was making way for night and the forest's density was increasing. Sarah had time
and the clarity of mind to examine the Underground's forests more carefully,
giving her the opportunity to see how beautiful the land really was. As a
teenager she had never been very driven by nature, but, upon being a part of it
for so long a time, she could open her mind enough to see why it was such a
wonderful place to find escape. There was the forest in her backyard when she
was a child, but that had seemed to leave her at the coming of puberty. When she
was older she had become more attracted to the splendor of the city.
sky overhead was purple and pink, the large, white moon of the Underground
fighting its way through what was left of the daytime and preparing for its
night orchestration of stars and darkness.
became harder to distinguish one tree from another and the forest seemed more
crowded than in full daylight. Sarah took more care in placing her steps for
fear of tripping (or falling down an inconspicuous pit) but did not let the
coming darkness spoil the sudden calm of the forest. She pushed away all dismal
thoughts and only allowed the peacefulness of the woods penetrate her protective
brushed up against her face as she made her way past reaching branches. She
pushed them aside and took in the cool, evening air. Faint whistles could be
heard in the distance. They drifted away, the further she went, so she concluded
that they had merely been birds stopping at a tree to her rear. She noticed that
Rattlebeak cocked his head at the sound of each muffled whistle, but out of
curiosity instead of fear. He seemed to recognize the sound, but soon looked as
if he had decided against the recollection and made no other movement than that
of flapping his wings. Sarah thought to ask him about it, but decided that she
felt too weary to talk and chose to put her effort into finding an appropriate
place to set up camp.
two travelers came upon a spot in the path that was blocked completely by a wall
of branches. The foliage was so thick that Sarah could not see past. To her
relief, she found that she could stick her hand through and pull back the
barrier without difficulty. She held open a hole large enough for Rattlebeak to
fly through before going through herself.
on the other side, Sarah gasped at the surroundings. A small lake stood before
her, about three yards away, while a waterfall flowed into its far end,
cascading from an outcropping of rock. The stone wall ascended somewhat as one
observed it from the point of the waterfall and on past. It was obviously a
slender part of the mountain that strayed into the forest. Sarah calculated that
the mountain must be no further than an hour from where they were now at.
looked up and saw the mountain over the top of the woods. She couldn't
understand why it seemed so much farther than that...
wished with every ounce of her being that she still had the map. Her want of it
had such a solidity that she could swear that the map would pop out of
nothingness if she just continued her wishful thinking. Of course, she didn't
command the type of magic that Jareth did. The only thing she could do was see
images through a mirror. And that, she supposed, only came when the power of
Jareth's crystals was around. The only thing remotely like what he controlled
was the crystal on the necklace that she had been forced to wear. And it was
unlikely that he would trust her with any of his power.
cursed herself for dropping the supplies into the pit the other day. If only she
still had the map...
put her hands into her pocket. Something was there that hadn't been before. A
folded piece of paper, by the feel of it. She pulled it out for a closer look
and unfolded it.
was the map! She thought that she must be insane. She hadn't remembered putting
the map into her pocket before the untimely occurrence of yesterday. There was
no way that she could have brought it here, no way that it could have been in
her pocket other than by her placing it there herself, but it was there,
came before her and said, "I think I recognize this. It's close to where my
folks usually are."
broke out of her reverie with hesitation, still clutching the map. "Oh, it
is?" she responded distractedly.
gave her an odd look. "What is it? What's that you've got there? It looks
like the map. I thought it fell down the hole with the rest of our supplies."
looked at the map and then back at him. "I thought so to. I must have put
it in my pocket, but I really don't remember..." she drifted off. "I
guess I must have just been preoccupied when I did it. I don't know."
you have stuck your hand in your pocket and felt it there before?"
seems that I should have...." Sarah began, "....but I guess it was too
hot for me to put my hands into my pockets. I really can't remember if I did or
not." Sarah turned her head away thoughtfully.
waited a moment for her to speak, but she did not. "Well, it's good that we
at least have the map," he said, sounding as if he wasn't really concerned
by it. She was still silent.
she looked to the sky, then at Rattlebeak. "It's getting dark. We'll set up
camp here." Once she felt she had satisfied him, she turned away again,
wandering back into her musings.
looked relieved now that the silence had been disturbed. "While you set up,
I'm gonna see if anyone I know is here."
continued to stare in the other direction as she replied, "Okay."
had enjoyed spending the former day with Sarah's younger brother. He remembered
when Toby had been just a baby and it had seemed that the young one would be
spending the rest of his life in Jareth's kingdom. Seeing how the boy had turned
out, he regretted the fact that Sarah had rescued him those five years ago. A
day with a child might be a nuisance to those above ground, but, for Jareth, it
was a welcome change, considering the fact that the five-year old was twenty
times smarter than the Goblins that were under his command.
decided it was time to return to Toby for his next wish.
he did, he found himself in the boy's room, Toby restlessly playing with his
toys at the end of his bed, glancing up occasionally at Jareth. The Goblin King
gave no indication that the unicorn figurine had transformed and watched the boy
play with his toys for some time. He was somewhat surprised to see the young boy
with a box of real tools, fiddling with a broken phone. He opened it up on his
own, explored the inside, took it apart beyond repair, then attempted to put it
back together, to Jareth's amazement, succeeding. The boy was extremely talented
and Jareth would still like to have him at his side. He would be a brilliant
young man if given the proper education. A perfect son for the perfect king.
Jareth's plan flourished in every aspect, he might still be able to have Toby as
a son as well as Sarah as a companion to sit in a throne beside him....
neighed to give Toby an indication to the fact that he was now animate. Toby
rushed from his toys over to the splendid unicorn.
Toby," Jareth stated amiably, pushing away the urge to call the boy
Jarethkin as he looked about the child's room. It was full of models of castles
and plastic toys shaped like horses and dragons. "I see that you are fond
of magic." Jareth admired that in one who would end up at his side for a
number of years. Not only would he teach the boy mechanics, but would teach him
the skills required to use the crystals as well. Isabelle had always been
intelligent and was slightly interested in magic, but she was a girl and didn't
place as much curiosity over the things that Jareth enjoyed teaching.
are you so intrigued by magic, Toby?"
fought to overcome his shyness and answered, "Sarah told me stories about a
magic place when I was just a little kid." Jareth chuckled at the child's
cute, ironic remark. Toby's bashfulness returned as a result of Jareth's gaiety.
prodded him to continue. "Tell me more about her stories. What did she call
this place?" No doubt it was the Underground.
Goblin King's suspicions were confirmed. "It was the Underground, I think.
It had this big maze and a castle in the middle with a king."
was intrigued. "What did she tell you about the king?"
paused a moment when he realized that the unicorn was interested to hear what he
had to say. He seemed as if he might be considering whether or not to draw into
his shell again. He eventually replied, "She said he was a tricky man, like
a magician, but kind of like a prince."
was he like a prince?"
the handsome prince in Cinderella. But sometimes he wasn't so nice. He'd take
away babies and turn them into goblins. She told me that sometimes he was even
scary. And one time he took a baby, but this girl wouldn't let him and he made
her go in the maze. She met a little man and a monster and a fox and they all
went to the castle to get the baby back. But the king made the little man give
the girl a peach and when she ate it she got lost in one of his magic glass
balls. Sarah told me that the girl thought she was under a spell."
you mean, the spell that led her astray and into the realm of the glass crystal?"
Like he made her love him in the glass ball. It was a big hall, like in
Cinderella, and the girl looked like Cinderella, and the king was the prince.
Sarah said the girl felt like she was under a spell that made her like the king.
