be able to light a fire with wet timber. Sarah ate a small dinner of fruit and breads and watched him as he stood out in the rain leaning casually against the tree.

"Jareth, come out of the rain."

"I'm fine out here."

"Jareth, you're soaked. Why don't you use you magic and dry us off and make a fire while you're at it?" "I can't use any magic. Farris will be able to track us easily if I do."

Sarah blinked. "Oh. That rules out that idea. You're still soaked. Come inside."

"Sarah, got to sleep. We have a long day of riding tomorrow."

"What about you? You come inside and sleep too." She gestured with her hand to a spot beside her that she had prepared for him with blankets.

"I'll be fine out here."

"Bullshit! Jareth come in from the rain!" her angered voice surprised him and he finally agreed, crawling slowly into the tent to lay down at the complete opposite end from her.

Sarah reached into one of the packs and pulled out a white shirt. "Put this on." She said throwing it at him. He sat up with his back turned to her. He slipped the wet shirt off and quickly put on the dry one. Sighing he laid down. Sarah draped a blanket over him and he pulled it around himself, drifting off to sleep. Sarah sighed looking at the empty space directly beside her. She ran her hand over it and closed her eyes, letting sleep claim her.

Jareth awakened in the middle of the night to hear a strange noise. He rolled over and saw Sarah sitting up, shivering uncontrollable, her teeth chattering. He was sitting up in seconds and he took his blanket and wrapped it around her. Her hair was soaked and matted against her face and he panicked.

"I should have stopped sooner. I shouldn't have made you ride in the rain for so long." He pulled her to him, attempting to keep her warm with the heat of his own body. She curled against him and soon her shivering subsided and she was asleep. Jareth gently pushed back the hairs from her face and just held her.

It was morning by the time he awakened. He was still sitting up with her in his arms and had somehow managed to fall asleep sitting. Sarah was sleeping peacefully. She no longer shivered and the small fever was gone. The rain was still coming down, but no longer in heavy sheets. She slowly awakened and looked up to see him staring down at her.

"How are you feeling?" he asked.

'Like I got run over by a Mack truck."

"What?" 'Never mind, it was a joke."

"Are you hungry."

"A little."

He reached over, still cradling her in his arms and he pulled one of the packs towards him. "Would you like some fruit?"

"Anything but a peach is fine." He let out a throaty laugh and handed her an apple. She bit into it slowly, very aware that he was watching her eat and he was still holding her. She felt safe and warm in his arms and she didn't want to leave. Jareth had other plans and he went outside surveying the area and the weather.

"It hasn't rained for weeks and now it decides to rain." He let out in annoyance.

"Oh well, maybe that will slow Farris down." She added thoughtfully.

'You're right. And from what I hear, Farris hates bad weather. As uncomfortable this is for us, it may be a good head start." Sarah shivered suddenly, her body trembling. "You're cold."

'I'm ok, it was just a chill. We should pack up and get moving." She said. She began to fold the blankets from the tent. They wrapped everything back into the waterproof canvas and packed the horses. The rain had let up to a fine mist and a fog had settled.

They mounted up and rode for half of the day before Jareth stopped by the side of a pond. The rain had started again and after a stretching their legs Jareth wanted to ride hard to the base of the first group of mountains where there were a few caves. They rode hard and made it by nightfall. The caves were large enough to fit the horses inside and they tied them up by the entrance. Jareth started a fire with leaves and twigs he found scattered around the inside of the cave. He brought wet timber from outside and placed it near the now roaring fire, with hope that they would dry.

Sarah sat shivering near the fire and as he watched her he realized it was now or never. They were getting closer to the mountains and already he could feel his magic weakening. He knelt beside her and the look on his face spoke volumes.

"Jareth, what's going on?" he reached forward into the air as if to pull something from it, but nothing happened.

"It's already weakening."

"Jareth I thought you said that you couldn't use your magic or he would find us?" She looked confused and that pained Jareth. He could do it while she slept. No.. he couldn't do that to her.

"He'll find me but he won't find you. I'm sending you back aboveground. You'll be safe there and you'll never have to worry about Farris again."

"No! Jareth I'm not leaving!"

"Sarah." He pleaded.

"No!" He ignored her and reached for the air again but wasn't able to finish the motion. She pulled him to her and kissed him hard on the mouth. He lost himself in the kiss for a moment and then pulled back gasping for air.

"Sarah." Visions of the last time they kissed floated through his mind and he grew concerned.

"I've made my decision Jareth. I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying with you." He just stared at her. Her words didn't seem to register. She nervously tugged at the collar of his shirt and then wrapped her arms around his neck looking into his eyes. "I love you, Jareth and I don't ever want to leave you."

Jareth's eyes widened and his lower lip trembled as the shock washed over him. Sarah smiled and leaned forward gently pressing her lips to his. The kiss was short and sweet and Sarah looked at him again. He was completely bewildered. His lips finally twisted in a smile and his pointed teeth came out of hiding. He put his hands around her waist and laughing twirled her around him. He put her down and suddenly looked serious.

