Continuing Tales

Tokens of Affection

A Labyrinth Story
by Shinku

Part 5 of 15

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Tokens of Affection

"Why were these memories more intense than the ones I shared with you?" Sarah asked.

"Because they're not yours." Jareth answered simply. "When a memory is shown, it's more than just a glimpse of the past. It's a glimpse into the very heart of the person showing it."

"The heart?"

"Yes," he agreed. "think carefully on the memories I've shown you. Tell me, was all that you'd seen, all that you experienced, just an image?"

Sarah bit her lip and shook her head. "No, not at all. For that short bit of time, it was like I was you, but… when it ended… it was like I was coming apart. Like I couldn't quite remember who I was."

Jareth hissed softly. "You should have told me that sooner. I hadn't realized how strongly I was projecting."

She blinked. "Projecting? You mean, you can control the memory?"

He shrugged. "To an extent. It has to do more with how detailed I envision the memory than actually changing any details. I had wondered why you'd reacted so strongly this last time."

She blushed. "I thought it was just the memory itself. You know, something that emotional.

Jareth sighed as he gently rested his chin on her shoulder. "That was the first time that Aidan had ever confirmed that he thought of me as family. It wasn't something that I had ever really expected to hear him say aloud."

"But he did." Sarah prompted, and Jareth smiled faintly.

"Yes, and nothing was the same afterward."

"Tell me about it." She commanded.

"It didn't take long for word to spread that I'd moved the mountain alone," he began. "and when it did, my father was furious."

"What did he do?" She asked.


Sarah's eyes, widened in surprise. "Nothing at all?"

An amused grin slid across his face. "Nothing, tra-la-la?"

She laughed. "Honestly, though, I thought he would have done something."

His grin faded to a wry smile. "Oh, he did eventually, but he was clever sort. He knew better than to act on his feelings at that point, not when I'd gained so much popularity with the people for that stunt. Instead, he quietly let the war we were in get worse."

"What?" Sarah yelled. "Why?"

"Because, I'd given him an opportunity," he answered. "and all he needed was the proper stage to utilize it."

"No." She breathed, catching on to a horrible possibility.

"Yes." He quietly corrected, and took her hand.


The eyes were wide and disbelieving, the fae barely comprehending what had happened before the sword was violently twisted and yanked free from his chest.

A sharp pained gasp followed him as he slid down the wall he'd been skewered to, a cruel red smear trailing him as his life ended.

Jareth surveyed the death coldly.

Here was another life lost, a another son, brother, or father that would never see their family again, and for what?

He flicked his wrist, swiftly twisting around and hurling the new crystal at the men charging at him from behind.


Jareth flinched as the explosion caused tattered bits of the opposing fae to rain down on him in a bloody shower, the gore clinging to his skin and amour.

Disgusted, he reached up and flicked away what he distantly recognized as brain matter from the side of his face, silently wishing he couldn't smell the blood so strongly.

There was a sudden choked sob to his left, followed by a determined war cry.

Jareth turned and eyed the young swordsman hollowly.

What a stupid way to waste his life.

"Fool," he said softly. "I would have let you live if you'd only stayed hidden."

The young prince held his hand out toward the approaching soldier, light gathering dangerously above his open palm. Within moments, the gathered energy was released, arcing toward the young fae in a fantastic streak of power.

Jareth watched the body fall with an apathetic detachment, the smoking hole in his opponents chest the only testament to how he'd died.

Such a pity.

Another explosion a few streets over shook the ground and drew his attention east, he sighed and gradually began making his way over to the source of the commotion.

He hated this war.


Sarah didn't know what possessed her to do it, but despite the pain it caused her, she swiftly got to her knees and twisted around, cradling his head to her chest as if she could shield him from the old horrors.

"I'm sorry." She whispered softly. "I'm so sorry…"

His arms came around her almost hesitantly, but the moment they were there he held her tightly. That war had broken something in him, something she couldn't quite name, but it hurt; it hurt so badly.

"I seem to be making you cry an awful lot tonight." He spoke just as quietly.

Sarah gave a faint wheezing laugh in return, only just then realizing that tears were sliding down her cheeks.

"Your life just really sucks, you know." She sniffed. "Kind of like a really sad movie, you have to fight the tears all the way through."

He took in a deep, shaky breath. "Then you should probably know, that the movie isn't over, yet."

One hand fisted in the back of his coat as she shook her head. "You don't have to-"

"I do have to, Sarah." He cut her off. "I need you to understand. Just like you needed me to understand when you showed me that memory of your mother."

