Wow, this chapter was really long and really hard to write. It's also the last one that I'll be posting for a little while because I've hit a little writters block, namely because all of my fic ideas come at the same time, which means that I always have several on the go at once. At the moment Darkness and Window are fighting for writting time alongside a couple of other fics I'm writting for another subject. Along with work commitments and a suddenly hectic social life, I'm having a hard time writting. I will update though, just not as soon as I would like. To tide you over I'm giving you this as one chapter, the last part of the Twenty Years since Toby arrived in the Labyrinth. Thanks to crystal13moon, yodeladyhoo, Demonis Symphony and not written. Remember to R&R, please, they really help.
"Alyana, we need to talk." Alyana looked up from the border report with a sigh. It was Jareth, his face unusually tired looking and his eyes wary.
"Have you ever heard of knocking?" She asked a little waspishly. He threw her an arch look and continued along his previous train of thought.
"Is Toby here?"
"No, do you want me to have him summoned? He's with Calen."
"No!" He held up his hand. "No, I don't want him to hear this for the moment. It's about Calen."
"Oh, why do I get the feeling that this is going to make my day?" The sarcasm rolled freely from her lips.
"She's been visiting Daves."
"So have I."
"Let me finish. She was visiting him long before you announced you were engaged. She was going to see him with Alon for several years before Vaela fell ill."
"You think she had something to do with it?"
"We've seen stranger things." He began to pace, his face pulled into a frown of concentration. "What bothers me is why. What possible reason could she have to of been visiting him for so long? I would be so much happier about Toby marrying her if I knew what was going on." He snapped.
"Do you think that I haven't wondered? He's like my son, Jareth."
"Talk to him, Alyana, please. You know that he would never listen to me."
"I doubt he'll listen to me either. But Sarah..."
"No, I won't put her through that, not with the way that Toby can be sometimes." He shook his head before he left, silent and brooding.
Toby paced Alyana's study, irritated. He had been waiting for nearly an hour for her to turn up. He was on the verge of leaving when she finally appeared, looking harassed and short tempered.
"I'm sorry, Toby," she sat wearily, rubbing a gloved hand over her pale face. "I tried to get away, but Gord... lets just say that he's persistant."
"Did you agree to lend him the army?" Toby asked, letting his irritation fade as he thought bout the security of the Dragon Realm.
"No. As much as I would like to see stability in the Dwarf Lands, not to mention the trolls get a serious thrashing, I'm not sure that I'm overly happy with the idea of Gord taking complete control of my army." She shook her head. "Besides, he's worrying too much. The trolls have been there for thirteen years and haven't done anything aggressive. Bringing in another army would just cause things to escalate." She took her gloves off as she spoke and set them onto the table as she fell silent.
"What did you want to see me for?" Toby asked after a moment. He felt a moment of concern when she began to look uncomfortable.
"Toby, it's about Calen..."
"What about her?" He asked coldly, leaning back into his chair and watching her through narrowed eyes, eyes that were so deep blue, they were almost black.
"Are you absolutely certain that you can be happy with her?" She asked, masking her emotions again. "Are you certain that she is the one for you?"
"Of course I'm certain, Alyana! I'm not stupid!"
"I never said you were!" She tried to placate him. "It's just that she has some suspicious ties to Daves and Jareth just wants..."
"Jareth!" He cut her off again. "What business is it of his who I marry?"
"She's the fairy queen, Toby, it's everybody's business now. The council will have to vote and..."
"No they won't. Vaela blessed our betrothal. She signed the betrothal documents. The council has no hold on us." Alyana's mask slipped, clearly showing how disturbed she was by this new development.
"Vaela did what?"
"You heard me. She blessed us in full view of the Fairy Court. It's already accepted that I will be the Fairy Prince Consort. Why can't you just be happy for me? Why do you have to dig your heals in at every turn?" He stood and marched to the window. "All I want to do is marry the woman I love. Why are you so against me having what you do?"
