Chapter Twelve Summary: Merdwin arrives with some disturbing news.  He and Kataya begin to suspect that
Sam is more than they first supposed, and that they have been called to the Tau'ri for a specific purpose.

Carusawyn: My Dear One, My Dearest One

"Italics": Symbiote-Host or Telepathic Communication















SG-1 was on base today after returning from their anything but routine meet-and-greet
two days ago.  The Tok’Ra were expected tomorrow, although it would not surprise anyone
if they came early.  Therefore, when at mid-morning, the gate activated from off world,
Sergeant Davis expected to see the Tok’Ra IDC.  He was nonplussed for a moment when
he read the Furling’s IDC instead.  Consequently, after opening the iris and sending the
SGC acceptance, it was not unexpected when Merdwin appeared.  

The Sergeant blinked for a moment, though, when several attendants, each carrying what
looked suspiciously like luggage, followed him through the event horizon.  It looked to be a
rather significant amount of luggage, even though it was not as much as Kataya brought
with her when she arrived at the SGC.  Evidently, he was planning a significant, but not
indefinite, stay.  Sergeant Davis was undecided if that was a good circumstance or a bad
one.  Time would no doubt allow the reason for Merdwin’s arrival and stay to filter down
the line to them all.  For now, he supposed he would just have to be curious.  Since that
was not an unusual occurrence or situation, he sighed in resignation.    

Major Carter was the only member of SG-1, as well as the only officer, in the control room,
so she left it and headed down to greet him.  Merdwin had been a frequent visitor in the
few weeks since Kataya arrived at the SGC.  They had become fast friends, often enjoying
evenings together with the rest of the team, Janet, and sometimes even the General,
therefore, she felt a great deal of pleasure at his arrival.  Janet would be very pleased, too,
Sam knew.  They had very little time together, now that Merdwin had returned to
Cadwaellon and his duties there.  Janet did not say a lot about it; however, Sam knew
that she missed him.  His visits, while fairly frequent, were usually short in duration.  

Merdwin smiled at her as he came down the ramp, “Ah, the beautiful and glorious Major
Carter.  How are you, my dear?”  He asked in his usual way, as he took her hand and
gallantly placed a kiss on the inside of her wrist.  Sam smiled in amusement, as she
watched his head descend toward her hand.  After coming to know him, she realized that
light flirtation was such a part of Merdwin’s personality that he was not even aware he
was using it.    

As she glanced up at him, her amusement vanished.  Sam was immediately aware that
something was wrong.  On the surface, he was his usual urbane, charming, and teasing
self, so it took her a moment to realize what was different.  The heart-stopping smile he
sent her way never reached his eyes, which were not glowing with their usual glinting
laughter.  Something was definitely wrong, but he obviously was not going to bring it up
right now.  

The amount of luggage his attendants were carrying was another clue that all was not as it
should be.  Merdwin rarely brought more than an overnight case, if that.  He had enough
clothes here at the SGC that it was not absolutely necessary for him to bring anything at
all with him.  This looked like he planned a rather long stay.

Shrugging her shoulders mentally, Sam played along, “Merdwin, it’s a pleasure to see
you.  The most sought after man in the universe, and I get you to myself for all of a minute
and a half.”  She turned as Jack, Daniel, and Teal’c came through the door into the gate
room.  

Merdwin sent her an amused look before turning to the three men.  “Good morning,
Gentlemen,” He greeted them with a slight bow, as was his custom, and an outstretched
hand, the handshake of the Tau’ri having been added to his list of greetings.  His
manners, as always, were impeccable.  Sam wondered if Merdwin would be as polite in
the middle of a pitched battle.  An image of him apologizing before he gutted his opponent
arose in her mind causing her to smile to herself.  Somehow, she doubted that would
happen.  Merdwin, for all his charm and manners, was a very dangerous and ruthless
man.  

Once the mundane greetings were over, Jack was the first to ask the burning question in
all their minds, “So, Mer, what brings you here?”  After glancing around at all the luggage
he added, “Artereos kick you out or are you running away from home?”    

“I could wish it was such irrelevant reasons, Jack, however, it is not.  I have brought some
news, but first I need to speak to Kataya.  It is quite apparent that she is not with you.  Do
any of you know where she is?”

“I left her preparing to talk to her father,” Sam replied.  “I just arrived in the control room
when you came through, so it was only a few minutes ago.  She is probably talking to him
by now.”    

