Chapter Thirty-five Summary: - Lantash and Lanwin start to get to know one another after their long separation and Taesha takes the opportunity to talk to and get to know Sam. Artereos arrives. Gwennetha and Malek take notice of one another, and we see others through the eyes of Lantash's daughter, Taesha. Sam and Daniel discover they need to join formally as Heartmates, which will stabilize the pairings between the five of them. They agree to do so at Kataya, Lantash and Martouf's urging. Malek and Gwennetha become attracted to each other...their story is followed more closely in Malek's Story - Prequel to Daughters of the Queen which will become the sequel to Blood of My Heart.
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 some type Coeurawyn – My Heart
Jack watched as Martouf stared at the two young Furling Warriors. He has that deer in the headlight look, he thought to himself. I wonder what it is like to see your children for the first time in over a hundred years? Or, for that matter, for the first time ever, in Martouf’s case. Of course, they are only sort of his kids, right? Shaking his head slightly, Jack decided there was no way his mind was going to wrap around this entire concept of a father and a stepfather—in the same body.
“Taesha, Lanwin, you will greet your father with the proper respect, please. Then you may greet him as you wish,” Kataya said, with quiet dignity. Martouf sent a panicked look in Kataya’s direction, and Lantash took control.
Lanwin and Taesha stepped forward at once, and assumed the formal Furling greeting stance. “We greet and welcome thee with love, from our hearts, our father, Lantash of the Tok’Ra, and we also greet, with gladness, his host. We look forward to being with you once again. Long have we hoped to once again hear your voice and touch your mind, your heart, and your soul.” Lanwin offered his hands to Lantash in the welcome gesture, and his voice trembled slightly. Taesha’s hands shook visibly as she also extended her hands for a greeting. You could tell, just by looking at her face, that to touch her father, after so many long years, was affecting her greatly.
“My heart answers thee and gives greetings and love to yours, my son, Lanwin of Cadwaellon and, my daughter, Taesha of Cadwaellon. I, too, look forward with pleasure to again being with you. It,” Lantash paused for a moment, as his voice shook, then clearing his throat, he continued, “It has been a dream of mine for a very long time, to once again look upon you and hear your voices. My host, whose name is Martouf, also, greets and welcomes you into our lives.” The look of profound wonder on his face as Lantash touched first his son’s and then his daughter’s fingertips was a pleasure to see.
The group watched as the two looked to their mother, who nodded her head at them. It was as if her nod released a river held back by a dam. Taesha launched herself into Lantash’s arms, almost knocking him off his feet, crying, “We have missed you, so much, for so long. This is the best thing that has happened to us in forever.”
Then pulling back, as her father wrapped his arms tightly around her brother, she looked from her mother to him, and asked, “What has happened? No one would tell us what was happening, only that you were here, in the ritual sanctuary chamber, along with Merdwin and some of the Tau’ri and Tok’Ra.” Turning to her mother, she asked, “Why are your clothes bloodstained?”
“Your father and I have just completed the Sevesh Lok Twin, Taesha, and before you say anything, you need to be introduced to two very important people.” Drawing Daniel forward, she said softly, “This is Daniel, my Dayillon. He has come at last.”
Turning to Samantha, she held out her hand to her. When Sam had clasped it she said, “And this is Samantha, my sister, and the Soulmate of Lantash and Martouf. We have joined in mind and soon we will join in spirit, heart, and soul.” The look she sent to her daughter and son spoke more than any words could have, whether aloud or mentally. Both of her children stood in shock as they absorbed the implications of what she was telling them. They had grown up on the old legends. Only a Dragon Slayer joined one of its own sex in mind, heart, and soul.
“I see you have both grasped what I am telling you. Now you will meet the man who will be your commanding officer during the upcoming mission, Colonel O’Neill of the Tau’ri.”
“Colonel, my son and daughter, who will be receiving their rank and joining our mission.”
“Ah, yeah, nice to meet’cha,” O’Neill said, very much at a loss for words.
“This is Teal’c, a Jaffa who has joined the Tau’ri in their fight against the Goa’uld.”
Lanwin turned to him, and said, “I have heard of you. It is often whispered of among the Jaffa, although they know not that we have listened.”
“Are you preparing for a new career, Lanwin?” his mother asked.
“No, my Lady mother, just um, practicing,” Lanwin, murmured, realizing too late, that he was admitting to a pastime always strictly forbidden to the squires on a battlefield.
“See to it that it goes no farther. It is a dangerous practice on a battlefield. You will desist, as of now.” Her voice booked no opposition. To try to read the mind of the Jaffa, without giving themselves away, was a common, but dangerous, practice amongst the squires. “I would hate to have to revoke your rank because of a game.”
Nodding his head, he took the rebuke, as deserved. He had much to live up to; his mother was a warrior of stature and, as her son, they expected him to excel. The beginnings of the legend that Kataya the Warrior had become had started in her first living. She was the only Katteri-enti ever to kill a Mage Daemon Lord during a first manifestation. He knew that because of who and what he was, he would have a harder way to go than most, as they expected more of him. It was a challenge he did not intend to fail. Perhaps then, he would win her regard and love.
