This follows on shortly after where I left the last chapter. Enjoy. :)
"Good evening Allerleuiah," Jareth greeted her pleasantly as Sarah shuffled through the door to the throne room, taking care to remain hunched with downcast eyes.
"Good evening Your Majesty," she answered, keeping her voice a rough, husky whisper. "I trust the soup was to your liking?"
"Oh, very much so." Jareth lounged across his throne, observing the servant with sharp eyes. "It was delicious as always. Even if it was… a little late." A brief silence feel and Sarah shifted uneasily under the King's stare.
"It may interest you to know," Jareth continued, "I have once again found a foreign object in my supper. This." He held up the tiny golden spinning wheel in one gloved hand. "It is such a curious little thing. What do you know of it, Allerleuiah? Be truthful now, or I shall be very displeased."
Sarah felt her heart skip a beat, as it had done on the last two occasions she had been summoned to explain these little golden gifts to the King. A part of her desperately wanted him to put the pieces together and realise what they were – clues.
They were her three most precious possessions in the entire world, given to her by her dead mother. She had warned Sarah that they possessed powerful magic which gave the recipient vivid dreams regarding the intentions of the giver. But had they worked?
Jareth was the only one with the power to remove the Allerleuiah enchantment, because Jareth was the man Sarah had given her heart to.
Knowing she had to answer the King, Sarah whispered the only words the geas would allow: "I am only good enough to have boots thrown at my head."
Normally, Jareth would dismiss her at this point. Instead, he sat up a little straighter and pierced her with his gaze. "Come here, Allerleuiah."
He sounded angry. Had the gifts failed? Was she to be punished instead of set free? Feeling a little afraid, Sarah murmured "Your Majesty, I must return to the kitchens now, lest Cook become angry."
"It was not a request Allerleuiah. Do you dare to disobey your King?" Jareth's voice was like ice and razor blades. Cowed, Sarah crept forward to Jareth's feet, trying to make herself as diminutive as possible. Acutely aware of the bright silk of her dress she hadn't had time to remove, she clutched the mantle tight around herself to hide it as best she could. She knew she must look pathetic.
"Stop that." Jareth sounded annoyed. "I am not going to harm you. Stand up and look at me."
Gripping the mantle even tighter, Sarah forced herself to stand and lift her head, shifting awkwardly and avoiding the King's gaze. He was so bright, it was painful to look at him while she was so heavily enchanted.
"Look at me!" Jareth commanded.
"I-I can't!" Sarah wailed, forgetting protocol. "You hurt my eyes!" She flung her hands over her face, too frightened to watch what he would do next.
There. Jareth spotted it. A glint of gold under the ashes and soot on the fourth finger of Allerleuiah's left hand.
He snatched her hand away from her face and pulled her against him. "I have you, Sarah," he crooned triumphantly.
There was a sound like glass breaking, then the mantle flew apart, burning until it lay in ashes upon the stone floor.
Sarah stood before him, ashen faced but free of soot, looking as resplendent in her gown of starlight as she had at the ball only an hour before.
She swayed and Jareth, alarmed, caught her as she collapsed. This was not what he had expected. His panic grew as he felt how ice-cold she was – her life force was draining away, rapidly. Who on earth had bewitched this woman?
Without stopping to consider the consequences, Jareth groped for the newly forged binding between them, found it and began pouring his own power into it. It felt similar to pouring a small goblet of water down a vast, yawning well.
Desperate, Jareth screamed for his Court Mages as he began to lose consciousness.