"But it hurts you to remember these things." She pleaded. "Everything you remember is so vivid, so…"

She shuddered against him and he closed his eyes and just held her. He hated having to put her in this position, but even if it hurt him to remember these events, he wanted -needed- her to understand where he came from, to truly know him.

"There's just one more memory for me to show you, Sarah. You need to see how it all ends, now."

She pulled back a back a bit, watching him with a certain sense of resignment, before gently leaning forward and kissing his brow. It was a such a kind and telling gesture, he wanted to make her forget her tears.

"That's very kind, Precious," he gently teased. "but I think you missed-"

And then her lips brushed teasingly against his.

His eyes went wide just as he felt her mouth stretch into a sly smile. He groaned as he leant in and deepened the kiss, growling into her mouth, "Minx."

They stayed like that for a time, teasing and testing the waters between them, before Sarah finally pulled back. Jareth felt oddly pleased with himself when he noticed the blush staining her cheeks and the way she wouldn't look at him. Had he known how flustered she would get with a simple kiss, he would have done so during her Run.

"I'm not sure I care for that grin." She said almost petulantly, when she chanced a look at him, and his grin was quite smug.

"I should have kissed you during your Run." He informed her knowingly. "I would have probably won."

She leaned back and gave him a playful shove, smiling.

"All the better you didn't, I probably would have smacked you a few times for it."

"Only a few?" He asked with a grin.

Sarah glanced away again, her blush deepening.

He laughed richly.

"You are truly a precious thing, Sarah."

Smiling, he took her hand.


The people were celebrating, singing and dancing in the streets with an unrestrained joy.

The war was over, their loved ones were home, and life was finally going to be able to return to normal.

Jareth wished he could join them, wished with all his heart that he could honestly believe that things would get better, but he wasn't so naïve. His father was already praising Dreail for his 'tactical brilliance' that helped them win the war.

Jareth snorted in contempt as he covertly watched the crowds from just inside an alley.

He wondered what the people would do, if they knew the enemy wasn't defeated, but merely pulling back for a time to regroup.

When Dreail's lieutenants had reported the enemy driven away, Jareth had quietly sent his own scouts to follow their adversaries supposed retreat. The men had quickly reported back that the enemy wasn't gone, but had merely moved their camps to more secluded and defendable locations. The High Prince's 'tactical brilliance' had only allowed the enemy a chance to pull off an inspired deception.

Now, the people were celebrating when they should be fortifying their homes.

"It's sad, isn't it?"

Jareth didn't bother turning, as Aidan sidled up beside him.

"Here they are, believing their troubles are over, and they don't even realize that it's just beginning."

"It's their own fault," Jareth criticized. "if they thought for themselves even a moment, instead of blindly following their monarchs, they might've had a chance."

Aidan glanced over as he watched his old student brood.

War had destroyed much of the man's sympathy, death and pain taking their toll on a once bright spirit.

"I take it things didn't go well, when you gave your report on the situation." Aidan observed.

Jareth scoffed. "That is an understatement."

"Oh?" The old master prompted.

This time, the young man did turn, and Aidan felt his blood run cold.

"They called me a liar, Aidan." The prince stated frankly. "They said I was trying to ruin Dreail's victory."

Aidan barely registered the words as he took stock of the growing bruise along the right side of Jareth's face.

"They struck you." The old Master breathed, horror coloring his tone.

Jareth leaned a bit further into the shadows, obstructing the older fae's view.

"They didn't like my report." He said sardonically.

"I know we've said it wouldn't work in the past, but maybe it's at least worth a try to-" Aidan tried to offer.

"No!" Jareth said firmly. "Don't even think of it. Even if we did attempt it, this would be the worst possible time. The bulk of the forces are still trickling in, if we tried to leave now, my father could send them right back out again to retrieve us. We'd never even reach the border."

Aidan closed his eyes, pain evident in his expression.

"There has to be something better than this. There has to be a way to get out of here."

Jareth turned back to the crowds. "Not that my father wouldn't try and influence."

Opening his eyes, the old Master turned his attention toward the celebrating populace, watching as a child carelessly danced past the area they where hiding.

"We'll find a way," he tried to encourage. "and when we do, we'll go to a place they'll never find us."


"Do you know what this is about?" Aidan asked.

Jareth shook his head as they made their way toward his parents throne room.

"Lilana, my mother's personal servant, told me to pack anything I treasured and hide it away a few hours ago, but that's all she told me."

The old Master frowned. "That can't be good."

The prince snorted as they reached their destination.

Two ornate golden doors blocked any further progress, as they waited for their presence to be announced.