Then, when she broke the walls and found her way out, she felt silly because she
hadn't been under a spell all along. She really did like the king, but she felt
really silly because he knew that. The girl then promised to never like him
was completely engrossed by Toby's tale. He had never seen Sarah's side of the
story, so to speak. "What happened after the dance?"
looked surprised that Jareth knew about the dance. Even being five years old,
Toby had the presence of mind to realize that he hadn't mentioned that fact. But
he seemed to dismiss it, probably convinced that the unicorn could figure things
out with the help of its magic.
girl thought she was home," Toby continued, "but found out she wasn't,
then she found her friends again and they went to the Goblin City. The little
man who gave her the peach found them at the front of the city and they were
fighting a big robot-thing that had come out of the wall and he saved them from
it. The girl forgived him for making her get lost in the glass things and they
fought a bunch of goblins before she went alone to get the baby from the king.
She was scared, but she got the baby back and made the king go away forever, so
he couldn't take anymore babies."
false addition to the story was obviously a result of Sarah's telling of it and
Jareth had been somewhat taken aback by the ending, but it was something to be
expected from her.
happened when she returned?" Jareth queried.
don't know that good," Toby replied. "Sarah tells me the story a lot,
but she always changes that part. I think the first time she told it to me, the
girl saw her friends, but kind of wished she could see the king again. The next
time the girl did the same thing, but she told herself that she couldn't want to
see him again because of her promise to never like him again. The next time, the
girl was mad because he took her brother away from her and tried to scare her.
The last time she told me on the phone when she was gone and said that the girl
forgave the king a little bit and let him have the castle back if he promised
not to take away any more babies, but she could never like him again. She would
visit the Underground and all of the neat animals there would tell her that she
should be his friend, but she told them she couldn't because he had hurt her so
much. She promised to tell me some new stories when she got here, but Mama says
that she had to go back home and go to work. I thought you said she was at your
closing had shocked Jareth beyond recuperation and he was still gawking, or felt
that he was gawking, when Toby had finished
his narrative. Sarah must still have feelings for him despite the fact
that she denied them to both him and herself.
Sarah is at my home. That, your parents do not know because grownups do not
usually understand or believe in magic."
must live in a magic place like the Underground."
are correct in that assumption, young one."
I have my next wish?" Toby asked hopefully.
certainly. What will it be?"
want to go to where you live."
had been so occupied by what he had heard that Sarah said, by way of Toby, that
he had not considered the fact that the child would probably want to go wherever
his sister was, especially if the place was enchanted. Nonetheless, it was his
responsibility to comply. How would he approach the existence of the Underground?
Would he tell the child the truth, or give a false name which the boy could use
in place of "the Underground?"
had gotten a fire started and had been pacing back and forth across the turf,
weighing the situation. After Rattlebeak had left to find his family, she
mentally retraced her steps and tried to recall if she had placed the map in her
pocket or not. She was now sure of it. She hadn't.
was possible that Jareth had put it there to speed up her journey, but if he had,
why did he not replace her foodstuffs? She surely would not reach the plateaus
if she starved to death before she could get there. Anyhow, he should have
restored the lost supplies directly after she had lost them to the endless pit.
But his returning of the knapsack and its contents was not too farfetched an
other thing that nagged her was the fact that the map had seemed to appear in
her pocket immediately after she had wished for it. Exactly like the time she
had seen her friends in the mirror after a buildup of emotions. Her want of the
map had been very strong, almost as strong as the sentiments she had felt that
time in the castle. In a sense, she did have a crystal with her.
wasn't she being crazy? Why would Jareth trust her with magic of any sort? He
was trying to gain something, not let her succeed in taking him over. If
anything, he probably wanted to control her.
only way she would find out if her second notion was the correct one was to try
the crystal out. She bent over the nearby lake and peered into it. Sitting on
her haunches, she gripped the crystal on the necklace firmly and concentrated on
the glassy waters of the lake, bringing all memories of her companions to mind
and every emotion that accompanied them. It was somewhat difficult rummaging
through the scattered contents of her mind; she was sure Jareth had removed some
of her memories while she had been at the castle.
Still, she had enough there to conjure up strong feelings. Nothing was
revealed to her at first, but she persevered in her efforts, pushing away any
stray thoughts from her mind, becoming focused on those memories.
pendant burned slightly in her palm, but she ignored it. The burning sensation
was not painful, but crisp, and became stronger the more she persisted. Once it
felt as if it had reached its climax, the portion of the pool that she had been
staring at began to glow and shimmer, eventually revealing to her an image of
Hoggle from the past.
could not hear the words, but, upon reflection, she remembered what he had said
all too well.
not asking to be forgiven. I ain't ashamed of nothin' I did. I don't care what
you thinks of me. And I ain't interested in bein' friends...'
Sarah saw a younger version of herself appear, apparently replying to Hoggle's
remark, 'I forgive you, Hoggle.'
tear ran down her face. Last time she had been here she would cry out of fear,
out of feeling sorry for herself. She noticed that this was the first time,
while being here, that she had cried out of sadness, out of fear for someone
else besides herself. It should have made her feel proud of herself, but it
didn't. She only felt more miserable because she didn't possess the power needed
to bring him and the rest of her friends back. She could not restore them to
their natural forms. She could only watch their past and hope that it would
console her partially.
continued to watch the images in the lake, even after she heard the beating of
Rattlebeak's wings as he approached her from behind. She felt him land on her
shoulder, wheezing from the exercise he had probably had from searching for his
family. He had apparently rushed
back, but wasn't screaming madly, so she figured that he had not been chased by
a wild animal.
you doing that?" he asked with amazement after he had caught some of
images in the lake? I would guess that I am," she replied, still examining
the pictures. She really missed the past. She wished that she could just leave
where she was and go back five years- go back to those thirteen perfect hours-
and remain there.
those your friends?" he asked with concern, but a hint of distraction. It
sounded to Sarah as if he was dying to say something else, but was putting forth
all of the patience he could muster to see what was troubling Sarah first. Like
Hoggle, it had taken time for Rattlebeak's loyalty to grow, and now he was the
best friend that she could hope for. She felt unhappy over the fact that, once
he found his family, he would be leaving her, too. Then she would have no one.
she responded to his last question.
miss 'em a lot, don't you?"
Yes, I do."
overcame them, but only for a few moments. Not long after their last words, a
rustling began in the trees behind them. Rattlebeak cocked his head to the side
for a moment, but did not seem startled by the noise. As a matter of fact, a
grin was trying to tug at the corners of his beak. Before she could turn around
to see what was causing the sound, she heard a chirp. Then the chirp grew to a
chorus of whistling. Sarah revolved her head to see innumerable brightly colored
birds like Rattlebeak perched on the branches- no, crammed on the branches-
chirping and humming a beautiful, mystical tune.
found your family!" she exclaimed, turning her eyes back to Rattlebeak. So
that was what he was keeping back!
moved her head to look at the lake, but, due to lack of concentration, the
images of her friends had vanished. All she saw was her own reflection with
Rattlebeak perched atop her shoulder. The occult song of the Magicmockers rose
to a higher pitch, so intricate that Sarah had a difficult time distinguishing
all of the various overtones and accompaniments of the tune. She could feel
magic in the air, hence the name of the birds.
glanced into the water again and saw by way of the reflected image that a figure
was approaching from the rear.
came the voice of Hoggle.
She stared into the water disbelievingly as the dwarf's face rose over her
shoulder. She must be hallucinating. Maybe it was an illusion, a beautiful
illusion. There was one way to find out.
spun around with a fluid motion to confirm the reality of the image.
Hoggle was there, in living color, as was Ludo, Sir Didymus, and
Ambrosius. She ran to embrace each friend, calling their names with pleasure as
she did so.
maiden!" he cried out in response to her hearty squeeze.
The ginger-colored beast accepted her warmly.
