Drum roll please...I present Princess Ballah!
I apologise if there are any errors I missed, reading the chapters over and over again is killing me.
Chapter – Princess Ballah
It took less than two seconds to reappear at the centre of Sarah's bedroom after she and Jareth had left the classroom, both stood still, Jareth's arm remained encircled around her waist. Sarah was staring at the centre of his chest; she was just as reluctant to break their contact as she had been when they had stood on the balcony together the previous evening.
"Your talk with Toby does not seem so dire after all," Jareth said with a chuckle causing Sarah to pull away from him with a small smile curving her lips. He instantly regretted mentioning Toby, as he had also been enjoying their close proximity to one another.
"Thanks for bringing me home," Sarah said sliding her bag off of her shoulder and clutching it in front of her by the handles.
Jareth dipped his head to acknowledge her thanks before pulling his pocket watch free from his waistcoat. He flipped the gold device open and glanced down at the timepiece with a visible frown etched on his face. Quickly snapping it shut, he stuffed the watch back into his pocket.
"I do apologise Sarah, but I have some business that I must attend to," Jareth said, the frown on his face still firmly in place.
"Oh okay," Sarah was a little surprised that he was leaving so soon, but she guessed it was for the best as she really did need to talk to Toby about Groot as soon as possible and Jareth evidently had somewhere he needed to be.
"Before you go, I have a bone to pick with you," Sarah said placing her hands on her hips, she tried to look serious but the playfulness in her eyes gave her away. "I asked you not to use your crystals to spy on me and you agreed," she pointed in Jareth's direction as she spoke and he gestured for her to carry on, the corner of his mouth twitched as he tried to suppress a smile. "But then you sent Groot to watch me, in my book, that's still spying."
Jareth let the smile he had been fighting to keep hidden break free. "And what a mistake that was. The little green git couldn't even watch over you for a day without doing something to draw attention to himself. Rest assured Groot will not be charged with overseeing your wellbeing ever again, I think it is time he takes an early retirement," when Sarah's eyes widened in worry and she opened her mouth to speak, Jareth spoke again stopping her from voicing her concern. "Do not worry, he will not be bogged."
A muffled, 'yippee' came from Sarah's bag drawing her attention to it, she lifted it slightly and parted the flaps allowing Groot to poke his head out, but when the goblin set eyes on his king who was glowering down at him, he slowly and silently sank back into the safety of the bag.
"Groot cover your ears and hum to yourself," Jareth ordered shifting his eyes to meet Sarah's. The goblin quickly obliged the sound of improvised humming drifting from the bag.
"You specifically asked me not to use my crystals to watch you, I agreed, but you did not forbid me from sending Groot to watch over you," Jareth had already informed her of his tendency to interoperate agreements that had not been discussed down to the last detail however he so pleased.
Sarah lifted her eyebrow. "Fine, but no more spying in any form. I agreed to give you a chance Jareth and I think we should get to know each other like two normal people, and that includes not sending your minions to spy on me."
"Ahh but you are forgetting Sarah, I am not normal," Jareth said matter-of-factly.
"Maybe not, but if I'm going to be your girlfriend, you shouldn't have to spy on me," Sarah spoke quickly, she wasn't sure why she felt so nervous telling Jareth what she expected from him while they were dating.
Jareth had only picked up on one word that she had said and he now repeated it to her, the word rolling off of his tongue like silk. "Girlfriend?" he asked stepping closer to her.
Sarah hadn't realized she had used the word and she now began to blush as he approached her. "Well we are dating aren't we? That technically makes me your girlfriend" she sounded a little defensive. Jareth came to stand in front of her, he reached down to take her bag from her hands and when she had uncurled her fingers from the handles, he dropped it onto the floor beside them, the impact causing Groot's humming to momentarily falter as he let out a few minor curse words before he picked up the melody once again.
"We are, but I must admit it sounds odd hearing you speak of it so casually," Jareth lifted his hand to run the pad of his thumb along Sarah's jawline. "I will allow you your privacy Sarah; there will be no more unexpected stowaways to be found in your presence, but if you are ever in need I want you to call for me personally," he leant in closer to Sarah, his finger slipping beneath her chin to angle her mouth up to his.
Sarah pulled away from Jareth, shying away from his kiss. "Groot's still here," she said nodding towards the bag. Groot had now broken out in to song; singing about a goblin who had misplaced his cow, Sarah couldn't help but giggle at the nonsensical lyrics.
