Chapter Thirty-eight Summery: Merdwin and Sam practice, practice, practice. Sam decides that she will never be able to master all she needs to know. Sam and Kataya do a minor link after they talk for a little while. The Wedding Day has arrived and Sam is both worried and excited. Martouf and Lantash are nervous. A reception follows with all of the usual events. Martouf and Lantash even learned to dance so that they could dance with Sam. Daniel and Sam and Jacob and Sam have short sweet exchanges. They return to Avilion, training, and practice.
Adorato Coeurawyn - Adored of My Heart Adorato Wyn - Adored One Et Aevum - Into/For Eternity Amata Tu Semper - I Love You, Always Sevesh’en Twine Animaetcoeura - Rite of Entwining and/or joining both Heart and Soul Amat Wyn - My Love Coeurawyn - My Heart DuxBellorum – Leader in Battles, it is the Flagship of the Furling "Italics" - Symbiote-Host or Telepathic communication
“Concentrate Samantha, you must feel that which I am about to do, not with your eyes, but with the very air around you. Come, let us try again,” Merdwin said patiently.
“God, Merdwin, I am so tired, I don’t think I could sense a pizza that was thrust under my nose,” Sam cried, as she crumbled to the floor and stripped the blindfold off. “I am never going to get the hang of this, never,” she cried again, in frustration, as tears slowly made tracks on her cheeks.
Merdwin crouched down in front of her and gently wiped the tears away. “Kataya used to tell me the same thing, Samantha, and yet today, I am hard pressed to defend myself against her when she is blindfolded, and it has come to the point that we battle to a draw when she is not. Her abilities rival Artereos’ and mine. You have those memories within you. Call on them; bring them to the surface. Come, you are too tense about this, and that is making it impossible for you to relax and let the sensing come.”
“She is to be married tomorrow, Merdwin. I would suggest that the tension you are sensing is coming from that, and the fact that Martouf and Lantash are gone. Perhaps you have done enough for today. You have been at this for several hours now,” Kataya said, as she quietly entered the training area.
Sam took a shaky breath, and shook her head, “No, he is right, Kat. It is there; I know it is. I can feel it; I just cannot seem to access it. I don’t know if the wedding is causing it, or if I just don’t have the ability to access it and use it.”
Holding out her hand, Kataya said to her, “Come, we will do some light meditation and see if we cannot calm your spirit for a time. I believe you are simply too distraught about the upcoming wedding, to be calm enough, within yourself, to use your senses. Let us at least try to see if it helps. In the meantime, Merdwin can make his final arrangements, so he will be ready to head back to earth first thing in the morning, to gather everyone that needs to come through, and help with any last minute things that need done. I know it is worrying you, but believe me; it will be fine. Now, come,” Kataya coaxed the exhausted woman to follow her.
Sam was surprised when Kataya took her to the ritual chamber. “This is not where we usually meditate, Kat. Why are we here, in this chamber?” She wanted to know.
“When you, Martouf, and Lantash join by the Sevesh’en twine Animaetcoeura, it will be done in this chamber, as will your admittance into the ranks of the Katteri-enti.”
“Did you know that I was born in this chamber? My children, also, were born here, on the altar stone, in fact. Daniel and I joined here, not only the first time, but many times since; I received my first rank in this room. I gave my first kits their rank in this room, as I did Lanwin and Kataesha not long ago, as you know. I watched my mother go through the Sevesh, as Lantash and I did, all in this room.”
“This room is awash in blood, from one source or another, and yet, it is the most peaceful of all of the sanctuaries to me. Come, my sister, and join me on the altar stone,” Kataya said, as she walked calmly to the large stone slab.
“You were born here? On that slab of stone? And, you had your children here? Why?” Sam asked, fascinated, bewildered, and appalled.
“I am the first, and until now, only, daughter of the House of Artereos. My brother chose a different path, and he will never return to live on this plane of existence or have children. As a daughter of the House of Artereos, my children must also be born here, on this stone. Moreover, believe it or not, when a birthing takes place here, it is not just a slab of stone. It is made quite comfortable, I promise you.”
“We are off the subject at hand, that being, finding you some peace,” Kataya said, and going behind the stone, she drew out two ribbon devices. Putting one on, she offered the other to Sam, before drawing out cushions for them to rest on. Once they both had the ribbon devices on, they lay on the stone and joined hands. “Draw on me, Samantha, take what you need, for I have more than enough for the two of us this day.”
“Why this day, Kat? What makes it different than any other day?” Sam asked.
“I just left the cloister, where I visited our mother. She is happy for you. She wishes she could be there tomorrow, but she is not yet ready to leave the cloister. Soon, though, she will leave and rejoin my father. That will be a wonderful day, Samantha.”
“Shouldn’t I go to meet her, Kataya? I didn’t realize you could actually talk to her and see her,” Sam said, her eyes wide and anxious.
“She is not in a corporeal form, Samantha, and you cannot yet traverse the All while in meditation. She understands, do not worry,” Kataya assured her, calmly.
She then changed the subject, saying, “I do not remember if I ever told you that your father, Llancellon, found his Soulmate again. She is a perfect mate for him, and I believe you will like her. He missed her much, as my mother missed my father. They will come for your joining when you, Lantash, and Martouf go through the Sevesh’en. We have not told him yet that you are here, as the fewer who know of you the better; otherwise, he would be there for you tomorrow. He has your blond hair and blue eyes.”
