Labyrinth Fan Fiction ❯ Dark Crystals ❯ Elders intrigued ( Chapter 12 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter Twelve: Elders Intrigued

The sound of cloth being pushed aside was heard behind Jareth and Chantal. Teh’re rose to his feet as a figure entered the hut.

"Ah Teh're," a soft but deep voice greeted.

"Master Kolbl." Teh're said in English and nodded, returning the greeting. "We have guests."

Jareth, old boy." the figure named Kolbl said. The Elder wore a navy blue robe with a hood, a few decorative designs covered the back and the middle front; Chantal noticed as he neared the table, that Jareth's emblem was at the center of his back. The color of Kolbl's robe was a change of color compared to Teh're earthy tones of green, brown and tan. His face was slightly squared, his skin was pale but not as pale as Jareth's; it was slightly tanned from his recent travels. The robe and the light blue markings on the side of his face and neck brought out his cool green eyes. His short-cropped ivory hair gleamed gold in the fire's light. From Chantal's perspective, he looked as though he was in his mid fifties.

"It has been a long time since I've seen you last Jareth." Kolbl said, his voice was deep and showed no sign of his true age.

"Indeed." Jareth replied. "You have enjoyed your travels I've taken?"

"Yes. But the tales of my travels are for another day." he turned to Chantal. Kolbl did the same arm greeting to Jareth and Teh're when he came around the table. He made his way to his seat next to Teh're, he limped slightly on his left side, Chantal noticed. He was then introduced to Chantal and informed of the unconscious girl in the other room.

The Elder looked her over a second time and nodded to himself. "Is she from the mortal realm?" Jareth nodded a reply. "I've never seen one so far from your castle. Interesting indeed." he turned back to the Goblin King. "I have heard of the commotion that has taken place earlier this morning, but you must inform me of the events that took place today so that I may fully understand."

"I see." Kolbl said, peering over his steepled fingers. It did not take long to give him both Jareth and Chantal’s versions of what happened; Jareth had also mentioned how he had met both girls two years back and what has happened since then. "Truly remarkable." Kolbl smiled at Chantal who in turn smiled back. "I knew you had travelers but I've never thought they would try and take over your kingdom."
"Well I didn't think they would have access to magyks." Jareth replied. Teh're smirked.

"I wonder if she got a hold of a crystal, other than the one you had given them, like that young fellow." The medallion that he wore glinted in the dim light. "I don't suppose the crystals were missing because of negligence." he looked up at Jareth. The Goblin King gave him a look. "Or, that someone is in fact bent on overthrowing Jareth." Kolbl continued.

"Paul did mention that a locked box had vanished off the desk in the King's study. I wonder if it was locked for a reason and if it actually was in Jareth's possession in the first place; and failed when Paul was either unable to open it or to come across it." Chantal mused.

"So, unable to perform its purpose, the box moved on to find another suitable, let's say 'host'?" Teh're continued to voice Chantal's thoughts.

"Exactly!" Chantal exclaimed. "Lately we've been around Jareth and who would have suspected that one of us could start an attack."

"Who would be behind all this? Why not attack me themselves instead of using people like puppets?" the Goblin King asked, half annoyed with the unknown accomplices.

"Perhaps they enjoy toying with you." Kolbl replied.

Jareth almost snorted. "What a waste of both of our time." Kolbl seemed to smile at that remark of impatience. Jareth tried to cross his arms over his chest but he was wincing too much and finally gave up.

"Would you like more water Shaan' tal?" Kolbl said, slowly enunciating around the mortal names. Chantal nodded, not seeming to mind. "Er, back to how you've stopped Stef' hanee," He filled Chantal's goblet and passed Jareth's back, filled with more of the red liquid. He gestured for the King to drink. "I am quite impressed how you've managed to merge two spell binds in order to stop her. But what I wonder why she still has magyk aura surrounding her." he said as the others looked at the wall where Stephanie lay on the other side. "It is faint but it's there."

