Author's Note: This was written during the 2008 labyfic livejournal community fic exchange for Wiccarowan, who asked for a story that dealt with the aftermath of the castle attack and its effect upon the minor characters. In Greek mythology, the three Fates (the Moirae) are said to determine the fate of every mortal from birth until death. In Labyrinth fanfic, writers steal this idea and turn it into absurd vignettes about what happens to Ludo, Hoggle and Sir Didymus soon after the events of the movie take place. Humor, with maybe just a smidgen of J/S.
The Three Fates
"That it should come to this!"
Hamlet, Act I, Scene II
It was no easy task to rebuild the goblin city.
The lower metropolis had been worst hit-- not necessarily by the boulders, but by friendly fire. Many walls still bore the marks of an errant cannon-goblin landing, and where the garrison stood was only a pile of rubble and splintered timbers. Worst of all, the city's oldest public house had been leveled in the battle-- the venerable Green Potato Inn on Goatsbottom Lane. It was bad enough to be defeated and homeless, protested the goblins, but being forced to endure such hardship while sober was surely too much to ask. All agreed that it would take a great deal to restore their home to its former glory.
There was, of course, magic.
The Labyrinth was born of magic, or so the storytellers claimed: a single enchanted pebble in the pocket of a traveler between worlds, spat into the maelstrom of wild sorcery and emerging on the other side transformed. After a summer storm the very air crackled with it, arcs of pure power racing to bridge the midnight gap between earth and sky. It was only natural that the goblins looked to their enigmatic ruler to wield it as he'd always done. Jareth, they argued, would re-shape the Labyrinth and make it anew.
But on this matter, the Goblin King was curiously silent. When the days turned into weeks, rumors flew from one end of the kingdom to the other. Some said he'd fallen under a curse and spent his nights poring over books in his library in search of the one spell that would lift it. Others said his encounter with She Who Must Not Be Named had exhausted him utterly, leaving him no magic to spare for urban reconstruction. Jareth did nothing, nor did he appear inclined to clear up the mystery.
Instead, the task of rebuilding the goblin city was delegated to Ludo, and if he felt it was a harsh punishment for his small role in the insurrection, he wisely kept his opinions to himself. It was highly preferable to the alternative: being tried as a war criminal and having his hide appropriated in order to manufacture the Underground's Most Hideous Duvet.
It could not be denied that Ludo was well suited to the job, since the building materials were quite literally at his beck and call. Before long, every goblin foreman had placed orders for granite foundation stones and limestone blocks, slate for the roofing tiles and even gravel to repave the streets. Rumor had it that Jareth was taking the opportunity to renovate his private bath in white marble with floor-to-ceiling mirrors and a separate steam room, but Sir Didymus vehemently denied this report of hedonistic royal excess.
Rock calling was best done at dawn.
It began with a throaty crooning that set the earth humming underfoot and rattled windows in their frames. After a few warm-up scales, it built to a sinus-clearing howl until the entire city was awakened by Ludo's piercing bellow echoing over the rooftops. Then at precisely thirteen minutes after sunrise, the city gates flew open and a river of boulders poured in, rolling briskly up the hill and toward the castle. Their arrival was punctual as clockwork and became popular viewing for an easily amused goblin populace.
A few foolhardy goblins even made an entertainment of it, running across the street and dodging the tumbling boulders at the last second. They called this new game "Splorrrt", because that was the sound the losers made.
It was such a spectacle that even Jareth himself was lured out to the ramparts to watch, although uncharitable folk claimed he came to cheer for the rocks. Sir Didymus usually denied this too, but it must be said that in the weeks and months following the Uprising, the game of Splorrrt was one of the few things capable of bringing a small smile to the Goblin King's lips.
Sir Didymus also attended, when he wasn't busy discharging other duties. He had his own reparations to make for his disloyalty to the throne, but from time to time it pleased the Goblin King to have him near if only so Jareth had someone to snub. They made an odd pair: the tall king and the diminutive knight, one haughty, the other humbled. After many days of grim silence, the Goblin King finally conceded to speak to his companion.
Sir Didymus snapped to attention. "Indeed, sire."
Down in the streets, a goblin wearing a battered soup tureen for a helmet received a glancing blow to the head and staggered off into an alley only a little worse for wear. When the referee gave the all-clear, a relieved cheer and round of applause went up from the spectators.
"The padded armor rather spoils the fun," added Jareth, looking a touch displeased.
"One might argue that without it, the rocks possess an unjust advantage, sire."
The Goblin King's eyes narrowed slightly at this. "Ah, yes. A level playing field is so very important. We wouldn't wish to be unfair, would we?"
Belatedly, the knight recalled that his king had developed a sensitivity as of late regarding such terms, and he changed the subject with all diplomatic haste.
After a few minutes, one of the Splorrrt players was hit so hard with a pumpkin-sized boulder that his armor went flying off in several directions. The Goblin King unsuccessfully stifled a laugh behind one gloved hand and unfolded an elegant pair of gold opera glasses for a closer look.
Sir Didymus cleared his throat hopefully. "Your Majesty, thou didst say a few days ago that we could discuss the matter of... forgiveness?"
"How long has it been since the uprising, Didymus?" The Goblin King continued to watch the game, his expression deceptively bland.
"Six weeks and five days, sire."
From his perch on the city walls, Ludo took a break to gargle and sip some hot tea with lemon and honey. The river of bouncing boulders temporarily slowed to a trickle, and the surviving players limped off to one side to partake of cold refreshments and liniment.
"Six weeks and five days," repeated Jareth, stroking his chin as if in contemplation, "And how long did I say you three were to be punished for your base and cowardly treachery?"
Sir Didymus struggled for a few moments before honesty won out. "An eternity, Your Majesty."
The Goblin King fixed the knight with a dark look. "Then by my calculations, it will be quite some time before any of you can expect a reprieve, will it not? Ludo may continue to summon rocks until his voice gives out or I run out of building projects, and Hogwart can certainly remain in exile until his duties are discharged."
Which will be never, was the unspoken addendum.
Sir Didymus' whiskers quivered in dismay. "But Your Majesty, I--"
"And you," said the Goblin King, voice smoother than silk, "Isn't there something you ought to be doing as well?"
Author's Note: This is the first of four parts.