The Taming of the Goblin King
This story has nothing to do with any of my others. It's just another idea that has been bouncing around in my head for a while now. I apologize to Mr. Shakespeare for borrowing his idea, but I have put my own twist on it. Please read and review. As usual, I own no rights to the "Labyrinth" or any of its characters.
Sarah stared out the window as the rain fell. The tiny drops on the glass matched the ones flowing down her cheeks. Everyone was gone now except Mildred who was picking up the plates and trays left by all the visitors after the funeral. Even her father, stepmother Karen and little brother Toby had finally left. They had to catch a late plane back to their home.
That made Sarah smile. Sometime in the last three years, she had come to think of her mother's Manhattan apartment as home.
Sarah's mother, Elizabeth, had abandoned her child and her husband to run off with an actor named Brad to Broadway when Sarah was only six. She had become a great success and even won several Tony awards. She had eventually married Brad. Still, Sarah and her father hadn't heard from her in ten long years. Yet, shortly after returning from the Labyrinth and just a week after turning sixteen, Sarah had gotten a package. In it was a letter begging her to come to New York to visit her mother and a plane ticket. Though at first reluctant, Sarah had decided to go and managed to persuade her father to let her. Sarah's mother had met her at the airport. She whisked Sarah away in a limousine to her large Manhattan apartment. The next two weeks were filled with endless shopping, trips to fancy restaurants and introductions to her mother's famous friends. Their days and nights were a whirlwind of glitz, glamour and fine living. But, through it all, Sarah sensed something was simply not right with the situation.
Finally, at the end of the second week, Elizabeth revealed the truth. Brad and she were now divorced; leaving Elizabeth alone. Worse yet, Elizabeth had recently been diagnosed with cancer and the prognosis was grim. She begged Sarah's forgiveness for abandoning her and pleaded with her to stay in New York. Moved by her mother's plight, Sarah had agreed. For the next three years, Sarah's life centered on her classes a prestigious local high school for the performing arts and her mother's illness.
Rounds of chemotherapy and radiation had prolonged her mother's life, but her illness had eventually won. Though Elizabeth had struggled valiantly, she finally succumbed.
Through her entire illness, Elizabeth had repeated a simple, but powerful message to her daughter. She begged Sarah not to give up the love of her life. Though Elizabeth had been a great success on Broadway, she confessed to Sarah that she still loved Sarah's father and regretted abandoning them every day.
"I thought Brad would make me happy, Sarah, but he didn't. You and your father did. Brad never really loved me, not like you two did. He was never even really faithful. He always had to have someone new." Elizabeth had confessed one day. "Your father was my one true love, Sarah. I was just too blinded by Brad's tales of the glamour of Broadway to realize it. I'll always regret leaving you two. I've never been really happy since. Never let go of the person you love, Sarah and don't waste your chance with them. You may never get another one. If you love someone with all your heart, hang on to them, no matter what. It will be worth all the effort in the end. Look at me. I've got money and fame. But I would trade it in a heartbeat for a chance to undo the mistake I made with you and your father."
Sarah had often pondered her mother's words. In the last month, as her mother got worse, Sarah did what she had longed to do since the night she wished Toby away. She told someone about her trip to the Labyrinth. Strangely, Elizabeth hadn't doubted one word of her daughter's story. She even picked up on Sarah's secret feelings for the Goblin King.
"Obviously, you couldn't make any other choice at the time." Elizabeth had observed from her hospital bed." You were too young and Toby was at stake; but, what about now Sarah?"
"What do you mean?" Sarah had asked.
"If you had a chance now without endangering Toby, would you accept him, Sarah? I guess, what I'm saying is: d o you love this Goblin King?"
Sarah had frowned and thought about her answer. In the end, she had to be truthful.
"Yes, I guess I do." she had replied simply.
"Then find a way, Sarah, if there's even a chance you'll find happiness with him." Elizabeth had encouraged. "Don't make the same mistake I did, Sarah. It's too late for me, but not for you."
Sarah broke out of her reverie and decided it was time to stop crying; time to get on with the business of living.
In the Goblin kingdom, King Jareth was still in his usual foul mood. Ever since Sarah had rejected him, the Goblin King had been difficult to live with. Over the centuries, there had been many who had come and challenged his Labyrinth. Kings, paupers, men, women, people of every kind and every walk of life had attempted his challenge. Some won; some lost. But in the whole history of the Labyrinth, King Jareth had only made the offer of himself to one person; Sarah. She had done what no one in the entire history of the Labyrinth had done. A slip of a girl had rejected him, the Great Goblin King and one of the greatest and most powerful fey to ever live. He would have loved nothing more than to get her back in his power and then he would show her.
He had looked in on Sarah from time to time, happy in her little art school. At first, he had gotten an occasional report on Sarah from Hoggle. Of course, the King would never have admitted that he actually looked forward to hearing about Sarah. In time, however, she seemed to stop calling Hoggle and all of her friends. The goblin king took out his frustrations at not hearing more news from Hoggle by banished him to a remote outpost in a far corner of the goblin kingdom. As time went on, he became angrier at Sarah and began to resent her.
