Later, Jareth would look back on the moment just before her sudden and unexpected arrival to reassure himself that he hadn't made any wishes. Wishes always demanded payment, and some wishes had far higher prices than others. This wish, had he been the one to make it, would have cost him dearly.

In moments of doubt, he would ask himself for what reason would he have made the wish. During her first run, he could see that she would grow to be a true beauty, but at the time, she was far too young for him to consider keeping, even if such a thing were possible. And if his appeal to her in the last few seconds of their game had succeeded, it would have only served to prove that she wasn't worthy of winning. But she had denied him, something no mortal had done before, and proven that she was worthy of a second chance with her family.

She had abandoned her dreams, left them Underground, with him, and he kept them close and treasured them. He would not torment her with them as he had done to the people who had traversed his Kingdom before ultimately failing, or the people who hadn't even tried. But she would never realize them, either. No good deed, and all that.

He comforted himself with the knowledge that there was no real reason for him to have made the wish. The silly, melodramatic girl was gone, leaving the best of herself with him.

But that would be later. In the moment, her appearance in the center of his throne room shocks him into stillness. Sparkling fallout showers the throne room as her limp form falls to the floor with a decidedly non-magical thud. Though caught off-guard, he still understands immediately what has happened, and does not concern himself with her physical well-being. She'll have a few bruises, he knows, but this new body of hers will be much more resilient than the old. The emotional damage, and he knows there will be plenty of it, will take longer to assess.

Naked as the day she was born, for in a most unnatural way, it is the day she was born, she lies unmoving on the floor. This is one trauma he can spare her, at least. The sudden appearance and unanticipated sound from her fall has confused the goblins, giving him an opportunity to transport his subjects out of the castle and into the city square before they notice who she is. Though the goblins would not care how she is dressed, he knows what it is like to be exposed and defenseless in front of so many uncaring eyes.

As he stands from his throne, stepping lightly to the depressed stone circle where she lies curled on the floor, he conjures a cloak. It is an old favorite of his, thin, light, and warm. He carefully covers her body, then crouches over her, taking a long, hard look.

The girl is practically vibrating with magical potential. He knows, however, that she will not realize that potential immediately.

He raises his hands and runs them through the air over her. The magical signature is not what he expected and makes him reevaluate who might have done this to her. The magic weaving through her aura makes his skin tingle pleasantly, and he fights the urge to touch her. He closes his gloved hands into fists and rests them on his knees.

She's older, he notices, but not by much. Her face has thinned some; her chin longer and her cheekbones more defined, giving her a finer, more mature appearance. But she is still, unmistakably, her. The transformation has preserved her mortal image, even though it has fundamentally changed her physical makeup.

"Sarah," he says, and it does not surprise him when the name falls flat on the air, with no spark of the magic or power it had once held. She has been renamed. Of course.

The Goblin Queen. It is her destiny. He knows all too well that there will be no negotiations, no bargains, and no escape. After all, this is how it had happened to him, too.

"Welcome home," he finishes, cheerlessly.


Sarah takes a final look around her childhood bedroom, debating once more whether or not to take the statuette that looks so much like the wild-haired man who had sent her on such an adventure nearly four years earlier. She often wonders why she's never bothered to throw it out. The only sentimental value it holds is its resemblance to a fairy tale creature she wishes she could forget. But there is something about it that she still finds fascinating even after all this time, and she has never been able to bring herself to get rid of it, or even to put it somewhere where she cannot see it.

She has already packed the plush dolls that resemble Ludo and Sir Didymus and the bookend that looks so much like Hoggle. Her friends have remained constant, and if she cannot see them while she is at college, she'll keep their likenesses nearby. Deciding she has packed too much already, she feels an almost physical pain when she turns her back on the statuette, knowing she'll be without it until the coming holidays. Ignoring the feeling, she hoists the last of her bags on her shoulder and leaves the room.