"Ah yes Groot," Jareth looked a little more than dissatisfied at the goblin's presence, in truth he had been so focused on claiming Sarah's lips that he had forgotten about Groot, even if he was singing horribly out of tune.
Jareth backed away from her and nodded. "I will leave you to have your talk with Toby then."
"Wait!" Sarah called causing Jareth to postpone his leave once again. He raised his eyebrows as he waited for her to speak. "Last night you said you would tell me why you needed me to return to the Underground so soon."
Jareth was supposed to tell her over dinner last night, but after what had happened he had not had the opportunity to speak with her on the matter. "If you wish to accompany me to the Underground tomorrow evening I could show you," he said deciding there was no point in keeping the Labyrinth's decaying state from Sarah any longer, he would hold no secrets from her, apart from the one concerning Princess Ballah of course.
Sarah nodded. "I'll see you tomorrow then," Jareth smiled and then left, the only sign of him ever being there was the visible ripple in the air.
Grabbing her bag, Sarah headed out into the hallway and towards Toby's bedroom, the door had been left slightly ajar and before Sarah even reached it, she knew Toby was in there. She could hear his voice drift into the hallway as he threatened to take over a holdfast with the help of his pet dragon.
Sarah stuck her head around the open door and gave a light rap on its surface to alert Toby to her presence. "Hey Tobe, can I come in? I have something I want to talk to you about," still transfixed on the barrage of swooping attacks his dragon figurine was making on a stack of books, that Sarah assumed was acting as the holdfast, he nodded his head granting her entry.
Sarah stepped into the room, careful not to tread on any members of the toy army that had been set out strategically on the floor. She crouched down beside Toby once she reached him to get his full attention. "How was school?" she asked making idle conversation before she got down to business.
"It was good," Toby replied placing his dragon down.
Sarah nodded. "Tobe, does the name Groot mean anything to you?"
"Nope," Toby replied looking her square in the eyes.
"It means nothing whatsoever?"
Toby shook his head and held a perfect poker face. "Nope, should it?"
Oh he was good Sarah thought. He was playing innocent and trying to gauge whether he should confess to knowing about the magical creature. Sarah smiled and pulled her bag open that she had placed beside her on the floor. "Groot," she called summoning the goblin.
Groot popped his head out of the bag instantly at the call of his name and surveyed his surroundings, he was glad to see that the king was nowhere to be seen, but then he set eyes on Toby. "You," he narrowed his eyes at the young boy.
Toby narrowed his own eyes in return. "Goblin, faked any heart attacks lately?" he asked sarcastically.
Sarah was surprised at the exchange; it was very evident that the two had met before despite Toby denying it.
"Ripped anymore tails off?" Groot shot back climbing out of the bag and puffing out his chest; he approached Toby and stood his ground in front of the boy. In truth his show of bravado was spurred on by the presence of Sarah, he was sure that she wouldn't allow any harm to come to him if things were to develop any further than whatever stage they were at right now.
Toby poked a finger at the centre of Groot's chest causing him to let the breath out he had been holding. The goblin deflated like a puffer fish, the air escaping between his lips causing them to flap.
"So you two do know each other?" Sarah stated rather than asked. "Why didn't you tell me Toby and why did you just lie to me?"
Toby shrugged. "Groot had been on a mission and I didn't want to make him fail. I lied because I kind of started to doubt if I had really seen him, even though I had this," Toby stood and rushed over to his bookshelf, pulling out a book he flipped it open and removed something from between the pages before returning it to the shelf and moving back towards his sister and the goblin.
Toby held out his hand to show Sarah what he had in it. "Is that fur?" she asked eyeing the brown mass held in the centre of his palm. Toby nodded and Groot seemed to erupt beside them.
"Give me!" the goblin shouted advancing on Toby who looked down at Groot with his eyebrows raised.
"What's the magic word?" Toby had been taught to say please and thank you, so Groot would have to do the same.
Cocking his head to the side Groot looked confused. "Don't need magic words, normally make hand gestures," he waved his hand in the air beside him in a swirling motion to illustrate what he had said.
A knock came at the door and all within turned towards the sound, Sarah made a grab for Groot to return him to her bag, but as she outstretched her hand she grasped nothing but thin air, the goblin had done a runner and was nowhere to be seen.