One day as he sat, watching her in a globe, he made a promise of his own.
"Be careful, little Sarah. Watch your tongue," he warned. "If you ever wish yourself back to my kingdom, no matter the circumstances, I will grant it. Then, you will be in my power and I'll show you what it means to reject the Goblin King."
He grinned wickedly at the thought.
Sarah sat on her bed all alone and sighed. Mildred, her mother's maid had left at last. The apartment was now quiet. As Sarah looked at her mother's photo, she remembered her mother's advice about love and her feelings for the goblin king. However, finding a way was easier said than done. Sarah hadn't spoken to her friends from the Goblin kingdom in almost three years since she came to live with her mother. She genuinely regretted neglecting them, but with her mother's illness, there just never seemed enough time. She doubted they would come now considering that she hadn't spoken to them in three years.
Sarah spoke aloud to her mother's photo. It was in the locket her mother had given Sarah shortly before her death.
"I wish I had my chance, Mom," she mused. "I wish I could find a way back to the goblin kingdom or at least to Hoggle. He might not help, but it would be a place to start."
Sarah gasped as the room spun. Suddenly, she found herself on the ground surrounded by towering, wrinkled creatures that looked as bewildered as she was. They snorted and grunted to each other for several seconds as Sarah looked around. She was in the middle of a ramshackle ruin that vaguely resembled an old fort of some kind. As she started to rise, one of the smelly creatures grabbed her roughly and began dragging her across the courtyard.
"Hey, let go!" she cried. "That hurts!"
Sarah was shoved unceremoniously into a dank, dark cell and shackled to the wall by her wrist. She winced as the rusty metal cut into her flesh. As her eyes adjusted to the dark, she began to make out several other forms in the cell that she recognized as goblins also chained to the wall. A low moan drew her attention to a limp, battered form on the floor near her. As she got closer, she was horrified to see it was her old friend.
"Hoggle!" she cried out.
Sarah stretched the chain to its full length and managed to get close to her friend. Poor Hoggle was black and blue, but still alive.
"Sarah, it that you? How did you get here?"
"I'm not sure. Where are we? What are those things?"
Over the next few hours, Hoggle managed to relate his pitiful tale to Sarah. They were now in a tiny fort at the very edge of the Goblin Kingdom. Hoggle had been banished here by King Jareth some time ago. Shortly before Sarah arrived, a group of rock trolls had invaded and overrun the fort, taken everyone prisoner and were now occupying the place.
For the next two days, Sarah remained their prisoner along with Hoggle and the goblins. The trolls brought in food and water daily. Unfortunately, they also seemed to take great delight in kicking and cuffing their prisoners. Sarah managed to avoid most of their abuse except once when she was trying to protect Hoggle. One of the brutes slammed Sarah into the wall exceptionally hard, leaving her bruised from head to foot. At last, she felt she couldn't take anymore.
" Hoggle, we have to get out of here." she said. "There has to be a way to escape or at least get help."
"I doubts it. No one can hear us and there ain't no one going to come if they could." he muttered.
Suddenly, an idea struck Sarah. There was one person who might come, but Sarah was almost afraid to summon him. It might not even work. Still, she saw no other way out of their dilemma.
" I wish the Goblin King were here." Sarah said in a clear voice.
Jareth smiled in triumph as he appeared. He had waited three years for his revenge and had been elated to hear Sarah's call. Retribution was at hand. However, the sight that greeted him brought an instant frown to his face. He had been expecting an overconfident, defiant adversary, not the dirty, bedraggled Sarah that sat in front of him on the ground.
At seeing their King, the chained goblins cried out in relief.
" Kingy! Kingy come to save us."
Sarah was exhausted and in pain, but she still managed to stand and face the Goblin King. She met and held his gaze, much to his surprise.
"Hello, Your Majesty."
Jareth still frowned as he regarded her. There was more to this than met the eye.
"Hello again, little Sarah." he sneered arrogantly." Back in my kingdom, I see. Got yourself into trouble again, have you?"
"Actually, I came here by accident." she informed him. "But, as you can see, there's a problem here. This fort of yours has been invaded by trolls and they captured me as well. They have poor Hoggle and the goblins prisoner too."
"Really?" he replied nonchalantly.
Outwardly, the Goblin king appeared disinterested. Inwardly, Jareth was seething. It angered him beyond measure that trolls had dared invade his territory. However, he was not above using their invasion to his advantage if it got Sarah back into his power. Right now, he was far more interested in her than a few marauding trolls.
"Just what do you expect me to do? "he stated lazily. "Why exactly did you summon me?"
Sarah's mouth dropped in shock. Surely the Goblin king didn't intend to just leave them all here.
"I want you to get us out of here, what else? This is your kingdom; these goblins are your subjects. Aren't you going to help them, at least?" she asked emphatically.
Jareth expression changed to a smug smile. Of course he had every intention of rescuing the goblins, but, first he needed to manipulate Sarah just a little more.
"Why should I bother?" he replied appearing bored. "This is a remote outpost. It hardly seems worth my trouble."
Sarah bent her head and sighed. He was as arrogant and cold as she remembered. She was beginning to feel desperate and hopeless. She broke down and pleaded with the Goblin King.