Outside, she places the bag in the back of her car, then lets the rear door drop, being careful not to pinch her fingers. The gas spring has long since given up the ghost, and the door slams shut with a loud bang.

The day dawned bright and hot that August morning and the daily forecast showed no hint of foul weather. It is a perfect day for a long drive. In addition to the likenesses of her friends, the boxes and bags skillfully arranged in the back of Sarah's car hold everything she'll need for her first year at college. In the passenger seat, a large collection of cassettes in their unzipped travel organizer wait for their turn in the car's tape deck.

Robert looks doubtfully at the old Chevette. "I still don't think you should drive that thing all the way on your own," he mumbles more to himself than to her.

Sarah gives her dad a small smile, but does not reply. It's an old argument, and one she isn't willing to have again. She wants to have a car at school and it just doesn't make sense to have her entire family drive behind her only to turn around the next day and drive home. In any case, she knows it isn't the car he's really worried about. Though old and small, it's been surprisingly reliable since she purchased it the previous summer. No, it's not the car bothering Robert. It's definitely the five hundred miles that will be separating them by the time the sun goes down that evening. Sarah pats the top of the car as though Robert's comments hurt its feelings.

This is it, she thinks with excitement. This is the beginning of her adult life. The car is packed and it is time to go. The next time she returns to this house, it will be as a guest. Despite her excitement about starting this new life, she hasn't looked forward to saying goodbye. She walks slowly to where Toby sits on the house's front steps looking dejectedly at his feet.

"Do you have to go?" he asks, looking up at her with big blue eyes.

Sarah sighs and hunkers down in front of him. This was the part she'd dreaded the most. Toby has been anxious for weeks about her leaving and now that the day has arrived, she worries that he will handle it badly. "Yeah," she answers quietly. No point in sugar-coating it. "It's time."

Toby continues looking at her earnestly, and Sarah can see the gears spinning in his little mind. "Can I have your room?" he asks, his voice serious.

Sarah bites back a laugh. So much for emotional breakdowns. "Where will I sleep when I come back for a visit?" she asks in just as serious a voice.

"You can sleep on the couch," he answers, the tone in his voice making it clear that he believes this to be not just a reasonable accommodation, but a generous one.

Shaking her head in amusement, Sarah tousles Toby's hair. The little boy pulls away from Sarah's hand, in no mood to be patronized.

"I'm gonna miss you, Tobes," she sighs. "Be good for your mom and dad, all right?"

Toby gives her a small, crooked smile in lieu of an answer. She thinks to herself that she already misses that secret smile of his, still finding it hard to believe that she's going to be missing so much of his childhood while she goes to school.

"Never mind your dad," Karen says as she swoops in to give Sarah a hug. "They worry. It's in the job description." She leans in to whisper, "College is supposed to be fun, Sarah. Join some clubs and make some friends, ok?"

Sarah feels the familiar stab of hurt and annoyance. She hadn't made friends in high school. Most of the kids had thought she was too weird to hang out with, even after she stopped dressing up and reciting lines in the park. For the past several years, Sarah has wondered if she brought something of the Labyrinth back with her. She'd read stories about normal people being "fae touched." They were never the same again. She'd tried - oh, she'd tried! - to make friends with her classmates. It wasn't as if they'd bullied her; it was more like they simply didn't notice her. She'd attempted to join in with some groups, but when group after group just walked away from her as if she wasn't there, she'd become too shy to try anymore.

It had taken a few years, but Sarah had eventually come to realize that Karen's interest in Sarah's social life was Karen's unique way of showing Sarah that she cared, but every mention of parties or boys only served to twist the knife piercing her self-esteem. She would have loved to go to parties and would have loved for boys to show her any kind of attention, but that kind of social interaction just didn't seem to be in the cards for her.

She pushes the hurt away and puts a smile on her face. No fighting on my last day home, she tells herself, knowing that Karen at least means well.