- miss Sarah!" he cried out.
missed you, too," she replied, nestling her head in his fur.
told you that our song brought good fortune!" Rattlebeak declared happily,
seeming pleased that Sarah had been reunited with her friends.
reluctantly pulled away from Ludo's embrace. "But I didn't know..." a
relieved, small, happy laugh escaped her lips as beads of glistening tears
escaped her eyes, "I didn't know you could do this!"
what can I say?" Rattlebeak said, tilting his head to the side. "You
can do anything with your friend's and family to back you! Know what I mean?"
had been meant as a rhetorical question, but Sarah hugged Hoggle again and
replied, "Yes. Yes, I do know what you mean."
she pulled away, Hoggle noticed the silver chain that hung from her neck, its
charms still glistening in the light. "You still got that thing?" he
stated, pointing to the necklace. "I would'a thrown it away and trampled it
by now, and you knows how I likes trinkets."
looked at the necklace and started, "Jareth...Hey, wait a second. Why are
the charms still there? You turned my friends back, so why are the charms still
answered instead, "Turned us back? Humph! We weren't turned into nothin'!
At least, I wasn't. That trickster stuck me in the oubliette! I been thinking'
you see, and I imagine he ain't got enough power to send you wherever it is
you're goin', let alone turn us into to nothin' other than what we already was.
That Jareth's a snake, he is! A sneaky one at that!"
turned around to face the waterfall and bit her lip. "Damn him," she
muttered to herself.
waddled beside her and declared, "I agree!"
I fell for it all. The whole shebang," Sarah added as if not hearing
Hoggle's response to her last remark. She crossed her arms and stared
thoughtfully into the foaming water. She felt so foolish!
be kickin' yerself in the head, little missy," Hoggle said comfortingly.
"There's no way you could'a known."
continued to ignore him and added to her last statement, "Hook, line, and
Sarah -" Hoggle began.
be quiet!" Rattlebeak exclaimed in a loud whisper. "I hear something."
turned to look at him and noticed that he was a lot less nervous with his family
around. He wasn't exactly leading everyone to the site of the danger, but he
wasn't nearly so jittery, either. Sarah followed his gaze to an area in the
forest which was presumably the source of the sound. She walked closer to the
edge and saw a light in the distance. Then she heard it, too. It was the sound
of a breaking twig, as if someone or something was sneaking in on them.
stay here," Sarah whispered. "I'm going to see what it is."
Didymus came forth. "Let me go with thee, fair maiden. Surely you cannot
face the danger alone!"
Sarah surrendered before the fox could get a chance to make a scene, "but
be VERY quiet."
fox stood more erect and called, "Come Ambrosius!" in a whisper that
bordered on what was usually considered as a normal tone.
Sarah exclaimed hurriedly. "Leave him here."
considered it then capitulated, leaving behind a dog that seemed content to be
out of the action for once.
two crept through the forest with little noise and soon came upon the source of
the light. It was a small clearing with a fire in the center, still burning
brightly. As if the makers of the blaze had left in a hurry or were hiding...
don't understand," Sir Didymus confessed. "Why would anyone leave a
fire burning?" He stood up, no longer concealed by the bush that they were
hiding behind and screamed, "Whoever you are, I demand that you show
yourself this instance!"
pulled him down and whispered into his ear, the fur tickling her nose, "Shhh!
We don't want anyone to hear us!"
he contested, "there's no one out there fair-"
was cut off by Sarah's startled gasp. She turned around to see an elfin creature
and a large group of his mates crowded around him. The one with his hand on her
shoulder looked down at her without expression before turning to his comrades
and saying, "Here's the rest of them." Two of the others took Sir
Didymus away, kicking and screaming. They tried to calm him, but he would not
didn't mean anything," Sarah started to explain.
course you did," the elf replied with a sardonic grin.
We really didn't. We just heard -"
he cut her short, "whether you want to or not, you can't get away from
joining us in making merry."
were having a party when we heard the Magicmockers singing the most lovely tune.
We thought that you would like to join us. Never too many sopranos."
party? I thought you were-"
we were what?" he said with a smirk. "Going to capture you? Torture
you? Kill you perhaps?" He motioned for her to rise. She noticed that, even
though he seemed years older than her, he was at least a foot shorter than her
in height. "Of course we would do no such thing!" he exclaimed. "We
live for merrymaking! The more who can join us in our happiness, the better! Now,"
he said as he led her to the campsite, "tell me why it is you are
travelling the Whispering Forest. Surely not to hide in the bushes and spy on
happy-go-lucky elves like ourselves?"
she chuckled, still shaken by their unorthodox greeting. "The Goblin King
had taken my friends in an attempt to force me to go on some quest for him, but
I'm afraid that his plan hasn't worked since, as you can see, the Magicmockers
have helped in bringing them back to me."
congratulations go to you," the elf replied.
couldn't have done it without their help. Heck, I didn't even have a part in
bringing them back!"
you are more involved than you might think," the elf said with deliberation.
"Yes, the Magicmockers are good-spirited fellows. They have been our allies
for many years. So, you say the Goblin King has forced you on a quest? A very
confused man, if I do say so myself."
you sure he's human?" Sarah snickered, not really finding any enjoyment in
human as you. I would say I, but I am afraid that I don't qualify as being human,
not technically, anyhow. Mentally, yes, I am human. As is Jareth."
know him well, then?" Sarah queried as they sat by the campfire. She looked
over to the area by the lake at which her old campsite had been. Her comrades
were busy putting out the fire. It took more effort for the three of them than
one might expect.
personally, no. But I have been to the Goblin City and seen him in action,"
the elf answered. "I forgot to ask you your name, dear."
know, there's an old elfin song mentioning a young lady named Sarah," he
Sarah cocked her head to the side.
it's not that old. About five years at the most. Maybe we will sing it to you
before the night is over." He
seemed to recall something. "Before
I forget, everyone calls me Sage. I would suppose that I am the leader of this
tribe, though I'm not always treated as such," he chuckled.
laughed at his comment. She wondered about the song. Five years? It was an odd
occurrence, possibly only coincidence. Could it have something to do with her
last visit here? Hopefully she would find out later on.
why is it that you say Jareth is a confused man?" she asked. "To me,
he seems quite aware of what he does."
he seems that way because he thinks that he is," Sage replied,
raising a finger to accentuate his statement. "Never have I seen a man less
fitted for the destiny that he has put before himself."
don't quite follow you," Sarah replied, wishing that she would not show so
much interest in the Goblin King. But, one must understand their enemy to defeat
him, even if it means showing unwanted curiosity over him.
you know that he takes infants from homes upon request and turns them into
evil pastime, there is no question about that, but the Goblin King is not one
with an evil heart. He is set in evil ways, but his spirit is more pure than his
image makes him seem. Of course, I am not saying that his heart is perfectly
placed, perhaps even slightly less perfect than the average "good"
being, but his core is not corrupt. He does have morals. And he does live by
most of them. When he is in his
have seen no evidence that he has morals," Sarah countered emphatically.
"Or that he has a right mind."
sound as if you bear a great dislike for him," the elf concluded.
has he done, other than take your friends, that has given you such a
disagreeable impression of him? No doubt that was enough, but you sound as if
there is much more that he has done."
assure you, there is," Sarah replied.
elf seemed to dismiss the subject for the time being, seeing that Sarah did not
really wish to pursue it.
noticed for the first time that their was a large number of elves in the
clearing now, a few working to build a fire, a few attempting to entertain her
friends. She could see the colorful feather cloaks of the Magicmockers emerging
from the trees. The party was on its way.
had returned to the castle now, having left Toby with the assurance that he
would bring the young boy to the Underground the next day; he needed today to
make preparations and decisions. The Goblin King had yet to determine whether he
would tell the child the truth or use the safety of being deceptive. Necessarily,
he would choose whichever gained him more of an advantage.
Goblin King had been pacing the floor of his throne room for some time now and
had finally calmed enough to sit down when a goblin ran into the room, its
tattered clothes trailing behind it in its haste. Jareth recognized him as one
of his servants, the one who held a friend of Sarah's, the fox, captive in his
home. As far as Jareth could recall, the goblin's name was Pummel.
after Pummel had entered the room, another goblin came scurrying behind him.