"Your Majesty, please save these goblins and Hoggle." she asked quietly." I'm asking you to free them."
Jareth eyes glittered at Sarah's words.
"And what will you give me in return?"
Sarah looked confused.
"Yes, Sarah, in return." he stated smugly, "You summoned me and invoked my help. You must give me something in return. That's the way it works. "
"What do you want?" she asked hesitantly.
Inside, Jareth felt a wave of triumph. She was almost in his grasp.
"You!" he answered rather ominously.
"Me?!!" came her answer.
"Yes, you." he stated arrogantly. "I will rescue the goblins, Hogwart, and you, yourself. I will even see that Hogwart over there is treated for his injuries. In exchange, you will place yourself completely in my power. You will follow my orders without question, no matter what. You will do as I please when I please and obey my every whim. In short, you will be one of my subjects. Do you agree?"
Sarah's shoulders slumped dejectedly and she sighed again.
"I don't see that I have much choice. I agree." she replied in defeat.
Jareth grinned evilly and produced a globe. Sarah's vision spun and she found herself in a large chamber that resembled a bedroom. The goblin king was nowhere to be seen. The room swam as Sarah felt a wave of nausea. She managed to stagger to a small bench a few feet away and sat down. Wearily, she laid her head on the tiny bench as the enormity of what she had agreed to sunk in. She closed her eyes and exhaustion took over. Within moments, she was asleep.
Jareth grinned in triumph. At last he had achieved his goal. Sarah was in his power once again. He made quick work of dealing with the slow moving, slow witted trolls that had overrun his fort. A minor spell instantly petrified them to rock. He then released the goblins and sent Hogwart back to the goblin castle for treatment. After all, a bargain was a bargain.
Jareth swaggered into his chambers in anticipation. Sending Sarah here had been a whim, but now he was glad of it. What better place than his own chambers to savor his victory? She could start by polishing his boots! He looked around and felt a flash of anger. Where was that blasted girl? If she had tried to run, he would have her dragged back and locked in an oubliette!
A soft sound drew his attention to a corner near the window. There, Sarah was lying on a tiny bench, fast asleep. The Goblin King started to yell at her, but the words died in his throat. Suddenly, he felt deflated, deprived of the confrontation he so anticipated. These emotions were quickly followed by a wave of confusion. For some reason, he was actually reluctant to wake Sarah. Jareth sat down on a nearby chair and began to ponder this strange turn in his thoughts.
Jareth had to admit to himself that he had been so busy considering how to get Sarah back in his power that he never stopped to consider the effect she might have on him. When he had encountered her the first time, he had been fascinated. Strangely, the fifteen year old Sarah had affected and intrigued him in a way no other female, human or Fey ever had. He had felt more emotion in the few hours of their encounter than he had in the past millennia. He had dared to even offer her more than he had ever offered anyone before or since. When she had rejected him, he had been hurt and his pride had been stung. Soon, he had been plotting his revenge
But, as before, Sarah was stirring emotions within the Goblin King that he hadn't anticipated. He even felt an unexpected wave of pleasure at seeing her in his chambers that had nothing to do with his plans for revenge. In fact, since Sarah's return a few hours ago, the King's previous boredom and ennui had vanished. Once again, she was affecting him deeply.
As he sat, he began to frown. For the life of him, he couldn't fathom how Sarah was sleeping on the tiny, uncomfortable bench. Jareth only ever really used it as a boot rest.
He looked closer and an unusual mark on Sarah's wrist drew his attention. As he moved closer and bent down next to her, he could see that the mark was actually a deep, raw gash. He also began to notice dark patches that he soon recognized as bruises. Gingerly, he lifted her sleeve. She didn't even stir. The bruises reached all the way up her arm.
A wave of pure rage shot through Jareth as he brushed back Sarah's tangled hair, only to see more bruises. If he had not already destroyed the trolls, he would have made them suffer immensely for Sarah's mistreatment.
Almost without thought, Jareth produced a globe and dropped it next to the bench. The gash and bruises instantly vanished. Sarah herself was affected as well. Clean and neat, she was now sleeping on a large chaise lounge surrounded by pillows and plush covers. Her long hair billowed around her. Even her clothing had altered to a soft green gown that was form fitting. Throughout the whole process, Sarah never moved once. Mollified, he noticed that Sarah had definitely matured since their last meeting. The young girl had matured into an attractive young woman with a very appealing form. He didn't stop to consider why he noticed or why it affected him so deeply.
Soon, Jareth turned to his own bed and prepared for sleep. In spite of himself, he actually liked the wave of satisfaction that filled him at the thought of Sarah sleeping warm and comfortable in his chambers. Strangely, all thoughts of tormenting Sarah and making her suffer had vanished from the Goblin King's mind at the sight of the wounds on Sarah. Instead, he had felt a wave of possessiveness that took him by surprise. It enraged him to think of anyone or anything putting so much as a scratch on her. Sarah was now his and no one harmed anything that belonged to the Goblin King. He still wasn't quite sure what he was going to do with Sarah, but he vowed that whatever happened would be determined by him alone.