“Did I ever tell you that I get my violet, or as Daniel sometimes says, amethyst, eye color from my mother? I know you saw her in a dream, but you never mentioned her eye color. Daniel says my eye color changes with my emotions, sometimes the darker shade of violet, at others the purer, clearer tones of the amethyst,” Kataya’s voice continued in a low soothing manner, talking of nothing in particular, and soon Sam was asleep, their hands joined and melded through the ribbons. It was not long until Kataya joined her.
Merdwin came in and watched over them, as one sister gave inner peace to the other, at least for this one day. He knew that when they awoke, he and Samantha would once again practice with the blindfold and this time, Samantha would do well, for she was learning and accomplishing that which she must, with amazing speed. Artereos had been correct in his estimate. Samantha would soon be ready to leave here and her practice sessions with Kataya, and himself, would be sufficient to finish her training.
When the day of the Great Battle dawned, Samantha Carter would indeed be ready to become CsillaBellawyna, The Beautiful Star; the Dragon of the Star of the prophecy.
“Samantha, you must calm yourself. It will soon be time to leave for your homeworld and your wedding and joining ceremony. There is really no reason for you to be so nervous,” Artereos said, patiently, to the pale young woman, sitting and shredding a perfectly good croissant onto her plate. “Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel have only been away for a couple of days, and I am sure that if any problem had arisen, they would have contacted you. Merdwin went first thing this morning, and I am very sure that if the smallest of problems was pending he would tell us.”
“I believe that all of us are nervous on the morning we are to pledge ourselves to a mate for eternity, Father. Do you not remember how anxious I was the first time I was joined to Daniel?” Kataya reminded her father.
“I don’t believe that, Kat. You are never nervous, or upset about anything, well, besides you know who, and I just cannot see you being nervous, or anxious, about joining to Daniel. You knew he was your Soulmate,” Sam said quietly.
“Just as you know that Martouf and Lantash are yours, Samantha,” Kat rejoined, pointedly.
Attempting to take a bite of her breakfast, Sam reverted to the subject of Kataya and Daniel’s joining, “If you really were nervous, what was it that made you that way?”
“I was anxious because Dayillon received some new manuscripts the evening before the ceremony, and I was afraid he would forget the ceremony. I made father go and make sure he had not become engrossed by them and forgotten. It was as well that I did, although both his father, and mine, arrived at his chambers at the same time. He had fallen asleep on top of his manuscripts, much as he still does to this day, and they had to awaken him and get him dressed in very little time. He made it though, even if he was a little groggy still. He awoke once he was in the sanctuary, and the ceremony began. It was a beautiful, profound event in our lives, and I have remembered that first time, with affection, for many millennia,” Kataya laughed, remembering that day.
Sam looked at her, and realized that she would someday be laughing and remembering this day, as she went to claim her mate once again. Or on the day that one of her children were about to join, and they would ask the same question she had just asked of Kataya. She was so lucky to have this sister with her today, taking the place of her mothers.
“Janet should be here soon, Sam; then you will need to dress. Try to eat, so you do not become unwell later.”
Still thinking about Kataya and her first joining with Daniel, she said, “So you were anxious about Daniel not being there, not about falling down, or forgetting what to say, or anything like that. Or, or,” she swallowed, convulsively, “You weren’t concerned that he had changed his mind. You knew that he would always love you, and that there was no hesitation on his part to do this,” she looked toward Artereos and Kataya, her eyes bright with tears. “This is so stupid. I know they love me more than they love anything else in the Universe. Why am I having these thoughts?”
“I do not know, Sam, for as you say, you know that he loves you well. He will be there waiting, and he will say his vows to you and mean them. He has wanted this for months, Samantha, as you know very well.”
“Stop letting your imagination run away with you. If you wish to imagine something, then imagine the time that Daniel is having, trying to keep Martouf and Lantash from becoming nervous wrecks. If they are not imagining that you will change your mind, then they believe they will fall down, forget what they are to say, lose the ring, or Malek will, or the Goa’uld will attack at the last minute, and he will never get to be joined with you. The last of which at least Merdwin can assure him will not happen, for the DuxBellorum, our flagship, will remain in orbit above Earth after it drops us off. Nothing the Goa’uld could do will interrupt this day for you, Samantha, that much I will promise you,” Kat reassured her.
“You are right of course. I have no idea why I am allowing myself to get so worked up over this stuff. It is so silly, I mean, everything is under control, right? We still have three hours before the ceremony and all I have to do is get my hair done and put my dress on. And all I have to remember is the ring,” she said calmly, then looked at Kataya, “Oh, my god, where is the ring? I have forgotten what I did with the ring. Kat…”
“Samantha, calm down. We sent it with Merdwin the day before yesterday to have him make sure it fit, so that if it did not, he would have time to get it sized.”
“Of course, what is wrong with me? Do you think he liked it, Kat? I cannot believe we completely forgot it. How could I have done that?” Sam asked, her voice shaking again.
Turning to Artereos, she said, “I can’t thank you enough for helping me to have it made here. I truly do appreciate it very much.”
“You are very welcome, Samantha, and I believe that the ring you decided on will mean a great deal to him, for it will indeed tell him how you feel about both the host and the symbiote. Your idea of having the symbol for a woman, surrounded by those of a man and a symbiote, was a very good one. The symbols look to be ancient Egyptian, and only those of us who know, will realize that it is the Tok’Ra symbols for those things. And the inscription will mean a great deal to Lantash.”
“You didn’t think it was, oh, I don’t know, silly?” She asked, anxiously.
“No, Samantha, and neither will Lantash and Martouf, for it will tell them exactly what you wish it to. You are a human woman. They are an alien being, two souls within one body. To tell them that in diversity there is beauty is to tell them you love their uniqueness. They will understand and be very touched by it. Believe me, for I speak truth,” Artereos assured her firmly.
