Chapter Twenty-one Summary: Merdwin explains the Sevesh, the binding ritual, and how it works. Their life cycle is also brought into it, as well as how the Furling became what they are. Merdwin explains as much as he can about the way their families are formed; However, he also has another task to complete. Artereos has ordered him to tell those it will affect about the Prophecy...how it will affect them and their races. Merdwin explains the Prophecy and what it means to them all, as well as who and "what" Samantha Carter and Kataya really are. Kataya finally tells Merdwin and Selmak what happened when Dominic died.
Sevesh’en twine Coeuramator - the Entwining of Heartmates, Lovers. Sevesh Lok Twin – Rite of Release of the bond brought about by the entwining ritual. Igisadonis Animawyn – Beloved of My Soul, a term of endearment and the formal statement of the Soulmate. Normally only used for the Soulmate. Aima Coeurawyn – Blood of my Heart, a term of endearment and the formal statement of the Soulmate. Normally only used for the Soulmate “Italics” – Symbiote-Host or Telepathic communications
Jack O’Neill walked down the hall toward Daniel’s quarters. He didn’t have much hope of finding him there, either, but he supposed he should look anyway. They were all supposed to meet at Merdwin’s quarters before very long, and he thought he would keep Daniel company until time to go. Turning a corner, he practically ran into Merdwin and Daniel coming from the opposite direction. He stopped short and changed directions to walk with them as they all came together.
“Jack, good afternoon, or I should say, early evening,” Merdwin greeted him, polite as always.
“Hey, Mer, what are you two up to? Talking over the briefing?” O’Neill greeted him in return. He actually liked the alien and had a lot of respect for him. He even enjoyed talking to him about things besides battle tactics, but he still hadn’t been able to get him to understand the finer points of hockey. “Hi, Daniel, how you doin?”
Daniel nodded to him briefly, but did not offer any comment. What could he say? Well, Jack, my life is a shambles right now, but I am all right? Not likely.
“We were actually discussing part of the briefing, Jack, although I doubt if it was the part that you were alluding to,” Merdwin answered, with the hint of a smile.
Jack sighed, saying, “No, probably not. So, what have you decided about the part you were discussing?” He asked, even though he wasn’t sure he wanted to know.
“I was explaining in more detail the entwining ceremony which Kataya and Lantash participated in, and what it means in real terms to them.” Merdwin offered, “It is a very binding ceremony. While they were apart, it would not have interfered with their other relationships. Now that they are in close proximity to one another, and each has bonded with another person, it will cause some rather nasty side effects on both of them, but it will be much worse for Kataya. We can only hope that Lantash will agree to let me perform the Sevesh Lok Twin soon.”
Reaching Merdwin’s quarters, they entered and made themselves comfortable. Merdwin handed them each a glass of the ever-present Wiccadian port, a drink they were all becoming quite fond of, and waited before seating himself. Janet would come get him when she was ready to depart. They sat in companionable silence, sipping their port and lost in their own thoughts, until a knock on the door heralded the arrival of General Hammond, Teal’c, and Jacob Carter. It had become obvious to Merdwin that he was going to spend a great deal of time answering questions, and he had decided that an informal gathering in his chamber might be the best course to pursue. To that end, he had invited them all here.
In the time since he had made these arrangements, Artereos had contacted him to tell him it was time to inform the affected parties of the Prophecy, and tell them exactly who and what Kataya of Cadwaellon and Samantha of the Tau’ri truly were. It was just as well he had called them all together; however, it was also unfortunate that Kataya had not been able to tell Samantha first. That was his fault, and he would take the blame. At the moment though, he needed to greet his guests, which he proceeded to do.
“Teal’c, Selmak, General Carter, George, welcome.” He handed each a glass of port, except for Teal’c, who had acquired a definite preference for the Mead. Once each man was taken care of, he seated himself comfortably.
“Kataya is not here, Lord Merdwin?” Teal’c asked in his quiet and serene manner.
Merdwin shook his head as he answered him, “No, not at the moment, Teal’c. I convinced her to try to rest, and Daniel managed to get her to lie down in his quarters earlier. I expect her to join us shortly, though.”
“Okay, so now that we are all here, what is this sevenish thing and what makes it so important that they do it now?” Jack wanted to know.
“It is an ancient, pagan rite that is a Furling mating or bonding ceremony, Colonel,” Merdwin replied. “To explain it in the simplest way, the couple involved has their auras and their blood entwined by a priest or priestess of the All. It is fully binding, but as I was saying earlier, it would not affect either party in any adverse way as long as they were apart. The fact that Lantash and Kataya never performed the Sevesh Lok Twin is unfortunate in the extreme. The Sevesh Lok Twin is the releasing of the binding. The ceremony in which Kataya and Lantash bound themselves to one another is the Sevesh’en twine Coeuramator, the Entwining of Heartmates. Had they only bound their aura’s there would be no problem, however, they bound both aura and blood. It is the blood bond that is now causing the, er, complications. Only when they participate in Sevesh Lok Twin will those complications cease to be.”
Jacob Carter spoke up, “So, are you telling me that Lantash is married to Kataya? They are married? Married?” There was no doubt that Jacob was appalled and did not know how to take this latest development.
Merdwin sighed. This was going to get very complicated. Well, he had known that he could accomplish this neither easily nor quickly, so he might as well get it started so that it could also end. “General Carter, I believe you have had no contact with the Furling. I am not aware of how much Selmak may have tried to explain to you about the situation we are facing, but it is quite complex. It is…extremely problematic and will take some time to straighten out.”
“Yes, he, Daniel, and Sam all tried to explain it to me earlier. What I still cannot understand is why in the world you would mate in such a way if you know you have a Soulmate? I do not think any of them ever were able to satisfactorily explain that part to me.”