Merdwin winced, and a rueful smiled touched his lips as he shook his head.  “Then I am
afraid we are in for a severe storm.  We should go to her chamber and perhaps we should
hurry.”  He turned to the attendants, and said, “Place my things over there, and then, go
up to Sergeant Davis and he will send you back.  Thank you for your help.”  Turning to
Sam, he asked, “Shall we go?”  

Picking up the urgency in his voice, Sam quickly agreed, saying, “All right.”  The group set
off down the hall at a fast pace.

In Kataya’s quarters, she was talking to her father.  

“I am glad you contacted me, my daughter, for I was about to contact you.  I have had word
that one of the System Lords in your sector is planning an attack on both the Tau’ri and the
Tok’Ra.  It is a very serious situation.  You must contact the Tok’Ra, and inform them that a
spy among them has given their base coordinates to one of the System Lords.  As we now
understand the plan, they intend to attack first the Tok’Ra and then the Tau’ri.”  

“Our people know that the fleet will be ready in ten to twelve of your earth weeks.  Spates
of small problems are slowing things, but that will not put a stop to the overall plan;
however, our people will do all they can to continue to slow their progress.  Our agent there
has discovered that the main part of the fleet is being hidden on another planet, and she
has no way to see it for herself.  I have sent her a partner who may be able to get closer to
the Lord in question.”

Her father was being evasive.  “Which System Lord are we talking about?”  She queried
bluntly.  She felt the deep sigh and the worry he was trying to hold in.

“I am sorry.  It is Bastet,” His reply was quietly sympathetic.

“I see,” she replied, as her anger raced towards him.

“Try to control your anger, Carusawyn,” he counseled her.

“I will try.  She must be stopped this time,” her reply was the expected one.

“I agree.  Merdwin is on his way.  He will be staying until you no longer need him.  He has
all of the relevant information.  Kataya, I have returned Merdwin to active duty.  You work
well together, and you can achieve this, hopefully, without loss of human or Tok’Ra life.”
 
He knew his daughter would accept Merdwin’s knowledge and abilities.

“If all else fails, you will send the Tok’Ra to Avilion until the threat has been taken care of.  
There are too many Tau’ri to move, so we must stop the threat before it reaches them.”

“I understand.  I will not fail in this, you have my word as a Warrior,”
she replied swiftly.

She could feel his pride and belief in her abilities across the light years.  Her father
paused, as if having trouble saying the next words.

“Kataya, because of the threat she has become to the Tok’Ra and the Tau’ri, the Council of
the Table have met, and they have given special orders to you, Merdwin, and any other
Katteri-enti Warrior that becomes involved in her death.  Your orders are to destroy her at
all costs.  There will be no inquiry, no questions asked.  Do you understand?”

“Yes, Sire,”
the Katteri-enti Warrior replied.  “My assignment is to assassinate Bastet in
any way that I can.  It will be done.”
 The Order brought out the Katteri-enti manifestation
in its physical form.  She smiled and her incisors showed.  The smile was purely feral,
cold, and joyful.  
"It will be my pleasure, Sire,” Her answer winged its way to him, and he
could feel the cold, ruthless determination and icy implacability behind her answer.

Artereos knew his daughter well.  
“You will be careful, and you will use every resource that
we can have made available to you.  Is it understood?”

She growled low in her throat.  “It is.  I will not fail in this, my father.”

“I have every confidence in you, my daughter.  I will be keeping in contact with both
Merdwin and you.  Any changes that we hear of will be passed along immediately.”  

He hesitated and then finally continued speaking, “Kataya, I saw both the Blood Dragon
and the Fire Dragon in the Mirror.  There is much emotional as well as physical turmoil and
strife around you; be careful.  I believe the Fire Dragon indicates that all will end well, but
the Blood Dragon indicates a fierce battle, both in war and in a battle of wills.  Bastet will
want revenge on you as much as you do on her.”
 Her father was obviously concerned
about what he was seeing.

“I, too, have seen this, Father.  However, when I look, I also see the Star Dragon.  There is
more here perhaps than we realized.  Time will tell, however, I believe we will be victorious,
although the battle will be fierce.  I thank you for sending me Merdwin.  The Tau’ri also will
be proven to be formidable warriors.”
 She felt his relief.

“That is welcome news, Kataya.  I have not looked into the mirror for several days, but I will
do so now, for if I too begin to see the Star Dragon, then you are correct, and there is
indeed more here than I first perceived.  It is possible that the Time is upon us, and your
training will now find its fulfillment.  If both the Fire and the Star Dragon are in your mirror,
then we must hope nothing happens to change the portend, so in the end, all will be well.  I
will talk to you later, my daughter, for I must search the mirror before I study upon this
news.  I will say goodnight, Carusawyn.”  
She could feel his love surround her.

