Chapter Thirty-four Summary: - Kataya and Lantash undergo the Sevesh Lok Twin.  Involves Bloodshed, so if
blood bothers you, please read with caution.  Sam, Daniel, Malek, and Jacob/Selmak stand as witnesses.  We
meet Lantash's children, Taesha and Lanwin for the first time.  

Author’s Note: - I consider this and the preceding chapter to be pivotal in the story as they bring the subplot of
one of Lantash's past loves to a close.
Warning: - If you are bothered by blood, this chapter might bother you a little.  Although I don’t consider it
violent, exactly, it is not for the squeamish.  There is a lot of blood.

Sevesh’en Twine Coeuramator - The Entwining of the Heartmates
Sevesh Lok Twin -The Releasing of the Entwining.”
Amat Et Aevum - Love, Into/For Eternity
Sevesh - A Rite of Release
Coeurawyn – My Heart

Jack and Teal’c sat quietly in a pew near the front of the large room along with Garshaw
and Jocasta.  Well, Teal’c, Garshaw, and Jocasta sat quietly.  There were more than
enough volunteers, and Merdwin felt there was no need for them in that capacity.  They
had, however, been given crimson robes to wear over their clothing.  Jack was alternating
between frowning, jerking on the robe, and gazing upwards at the arched ceiling of the
cathedral-like room. “How high do you think that is, Teal’c?”  He asked, in a soft whisper.  
“Don’t you think this place would be really hard to heat?”

“I do not believe that heating was in question when it was built.  This chamber is meant to
induce peace and tranquility, which it does in abundance,” Teal’c replied, as he looked
from the candles burning in the tall candelabras to the soaring stained-glass windows.

Jack jerked on the robe again and holding up his arm, he peered into the full, wide
sleeve.  “Why do you suppose they make these sleeves so wide, Teal’c?  You think they
used to hide stuff in them?”  He asked, as he felt around inside the sleeve looking for
hiding places or pockets.  He gave a sound of triumph as he located a small pocket in
which he found a small handkerchief.  “Not much of a hiding place,” he grumbled, as he
continued searching.  Giving up on that form of entertainment, he looked around the
room for anything else that might hold his interest.

Looking at the large marble slab that dominated the front of the room, he leaned toward
Teal’c, and whispered, “Do you think they ever did ritual sacrifices?  There are iron rings
in the front of that slab of stone or marble or whatever it is.”

“I do not know, O’Neill.  It would seem to be highly unlikely that they continue to do them,
however unfortunate that may be at this time,” Teal’c answered stoically.

“Hey!  What is that supposed to mean?”

He didn’t receive an answer to his question, as a melodious chanting began high above
them, and they watched as Daniel and Lantash entered the room.  Looking at them, Jack
again leaned toward Teal’c to whisper a comment, “He looks like he’s getting married, not

“He looks quite handsome as does Daniel Jackson.  Furling dress seems to become them.  
I believe that both Lantash and Kataya will be dressed similarly, to how they were dressed
on the day of their entwining, which I believe they call the Sevesh’en Twine Coeuramator,
the Entwining of the Heartmates.  This is the Sevesh Lok Twin, or the Releasing of the

Suddenly, Jack said, “What the He--, er heck, is going on?  Why did they tie his hands?  
Do you think this is going to be worse than Merdwin explained?”

“I believe that the binding is symbolic, O’Neill,” Teal’c said quietly.

“And I am sure, Colonel, that if we simply remain quiet and watch, we will see why in due
time,” Garshaw commented quietly.

“Well, yeah, we could do that,” Jack agreed, lapsing into silence.

Merdwin entered next.  Walking to Lantash, he took the end of the long lavender cord that
bound his hands, which Daniel was holding, and tied it to a ring in the altar.  If possible,
the chanting became even more beautiful when it changed and what sounded like a pipe
organ joined in.  As if that was a cue, a door on the side opposite to where Daniel,
Lantash, and his other witnesses had entered opened, and Kataya and Sam, along with
Kataya’s other witnesses, entered the chamber.  

