Ok - I had really hoped to write more and post it yesterday, but this weekend didn't go as I planned. Please be sure to R&R on this chapter and the next one as they are key parts of the story!
Disclaimer - Tara, Kaladin and Odin are my own characters, but Jareth and Sarah are the property of the Jim Henson Company.
When Tara awoke the lights of day were beginning to fade. Shaking off the heavy slumber she stretched her arms and yawned. She couldn't remember the last time she'd slept so deeply and felt so rested.
But something was different. Instead of sleeping on her bed of leaves and hay, she was lying on a pillow made of a very soft silk. She wasn't alone either. There was another person laying a few feet away. Tara cautiously crept over beside the figure and brushed the hair off of her face. This girl was young but the crease lines in her face told Tara that things hadn't always been easy for her.
Tara wanted to scream at the girl and find out why she was there, but there were several things that caught her attention. The walls of her home were actual walls and the floor was not dirt. The bed that she slept on and that this girl slept on were not leaves, rather a pile of small pillows. Though the house was still small, Tara noticed that there was a pantry and upon opening it she found that it was full of food!
Silently, Tara thanked God for these things – she could now survive another winter. Coming back to reality, she sat down to watch the girl lying across the room. Her figure moved ever so slightly and Tara noticed that her back glimmered as she would breathe. Creeping closer to the girl with the intent of waking her to find out what was going on, Tara realized she wasn't walking, she herself was flying…Turning to try to see if something was holding her and trying to reason with herself that she was awake and this was really happening; she caught a glimpse of the glimmering items behind her and screamed.
At that same moment, Jareth cried out in his sleep. Kaladin turned from his vigil of watching the stones to look at Jareth. The Goblin King was not awake, but the Elf could tell that after a full day and part of the night looking for the girl again (their only lead at this time) the fae's resolve was waning. Jareth's hope was still there, but he knew that his time was nearly out to find Sarah's soul.
As the sun was setting and the night shadows began, Jareth began to stir and wake. Kaladin would sleep for a while as Jareth watched for the girl to appear. As Jareth watched the area, his mind drifted out to a memory of Sarah telling him that she was dying and her wishes to be sent to the Ancients via the customs of his people.
"Sarah, I can take you back above and place you with your family."
"No Jareth, my place is here with you and our family. Mine has been gone for far too long to matter anymore."
And with that Sarah had ended the matter by kissing his cheek and leaving the room. Jareth closed his eyes for a moment at the thought of her strong enough to walk. Once the Fates had told Sarah that she would leave the Underground it was as if Sarah had been put under a spell. Within a week she didn't walk, rather used her magic to glide, and within a month – well here he sat in against a grave in the Above.
A part of Jareth wanted Samhain to reappear that night. But he was afraid it would scare the girl off to see that evil aura looming over a grave. Tossing a crystal into the air – up and down gave him some peace, but it was short lived.
Odin appeared in front of Jareth, leaning against a tree. "Boy, why do you sit in the same place when you should be looking for the soul." His voice startled Jareth out of the stare that had him entranced by the crystal.
Staring up at his uncle for once Jareth did not know what to say. Shaking his head and gesturing to the stones against which he sat he indicated that this was her family.
The High King nodded his understanding and crouched down next to Jareth, reaching his hand over to pat the stone of Sarah's little brother. "He was a great boy. Would have done better if you had kept him in the Underground all those years ago."
Jareth's head now rested against the stone behind him. "I know Uncle. But in order to have Sarah return to me of her own choice, I had to let him go. You know the rules as well as I do."
Again, Odin nodded his head in agreement. When he had ascended to High King he had recognized the potential in Jareth and set him as his heir to the Goblin throne. Something that the boy had not been pleased over, as Odin was not when his grandfather passed it to him. The Goblin Kingdom was regarded with distaste throughout the land, largely due to the subjects that inhabited it and what they represented.
Of course, the rule which Jareth had spoken of related to the Goblin Kingdom not being allowed to take more than one child from a family at a time. Jareth had hoped that when Sarah returned to him she would bring Toby of her own choice.
"Excuse me." A small voice spoke up and shook both Odin and Jareth out of their memories. "You are sitting on my family."
Both fae looked up expecting to see Sarah, but were disappointed to see a cloaked figure standing in front of them with a posture that expressed distaste in finding vagrants sitting on the graves of their loved ones.
"Please, Miss?" Odin spoke first, "Would you mind removing your hood?"
A tendril of blonde hair spilled out from under the hood and was tucked back in quickly by dainty hands. "Why?"
Jareth knew well that the clock was ticking for finding Sarah. He thought for a moment about pulling the cloak hood off himself, but decided better. "We're looking for a descendant of Toby Williams, son of Robert Williams." With a sly look to his uncle he said, "We've recently found some items that we believe belonged to the family, but have been unable to find the family to return them."
The girl carefully considered what was being said to her before moving the cloak back slightly so that her face was visible. Piercing gray eyes stared first at Jareth and then at Odin. Her porcelain skin was framed by the delicate waves of her hair. "I am the granddaughter of Toby Williams and I do not take kindly to you sitting on his grave."
By now, Kaladin had felt the change in the air. Stirring awake, he looked up and saw Jareth and Odin talking to no one. The air crackled with magic and through an elfin distortion spell that he knew, he could finally see who Jareth was talking to.
Feeling triumphant that they had found the right soul, Jareth removed the heart crystal from his pendant and was about to hand it to the girl when Kaladin seized his hand. "Jareth, that is not her."