His ambition was to become a Commander of a sector and a member of Artereos’s Staff. It would take many lifetimes to achieve, he knew, but if his mother could do it, then he could. Was he not a grandson of Artereos and the son of Kataya the Warrior and Lantash the Tok’Ra? Games would not set him back, and the reminder from his mother was enough to let him know that way lay disaster for his ambitions. She would not go lightly on him if someone caught him. He glanced at Taesha and sighed. She would not have made that mistake.
“When is the ritual for attaining your rank and status as full Katteri-enti?” His mother asked him.
“Grandfather said it depended on you and Merdwin. He said there were other matters to which you must attend first. May I ask if the Sevesh Lok Twin with my father was one of those other matters?” Lanwin asked, his voice cool, and somewhat strained.
“Yes, it was. In addition, Samantha and I must go through our joining, but that is a ritual we can accomplish very soon now. I will talk to your Grandfather and see which he wishes to take place next. I would suggest that it will be my joining with Samantha as she cannot begin to train with him until it is completed.” Kataya said, as she frowned slightly, trying to figure the best way to do all of these things.
“Where do you wish to receive your rank, Lanwin, Taesha?” She asked suddenly. “Here? Or at Cadwaellon? Originally, we were going to do it on the Tau’ri home-world, but with us here, there is no reason that it cannot take place at the Sanctuary if you wish.”
“You will be going through the rite with Samantha here, my Mother? At Avilion?” Taesha asked.
“Yes, and Merdwin is presiding. Do you wish us to perform your knighting ritual here, rather than in the hall? It is where I, as well as your brother and sister received our rank. Samantha, also, shall receive her rank here. That, however, will be after her training, of course.”
“Carter’s going to be given a rank in your military?” Jack asked in surprise.
“Yes, Colonel, she will be given the rank of First Commander, as I am.” Kataya answered him, and then turned to Merdwin, and asked, “Is there anything else we need to do here?”
“No, now we all go to our chambers, bathe, dress, and meet for a meal, which I am sure we can all use. From there, we await the coming of Artereos, but hopefully, he will join us by the time we sit down to eat,” he replied.
“You are all invited to stay for the joining of Samantha and Kataya. I took the liberty of talking to George and Alanna and both indicated it was not a problem if you all remained for the ceremonies that will be taking place. Samantha and Kataya’s as well as Lanwin and Taesha’s, if you wish to,” Merdwin continued.
“I don’t have a problem with staying. I mean, we all brought stuff in case we had to anyway. What’s one night?” Jack shrugged as he gave his opinion. There really wasn’t much they could do back on base that those there couldn’t take care of, and it was important to get Carter started on her real training.
“I concur, O’Neill, and I admit that I would like to watch the ritual of the joining and of the knighting of Lanwin and Taesha,” Teal’c said, as he bowed toward them.
“Well, it doesn’t have to be decided right away, and I am starving,” Sam said. “Let’s get going so we can eat.”
That seemed to make sense to most of them, and they left the ritual sanctuary to head to their chambers.
As they walked down the hall, Taesha looked at the woman who was her father’s Soulmate. She was beautiful and she had a warm smile. She fell into step beside her and murmured softly, so no one could overhear her, “My mother said that you are the Soulmate of my father. A Soulmate’s love is deep and everlasting for their tie lasts for eternity. Is this the love you bear for him?” She asked Sam, her curiosity causing her to be blunt.
“Yes, it is,” Sam, said softly. “You love your mother and your father very much, don’t you?”
“My mother is a brave warrior and a good woman. She is everything that I desire and strive to be, so yes, I love her greatly and admire her as much. As for my father,” she paused, and her eyes took on a faraway look, as if reliving memories.
She smiled, before continuing, “When I was very young, I thought my father was the greatest Warrior there had ever been. I used to cry when Lanwin would tell me it was not so. Of course, eventually, I knew that Lanwin was right, and our father, though a brave and strong Warrior, was not one of the great ones of the universe, not like Grandfather or Merdwin or,” she paused, as she glanced sideways at Sam, “you and my mother. A dimple appeared in one cheek, before she said, “However, finding out that he was not a great warrior did not change my mind about him. I still think my father is the most magnificent being in the universe. Nothing will change that. I thought him wonderful as a child, and I continue in that belief today. Only someone with great strength of character could have given up what he did because it was for the greater good.” She contemplated her father, as they continued on their journey towards their chambers.
“The time of Bastet, as we call it, was a terrible time. We thought we would lose both mother and father. We had already lost one, though we understood that he was not truly gone. Grandfather came to us, when he returned from hunting Bastet, before he went to my mother’s side, and he told us the legend of the Dragons of the Fire, the Star, and the Blood. It is an old legend, and we had heard it many times, but only then did he tell us that the Dragon of the Blood was real, that she was evil, and that someday we would see her die.”
“You have not met my Grandfather, but you will, and you will love him, as we all do. He is a wonderful man, and he loves my mother fiercely, second only to Gwynnivar, my grandmother. That he stopped to talk to us, when our mother was so ill, proved the importance of what he told us. We did not understand that day why he took the time that he should spend with our mother to tell us the legend. Today we have our answer to that puzzle. He knew that Bastet was more than just a Goa’uld, although I do not believe that many others knew it. Our mother, of course, and Merdwin would have known. Other than that, I do not know if anyone would have known.”