This one, Jareth saw, was the caretaker of the clock tower, Bighand.
fell on their knees before him, trembling with fear.
stared down at them disdainfully, not feeling contempt for them, but for what
news it was he knew that they were afraid to bring to him. Yet, he gave no
indication of his knowledge, hoping that, if he did not, they would not tell him
what he was sure that they would. Of course, he knew that his hope was to no
avail. Why else would the clock tower's caretaker and the fox's captor be
cringing before him?
motioned for them to rise. "What is it?" he questioned irritably,
showing more aggravation than he would have liked.
fox-," Pummel began.
beast-," Bighand interjected.
don't know how it could have happened, your majesty-," Pummel continued.
wasn't my fault, I swear-," Bighand added.
eyes were on him-"
door was locked from the outside, there was no way-"
spears too, the slippery devil!!"
patience could withstand no more. "Silence!!" he ordered.
two goblins hugged the stone floor again, shaking nervously against its surface.
what about the dwarf?" Jareth asked, his grin plastered on his face, giving
false assurance at times, but, at times like this, causing his minions more fear
than they initially felt.
know of no dwarf, your majesty," Pummel chimed courageously.
kept as calm as possible. "The dwarf that was my ensign five years ago.
don't know where he is, your majesty," Pummel replied.
just looked down at them for a few moments, analyzing the situation. They would
not have known where he was. He was the only person who knew of the dwarf's
just disappeared," Pummel put in, his boldness wavering very little.
Goblin King rose from his seat, looming over the two goblins, deathly silent.
His eyebrows arched irately as he clenched his jaws, spitting out his next words
with obvious vehemence. "I have never seen such a pitiful pair of bungling
fools in my life. Get out of my sight before I am prompted to do something rash."
twosome scurried out of the room, determined to escape the Goblin King's wrath.
checked the mirror to see if Hoggle was in the oubliette. When he did, he was
not surprised to find a solitary burning candle the only animate object in the
was no way that Sarah could have them with her. The trip to her current position
was one day, at the least, and that was only if she was not moving. Yet, how
could the three of her companions time it so perfectly? They had no means of
communication and there could not be the number of traitors required to carry
out such a impeccably timed plan. Besides, very few of his followers were smart
enough for devising such a thing.
willed the image in the mirror to change and show him where Sarah's companions
were. While the magic went to work, he thought about the situation. There was no
way for the beast to have escaped because the clock tower would be a rubble by
now if he had. Anyhow, Bighand had said that the door into the tower was still
locked from the outside. The fox might have been able to flee, being so small
and in the company of such a brainless group. Jareth had personally seen to
taking everything from the oubliette that might have been useful to Hoggle, so
there was no way for him to have escaped. That left one thing. One thing Jareth
could not allow himself to believe.
he had to accept it, because the mirror confirmed it.
the mirror's image was Sarah, speaking with a group of elves who seemed to be
accompanied by a large number of birds. By her side were her companions: the
dwarf, the fox, and the beast. The only thing that could have brought them there
did not control any magic, as far as Jareth knew. Even with the crystals,
commanding the power that it would take to perform such a task took years for
anyone to master. He knew that the elves possessed a magic of there own, but
they did not have the ability to do such deeds. Their powers were too limited.
And, of all of the creatures that he knew existed in the Underground that had
the ability to control magic, not one of them could perform the task without
knowing precisely where her friends had been. As far as he had known, Sarah had
continued to believe that she bore her friends on the necklace that she wore.
seemed to him that he might have underestimated her. Her ability to lie might
have been far more refined than he had thought. Perhaps she had known all along,
predicted the fact that he would be spying on her, and performed an act to suit
her needs. Then, with the assistance of some creatures she would meet along the
way, she could bring her friends back while he continued to believe that he was
on the winning side.
could not accept the fact that he would misjudge anyone to such a great margin.
He had been able to figure her character out easily before, and it seemed
unnatural that he would not be able to do so now.
he could not have wrongly predicted her personality. She was not that good of a
liar. He recalled how, only days ago, when he had asked how she had found her
friends, she had been so obvious. He had known that she had used the mirror-
mirror! Of course! He did not understand how she could have used the magic
required to use any reflective surface in that manner without the aid of the
crystals, but, if she did have the power, she could have used a water or mirror
that she might have had in her possession to find her friends. It was improbable,
but not impossible.
he should not rule out the possibility that she might have been lying all along
and had always known where her friends were.
it! He did not want to have to be reduced to trying to figure her out again! It
was supposed to have flowed so smoothly. It looked as if he would have to put
Toby or the diary to use. No doubt he would need to take her friends away again,
little good that would do, she was so easy about finding allies in her war
against him. Maybe he was not sure about how she accomplished it, but, no matter
how she did, she was growing, and it was very dangerous to his plan.
he called, the magic of the crystals making his voice echo throughout the castle
so that he would not have to strain his voice.
ran into the room, slowing down shyly as she came within view of him. "Yes,
your majesty?" she asked timidly.
turned to look at her, all of his concern over the problem he faced with Sarah
leaving him momentarily. Had Isabelle called him "your majesty?" She
had never done so before. It was an impersonal term that she had never used in
the past. She had always responded to him as a daughter would to her father.
Never as a servant would to her king.
my wardrobe, please," he requested after a long pause.
hesitantly faced him, seeming to feel as if he were judging her, were still
angry with her. "Yes, your highness," she replied with a curtsy and a
twirl in the other direction, heading her out of the room.
he said before she could leave.
stopped and revolved slowly. "Yes...your majesty?"
didn't tell her? About her friends?"
shook her head. When he gave no reply, she turned back around and began to leave
time she stopped, but did not turn to face him. Only waited for his words.
am no longer upset by what you did."
turned her head to look at him once, no expression on her face, then continued
her former journey into the hallway and to his quarters to ready his garments
for later use.
felt something welling up inside of him, but shoved it down before the foreign
thing could take control of him. One image passed through his mind before he
successfully rid himself of the alien feeling. It was the image of Sarah
stomping from the banquet hall on a starry night, a process visible in her eyes-
the process of renewing her vows of hatred toward him.
The image soon left with the strange feeling and he
turned to face the mirror and its one-way reflection of Sarah. "I don't
know how you've done it, Sarah. I knew your powers, if only of observation, had
grown, but not this much. Not so soon. Time is dwindling."
bonfire burned brightly in the center of the clearing, a shining orange against
the dark green of the trees and deep ebony of the night. Elves pranced merrily
about the blaze, singing and laughing, teasing members of the opposite sex,
having such an amount of fun Sarah would have thought impossible to be had.
the clearing she could see four elves playing instruments: two a flute, another
a drum, and the last a small harp. They were surrounded by a number of
Magicmockers who, along with the elves, made such beautiful music Sarah could
find nothing worthy of comparing it to.
elves and birds who were not dancing, singing, or playing an instrument found
enjoyment by socializing. Sir Didymus seemed rather fond of the elfin tribe and
was entertaining a group of them with anecdotes of his heroic deeds, some so
farfetched that he would get argument from the crowd and have to change his
had taken time to charm, his thirst for this kind of fun being almost
nonexistent, but Sarah saw that he was slowly giving in and having a good time.
was with the elfin children, giving piggy-back rides and playing games.
felt guilty for not spending time with them herself, but things plagued her mind,
brought on by her conversation with Sage, and she could not push them aside. So
she found a wide tree at the edge of the clearing and sat against it, trying to
organize her thoughts.
had said that Jareth had morals and did live by them. She had shown disbelief
when he had made the remark, but now she felt the tide turning. He had also
asked her what else it was that Jareth had done, but she had not wanted to talk
about it. Never before had she not felt like warning people of Jareth's misdeeds
as she had at that moment, and she was afraid that she had not wanted to because
she was beginning to doubt. Beginning to go back on her vows to dislike him.