When Sarah pulls back from the hug, Karen reaches into her pocket and hands Sarah a little plastic card. "We got you a prepaid phone card. The instructions are on the back. Call us whenever you stop for gas, ok? We'll recharge the card when it gets low."

"Thank you," Sarah says, studying the back of the card. It really is a thoughtful gift. A lifeline home, should she need it. She gives Karen a smile before turning to her dad.

She puts her arms around his neck and hugs him tightly like she'd done when she was a little girl. He pats her back awkwardly, unsure how to return the gesture.

"I can't believe you're all grown. When did that happen?"

Sarah pulls away and shrugs slightly, not knowing how to answer. Her interactions with her dad often lead to these awkward pauses, neither of them really knowing how to express their feelings toward the other. When she was younger, she would have had a tantrum over their mutual misunderstandings. After her experience in the Labyrinth, she has realized that her father loves her deeply, but has never been very comfortable showing it, and she now takes it in stride.

"Oh!" he says as he reaches into his back pocket and pulls out his wallet. He removes a couple of twenty dollar bills and hands them to her. "Pizza money," he says. "You'll probably need it."

She nods her thanks and takes the bills. She had learned long ago that this was how her father felt most comfortable showing his affection. When she was a little girl, it was toys and costumes. As a college student, it would apparently be pizza money. That was fine. A little extra spending money would be nice to have.

He takes another long look at his daughter. "Have a safe trip," he says.

"Thanks, Dad," she responds, sincerely.

"Drive carefully."

"I will."

"If you get tired, pull over."

"Ok, Dad," she says, annoyance creeping into her voice as she opens her car door and climbs in.

"Ok," he nods.

Sarah starts the car, shifts into reverse, and backs out of the driveway. As she puts the car in drive and hits the gas, Robert shouts one last piece of advice.

"No dating!"

Sarah looks at her family in the rearview mirror and laughs as Karen swats Robert's arm.

The excitement of leaving home soon gives way to the tedious monotony of the drive. Sarah pops the first cassette into the tape deck and sighs at the tinny sound that emanates from the speakers. The sound system is pathetic, but better than nothing. She turns up the volume and begins humming along to the music.

The Sunday morning freeway traffic is light and her mind begins to wander as she drives. Before long, she stops humming and begins to feel plagued by the concerns of the upcoming week. She worries about the cattle call that is class registration, having found an English Literature course that she desperately wants to take. Hordes of students will descend on the stadium, each of them trying to get into their preferred classes. As a freshman, she will already be among the last students allowed to register. As a Williams, she'll be among the last freshmen in line. She had heard there was a new system that allowed students to register over the phone instead of standing in lines, but that only makes her more anxious as she isn't sure how the system will work. What if her roommate is one of those girls who always talks on the phone and Sarah misses out on her class because the line is busy?

Her roommate… She has the name of the girl with whom she'd be a sharing a room, but she knows nothing about her. Sarah wonders if she is a social butterfly-type. Maybe she could help Sarah integrate with the student population better than she had in high school. In any case, she thinks it unlikely that the roommate will ignore her.

She imagines the pair of them going out to football games and parties, being introduced to boys, and maybe - just maybe - actually getting a boyfriend.

Her thoughts turn to the Labyrinth, as they often do when she thinks about boys. The lessons she'd learned there had never left her. She'd put away many of those childish things that had led to her wishing Toby away, preferring instead to embrace the responsibility of adulthood. She'd watched her kid brother when asked. She'd done the chores she was expected to do. She pulled good grades and earned scholarships. But she had yet to meet anyone that made her feel the warm, tingly confusion the Goblin King made her feel. She hadn't recognized the feeling during her run. She hadn't known what it had meant. But she's felt weak echoes of it since, whenever she saw someone who vaguely resembled the charismatic king. She recognizes it now: Attraction. Want.

And you, Sarah… In her memory, his voice caresses her name. How are you enjoying my Labyrinth? He had leaned over her in that dark passageway, overwhelming her with his presence. She had needed a moment to compose herself before spitting out probably the stupidest thing she could have said to him.