“Goodnight.”  She felt him smile as she returned his love.

As soon as the link between her father and herself was severed, Kataya released the anger
she had been keeping so tightly leashed.  The scream that left her throat was pure animal
rage.  It was the scream of an infuriated cat.

It could be plainly heard in the hall.  The marine walking by stopped with one foot in the
air and look apprehensively at the door, as if he expected to suddenly be attacked by a
savage beast.  He did not know if he should move, but, escape being the better part of
valor in this instance, he was soon gone from sight.

As the team and Merdwin approached the door, Merdwin’s smile was laconic and his voice
terse, “Well, that answers that question.  I would say that Artereos has informed her.  I
had hoped to be able to talk to her first.”  They reached her door, and he rubbed the back
of his neck as he stood contemplating it.  Low growls and enraged hisses could still be
heard, but at least there had only been the one scream.  There was however, the periodic
sound of shattering glass.

Daniel said quietly, “I will go.”  He opened the door, stepped inside, and closed the door
on the four people remaining in the hall.

Merdwin nodded his head, but did not offer to join him.  Sam turned large startled eyes
on him, “Merdwin, Kat is not answering her link.  Shouldn’t we go in there?  Isn’t there
something we can do?”

Merdwin shook his head, “No, there in nothing we can do except to wait out the storm.”  
He looked over at her and smiled ruefully, “Do not worry, or allow this to concern you
overmuch, Samantha.  She will soon become calmer, I assure you, for even she cannot
sustain this level of fury for an extended period of time.  Though rare, her storms, when
they come, are fierce, although generally quite short lived.  Then, also, Daniel is always
able to soothe her, usually rather quickly.  Not only will she not harm him, she will listen
to him, as well.  This is the safest and most expedient way to handle the situation, believe
me.”

Jack looked at him in astonishment, “What do you mean?  The safest?  From what?”

“From an enraged Katteri-enti Warrior, Jack.  I believe that Daniel will be safe.  The only
others I would trust with her at this moment would be myself, only because I am more
powerful than she, and Samantha, because she is her apprentice.”

“When she calms, we will need to call a briefing with General Hammond.  Artereos has
sent me to help until the situation is resolved.  We will also need to contact the Tok’Ra
unless they are already on their way.  I am going to spend a few minutes with Janet.  It
will not take Kataya long to calm down, once Daniel takes her in hand.”

Jack choked, before demanding, “You are going to just stand there and let Daniel—we are
talking about our Daniel here—go in there and confront a Katteri-enti Warrior without any
defenses, without any backup?  Are you nuts?  She will rip him to shreds.  I am going in
there.”  With that, he jerked the door open and stood with his mouth open.  He did not see
the enraged Kat and damaged Daniel he expected to see.  What he saw was Kat locked in
one of the most passionate embraces he had ever seen outside of the movies.  He turned
on his heel and shut the door.

“I did tell you that Daniel was the best one to handle this, Jack,” Merdwin pointed out.

Jack sounded dazed, “Didn’t I just hear growling and hissing and things being broken in
there a minute ago?”  He asked incredulously.  

“You did, O’Neill.  I, too, heard them.  Perhaps Merdwin can explain,” Teal’c raised his
eyebrow at Merdwin in a demanding, questioning gesture.

Merdwin sighed.  His love was here too, but evidently, this would have to be taken care of
before he could get to her.  Kataya would owe him for this, he decided.

“I can only speculate.  But, if you insist that I do that, then I would say that Daniel…”

Sam broke into his statement, “Daniel walked into the room, pulled her into his arms and
proceeded to, ah, calm her.”  Sam grinned.  “Works every time.  Well,” she added
truthfully, “Almost every time.”  She took off down the hall whistling under her breath.

The three men stood looking after her with identical blank expressions on their faces.  It
did not take them long to gather their wits and leave, too.  Merdwin to see Janet, and
Teal'c and Jack to the gym; Sword practice sounded good right now.

Inside the room, Kataya was being held close to Daniel’s heart as he stroked her hair and
whispered words of love.  Sam was almost correct in her assumption, but not even the
Kat's lover approached her recklessly.  It had been a few tense moments until she had
realized it was Daniel.  After that kiss, she had pulled away, searched his face, and then,
evidently seeing what she needed to see there, she had thrown herself back into his arms
in a storm of enraged weeping.  Her angry incoherent mutterings into his shirtfront finally
caused Daniel to become less sympathetic and more demanding.