“You may as well call me Jacob.”
Merdwin bowed slightly. “Thank you. I am Merdwin.” He refilled his glass and passed the bottle around, as he thought of how to explain the years of aloneness a Furling could experience, if they did not take a Heartmate.
“Jacob, the Furling are a very long-lived race. We can live not decades, but centuries, alone, if we do not meet and take a Heartmate. Unlike you, death holds no permanence for us. When we die, we have the choice to be reborn in whatever form we choose. We are not the only species in the universe whose souls are reborn. All souls of all species are reborn in some manner. Your own religions tell you so. If you put those teachings into what I am telling you, the only difference is that we sometimes retain a physical body if we so choose.”
“Our beginnings are shrouded in the mysts of time. We know we come from the Soul, the All of the Universe.” He paused to take a sip of his port and mull over exactly how he was going to explain. Finally, he nodded, as if to himself and started slowly explaining, “When a new soul is born, it is placed into a body of flesh, as I believe you would all agree. When a Furling dies, they only remain ‘dead’ until they are reborn again. It is a complicated process, one I am not sure I can explain. Suffice it to say, depending on what path they next choose; it can take days, months, years, decades, even centuries, for them to be reborn.”
“There are a few souls, the First-born, that have never been reborn. That is, we never began again as a newborn, an infant. We have great regenerative powers, and our bodies renew themselves from the energy around us. All Furlings have the ability to regenerate themselves, but only the First-born were born with both the knowledge of the All, and the power of the Universe, already within us. We can hold, contain, and channel much more life force, life energy than those not of the First-born. The others must also learn life’s lessons and gain knowledge through life quests. They must learn to pull in and harness the power of the universe to regenerate themselves."
He paused and glanced around the room, and was reassured to see that the men did not appear bored or restless. He had a great deal more to impart to them this night. He returned to his explanation of the Furling and how their life cycle worked, telling them, "The priests and priestesses at Avilion keep our Furling bodies for our souls to re-inhabit. All Furlings have this option, but young souls usually prefer to be reborn, as they were not born with the knowledge of the First-born, and must learn it through centuries of life quests. There are, as one would expect, exceptions to that, and Kataya is one of them. She stepped into the fire and forged her soul as a very young woman, and, therefore, she has always been reborn as she is now, fully grown and with complete recall of all life lessons learned. Her path was set before her, before she was ever born, if—if she chose to accept it, which she did."
Deciding to give them a little more information about the Furling and its hierarchy, he continued speaking, "Of the First-born, Artereos is the eldest. I am second born and I have never been reborn. There are others, of course, but only a few with which you need be concerned. They are Morgasha, Llancellon, and in all probability Aelfwyna and Dayilwin. There may be others; that is yet to be seen and at the moment it is irrelevant. All of the First-born have lived through many lives, in many places. Artereos, I, and some other First-born Furling have been here, on the world of the Tau’ri, in the past. At our last living here, it was also prophesied by the All that we would return here to help to defend this world. This prophecy is now coming to pass, as I will explain to you later.”
He paused once more knowing that the next information would be a shock to them. “The kits born of the First-born early in our known history are also considered ancient ones. Do not confuse us with the Ancients, who are a completely different race. Daniel and Kataya are two of those. Those born many, many millennia later are not considered ancient ones, and we will speak more of them anon.”
“Daniel? Our Daniel?” Jack sat up straight in his chair and stared at Daniel before returning his gaze and attention to Merdwin, as he continued with his explanations.
“Yes, Daniel Jackson’s soul and life force are of the ancient ones of the Furling. He and Kataya have been mates since their first living. He has an insatiable curiosity, which has led him to be reborn as a kit, er, infant, into almost every species we have come across. Sometimes more than once. It has had some very inconvenient consequences; however, all souls may choose, so he has been allowed to return as whatever and wherever he wishes.” He frowned as he looked at Daniel. Shaking off his thoughts on the inconveniences Daniel’s penchant for being reborn had caused, he turned back to Jacob’s question.
“To return to your original question, Jacob, the answer lies in the fact that, even though we may choose to be reborn, the rebirth may not be immediate, nor is there a guarantee that the Soulmates will find each other. It has been over five hundred years since Daniel and Kataya were last in the same place at the same time. Should Kataya have continued to live alone for that many years while she waited for them to be in the same time and space?” He stared moodily into his port for a moment before continuing, “I think not.”
“You should know from your own life how many times you can love someone. If you can love so many in your short span of time, then why would you think we would do less?” Again, he paused, thinking of how best to continue. “The truth is that we often do go much longer than you. Kataya mated with Lantash almost two hundred years ago, yet she has not mated again since they parted. I am not saying she has not had lovers. Just as you can love enough to have a lover, but not enough to, I believe, marry, is what you term it, we do the same. To actually take a mate means we must love passionately and deeply. Our rites and rituals and their consequences insure that we take a mate only in the case where that is true.”
“For us, the term take a mate is a bonding of the soul and the heart. We also use the word to describe the sexual act, however when the word is used to indicate a bonded pair or,” he indicated the Tau’ri there, “a married pair, it is the Soulmates and Heartmates to which we refer. So, to return to your original question, are Kataya and Lantash married? Yes, I suppose that your society would consider them married, however, in our society, a Soulmate takes precedence over a Heartmate, even a blood-bonded one. In terms that you will understand, Kataya and Lantash need to acquire a physical divorce from one another.”
“For some reason, Lantash has refused to participate in Sevesh Lok Twin. I am not sure why, nor am I sure he understands it himself. I believe that it has something to do with whatever happened in Bastet’s stronghold, but since Kataya will not speak of it, I have no way of knowing if that is true.” Merdwin immediately became aware of the emotions coming from at least three of the men. He looked at each of them and stated, “So, she has finally spoken of what happened, but she still refuses to tell me.” He sighed deeply, “If only this was straight-forward.”
