And the world fell down
Henson owns it, I just borrow it to play… and if Brian would
Get his head on straight and look at what we do here
We could have had a really great 20th… but no…
He gave us a comic book!!!! (End of rant)
She had said the words, ending the game, destroying his hope. He vanished from her sight, dissolving into the owl form and taking wing. He used magic to transport them to her parents' home. Seeing that she was safe he flew out the open window. From the safety of the dark foliage of the trees he watched as she checked on the boy, and gave him the teddy bear that had started the anger in her earlier. Gone in her was the anger and resentments of a spoiled child, replaced by love and concern for someone other than herself.
He flew to where her rooms were, watched as she put some of the things of her youth aside. He sat in the tree alone watching as her friends came to say fare well, and witnessed the joy as they were told that she still needed them. They celebrated, and he was out in the night. Only one of the subjects had noticed the King sitting in owl form, with all knowing eyes in the tree. She was safe, the boy was home, and he was free to leave. One last look and he flew off into the night, never to see the girl who'd rejected him again….or so he thought.
Chapter 1. The duty of a King
Jareth returned to the Fae realm and his castle on silent wings. The portals from the mortal world were as familiar to him as each father on his owl's form. When he transformed back to man, he brushed off the dust of his journey. Entering the castle he found his minions already clearing things up and setting things to right again without him having to issue the order. His trusty chancellor, Gandar was already seeing to it.
Gandar had been with him for centuries, and understood the needs of the Fae King well. He too was a Fae, though not of the Royal lines. He was not blessed or cursed with the devastating fair beauty of the Royals. He was raven haired and dark of eye. His temperament was not nearly as spoiled nor as narcissistic as the fair Fae. He was as tall as the king, but not nearly as lean. He turned when he heard the transformation taking place and bowed to his friend and monarch. "Welcome home, sire."
"Thank you Gandar, I see you're clearing the mess that was made…is the puzzle room repaired?" Jareth asked feeling strangely uncaring and slightly disconnected.
"Aye, Sire." The Chancellor nodded. "It was the first thing we did."
The Fair Fae pursed his lips into a thin line. "Good, good." His voice was less than interested and he seemed distracted.
"Sire, is all well with you?" Gandar asked contemplatively.
"I'm fine…" Jareth pinched the bridge of his nose. "Just a bit tired, as one would expect. The girl was exhausting, and I am feeling the effects. None ever reached the castle before… I want to inspect the repairs and then I'm off to bed. See that I'm not disturbed, please." He turned toward the stairs that would take him to the puzzle room. The last place the girl had stood in his kingdom before rejecting him and his offers.
Gandar frowned; his king was not behaving as he normally would. Perhaps it was the shock of having lost to a mere girl. Gandar ordered the minions to continue working. He himself wondered how it was a mere slip of a girl had been able to match wits with a Fae like Jareth.
Jareth folded his arms, tapping his chin as he paced the stairs inspecting the repairs to the room that had been designed as a giant puzzle. Her scent still lay heavy in the air of the room. He found it disquieting that the scent of that insulting little girl would hang in the air like that. It kept him from finding the peace he sought. Even as he began to take to the stairs he found he could not escape the scent. It was now beyond disquieting, it was approaching annoying. How dare her scent linger where she would not! How dare it cling to the walls of his sanctum, his sanctuary from the weight of Kingly duties? This was his save haven, his refuge, his thinking place. In the past it was here he'd come to ruminate, and muse. Now, with her scent still so fresh, there was no peace, no muse, no escaping the utter truth. She had refused him, rejected the offer of her dreams.
He paused, reliving the moments from entering the chamber to the moment she'd jumped over the edge in a leap of faith that won her the child. Her courageousness and valor still filled his heart with a bittersweet pride. How could he not applaud her gallantry and nerve? This too was part of what he loved about her. He leaned on an arch, as the anguish and sorrow washed over him, he loved her and she was gone. His hands covered his heart, it was breaking, and yet on it beat.
Defeated and downhearted, he moved to sit upon one of the sets of stairs. Like most Royal Fae he'd never once thought he'd be rejected when the time came and he offered himself to some woman. Experience had taught him that women were as vain as he, and liked being on the arm of a handsome powerful man. Rejection didn't sit well with him, not at all. He contemplated what to do about the situation. Nevertheless the fragrance embracing the very walls and stairs kept him from being able to clear his mind.
