An agonising scream echoed down the passage from the birthing chambers. Even though Victrum had given Sarah the pain killers they didn't numb all the pain, and what was bearable half an hour before was unbearable now with the onslaught of contractions that came with increasing intensity and with less and less time between for her to catch her breath. Sarah was terrified, she wished for Jareth with every breath she could draw in between crushing pain.
Victrum checked her dilation and nodded his head grimly. He nodded to Bottleblossem and she darted forward and wiped the perspiration of Sarah's forehead and face with a soothing cloth.
"Sarah, you can push now." The physician told her and made himself ready to catch the child.
These were the welcome words Sarah had been waiting for. She was running out of strength, it was an effort to even lift her head. She took a deep breath and sent a thought out to Jareth as she bore down and pushed. A scream clawed its way out of her throat at the agonising pain and tears streamed down her cheeks.
Jareth forced himself to calm and direct the magic that the generals and the Faerie King were sending him to regain control of the army. Slowly he felt the pull of the soldiers that were still moving towards their Sovereigns. They were coming back to the battle. He opened his eyes and looked at the map. The rest that had already made it to the Harpy kingdom were not distracted from their course. They would overrun the Labyrinth in less than 5 minutes.
He reopened the link between himself and his wife and felt blinding agony. His eyes opened in shock as the pain of childbirth seared through him and he grunted. The men in the tent looked at him surprised and he ignored them.
Sarah was giving birth way too early and there was an army that was going to attack any moment. For the first time in his life, Jareth didn't know what to do. Did he stay and try and get the army to turn from here? Or did he go to his wife and try and defend her as the wild magic inside her forced the baby out too early.
The thoughts whirled around his head and he panicked, he couldn't think, couldn't act.
Suddenly a woman materialised in the room, a beautiful woman with long red hair and dark red eyes. Jareth recognised her instantly and strode across the room to her, grabbing her arms he looked at her with undisguised desperation.
"Geletia, tell me what to do!"
"Go to your wife, High King."
"You said we would have peace! You said we would be peaceful for 60,000 years!" he yelled and shook her hard.
She looked at him sadly, "You changed your destiny and that of the Mortal, when you caused the death of the Faerie Princess. Her brother Jst has taken it upon himself to revenge his sister and is being used by your brother in a plot to kill your son and take your throne."
"Oh Goddess..." Jareth whispered in despair. It was truly all his fault!
She looked at him with suffering eyes, "go to your wife, High King, she is suffering."
Jareth released her and stepped away.
"We will keep trying to draw the army back, Jareth." Alocote said gravely.
Jareth nodded briefly and was gone, vanished to the Labyrinth and to his wife who laboured in childbirth.
He arrived in the birthing chamber just as the baby slipped out of Sarah and was caught in the safe arms of the physician Victrum. He stood in the shadows for a second alarmed by the blood and disarray he saw. Sarah sobbed weakly on the bed and tried to sit up to see her baby.
"Is he well?" she whispered her throat rough from screaming.
"He is perfect, Majesty."
"Good." Sarah whispered and accepted a drink of water from Bottleblossem. "Jareth," she looked directly at him and smiled, "I have given you a son and heir."
Before he could say anything she fell into an exhausted sleep. Jareth ran forward and took her hand gently touching her forehead in worry.
Victrum washed the perfect baby boy and wrapped him in a blanket. "Your son, Majesty." He said and placed the child into Jareth's quivering arms. Jareth had never felt a love so deep and so sudden take a grip on his heart as when he looked into his son's mismatched eyes for the first time.
"Look what we did, Sarah." He whispered and kissed the baby on the head marvelling and forgetting about everything else.
Suddenly an alarm pierced the air and Jareth stood up holding his son protectively against his chest. In the moment he had seen his firstborn born he had forgotten his brother's army was coming to kill his son and take his throne. Hurriedly he handed the child to Victrum and told him briefly what was happening. He left strict instructions to protect the child and his queen with his life before Jareth strode out the room magically locking the doors behind him.
"Labyrinth!" he called and a mirror like image of the crone appeared.
"Majesty, there are intruders in the Labyrinth."