"Because we don't know if this is all some elaborate plot of Daves'"
"Don't be so stupid! Why have you let Sarah and Jareth fill your head with such rubbish?" He demanded, lashing out at the wall. "Why am I even discussing this with you?" He snapped contemptuously. "You couldn't really give a damn anyway. I'm going to see Sarah."
Toby appeared in the throne room of the Goblin Castle. Sarah was sat in the throne, her face pensive and her eyes distant as she stared into a crystal, watching, surprise, surprise, her husband.
"Still busy?" He snapped by way of greeting. Her head whipped around to stare at him.
"Toby!" She sounded genuinely surprised to see him.
"Story still popular? Still giving you the same excuse to steal children?"
"Toby..." She warned.
"No, it's fine, I get it. You get everything you want and screw everyone else!"
"What the hell is wrong with you?" She walked towards him, stopping just out of arms reach. "You waltz in here, shouting and throwing around unfounded accusations... What in the seven circles has gotten into you?"
"I mean, you've got the perfect life," he ignored the questions, "haven't you? You've got a perfect husband, perfect child, riches. You're a queen, even if it is only of these vile little creatures." He kicked at a passing goblin and Sarah let out a low, angry, growl. "Why are you trying to stop me from having it? What right does your husband have to try and make me call off my wedding?"
"He's concerned, Toby," she snapped, "we all are. Your just so different."
"It's called growing up, Sarah, something that I thought you had already accomplished."
"I'm only trying to protect you. So is Jareth. We just want you to be happy and safe. We think Calen is dangerous, she's too closely associated with Daves." Sarah was amazed at how calm she had managed to stay.
"Not all of the Shadow subjects are evil, Sarah! Maybe Daves is just trying to do something nice. Why do you tar all of them with the same brush as Camulus?"
"How can you be so naive? Why are you so ready to believe that they understand goodness, let alone that they are capable of it?"
"Dammit, you have no right to interfere in my life! You don't even know Calen! You've never even made an effort! I'm going to marry her, Sarah, let that be the end of it!"
"What if our suspicions are right? What if she falls and takes you along with her?" She cried helplessly. "I don't want to lose you, Toby, I can't!"
"You already have, Sarah. You lost me the day you let Karen die." He hissed, his voice cold and oddly dispassionate as he said his mother's name. His face was pale with suppressed fury and for a second she thought that he was going to lash out at her, then he was gone in a puff of black glitter.
Calen stood in front of the mirror in her chambers, looking at the brilliant white wedding gown. Behind her she could see Alon scowling at the overly lavish preparations that she was making, preparations for a wedding that was not due to take place for another three years. She ignored him, happy to discuss the benefit of gold thread over silver instead of whatever he wanted to talk about.
Alon continued to wait, watch and stare blackly until she sighed and sent the group of giggling seamstresses away, finally made uncomfortable by his scrutiny.
"What is it?" She snapped, stepping off the foot stool to face him. He glared at her.
"They're trying to stop the wedding." Alon stated. "Jareth thinks he knows something and he's using his queen and sister to put pressure on Toby."
"He won't bow to it," she smirked at her brother, "if anything, it will make him even more determined to marry me." She saw him raise his hand as if to strike her for her insolence, but she brought her chin up. "Don't forget I'm the Queen now, a word from me and your treacherous head can be removed." Alon lowered his hand.
"Daves wants to see you."
"'No'?" He questioned, looking surprised.
"No, if I see Daves now, it will only re-enforce what Jareth has been saying."
"Then I had better tell you. Vaela's betrothal blessing seems only to have been valid whilst she was alive. We moved too fast. Gord and Pilthe are insisting on a council meeting to assess Toby's suitability. They seem to be unaware of the friction between Toby and his family over your engagement. Gord will probably refuse consent to spite Alyana and Pilthe will join with him because they have formed an alliance. Jareth and Alyana will refuse consent based on their suspicions. The only one you can be sure of to support you is Adrolith."
"What about Daves?"
"He can't afford to show his true hand in this. If he supports you it will only confirm Jareth's suspicions." He rubbed his face wearily. "This is all going wrong."
"But Toby would never obey the council! We would get married anyway!"