She paused frowning, before saying, “I do not think that my fathers knew what she was at the time, either. My mother was much more upset about their mission than she normally would be, whether because she knew who and what Bastet was, or because she had seen something in the Mysts, I do not know. However, as I think on it, looking back, I realize that she knew something.” Taesha closed her eyes for a moment and a shudder made its way through her, before she turned back to Sam, saying, “I believe she knew what was to come. To know that and still allow them to leave her must have been a very terrible thing to have to do. You will hear them say of my mother that her will is made of iron. They know not the truth of what they whisper, for indeed she has done many hard and terrible things. She is very much her father’s daughter, Samantha. Many of her enemies forget that and they do not live to regret that they did so.”
“To live up to that is what I strive to do. It will be difficult.” Obviously searching for the right words, she finally said, “The difficult part of living up to those standards is not that one’s will must be that strong, but that it must be that strong, commit and perform the difficult tasks…and yet retain both the will and ability to feel and show compassion and to love deeply. She has been able, through countless millennia to retain both her heart and her soul, as have my Grandfather and Merdwin. That is where their true greatness lies…and that is the biggest challenge for those of us that would follow in their footsteps.”
Pulling her thoughts from contemplating the past and her Mother’s, Grandfather’s, and Merdwin’s abilities, she continued to answer Sam’s original question, “Our feelings about all of this, how we feel about our father, and what is about to happen is deep and true. I should tell you that Lanwin feels the same. Bastet will die, and thus quench our thirst for vengeance, though we will pay a terrible price. It does not matter, for to see the torturer and killer of my father die, by my mother’s hand, will be worth the pain. The fire of vengeance burns bright in all of us, but perhaps more highly in my mother, for she lived the very fabric of what occurred and the pain for her was deeper than I can even comprehend,” she said. Then looking squarely at Sam, she added, “and now that thirst for vengeance burns bright in you, as well. You have shared that nightmare with my mother, you lived it with my mother, and it will remain within you forever. You will help to bring the vengeance that Bastet deserves down upon her, and you will help to save the All, your people, and the Tok’Ra. For this, I honor you.”
“The legends from the Myst-time tell us that there is no greater love in the universe than that of a Dragon Slayer for its mates. Taesha looked thoughtful for a moment, and then she turned to Sam, and said, “You are the Heartmate of Dayillon, of course. He loves you as our father loves our mother. He would die for you, as our father would die for our mother.” Nodding decisively, she murmured, as if to herself, “Thus the fabric of the tapestry of the Dragons is woven. So mote it be.” Hearing her, Sam felt that fabric laying softly around her, the threads of it encompassing her mind, heart, and soul. There was no doubt that she was an integral part of that tapestry. She just hoped she did not lose the threads, which were hers to hold for the weavers.
Having entered the transporter, they had returned to the immense front hall, and now they were on their way out toward the garden, which divided the sanctuaries from the living chambers. As they continued across the garden, Taesha watched as her brother talked to their father.
Turning back to Sam, she said to her, “You have joined your mind to my mother’s. Soon you will join your souls and your hearts. You have already experienced the mating that conceived Lanwin and I, as you did our birth. When the other ritual is completed, you will be our mother as surely as our birth mother is. My heart will be joyful to have it so. You have already become my father’s mate. Only the formality remains, and though it is a profound happening, still you are his mate even now. You have given him much joy and love. For those things alone, I would love you. Welcome to my heart, Samantha of the Tau'ri, and know that you shall be accepted and honored by me always.”
Sam looked stunned at all of the things the young woman had told her, but this last left her truly speechless. Finally, she managed a few halting words, “I—I really don’t know what to say. I, you, that is, thank you.” Getting herself in hand at last, she proceeded, “I have looked forward to meeting the two of you, and I am so glad you greeted Lantash and Martouf with so much open affection and…such very obvious love. He was worried about seeing you; it has been so long and, well, let us just say that he was concerned about the reception he would get, and then leave it at that.” Sam smiled at her.
Linking their arms as they walked across the garden, Taesha said, “I understand. He need not have worried. We believe he is wonderful and can do almost anything.” She frowned at Sam for a moment, and then said, somewhat hesitantly, “Why are you thinking of water, Samantha? Are you thirsty? I am sure that refreshments will await you within your chambers.”
Sam looked startled for a moment, and then laughed aloud, “No, no, I am not thirsty. One of the first things they did when the Sevesh ended was to see to it that we drank a great deal of fluid to replenish what was lost during the rite. I was remembering a comment I made to Martouf and Lantash about your feelings for them, and it had to do with water. Just do me a favor; don’t ask them to walk on it, okay?”
Taesha looked puzzled, but solemnly agreed not to ask Lantash and Martouf to walk on water. “Besides,” she ended her agreement, “Martouf is just a man, and he would sink. How very silly.” As Sam started to laugh once again, Taesha began to smile with her saying, “There is a story in this concept of walking on water, and you must tell me soon. If you do not,” she said, laughingly, to Sam, “I will surely have to ask my father.”