“I am sure that whatever you are telling me, love, is extremely interesting and important,
but not only can I not hear you, you are ruining my shirt.”  Kataya choked back a laugh
and hiccuped a time or two as she sniffed, finally beginning to become slightly less angry
and upset.  Holding her with one arm, Daniel maneuvered her towards the bed where, not
only would they be more comfortable, but he could also reach the box of tissues.  He
managed to snag some as he gently pushed her down onto the side of the bed.

“Here.  Now suppose you tell me what brought such destructive anger to the surface?  You
are usually so cool headed,” he chided her softly as he gently stroked her face with the
backs of his fingers.  His other hand found one of hers, and he began a rhythmic
caressing of her fingers with his.  

As Kataya gazed at Daniel, she smiled slightly, for he was correct, of course.  This was very
unlike her.  It did happen, but it was rare.  Already, this raging white-hot anger was
transforming into the coldly calculating implacable hatred it usually was.  Soon after that,
it would metamorphose once more; changing so that she became the cold-blooded killer,
he disliked the most.  The Warrior he understood, but the killer he sometimes had to work
not only to understand, but also to accept as a part of her.  He had always succeeded
before; would he succeed this time as well?  

She sighed.  How was she to tell this man she loved so much, that her anger was over the
death of her lover’s host, whom she had loved, and the near death of his symbiote, whom
she had loved so passionately.  She looked into his eyes.  Was this Daniel still the same
understanding person he had been through so many lifetimes?  Sam seemed to think he
was.  She would soon find out.  She got up from the bed and softly touched Daniel’s
cheek.  He looked so worried; she smiled briefly at him again.

“I am going to wash my face and then clean up this room.  Then, Daniel, I think they are
awaiting us so that they can hold a briefing.  What we will discuss is very important to the
Tau’ri and the Tok’Ra.  After that, I think that perhaps the time has come for us to have
our talk.  We can no longer allow other things to take precedence over it, for it will explain
some of what happened in this room just now, as well as some of the things you will learn
in the upcoming briefing.  Much has happened to me in the time you have been gone, my
love, and it is time you discovered more about our relationship as well as your past.”  She
smiled sadly at him and went into the bathroom.

Daniel proceeded to clean up the broken glass and prepare himself for what he would
hear later that evening.  He instinctively knew it would cause him some emotional pain,
but he hoped it was not something he would not be able to live with.  He caught his
breath.  Had she found another?  No.  She was his for all eternity.  He knew that
instinctively.  How he knew that, he could not explain, but he knew it was true.  

It was amazing how quickly he had accepted the knowledge that the generally established
idea of life and death was wrong.  There was so much more out there that they did not
know.  They had barely scratched the outermost surface.  Furthermore, just as they
refused to look beyond their acknowledged beliefs when he came up with his theory of
why the pyramids were erected and what they actually were, so they refused to look
beyond the status quo to other possibilities about life and death.  The human race was
blinkered and blind to so much with their narrow thinking and beliefs.  

Kataya came out of the bathroom and looked at the room, “I would have cleaned up my
own mess, Daniel.  I made it, after all.  I did not expect you to clean up after me.”

“I did not mind.  Kataya, I have to know now.  I don’t think I can wait until later.”  He
drew a ragged breath, “Are you joined with someone?  A Soulmate?  How long have I been
gone?  Did I wait too long to come to you this time?”

Kataya was in a quandary.  How did she answer this?  Finally, she decided on a
compromise, “No, Daniel, I have not joined with a Soulmate.  How could I?  My Soulmate
is my mate for eternity unless he chooses to part from me.  In your heart, you know this.”

“You have the same choice, Kataya.  You could choose to part.”  Daniel waited, half-afraid
of her answer.  He need not have worried.

“That has not happened in millennia, Daniel.  It will not happen now, either.”

He nodded, “We should go.”  He stopped and looked searchingly at her.  “Kataya, will you
stay with me tonight?”  Her answer was important.  It would tell him what he needed to
know.  

Kataya looked at him for a long moment, as if seeking some knowledge in his eyes.  She
must have found what she needed because she said, “Yes, Daniel.  I will stay with you
tonight.”

Daniel nodded, relieved.  It would be all right.

They left the room together and decided the fastest way to let everyone know they were
ready to start, was to announce a briefing for SG-1.  