Jack immediately looked for the binding on her wrists; it was there.  He watched, as she
stood quietly by, while Merdwin took the end from Sam and tied the cord to another ring
in the altar.  They waited patiently as Merdwin turned to a large tome laying open upon
the altar stone and began a chant.

“What’s he saying?”  Jack whispered to Teal’c.

However, it was Garshaw who turned to him and gave him a loose translation, “He is
explaining that they are true Heartmates, joined by love and passion, but that they have
each found their Soulmate, and therefore, they wish the Entwining of their blood to be
severed.  They wish to leave their auras entwined, that the love will remain for eternity,
without the intensity of the pull of the passion, which they both now feel.”

Untying the cords from the altar, Merdwin proceeded to tie the one that bound Kataya to
the one that bound Lantash.

Looking up, he stopped the chants being sung.  

Merdwin began to speak, “I wish to first put the questions to Martouf of the Tok’Ra.”  He
watched, as Martouf came forward, before saying, “Martouf of the Tok’Ra, you have come
to this place, on this day, to sever your physical tie to Kataya of Cadwaellon your bonded,
formally entwined Heartmate.  Have you searched your heart and soul deeply, and found
that this is the only honorable way for you?”

“I have.”  He looked at Kataya, as he replied solemnly.

“Do you wish to sever only the tie of passion of the blood?”

“I do,” he stated clearly.

“Do you wish to keep the love of the Heartmate, as evidenced by the retention of the
entwining of the auras and the sharing of the pain of the severance?”  Merdwin asked the
third, of the three questions that he must answer.

His voice firm, he replied, “I do.  Kataya of Cadwaellon shall remain my Heartmate for all
time, for eternity.”

“So be it.”

Watching him, Merdwin waited until Lantash came forth, then said, “Lantash of the Tok’
Ra, you have come to this place, on this day, to sever your physical tie to Kataya of
Cadwaellon your bonded, formally entwined Heartmate.  Have you searched your heart
and soul deeply, and found that this is the only honorable way for you?”

His voice firm and clear, he stated, “I have.”

“Do you wish to sever only the tie of passion of the blood?

“I do,” he replied.

“Do you wish to keep the love of the Heartmate, as evidenced by the retention of the
entwining of the auras and the sharing of the pain of the severance?”

Gazing into her eyes, he smiled wistfully, but answered with love, conviction, and sincerity
in his voice, “I do.  Kataya of Cadwaellon shall remain my Heartmate for all time, for

“So be it.”

“Who wishes to stand for Lantash and Martouf, as primes, to witness the ties as they are
severed and to sustain them and share their pain?”

“I am Daniel, Daniel Jackson, and I wish to stand as prime for my friends, Lantash and
Martouf of the Tok’Ra,” Daniel said.  His voice was firm, steady, and strong, as he stepped
forward to stand next to them.  He and Lantash exchanged a long look as Daniel used the
word friends and nodded his head once, decisively.  Lantash bowed his head in both
understanding and acceptance.  The first layer of their bond would be forged in the blood
and pain of this day.

“I still think he is nuts,” Jack whispered to Teal’c.

“Hush, O’Neill, please be silent, so that we may hear what is being said,” Teal’c replied,
obviously engrossed in the proceedings.

“We are Selmak and Jacob of the Tok’Ra, and we also wish to serve as a prime for our
friends.”  Selmak stepped forward to stand next to Lantash and Daniel.

“Very well,” Merdwin agreed, before turning to Malek and Brialek.  I understand you and
your hosts, also, wish to stand as seconds for Lantash and Martouf, to witness the severing
of the ties, and to sustain them?”

“Yes,” Malek replied.  

“Yes,” Responded Brialek

“Very well, and you?”  Merdwin asked, as he turned to the men standing behind the Tok’

“We are willing to lend our aid for sustaining them and sharing of the pain, if needed.”  
The leader of the group acknowledged for the three of them.  

Merdwin nodded his acceptance of the Priests, and then turning to Kataya, he said,
“Kataya of Cadwaellon, you have come to this place, on this day, to sever your physical tie
to Lantash and Martouf of the Tok’Ra.  Have you searched your heart and soul deeply,
and found that this is the only honorable way for you?”