Eyes sparkling, Sam agreed, “I will explain sometime. When we are back home on earth and relaxing some evening, remind me, and I will tell you all about it. I promise.”
“Agreed,” Taesha promptly replied. “Lanwin and my father seem to be getting along well. I am glad.” Her face clouded for a moment. “It will be good for Lanwin. He has missed him very much, more than he has ever told anyone. I believe my mother knows, and she has always done what she could, but it has been painful for her. Unfortunately, I do not think Lanwin understands, even though I have tried to explain. I do not believe that I was able to explain it to him properly, as I myself cannot truly comprehend and fathom the depth of the love, which my mother holds in her heart for my fathers. I sometimes think Lanwin believes he is failing her, that she is disappointed in him.” She sighed heavily, before continuing, “She tells us both that she loves us, but I think that for some reason Lanwin does not believe her, and I know not how to convince him that she loves him deeply.”
As Lanwin and Lantash walked side by side down the hall and into the transport room, Lanwin was frantically trying to assimilate what he learned within the Sanctuary chamber. How he envied Taesha, for she would be feeling none of this inner turmoil. She was so like his mother in her abilities to perceive, analyze, and adjust. She appeared to contain the same placid acceptance of life that his mother did, and yet, he knew for a fact that neither of them were truly that calm. However, they were both experts at concealing their true emotions, unless they wished you to know them. They were able to withhold their emotions until a time came where they could express them. He had the same ability; however, he did not always analyze things before he spoke or reacted. That was a failing he was working on, but so far, he had made only a moderate amount of headway. It would come, he knew, but in the meantime, he continued to take steps that he should leave untrodden.
All right, then he would deal with it in his own way. His mother had just announced that she was a Dragon Slayer. Another legend that would be born for him to live up to. Moreover, that made this man beside him, and the woman who was his Soulmate, even more special.
He remembered the old legends almost word for word. It is known throughout the worlds that only those whose hearts are brave, true, and pure can be the mate of a Dragon Slayer. And another line read; The Dragon’s mate must have great courage, unwavering faith, strength of purpose, and a determined life-force, for they will be called to make great sacrifices, at which their hearts will cry out, but which they shall do just the same. Yet, one more line; For there is no greater love in the universe than that of a Dragon Slayer for its mates. Not its mate, but its mates. That meant that his father was mate to both of these women as was the other man. Daniel. Both these men were worthy of his respect, and one had both his respect and his love.
They exited the transport room and traversed the great hall. As they walked down the steps toward the garden, he turned to his father, “My heart holds joy this day, my father, for we have waited long for you to come back into our lives. It is a great happening, for both Taesha and me that you have returned alive and well, for often we feared your death might have occurred, and we did not know.”
Lantash said to him softy, his love obvious in his voice, “You can have no way of knowing how often I have thought of you and your sister over the years. I have missed you much, and I am looking forward to talking to you. I feel as if I want to know everything about you, all of the things that I missed because I chose to stay behind.” Clearing his throat, he said, “I realize that you may resent me for not accompanying your mother when she left. I would not blame you if you hated me for what you would perceive as abandonment. I wish I could…” his voice trailed off into silence, as he took in the blank look on his son’s face.
“We have never felt that way about you. Never. You had responsibilities to your people, as our mother had responsibilities to hers. The Goa’uld are a plague, a plague that must be controlled or eliminated. We are aware of this, and we honor you for your strength of purpose, just as we do our mother. Please, put aside those thoughts, for they are founded on nothing,” Lanwin was quick to assure him. “We also understand what you truly are now, you and your host. We have always thought you wonderful and special. Now, our suspicions of your strength of character, the true strength of your life-force, have been proven. Only those who are strong and brave could be the mates of the Dragon Slayers,” he said earnestly, and then he smiled at Lantash. We are being very serious, and that has its place, but I am feeling so much joy, at being with you again, that I cannot remain so solemn for long. I find myself wanting to smile, simply because we are here together.”
Looking at the smiling young man who looked so much like Dominic, Lantash could not help but smile in return. Hearing Taesha and Samantha laughing together, they turned to look at them. Their heads close together, the two women were obviously getting along very well. Lantash’s smile widened, as he turned back to his son. “I am glad that Taesha and Samantha are getting along well. It is my wish and hope that you will both come to love her, and honor her, as Martouf and I do.”
“She has linked with our mother, and she is your mate. With the final joining of their hearts and spirits, she will become our mother, also. We will honor her always, for she makes you happy,” was the simple, but sincere reply.
Lantash smiled at him, and said, “It is my belief that you will come to honor and love her for herself, not only because of her ability to make me happy.”
Looking back at the two heads bent so close together, obviously enjoying each other’s company, Lanwin nodded his, as he said, “She is a beautiful woman, and she has a warrior’s heart. I agree with you, my father, for I, too, believe we will come to honor and love her for herself.” They walked in companionable silence the last few feet to their destination.
They had arrived at a magnificent building, one that soared toward the skies. On earth, one would call it a fairy-tale castle; these people called it a home. Attendants came to show each of them to their assigned chambers. A shower, food, and sleep sounded good.