had lied about Jareth giving no evidence that he possessed morals. She did
indeed remember a time when he had shown concern for someone other than himself,
had realized a situation when wrong was being done, and then had done something
to amend the situation.
was the time when he had punished the guards for mistreating Isabelle. She tried
to convince herself that he had just been trying to win the young girl's favor,
trying to win her own favor, but he had seen concern in the man's eyes and had
been assured by Isabelle that there had been other times that Jareth had been
kind to her. Sarah was sure that Jareth's kindness was not always unadulterated
generosity as he might have claimed, but he seemed to give too much to the
little girl for it just to be something to quiet her. He could give so much less
to please her, but he had gone out of his way to make Isabelle favor him; Sarah
was sure that it was more of an issue of caring for the child than it was an
issue of using the girl to benefit himself.
if Sarah had not allowed herself to remember that fact, then had she forced
herself or been too blind to see other instances in which he had shown proof of
having morals or of being compassionate? She could surely not hope to win if she
was taking away her own memories along with Jareth.
broke out of her reverie as she saw Hoggle begin to approach her. He sat down at
her side, a concerned, gracious smile on his face. "What's the matter,
little missy? Ain't you about ready for some fun? Seems to me your about due
smiled without provocation and replied, "I'm just thinking things through,
doesn't sound fun to me," he said teasingly. "What're you thinking' 'bout?"
felt uncomfortable talking to most of her friends in the Underground about such
matters, new or old, because they wouldn't quite understand or be interested,
but she felt as if she could tell Hoggle. He had been dealing with Jareth for
longer than she had. "I was thinking about Jareth."
grunted disdainfully. "What would'ya be wanting to think about that swine
for? Now it sounds even less like
fun and more like self-imposed torture."
thought about chuckling in response, but found that she really did not feel like
it. He was right. "I was just trying to figure him out, I guess," she
been tryin' to figure that man out for years now, and believe me, it ain't
gotten me anywhere. He can't figure himself out, so its no use anyone else tryin'."
know, Sage said something similar to that, not long ago. About Jareth being
confused," Sarah said, her eyes on the dancing elves, though she didn't
really see them.
confused, all right," Hoggle declared. "The problem is, he takes
everyone else along for the ride. Seems to me he's taken you, too."
nodded in agreement.
you was thinking' 'bout him, did you ever figure out why he was acting concerned
don't know what you mean," Sarah confessed.
know, the night in the castle when you left the table and went to the balcony
and Jareth told me to bring you food and says for me to talk to you,"
Hoggle explained. "You remember?"
had forgotten," Sarah admitted quietly, her expression sad.
okay?" Hoggle asked worriedly.
alright," she replied then paused. "He's making me forget things,
Hoggle," she finally continued. "You don't know how scary it is for
you to have done something and not know about it. I never realized how it felt
until now. No one had brought up something that had happened before that I could
not remember. It frightens me. If I don't remember that, I wonder how much else
there is I don't remember?" She drew her knees up to her chest and hugged
never told me about that," Hoggle said quietly. "Has he been doing
this since you was in the castle?"
think so...yes, he has. See, I can't even remember if he's taking away my
memories or not! How can he be so cruel to me, Hoggle? He must have motives. And
what was he going to gain from this whole escapade? It must have been important
or he would not have gone to the trouble to send me out here. He's hiding
something from me, and it's not just what this treasure of his does. If there's
anything I remember, it's how I once thought that he was using this strong show
of anger to hide another emotion. He is hiding something, Hoggle, I just
no surprise there," Hoggle conceded. "Though, I wouldn't trouble
myself over it if I was you, little missy. You don't have to do nothin' for him
now, just forget about him, take what memories you've got, and hide in the
bushes until you can find a way back home. That's my advice. And if we can't get
you back home, you can always stay with us."
I suppose I've got to get back home. I haven't really thought about that yet.
But, you know if I leave he'll just take you guys back and make me start all
you fret over us. We can take care of ourselves. The Magicmockers can always get
us back. Once he realizes that, he'll give up."
didn't show evidence of having heard Hoggle's statement, though she had.
"What is he hiding, Hoggle? The only emotion I can think that he would hide
would be hatred towards me. There's nothing else I can see. Perhaps something
less dramatic, like rivalry?" She sighed. "Oh, I don't know,
know Jareth, and if there's anything he's hiding, it ain't hatred towards
you," Hoggle assured. "I seen it when Jareth hates somebody, and it
ain't pretty. Mind you, if he even hated you in the slightest, you wouldn't be
here right now. Anyhow, I seen the way he treats you sometimes. I was figurin'
while in the oubliette, you see-"
were in the oubliette?" Sarah queried. "You mean, when I thought you
were on the necklace?"
yes," he replied, seeming a little annoyed by being cut off while
explaining his thoughts. "As I was sayin', I did some figurin' and I think
he asked me to bring you food and talk to you 'cause maybe he cares-"
he could finish his statement, Rattlebeak flew over to them and perched himself
on Sarah's shoulder.
Rattlebeak," Sarah exclaimed cheerfully. She felt better after having
spoken to Hoggle, but not quite fully resolved.
scowled at the interruption.
lady! What'cha up to? You should be out there havin' fun with everybody
talking to Hoggle," she replied. She realized that the two had not been
properly introduced. Many times she had spoken of her friends on the way here;
she scorned herself for not having introduced Rattlebeak to any of them.
"Hey, Rattlebeak, this is Hoggle. Hoggle - Rattlebeak."
Rattlebeak began, "you're the grumpy old sot I've heard of so often! Sarah
speaks quite highly of you," he said, finding no qualms over using such an
apparent a contradiction of statements.
was insulted. "Sarah!" He looked to her to deny Rattlebeak's
shrugged her shoulders apologetically, confirming the statement instead.
in the small conversational group turned their heads to see a peach-colored bird
calling Rattlebeak from a tree across the clearing. Rattlebeak turned to Sarah,
a grin pinching the corners of his beak. "I'll talk to you later."
flew toward the female bird, calling, "Coming Peaseblossom!" as she
disappeared, giggling, behind the foliage. He flew after her with haste,
vanishing behind the trees, as well.
a riot," Sarah said to Hoggle as she looked in the direction Rattlebeak had
grunted indignantly. "Sounds more like a noisy nuisance to me."
chuckled and replied, "You don't realize how much the two of you are
gave her an injured look, and attested, "Us alike! Perish the
looked at him and he did not seem as sure of his statement as his tone had
implied. He saw her gaze and put on a stern expression of more certainty.
"I tell you, there's nothing alike about us!" he declared, crossing
his arms. Sarah saw his seriousness and fell against the tree, holding her
aching sides as she laughed uncontrollably. She didn't know where the sudden
laughter had come from, but it was as if she was finally letting go of all of
continued to laugh as Hoggle emphatically denied a relationship of any kind
between him and Rattlebeak; she didn't stop when her eyes filled with merry
tears; she carried on when the elves looked at her with smiles on their faces;
and she endured, even as eyes from the forest studied her.
stood in the shadows, almost a shadow himself, hidden behind hanging vines and
green leaves that dangled from the trees around the clearing. For added
protection he had discovered a wide tree whose trunk split at the height of his
chest, giving him concealment and putting him within the view of Sarah.
was relieved to a certain extent, seeing that she did not know him as well as he
had sometimes suspected, as she had tended to pretend in his presence. It also
looked as if someone was adding to her indecisiveness over him by telling her
that he was confused. It was not true and it seemed whoever had said it had been
the confused one, but it added to his control over the situation. If she pitied
him for his "confusion" then she would be more accepting.
matter did not trouble him. However, the rest of the conversation did.