“What do you mean, Merdwin?” Daniel asked. “How is it not straight-forward other than you not knowing what happened there?”
A knock sounded on the door, and Kataya entered the room. She closed the door and went to Daniel who greeted her and made room for her to sit with him. He brushed her temple with a light kiss and placed his arm around her. She appeared fragile to him.
Merdwin continued speaking to them, after greeting her and handing her some port, “There are things going on that need to be revealed to all of you. I was only waiting for orders from Artereos to disclose them to you. I received those orders just a short time ago.”
Kataya looked at Merdwin as she said, “I have not yet spoken to Samantha. If you tell them, they must swear to keep the information to themselves and, since one of them is her father, it may not be possible. I must be the one to explain it to her, Merdwin; the consequences are too important for us to make a mistake now.”
“My orders are to inform those who would be capable of understanding and who are in a position to need the information. That includes everyone in this room, including Jacob Carter. However, your objection is valid, as well, Kataya. It is also correct. Samantha should hear this from you and no one else.”
Daniel watched her face become stony. She nodded at Merdwin. “Then do so.”
He nodded, and turned to Jacob Carter. “I must have your word that you will not reveal anything to Samantha. As I stated, Kataya is correct; it is her place to tell her. If you cannot agree, then I will not be able to disclose the information to you at this time or Selmak will take control until Samantha has been informed.”
“Can I ask a question first before I agree to this or leave?” Jacob asked him, and it was obvious that he was giving something a great deal of deep thought.
“Certainly,” Merdwin replied promptly.
“We are facing something bigger than enslavement of earth by a System Lord named Bastet, aren’t we?” Jacob’s question surprised Merdwin; however, he was also relieved. If they all suspected that there was more here than there appeared to be on the surface, it would make the entire situation much easier for all involved. His voice solemn and his eyes steady on Jacob’s he said, firmly, “Yes. We are.”
“In that case, I would like to know what, and I will agree to your terms, if you can assure me that my daughter is not going to be hurt if I keep this knowledge to myself.”
Kataya answered him, “I give you my word that Samantha will not be hurt, if you keep this information to yourself, General Carter. I cannot otherwise guarantee her safety, though, anymore than I can that of anyone else. Samantha and I would have talked already if things had worked out differently. However, it is well that she has this night with Lantash and Martouf. As Merdwin pointed out to me earlier, our talk can wait. Samantha, Martouf, and Lantash need this night to be alone without the knowledge of what is about to take place weighing on their minds.”
“Very well, I agree,” Jacob, said slowly. “Now, just what is it that we are facing?”
Merdwin looked at the faces around him once more. Somehow, he had to say this so that they would understand what was about to take place, and realize that the futures of their entire races hung in the balance. He sighed deeply again and then started to speak, “The one you know as Bastet is joined with a host who is, in fact, a First-born Furling with a thirst for vengeance, domination, and bloodshed. She is evil incarnate, and her thirst will not be appeased, until she can destroy us, or we destroy her. Her true target is Artereos, and the light that is the All. By taking this, one of his favored homes of all the worlds where he has lived and ruled, she would be striking a blow at him and, of course, through him, the light that is the All. The First-born are not only born of the All, we and the Katteri-enti are also the Guardians of the All.”
“Her wish to eliminate the Tok’Ra is from the Goa’uld she chose and talked into joining with her, Bastet. Her venom is potent, and other than Artereos, myself, and a few others of the First-born, there are only two beings that can defeat her. She will not attempt to do battle with Artereos or, so we have found, any of the First-born. She knows she would lose and she has no intention of doing so. She has the ability to sense the other First- born Furling, as all First-born can, so no other First-born, such as Artereos, or I, can get close enough to strike against her. It is very unfortunate that we cannot, however that is why the All gave to us those that could not only get close to her, but who also have the ability to defeat her.”
“In order to stop her, the other two beings must be called upon. The All is hiding one of them here among that Tau’ri, during this lifetime. The other sits among you. They have been hiding her for millennia among the races of the universe. None have been allowed to see her true power or her most powerful form. Kataya was named Kataya Morna’Catira to us. At her birth, the All named her Kataya Morna’Catira Drawyn. In their separate forms, they mean pure strength, beloved warrior, and dragon. When put together, they mean—Dragon of the Fire; Slayer of the Blood.” The looks of amazement on their faces neither surprised nor disconcerted him. They were completely expected. Moreover, his most astonishing information was yet to come. He cleared his throat and began once again to tell them what he, Kataya, and Artereos now believed to be the truth, “There is a prophecy from the Myst-time, the time of the beginnings of the first souls, which we believe is now coming to pass.” Quiet descended on the room, as Merdwin stopped speaking and looked around at those seated there, determining the mood and stress level of everyone in it. They needed time to assimilate the knowledge they had been given. He remained quiet so that they could do so without interruption and the men silently contemplated what they had so far learned.
Merdwin looked at Daniel and a private communication passed between the two. Daniel remembered the Temple of the Dragon of the Fire, found on a Furling planet, a planet they had never been able to get a lock on again. He remembered the two great beasts that guarded it, as well. They were the great Cats of the Furling, of course, the Lionkatanar, and the Pantherataya. They were Kataya’s namesakes and her familiars. They were very probably one of the sources of her power; a power, he believed, they were about to find out was quite formidable. The tablet they “found” lured SG-1 to the planet so that Kataya could begin to observe them. Well, that explained some things anyway. However, Sam fit in here somewhere as well; he was completely, absolutely, one hundred percent sure of it.
Jack broke the silence by asking, rather abruptly, “What does this prophecy say?” I take it that it involves all of us seeing as how we are all so conveniently here.”