Jack looked up the table at the old gentleman who had joined them. He was certainly a commanding figure. Tall and broad-shouldered, he had the same air of power about him that Merdwin had, but it was more blatant. Although his hair was white, his skin was a deep gold and his deep green eyes were sharp, missing no detail. He might look as if he was an older man, but if you looked at him closely, you soon recognized the illusion that it was for his movements, eyes, and demeanor belied that image.
Carter and Kataya sat on either side of him, and he had been talking calmly and quietly to Sam for quite some time. It was obvious that he was charming her just as she had obviously charmed him. A mutual admiration society, in fact, but Jack was glad since Carter would have to be under him during her training. Maybe if she charmed him enough, he wouldn’t be so hard on her.
“It will make no difference, Colonel O’Neill. My Grandfather dotes on my mother, yet from the stories we have heard, he was harder on her than he was on anyone else. She is his daughter, you see, and therefore one expects that she will excel as a Warrior. It was the same for Gwennetha and her brother, just as it is for Lanwin and I. Samantha contains threads in her soul that trace back to Artereos. He will consider her a daughter, and therefore, he will expect her to excel, also, and she will. She is a Dragon Slayer; it is in her blood to be a Warrior of great strength, skill, and cunning.” Taesha, who was sitting next to him, seemed to have read his thoughts.
He frowned at her, and said, “I thought you weren’t supposed to enter people’s minds unasked,” he almost snapped. She was too beautiful, there had to be something less than attractive about her. He just had to find it. She looked amused as she stared at him.
“I did not read your mind, Colonel, I read your face. Your thoughts were obvious. You are worried about Samantha Carter, but she will be fine. She is descended from a great Warrior and an Enchantress of Nature’s forces, as is my mother. Her powers will prove to be formidable, believe me.” Taesha tried to make him understand the great forces that were at work within Samantha Carter.
He would not believe until he saw it for himself. Well, from what they now knew about the mission they had volunteered for, he would see her power—and her mother’s. Power, some of which, she now knew she herself had inherited. She needed to tell her mother; Gwennetha was not the only daughter who could channel nature’s forces.
She suspected that Lanwin, too, had inherited his mother’s abilities. She had not worked with him lately, and she knew that he did not believe it, since it was rarer for a male to inherit the Nature Powers, but she was fairly certain he had them. She needed her mother to test him, for if he had, then he needed to begin training. It was time, now, as it began to make itself known, and the power was at its most malleable—and dangerous to the unwary.
Her mind switched back to pondering the upcoming trip to the Tau'ri world. She and Lanwin had not known all of the details of the mission until today. If they wished to change their minds they could do so, but they saw no reason to. If anything, it made both of them more anxious to participate. To be included in a mission like this was every young warrior’s dream. There was no way that either of them would miss it. This was what her grandfather had been talking about when he had told them, all those years ago, that they would see the Dragon of the Blood die. To have the chance for their first manifestation to take place during a mission like this was so exciting she realized that, just thinking about it, her hands were shaking.
She would put in extra practice sessions. Nothing, absolutely nothing, would stand in her way. Starting tonight, she would spend time in the sanctuary pulling energy and working with her sword and ribbon. She knew that Lanwin would also be there. It went without saying.
She watched as her Grandfather put his hand on Samantha’s wrist. She realized that the Ring of Avilion that he always wore was glowing. He was giving her strength, energy. She had seen him do it earlier for her mother, and she looked less tired. Samantha would soon feel better, too, she knew.
She smiled remembering her Grandfather coming to Avilion when she returned here after they released her from captivity. He had done the same for her, and she had felt such peace flow into and heal her. Hard and fierce, cold and haughty, unfeeling and arrogant. In the past, many used those words to describe Artereos just as they did today, but his family knew that they were outward images, no more than illusions, sent solely for his enemy’s sake. His true self was not that way at all.
Taesha turned her attention to her father’s host, Martouf. He was a handsome man. Even though he was not as handsome as her father had been, he was handsome nonetheless. It must be very confusing for him suddenly to find himself with a Heartmate, a Soulmate, and two grown children. She smiled at him as he glanced her way. The shy smile he sent back to her cemented the winning of her heart. Her mother told her that he was a good man: gentle, kind, and loving, passionate and stubborn, determined and strong. He was deeply in love with Samantha and fond of her, Kataya. He would come to love her mother, as she would come to love him. It was inevitable.
How strange it must be for the four of them to love and be loved by each other so much. Even between Daniel, Martouf, and Lantash there was a bond of some kind. Respect was there, certainly, but something more. She could not place it yet, but she would. Still, she studied Martouf. His eyes constantly went to Samantha, and they filled with both love and desire.
His quiet dignity lent him an air of calm reserve. He was like a still, deep pool. One could see one’s reflection there, but to see deeply, one must look beneath the surface. She looked at her Grandfather as he talked to him, and she smiled. He liked this man, Martouf. She had already known he liked her father, Lantash. They had always had a certain rapport and enjoyed each other’s company. She was glad that he also seemed to like the new host.
She shifted her interest to her mother’s beloved. Daniel. Her Dayillon, she had called him. Gwennetha said she had touched his mind and soul, and that their mother had said truth. His soul was indeed beautiful. She was happy for her mother. She had mourned for him for a very long time, even during her time with Taesha’s father. He, too, was handsome. She was glad; her mother deserved a handsome man.