Sam got up, walked around the table, and kissed him on the cheek, “Thank you. You have been very good to me, and I appreciate everything.”
“The Chaappa’ai has activated, Sire. It is the Tau’ri healer, another younger Lady, and Lady Samantha’s Tok’Ra father,” an attendant said, quietly, from the door.
“Bring them in, Gerwynt, thank you,” Artereos, answered him. Turning to Sam, he patted her cheek, and said, “Your friend and her daughter are here, as is your father. Now, no more thank yous; I have enjoyed doing these things for you, for you are the daughter of my soul—as well as my heart.”
Smiling as he turned to the door, he greeted his newest guests with his usual charm. Then he looked beyond them, to Merdwin. “I was not aware that you had returned, Merdwin. No problems, I hope?” He asked, as the group entered.
“None at all, and I have come to assure Samantha that everything is going exactly as it should be, including the groom becoming almost comatose from nerves. He has begun to drink Port and Mead, and I have no doubt that if he continues at his present rate, Malek and Daniel will have to support him, or he will fall on his face,” he teased Sam gently, as he handed her the box containing the ring for Martouf and Lantash.
“Samantha, the ring fit perfectly and they were almost overcome when they read the inscription and saw the symbols. They asked that I tell you they are counting the seconds until you will be their wife and they your husband in the manner of your world,” Merdwin passed on his message quietly.
“Thank you,” Sam whispered.
Unable to contain her excitement any longer, Cassie said, “Did mom tell you, Sam? What we decided I would do in the wedding?”
Turning to the eager young girl, who was herself standing on the edge of womanhood, she told her, “No, what are you going to do?” Seeing the almost apprehensive look on Janet and Merdwin’s faces, she felt a little uneasy, but determined not to let it show if she was upset.
She listened as Cassie told her, “I am going to be the third bridesmaid. Mom said, since you were having two, one more would not matter, and Martouf and Lantash wanted to have Lanwin in the wedding, so I get to be his partner, and he is sooo much eye candy, I can hardly stand it,” the girl announced in a rush. Hearing choking sounds coming from the other people in the room, it was all Sam could do not to laugh aloud herself.
“I see. And have you, um, informed Lanwin that he is, ah, sooo much eye candy?”
“Well, I didn’t, but he was over at the house the other day and my friends, Sherri and Tiffany, were there, and they both told him. He was way embarrassed. But, still cute. Taesha has started to call him candy-man.”
Swiftly losing interest in that subject, she continued, “She is going to do the flowers and cake and stuff. I offered to let her have my place in the wedding, but she said no, she would rather not be squired by her brother when there were other, more interesting men around. So, she did all the flowers and the decorations. And she and some of the other Katteri are going to sing a chant that she says is important.”
Sam smiled at the eager girl, and said, “Well it sounds like everything is under control, so maybe we should all go and get dressed. What are you wearing, Cassie?”
“Oh, the guy at the door took our stuff and said he would put it in your chambers. It is a dress just like mom and Kataya’s, only a different shade of blue. It is very pretty. And the slippers that go with it are silver, just like all of yours,” she chattered on, her excitement apparent, as they mounted the stairs.
“The guys are wearing tuxes, and I heard Malek and Martouf complaining about them choking in them. I think they are just nervous.”
“Out of the mouths of babes,” Janet murmured, as they entered the room they were to use to get dressed. Jacob had stayed downstairs with Artereos and Merdwin. He was already in his uniform.
“Go and take your bath, Samantha,” Kataya said, “and Janet, Cassie, and I will get your dress out and ready before we, also, take our baths.”
“Cass and I did that before we left the base, so don’t worry about us,” Janet said. “Go ahead and take yours, and we will see to this stuff.”
“Thanks, Janet, I will. See you both shortly,” Kataya said, as she, too, left to go and take a long, relaxing bath. It would take little time to dress. In fact, they could actually get ready except for the dresses and then change on the DuxBellorum. She opened a link to talk to Janet and she agreed with her. There would be less time for the dresses to get anything on them or have some disaster happen to them. They had lots of time. She could not help but hope that the arrival of Janet and Cassie would keep that from being a mixed blessing.
“Martouf, I really think you and Lantash should slow down on the Port and the Mead. You know, as well as Malek and I do, that the symbiote can only filter so much out. If you do not slow down soon, Daniel, Lanwin, and I will have to hold you up, so you will not fall on your face,” Devlin chided him.
Throwing Devlin an exasperated look, Martouf set the glass he was holding down on a nearby table, with a snap. “I cannot wait until you once more take a mate, Dev, you and Malek. I will be sure to remind you of this day,” Martouf exclaimed, his voice testy in the extreme. His eyes flared and Lantash came to the fore to agree with his host, “Yes, and I, too, am looking forward to seeing how unhelpful I can be, when you are pacing a rut in the floor, as I am now, and as I know for a fact you have done in the past.” Scowling at his friend, he continued, “And stop smirking, it does not become you.” His friends met his statement with hoots of derision, as they stood in front of him. Even Malek, who had come forward to converse with him, was grinning unrepentantly.
“It is a good thing that Daniel started early trying to get you dressed. I cannot believe you could not stand still long enough to let him get the neck dressing tied,” Malek said. “If Sergeant Siler had not come in and held your attention, by climbing the ladder to realign that lighting fixture, we would still be struggling to get you to stand still and hold your head up.”
“Yes,” Daniel murmured, “And now, Jack owes Siler and me ten bucks a piece for the tie, and another ten for the cuff links, because he bet us Siler could not keep your attention long enough for me to get it done.”