Turning to look into his eyes, as he had hers, the answer she gave was soft, but firm, “I

“Do you wish to sever only the tie of passion of the blood?”  Merdwin asked her.

“I do,” still, her voice held steady.

“Do you wish to keep the love of the Heartmate, as evidenced by the retention of the
entwining of the auras and the sharing of the pain of the severance?”  Came the third,
and final, question that must be answered.

For a moment, as Lantash looked into her eyes, he saw the depth of the pain she was
feeling at the thought of the severing of their ties, and he realized, perhaps for the first
time, how truly difficult this was for her, too.  As the silence lengthened, she looked past
him to Daniel, before turning back, to gaze into his eyes.  Her voice was husky with pain
and love, but firm and full of the conviction that this was the correct thing to do, as she
finally answered Merdwin, “I do.  Lantash and Martouf of the Tok’Ra shall remain my
Heartmates for all time, for eternity.”

“So be it.”  

“Who wishes to stand for Kataya, as primes, to witness the ties as they are severed and to
sustain her and share her pain?”

“I am Samantha, Samantha Carter, and I wish to stand as prime for—for my sister,
Kataya of Cadwaellon.”  

“I am Seraphynara, and I desire the honor of accepting the pain of my, ah, friend, Kataya
of Cadwaellon.

“Very well.  Gwennetha and Garwynthia, I understand you wish to stand for Kataya as
seconds, to witness the severing of the ties, and to sustain her?”

“Yes,” they answered in unison.

“Very well, and you?”  Merdwin asked, as he turned to the women standing behind them.  

“We are willing to lend our aid for sustaining her and sharing of the pain, if needed.”  The
leader of the group acknowledged for the three of them.  Merdwin watched, as Janet
nodded her assent.

“Very well, we will begin.”  Merdwin led Kataya and Lantash to the cushions in front of the
altar and indicated they should kneel facing one another.  They were perhaps a foot or two
apart.  Gesturing, he indicated that the witnesses should arrange themselves on the
corresponding side and behind them.  He then arranged Kataya’s sword and dagger on
the altar, along side the ceremonial dagger.  

First lighting two candles on the altar, he then turned, and looked to the loft and again
the chant began to flow, this time a cappella.

Picking up Kataya’s sword, he held it upright in front of himself and spoke some type of
chant or spell; it was hard to tell.

“What is he saying?”  Jack whispered.

“He is telling the mysts of the All, that the sword and dagger he is about to use are
honorable weapons, the sword and dagger of a valiant Warrior, one who is known and
proven to be pure of heart.  He is asking that the mysts allow him to open direct lines to
the couple’s hearts and allow their blood to become one with the mysts of the All.  He asks
that it sustain them through the coming ordeal, and return from whence it came once
severed and unbound.  Now, he is asking the mysts to heal the slashes that the blades are
about to make, once the ceremony is over,” Garshaw whispered back.

Merdwin laid the sword between the kneeling couple.  Taking Kataya’s dagger, he passed
it through the flame of the first candle and then approached her.  He made a slit in first
the right side and then the left side of her throat.  After again running the blade through
the flame of the same candle, he then turned to Lantash and did the same.   

Merdwin then turned to the second candle and passed the blade through the flame of it.  
As he held it above Kataya’s wrists, he looked to the attending priests and priestesses and
they came forward to place around the minor witnesses shoulders, capes of crimson.  The
four primes, the couple, and Merdwin were without protection.  Unbinding her wrists, he
slit first one and then the other.  Again, he passed the blade through the flame of the
second candle, untied Martouf’s wrists and slit them.  Beginning another chant, he then
tied their wrists to one another’s.

“What is he saying now?”  Jack whispered again.  “And why aren’t they bleeding?”

“He is explaining to the All that the couple wish only the passionate bond severed, so that
they will no longer feel the pull of the tie between them so strongly.  They wish to retain
the tie that binds their hearts, and they are sharing the pain of the severing of their
entwining.”  She paused, listening, and then continued, “The binding of their wrists to one
another is to allow both to feel and share the pain.  Otherwise, it would only cause pain to
the requesting party, who would bear the pain, regardless of whose blood was being cut.  
If one refused the Sevesh lok Twin, then the refusing party, if the All found the request
justified, could die.”  