“Sergeant Davis?”  Kataya searched for him on the link.

“Yes, ma’am, I am here.”

“Would you please announce that there is a briefing for SG-1 in the conference room in ten
minutes?”  
She asked him.

“Yes, ma’am, I can do that.”  Kataya smiled at him and he smiled in return.  He liked this
alien, who was invariably polite and appreciative of little things done for her.

“Thank you very much, Sergeant,” she replied before closing the link.  

She and Daniel went straight there.  It did not take long for everyone to gather.  Merdwin
and General Hammond were the last to arrive.

Merdwin’s gaze went straight to Kataya.  He was palpably relieved.  She had her emotions
under control again.  She was not a mercurial person, given to bouts of anger or emotional
outbursts, by nature.  She could however, be one of the most coldly calculating, logical,
and deadly people he knew when the situation demanded it.  She was definitely her
father's daughter.

Merdwin knew only two things could cause one of those emotional outbursts.  
Unfortunately, those two things were irrevocably entwined.  One was Bastet.  The other
the death of Dominic, host of Kataya’s Tok’Ra lover.

He knew she had vowed Katteri-enti revenge on Bastet if their paths ever crossed again.  
Now it looked like they would.

General Hammond greeted everyone as he entered the room.  “Merdwin, I understand
that Artereos has sent you to deliver some information important to the SGC?”

Merdwin cleared his throat, before saying, “Actually, General, I have been placed on active
duty and assigned to Earth until the situation has been resolved.”  The room was
completely silent.  They had come to know this man and Kataya well enough to know his
status on his world.  Even if Kataya had not told Sam about him, it was evident that,
under his dilettante façade, he was a very powerful man.  The fact that he had been
assigned to them told its own story, and it was a very disturbing one.  He would not have
been sent to them unless the situation was very serious indeed.

“What situation are we talking about, Merdwin?”  General Hammond slowly asked as the
implications continued to set in.

“There is a System Lord in the process of readying a fleet to attack both the Tok’Ra and
Earth.  Our agents estimate that she will be ready to launch her attacks in ten to twelve of
your weeks, if they are unable to delay the fleet.”

“Therefore it is imperative that if the Tok’Ra do not come tomorrow as scheduled, that we
contact them to send someone else.  The information we have obtained is too important to
them, as well as to us, to delay in telling them.  However, it must be someone you trust
explicitly.  I am afraid that we have proof of a spy in their ranks who is funneling
information to the System Lord involved.”

“Who is the System Lord involved?”  Jack questioned, his curiosity coming into play.  “Is it
one we have met?”

Kataya answered, releasing her breath with a hiss.  “It is Bastet, and I do not believe you
have come across her before,” she spit the name in a voice filled with contempt and
loathing.

“Why would she be after us then?”

“You have become close to the Tok’Ra, Colonel, and for her that would be more than
reason enough.”  Her anger coming to the fore, she faced Merdwin.

“She will not escape this time, Merdwin.  This has gone on too long.  She is determined to
wipe out the Tok’Ra and now the Tau’ri.  She will pay for Dominic’s death and her
vendetta against the Tok’Ra with her life.  This I vowed as a Katteri-enti Warrior then and
I renew that vow now.”  They heard a low, feral sound from her.  This was not the Kataya
they had come to know over the past few weeks.  This was a coldly furious, enraged,
Katteri-enti spirit who had been given a quest.  It was obvious she meant to see to it that it
was completed.

She turned to General Hammond, “We have our orders, General.  She is to be eliminated.  
I promise you, she will be destroyed before she has a chance to harm this world or the
Tok'Ra.  She will die, and if at all possible it will be by my hand.”  Her eyes flashed with
lavender fire.

She turned back to Merdwin, “Father said you had all of the relevant information.  You
will give it to us now, please.”  She sat down and watched him intently.

Merdwin nodded his agreement, “As you can see, there are packets of information in front
of you.  We will be adding to what we now have, so please keep them.  The Tok’Ra spy is
named Torleck.  Bastet has gone to an uninhabited world, moving everything she needs
there.  It seems there were some undiscovered naquadah deposits, which made the planet
a perfect place for her to hide her activities.  She has built a stronghold and is in the
process of building landing platforms.  Because the planet has long been considered
worthless, no one knows she is there.”  