again, he found himself questioning his rights, his motives, his very being. He
knew and had finally accepted the fact that there was a part of him that did not
want to frighten her, a part that wanted this journey to lack as much burden as
it possibly could. But there was the other side, the side that told him fear was
necessary, the side that, up until this very moment, had always prevailed. It
was his nature. He had learned very quickly that instilling fear within those
you wished to control made them follow orders without question, forced them to
stay in check. He had learned this fact early on, shortly after he had acquired
the crystals, shortly after he had gained rulership of the Goblin City and the
Labyrinth. It was a truth that had become part of him, so much in fact, that he
needn't think to put it into action. He had never doubted this truth. Until now.
also seemed strange to him that, for so long now he had been thinking that Sarah
despised him beyond reason, wanting nothing more than to spurn him from her
existence entirely. Not until he had spoken to Toby had he found this to be
false. Now he was to find that Sarah, instead of abhorring him, was pondering if
he bore any hatred toward her. Of course he did not. He may have felt a
resentment toward her at times, a resentment driven by their rivalry, by his
constant battle to put her at bay, but he most certainly did not hate her.
damn you, Jareth,' he thought vehemently to himself. He was becoming annoyed
with the sudden inconsistency of his emotions. What was it Sarah had said? That
he was using his anger to hide some other emotion? What foolishness! She was a
great deal younger than he, if not in appearance, then at least in age, and she
was still thinking like a teenager who was trying to be adult about the
situation. Yet, he had been feeling new, unfamiliar emotions of late and had
constantly been at battle with himself to push them away. If anything, he
detested change when he had not planned or been expecting it. It was
unacceptable. As was anyone defying him openly....
Sarah had done so by bringing her friends here. It was a relief to know that
they were not here by her own hands, but by the magic of the birds instead, but
she had once again prolonged the conclusion of his exploits.
sat back against a tree a few yards from the fire, listening as the fox babbled
on to her, laughing as the dwarf made great motions to silence him, smiling as
she pillowed her head against the beast's red, shaggy fur. She was happy.
Happier than Jareth had ever seen her, especially while in his domain. His first
inclination was to cause them to disappear out of spite and lock them away with
a spell so strong that no creature of the Underground might be able to free
them, but he pushed it aside with the surfacing of a curious, new impulse, one
that he knew never would have come about in the past, one that he was startled,
somewhat afraid, was coming about now.
pain came then ebbed, echoing a warning.
your duty to me.'
could not allow her to keep her friends permanently. They could not remain with
her for long, or his plan would have no time to be carried out. Normally he
would have taken them away instantly, without a moment's thought. But tonight,
he was feeling benevolent, for no reason he could explain. He would allow her
the night and the next day before he removed them from her company.
once, if only for a moment, he wanted nothing more than to see her smile as she
was doing now. He wished it could last, for both him and for her, but due to
circumstances, it could not. Always would his cruelty prevail when before her.
this once the leopard would allow himself to change his spots.
have to have that stone," he whispered to himself. "If she has her
friends, then she'll have no reason to retrieve it for me. Minus friends, minus
hope of escaping the errand I have set before her.
he continued, concern touching his voice, "but I don't wish to diminish all
of her hope. I'll just take her companions one by one.
he added in a low tone, almost as if he were thinking it instead of voicing it,
"Sarah my dear, you'll see who rules this kingdom."
brushed thought of the matter aside easily, thinking instead on the result of
his scheme, what the next day would bring in the evolving of his plans. No
longer would he question himself, not tonight, hopefully not again. Questioning
oneself was a weakness, for it was a form of regret. Weakness would not be
as he transformed into the owl and flew through the canopy, into the dark sky
and its twinkling stars, one thing managed to tug at the corner of his mind.
had Hoggle been prepared to say before being interrupted by the bird? What did
the dwarf think that he cared about? It was a question that he did not wish to
ponder over, perhaps out of a fear over the answer. So, like all other unwanted
matters for that evening, he laid it to rest.
tried her hardest to put forth a cheerful expression as Sir Didymus continued
his story. Had that been who she thought it was? Just moments ago she could have
sworn that she caught a wisp of blond hair and the stare of blue eyes behind the
wall of vines. It was not entirely unlikely that he would be spying on her in
such a manner. But, when she had looked again to confirm the sight, there had
been nothing there. Perhaps her mind was playing tricks on her.
not, her friends would surely be gone by morning.
I said to the scoundrel, 'Halt! You are trespassing on the King's
tuned in to hear Sir Didymus resuming his tale of valor. It suddenly became top
priority for Sarah to take in all she could of her friends' company. It was
quite likely that they would not be accompanying her on the rest of her journey.
It occurred to her as odd that they were not gone already.
fair maiden, are you listening?" Sir Didymus queried politely.
turned back to him from her silent musings and replied, "Yes, of course I
I was saying, the scoundrel challenged me to a duel at that precise moment! All
because I would not let him enter the castle. A fool, no doubt, for my
swordsmanship is known throughout the lands. 'En garde,' said I, and thus began
the shortest battle I have ever fought in. He was most certainly no match for
me. I called..."
spoke fluidly, rarely stopping for breath as he did so. Sarah wondered if he
would ever tire.
ain't ever gonna' shut up," Hoggle whispered into her ear, almost as if
reading her mind. "Lemme see if I can arrange something to occupy
rose from his position on the dusty ground and brushed his pants off before
Hoggle?" Didymus prodded. "Do you not wish to hear the rest of my
love to," Hoggle replied, not stopping in his escape, "but I got
somethin' to take care of."
it can wait, can it not?"
Hoggle replied testily, "it can't."
a few moments?" Didymus continued to beg.
I'll be back in - a - minute," he bit off the words just before
spinning around and heading for his destination.
I suppose we can proceed without him," Sir Didymus said to Ludo, Sarah, and
a few elves that were listening.
he resumed his tale, Sarah watched Hoggle carry out his machinations. He was
talking to a elfin girl across the clearing, obviously explaining the dilemma.
Shortly after, he returned with a relieved smile and whispered into Sarah's ear
once again, "He'll be distracted, all right."
did you do?" she asked while Sir Didymus was facing the rest of the group.
see in a minute," Hoggle answered sheepishly.
as Hoggle had promised, she did see. The young elfin girl came across the
clearing and tapped on Didymus's shoulder.
you could let me finish first," Didymus said before turning around. Once he
did, he was stunned by the girl's beautiful face and attempted to remove his
foot from his mouth. "My Lady...I-I apologize for my...rude behavior,"
he stuttered nervously as he bowed and removed his hat. "How may I be of
service to you?" he added as he put his hat back onto his head, shaking
profusely. Sarah had never seen him so nervous. It seemed ironic that Sir
Didymus, the unperturbable, was feeling intimidated by a female.
girl giggled warmly at his anxiety. "You're kinda cute."
took him a few moments of working his jaw before he could respond. "I...I
she said after another giggle.
finally gained his composure and took her hand, declaring with sophistication,
"My Lady, you are much more so than I. I am meager when compared to your
beauty." After he kissed her hand he asked, "May I have this
she replied cheerfully as he led her nearer to the fire.
takes care of that," Hoggle said as he reclined against the tree.
three sat in silence and watched the dancers, the other elves that had been
listening to Didymus's story rising and going on to different areas of
had you been about to say when everyone interrupted you awhile ago?" Sarah
asked Hoggle after some moments.
Oh, that. Well, um, yes, what had I been going to say?... Oh, yes, now I
remember. I was thinkin' that maybe Jareth cares about-"
he could could complete his statement, a young male elf grabbed Sarah's hand and
pulled her into the dance. "Hey!" she exclaimed with the surprise of
her exclamations, it did not take her long to fight back her urge to sit back
down and speak with Hoggle.
father tells me that, if you do not take time for happiness, then there will be
no hope in the world," the elf declared above the music and laughter.
dance was fast-paced and the foliage flew by Sarah in a green blur. She did not
feel as light on her feet as the elf, for fear of swinging to close to the fire.