He could see her face each time he closed his eyes, that sad love in her eyes… The pale jewels looking at him with lips parted in anticipation and timidity. He'd brought this on himself, he conceded. Had he not danced with her, and spilled his heart…his now breaking heart, he'd be at peace. He was glad she's made it though the Labyrinth; she'd done what no other could. She'd never given up, and seen it though to the end, the bitter end. Now he had to live with the fact that she'd rejected him. Her eyes had been so cruel just before she'd uttered the words, yet they held remorse and a touch of regret as he'd transformed, hadn't they?
Something rolled against his boot, he looked down. It was a single crystal orb, glowing and spinning seeking the hands that had held it. He reached down and looked at it in wonder. It had to be the one he'd tossed to Toby while Sarah chased the boy up and down the room. The thought of the little boy brought a sad smile to his lips. The child must have placed it down when he began to crawl up steps leading his sister on a merry chase though the maze of stairs. Gazing gently he focused and the boy appeared in the crystal, sleeping soundly in his own bed, with the love worn bear at his side. Jareth pressed the orb to his chest and closed his eyes. Feeling he could not bear to feel the emotions that were upon him, he transferred all his feelings of love and passion for the girl to the orb for safe keeping. Rising from the stair, he left the puzzle room for his own chamber where he placed the orb in a hiding place for safe keeping. He was still not at peace, but at least he felt he could function.
Jareth entered his throne room to find his Goblins already back to their normal daily lives. It was as if the last thirteen hours had never taken place. AS if the girl with green eyes had never wished the child away. He found on his throne the little blanket one of the Goblins had given Toby, and he folded it neatly and placed it aside as he took his seat. His face an emotionless mask, he watched his Goblins at play.
Gandar was unprepared for the arrival of the High King, Jareth's grand-sire, over a week later. There had been no fan fare, no warning, and no time to organize or arrange a lavish reception. Gandar had been sitting in the King's study going over the export reports when the High King just simply appeared. Gandar looked up from his desk, quill in hand and felt his jaw drop. He rose from the desk and bowed. "Sire, we were not expecting you."
Oberon stood looking as majestic as usual; his once golden hair had long ago gone snowy white and was just as full now as it had been in his youth. His face seemed more pointed due to his white van dyke beard. His large brown eyes were flecked with gold, and saw things clearly. He was dressed casually, as if he'd just stepped out of his own study or garden. He wore a long tunic of doeskin colored silk, belted at his slender waist. Long brown breeches and doe skin boots covered his long muscular legs. His long hair was held back with a leather thong, never one to lord his rank over his subjects he wore his cornet only for state occasions.
He smiled cordially at Gandar. "Gandar, it's good to see you." He greeted the Goblin King's Chancellor with warmth and genuine benevolence. "How is my Grandson treating you? Do you miss our court?"
Coming around from behind the desk, the Chancellor extended a hand in greeting. "It is always good to see you, Sire." He ignored the inquiry of his treatment as he knew it was merely polite chatter.
Oberon looked about the study, "My grandson is not about?" The High King took notice of the younger Fae's reluctance to speak. "Well, out with it man… Where is Jareth?"
"He's indisposed, Sire." The younger Fae offered.
Oberon had never heard anyone say that before, at least not about Jareth. "Indisposed?"
Gandar was aware that nothing much ever got past the High King. "He's had a bit of a let down recently, Sire. Someone has managed to get though the Labyrinth and win back a wished away child." The Chancellor explained.
"Indeed?" Oberon knew very well the Labyrinth had been at last beaten. "Well where is the victor? I should like to meet this hearty and hale mortal."
"She's gone, Sire." Gandar tried, but failed to disguise his own disappointment that the girl had left.
"She?" Oberon had not heard the mortal in the Labyrinth had been a female. "How old was this amazing mortal?"
"Young," Gandar sighed. "By the mortal standard of the day, she is but fifteen." He too had been impressed by Sarah Williams, just as many of the inhabitants of the Kingdom had been. He too had hoped that she would accept the Kings' offer and become the Goblin Queen. He too was disappointed at her rejection, though not nearly as much as his King. He offered the High King a seat and began to tell the tale to the older Monarch.
Oberon listened to the details and sighed deeply. "Gandar, you are telling me that for a week now, Jareth has been brooding in his puzzle room?"
