The "Underground", as it's called in Labyrinth, consists of the world of Labyrinth (and Moraine, which is a neighboring kingdom found in the manga sequel). In this story, however, I'm also including the Gorg's Garden and to a certain extent Fraggle Rock, though it's more of a connection between the Underground and "Outer Space", aka: our world, which consists of the Muppets and Sesame Street and such. I'm also considering Grouchland and the Trash Kingdom as part of the Underground, since apparently Oscar the Grouch's trash can leads to another dimension or something as well. Basically, if it takes magic or plot convenience to get there (LOL), then it's a part of the Underground.
Author's Note: I do not own any of the characters here. Either Disney, the Hensons, Sesame Workshop, TokyoPop, David Bowie, and the many songwriters do. Eventually, I make up a name for the Queen of Trash since I got tired of calling her "Queen of Trash" the whole time. :D Also, please see my profile for links that might help explain some things.
The loss of the crown had been devastating, or so it seemed to his royal subjects, who grumbled and groused and bewailed their fate, for they were certain that stars would fall and fire would consume and famine would wither, leaving the entire universe destitute. The King of the Universe was destined to rule all for the benefit of everyone. And yet, seemingly on a whim, he had just thrown it away … or so it seemed to those who knew him, for they remained unaware that their constant needs had nearly broken his spirit. He had been exhausted from the harsh, nagging words of his court. The thought of having to rule such a wide expanse every single day made his stomach ache and his hands twitch and his head throb. And so, the King of the Universe had relinquished his royal duty.
Now, one does not just throw away one's responsibilities and get away with it without a scratch. Those who abdicated were doomed to seek out that very crown which weighed so heavily upon the royal head…
The former King of the Universe wandered to and fro, forever without home or purpose. At the time, it seemed to suit him. He had never felt more liberated. And yet, as he was turned away from each and every land, he began to doubt his decision. The universe was one big disappointment after another: sometimes he barely kept warm in the glacial lands of the north, sometimes he felt as though he were fully baked under the hot and searing sun of the west, sometimes he nearly fainted from infection in the cesspools of the south, and sometimes he had to fight off endless enemies in the east. He knew only the comfort of his own mind, and that was waning by the century's end. He had been drifting and suffering such deep loneliness for a few centuries, though he had honestly lost track of time. Eventually, time ceased to have meaning at all. So, too, did other things: good food, his last remaining royal robe (worn to tatters through the centuries), companionship (of which he had none, as he had been known as selfish and strict, which endeared him to few) …
On one particular occasion, weary from a particularly bad run-in with impish fire elementals with detachable body parts who insisted on trying to eat him, the former King of the Universe slumped down next to a young tree atop a high hill, overlooking a fertile plain. He had grown tired of walking. He stared at the plain, filled with grasses of all kinds, flowers blooming in large groups, and bordered by a sparkling, winding, majestic river that shamed even the vast oceans.
Perhaps, just perhaps, he might stick around for a few days… [The Legend of Sir Hubris]
A black-haired Caucasian middle-aged woman, with crow's feet in her eyes and a wide, sensitive grin, looked up from the stack of papers on her desk, which seemed to imitate the skyline of skyscrapers behind her through the large glass window that stretched across the entire wall. Her voice was gentle and cheerful. "This is great so far." She leaned back against her black leather chair. The woman wore a black suit with a light blue blouse underneath. Her office was located in a rather posh section of Manhattan, courtesy of years of Broadway success under her belt. It was filled with numerous brightly-colored posters advertising various shows throughout the years, including one with Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy on it, where they wore the sparkling purple tuxes they tended to favor for some unknown reason. She maintained her grin as she spoke with the thirty-eight year-old brunette, who herself had been busily climbing the entertainment ladder after a stint teaching college drama students. "It's a good thing your stories are proven cash cows … you tend to like re-using themes a lot," she noted, chuckling.
The other woman shrugged, returning the smile. The producer had given her her big break shortly after 2001, which she had needed due to her apartment complex being torn down during the reconstruction following the World Trade Center incident. They found themselves to have the same taste in genres and hobbies. "Hey, we've seen a huge resurgence in fairytale crap over the last decade or so," she informed the woman across the sleek desk. "RPGs are getting some respect, we've got the nostalgic 80s flavor … this has the potential to rival Cats," she said with a little more enthusiasm, her hands waving in circles to show how big it could become.
The older woman frowned, though she quickly tried to regain her normally cheerful composure. Broadway life could easily wear one down if one didn't try to stay grounded and balanced. "Sarah, do you think your work is 'crap'? I mean, if you're starting to feel a need to move on, let's get those feelings out in the air now, shall we?"