Jack absorbed that information and realized that was why Kataya had insisted that
Martouf and Lantash agree.  That puzzle solved, he asked again, “So why aren’t they

“They will be,” Garshaw responded briefly.

Looking back at the altar, Jack was surprised to see the blood begin to flow from both of
their necks, but not down to drip on the floor; it was floating across the short distance
between them and quickly twisting and entwining.  He noticed that Merdwin looked at the
column that was rising, grimly.  It was so tightly entwined, that Jack couldn’t imagine how
they were going to figure out what went where to separate it.  Not only that, he thought,
but how was it just standing there, between them, as if it was a solid, intricately woven,
piece of something solid, instead of running all over the floor?  

“Teal’c, how is it doing that?”  He whispered.

“I do not know, O’Neill, but Merdwin is an Enchanter of great skill and power, or so I
believe, therefore, perhaps he is doing it.  It is as well,” Teal’c continued, his voice
sounding grim, as he surveyed the cord to be severed, “that he is, because it looks as if it
will take great strength and skill to sever their bond.  It appears to be immensely strong.”

“There’s blood beginning to drip on the floor from their wrists,” Jack continued his
whispering to Teal’c.

Teal’c nodded, still engrossed in the ceremony that was taking place.  Ancient texts and
legends spoke of Enchanters who could control and manipulate the blood.  It was a myth.  
He smiled to himself.  No longer.

Suddenly, Kataya spoke, though never taking her eyes from Martouf, “You must begin,
Merdwin.  I am ready, so please do not worry for me.

“As am I.  Please continue,” Martouf said.

“We are both ready, Merdwin,” Lantash came forward long enough to reassure him.

Merdwin nodded and turned to the altar, although it was obvious, he would rather not be
doing this.  Lighting a third candle from the flame of the second, he picked up the
ceremonial dagger and holding it, he chanted something that sounded a lot like the
previous chant about the sword.  At least it did to Jack; he turned to Garshaw.

“Yes, Colonel,” Garshaw said, before he could ask.  “He is telling the All that the blade he
holds is the blade of Artereos, the First-born of the All, and it has always worked swiftly
and truly, never has it failed in its endeavors.  He is telling the All that this is the dagger,
which has served from the beginning of the myst times.  He is asking that it lose none of
its sharpness and that it cut cleanly and swiftly, so that the couple can find the peace they
seek.  Now, he is asking that it sever quickly and precisely, so that the blood can return to
its first home.”

“First home?”  Jack whispered.

Nodding, Garshaw whispered back, “During an entwining, the blood flows forth, entwines
and then returns, mixed, to the couple, thus they reside within one another.  Most,” she
continued, “are not so tightly entwined as this, from what I remember seeing when we
were here at the sanctuary.”

They watched as Merdwin grasped the cord of blood in his hand and looking at it closely,
made the first cut.  Kataya gasped, but remained upright.  Merdwin paused.

“Do it,” she ground out.  

Jack watched in fascination, as Merdwin began to cut in earnest on the cords in front of
him, and the blood soon began to flow.  Each cut began to weep and then slowly drip onto
the cushions.  As first Kataya, and then Martouf and Lantash, felt each cut and slash into
the cord; they gripped each other’s arms tightly above the bindings on their wrists.  

Thirty minutes later, Merdwin had still not freed any of the threads of blood binding them
together.  “Kataya, do you have any idea of how tightly these strands have woven
themselves?  They are next to inseparable, in the way of joining, not of entwining.”

Lantash took control and spoke to him, “You must understand that Kataya believed that
Daniel would never come back, and I did not believe that a Soulmate awaited me.  We
allowed our hearts to beat as one, and the love and passion we had for one another was a
living thing for a very long time.  You must become more aggressive in your endeavors, if
you wish to accomplish that which must be done.”

“He speaks truth, Merdwin.  Stop trying to be gentle; you are only prolonging the pain for
each of us.  Please, just do it,” Kataya added her opinion.  

“Very well,” he agreed, and taking a deep breath, he brought the dagger into a knot and
instead of steadily working it loose with small cuts, he severed it.  Blood splashed from the
cut onto him and the couple and Kataya screamed.