"Not all week, Sire;" Corrected the Chancellor. "Just off and on, he goes there for a short time each day." He defended the honor of the absent King, now wishing the High King to think Jareth would shirk his duties.
The wise older Monarch stood up. "I will go to speak with him there."
"Sire," Gandar protested.
Oberon gave the man a calming look. "Gandar, I understand Jareth better than anyone." He assured the man. Turning he left the study and moved though the magnificent halls of the celebrated and remarkable labyrinth palace. Like the Labyrinth itself, the palace was never exactly what one thought. It was given to complementing the mood and actions of its monarch. The public rooms, used by the King and his Goblin court were not the official rooms used by the Fae community. They were accessible if one knew the way. Oberon moved though the halls with ease, having been a guest many times before and now during his grandson's reign.
Oberon found Jareth sitting on the stair thinking. "Boy, brooding is no good." The old monarch said softly.
Jareth looked up, his face lightened and he smiled fondly toward his Grandsire. "Grandfather, when did you arrive?"
"Not long ago." The old King took a seat on the stairs across from the Goblin King. "I'd heard that you have been defeated at long last." He kept his tone untroubled.
The Goblin King nodded, still feeling tired from the experience of a week ago. "Aye, at long last a mortal unriddled the riddles and reached the castle." He took a deep breath, still her scent hung in the air.
Oberon sniffed the air; he too could sense the girl. "My condolences on your loss," he said to the younger King. Rising to his feet he commanded. "Come boy, the air here is too heavy to breath. Let us walk in your garden and speak, man to man."
Jareth dutifully followed the High King, knowing it would do no good to deny the old man. "I fear I am a morose man, Sire." He took a breath of the fresh air in the garden. "I've never lost before, and I find I don't wear defeat well."
"None of us do, Jareth, none of us do," the older King consoled. "Nevertheless one does come to accept it in time." Oberon looked about the Kings' private garden. "How peaceful it is here."
Jareth nodded. "I'm glad you approve of my improvements."
"The last king didn't have your flare or your eye for details;" Commented his Grandsire. "He was too self involved, and because of it, the Goblin community suffered. I don't want to see that happen again."
"It won't." Jareth promised. "I give my self an hour or two to brood a day and then I'm done with it." He folded arms over his chest. "In time, the memory of the girl will fade, as it should." For a moment he pictured her in his garden, sitting listing to him…. Perhaps cuddling their first born… he shook himself free of the invading images. "She rejected me, and the offer of her dreams." His voice was harsh.
Oberon motioned the King to be seated. "My boy, I am not unacquainted with the difficulties of dealing with mortal women…I have had one or two associations of that nature." When the younger King raised an elegant brow, the older king conceded. "Perhaps more."
"Did any of your…ladies reject you, Sire?" Jareth asked keeping his tone respectful.
Oberon gave thought before giving answer. "Lad, I was not holding a sibling of theirs as bait."
Jareth sighed deeply. "I'm the Goblin King, and I have a duty…I perform that duty…"
"Don't equivocate to me." Oberon held up a hand. "I know what your duties are; I'm the one who placed you on the Goblin Throne!" The old King's voice was firm while still affectionate.
Apologetic the younger King shrugged. "I'm feeling a bit on the testy side. As I said, defeat and rejection don't sit well."
"I understand," Oberon granted with understanding. "And for your sake I do wish my visit was better timed, alas that is out of my hands."
"You've a purpose in your visit, an official purpose Grandsire?" Jareth relinquished the feelings within his heart and showed the continence of a King. Oberon stood, removed an item from his tunic and handed it to the younger man. In the hands of the High King was a small framed portrait of a young woman. Jareth took the frame into his own hand and gazed at the likeness of the young face. "This is Princess Adrianna, Prince Stephan's daughter, neighbor's of mine."
"You know the girl?" Oberon asked.
"No, I know of her." He handed the portrait back. "I've seen her once or twice on her father's arm at court."
"What is your perception of the girl?" The High King looked at the face.
Jareth shrugged, sighing as he spoke. "I can't say that I've given her much attention…she's a child… well behaved…but… of little interest to me."
Oberon was amused. "Do you realize that this…child…is several hundred years older than the mortal you brood after?"
Making a face the Goblin King shifted, "Apples and oranges, Grandsire!"
