Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
This fic serves as a prequel to the movie, and details how Jareth came to rule the Labyrinth. It includes details and backstory from our main fic ‘verse, which began with Draw Your Swords, continues in And My Kingdom as Great, and will conclude with Like a Raging Storm. If you enjoyed the OC’s we established in those stories, you should like this one a lot, too.
The chapters are going to be MUCH shorter than our usual, and the overall fic is shorter. This started as a request on the Labyrinth Fanfic Lovers community on FB, and it snowballed. It’s also good to firmly establish just how our dear, spoilt Jareth acquired his crown, and (eventually) became someone worthy of Sarah’s love.
WARNING: Expect some adult themes, as in threatened violence and references to sexual situations. Also language. The fae don't often swear but when they do...
The fae cannot lie. But the one who stood before the High King’s inquisitors had striven for hours to avoid speaking the names of the others aloud. Every possible trick of wit and silver tongue had been employed, sweating and swearing, until at last he gasped out the names.
The High King was unsurprised at most of them. A dozen ne’er-do-wells, minor nobles and second sons, all of them with more time and power and coin than sense. If his queen had not been in a frothing rage over the insult – that damned play, with Titania swooning over the ass – he would’ve slapped them all down once and let them go. Or killed them, whichever was more expedient. They were fools only, and had caused no permanent harm, even when the magic used became obvious. A few mortal memories had needed adjusting, and that was that.
But the insult could not be borne, even if that was not the charge they would prosecute. And then his eye landed on a name in the middle of the list, the one who’d played Puck. It should not have been a surprise; such power wielded so skillfully would require a mage of that caliber.
If only the boy wasn’t his cousin’s grandson. The Sorceress of Astolwyr was a power he did not like to gainsay; her strength was entirely self-made, and her powers had been learnt from the goddess’ third face directly. A warning would have been enough, but such errant foolhardiness must be curbed … and again, the High Queen raged at the insult.
Turning to his seneschal, the High King spoke quietly. “Find me a law that forbids me to kill a crown prince,” he demanded.
“Yes, my liege,” the man replied, and hastened off as the High King turned his mind to finding suitable, non-lethal punishment. If said punishment could kill two birds with one stone, all the better. And he did have a masterless kingdom out in the wilds, it was true…
Cadelinyth of Etaron – known as Della to those she loved – clattered into the breakfast room with wild, staring eyes. “Where is Jareth?” she demanded.
Her husband, King Deruthiel, knew something was badly wrong. Della was no hysteric. “He went riding an hour ago. What happened?”
“They arrested those idiots who interfered with the damned English bard’s play,” his wife snapped, raking her hands through her hair. “It was that pack of fools he runs with, Thiel. Urylas and the lot.”
His gut seemed frozen into a solid hunk of icy dread. “Oh gods.”
“I’ll tan his hide,” Della continued, harrowing her blonde curls again. “I asked him directly if he’d had anything to do with it, and the sly little weasel asked me if I thought he was that stupid! I was so blinded by relief I never realized he didn’t give me a direct answer. Gods, when I catch him, Thiel, I’m going to beat him black and blue – after I haul him to Astolwyr so Mother can intercede for him.”
Thiel slammed his fist into the table once in fury. “If he’d told us at once, we could’ve done something. Damn! Of all the stupid, arrogant, pig-ignorant…”
Della gave a bitter laugh. “He’s definitely ours, isn’t he? I’ll go and fetch him. You get Mother via seeing-crystal. She needs to know what’s coming her way.”
She was gone on silent wings, an owl flying fast in the daylight, and Thiel shivered to remember that folklore Above said an owl by day was an omen of doom. Not if I can help it, he thought, and rushed to send word to his mother-in-law.
He’d barely finished that when Etaron shuddered around him. The High King’s men were already here. For one wild moment, Thiel thought of inviting them in, dropping the portcullis behind them, and then … well, he had an iron sword, didn’t he? And guards loyal to him only.
No. Madness. That path ended with him and his wife and child fleeing Above, hunted as traitors. His people would go into exile or die, and no king worth the name could permit that. He could throw himself on the High King’s mercy, trade his life for his son’s if need be, but he could not damn his vassals.
Thiel took a deep breath, and went down to meet them.