“Daniel,” Lantash almost sputtered, in his indignation, “Are you telling me that there was nothing wrong with your lighting fixtures, or the way they were hanging?”
Daniel’s grin, too, was unrepentant, “Um, yeah, that is what I am saying. Look at it this way. If we had not found a way to get you to stand still with your head up, so I could get it tied, I would have ended up using it to strangle you, and then Sam would have been really upset. The way it worked out, Siler managed to keep you distracted long enough, that I was able to get the tie tied and your cufflinks in, with little or no pain on your part, and a lot less frustration on mine. Siler and I both made a little money, and Sam will not have to be upset with me because I murdered you." Daniel paused and then added thoughtfully, "Although, I think it would have been ruled as a justifiable homicide.”
Suddenly, Martouf took control and grinned, saying, “We have given you a great deal of trouble, Daniel, and we are truly sorry. We are glad to know that at least we did not cost you any money.”
“Yeah, me too. I am also glad you seem a little calmer. There really is not anything about which to be nervous. Sam loves you, and she is not going to change her mind and not show up.”
“How did you know I have been thinking that, Daniel?”
“I cannot imagine a bridegroom not thinking that. Either that, or wondering where the nearest exit is, so they can change their mind, and since I know you would not be in that group, it had to be the other one. Merdwin would have said something when he came to get Janet and the ring, if there was a problem, Martouf. I really think the only thing you need to be worried about is forgetting what you are supposed to say. Although, as often as you have gone over those lines in the last two weeks, I do not think that is a very big possibility either.”
“No, Lantash would not allow me to forget what I am to say, even if I forget myself. They have an excellent memory,” Martouf said, simply, with quiet pride in his symbiote’s abilities.
“Good. It will not be long now, you know. They should be arriving anytime.”
“Then we should go to the gate room and greet them,” Martouf said, as he turned to head toward the door.
“No,” Daniel said, “there would not be any point in going down there. They are not arriving by gate.”
“Then how are they arriving and when?” Martouf asked.
“They will be beamed directly into my quarters. The DuxBellorum is bringing them and then staying in orbit until the wedding celebrations are over,” Daniel explained.
“The DuxBellorum? But, that is the Flagship of the Furling. Why is it bringing them?”
“The logistics of them coming through the gate was a problem. The people here spent a lot of time decorating it, and a wormhole would mess that up. We would have had to clear out the guests, so the bride could come in without being seen, too, and that just would not work.”
“So Artereos said, that since the DuxBellorum would be coming in to pick up some warriors at Avilion, it would just make an extra trip here to drop everyone off, and it will stay in orbit until it is over. Then it will beam the extra team members that Artereos is sending down, take all of us back to Avilion, and be on its way to the Morovian sector, where its been engaged lately.”
“I see. I do not remember discussing this at any time. When was it decided?” Martouf sounded bewildered.
“I think it was a couple of days ago. Janet and Jocasta realized what a mess it would be to get Sam here before the wedding, unless she came the night before, and since Artereos wanted her there for some reason, it was decided to use the ship.”
“Why would Artereos care if she came one evening ahead of time? That makes no sense.”
Daniel sighed, and looked over at Malek and Lanwin, who shrugged. “Merdwin and Sam started her blindfolded training. Artereos did not want her to be thinking about having to get ready to leave to come here, when she needed to be concentrating on what was going on around her. She had trouble at first, but then I guess she and Kataya did another milder link, and she did very well after that.”
“In a way, this will work out better. I know you, and I think that Artereos does, too, and that is another reason he did not want her to come last night. If Sam was here, you would want to be with her and part of the Tau’ri tradition, traditions I might add, that you wanted to follow, is that you do not see the bride before the wedding. Ergo, you could not have stayed with her, if she was here. I think they just decided it would be easier on both of you, if she was there, and you were here. That is just my opinion, though.”
“Father, please, stop pacing. She is fine truly. I talked to Merdwin myself, just as you did, a little over three hours ago, and he said that Samantha was doing quite well. He did say, however, that she has been missing you,” Lanwin added.
A knock drew their attention, and when they opened the door, it was to see Taesha and Colonel O’Neill standing there. In Taesha’s hands, she held four, partially opened, deep red rose buds. “Here are the flowers you are each to wear,” she said, as she handed them to Daniel.
“We have to wear flowers?” Malek asked, startled.
“Yes, but do not look so apprehensive, Coeurawyn,” Gwennetha’s voice sounded from behind the Colonel. “You will look quite charming with a rose in your hair,” she said, with a wicked grin, as she came farther into the room, took one of them from Daniel, and headed toward him. “Was it to go behind the right ear, or the left one, Taesha?” she asked solemnly.
Lips twitching, as he watched her play her game, Daniel answered before Taesha could give it away, by saying, “I believe it is the left ear; it is the left hand that the ring goes on.”
“Of course,” she replied, “How silly of me to have forgotten.”
Swiftly reaching out a hand and catching her chin, Malek forced Gwennetha to raise her eyes to his, “You should not tell such lies, Gwennetha. Nor should you laugh at us so openly,” he said, his voice stern.
Planting a swift kiss on his pursed lips, she sighed, “Alas, I have been found out and rebuked. I am crushed and penitent.”
Malek snorted, softly, “Your remorse would choke an honest man, Gwennetha, Amat Wyn. Come, tell us what we are to do with them,” he smiled at her, to let her know he realized she had been teasing them.
“Oh, all right, if you insist,” she said, as she proceeded to pin the rose to his lapel. “There. Very nice against that deep blue. I am glad she chose this deep shade. It makes her eyes very blue and I see that it also brings out more of the blue in yours, Martouf. There is very little gray in them this day. You all look extremely handsome. Even you, little brother,” she teased Lanwin.