Oberon nodded, "True." He mused for a moment then looked at the Goblin King with determination. "However it is for this child…a Fae Child that I come to you." He took his seat again. "Prince Stephan is dying."
Startled and dismayed, Jareth came to attention. "I was not aware he was ill."
"No one is…" Oberon acknowledged sadly. "I felt it best to keep his condition a secret."
Jareth frowned. "His lands are bordered on three sides by mine…we share a seaport." He was thinking of the safety of his Kingdom now. "I can understand why you didn't announce the fact of his illness to the Fae Community. It would not due to have his lands in question."
"No, it would not," Agreed the High King as he proceeded. "That is why I've come to you, my boy. I'm about to ask a favor of you that is most ill timed."
Jareth nodded. "What is it you want of me, Grandsire?"
"I want you to become engaged to the Princess Adrianna." Oberon didn't look at his grandson as he spoke the words.
"I don't love her," Jareth protested quietly, knowing his fate was already sealed. His duty as King was to secure his Kingdom.
"I'm not asking you to." Oberon sighed. "It is an arrangement that is beneficial to both you and the girl. Your Kingdom will absorb hers, and there will be no questions. It is only natural to wish a marriage betwixt you."
"She does not know me, Sire." Jareth's voice was calm and darkly without emotion. "I've placed my heart where it will never be broken again."
"I'm not asking you to love her." Oberon stated. "I'm asking you to marry her."
Jareth rose to his feet pacing the garden and tapping his chin. "I had hoped to marry for love."
"We all wish to marry for love, few of us can." Oberon advised. "You are of the House of the Royal Fae…you are an Heir to my line…Love is a luxury you can not afford." He offered the younger man the portrait once more.
Jareth looked at the soft young face of the little princess. "Will she be agreeable? I will not force a child to accept such a union."
Oberon nodded. "She is her father's daughter, and will do as she is commanded."
"You've discussed this with Stephan?" The Goblin King felt his throat tighten.
"Who suggested me as a groom?" The younger King studied the face gazing up at him.
"It was mutual." Oberon informed the boy. "The Prince has always regarded you as his Monarch…and is pleased with the idea of the lands being more than just protected by the Goblin Throne."
Closing his eyes, wincing to clear his mind of the mortal girl who plagued his thoughts still, Jareth nodded. "I'm willing to be presented to the girl."
"I was sure you would be." Oberon stood. "I wish I could give you time, my boy, time to recuperate from the tragedy of losing your mortal. Alas, I can not. The Prince's condition takes precedence."
Jareth stood as well, "I understand, Grandsire."
Oberon placed a hand on the shoulder of his grandson. "In two week the moon enters Virgo, I shall hold a grand ball on Avalon to announce the engagement."
"What would you have done had I refused?" Jareth placed the tiny portrait in his own tunic.
A sly smile came over the face of the High King. "I'd have bullied you into it." He stated proudly. "I'm High King… and it's good to be King."
Jareth laughed softly. "You're an old fox, and I'm out foxed…"
The High King's palace on Avalon shimmered and glistened like a jewel in the last rays of the sun. Jareth and his court had arrived early and had been given quarters. Jareth watched as the sun went down, and with it his dream of Sarah as his Queen. He had been quiet, and his Chancellor worried.
Jareth came away from the window, ready to allow his valet to dress him. When he saw the garment chosen by the valet on the bed he balked. "Percy!" He shouted for the little man who had been his valet for only a century. "Percy!"
The little man, with a mousey face came in hurriedly. "Yes, King Jareth?"
"Is this your idea of a joke?" He held up the midnight blue frock coat.
Percy swallowed, "No, sir….you said to get your best garments… and that is the most splendid coat you've ever worn."
Balling the coat, Jareth flung it away. "I will never, never wear that coat again…Do you hear me?"
The little man cowered. "Yes…"
Calming himself, Jareth closed his eyes. "Get it out of my sight Percy. Put it in mothballs, but get it out of my sight."
Gandar had witnessed the outburst and came to where Jareth now stood. "You didn't have to take the man's scalp."
Jareth nodded. "I know."
"He didn't mean to offend you." Gandar went to the armoire and looked at the selection of other coats. "He merely wanted his monarch to look his best." He picked out a frock coat in a hue of burgundy, cut similar to the offending jacket. He showed it to Jareth who nodded. "I suppose you want all the garments you wore when the girl was with us…stored away."