"I know," he relied hurriedly running up stairs to his study where he could look at the advancing army through the window he loved to sit in with Sarah. "Kill all on foot and as many as you can in the air." He gave the order and sprinted through the doors of his study and to the window. Thousands of soldiers could be seen on the outside and would be attacking the Labyrinth in a matter of seconds! He needed to get to the roof. He vanished and reappeared on the rooftop of his castle and looked around. He was powerful and could kill hundreds of the forces coming to attack but he could not kill them all. Hopefully Labyrinth would take out a few hundred more and Alocote could pull the majority back to the troll war. He clicked his fingers grimly and was instantly covered in battle armour. He would save Sarah and their son, even if it cost him his life.
With a tremendous war cry the advancing army attacked! The foot soldiers made up of mostly Faeries attacked the walls using their wings to scale quickly up and over the walls as if they were merely hurdles in a race. The first hundred were killed with vines that lashed out so fast they soldiers couldn't defend themselves and were torn apart. The next hundred simply cut the vines and advanced with deadly determination.
On the roof Jareth was attacked by the first round of Harpies. The Queen didn't attack she flew straight up and directed as wave after wave came at him and he blocked them with magic shields and trapped some in crystals, others were disintegrated. The Harpies were relentless and were attacking from all around him, he didn't shield quickly enough as a Harpy came at him from behind and she caught him in a long slash of her dagger across his back. Jareth whirled with a cry and threw a crystal at her, she burst into flames screaming. Jareth was making crystals appear as fast as he could, but he was getting tired. The constant waves of attacks were wearing him down, but he grit his teeth and held his own on the rooftop. Silently telling Sarah he loved her as she was still sleeping and the link between them was dead.
The piercing alarms were encroaching on her exhausted sleep and Sarah began to wake. She opened her eyes and saw Victrum holding her baby. She smiled tiredly and tried to move, her sore body panged and she made a small sound. The physician turned and hurried over handing her son to her.
"Aren't you beautiful, I will name you Toby, I don't think your father will object." She sighed and smiled at Victrum, "thank you." Her strength was waning again, with it her awareness, but she knew there was something important happening. That damn alarm was unusual. "Victrum, what is happening?"
"War, Majesty. Halien has attacked the Labyrinth with his army."
"Jareth!" Sarah cried and sat up, her vision whirled and threatened to turn black. She kept very still warding off the dizziness. Suddenly warmth filled her and she couldn't move. A quickening of her heart told her it was the wild magic inside her doing something.
Please help me help Jareth. She silently implored it knowing the magic did whatever it pleased anyway.
Her heart quickened again and her sore body started to lift of its own accord. Sarah shut her eyes and went inward allowing the magic to take hold of her body. She would give her life to save her baby and Jareth. She would give her life to protect the inhabitants of the Labyrinth.
"Majesty!" Victrum shouted in panic as Sarah was lifted completely off the bed and floated straight up. Sarah didn't hear him, the magic filled her with warmth and she felt instinctively that she shouldn't open her eyes. She continued climbing up towards the ceiling then went safely through it. Victrum fell to his knees praying to the Goddess for mercy on his Queen and King as they fought for their lives.
She continued upward until she broke out onto the rooftop where Jareth was being attacked by three Harpy women with daggers. His shield was beginning to break under the strain of the weapons and pure determination to kill him. His attention broke as Sarah appeared beside him seemingly dead. The daggers got through and sank deep into his shoulder, back and arm.
"Sarah!" he called and erected a weak barrier around them both, falling to his knees beside his wife he cradled her body to him and kissed her forehead.
"It's the Mortal Whore!" Hashi the Harpy Queen screamed over the din of weapons attacking weapons and stone. "Kill her!"
Harpies all around them swarmed and came in to attack. A bright flash of light and power came out of Sarah and froze the entire army where they were. Jareth looked up from where he was shielding Sarah's body and looked around himself with astonished eyes. Harpies were frozen mid-dive, Hashi's mouth open in a scream of battlelust.
He looked down at Sarah to see her green eyes open and looking at him, pure love shining in their beautiful depths.
"Sarah…" he started and she smiled at him lovingly.