Karen entered the room clasping a large brown envelope in her hand. "Hey guys, I don't know how you managed to bypass me when you got in Sarah, I've been flitting between the kitchen and the living room waiting for you to get home," Karen had a broad smile on her face; she brought the envelope up to show it to Sarah. "It's here," she said excitedly.
Sarah knew exactly what her step mother held. She should have been rushing to tear open the envelope to see what it said inside, but when she had confided in Jareth the previous night, about no longer holding the desire to become an actress she had been telling the truth. She knew that she had not been accepted anyway, after all, her audition had been a disaster.
Grudgingly pulling herself up, she crossed the room plastering a forced smile onto her face. Karen was practically bouncing on the spot where she stood in anticipation as Sarah took the envelope from her hands and slowly pealed the flap open.
Sarah slipped the document free and ran her eyes over it, she froze. The expression on her face must have looked solemn as Karen ceased her bouncing and her smile faded.
"If you didn't get in Sarah, it's okay. It's their lose, you're a fantastic actress and they've made a terrible decision," Karen stopped speaking when her stepdaughter glanced up from the paper she had been studying.
Sarah realized that Karen was genuinely worried and upset for her. "I got in," she said with a little smile. It was not the fact that she had been accepted by the college that had made her smile; it was how Karen showed an interest in her life, unlike Linda.
Karen gave an ear piercing squeal and flung her arms around Sarah. "Oh I knew you'd get in. I'm so happy for you!" Sarah was a little taken aback by the action, as she was pressed face first in to Karen's boobs making it hard for her to breath. Karen backed away and beamed down at her. "Could you watch Toby for a little while, I want to run to the store and grab some ingredients for a congratulatory cake."
"You don't have to bake me a cake, it's just college, it's not a big deal," Sarah said trying to play it down.
"Not a big deal? It definitely is a big deal, stop being so modest. One cake coming up," Karen turned to leave the room and Sarah found herself smiling as she heard the woman hurry down the hallway and towards the stairs, and then it struck her, that was the first time she had ever hugged Karen.
Toby cleared his throat and Sarah turned to face him, Groot had returned to his spot beside her brother now. "So you're leaving me?" Toby asked his face contorted in worry.
Sarah moved closer to him and knelt down to match his height. "I won't just abandon you Toby, I can come back for visits," she leant in closer and spoke in a whisper, "To be honest, I don't think I even want to go," Toby beamed at this piece of information and flung his arms around her neck pulling her close.
"I'll convince you to stay," he said.
Sarah ruffled Toby's hair before moving away and glanced down at him and Groot with a pointed look. "If you two promise to play nice, Groot can stay for a while before he has to go home."
The boy and the goblin looked at one another and Toby shrugged. "Wanna help me burn down the castle?"
Groot grinned and rubbed his hands together, looking a little bit like a gremlin as he performed the action. Sarah found it unnerving and was quick to let him know that Toby had been talking about pretending to burn down the castle.
"No real fires Groot, it's all pretend," she warned him and he reluctantly nodded his approval before following Toby around his room as the boy explained what regiment did what.
Leaving the two alone, Sarah returned to her own room with the acceptance letter still in her hand, she ran her eyes over it again and pursed her lips. She couldn't help but question how she had been accepted, she had been certain that it would have been a rejection letter.
Sarah found herself looking past the crisp white paper and at the flap of the opened envelope that peaked up over the top of it. It looked like the one Mrs Davis' dog had wrestled from the mailman the other day.
Moving across her room towards her vanity, she opened her jewellery box and pulled out the pouch that she had placed there the previous night, after only just discovering it. She removed the smooth hexogen stone; she wasn't sure what made her do it but she lined the object up so that she could see through its centre and stared down at the letter. Sarah gasped as she saw swirling patterns dance across the surface of the missive, they were light blue and looked like nothing more than pretty patterns that swirled and shifted from place to place.
Placing the paper down Sarah turned her attention towards her room, surveying it all through the hexagon device. Everything she ran her gaze over looked the same, but when she came to the full length mirror that Jareth had placed in her room, it too had blue designs swirling over its surface. The patterns that danced along the reflective glass were visibly more vibrant compared to the faint lines that decorated the letter.
Sarah now understood that Hoggle had given her this device to help her see things that had been magically altered. She had to admit that it was truly amazing and she took a moment to thank Hoggle for it in her head, she hoped she would see him soon so that she could thank him in person, she also hoped that he was okay.
