I haven't written in a very long time. It's not perfect, but I thought still worth sharing.
~dawn treads on~
There was never "day" in the Goblin Kingdom.
Neither the full sun nor its naive brightness was welcome in this place so choked with dust and debris and cracking statuary. At best, when it was up, all that could be seen was a piercing sliver sneaking a peek of the sprawling stone-and-hedge passageways from over the tops of the dune-like mountains that cut off the horizon on all sides. Like the great drowsy eye of some giant god - in the land of dreams, even the sun was a prisoner to unfulfillable desires.
And in the land of dreams, even its king had nightmares.
It is night, and in the blue darkness of a dusty throne room, The Goblin King was fighting armies in his sleep.
Lying in the pit in the center of the room, pale skin and cobweb-fine hair spread against the deep blackness of the darkly colored throws and pillows he had nested in, glowing in the dark despite the lack of any light source. It was like gazing at the brightest star in the sky trapped at the bottom of the deepest well. He would have looked just as serene as that star had it not been for the naked, slender fingers twitching against the bedclothes, the eyelids that rolled back and forth, indicating the visions passing beneath. Visions that had haunted His Majesty for a long, long time.
He stood in blackness, surrounded by nothing, nothing in sight except a long silver mirror in front of his eyes. He couldn't move, couldn't turn his head to look behind himself, could only stare at the mirror and its inky contents. The only thing he could see was himself, as dark and menacing as the air around him. Even more so, there was something feral in his eyes, something coiled to strike - something powerful and dangerous. This was how the world saw him, feared him, loved him, and he relished it.
As he watched, far in the distance behind him a light was growing. Pinpointed and fuzzy at first, it spread steadily like the rising sun behind his back, growing brighter and brighter. He tried to turn and look, to throw up his hands to shield his eyes, to gather back the receding darkness, but the will to move slipped through his fingers like smoke, like water gliding off stone in his mind, and he was frozen.
He watched the face in the mirror with horror - where once his eyes had been shadows made of twilight and dying stars and the howling of wolves, they were now nothing but the hollow pits of a skull, their color bleached and his face looked as stark as marble gleaming in the desert. Unhealthy - weak - he was draining, his essence was draining in the face of that marching light. The crow feathers of his cloak turned to translucent owl and bleached bone. He was naked and useless and so pale, so pale...
As the light drew closer, as his flesh dried and withered on his bones, as the last traces of his immortal beauty were stripped away, the sound of thousands of marching feet grew louder and louder and a pair of cruel green eyes came into view behind him, revealing themselves to be the source of his destruction. The beat the invisible soldiers marched to was the sound of those final words ringing in his ears;
"You have no power over me."
In a final flash of searing pain, he knew that it was true.
Whatever force it was holding him there would not even allow his throat to scream. Then everything went white.
Jareth's eyes snapped open with a choked, silken gasp; then were immediately shut again as one ungloved hand flew to his face to shield himself from the light filtering through the arched window. It was not bright light, only the beginnings of this land's twisted version of dawn, but his eyes had grown much more acutely sensitive within recent memory. Childishly, the Goblin King turned and buried his sweaty face in a satin pillow, for just a moment wishing vainly for unplagued sleep, before rising with a groan and climbing from the pit. A tattered rag of a blanket slithered up unheeded after him, lifting itself to slide up his body and curl around thin shoulders. The sound of cream muslin shirt sliding against that bit of gossamer was joined by the click of heeled boots as a pair made of soft leather materialized on his feet.
By the time he was more fully clothed, his steps had taken him out onto the stone balcony directly across from the throne inside, where he stood watching the skyline with hooded eyes.
You have no power over me.
He flinched, despite being determined not to. Would those words ever leave him alone? Would that marching gaze ever stop?
No, no more than he could stop the sun from rising at all. It was significantly light out now. At any moment that giant eye would open right in his view. He continued to stare straight ahead.
It was so quiet out. Even the nightwatch goblins never roused themselves before sunrise, in spite of the threat of punishment from their king if they were ever "found out" - or, to be more exact, if their king was ever in the mood for "finding out". Goblins found even less joy in the sun than he did. At least here it was a perpetual twilight and not a full-blown daytime.
With movements much more feline than that of man, Jareth sat side-long atop the balcony's wide wall, legs curled protectively up to his chest. Conjuring a crystal, he watched for several moments the small form of a dark haired girl – a woman – dozing in the grass, her face bathed in what looked like noontime sunshine.
He was not oblivious to the irony of such an image. Sneering, Jareth dropped his hand carelessly onto the stone beneath him, letting the crystal roll away to rest inches in front of his feet.
She will always be a creature of the light. And around such, darkness cannot exist. He loathed how much thinking of her made him want to give up, to let his shadows be shattered by her brightness. In the face of such light, darkness cannot exist.
It was at that moment the sun rose.
Again, the Goblin King flinched, again to his self-disgust. The nightmares were bad enough, but to follow the fear into wakefulness was shameful. When had he turned into a shivering babe, afraid even of the sound his own heartbeat made in the darkness of his nest, feeling exposed and terrified even in the safety of his own home? He had never been so frightened of the day before she came and exploded the walls he'd built in his dreams.
His head drooped to rest on one knee – pale, tired eyes drifting again to the image of his one desire sleeping peacefully inside the sphere of his magical sight. Watching her tiny, sleeping face, he thought how easy she made it all look, how easy it was to be so uncomplicated a being – and yet look at what she'd done to him.
There must be some trick to it all. It could not be as simple as allowing the warmth to seep into his bones, letting his eyelids flutter closed, knowing that, despite being full of blackness and despair and boiling power, the sun can no more actually take that away from him than he could do it to himself. It could not be as simple as knowing within the pit of his soul that somewhere, a girl made of light was in love with a god made of darkness.
Jareth sat there with that thought in my mind, certain of its truth in a sudden moment of blinding clarity. As, for the first time in many lifetimes the dawn tread fully across the morning sky, the sound of its armies in his ears was suddenly one of triumph rather than defeat.
I know your secret, little bird. You won't escape me that easy.
Then, turning his face to the warmth of the sun, The Goblin King smiled and closed his eyes.