"I hate these games of theirs," Jareth stated softly. "even after all this time, they still think they can intimidate me with these theatrics."

"Hush," Aidan scolded. "better they think you a sheep, then reveal yourself a wolf."

The Prince smiled grimly as the doors began to open, a herald announcing their arrival as they made their way to the thrones and bowed.

"Arise." The King commanded, and watched as the two did so. "Certain… accusations have been raised against the both of you."

Aidan and Jareth resolutely stared forward, knowing better than to chance a glance at the other.

"You have been charged with providing false information to the crown and attempting to incite conflict at a time of peace. What do you say to these claims."

The Masters eyes went wide. "Say? They are false! On what grounds does our accuser base these allegations?"

"On the false report submitted by Prince Jareth and co-signed by yourself a few days prior." The High Prince stated confidently. "Men were dispatched and found no evidence of the enemy camps you claimed were there."

"No evidence?" Aidan exclaimed. "I saw them myself! My Prince must be mistaken."

Dreail's eyes narrowed. "There is no mistake, I looked myself."

A look of disgust slid across the Master's face as he realized exactly who had accused them.

"Shift-Stones." Jareth stated bluntly.

"Excuse me?" The High Prince growled.

"Your enemy is likely using Shift-Stones to hide their location in a pocket-dimension. A standard recon unit won't be enough to find them, you'll need-"

"Enough!" The King snarled. "I bring you here to offer you a chance defend yourself, and yet you continue with this nonsense?"

Jareth merely watched the King with hollow eyes, already seeing the lie for what it was. They had never been brought in for a defense. The 'defense' was only a formality, they'd really been brought in for judgment.

"Do you have nothing of value you to say?" The monarch asked.

Something in Jareth fractured, knowing that his world was about to fall apart, so instead of bowing his head and trying to be the good son, he found himself asking, "Have I ever?"

The courtiers that were present gasped at the blatant disrespect, but Jareth couldn't bring himself to worry over them, not when something worse was coming.

"So, this is how you defend yourself, with further falsehoods and snide comments?" Dreail asked cuttingly.

Jareth glanced toward Aidan, saw the resigned understanding on his face, and answered his brother freely.

"Do what you came here to do, Dreail. There's no sense in pleading a defense you don't care to listen to."

The courtiers were whispering now, words he didn't bother to try and hear, but could see his father's and brother's faces, and they didn't look pleased with him.

"I had thought it might be a mistake on your part, a last trick of the enemy, but your refusal to defend yourself leaves me with no choice but to side with your accuser." The King stated flatly.

Jareth and Aidan waited.

"Because you are my son, Jareth, I offer you mercy. From this day forth, you are exiled from The Land of the Great Falls, you are to gather your things and be gone from this land before day break." The monarch commanded.

Jareth felt his blood turn to ice.

Inciting conflict during a time of peace was considered equal to treason. By all rights, his father should have ordered his death, not exile. Something more was going on, something his father and brother were trying to set up for.

He watched as the King now turned his attention to Aidan.

"When my children were young, I left them in your teaching, Aidan. Now, I find, that not only have you allowed one of my children to stray, you have encouraged it. For this offense and the offence of inciting conflict during this new time of peace, I rule your life forfeit. In three days time you'll-"


"Jareth!" The King hissed.

"I said, no." Jareth answered. "You will not touch, let alone rule over what is mine. By your own laws, I'm no longer your son, let alone your subject, which mean my retainers are mine to deal with, not you."

Dreail's eyes narrowed as he snarled, "You've been forming a court? You've no right! The laws state-"

"That a lesser court may be formed by any scion of the ruling family once they've come of age. I've been of age for over a year now, brother. I am well within my rights."

The High Prince hissed angrily as he took a step forward, intent on thrashing his brother, Court or no Court.

The King reached out and caught his eldest's arm, halting his progress. "You've done your studies, Jareth, but you forget, Aidan is still my subject."

Something sly and vicious slid across Jareth's face.

"Your subject?" He asked coyly. "Are you sure?"

The two ruling fae stilled.

"What have you done, Jareth?" The King asked.

"Only what I've needed to." The exiled-prince answered.

The King eyed his youngest son shrewdly. "Be that as it may, our laws were still broken, punishment must be allotted."

"And it will be, as he will be following me into exile." Jareth stated.

The High Princes watched his brother coldly. "That is not enough, what restitution would you offer? Especially, considering your… unique status."

"Restitution?" Jareth asked, his tone turning dangerous.