The sound of barking drew Sarah's attention away from the mirror and to her window; she crossed the room, the stone still in her hand and saw Mrs Davis sitting on her porch. Otto, her little white dog, was trying to get comfortable on one of the narrow steps, shifting his position multiple times before finding one that suited him. He lounged on the flat surface basking in the afternoon sun as it beat down on his coat.
Sarah raised the seeing stone to her eye once more and when she looked through it she nearly dropped the thing. In place of Otto was a fully grown man lying on Mrs Davis' step and he was completely naked, the only thing that helped to conceal his indecent appearance was yet more magical patters drifting over every inch of his skin, but these ones were a dark shade of purple.
Standing outside the ridiculously tall and narrow dining hall doors Jareth reached for the handle, he was already considerably late and expected that all dinner guests would already be seated within. But before his fingers could graze the lever, Sulil's voice came from behind him. "Father is not happy with you little brother."
Jareth withdrew his hand and turned to face the dark haired man, with a shrug he responded, "Father is rarely happy with me these days."
Sulil glanced along the corridor that they stood in and stepped a little closer to Jareth. "Before you go in to that room and declare your love for your mortal, I'd like to give you a word of warning. The castle is swimming with elven soldiers; father seems to have taken leave of his senses as he has neglected to enlist reinforcements to guard the castle in case things do not go to plan. I'm sure King Rian will not hesitate to call his men to attack if he feels offended in anyway and I fear your decline of Princess Ballah's hand will do just that," Jareth listened to what his brother said, it did not sound like his father to leave his defences down, especially when they were surrounded by people that were essentially their archenemies.
"I have a plan that will buy you some time and keep peace for now, but you have to play the part of a willing participant in this affair," Sulil said staring at his brother intently.
Jareth wanted to know what the plan was before he blindly agreed to go along with it. "First divulge the details of this plan to me. I need to know that it will work."
A slow smile spread across Sulil's face. "Have some faith baby brother, it will work".
"Why are you suddenly interested in preventing this union? You were all for it just a couple of days ago."
Sulil grew serious and did yet another sweep of the corridor. "I find this whole arrangement unsettling. King Rian has never expressed an interest in extended the proverbial olive branch before, so why has he decided to do so now? And father seems rather eager to accept a treaty."
"So what is this plan?" Jareth still wanted to storm in to the room and tell everyone within that there would not be a wedding, but he would hear Sulil out first.
"If you can marry Lady Sarah in a legally binding ceremony within the next month, then the king's council will not be able to revoke the sincerity of your vows, after all divorce is highly frowned upon and they will not grant it easily."
Jareth wanted to laugh, no matter how things had already progressed for the better where Sarah was concerned, convincing her to marry him within the next month would prove problematic and his wedding to Ballah was scheduled to take place before the summer solstice which, was fast approaching. "We still have the little issue of my wedding to the princess; I do not have a month to convince Sarah to marry me."
Sulil gave him a devious smirk. "Do not concern yourself with that slight technicality; Keama and I have the perfect excuse to postpone the wedding. And I doubt that Sarah will be able to refuse the charms of the Bastard King, for some unknown reason womenfolk seem enthralled by you."
Jareth frowned at the use of the title that some had dubbed him, but did not voice his annoyance; instead he wondered what excuse Sulil and his wife could have possibly come up with.
Although he wanted more information, Jareth gave a stiff nod and followed Sulil as he moved to open the door that lead into the dining room. "Come now, father initially sent me to track you down and I seem to have finally found you."
"Ahh Jareth, you have finally decided to make an appearance!" their father, King Alden exclaimed as they stepped into the room, he stood from his seat and gestured to those who were sat around the table. "We have guests and you have made them wait an unseemly amount of time before you decided to show your face."
Jareth bowed his head and apologized to his father before turning his attention to the guests sat at the opposite end of the table. Two sets of violet eyes watched him intently as he inclined his head. "I am truly sorry for my late arrival, I had a pressing matter that needed attending to straight away," Jareth offered his apology to King Rian and his queen, Turah.
"No need to apologize my boy, running a kingdom is time consuming and problems always seem to arise at the most inconvenient of times," Rian said inclining his own head. Jareth eyed the crown that the elven king wore; it was a strange silver creation that resembled leafless trees twisting up from a thick band that fit snuggly around his head.