“No doubt, there will be many murmuring eye candy this day.” Smiling at him, she kissed his cheek as he flushed, and murmured, for only his ears, as the others were busy making sure everything was in order, “They are young girls trying their wings, Lanwin. Perhaps we should not tease you, but those of us who know you, know that you are very much more than just a beautiful face. Do not let it bother you; take it as the compliment they meant it to be, my dear.”
Smiling at his sister, he shook his head, “You have often been there to make me see the truth, Gwennetha. Thank you. You know, you are not a bad piece of eye candy yourself, and it is obvious that Dev and Malek agree.”
“The difference is that I like being called so,” she said with a grin, before turning to say to everyone. “The bride, her attendants, and her father just arrived. They are in Daniel and Kataya’s quarters and no, you cannot go see her Martouf, so stop right where you are,” she said sternly, as Jack stepped in front of him.
“It is almost time to go to the Stargate and await your bride, Martouf, Lantash. Taesha, you and the other Katteri that are to do the chant need to go and get into position to sing as they walk in, and the Colonel and I need to be there to see to it that the airmen and the Tok’Ra raise their swords for them to walk under at the correct time.”
“You have about fifteen minutes to calm yourself, Martouf. Daniel you know what must be done and when. Malek, you have the ring?” she asked, and at his holding up his hand where it resided on his little finger, she nodded her approval. Smiling at all of them, she headed toward the door.
She had taken over for Janet, now that the actual day of the wedding had arrived, and Janet could not see to the last minute details. Jocasta was off checking on the things for the reception, while Gwennetha took care of the actual ceremony end. Heading down the hall, she was still working through her mental checklist of last minute things to check on and do.
“You look beautiful, Sam. So much like your mother,” Jacob said softly. “She would have been so proud of you today and so happy for you. I am proud of you and happy for you, too.” They were alone for the moment, as the other women had gone out to check on everything one last time. “I love you, Sam, don’t ever forget that,” he said, as he leaned forward and kissed her softly.
“I know, Dad. I love you, too. So much. I don’t tell you enough, but I hope you know that I will always love you. You and Selmak, too. I have never told him how grateful I am that he gave you back to me, healthy and whole. I am though and I wanted him to know that.”
She watched as Selmak came forward to say, “The gift of life worked both ways, Samantha, for your father also gave life to me, and I care deeply for both of you. Please believe that.”
“I do, Selmak, for I care deeply for you, also. Don’t ever think otherwise. I have come to like and admire you, and I will always consider you as a father to me.
“Thank you, Samantha. I will remember,” Selmak replied, before he gave control back to Jacob.
“It is almost time, sweetheart,” Jacob said to his daughter, as he smiled at her.
“I know,” Sam whispered. “I am so happy, Dad. I love them, so much.”
“I know, sweetie. They love you, too.” He looked over as the other women came back, and only then did he realize they had needed to check on nothing, they had simply given him time alone with his daughter. He smiled at them in thanks, and they smiled at him in return.
“It is time, Sam,” Janet said, softly. “We have to go down toward the gate room.
Sam nodded, “I am ready.”
Daimesh and General Hammond mounted the steps behind the Stargate. The couple would stand within the ring, for it had brought them together and it was fitting that they should bind themselves to one another within its circle. As the two men stood at the top of the ramp, the groom, the best man, and the two groomsmen entered and made their way to the top of the ramp.
Malek stopped Martouf from trying to loosen his tie and Daniel did the same for Malek. Lanwin grinned at them all and winked at his father, letting him know they were all there with him.
Shortly after they were in position, the music stopped and the group of Katteri began to sing one of the beautiful chants that Sam had come to love so much. It was truly beautiful as they sang it in a four-part harmony. They stopped as the sounds of a flutelike instrument played by the Tok’Ra took its place as the first of the bridesmaids walked in.
As Cassie had said, her dress was lovely. Pale blue with a dark blue under-dress, it was medieval in style, as they all were, and looked wonderful on the young girl-woman. Kataya followed her, her dress a darker shade of blue over the deep blue that Sam had chosen. Janet was next to walk under the upheld swords. She, too, was wearing blue over blue.
And then at last, Sam and her father were walking under the swords and the sounds of the group singing in perfect harmony with the Tok’Ra flutes filled the room, as Sam walked forward to meet her future husbands.
The dress she had finally settled on was the opposite of the bridesmaids. The dark blue was the over dress with the under dress the paler, almost ice blue. It, too, was medieval with the long tight under-sleeves and the open sleeves on top. It clung to her body then flared from her hips. The over dress was split and open so that the under-dress showed plainly.
On her head, she wore her circlet, embellished with a cascade of dark blue net and lace falling down her back, and covering the myriad of buttons that closed the back of the dress. She was so beautiful it almost took Martouf’s breath, and even Lantash seemed to have lost his ability to think, as they watched her come towards them. As she reached them, the music stopped and after bowing their heads to one another, they turned to General Hammond and Daimesh.
The deep tones of the Tok’Ra reverberated, as Daimesh said to the people gathered there, “It is with honor and reverence, that we gather here today, to witness the joining of Samantha of the Tau’ri and Martouf and Lantash of the Tok’Ra. Please join with General Hammond and I, as we bear witness to their pledges and vows to one another. Listen in silence and with respect to them.”
General Hammond cleared his throat before saying, “We are gathered here today, to witness the joining and share in the joy of this woman and these men, as they embrace the bonds of matrimony. Who gives this woman into this bond and joining?”