"Do you suppose I haven't been able to counter the spell?" Jareth asked.

"It is a possibility." Teh're voiced Kolbl's reply.

"I'll know for certain when I inspect her. I do no think once we remove the cast that she'll start attacking again. She might return to normal, if not it will take her a while to build up her strength for another battle. With the inspection I'll mayhap learn what aura is encircling her and with luck, who is behind this." he finished. "But until then, I suggest you two rest." he pointed to Jareth and Chantal, as a parent to a child. "You've had a very eventful day. Do no worry Teh're and I shall watch over Stef' hanee."

Jareth was about to protest but the suggestion was too inviting to pass up. He slowly got up, reluctantly obeyed as though he wasn’t an authority figure, and followed Teh're outside; Chantal nodded to Kolbl before rising to her feet. Kolbl had stopped at the doorway and wished them a goodnight sleep. He then turned around and gave a long curious glance at the unconscious girl.

_____________________________________O O O_____________________________________

Chantal awoke to the smell of freshly baked bread.

"Mmm," she said half sleepily. 'Mom must have made some bread for breakfast,' she thought as she stretched and sat up in bed. She then realized that she was in her street clothes; tan jeans and a violet shirt; and she remembered where she was. She was sore and a few of her muscles ached but probably not as much as Jareth. She smiled at that thought. 'Poor Jareth,' she thought.

She got up and walked over to a mirror that stood by the doorway. There was a water basin on the table, sitting next to it was a pitcher filled with cool water. She washed up and frowned at her curly hair, it didn't want to be tamed today and she didn't have her usual hair stuff with her other than an elastic, which she used to tie her hair into a low ponytail. She headed out to see what was for breakfast. Whatever it was mixed with the smell of bread, smelt good.

Teh're came around to see if she was up. She had just finished eating the last of a soft, sweet bread. He had wanted to know if she wanted to enjoy the scenery or to join him as he assisted Kolbl. She said she was going to take a walk, being too soon after eating and that she'll join them soon. Teh're then left with a quick farewell.

Getting up she thanked the Lanei'n woman and vanished in the room she stayed to prepare her stuff, and finally stepped outside and into the bright warm sun.

It was not long before she fell in love with the scenery; the trees were lush and bright, the sun was warm upon her skin and little spryte children were following her, mostly chattering in their language and pointing to Serek or at her shoes. She was giggling. 'Those ears,' she thought smiling.

The walk was quite wonderful and the village was extraordinary. She had time to clear her head but she needed to get back and see what progress they had done. Not to mention that soon they would need to head back home. Reaching, Kolbl's home, she figured, she knocked on the wall next to the cloth doorway before entering. She had to let her eyes adjust in the semi bright room.

"Ah Shaan' tal." Kolbl said as she made her way to the main room. She saw that they had placed Stephanie onto the table. Teh're was on one side, eyes closed and seemed to be chanting softly. Kolbl informed her that there was no room for them to break the barrier in the tiny bedroom. "And I might need your assistance as well," he smiled.

"Sure," Chantal said as she was instructed to stand near Stephanie's feet. She was then handed a jade amulet.

"Hold this and read the counter spell, it will help us since it's a tad tricky to decipher." Kolbl smiled again and pointed to a small sheet of yellow parchment next to Stephanie's heel before returning on the other side of the table. She read the words aloud.

"Not quite." Kolbl chuckled softly. "The pronunciation is a little off but good nevertheless. It's: 'A' arth'o nea'h ah'té.'" he finished. "Now you try."

Chantal repeated, slowly at first then managed to do it without the paper. "Very good. Repeat it every other few minutes or so and clear your mind of thought other than those words. I do wish I had more time to instruct you further but we cannot let her stay in this confined cast."

"Okay." Chantal started concentrating and slowly chanted in a half whisper, in tune with Teh're. Kolbl, she noticed, had his hands out towards the girl, fingers frozen in a casting gesture.