Merdwin smiled slightly at him. “Very astute of you, Jack. Yes, it involves all of us. The Tau’ri, Tok’Ra, and Furling warriors will come together here. I will tell you what the prophecy says, for it more or less explains what will happen,” After saying that, he began to recite the Prophecy of the All firmly and plainly.
“And into the Universe, a Darkness shall come, and it shall be pure evil. And the evil will take unto it a species of Small Dragons who are also evil in their own right; and the Small Dragons will have multiplied and spread throughout the worlds of the Universe. Many of the peoples of the light of the Universe shall be conquered and put into slavery of the species of the small dragons.”
“And the evil shall become a dragon, and as this beast, it will try to extinguish the light of the Universe and bring darkness unto the All. Much blood shall be shed throughout the universe before the beast is conquered.”
“And so to triumph over the Beast, the All shall bring forth two souls; The Dragon of the Fire and the Dragon of the Star. And when the time of the Great Battle is come, then shall The Dragon of the Fire and the Dragon of the Star be called, one to the other in this place, and they shall intertwine and bond their minds, hearts, and souls to ready for the Great Battle.”
“And then also, shall be called unto this place the Great Warriors. They will come from their different places across the Universe. And there shall be Warriors of the Peoples of the Light of the Universe. And there shall be Warriors of the Species of the Small Dragons whose Hearts are filled with Goodness instead of evil. And there shall be Warriors of the Soul of the Universe, the All.”
“And the Warriors of these Three Races shall join with the Fire Dragon and the Star Dragon in the Great Battle. And the Dragons of The Blood, the Fire, and the Star shall come together in battle. And the Dragon of the Fire and the Dragon of the Star shall bond their strength and power, and the Beast that is the Dragon of the Blood shall be slain by their hand, and Vengeance shall be unto the soul of the Fire Dragon. It has been promised, and the light of the universe has shown it to be truth.”
“And the blood of the Dragons shall be shed upon the soil and from the fire; we shall rise again and shine.”
“And the Warriors of the Light of the Universe would be?” General Hammond asked.
“The People of the Light of the Universe are the Tau’ri, George, and all of the humans that have been transplanted and enslaved by the Goa’uld,” Merdwin replied.
“But, doesn’t that mean we are still just facing an invasion by a System Lord? I thought you said it was worse than that,” Jacob commented. “Not,” he added, “that facing that scenario is not enough.”
“Morgasha is a First-born soul of the All, a First-born Furling. Her power is formidable. It is very difficult to kill a First-born; we have too much regenerative power within ourselves. If she wins this battle, Jacob, there will be no stopping her. It will mean the extinction of life here on earth, not just enslavement, as well as the end of any hope for the human race in this galaxy. Once she wins here, she will go into hiding for fear of Artereos, but it will be too late for Earth and the Tok’Ra. She will simply await a chance to strike somewhere else. The universe is a vast place in which to hide and she has been doing so for millennia. She remained hidden for several years after her last attempt on the Tok’Ra, but of course, she has not remained hidden often since she blended with Bastet. We have known her whereabouts for quite some time; still, we have been unable to get near enough to stop her. Artereos and I both believe that it will be up to the Dragons to defeat her once and for all time.”
“If the First-born Furlings are so powerful, why haven’t they cleaned up the Goa’uld by now?” Jack asked Merdwin the same question he had put to Thor. He had never really accepted Thor’s answer to that question, and he had the real deal here now. Who better to ask?
Merdwin’s answer was much the same as the one that Thor gave him, “Even we cannot simply wipe out a planet or a race, Jack. Do not forget, we have been waging a war against them for millennia. There are very few First-born and, although it is true that there are more Katteri-enti than First-born, their numbers are few against the much greater numbers of the Goa’uld. Many of our souls are spread throughout the universe with other species, and few of those are Katteri-enti Warriors. Furthermore, although Morgasha and Bastet would like to believe we are; we are not Gods.”
"Just how many First-born are there, Merdwin? You keep saying there are too few, but how many is too few?" Jack persisted. He wanted a definitive number about which to talk.
Merdwin smiled wryly, and shook his head before answering, knowing it would be a shock. "There are thirty-two of us, Jack, that were given power and knowledge by the All. Of those thirty-two, there were formed sixteen lineages. The heads of those sixteen lineages have the task of defending the All and ensuring the well-being of their people. The other sixteen were brothers and sisters of the heads of the lineages, and they were free to choose their own paths. Thankfully, almost all of them chose to join us in our battles against the evils of the universe. For that we are grateful."
Jack’s voice sounded hollow with shock, as he murmured, "Thirty-two. Thirty-two, but not all are warriors. I guess you weren't kidding when you said there were too few of you to wipe out the Goa'uld. I should have listened to Thor the first time. I'm glad there are more Katteri-enti, Mer."
Merdwin smiled slightly. "So are we, Jack,” he replied swiftly. Then returning to the subject at hand, he said, “If you have no more questions about the Prophecy, I will continue to explain about Morgasha/Bastet."
"Crap!” Jack exclaimed, as some of what Merdwin said earlier came back to him. “Is she one of the Sixteen?"
"No, she is not, although she is part of the thirty-two, which means she has the same power as all other First-born. The first sixteen born are the heads of their lineages. The others were brothers and sisters of the first sixteen, although, not all of us have siblings among the thirty-two. I do not have any siblings that were of the First-born, but there are others in my lineage. They were all born much later; therefore, they are not considered First-born. Our society is rather complicated, but if you wish for more information, perhaps we can discuss it later. If you have no objection, I should probably return to the discussion of Morgasha/Bastet.”
Jack nodded, “You’re right. So, what else can you tell us about her?”