Sometimes she feels cheated and wonders if the Goblin King intentionally warped her development. When she thinks of the ideal man, his image immediately comes to mind, though she knows it's ridiculous to think of it. His features are too sharp to be considered conventionally attractive and his demeanor is too cruel. And yet, late at night, when she's by herself, she can't stop herself from fantasizing about what might have been. What might have happened if she'd taken him up on his offer and stayed with him.

Just let me rule you and you can have everything that you want…

Nonsense. What business did he have making promises like that?

Just fear me, love me, do as I say, and I will be your slave.

Fear him? Naturally. Love him? Never. The man was old enough to be her father at least! And besides, he didn't deserve to be loved. He was a nightmare come to life made all the worse by his allure.

And he was alluring! It was insult to injury as far as she was concerned. He had kidnapped her little brother, forced her to play his game, and then… what? Flirted with her? What kind of maniac…

She is pulled from her thoughts when the music abruptly cuts off. Her eyes snap to the stereo, but there is nothing to see. The cassette is still in the player and the play button is depressed. Already irritated, Sarah lets out a loud groan of frustration and hits the eject button. The cassette pops out and as she pulls it from the player, it is followed by two long lines of dark brown tape.

"Damnit!" she swears as she glances back at the road and adjusts the wheel to keep the car in her lane.

Sarah looks back at the tape in her hand and sighs. She checks the road again to make sure she is still within the lines, then closes her eyes for a moment to allow her frustration to ebb. She lays the cassette on the case that holds the others and moves her eyes back to the road. As she rounds a bend, she finds her way blocked. In the middle of her lane, mere yards from her swiftly moving car, stands a doe.

Without thinking, Sarah stamps her foot on the brakes and swerves. Time seems to slow as she narrowly misses the animal. She has only a moment to thank whatever god is watching that there aren't many cars on the road. All thoughts of regaining control of the vehicle seem to flee her mind as she catches the eye of the deer. The dark, liquid brown seems to draw her in, disconnecting her from reality.

Her head spins as her limbs readjust themselves into a new and unfamiliar position. The sharp roar of an engine envelops her before quickly retreating and being replaced by the unnatural shriek of a car horn. The sound of metal on metal seems to tumble in her ears, crash after crash. When the loudest of the sounds pass, the more gentle sounds of idling engines can be heard.

As she regains her bearings, she finds herself standing still in the center of the road, but not standing the way she would normally. She is now on four legs. The feeling is natural, as if she has always been this way. Though she has the sense that it should be familiar, the scent of burning gasoline from the engines make her shake her head as if she could rid herself of it.

From where she stands, she can see the little orange car, once so familiar, and now so foreign, crumpled on the side of the road. The front of the car is nearly gone and the back hadn't fared much better when the car traveling behind her had plowed into it. The force of the collision has forced the driver's side door open and cassette tapes litter the seat. Boxes and bags that had been so carefully packed have tumbled out through broken windows and lie scattered on the asphalt. A single bookend in the shape of a dwarf lies shattered in the center of the road near her feet.

Sarah watches as two people slowly climb out of the other wrecked vehicle, their expressions dazed. Another motorist, a man in a white shirt, quickly approaches the couple. From her position several yards away, she can tell he is making sure they aren't hurt. She can't quite make out what they are saying to each other, but she can see them nod, assuring one another that they are all right. The white-shirted man then approaches the orange car cautiously, his body language screaming dread. He hunches over as he looks through the shattered windows into the interior of the vehicle. When he straightens, Sarah can see the look of confusion on his face. He walks around the car to peer over the guardrail, then, after closing his eyes for a second and taking a deep breath, he gets down on his hands and knees and looks under the car. When he stands again, he begins shouting.