A few minutes seem to pass before Kolbl sighed almost wearily. "This is ridiculous! I think he mixed some other one as well. One of his inventions no doubt." he told no one in particular. He told Teh're to stop and take a break. The sun had disappeared from the room since Chantal had seen it last. She noticed that it was late afternoon.

"Already?" she mentioned this finding to Teh're.

"Yes." he chuckled. "I have not noticed either until you have mentioned it to me."

"Where is Jareth? Shouldn't he be well rested by now?" Kolbl asked Teh're.

"I believe he is still sleeping," Teh're avoided Kolbl's glare.

"That boy!" Kolbl muttered and shook his head. "I think he knew he would have to help us so he slept in. Bah!" he chuckled as he exited and was heading towards one of the cabins. His robe flowed with his pace. It was amusing that he kept referring Jareth to a younger epithet.

"Some things never change." Teh're laughed.

"Really?" Chantal laughed.

"Normally he's not that lazy but sometimes he's just as terrible as a child. I remember when we had lessons, he would always procrastinate, most of the times it was just to annoy Kolbl." Just at that moment, the Goblin King rushed in, holding his shirt and jacket.

"For bloody hell!" he barked.

"Some things never change," Teh're repeated for Jareth. The Goblin King amidst putting on his shirt, gave a sheepish grin. Chantal giggled. It was still strange to see him smiling.
Teh're told him that they were having difficulty cracking the barrier. "I thought Kolbl would have managed by now." Jareth told him.

"It would seem you've added more elements to the cast." Kolbl informed from the doorway. "Another bad habit." he added. To Chantal, it looked like Jareth had rolled his eyes. She held in a giggle.

"Would you mind helping us Jareth, hmm?" Kolbl asked.

"Yes, yes." Jareth mumbled, deciding to leave his jacket open. He then stood near Kolbl and thought for a moment about how to remove the barrier. "I am ready." he said at last.

Moments passed as they tried several incantations. Then for the longest time, the group was silent again. Teh're said a few words and the reaction on their faces proved that it was slowly working.

A small groan was heard and Stephanie slowly sat up. She winced in pain and automatically grabbed her arm where it was bandaged. Her eyes were open, and were back to their usual brown color, and she was now looking around confused. She suddenly felt all her aches. She stiffened where she sat. "Where am I??" her voice was low. She blinked curiously at the three men who were concentrating.

"Hey Steph. Feeling alright?" Chantal asked. Her friend glanced in her direction.

"So--sort of," Stephanie nodded.

"You're in Ke'l; a village not too far from the Labyrinth. Right now, Kolbl, Teh're and Jareth here, are trying to rid of a barrier surrounding you that Jareth had placed to stop you from attacking again." Chantal explained.

"Oh." Stephanie said, then quickly turned to Chantal again. "Um, why remove it??"

"From my understanding is that you're not going or be able to cause any more damage." Chantal replied.

"Ah." Stephanie’s mouth was dry but she waited for the three men to finish before asking for anything. She thoughtfully examined the new beings, as well as her surroundings. 'Elves. Wycked!!' she thought. She pointed to her own ears and Chantal nodded excitedly.

A few minutes passed by. The air suddenly rushed in her ears causing her hearing to be muffled.

"It is done." the Elder said.

"Ow!!" Stephanie winced.

"What is it?"

"My ears popped." Stephanie replied, pulling at her ears.

"Oh!" Chantal giggled. Stephanie made herself sit at the end of the table so that her legs were hanging over the edge. She let out a half squeal, half gasp.

"What is it now?" Jareth admonished.

Stephanie was trying to cover herself and kept pulling the skirt of the dress over her knees, even though it was long and went past her ankles. "I'm in a dress!!" It was something that she was not used to; she had become rebellious when she reached the half point of grade school to wear any more dresses, much to her mother's disappointment.

"Is that all?" Jareth snorted, half annoyed. He had raised an intrigued eyebrow, grabbed a chair and sat down, lightly looking her over.