"Where do they need to go?" She whispered her voice still rough from screaming.
"The front line of the troll war," Jareth replied and Sarah smiled again. She attempted to raise her hand to touch his face, but couldn't lift it.
"I have given you a son, someone to fill your life with love and laughter."
"That's what you are here for, love." He replied and kissed her gently, tears beginning in his eyes at the resigned tone to her voice. She was trying to tell him something, but his panicking mind wouldn't take it in.
"I have given you a son, an heir. I love you, Jareth."
"No…" he whispered his tears beginning to flood over and down his cheeks. "You can't…"
"I am on borrowed strength, my love. The wild magic inside me has lent me enough to save you." Her words were becoming softer and her eyes were filling with tears.
"No!..." Jareth repeated more firmly pulling his soul-mate closer to his chest and his head screamed out denial.
"Jareth," Sarah said smiling at him, compassion in her eyes, tears slipping from her eyes into her hair.
"You can't leave me." Jareth could hardly speak around the lump of anguish in his throat.
"I love you." Sarah whispered one last time, closing her eyes.
Time restarted again. Halien's entire army disappeared including the Harpy King and Queen to the front line of the troll war.
Jareth didn't notice. His entire being was fixed on the young woman in his arms. He touched her cheek disbelieving and her head lolled towards him, a peaceful smile on her face.
Jareth felt his heart break. A single whimper pushed past the lump in his throat and he touched her hair, touched her face with trembling fingertips. Finally dark, despairing emptiness filled him and he let out a single, wordless scream.
The generals in the strategy tent of the front line let out a cheer. The map in front of them was changing. The defecting army was returning. The Faerie King breathed a sigh of relief and rubbed a hand over his eyes.
Alocote opened his eyes and smiled tiredly at the general, "Halien and Hashi the King and Queen of the Harpies need to be arrested. Organise a unit of thirty well trained men from the High King's army. Message me when you have finished."
The General nodded his head and banged his hand against his breast plate. He turned to leave the tent then stopped. "Why only the High King's army?"
Alocote's face was grim, "his soldiers were the only ones that didn't desert."
The General's saluted again and left the tent. The Faerie King sat at the desk looking at the troops slowly returning on the map. Suddenly there was a flash of light behind him and a solid thump, on the map the front line was crowded with colours. Alocote turned around and stared in astonishment. On the floor of his tent, in a heap, lay Hashi and Halien the Harpy King and Queen, unconscious.
"Majesty!" the Generals burst into the tent and stopped startled looking at the monarchs on the floor.
Alocote glanced at the Generals and the Faerie General remembered himself and saluted sharply the rest followed quickly and the Faerie King nodded his head not taking his eyes from the monarchs.
"Secure them in the torture tent, I will be there shortly." He said finally and motioned them away. They left quickly carrying the unconscious pair out with them. He turned back to the map a tight smile on his face the army was back!
Hashi spat blood at the Faerie King and it hit his shield uselessly, she smiled anyway showing sharp bloodstained teeth. "I'm not telling you a thing." She purred and coughed up the blood from her punctured lung. She lay on a wooden table so stained with blood with was dark reddish brown, her wings broken and useless under her back, her hands and feet shackled tightly with iron. The iron burned and her wrists were torn and bloody.
"That is very unwise, Hashi. You and Halien didn't have enough power to make the armies turn traitor. Who helped you?" Alocote asked grimly and picked up a curved knife examining the point, it cut his finger and he nodded his head satisfied. "I will go after your wings next."
"And I will stay just as silent." She spat back and turned her face to let blood run out of her mouth onto the table. Nothing he could do to her was anything like what she had endured all her years of marriage to Halien.
"Pity, I think your wings are so pretty." He stabbed the knife through her crimson wing where it was thickest, cutting through bone and feathers. Hashi screamed in agony and choked on blood, it gurgled in her throat and she struggled to breathe. He left the knife embedded in her wing and grabbed her face turning it towards him. She tried to wrench her face away but his grip tightened and she fought urge to cry.