“Not that her fellow System Lords would care, unless they thought she was hiding from
them in order to build a fleet to attack them.  The majority of her battle fleet is located at
another location, also an uninhabited planet, while she is keeping a few of her ships
patrolling in their usual fashion as a cover.  Our agent has found out where the majority
of the fleet is, but is unable to go there.  We have sent an agent to infiltrate that site so we
should have more information shortly.  This is Bastet’s usual mode of operations when she
is planning a large strike.”

“I assume,” Jack spoke up, “that the other System Lords are being informed that she is
hiding in order to build a fleet that can attack them?”

“It has been attempted; unfortunately, it is well known that Bastet has long planned the
destruction of the Tok’Ra.”  He watched Kataya carefully as he spoke.  “This is not her first
attempt to do so, although, it has been over a hundred years since her last attempt.  By
now, our agents have managed to ensure that the other System Lords are aware of where
she is and what she might be planning.  I am sure they are keeping an eye on her.”

“What about the protected planets treaty?  Isn’t she afraid the Asgard will retaliate?  At
the very least, the other System Lords are compelled to turn on her if she breaks the
treaty,” Daniel reminded everyone.

“Unfortunately, by hiding from the other System Lords, they can claim they knew nothing
until it was too late.  It is in the treaty that they must attack her, and they certainly will in
a half-hearted way, but by then Earth and the Tok’Ra will be destroyed, so it will be a
moot point.  As you know, the Asgard are in no position to send a fleet here.  They will no
doubt retaliate after the fact, but that will not do anything for us now,” Merdwin stated the
unpalatable facts.  

“We have sent a message to Thor, but we have had no response from him.  That is not
unusual if they are evacuating a world or in pitched battles themselves.”

“Has Lord Yu been informed, Merdwin?”  Kataya suddenly asked.

“Yes, but he is in a serious dispute with Baal.  We will not be able to get help from there in
time.”  Kataya nodded her understanding.

“What does Yu have to do with this?  Like he would help,” Jack said sarcastically.

“If he was in a position to do so, he would do as we ask, Jack.  He has a soft spot for us,”
Merdwin said.  Jack knew there was a story there.  Maybe Mer could be convinced to tell it
later.

General Hammond brought Jack’s attention back to the discussion.  “The Tok’Ra will be
here tomorrow.  I see no point in changing that.  One day will not make a difference, and
since they are already scheduled to come here for a meeting, there will be nothing to alert
the spy that it has become more important.  He will not be suspicious of a meeting put off
for three weeks already.”

Sam spoke up, “As it stands now, we have at least ten weeks to get our plans in place.”  

“I don’t want to use the entire ten to twelve weeks.  I want a plan in place and ready to
execute long before her fleet is ready,” General Hammond replied and then continued, “In
fact, I want it in place within the next 8 weeks."  

“I am confident that our people will continue to slow her progress.  General, you also must
inform your President as soon as we are finished here.  We cannot make definitive plans
until the Tok’Ra arrive, but we can at least have a better idea of what we will have to work
with,” Merdwin reminded the General.

“Absolutely,” General Hammond agreed.  “I’ll call him as soon as the meeting is over.  I
see no problem with obtaining approval of whatever plan we draw up.”

“Merdwin, what of our fleet?”  Kataya asked suddenly.

Merdwin shook his head, “Artereos has said he will try to have at least one ship available
for us as a lot can happen in eight weeks, but for now they are fully engaged in the
Collilium and Morovian sectors.  There has been heavy fighting there recently,
particularly in Cardwellan.”  Kataya’s head jerked up from her study of the papers in the
report and her gaze pinned Merdwin.

“What are you not telling me?”  She asked, tersely.  

He sighed deeply, “I will tell you the particulars later.  They are both all right, Kataya.”

Kataya’s eyes narrowed as she looked at him, and she gave him a short curt nod of
agreement.

She straightened and said somewhat more grimly, “So, you are telling me our fleet is in no
position to help either.”  Merdwin nodded just as bleakly.  “So it will be infiltration and
pitched battle.  Katteri-enti killing.  You are powerful, Merdwin, but even you cannot take
on an entire Jaffa encampment and a System Lord.”  

Merdwin laughed shortly.  “Neither can you and I together, Kataya, which is why Artereos
is sending us a small group of hand-picked Warriors as soon as our plans are laid.”  

Merdwin turned to General Hammond, “We will need both the Tau’ri and the Tok’Ra
warriors.  The plans will have to be carefully laid.  It will be a difficult and dangerous
mission, but it can be done.  I have every confidence in your soldiers and mine.”  He
cleared his throat and seemed at a loss for a moment; although it was clear, he had
something to say.  “General, once we have a definite plan of action, it would be best if all
of the warriors who will be taking part were here together, unless you wish us to launch
the attack from Cadwaellon?”