He stopped and watched, as she straightened from where the pain had doubled her over.  
“Do it, Merdwin,” she ground out, panting.

Nodding his agreement, he went onto the next knot, and again, Kataya took the pain, but
this time he continued, barely pausing.  First one, then the other felt the cuts and then
Lantash’s voice reached him, as he worked on an extremely tight knot.

“Merdwin,” Lantash gasped, “Kataya,” he continued, panting, “I think she is about to pass

“I am still all right,” she whispered.

“I am not even half way through, Kataya,” Merdwin, told her quietly.  

“Then become more aggressive, Merdwin,” She gasped, between breaths.  “This is almost
worse than having kits,” she said, suddenly.

“Having kits is worse than this?  I have forgotten.  Are you sure?”  Lantash demanded.

“Having had first hand experience of it, twice, I might add, I can definitively say, yes, it is.  
Did you think I screamed and was acerbic about your ancestry, parentage, and
personality, to annoy you when Taesha and Lanwin were born, Lantash?  I did not share
the majority of the pain with you.”  She replied.

“I had forgotten, Kataya, and though I love my children, I would never do this to you
again.  Samantha,” Lantash managed to pant, “I will not put you through this much pain.  
There will be no children.”

He heard Kataya give a short, sharp laugh, “Lantash, women have been doing it for
millennia; she will survive it and have something in return, just as I did.”

Her scream brought him back from his irrelevant thoughts of children to the present with
a jolt.  A stab of pain bringing blackness to dance before his eyes followed closely upon her
scream.  He felt Daniel kneel beside him as he swayed, and take him in his arms,
following the instructions he memorized before the rite began.  He also felt the jerk of
Daniel’s body, as the first of the pain that was now constant within them, hit him.  

“Merdwin, they can’t survive much more of this,” Daniel said, through gritted teeth,
surprise at the intensity of the pain evident in his voice.  “Is there any way we can pull
more of this pain out of them?”  Daniel asked desperately, as he encountered wave after
wave of it.  Not just from the cuts that Merdwin was still making, but the dozens that were
already there.  He also realized that he was picking up the remnants of the pain that had
surrounded their hearts, during the last few days.  

Looking down, he realized that they had all been so mesmerized watching the cord of
blood, they had not noticed the cuts that were appearing on their bodies.  Appearing and
bleeding; deep red blood ran or seeped from the slashes, running down and dripping onto
their clothes and the floor.  Dear God, Kataya could not afford to lose this much blood,
could she?  He looked over at her and was surprised to see her still kneeling on her own.  
She caught his glance.

“The last few were evidently tied to Martouf and Lantash’s blood.  Mine will be found
again, soon, I am sure,” she told him, quietly.

From the corner of her eye, she saw Merdwin indicate to Sam that she should get ready to
step in and so, she braced herself.  As she doubled over, she saw and felt through their
still bound hands, Lantash straighten as he gripped her.

“Selmak, Seraphynara, join Daniel and Sam, please.  I must attempt to unwind some of
this.  I cannot simply continue to slash my way through the knots; I must work some of
them loose,” Merdwin instructed quietly.  “While I am doing that, you can pull some of the
pain through and into yourselves, and thereby give them some relief, even if it is only

As Merdwin worked at the knots, trying to unravel them, the primes for Lantash and
Kataya were beginning to know why Merdwin had tried to talk them out of doing this.  
Panting against the waves of pain, Sam turned her head toward Merdwin, “How much
longer?  I don’t know how much more she can take.”  

Pausing for just a moment, she then continued, “No, make that I don’t know how much
more we can take.  We just started; they have been at this for over half an hour already.”  
Sam looked down to see that her comment had brought a small smile to Kataya’s lips for a
moment.  Sam wiped the sweat from Kataya’s forehead, while Seraphynara helped
support her on the other side.  She reached into her sleeve, pulled out a small
handkerchief and used it to wipe away both sweat and blood.  It was soon soaked, and she
threw it aside, as Gwennetha came forward with a clean one.

“Where did you get that?”  Daniel asked.  