“Since she will not come out into the open to battle Artereos, these events were set into motion millennia ago by the All. The All soon suspected that Morgasha would become true evil, though it was a few millennia before it was proven to be true. The All directed the Soul Spinners to spin a new soul taken from the souls of Artereos the Great Warrior and Gwynnivar, the Wiccadian Enchantress, who is a spirit soul. It was born of them, and it was given unto them as a kit, one of two, which is the way of all Furling births. The soul was named by the All, and it was known to the All as Kataya Morna’Catira Drawyn.”
“The soul, not being of the First-born, and moreover, sharing of a Wiccadian spirit soul, is not detectable by Morgasha, and so, she was hidden for millennia amongst the different species, as she attained her power and abilities. When the time was right, the All brought forth the second soul to guarantee the fulfillment of the prophecy and to ensure that Morgasha did not succeed. The soul spinners spun that soul from the soul of Llancellon, one of the greatest warriors of the First-born, and the spirit soul of Gwynnivar the Wiccadian Enchantress. Also spun into the second soul were threads of The Soul, which is the one who is known as Kataya Morna’Catira, so that at the proper time they would be called, one to the other, and they would bond in the way of spirit twins, which they are.”
“The second soul was born of Gwynnivar and her Heartmate, Llancellon, and it was also named by the All. Thus, it was that CsillaBellawyna Morna’Catira known to the All as CsillaBellawyna Morna’Catira Drawyn was born. In their separate forms, they mean beautiful star, beloved warrior, and dragon. When put together they mean—Dragon of the Star. Slayer of the Blood.” Merdwin drew a very deep breath. This would be the greatest revelation, and therefore, the greatest shock. “To us,” he said softly, “she is Csilla; to you, she is known as—Samantha.”
There was a stunned silence before General Hammond cleared his throat, and asked, “If Major Carter is one of the old souls, why is she here? Why did she choose to come here? Does it have to do with the Tau’ri being involved in this Prophecy?”
“Yes, George, we believe that both Samantha and Daniel were called here at this time to fulfill the prophecy. No doubt, the same applies to Martouf and Lantash. It is our belief that they are here, not only because they are Tok’Ra, but also because they are the mates of The Souls. Furling Soulmates do not necessarily have to be Furling. Gwynnivar is Wiccadian and she is Artereos’s Soulmate. When a non-Furling becomes a mate to us, they become as one with us. The All accepts them and they have the same choices we have if they die.”
“When we first arrived here, we were not aware that the time of the prophecy was near. Only recently did things begin to fall into place and lead us to the conclusion that the time was upon us. Kataya did not suspect anything when she first made contact with Samantha. However, after coming here, she soon realized the extent of Samantha’s power. Even then, although, she could not detect her as such, she thought she was an older soul that had chosen to be reborn here,” Merdwin paused, feeling that he had missed something and after a little thought, he smiled at General Hammond saying, “The other question you asked, pertained to Samantha’s age. She is not an old soul. She is very young and has been living less than fifteen hundred years; therefore, even though she is born of a First-born Furling, she is not an ancient soul.”
“As more time passed, the Mirror of the Mysts began showing Kataya and I the three dragons; nevertheless, Artereos was only seeing two of them, the Fire and the Blood. This disturbed all of us, until after the first time Kataya helped Samantha join with the universe; At that point, Artereos also began to see the Star. He believes that Kataya or Samantha might be able to defeat Bastet alone, but it is a very large might. Unfortunately, if we cannot convince Lantash to perform the Sevesh Lok Twin, we may find out if Artereos is correct.”
“Why? What does that have to do with it? I thought you said they would be able to function as warriors regardless, Merdwin. They would simply put their emotions aside for the time being.” Jack brought up the earlier statements Merdwin had made to General Hammond.
“What he means Colonel O’Neill, is that if we do not go through the ceremony of Sevesh Lok Twin, I will be forced to leave and go to Avilion. We can put the emotions aside, Colonel, it is the physical side affects that I cannot counter. Lantash and I should have performed the Sevesh Lok Twin a long time ago. My only excuse is that, at the time, neither of us wanted to believe I would not be returning to him. It was a form of denial, I suppose. We have not seen one another since then, so there was no point at which we could have taken part in it. If I remain here with Lantash in close proximity now that both he and I have bonded and mated with another, and we do not perform the Sevesh Lok Twin, I could die. I do not believe that will happen. I believe that between Samantha and I, he will agree to the rite,” Kataya made the statement very calmly, but Daniel felt as if he was suffocating.
“Why?” He asked in a shocked voice. Damn, that he only could remember some things and not others. He had to stop being reborn this way, if it was true he could choose. “Why would you die just because you mated with me?”
“It is not something we speak of with other species, Daniel,” she stated firmly.
“But then, I am not really of another species, am I? At least, I will not be once I die, so there is no reason you cannot tell me,” Daniel persisted in his questioning, wanting and needing to know all of the particulars.
“It is not a secret, Daniel,” Merdwin spoke up. He ignored the frown Kataya turned on him. “It is simply something we do not often speak of to others.” Merdwin knew that Kataya would not leave Daniel, or the situation, no matter what she said. Someone would have to convince Lantash to go through the ceremony, and perhaps that someone was Daniel. With this thought in mind, he said bluntly.
“Kataya is bleeding even now, Daniel. Her heart is bleeding and it will continue. Right now, she is able to reabsorb the blood, but as it becomes worse, she will begin to bleed in ways that are more obvious. It will continue to worsen the longer it goes before they perform the ceremony or one of them leaves. Nor is there any guarantee that one of them leaving would stop it for her, now that it has started. There is every possibility that only at Avilion would she survive, and then, it could take extensive healing sessions, before it could be stopped.”
“What is happening to Lantash, Merdwin?” General Hammond, who had been a mostly silent observer, spoke up.