"I know what will make you talk." He told her releasing her face abruptly and straightening. Behind him two guards brought in a bloody Halien. Hashi couldn't contain her distress when she saw his damaged face and body. They chained him to a wooden cross in front of the table Hashi lay on and Halien sagged against the wood unable to hold himself up.
The Faerie went to Halien and lifted his head up. The fallen Harpy King's head lolled and the whites of his eyes showed. Alocote let go with a disgusted sound and the prisoner's head fell back against the wood with a thud.
"Wake him up." the Faerie King gestured behind him and moved to behind Hashi's head. She couldn't see him the primitive fear of being attacked from behind triggering the animal reaction of absolute stillness. Excruciating pain suddenly arced down her spine as he wrenched the knife out of her wing she screamed. In front of her a soldier splashed a bucket of dirty water on Halien, who awoke with a groan.
"Good. He's up." Alocote said grimly. Then stabbed the knife deep into Halien's shoulder.
The torture lasted only as long as it needed to. Hashi gave up the names of Allera the Elfin Courtesan and Jst the Faerie Prince. Alocote had been hurt and angry when he heard of his son's involvement in the plot to take the High King's throne, but it didn't affect his judgement. Two separate units of elite soldiers were send out to capture the traitors and bring them to the Front Line. Where they would be questioned then taken to the High King for judgement.
The occupants of the Labyrinth, who had survived the attack, rebuilt the damaged walls. The goblins and servants in the castle walked around quietly, never spoke in more than a hushed voice and stayed away from the King and Queen's bedroom.
Jareth had locked himself and the body of Sarah into their bedroom and had not come out since. It had been three days and many in the castle were worried that the King would do himself harm.
Victrum looked after the King's son as best he could, he found a Fae wet nurse in the village to feed the prince and he took over the rest of the duties. He needed to keep the heir to the throne healthy should anything happen to the king. A knock on his chamber door pulled him out of his morose thoughts and he glanced at the baby sleeping peacefully in the crib beside his desk.
"Enter." He said and stood when the Elfin Seer walked into the room.
"Milady." He bowed low before her, and she made a motion for him to rise.
"Good physician, where is the king?" she asked her red eyes searching the chambers for any sign of the monarch.
"He is in his chambers, Milady. He took the Queen with him and they have not come out for three days." Victrum allowed his distress to come through in his tone and looked at Geletia imploringly. "Surely there is something you can do?"
"I have come here to help." She replied and glided over to the cradle where the Heir to the High Throne lay sleeping. "He is beautiful." She sighed, but did not touch him. Her time to give prophecies was over. She was here to do one more thing for the Goddess Fate and then she could die.
"Where are the King's chambers?" she asked turning to Victrum. He walked to the door betraying his anxiety.
"I'll show you."
Geletia left Victrum at the door and with a little persuasive Elf magic she got the door to the chambers unlocked. The room was in darkness, but Geletia could make out objects in the gloom.
"Jareth?" She said quietly.
"Get out!" Jareth shouted hoarsely and got up creating a crystal as he came. She held out a hand.
"Wait! I am here to help."
"Help?" he scoffed. "You have done nothing but damage your entire life. This is your fault!" he hissed at her and she felt the weight of guilt fall on her shoulders.
"Jareth, you can't keep your wife's body here with you." She changed the subject and strode to the window. Opening the curtains the room filled with light, something glittered on the huge bed and she crossed to it.
Sarah lay as if sleeping encased in crystal. Jareth's shrine to his wife.
"Jareth you have a son! You can't stay here." She turned to face him, trying to shift the guilt and sorrow she felt somewhere deep so she wouldn't feel it. Just a little more and she could die.
"I didn't ask your opinion." Jareth sneered and crossed to the bed. He ran two fingers lovingly over the crystal where Sarah's lips were still red and ready for a kiss.
Geletia sighed and prayed to the Goddess that he would take this too heart so that life could go on.
"Jareth, if you let her go. You can have her again."
"What? How?" He turned with drunken hope in his eyes. Her heart nearly shattered for the part she played in his pain.
"The Goddess isn't cruel, Jareth. One life to save millions! She knows Sarah is your soul and she is willing to give her back to you. You must let her go!"
Jareth turned back to his wife lying encased in the crystal and his fist's clenched.