“There should be one in your sleeve,” someone, he was not sure who, replied.  He saw
Merdwin frown at the attendants, who immediately stepped forward with cloths for them
to use, to wipe away the sweat and the blood.  They would no doubt hear later about the
neglecting of their duties.  No doubt, they were caught up in and mesmerized by the ritual
they were witnessing to the point that they had forgotten everything else.  Daniel was glad
he was not going to be on the receiving end of that lecture.    

“I have to begin to cut again.  I have gone as far as I can attempting to unravel it.  There
are knots that must be severed.”  Merdwin indicated them with the tip of the dagger.  “I
have tried, but they simply will not come apart.  I have only seen one other entwining of
this strength and intricacy.”

“Who was that, Merdwin?”  Sam asked, as she gritted her teeth against the waves of pain,
and attempted to take even more from Kataya.

Merdwin halted for a moment, looking at her and Kataya, and then he said, “It was the
entwining of Gwynnivar and Llancellon, your mother and father.  Evidently, these intense
entwinings are inherent in your make-up.  It would suggest,” he said, as his look moved to
Gwennetha, “that the females of your line should remember this before you agree to mate
by ritual.”  

Kataya attempted to laugh, but it ended in a groan, as pain sliced through her again.  She
did manage to gasp out in reply, “It is also possible that our being so closely entwined has
something to do with the prophecy.”

“Very possible, Kataya, and a good point.  However, I still believe that any female of your
line would do well to consider this when trying to decide whether or not to bond to a mate
by ritual.  To do so lightly would be foolish, if my first assumption is correct,” Merdwin

Pulling herself upright and out of Sam’s arms for a moment, she watched as Martouf and
Lantash did the same.  Kataya tightened her grasp on his arms and at his nod, she said to
Merdwin, “You must continue, and you must become even more aggressive.  Neither of us
will be able to endure a great deal more of this.”  

She watched, as Martouf took control again.  They had switched often, but it was
becoming harder for Martouf to remain upright.  “Please, Martouf, let Lantash sustain
you,” Kataya whispered, as she watched him struggle.

Martouf nodded, and said, “I will in a moment.  I am simply giving him a few moments to
try to recover a little.”  

“I am going to cut again, now,” Merdwin, warned them, before he again plunged the knife
into a knot.  Sam, Kataya and Seraphynara all gasped, as the dagger slashed its way into
the knot.  With the next slash, Daniel, Martouf, and Jacob were left panting from the
pain.  Thus, it went, first slashing through the knots, and then unwinding and
disentangling the cords.  Blood seemed to be seeping from dozens of cuts, dripping onto
the cushions, floor, and clothes of those participating.

Daniel looked down, and was surprised to see cuts on his arms.  He looked at Sam and
saw that she, also, was beginning to bleed.  Looking at Kataya, he blanched.  She was so
pale; she looked as if there was no blood left within her body.  Her skin was becoming
transparent.  Looking down, he realized that Martouf was not in much better shape.  

When he felt the hand come down onto his shoulder, he realized that the next set of
witnesses had come forward.  They grasped his and Jacob’s shoulders and braced them as
they braced Martouf.  Soon, he felt them kneel to take more of the weight off them, as
Martouf lay limply between he and Selmak, heavy in their arms, but still conscious.  
Daniel soon realized that Malek, who had come to kneel behind him, was leaning into
him, supporting them, and he seemed to be actually pulling the pain into himself, thus
giving relief to Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel.

He gasped, as Merdwin made another slash into the bloodied cord.  Still, it held, the
entwining so tight it was impossible to unwind more than a small portion at a time.  He
heard Kataya and both of her primes gasp.  Then he felt another searing slash and this
time it felt as if his back was on fire.  Daniel moaned and heard an answering one from
behind him as Malek pulled it from him into himself.  Martouf appeared to be barely
conscious, but then he felt him attempt to sit up, and knew that he was still with them.

Looking again at Martouf, Daniel knew that even with Malek and Brialek now helping, if it
was not ended soon, neither Martouf nor Kataya would be conscious, and the rite would
end without success.  As he watched, Lantash took control and again attempted to
straighten and take some of the weight off the witnesses supporting him.  He was unable
to do so, but he kept control.  

