This is it, friends: the final chapter of this story. Thanks to everyone who stuck it out to the end; I appreciate your support! I hope you enjoy this final scene.
In the annals of the Court of the Wise, it is written concerning Jareth, King of the Goblins and Lord of the Labyrinth and Sarah Williams, the Goblin Queen and Conqueror of the Labyrinth:
In the year 7529, Age of Permanence, the Underground saw the most elaborate and extravagant bonding ceremony in the history of the ages when the Goblin King Jareth finally took to himself a bride, the lovely Sarah Williams, a human woman from the Aboveground and the only one to ever have defeated the Labyrinth. Though many in the Court of the Wise opposed the union of such disparate worlds, Jareth and Sarah defied both condemnation and custom because their love for each other was rooted in destiny rather than whim.
The day of their joining dawned brighter and fairer than any morn in ten thousand years. It was as if the long forgotten Eos had come to bless the couple's marriage and reign with glorious sunlight and prosperity. It was the sign of something wondrous about to take place: a mortal girl was to become joined forever to an immortal king. And this was not the only sign to accompany their day: a rare blue windcaller bird alighted on the roof of the hall where they were to be joined, predicting the birth of a royal heir within the next decade. A fair sky represents prosperity and a clear future and the white-star grass blossomed beneath the bride's footsteps, signaling the rise of a powerful and remarkable Queen. But not all the portents were positive. The night before the ceremony, the Maranthus plant flowered beneath the new Queen's bedchamber, signifying great suffering; however, since the blossoms were red with a white center, the sages say the suffering will produce much joy and eventual victory over many trials.
These omens were made known to both King and Queen and the entire assembly, causing much delight and dismay in the many nodding heads and tickled ears of the listeners. The outcome of such portents is for another time, as they have not yet all come to pass.
No more awesome and powerful King has ever graced the halls of the Court of the Wise as Jareth, Goblin King and Lord of the Labyrinth. He entered the Hall of Joining as the hand of the clock struck thirteen. The midday sun was high in the sky and the sunlight streaming through the glass ceiling of the assembly room glanced off his jacket like a million stars in a midnight sky. There was a hush in the room and the only sound was the echo of his footsteps on the marble floor.
The Centaur King Kyran and his consort, the Queen Alegra—the hosts and officiants of the ceremony—stood tall on the upraised platform across the room from where Jareth entered. Rich fabrics of red, green, purple, white and gold hung from the high columns of the assembly room all around, but the platform was bedecked with silver and blue. Tall candelabras and hanging lanterns suspended in mid-air, all constructed of pure gold, cast a suffused white glow on the gathered crowds. A long white velvet runner cascaded from the feet of the hosts to stop at the tip of Jareth's leather shod feet.
Surrounding the Goblin King on both sides of the elegantly decorated hall were the Kings and Queens of the Underground Kingdom, all garbed in regally decadent attire. Satin and silk rustled against leather, brocade and suede. Atop their stately heads, crowns in the colors of their respective kingdoms declared their rank and authority: troll, fairy, dwarf, nymph, satyr, and many more. Every ruler had come to celebrate the joining of Jareth to his human bride. Behind the Kings and Queens, representatives from every race and kingdom of the Underground watched with excitement flickering in their variegated eyes. It was a rare treat to be invited to the bonding of a king and queen of the Underground, but Kyran had refused to deny any race admittance at such a unique and hallowed event. From the open doors where Jareth had entered looking out over the throng of creatures assembled, they seemed to go on without number. In truth, the Centaur Queen Alegra had magicked the size of the hall so that outwardly, it appeared no different but inside, it held a hundred times its normal capacity.
Among those standing near the dais toward which Jareth slowly walked were the four friends of Sarah Williams and her brother Toby: the dwarf Hoggle, the fox-knight Sir Didymus, the rock-caller Ludo, and the chicken Rook. Nearby, the Wiseman of Jareth's labyrinth dozed intermittently in a gilded chair brought just for him, his verbose hat pecking him awake at intervals so that he would not miss the proceedings. Jareth had compelled the hosts to give the Wiseman pride of place because of his involvement in the now joyous union.
Behind the hosts on the dais, the members of the Court of the wise stood proudly to oversee the ceremony, their anciently youthful faces lined with wisdom and placid enjoyment. Only two of the members held openly exultant expressions on their elegant faces: Makarios and Felicia— former Goblin King and Queen and the father and mother of Jareth. One could imagine no more proud parents than they as they beheld their only son walking toward them and his future. The former Goblin Queen took the hand of her husband and gave it an barely perceptible squeeze; they beamed joyfully at each other, then returned their gaze to the fast approaching Goblin King.