Queen Turah also wore a headdress, but hers was a delicate and rather plain silver band that dipped into a 'V' at the centre of her forehead. Various chains with beads and pearls attached draped down from the band, the colour of the light metal blending in with her white blond hair that was a fair few shades lighter than her husband's golden tresses. Jareth noticed that a place had been set beside the queen presumably for Ballah, he inwardly groaned, she was literally going to be presented to him.
Turning back to his father Jareth now noticed that he also wore his crown. It was a simple headdress in comparison to the one Rian wore. It was a thick band of gold with the impression of triskelion symbols imprinted into the metal at even intervals. Jareth suspected that his father had been expecting him to also wear his crown to dinner, as it was usually customary to do so when in the presence of other royalty. But Jareth hardly had any need of the headpiece and had rolled it beneath his bed some time ago, where he presumed it remained till this day.
Sweeping his gaze over the other two occupants sat at the table, Jareth first set his eyes on his father's wife, Imorah. He addressed her with a stiff bow, not bothering to bend fully at the waist, he held no love for the woman, he did not even like her but he would not ignore her. After all she was his father's wife and his brother's mother.
Jareth's chilly demeanour thawed when he moved his attention to Keama, Sulil's wife. She sat on the opposite side of the table and he quickly walked around it to greet her. Keama made a move to stand, but Jareth gestured for her to stay seated before bending down and pressing a kiss to each of her cheeks. "I hear you have a plan to help me," he whispered as his face was beside hers so that no one else could hear, he then pulled away and smiled down at her. "You are looking well sister," in truth she was positively glowing.
Keama had the slight hint of a smile playing on her lips. "You also look well brother," she said as her husband took his seat beside her. Jareth's sister-in-law was an exotic looking woman who hailed from the Saffron Coast, a place where the blistering sun never seemed to take a rest. She was dark in complexion and she wore her hair in thick braids piled high on top of her head. Sulil's mother had been livid when her son had returned from the Saffron Coast declaring he would marry the chieftain's daughter, stating that a political match would be more beneficial for him, but their father on the other hand had been quite open to the idea as soon as Sulil had asked his permission and he had eagerly agreed, welcoming the Eastern beauty into his family with open arms.
"I am glad that we can finally all sit down together in such relaxed circumstances, despite what has happened between our two families in the past," King Rian said as he sipped at his wine.
"It is time we put the past behind us and concentrate on the future. Your beautiful Ballah will wed our Jareth and finally all conflict will be put to rest," Alden raised his glass and so did his wife, the other couples present also did the same leaving Jareth to look between them with speculation. He was waiting for Sulil's master plan to be unveiled; maybe he had been too trusting of his brother.
King Rian suddenly stood from his seat as the dining room doors opened. Jareth's back was to them and he did not bother to turn to see who had entered, but when the other two men at the table stood he suspected it was the elven princess making her grand entrance. Standing from his chair in an action performed only out of politeness, he stepped to the side and turned to face her.
The princess was dressed in robes of a muted shade of pink, her head had been covered with a thin white veil that hung down past her shoulders, it was a common practice to present a potential bride in such a way if the couple had never actually met before. Although he could not see her face Jareth knew that Ballah could see through the fabric, she timidly stepped towards him and curtsied. "My grace," she said her voice a little shaky. Jareth eyed her form; she was shorter than he had expected her to be, possibly even a little shorter than Sarah who stood nearly in line with his shoulder.
She extended her hand to him and he took it in his, placing a kiss to her knuckles out of formality. "Your highness," he said in greeting, her hands were too small and slender for even an elven woman.
When he released her, Ballah moved to stand beside her father who delicately pinched the corners of the veil between his fingers and lifted the flowing material to reveal his child's face. "I present to you my daughter Ballah."
Jareth felt his eyes grow wide, but he managed to quickly compose himself. Keama let out a noise that sounded like a muffled gasp and his father spoke, "A fine match," he said clapping his hands together, pleased with the arrangement.
Jareth ran his eyes over the pale hair that had been pinned back to give him the best view of her face and then he ran them over the paler youthful skin, she kept her violet eyes trained on a space somewhere behind his head and he could see her visibly shaking, the girl was extremely nervous and he could not blame her as she could have been no more than thirteen years of age.
Jareth wanted to whirl on his father and demand what the hell he thought he was doing, but his throat had grown dry and his lips could not form the words. He silently watched as Rian escorted his daughter to her seat beside her mother and was still standing as his father's servants began to file in carrying platters in their hands.