"No…" Jareth swallowed his pride. "Just that coat…and the jewels I worn in that damned dream crystal ballroom." He pulled on the burgundy coat.
"Very well, my King," Gandar said smoothly.
"Gandar." Jareth called him before he could leave the chamber. "Tell Percy I'm sorry."
"Of course, Sire." His friend said.
Jareth pulled himself together, and masked his feelings. He entered the hall and was escorted down to the ballroom where the High King and Queen awaited him. His own mother was also at court. Everyone who was of any importance was to witness the formal betrothal. He took little notice of the details to which his grandsire had seen to.
Jareth bowed to the Royal couple sitting on thrones on the high dais. His bow was acknowledged and he then moved to where his mother sat on a smaller throne. She was not happy and didn't intend to pretend to be. Her beauty was marred by the rigidness of her jaw, that softened only slightly when he bent to kiss her cheek.
"Chin up, darling." He whispered into her ear. "I'm not being led to the slaughter you know."
"May as well be;" Her voice whimpered. "Jareth, don't do this."
Standing straight and tall, the Goblin King addressed her quietly. "I am a King mother. And I have a King's duty."
The Daughter of the High King looked up at her father, blaming him for this unhappy circumstance. "I understand."
Jareth took his place beside his mother's seat, standing and awaiting the procession that would bring his bride to be to commence. The blare of trumpets sounded, announcing the entrance of the young woman on her father's arm.
Princess Adrianna was the picture of what all Fae princesses should be. Smooth peaches and cream skin, and a flawless heart shaped face. Cascades of reddish gold hair that was falling in perfect waves and held back with a cornet of white flowers framed the perfect face. Her eyes were the color of cornflowers, and her lips held the soft blush of youth. In the cream colored gown she resembled an angel. Her movements were measured and deliberate, and showed that she'd been well schooled in court behavior. She looked only at the High King and Queen; her eyes never wavered or wandered, not even to where Jareth stood.
She was presented, and she bowed deeply before the rulers of her people. Jareth was called forth and they knelt before the monarchs to reliever the Royal blessing that would begin their betrothal. It was only then that she took her first look at the Goblin King.
Jareth rose, extended a hand to her and guided her to her feet. She was light and well trained. He could appreciate the subtle beauty she possessed. They stood side by said to receive the congratulations of the rest of the court. For one moment he allowed himself the thought of what the other would look like here at his side, and then it was banished. He vowed silently to give his attention to the girl at his side, and not the one who'd rejected his offer of love.
When the minstrels began the first dance of the evening, Jareth led the Princess to the floor. She was light on her feet and danced well, but he found himself comparing her to another dancer. Guiding her out of the Ballroom, out onto the terrace he addressed her for the first time.
"Princess Adrianna," he bowed over her hand.
"King Jareth." Her voice was young, breathy and slightly childish. "I wish to thank you for your kindness to my father and myself."
"Indeed, what kindness would that be?" He asked contented to hear the little Fae speak.
"That of being my betrothed," she blushed slightly as she spoke.
Jareth sighed. "It is little kindness, Princess." He led her toward the garden where he thought they could speak to each other easily. "I fear I offer you a hollow man."
"A hollow man, sire?" she took a seat on a bench and looked at him with attentive eyes.
Jareth sat beside her and whispered. "I don't love you."
The girl looked serious for a moment, "I don't love you either." She said at last. "I am doing what needs to be done to secure my people's safety." She then graced him with a smile.
Taking her hands into his he smiled. "I should like to be friends with you, my dear."
"I'd like that very much." She said in the breathy voice smiling trustingly up at the man who was even now comparing her to a mortal girl who would not leave his mind.
Oberon watched the couple in the garden and whispered a prayer to all the gods that they would be able to overcome the obstacles that were already in their path. The High Queen looked out into the garden and also prayed.
Yes, yes, I know…I'm not finished with one and here I am again with another… blame the voices in my head! This tale is not going to be one that some of you are going to like. (Nightingale! That means you.) This is not a happy story… because sometimes there are no happy endings.
Again I'm taking another look… This time the premises is what happens if Jareth marries someone else and Sarah's life does not turn out to be happily ever after either. Karen gets to be the meanie in this one and Robert is going to meet an untimely end. Just be glad I'm not making Sarah a hooker!
So read on, and enjoy or scream or what ever it is you all do when I give into the voices.