When Jareth had walked the length of the hall, he halted at the base of the steps, looking upward at Kyran and Alegra where they smiled graciously upon him.
"Jareth, King of the Goblins and Lord of the Labyrinth. You come this day to be joined to a bride. To whom do you now come to pledge yourself and your kingdom?" Kyran intoned, officially beginning of the bonding ceremony.
"I have come to bind myself to Sarah Williams, the human woman from the Aboveground and Conqueror of the Labyrinth," Jareth replied, a twinkle of mirth in his eye as he called out the customary response.
"And where might she be found?" Alegra called out, gesturing openly at the assembly room. The creatures assembled there looked amongst themselves for a moment ritualistically, signifying the search for a fitting bride among the peoples of the Underground.
"She is to be found here," a bell-like voice rang out from behind the host pair, who parted to make way for the speaker: the bride herself. From behind them, Sarah stepped forward to stand between them. "The Court of the Wise offers forth Sarah Williams to be bonded to Jareth, King of the Goblins and Lord of the Labyrinth," Phainon replied from his place behind her.
It is unlikely that a more radiant Queen has ever arisen in the Underground as Sarah Williams. She floated gracefully from her place amidst the former kings and queens, her movements fluid and delicate as raindrops trailing down a windowpane. The Goblin King's gasp at the sight of his beloved was audible to the furthest reaches of the hall. His eyes filled rapturously, engrossed in the shimmering beauty of his long-awaited queen. Her gown of glistening white flickered with hundreds of tiny diamonds and pearls, each one twinkling like sunlight reflected in spray of a waterfall. A silver necklace dripping diamonds graced her slender neck—matching earrings dangled from her ears—and the yards of fabric cascading from her slim waist seem to weigh no more than a cloud. Her long ebony hair was done up elaborately so that it swept back from her head then fell in cascading waves down her back. Strands of pearls and glittering flowers trailing silver ribbon were woven expertly into her black hair, winking like stars.
"Sarah Williams," Kyran's charming voice echoed in the silent hall, "Conqueror of the Labyrinth and Child of the Aboveground. You come this day to be joined to a king. To whom do you now pledge yourself and your future?"
"I have come to bind myself to Jareth, the Goblin King and Lord of the Labyrinth," Sarah replied, her gentle voice resounding in the cavernous space.
"And where is he to be found?" Kyran continued.
"He is to be found here," Jareth's voice rang out jubilantly. He offered forth a white gloved hand to the woman above him, beckoning her to descend. Kyran took Sarah's hand and led her downward, Alegra following closely on her heels. When the trio reached the floor, Kyran placed Sarah's hand in Jareth's own, signifying the official transfer of the bride to the care and companionship of her husband. Jareth and Sarah faced each other, his right hand holding her left. Kyran and Alegra both placed a hand over top of their joined hands: Alegra faced Jareth and Kyran faced Sarah.
"Sarah and Jareth, have you come here to be joined together as man and woman bonded for eternity?" Kyran asked.
"We do," the pair replied.
"Sarah," Kyran said, his eyes boring into her own with utter seriousness. "What do you offer Jareth in return for his faithfulness, companionship and livelong love?"
"I bring to him all that I have: my heart, soul, body and future. I bring to him the promise to be his faithful Queen and lover, with the hopes of one day bringing forth an heir to our kingdom," Sarah blushed at the last phrase, thinking of bearing Jareth's children made her shiver with nervous joy, and a twinge of fear.
"What you bring is both acceptable and right," Kyran replied, beaming.
"Jareth," Alegra's childlike voice chimed, "What do you offer Sarah in return for her faithfulness, companionship and lifelong love?"
"I bring to her all that I have: my heart, soul, body, kingdom, and future. I bring to her the promise to be her faithful King and lover, with the hopes of one day providing her an heir to our kingdom," Jareth smirked playfully at Sarah, knowing the comment made her uncomfortable.
"What you bring is both acceptable and right," Alegra replied. She reached into the fold of her sleeve and brought out a gold cord woven through with pearls. Wrapping it about their joined hands and wrists, she said, "We do now bind you together as King and Queen of the Goblin Kingdom and as lifelong partners in love."
Kyran reached to a pocked in his tunic and brought forth a golden amulet identical to the one Jareth wore, only smaller. "Sarah," he said. "With this insignia, I do so pronounce you Goblin Queen. Wear it as your badge of office so that all may know you are rightful Queen and co-ruler of the Goblin Kingdom." Sarah bowed her head and Kyran placed the amulet delicately around her neck.
