Hoggle came with the kingdom (when it had barely become a kingdom at all,) with a greater baggage of guilt, sorrow, longing and helpless rage than should have fit within a pubescent dwarf. He stood sullenly stone-faced at Grita’s funeral – a boy who lied as easily and badly as he sang, who wept to get out of trouble and was scared of toads, dry-eyed at his mother’s death.
Jareth, who did not weep because the king must stay strong so that others may mourn to their heart’s content, didn’t mistake his stoicism for callousness. After the burial, he found the boy, staring numbly at Grita’s grave, and stood with him in the silence for a moment. Then he put a gentle hand on Hoggle’s shoulder and offered, quietly,
“You don’t have to keep it all bottled up. It’s all right, to cry about this.”
“Get your bloody hand off me,” the child snarled, knocking his hand away and whirling to glare at him. Jareth saw young fury coalesce into loathing, in eyes blue where Grita’s had been brown. “You murdered her. Tyrant.”
Jareth, too hurt and angry to do otherwise, for once did as told. He had known only one individual well enough to offer personal kindness. Later, he would realise his error; he had known Grita, not her son. By then, though, the damage had been done.
Ludo was a wished-away. Some of them came with thirteen hours of disgruntled chaos in the maze; some, with visions of chivalry and glamour whose utter ridiculousness showed if you took the time to realise there is nothing more absurd than a firey in shining armour; others yet, with boundless, reckless joy. Each set of thirteen hours reflected the wisher’s worldview, whether or not they tried to run the maze.
For thirteen hours after the great creamy speckled egg appeared in the throne room, the labyrinth descended into the bloody, muddy, scorching mayhem of war. Five thousand miles to the east, or at least as close as such things may be measured Underground, Lemuria was burning even as it sank. No one tried to run the maze.
Jareth held the egg on his lap, waiting for a runner he knew would never come. After the thirteen hours passed, he went back about his business, keeping the egg close as a second soul. It needed warmth; its parents would have sat with it, in shifts, but they were dead.
When it hatched, he did his best to raise the child, and, for a while, he succeeded. It was a sweet child, which he named Ludo, meaning “beloved.” In the end, though, the communication barrier between the young stone-singer and the ancient king proved too great, and Jareth gave him to the rocks to raise.
Didymus had been an act of one-upmanship, his citizenship and title alike calculated moves in the eternal, only-half-in-jest competition between Jareth and the Troll King, with his acid tongue and distinctive moustache.
Their off-and-on alliance had, at the time, been on, as much to spite the Courts as to provide a united front against their current invaders. Didymus – young and impressionable, fresh off his family’s skunk farm in search of honour, adventure and ladies fair – had found himself enamoured of Jareth; all the more so when the Goblin King took an arrow for him and, rather than collapsing into a bleeding, cursing heap as any sensible person would have, bowed to the stunned little fox, plucked the arrow from the wound, and held it out to him.
“Here,” he murmured dryly, “this will make you a fine spear.”
And with that, Didymus fell in love. A year later, he was Sir Didymus of the Labyrinth, and the Troll King short a promising little warrior. Didymus remained madly in love.
Jareth would have felt significantly worse had the new-maid knight’s affectation of thee’s and thou’s been even marginally less annoying.