'I could see why he's annoyed with me right now,' Stephanie thought. She was then introduced properly to Teh're and Kolbl. "Hello." she greeted.

"Welcome back Steph." Chantal said with a smile.

"Thanks." Stephanie was handed the strange brew.

Kolbl came next to her. "I know it's a bit sudden to ask but can you help us understand what has happened? Tell us your side of the events taken place, so we can know what we're up against."

"All right." Stephanie nodded. She took a sip of the herb mixed water, did an odd face but her aches started to dull down and she finished the drink. Once she was ready, she stared down at the empty earthenware cup in her hands. "It's still a bit hazy but here I go." she took a deep breath.

"I remember finishing class, when are we??--the day before--I got home, talked to my landlady who I don't mind usually but I really wanted to get my work done and I finally got to my basement apartment. I ate a bit, got my assignments ready and worked on it till late. I started nodding off and I think I fell asleep at the coffee table." she paused. "Next thing I knew I was in a cave or something, a dark place with barely any natural light, and I was walking; I didn't know where I was or where I was going but it felt like I needed to go in a certain direction. At first I thought that I was dreaming or sleepwalking, I've done it in the past, once or twice; but it didn't feel like it at all. I was completely aware.

"I had a crystal in my hand and I thought it was the one Jareth had given Chantal and I for traveling between both realms. Suddenly I felt angry--which is rare cause I usually get annoyed before I get to angry--and was getting ideas to take over the Labyrinth, the castle and to get rid of those who stood in my way. Anyone. That also meant the ruler, Jareth. It was thrilling and it felt like, I don't know why, some sort of adrenaline rush running in my veins. I can't really explain." she took a last look in the cup before setting it aside and placing her hands on her lap, her fingers had gripped a few small folds of her skirt. "I don't mean it was thrilling beating the Hell out of Jareth or anything like that." she laughed almost nervously.

"We understand." Kolbl said. Jareth muttered something under his breath. Kolbl gave him a look. "Please continue."

"Yes, please do go on." Teh're gave her a small smile.

"How did you get to the castle from this, dark place?" Jareth asked, forgetting his grudge.

"I think it was the same way with the crystal. I remember appearing in what looked like one section of the Labyrinth but more around the outer walls. I remember attacking the place and destroying the few buildings there--gods!! Was anyone hurt??" Alarmed, she turned to Kolbl and then to Jareth.

"Luckily they were out or gone in hiding, out of harm's way." Jareth said.

"I'm glad." Stephanie breathed out in relief. "As I was saying, I was attacking these buildings and homes, attacking with powers?? How did I get that??" she looked up from her clenched hands again.

"We're not quite sure." Teh're replied. "That's what we're trying to find out with some clues from you."

Stephanie nodded. "I was then in the throne room, basically threatening those who would oppose me or else..." she trailed off. "Threatened them more with worse punishment than the Bog of Eternal Stench."

"There were a few minor injuries to a few inhabitants, nothing more. Nothing too serious." Kolbl reassured.

"Heh." Jareth cleared his throat. Teh're chuckled. Stephanie was almost embarrassed, she clenched more of her skirt in her hands; it was quite difficult to find a way to apologize for attempt of assassination of someone she knew, especially a King.

"Not too long after that, I noticed Chantal and Jareth traveling through the Labyrinth. At first, I toyed with them, by hiding shortcuts and creating puzzles. I was in midst of expanding my attacks and I couldn't be bothered by them just yet. Once they arrived at the castle, I was ready to get rid of Jareth by all means and the rest you probably know."

Kolbl nodded. "Yes. However, what made you take action to strike at Jareth?"

"I've had a few frustrations at the time and a few that resurfaced, but that's hardly any excuse. I just felt that taking my bottled up emotions on him was a good start--"
"Oh thanks--" Jareth muttered.