“He will begin to experience pain in his chest around his heart. It will take longer to manifest, and it will become worse much more slowly, since he is not Furling. Should Kataya be forced to leave for Avilion, then his symptoms should disappear."
“Merdwin, I have a question, although it will change the subject back to something we discussed somewhat earlier,” Selmak suddenly spoke up. It was obvious that he was ruminating on other things.
“What is it, old friend?” Merdwin answered him, “There is little more to be said about Kataya’s condition for now, anyway.” He caught the look she threw toward him and sighed before saying, “One other thing before we leave this subject. Lantash does not know of the affect his refusal is having on Kataya, and she wishes it to remain so. If it is at all possible, he must make his decision without outside interference of that type. She does not want him to go through the rite, unless he truly believes that it is the correct thing to do,” Merdwin explained to them. “Now, Selmak, what was your question?”
“If Kataya is one of the ancients of your race, then that explains how she managed to get Lantash out alive. It explains the puzzlement of the others that were with her. They all thought she should have died. It does not explain why only Lantash survived that incident.”
Kataya turned to him and answered for Merdwin, “What I have told you for all of these years is the truth, Selmak. I could not save Dominic. Had Merdwin been there, we probably could have saved them both. The battle to get to them was fierce, as you know. All of us were sorely depleted. Only my ability to tap into the universe at will saved Lantash. However, even I could not channel enough life force to keep both of them alive, as badly as they were injured. As it was, Lantash was so near death, that he and his soul were given new life force at Avilion. Dominic honestly was beyond my help, Selmak. I am sorry.”
“Why will you not tell us what happened there, Kataya? Surely it has been long enough by now that you can finally speak of it?” Daniel held his breath as he watched how bleak Kataya’s face became. Knowing the self-hatred she felt over the incident, he could not sit by and do nothing as they questioned her.
“I don’t think it is really important this long after the fact,” he said suddenly.
Kataya placed her hand on his arm. “It is all right, Daniel, perhaps, it is time they knew who and what I truly am.”
“You have nothing for which to blame yourself, Kataya. No one faced with your choice would have done differently, unless it was to have allowed both of them to die,” Teal’c spoke to her.
“Thank you, Teal’c. I appreciate the support, but I do blame myself. Had I been willing to defy the restraints placed upon me, then I might have saved them both. I should have been stronger, more willing to break the rules placed upon me. I was too weak and for that, I, and only I, am at fault.”
Turning back to Selmak, she said, in a voice devoid of emotion, “I killed Dominic, and then I removed Lantash with my own hands. I took what was left of Dominic’s life force and his soul, so that he would die a quicker death. I did not have enough life force to save them both. You cannot blame me more than I blame myself, Selmak.”
She abruptly changed the course of the conversation saying, “I hope you will all forgive our deceit. My true abilities have been hidden for millennia from everyone, including our own people, except for a very, very, select few. Even my own children do not know what I am, although they will soon know due to this mission. I have known since my first living what my eventual destiny would be, and I have been trained to take my place as a Dragon of the All, ever since I can remember. Samantha has not been told, as you know, and she will have a choice of accepting this or not. I made my choice and stepped into the fire more millennia ago than I can remember.”
Kataya sighed, and for the first time, many of those in the room saw her for what she really was; a truly ancient being weighed down by the sorrow and the knowledge of the ages, yet still believing the good in the universe worth the pain and sorrow that she gathered on the way. She was a Warrior, and there was no doubt she would fight this next battle, just as she had fought all the other battles that she had been called into down through the ages.
Pulling herself from her reverie, she began giving them more information, “For all Bastet knows, the souls of the prophecy, the Dragons of the Fire and the Star, have not been born yet. It is imperative that she remain in ignorance of both Samantha’s existence and mine. Because of this, I must limit my abilities to what a normal Katteri-enti can do.”
“I should not have been able to save Lantash, but I did, and it was eventually explained to those who questioned it, as a result of my being a Priestess of the Soul, which I am, but that would not have been enough to save him. Any who asked would not know that however, and so it passed as gossip does. Of course, those at Avilion in the orders knew it was not true, but they did not speak of it, and so the secret was not revealed.”
“In order to tap into the power that would have saved Dominic, I would have had to reveal myself in my true spirit form, and that I was bound not to do. The truth is that, even though I lament my inability to defy the restraints placed upon me, I would do the same again. I would not reveal myself for anyone,” she said, somewhat bitterly, as she looked at Daniel, “either now or then. The consequences would be too great, if I was discovered.”
“General Carter, I understand that this is a shock to you. Although Samantha suspects something, she, also, will be shocked by what I must reveal to her. She may refuse to follow this path, which she has the right to do. I doubt that she will though. I cannot begin to understand your feelings, but I am sorry you had to learn of this here, instead of from her. She is and always will be your daughter, Jacob Carter; nothing has changed in that respect. That her soul is Furling does not mean she was not born of your flesh. She was and is in every way your flesh and blood.”
As she finished speaking, she kissed Daniel lightly and smiled slightly at him, as she stood. “Please do not follow me, Daniel, I would rather be alone for now. I will wish you all goodnight. I am sure Merdwin can answer any questions you might have,” she said, before she quickly left the room.
Behind her, there was no sound until finally, Jacob cleared his throat. “I am sure the information about Sam is gonna hit me eventually, but right now it just doesn’t seem quite real, so I am gonna ask the other question that keeps popping into my head. “Did she just say she killed her mate? Selmak is pretty upset. Not, he says, because she did it, but because of how it has affected her.”
“Yes,” Daniel said softly, “she did.”
“I should have known, of course,” Merdwin said. “Only something of that magnitude could have caused her to be so ill for so long. Our puzzlement is finally answered. You see, her father and I could not understand her being so close to death, knowing that she would only have to be alone and tap into her power to heal. That she was dying was her choice, which made no sense at the time, even with Dominic gone. She loved him very much, but not enough to cause her to allow herself choose death.”