"How do I know this isn't just some trick to get her way?" He asked angrily all too aware of the way the Goddess Fate worked.
Jareth was silent at that, a battle going on inside his head. Geletia had started the ball rolling for this disaster just by being herself. The prophecy she gave him at birth, the prophecy she gave Mecrinda, the warning she didn't give in time. Everything would have happened another way if she hadn't interfered!
"I can't." He said eventually, his back still turned, "everything that has happened, has happened because of you."
"I know." Geletia sighed and left the room heartsick. She knew that Jareth was right; she was the cause for all of this heartache and pain. She had been cursed since birth to bring misfortune.
"Goddess," she whispered in the empty hallway, "I gave him your message. Please let me die now."
She took four more steps into an alcove and the Goddess kept her promise to the poor Elfin Seer Geletia. She took her life and reunited her with her true love in the Otherlife.
Jareth himself sat on the bed next to Sarah and tried to get his treacherous thoughts under control. He knew that Geletia was right. He had a son and a kingdom to run. He could no longer afford to wallow in his grief. Sarah had given her life to save him and that of her son and would have done it for nothing if he couldn't move on.
His placed a hand over hers through the crystal and with a small cry of dismay he sent her to the embalmers who would prepare her body for burial. He couldn't hold back the sobs and came out of his room when the funeral was set to occur.
He held Toby through it all and wept.
Four days later he sat in his study a mountain of paperwork piled up on his desk. Though his world had fallen down, it didn't mean that the kingdom had stopped. There was a hole in his life that would never be filled again, but he tried. He buried himself into his work and into loving and nurturing Toby his one and only link to Sarah.
He glanced at his sleeping son and smiled slightly. Suddenly, he felt an odd tug on the bond that had faded out of existence when Sarah had died. His heart leapt and he started to reach out down that lone ribbon before his mind reminded him that his beautiful wife was dead and nothing was at the end of that ribbon. He turned back to his paperwork, disappointment making his eyes burn.
A moment later a stronger tug came. Jareth placed the paper he had in his hand on the desk and stood, restless and sad. It came again stronger than ever and Jareth couldn't contain himself anymore. Hope sprang up in his chest and he vanished to reappear in a dark room.
Rain could be heard pattering against a pane glass window. Through the gloom Jareth made out light coloured walls, a door, a mobile and a crib. Curious he wandered over to the crib and looked inside. A baby lay there, awake but quiet looking up at him. Reaching beside the crib Jareth put on the nightlight and instantly the room was filled with soft light. He noticed all the pink in the room and deducted a female child was in the crib looking at him. He looked at her again and his heart stopped. A dark patch of hair and vivid green eyes stared at him, the baby smiled and Jareth felt his heart melt.
"Sarah?" he asked quietly and the baby blinked and yawned, but Jareth saw a flash of awareness come into the baby's eyes; recognition was clear in the green depths and the baby smiled again.
Jareth felt his heart lift. The Goddess Fate had given Sarah back to him, just as she had promised! He had a morale dilemma before him now. Did he take the child with him and raise her, or did he leave her to the mortals and go through the entire thing again? For a moment he was tempted to take the baby with him. He could make the parents forget about the child's existence, but no, Sarah would want to be brought up in the Mortal world again and have parents that love her. He would leave her here in the Aboveground.
He kissed the baby on the forehead and whispered his love. Then he turned off the nightlight and the room fell into darkness again. He stood in the dark listening to the baby's breathing as she fell asleep.
He would wait for her to group up. It wouldn't take long, besides he had forever to wait for her, and after all, forever is not long at all.
A/N: Well that is the end. I really hope you enjoyed the story. I really enjoyed writing it, and I would never have finished it if you all hadn't been there encouraging me and prodding me when I didnt update.
Please dont forget to let me know what you thought of it.
I am currently writing my next Labyrinth story.
Sarah is called to compete in a battle royal for the title of Champion of the Labyrinth. Jareth naturally is using this comp to get her and Sarah is nearing her 2nd Dan Black belt. But how will she fare against magic, weapons and the Goblin King's pursuit? Find out when I start updating it!