General Hammond frowned.  “I can’t let so many of my people leave this facility at once, so
the other soldiers will have to come here.  Could I ask why you think it necessary, so far in
advance?”

“We will understand if you cannot accommodate them, General, but my reasoning for
wanting them together is so that they can drill and practice together.  I imagine we will try
to have at least one Katteri on each team.  We need to teach the soldiers who are going
how to link.  There are multitudes of reasons.  The most important one being that these
units will need to be perfect together, and that will not happen if they are all on different
planets until the day of the battle.”

“You are correct, of course.  We have areas we can convert to barracks unless your people
each need their own room?  We can partition around each sleeping area with screens.”

“That will be fine, General.  Once the Tok’Ra arrive, we will also need to begin having
some tactical briefings.  I strongly suggest that Kataya be a part of that group.  She is one
of our best tacticians, and she has dealt with Bastet before.”

“I have no problem with those suggestions, Merdwin,”  The General responded.

“I believe that is all we, that is Kataya and myself, can do for today.  You, I know, will have
superiors you will need to contact and decisions you will have to make as to which troops
you can spare for this.”

“If you do not mind, I am returning home with Janet this evening.  I will be in contact with
Artereos later tonight.  We are expecting some detailed plans of the stronghold within the
next few days.  There are two duties I need to perform here, for Artereos, if that is
permissible.”

General Hammond nodded his agreement.  

Merdwin picked up a long oblong box, which had been resting under the table, evidently
since he had arrived at the SGC.  He opened it to reveal a beautifully worked, gold sword.  
On the blade was an inscription.  

On one side, it read: To Samantha of the Tau’ri…  Onewellwyn Avilionium  Sanctisorium
wyn  Tau’riellon, …….Alphellyn, Omegellyn, Universium …….unisillium Maestllyn
allaewon wyn Universium.  Artereos, Lord of Cadwaellon, & Kataya the Warrior

On the other side was the translated version: To Samantha of the Tau’ri…I am one with
Avilion, the Sanctuary.  Tau’ri, I come to thee.  You, the universe, are the beginning and
the end.  I would join with thee, transforming into a Master of the All, at one with the
Universe.  Artereos, Lord of Cadwaellon & Kataya the Warrior.  There is no darkness
where the light of the universe shines.  

Merdwin brought the sword to Sam, “Major Carter, please accept this gift, from Artereos
and Kataya.  It has been made specifically for you at Kataya’s request.”

As Sam reached out and took the sword in her hand, it began to glow.  Kataya smiled and
Merdwin turned to her, “You were right, my dear, she definitely has power in her own
right.”  He turned back to Sam, “If you will bring your circlet and your sword to me, I will
calibrate them whenever you wish.  Congratulations.”

Sam stood holding the sword and looking from Merdwin to Kataya, “I – I don’t know what
to say.  It’s beautiful.  Thank you so much.”  She took it in her other hand swinging it in a
graceful arc and as she did so the light danced around her and it.

“Merdwin and I will start working with you and the sword soon, Sam.  I am glad you like
it, but, um, you might want to put it away for now.  You have a lot of energy resources, you
know, and until you are trained you could hurt someone,” Kataya smiled at her and
Merdwin passed her the case.  She put it away to some sighs of relief.

Merdwin then turned to Kataya as he took a clasp from a case he’d had in his pocket.  
Walking to Kataya, he said, “It is a great honor for me to present to you this clasp
designating your promotion to the Advisory Council of Artereos.”  He attached it to her belt
next to the other one and kissed her cheek.  “You are only the second Warrior to be
promoted while on active duty.  Congratulations, Kataya.”

Kataya smiled at him, “Thank you, very much.”  She returned his kiss and gently touched
the clasp.  “It means a great deal to me.”

Jack piped up with a question.  “So, who was the other one?”  He wanted to know.

“I was,” Merdwin answered.

Merdwin turned back to the General, “That is all I have, General.”  He waited respectfully
for General Hammond’s dismissal, as if he was his superior officer.

General Hammond had to admire the man’s sensitivity and diplomatic skills, which he
had learned, no doubt, over thousands of years of working with many alien races.

It was time to make that phone call, “We will need to meet after I have talked to the
President and the Tok’Ra get here.  I will know more by some time tomorrow, I am sure,
and we can start scheduling briefings then.  For now, people, dismissed.”