She shifted her scrutiny to the man sitting next to her. Colonel Jack O’Neill. A Tau’ri Warrior of distinction, it seemed. He had been amongst those that had taken out the Supreme System Lord Ra. He had been part of the group that had destroyed the motherships that Apophis was sending against the Tau’ri. He was a formidable warrior in many ways. He would be what her mother called the Katteri-enti, an elite killer and assassin who would stop at nothing to stop the Goa’uld.
Something about him bothered her, but she was not sure what it was. She felt drawn to him and it disturbed her. She made him uncomfortable, she knew. Perhaps he was drawn to her also? She sincerely hoped not because she did not have the time to meet a potential Heartmate right now. She had too much to do to become the Warrior she wanted to become. She would not let this man distract her. Perhaps in a different time, they would meet again, but this time it would not be.
She looked across the table at the Jaffa Warrior, Teal’c. He too, was an interesting person as well as an elite killer who would stop at nothing to do that which must be done. The First Prime of Apophis, he had given up everything to join the Tau’ri in their fight against the Goa’uld. He had believed they had the ability and strength of purpose to defeat the false gods. She hoped his beliefs would prove true, and she thought that they would.
She liked him very well. He said little, but saw much and understood more than most. He sensed things and was perceptive in the extreme. He would be a good, loyal friend and comrade in arms, as well as a good person to have on your side. His quiet strength drew her almost as much as Jack O’Neill’s sexual appeal did. She realized he had his own sexual appeal as well, though, and knew she was not immune to it either. Leaving those thoughts, she sighed and watched her older sister as she talked to Teal’c.
Her sister’s face was slightly flushed, an unusual happening; her sister was one of the calmest, most unexcitable people she knew. She was definitely blushing, though. Because of Teal’c? She listened to the conversation, and heard Teal’c say, in his quiet way, that Lieutenant Simmons was the main liaison between the Tok’Ra and the Tau’ri, and that he would be adding liaison duties between the Tau’ri, Tok’Ra, and Katteri Warriors once they had arrived.
Taesha smiled as the rose color delicately tinted her sister’s cheeks every time she glanced across the table. Therefore, it was nothing Teal’c was saying or doing, it was the Tok’Ra across the table from her. If Taesha remembered correctly, his name was Malek; at least that was the symbiote’s name. She frowned, trying to remember the host’s name. Ah, yes. The host’s name was Devlin. What little she had seen of him, she had liked. He seemed to be a little bit of a charmer, but his symbiote seemed slightly more solemn. She had liked them both, and obviously, so did Gwennetha. It could be a match, for their own mother had found a deep and abiding love among the Tok’Ra. Obviously, else she and Lanwin would not be here. So, Gwennetha had met someone in which she was interested. She knew her sister had begun to wonder if she would ever have more than the fondness she usually felt for her occasional lovers, so Taesha was happy for her. Gwennetha was a truly lovely person, and she deserved to find someone that would love her passionately, and that she could love passionately in return.
Turning her attention to Malek, she let her mind float freely searching for thoughts that the man and his symbiote were throwing away or feelings they were casting outward. A small smile touched her lips, as she realized that there was definite interest in her sister, and it was coming from both host and symbiote. However, there were feelings of anxiety mixed in with the interest. She picked up the words Enchanter and Warlock. Ah, they were concerned about her parentage. It was not uncommon for the women of her line to have that problem. Her own mother’s Dayillon had felt himself not good enough for the daughter of Artereos. Malek would be feeling perhaps a little apprehensive about becoming involved with a woman whose relatives were capable of killing him with the flick of a wrist or the snap of long sharp incisors. Yes, Malek was feeling both desire and apprehension.
The impressions she was picking up, said that he was more cautious than his host, and was, therefore, not as quick to take action in some situations, attraction to the opposite sex possibly being one of those ways. Taesha believed him to be solemn and quiet until something stirred him to strong emotion. He seemed the type that would weigh his options before following a path. Once roused, though, she felt sure he would have an abundance of passion about whatever it was that stirred those emotions. Many thought the Tok’Ra cold and unemotional, but those who thought that did not know them well. The Tok’Ra were extremely passionate in many ways. If it was a woman that stirred those passions, then she would expose herself to it in all its blazing glory.
Her sister also had hidden depths. The one of them that was, perhaps, the most like their mother, Gwennetha appeared serene on the surface in almost every situation, but her passions, never far below the surface, could burn out of control. Given a chance, perhaps Malek and Gwennetha could start a fire that nothing could contain. She would have to see what she could do to help it along, if she felt that Malek needed a nudge in the correct direction.
Turning her attention to Malek’s host, she realized he was feeling amorous in the extreme. Looking down the table at her sister, she then turned her gaze to Malek. Her eyes met his, and she smiled cheerfully, as she allowed her eyes to linger on him, for a moment, before she turned back to her own dinner partner. Malek had been almost alarmed at her knowing gaze. Perhaps, the next few weeks would have some few moments of interest over and beyond that of training for their first battle as Katteri.