Daniel knew that if they could not stay conscious, they would have to endure this again.  
Turning slightly toward Merdwin, he gathered the strength to ask, “How much longer?  It
has been almost an hour, and I am afraid that neither Martouf and Lantash nor Kataya
are going to remain conscious much longer.”  

Looking up from where he was struggling to unwind a section of the cord, Merdwin looked
at the couple, now surrounded by four witnesses each.  Although he had not wanted her
to have to bear any of this, he knew it was time to bring the others forward to help.  They
had come too far to stop and have to redo the entire ceremony, with its attendant agony
for all involved.  He would bring all of them in at once, as the relief would be greater that

He nodded to the priests and priestesses to come forward.  Janet did not hesitate to step
up and kneel as the others did, nor did she flinch much as the first of the pain found its
way into her.  A gasp and wide-eyed look at Merdwin were her only reactions.  She leaned
forward and enveloped Sam and Kataya as much as she could, and the others found
places to connect and give support or simply absorb some of the pain.

He watched both Kataya and Lantash carefully, and when he saw first Lantash, and then
Kataya, attempt to pull themselves into a straighter position, he knew that they were
receiving relief from some of the pain.  

The priestesses and priests were trying to do what they could, to give them the physical
strength to go on.  His attendants had been kept busy renewing the cloths the witnesses
were using to wipe away the sweat and blood.  Leaving fresh cloths in the newest
witnesses’ hands, they retreated to the other side of the altar knowing the participants
would need them again soon.  

Merdwin himself was sweating from the strain, both physical and mental, that this was
causing him.  The attendants wiping his face and tending to him were constantly busy.  
This was not an ordinary entwining.  Those who had seen it take place had known it was
unusual, but Merdwin had not imagined it would have wound itself so tightly to the two of

Remembering how long and hard it had been to sever the tie between Gwynnivar and
Llancellon, he knew he should have anticipated this, as this tie was even more tightly
entwined than theirs had been.  It had taken about an hour to sever Gwynnivar and
Llancellon.  This one had already taken longer than that.  

Seeing where another strand looped tightly around a knot, he once again plunged the
dagger in.  He heard Sam, Kataya and Seraphynara gasp, but he did not stop.  Twenty
minutes later, he was almost to the end.

“I am almost through, but this last bit is going to be a matter of simply slashing a way
through.  There is no other way,” he stated.  He brought his arm up, plunged it into the
last knot, and attempted to rip it downward through it.  It did not give.  Kataya and
Lantash both screamed.

“I have found it,” Merdwin exclaimed.  “This section should release the remainder of the
entwining, or at the least, give me something to work with.  Get prepared, this one is going
to hurt both of you badly, I am afraid.”

“This one?”  Sam gasped, as she absorbed more of the pain coming through to her.  “What
do you think the others did, tickle?” she panted, as Kataya became a dead weight in their
arms.  Her question was followed by her scream, as Merdwin used all of his strength to
slash through the remaining knot and free the cord.

“Merdwin,” Kataya whispered, weakly, “you are sure you are almost finished?”

“Yes, Coeurawyn, I believe that was the last cut; I will be able to untie the rest.”  Looking
over to the attending priest and priestesses, he motioned them to be ready with clean,
warm, wet cloths and towels.  “It is almost over, I promise you.”

Looking up, he indicated that the chanting and the music should begin, and a very
peaceful sound made its way into the area.  

Jack realized he was sweating and gripping the back of the pew in front of him, as were
those with him.  Evidently, he wasn’t the only one to be affected by what he had
witnessed.  He also realized that almost every one of those participating had blood on
them and it wasn’t just a small amount.  He wasn’t sure, but it looked as if the witnesses
were covered in cuts just as Kataya and Martouf and Lantash were.  

He watched in amazement, as Merdwin motioned to the attendants and was brought what
looked like a small cauldron.  

Setting the cauldron down near the couple, he picked up Kataya’s sword and began to
gather the severed bits and pieces of the cord, undoing any remaining knots.  Using
Kataya’s sword to stir the pieces of cord, he again began a chant, but before he could ask,
Garshaw said, “He is asking that the blood be returned to the person from whence it
came.”  Jack watched, as the blood once more became a mist, and retreated into the cuts
on the necks of the two people whose wrists were still bound to each other.  