“I do,” Jacob replied, and then taking Sam’s hand in his, he turned to Martouf and Lantash, and said, “Of all the things I have ever had, nothing has been more precious, or dear to my heart, than this woman. I give her to you and ask that you consider her, and her love of you, to be the most precious gift you have ever received.”
Leaning forward, he kissed Sam’s cheek and gave the hand that he held to Martouf. “Love her, honor her, and cherish her, always,” he said.
“We will, Jacob. She is more precious to us than life itself. We thank you,” Martouf said, softly.
Nodding, Jacob turned, and moved to the side of the ramp.
Daimesh spoke up to say, “They have chosen to state their vows in their own words, and we will listen as they repeat them, one to the other. He smiled briefly at Sam and nodded his head to her to begin.
Giving her flowers to Janet, she turned to Martouf and clasped his hands saying firmly and lovingly, “I, Samantha, take thee, Martouf, to be my wedded husband and my bonded mate. I promise to love you, and to cherish you, to honor you, and to respect you, all the days of my life.”
“I give my heart into your keeping, knowing you will guard it, and hold it, keeping my love close to you, always. I promise to share your joys and your sorrows, your triumphs and defeats. I will share all that I have, and all that I am with you.”
“Forsaking all others, I will keep myself only unto thee, as long as we both shall live, and thereto I plight thee my troth. My love for thee, Martouf, is eternal.”
Clasping her hands tightly, Martouf began to repeat his vows, his voice firm, yet tender, “I, Martouf, take thee, Samantha, to be my wedded wife and bonded mate. I promise to love you, and to cherish you, to honor you, and to respect you, all the days of my life.”
“I give my heart into your keeping, knowing you will guard it and hold it, keeping my love close to you, always. I promise to share your joys, and your sorrows, your triumphs, and defeats. I will share all that I have and all that I am with you.”
“Forsaking all others, I will keep myself only unto thee, as long as we both shall live, and thereto I plight thee my troth. My love for thee, Samantha, is eternal.”
Smiling at him, Sam did not let go of his hands, so he could take the ring from Malek yet. Instead, she said, her voice filled with conviction and love, “I, Samantha, take thee, Lantash, to be my wedded husband and my bonded mate. I promise to love you, and to cherish you, to honor you, and to respect you, all the days of my life.”
“I give my heart into your keeping, knowing you will guard it and hold it, keeping my love close to you, always. I promise to share your joys and your sorrows, your triumphs and defeats. I will share all that I have and all that I am with you.”
“Forsaking all others, I will keep myself only unto thee, as long as we both shall live, and thereto I plight thee my troth. My love for thee, Lantash, is truly eternal and deep, for in diversity there is beauty, and to me, both of you are beautiful indeed.”
Holding her hands tightly, Lantash responded, his deep tones made huskier yet by the deep emotion he was feeling, as he said to her, “I, Lantash, take thee, Samantha, to be my wedded wife and my bonded mate. I promise to love you, and to cherish you, to honor you, and to respect you, all the days of my life.”
“I give my heart into your keeping, knowing you will guard it, and hold it, keeping my love close to you always. I promise to share your joys and your sorrows, your triumphs and defeats. I will share all that I have and all that I am with you.”
“Forsaking all others, I will keep myself only unto thee, as long as we both shall live, and thereto I plight thee my troth. My love for thee, Samantha, is truly eternal. You are the sun that brightens our world and makes us whole. We will love you into eternity.”
Turning to Malek, he took the ring they had designed and had made, all those months ago, and now at last, she would wear the set, the true outward symbol of their joining.
Looking into her eyes, he said as he slipped the rings onto her finger, still in the deep, husky, tones that showed so much emotion, so much love, “Samantha, with this ring, I thee wed, with my body, I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods, I thee endow.”
“This ring is the symbol of our vows; the exchange of these rings is the symbol of the unbroken circle of love; love, which freely given, has no beginning and no end. This ring is the outward pledge of our vows, one to the other. It is given with all the love our heart holds for you.”
Turning to Janet, Sam took the ring Artereos had helped her acquire for them. Her voice plainly showing her emotions, she said as she slipped it onto their finger, “Lantash and Martouf, with this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods, I thee endow.”
“This ring is the symbol of our vows; the exchange of these rings is the symbol of the unbroken circle of love; love, which freely given, has no beginning and no end. This ring is the outward pledge of our vows, one to the other. It is given with all the love my heart holds for you.”
Turning back to face Daimesh and General Hammond, they listened as the General said, “In as much as Samantha, Martouf, and Lantash have spoken their vows, before witnesses, and declared themselves to one another, I now pronounce them husband and wife.” Daimesh then said, “As we have been witness to their pledges and vows, we now declare them bonded mates.”
“Well, go on, son,” General Hammond said, “It is time for you to kiss your bride.”
Not having to tell them twice, Martouf took her in his arms and lost himself to the sweetness of their first kiss as, in the eyes of her world, husband and wife. As Martouf and Lantash seamlessly exchanged places, Lantash murmured for her ears only, “And at last you may officially call me, my husband, as you tease the dragon, my wife.” His voice becoming even more husky, he whispered, “Dear Universe, Samantha, we do love you so.”
“As I love you, my husbands,” she whispered back, “As I love you.”
Sighing, Sam pulled out of his arms. “I am afraid we have to circulate, eat a little bit, cut the cake, and listen to the toasts, before we can leave. The sooner we get started, the sooner we can leave, my love.”
As they sat at the table in the mess, ate their chocolate wedding cake, and talked and chatted to all the people that came up to them, Sam could not keep her eyes away from Martouf and Lantash’s for very long. How she loved these two. How was she ever going to be able to…No. She refused to think about the future today. Today, she would be happy and enjoy every minute she had with them. Tomorrow would take care of itself. Today she was with them. She was their wife. They were her husbands.