The elf did not seem to possess that fear.
easy for him to say," she replied somewhat sarcastically. "He doesn't
have time chasing him at the heels."
playful smile crossed the elf's face. "That's why we make a campfire. The
light wards off creatures of the night."
is quite different," she replied. "Time cannot merely be chased off.
It has no fear of the light."
believe my father would say it was exactly the same thing."
is your father?"
the leader of our group."
wise leader, Sage. Sarah wondered if his son was correct. Would he say it was
the same thing?
the elf exclaimed.
broke from her reverie. "What?"
Sing! Be joyful! You have friends! All are merry!"
do have everything I could wish for, don't I?" she replied, quickening her
step, dragging her friends into the dance. They gladly joined.
the campsite was quiet and all were asleep. Even the seemingly forever-burning
fire had died down, along with the lovely elfin and Magicmocker tunes that had
only a couple of hours ago filled the misty, summerlike air. Only Sarah remained
had put on the look of sleep at first, waiting until all was silent before
sitting up and opening her eyes. Ludo was leaning against the tree, an imprint
in his fur where Sarah's head had been lying an hour ago. She reclined against
the broad trunk next to him and pet his shaggy fur lightly, not daring to move
more than was necessary for fear of waking him or the others. Hoggle was asleep
on the ground to her right, covered in a blanket, his hands used as a wall
between his head and the floor. Sir Didymus was standing a couple of trees down,
having meant to guard the campsite, now quite asleep. His snoring was light,
almost as if, despite the fact that he looked like he was deep in slumber,
something was stirring inside of him, preparing to strike if the need arose.
looked for the wise Sage, but found him missing. Perhaps he had things to take
could not sleep, despite all of her efforts to do so. She had a number of
questions that had been left unanswered, a mountain of things she wished to
know. How was she to get home? What would be done to protect her friends? What
was it that she had been sent to find in the first place? What was its purpose?
What would happen to Isabelle when she was gone?
up carefully, she stretched. When she did, she saw an interesting silhouette in
the forest. She decided to go carefully to find out what it was, using its
existence as an excuse to go for a short walk.
she approached, getting further and further from the campsite, her fear escaping
her, she thought, 'There are too many questions.'
my child, there are many questions," a familiar voice said, the source
being the shadow that she had come to examine.
a small fire rose from the ground and shed some light on Sage. His soft, elfin
features were sharpened by the orange light escaping the flames, his eyes
glistening under the influence of the fire's glow. The only indication that he
was old was given by his graying, black hair and elderly voice. Besides those
features, he looked no older than any other elf. He carried himself calmly and
with cool certainty, giving Sarah the impression that he had lived many years a
knew a great deal more than she could possibly imagine. From the beginning she
had trusted herself to him completely.
dear Sarah," he said softly, patting an empty spot next to him on the
fallen tree at which he was sitting. She complied without question.
troubles your sleep this night?" he asked as he looked down upon a flower
that he was twirling in his fingers. It was closed, as flowers are at night.
"Do the questions plague you so?"
she replied, feeling it quite natural that he would know exactly what it was
that was disturbing her.
he said, "you seek the question when you already have the answer. When you
are lacking either, one is just as difficult to discover as the other. What is
is so much, I think that it is very likely both," Sarah stated in response
to his query.
nodded. "Quite likely. I should think that you have the capability of
finding both the question and the answer, if you put your mind to it and believe
that you can. Without belief in yourself, then you will find it hard to believe
any conclusion that you draw for yourself."
I can, why have I not done it yet?" she asked.
child. If you think on it so much that you no longer live life, you will miss
the answer when it is told to you because you are so wrapped up in your
pondering." The flower remained still.
I have no help in answering the questions, or even finding out what they
course, my dear. I am helping you now, aren't I?"
looked down at the ground, not knowing what to ask first.
see how close you and your companions are," he remarked. "You bear a
friendship that I have seen among few in the Underground, except in elfin
tribes. The Goblin King has strong magic. You must worry that he will not let
you keep them."
she replied. The elf fell silent. She had been expecting him to comfort her by
telling her a way to bring them to safety or to even tell her that the Goblin
King would leave them be. He did not.
companions will be here in the morning," he assured quietly. "Perhaps
even longer than that."
the Goblin King will take them?"
must be aware, dear, that I am not gifted with foresight. I am merely an old elf
who has the ability to judge circumstances. I am correct in my assumptions most
of the time, but not always."
understand," Sarah explained. "Please tell me what you know and what
you think will happen."
elf sighed in syncopation to the wind before beginning his interpretation of the
case. "First, in order for you to comprehend the source of some of my
judgements, I must sing to you the old elfin tune that bears your name. The one
I mentioned earlier this evening." He cleared his throat and began:
"Oh, dark-haired angel, Sarah,
Stranger to this land,
Came here to face her rival,
To fight and take a stand.
For him infatuation,
For her a spellbound fear,
Between them was a child,
To her was very dear.
After joining hands,
Across the Underground,
She solved the puzzling
And there the child was
She left the land off
With boundless knowledge
But one thing she did not
She'd touch the land again.
The prophets see her coming,
To learn again galore,
To reunite with friends,
To gain so many more.
Now comes another journey,
Significant to all,
To bring a longed-for
To answer destiny's
stared at him in disbelief. Had she been the subject of song and storytelling
for so long? It was hard to fathom that she might bear any importance to anyone
other than herself. What longed-for concept would she bring? Would she bring it
to herself or to others?
detect more questions," Sage said, chuckling. "I also see that this
song must indeed pertain to you. Before you ask anything, let me answer some of
your other questions. Even prophets have their limits to what knowledge they can
gain. It is given to them by the stars as the stars see fit to give. I know
little else than what the song says, but I have picked up a few things in my
travels. I would expound upon the song, but I am afraid that it is not my right
to do so. There is a great deal that you must learn on your own. But I will tell
you that I do not know how you will accomplish what the song says you must. I
can assist you in any way I can. I have seen you all evening, sitting aside, no
doubt pondering your next course of action."
I was wondering how I was to get home; what would happen to my friends."
were you sent in the first place?" queried the old elf.
was supposed to get a treasure for Jareth," she related. "I know
nothing of it, for he refuses to tell me what it's for. All I know is that it is
located atop the highest plateau of a desert bordering on the grasslands."
twirled the flower between his fingers. "This is somewhat disturbing,"
Sage replied, his face dropping to a frown.
is?" Sarah asked, her stomach dropping slightly at his change in
is another elfin song, kept in secrecy for many years. No one has known it
except for ourselves, until now."
is it such a big secret?"
is most dangerous for anyone to retrieve the subject of the song. I will recite
it to you, without tune:
"Beyond the king's strong castle,
The Labyrinth's winding walls,
The forest's green-leaf tassels,
The mountains great and tall,
There stands a red-clay desert,
With plateaus wondrous high,
Its shadows stretch out long and dark,
Its winds shall never die.
One must pass the winding terrain,
Through the lush, green woods,
Over the coldness of mountain's pain,
To where the sun does brood.
There the gift of power is found,
Atop the highest plain,
There it will stay, quiet and sound,
Until one comes to gain.
Only the pure and good of heart
May reap this treasure's rewards,
But once from those hands it does depart,
It's evil ways will soar.
Silent in beauty,
Quiet in thought,
Its powers doth grow,
While enemies fought.