Sarah shrugged, looking at the floor, trying to avoid her friend and business partner's eyes. She hesitated to answer. She really didn't want to say the words out loud, remembering what problems that could cause. When she was in her mid-teens, she had obsessed over fairy tales and theater, to the point of collecting every souvenir and cheap merchandise she could find. One day she let loose with a wish to the Goblin King, a character from one of her play books.
That didn't turn out too well. An owl came into her parents' … her father's room … and transformed into a living version of a statuette resting on the dresser in her room. He took her infant half-brother to his mystical castle in the center of an ever-changing labyrinth. Ever since, she'd had a profound respect for the power of language.
"I feel it's personal, Jenny," she exclaimed strongly. It wasn't that she was afraid of losing the job … Jenny wasn't like that … but there were, more private reasons to think her statements thoroughly before stating them, reasons that even she herself sometimes didn't want to admit. "This isn't just about capitalizing on the retro thing … some stories need to get told. I've had a great time writing for you, but there are some things … I dunno, Jen," she continued, sighing, her voice becoming more and more subdued, "I just … regret …"
The leather-bound, gold-embossed book slammed shut with the help of large, brown furry hands, dust and miniscule bits of paper creating a small cloud, and was tossed over the right shoulder, making some strands of thick brown hair on the side of the even larger head sway.
"Whoa!" a female voice screamed out as the book raced past her as she sat on the big lug's shoulder. The googly-eyed, yellow-orange creature with the red-orange frizzy pigtails tied with dark red ribbons and the bright red turtleneck sweater ducked out of the way just in time, hanging onto some body hair on the reader's back, her knuckles paling and her feet desperately trying to take hold of something. She had wanted to get a better view of the story, but her adventurous side tended to put her in situations that, in hindsight, may not have been the wisest.
The brown furry giant looked over to the right and shrugged, nearly sending the female creature flying again. "Sowwy, Red," he told her casually, reaching back to help her up. His voice was smooth and deep, though his pronunciation still left a little to be desired. Whether it was the shape of his nose or the plants in the garden or even something mysterious and unknown, no one knew why the creature had that particular accent.
Red, a Fraggle who made her home in Fraggle Rock, a large cave system that connected at least two worlds, maybe more, glared at the humongous guy – though that was like staring down a hairy mountain. However, she shook her head and sighed, trying to hide her irritation in her voice, "No, it's okay, Junior. I think I'll live."
Junior smiled. "Gweat!" he exclaimed, laughing, his belly heaving up and down with each guffaw. Junior was a Gorg. Think a brown shaggy King Kong but with a light brown bulbous nose with a loose khaki jacket, no pants, and spiked brown leather boots and no pressing girl problems.
"For now," Red griped under her breath.
"When did you start reading The Legends of Sir Hubris again, Junior?" a high-pitched male gravelly voice asked devotedly from the ground where other Fraggles had gathered to hear some Gorg tales at the edge of the radish garden near the tool shed. Each radish, as well as their leafy tops, was roughly the size of a Fraggle. In fact, to a Fraggle, the Gorg garden was a veritable paradise of unending food, since one vegetable or fruit could last them a couple of days.
Junior shrugged again as he faced Wembley, a green-yellow Fraggle with a tussle of almost blond hair and a banana-tree shirt, which was never buttoned all the way up, for that would have required too much focus and concentration.
"Watch it," Red cried out angrily, hanging onto Junior's shoulder with a death-grip, "you dunderheaded…"
"RED!" a teeny male voice with an occasional Canadian accent barked from below. Red had agreed to stop calling Junior a lummox, which was an insult regarding his intelligence (or lack thereof) … but Red's mouth almost always worked faster than Red's brain.
"It's okay, Gobo," Junior wistfully told the explorer Fraggle with the orange skin, purple hair, orange and yellow-striped long-sleeved shirt and a brown vest. He looked over at Red and tried to keep his voice down, since at that proximity, Gorg voices could rival avalanches, "Sowwy, Red … you want down?" Junior had only lived with his immediate family and never really had the opportunity to make friends. There had been no nearby Gorgs, and Fraggles had, for decades, been considered alternately garden pests and random "pets" for Junior. Only after a strange incident just before he was to be crowned as King of the Universe, did Junior start seeing Fraggles as friends. Though he had partnered with them before, it never occurred to him that they could be anything more than mere playful objects until he had learned to see life in an entirely new way. Now that Junior had denied his kingship, he felt free to play and laugh all day, even though it was sometimes frustrating since they were so much smaller than him.
Before she could answer, Gobo interjected. "What she really wants is to know why you started reading from those legends again!" He frowned at Red, craning his neck to see her. Fraggles were roughly two-feet tall, give or take, so having conversations with two-story Gorgs could sometimes leave them with a stiff neck.