She smiled, remembering the almost horrified look on Lantash’s face, when he realized that they were serious about feeding each other cake and drinking from glasses held by the other. However, he had carried through. Both of them had, as the group of friends insisted that it was only fair that both of the men should get to share the treat of having Samantha feed them cake. They had enjoyed licking the icing from her fingers, while they gazed into her eyes, after she had kept the piece from falling from the fork.
Their friends had cheered them, and for the first time, Lantash had come to realize that, while some of the Tau’ri were appalled at this joining, many were truly happy and sincere in their good wishes. They wanted Samantha to be happy and if this alien made her so, then they were willing to accept him into their ranks as her mate. It was a humbling experience, in some ways, to realize that so many of them accepted them, perhaps even respected them.
They had expected rudeness and disrespect. They had found likable people willing to get to know them and treat them as they would anyone else. Once they got past the glowing eyes, anyway. Moreover, it did not seem to take most of them long to do so. Just as most of the Tok’Ra had come to like and respect Jacob, Lantash and Martouf realized there were many who would come to like and respect them.
Sam looked around at all of her friends and co-workers. It was good to be here. She was glad they had decided to have the ceremony on the base. It had worked out well. She said as much to Martouf.
Smiling down at her, he agreed. He watched her as she talked to her friends and to his people, as well as the Furlings who had attended. Grace and beauty combined in her and formed a woman who was poised, charming, and warm. Janet came over and whispered in her ear. He saw her shake her head, then sigh, and give in to the request, whatever it was.
Janet went to the middle of the room and signaled for everyone’s attention. “Okay, it’s time for the bride to let her new husband show us who the next groom is going to be. Bring the chair Sergeant Siler, and all the single guys go over there, on that side of the room.
Martouf watched, as the women appeared to herd the unmated men into a group, several yards from the chair. There was a great deal of laughing and talking among the Tau’ri, and though the men looked to be a little uncomfortable, they were also joking with all of the other men, and appeared to be taking whatever was about to happen with good grace. He was confused when Sam stood and held out her hand to him.
“We have to do this, but it is really no big deal. Come on, and I will explain what you have to do, okay?”
Standing, he nodded his head and followed her to the chair. “Come stand in front of me, Martouf,” Sam said as she settled herself in the chair. Before she could explain anything else, Janet stepped up to him and said, “Martouf, this is a simple tradition that the bride and groom go through here on earth after the ceremony, usually during the reception. Do you know what a garter is?”
“No, I do not believe I do,” Martouf answered as he looked from Samantha to Janet. “What is it?”
“Sam will show you in a minute. All you have to do is kneel down at her feet, while she sits in the chair. She will raise her skirts, and you take the garter off her leg. Then you stand and turn your back to the group of men who will then be standing behind you. When you have done that, you toss the garter over your shoulder, into the group of men without turning around. The tradition states that whichever man catches the garter will be the next to get married.”
“If I must do this with my back to the group of men, why do we not turn the chair to face them so my back will already be to them?” Lantash came forward to ask, thinking of the practical side of the process.
“Because half the fun for the guys is that they all get to watch you take the garter off Sam, and if you are in front of her, they can’t watch,” Janet explained. “Oh, and Sam has two on, so that you and Martouf both get to take one off and throw it,” she added, cheerfully.
Lantash glanced down and realized that Sam had raised the skirt of her dress. “What is a garter?” he asked hurriedly.
“It is a little piece of elastic, satin and lace that Sam has around her thigh. All you have to do is take it off, and toss it over your shoulder. Simple, I promise,” Janet encouraged.
He looked down at his Samantha, and she smiled almost seductively at him, as she raised the skirt a little higher. He still did not see anything wrapped around her leg. Giving in, but wishing he was somewhere else, or he had not insisted on as much of a traditional Tau’ri wedding as they could arrange, he knelt at Samantha’s feet.
"You will go first Martouf," Lantash said, as he released control to his host. "Martouf. Martouf!" Lantash sighed, as Martouf seemed to be beyond words or motions. He appeared to be clinging to a metaphorical doorframe by his metaphorical fingertips and firmly refused to allow Lantash to push him through it into the forefront. "Never mind, I will do this first, and then you shall do it. I will not be the only Tok’Ra to take part in these rather strange customs," he said, resignation in his voice.
Samantha’s foot found a place to rest very high up on his thigh. Sam’s slipper was off and feeling the heat from her foot, resting in that particular spot, was suddenly almost erotic. Perhaps the Tau’ri had other reasons for some of their odd customs.
He looked up and into her eyes and realized that some of the men were calling encouragement out to him. Looking back down at her leg, he realized that she had pulled the skirt up higher yet, and there, several inches above her knee, was a dark blue piece of satin. She smiled at him, laughing softly. “See, you don’t have to go hunting for it. The other one is on the other leg,” she leaned forward and said softly. “Go on Lantash, it is just a fun thing. The guy that catches it gets teased a lot, but it is all in a spirit of fun, really.”
Lantash shook his head slightly and then smiled, as he slowly ran his hands up the calf of her leg, sending her a heated look. He decided that he might as well enjoy this, since it appeared that he had no choice in the matter. Seeing the appreciative look in her eyes, he was glad he had decided that he could join in the fun this time.
His slowness in reaching for the garter was causing the men involved to give him even more encouragement. At last, he reached it and then he slowly removed it, gliding his hands back down her leg. Once off her leg and in his hands, he leaned forward and stole a kiss, before he turned his back on the group of men and tossed it, gently, keeping in mind his added strength, over his shoulder.