"Yes, Jareth," the King sighed, "restitution. Even if Aidan is no longer my subject, our laws are still our laws, there must be compensation."

"Compensation?" The exile hissed. "Is it not enough that he will be cast from his home, you would seek payment for his life?"

"The law is the law." The King said firmly.

Jareth stood straight, shifting his stance as the air thickened.

"I have said it once and I will say it again, Aidan is mine. You do not hold any sway over him, if you persist in this effort to barter, then I will barter with you."

The Kings eyes went wide in horrified understanding. However, before he could speak Dreail snarled, "You have nothing to barter with!"

Jareth grinned cruelly. "Nothing, tra-la-la? How about your life?"

Guards that had previously been silently observing the proceedings immediately came to attention, quickly taking defensive positions around their King and Prince.

It wasn't enough.

The air pulsed.



And then with a speed none expected, all the sentries around the room were snatched up, and slammed into the walls they'd been stationed near. Their limp bodies remaining suspended despite their lack of consciousness.

Shrieks and startled cries broke out around the room as the courtiers tried to escape, only to have the great golden doors slam shut before they could get through. Turning back to the throne, the nobility could only a watch, as the wards that were weaved into the very foundations of the throne room for their protection, were drained off, and fed to the dais. Their lives being left to the whims of fate.

"Trying to save yourself, father?" Jareth called mockingly. "What about the your loyal retainers, aren't their lives worth anything?"

The King said nothing as he remained on his throne, a glowing dome surrounding himself and his eldest son.

Jareth only shook his head as he held out his hand, light gathering over his open palm.

"I won't talk to you through a shield, father." He stated. "You wanted to barter, so lets barter."

The light grew eerily bright, and with a terrifying shriek lanced toward the dais. The force crashed against the dome, but didn't penetrate.

The King smiled smugly, just before he saw Jareth let his hand fall back to his side, the originating light continuing to hover in the air as it assaulted the barrier. Within moments, runic symbols began to swirl around the dome, secondary wards trying to bleed off the excess power as the offensive spell continued with its task.

The King stopped smiling.

The dome started to flash as the extra power was pushed into large crystals embedded into the ceiling, magical lightning arcing from one to another.

"Aidan." Jareth commanded, and the Master quickly weaved symbols into the air, a large barrier flashing into existence moments before the crystals grew blindingly bright and shattered, the nobility being spared from the slicing shards.

The dome flashed brilliantly and disappeared.

Jareth never once had to move from his position. "Have I made my point clear, father?"

The king snarled angrily, "Just take what is yours and get out. I want you out of my country before nightfall, I'll not have your presence here any longer."

The exiled-prince bowed courteously. "As the King commands." And turned and headed for the doors, Aidan quickly falling into step behind him.

The courtiers parted as they made their way to the doors, the large structures swinging open with ease as they passed through.

Minutes later, from the silence, a particularly cautious nobleman asked, "Is it over?"

The guards suddenly fell to the floor with a resounding clang, whatever force that had been holding them to the wall, vanishing.

"Never mind."


Jareth stared disbelievingly at the crowd of people that surrounded him. Within the few hours it had taken Aidan and himself to collect their things, word had spread of how he'd 'negotiated' with his father for the life of his old teacher and Second. Now, the entire unit that had been under his command, and their families, were packing up and getting ready to follow him.

"There's no sense in staying here." One of the young wives had told him. "My husband was one of the scouts that helped locate the enemy. If our King is just going to pretend that nothings happening, then I want to get out of here before this place becomes a war zone."

Her sentiments had been echoed many times, as Jareth's men began to trickle in, begging to be allowed to take their families and go with him.

"I didn't expect this." He told Aidan honestly. "I'm not sure what I should do, now. Our plans had never involved this many fae. Where are we supposed to go?"

Aidan shrugged. "At this point, anywhere but here. You heard them, they just want to be away from this war. Right now, they have the opportunity to get out, without any strings attached because of this so called, 'peace'. The best thing for them right now, would be to let them come. It'll be harder for your father to come against us with this many fae."

Jareth frowned. "That's one of the things I'm worried about. Father won't have any qualms about causing a massacre if it means I'm dead. I don't want to put them in such a position."

"I suppose that's good reasoning, but you're forgetting one thing." The Master informed him.


Aidan smiled. "The enemy isn't going to let this peace last for long, especially once they realize that your father has exiled his most successful weapon and his unit. No, I think we're going to be the farthest thing from his mind very soon."

Jareth felt some of his tension ease. "That's good to hear, because I still don't have any idea where we should go."

