They had made their home on the border of what would later become the British empire in a little town that would become a big city later on. But for now it was a small village of farmers and fishers one of which was Jareth. He would awake early in the morning and set along his normal chores about the house, doing as much as possible so that she had to do less, and then he was out in the boat before she'd ever awoke. He'd grown to like the life he led now, the smell of the salty ocean, the cold breeze blowing in through the windows causing them to huddle for warmth - No, there was nothing in the world that he would trade for this life.
That is until the black sails appeared on the horizon.
His first thought was the same as the crew of fishermen on the boat next to him, "Vikings!" The very word drove an ice wedge into his heart.
They where, it seemed, ignoring the fishermen at first making their way slowly to the shore faster than any rowboat on the lake. Then as if they'd suddenly changed their minds, the vikings attacked.
Spears and arrows shot from the boats like lighting from the heavens, striking down any in their path and filling the air with thundering screams. Jareth saw the stone tipped clouds forming above his own boat before they came. Within a matter of moments they came crashing down, ridding into the wood like it where no more than parchment.
The arrows speed still through the water like sharks for blood. Jareth was struggling to hold his breath when one struck him in the shoulder. It was a searing pain that jarred him almost instantly. He snapped up as if for air but instead struck his head on the boat above him. The world grew thin on the out skirts of his eyes, darkness building faster than a fire. And then, he slept...
He washed ashore moments before night fell, the cool waves of salt drifting in and out of open wounds. He awoke himself with a painful shutter only to find he could not stand, nor could he crawl and so sleep took him again.
He awoke once more to the early cracks of morning light boiling over the horizon like many of his wife's porridge. He tried to stand once more, this time succeeding although when he did his eyes were greeted with a terrible sight. Along the shore line lay many bodies, some stacked like monuments while others made a trail back -
His thoughts came to Sarah, who had still been sleeping when he had left the day before. Ignoring every aching nerve, every bleeding tendon pleading with him to stop, Jareth ran. He could see thick clouds of smoke building under the sun on the horizon prompting him to run faster, and faster until he reached the town.
The stone walls of many homes where smashed inwards and the roofs set aflame. There was so much smoke still choking the air that the sky was darker now than it could ever be at night. Looking around at the destruction Jareth remembered tales of what vikings did to the women they captured and as cruel-hearted as it may have seemed he found himself wishing Sarah was killed before that happened to her. And then he saw their home, the wall had been torn down and the roof torched like all the others, but it was what lay out front that he noticed first.
Sarah lay face down in the grass arms reached out as if begging for help or an escape and for a moment he allowed himself the hope that she yet lived. He ran to her, calling her name, though he knew when she hadn't moved that she was long gone. He fell down to his knees next to her corpse, tears staining his cheeks like white-hot daggers.
He pulled her onto his lap, cradling her like it was their first night together and cried. She had been split from belly to throat, but he didn't care he refused to let go. He didn't want to think she was dead, that anyone could take such beauty from this world was unthinkable.
It was unfair.
"I wish," he cried out loud between sobs, "I wish someone would come take this life away from me."
"Well," a voice said from over his shoulder, "I cou' do tha' fer ya, but atta price."