She almost laughed aloud realizing that so many of them were attracted to either Tau’ri or Tok’Ra. Well, the Tau’ri world, Earth, had always been a favorite world of her Grandfather’ s, and they had mated with the Tok’Ra for millennia, too. She looked at Lanwin and grinned to herself wondering if the Tau’ri home-world held a woman that would bring him to his knees. It would be a pleasant change to see him lovelorn instead of the women being the ones sighing after him. He could not help it, she knew, and he never encouraged them. Their mother had stopped any tendencies he might have had to be that way a very long time ago, and she was fairly sure that their grandfather had also had a hand in seeing to it that he did not abuse his extraordinary looks.
They both remembered their father and what a stunningly handsome man he had been. Their other father, the Tok’Ra symbiote, had given them their amber eyes and skin that felt like warm soft velvet. Also, their charm, their mother had told them. She had gone on to let them know, in no uncertain terms, that there were certain things that were not acceptable. Using either the looks, or the charm, to hurt or use someone were two of those things. Lanwin had tried it once, and then never again, as his mother had increased his training until Taesha had thought he would die from exhaustion. However, he had learned the lesson and by default, so had she.
She watched her father, or at least, his host, and wished they had time to talk more to him. Perhaps later, although, she doubted they would get the chance tonight. Even though they had received energy from Artereos, it was obvious they were all tired. Those that had participated in the Sevesh were especially so. She wondered briefly about that. From the looks of their clothes in the sanctuary, there had been a great deal of blood, and the witness’s cuts were still healing, though most were gone by now, helped along by the priestesses healing touches. She had heard it whispered that the bond between Lantash of the Tok’Ra and Kataya the Warrior was no ordinary one, and she and Lanwin heard all their lives that the love between them was deep and strong. If she asked, her mother would tell her, she knew, and she had every intention of asking. Seeing her parents together, she could tell that a tie remained between them. Perhaps they had kept the aural tie? That would explain it.
There were several people seated at the table that she had not yet been able to study. Perhaps she would have a chance to get to know them tomorrow. It did not look like she would get the chance to do so tonight. Jacob Carter, Samantha’s father, and the woman that he seemed attracted to, Jocasta. Garshaw and Brialek, both Tok’Ra. Dr. Janet Fraiser, the woman who had become Merdwin’s mate, if gossip spoke truth. Seeing the looks that passed between them, she tended to believe it for once. If it was true, she was happy for Merdwin. He had borne enough pain when it came to women, and once you knew him, you realized that he deserved a woman who would love him more than anything else in the universe. Many thought Merdwin somewhat arrogant and cold. He was not, of course. He might appear that way to others, but the people of Cadwaellon knew better, as did those of his friends and family.
Her Grandfather was indicating that they could leave the table now, as the meal was finished. They were passing around the port and mead. She took a sip and let it warm her. Catching her mother’s eye, she smiled at her and received a warm look in return. She watched as her mother’s eyes returned to her Daniel, and she saw sadness there. Why, she wondered? Watching Samantha, she realized that occasionally, she too, looked at her mate with sadness. How odd. She smothered a yawn.
It was late now, and she had much yet to do tonight. Catching her Grandfather’s eye, she indicated that she would be leaving when she finished her port. He smiled at her and nodded. He knew, she realized, that although tired, she would not be seeking her bed—or anyone else’s. He would be sad about that. He was of the opinion that it was time she and Lanwin took Heartmates. She sighed. Their Grandfather loved a good romance. What a contradiction he was.
Capturing Lanwin’s gaze, she indicated the same to him. She could have talked to them mentally, of course, but that was not encouraged, unless it was expedient or necessary. The human voice and facial expression were as music and should be used and enjoyed as such, according to her Grandfather. Hence, they almost never used a link when they were together. He also said that using their sight and hearing would teach them many lessons that they could use when dealing with non-telepathic societies. He was correct, as usual. Without the practice they all maintained by using the spoken word and body language to read people, they would not have the success they had in negotiations.
Sometimes, Taesha envied her grandfather the wisdom given to him by the All, at other times she relished the excitement of learning these things through her life experiences. Furthermore, tomorrow would be a new and exciting experience. Never in her lifetime had Dragon Slayers joined. In fact, she did not know when Dragon Slayers last joined. No one would know what was happening in the sanctuary tomorrow. She did not know what story they would tell, but the truth, for once, would not do. Not even at Avilion, the Sanctuary, would they so much as whisper the truth of the Dragon Slayers.
“Grandfather, is it permitted that I ask a question about tomorrow’s ceremony?” She suddenly asked, into the comfortable silence that had fallen around the table.
“What is it that you wish to ask, Kataesha?” His voice was gentle, and he used the name that was one of affection between them, for only he and her father called her that. Well, and her mother also used it when she was truly displeased.
“What is the tale that is being woven around tomorrow’s rite and ceremony? Will not the priests and priestesses know?” She asked him.
Smiling at her, he replied, “Merdwin will officiate, and only those of us here at this table, and those who were involved in the time of Bastet, will attend. Kataya has discovered a Katteri-enti soul on the Tau’ri home-world and has trained her personally. Tomorrow I will interview her and watch her practice, and if I find her to be worthy, I will take her as a student. There will also be the ceremony for two new knights to be given their rank,” he smiled at both her and Lanwin as he said that. He continued, saying, “Tomorrow’s ceremonies will take all day, as there will also be an entwining ceremony being performed.”