"Perhaps we should…" Aidan stilled as he trailed off, his posture shifting as the crowd slid into a watchful silence, his eyes widened.

"Unicorns." Jareth breathed.

Walking amongst the crowd was as a small herd of unicorns, the delicate looking creatures taking their places amongst the families getting ready to leave.

"What in the worlds…?" Jareth asked.

The barest rustle of hooves along the grass had the exile turning slightly to his left, the herds mare gracefully coming to stand before him.

"Are you the exiled-prince?" The soft voice of the mare asked.

"I am Jareth." He answered plainly and the unicorn dipped its head in acknowledgement.

"I seek sanctuary for myself and my herd amongst your people," she intoned softly. "our time in this land is at an end."

Jareth tilted his head to one side as he studied the pale creature. "And why has your time here come to an end, White Lady?"

"Betrayal of a pure spirit."

Jareth felt sick. "They're coming."


Standing quickly, Jareth called out to the quiet assembly, "Take a head count! We're going to translocate in ten minutes! Gather your families and carts and prepare to move!"

The fae broke out into a flurry of activity as Jareth turned to Aidan. "Is anyone missing that you know of?"

The Master shook his head. "No, the last arrived just before the unicorns."

"Good," Jareth nodded. "I need you to set everything up, we don't have much time and the sooner we're done, the better."

Aidan nodded sharply. "As you wish."

Turning back to the mare, Jareth sighed. "You're welcome to come with us, where ever that may be."

"You will lead well." She offered gently, and took her place amongst the group.

Jareth swallowed thickly and took a deep breath. A blessing. The White Lady had offered him a blessing. Perhaps, there was more hope than he thought.

Ten minutes had nearly passed, when everyone heard the heavy thunder of hooves coming their way.

"Take hands, quickly!" Jareth commanded, watching as every person immediately reached for a hand or shoulder.

Power began to gather and the exiled-prince swiftly took control, linking it together and weaving into it a destination. The hoof beats grew louder and Jareth began to realize they weren't going to make it.

Then, like an avenging angel, the mare leapt from the circle. Rearing back, she slammed her golden hooves into the ground. The earth rumbled and massive vines broke free and began to weave together, forming a temporary barrier against the coming soldiers.

Jareth's eyes went wide, as the light grew brighter and the mare turned, darting back to the small gathering. Loosing his hand from the person to his left, he reached out, and just as he felt the power snap, his fingers brushed the edges of her coat.

The brave mare, her herd, and the gathered exiles, disappeared.

The last thing Jareth saw was a Belvedere and Chequered Fritillary blooming amidst the vines.

We declare against you, may you be persecuted.

The unicorns had just cursed The Land of the Great Falls.


Neither said anything as the memory ended, silently remaining in each others arms.

Sarah didn't know what to feel. She thought she would be elated that he'd gained his freedom, but the manner he was forced to leave in left her feeling hollow.

She clung to Jareth tighter.

It wasn't fair, it wasn't right.

"Are you going to be alright?" He asked.

"Me?" She asked, her hands fisting in the back of his coat. "What about you? I can't understand why they did that. How… why, why did they hurt you that way?"

She was determined not to cry again, but he could feel the old hurt his memories had brought up. Sarah's mother had been a very vindictive woman, and had blamed Sarah for much of her lost youth. While there were few physical scars to be had, Jareth had learned that the scars that bothered her most were the ones that weren't seen.

"Yes, Sarah, I want to know if you'll be alright." He spoke softly. "These things happened to me a long time ago, and I've made my peace with most of them."

She took a breath. "Only most?"

He looked down at her. "Much as you cannot comprehend why your mother did what she did, I cannot comprehend why my parents feared me to the point of contempt. It's just something I have to live with."

Sarah glanced away. "We shouldn't have to live with it. There should be answers."

"There probably are," Jareth answered. "but I don't know if I want to hear them. I'm not sure I want to know their reasons."

"Maybe you're right," she said. "maybe it's better not to know. It's just… I just wish I could understand. I don't want to be like my mother, not ever. I want to love my children when I have them, I don't want to be resentful of them, but I'm so scared I'll become that anyway."

"You will never become that," Jareth spoke firmly. "just as I will never become my father. You're still young enough to have doubts, but listen to me when I tell you, you are your own person. You can never become like her, because you have already made the choice not to be, and our choices shape us. Take heart, Sarah, you have already won this battle."

She sighed as she rested her head along his shoulder, her tension easing. "Yeah, one battle down, one more to go."

Tokens of Affection

A Labyrinth Story
by Shinku

Part 5 of 15

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