"Then you would lose your throne! Everything we have worked for would go down the drain! Daves would probably have you killed"
"Then what do you expect me to do?" She snapped. "I can't just call off the wedding, that would confirm suspicions!"
"Bow to the council's pressure, you idiot. Weep, rage, storm, beg and then agree to do as they ask. Toby will be..."
"Heartbroken. I won't do it!"
"You will. You must. Toby will be convinced that all of the blame lies with Jareth and Alyana. You have to, Calen." She bowed her head, tears rolling down her pale cheeks, then, as Alon left, she began to take off her dress, ragged sobs escaping her lips.
Toby sat on a chair at the foot of Alyana's throne, a scowl on his face as he looked at the rest of the council. No one would meet his eyes and he could feel Alyana's pitying gaze in the back of his head. Across from him, Calen sat with her head bowed, fiddling with her dress miserably, like she knew what was coming.
"Gord," Alyana nodded to the dwarf king. "You've called this meeting. Do you want to tell us why?" It was a formality, everyone knew why they were here. Nevertheless, the Dwarf stood and made his way to the centre of the Glade, talking as he walked.
"I want to discuss this 'so called' betrothal between the Fairy Queen and the Heir to the Dragon throne. I am aware the potential union was blessed by Vaela during her life. However, that blessing is now void." There was a muffled cry from Toby as Alyana lay a restraining hand on his shoulder. Gord smirked at them. "A blessing voided by death, and so it is for the council to decide if Calen and Toby are suited." Alyana winced. "I, for one, am not happy with the idea of the future First Lord marrying the Fairy Queen. Both realms need to be stable, we cannot have them suffering conflicting interests. What is good for the Dragons may not be good for the Fairies and vice versa. I vote against a union between Toby and Calen." Toby's jaw dropped and Calen shifted, though she did not look surprised. "Dragon Lady?" Gord handed the vote to her. Alyana stood and walked to the spot that Gord had just vacated, trying to get her head around what she was hearing and what she would now have to say. The level of formality disturbed her, it was something that they had never worried about during their vote over her impending marriage.
"I have to agree with Gord," she said, her face sorrowful as she avoided meeting Toby's eyes. " I, too, can see no benefits for either realm, I can only see the potential for conflict." She nodded to Jareth as she made her way back to her throne, still avoiding Toby's eyes and feeling her guilt gnawing away at her insides.
The Goblin King did not bother to stand. He merely glanced once at Toby before shaking his head. "My Queen and I have discussed this at length, and as much pain as it gives us, we, too, agree with Gord."
The other rulers rose and cast their votes. Alon had been right, Adrolith was the only one to sided with Toby and Calen. Daves did not make an appearance.
"I'm sorry," as the most powerful monarch it fell to Alyana to deliver the news that all present already knew."The council has cast it's vote. You must call off the wedding and break up the engagement. Should you decide to go ahead with the wedding, we will be forced to strip you both of your positions and the majority of your power."
"Please," Calen's voice was trembling as Toby struggled to find his own. "Please reconsider. Toby and I... we're in love, please rethink."
"The Council has reached its decision, Calen," Adrolith tried to comfort the sobbing Queen as Jareth held Toby away from her, talking to him quietly. "You cannot deprive your people of another Queen, not so soon after Vaela passed. You cannot rebel against the Council."
"Calen, if you defy the council, marry Toby and do not relinquish your throne, I will be bound to withhold the taken children from you. You realm will become as withered and dead as the Shadow Lands." Jareth's face was harsh, though his eyes showed nothing but pity and sorrow. Calen bowed her head.
"I'm sorry, Toby," she whispered and vanished.
"Calen!" Toby screamed her name as the remaining council members watched him, shaking their heads sadly.
I'm a bit mean. This was hard to write, purely because, while I'm twisting Toby horribly, I actually want him to be happy. I had a tear in my eye writting this, but I'm not aiming for tears. I'll update as soon as I can with the consequences. Please, please R&R, I really need your input on this one. I need to see your thoughts on the council and what you think Toby is going to do. I have an idea, but any and all input is always appreciated.