“Truly? Who?” She asked excitedly. Would it be her mother and Daniel she wondered? That did not seem right somehow. Their joining would be a big celebration. She frowned, waiting for the answer.
“Truly. The entwining of Samantha and Daniel will take place first. It will be an entwining of their auras only, of course, so it will not be too taxing. After that, we will see how Samantha measures up to Katteri standards,” Artereos said into the quiet around the table. Taesha watched the shock appear on Daniel and Sam’s faces. Seeing it, Artereos laughed gently. “Do not worry about it too much. It is a formality for the most part.”
“I will stand witness for Samantha. Lantash, are you and Martouf willing to stand for Daniel?” Kataya asked. Opening a link to Lantash, Sam, and Daniel, she said, “We will meet in my chambers, and I will explain. It is just like father to break it to you in this way. I am sorry.”
“Yes, of course,” Lantash said promptly. “I look forward to it. Then we will all truly be brothers and sisters, will we not?”
“Yes, we will. With Sam and Daniel’s formal acknowledgement, you will be brothers, by Cadwaellon law,” Kataya said. She nodded to her father and said, “I believe I will go to our chamber now. Are you ready to go, Daniel, or do you wish to remain here? Tomorrow will be a full day for all of us again.”
Standing, Artereos agreed. Turning to his guests, he said, “I find that gate travel exhausts me the older I become. I, also, will retire shortly, but you are all welcome to stay and talk as long as you wish, or if you prefer, there is a game room at the end of the hall. Please make yourselves at home, and if you need anything, simply ring and someone will come to help you. That includes becoming lost within the myriad of halls this place has. Good- night.” Father and daughter, as well as Daniel, Martouf, and Samantha, left the room. The others all made choices of their own and soon the room was quiet.
Sam was nervous. Raising her hand, she knocked on the door of Kataya’s chambers. It opened immediately, and a voice she recognized as Artereos told her to enter. She and Martouf entered the room and shut the door. Walking to the settee, they made themselves as comfortable as they could be under the circumstances.
“Would you care for something to drink?” Kataya asked.
“No, thank you. I just, um, wanted to know what all of that was about? I mean, I am planning to become joined to Martouf and Lantash, not Daniel,” Sam said, a little nervously.
“I am sorry, Samantha. I did not think about it today, or I would have mentioned it earlier.” Leaning forward, as she sat on the floor at Daniel’s feet, she continued earnestly, “It is not something you have to do, if you truly do not wish to. It simply makes it all a formally acknowledged pairing. You have been his Heartmate for a very long time, but you have never formally entwined. We are not suggesting a joining of your blood, of course, just your auras.” She sighed, and then explained, “It puts us on equal footing within our relationships. Lantash and I kept our aural bonds. If you go through the entwining of the auras, you and Daniel will be mates in the same way that we are. Therefore, our respective places within the rectangle are the same.”
Sam nodded. “I think I understand. Daniel and I declared to one another that night, didn’t we?”
“Yes, Sam, you did. This simply formalizes it and makes us all the same by Furling law,” Kataya said simply.
“Lantash, Martouf, do you object?” Sam asked softly. It was really up to them and how they felt about it.
“Martouf and I have no objection to your entwining with Daniel in this way. It would be a little hypocritical, would it not, if we did?” Lantash asked, somewhat sardonically. Seeing the hurt on her face, he flushed, and then said gently, “I am sorry, Samantha, you do not deserve that type of answer.” He paused for a moment, and then taking her hand and holding it, he raised his other hand and gently caressed her cheek. “I only wish I could entwine with you first, my heart. I so wish to be formally acknowledged as your mate.”
He sighed, and then continued, “I want you and Daniel to formalize your position with one another, and the truth is that you do not need my permission to do so. I failed to consult with you as to what I was going to do with Kataya. It was such a natural thing for us, to remain bound as Heartmates through the entwining of our auras. You and Daniel have been Heartmates for a very long time, as Kataya pointed out, and you should do it. It is a wonderful love, Samantha, which you and Daniel share. I look forward to being able to take part in it.”
“Truly, Lantash? Martouf? I don’t want you to regret it later.”
“We will not. It is the right thing to do. Then we will truly all be bound to each other, as it should be. There is a reason this is all happening as it is. I do not know what it is, but I believe it to be true,” Lantash said quietly.
“I agree, my love,” Martouf said, as he came forward. “Lantash spoke for both of us. We are comfortable with this, even if we do not understand why it is happening.”
“It is happening because the All wished the bond between the five of you to be unbreakable. Each of you is willing to give everything for the other. Daniel, Martouf, and Lantash perhaps do not yet have that feeling, but once the bond between Samantha and Daniel is complete, it will come. Soon you will feel as brothers, which is as it should be. Only then will you be able to sustain one another during the darkness that lies ahead,” Artereos explained.
Daniel, Martouf, and Lantash looked at one another and knew what the other was feeling. At Artereos’s final words, a shiver of fear crept slowly down their spines.