Wembley, standing next to Gobo, shrugged and looked at the ground. "Actually, uh, I thought I was the one who wanted to know."
Gobo glanced over at his friend. "And Red wants to hear it too … don't you, Red?" he asked in that not-so-subtle tone he used when Red, he felt, was coming on too strong.
"Well, I …" Junior began.
"Juuuunnniiiooorrrrr," sang a melodious female voice from within the Gorg's castle. At the front door appeared a lavender Gorg with a sharply upturned nose and a tremendous amount of blonde hair pulled up with a few pins, which were each the size of a tall Fraggle. She wore an ivory-colored flowing gown, accented with purple and yellow layers, and white lace fingerless gloves. She beckoned for Junior. "Come inside, sweetie-kins … I need you to try on some new clothes I'm sewing for your Five-hundred party," she said happily.
"Five-hundred party?" Red, Gobo, and Wembley asked in unison.
Junior began to rise, but remembered Red and gently put her down before standing. He glanced at the female Gorg. "But Maaaaa," he whined to his mother, "dat's tree ye-uhs away!"
Ma Gorg shook her finger at her son. "If you want it to look good I need to start on it now, Favorite Son and Former King of the Universe," she lectured.
"But you just made dis shirt for me a hunnahd ye-uhs ago!" Junior pleaded. He didn't mind helping his Ma with cooking, since he enjoyed finding uses for the vegetables he grew, but fashion preparation could take a decade or more. Junior didn't want to die of old age waiting for his mother to finish nitpicking his wardrobe. Gorgs had been known to live to be a couple thousand years old, but nothing sped up (or slowed down) time like his mother. He picked up an edge of his shirt and sniffed it deeply. He looked back at Ma. "Besides … it's not even duhty yet!"
Ma Gorg frowned, slapping her hand on the bottom half of the door. "You know how I get when you start sounding like your Father," she warned, almost growling.
"And what do I sound like, dear?" yelled a gravelly aged voice from deep within the castle.
Ma Gorg's eyes widened and she turned toward the voice of her husband, who had been resting more … well, much more ever since Junior had forsaken the crown. "Like a brisk summer wind, Oh Gorgeous Husband of Mine," she laughed nervously. "All of nature rejoices when you open your mouth!" She turned back towards Junior, who had made little progress towards the castle. "Although sometimes they appreciate when it's shut," she mumbled quietly. She looked at Junior expectantly. He had better not need another … motherly suggestion, she thought to herself.
Ma Gorg could easily be frustrated with both her husband and her son. They both felt idleness and play were a right, not a privilege. Still…
Around what year humans would call 1474AD, a young Gorg princess, followed by a small entourage carrying her luggage, marched toward a castle that shimmered in the sunlight. Before she entered the castle, however, she stopped by a nearby well and started to drink. Her mother, Queen Esmerelda of the Western Gorg Kingdom, had sent her there to find a husband. She had been walking for days. She was glad to be finally in the Eastern Gorg Kingdom, though her entourage, tasked with transporting her ample luggage, was SLIGHTLY more relieved than her.
She heard a strange noise from behind a large thick tree that nearly was the same diameter as an average Gorg. Upon investigation, she found a slumbering sapphire-blue young male Gorg, wearing only some shorts made of heavy fabric. She flicked some water on him and jumped back, amused, when he shot up several feet in the air. He glanced at her in shock, his eyes widening a little and his mouth slack. He wiped the water droplets off his face.
When she giggled at the sight, the young male Gorg blushed. He approached her and she coyly kept backing up so he would have to give chase. By the time she bumped into a large rock pillar made of several gray boulders, he had taken her hand and kissed her.
"Whatever did you do that for?" she asked.
"You're the female for me," he said eagerly in a slightly husky voice. "I never want to go through that again. Be my wife."
The Gorg Princess blushed and held her hand to her face to shield her reddening cheeks from him. "Your … ROMANTIC … sensibilities notwithstanding, I'm afraid I must save myself for the handsome young Gorg Prince who lives in that castle," she told him, pointing to the castle with a smile.
The male Gorg grinned widely. "Why, have no fear, my lavender angel," he announced proudly, "for thou dost see the one and true Gorg King." He lowered his head. "My Pa still likes to hang around, of course, but for two-hundred and twenty-nine years, I've ruled the roost." He sheepishly rubbed the back of his head, chuckling. "That is, if you don't mind marrying a King, instead."
Junior sighed, defeated. He turned to his Fraggle friends. "I guess I can't avoid my destiny, Fwaggles," he noted sadly. "See you whenevah I see you."