"--and filled with some sort of power, I was able to accomplish anything. No one would be able to stop me. To forget my life back home, I suppose." she unclenched her hands finally and lightly flexed her fingers. "I'm not very good at explaining."

"Quite all right." Kolbl said patting her hand. "One more thing; were you aware that someone was controlling you? Telling you to do these things?"

Stephanie's eyes narrowed in thought. "No," she replied slowly. "I was not told to do anything...but...I did hear whispers when I was in that cave."

"What was said?" Jareth asked. Stephanie was silent for a long time.

She frowned. "I--I don't remember." she shook her head.

"You've been helpful. Thank you." Kolbl said.

"I wish I could remember more." Stephanie frowned.

"Let us know if you do remember anything else."

The girl nodded.

"It's good to have you back to your normal self." Chantal hugged her friend. Serek chirped in Stephanie's ear.

"Bob says so too." Stephanie smiled.

_____________________________________O O O_____________________________________

"Yes. It is indeed a mystery."

"From what you have informed us of this mortal, this girl, from the other realm was given powers? For what purpose?" a deeper voice than Kolbl's boomed.

"Other than treason or warfare against the King is uncertain. I believe this might be a start of something." Kolbl informed the figures in the large mirror. The figures' faces were shrouded in shadows, for a fire burned behind them.

"I suggest we keep an eye on this mortal and on things surrounding the events taken place before their arrival to this realm." another voice said, a bit rougher than the other.
"Yes." Kolbl responded.

"I shall watch over the girl." the Goblin King said, he was standing next to Kolbl.

"Indeed." another said. "And we will hear of your progress and reports."

"Of course." Jareth nodded. He kept his anger in check. He simply abhor when the Elders spoke to him like one of their assistants.

"Have you done an analysis on the origin of where her powers had come from?" a female voice said, nearing the mirror.
"Not yet. I'm letting the girl rest a bit bef--"

"Kolbl as we understand, we need to make haste if a similar problem should arise." the female of the group continued.

"I agree, however she still has gone through something that she is not used to; I am surprised that her body was capable of withstanding the power that was given to her."

"That does not explain your incompetence--"

"I had asked him to let her rest before putting her through one of the examinations you wish to have." Jareth said, his tone full of authority. He had had enough of them butchering Kolbl's explanations.

"Forgive us M'Lord." the group bowed as one.

"We shall give you our results when we have completed this task." Jareth continued, dismissing their courteous gesture. "We shall inform you in due time. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes of course, your Majesty." a man with black and white hair, that was slicked back, said. He had come closer to the mirror and the Goblin King could fully see his cold grey eyes.

"Good." Jareth said. "We are finished here." He waved his hand and the image in the mirror faded in a bluish haze. He stood there, fuming silently. "They are forgetting their place." he said as Kolbl turned around.

"When one voices their opinions, it isn't long before others join in." Kolbl said. "They forget sometimes. Perhaps had gotten overexcited with news."

"I've great respect for them but lately...I just hope they will not defy me. I will be forced to use drastic actions." He clenched his hands. "And I still do not like that Thané character."

"He's like the stepmother from fairytales, the protagonist never do like them." Kolbl chuckled. Jareth's mood lightened a bit. "Well now, back to business. I would rather wait for her to rest before I perform any exams but I suppose the sooner the better to avoid arguments."
The Goblin King sighed wearily and nodded. "I hope she feels up to it. The analysis is all right but I hope we find out what's going on before we perform any tests," he trailed off.

"I'll keep it to a minimum." Kolbl patted Jareth on his good shoulder.

_____________________________________O O O_____________________________________

Stephanie had been hanging around the village, talking very little with Chantal or anyone else, mostly keeping to herself until it didn't feel as awkward. She had been given the chance to change and clean up a bit. She was now wearing a pair of brown breeches and a light grey shirt that was a little too long for her, tied loosely, but she kept the shirt hanging over her waist. Her bandaged arms were covered in the folds of the sleeves. She had soft leather boots that reached her knees.