"Sarah do you know what you would be committing yourself to?"

"You of course, as well as a population of goblins and maybe immortality."


"Aiden is a wealth of information. He said that if you offered forever to me that meant I would become immortal. I can't think of anyone I'd rather spend forever with, then you." She grinned and tightened her grip around his neck. "Now I'm offering you your dreams. When all of this is over and Farris had been dealt with, you will have your queen, you already have your kingdom and maybe someday you'll have children." Jareth's head fell forward and he hugged Sarah. The years he spent alone, feeling pain seemed to melt away as he lost himself in her warm embrace.

"I love you Sarah." He said softly into her hair.

She hugged him tightly. "I love you too." Jareth's head rose and he lifted a gloved hand to her face, gently tracing the edges.

"I didn't think I would ever hear those words from you. I had almost convinced myself that you would never say them."

'Well not only did I say them, I meant them. I couldn't go back aboveground." She gently combed his wild blond hair behind his ears. " It's not my home anymore. The underground is home, Anywhere you are is home. We'll face the future together." He smiled and lowered his lips to her, kissing her gently but passionately. They lowered to the ground, holding each other and kissing each other occasionally. There was no empty spot beside Sarah tonight. Jareth lay on his side with Sarah in his arms, a smile on his face as he slept.


Sarah awakened feeling something warm beside her. Rolling onto her back and looking up she saw Jareth propped up on one elbow staring down at her.

"Good morning." He said quietly. He flashed her a warm smile.

She stretched her arms above her head. "Good morning." She snuggled closer to him and he gently smoothed her dark hair from her face. To her disappointment, he still wore his gloves.

They rested like this for a short time, just reveling in the feeling of being close together. Hearing each other's breathing and the soft murmur of heartbeats. One of the horses snorted and Sarah turned her head to see them. They were munching happily on tall grass that was growing by the entrance to the cave. The fire that Jareth had built the night before had died down to a few smoking cinders.

Sarah smiled thinking about the previous night. Jareth had been stubborn and protective and prepared to send her home. She had certainly shocked him and herself with her actions. It was as if the moment was perfect. She and Jareth both learned at the same time what she felt for him. She did love him, with all her heart. The thought of being sent aboveground never to see him again was more then she could deal with. She knew how Jareth felt now, because she would rather die then be separated from him.

He had been a complete gentleman with her last night. They had kissed a few times and held each other but nothing more. It was an unspoken understanding between them that anything more would have to wait until they were finished with Farris and his army. She wondered how Aiden was doing with preparing his army. She wondered what would happen over the next few days. She still didn't understand why she and Jareth had to hide. She was feeling stronger suddenly and fearless. She didn't want to hide in the mountains. She wanted to drive the Fae bastard out of Jareth's kingdom. The same Kingdom that might become hers one day.

"What are you thinking about?" came a soft voice. She looked up to see Jareth staring at her intently.

"A little bit of everything." She said with a smirk.

"You look so beautiful when you're deep in thought." He gently lowered his lips to hers and gave her a gentle kiss, which she returned. "Then again, " he said staring at her seductively. "You're always beautiful."

"Such a kiss ass." She teased and he grinned. "Jareth, I don't want to hide." She let out softly.

"Where is this coming from?" one brow rose and he looked concerned.

"I was just thinking, hiding in the mountains isn't going to make Farris go away. If he wants to get back at you, this isn't going to stop him."

"I know that." He replied softly. "The whole purpose of hiding is to allow my army to gather at the castle while Farris is out looking for me, to allow Aiden to prepare his army, which Farris doesn't know about and to get you to safety."

"Me to safety?" she asked confused.

"Yes, love. There is a temple in the heart of the mountains, very near the iron. I've sent Metta and Riley ahead of us. They will take care of you there as well as a few goblin guards. Only those not bothered by iron will be able to watch over you, which means that you will be safe from Farris. I won't be able to stay with you, because I'm Fae and very vulnerable to iron. I'll return to the castle to fight Farris. Aiden will be able to sneak around and together we will corner Farris. When all is safe, I will come back for you."

'How long is that going to take?" She moved closer to him and he smiled, running a hand over her soft skin.

'It could be a few days, maybe a few weeks. Farris has become powerful and he can't be underestimated."

"What if I don't want to stay at this temple? What if I want to go with you?" She sat up.

"You are going to the temple, that way Farris has no chance of getting his hands on you." She opened her mouth to speak and a gloved finger touched her lips, silencing her. "This is not open to negotiation. I just gained you and your love and I'm not going to lose you. I've already lost one to Farris, I will not lose a second and I will not let him act as if you are worth nothing. We will show the Fae court that mortals are important and equals."

"Why aren't you and Aiden like the others? Why don't you hate mortals?"