Other people have begun to climb out of their vehicles and approach the scene, seeing if there is anything they can do or if they can begin to direct traffic around the accident. As Sarah watches, an elderly woman points at her. Sarah startles at the attention as several people turn to stare at her. It is an unfamiliar feeling to have the eyes of so many people trained on her. The man in the white shirt begins to approach her and the impulse to run becomes too intense to ignore. She skitters backward, momentarily feeling awkward on her feet, before turning and running away from the burning smells, the gawking people, and the human world.

Away from the engines and people, the sights, sounds, and smells of the woods begin to fill her senses. It's the leaves that first catch her attention. They have a new, more musical sound as the wind whistles through them, causing the limbs to which they are attached to creak in time. Nearby, a stream babbles, lending an alto note to the music. Dappled sunlight breaks through the foliage, highlighting the soft green vegetation and occasional mushroom on the forest floor. The clean, vegetal smell of the grass draws her closer and she bends forward to nip a mouthful. It is sweet and cool in her mouth as she chews. She swallows and leans in for more. She continues grazing as she walks - a bit of leaf here, a bite of mushroom there - until she is satisfied.

After a time, she finds a hidden spot in which to bed down. As she settles herself, she brings up her cud to chew. She remains alert, aware of her surroundings. The woods around her are calm as night begins to fall. As far as she is concerned, everything is fine. She dozes occasionally, waking often to ensure she is still safe.

She rises with the sun and begins foraging once more for food. A meadow offers her more long grass and she is delighted to find a bit of clover as well. The ever-present song of the woods accompanies her throughout the day as she forages, wanders, and beds down for several hours, then forages some more.

Days pass in this way, and though she does not want for food, loneliness begins to creep in. She knows, feeling it deep in her bones, that she is not meant to be alone. She needs the company of her own kind to help keep her safe. The more time passes, the more anxiety she feels.

One evening, just before sunset, she stands near a small clearing, attempting to pull some unripe apples from a small tree, when the music of the forest is disrupted by a small noise. It is the tiniest sound, nearly inaudible. Just a small snap. Her heart begins to race and she stands stock-still, sniffing the air. It is clean, smelling only of the apples, the grass, and the trees around her. Nothing threatening. It is only when the breeze picks up and changes the direction of the wind that she catches it - tangy, sharp, and dangerous. She whips her head in the direction of the scent and sees them.

Coyotes.

Immediately, she turns on her heels and runs as fast as her legs will take her. The pack of coyotes follows in hot pursuit, trailing her, attempting to surround her and cut off her escape route. Instinct will not be enough to save her and she does not have the experience to outrun them. One snaps at her haunch, causing her to veer to the left where a fallen tree blocks her path. She bunches her legs underneath her to leap over when one of the coyotes jumps on her back, throwing her off-balance and causing her to collapse against the rotting trunk. They are on her before she can blink, one tearing at her haunch and another ripping into her belly.

The stinks of the predators is soon overwhelmed by the scent of her own blood. She doesn't want to die, but she feels no grief, just painful resignation. Unable to move, she lays her head on the ground and her eyes focus on a trail of ants as they march away from the fallen and rotting tree.

One comes close to her face and her eyes are barely able to focus on it as it passes by. She isn't sure if it has the ability to look in her eyes, but as she stares at it, she feels that sensation of weightlessness and disorientation. The pain in her belly and haunch abruptly stop as her legs stumble over one another. Her eyesight becomes blurry, but she finds she doesn't mind. She is more concerned that walking has suddenly become much more complicated. She pauses and considers her legs. There are more of them than there were before. She puts one leg in front of the other, in front of the other, and then tries the other side. Oh! There are six of them! Raising her head, she can sense the trail in front of her and begins to follow it.

Her world is now silent, but the vibrations of the forest around her give her a sense of where she is. The scent trail in front of her leads to a morsel of food, small enough for her to lift and carry back to the nest. Her work is not so dissimilar from her activities from the past several days, but it is far more intense. She isn't simply filling her belly until the next time she feels hungry; she is providing for hundreds of her kin.