The couple turned to face the assembly, faces shining euphorically. With one voice, Kyran and Alegra shouted jubilantly, "Kings and Queens of the Underground, creatures and races of all kinds, I present to you Jareth and Sarah, King and Queen of the Goblin Kingdom!"
A roar of applause and shouting shook the foundations of the hall as titans and their subjects alike applauded the radiant couple. Somehow, over the cacophony of celebration, the strains of music were heard and a hush fell over the room. The exultant crowds moved back as Jareth swept his new Queen into his arms, sliding his free arm about her tiny waist. Despite the cord binding their other hands, they managed to dance freely about the room, the light of the sun and lanterns dancing off of them as their glittering attire twirled and swayed to the music. The new Queen smiled up into her beloved's face and one could just make out the slight movement of his lips as he sang to her a song from a dream long ago:
I'll paint you mornings of gold
I'll spin you Valentine evenings
Though we're strangers till now
We're choosing the path between the stars
I'll leave my love between the stars…
I'll be there for you
As the world falls down
These are the recollections of Asenath, Record-Keeper for the Court of the Wise, Underground year 7529, Age of Permanence.
Unbeknownst to all but the bride and groom, the elegantly garbed Kings and Queens and the other denizens of the Underground were not the only observers of the jubilant celebration. Far away, in another land altogether, a little boy watched the festivities through a crystal ball half the size of his head. He watched and he smiled a bittersweet smile: sad that he could not be present for his sister's wedding, but happy to share in her joy and above all, happy to remember.
Sadly…but not forever. I am planning on a sequel that I'm writing in conjunction with NaNoWriMo in November (a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month). For those of you who want more of the Jareth and Sarah I've developed here, stick around! You haven't seen the last of me, yet.
As promised, I extend a very warm thank you to all of you who left reviews for me, especially those who faithfully left multiple review: hazlgrnLizzy, Sarah Wilders, MyraValhallah, CraZyPshyChoLadY, Midsummer'sQueen, notwritten, Ying-Fa-dono, iLoveToSing, UrDanc3r, Nyllewell, artseblis, iCraft, molbymagic, MarHeavenAngel, Anenihan, Ferlinda the Dreamweaver, LDeetz, Phantom'sAngel89, Xena505, Dancequeen105, queenjareth, Tight Hold On Death, lovelycelticopera, Vinillii, TheRubyWife, Mikro, ChilaliSnowbird, Celecia Moland, centrifuga, GoblinPrincessAza, TheJupiterAlien, impteen16, Gaming Girl, RLupin, Xin-No-Hikaru, Kita Kudai, Kitten4, cluaran, VictorianxxLyddie, ScarlettIvy, GoDrinkPinesol624, Trostuele, samjosam and Nightly Wanderer. Thank you, ALL of you for your wonderful encouragement and rave reviews. I am so honored to have captured all of you with this story, my first go round in fanfic. (And I'm sorry if I left you out, just message me and I'll add you to the list, I think I got everyone, but I may have missed a few because there were so many reviews!)
I want to thank specifically those of you who have favorited either me or my story or both. 'S'laughter, AKU wolf-chick, babykatee, BroadwayNerd, Centrifuga, cluaran, CraZyPshyChoLadY, DarkJuliet, daughterofthe1king, DaughterofVlad, Edrial, ForsakenRose, Gaming Girl, GoblinPrincessAza, Heaveninabasket1, High Elf Queen, iCraft, jarethlover89, jemima123, Kita Kudai, liliana the dark, lovelycelticopera, LunaBelle13, MarHeavenAngel, Midsummer'sQueen, Mikro, molbymagic, Okami of the Cheese, perphila, Pheonix Razzell, Ravin' Raven, RLupin, samjosam, Sarah Wilders, ScarlettIvy, shortstory-writer, TeenHorror, Tennyo Ch'ang-O, TheJupiterAlien, TheRubyWife, Trosteule, tuila, twilibby, UrDanc3r, vampfreak666, VictorianxxLyddie, Vinillii, WanderingMimi, WhiteInnocence, Xena505, Xin-No-Hikaru, and Ying-Fa-dono
You are all wonderful and I'm glad you have that much faith in me and my work.
This ending is just as bittersweet to me as it is to Toby. I'm excited to have completed my first story, but I'm sad it is over. I've had so much fun! Peace be with you all… until we meet again… in another story :)