"I think my sense of honor and the belief that we are all equals came from Aiden and his father. Aiden despite being 50 years older then I and was very influential. He's very honorable and down to earth for a Fae, which is unusual. Most of us are pompous and arrogant." She flashed him a grin. "I looked up to him as a older brother and a best friend at the same time. If I had listened to him more in the past I would have saved myself a lot of heart ache." He reached for her hand and brought it to his lips, kissing her knuckles. "But I would change nothing, because I gained you. And you are worth all the heartache I went though and more."

Jareth got to his feet and offered his hand to Sarah. She took it eagerly and he pulled her into his arms, hugging her tightly. "I love you." He whispered into her ear. She looked up and him and he placed a kiss on her forehead.

"I love you too." She held him tighter and lost herself in the feeling of warmth that seemed to embrace them both.

"We should begin packing the horses. We have another day's ride and it's not going to be very comfortable. It will be rough terrain for the horses and the closer I get to the mountains the more my strength will fail me. I won't be able to stay with you long once we get there."

"The iron?"

He nodded, touching her face with one gloved hand. "Iron is deadly to Fae."

"That's why you brought the sword. Incase we ran into trouble."

"Yes. It's not 100% iron or I wouldn't be able to handle it. But there is enough that it can do serious damage to anyone stabbed with it." He reached for the scabbard he had abandoned the night before and pulled the sword from its sheath. It glittered in the light of the sun that was entering the cave. It was a beautiful sword with scenes etched into the blade and an ivory handle.

"It's beautiful." She commented.

"Beautiful and deadly. How ironic that they should go hand and hand."

"Where did you get it?"

He put the sword back into the scabbard and fastened it to his belt. "It was my father's."

"Your father?" She gave him a look of surprise.

'Don't be so surprised, I did have one." He placed a quick kiss on her lips and moved towards the entrance of the cave.

"Tell me about him." She said, folding the blankets they slept on, the previous night.

"There isn't much to tell. I never knew him very well. He died when I was a child. My father was a powerful lord and he was driven out of his land and murdered. No one knows who the murderer was. It could have been anyone. My mother was also killed. I was to be killed as well, but a gentleman saved me from destruction." He said as he saddled his horse. "This gentleman said he would take me under his wing, quite literally, for his other form is an eagle. A very noble and powerful bird. He wanted an apprentice and I was Fae and needed a teacher. My father's sword was found on the battlefield and this man kept it until I was I older and less bitter with the world before he gave it to me."

"Who was the man?"

"Aiden's father, King Varian. Aiden takes after his father. They are so much alike it is remarkable. Aiden even shares the same form as his father. An eagle."

"Wow. And you can turn into an owl right?"

"Yes, a barn owl. Certainly not the most majestic of birds but still a worthy form. It's better then being a raven like Farris. They are intelligent but sneaky."

"Aren't you curious to know who killed your family and about a land that should be yours?"

"I used to be, but King Varian told me it was best to leave it be. There were no clues as to who murdered my father and mother. To avoid further bloodshed my father's land was divided up amongst the most powerful from the court. I have my own kingdom now, I don't need to wage war to get back small chunks of land." He slipped the bridle over his horse's head and fastened the throat strap.

"I can't believe they would do that. Just divide up the land and not give any to you and not even look for the murderer."

"This isn't the Aboveground." Jareth told her flipping the reins over his horse's head. "Things work differently here. Justice isn't always served."

"Then what's the purpose of the court?" Sarah asked putting the blankets within the canvas on the packhorse.

"It doesn't have a good one. It's a group of male Fae who sit around, bicker and fight for power. I was a member of the court along side Aiden for 50 years. King Varian believed that the experience would be good for us. It didn't do me much good. I told you what the court did to me. They never truly thought that I was one of them. As far as they were concerned I was an orphan. It was only because of Aiden's father who claimed me as a son, that enabled me to join the court. Believe me when I say that being banished is no longer such a horrible thing to me. I don't miss the bickering, squabbling and back stabbing."

Sarah stood and just watched Jareth. He moved to her side, helping to pack a few things. She watched him, his long slender frame, his wild blond hair and those captivating eyes. "What is it love?" she had not stopped staring at him.

"How are you able to be so strong after all that has happened to you? Your parents, the court, Cyla, the betrayal, being tricked into becoming the Goblin King. You're the strongest person I've ever met."

"Don't give me so much credit. I was ready to give up on life, until you waltzed into mine. Only when I met you did I start living again." He claimed her lips in a kiss and moved to Velvet quickly saddling the mare. After he was finished, he mounted his horse.

Looking at the white stallion she remembered something Riley had said to her. "Jareth, what is your horse's name?"

"Esperance" He said simply. She gave him a blank stare.

"It's French. It means Hope." He gave the horse a kick with his heels and started off, with the packhorse following. Sarah watched him ride the horse out of the cave and leapt up on Velvet, following the Goblin King out into the sunshine of a new day.

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 17 of 24

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