As the group slowly filed out of the room Kataya stood still, lost in thought.  She looked
troubled.  Merdwin approached her.

“Do you wish for the information here, or in your chamber, Kataya?”  He asked her.

“I believe here would be fine.”  Daniel, who was standing beside her, felt her reach for and
clasp his hand.

Merdwin nodded, and began to tell her what he knew, “I am sorry.  Taesha was taken
prisoner.  They retrieved her, but she was hurt.  She is at Avilion and doing well, I
promise you, Kat.  She will be back on active duty very soon.  Long before the start of this
mission, I assure you.  Gwennetha is with her.  They did not inform us of her capture and
retrieval until today.  I would not have kept the information from you had I known,
although Taesha did not want you to know.  Artereos is extremely upset, as you can
imagine.”  He grinned slightly, before saying, “I do not believe he knows whether to be
angry that she was captured and that we were not informed, until after she was retrieved,  
or to be worried about her injuries and chastise her for not immediately contacting him by
link to inform him herself.  I trust that had he been informed we could possibly have
finished the battle in that sector in very short order.”  That he could make light of
Artereos's response allowed the relief to flow into Kataya.  Merdwin would not be joking,
even mildly, if the situation was truly serious.   

He paused for a moment, and then continued, “Artereos recalled Lanwin to remain with
Taesha.  Needless to say, he was less than pleased to be brought back form the battle
zone.  However, after being informed of the particulars of this assignment, both Taesha
and Lanwin immediately volunteered, and they will be knighted and given their rank by
their mother, here at the Tau’ri, before beginning training for the battle.  He is in a much
better humor with his grandfather now, and does not even seem to mind sitting and
keeping Taesha company.”  

He smiled once more into her eyes, knowing what this would mean to her.  “Gwennetha
has also volunteered for this assignment.  Artereos agreed to her request, and he is
returning her to active duty prior to her arrival here at the SGC.  With the Furling
Warriors he intends to send, along with the Tau’ri and the Tok’Ra, we will have a
formidable Special Force.  I see no reason why we should not emerge victorious, nor have I
seen any portends that point to our defeat.  However, it will need to be a joint effort.  I do
not believe that any of us could succeed individually without the others in this endeavor,”  
He stated his belief with calm certainty.

Kataya indicated her agreement, and added, “The Tau’ri are excellent warriors.  The
Tok'Ra’s specialty is working from within, but they, also, can be extremely competent and
reliable warriors when the need arises.”  He nodded and turned to leave when her voice
stopped him.  

“Merdwin.”  

“Yes?”  He answered without turning back to her, as he was already headed for the door.  

“The mirror,” she began.

He froze in place and then nodded abruptly, before answering, his voice flat from his
controlled emotions, “I know; I have seen it.  The Blood, the Fire, and the Star.  From your
inquiry, should I assume that you also have seen this?”  He queried, as he turned back to
look in her eyes as she answered.  

She let out the breath she was holding and watched him as closely as he was watching
her.  Sighing deeply and speaking almost softly, she admitted, “Yes.  I see all three;
however, so far, Artereos only sees two.  The Blood and the Fire.”

Merdwin paused, and then said, “I believe he will see them soon.  You joined Samantha to
the universe, did you not?”  

Kataya frowned as she considered what he was implying, before slowly answering, “Yes.  It
was three days ago, to be exact.  She did very well and I was quite pleased.  In fact, it is
what convinced me completely that she has power in her own right.  You believe that
circumstance will change what Artereos sees?”  She asked him anxiously.

“I do, Kataya.  I began to see all three of them exactly three days ago, as well.  I am
absolutely convinced that Artereos will now see as we do.  It was inevitable that it would
come to pass.  We will know positively, soon.  There will be much blood shed before the
beast is conquered,” He reminded her sadly.

Then, he smiled as he added, “Vengeance shall be yours, Kataya.  It has been promised,
and the light of the universe has shown it to be truth.”

She nodded slowly, and then gave an answer he understood all too well, “And the blood of
the dragons shall be shed upon the soil, and from the fire, we shall rise again and shine.”

“Yes,” his answer was brief, but definitive.  Then giving them a short bow, he turned and
left the room.

Kataya turned to Daniel, saying, “We should talk; I think you should come to my
quarters.  There are things that you need to know, and which I need to tell you.”

TBC




   
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Blood of My Heart, Beloved of My Soul

Chapter Twelve

Power in Her Own Right