Hearing the gasp, and then the sound of someone receiving slaps on their back and many voices calling out their congratulations, he turned and looked into the eyes of a man he would have to describe as a very good friend. Malek looked up from the small piece of satin and lace in his hand and stared back at him. He looked confused as to what it meant.
Lantash grinned as he saw Jacob lean over and explain. He was not sure, but he thought Malek actually blushed, as his eyes locked with Gwennetha’s eyes. She smiled at him and turned to say something to Taesha, who looked at him and smiled widely, sending him a look that said, it is only a matter of time.
Lantash turned back to Sam and convinced Martouf to take control. As they performed the ritual again, and turned to see who had caught it this time, they were pleased to see another Tok’Ra had been the chosen one, and was in the midst of a crowd of well- wishers. Sam looked at her dad and winked at him, before she looked to Jocasta. Standing she shook out her skirts and Martouf realized that the unmated women had replaced the men.
He watched as Janet gave Samantha a bouquet very similar to the one she had carried during the wedding. Turning her back, she threw it over her shoulder. Turning she was pleased to see that it had come apart, just as they had planned and that while Gwennetha had caught the majority of the bouquet, the other section had ended up in Jocasta’s hands.
She smiled brightly at them, and then caught her breath, as Sergeant Siler removed the chair, and she saw Daniel smile at her, as music started. Her friends wanted her to have it all, it seemed. The slow song that started playing was not near as much of a surprise, as having Lantash and Martouf take her in their arms, and say, “Daniel has taught us this for today, my love. Will you dance with us, our Samantha?”
“I would love to, my husbands.” Sighing softly, she laid her head on his shoulder and let the sounds of the love song sweep through her, as they slowly made their way around the room. All too soon, it was over, and she was dancing with first her father, then Daniel, and so on until she was beginning to think she would never see her new husbands again.
Sometime later, she found herself again in Daniel’s arms, as he moved her slowly around the floor, to the sounds of a beautiful song. Resting his cheek against the top of her head, he sighed lightly, “You are more beautiful today than I have ever seen you, Sam.” Daniel’ s voice sounded almost sad, and Sam looked searchingly at him.
“What is wrong, Daniel? Why are you so sad?”
Daniel shook his head, before saying softly, “I love you, Sam, and you know that. I want you to be happy, and I know that Lantash and Martouf will do everything they can to see to it that you are happy.”
He paused, before continuing, “I am not exactly sad, really. It is more a feeling of, I don’t know, a chapter of our lives ending? I think I know how Kataya felt when she said good- bye to Lantash that day. She did not lose him, and yet, things would never be the same between them. A chapter ended for them that day. Today one ends for us. I just wanted to be sure that you knew that one thing has not and never will change, Sam. I will always be there if you need me, for any reason, any time. Whether it is because you need help, or you just want to talk, or share some new discovery, all you have to do is call me, tell me, and I will come to you.”
As they continued to move slowly around the floor, Sam relaxed into Daniel’s embrace. This man was truly a part of her heart, now and forever. She breathed in his scent and smiled, remembering the first time she had realized he had a scent that was essentially all Daniel and that she loved it. Leaning back in his arms, she searched his eyes and said, “I will always love you, too, Daniel. Always. I will come if you should ever need me, for any reason, and at any time, no matter what it is, talking, helping, working, I will be there, if you need me. I will be in your heart, as you will be in mine. I promise you,” she whispered softly. “Amata tu semper, Et Aevum, Adorato Wyn.”
“Amata tu semper, Et Aevum, Adorata Coeurawyn,” Daniel answered, his voice husky with his love of her.
Smiling at each other as the song ended, they both went on to their next partner feeling content and warm. Their anchor, their rock, their tie, was still intact, still there, waiting until it was needed.
A couple of hours and many dances later, Janet went to Lantash and said, “You need to go stand with Sam now. It is almost time for you to leave and return to Avilion.”
“I cannot say that I am sorry that it is so, Janet,” Lantash answered and then frowned. “I was unaware that Tau’ri dancing could be so extremely tiring. Martouf’s feet have begun to hurt, and I have already healed two blisters.”
Janet giggled before saying, “Well, the women have not let you sit out even one dance, so I imagine your feet do hurt. Take it as a compliment, and be glad you can heal them. I will have to soak my feet to get them to stop hurting or maybe have one of the Tok’Ra use a healing device on them.”
“I will attempt to look on it as you suggest, and I believe that any of the Tok'Ra here could help you and any others who may need it. The Furling, also, would be able to help much quicker than soaking them, of that I am sure. Now, I should probably go and join Samantha if it is time for us to leave.” Giving Janet one last smile, he went to stand beside his Samantha, and he saw Daniel put his arm around Kataya.
Janet returned to them, kissed him on the cheek, and handed Sam several boxes wrapped in shiny paper and decorated with ribbons and bows before giving her a last kiss as well.
“Open them before tonight, okay?”
“You did not have to do this, Janet, but thank you. More than that, thank you for all the work you did to get everything ready. It was wonderful and beautiful. I thanked Jocasta earlier. I really do appreciate everything.”
“I know, hon, and you are welcome. We will see you in a week or so. Take care of her, Martouf, Lantash,” Janet said, as she stepped back.
The next thing they knew, they were on the DuxBellorum, along with Kataya and Daniel.
They were on their way back to Avilion, but this time, they went as a formally mated pair. Lantash and Martouf were content for now. They looked at this woman, who was their mate. They loved her more every day, if that was possible. Even though they had been lovers for a couple of weeks now, still tonight would be special. For the first time they would make love to her as their acknowledged mate. Their wife.