The work never ends. She makes several trips, following the chemical trail left by those who passed this way before her while taking note of certain landmarks as she goes. The chemical trail is comforting, giving her a sense of community and purpose, but she soon finds it unnecessary. As the known food source at the end of the trail is depleted, she feels the urge to explore further.

She feels excitement as she leaves the chemical trail. The familiar landmarks quickly fall behind her and she stops frequently to scent the air.

Twice in quick succession, shadows fall over her. She can feel the vibration of several legs hitting the ground around her. She has only a moment to fear for her safety before the vibrations begin to fade, indicating that whatever had loomed over her has moved on. She moves forward and picks up a new chemical trail. It isn't the same as the one from her nest. This is new and unfamiliar, but the scent is compelling, fascinating, and she feels she must follow it.

A large object blocks the sun, and the cool ground beneath her indicates that it is stationary and permanent. She makes a note of the change as she continues forward. She knows she should change direction and possibly head back to the nest, but she feels compelled to continue forward. She finds herself in a steady uphill climb. The incline, combined with the lack of sunlight, indicates that she is headed toward a large tree, and soon she finds herself crawling directly up the trunk. She does not know how far she has traveled since she left the chemical trail and companionship of her nest. Her legs grow tired as she continues to crawl upwards.

There is no sense of detachment or confusion this time as her legs stretch, reaching down into the cool earth and drinking in moisture and sustenance. Her eyesight diminishes entirely, but her world is not black. The sun warms her body and she reaches her branches toward it as a breeze blows through her leaves. She stands proud and tall, holding her limbs out wide to catch the sun and air, providing refuge to small creatures that have made their homes in her boughs.

The arc of the sun across the sky gives her a sense of the passage of time, but that passage holds no significance for her. A sense of peace pervades her entire being. What is, simply is, and what is not does not matter. She breathes and allows herself to just be.

She can feel the vibrations of the small animals that have made their homes in her branches and welcomes them. She is their home and their guardian. She takes ownership of the role and feels honored to be a part of their lives. They bring companionship, meaning, and purpose to her existence and the pride she feels nearly overwhelms her.

Her days, however, are numbered. She should have lived years, possibly hundreds of them, serving these creatures, but one species has other plans for her. A small number of them come to her in several large vehicles, fouling the air as they arrive. She can neither see nor hear them, but she feels their vibrations and can smell the exhaust. The familiarity of it prickles the back of her consciousness. Without preamble, they hoist themselves into her branches and begin removing her limbs. Her despair is overwhelming as the little animals she has protected flee. These men will not care for her creatures when she is gone. A gust of wind whips through her branches and she shivers.

A large bird, an osprey, alights on one of her uppermost branches, a brave move when men are at work below. It grasps the slender branch in its talons and holds tight. She knows what comes next, and this time, she wills it, forcing her consciousness up and into the bird. It is there for her. To save her.

Vision returns, sharper than she ever thought possible. The sounds of the men below are deafening as they use their machines to lop off large branches. The tree sways with their movements and she spreads her wings and launches herself into the air.

Freedom! With nothing to weigh her down or hold her back, she flies higher into the sky, leaving her responsibilities and cares behind her. She needs no one and nothing and thoughts of the little animals that counted on her flee her mind. There is so much to see and hear that she is nearly overwhelmed by the amount of sensory input she is receiving. She feels as if she can fly forever. When she spies a river below her, she follows it down the mountainside.

Her new eyes see everything so clearly that she can make out dozens of fish swimming in the river below. Her instincts scream at her to hunt and she dives for one, adjusting her body at the last moment to plunge deep into the water, grabbing the fish with her talons and gripping it tightly. She struggles to the surface and immediately takes to the air once more, adjusting the fish so it does not interfere with her flight.