Merdwin sighed as he closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead. Opening them, he saw the questioning looks being sent his way and answered them. “Since she would not tap into her greatest power to save Dominic, she would not allow herself to tap into it to save herself. I am surprised she survived it unscathed.” He turned to look across at Daniel. “You are the only one she has ever loved more than she loved the two of them, Daniel. You are the only one with which she has chosen to die.”
“She did not survive unscathed,” Daniel said, flatly. “She hates herself for what she considers a failure on her part. What she did not tell you is that she could not have saved Dominic as a normal Katteri or even in the more powerful state that she used. It was not just that she could not save them both. She could not save Dominic at all. He was too badly hurt. He would have died anyway and taken Lantash with him. Dominic asked her to kill him and at least save Lantash. According to what she told me, Lantash had been blended with him for well over four hundred years, and he loved him very much. She never wanted Lantash to know what took place in that torture chamber.”
“Lantash should be told. All these years, I think he might have believed that she had a choice and chose him, knowing he would have chosen to let Dominic live,” Jacob had stepped back and it was Selmak who spoke. “Over a hundred years, and she is only now telling us what happened. Now, I also see and understand why the others would not speak of it either. For her to have to kill her mate as Katteri-enti, and take his life force in that way…” He left his comment hanging, the remainder of his thoughts unspoken, but Merdwin suddenly looked as if he had seen the light.
“At least now, we have another piece of the puzzle of why she was so ill. When she took Dominic’s life force and soul, she would have held it separate and sustained it as well as Lantash. That is the only explanation that makes sense. The drain on her, both physically and mentally, would have been tremendous. And the strain on her soul would have been even greater. To hold a soul and sustain it in such a manner is extremely difficult when one is at full energy levels. To do so, as depleted as she was, would cause what we saw at the time.”
“While it is true that Kataya is a Soul Priestess, she was also sustaining Lantash’s body and soul. No wonder the others had to channel for her. Even tapped into the Universe, as she no doubt was, it would have taken everything she had to do that. Only her true spirit form would have been able to do it without the results we saw, and she could not use it.”
“The Priests and Priestesses at Avilion knew. Moreover, they also knew something else that we now know; we now know that Lantash received new soul threads. She took Dominic’s life force, but she also took his soul, and she gave it to them to give to Lantash.” He frowned and then shook his head. “But, why would Kataya not tell Lantash that? It makes no sense. She had to have known that Lantash would feel completed knowing he had Dominic’s soul. Knowing that only Dominic’s physical self was gone, and that he lived on within him.”
“Would, perhaps, Dominic have preferred that Lantash not know? Did you not say earlier that a non-furling mate would be taken into the All at their death? Would he fear that Lantash would take his own life, thinking that it would free his soul to return to the All and thence to a new life?” Teal’c asked quietly into the silence that had fallen as each contemplated this puzzle.
“If she gave her word as a Warrior, she wouldn’t break it,” Jack O’Neill’s tone was decisive. “Does that scenario make sense to anyone besides Teal’c and me?”
“It makes sense if that is what he would have thought and perhaps done,” General Hammond agreed.
Selmak looked thoughtful and then finally gave his opinion, “Yes, it is possible that Lantash might have done that, considering the mental pain and anguish he was in over Dominic’s death. The two of them had a very special bond, not only from having been together so long, but also, they were perfectly suited to one another. Much as he and Martouf are now, in fact. If I did not know that it was not possible, I would believe that Martouf contains parts of Dominic’s soul. They are very much alike in many ways; their deep love of and devotion to Lantash is not the least.”
“Kataya would not tell him, or anyone, what had occurred there, and no one else would talk of it either. All she would ever say was that it was too painful to discuss, and that she had done all she could under the circumstances. Lantash loved her enough he did not really dig deeply because of the distress it caused them both. However, I believe that enough time has passed, and he has enough to live for now that he could hear the truth without adverse affects. I believe she should tell him,” Selmak stated decisively.
“She cannot. She gave her word to Dominic. It would be a breach of her honor and the love she had for him to do so. But, why would Lantash think that if he died it would release Dominic to the all?” Merdwin spoke up.
“Lantash would believe that Dominic’s soul became a part of the All at his death. He would know that, as Kataya’s mate, the All would take him at his death. If it did not go to the All, then his would and, therefore, if he killed himself, then their soul would go to the All, and he probably believed he could get Dominic’s released from his.”
Selmak stated, “Kataya knew that, and she would have known that in his distraught state, it was possible he would take his own life in order to try to release Dominic's soul to the All and thence to a new life,” Selmak clarified his thinking for them.
“Has it occurred to anyone that maybe she did not tell anyone because she hated herself, and she believed that if Lantash knew what had happened, he would hate her, too? That maybe she just could not take the chance because she loved him so much. And with what Merdwin has just told us, she couldn’t truthfully explain it to anyone other than her father or Merdwin. Take that into consideration along with the fact that she promised Dominic she would not tell him, and I think we have plenty of reason for her to keep it to herself,” Daniel said quietly.
“I think those are very good points, Daniel,” General Hammond spoke up. “You know, we can sit here and speculate all day, but the only two people who really know what they would have thought are not here. As far as the other goes, though, I agree that it is time someone told Lantash what happened.”
“Well, Kataya cannot if she promised not to; however, there are now others in this room who know what took place at that time. There is nothing to stop one of us from telling him.”
“I am afraid there is, Merdwin. SG-1 and I agreed we would not tell him,” General Hammond spoke up.
“That is not exactly true, General. Carter told her she would contact us and tell us not to. I can’t say we all told her we wouldn’t, even if we did say okay, when Carter told us,” Jack replied.