Its gleaming, bright brilliance,
Its violet light,
Its painstaking innocence,
While enemies still fight."
he has sent me to get something that will make him more powerful? More powerful
than he is now?!" Sarah declared, her voice rising in volume with the
ascent of her emotions.
child," Sage coaxed. "It will not help to wake the others and worry
them over this matter. We will discuss it between ourselves before any action is
do I have to get it for him? Why can't he get it himself?"
ago, this evil crystal was obtained by someone with an evil heart and an equally
devious mind. An elfin warrior and magician went into this man's stronghold,
facing a number of obstacles within, before finally taking the crystal from his
possession. The elf fled to a place where he planned to hide the
crystal- the plateaus, as we know- and left it there, under a spell. First,
he covered the crystal by an enchantment that prevented the crystal from going
about evil ways. You think this just a stone, my child, but it is far more than
that. It has consciousness and emotions and is seething within its hiding place,
looking for a way to release its vengeance. But it has patience my dear. It will
wait. It is evil, while the Goblin King is merely set in a few evil ways."
He sighed. "Well, back
to the elfin magician. He then put a second enchantment on the stone, allowing
only the hands of the good retrieve it from the plateau."
let anyone take it at all?" Sarah asked. "He could have just formed a
spell not allowing anyone to take it, or he might have destroyed it."
no, evil that strong cannot be destroyed. Only suppressed. The reason he did not
banish it from use was that, if used by the good, it might prove useful. More
than that, there may be a time that it was greatly needed. He did not expect
anyone to go by the methods that the Goblin King has to gain its power."
feel terrible," Sarah said unhappily. "I was about to bring doom to
the whole world."
child, it is not your fault," Sage consoled. "You had to do what was
necessary to assist your companions. Even the Goblin King himself is very little
at fault for this."
can that be?" Sarah argued vehemently. "He started this whole mess! He
was looking to have more than he deserved!"
child," the elf responded quietly while pulling Sarah's hair back.
"The Goblin King was ignorant of the power the stone possessed. No doubt he
has only heard traces of the song, for we rarely sing it, afraid that there will
be dangerous eavesdroppers, such as himself. The Goblin King's motives are
wrong, but I know that even he is wise enough to not wish any harm brought upon
the lands of the Underground, especially not as much harm as the stone would
man has as much wisdom as a rock," Sarah stated angrily, not venting her
spleen on Sage, but on the far-off Goblin King instead.
Sage chuckled, "I can tell that you think I am old. The years bear a vast
amount of knowledge, moreso as they become greater. Wisdom not always comes with
contemplation over life. It comes with living life. The Goblin King is close to
my age, no matter how hard it is to believe, and he has knowledge whether he
wants it or not. He is certainly no fool."
has a little girl in his castle," Sarah said wearily. "I have never
seen such a bright child, except for my own brother. She is kind and loyal; to
him... to everyone. When I was first there, the girl was filthy and wore rags.
She is a servant to him, and yet, somehow I know that he deems himself her
guardian. How can a man be so careless over someone that he obviously cares for?
When she was wronged, he pained himself to put it right, perhaps in his own
materialistic ways, but he did try to fix things."
you do not believe he did it for ulterior motives?" Sage asserted.
don't know what I believe. She said something about it to me. What she said gave
me the impression that he has been doing good things- such as what he did
while I was there- for a long time now. So I don't think he favored her just
because I did, as well. Besides, even if she had been mistreated by anyone else,
he wouldn't waste his time in reconciling himself if he didn't feel something
for her. But he neglects her, is very forceful with her at times. How can
someone be so cruel to someone they hold so dearly?"
think that is a question that concerns yourself as well as the young girl you
speak of," the elf affirmed.
Care about me? I agree with many things you say, but that is one thing I think
you are incorrect in assuming. You should see how he treats me. Just another
slave from another world."
am not the only one who thinks so. There is someone that knows him better than
even you or I who agrees with me," Sage countered.
Sarah asked, curiousity visible on her face. "The only one who knows him
spoken with him?" Sarah questioned.
After you seemingly fell asleep."
smiled in spite of herself. "He had been trying to say something to me
earlier...That could have been it. Still, I strongly disagree. Maybe he puts on
that front for others, some part of this whole scheme that I don't yet know
trouble yourself over it, child. Perhaps it's not something you're ready to
face. Anyhow, I could be mistaken. There are matters of greater importance which
we must look at."
sighed. "No, you may be right. But I would rather not discuss it now. Like
you said, there are more important things to talk about."
were a few moments of silence before Sage continued. "What is the course of
action you plan to take tomorrow?"
don't know. Look for a way home, I guess. There's little else for me to do. Find
out a way to keep my friends safe while I'm gone."
didn't wish to worry you further," Sage said sadly, "but, as long as
the Goblin King's errand is left undone, there is no way to be sure of your
friends' safety. Even if you do leave, he will either make you start your
journey over again, or he will find someone else to do it."
didn't think of that," Sarah admitted. "So, I have to get it for him
don't have to get it for HIM..." Sage said, a sardonic grin playing across
course!" Sarah exclaimed. Sage put his finger to his lips, the smile still
on his face. "I can get it anyways, but keep it for myself, or hide it. I
guess I'm so tired that I wasn't thinking straight. That's what the song meant
for me to do!"
am sure you would have done it anyway, Sarah. You're heart is as pure as gold.
You will have no trouble in getting the stone. Mind you, though," Sage
added, almost as an afterthought, "once he touches it, it will become
extremely dangerous. Do not let him get his hands on it."
do you think he will do when he finds out I am still on the quest?"
likely, he will believe that you are going after the stone as a means of getting
home," Sage rationalized.
sighed, and again the wind sighed with him. The flower between his fingers moved
with the air. "I wish I could tell you otherwise, dear, but I believe that
he will eventually take them. But you have the advantage. He has wisely kept the
use of the crystal a secret from you. He is not aware that you know what it's
Sarah reasoned, "I can use it to get my friends back before I leave. How do
I use it? Isn't there some kind of chant?"
Sage answered. "You must," he rose one eyebrow, "be gifted with
Sarah looked at him, baffled. "How am I supposed to use it, then?"
he looked at her mysteriously with amusement, thought Sarah, mirrored in his
eyes, "you will discover on your journey."
reflected a moment before speaking. "I may find someone who can."
rose and stretched, yawning loudly as she did so. Her hands retreated into her
pockets and she looked down at Sage, who still held the flower between his thumb
and forefinger. It had opened up and its interior was sparkling.
rose as well. "I couldn't help but notice your lovely bracelet."
pulled her hand from her pocket and looked at the piece of jewelry. "This?
Yes, it was a gift from Isabelle."
little girl I told you about."
is inside of the locket?" Sage questioned.
don't know," Sarah conceded. "I've been so preoccupied that I haven't
looked." She opened it up and found it empty. "Oh, well. I suppose all
she has is Jareth and I wouldn't put his picture in the locket, either."
be so hasty to judge, child," Sage admonished. "Nevertheless," he
added, "it's a good place to keep things."
Sage took her hand and held up the open locket. "This might be useful on
your quest." He poured the contents of the flower into the locket, the
particles falling in a sparkling cascade.
Didymus jumped from hiding and abruptly stopped the conversation. Sage closed
the locket quickly before her startled jolt could allow its contents to spill on
I have you now, intruders!" Didymus cried while waving his spear about
you think-," he stopped short when he finally got a good look at who it
was he was threatening. He moved his lower jaw from side to side as if trying to
loosen some of his embarrassment. "My lady, pardon my intrusion upon your
chuckled. "It's all right, Didymus. We were done," she looked to Sage
for approval, "I think."
nodded to her then turned to say something to the fox. "You have a fine
knight in your company. I have never seen someone so alert and prepared to
protect his escort."
thought she saw the same humor in his eyes that she had seen moments ago. This
time she knew its cause for being there. She was just as aware as Sage was that
they had been talking for quite some time now, and if they had been intruders,
the campers would have been intruded upon by now.
Didymus bowed to the elf and gave his gratification for the kind remark. He then
stepped aside and said, "My lady," indicating for her to go ahead of
him. She declined his offer, and he made his own way back to the clearing.
Before she left, she turned around and asked, "You knew I was coming all
along, didn't you?"
cocked his head to the side, giving her a wry smile, almost as if to say,