Jareth slumped back down into his seat and finally looked to his father who was removing a chunk of meat from one of the trays that had been placed in front of him. Alden glanced up, his blue eyes meeting Jareth's for only a few seconds before turning his attention to his wife who he offered the meat he had just pierced with the tip of his fork. Imorah did not answer her husband but she moved her plate closer to him so that he could deposit the offering before her.
Jareth let his eyes trail to Sulil next who was raising his wine glass and gently tapping on the crystal goblet. "I am sorry to interrupt everyone's meal," he started as he stood from his seat. "But I have some news that I would like to announce," Sulil turned his full attention to Jareth. "Brother I am truly happy for your impending wedding day, after all it is high time you took a wife, but I must also apologise as the news I have will interfere with your coming nuptials," the occupants of the room turned to Sulil, all faces were displaying confusion except for Keama who beamed up at her husband. He gestured for her hand and then she stood beside him. "Keama is with child."
Jareth let his lips twist in to a pleased smile as Keama pressed her free hand to her stomach, flattening the material of her dress to display the small swell that had already started to show. By Jareth's estimate she was already two months gone, leaving only one more month before she would be due. He was extremely pleased for them as conceiving a child was not an easy feat for their race and in all honesty it could not have come at a better time.
Jareth abruptly shot up from his chair and circled around the table to pull his brother into an embrace, Sulil was beaming from ear to ear like a fool as he hugged his brother back. "Congratulations, although it took you long enough," Jareth said clapping him on his back. He then moved to Keama who he embraced rather delicately compared to Sulil, so as to not upset her condition.
"I will not break," she jested as he moved away.
Sulil leant in close to his brother. "Maybe it was more of a coincidence than a plan, but it works in your favour," he whispered.
Jareth completely understood why Sulil had suggested marrying Sarah as soon as he could now. The wedding between Ballah and himself would have to be a grand event to showcase the treaty it would bring between the two warring races. It would be seen as an act of disrespect to overshadow the birth of a child, especially when that child would be the future heir to the throne. Now that Sulil had informed their father of his good news, the king would have to announce it to the citizens of the kingdom, who would spend the next month in celebration as they waited for the babe to be born.
Jareth could marry Sarah in a quiet ceremony which would not detract from his niece or nephew's birth and once married to Sarah, divorce would not be granted for at least one thousand years. Ballah could take someone else as her husband, maybe someone who would genuinely want to be with her.
Alden cleared his throat drawing his sons' attention to him. "Congratulations Sulil and Keama, but this announcement could have waited until later as we have guests," both Sulil and Jareth could tell that their father wanted to join in their merriment as the pride displayed in his eyes gave him away along with the way he had moved his hand to cup his wife's. Imorah in turn looked a little annoyed that her husband was touching her and she did not seem fazed by her son's good news.
Turning to King Rian, Sulil bowed his head. "I apologise your grace, it was improper of me to make the announcement at this time," Rian waved off the apology much like he had done to Jareth earlier.
"No need to apologise, becoming a father is an exciting time, I literally shouted it from the rooftops when I learned my Yerrin was to be born," Rian's eyes quickly darted towards Jareth, before returning to Sulil.
Queen Turah suddenly stood from the table. "Please excuse me," she said before leaving the room hastily.
Ballah leant forward now and gave Keama a genuine smile. "Congratulations," she whispered and Keama thanked her before retaking her seat and indulging in a conversation with the young girl about what sex she expected the child to be. Ballah seemed a little more relaxed and she no longer shook from fear.
"Let us resume dinner shall we," spoke Alden gesturing for Jareth to take his seat. "It seems we will have to come up with a new date for the wedding," he said to Rian who nodded in agreement, Jareth thought the man seemed to take the postponement of his daughter's wedding rather well.
"Naturally, I would not see the future heir to the throne overshadowed on his own name day. In fact it will give Jareth some time to get to know my Ballah a little better before they are to be wed," Ballah glanced up at Jareth and gave him a shy smile before returning to her conversation with Keama.
Rian's eyes were now firmly fixed on Jareth as the younger king returned to his seat, it was evident that the man did not like him and Jareth was sure that Rian would have preferred his young daughter to marry Sulil, were he available. But Jareth could not blame Rian for the reproachful looks he was throwing in his direction; after all he had killed his eldest son Yerrin.
Just out of curiosity, What did you think Ballah would be like?