The pattern of eating and sleeping comes back to her quickly, and though there are others of her kind nearby, she feels no need for their company. She feels compelled to define a territory and defend it and is surprised when none of the others challenge her presence. There is a deference to them that does not seem natural to her. She quickly learns to take advantage of it, though, often invading their territory to hunt for herself. Though she is brazen about taking territory, she stops shy of being a bully and does not steal food from the others. She finds it deeply satisfying to catch her own food.

Diving and grabbing comes to her naturally and she does it countless times without thought, so when she dives for a salmon and feels that moment of disconnect as she looks into its eyes, she is unprepared. Her head swims, and before she knows it, so does her body. The talons that used to belong to her disappear from around her. She does not know whether the osprey returns to the surface to hunt elsewhere or if it simply ceases to exist. It is gone, and only her salmon-self is left in the water, swimming against the current, trying to get back to the place where she was spawned.

It feels as if everything is an obstacle. She fights the current and knows that if she is persistent, she can make it home again. However, there are many dangers. She is prey to any number of animals both in and out of the water, and if she is not careful, she may find herself hopelessly lost in the wrong tributary.

The work is difficult, but her task is simple and thoughtless. She has no desire to eat, nor any desire to sleep. There is only the movement, the fight, and the hope that she will succeed. She doesn't know how long she swims. She does not keep track of the passage of hours or days. They blur together until they are indistinguishable from one another.

She does not see the hand that grabs her and pulls her from the water. She gasps and chokes at the lack of cool water through her gills. She is drowning on dry land. Her eyes are useless in the air, but she can hear and she can understand.

"Ah, there you are, lass. Recognize you anywhere, I would." The speaker is male, but she doesn't believe for a moment that he is a man. "Think you've had enough now. It's time."

She is placed, still gasping, in a basket lined with straw. The air is torture as it passes through her body, drying her out. Her eyesight, already diminished, fades entirely, and she stills. She waits for the moment of transfer, the disorientation that has always come, but it doesn't happen. Her body dies, and she remains trapped within it, unable to see, unable to move, but somehow able to hear and to think. Sorrow overwhelms her. She hadn't made it home.

She is thankful for the loss of feeling as she is taken into a dwelling and prepared for supper. There is no pain, nor even a tugging sensation as she is sliced and her innards removed. Though she cannot see or feel it, she knows she has been placed over a fire. She can hear her flesh sizzle as she is cooked.

It is quiet for a short time, and then she hears a disappointed sigh followed by a voice, feminine and refined.

"You make a poor Salmon of Wisdom, Sarah, but I have high hopes for your future." The voice is low, almost a whisper. "I know you can hear me, girl. Listen well." Sarah doesn't think she could block out the voice even if she tried. "Do you know your name means 'princess?' That will not do. You are destined for something much greater." There is a thoughtful pause. "I rename you…"

Sarah hears the syllables of her new name roll from the woman's tongue. It burns into her consciousness, searing itself into her memory.

The woman continues, "Hold it close; keep it safe. You hold the key to releasing us. Only you have the knowledge to stop roar…"

The woman is interrupted by a loud crash and a shout and Sarah has no time to worry about whatever it is she is supposed to stop. The voices are suddenly muffled and she feels herself begin to fall as the voices fade away. She falls and falls until, finally, oblivion claims her.


Notes:

Disclaimer:
This is a work of fan fiction. The author makes no money from this story.

Acknowledgments:
In addition to Labyrinth, this work is inspired by the song "Mad World" by Tears for Fears and covered by Gary Jules, a prompt from the Livejournal Labyfic community, and by my friend M. who will probably not read this, but should be acknowledged nonetheless.

Chapter One is based on the Irish fairy tale, The Story of Tuan Mac Cairill.

This story has been beta'd by Aurora Kemanche and Exulansis, both of whom I'd like to thank for their friendship, time, ideas, and general awesomeness.

Labyrinth is the property of Henson Associates, Inc., Lucasfilm Ltd., and TriStar Pictures.

The first several chapters of this story have already been posted on AO3. I am less good at posting on this site, but I'll do my best. Please pardon any formatting issues as I get the hang of it.