As the blood seeped back, the two in question straightened, and faced one another.  As
the last of the mist slipped into the slashes on their necks, Merdwin took the sword and
laid it first on Martouf’s neck over the cuts and then Kataya’s, and Jack watched, as the
slashes on their throats disappeared.  

“This couple is now joined primarily by love, but it is a powerful, intense, and undying
love.  Heartmates they have been; Heartmates they have chosen to remain, bound for all
time within its warmth.  Amat Et Aevum.  The rite of Sevesh Lok Twin is ended.”  

The priests and priestesses moved in with wet, warm cloths and towels and soon had
much of the blood removed from the participant’s skins.  

Those clothes are a loss, Jack was thinking as he made his way to the couple, who seemed
to be recovering rapidly, considering the amount of pain they had just endured.  As he
approached the group, he realized his first impression had misled him.  The two main
participants were leaning, rather heavily, against the primes that had sustained the other’
s mate, who themselves looked exhausted.  

You could almost see the energy returning to them though, and there was definitely more
color in their faces than there had been just a few minutes ago.  Recovery from this
seemed to happen fairly quickly; that, at least, was a plus.  Even the non-Furling
attendants seemed to be recovering at a faster pace than he would have thought possible.  
It didn’t take long for Jack to figure out that the many priests and priestesses that had
been hurrying around with towels and bowls of water had been doing some healing.  It
was the only explanation.  Well, whatever it took to get everyone back to normal.  

He shook his head.  Why, he wondered, would a couple go through the entwining ritual, if
removing the tie was this drastic?  They must care a great deal to accept that this could
happen.  Of course, that was the whole point, he realized.  What was it that Merdwin had
told them that night in his room?  “To actually take a mate means we must love
passionately and deeply.  Our rites and rituals and their consequences ensure that we
take a mate only in the case where that is true.”

There was no doubt that Lantash and Kataya had, no, did love, deeply.  Jack wondered
what a love like that felt like.  It must be intense.  He scratched his neck and wondered if
he was getting hives.  It had to be this red robe; maybe he was allergic to the material.

The door at the back of the large sanctuary room opened, and two Warriors strode into the
room.  As Jack looked back toward the door, he caught his breath.  Standing there was
one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen.  Standing next to her, the light
catching the deep auburn of his hair was a young man who was as handsome as the
woman was beautiful.  

Deep lustrous auburn hair framed faces that were perfect ovals, their skin a glowing
golden color.  Looking back at only the woman he saw wide, luminous amber colored eyes,
set at an exotic tilt, fringed with impossibly long black lashes.  Dark but delicate, arched
eyebrows, full red lips and a tint of peach on her cheeks finished the portrait of her.  He
hadn’t even reached her body yet, but Jack knew immediately that she had her mother’s
average height and lithe, supple figure.  

The young man was tall and broad-shouldered, having a sinewy strength and an almost
arrogant tilt to his head.  When his eyes finally found his mother, the smile that lit his
perfect features transformed his face from a beautiful, perfect statue, into that of a
sparkling and dangerous charmer.  

Striding swiftly forward, they stopped in front of Kataya, as she stood sheltered by Daniel’s
arms and assumed the formal Furling stance, with a difference that the Tau’ri had never
seen accorded to Kataya or Merdwin before.  Both knelt on one knee, and leaning forward,
each took a hand and kissed first it and then the hem of her skirt.  They remained
kneeling, heads bowed, until she told them to rise and greet her as her children, not as
warriors.  As they sent a puzzled glance at her, Jack watched as Kataya very slightly
shook her head, as if in warning not to do something.  And, just as important, he saw
their understanding and return nod, as Kataya drew attention to herself, and they were
not being watched.

Lantash stood rigid within the circle of Sam’s arms and stared at them, as if he was
starving, and they were forbidden food.  It seemed as if not even the air around them

Sensing his presence, they turned as one and looked directly at Martouf.  “It is true then,
what they are saying.  Our father is come home.”


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Blood of My Heart, Beloved of My Soul

Chapter Thirty-four

Sevesh Lok Twin