“I would say that in fact you might not have agreed, but in spirit you did. And we do tend to value honor a great deal, so I will not ask you to betray her, even though it is something that needs done. There are others of us who have not agreed to keep quiet to Lantash.”
Finally, Merdwin turned to Jacob Carter and Selmak. “I hate to volunteer someone, but in truth, Selmak, you and Jacob would be the best ones for the job. Lantash has only ever seen me as a rival for Kataya’s affections, and everyone else here is honor-bound to Kataya not to reveal what they know to anyone. That leaves you. You know Lantash and Martouf better than anyone here, and you are soon to be related to him.”
“Very well. I believe I need as much information as possible about what Dominic said to Kataya at the time,” Selmak paused, clearly in conversation with Jacob. “Does anyone know what was said, or am I going to have to try to get Kataya to reveal that to me?” It was obvious he found this a distasteful option.
Lost in thought, Daniel did not realize at first that everyone was looking at him. “What? I thought it was agreed that I could not do it,” he stated somewhat hurriedly.
“Jacob wants to know what Dominic said to Kataya. I know he talked to her before he died, but I don’t remember what he said, do you, Daniel?” Jack looked across at his friend and wondered how much more of this emotional hell he could take before he came apart. He wouldn’t ask for help, though. He and Teal’c would keep an eye on him, he thought to himself.
“I doubt if I will ever forget it,” Daniel stated quietly. He turned to Selmak, and it was easy to see the anguish in his eyes. “I can tell you what was said, Selmak. She repeated it to me, pretty much word for word. I will tell you what I think you will need to know.”
Daniel took a deep breath and began, “Dominic begged her to save, as we now know, Lantash. Lantash was too weak to leave Dominic’s body, let alone take a new host. Dominic always called Lantash his other half and he pleaded with her to save his other half.”
“What she did not mention, when we were all there together that night, but that she told me later, was that Lantash and Dominic had been together so long that they truly loved one another deeply and that they were as close to truly being one being as she had ever known. So, what Dominic actually said to her was “save my other half, my beloved (Lantash).” He told her, “He is a true part of my soul. We have lived as one, and we have loved as one. I do not wish to die as one and leave you forever. You can save him; I shall live on in him, be one with him, and love you always. Kataya, Adorata Coeurawyn, please, do this one last act for us with your own hands.”
“Another part she did not tell all of us was that he also said, “I have known for a very long time that I am a part of his soul and his heart. I now wish to become as one with him for eternity. As I am one with him, so he is a part of me. Please do not force us to separate now. You have the power to sustain my soul, and to see to it that I live on as Lantash. Take my soul to Avilion; do not let it leave for the All. I choose to be born again, into my beloved’s soul. You must promise me that you will not tell him. He must never know that, in the end, I could not survive for him, or that you killed me and did not allow my soul go to the All. Swear to me as Katteri-enti, Kataya. Swear to me on your love of us, for I know that it shall never die, Aima Coeurawyn.”
He stopped for a moment and then continued. “He called her by the name of the Soulmate and," Daniel paused, pulling in another deep breath, before continuing, “she answered him, agreeing to do it for them and calling him—Igisadonis Animawyn, Beloved of My Soul. She said that he was smiling when he died."
Daniel's voice was raspy with emotion, as he told of how his Soulmate had claimed another, at that moment of passing. "She gave him the one thing that he probably always longed for, and she acknowledged and accepted his feelings for her. I imagine it was how he had always felt about her, and I do not think that anyone could deny that his love for her was extremely deep. I believe that she truly did everything she could for him, including naming him her Soulmate, before he passed out of this life."
“He was in a great deal of pain and was slowly dying so, as I said, in the end, she did as he asked. She slit his throat, killed him, took the last of his life force and his soul into herself, and removed Lantash, who was also dying. She held him in her arms and sustained him with her own life force until they could get to Avilion. The Katteri and the Wiccadian had to channel energy to her several times on the journey to the gate. She told me her grief was so intense that she would have died with him.”
“I believe it is the truth; she would have died with him before she let them die without her. As you know, she also concealed from us the fact that an ordinary Katteri-enti could not have done what she did at all. But, evidently, somehow Dominic knew she had more power than a normal Katteri. Or, perhaps, he knew what level of Priestess she was and assumed she could sustain his soul in that manner, just as others who were told that believed it. I am not convinced that it really matters what he knew or did not know. Whether he believed she was more powerful than she allowed anyone to know, or he believed it was because she was a Soul Priestess is no longer relevant.”
By the time Daniel had given his opinion and finished reciting the words that he thought were burned into his brain for all time, his jaw was rigid and his voice hoarse. It was obvious that he was under a great strain and in a good deal of emotional pain. Even so, he commented. “Now, we also know that she feared what Lantash would do if he found out. If our speculation is correct, and Lantash had taken his own life, she would have had even more hatred for herself than she already does. I do not think she would have survived it.”
As each man thought that over, and all agreed, Selmak spoke up, with a gentle suggestion, “Although Kataya said not to follow her, I do not believe she should be alone, Daniel. This was extremely painful for her as well as stressful. I imagine that you might relieve some of that, if you were to go to her now.”
“She will need you now, Daniel. This is the place where the Dragon’s mate is at their most important to them. I have to agree with Selmak in this,” Merdwin joined his voice to Selmak’s suggestion.
“As do I,” Teal’c gave his brief but succinct opinion.
Using a phrase often used by Daniel, Jack looked at him and said, “If we are taking a vote, I agree with them.”
Nodding his head, Daniel said his good-nights and made his way to his room. He knew that the men he left behind each had enough to think about, and that, after some discussion, they would all leave for their own homes or quarters.
As for himself, he just wanted to be with his mate. His footsteps quickened as he hurried down the hall.