She was sitting under a tree, poking the ground with a small branch. She glanced up when her name was called. She got up to her feet and dusted her new clothes from the dirt. She asked the reason why she was being summoned.


"Please?" Kolbl asked.

"All right." Stephanie slowly replied and started to follow the Elder. Chantal wanted to know what was going on.

"We're going to run the tests now. Kolbl would like to see you as well." Teh're turned to Chantal.

"Me?" Chantal asked confused. "Well, as long as it's safe."

"This way," Kolbl instructed the girls to enter the familiar hut. Teh're and Chantal were left outside at Kolbl's request.

Stephanie sat down. "So how is this going to be??" she asked.

"It won't be painful if that's what you're thinking. It will determine how all this started. It'll help us find the missing pieces from your story." explained Jareth. "Hypnosis, if you will,"

That didn't convince her nerves. She knew it wouldn't hurt, it was this feeling she had, perhaps of what they would find. With the explanation she received last night from all sides and her own, she knew that she was given powers and used like a puppet. There was no need to prove it any further. She was worried on how they would find out and if whoever was giving these powers would decided to take this moment to take her over again; or that they will find nothing to help them out in the end.

"Now, take a deep breath and clear your mind." started Kolbl. Stephanie sighed deeply and listened to his instructions. Soon she felt as though she was in a trance but was half-aware of her surroundings. Her eyes lowered a bit in her state. He asked questions as before and received the same answers; she had no recollection of what happened before she turned, or the how.

Kolbl held his hands out and muttered under his breath, something even Jareth couldn't catch; it sounded foreign even to him.

A soft breeze started, not only were they inside but the way the wind blew the strands of their hair, it was impossible with the direction the wind was blowing outside. Stephanie's hair started to flow, just the smallest strands. The vials and bowls started to shake, a small rumbling was heard and then the ground started to shake. Stephanie slowly blinked.

Suddenly Kolbl was pushed back by a short force and was thrown against the wall with a loud thump, rattling a few objects and knocked a few fragile vials to the ground. Jareth had no time to react and stop the throw.

Teh're flew in and demanded to know what happened; he was followed by an alarmed Chantal and a few gasping sprytes who chattered concerned as they helped Kolbl to his feet. The shattered glass crunched under the soft leather boots.

"She is strong indeed." Kolbl laughed, once on his feet. He shooed the fretting sprytes away. "I'm fine Teh're." he brushed his clothes of the dust the floorboards had hidden. "It took a bit of my strength and a revealing cast or two to slightly awaken the power that was given to her to unearth any answers. Curiosity got the best of me." he chuckled.

"Don't do it again old man." Jareth said, he had managed to cross his arms. Kolbl only chuckled once more. Things continued to rattle upon the shelves and the table. Kolbl then became aware of what was happening and quickly resumed his casting pose, muttering a few strange words.

Stephanie woke up with a start, her eyes widened and then she looked around. "Sorry." she said, slightly embarrassed to be on edge. She quickly glanced at the tiny destruction she had created; even under hypnosis, she did this?

Kolbl by this time had composed himself. He finally ushered the curious and worried sprytes from the large window and turned to the small group. Once he was satisfied that no one was eavesdropping, he said. "I've made a few discoveries. But I'm afraid that finding who is behind this is not one of them."

Everyone muttered or sighed in their disappointment.

"However," Kolbl continued and the group fell silent. "She was being controlled somehow. But there was no help in this attack other than being 'ordered' to attack."
"Like brainwashed?" Chantal said.

Kolbl thought around the word before replying. "Yes."

"So what are you saying?" Jareth asked.

"The powers are hers and hers alone."

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What??!! I have powers?? Holy peaches Batman!! ^_^ -lol-
This was the longest chapter in this Part. I didn't want to put too much about the Elders in here. I also caught myself repeating things and replies but I've managed to reduce the repetitive speeches; let me know if I still repeated myself.